The Talk Show

270: ‘Talking About Crimes’ With Matthew Yglesias


00:00:00   Matt I I have wanted to have you on the show for a very long time. I'm really glad to be on the show

00:00:07   Yeah

00:00:10   There's a lot of politics on my agenda for this week

00:00:13   so I thought I

00:00:15   Thought who else who else but this would be the week to invite you on for the first time

00:00:21   for people who don't know you because this is your first time on the show and you're

00:00:26   Your writing career is outside the the Apple sphere that that I tend to inhabit that listeners of this show might be most familiar with

00:00:33   Tell people a little about yourself

00:00:35   I'm a political writer in Washington DC. I've been covering politics and economic policy here for probably 16 years now

00:00:44   But I'm also an Apple enthusiast a big fan of during fireball big fan of the talk show

00:00:50   I have been feeling left out of the whole sort of Mac discourse because my

00:00:55   My keyboard had been working fine, but just yesterday suddenly

00:00:58   It went wonky on me. So so now I can complain with everyone else about this butterfly keyboards and which keyboard which model

00:01:06   So it's a MacBook Pro from 2017. Okay

00:01:10   7 or 13 or

00:01:13   15 15 15 inch so

00:01:15   So literally the device that you could solve this problem by going out and buying a new $2400

00:01:22   It's really it's enough to get you into the conspiracy theory

00:01:25   so he was it was putting me in a bad mood and then Tim Cook goes and

00:01:29   Does this weird photo op with Trump and it's now I'm done. Oh

00:01:34   man, I

00:01:36   Have a new before we get into the the other stuff

00:01:40   I have a new Apple product that I can report it is in my hand right now

00:01:44   I don't know if you saw this but Apple this week shipped a new product

00:01:48   it is the iPhone's smart battery case for the iPhone 11 generation.

00:01:52   Is it good?

00:01:54   It is. And here's the interesting thing. They added a feature. So they've had these smart battery

00:02:00   cases before, you know, and they've got the right sort of weird hump on the back and you fold them

00:02:05   over. And now, you know, clearly they need a new one for this new camera with a different cutout.

00:02:09   This one comes with a dedicated camera button.

00:02:14   Okay, it is recessed as opposed to sticking out. So you know, like on these silicone cases that

00:02:21   Apple makes like they make fake buttons for the volume rockers and the power button that stick out.

00:02:27   This is a button that is sort of it's where you would expect a camera button to be. So it's on

00:02:34   the same side as the power button but down and it's recessed rather than sticking out. And from

00:02:42   at any point whether the phone is locked, unlocked, whether you're using an app, if

00:02:46   you click the button, it immediately jumps you to the camera app. And, and then when

00:02:52   you're in the camera app, it works as a shutter. That's a pretty good feature. It is an amazing

00:02:59   feature. I am generally someone who doesn't use a case. And when I do use a case, I want

00:03:04   one that's very thin and light. And I don't struggle to get through a day on a battery

00:03:13   life with the iPhone 11 Pro. So I don't really need a battery case. But I'm infatuated with

00:03:17   this button.

00:03:19   Adding buttons is shows there. There is a new philosophy. Yeah, it's a long time, right?

00:03:26   Since what we need is more buttons.

00:03:29   I want this button on the phone.

00:03:33   I want them to add this to the phone

00:03:35   and not just put it on the smart battery case.

00:03:37   - A hardware button on a phone.

00:03:39   - I, you know, I realize they're never going to do that.

00:03:43   I realize that.

00:03:45   - Maybe after they finally get us the hardware keyboard,

00:03:47   right? - Yeah, yeah.

00:03:49   It's really kind of a fun little thing.

00:03:51   And they have, it's sort of like a little delay.

00:03:54   I mean, I don't know, somebody could probably measure it

00:03:56   with like a super high speed camera,

00:03:57   but it's it's some fraction of a second like maybe I'm going to guess to 200 milliseconds

00:04:05   so maybe like one fifth of a second you have to press and hold the button before the camera

00:04:12   app actually opens up because it's clearly clearly to prevent app accidental like if

00:04:18   it's jostling around in your purse or bag or something like that yeah that it won't

00:04:23   just suddenly turn the camera on and then burn your battery down or you know, while

00:04:27   the while it's it's not being used and it's just long enough that you can't quite just

00:04:32   quick click and this is my almost my entire review. You can't just click it and let go

00:04:38   and have the camera app open. You have to click it and hold keep the finger on it for

00:04:42   a fraction of a second. But if you think of it as a button that works, not by clicking

00:04:47   and letting go but by pressing to turn it on. It is it feels very fast. It launches

00:04:52   the camera app almost instantly, but you can't just click it. There you go. Buttons. That's

00:04:58   my

00:04:59   evolution. And then they also saved American manufacturing. Thanks. Yeah. It's amazing.

00:05:10   It is absolutely amazing. Should we do we do we have to explain what actually happened

00:05:15   here? So just thinking jokes? Well, I assume that people know, but we should explain it.

00:05:21   I believe that the timeline on this I'm sure it was in the works for weeks behind the scenes.

00:05:28   But officially, I first became aware this Monday, that the White House issued a statement,

00:05:34   it came from the White House. And they said that the, you know, President Trump is going

00:05:37   to tour Apple's Mac Pro assembly plant in Austin, Texas on Wednesday. And that was pretty

00:05:44   much it. There was no official word as to you know, who from who, if anyone from Apple

00:05:49   would be there presumably, you know, it didn't take a genius to think Tim Cook would probably

00:05:53   have to be there, you know, you can't really do it. It's the president. But that was very

00:06:02   quick. So I, I am ambitious reporter that I am instantly got in contact with Apple to

00:06:09   see if I could obtain a media pass for this event, whatever it was. And I would have if

00:06:16   If I had it, I was ready to try to book a flight to Austin Tuesday and be there.

00:06:23   Did not happen.

00:06:24   I was not there.

00:06:26   And basically, what Apple told me was that all of the media passes are going through

00:06:31   the White House and that if they wanted to, they could maybe give me a phone number or

00:06:35   something.

00:06:36   But that seemed like explaining who I am and why I should go.

00:06:41   Yeah.

00:06:42   Too much.

00:06:44   much. Yeah. And you know, I've got other stuff going on in

00:06:47   Thanksgiving. So I wasn't really looking forward to it. But it

00:06:49   just seems so momentous that I really wanted to be there and

00:06:52   maybe see, you know, see what I could Yeah, what I could do, but

00:06:55   I didn't. But anyway, it did happen. Do you want to take it

00:07:01   from here? So it happened. And then they went on the tour, they

00:07:07   shot a video. Trump did a tweet. He said today, I opened a major

00:07:12   Apple manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America. Today,

00:07:17   Nancy Pelosi closed Congress because she doesn't care about American workers. Right? That was the

00:07:22   crux of it. So Nancy Pelosi is obviously not closed Congress.

00:07:27   Yeah, and I was also under the impression that Congress has actually been pretty busy this week.

00:07:37   Right. So they went on a recess right at the at the end of the day on Thursday. They went on recess

00:07:43   for the Thanksgiving week. So the members can go back home, see their family, see their constituents.

00:07:48   Very normal. They were all weak. They were doing these impeachment hearings,

00:07:52   talking about crimes. But most importantly, they weren't opening a new factory. No, like at all.

00:08:00   That's just made up. The factory has been there since 2013. Right. Right.

00:08:06   And the old Mac pros. Yeah the trash can not even an Apple factory. Nope. It's a company called flex

00:08:12   flex

00:08:15   One of my friends quipped in a private slack group that they must be pretty flexible because they probably haven't been making many Mac Mac pros

00:08:23   The last few years. Yeah, I got to imagine that was not doing a ton of business

00:08:29   and

00:08:31   You know

00:08:33   And put Tim Cook he was right there and you know could have said something he could have maybe tweeted later like a little

00:08:41   clarification

00:08:43   But nothing and it seems like you know

00:08:46   He's he's happy to be a part of the Trump show

00:08:51   In a way that you know, I think I mean it's gonna rub some people the wrong way

00:08:56   Just because they don't like Donald Trump, but also, you know me you journalists just like factually speaking. It's not what happened there

00:09:03   He didn't open a new app manufacturer plant and also

00:09:07   Trump's trade policies almost made it impossible to assemble the computers there

00:09:14   Yes, and so it is a new assembly line

00:09:19   Right, like it's not like you can suddenly go from making the trashcan 2013 Mac Pro to these all together new

00:09:27   Even if it was a subtle tweak it would need a new line, but it's a radical tweak

00:09:32   So there is a new assembly line in the plant. They Apple is does have a campus in Austin where

00:09:40   they do other things, but not not manufacturing assembly. It's right. It's like, like tech support,

00:09:45   like white collar jobs. And they are opening a second one. Yeah. That's like the real thing

00:09:51   that's happening. They had one and now there's two. Right, they're spending like a billion dollars

00:09:57   to expand, either expand the existing campus or open a new one. It's hard, you know, whatever you

00:10:02   it they're close enough to each other that you know i don't know what you count as the same campus

00:10:07   or not but they are building a billion dollars worth of you know campus there and they will be

00:10:13   hiring people to work there um but it is not manufacturing jobs or not new ones and again

00:10:19   uh all of that matters or at least it should matter to those of us who

00:10:26   who both try to report things truthfully and who value the truth and what they read about the world.

00:10:33   But seeing this, you could have seen this coming, I saw this coming a mile away that Trump was going

00:10:38   to claim that this was, I'm almost surprised he didn't claim that they were on the cusp of

00:10:43   assembling the Mac Pro in China until he swept in and, and yes, I it's an apple, you know,

00:10:49   has been playing this probably since 2016. I mean, well, I don't know, I forget the timeline

00:10:57   on the Mac Pro. But I guess it was 2017 when they had the special, hey, we're gonna do a new Mac Pro

00:11:04   and here's the future Pro Mac hardware. But it's they, you know, an Apple is Apple, it's even Trump

00:11:11   aside, they don't talk about things until they're ready to say it. So but it's and they don't like

00:11:15   to explain their back thinking and so whatever their plan B was for where to assemble these

00:11:21   I think it's obvious plan a all along was that they would continue what they started

00:11:25   in 2013 and assembled these very low quantity high end Mac Pro computers in Austin where

00:11:34   they had started them in 20 that was their plan all along.

00:11:36   Right? Well, and it always seemed like the Mac Pro in Texas thing was in part a political

00:11:43   Gesture yes, they wanted to say they had a product that was made in the USA. They don't sell that many Mac pros

00:11:50   They are selling to a price insensitive client. I mean these things cost a ton of money, right?

00:11:55   Yeah, so they still won't tell you really they have like a starting price of $5,000 in a configuration

00:12:01   Almost nobody who needs a Mac Pro is going to be happy with

00:12:03   Right. So if you have to further pad the margins, whatever it's it's not a big deal, right?

00:12:09   And it lets them make the statement, right, and all their products, the laptops, the iPhones,

00:12:14   the iPads that that move real volume, and where it really makes a difference to them

00:12:19   economically.

00:12:20   That's, you know, there are parts of it are actually made in America, but primary assembly

00:12:26   is in Asia.

00:12:27   And, you know, so it's not, it never seemed like they would have wanted to move it out

00:12:32   of there.

00:12:33   And it's not totally unusual to sort of be trying to make nice with politicians, to some

00:12:39   extent by having it here, but it's very, it's very tied into actually needing to work with

00:12:47   Trump or curry favor with Trump on some other policy questions.

00:12:51   Because like even to get this plan off the line, they had to ask for waivers so that

00:12:59   they could import the components because I guess a lot of the silicon and other stuff

00:13:05   that's in the Mac Pro still comes from Asia.

00:13:08   You know, they would have to pay tariffs on it. They're making it more expensive, but Trump gave them a bunch of waivers

00:13:14   So that's why they're doing it there and it's I mean it's it's backwards to say it's like a Trump policy success

00:13:22   Right. It's I think as I wrote

00:13:24   it

00:13:26   I already I already can't quote myself

00:13:29   But but the basic idea is that it it opened not because of Trump's trade policies

00:13:35   but despite Trump's trade policies, and specifically needed exemptions from him, I mean, they call

00:13:42   them waivers, but waivers are just another word for exemption, right? They're exempt

00:13:46   from tariffs that they otherwise would have had to pay. And of course, all of these things,

00:13:50   you know, are made all around the world. But stuff like SSDs, and RAM, I think only comes

00:13:56   from Asia, I don't, I don't think there's anywhere to source, you know, DDR for RAM

00:14:01   from American made manufacturer, of course, it's from all over the world. Right. And so

00:14:07   it would have been a lot more seamless in the hypothetical world where anybody else,

00:14:12   anybody, any other major character candidate had won the 2016 election, not just Hillary

00:14:17   Clinton, or Bernie Sanders, or I mean, I don't know who was second place in Republicans,

00:14:24   probably Ted Cruz, you know, I mean, in the altar of john k sik, none of them would have

00:14:29   done this. None of them would have done this none there would have been none of these tariffs

00:14:32   and this they still might have had a dog and pony show about the new assembly line here

00:14:39   in Texas because like you said it is a politically good move to be saying hey you know we're

00:14:45   Apple and everybody you know we're this big successful American company and we are putting

00:14:50   jobs you know blue collar jobs right here in the United States and and on the on the

00:14:54   on the the before I leave that how politically positive that message is for mainstream America,

00:15:02   that was actually the subject of Tim Cook's first on camera interview as CEO. So Steve Jobs passed

00:15:11   away and at the end of 2011. And I forget what time it was, but it was sometime in 2012. Where

00:15:18   Tim Cook appeared on whatever the evening 60 minutes a show is that NBC has with Brian Williams.

