The Talk Show

216: ‘Podcast Amnesia’ With Jason Snell


00:00:00   Jason Snell, it is good to have you back. It's good to be back.

00:00:08   Baseball. I don't know when. We were on fairly recently at the end of last year, but you

00:00:12   know, baseball. We got baseball. It's March. I know this. I got good news for talk show

00:00:18   listeners. The next two hours, it's all about keyboards and baseball. How the Giants look

00:00:25   this year? Uh, the Giants are looking, you know, Hope Springs Eternal. It's a funny thing.

00:00:32   They had, they almost lost 100 games last year, although they were projected to win

00:00:36   like 80 or 85. So it was just a cascade of disasters, starting with Madison Bumgarner

00:00:43   taking a ride on a motorbike and separating his shoulder. But they were projected to bounce

00:00:50   back and then they made a couple of moves in the offseason, trying to stay under the

00:00:54   salary tax this year, which I think is really encouraging because it means they actually

00:00:59   intend to spend money next year, which is why you'd want to stay under for this year.

00:01:04   And you know, they are in true, I think, moneyball fashion. They're trying to find a hole in

00:01:10   the market where people are undervalued. And in typical Giants fashion, it's people in

00:01:14   their early 30s who are considered over the hill by baseball standards. So any offseason

00:01:19   where you get the definitive player of two different franchises traded to you by those

00:01:24   franchises, it's got to be a pretty good off-season. So Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutcheon. So,

00:01:30   you know, they might be okay. I'm hoping that they're entertaining. The problem last year was

00:01:33   not that they were losers, it was just they were terrible. Like, they were unwatchable to the point

00:01:37   where in June I just, I actually said to myself, I got to pick another team. I got to, like, pick

00:01:43   a team whose games I can put on the TV to see good baseball because the Giants weren't providing it.

00:01:50   And so in the middle of June, I just picked the Astros because they were having a really good year

00:01:53   And I was on that bandwagon early and I rode it all the way to the end. So that was pretty sweet.

00:01:58   That sounds pretty good. I am very happy.

00:02:02   Yankie's gonna be okay? Are they gonna hit any home runs this year?

00:02:05   I don't know. I hope so. You know that the leading home run hitter in the preseason isn't even a guy

00:02:10   you've heard of? It's this kid, Andy Harr. He hit two and one. He's hit like five and three games

00:02:15   or something. That's crazy. But pre-seed games that don't count. I mean, like, if you're a

00:02:18   pitcher in spring training, they're not even trying to get guys out. They're just like,

00:02:22   like, "Let me try this pitch. I'll try that one again." And it's like, the games are there

00:02:26   to, I guess, you know, provide some structure and sell some tickets because, of course,

00:02:31   spring training is a big moneymaker for all the teams. But, yeah, my mom gets excited.

00:02:35   My mom loves, football loves the NFL, and she gets excited every time there's a preseason

00:02:39   football games are on. She's like, "Oh, did you see this? And you see that?" It's like,

00:02:42   I don't, I mean, I don't care that much about football, but I really don't care about football

00:02:46   games that don't count that are largely played by people who are not going to be on the team.

00:02:50   like I literally could not care about that if I tried and spring training baseball is

00:02:55   a little bit better than that because I like baseball more but it's also kind of not important

00:02:59   it's just I'm glad it's there and they're getting they're stretching everything out

00:03:03   and getting ready to to work hard in April I think I think that I don't want God won't

00:03:09   go long with baseball but I do think that the next one of the next levels of money ball

00:03:14   Sort of going back old school where you you you maybe look at the numbers first, but then you look at the

00:03:21   Type of player and you're not just looking at numbers and I look at the Giants and I see signing guys like McCutcheon and Longoria

00:03:30   It's more than just that. They're sort of 30 young 30 ish past their prime

00:03:35   But franchise players from before these are guys who like led the team led the communities, you know

00:03:42   I mean like these are guys who are really well known for

00:03:45   you know doing everything you would want a

00:03:48   Athletic role model to do you know yeah, I I think what people will misunderstand

00:03:54   About money ball is like when money ball was written by Michael Lewis. It's great book

00:03:59   They they said oh, okay money ball is look for people with good on base percentages

00:04:04   right and then everybody did that and and these days everybody every a front office in baseball is full of

00:04:10   Mostly Ivy League trained people with kind of economics degrees who are into the stats and all of that

00:04:16   But Moneyball was never about that Moneyball was always about if you're the Oakland A's and you don't have money

00:04:22   How do you find an edge any edge?

00:04:25   And I think what we what we're in this world where the the stats guys

00:04:30   Really do reign supreme and it's been shown that what they do works if you look at the Cubs and the Astros

00:04:35   It's totally what works

00:04:37   Well, it doesn't mean that there aren't still things that are undervalued out there and knowing that a baseball player hits its peak

00:04:44   on average at 28 years old

00:04:47   Yeah, you can make an argument a contrarian argument like maybe getting picking up a guy who's 32 or 31

00:04:54   No, he's yes. He's on the downward slide, but

00:04:57   Maybe everybody else is not giving him enough credit

00:05:01   And that's so I think that's exciting that you know the things that we consider intangible

00:05:06   Like oh, you know, is he a good clubhouse guy things like that that you always would roll your eyes about

00:05:12   you know, there probably is truth to that because these are people they aren't numbers and

00:05:16   And so yeah

00:05:18   I think that's one of the interesting things is if everybody's got the numbers and

00:05:21   All the smart math guys are cranking out all the numbers

00:05:24   You're gonna get your edge somewhere else because like if literally like the Astros math is not better than the Cubs math, right?

00:05:32   I mean, maybe they have some techniques that they're using but like

00:05:36   Like that battle is kind of over. Everybody's everybody's being smart about stats. So you're

00:05:41   going to find an angle somewhere else. Did you see the 538 piece last week? I forgot

00:05:46   to I can't believe I didn't link to this on during fireball, but they this argument about

00:05:51   the have the baseballs been juiced since midway through 2015. Yeah. And they took them to

00:05:58   some place like Caltech or some university with like a super high res ct scan and the

00:06:03   answer is yes. The rubber that's around the core is like a different material or something

00:06:12   and that's enough.

00:06:13   Yeah. Yeah. It's enough that the math says it would give it maybe like, I forget, like

00:06:20   an extra six inches and then there's another factor because of the weight. The weight is

00:06:25   like a tenth of an ounce lighter and that combined with the material change would give

00:06:31   you like the percentage increase in home runs we've seen since 2015.

00:06:35   I'm going to bring it around to something that and for people who haven't skipped to

00:06:38   the next chapter to something related to Apple which is manufacturing it shows you that at

00:06:43   volume or when you've got very specific things that you have to do like at very small microscopic

00:06:48   almost levels of materials you can make a change because I don't think this is a conspiracy

00:06:53   I don't think Major League Baseball was like let's change the baseball to juice it like

00:06:56   Like literally, it's probably like a supplier changed what their rubber formula was, and

00:07:01   that happens to be the rubber that was in a new batch that came to the factory in Guatemala

00:07:06   or wherever it is, somewhere in Central America where they make these.

00:07:10   And that's what they used, and they have a whole big truck of it, and it completely changed

00:07:17   the game of baseball.

00:07:18   And it's amazing to think of a multi-billion dollar, hundreds of billions of dollar industry

00:07:22   gets changed by something that small, but you know, it could be, you know, the Apple

00:07:28   stuff. It's the same way, whether it's the silicone on the bottom of a home pod or whether

00:07:32   it's a compo, a tiny component in an iPhone, like a little thing in manufacturing can make

00:07:40   a huge difference in the end product, even though on its own, it's, it's almost meaningless

00:07:45   or it seems meaningless. Yeah. Um, but it is very consistent though. It's like all the

00:07:50   baseballs after midway through that season and none of the baseballs from before it,

00:07:54   you know, there's a definite difference. They're all the same, right? Like it's a totally

00:07:59   a turnkey kind of process, right? It's just that one of the inputs changed an imperceptible

00:08:04   amount and it wasn't for, you know, a year or more until people realized quite what had

00:08:10   what had happened. And I don't know how you prevent that. Like if you're baseball and

00:08:13   you're and you're doing like gas chromatographs of the elements of a baseball every week and

00:08:19   see that it's changed, I mean, they can't stop making baseballs. What do they do? I

00:08:26   don't even know if there is something to solve that problem.

00:08:29   Anyway, we better follow up. Totally new topic. I'm telling you this is about as different

00:08:36   as a topic as you're going to get from baseball manufacturing. Marco was on my show last time.

00:08:41   We had a, went a little long, I guess. We covered a lot of topics. At one point, we

00:08:47   were talking about making coffee and it came up briefly, you know, about Marco had switched

00:08:53   from an oven stovetop kettle to an electric kettle and I proudly said I still like stovetop

00:09:02   kettle. I'll tell you what, our friends in Europe, our listeners in Europe have some

00:09:07   very strong feelings about whether or not every single kitchen should have an electric

00:09:12   kettle.

00:09:13   Well, their electricity is better than ours though. They can boil water in an electric

00:09:17   kettle twice as fast as we can because our electric is so weak.

00:09:20   They've got 240 volts and we've got 120. Sometimes you know you're stepping into a minefield.

00:09:31   Later on in this show, I want to talk a little bit about the NRA TV channel on Apple TV.

00:09:37   I'm anticipating—I'm approaching it with eggshells—I'm anticipating that people

00:09:41   might have strong feelings really had no no no idea that my disregard for

00:09:48   electric kettles was going to anger so many listeners oh my god and then the

00:09:54   people saying that that the espresso people oh my god don't even get me

00:09:59   started on them I mean god bless you I don't know I feel like there's some kind

00:10:03   of combination between they're having a very strong preference for espresso and

00:10:07   and they're drinking too much espresso

00:10:10   and thereby being easily angered.

00:10:12   But I'll tell you what, there are some people

00:10:16   who feel that anything other than espresso

00:10:18   is not really good coffee

00:10:20   and that nothing made in North America is good espresso.

00:10:25   So, my apologies.

00:10:28   - Wow, I don't drink coffee.

00:10:31   I am a tea drinker.

00:10:32   - I know that.

00:10:33   - So I own two electric kettles,

00:10:37   but I don't understand. I'm just completely neutral on the coffee thing. It doesn't, I

00:10:39   don't understand it. So that's good. It's a good place to be.

00:10:44   Anyway, I wanted to say this. There's two apps, scripted bugger seven just shipped the

00:10:53   other day. That's from late night software, long time developer, Mark Aldret. And then

00:10:59   Within the last year, BB Edit 12 shipped from Barebone Software, co-founded by Rich Siegel

00:11:08   and Patrick Woolsey.

00:11:09   I used to work for those guys.

00:11:13   I still use those apps all the time.

00:11:15   I can't say I use Script Debugger every day because I don't write Apple scripts or edit

00:11:18   Apple scripts every day.

00:11:19   Every time that I have either created a new Apple script or futzed with an old one, for

00:11:25   for as long as I can remember, it's been with Script Debugger,

00:11:29   because it's just a fantastic app,

00:11:30   and it's so much better than the Apple's built-in script editor.

00:11:34   And the name of the app is exactly why it's better.

00:11:40   -Yeah, because it has actual debugging tools.

00:11:42   I used Script Debugger for a long time

00:11:44   when I was doing some complicated scripts

00:11:47   when I was at IDG, and then at some point,

00:11:49   I stopped working on the scripts,

00:11:51   and they came out with a new version,

00:11:52   and I didn't update, and that was about

00:11:54   when the script editor got better.

00:11:56   And I just went back to the script editor

00:11:58   because I thought, well,

00:11:59   I don't really need the heavy lifting stuff.

00:12:01   But Script Debugger 7 came out and he pointed it out

00:12:04   that like, it's, you can use it for free, like BB Edit,

00:12:07   like there's a free tier where you can just use it.

00:12:09   And even at the free level,

00:12:11   it's way better than the script editor.

00:12:13   And it had its, the anticipated effect, I think,

00:12:16   what he's hoping he gets out of it,

00:12:17   which is that I used it for like 10 minutes

00:12:20   and I was like, oh, right.

00:12:22   and I just bought it because it's so much better

00:12:25   that I just, I never want to bother.

00:12:26   And also I don't have any faith that the script editor

00:12:29   is being updated by Apple at all ever again.

00:12:32   So I'd rather have an app from somebody

00:12:35   who actually cares about it.

00:12:37   - You know what, the Apple script stuff within Apple is,

00:12:42   I would love to get the full story someday

00:12:45   because it, on the one hand you want to say,

00:12:47   boy, this feels like something that might be on the way out

00:12:49   and it never seemed to get anywhere.

00:12:52   Even when it was getting some love,

00:12:53   it was never getting as much love as like you and I

00:12:56   and other serious, you know, for lack of a better term.

00:13:00   I sometimes cringe using it,

00:13:01   but Mac power users would like, but it was,

00:13:04   but then it seemingly took a turn for the worst last year

00:13:07   and Sal, a long time leader of the automation team,

00:13:11   you know, within Apple left,

00:13:13   doesn't seem like it was on good terms.

00:13:16   And like you said, like script editor,

00:13:18   doesn't seem like it's getting a lot of updates.

00:13:20   Only thing I can remember it getting in recent years

00:13:23   was when they updated it to support the JavaScript

00:13:26   for automation, which is using JavaScript as the language

00:13:31   to control the same underlying automation stuff

00:13:34   that AppleScript drives.

00:13:36   But then the fact that that JavaScript for automation

00:13:38   exists at all is sort of proof

00:13:40   that there is engineering going on there.

00:13:43   - Yeah, it's a weird situation.

00:13:46   I'm actually okay with the idea that Apple,

00:13:49   if Apple says, look, AppleScript was a great idea,

00:13:53   but it's old and it's sort of not how people work today

00:13:57   and we wanna replace it with something better,

00:13:59   I would go along with that.

00:14:00   I just am not entirely convinced.

00:14:02   I'm not at all convinced that we wanna replace it

00:14:05   with something better is a thing that exists.

00:14:08   And that's the thing is like,

00:14:09   I'm okay with Apple throwing away AppleScript.

00:14:11   I really am, as long as they replace it

00:14:14   with some great, preferably cross-platform,

00:14:16   iOS and macOS automation system that is modern

00:14:21   and is a 2018 take on what inter-app communication

00:14:26   and control and system scripting should be.

00:14:29   But they've shown, I mean, short of,

00:14:32   other than buying workflow, which we've known nothing about

00:14:35   other than that they keep working on the workflow iOS app,

00:14:38   that's the closest sign we've had in a long time

00:14:41   that Apple has any interest in like user automation.

00:14:45   So, you know, I'm willing to say, okay, fine,

00:14:48   Apple script had a good run and it's over,

00:14:50   but I'm gonna hold onto it like for dear life

00:14:53   until Apple has an alternative.

00:14:55   And I wouldn't put money down on that.

00:14:58   - I wouldn't either, but then there's things like,

00:15:00   like the Apple Notes app, which was rewritten recently.

00:15:05   I don't know, maybe not rewritten from scratch,

00:15:07   but it's felt like when they switched to iCloud

00:15:10   a cloud kit for the syncing instead of the goofy IMAP.

00:15:15   - IMAP. (laughs)

00:15:20   - That it felt like a new app, I don't know.

00:15:22   But I dragged it onto the script debugger

00:15:25   to see if it has a dictionary.

00:15:26   And I was half expecting this app isn't scriptable.

00:15:29   And it said, "No, lo, it has a very rich

00:15:32   scripting dictionary, more than just the basics."

00:15:35   So I don't know, maybe that script,

00:15:37   that note scripting dictionary has been there

00:15:39   a long time and I just never knew it because I didn't trust notes because of the IMAP syncing

00:15:43   never worked. But I don't know. And then there's other weird recent, not weird, but things that

00:15:50   you wouldn't think would happen if Apple really didn't have any kind of somewhere within the

00:15:55   company, some support for it, like AppleScript Objective-C, which is this bridge between

00:16:01   AppleScript and pretty much the full Cocoa UI library. I feel like that might be an artifact

00:16:09   of there being that scripting group

00:16:11   that has been since disbanded that Sal Segoian was on,

00:16:15   saying like, how do we keep our automation stuff relevant

00:16:20   and finding a way to kind of just pass Objective-C stuff on?

00:16:24   But it did totally make it like,

00:16:26   Sal has some demos that are just mind blowing

00:16:29   of things you can do with what you think of

00:16:31   as sort of like user automation,

00:16:32   but it's way beyond Apple script where there's like,

00:16:34   you know, there's a C routine that does this

00:16:36   and you could do it in Apple script, but be complicated

00:16:38   and you just call the C routine that just does it.

00:16:41   It's amazing, right?

00:16:42   So I think when you said, like, within parts of Apple,

00:16:45   that is the truth.

00:16:46   Like, I have heard that there are, like, the group that --

00:16:50   my understanding is the group that bought Workflow

00:16:52   is not the group that laid off Sal, right?

00:16:54   Those are different parts of Apple.

00:16:56   And that suggests different attitudes

00:16:58   toward user automation at Apple.

00:17:00   I don't know. -Yeah, and that's --

00:17:02   You know, and God bless Workflow.

00:17:05   I've looked into it.

00:17:06   You know, I've made --

00:17:07   I think you have to, I always think you have to make something. You got to do like a little

00:17:11   bit beyond a hello world. You got to do something that's vaguely useful to you. And I get it. And I

00:17:15   see why people are enthusiastic. But it's, and it's amazing that it came from a third party,

00:17:22   and wasn't something built into the system and as good as it is, but it really needs to be at the

00:17:27   system level. And that's, that's the thing that I that that this my hunch is that this just hasn't,

00:17:33   It hasn't percolated to the level where executives are going to have a meeting where it's like,

00:17:41   we have to figure out an actual—we're not leaving this room until we have an actual

00:17:45   strategy that addresses cross-platform automation, whether it's actually scripting or some other

00:17:52   form, but automation, some kind of way that users can automate tasks.

