447: I've Got a Lot of Code in the Catalogue


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:08   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode 447.

00:00:13   Today's show is brought to you by Squarespace and TextExpander.

00:00:17   My name is Myke Hurley and I am joined by a very special guest,

00:00:20   underscore David Smith.

00:00:21   Hi David.

00:00:23   Hello.

00:00:24   So I called you David there.

00:00:25   I always call you Dave.

00:00:27   That just tends to be how I refer to you.

00:00:29   I don't know if Dave is a chosen nickname for you, but I do call you Dave a lot.

00:00:34   Is that okay, Dave?

00:00:35   >> Yeah, totally fine.

00:00:36   I would say most people call me Dave.

00:00:38   I'm like formally David and then informally underscore.

00:00:41   >> Yes, or just under for sure.

00:00:44   You have an honor today.

00:00:46   Do you know what that honor is?

00:00:47   >> I do not know what that, other than being on an upgrade, which is in itself an honor.

00:00:52   >> So Jason's on vacation.

00:00:53   He's on vacation for the next two weeks.

00:00:56   And you are my first guest host of the show.

00:00:59   Well, that is quite an honor.

00:01:01   Quite a special feeling.

00:01:03   There was an episode, I think last year, where Jason went away, but he was still on the episode.

00:01:10   We recorded some stuff in advance and I had a bunch of guests and we did guests like segments.

00:01:15   So you are the first person to fill in for Jason in full in the 447 episodes that we've

00:01:22   been doing this show.

00:01:23   Well, I will do my best.

00:01:25   I bring the big guns, you know?

00:01:27   When I need a good guest host, I bring an underscore.

00:01:31   And I have a Smith Talk question for you

00:01:33   to start this week's episode of the show.

00:01:35   Peter wants to know, how did you settle on the underscore

00:01:40   for your online handle?

00:01:41   Where did that come from?

00:01:43   - Sure, so as you might imagine, having a name,

00:01:46   David Smith, it is quite popular.

00:01:49   There are many of us in the world.

00:01:52   It has caused all manner of challenge

00:01:54   and hilarity over the course of my life,

00:01:57   having a name that is, I think, by many measures,

00:02:00   perhaps the most popular name in the world,

00:02:03   certainly in the English-speaking world.

00:02:06   And it has definitely been interesting.

00:02:09   So whenever I sign onto a new service,

00:02:11   so in this case, where the story starts was on Twitter,

00:02:14   I was signing up for an account there.

00:02:16   Obviously, I couldn't get @DavidSmith.

00:02:18   That would have been, or even DaveSmith.

00:02:20   No version of my name would have been available.

00:02:23   And I believe the best I could do,

00:02:27   and I'm not a big fan of throwing numbers

00:02:28   at the end of my handle or anything like that.

00:02:31   That's not gonna work.

00:02:33   So I did the David Smith initially, which was available.

00:02:38   And then maybe two days later,

00:02:41   and this isn't, I mean, I had no followers.

00:02:45   It was no anything.

00:02:45   It was just me trying to see what Twitter was.

00:02:49   And then two days later, my shyness

00:02:52   kind of kicked in and I was like, ooh, that sounds kind of presumptuous. Like, I'm the

00:03:00   David Smith, like all the other David Smiths. No, no, no. They're not the one you want.

00:03:04   I'm the one. And so I was like, ooh, yeah, and I'm going to be a little I'm too shy for that.

00:03:08   So instead, I was like, realizing that, oh, you can actually just like throw underscores

00:03:12   into Twitter as and that's a valid character. And so I just replaced the the with an underscore.

00:03:18   and it became, you know, underscore David Smith.

00:03:21   And then I think the nickname itself kind of got started

00:03:23   by Marco Arment who started referring to me

00:03:26   as just underscore on build and analyze.

00:03:29   This is probably like, I don't know,

00:03:31   whatever that is.

00:03:32   - It's ancient history now.

00:03:34   - It's like 10, 12 years ago.

00:03:36   And that's just what he would refer to me as,

00:03:37   it's like underscore.

00:03:38   And then it just, it stuck because rather than saying

00:03:41   underscore David Smith, you just say underscore.

00:03:42   And it works well as a nickname

00:03:44   and has kind of stuck with me ever since.

00:03:45   And I appreciate it because I mean, even in Apple, like the Apple world, there are other

00:03:50   David Smith's like there's an Apple, there's a David Smith who works at Apple, who works

00:03:54   on foundation.

00:03:56   And that has caused challenges for both of us over the last few years.

00:03:59   So you know, just being underscore being it that that's a great way to kind of differentiate

00:04:03   between myself and the other David Smith's out there.

00:04:06   You didn't consider like David Smith official or anything like that, you know, like you

00:04:10   went for the David Smith thing, but the real David Smith.

00:04:13   - No, yeah, I mean, those are even more presumptive,

00:04:16   I think, so.

00:04:17   - I really like that you went with the

00:04:20   and then changed your mind.

00:04:22   I'm happy you changed your mind, but that is very fun.

00:04:25   And I will say as well,

00:04:26   if you would have been able to claim David Smith on Twitter,

00:04:29   that wouldn't have been a good thing for you, right?

00:04:30   'Cause you wouldn't have been the same everywhere else,

00:04:33   right, like you wouldn't have got that handle

00:04:35   in other places.

00:04:36   If you would like to send in a question

00:04:41   to help us open a future episode of the show.

00:04:43   I'll say in advance next week's guest

00:04:45   is the one and only Casey Liss.

00:04:47   So if you would like to send in a Liss talk question

00:04:50   for next week's episode, just go to upgradefeedback.com

00:04:54   and you can submit that.

00:04:55   Thank you to everybody that does send in these questions

00:04:58   every single week.

00:04:59   Saddle up, David Smith,

00:05:03   'cause we're heading down for a rumor round up.

00:05:06   Yee-haw.

00:05:07   Thank you.

00:05:08   - Someone finally gives me what I'm looking for.

00:05:11   I have a report from Digitimes

00:05:13   that the 15 inch MacBook Air is set to launch

00:05:16   in Q2 of this year.

00:05:19   As of right now, it is unclear if these machines

00:05:22   will see an M3 chip or they'll be sticking

00:05:25   with the M2 chips.

00:05:26   So Dave, I know that you were a big fan

00:05:29   of the 12 inch MacBook, right?

00:05:31   I know that there are stories told of you sliding one

00:05:34   inside of an inside jacket pocket.

00:05:36   So I'm assuming a bigger MacBook Air

00:05:39   is not necessarily of interest to you,

00:05:42   but I do wonder what you think about this product

00:05:44   entering the lineup.

00:05:46   - Yeah, I mean, I think this feel,

00:05:49   A, it's just kind of interesting to transition away

00:05:52   from Air being small.

00:05:56   Initially, I would say when the Air first launched,

00:05:58   it was one of its big things that was small enough

00:06:00   to fit in a envelope.

00:06:02   That's how it was reversed revealed.

00:06:03   And I think Air has now sort of just--

00:06:08   instead been sort of basic or initial

00:06:12   rather than having the sense of it being always the smallest.

00:06:15   And so introducing a big MacBook Air

00:06:18   is kind of an interesting evolution of that name,

00:06:22   and I think probably is representative of where

00:06:24   this falls in the lineup now.

00:06:27   Whereas I don't think--

00:06:29   it's not necessarily related to its size anymore.

00:06:32   I think people think of a MacBook Air

00:06:34   as the entry level MacBook.

00:06:37   That if you want an Apple laptop

00:06:39   and you don't wanna spend a lot of money

00:06:40   or you don't have huge needs for it,

00:06:43   that's what you get, is you get a MacBook Air.

00:06:45   And I think that could make some sense

00:06:46   as to why they would introduce a bigger one

00:06:49   as another way to kind of increase their margins.

00:06:53   Presumably it'll cost 100 or $200 or $300 more

00:06:57   than the smaller size.

00:06:59   And I think the thing that it really makes me curious with this is like, is it going

00:07:05   to fall to the same fate as the the 14 plus this last iPhone cycle where they took the

00:07:13   base and added a bigger version of it and it has not been selling nearly as well as

00:07:19   I think perhaps Apple would have liked or expected it to that it continues, I think,

00:07:24   being outsold by the just the iPhone 14 like three to one in my stats like for my apps

00:07:29   and it I can't imagine that's what they hoped for for this device and I think it's interesting

00:07:33   with this is like are people buying the air and it's it's so popular because it's cheap

00:07:39   or because it's an error and if they're buying because it's an error and they love the error

00:07:43   always the error but bigger would be great if really what they want is cheap then it

00:07:48   may not actually be as compelling of a device and so I think that's what I'm really curious

00:07:53   to see with this sort of a larger air to see if it is actually successful

00:07:57   or if people are actually just they'll just be they'd rather get,

00:08:00   you know, a basic MacBook Pro if they want a bigger device,

00:08:04   because they want the power and the other capabilities of that.

00:08:08   And this may actually not have great fit, but you'll have to wait and see.

00:08:12   As you mentioned, it does strike me that this is an interesting product

00:08:16   to add to the lineup, no matter how it falls. Right.

00:08:19   Where it's like either scenario a that it's just not popular

00:08:23   because people want to get the MacBook Pro in the same way that they do the Pro iPhone.

00:08:27   Or option B, people buy the 15-inch MacBook Air instead of a MacBook Pro.

00:08:31   So it's like, you know, like either way that it falls, it's an interesting,

00:08:36   there is a potential interesting downside. I guess Apple is expecting that a 15-inch MacBook Air may

00:08:42   bring more people into the MacBook Air line that would otherwise be elsewhere. I do wonder,

00:08:48   like there's, it's an interesting thing that you pose about the iPhone, if it will stretch over.

00:08:52   My gut feeling is that people buy the Pro iPhones because they want the best iPhone.

00:08:59   Where when it comes to laptops, I'm not sure if they're the same status symbol.

00:09:04   I think a lot of people would just want a bigger screen for their laptop.

00:09:09   And so they would get the MacBook Air.

00:09:11   But I don't know.

00:09:13   And similarly, will this become the standard issue laptop from corporations?

00:09:18   corporations, because it seems to be that MacBook Pro's are, or as we found out when

00:09:24   I got 700,000 people right in to me that the 16 inch MacBook Pro tends to be a pretty standard

00:09:30   issue.

00:09:31   We'll find out.

00:09:32   But either way, I am happy that Apple is continuing to expand the line, but it is going to be

00:09:37   fascinating to see what fate this product ends up having.

00:09:41   Exactly, yeah.

00:09:42   The 9to5 mac reports that they have obtained renders of the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro.

00:09:49   I'll tell you what we see here.

00:09:56   So we see a USB C port, a thicker camera bump, which we had expected, but it is worth noting

00:10:04   this is the pro model, not the pro max, where we are expected to see even more changes from

00:10:09   periscope lens I expect it will be even bigger. And then there are a couple of

00:10:14   things that are newish here from some of the stuff we've been talking

00:10:17   about recently. So there have been some rumors of the volume and the sleep/wake

00:10:23   button becoming capacitive with haptic feedback kind of like the old touch ID

00:10:28   button rather than a clicky button. And 9to5 say that these renders indicate to

00:10:33   them this would be the case. And also the glass on the screen so like on the

00:10:38   front of the device features more of a curve to the frame of the phone making it a smoother

00:10:45   transition with the frame itself carrying more of that curve.

00:10:49   So rather than these very harsh, straight, flat sides and sharp corners, the iPhone might

00:10:55   get a bit rounder and softer in its feel again.

00:10:59   Does any of this intrigue you at all, Dave?

00:11:02   - I mean, I think it's such a tricky thing

00:11:06   where I feel like the physical shape

00:11:10   and dimensions of iPhones,

00:11:12   I don't think matter very much to anyone.

