The Talk Show

206: ‘Bed Is Where My Problems Are’ With Ben Thompson


00:00:00   I will just say this, my Sixers are coming on. I'm going to be a Sixers fan. I like

00:00:04   this young team.

00:00:05   Yeah, it's unfortunate.

00:00:07   Unfortunate that they're doing well?

00:00:10   No. So the Milwaukee Bucks have had 20 years of just incompetent ownership and bad… So

00:00:16   the big problem with the Bucks in a nutshell is focusing too much on the near term and

00:00:22   not enough on having a long-term plan. It's always what's next, what's next, what's

00:00:26   optimized for this coming year. You end up making decisions and doing stuff so you're

00:00:30   not building for the future. The problem is they have this superstar and it's been clear

00:00:34   it's going to be a superstar for a while. It's like, "Well, finally, can we actually

00:00:38   build for the future instead of always building for next year?" Of course, over the last

00:00:41   three summers, that hasn't really happened. Then this past summer, our GM job opened for

00:00:47   various complicated reasons. We had this terrible process with ownership fighting with each

00:00:52   other and also we ended up promoting this random guy who'd been in the front office

00:00:56   for like 10 years in the middle, who had been there for all kinds of bad decisions. You

00:01:00   know, he's not the GM. And all that aside, at the press conference, the owner who hired

00:01:06   him, whether or not he had the agreement with the other owners is questionable, which goes

00:01:10   back to the team's kind of inherent dysfunction. But he said something to the effect of, "Well,

00:01:14   those guys in Philadelphia talk about the process. What we care about here is results."

00:01:18   And it was painful because that's always been the problem with the Bucks, is focusing

00:01:24   on near-term results and not thinking about the process. And the whole point of what Philadelphia

00:01:30   has gone through the past few years is to have be in this position where they have multiple

00:01:35   like potential stars going forward. And then hilariously, just to kind of bring it home,

00:01:41   they now have a better record and a better point differential than the Bucks this year.

00:01:45   So if you care about results, then it's also not so great. It's not looking great going

00:01:49   forward. So I mean, so you know, the reason I go is because the Sixers and the Celtics

00:01:54   are the queer sort of and Bucks are kind of the queer class of the Eastern Conference

00:01:58   once LeBron leaves. And both those teams are in a much better place than the Bucks are

00:02:03   because they focus on process and not results. Anyhow, it's frustrating, but we have Giannis

00:02:09   and he's amazing. And so we'll just, you know, as always, we'll just have to cross

00:02:15   our fingers and hope for the best because there's not a process that's easy to see.

00:02:25   Sixers are winning. Sixers have a strange history where the Sixers, their quote-unquote

00:02:29   process was to purposefully lose. I mean this is going to sound crazy to people in Europe

00:02:34   who maybe aren't familiar with U.S. sports and especially the NBA. But the Sixers decided

00:02:40   it was to their strategic benefit to lose as many games possible for about three or

00:02:45   four years to rack up high draft picks. And then even as they were accumulating those

00:02:50   draft picks, lose until they felt like they had a good enough team to try to start winning.

00:02:56   That's exactly what… I mean, the thing with basketball is in basketball, having great

00:03:02   players matters more than any other sport because there's only five players on the

00:03:07   the court and the level of differentiation. There's a lot of replacement level players

00:03:13   and there's a fair number of decent guys, but the guys that actually matter, that actually

00:03:18   move the needle, there's like five or six of them in the league or maybe 10 at most.

00:03:23   And so you have to have at least one to win. The history of the NBA shows that. And you

00:03:28   probably have to have two. The thing with the NBA is the number of teams that have won

00:03:32   championships is remarkably limited. Like only about half the team has ever won period. And

00:03:38   I think five of the teams account for 70% of the championships. And it's because they've

00:03:43   had the best players and you know, the Lakers, the Bulls, the Celtics and the Warriors. And

00:03:49   the problem is once you have the best players, you have the best players for like, you know,

00:03:54   seven to eight years and you're going to rack up titles. And it's an inherently unbalanced

00:04:01   sport just because the best player matters so much more than any other sport.

00:04:05   Yep. It's funny. I don't know if I mean you're really really tuned in the NBA so

00:04:11   you might be aware of this but the Sixers right now even though they're

00:04:13   still not really a top-tier team they're just a winning team with with their best

00:04:18   years ahead of them a winning team with young players with their best years

00:04:21   ahead of them the Philadelphia 76ers right now are a tougher ticket and play

00:04:26   before a fuller house than any previous Sixers team ever, including the Iverson era teams

00:04:32   and the one that's most surprising is the absolutely great Dr. J era teams from the

00:04:39   early '80s.

00:04:40   Yeah. Well, it's funny because I think it's going to be a repeat of the '80s where,

00:04:46   if you recall back, the Celtics won the most, but the Sixers beat them sometimes and then

00:04:51   the Bucs always lost in the second round of the playoffs to one of those two teams.

00:04:54   Yeah.

00:04:55   shaping up to be like a direct replay of the 80s, which is very depressing. I mean, I actually

00:05:00   do think the Bucs will have the best player of all three teams. But again, it's the

00:05:05   supporting cast and both the Celtics and the Sixers are shaping up to have multiple top

00:05:09   players in the way the Bucs are not. And the other thing with the NBA that's really tricky

00:05:16   is the NBA because of the salary cap and contracts are guaranteed. To get to line up the salaries

00:05:22   is really difficult because what happens is once your best player on their rookie deal...

00:05:27   So the NBA is all about you have to get excess value. You get excess value by having rookies

00:05:31   because there's a pay scale and so you have to get a rookie that produces about his pay

00:05:34   scale and max guys because there's max contracts. The best players are worth so much more than

00:05:40   their max contract. But the problem is all those guys in the middle, guys who aren't

00:05:45   on rookie deals and who aren't max players, you will at best pay them what they're worth.

00:05:49   And so the problem is that where teams get in trouble like the Bucks is they pay too

00:05:52   many guys what they're worth or overpay them and they don't have enough on those two extremes

00:05:57   where they're generating excess value. And so part of the trick of the whole tanking

00:06:01   you want to take multiple years in a row is you want to have all these guys in the same

00:06:05   sort of the same level as far as income goes. Because the other thing is once you have a

00:06:10   great player, you can't get another great player because one, you don't have the space

00:06:14   and great players rarely become available in free agency until like their 10th year

00:06:17   in the season when they're declining. And two, you're too good to get a good draft

00:06:22   pick. The timing is really, really tricky. It really does take a five to ten-year plan

00:06:28   to build a team to have what just happened. It just doesn't work that way.

00:06:33   Which is exactly how the NFL works, our football league, where the Atlanta Falcons are struggling.

00:06:38   They were in the Super Bowl last year. And every year, there's always one or two teams

00:06:42   in the playoffs who were awful the year before, but they just make one or two of the right

00:06:47   moves in the offseason and anyway anyway that's enough sports we got real stuff

00:06:51   to talk about I I got follow-up though I have follow-up from previous episodes

00:06:58   this is important stuff so this is episode 206 episode 203 so three

00:07:03   episodes ago Serenity Caldwell was on and I was talking about how I ran into

00:07:08   to me the crazily arbitrarily arbitrary limit of 100 VIPs and Apple Mail because

00:07:15   my system of getting notifications for email is that I don't want any notifications, but

00:07:19   then there's the people who I do and then I just make them a VIP. And lo and behold,

00:07:24   a few weeks ago, I got an error when I tried to add somebody as a VIP that says you're

00:07:28   only allowed to have 100, which seems so I don't know if you listen to the show, but

00:07:32   it just seems so crazily obvious that when somebody was engineering the VIP feature,

00:07:39   they were like, well, we might as well have a limit. I don't know what 100 okay, 100 if

00:07:43   VIPs is 100 then give an error. It seems so stupid and I complained about the

00:07:49   fact anyway this is the follow-up aspect I complained about the fact that I

00:07:53   couldn't find a way to I could not find a way to manage my VIPs other than like

00:08:01   randomly going through one by one and trying to find VIPs and unstar the star

00:08:05   but it turns out there are ways to manage your VIPs the other problem I had

00:08:09   is I tried to do it in contacts because I thought of VIPs as something related to contacts,

00:08:14   but it's not contacts. It's only in mail. So on Mac, if you go to the VIPs magic mailbox

00:08:20   and toggle the disclosure triangle to the next of it, it will list all of your VIPs

00:08:26   one by one, and then you can control click on any one of them and remove from VIPs. So

00:08:34   There's no way to select, I don't think.

00:08:37   Actually, you can select multiple and delete it once.

00:08:40   And then on iOS, you go to do your VIPs

00:08:44   and there's a little eye and a circle button,

00:08:46   the info button, and then you can tap that button

00:08:49   and it will, again, show you a list of VIPs

00:08:52   and you can manage them from there.

00:08:54   So now I've kept forgetting to talk about this.

00:09:01   I just, what I do is anyone who is important to hear from, I connect to them on some sort

00:09:08   of messaging platform and that's the way to reach me. So if you, and...

00:09:13   That's actually true for me too. I mean, when's the last time you and I sent email to each

00:09:16   other? I get a daily email from you, but it's a newsletter. But you and I, if you and I

00:09:21   communicated by email, I would have said, "Hey, why don't you be on my show next week?"

00:09:25   And then like in December, you'd be like, "Oh shit, I missed it. How about next week?"

00:09:30   And then January would come and you'd be like, "What the hell happened? I thought

00:09:34   he wanted me on a show."

00:09:37   It's so true. It's funny because back when I wasn't doing trajectory, I think it

00:09:47   was MG Siegler who would just always complain about email on Twitter all the time. And I

00:09:52   thought it was just so freaking annoying. Like, "Okay, you get a lot of email."

00:09:57   And now that I get a lot of email, I'm like, one, I can understand why he was complaining

00:10:02   so much because it's really overwhelming. I mean, just once you get it at a certain

00:10:06   volume. It's not engineered for sort of high. It's an asynchronous relationship and

00:10:12   you have no control over what comes in. So I can relate, but I kind of refused to complain

00:10:17   about it because I was so grumpy about him complaining about it. I would feel totally

00:10:22   disingenuous to complain about it now. So lips sealed.

00:10:26   them. Uh, except I just complained about it. All right. Somebody else wrote in, uh,

00:10:31   Gail home, Ram, Rambo. I, and I, I, I know I'm butchering his name and I'm sorry,

00:10:36   I mispronounce everybody's name. I even mispronounced Ben Thompson's name

00:10:40   probably. Um, but he's, this is a guy who's,

00:10:44   who's one of the top iOS, uh, sort of backwards engineers out there operating.

00:10:48   He's sort of out there with Steven trout and Smith. Um,

00:10:52   He confirmed on Twitter the speculation I had

00:10:55   that the iOS calculator app is written in Swift now,

00:10:58   along with I think a couple of the other sort of

00:11:01   widget-y type apps like stocks and stuff like that.

00:11:05   So Apple actually is in iOS 11 using Swift.

00:11:09   But it's probably true that rewriting it in Swift

00:11:12   was what led to the unfortunate type one plus two plus three

00:11:16   quickly and you end up with the 24 bug.

00:11:21   Yeah, the iOS 11 is, I don't know, it's always hard to remember.

00:11:27   It does seem like every year it's like, "Oh, this is the worst update ever."

00:11:30   So I'm a little hesitant to look back and look back fondly on something that may not

00:11:36   have been as fond.

00:11:37   But yeah, battery life has been the biggest thing for me.

00:11:41   It just obliterated battery life.

00:11:44   But also...

00:11:45   On the phone.

00:11:46   You're talking...

00:11:47   Yeah, on the phone.

00:11:48   Yeah.

00:11:49   On my iPhone 7.

00:11:51   And then the calculator thing was weird. The one that's really gotten me was I was using

00:11:56   the timer and the timer would go off or would finish and then like 20 seconds later the

00:12:02   notification would come. And I noticed this because I like to watch basketball games on

00:12:09   the treadmill. And so I have the big iPad set up on the treadmill and I have my phone

00:12:14   off to the side. And maybe because the phone's busy because it's also I'm using, what's the

00:12:18   what's the word, we use the phone for the internet? Tethering? Yeah. But what happened

00:12:23   was I would be doing intervals on the treadmill. And the problem was I was using the timer

00:12:27   and the interval would end and then I would change the speed of the treadmill. And then

00:12:32   like 15 seconds later, 20 seconds later, I had already restarted the timer for the new

00:12:36   interval and then the notification would come in. I have to grab my phone and turn the notification

00:12:39   off and it was absolutely bizarre. So one, that's really weird. Two, on ATP a few weeks

00:12:46   ago, Casey was talking about that he was getting notifications on his watch for a local notification

00:12:51   even though he wasn't connected to his phone.

00:12:53   I heard that and I was like, "Wait a minute. Is that true for me too?" I thought maybe

00:12:57   it was and then ever since that episode of ATP, it's never happened to me again and

00:13:01   I don't know what happened. But I do remember that.

00:13:04   I don't know. I don't understand how a phone could take 25 seconds or 20 seconds

00:13:10   or however long it is to have a local notification. So I'm actually really curious if there

00:13:14   There is something being sent up to the cloud and the delay is being sent up to Apple's

00:13:22   notification service and it's coming back down even though it's a local notification.

00:13:26   Because I'm far away, generally stuff's more laggy for me in general.

00:13:29   I don't think Apple doesn't have a data center here in Taiwan.

00:13:32   I think you're right.

00:13:36   It might confirm Casey's hypothesis and would explain why it's happening, but from a user

00:13:42   experience perspective, it's abysmal. It's like, how can that be? How can that be how

00:13:48   you experience a timer? Timer is like the most basic functionality in a computer.

00:13:53   All right. I've got an anecdote to share from a little birdie who listens to the show.

00:13:59   Just wanted to, here's an email I got. Just wanted to share an anecdote that has made

00:14:02   me laugh in recent days. Back in, I'm just going to say a couple of, a handful of years

00:14:06   ago. This guy was asked to interview for a QA job at Apple. He was going to be a QA engineer at Apple.

00:14:16   Quality Assurance. Yep. And he had 10 interviews, which is a lot. He had 10 interviews. And in two

00:14:21   out of the 10 interviews, I'll read from his email. I was asked how I would QA the calculator app.

00:14:29   During the second one, the interviewer gave examples of what he'd do, including repetitive

00:14:35   entry and sequential entry. The examples he used were 1+1+1+1 and 1+2+3. The fact that

00:14:45   this bug got into iOS 11 is ridiculous because it's literally what seemed like a standard

00:14:50   screening question for QA positions at Apple. Yikes. My thanks to this little birdie for

00:14:57   sharing this anecdote and permitting me to share it here. And I'll just say this for

00:15:03   all those of you who are listening. I wrote back to this listener of the show and I thanked

00:15:08   him for the email and I asked him if I could share it here, stripping the identifying details.

00:15:15   So anybody out there who's thinking about sending me similar stories, if you don't want

00:15:19   me to share them, you can of course trust me not to. But this one I thought was pretty

00:15:24   bad.

