The Talk Show

157: ‘A Nokia Phone and Some Pills (WWDC Prelude)’ With Dan Frommer


00:00:00   How you liking it over there?

00:00:01   - It's awesome, it's great.

00:00:03   It's fun, I mean, it's hard, but it's been really good.

00:00:10   - Well, this is a busy time for you guys

00:00:11   because it's like a busy time of the year period

00:00:14   because it's like May and June is like

00:00:17   when everybody in tech wants to,

00:00:19   if they're launching anything, they're doing it now.

00:00:21   Like you gotta get it out before July and August.

00:00:25   And you guys have a big conference

00:00:26   that just got wrapped up, right?

00:00:28   Yeah, which was my third time as a, my third time attending it,

00:00:32   but my first time working it and a totally different experience.

00:00:37   But it's, I mean, it's, it is an amazing conference. It's probably, you know,

00:00:41   obviously it's different than something like WWDC or CES,

00:00:45   but as far as executive conferences go in tech that the public is

00:00:50   invited, well, sort of invited to, um, I think it's the best one.

00:00:55   - Well, the history clearly dates to

00:00:59   when it was called All Things D.

00:01:01   I mean, it's Kara and Walt and the big red chairs.

00:01:05   - And it was basically the only conference

00:01:08   that Steve Jobs went to besides Macworld

00:01:11   and whatever Apple would put on.

00:01:13   - Right, and the difference, the big difference

00:01:16   is that when Apple puts on a keynote,

00:01:18   it's not really a conference, it's,

00:01:19   here's everything we have to say and it's prepared.

00:01:22   and on stage there, it's Walt and Kara asking the questions.

00:01:27   - Right, totally, yeah, the difference in preparedness

00:01:32   and who kind of lays out what they talk about and all that.

00:01:36   But it was great.

00:01:37   Actually, watching the videos now,

00:01:42   I kind of wonder, man, what if Jobs were still here?

00:01:47   What would he be talking about?

00:01:50   It kind of kind of ruins the mood, but, uh, watching Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk,

00:01:56   um, just really, really exciting and really interesting.

00:01:59   Yeah, it's a great list.

00:02:01   I mean, I would, I would say, you know, it's pretty hard to top in today's

00:02:04   executive world, Bezos, a one, two punch of Bezos and, and Elon Musk.

00:02:08   Yeah, it was, it was great because Bezos kind of has taken the role of the.

00:02:13   Elder statesman almost.

00:02:15   Um, as far as like CEOs who are still really, really involved in the day to

00:02:20   day, um, and you know, would talk not only at length about the products that their

00:02:25   companies make, but just kind of the bigger picture in general, which is kind

00:02:28   of the role that jobs would, would do.

00:02:30   You know, he would talk not only in detail about how Apple thinks, but also just

00:02:34   kind of what's going on in, in the world.

00:02:37   And, you know, if you, if you haven't had a chance to watch the full videos,

00:02:42   80 minutes of Jeff Bezos talking to Walt Mossberg.

00:02:45   And then the other one was, I believe over an hour

00:02:49   of Kara Swisher and Walt interviewing Elon Musk.

00:02:53   They're all available for free on Recode.

00:02:56   You should check them out.

00:02:57   It's really interesting.

00:02:59   And meanwhile, Musk kind of has played this role

00:03:02   as like the wacky guy in a space suit, basically,

00:03:06   who half of the talk was a physical lesson

00:03:12   and the other half was, you know,

00:03:14   let's pretend that we're inside of a video game.

00:03:17   (laughs)

00:03:19   I don't know, it was crazy and it was super fun.

00:03:22   And that one came at the end of like,

00:03:24   for me, a 16 hour day, so.

00:03:27   - Yeah, that might be a little mind blowing

00:03:29   to have Elon Musk up there, speculating on weather.

00:03:32   I mean, the idea was, you know,

00:03:34   it's not like he's the first person.

00:03:35   I mean, anybody who ever smoked a little weed in college

00:03:37   has had the same, the same,

00:03:42   you could go down that rabbit hole pretty easily.

00:03:44   But I mean, it's a serious question

00:03:46   that actual scientists have pondered is,

00:03:48   is the universe as we perceive it?

00:03:50   Could it be a computer simulation

00:03:54   of some kind of super advanced civilization?

00:03:58   - Right, and I think his answer was like,

00:04:01   there's a one in billion chance

00:04:03   that we're not in a simulation.

00:04:05   - Yeah, I have to say, I disagree with that.

00:04:09   I kind of feel, I kind of lean towards

00:04:10   Occam's razor explanation that, no, this probably is it.

00:04:14   I don't want to-- you know, I think people should watch it.

00:04:19   Because it's interesting to see a smart guy riff on this.

00:04:21   It really is.

00:04:22   So I'm not trying to discourage people

00:04:23   from actually watching it.

00:04:24   I promise to put the links to those two

00:04:26   videos in the show notes.

00:04:27   They really are worth watching.

00:04:30   I think that the argument that there's

00:04:32   an infinitesimally small chance that this is the real universe

00:04:36   is that if you assume that computers are going

00:04:40   going to keep getting faster at the rate that they've gotten faster, you know, and

00:04:44   that civilization is going to, you know, we're not going to destroy ourselves.

00:04:48   Eventually we're going to have computers that could simulate something as

00:04:52   complex as the universe and they're going to have, you know, and there are

00:04:58   going to be billions of those simulations. So if any

00:05:01   civilization got to this level of technology first, then the odds are that

00:05:07   that of all the things that are as complex as the universe,

00:05:10   that we're in the one that's actually real is very small.

00:05:13   Do you think that's fair paraphrasing?

00:05:15   - Yeah, that's basically what he said.

00:05:17   Which, you know, I mean, we wouldn't know, would we?

00:05:22   But it's interesting.

00:05:25   I guess we wouldn't know, would we?

00:05:29   - I don't know, they figured it out in the matrix.

00:05:31   - That's true.

00:05:32   - I don't know.

00:05:33   - That's true, we just needed a Nokia phone

00:05:35   and some pills, I guess.

00:05:38   - I think that one of the things

00:05:39   that makes these two guys interesting,

00:05:41   and it's one of the things that,

00:05:42   I mean, Jobs was just a compelling figure, period.

00:05:45   But, and I think there's even like a term for it,

00:05:48   but it's not just the fact that they're CEOs,

00:05:50   and it's not just the fact that they run interesting

00:05:53   companies, and it's not just the fact that they have

00:05:56   their interesting minds, and they come up, you know,

00:05:58   they say interesting things, but it's that they're

00:06:00   the founders of the company.

00:06:02   that CEO founder has a certain magic.

00:06:06   And maybe there's no real, maybe it shouldn't,

00:06:08   maybe that's not quite logical,

00:06:10   maybe that's sort of a lizard brain aspect

00:06:13   of human perception, but that somehow

00:06:17   there's a gravitas to a CEO founder

00:06:22   that say Tim Cook is never going to have.

00:06:25   - Yeah, and I don't, you know,

00:06:32   And I don't know if that's because they're a founder

00:06:34   or because they're still CEO,

00:06:37   but maybe just because they're the type of person

00:06:39   that would be the founder of something

00:06:42   truly successful and big.

00:06:44   And I think it's kind of interesting

00:06:48   in comparison to many of today's CEOs

00:06:51   who make cool things and then kind of escape,

00:06:56   quit the company or something like that.

00:06:58   Not only are they still there,

00:07:00   but they're using their power and influence

00:07:03   in really interesting and creative and productive ways.

00:07:07   In Bezos's case, doing space research

00:07:12   and starting new companies and buying one of the nation's

00:07:16   most storied newspapers, Musk too, basically creating,

00:07:21   now creating free startup ideas for everyone

00:07:25   every couple of years, like the Hyperloop,

00:07:27   and now, what was he talking about?