00:15:26   And among, among many other things that have changed since 2012, Brian Williams stature at NBC

00:15:35   News has changed. Although I still like him. I actually like him a lot and feel like he kind of

00:15:39   got a bad rap over the whole exaggerating some stories thing. But But anyway, in an interview

00:15:44   with Brian Williams, it was sort of like, hey, why don't you make any of these computers here in the

00:15:48   the US. And Tim Cook's answer is, well, we're going to change that, you know, and it was

00:15:52   a positive message. You know, it wasn't untrue. I'm not saying it was BS, you know, it kind

00:15:58   of, you have to know, I mean, in mainstream America has no idea that the Mac Pro sells

00:16:04   like 1000th of as many items as Mac books, which is what everybody really thinks of when

00:16:10   they think of Macs and Mac, Mac books sell, like 120th what they sell iPhones. I mean,

00:16:16   numbers on iPhones are ridiculous. I mean, but it is something it is a real thing and they're doing

00:16:21   it. And it was so positive that that was Tim Cook's first on, you know, camera interview on national

00:16:27   TV as the CEO was to deliver that message. So it's definitely positive. Right?

00:16:33   Unknown Speaker Well, and you know, I mean, this is not

00:16:36   like the first time either that Apple has sort of partnered, I guess, with the Trump administration

00:16:44   around this stuff.

00:16:46   It was kind of smaller, but back in last year, early 2008, they sort of put out this press

00:16:54   release saying that thanks to the tax cuts that had passed the previous December, they

00:17:00   were going to contribute $350 billion to the American economy.

00:17:06   And then if you dig into it, it was like, I mean, Apple is a big company, right?

00:17:11   They do a lot of stuff.

00:17:13   It's totally true that they support people's incomes and jobs, but it had nothing to do

00:17:18   with the tax bill.

00:17:20   Even just the timeline didn't make sense.

00:17:22   Apple doesn't ... Law doesn't pass in December, and then by January, Apple has a whole new

00:17:28   business plan.

00:17:29   They work on these products on a years-long timeline, but the Trump administration, this

00:17:35   was their signature thing.

00:17:37   The tax bill really did give a large tax cut to Apple shareholders.

00:17:41   So I'm sure Tim Kopko was very happy about that.

00:17:44   It's good for the share price.

00:17:45   It's good for the dividends.

00:17:47   And then, you know, they kind of tried to make it out to be the press release has a

00:17:52   picture of like some guy with a huge sheet metal, you know, fabrication plant, right,

00:17:58   trying to say Apple is part of the American blue collar economy, which, you know, I mean,

00:18:03   it may or may not be to some extent, but it's nothing to do with with Donald Trump, except

00:18:08   they do.

00:18:09   They do.

00:18:10   They do like the corporate tax cut.

00:18:11   I think they were the single biggest recipient of tax cuts there.

00:18:16   I mean, just because it's such a large company.

00:18:18   Well, and it's it's specifically because Apple was in a very unique situation where they

00:18:23   had, I think, literally hundreds of hundreds of billions of dollars off outside the US.

00:18:32   Because the in there are, you know, I don't want to argue the politics of it.

00:18:36   But our apples argument was, you know, for years, people have been saying, Well, why

00:18:40   Why don't you just bring the money in the country and pay your damn taxes?

00:18:42   Right?

00:18:43   There's, there's a huge pay your damn, why don't you pay your damn taxes movement?

00:18:47   Rightly so.

00:18:48   The news just came out last week that Amazon is going to paid apparently going to pay $0

00:18:52   in taxes on $11 billion in profit.

00:18:54   That was part of Apple's argument was always they did pay taxes, right?

00:18:58   Not, you know, not all their tax, right.

00:19:01   But Apple have had this mountain of cash.

00:19:03   I think it was literally like $250 billion in cash, just sitting in like a bank in Ireland

00:19:10   that they it's money that they had made selling products around the world and they just kept them

00:19:14   in the bank accounts of international subsidiaries and thanks to the law that the Trump passed,

00:19:22   you know, in 2016, I think it was one of the first things that that he and the Republican Congress

00:19:26   did. Apple was able to move that money back in the country without paying taxes on it. And that's

00:19:31   is that a tax cut? I would argue yes, it is just not the type of tax cut you tend to think of you

00:19:37   you tend to I tend to think of tax cuts as applying to they pass the tax cut and then

00:19:44   you start benefiting from it or if it's a tax increase, you start paying it on stuff

00:19:49   that you do from that point forward. Right? So they pass the tax cut and then Apple saves

00:19:54   money on their profits. After the tax cut was based. This was a tax cut where they save

00:19:59   money on they save money on revenue that are profit that they generated for you know, 10

00:20:04   to 20 years.

00:20:05   Yeah, I mean, they I mean, they did get that that huge windfall, right?

00:20:10   Because they had been essentially keeping this money in their mostly Irish subsidiary,

00:20:15   anticipating that some kind of discount repatriation would happen.

00:20:18   But they also did on a forward looking basis.

00:20:21   I mean, they're, you know, investor reports say they're forward looking effective tax

00:20:26   rate fall by about 10 percentage points.

00:20:28   That's, you know, I mean, that's, that's a lot of coincidence, right?

00:20:32   I mean, yeah, I mean, this is the, you know, intention of the policy.

00:20:37   It's supposed to make American companies more attractive, put more money into them.

00:20:42   But you know, in general, if you were trying to sort of think of an American company that

00:20:49   if its profit margins went up a little bit, they could finally make something happen.

00:20:52   You know, Apple's not like the example you choose, right?

00:20:57   I enjoy their products.

00:20:59   I like my all my i stuff.

00:21:01   But they have enjoyed very healthy margins on these things.

00:21:05   And they had more money than anybody knew what to do with.

00:21:08   And also, it always seems like Apple's expansion, right?

00:21:13   Their ability to take on new projects is not limited by financial resources.

00:21:18   It's limited by a corporate philosophy of focus.

00:21:23   Like they could go make a speaker set, but they didn't want to.

00:21:27   And then they make the HomePod.

00:21:30   It's not really about money or taxes or anything.

00:21:33   It's about how they're structured.

00:21:36   - They're, by far and away,

00:21:39   most biggest constraint is talent.

00:21:42   They just don't have, and then I would argue

00:21:45   at the same point, the bandwidth of upper management

00:21:50   where there's only so many people

00:21:54   who are truly running the company,

00:21:57   they can only supervise so many projects,

00:22:00   products, whatever you want to say, they did money is not the

00:22:03   problem. They if money were the problem, man, they'd have they'd

00:22:05   have everything by now. That have a car,

00:22:08   they'd let stuff off, right? Like, like a lot of companies

00:22:11   are just these kind of big conglomerates. And some guy will

00:22:14   just run some unit off there with nothing to do with anybody

00:22:17   else. But Apple's not like that. It's a very integrated management

00:22:20   team, right on a top level, they have a design department, right,

00:22:25   that handles everything. And so as you say, it means they only

00:22:27   have bandwidth to do so much at once to take on so many new kinds of things, which is good.

00:22:34   I mean, it's why they maintain a generally consistent high quality except for this fucking

00:22:40   keyboard.

00:22:41   But you know, it's why it's so striking.

00:22:46   It's why people have been talking about it for years.

00:22:47   But anyway, there's just no reason to think that Apple is not a good political case for

00:22:54   this tax bill, but they were one of the biggest winners and they really went all out to try

00:23:00   to make Trump look good on it.

00:23:02   And then the bigger thing though is not the tariff waivers they got to build the Mac Pro,

00:23:08   but the tariff waivers they're asking for, for new tariffs that aren't going to come

00:23:13   in until December 15th.

00:23:16   But in theory, all this stuff, AirPods, MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, probably even this battery

00:23:24   case is all going to be hit with the next round of tariffs on Chinese imports. And that

00:23:30   would be a disaster for Apple.

00:23:33   It's and again, it's a little outside my realm. But I read Ben Thompson, Ben Thompson had

00:23:39   a great piece, Stratechery daily update. My last few days have been, it's been weird.

00:23:46   I forget if it was yesterday or the day before, but I think it was yesterday. And I think

00:23:49   basically, analysts think that if the tariffs, December 15,

00:23:54   tariffs come in and apply to Apple as they would right now,

00:23:58   without a waiver, it would require them to raise the retail

00:24:01   price of their products by about 5%. If they wanted to maintain

00:24:06   the same profit margins. I think it's very clear, I think Apple

00:24:10   considers pricing to be such a strong part of the brand of its

00:24:14   products that they would probably keep the prices the

00:24:17   same and take the hit on the margin. But one way or the other, it's bad news because clearly,

00:24:22   you raise the price, it's going to affect demand. I mean, that's literally like first day of

00:24:28   economics 101. And you people do not. Apple has conditioned investors to expect 38% profit margins

00:24:41   margins every quarter, quarter after quarter, it's actually, in my opinion, rather uncanny

00:24:47   how consistent their margins are. I don't think there's any funny business on that because

00:24:53   of all the things that you fudge in financial statements, the actual you know, the fluctuation

00:25:00   of the profit margin is not one of them that I've never heard of anybody, you know, going

00:25:04   to jail for an SEC violation because they fudge the profit margins. I mean, you've fudge

00:25:09   revenue or your fudge product, but 37 and a half to 38% every single quarter after quarter

00:25:16   after quarter, and sometimes they'll even offer guidance and they'll say, Oh, we might

00:25:20   we might be down to 36 next quarter, you guys be worried. And then here the results come

00:25:24   out 37.7% profit margin, it is unbelievably consistent. But like you said, with 37% profit

00:25:31   margin across the board, it's kind of hard to be sympathetic to them that they you know,

00:25:36   that they're on the razor's edge.

00:25:37   - Yeah.

00:25:39   Well, also, I mean, this is why

00:25:42   it's politically interesting, right?

00:25:44   I mean, this, I had to go a little outside

00:25:45   the talk show normal, right?

00:25:47   So it's like Trump, he wants to do a trade war with China.

00:25:50   So he's putting tariffs on all kinds of things.

00:25:53   And then he has to watch his domestic politics

00:25:56   because tariffs can raise prices for American consumers.

00:26:01   And if you go to the store to buy Christmas presents

00:26:03   your kids and everything suddenly costs 10, 15% more, you're going to be pissed, you're

00:26:08   going to yell at Donald Trump, that's not going to help him.

00:26:12   So if you think about it, probably the best company to hit with these tariffs would be

00:26:18   Apple.

00:26:19   Because as you say, Apple has huge profit margins, right?

00:26:23   So they can actually afford to just pay the tariff.

00:26:27   They're not going to be happy about it, but they always talk in their earnings calls.

00:26:31   I don't know, do you gut on the earnings calls?

00:26:33   No, they think there's always some section about exchange rate.

00:26:38   Yes, because this is a similar thing, right? So if the dollar

00:26:42   gets weaker, gets stronger compared to the euro, then they

00:26:46   make less money selling, selling the phones and stuff there. They

00:26:49   normally don't adjust the prices year to year, they have what

00:26:53   they think is the right price for a flagship phone in Europe,

00:26:57   they have the right price for a MacBook, and they stick to it

00:27:01   because I mean, I don't know, you know,

00:27:03   Apple just doesn't do a lot of price shenanigans, right?

00:27:05   There's no like Black Friday sales usually,

00:27:09   at least not the major stuff.

00:27:10   So their margins go up and down

00:27:12   and they live with it, right?

00:27:14   Unless there's a huge change.

00:27:17   So if they got the tariff,

00:27:18   like they would just pay the tariff

00:27:20   and it would be a ton of money

00:27:22   because they sell a ton of freaking phones.

00:27:24   And if you were Trump, you might think, okay,

00:27:28   Like that's a that's a trade war success story.

00:27:30   Right. I am now telling Apple, hey, look, if you want to get your margins back up,

00:27:35   you need to find a way to make this stuff in America.

00:27:38   But what Ben Thompson pointed out was that, you know, Tim Cook has been

00:27:43   sounding really confident.

00:27:45   Yes, that he's going to get these waivers.

00:27:47   And you have to imagine that that was in the mix for these conversations here.

00:27:56   You never know, I mean, it's not the impeachment hearings, but you know, how explicit was the

00:28:00   quid pro quo? Who knew what? What kind of little message were being sold? But it really seems like

00:28:06   that is the game here that, you know, Tim Cook would really like waivers for the whole rest of

00:28:13   the Apple product line. Trump is inclined to give them to him, if Apple can do him some favors.

00:28:19   Tim Cook is a very hard character to read, I would be

00:28:24   terrified to play poker against him, even if we set table, even

00:28:29   if we set the table stakes at a limit that I'm comfortable with,

00:28:32   you know, putting aside that Tim Cook going all in would be a lot

00:28:35   more than I can go all in for. I'm just saying that if we were

00:28:39   playing poker, I would be terrified to play with him

00:28:41   because I don't think you could get a read on him one way or the

00:28:44   other. The guy really has a poker face. And I want to go

00:28:49   come back to that in a bit. But in a way, you know, in a way, he's the opposite of Steve Jobs,

00:28:53   or Steve Jobs was very easy to read and really had had a very hard time hiding his true emotions.

00:29:00   Tim Cook does and he also is very careful. I would say that that is, you know, by all accounts,

00:29:11   one of the first adjectives anybody would ever apply to him. He's a very careful,

00:29:17   cautious person, he's chooses his words in public, you can almost see him thinking about them,

00:29:25   they're very cautious. And they often come across as very anodyne if he wants them to be where

00:29:31   there's just not much there there. And again, it does, like you said, it comes down to some of the

00:29:37   stuff with the quid pro quo stuff where, you know, and you know, Trump is literally when his defenders

00:29:43   literally want to say, well, he never actually said the words quid pro quo, and never even heard

00:29:47   of them before. So therefore, there couldn't have been a quid pro quo, even though it's just it's

00:29:54   just a word. He asked for a thing in exchange for another thing, which is quid pro quo. That's the

00:30:00   meaning of it. Right. So yeah, I get that. So I don't listen to the earnings calls. But I always

00:30:07   read the transcripts afterwards. That's my thing is I can't they go too slow for me. So I

00:30:13   I just wait and the people who bang out the transcripts, like Jason Snell, they have them

00:30:18   out so fast that I feel like I haven't even lost anything.

00:30:21   Even if something really important happened in it.

00:30:23   I'm only like an hour behind.

00:30:25   But you read it, you read his answer.