00:15:25   Pretty bad. It's funny you the the like sharing or not sharing stuff. Well, it when I first started to tech

00:15:31   It was so jarring when we talked and someone say oh by the way, this is off the record and I'd be like, of course

00:15:35   This is off the record. Yeah, but I'm like, oh, yeah, I guess I guess I'm a quote-unquote media member now

00:15:40   But it's interesting. I always tell them like I'm not a reporter right like it's so for especially for what I do

00:15:45   There's occasionally times

00:15:46   I do know stuff and I like I don't I actually almost don't like knowing it because then like it

00:15:53   it obviously will shade what I write, but I almost like the purity of like I'm just

00:15:57   I'm reacting the same thing you are. But even then it's like I don't want to be

00:16:00   known as being someone that breaks news and for me getting the you know, just talk like

00:16:05   I would my presumption is off the record just because that's not what I do. But it is

00:16:10   always the it's something that I have to remember to tell people I don't worry. It's

00:16:15   all good. And it's like it's not like there's anything scandalous going on. It's just

00:16:17   like to your point sometimes, you know, usually it's in response to something I write. It's

00:16:22   well, there's a little more color to this. What I write is based on my own analysis and

00:16:27   then sometimes people will respond to that. I'm not writing what people sort of leak

00:16:30   to me or whatever.

00:16:31   Well, for example, I'm not accusing anybody who puts on their business card that they're

00:16:38   a reporter of ever doing this, but I know it happens sometimes. For example, this email

00:16:42   that I got didn't say anything like this is off the record. It just was an email from

00:16:48   somebody who shared the email and somebody who operated under the principle that anything

00:16:55   was on the record by default might read the person's name on the air. I would never

00:17:01   do that. I certainly wouldn't do it for somebody at a low level, but I wouldn't

00:17:05   want to do it for somebody at an executive level either.

00:17:08   Yeah, and I have no objection to reporters doing that. I think that whole thing happened

00:17:13   with Steve Bannon and emailing the guy at the New York, Ryan Leeza. But if you're

00:17:20   a high-level political operative and you're dealing with a national political reporter,

00:17:26   it's quite clearly the rules of the game that everything's on the record, unless

00:17:30   explicitly otherwise. And so it's funny. It was always weird to me to fall in. Some

00:17:37   people will then put me there. I'm like, "Well, am I in the media?" But I don't

00:17:42   think of myself as a reporter at all. And so for me, the ground rules for me are different.

00:17:46   That's not to say the ground rules are wrong, but I don't know, this is totally inside baseball.

00:17:51   But it's something that reminded me of.

00:17:53   - I don't know. To me, it's like the traditional media and the reporting rules are a little

00:18:00   on the gotcha side, where it's sort of like by it, it always defaults to every conversation

00:18:07   defaults to on the record until the subject flips the switch and says this is off the record.

00:18:12   Whereas I prefer to operate where everything defaults to a neutral position, where if there's

00:18:18   any chance that what we're about to discuss might be professionally interesting to me or newsworthy

00:18:23   in any way, let's stop and clarify what's going on here. Let's not even, you know, before you even

00:18:29   tell me anything, let's clarify this is on or off the record. I don't like the idea that it always

00:18:36   defaults to on the record until you say otherwise. It just seems—I'm just not comfortable with it,

00:18:42   personally. Right. And again, I can understand it from a more sort of reporter perspective.

00:18:49   Like that's what they do. But the implicit tradeoff is, are you actually getting genuine

00:18:57   answers versus are you getting sort of PR boilerplate? And on the flip side,

00:19:03   sort of like you want to take the opposite view. It's like, are you carrying water for

00:19:09   whoever it might be versus being objective and honest with your readers and transparent?

00:19:14   And so it's very easy. You can critique either side depending on what perspective you want to

00:19:19   take. All right, let me take a break here. As good time as any to thank our first sponsor and

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00:19:45   saying, "Oh man, my bed isn't like that in a nice hotel," my son comes home and jumps in his bed and

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00:20:12   Look, you spend one third of your life sleeping.

00:20:14   I spend quite a bit more than one third of my life sleeping.

00:20:18   So you should be comfortable.

00:20:19   I know it's a canard, it's a cliche,

00:20:22   that because you spend quote unquote

00:20:23   130 of your life sleeping, you should spend a lot of money,

00:20:25   spend good money on a good mattress and good pillows

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00:20:36   if you're sleeping on scratchy sheets

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00:22:35   I forgot to tell this story. I had Jim Daren't belong last week and we were both it was like

00:22:39   the day after the iPhone embargo dropped. And so we had a sort of a first impressions

00:22:44   of the iPhone 10 show. I completely forgot to tell the story that the day before on Monday,

00:22:52   so last we recorded last Tuesday, and that's when the embargo dropped on Monday morning,

00:22:57   Monday around noon, I had a briefing in New York City with Apple where they were going

00:23:01   to give me my iPhone 10 review unit. And I take the Amtrak up to New York. Do you know

00:23:08   - Listen, you know this story, right?

00:23:09   You know what I'm gonna tell you.

00:23:11   - I do. - I get up.

00:23:12   - I saw your picture.

00:23:13   - I get up in New York, well, most places,

00:23:17   most cities that I've been to,

00:23:18   the train station is sort of underground.

00:23:20   You have to go up like a flight of stairs

00:23:21   or an escalator or something like that.

00:23:23   So I come up the escalator into Penn Station

00:23:26   and immediately right there at the top of my,

00:23:30   they don't call them terminals,

00:23:32   I forget what they call them, track,

00:23:34   right at the top of my, the exit for my track.

00:23:36   is Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, who was at the time running for re-election,

00:23:43   and a handful of security, seemed like security people, and a handful of media people too.

00:23:48   Not a big crowd, but there he is, and you can't miss him because Bill de Blasio is about,

00:23:52   I think he's around 6'5", 6'6", maybe taller.

00:23:55   But he's surrounded by people, but you see his head sticking above them, there's no missing it.

00:24:01   And I thought, well that's something you don't see every day.

00:24:03   never seen the mayor of New York in Penn Station. And then it occurred to me, like, well, I

00:24:08   wonder what he's waiting for. And I turn around and literally like five people behind me on

00:24:13   the escalator is Bernie Sanders. And he didn't seem to have any kind of, he had people with

00:24:20   him, but it didn't seem like he had security. And I realized, oh, there's probably for de

00:24:27   Blasio's reelection campaign, he's drumming up support, he's got Bernie Sanders up in

00:24:31   New York to, you know, I guess have some kind of event. But I had to get downtown to where

00:24:38   Apple has these events. They bought, you know, Apple has bought some sort of mansion down

00:24:44   in downtown Manhattan and it's really magnificent. But they have it just to hold media events

00:24:52   and I don't know what else they do throughout the year but it's really quite a thing. But

00:24:56   I don't know, a 20-minute subway ride. So I go there infrequently enough that I never remember

00:25:02   how to get there. So I bring up Apple Maps on my phone and do the transit thing. And the transit

00:25:08   thing tells me I can either take the A train or the C train. And this is where Apple Maps is maybe,

00:25:12   I don't know, maybe not as good. Maybe I shouldn't use it. But Apple Maps seemed to suggest to me

00:25:17   that either train would be just as good. And I figured out now that the A train is actually

00:25:23   better. It takes four stops to get to where you go, whereas the C train stops a couple

00:25:29   more times, you get like six stops. So A train's the way to go. But I just randomly picked

00:25:34   A train for that trip, because I thought, what's six and one half a dozen? So anyway,

00:25:39   I head towards the A train. I'm not quite sure where I'm going. I think I obviously

00:25:44   took some kind of circuitous route, because by the time I got to the platform for the

00:25:50   A train, there's de Blasio and Sanders standing there already. It's presumably Bill de Blasio's

00:25:55   people know their way to Penn. Well, at least they know Penn Station. Penn Station is meandering

00:26:01   where without ever leaving or stepping above ground, there's an entire train station for

00:26:08   Amtrak for the Eastern Corridor. There's an entire train station for New Jersey Transit,

00:26:13   which is commuter trains that go through New York and New Jersey, but are completely unrelated

00:26:18   to Amtrak. And then there's also at least five of the subway lines, maybe more, but

00:26:25   at least five of the subway lines stop underground at Penn Station. So I obviously took the wrong

00:26:31   way because I passed them before, I left them before they greeted each other and by the

00:26:35   time I got up there, there they were again. And so I figured, what the hell, this time

00:26:40   I'm not going to try to avoid them. And I squeezed into the car with Bernie Sanders

00:26:45   and Bill de Blasio and took a picture I posted to Instagram where I was just a couple feet

00:26:49   away from Bernie and he was looking at me smiling. It was pretty cool.

00:26:52   Yeah, he's grinning. He's grinning. So did he do you're taking his picture?

00:26:55   Yeah, I think so. It seems like it. I took a bunch and this is my, the lesson to be learned

00:27:00   from this is A, take the train. You never know what's going to happen. But B, it's the

00:27:04   old adage about photography where just take a bunch of photos, take a bunch. Because I

00:27:09   took, I probably should have taken more, but I took about eight photos trying to get a

00:27:14   picture of Bernie. And when I went back and looked through them when it was all over,

00:27:19   there was only one of them that was any good, but it was great. And the other ones, the

00:27:24   other ones, like the first three or four, if I had stopped, it was sort of like you

00:27:29   would have had to take my word that that's Bernie Sanders. Like you could see de Blasio

00:27:33   because he's so tall, but the white haired man next to him, you'd have to take my word

00:27:37   that that was Bernie Sanders. You couldn't even see his face.

00:27:41   funny is in the show notes here you have this link to a New York Post article about the

00:27:46   trip. And this is like, I just have to, Sanders has this thing, he's talking about the subway.

00:27:53   When you ride on the subway, he was complaining about the subway. When you ride on the subway,

00:27:57   you should ride in comfort. You should ride in the subway car where you can sit and where

00:28:00   you know where the train is coming. That's not a radical idea. It exists around the world.

00:28:04   And I mean, I'm all for the subways being better and American infrastructure improving,

00:28:10   But this picture, it looks very crowded in that subway car, and I'd imagine it's very

00:28:15   crowded. It is like half as crowded as like a Tokyo subway car.

00:28:19   Oh, I've seen it.

00:28:20   I mean, Taipei is pretty crowded too, but Tokyo is insane if you've ever been on these.

00:28:26   And their infrastructure is—Japan, Japanese infrastructure is unbelievable. It's incredible.

00:28:31   And all the trains are on time, famously. But believe me, you are not getting a place

00:28:35   to sit. So I'm on board with some of the complaints, but that is not a valid complaint.

00:28:41   Even looking at this picture, it looks very crowded and relative to the rest of the world

00:28:44   is not crowded at all.

00:28:46   Yeah. Anyway, it was a very exciting trip before I even got the iPhone X.

00:28:56   So it's funny. We talked about doing the podcast last week and I told you that I was

00:29:02   not going to have an iPhone X because my order was delayed. Over the weekend, I came across

00:29:07   an opportunity to acquire one sooner than I might have otherwise for a reasonable surcharge.

00:29:16   That was honestly very, very small, less than $100. So I got one. I had no actually intention

00:29:23   of writing about Apple or the iPhone this week, but I have to say, and you mentioned

00:29:28   this when you first got it, and I'm not sure I completely believed you. I was pretty and

00:29:34   continue to be pretty blown away by it. And maybe just be in part because I've always

00:29:39   been a little skeptical of it from the beginning, in part because that button seems so key.

00:29:44   And then also the whole PR thing, which I know you've talked about, but it was so bizarre.

00:29:47   Like, are they trying to hide something? Maybe it's because my expectations had been sufficiently

00:29:52   ratcheted down, that it's been an experience with a new Apple product that—except for

00:30:00   AirPods, I feel like I haven't had in a long time.

00:30:03   Yeah, it almost seems like—and there have been a couple of good podcasts talking about

00:30:06   the new PR strategy of not starting the PR blitz with a bunch of embargoed reviews from

00:30:16   well-known reviewers of technical products and doing something else. And I think that

00:30:23   the strategy actually works both ways. I think if you think about it, where if they do feel

00:30:27   like they have something to hide, like let's say a face ID actually was, they expected

00:30:32   like, oh my God, they're going to kill us over the way this works, then they better

00:30:35   not seed review units first and get something else to get the media started first. But then

00:30:40   if it is actually good, if there's nothing to hide, which I think is truly the case,

00:30:44   again, we can get into some of these details. There's there are things to complain about,

00:30:47   but nothing that you would make you say, I don't love this phone. They're so confident

00:30:54   in that case, that they don't have to they don't have to worry if people think that they

00:30:59   didn't see reviews early, because they have something to hide because they they know that

00:31:03   the quality of product is going to win out in the end anyway. Like either way they can

00:31:07   do they can do it the same way.

00:31:09   Yeah, the whole thing, I think you mentioned on Daring Fireball that, sorry, I'm not

00:31:14   sure if you talked about it on the podcast earlier, but that they felt burned by the

00:31:20   watch reviews and focusing on that bug. I mean, the problem with that is, one, you mentioned

00:31:27   there's a perfect storm about how that bug happened, but at the end of the day, they

00:31:30   shipped a really bad bug. The fact that the early press around the LTE Apple Watch was

00:31:37   about a bug is Apple's fault. It's not the press's fault. If you don't want to have that

00:31:41   sort of coverage, don't ship that sort of bug. And if you didn't cover that bug because

00:31:45   your QA was a part of it, why is the QA like that? Well, because Apple is so secretive

00:31:49   in part because no one was bringing in the normal consumer use case where normal people

00:31:58   connect to Starbucks Wi-Fi all the time. And that's on Apple. That's Apple's fault that

00:32:03   that happen. And the fact that they seem appeared to have decided the lesson to take away is

00:32:09   to kind of lash out against the tech press. I mean, in a passive aggressive sort of way.

00:32:13   To me, it's almost more disturbing than the fact that they had this weird, like, if they

00:32:20   want to change their strategy, that's fine. I actually wrote a thing saying like, yeah,

00:32:23   I think it's great. I love, I think the vloggers are awesome. I love the idea that, I mean,

00:32:28   Think about it. It's funny because you were the one guy that spoke out about the strategy,

00:32:34   what's going on here. If anything, you are actually much closer to the vloggers than

00:32:38   anyone else because you're a one-man show that's built your own brand by virtue of

00:32:42   the internet. The internet makes it possible for you to do what you do. Whereas, you go

00:32:46   back to the original iPhone, the reason they got those review units is first and foremost

00:32:50   because of the publications they work for.

00:32:53   going forward, I think Nielle Patel is a great reviewer. I thought his iPhone video review

00:32:58   was excellent and definitely worth watching. But at the end of the day, if it was just

00:33:03   Nielle Patel and he didn't work for The Verge, which to his credit, he has built into a meaningful

00:33:09   brand. But if he didn't have that publication brand attached to him, it's still sort of

00:33:12   a publication sort of thing. Whereas these YouTube guys, they're coming up from nothing,

00:33:16   right? They're literally just throwing up videos on YouTube and building an audience

00:33:19   in the most organic way possible. And to see those kind of folks be rewarded with this

00:33:25   sort of attention, to me it's very gratifying in a similar situation. And so to me, it's

00:33:31   great that they did this, but to have this, the right hand is doing this cool thing and

00:33:36   the left hand is doing this vindictive, "Screw you guys, we'll give you 12 hours with the

00:33:44   phone is, it's unfortunate. And I think it's, I think a little more introspection on Apple

00:33:51   side would have been a better, would have been a better, would have been a better response

00:33:54   to the watch thing.