00:07:30   the mesh that goes in your brain and lets you,

00:07:34   I forgot what it is.

00:07:35   - He lost me there.

00:07:38   - Yeah.

00:07:40   - I believe him.

00:07:41   - Right.

00:07:42   But it's cool, I really liked it.

00:07:46   And you could also, so we also had Sundar Pichai,

00:07:50   which in the same vein as Cook,

00:07:52   like he's the CEO of one of the most powerful companies

00:07:56   in the world.

00:07:59   He's an interesting guy, but doesn't carry the same weight as a Bezos.

00:08:04   And then Bill and Melinda Gates.

00:08:06   And you could, you can really tell that bill is no longer thinking as the CEO

00:08:10   of Microsoft, but as, you know, as a world leading philanthropist and is really

00:08:16   actively much more interested in science and, and medicine than, you know, the nuts

00:08:24   and bolts of technology and the internet.

00:08:26   Yeah.

00:08:27   Something interesting too, and I don't know if it's coincidence or if there's really something

00:08:34   to it, to the fact that Bezos and Musk are in fact directly competing in terms of having

00:08:41   space rocket ship startups trying to privatize space exploration, something that had previously

00:08:49   been entirely a government overseeing endeavor. Elon Musk has SpaceX and what space is it?

00:08:59   It's Blue Origin, is that maybe?

00:09:00   Yeah, that's it. That's it. Blue Origin. I don't know if that's a coincidence. I don't know if

00:09:07   that's just a factor of, you know, a couple of guys born in the 60s when space, you know, as young

00:09:15   boys with an interest in technology,

00:09:19   how could you not be obsessed with space?

00:09:21   And that if you ever got successful enough to be in the position to do it,

00:09:26   it's inevitable that they would, or is there something to it?

00:09:29   Like, is this really going to be a thing, you know, in the next 10, 15 years?

00:09:32   Yeah. That, uh, I think it's some of both. I think, you know,

00:09:37   if you have essentially unlimited money, um,

00:09:41   what's bigger than trying to, you know, leave the planet, uh,

00:09:45   It's hard to imagine bigger things than that,

00:09:49   but I do think a lot of it has to do with when they grew up.

00:09:51   I don't know if Mark Zuckerberg

00:09:55   has much interest in space, for example.

00:09:58   He might, I don't know.

00:09:59   And I don't know if that is just 'cause of who he is.

00:10:03   Our sample set is pretty small here,

00:10:04   but it is interesting coincidence

00:10:06   that the two of them are so into it,

00:10:09   or maybe not a coincidence.

00:10:11   It's certainly interesting.

00:10:13   I don't know.

00:10:13   Do you wanna go to space?

00:10:15   (dramatic music)

00:10:17   I have late breaking news.

00:10:22   I have late breaking news.

00:10:23   I have to interrupt the show.

00:10:24   This is big news.

00:10:25   My wife just came into the office while I'm recording it.

00:10:29   I knew that must have been a big deal.

00:10:31   She found my missing canisters for the fizzy machine.

00:10:37   (laughs)

00:10:39   - Where were they?

00:10:40   - Amy!

00:10:44   We're going to do it. We're going to reveal it on the show. Where were they?

00:10:46   It's not funny.

00:10:50   Well, where were they?

00:10:51   They were in the coat closet. Um,

00:10:55   somebody put them like in a milk crate in the back.

00:10:58   I don't know who would do such a thing.

00:11:00   And one of them fall on the floor and I like ducked for cover.

00:11:06   Interesting. Did you put them there?

00:11:11   - No, I believe that my wife is the perpetrator.

00:11:15   (laughing)

00:11:16   And I believe that's why she came in

00:11:18   with a very sheepish grin.

00:11:20   - That's cool.

00:11:21   How many are there?

00:11:22   - Three. - Several, right?

00:11:24   - Right, well now I've got a lot.

00:11:26   See, my system with the SodaStream is

00:11:30   I have four in the house at all times.

00:11:32   And then as soon as three are empty,

00:11:34   I take the three to the local Williams-Sonoma

00:11:37   and exchange them for another three.

00:11:39   but that way, if I put it off for a couple of days,

00:11:43   I've got the fourth one in the machine,

00:11:45   keeping me carbonated.

00:11:46   So our long national mystery

00:11:49   of where my missing three canisters were is over.

00:11:53   All right, where were we?

00:11:54   What were we talking about?

00:11:55   Spaceships.

00:11:55   - See, my system is use one up

00:11:58   and then not make SodaStream for six months.

00:12:01   - No, I wouldn't, I would die of dehydration.

00:12:04   - Well, I just have to buy,

00:12:06   I buy like the six pack of Whole Foods sparkling water.

00:12:10   - Right.

00:12:10   Anyway, we were talking about space.

00:12:12   Do I wanna go to space?

00:12:13   No, I don't think I do.

00:12:14   I don't know.

00:12:15   I feel like I grew up at the wrong time.

00:12:18   Like I was born in 1973, so I've never been alive

00:12:22   when there's been a man on the moon.

00:12:24   And I loved the space shuttle stuff when I was a kid,

00:12:28   but then it's like, it was like,

00:12:30   cool, we have a reusable spaceship.

00:12:32   It made it seem like there was a coolness to that.

00:12:37   Even as a little kid, you could tell

00:12:38   that there was something wrong about the idea

00:12:40   that they'd build these massive skyscraper-sized rockets that

00:12:44   look just amazing and are just filled with jet fuel.

00:12:49   And then by the time these guys got into space,

00:12:51   they were in these tiny little things

00:12:52   that were just at the tip.

00:12:54   And then they come back.

00:12:56   When they land, all that comes back into the ocean

00:12:59   is this tiny little thing that looks like a refrigerator.

00:13:03   And you could tell that that's inefficient.

00:13:07   So when the space shuttle program started, I was,

00:13:10   I don't know, I remember being, I was in school the day

00:13:12   the first space shuttle launched and it was so awesome.

00:13:16   They let everybody got out of class

00:13:18   and we'd crowd around the TV and watch it on the news.

00:13:22   And I think they even let us do it again when it landed.

00:13:25   I think when it like that space shuttle landed,

00:13:27   they pulled us all out of class and let us watch.

00:13:30   And it was amazing 'cause here's the ship.

00:13:31   It went, you know, there still were rocket,

00:13:33   you know, to get it into space,

00:13:34   there were disposable rockets,

00:13:36   but the main ship itself came back.

00:13:37   That seemed like, hey, we're getting somewhere.

00:13:39   And then nothing else really happened.

00:13:41   Right, I mean, it's like after the space shuttle.

00:13:44   And then, you know, in the space shuttle program

00:13:46   had a couple of, you know,

00:13:47   like with the Challenger disaster,

00:13:48   it was all kind of a bummer.

00:13:51   - Yeah, yeah, I would say for me that the main problem is

00:13:54   I'm just not really a desert guy.

00:13:56   So going to Mars, it's like,

00:13:58   nah, I don't really,

00:14:00   not really interested in going to a giant desert.

00:14:04   If it were lush mountains and streams,

00:14:07   maybe that would be interesting, but.

00:14:09   - Yeah, I could see it.

00:14:11   It may be, you know, like the 2001 "Space Odyssey" idea,

00:14:14   if they put a Hilton just in orbit around the Earth.

00:14:17   - Yeah. (laughs)

00:14:18   - Put a Hilton in orbit.

00:14:20   I might be convinced to go to that,

00:14:22   but I feel like, yeah, going to Mars,

00:14:26   It seems like certainly within our lifetime,

00:14:28   there's never gonna be a way to go there

00:14:30   that's not a incredibly long trip.