00:30:27   And it didn't, it didn't seem like a like the most famous example.

00:30:32   People keep bringing it up.

00:30:33   But there's the famous example of like in a protection racket.

00:30:36   The local mob comes into your flower shop.

00:30:40   And so it's a real nice flower shop you got here.

00:30:42   know, be ashamed if something happened to it, you know, maybe

00:30:44   you want to, maybe you want to protect it. They didn't say

00:30:48   anything. Yeah, right. And then, you know, you bust them, you say

00:30:50   we got a recording of it. You're like, Yeah, I just like going

00:30:52   into shops and telling them how nice they are. And I really

00:30:54   would think it's a shame if something happened to it. Right.

00:30:56   But that's a threat. That's a, you know, Cook doesn't talk like

00:31:00   that. So like Cook's confidence is easy to overlook, but you

00:31:04   really just look at it. And as Ben pointed out, he really did

00:31:06   seem to be saying, Yeah, don't worry about that. Right. I think

00:31:11   we're going to be OK on these waivers.

00:31:14   And it seems like they delivered their end.

00:31:21   Yeah.

00:31:22   And it's part of a bigger problem,

00:31:28   I think, for Apple going forward,

00:31:31   given how invested they are in manufacturing in China.

00:31:36   It leaves them vulnerable to this kind of stuff from Trump.

00:31:40   But also, the whole U.S.-Chinese relationship is going downhill for reasons that are bigger

00:31:48   than Trump, right?

00:31:49   There's this constant now concern about this Chinese company, Huawei, that makes, I mean,

00:31:55   they make phones, but they also make all this networking infrastructure.

00:32:00   A lot of the Democrats running for president are not enthusiastic free traders.

00:32:06   And then of course, the Chinese themselves have been, you know, making trouble with the

00:32:11   what was it that the Taiwanese flag?

00:32:13   Yeah, this Hong Kong app.

00:32:17   You know, all the tech companies deal with this in one way or another.

00:32:20   But you know, Facebook doesn't really operate in China.

00:32:23   And Apple really operates in China, like both on the sales and the production side.

00:32:29   And you know, I mean, Cook is not I guess he's not sweating this this round of tariffs,

00:32:34   But he's taken a lot of crap from people over it, I think rightly so.

00:32:39   And you know, you have to wonder how they're thinking about this for the longer term.

00:32:43   Because like Trump may pass, but I don't think, you know, US-China tensions are going to and

00:32:48   the Chinese government, you know, this is like way outside my area, but they don't seem

00:32:54   to be getting any nicer.

00:32:55   No, they do not.

00:32:57   Right.

00:32:58   Yeah.

00:32:59   There was also, and it's a side issue and maybe coincidental.

00:33:03   But did you see this a couple of months ago, there was a Google led team of researchers

00:33:11   issued a report on a vulnerability and iPhones and that long story short, they didn't name

00:33:18   the country but it came out afterwards that it was the Chinese government was using it

00:33:23   to using this exploit to target people with the in this Uighur situation in China where

00:33:30   this is a group of people who millions of people and they've got, you know, China is

00:33:36   putting them into concentration camps. I mean, that's no exaggeration. It's really just awful.

00:33:42   The New York Times has done a bunch of reporting on it recently about the conditions in these

00:33:46   camps. And Apple issued a press response to this Google story, which was to me tone deaf,

00:33:58   Because it really didn't express any sympathy to the Uighur people whom it was used against.

00:34:06   It was sort of Well, it didn't happen in the US.

00:34:08   It was only the Uighurs.

00:34:09   I mean, I got I'm paraphrasing here.

00:34:11   But the gist of it was it's only these Uighurs in China, who were actually affected by it.

00:34:17   And we fixed it.

00:34:18   And Google conveniently didn't mention that it affected Android phones, too.

00:34:23   And Android phones are more popular in China than the iPhone or something, you know, something

00:34:26   to that effect.

00:34:27   I mean it was a good it was a good slap back at Google. Yeah, like narrowly

00:34:31   But but also Apple is the company that's trying to sell us on privacy. Yeah. Yeah

00:34:37   I mean that's that's like their pitch and it's a

00:34:40   Reasonable pitch but it means that you know showing up laws in it

00:34:44   You know, it means a lot and also as you say right, I mean, so this is the bigger population

00:34:50   It's like 10 million people

00:34:52   they're Muslims, they speak a Turkic language instead of a Chinese language and

00:34:57   I mean if you if you read this stuff in the Times and elsewhere, it's it's totally appalling

00:35:05   I mean, they're trying to completely stamp out. Yeah this culture this this society and

00:35:10   Yeah, I mean it's not in the United States

00:35:13   But and I don't know how much Apple or anyone outside of China could actually do about it

00:35:21   But like any decent person I think would don't want to be involved in any way

00:35:27   Yeah

00:35:28   And this kind of crackdown if there's if there's anything at all you can do

00:35:31   and so my my my point on this issue with the Uyghur thing and the

00:35:35   Security vulnerability and this sort of callous or not maybe not callous but just unsympathetic

00:35:41   Public response is that if you're looking for signs that Apple is going out of its way not to

00:35:48   even potentially anger

00:35:51   Chinese government officials, you could now maybe it just didn't occur to them. And maybe they were

00:35:58   really just pissed about the way that it looked like this exploit was only against iPhones and

00:36:02   not Android. And it happened to be a Google research team that issued the report. And they

00:36:07   really I think that there was even I forget what the issue was the news of the day, but Google even

00:36:11   had some bad some bad news that week about something. And so isn't it convenient that

00:36:16   they issued this report on iOS security. Don't mention Android and did it at a time that was

00:36:23   seemingly convenient for Google and the tech news cycle. Yeah, not mentioning and putting in a very

00:36:29   sympathetic stance on the Ugers. You know, it maybe it just didn't occur to them. But maybe it

00:36:35   did. And I thought, well, why why piss off China? You know, that seems like somebody who's going to

00:36:39   piss him off. It's besides beside the point we want to make, again, wouldn't have helped wouldn't

00:36:44   have gotten one person out of a concentration camp wouldn't have softened the Chinese government's

00:36:50   truly cruel stance towards this entire community of 10 million people. But it still would have been,

00:36:56   I think, the right thing to do in your statement on this to apologize to the to these people who

00:37:02   are truly going through something bad. Yeah. And I mean, I also I mean, I found this this flag thing

00:37:08   kind of alarming, right? Where this is they they took the

00:37:11   Taiwanese flag emoji out of the iOS localization in Hong Kong.

00:37:16   Yeah. Which is hold that. Let's come back. Let's come back to

00:37:21   this flag thing after I take a break here and thank our first

00:37:23   sponsor because that's a good point. I want to keep going on

00:37:25   this but that's a good point that I'll remember. I want to

00:37:27   thank our first sponsor. My good friends at Hello pillow. H u ll

00:37:33   Oh, and then they spell pillow normally. Have you ever tried a

00:37:36   buckwheat pillow, it is a totally different experience than the fluffy soft pillows that

00:37:41   most of us are used to. It's similar to a beanbag very similar in my personal experience,

00:37:46   which allows you to adjust its shape and thickness. It supports your head and neck just how you

00:37:51   want to unlike traditional squishy soft pillows which collapse into the weight of your head.

00:37:56   Soft pillows allow your neck to fall into a downward bend, adding on uncomfort, uncomfortable

00:38:02   pressure to muscles, nerves and discs. Hello. On the other hand, a hello pillow stays cool

00:38:07   and dry compared to regular pillows filled with feathers or foam. You don't have to flip

00:38:12   it over them in the middle of the night to get the cool side. The side you've been sleeping

00:38:15   on stays the cool side all night long. It makes your pillow feel warm and humid without

00:38:19   getting hot. Buckwheat pillows just simply just tend to breathe better. They sent me

00:38:26   one years ago when they first sponsored the show. My wife claimed it has never given it

00:38:30   up since. We now have hello pillows and every bed in the house. They my wife and son absolutely

00:38:38   love them love to come home from a vacation we could stay somewhere with really nice hotel

00:38:42   beds. First thing they like when they come home is that they get back to a hello pillow.

00:38:46   Somebody tweeted about that once and a hello representative said you know you can take

00:38:49   them on the road but they are actually kind of heavy. It's actually the type of pillow

00:38:53   that would be hard to pack. Really it's a great product and if you're the type of person

00:38:58   uses two regular pillows or fold your pillow or something like that to pop it up. A hoe

00:39:03   one hello pillow will do the trick for you and keep you propped up at the proper opening.

00:39:07   You can adjust them the obvious way. unzip it. Take a little out if you want a little

00:39:13   flatter, put some more buckwheat in there if you want a little puffier. It's really

00:39:17   a natural way to sleep and on point for this episode of the show. Hello products are made

00:39:23   in the USA, with quality construction and materials. Certified organic cotton case is

00:39:29   cut and sewn for durability and the buckwheat is grown and milled in the US. So you can

00:39:35   sleep on it for 60 nights, you have almost two months and if you don't like it, just

00:39:40   send it back. They'll give you a full refund no questions asked. Go to hello pillow.com

00:39:44   slash talk show. Hello pillow h u l o pillow.com slash talk show. And if you try more than

00:39:53   one pillow, you get a discount of up to 20 bucks per pillow depending on the size, fast

00:39:59   free shipping on every order to and 1% of profits are donated to the Nature Conservancy.

00:40:05   My thanks to Hello pillow. So the flag emoji thing tell so the basic story there is China

00:40:12   is very sensitive to issues surrounding sovereignty. And you know what, we can touch on another

00:40:20   mutual, you're a much bigger NBA fan. Yeah, I am. But the NBA found itself in hot water

00:40:27   on the same issue. But they're, they're keenly aware of issues pertaining to sovereignty.

00:40:33   And it's partially what drives them to have these campaigns like in Tibet, and with the

00:40:40   Uyghurs where they're saying, you know, you, you are Chinese, this is China, you know,

00:40:46   that sort of mindset. And they're very sensitive to this, they, they, I think I'm going to

00:40:53   get it wrong. It's a shame, because we were just talking about him. But I always forget

00:40:56   what, what Taiwan's other name Republic of China, it's like, right, I was gonna guess

00:41:02   that the Republic of China. So the the Republic of China is Taiwan. And it's a democracy and

00:41:11   it's it's it is not China, but China sort of wants you to think it's China. And they've done some

00:41:19   weird things over the years. Like they've insisted that airlines around the world list Taiwan as the

00:41:28   the Republic of China.

00:41:29   Yeah.

00:41:30   I think they made them play in the Olympics as Chinese Formosa or something.

00:41:35   Some other historic name for it.

00:41:38   And so they have their own flag, as one does.

00:41:44   But Apple mysteriously, and Apple has these flag emojis, people probably seen it, you

00:41:49   gotta scroll down there.

00:41:51   And it went away in the Hong Kong localization.

00:41:57   I guess it was never in the Chinese one probably.

00:41:59   No, no, probably not.

00:42:02   Almost certainly not.

00:42:03   And that's like a it's a slap at Taiwan.

00:42:05   But also, I really don't know all the nuances of the Hong Kong protest situation.

00:42:11   But Hong Kong has a different legal situation in which people are supposed to have the kind

00:42:16   of free speech rights that they had when it was part of the British Empire, rather than

00:42:22   what what exists in China.

00:42:25   And what's particularly weird about this, right is is Apple just did it right?

00:42:29   You were, you know, Tim Cook, he says, Well, China doesn't pressure us.

00:42:34   You got to figure China did pressure them, but maybe China didn't pressure them.

00:42:39   They're just trying to be nice, go out of the way to censor Taiwanese flags.

00:42:44   But it was weird, too, because it happened in like, one of the eight updates to iOS 13.

00:42:50   It wasn't like iOS 13.0 came out.

00:42:54   And here's the major new version of iOS 13.

00:42:57   And now there's no more flag Taiwanese flag emoji in Hong Kong.

00:43:02   It was just like a, you know, like 13.1 point one or something like that came out.

00:43:07   And if you had your region set to Hong Kong, you couldn't type the the flag emoji.

00:43:12   But also weird is they didn't remove the emoji, they removed it from the keyboard.

00:43:17   So you can type it.

00:43:19   But if you in the US version of or any of the other various locales around the world

00:43:26   where it remains on the keyboard, if you send it to somebody in Hong Kong, they will receive

00:43:31   it and it will still display.

00:43:32   It's just they can't type it back.

00:43:35   But they could copy, they could copy and paste it back.

00:43:38   You know, it's that it's weird enough that some people speculated at first that it was

00:43:43   a bug.

00:43:44   But it's one of those things where it's like, well, of all the countries in all the world

00:43:49   where this bug could happen. It seems oddly curious that it would be the one where it's

00:43:53   actually politically sensitive.

00:43:55   Yeah, you know, it's not like the Moroccan flag vanishes in Namibia.

00:44:00   Yeah. Right. Yeah. All of a sudden, you know, the Mexican flag is no longer available, but

00:44:06   only if you're in Ireland. It was not like that. It was very specific. But on the end

00:44:12   And also there have been, we've seen a whole bunch of bug fixes, bug fixes iOS 13 come

00:44:18   out it had this has not changed yet.

00:44:22   I know firsthand from people who have family in Hong Kong, some readers of the site, you

00:44:28   know, who've, you know, texted me or emailed me or DME or something like that.

00:44:32   People in Hong Kong are pissed about it.

00:44:33   They're pissed about a lot of things about China, but they're pissed about this keyboard

00:44:36   thing in particular, because there's a lot of them who are even from Taiwan, you know,

00:44:41   that now they just live in Hong Kong. It's their country. You know, and if you think

00:44:46   about it that way, if you think that there was some sort of political problem, and it's

00:44:52   almost hard to imagine it happening in the US, but if there was something where you suspected

00:44:57   that Apple removed the ability to type the Italian flag in on your iPhone, that Italian

00:45:04   Americans would be very angry about it. Right. And rightly so I'm not even saying Yeah, you

00:45:10   would think. But if you just think about it that way, if you

00:45:12   think you know, if you're trying to put your hands, your feet in

00:45:16   the shoes of someone in Hong Kong, think about like, you

00:45:18   know, or if you are Greek heritage, or whatever your

00:45:22   background is. You know, you might be upset, especially if

00:45:27   you still have a lot of feelings and pride about your family's

00:45:30   home country. And so for a lot of people in Hong Kong, it is

00:45:33   Taiwan, and now they can't type the flag and it looks like Apple

00:45:36   is just, you know, airing on the site. It certainly isn't what people in Hong Kong want.

