The Talk Show

248: ‘Equally Confused’ With Peter Kafka


00:00:00   Peter Kafka, welcome to the talk show. I,

00:00:03   thank you for having me on the talk show, John.

00:00:04   I have been on your show. You've never been on mine.

00:00:07   I'm happy to come to Philadelphia someday. I'm there with some frequency.

00:00:11   Are you really? Yeah. Yeah. I got in-laws there. Oh, well that's a great city.

00:00:16   I can get you good tickets for the Thanksgiving day parade.

00:00:18   That's the kind of thing that floats your boat.

00:00:19   I, we always get out of town for Thanksgiving.

00:00:24   All right. You change your mind.

00:00:27   So for background, you are what what's your beat at recode?

00:00:31   I covered the intersection of media and technology.

00:00:35   And who better to have on the show this week? Good timing, right?

00:00:40   I actually missed last week's event.

00:00:46   I was not present at the event because my family had a long scheduled

00:00:51   vacation. It coincided with my son's spring break. So it's the first,

00:00:55   It's the first event I've missed in,

00:00:58   I don't know how many years.

00:00:59   A long, long time ago, I had an injury or eye surgery

00:01:03   that prevented me from flying.

00:01:05   So I missed one a couple of years ago.

00:01:07   But you were there, of course.

00:01:10   - Yeah, I would not miss this one.

00:01:12   I haven't met her that many,

00:01:14   but I was definitely gonna make it to this one

00:01:16   one way or another.

00:01:17   - I would have made an exception in just about any case,

00:01:19   but this was pretty exceptional.

00:01:21   And you know, my son's getting older,

00:01:22   so it was a big exception.

00:01:24   I had a feeling like it would be different, you know?

00:01:29   It was different.

00:01:30   Yeah, there's, I don't want to say that something like the iPhone events in September

00:01:39   are repetitive, because they're not. The stuff moves forward, but it's…

00:01:44   But they kind of are repetitive, right? I mean, I think to get all meta, I mean, I do get the sense,

00:01:52   I don't track it that closely because we're not really in that business, but that these

00:01:55   events are drawing less attention from just ordinary sort of people who would pay attention

00:02:00   to this stuff.

00:02:01   If you're in the business of live blogging and stuff or writing about it, I think it

00:02:06   attracts less attention than it did a few years ago because I think it's a new iPhone.

00:02:09   It's not that compelling.

00:02:10   Right.

00:02:11   And that's sort of the meta, the annual meta response to them is, "Hmm, just another iPhone."

00:02:18   And it kind of makes sense that it's just another iPhone.

00:02:22   That's exactly what most people want.

00:02:23   But then it makes the flow of the event sort of, you know, it's like season 11 of the

00:02:28   iPhone show.

00:02:29   Yeah, it's a little road.

00:02:31   Whereas this was all new territory, and it was preceded, we don't have to cover it

00:02:35   all.

00:02:36   I did an episode before with all of the various hardware stuff that Apple released the week

00:02:39   before.

00:02:41   which was interesting in that they had these new things ready to go and didn't want to put them in

00:02:48   the show. They wanted the show to focus entirely on quote unquote services. It's not a single

00:02:54   reference to hardware that I recall. I'm sure someone will then fact check me and say there

00:02:58   is one, but I mean, I don't remember any reference to any piece of hardware. Yeah, I don't think so.

00:03:02   I mean, other than saying that you can see these things on your phone and your iPad and your Apple

00:03:07   to be here. Yes, Oprah mentioned phones. A billion devices in your pocket, y'all.

00:03:12   So let me just start and I will, let me just read a little bit of your take.

00:03:22   Well, actually, let's go through these things in the order that Apple went through them.

00:03:28   And let's wait for the new video service. So the first one is Apple News. And I can,

00:03:36   can, oh, I kind of see why they went first with this. I mean, because obviously, they

00:03:42   spent the most time on the TV plus their new their new original content stuff. And that's

00:03:47   where they had a little bit of star power. So you really can't do that first. You can't

00:03:53   go from Oprah and Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Aniston to

00:03:57   Yeah, it'd be weird to end it with with magazines,

00:04:01   magazines but also it's the only thing they announced that as of today we can

00:04:08   actually use that's right so it kind of makes sense to go first I'm I'm used to

00:04:15   understanding them or I guess the big thing and I will cheat I will cheat I'm

00:04:20   gonna go back and I'm gonna say this was your take on the event I got to read

00:04:23   this because I think it's so perfect you opened your take on the event with I

00:04:26   I have some questions about Apple's new video service.

00:04:29   What exactly is Apple going to have

00:04:32   in its new video service?

00:04:34   What, if anything, will Apple's new video service cost?

00:04:38   Why would someone pay anything

00:04:40   for Apple's new video service?

00:04:42   And then your piece goes on from there.

00:04:43   - Yeah.

00:04:44   - But I thought that was a great lead

00:04:46   because that was my gut feeling following this event

00:04:49   remotely was, boy, I sure have a lot of questions

00:04:52   coming into this event.

00:04:53   And then the event came and it was two hours long and I thought boy, I think I have more questions

00:04:59   Yes

00:05:00   Coming out of the event and those of us who study this and those of us who know that Apple's getting into this original

00:05:06   content and etc

00:05:08   Have been thinking for a long time. What are they gonna do? Are they going to charge?

00:05:11   Are they gonna charge anything? There was some stories from some media reporters that maybe their original content

00:05:17   They would just it would just be free if you had an Apple device

00:05:20   We don't even know that. I'm in that group, by the way, but we can talk about it.

00:05:23   Right. I'm just saying we had these big questions where, you know,

00:05:28   is it going to cost a lot? Is it going to cost a little? Will there be a bundle?

00:05:31   What will be bundled? What could you get together? Will it be free? You know,

00:05:35   which is what they've done with the meager offerings they've had so far,

00:05:38   like Carpool Karaoke and that app show. Planet of the Apps.

00:05:42   Planet of the Apps. It's strange. The thing for me that's strange,

00:05:49   as somebody who's a very close Apple follower is to come out of an Apple event with more questions as

00:05:56   usually I come out with very few questions or the questions that I have are esoteric. You know,

00:06:02   it is something like, well, wait, wait a minute. You're saying that the 12 inch iPad pro has

00:06:07   one gigabyte more RAM than the smaller iPad pro, you know, something like that. Not

00:06:14   not what are you doing? Why did you do this? Those are the two main questions, I think.

00:06:21   Well, and I thought maybe the best of your questions too was why would someone pay anything

00:06:26   for it? You know, like, why would I buy it is sort of what Apple specializes in at these events. Like,

00:06:32   here's why you want this. It they're very good at it. And they're at their best, when it starts with

00:06:40   the product and that the, you know, they're not selling you on the product. They're letting the

00:06:47   product sell itself by accurately describing what it is that makes it compelling.

00:06:51   Scott Horner Yeah, I don't know what the point of having this event so far in advance of having this

00:06:58   stuff to sell or even show is. I saw you were floating some theories. I just don't get it.

00:07:04   I buy the argument that the fact that you and me and everyone else who's closely watching this

00:07:10   is confused by it or maybe disappointed by it won't necessarily matter when they

00:07:14   go into comes time to sell it. Apple is really good at selling things. They'll have a lot of

00:07:18   ways to sell it. They'll be selling it on those billion plus phones. I don't really matter what

00:07:22   John and Peter said in April. But why do an event in March if you don't have the thing ready and

00:07:29   can't answer basic questions? I don't I don't get the point of that at all. Yeah. And so before we

00:07:34   Before we get into the specifics, two of my theories. One is that other media companies,

00:07:43   they require their partnerships for most of these things. They require, by definition,

00:07:48   the partnership of magazines and newspapers and online publications like TechCrunch and

00:07:54   Vox Media to get them into the Apple News Plus bundle. And they require the participation

00:08:04   agreement of the TV networks that are going to be in this TV channels product and they

00:08:09   you know and then to it's not quite an organization but the creative people who are

00:08:14   making these TV shows and movies for original content are from an industry that is a lot more

00:08:21   leaky yeah that's how I do my job right it's just and you know and there have been some good stories

00:08:29   some of them by you about like the culture clash between Hollywood and Apple where it's just you

00:08:35   know like like things that Hollywood is used to keeping secret are you know what happens at the

00:08:42   very end of the Avengers movie right that's right that's a secret that they are culturally equipped

00:08:48   to protect so if this was about what the new iPhone was going to be and was going to have

00:08:53   a radical departure and was it going to have 28 different whatever the some amazing spec

00:08:58   I could see you want to get out in front of that.

00:09:02   In this case, I mean, there was no surprise about what the Apple News product was.

00:09:06   They bought this thing called Texture a year ago.

00:09:10   We all knew they were going to make it this service.

00:09:12   They pretty much said that.

00:09:15   There's not a lot of secrecy involved there.

00:09:18   Most of the terms were sort of well-known.

00:09:20   And the TV stuff, Apple has been announcing for the last couple years.

00:09:24   They said, "We've hired the guys from Sony."

00:09:26   And then every week or so or every couple of weeks, I get an email from someone in Apple

00:09:30   Com saying, "This is on background, but we just wanted to confirm that we've ordered

00:09:33   a new show."

00:09:35   And that email is always timed to exactly when the Hollywood Reporter or Variety then

00:09:39   writes a story about that new show being picked up by Apple.

00:09:41   So they're doing it in plain sight.

00:09:44   They've been announcing all this stuff.

00:09:45   The only thing they haven't announced is what they're actually going to do with it,

00:09:48   which they still haven't announced.

00:09:51   So I don't get the secrecy deflator theory there.

00:09:55   Or the leak deflator theory?

00:09:57   Well, I don't either so much, which leads me to theory two, which is that this show

00:10:06   was for Wall Street.

00:10:08   Right.

00:10:09   Which in, by which I mean, there is a narrative about Apple as a stock that is that they've

00:10:17   reached peak iPhone.

00:10:19   And you know, arguably, not inarguably, I would say they've reached peak iPhone in

00:10:24   terms of unit sales within the last two years or so. They grew revenue from iPhone last

00:10:31   year with the iPhone X because the price went much higher and an awful lot of people went

00:10:37   along for it and bought it. Now with the fuller lineup of iPhone X class phones with the super

00:10:46   big X Max, whatever they call it, the regular iPhone XS and the XR, the average selling

00:10:54   price is probably still higher. But even there, it's leveled off very famously without going

00:11:00   on a stock market-oriented episode. Their stock took a bit of a hit, and they had to

00:11:06   announce that they missed earnings, and there's crazy stuff going on in China that maybe is

00:11:10   affecting them. And so the basic idea is, "Hey, maybe this is peak Apple. Maybe the

00:11:17   ride is over, and they're going to start declining." And Apple's answer for a while

00:11:21   They have been beating the drum of quote-unquote services, you know with a caravanses services services with a capital a Steve Ballmer. Yeah

00:11:29   And

00:11:32   And that's what they did that's what they did of the show

00:11:36   And again the the the counter to that would be if you want to impress Wall Street you would say

00:11:41   Here's the things we're gonna sell and here's how much we're gonna sell them for and thus Wall Street if you're looking for new revenue

00:11:47   Look at all this revenue. We're gonna make from

00:11:50   Selling subscriptions to the Oprah show or whatever it is that they're gonna sell but they didn't do that either. So again, we're still confused

00:11:57   And you know and and there I can't help but think that Hollywood is still a little confused too because you know

00:12:04   Like I said, like Hollywood's good at keeping plots secret

00:12:07   They know that yeah, you know as far as I know nobody knows what's going on on the new episode

00:12:11   I knew the new final series of Game of Thrones

00:12:13   Which is gonna find out tonight John going to the premiere. Are you really not to name-drop? Yeah. Are you lucky?

