The Talk Show

337: ‘See Me After Class’, With Jason Snell


00:00:00   You're a bad influence, Jason Snell.

00:00:02   I am. I have sent you down so many rabbit holes and sent you after so many wild gooses.

00:00:08   You've cost me a fortune in keyboards, most of which I don't use.

00:00:12   Yeah, it's a little same.

00:00:14   You know, I was looking at the—speaking of keyboards, I have the Keychron K2 from a couple

00:00:23   years ago, and apparently there's a new K2, but you would think this is what gets me about these

00:00:28   damn keyboard companies. You would think if the name of your product is the Keychron, that's the

00:00:33   company, the K2, that's a fine name for a keyboard, whatever. But you would think if you update it,

00:00:41   it would become the K3 or the L2 or something. You know, upgrade the letter, upgrade the number,

00:00:47   but apparently there's a new K2, which you just have to know.

00:00:51   Because there's also a K3 and a K4, like they're all the different sizes is what they do.

00:00:54   I guess, right.

00:00:55   Yeah.

00:00:56   It's a size thing, not a model thing anyway. There's a Q2.

00:01:00   I do, I have the Q1 here. That is what I'm using right now. Mike Hurley made it for me on his

00:01:07   livestreams that he does where he does keyboard stuff. Because I got him into it a little bit,

00:01:12   and he just went down the rabbit hole to the point where it's literally his hobby now.

00:01:15   But he made this for me and sent it to me, so I've got a new keyboard today that's pretty—it's

00:01:21   very weighty. They carved it out of aluminum, and it feels solid. I'm impressed by that.

00:01:26   So I was looking at the Q2, and I thought, "Well, I don't want it because it's not Bluetooth. And

00:01:31   if I'm going to have a wire, I'm just going to use my Apple Extended Keyboard 2."

00:01:35   But I showed it to my son, Jonas, and he's become a mechanical keyboard aficionado.

00:01:41   And not through my encouragement. If anything, I would have encouraged him to get into programming

00:01:47   or something actually useful, not something expensive. Yeah, expensive and just uses a lot

00:01:53   of plastic. Right. But spent his own Christmas money to get one and to add to his keyboard

00:02:01   collection. And in addition, also bought a set of different switches. This is how into it he is.

00:02:09   So not just swapping out the keycaps, but swapping out the switches for some kind of—I think it's an

00:02:17   optical switch. I actually should have written it down, but I don't know. Yeah, the Q series from

00:02:21   Keychron, my understanding, talking to Mike especially, is that it's like a commercialized

00:02:28   version of what the hobbyists have been doing. So it's not as fancy as the hobbyist keyboards,

00:02:32   but it's more fancy than the K line. And so their idea is they're using their ability to mass

00:02:38   produce to kind of like maybe be a starter keyboard for people who are interested in

00:02:44   swapping switches and stuff like that. It's an interesting idea that the economics of the

00:02:49   keyboard market—actually, talking to Mike about how oftentimes you get in these group buys where

00:02:54   you're waiting for your keyboard or your keycaps for like six months or a year or a year and a half,

00:02:58   I think if you're Keychron and you're like, "Well, what if we could make something that's

00:03:01   kind of like that and have it in stock?" Like people could get it right now. And I think

00:03:07   that's their game there. But I do have one now. So yeah, it worked. And the big difference,

00:03:13   the nice big difference—I'll just before we move on and get off the subject—but

00:03:16   the Q2 has an aluminum base or some kind of metal base, and it makes all the difference in the world.

00:03:24   It's like you think like it's all about the switches, but it really is a—it's no wonder

00:03:31   that at one point in the company's history, Apple made absolutely wonderful mechanical keyboards.

00:03:36   And when they get it all together—now, even though they don't make mechanical keyboards

00:03:40   and haven't for decades—when they get their magic keyboards right, they are good keyboards.

00:03:46   It's a holistic whole, you know, the base and the weight and how the—I don't know what you call it,

00:03:53   the thing under—it's where the switches plug in, but if it gives a little, it gives everything a

00:03:58   better feel. And the Q2 is a wonderful-feeling keyboard. It really is. I mean, I think it's like

00:04:04   160 bucks, so it should, but... Yeah, yeah, they're good. And then you could do stuff to them. That's

00:04:09   the thing. What Mike did is he like taped the back of the board and put in some filler, like

00:04:17   insulation, basically, to do some sound dampening. And then I tried it, and I thought it was a little

00:04:22   weird, and he said, "Well, let's take out some of the—" He walked me through opening it back up,

00:04:26   and we took out some of the insulation, and then I was like, "Oh, this sounds better now." And he's

00:04:29   like, "That's what you want is, you know, you can make all these adjustments to make it more resonant

00:04:34   or less resonant or whatever." So it's a rabbit hole people can go down. I was talking about this

00:04:40   on a walk with my wife the other day. We were walking the dog, and I said, "I care. I feel like

00:04:48   I'm the person who uses it for their job and so is interested. If you're a woodworker, you've got

00:04:55   tools that you care about more than the average person, whatever those tools might be, or think

00:05:01   of any profession. You've got tools that you care about more than the average person because you do

00:05:04   this for your living. But then there's the person who collects those tools, and that is a level that

00:05:09   I'm not interested in going into. So I care way more than the average person does about keyboards,

00:05:15   but I have not fallen down that rabbit hole that Mike fell down, and he's having a good time. So

00:05:20   it's great. It's just it doesn't interest me to get into that level of detail. I just want some

00:05:23   pretty keys, and I want my keys to sound good and look good, and that's all."

00:05:27   Yeah. You know, there is something there, you know, if you like the way your keyboard feels

00:05:32   and you're supposed to be pressing keys, you know, whatever your job is, writer, programmer,

00:05:37   whatever it is that you do, if it involves you pressing keys on a computer keyboard,

00:05:42   if they feel fun to press, it makes you want to get to work to some degree, right?

00:05:46   It's like a little gentle nudge of, "Hey, get to work."

00:05:50   That's why I have not a lot of patience for people who are like, "Oh, you guys talking about your

00:05:55   fiddly keyboards and all that?" It's like, well, it is literally how I make my living. I mean,

00:05:59   I guess microphones too. I have to worry about that. You and I both now have to worry about

00:06:03   microphones and things, but like keyboard, it's part of our identity and part of our profession,

00:06:08   and so it does matter to a certain degree. And you can, I don't want to say overdo it,

00:06:13   but like you can totally obsess over it, and if you do that and it's fun for you, then great. But

00:06:18   it does on a level matter. I get more pleasure out of using a good tool to do my job,

00:06:25   and it makes a difference. I am more productive. And I know you talk about the Apple extended

00:06:30   keyboards that you've got, and you're going back to an old, old, old keyboard, but the point still

00:06:38   stands, which is it is the tool that you want to use. That's it. The other thing, it is funny,

00:06:44   though, as somebody, I keep saying we're going to move on, but it's funny because there was this

00:06:50   decade-plus long period where it's not like mechanical keyboards ever disappeared from

00:06:56   the market, but they were really obscure for a while. Like, it was like... The factory stopped

00:07:02   making, like, in that interregnum, like, Matias was one of the only companies that was really like

00:07:07   marketing mechanical keyboards for a long time, and they had the Alps switches that were like the

00:07:12   classic Mac switches, and they couldn't get them anymore because the factory shut down, and they're

00:07:20   like, "We don't..." And they ended up building their own switches, but there was like a year

00:07:23   where you couldn't buy their keyboards because they were like, "We can't. We can't make them."

00:07:27   And I think on the IBM keyboard front, people were making those buckling spring switches still too,

00:07:32   and like Rich Siegel, who writes BB Edit, that's his baby. That's what he does, is the buckling

00:07:38   spring thing, I believe, and he's a believer in that, and he's always been able to get those.

00:07:42   But you're right, there was this period where it was really thin, and I think it's because

00:07:47   a lot of those factories were just shutting down because nobody wanted those switches anymore,

00:07:51   and now there's been this renaissance where suddenly, "Oh, there is actually a market for fancy

00:07:55   gamers, but also kind of, you know, hipsters who are driving it."

00:08:01   Tom: I remember I had an internship in college, '96 or so, '95, '96, at a Windows software developer

00:08:08   here in Fillion. One of the engineers was a buckling spring fan. I think that's the M,

00:08:15   I forget what the official name was, but he had, you know, he was to those IBM buckling spring

00:08:21   keyboards what I am to the extended keyboard too. Like, he kept two of them in his office at work,

00:08:26   had more at home. But...

00:08:28   Nat: But what if something happens?

00:08:31   Tom; Right. And he happened to be, like, the 10X engineer, and was particularly good at fixing bugs.

00:08:38   So, like, as we got near, like, a shipping thing, like, you just hear his office, you know. But it

00:08:43   was satisfying. You know, some people might be annoyed by that, but it was a nice, you know,

00:08:47   mid-'90s pre-cubicle farm everywhere. Everybody, including me, the intern, had an office. My office

00:08:54   was more like a closet, but I had a door, which felt, you know, very luxurious as a college

00:08:59   intern. But, like, hearing the noise coming out of his office, it was like, "Oh, he's fixing bugs."

00:09:04   Nat; Yeah, whatever those key presses are, they're good. That's good stuff.

00:09:08   Tom; Anyway, your bad influence on me now is that you've opened the door to

00:09:12   a thing that I didn't know existed, which is a way to run old, very old Macs using

00:09:19   an SD card to load everything.

00:09:22   Nat; Yeah, I fell down this route. So, Kieran Healy, who you may know, he's been on...

00:09:28   Tom; Yes.

00:09:28   Nat; And he's a professor...

00:09:30   Tom; At Duke.

00:09:31   Nat; At Duke, yeah. And he has an SE-30 in his office with a style writer, and it runs, and it

00:09:39   runs everything. And very impressive. And I've got a bunch of old Macs here, and I kept thinking,

00:09:46   "I've got to, like, I've got to do something with this. I want to run, like, I've got a

00:09:51   Power Mac G4 that will run OS 9 and then many early versions of OS 10, and I like having that

00:09:56   around. But I've got my wife's college computer, which was an original Mac upgraded to a plus

00:10:02   internally, and it's still sitting here. And the hard drive died, but the Mac still boots,

00:10:08   or at least it turns on and then asks for a floppy drive. And I have no 400K floppies laying around,

00:10:14   as it turns out. But there are, bless them, there are hobbyists, again, people who love this stuff,

00:10:21   who have essentially are using, like, Raspberry Pis and things like that, like, lots of really

00:10:26   modern, cool technology to build custom bridges to the old software. So the one I'm using is called

00:10:34   a floppy EMU, or M-U, probably, but it's spelled like EMU. And there's one, there are a couple of

00:10:40   them that do SCSI as well for somewhat more recent Macs than the earliest Macs. And they basically,

00:10:49   you put them together, you can have the fun version that you solder, or you can order one

00:10:53   pre-made, and you attach it to the back of an old Mac and you put in an SD card. And in fact,

00:10:59   this one, it's got a little screen and some buttons, so you actually click through on the

00:11:03   screen. This thing has more power than the Mac does, right? It probably has more pixels.

00:11:07   >> But it's not even close. I was gonna say it's a way more powerful computer.

00:11:12   >> But you can click through and pick which disk image you want, and you're like, okay, system

00:11:16   two, 400K disk image, and the question mark suddenly turns into a happy Mac, and in you are,

00:11:23   and you're running that version, and then you shut down and it comes back up on the little screen,

00:11:29   and you can pick a different disk. And since, given the firmware of my wife's particular

00:11:34   computer, I actually was able to boot it into HD 20 mode, which was Apple's 20 megabyte hard drive

00:11:41   of the era. And you can load that up with all sorts of software. And on the Mac side,

00:11:47   to load it up with software, like I got an SD card with some software already on it, but

00:11:53   it's all available on the internet, and there's a Mac emulator, a classic Mac emulator, that will

00:12:00   read those disk images and let you basically drag and drop stuff into it. And so my wife's first

00:12:06   message to me when I showed her this, I texted her at work, she said, "Well, but does it run Tetris?"

00:12:12   I didn't have Tetris on the disk image, so I had to go download Tetris and put it on, and then I sent

00:12:17   her a video of me playing Tetris with that original Mac, which is, it's great. So yeah,

00:12:22   it's just amazing that modern technology is so advanced now that all this stuff that was kind

00:12:27   of like so old that it was out of reach, like 400K floppies. Now it's like, yeah, you don't

00:12:32   really need a 400K floppy anymore. You just put an SD card on there that's got thousands of disks on

00:12:37   it if you wanted to. It's sort of like the end of, I actually haven't seen it in quite a long time,

00:12:43   but it's vaguely how I remember the end of Steven Spielberg's AI, where in the future, it's like the

00:12:50   robots we've created, they just exist to keep us going. And they're way more advanced than we ever

00:12:55   were, but they're just there to keep the world going. Yeah, and sort of like looking at this

00:13:01   lost robot as like, well, you know, we can do some emulation and keep them running and all that.

00:13:06   I love the ingenuity of it to take this old stuff and give it new life. And, you know, it's just

00:13:11   like video game emulators and all that. The idea that you have literally every, you can get a

00:13:15   Raspberry Pi with an SD card on it that has literally every video game ever made for a

00:13:19   platform and for multiple platforms. And it's all just in this little tiny box. Well, the Mac,

00:13:25   you can do that. The biggest problem I'm having right now is that Apple over the years has made

00:13:28   so many non-standard video out ports that I'm struggling finding ways to convert this so that

00:13:34   I can have these Macs that don't have their built-in display actually go on a screen somewhere.

00:13:40   So that's, it's like when I was doing the Apple II thing a few years ago, trying to get all my old

00:13:45   discs imaged, you know, from high school and stuff. It was, the hardest part was finding a way to do a

00:13:51   composite video out. And that was a standard composite cable, but I did, I no longer had any

00:13:55   non-digital TVs. So it's a similar kind of problem where I'm trying to figure out, can I convert from

00:14:01   for the G4, it's like, can I convert from ADC? You can, you can find converters on eBay. They

00:14:08   cost like 50 bucks. And old Mac video out from like the two CI days, I'm not quite sure what I'm

00:14:14   going to do there. So to get it to VGA or something, I don't know. What do you think

00:14:18   the odds are that 20 years ago, right? You know, maybe probably roughly around when you and I first

00:14:22   met at least online that you, I would have convinced you that in 2022, you'd be talking

00:14:28   on my internet radio show about SCSI in the present tense. Very low. I wouldn't have believed it.

00:14:38   You probably would have guessed it was an emulation thing though. I was shocked that when I bought

00:14:42   this G4 on eBay that it has a SCSI card in it and I'm like, oh, I could actually just plug,

00:14:47   I've had a SCSI drive in my office at Macworld. And then I brought it home when I left Macworld

00:14:51   that somebody sent me, I was talking and I don't remember who it was. I was talking to somebody

00:14:56   about old Macs and, and he said, he said, I have a SCSI drive and I can't connect it to anything.

00:15:01   So I'm going to send it to you. And I'm like, okay. And he said, you can check it out. Just

00:15:05   tell me if there's anything on it. And it has sat for, I don't know, a decade at least. And I,

00:15:10   I finally, last week as I was doing all this kind of moving old Macs around, I attached it to a G4.

00:15:17   And it was empty. It had like just a folder that said, obviously he had erased it. So I was like,

00:15:23   well, whoever you are, don't worry about it. There's nothing on those disks. But, but let

00:15:28   me tell you the sense memory of plugging in a SCSI drive and a Terminator block on the back of

00:15:35   a hard drive. It took me back to the bad, bad, bad old days in the nineties.

00:16:10   just buy new machines with big enough internal drives and get machines working and they'd stay

00:16:14   working. But if you work in like a print shop, you know, you, you wind up seeing a lot more stuff

00:16:19   come in, come and go. And boy, that was, it was, it was bad, but here we are emulating with,

00:16:26   with powerful computers, way more powerful. At some point when the iMac, uh, when some iMac

00:16:32   anniversary was coming up and I, I looked back at our old Mac world coverage of when the iMac came

00:16:36   out and the thing that really blew me away was the article we did about, about USB. And so much of it

00:16:43   was how USB is better than SCSI. And I looked at that and I was like, Oh no, I had, I'd forgotten,

00:16:51   like, you can't plug it in. You got to turn off your computer. If you move anything around

00:16:55   and it's gotta have, they have IDs and you have to have termination. And it was just, it was so bad,

00:17:02   but it was the, you had to do it because that's the only fast way to plug something into a Mac

00:17:07   back before USB happened. You, you, you kind of can't believe it was the way it worked,

00:17:11   even on the Mac that things were so external storage was so difficult that you did anything

00:17:19   wrong, you would turn on your Mac and it would just give you the question mark. And it'd be like,

00:17:23   I have no idea what you did to that SCSI chain, but it's a disaster and I'm not going to deal

00:17:27   with it. And you'd be like, what do I do? And then you'd have to like start unplugging,

00:17:31   turn it back off and start unplugging and replugging and rebooting and shutting down

00:17:35   and rebooting to hope that it would finally work. It was bad. Like SCSI, there are products called

00:17:41   SCSI Voodoo and that's because people called it SCSI Voodoo. The idea that you like,

00:17:46   literally you're just guessing because it could be anything. Well, you'd have two machines side

00:17:51   by side and you'd think that they're set up the same way and the one worked perfectly. And the

00:17:55   other one would boot up with the question mark and you'd be like, I don't get it. I don't even know

00:17:59   what's happening. And they're like, did you check the dip switches? And people were like, as soon as

00:18:05   you started talking to your colleagues about dip switches, you knew it was going to, curse words

00:18:08   were coming next because people would get angry. But the other thing too, I remember from the era

00:18:13   was somebody, there'd always be somebody who would be like, you don't need to turn it off. And they

00:18:19   would have, you know, like they would just plug in their external drive with the Mac on and it would

00:18:24   just work. And it's like, I wouldn't do that. And they'd be like, I've been doing it for months. And

00:18:29   then the drive goes belly up and it's like, yep, told you. Cause it would, you know, but it was,

00:18:36   have you seen Molt's t-shirt that he sells? John Molt's t-shirt with the Terminator logo on it,

00:18:40   but it's a picture of a Scuzzy Terminator. Very, very particular audience for that shirt,

00:18:46   but it makes me laugh. All right. I'll add it to the show notes. Friggin Molt's sells some,

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00:21:05   All right. The report card came out and I love this. I love to talk to you about it.