00:17:56   Like the Photos app on iPad can be automated the same way as Photos on Mac.

00:18:01   not leaving this room until we have a solution. You know that that solution is not going to

00:18:06   be to bring AppleScript and OSA scripting to iOS.

00:18:10   Right. And I think when you look at what Omni Group is doing and Sal Zemilian is actually

00:18:15   doing some work with them, you know, that's my hope is that something like Workflow and/or

00:18:19   something like what Omni is doing where they have a JavaScript scripting engine that's

00:18:24   in their Mac products and their iOS products and you can write automation and it's cross-platform

00:18:29   for their apps. And I think they're placing a bet in part on the fact that their users

00:18:35   will care and so they're going to build it because they know Apple is not going to just

00:18:38   hand them something. But I think they also are hoping that Apple will look at that and

00:18:43   go, "Oh, actually that's a pretty good idea. Maybe that's what we should use." But, you

00:18:47   know, people have been doing X callback URL and stuff like that on iOS, passing URLs back

00:18:51   and forth for many years now and at no point did Apple really step up and say, "Let's make

00:18:57   this official. It's just, they just, that's not, that hasn't happened.

00:19:02   Yeah. There was a heyday in the early nineties and I don't think it's a coincidence, you

00:19:07   know, when I bring this back to Scriptabugger and BB Edit, there was a heyday when like

00:19:12   the whole developer community kind of got, when OSA scripting and Apple script were announced

00:19:17   and developers got behind them and it just became like, I don't know what's the term,

00:19:24   the de facto, you're not really a good Mac app if you don't have a good scripting dictionary

00:19:29   and good support. And there were just—and the thing that people who never got into it

00:19:35   and never really got into Apple scripting at all or don't see it now because the apps

00:19:39   they used aren't scriptable was there really was something to the fact where sometimes,

00:19:44   yes, I have a whole bunch of scripts that run within BBEdit and just do things within

00:19:49   BB Edit. But when all of your apps are using the same automation system, you can come up

00:19:55   with things where you're manipulating text and, "Oh, just send it over to BB Edit."

00:20:00   And BB Edit can sort the lines and remove duplicates and then just send it back to wherever

00:20:09   I was, whatever app that was, and then finish up doing something there and then go to another

00:20:14   app and make a graph out of it. You know, that you'd have one thing you'd run, press

00:20:18   one button, and it would involve two, three, four apps in a process that you could then

00:20:24   reuse over and over and over again. And I'll bet that your IDG stuff involved, you know,

00:20:29   probably what, a word processor, QuarkXPress. It was the stuff that I was doing was a lot

00:20:35   of it was like data that was in FileMaker going out to like Eudora for email or generating

00:20:42   text files or yeah, or doing stuff in processing text inside of BB edit in order to export

00:20:48   to the web or to Quark Express. All of those things happened. And that's the magic, right?

00:20:53   It's not just like I can script this app, but it's like I can have this app do this

00:20:56   thing and tell this other app. And you're attaching apps that don't know, they don't

00:21:00   need to know that they exist as long as you write the stuff that glues them together.

00:21:05   And it was, people don't also remember from the nineties, for those who weren't around

00:21:09   then that, you know, the Mac survival in the nineties was a lot of it was about being in

00:21:14   very specific industries like publishing and like the reason the Mac held on when it was

00:21:20   kind of fading away from a lot of places was those industries needed automation and the

00:21:27   Mac had the best automation and like Sal came the first time I ever saw Sal Segoian he was

00:21:32   presenting a thing where he was automating a newspaper layout of a classified ad section

00:21:38   based on stuff that was in a database. And he ran the script, it's like, "Oh my god,

00:21:42   what did I just see? The whole page laid itself out based on the database." And like that

00:21:47   is one of the reasons the Mac survived. And even though maybe end users didn't deal with

00:21:51   it, like that stuff being there, there's a reason that that stuff got adopted by everybody

00:21:57   is because they also wanted to sell their software into those big accounts. And they

00:22:01   knew that that was where the Mac was strong. And that was like the business play for the

00:22:05   Mac.

00:22:06   was great on both ends. Like the classified ads thing is like no joke, because I remember

00:22:11   we had something like that at the student newspaper at Drexel. Like I don't know how

00:22:13   we would have done the classifieds without it. And it was great because if you were the

00:22:18   person responsible for getting the actual classifieds into QuarkXPress and output onto

00:22:23   paper so that they're ready to go to press, it was a great system because you could just

00:22:28   hit a button and it would, you know, there'd be very little manual stuff involved. But

00:22:31   it was also great from the perspective of whoever was entering the classifieds because

00:22:35   you could enter them in a file maker database with a real human interface that was just

00:22:40   like everything else on the Mac where it's like here's the person's name, here's their

00:22:46   contact information, here's the text of their ad, here's a pull down menu with the sections

00:22:51   of the classified and you could just "choop, choop, choop" and then it's in the system

00:22:56   with a human interface and you didn't have to teach them how to use it, you would just

00:22:59   teach them like here's what you open when you want to enter a classified ad, open this

00:23:02   and then you see and then they'd be like, "Oh, okay, I get it." So it was a great interface

00:23:08   on both ends.

00:23:09   Yeah, so that's the reason I think that a lot of this stuff back in the day was like

00:23:15   that. And today, it still hangs on and lots of apps have it, and there are a bunch of

00:23:20   good apps like—I've been using Keyboard Maestro a lot more.

00:23:23   Yes, me too.

00:23:24   And one of the nice things about Keyboard Maestro is there are a lot of these apps that

00:23:28   aren't scriptable because that's become much less of a thing than it used to be. And Keyboard

00:23:33   Maestro just doesn't care. You can just tell it, "Open this window and click on this button."

00:23:37   And you can even say like, "Find the button with this text on it wherever it is and just

00:23:42   click on it." And it's like, it's weird. It's like a ghost is using my computer, but it's

00:23:46   amazing. So I use that all the time. Because in the end, it's all about saving time. It's

00:23:50   not about earning style points. The style points are cool. But in the end, if I can

00:23:53   build something in 20 minutes and it saves me four minutes every week, that's going to

00:23:58   pay off. It doesn't take very long for that to pay off and all I have to do is click once

00:24:02   and I'm done with whatever task I'm doing. It's pretty great.

00:24:06   I'm definitely afraid I'm about to repeat a story from last week's show, but I have

00:24:12   podcast amnesia and don't remember if I told it, but I just recently made a Keyboard Maestro

00:24:16   macro. For a while now, I've got a bunch of custom system-wide services that I've written.

00:24:25   The things where you can just go to the apps menu, like the Safari menu, go down to services,

00:24:30   and you apply service. And they almost all manipulate text. One of my favorites is one

00:24:35   I just call Google Lucky. And I can type any string I want, like "Daring Fireball iPhone

00:24:40   review, select it, and then invoke that service. And the service will just return the first result

00:24:47   from a Google search for those terms, because I'm so confident that the first that that I can make

00:24:52   terms that will give me the first answer. And it just replaces those terms with the URL. I've used

00:24:58   it for years. It is invaluable, because I don't know, I don't have to go. I don't leave the app

00:25:04   I'm writing in, I just write those terms, run the service, I've got a bunch of these services,

00:25:09   too many that I could make up unique shortcuts keyboard shortcuts for all of them. And so what

00:25:14   I've thought about for years is, is there a way I can write like an Apple script or something

00:25:18   that would just show me all the services that are available and then I could invoke that and then

00:25:24   I'd have this thing that I could like arrow down to the one I want or whatever. And it there's,

00:25:30   I don't think there's a good way to do it at least you know just using simple Apple script or whatever

00:25:34   and then it just dawned on me like a light bulb went off after years of vaguely wanting this that

00:25:37   that I could write a keyboard maestro macro

00:25:40   that just opened the services menu and arrowed over to it.

00:25:45   And then once that menu is open, you

00:25:46   can just use the keys on your keyboard

00:25:48   to select menu items by the first name of the thing.

00:25:51   So if there's one called title case, I can just type a T,

00:25:54   and title case will be selected, and I can hit Return.

00:25:57   So now I just type Shift-Command-X. That's

00:26:01   X because it's like a superpower.

00:26:04   and there's no other system-wide modifiers for cut.

00:26:08   So I type shift-command-X,

00:26:09   which is very easy with my left hand,

00:26:11   and wherever I am, the services menu opens.

00:26:13   So I don't need my own interface,

00:26:14   it just opens the services menu.

00:26:16   Like you said, a ghost has just opened the services menu.

00:26:19   - Yep, that's pretty cool.

00:26:21   - The thing that I had,

00:26:22   I've been using Keyboard Maestro for years and years,

00:26:24   and the thing that I kind of,

00:26:26   I didn't get away from it,

00:26:28   but I stopped adding new stuff in it.

00:26:30   And there are things that you can do in Keyboard Maestro now

00:26:32   on a modern Mac that are so fast compared to the way they used to be. Like it doesn't,

00:26:38   when you run this macro, it doesn't look like a menu's opening and then a sub-menu's opening

00:26:43   and then the sub-menu gets the input focus. It just happens in an instant. It just, it

00:26:48   just pops open. Right. Yeah, I have, I have that with a nice cast, which Paul Kifasis

00:26:53   and Roga Miekeba just retired. It's old and it's, yeah, and I know why they're retiring

00:26:58   it. It's a live streaming app. And it needs a refresh, which is why they're retiring it.

00:27:03   It's got like old to 30. Yeah. And it was conceived in an era that no longer exists

00:27:09   and all that. But the point is that it's got the kind of old style, like drawer with radio

00:27:13   button kind of interface that was invoke early on. And I, my keyboard maestro stuff for that

00:27:18   is amazing because it's like, it's opening windows and doing keyboard shortcuts and clicking

00:27:23   on buttons and then closing those windows again. And it happens so fast. I'm not sitting

00:27:27   they're like watching it open and mouse over and click or anything it just like

00:27:31   boop it and it's done so I you know it might as well be invisible which is

00:27:36   pretty cool yeah and I think the one I talked about last week on the show I'm

00:27:40   pretty sure was the one I've written recently for tweet bot I think I talked

00:27:44   about this but the idea is whenever I respond from an ad daring fireball

00:27:48   mention I want to respond from at Gruber I feel like me I'm me on Twitter is at

00:27:53   Gruber and at Fireball is the the voice of the publication which you know, it's one person

00:27:58   Website, so I it's a thing in my head

00:28:01   I don't know if anybody else would notice but but I I long wanted a I thought about asking

00:28:07   the guys at

00:28:09   Tapbots to add a feature so that I could say from this account always reply from that account and I felt guilty I could never

00:28:16   Bring myself to ask because I felt like I was asking them to make a feature for John Gruber and nobody else would want it

00:28:21   Who else would as you know, probably like three people who want this feature?

00:28:24   And I realized I could fake it and the keyboard maestro and just have keyboard maestro

00:28:29   When only when tweet bot is foremost

00:28:32   listen for command R

00:28:35   and then send

00:28:37   Tweet bot another command R

00:28:41   Which keyboard maestro is smart enough not to get into an infinite loop and get it actually passes it on and then that opens the reply

00:28:49   window and then just go up to the avatar and open the menu which lets you switch accounts,

00:28:55   hit down arrow once to get to the top one which is always at Gruber, hit return and

00:29:01   then every reply I hit with the command R shortcut is already at Gruber.

00:29:06   And it happened, the thing is it happened so fast I don't even see any kind of flicker.

00:29:10   It just happens.

00:29:12   I mean there is flicker if you look for it but it's so fast that it doesn't even annoy

00:29:17   and I think it's pretty well known that I'm easily annoyed.

00:29:20   - It's great.

00:29:23   It's, yeah, so there's,

00:29:24   I think our point here is that automation,

00:29:27   user automation is good,

00:29:28   and there are good tools out there on the Mac

00:29:29   and on iOS with workflow,

00:29:32   but I do wish that Apple looked at this and said,

00:29:37   "You know what?

00:29:38   We could give everybody a leg up

00:29:40   by doing some work behind the scenes

00:29:41   to support user automation."

00:29:43   Maybe they don't need to write their own thing or anything,

00:29:45   but do some groundwork to make it easier.

00:29:48   Like the fact that there are those guys

00:29:50   who wanna do a podcast URL,

00:29:52   so that if you can click on a link anywhere,

00:29:54   it just opens your podcast app

00:29:56   and subscribes you to that podcast.

00:29:57   But the thing is, right there, everybody already did that.

00:30:01   They did that with a podcast, colon, slash, slash, URL,

00:30:04   and all the podcast apps supported that.

00:30:07   And then Apple came in and said, "No, you can't do that

00:30:10   "because the podcast app supports that."

00:30:13   and iOS has no facility to take a URL and say,

00:30:17   "Oh, lots of apps can open this URL.

00:30:20   Which one would you like to open?"

00:30:21   It's even basic stuff like that,

00:30:23   that they just have not prioritized.

00:30:25   So, you know, that's what I would love to see,

00:30:27   is Apple to say, not, "Goodbye Keyboard Maestro

00:30:30   and goodbye Workflow.

00:30:31   We're gonna build our own thing that you can only use."

00:30:34   But just like, I think it makes the lives of people

00:30:37   who are doing stuff like what we're doing

00:30:39   a little bit better if Apple is an active participant

00:30:41   instead of just kind of not paying attention.

00:30:45   - Yeah, and the one thing, one last point on that,

00:30:47   and that whenever I get, sometimes I get depressed,

00:30:49   like I said a couple minutes ago,

00:30:51   because I feel like Apple's heart isn't in it.

00:30:54   And then the thing like Keyboard Maestro

00:30:55   and my renewed recent interest in it has reminded me

00:30:58   that a lot of what Keyboard Maestro does is,

00:31:01   or maybe almost everything that it does

00:31:03   is through accessibility APIs.

00:31:05   Like back in the old days when Keyboard Maestro

00:31:08   first came out, and it wasn't from Peter Lewis

00:31:11   and Stairway software, I think it was,

00:31:13   the developer's name was Michael Camprath.

00:31:16   Do you remember that?

00:31:17   - Mm-mm. - I don't know.

00:31:18   I forget who it was, but like in the,

00:31:21   because Keyboard Meister is another one

00:31:23   that dates back to classic Mac OS and the '90s,

00:31:28   maybe even the '80s, I don't know,

00:31:29   but certainly the '90s.

00:31:31   And in those days, it was, (laughs)

00:31:34   I think it did what it did through,

00:31:37   let's call it nefarious means.

00:31:41   Whereas today's Keyboard Maestro, it's almost useless

00:31:45   if you don't grant it accessibility privileges,

00:31:48   which you have to grant an app

00:31:50   with accessibility privileges to prevent an app

00:31:53   from abusing them to do things you wouldn't want it to do.

00:31:56   But then once you grant an app those privileges,

00:31:59   it makes use of these things through APIs

00:32:03   that are there for accessibility reasons,

00:32:05   like you said, like finding a button with a certain name

00:32:09   and stuff like that.

00:32:10   And so the fact that Apple,

00:32:11   I know that Apple is serious about its commitment

00:32:14   to accessibility and all the things they do

00:32:16   to keep their software and the APIs

00:32:19   that third-party developers use to make it as easy

00:32:22   as possible to have accessible apps.

00:32:24   I think, you know, I think Keyboard My Service

00:32:26   sort of proof that they can also double

00:32:29   as means of automation.

00:32:31   - Yeah, that's a great twofer.

00:32:34   As long as that's possible,

00:32:36   and if there's more down that path, I think that's great.

00:32:38   'cause none of us really questions

00:32:40   Apple's commitment to accessibility.

00:32:43   That one is clear.

00:32:44   - Yeah.

00:32:45   Anyway, let me take a break here.

00:32:48   Oh, here's what I wanna say before I take the break.

00:32:50   Scratch that, I'm not taking a break.

00:32:51   I just wanted to say, that vague feeling in my head

00:32:55   that I've been using Scriptabugger since forever

00:32:57   got me to open the about box

00:32:59   and see what the copyright date is.

00:33:00   And copyright date is 19, this is for a brand new app

00:33:03   that just came out two days ago, copyright 1993 to 2018.

00:33:08   And then just to double check that my memory hasn't gone too far, that I have been using

00:33:13   BB Edit longer than Scriptabugger, I checked the BB Editor mailbox and it was copyright

00:33:18   1992 to 2018.

00:33:21   Both apps look as good as the day they were born and remain as relevant as ever, which

00:33:28   is just makes me happy.

00:33:31   Yep, me too.

00:33:33   All right.