00:45:41   If anybody's happy about it, it's people in China, but they're not the ones who are affected by it,

00:45:44   because it's the people in Hong Kong who have the Hong Kong region iPhones.

00:45:47   Yeah. And you know, part of what's disturbing about, you know, this kind of thing is that you

00:45:54   don't know where the limit is. Right. I mean, it's, it's a small thing, right? You know,

00:46:01   it's an emoji, it's a keyboard, it's a phone, it's one small city. But if China calls them up one day

00:46:08   and they say, "Well, Taiwan is not recognized as an independent country by the UN and other

00:46:14   official bodies, so we want you to take their flag off emoji keyboards all around the world,"

00:46:22   what's Apple gonna do, right? Because, you know, frankly, like, the ability to use a Chinese,

00:46:31   a Taiwanese flag emoji is not like a make or break feature for a typical consumer around the world,

00:46:37   right? They like iOS, they like the phone, they like the cameras, like, they're really good. It's

00:46:43   the best way to take pictures of your kids, right? So are you going to stop buying the phone because

00:46:48   some random flag goes away and there's a lot of money at stake in the Chinese market, in the

00:46:53   Chinese production line. But you also like to think that companies will stand up for some kind

00:47:02   of principle that people, even if China is going to do whatever they're going to do, their government

00:47:08   is going to do in the land they control, that we here in America, people in Europe, people in

00:47:13   Latin America that you know we live in societies with free speech and and that's what happened

00:47:18   with the NBA thing essentially is China reached through its importance to the international

00:47:24   basketball market to shut down you know discussion in in the United States right yeah and it was a

00:47:32   sign of like I you know I really think it's alarming I do is that you know like in the

00:47:39   90s with Bill Clinton and you know, it was that that's when the turnout, you know, the

00:47:44   handover from British colonial rule to China was of Hong Kong.

00:47:50   It's when trade relations deepened and we started treating them at least economically,

00:47:56   like part of the club.

00:47:59   And the thinking was, once they get a taste of Western liberal democracy through these

00:48:05   economic things, then it's going to help open up the country. You know, it's, in my opinion,

00:48:11   in hindsight, clearly arrogant on our part that once you get a taste of our style,

00:48:15   you won't go back. Whereas what's actually happened is that Chinese style censorship is

00:48:22   exporting out of China, more than our freedom of speech is going in, right? Like there's,

00:48:30   there is that whole NBA situation was about saying that he if you work in the NBA, you can't say you

00:48:36   support Hong Kongers. That that's crazy. Right? That's really crazy. And there was, you know,

00:48:43   there was tremendous optimism about the internet, specifically, right, that China is going to want

00:48:48   to be a wealthy, modern, technologically advanced society. So they're going to have to have the

00:48:53   internet and on the internet, you know, no one can control anything. And I don't know, I mean,

00:48:59   The internet is wonderful. I love the internet. I'm right there every day. It's it's my whole life

00:49:04   You and I have made careers on the internet. Exactly. The internet is great and and

00:49:09   But we've seen that that forecast for China in particular

00:49:14   It was really really really wrong and it was very feasible to create a censored internet in China

00:49:21   Yeah, and they they are very modern technologically advanced society, right?

00:49:26   I mean, that's how we started so much of modern digital life runs on Chinese hardware.

00:49:33   And you know, there, they have not had that many globally successful sort of software

00:49:39   oriented companies.

00:49:41   But there is tick tock, which is big now.

00:49:44   And at least domestically, you know, we chat and whatever, it's, you know, it works fine.

00:49:52   on a political level or a free speech level or a human rights level, but the technology

00:49:58   turns out to be much more, you know, agnostic, I think, then then people wanted to believe

00:50:04   and the business relationship turns it around the other way.

00:50:08   Yeah, where we underestimated just how much Western not just Americans, but you know,

00:50:18   Western business people will break with our society's norms and standards for things like

00:50:25   free speech in order to make a buck. To be honest, right? I mean, and the NBA thing made

00:50:31   that so crystal clear. Like, again, it's sort of like making a big deal out of emoji because

00:50:37   you know, they're just emoji. They're literally drawn in a humorous cartoonish style. You

00:50:42   know, it seems like such a petty little thing. Although I think like as somebody who's mildly

00:50:46   interested in linguistics. It's actually fascinating, you know, the way people communicate with

00:50:52   them. But that's, that's a whole nother podcast. You know, it's a basketball, it's a sport,

00:50:56   you know, and the whole reason, you know, that people who hate sports get annoyed at

00:51:02   people who talk about sports is it's insignificant. And to me, part of the reason why I love sports

00:51:07   is because it's insignificant. And it's exciting. It's fun to watch something with very highly

00:51:12   skilled people where the stakes don't matter. Like I might get all terribly worked up about

00:51:18   the Yankees in the postseason and feel terrible that they got knocked out again. But the truth

00:51:22   is nobody died. Nobody's hurt. You know, it's just a game. The fact that it's just a game,

00:51:27   you know, is what drives it. But yeah, the NBA controversy in China was such great, a

00:51:33   microcosm of the whole thing, because it was all about the money. And everybody said it

00:51:36   was about the money. You didn't have to read between the lines. China said, if you know,

00:51:40   you guys, if you guys don't apologize and fire this guy, we're going to take, we're

00:51:43   going to stop showing NBA games in China. And they met it. And they immediately stopped

00:51:48   the broadcast of a couple of preseason games that were meant to be broadcast there. And

00:51:52   the sneaker companies sell tons and, you know, I guess billions of dollars, billions of dollars

00:51:58   of sneakers and jerseys for the top stars. You know, the financial ramifications are

00:52:06   just obvious and China waved them in front of the NBA eyes and said, Hey, you want our

00:52:11   money in this market? You'll do it and the NBA. I have to give it to the Commissioner.

00:52:15   What's his name?

00:52:16   Unknown Speaker It's not David Stern anymore.

00:52:20   Trenton Larkin I know. I can only remember David Stern.

00:52:23   Unknown Speaker He was Commissioner for so long. Yeah. Adam

00:52:28   Silver.

00:52:29   Trenton Larkin Adam Silver. I thought his response overall

00:52:31   was great. And he did stand up for free speech. And he didn't insist, you know, they stood

00:52:35   up for the executive in Houston and said, we're not going to insist he be fired. I think he handled

00:52:41   the diplomacy of it very well by yeah, by maintaining saying that the NBA stands for free

00:52:47   speech. You know, I appreciate that. I really think that he's it's just a it just shows that it's the

00:52:53   best run of the major sport leagues and in the US. But it was so weird to see like NBA players,

00:53:02   you know, refusing like if it was me, man, I would again, I don't have a 30 million dollar

00:53:06   shoe contract to defend. Maybe I would feel differently if I did, right. But I'd like to

00:53:11   think that I, it would make me want to say I stand with Hong Kong, even if I didn't even know what the

00:53:16   hell was going on in Hong Kong. I'd be like, I stand with Hong Kong, you know, and here I come

00:53:20   to play preseason game. It was incredible. I mean, a lot of the players, high profile players were

00:53:25   clearly pissed, not at China, but at this Rockets GM for making trouble for them. And that's sad to

00:53:38   see. And you see this a lot actually in the realm of movies, where it's sort of accelerating from

00:53:46   a few years ago, Skyfall came out and there's some reference in there to someone being

00:53:54   deported to China and tortured and they put out a you know a Chinese dub of it where

00:54:00   one scene is cut and some of the language is changed but but otherwise the movie goes out

00:54:05   but now the studios you know they work preemptively around what they anticipate

00:54:11   Chinese sensitivities to be so one of the ones I learned about is I don't know if you see the

00:54:17   Dr. Strange movie? Yes, I have. Yeah. Well, you know, Tilda Swinton's character in that,

00:54:25   the ancient one is a Tibetan monk in the comic books, and the filmmakers decided that a Tibetan

00:54:34   character would not be acceptable to China, so they just rewrote it. And the guy, you know,

00:54:40   he gives some quotes somewhere, and he's like, "Well, who wants to lose audience share in a big

00:54:46   moviegoing country because we decided to get political and you got to ask yourself like well,

00:54:50   okay, I mean, you know, people don't want to make everything about politics, right? It's a

00:54:54   comic book movie, like fine, I get that. But is having a character be Tibetan? Like how political

00:55:00   is that? Like, they're just there are two people, you know, that Chinese government doesn't like

00:55:06   that. Right. And just true. And you can spin it. That comic book canon is all kind of loose anyway,

00:55:15   because, you know, originally Peter Parker was a teenager in the 1960s, you know, so, and, and you

00:55:21   can do things like, okay, Aunt May was always really old, like, must have, you know, always,

00:55:26   I just assume, I don't even know the full backstory, but I just always assumed it was

00:55:29   this great aunt, not his aunt, you know, she was clearly like grandmotherly aged. And you can recast

00:55:36   her as Marisa Tomei, and she's, you know, mid 40s, or looks mid 40s, at least, and, you know, not an

00:55:43   old lady at all. That's fine. But you know, it that's different. You're not thinking like, hey,

00:55:47   they're just trying to avoid pissing off the people who hate old people. You know, there's,

00:55:53   there is no, there's no major market in the world where casting an 78 year old woman in the role of

00:56:00   Aunt May is offensive or politically dicey, whereas casting, you know, having a Tibetan monk might be.

00:56:07   And there's no people looking for it, right? I mean, you can imagine people in the Tibetan

00:56:11   diaspora, right? Who like, I don't know, right? Like no foreign army is going to come riding to

00:56:17   their rescue, but to see a member of their culture represented in a prominent movie, like that might

00:56:24   that might feel nice, right? It might mean something to people to say, like, you know,

00:56:29   they're, they had an impact on the world. People know something about Tibet and the

00:56:34   llamas and the monks and, you know, people do care about representation in these things. And it's

00:56:39   Why I guess Marvel speculated that the Chinese government would care preemptively got rid of it

00:56:45   But it's that's it's frightening and I think particularly

00:56:49   technology industry companies which have gotten so

00:56:52   They're so involved with how speech is transmitted nowadays, right?

00:56:58   I mean whether you're talking about streaming services or original content or you know, how do we read things?

00:57:04   How do we listen to things? How do we interfere? How do we interfere in elections in another country around the world?

00:57:08   - Right, right, right, right.

00:57:11   And you know, I mean, I don't know how to put this, right?

00:57:14   I mean, I work for a media company that tries to make money

00:57:19   you try to make money in your life, your business.

00:57:23   But I do think that people in journalism

00:57:27   have always had, you know, a sense that like,

00:57:30   we want to have businesses, we like money,

00:57:32   same as everyone else.

00:57:33   But like, we do want to stand for something, right?

00:57:37   And there are things you wouldn't do just to go make a quick buck.

00:57:41   And I don't know that that's the culture of Silicon Valley.

00:57:45   It's definitely not, I think, the culture of Facebook.

00:57:48   But Apple, you know, Tim Cook had this famous thing where he was like,

00:57:53   I don't care about your bloody ROI.

00:57:55   Right. He was talking about their accessibility features. Right.

00:57:58   And I always took that to be a sincere thing. Right.

00:58:01   Going all the way back to Steve Jobs and like, do you want to make

00:58:05   sell sugar water? Or do you want to change the world that not not that they're pure idealists,

00:58:11   but that part of getting people to go work there and work hard is that you want to convince them

00:58:16   that this is a company that's doing something with positive impact on the world, right? They're not

00:58:22   just selling sugar water. Yeah, I thought that was an interesting moment. That was at a shareholders

00:58:26   meeting a couple of years back. And I thought I wasn't there. And I don't think they record them.

00:58:32   So I only got it on transcript and by reporting, but by all accounts, Cook got angry.

00:58:37   And like I said, he doesn't, his emotions don't show in public.

00:58:41   So the fact that they did I take that as a sign of it.

00:58:45   He meant it so much that he actually lost his cool a bit, you know, and for him to publicly

00:58:49   use the word bloody, you know, it's not really colloquially from his Alabama roots.

00:58:56   I, you can't help but think that he was that close as close as he's ever going to get to

00:59:02   to actually using an American curse word on stage.

00:59:06   And I think he meant it.

00:59:07   I really do think he meant it.

00:59:08   I know, and I know for a fact,

00:59:11   Apple has the best accessibility

00:59:14   of any computing platforms,

00:59:16   and they keep making them better.

00:59:17   They got this voice control thing

00:59:19   that just came out this year.

00:59:20   And I'm a proponent, I've said this for years,

00:59:23   that the thing about accessibility

00:59:25   you have to understand is doing accessibility right

00:59:28   actually helps almost all users, if not all users.

00:59:31   you don't have to be blind or have a serious vision impairment to, to better use a computer

00:59:38   where everything where there's accessibility features that help them, you know, all of a

00:59:42   sudden, you can have software that can read the screen because the accessibility features have

00:59:47   to be able to read the screen, etc, etc. And, you know, I won't go off on a long rant about it. But

00:59:52   we're all we're all disabled at sometimes, like if you work as a bartender, and it's a noisy place,

00:59:58   and your hands are full. You know, having accessibility features on your phone is a

01:00:03   good thing. You need them not because you're disabled, but because you're handicapped by

01:00:07   your environment. You know, it's right. It's all there. And I think Cook meant it, though,

01:00:12   but I think Apple does it. And I know they don't measure it. There is no the accessibility

01:00:15   team and the time they spend putting in accessibility features is not measured in profit and loss.

01:00:21   And while we made x amount of money by selling phones to people with hearing impairments,

01:00:26   They don't do that.

01:00:27   They really don't.

01:00:28   And it's...

01:00:29   It's a core value, right?