00:14:34   I feel like it's a long enough trip flying to California.

00:14:40   - Right, yeah, I was gonna say.

00:14:41   It's enough fun to go to LA for a few days.

00:14:46   - I had to help in low orbit though.

00:14:50   I withhold the right to go up there.

00:14:54   - That could be neat.

00:14:55   That's basically like one of those Emirates flights

00:14:57   where you have the suite with the bath,

00:15:00   with the shower now, just going for a week

00:15:04   instead of 12 hours or whatever.

00:15:07   - Yeah, and it would be cool to experience

00:15:09   weightlessness, I guess.

00:15:10   I'm not sure I get the infatuation with it.

00:15:15   And I think you're right.

00:15:16   I think it is sort of generational, though.

00:15:18   And maybe these guys are right.

00:15:20   Maybe there was something to the '60s,

00:15:23   John F. Kennedy challenge to do something like that.

00:15:26   Seems more than coincidental that Bezos and Musk

00:15:31   both have that obsession.

00:15:32   - Well, maybe next year we need to have them both on

00:15:37   at the same time, dueling rockets.

00:15:41   - Yeah, it makes me wonder, like did Bezos hang out?

00:15:43   Was he there the next day?

00:15:45   Like did they spend any time together?

00:15:46   I know it was Bezos the first night and Musk the second,

00:15:49   and I know Musk was late getting there,

00:15:51   so he obviously wasn't there beforehand.

00:15:54   - No, to my knowledge, there was no hanging out.

00:15:58   Just kind of a bummer, it'd be cool if the kind of

00:16:02   VVVIP guests hung out and stayed around for a while,

00:16:06   but a lot of times now they just kind of take off,

00:16:11   go back to wherever they come from.

00:16:15   - Go back to their Bondlairs, Bond villain layers.

00:16:19   - Yeah, I heard last year that the Snapchat guy

00:16:23   basically showed up, took a brand new T-shirt out of a box,

00:16:28   put it on, went on stage, got off stage,

00:16:32   and then left basically.

00:16:33   (laughing)

00:16:35   But--

00:16:36   - It's the new T-shirt thing that gets me.

00:16:38   - Yeah.

00:16:39   - I'm not going on stage with that.

00:16:40   - No, it was like a brand new--

00:16:42   - Mid condition.

00:16:43   - Deep V-neck T-shirt, go on, I forgot the brand.

00:16:46   We actually, so we just relaunched the site.

00:16:49   I should probably explain why I'm there,

00:16:51   but basically, the Vox Media bought ReCode

00:16:56   just over a year ago, and in many parts,

00:17:02   in many reasons for the code conference itself,

00:17:05   but also because the ReCode website is so influential

00:17:09   and just a brand that people know and I think trust

00:17:15   and they want to do a lot more with it.

00:17:19   So they approached me earlier this year

00:17:21   with kind of that in mind.

00:17:24   And it sounded like a really exciting opportunity for me.

00:17:28   So the first thing we did was completely redesign the site

00:17:31   and relaunch it on the Vox Media publishing system.

00:17:34   And now we're about to open a bunch of jobs

00:17:39   and hire new people and expand our coverage

00:17:42   and do a lot of that sort of stuff.

00:17:44   So Daniel left off the very most important thing that you guys did.

00:17:48   Uh, Oh yeah.

00:17:49   We, we got rid of the slash, the slash, which I never gave you anyway.

00:17:54   No, that was like my first day.

00:17:56   I think they were like, what are we going to do with the slash?

00:17:58   I'm like, we are getting rid of the slash.

00:18:00   If there's ever a question about how to write the name of your site, that is a

00:18:05   problem.

00:18:05   So it was great.

00:18:08   That's, that's why I think they should have instantly, even if it was the first

00:18:12   day, they should have given you a raise.

00:18:14   - Yeah, I mean, I think I remember,

00:18:16   maybe it was even you when they launched,

00:18:18   you were like, "I don't know about this slash."

00:18:20   - I was, I was immediately questioning the slash.

00:18:24   - Yeah, I didn't know what the history of it was,

00:18:28   and I asked about it last week,

00:18:31   and I found out about it,

00:18:33   and let's just say it's not a good,

00:18:35   it's not an interesting story, so I won't repeat it,

00:18:37   but no one, I don't think anyone was really tied to it, so.

00:18:41   - Well-- - I'm all about simplicity,

00:18:43   I mean, if you remember my, every time I build a website,

00:18:46   it's the simplest layout possible and you know,

00:18:49   no, no too much, not too much depth or, or complication.

00:18:54   So in my case--

00:18:55   - Rekote has had that as part of their brand

00:18:57   right from the start though,

00:18:58   even when they had the slash in their name,

00:19:00   it has been a very reader friendly site.

00:19:02   - I disagree.

00:19:04   - I think it got better.

00:19:06   I think that the redesign is better.

00:19:08   - It's better.

00:19:09   I mean, before the front page was this very Pinterest

00:19:12   looking thing with variable height blocks.

00:19:15   And you could say, well,

00:19:18   the front page doesn't really matter.

00:19:19   People don't really go there.

00:19:21   Our front page is actually still very popular.

00:19:23   It's often the most popular page on the site

00:19:26   and it's much simpler now.

00:19:27   It's a standard reverse cron,

00:19:30   actually not always reverse cron

00:19:31   'cause we have complete control over the order of the post,

00:19:36   but it's much simpler.

00:19:37   - So I think my impression is it's mostly reverse cron,

00:19:42   but you guys can pin like a blockbuster story to the top.

00:19:45   - Yeah, we actually do some pinning throughout the river.

00:19:49   Like if there's a feature story,

00:19:51   we'll keep that in the river up top for a few days,

00:19:54   something like that.

00:19:55   But before like the headline font was Futura,

00:19:58   which is a great for like one word here and there,

00:20:02   but not really the kind of font

00:20:04   you'd wanna ever read a sentence in, for example.

00:20:06   So some of that stuff, I mean, it wasn't bad.

00:20:09   It's just, to me, it was an opportunity to really simplify

00:20:14   and got to work with the really talented design.

00:20:17   Actually, the guy who made our logo designed

00:20:20   the Oculus logo for Facebook.

00:20:22   He has designed, he designed the logo for Curbed

00:20:26   and some of the other Vox Media properties.

00:20:28   So I'm really happy with it.

00:20:30   - Yeah, and the logo has a little homage to the slash.

00:20:33   - Yes, the implied slash.

00:20:34   Yeah, and that actually was a little more pronounced

00:20:36   in the earlier versions of it.

00:20:38   And I kind of had them tweak it a little bit, but it works.

00:20:42   I mean, the, the, the whole point is for the design to get out of the way and just

00:20:46   break news and do good analysis and we'll do more.

00:20:50   Um, we, we did a few really big, ambitious profile features for our relaunch, uh,

00:20:57   which was about a month ago, including a, um, a really well reported feature.

00:21:03   One of the first really about Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat,

00:21:07   and we sent one of our reporters to Kansas City

00:21:11   to write about Google Fiber,

00:21:13   which had now celebrated,

00:21:15   I believe it's fifth birthday there.

00:21:17   And both of those stories did so well

00:21:20   that we were almost surprised

00:21:22   and now we have to figure out how to do more of those

00:21:25   'cause they were really outside of our kind of workflow.

00:21:28   So we're really happy with that.

00:21:31   And it's been fun so far.

00:21:36   I guess kind of the back story is that for me,

00:21:41   it's a reunion with my first boss, Peter Kafka,

00:21:44   who I worked with at Forbes almost 11 years ago.

00:21:48   And we left together in 2007 to start

00:21:53   Silicon Alley Insider with Henry Blodgett.