00:33:34   to

00:33:35   Don't do the turn away

00:33:37   away makes a

00:33:40   Really really terrific

00:33:42   luggage

00:33:44   They use high quality materials and they offer a much lower price compared to other brands of comparable quality by cutting out the middleman

00:33:51   That's the secret to the internet. They cut out the middleman they make they use high quality materials

00:33:56   They have great design and they sell direct to you without retail markup

00:34:01   They have over 10 colors in a wide variety and they have five sizes. I

00:34:05   Love their size names because the size names

00:34:08   Don't need any description

00:34:11   They have the carry on the bigger carry on the medium the large and the kids carry on

00:34:17   If you don't understand what those sizes mean

00:34:20   I mean go look at their website and I'll give you the dimensions

00:34:24   All of their suitcases are made with premium German polycarbonate. That's very lightweight

00:34:30   Never bends never breaks the interior which is really I always talk about the wheels and how good the for

00:34:37   364 spinning wheels are

00:34:40   Mine is like two years old. I travel a fair amount every time I travel I take my away carry-on

00:34:46   And the wheels are as good as new I always talk about the wheels

00:34:49   But the inside of their suitcases is so really cleverly designed. They have a patent-pending

00:34:54   pending compression system

00:34:57   Which does a couple of things but the one thing is there's like a panel that you can put like a folded shirt behind at

00:35:03   The bottom and then you put this thing there and then there's like belts to cinch it and it keeps like your folded shirts together

00:35:08   And they come out about as unwrinkled as you could ever hope for because they're not really in another section and then there's a nice

00:35:14   Divider and they're they're packed down good

00:35:16   They have a little bag that when you're when you first leave when you leave house you leave the house and everything's clean

00:35:21   It like folds up into nothing

00:35:24   But then you can use this bag to put all your dirty clothes in throughout your trip

00:35:28   So your dirty clothes aren't getting mixed with your clean clothes

00:35:30   Or if you come home and you've you know, you had a pack with different, you know

00:35:35   long shirts

00:35:36   Short-sleeve shirts because you weren't sure what the weather's gonna be like you don't have to mix

00:35:39   The clothes that are still clean with your dirty clothes. What a great idea. I don't know why nobody thought about that before

00:35:44   Everything else you want in modern suitcase TSA approved combination lock. I don't know. I mean, I don't know how great you know

00:35:51   The TSA combination lock is but it's the only lock you can use so they've got it

00:35:55   And both sizes of carry-on can charge cell phones tablets e-readers anything because they have two USB ports

00:36:03   Charge up the suitcase like once or twice a year

00:36:07   And then you've got a suitcase that can charge your phone while you're waiting at the airport

00:36:11   It's it's really useful lifetime warranty if anything breaks

00:36:14   They will fix it free shipping on any way order within the contiguous us. Sorry, Alaska

00:36:21   100 day free trial so you can live with it travel with it Instagram at whatever you want to do

00:36:26   Take pictures of it

00:36:27   And if you don't like it before 100 days or over you can return it for a full refund with no questions asked

00:36:33   I don't know why you would want to return it if you need a new case really ought to look at this

00:36:36   And they have retail stores now, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas

00:36:42   which is gearing up for South by Southwest. Anyway, I've got one. I love it. It's nearly

00:36:47   brand new. I can't believe how many years I went with a roller bag that barely rolled.

00:36:53   I had like a Dragger bag. What a waste of time and effort. So here's the deal. You get 20 bucks off

00:36:59   your next suitcase. If you go to awaytravel.com/talkshow, that's their website,

00:37:05   awaytravel.com/talkshow and use that promo code "talk show" at checkout and you will save 20 bucks

00:37:14   off a suitcase. awaytravel.com/talk show. My thanks to them. Really good company.

00:37:19   I have two.

00:37:20   It's amazing. I was just talking to Amy about just it's I wouldn't do it. I know I'm telling you I

00:37:29   wouldn't do it if I didn't like it. I'm not going to use a crappy suitcase, but it's amazing how

00:37:34   how much of the stuff I use now is stuff from sponsors of the show. And oddly enough, it's

00:37:40   more sponsors of the podcast than the website. There's stuff I use that sponsors of the website.

00:37:46   But for stuff like the suitcases and the mattresses, it's the podcast. It's crazy. And I got a

00:37:53   shipment of this coffee from the last episode. It's really, really kind of nuts. What else

00:38:00   So while we're going down memory road, we're talking about the old days of the 90s. How

00:38:07   about this 10 year anniversary of the iPhone SDK literally today March 6th as we speak.

00:38:13   Yeah. I remember that.

00:38:15   I was there. In fact, in reading Craig Hockenberry's amazing blog post about this, he linked to

00:38:23   my live blog, which is still up at macworld.com. My live blog of the iPhone SDK event, which

00:38:30   was not not just the here's how developers will write apps in this new

00:38:34   app store that we're going to introduce but also like the first major update to

00:38:39   the iPhone software yes even have a name yes yeah right right and they still

00:38:44   didn't give it a name they didn't really the name iOS didn't come until the iPad

00:38:49   right I think they called it I found us they called it iPhone OS for a couple

00:38:53   years yeah the first the first the first version of the iPod or the iPad ran

00:38:59   iPhone OS, which was really weird. And then they gave it a name. But at this point, I

00:39:04   think they didn't even call it iPhone OS. I think it was just the iPhone software, sort

00:39:08   of like how the iPod had the iPod software version, whatever. And it didn't even have

00:39:13   a real name. It was a it was a weird time. But 10 years ago is when the sweet solution

00:39:18   of you're going to write web apps for the iPhone finally kind of came down and they

00:39:22   said, "No, no, no, we're going to do an app store. Here's how it's going to work." And

00:39:26   talk about a huge milestone.

00:39:28   And it was, I don't know why it stands out to me,

00:39:31   but it was an interesting event because it was Jaws.

00:39:35   It wasn't Steve Jobs and it wasn't Phil Schiller.

00:39:38   It was Greg Jaws, right?

00:39:40   Or am I, am I wrong on that?

00:39:43   Or you did the live blog.

00:39:45   - Yeah, I should look.

00:39:48   I mean, it's Jobs and Schiller.

00:39:50   - Oh, all right. - And Scott Forstall.

00:39:52   - Oh, maybe it was Jaws. - And Scott Forstall.

00:39:54   - Maybe it was Jaws who did it.

00:39:56   No, I must be misremembering it with one of the years where Steve was ill. It was one

00:40:01   of the years when he was ill.

00:40:03   It's 10. It's 10.01am on March 6, 2008. My live blog says, Phil, I think Steve said Phil

00:40:12   and Scott Forstall will do the heavy lifting today. And so it was Phil and Scott who did

00:40:17   all of it.

00:40:18   Yeah, that makes that makes sense for the first one. That actually does make sense,

00:40:21   especially for Stahl's involvement.

00:40:23   I loved Craig's, I will put it in the show notes,

00:40:28   I loved Craig's write-up, and the thing that,

00:40:30   it's so mind-blowing to me that there was this

00:40:35   really active developer community before the SDK came out,

00:40:41   entirely through jailbreaking and through backwards

00:40:45   engineered access to the APIs that Apple,

00:40:49   the private APIs that Apple had used to write all the apps that were on the phone already.

00:40:55   And it just blows my mind.

00:40:57   And they had it working in Xcode.

00:41:00   Because that's the thing that I love about the Apple developer community is that they

00:41:04   don't just want to get it working.

00:41:06   It's not just enough to have a hack that works.

00:41:08   It should be as nice as possible.

00:41:10   Like it wasn't just that they were writing software that ran on the iPhone.

00:41:15   They were writing software that looked as good as Apple's software because it was using

00:41:19   the actual native APIs and the lights out game, the first game for iPhone looked as

00:41:25   good as any app, any game could look on the iPhone. And they had, instead of doing it

00:41:32   all through command line incantations and stuff, they got it working in Xcode. It was

00:41:39   nice. I mean, not nice compared to a real proper SDK, but for nothing but jailbreak

00:41:44   access to the APIs. It was nice. And it happened so fast. The C4 conference that Craig talked

00:41:51   about where there was a developer contest, like, "What can you hack together in 48

00:41:56   hours?" The apps were amazing. And that was August. So the phone only came out on,

00:42:02   what, like June 29th or something? June 30th?

00:42:04   Yeah, something like that.

00:42:06   Within like seven weeks, six, seven weeks, there were third-party apps being written

00:42:12   for this phone that had no SDK. It was amazing. And it was so terribly exciting.

00:42:18   Everybody, I mean, everybody wanted immediately to write apps for it. There's that famous,

00:42:24   somebody actually did find it. They actually found the MP3 of it, that podcast that you and

00:42:28   Merlin and I did the day after the iPhone was announced where we all basically came.

00:42:33   Wasn't it the day of?

00:42:35   Was it that afternoon? It might've been, it was at that Macworld Expo where we basically

00:42:39   described the App Store. Like, obviously, this is what they're going to do. It's going to be curated,

00:42:43   this whole thing. And the developers we were talking to, I mean, all of them wanted to write

00:42:48   software for it. And you could see in Craig's blog post, like, the moment that they could

00:42:53   jailbreak it and get into it and start, like, dumping out, like, what was Apple doing and

00:42:59   figuring out how Apple was writing their apps. And, like, they would not be denied. It's one of

00:43:03   of these stories, we think about jailbreaking today and it's all about kind of like piracy

00:43:08   and trying to get around things that Apple is doing. But back in that first iPhone, it

00:43:13   was literally like Apple didn't want to let anybody in yet and the developers would not

00:43:19   be denied. And they would write software without any SDK at all. They reverse engineered Apple

00:43:25   stuff because they just, they had to do it. We all knew the moment we saw it, despite

00:43:29   whole web apps or a sweet sweet solution thing. We all knew what was going to happen. And

00:43:34   the great thing is that like a year later, less than a year later, it happened, which

00:43:40   I mean, it could have gone on way longer than that. But Apple, you know, they to their credit,

00:43:45   they prioritized and they got that thing out.

00:43:46   I have always felt and I don't know about at the time and I think reading his biography

00:43:52   and other things, it seems like maybe Jobs wasn't completely on board. I think they announced

00:43:58   that the SDK would be coming in like November.

00:44:02   Craig's probably got it in his article,

00:44:03   but it was like the iPhone came out in,

00:44:08   well, WWDC came first, right?

00:44:13   WWDC was early June,

00:44:15   so we didn't have the iPhone yet, right?

00:44:17   - Yeah, they announced it in January at Mac World Expo,

00:44:20   but it didn't ship until the end of June.

00:44:22   - Right, so they announced the iPhone

00:44:23   in January at Mac World Expo 2007.

00:44:27   In early June, there was WWDC, and they had a whole WWDC,

00:44:31   and it was all about Mac OS X, as it always had been.

00:44:34   And then at the very end, they're like,

00:44:35   now everybody knows later this month,

00:44:37   we're shipping iPhone, we couldn't be more excited about it.

00:44:40   And we've been hearing about a lot of developer interest,

00:44:42   and we think we have a really sweet solution.

00:44:45   And this is the problem with that sweet solution thing.

00:44:49   And a lot of people link to my writeup about it,

00:44:53   'cause I called it a shit sandwich.

00:44:56   and people agreed, but there was a sucker punch element to it

00:45:00   because it's at the end of the WWDC keynote.

00:45:03   And the room is filled not just with the Mac World Expo

00:45:08   crowd of generic enthusiasts, it was filled with 4,000 paying

00:45:12   developers, Mac developers, who knew the Cocoa APIs in and out

00:45:18   and knew that the iPhone was using Cocoa APIs so they could

00:45:21   use the same things they knew on this amazing new device.

00:45:24   And he says, we think we have a really sweet solution.

00:45:26   And there's this moment where everybody's like,

00:45:28   "Oh, great, I can announce the gun."

00:45:30   And then they're like, "You can write web apps."

00:45:33   - Yep.

00:45:34   And it's funny, 'cause in October is when they did it.

00:45:38   In October, they said, there was actually a Steve Jobs,

00:45:42   one of those Steve Jobs notes

00:45:44   that was very clearly written by him

00:45:46   because it begins with the words,

00:45:48   "Let me just say it," colon,

00:45:51   "We want native third-party apps on the iPhone

00:45:52   and we plan to have an SDK by February."

00:45:55   and they ended up shipping at the very beginning of March.

00:45:57   So obviously after WWDC and all that,

00:45:59   they got the feedback that the Sweet Solution

00:46:02   was not gonna do it.

00:46:04   - Right, well I think what happened in hindsight

00:46:05   was they wanted to ship as soon as they could.

00:46:08   They knew, you know, and it's one of those things

00:46:11   that Jobs was I think so good at

00:46:14   is being able to pinpoint when a first product

00:46:19   was ready to ship.

00:46:21   And it was one of those things that I think he got better at

00:46:23   as the years went on.

00:46:24   You know, like, whatever you want to say about the first iPod.

00:46:26   The first iPod was terrific.

00:46:28   We loved ours.

00:46:29   We didn't buy two.

00:46:30   Amy listened to portable music more than I did,

00:46:32   but we bought the very first 399 iPod

00:46:35   that had a firewire interface,

00:46:36   a click wheel that really spun.

00:46:39   It still works.

00:46:39   At least the last time I fired it up, it still worked.

00:46:41   We used it for years, years and years.

00:46:43   We never bought another full-size hard drive iPod.

00:46:46   That was the one that we used.

00:46:49   I won one in a contest once for having written Markdown.

00:46:52   So a couple years later, I won a newer version.

00:46:56   So I had one and she had one.

00:46:57   The next iPod that she got was a Nano with flash storage

00:47:04   'cause it was great.

00:47:06   It had five gigabytes, which was small by future,

00:47:10   but it was a fantastic product.

00:47:11   And the iPhone was amazing.

00:47:13   It obviously shipped at the right time.

00:47:15   The first iPhone had many deficiencies.

00:47:17   It only had edge, didn't have 3G,

00:47:21   seemed expensive compared to other phones,

00:47:22   although it seems cheap compared to a top of the line

00:47:25   iPhone today.

00:47:26   So I don't know if that's even a,

00:47:28   I think that wasn't a problem with the phone,

00:47:30   but a problem with the market's mindset

00:47:32   on what a cell phone should cost.

00:47:33   And I got so much use out of it.

00:47:36   It was amazing.

00:47:36   Even at edge speeds, having the web on my phone

00:47:41   was life-changing.

00:47:43   Would it have been worthwhile to wait

00:47:46   until the internal APIs of what we now know as iOS

00:47:49   were ready and stable so that they could open it up to third parties? No, I think they made

00:47:54   the completely right—

00:47:55   No.

00:47:56   The only thing they could have done differently is they could have delayed the whole thing

00:47:59   by another year to wait until everything was settled down internally to a point where they

00:48:04   could have the sandbox and everything they wanted to have, or they could ship it without

00:48:10   third-party apps and suffer for a year with the criticism. But I don't think internally

00:48:14   even Jobs ever really doubted that they wouldn't have native apps eventually. I think it was

00:48:19   only a question of how. Would it be like the app store we have today where there's literally

00:48:26   like a million apps or would they restrict it and really cultivate it and only have like

00:48:32   thousands of apps and make it like a genuine privilege that you'd have to, you know, like

00:48:37   getting into college or something you'd have to be accepted and you know, lots and lots

00:48:41   and lots of apps would be rejected. I think there might have been debates like that but

00:48:44   the fact that they would have an app store period, I really don't think they had any

00:48:48   doubt. Yeah, I think it was very clear. I think they were smart to do it. If you think back to

00:48:54   2007, like the killer apps for the first year of the iPhone were the apps that were on the iPhone.

00:48:59   Yeah, we would have liked third-party stuff, but like Safari on the iPhone alone was a killer

00:49:06   app because it was, you know, it's table stakes now, but like a real web browser that loaded real

00:49:12   real web pages on an iPhone was enormous. And yeah, the music app was good too. The

00:49:18   apps that were there were really good. And that first year, you think, "Oh man, you couldn't

00:49:22   load any new apps." No, but the apps that were there were so amazing. That was enough.

00:49:26   Mail and Safari.

00:49:28   How about having a humane, understandable interface to SMS? Like, SMS wasn't invented.

00:49:36   But my SMS on my Nokia before my iPhone, it was just one list of messages. It wasn't sorted

00:49:43   by people. It was crazy how bad it was. And now all of a sudden, it was every bit as easy

00:49:52   as using iChat.

00:49:54   Yeah, yeah. So I think that gave them a year. I mean, if I had been there, hopefully somebody

00:50:01   argued that, right? That was like, this gives us... We don't even need to have a third party

00:50:04   app answer right away because we've got the right apps on it now, including the browser

00:50:09   and the browser solves so many problems because like there within months there were versions

00:50:16   of like web pages that were I am clients where you could log into from inside the web page.

00:50:22   It's like you didn't even need the app. I mean the app would be way better, but like

00:50:25   you could get it done just through that browser. So that that was enough of a release valve

00:50:30   to keep them to keep them there. But I agree with you. I think that it was very clear that

00:50:34   They wanted to do real third-party apps, but, you know, I mean, the story I always tell

00:50:40   is that when I used that iPhone in January at Mac World Expo, several of the apps, when

00:50:44   I tapped on them, it was literally just an image of a UI mock-up.

00:50:49   There was no, like, there was no actual contacts or notes.

00:50:53   Buttons.

00:50:54   Every button was just painted.

00:50:56   It was just a ping.

00:50:57   It was just a...

00:50:58   No, yeah, it was literally just a graphic file that opened, and you couldn't do anything

00:51:03   because only some of the apps were working. So like the iPhone was such a moving target

00:51:07   that there's no way. They needed to learn how to write iPhone apps and then they needed

00:51:12   to learn how to communicate that and how they would roll it out. But like I think when the

00:51:17   iPhone shipped they didn't quite know how to write iPhone apps yet. They were just still

00:51:21   figuring it out. So it was inevitable that they would have to wait. What was great is

00:51:26   that so many developers didn't wait until the day the SDK announced like Craig Hockenberry

00:51:31   and all of those people that who just they weren't going to wait. They were going to

00:51:34   take it apart and examine it. And that shows you how badly everybody wanted to be in the

00:51:40   app store. And for people who weren't around then like day one, I remember sitting on my

00:51:44   couch like not eight feet away from where I'm sitting right now on the day that the

00:51:48   app store opened and downloading all of these. There's so many apps in the store on day one

00:51:55   because the developers were so excited about doing it. You know, brand new platform. Nobody

00:52:01   really knew how it was going to go. And there were, you know, hundreds of new apps on day

00:52:06   one.

00:52:07   I remember that that whole first year and I'm, you know, I don't know if I'm an introvert.