00:11:16   I mean, I think there are people who care about that,

00:11:19   but I don't think the vast majority of people,

00:11:20   myself included, really don't care too much.

00:11:24   Like I buy an iPhone, it goes into a case.

00:11:26   I never really see the shape of the phone again.

00:11:28   Like it's the entire, my entire experience of it

00:11:32   is the quality of the screen and, I guess,

00:11:35   the physical dimensions, like the width and height

00:11:39   of the screen.

00:11:40   But beyond that, having a slightly thicker camera bump

00:11:43   or having curves that are slightly more rounded,

00:11:47   I just don't-- it's the kind of rumor

00:11:50   or the kind of aspects of a device that doesn't particularly

00:11:53   seem to matter.

00:11:54   Because there are people who use their phone without a case,

00:11:57   but they are few and far between.

00:11:59   And as soon as you put it in a case,

00:12:00   having a slightly more curved transition. Like if anything, it makes me wonder, it's

00:12:04   like, Oh, is this going to make it harder to put on a screen protector or those types

00:12:07   of things where, you know, if you have the more rounded you make things, the harder those

00:12:12   types of things become. And when I think of the capacitive, the buttons potentially going

00:12:17   capacitive, it's like, I just hope they work. Like, especially, I mean, the, the volume

00:12:20   ones I'm less worried about. I feel like I use those and those are used much less frequently

00:12:26   in the sleep wake button, which is,

00:12:29   I probably am pushing that hundreds of times in a day

00:12:33   to sleep my phone when I'm about to put it in my pocket.

00:12:36   And if it's not 100% reliable,

00:12:38   like if that's 99% reliable, it's gonna be annoying

00:12:42   because that 1% is many times in a day.

00:12:46   And so it's like, it sounds reasonable.

00:12:49   That's interesting that it doesn't seem

00:12:50   like it's a dramatic year.

00:12:52   It's still, I feel like we've been

00:12:53   on the same general design language for these phones

00:12:56   for this will be what the third ish year third or fourth year.

00:13:00   >> I found 12 was the first one that had this kind of design on it.

00:13:03   >> Yeah. It's a slight change, but it feels much more like we've had, I think maybe this

00:13:07   was the seven or there was a period where it was like they just kept, they started with

00:13:12   a basic design and they just kept rounding things off.

00:13:14   >> Yeah. That was the side with the six.

00:13:18   >> And so like that seems to where we're going, but it's like, it's fine. Like, I mean, the

00:13:22   reality is, it's like I'm always excited for new iPhones because the shape of it is not

00:13:28   the interesting part. It's what's going inside that shape. And what, you know, it's like

00:13:31   if you make the camera bump a thicker, that's exciting because the camera is going to be

00:13:34   better. And that's always exciting for me. But, you know, the seeing the physical dimensions

00:13:39   of it is just kind of like, it doesn't really matter. And I'm always excited when like,

00:13:44   make that camera bump as thick as you want. Like, just go wild with it because, you know,

00:13:49   I'm the kind of person who has an iPhone and a card case.

00:13:51   So, you know, my case is super thick anyway, so it doesn't even matter to me.

00:13:55   It's like make that as you put it, you can put a, you know, like a,

00:13:59   you know, like a like a like a thickness camera, like a camera,

00:14:02   the thickness of a like a camera in there and I'd be happy.

00:14:04   Like, I don't care.

00:14:05   I just, you know, give me awesome pictures.

00:14:07   That's awesome.

00:14:08   There's one. Well, I have three faults now.

00:14:11   I just have a different one.

00:14:12   One, I hope that they don't get rid of the switch for the mute.

00:14:16   Like if everything's going to be like capacitive

00:14:20   or like I guess kind of solid state, right?

00:14:22   Like there's no physical movement.

00:14:25   I'm worried about the mute switch.

00:14:27   'Cause that is a very important,

00:14:29   like just you know it's muted, right?

00:14:32   You can just put your hand in your pocket

00:14:33   and feel that the phone is on mute.

00:14:37   I would be sad if they got rid of that.

00:14:39   Two, I wouldn't mind this at the moment

00:14:41   because right now on my current iPhone 14 Pro Max,

00:14:45   the sleep/wake button has become a little spongy.

00:14:48   I don't know what's happened.

00:14:49   Maybe I spilled something on my phone.

00:14:51   I don't know what's going on,

00:14:52   but it's now not working very reliably,

00:14:55   so I wouldn't mind it if nothing could get in there.

00:14:58   - Sure.

00:14:59   - And then this is more of kind of like an existential thing.

00:15:02   I was thinking about this the other day.

00:15:03   I don't use a case on my phone, right?

00:15:05   - Yeah.

00:15:06   - And I enjoy that feeling,

00:15:07   but really everybody, by and large,

00:15:11   does use a case on their phone, right?

00:15:13   I feel like I'm in a tiny percentage.

00:15:16   Why do they make these things out of glass still?

00:15:20   Like if everybody's just gonna put a case on it,

00:15:23   like, and we all know that and Apple knows that

00:15:26   and they want you to buy cases,

00:15:28   like, well, obviously they want you to buy cases,

00:15:30   but like why did we continue to make these products,

00:15:33   at least especially the back of them,

00:15:35   out of a breakable material,

00:15:37   if everyone's gonna put a case on it

00:15:39   to stop their phone from breaking if they drop it?

00:15:42   - It's just an interesting thought, Diane.

00:15:44   - Yeah, and it'd be like, it's almost like they're trying

00:15:47   to optimize for that experience of going

00:15:50   into an Apple store, picking the one up off the desk

00:15:53   and holding it in your hand.

00:15:55   And that being feeling premium, that feeling beautiful

00:15:59   in a way that is not actually representative of, you know,

00:16:01   your actual use of it.

00:16:03   It's almost like if the display model was glass

00:16:05   and then the one that you could buy came

00:16:06   with the plastic back, like I'd be perfectly happy

00:16:08   with that, like I'd love it if my phone was

00:16:11   a little bit lighter and was much more durable.

00:16:14   Like that sounds a great trade off to me,

00:16:16   but I could understand not wanting to have people

00:16:18   pick up the phone in the Apple store

00:16:21   and have it feel less premium,

00:16:22   to have it feel like it's plastic.

00:16:25   Like there's just-- - This is so strange, right?

00:16:26   'Cause like everyone's popping off

00:16:28   in the live Discord right now telling me

00:16:29   that it's for signal, it's for wireless charging.

00:16:32   But all of these things work through plastic cases, right?

00:16:34   So that's obviously not the reason.

00:16:35   And it is this strange thing of like,

00:16:38   I believe you, like what you're saying,

00:16:41   I believe that is the case, right?

00:16:42   That they do it because you want the thing to feel premium,

00:16:45   but then if you're gonna put a case on it,

00:16:47   what does it matter, you know?

00:16:49   Just like, I would like it if Apple started

00:16:54   to experiment with this stuff,

00:16:56   but in a way that made sense.

00:16:58   'Cause a couple of years ago,

00:16:59   Samsung put a plastic back on one of their mainline phones,

00:17:04   people lost their mind.

00:17:06   And I was disappointed in them,

00:17:07   because they didn't change the price, right?

00:17:08   Like it was still the same price as it would have been

00:17:11   if it had glass on it is how it appeared.

00:17:14   So that would be the thing, right?

00:17:15   If they were gonna do that,

00:17:17   it would have to be some kind of balance,

00:17:18   which is probably why they'll never do it.

00:17:20   But still, it was just like a funny thought to me.

00:17:22   Like they put all this time and effort and money

00:17:25   and we pay all this money on these expensive materials,

00:17:28   but then you just put plastic case around it

00:17:29   and never think about it.

00:17:31   - Yeah, exactly.

00:17:32   This device is also, you skipped over,

00:17:34   it's also seems to confirm that it's USB-C,

00:17:36   which I think is also a pretty nice confirmation

00:17:39   that that's actually seems to be coming this year

00:17:42   rather than at some point in the future,

00:17:44   like after if Apple fights the EU or whatever,

00:17:47   like it seems like, nope,

00:17:49   it seems this is gonna be the year

00:17:50   that it's gonna go USB-C and Lightning will be behind us.

00:17:54   - At least on the Pro phones,

00:17:56   I expect that it will be USB-C on the Pro phones this year

00:18:00   and then on everything next year.

00:18:02   I reckon that's how they'll do it.

00:18:03   just to try and get the last advantage they can get

00:18:08   from USB-C, right, to be like,

00:18:11   "Oh, it's an upsell for just one year."

00:18:14   And then it will trickle out to everything.

00:18:17   I have a question for you actually, as a developer.

00:18:19   Do you think and do you want the regular phones,

00:18:22   the regular iPhone 15 to get the Dynamic Island this year?

00:18:25   - I think, I mean, yes, I think is certainly

00:18:29   the answer to that.

00:18:29   Just in so, the Dynamic Island is such a weird feature

00:18:33   that it's really hard to explain or to be excited about it unless you use a phone that

00:18:42   has it.

00:18:44   Like it's a very-- and this is just something I found from-- I mean, I've been doing a lot

00:18:48   of work recently with adding Dynamic Island support to one of my apps.

00:18:52   And when I'm explaining the feature to people, they kind of don't really get it unless they

00:18:57   hold it in their hands and can actually see what's happening.

00:19:00   that when you explain, well, you know, like while you're going to other apps, the small,

00:19:04   tiny version of your app will be visible in the top in the top of the screen. And you

00:19:07   can go long press on that to see it or tap it to go to that app. And there's a sort of

00:19:11   a complexity to that that I think is really hard to explain. And so expanding the number

00:19:16   of phones that can support that that can do that. It's like if this is a feature that

00:19:21   Apple wants broad and wide developer support for, you know, making that a wide features

00:19:29   I think is the only way that that's gonna happen.

00:19:30   And I feel like the Dynamic Island,

00:19:33   I mean, we're, what are we, four or five months on

00:19:35   since it was first introduced.

00:19:37   And I wouldn't say that as a developer feature,

00:19:39   it's sort of really caught on in a big broad way.

00:19:42   There's a couple of use cases for it here and there.

00:19:44   There's some apps support it,

00:19:45   but it doesn't seem to have had that.

00:19:47   And I think part of that is,

00:19:49   it hasn't had a big moment.

00:19:51   It wasn't like when it first came out,

00:19:53   it was very exciting and trending

00:19:54   and all those kinds of features.

00:19:56   And I think that's partly because it's only on the high end phone of the current generation.

00:20:02   And so it's going to be a long time.

00:20:03   And if they keep it in the pro phones, it's going to be even longer before it's going

00:20:08   to get there because none of the sort of hand me down or I guess like whatever you would

00:20:13   call the second tier phones next year where, you know, at some point the iPhone 14 is going

00:20:19   to be $100 less and move down in the line.

00:20:22   It's not going to have it.

00:20:23   If they don't get it into those base models that stick around forever,

00:20:27   it's just never going to be anywhere.

00:20:29   Then at some point, it turns into a touch bar or something where it's

00:20:32   this feature that is technically cool and interesting in some ways,

00:20:36   but just never really catches on.

00:20:37   That would be, I think, a sad fate for the dynamic island.

00:20:40   >> I agree. This episode is brought to you by our friends over at TextExpander.

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00:22:43   Apple's

00:22:51   WWDC this year. Apple made the decision to delay the launch earlier this month after

00:22:58   product testing showed that both hardware and software issues still need to be ironed

00:23:02   out. Apple has been working to fix issues with sensors on the device to enable the hand

00:23:07   and eye control mechanism. It's also trying to strike a balance between battery life and

00:23:13   performance.

00:23:14   I would say on this one, considering this was supposed to be a march is what the original

00:23:19   rumor was, feels like they're cutting this one really close if they're still making these

00:23:24   decisions about the hardware maybe not being where they want it to be, right?