00:33:58   Part of it I was, I had the wrong impression at first. And if I had anything to take anything

00:34:06   back it would be some of the YouTube, some of the snide comments I made about the YouTube

00:34:09   reviews I might have done differently because I was under the impression that they'd had the phone

00:34:14   for a couple of days and this is what they came up with but really what they did was the equivalent

00:34:20   of a second round of the hands-on area after the event and and in fact all of those videos the ones

00:34:28   that came out on Monday the day before like panzerinos full review dropped and the goofy

00:34:38   10-hour period that the rest of us got to review the phone dropped. They were all shot at that

00:34:46   at that that that that I was gonna say place you went to the place I went to in New York it was I

00:34:53   think it used to be a home it's I don't think anybody lives there now but it's it's hard to

00:34:57   describe but it's sort of like a I don't know some kind of just a sort of mansion that could

00:35:02   only exist in Manhattan you know like it wouldn't you wouldn't call it a mansion in the countryside

00:35:07   but in terms of square footage and the beautiful sunlight and everything. But if you look around

00:35:11   at those videos, you can get a sense of the top two floors of that building that Apple

00:35:16   now owns. I don't know if they own the whole building. They might only own top three floors.

00:35:21   No, it makes sense. If you're buying a mansion in New York, you're buying a condo on the

00:35:26   top of the top of the place.

00:35:27   Right. But if you watch those videos again, and I'll put the links in the show notes,

00:35:30   you can see actually, which I didn't pick up on at first because I was trying to concentrate

00:35:35   at first on what these people said about the iPhone 10.

00:35:38   But if you look at the videos,

00:35:39   you can see that they were all shot in the same place.

00:35:43   And I also do think, and it's, I'm not even,

00:35:46   this isn't even criticism.

00:35:48   It's not even criticism,

00:35:49   but I actually do think that the YouTubers

00:35:52   deliberately framed the videos to sort of disguise that fact.

00:35:57   I'd like to sort of make this seem like their access

00:36:00   was a little bit more exclusive than it actually was,

00:36:04   that they weren't all just in a big hands-on room

00:36:06   by them, you know, with each other.

00:36:08   - Right, right.

00:36:09   - And so they didn't get more than like minutes

00:36:13   with the phone, which is partly why their videos

00:36:15   seemed so shallow.

00:36:18   - Right.

00:36:19   - Because, well, of course they were shallow.

00:36:20   They, you know, they had the phone for like, I don't know,

00:36:23   half an hour or an hour or something.

00:36:26   And to answer people's questions,

00:36:28   like a couple of podcasts this week said like,

00:36:29   well, even if you were gonna go with YouTube, YouTubers,

00:36:34   why in the world wouldn't you have like MKBHD or iJustine

00:36:39   or some of the ones who were, you know, the top tier ones. And that's because,

00:36:42   um, those, like iJustine and MKBHD,

00:36:47   they were at the event in September and they were at the regular hands-on area.

00:36:51   And, uh, I'm guessing got seated. I don't know if, yeah,

00:36:55   I'm guessing that they got.

00:36:57   Well, a couple, a couple of these,

00:36:58   a couple of these YouTubers were at the event in September also. Yeah.

00:37:03   couple of them referenced it. I think the thing is that those YouTubers you just referenced,

00:37:08   they're in the same audience as The Verge. They're in the same audience as you. They're

00:37:14   in the same audience as TechCrunch. And I think this was clearly an attempt to reach a new and

00:37:19   different audience. And it was probably also a bit of an experiment. And so that was a reason to

00:37:24   maybe do a different set, a relative audience speaking smaller set than maybe they'll do

00:37:33   in the future. Maybe in the future they will really blow out this sort of YouTube thing

00:37:36   and spread it out broadly. And again, I think it's a great idea, but I think we both were

00:37:41   on the same page. It would have made so much more sense to have it be additive as opposed

00:37:45   to subtractive. It's not like they're short on units. That's a broader story too. They're

00:37:51   really making more of these than I think people expected in general, but that would never

00:37:56   affect the number of review units anyway. If there's a difference between 15 review

00:38:01   units and 30 review units, they're not actually producing a phone because that's not a—I

00:38:05   mean, Apple is at such scale, that's not a concern ever.

00:38:09   Even if—and we now know that since preorders went out, that they had millions of phones,

00:38:16   certainly far more than the quote one or two million that Ming-Chi Kuo quoted. You know,

00:38:22   there's no question that there are more than one or two million iPhones at launch. And

00:38:27   they're doing pretty well. Like they're still, you know, even now as we record, they still,

00:38:32   if you ordered a phone right now as we speak, you still could get a December ship date.

00:38:36   And a lot of the people who had mid-November and December ship dates have since gotten

00:38:41   updates that their ship date is moved up. So they're, you know, they're doing well.

00:38:46   But even in the worst case scenario, like there's no way that they, they only had, they

00:38:52   couldn't get 30, 30 phones and had to settle for 15. You know, like they're polished gemstones

00:39:00   being like, there's one guy, one guy in the, on the assembly line who knows how to put

00:39:05   these things together and he's spending all day making them like a handmade watch. Yeah.

00:39:11   I mean, the scale is so hard to comprehend. I mean, I know you've, it's funny, I guess

00:39:17   it's one of the things that I almost took for granted, because I know you've written

00:39:20   and noted in the last few weeks about the fact that these decisions had to be made in

00:39:24   November, and I guess I, of course they had to be made in November. They are making tens

00:39:30   of millions of phones, and you sometimes see these weird comments later on, like, "Oh,

00:39:34   it took Apple six months to copy Samsung on this." No, if any two features happen simultaneously

00:39:40   on two phones within like a year and that's pushing it, then they were decisions made

00:39:46   independently, separately of each other. And the other thing though to note is clearly

00:39:52   there is, the reporting wasn't that, the reporting wasn't wrong. The iPhone X is

00:39:57   clearly supply constrained. You can tell by looking at Apple's results because if you

00:40:03   go through their results and you measure and you presume, if you look back, what's the

00:40:08   expectations for iPad? What's the expectations for the Mac? What's the expectations for their

00:40:13   wearables division? What's the expectations for services? And you take that out and you subtract

00:40:18   that to me, I'm predicting those categories will be about $25.6 billion in revenue next quarter. So

00:40:23   if you take $25.6 billion away from what they're predicting in total revenue, the amount that's

00:40:32   left for the phones is like about 60 billion. And that either means that ASP is going down,

00:40:37   or it means that their units are going to be down. And that suggests that there's going to be excess

00:40:46   demand that's not being met by supply. Because unless you believe that units is going to fall

00:40:51   significantly, or that ASP is going to fall, which given the fact they're selling much more expensive

00:40:54   of phones, that seems highly unlikely to say the least.

00:40:57   Right. Like unit for unit, comparing this year's iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models to last

00:41:05   year's iPhone 7 models, the prices have come down a little bit. So if you wanted a

00:41:10   256 gig iPhone 7 Plus last year, it was actually a little bit more expensive than the iPhone

00:41:19   8 Plus with the maximum storage this year, but not by much.

00:41:23   But like the idea that the 1149 and 999 iPhone X aren't going to raise the ASP seems a little

00:41:35   nutty.

00:41:36   Well, also the 64GB iPhone 8 is more expensive.

00:41:38   Yes.

00:41:39   $50 more expensive.

00:41:40   Because last year's was 32, right?

00:41:41   Right, exactly.

00:41:42   No, no, no, not just that.

00:41:43   No, I think it was 64, but it started at 649.

00:41:46   This year it starts at 699.

00:41:49   And the other thing driving this, this is kind of an interesting point.

00:41:53   Samsung's memory prices have exploded in the last year or so. Actually, the company

00:42:00   that's really killing right now is Samsung. A few years ago, and I wrote about this at

00:42:05   the time, Samsung clearly pivoted, not pivoted, but Samsung has always been the best at components

00:42:12   and they've been the best by just sheer force of will and massive investment. That's

00:42:17   how the Weepfrog Sony built it in memory and stuff like that and the other Japanese companies.

00:42:22   And then they used all the revenue that was throwing off these operations to invest more

00:42:27   and more and more to always kind of be on the cutting edge.

00:42:29   And a few years ago when their smartphones were really starting to hit the rough patch

00:42:37   that they did, they made a kind of clear decision to we're going to double down on components

00:42:42   again.

00:42:43   And they built this massive factory, a couple of massive factories, one the OLED screens

00:42:48   and two on memory.

00:42:50   it is paying off in a massive way right now. I mean, they are so profitable right now.

00:42:54   And do you see they're charging Apple like 150 bucks per OLED screen or something like

00:42:58   that?

00:42:59   I did not see that. But I did see it. I saw a couple of pieces, though, that the consensus

00:43:03   seems almost unanimous that Samsung makes more profit on an iPhone, or at least on an

00:43:08   iPhone X, than they make on their own high-end phones.

00:43:12   Yeah. I mean, I'm not sure about that, but it wouldn't surprise me. But yeah, they're

00:43:18   They're charging, I'll send you the links and put it in the show notes.

00:43:23   You can put it in the show notes yourself.

00:43:25   You could.

00:43:29   So Apple is charging Apple $110 per unit for the OLED display.

00:43:33   Samsung is charging Apple.

00:43:34   Yeah, and this is the IHS estimates, which Tim Cook says, "Oh, those aren't right."

00:43:37   But I mean, that's the best thing we have.

00:43:39   So it says Apple's paying 110 units for a display, whereas for the 8 Plus, they're

00:43:45   paying $50 a unit.

00:43:47   would for the regular LCD display. And it also has internal charges, like Samsung charges

00:43:54   themselves internally $85 per screen. So they're basically, Apple's paying like a $25 premium

00:44:02   just because Samsung's the only company that can produce screens to the quality Apple

00:44:07   wants. And so they really have them over a barrel here. So what's interesting is if

00:44:11   If these numbers are correct, these IHS numbers, Apple, even though the iPhone X starts at

00:44:18   $1,000, Apple's margin on a percentage basis is actually less on the iPhone X than it is

00:44:24   on the iPhone 8.

00:44:25   So it's not, yes, it's more expensive, you get more revenue, but it's not a pure

00:44:30   cash grab.

00:44:32   To maintain their margins, they literally had to charge $1,000 for the phone.

00:44:36   emphasized in my briefing and I saw it in Parroted in a bunch of the reviews I read.

00:44:45   So it was obviously something that they mentioned in every single briefing for everybody who

00:44:50   got a review unit of the iPhone that the OLED display in the iPhone X is not a Samsung design.

00:44:57   It is entirely from beginning to end an Apple design that Samsung just manufactures. It

00:45:04   It is the equivalent in displays to the A11 chip in CPUs, where nobody else has a display

00:45:13   like this.

00:45:14   Now, whether it's as far ahead of competing products as the A11 is versus the high-end

00:45:20   Snapdragon chips, I don't think that's true.

00:45:23   It seems to me like there's a case to be made in that displaymate guy.

00:45:27   Are you familiar with that guy?

00:45:30   No, I don't think so.

00:45:32   I'll put a link in the show notes.

00:45:36   Is this guy Dr. Raymond somebody?

00:45:39   Display Mate, go to displaymate.com.

00:45:43   Just go to displaymate.com and see why I'm

00:45:50   a little exasperated here.

00:45:52   I find his website to be a bit of a jumble to read.

00:45:58   - Which is ironic.

00:46:01   but he does reviews of displays.

00:46:05   And seems like he really is on the up and up

00:46:09   in so far as that, unlike DxO,

00:46:12   the company that rates cameras,

00:46:14   and also coincidentally offers their services

00:46:19   for consulting to the makers of smartphone cameras,

00:46:22   and may or may not give better reviews

00:46:27   and higher priority reviews to those who hire them.

00:46:30   This guy doesn't seem to do anything like that.

00:46:33   There doesn't seem to be any kind of shakedown

00:46:35   to get a rating from him.

00:46:36   He just, I don't know what else he does.

00:46:37   He might be a consultant in some way,

00:46:39   but you know, anyway, his review of the iPhone X display

00:46:43   or iPhone X display, I should say, was glowing,

00:46:45   and he called it the best display ever made

00:46:47   and has all sorts of technical reasons

00:46:49   for showing and proving, you know, not just like,

00:46:52   oh, it looks better,

00:46:53   but like putting them under electron microscope

00:46:57   and measuring the actual knit units coming out of the display, ways that are measurable

00:47:03   and objective that it's a better display.

00:47:05   Right. That's totally fine. I believe Apple, that it is their design.

00:47:10   But it's funny that they mention it.

00:47:11   Manufacturing competency is a very real thing. It's interesting because people get so focused

00:47:19   on Apple strategy where Apple sells differentiated products that people will pay a premium for,

00:47:23   But that's not the only viable strategy. One is to have a superior cost structure,

00:47:31   which Samsung does in their manufacturing components, where they're at such scale

00:47:35   and they're so far ahead in their processes relative to other companies that they can

00:47:39   just produce this stuff cheaper than everyone else, which means if they sell stuff at the

00:47:43   same price as everyone else, their margins are actually much greater. It's like the

00:47:47   Apple strategy flipped over on its head. In the case of OLED displays, what seems to be

00:47:52   the case is not only does Samsung have their usual sort of scale and cost structure advantages,

00:47:58   the actual pure capability of making this screen to Apple's specification, they're

00:48:03   the only ones that can do it. And so they are profiting very nicely from that.

00:48:08   And it is so… it's probably not purely coincidental. It's just instructive, I suppose,

00:48:16   because I think the reasons that Google decided to do what they did weren't coincident.

00:48:20   I think it was because they wanted,

00:48:21   they knew that Apple was moving to OLED

00:48:24   with their flagship phone and wanted to stay there.

00:48:27   So they moved the new Pixel 2s both have OLED displays

00:48:32   and the smaller one has a Samsung OLED display

00:48:36   and the larger one has an LG display

00:48:38   and the LG display is literally a disaster.

00:48:41   It has a horrible color shifting

00:48:46   And it suffers from image retention

00:48:50   after about a week of use, or at least on some units.

00:48:53   So there's a lot of problems there.

00:48:54   And it just is funny, what I'm saying though,

00:48:55   is it just shows that LG's OLED manufacturing capabilities

00:49:00   are not anywhere close to Samsung's.

00:49:04   That you really, it's the proof,

00:49:06   that to me is the proof that Samsung is the only company

00:49:10   capable of producing, manufacturing,

00:49:12   whatever you wanna say,

00:49:13   that displays up to Apple's standards.

00:49:16   - Yeah, and this is why Apple is spending,

00:49:20   spends tons and tons of money to help,

00:49:23   basically help other companies build off this capability.

00:49:26   So Apple played a big role in acquiring

00:49:29   Toshiba's memory unit, for example,

00:49:31   because they want to build that up

00:49:34   so there's more supply in the market,

00:49:35   so they can pay more because their scale is so massive

00:49:39   that they'll do these multi-billion dollar investments

00:49:41   where they're practically giving money to suppliers to build up

00:49:45   their capabilities so that Apple can then in return buy more

00:49:48   stuff from them but but at a lower sort of unit unit cost if

00:49:51   you think about it, if Apple sells like 100 100 million

00:49:57   iPhone, iPhone 10s, and that premium is is really $60 like

00:50:01   that article says, I mean, that's like that's just a huge

00:50:04   that's 100 100 million times 60 at 66 $6 billion. Like it pays

00:50:11   off to bring on these suppliers online. And it's a really great example of why.

