The Talk Show

242: ‘The Butts Incident’ With John Moltz


00:00:00   What a week. I tell you, I upgraded to Mojave. No, really? Oh, we'll have to get to that. Oh my

00:00:08   god. So what do we got? We got big news, Jon Moltz. We got we got FaceTime. Yeah, big FaceTime bug.

00:00:14   We got a big Facebook scandal. Couple Facebook scandal. All the face stuff. We got Apple quarterly

00:00:19   results. I say we go with Facebook first. Okay. That sounds like fun. So as we record,

00:00:27   we're recording on Wednesday, January 30. It's still breaking on this story. We don't quite know

00:00:32   how it's going to end up. But what we know is that yesterday TechCrunch ace reporter Josh Constein

00:00:37   broke a big story that Facebook got caught running some kind of spyware effectively like it was opt

00:00:47   in. Hey, pay is it is it spyware if they're paying paying you for to spy on you? I guess it still is.

00:00:54   right? All right, let me try to summarize the story. So yeah, years ago, Facebook,

00:00:57   beginning years ago, Facebook bought a VPN app called Obama. And this is a free VPN that was

00:01:05   supposedly advertised as, you know, protect your traffic. And a VPN can be totally legitimate way

00:01:11   to protect your network connection so that you know, you connect via VPN, and then you

00:01:16   could go to a public Wi Fi and all of your traffic goes over the secure SSH tunnel to the VPN server.

00:01:23   And so anybody on the local public Wi-Fi can't, you know, spy on your traffic. All they see is this

00:01:30   encrypted connection. All sorts of companies, of course, require the use of a VPN to connect to

00:01:37   company, you know, sensitive company data. And consumers can use a VPN to do things like

00:01:42   masquerade their location. Maybe you could use a VPN to get. If you're outside the US,

00:01:48   Maybe you can get us only content or something like that

00:01:51   But anyway Facebook bought them not out of the goodness of their heart shockingly

00:01:56   But because they ever done anything kind of the goodness of their heart the thing is when you connect via a VPN

00:02:03   You you're safe from the the network your local network

00:02:06   But you you are you're you're handing everything all of the everything funnels through the VPN and and whoever owns the VPN knows everything

00:02:15   Right you it's you might as well just let somebody sit down at your computer, you know

00:02:19   you have to trust them as much as the VPN as much as you would trust somebody sitting in front of your computer and

00:02:24   Facebook use this of on Oh was popular enough. Obviously everybody didn't use it

00:02:30   It's not like it was something that everybody who uses Facebook was secretly running behind the scenes. You had to you know, download of on oh and

00:02:36   You know run it but enough people were running it that Facebook could use the data

00:02:41   they were collecting and they were collecting data on everything everybody who installed it did every app they launched every network connection

00:02:48   what apps they used for how long and

00:02:50   They used it to to make decisions like buying WhatsApp for 19 billion dollars because that data they had showed

00:02:57   Hey, this is popular and getting more popular. We should buy it

00:03:00   And in September Apple put the kibosh on it when it came to light just how much they were collecting and you know

00:03:08   I I think it's fair to say it was

00:03:10   being billed under false advertising by declaring this was for privacy and then using it to

00:03:16   spy on

00:03:18   Violated terms of the the App Store. Yes. It wasn't simply arbitrary or you know, we don't like, you know

00:03:25   We didn't think of this it it really was

00:03:27   Violating the terms of the App Store

00:03:30   Immediately we now know as of yesterday immediately thereafter Facebook started doing something very similar

00:03:35   through a privately distributed beta that was signed with their enterprise certificate.

00:03:42   Now that's something, for example, so like a big company like IBM or any company really

00:03:46   can have an enterprise certificate and use that to distribute apps to employees that

00:03:53   don't go through the app store.

00:03:54   So it could be like an app that's just for internal use in your company that you want

00:03:58   on iPhones or it could be for testing betas of things that, a public app that will go

00:04:04   through the App Store, but while it's in development, your employees can use it without

00:04:08   going through the App Store. TestFlight, which a lot of people probably know as Apple's

00:04:14   publicly facing beta distribution thing, is sort of one way to do that. But an enterprise,

00:04:21   a company like Facebook, doesn't have to go through TestFlight to do that. So it ends

00:04:26   up that they were distributing an app.

00:04:29   Well, number one, Apple's terms for the enterprise specifically say that this is for the use

00:04:36   of your employees for testing apps and using internal apps.

00:04:42   Facebook was advertising, trying to get people to sign up for this program.

00:04:46   They were paying them $20 a month.

00:04:48   And then, you know, and then they, for some reason, wanted a screenshot of your recent

00:04:53   Amazon purchases.

00:04:54   Isn't that out of left field?

00:04:57   I mean, I don't even like, oh man. Like that's the part where you got to think like I can

00:05:07   see and what am I doing? Yeah. And they were, they were asking for, for kids down to 1313

00:05:13   to 17 year olds. I guess they were, I don't know how well they were enforcing it, you

00:05:17   know, that they were supposedly for 13 to 17 year olds requiring parental permission.

00:05:22   Yeah, that's it. I couldn't, didn't get a good answer on that because it seemed like

00:05:26   like, in some cases, it was just like, it was like a checkbox, like, does your parent

00:05:30   agree to this check? Right? Like, you know, any kid, any kid could do that. Right? Like,

00:05:35   yeah, I, it's unclear to me how enforced that was. Is it sort of like, you know, like, we

00:05:41   I've got it set up so that when Jonas gets by a buys an app, you know, we have a family

00:05:47   account and me or Amy has to authorize it. Is it like that where the parent, you know,

00:05:51   there's like a connection within Facebook didn't seem like it and be in these things.

00:05:55   don't with provisioning profiles that any anybody can install it from a website. You don't have to

00:06:03   write. There's no there's no restriction in parental controls that controls that.

00:06:08   Right. And I have found that I found that out the hard way. Believe me.

00:06:11   But there's a whole bunch and Facebook isn't the only one that like issues these things to

00:06:18   widely and for free on the Internet. There's a whole bunch of other instances where this happens.

00:06:23   and like some like there's a there's a Minecraft thing that helps you like you can install like one

00:06:29   of the knocks against the iOS version of Minecraft is that it doesn't let you install mods like like

00:06:34   on Android you can actually install mods because you know the apps can interact with each other

00:06:39   more and this supposedly this I have not tried it but this profile will let you do that on iOS

00:06:46   and so obviously Hank you know downloaded that without thinking um and it's you know and it's

00:06:51   like the signature on it. I wish I had his device in front of me, but it's something like the

00:06:55   Shenzhen industrial.

00:06:58   [laughter]

00:06:59   Tom: So that's technically against the App Store rules, right?

00:07:04   Ben, off screen Yeah, right.

00:07:05   Tom; Yeah. I wonder how widely this is being abused. Just before we started recording,

00:07:09   somebody on Twitter sent me a DM that showed that Google seemingly has a very similar app.

00:07:18   Ben, off screen Right.

00:07:20   Yeah, so this the screen wise meter app on an iOS device

00:07:24   It does not seem this seems like it might be a similar scandal by the time

00:07:30   This is what I mean by that. We're recording on Wednesday held by tomorrow that who knows maybe Google's gonna be in hot water

00:07:36   But anyway, they were paying paying people $20 kids even

00:07:41   Isn't other insult for me and you it was they only wanted people aged 13 to 35

00:07:46   we're not even close where we don't care. Right. It's like, it's like as you age and

00:07:57   you fill out forms, you know, and it's like, what age group are you in? Yeah. And it's

00:08:01   like, it never for whatever reason, it never goes by the decade. It's like, are you in

00:08:06   your 20s? Are you in your 30s? Because you know, I mean, you roll over, you hit 40 or

00:08:10   you hit 50. And you know, hit those things. And it always, you know, whether you're particularly

00:08:15   sensitive to that or not. I'm not. I don't like get depressed if I when I hit a landmark birthday,

00:08:20   but you know, even if you're like me, and you're a bit cynical and jaded and except the warm and

00:08:26   breath of death, that's it's still you note it, right? And when other people get, you know,

00:08:33   maybe you really get upset when they hit hit some of these marks, but they don't ask you that. It's

00:08:36   always weird, weird ranges, you know, like, are you different? Yeah, they vary by whoever's asking

00:08:42   the question. Yeah, you 18 to 24, 25 to 33. You know, the thing that bugs me, though,

00:08:49   is there's usually like a 55 and up or something. I am quickly approaching that like, right.

00:08:55   And you just know that when you click that one, it just goes right in a circular file. Right?

00:09:00   Yeah, right. Right to dev null. Thanks. Thanks for reading. Don't care. Well, anyway, we're not even

00:09:07   close to being in a range of where Facebook… Facebook doesn't even want to spy on us.

00:09:11   Anyway, $13 to $35. They're paying them 20 bucks a month.

00:09:17   AARON: The Facebook one, isn't it? The Google one, you get points toward the Google Play Store

00:09:22   or something like that? Seems worse almost. Although, if they're going for kids, that's

00:09:29   probably what the kids want anyway. But…

00:09:30   Yeah, I wonder

00:09:32   But they shouldn't be going for kids

00:09:35   You would hope not yeah, but anyway, they called it a Facebook research app, although the the webpage

00:09:42   I mean there was a way that if you paid attention as you were clicking through that you could see this was going to Facebook

00:09:47   but they kind of disguised it like the initial webpage where you'd sign up was

00:09:51   Administered through beta testing services applause beta bound and you test

00:09:59   And it did seem that they were sort of the shins in industrial complex, right?

00:10:03   Right. It wasn't like they've registered a fake name or something. There was you know, eventually you could see that it was

00:10:09   Facebook but it didn't seem like they were upfront about it. I

00:10:13   Can see I worry I actually even mentioned to my son I brought this up to Jonas yesterday

00:10:20   I could see that if if it seemed like you were gonna get 20 bucks a month

00:10:24   I can I could see him signing up for this. Oh, yeah

00:10:28   Like I it's like the old what would you go? Yeah, I mean I need to go check Hank's device and make sure that's not on

00:10:34   There because I would not be surprised at all. It is it's like the old what would you do for a Klondike bar?

00:10:39   Who do I have to kill

00:10:43   One of my all-time favorite tweets from the old days when we all we used to do like circa

00:10:48   2007 was just cracked one-liners on Twitter is the one time I don't know how many and

00:10:53   It was back in the old favorite favorite favorite whatever favored whatever it was called. Yeah, I tweeted

00:11:01   You don't want to know what I would do for a Klondike bar

00:11:04   But I just thought it was a funny tweet back in the day when we did that anyway

00:11:11   I don't want to know what my son would do for $20 a month

00:11:13   What would you install for $20 a month? Yeah, it's hard to it's a hard thing to explain to a kid

00:11:21   Yeah, why this is important. Yeah

00:11:24   And I don't think Hank fully gets it yet. But I mean that's serious money. I mean, what is it?

00:11:31   $480 a year am I doing the math, right? Yeah ten times. No ten times. No

00:11:36   280 no 240 240 I doubled it before

00:11:39   Math majors clearly but 240 bucks a year just to sign up and let Facebook see what you're doing on your phone tells you how how

00:11:48   Valuable that information is to Facebook

00:11:51   right, yeah, I

00:11:53   Mean they probably wouldn't pay everybody, you know, they're not gonna what do they have like 1.7 billion users?

00:12:00   They're not gonna pay 20 billion dollars a month to get it on everybody

00:12:04   But you know to get you know, however many I'd be fascinated to know how many people they got to sign up for this

00:12:09   By the way, it's too bad the jigs up I would sign up and then just like screw around with it. I

00:12:13   Got an iOS device lying around here that I'm not using

00:12:17   Anyway, so the story broke yesterday. It's very clearly against the terms of the developer

00:12:27   enterprise certificate, which very clearly says this is for your employees. And Facebook

00:12:34   somehow initially, this is this is what gets me is TechCrunch does the you know, the responsible

00:12:40   thing there. They're straight and narrow reporting operation. So they contacted fate, you know,

00:12:46   They figured all this out.

00:12:47   They obviously caught them red-handed,

00:12:49   but then they contacted Facebook for comment.

00:12:51   And comment-- Facebook said that what they were doing

00:12:54   doesn't violate Apple's enterprise certificate policy.

00:12:59   Nothing to see.

00:13:00   Move along.

00:13:02   But the actual words that Apple uses

00:13:07   are "distribute provisioning profiles only

00:13:10   to your employees and only in conjunction

00:13:14   with your internal use applications for the purpose of developing and testing."

00:13:18   Like that's a direct quote. It really does. It's not just that they broke the rules flagrantly

00:13:27   and that this is a sketchy thing to even want to do, right? Like the idea that you would even

00:13:32   have a meeting to say, "Well, how can we put something on a couple of thousand people's

00:13:37   phones, including especially teenagers, and figure out what the hell they're doing?"

00:13:41   like that's a weird you're you're already at a weird place where you're even thinking about it

00:13:46   yeah and it's not just that they did it but it's that that to me that the the cherry on the top

00:13:52   is their initial statement was well this isn't even against the rules

00:13:57   what could be wrong what could be wrong with this right certainly nothing we were just talking

00:14:05   we were reminiscing because jonas had a birthday recently and you know it brings up you know

00:14:10   remember when, remember when, when Jonas was little. And Jonas had a thing, it was so funny,

00:14:16   and I think it's genetic, and he got it from me, was if we caught him doing something he wasn't

00:14:21   supposed to do, like trying to get a cookie, which literally had happened. I know it's a cliche,

00:14:28   kids stealing cookies from the cookie jar, but we caught him trying to get a numino when he hadn't

00:14:33   asked if he could have a numino. And Amy would say, or Amy or me would say, "What are you doing?"