00:23:27   >> Yeah, I mean, even WDC is close. I mean, I think I was on a calendar and based on like

00:23:34   the most likely day, if WDC is the first Monday in June, that's like 105 days from now. I

00:23:40   mean, if the hardware isn't final, like it's not going to be, you know, you're not going

00:23:44   to be mass producing these in 105 days if you haven't locked in the hardware at this

00:23:48   point. So I mean, in general, it feels super, like down to the wire. And I mean, they keep

00:23:54   moving this forward in a way that I mean, obviously, they haven't they've never announced

00:23:57   anything. So it's always just like, entirely speculative. But it seems externally based

00:24:01   on the rumors that it continuously is getting pushed forward and forward and forward. And

00:24:05   it's like, at some point, you just kind of have this feeling of like, man, like, how

00:24:08   are they how are they ever going to get across the line if they just, you know, it's like,

00:24:11   every time they get close, it just gets kind of pushed out another three, three months,

00:24:15   another six months, whatever it is,

00:24:16   I can imagine that genuinely the reason they've chosen WWDC, it is the very end point.

00:24:22   Because this is, whatever it is, they're not going to be shipping these things in July, right?

00:24:28   Like they will start shipping towards the end of the year.

00:24:31   But if the plan is for this product to make sense, they have to be able to show

00:24:37   developers what the operating system is at WWDC this year.

00:24:41   Like if they're not doing that, you might as well wait another year.

00:24:44   and I don't think they have that ability anymore.

00:24:47   'Cause I feel like, I mean, you can correct me if I'm wrong,

00:24:49   I feel like as we are leading up towards this,

00:24:52   thinking about what potentially could be

00:24:54   on the roadmap this year,

00:24:56   what all of the rumors seem to be pointing towards,

00:24:58   this is the focus of 2023, especially for developers.

00:25:03   So if they don't have it,

00:25:05   there won't be a lot for people to get busy with.

00:25:09   - Yeah.

00:25:11   And I mean, that's always so hard to tell.

00:25:13   Like, I mean, I would say the software teams at Apple are so are by far the quietest, most

00:25:18   secretive groups.

00:25:19   And so like, there could be other amazing things down the road.

00:25:23   I think there is certainly a lot of indication that I mean, even just from a conceptual perspective,

00:25:27   if Apple is launching a whole new platform, that whole new platform is almost certainly

00:25:32   going to be a focus of WDC.

00:25:34   That's where they're going to because that's just there's the most to educate developers

00:25:38   about.

00:25:39   And WDC is functionally a education event.

00:25:41   It is about them communicating to developers what they should be aware of, how they can

00:25:47   actually use it, and that's the venue for the -- and they have other ways they can do

00:25:52   that.

00:25:53   Like, if they didn't make WWDC and they instead launched this in September, they could do

00:25:57   tech talks and they can do videos, especially since WWDC is much more virtual now.

00:26:01   I mean, I think the big thing they would miss out on is, presumably if they have an event

00:26:04   to WWDC with this announced is the developers who are there in person and the invited guests

00:26:12   and all of that will be able to try it out to experiment with it.

00:26:17   You could imagine having onsite labs where developers could use this before it actually

00:26:24   is available.

00:26:25   It's the kind of device where I'm really curious that they're going to do kind of a development

00:26:30   version of this where developers can buy it ahead of time, you know, like they have done

00:26:35   with like the Apple Silicon Max or some of the other devices or if it's going to be,

00:26:39   you know, in order to use this, you have to be on site at Apple and they may have like

00:26:43   onsite labs throughout the year. But I mean, having it ready by WDC gets rid of a lot of

00:26:48   the initial complexity of that because you're going to bring, you know, whatever, a thousand

00:26:53   developers into one place. And so you can show it to them, you can have them try it

00:26:57   on and it seems the kind of device that no matter how good your simulator is that you

00:27:02   can run on your Mac, it is not going to give you nearly the sort of the impression of how

00:27:06   the device will actually work in practice because the whole point of it is that it's

00:27:10   kind of revolutionary as a display technology.

00:27:13   And so, you know, it just doesn't really work that way.

00:27:16   And it does feel like the longer it is until they announce it, the less likely I believe

00:27:22   that there would be developer kits.

00:27:24   Like if there's not showing it until this time, until June, I don't imagine they would

00:27:30   be like, hey, come here and get a developer kit and it'd be like a hardware unit.

00:27:34   I mean, it would be incredibly helpful if Apple can do that, but I don't know how that's

00:27:40   going to shake out.

00:27:42   And I would imagine that for something like this, especially, a development kit would

00:27:47   be really helpful for you, right?

00:27:49   >> Yeah.

00:27:50   I mean, I think it's the only it's going to be a really difficult device to develop for

00:27:56   without something like that. I think you can do the basics, but actually experiencing like

00:28:02   the experiencing the device is going to be so important. I mean, obviously, and they

00:28:06   could do things where you can run it with like a quest or something like you could use

00:28:10   other kinds of VR devices to get some impression of it. But that seems very on Apple like to

00:28:15   to you know, that the developer kit is here just, you know, use this competitors device

00:28:19   and it'll kind of give you some of the impression of it.

00:28:22   I think they would want developers developing

00:28:24   on their hardware, taking advantage of the things

00:28:26   that only Apple can do, that are,

00:28:30   oh, you couldn't do this on a Quest

00:28:32   because we have fancier screens or better processing

00:28:35   or whatever that thing is.

00:28:37   And so they've also done onsite developer things before

00:28:42   with other devices, like the Apple Watch,

00:28:45   where there was no developer kit Apple Watch.

00:28:47   They had an early access thing

00:28:49   where if you were a developer,

00:28:50   once they were available for public sale,

00:28:52   you could buy it from the developer team

00:28:56   to get around supply chain issues

00:28:58   where it was in short supply.

00:29:00   But that's a very different thing.

00:29:02   But before that, even they had some onsite labs

00:29:04   where people could go and try out the Apple Watch

00:29:07   ahead of time, which I could see working with this.

00:29:09   But I mean, it's just such a complicated device.

00:29:12   - Yeah, but if there's one platform,

00:29:15   we don't want to feel like it's the Apple Watch

00:29:18   when it comes to development, right?

00:29:19   Like that was a really tough, really tough version one

00:29:24   and the apps were not running very well for a long time,

00:29:29   right, and it was because of, was it,

00:29:31   watch kit, was that the name of it then?

00:29:33   - Yes, watch kit one.

00:29:35   - Yeah, so it wasn't even really a full OS, right?

00:29:40   Like things weren't running on the device,

00:29:42   I'm trying to get my head around, you know.

00:29:44   - Yeah, I know, and I think that's a very good analogy

00:29:47   for some of the questions I have about this device is in WatchKit 1, the app ran on your

00:29:54   iPhone and was being projected onto the screen of the Apple Watch kind of it was almost like

00:30:00   streaming the you know, the the screen to the watch in real time as you were using it,

00:30:06   which meant it was there was lots of latency issues. There were a lot of and just complexity

00:30:10   issues around that. And that's interesting for a device like this because you have the

00:30:15   same kinds of questions like, is this device going to be reliant on another device? You

00:30:22   know, is it going to be you pair it with your iPhone and then it, you know, the iPhone is

00:30:27   doing some of the heavy lifting for it? Or is it entirely independent, you could use

00:30:31   it without any other device. You know, if you don't have an iPhone, you don't have a

00:30:35   Mac, you could just get this and put it on and use it. And or and that is this going

00:30:41   to be different for developers than for Apple. Like there may be Apple apps that it could

00:30:45   run completely independent and untethered with. But if you want to run developer apps,

00:30:49   then you need to have an iPhone that you could load them on, you know, is the App Store inside

00:30:53   on your iPhone or is the App Store inside the headset? Like, I think these are some

00:30:58   of the questions that will be very telling for what the initial developer experience

00:31:02   is going to be like and what the initial kind of breadth of what's possible is going to

00:31:08   there because similarly with watchOS, like the early versions of WatchKit were so limited

00:31:13   in what they could do.

00:31:14   And it wasn't the technology that Apple was using to build their own apps.

00:31:18   It was this separate kind of second class citizen version.

00:31:21   And it wasn't really until fairly recently in terms of the lifespan of the watch that

00:31:26   maybe about half, you know, four years ago, five years ago, we could really make proper

00:31:30   apps using the same technologies that Apple was using.

00:31:33   And so like all those kind of questions really will, I think, define the early days.

00:31:38   And it's like, we'll have to wait and see, too.

00:31:39   We're assuming that Apple wants really broad, wide, rich developer experience.

00:31:44   And it's like, maybe they do, maybe they don't.

00:31:45   Maybe the early days are they're trying to be focused on their own apps, their core experiences

00:31:49   that they'll be able to tune to perfection, because if they're really up against the edge

00:31:55   of performance and battery life, that's going to be much easier for them to optimize for

00:31:59   than to build something that third parties are able to do.

00:32:02   and then you have to build so many more guardrails and things because a developer makes a bad

00:32:08   choice and then suddenly it just destroys the battery life from the device.

00:32:12   That reflects badly on Apple as well as the developer.

00:32:15   And so that's the experience that people have when they first get it.

00:32:18   It could be dangerous as well.

00:32:21   I feel like as you're explaining this to me, I'm coming around to the idea that there has

00:32:24   to be some kind of development kit solution because there just isn't anything that can

00:32:31   simulate this because even if you used headset by another brand it's not going to have all

00:32:38   of the features. Like one of the big features is foveated rendering, right, which I think

00:32:43   at the moment I know the PSVR2 just has, but obviously that's not going to work, but this

00:32:48   is the idea that like it's using eye tracking to see where you're looking and then just

00:32:53   rendering that part. Now that for certain types of experiences is going to be a very

00:32:59   important part of the process, right? Like especially if you're like a game

00:33:03   developer and stuff like seeing how that works inside of the environment that

00:33:07   you're building will be important. It'll be important for testing. It's like you

00:33:10   won't be able to test for things like that. The same for the hand tracking,

00:33:14   right? So the idea that we've been hearing time and time again is this

00:33:17   device is all about hand tracking. Hand tracking, hand tracking, hand tracking. No

00:33:21   controllers. Well no other device that's available on the market right now has

00:33:26   very reliable hand tracking.

00:33:28   So the entire inter, this would be like saying,

00:33:32   oh, here's the new iPad,

00:33:34   but it has no glass on the screen, right?

00:33:36   It's just like, and you have,

00:33:38   it's like the entire interaction method

00:33:42   relies on the good hand tracking.

00:33:45   So unless Apple can get you hardware,

00:33:48   you can't use anything to reliably simulate that yourself.

00:33:54   - Yeah, and I think the only thing that I can think of there

00:33:58   in terms of like without a developer kit

00:34:00   or before general release of the device

00:34:03   that I could imagine is like you could imagine

00:34:05   them taking iOS components and letting you use them

00:34:10   on this device without necessarily developing them

00:34:14   on the device.

00:34:15   So if you imagine like a live activity or a widget

00:34:17   or some of those kind of rendering modes

00:34:21   they already have in iOS, you could bring those

00:34:24   and have them available on a headset

00:34:27   without needing a developer kit, because they're

00:34:29   doing all of the complexity around rendering and placing

00:34:34   them places and dealing with user interaction

00:34:38   with finger tracking and all the things that are going on there.

00:34:41   But if they just make it so that, hey,

00:34:42   if you want to have a live activity,

00:34:45   you want to have a widget that you pin into your virtual world

00:34:49   or whatever, that could be totally reasonable to be

00:34:53   developed without a developer kit,

00:34:54   that it's just they add a new type in the way

00:34:56   that with the iPad, when they added widgets there,

00:34:59   they added an extra large type.