00:50:15   Yeah. Do you remember there was a story probably about 10 years ago where Apple had locked

00:50:19   in a long-term price on memory chips and lo and behold, the prices shot up. And because

00:50:29   Apple had signed this long-term contract, I guess more or less in anticipation that

00:50:35   for some reason, somewhere within that Apple supply chain and the Tim Cook's operating

00:50:44   division, they figured out that either it was going to happen or it was likely enough

00:50:49   to happen that it would be worth making the bet to lock the prices in now. I think it

00:50:54   was mostly for iPods, I think the chips.

00:50:57   Yeah, that's probably why they knew to make the decision because Apple was going to be

00:51:00   the primary driver of memory demand. I think they understood how much iPods were going

00:51:05   to grow, is going to engender competitors. Yeah, that's one of the all-time great business

00:51:10   deals. I think Apple sort of, people who follow the company closely remember it, but broadly

00:51:15   speaking it is a deal that was worth billions of dollars in profit. It wasn't earned by,

00:51:24   again it wasn't earned by driving up revenue, it was earned on the opposite side by limiting

00:51:28   costs but that doesn't make it, at the end of the line from a bottom line perspective,

00:51:31   it was just as impactful.

00:51:32   However hard other companies found it to make competing media players

00:51:36   With the iPod once that they were priced out of the memory market

00:51:41   it was almost like they couldn't like it wasn't even whatever product marketing and branding and design and

00:51:47   the lack of an iTunes

00:51:50   interface to get music onto the device, you know that

00:51:56   They just couldn't even price the chips competitively, right? Well, they could they didn't even have a cost advantage

00:52:02   advantage. You would hope that at least if you're going to build a "inferior product,"

00:52:07   you could at least make it cheaper. But they couldn't. This is a long-standing advantage

00:52:11   of Apple in general. You've talked about how the scale of the iPhone makes it challenging

00:52:17   to bring new technologies to market because you have to be able to produce it in the tens

00:52:21   of millions, hundreds of millions within a year. That's really, really hard. On the

00:52:26   On the flip side, though, Apple can get to a position where they have so much leverage

00:52:32   over component prices and because all the investments that goes into these lines, to

00:52:38   say build out the capability to make a particular sort of component or to build out the capability

00:52:42   to like with the unibody thing, like there was this report about they had a prototype

00:52:47   machine that could make it, but they couldn't figure out how to manufacture it, so Apple

00:52:50   basically bought every prototype machine in the world and put it on the assembly line.

00:52:54   that they're maybe a bit apocryphal, but the idea is why could they do that? Because

00:52:58   they're selling so many units that they can spread out that capital investment over

00:53:04   that many more units and that gives them a genuine price advantage, a cost advantage

00:53:10   relative to their competition even though they're also selling the most expensive

00:53:14   phone. So scale is just so impactful on both sides of the equation.

00:53:18   I remember some sort of story about Southwest Airlines having an advantage on

00:53:23   Like about a decade or so ago or longer where they had somehow made some kind of fuel hedging

00:53:28   Bet where they locked in long-term fuel prices before fuel went up for the rest of the airlines and

00:53:35   Southwest got it then got there by got away with charging insanely lower airfares for a couple of years versus anybody even other

00:53:43   discount quote-unquote discount carriers

00:53:46   Yeah, but I think I believe I believe that is right

00:53:49   But I think the same thing happened but opposite a few years ago with fuel prices dropped and I think it was Southwest

00:53:55   But it was one you know, I was locked into higher prices might have been my hand

00:53:58   And so what goes around comes around it's uh

00:54:02   It's definitely difficult

00:54:04   I had a thought I was gonna say a couple of minutes ago

00:54:06   When we were talking about the review embargoes and I had been thinking for a while

00:54:11   If they wanted to come out like let's have to have the real reviews the in-depth reviews come out Tuesday morning

00:54:17   But they wanted Monday to start with these

00:54:20   Just to build up enthusiasm and have and and reach a new audience have these, you know YouTube hands-on

00:54:27   You know quick takes

00:54:30   Why not? Why why did they have to give the reviewers the phones the day before?

00:54:35   Why couldn't they give us the phones a week before with the Tuesday embargo?

00:54:39   give us a week to write in-depth reviews and have these other reviews shipped first.

00:54:43   Right, exactly. Which would be totally reasonable.

00:54:46   All right. I've had that thought in my head ever since this happened.

00:54:48   I mean, for 10 days now, that's been my thought.

00:54:54   Well, that's the problem. They half-assed the vindictiveness.

00:54:57   Right.

00:54:58   If you're going to actually be vindictive, don't give people a review phone, right?

00:55:02   All right.

00:55:02   To give them 12 hours before is like you're giving them an opportunity to write a view

00:55:08   before the embargo. It's just going to be a crappy review.

00:55:11   Like if you actually want to punish people, don't give them a review phone.

00:55:13   If you're going to give them review phone and give them time, time to use it.

00:55:16   Well, here's the thought though.

00:55:17   That just occurred to me about why they might not have done that now vindictive

00:55:21   vindictiveness might be the entire explanation, but here's the thought.

00:55:24   I believe I can't, I can't name names,

00:55:27   but I believe that there are a few publications that have a

00:55:32   policy that, uh, if,

00:55:35   if they agree to an embargo and any competing publication breaks the embargo,

00:55:40   they will break the embargo immediately as well. And.

00:55:45   Oh, so they wanted,

00:55:46   they didn't want to get handed out until after the YouTube reviews dropped.

00:55:48   Right. I wonder,

00:55:50   I just wonder if Apple was concerned that some of the,

00:55:54   I wouldn't have, you know, but, uh,

00:55:56   I do wonder if other publications that let's say if they had had the phone for

00:56:01   six days and were gearing up to publish on Tuesday morning, the seventh day, but these

00:56:06   other reviews dropped Monday and they were all like, "What the hell?" that they would

00:56:10   immediately finish up whatever they were working on and hit publish to get them out the door,

00:56:15   which wasn't what Apple wanted strategically. I would not be surprised if that had entered

00:56:19   their mind.

00:56:20   No. Regardless, it'll be interesting to see what they do next time. I suspect it will

00:56:24   be different.

00:56:25   I wonder. All right, let me take another break and thank our next sponsor. I don't know if

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00:59:57   I had an extra--

01:00:02   No, there's something that came up earlier that I think is really interesting, and I've

01:00:10   kind of hinted at it a couple times this week, but I think you agree and I'm interested

01:00:15   in your take on it. What's been really striking—it's kind of in the context of bugs, right? We

01:00:20   talked about the calculator bug and stuff like that and the various other flaws in Apple's

01:00:24   software and products that are there and you can question, are there more than before?

01:00:30   Are they less than before?

01:00:31   I think there's probably always an aspect of the past always seems better than it actually

01:00:36   was, but there's also the aspect of Apple's products are so much more complicated now,

01:00:40   particularly now that they have cloud components and stuff, that more bugs and user interface

01:00:44   problems are inherent.

01:00:46   And there's the issue of just a company getting bigger and larger and the old guard

01:00:50   kind of retiring and going away, that maybe the standards aren't what they used to be.

01:00:55   But what's been so revelatory for me about the iPhone X is the fact that the iPhone X

01:01:02   is far less perfect than the iPhone 7 was.

01:01:07   Well, all right, let's just—I know where you're going.

01:01:09   Why don't we just read—I have it quoted in the notes.

01:01:12   Do you want to read it or should I read it?

01:01:14   It's an excerpt from your daily update this week.

01:01:17   Or do you want to start the preface before going?

01:01:19   No, you can read it.

01:01:20   You can read it.

01:01:21   It's fine.

01:01:22   All right.

01:01:23   This is from one of Ben's daily updates this week to subscribers of Stratechery.

01:01:28   Stratechery.

01:01:29   Stratechery.

01:01:30   You had it!

01:01:31   You had it!

01:01:32   After like ten episodes of Stratechery.

01:01:34   There it goes.

01:01:35   His wonderful subscription newsletter.

01:01:37   All right, here's the quote.

01:01:40   I'm going to read it.

01:01:41   "There is, though, a place beyond perfection, and I alluded to that in yesterday's article.

01:01:46   Delight.

01:01:47   I like cars and whiskey as an analogy.

01:01:50   Even the perfect car or whiskey is well perfect.

01:01:55   What makes the soul makes the soul sore though are imperfections.

01:02:00   The car that stirs emotion even though it breaks down constantly or rides too rough.

01:02:04   The whiskey that is ever so slightly off or variable by bottle but absolutely intrigues

01:02:12   to that end.

01:02:13   What has been revelatory about the iPhone 10 is the fact that it's imperfections are

01:02:17   not the cause for frustration, but are rather casually tossed aside because the core experience

01:02:23   is just so well fun. It is, dare I say, far more akin to the original iPhone than it is

01:02:30   to the iterated perfection of the iPhone seven. There are rough edges, sure, but the rough

01:02:35   edges exist not because of sloppiness, but because of ambition. And that makes them far

01:02:40   more benign and experience than they perhaps deserve to be. I wish that I had written that

01:02:47   I mean, that's the highest compliment I can pay to it because I agree completely

01:02:52   including the analogies.

01:02:53   Well, we've actually discussed, I think, those, particularly in terms of whiskey anyway,

01:03:00   that exact idea because the context is, I think, was Japanese whiskeys, right? Where

01:03:06   they're so perfect and they, even down to the bottle, like they have a screw top. I'm

01:03:13   sorry, but whiskey should have a screw top. It shouldn't have a cork that disintegrates

01:03:19   and then falls into the whiskey and ends up paying the rear end. And it's only there for

01:03:22   tradition. It doesn't actually add benefit unlike, say, red wine or something like that.

01:03:26   It has a questionable seal, I think, compared to a screw top. A tightly attached screw top,

01:03:31   to me, I trust to be more closer to 100% airtight than a corked top.

01:03:38   Right. And whiskey ages in cats. It doesn't age in bottles. It's not wine. To have a cat

01:03:43   to have a cork is, yeah, it's not as good.

01:03:47   - I believe it's true of Japanese products in general.

01:03:50   I think it's certainly true,

01:03:52   and again, the cars are the other one.

01:03:53   I think Japanese cars are,

01:03:56   I don't even know if it's an opinion.

01:03:58   I think it's almost quantifiable

01:04:01   by consumer product surveys.

01:04:03   Far more reliable than like say German cars,

01:04:09   that if you buy, or American cars, or any other cars, you know, that—

01:04:14   Well, for sure American cars.

01:04:15   You know, if you buy a Lexus or an Acura or an Infiniti, you're going to get a more reliable car

01:04:24   than a Mercedes or an Audi, or even a BMW. Maybe even especially BMW.

01:04:30   Yeah, I think Mercedes are more reliable than—

01:04:33   Yeah, Mercedes might be the somewhat of an exception to that.

01:04:39   But you're also going to get a car that's probably less fun in certain ways, and maybe sort of inspires less love or passion, if you will.

01:04:50   And it's so hard to talk about because it's not really quantifiable. Like, how do you articulate the sort of thrill that comes like the first time you sort of mash down on like a BMW accelerator relative to, relative to a Lexus, even though they may even accelerate the same speed? Like, there's just there's like,

01:05:08   It was like you almost feel stupid saying it even though kind of broadly we all kind

01:05:14   of know there's something there, but because it's so indefinable and hard to articulate,

01:05:20   you feel dumb saying it, but it's a thing.

01:05:22   If you bought cars based on feeds and speeds, as it were, based on specs and that includes

01:05:29   reliability, includes all the other things, the Japanese are already fantastic and have

01:05:35   fantastic businesses building cars, but they'd be even more dominant than they are.

01:05:38   And again, this isn't a stereotypical thing.

01:05:40   Just look at the numbers, look at the consumer reports,

01:05:43   look at the sales numbers.

01:05:44   But they don't have it all.

01:05:47   They don't have the entire market and why not?

01:05:49   - And I would compare it directly.

01:05:51   And I'm not trying to say it's on the same level,

01:05:54   but I think it's the same part of the brain

01:05:57   and the same part of human psychology

01:05:59   to trying to explain how it is that you develop a crush

01:06:04   on a significant other.

01:06:06   what it is, you know, that it,

01:06:07   how do you explain it?

01:06:11   How do you explain how it is when you fall head over heels

01:06:14   in love with somebody and you find yourself

01:06:17   wildly attracted to them?

01:06:19   - And looking over all the flaws.

01:06:22   - Right, right, you know, that, you know, 99.99% of us

01:06:27   aren't going out with or married to a supermodel.

01:06:35   You know, it's, you know, that's just the way it is.

01:06:39   But, you know, we fall in love nonetheless.

01:06:42   Head over heels, wildly, passionately,

01:06:44   can't obsessively in love.

01:06:47   You can't explain it, really.

01:06:48   And that's the way it is with some of these products.

01:06:51   And again, that analogy to the whiskey is interesting too,

01:06:54   because the Japanese whiskey, you and I both agree,

01:06:57   is arguably perfect.

01:07:00   Or it's-- - Yeah, yamazaki.

01:07:02   - Right.

01:07:02   - It's like, it's flawless.

01:07:05   It's flawless and it's always exactly the same.

01:07:08   And you can't complain about any aspect to it.

01:07:12   But there's something about like a wildly uneven whiskey,

01:07:17   like a Lagavulin.

01:07:20   Lagavulin is like a whiskey,

01:07:22   like the guy at the gym who only works on his arms

01:07:24   and doesn't work on his legs.

01:07:25   And he's got toothpick legs and these crazy strong arms.

01:07:29   It's like, that's what Lagavulin is like

01:07:30   with the pettiness.

01:07:32   It's like, this is out of control.

01:07:35   like sometimes you wonder like,

01:07:36   like I remember the first time I had Lagavulin,

01:07:38   I was with Guy English. It was of course, who,

01:07:41   who introduced me to it. And I honest to God, my first sip, I thought he was,

01:07:44   maybe I thought maybe this is like a gag, you know what I mean? Like,

01:07:47   like he's been telling me, John, you gotta go out. I'm gonna, you're gonna,

01:07:51   you know, you're gonna drink this, you're gonna love it.

01:07:53   And I took the first sip and I really thought that he was pulling my leg.

01:07:56   I really did. And then I fell in love with it.

01:07:59   Yeah. I, I just, when I tried early this year, uh, Buna, Buna haban, uh,

01:08:04   I'm sure I'm saying it wrong. But same idea. Every time I drink it, I feel like absolute

01:08:09   shit the next morning. There's something about it. Usually that comes from imperfections.

01:08:16   That's the stuff that makes you feel unfortunate. But it's so intriguing. It's so enjoyable,

01:08:27   like that feeling in your mouth, in a way that the Yamazaki, which is my favorite whiskey,

01:08:33   just isn't. What's so intriguing about this, though, and I actually like the point

01:08:41   you made about relationships and looking over flaws, is the fundamental problem with software

01:08:48   in particular is there is always going to be flaws. It's this entire rickety sort

01:08:56   of idea built on top of rickety foundations, this rickety-ness all the way down, where

01:09:01   people are literally putting together these concepts and there's going to be bugs, there's

01:09:05   going to be holes, and there's going to be weird interactions. It's just going to happen

01:09:08   all the time. I mentioned earlier, the more complex this software gets, particularly as

01:09:12   it starts interacting with the cloud, you're introducing tons of new variables, there's

01:09:15   going to be problems, there's going to be imperfections, and the natural response to

01:09:21   deal with imperfections is to try to get rid of them all. The problem is that it's an impossible

01:09:26   job. It's the pushing the rock up the hill. You're never going to get rid of all bugs.