01:00:31   I mean, they believe in making accessible products.

01:00:35   They believe that putting the time into accessibility will make them better.

01:00:39   And they also believe, you know, I mean, if you were to make a business case for it, you

01:00:42   say, look, like, this needs to be a company that people are excited about, right?

01:00:46   And so we are going to do this the right way.

01:00:50   We want to make the best phone and being the best phone means it's a phone everyone can

01:00:54   use, right?

01:00:56   And I think what you see, with the flag emoji, is the lack of that spirit.

01:01:04   Even though it's a small thing, but it's like you're not standing up there and saying, "Well,

01:01:08   we don't care about the bloody whatever it is."

01:01:11   We put flag emojis on our keyboards and we're just going to, because you could always...

01:01:19   Once you get into a corner cutting mentality, you can always cut more corners.

01:01:24   And that's, that's why he reacted that way at the shareholder meeting, right?

01:01:28   You could have tried to put out a presentation defending it in economic and business terms

01:01:32   because they wouldn't do something that didn't make sense.

01:01:35   But part of the proposition is that this is just important to them.

01:01:40   They're going to do it all the time.

01:01:42   And they're not going to nickel and dime on each individual kind of call.

01:01:47   And it looks like they are on speed.

01:01:49   And again, it comes back to Apple's profit margins.

01:01:51   It's like you can almost hear Tim Cook saying, "I'm delivering 38% profit margins to all

01:01:56   of you every single quarter.

01:01:58   What do you want more?"

01:01:59   It's not like we're skating by on the skin of our teeth.

01:02:03   Anyway, let me take another break here and thank our next sponsor, Clear Bank.

01:02:10   Clear Bank, all one word.

01:02:12   Clear is spelled normally bank with a C, B-A-N-C.

01:02:15   Clear Bank is changing the way entrepreneurs raise money with Equity Free Capital.

01:02:20   co founder Michelle Romanow. She's the star of Canada's dragons den. That's the Canadian

01:02:25   version of shark tank. Dragons probably beat a shark if you think about it. She co founded

01:02:31   clear bank with her partner Andrew de Sousa after seeing how many companies were willing

01:02:35   to part with precious equity in exchange for a bigger marketing budget. Clear bank believes

01:02:40   that founders shouldn't give up a piece of their company to fund marketing and inventory

01:02:45   expenses. Clear bank makes equity free investments from $10,000 to $10 million and can get you

01:02:53   a term sheet in less than 20 minutes. They charge a small flat fee for the capital and

01:02:59   you pay them back using a win win revenue share. This is not alone. There is no interest

01:03:04   rate, no fixed maturation date maturation date, no personal guarantees, no credit checks,

01:03:11   and no financial covenants. Clear bank has relationships with marketing agencies, ecommerce

01:03:15   professionals, venture capitalists, accountants and more giving you a true unfair advantage

01:03:20   in the market. Clear bank invested over $150 million in 2018. And they're on track to invest

01:03:27   over 1 billion with a B this year 2019. Some notable portfolio companies are public goods,

01:03:35   Lisa sleep, let tote Buffy, to name just a few. So if you are doing over 10,000 a month in revenue,

01:03:44   find out how you can receive a clear bank capital by getting your 20 minute term sheet at clear bank

01:03:51   with a c.com slash talks up show clear bank stop pitching and get back to doing what you love

01:03:57   growing your business clear bank.com slash talk show. Alright, that brings us back to Trump and

01:04:05   apples showing dog and pony show Wednesday, which the White House turned around by the end of the

01:04:13   day in a campaign ad with a bombastic Michael Bay style score. I don't know how to describe it.

01:04:20   I don't know. It's like a 30 second spot. Maybe it's like I felt like 10 minutes watching it.

01:04:27   But it's, you know, subtlety is not really. Yeah, it's not there's a score and everything.

01:04:32   And it's, you know, it was cut together to make it look as though Apple had just opened a factory.

01:04:39   Everything that Trump had said at the thing that wasn't true that Apple had opened a factory thanks

01:04:43   to Donald Trump and it was bringing jobs back and Trump policy is good for Apple and Tim Cook is a

01:04:53   Trump supporter. I mean, that's, that's, I don't think I'm exaggerating. That's, you know, that,

01:04:58   what the, that's the message of the ad. And I don't think any of those things are true.

01:05:01   And it's a terrible ad and it was entirely shot. It's not an Apple owned facility. Cause I guess

01:05:07   as we mentioned, they, it does some company named flex that owns the that owns the actual

01:05:13   factory, but it's it is an Apple facility. It's a facility that exists solely to make

01:05:18   Apple products. And it was Apple people who were in the video. Number one, that's it.

01:05:24   The whole thing is illegal, because it wasn't put out by like the Trump 2020 campaign, it

01:05:31   was put out by the White House. And it is actually illegal for the White House or any

01:05:35   other, you know, to put, you know, like, can't use camp say that the White House isn't supposed

01:05:41   to be doing Trump's reelection work. But yeah, that's all they don't they don't really follow

01:05:45   that law anymore. But it used to be it used to be a major thing. It would have been shocking. I mean,

01:05:51   just 1015 years ago in the Bush administration would have been shocking if a White House video

01:05:57   was a transparent reelection ad for George W. Bush. I mean, it just would have been flabbergasting.

01:06:02   And it would have been the story of the day and the heads would have rolled and the video

01:06:06   would have been pulled in. And now it's just, you know, spitting in the wind. Yeah, but it's

01:06:13   it's really, to me a very low moment in Apple's history. I don't know how else to say it. And I

01:06:23   don't think I'm being hyperbolic when I say so. And maybe, you know, I have an open enough mind

01:06:32   that honestly, like if I could talk to Tim Cook, off the record, obviously, and just, you know,

01:06:39   have him pitch me on why this was worth it. And maybe you know that this it's as cynical as it

01:06:45   sounds, that the numbers were so bad, if Apple had to pay these tariffs, and he's fully aware

01:06:52   of how bad this looks. And nobody's nobody in the world is less happy about the way that that tour

01:06:58   played out. And I'm sure he predicted everything Trump would say about it, that he opened the

01:07:03   factory and that it, you know, brought new jobs here, that I knew everything he was going to say,

01:07:08   and I did it anyway. And I would do it again, because that's how important it is to Apple,

01:07:12   and our customers that we be able to make these products without paying these tariffs.

01:07:18   Maybe I'm willing to listen to it. But even then, that's still sad. It's I'm still sad about the

01:07:23   state of affairs in the world, you know? Yep. I can't, I can't help but think that this is

01:07:28   a little bit of it isn't quite so magnanimous that it's a little bit more about greed, you know?

01:07:33   Right. Right. I mean, you know, what, what an extra tax, slower margins, if it goes down from

01:07:40   38% to 29% gross margins for a couple years until there's a new president, would that would that be

01:07:47   the end of the world? And you know, you said this earlier, but the one thing you always hear from

01:07:52   from people at Apple is that the biggest challenge that they have is with talent, right? That, you

01:07:59   know, people who are good enough to work at Apple are good enough to work at lots of places. They

01:08:04   have, you know, good marketable skills. And in some ways, Apple's not like quite as cushy as some of

01:08:10   the other tech companies. Yeah, they don't pay the most for the most part. Yeah. For whatever reason,

01:08:15   I honestly don't know why, but I do hope people who work there will think about this.

01:08:25   What ability do you have to speak up internally and think about your values?

01:08:30   I mean, this is an issue not just at Apple, but at all the companies in the industry.

01:08:35   If having some sense of ethics is a competitive advantage in securing talent, that would be

01:08:42   a very good thing for America and for the world because it's a it's a really competitive

01:08:48   marketplace, right? But if people if people don't care, what ends their work or put to,

01:08:54   you know, that's, that's really bad. You know, this was like Trump Trump even said it this

01:08:59   thing he said, Oh, you know, you don't need to worry about tariffs, because you're building

01:09:04   it here in America. And we were saying before, that's like, the opposite. No, it's the opposite.

01:09:09   Here's the direct quote.

01:09:12   The nice part is he doesn't have to worry about tariffs.

01:09:14   When you build it here, you don't have to worry about tariffs.

01:09:17   And that's not at all right.

01:09:20   That's not how the policy works.

01:09:22   Trump has all kinds of tariffs on intermediate goods and components.

01:09:26   And for some reason, Canadian aluminum has tariffs on it right now.

01:09:30   And it's like, it's crazy.

01:09:33   And you know, you got the CEO standing right there with you.

01:09:36   you know, you could be like, you know, Mr. President, the reason I don't have to worry

01:09:40   about tariffs is you gave us an exemption, like, which is great, but it would have been

01:09:44   even easier if we just hadn't done this.

01:09:46   Right. Like, you know, I mean, I totally get it. And Tim Cook is not going to make a jerk

01:09:53   out of the president. He's not gonna scream in his face. It's not going to be a setup.

01:09:57   He's not going to secretly have a cream pie and give him a pie in the face. You know,

01:10:03   So he could have I think he could have stood up and said something to that effect.

01:10:07   I think he could have you know, there are certain things he said that he could have

01:10:10   clarified without saying you're wrong, Mr. President here.

01:10:14   He could simply say it the way it's actually true.

01:10:18   You know, he could mention that we have been working we have been making Mac Pros here

01:10:22   since 2013.

01:10:23   He could say that we're talking Friday afternoon about stuff that happened earlier this week.

01:10:28   And I know my colleagues at Vox.com where I'm right, colleagues at the Verge, a sister

01:10:34   company of ours, and I'm sure other people around the internet put inquiries in to Apple's

01:10:41   press team.

01:10:42   We're like, "Hey, what's the deal with this?"

01:10:44   And they had no response, right?

01:10:45   They wouldn't even confirm in a passive way, like, "Yes, in fact, this is the same plant

01:10:51   that we've had since 2013.

01:10:53   It's on Apple."

01:10:54   I mean, it's all true.

01:10:56   So we didn't exactly need their confirmation.

01:10:58   But you know, that's a that's a middle ground that companies can take right when everyone

01:11:03   writes the Trump fact check story the next day, Apple could say on the record through

01:11:08   a spokesperson rather than the CEO, if they don't want to put Tim Cook in it be like,

01:11:13   yeah, that was that was wrong.

01:11:15   But they didn't.

01:11:16   They were like, no comment.

01:11:18   And I will confirm that I myself contacted Apple PR specific in addition to having asked

01:11:22   if I could get a media pass, I actually asked afterwards, hey, my expectation is that this

01:11:27   is the same plant where the previous generation Mac Pro has been made since 2013.

01:11:32   Can you and it's just a new assembly line at the same plant.

01:11:35   Can you confirm that?

01:11:36   And I got no response.

01:11:37   Right.

01:11:38   And that's, I mean, like, that's weird, right?

01:11:40   I mean, look, companies, companies, some of them don't respond to inquiries, but like

01:11:43   your job in public relations is to provide accurate information to the media about what

01:11:50   is happening when people ask them. Normally, if you'd come in, if this had been two weeks

01:11:54   ago, and you'd been like, Hey, when did you guys open that plant in Texas? Or, hey, is

01:12:00   this new campus? Is that where they're making the Mac pros? They would have been like, No,

01:12:05   it's like a couple hours away. But you know, we are proud to work in the United States.

01:12:10   You know, they give you some pitch, but it wouldn't be like, Oh, I don't even know. Where

01:12:14   do we build our buildings? Right? I mean, they know,

01:12:16   Apple, you know, famously, it does tend to issue no comment on almost anything and faint,

01:12:22   you know, it's, yeah, you know, Bloomberg will come out with a report that there's a

01:12:26   rumor that about the 2020 phone and then as part of their standard reporting process,

01:12:31   they will call or text or whatever and see if Apple will comment and Apple spokesperson

01:12:36   will always decline to comment that they don't comment on rumors and speculation. And I have,

01:12:41   I can't think of this thing off the top of my head. But often when I do need or want

01:12:45   clarification from Apple, it is on something sensitive, you know, and there have been times

01:12:52   over the years where I've gotten no response at all to certain questions. But I understand

01:12:57   it, because I'm asking about, you know, like the implications of a security bug or something

01:13:03   like that. I don't know, you know, but you can imagine where they would rather say nothing

01:13:07   because they don't want to say anything and be wrong about it. Maybe they don't know.

01:13:11   Why? How long has this plant been open in Texas is not one of those questions. This

01:13:17   is it. This is the parallel between their their their dancing with China and dancing

01:13:24   with Trump is that things that shouldn't be controversial, like having a Tibetan monk

01:13:30   as a character in a superhero movie, or just clarifying it. Yes, this is the same goddamn

01:13:37   plant that's been open since 2013. Here we are, and it's controversial. It's, you know,

01:13:44   and you, it's very, you know, because I, you know, I'm not like a, like a gadgets, you

01:13:52   know, guy, I don't review products. So I've never like tried to ask them, like, you know,

01:13:57   what's what, what are you going to do about about your next phone? And then and then they

01:14:01   tell you no. But you know, when I've had to ask them about like tax stuff, you know, like

01:14:06   any company like they've got their line they've got their spin like if you want to know like

01:14:11   what's the deal with blah blah blah you know stuff that's in their records and I just don't happen to

01:14:17   know how to dig it up but they just say it you know like it's fine it's company it's reporting

01:14:22   and it's it's truly odd to go into full no comment mode not to avoid some embarrassment to the

01:14:30   company but to avoid an embarrassment to the president of the United States yes like that's

01:14:36   Yes, you don't you don't see companies do that normally any industry, right?