00:35:01   And I didn't need to have an iPad running iOS 15 in order

00:35:05   to test that and be pretty confident that I had it right.

00:35:09   I could do that in a simulator.

00:35:11   It's just two-dimensional and very similar to something

00:35:14   we already have.

00:35:15   Those kind of experiences, I could see them very easily

00:35:18   developing without having a developer kit.

00:35:20   And so it's entirely possible if they're going down that road

00:35:23   where initially there is limited developer support

00:35:26   in terms of what's possible,

00:35:27   or at least the broad experience they're hoping

00:35:31   from developers are existing experiences,

00:35:33   like things like widgets or live activities,

00:35:35   that could make a lot of sense.

00:35:36   It's like if they want a rich experience

00:35:39   that everyone's taking advantage of,

00:35:40   not just the select game developers

00:35:42   that they're bringing to the developer center in Cupertino

00:35:45   and working with onsite,

00:35:47   like that's where it gets much more of a complicated story,

00:35:49   and I certainly don't envy them trying to find that balance.

00:35:53   As a developer yourself, right, so just developer part of David Smith,

00:35:57   how are you feeling about the prospect of there being another platform that

00:36:02   Apple produces like for you and for your workload? Like you, you would,

00:36:07   you know, I know you, you don't develop any Mac OS apps, right?

00:36:10   Not really. No.

00:36:11   Right. So you're on iOS, iPad, OS, watch OS. We'll call this reality OS.

00:36:16   How does that feel kind of sitting here right now?

00:36:19   What's interesting about that is that I feel like there's a deep tension.

00:36:23   feel as a developer around like new platforms or new system capabilities have been like the

00:36:31   cornerstone of my ability to be successful as a developer by being an early adopter, by being out

00:36:37   on the cutting edge of whatever Apple is putting out there. Like that's something that as a small

00:36:42   minister, like one person, independent developer, that's what has allowed me to sort of shine in a

00:36:48   the way that I can move more quickly,

00:36:50   I can get out onto these new platforms very quickly

00:36:53   because I'm not a big team who has to get approval.

00:36:55   I'm not like the Google Apps team who's trying to,

00:36:58   I'm sure it's very complicated and difficult to work,

00:37:01   you know, to get approval and to be there on day one.

00:37:04   You know, I've had a lot of success with doing that.

00:37:06   Like that's how Pedometer++, that's how Widgetsmith,

00:37:09   how those two, you know, like those apps are successful

00:37:11   because they were there on day one.

00:37:13   And so I'm always excited when Apple adds a new platform,

00:37:16   when they add something into this that I want to be there.

00:37:19   But it's complicated for this one

00:37:21   where I feel like it seems like such a narrow use case

00:37:26   and it's such a narrow audience for this platform

00:37:29   that it's hard to be excited about it

00:37:32   because I think it's going to be very complicated

00:37:35   to have it be something that is kind of worth the time

00:37:39   and worth the investment in doing this.

00:37:42   Because it's like, if you only have,

00:37:45   I don't think they're gonna sell nearly as many of these

00:37:48   as they've sold Apple watches.

00:37:49   And the Apple watch is a difficult platform

00:37:51   to kind of get a good return on as a developer.

00:37:54   And so if you have a tiny fraction of that,

00:37:56   if you're talking about a user base

00:37:59   that should be measured in maybe hundreds of thousands

00:38:01   to start with, like you have to sell to a lot of them

00:38:05   to make any income back.

00:38:07   And you're gonna need to be selling

00:38:08   at a pretty high price probably too

00:38:10   in order to kind of recoup anything there.

00:38:13   And so it's like, I'm excited about it in that regard,

00:38:16   but I'm also kind of skeptical that it's gonna be

00:38:19   kind of like worthwhile.

00:38:20   And I feel like it may,

00:38:22   I think it's potentially more likely

00:38:23   that it ends up being like a tvOS or something

00:38:26   where there's a very particular type of app

00:38:29   where it makes sense to develop for.

00:38:31   And then for the rest of the apps,

00:38:33   it doesn't really kind of actually fit in.

00:38:35   That in practice, there's not a good market there.

00:38:37   There's not a lot of reason to show up

00:38:39   unless you happen to be whatever platform that is.

00:38:43   And it's like, if widgets are a big thing on a headset,

00:38:46   then I'll totally be there and that'll be super exciting.

00:38:48   And it's a new platform.

00:38:50   But if it's all about media consumption and communication,

00:38:54   say, like it's for video apps and like Skype, Zoom,

00:38:59   those kinds of apps, then it just wouldn't be for me.

00:39:02   And I'd be happy with that in some ways,

00:39:04   but that's kind of the tension that I'm feeling right now.

00:39:06   - But this is like a change in your attitude, right?

00:39:09   where I feel like maybe David Smith of 2016, 2017,

00:39:14   you would have been like scrambling to try and think of like,

00:39:17   what is an app that works in this?

00:39:20   Where now you really do have a couple of very successful apps

00:39:24   and you need to just work out

00:39:25   how you can apply those to different things.

00:39:27   As you say, right?

00:39:27   Like if they're like, hey, if you make widgets,

00:39:29   you can bring them over.

00:39:30   And as you mentioned a minute ago,

00:39:32   like pin them to your virtual space.

00:39:34   Like you're there, right?

00:39:35   Like day one, you're in the app store, right?

00:39:37   'cause that is 100% your thing.

00:39:39   And as you mentioned, if they did do that,

00:39:42   probably wouldn't be very hard, right?

00:39:44   Because it is mostly, that's the kind of stuff

00:39:46   where they're like, oh, it's all SwiftUI.

00:39:49   We're using SwiftUI here too,

00:39:50   if you have this kind of application,

00:39:52   very easy to compile for,

00:39:56   and then you just do some testing and bug squashing

00:39:58   and you're done, right?

00:39:59   Like, I'm simplifying, of course,

00:40:02   but it's a different aspect to,

00:40:05   if you were to come up with a walking simulation app, right?

00:40:10   And you did that, right?

00:40:11   Like that is a whole different kettle of fish completely.

00:40:14   - Yeah, and I think I've been burned in the past a bit

00:40:17   and part of the, both in terms of,

00:40:19   just in terms of like, I could imagine coming up

00:40:23   with like wild ideas and spending a lot of time,

00:40:26   say this summer, that's like, that's all I'm working on.

00:40:28   And I think it's difficult to imagine

00:40:31   there being a big enough audience

00:40:33   for that to make a lot of sense.

00:40:34   as I think the maturity that I've come to as a developer,

00:40:37   that it's fun to do as a hobby,

00:40:40   as something that's interesting to play around with.

00:40:42   But if you're viewing it as a business,

00:40:45   coming to as a developer, coming to this thing

00:40:47   as a platform that you wanna support,

00:40:49   if it's a couple of thousand dollars as a device,

00:40:54   and it's potentially very limited in scope

00:40:58   and is a completely new paradigm

00:41:00   for the vast majority of people,

00:41:01   but they're not gonna consider themselves

00:41:04   as computing is sitting down in a chair

00:41:07   or standing up with a headset on

00:41:09   and closing yourself off in that way.

00:41:10   Like that's just a very, it's a totally new thing.

00:41:13   And so that limiting of the space is I think something

00:41:18   that makes me tentative going into it

00:41:20   in a way that obviously we'll have to see.

00:41:22   I could be totally wrong about this

00:41:24   and they come back and they say,

00:41:26   we found a way to make this device

00:41:27   and it's super cheap and it's super amazing.

00:41:30   And it's gonna have wide audience

00:41:31   and there's millions of these selling everywhere

00:41:33   and it's like the hit thing.

00:41:35   And so finding anything you can do to be on that platform

00:41:38   will be important and will be kind of get a good return.

00:41:41   Like that's certainly possible.

00:41:42   Like Apple has done that before.

00:41:43   Of all the companies who could pull that off,

00:41:45   I'd certainly put Apple at the top of the list.

00:41:47   - But it's the iPad, right?

00:41:49   And we're gonna mention this before

00:41:51   and we're gonna mention it a million more times

00:41:53   leading up to this product's launch.

00:41:54   But these were the rumors for the iPad.

00:41:56   It was gonna be really expensive, like over $1,000

00:42:00   and it came in a 500 and it blew up

00:42:03   and everyone was very excited.

00:42:05   Do you have interest in this device personally?

00:42:09   - I mean, not particularly.

00:42:12   I think the only use case for a device like this

00:42:16   that I see myself potentially interested in

00:42:19   is the use cases I've heard of

00:42:21   around using it as a virtual display,

00:42:25   like if you're traveling or something like that.

00:42:27   So when I go to WWDC,

00:42:30   I bring a whole bunch of sort of stuff

00:42:34   to set up my work environment to be as productive

00:42:36   as I can be away from my actual office,

00:42:39   which is, right now I'm sitting in front of a Pro Display XDR

00:42:43   with my laptop on a stand and I got a keyboard and a mouse

00:42:45   and all the things that I use to ergonomically

00:42:48   be productive and effective.

00:42:50   And if there was a way to have a virtual Pro Display XDR

00:42:55   with me anywhere in the world that is relatively small

00:42:58   and packable in a suitcase, that sounds super exciting.

00:43:01   I'm skeptical that it would be an ASimilar experience,

00:43:05   but if that's the case, that would be awesome.

00:43:07   That's a use case I could imagine,

00:43:09   but it's, I think, tricky to imagine myself,

00:43:13   even in that situation, of wanting to have something

00:43:15   like this on my face for eight hours at a time,

00:43:18   or for long stretches, without that being something

00:43:22   that is very fatiguing and difficult ergonomically

00:43:25   and challenging on your neck,

00:43:26   and all those kinds of things.

00:43:29   And playing games on a device like this

00:43:32   isn't a use case that particular--

00:43:34   I don't play many games as it is.

00:43:36   And so having a much more involved experience

00:43:41   that requires a lot of commitment for a game

00:43:44   is going to be even more difficult.

00:43:45   And so I find it really difficult

00:43:48   to be excited about this personally in that way.

00:43:50   And maybe that's also part of why

00:43:53   I have a little bit of skepticism about it

00:43:55   in some ways in general, but I look forward to,

00:43:59   I would love to be proven wrong in that way.

00:44:01   Like, I'd be fantastic to have this device unveiled,

00:44:05   have them show me what it does and sort of have

00:44:09   the aha moment of like, oh, wow, that's amazing.

00:44:12   Like, I really sort of like am blown away by what it can do.

00:44:17   But as it is now, I'm interested in it mostly

00:44:20   from a professional perspective as a platform

00:44:22   that I want to support, rather than as a personal matter,

00:44:25   being advice that I'm super excited to get and to use,

00:44:30   and would look forward to and camp out

00:44:32   to day one at a personal level.

00:44:34   - And as a developer of apps on Apple's other platforms,

00:44:40   how do you feel about the prospect of WWDC

00:44:43   completely being overshadowed by this?

00:44:45   Like if they're gonna, in a WWDC keynote,

00:44:49   they're showing off a new platform,

00:44:51   I can't imagine as much time for anything else,

00:44:53   or it's gonna be a two, two and a half hour

00:44:56   WWDC keynote.

00:44:57   Like how does this make you feel of like,

00:45:01   you know, I have all this other stuff that I do,

00:45:02   I have, you know, ways I wanna push my apps forward,

00:45:06   but Apple will be spending their time

00:45:08   talking about this instead.

00:45:10   - Yeah, I mean, I think there are two versions

00:45:13   of that scenario, and they would play very differently

00:45:16   to how I would feel.

00:45:17   I think in one scenario, it is,

00:45:19   It overshadows the main keynote because there's the most to explain there, but the other platforms

00:45:24   still have large, meaningful, robust announcements to be had.