00:12:20   Yes, I'll be I can't tell you about it though

00:12:22   Look, Hollywood is very confused. I was calling some of Apple's partners the last few days

00:12:27   I said, what'd you think of that? And they said ah, I don't know. I wanted to said I think it's good for me

00:12:33   Meaning that person's gonna see he thinks he will sell a lot of subscriptions to his thing

00:12:38   And I think it's not good for Apple because it seems kind of meth for them. Yeah

00:12:42   Well, here's the here's the thing where I'm going with Game of Thrones the thing that was not secret about Game of Thrones was

00:12:48   When would the new season come on?

00:12:50   Right, it has been slated for April of 2019 for a very long time

00:12:58   And then you know this goes back to and it's gonna be it's gonna be this many episodes. All right, and here's how you get it

00:13:06   You know and blockbuster movies have long been the same way

00:13:09   There's you know, these tentpole dates for here's you know, here's when the new Star Wars Episode 9 is coming out and here's

00:13:16   They may not pre-announce the date that the teaser is going to drop but we can pretty well guess

00:13:21   And I think the creative people who are involved know JJ Abrams probably has a pretty good idea when the teaser is going to drop

00:13:28   Yes, here's a steady drumbeat of stuff and there's another version of this that everyone is referencing with with this the TV networks

00:13:37   Do called an upfront where they gather everyone in New York in the spring and say here's what we're gonna show you next fall

00:13:42   Which is really an antiquated way to do something, but they still do it that way

00:13:46   And they will show them clips from the TV shows

00:13:48   They might actually show them in a full episode of the TV show if they feel really confident about it

00:13:52   They do a whole song and dance

00:13:54   And they wind them and dine them

00:13:56   Yeah

00:13:56   And this seemed like a partial version of that and with again missing the part where they actually show you the shows which is also confusing

00:14:03   Right, which really was well, well, that's

00:14:08   You want to save that for the end? Yeah, that's

00:14:13   Let's just take that as the preamble that the basic gist of this event was a bit of

00:14:17   a head scratcher.

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00:17:03   All right, Apple News Plus.

00:17:05   That's a quality read, man. That was really good. I liked it.

00:17:07   I'm getting good at it. I was terrible when I first started doing this.

00:17:10   You're really good.

00:17:11   You know what? It helps when I really like the product.

00:17:13   Yeah, it does help.

00:17:16   Apple News Plus, 10 bucks. Here's the one. The only price in the whole show. Which again,

00:17:23   And I, you know, and, and anybody who follows Apple closely, it's like I've said, basically

00:17:29   is like a, you and I talked when I was on your show about my career and how I built

00:17:33   during fireball. And for the, I started this site and the podcast a couple of years later,

00:17:39   but I started it in 2002 and writing about Apple starting around 2002 was really catching

00:17:47   the bull by the horns, right? I mean, it's been a fantastic ride from there to here.

00:17:54   And so when people over the years accused me of being biased in favor of Apple or I'm

00:17:59   an Apple Homer or I'm effectively a super fan, a mouthpiece of Apple PR, whatever you

00:18:05   want to say, you know, I'm, I'm, I try to listen to the criticism and I try to take

00:18:10   a step back and see where I might be wrong. And there are times when, you know, maybe

00:18:15   have been. Maybe I've made mistakes and I try to correct them as opposed to denying them or whatever.

00:18:20   But basically my defense is, boy, if you've written about Apple from 2002 going forward

00:18:25   and most of what you've written isn't very positive, then you got it wrong because they

00:18:30   had a great run. They've had a great run. It might still be going, but with great products,

00:18:35   you know, if, if you're treating them half your stories are bad and half are good. You're, you're,

00:18:41   you're not doing justice to the actual story. It'd be like covering the Chicago bulls during

00:18:45   to Michael Jordan era and saying most of the time, "Eh, they're okay."

00:18:48   Yeah. Apple makes good stuff, has consistently made good stuff for a long stretch. Very good

00:18:54   stuff. But, you know, one of the other things is that in addition to making good stuff,

00:18:58   they present it well. I think their events are tighter than most companies, far tighter than

00:19:05   most companies' events. I think they stick to things you really want to know. I think they're

00:19:10   truthful. But I have to say, I've found this event very, again, I wasn't there. So I had

00:19:17   to watch it remotely. But I found it very frustrating with how many questions it left.

00:19:21   So it was satisfying, at least with Apple News, to have here's a thing that is shipping,

00:19:24   and here's what it's going to cost. And here's what you get.

00:19:27   Exactly.

00:19:28   But I have to say with this, magazines?

00:19:33   Yeah.

00:19:34   Yeah, it's like so you want to walk through what this how we got here. Yeah, I want to walk through how we got here

00:19:42   so

00:19:44   2009 ish we know everyone knows the iPad is coming. They're not sure that it's called the iPad or whatever. It's gonna be

00:19:49   And the magazine publishers say this thing is gonna be a big deal in part because Steve Jobs has been telling him

00:19:57   It's gonna be a big deal

00:19:59   But we do not want to we do not want to get screwed the way the music

00:20:03   Publishers the music labels got screwed where Steve Jobs said hey, you guys are in bad shape. I'm tell you what to do for you

00:20:09   I'm gonna break up your $15 CD

00:20:11   Into dollar songs and that's gonna be great for me and much less good for you. It's all gonna work out

00:20:16   We the magazine guys say we want control of whatever this thing is going to be. We're doing a joint venture

00:20:24   So Hearst Meredith timing all at the time the big publishers Conde Nast and News Corp get together

00:20:30   And create what we were at the time calling like a Hulu for news because it was a joint venture

00:20:35   But it was it was this idea that you still see today, which is for 15 bucks a month

00:20:40   I think was the initial price you can read all the magazines you want through this service and they'll own the service and they can

00:20:47   Push it on an Apple device. They can put it on an Amazon device, whatever

00:20:51   They made that thing. It was called a bunch of different things

00:20:54   And it was never successful. No one ever wanted to use it

00:20:58   And it eventually was called texture and that is the thing that Apple bought a year ago

00:21:03   And it's crucial to remember as we get into like complaints about the economics

00:21:06   The magazine publishers still owned it when they when Apple bought it, so they got a check from Apple already the magazine publishers

00:21:14   And that basically is the product that's out now

00:21:18   The Apple folks will tell you they totally redid the product, but it's essentially the same thing

00:21:24   And then what Apple has been trying to do for the last year is say our magazines are great

00:21:29   But we need more stuff in here. We need news so they've been courting the the newspapers with mixed success

00:21:36   They have the Wall Street Journal we could talk about why they're in the LA Times

00:21:40   They have some digital publishers including my friends over at box comm are contributing some stuff

00:21:45   Then notably do not have the Washington Post or the New York Times, right?

00:21:49   But that's why this is a magazine product in part because it's always been a magazine

00:21:53   Product and in part because Apple hasn't been able to get the news guys in it

00:21:56   I

00:21:58   Think the other factor that we should definitely mention

00:22:01   I know you know this but I think it's worth remembering is that when Apple first went to the music companies in

00:22:08   2002 three ish

00:22:11   I mean the iPod came out. I always remember came out

00:22:15   after 9/11, so it was 2001.

00:22:17   It was, the iPod was at that time a Mac only peripheral and the Mac had, you know,

00:22:26   three, four, five percent, however you want to measure it, of the US market and you, you know,

00:22:31   had to have a Macintosh to use an iPod and so it

00:22:35   A niche product. And I think that the music industry saw it as a

00:22:40   permanent niche product that they could, well, we can dip our toes in this and do this thing

00:22:43   with Apple where they're selling songs for 99 cents because it's just Apple. And that's...

00:22:48   And also, by the way, it's also post Napster or file sharing is a huge deal, but in retrospect,

00:22:55   the music guys haven't quite realized this. Their industry is about to go into like a decade plus

00:23:00   slide because of piracy. But the reason they could even get there was the jobs could even break open

00:23:05   the $15 CD is because of Napster and Grokster and what it had been doing to sales.

00:23:11   Yeah. And, you know, I don't think they ever foresaw that the iPod would turn into the

00:23:18   digital music player of the decade, and therefore make the iTunes Music Store the digital music

00:23:26   store for everybody. Right. And, you know, I think that's the caution that these other,

00:23:33   whether it be books or whether it's the news industry or Hollywood or everybody's had since

00:23:38   is, hey, they did it to the music guys. And I question what I question about that, though,

00:23:44   analysis is that without Apple, I'm not sure the music people were going to have anything.

00:23:48   Anyway, it's

00:23:50   Right. And that, by the way, that that is completely parallel to what's going on here.

00:23:54   We can talk about that. But a lot of it. I mean, again, you have Steve Jobs coming in,

00:23:59   sort of as the music industry is in it, it's a nosedive and saying, "Things look bad

00:24:04   for you.

00:24:05   I've got something that's literally better than nothing."

00:24:08   And that's basically the pitch here to the magazine guys.

00:24:12   You guys have been trying to sell magazines for a long time.

00:24:15   You've been trying to do it online.

00:24:17   It's really not working.

00:24:18   You guys are in a slide as well.

00:24:19   You're in the magazine business, for God's sake.

00:24:23   It's not going well on your own.

00:24:25   I've got something that can help you.

00:24:28   The economics are gonna not look that great,

00:24:30   but if we supersize it, maybe it's awesome.

00:24:32   - It does seem like a compelling deal

00:24:38   if you want to read a bunch of magazines.

00:24:40   Nine bucks a month is really an outstanding deal

00:24:44   for the amount of content.

00:24:45   - It's an outstanding deal if you like

00:24:48   to read magazine stories and are deeply,

00:24:51   deeply invested in any particular title.

00:24:54   where it falls apart is if you really like The New Yorker.

00:24:58   First of all, it's just not a satisfying way

00:25:00   to sort of get to The New Yorker.

00:25:01   And also The New Yorker is a particularly good example here.

00:25:04   They are spending a lot of time and effort

00:25:06   creating online-only content.

00:25:08   That stuff won't be in there.

00:25:09   - Right.

00:25:10   - But if you are someone who just sort of likes

00:25:12   the equivalent of looking through a newsstand

00:25:14   and picking something up,

00:25:15   or looking through your stack of unread magazines

00:25:17   and picking something up, it's pretty cool.

00:25:20   And if you have a little bit of motivation

00:25:22   you know that there's a really good New Yorker article about dinosaurs that came out last week,

00:25:26   you can go get it. And I do think it's very compelling.

00:25:29   I get to why the major newspapers, and again, I'd love to hear your take on why the journal

00:25:41   is in, but why the Post and New York Times aren't. Now I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal,

00:25:50   I subscribe to the New York Times, all digital editions, and I do subscribe to the Washington

00:25:55   Post. So I looked up what I'm paying. I'm paying $39 a month for the journal.