01:14:41   It's because they didn't do anything wrong, right? And it's hard again

01:14:47   It's I shouldn't even have to say this but it's this is the nature of Trump being Trump and it is not a left-right divide

01:14:53   It's not conservative liberal. I've been writing daring fireball since

01:14:57   2002 so, you know

01:14:59   I I went through most of the whole Bush administration and then all of the Obama

01:15:04   Administration and it just never would have come up as different

01:15:08   politically as

01:15:10   Bush and Obama were

01:15:12   It just never would have occurred to me that there'd be a moment where Apple this Apple stuff that I write about would involve the company

01:15:19   Avoiding comment to avoid embarrassing the president. It just now I

01:15:23   Couldn't have even imagined this scenario

01:15:26   Yeah, here we are. I mean it shows how Trump also inserts himself into every walk of life in a

01:15:33   Anyway, I mean I I have been listening to the show for years

01:15:36   Reading daring fireball for a long time. I'm really excited to be on here, but it's also

01:15:41   Strange, you know that we have gotten into a point where there is so much

01:15:48   Political politicking around

01:15:52   Apple wants to make a new high-end desktop computer right like that should be a pretty niche II

01:16:00   Technology story that you know, frankly like even most people who care a lot about computers

01:16:05   Don't don't need this Mac Pro in their lives much less Donald Trump like

01:16:09   Meddling with with everything. It's like it's depressing. I like I like to listen to a show like this for a respite

01:16:16   Yes, and I'm I almost feel that

01:16:19   People's

01:16:22   No, yeah, and there's no way to avoid it this week, sorry, I mean I'm not even apologizing for the

01:16:29   I mean, it's a couple people pointed out on Twitter like because they know my feelings on trumpet

01:16:34   they're like has there ever been a cycle a news cycle that's more in the

01:16:38   center of the Venn diagram of my interests and it's like

01:16:42   Unfortunately, no, like you'd like to think that it's a story where it's like this is a story

01:16:47   I love to write about and talk about because it's right in the middle. It's like the John Gruber bullseye. This is great

01:16:53   Unfortunately, there's you know, there's a flipside to the bullseye

01:16:56   there's this you have to write about this because it's in the dead center of Venn diagram of your

01:17:00   interests but not in a good way anyway let me take a break here and thank our next sponsor

01:17:06   uh long time friends of the show Squarespace look Squarespace is the all-in-one place to make your

01:17:14   website everything from getting your domain name the design the templates the tweaking of the

01:17:19   templates the posting updates like if you have a blog or something like that you do it all

01:17:24   through Squarespace. I keep telling you guys when you when you listen to me talk about Squarespace

01:17:30   that you've you see Squarespace sites every day and you don't even know it because they don't have

01:17:34   like a telltale look or a subset of templates and it's like oh that's clearly a Squarespace site

01:17:39   there as unique as your brand is your website will reflect that I was just talking to some designers

01:17:48   today. We're getting some stuff designed in the house. Their company website, guess what

01:17:53   hosted by Squarespace somehow it came up that I was going to do a podcast later today. I

01:17:57   don't know how it came up. And we're talking about, you know, as an example of who sponsors

01:18:01   the show, I didn't even know Squarespace was sponsoring the show today. But it seemed like

01:18:03   a good guess. And they said, Hey, we make our website with Squarespace. And I asked

01:18:07   him, Well, let me tell you, if you want to help me out, how's it go? How do you like

01:18:10   it? They lost their web designer a couple months ago. Just, you know, not lost, like

01:18:16   they hired him, but they you know, the busy and moved on and I think he moved across the

01:18:21   country or something. They keep updating the site themselves. Totally non web designer people.

01:18:26   They keep updating the site themselves. Absolutely no problem. You do not need to be a technical

01:18:30   expert to use. You don't need to be a technical expert in any way to use Squarespace. So my thanks

01:18:37   to them next time you need a website, somebody you know needs a website started on Squarespace,

01:18:43   you can use it for 30 days free of charge before you pay a nickel. And my guess is you won't even

01:18:48   look to your second choice. So start your free trial today. And when you do sign up at

01:18:52   Squarespace comm slash talk show, remember that code talk show when you pay and you'll get 10%

01:18:59   off your first purchase at Squarespace comm slash talk show and the offer code same as the URL slug

01:19:06   talk show. Here's the thing I thought of in my notes, I don't take extensive notes before the

01:19:12   show, as you might guess. But it occurred to me thinking about it, I as an Apple observer,

01:19:20   I have remained over the last, I guess it's eight years now. studiously cautious and conservative

01:19:32   about playing the, this wouldn't have happened or would have happened differently. If Steve Jobs,

01:19:38   if Steve Jobs were still around. Because I don't think it's useful. I think most of the

01:19:45   speculation along those lines was proven terribly wrong over the last few years. You know, I mean,

01:19:51   you know, the gist of it was like circa 2013. Apple's going under because Steve Jobs is gone,

01:19:56   and they'll never make another new product and we'll soon forget about him. And that's obviously

01:20:00   not true. But it is very difficult for me to imagine Steve Jobs appearing alongside Trump.

01:20:07   Trump at that, at that thing on I don't even want to call it on Wednesday. Like, yeah,

01:20:17   I don't know what would have happened in the alternate world where Steve Jobs was still

01:20:24   a CEO and alive and healthy. And Trump were president and this tariffs thing was going

01:20:30   on. I can imagine jobs being cynical enough to, to go along to some degree to get the

01:20:37   tariffs, right? Like that doesn't sound out, you know, to get the exemptions to the tariffs.

01:20:42   That doesn't sound out of character to me. If anything, that seems like something he'd

01:20:47   perhaps be more willing to do than Tim Cook, I could be wrong. I could be completely wrong.

01:20:51   I cannot imagine him standing there and doing it and putting on a suit and tie. I don't

01:20:58   think he would have I don't think he would have participated in the executive council

01:21:03   whatever they called it technical council thing that Trump yeah I mean remember and

01:21:10   just think about how fast things have changed remember who was on the other side of him

01:21:13   at the time like on Trump's left was Tim Cook and on his right was Jeff Bezos really hard

01:21:18   to imagine Jeff Bezos appearing with Trump today given Trump's release you know stance

01:21:25   on the Washington Post. Who knows maybe if in the world where Steve Jobs was still around

01:21:31   and Tim Cook was still the CEO, it still would have been Tim Cook showing up in the way that

01:21:38   Steve Jobs even while CEO very rarely appeared on those quarterly analyst calls. It was Tim

01:21:45   Cook who handled it as you know, his CEO, Lieutenant, because it just wasn't Steve Jobs

01:21:50   his bag to talk the talk that analysts want to hear. So maybe it would have been but that

01:21:56   gets to your point about Trump being so sensitive to perceived slights and how things play.

01:22:01   Like I, you know,

01:22:05   it seems, you know, jobs is not the time to be as cagey as Tim Cook, right? I mean, the

01:22:15   doing it but not saying anything and not not saying anything either way right not

01:22:21   not defending himself against his critics either right I mean jobs I mean

01:22:25   a typical sort of founder do you know a difference between a founder and an

01:22:30   executive right it's like Steve Jobs he he had a lot a lot to say you know a lot

01:22:39   of ego right like on display not just like a quiet you know doing the business

01:22:45   kind of thing. And it's, it's, it's hard to imagine him being sort of half in public view

01:22:50   in this way, right there on camera, but not saying or doing anything, right. If he was

01:22:55   going to show up, it would, it would be to do something.

01:22:59   It's hard to, it's just hard to imagine it. And again, even the politics of it aside,

01:23:03   I just can't, can't imagine that he could abide the nonsense, you know, like whether

01:23:08   you've left or right on who you hope wins the next presidential election. Although we

01:23:13   We know from his, you know, we know that Steve Jobs leaned left and was close advised.

01:23:19   You know, Al Gore is on the board of directors at Apple, for God's sake.

01:23:22   And they are apparently, he's apparently one of the closest members of the board to Steve

01:23:27   Jobs.

01:23:30   I just can't, it's just the optics of it.

01:23:32   I just can't see it and letting Trump blather on and, you know, attract all the attention

01:23:38   of the moment.

01:23:39   You know, Tim Cook is obviously willing to be the quiet person, you know, right? What was the phrase?

01:23:44   He stood by silently

01:23:47   Yeah, I mean could you jobs are not be the the second banana in any no relationship, right?

01:23:53   Whereas that's that's how Tim Cook got to be Tim Cook, right?

01:23:56   standing behind Steve Jobs a lot Tim or Steve Jobs clearly had a it was a

01:24:01   I don't know if I often get confused about the this seems like something that I should understand but I get I get confused by

01:24:09   the difference between strategy and tactics. But it was, I think it was both a strategy

01:24:15   and a tactic. But Steve Jobs had a thing where if he came into a room, he immediately asserted

01:24:21   himself as Steve fucking jobs. And there's a famous story of the segue. And I forget

01:24:28   what it was called. I had a code name at the time. But the guy who invented the segue had

01:24:33   invited a whole bunch of big shots to see it before it was publicly unveiled. And it

01:24:38   you know, Jeff Bezos was there. And I forget who else was there. But Steve Jobs was one of the

01:24:41   people who was there. And Steve Jobs just comes in the room, took a look at it and say, this is

01:24:44   garbage and add like three things right off the bat. Like, there's another story. You know, this,

01:24:51   that's a room full of people, right? And he just wanted to assert that he was Steve. But you know,

01:24:55   if you read the story about I'll try, I'll try to remember to put it in the show notes,

01:24:58   his criticism of it was actually spot on. And his like, your idea that people are going to ride

01:25:03   around cities in this things, you're, you're, you're an idiot, that's never going to happen,

01:25:06   because of x, y and z. And of course, we live in a world today where electronic scooters and things

01:25:11   have become a much bigger turn. So there was he was on to something but the segue itself

01:25:16   never really took off in that way. I think that all of them are in use in malls, shopping malls

01:25:19   and Epcot center. You know, I think everyone riding one is a although I guess here in Philly,

01:25:25   they do have tour groups that take them but I don't see them very often anymore.

01:25:29   That seemed to be they do it. They don't in DC down down by the National Mall,

01:25:33   segue tours. But yeah, it's a it's a niche. It never, it never changed the world. Yeah.

01:25:37   Very smart guy about products. The other story I remember was, well,

01:25:42   there's a whole bunch of them. But one time he met an executive from ESPN, or Disney or something

01:25:47   like that might have been like, after the pics, you know, sale of Pixar to Disney. And he met a

01:25:53   guy from ESPN, and ESPN had just come out. It was you know, this is before the iPhone. This is like

01:25:57   like 2005 or six or something. When things like what I'm about

01:26:02   to say we're totally normal. ESPN had come out with a phone.

01:26:05   It was like an ESPN phone, where you could if you got the ESPN

01:26:10   phone, you'd get like text messages with scores or

01:26:13   something like that, you know, and it came free with the phone.

01:26:16   And the guy was like, Oh, I can't wait to meet Steve Jobs.

01:26:19   And he's like, Hey, I'm so and so from ESPN. And jobs just says

01:26:23   your phone fucking sucks. That's just like, it sounds like how he

01:26:27   introduces himself to the guy. He's not like, Hey, nice to meet you. By the way, let me

01:26:32   taste on that phone. You guys mean kind of stinks. He just goes, your phone fucking sucks.

01:26:35   It's like he just asserts dominance, right? It's hard to imagine him being in a room with

01:26:41   Trump where they're both, you know, it just seems like it would enter an infinite loop

01:26:45   of trying to, you know, assert dominance over each other. Yeah. I had this observation.

01:26:54   So Tim Cook, I think another adjective that you would describe Tim Cook as is diplomatic.

01:26:59   And I think the way he handled this thing Wednesday was very diplomatic his decision

01:27:03   to remain silent in the face of falsehoods about the factory and Trump's bizarre rant

01:27:11   at the end, not bizarre if you follow Trump, but bizarre for the occasion rant about the

01:27:17   phony fake news that we don't have it.

01:27:18   We don't have a free press in the United States.

01:27:23   You know, just nonsense.

01:27:25   He would, you know, diplomatically chose to remain silent.

01:27:29   Nobody would really describe Steve Jobs as diplomatic.

01:27:32   I think he could be if he had a goal in mind.

01:27:36   And the other thing, just an interesting, just a flipping of the world, you know, cats

01:27:41   chasing dogs, is that I would say of every previous president of the United States, it

01:27:48   Was diplomatic because that's like a key skill both toward

01:27:53   Getting elected and being president which are two different things very different things

01:27:59   but in both cases

01:28:02   common sense diplomacy is

01:28:05   Part of the job and Trump has just completely blown that up. So now now we've got a CEO of Apple who's a

01:28:11   genuinely talented diplomat and a president

01:28:15   So lacking in diplomacy diplomatic normal skills as to

01:28:20   Bugger belief, right?

01:28:23   yeah, I mean it's

01:28:25   It's it's completely

01:28:27   You can see how it it puts certain kinds of people in a odd

01:28:32   Position right? I mean because you do have to deal with him. I mean any CEO of a big company

01:28:38   Needs to needs to navigate in a world where the president of the United States, you know exists

01:28:45   and his opinions make sense.

01:28:48   And normally, normally you wouldn't normally you wouldn't have a president push the envelope

01:28:54   like that.

01:28:55   You wouldn't put the CEO of a company in that kind of spot.

01:28:59   But it is like it's it's a little bit I think about of a dominance game for Trump.

01:29:03   Right.

01:29:04   Cook, Cook back down.

01:29:06   You know, he nobody is actually fooled by this right at the end of the day.

01:29:11   Because there's a lot of reporting, we do have a free press.

01:29:15   But Trump showed that in a kind of stupid, pointless game of chicken, Tim Cook was not

01:29:23   was, was, was willing to back down, you know, he wasn't going to say, No, you're wrong,

01:29:28   Mr. President, right.

01:29:29   And like, you could imagine, like, would Trump really like, go to town with them on tariffs

01:29:34   over that?

01:29:35   I don't know.

01:29:36   And you know, it's, it's good that Jeff Bezos has not, you know, curtailed The Washington

01:29:40   post in response to any number of the two pretty tweets from Trump and even suggestions

01:29:47   that he'll go after Amazon on policy grounds.

01:29:51   You know, it's really important for the world that, you know, people have some kind of backbone

01:29:56   because at the end of the day, I mean, they are vulnerable to pressure, but also these

01:30:00   are, you know, the most privileged and secure people in the universe.

01:30:05   And if they can't put themselves out there a little bit for like basic truth, you know,

01:30:10   It's not great.