01:09:31   And what the 10s really remind me of, in a way that it's been easy to be down on Apple

01:09:36   for bugs, and I thought Apple was supposed to be perfect, and the integration hardware

01:09:39   software, all that sort of stuff. What's been so striking to me about the 10 is how

01:09:45   that feeling of delight makes—the bugs are still there, and the i10 does just have bugs.

01:09:52   There's literally legitimate use issues around some of the things that are challenging. But

01:09:57   it just doesn't matter. It's fine. I'm nearly a week in here, and I still feel delighted

01:10:04   using this phone. And it makes all those bugs like, "Oh, that's fine. That's a bug." And

01:10:11   that's how you deal with bugs. You deal with bugs by putting people in such a good mood

01:10:14   when they're using your product that they'll, "Oh, that's okay. I'm sure it'll get better."

01:10:19   I really, I feel like that's iPhone 10 and iPhone 8.

01:10:24   And I really think it makes sense to me

01:10:27   as the time goes on with iPhone 10

01:10:30   in my hand and in my pocket,

01:10:31   it makes sense to me strategically why it debuted

01:10:36   alongside the almost technically equivalent iPhone 8 family.

01:10:40   And I don't think, like in the back of my head,

01:10:45   ever since this, it became clear they were gonna do this,

01:10:47   I wondered whether it was sort of like, well,

01:10:51   the iPhone 10 can be ready a year of head of schedule. So here it is.

01:10:54   And I know that there was talk of that with the interviews that like Panzorino

01:10:57   and the others had that, you know,

01:10:59   maybe originally it was sort of the 28th, a 2018 product.

01:11:03   But why not cancel the iPhone eight instead?

01:11:07   And part of it is, is the number they could produce. But I think even if,

01:11:13   if it were less, even much less constrained,

01:11:17   I still think it would have debuted alongside the iPhone 8.

01:11:20   I think they needed to have a new product at a top tier

01:11:23   at those price points, which they couldn't sell this one at

01:11:25   because like you said, just for example,

01:11:27   the OLED screen is more than double the price.

01:11:30   But I also think from a customer perspective

01:11:35   and how do you deal with a customer base

01:11:39   that measures in the hundreds of millions like iPhone does?

01:11:44   how do you move to something that's as much new

01:11:47   and introduces as many imperfections as iPhone X?

01:11:51   I think it could paralyze most companies.

01:11:55   I think it's sort of, to me, it's sort of what happened

01:11:58   to Microsoft with Windows is that they got,

01:12:01   they built such a massive user base of normal people

01:12:04   who have not just no enthusiasm for radical changes

01:12:08   to the experience, but are outright hostile

01:12:12   to the idea of major changes to the experience.

01:12:15   And so I really think strategically it makes sense

01:12:19   that they introduced it alongside, again,

01:12:21   an almost technically equivalent product

01:12:24   with the same A11 processor, almost the same camera system,

01:12:29   but a user experience that is, as you said,

01:12:36   iteratively refined year after year after year

01:12:39   from that original iPhone.

01:12:41   Yeah, I completely agree. And I think your point about this gives them more permission

01:12:49   to make this sort of radical change, if that makes sense. Because you know what you're

01:12:53   buying for and you're paying more for it. So if you don't like the iPhone X's interface,

01:12:57   it's like it's your own damn fault. You know what I mean?

01:13:00   We talked about this when I was on the podcast previously in the context of Alexa and Siri,

01:13:06   where I talked about the fact that, yes, Siri is trying to be more in-depth and you can

01:13:13   use natural language and they'll figure it out, whereas Alexa is very prescriptive

01:13:17   and formulaic. I told you at the time, and maybe you've come around to my position

01:13:21   now, is I actually think the Alexa approach is better in that when Alexa doesn't work,

01:13:28   you as a user feel like it's your fault. But not in a bad way, not in "I feel bad."

01:13:33   in a, "Oh, this cool interface isn't quite working. I guess I did it wrong. Let me figure

01:13:37   it out and I'll do it again," as opposed to Siri, which way overpromises and underdelivers.

01:13:42   There's this aspect of if you're going to be dealing with something that's going

01:13:46   to be buggy and problematic, it's almost better. You don't want to say you're going

01:13:51   to be great and then not be great because the expectations get all messed up. Whereas

01:13:55   my expectations for Alexa and Siri, when it comes to that sort of interaction, are very

01:14:00   different and it's fascinating that actually the technically superior product—and I'm

01:14:06   sorry, Alexa is so much better than Siri if you think about the technical aspects of accuracy

01:14:09   and speed. It just blows it out of the water. But even the fact that Siri is "more capable"

01:14:16   as far as interpreting commands, that's actually a bad thing. To me, the iPhone X

01:14:22   is the anti-Siri. Siri is the one tech product in my life that consistently enrages me. Not

01:14:29   Not in a like, where it triggers that visceral reaction.

01:14:34   And it's usually when it screws up and it says something cutesy.

01:14:37   It's like, look, just screw up.

01:14:41   Don't be cutesy about it, you know what I mean?

01:14:43   And it makes the flaws worse.

01:14:45   Whereas the iPhone X, by triggering the opposite emotion, that emotion of, oh, this is so cool,

01:14:50   that happiness emotion, it smooths over the flaws in a way I'm willing to tolerate them,

01:14:57   In a way, I don't tolerate them with Siri at all.

01:14:59   - So we could spend the rest of the show arguing about this.

01:15:02   And my typical way of arguing with you on this point

01:15:05   is to get technical or detailed and have specific examples

01:15:10   and tell you the times when I asked Alexa

01:15:15   for the betting line on a sports game

01:15:17   and she couldn't do it and Siri could and blah, blah, blah.

01:15:20   But I think that your point, and I'm listening to you,

01:15:23   and I think you have a point here where I think me arguing

01:15:26   would be talking right over your argument, which is that if Siri infuriates you and makes you angry

01:15:31   and Alexa doesn't, it's all, that's all the, really the argument that there is, you know,

01:15:36   and I trust that you're given both an honest try and that you haven't just prejudged it,

01:15:40   you know, because you're a Homer for Amazon, which I can't see why anybody would ever think

01:15:45   that you are, but you know what I mean? Like I don't have any suspicion that you are. And

01:15:49   therefore I think that the points already made, you know what I mean? And it's sort of like, if

01:15:53   If you had a Brand X automobile,

01:15:58   and I think Brand X automobiles are terrible

01:16:01   because they're always breaking down.

01:16:03   Everybody I know who has one

01:16:05   has to get it fixed twice a year.

01:16:06   And you're telling me how much you love it.

01:16:09   It doesn't mean that you're wrong, right?

01:16:11   You still might love it.

01:16:13   The emotional reaction these products give us

01:16:16   should be considered part of the experience,

01:16:19   if not maybe the primary part of the experience.

01:16:23   Yeah, I mean, previously I've always had the technical argument with you, where I think

01:16:28   that you have to measure these services, again, based on accuracy and speed. And whereas like

01:16:32   getting a specific answer wrong, that's almost more a function of did they bother to program

01:16:36   that in or not, or has the algorithm sort of figured it out. And I think, but that's

01:16:41   easy to see, it's easy to see, oh Siri screwed up this answer. Well, okay, that's fine. I'm

01:16:45   more concerned that Siri took two seconds to respond, whereas Alexa took half a second,

01:16:49   if that makes sense. And the fact that Alexa always understands me. But you're right, the

01:16:54   argument I'm making now is actually a step beyond that. When Alexa gets something wrong,

01:16:58   she just like, "I can't do that," or "I don't know." It's very short and brief, and

01:17:05   it's very straightforward. It's like, "I don't know how to do that," or "I don't get that."

01:17:09   Or I say, "Alexa," we use it for the lights all the time, "Alexa, turn off the living

01:17:12   room." And it says, "Okay," and then the lights don't turn off. It's like, then I just say

01:17:17   again, Alexis Scharnoff, living room and it's annoying, but whatever, I quickly forget about it.

01:17:21   Whereas Siri's like, "Siri, please do this." Like, "Oh, don't forget." Like setting a timer,

01:17:27   right? "Siri, set a timer for one minute." "Okay, I set a timer for two minutes. Remember,

01:17:31   a watched pot never boils." Some crap like that. And it's like, if you had just screwed up,

01:17:38   it would have been okay. But the fact... If you tell Siri to cancel a timer, she'll be like,

01:17:42   "Okay, but don't forget."

01:17:44   - Oh, I know.

01:17:45   (laughing)

01:17:46   It is inferior, especially because whenever I tell Siri

01:17:49   to cancel a timer, it's usually because Siri screwed up

01:17:52   setting the timer in the first place.

01:17:53   (laughing)

01:17:55   And it's almost like, and I think,

01:17:57   but I can understand why Apple did this

01:17:58   because it's like, it's a high risk, high reward game.

01:18:02   Like the iPhone 10 is a big risk.

01:18:04   And in reaching for delight,

01:18:06   I think it's clear to see that Siri's cutesy answers

01:18:09   is a reach for delight.

01:18:11   The problem is if it goes wrong, it goes really wrong in a way that a more functional, utilitarian

01:18:18   approach does not.

01:18:19   And I think the balance is, and where Apple screwed this up, is you take that approach,

01:18:24   you take that high-risk approach of reaching for a delightful experience, it works much

01:18:30   better in something where you control almost every aspect and you can ensure it's great.

01:18:34   And that's what I was getting at this week about the hardware and software integration

01:18:38   still matters because Apple controls so much about the iPhone X. They can get it far enough

01:18:43   down the competency curve that the delight can take over. And the problem with Siri is

01:18:47   not that Apple doesn't control the pieces, it's that the inherent to cloud services,

01:18:51   because there's so many variables, there's so many things going on, they can never control

01:18:55   it sufficiently to deliver the level of experience such that it delights. It can only be bad.

01:19:02   It's either good enough or it's bad. Whereas when they control everything, it can be good

01:19:06   enough or it can be great. And I think for Apple wanting to draw that distinction about

01:19:11   when they should go for it, when they should go for delight versus when they should seek

01:19:15   to be competent, that gets at sort of the challenges, the differences between services

01:19:20   and between products.

01:19:23   That's a great point. I think part of the delight in the iPhone X is the thoughtfulness,

01:19:31   quality, implementation of the animations.

01:19:35   Yes, that's exactly it. It's not like I talk about face ID, but no, I just want, sorry,

01:19:41   you go first and I already completely agree with you.

01:19:44   I can't even articulate it. I don't have, you know, there's fade in and fade out animations

01:19:51   for bounces and stuff. I think, you know, I'm not, I have to like look up that lingo,

01:19:56   but just, you know, what accelerates when you pull it down at what rate when you pull

01:20:01   up on the notifications and you only see the most recent one and you just pull up on the

01:20:07   screen a little bit to see the earlier today section and just the way that they fade in.

01:20:15   Certainly the way the big one, and it's essential to the interface of getting rid of the essential

01:20:22   button, the home button, and replacing it with this swipe up gesture on a home indicator.

01:20:27   single thing you do with that animation is just perfect. I mean, I guess I wouldn't

01:20:34   be surprised to find out that they could improve it even further on what I thought was perfect.

01:20:38   It was in fact, you know, could still be improved further, but it just feels perfect. It just

01:20:45   seems so right. The way that the difference between flipping up quickly to go back to

01:20:48   the home screen and flipping up slowly to go to the card interface for switching every

01:20:53   aspect of it and the haptic feedback that you get when you get to the the card switching mode

01:20:59   it there i i don't know i i didn't know this is the whole thing you can't articulate it you can

01:21:06   only feel it right and i don't i don't know what is i don't know what is actually superior hardware

01:21:12   and what is uh just good timing on the software part like for example like i said when you get to

01:21:19   the card interface. When you're swiping up, you're in an app, you're in Safari, and you

01:21:23   pull up a little bit to the card interface. There's this tiny little bit of haptic feedback.

01:21:28   And it's, it's so little that I didn't even, I didn't really even think about it for like

01:21:33   a day or two after I had the phone, I'm playing with it. And like, I'm looking, I was so visually

01:21:38   obsessed with it, I didn't really think about that bit of haptic feedback. And then once

01:21:42   I thought about it and kept playing it with it over and again, it's just the just the

01:21:45   the right amount. It just feels like an essential part of that experience. And I don't know

01:21:54   if there's a better, more fine-grained haptic engine, whatever they call it in this phone,

01:22:00   or if it's the same as in the iPhone 8 and they were just using it in a way that is perfectly

01:22:06   timed in software. But either way, it's the experience that matters and it's perfect.

01:22:10   So I have a small point and a big point. The small point is Apple's demos of multitasking

01:22:15   are really bad. It took me a while to figure out how to do it. All you have to do is to

01:22:21   exit the app, you just swipe up and your thumb naturally leaves the screen. To enter multitasking,

01:22:26   just hold your thumb on the screen. It's the exact same motion. You don't have to

01:22:32   do this weird rotational thumb gesture that they suggest in their videos. You just hold

01:22:36   up and keep your thumb on the screen. What happens is you feel that haptic feedback you're

01:22:41   referring to. The moment you feel the haptic feedback, you're now in the card interface.

01:22:44   can let go your thumb. And it becomes like once you figure out how to do it, it's supernatural.

01:22:49   But it's almost like Apple's demos actually let them down here and it works out very well.

01:22:54   That's a small point. The large point is what this bit about the responsiveness of

01:23:03   touch has to be so utterly perfect on this phone for it to work. The only way the interface

01:23:08   works is that the response is just it has to absolutely nail it. And even little stuff

01:23:12   like I have reachability enabled where you have to swipe on like the bottom portion of

01:23:16   the bar on the bottom, which sounds really complicated, but I do it flawlessly every

01:23:20   time. The level of accuracy and responsiveness, it has to be perfect. And you think back,

01:23:26   what's the number one thing that drives... I buy a new Android phone every year. What's

01:23:29   the number one thing that drives me absolutely batty about Android and has from the day Android

01:23:33   came out to the latest Pixel phone? It's the responsiveness of touch. It's the responsiveness

01:23:39   and particularly scrolling and these sort of gestures. And it's infinitesimal, but you

01:23:43   feel it just in the normal interface. And it's very difficult. I'm sure someone on Android

01:23:50   is going to build Face ID. That's going to happen, and I'm sure it'll work fine. It'll

01:23:54   probably be Samsung. Samsung is a very capable company. But to deliver this sort of interface

01:24:01   in a way that is not frustrating but is actively fun, is actively delightful, we're just literally

01:24:07   just using this phone is fun." That's really something that only Apple can do. Again, it's

01:24:15   been so revelatory. When they're in a situation where they can control it all, their strengths

01:24:19   can so come to the forefront in a way that when we thought—I suspect—I mentioned

01:24:25   about looking backwards and it seemed so wonderful. I suspect it never really was wonderful. We

01:24:30   were just so delighted at the time that we overlooked a huge ton of bugs. Over the last

01:24:36   couple years, as the experience is kind of stagnated, those bugs have become so much

01:24:41   more central in sort of like your experience of using the phone, not because they're

01:24:46   necessarily more or worse, although they might be, but just because what else is going on?