00:26:00   Now, and the journal famously, very famously, all along, sort of as stodgy as you might think

00:26:09   the journal would be as an institution, really kind of pounced on the World Wide Web, you know,

00:26:16   back when we used to call it the World Wide Web. And also very, I'm not going to say all along,

00:26:22   I don't know about the early years, but as long as I can remember, they've had a paywall for

00:26:27   everything and you want our stuff you pay, you are more importantly, your employer pays, right. And

00:26:31   they don't even do like a hey, you get five a month and then you can, you know, delete the

00:26:37   cookie and maybe get five more go into private mode and then a cookie doesn't show up and you

00:26:41   can do this stuff and we, you know, they don't have that, you know, it is, you're going to pay

00:26:46   us and again, why it may have worked so well for them as opposed to others is exactly what you said

00:26:51   that a lot of if not most of the subscribers to the Wall Street Journal can get their employer to

00:26:56   pay for it. I certainly considered as myself, I mean, it's a one person company, but I consider

00:27:01   it a well justified business expense because I find so much good stuff and linked to so much good

00:27:06   stuff in the Wall Street Journal. But that's $39 a month. And that just all goes right to

00:27:12   the journal. The Times is 20 bucks a month for a digital subscription. And funny enough, I just got

00:27:17   a I just got an email from Schultzberger yesterday, telling me that that my subscription will be going

00:27:25   up to $25 a month sometime between now and middle of May, which is a little weird that he doesn't

00:27:31   no way when you're gonna take and you know the times has a leaky or paywall they do the

00:27:39   thing where you get free some number of free articles a month and they keep a cookie and

00:27:46   whatever. But for people who do subscribe that's $20 and within weeks $25 a month all

00:27:53   going to the New York Times company and the Wall Street Washington Post I subscribed through

00:27:58   through their app on the phone because I do love managing my subscriptions the Apple way

00:28:04   where I can—if I ever wanted to unsubscribe, I can just tap a button as opposed to calling

00:28:10   the New York Times call center in Iowa, talking to some nice lady there. But that's $10

00:28:17   a month. I have a basic subscription to the Washington Post. I pay $10 a month for it.

00:28:23   I don't even know what they have. There's a premium for $15 a month. I don't miss

00:28:27   anything in the Washington Post, so 10 bucks a month is good for me. But at 10 bucks total

00:28:35   for Apple News Plus and sharing it with all of these other magazines and other online

00:28:40   publications that are in it, and this purported 50/50 split where Apple is taking 50% of the

00:28:46   money overall, you don't have to even be good at math to sort of see why this might

00:28:53   not appeal to the newspapers.

00:28:55   Yeah for the news guys, it's it for the post and the time it's very clear part of it is the money

00:29:01   The Times I think has three million digital only subscribers. I think maybe four million all in they're saying look, you know

00:29:08   Even if we have to give Apple a cut of that because some people are subscribing through the you know iTunes, etc

00:29:14   Fine, but you know, we want to keep as much of that as possible

00:29:17   We certainly don't want to give away 50% and there's some more nuanced arguments about we don't want to be in someone else's bundle frankly

00:29:25   And someone else's newsstand, I think Mark Thompson, who's the publisher, or I guess

00:29:31   maybe the CEO's official title, at the time said something about a – he had some weird

00:29:35   reference to a British blender.

00:29:37   But basically he said, "You know, we don't want to be part of someone else's mix.

00:29:42   We want to be the presenter at The New York Times, and we don't want to get swapped

00:29:45   out for a competing news product at some point."

00:29:48   There's also an issue of actually having control over who has access to the subscriber,

00:29:53   all those things that are all important to the Post and The Times that are very diligently

00:29:57   building up these businesses.

00:30:00   The Journal could say all those same things, and the fact that they're not, you can deduce

00:30:05   a couple things.

00:30:06   One, Rupert Murdoch has always had an affinity/special relationship with Apple.

00:30:10   I remember The Daily, among other things.

00:30:14   Yeah.

00:30:15   I forgot about The Daily, but that's true.

00:30:17   Yeah, no, that was a big thing, right?

00:30:18   It was Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch cooking up the newspaper of the future.

00:30:23   not work.

00:30:25   But they're saying, "Look, we've got all the business subscribers we're going to get.

00:30:29   We think there are other people that would like to read the Wall Street Journal or a

00:30:33   version of the Wall Street Journal, and maybe we can profit from that."

00:30:37   So again, without saying it this way, what they've done is created a product that, in

00:30:43   theory, will not satisfy you, John Gruber, who's paying $39 a month for the journal.

00:30:48   You will find it to be sort of a crippled version of the journal.

00:30:52   In theory, all the articles that are available in today's journal are there.

00:30:57   They're online.

00:30:58   They're only there for three days, and they're hard to find.

00:31:01   It's not going to be the equivalent of browsing deeply through the app.

00:31:07   And again, they're not going to come out and say, "We've made this thing to sort of frustrate

00:31:10   our core subscribers," but that's what they want.

00:31:13   So they're hoping/praying you don't dump your expensive subscription for a cheap one.

00:31:20   And then their hope is we're going to bring a lot of general interest stories that maybe

00:31:25   most people don't associate with the journal or people who aren't subscribing the journal

00:31:28   don't know that we do and we're going to surface those.

00:31:31   Weirdly they're also hiring maybe 50 journalists that are going to mostly create stuff just

00:31:36   for Apple News Plus, which is confusing to me.

00:31:39   And so we're really going to go deep on this and we're going to sort of make the journal,

00:31:43   we would like the journal to be a general interest newspaper that attracts readers all

00:31:47   over the world.

00:31:48   That is our bet.

00:31:49   That doesn't make any sense to me at all that there. Well, one thing you don't get and it affects

00:31:55   me personally, and what I do very much is that unless I'm completely missing something.

00:32:01   If you Peter subscribe to the journal only through Apple news plus you don't have a direct

00:32:08   subscription and I linked to a Wall Street Journal story on during fireball. When you click through,

00:32:13   you only get the preview and there's no way for you to log in using credentials from your Apple

00:32:17   news plus subscription. You don't have, you know, there is that you need a real quote unquote,

00:32:23   real Wall Street Journal thing to read the Wall Street Journal on the web.

00:32:26   Trenton Larkin Yeah, I don't know how much of that is, is,

00:32:28   is feature versus bug. Maybe they're just, they haven't figured out how to get how to figure that

00:32:33   part out. I assume that's actually fairly complicated. In part, just because the number

00:32:37   of times that when I do go to a publication that I am subscribing to, they don't recognize me.

00:32:44   And that doesn't sort of matter what device I'm on whether it's an Apple device or it's the web or my phone

00:32:48   Apparently that stuff is just hard to do. Are you talking about the journal specifically? No, I'm talking about anything. Well the

00:32:55   Yorker the journal specifically and I've talked to Joanna Stern about this and she's admitted the same thing that the journals

00:33:03   Remember me checkbox is the biggest lie on the entire internet

00:33:09   Well, I don't know the the folks who work the New Yorkers say the same thing. Oh, there's his guys

00:33:13   Yeah, theirs is awful as well

00:33:15   The New Yorkers and the Wall Street journals are terrible

00:33:18   The New York Times is much better in my experience at remembering me

00:33:22   And I know that there's some of the funny things is the fact that when you're on your phone a whole bunch of apps

00:33:28   Like your Twitter app and other apps have built in many browsers based on Safari and you know

00:33:34   Whether or not they can share cookies or whatever, but I'm talking about when you're I'm just in real Safari

00:33:38   on one of these devices and I I mean I have to log into the Wall Street

00:33:45   Journal almost every every day it's really kind of frustrating it's probably

00:33:49   there's an extra maybe there's a more expensive subscription where they

00:33:52   remember you yeah I don't know they can upsell you for that that's that's that's

00:33:56   that's the bet for the journal what I've heard is that this this plan was not a

00:34:04   big hit internally at the journal this is very much a Rupert Murdoch and Robert

00:34:08   Thompson with Apple thing that the sort of rank-and-file journalists and

00:34:12   editors are not psyched about this idea either because they're similarly

00:34:15   confused about it hmm and you can just see how the money just isn't there if

00:34:21   if they saw it you know and I think the Times and and the post are wise to be

00:34:28   cautious about this you know like you said I mean if the Times has 4 million

00:34:31   digital subscribers and they're all paying 20 soon to be 25 that is you know

00:34:37   going to be, that's $100 million a month in revenue.

00:34:41   - Yep, and the Apple response, off the record,

00:34:45   is three million digital subscribers is nothing.

00:34:48   We can get you tens of millions.

00:34:50   - Right.

00:34:50   - We can, it's not just that we're gonna make this

00:34:53   a bigger business, we can make this a huge business for you.

00:34:56   Again, if you're The Times, you say,

00:34:57   look, I'm doing pretty well and I have full control,

00:34:59   I'm gonna go on my own for a while.

00:35:02   The magazine guys are saying, you know what,

00:35:04   if it's a few hundred million dollars

00:35:05   split between a bunch of us, we'll take it.

00:35:08   - Yeah.

00:35:09   And bundles can work.

00:35:12   I mean, that's how the cable industry has always worked.

00:35:15   Where it's your one channel, the Discovery Channel,

00:35:18   and you don't sell, there's exceptions like HBO

00:35:22   and Showtime where you buy them individually,

00:35:24   but for the most part, the way the cable,

00:35:27   we went from having, when I was a kid,

00:35:30   10 channels that came over the air and they were all local

00:35:32   to having a whole bunch of cable channels to go from

00:35:35   the bundle and whole bunch of channels, one monthly fee and you get everybody if everybody

00:35:41   quote unquote, everybody has cable, which was effectively true at one point, there's enough

00:35:47   money to go around where you know, it is real money. Right. And now that model is under great

00:35:51   pressure, which is actually Apple's plan slash hope is that the bundle is going to break up and

00:35:55   they'll benefit from that. My argument about this, though, with the magazines, or one of my arguments

00:36:00   with it is—and I like magazines, I do—but I will admit that even when I fly, which might

00:36:06   be the perfect time to read a magazine, I just don't have time. I don't have time

00:36:12   to read a lot of magazines. I still subscribe to The Physical New Yorker. I get a publication

00:36:19   you're probably familiar with, The Week, which is a nice weekly wrap-up magazine, and

00:36:24   does a really good job of embracing what print is still great at. And it's sort of like

00:36:28   a Reader's Digest for what's happened in the last week, whether it was in another magazine or whether

00:36:35   it was online. But other than that, I just, you know, and I can't say, you know, famously, I mean,

00:36:42   I think most people who subscribe to The New Yorker have a—

00:36:45   Right. There's a stack in the bathroom or somewhere near the bathroom.

00:36:47   There's a terrible guilt where all I've looked at this week was the back page cartoon contest.

00:36:54   Yeah, I mean, I have the time to read lots of articles, although I'm behind on the Big

00:36:59   Times/Murdoch piece today.

00:37:01   But my critique there is the idea of a magazine where an editor goes and assembles a bunch

00:37:06   of articles for you.

00:37:07   I love that idea, but in reality, Twitter's my editor.

00:37:12   And my friends or people I follow send links around.

00:37:15   And you can argue that maybe I'm in a filter bubble, etc., but I get lots of people are

00:37:22   picking my articles out for me on Twitter, to a lesser degree Facebook.

00:37:27   And so the idea of this curated set of articles that one person picked for me seems very anachronistic.

00:37:33   But frankly, you know, that's what Apple News is, right?