00:21:55   So we were the first three people at the site

00:21:58   that became Business Insider.

00:22:00   And then Peter left to join Kara and Walt at All Things D,

00:22:03   and I stayed on.

00:22:04   And now, you know, basically a decade later,

00:22:09   we're reunited and--

00:22:10   - That's when you and I first got to know each other

00:22:12   was when you were at Business Insider

00:22:14   or Silicon Alley Insider at the time.

00:22:16   - Alley Insider, I still remember the first time

00:22:19   you linked to us and probably said something,

00:22:22   probably like, well, this is wrong, but here's the link.

00:22:25   I don't remember, but claim chowder or something.

00:22:29   - Yeah, I don't know.

00:22:29   I'd have to look it up.

00:22:32   And what's your title?

00:22:32   You're like the editor, right?

00:22:34   - I'm the editor in chief.

00:22:34   - Editor in chief.

00:22:35   So now you're Peter Kafka's boss.

00:22:39   - Sort of.

00:22:40   No one's really Peter's boss, but no, I mean, he's,

00:22:45   you know, we work together.

00:22:46   There's, and Kara Swisher obviously is very involved

00:22:50   in the site, but basically it's kind of my site

00:22:53   to do what I want with.

00:22:55   And my perspective is that, you know, having now worked

00:22:59   at some really interesting business publications

00:23:02   and watch the tech section basically take over,

00:23:05   I think all you need is the tech section.

00:23:09   So I don't know, I wrote somewhere that like tech,

00:23:13   we used to cover tech as a thing,

00:23:15   but now tech is everything.

00:23:16   So we'll keep adding new coverage areas.

00:23:20   We recently hired a really wonderful

00:23:22   transportation reporter to cover the rise of,

00:23:26   well, it's not the rise anymore,

00:23:27   but the continued growth of Uber, Tesla,

00:23:31   and those types of companies.

00:23:33   And I anticipate that, and by the way,

00:23:36   that's a role that even three years ago

00:23:38   we would have kind of scratched our heads at.

00:23:41   Like, well, why would a tech site

00:23:43   need a transportation reporter?

00:23:45   But obviously, of course you do.

00:23:47   - It is funny though.

00:23:48   That's a perfect example of like how this industry changes.

00:23:53   Five years is a good distance to go back.

00:23:58   Five years ago, that would have been like a head scratcher.

00:24:00   And today it's like, you're nuts if you don't.

00:24:02   - Totally, I mean, five years ago,

00:24:05   I think Uber already existed,

00:24:07   but it would have been covered as an app startup

00:24:09   or something like that.

00:24:10   And now everything is an app startup really.

00:24:13   And just every industry is gonna be re-imagined by tech,

00:24:18   some faster than others.

00:24:23   And transportation is one that we've kind of identified

00:24:27   early is something that we should really have a say in covering. I imagine at some point

00:24:33   we'll be covering the tech of food or finance or all kinds of stuff. Basically wherever

00:24:43   we have personal interest or wherever we find a really great journalist who can own that

00:24:49   coverage for us.

00:24:50   Have you seen the story that sort of a mini controversy about Tesla yesterday about like

00:24:57   some guys Tesla had the suspend the ball joint the suspension sort of rusted out.

00:25:01   Did you see this story? I did not. I'll put it in the show notes but there was a guy

00:25:09   who I'd never heard of before named Niedermeier.

00:25:16   which always makes me think of Animal House.

00:25:19   But I've never heard him, but he's a long time

00:25:23   car industry, automobile industry writer, Edward Niedermeier.

00:25:30   - Okay, I know another Niedermeier.

00:25:32   - No, I'll send you a link, but I'm pasting this

00:25:35   into the show notes right now, so I won't forget.

00:25:37   Here we go, boom, there it is.

00:25:41   And the gist of his article and his writing on Tesla--

00:25:46   and Tesla responded.

00:25:48   And it seems, again, it's sort of like Musk as Jobs,

00:25:52   like for sometimes with those--

00:25:54   like sometimes he'd sign them with thoughts on music.

00:25:59   But remember the one time there was a fact on the App Store?

00:26:02   It was like an FAQ.

00:26:03   And it was like there was some stuff in there like the App

00:26:06   Store doesn't need any more fart apps.

00:26:09   Not everything needs to be made.

00:26:10   And you could just tell that Steve Jobs,

00:26:12   not just stood over it,

00:26:15   but that he had his hands on the keyboard for some of that.

00:26:18   And the Tesla PR response to this was sort of dismissive,

00:26:23   tonally in a way.

00:26:27   There's enough people with Teslas out there,

00:26:30   they're obviously not all falling apart,

00:26:32   but the gist of it was that they really blamed this guy

00:26:35   because he lived at, they had a two mile driveway

00:26:37   to a remote home that was like a dirt road,

00:26:39   and that the car was just covered with dirt,

00:26:41   and it's sort of an unexpected use of it, but it's--

00:26:45   - You're holding it wrong.

00:26:46   - Right, but the gist of this, Niedermeier guides,

00:26:48   what made it more interesting than the specific incident

00:26:51   of this ball joint in one Tesla at Model S,

00:26:53   and whether in general there's a problem,

00:26:56   is this guy who's a long-time automobile industry watcher

00:27:00   is very pessimistic on Tesla,

00:27:02   more so than anybody I've seen,

00:27:04   and his argument is that,

00:27:08   Again, I'll put it in the show notes.

00:27:09   It's an interesting argument.

00:27:11   And I'll probably link it from Daring Fireball, actually.

00:27:13   I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

00:27:15   But his argument is that it's,

00:27:17   there's a counterintuitive aspect to pricing cars

00:27:22   and that people think, hey,

00:27:23   when you spend a lot of money on a car,

00:27:25   like let's say like a Model S,

00:27:27   you expect a better quality car.

00:27:31   And that's actually not true

00:27:32   because you go super expensive

00:27:34   and get like a Lamborghini or Ferrari

00:27:35   and things fall apart all the time

00:27:37   and they're always in the shop.

00:27:38   And it doesn't matter because if you've got enough money

00:27:39   for a Ferrari, you could just have your chauffeur

00:27:42   drive you around in your Mercedes

00:27:44   until the car's back out of the shop.

00:27:46   And that it's the lower you go in prices,

00:27:49   the lower the price car, the more the person

00:27:51   who's buying it absolutely positively relies on it.

00:27:55   And therefore it needs reliability.

00:27:58   And that that's the secret to Toyota and Honda's success,

00:28:01   you know, starting in the '70s,

00:28:02   is that they, from the top down,

00:28:05   were focused on quality in a way that a company from Silicon

00:28:11   Valley isn't going to get it right,

00:28:12   because quality at every step of the process

00:28:15   is sort of the antithesis of the Silicon Valley

00:28:18   model, which is move fast and we'll fix problems later.

00:28:23   Like the revolution that Toyota brought to the assembly line

00:28:26   was that the old way was that the car would keep moving down

00:28:29   the assembly line.

00:28:30   And even if a fault was identified,

00:28:31   they'd try to fix the fault after it got off

00:28:33   the end of the assembly line.