00:14:39   he would he would say don't look at me at the time it was a little angering and in hindsight

00:14:51   it's adorable yeah right don't look at me don't look at me

00:14:54   is he i think he was trying to do like a force you know like yeah an obi-wan thing right yeah

00:15:01   don't look at the droids these aren't the droids you're looking for

00:15:05   [laughter]

00:15:10   Facebook's reaction seems like the corporate equivalent of that. This isn't against the rules.

00:15:16   It does seem like they tried to pull a Jedi mind track.

00:15:18   God. And you do get the sense, though, that they just don't have any clue that what

00:15:25   they do is wrong.

00:15:27   Well, no, I think they do know it's wrong. I think they do know it's wrong, because I really do. I

00:15:33   I honestly think that, I'm not saying,

00:15:36   and I'm sure that there are Facebook,

00:15:38   there's so many gazillion Facebook employees,

00:15:40   I'm sure there's some who listen to the show.

00:15:42   And so I'm not trying to say everybody who works at Facebook

00:15:45   is a bad person.

00:15:46   But there are parts of the company,

00:15:52   you kind of have to, what's the old quote,

00:15:55   "Hard to make a man understand something

00:15:58   "when his paycheck depends on not understanding it."

00:16:01   - Right.

00:16:02   you know, and there are people there who are clearly either bad people or

00:16:07   Just so a a moral if not immoral because one of the other stories that's that's come out in the last week was that

00:16:17   That they had paid pay to play games

00:16:21   where they were

00:16:24   knowingly taking money from children know right who their own investigation showed that the kids

00:16:31   Would be very likely to think that they were spending

00:16:34   Virtual in-game currency right because that's a huge thing like there's a ton of games where you know

00:16:40   You run around and collect, you know coins or whatever

00:16:42   Yeah, and it's and then you can cash the points or the coins in for weapons or upgrades or second chances, whatever

00:16:50   But it turned out that they were spending their parents money because it was like the parents were like here

00:16:54   You know play this Facebook game play this game and they and there was no like unlike iOS or even Android

00:17:00   There was no mechanism for a parental approval. It's like you put your credit card in and anything that gets bought

00:17:06   Right immediately gets rung up, right?

00:17:09   And I I'm not saying you know, I I know that there have been cases where kids have run up bills on iOS, too

00:17:15   but you you've got to

00:17:18   You know and I guess the most likely way would be handing your phone over to a kid

00:17:24   But even then it still prompts for like your you know your your fingerprint. Yeah face. It's gotten better

00:17:30   I mean I think in the early days it was I

00:17:32   People were still trying to understand it on iOS and also I think Apple was still struggling to make the system work a little bit

00:17:38   Better yeah, I mean I kiss yeah, I mean Hank Hank did exactly that he got he like with the iPad he rang up like

00:17:47   $25 bill at one point and you know and they were

00:17:50   They were very good about just like going. Oh, yeah. Okay and refunding it

00:17:55   Right, very good about refunding it. Whereas Facebook's thing this story

00:18:00   Suggested is that they were very resistant to refunding it. Yeah, then they had a name for the kids. They were whales. Yeah, they well the

00:18:08   Big spender it's exactly which is exactly the terminology from the casino industry the casino

00:18:15   Angry Birds of all games. And here's a quote, this is a story that I linked a week or so ago

00:18:24   from Reveal. In nearly all cases, the parents knew their child was playing Angry Birds,

00:18:29   but didn't think the child would be allowed to buy anything without their password or authorization

00:18:34   first. Surprise! That's actually a reasonable assumption, right? That you'd, you know,

00:18:40   well, my kid isn't gonna be able to buy anything unless I authorize it. Well, guess what? You just

00:18:44   click a button and you bought something. This lawsuit has uncovered actual internal documentation

00:18:56   from Facebook. So it's not just speculation. These are actual communications within the

00:19:01   company. Truly outrageous. I don't see how you can debate that these are bad people.

00:19:08   Again, I'm not saying everybody on Facebook is bad, but there are clearly bad people in

00:19:12   decision making positions. Yeah. Yeah. And some of the comment

00:19:17   the back and forth that they quoted was like, you know, like,

00:19:20   are we refunding this? Like, no, lol. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Here's,

00:19:23   here's the I'm gonna read the transcript. Here's the

00:19:25   transcript between two employees. Jillian is is the one

00:19:29   investigating a refund request. And Michael, I guess is her

00:19:33   supervisor Jillian. Would you refund this whale ticket user is

00:19:36   disputing all charges? Michael, what's what's the user's total

00:19:41   lifetime spend. This sounds a lot like being in a casino. Jillian, it's $6,545.

00:19:49   But the card was just added on September 2. They are disputing all of it, I believe.

00:19:54   That user looks underage as well. Well, maybe not under 13. Michael, is the user

00:20:01   writing in a parent or is this user a 13-ish year old? Jillian, it's a 13-ish

00:20:08   year old says it's 15 looks a bit younger she not it's lol Michael I wouldn't refund

00:20:18   I wouldn't refund Julian oh that's fine cool agreed just double checking $6,500 oh my god

00:20:27   and the worst part is that's not even Facebook's primary business model right making money

00:20:31   from games I mean I'm sure it adds up I mean but it's mostly advertising the idea that

00:20:37   they would be, you know, I mean, these are people who knew it was a kid. I mean, it had

00:20:41   to be a mistake. How do you not just say, you know, again, you know, small mom and pop

00:20:48   business, a $6,500 refund is something but when it's virtual, you know, it's not like

00:20:52   they gave the kid $6,500 worth of goods. You know what I mean? Yeah. You know what I mean?

00:20:57   Some kid goes on Amazon walk away with something actually physical. Yeah, right. Some kid goes

00:21:02   on Amazon and buys a $6,500 gaming PC. Again, something that Hank, I bought him a book one

00:21:11   time when he was little, and this was a long time ago, and on a computer and I stupidly did it on

00:21:17   his computer and left the credit card in there. What does it matter with you? I don't know.

00:21:22   And so he's on Amazon and he's just like, he's looking up wetsuits. He bought a thousand dollars

00:21:30   worth of wetsuits. I mean, unfortunately, we were able to return all of them.

00:21:35   The funniest part, too, is that you—

00:21:38   It was just like, "Oh, I didn't—" I was just clicking buttons. I didn't know what I was doing.

00:21:44   The funniest part is that you do a parenting podcast.

00:21:46   Well, I've always said that it's a cautionary tale. I don't claim to have any good advice.

00:21:57   I mean, it's just, it could not be more outrageous, right?

00:22:01   I mean, there's no physical goods.

00:22:02   It's not like there's $6,500 worth of wetsuits that,

00:22:06   okay, you have to send the wetsuits back,

00:22:08   then we'll issue a refund, right?

00:22:09   I mean, that would be fair.

00:22:10   And I think Amazon would do that.

00:22:12   Amazon has a pretty generous return policy.

00:22:14   You know, with the virtual in-game stuff, you know,

00:22:18   it's, you know, I'm sure it gets abused.

00:22:20   I'm sure that there are, you know,

00:22:23   wouldn't it be fascinating to talk to someone at Apple

00:22:26   who deals with this at a management level.

00:22:29   Like, where do they draw the line where

00:22:32   an adult, fully knowledgeable, blows more money

00:22:37   than they're comfortable with on Candy Crush or whatever,

00:22:41   and then asks for a refund?

00:22:44   I think I told you, I don't think I ever talked

00:22:48   about this on the show, but apparently that's a big problem

00:22:51   at hotels with the in-room mini bars.

00:22:55   um i forget what i was talking to who knew about it uh i was like talking to someone who worked at

00:23:01   a hotel and and the gist of it is that you would you know basically you would not believe how many

00:23:08   mini room charges are disputed that they are like i didn't drink it yet uh yeah yeah what do you mean

00:23:15   i what do you mean i drank all the vodka in the fridge i didn't i didn't touch it you mean like

00:23:19   lyingly disputed?

00:23:21   Yeah, like they know. I've never once checked into a hotel and had like a half empty mini

00:23:27   bar, right? Like if there's a mini bar, it is always, you know, it's very orderly. You

00:23:34   could see where the slots are for the things, you know, but they, you know, apparently it

00:23:38   is extremely common for people to partake of the mini bar. And then when they're presented

00:23:44   with the bill, dispute all of it and just say, "I didn't do it." And that the hotels often

00:23:48   just say, "Okay, we did just eat it," you know, whatever. I don't know how often—I

00:23:53   would imagine there's a similar situation with legitimate in-app game purchases, right?

00:24:00   I would imagine that somebody wakes up and realizes they spent $100 on Clash of Clans

00:24:08   or whatever, regrets it, and then says, "Hey, that was my kid," you know, whatever. I

00:24:12   don't know how they adjudicate that because obviously that is legitimate.

00:24:16   legitimate. There's probably like a read. They probably, I mean, they must keep track of them

00:24:20   in some way and say, you know, like if you're if you're calling up every other day and doing it,

00:24:23   right, then right. There has to be eventually you get out. Right. You either have to do some

00:24:30   real parenting or you you have a problem. Yeah, it would be fascinating to know how that goes.

00:24:34   But when the first one comes in, I mean, and these people are saying they even know it. It's

00:24:38   the 13 year old. The fact that it's the 13 year old who who is the girl who's who's contacting

00:24:44   Facebook for this makes me it almost breaks my heart because it makes me think because it's not the parent writing and it's the girl

00:24:50   And it's like she must know she's in trouble screwed up. Yeah, right and and

00:24:56   it's I

00:24:58   It's oh it's it's it the whole thing

00:25:02   We laughed at it

00:25:02   But it actually the fact that it was the girl writing in and that they're just lolling at her and I wouldn't refund

00:25:07   I figured just checking. It's like it actually to me makes it

00:25:14   heartbreaking in a way that that it wouldn't if it was the the adult writing in

00:25:18   Yeah, it's just crazy though. I mean, obviously that's a mistake. There's no there's no universe, right?

00:25:24   Like a billionaire, you know

00:25:29   Howard Schultz's daughter could be writing in and it's like there's no way even a billionaire isn't gonna let his 13 year old by

00:25:35   $6,500 worth of Angry Birds. I

00:25:37   Would hope not I would I guess I would

00:25:43   I don't know. I bet maybe there's somebody maybe there is somebody but I would hope nobody does that. Well, it's

00:25:49   In a lot of ways it's a bad company and this thing is really interesting to me

00:25:54   Well anyway back to this this latest thing with this Facebook. Yeah

00:25:58   So they're up in arms over there now, right? I mean today they're having a bad day over at Facebook because they none of their stuff

00:26:05   Works, right? So what Apple did last night was

00:26:09   revoke their enterprise certificates, plural, according to recode because apparently they

00:26:16   have several. So their apps are all in the store. You can still download, you know, Facebook's still

00:26:21   in the App Store, Instagram, all the dozens of apps they have. And they still work perfectly

00:26:28   on your phone. But internal to Facebook, because they've disabled their enterprise certificate,

00:26:32   the employees versions of all these apps stopped working. Like when they revoke your certificate,

00:26:39   It means, you know, that it, I guess it doesn't delete the app from your device, but it means

00:26:45   that it doesn't work. Yeah. So I don't know how many thousands, tens of thousands of employees

00:26:51   Facebook has, but all of their installed versions of Facebook's app stopped working today.

00:26:56   I don't even begin to understand the processes that would be in place at a big company like that.

00:27:05   But I have friends who work at similarly sized companies or similar popularity companies.

00:27:14   The things I've heard this morning were like, "To say that this would be disruptive for us

00:27:20   would be an understatement." It's not just that you've got to go to the App Store and download

00:27:25   Facebook from the App Store and install it, but there's all sorts of automated testing and

00:27:29   et cetera, during the development, you know, the whole development workflow revolves around

00:27:34   having a working developer certificate. Testing, you know, in the production version of the app is

00:27:42   A, difficult and B, not recommended. So how permanent this is, is still, you know, at

00:27:50   press time here, as they say, you know, unknown. But even if it's just a day, it is obviously a

00:27:59   a bit of a wrap on the wrist from Apple to Facebook.

00:28:02   - Yeah, it'll be interesting to see

00:28:04   what happens with Google now.

00:28:06   - Yeah.

00:28:07   - With this other thing.

00:28:07   - Yeah, I wonder.

00:28:08   It makes me wonder how much of this is going on

00:28:11   from other companies.

00:28:11   Like how many people are doing this?

00:28:13   - Yeah, well like I said, I mean, every once in a while

00:28:15   I see that Hank has downloaded one of these things.

00:28:17   And so this stuff is out there considerably, I think.

00:28:22   And it's been going on for years.

00:28:26   - Yeah, people's hunger for data,

00:28:28   companies hunger for data is just insatiable. It really is. And it's fascinating to me,

00:28:35   even with the App Store in place, and even with Apple's policies, making the App Store

00:28:40   more stricter App Store than say the Google Play Store in terms of what goes through.

00:28:47   And Android famously has, has, you know, built into the system, the ability to you, you as

00:28:52   the user can say, you know, I think I'm on almost all Android phones, it's off by default,

00:28:57   you can turn on, you don't need to use like a secret, you know, thing. It's an officially

00:29:02   supported preference to sideload applications from other sources other than the Play Store.