01:24:50   Yeah, and the joyfulness of this gestural interface, to me, again, to draw that connection

01:25:00   to the original iPhone is the modern equivalent of the GUI.

01:25:08   Well, yeah, no, but the textured--

01:25:11   I'm trying to avoid the S word, but I'll just say it--

01:25:13   the skeuomorphic elements of the original iPhone interface,

01:25:18   the leather for the calendar, the three-dimensional shading

01:25:23   and coloring of the buttons, just the texture and the depth

01:25:27   within an app just had a playfulness and a joyfulness to them of oh my God look at how

01:25:34   beautiful this is right it's this the hardware was this incredibly stark you know glass steel

01:25:42   aluminum thing with this software that was so you know lickable you know with these buttons

01:25:53   that glowed blue and had 3D texture and stuff.

01:25:56   To me, this gestural thing is the equivalent of that

01:25:58   with the post-iOS 7 interface.

01:26:02   And almost makes me think if that was part

01:26:05   of the inspiration for the iOS 7 redesign,

01:26:09   that they wanted to go to more of a,

01:26:11   put the joy in a different aspect of it.

01:26:15   Like I'm not saying that this would be--

01:26:17   - I don't know that they made,

01:26:18   but you think about it, that's when they add in more

01:26:20   the sort of like swipe to go to or yeah, I could see that but they didn't really deliver

01:26:27   on it until this.

01:26:30   Do you find yourself switching between apps just by swiping left and right on the home

01:26:33   indicator?

01:26:34   So that's one of my complaints.

01:26:36   So the problem I have with it is if you switch quickly then it's actually left and right.

01:26:43   So you go left to the previous app and then right to the app you were in.

01:26:45   if you delay more than five seconds or so in the app you switch to, then your previous

01:26:50   app is now to the left of where you are. So spatially, it's very problematic. I can

01:26:57   see the challenge. I would prefer that they're always in the same places so I know where

01:27:00   I am at all times. But at the same time, if you pick up the phone later, it's kind of

01:27:04   weird if you're in the middle of the stack, you're not at the very front of it.

01:27:06   It's weird if most recently used is not on top or right most if you prefer.

01:27:14   But the problem is that it should be either one, they need a bigger... It's just weird

01:27:19   that literally after 10 seconds, the placement of your previously used app will be different.

01:27:25   So does that make sense? So if you're in an app and then you swipe left and immediately

01:27:30   swipe right, you go back to your original app. If you're in an app and you swipe left

01:27:34   and you wait five to 10 seconds and then you try to swipe right, the app's gone. It's actually

01:27:40   now to the left of that app, if that makes sense.

01:27:42   - Yeah, and if you think about it,

01:27:44   it actually, what they've implemented on iPhone 10

01:27:47   for the switching is, although it left to right is flipped,

01:27:51   it's exactly like command tab switching,

01:27:54   where when you open command tab

01:27:56   and just keep holding down the command button,

01:27:59   and you see the switcher, and you can switch

01:28:02   and go to the fourth app, the fifth app, the sixth app,

01:28:05   and it's selected, but you still haven't let go

01:28:07   of the command key, you can add the shift key

01:28:10   do a shift command tab and it goes to the left one,

01:28:13   like if you overshoot.

01:28:15   And that's the logic of what they've done.

01:28:18   So if you swipe from left to right on the home indicator

01:28:21   to go to the most recent second swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe

01:28:25   to get to the fourth most recent app,

01:28:27   but you realize you've overshot by one,

01:28:29   you can swipe the other way and go back to the one

01:28:31   that you just overshot.

01:28:32   But once you wait, just like letting go of the command key

01:28:37   and command tab switching, it resets

01:28:39   and whatever you just selected becomes the new leftmost app,

01:28:43   most recently used app.

01:28:44   But the reason that,

01:28:46   so logically it works like command tab switching,

01:28:48   but the reason that nobody complains

01:28:50   about command tab switching,

01:28:51   and the reason why I agree with you

01:28:53   that the way this works is problematic,

01:28:55   is that command tab switching is completely visual.

01:28:58   You see the whole command tab switcher

01:29:00   while you're command tab switching,

01:29:02   and then the command tab switcher,

01:29:03   once you've made a selection and let go of all the keys,

01:29:06   it goes away and you understand that at that point,

01:29:10   it's been reset and whatever you just selected is left most.

01:29:14   Whereas when you're swiping left and right,

01:29:16   you don't really get like an overview like that

01:29:18   to give you a visual sense of what the current order is

01:29:23   and when that order is gonna switch.

01:29:25   - Yep, that's exactly right.

01:29:27   I think my, I would probably prefer they go back

01:29:30   to the previous version where it's just like,

01:29:33   it's always the same order or not always the same order,

01:29:35   but whatever app you're in is always the right most app.

01:29:38   Like I just think conceptually,

01:29:40   even though it's very neat when you're switching back

01:29:43   and forth to go left and right,

01:29:44   and it feels very visceral and very like,

01:29:47   'cause you're in a spatial sort of frame, right?

01:29:49   It's like the original Mac OS,

01:29:50   like it's very spatially oriented.

01:29:52   The problem is that transition to, okay,

01:29:55   you're no longer in a spatial place,

01:29:57   you're in a like list place.

01:29:59   It's just, it's too hard to keep track

01:30:01   of where you are in your head.

01:30:02   I would prefer to standardize,

01:30:04   even if that one use case is not as good as it could be,

01:30:09   but to have it always be that leftist previous app,

01:30:11   whatever that app might have been.

01:30:13   - Yeah.

01:30:14   I do find myself using it a lot though,

01:30:16   but I find myself most happy when I'm switching

01:30:19   to what I know was my most recently used app,

01:30:22   like two or three apps within that switcher.

01:30:25   And then for anything more than that,

01:30:27   my instinct, right, I feel like the habit I have to get out

01:30:31   if I want to fish a not quite recently used app, but I know it's in there somewhere,

01:30:37   I've got to train myself to go to that switcher where you can see them as opposed to just

01:30:42   swiping on the thing at the bottom.

01:30:43   But do you hear what you just said, though? I can't let go of the "accessory argument."

01:30:48   You said you're going to train yourself to do it. And if you think about it, objectively,

01:30:53   why would you ask your user to train themselves? That sounds very, you know, like you should make

01:30:57   it easy for them, very simple, etc. And that's the sort of like, that makes sense at a sort

01:31:03   of basic level. But this is what's so great with the iPhone 10, you are going to train

01:31:07   yourself. Like if that sounds terrible, but you don't feel bad about that, right? You're

01:31:13   like, "Oh, I'll figure this out." And to me, that's a great place to be from a product

01:31:19   where your users are putting in work to figure out your product, but it doesn't feel like

01:31:24   work to them. It feels like something that this is what I'll do.

01:31:27   Yeah, and I don't, you know, it's mostly about, I feel like trying to figure out the way that

01:31:32   I'm supposed to use the system instead of fighting. And my favorite analogy to this

01:31:39   is Mac OS X, the switch from classic Mac OS to Mac OS X was so humongous from the user

01:31:45   interface perspective and so many things that used to work one way now worked another. And

01:31:52   I honestly believe, even to this day…

01:31:54   You and Syracuse lost your mind.

01:31:56   Well, I don't think either of us lost our mind, but a lot of people, I think, who are

01:32:01   less analytical than Syracuse and I lost their minds. And I think that—I could go down

01:32:12   the list—but I think that Syracuse and I could win every single argument about the

01:32:15   ways that classic Mac OS had a better system-wide interface than Mac OS X. But here's my point

01:32:22   though. My point though is even though I believe that that was true and there was a whole cottage

01:32:28   industry in the early days of Mac OS X of, you know, we used to call it--

01:32:32   Bill utilities.

01:32:33   Haxes, you know, at low level system hacks that hacked the system to make things more

01:32:37   like Mac OS 9. And you could get the window shade and you could, you know, where it used

01:32:43   to be where you double click the top of a window and everything but the title bar, the

01:32:47   window would disappear so you could quickly go to something underneath it and then double

01:32:51   click that window again. You know, a window shade, the whole window would just zap up

01:32:55   into the top bar and Mac OS 10 got rid of that. Well, there was a hack see that could

01:32:58   restore it and it could get down the list dozens and dozens of of things. Um, uh, my

01:33:06   colleague at, I was at bare bones software at the time, Steve Calcorf who was, it's felt

01:33:10   as strongly as I did about a lot of these things about Mac OS 9 said, if you really

01:33:15   want to be happy with Mac OS 10, the way you want, he used to work at Apple, he worked

01:33:18   at Apple and left for bare bones. And, uh, but his, his argument was you should try to

01:33:23   at least at least use it long enough to figure out how they want you to use it before you

01:33:29   start adding the hacks. Don't just look at it and in an hour, add as many hacks as you

01:33:34   can to go back to what you're familiar with. Use it as it ships as they intend you to use

01:33:38   it and try to figure out. And again, it's not like something that typical user is going to do is try

01:33:43   to figure out how software designers at Apple meant to you to use it. But if you're the type

01:33:47   of person who can do that, you should try to figure out how it's supposed to be used.

01:33:51   And then make up your mind later. And a lot of times and over the years, I at least I found that

01:33:58   it was better to stop fighting it and go in even if I thought it was the wrong decision.

01:34:03   Yeah, because there's so much about software in general. And this applies to businesses where,

01:34:08   you know, the very underlying underpinnings of OS X were so different from Mac OS. And Mac OS was

01:34:14   very much a sort of, you know, an integrated product in many respects, all from the foundation

01:34:19   of the software, not just hardware and software, but how the very operating system was put together

01:34:24   all the way up to the interface. And, you know, what was the big fundamental technical flaw

01:34:28   with Mac OS? Like unprotected memory, right? Like all these applications were using the same

01:34:33   shared memory space, if one crashed, the whole thing would go down. Well, if you think about it,

01:34:36   it, that was almost like the interface too, right? It was this really fully integrated

01:34:40   sort of experience. And OS X, if you think about the technical level, it was much like

01:34:45   separate processes. All these things were separated and different. And it was much more,

01:34:49   there was more structure imposed on it from a technical perspective. And that actually

01:34:54   happened in the interface as well. There was a much more structure put around it. And I

01:34:59   actually think, if anything, the attempts to tack on Mac OS user interface conventions

01:35:05   were some of the worst parts of early OS X. OS X was so, in part, this is I used to be

01:35:10   a Windows user, so it was easier for me. OS X was so much better and enjoyable if you

01:35:14   just embraced opening the Finder and it's a folder view, as opposed to trying to preserve

01:35:19   like spatialness. Why did that spatialness always fall apart? This is one of the favorite

01:35:25   complaints of both you and Syracuse. It was like, it's always different every time if

01:35:28   you change this or change that. It was because they were trying to put on something that

01:35:31   I was fundamentally misaligned with the underlying structure and hack it.

01:35:36   Right. It would have been better if they don't.

01:35:37   Well, like a 15 or six. No. Yeah.

01:35:41   I've read almost everything you've written. It's inevitable.

01:35:44   No, but my argument was if they wanted to have a browser file browser style

01:35:48   interface, then it should have been entirely a file browser.

01:35:50   And there shouldn't have been any attempt to mimic. I agree with you. Um,

01:35:53   but I think the same is true of, of iPhone 10. And I think it's why,

01:35:58   again,

01:35:58   just go back to my point from a couple of minutes ago of why they're selling

01:36:01   this alongside the familiar iPhone 8. I think a typical customer, once this thing is out

01:36:05   of supply constraints and you can just go into the Apple store and buy an iPhone 10

01:36:10   or any iPhone 8 you want in any color you want, when your contract's up or your old

01:36:15   phone broke and you come in and you say, "Well, I'm intrigued by this iPhone 10. I've heard

01:36:19   it's awesome." And the salesperson, you pick it up or maybe the salesperson isn't there

01:36:24   and you pick it up and you tap home and nothing happens and you're like, "What the hell?"

01:36:31   like, "Oh, yeah, now you have to swipe." And you're like, "Well, how do you get to multitasking?

01:36:35   Do you double tap down there?" And they're like, "Oh, no, it's an all new thing. You

01:36:37   have to do the swipe." And I think there's an awful lot of people. And they're like,

01:36:42   "Well, would they have to do that with iPhone 8?" And they're like, "Nope, iPhone 8 works

01:36:45   exactly the way you're used to." I think that that person is like, "Give me an iPhone 8."

01:36:51   I really do.

01:36:52   It's a really great point because Apple's customer base is so large at this point. And

01:36:56   the point I made previously, there's this famous sort of like framework from a long

01:36:59   time ago, but it's very well-known in tech called Crossing the Chasm, and this idea there

01:37:03   being sort of early adopters and technical inclined people, and then there's a chasm,

01:37:08   which you get to the normal users and the laggards and stuff like that. And a point

01:37:13   that I've always made, and I think a mistake that's made people applying this, is to

01:37:18   presume that only the people at the head of the curve want the expensive product. That's

01:37:23   not necessarily true. The people behind the curve aren't seeking to be cheap, per se,

01:37:29   they're seeking to not have problems. They don't want to deal with, they just want

01:37:34   it to work. It's a phone. They just want it to function. And I think something that's

01:37:38   been underappreciated about Apple's accomplishments with the iPhone is for sure they have a huge

01:37:43   portion of the early adopters. But if anything, that's where Android is the most competitive,

01:37:46   particularly high-end Android. Because those people like to fidget. They like to be able

01:37:50   to adjust everything, have total control and to have that sort of seamless integration

01:37:53   with Google services and all that sort of thing, which is genuine. I mean, using Google

01:37:58   services is way better on an Android. That's by far the best thing about using an Android,

01:38:02   if you're a regular Google user. But Apple also has this huge base in the conventional

01:38:10   user that just wants their phone to work. And I think that's the point you're making,

01:38:16   for that base, man, the iPhone 8 is a way better product than the iPhone X is.

01:38:20   - Yep, I really do think so.

01:38:22   The longer I've had this, the more I think that that's true.

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01:41:49   to the benefit of everyone.

01:41:50   I think we've covered the big picture on this well enough.

01:41:53   I think we should get into some of our gripes about this phone and these imperfections that

01:41:57   we alluded to before.

01:41:58   I'm imagining that there are some people out there who don't have their iPhone 10 yet who've

01:42:01   literally not paid attention to a word we've said in the last 45 to 50 minutes from when

01:42:06   we brought up the serious imperfections and we haven't really mentioned them yet.

01:42:12   We did talk about the, I think the multitasking isn't fully thought out in both dimensions.

01:42:17   So one, we already talked about that left-right swipe is kind of weird in how it changes.

01:42:22   I think that needs to be fixed.

01:42:23   And then just even though I explained that getting to the cards is that swipe up and

01:42:28   then you keep your finger on the screen, it's too slow.

01:42:31   And I just find myself using multitasking far less than I did before.

01:42:34   Like I'm back to the iPhone, close the app, open the app I want to go to sort of thing.

01:42:40   And it's a little frustrating because I was a massive heavy sort of multitasking user

01:42:44   before.