00:52:13   I don't understand those words and those, those, those, uh, you know, like, uh, I TSP

00:52:19   or whatever the hell, you know, it makes you take a Tres Briggs personality test. I've

00:52:24   like looked at that several times in my adult life and I don't understand it at all. I took

00:52:28   that test and it's like 100 is one end of the scale and zero is the other end and for

00:52:32   the introvert/extrovert I got a 50. It's like, I don't know, what the hell.

00:52:35   I think I'm something like that. I don't know. I'm at the end of the scale where you don't

00:52:40   understand the scale. I see. But I think part of me is, I mean, I'm obviously, you know,

00:52:47   I do a podcast and I've spoken in public. People will come up and see me like at WWDC

00:52:53   and I'm happy to greet them. I really am. It's a thrill. I love it. You know, they're

00:52:57   like, "Are you John Gruber?" I love it, right? I've been there with you. We've both had it happen.

00:53:01   It's a real thrill to meet people. But that whole first year with the iPhone, I didn't like it when

00:53:07   I'd be at the grocery market and some random stranger would be like, "Oh my God, is that an

00:53:12   iPhone?" Not like I was put off and I would be nice. I'm a people pleaser. I would say, "Yes!"

00:53:19   And they would say, "How do you like it?" And I would say, "I love it. It is life-changing. It is

00:53:25   worth everything that you've heard about it.

00:53:27   But I just, I got it all the time.

00:53:31   You might have gotten it less in California,

00:53:33   but I'll tell you what, in Philadelphia,

00:53:34   like the first year, if you had an iPhone,

00:53:36   it was like something.

00:53:37   Like people would see it.

00:53:39   And it's funny too.

00:53:41   I might have, I've always been a non-case user,

00:53:44   although I'm trying a case right now with my iPhone 10.

00:53:47   But I would say at least 95% of the days,

00:53:51   probably maybe even higher, since 2007,

00:53:54   when I first got an iPhone.

00:53:56   The iPhone in my right front pocket has not had a case.

00:54:00   There were no iPhone cases for the first iPhone,

00:54:02   or at least there weren't.

00:54:03   It wasn't anything like today,

00:54:04   because it was a new thing and nobody knew.

00:54:06   I would have bought a case for the damn thing

00:54:08   that made it, tried to make it look like a Nokia phone

00:54:10   or something, or a BlackBerry something,

00:54:13   because it was like a sensation.

00:54:16   But then on the other hand,

00:54:19   when I'd be with people who did have iPhones,

00:54:21   other people who did have iPhones,

00:54:23   so it wasn't quite so, you know, like talking to strangers.

00:54:28   The fact that I had Lights Out installed on my iPhone

00:54:31   as a jailbreak and I would be like,

00:54:33   oh yeah, did you get the update with the game?

00:54:36   And they're like, what?

00:54:37   And I'd show them Lights Out.

00:54:38   (laughing)

00:54:40   Which A, was fun and it's a game

00:54:43   that's super easy to understand.

00:54:44   I'll put a link in the show notes

00:54:45   'cause Stephen Trotton Smith has a version,

00:54:48   a faithful version that still is available

00:54:50   in the App Store.

00:54:52   But it's basically one of those games that you and I had

00:54:55   in the late '70s and early '80s

00:54:56   that you could get at a toy store,

00:54:58   some kind of, like Simon or something,

00:55:00   like electronic and vaguely computerized.

00:55:03   But in the way, like the skeuomorphic way

00:55:08   that the phone looked like an actual phone

00:55:13   and stuff like that,

00:55:14   having a game that looked like a plastic electronic game

00:55:16   on your iPhone was amazing.

00:55:18   But nobody else had a game on their phone,

00:55:20   or on their iPhone at least, you know, and they had like, you know,

00:55:23   some piece of crap snake eating game on the Nokia thing.

00:55:27   So being able to show people that when, when people saw that, I was just like,

00:55:30   Oh my God, this app store thing is going to be humongous.

00:55:32   Because when I show people that I have a game on my phone that,

00:55:35   and I don't even like games for the most part, I'm not really a gamer,

00:55:38   but it was so clear that it was going to be huge.

00:55:43   Yeah. This is the tech industry and, and, uh, you know,

00:55:46   just passing through time in general, so many things happen that you think,

00:55:50   "Oh, well, we didn't really know whether that thing

00:55:52   was gonna work or not, you know,

00:55:54   who knew that this unlikely thing would happen."

00:55:56   The App Store is not one of those things.

00:55:58   It was very clear, like the moment we saw the iPhone,

00:56:00   we're like, "Oh yeah, this is huge."

00:56:03   And the moment, you know, we started thinking

00:56:04   about the App Store, it's like, "No, it's gonna be gigantic."

00:56:06   And it turned out, like there was no doubt.

00:56:08   It was so clear, all the, you could argue

00:56:11   that the entire arc of the computer industry

00:56:14   and the software industry was leading to that moment

00:56:16   where it's like, "Oh, we got all the pieces now,

00:56:18   we can just, this can happen,

00:56:19   and we can all have a computer in our pockets

00:56:22   and buy software by tapping a couple of buttons

00:56:24   and install it automatically wirelessly.

00:56:26   Like all the pieces finally lined up

00:56:29   and it was very clear from the beginning

00:56:31   it was gonna be enormous.

00:56:33   - Yeah, in hindsight, I'm almost as excited

00:56:36   thinking back to the origins of the iPhone SDK

00:56:41   and those pre-SDK jailbreak apps as I am,

00:56:46   as I was earlier in the year,

00:56:49   just thinking back to the 10-year anniversary

00:56:51   of the iPhone itself.

00:56:52   Like, and in 10 years, they kind of blur together,

00:56:57   and it's so, most people, I mean,

00:56:59   I don't know how many iPhones they sold that first year,

00:57:01   but very few people had an iPhone

00:57:06   without the iPhone SDK and without the App Store, right?

00:57:09   I mean, it's a very, very small number of us,

00:57:12   percentage-wise, maybe not listeners of the show,

00:57:14   but certainly of all the people on the planet today

00:57:17   with an iPhone who had an iPhone in 2007 or early 2008

00:57:22   before the App Store, that's a very small number.

00:57:25   And even for us, it kind of blurs together.

00:57:28   It's kind of hard to remember that year,

00:57:29   but Craig bringing it back really just reminded me

00:57:33   how exciting it was.

00:57:34   It really did sort of epitomize everything Apple stands for,

00:57:39   which is, or at least what I think it stands for,

00:57:41   is making the best hardware for consumers,

00:57:45   but also encouraging technically-minded users

00:57:50   to make great things for it, right?

00:57:54   And it goes hand in hand, or with it, you know?

00:57:56   So maybe the great thing you're making with it

00:57:58   isn't an app, but it's, you're an illustrator,

00:58:02   and all of a sudden, you can do your illustrations

00:58:05   in Adobe Illustrator, and they're vector,

00:58:08   and they can scale to these insane sizes,

00:58:11   and you can make complex illustrations

00:58:14   that you never could have

00:58:15   with traditional pre-computer tools.

00:58:18   Also, all the things like that,

00:58:20   the way that you can just be creative and make things.

00:58:23   And the iPhone really epitomized that.

00:58:26   All right, maybe I'll take another break right now.

00:58:30   It seems like a good time.

00:58:31   Seems like a nice interruption in the show.

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01:02:05   Yeah, you know what and they seem like the sort of sponsor who in my opinion should do a lot of podcast sponsor advertising

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01:02:22   So I have a piece as we record I haven't published it yet

01:02:26   hopefully by the time the show comes out, it'll be out. It may not be because the older I get,

01:02:32   the less sure I am about when I'll be done with a piece that isn't truly in checking for typos,

01:02:41   copy editing. But I want to write about Apple in China, and I've been relatively

01:02:47   quiet about this because I wanted to think about it. But the news is that

01:02:55   For Chinese-based iCloud users, it's either happened already or is in the process of happening

01:03:03   this month. So close enough. It's happening right now. Apple is transferring their iCloud

01:03:10   accounts from Apple's own Apple-owned iCloud data centers to data centers in mainland China that are

01:03:19   owned by a Chinese company that Apple has contracted to run the data centers for iCloud

01:03:27   users in China.

01:03:31   And the reason for this is that China has passed a law that says that online services

01:03:37   like this that serve customers in China have to have to have their servers on Chinese soil.

01:03:43   I'm not a lawyer.

01:03:44   I don't really think this makes that big a difference.

01:03:47   I think that companies like Apple could comply with this law by opening Apple-owned data

01:03:54   centers in China. It's just that they have to be on Chinese soil and are subject to Chinese

01:03:59   law. Like, I think one way to comply would be for Apple to own and create and operate

01:04:06   data centers within China. The way that these companies—

01:04:10   I think some Chinese regulations are specifically like a Western company can't own, like, own

01:04:16   a whole thing in China, they have to be an investor in a locally owned. So it may be

01:04:20   that there's also an ownership issue there.

01:04:22   Right. All right. So maybe 100% Apple owned wouldn't be possible. But anyway, it has to

01:04:27   be partially Chinese owned. And so Apple is doing this, Microsoft is doing this with their

01:04:32   Azure services. Amazon's doing it with the Amazon web services. Google, I guess, is not

01:04:41   because Google has effectively, as of several years ago, effectively pulled out of China.

01:04:48   And is this a good thing? No. It is clearly, I think, the world where—because the company

01:04:58   that Apple's contracting with in China is at least partially state-owned. Who knows?

01:05:08   I've read a lot of articles about it, and it's really—nobody seems to know, and

01:05:13   I don't know that there is a way to know.

01:05:16   But effectively, I think that the before and after is that the iCloud data of Chinese users

01:05:25   is now more susceptible to being searched by Chinese government authorities than it

01:05:33   was before when it was stored outside China on Apple-owned data centers.

01:05:37   that's not a good thing. And people are upset about this. So what should Apple do? The thing

01:05:49   that I want to address is that it seems to me that an awful lot of the people who care

01:05:53   about this seem to think that what Apple should have done instead of complying is they should

01:06:01   have not complied and just kept things the way they were with Chinese users' iCloud

01:06:08   data on Apple's own servers outside China. Which sounds good, but is—not to be offensive

01:06:16   to those of you who think that's what Apple should do—is incredibly facile. You haven't

01:06:23   thought this through all the way if you think that that's on the table, because it's

01:06:28   If Apple tried that, their iCloud services would be cut off by the government.

01:06:36   Yeah, a new Chinese law that says you have to do this is not one of these things that's like really open to interpretation.

01:06:46   And presumably, given how big Apple is in China and how many things Apple is doing in China,

01:06:52   doing in China, including they've got offices there and centers there, and obviously they

01:06:57   sell retail, and then they sell a lot of phones there. There's so many ways that Apple is

01:07:02   invested in China. There's no way that they don't have a very clear line of communication

01:07:07   with the Chinese government. And when a law passes that says you have to do this, they

01:07:12   know that means they have to do it. There's no wiggle room. There's no appeal to a different

01:07:19   authority like this. It's a done deal when the law happens because the Chinese government

01:07:24   controls the whole process. And so they obviously they just said to Apple, we're going to have

01:07:30   to run your servers for you. Like that was the deal. And it's the thing that people point

01:07:38   out and it is a good thing to compare it to. But the conclusion is far from clear is people

01:07:46   say, "Well, how come in America last year,

01:07:50   when in that San Bernardino mass shooting,

01:07:55   when the law enforcement had an iPhone

01:08:00   owned by one of the perpetrators,

01:08:04   and it was locked, and they wanted Apple to unlock it?"

01:08:07   Apple said, "We can't unlock it."

01:08:12   And they said, "Well, we want you to create

01:08:14   new version of iOS where we can circumvent the lock and then install that version of

01:08:20   iOS that circumvents it on this iPhone. So then we can get the phone, which is a subtle

01:08:26   difference from unlock it. It's technically the version of iOS that Apple made and designed

01:08:31   could not merely be unlocked. There is no secret key that Apple holds that would unlock

01:08:37   a phone, which is a good thing. And I don't know if we could spend two hours just talking

01:08:42   about why that is. But the more relevant thing is that Apple stood up to these claims in

01:08:50   a very public manner, and they weren't thumbing their nose at U.S. law enforcement. In my

01:08:55   opinion, they were incredibly respectful, but they were also very adamant about what

01:09:01   that they weren't going to come, they weren't going to do it, and why they don't think that

01:09:07   there should be laws passed that would force them to do it. And they did this in a very

01:09:11   public manner and obviously made no such public fuss regarding this change in China.

01:09:20   So that's taken by some as proof that Apple cares about American users in a way that they

01:09:25   don't care about their Chinese users.

01:09:28   And I would argue—I can't disprove that—but I would argue that the difference is entirely

01:09:33   not about Apple's take on Americans or North Americans versus Chinese users, but it's

01:09:40   about the differences between the United States government and the Chinese government. The

01:09:45   United States government has some problems, has a lot of problems. I would say it has

01:09:50   more problems than it did about 18 months ago. But it is still a representative democracy

01:09:58   with a history of individual civil liberties and a legal system where everybody from individuals

01:10:07   from corporations gets their day in court and can fight things legally and has freedom

01:10:13   of speech and can talk about things publicly. China has none of those things. They're an

01:10:18   authoritative communist, effectively, dictatorship, and it's actually taken a turn more towards

01:10:24   dictatorship just in recent weeks because President Xi Jinping has apparently gotten

01:10:31   them. I don't think they've actually made this official, but they are going to change

01:10:35   their constitution so that he can remain president as long as he wants, which could be for life.

01:10:44   There is no way for Apple to legally make a big public stink about this in China. And

01:10:50   it's also a different culture where Apple making a stink about it in the Western media,

01:11:01   I guess, couldn't be ruled illegal in China?

01:11:04   Like, you can't break a Chinese law

01:11:06   by having Tim Cook go on 60 Minutes

01:11:10   and berate the Chinese government for passing this law.

01:11:14   But you're being deeply, deeply, profoundly naive

01:11:21   if you think there wouldn't be

01:11:23   significant repercussions of that.

01:11:25   I mean, I don't even know what that would be.

01:11:27   - Yeah, no, I mean, this is, I think it's,

01:11:29   people either don't understand

01:11:30   are just being disingenuous when they suggest, if they do suggest that in China, oh, well,

01:11:36   you could appeal to the courts and maybe the legislature and it's like, no, that's not

01:11:42   how it's one thing like the decision is made. It's like you said, it's an authoritarian,

01:11:48   it's a one party rule. It's essentially a dictatorship. It is, this is what Apple has

01:11:53   been told they need to do just like Microsoft and Amazon and everybody else. And so in the

01:11:58   the end, what is Apple's real choice here, right? Like, Apple's real choice is either

01:12:03   do it or leave China, basically, or like turn off iCloud in China, which is going to which

01:12:11   would be like kind of break all sorts of features of iOS. I think I think they might do that.

01:12:17   But then then, you know, who knows what that's going to mean for their relationship with

01:12:21   the Chinese government who might not appreciate Apple breaking their products in order to

01:12:26   to avoid complying with this law.

01:12:30   - Here's a statement that Apple gave.

01:12:33   I saw the same statement in a couple of news articles.

01:12:38   It's only attributed to the company.

01:12:40   There's a direct quote.

01:12:43   "While we advocated against iCloud

01:12:45   being subject to these laws,

01:12:46   we were ultimately unsuccessful," Apple said.

01:12:50   That's the only thing that's actually quoted.

01:12:53   I don't know that the statement,

01:12:55   I don't know if there was more that wasn't quoted or what,

01:12:57   but then the rest of the news of Reuters article.

01:12:59   Apple said it decided it was better to offer iCloud

01:13:03   under the new system because discontinuing it

01:13:05   would lead to a bad user experience

01:13:07   and ultimately actually lead to less data privacy

01:13:10   and security for its Chinese customers.

01:13:13   And that's the point that I think is being overlooked.

01:13:17   -Yeah, let's not forget that because of Apple's

01:13:20   various philosophies about how data is transmitted,

01:13:24   much of what goes through iCloud is encrypted

01:13:29   in transit and on the server.

01:13:30   So like the idea here is Apple has built iCloud

01:13:34   so that if Apple wants to look at your data on the server,

01:13:37   it can't see it without, you know,

01:13:40   it's just encrypted and resides on the server.

01:13:44   So they've tried to build this system.

01:13:47   You could argue they've tried to build this system

01:13:49   so that Apple nor any government that might force Apple to spy on your data, they can't.

01:14:00   They can't do it. It's not made to work that way. And that benefits them in China. Now,

01:14:06   I think the next question is, at what point if the Chinese government said, "You need

01:14:12   to modify your software so that cloud data is not encrypted." They could also do that

01:14:16   in America, by the way, that was one of the questions about the San Bernardino cases.

01:14:20   You know, the American government could pass laws saying no more end to end encryption

01:14:25   that we can't break. And if they did that, you know, guess what? Apple would follow the

01:14:29   law because they're not going to not do business in the world. They have to do that. They would

01:14:35   fight against it. But ultimately, if that was the law, they would have to follow it.

01:14:39   That is a question I think I have about China is if the point of this is really just to

01:14:42   control this data because they really want to look in it, the next step is going to be

01:14:46   to tell Apple that they can't encrypt data on servers in China. And then that's, to me,

01:14:52   that's a bigger question for Apple because now you're changing your software to be less

01:14:56   secure in certain parts of the world. And that, you know, that may be when you walk

01:15:03   away and say, well, we can't have our customers have their data be unencrypted on the server.

01:15:08   but right now it is, except for like iCloud email.

01:15:12   - Yeah, and the US has passed laws like that.