00:21:13   And I think I say the same thing every year, which is starting with just thank you. I thank you for

00:21:19   organizing this. If you didn't do it, I don't know who else would. I don't know who's better placed

00:21:24   in our little community to ask the people who you ask. And every, you know, it's not like the

00:21:32   same people you've been slowly, I think steadily increasing the number of people you poll, which

00:21:37   increases your work. Right. I invite more people, but

00:21:42   we're down a little bit in total voters, I think this year, but I, I, I am actually resolved for

00:21:47   next year to be a little more systematic about inviting new people. And my mailing list discipline

00:21:52   has been very poor, but I'm hoping to get better at that. Cause I'd like, I definitely would like to

00:21:57   make, you know, I miss people. There are people I invite and then I forget to invite again and stuff.

00:22:02   And I don't want to, I don't want to do that, but quite then the designer suggested the first two

00:22:07   months I was doing six colors. He said, I had this idea and I don't know who would do it. Would you

00:22:11   do it? And I was like, wow, that sounds like a lot of work, but all right, I'll do it. And so

00:22:15   credit to him for coming up with your initial idea. And yeah, it's fun. It's also kind of fun

00:22:21   because there's all these, you know, interesting opinions that everybody has about Apple. And yet

00:22:26   at the same time, I liked, I get to kind of hover above this one and just be like the curator of it.

00:22:31   And I think that's, that's kind of fun. Cause I, I write opinion pieces about Apple all the time,

00:22:35   but it's, it's fun for once to sort of like, literally, it's just like, well, what are they

00:22:39   going to say this year? I have no idea how people are feeling. And that's, I think the value of the

00:22:43   whole survey is more like, I don't think I'm proving anything so much as I'm taking the

00:22:48   temperature of the room. I'm trying to say like, how do people feel this year? And I occasionally

00:22:53   will get email from people who are like, I wish you would let it be an open poll. I wish you would

00:22:57   let the, you know, six colors members vote, all these sorts of things. The truth is I let my

00:23:03   readers vote the first year and their results were almost identical to the panel. And so I haven't

00:23:11   bothered going back yet because I just, I'm not sure it would make much difference. I think that

00:23:15   there is a, I think there is a vibe and I think this captures it and that that's what it's really

00:23:19   all about is sort of like, who's, what are we grumpy about this year? What are we happy about

00:23:22   this year? How has that changed in the last now like seven years? Cause I've got all that data.

00:23:27   Dave Asprey It's always interesting to me where I personally agree with the consensus and usually

00:23:33   like for example, the Mac, let's just say had a great year last year and a great year this year.

00:23:39   And duh, it's very obvious why, because the M1 Apple Silicon Mac started shipping at the end of

00:23:46   2020 and they had a great 2021 with some new Macs and no surprise that they got high scores.

00:23:56   And it also always surprises me though, where I sort of disagree with the consensus or where

00:24:01   the consensus there, there does, you know, there's some areas where there doesn't seem to be a

00:24:04   consensus. We'll get to it. I feel like we can just go by category by category. I also feel

00:24:09   it warms my heart that you put the Mac first. I do feel, I feel you say you hover above it all,

00:24:16   but I do feel like that's a, it's a slight Snellian bit of editorial.

00:24:24   David Yeah. Kay this year. Yeah. I mean, the Mac Mac is first in the survey and first in my heart.

00:24:29   And I decided to put it first this year, Karen Healy aforementioned suggested that I actually

00:24:34   sort my charts from from best to worst, which I think it was a good little sort of at a glance,

00:24:39   you can see sort of like what did best and what did worst, but in the sections, they are in my

00:24:45   order that I have always had them in and the Mac comes first in that. And, and yeah, that's my

00:24:51   little statement. And I will say for people who read it and wonder if there's a relevance to the

00:24:57   order in which people are quoted in the sections. I actually use BB edits, randomized lines feature

00:25:05   to randomize all of those. So you're not getting them like in the order in which they were entered

00:25:10   or something I realized or alphabetical or something like that. Exactly. And then sometimes

00:25:14   I will move blocks of them that are related around, but that mostly didn't happen this time.

00:25:19   There are a couple sections where I felt like there were sort of two kinds of answers

00:25:24   in the Mac section. For example, there's a lot of hooray, Apple Silicon, and then there's the

00:25:28   we're unhappy about the software. And I kind of sorted those together a little bit, but mostly

00:25:32   I just keep that stuff random too, because I realized one year and you could go back and you

00:25:37   could probably figure it out. I think the people are literally listed in the order in which they

00:25:41   took the survey. That's not great. I should probably randomize that somehow. So I do that now.

00:25:46   Why is Gruber last? Yeah, you did it again this year. You were literally the last person

00:25:53   to submit, but it's all fine. And Syracuse is listed first. What's going on with that?

00:25:59   Well, yeah, I don't know if he was first this time, but he's usually right at the top. Yeah,

00:26:03   he does it. And then some people come in late because they write thousands of words about it.

00:26:08   Glenn, our friend Glenn Fleischman previously mentioned he was first this time.

00:26:12   There we go. Well, the Mac was first. Well, also, I just want to say, what the hell does

00:26:17   Kieran Healey know about the presentation of statistical data? But I know, right? He's just

00:26:22   a dilettante. He doesn't have any idea. It is interesting. So I guess that is an interesting

00:26:27   way to look at it is the in order Mac got the highest scores hardware reliability right behind,

00:26:34   as in general hardware across Apple's entire hardware lineup, then iPhone, then wearables,

00:26:42   then iPad. Watch being low is one where I disagree with the consensus, but we can keep going.

00:26:50   Services tied with watch, software quality lower, maybe sort of the trail end of the middle of the

00:26:56   pack. Environmental and social issues, which is nebulous, and I get it that you want to keep going.

00:27:05   And maybe it's good that it's nebulous because it changes. I think since 2015,

00:27:09   when you started this, what people think of with environmental social impact is very different.

00:27:16   It's totally different. And that's sort of that question was meant to be as broad as possible,

00:27:23   because I figured, again, I was going to be able to detect sort of what people were thinking of,

00:27:28   whether it was, I think it was like a lot of factory conditions in China at some point,

00:27:33   but in other times it's been their commitment to green power and recycling their products.

00:27:39   For me, that's the category of Apple likes to talk about how it's a company that is also making the

00:27:45   world a better place. How does everybody feel they're doing? And beyond that, I just kind of

00:27:50   leave it to, it means what you want it to mean. I think that, well, and not to skip ahead, but I

00:27:55   think this year reading the comments, it's clear that a lot of people lumped in Apple employee

00:28:05   satisfaction, working conditions, controversy over work from home and maybe even retail, which

00:28:14   they are Apple employees. Is it a good time to be working retail anywhere? No. I mean, it's

00:28:24   sort of the, hopefully, hopefully the worst time we're ever going to see. And honestly,

00:28:31   and maybe it speaks to, I seldom use this word, but in this way, but it speaks to my privilege

00:28:39   that it really didn't occur to me to think about the controversies over Apple's employee relations

00:28:46   as part of that category, but they don't fit anywhere else. Clearly, if, if as a report card

00:28:52   voter, you would like to make your opinion known on those issues, that would be the category to

00:28:58   do it. And I think that the relatively low score reflects that 3.2. What do you, what's the-

00:29:04   Yeah. And again, it's a, it's like a, it is a Rorschach test. It is what, what you want it to

00:29:12   be. It's like, it's sort of like how you, how are you feeling about Apple as a force for good in the

00:29:16   world? Because that's not normally what you look at for your billion dollar companies. But, but

00:29:21   Apple, I feel like makes it, it's fair to ask because Apple talks about it. And so really,

00:29:27   I'm just saying, what do you think? And, and I think if everybody, if the issues with employment

00:29:35   and people working at Apple comes to the mind of enough people to affect the, that category, then

00:29:40   I guess that says something. Yeah. It's, you know, it's, it's interesting to note. And then the

00:29:45   bottom three, Apple TV, Developer Relations, and then last HomeKit, which overall as a ranking

00:29:53   feels about right. You know, it's, you know, unsurprisingly, it's, it feels like, hey,

00:29:58   the system works. That's a good, good panel. So starting with the Mac, A+ is the grade. This is,

00:30:05   I always get confused by this. How, how do the letter grades map to the scores?

00:30:10   I think I ask you this every year. I made it up. I think you say the same thing every year.

00:30:17   I like the idea of the report card being like a, like a report card and not just a number that

00:30:24   says, oh, it's, it's 4.6 out of five. And so I have a, I have a little, in my numbers spreadsheet,

00:30:31   I actually have a little calculation field that does it. And so 4.6 to five is an A+, 4.3 to 4.5

00:30:37   is an A, 4 to 4.2 is an A-, 3.8 to 3.9 is a B+, and so on. I've got like a little map of, of what

00:30:45   they are. And I figured those out kind of over the first couple of years of the survey. And then since

00:30:52   then, I've just sort of stuck with them. And it's, again, it's shorthand. I wanted to figure out,

00:30:57   like, if you're in the, at least the American school system, like you know what an A is and a B

00:31:03   and a C. And when you get that D+, you're like, that's not so great. Home kit, it's not so good.

00:31:32   you know, video playing app, it's like, well, rate this video, what do you think? And it's like,

00:31:58   the zero to five star thing, or some, some places, some, some systems make you like the lowest score

00:32:05   you can give something is one star, you can't even leave a zero star review. And what does it mean?

00:32:09   Is four stars like a B? Or is it like an A and five stars is like, a plus, you know, like,

00:32:17   I've always thought of, with five stars, that four is very good. It's, it's like all star,

00:32:26   like for, to go back to sports, of course. And that five stars is Hall of Fame. And,

00:32:32   but a lot of people already just talking four to five stars, very different. They think, no, no,

00:32:37   A, B, C, D, E. Yeah, I have, I've had this conversation. Mike Hurley and I talked about

00:32:43   this on our podcast upgrade this week, that he was like, Jason, when will you give anything five? And

00:32:48   it's like, well, I was brought up at Mac user and then at Macworld that a five out of five

00:32:52   should be really rare. And it should be for something that is nothing is flawless,

00:32:56   but something that is, that is extra special. And I have done that. If you look at my,

00:33:02   you know, my letterboxed movie ratings, where it's a five star system or my Goodreads book

00:33:07   reviews, where it's a five star system, I don't give a lot of fives because, but I do give,

00:33:13   you know, threes and fours. And the five is special. It's just really special. The other

00:33:20   thing you have to realize here too, from a statistical perspective is the, it's a, it's

00:33:24   an average of a bunch of people giving one to five ratings. So first off, there's no zero,

00:33:28   it's only one. So one is the floor and a five is the ceiling. And if you've got a 50, 60 people,

00:33:36   like unless they all agree, nothing's going to get five, right? There's always going to be somebody,

00:33:40   even in the best, even in this Mac category, you give something a five, other people give it a

00:33:44   four, the average comes down. And so really there is a ceiling. I consider 4.6, like, wow, I can't

00:33:52   believe so many people gave it a five out of five for it to be that high up. So that's an A+ in my

00:33:57   book. So yeah, my system, I think 3.3, it becomes a C. It's a little bit different because right,

00:34:04   there is no, there is no 1.0. Nobody's going to do a 1.0 average, right? That's impossible in a

00:34:10   survey like this. Right. Now with 53 respondents or however it was. Yeah. And they're all over

00:34:16   the place. So yeah, it's 53 people this year who answered the call. I'm not surprised that the Mac

00:34:22   got an A+. It is, and I think it's a combination of by any objective measure, the Apple Silicon Macs

00:34:29   are just excellent. I think that the only complaint you can reasonably have about them is that they

00:34:36   haven't gotten to all of them yet, right? We're still waiting for the, possibly just for another

00:34:43   month, the pro level Mac mini, the big iMacs, and then probably not until the end of the year, the

00:34:51   Mac Pros and whatever else. And they're, but the ones that are out, which cover at least 80% of

00:34:59   people's needs. I mean, let's, I think they're, they're excellent. They really are. They've fixed

00:35:05   the problems with the keyboards. The displays are great. It amused me that, I don't know if there

00:35:10   were more that you cut out. I think as far as I could tell, I've only highlighted one person who

00:35:15   commented about the notch on the MacBook Pros, Rob Griffiths. There was only only Rob Griffiths,

00:35:20   everybody's favorite curmudgeon, Rob Griffiths. And even that was in good humor. Even that was

00:35:25   indeed. He made a joke about it. It was fine. No, I think it's, you can't deny, and many of these,

00:35:33   one of the fun things about having all these people who think about Apple and they're sitting

00:35:36   down and they're thinking about it for the year is seeing how many people were just saying, look,

00:35:40   this is very impressive. I feel like the Mac is a priority at Apple again. And it came organically,

00:35:48   nobody sees anybody else's responses out. Like many people said, the Mac is a priority again.

00:35:54   Apple is sitting on all cylinders with the Mac again. And they're very happy about it.

00:35:59   The only, all the negativity I would say is on the software side. It is frustration with things like

00:36:05   shortcuts on the Mac being weird and not shipping broken, but not even calling it a beta, just saying

00:36:14   here it is. And I think an overall feeling, and I think Syracuse even mentioned this at one point,

00:36:19   like overall feeling that there are a lot of bugs that seem to just go unaddressed and there

00:36:24   are a lot of apps that seem to be untouched. And I absolutely agree with that. I think that the

00:36:29   untold story of Apple right now is on sort of across all aspects is how good they are at hardware

00:36:36   and how they're soft. It's covering up a lot, but not all of the issues it's got maintaining

00:36:43   its software that it's, and it's not just bugs, but it's bugs that don't get fixed for years.

00:36:50   And it's also apps that just feel like they have dust gathering on them and a company of Apple size.

00:36:57   I feel like they, it is incumbent upon them. Like if they're going to build an app, it's going to

00:37:01   scare all the other apps out of the platform, probably at least to a certain degree, they have

00:37:05   a responsibility to have that app be good, or it should not be there. And they don't seem to want

00:37:10   to invest the resources so that every single one of their apps is a team that is cranking on it

00:37:16   every year that is doing big updates for that app every year. Instead, some apps just kind of

00:37:21   don't change for a long time and it's not great. Like it's, and it pales in comparison to the

00:37:30   hardware, which is such a great story. So it is, and it's a long-term trend and I agree with it.

00:37:35   And it's different than talking about software quality overall. It's more about like having

00:37:42   just a certain standard and shortcuts. I don't, I, it shortcuts, I made a special note of it. I

00:37:49   don't know whether to be happy or sad about this shortcut situation for Mac, because in one sense,

00:37:55   the whole idea is great because the Mac automation story has been languishing for so long. And you

00:38:02   and I talk about it all the time because it's right square in the middle of our personal

00:38:06   interests. But AppleScript is one of, literally, again, we were just joking about SCSI. AppleScript

00:38:15   is software that started when SCSI was still a thing we used. Like that's how old of a technology

00:38:22   AppleScript is. And... - It's a System 7 technology.

00:38:25   - I don't think, I think it was System 7.1. I don't think it shipped. I think it was,

00:38:30   I think it was like, I think it was the early '90s version of something that was supposed to

00:38:34   ship sooner and got punted. - Sure, System 7 Pro.

00:38:37   - But, you know, think back like, oh man, just pick a year, like when the first iMacs came out,

00:38:44   and it's like, okay, they've announced this plan to reunify with Next. They're going to build a

00:38:48   next generation operating system. They've, you know, the management is actually, you know,

00:38:53   Steve Jobs might've still been the iCEO, but it seemed like solid competent management was in

00:39:00   place. You know, the ship was righted. Let's hope that they, you know, righted it in time,

00:39:05   was the general sense of Apple and the Mac at the time. You never in a million years would've

00:39:10   guessed that 25 years later, AppleScript was still in the system. It just wasn't never,

00:39:16   it was never that popular, by which I mean, it was popular enough that it's there and it

00:39:21   became entrenched in people's professional workflows, which is why it made all these

00:39:26   various transitions. - Why not OS X for sure, yeah. - People only loved it and continue to enjoy it

00:39:33   for what it allows them to do, not the way that it does it. And it's just really kind, you know,

00:39:41   and everybody knows it's, you know, Apple's interest hasn't been in it as much as it could

00:39:46   be, even though there have been some apps, like for example, one of the thing that I still,

00:39:51   I think it was a year ago, 'cause I think it was Big Sur when they did Mac messages as a Catalyst

00:39:58   app, but, you know, sort of cheated by using certain private APIs that public Catalyst apps

00:40:05   can't, but still the canonical proof that an app with a shared code base with its iOS brethren

00:40:13   using Catalyst could be a first-class Mac citizen, I really did not think that Message is

00:40:20   AppleScript dictionary was gonna make that. I was like, "Hey, this app looks good," and they've,

00:40:24   you know, it doesn't look squirrely in the way some of these Catalyst apps like the Mac home app

00:40:29   look, right? This looks like the Mac messages app. It's actually, this seems, you know, more,

00:40:35   this seems like a great idea. They've pulled it off. It's an engineering success story,

00:40:39   but come on, they're not gonna, AppleScript's not gonna make it. Guess what? The full messages

00:40:44   AppleScript dictionary that dates back to when it was iChat, which is actually a very good

00:40:49   AppleScript dictionary, made it. It's great. It's still there. So it's not like Apple's forgotten

00:40:55   AppleScript, but you know it's not the future, right? It doesn't feel like it. It's certainly

00:40:58   not going to iOS. Right. And it was really a drag when there was no idea what the future was,

00:41:04   and that's why shortcuts being on the Mac is a net good for the platform, and it's tricky,

00:41:10   and I sensed in the panel people trying to wrestle with this, which is the idea that

00:41:15   you can be happy that shortcuts shipped on the Mac and unhappy with the details, and that's where we

00:41:21   are. Our colleague Dr. Drang, who writes about automation all the time, he just updated over

00:41:28   the weekend to Monterey, and he was like, "I know you guys said that it wasn't good, but I had no

00:41:35   idea," you know, because he's seeing it with fresh eyes for the first time, shortcuts on the Mac,

00:41:40   and he's like, "This is better than when they shipped it the first time?" I'm like, "Yeah,

00:41:44   it actually is. They fixed a bunch of stuff, but it is rough, and I'm so glad it's there,

00:41:49   and I use it now every day. I'm using shortcuts on the Mac. I'm so glad it's there, but I'm worried

00:41:58   about the fact that they got to the point where they shipped it the way they did, and my

00:42:02   understanding is they kind of had to make some decisions internally to get more people involved

00:42:11   to fix what was wrong with it on the Mac, because they knew it was kind of broken.