00:29:07   Obviously, like in China, where Google it, this stuff doesn't really go through Google's Android,

00:29:11   everything is sort of a fork of the open source Android, you know, who knows what's going on.

00:29:16   But even with Apple's policies in place, where sideloading isn't really possible, it's a it

00:29:23   it seems like this developer certificate thing, the more we look at it in the last 24 hours,

00:29:27   it might be widely being used to sort of effectively do side loading. And B, it's sort of distressing

00:29:35   how much stuff goes through the App Store anyway, right? How much trackers and all sorts

00:29:40   of stuff is going on when people analyze what apps in the App Store are actually keeping

00:29:46   track of. Yeah. I feel like the political angle on this is you can't escape it. That

00:29:54   it's and I realize it's not the law. Right? Like, what Apple says our app store policies

00:30:00   doesn't mean it's illegal, right? I'm not saying Facebook did anything illegal, although

00:30:04   I there ought to be a law, as they say, right? Yeah. Well, it's Yeah, I mean, it seems like

00:30:10   there should be I mean, it certainly should be for adults only. I mean, like, a kid should

00:30:14   not be targeted by this stuff. Absolutely. I definitely think a kid shouldn't be. And I think

00:30:20   in adults, it seems almost like a kin to the kind of like medical experimentation where you get,

00:30:26   you know, you get paid to come in and like, take a drug or something like that. And I mean, that

00:30:35   stuff happens. They have conditions for those. So situations, there's a security expert named will,

00:30:43   I hope I pronounced his surname correctly. Strahfach. I followed him for years on Twitter.

00:30:49   He goes under the Twitter name "Chronic." But he's an outstanding security expert who's either

00:30:58   uncovered all sorts of shenanigans over the years or can analyze shenanigans that are discovered by

00:31:06   others. TechCrunch reached him for expert commentary. To me, this whole thing, TechCrunch has been

00:31:15   on a real roll. I thought it was an outstanding report because sometimes when a bigger publication,

00:31:23   say the New York Times or somebody gets something technical, you see that they get technical

00:31:28   things wrong or they go to the wrong—they go to an analyst for—like a business analyst

00:31:34   for commentary as opposed to TechCrunch who went to a legitimate, well known, highly regarded

00:31:39   security expert. Anyway, here's what he said. This is a quote he gave to Facebook, this hands

00:31:44   Facebook continuous access to the most sensitive data about you. And most users are unable to

00:31:52   reasonably consent. There is no good way to articulate just how much power is handed to

00:31:57   Facebook when you do this. I thought that the key part of that is well, a good to emphasize that yes,

00:32:03   this hands over it that it's hard to even say how much how much Facebook knows about what you're

00:32:08   doing on your phone when you consent to this. But this idea that that users are unable to reasonably

00:32:15   consent. And I think that's going to be controversial, or people will disagree. Yeah. Like

00:32:22   I saw this morning, there was a headline that Facebook's controversial data tracking blah,

00:32:26   blah, blah. And I was like, this isn't controversial, because there's not really people

00:32:29   on the other side. Controversy is when there's people arguing one side and other people arguing

00:32:34   the other. Taxes are too high. No, taxes are too low. Well, there's two groups. It's controversy.

00:32:38   Nobody's really saying, "Hey, this is okay." Although there was one guy on Twitter,

00:32:45   and I don't want to call him out by particular, but it's a somewhat reasonable take. His take

00:32:50   was sort of the, "Hey, it's a free country." I think he even said it in the tweet to me that,

00:32:54   "Hey, it's a free country." It's not like they surreptitiously installed this.

00:32:58   They, you know, paid people $20 a month, told them, you know, what it does, and they agreed

00:33:05   to it.

00:33:08   Now that that angle.

00:33:10   Yeah, well, that disregards the you're violating Apple's terms.

00:33:15   But I so I think and I think he knows that this guy I don't think he was saying yeah,

00:33:19   yeah, no way.

00:33:20   I think he was just talking about the general moral universe of this action.

00:33:26   I side with Straphic that people, yes, people agreed to the terms, but I don't think that

00:33:33   normal people, most people could really understand the profoundness of what they're handing over

00:33:39   to Facebook.

00:33:40   Yeah.

00:33:41   And we don't, there's other things that we don't, we don't allow predatory lending practices.

00:33:44   Well, you know, we don't allow some, but we don't have enough restrictions on predatory

00:33:49   lending practices.

00:33:50   I won't say that, but there are certain restrictions on predatory lending practices.

00:33:53   Right.

00:33:54   In fact, it's actually, I feel like that's one of the areas where the United States really

00:34:01   needs to take back. That's a great analogy in my opinion, right? Like payday lending

00:34:11   at exorbitant interest rates.

00:34:14   Well, and you think about the kind of, I mean, like you could make the, some people I've

00:34:18   seen making the argument like, well, who would do this and why would they do it? Well, like

00:34:21   you don't have very much money, 240 bucks a year might seem like an awful lot. And that might seem

00:34:27   like, oh, okay, well, you know, Facebook's getting something, they're getting something. So why not?

00:34:30   Well, because Facebook is getting a lot more than the people who are getting the money realize.

00:34:37   Trenton Larkin It is true. And I don't, you know,

00:34:40   I don't want to say it's the capital L libertarian parties, but lowercase L libertarian philosophy

00:34:47   that people should be free to make their own choices would suggest that a payday lending

00:34:53   place that tells you, "Hey, we're going to charge 20% interest per week," if they charge what they

00:35:02   told you and you agreed to it, then why is that not allowed? Why can't you choose willingly and

00:35:07   openly to pay 20% weekly interest or whatever they might want to charge? And I'm of the opinion,

00:35:16   And I think the majority of people would agree that part of the role of government is to protect

00:35:22   people, protect the populace from themselves. And the truth is, too many people don't understand

00:35:28   how interest works. We're getting into philosophical ground here. But I think that

00:35:40   there should be things that are outlawed, not because they're deceptive, but just because

00:35:46   it's outrageous. They're simply taking advantage of—they're taking advantage—this company's

00:35:55   taking advantage of people. I just read a thing the other day, another example. It is legal right

00:35:59   now, and I really, really feel like it's something that the United States has really ought to crack

00:36:03   down on our overdraft fees in bank accounts. And I forget the stat. I think it was like—I

00:36:13   don't know if it was for the quarter or the year, but somebody had a—and they had a link

00:36:16   citing it, but effectively they were like, "US banks made $3.5 billion last"—I'm going to say

00:36:22   year—"$3.5 billion on overdraft fees," which means they took $3.5 billion from people who were broke.

00:36:31   Right? Right. And you know, all right, so maybe your checking account, it was empty,

00:36:36   but you weren't broke because you had a savings account. But effectively, that's $3.5 billion

00:36:41   from people whose checking account was down to zero. It's wrong, right? And yes, you know,

00:36:47   when you sign up for your bank account and you get this booklet of all the rules and

00:36:52   regulations, I'm sure it's written in there exactly what the overdraft fee is, exactly

00:36:56   how it can get triggered. I'm sure it's all perfectly, you know, and it's been triple

00:36:59   check by all of their lawyers. Again, I just don't think I don't think it's right, you

00:37:04   know, and I don't think I think traffic is right that you can't expect non technical

00:37:10   people to understand exactly what they're giving over to Facebook in this case. Right.

00:37:14   Yeah, I mean, I obviously completely agree. And there are many more cases that we can

00:37:20   I mean, other examples of similar things that we can cite. But yeah, I think the interesting

00:37:26   one of the interesting angles here is the sort of game of chicken that Facebook is obviously

00:37:31   willing to play with Apple, right? Because if you and I started a company and we made an app

00:37:40   and we use our developer certificate, if we did exactly what Facebook did, and we just did

00:37:49   exactly what they did, paid people $20 a month and use our developer beta certificate to go around

00:37:55   on the App Store and install a VPN that was collecting all of their data. The John and

00:38:02   John company is their apps in the App Store are probably going away. Yeah, right. Probably

00:38:11   not much of an appeal process. You know, there's obvious angle to this. And again, this is

00:38:18   where I was going minutes ago with my look, I know Apple is not the law. But when we talk

00:38:23   legally there's a principle that doesn't really hold true effectively, but it's a good guiding

00:38:32   light, which is that the law applies equally to everyone. No one's above the law. It is hard not

00:38:39   to say that bigger companies in the app store are treated differently. That's clearly not exactly

00:38:47   how the app store has played out. Right. If you're big enough, you get treated differently.

00:38:53   A good example of that was Uber a couple of years ago was caught geofencing Apple's

00:39:04   campus in their app.

00:39:06   I forget exactly why, but the gist of it was the Uber app acted differently when the geo,

00:39:14   the location was within blank of Apple's campus in Cupertino and outside that area

00:39:22   it differently. So that when on the assumption that it was going to be tested by App Store

00:39:28   testers in Cupertino, they would miss behavior. They wouldn't see behavior that Uber was

00:39:35   trying to hide from Apple. And once uncovered, you could prove that the app was doing this.

00:39:41   You don't have to have the source code to notice that it does this only when you're

00:39:45   not near Apple's campus. Uber did not get kicked out of the App Store. Apple, they're

00:39:52   probably made a phone call.

00:39:54   - Yeah.

00:39:55   - You know, which I, wouldn't it be great,

00:39:57   I wish someday it would be great

00:39:59   if Apple just released all these uncomfortable phone calls.

00:40:02   (laughing)

00:40:04   Uncomfortable phone calls we've made to app store violators.

00:40:07   Like wouldn't you love to hear that call?

00:40:09   It's, you know, hard not, again,

00:40:12   it's hard not to think that if you and I submitted an app

00:40:15   to Apple that tried to geofence their Cupertino.

00:40:21   seriously. We're not still going to be in the app store. Yeah. Anyway, so it's, it really seems

00:40:27   like Facebook has a sort of, a sort of assumes that they can do whatever they want until they

00:40:35   get caught and pay no price for it. Because what are you, what are you going to do? Pull Facebook

00:40:40   from the app store and say, there's no Facebook on iPhone. Yeah. And I mean, you know, in this

00:40:46   instance, it is fortunate in a way that it, well, I mean, I don't know if it's fortunate or not,

00:40:51   because eventually it seems like this is going to come to a head, but that Apple was able to

00:40:55   do something that really does seem like it's hurting Facebook internally without pulling

00:41:01   the public facing app. Yeah.

00:41:03   I don't know, but it's, you know, it's in an interesting dynamic to me that Facebook,

00:41:12   I think you know implicitly it seems to believe that they can

00:41:17   Keep keep breaking as many rules as they want and they'll just have to stop doing it

00:41:23   You know stop doing the thing and face no further

00:41:26   repercussions because what's Apple gonna do pull them from the App Store and I actually see that I you know

00:41:32   I see that they have a point it would be

00:41:35   You know, what would typical app?

00:41:38   you know, what if can fake can Facebook cross a line where Apple would literally pull that

00:41:42   Facebook app from the App Store? Yeah, it would be interesting to see what would happen because

00:41:47   I mean, if they would just like said, okay, we're just on Android now. Right? It's that's,

00:41:52   you know, just, you know, it's seems unlikely, but it's possible. Right? There has to be some

00:41:59   line that they could cross, you know, and that would have that happen. And what would iPhone

00:42:04   owning Facebook users think. And would that death penalty include all of their apps, which

00:42:12   would include Instagram, WhatsApp? Even with the App Store in place, they hold an enormous

00:42:23   amount of power in this relationship. In some ways, it's incomprehensible to think that

00:42:33   Apple would pull Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp from the App Store.

00:42:37   Yeah, yeah. Now you've never had a Facebook account, right?

00:42:41   I have not. I'm thinking about signing up, though.

00:42:45   Well, you can get $20 a month, man.

00:42:47   I'm also thinking about taking up cigarette smoking.

00:42:51   And heroin. I had one and I deleted it

00:42:55   last September or something like that, August, September, sometime around then.

00:42:59   time around then.

00:43:02   But my wife relies on it heavily.

00:43:05   For years she relied on it just to keep in touch with her parents who used to live back

00:43:09   east and now have since moved out here.

00:43:11   So that's less of a factor.

00:43:13   But one of the things that I mean, she uses it for work because she's a private investigator.

00:43:17   And one of the amazing things about it is that people are so careless with the stuff

00:43:22   that they put on Facebook that it is a great boon to her business because she's able to

00:43:27   figure things out about people and find people that she's looking for and do stuff like that

00:43:33   just through Facebook. Yeah, and you see all sorts of stories all the time about people's,

00:43:39   just from politics to gossip-type scandals, all sorts of stuff ends up through stuff that was

00:43:50   posted on Facebook. I don't know how much of it is through dark pattern design and how

00:43:59   much of it is simply human nature on the part of users that once they're using it, they

00:44:04   get comfortable. But yeah, people clearly share all sorts of stuff.

00:44:10   I will say this, that I have an Instagram account. I signed up for Instagram the first

00:44:15   day that Instagram went was in the app store. And I had heard of it before. I know MG Sigler

00:44:22   was a beta tester and I'd seen him tweet like they weren't exactly like they weren't completely

00:44:28   cloaked. There were beta users of Instagram who were tweeting like screenshots and stuff. So I

00:44:37   kind of knew the gist of what it was going to be and I thought it looked pretty cool.

00:44:42   And I think I probably learned from MG when, you know, like, "Hey, it's in the App Store now."

00:44:47   And I, you know, I'd been intrigued by it. And of course, in a panic, really wanted to get

00:44:52   at Gruber. So I quick downloaded it, and I was like, "Got it." So I've been using it literally

00:44:58   since the day that it hit the App Store. And I used to like it a lot, and now I like it less.