00:37:35   Is that bundle.

00:37:36   They just sort of mushed all the magazines together.

00:37:39   And a lot of folks are very happy to sort of be presented with a bunch of stuff picked

00:37:42   by, again, human beings in Cupertino, to Apple's credit, saying, "We think these are things

00:37:46   you should read."

00:37:47   The other thing, too, is that the difference between a magazine and a newspaper

00:37:53   used to be a lot—when in the print world was a lot more distinct. And, you know, the type of writing

00:38:02   and the type of article you would read on page one of the New York Times is very different than

00:38:06   the type of stuff you would read in The New Yorker or even Time or Newsweek or something.

00:38:11   But now we're mostly talking about articles. The unit is really—and, you know, it's just a post

00:38:19   web thing. And in the early days of the web, I mean, in the years before I started during

00:38:23   Fireball, before web blogs became a—here's how you do a web blog. You just write posts,

00:38:29   and the newest one is at the top, and they scroll down. It seems very obvious, but

00:38:36   In the early years of the web, I certainly struggled with it coming from, you know,

00:38:41   I was much younger then, I was coming from, you know, running the student newspaper at Drexel,

00:38:47   but thinking about issues and that there'd be an issue. And what do you do? Do you have an issue

00:38:50   every couple days? Do you do an issue once a week? Do you have a schedule? And no, you just have

00:38:54   articles. That's the nature. And that's the atomic unit of Apple News is still, even if you have the

00:39:00   Apple News+, it's still the article. And the difference between an article that happens to

00:39:05   come from the New York Times or the Washington Post and an article that comes from a magazine,

00:39:09   it isn't really relevant. And it could come from somebody who doesn't even have

00:39:14   a print edition like TechCrunch or Vox Media or, you know, you name it.

00:39:21   Yeah, no, and that's all as it should be. If you're the consumer, all you care about is,

00:39:24   do I like this? Is it good? Is it trustworthy? Is it come from a source that I trust and value?

00:39:30   That's kind of it. And, you know, look, I mean, a lot of those New York Times 3 million subscriptions

00:39:34   Part of the the Trump bump, right?

00:39:36   People actively sort of signaling that they want to support the Times which is great

00:39:41   But that's anomaly hopefully

00:39:45   So, you know

00:39:47   It might be very difficult to get lots of people to subscribe to discrete magazine subscriptions or newspaper subscriptions going forward. Yeah

00:39:55   Well, it leads me to the formatting issue which is that somebody

00:40:00   Federico Viticci at Mac stories went through and did the diligent work of looking at every single

00:40:06   magazine that was in Apple News as of like a day or two after the thing. And it was about a 50/50

00:40:11   split between the magazines that were using the new Apple News format in terms of the technical,

00:40:18   you know, how are we sending this article, which is a little bit more like HTML and a thing that

00:40:22   more easily reflows to anything from a big screen to a tiny little phone screen, and about half are

00:40:28   still just doing PDFs, which I think is how texture worked. And it's certainly how all

00:40:34   of them on, you know, the iPad magazines back in 2011, 2010.

00:40:38   Yeah, mostly. A couple of the iPad magazines like Wired and stuff tried to spend a lot

00:40:42   of time and energy trying to make a new thing for digital, but most of them said, we're

00:40:46   just going to take the thing we've already made and take a photograph of it essentially

00:40:50   and put it over here.

00:40:51   Yeah. But pages, it just doesn't work for me, really. I mean, it always, I mean, I still

00:40:55   read PDFs and I read things that I have to do that way, but, boy, breaking things into

00:41:01   PDF pages as the default distribution online feels, still feels antiquated.

00:41:07   Yeah, but you're getting so much of it. It's only $10 and you can subscribe on your phone.

00:41:13   I think it'll do okay. I mean, I've been thinking a lot about, you know, what is, what

00:41:16   is a reasonable goal for them? They've sold 50 million Apple Music subscriptions in the

00:41:21   last how many years, five years?

00:41:25   I think people like music more than they like reading, for better or for worse.

00:41:29   And also there's a language thing, right?

00:41:31   It's harder to sell this in Germany or Japan, I assume.

00:41:34   So I don't know, is $25 million reasonable?

00:41:38   And if you get to my back of the envelope math there, if that's the case and they sold

00:41:44   25 million subscriptions, that's $1.5 billion to cut up between the publishers.

00:41:51   a lot of them would be very happy to be a to own piece of that pie.

00:41:54   Right. Well, we shall see. The other thing that they emphasized, and it gets into,

00:42:00   I mean, I think Google and Facebook were the implied other guys, is the notion,

00:42:08   the emphasis on human curation. And we want to show you what's good and truthful and important,

00:42:17   not just what you're going to click on, you know, and sort of anti clickbait rant,

00:42:23   anti clickbait, and also humans are picking this stuff. It's not we're not leaving this up to an

00:42:28   algorithm. And we care about journalism, you know, full full stop, they made a point of saying that

00:42:34   when they bought texture, right? This is specifically about supporting journalism.

00:42:38   There was an article a couple of months ago where somebody had like a feature of you know,

00:42:43   how Apple News works and who they've hired and how they've hired all these professionals who have,

00:42:47   you know, serious careers in real journalism. And then there was a quote from somebody who was like,

00:42:53   its title is managing editor. And he was like, he asked his name not to be used.

00:42:57   Because he works at Apple. And it's like, that's just like for anybody from the media world,

00:43:05   that is just, it's insane. And there's one woman whose name is associated with Lauren Kern.

00:43:12   Right and sort of the public face of it

00:43:14   And she if he went to the Apple event

00:43:15   You'd see her walking around you can talk to her that and that is sort of how Apple works where there is

00:43:20   A I don't know want to say for sure that it everybody has a VP title

00:43:25   But there is a sort of line that you cross in your career at Apple where you're allowed to be named publicly

00:43:33   Yeah, and anybody who's not on that side by the way as I

00:43:38   I'm sure you notice this they did bring up a lot of newish faces. Yep on stage

00:43:43   One important name for you for your readers slash listeners to pay attention to is the guy Peter Stern

00:43:49   Mm-hmm. He's the guy who does all the deals now. He's a very important deal guy

00:43:53   Yeah for Apple with the media and I you know, I can't imagine another scenario where Peter Stern would get stage time

00:43:59   Yeah, so that was different. Yeah

00:44:01   There was the guy Wyatt. I

00:44:05   Forget his last name, but he had the exquisite white jumpsuit. Yeah, that was a jumpsuit

00:44:11   It was the cool haven't seen the jumpsuit go back and look at the jumpsuit

00:44:13   I used to do a thing years ago on Twitter

00:44:16   well for many years where I would keep track of whether the

00:44:20   Presenters at Apple were had a had their shirts tucked in or untucked and I would keep a tally

00:44:26   Yeah as a as a completely meta thing just to goof on Twitter during the event and I stopped doing it

00:44:33   it because I it was very male focused and at the in the early years of it, it didn't

00:44:41   matter because everybody who was coming on stage was a man and so it was fine. But then

00:44:46   I think it was one time when Angela orange came on stage, but there was somebody who

00:44:49   came on stage and her shirt wasn't tucked in or her blouse, but it really wasn't a shirt

00:44:54   and she looked fantastic. And I was like, you know what this whole tucked on tuck thing

00:44:59   Really only applies to men and it's I think it's time to put it to put it to rest

00:45:03   But I and by the way and and it was I noticed also that was a diverse group of Apple presenters that was different as well

00:45:12   I don't think that was pointed necessarily. I just think that was that but I do think that wasn't an accident

00:45:17   But when Wyatt came out in the jumpsuit, I thought boy if I were still doing the tucked untucked

00:45:24   I don't even know where where that would apply

00:45:28   I was like that's good. You retired that one. Yeah, it would have to be an asterisk

00:45:32   I think but I would give it an asterisk and the on the side of absolutely winning because it was it was a very cool look

00:45:39   Wyatt Mitchell is his name. I wanted to make sure I could go quiet Mitchell and he did a great job

00:45:48   He was a designer who worked on Apple news and showed off the cool way that the Apple news formatted once

00:45:54   Really do format

00:45:57   You know flow very cool between your phone and your iPad

00:45:59   Yeah, I think I think this is the kind of thing that if Apple

00:46:03   Announced this, you know in a suite of other hardware devices that you could buy we go

00:46:09   That's probably kind of cool and we'd move on

00:46:11   And the fact that we're focused this much time on on this podcast alone

00:46:15   Shows you sort of like how odd this event was or it's the one thing we can actually look at and evaluate

00:46:21   And debate whether it's worth the money

00:46:23   everything else is is

00:46:26   theoretical still yeah

00:46:28   Next up was Apple pay Apple card. I don't really have a lot to say about this

00:46:33   I've been skeptical all along about Apple getting into the credit card business just because it just seems so

00:46:38   odd and

00:46:40   It seems like the most transparently

00:46:43   This isn't a thing. We would you would think of a computer company making

00:46:47   But there's money to be made and we like making yeah, I will confess that I still don't really understand that

00:46:56   the real difference between Apple Pay and the Apple card.

00:46:59   I mean, I get there are some differences,

00:47:01   and my colleague Jason Del Rey,

00:47:03   who actually writes about this stuff,

00:47:04   he's really great on commerce,

00:47:06   can walk you through it if you care,

00:47:08   and why this does or doesn't matter,

00:47:10   but it's mostly a shrug to me.

00:47:12   I gotta kick out of the fact

00:47:13   that there's an actual card made out of titanium.

00:47:15   - Yeah.

00:47:16   - And, you know, if you're into the theater of it,

00:47:19   the fact that they're paired with Goldman Sachs,

00:47:20   who not that long ago was sort of one

00:47:22   of the most despised brands in America, is interesting.

00:47:25   I'm not sure that is in the past tense, to be honest,

00:47:29   especially judging from a lot of the emails

00:47:32   and tweets I saw after this.

00:47:33   - Yeah, yeah.

00:47:34   - Yeah, basically I would describe it this,

00:47:39   Apple Pay is the way that you pay using your device.

00:47:43   And it's, you know, and it has,

00:47:45   but to do that, you have to have sources,

00:47:48   and the sources could be debit cards from your bank,

00:47:51   or credit cards, and Apple Pay Cash

00:47:55   their virtual debit card that you can use with Apple Pay. And it's just like a bank account,

00:48:01   except that it has no interest, but it's, you know, just cash. And then Apple Card now can be

00:48:07   another source, a credit card, you know, a replacement for an Amex or whatever.