00:45:30   There's lots of things happening still on watchOS and iOS, and it's just they didn't

00:45:35   talk about them in the keynote.

00:45:38   After the keynote at the State of the Union and at the videos that are being released

00:45:41   throughout the rest of the week, there's still tons of stuff and it's super exciting.

00:45:44   I'd be fine with that.

00:45:46   I don't care if the keynote is slim on what's on watchOS, which is probably like the platform

00:45:50   you know, closest to my heart. Like that's, that's fine to me as long as I'm getting a

00:45:54   lot of stuff and what's new in watchOS. If it's the other version of that where it's,

00:45:58   it's the WWDC is overshadowed by this because that's all there is or that's prime that,

00:46:04   you know, there's very minor incremental updates to the other platforms. I think I would feel

00:46:09   kind of more sad by that, that if it felt like the other platforms were being put on

00:46:14   on hold so that they could launch and focus

00:46:17   on this new platform, I think I would have

00:46:20   a bit more frustration in terms of it would feel like,

00:46:24   some of the other platforms that I'm perhaps more directly

00:46:27   and immediately excited about and whose changes

00:46:30   and improvements will have a bigger impact

00:46:32   to my users and to me, that would feel a bit more crummy.

00:46:36   So it's like, my hope is it's the former version of that,

00:46:40   that even if it does have this big,

00:46:42   It's the talk of the show in terms of Apple's messaging

00:46:45   and their PR strategy.

00:46:46   That's fine as long as the actual story behind the scenes

00:46:49   is that there's a lot of cool stuff that I can do

00:46:52   and that I can look forward to launching in September.

00:46:56   - It would surprise me if they weren't able

00:47:00   to still do other things on other operating systems

00:47:03   because of this.

00:47:04   I would understand it maybe more with the hardware

00:47:06   just because it's just complex

00:47:08   and they maybe needed to pull people in from all over.

00:47:10   But the software stuff, it's not like,

00:47:15   I mean, I just imagine, it's not like everybody

00:47:17   who's working on iOS and watchOS had to be pulled

00:47:19   to develop the software for this thing, but I don't know.

00:47:23   - Yeah, it's certainly possible that that would be the case,

00:47:26   but it seems unlikely that there are certainly,

00:47:29   I'm sure there's dedicated people working on watchOS,

00:47:32   on WidgetKit, on HealthKit, on all of the other,

00:47:35   you know, on SwiftUI, on all of the other platforms,

00:47:38   And there might be some drain to that,

00:47:41   but it doesn't seem like it should be

00:47:42   that they couldn't do both at the same time.

00:47:44   It would seem like a very strange staffing place

00:47:47   for Apple to find themselves.

00:47:49   Oh, we just can't have enough,

00:47:50   we only have 20 engineers,

00:47:52   and so we have to focus them all on the news thing

00:47:54   rather than being able to have different teams

00:47:57   who can take care of things

00:47:58   and juggle multiple platforms

00:48:01   being updated at the same time.

00:48:03   - Now, we'll just say personally,

00:48:05   as a person who produces weekly podcasts about Apple.

00:48:10   I'm really bummed out that they're not showing this off

00:48:12   next month, 'cause I was like,

00:48:14   my next few months are gonna be easy, you know?

00:48:16   March to WWDC, we could just talk about the headset,

00:48:19   but now, gotta go all the way to June, come on.

00:48:21   - Yes, it is definitely frustrating in that perspective

00:48:24   that it is not, I mean, I think any time you have these big,

00:48:29   like unanswered questions, I get, you know, it's just,

00:48:32   you want the answers as soon as you can,

00:48:34   both from your perspective from having content to talk about

00:48:36   and from my perspective from having certainty

00:48:40   about the future just feels nice

00:48:42   in a way that it's difficult to have this like,

00:48:44   is it, what's it gonna be?

00:48:45   Who knows?

00:48:46   And having to wait longer and longer

00:48:48   is not a great place to be.

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00:50:48   Everyone's talking about AI these days, right? AI all over the place. I got access to the

00:50:56   Bing, the Bing AI search thing today.

00:50:59   I'm just playing around with that.

00:51:01   I'll actually say I was trying to plan a vacation,

00:51:05   like me and Nadine are looking to take a vacation,

00:51:08   and I got some good suggestions from Bing.

00:51:11   And I was like, oh good.

00:51:13   But one thing that they've done,

00:51:14   I mean, you probably saw the wild things it was doing

00:51:17   like last week, right, where people were breaking through.

00:51:20   Ben Thompson's Stratechery article

00:51:23   is not just one of the best things I've read from him,

00:51:26   it's like one of the best things I've read in years.

00:51:28   So it's called From Bing to Sydney.

00:51:31   I'll put it in the show notes.

00:51:32   You should go and spend some time reading it.

00:51:34   It's unbelievable.

00:51:35   Also, Kevin Russ at the New York Times

00:51:39   had the column where Sydney told him that it loved him.

00:51:44   - Yeah.

00:51:46   - Which was like a whole other thing.

00:51:48   Because of this, the way that Microsoft, I think,

00:51:51   is solving this for now is you can only ask five questions

00:51:53   and then it makes you restart.

00:51:55   Which was really annoying for me today

00:51:57   because I was trying to refine some things,

00:52:00   and I found that quite frustrating.

00:52:02   Nevertheless, you have been dabbling

00:52:07   with another of OpenAI's projects,

00:52:09   which is, I think, currently one of the less sexy ones.

00:52:12   It's called Whisper.

00:52:14   I feel like not a lot of people are talking about this.

00:52:16   It's not Dali, it's not ChatGPT.

00:52:19   It's the same company, OpenAI.

00:52:21   Whisper is a speech-to-text engine,

00:52:24   and you have been feeding a selection of podcasts

00:52:27   into whisper and I kind of wanted to get one,

00:52:30   like why are you doing this?

00:52:31   And two, like what have been your experience of this so far?

00:52:34   - Yeah, and so I think that AI is definitely sort of like

00:52:39   the technology of the moment in so many different ways,

00:52:42   whether it's the image generation, the text generation,

00:52:44   or in this case, being able to convert spoken audio

00:52:48   into text and I feel like there's the reason it's so

00:52:53   kind of like of the moment and feel like it's transformative

00:52:57   in a way that it wasn't, you know,

00:52:58   many of these technologies have existed for a long time.

00:53:01   There's something different about it now.

00:53:04   And that difference seems to have been

00:53:06   this crossing this point where suddenly these things

00:53:09   that previously were just too computationally intensive

00:53:13   to reasonably and pragmatically do kind of at scale.

00:53:17   Now, suddenly we've been able to kind of cross that point

00:53:19   where as is so often with the case with technology,

00:53:23   it goes from something that is niche and limited

00:53:25   and requires very specialist tools

00:53:27   and very specialist hardware

00:53:29   to something that can be run much more broadly

00:53:31   and at a scale that is different,

00:53:33   that you can have hundreds of, whatever,

00:53:36   or tens of millions of people talking to chat GPT

00:53:39   and it doesn't completely implode on itself

00:53:41   and same thing with mid-journey

00:53:44   or any of the stable diffusion models.

00:53:46   And in Whisper specifically's case,

00:53:50   it's this difference of speech to text

00:53:52   is something that has existed for a very long time.

00:53:55   I mean, like Nuance and Dragon Dictate

00:53:57   have been doing this for a very long time.

00:54:00   You could be able to do automation on the Mac

00:54:02   even with your voice and being able to speak rather than type.

00:54:06   There's some great accessibility things

00:54:08   that have been out of that for a while.

00:54:11   But what made Whisper different and is interesting

00:54:14   as a technology is that it is making this thing

00:54:17   that previously was either very proprietary

00:54:20   or very sort of expensive and complicated,

00:54:22   something that anyone can run on almost any device

00:54:26   in a way that is pretty performant

00:54:27   and certainly way more performant than it was before.

00:54:30   So what I do with my podcast searching system is,

00:54:34   I've done this, previously what I actually used to do is,

00:54:37   I tried this before and YouTube was the only place

00:54:41   that would do kind of wide scale automatic speech to text.

00:54:45   And so I would actually take podcasts,

00:54:46   turn them into videos,

00:54:48   upload them as private videos on YouTube,

00:54:50   wait for it to do the automatic like subtitling,

00:54:54   download the subtitles and turn that into the transcript,

00:54:58   which is terrible and awful in lots of ways.

00:55:00   And the actual quality wasn't very good.

00:55:02   And then whisper comes out and instead I can write a script

00:55:05   that just downloads it through the podcast episode,

00:55:07   runs it right on my MacBook Pro,

00:55:11   and I get the result in a few minutes,

00:55:14   and it doesn't cost me anything.

00:55:16   There's no infrastructure or overhead involved in this.

00:55:18   You can run the same model on an iPhone even

00:55:21   and have it work with some degrees of accuracy.

00:55:25   And so it's this very different place to be

00:55:28   that just wasn't possible before.

00:55:31   - How does this work?

00:55:32   Like, how do you generate these transcripts?

00:55:35   Yeah, so I mean, Whisper is just a technology that you feed it an MP3 file, basically, and

00:55:44   you transform it in a few ways.

00:55:46   And then it gives you a transcript as best as it can come up with of what that file is,

00:55:54   what the people in that are saying.

00:55:57   And in my case, my goal was to make a keyword search quality podcast retrieval tool.

00:56:07   And so I make it so that-- which this is fine for.

00:56:10   It's not a true transcript in the way that if you wanted to read the content of this

00:56:14   show.

00:56:15   But if you wanted to find out when we talked about RealityOS and you search for RealityOS,

00:56:20   it'll be able to transcribe it and give you the place in the episode where we talked about

00:56:26   it. So it just isn't, you know, it's this, I don't know, it's a magic black box that

00:56:31   you feed MP3s into and get the textual versions of that coming back to you on the other side.

00:56:37   >> I did a search for Reality OS and it currently doesn't find anything. Because I guess it's

00:56:42   just, I don't even know. Because this is it, right? Like, because they're not human.

00:56:46   >> No.

00:56:48   >> There are things that are missed.

00:56:49   >> Yeah.

00:56:50   >> Right? So like, because a human would hear that, and if they knew what we were talking

00:56:54   about they will put it in there and like and I know we've spoken about reality oh

00:56:58   I found it here reality space OS right like by going looking through the

00:57:03   transcript like search results but like I know and you know that's one word

00:57:08   right but like that's what you mean about this this is not a it cannot

00:57:12   currently create a comfortable readable transcript but it can almost I think of

00:57:20   almost like an index, it's doing like an index of the words to the best of its

00:57:25   ability and if you think about it like smartly in those ways you can kind of

00:57:29   find what you're looking for right? Where like if I was doing a search on

00:57:33   something that I thought was perfectly transcribed, type reality OS and it said

00:57:37   no results, be like okay there's nothing here but yeah because I know what the

00:57:42   limitations of the machine are I can just search for the word reality and I

00:57:47   I will find what I'm looking for, right?

00:57:50   - Yeah, and I think what's so interesting

00:57:52   with so all of these systems is based on the input

00:57:55   you give it is so determinant on what the output is.

00:57:58   So RealityOS currently doesn't get transcribed correctly

00:58:03   because it's not a public thing that exists on the internet.

00:58:07   In like, say Apple announces it at WWDC,

00:58:12   a year from now when they've updated their language model,

00:58:14   and that's a proper pronoun that exists

00:58:17   in the English language,

00:58:19   it'll probably transcribe it 100% correctly.

00:58:21   That there's so many situations where now

00:58:23   it gets brand names, it gets trademarks correct,

00:58:27   because presumably it's indexing,

00:58:29   it's gone out and looked at all of the content

00:58:32   on the internet and it's worked out,

00:58:33   well, what is in the English language,

00:58:35   what are these words?