00:42:16   How does that happen? I don't know. It comes back to that. I feel like Apple is killing it so much

00:42:25   on hardware, and then you look at the software and you're like, "Yeah, not really killing it.

00:42:28   It's not terrible." There was an era back in the '90s, like we were talking about earlier,

00:42:34   where my Mac froze and had to be rebooted, hard rebooted, four or five times a day.

00:42:41   I'm so happy those days are behind us, and OS X, I use it all day without complaint, and it's fine,

00:42:48   but there are things that give me pause in Apple's stewardship of not just the platform,

00:42:55   but its apps that it has taken the responsibility to build into the platform.

00:42:59   Dave: Yeah. To name one just very specific example, it's a thing of people writing little

00:43:06   scripts or automator actions or now shortcuts, any kind of automation might want to do,

00:43:11   you want to report the results of the little thing you're making for yourself.

00:43:16   Obviously, on the command line, if you're just writing a shell script or a Perl script or a

00:43:24   Python script and it's just going to be something you run in the terminal, you just print whatever

00:43:29   it is at the end, you run your script, and then it prints to the terminal. It couldn't be easier.

00:43:34   It's literally how computers worked when you and I were little kids. You just print statements,

00:43:40   you print stuff, and then it shows up. Well, what do you do in a graphical environment? Well,

00:43:45   you display a dialogue, right? And AppleScript has had this weird thing where, with the Big Sur

00:43:53   redesign, the display alert command looks modern and display dialogue looks a little bit more

00:44:00   old-fashioned, but because Big Sur went to these... I mean, this has been true for 10 years, where

00:44:07   display alert looked more modern than display dialogue, even though they kind of do the same

00:44:12   thing. They're just different amounts of contents in the alert. But with Big Sur, they switched

00:44:20   where display alert looks iOS style. It's the easiest thing I can say. It looks like an iOS

00:44:28   dialogue. And you don't have to be a scripter to know this. You can see it when you try to close

00:44:32   an unsaved document now. You get this dialogue box that is vertical rather than horizontal,

00:44:40   even though Macs all have horizontal screens. And the reason iOS alerts are vertical is because

00:44:47   phones have vertical screens. But there's this weird split in AppleScript where you have these

00:44:53   two commands that do something very similar. They used to look kind of the same. Now they look

00:44:57   very, very different. And you can argue which one looks better, but Shortcuts was like, "Well, hold

00:45:03   my beer, because I'm going to show you a way to show a dialogue that doesn't look right at all.

00:45:09   It doesn't look old." It doesn't look new, doesn't look from iOS. It just looks like wrong.

00:45:16   It doesn't look like old Mac. It doesn't look like Windows. It doesn't look like... Looking like iOS

00:45:26   might have been understandable, and it would be like, "Well, now we have a third style of dialogue."

00:45:30   And I have a bunch of shortcuts that display dialogues with results. And the ones on iOS,

00:45:39   they make me feel very clever and like, "Hey, this is just a little shortcut I whipped up in

00:45:46   a couple of minutes." Well, what I think is a couple minutes, of course, was two hours of

00:45:51   fine-tuning and a wasted afternoon, but I count it as a success. But when I run it, and it looks

00:45:58   like the type of cool-looking modern iOS 15 alert that a real app might show, I feel like I'm making

00:46:09   real software, and this looks really cool. And then you do it on Shortcuts on a Mac, and it looks

00:46:14   like... I don't know who thought this was right. And I think the answer is it was somebody who

00:46:21   didn't really see the details of what Mac stuff needed to look like. And it really does feel like

00:46:28   if you gave somebody no reference to what the Mac looks like. They could remember what the Mac looks

00:46:34   like, but they had no reference, and you asked them to make a dialogue box. They would come up

00:46:39   with this, and I think that's basically what happened. And I didn't even mention something

00:46:46   that I only have discovered in the last week or so is also they would have an OK or a default button

00:46:53   in those dialogues. And if you press Return, it doesn't do anything. And if you press Command

00:46:57   Return, it didn't do anything, which is sort of the, "Okay, Return, you're entering text in a box.

00:47:03   Okay, so you have to do Command Return." And I discovered last week that it was wired to Function

00:47:10   Return, which is not a Mac thing at all. My understanding is that in... I can actually confirm

00:47:18   it. In the betas of 12.3, it actually is Command Return, so it follows the Mac spec. But again,

00:47:24   it's one of those things of like, "Who thought of that?" And they remember, "I know there needs to be

00:47:29   a keyboard shortcut, right? But I'm not allowed to look and see what it is. So how about Function

00:47:36   Return or Globe Return? Let's do that. Surely that will be the answer." And it's like, "No,

00:47:41   there's a standard. It's Command Return. You should have just done that." But they did it.

00:47:44   They fixed it. Again, Shortcuts has actually had, I don't know if you've noticed this,

00:47:48   a much faster trajectory of getting better in interim macOS updates than any app I've seen in

00:47:56   years in macOS. They are clearly really aware that it wasn't good enough, and they're making

00:48:03   progress, which is great because the alternative is what? We wait a year for it to get better?

00:48:26   And it wasn't just like, "Oh God, Federighi decided to announce shortcuts in the keynote."

00:48:46   I guess the thing that bothers me about it though, and is a worrisome canary in the coal mine,

00:48:51   is that I think famously, even though Apple has published human interface guidelines from as long

00:48:59   as I can remember, I mean, way back they started publishing them, many of the best UI designers and

00:49:07   developer/designers, like a James Thompson type person who just works on their own and does their

00:49:15   own design. I know so many people who'd be like, "You know, I've never read The Hic." And you know,

00:49:20   it's a lot like a dictionary to a writer, what The Hic was to a UI designer, where, okay, they have

00:49:29   it, and if they really do get stuck, like, "Huh, that's a really good question. How do you show

00:49:34   three-way state in a checkbox? Hmm. All right, I'll go look it up in The Hic and actually look

00:49:41   something up." It's like looking up a word, you know, or a thesaurus, like, what's a different

00:49:45   word for this? And the reason was that people learned to become Mac UI designers by using the

00:49:55   Mac, and that you just sort of pick it up. It's like the way that as a kid, you don't really have

00:50:02   to be taught how to speak, you just, as a baby, you just grow up in the house and you just pick

00:50:07   up the language from your parents. Or if it's a bilingual family, you pick up both languages.

00:50:11   Like, it's just amazing. You just pick it up and you learn how to speak these languages. And

00:50:16   you could often point to some apps from Apple and say, "This is a great app from Apple," or,

00:50:24   "This part of the system software is great. This is, you should learn how they did,

00:50:28   think about every single thing about this and how they did this user interface and copy that,

00:50:34   or use it as the model for the thing you're making." And the worst case was usually,

00:50:39   "Well, that's not the best work from Apple," but you wouldn't be wrong by following Apple's lead,

00:50:44   right? It was very rare where you would say, "Oh, don't do what Apple did."

00:50:47   - Yeah, they're setting part of being the platform owner is leading by example.

00:50:54   - And it just feels like there's more and more cases lately where it's like, "Huh, I don't know,

00:50:59   it just doesn't seem like what Apple's doing is sort of the gold standard of the platform."

00:51:04   - Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think that's it. And maybe those days have passed and I don't want to get

00:51:13   too fussy. I think that oftentimes when we talk about, we invoke the HIG and things like that,

00:51:17   people are like, "Yeah, you know, it's a little like invoking English grammar and spelling."

00:51:21   Like, things change, things drift. I get it. I get it. Apple is a leader in a way that the

00:51:28   English language has no leaders. It's more like that French group that says, "This is not a French

00:51:32   word. You can't use it anymore." Apple could be doing that or they could just sort of abandon it.

00:51:36   And there is a platform transition going on. Like with Catalyst and SwiftUI, I wonder sometimes,

00:51:42   I'm not trying to make excuses for them because nobody is more frustrated than me about how bad

00:51:48   Apple Mail is. If you use Apple Mail, that's great. I hate Apple Mail and I think that it

00:51:54   hasn't really changed much in 15 or 20 years and it's wildly inefficient. And every time I use it,

00:51:59   I hate it more and I abandon it as quickly as I can. And I feel like if there was ever an app

00:52:05   that needed to be reinvented by Apple for modern usage, it's something like Apple Mail. But my

00:52:11   point here is I would almost understand if one of the things that Apple really is doing is saying,

00:52:17   "Hey, guys, we're trying not to make a lot of software changes at the moment because we're

00:52:21   really dragging everything over into this new world with SwiftUI where we can develop all these

00:52:28   apps one time and deploy them on all our platforms. And so we really don't want to put a lot of effort

00:52:33   into them in the meantime." And I get that, but at the same time, it's like, "How many years are

00:52:39   going to go by where your apps don't get updates and you roll out shortcuts and your own apps don't

00:52:44   support it properly?" And I can understand it to a certain extent because it is true. They are

00:52:51   on the fly rebuilding what it is to be an app across all Apple platforms, but

00:52:57   I still need to use it today. It's sort of maybe like the software equivalent of trying to get from

00:53:05   building Intel-based Macs to Apple Silicon Macs, and they wound up with some really spotty years

00:53:13   that made people question, "What the heck are you doing?" But it's like, "Well, we're trying to move

00:53:18   everything to this new system and we don't want to..." There, I think it's a little bit more product

00:53:23   marketing spite where they didn't want to necessarily put this great new edge-to-edge display

00:53:30   on the Intel, the last generation. They probably could have done that with the last Intel MacBook

00:53:34   Pros. And it's like, "Let's save this more impressive edge-to-edge display for when we have

00:53:40   Apple Silicon." Software is a little bit different because it's like when they make a new MacBook Pro,

00:53:46   it really is a new MacBook Pro, and software just sort of accretes. But in broad strokes,

00:53:55   I feel like that's sort of where they are, and hopefully, right? That they're like, "Well,

00:53:59   we don't want to redo mail now or something else now." Yeah, if I'm being optimistic, that's my

00:54:06   hope is that some of this stuff is on hold because they're really trying to prioritize moving the

00:54:10   frameworks far enough along that they can be in a place where they can roll out new versions of

00:54:14   their apps and it goes everywhere. But I'm feeling it in terms of the maintenance of the existing

00:54:21   platform. And I always say, this is back when I used to review loads of software for Macworld back

00:54:27   in the day, that just because you did a lot of work under the hood on this new version of your app,

00:54:33   if your users can't see it, they don't care. They literally, they don't care because they're just

00:54:39   there to do their job every day. And that's sort of how I feel about this. It's like, I understand

00:54:43   there's a huge amount of effort going on beneath the surface in Apple's software group for things

00:54:48   like SwiftUI and moving all these apps over and adapting apps from iOS for the Mac. I get it,

00:54:54   but at the end of the day, I can understand that and still, I'm a user sitting at my desk

00:54:58   trying to use software. And if I don't see it, it doesn't matter.

00:55:03   To tie up the Mac segment, I will say that that brings to mind a point that I saw through the

00:55:10   comments on the Mac in the report card, which is either implicit a lot of the time or explicit

00:55:18   praise for the ease of the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon. And this is where Apple

00:55:25   has just been fantastic for so many years on, and we can get in developer relations later and how it

00:55:33   relates to the App Store. But in so many ways, every single app I use, the last one, the last

00:55:39   laggard was Dropbox to go native for Apple Silicon. But even there, I didn't really notice

00:55:45   that it was an Intel thing. And going back to the... The PowerPC to Intel was pretty smooth.

00:55:53   Each of these, they have enough institutional memory, and a lot of times, and you and I

00:56:00   know some people who've been at Apple through all of these transitions. It's not just institutional

00:56:05   memory, it's actually people who've been there. They're getting better at it. But this one was

00:56:10   so seamless. I remember thinking that the Intel one, the PowerPC to Intel was so much smoother

00:56:16   than 68K to PowerPC. And part of that is just the simple fact that in the 68K era, it was so long

00:56:24   ago and computers were so slow that so much of it was written in assembly language, or the compiler

00:56:31   literally was only a 68K compiler. And now you've got... Even if you had written your app in C or

00:56:37   Pascal, now you have to switch to a new compiler and the compiler says your code doesn't compile.

00:56:43   Now you've got to fix all these bugs. I just remember when 68K went to PowerPC,

00:56:48   so many apps would have a major release. It would be from version two to version 3.0,

00:56:53   and the only thing was PowerPC native. And it's like, well, that doesn't really...

00:57:00   What about some new features? Yeah, exactly. It's a remarkable transition. And the speed of

00:57:07   Apple Silicon making Rosetta 2 not matter, and that you don't notice. And I remember,

00:57:13   yeah, the PowerPC transition from 68K, you really could tell you were running a translated app. It

00:57:18   was slower and Intel was better. It was amazing that it worked, but it was slow. It felt me.

00:57:27   Yeah, and the Intel transition was better, but this one is seamless. And yes, I don't know whether

00:57:32   it was here or somewhere, but I made a comment about... I wrote a Mac World column, I think it

00:57:36   was, and I talked about how Apple's really good at processor transitions and it's been through

00:57:42   multiple Mac processor transitions. And then I decided to throw in a line where I said, "Granted,

00:57:48   probably the people involved are not the same." And I actually got a message from somebody who

00:57:53   was like, "I actually worked on all of those." I'm like, "Oh my God. Okay. I apologize. We don't

00:57:59   think about it, but there are people at Apple who have been there through all of this and have done

00:58:03   this." And certainly institutionally, Apple has gotten really good at it. And this transition,

00:58:08   in part because the Apple Silicon stuff is so good, but also for some other reasons, was flawless.

00:58:15   And it's so easy to just accept it and say it's invisible and it doesn't matter. And it does

00:58:23   deserve, and I'm glad the panelists said it, it does deserve essentially applause because it could

00:58:29   have been much harder, right? Going from Intel chips to Apple-designed chips that were really

00:58:35   originally designed for phones and have it be like, "Is the Mac going to even make it?" And the

00:58:40   answer is the Mac didn't even just make it across, but it's like, they're way better off now and they

00:58:47   deserve credit. And so those high scores in the Mac the last two years of the report card

00:58:51   absolutely deserved. And for those of us who went through those doldrums where the laptops

00:58:57   were kind of bad and they seem to not have a plan for the Mac, what a turnaround. It's taken five

00:59:04   years, but it has gone from being an afterthought to being one of the shining jewels in Apple's

00:59:11   crown now. JS And not just for enthusiasts, like, "Oh, people who understand the difference between

00:59:18   Intel and Apple Silicon binaries." Like, just everybody. And the Mac, it's important because,

00:59:24   and as much as the iPhone and even iPad have really grown the number of people who use Apple

00:59:30   computers, just as talk phone and iPad and Mac, the Mac is bigger and more popular than ever. And

00:59:37   an awful lot, you know, probably a majority of people use it in a very consumer-y sort of way.

01:00:13   So,

01:00:34   I was just saying that software stays forever and it accretes, but it's like the Rosetta layers tend

01:00:39   to disappear after a couple of years and it'll happen. And that's how you know you did a good job

01:00:44   and what a weird position to be in. You know, here's this thing. I made this amazing technology.

01:00:49   JS Nobody noticed.

01:00:50   JS And nobody notices.

01:00:52   All right, let me thank our next sponsor. It is a new sponsor,

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01:02:56   code "thetalkshow" and you'll get a discount. Next on the list after the Mac was the iPhone.

01:03:06   - Little upstart product. - Little upstart pro... Little bit more up and down from year to year than you would think.

01:03:15   It's, you know, and I know that the scores are... Are they... Is the up and down regulated between...

01:03:21   Yeah, it looks like it is. - I think it's a... Literally, people get excited when there's new

01:03:28   stuff. It's just like the sales figures. I think people get excited when there's a new looking phone

01:03:33   and get a little bit bored when it's the same and you see it in sales and you see it on the iPhone.

01:03:39   The iPhone goes kind of up and down and up and down and up and down and so last year it was up

01:03:44   because the iPhone 12 was new and the iPhone 13 didn't look any different and I... Part of me thinks,

01:03:50   of course it doesn't. They don't do a new look every year, but I think people want to give Apple

01:03:54   credit when they do a new look and when they don't, they don't want to, so they don't. - So I...

01:04:01   You know, I'll skip ahead. I'll say that I had the same feeling about the watch and I feel like

01:04:07   people say with the Series 7 like, "Ah, it's, you know, it's okay. The screen's bigger," but it's

01:04:11   like, "Well..." - I totally disagree about that one too. Like, I bought a Series 7 and I think it's so

01:04:17   much better than my Series 5 was, so I'm very happy with it. - And I wonder, though, too, how much of it...

01:04:25   And I even mentioned in my comment that you quoted that I didn't expect to buy a Series 7, but then

01:04:31   after reviewing a Series 7, I was like, "Oh, I gotta... I can't go back. I really need this."

01:04:36   But I feel like some of it... If you don't see it and people are less likely... I mean, I know

01:04:44   COVID restrictions are easing and stores are open, but I still think people pop into their local Apple

01:04:49   store, even if you have a local Apple store. Let's say you live close enough where there's my nearby

01:04:53   Apple store. It's, you know, common sense, you know. People are just going out less, right? It's, you know,

01:05:00   a little bit less likely to see it in person. And maybe because the overall, like, the difference

01:05:07   between, like, Series 5, Series 6, and a Series 7, to me, it seems like something you wouldn't really

01:05:13   notice on somebody at another table in a restaurant, right? They're close enough where you kind of have

01:05:19   to get close to see how much bigger the screen is, you know? Like, you could tell it's not the old

01:05:23   Series 3 watch, but I don't know which one it is. It doesn't jump out at you. And I feel like, you

01:05:29   know, obviously iPhone 13 has that factor with the iPhone 12. I mean, it's, you know, the camera's

01:05:35   improved. Battery life is a big improvement. That was my comment that you included, that the factoid

01:05:43   that the 13 mini gets longer battery life by everybody's tests that I saw, and I saw a bunch

01:05:49   of reviews that pitted them against each other, then the full-size, mid-size iPhone 12 from last

01:05:55   year. That's amazing. And that, to me, battery life and camera improvements, I think that was Nick

01:06:01   Heer's comment, too, that if they just keep doing battery life and camera improvements year over

01:06:06   year for a while, that's fine with me, because those are the two things that are most, affect

01:06:12   the most people in the biggest ways. Yeah, it's true. And I, as somebody who went from a 12 mini

01:06:17   to a 13 mini, you can tell. Oh my gosh. Battery life is so much better. That, to me, would be,

01:06:23   like, a normal non-enthusiast who buys a new phone every four years, because the mini, it was, oh,

01:06:31   it's such a nice size. And the 12 mini was like, well, I'm glad I'm locked in for the year, because

01:06:37   I need to plug in my phone again. The 13 mini gets much better battery life. And I think a couple

01:06:43   people commented in their comments on their report card, like, 13 mini is really nice. It'd be a shame

01:06:48   if it's true that they're not going to keep making these mini-size phones, as the rumors suggest.