00:48:13   Darrell Bock Right. But the emphasis in the show was,

00:48:16   this is a thing you don't need a card for, you just carry it in your phone. So it's, you know,

00:48:20   it's effective, you know, if I was buying my coffee with Apple Pay, and if I'm paying with

00:48:24   Apple credit card. I get that there are some technical differences and that the

00:48:28   who the bank is matters to the banks but if you're a user of some just bought my

00:48:33   cappuccino who cares who cares whether it's a car or Apple pay the thing that I

00:48:37   find a little worrisome about it is and again it seems like a really good card

00:48:41   and you know I don't think the interest rates are groundbreakingly low but they

00:48:45   do seem competitive or at the low end of the industry and the no fees thing is

00:48:49   all good and the cash back is fine but you know I'm not doing a finance

00:48:55   podcast I also assume that Goldman is gonna is going to be replacing whoever

00:48:59   the weird bank is that Apple uses now for its phone financing project oh I

00:49:03   wouldn't be super yeah that's a good idea I would I would think so you know

00:49:07   it makes sense and that and that probably right is going to be a

00:49:10   significant part of whatever bundle there is is you're gonna buy a new

00:49:14   iPhone and you're gonna pay for it over this many installments and you're going

00:49:17   get these other things when you can move that bundle up or down. Yeah. And you know, I know

00:49:21   that every other, not every, but every department store you go to has their own credit card and every

00:49:28   airline has their own credit card or series of credit cards. And you know, you can get your

00:49:33   American Airlines credit card, you can get a Disney credit card, you can, I get it that all

00:49:39   of these other companies in, you name the industry, right, you can get gas station credit cards, you

00:49:44   know, you know, and there's a reason I'm sure it's profitable, you know, the banks are making money

00:49:50   and the companies are making money lending money is a good business, generally. Yeah,

00:49:53   I get it. But it also just is all to me a little unseemly. You know, my crack when they first in

00:50:01   this first leaked a few weeks ago was what's next? Are they going to start doing payday loans at the

00:50:05   Apple Store? Yeah, I mean, again, they they base, they wrap this up in virtue, right? You know,

00:50:13   we're not gonna do fees.

00:50:15   Goldman will not sell your information,

00:50:20   and then there's sort of an asterisk with regards to this.

00:50:24   'Cause Goldman's definitely

00:50:24   in the selling information business.

00:50:26   'Cause that's one of the ways these guys all make money.

00:50:29   Yeah, I just, you know, and again,

00:50:31   I just cannot get over a titanium card,

00:50:33   just cracks me up.

00:50:34   Should be aluminum, right, everyone made that joke?

00:50:37   - Yeah, I wonder why titanium instead of aluminum.

00:50:40   - Sounds cool.

00:50:41   - Yeah, I don't know why.

00:50:41   I know that they, you remember they used to make the laptops out of titanium when they

00:50:45   first went from plastic to metal. The original metal G4 Mac, not Mac books, power books were

00:50:52   titanium. I think for about two years, maybe.

00:50:57   I'm nodding my head. I trust you on this.

00:50:59   The problem with titanium versus aluminum is titanium does not wear anywhere near as

00:51:03   well as aluminum. So like an 18 month old well-used titanium G4 had like, it like eroded

00:51:10   where your palms touched it.

00:51:12   - It also reminded me of the Fyre Festival guy.

00:51:15   - A lot of people made that.

00:51:16   A lot of people--

00:51:17   - Previous to the Fyre Festival,

00:51:19   they had the special card.

00:51:20   - It wasn't even a credit card,

00:51:23   it was just a cool looking card.

00:51:26   - I think it was a rebranded.

00:51:28   Someone else's card, they rebranded, it was great.

00:51:30   - And the entire point of the card

00:51:32   was that it was a cool looking credit card.

00:51:35   - It was a cool looking card

00:51:36   and maybe you could hang out with some jerks

00:51:38   in the West Village in a special apartment.

00:51:41   And go to places where people would be impressed and actually look at.

00:51:45   I think a normal human being doesn't even think to look at anybody else's card except

00:51:51   when they're—

00:51:54   Ostentatiously showing it off and buying a bottle service.

00:51:57   No, I'm thinking like when you split a check with a bunch of friends and then the bill

00:52:00   comes back and there's six cards and it's like, "All right, who's got the green

00:52:04   one?

00:52:05   Who's got this blue thing?"

00:52:06   you know, that's the only time anybody normal ever looks at it. So let's stipulate the world is not

00:52:11   going to be a set of flame by the Apple thing or maybe there's a more interesting application.

00:52:15   Maybe there's more interesting stuff to come from Goldman and Apple. Well, I just don't know how

00:52:20   big a dent in the universe it makes to have a better credit card with low, no fees and nice

00:52:25   rules and stuff like that. I will say this, the 3% cashback on Apple purchases is probably worth it

00:52:32   for me to sign up for it, even if I don't use it for anything other than the money I

00:52:36   give to Apple every year.

00:52:37   Yeah. Look, I feel bad about the fact that my kids are spending 20 bucks of my money

00:52:42   on Fortnite. And if I could reclaim a little bit of that back from their digital dolls

00:52:47   they're buying, I'd be happy about that.

00:52:49   Yeah. So it's probably worth it just for that. But I don't want to spend more of your time

00:52:53   on it.

00:52:54   Good. I mean, we'll spend as much time as you'd like, but it's probably not worth it

00:52:57   either of our time.

00:52:58   Let me take another break here and thank our next sponsor. So good friends at Eero, E E

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00:55:46   Steven: Another fine read and a good product too.

00:55:49   Trevor Burrus Apple Arcade. Again, you're not a gaming expert.

00:55:52   I think this one makes a lot of sense though to me just because Apple's really strong in

00:55:58   games. The mobile games are a huge deal.

00:56:02   Steven

00:56:02   Yeah, as a consumer, I looked at it and said, "I don't know that I'm going to play those

00:56:08   games, but I could definitely see subscribing to it and giving it to my kids and saying,

00:56:13   'Here, one, you don't have to ask me for any upgrades.'"

00:56:16   I think that was a big deal, right?

00:56:17   It's all—it's going to be all in.

00:56:22   And I'm also—Apple's going to pick—Apple's going to have some sort of curatorial control

00:56:26   over it, so I'm not going to be worried about them going to some weird cider wrap.

00:56:31   I definitely am again if we knew what it cost

00:56:33   Right, I'd be very interested in buying and it's you know, they kept this pretty well under wraps

00:56:40   I had a guess I made a guess the day before the event that maybe they would add a game subscription

00:56:46   Yeah, I think Bloomberg had it a few days a few days in advance. But yeah, it was it was it was quite quiet

00:56:52   And part of you know

00:56:54   Part of what seems impressive is that these games are exclusive or at least exclusive on mobile to the platform

00:57:01   There's some ambiguity as to what means exclusive.

00:57:05   I think what they mean by mobile is not Android, and therefore maybe these games might be on

00:57:12   your PlayStation or your PC or something like that, but the only way to play them on a phone

00:57:17   would be through the Apple Arcade.

00:57:21   Right, but these aren't the big sort of like, what do they call them, AAA games?

00:57:24   No.

00:57:25   The $60 games, and they're not the Fortnite-style free-to-play games, right?

00:57:29   Well, is that it's it's it's a specific niche of gaming and I think they emphasized the indie gaming over and over

00:57:34   But I mean one of the reasons they didn't leak is that they weren't doing deals with epic or with blizzard or EA

00:57:40   Right, right and those triple-a games don't really make sense on a phone in in right in my opinion and in my son's opinion as well

00:57:47   I mean my son plays games on a computer

00:57:49   Plays games on a PlayStation. He does play games on a phone, but he plays different games on a phone because they just make sense

00:57:57   Again, I think this is the kind of thing we're in a suite of things

00:58:00   They're going to offer at different price points and different bundle elements. This makes tons of sense

00:58:04   Yeah, well and you said your kids play fortnight. I mean, I think the thing that they're pushing back on on this is the

00:58:10   slot machine

00:58:13   Fication of the whole idea of consumer video games

00:58:16   And the idea that the people making the most money and let's face it Apple is making 30% of that revenue from those games

00:58:25   games when I go through the app store. I feel like even Apple itself is pushing back against

00:58:33   that, even though they're obviously a big source of the revenue, the services revenue

00:58:37   they're already making is coming from Candy Crush type game mechanics. And that was a

00:58:44   big part of the emphasis to this is you're going to give Apple X dollars a month for

00:58:48   an Apple arcade subscription. We don't know what that is. I can't help but think though

00:58:52   that it's gonna be ten bucks right I mean I think that's what I would pay

00:58:57   right I mean what's not gonna happen though it's not gonna replace fortnight

00:59:01   for me but at least I'd say look all right here's ten bucks a month and I

00:59:04   cut something else out and I think this is a reasonable thing for me to give my

00:59:07   kids for a year and then once you're on it you know that you're not going to be

00:59:11   bad badgered for three dollars for a bag of gems or you know yeah whatever

00:59:17   you're in, you've got everything, and there you go. And I think that's a super compelling part of it.

00:59:24   I think they also had, they did have, they didn't have the big publishers like EA and Epic and,

00:59:29   and those, but they had indie game creator, I guess, a hint of what was to come with the,

00:59:34   the entertainment, the TV and movie stuff. They had some big names from the gaming world,

00:59:39   like Will Wright, the guy who invented SimCity and the Sims. You know, super clever guy with a great

00:59:46   history and other people, you know, I'm not really a gaming expert either. But you know,

00:59:50   games I've heard of seems like a good deal I get at a technical level, I get why this is fall,

00:59:59   because it sure sounds like the hey, these things will run on Apple TV, and your phone and your Mac

01:00:07   has something to do with this whole marzipan thing that will make it easier for developers to cross,

01:00:12   you know, make one, write one game, and it'll run on all of these Apple devices, which would mean

01:00:18   that there's going to be, I'm guessing, a huge chunk of WWDC this June, which will be divided

01:00:24   devoted to the technical aspects of here's how this is going to work. So I get and therefore,

01:00:30   whatever comes whatever is announced in June at WWDC will ship in the fall with a new version of

01:00:36   iOS and a new version of the tv OS and a new version of the Mac OS. And that's what we're

01:00:40   waiting for. But in the meantime, you know, what? We wait. Yeah, coming coming later. Yeah,

01:00:50   we should we should. Isn't the Apple TV storefront isn't that up and running? Or is that coming May?

01:00:56   I think that was another thing that was actually existed, though, right? Well,

01:01:01   the channels, right? Right. Yeah. Well, that's next. So why don't we just go right to it?

01:01:05   because the gaming thing is, you know, so the, the Apple TV channels, and this is where I'm

01:01:11   starting to get more and more confused, right? I get like, so long as this Apple arcade is 10,

01:01:16   maybe 15 a month, I get I get it. Okay, let's just assume that's in there. Now we get to Apple TV

01:01:23   channels. This is announced for quote, May, which is pretty soon, you know, that's next month.

01:01:31   This is the famed skinny bundle, I think is the term that's been bandied about for years.

01:01:36   Not really. No. Okay. Now what's the difference? This is this is Amazon channels. This is go.

01:01:44   This is what you can't do is pick a bunch of cable channels that you'd like to get better currently

01:01:51   in some other bundles. So you can't go and get ESPN but not get Disney or whatever else. What you can

01:01:57   can do or buy things that you've already been able to buy, HBO, show time, stars, CBS has

01:02:05   its own all access app that's there.

01:02:08   So you can still buy those.

01:02:10   Nothing has changed.

01:02:12   They're going to throw in some other stuff that you wouldn't normally pay for and that's

01:02:16   where it gets a little confusing.

01:02:18   They put up a bunch of logos and I think probably should be slapped for being deliberately confusing

01:02:25   because they threw in people who aren't sort of participants in the store like Hulu.

01:02:28   Yeah, that's a big one. I mean, that would really help people confused for days.

01:02:33   Yeah. And there's no way you wouldn't understand any of this unless you literally sort of had my

01:02:38   job or a handful of other jobs and you were tasked with figuring this stuff out. But for

01:02:43   the regular consumer, really, there's no difference. Today, you can buy HBO through Apple TV. And in

01:02:51   In May, you'll be able to buy HBO through Apple TV.