00:28:34   what Toyota is the Toyota way and you know that's actually a thing like the W

00:28:38   is capitalized the Toyota way is that as soon as a fault is identified in a car

00:28:42   in the assembly line the entire assembly line shuts down and they almost move it

00:28:46   in in reverse to identify where the fault happened and fix it right there to

00:28:51   make sure that it isn't you know perpetrated in more than one car even if

00:28:58   it's expensive to shut down the assembly line and do it that way but then that

00:29:02   that sort of expense of that is sort of what motivates everybody along the way

00:29:07   to be hyper focused. You don't want to be the guy who shut down, you know, caused

00:29:10   the assembly line to shut down. And that Tesla doesn't have that mindset. And as

00:29:14   they move down to more affordable cars, what's this the new one called the Model

00:29:19   3? What's it called? I think so. Whatever the one is called that everybody went

00:29:25   nuts for and bought gazillion pre-orders for at this $35,000 price range. People's

00:29:31   expectations for reliability are going to be way higher than they were for the

00:29:36   hundred thousand dollar model S and he doesn't think that they're suited to do

00:29:39   it. Interesting theory. Yeah, I don't know about that. I mean, he seems really, again,

00:29:46   I don't know, I've never, I don't own a Tesla, I don't know what their kind of

00:29:51   global reliability is, but he did seem to really care about quality when he was

00:29:57   talking about it at code where he was saying even the people who bought the

00:30:01   base level $35,000 version would get a pretty freaking

00:30:06   awesome car.

00:30:07   Definitely not like the kind of situation where you need

00:30:12   to upgrade to the $50,000 tier or whatever,

00:30:15   making that number up to get a great car.

00:30:18   So it seems like safety is probably the biggest priority,

00:30:23   but also, and also cool features, but I don't know.

00:30:28   it seems like, I don't have the perception that Tesla doesn't care about quality.

00:30:34   I don't know.

00:30:34   I, you know, it might also be the kind of thing where they're not old enough to have

00:30:39   a longterm example of, of how their cars hold up over time.

00:30:45   Yeah.

00:30:45   I don't know.

00:30:46   Uh, that seems like, you know, how you were describing this, we'll fix it later.

00:30:53   That seems like the attitude for a lot of software companies, uh, especially

00:30:58   because the internet has made it so easy to patch software as it goes.

00:31:02   And, you know, you could also argue that that's one of Apple's problems,

00:31:06   that they don't do that enough.

00:31:07   Um, but when it comes to hardware, it seems like the companies that

00:31:10   excel at hardware make stuff to last more than the software company.

00:31:17   So I don't, I don't know.

00:31:18   Uh, and the other part of the controversy is that apparently it's come out that,

00:31:23   when you're with certain out of warranty repairs,

00:31:28   that if your Tesla is out of warranty,

00:31:30   let's say it's like three years old and you take it in,

00:31:32   but it's a weird problem, and they run it up the chain,

00:31:36   like, "Hey, should we fix it for this guy

00:31:37   or at a discount or for free?"

00:31:40   That sometimes when they do that,

00:31:41   they ask the person or in exchange for it,

00:31:44   they have you sign what they call a goodwill agreement,

00:31:47   which is effectively an NDA

00:31:48   that you're not gonna talk about that you're,

00:31:50   well, you know, instead of what's charging you $3,000

00:31:53   for this repair will only charge you $1,000,

00:31:55   but you need to sign this that says

00:31:57   you're not gonna talk about the problem.

00:31:58   And some people are spooked about the,

00:32:01   in a way that some people just get spooked

00:32:06   when anybody's asked to sign an NDA.

00:32:08   - Yeah, or how about the guy who,

00:32:10   what did he trash them on Twitter so he can't,

00:32:13   just literally can't buy a Tesla?

00:32:16   - Stuart Alstopp, longtime technology columnist

00:32:19   and now a VC, Elon Musk personally canceled his order.

00:32:24   - Amazing.

00:32:29   - Which is a very Steve Jobs type thing.

00:32:31   - I mean, they're very savvy about some of this stuff.

00:32:35   I wrote a post a couple of years ago

00:32:38   about how they are effectively their own media company too,

00:32:41   the way that he handled criticism by the New York Times

00:32:46   and in other situations where Tesla essentially published

00:32:50   their own media without going to another reporter

00:32:55   or something like that.

00:32:56   They're certainly ahead of the curve

00:33:00   in a lot of those things.

00:33:01   - Yeah, I've got these,

00:33:02   I've put a couple links in the show notes already.

00:33:04   So they'll be there for everybody who wants to read them.

00:33:06   Here, I'll paste it for you.

00:33:08   You don't have to read it while we talk.

00:33:10   Let me take a break, actually.

00:33:12   It's a good time to take a break

00:33:13   and thank our first sponsor.

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00:36:59   have it tomorrow. My thanks to era. Uh, speaking of breaking news, what do you think about

00:37:06   scoop, uh, scoop, Gerben leaving nine to five Mac and, uh, he's heading to Bloomberg. Yeah.

00:37:12   Um, it's funny. I'd actually heard about that a few months prior, but I didn't say anything

00:37:17   and I'm glad it, uh, I'm kind of amazed it stayed, uh, stay quiet. I heard about it too.

00:37:22   I heard about it back at the March Apple event.

00:37:26   - Oh, cool.

00:37:27   - And I even heard that it was Bloomberg.

00:37:31   I thought about being snarky and posting something about it

00:37:33   and I thought, nah.

00:37:35   'Cause it seemed like it wasn't up

00:37:36   and it wasn't clear to me whether Seth Weintraub

00:37:39   at 9to5Mac knew.

00:37:41   It turns out I think he did, at least by March.

00:37:44   But I didn't want him to hear it that way

00:37:47   and I thought, ah, screw it.

00:37:48   But I just thought it was funny that Mark Gurman,

00:37:52   who spoils all these things for Apple and other companies that a couple of people I

00:37:57   know knew and nobody leaked it.

00:37:59   Yeah, that's restraint. I think it's great. I think it's cool. It's going to be a bummer

00:38:07   to compete with him. Hey, Mark, if you find yourself miserable at Bloomberg, give me a

00:38:14   call. But I think it's cool. He's going to get to work with Brad Stone, who's a great

00:38:19   journalist and have what I would imagine are very nice resources available to him and also

00:38:28   a TV network and also an organization that has a very specific mission and a business

00:38:37   model that has nothing to do with internet advertising and is being run by a non-web

00:38:46   guy who many people thought would not really come back and this is Mike

00:38:52   Bloomberg, of course, not really come back and be the boss again and then showed up

00:38:55   and was the boss again and, um, you know, is, is a very profitable business that

00:39:02   is dominated by the terminal, which is going to face increasing competition.

00:39:08   So it's, it's, and it's also kind of, uh, in the business of producing soulless,

00:39:15   but extremely accurate, very fast, uh, you know, market moving news.

00:39:21   So should be interesting.

00:39:23   I mean, I would guess that a lot of the stuff that would be, uh, publishable

00:39:27   at nine to five Mac will not be publishable at Bloomberg either because

00:39:31   it's too small, you know, like feature store, you know, not, I don't mean

00:39:35   long feature stories, I mean, stories about features of products that

00:39:39   probably wouldn't, you know, wouldn't really cut it.

00:39:42   Uh, we'll see how that goes.

00:39:44   I don't know.

00:39:44   But it also sounds like he's going to be working on non-Apple stuff too.

00:39:47   So if he can use some of his reporting techniques, which, you know, I admire,

00:39:52   um, to break news on, on other big companies, I thought I read that he was

00:39:56   going to be working on stuff like Google and Amazon as well, um, consumer tech.

00:40:01   I think that's great.

00:40:02   So it should be really interesting to see how it goes.

00:40:04   Um, yeah, it's the scoop aspect.

00:40:07   And that's why when I heard Bloomberg months ago, it immediately clicked

00:40:12   is, oh, that makes sense because Bloomberg, again, this is, you know, you and I getting a little

00:40:16   inside baseball here, but Bloomberg and but it's interesting to you because Recode is definitely a

00:40:21   scoop company too, right? Like, you guys definitely pride yourselves on breaking some stories,

00:40:28   a lot of stories first. Absolutely. And Bloomberg, it's institutional at Bloomberg too. Like,

00:40:35   you know, it's sort of almost the opposite of me, who I almost seldom ever break anything,

00:40:43   and don't really care about it, but it's, you know, and it's exemplified by the

00:40:50   leaderboard at Techmeme, at which, you know, German is so far out in the top of "It's Ridiculous."