00:45:07   But as still a continuing user of Instagram, I don't take any sanctimonious

00:45:14   angle on my "I've never had a Facebook account" because at this point, having an Instagram account

00:45:22   and continuing to use it puts me on no better whatever you want to call it, moral or, you know,

00:45:29   again, sanctimonious ground. I might as well have a Facebook account for all that matters.

00:45:35   I'm sure they're tracking everything through it, you know, so I'm on the fence about whether to

00:45:40   get off Instagram. But yeah, I am. I am as well. I am on Instagram still, you know,

00:45:44   but I've used it. I've started using it a lot less than I used to. I don't think I've talked

00:45:49   about this on the show for it famously. Well, famously, in my mind, I didn't see ads. And I

00:45:55   continued not to see any ads in Instagram. And that that gravy train ended for me. I'm gonna say

00:46:02   like two months ago maybe yeah yeah you mentioned this someplace and it it worked for me for a while

00:46:11   and then but it's been you know it's been at least i mean it's been well over a year for sure

00:46:15   i don't know i've never understood i don't know anybody at instagram i don't know i never

00:46:20   understood why i wasn't getting ads for so long uh i certainly wasn't i was curious i in some ways

00:46:27   ways I was like, I'd like to see these ads, I hear about them. Boy, I sure missed the

00:46:33   days when I didn't have Instagram ads. Because boy, oh boy, do they show a lot of them. Like,

00:46:40   and I don't know if that was it was I would presume that for most Instagram users, it

00:46:47   was the slow, slowly temperature rising frog in a pot, you know that, you know, it started

00:46:53   little warm and then it got hotter slowly over time. But when you go from no ads to

00:47:00   the late 2008 number of ads, it is jarring. I would honestly estimate, I presume this

00:47:08   is typical, I would say at least one out of four posts in my Instagram stream is an ad,

00:47:14   possibly closer to one out of three.

00:47:16   Yeah, that it's like the thing that's the thing that's super annoying is that they look

00:47:21   just like everything else.

00:47:23   And and the people who are making the ads go to great lengths in order to try to make

00:47:27   them look like pictures that some friend of yours took.

00:47:29   Yeah.

00:47:30   One of the things that I really I mean, I, you know, I wish Tumblr was Tumblr has many

00:47:36   problems and I hardly use Tumblr anymore.

00:47:39   But one of the I think the way they implemented ads was a lot better because it's when it

00:47:43   scrolls it's like it's like you're scrolling up and the posts go away and like suddenly this ad

00:47:49   reveals and then you keep scrolling and then more of your posts come back up over the ad so it looks

00:47:55   like the ad is like a static thing in the background. I don't use tumblr anymore. I'll have to take it.

00:47:59   Yeah I know I mean I barely use it either but it's just a much it's a much more refreshing way to

00:48:05   have to deal with ads on a platform like if you're going to do it I wish they would do it that way

00:48:10   but of course they don't want to do it that way because they want you to think that it's like some

00:48:12   post that your friend made. I will say their ads are strikingly accurate. I mean they're way more

00:48:20   they really are. I mean some of it is obvious. I follow a bunch of watch brands on Instagram so I

00:48:26   see a lot of watch type stuff but I saw I got an I don't know where they got it I mean but I saw

00:48:32   an ad for American Giant. American Giant is that company that a couple of years ago they make

00:48:40   hoodies and sweatshirts and stuff like that. They're almost like a higher-end American apparel

00:48:45   who doesn't really exist anymore. But they made a hoodie that, five or six years ago,

00:48:53   was heralded as the greatest hoodie ever made. And all of a sudden, it was backordered by six

00:48:59   months. And I actually own one. I have one. And it is a very nice hoodie. But they showed me an ad.

00:49:07   And that was interesting.

00:49:10   And then I actually tapped on it to see more.

00:49:12   And then, oh my God, did I start getting ads for hoodies and American Giant.

00:49:17   Yeah.

00:49:18   Yeah.

00:49:19   And then I got an ad about a week ago.

00:49:21   I saw an ad in my Instagram feed for some kind of like an elastic strap you put on your shoulders.

00:49:28   Sort of looks like, you know, how like the James Bond holster that he puts for putting a gun under

00:49:33   suit. Like that sort of thing, but it's symmetric. And the idea is you put it on and it helps

00:49:38   with your posture. Keep your shoulders back or something. You can wear it on a clothes

00:49:42   suit.

00:49:43   I could probably use that.

00:49:44   That seemed to, well, maybe my posture could use some help too. But it intrigued me because

00:49:49   it seemed like it was out of nowhere. Although on the other hand, I was like, "Do they know

00:49:53   I have bad posture?" The other stuff is accurate enough that it kind of spooked me.

00:49:58   We've looked into pictures of you.

00:49:59   But as an experiment, I tapped it.

00:50:03   And all of a sudden, I started getting ads

00:50:05   for the same sort of device, but from three or four

00:50:08   different companies.

00:50:10   So in some sense, it's not like, wow,

00:50:13   what a crazy AI Skynet-type system

00:50:17   they must have to target me.

00:50:19   At some level, the initial ads did have that aspect.

00:50:23   Like, how did they know that I'm interested in some

00:50:25   of this stuff?

00:50:26   It actually is up my alley.

00:50:27   But then once you click on something,

00:50:29   It's just the most obvious thing possible.

00:50:31   They just show you as many variations

00:50:33   of this thing as possible.

00:50:35   - Right.

00:50:35   - So I don't-- - A la, like Amazon.

00:50:38   - Yeah.

00:50:40   I've seen people say,

00:50:41   "Could Apple take on Instagram?

00:50:44   "Could Apple do something that is like Instagram,

00:50:48   "but without all the bad stuff of Instagram?"

00:50:52   This comes up every time you complain about Instagram.

00:50:56   - Yeah.

00:50:57   Well, that's the one thing

00:50:58   I've started doing more of is sharing just through shared iPhoto folders, whatever they called.

00:51:06   Trenton Larkin Yeah, iCloud sharing groups. Yeah.

00:51:09   Brian "Brent"

00:51:12   Bad about like, if I completely get off of Instagram is, you know, my mom and my dad won't

00:51:16   be able to see pictures of Hank and stuff like that. But, you know, I just I share a folder

00:51:22   with them. And now problem solved. Trenton Larkin

00:51:25   Yeah. So to me, that's not an Instagram thing because I don't know, it's not no, it's not the

00:51:30   same. But I think it's that particular part of the problem. It is a Facebook alternative, though,

00:51:35   right? Because that's the sort of thing people use Facebook for is right, you know, the,

00:51:39   you know, your niece has a third birthday party and you take a bunch of pictures,

00:51:43   you don't want to post them publicly. So Facebook is the sort of thing where you can post them

00:51:47   privately. The iCloud sharing thing takes that role in my life, you know, we have some just a

00:51:54   a few shared groups, like one for just me and Amy and Jonas, one for Amy's side of

00:52:00   the family, which is more active. I think there's one where my mom is invited. I don't

00:52:06   know. She has iCloud, so I think there is. But that's what we put there. I take pictures

00:52:12   at niece or nephew's birthday party, and then I'll post the good ones there. I don't

00:52:19   know, though, because I don't know if you know this, but Apple doesn't really have

00:52:21   a great record with social media networks?

00:52:26   Just put them all in ping.

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00:55:33   that special code talk show terms and conditions apply. Yeah, so we were talking about the

00:55:41   idea of an Apple alternative to Instagram. You know, what is it? You know, is, is the

00:55:48   stories feature integral to Instagram? I mean, I don't, I don't use the stories thing. I

00:55:52   don't get it. I know I'm old. I know people know how to do it. I saw Marco. I don't either.

00:55:57   I get over in that area and it's like, where the hell am I?

00:56:00   I really miss when Instagram was, you follow people

00:56:07   and then they carefully select the photos they wanna post

00:56:13   and they tend to either be like momentous occasions

00:56:16   or just particularly pleasing photos

00:56:19   and then you stream down and in a chronological order,

00:56:23   you see the posts, the photos from the people

00:56:27   who you chose to follow. And then if you're all heavily filtered, right. And then if you

00:56:32   want to, there's comments that are neatly organized as you know, one level in, you know,

00:56:38   so if you want to see them, you can but if you don't, you don't have to like scroll

00:56:42   past them. And then that was it. I really I that's the Instagram I liked and I'm

00:56:48   you know, I'm sure they're making much more money now than they were before. But

00:56:54   But boy, I sure miss that.

00:56:56   - Yeah, yeah, me too.

00:56:57   - In theory, Apple could do it.

00:57:01   And could be iPhone only,

00:57:03   and then it's all of them are in place.

00:57:05   You don't have to tag them shot with iPhone.

00:57:07   I get, well, I mean, I guess you can't keep people

00:57:09   from uploading a--

00:57:10   - Uploading other stuff, yeah.

00:57:11   - Yeah, but keep it iOS only.

00:57:16   How they would deal with usernames, I don't know.

00:57:19   Right, because you wouldn't want to expose your Apple ID.

00:57:23   Right you you might want to but you you probably I wouldn't you know, you know

00:57:29   It's not like you want people all of a sudden face timing you which will get to another segment of the show

00:57:34   Right. I don't want my Apple ideas my you know in the hypothetical world where Apple launched an Instagram competitor

00:57:43   for publicly posting

00:57:46   images in a timeline

00:57:49   You know, you'd want to have a username that was separate from your Apple ID

00:57:53   I mean, I guess Apple could just open up a new username space, you know, and have there'd

00:57:57   be like a gold rush to claim your your desired name. Yeah. I don't think Apple would do it.

00:58:03   I don't think they really have an interest in it. I see how they have an interest in

00:58:07   the private iCloud photo sharing, which again is a great feature. I don't know that they

00:58:14   have an interest in the public Instagram type thing.

00:58:17   No, it seems like another one of those things like the, you know, making books from pictures.

00:58:26   Yeah.

00:58:26   Right. And photos that they would, if they did it, that they would do it for a while and then they

00:58:31   go, eh, we're not doing this anymore. Yeah. And that's, that's one where they were already

00:58:35   doing it. All they had to do is keep doing it. And they had so little interest in it that they

00:58:39   canceled it. Right. So I don't know. I don't know what the solution is, you know, and, you know,

00:58:45   given their track record with ping and uh they even just canceled i don't see i definitely don't

00:58:51   see it happening yeah it's it you know i don't know what the betting odds would be that it would

00:58:57   succeed but it'd probably be pretty low based on their track record but at least they would have

00:59:01   a chance because it's apple and they could publicize it and they could get it in front

00:59:05   of people with iphones you know they could make it uh you know prompt you in the photos app or

00:59:10   something, you know, whereas it's, I think the ship has long since sailed for some, you know,

00:59:16   again, the John and John startup company to start an Instagram clone, right? Like,

00:59:21   like, I think if we went around and tried to raise capital to, we're gonna take on Instagram.

00:59:25   You know, even if we could prove that we had the technical chops to do it, it's, it's, you know,

00:59:33   at this point, it's, we're gonna, we're gonna use an enterprise certificate. You're gonna download

00:59:38   - I downloaded it from a website.

00:59:41   - But it's a shame because Instagram is,

00:59:44   the good parts of Instagram still remain good,

00:59:45   but man, they're getting buried in there.

00:59:47   - Yeah, yeah.

00:59:48   We used to all be on Flickr, remember?

00:59:50   I mean, that was the big thing right before Instagram.

00:59:53   And then everybody jumped ship to Instagram

00:59:56   and killed Flickr.

00:59:57   And then now, I mean, the Flickr app is not bad.

01:00:01   - Yeah, but it's a different mindset though, right?

01:00:04   - No, it's completely, yeah.

01:00:05   - Right, and because Facebook, or not Facebook,

01:00:08   Flickr predated, like Flickr should have in theory

01:00:12   been Instagram before Instagram,

01:00:14   but it would have required Flickr

01:00:17   to do what Facebook has done fairly well,

01:00:20   which is know when to put stuff in Facebook proper

01:00:25   and know when to buy Instagram or buy WhatsApp, right?

01:00:30   What Flickr should have done is spin out a separate app

01:00:34   for this concept of curated streaming.

01:00:39   Because the thing with Flickr is that

01:00:41   the design of Flickr is, I haven't used it much in years,

01:00:45   but I presume though it's still the same word.

01:00:48   The idea though is if you go on a trip,

01:00:49   you upload all your pictures from the trip to Flickr.

01:00:52   Not just the keepers.

01:00:54   And so if you're following me,

01:00:56   you don't wanna see 20 pictures in a row

01:00:58   of me at Disney World.

01:00:59   You wanna see the one.

01:01:00   And that's--

01:01:03   They don't show I think they do a similar thing to the thing where you can post multiple pictures to Instagram like so if you upload

01:01:10   Like you see one. Yeah that whole set right and then you can thumb you can you can thumb sideways through the other ones

01:01:16   But you don't have to see all of them. Yeah, I did see I have to look into it. I hope I'm not too late

01:01:21   I saw something where

01:01:23   you know flickers under new management now and

01:01:25   There's some kind of thing where you've got to pay to keep your flicker right going and

01:01:32   And I've got enough ones there that I kind of want to,

01:01:36   I don't want to lose them.

01:01:37   I don't want them to go 404.

01:01:38   Like I don't really use it.

01:01:39   I don't actively use Flickr.

01:01:41   So it seems wrong to pay.

01:01:42   - That's the thing, yeah, I didn't either.