01:06:53   I know. I can't vote them down for that this year, but I can be disappointed next year.

01:06:58   One star. No mini. One star. No mini. Boo. I've highlighted a comment from James Thompson,

01:07:10   which gets to a point I made earlier about Apple and internal employees. As with the Mac,

01:07:14   this is James Thompson, Drag Thing and Peacock. Well, Drag Thing, of course. Drag Thing is,

01:07:21   of course, I've got classic Mac on my mind. Peacock and—

01:07:24   Yeah, I'll be running that on an SD card later. Drag Thing.

01:07:28   The Dice app. What's this Dice app called? Just Dice by Peacock, right?

01:07:32   Dice by Peacock, yeah. Branding.

01:07:34   As with the Mac, a similar pattern of solid hardware paired with remarkably

01:07:40   unexciting software updates, but software development seems to be one part of Apple

01:07:44   that the pandemic has really hit hard in the past year. I don't know if it's true or not.

01:07:49   I don't know. Maybe? This is, to me, an open question. Somewhere else in the report card,

01:07:58   probably in the societal, environmental area, Glenn was adamant about, "Hey," spousing a view

01:08:06   that I've heard from many people that, "Hey, the last two years, almost everybody working on Apple

01:08:12   software has been working from home, and they're still doing great. So why is the company insisting

01:08:18   on so many such—going back to normal, which for Apple meant working in the office in Cupertino or

01:08:25   wherever you were?" I think it's an open question whether it's affected their software. I've spoken

01:08:35   to some people. I know a lot of people who work at Apple, and I know some people who,

01:08:39   when I've made comments about it on Daring Fireball, have not been mad at me because

01:08:46   we're friends, but disagree and say, "I feel more productive at work. I'm not getting interrupted.

01:08:51   I'm doing more better work, working from home all day every day than I was before."

01:08:57   And I've spoken to other people who've said it's a nightmare, that our meetings are a mess.

01:09:04   And Apple, the meetings thing is interesting. And I know some people just hate meetings. I know

01:09:09   people who work at Apple who hate meetings. But Apple has a very—my understanding, as someone

01:09:15   who's never worked there, but knowing a lot of people who do, they take their meeting culture

01:09:19   very seriously. And it's a company where time is valued and the canard, the trope of, "Oh my God,

01:09:31   you work in a big corporation and you spend all day in meetings and it's a waste of time."

01:09:36   And that Apple doesn't typically work like that. And I'm sure that they're so big now. I'm sure

01:09:41   there's exceptions. It's all good teams and bad teams meeting-wise. But if everybody has to meet

01:09:48   over Zoom, everybody knows what Zoom meetings are like. And it's possibly problematic. So that's why

01:09:54   I highlighted James's comment that, I don't know, is there something that's—is there an overall—is

01:10:01   hardware getting ahead of software because hardware has to be in person and hardware—you

01:10:06   just know—there's certain aspects of hardware that are just binary. Yes or no, does this machine

01:10:12   feel solid? Does the hinge feel good? Yes or no? Is the keys durable? If we set up a robot to type

01:10:18   20 million words on this keyboard, do the keys still work? Software is a lot more on the liberal

01:10:27   art side of Steve Jobs's boulevard, right? Where it's hard to say, right?

01:10:33   Yeah, we don't know—the thing is, we don't know what they wanted to do this last couple of years,

01:10:39   right? We can't see what they didn't do and what they didn't release. And I think what James—at

01:10:44   least the way I read James's comment—is it does feel like maybe they have taken their foot off the

01:10:50   gas a little bit in terms of OS feature ambition on iOS and Mac in the last year or two, and that

01:10:59   may be pandemic-related or it may not be. Also, I think your anecdotes point to the truth of this,

01:11:06   which is, I think it's different groups and different people work differently. And my hope

01:11:13   is that over time, what shakes out at Apple is an understanding that there's some stuff and there

01:11:20   are also some people who need to be—it needs to be done with more of an in-person approach,

01:11:26   and there's other stuff that doesn't. And I think that the challenge is that Apple has a default

01:11:32   culture of everybody needs to be here, and there are cases where everybody does need to be there.

01:11:39   There are probably ones where everybody doesn't. And when you're in a very expensive place in the

01:11:44   world, you're going to probably have to deal with hiring people who are not going to move

01:11:50   to Cupertino if you want the best people. And so they're going to have to deal with this.

01:11:55   But I also think that it's true that some people, it's a nightmare. I have no doubt that some people

01:12:02   work way worse in that scenario. It's a little like you and me, right? I would not recommend

01:12:07   working for yourself in your own house to everyone. You have to be motivated and focused and have

01:12:17   something wired in your brain or it's going to go really badly. It's not for everyone.

01:12:50   I have a piece I'm working on for Daring Fireball. I don't want to go into it because it's not a

01:12:55   spoiler per se, but I made a comparison a couple weeks ago to a story that came out that Facebook

01:13:02   had scrapped an internal homegrown OS for their VR goggles in favor of just staying with what they

01:13:10   already had, which was sort of their own fork of Android. And I had compared it to the proto-iFones

01:13:18   where there were two parallel tracks where there was sort of a, "Well, let's do like a Linux

01:13:24   embedded system that's more like an iPod type thing and let's grow up the iPod or let's shrink

01:13:31   down the Mac." And my follow-up is basically that I think it was a bad comparison because this

01:13:39   Facebook thing clearly was on parallel tracks for a very long time. And they had like, I think they

01:13:45   said they were like 300 people working on this, the version of the OS that got scrapped. And a

01:13:50   senior executive left and blah, blah, blah. The thing that revisiting the early days of the iPhone

01:13:57   brings back to me is how shockingly fast Apple put it together, right? That's the thing, is that

01:14:04   talking to people from Apple, many of them who are actually still there, kind sources, reliving some

01:14:12   of that, they more or less built what we know as the first iPhone OS in 2006. Like in one year,

01:14:19   they built it. And yes, there were parts that they inherited, developer stuff and the similarities

01:14:28   between UIKit and AppKit and stuff. Because they had some good bones in the OS and frameworks and

01:14:36   patterns that they could follow. But still, it was just a remarkable pace. And I do kind of feel like

01:14:43   maybe I'm too forgiving at times as a critic/pundit of, "Well, you don't have to upset the Apple

01:14:51   card every single year and blow us away." Right? And maybe there's something right about having

01:14:58   the pundit commentary class press Apple critically to do more wow year over year. That's where I was

01:15:07   going. Yeah, I think you're right in the sense too that we can internalize the idea that, well,

01:15:17   you know, they're not going to do it every year. And they're not going to do it every year for a

01:15:19   lot of reasons, including just the cost and the amount of effort that goes into it. And as you

01:15:24   have pointed out many times, iteration is kind of Apple's thing. And they really seem to like this

01:15:28   model where they do the outside change, but then they've got a couple other years of iterative

01:15:32   internal changes coming, and then they flip the outside change again. But the truth is, it's hard

01:15:38   to hold it against somebody to say, "I'm disappointed that there wasn't a new thing this year," even if

01:15:43   they understand it. Because if you look at sales, the sales bear it out generally too. The years

01:15:47   that they make the big outside change, the sales go up too. People like it too. So I think, although

01:15:53   it may not be realistic to want it, I think it's also not unrealistic to be less excited about a

01:16:02   year where there isn't as much obvious forward movement, if that makes any sense. Yeah. Other

01:16:10   iPhone stuff, the cinematic mode, a couple of people commented that it's a lot of promotion

01:16:18   about it, but I don't use it. There's a quote from Benjamin Mayo, "Cinematic mode was a bit of

01:16:23   a letdown and currently sits in gimmick territory." But then, as soon as he wrote it, I was highlighting

01:16:28   it with my Apple Pencil, and then his next sentence covers what I was going to say, "It's

01:16:32   easy to spot the fakeness like early years of portrait mode, still photography," which is

01:16:38   exactly what I was going to say. So hats off to Benjamin for making his own comment. I like the

01:16:45   cinematic mode. I don't use it. I haven't used it a lot since finishing my reviews. But again,

01:16:52   I haven't gone that many places. I haven't been on vacation since last summer, so where would I

01:16:58   shoot video? I kind of feel like I think it's an interesting direction for video to go. It is

01:17:03   definitely very analogous. It is to video what portrait mode is to still. And I think with

01:17:12   portrait, the first year of portrait looked really weird. People looked best if they didn't have

01:17:19   eyeglasses and had a bald head or a hat because hair and eyeglasses didn't really make the bokeh

01:17:28   border very well. But they've gotten a lot better at that, and I feel like they drew a good line for

01:17:35   "This is the year we should ship this cinematic mode. It's good enough to ship, and we'll keep

01:17:40   making it better." Obviously, Apple feels that regular people just think it's cool and that

01:17:46   it's the rest of us who have a little more discerning eye who can spot all of the things

01:17:50   that are wrong with it. And I say that because Apple has made cinematic mode the centerpiece

01:17:55   of several ads. They have ads with the two guys in the car talking to each other, the two cops,

01:18:00   and it is shot in cinematic mode. And I was talking to my wife about it, and she's like,

01:18:07   "It looks fine. Whatever." And I said, "I think it looks terrible. I can see everything that's

01:18:15   wrong with it. Every weird thing that should be in focus, it isn't." And it drives me crazy. I hate

01:18:21   that ad because it bothers me so much at how bad it looks and that Apple put it on TV. But look,

01:18:27   Apple wouldn't have put it on TV if Apple thought that it made them look bad. And so it's me. I have

01:18:33   to say, it's me. I am overthinking this and that most people don't care. And I do think that's true.

01:18:39   I think it needs to be better. I think they need to shoot it at a higher quality because right now

01:18:43   I think it's limited to 1080. But they'll get there. And either they're completely delusional

01:18:49   and the emperor has no clothes or they decided, most people are going to look at this ad and go,

01:18:54   "Oh, cool." It is. And yeah, it is cool. It looks terrible, but it's cool.

01:18:59   I had the same thought where I remember seeing it. I remember I was watching,

01:19:02   it's where I usually watch football games because why else am I not skipping the commercials? It's

01:19:09   because I'm watching live. And I remember thinking, "Ooh, I want..." I could see that once I picked up

01:19:15   that it was a commercial about cinematic mode, I was like, "I wonder if they shot this with

01:19:20   cinematic mode." And then the focus racked again to the black detective who was in the driver's

01:19:27   seat. And I was like, "Well, the focus isn't quite right on half of his face." And I was like,

01:19:32   "So they definitely did." But it's because I was watching it on my big 65-inch TV. And it defeats

01:19:41   the point of, "Oh, well, cinematic mode and portrait mode, the details don't matter because

01:19:45   people just look at the pictures and the videos on their phones." And it's like, "No, Apple's

01:19:50   putting it onto 70-inch TVs." Right?

01:19:54   Yeah. I mean, it's very brave of them. And I think that I'm inclined to believe it's because

01:19:59   most people don't notice the stuff that we notice. And I think us holding them to a higher standard

01:20:04   is good and saying this stuff needs to be better because once you notice it, it's really hard not

01:20:09   to notice it after then. But just because it could be a lot better, it doesn't mean it's not fun.

01:20:15   And in my review, I said much the same thing, right? Which is, it's fun. It looks cool. It's

01:20:19   like, "Oh my God, now I've got the fuzzy background and the sharp foreground. Like, I'm using a long

01:20:24   lens except it's just with my iPhone." Like, it is fun. And you know what? If it's really bad, you

01:20:29   just turn it off and then you just get a normal video. It's fine.

01:20:33   Yeah. Well, and it is amazing too that you can just, after shooting, turn it off and just go,

01:20:39   yeah, and just get the full depth of field that the camera was taking in. And so, like, if you shot

01:20:46   this amazing thing and it's, you know, you've captured, you know, the first alien to land on

01:20:52   earth and you've shot it with cinematic mode on your iPhone and CNN wants to give you all this

01:20:56   money for it. And it's like, "Oh, the alien's out of focus." Well, you could just turn off cinematic

01:21:00   mode and now your footage, you know, you can make all the money from CNN and whoever else wants to

01:21:05   bid on your footage. So it doesn't, you know, it doesn't hurt you to shoot it, to try shooting it.

01:21:10   Right. Yeah.

01:21:11   Yeah. What else with iPhone? I don't know that I have much more. Time to move on to iPad?

01:21:19   Yeah.

01:21:21   Well, iPad got a B, 3.7, holding steady. One of the few that was...

01:21:26   Holding steady.

01:21:27   But slowly decreasing over time. 2017 was up at 4.1. What happened in 2017 that it shot up? I

01:21:34   don't remember. Was that when the iPad Pros first...

01:21:37   I think it might've been the new iPad Pro with the Face ID.

01:21:41   2016 was low and then 2017 shot up to 4.1, then 4.0, then 3.9. Now two years of 3.7.

01:21:49   Yeah.

01:21:52   This is the one category. And again, there's a couple of comments I have highlighted. Here's

01:21:58   Carolina Milanese, I believe you pronounce.

01:22:00   Milanese.

01:22:01   Milanese.

01:22:01   Carolina Milanese.

01:22:03   Yeah. Carolina Milanese. What a pretty name. Maybe because of the success of the Mac,

01:22:09   the iPad updates felt very incremental this year. I feel the Magic Keyboard is holding

01:22:16   the iPad Pro back. I thought that was such an interesting sentiment. And I feel like the way

01:22:22   she phrased it captures something. A lot of commenters on the report cards talked like

01:22:27   they're still unhappy with multitasking on iPad. And I feel like putting it on the hardware is an

01:22:35   interesting way of doing it. Because at first we were like, this Magic Keyboard two years ago,

01:22:40   this is amazing. It was like, I think it was like two years ago next month when it came out.

01:22:43   And out of the blue mid-year, not when we were expecting something like a major OS feature like

01:22:50   mouse cursor support and full trackpad support and command tabbing and all this stuff. This is great.

01:22:59   And yet everybody's still not happy.

01:23:02   Yeah. I think the truth is, and this is, I think we talked about it last year, Apple chose to

01:23:12   brand the new iPad Pro as an M1. And I thought that was a really interesting choice because they

01:23:19   could have fibbed, right? They could have said, well, this is actually the A14X, even if it was

01:23:27   literally the M1. They could have put it in the context of an iPad chip and they instead decided

01:23:33   to say, no, this is the same chip that's in the MacBook Air. It's the same. And I like,

01:23:39   they decided that the goodwill of everybody about Apple Silicon was something they wanted to

01:23:44   rub off on the iPad Pro. And I think that that is a great decision, but it also calls into question

01:23:51   the software on the iPad Pro because it's the same hardware theoretically underneath. And yet

01:23:56   you can do so much less on the iPad in iPadOS than you can on the Mac and MacOS. And it has led to

01:24:04   a frustration, a continued, but now intensified frustration in the slow pace of iPadOS updates.

01:24:10   And I think a bunch of people who have been trying to view the iPad as the future,

01:24:17   who per our last conversation about the Mac, have now sort of said, oh, actually the Mac is

01:24:24   riding high and this new M1 MacBook Air or MacBook Pro gives me much more of what I want and are sort

01:24:31   of like off the iPad a little bit. David Sparks had an amazing quote in there, which is basically

01:24:36   like, I have just come to accept that Apple doesn't view this thing as a replacement for the Mac,

01:24:41   but as an interim step between the Mac and the iPhone. And I've been much happier. I'm

01:24:47   paraphrasing him, but he's like, I've been much happier since I just accepted it. And I think

01:24:51   that there is some truth to that, at least so far in terms of looking at the evidence of where the

01:24:56   iPad is. And I think I love my iPad. I still use it all the time. I think it's in a nice place.

01:25:02   I think there is so much more potential, but does Apple at this point want to unleash the iPad and

01:25:09   turn it into something that is even more Mac-like or is it kind of okay with it where it is in the

01:25:16   ecosystem? And I don't know, I could go either way on that. I want them to keep pushing it at

01:25:23   the high end because they've shown now they can differentiate and you can have a low-end iPad and

01:25:27   an iPad Air and an iPad Pro and you can sell them all and people use them in very different ways and

01:25:32   it's okay. But I am not convinced that Apple thinks it's worth it for them to push that hard up at the

01:25:39   high end with more Mac-like features. And even though they've got the Mac chip in there, like,

01:25:43   we all know it could run Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro. We all know it could, but Apple has just

01:25:50   never released those apps even though they've got a thing called the iPad Pro. With the M1,

01:25:55   it's like there's no disputing it now. It should be as fast as a MacBook Air. So now what's the

01:26:03   excuse? And I think everybody's just sort of like, "All right, I guess Apple's just…" I sensed a

01:26:08   little bit of defeatism where they're just sort of like, "Okay, I guess Apple's just never going to

01:26:12   do this, so maybe we should just give up." Yeah, Marco's comment, "iPadOS's efforts to add powerful

01:26:18   features without ruining its simplicity have always left me wanting both far more and far less.