00:40:55   Yeah, I think you're right, though. It's going to be interesting to see how his,

00:41:05   the faster and looser style or standards of nine to five Mac compared, you know,

00:41:09   how that translates to an institution with a more formal, um,

00:41:14   set of standards.

00:41:15   And I, you know, I would say not having ever worked with Mark that, uh,

00:41:20   his,

00:41:21   his accuracy rate suggests that his personal standards are quite high,

00:41:25   because it's very easy to get sucked into posting what you think is a

00:41:31   scoop and then being wrong. Um, whereas, you know,

00:41:35   Even when he is somewhat wrong, it's usually, you know, could be easily

00:41:40   explained by, well, he was right at the time, but you know, three months past.

00:41:43   And it's totally reasonable for Apple to change the name of something or, you

00:41:47   know, whether, whether they, I don't think they did it despite him that one time

00:41:52   or whatever, but, um, but like he, you know, to my recollection has never really

00:41:57   been wrong about something in a way that suggests that his journalism is highly

00:42:01   flawed.

00:42:02   Uh, I, you know, I don't know who his sources are, but my guess is that he's

00:42:06   has pretty high personal standards about that.

00:42:09   So, uh, I've actually also never worked for Bloomberg, so I don't know what, how,

00:42:14   how the, there's also the Bloomberg way, capital w and, um, and I'm not sure how

00:42:22   that will work with, with Mark, but.

00:42:24   It certainly is a, is an interesting place to be right now.

00:42:28   So it should be fun or at least a learning experience.

00:42:32   I mean, the dude is 23, so he can do it.

00:42:35   He can kind of do a lot of different stuff and figure out what he likes.

00:42:39   Yeah.

00:42:41   It's and if, you know, if he doesn't like it, he can always move on.

00:42:43   Interesting.

00:42:44   Yeah.

00:42:44   Um, but to me, it's also interesting that he went that route as opposed to, um,

00:42:52   you know, doing his own thing or taking on, um, you know, more independent stuff

00:42:59   like nine to five or creating his own company

00:43:03   or trying to work somewhere.

00:43:05   And I have no idea who else he talked to.

00:43:07   He certainly could basically work at a lot of places.

00:43:12   I mean, I would obviously have wanted to hire him at Recode

00:43:16   if I had gotten to him before Bloomberg did.

00:43:19   But yeah, it's cool.

00:43:23   I mean, to be open about what I was thinking,

00:43:26   this was when I was thinking about

00:43:28   doing something new this year,

00:43:29   one of the things that jumped back to mind

00:43:31   was doing my own thing again,

00:43:33   and Splat F 2.0 or something like that.

00:43:36   Nowadays there are business models

00:43:39   that didn't really exist

00:43:41   when I started Splat F five years ago.

00:43:43   - What about this new App Store stuff?

00:43:46   - I think it's interesting.

00:43:48   So you got briefed, so why don't you start off

00:43:51   and explain what, briefly, I guess, what happened.

00:43:54   - Yeah, so it was very fast moving.

00:43:56   It was Monday, and someone at Apple PR asked me

00:44:01   if I could be available Tuesday for a half hour or so

00:44:05   phone call with Phil Schiller about some developer news

00:44:08   that they're putting out ahead of WWDC next week.

00:44:11   I said I would try to find some time.

00:44:13   Maybe I could squeeze that in.

00:44:17   So Tuesday, I was gonna say a conference call,

00:44:22   but it was speakerphone and there were a couple

00:44:24   of other people on the other end,

00:44:25   but it wasn't like other, it was just me on my end.

00:44:30   It wasn't like the other report.

00:44:31   I think some people, the people in California

00:44:33   got to meet with them live, like The Verge.

00:44:36   That obviously wasn't gonna work for me.

00:44:39   But yeah, and Shiller told me that three things,

00:44:43   three of the things that they're doing,

00:44:45   or have already done, is the faster review times

00:44:49   for the App Store, all the App Stores.

00:44:51   We've noticed that because developers

00:44:54   who are submitting apps and are used to week-long approval

00:44:58   times, getting their app approved same day, it sticks out.

00:45:02   But it's not a fluke.

00:45:03   It's not some kind of short-term happenstance.

00:45:08   It's a deliberate plan that they took.

00:45:11   Three parts of-- what did they say?

00:45:14   Staffing changes, which I think there

00:45:17   are a couple of managers in there who

00:45:21   were sort of roadblocks to moving this forward

00:45:23   that they're no longer there.

00:45:27   But in addition to that, it was very clear, talking to Schiller, that in addition to the

00:45:31   staffing changes, I think that there's also just some changes to the way they're applying

00:45:36   just the pure manpower of how many people are doing the reviews.

00:45:41   Tool changes, and I heard a little bit more about this off the record from other people

00:45:46   later in the week, but definitely some really good engineers at Apple.

00:45:52   I mean, they're not talking about the details of what these tools are, but that there's

00:45:56   been a significant effort expended within Apple to create internal tools to expedite

00:46:02   the software, the app review process.

00:46:06   They're not revealing details, not even off the record, but it's not minor.

00:46:12   That's the thing I've understood, that months of time from really good engineers were applied

00:46:16   to this.

00:46:18   And then the last one, the mystery one to me, is policy changes.

00:46:22   And I asked Schiller if he could expound upon that.

00:46:26   And he hesitated and said, I'd rather not talk about it.

00:46:30   So I don't know what that means.

00:46:31   But he did.

00:46:32   And then he stopped, and he did give one example.

00:46:34   And he said, well, here's one example.

00:46:37   That if a developer has three apps,

00:46:40   and they're sort of interrelated,

00:46:42   and they update some core component of it,

00:46:45   and all three apps get submitted at the same time,

00:46:48   Now, when the reviewer pulls the app from the queue,

00:46:52   I mean, he didn't use the word inbox,

00:46:54   but effectively the inbox of apps waiting for approval,

00:46:59   they'll get all three at once,

00:47:01   and they can review them together.

00:47:03   And if there's any kind of interconnectedness

00:47:05   between the apps, it can make it an hour long thing

00:47:10   instead of a days long thing, which is interesting.

00:47:13   But to me, that's not really a policy change.

00:47:15   that sounds like it's more part of the tool changes.

00:47:18   I suspect that part of the, this is, nobody told me this.

00:47:22   This is just my thinking about what this could be.

00:47:26   Nobody told me this on the record or off the record,

00:47:29   so I could be way off, but I can't help but think

00:47:31   that maybe some of the policy changes

00:47:33   are a little bit of almost just granting the reviewers

00:47:38   a little bit of common sense latitude.

00:47:42   latitude where like if a developer, if they pull up the app and they look at the developer's

00:47:50   history and it's Marco Arment and here's all the apps he's had before, here's the app,

00:47:58   he's submitting a new version of Overcast, here's the previous updates to Overcast and

00:48:02   he says that this is an update that fixes a sinking bug and that maybe that there's

00:48:07   a sort of like, well I think we can trust this guy, look at his history, he's got a

00:48:11   reputation put it through. You know, run whatever test you want to do, but that an app from a

00:48:18   developer with a trusted record is going to get less of a thorough combing over than a brand new

00:48:26   1.0 app from a developer who doesn't really have a history or whose history isn't really

00:48:30   high profile. I can't help but think that there must be something like that. I don't know.

00:48:40   Um, I mean, and this seems to make sense.