00:58:36   And then how can we build a model to predict

00:58:38   when someone was saying one of these words?

00:58:41   And so I feel like it's the same thing

00:58:44   with all of these, with the chat systems

00:58:46   or the image generation, it's so much a,

00:58:50   it's just transforming the input

00:58:51   into some kind of useful output in an automated fashion.

00:58:55   And so it's really complicated.

00:58:57   Like if you're trying to transcribe something

00:58:59   that is a very standard use of the English language

00:59:04   or with nouns and proper nouns that are known,

00:59:08   it'll do a great job.

00:59:09   And it'll be kind of amazing in that way.

00:59:11   But otherwise, it's just sort of guessing and doing its best.

00:59:15   And that's just like the fundamental reality

00:59:18   of all these tools, I feel like, is they're incredibly powerful,

00:59:23   but they're not intelligent.

00:59:25   Like we call it artificial intelligence, which is not

00:59:28   really what's happening.

00:59:29   It's just really powerful, careful automation

00:59:32   that can enable people to do cool things more quickly.

00:59:37   But it's not actually intelligent in that way.

00:59:40   It's just giving you more handles or more inputs

00:59:44   into information that you previously

00:59:47   wouldn't have been able to do.

00:59:48   The reason I got started with going down this road

00:59:51   is I love listening to podcasts.

00:59:52   And very often, I think to myself, oh, what episode

00:59:55   did they talk about that?

00:59:56   Oh, I remember this thing.

00:59:58   There's this episode of Connected where Federico talked about how

01:00:01   he got this very particular device or something like that.

01:00:06   Ooh, when was that?

01:00:07   Kickstance.

01:00:07   that's a really complicated question to answer.

01:00:11   'Cause you can't just search Google for it

01:00:12   in a way that if Federico had written an article

01:00:15   on Mac stories, well, I could just Google

01:00:18   and say site macstories.net and boom, it's gonna find it.

01:00:22   But audio was just not indexable in that way, but now it is.

01:00:27   And that transformation is just

01:00:29   the amazing part of this.

01:00:31   - How much energy or power does it take

01:00:35   on your Mac to produce one of these transcripts,

01:00:38   say for an episode of this show?

01:00:41   - Sure, so like for an episode of upgrade,

01:00:43   which is typically maybe,

01:00:46   it's maybe like an hour and a half long,

01:00:48   something along those lines,

01:00:49   I can generate a transcript on my M2 Mac's MacBook Pro

01:00:54   in maybe about 20 or so minutes, 20, 25 minutes,

01:00:59   which is reasonably fast as these things go.

01:01:04   But during that time, it is completely using every core of the device.

01:01:08   And the fans come on and it is, you know, if you ever wanted to, you know, cook an egg

01:01:13   on a MacBook Pro, this is how you do it.

01:01:17   And I can say going back and re indexing the entire back catalogue of upgrade of connected

01:01:22   event of the external tech past podcast of the talk show.

01:01:25   There was a lot of heat being generated on MacBook Pros in my office for quite some time.

01:01:31   is slowly wearing those clothes down.

01:01:34   - Yeah, I mean, it definitely made me a little nervous

01:01:36   that I was like, huh, should I be worried

01:01:41   that I'm gonna overcook my MacBooks?

01:01:43   But I was like, no, no, no, no,

01:01:44   this is like, it says pro in the name, right?

01:01:46   If I was a researcher doing some kind of,

01:01:50   those people they always show in Apple keynotes

01:01:52   of these scientific people who use Mac Pros

01:01:56   to do protein folding or something,

01:01:58   like they would be doing this.

01:01:59   This is well within the spec,

01:02:01   but it definitely made me a little nervous to be,

01:02:03   seeing my device be running at that hot for that long,

01:02:07   'cause I think it was in the course of maybe about two weeks,

01:02:10   24 hours a day.

01:02:11   So, and it's definitely not something that is like

01:02:14   lightweight in that way where you can do it.

01:02:17   And if you wanted to, you can run this on an iPhone

01:02:19   and it works, but that's one of those,

01:02:21   you definitely wouldn't want to do it without being plugged

01:02:25   in 'cause it would absolutely destroy your battery.

01:02:28   And like the back of the phone,

01:02:29   You can feel exactly where the chip is on the iPhone's back,

01:02:34   'cause if you run your finger down,

01:02:35   it'll be scorching hot, especially there,

01:02:38   'cause it's entirely passive.

01:02:39   So all of the heat is just doing its best

01:02:42   to radiate out otherwise.

01:02:44   So it's definitely, the amazing thing is that it's possible,

01:02:49   that I don't need some dedicated,

01:02:52   it's not like, oh, you need to get a Mac Pro

01:02:55   with an Afterburner card, and then you can do this.

01:02:58   or like how Google and Amazon, et cetera,

01:03:01   build these specific chips for machine learning,

01:03:05   like they were put in servers.

01:03:07   So, I guess it's taking advantage

01:03:11   of the neural chips inside of these machines.

01:03:15   I don't know that, is it?

01:03:17   - So, Whisper has not yet been sort of ported

01:03:21   or adapted to take advantage of that.

01:03:24   In a way that like Apple themselves with stable diffusion,

01:03:27   They like Apple came, created a version of stable diffusion

01:03:32   that could work with the, all of the core ML stuff

01:03:37   that Apple has been adding to their chips for years.

01:03:39   But it's right now, I don't believe there's a version

01:03:42   of Whisper that can do that.

01:03:43   - Okay, I believe I've heard that somewhere,

01:03:47   but I could be making this up now,

01:03:49   so don't attribute it to me,

01:03:50   that Apple are looking at that,

01:03:53   like in the same way they have other things

01:03:55   of how can they make sure that this stuff can run.

01:03:58   - Yeah, and if they do, it'll be amazing

01:03:59   'cause that's so purpose-built.

01:04:02   It's almost like this very purpose-built bit of hardware

01:04:05   that would both speed up the process

01:04:08   and probably, as a result, do it so much more efficiently

01:04:11   than having to do it on the CPU or the GPU on a device now.

01:04:16   And especially if they wanted to make this something

01:04:20   that worked well on iOS devices,

01:04:23   it would be even more of a huge win there

01:04:25   because I feel like every iPhone for years has been shipped

01:04:29   with these neural engines that do nothing

01:04:32   like 99% of their life.

01:04:34   That there's just no, there's so few use cases

01:04:38   where it makes sense to,

01:04:40   but with things like stable diffusion, with whisper,

01:04:42   with these kind of new AI things,

01:04:45   finally it feels like the payoff is coming

01:04:47   for all this, you know, all this Silicon

01:04:49   that's just been sitting dormant in iPhones

01:04:51   for so many years.

01:04:53   And like, that's exciting and interesting for me

01:04:55   looking forward to the next year of development,

01:04:58   is are there going to be,

01:05:00   like there was a moment where all the profile,

01:05:03   like avatar generators were super hot on the App Store.

01:05:07   And that was, most of those had to be run

01:05:09   on the server side, but if Apple did some work in iOS 17

01:05:13   to make those kind of things possible to run on an iPhone

01:05:18   in super real time, very lightweight,

01:05:20   very optimized for the neural engine,

01:05:22   like how amazing would that be?

01:05:24   and how kind of cool and interesting would that be

01:05:26   as an unlock that it's not this,

01:05:28   like we were talking about with the headset,

01:05:30   it's not the situation where only the new people

01:05:32   who are gonna have it, it's like every person

01:05:35   who has an iPhone since, you know, whatever it is,

01:05:37   the iPhone 10 or something has a neural engine

01:05:39   of some variety in their phone

01:05:42   that they could use to take advantage of this.

01:05:44   And so that would be just amazing.

01:05:45   - That would be an interesting thing

01:05:48   for Apple to do for 17, right?

01:05:50   to show off some kind of machine learning capability

01:05:55   that they, that people will be interested in now

01:05:59   in maybe a way they wouldn't have been before.

01:06:01   - Yeah. - Right.

01:06:02   'Cause it's like, hey, you remember that thing

01:06:03   that you, you know, you know that thing

01:06:06   that everyone is love to do right now,

01:06:08   well, you can do it all on device

01:06:09   and how much would that fit in

01:06:11   with Apple's kind of mentality, right?

01:06:14   The on-device-ness of it all.

01:06:17   - Yeah, and like, I could see,

01:06:19   You could imagine a world where like,

01:06:20   I have no idea how Whisper compares

01:06:24   to their current dictation system in iOS,

01:06:27   but it seems very good.

01:06:29   It seems very impressive.

01:06:31   And it makes me wonder about if Apple would benefit

01:06:33   potentially from making their own version

01:06:36   using the same technology and concepts behind this

01:06:40   and building it into iOS.

01:06:42   And then if they do that for themselves,

01:06:44   then they can make that available to developers

01:06:47   through some kind of very lightweight wrapped,

01:06:50   hyper-performant system.

01:06:52   And then it starts to get really interesting

01:06:53   for what that opens up for,

01:06:55   where you have a podcast app that can show you

01:07:00   a live subtitles for what you're listening to.

01:07:03   Or when you hit share, the shareable clip

01:07:05   includes all of the live index transcript

01:07:09   of what's happening.

01:07:10   These things, it's so different

01:07:12   when you can suddenly do them in a lightweight,

01:07:14   performant way on device,

01:07:16   do it right where the user is, you can do it offline.

01:07:19   All of those advantages start accruing.

01:07:21   That is where it starts to get very exciting for me.

01:07:24   - So there were, Mark Germin reported

01:07:27   in his Power On newsletter, Apple had an event,

01:07:30   like an internal event a few weeks ago,

01:07:33   which is their AI Summit.

01:07:36   It's kind of internally dubbed, nicknamed as WWDC for AI,

01:07:40   but it's just for Apple employees.

01:07:42   - Sure.

01:07:43   And I've got a quote here, I'll just read from Mark Gurman.

01:07:48   In a brochure for the event, Apple's AI chief told employees

01:07:54   that machine learning is moving faster than ever

01:07:57   and the talent we have here is truly at the forefront.

01:08:00   They're at least focusing on it and we've seen it, right?

01:08:05   Like you said, we've seen it.

01:08:06   We've seen them do enhancements to the operating system

01:08:09   to support and optimize for some of these models,

01:08:14   I think it would make a lot of sense for them

01:08:18   to have some kind of what is now called AI focused features

01:08:23   for the next couple of versions of iOS,

01:08:26   because it could really catch on with people.

01:08:29   - Yeah, and I think too, it's an opportunity for them

01:08:32   to do AI in a way, the way that they would talk about it

01:08:37   in the sense of it's like in a way that only Apple can,

01:08:40   right, it's that sense of like when they did their image

01:08:44   indexing system in photos, I remember like Craig Federighi

01:08:48   talking about how they, you know, they did the work

01:08:52   to build their own training set of like appropriate images

01:08:57   for, you know, defining what a mountain is or what a dog is

01:09:01   and did it in a way that then they didn't just scrape

01:09:05   the internet and then use that as their basis or use user photos as the basis for it. They

01:09:12   did it in a way that is much more predictable, reliable, like legally sound, all those kinds

01:09:18   of things. And like, I could imagine them going down that road with a lot of these types

01:09:24   of features and saying, we like this exists other places, you know, if you wanted to generate

01:09:28   an image, you could do it with, you know, stable diffusion or Dolly. But if you do it

01:09:34   there's all these questions or difficulties or ambiguities about how that works, but if

01:09:40   you do it with our system, we've taken care of all that. We've done it kind of like, quote,

01:09:44   the right way in a way that, you know, everyone else is doing it the easy way or the cheap

01:09:48   way. This is the Apple way. We're going to do it the best way. And that would be very

01:09:53   interesting to see where they could go with that because they have devices that are capable

01:09:57   of this and they have kind of a history and a pedigree of going down that road. And the

01:10:01   the results are great.