01:30:12   Trump so can't imagine.

01:30:16   He's so convinced that Bezos, I mean, by all a point, you know, you'd know it better than

01:30:20   me being both a in the media and being in Washington.

01:30:25   That by all accounts, Bezos leadership or ownership, I should say, it doesn't really

01:30:32   lead.

01:30:33   He's the owner of the Washington Post is truly it's truly hands off editorially that there

01:30:37   There are no accounts at all of any kind of, Hey, let's take it easy on the stories about

01:30:42   Amazon and taxes.

01:30:44   You know, let's take it easy on that.

01:30:46   Nothing, nothing.

01:30:47   And if he tried it, there's no way that anybody at the post would stand for it.

01:30:53   I mean, they would, it would be out and it would be in the New York times five minutes

01:30:56   later.

01:30:57   You know, it's hard to stop journalists from leaking.

01:31:00   They know a lot of other people.

01:31:01   Right.

01:31:02   Right.

01:31:03   And also, even if you thought, right, it's like, well, okay, you look, you should not

01:31:07   rely on the Washington Post as your only source of information about the company, amazon.com.

01:31:12   That's common sense.

01:31:13   But like the idea that Jeff Bezos is like directing their coverage of the Trump administration,

01:31:20   because of some cockamamie thing related to Postal Service rates like that.

01:31:27   But Trump clearly can't imagine that if he owned the Washington Post, not abusing his

01:31:33   ownership to further his own agenda and punish his enemies, real or perceived, he so can't

01:31:41   imagine not doing it that he just assumes Bezos must be doing it.

01:31:45   And so therefore, it must be driven by Jeff Bezos.

01:31:48   Because what kind of what kind of a billionaire wouldn't wouldn't use his newspaper that way?

01:31:53   Right?

01:31:54   that one thing you might do as a billionaire is actually just enjoy the ability to

01:31:59   Be a little loose with your money and have people say nice things about you because you're the patron of a great newspaper

01:32:05   It's like beyond his

01:32:07   comprehension, right absolutely

01:32:10   So now we've got a diplomatic see yeah, I did just in the what-if scenarios

01:32:17   It's like I just imagine going back to like the you know

01:32:20   15 years ago, you know

01:32:23   2004 and talking to

01:32:25   younger John Gruber and saying I come from the future in 2019 and

01:32:30   the president of the United States and Apple's CEO

01:32:35   held a

01:32:37   Joint press availability and one of them went off on a bizarre rant. I

01:32:42   Would think oh my god, what did jobs do? What did jobs? Oh my god

01:32:47   What what in the world did jobs did Steve Jobs say or get help better about?

01:32:53   I never would have occurred to me in a million years that it would be the other way around and it would be the president

01:32:58   Of the United States who went off on an impetuous rant

01:33:01   Yep

01:33:04   I did did I mention that the new smart battery case has dedicated camera button

01:33:09   Review episode that's that's what this one was about Oh to spend an entire podcast episode talking about this

01:33:23   button. I have one. I have a fourth and final sponsor to thank before we wrap up with the

01:33:29   final segment. It's our friends at Express VPN. Express VPN is an easy to use so easy.

01:33:36   Put it on your iPhone, tap one button and all of a sudden your iPhone is connected to a VPN

01:33:43   protecting all of your network traffic. It couldn't be easier. You don't have to be an

01:33:50   expert at all. You don't really have to understand how VPN work. But the basic idea is it's a

01:33:55   virtual private network, where everything into and out of your phone goes through the

01:34:01   VPN. It's all encrypted. But that means even when you go to a website that is not itself

01:34:08   encrypted, your traffic is encrypted because it's all over the VPN. So you could do things

01:34:12   like use hotel Wi Fi or coffee shop Wi Fi, or the goofy Wi Fi on an airplane or something

01:34:18   like that. And realize that all of your traffic is as secure as could be. If you've ever used

01:34:26   Wi Fi at a hotel or shopping mall, you know what I'm talking about. You're sending your data over

01:34:29   an open network. There's no encryption at all. Express VPN is an award winning app. It was

01:34:35   rated highly by sites like TechRadar and CNET, recommended as the number one VPN provider by

01:34:43   TechRadar in particular. And they are a company that takes privacy and security very seriously.

01:34:49   It's what they're all about. And they take it to the next level. They've even invented

01:34:53   a technology called trusted server to ensure that VPN servers run from RAM with no data

01:34:59   logs that are written to the server's hard drive, even by accident, tire thing runs in

01:35:03   RAM, nothing's written to disk. Really, it's a technology they invented. If you want the

01:35:09   best in online security and privacy protection head over to Express VPN, dot com slash t

01:35:15   t s TTS for the talk show. And when you start at that URL, you get three extra months free

01:35:22   when you sign up for a one year package protect your internet today. Go to Express VPN comm

01:35:27   slash TTS to get started. Have you seen the new Tesla Cybertruck?

01:35:34   Yes, it looks. It looks like a like like a rendering from old like Star Fox. Yeah. Super

01:35:45   Nintendo game.

01:35:46   As soon as I saw it, it looked to me like a rough draft of a DeLorean. And then I found

01:35:53   out I actually found it it is in fact made with stainless steel. And that gives it some

01:35:57   of that look, but it has that wedge shape. I will say this, I don't love the design of

01:36:01   I really don't I don't hate it as much as some people seem to

01:36:04   But I love that it's original and looks like nothing else. Like I think one of my knocks against Tesla

01:36:11   Is that I don't think they've done anything truly innovative in the exterior design of cars

01:36:18   Like I know a Tesla Model S when I see it

01:36:22   but for the most part they just sort of look a lot like all the other sedans of the same size class and

01:36:28   And there's certain things that they do that I think are starting to look old fashioned.

01:36:32   I think putting chrome around the window trim of a car.

01:36:36   I've never liked chrome on a car like that.

01:36:39   There's a lot of stuff that they've done over the years that just isn't that great.

01:36:42   And then when they do something original, like put the the gull wings on their SUV crossover thing, it's just stupid.

01:36:49   Nobody wants that.

01:36:50   At least this cyber truck, which is the most ridiculous name to which I kind of love.

01:36:56   I mean, who uses cyber anymore except Joe Biden?

01:36:58   That is the main thing.

01:37:00   Cyber truck.

01:37:01   We're gonna...

01:37:02   The only other person...

01:37:03   The information superhighway.

01:37:05   The only other person I know of who still uses the word cyber is Joe Biden.

01:37:08   I mean...

01:37:09   Well, yeah, but look, as somebody who is not at all in the market for a truck, I'm excited

01:37:18   to see something weird looking down the road.

01:37:21   You know?

01:37:22   I love that it looks like nothing else.

01:37:23   It's a more entertaining universe.

01:37:24   Yeah, I totally love it.

01:37:26   So apparently the demo went poorly where they were showing how incredibly, you know, Elon

01:37:32   is obviously a little bit of an exaggerator in there.

01:37:34   You know, he's a showman, but he was there talking about sledgehammer against the door,

01:37:40   no damage and that the glass he wanted to say it's bulletproof and then he caught himself

01:37:44   and said almost bulletproof, you know, which is because bulletproof has a very specific

01:37:49   meaning.

01:37:50   It literally means but then they this seems bulletproof seems like in that horseshoes

01:37:54   and hand grenades category.

01:37:55   Yeah, the bullet goes through your window and you don't want to be well well it almost didn't take it

01:37:59   Yeah, almost bulletproof is you know, like almost pregnant?

01:38:03   But then they tossed like a steel marble under the window

01:38:07   I get was supposed to show that it won't crack and instead it shattered right in the demo

01:38:11   He had great stage presence though. He worked through it. Yeah, it's

01:38:16   He's he's truly the greatest showman

01:38:20   current current leaders, yeah

01:38:23   Yeah. But I also feel like he keeps promising things that don't actually like happen. Yeah,

01:38:30   totally. Like when were you supposed to like have a Mars colony soon? Yeah, but maybe his

01:38:36   optimism on that front. Like I'm not a huge Elon Musk supporter, but I'm glad he's there.

01:38:41   I am glad he's there. I know some people, you know, certainly I know there's there's

01:38:45   people who listen to the show who are bigger fans of him than me. I know that there's a

01:38:48   subset of people who think that everything that ails Apple is that they should somehow

01:38:52   buy Tesla so that he can be the CEO of the joint company, you know, like the way that

01:38:57   they got Steve Jobs when they bought next. And it is interesting. You know, I bring this

01:39:01   up because it is an interesting car and it just came out yesterday. But it fits with

01:39:06   this description of Tim Cook being very cautious and have sort of very different person than

01:39:12   Steve Jobs. Whereas Elon Musk is the closest thing we have to a Steve Jobs like character,

01:39:17   No, and I can see why longtime Apple fans would have the view that it would be better

01:39:25   to somehow make that merger happen.

01:39:28   Like I don't think it's true.

01:39:30   It's like Apple is a mature company now.

01:39:33   And it benefits from having notwithstanding everything we've been saying about Jim Cook

01:39:37   and Trump, it is appropriate for it to have a mature CEO who runs a very complicated,

01:39:44   large scale business that needs to be organized and disciplined

01:39:48   and not promising things that come two days late or smashing

01:39:53   windows on stage. But it was exciting, right? Apple was in

01:39:58   some ways more was more fun in some ways to be an Apple fan

01:40:02   when it was a little underdog company that had this headstrong

01:40:06   CEO and was doing crazy stuff, right? Like, we're gonna have

01:40:10   blue computers. Whoa, right. And now it's like, you know, I think the boring thing gets

01:40:16   overstated sometimes, but it's very competent. And it's very mature. We know there's going to be a

01:40:21   new phone every year, right? So I'm not like, holy shit, they made a new phone. Yeah, it's obvious.

01:40:26   Yeah, my favorite example, well, not maybe not the best example. But I know one example of that was

01:40:31   iMessage, where they were unveiling iMessage for the first time, I forget what year it was, but you

01:40:37   know, early on in the phone. And apparently what happened is during the keynote rehearsals,

01:40:44   jobs hit upon the idea of well, let's open source this thing. And yeah, so then you just

01:40:48   said it. Yeah. And people are like, well, we'll look into it. I don't know if we can.

01:40:51   I don't know if we can do that. And then he just said it. He'd said it on stage that we're

01:40:55   opening the whole thing. It's, you know, we're sending it to the standard bodies and whatever.

01:41:00   And I know for a fact that people who worked on the iMessage team, that was the first they

01:41:04   heard about it and they were like, "Did you feel that? What happened?" And they're like,

01:41:06   "We can't do that." And they're thinking about the parts of the code that can't be licensed,

01:41:11   can't be literally not just legally couldn't be open source, that there were patent protected

01:41:16   things. And they were like, "What are we going to do?" And it never happened.

01:41:21   Yeah, it never happened. Never happened. Yeah. That's not going to happen with Tim Cook.

01:41:25   That is never going to happen with Tim Cook, where he's going to impetuously decide to open

01:41:31   source of major technology on, you know, 48 hours before a keynote and not tell the team or double

01:41:37   check that it's even possible. This is not going to happen. And they hit their deadlines, right?

01:41:41   I mean, that's like, you know, he's the logistics guy, he runs the company, it's big. We don't have

01:41:46   this like, when is there going to be a new Mac OS? So we had, they had to delay it because they

01:41:52   needed engineers to do the phone at one point. You know, and that's, but it was from a coverage

01:41:59   perspective more more entertaining. And Tesla is a very fun company, right? Yeah, it's a

01:42:05   really weird thing. They just like, totally screwed up product demonstration, which is

01:42:11   way more entertaining than having it go well. Right. So right, you know, good for them.

01:42:15   Well, and Apple used to have demos fail much more regularly in the Steve Jobs era, because

01:42:20   I think they were more aggressive about them. And I was just talking to I think Joanna Stern

01:42:25   about it recently. I think it was Joanna when she was on. And it was before her time in

01:42:31   the Apple media crowd. But there was this this demo of an iPhone where the Wi Fi went

01:42:38   out on stage and jobs just didn't work. And jobs came back and was like asking the media

01:42:45   like he's like, you know why I my my people told me why it's because there's 587 hotspots

01:42:50   in this room right now shut them all down. If you're out there and you see someone with

01:42:54   it shut it down and it's like way off script. Right. And it was kind of scary to see angry

01:42:59   Steve Jobs talking to and it was a WWDC. So I think there was like four or 5000 people

01:43:03   in the room. It's like, shut it down, shut them all down. And I meanwhile, I'm in the

01:43:07   press area. And everybody still has the keyboards open. Everybody's nobody. Now I don't think

01:43:12   one person did the media close their laptop because they're all you know, either taking

01:43:16   notes or live blogging. It just didn't happen. But you know, now Yeah, it's been a long time

01:43:21   since they've had a demo fail. I think the riskiest one that they've done in recent years

01:43:24   was the when they introduced the cellular Apple watch. Do you remember this one? And they had the

01:43:31   woman out standing in it on a canoe in the middle of a lake with an ad like a super telephoto lens

01:43:37   to get her on camera. And she took a call from Jeff Williams live during the keynote on her

01:43:43   Apple watch while she was in the middle of a lake. But you gotta bet she'd been out on that lake like

01:43:48   for a month. She's living in the middle of the lake. People right. I mean, you know, it's very,

01:43:56   it just, it just seemed like in addition to the possible possibility of a technology failure,

01:44:02   that there was the possibility of a balance failure and she falls into the lake, you know,

01:44:06   it was bad weather. Yeah, bad weather. You can't be out there if there's lightning, you know,

01:44:11   it's there was there was but you we never know like what was what was plan F. You know,

01:44:16   Maybe there was a dozen people on different lakes throughout America.

01:44:19   What about this vape app ban? Did you see me write about that?

01:44:26   Oh yeah, the vape. So this is right. So there, I, this is, I can tell I've become old because

01:44:33   I didn't even know there were vape apps. No, me neither. This is like, Oh yeah, I'm totally,

01:44:40   I always use my phone to vape.