01:01:44   I was, and I had been paying for pro for years

01:01:47   for some reason.

01:01:49   And then I, you know, I finally,

01:01:50   like right before they got bought, I discontinued it.

01:01:53   I stopped paying for it.

01:01:54   And then the new, I think the new fee is like,

01:01:57   it used to be 25 bucks and now it's like 50.

01:01:59   And I was just like, man, I just don't, I mean,

01:02:01   I didn't use it enough for 25 bucks. I don't think I'm using enough for 50. So, but they,

01:02:06   yeah, you can download your, your old, all your old photos. So I did that. And then I, and I went,

01:02:12   so you can keep a thousand, like up to a thousand in the regular account, you know, like for free.

01:02:17   And so I went through and I just deleted a bunch that I decided weren't worth keeping anyway.

01:02:22   Yeah. I don't know what the deadline is on that, but I got it. It's February,

01:02:25   it's mid February. Well, then I got time. I'll wait till the last day.

01:02:31   I like an idiot. I've got stuff there that's not just personal too. I've got Daring Fireball stuff

01:02:36   there. Even just as recently, I think as a couple months ago, shooting iPhone camera comparisons

01:02:43   posted, "Here's the old camera. Here's the new camera comparisons on Flickr," just because I

01:02:52   don't really have a good mechanism. I don't have any mechanism really for that sort of thing on

01:02:57   on Daring Fireball itself. It was always a good way because Flickr does all the moderation.

01:03:06   Being able to comment on those photos, it never went out of control. It wasn't like

01:03:10   there were 400 comments on them because I posted them from Daring Fireball, but people

01:03:14   could comment on them. I feel like I can legitimately call it a business expense to keep it going

01:03:21   so that those previous—those year's worth of things keep going. But anyway, Flickr.

01:03:27   Not going to beat Instagram.

01:03:30   Brian Kardell: No. Sorry to say.

01:03:33   Tom Bilyeu: Yeah. I don't know. I think we beat this Facebook thing to death.

01:03:38   Brian Kardell Yep.

01:03:39   Tom Bilyeu Let's go to the FaceTime bug.

01:03:40   Brian Kardell Okay.

01:03:41   Tom Bilyeu Oh, what a doozy.

01:03:42   Brian Kardell It's not good. So it was group FaceTime, right? And so you make a group FaceTime

01:03:49   call and you can hear and see the person before they pick up.

01:03:54   Yeah, so the trick to trigger it was I call you, your phone starts ringing. While your

01:04:01   phone is ringing with the FaceTime call from Jon Gruber, I go down to the add person button

01:04:07   to do great group FaceTime and add myself, add me. I don't know how that's even possible, but

01:04:14   then once I do that, your phone starts broadcasting the audio to me, even though you haven't answered it.

01:04:23   And that there's a, I don't know how reliable this was. Supposedly then, if you hit the power button

01:04:33   or I hit the power button, I'm not sure which way it was, somehow there's a way that in some cases

01:04:38   people were able to trigger video as well, that it would start broadcasting video. Bad bug, really,

01:04:44   not a nightmare book. There's no other way to underplay it. It surely was a real jolt.

01:04:51   Once Apple, somebody at Apple, you know, the FaceTime team really got their hands on what

01:04:54   was going on, I'm sure it was, you know, a truly electric flop sweat moment.

01:05:00   Because that's bad, right? And it just, it's as bad as it sounds, right?

01:05:06   Right.

01:05:06   It's not. And of course, people, you know, took it too far. Because that's the world we live on.

01:05:13   Everybody's got to take it to the extreme and say that it's you know that it was it enabled surreptitious

01:05:18   Surveillance and there was an obvious trail right like you you're gonna if it happened to your phone if somebody took advantage of it

01:05:25   Let's say you're you didn't even hear it ringing like you left your phone and on your desk or something

01:05:30   I went away you there still is a notice that you got a FaceTime call, right? It's not

01:05:34   Mm-hmm, and it's you know, it's not too hard to turn off FaceTime, you know, but you know that you got a FaceTime call

01:05:41   It's not like somebody could do it and your phone didn't even ring or light up and people could use

01:05:46   it to listen to you. It's, you know, it's not that bad. Although some people wrote about it as though

01:05:52   it were. Yeah. I think the worst, I mean, the, the it's bad, it's a, it's a bad bug and it obviously

01:06:00   should never, should never have shipped that way. And that's a very weird, it's, it's a very weird

01:06:06   thing to have happen. Yeah. But I mean, I think the worst thing is that they seem to have been

01:06:14   notified about it like almost a week beforehand, right? Right. That there was a 14-year-old kid who

01:06:21   apparently discovered this while setting up a FaceTime with his friends while gaming,

01:06:26   which is of course a huge thing, you know, using any, you know, FaceTime or there's something

01:06:35   called Discord that Jonas uses now. FaceTime's obviously iPhone, iOS, Apple only. But even if

01:06:43   you're playing PC games, if everybody in your circle has iPhones, you could use FaceTime.

01:06:47   But anyway, Kidd was trying to set it up, uncovered this. And then his mom seemingly

01:06:54   did everything. She's apparently an attorney in Arizona. And they're not a technical expert,

01:07:01   and her messages to Apple were clear about that, but a very clear communicator. And seemingly did

01:07:09   everything she could possibly do. She went to Apple support, which is probably not the right

01:07:14   place, but it's a good start, and eventually got directed to the actual channel where you're

01:07:20   supposed to report security issues and submitted it. And I think with an accurate enough reasonable

01:07:31   accurate enough steps to reproduce, you know, because that's always the thing with with bugs,

01:07:37   you know, all bugs should be reported. But if you can, this thing happened, and I don't know why.

01:07:42   And yeah, yeah, but a bug report that says here, do do a B, C, D, in that order, and you expect

01:07:49   blank to happen. And instead, this happens is a great bug report, especially if it really can't

01:07:56   be reproduced on other devices, not just your device. And this apparently could be reproduced

01:08:00   on anybody's device. Yeah, like a week ago, and it seemingly did not trigger any response

01:08:09   from Apple. I don't think we know what the explanation…

01:08:13   Mike

01:08:13   Adam: …the explanation.

01:08:14   Adam O'Brien Right. Were they—did they recognize what

01:08:19   was happening and were hoping to fix this quietly without having any publicity? Or was

01:08:26   this ignored, whether because they get a thousand of these things a day and it was lost in the

01:08:31   shuffle, or, you know, they just—the whole thing just goes right down that circle, you

01:08:39   know, like I said, the circular file?

01:08:40   Yeah. I mean, you think you get faster is the, I mean, what would you do? What would you and I do?

01:08:48   I mean, so years ago, Hank discovered that if you if you said butts to Siri,

01:08:54   it would bring up the Wikipedia entry for anal sex.

01:08:57   I believe this has come up on the show before. Yeah. Well, yeah, it should come up every time.

01:09:03   Shortly after the after this. And so the butts incident. I yeah, right. The butts of the famous

01:09:09   but since it enough 2012 or whenever it was, um, I talked about it on Twitter and then I,

01:09:17   I filed a bug report, um, because I had a, you know, a developer account. Um, and that seemed to

01:09:23   get, that seemed to get some traction and actually, I mean, I think within like a week or so it was,

01:09:30   it was closed. Oh, that's the other thing that this, the mother did the mother at one point was

01:09:34   told to file a radar, which is really out there. I mean, and, and so she did, though, she saw she's

01:09:41   not a developer, but she went as far as to sign up for a developer account and filed a radar about

01:09:47   this. That's the which is really ridiculous. Going to through the security channel should be enough.

01:09:52   Right. You know, I tend to think though, that this is a, I don't think that Apple was hiding it. I

01:09:59   I don't think anybody at Apple who recognized the severity of this tried to hide it.

01:10:05   I just feel that the whole thing is sort of a yada, yada, yada.

01:10:12   There's so much noise, we don't bother looking for the signal sort of attitude in

01:10:17   there.

01:10:18   Because I really think that if this had been—if anybody in a position to recognize just how

01:10:25   bad this bug is and how bad the publicity is, it would have escalated to the point where

01:10:30   they pulled—and the temporary fix—Apple has issued a statement saying that there will

01:10:35   be a software update by the end of this week to address it, but the temporary fix of disabling

01:10:41   the group FaceTime server, like I believe that right now as we record, you can't make

01:10:46   a group FaceTime.

01:10:47   That is, yeah. I haven't tried, but I mean, that's my assumption since they took the

01:10:53   the group FaceTime server down, yes.

01:10:55   You know, that's a good enough stopgap, you know. And I feel like they want to get—they

01:11:02   need to fix it in a way that even when the software update is in place, that people who

01:11:07   haven't gotten the software update yet aren't affected. I don't know how they do that,

01:11:13   but in the meantime, anybody who—I really firmly believe that anybody at Apple who would

01:11:17   recognize this properly. And if it had gotten to the next step, somebody recognizes it and

01:11:23   somebody has the ability inside Apple. And presumably the people reading those, the security

01:11:29   report channel would have this ability to contact the FaceTime team. And the FaceTime

01:11:33   team would reproduce it and then immediately go and hit that button that turns off. Holy

01:11:39   shit. I would turn off the group FaceTime server before contacting Phil Schiller. I

01:11:45   I mean, I wouldn't wait.

01:11:49   If you had the ability to hit that red button

01:11:52   to turn off the group FaceTime server,

01:11:54   I would hit it at that point.

01:11:56   I mean, it's that bad.

01:11:57   I really think that it was a,

01:12:01   what are you gonna say?

01:12:04   Over, just not paying enough attention,

01:12:08   not willfully trying to hide this.

01:12:11   - Yeah, I wouldn't think so.

01:12:14   just out of character. So it seems like it's a process problem, right?

01:12:19   Yeah, I would say it's very much a process problem.

01:12:21   And it does seem like it's not the first time that this kind of thing has happened.

01:12:25   Right. But, you know, somebody brought up, there was something that somebody reported on

01:12:29   like a support forum recently. I forget what the issue was, but there was a bad bug and somebody

01:12:36   filed a, you know, like on the help.apple.com support forums or whatever the URL is.

01:12:41   I can see that Apple doesn't go through those and make sure that every single one

01:12:47   of the thousands of posts per hour doesn't have a critical security bug that somebody's—because

01:12:51   it's just too much. But when somebody takes the time to officially report it through the

01:12:55   security channel, boy, you'd like to think that there's a process in place no matter

01:13:00   how much noise there is through that channel. You'd like to think that there's something

01:13:05   looking for—always vigilant for stuff like this. You know what I mean? When you're

01:13:10   a lifeguard at the beach, there's a thousand people in the water, but you really—it's

01:13:14   the one who's drowning that you've got to look for. So yeah, this is not a good look

01:13:20   for Apple.

01:13:21   But, you know, and I've seen people saying, you know, it is a little coincidental that

01:13:25   it's happened at the same time as this Facebook thing, and how can Apple preach about privacy

01:13:30   when they have this terrible privacy bug? But it's, to me, the fundamental difference

01:13:35   here between the two is that this is clearly a bug. This was not something that they did

01:13:39   on purpose.

01:13:40   It's a manslaughter versus murder, I guess.

01:13:46   Right. Whereas Facebook doesn't really have like a "whoops, we didn't mean to do that."

01:13:51   Yeah.

01:13:52   "We didn't mean to pay people $20 in this program."

01:13:55   Like they don't really have much of a leg to stand for there on intent.

01:14:00   Right. Yeah. Repeated, you know, serial killer.

01:14:07   Yeah, so I don't know. I'd like to hear something about this process, but I doubt that we will.

01:14:11   But hopefully—

01:14:12   That doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would come out.

01:14:14   No, but hopefully they're looking at this internally and will address it because it's

01:14:18   not a good look. On the upside, you know, it doesn't—because it really only got publicized

01:14:27   yesterday. I mean, I don't know how many people—I don't know how many jerks tried to take advantage

01:14:32   of it yesterday before they shut down the group FaceTime server. But I haven't seen any horror

01:14:36   stories about it yet. So no, hopefully nobody really got, got taken advantage of in this way.

01:14:41   Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think, yeah, I mean, well, I mean, bugs happen. This is a really bad one

01:14:49   though. Uh, yeah. And I keep struggling with this whole thing. Like, I mean, is Apple buggier than

01:14:56   they used to be? What do you have? Do you have an opinion on that? Because I remember bugs from

01:15:04   days gone by and you know it's hard it's a hard thing i think and i don't think this is a case

01:15:12   of that i don't know what the code path is here that triggered it i'm guessing that this is just

01:15:17   a this isn't really sloppiness it's just some kind of face palm duh of course you know looking at the

01:15:23   source code you know this this whole add yourself to the group facetime thing is such a weird

01:15:31   idea, you know, hopefully, you know, it should have been tested but and

01:15:34   Even if it was tested, I'm not sure that they would test the angle of hey the other person hasn't answered yet

01:15:42   you know, like I just feel that there's a

01:15:44   There's something here. That's just an oversight. I don't think it's ineptitude. I think it's just the sort of bug that anybody

01:15:50   Yeah, even I'm so it's a talented and testing. It's a flaw in the testing processes. I guess I don't know. Yeah

01:15:55   Yeah, overall is Apple's stuff buggier than it used to be. I don't think so

01:16:00   I just yeah, I don't think so either but yeah, I see a lot of people claiming that that's true

01:16:05   Yeah, I don't see bugginess what I see that is worse than it used to be is an eye for details

01:16:11   you know that there are

01:16:13   Check boxes that don't a lot align with their labels, you know that are two pixels off

01:16:20   And I really do things that you would notice more than other people, right?