01:42:45   Can I say this? I think multitasking in general is one of those things where I think that

01:42:50   iOS in particular, but even Android, I think that the touch-based mobile revolution has

01:42:58   made personal computing so much more relevant to more people around the world, whether they

01:43:07   thought that they were technically lost using Windows or Macs or whether they previously

01:43:11   loved Windows or Macs, but even love this more. And the reason why you see things like,

01:43:19   I think with Facebook in particular, it's like they don't even talk about the mobile

01:43:23   desktop split because the desktop side is like irrelevant. They could only count the

01:43:29   mobile use and that's all that matters. And it's not just because people have their phones

01:43:33   with them, it's just better for most people. Most aspects of touch-based iOS and Android

01:43:38   style computing. It's just cognitively better for most people. But the one thing that no

01:43:44   mobile platform I think has gotten right yet is multitasking. And that's the one thing

01:43:48   that desktop systems do get right. I just feel like the way you switch apps and the

01:43:56   way you tell what's running and what's doing what and how do you get back to the other

01:44:00   app is invisible on the Mac and it's not just that they've changed it, they had no aspect

01:44:10   in iOS since they even had multitasking, have they had gotten it right?

01:44:13   Yeah, I mean, but the thing is, I agree, and it's also worse now. That double click and

01:44:22   immediately going to that card view, because you get that visual component that you talked

01:44:26   about in terms of command tab, and you get it really fast. The problem now is you either

01:44:31   have the fast switching, which is the left-right swipe, where you have no visual components

01:44:36   and it's confusing, or you can get the visual component but it takes too long. It's just

01:44:41   an action I find myself not doing very often because it just, I mean, it takes too long

01:44:47   as a matter of microseconds, but it's meaningful. And maybe I will do more once I'm more used

01:44:53   the gesture. But I'm actually, you kind of mentioned this before in terms of doing the

01:44:58   iPhone 10 first, I'm actually super duper interested in what iOS 12 is going to be like,

01:45:04   because I think so much of the interface needs to be rethought, not just because the screen

01:45:10   size because the plus has been around for a while. I think there's changes that have

01:45:13   been needed to be made for a while to accommodate that. But just in general, particularly this

01:45:17   focus on gestures as the controlling element, I'm really interested to see if that leads

01:45:23   to a sort of new overhaul in iOS.

01:45:26   And it's funny because it's obviously a very deliberate choice on Apple's part to require

01:45:32   a gesture, either just the swipe on the home indicator or the swipe up to go to the card

01:45:37   interface because they could have allowed you to double tap the indicator to get to

01:45:42   multitasking mode.

01:45:45   In a way, and I can kind of see why they didn't do that for the home screen, but I'm not quite

01:45:50   sure why they didn't do it for getting to the multitasking switcher and you can

01:45:53   prove that it could be happened because every time you tap just tap on the home

01:45:57   indicator it bounces a little so that knows you're tapping on it so you could

01:46:02   just tap twice on it and see it do two very subtle little bounces I don't know

01:46:09   I kind of I kind of agree with you that just to get to the card switcher if I

01:46:12   could double tap on that little capsule it might be better yeah that's I never

01:46:18   notice a little bounce, but it's a good point.

01:46:20   I'm going to predict that you're not happy about changing control centers' trigger location.

01:46:27   Oh, man. Talk about fulfilling expectations. I was already very perturbed when I heard

01:46:35   the news. It's funny. I tweeted about this, about a left being a person. I worded the

01:46:43   the tweet very carefully. I said I'm a person who uses the iPhone with my left hand. And

01:46:48   the reason I did that is because I knew I'd get an outpouring of solidarity from people

01:46:53   who are actually left-handed, like, "Oh, that's poor left-handed users." And I do say, "I'm

01:46:57   actually right-handed, so I hear about your pain, but I can't empathize." But in this

01:47:02   one case, I totally get it. I use the iPhone with my left hand, and I used to use Control

01:47:06   Center all the time. Particularly, I just use it constantly. It's one of my most used

01:47:11   things on the phone by far. And it is utterly and completely unusable now.

01:47:14   And yes, and people are like, Oh,

01:47:16   you can trigger a reachability and then swipe down.

01:47:19   Like that's a ridiculous gesture that you do this little gesture on the bottom

01:47:22   and this reach across the top to bring down. Yeah.

01:47:24   Control center is a big problem. Sorry. That was a very,

01:47:27   that was a very unstructured complaint because I,

01:47:30   because I feel so strongly about how bad it is.

01:47:32   I'm a right-handed iPhone user when I'm using it one handed.

01:47:37   And even I have to, I generally, I often have to regrip the phone, meaning,

01:47:42   you know, shimmy up the phone, shimmy up your phone so my thumb can get there.

01:47:46   And as, as you know, you know, I mean, I, I'm not humongous human being,

01:47:51   but I'm six foot two. And if anything,

01:47:54   I have slightly larger than average fingers, if not hands.

01:47:59   We should ask,

01:48:00   should ask our friend of the show Craig Hockenberry whether he's able to one

01:48:04   handedly reach Control Center at all times.

01:48:06   But should I ask Bill DiBazzio?

01:48:08   Yeah, I should have. I wonder if he had an iPhone.

01:48:10   So the other thing that is a little frustrating about the whole Control Center thing is the Control Center is a very

01:48:17   narrow part of the top, like it's only that top ear, whereas the rest of the top is the notification. And I just don't

01:48:27   bring up notifications when I'm in the... I love notifications. And actually, this gets another complaint, we'll get to in a

01:48:32   moment. I like notifications on the walk screen. It's one of my favorite things. I just use

01:48:37   it all the time. But the fact that notifications, it dominates the top of the screen and control

01:48:43   center is very small. When I use control center, maybe I'm just alone in this. I mean, Apple

01:48:47   has these sorts of numbers. They know how much particular things are used. But it just

01:48:50   seems weird that that's only that little bit. And even if it had to be at the top,

01:48:55   if you could make control center larger and switch to the left side, it would definitely

01:48:59   be more tolerable.

01:49:00   To answer what I know is a very frequently asked question because I get asked it on Twitter and stuff like that for people who

01:49:06   who are still on the fence about their iPhone 10 or have their iPhone 10 pre-order still in the

01:49:11   Pending mode and so they haven't used it. Is that the the notch is a touch target?

01:49:19   so for anything you can do at the top of the screen like

01:49:23   The tap at the top of the screen to scroll up to the top of any scroll view

01:49:29   You can do that by just tapping the notch

01:49:31   You don't have to tap one of the ears to do that and to pull down for notification center

01:49:36   You can do it right from the middle and it works because the notch even though it's not a display area is a a tappable area

01:49:43   and

01:49:45   So the way that it's divided is that it's the notch plus the left ear is where you can scroll down for tap

01:49:52   You know pull down to get notification center and it's that right ear where you can get control center and and the thinking

01:49:59   Clearly, I mean, I haven't spoken to the person who made this decision,

01:50:02   but it's very obvious to me that the thinking behind it is that it makes,

01:50:06   they, they convince themselves it makes sense because that's the place where the

01:50:11   little icons for wifi and your self strength and your battery life are like,

01:50:16   so those are the little control center, you know,

01:50:19   those are parts of control center,

01:50:21   like turning on wifi and turning on cellular networking. Um,

01:50:25   and so, you know, I think the, and you know, there's a little, you know,

01:50:29   there's even a little battery button in control center where you can turn on low power mode.

01:50:34   So that's their thinking is, oh, well, that's where the little things that you, the few

01:50:38   things from control center that live in the status bar permanently are up in the top right.

01:50:42   So that's where you pull down to do it. I, it doesn't feel like it makes sense to me.

01:50:49   It feels arbitrary. And to me it's because both things, it doesn't feel to me like you're

01:50:54   pulling down on the wifi icon to get there. It just feels like it just pops into place.

01:50:58   It doesn't slide down, which is very weird.

01:51:03   - It feels like an edge gesture,

01:51:04   not a tap on this element of the screen gesture.

01:51:07   So the fact that those elements of the screen

01:51:09   happen to be in the top right,

01:51:11   don't really affect my sensibility of this.

01:51:14   And of all the habits that I've had to change

01:51:17   to get used to iPhone 10,

01:51:19   the single one that I'm still making now,

01:51:22   let me think about this, nine days in,

01:51:26   The one that I still can't break is swiping up from the bottom on the lock screen to get

01:51:31   control center.

01:51:32   For some reason, if I'm actually in the phone and using an app and I want to get to control

01:51:37   center, I'm more likely to remember I have to do it from the top right.

01:51:41   But when I want to just turn on the flashlight or, well, I guess the flashlight you can get

01:51:44   from that button now, but something in control center.

01:51:49   Turning off wifi, that's one.

01:51:51   Because I was, like when I was on the train, I didn't want the Amtrak wifi that I was already

01:51:55   connected to. I wanted to just use the cellular networking, which should be faster. From the

01:52:01   lock screen, I can't stop pulling up from the bottom, which instead takes me to the

01:52:06   home screen because it unlocks with Face ID.

01:52:09   Yeah, it's clear that they didn't know where to put it. If you think about it, it's stuck

01:52:17   in the corner, the animation's wrong. Everything about it is wrong. I'm hopeful. I'm not

01:52:25   product center at Apple, so I don't know what they should do with it, but it is a clear

01:52:30   sort of step backwards in functionality and it's actively not better.

01:52:34   Right, and what I mean from running out of edges is from the top you get notification

01:52:38   center or at least everywhere but the lock screen. But they can't have the lock screen

01:52:46   control center be somewhere else than it is in the interface. You pull in from the left

01:52:49   edge, you get the, I think they call it today view where you have all your widgets, and

01:52:54   if you swipe in from the right side, you jumped to the camera. And so there was,

01:52:58   there's no edge left to just devote to it.

01:53:01   I don't know.

01:53:04   I tend to think maybe what they could have done is swipe in from the right edge

01:53:08   and have that work anywhere.

01:53:10   But then there's things like when you're swiping on a row and mail and you want

01:53:14   to get those little buttons to archive flag and delete and stuff. I don't know.

01:53:17   On the home screen. It doesn't work either because you're, I mean,

01:53:20   they could get rid of the camera swipe and just have that button for camera.

01:53:24   access in the camera which can slip from the home screen when you swipe from the

01:53:31   right you jump right to the camera I'm not the home screen now you're watching

01:53:35   screen you can do it right yeah I know the home screen is a problem yeah yeah I

01:53:38   was missing a home screen locks I actually didn't I I didn't know that

01:53:40   about the lock screen that you can slip in the camera I there's a button there

01:53:44   so I assumed you had to press the button no yes that's worked for years by the

01:53:47   way. I swear to God.

01:53:50   No, I knew that.

01:53:51   You didn't know they still had it in 10. You didn't know they

01:53:53   exactly.

01:53:54   Right, exactly. Yeah. It's funny. I never even thought. Well,

01:53:56   you know why though? Because I always watch the camera from

01:53:59   Control Center. It just happened. It's funny. I just don't...

01:54:04   Yeah, that one's very frustrating. The other thing that

01:54:07   kind of goes with this... Oh, so we should talk about Face ID.

01:54:10   So Face ID is incredible. It works. It works. It works well.

01:54:16   amazing. In that bit, I put in my article where a notification just says you have a

01:54:20   notification. And then when you look at it, notification expands to say what the notification

01:54:24   actually is. So you get this additional layer of privacy for your notifications, which has

01:54:31   always been a hang up, right? Because it's better to have your notifications say something,

01:54:35   but at the same time, you've practically compromised all your, for example, two-factor identification

01:54:41   for those barbaric services like Quitter or whatever, where you still have to use SMS.

01:54:45   it would literally pop up on your notifications what the number is. It's no good. It's great.

01:54:55   It's an additional layer of privacy that you didn't even realize was lacking and now it's

01:55:01   there and it's incredible. It's computing at its best.

01:55:04   So for anybody who bends a little quip there, it's a perfect example, but if that blue right

01:55:08   passed you, imagine somebody steals your phone and they're trying to change your Twitter

01:55:12   password but they can't unlock your phone. They could go to twitter.com and do something

01:55:17   that triggers it. Let's say they stole your password too and they want to change it.

01:55:22   Basically, if you're using SMS for 2FA instead of an app, which you should use an app, but

01:55:27   some services still you have to use SMS.

01:55:30   As long as they have your phone in your hand, they don't have to unlock it. The text message

01:55:34   that comes with the code, the six-digit code you need to type in, it just shows up on the

01:55:39   lock screen in the default. You can turn that off. In the old, you know, on the iPhone 8

01:55:43   and the earlier phones, you can turn that off. Most people surely don't know you can

01:55:46   turn that off and there's a reason why.

01:55:48   And that's just not because you're losing all the benefit of the notification screen,

01:55:50   which is you can quickly see all the notifications that you got.

01:55:53   Right. And even the fraction of a second where it takes the notifications to change from

01:55:59   being private to unfurling to show you the details of it, it's fast enough where it's

01:56:06   not annoying. And the fact that you see it happen adds to the joy. It's like, "Oh,

01:56:10   yeah. My happy little iPhone knows who I am and trust me."

01:56:15   So that's amazing. So Face ID works well. And the other thing about Face ID that's

01:56:20   just spectacular is Face ID in apps. So for me, 1Password is a great example of this where

01:56:25   it used to be if you go, you could open 1Password, you have to put in your password in Touch

01:56:31   ID. And then you open a specific account, you also have to do it. Again, something you

01:56:35   you can turn it off, but if you want a higher level of protection. In this case, it just

01:56:41   happens because you don't have to do the—even though it's literally just putting your

01:56:45   thumb on the sensor, it requires some degree of active thought. What's so different about

01:56:50   Face ID, relative touch ID, is that sort of active, that explicit action is eliminated.

01:56:57   The same thing is happening, but it's totally implicit. It's happening without you even

01:57:00   knowing about it. It's just a great experience.

01:57:04   I'm and this is one where the people who've been using an iPhone

01:57:08   7 plus

01:57:11   When did the two camera system come in I guess

01:57:14   with the success success success plus

01:57:18   people who've been in the plus Club for a while or like hey dummy, that's why we've been telling you to get it get a plus the

01:57:24   The camera the pictures that I got over this last weekend with the telephoto lens and portrait mode

01:57:33   Some of them in telephone. I just shot portrait mode a lot of the time even it wasn't technically a portrait

01:57:37   For shooting human subjects are just phenomenal and I was I was on a weekend trip with my dad

01:57:45   My dad's turning 80 later this year. And so I took him on a trip as an early birthday present with my brother-in-law and

01:57:51   We had an absolute great weekend

01:57:55   We actually we actually tell you this we took him to see

01:58:00   The Dallas Cowboys my dad's also had like me as a Dallas Cowboys fan

01:58:03   I've never seen a game in person in Dallas

01:58:05   Which by the way is is a good thing for you to reveal because it puts your Dallas Cowboys fandom in a little more favorable light

01:58:12   Still it's not completely favorable, but but a little bit a little bit more

01:58:16   But it was a beautiful weekend in Dallas a little hot. We got there Friday came on Sunday

01:58:21   We had a just a fantastic time. It's a beautiful city. I'd never been there before we had a great time

01:58:26   And I thought before I left, should I take a real camera or not? This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip

01:58:32   Well, it doesn't have to be we could go back but you know first time he went trip. I'm gonna want good pictures

01:58:38   I would be willing to lug around the real camera, you know on a strap or in my pocket

01:58:44   all day

01:58:47   But I thought you know what I trust the iPhone 10 and honest to God the pictures I took they they're they're as good as

01:58:53   The pictures I take with my $2,500

01:58:56   Canon kit which would say he is a huge camera and a huge huge 50 millimeter f1.2 lens or

01:59:06   my beloved and honestly more used than my Canon in recent years Fuji x100 s which is

01:59:13   a great camera and I know is technically better and it's still I even know in certain ways

01:59:18   is better a lot better than the iPhone 10 but the my keepers the photos like the 20

01:59:23   or 30 really great photos I got out of this are indistinguishable from the pictures I get

01:59:27   out of those cameras. It's truly phenomenal. Having that telephoto lens to get that truly

01:59:38   natural perspective where it's not wide angle and it's not super zoomed in and flattened,

01:59:43   it's just one of my favorite focal lengths.