00:48:44   And if anything, it's, it's kind of absurdly late to make changes like this.

00:48:50   I mean, if you, if you think of the app store as a nine year old product, pretty

00:48:54   much every other product that was launched nine years ago has, has been vastly

00:48:58   improved.

00:48:59   Uh, and it seems like, you know, whether it was just a low priority for Apple, but

00:49:06   the developer app store experience just really didn't change that much over the

00:49:09   years.

00:49:10   Yeah, the things that they added were so minor. I mean, it's things like bundles, you know,

00:49:14   where you could sell to the same developer could sell a bundle of two or three apps

00:49:19   as a single purchase. You know, it's, that's, I mean, it was nice. But I mean, it's like,

00:49:24   wow, that's not really a major change. And it wasn't something that really addressed

00:49:28   some of the fundamental problems that developers had with the App Store, like these lengthy review

00:49:33   times. Right. I think it's fair to say, I would guess that if there were any, and this is,

00:49:38   it's far-fetched, but the idea that,

00:49:42   remember back in the day was,

00:49:43   oh, there should be multiple app stores

00:49:44   and Apple should have to compete with other app stores.

00:49:47   You could bet that if there were other app stores

00:49:50   that Apple would have made improvements like this

00:49:52   a long time ago and much more quickly.

00:49:54   So, yes, it's nice to see stuff like this happen,

00:49:58   but I, you know.

00:50:00   - So there was a, not really a,

00:50:03   not like a major reorg, but a minor reorg

00:50:05   and some promotions back in December

00:50:07   within Apple. And one of the things that got shuffled around was that the App Store got moved

00:50:13   from being under Eddy Cue to being under Phil Schiller. And that Phil Schiller was going to take a much

00:50:19   more active role in overseeing it. And this is the result of it. That's why it was Schiller who was

00:50:25   giving me and Jim Dalrymple and The Verge, Lauren Good at The Verge. And I think

00:50:31   the UK Telegraph, I forget who wrote it, but I think that they might have been the only

00:50:36   we might have been the only four who got it a day in advance.

00:50:39   And if it was more than that, it wasn't many more.

00:50:42   But that's why it was Schiller doing the briefing,

00:50:44   'cause this is his baby.

00:50:46   I mean, these are the results of his actions.

00:50:49   I think it's completely non-hyperbolic to say

00:50:54   that the app store's improved more in the six months

00:50:57   under Schiller than it did in eight years under EdiQ.

00:51:00   I don't think that's-- - Yeah, I'd agree with that.

00:51:03   - And why is that?

00:51:04   And a couple of, you know, there's been people emailing me,

00:51:06   you know, Twitter, you know, what's this, is Eddy Cue,

00:51:10   is he incompetent?

00:51:11   What's the problem?

00:51:12   I don't think that's the case.

00:51:13   I think it's, I don't think it's a case

00:51:15   that Eddy Cue couldn't get things like this done.

00:51:19   I think it's just that he didn't choose to.

00:51:21   That it, that his worldview and what he saw as important

00:51:26   in the store wasn't as developer focused

00:51:30   as it is under Schiller.

00:51:31   and I just think it didn't rise to a priority level

00:51:34   that it got done.

00:51:36   These things might have been on the list under Q,

00:51:38   but that they didn't percolate to the top of the list

00:51:41   and therefore didn't get done.

00:51:42   - Oh, it's also very easy for Apple to feel like

00:51:44   the App Store is a huge grand slam hit,

00:51:47   I mean, and a huge success.

00:51:49   The growth was unprecedented,

00:51:52   the numbers were all up and to the right,

00:51:54   and how can you argue with the success of this store?

00:51:58   And by the way, we've written you checks

00:52:00   for billions of dollars,

00:52:01   So why aren't you happier?

00:52:02   - $40 billion, I think is the number.

00:52:04   And I think that's what Schiller told me the other day.

00:52:06   And that might be, it might just be that

00:52:09   that was the number from January.

00:52:12   And it doesn't even include whatever they've paid

00:52:14   since from January to now, because of that,

00:52:16   that hasn't been either hasn't been tallied

00:52:18   or hasn't been authorized to come out.

00:52:20   - And to me, what's even more amazing

00:52:22   and could be 10 to 100 times more amazing

00:52:25   is that's only the money that goes

00:52:28   through the iTunes system.

00:52:30   that does not include the money that goes,

00:52:33   for example, directly to Uber or something like that.

00:52:36   Which is, I'm making this up, but it could be

00:52:40   five to 100 times more money that actually goes

00:52:44   through apps that has nothing to do with that $40 billion.

00:52:48   - Yeah, for me, by far and away,

00:52:50   the most money I spend is on Uber, without question.

00:52:53   Through my phone, the most money I spend

00:52:55   has gotta be through Uber.

00:52:57   - Or the Apple Store app when I buy a new laptop

00:52:59   something like that, but, uh, or Amazon or whatever, but there's so much money

00:53:04   that goes through these apps and you really do have to make it a better

00:53:09   product for, for developers, for app users, for everyone. So, um, you know,

00:53:15   so the, I guess the other changes are more, I guess they're all kind of

00:53:19   developer focused. Well, the subscription pricing. So how do they, how do they

00:53:24   kind of frame that?

00:53:29   It was framed as we've had subscriptions,

00:53:33   but for a very limited number of type of apps,

00:53:38   mostly content producing apps, like video streaming, audio

00:53:41   streaming, like Spotify.

00:53:45   It's great.

00:53:45   Schiller is such a pro that he's never knocked off.

00:53:48   So it's like he never mentions any competitors, even just

00:53:52   on a phone call.

00:53:53   So he never didn't mention Spotify or Pandora,

00:53:56   but he just mentions, you know, uh, streaming audio streaming video. Um,

00:54:01   remember the daily, I think was one of the first publications.

00:54:04   Yeah. Yeah. Uh, and he said news news obviously qualifies, you know,

00:54:08   you can subscribe to, to, uh, paywall publications like, uh, uh,

00:54:13   New York times and wall street journal through an app. Um,

00:54:17   uh,

00:54:20   more or less an app that you have to subscribe to get content in,

00:54:25   you know, on a regular basis. And he said, "We want to change that, to open that up to all app categories."

00:54:31   And he mentioned, and I didn't quote him on this, but I know that The Verge did too. The Verge quoted him on it,

00:54:40   that it would apply to like a productivity app that requires, you know, constant updates to support features and stuff like that.

00:54:50   And so I took it initially as meaning that just about any app would be able to use subscription

00:54:57   pricing in any way they see fit. So that if you wanted to, like an app like Vesper, the app that

00:55:05   me and Brent Simmons and Dave Whiskus made, if we wanted to do subscription pricing,

00:55:10   we could just do subscription pricing.

00:55:17   And then, when they published their own website, Apple's website, the language on the webpage

00:55:23   made it seem as though it was still mostly about getting content. And it was very, very confusing.

00:55:29   And then I emailed Apple PR and I got answers, but they were opaque. And long story short,

00:55:40   and then I got a phone call. And the answer is, I posted something last night about this, that

00:55:46   that they're still thinking about how to clarify this,

00:55:51   but that they're absolutely aware

00:55:53   of developers' uncertainty about this.

00:55:56   Definitely looking forward to talking to developers next week

00:56:01   at WWDC about the way that developers have in their head

00:56:04   that they'd like to use subscription,

00:56:06   and that in the week after WWDC,

00:56:09   they anticipate posting, publishing something

00:56:12   that clarifies some kind of fact that clarifies

00:56:16   what the rules are going to be.

00:56:18   - And when does this take effect?

00:56:22   Is it part of the iOS 9 SDK and App Store,

00:56:25   or is this something that won't really work

00:56:27   until iOS 10 anyway?