01:26:24   I'm starting to think that such a balance cannot be struck." And I'm like, "Yeah, that's a good

01:26:33   way to put it. Man, that's a sharp comment, Marco." And then he says, "But if it could be,

01:26:36   it would probably require far more effort than Apple is currently investing." And I think that's,

01:26:42   yeah, and it's like, because why bother really if you kind of have a concept floating around and

01:26:49   there's a plan inside Apple of, "Well, we could do this, and here's an hour-long thing of what we

01:26:57   could do to take iPadOS into more Mac territory." And then like a ballpark estimate of how much work

01:27:05   it would be and how much time and who would take off other products. Why bother? We already have

01:27:09   the Mac. You know, it's— Especially if our vision of the future of our software platforms is a

01:27:15   unified software platform that runs everywhere, then if the app that you write that runs on the

01:27:21   iPad when it's in a tablet configuration runs on a Mac on a big screen and works just as well,

01:27:26   do you need an iPad that runs on a big screen? Do you really need these extra usage modes of the

01:27:32   iPad if the world you're going to is a world where the Mac is going to be able to run that same

01:27:37   software, right? And I think that that's what they plan is that in the long run, Apple soft—

01:27:43   The Mac will run like legacy Mac software, fine, but like all other software for Apple's platforms

01:27:48   will just be, you know, everywhere. It'll be everywhere. And instead of having the iPad be

01:27:54   like a lifeboat where it's like, "How do we get to the future if the Mac is dead?" The Mac's not

01:28:00   dead now, so what is the iPad for? And like somebody asked me— I was a big proponent of

01:28:07   the idea of Apple trying to do an iOS laptop at some point, which, you know, the Magic Keyboard

01:28:11   sort of will make its laptop-ish, right? I'm totally off of that now because I look at it and

01:28:16   I think, "Well, why?" Like, you've got an M1 MacBook Air that will run apps from the App Store. Like,

01:28:22   you're basically there. It doesn't do touch, but you're so close. So is Apple— and it's not that

01:28:28   it wouldn't be fun. It's like, is Apple going to put in the work to do that? Or is Apple going to

01:28:33   be like, "You know what? That adds a lot of complexity. It's going to be a lot of work.

01:28:37   It might even undercut our lower-end iPads a little bit. Maybe not." And I think as a big

01:28:43   proponent of the iPad, that's kind of what I'm feeling right now is I need Apple to give me a

01:28:48   sign. Otherwise, I'm just going to kind of assume that the iPad is going to be what it's going to be.

01:28:53   You can't magically do it all. And that's why Marco's comment really resonated with me. It's

01:28:57   like, you can't be both less and more. And so you kind of have to pick and choose where you're going

01:29:04   to put these three platforms— iPhone, iPad, Mac. And yes, the one thing that is very obvious is that

01:29:12   Apple is doing it in a way that even a casual observer of the company could see that they're

01:29:20   a company that makes all three of these products. And there's a role for all three. Whereas if they

01:29:28   did not make Macs— I know that's a very hard idea for someone like me and you to imagine. But

01:29:37   if they didn't, if they really only started from the iPod and then made the iPhone, and the iPhone

01:29:44   and iPad were exactly like we know them, but the Mac wasn't there, yeah, I think that they would

01:29:50   grow the iPad in ways to take share away from Windows laptops, you know. But they have the Mac.

01:29:57   And so that's not who they are. And in the same way, if they didn't have the iPad, if they had

01:30:03   never figured out how to make touchscreen things, maybe the Mac would have a touchscreen and there'd

01:30:08   be a MacBook model with a detachable— you could unsnap the display part like a lot of Windows

01:30:16   2-in-1s do, you know, like along the lines of the way the iPad works with the Magic Keyboard,

01:30:22   whether it actually snaps on the back or magnetically attaches like Apple's does.

01:30:27   You don't have to be a cynic to say that they want to make them distinctive. But I think that's

01:30:33   where we're left and that those of us who are into it enough and really would like— even if you don't

01:30:40   see the exact design for how the iPad could be better, you can feel the ways that it could be

01:30:44   better. And it's like, "Ah, I just feel like this." And I do think— I think you made a very

01:30:49   keen point that by calling it the M1, boy, it just raised people's expectations for how

01:30:55   many things they could do. Yeah, and I— don't get me wrong, I feel like the iPad and some of

01:31:01   the multitasking changes that they made in the latest iPadOS update get them on the door of doing

01:31:09   windowing on iPadOS, basically. I can see— all the pieces are there, I think. I really think

01:31:15   they could— if Apple makes like an external display that they could say, "And if you plug

01:31:19   an iPad into it and a keyboard and mouse, it just works," right? And instead of using full screen,

01:31:26   you were going to do windowing or tiling or something like that. Like, I think they totally

01:31:31   could do that now. I think they're very, very close. What gives me pause is that,

01:31:36   do they want to? Do they want to open up that can of worms at all? They're taking baby steps

01:31:42   here and there, but I don't think there's a rush to fill a lot of these ecological niches with the

01:31:48   iPad like there maybe was a few years ago, just because— partially because their focus has been

01:31:54   on the Mac, but also because the results on the Mac have been so strong. And, you know, again,

01:31:59   don't get me wrong, I really like my iPad apps. I'll also point out Universal Control, which is now

01:32:05   in beta at last, and so was not part of this survey. A few people mentioned, like,

01:32:10   we haven't seen it, and by the time I posted the survey, we'd seen it, so I took some of those

01:32:14   comments out. But, like, Universal Control, one of the things that I love about it is that

01:32:19   when you move your mouse over and now you're on the iPad, you're running iPad apps, and it works

01:32:24   like you're using a Magic Keyboard. It works exactly like you'd expect if you used iPadOS

01:32:29   in that way, and it's almost like Apple saying, you know, "Yes, the iPad is good as an iPad,

01:32:35   and if you want to run it from your keyboard and your trackpad, you can," and it works great as its

01:32:40   own thing, but is that as far as they're willing to go? And, again, it's not as if I think that

01:32:47   they're not technically close to being able to do more, but they have to show the will, right?

01:32:52   They'd have to show the will to embrace bigger screens, which means probably windowing, and they

01:32:57   would have to have the will to embrace, honestly, embarking on a software project to bring some of

01:33:04   those Pro apps to, like, really put a stake in the ground and say, "Yes, you can edit video on the

01:33:09   iPad using Final Cut Pro," and I realize that's probably a huge job, but, like, the fact that we

01:33:14   haven't seen it in all these years suggests to me that Apple's like, "Meh, maybe we don't actually

01:33:18   want to do that." They're very proud of the video editing apps that are in the App Store,

01:33:22   and the audio editing apps that are in the App Store. They're very proud of those.

01:33:26   Dave: They throw a lot of love to those third-party developers. They do.

01:33:29   Michael: Yeah, to LumaFusion and Ferrite and stuff like that, but as for themselves, they're like,

01:33:34   "Meh, we're not going to do it." So I think Apple's enthusiasm for the iPad

01:33:39   goes this far, but no further.

01:33:42   Dave It does tie into... Pro apps come up a lot. The one that hits me a lot, and I've mentioned

01:33:48   this on the show before, and I'm not even complaining. I'm glad that they're moving

01:33:53   the iPad forward. They really have addressed a lot of my biggest complaints from three,

01:33:58   four, five years ago, maybe three years ago especially, with multitasking, when I

01:34:03   wrote at length, "Got a lot off my chest." But I still feel lucky that the iPad, to me,

01:34:14   is the least... Not loved, but it's the one that gets lost in the shuffle.

01:34:23   One example, I think Stephen Trout Smith and I have talked about this offline, but it just

01:34:30   seems weird to me, really weird from a philosophical perspective, that they've added...

01:34:37   When you have a Magic keyboard or any keyboard attached to your iPad, and you hold down the

01:34:44   Command key, you get this heads-up display that shows you a bunch of... It's like the

01:34:49   iPad version of a menu bar, and it's organized in a similar way, like File and Edit, and

01:34:55   OmniOutliner will say Outline, and they show you the keyboard commands that you can use,

01:35:02   and you can tap them if you want, because once it's showing... But if you don't have a

01:35:06   keyboard attached, you don't get that. There's no affordance to bring up, "Give me that menu

01:35:12   bar." So there is sort of a menu bar for iPad apps, but you only get it when there's a

01:35:17   hardware keyboard attached? There's no other way to invoke it? There's no... Even a

01:35:23   system-wide option to, in certain apps that have this, make a little thing, like the little

01:35:31   pencil thing that shows up where you can pick different pens, and show me the menu

01:35:35   commands that are available. It seems very odd.

01:35:40   And they're right on the... Again, this is what I'm saying about, they're right on the

01:35:43   precipice. I feel like they've got all the pieces, but are they going to walk through

01:35:47   the door? And I'm not sure they ever are, but it's funny. I mean, the tea leaf reading

01:35:53   criminologist version would be like, "Aha, they've put it all together, and now they

01:35:58   will strike." But there's another part of me that's sort of the iPad user who's been

01:36:01   waiting way too long, who's like, "They're never going to do it." They're going to

01:36:05   tinker around the edges, but never really break through that door and say, "No, now

01:36:11   we're going to do it. We're really, really going to do it." And I hope I'm wrong,

01:36:14   honestly. I didn't think they were ever going to add proper pointer support in

01:36:18   iPadOS, and they did that. And that has had lots of benefits in other areas like

01:36:23   universal control, right? It doesn't make sense if you don't have that support in

01:36:26   there. But to fully embrace this on that level and say, "Yeah, menu bars..." Because

01:36:35   Catalyst apps will take that menu bar stuff and actually put it in the menu bar

01:36:38   on the Mac, right? But it's like, you could have a system standard widget that

01:36:43   showed the menu, and it wouldn't have to be a bar. And the windowing could be

01:36:47   Windows if you wanted it to be instead of just multitasking. But do they want to

01:36:53   break the seal on that? And it may be that they had had too much else going on, and

01:36:57   they're like, "Let's wait on redefining what the iPad is, because that is a big

01:37:02   thing." Or it may be, one of my pet theories, it may be that they really aren't

01:37:06   going to add external display support to an iPad until they've got an external

01:37:10   display to sell. Who knows? I don't know.

01:37:12   Right. We didn't mention that with the Mac. We should have, that that was the big

01:37:15   recurring complaint. But it almost goes without saying at this point. Look,

01:37:19   there's got to be a display, a retina-quality display that's less than $5,000.

01:37:25   Yeah, proper Apple display that is not the Pro Display XDR.

01:37:31   The other one with iPad that gets me, it's a pet peeve of mine, but I know that it's

01:37:35   not like this obscure class of utility for the Mac. It's actually a type of utility

01:37:42   that there are like, it's hard to make a recommendation for somebody because I

01:37:45   could think of at least six really good ones. But clipboard managers, right? Like,

01:37:50   so, Payspot is one that I use. Keyboard Maestro has one built in. Launch Bar has

01:37:56   one built in that I used for years. I love it. But anyway, the basic idea, if

01:38:01   you've never used one, you should get one for your Mac. But what it is, is when

01:38:05   you copy stuff, you could set this utility up to say, remember the last 50

01:38:10   things I copy, or 100, or something. You know, you could, it's actually, you

01:38:15   think like, oh, 100, I don't want to be greedy. And you're like, ah, actually,

01:38:17   that's fine. You've got plenty of space on your computer. You can save them. And

01:38:22   then when you're like, you want to paste something and I was like, oh, I copied

01:38:26   something else two minutes ago. I don't have that thing anymore. You just have

01:38:29   one keyboard shortcut. There it is. You could just go down.

01:38:32   Or you want to copy three very specific things from one place and then switch

01:38:35   somewhere else and paste three very specific things. Instead of going back

01:38:39   and forth and back and forth, you copy, copy, copy, and then go and paste,

01:38:42   paste, paste. Yeah.

01:38:44   You can't do that on an iPad OS. And that is one of the, every time when I'm

01:38:48   like working in my kitchen on my iPad, and I've said this, you know, like a lot

01:38:52   of times, it's like, I really would be more productive if I just only read on

01:38:57   my iPad. And as soon as I start doing, like in some ways, the magic keyboard,

01:39:01   as much as I like it, I really, it makes me happy to use my iPad connected to

01:39:06   it. But I actually think I lose productivity because it keeps me in my

01:39:09   kitchen drinking coffee in the kitchen than going downstairs to my office and

01:39:14   using my Mac. And one of the things that will trigger me to say, you know

01:39:18   what, get your ass up, go and start doing your work on the Mac is if I

01:39:22   suddenly like, ah, I need a clipboard manager because I need to copy three

01:39:27   things. And I think, you know what, you shouldn't be doing this on your iPad.

01:39:30   And I totally get it, totally get why the iPhone doesn't have it, although I

01:39:34   kind of wish it could have it, but I see how it's less of a need. But the iPad

01:39:38   should be able to have utilities like that.

01:39:40   Yeah, I think that's the, when you look at iOS and macOS and compare them,

01:39:45   sometimes what people do is they look at the base feature set and they don't

01:39:49   look at the features that are enabled by third-party utilities. And we could

01:39:52   have a conversation actually about the fact that macOS probably should have

01:39:57   multiple keyboard or multiple clipboard support built into it. Like it's a

01:40:02   very, very old school Mac concept of what that clipboard is. And it probably

01:40:07   should be a little more dynamic and have more of a history, but leaving it to

01:40:10   the third parties is fine, but you have to enable that, which means that iPad

01:40:14   OS would need, or iOS would need to enable a clipboard history or

01:40:19   clipboard management API. And of course there are privacy issues. There are

01:40:23   security issues. Totally get it, but you could enable it, or if you decide

01:40:30   that it's too much, you could enable that feature yourself in the operating

01:40:32   system. And it's just on the list. I agree. I settle down to do text editing

01:40:37   on an iPad with a Magic Keyboard or with that Keychron Bluetooth keyboard,

01:40:44   actually. I'll do it there too. And that's the one that always gets me.

01:40:49   Is I realize that I have sort of in my mind copied something new, knowing I can

01:40:54   get back to the previous thing I copied, and I can't. And individual apps can

01:40:59   kind of do it, but like it's just, you got to have it everywhere. It has to be

01:41:03   system-wide. And yeah, it's on my list. It's like, you know, Audio Hijack is

01:41:07   another example of that too, where it's like Apple doesn't have to build system

01:41:11   sound routing features. The Mac sound base sound support is actually shockingly

01:41:16   another area where Apple could do better sound routing itself. It's chosen not to.

01:41:22   And so apps like Sound Source and Audio Hijack and all these other Rogue Amoeba

01:41:29   apps step into the breach there and they fix it. And I rely on those apps all the

01:41:35   time. Multiple Rogue Amoeba apps all the time. And they can't, there's no sound

01:41:40   API like that on iPad. So they just, you just can't do stuff like be a podcaster

01:41:45   and travel with an iPad because the functionality just doesn't exist. Like

01:41:50   iPad and iPhone are still back in the days where literally like one app can

01:41:55   control audio. Like it's, it's, it's like everything else is multitasking, but not

01:42:01   audio. It just doesn't happen. And I really do feel like it's just something,

01:42:05   it's that whole area that it just, it, it just sort of falls through the cracks

01:42:09   of, well, you don't need it on the iPhone and you could just use a Mac. So, you

01:42:15   know, not, not like they're saying no to it, but it's never bubbles up to a

01:42:21   high enough priority. Right. And, and on that, you know, and I get the privacy

01:42:24   issues, but it's like, they do all, they, they allow all sorts of things that,

01:42:28   that aren't necessarily private and you have to opt into like third party

01:42:33   keyboards, right? Like the third party software keyboards. That's, that's the

01:42:37   perfect example, which is there are rules and you have to ask for an entitlement

01:42:41   and there is a warning and you have to say yes. And so if you have a clipboard

01:42:46   manager and it says, friend, you know, clipboard manager wants to look at your

01:42:50   clipboard and remember your history and everything, they're going to see

01:42:54   everything you copy and it's going to put a little thing up in the status bar

01:42:57   that says your clipboard is being watched or whatever. Like, okay, fine, do

01:43:02   that. Yeah. I feel like the, if there was any progress on that front inside

01:43:07   Apple, that the whole kerfuffle last year of, uh, controversy over apps,

01:43:14   looking at the clipboard without permission, it might've put the kibosh on

01:43:20   that because it was just bad publicity. Right. And even though it was mostly

01:43:24   innocuous and most of the apps that were doing it, weren't doing it to, to do

01:43:28   anything nefarious, they just wanted to, like a deliveries app would just want to

01:43:34   look at the clipboard to see if it looks like you have a FedEx URL on the

01:43:38   clipboard and then helpfully suggest, hey, it looks like you have a FedEx

01:43:42   delivery. Would you like to track it? You know, because me, the app telling

01:43:46   you this is a delivery tracking app. It seems like something you might want to

01:43:50   do, right? It's, but it, it generated some bad publicity, but I just feel the

01:43:55   keyboard thing is an example, but I feel like keyboards, third-party keyboards

01:43:59   made it because that was for the phone and there was no other way to do it.

01:44:03   Whereas the, where the iPad is the middle, the middle platform just sort of

01:44:08   loses, loses out. Yeah. I mean, the, the positive way I would view the iPad

01:44:12   OS, uh, split in terms of name from iOS is it seemed to be Apple saying, we

01:44:17   understand iPad needs some features that the iPhone isn't going to get. And

01:44:21   we're going to, we're going to look at that. And this would be a great

01:44:23   example of that. There are lots of these things that are like, it doesn't

01:44:25   really need to be on the iPhone. It could be, but it doesn't really need to

01:44:28   be, but this is like, this is one that, that the iPad, anything that's got a

01:44:32   proper keyboard interface, um, and apps that are trying to do more stuff. And

01:44:37   again, maybe it's a system level thing. If you're really worried about

01:44:40   security, one thing you could do as Apple is have a clipboard API that

01:44:43   allows you to set certain things to not be, not be copy or saveable in the

01:44:47   history or, or to have an expiration date. And like you could build a system

01:44:51   that is fairly, and that is opt in that is fairly secure where you have to say,

01:44:56   is it okay if I share my clipboard with the system, but, um, it, it takes

01:45:00   effort and they've got to prioritize it. And I think it comes back to it

01:45:03   being the middle kid in Apple's platforms right now.

01:45:06   Right. Um, all right. Let me take a break here and thank our third and

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01:47:16   Here's one where do you, do you feel like the, uh, the combination of

01:47:21   wearables with watch has gotten to be problematic report card wise? Because

01:47:25   I, part of the thing is you want to be consistent year over year.

01:47:28   Yep. And so you want to have a, I ask about both, right? And that's new. I

01:47:34   actually added the wearables category late because originally was an Apple

01:47:41   watch category. It was right when the watch came out is when we started this.