01:02:54   What might change is that pricing on that stuff

01:02:56   might change.

01:02:57   Some of the pay channels have deals with Apple,

01:03:00   where Apple has now the ability to bundle them and/or change

01:03:04   pricing.

01:03:04   Apple becomes the retailer.

01:03:06   That's different.

01:03:08   And this is, again, mostly a technical thing

01:03:10   that matters to Apple and to the TV guys.

01:03:12   But Apple is going to be the one--

01:03:14   for the specific set of products that are in this thing,

01:03:18   Apple is going to be hosting the streams

01:03:20   and delivering the streams.

01:03:22   And so, and they made a point of you won't be bouncing

01:03:26   from app to app, which I don't think really matters

01:03:28   to most people, but is also, again, not true,

01:03:30   because if you are switching back and forth

01:03:32   between HBO and Hulu, you are gonna bounce out

01:03:34   to the Hulu app.

01:03:35   - See, I think it does matter, but I think people don't think,

01:03:39   most people don't think it matters.

01:03:40   I think it matters 'cause I think about user interface

01:03:43   design all the time.

01:03:44   I don't know that other people, typical people,

01:03:46   consciously think about it, but I think subconsciously,

01:03:50   people don't like to be confused. And when Apple changed the Apple TV, and again, they

01:03:56   reuse the term Apple TV in so many ways, like it's the device and it's the guide, it's the app.

01:04:03   When they made the app into a thing that surfaces individual shows or movies in the same way that

01:04:13   Apple news surfaces articles as opposed to publications, right? You go to Apple news and

01:04:19   the top five articles are very often from five different publications. You go to the TV app,

01:04:25   they want to do the same thing and say, here's five things we think you might want to watch.

01:04:29   And it might vary from a basketball game on the ESPN app that you already have installed and

01:04:36   authorized somehow to Hulu show to maybe shows a show that's only on iTunes or something.

01:04:46   And for the most part, up 'til now,

01:04:51   and we'll see how much this changes in May,

01:04:52   every time you pick one of those,

01:04:54   you bounce out of that TV app into the app

01:04:56   where the thing is.

01:04:57   - Right.

01:04:58   - And I-- - When it works well,

01:05:01   it's fine, it's a little weird,

01:05:03   then you eventually, you're in the ESPN app

01:05:05   and you're not back in the TV guide.

01:05:07   I mean, I think it's okay in part

01:05:10   because it's better than not having a guide.

01:05:12   I think it's a relatively useful guide.

01:05:16   I don't use it that much anymore because I got a Roku TV and just by default I'm using that really crummy interface

01:05:21   And then the big problem right is it doesn't have Netflix in it

01:05:25   And that is TV for most people or lots of people and so you literally can't just use it as your TV guide because you

01:05:32   Won't know what's on Netflix. I don't know what point will be in the edited version of the show

01:05:36   But on my recording we're one minute and seven seconds in before we mentioned the word Netflix, which I was

01:05:41   We're gonna get there. I was trying to withhold

01:05:45   and there is my

01:05:47   That that to me Netflix is what they are up against and

01:05:53   Maybe to a lesser degree YouTube as well and I'm thinking about my 15 year old son and how much time he spends watching you

01:06:01   too is

01:06:03   There's a confusion aspect and there's also a

01:06:06   laziness aspect, you know

01:06:09   That you're just I just want to watch something

01:06:12   I just want to be entertained and you know

01:06:15   And also why should I have to think about whether this thing is on Netflix or YouTube or Hulu?

01:06:20   Right, and this is why in the very old days when the the record label guys were

01:06:26   Reluctantly trying to figure out digital there were two different competing music services one had like three of the labels one had to of course

01:06:32   That was a non-starter right? Who's gonna figure out if Madonna's on this label or not?

01:06:36   And to ask you TV users to think that through is obviously a non-starter as well

01:06:42   But for you for the same reasons you can you know why it's very important for Netflix, right?

01:06:46   And there was a someone has to go to Netflix and every time something like that happens people just get confused and revolt

01:06:52   I think there was something similar with the early days of blue did blu-ray versus

01:06:56   HD DVDs and it was like there were some movies that would come out on both and then there were some front and it all

01:07:03   But depended on the studio there the studio back blu-ray the studio black date back to HD HD

01:07:10   What you go into back then? I mean again, this makes me sound old already, but back then you'd go into a store to buy a

01:07:16   movie a

01:07:19   physical copy of a movie on a spinning disk and it's like

01:07:22   Who that most people who the hell knows what device they have, you know, right?

01:07:27   They don't know what the hell an HD DVD is versus a blu-ray. They just know if it's you know, right gonna play

01:07:33   So we're so we're in that world now

01:07:35   I don't think that's gonna change anytime soon in part because Netflix and YouTube are so powerful there and they have no reason yeah

01:07:42   To work with Apple, right? Well and YouTube is often its own universe because that what makes YouTube YouTube is not

01:07:50   Professionally produced what I shouldn't say professionally because there's some terrific terrific

01:07:55   Content producers or whatever they call them on YouTube

01:08:00   It also doesn't matter because it if you're so if you're my kids and it sounds like your kid

01:08:04   You don't care whether it's professional or not. You know, whether it's interesting or not

01:08:08   It doesn't mean you don't value Game of Thrones right, but you equally value some stupid fortnight gaming video, right?

01:08:15   something you want to watch and you know, it gets to the

01:08:19   The oldest one of the oldest adages in the world is that you know doesn't matter how rich or poor you are

01:08:25   You know, we all only have 24 hours a day. There's only so much time to watch shows and

01:08:29   Boy, if you can fill it all up watching YouTube and Netflix, there's there's yeah

01:08:34   There's not much room and it's very easy very easy at the end of the day to fill up all your time in Netflix

01:08:39   So and this what I mean

01:08:42   I absolutely get what Apple is trying to do and this is and this is by the way what I think the actual

01:08:46   Apple TV strategy is is to run this storefront is to run a TV guide and to sell HBO and Showtime subscriptions and take those

01:08:54   cuts

01:08:55   Take cuts of that and that part is very straightforward

01:08:57   Obviously if you could own the dominant TV guide or whatever we're gonna call TV

01:09:03   that'd be incredibly powerful and valuable and

01:09:06   Obviously if you could take a if you could extract rent from some of the programmers there

01:09:11   That'd be good too. And in fact you end up sort of it. What is a cable model, right?

01:09:14   That's why that's why I think when you hear people talking about this being a Netflix killer or or a cable TV bundle

01:09:22   That's sort of where it could go. It's just not there right now, right?

01:09:25   And so it's different than something like PlayStation view where?

01:09:31   You pay for PlayStation V you paid like 40 bucks a month and then you get like a cable TV package

01:09:37   I mean they do say with Apple TV channels that you'll get local you'll get local channels. I

01:09:41   Don't think so. Well, and I see it then I don't understand how that's a TV replacement

01:09:46   I mean it's again like if you subscribe to whatever the live TV thing that you Hulu is you'll get them, right?

01:09:54   But Apple certainly hasn't cut deals with local TV providers and local networks again

01:09:58   And if you get CBS All Access, you'll get your local CBS affiliate.

01:10:04   But they're not.

01:10:05   They are not selling-- at one point, they tried very hard to do this, but they're not

01:10:09   doing it right now.

01:10:10   They're not selling you a replacement bundle of TV channels for now.

01:10:16   And if you ask them, they'll say, by the way, we're trying to get rid of the bundle, which

01:10:20   is what they've consistently said now for several years after trying to do their own

01:10:24   bundle.

01:10:25   Again, it's a very similar experience.

01:10:29   We were talking about having to log into

01:10:31   the Wall Street Journal every couple of days,

01:10:33   and you have to re-log in.

01:10:34   I run into it.

01:10:35   I still subscribe, I still have cable TV

01:10:38   from Philadelphia's favorite company, Comcast.

01:10:42   Partly out of apathy, partly out of that we really do,

01:10:47   and my wife especially, really loves TiVo.

01:10:50   And it is a terrific experience.

01:10:54   It's still the best fast-forwarding rewind pause experience of anything, because it's

01:10:58   all stored locally on a disk and it all works very fast.

01:11:03   And it never times out and you never sit there.

01:11:04   Ever, never, never, never.

01:11:06   And there are no restrictions on it.

01:11:08   Right.

01:11:09   Because if we could get the Hulu product or the YouTube product or the Hulu product right

01:11:12   now, sometimes there's a DVR that lets you fast-forward and sometimes they say fast-forwarding

01:11:17   is not allowed.

01:11:18   And again, I cover this stuff so I know why there's that distinction, but it's infuriating.

01:11:23   And again, as a consumer, you shouldn't have to care about it.

01:11:25   - Right, I haven't read it yet.

01:11:26   Talk about running out of things to read,

01:11:27   but there was an article I saw yesterday,

01:11:30   it's in my tabs to read a Medium article

01:11:32   on the oral history of TiVo, which I'm looking forward to,

01:11:35   but haven't really read it yet.

01:11:37   But I've said this on the show before,

01:11:39   it's almost tragic where

01:11:42   almost everything in the world is getting computerized.

01:11:49   Like I think I've got a computerized toothbrush,

01:11:51   really do at this point. Probably a sponsor. Yeah, quip, who is a one time sponsor. Pretty

01:11:57   sure there's a computer in there. You know, my air pods are computerized. They're little

01:12:01   too little. Many computers that sit in my ears. And when TV got computer most of the

01:12:08   time when things get computerized, they get better. Right? Air pods are better than wired,

01:12:13   non computerized, dumb electrical, your ear pods. When TiVo came about, and who was the rival to

01:12:20   to TiVo. There was that there are replay replay right there. There's TiVo and there's replay

01:12:26   and when they first came about you'd put this box and you'd connect your cable to it and

01:12:30   it would record your shows. And you know this was the late 90s early like when I remember

01:12:36   having a mind blown some when someone's like rewound a Kobe Bryant dunk from real time

01:12:41   and replay it for me. I was like you can do that. That seems like illegal. I remember

01:12:45   where I saw Tiva the first time. In 2000, I went to work at a company, Barebone Software,

01:12:52   the makers of BB Edit. And Rich Siegel, co-founder of the company, kindly invited my wife and

01:12:59   I over to his house for dinner. And I believe it was, it might have been October, but the

01:13:05   Yankees were on in the playoffs. And so we had dinner and watched a baseball game. And

01:13:12   like, we want to you want to go to the bathroom? Oh, just hold on here. Yeah. And it was like,

01:13:17   what?

01:13:18   Yeah, it seemed it seemed not right.

01:13:19   And no spinner. No, no, you know, and then you hit another button. And we literally went

01:13:24   to Best Buy. And I also remember very specifically, it was Best Buy the next day and bought the

01:13:28   exact same TiVo that that Rich Siegel had. We're like, Oh, my God, we need this. And

01:13:32   like, it was almost a shame that we couldn't buy it. If we could have if Best Buy was a

01:13:36   24 hour a day operation, we would have bought it at like,

01:13:39   sound like the people who went to go see the first the first motion pictures and got freaked

01:13:43   out by the train coming into the audience. But anyway, the whole point of the computer

01:13:47   fication of TV with TiVo was that it put you in control. And if you wanted to fast for you,

01:13:52   the person who bought this box, you could fast forward the commercials and skip them,

01:13:58   or you could pause the show and go back. And you didn't watch anything you didn't want to watch.