01:16:24   and they're the sort of thing that Apple never got wrong because

01:16:28   And the reason they almost never got stuff like that wrong is that every single engineer at Apple?

01:16:34   Had the eye that that sense, you know that they cared about things like having the label for the checkbox

01:16:40   perfectly aligned with the checkbox

01:16:43   Like it just was what it's what drew people to the Mac in the first place and would draw a

01:16:50   software engineers to want to work at Apple writing this apps and control panels and system pref panels for Apple and

01:16:58   is that they cared about details like that. And there's obviously, you know, sort of,

01:17:04   as they've grown the headcount, I'm not sure that they've managed to maintain the culture as well.

01:17:12   So I see more stuff like that, like just little HIG violations that it's like, oh my God,

01:17:17   nobody would ever do that. Dialogue boxes, like if you have two dial, if you have two boxes in a

01:17:21   dialogue like "cancel" and "do the thing," those two buttons should be the same width.

01:17:27   No matter, you know. So like, for example, if it's just "cancel" and "okay,"

01:17:33   and it's properly spelled just "okay," the "okay" button shouldn't be the size

01:17:37   of the word "okay." It should be at least as wide as the "cancel" button. And I

01:17:43   see a bunch of dialogue boxes throughout the Mac OS X now where the "okay" button,

01:17:50   it says okay or something else is smaller than the cancel button. It just bothers me

01:17:56   every time. I know one of them is the dialog box that you get when you author—what I

01:18:02   just talked about. If Jonas goes to buy something and I approve it, it's like when I type

01:18:06   my Apple ID password in to approve it, the button that you click is smaller than the

01:18:12   cancel button. It drives me nuts every goddamn time because I just can't see how anybody

01:18:17   who works at Apple doesn't know that you don't do that. And in fact, the guides in, if you

01:18:21   use the actual guides in interface builder and Xcode, it should auto size them that way.

01:18:27   Like you have to go out of your way to make a button smaller, smaller. They think that

01:18:30   they're doing something better. Yeah. So anyway, I see some stuff like that and I don't want

01:18:35   to take up the rest of the show, but I, the, my, my still in progress rant about the marzipan

01:18:42   apps, you know, I just don't like the fact that they got approved to me as a sign of

01:18:46   the same sort of thing. They're just weird in so many ways and un-Mac-like and I don't

01:18:52   see it. But I don't think bugginess is a problem. I've said this before too. My big

01:18:56   complaint with Apple in—I don't know how far back it goes. It's a longish trend.

01:19:05   And I've been saying this for years and obviously to no effect. But my big problem

01:19:08   is that they have sort of, without saying so, clearly switched to a policy of preferring

01:19:16   silent failure over showing an explicit error dialogue. So all sorts of stuff that can go

01:19:23   wrong often goes wrong and you don't see any error. Like, you know, I just as an example,

01:19:28   I give your your your photos, in count, you got a bum photo in your photo library, and

01:19:37   photo won't sync to your iCloud library. It just doesn't sync to the iCloud library. They

01:19:43   don't show you an error and say, "Hey, this photo is corrupt," and tell you which photo

01:19:46   it is. I had a thing—and this was years ago, and I think they fixed it. I'm really,

01:19:50   really happy. I hate to single out iCloud photo syncing because iCloud photo syncing

01:19:54   has been incredibly good for me in the last few years, just incredibly good and surprisingly

01:20:01   fast, even when I've shot a bunch of 4K videos and stuff like that. It syncs to other devices

01:20:05   very fast. But a couple of years ago, I had a thing that was driving me up. Just like

01:20:12   somebody couldn't target driving me insane better was that when it tells you at the bottom,

01:20:17   how many photos you have, I had one device, I forget which device, it doesn't even matter.

01:20:21   But I had like two Macs, an iPhone and iPad. And one of them had one fewer items. Or one

01:20:28   more I forget if it was one more. One more, right? It was one was corrupted. It would

01:20:32   be on that device, but would not think to the other ones.

01:20:35   - Yeah, it had one more photo than all the other devices

01:20:38   and never showed me an error.

01:20:41   It just had a different count.

01:20:42   And I mean, I honest to God,

01:20:45   it is lucky that I didn't have an aneurysm.

01:20:47   I mean, maybe somebody at Apple who doesn't like me

01:20:49   wrote this bug to drive me insane,

01:20:52   but I mean, and how do you find it?

01:20:54   And I figured it out eventually.

01:20:55   I figured out that you can make,

01:20:56   there's a way to make a smart library,

01:20:59   a smart album on the Mac version of photos

01:21:02   where the criteria is, is not synced to iCloud,

01:21:06   something like that.

01:21:07   You can say, show me all the photos

01:21:09   that are not synced to iCloud,

01:21:10   which should be empty at all times.

01:21:12   And I had one photo. - That's interesting.

01:21:14   - Yeah, it was actually a photo of me

01:21:15   and Om Malik and Matt Mullenweg at the,

01:21:20   I actually remember the exact photo

01:21:23   at the Yankees-Astro's wildcard game

01:21:27   three or four years ago.

01:21:29   And the worst part, it was a duplicate.

01:21:32   I had two versions of the photo somehow. So I could delete the one that was somehow not—once

01:21:38   I figured out which one it was, I just deleted it. And I didn't even lose the photo because

01:21:41   I had the identical photo. I had another copy of the photo in my library at the time. But

01:21:46   I actually remember that. I also remember that the Yankees lost that game, which was

01:21:50   terrible. Freaking Dallas Kite.

01:21:54   That's a shame.

01:21:55   Yeah, it's a real shame. But anyway, that drove me nuts. But anyway, the fact that the

01:22:02   The thing that really drove me nuts is that they didn't show me an error message. Clearly

01:22:04   that it could have, right? They knew there. Some of the syncing process knew that this

01:22:08   photo was stubbornly not going to iCloud. Why not show me an error dialogue and help

01:22:13   me find which one of the 29,000 items is, is the problem. Yeah. Uh, I can't, I don't

01:22:19   have it off the top of my head. I don't have another lid, but there's all sorts of things

01:22:22   that I think Apple does. I'm sure you can come up with some examples with in iTunes,

01:22:26   um, of similar stuff with music, um, because that stuff has always been somewhat problematic.

01:22:33   Right. I don't have too much of a problem with it anymore, but, um, actually I never had a huge

01:22:37   problem with it, but you'd, you'd often get weird results of like, I would have the studio version

01:22:45   of a song on my Mac. And then when I would sync a playlist, it would put in like a live version of

01:22:51   the same song. And I, the reason it offends me this trend of not giving you errors for that,

01:22:57   you know, and just tell you what's, what's, what is the sync problem here? What songs are,

01:23:00   are, is iTunes sync confused by? I get it that it's like a sort of aesthetic ideal that error,

01:23:08   error dialogues are ugly and unseemly, right? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Windows is usually the,

01:23:15   the counter example where it's like, we're going to give you a neuro dialogue for everything.

01:23:20   and they're gonna cascade. Yeah, you have to close all of them. See how fast you can close them.

01:23:26   Right. But I think that's the, you know, to me, it's blaming the wrong thing. The problem isn't

01:23:35   the error dialogue. The problem is the bug that resulted in the error dialogue. Right? Yeah.

01:23:39   When you don't show that nobody suffers for the bug. Right. So that's my bigger complaint with

01:23:47   Apple's trends. I don't think that they do have more bugs though, and I don't think the

01:23:50   reliability is lower, although there's certain products that could be better. Having two

01:23:57   HomePods in our kitchen thing, again, I don't think we have time to really go into it, but

01:24:02   it's—I have to unplug and replug the HomePods on a surprisingly regular basis, although

01:24:10   in recent weeks I don't know that I have, so it may finally be getting better. But even

01:24:16   Even through Christmas, it was still semi-regularly, all of a sudden, one of the two HomePods in

01:24:21   the kitchen would stop playing or just stop answering. It just a lot—and unplug it,

01:24:31   replug it, fixed it, because there is no reset button and you can't tell it to reset. The

01:24:36   only way to reset it is to actually go back to 1978 and pull the plug out of the wall.

01:24:43   But I wouldn't hold that up as a company-wide problem.

01:24:45   All right, let me take a break here and thank our next sponsor.

01:24:48   It's our good friends at Audible.

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01:25:47   Because it's a personal memoir and I knew it and it's not the book isn't about Steve

01:25:50   Jobs. It's about her. But he's obviously you know, he's her father and they had a

01:25:54   fractious relationship. It's obviously he's obviously in it. But I'm just not a reader

01:25:59   of personal life stuff and in the various jobs, biographies, and stuff about his personal

01:26:04   life was the least interesting to me. I'm more interested in his life. But Lisa Brennan

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01:26:19   most remarkable interviews. It's a one-hour interview. It's a great show. But Craig is—I

01:26:23   can't put—he's such a good interviewer. And Lisa Brennan Jobs is an incredibly engaging

01:26:28   guest and they spent the first half of the show talking about the design of the cover.

01:26:33   So I really, really liked it. But it really, I went from really having no interest in the

01:26:40   book but wanting to hear how she was on my friend Craigmont's show to at the end of it

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01:27:42   talk show to 500 500 and listen for a change. That's audible.com/talk show. What is left?

01:27:52   You got Apple's financials that came out yesterday, end of the quarter. Now this is, in some ways,

01:27:59   the least surprising quarterly announcement ever because a month ago, or at least four

01:28:03   weeks ago, Tim Cook had issued this extraordinary warning letter to investors, warning that

01:28:09   their guidance for the quarter they just reported was off by $7 billion, which sounds terrible,

01:28:16   but then you realize they still made $84 billion, the second most in company history and therefore

01:28:22   the second most in the history of corporations, period. Just to put perspective on it. And

01:28:33   as everybody, you know, when he issued that letter at the beginning of January, they knew

01:28:40   exactly where they were going to be. They said, "Look, it's going to be 84 billion."

01:28:43   It ends up it was 84.3. But they, you know, they could announce something like their revenue

01:28:51   as soon as the quarter's over. They've got systems in place and numbers. They knew

01:28:57   that was going south. I don't know exactly. Maybe some of the stuff they report in these

01:29:02   things does take some time to compile, but the big ticket numbers like the margin and

01:29:07   revenue, they know right away. It's not like somebody's sitting there with a calculator

01:29:11   for four weeks. Luca isn't there. 111, 375, 6.

01:29:15   one three seven five. So there's tax stuff and yeah, I mean things like that that yeah,

01:29:20   I you know, I think that there's some stuff that takes time to compile but you know when

01:29:24   he said it's going to be 84 billion you could pretty much bet the house it was 84 billion.

01:29:29   I seem to remember we because I used to work in the finance department at a company. I

01:29:34   mean much obviously a bit smaller than Apple but it took us like two weeks to get the finance

01:29:42   to get the financial reports out. It used to like when I got there it was like it was

01:29:46   like a month and this was back in the mid 90s and and then we you know we one of the

01:29:51   reasons I got hired was to implement a new financial system and so we did all this stuff

01:29:54   and then eventually after we did all this stuff it took like two weeks.

01:30:00   I you know what else is you know so in some ways it wasn't surprising but it was interesting

01:30:04   to me it was the most interesting I was to read Tim Cook's prepared remarks in a number

01:30:10   of quarters to see. So they they they famously did or not releasing iPhone units anymore,

01:30:17   but they gave a lot of other information. Like what? Well, like one of the things they said,

01:30:23   they said like 1.4 billion. They installed base, right? Well, they said that the number I saw was

01:30:31   that the installed base, I think that's just talking iPhone. I don't think it was iOS devices,

01:30:35   but whatever that even though the—

01:30:38   No, he said iOS devices 1.4 billion and then he said—then they said iPhones was 900 million.

01:30:45   Yeah, but one of those was up—the active user base was up 100 million for the year,

01:30:50   even though sales year over year were down a bit. And the explanation for that,

01:30:56   the common sense explanation for that is that with people using iPhones lasting longer,

01:31:03   there are more older iPhones that are in use either through the secondhand market or through

01:31:09   hand-me-downs within a family or among friends, where your kids are using iPhones. Previously,

01:31:16   the parents and the parents have the new iPhone. And so even though only one new iPhone

01:31:20   was bought by somebody who already had an iPhone, the installed base grows because the

01:31:24   the hand-me-downs in use. What else was interesting? The China explanation, again, not surprising,

01:31:36   but it was the first thing that he addressed, which is basically—

01:31:41   - Yeah, it was like down 27% or something, right?

01:31:45   - Yeah.

01:31:45   I thought that, what was it?

01:31:49   Was the iPhone revenue was down 19%, is that right?

01:31:54   Or is that?

01:31:55   It's like iPhone was down pretty bad.

01:31:58   iPhone was down a lot, but everything else was up.

01:32:03   Or no, that's it, the 19% was everything else.

01:32:06   Apple's non-iPhone business grew 19%,

01:32:09   but the iPhone business shrunk.

01:32:11   And in some ways,

01:32:15   I'm not trying to spin this as wow, this is good news,

01:32:21   but in some ways, it's good news that the iPhone

01:32:26   is looking like less of an outlier.

01:32:30   It's less like the other aspects of Apple's business growing

01:32:35   and the iPhone coming down to normal

01:32:38   makes the company a little bit less lopsidedly.

01:32:42   - Yeah, right, right.

01:32:43   Well, it's been a complaint about Apple

01:32:44   for a number of years is like, oh my gosh,

01:32:47   they're so dependent on the iPhone

01:32:48   as if something was gonna happen to the iPhone.