01:44:43   You know, this is like,

01:44:44   I think that like the app store, the centralized control,

01:44:50   like I believe what Apple says mostly that like,

01:44:53   this is good, it's good for consumers,

01:44:55   it's easier for everybody.

01:44:57   But then you get into these things,

01:44:58   like I hear such conflicting stuff about vaping,

01:45:01   you know, from different public health stakeholders.

01:45:04   American Lung Association seems to have one view,

01:45:07   but a lot of people count to another,

01:45:10   'cause it's just complicated calculus, right?

01:45:13   Like, does it displace harm by getting people

01:45:16   to not smoke traditional cigarettes,

01:45:19   or does it get new generations of young people on?

01:45:23   It's like a really hard problem,

01:45:25   and not within Apple's zone of expertise.

01:45:30   - Right. - Right.

01:45:31   This is not what they do as an institution,

01:45:35   but they're deciding and it's it's weird. I totally get the argument again. I've tried

01:45:39   to emphasize in my take on it that I feel like it's a very close call. And it's I if

01:45:45   you want me to always have a hundred percent black or a hundred percent white yes or no

01:45:51   take on every single thing. I am not the pundit to read or listen to. I feel like this one

01:45:58   is like a sports instant replay where it's like, Damn, I don't know if he's in inbounds

01:46:02   are out of bounds. That is close and like, whichever way they come up with you, even

01:46:07   if it was against what you wanted or what you squinted the TV and see, I just feel like

01:46:12   you have to admit this is kind of a close call, because it's so all over the map, you

01:46:17   know that there's a reasonable source saying it's way safer than smoking. And then there's

01:46:22   other reasonable sources saying that this is incredibly dangerous and unknown and that

01:46:27   these mysterious 42 deaths are so mysterious that, you know, we really don't even understand

01:46:34   why these people are dead. And that's terrifying.

01:46:37   Isn't this actually what you would you want to have a government for? Right? Yes. companies

01:46:43   normally don't want to be regulated. But in this case, I would think you would want to

01:46:47   say to Congress or the FDA or something to be like, look, like, a lot of people are yelling

01:46:51   at me from both sides about this. And like, we don't care, right? Like we have no financial

01:46:56   stake in this. We legitimately just want to do the right thing. But we want someone else to tell us

01:47:01   what what that is. Right? This is we have an FDA actually, for for a reason, right? And they should

01:47:10   make a decision. Yeah. And it's like, I get I get the argument that you know, one political party is

01:47:16   a little bit more pro business and therefore little wants in general wants regulations

01:47:21   eased and wants to minimize the number of them. And that the other side maybe is a little

01:47:28   more public policy focused and is a little bit more prone to more and tighter regulations.

01:47:35   I get that argument. That's what the political process is supposed to iron out. And you should,

01:47:40   you know, in the long run, achieve a balance because if one side goes too far, the other

01:47:45   the public opinion should shift in the other party's favor. That's the way it's supposed

01:47:48   to work. But the FDA in particular, like along with the, like the national highway standards

01:47:57   and stuff like that, like making sure that you're legally ensuring that you have the

01:48:01   highest possible chance known to man of surviving a car accident should not be a political issue

01:48:08   that it's like a triumph of engineering the way that you know, the accidents that people

01:48:12   can survive today compared to decades past and you know being able to buy meat

01:48:20   and know that it's there's a very high likelihood that it's not infected with

01:48:24   E. coli because it's inspected by federal regulators whose only interest is in

01:48:29   certifying that yes indeed this fruit and produce and meat is you know free of

01:48:33   contaminants yeah that's a good thing right yeah yeah and I don't know I mean

01:48:40   And it's just this is not, you ever say that this is just not like Apple's wheelhouse,

01:48:45   right?

01:48:46   Like, correctly, you know, so I don't know, it's a weird one.

01:48:50   And it's bizarrely, also a Trump issue, because weeks ago, Trump had latched on this, and

01:48:57   apparently at the behest of his wife and daughter had come out as in as wanting to ban and I

01:49:04   I believe it was it is within the scope of the executive offices powers to issue

01:49:10   The FDA has this regulatory authority over tobacco and right the 2009 law so they could have banned it

01:49:18   Trump said he was going to I guess because of

01:49:21   Melania's engagement with you know Baron and his peers and then there was this intense

01:49:29   Frankly idiotic lobbying pushback which showed him like polling that like all these single issue vape voters, right?

01:49:37   It was like out there. I'm gonna turn against him. I bet that gets it. I don't know. It's a technical issue

01:49:42   He has a reasonable FDA

01:49:44   chair

01:49:46   that some parts of the government are still being run by professionals and

01:49:50   honestly, this is like you need to ask the

01:49:55   Scientists and the public health people to take a take a look at it and what Trump's initial idea that the flavored ones

01:50:02   You know really target a new market of teens. I mean that sounded reasonable to me it does to me

01:50:09   It's not it's not my like area

01:50:12   But this really is what we have regulatory agencies for and this seems strange for me for Apple to jump the gun

01:50:20   this way right even though

01:50:22   Taking the apps off like it's a reasonable

01:50:24   idea, but also

01:50:27   It seemed it seemed odd to me that

01:50:30   Nobody was quite pushing for it and it seems like the deaths are maybe related to like unreliable use of the mechanisms and black market

01:50:39   Stuff so it might be counterproductive and it's just like it's a hard question

01:50:42   And I don't know why they exactly felt they had to like dive into it. Yeah, and it's far more controversial

01:50:48   We're not talking about where you and I aren't talking about vape at all, let alone Apple's

01:50:53   relation to it.

01:50:54   If Apple hadn't done this, right?

01:50:55   It just wasn't even on my radar.

01:50:57   Like you said, I honestly I didn't even know there were such things as vape apps.

01:51:00   And then, you know,

01:51:02   I didn't perceive that they were facing like a tidal wave of criticism.

01:51:09   No, no.

01:51:10   Although who knows?

01:51:11   I mean, maybe they have, I don't know, parents in the company who care that night.

01:51:16   My kid's four, so fortunately he's not.

01:51:19   He's not in the vaping demo quite yet.

01:51:21   - Mine is 15 going on 16, so he's right there.

01:51:24   I think my wife has said to him like a thousand times,

01:51:29   "If I ever catch you vaping, you're dead."

01:51:31   - Yeah, well, we need his take.

01:51:34   He's the relevant expert on this.

01:51:36   - No, but there was like a thing in the newsletter

01:51:38   from the parents last year.

01:51:39   There was a scan, you know,

01:51:40   a couple of kids got caught vaping in the bathroom

01:51:42   and it was a whole big thing.

01:51:44   And oh my God. - There you go, there you go.

01:51:46   say, of course they are, you know, it, the numbers are crazy. Well, the numbers are crazy.

01:51:52   I looked at these Pew Research numbers on their polling. And you know, again, Pew is

01:51:56   pretty reputable and does, you know, regarded as a good pollster, that 2016, it was like

01:52:02   13% of 12th graders in the US had reported vaping in the last 30 days. And in 2018, it

01:52:08   was 27%. So going from 13 to 27% in two years, is rather stunning. I mean, that's, that's

01:52:14   And I think that's part of what made Apple do this is that vaping is this phenomenon,

01:52:20   right?

01:52:21   It is and who knows where it's going.

01:52:23   Whereas the comparison to alcohol, everybody knows what alcohol is.

01:52:26   And I'm betting that the numbers there's never been a two year period where the number of

01:52:30   12th graders who've consumed alcohol in the last 30 years has doubled or halved, you know,

01:52:36   it fluctuates.

01:52:37   Yeah, you know, you know, marijuana is obviously getting more popular as it becomes legal and

01:52:42   more places across the country and is therefore easier to obtain and our society has more of a

01:52:46   hands off approach to it a decriminalization if not outright legalization, etc. So of course,

01:52:53   that's going up but not doubling in two years, you know, and alcohol is, you know, rather steady and

01:52:58   it's a known, you know, it's around, right? It whereas vaping is this phenomenon. And I feel like

01:53:04   the phenomenal nature of it is partly what drove Apple to say, let's just wash our hands of it for

01:53:10   now at least until this settles down.

01:53:15   But I get the complaints, I do, and I get the argument that we're all grown ass adults

01:53:20   and we should be able to make our own decisions about stuff that's perfectly legal.

01:53:25   Nobody's argument about vaping is illegal and that therefore who's Apple to say that

01:53:30   none of us should be able to use these apps and stuff like that.

01:53:32   I totally get it, but I totally get why.

01:53:34   of unhealthy stuff, you know, get from now for better.

01:53:41   Like the news.

01:53:42   Sure.

01:53:43   You know, it's like bad snacks.

01:53:47   And I don't know, it's a weird one to me.

01:53:50   I mean, the whole vaping policy issue is like larger, but it's, it's interesting where a

01:53:54   company, you know, feels the need to step in on something that isn't illegal.

01:54:00   Yeah.

01:54:01   And the other thing that I think is really I'm very sensitive to it and hope that Apple

01:54:05   if they start walking this back to make some specific exemptions, I really hope that that

01:54:10   the hardware control angle where your people use these apps like the ones from packs, who

01:54:16   is apparently a top manufacturer, you can use the app to actually control the temperature

01:54:20   and whatever else and like verify, you know, you said verify the pods or whatever you put

01:54:26   in the thing, I don't know. But what you can verify that it's a legit pod containing legit

01:54:31   vaping source material. And apparently a lot of the problems that health problems people

01:54:35   have is with black market canisters or, you know, anyway, there's no way for the company

01:54:42   like that to work around the lack of an app. Because like if you take away all of the porno

01:54:49   apps, you can just go to Safari and get all of your pornography there. You know, you can

01:54:53   ban if you're if you just want to know read reviews of vaping canisters, you can just

01:54:59   read them on the website on your phone, the lack of an app doesn't keep you from doing

01:55:03   it. Whereas if you want to control your, your little vaping device, it has to be through

01:55:09   the app. And so I feel like that makes a difference. You know, in the HK maps live story from a

01:55:15   few weeks ago, again, tying multiple threads together here at the end of the show, Apple

01:55:19   in China, one of the reasons I know I've talked to people at Apple off the record about it,

01:55:25   they definitely you know, one of the considerations that they took on this was that anybody with

01:55:30   an iPhone in Hong Kong could access their website and you can use the little feature

01:55:33   to bookmark it as a app on your home screen. The experience of doing that is almost almost

01:55:40   if not completely indistinguishable from the HK Maps app that was in the App Store because

01:55:45   the HK Maps app was really just a very thin wrapper around the website. And if anything,

01:55:51   they thought maybe that would have been a reason that it should have been rejected in

01:55:54   first place is because they actually have a long standing rule that if your app is just

01:55:58   a wrapper around a website, it shouldn't be in the App Store. You should just let people use the

01:56:02   website. Right, right. There's no there's no substitute for this. There's no there's no

01:56:07   workaround. So but but yeah, right. But there is. So anyway, I hope we'll see how that plays out.

01:56:12   That about does it from my agenda for the show.

01:56:16   We got on my my AirPods are yelling at me that they're running on the battery.

01:56:23   That's always a good sign you've podcasted for a long time. There we go. Matthew Iglesias,

01:56:29   everybody can see your work at Vox.com, where I believe you're like a co founder. You're,

01:56:33   you're, you know, if anything, yeah, and you've been writing about my own podcast called the

01:56:38   weeds, the weeds, but it's not about we know, it's about it's about public public policy weeds.

01:56:44   There's an entire one of the things I found in the App Store in terms of like, what's allowed,

01:56:51   and what's not allowed is there's an entire sub genre of games where if you search for weed baron,

01:56:55   where it's like your goal, it's like, you know, you run this, it's iPhone games. I mean,

01:57:00   it's a category where you are buying and selling marijuana and, you know, but they call it weed,

01:57:06   I guess to keep it legal. Not not your podcast. The weeds is very different than the weed.

01:57:12   We're very, very earnest. Yeah, box.com. Maddie glacius on Twitter.

01:57:18   Yeah. Can I tell you this? Can I just I want to say I can't let the show end without saying that I

01:57:22   I've been following your work forever. I mean, long, long time. I mean, just I know that we've

01:57:27   sort of came about came up at the same time in the early 2000s. In the early days of blogging,

01:57:33   you know, you were blogging at matty glacius.com. I believe back in the day, there you go. It was,

01:57:38   you know, one of my daily daily bookmarks top top three, four sites of the time of the era.

01:57:45   Ever since Twitter, though, every time I see your Twitter handle, and I know your name,

01:57:49   I know that you are Matt.

01:57:51   You know, I keep looking at your Twitter handle.

01:57:54   And this is now for like 13 years.

01:57:57   And still to this day, I look at it and I think Maddie, I, I've, from what I know of

01:58:03   Matt Iglesias, I would have never thought of him as a Maddie.

01:58:06   No, it was a huge, you know, this is like one of these early questions.

01:58:12   And when I when I launched my Twitter account, Twitter wasn't a big thing.

01:58:16   And I didn't think it through.

01:58:17   I should have been Matthew Iglesias.

01:58:20   Yeah.

01:58:21   Or just Iglesias or Yeah, right.

01:58:24   Because I don't have a ton of competition.

01:58:26   No, I weirdly spell boss name.

01:58:28   That's that's the one thing I got going for me.

01:58:31   Gruber is surprisingly popular.

01:58:32   It's the number one surname in Austria.

01:58:34   So I'm often in a race.

01:58:35   I think there you go.

01:58:36   I can usually get it on a US service.

01:58:38   And if it's international, I lose out instantly.

01:58:41   Yeah, just don't don't don't don't go to the Austrian internet.

01:58:44   Right.

01:58:45   But anyway, not Maddie Iglesias, Matt Iglesias on Twitter, also an excellent, excellent Twitter

01:58:52   follow.

01:58:53   One of my favorites by far.

01:58:56   You're a master both of the short form and the long form.

01:58:59   And thank you so much.

01:59:00   Anyway, I have to have you back someday because this was a lot of fun.

01:59:03   Yeah, let's do it again.

01:59:05   All right.

01:59:06   All right.

01:59:07   Thank you so much.

01:59:07   [