01:15:17   I mean, unfortunately, truly unfortunately,

01:15:21   the US lawmakers really seemed deeply

01:15:24   and profoundly ignorant about the encryption

01:15:28   and don't seem to, probably everybody in any field

01:15:33   feels the US law, or all lawmakers around the world

01:15:36   are deeply ignorant of whatever fields they are,

01:15:38   but it seems to me like particularly so with encryption.

01:15:41   I'm not good at it, and I was like one degree,

01:15:48   one class short of a math minor in college.

01:15:52   I mean, I'm pretty good at math,

01:15:54   and I'm pretty good with computers,

01:15:55   and I get lost in it, but I have a basic idea.

01:15:59   But I remember there had been some bad laws in the US.

01:16:01   I mean, there was, remember the DCSS thing?

01:16:06   It was like there was a simple algorithm

01:16:08   that would descramble DVDs.

01:16:11   And it leaked.

01:16:13   And it was ruled illegal to use it,

01:16:16   even though it's just an algorithm.

01:16:18   But it was short enough that you could print the whole algorithm

01:16:21   on a t-shirt.

01:16:21   And is this t-shirt illegal?

01:16:25   Because it contains code that if you translated it

01:16:29   into machine form, would descramble a DVD?

01:16:32   I mean, it's absurd.

01:16:34   And in my opinion-- not a lawyer, but in my opinion--

01:16:38   violation of the First Amendment of free speech that, you know, if you can express an algorithm,

01:16:42   you know, the algorithm should be free speech. But there were also laws on the strength of

01:16:48   encryption. You know, again, going back to the 90s, that was like a very 90s thing. And it was

01:16:52   like the you could only export computers and software that had really weak encryption. And so

01:16:58   if you wanted to have software that was sold around the world, it, you know, there were limits

01:17:02   on how strong you can make the encryption. And whatever limits you place on encryption today,

01:17:07   they're weaker as time goes on and computers get more powerful. What might take an hour to

01:17:12   crack today might take a minute in a couple of years. It's all very complicated. But

01:17:19   ultimately, and so we're not out of the woods. Point being, we're not out of the woods here in

01:17:26   the US and in the rest of the West as well. But China is obviously a place where you could expect

01:17:33   that to be clamped down. I think the question of what would Apple do if China demanded a back door

01:17:38   into every phone sold in China is a far more fascinating and interesting question than the

01:17:44   one we're dealing with here with the data centers. I don't think Apple took this lightly at all.

01:17:50   I think that this statement that they advocated against it, I would believe that they advocated

01:17:59   against it as strenuously as they felt they could at the very highest levels they felt they could

01:18:05   reach. I really do. But in China, that sort of thing takes place behind the scenes. And I think

01:18:12   the most you're going to get out of what that was publicly is a statement as,

01:18:17   what would you call it, anodyne, as while we advocated against it. Publicly, that's the most

01:18:25   you can get away with without angering your counterparts in China. And let's face it,

01:18:32   let's address the elephant in the room, which is that there's an enormous sum of money involved.

01:18:38   It's almost unimaginable how much sum of money. I think right now I looked it up and it's actually

01:18:43   fluctuated quite a bit over recent years because there was a while where iPhones weren't really

01:18:49   available and then they were and they were super popular. And then about two years ago,

01:18:53   So what was it, like around the 6S and the 7 didn't seem to sell as well in China.

01:19:02   The iPhone 6 did incredibly well because all of the Asian countries, the really big phablet-sized

01:19:08   phones seem to do better than they do everywhere else.

01:19:13   And Apple was famously late to the bigger than 4-inch phone market, so combining that

01:19:20   they hadn't had a big phone before and they're very popular in Asia. The iPhone 6 was hugely

01:19:27   popular and then it dipped in popularity and people think it might be because in China

01:19:31   people were more sensitive to the appearance of the phone and they didn't want to buy a

01:19:36   new iPhone 7 that just looked like an iPhone 6. That sort of sentiment obviously exists

01:19:43   everywhere but it might be stronger in China. Anyway, it's dipped, it's gone up and down

01:19:48   but it's been roughly like eight to 12% of Apple's revenue.

01:19:52   I think those were the numbers I had.

01:19:53   - It's, they're averaging somewhere between 11 and 15.

01:19:57   - 11 and 15. - Billion a quarter,

01:19:59   a billion dollars a quarter, percentage aside,

01:20:02   I mean, it's a huge percentage, but it's also, yeah,

01:20:04   if you think about that somewhere,

01:20:06   even if we say between 11 and 15 billion,

01:20:08   that's a $50 billion a year chunk of money

01:20:11   that comes from China.

01:20:12   - And, you know, let's face it, that's a lot of money.

01:20:15   - It's a lot of money.

01:20:16   And so that's, I mean, I think that would be the question.

01:20:18   - It's enough money to get the,

01:20:19   it's enough money to draw the very steady attention

01:20:23   of the most profitable country in the world,

01:20:25   a company in the world, right?

01:20:26   I mean- - Yeah.

01:20:27   And Tim Cook talks about a lot

01:20:29   about how he's bullish on China

01:20:30   and he thinks in the long run

01:20:31   it will be Apple's biggest market, right?

01:20:33   So, and the idea that there is a middle class,

01:20:36   in the next 15, 20 years,

01:20:39   there will be a middle class in China

01:20:41   the size of the entire population of the United States,

01:20:43   right? - Right.

01:20:44   And that's Apple's opportunity in China,

01:20:47   is to reach those people.

01:20:48   And so, I don't think that Apple will do anything

01:20:53   it can to stay in China.

01:20:55   I think there are limits.

01:20:56   And I do think, I actually do think that at least for now,

01:21:00   the Chinese government is aware of that.

01:21:03   And I don't think they have all the leverage here, right?

01:21:05   Like I think the Chinese government wants to push

01:21:07   as far as they can all the time,

01:21:09   but at the same time, I think they like having Apple.

01:21:11   It adds that cache that Apple is in their country

01:21:15   and is participating in their economy

01:21:17   and is bringing these goods in that people like,

01:21:20   or in this case, making them there

01:21:21   and then shipping them inside China and all of that.

01:21:25   But you get my point here.

01:21:26   I do think there is a point where Apple would walk away.

01:21:30   But it would be an interesting thought exercise to say,

01:21:32   what would that be?

01:21:33   Would it be you have to unencrypt all the data

01:21:35   in the cloud so we can see everything

01:21:37   that's on every device of every iPhone in China?

01:21:39   Would that be enough to make Apple walk away?

01:21:41   I don't know, would software changes

01:21:44   that only occur in China,

01:21:45   I mean, Apple already adds support

01:21:47   for like social media stuff that's inside China,

01:21:51   special built into iOS and macOS

01:21:54   because those services don't exist outside

01:21:56   and they were created as Chinese alternatives

01:21:59   to what's in the rest of the world.

01:22:00   Like how far would they push Apple

01:22:02   before Apple would say, you know what,

01:22:04   we can't, we're gonna walk away from $50 billion a year.

01:22:07   - Yeah, I don't know.

01:22:09   And who knows, it could be $75 billion a year

01:22:11   by the time it happens, right?

01:22:13   I mean, I-- - Well, I think Tim Cook

01:22:14   believes that it'll be $150 billion a year

01:22:16   in the next 15 years, right?

01:22:18   And so it's a lot to walk away from,

01:22:20   but I do, everybody has their price, I suppose,

01:22:22   but I do believe there would be a line

01:22:24   where Apple would be like, "We can't go there."

01:22:27   And I'm not sure China wants that either.

01:22:30   I think China, like, I don't know.

01:22:33   I don't pretend to know

01:22:34   what the Chinese government wants anywhere,

01:22:36   but it would seem to me like there is some value

01:22:38   in Apple being in China for China as well.

01:22:42   And I do think there is a moment where Apple would walk away.

01:22:44   I'd like to believe that anyway.

01:22:46   - I get the impression, and I could be wrong,

01:22:48   but I think it's, and you have to be worried

01:22:50   about all these surveillance and civil rights

01:22:54   and search and seizure in all countries.

01:22:57   But I get the feeling that here in the US,

01:23:00   what the government and through really law enforcement

01:23:04   is most interested in is epitomized

01:23:07   by the San Bernardino case,

01:23:09   which is what they want is for when a crime happens

01:23:13   and they get a phone off a suspect,

01:23:17   they wanna take that phone and plug it into a thing

01:23:20   and see everything on the phone,

01:23:21   and to collect evidence and your location and photos

01:23:26   and your texts and your emails.

01:23:28   And for a very long time,

01:23:32   I don't know if you remember this,

01:23:34   you mean, but there weren't such things as cell phones.

01:23:38   - What? - Yeah.

01:23:41   And there weren't such things as digital cameras.

01:23:44   And police, when they had a suspect,

01:23:48   would collect whatever,

01:23:48   would just collect whatever evidence they could,

01:23:51   and then they would use that to build their case.

01:23:53   And then there was a time when there were cell phones,

01:23:56   and the cell phones had no encryption whatsoever,

01:23:59   and you could just plug any cable into them

01:24:02   and plug them into any computer and see all sorts of things.

01:24:08   And now-- and the police really like that.

01:24:12   And now most phones are encrypted.

01:24:15   And when you plug them into a new computer,

01:24:17   you've got to be able to circumvent--

01:24:19   you either have to find a flaw in the OS,

01:24:21   or you need to compel the suspect to hand over

01:24:26   the passcode to open their phone.

01:24:28   And there's no mathematical way around it.

01:24:30   Again, you can find a bug in the OS that would let you get around it.

01:24:34   And apparently there's one of those recently in iOS that is,

01:24:38   it's almost beside the point here.

01:24:39   But there's a recent one, there's a couple of reports that some Israeli

01:24:44   security company is selling law enforcement a workaround,

01:24:48   the passcode entry limit on iOS.

01:24:50   So that you can take a confiscated iPhone, put it up to a machine, and

01:24:54   it'll start trying numeric passcodes.

01:24:58   And it's not known what the workaround is,

01:25:01   but they found a way around the limits

01:25:02   that Apple places on that.

01:25:05   I don't know.

01:25:06   We don't know details.

01:25:07   But anyway, either a bug in the OS

01:25:08   or get the user's passcode from them.

01:25:11   To me, what I think the US is mostly

01:25:16   interested in in the bad legislation that

01:25:19   is most likely to pass.

01:25:20   China, on the other hand, is building a surveillance state.

01:25:24   And you can certainly make the case

01:25:26   the U.S. post-9/11 and the Western Europe has built up too much of a surveillance state over

01:25:33   regular citizens. But China is building a truly dystopian sci-fi horror futuristic

01:25:42   surveillance state with cameras and facial recognition and every bit of technology you

01:25:48   can imagine. And so I would imagine that in China, the thing that would be the most dangerous would

01:25:51   would be some kind of legislation about encrypted communication and that they would just want

01:25:56   everything unencrypted so they can, you know, their version of the NSA can just suck it

01:26:01   all in.

01:26:02   Yeah, it's, it's, um, I mean, again, this is why I like Apple's policies about encryption,

01:26:09   but they could make encryption illegal again and they could try that. And the only recourse

01:26:15   there would be to for everybody to get upset and put pressure on the politicians to not

01:26:22   allow those laws to pass. I think we talked about this, I think on this show when the

01:26:26   Santa Barbara thing happened that law enforcement's job is to do as much as possible. It's not

01:26:32   their job to be restrained and they're not restrained and that's fine because it's the

01:26:35   court's job and it is the law's job to limit what the police can do and that's just how

01:26:44   it's supposed to work. So I don't really, I don't want to complain about the FBI saying

01:26:49   we want everything from Apple. I want a judge to look at laws passed by Congress and say,

01:26:56   "Mm-mm, you know, you can go this far but no further." That's the right balance there.

01:27:01   And in the U.S., hopefully, you know, we can have some of that. And in China, they've got

01:27:06   none of that. It is a scary prospect, the idea that the next stage here is for China

01:27:11   to say, "Okay, now you need to not encrypt anything." And that's the point where I start

01:27:17   to say I can see the argument for Apple to walk away. But I don't think we're there yet.

01:27:21   And I think that to your point, Apple walking away makes a worse experience for iPhone users

01:27:27   in China. Apple staying in China, iPhone users in China get to use Apple products and they

01:27:32   get to use iCloud with their data end-to-end encrypted. And that's all good. Like that's

01:27:37   good for Chinese Apple users, even though it prevents the people. I think the people

01:27:43   who, you know, people, the people want Apple to make a big political statement and say,

01:27:48   "No, China is bad. We're out of China." And Apple has been very pragmatic about it since

01:27:52   the beginning, which is it's better for us to be there than not. And as long as that's

01:27:56   the case, I think they'll stay. And yeah, it is very profitable. There's no doubt about

01:28:00   it, but I would hope anyway that they would, there would be some moment when they would

01:28:03   be like, "We will go this far, but no farther."

01:28:06   I think the only three options that they have, the only three realistic options in broad strokes would be to do what they're doing, which is continue selling their products and their services and host them in Chinese owned data centers.

01:28:19   B, continue to sell their products, but no longer offer any iCloud services to Chinese users.

01:28:29   And I don't know, like, do you know, like, I always say iCloud, iCloud, iCloud, but does

01:28:34   this affect iTunes as well?

01:28:36   Like is the App Store hosted in this?

01:28:39   I haven't found an answer to that.

01:28:42   Yeah, that I don't know.

01:28:44   That's an interesting question.

01:28:45   But if it were, we know that they're subject to the laws, right?

01:28:49   Because they removed the VPN apps from the Chinese App Store because legally they were

01:28:54   told they need to do that, that it was against the law to have them there.

01:28:57   whether I'd imagine that it is. I imagine those have to be on their servers in China

01:29:02   too, but it's covered by the law regardless.

01:29:05   Apple has a fact about this and it's very interesting to me. Here's the whole thing.

01:29:11   I'm going to read the whole thing. "Apple services in the mainland of China are now

01:29:14   operated by Chinese Internet Services Company." I'm going to do a terrible job at this. "Gu

01:29:20   on the Cloud Big Data Industrial Development Company Limited, which is a very Chinese sounding

01:29:28   name. The Cloud Big Data Industrial Development Company Limited. This allows us to continue to

01:29:35   improve iCloud services in China and comply with Chinese regulations. iCloud services and all the

01:29:40   data you store with iCloud, including photos, videos, documents, and backups, will be subject

01:29:44   to the new terms and conditions of iCloud operated by GCBD. If you are not a Chinese citizen residing

01:29:52   in the mainland of China, you can, and this is a link, edit the country or region setting of your

01:29:59   Apple ID to reflect your current country or region and continue using iCloud under Apple's terms and

01:30:05   conditions. I believe that that means like, so if you and I went to China for a while, or you know,

01:30:12   like Apple employees who were there for months at a time, you know, working in the supply

01:30:16   chain that just because they're in China, because they're not Chinese citizens, they're

01:30:23   not subject to this and they can edit the country. And I'm guessing that editing the

01:30:26   country has probably limited by like where your payment source is coming from. Like,

01:30:31   I don't think it means that anybody in China can, this is a giant loophole where any Chinese

01:30:36   citizen can just claim to be from another country.

01:30:40   be in Hong Kong instead and right just yeah but it doesn't say anything about the app

01:30:45   store I don't know but if it did then this is a region I don't know so that's a side

01:30:49   point Taiwan but I there's the I wonder what the Hong Kong users use GCBD or do they get

01:30:57   a separate thing because the Hong Kong laws are a little bit different and then yeah this

01:31:02   point stands if I'm in mainland China do I say no no I'm in Taiwan yeah that's it and

01:31:06   just keep on using that or not? I don't know. Probably not. Probably you can't get on the

01:31:14   internet if you don't say you're in China when you're in China. I don't know.

01:31:18   I don't know. But if it means software updates have to come from these services too, then

01:31:23   it would effectively mean they can't not comply because they can't sell iPhones and not be

01:31:26   able to ship software updates. I don't know what the answer to that is. But that is the

01:31:31   other option. But I don't think that's tenable. I don't really... I feel like there's too

01:31:35   many of these features that are the core part of it. HomePod literally can't work without

01:31:41   a connection to iCloud to talk to Siri. There's no way to talk to it. I mean, I guess you could

01:31:50   use it as an AirPlay speaker, but who's going to buy the HomePod as an AirPlay speaker when the

01:31:56   main interface doesn't work? So I just don't think it's tenable. I don't even think it's worth

01:32:01   spending the time on the show to say why.

01:32:03   I feel like this iCloud services are too central

01:32:06   to most consumers' use of Apple products,

01:32:10   particularly the iPhone.

01:32:11   I mean, sure, in an industrial setting,

01:32:14   there's all sorts of ways you could use a Mac

01:32:16   or that you might even want to use a Mac

01:32:18   without any kind of iCloud stuff set up on it.

01:32:21   But let's face it, we're talking about the iPhone here.

01:32:25   And so the third option would be to stop selling

01:32:29   the iPhone in China.

01:32:30   and obviously that would be a huge hit financially to Apple.

01:32:33   And I think at this point, I honestly think it's,

01:32:35   I think it's questionable whether Apple could do that,

01:32:38   and they could obviously do it legally,

01:32:40   but I feel like in terms of would investors allow that?

01:32:45   I mean, I honestly think it could cost Tim Cook his job

01:32:49   if this was the line he was willing to draw.

01:32:52   And I am not melodramatic about such things.

01:32:55   I don't call, you know,

01:32:56   I wouldn't call for him to be fired over it,

01:32:58   but would investors be so outraged

01:33:03   that they would force him out?

01:33:06   Would the board allow it?

01:33:09   I don't know.

01:33:09   - I'm unclear on,

01:33:12   'cause I think this is another interesting

01:33:14   intellectual exercise,

01:33:15   which is I'm unclear on what Tim Cook would have to do

01:33:17   to get fired.