01:10:02   When they did image indexing on the iPhone,

01:10:07   initially they were doing it in a way

01:10:08   that was totally different than everyone else

01:10:10   because everyone else was doing it in the server

01:10:12   and kind of doing it using,

01:10:14   they're building models based on user images.

01:10:17   Apple went the other way

01:10:18   and they did it completely on device

01:10:19   and both their own kind of internal image sets

01:10:22   and training models.

01:10:24   But the result is amazing.

01:10:25   And the stuff that iOS 16 can do,

01:10:28   where if you ask it, show me pictures of the beach,

01:10:32   and it'll show you all the pictures

01:10:34   where you were at the beach,

01:10:34   and you can ask it very sophisticated, nuanced questions,

01:10:38   and it will be able to answer you

01:10:40   in terms of what is the content of my images,

01:10:41   is there text in the image?

01:10:43   You can select it and search it,

01:10:45   and that kind of stuff is just where they're doing,

01:10:48   they've done this in a very different way,

01:10:50   and it's been very impressive.

01:10:52   And so I think it's very exciting for them,

01:10:55   for me to imagine that that's how they see themselves

01:10:57   and it's something that they care about enough

01:10:59   that they're putting in their own version of it,

01:11:02   that they're not sort of worried about not being first,

01:11:05   they'd rather be best.

01:11:08   And I think that's a great place

01:11:10   for Frabel to find themselves.

01:11:11   'Cause if the general, the incredible growth

01:11:15   in AI systems recently in the public sphere,

01:11:18   it's like makes me very curious and intrigued to see

01:11:20   where they're gonna be on their internal side,

01:11:24   coming at it from a potentially more rigorous approach.

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01:11:55   On last week's episode, me, Jason and I played a game of Marvel Snap together.

01:12:00   In the show notes for the Upgrade Plus version, there is a video recording of the game with

01:12:05   our audio over the top.

01:12:07   In this week's episode, I have a ton of ask_questions that came in.

01:12:11   We're going to do a bunch in a moment, but we have tons more that were submitted by Relay

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01:12:24   Are you ready for some Ask_Questions?

01:12:27   (imitates laser noises)

01:12:29   Beautiful, look at that.

01:12:31   The lasers, they're still here.

01:12:33   First question comes from Joe, who wants to know,

01:12:36   what additions or improvements

01:12:38   are you hoping for WidgetKit this year?

01:12:41   - Yeah, so I think the main thing that I feel like

01:12:44   I would love to see WidgetKit get in, you know,

01:12:47   I was 17, is a broadening of what lock screen widgets are.

01:12:52   widgets are. I feel like they were really interesting, really. They're a very cool,

01:12:59   compelling, popular feature. But what they can be and how they look is so limited and

01:13:05   so often limited in weird ways. That it's kind of frustrating for me as someone who

01:13:10   spends a lot of time trying to make widgets awesome. Like there's only so far I feel like

01:13:14   I can make lock screen widgets awesome because there's no color layout options are really

01:13:18   limited, the size options are very limited. You have a giant lock screen, but you can

01:13:22   only put them in these very specific places. And the one above your lock screen has almost

01:13:27   no customization options whatsoever. Like it feels really limited. And so I think I

01:13:32   would be very excited if widget kit got more options there that if we could do color widgets

01:13:37   on your lock screen, you can, or there's a new, you know, different sizes, or even you

01:13:43   could take your home screen widgets and put them on your lock screen or, you know, crazy

01:13:47   things like that would be wonderful, and I think very exciting to kind of push that forward.

01:13:52   And especially now that we know kind of what it looks like with the always on and some

01:13:58   of the other concerns and things that I could imagine if you know going came into play with

01:14:02   lock screen widgets this year where, you know, they were announced before the always on display

01:14:07   was announced. And so there are certain things in there that are kind of inherent and challenging

01:14:12   and they have potentially evolved what they think of with the always on lock screen where

01:14:16   Initially, it always had the image in it.

01:14:19   Now it has the image, or you can go to a black wallpaper

01:14:23   when you're in Always On.

01:14:24   And I feel like those evolutions and refinements

01:14:27   mean that there's a bigger possibility

01:14:30   for what lock screen widgets could be.

01:14:32   And I think that's where I'd be most excited.

01:14:34   I mean, if there were any changes to widgets anytime,

01:14:36   I'm always excited.

01:14:37   Like I'm super up for taking on whatever Apple

01:14:40   wants to give me on widgets.

01:14:41   But that's the area that I feel like home screen widgets

01:14:44   feel pretty good.

01:14:45   They feel pretty robust and I don't have nearly as long

01:14:48   of a kind of wish list on them

01:14:51   than I do with lock screen widgets right now.

01:14:53   - Do you think we're ever gonna get interactivity

01:14:56   on home screen widgets?

01:14:57   - I don't know.

01:15:00   I think what's strange about that is I,

01:15:02   as someone who has a lot of users

01:15:06   who interact with widgets on a very regular basis,

01:15:10   I don't hear a lot about requests for interactivity.

01:15:13   - They're not asking you, right?

01:15:14   like can't I do this, can't I do that kind of thing.

01:15:17   - Yeah, it doesn't come up in the way

01:15:20   that I would have expected it to,

01:15:23   in a way that I think people are pretty happy

01:15:25   with them not being interactive.

01:15:27   Obviously, if they became interactive,

01:15:28   people would be happy

01:15:29   and you'd have new things that are possible.

01:15:32   I think the things that I hear more

01:15:35   are people wish they could be updated

01:15:37   in ways that were more live and real time,

01:15:41   or like being able to show animations or videos

01:15:45   or those kinds of things on the lock screen

01:15:48   or on the home screen would be compelling.

01:15:51   But being able to interact with it,

01:15:52   like putting buttons there just hasn't been something

01:15:55   that I sort of hear about as much.

01:15:58   And it's something that, sure, it'd be cool if it happened,

01:16:01   but I'm not, I think the way they went about it

01:16:06   makes a ton of sense technically

01:16:08   that it's this very predictable thing

01:16:10   that you can put on your locks,

01:16:12   if you're gonna put it on the home screen,

01:16:13   it needs to be kind of bulletproof

01:16:15   because if the home screen,

01:16:18   you do something weird as a developer

01:16:19   and it like crashes your home screen,

01:16:21   well, that's like your phone is in trouble

01:16:23   in a way that if you do something weird in your app,

01:16:26   your app quits, well, you're just back to your home screen.

01:16:28   Like the home screen has to be bulletproof

01:16:30   and I feel like the way that they've done it

01:16:33   by making them pre-rendered and stable

01:16:36   is a way of making that like guaranteed.

01:16:39   And so I don't expect that necessarily,

01:16:41   like sure, if it would be cool,

01:16:42   but I don't hear a lot of requests for it.

01:16:44   And it's not something that I feel like is as compelling

01:16:48   as it's like conceptually, it would be compelling.

01:16:50   But in practice, even back in the day

01:16:52   when we had interactive widgets

01:16:54   with the old today style widgets,

01:16:56   like it wasn't, I don't think that the interactivity

01:17:00   was the killer feature.

01:17:01   I think the putting that information in a place

01:17:04   that is accessible and then making it,

01:17:07   you know, customizable by the user is what's cool,

01:17:10   rather than necessarily being able,

01:17:12   if you want to interact, interact with the app,

01:17:15   tap on the app and you can get into that.

01:17:17   And I think some of the changes they've made with that

01:17:20   about being able to launch into other apps

01:17:23   and those kind of features have made it really compelling.

01:17:26   So like, sure if it happened,

01:17:28   but that's not something that's really on my sort of

01:17:30   to-do list or my radar.

01:17:32   - Yeah, I would say personally, I have not missed,

01:17:36   I don't particularly feel like I need interactivity

01:17:39   in my widgets.

01:17:40   I kind of see my widgets more as like little windows

01:17:43   into the app.

01:17:43   Like if I want to do something, I'll open the app,

01:17:46   do the thing.

01:17:47   But other than that, it's just here's some information.

01:17:50   I don't feel like it's something that I'm really that,

01:17:54   that I really miss as much as I thought I would

01:17:57   when it seemed like that was the way

01:17:59   that it was gonna change, how widgets were gonna be.

01:18:02   Rob asks, how do you balance the many apps

01:18:05   your portfolio. I've been happily using Podometer++ and related apps for years. When

01:18:11   Widgetsmith became a breakout here, I was happy for you, but worried that the support

01:18:15   for other apps that I use would drop to a minimal. I have been very happy to be very

01:18:20   wrong about that, but I don't understand why. Is it for diversification in your business?

01:18:26   I mean, I would say since things like Widgetsmith becoming wildly successful and popular when

01:18:34   at first had its moment when it went viral on TikTok. Like, I am less diversified and

01:18:40   less broad in my approach as a result of that. That I think I'm glad if people think that

01:18:47   the other apps are still getting attention and it feels that way to them, because they're

01:18:53   getting some attention, but not nearly as much. And I think this is just the reality

01:18:59   of working on a portfolio of things makes sense. I give products the attention that

01:19:08   they can pay for. Like if they were a consulting client, like back in the day before I made

01:19:13   apps, I was a consultant, and clients would buy a certain amount of my time and pay me

01:19:21   for it directly. And in some ways, I view my apps in a similar vein, just with a slightly

01:19:27   different perspective where, you know, Widget Smith is by far has the broadest audience

01:19:32   that I have and has the most potential for me to do things. And so I spend the most time

01:19:37   on it. Like it sort of it buys that time for me and, you know, pedometer plus plus is gets

01:19:42   the next biggest chunk of that. And then, you know, my other apps from there kind of

01:19:46   falls off very dramatically that beyond that apps that I'm working on, I'm either I'm primarily

01:19:51   working on because they're exciting to me, like I'm, they're more of a hobby or something

01:19:56   that I enjoy working on or I have a personal reason to work on them rather than it being

01:20:02   like a business decision. And I think that's an evolution of the way that I work. Like

01:20:07   when I started and certainly I've been doing this for 14 years or something. I've been

01:20:12   making apps now. And so in the early days of the App Store, the like the best way to

01:20:17   make, you know, sort of to try and make it was to build lots and lots of different things.

01:20:22   And that was because not a lot existed. You know, there were no apps in the App Store.

01:20:26   So anytime you made something, it was new and interesting

01:20:29   and pushed something out,

01:20:29   whereas now those opportunities I find

01:20:32   are much fewer and far between,

01:20:34   and there's a much better return on enhancing

01:20:38   and going deeper into things

01:20:39   that have already found traction,

01:20:41   that trying to get traction is so difficult

01:20:44   that it's better to just sort of double down on things.

01:20:47   And so I just kind of balance them by,

01:20:49   based on their general popularity,

01:20:51   and then when I have periods of,

01:20:54   there's inevitably in the Apple developer cycle,

01:20:57   there are gonna be kind of these quiet periods where,

01:21:00   there's not much that Apple is doing right now

01:21:02   in terms of new stuff versus from June to September.

01:21:05   So June to September, like WidgetSmith was my primary focus

01:21:08   and I was doing everything I could to have

01:21:11   the most compelling thing day one for that.

01:21:14   Some of my other apps, not so much.

01:21:15   If they got an update, that's great,

01:21:17   but if they didn't, it was fine.

01:21:18   And so I think there's just a maturity

01:21:20   that you kind of have to have to be realistic

01:21:22   and understand that sometimes it's gonna disappoint people

01:21:26   who care about one of the less popular products

01:21:29   are just gonna be kind of, you know,

01:21:30   it's like if you're a big fan of the,

01:21:33   you know, whatever, the Mac Pro,

01:21:35   and you're gonna get sad that Apple puts all their attention

01:21:37   on the MacBook Air, but that's just the reality.