01:59:46   Yeah, it makes the most difference for humans by far. It doesn't just change. People who

01:59:51   photographers may not appreciate. It doesn't just, yeah, you could zoom in on a 20mm lens,

01:59:56   but the face is going to be flatter. You're going to get less definition just by virtue of it.

02:00:02   But the reason though, not to go backwards, but the reason why I praise Face ID is because there

02:00:08   are also parts of using Face ID that's very frustrating. Okay, what's frustrating?

02:00:12   So one example is, and there's a little bit of the watchy aspect to this, where with the watch,

02:00:20   like that having to raise to wake, when you're standing, it's perfectly acceptable. But if you're

02:00:27   in different positions like weighing on the couch or in bed or whatever, to have to move your arm to

02:00:33   wake it up or reach over and press a button, it's a pain. It's really annoying. And you get that with

02:00:38   Face ID sometimes. The rise to wake where the screen just turns on and Face ID is triggered and

02:00:44   it's scanning for your face, if you're standing up or sitting up, it works great. It doesn't always

02:00:49   work if you're in a prone position, shall we say. And so you can work around it. You

02:00:54   can reach over and press the button or you can purposely flip the phone, but it's adding

02:00:58   in this layer of annoyance that was not there with—or in the car, for example. The car

02:01:03   is a great example where you have to reach over and press the button again. I had to

02:01:07   stop by and not say you're moving or anything, but if it's in like a holder, there's

02:01:11   an aspect where there's much more friction than there was previously. The other thing

02:01:16   too is with the—it works almost all the time, but if you're like in the dark, I've

02:01:23   had a little bit more mixed experience. And particularly like early in the morning or

02:01:28   something like that, my alarm goes off and I'm reaching over and I grab it or whatever

02:01:31   it might be or wait at night, and where it just sometimes just doesn't go and you're

02:01:36   not sure why, it does happen. I found it only happens in sort of when it's dark. But in

02:01:43   my experience, particularly in bed. I know I should be using my phone in my bed, but

02:01:47   basically bed is where my problems are, which is don't take that quote out of context,

02:01:52   but that's where most of the frustration has come for me.

02:01:56   I've found the same thing. First thing in the morning, at least two of the days since

02:02:01   I've used this, Face ID didn't work for me while I was laying in bed. I don't know

02:02:05   how much of it is because I'm still laying and my face is sideways and the phone isn't

02:02:08   oriented right.

02:02:09   Yeah, I think your face being smushed up doesn't work. And also, I'm extremely nearsighted,

02:02:18   so my eyes are just really bad. And so when I don't have my contacts in, I hold the

02:02:22   phone very close to my face. And I think it's almost too close for face ID. And so I pull

02:02:27   it out, and then I almost wonder if I have the problem where my eyes aren't focused

02:02:30   enough because I'm so blind that it's not registering. I'm not sure what's going

02:02:35   on. But it's interesting, I should weigh in bed with contacts in and I'm curious

02:02:40   if it might work better if there's something to just the way I'm holding the phone to

02:02:44   compensate for my terrible eyesight that is triggering these problems. But it's definitely

02:02:49   a consistent sort of thing. And then the problem is when you do encounter a problem, you have

02:02:54   to reach up and hit the side button. To have that button right there already under your

02:02:59   thumb is like it's more effort to overcome a failure, if that makes sense. It rarely

02:03:05   fails, but when it does fail, the effort to overcome the failure is greater than it was

02:03:10   before.

02:03:11   I never use this iPhone. You don't find that the tap to screen is all you need?

02:03:17   I didn't even know. I didn't even realize.

02:03:19   Ben, there you go. This made it worth appearing on the show. This is why they added this feature.

02:03:23   They've added this feature.

02:03:25   Is this new this year?

02:03:26   It's new in the X. It does not work on the iPhone 8 either. I don't know if it's because

02:03:30   it's expensive, and I don't know. But I'm telling you, it's a game changer, Ben.

02:03:34   No, it's like the watch. No, that is a game changer because that actually solves a huge

02:03:37   number of issues. Because the other thing is with the notifications, the problem is when the

02:03:41   notifications are up, I want them to unfurl. I don't want to swipe up. I want to stay on the

02:03:47   notification swing. I'm just so used to using an iPhone. I'm used to using it. I love that

02:03:51   notification screen. I love knowing everything that happened. Because again, I mentioned the

02:03:54   whole messaging thing. That's the way it gets a hold of me. So basically everything I need to

02:03:57   respond to always comes up to notifications and I have email notifications totally turned off.

02:04:02   So the problem is to swipe up, it dismisses notifications.

02:04:05   And then yes, I can reach up and bring them back down.

02:04:07   But particularly if I'm already in an app,

02:04:11   all those notifications disappear from the list

02:04:12   and then it's kind of a mess.

02:04:13   So waking up the phone and making it do face ID

02:04:18   without me having to swipe up and trigger face ID

02:04:21   has been a big problem.

02:04:22   So that actually might fix it.

02:04:23   - Yeah, and the best way to think of it

02:04:25   is exactly like to watch.

02:04:26   It's like, there might be some other examples,

02:04:29   but it's like a watchism that has come to iPhone 10,

02:04:33   but it's only on the 10.

02:04:34   And I've gotten used to it 'cause I don't know where,

02:04:37   I don't know if it stuck out to me in the keynote or what.

02:04:39   I think it maybe it stuck out to me during Schiller's bit

02:04:42   in the keynote where I was like,

02:04:44   I've had that thought before,

02:04:46   where once I got used to the watch,

02:04:48   I was like, why can't I wake my phone that way?

02:04:51   Why can't I just tap the screen if the watch can do it?

02:04:54   And so I was intrigued by it and had it in mind.

02:04:56   And so I've been using it

02:04:57   ever since they gave me the iPhone 10.

02:04:58   But anybody out there who's in the same boat as Ben,

02:05:00   I'm telling you, it's a game changer.

02:05:02   You don't need that side button.

02:05:04   - Yeah, the situation in the car in particular,

02:05:06   I can see that being really useful.

02:05:07   - Yeah, just tap the screen.

02:05:09   Just tap the screen. - And you look at it.

02:05:11   - I found Apple Pay.

02:05:12   I have found Apple Pay so far to be, eh, it's fine.

02:05:16   If anything, I think I like it better.

02:05:17   I was at Trader Joe's today.

02:05:19   And at some stores, you know, at some stores,

02:05:23   it's like you can do the face ID,

02:05:25   or not the face ID, the Apple Pay.

02:05:26   You can do it while they're still ringing you up. You know what I mean?

02:05:30   Like let's say you've bought 15 items and once they start scanning it

02:05:33   You could just do your do your transaction and even if you're using a credit card

02:05:38   You could like run the credit card in advance to get it ready and then you you know

02:05:41   At Trader Joe's their their POS system seems like it only allows you to even do it once it is

02:05:49   Final but I had since I was doing it while he was doing I double-click the side button to put it into

02:05:56   into the mode and then once he was done and beep,

02:06:00   it was the total, it was already recognized

02:06:05   'cause I was like looking at the phone

02:06:07   in front of the thing.

02:06:07   Like it's, I don't know, for some reason,

02:06:10   it seemed to me like an awful lot of the face ID skeptics

02:06:13   were anticipating that Apple Pay in particular

02:06:15   would be way less ergonomic

02:06:18   and I'm not finding that to be the case at all.

02:06:20   - Yeah, I was worried about that.

02:06:21   I haven't used it yet, but I've heard the same thing

02:06:23   from folks that use it that it's actually--

02:06:24   - The thing too is that it unifies the language,

02:06:28   the design language with the watch,

02:06:29   where the watch you initiate the same way

02:06:31   by double clicking the side button to put it into the mode.

02:06:34   And I actually think that that's like a good bit

02:06:39   of the old fashioned Apple,

02:06:40   what's the word, when like things are like,

02:06:48   consistency. - Alignment, consider it.

02:06:49   - No, consistency.

02:06:50   Consistency was the word that sort of went out the window

02:06:53   in some of the years of Apple.

02:06:55   - Well, and is one of the more frustrations,

02:06:57   I think, with their software,

02:06:58   like where different apps just have stuff in different places

02:07:01   or Federico Vittucci put something on,

02:07:04   I'm sorry, I forgot the name wrong,

02:07:06   on Twitter today where inconsistent capitalization

02:07:09   in the App Store.

02:07:10   Like, I mean, it's like stuff like that,

02:07:11   and that's sort of the frustration of being a big company.

02:07:14   Like you either care about that or you don't,

02:07:17   and it's frustrating when you see examples of not caring about it.

02:07:20   - That's the sort of thing that old Apple,

02:07:21   like 90s era Apple never got wrong.

02:07:24   Like, yup, but on the other hand,

02:07:26   that was a much smaller surface area.

02:07:28   There were fewer things to make sure

02:07:30   were title cased similarly.

02:07:33   - One other thing I really like about this transition

02:07:36   to the iPhone X relative to the iPhone 6 in particular

02:07:39   is I really like how X handles old apps.

02:07:43   Maybe this is people like,

02:07:44   "Oh, old apps look so bad on the iPhone X."

02:07:46   I actually think they're totally fine.

02:07:48   It just looks like a normal iPhone.

02:07:49   And the critical thing is that the keyboard position with old apps is the exact same as

02:07:55   the keyboard position with new apps.

02:07:57   And so people complain about this sort of like, why is the keyboard higher up?

02:08:01   I think a big part of that is avoiding that bottom part.

02:08:03   So if you hit space, you don't accidentally close the app.

02:08:05   But I also suspect they wanted to unify that because that was such a problem with the iPhone

02:08:10   6 transition because you had different keyboards in different apps.

02:08:13   And whereas here it's consistent.

02:08:15   It's so much.

02:08:16   this transition for apps is a million times better than the ones they've done previously.

02:08:20   Yeah, it feels a little bit like wasted space, but I feel like ergonomically, it's right. And

02:08:24   I've happened to hear from some people who would know why the keyboard is done the way it is.

02:08:29   And it's exactly what you just said, that having some separation between the space bar and the home

02:08:35   indicator was actually important usability-wise, and that testing proved it. That people trying to

02:08:42   to get the home indicator where instead, you know, and swipe up or instead typing spaces

02:08:46   and or vice versa. And I think that I think you're exactly right that this transition

02:08:52   with unapp unupdated apps is by far the easiest on the eyes. I, in fact, I sometimes don't

02:08:57   even notice right away. I'm almost like, Oh, whoa, I guess this one's not updated. It just

02:09:01   sorta, I, you know, by far like the jump from retina to rot non retina was, it was horrendous,

02:09:09   like non-retina apps on a retina iPhone 4 was immediate delete the app from my home

02:09:14   screen. It doesn't matter which app it was. I couldn't use it anymore.

02:09:18   I do have to run, but that reminds me of – oh, sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you.

02:09:23   Well, the one when they first made the screen bigger and the apps just ran in the middle

02:09:26   of the screen and the keyboard was an inch higher.

02:09:29   Well, not just that. It was different. The spacing between the keys was different. It

02:09:33   was really hard. That reminds me. I think another reason why the apps that aren't

02:09:38   running works so well is because old ads, like black is true black, right? Because it's

02:09:43   not actually lit up the pixel unlike LCDs. So two thoughts on that. Number one, I wouldn't

02:09:51   be surprised and I hope iOS 12 goes back to the original dark, like it's a black interface.

02:09:59   And apps that have dark mode, like Twitter, for example, has a dark mode, but it's very

02:10:03   dark blue, if you have a dark mode in your app, it should be black because it just looks

02:10:08   so much better than any other color in my estimation.

02:10:12   But number two, one more frustration. I know Apple has the best OLED screen in the industry.

02:10:19   The color shift still bothers me. It's apparent all the time. I'm sure it's better than the

02:10:25   Pixel but it's still there. And all the apps that have dark mode, I'm changing them just

02:10:30   because I still find it distracting. If anything, you can see it all the time, even if you have

02:10:34   the phone perfectly in front of your face.

02:10:36   I don't know what the math is, but I'm going to say it's like a 40-degree angle.

02:10:39   If you look at the app at a 40-degree angle or more, everything on screen looks blue,

02:10:43   and the lighter it is, the more pronounced it is. So black doesn't change at all, and

02:10:47   white changes to a decidedly bluish tint.

02:10:51   Right, but even if you have it tilted like 15 degrees, the top of the screen and the

02:10:56   bottom of the screen have different hues. It's very, very slight, but it's definitely

02:11:01   different. The full tilt is okay. That's okay with me. It's that minor tilt that

02:11:06   is definitely distracting.

02:11:09   Yeah, yeah, yeah. If you just go to an app like Mail where it's mostly white, it tilted

02:11:15   a little, yeah, you get white at the top and blue at the bottom if it tilted away from

02:11:21   you. I agree.

02:11:22   OLED is not… it's a great screen overall and I'm very happy and I don't regret

02:11:26   that they went with it, but it is not a clear win across the board from the LCDs and the

02:11:32   iPhone 8.

02:11:33   Yep, I agree. I prefer the old ones even though I know all the benefits of OLED and I think

02:11:39   what… that's why I think they're going to go with a much dark… with like a black

02:11:42   interface in the future because black looks incredible. Like it looks so good.

02:11:47   Well, sort of like the way on Apple Watch you can't really tell where the edge of

02:11:49   the screen is.

02:11:50   Yeah, no, exactly. I mean, and so I have some apps that have a pure black mode, and they

02:11:55   just, and they will, even the old ones that aren't updated, they almost look, they don't

02:12:00   look, they totally fit in because the top and bottom, you can barely tell the seams

02:12:04   at all. So anyhow, but I think that's one of those things, but this gets back at the

02:12:08   sort of delight thing just to take a full circle, like all these little errors, it's

02:12:13   okay. I feel confident they're going to be fixed because I'm still so, I'm enjoying

02:12:18   using this so much.

02:12:19   It is. All right, Ben, thank you so much for your time. Everybody can check out your work

02:12:27   at Stratechery.com, and there's a weekly—a daily newsletter you can sign up for, which

02:12:35   is one of my favorite reads every single day. And then on Twitter, you are @BenThompson.

02:12:43   and also @NoTechBen if you enjoyed the opening minutes of basketball talk.

02:12:48   So the problem is I made NoTechBen because I like to be very vociferous on Twitter. So

02:12:54   I want to be able to tweet during a game and be super annoying about it. Some people follow

02:12:59   me like, "Man, you don't shut up, do you?" I'm like, "That's why I made a separate

02:13:02   account. You can't complain about my making a separate account." If you want to complain

02:13:06   about my main account, I get it. That's why I made a separate one. But for good Lord,

02:13:09   like I'm already doing you a favor here.

02:13:11   - Yeah, I should register Jackass John.