01:33:18   Like, is choosing human rights over the Chinese market

01:33:23   something that would be a look

01:33:25   that the board of directors and investors in Apple

01:33:29   would want to say, "No, no, no, we want ruthless approach.

01:33:33   It does not matter what happens in China.

01:33:35   We want their money, and that's all that matters to us."

01:33:38   Would they do that or not?

01:33:42   I'm not sure that they could get away with doing that,

01:33:45   but it is a question of, like, what would it take?

01:33:48   If Tim Cook was like, "We're gonna not even sell

01:33:50   the iPhone anymore," or whatever,

01:33:52   at what point are they like, "No, no, no, no.

01:33:53   okay, you need to go now. I'm not sure, given Apple's corporate philosophy, I don't think

01:34:04   that a decision to, it's gotten so bad inside China that we just have to leave and we're

01:34:08   regretful and we hope to come back someday, but you know, we respect our customers in

01:34:13   China and so we're pulling out. Ah boy, that would be really hard to fire him over that,

01:34:18   right? So I'm not sure that, it would be a tough business decision though for sure, because

01:34:22   would be kissing off hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

01:34:25   And future growth. It's no joke. Would it cost him his job? I am absolutely unwilling

01:34:33   to say that. I almost want to say no, probably not, but it could. I think it's unpredictable.

01:34:38   I don't think anybody could predict the repercussions of this. Somebody who knows the board could

01:34:45   give us the answer. Somebody who's on the board, Al Gore, hit me up. Al Gore could give

01:34:53   us an answer and say whether the board would allow it. Who knows if they've talked about

01:34:57   it, right? It seems to me like the sort of thing that the board would talk about in great

01:35:03   detail. What would shareholders do? And shareholders can't just barge in and fire Tim Cook, but

01:35:12   shareholders can dump their Apple stock. And if Apple loses massive amounts of market cap

01:35:18   in the aftermath of this, it could force the board's hand. I'm just saying it's unpredictable.

01:35:24   And then the other factor, the X factor in this is what would the Chinese government

01:35:27   do to Apple if Apple were to do something like that, to make a big show of pulling out

01:35:35   of China, the consumer market, or of going into the Western press and berating the Chinese

01:35:41   government over this, which is another thing that I think the idealists would like to see

01:35:46   Tim Cook do to prove that he cares and that he's not a hypocrite who's only interested

01:35:51   in the money. Because Apple cannot, they cannot pull out of China completely. They're manufacturing

01:36:00   an assembly cannot take place at the scale they need to take it to take place at. And

01:36:07   I think I'm not an expert on it, but I don't even think even vaguely close to the scale

01:36:12   There is no there is no plan B if Apple isn't manufacturing in

01:36:17   Shenzhen

01:36:19   And at Foxconn, there's no other place in the world through

01:36:22   You know again, this could be a great two-hour conversation with Jeff Williams about the unique aspects of

01:36:29   You know China for the supply chain, but there is nowhere else. There's nowhere else where you can make 70 million

01:36:37   million iPhones in a quarter. Can't happen. Not even close. I don't even know if Apple

01:36:42   had to make iPhones, even if they were given a two year head start. And that two years

01:36:48   from now the iPhone would have to be entirely would never have could never set foot on Chinese

01:36:52   soil. I don't even know what the most iPhones they can make a quarter is but it would be

01:36:58   a fraction tiny fraction of what they sell now. It would crater the company. Yeah, I

01:37:03   I agree.

01:37:04   - You could argue, and again, this sounds like her hyperbole,

01:37:08   but I actually think it's true,

01:37:10   is that the most powerful person in the world

01:37:13   when it comes to Apple's fate might be Xi Zhenpeng,

01:37:18   that the Chinese could, if they chose,

01:37:21   and I don't think they would,

01:37:22   I think that they're looking to engage more with the West

01:37:25   and their economic success over the last few decades

01:37:28   is all about that.

01:37:29   I mean, the last thing I wanna look at

01:37:30   look like is a crazy, you know, crazy place where Western businesses can't trust them.

01:37:35   Right, the long, the long game might be to build up their own internal capabilities so

01:37:41   that they're so powerful that they can start to dictate what they sell in the rest of the

01:37:46   world and they take over. But today, this is one of those places where Apple has leverage.

01:37:50   It's today, if the perception was that no out, no non-Chinese tech company could build

01:37:58   their products in China anymore. It would be brutal and it would take time, but the

01:38:05   tech industry could abandon China if China pushed it too far, and that would be devastating

01:38:11   for the Chinese economy. Because the Chinese economy, we think about how huge it is in

01:38:16   terms of the people who are in China, but the Chinese economy is still in development.

01:38:23   And if you turn away all of that foreign investment in manufacturing and all of those things and

01:38:29   make it an unpleasant place to be, then that would really hurt China. So that's what those

01:38:35   who are not Chinese have going in terms of leverage with the Chinese government. If they

01:38:40   kicked Apple out, would all of the tech companies probably be like, "Okay, we need to start

01:38:45   pulling out of China or hedging our bets," and that would be bad for China. So they probably

01:38:49   wouldn't do that, but you know, I don't know the delicate repercussions, ramifications of Apple

01:38:55   having a bad relationship with the Chinese government in terms of, you know, their manufacturing

01:38:59   costs and getting approval for new plants and all of those things. It might be brutal.

01:39:04   Yeah, it's like the trade war equivalent of mutually assured destruction. Like you can do it.

01:39:11   Trade wars are easy. I'm assured they're easy to win.

01:39:17   Easy to win. You know, while we've been on the air, Gary Cohn has resigned.

01:39:21   Yeah, well, it's, you know, it's infrastructure week. It's fine.

01:39:25   It is hard to get through a two-hour podcast without at least one senior Trump administration

01:39:32   official resigning while you're in Skype. You know, we do upgrade on Monday mornings. I do

01:39:40   that with Mike Harley, and it never fails that Apple releases a beta or there's a Mark Herman

01:39:46   report or there's always something that happens during that and like I guess at this time

01:39:51   uh we get a resignation it's time the resignation clock went off yeah must be this Tuesday afternoon

01:39:57   must be a resignation so I was gonna say to the question of a few minutes ago of whether Hong Kong

01:40:02   is is is part of this uh and I said you know what we need to ask is a friend of the show Ben Thompson

01:40:07   who because he lives in in Taipei is intimately familiar with this uh and literally while I was

01:40:14   thinking it, he texted me. And so I've quick, I fight well while you're here.

01:40:19   Jared Ranerel That's real time follow up.

01:40:21   Jon Moffitt Yeah, it is outside. Beijing controls it. And

01:40:25   it's very, I knew this. It's, you know, it was a hand handed over from British control to

01:40:32   Beijing control 1997. But they're outside the Great Firewall. And they still have their own

01:40:37   immigration or own passwords. And so it is not-

01:40:40   So they're part of Greater China from an Apple perspective, not mainland China.

01:40:44   Right. That is the thing I sometimes conflate is what is officially mainland. And it is kind

01:40:49   of common sense because if you have to cross some of the Pacific Ocean to get there—

01:40:52   It's an island.

01:40:53   Yeah, it's not the mainland. So if you have to cross the ocean, you're outside mainland China.

01:40:57   Hong Kong, it's close though, right? Hong Kong is like a peninsula?

01:41:03   Anyway, my geography is bad.

01:41:07   It's not subject but Hong Kong iCloud users. It's got hit special. It's special status

01:41:13   What were we talking about just before that before Ben Thompson interrupted the show so rudely, I don't know

01:41:20   at my request

01:41:23   Anyway, it's complicated I

01:41:27   Guess we were talking supply chain stuff

01:41:30   Yeah, and theory Apple could move it outside, but it would be years long. It would be a

01:41:36   disruption to end all disruptions. I don't think that's in China's interest either. But

01:41:42   in small ways, China, if Apple decided to be to violate what they would consider the decorum,

01:41:52   I don't know what you want to say. There are ways that they could make Apple's life slightly more

01:41:56   uncomfortable. Like I don't think they would do it. If Apple played hardball, they would make they

01:42:01   would turn up the heat on Apple and it would be an Apple's got enough stakes in China that it would

01:42:05   would be uncomfortable. And so Apple, you know, they both both sides have leverage.

01:42:10   And I think there's probably a lot of conversation and negotiation that goes on behind the scenes.

01:42:17   And then we probably don't see almost any of that.

01:42:22   There was a story in 2014. Release of iPhone 6 delayed in China. Apple is facing a potential

01:42:30   setback in China, one of its biggest and fastest growing markets after the much anticipated

01:42:33   introductions here of the new iPhone models were delayed. On Wednesday, Apple told China's

01:42:38   – this was a dateline September 10, so probably like the day after the announcement. On Wednesday,

01:42:45   Apple told China's three big state-owned mobile service providers that it would not

01:42:49   release the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on mainland China on September 19, when sales start elsewhere.

01:42:55   The carriers had already booked advertising campaigns for the phones. The move set off

01:43:01   consternation among Apple's—this is a New York Times story, by the way—as well as

01:43:05   with consumers who had been eagerly awaiting the introductions.

01:43:08   Apple did not explain the delay, executives at the carrier said, but it appeared the phones

01:43:12   had not received approval from Chinese regulators to go on sale.

01:43:19   This to me, reading between the lines, is that something happened and Apple somehow

01:43:25   pissed somebody off in China and someone in China decided to delay the iPhone. I mean,

01:43:31   do you think that it didn't receive approval from Chinese regulators because Apple forgot

01:43:36   to file the paperwork on time? I'm sure that's it. I'm sure I'm sure Bob down in in legal

01:43:44   was like, Oh, right, China, I had to do and I got like a checklist of countries and it's

01:43:49   It's like FCC in the US, check.

01:43:52   Great Britain, check.

01:43:53   Germany, check.

01:43:54   Oh, China, forgot about it.

01:43:57   No, this to me.

01:43:58   And then iPhone 6 did go on sale eventually.

01:44:01   But at the very last minute,

01:44:04   after the three carriers had already placed

01:44:07   a big ad campaigns about with the date September 19th,

01:44:10   that Apple says, oh.

01:44:12   And even the, it appears to be that it was held up

01:44:16   by the regulators that nobody,

01:44:18   It appeared the phones had not received approval

01:44:20   from Chinese regulators to go on sale.

01:44:23   That's the type of thing that is different about China

01:44:27   than the US, and it's subtle, right?

01:44:31   It's not, we're gonna shut down your factory in Foxconn.

01:44:35   It's at the last minute, you're going to have to go

01:44:39   to these companies and say it won't go on sale.

01:44:42   You can't tell them why.

01:44:44   And tough, right?

01:44:47   That's the shit sandwich that the Chinese government gave Apple in 2014 is, "Oh yeah,

01:44:53   you thought your phone was going on sale in nine days?

01:44:57   Nope.

01:44:58   And you don't tell them why."

01:45:00   And that's it.

01:45:04   And there's probably a thousand little ways that China could screw with Apple like that.

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01:48:44   Yeah. I didn't want to spoil it.

01:48:46   Just like you.

01:48:47   Didn't want to spoil the third. I got all the podcast stuff - I didn't want to spoil it earlier

01:48:50   But I figured that's what you were talking about. Yeah. Yeah what you could do, you know, you can combine these things you could

01:48:56   Depending on like, you know, like let's say you live in a small apartment. You don't have a lot of storage space

01:49:00   you could put your

01:49:02   You could put your away suitcase underneath your bed that has a Casper mattress on it for storage, you know

01:49:09   Yeah that symmetry synergy. I

01:49:12   Could mention what kind of underwear you're wearing, but they're not a sponsor this week, so I'm not going to

01:49:16   The last oh, you know what there's two topics left, and I know we've been on for a while

01:49:23   I don't want to have another four-hour episode

01:49:25   I'm just I'm gonna spoil them both

01:49:28   I'm gonna say we I want to talk about these MacBook Air rumors and the the state of the MacBook Air

01:49:34   I think we'll do that first and

01:49:36   Then I told you already I want to talk about this NRA TV and what Apple and Amazon etc should do about them

01:49:42   The Macbook Air rumors. You have got a column, I think I've gotten a pre-release access to

01:49:49   it. I don't know if that's authorized or not, but you've got a Macworld column about this.

01:49:52   So I'm going to let you summarize the situation because it's a terrific column.

01:49:56   So the Macbook Air, there's this rumor from KGI that they're going to update the Macbook

01:50:01   Air and maybe cut the price, although KGI's track record with pricing is not as great

01:50:06   as supply chain. So, but you know, something going on with the Macbook Air. And I had one

01:50:11   of those moments of like, what the hell is going on with the MacBook Air? Like, it sticks

01:50:16   around, it is old, it's got all the tech that Apple has already replaced in all of their

01:50:22   other laptops, but it sits there because it's $9.99 and Apple has not taken other products

01:50:31   and like, gradually reduced their prices to hit the $9.99 and then kicked the MacBook

01:50:37   Air to the curb. That hasn't happened. Nor have they canceled the MacBook Air and said,

01:50:43   "Look, if you want a new Apple laptop, you need to spend $1299 on a MacBook or a 13-inch

01:50:48   no touch bar MacBook Pro. Those are your choices." They haven't done that. And I think the reason

01:50:55   is that they feel like they're really vulnerable in certain markets, including education, where

01:51:01   there's a segment of their buying group, of their customer group, that is not going to

01:51:06   a you know that thousand dollars is a is a brighter line and that they need to be competitive

01:51:11   down there and so they keep the MacBook around I also get the sense from people who work

01:51:16   at Apple stores that the MacBook Air still sells really well yeah and that there are

01:51:19   a lot of them around you were saying to me yesterday that like you went into a cafe and

01:51:23   there's MacBook Airs everywhere I say it's a cafe that I go into all the time because

01:51:27   it's closest place to get coffee that's not my kitchen and there's a lot of I think they're

01:51:32   grad students because they're clearly students. I'm so old now that I can't tell the difference

01:51:41   between a 26-year-old and an 18-year-old. But I think that they're grad students. And

01:51:46   the tell is that I often see them with a stack of blue books. And so that means they're grad

01:51:51   assistants grading. But there's lots of places to sit, lots of counter space along the windows

01:52:01   all on the outside so you could fit a lot of people. And I always I can't help it whenever

01:52:05   I'm in an airport or a coffee house or any place where people are using devices. I just

01:52:10   I don't I usually don't count and keep track but I do like an eyeball survey of what people

01:52:15   are using. And MacBook Airs are clearly insanely popular. I remember it was you in particular

01:52:21   you and I were on this show probably over a year ago talking about Apple laptops. And

01:52:26   somehow you and I had talked ourselves into thinking that the MacBook Pro was Apple's

01:52:31   most popular MacBook. And I think that we, unlike both of us, I think, had somehow really

01:52:38   been thinking about people like us and the Mac users of lore, of yore, and really lost

01:52:47   touch of how big Apple has grown in the mass market. You probably heard the same thing,

01:52:57   but I heard from a bunch of people that work in Apple stores. You and Jason are nuts.

01:53:00   It's all MacBook Airs.

01:53:04   People who work in the Apple store said that they could go all day and sell nothing but

01:53:07   MacBook Airs. This was a year ago, and I don't know that that's changed. I think a big part

01:53:14   of it. It's fundamentally price. I think it's, it's that there's an awful lot of people and

01:53:21   in the old days, price was never the top reason to buy Apple stuff or never the top even if

01:53:26   you were already going to buy Apple stuff price was for most Mac users wasn't the biggest

01:53:30   driving factor. Obviously, it's always been for some, right? There's some people who it's

01:53:35   like I need a computer and I don't have a lot of money. So I've kind of got to get the

01:53:40   the cheapest one I can get.

01:53:41   I mean, of course, that's true for everything, right?

01:53:44   But it wasn't a huge segment of the Mac market.

01:53:47   And Apple's gotten so big,

01:53:50   and I think that the halo effect

01:53:53   that people first started talking about with the iPod,

01:53:56   I think the halo effect,

01:53:58   people don't use that term anymore,

01:54:00   but I think the halo effect of the iPhone

01:54:03   is simply unfathomable.

01:54:04   I think the number of people who,

01:54:06   'cause they're gonna get a phone no matter what,

01:54:08   and they had some other phone,

01:54:09   and then they got an iPhone and they're like,

01:54:11   you know what, this is better, I like this better,

01:54:13   this is nicer, next time I buy a laptop,

01:54:15   I'm getting an Apple laptop, I'm done with it.

01:54:17   I really, but then they go in--

01:54:19   - And then they look at the prices and they're like, oh.

01:54:21   - And then they look at the prices and they're like, wow.

01:54:23   And they're like, I guess I'll get this 999 one, you know?

01:54:26   - Right, 'cause 999 is not a cheap laptop,

01:54:27   but that's the buy-in for the Apple platform.

01:54:30   And so I do think it's price.

01:54:33   And the other thing, my theory anyway,

01:54:36   is that we're in an interesting place

01:54:38   where a lot of the features that Apple is using

01:54:40   to differentiate the higher-end laptops,

01:54:42   a lot of the people who care about price

01:54:45   just either don't care about them

01:54:47   or don't care about them enough,

01:54:49   or in some cases, it's a liability.

01:54:51   And I've given advice to people

01:54:52   about what laptop should I buy,

01:54:54   what new Mac laptop should I buy.

01:54:56   And I always have to disclaim with the MacBook

01:55:00   that it's not just $300 more than the MacBook Air,

01:55:03   but you're gonna have to buy a bunch of adapters

01:55:05   because it's using USB-C.

01:55:07   So like, if you don't care about retina,

01:55:09   a lot of us really care about retina.

01:55:11   There are a lot of people who don't care.

01:55:12   They'll either, they or don't notice like one of the two.

01:55:16   So, yeah, $300 more, but it's got retina.