01:14:02   And now as the industry has gone forward, as we've computerized further and gotten to streaming,

01:14:08   the computerfication has taken that control away from you and given you unskippable interstitions.

01:14:13   Yes. Yes. And, you know, as an aside, the programmers spent years trying to sue TiVo

01:14:21   and Replay out of existence, right, for that very reason. Failed. And now they've succeeded in a

01:14:25   way because they now have this new way of insisting that you watch ads. Unless, of course, they're

01:14:30   Netflix and they don't show ads at all. Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah. And, you know, I think

01:14:36   I think Netflix is very conscious of it.

01:14:38   I'm anti-autoplay with Netflix.

01:14:41   I would love to have some way to turn

01:14:44   all of my various interfaces to Netflix

01:14:47   to not autoplay as my mouse hovers over something

01:14:49   and starts making noise.

01:14:51   But at least they don't make me watch anything

01:14:54   I don't wanna watch.

01:14:54   - It's a huge thing.

01:14:55   I mean, I get people complaining about the autoplay

01:14:59   and stuff like that, but I mean,

01:15:00   the amount of control they give you,

01:15:04   And again, they're at 50, 60 million US subscribers.

01:15:07   That should be the default for how you consume this stuff.

01:15:12   And to me, it seems like just a ton of pressure on everyone

01:15:15   else to match that.

01:15:17   The flip is, if you want to make something free,

01:15:19   or at least cheaper, then people will sit through ads.

01:15:22   I think about this all the time.

01:15:26   There's a Hulu version with ads.

01:15:28   There's a Hulu version without ads or with limited ads.

01:15:31   And it's like a $4 difference.

01:15:32   And to me, it's a no-brainer.

01:15:33   She'd pay four bucks to not watch ads,

01:15:35   but the majority of Hulu subscribers

01:15:37   get the cheaper one with ads.

01:15:39   Money means something to people.

01:15:41   - Yeah, I've watched my son,

01:15:42   I forget what my son was binge watching on Hulu last summer.

01:15:46   I don't know.

01:15:47   It might've been Seinfeld.

01:15:49   I don't know what it was,

01:15:51   but he was watching some old sitcom,

01:15:53   binge watching it on Hulu,

01:15:54   and it was sitting through these unskippable ads,

01:15:56   and I got on my phone and looked up,

01:15:59   and I was like, "Oh my God, $4 a month.

01:16:01   "Here, did you just?"

01:16:02   And I was like, "Here."

01:16:03   I just bought you something, no more ads.

01:16:05   - Yeah, there is a little trend of services

01:16:07   like Tubi TV and Pluto that are free

01:16:12   and that have some pickup because, again,

01:16:15   people are willing to put up with inconvenience

01:16:18   in exchange for free stuff.

01:16:19   - Well, basically though, where I was going with this

01:16:21   with the Wall Street Journal logging in

01:16:23   is that I've got all these apps now like ESPN

01:16:25   and I can get ESPN on my Apple TV

01:16:27   because I have a cable subscription,

01:16:30   I can use it to sign in, and son of a bitch,

01:16:32   if I don't have to reconfirm my Comcast thing

01:16:37   way too often, that every, you know, maybe not days,

01:16:41   but every few weeks, and then there's some of those apps

01:16:45   or channels, you know, whatever you wanna call them,

01:16:47   that I only wanna watch once in a while,

01:16:49   and it's inevitable that I'm going to have to start

01:16:52   by picking up a device, going to a URL,

01:16:56   waiting for a four-digit code, and it's like,

01:16:58   God, I just, all I did was tell my wife,

01:17:00   I think we're both gonna really like this show.

01:17:02   And meanwhile, I've gotta sit there and futz around.

01:17:06   - Now, I think some of it got better,

01:17:07   but some of it's like, the FX ones were terrible.

01:17:11   You'd have to keep re-logging in,

01:17:13   and then they would limit your access within the app

01:17:15   unless you signed up for like a fan club or something else

01:17:18   and gave them more information.

01:17:20   And it just inevitably just ended up bailing.

01:17:21   It's like, I'll pay to watch Mission Impossible

01:17:24   somewhere else where I won't watch it.

01:17:25   - I think we ran into that, there was a series on FX,

01:17:29   I think with the story of Johnny Versace's assassination.

01:17:33   And it was exactly like that.

01:17:35   We pay for FX, we're supposed to be able to get this app

01:17:38   so that we can watch it whenever we want.

01:17:40   And it was really horrible.

01:17:42   So what's left is Apple TV Plus,

01:17:47   which is apparently wholly separate from Apple TV channels.

01:17:51   I guess because the idea is if you already have cable

01:17:58   or PlayStation Vue or the, what's the YouTube one called

01:18:01   where you get a whole package of cable content.

01:18:05   - YouTube Live maybe?

01:18:06   - Yeah.

01:18:07   - Something, something.

01:18:08   - That you might not wanna give that thing up

01:18:12   to get channels, but you still wanna pay or not pay,

01:18:17   who knows, for Apple's original content.

01:18:19   - Super confusing.

01:18:22   In part, and Apple has been very quiet about this,

01:18:26   isn't telling most of its partners what it's doing here.

01:18:29   They're certainly not telling people like me off the record what they're doing.

01:18:33   And so you can sort of just make some educated guesses, right?

01:18:37   So my best hunch is this is a thing they're going to give you if you're an Apple customer

01:18:43   in some way, whether maybe you own an iPhone or you have bought some other bundle and there's

01:18:47   some sort of incentive, they're going to throw it in for free or almost nothing.

01:18:53   We haven't talked about this yet, but a big change for Apple is they're distributing this

01:18:57   video now and the storefront on Roku, on Samsung, on Amazon Fire devices, which is pretty staggering.

01:19:05   And so maybe you'll pay something if you want to watch the Reese Witherspoon show or the

01:19:10   Steven Spielberg show or the J.J. Abrams show.

01:19:13   But even then, they can't charge you very much because they maybe have 30 shows coming

01:19:21   And they're probably going to put out two a month.

01:19:24   And the way that the TV is sold today, you can't sell a subscription to something that

01:19:29   has two shows a month.

01:19:32   Everything else, Netflix, CBS, I'll access Hulu, on and on and on, have some smattering

01:19:37   of new stuff, in Netflix's case, a ton of new stuff, and then a huge library of stuff.

01:19:43   And that's what you're paying 10 or 15 bucks a month for.

01:19:47   And I just can't imagine how Apple charges you anything close to that.

01:19:50   All right. I, the closest I can think is that what they're, if they do charge something for it,

01:19:55   it's that they think they're something like HBO, but even HBO has a library. You can just go and

01:20:03   watch all of the old Sopranos you know, and on top of that, and HBO would say this for years,

01:20:08   that the majority of their viewing was people watching old movies. Yeah. And they, so they

01:20:14   would get you to subscribe because it's a pranos or sex in the city or game of thrones, but most

01:20:18   You're watching was Fast and the Furious and I were very clear about this and they spent a lot of money to license those movies

01:20:24   from Warner Brothers and other studios

01:20:26   Because you can only watch The Sopranos X number of times a month

01:20:31   And you know, even CBS has a smattering of new shows. I like the called son of Good Wife

01:20:38   I think it's called the good fight

01:20:40   But the thing that most people are watching there or they've got the Twilight Zone, right?

01:20:45   But you can watch everything else that CBS has ever made and that's the proposition. Yeah Jordan Peele

01:20:51   I don't see how I yeah, I don't see a Jordan Peele's thing

01:20:53   I don't see how Apple can sell this as a standalone product now. They have called it a subscription service

01:20:59   So, you know

01:21:01   But I think they still allow themselves a bunch of wiggle room if it if it's a subscription service that is then bundled in

01:21:07   We are subscriptions. You can still call it a subscription service, but I just don't see how they're selling this

01:21:11   All right, let's pause we'll come back to Apple TV+

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01:23:38   I guess the other thing that goes unsaid with the pricing on this whole thing and all of

01:23:42   the lack of pricing information is that it's crying for some sort of super bundle where

01:23:49   you pay 30 40 $50 a month to Apple and you get music, news, TV, iCloud arcade. Well,

01:23:58   iCloud is the big quiet. I would love to see them include that because I think it's it's a

01:24:03   running years long running complaint of mine many years at this point that the the free amount of

01:24:12   storage they give people at iCloud especially when they're buying 800-900 dollar phones is almost

01:24:19   criminal and I think it's just heartbreaking. I mean that in all sincerity but no hyperbole

01:24:27   that thinking about people who lose their phone or have their phone stolen or whatever,

01:24:32   and don't have an iCloud backup of everything that was on it and the photos and stuff that they've

01:24:37   lost because they're maybe they only had one and only one Apple device, their phone. And it's a

01:24:45   problem we collectively in the industry have solved if you have enough space so that when you

01:24:50   plug it into charge and it's connected to Wi Fi, just uploads everything to the server. And as

01:24:54   disappointed as you might be when you have to go buy a new phone because your other one

01:24:57   was lost or stolen or it's a simple problem of you maybe it wasn't lost or stolen but you upgrade

01:25:03   and how do you get your stuff from the old phone to the new phone and you don't know that if you

01:25:08   don't have the iCloud stores that you could go to the Apple store and wait an hour and the genius

01:25:13   will help you do it with using a computer to move it between there people don't think like that

01:25:17   people may not know that you can do it I mean you know that there's some number of people who are

01:25:20   losing. So I would love to see them bundle iCloud into it.

01:25:24   Yes. And, and also I resent iCloud. I resent being forced to pay an extra $3 a month because

01:25:31   I ran out of space. It just feels I did buy a super expensive phone and it, by the way,

01:25:36   if they just said that was part of Apple care and added it there and I didn't see it, I'd

01:25:40   be fine. So I think, and I think they can probably do a bunch of different bundles and

01:25:44   swap stuff in and out of that. Yeah. And make it easy to manage and easy to say, you know

01:25:49   I never play these arcade games. So drop arcade from my bundle. But something like that, that

01:25:57   made it easier and made it one bill from Apple per month for recurring stuff would be compelling

01:26:05   just on a simplicity front. And if you saved some amount of money, you know, where there's

01:26:11   three things to say, they're all 10 bucks a month, but if you get all three, you only

01:26:15   pay $25 a month, you know, is also very, very compelling to real people. And I kind of feel

01:26:22   like they haven't worked that all out. And therefore they don't want to talk about pricing

01:26:26   of the individual things other than news, which they have to talk about because they're

01:26:31   actually selling it already.

01:26:32   Yeah, I just, I mean, again, I just think that they're, I just think that it's going

01:26:36   to be free, right to the majority of Apple users and they don't want to say that yet

01:26:40   or, and also because once you, whenever you do put that price on that Reese Witherspoon

01:26:43   show. Now all of a sudden, when it comes out this fall, is it worth this much? Whereas

01:26:50   if it's just sort of bundled in, you go, great, it's exciting. And so the idea would be that

01:26:56   a it would get people buying Apple devices or keep people buying them. But then even

01:27:00   if you're using a Roku or Apple or Amazon Fire, and but they're, they've got this thing

01:27:06   built in and you can watch the Reese Witherspoon show, which I think I'm hoping is going to

01:27:12   be one of the better shows. You know, I'm a huge Larry Sanders fan and I just love the

01:27:17   idea of a show about a show. I think it's so ripe for...