01:32:50   But yeah, I mean, so if they're less dependent

01:32:55   on the iPhone, that's probably a little bit better.

01:32:57   - Right, like if you own five restaurants

01:33:00   and 85% of your revenue comes from one of them,

01:33:04   it's a little bit more worrisome.

01:33:07   it's better if all five are a little bit,

01:33:09   even if the one is more popular than the others,

01:33:11   it's better if the others are pulling more of their weight

01:33:14   in terms of the overall revenue and profits of the company.

01:33:17   Mac is up, iPad, or revenue at least.

01:33:23   Mac revenue is up, iPad revenue is up.

01:33:25   Services revenue is way up.

01:33:27   Although I've seen some stuff that,

01:33:32   what exactly constitutes a service in Apple's accounting?

01:33:36   much of that is smoke and mirrors and how much is legit? Because they don't break

01:33:41   it down. They don't tell you, "This is from Apple Music. This is from iTunes Music

01:33:47   and video sales."

01:33:49   Why do you say smoke and mirrors?

01:33:51   Well, because I think that they're accounting—I think some people speculate that they're

01:33:55   accounting for some part of hardware sales as services. I don't know.

01:34:00   Okay.

01:34:01   I don't know.

01:34:02   I don't know what that would be, though.

01:34:03   I don't know. But that it's ambiguously enough to find that they can… I don't know. I'm not

01:34:10   accusing them of any kind of fraud. I'm just saying I'm not sure that everybody buys that

01:34:14   the services stuff is completely independent of hardware sales.

01:34:18   Yeah. What about that margin on services?

01:34:22   Did they say what it was? I didn't see that.

01:34:25   Like 65%, right?

01:34:26   Wow.

01:34:28   or 60 something was 60 something percent. I can't remember if it was 65, but it was up there.

01:34:33   Well, and some people are like, "Whoa, that's too much." Some of that comes out of the 30% thing,

01:34:43   so that leads into that argument again. Well, but it makes you wonder because some of it can't be

01:34:47   more than 30%, right? Because it's coming from a 70/30 revenue split, right? So it makes you

01:34:56   wonder where the part that 60% comes from, you know? Allow me here to hit Insert. This is like

01:35:06   the podcast equivalent of a text expander snippet. Let me insert my rant here that I

01:35:13   worry deeply that Apple's focus on growing services revenue puts the company's financial

01:35:22   interests at direct odds with the user experience of iCloud storage by keeping the free tier

01:35:31   at a ridiculous 5GB. I don't think the paid tiers, any of them, are that out of line with

01:35:41   what you pay for. To me, it's that free tier. 5GB just is not enough.

01:35:50   I really just, I don't know.

01:35:54   It just bothers me how many people aren't getting

01:35:58   iCloud backups of their devices that could be.

01:36:02   And the services thing where they're trying to make money

01:36:09   from people by doing it, which isn't wrong,

01:36:11   but I just wish the free tier was more

01:36:13   and would encompass enough more for more people

01:36:17   to be able to use it, to back up their entire device.

01:36:20   At least like just back up one iPhone.

01:36:22   - Right.

01:36:25   Well you can, I mean isn't the backup now though is

01:36:29   not backing up all the apps, right?

01:36:33   - No, it doesn't back up the apps

01:36:35   because you can redownload them from the app store.

01:36:37   - Yeah, so depending on your device

01:36:40   you could back up to a five gigabyte here.

01:36:42   - Yeah, but I just feel like people's photo libraries alone.

01:36:45   - I don't disagree with you, I'm just saying that.

01:36:47   you could, you know, technically do it.

01:36:51   - Yeah, I wonder, I would love to know,

01:36:52   I'd love to know the numbers on that,

01:36:53   what percentage of iPhone users can fit an entire backup

01:36:56   in a five gigabyte plan.

01:36:59   Or I guess the more interesting number

01:37:00   is what percentage of the ones who are on the free plan

01:37:04   can back up their device to iCloud.

01:37:07   - Right.

01:37:09   - You know, because I think that the whole,

01:37:11   the fact that you still can back up to iTunes,

01:37:13   you know, for free, you know,

01:37:15   it's presuming your whatever Mac or PC you're running iTunes on has a free space for it.

01:37:19   I would like to know what percentage of iPhone users even know that you can connect your iPhone

01:37:27   to a PC running or Mac using iTunes and do a backup that way. I would guess it's tiny.

01:37:32   I mean, I just don't think that's just not the way people use iPhones anymore.

01:37:36   And I don't even know that it would occur to most people. I mean, my mom has an iPhone now.

01:37:44   I don't think it would occur to her in a million years to connect it to her Mac by USB. Other

01:37:50   than to charge it. And I don't really…

01:37:54   I can't think of the last time. I used to do it for a long time. And that's the way

01:37:57   I did it. I mean, I did it for like a crazy long time. But I have not done that in years.

01:38:02   All right. Here's the numbers. Before anybody writes in the correct. So here's the right

01:38:11   from the horse's mouth at Apple. Revenue from iPhone declined 15% from the prior year,

01:38:16   while total revenue from all other products and services grew 19%. So that's it. 15% decline

01:38:21   year over year for iPhone revenue. But in 19, everything else went up 19%.

01:38:25   Yeah. iPad up 17%, right?

01:38:29   Yeah. Which makes me think and, you know, unit sales are pretty flat, I think. Just makes it.

01:38:36   Well, they don't break those out either.

01:38:38   Oh, no, it's revenue. I don't know.

01:38:40   Yeah.

01:38:40   It's just hard not to think that that's the the iPad Pro is sure pretty popular, right, right

01:38:47   Because it came out last quarter. So presumably a lot of people were waiting for a new iPad and bought the expensive iPad pros

01:38:54   Yeah

01:38:56   And it was expensive

01:38:57   Yeah, I think I talked about that the last time I saw it was like it's like I got the back at the bottom line

01:39:05   With just like a like a cover and it was like a thousand bucks practically. Yeah, I think it's pretty you know, there's a rumor

01:39:10   I don't want to you know, we have enough news to cover that we can do it

01:39:13   But there's rumors of upcoming iPad like regular iPad non pro updates and you know, the iPad mini apparently is

01:39:21   Still alive and we'll be getting an update of some sort. Yeah, and the iPod touch. Yeah, and the iPod touch

01:39:27   Which is yeah, that is interesting to me like it's on the one hand

01:39:32   It's overdue for an update and then the other hand who's buying iPod touches, right?

01:39:37   like I

01:39:38   Genuinely ask because it seems to me like most people who even give a device like this to their kids are giving them old iPhones

01:39:45   Probably right, you know and it's still the iPod touch is 300 bucks. So it's not like it's cheap, you know

01:39:53   It's not like buying an iPod shuffle. Well, I know that mean certain I mean developers were buying them right for a while to test

01:39:59   Yeah, but are they still versions? But again, I don't know. Yeah, I don't know I

01:40:04   Don't have the numbers. I feel like that was a vestige of the era when there weren't a lot of quote-unquote old spare iPhones

01:40:10   floating around everybody's house and now there are

01:40:13   but you know, or is it like an institutional thing like, you know hospitals and

01:40:18   Warehouses and anywhere else where people are running little, you know

01:40:23   This leads me to a two-prong question. I guess like do you think that they are

01:40:28   Just trying to increase the number of devices

01:40:33   releases that they have in order to maximize like you know they know that the overall units

01:40:40   are going to be continued to be flat I don't know in forward and are they just trying to

01:40:45   to like get into more niches that they might have missed earlier in order to keep that

01:40:52   service revenue going I don't know I really I don't know I would love to know who the

01:40:57   market market is for iPod touch I mean you know and I've always thought I never bought

01:41:01   I've never bought one. I've always thought it's adorable.

01:41:04   I think it went through a couple of them, I think.

01:41:08   I remember in the early days—forget if it was a WWDC. It probably was a WWDC because

01:41:16   it might have already been after Macworld Expo was no longer a thing. But I just remember

01:41:21   milling about the top floor of Moscone West before a keynote on a Monday or Tuesday, whatever

01:41:26   day. And 45 minutes before they opened the doors, but there's coffee and donuts and

01:41:34   there's hundreds and hundreds of people. And I saw somebody talking on the—or using

01:41:39   an iPhone, and it was so clearly—I was like—my first thought was, "Holy shit, someone

01:41:45   from Apple is here using a prototype iPhone. This is insane. Why would you do that?"

01:41:50   Because it was so clearly thinner than the existing iPhones. And it turned out it was

01:41:55   guy with an iPod touch. But without thinking about it, I thought it was next year's iPhone

01:42:00   and it was amazing. And he's just out here using it in front of hundreds of people. I've

01:42:06   always liked the product. It's always been intriguing to me, but I don't know anybody

01:42:09   who buys them. So I don't know. I think what's interesting, what occurred to me with these

01:42:13   rumors and just looking at the prices, you can get a new iPad starting at like, it's

01:42:18   like 300 and some bucks.

01:42:20   Yeah, and their sales on them are down to like below 300.

01:42:27   And so to me, that really interesting, something I guess I knew, and everybody knows because

01:42:33   it's out there, but I just had never really thought about is that the iPad lineup is very

01:42:40   different than the Mac lineup, where the big complaint a lot of people have after last

01:42:45   Fall's announcement of the new MacBook Air is, boy, Apple has a lot of MacBooks for around

01:42:52   $1200 or $1300. The MacBook, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro without the touch bar

01:42:59   that have various trade-offs between them. But if you're kind of looking to spend $1300

01:43:07   on a MacBook, you've got a widely variety. You've got three different, very different

01:43:12   things to choose from. Whereas the iPad lineup is very differentiated by price, right? You've

01:43:18   got like these $300 to $400 ones and then you've got these $1,000 plus ones. And I'm

01:43:25   sure you can get a regular non-pro iPad and max out the storage and get it with cellular

01:43:32   and get the price up, that there's ways to fill in those price gaps. But if you're

01:43:37   really price sensitive, you're looking at it's very clear which one to buy. And if

01:43:41   And if you're really looking to max out your iPad,

01:43:44   it's very clear which one to buy.

01:43:45   There's a lot, it's a lot more of a,

01:43:47   it's a much more clear product lineup

01:43:49   than the MacBook lineup.

01:43:51   - Yeah.

01:43:52   - You know.

01:43:53   - You know, and what's interesting,

01:43:54   we, so I got a new iPad

01:43:58   and I gave my father-in-law my old iPad Air 2

01:44:03   and 'cause he had an, he had my old iPad Air.

01:44:08   And so I, you know, he was like,

01:44:09   I'm not going to use the iPad Air if you want to take that back go ahead. So I took the iPad Air

01:44:13   back and then I updated it and and it's it's still it's not a bad device. Well, it still does

01:44:20   everything. Yeah. And it's really old now. Yeah, I Well, I think that is clearly now that again,

01:44:27   they're not issuing. They're not telling you unit sales. But it seems as though the bleeding has

01:44:32   stopped in terms of iPad selling, you know, going downhill in terms of unit sales. And my gut

01:44:38   That feeling always has been, and I think it's starting to be backed up by what we see

01:44:42   in the data, is simply that people buy an iPad and it just keeps working.

01:44:48   And for what they use it for, it keeps working perfectly.

01:44:51   Right.

01:44:52   And that was like with the iPad Air 2, it was doing everything that I needed it to do,

01:44:56   but I just thought, "Oh, I've had this for a number of years.

01:45:00   I should get a new one now."

01:45:02   I really do think that's the explanation for why they were selling like 10 million of them

01:45:08   a quarter or 20 million a quarter and then went down to like 9, 10 million a quarter.

01:45:13   It's just that in the initial run-up, nobody had an iPad and therefore all the people who

01:45:18   kind of wanted one or could use one bought one. And a whole bunch of them are just still

01:45:22   using them. And really, I see what people do. For playing Candy Crush and browsing the

01:45:30   web, you really don't need a newer one. And they last. They're really well-made. I don't

01:45:36   think they take nearly the abuse that a phone takes because they're not going in pockets and

01:45:40   purses and right yeah the other thing he had he had the original like we had given him the original

01:45:45   ipad again um and uh so he gave that back to me too that thing is a tank it's hilarious to hold

01:45:53   one of those things now and the bezel on it oh my god yeah it's really big and and pregnant on the

01:46:00   the back. It's very bulbous compared to the new ones. That whole bent iPad thing seems

01:46:08   to have gone away. Remember? There was a mini scandal for a day that people were getting

01:46:15   brand new iPad Pros and they were bent out of the box or too easily bent. And then Apple

01:46:20   didn't issue a statement, but they issued an off-the-record "don't quote a statement"

01:46:25   The Verge interpreted it as that's normal. But it seems like that died down and I haven't seen

01:46:32   anything again. I was curious about how that would play out after the initial kerfuffle. Would people

01:46:38   be able to say, "Look, here's one I just bought. It's clearly outside the four micrometers," or

01:46:45   whatever the hell they were saying, the four sheets of paper thickness that's within their specs.

01:46:51   Yeah, that seems like it went nowhere. Yeah, I mean, presumably, maybe it was just an early

01:46:59   flaw in the production process or the shipping process or something and they stamped it out.

01:47:03   Yeah, I don't know. I don't know. It seems like they got it. Yeah. All right, let me take a third

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01:49:13   when you check out.

01:49:14   Well, what's else on your list? What else we got? Trying to think.

01:49:24   Those stories were pretty big.