01:55:19   They don't care.

01:55:20   USB-C potentially a liability more than an asset

01:55:23   because it's a lot of adapters

01:55:25   for the stuff that they've got.

01:55:26   Having a MagSafe connector that is super convenient

01:55:29   and charges your computer without taking up

01:55:31   either 100% of the ports if you buy a MacBook

01:55:34   or half the ports if you buy the 1299 MacBook Pro

01:55:38   without touch bar, like MagSafe's better.

01:55:40   The keyboard is, I would argue,

01:55:43   better on the old MacBook Air.

01:55:45   But even if you like the new keyboard,

01:55:46   you can't argue that the new keyboard

01:55:49   wouldn't be a dramatic adaptation

01:55:51   for somebody who's used to the old keyboards,

01:55:53   has an old Apple laptop.

01:55:55   So you go into the store and you type on the new keyboard

01:55:57   and you type on the MacBook Air and you're like,

01:55:58   "Oh, I just want the thing that I already know."

01:56:00   And at that point, you've got a whole bunch of reasons

01:56:03   that are viewed from Apple standpoint

01:56:05   are like technology advancements,

01:56:07   which is why this product costs more.

01:56:10   And the people who are shopping say,

01:56:12   "No, none of those things is an advancement,

01:56:16   "and certainly not enough of an advancement

01:56:18   "for me to spend an extra 300 bucks.

01:56:20   "So I'll just take the MacBook Air."

01:56:23   I think that's it.

01:56:24   - I think you made a good point.

01:56:25   I mean, you're not the first.

01:56:26   I mean, it's, I think, and, but as time goes on,

01:56:28   I'm more convinced of it.

01:56:30   I mean, I don't think there's any way to argue

01:56:31   that the loss of MagSafe isn't an overall step backwards.

01:56:36   I think MagSafe is better than USB or whatever you call it.

01:56:41   I was gonna say USB-C, but is that what it is?

01:56:44   I don't know, or is that-- - Yeah, USB-C.

01:56:46   - And there are some, there are trade-offs

01:56:52   on the accidental TIFF podcast last week.

01:56:56   I think Casey, what's his last name?

01:57:01   Uh, I think he just goes by blister.

01:57:05   Yeah, blister, blister.

01:57:07   He's our buddy, blister.

01:57:09   I wanted to know if he spelled it with two S's.

01:57:11   Because that's what I assumed.

01:57:13   I think he did, and that's even worse.

01:57:15   It's L-I-S-S, it's right there.

01:57:17   Poor Casey.

01:57:19   But anyway, he mentioned that while they were recording the show,

01:57:23   he was recording using his little tiny MacBook,

01:57:29   And he needed to power up his switch and he could just unplug the MacBooks USB C and then use that to charge up

01:57:36   Unpowered switch it's convenient. It's convenient to have multiple devices that use the same thing and only the MacBook uses the the the

01:57:44   Mag safe, but

01:57:47   The fact that the mag safe is mag safe and can just be pulled out is tremendous

01:57:52   And I love I love the indicator light

01:57:56   I I really right. I love the indicator light and it just every once in a while

01:58:01   it happens where like a plug isn't in the wall, right or

01:58:05   You've plugged it into a wall socket that happens to be hooked up to a light switch

01:58:10   and so it's not getting power and you get this instant feedback of yes, it's charging because if you're like

01:58:17   Packing to go on a trip tomorrow and you're like, alright

01:58:21   Let me charge my MacBook and you don't even open it up and you just plug it in

01:58:26   It is really reassuring to me to see that

01:58:28   That orange light come on to say yes

01:58:31   It is soaking up power and I can just walk away and pack my away suitcase

01:58:35   That I've pulled out from under my bed with a Casper mattress on it

01:58:39   exactly know that when I go back to that MacBook in the morning that it's fully charged and

01:58:44   You know it it

01:58:47   It's a cool thing. I'm not I'm not arguing that like I mean, I think it is arguable

01:58:52   But it's like that's the thing is it's arguable and I'm not saying that people don't see the value of these new tech things like Apple

01:58:59   Does because I think people do the MacBook is selling the MacBook pros are selling they are selling pretty well

01:59:04   But the MacBook Air is also selling right and I and like those people

01:59:09   Don't seem to be you know

01:59:11   Those are the people who are not convinced that it's worth an extra $300 for these other features

01:59:17   And so my overall question is like, okay, we got this report that there's gonna be an update

01:59:21   We all would have bet money that the MacBook Air would have been discontinued probably like a year ago or gone

01:59:26   Education maybe gone education only at a lower price, right?

01:59:29   Right, but instead it's still kicking around because I think they can't take they can't take it off

01:59:35   And it obviously is making the margins on it have to be great

01:59:39   the margins are office obviously great on the MacBook and the the MacBook Pro so

01:59:45   I wonder like what's the endgame here?

01:59:48   - I know. - And do they finally

01:59:52   give up and make like a retina laptop that's sub a thousand?

01:59:56   Do they just keep this thing around?

01:59:57   I legitimately wonder at what point they can't sell

02:00:01   a fifth generation Intel processor anymore.

02:00:03   And that's the thing that is in the back of my mind

02:00:05   is like, "Well, if I was Apple

02:00:07   and I didn't wanna put any real work

02:00:09   into like building a new MacBook Air enclosure

02:00:12   'cause in the long run, this is all gonna go away

02:00:15   but I need to keep selling it.

02:00:16   Maybe we design a new motherboard

02:00:19   that fits in the same space as the old motherboard,

02:00:22   but uses the seventh generation Intel Core processors.

02:00:25   Keep it alive.

02:00:26   - We don't even announce it in an event.

02:00:27   We just, it just suddenly-

02:00:29   - Oh yeah, no, it's just new processors in the MacBook Air.

02:00:31   It continues to be 9.99, goodbye.

02:00:33   Like that's it, literally,

02:00:35   like they did when they used

02:00:37   the most recent fifth generation one they could

02:00:39   when they did the speed bump last year.

02:00:41   And then just walk away.

02:00:43   Maybe they would do that,

02:00:44   but it's still like super weird that they're keeping

02:00:47   this old laptop that looks nothing like

02:00:50   any of their other laptops.

02:00:51   So that's weird.

02:00:52   The other weird thing is,

02:00:54   it just keeps bringing back how strange it is

02:00:57   that there's this MacBook Pro

02:00:58   that's not like the other MacBook Pros.

02:01:00   It's using the 15 watt processor that the MacBook Air uses.

02:01:05   It's using that, that no touch bar MacBook Pro.

02:01:08   It's three pounds.

02:01:09   It's 20 grams.

02:01:11   It's less than an ounce heavier than the MacBook Air.

02:01:15   It's a little bit thicker than the thin side,

02:01:18   but thinner than the thick side of the MacBook Air 13 inch.

02:01:22   It's so clearly a MacBook Air in anything but name.

02:01:26   Maybe that, and they've already dropped the price $200 on it.

02:01:29   So maybe that one keeps going down

02:01:32   and eventually becomes the replacement for the MacBook Air.

02:01:35   Why it's called a MacBook Pro,

02:01:36   I still don't entirely understand.

02:01:38   That seemed, always seemed weird that they have like,

02:01:41   one of these things is not like the other,

02:01:44   but that's where we are.

02:01:45   So like, I just don't know what the end game is.

02:01:47   - Could they sell it under a different name

02:01:50   other than MacBook Pro, even if it is form factor wise,

02:01:54   let's say while closed and you can't see

02:01:57   whether it has a touch bar or not,

02:01:58   identical to the MacBook Pro?

02:02:00   Like, is that it?

02:02:01   That they didn't want to make another new form factor?

02:02:05   - I don't know, 'cause the marketing is so confusing.

02:02:08   I mean, it's, I mean, it's, I don't have,

02:02:12   you know, not working at Apple,

02:02:13   I don't actually have any responsibility

02:02:14   for the margins and things like that.

02:02:16   So it's easy for me to say this,

02:02:17   but I'm gonna say this anyway,

02:02:18   which is I kind of feel like that's the MacBook Air

02:02:21   and that maybe what they ought to do

02:02:22   is just cut its price to 9.99,

02:02:25   maybe by decontenting it a little bit.

02:02:27   You know, Microsoft did that with the Surface,

02:02:29   the Surface Book, where they basically made a 9.99 version

02:02:33   that's kind of lousy in terms of the specs,

02:02:35   but it gets them under a thousand

02:02:37   and just say, "Hey, this is the MacBook Air now,"

02:02:40   and let the old one go away.

02:02:42   I don't think they'll actually do that

02:02:43   because they would be giving away an awful lot of margin,

02:02:46   but at the same time, that would be a modern laptop.

02:02:50   It is basically the 13-inch Air.

02:02:52   It weighs the same, it looks the same,

02:02:54   but it's got the retina screen and all of that.

02:02:56   Instead of the MacBook, which you pay a premium for,

02:03:00   but it's super thin and light,

02:03:01   and I could see why you pay a premium for that,

02:03:04   but not for that MacBook Pro that is,

02:03:06   It's literally the processors that the MacBook Air

02:03:09   should be using.

02:03:10   It's the weight of the MacBook Air.

02:03:12   It's just called MacBook Pro.

02:03:13   - Same footprint.

02:03:14   The naming thing is actually the part that,

02:03:18   it's not like they pick bad names every step of the way.

02:03:23   It's that the way that everything evolved

02:03:25   wound up with the names being all messed up.

02:03:28   Where the product that's just called the MacBook

02:03:31   with no adjective after it is,

02:03:35   It's not premium priced, but it is also not sub 1000.

02:03:40   And it's also limited in certain ways,

02:03:43   'cause it only has one port.

02:03:44   And so, and it is strikingly small,

02:03:48   and lightweight, and thin.

02:03:49   And the product that's called the MacBook Air,

02:03:53   which implies that it's lightweight,

02:03:55   is way thicker and heavier than the just plain MacBook.

02:03:58   But it literally is the just plain MacBook,

02:04:02   if you tell a regular person,

02:04:04   I gotta, yeah, I'm gonna switch to a MacBook, right?

02:04:06   What is the default?

02:04:08   What is the most common device that they sell,

02:04:11   the most common MacBook that they sell,

02:04:13   and what's the one that you see everywhere?

02:04:15   And what are the features of this?

02:04:17   Well, I don't know, a couple of regular USB ports

02:04:19   and a MagSafe and, you know, it's familiar.

02:04:24   It is the MacBook, right?

02:04:26   The MacBook should be the MacBook Air

02:04:28   because it's thin and light, and aggressively so.

02:04:32   and the MacBook Air should be called the MacBook.

02:04:36   So I thought that-

02:04:37   - That's what it should be.

02:04:38   That's, you know, you just nailed it,

02:04:40   which is what we all thought this would go to.

02:04:42   And it's still like, it just,

02:04:45   I think the margins and the cost of the products

02:04:47   have precluded this is like, the MacBook should be $999.

02:04:51   The MacBook Pro 13-inch escape, no touch bar,

02:04:55   should be the MacBook, right?

02:04:57   Like the MacBook and should probably be what it is now,

02:05:01   which is $12.99, and then there should be

02:05:03   the MacBook Pro above it.

02:05:05   But in, and that 12-inch MacBook

02:05:07   could be the MacBook Air, right?

02:05:09   Like that's sort of what we kind of felt

02:05:11   was happening here, and it just hasn't happened.

02:05:13   And I mean, maybe there's somebody at Apple

02:05:15   who runs the numbers and says,

02:05:17   why would we cut our margins by $200 on the MacBook

02:05:22   when we make, you know, every one of those sales we lose,

02:05:26   we're making to the Air where our margins

02:05:28   might even be better.

02:05:29   Like I can see how it works math wise.

02:05:32   It's just at some point product line wise,

02:05:35   it just gets weirder and weirder the longer we go

02:05:38   that a laptop that was designed like six years ago

02:05:41   is still being sold brand new.

02:05:42   - And that has this name that implies something about it.

02:05:47   Then in light.

02:05:47   - It's the lightest, yeah, and it's a pound heavier

02:05:50   than the lightest laptop that Apple makes, yeah.

02:05:51   - When in reality, it's literally the most generic MacBook

02:05:55   you can imagine.

02:05:56   It's what people are familiar with and functionally

02:05:59   and weight-wise and everything, it's just everything is like,

02:06:03   well, that's like the baseline.

02:06:04   It's a very strange situation.

02:06:07   It's really strange.

02:06:08   And I think it's been lost a little bit.

02:06:11   Like the MacBook Air's odd place in the lineup

02:06:14   and uncertain future has been lost a little bit

02:06:17   with all of us talking so much about

02:06:19   whether our keys are getting stuck on the new keyboards

02:06:22   and the MacBook Pro, which is still an issue.

02:06:25   - And the fact that it exists as the Air and the MacBook

02:06:28   is not called a MacBook Air,

02:06:30   suggests to me that they're trying to phase out,

02:06:32   like the whole idea was they're phasing it out.

02:06:34   It will be around long,

02:06:36   and then the names will make sense again.

02:06:37   There'll be MacBook and MacBook Pro,

02:06:39   except they're not phasing it out,

02:06:41   and maybe they're updating it,

02:06:43   which you gotta think was never the plan.

02:06:45   Like something happened, and maybe it was unexpected demand.

02:06:50   Maybe everybody at Apple really thought

02:06:51   everybody would just start buying the MacBook,

02:06:53   and it didn't happen,

02:06:55   and they're not willing to make it $999.

02:06:59   And so they got stuck here, but something happened.

02:07:02   'Cause I think the plan early on,

02:07:05   I don't know what was the deal with that 13 inch MacBook Pro.

02:07:08   I don't know, I can't understand that one at all.

02:07:10   But clearly the plan with the MacBook

02:07:11   was that it was gonna be the floor

02:07:14   and the MacBook Air would die.

02:07:15   And they can't kill it.

02:07:17   It just, it won't, we can't miss it if it won't go away.

02:07:21   Which is, it just won't, we won't die.

02:07:24   Right. And compare and contrast with the iPad lineup where there was an iPad Air and it

02:07:28   was a mega popular product and much beloved and probably still in use by tens of millions

02:07:34   of people because iPads just go and go and go until you finally drop it and shatter the

02:07:40   glass. I mean, I don't know of any iPad that's gone out of commission until the glass breaks.

02:07:47   Maybe like the very first couple of generation ones have been put on shelves, but they last

02:07:50   forever. But there was an iPad Air and they phased it out and rather than keep it around

02:07:56   and sell at a lower price, they created a new product right in the middle called the

02:08:01   iPad and it is just an iPad. It is 9.7 inches, which is what you think, and it is pretty

02:08:08   fast and zippy. Then there's two iPad Pros which cost more and they're way more powerful.

02:08:15   way faster and they support advanced things like the pencil. Makes sense. That all makes sense.

02:08:24   And if, you know, for whatever, you know, it seems like it's, you know, it's still hanging around,

02:08:28   still there. There's the iPad mini, which is mini and smaller. Like the MacBook Air, it feels like

02:08:36   a product that Apple just seems to want to disappear but hasn't quite disappeared yet.

02:08:42   Yeah, so iPad naming wise, you know, makes total sense.

02:08:47   You know, MacBook naming doesn't really make a lot of sense.

02:08:51   Anyway, we'll see.

02:08:52   Well, I really hope so.

02:08:54   I hope that they do something to straighten this out.

02:08:56   Yeah.

02:08:57   I was looking at PCs that are priced like this.

02:09:00   And the fact is there are PCs spec'd like that 13 inch MacBook Pro without

02:09:06   touch bar that are like 800 bucks, 700 bucks, and they've got retina and they've

02:09:11   got the seventh generation Intel Core processors. They are, that's what you can get for a premium-ish

02:09:19   PC laptop around a thousand bucks. So I know that that would be hard for Apple margin-wise,

02:09:26   but how long can Apple keep selling a non-retina MacBook? I mean, at some point they just have

02:09:31   to stop. Maybe not yet. I don't know.

02:09:34   I don't know. But at some point it's like they're just going to have a revolt from Mac

02:09:39   developers that they still have to keep making non-retina graphics. I mean, I guess it might

02:09:45   be a while before you can assume that all non-retina Macs are out of use, but as long

02:09:51   as they're still selling them brand new today and it's a super popular product, you know

02:09:54   that that's years from now. Like, it's not even on a horizon when you can ship a Mac

02:10:00   app that doesn't assume support for retina graphics. It's crazy.

02:10:05   All right, anyway, last topic of the show. I want to talk about this thing where there's

02:10:11   been to me a different public reaction here in the US to the school shooting in Parkland,

02:10:23   is the town and the name of the school is the other thing, but in Parkland, Florida.

02:10:28   And there's been—and I'm trying to be delicate here—there has been a bizarre, repetitive

02:10:39   response to mass shootings here in the U.S. in the last at least 10 years, maybe a little

02:10:46   bit longer, where there's—the day that it happens, it's a new sensation, and everybody

02:10:53   is caught up in, "Oh my God, what's happened?"

02:10:56   And then the next day there's talk from one side about we need to do something, this is

02:11:03   insane, it keeps happening over and over again, our gun laws are out of control.

02:11:09   And on the other side there are people offering thoughts and prayers, which has finally become

02:11:15   sort of, it's not just like a few people saying, "Hey, you can't just keep offering thoughts

02:11:18   and prayers and do not make any changes."

02:11:24   And there's a different reaction this time, collectively.

02:11:28   In other incidents like this in recent, last decade or so, like a week later, it's out

02:11:35   of the news.

02:11:37   Not forgotten, per se.

02:11:39   Not like it's nowhere, like you can't pick up a copy of the New York Times and not find

02:11:42   an article about the week ago incident on page A-18 or something.

02:11:48   But it stayed on the front page this time.