01:21:40   That's just what makes sense.

01:21:41   And it's, you know, all those same forces are magnified,

01:21:44   you know, a thousand-fold when it's just

01:21:45   a one-person developer trying to make those kind of

01:21:48   decisions about how to best allocate your time.

01:21:51   Oz asks, "Where do you predict the Apple Watch could go in the next few years? Do you

01:21:57   think we're getting close to third-party watch faces, or is this still a pipe dream?"

01:22:00   Oh, boy. Third-party watch faces. I mean, third-party watch faces are like my—that's

01:22:10   my dream feature. That is the thing that I enjoy making them. I make them now. That doesn't

01:22:17   exist as a thing that Apple has created. There is no third party API for watch faces, but

01:22:23   I have found ways for years now of making my own. And you and I have met up in person

01:22:30   and if you look at my wrist, I'm very rarely running a Apple watch face because I like

01:22:36   my own better. I've come up with dozens of these over the years. I think they're super

01:22:41   compelling and interesting, but that's just not been a place that Apple has kind of decided

01:22:47   to put effort into. And I don't -- at this point, it is certainly a conscious choice.

01:22:52   There's nothing technically why they couldn't. I mean, I'm making apps that pretend to be

01:22:56   watch faces and running them in kind of a way that doesn't make a lot of sense and isn't

01:23:00   necessarily the most battery efficient. Like, if they wanted to, they could do this so much

01:23:04   better. But it seems to be a conscious choice that they have not done. And I think what

01:23:09   What is complicated there is the future of the Apple Watch is whether that is they're

01:23:13   holding it back for a kind of using it.

01:23:18   You have this trump card in the back that they're trying to play at the right moment

01:23:22   where they can get a big impact or they have a quiet year that they want to, you know,

01:23:27   turn into something big.

01:23:28   And if that's the case, like this year would be really cool.

01:23:31   It's the 10th anniversary of, you know, watch us.

01:23:33   It'll be watching us 10 like be a great time to have a big splashy feature.

01:23:37   But like otherwise, if I was trying to predict the future of the Apple Watch, I would say,

01:23:43   you know, history shows us that every year, what they'll do is they'll add a couple of

01:23:48   new workout modes and a couple of new kind of workout fitness related things.

01:23:53   You know, it's every year there's something new that they're doing there.

01:23:57   There'll be some new capability on the new hardware that is an improvement, kind of an

01:24:02   evolution of what's happening there.

01:24:06   And they'll add two or three new watch faces of their own.

01:24:10   And it's like, if I was going to like place a bet on what watchOS 10 and the series nine

01:24:15   watch was going to look like, that's what I would predict.

01:24:19   Like, I think that's the most likely scenario.

01:24:23   I think the only thing kind of pulling it slightly differently this year that if I'm

01:24:27   going to try and do a little wish casting is this year, you know, last year, they dropped

01:24:33   support for the Series 3 Apple Watch, but that was the first year that they did that.

01:24:39   And I'm curious to see what a full year of being unencumbered by the Series 3 looks like

01:24:46   for WatchOS.

01:24:47   I think that's interesting to me that they'll still have-- I don't know at what point they

01:24:52   decided they were going to drop the Series 3.

01:24:54   Like if that was something they knew going into all of WatchOS 9, then maybe it doesn't

01:24:59   actually make a difference.

01:25:00   But if they didn't know that until January of last year, and so there were some choices

01:25:08   they couldn't make because it would have had to support the Series 3, that would be interesting

01:25:13   and compelling and intriguing to see what happens.

01:25:16   And similarly, what's going to happen with the Ultra, which is this very different model

01:25:21   to it, is this a device that's going to be supported and upgraded regularly, or is it

01:25:26   just kind of be this thing that happened once and you know will get updated every few years

01:25:31   and from a system software perspective doesn't get much so it's hard to say but I mean third

01:25:37   party watch faces I'm so there for that like I will be shouting as the top of my lungs

01:25:41   and jumping up and down if that ever happens at WWDC.

01:25:44   Maybe definitely be a new watch Smith there I feel like if that was the case I I am intrigued

01:25:51   by the idea of there could be something that they are able to do now or a set of things

01:25:59   they're able to do now because they can rely more on the hardware and what the hardware

01:26:05   is capable of.

01:26:06   Because series 3 to series 4 was a big jump, right?

01:26:10   The series 4 watches, they have remained kind of like better over the long term than the

01:26:18   series 3 and I guess they also stopped selling the series 4 and the series 3, they just kept

01:26:23   selling it, which is just dragging everything back.

01:26:28   And Jonathan asks, when you want to implement a feature in an app but you don't know how,

01:26:34   what is the process that you work towards building something into your app?

01:26:38   Do you start with documentation, tutorials or example projects?

01:26:42   And what do you do if there aren't a lot of resources?

01:26:45   So what is your learning process like?

01:26:48   How do you understand new things?

01:26:52   And how do you kind of test putting them into your applications?

01:26:56   >> So I think everyone has a different approach to learning.

01:26:59   And mine tends to be very experimental and kind of -- I very much am on the side of rapid

01:27:08   prototyping, get something working, build it as quick as you can.

01:27:13   And that's the best way for me to learn.

01:27:15   that I don't really read a lot of documentation. I think the only bit of Apple documentation

01:27:20   that I would actually could say that I've read is probably the human interface guidelines.

01:27:25   Like the technical documents that sometimes get produced or like the Swift language guide

01:27:30   and things like that. Like I just can't do it. Like those hurt my brain. I'm not that

01:27:36   kind of developer. And tutorials, I have a similar kind of difficulty. Like I struggle

01:27:42   just wrapping my head around something unless I can see it and use it and I'm in Xcode doing

01:27:48   that. And so if there's a new feature I want to build, I just start, I suppose like I just

01:27:54   will think, okay, well, what is like a basic version of this? Or how can I probably first

01:27:59   step is, is this a problem that I can solve at once? Or do I need to break it into five

01:28:03   smaller problems, and then I break it down into five smaller problems, and try and pick,

01:28:07   pick the first one and just try and build it. And if I don't know how to do it, I'll

01:28:11   tend to just either experimentally do it

01:28:14   or just do a lot of Google searching

01:28:16   and kind of looking around or those kinds of things.

01:28:21   Because usually there is, most things tend to have,

01:28:25   they're not, you're not the first person to solve a problem.

01:28:27   Even if it's a new technology, a new platform,

01:28:30   there are rules or things that you can benefit from

01:28:33   where you can kind of be taking your past experiences

01:28:36   and bringing it forward.

01:28:37   Or I try and say like this new thing,

01:28:39   how is this similar to something else that I've done before?

01:28:43   And in my case, I've been making apps for 14 years now.

01:28:48   I've launched something like 60 different apps

01:28:51   over that time.

01:28:52   Like I got a lot of back,

01:28:54   I got a lot of code in the catalog that I can go

01:28:56   and look at and pull from and kind of learn

01:29:00   to see if I can take this thing and adapt it

01:29:02   into the new thing, which isn't necessarily the best always

01:29:05   in terms of I'm not doing these kind of clean room,

01:29:07   "Oh, Apple introduced this totally new technology.

01:29:10   Let me just implement it in a totally new way."

01:29:13   It's like very often I'll end up saying,

01:29:15   "Is there an old ver-- can I use this old version

01:29:18   and make it better and then refine it

01:29:20   and move it forward going from there?"

01:29:23   But, like, for me, that's what works best.

01:29:25   And I feel like for a lot of --

01:29:27   My best advice usually to someone

01:29:28   who's trying to get into app development

01:29:30   or wanting to learn something is find a problem

01:29:32   that you feel like you are excited

01:29:34   and passionate about solving

01:29:36   and then just start trying to solve it.

01:29:38   And that is the best way to learn,

01:29:40   that trying to learn it theoretically never works for me.

01:29:45   There's something powerful about,

01:29:47   like the most exciting part of my job

01:29:50   is when I hit build and run,

01:29:51   and then something that didn't exist before now exists.

01:29:54   Like this capability, this feature, whatever that is,

01:29:57   like there was a magic in kind of taking this thing

01:30:00   that is theoretical in your brain

01:30:02   and turning it into reality.

01:30:04   that is like actual feels like magic. Like it is. It just, you know, it's turning something from

01:30:09   nothing into something. And so I just go through that process and try and do as many times as I can.

01:30:16   How can I make this from something that doesn't exist into something that does exist and get

01:30:19   started? And if you do that enough, you start to get good. You kind of learn how to learn,

01:30:24   through through that process. And I feel like if you get too stuck in documentation or feel

01:30:30   like you have to understand something before you try it, you'll hardly ever start. And that's,

01:30:35   you know, definitely worse. Thank you to everybody who sent in a question for Under School. If you

01:30:39   would like to send in questions for our next episode where you will be asking things of Casey

01:30:43   Liss, just go to... I don't know why that made me laugh to say that, but yeah, if you want to make

01:30:50   Casey answer for his crimes, go to upgradefeedback.com and you can submit questions for me

01:30:57   me to ask Casey on the next episode.

01:31:00   But most importantly right now,

01:31:02   I would like to thank you,

01:31:03   underscore David Smith, for joining me on this episode.

01:31:06   It has been wonderful and fascinating to talk to you as always.

01:31:09   >> It's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for having me.

01:31:12   >> If you would like to find David's work in the meantime,

01:31:14   here's a few places you can go.

01:31:15   If you want to find his blog,

01:31:17   David does a great job by the way of you're going through,

01:31:19   I know some Perometer++ stuff right now,

01:31:22   and you've been detailing a lot of

01:31:23   the design diary that you've been going through.

01:31:26   >> Yeah.

01:31:26   You can find out more about that and find out about David's apps at David-Smith.org.

01:31:34   That is an interesting URL you've got there.

01:31:36   .org as well?

01:31:38   Well, David Smith's a hard... it's a very popular name.

01:31:41   Can't you get like underscore something? Surely you must have one.

01:31:45   I do have underscore David Smith dot com like spelled out, but then you have the problem of like

01:31:51   you can't use underscores in URLs and so...

01:31:54   David - Smith org works have to do what you just didn't say spelled out which is that's no good

01:32:00   Yeah, all right, David - or David - that's the word I was looking for Smith dot org

01:32:05   So you can find out more there or just if you google David Smith what happens?

01:32:10   Do you think I think if you do David Smith app, I would be the top result, but David Smith

01:32:16   There's a famous sculptor who was also called David Smith. So he's usually the number one hit. I mean, I just got

01:32:23   The number one hit is a British Embassy security guard convicted of spying for Russia who's gonna spend 13 years in prison.

01:32:29   Not me.

01:32:30   Are you sure? That was three days ago. So Google is is

01:32:34   full of this right now. So your Google juice is not good right now. Your SEO is bad.

01:32:41   Search for Widget Smith, search for penomena plus plus. Those are trademarked names that are gonna be much more unique.

01:32:46   There you go. And Widget Smith, you know,

01:32:49   Everybody knows it right? Yeah, it's not using it. Come on

01:32:52   You can also listen to David's podcast here under the radar on relay FM and David is underscore David Smith

01:32:58   You're a mastodon social right? I am. Yes, great

01:33:01   You can listen to my shows

01:33:03   Of course here in relay FM check out my work a cortex brand and I am I Myke on Myke dot social

01:33:08   You can send us your feedback and your questions to upgrade feedback calm

01:33:13   Thank you to our members who support us with upgrade plus

01:33:16   We really appreciate that.

01:33:18   And thank you to Squarespace and TextExpander for their support of this week's episode.

01:33:23   I'll be back next time. Until then, thank you for listening.

01:33:27   Thank you to David Smith. Say goodbye, David.

01:33:29   Goodbye.

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