01:47:44   And so that was, that was like, all right, let's talk about all the Apple's

01:47:47   platforms, but then they changed the category to wearables in their

01:47:50   financials and AirPods came out. And I feel like we needed to be more

01:47:56   expansive with that question. So for the last few years, I've been asking

01:47:59   both one, one set of comments, but two scores. I think in the long run, what

01:48:06   I have to do is just retire Apple watch as a category. And maybe that'll

01:48:10   happen next year and just sort of go with the wearable score, but I'm in the

01:48:15   interest of continuity. I'm I'm basically doing both because, you know,

01:48:19   the score is a little bit lower because I think people really love the

01:48:21   AirPods. Uh, and so the scores haven't ever quite converged. The, the

01:48:25   wearable score is a little bit higher because you're rolling in other Apple

01:48:29   products on top of the Apple watch. And I think that's about right. I think

01:48:32   as, as much as I like my Apple watch, um, I feel like wearables is a nicer

01:48:39   bucket to ask people about because it does include some of Apple's other

01:48:42   stuff that it's doing. And perhaps there will be more wearables from Apple

01:48:46   in, in the near future. I don't know. Right. And, and the obvious thing to

01:48:49   do would be instead of retiring Apple watch would be to just break them

01:48:52   into two separate categories. But I actually feel like this famous last

01:48:58   words it's it's along the lines of 640 kilobytes ought to be enough memory

01:49:02   for anybody, but Apple watch, I feel like the score is lower because it is

01:49:07   nearing completion. Not, not that they're never going to improve it, but

01:49:12   that it's, it's getting so incremental in terms of where, what else can it

01:49:18   reasonably do? And I know there are other health sensors they could add,

01:49:22   and I'm sure they will, you know, whether it's going to be this year or

01:49:25   next year and, and you know, and, and rumors about a rugged one that

01:49:30   Gurman has reported, like a G-Shock style watch, there's certainly new

01:49:33   things they could do. But I do kind of feel though that in broad strokes

01:49:39   that the watch has caught up to what it, what technology could let it be,

01:49:46   right? It's like, you know that like when the first version of watch came

01:49:50   out and apps were slow, it's like, well, the apps could be faster because

01:49:55   Apple's built-in software is faster, right? So the third party apps being

01:49:58   so slow, this was not endemic to the hardware. This is a problem that

01:50:02   needs to be solved. And I don't want to read too much into personnel

01:50:08   moves at Apple, but I kind of feel like Kevin Lynch going to Project

01:50:13   Titan is a sign. And I think he's still ostensibly still running watchOS

01:50:20   too, but I think it's a clear sign though that there's not as much on

01:50:25   his plate for the watch as there were in the early years when it was,

01:50:29   "Hey, we don't even have a, you know, electrocardiogames sensor. We have

01:50:34   to add that." Right. Well, I mean, I started, I started Six Colors and we

01:50:38   did the report card and the Apple Watch came out. Like literally my last

01:50:42   week, my next to last day at Macworld was the day the Apple Watch was

01:50:45   announced. So Apple Watch is about as old as Six Colors. It's, well, Six

01:50:49   Colors is older because the Apple Watch didn't ship for a while, but in

01:50:53   the ballpark, right? So I, it's been around a while now and I think you're

01:50:58   right. I think, I think it has reached a point technologically where

01:51:03   there's still plenty to be done there, but it's kind of motoring along and

01:51:08   has been very successful. But also I would say that at those early days,

01:51:13   when I was asking people about Apple Watch, I think there was a perception

01:51:16   that Apple's platforms had grown a new leg, right? And it was iPhone, Mac,

01:51:22   iPad, and Apple Watch and maybe Apple TV. And if you view it through

01:51:29   today's eyes, I mean, and I love my Apple Watch. I wear an Apple Watch all

01:51:32   the time. I run with my Apple Watch. In fact, I do an Apple Watch only run.

01:51:38   I run an intervals training app on my Apple Watch and I listen to podcasts

01:51:42   on my Apple Watch and I'm wearing AirPods and my phone doesn't come with

01:51:47   me. It's a cellular Apple Watch. I just don't take my phone with me. And

01:51:50   so I'm doing it. It's not just a peripheral, right? It is more than that.

01:51:54   But if you really look at it in the grand scheme of things, is it like an

01:51:58   iPhone or an iPad or a Mac? It's not. It is like an like AirPods. It is

01:52:04   another platform for Apple, but it's kind of in this sort of like

01:52:08   constellation of extra devices that are incremental. They add to your life in

01:52:14   Apple's ecosystem. And so I'm not throwing shade at the Apple Watch when I

01:52:22   say it is another product in Apple's lineup, but it is. Like it is important,

01:52:30   but it's not at that same level and it fits with something like AirPods.

01:52:35   And honestly, a VR product would be in this category too of something that is

01:52:40   very interesting, but not necessarily worth breaking out yet. And I don't

01:52:46   think the Apple Watch is ever going to be that. Like the Apple Watch is never

01:52:49   going to be the next iPhone. It was never really going to be, but it's

01:52:52   certainly, it's more of an accessory product like the AirPods are. And

01:52:56   that's not a bad thing. AirPods are great. So I think in the end, yeah, I'm

01:53:02   going to probably roll this all together into officially just calling it

01:53:06   wearables. I mean, I've already sort of demoted Apple Watch to a subset of

01:53:10   the wearables category, but it's sort of the one place I've made a change to

01:53:15   my survey and it's mostly because of perception. Like when we started, we

01:53:18   were very excited about the Apple Watch and now it's really more the

01:53:21   wearables category and a whole bunch of other stuff goes in there and that's

01:53:25   okay. I think that's okay. Yeah. And there's definitely more enthusiasm

01:53:29   for the AirPods and it's just that they've, they're still, they came a

01:53:37   couple years later, they've got more room to grow and it was a big year for

01:53:41   AirPods. I guess that the AirPods, when did AirPods Max come out? Did they

01:53:45   come out last year or did they come out? I think the Max was last year, but

01:53:49   the new AirPods were this year and Spatial Audio Update was this year.

01:53:53   And maybe a lot of people didn't get a chance to even try.

01:53:57   21. The year covered in the survey, not the current year we're in because I

01:54:00   know that's complicated, but yeah. Right. But it's, you know, AirPods Max

01:54:05   are still relatively new and it's, you know, just lots of new stuff that

01:54:10   the third generation regular AirPods pick up some really nice features from

01:54:15   the AirPods Pro and it, like I wrote in my comment, I know there are people,

01:54:22   I have so many friends who hate sealed AirBuds and the design of the AirPods

01:54:28   Pro requires them to be sealed in your ear canal. Some people either find it

01:54:32   physically uncomfortable, hate the sensation, whatever. It's just great

01:54:37   that there's a spot in the lineup and it's great that they kept the older

01:54:40   AirPods, which are still, this is one of the older products that it's good

01:54:43   that I think that they've kept around at a lower price because it's still a

01:54:46   good product and they lowered the price significantly as opposed to like my

01:54:51   upcoming complaint about the Apple TV. Yep. Yeah. And people love them. I

01:54:57   mean, I know that there are details and some people don't like the shape of

01:55:00   the new ones and all that, but in general, is there an Apple product that

01:55:03   you can think of in recent ages that has not been essentially acclaimed by

01:55:07   everyone like the AirPods? Like they're just, you know, they're great.

01:55:11   And I was super skeptical of them. And I am now primarily, other than when

01:55:16   I'm doing podcasts, I'm using AirPods Pro and I love them. So same here.

01:55:21   I think they've done, and I know some people love the Max and like they've

01:55:24   got a product line now where they've got different models and different

01:55:27   places for different people and it's all going, you know, that part of

01:55:30   their, it's funny when you think about the home strategy and how it's kind of a

01:55:33   disaster, then you think about the, something like the AirPods and like,

01:55:36   yeah, but they nailed that one. So the Apple's capable of really

01:55:40   completely acing a product. They just, you know, some of their products

01:55:45   haven't been there, but the AirPods is a good example of Apple putting all of

01:55:49   its skill and all of its understanding of certain product categories. And I

01:55:53   would say maybe all the lessons that learned from the iPod and making a great

01:55:59   set of headphones. Yeah. Apple TV got a C, but that's an upgrade.

01:56:04   People are like, how, how is it that Apple TV went up by more than anything

01:56:10   else in the survey? I'm like, well, first off, it had a, it had a 2.1. So it was a

01:56:15   D minus or an F I guess it was technically it was an F last year. It was

01:56:20   an F came up to a C a huge move. And people also were saying really Apple TV

01:56:28   three out of five. Like that seems like a lot. And it's like, okay, you got to

01:56:32   understand this is giving water to a dying man in the desert, that remote,

01:56:36   they changed the remote. Everybody mentioned the remote and, and as silly

01:56:42   as it is, because Apple TV has a lot of core problems in the fact that they,

01:56:45   it's not affordable. They have real competition in this category from Amazon

01:56:51   and Google and Roku. Apple is, it does not have the exclusivity that it used to

01:56:56   because it's put its stuff on all of those other platforms. And all of that

01:57:02   said, and the fact that it's, it's hardware is still kind of stale, even

01:57:05   though they did do an update to it. There's no entry-level model that's

01:57:08   cheaper. That's more price competitive. All of that, again, all of that granted

01:57:15   that update to the remote gave people just a big shot of adrenaline. And I

01:57:21   will say I'm, and I know I'm not the only one who said this, but that remote

01:57:26   led to a chain of events in my life where I canceled my cable, pulled, uh,

01:57:32   got rid of my TiVo, pulled out all my other devices and now am a one remote

01:57:38   living room. And it's that Apple remote. And, and it was the, cause it was so

01:57:43   good that I started getting frustrated that only my Apple TV was, uh, worked

01:57:49   with it. And so I just said, we're just going to replace everything else. And I,

01:57:53   and I did that. So it can be a life-changing bit of technology. Is it,

01:57:58   is it truly a measure of the Apple TV as a platform three out of five? I don't

01:58:03   think so. I think this number is going to go back down next year. Cause the,

01:58:06   the novelty of that remote will work, will, uh, wear off. But I think

01:58:10   everybody wanted to give Apple a little gold star for finally canning the

01:58:13   bad remote and replacing it. I do think there's something strange about the,

01:58:17   the, the Apple TV malaise is that Apple to me as often at its best when

01:58:24   they're the underdog, that's a comment I have written down for Apple talking.

01:58:28   There was a nice comment about Apple card and it's like, well, they're

01:58:31   entering this market where people are generally pretty happy with their credit

01:58:35   cards. So they are the underdog to try to convince people to, to upgrade to a

01:58:40   new thing. Um, and it, you know, it's human nature. Like when you're, when

01:58:46   you don't have competition and you've been successful, you get lazy, right?

01:58:50   You take stuff for granted. And, you know, that's the big part of the

01:58:53   argument we're seeing about the app store. You know, that, that, that maybe

01:58:57   they're, they're not really competing for that 30% of the 70, 30%. They just

01:59:01   take it for granted at this point. And that's not a good place to be, but

01:59:05   that it's so confounding that Apple TV has always, maybe not always,

01:59:10   cause maybe they were actually ahead of the curve when, when like Steve

01:59:13   Jobs introduced the first one and they were going to call it ITV and it was

01:59:17   a rumor. And the idea of putting a consumer computer connected to your TV

01:59:22   was still sort of new ish. Uh, but at this point they are behind, right?

01:59:27   Like you, you, it's hard to find anybody who writes about this stuff,

01:59:31   who doesn't say, look, you know, you can have opinions that you might

01:59:35   like the Apple software better, or it integrates with some things like

01:59:38   AirPlay better. Uh, there's reasons I like it, but it's really hard for

01:59:44   most people to see that this is worth the price premium versus the Fire TV

01:59:50   or the Roku or, or, or just using whatever's built into their TV. So

01:59:54   why isn't it lit a fire under Apple to like make it better and market in a

02:00:00   way that makes people say, Oh, that's why I should get an Apple TV.

02:00:04   It is a little mystifying. And I wrote a piece last year where I said,

02:00:08   why does the Apple TV exist? And I wasn't saying they shouldn't make it.

02:00:11   I was saying, what's the story here? What can we, can we come up with a

02:00:15   story for why Apple tell me why this product exists and yet you don't do

02:00:19   anything with it and you're not being aggressive with it. And the number

02:00:22   one thing I heard from people was, uh, not only is it's interface still

02:00:27   pretty good, a lot of those cheap ones that people talk about are slow and

02:00:30   bad. And it is true. I have a slow and bad Amazon Fire Stick. It is slow

02:00:34   and bad. I have a Sloan bad Roku box. It is slow and bad. I, I, I appreciate

02:00:39   that there are higher end ones that actually work better than those. And so,

02:00:43   so that's part of it. But the big one that people said was privacy that,

02:00:47   that I trust Apple with the data and there were the stories and they're not,

02:00:50   they're kind of overblown a little bit, but the truth is that Amazon and Roku

02:00:55   and Google want to want to analyze some things about your TV behavior.

02:01:00   And can use that to put ads in their interface or, uh, market things at you

02:01:05   and all of that. And some people are really, uh, don't like that. And they're

02:01:08   like, aha, Apple doesn't do that. So that's why I like the Apple TV. And I,

02:01:12   I hadn't really considered how serious people feel about that. And I think

02:01:15   they're right. I think that is a good differentiator for Apple. However, I will

02:01:20   say if, if it is really true that Apple offers such a superior experience in

02:01:26   terms of privacy for people who are using TV boxes, wouldn't you think that

02:01:32   Apple would say, you know, what we have as an opportunity here, if we could

02:01:36   release, even if it's just the good, better, best, and we release a base

02:01:39   model, that's cheaper, but it gets people on the door and we can start really more

02:01:44   ad heavily advertising. Like we're not gonna re we're not gonna watch what you

02:01:49   watch on TV. And, uh, they should just make it an HDMI stick that comes free.

02:01:55   If you buy the remote, cause the remote's like 60 bucks, right? Yeah. But

02:01:59   it comes with the box that works with the remote and the remote is really the

02:02:02   star here. You know, then you just plug this thing in. It's the, it's the, the,

02:02:06   the back end of the remote. So if they did that, you know, they would

02:02:09   presumably bring this wonderful world of privacy to many more people. But

02:02:14   Apple, that's the part that kind of baffles me is like, I get Apple likes

02:02:19   its profit margins and all of that. But like, is there not a cheaper Apple TV

02:02:25   product to be sold that would improve their market share in this category and

02:02:30   that they could market as part of a strategy to get people to look at the

02:02:33   Apple TV hardware? Or is it like, because now that they've moved AirPlay

02:02:38   and Apple's, uh, video stuff to every connected TV and every box that's out

02:02:45   there, basically more or less, they've lost lots of the reasons to get an

02:02:50   Apple TV. And so I, the reason I wrote that story last year is like, where do

02:02:55   you go from here? Like, is the Apple TV something you want to keep making at

02:03:00   all? Is it just a vestige or does it have a place? And I think, I think it's

02:03:07   actually not, Apple TV's got a lot of things wrong with it, but having used it

02:03:11   a hundred percent of the time for my entertainment, I like it. It's actually

02:03:15   not bad. It's actually kind of good. I like it better than the Amazon Fire by

02:03:19   a lot and the Roku by some as well. I think people might like it, but it's

02:03:24   price is so out of whack with the alternatives that, you know, anybody

02:03:29   who's looking at this category is going to be like, yeah, okay. Is it five times

02:03:32   better than this thing? And the answer is probably not. Yeah. Just buy the 20,

02:03:38   like, cause you can get a 4k stick or a 4k box from Roku for like 29 bucks at

02:03:42   Walmart. Like it's not even remotely close. And that's the challenge is does

02:03:46   Apple want to play there or is, cause I worry that the Apple TV is just going to

02:03:51   become more, well, less and less relevant. Let me put it that way. And, and as

02:03:55   somebody who uses it and likes it, I would really rather just it continue on

02:04:00   being good. And it, it, that worries me.

02:04:04   It's very strange. I'll just tack in a comment on the HomePod situation, which

02:04:09   I find to be very strange and sort of unprecedented. I've got, I've got more

02:04:15   full-size HomePods than just about anybody I know. Marco maybe has me beat,

02:04:19   but I think I've, we've got six in the house. We've got two in the kitchen, two

02:04:24   on the TV, and I've got two in my office and I love them. And it's, it's, I've

02:04:28   spent a lot of money on HomePods, but I haven't spent a lot of money on

02:04:32   speakers over the years. The HomePods are the expensive-ish and I know that you

02:04:36   can get crazy, crazy expensive with speakers, but having two HomePods to try

02:04:42   the HomePod hooked up to the TV and doing it, I was like, this sounds great.

02:04:48   And my wife and son both agreed this is great. And you're, you're me, me, John,

02:04:54   I'm the picky one. You know, if you say it's good, then fine. And I was like,

02:04:58   I'm not even going to get like a different sound system. Just two HomePods

02:05:01   hooked up to the Apple TV is great. It's been fantastic, but it doesn't work with

02:05:05   the HomePod minis. They don't even sell. And I don't think the HomePod minis, I

02:05:09   honestly don't think they're loud enough to drive our living room TV. It's a

02:05:14   fairly big living room. I just don't think they're loud enough. And now

02:05:17   there's no, they have this great feature and no product to sell with it.

02:05:21   Now, jumping a little bit into the home automation category, which is a D+ by

02:05:26   the way, is a very bad grade. It's like the teacher wrote at the top, see me.

02:05:30   Right? See me after class. We need to talk about HomeKit. And HomePod came up

02:05:36   in there and several people made that same point, which is kind of just a sad

02:05:40   statement of like, they have the HomePod mini, which is the mini version of

02:05:44   a product that doesn't exist anymore and has never been replaced. And they're

02:05:49   getting older and they're starting to fail and you can't get new ones because

02:05:53   they, they stopped making them. And there's this real question of like,

02:05:57   is there another HomePod coming? Is there another kind of more capable, maybe not

02:06:02   as expensive, but like more capable, larger HomePod model because they've

02:06:06   updated the software on those to do stuff like Apple TV, spatial audio, and

02:06:11   things that are not in the HomePod mini even. And it's like, okay, good. But

02:06:15   like, why? And is there, I assume there are other products that are going to be

02:06:20   driven by this. And that's the frustration of the home category is like,

02:06:24   it feels again, like Apple has making, is making some moves behind the scenes,

02:06:28   but we have yet to see anything in the big picture and where we are right now

02:06:32   is very frustrating. Like I think the HomePod mini is fun and I think it's a

02:06:36   great price. And I think it sounds pretty good for what it is, but it's not

02:06:41   one of those HomePods and the HomePods were overpriced and that's why they

02:06:45   failed. But like, surely there is something else. I'm a big believer in the

02:06:50   fact that like, what frustrates me about the home category is that they're so

02:06:54   close. And again, on the precipice, are they going to walk through the door?