02:11:51   I think I've all long held the optimistic view that that would have to happen eventually. I'm a believer in

02:11:57   straws that break camel's backs and I understand how

02:12:02   when you're not quite near the

02:12:05   backbreaking point it feels like

02:12:08   Infinite straws won't break this camel's back like I get it

02:12:13   But I feel like this time we've we've cracked something

02:12:20   And one of the ways that this has manifested itself in the public discourse is loud and

02:12:32   sustained calls for the NRA, that's the National Rifle Association, for those of you

02:12:40   outside the US.

02:12:41   That's a gun lobbying group here in the US that has long pushed for exactly the sort

02:12:49   of gun laws that we have where they advocate any and all guns being available to just about

02:13:00   any and all Americans under just about any and all circumstances. They're an incredibly

02:13:05   successful lobbying group because it's really hard to imagine that our gun laws could be

02:13:10   any more in the direction of more guns, more types of guns and more guns being available

02:13:18   than there are. And so one of the controversies is that they run a thing called Ed, they call

02:13:23   it NRA TV. It's an app you can get and they produce a lot of video, they produce TV shows.

02:13:30   So you could go like on Apple TV and get the NRA TV app and watch NRA's television programming.

02:13:38   It's very angry. They're very angry people. If you would like to get a taste of it, I

02:13:44   I would like to suggest a segment.

02:13:46   And I believe you found the link to this, Jason?

02:13:49   Is that the YouTube link? - Yeah, that's right.

02:13:51   From "Last Week Tonight" with John Oliver.

02:13:53   - Right, so John Oliver,

02:13:54   the host of "Last Week Tonight" on HBO,

02:13:56   which is one of my favorite television shows every week.

02:13:59   - It's great. - Our whole family

02:14:00   looks forward to it.

02:14:01   The three of us, it might be number one,

02:14:04   rivaled only by "Saturday Night Live"

02:14:06   is the show that three of us

02:14:07   like to watch together the most,

02:14:09   had a terrific segment about the NRA TV specifically.

02:14:14   and they did a deep dive and found a lot of footage

02:14:16   and it is bizarre, but I highly recommend,

02:14:19   whether you're inside or outside the US,

02:14:21   if you wanna get an insight into the mindset

02:14:23   of this organization and the people who support them,

02:14:26   I would recommend watching this video.

02:14:28   It's bizarre to say the least.

02:14:34   So there's people calling for Apple, Amazon,

02:14:36   like with the fire to remove these apps from the store.

02:14:40   John Oliver's show, I don't wanna spoil it all.

02:14:44   There's so much good stuff in it.

02:14:46   But they did a segment where they put up Amazon, Apple, and Roku together and said, "You

02:14:53   know, you've got to get rid of this NRA TV."

02:14:55   And then they cut to a picture of a guy who supposedly worked at Roku, a static that Roku

02:15:04   has put up on par with Apple and Amazon.

02:15:08   We finally made it.

02:15:09   We've made it.

02:15:10   And it cracked me up because I happen to know that Roku probably, I don't know about outselling

02:15:15   Amazon, but 99% sure.

02:15:17   They might be number one in that market.

02:15:19   Yeah, I think they're number one in the market.

02:15:21   It's just to show you how that market is outside the mainstream that from the mainstream, you

02:15:27   know, the perspective of the comedy writers at Last Week Tonight, they're the one that's

02:15:32   like, who the hell are they?

02:15:33   And why are they up there with Amazon and Apple?

02:15:35   But anyway, people are calling for them to remove this app from the store.

02:15:40   And I don't think it's any surprise to anybody who reads my site or listens to the

02:15:44   show that I would be in favor of tightening gun legislation here in the U.S. significantly.

02:15:53   I would not consider myself an extremist in this regard.

02:15:56   I am not in favor of anything like an outright confiscation or ban of all private gun ownership.

02:16:03   Nowhere near that.

02:16:04   really get into the politics of where I think gun laws should be. Let's just say I think

02:16:09   they should be significantly tighter and that there are certain guns that are legal today

02:16:14   that I believe should be illegal for anyone to own, but that's my position. So therefore

02:16:21   I am pretty much an opponent of the NRA politically. But I do not believe in having groups that

02:16:29   I'm in opposition to politically banned from app stores or from the web or etc. I'm a free

02:16:39   speech First Amendment advocate. And so I have mixed feelings about this because I feel

02:16:45   like the NRA is more than just a political opposition group. I think that to some degree,

02:16:53   and here's the point where maybe there are some people listening who are so far so good

02:16:58   and they—what I'm about to say in the next sentence might toe the line, but I feel that

02:17:03   it is perfectly reasonable, in an unemotional sense, to look at them and what they advocate

02:17:09   and what they say in the aftermath of these events and the messages they promote on NRATV

02:17:13   and describe them as a death cult.

02:17:17   Yeah, okay, there comes the email. Did you see that picture of the people who were actually in,

02:17:24   like, the commitment ceremony with the bullet headbands and—

02:17:27   Yes, yes.

02:17:28   Carrying their guns and stuff. That was super weird.

02:17:31   John Oliver's piece is really good because, first off, the thesis—again, I'm spoiling

02:17:39   the end a little bit—but what he says is, "NRA TV is kind of a curiosity in the grand

02:17:43   scheme of things of what the NRA does." He likens it to a bull, a bear, that is about

02:17:50   to attack you. It is charging you. And it's got a funny little hat. And you could talk

02:17:55   about the hat and focus on the hat and make fun of the hat because the hat's super weird

02:17:59   and strange and wrong. But his point is, you probably should focus on the bear, not the

02:18:06   bear's hat and that this is a this is a distraction to the bigger issue of the place the NRA exists

02:18:13   in American political society where it has made any gun regulation of any kind a third

02:18:19   rail for one of the two major parties that controls the levers of government. And that

02:18:27   is the bigger issue here and not the stuff that's on NRA TV. And I agree with that. I'm

02:18:32   with you. I think anything when you like something you disagree with politically and you think,

02:18:37   yeah, that should be banned. All you have to do is imagine the people who disagree with

02:18:41   you politically banning your thing. And it's not a great road to walk down. I do think

02:18:46   you look at those clips, there is an argument to be made and, you know, Apple, if you look

02:18:50   at the App Store guidelines, you could, there's an argument to be made that some of the stuff

02:18:56   that they've done lately, some of their promos, some of their videos, some of their social

02:19:02   media posts, you could argue that it's an advocacy for violence, that it's making threats.

02:19:13   a lot of the Dana Loesch videos where she says, you know, we're going to take this country

02:19:19   back and it's going to be the clenched fist of justice or whatever she says. Like you

02:19:23   could argue, I think, I think that would be the claim if I was trying to make the argument

02:19:28   at Apple for kicking them off of our platform. I think that's the argument I'd make is that

02:19:33   this has gone beyond political speech and has become, um, you know, violence and threatening

02:19:39   imagery and that stuff is, not only is that stuff banned in the App Store guidelines,

02:19:45   but there's also this, you know, "we know it when we see it" inappropriate clause

02:19:49   that is essentially Apple's out to kick anything off their platform. So I could see

02:19:53   that argument. I could also see the argument that says, "look, this is a political organization

02:19:57   that people don't like, that's fine, but unless they step over a certain line, we're

02:20:02   going to let political organizations advocate for their political beliefs on our platforms

02:20:07   because we don't want to start picking winners and losers in terms of politics. And it's

02:20:14   just a difficult line because I'm sure the KKK would like an Apple TV app too and that's

02:20:20   never going to happen. So where do you draw the line with the NRA? And I don't know, maybe

02:20:26   it's also Apple going to somebody like the NRA and saying, "This is where we're drawing

02:20:31   the line and some of the stuff that you've been doing is crossing the line so you can

02:20:35   make a decision to be, as John Oliver put it, kind of an infomercial for the gun industry

02:20:40   and we'll let you do that. We'll have your reality shows where people are painting pictures

02:20:44   by shooting at buckets of paint. And it's weird, it's super weird, but you know, whatever.

02:20:51   And then there's, is there some place where Apple's going to draw the line and say, you

02:20:55   know, the stuff that you're putting out that crosses this line we're not comfortable with

02:20:58   having on our platform. And it's a tough call, I think, because you don't want to just say,

02:21:03   we don't like their politics, so you're out.

02:21:06   - And I think that, in my opinion,

02:21:11   that the things shouldn't exist.

02:21:12   I don't think that the message that they're pushing

02:21:17   is a healthy one, and I don't think it's a sign

02:21:20   of a healthy political viewpoint.

02:21:22   It's gone far beyond advocating for

02:21:28   some form of personal gun ownership

02:21:32   in the United States as a right and has entered something new.

02:21:35   And I really do think it is cult-like and unhealthy

02:21:38   and not even really based in reality a lot of the ways.

02:21:41   And I think that on a lot of other issues,

02:21:43   a group with similarly extreme viewpoints

02:21:47   would never make it onto the App Store or to Fire or to Roku.

02:21:51   -Yep, I agree. -But it's different.

02:21:54   And it matters that there's large popular support for this.

02:21:59   Not a majority. I'm not saying it's --

02:22:01   I don't want to mistake what I mean by popular because one of the frustrations of being on

02:22:07   the "we should tighten the gun laws in this country" side of the argument is that

02:22:15   depending on the exact issue and how you phrase it, 60 to 70 percent of people agree with

02:22:21   that.

02:22:22   But the other side, that other 30 percent is enough that it makes a difference.

02:22:27   And the idealistic side of this, of saying, well, this is a death cult and these people

02:22:34   have terrible responses even to these shootings, they should not be on Apple TV or Amazon's

02:22:41   fire.

02:22:45   I get it.

02:22:46   Idealistically, I actually agree with you, but you can't be an ideal.

02:22:50   We don't live in an ideal world.

02:22:51   We live in a practical world.

02:22:52   And then in the practical world, if Apple and Amazon and Roku just nuked the NRA TV

02:23:00   app, it would create such a backlash.

02:23:06   You know what I mean?

02:23:07   It would, I think it would be counterproductive.

02:23:09   I think it would actually draw more attention to the NRA TV and it would further the NRA's

02:23:15   agenda than having the NRA TV app in the app store.

02:23:19   Yeah, I think I agree with you. I don't think I would go so far as to call it a "death cult."

02:23:27   I think one of the things about the NRA is that it's a lobbying group for the gun industry

02:23:31   and their ultimate goal is to sell more guns. And they are also trying to create lots and

02:23:36   lots of customers who want to buy lots and lots of guns and get their support in making

02:23:42   it easy to sell guns. And the NRA used to advocate for responsible gun laws and that

02:23:48   just they turn the corner at some point and they don't do that anymore and they've taken

02:23:51   an extreme viewpoint which is you know which is fine because that is a it's still an allowable

02:23:56   political viewpoint to have an extreme political viewpoint but it's a you know it's a tough

02:24:02   it's a tough situation I would argue you know I'm a moderate person I am for a lot more

02:24:07   gun regulation than we have now I grew up around guns I grew up in a rural area I don't

02:24:13   particularly like them and I don't have them in my home and I don't ever want them in my

02:24:17   home but I'm familiar with them and I grew up in a home that had multiple firearms. And,

02:24:24   you know, the -- I look at this and I just think, think about the other -- being on the

02:24:30   other side of it because even though I don't agree with this either politically, a lot

02:24:34   of people on the other side of the fence would say that's an organization like Planned Parenthood

02:24:40   is advocating the death of human beings because they have abortion services. I don't agree

02:24:45   with that at all, but you start to say, "Well, if I can turn that around and make this argument

02:24:52   and say that Apple should ban this too," again, I don't want to get into this kind of false

02:24:56   like, "Oh, does Apple, you know, what's right or wrong?" versus like, "Does Apple want to

02:25:02   be the referee there?" That's the question that I want to ask, because I have opinions

02:25:07   about which one of those arguments is good and which one of those arguments is bad, and

02:25:10   I'm not going to make those arguments. I'm going to say, "Does Apple want to be the judge

02:25:14   in that. Does Apple want to go down to that level? Because I'm pretty sure Apple doesn't

02:25:19   want to go down there. At the same time, Apple probably doesn't want to have a lot of people

02:25:24   furious at it because it's a channel for this stuff from the NRA in the wake of all of these

02:25:32   mass shootings that are happening in the US. It's a tough—you gotta imagine, have you

02:25:36   thought about this? There's gotta have been a conference call with Roku, Apple, Amazon,

02:25:41   YouTube, right? Like what are we going to do about these guys? Because I think one of

02:25:46   them is not going to make the decision. I imagine that all of them are going to make

02:25:50   the, unless that's collusion and they're not allowed to do that. But I feel like somebody's

02:25:54   got to be like, what do you think? Like what are, what should our policy be here? Because

02:26:00   they all are facing the exact same issue, which is, you know, do you allow something

02:26:05   like this on your platform or not? And do you want to be, does it open doors for you

02:26:09   in terms of what you've got to say. I mean, Apple does have an out. Apple literally can

02:26:13   say, if we don't like it, we'll kick it off of our platform. But do they want to go down

02:26:16   that route or no, I don't think so. And the other thing too, that I think is funny and

02:26:19   it's just a side point because I think the bigger question is what should these companies

02:26:23   do? But you including Google is to me more interesting because I suspect that the number

02:26:29   of people who watch this stuff on Apple TV, Roku and fire is a lot smaller than the people

02:26:34   who run into the NRA TV's short or more inflammatory videos on YouTube and on Facebook.

02:26:45   Yeah, I mean the stuff on NRA TV, John Oliver makes it clear, a lot of the stuff on NRA

02:26:50   TV, it's kind of weird, but it is infomercial level or it's, imagine a reality show about

02:26:57   shooting or about buying antique guns. They have an antiques roadshow kind of show. They've

02:27:02   got all these and it's about shooting. Like that's the stuff that goes viral that really

02:27:08   angers people is generally yeah it's stuff that's posted on Twitter or it's posted on

02:27:12   on their YouTube channel. Yeah so I think that you've got a that all needs to be part

02:27:16   of the conversation too. Right so anyway long story short I don't think I think Apple's

02:27:22   doing the right thing here and I think it's I think it's I really think it would be helpful

02:27:27   to the NRA if they could say, "Look at these companies. They're against us too."

02:27:33   They're suppressing our rights. Well, that's why I think the John Oliver segment is so

02:27:38   brilliant because not only does it kind of defang a lot of this NRA stuff as being sort

02:27:44   of ridiculous, like the details of what they're doing, but I think the bear analogy is pretty

02:27:49   good I gotta say, which is the NRA, if you believe the NRA is a major problem in American

02:27:54   society and I think it is. I think they've gone way way way too far and that may be a

02:28:00   colossal understatement but I'm just I'm just trying to be straight here. Maybe worrying

02:28:06   about whether they've got a video channel on Apple's and Amazon's boxes is not what

02:28:13   you need to be worrying about. Like it's not the same as even as a company offering a discount

02:28:19   to NRA members. This is like, they're just, it's just a conduit for their videos. If they

02:28:23   turn it off, their videos will be somewhere else. The people who are watching it are only

02:28:27   the people who are really deep into that stuff anyway. You're probably not going to change

02:28:31   their minds anyway. Like there are bigger issues here. There are bigger battles to fight

02:28:35   than worrying about this funny hat that the bear that's charging at you is wearing.

02:28:39   Yep. Uh, so I will definitely put that, uh, John Oliver clip in the show notes. I really

02:28:45   encourage you to watch it. It's really well done and funny and makes a point really good.

02:28:53   I say we wrap it up right there. It has been a fantastic conversation. I don't know that

02:28:58   I've ever had an episode of this show. This is episode 216, I believe. I don't know if

02:29:02   I ever had an episode that stuck more closely to the notes of the episode.

02:29:06   Steve McLaughlin Yeah, it was pretty good. I was impressed.

02:29:09   You jumped around a little at one point and then you were like, "You're right on it."

02:29:12   It's good.

02:29:13   Everybody Jason's now you can read his work on a daily basis at six colors calm and you can spell colors

02:29:20   However, you think it should be spelled and it will work

02:29:23   Within reason. Yeah, and you can listen to his voice is melodious voice on several podcasts including upgrade

02:29:31   Which he mentioned with my curly and occasional guests download

02:29:34   Another another show on relay FM and

02:29:39   the incomparable which has 72 episodes a week

02:29:43   I don't know that you're on every one of them, but then the network has many many episodes the

02:29:48   The show itself is is only weekly fortunately for me

02:29:52   Now I'm looking at your list. She's got even more you're growing podcast. You got now you got more

02:29:57   I'm looking TV talk machine with Tim Goodman

02:30:00   Chief TV critic to the Hollywood Reporter and lift off. Oh my god with Stephen Hackett. That's a fort. What's fortnightly?

02:30:09   14 14 every 14 days or every night is for nightly and free free free agents free agents with David Sparks

02:30:17   Which is also every other week when people ask me how many podcasts I do these days

02:30:21   I say well I do a lot but I cheat

02:30:23   Because like some of them are every other week and some of them like robot or not with John, Syracuse

02:30:27   Uh, we record like 15 of them in 90 minutes and then I just spool those out over the next half a year

02:30:33   So it's that's cheating. It's not not really a lot of work for me to do some of those podcasts

02:30:39   Well, my thanks to you. Thank you for your time and my thanks once again to our three

02:30:42   sponsors. We've got Casper where you can buy mattresses and Squarespace where you can get

02:30:46   a website and Away where you can get a suitcase. So my idea would be to start a blog where

02:30:52   you blog about on Squarespace where every post is about putting an Away suitcase under

02:30:59   your Casper mattress bed. There you go. Combine them all three.

02:31:04   Good. Good plan.

02:31:05   All right. I got to go. Thank you, Jason.