01:27:21   I like Studio 60. I'll watch any version of it. I liked it when they went to Afghanistan.

01:27:27   My wife and I loved Studio 60. Absolutely loved it. And it's my favorite Aaron Sorkin

01:27:33   show ever. I loved it. I thought it was like a parody of an Aaron Sorkin show, but I did

01:27:39   love it.

01:27:40   that's why I loved it though, because I didn't feel like it was actually sanctimonious. I felt

01:27:45   it was- I was incredibly sanctimonious. They were treating this SNL show as if it was the White

01:27:50   House. And just as important, and again, there was a plot where they had to go rescue hostages

01:27:55   from Afghanistan. There was a show about an SNL show. It was great. I thought it was almost,

01:28:00   yeah, but I thought it was like you said, a parody of an Aaron Serkin show, which is what made it

01:28:04   more digestible to me. I loved 30 Rock. I thought 30 Rock, which coincidentally launched the same

01:28:09   year as Studio 60, which was weird because I know confused me, and ordinarily for weeks,

01:28:15   because not only were they both shows about an SNL type show, but the numbers 30 and 60

01:28:20   are

01:28:21   Yes. And we also assume that the Aaron Sorkin show be the one that succeeded not the one

01:28:25   from Tina Fey.

01:28:26   Yeah, exactly. So I love a show about a show. So this morning show thing and and it has

01:28:31   a terrific cast. I think Jennifer Aniston is one of the funniest actresses we've ever

01:28:35   seen.

01:28:36   This this goes to the thing though, right like so they put out a bunch of shows and you're excited about that

01:28:42   I was gonna call it studio 16, whatever the morning show is called

01:28:44   I think it's just called the morning show morning show and maybe someone else is excited about the Jason Amo is blind show

01:28:50   You just don't know if any of it's gonna be any good the people who are make TV for a living fail most the time

01:28:58   Apple this is why I never understood why Apple came out with those two shows a couple years ago

01:29:02   Like if you're gonna do programming do a bunch of it because most of it won't work

01:29:05   So again, sort of the best case scenario, they'll have a handful of these things will be successes,

01:29:12   which again, is why you really can't charge people at least initially for this stuff.

01:29:16   One of the ones I don't think unless I fast forwarded, they didn't really mention it. There's

01:29:22   one of the shows they've got who was the guy who did the the new version of Battlestar Galactica?

01:29:29   Ron, uh, drawing a blank on his last name, but he's got a show coming up, which sounds

01:29:38   fantastic, which is, uh, the basic gist is what would have happened if this sixties space

01:29:44   race had never ended. You sure that's not an Amazon show? No, it's an Apple show. Okay.

01:29:50   See, there's a fusion. Uh, I guess it's still so in the works that they didn't even tease

01:29:56   it at the thing. Sounds like a fantastic show. But again, how many people are going to sign

01:30:03   up for it if it's only six shows or something?

01:30:05   Yeah, and six. And again, like the idea that, that again, maybe you like that show, maybe

01:30:11   it's a great show, but, but it's, it's generally those shows have to appeal to one audience

01:30:16   or another, which means someone else doesn't like it. I just, I'll just keep saying it

01:30:21   over and over. It's just very hard to imagine that I'm having enough stuff that they can

01:30:25   and sell actual subscriptions to a significant number of people.

01:30:29   Now, if that Studio 60 show, which is not Studio 60,

01:30:32   is thrown as a freebie, all of a sudden you're

01:30:35   delighted to get it as a bonus, as opposed to being upset

01:30:38   that it's not worth paying for.

01:30:40   - Ron Moore, no need to send in corrections, folks.

01:30:42   Ron Moore was the showrunner for the Battlestar Galactica.

01:30:46   And here's a deadline story.

01:30:49   I think it's still untitled about the show.

01:30:55   I guess that's maybe why they didn't even

01:30:57   put them up on stage.

01:30:58   It's as yet untitled.

01:30:59   But anyway, sounds terrific.

01:31:01   And I love alternate reality, alternate universe,

01:31:04   science fiction type things like that.

01:31:06   - And by the way, I think this is,

01:31:10   Amazon Prime is not killing it.

01:31:13   But most people aren't subscribing to Amazon Prime

01:31:18   for video or they're not, they're certainly not subscribing

01:31:20   to the Amazon video service.

01:31:22   They're getting free shipping or cheap shipping.

01:31:24   and then they're getting some TV alongside it,

01:31:26   and that lowers the stakes considerably.

01:31:28   - Right.

01:31:30   - Yeah, I don't know.

01:31:31   But so I guess the idea would be that

01:31:33   if they include their shows, if they do it,

01:31:36   and just say, look, if you've got a device

01:31:38   that plays Apple TV, you could get these Apple TV Plus.

01:31:41   But the fact that they're calling it Plus

01:31:43   makes me think they're going to charge for it,

01:31:45   because there's Apple News, and Apple News is free,

01:31:47   and Apple News Plus is paid.

01:31:49   And so therefore, Apple TV Plus should be paid.

01:31:53   You know if any company would screw around and be that inconsistent with their names. It would be Apple. I

01:31:59   Don't I don't I mean this is again very insidery, but the Disney thing is gonna be called Disney Plus, right?

01:32:06   And who knows what the the thing formerly known as Time Warner thing is gonna be called someone referred to as HBO max today

01:32:12   Yeah, I don't know if it's a real name or not, but someone's got to figure out a different word than plus

01:32:16   Yeah, well that was one mystery, but and they're not using the word. They're using the plus symbol sign

01:32:22   - Yeah, to make it more complicated for us.

01:32:24   (laughing)

01:32:27   Yeah, but so yeah, we go back to where we started,

01:32:31   which is we don't know what the point of this is

01:32:34   as a business, we don't know what the proposition is

01:32:37   as a consumer, and we don't even know

01:32:39   what these things are.

01:32:40   We saw, I mean, they showed us shockingly little stuff.

01:32:43   I mean, I've been thinking about this for a week now.

01:32:47   If you're gonna get Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Aniston

01:32:50   JJ Abrams on stage, you're probably only going to get to do it once. You can't bring them back

01:32:54   next fall to stand up on stage again and show off their TV shows. So that's a big ass to get those

01:33:01   guys on stage. So to get them up there on a stage and then describe a TV show, but not show it,

01:33:07   it just seems crazy to me. Yeah. And I'm not familiar with the up-fronts. You mentioned the

01:33:12   term before, but you know, it, like you said that the, my understanding is that typically they'll

01:33:18   show the media writers, TV critics, entire episodes.

01:33:23   Yes, the entire episodes is usually sort of a rarity, like, we're so confident, we're going to

01:33:29   show you the entire episode. Usually, it's a well produced sizzle reel, and you can make anything

01:33:34   look good. And it's kind of silly to make, to draw conclusions. But it is the expectation that you're

01:33:39   going to see the thing and at least to get a sense of, is it funny? Is it dramatic? Is it whatever?

01:33:44   none of the above. Or a trailer, right? Maybe that's the equivalent of a civil real. You could

01:33:50   at least get a teaser, right? Which to me is a distinct thing from a trailer. Like a teaser is

01:33:57   just— You might be excited. The Joker preview teaser came out today. It's great. I don't know

01:34:07   if you've seen it. No, I haven't seen it. It looks great. It looks great and it's so compelling.

01:34:10   And again, I've got no idea if the Joker is gonna be a good movie

01:34:13   But I'm definitely interested in it now based on a two-minute clip

01:34:16   Amazing what I remember my favorite teaser was when when George Lucas announced that he was going to re-release the original Star Wars

01:34:24   trilogy and

01:34:26   you know, it's something I'd only seen on a big screen as a little kid and

01:34:30   And that the teaser was a TV floating in outer space

01:34:35   I don't know if the TV was actually showing the Star Wars movies

01:34:38   But it was like a cathode ray tube TV and it's like, you know, here's what you've seen and it was you're in a movie theater

01:34:44   Here's the big teaser

01:34:45   There's a little TV

01:34:46   Floating in space starts showing a Star Wars movie and then an x-wing fighter blows it up and zooms through real big

01:34:52   Huh, and it's like great, you know coming back

01:34:54   Star Wars, you know, there's a teaser right? Boom. There you go. And it's telling you here's everything you need to know

01:35:01   It's Star Wars on a big-ass screen and a big theater. You're gonna love it

01:35:06   But they didn't even do that. They had they had like shots

01:35:10   shots of shows

01:35:13   It was really kind of bad for you and I was following along remotely watching listening to watching like the the Twitter and seeing

01:35:21   people's reactions and it was just everybody over and over again saying

01:35:24   They're not gonna actually not show the shows, right?

01:35:28   They're not gonna actually not show the shows right over and over and over and then it got towards the end and they're like

01:35:33   They're not gonna show the shows

01:35:35   (laughing)

01:35:37   - Again, I mean, I'm trying to like spin my way through it

01:35:40   or imagine Apple's thinking, and again,

01:35:42   when the Steven Spielberg show comes out,

01:35:45   they're gonna promote the heck out of it

01:35:47   and they'll buy TV spots and it'll pop up on your phone

01:35:50   whether you wanna see it or not,

01:35:51   and they're really gonna push it,

01:35:52   and again, people who don't listen to this podcast

01:35:55   won't care that they had this deeply weird event in March,

01:35:58   but I just still don't know why you would do that.

01:36:01   And again, it's one thing to have Tim Cook come up and say,

01:36:04   in the fall we're going to have this stuff. It's going to be great. Check it out." And then it's

01:36:07   another thing to like load up A-A-A list stars and have them stand on stage and do that.

01:36:14   Pete: Yeah. I don't know. Well, I don't have much more to add, other than I might have to have you

01:36:22   back on the show in the fall. [laughs]

01:36:23   Chris I did ask the Apple folks, "What are you doing?" And of course, you know,

01:36:27   they refused to pretend that there was anything weird about it except that, you know, I said,

01:36:32   look, you know, this is how it's done on the upfronts. He said, well, we don't need to do it

01:36:35   that way. We're Apple. We're different. All right. I don't think that's going to work, but maybe we'll

01:36:40   well, but yes, I will come back in the fall. If you ask Peter Kafka, I really appreciate your

01:36:44   time. I appreciate your insight. And I am so honestly, my, my thought here, we, as we wrap

01:36:49   up the show, my thought is I thank God Peter is as confused as I am because I've really spent the

01:36:58   last week or so. And again, I was away for the first part of it on a vacation. And I thought,

01:37:03   maybe I maybe this is why I need to go to these events because I'm confused.

01:37:06   John Greenewald You could be equally confused from a remote distance.

01:37:11   Yeah. But if you want to hear me being confused on a regular basis, there's Re/Code Media with

01:37:15   Peter Kafka available on whatever podcast app you choose, including an episode with yourself

01:37:20   with your Well, it's okay. I was on your show. So they can start by listening to the episode.

01:37:23   that I was on. That is still one of our best episodes, by the way. That's not just flattery.

01:37:28   I enjoyed it. It's flattery, but it's true. I hate talking about what I do. I hate talking

01:37:32   about myself, and I enjoyed that episode very much. So. You did a good job. Thanks,

01:37:37   Jeff. Peter, thank you very much. Thank you.