02:06:58   There are rumors about a HomePod-like thing that has a screen on it that would

02:07:02   presumably run something more like tvOS, but who knows, and that would have

02:07:06   center stage on it. So you could do FaceTime calls. I'm like, okay, I have an

02:07:10   Amazon Echo show in my kitchen. I would love to replace it with a HomePod with a

02:07:14   screen. That would be cool. And then entertainment wise, whether it's a pair

02:07:19   of big speakers or whether I've been flogging the idea of like a soundbar kind

02:07:24   of thing that is an Apple TV, but also a speaker system that you just stick next

02:07:28   to your TV, under your TV. They've got all the pieces here, right? They've got

02:07:34   the operating system that does this between the HomePod and the tvOS

02:07:39   operating systems. They have all the pieces. And the question is, again, what

02:07:47   products are you making? Because that's the part with Home that I really don't

02:07:50   understand is sort of like Apple's choices about what products it makes. And

02:07:54   it feels a little like the Mac did back in the darkest times where it was unclear

02:07:59   if they knew where they wanted to take it. And my hope is that they finally come to

02:08:05   some realization about like what products they can make for the home that

02:08:08   make a difference. Because the HomePod mini is an outlier. I hope it is the

02:08:17   hint of what's to come. That it's got a thread radio in it. Like it seems like

02:08:22   they are about to like release a bunch of other things that follow on

02:08:27   to the HomePod mini. And I hope that's true because, yeah, like I said, the HomePod

02:08:31   is getting along in the tooth. And if one of your HomePods dies, fortunately you

02:08:34   have many others to swap in there. But like that product is gone and doesn't

02:08:38   have a replacement and it's frustrating. So yeah, D+.

02:08:46   Yeah, and it does, it parlays very well off the Apple TV because the Apple TV

02:08:50   counts to me sort of as home, you know, and I know, I know that I actually do

02:08:55   know from having written about this that there are people who use Apple TVs in

02:08:58   institutional settings to drive like presentation displays and stuff like

02:09:03   that. And they love it and it's great for that. And okay, I get it. If I was

02:09:06   formulating this this survey today, Apple TV might be rolled into Home, right? It

02:09:11   might be just part of the Home category, just like Apple Watch is kind of the

02:09:15   wearables category. Right. So let's skip Home automation. We've got, what else we

02:09:21   have here? We're running out services. I guess services. Services got a better

02:09:26   score than I would have thought. I don't know why. Like, services got to be, it's

02:09:31   down a little bit. You know, Steven Hackett has a good one. That does seem

02:09:36   like a glaring hole. Why doesn't Apple have a photo service that works for

02:09:40   families? John Syracuse has been haranguing them about this on his, I

02:09:44   think, multiple podcasts for years. Yeah. Does seem like a huge oversight and in a

02:09:49   thing where they've done so much to add to iCloud family and have made it such a

02:09:55   great thing and sharing apps and this and that and you can, you know, one

02:09:58   subscription and your whole family can use it on all their Apple devices and,

02:10:02   you know, it's all very nice. And then the one thing you can't do is have a

02:10:06   shared photo album, which is actually the way most families shared, you know, we

02:10:11   didn't all have our own photo albums back in the paper days. We, you know, I

02:10:17   don't know. And it doesn't seem, I know, famous last words. I'm sitting here in my

02:10:21   basement podcasting telling them, "It's easy!" I know it's not easy. You want to do

02:10:26   it private. I taught, because I write a book for Take Control every year about

02:10:31   the Photos app, which is like, what does it do? And everybody's like, "Well, why

02:10:34   doesn't it do this?" I'm like, "My book is not about what it does wrong. It's about

02:10:37   what it does and not what it doesn't do." But I asked them at one point, I asked

02:10:43   people on the Photos team, or at least the Photos marketing team, about this and

02:10:48   their response was, "It's complicated," essentially. And I get that it is and

02:10:52   that there's not, not in every circumstance does a, does one, you know,

02:10:57   partner and another partner, do they want to intermingle their photo libraries? I

02:11:02   get it, but I end up plugging, or actually these days we use iCloud photo

02:11:08   sharing because there is now a way to share hundreds of photos with somebody

02:11:14   and get them at full quality automatically added to your library. You

02:11:17   got to do it on iOS and you got to send it like as a message, you know, with this

02:11:22   this huge number of photos and it sends you a link and then it adds them to your

02:11:25   library. So you can do it that way, but it's a manual process to do that. And

02:11:31   my wife and I do that, like, we don't have two libraries, we have one library, so at

02:11:35   the end of the year when we're making the calendar for next year, out of

02:11:39   photos from the past year, she has to send me the text with 3,000 new photos in

02:11:45   it and that's what puts it in our master library so that we can have one place

02:11:51   where all our photos go. So I, again, as an opt-in, I get that not everybody wants

02:11:57   to do it. You could even build in if, like, if you're really concerned about

02:12:00   privacy things where you take a photo that you don't want your family to see

02:12:03   but they end up seeing it, like, you could make it sync after a day, you could make

02:12:08   it, you could, you know, you could opt out of certain photos, like, there are ways,

02:12:13   but to say that there's no user need for a family to pull their photos that they

02:12:21   take of their kids is, and, you know, it's just, it's just, I can't fathom it. I even

02:12:29   wonder if what they really want to do, I mentioned kids, I even wonder if what

02:12:35   they really dream of doing is saying, "Only the pictures of people in the family

02:12:39   get shared," or something like that, but even then it's like, I've seen their AI

02:12:44   stuff, it doesn't work that great, it misses lots of photos, you need to do

02:12:48   training, and if you're on vacation and you take a picture of a sunset, that

02:12:51   doesn't count, or do you have to use some sort of algorithm that detects were you

02:12:56   present and they were, it's too much, like, just give people an option to share

02:12:59   their libraries and be done with it.

02:13:02   Or even if it's to have a very high-level, prominent family album, and, okay, your

02:13:08   photo roll doesn't automatically go in there, and every photo you take doesn't

02:13:12   automatically go to your whole family, but that it's easy to just take all, you

02:13:16   know, all the recent ones that are relevant and just add them to the family.

02:13:19   And add them to the family shared library, which is a full-quality library in

02:13:24   iCloud of all those pictures, because you can do a shared album, but they're not

02:13:27   full quality, and they have a photo cap, and it's bad.

02:13:31   And if they're videos, which might be 4K, it might be very large, they're not

02:13:36   counting double or triple against your storage limit because you've got a copy,

02:13:40   your wife has a copy, your kid has a copy, no, it's shared pool.

02:13:44   Anyway.

02:13:44   The reason I think these scores are so high is because the fact is, if you think

02:13:49   back to back when .Mac and MobileMe and all that were a joke, like, you turn

02:13:54   around 10 years later, and Apple's got a lot of services that are really good and

02:13:58   solid, and they're not jokes, they're actually good.

02:14:02   Even iCloud storage, which I used to avoid because I didn't trust it at all, a

02:14:09   lot of my stuff sinks in iCloud now, and I still use Dropbox for most stuff, but a

02:14:12   lot of my stuff is in iCloud, and it works really well.

02:14:16   Not everyb-- they have so many services now too that there are a lot of comments

02:14:19   in the report card that are like, "Yeah, I don't use news," or--

02:14:23   but it doesn't matter because I use Apple One for all these other things, and

02:14:28   those are pretty good.

02:14:29   And if you go down the list, like, Apple Card, Apple Pay, Fitness+, Apple TV+,

02:14:37   a lot of Ted Lasso mentions and things like that, like, it's actually, you know,

02:14:41   Apple actually has done a pretty good job with most of its services.

02:14:45   They have.

02:14:46   And it's one of those things where first impressions matter, and people got the

02:14:49   impression that Apple's bad at services, and therefore it sticks.

02:14:53   You know, it takes a lot longer to break free of that.

02:14:55   But I agree, I almost feel like, you know, to add to your list of headaches for

02:15:00   future years of compiling a report card, it might become untenable to keep

02:15:04   services as one category, because it's getting to be sprawling.

02:15:09   And something like iCloud Drive, which you work with, is very different than

02:15:15   people saying, "Hey, I love Ted Lasso, and TV+ is actually accruing a lot of

02:15:19   content, but oh, the Apple Music app stinks."

02:15:22   You know?

02:15:22   - Play, those playlists on Apple Music, I love them, right?

02:15:25   Like, it's, it is huge, but then again, it is one of their product lines, so I

02:15:29   like the, I like the fact that it coheres with, with a product line of services,

02:15:36   which also has to wrap all of this stuff in it, Apple Care and Photos and Apple

02:15:41   Music, all of those things are in here, and iCloud storage.

02:15:44   - Yeah, there was, there was a little mini hiccup a couple weeks ago where a

02:15:48   bunch of third-party developers were reporting that there was a part of iCloud

02:15:52   that, you know, was reporting.

02:15:53   - Had stopped syncing.

02:15:54   - Yeah, and it was like, the HTTP calls were returning like a 503, "Service is

02:16:00   unavailable error," and it was a problem, and we should, you know, honestly,

02:16:06   Apple's, you know, as the size they are and the importance that services play in

02:16:09   the company that, you know, we should expect near, much closer to perfection

02:16:13   from them, and when they do have problems, we should definitely, that's the bigger

02:16:17   problem that if I had, if I had written about it, the bigger problem isn't that

02:16:22   they had a problem, the bigger problem is that the problem was a total black hole

02:16:26   for developers who were affected by it.

02:16:28   - Yeah.

02:16:29   - Right? So it's hard to say.

02:16:30   - And their apps get blamed.

02:16:31   - Right, their apps get blamed, and you go to Apple's online iCloud dashboard, and

02:16:37   it's all green lights, and it's like, well, then how come all these apps I use are

02:16:41   getting 503 errors? But the other thing that struck me, though, is that we don't,

02:16:45   we don't have issues like this as frequently as we used to. iCloud has gotten

02:16:49   better. It really has.

02:16:51   - Yeah, they, nobody's saying they're perfect, but yeah, there was a period in

02:16:56   time where Apple and services was just a joke, and even like, this happened after

02:17:03   the survey came in, but like, there's an Apple original movie from Apple TV Plus

02:17:09   nominated for Best Picture, right? Like, and won the Emmy for Best Comedy, Coda,

02:17:15   which is one of my favorite movies of last year, too. So I was really happy that,

02:17:18   it's like, I thought I was the only one who liked it, but they like me. They really,

02:17:21   really like me. But, and Ted Lasso, of course, won the Emmy for Best Comedy.

02:17:27   And so, like, Apple TV Plus is still a new service, and it's still growing, but

02:17:33   certainly what we could say is not a laughing stock, right? Like, they have done

02:17:38   a creditable job with that service and the content that's on it. And that is,

02:17:44   like, I have done Fitness Plus when we had a rainy period here, which then ended,

02:17:50   because it's California, and now it's never going to rain again, and I was doing

02:17:54   bike workouts instead of running. And every time I do that, I'm impressed with

02:17:59   how good the Fitness Plus stuff is. So, you know, they, news is still a mess,

02:18:04   and there's issues with Apple Music, and yes, there are, it's not all perfect,

02:18:08   but, like, their fleet of services is more impressive than I would ever have imagined

02:18:14   if you had told me Apple was getting into services, you know, five or ten years ago.

02:18:18   - And I also think it's one of the examples of what I said a couple minutes

02:18:21   ago, that they're best when they're underdogs. And, all right, maybe with

02:18:25   music, they weren't, because iTunes was so big so early that they should be,

02:18:29   you know, that they've spearheaded, they've been at the forefront of digital music,

02:18:34   and Apple Music should be better, and software problems and design problems

02:18:37   with the apps are not excusable for Apple. Music aside, everything else,

02:18:41   they're underdogs, right? Everybody's, you know, entering a market dominated by

02:18:46   Netflix and with HBO and Disney and these companies that are, the whole core of the

02:18:53   company is making these streaming services, you know, they're underdogs,

02:18:57   and I think they're doing pretty well. - Yeah, it's, so much of the conversation

02:19:02   was about Apple's culture not being a services culture, and, you know, culture

02:19:05   change takes a long time. I think it's striking that Tim Cook now says, when we

02:19:09   look at a product, we look at what value we can add at the intersection of

02:19:13   hardware, software, and services, right? And services is in there. And I think

02:19:16   that's a sign that they have been hammering on the idea that services is a

02:19:19   part of Apple, and it's not an afterthought, and it's part of what we do,

02:19:23   and when you work in services, you're not working at a lesser part of Apple,

02:19:26   you're working at a vitally important and ever-growing at a rate of like 20

02:19:29   to 30 percent a quarter service, or year over year, services business.

02:19:35   And I think it shows. I think it shows that they are no longer an afterthought,

02:19:41   and it's no longer the, you know, the dim bulbs that get put over an iCloud. Like, I

02:19:46   think it is an area of prestige for Apple, and they have changed the culture,

02:19:52   and that's impressive, because it is really hard to do, but I think they've

02:19:56   done it. Yeah, I do. - I'm going to say that we have

02:20:00   covered hardware and software quality in our discussions of the various

02:20:04   platforms, and I'm going to skip to the bonus round of developer relations,

02:20:08   which I knew was going to be, this is not a good year. - Like the social

02:20:14   services, social and services, or social and environmental, or whatever category,

02:20:18   this is also a bit of a Rorschach test, right? Because it was created at a time

02:20:22   where developer relations were really low because people were really angry

02:20:25   about arbitrary rejections in the App Store. And then next year, sort of, Phil

02:20:30   Schiller came in and did a lot of App Store reform, and the scores went up, and

02:20:35   everybody was feeling better. But, you know, there are always the issues of the

02:20:38   day with developers, and it was all about, kind of, Apple's court stuff, and what

02:20:46   they said about developers in court, and their attitude toward App Store fees,

02:20:49   offset a little bit by the small business program, which we sometimes, I

02:20:54   think, lose sight of the fact that Apple did say that for, you know, anybody

02:20:58   making less than a million dollars a year on the App Store, that they're only

02:21:01   going to take a 15% cut. - Right from the start. - And that covers, like, all indie

02:21:05   developers, basically, or most indie developers. So, you know, those two

02:21:11   things are at work, but if you look at the comments, like, so many people were

02:21:14   just dispirited by the fact that in its legal arguments in cases like the Epic

02:21:19   case, Apple was perceived as basically not finding, not thinking that

02:21:26   developers had much value, and that developers really are kind of, their

02:21:29   morale is really low. - Right. It's impossible not to see it, and that it's

02:21:36   getting worse because they're not giving anything. And, you know, it's great

02:21:43   for me and you as pundits, because we're going to be able to keep talking about it. - I love listening to you and Ben talk about it on Dithering. I did that on my run today, in fact. I was listening to you guys talk about that,

02:21:53   stream from my Apple Watch, and it's, yeah, it is the absolutist strategy, right, that they seem to have, which is, like, we're just not going to give an inch, and you keep wondering, like, guys, if you don't give an inch, they're going to really come down hard on you. And I keep asking myself, like, what do they know that they think is going to save them in the end?

02:22:14   But it's the collateral damage, too, of just, like, I remember when Apple was on the ropes, and the only thing that kept it alive was that it had users and developers that were going to

02:22:23   commit to staying on the platform. And Apple acts now like they're made men, right, like they're never going to need any help from anybody ever. And the problem is that, I don't know, I don't think you should live like that, because everybody's got their ups and downs.

02:22:37   And if Apple's down again, are the developers going to be there who are willing to sort of stand up for Apple after how they've been treated? I don't know, it's just, maybe they'll never be down, and maybe it's all, you know, just about the money.

02:22:52   But I feel like they're going to be in trouble, and nobody's going to bail them out.

02:22:57   It's, I feel like they're in trouble because, and I know it often gets, Tim Cook gets slagged as being too financially motivated, right? That all he, you know, he's not a product person, he never claims to be a product person, but therefore all he sees is what can be expressed in a spreadsheet.

02:23:15   But in some ways, I really do feel like part of that has to be true with this App Store stuff, and that some of the value they could have gotten out of loosening this stuff, even if they didn't feel they had to, like, we don't legally have to change to 75/25, just across the board, instead of 70/30, we'll go to 75/20.

02:23:37   I keep mentioning that chiller email from like 10 years ago, but I'll never stop, it's one of my favorite things that came out of the Epic lawsuit, where he was like, "Hey, do we think 70/30 is going to last forever, or should we, once we get to like a billion a year, maybe we'll go to 75/25, and if it keeps growing, eventually 80/20?"

02:23:57   I'm just saying, you know, and it's like, I think he literally said, "I'm just saying," you know, something to think about.

02:24:01   And somebody said, "Are you kidding? We're just going to take all the money." And yeah, you know, they're going to get to a point, potentially, where there are laws moving through Congress that are going to just dramatically, potentially dramatically transform their business in bad ways.

02:24:15   And no amount of lobbying is going to be able to turn that. And you think about how much money they would have had to forgo to maybe like take the heat off, so that there wasn't enough political will.

02:24:26   And maybe somebody inside Apple would say, "There's nothing we could have done that would have reduced this to the point where we wouldn't have been legislated against."

02:24:32   But they've made no, as far as I can tell, other than that, the small business program, they have made no other moves to mitigate in any way.

02:24:44   And in fact, most of their moves lately are, "We will honor the letter of the law, but we are never going to honor the spirit of the law in what they're doing, because we're just going to try to slow play this thing as much as we can."

02:24:55   And the result is that people like James Thompson say, you know, they have a "You should be grateful we're letting you make software for our platform's attitude."

02:25:04   And it's really demoralizing. And what's tough about this is James also points out, Apple, in developer relations, traditional developer relations, actually have been doing a really good job.

02:25:14   The virtual WWDCs have been good, they're virtual, like, they're tech talks, they're virtual lab sessions during WWDC, they have made huge strides in a difficult environment to get developers more information, and not just the developers who are lucky enough to come to San Jose every year.

02:25:36   And like, all of that would normally rocket it up the charts, like there are things happening in the developer group and the evangelism group that are so good, but they are entirely eclipsed by Apple then going into court and saying, you know, that developers are lucky to be on our platform.

02:25:53   It's undeniable, and I'm sure Tim Cook, if we could patch him in and finish the show with the three of us, he'd certainly agree, and he would mean it, that there are things you can't put a dollar value on, but I honestly feel that Apple is undervaluing those things, and developer relations is one of those things.

02:26:11   And it's like, if you're the best player on the team, pick a sport, you know, Tom Brady, you know, whoever, and you've just thrown four touchdowns in an NFL playoff game, it's like, he's gonna say, I want to thank my offensive line, I want to thank, you know, and say, you know, you, you, you, when you're up, when you're up, it's, it's to your benefit to, to, you know, to be generous to the people.