01:49:25   Yeah, that was pretty big. Do you see the New York Times story on the Apple having trouble

01:49:29   getting screws in Texas?

01:49:31   Oh, yeah. Right. I did see that.

01:49:35   Interesting, but seemingly, you know, I don't know. It's an interesting story

01:49:39   It was interesting to hear the details about a specific component, but specific component

01:49:44   I don't know where I can put the word specific, but it's gonna be it's new now

01:49:48   It's in the lexicon

01:49:51   What about Apple TV I wrote yesterday

01:49:58   There was a rumor from November that the information had the information is usually pretty subscriber only but usually, you know

01:50:04   their stuff pans out. And they didn't say Apple is coming out with a dongle, you know, one of these,

01:50:09   like a Chromecast thing where you just plug it into an HDMI port. But some kind of, you know,

01:50:15   instead of $150 to $200 Apple TV, something cheaper, like a dongle.

01:50:21   - This is, yeah, I mean, one of our favorite, one of my pals on the rebound, one of our favorite

01:50:26   saws is just how expensive and out of whack with the rest of the market the Apple TV is.

01:50:32   And I feel I always joke about how particularly taken I feel for having gotten the one with a

01:50:39   larger drive capacity. I did too. Why did I do that? That was 40 bucks or whatever. It's like

01:50:47   just flushed down the drain. It's what's the there's the fear of missing out, right? There's

01:50:52   Yeah. So I've got fear of running out of space. Right. So yeah, yeah. So I mean, if they're right,

01:51:00   I mean, if they're, if the rumors of the streaming service are true, which they seem like they

01:51:06   probably are, then it seems like they need to reduce that price a bit so that they can get

01:51:15   that into more homes. Cause otherwise, you know, I mean, they're not going to, you got to run out

01:51:19   and you got to buy $150 Apple TV, and then you got to pay whatever a month for the streaming service.

01:51:24   That doesn't seem like that's going to go very far. Yeah. And really the way typical people think

01:51:28   is they're, you know, as the world moves from everything you watch comes through your cable

01:51:35   or your satellite, whatever traditional TV to a, I want to stream stuff over the internet. I want

01:51:41   to get my net. I want to watch Netflix. I want to watch Hulu. I want to watch HBO, but not through

01:51:47   my cable company or Amazon prime. Another perfect example, very popular, you know, I've got Amazon

01:51:53   prime. So I know I've already, I've already got access to these stuff. I want to watch it. How do

01:51:58   How do I do it? Option A from Amazon, Option B from Roku, $69 or $50 or something like

01:52:11   that. Option C from Apple starts at $150 and it's $180 if you want 4K. It looks out of

01:52:20   whack. It's not a little bit more expensive. It's a lot more expensive. I don't think

01:52:24   it's surprising. Why does Apple charge so much more?

01:52:27   One thing I've heard from reliable little birdie is Apple effectively sells them at

01:52:33   cost. They really are like $180 box. You think like, "Wow, this is amazing. It has an A10

01:52:40   processor," which we know is super fast and has crazy good graphics. I've heard the same

01:52:48   thing about HomePod too. Why is HomePod so much more expensive than these other speakers

01:52:52   you can talk to? Well, HomePod, I actually have reason to believe, is actually Apple

01:52:56   actually sells it at a loss. Like, I don't know, I can't prove it. But you know, I don't

01:53:03   think it's a big loss. You know, I've always thought that the and again, who knows, you

01:53:10   know, over time, things get cheaper to make the same thing that was, you know, cost x

01:53:15   in 2016 doesn't cost x it costs x minus something in 2018 because everything gets cheaper over

01:53:21   time. But I always thought and I don't have any source on this other than the oddity of

01:53:25   the price of AirPods that they're $159, which isn't—it's not an even price. Like,

01:53:32   $149 is even because that's $150. I have always thought that AirPods probably cost—or

01:53:38   at least did when they debuted—were like a $160 product.

01:53:45   I know company-wide, Apple very famously has very high margins and somehow, almost to a

01:53:52   a spooky degree company-wide. It always is right around—for years now in the Tim Cook

01:53:57   era, there was more fluctuation in the jobs era. But in the Cook era, even though they're

01:54:02   selling more stuff and you'd think there might be more fluctuation, it's very consistently

01:54:05   38 to 39 percent company-wide margin. I think that with Apple TV and HomePod, they can sell

01:54:12   them at little to no margin or even negative margin on HomePod and it doesn't really

01:54:17   show up because the numbers are so low. It's spitting into the ocean.

01:54:21   So, if anything, if you think it's a problem that these products are so expensive compared

01:54:30   to their competition that too few people buy them, it's not because Apple is charging too

01:54:36   much. It's because Apple engineered and designed too good of a product or too expensive of

01:54:44   a product. People want to buy scooters and Apple's building motorcycles.

01:54:50   But I think a dongle for Apple TV would make a lot of sense.

01:54:55   And maybe a year or two ago you'd say, "Well, Apple wouldn't do that."

01:54:59   But now that they're building iTunes into Samsung TVs this year, obviously not selling

01:55:05   any kind of—even a $50 dongle to get your iTunes stuff on the Samsung TVs, what about

01:55:12   the 10 gazillion TV sets that people have bought over the last five, six, seven, eight

01:55:17   years that are perfectly happy with don't have iTunes built in. You know, like, building

01:55:23   I, you know, having this announcement where these TVs from Samsung and Sony and these

01:55:28   companies are all going to support AirPlay 2 out of the box. That's great to extend the

01:55:33   reach of AirPlay, but there's a gazillion TVs that people aren't in any mood to replace

01:55:38   that don't have any Apple stuff built in. So I would say, you know, like some kind of

01:55:45   dongle that doesn't, you know, presumably wouldn't be able to offer the full Apple

01:55:49   TV experience. I would say just skip the App Store and sort of build a dongle that works

01:55:53   like the old Apple TV where you get what's built into it and that's it. You know, it's

01:55:57   got iTunes and…

01:55:58   Adam Boffa - Which seems like a, you know, a continuing series of nails in the coffin

01:56:03   of the Apple TV App Store.

01:56:05   Trenton Larkin Right.

01:56:06   Adam Boffa - Because that does not seem to be going anywhere particularly.

01:56:09   Trenton Larkin No. And if it, you know, and then Apple…

01:56:11   Other than things that are streaming apps and that kind of thing

01:56:14   But there's no like the gaming the gaming aspect of that is I mean

01:56:18   I have not touched a game on the Apple TV and I can't remember how long I have and I have a control

01:56:24   Yeah, I bought the Nimbus controller too and I don't nice controller, but yeah, it's not great though either. It's you know, yeah, it's alright

01:56:31   No ever since we bought a switch. I haven't played I don't really play a lot on the switch either

01:56:36   But if I'm gonna play games I play on the switch. I don't plan it TV. Yeah

01:56:41   But if they were ever going to try to make a second run at making the Apple TV a gaming platform, you know, that might be

01:56:47   You know, maybe that's the way to do it

01:56:50   I feel like the critical error they made to have any hope of making Apple TV a gaming platform was not including a

01:56:55   Controller in in the box. Yeah, I think we've talked about this before. Yeah, absolutely and requiring all games

01:57:03   to work with the Apple TV remote as a gaming controller so that you can't even make a game that requires a

01:57:10   a real gaming controller, even though it's not included in the box. Those two things

01:57:15   combined were… I don't see how they ever hoped to get that off the ground. I really

01:57:21   don't. I mean, whatever our complaints are about the Apple TV remote as a remote for

01:57:26   watching videos, TV shows and video, and there are plenty in every podcast that even has

01:57:34   mentioned Apple has mentioned all those problems. As a gaming controller, it is to gaming controllers

01:57:44   what the stuff you make in a toilet in prison is to real booze.

01:57:47   [Laughter]

01:57:48   Tom Bilyeu (guest): Prison game controller.

01:57:53   Tom Bilyeu (guest): Right? I mean, it's all you got, I guess, right? If you're on a desert

01:57:58   island with an Apple TV and an Apple TV remote, I guess you'll play those games with the Apple

01:58:03   TV remote, but it is not good. There's only so much interest you have in games that are

01:58:10   like "Cannibalt" where it's like, "Just tap a button." And even there, the Apple

01:58:16   TV remote, it isn't that good. Even as a single button controller, it's not that

01:58:21   good. Did you see the other thing related to that, though, was the rumor about Apple

01:58:28   having a subscription gaming service?

01:58:31   Oh, yeah, right, right. That was I was trying to think of what the other thing was. Yeah,

01:58:33   the second side of that coin. Right. Right. And, you know, we've you and I have both heard from

01:58:40   little birdies that there's some some legitimacy, there is some legitimacy to that, not that we know

01:58:45   it's going to happen, but that they've approached some people, they have approached people.

01:58:50   And, you know, I think that totally makes sense. Because what are the three ways people

01:58:55   entertain themselves with subscription media content. They subscribe to subscription music.

01:59:01   They subscribe to subscription video where you watch TV and movies. How else do people

01:59:07   entertain themselves? Video games, right? That's it. And we know Apple has Apple Music.

01:59:14   We're 100% sure they're doing original video content. We don't know how they're going

01:59:17   to charge for it, whether they're going to bundle it with Apple Music or do it separately,

01:59:21   definitely doing it. So why not do it with games where they have a dominant position in mobile

01:59:27   gaming, however bad their position is on TV gaming and PC gaming? And it sounded like it was not going

01:59:38   to be the big name games. No, I don't think so. Because I don't ties into that because apparently

01:59:43   it's going to be you. You can't sell them on on Android as well. Right? Yeah, the idea is they

01:59:50   have to be iOS exclusive, right? Or at least, you know, as far as mobile platforms.

01:59:55   Right, right. So you could do like a PC version and you could do, you could have a console version,

02:00:00   but on mobile it would be iOS exclusive. And you could see why like the EA's of the world,

02:00:07   the big companies wouldn't be interested anyway, because they want to make their money on their own.

02:00:10   They're never going to agree to that.

02:00:12   Right. You know, it sounds like something Apple should do and it sounds like something a company

02:00:19   any interested in increasing services revenue should do.

02:00:23   And it could be a good idea, you know,

02:00:24   especially if they cultivate it and get a bunch of games

02:00:28   and you just pay this one flat fee per month

02:00:31   that you're willing to pay.

02:00:32   And then all of the games that you get are both good

02:00:36   and don't nickel and dime you to death

02:00:39   for in-app purchases.

02:00:40   - Yeah.

02:00:41   And it's, the other thing that I thought was interesting

02:00:43   about it sounded like the, I mean,

02:00:45   it might be actually be of interest to,

02:00:47   I mean, people have been saying, well, gosh,

02:00:48   why would independent gamers be interested in this?

02:00:52   The app store pricing is already so bad for them,

02:00:55   but that they would get almost like a book deal.

02:00:58   - Yeah, yeah.

02:00:59   - You get a bunch of money upfront to do it,

02:01:01   and then you get like a, you know, as your game is used,

02:01:05   you get like a sort of a smaller amount

02:01:07   that continues on presumably for a number of years.

02:01:10   - Right, the idea that it would be like a book advance

02:01:12   would take a lot of the uncertainty out of it, right?

02:01:16   Where you can at least say,

02:01:17   We don't know what our royalties will be going forward because we don't know how popular

02:01:20   it would be.

02:01:21   But if this upfront number looks like it's, you know, hey, that's already makes it worth

02:01:27   our while to try it, you know, it would take a lot of the uncertainty out of it.

02:01:32   They certainly have the market, you know, in terms of the installed base multiplied

02:01:37   by the number of developers who already are writing games for the platform.

02:01:41   So I don't know.

02:01:42   I buy it.

02:01:43   I would encourage…

02:01:44   - That's really very interesting.

02:01:45   Yeah, I mean, depending on the games that are involved,

02:01:47   but I mean, I don't get many games anymore,

02:01:52   but I'm not gonna care what I used to get.

02:01:55   - I'll sign up for it and then never play any games.

02:01:58   (laughing)

02:02:00   But you know what, Amy and Jonas play a lot of games

02:02:02   on their iOS devices.

02:02:04   So assuming that the subscription will work

02:02:06   at the family plan. - Maybe that's the thing.

02:02:07   - It would actually-- - Yeah, right.

02:02:08   I wonder how I assume that it would work

02:02:10   for the family plan.

02:02:11   - Yeah, so if it's 10 bucks for a person and 15

02:02:14   add it to your family plan. The way my family plays games on mobile devices, even without me,

02:02:19   it would be easily worth it. Easily. So I don't know. I say go Apple Go with that idea.

02:02:25   Yeah. No, that's that aspect is makes it probably definitely financially worth my while.

02:02:32   That's it for me, John. It's always good to have you in the show. I spent too long.

02:02:38   Always nice to be here.

02:02:38   We didn't have you on in 2018 enough. We're going to make 2019 a year of molt on the talk show.

02:02:42   Oh, excellent. I'm happy to hear that. I'll see. I'll see in December.

02:02:46   Everybody can get all the bolts they want on on other podcasts, including turning this car around.

02:02:57   Where do you go for turning this car around? You could search for it in your remember,

02:03:02   I guess, this car around net or com. So yeah, you go to iTunes and you search for turning this car

02:03:09   That's regular regular Mac nerdery Mac and Apple nerdery at the the rebound correct and you can just same place

02:03:17   Go to iTunes. Yeah, just or overcast or whatever your podcast is. Yes, sir. Sure the rebound you find it

02:03:22   Anyway good talking to you or just drive by my house. Yeah, just free Wi-Fi

02:03:28   Bye.