02:26:39   Says, says something about you as a person.

02:26:41   Right.

02:26:42   If you are generous to the people you don't need to be generous to because you're riding high, right?

02:26:47   There's.

02:26:47   And that's the guy who, the guy who's a jerk to all those people, when he stumbles and falls, guess what? Nobody's gonna help him up.

02:26:54   Like even.

02:26:55   Because he, yeah.

02:26:56   Even if Apple is right that they don't need third party developers as much as third party developers think they do, they should go the other way and praise third party developers writing for Apple platforms every step of the way, even if it's more than they think is, is due.

02:27:12   And it's, it would do no harm to them. And there's a dollar value to that. You know, like, I, what is the Apple logo worth?

02:27:20   You can't put a dollar sign on it, right? Like if, if the Sultan of Brunei came to Tim Cook and said, I would like to buy the rights to the Apple logo for $500 billion.

02:27:33   It's, it's a constrained example, but he, he wouldn't sell it, right? It's, it's, there is no price tag for it. You know, and if you say, if he named a number and he said, well, you tell me what the number is. He'd say it's not for sale.

02:27:44   Developer relations are on that, on that gradient, right? Where you can't really, there is no way to perfectly assess a dollar value for it, but there, whatever it is worth, it's worth something.

02:27:56   It's not a dollar amount and it's, it's going downhill. And I feel like this report card, year over year, now that we have years of it under the belt, it, it's evidence that it is getting worse.

02:28:09   Yeah. And I, sometimes I have people pop into my mentions on Twitter saying, well, what, what is a fair price then? If it's not 30, is it 20? Is it 50? It's like, well, it's already 15 for a lot of the smaller developers.

02:28:20   And I really do believe there's a contention at Apple who says, look, everybody's talking about 30%, but like 30% is all the big players. Like it's the big players who get 30%.

02:28:30   Now everybody else is getting 15%. And if you've got a subscription for more than a year, it's 15%. So we're really just soaking kind of the big game players who are driving huge amounts of revenue through our in-app purchase system.

02:28:41   And we think that that is that class of a transaction. We should scoop more money out of it because it's just huge amounts of money passing through.

02:28:50   And, and that it's a less sympathetic audience, right? It's a less sympathetic group. It's like, oh, the poor game developers who are getting people to buy gems in app.

02:29:01   Like it, that would be another case you could make, but, but there are, what, what really blows me away.

02:29:08   I know we're, we're saying a lot of the same things here, which is like, you can't know how much lobbying are you going to have to spend to get the Senate to kill this bill that's going to require everybody to have access to, to their own apps.

02:29:19   Uh, their own app stores on your platform. Like it, there's no way, even if you could spend the money for lobbyists to get the bill killed, and maybe you could, because that's sometimes that's how politics works.

02:29:30   I bet you it's more money than you could have just given away to invest in things that would make people feel better about you.

02:29:38   And it's not like there aren't advantages to having a more open app store environment that might come out of it. But like, if I'm from Apple's perspective, I want to keep as much control as I can.

02:29:49   What do I have to give up? The thing that you and Ben have talked about a little bit, and then I know Marco has talked about on his podcast is this idea too, that Apple could put a lot more effort into.

02:30:01   Putting its money where its mouth is and in terms of the app store being patrolled and the scam apps being removed and it being a more, uh, uh, you know, policed environment and make people feel like they're earning their, their money.

02:30:16   But they haven't done that either. Right? Like there, there are lots of PR gestures that they could probably make to say, see, we really do care.

02:30:23   And they aren't making a lot of them and I don't understand it. Um, and it's, and it's really frustrating. And I start to think I've kind of come around in the same way of saying, would it be the worst thing if most people just use the app store, but it does mean that somebody can sell like a, uh, an emulator and it could just run on my iPhone if I wanted to.

02:30:42   And, uh, and there's a little bit of competition so that Apple actually has to kind of keep itself honest. Cause I agree. I think alternate app stores are never going to be much of a thing and alternate in app purchase methods wouldn't, I think Apple would probably compete with them and win on usability, but wouldn't it be nice for Apple to actually have to try?

02:31:02   Cause it does feel like they're not trying. And it's, it wouldn't it be nice if they were trying in a way that just had few, you know, not more and more people saying, yeah, I actually, I think I've come around on this. I think mandatory, you know, the, the, the government should mandate side loading on these platforms.

02:31:17   It's, it sounds so it's, it's a bad idea, but that seems to be not side loading in and of itself. It's the government mandating it, which I think is a bad idea. It's the government coming in and saying you can't, or, or even you, we're going to limit how much money you can take out of the platform you built, which I, I hate that idea, but Apple has sort of led with their behavior, led themselves down this path to where this might be a thing.

02:31:41   Although I will throw this out here and I'm going to write a piece about this. So while we're promoting things that we're going to write in the future, I'll, I'll throw this in there, which is, I do wonder if the app store would be way better.

02:31:49   If it didn't, if it wasn't the only source of software on iOS. And I say that because I wonder if it would free Apple to be more draconian in what it rejects and say, that's not for us.

02:32:05   And it'd be more like a publisher and say, you know, we're not just release that yourself. We're not going to put it on the app store. And, and if the app store might end up being like way cleaner.

02:32:16   And I do wonder sometimes if the reason there's so much crap on the app store is because Apple is erring on the side of letting things on, because if they kill it, it's completely dead and bad PR for them and all of that.

02:32:28   Whereas if they're not the only game in town, they'll be like, ah, you didn't get into the app store kid, try again next time, but you can always go over across the street and sell it there and see if anybody buys it.

02:32:38   And, and in the end, the app store might be nicer than that's very counterintuitive.

02:32:43   But I had that thought today that maybe the app store would be more emboldened to just kick things out of the app store and not allow classes of apps in if it wasn't the only game in town.

02:32:54   Because right now that is a lot of pressure, right? Like if you kill something, it's dead. And so they're inclined to work with the developers and, and maybe they wouldn't have to do that. Like with a Mac app store, I guess.

02:33:04   Yeah. Well, I know it came up with some of these wordle clones, you know, but, but some of the ones that weren't ripoffs, not ones that were taking the name or trying to steal the logo, but just like, oh, it's, it's like wordle, but has a different name.

02:33:18   And some of them, you know, once it came to light, Apple was like rejecting their updates because they don't want copycat apps.

02:33:24   And it's like, you know, if they could just distribute it on their own, then Apple could say, you know, we don't want anything even vaguely like wordle.

02:33:30   We, you know, and, but then your, you know, your work isn't flushed down the toilet because the other thing too, and there is a financial angle to it.

02:33:38   And I don't know if it's more money or less, but it seems like a better longterm strategy and what Apple to me is clearly squandering with their Goodwill with third party developers is to encourage third party developers, large and small, to build Apple specific apps.

02:33:57   You know, and, and just fully embrace the Apple platform and instead of building something that's cross platform, fully embrace it and put your engineering resources into using the iCloud stuff for storage.

02:34:09   And then, you know, the privacy story is taken care of because it's on Apple.

02:34:13   Right. And you could do like, if I had to, if we had to do Vesper all over again, instead of do we couldn't use iCloud at the time, it wasn't, wasn't even close to being good enough.

02:34:22   If we were, if I were to make a notes app now it would use iCloud to use and then, and then the privacy story is we, we, we can't see your notes.

02:34:30   And isn't that a great privacy story?

02:34:32   But I think more and more at this point, if, if developers and somebody who was going to do like a small startup or an indie software house said, I'm going to build entirely on Apple's platforms, people would say you're nuts.

02:34:44   And that's, that is a terrible place to be.

02:34:46   Yeah.

02:34:47   And the danger of app store rejection, I firmly believe this, and again, it's a thing that we can never measure, but the danger of app store rejection is not just that, um, I can't install, you know, I can't go somewhere and just click a button and install dolphin on my iPad and play Nintendo Wii games.

02:35:06   Right.

02:35:07   It's also how many apps that even that might have been accepted, never got built for Apple's platforms.

02:35:16   Right.

02:35:17   Or for iOS out of the fear that if Apple felt that it was not good for some reason, it could never be seen by all that work is completely wasted because there's no other way onto the platform.

02:35:32   Right.

02:35:33   And like, that's sort of what I mean by the freeing aspect of it is that's the, that's where the app store is today.

02:35:38   It is much more the, the it's God, right?

02:35:41   It is God for the app for the iOS platform.

02:35:44   And Apple doesn't want to have competing app stores inside loading and I get it and I get why they don't want that.

02:35:50   But at the same time, I think it's actually bad for the platform that they don't that, that there's no release valve for somebody who is even wants to be in the app store.

02:36:02   Right.

02:36:03   But like hanging over at the idea that if they say no, you, you can't shop it elsewhere.

02:36:08   It's an iOS app.

02:36:09   It only works on this platform.

02:36:10   I think it's bad.

02:36:11   I think it's, I think it's not, I think we have missed out.

02:36:14   I'll put it this way.

02:36:15   I think we have missed out on some amazing apps that might've even changed the world in some way or some part of the world that never made it because the risk was too great.

02:36:24   And the truth is, yeah, there's Android, but, uh, most of the great apps in the smartphone era have flowered on iOS and then gone to Android.

02:36:34   And so what app are they're like, let's not build that.

02:36:36   Let's build something else.

02:36:38   What, what of those is out there?

02:36:40   We'll never know.

02:36:41   Yeah.

02:36:41   And I bet you there are some, right?

02:36:43   And if the idea, if the idea for the app, I don't have a specific idea of mine, but if it integrates with blank kit and this other kit and something else that all parlay on the iOS platform, then it is, that's where I was going is that it is a financial benefit to Apple where Apple can say, Hey, you should get an iPhone because we've got all look at all this great exclusive software that you can get.

02:37:06   Right.

02:37:07   And it's, you know, it all works with Apple.

02:37:09   And I really, it's, it's hard not to see that they, they just lose that lose that forest for the tree of nope.

02:37:16   We want 30% of every dollar passing through right now.

02:37:19   Let's not forget the Mac app store dynamic a little bit, and I know Mac app store is a little bit of a joke, although it's gotten better, but like, it's not, it's not the center of attention that the app store is.

02:37:28   I would say for, for historical reasons, more than it is anything else.

02:37:31   I don't think that the, if iOS had multiple app stores and sideloading was allowed, it would, that the iOS app store would become the Mac app store.

02:37:38   I don't think that that's true, but a thing that you have seen on the Mac app store is Apple go to developers of successful apps that are outside the Mac app store and said, what do we have to do to get you in the Mac app store?

02:37:52   And that can't happen on iOS.

02:37:53   Right.

02:37:54   And that's the other piece that I think maybe that, that the, that the exclusivity of the app store has, has missed on the platform is if somebody makes something and Apple's like, we'll pass.

02:38:03   And then they see it on their platform and they're like, wait, this is great.

02:38:06   Why is it not in our app store?

02:38:08   It could lead to some reflection of like, we should let this in.

02:38:12   Like we, this was a mistake on our part.

02:38:14   We need to change our guidelines.

02:38:15   We need to change our entitlements in order to let this in because it, now that I've seen it, I realized that we made a mistake here.

02:38:22   And right now on iOS, that just, it doesn't happen because it can't happen.

02:38:25   Right.

02:38:26   And, and, and it just, it's from all we see from the outside, Apple doesn't even acknowledge that it is, that it could be happening.

02:38:33   Yeah.

02:38:34   Right.

02:38:34   And so again, it's just, it's an opportunity cost and it's part of the, this is such a meaty topic.

02:38:39   And, and I do think that there's benefit potentially in, in, in things that could be potentially catastrophic for Apple.

02:38:46   They could be good for users.

02:38:47   I fear that the legislation, and I know Ben Thompson feels this way a lot, is the legislation will be badly written and it will actually become bad for consumers.

02:38:55   Just like the ebook thing with Apple was actually bad for consumers because it actually, they were going to lower prices and the prices went up.

02:39:02   But, uh, I worry about all that.

02:39:05   There is some opportunity there, but I'll just come back to the fact that I'm a little bit still baffled that Apple hasn't been more aggressive in trying to get the heat off of them.

02:39:15   They're acting like they know something we don't know, and that they're never going to get their business model changed because of this.

02:39:22   And, um, I, I did not expect us to get this far down the path with them still thinking that.

02:39:27   So maybe they do, they're smart.

02:39:28   Maybe they've got something in their back pocket, but I, I, I'm concerned that they don't and that they're going to end up with a much stricter punishment than they could have, that they would have gotten if they had played nice and been nice to everybody and said, no, no, no, you just misunderstand us.

02:39:44   Uh, but they haven't yet.

02:39:47   And for a company that is supposedly on the cusp of releasing VR headset that they presumably want third-party developers to write really cool native apps for, it just seems to me like the overall enthusiasm of people who aren't currently with an Apple at apple.com employee email address to write software for a new Apple device is night and day different than when the iPhone came out in 2007.

02:40:16   When there wasn't even an app store and people were dying to write apps for it.

02:40:21   Yeah. And, and look, there's always going to be the argument. I'm sure this is the argument that a lot of people will make when that platform gets announced is there's money to be made.

02:40:29   People will do it because there's money to be made and even apple taking its percentage. It's okay because there's money to be made and that will motivate people.

02:40:35   And my argument back would be, you're absolutely right.

02:40:40   People will come because of the money and there will be a gold rush.

02:40:44   However, if you're apple, there is apple cares about money, but apple also is proud of the art of its platforms and the, the way its platforms look.

02:40:54   And if you've spent a few years turning off the like small but creative geniuses who write your software and making them less inclined to embrace your new platform because you've treated them, they perceive you as treating them badly.

02:41:11   Then what you're going to get is a lot of mercenary stuff from big companies and well-financed people who are like money, money, we can make money on this, but you're going to miss the stuff that although it doesn't make you as much money.

02:41:23   It's kind of what you put in the ads and what makes you proud and what makes you show off, like, look at the amazing things that are done here.

02:41:30   I really believe that that's the value that the indie developer and the small artistic developer and the people who do things because they really care about apples platforms and, and they want to make good stuff.

02:41:40   Like they, they aren't as big financially as some game that's charging people in at purchases for gems, but they are like what apple wants to think of its platforms as being it's like self image.

02:41:52   And if you alienate those people, then the stuff you're going to get on your new platform is not going to be so great.

02:41:58   It's going to be fine.

02:41:59   It's going to make money, but it's not going to have maybe some heart and soul that, that make you feel like if you're apple make you feel proud of the platform you've built.

02:42:07   So I think that's what they're what they're risking by turning off these developers.

02:42:12   The money will still be there, but will there be passion there?

02:42:16   Right.

02:42:17   It's, it's sort of like Steve Jobs's intersection of the technology and liberal liberal arts.

02:42:22   It's actually a six way intersection and Wall Street traffic circle.

02:42:26   Wall Street Wall Street runs through there too.

02:42:29   And if that's, who's dry, if that's the motivation that's driving interest in your platform, it is, it's just, you're going to miss out on the liberal arts part of it.

02:42:38   And really the technology part, because the, you know, it's, it, you know, that's enough.

02:42:44   Yeah.

02:42:45   And I'm not, I'm not, yeah, I'm not saying that there aren't good apps that are going to be made by companies that are making a financial calculus on something like a VR headset.

02:42:52   I guess what I'm saying is I think that there is this extra level that you get when you've also got a whole bunch of people who just are really, they love the platforms and they're committed to being an apple platforms developer, and they're going to bring their next big idea to you.

02:43:06   And if they're not as inspired the software and in that app store, the VR app store or whatever it is, is not going to be as inspired.

02:43:15   And, um, I think that that is a, that is a loss that is maybe not as financial, but is, is makes the platform seem lesser and that's bad financially.

02:43:26   Yeah. And the further you get from a generic platform, like let's say, I mean, the web is sort of the lingua franca.

02:43:32   It's the, you know, tabula rosa, what would you call it?

02:43:35   It's the, you know, it's the one place where everybody can go and write software and it runs in a big rectangle and it can run on your phone and run anywhere else.

02:43:42   And you get to something like the watch and it's like, well, what does it take for the maker of your favorite podcast app to make a really good watch app?

02:43:50   Well, whatever it is that it takes is all extremely, completely specific to developing a component to run on apple watch.

02:43:59   You can't use it anywhere else, right? There's no, you can't even use it on competing smart watch platforms, right?

02:44:06   Because apple watch is so specific.

02:44:08   The VR headset is going to be like that, I think, I mean, obviously there's games that you could cross plat, you know, but anything else that you're supposed to do in this VR platform,

02:44:17   and I cannot believe that apple is going to make a VR headset that is only about games.

02:44:22   It's going to be very specific to apple's headset and you want developers who are committed to, all right, we'll, we'll commit to doing this effort that is only applicable to your platform.

02:44:32   And we, we trust you, you know,

02:44:35   leaving aside the hurt feelings, there is the take a leap with us thing, right? And, and again, maybe there are some companies that are interested in the money in a future apple platform,

02:44:46   but they're hesitating about it, whether this VR platform is really going to go or not. And what pushes them over the edge is yeah, but it's apple like, yeah, we've had positive things with apple in the past.

02:44:56   Let's do it. Maybe even a little irrationally, let's jump in because this is exciting because it's a new apple platform.

02:45:04   And, you know, if you're in a place where everybody looks at it and it's like, nah, I'll pass. I'll see how it goes.

02:45:09   Your platform is lesser because of it. And that's, I know this is all touchy feely intangible stuff, but it's like, I firmly believe there are benefits to apple having good relationships with developers that are not just financial transaction based,

02:45:22   but that there is a component that is we're partners. We trust each other. I want to do business with you.

02:45:28   I will follow you where you're going because we've had such good times together. And that part is what you blow out. If you treat them badly,

02:45:38   couldn't say it better myself, Jason, thank you for joining me. Uh, what do we want to mention? We've got a upgrade. You can, you're a podcaster, Mike Hurley.

02:45:47   You've got upgrade at relay FM, the six colors.com for all the writing and links to all the podcasts.

02:45:53   The incomparable.com has a bunch of pop culture podcasts that I do with a bunch of other people. Those are the, I think those are the big ones.

02:46:00   All right. Well, thank you for joining me and thanks for our sponsors. We had a trade coffee, Squarespace and a remote remote.

02:46:12   That's the company where if you are hiring people around the world. So my thanks to them.