00:56:29   - That's a good question.

00:56:30   I think it's iOS 10.

00:56:31   I think they're launching a beta--

00:56:32   - So they have time.

00:56:33   - Yeah, they said that they're launching a beta over summer.

00:56:36   - And there are already subscription apps,

00:56:40   and they'll get to take advantage

00:56:41   of that new pricing system immediately, it sounds like.

00:56:45   - Yeah, well, and the new rev share.

00:56:47   One of the big, yeah, that might be the biggest thing

00:56:49   that they announced was that any app using subscriptions,

00:56:53   after a subscription is a year old,

00:56:55   this revenue split changes from 70/30,

00:57:00   which is what Apple publicly used

00:57:02   for everything at all times everywhere.

00:57:04   There are longstanding rumors that, like on Apple TV,

00:57:09   some of their individual deals made out with companies

00:57:12   that are better, probably 85/15, I guess.

00:57:15   But that at least for developers in the iOS and Mac app stores, everything is 70/30.

00:57:22   In-app purchases, app purchases, subscriptions, everything.

00:57:25   After a year it goes to 85/15 until the end of the subscription.

00:57:30   And that's terrific news because that's a significant difference.

00:57:34   Especially if it's a 3, 4, 5, 6 year subscription.

00:57:37   It's a lot of money.

00:57:39   It's like a 20% increase.

00:57:41   So that's interesting.

00:57:44   And it applies, that applies immediately.

00:57:46   So if you--

00:57:47   - And I believe retroactively, right?

00:57:47   - Yes, so if you already have a subscription app,

00:57:50   you know, that previously qualified for a subscription

00:57:55   with the old rules, all of your subscribers

00:57:58   who've been with you for more than a year,

00:58:01   starting next week, I think, you know,

00:58:02   when the next billing cycle for those subscriptions

00:58:04   comes around, it'll be 85.15 for you.

00:58:06   That applies immediately.

00:58:08   - Which is nice.

00:58:10   I mean, you, you could also argue that it really should just be 97%, 3%, because once

00:58:16   the marketing is done, Apple's really only facilitating credit card transactions, but,

00:58:24   you know, they also are in the position to set the rules.

00:58:27   So I think it's interesting to me, one of the most interesting things about this subscription

00:58:32   thing is that this is kind of the problem the app store solved for prior mobile apps.

00:58:42   If you think back to the days before the iPhone when you had a flip phone or whatever, there

00:58:49   were apps and there were games and that kind of stuff and they were all sold on subscriptions

00:58:53   and they were comically overpriced subscriptions and the phone companies took most of the money

00:58:59   And the developers got hosed on a lot of it, which is one of the reasons that these, uh,

00:59:04   so these apps really never took off, but they all got added to your phone though.

00:59:09   Yeah.

00:59:09   And I think there were even like class action lawsuits about, you know, how you

00:59:14   would kind of get suckered into subscribing to one of them and never get, uh, never,

00:59:18   it was never easy to get to unsubscribe and that's that kind of stuff.

00:59:22   But when the app store came out in 2008 and made it, you know, an ownership model

00:59:27   where for a few bucks or, and then, you know, what eventually went down to 99 cents and free,

00:59:32   you could actually buy an app and own it. That was a huge difference over the previous model where,

00:59:37   you know, you might get Tetris for $5.99 a month or something like that, of which the developer got

00:59:43   less than half of it. And so it is a different time. And obviously the devices themselves have

00:59:50   changed so much since then and the apps themselves too. Uh, I think the better, the better model now

00:59:57   to kind of look at is how profoundly different Adobe's

01:00:02   business is now that they've been able to switch

01:00:05   to recurring subscription revenue

01:00:07   for their Creative Suite products.

01:00:09   - And Microsoft as well. - And Microsoft too,

01:00:11   for Office.

01:00:12   And if Apple's trying to make the iPad Pro

01:00:17   a professional device and they want companies

01:00:20   like Adobe and Microsoft to make their highest end software

01:00:24   for it, they really need to support the business models that, uh, that

01:00:29   those companies are using.

01:00:30   So I think that I do expect them to clarify what sort of apps could do

01:00:37   subscriptions.

01:00:38   I mean, we've, you know, you also see on the indie side, you see an app

01:00:43   like Marco's podcasting app where he charges an optional subscription just

01:00:48   because you want to support him.

01:00:50   So he doesn't renew though.

01:00:51   I don't think.

01:00:52   Yeah.

01:00:53   And I don't know how that sort of thing, I wonder if that would hold up under whatever policies they would institute.

01:01:02   I think that I'm really optimistic about this. If Apple takes a laissez-faire attitude to it and let developers...

01:01:11   To me, Apple's role should be there to serve as the trusted intermediary between you and the developer you're paying for the subscription to.

01:01:22   to, meaning that Apple will be there to make sure that you can unsubscribe easily at any

01:01:27   time, that you're not going to get the rate changed on you behind your back, any rate

01:01:32   change you have to approve explicitly, that sort of thing.

01:01:38   And I think that's perfect.

01:01:40   And other than that, I think that they should just let developers try whatever pricing they

01:01:46   want and see what works.

01:01:48   I don't think that they should really get in the way.

01:01:50   So like if a developer of something that doesn't get any content at all, like a calculator

01:01:55   app, like Peacock from James Thompson wants to switch to a $3 a year subscription so that

01:02:03   there's ongoing revenue and that he can keep doing things like updating the app for new

01:02:10   OSs and not have to, you know, because there's no upgrades.

01:02:14   There's no upgrades in the App Store.

01:02:16   I don't think there are going to be.

01:02:19   And so apps like Tweetbot and Twitterific have done things over the years where like

01:02:23   when Tweetbot comes out with a major new version of Tweetbot, it's a new SKU in the app store.

01:02:29   And if you own Tweetbot 3 to get Tweetbot 4, you have to buy Tweetbot 4 and it downloads

01:02:34   as a new app next to Tweetbot 3 on your device.

01:02:39   And you have to set it up again and make sure your accounts are in there and then probably

01:02:43   delete the old version of Tweetbot so you're not getting like duplicate notifications for

01:02:48   the DMs and stuff like that. And that whole fiddly, like now I've got two apps

01:02:53   on my home screen and I want to delete the old one and use the new one. It's

01:02:59   even worse in some ways than old-school managing your applications on a Mac or

01:03:04   PC because of the sandbox. Although I guess maybe to app from the same

01:03:09   developer, I think maybe when you with Tweetbot because it's the same

01:03:11   developer they can look in the sandbox. Yeah I guess that actually now I think

01:03:14   about it when I'm confused because I'm a beta tester of Tweetbot so I see all

01:03:18   sorts of weird stuff. But I guess maybe they can read the old Tweetbot 3

01:03:21   information because they're the same developer and so it's a little bit

01:03:25   easier to migrate. But the whole idea of having to manage these apps as two

01:03:28   different apps and and keep it straight and delete the one you don't want anymore,

01:03:32   that's the sort of system administration nonsense that the App

01:03:37   Store is supposed to eliminate. But there's no other way for a developer to

01:03:41   put months and months and months, if not years, of development time into a major

01:03:46   new version when most of their customers are, you know, they already have most of the customers

01:03:52   they're going to get. That they want to make money, you know, they need to make, they need

01:03:56   to monetize the users they already have to support the ongoing development. And to me,

01:04:00   subscription pricing is the way forward. Yeah, I agree. And I agree with your assessment that

01:04:06   they should let the market sort it out. If, you know, if people want to use this model,

01:04:12   then they'll pay for it. And if they don't, they just won't, and the app will fail.

01:04:16   So...

01:04:16   Right. Or it'll change, you know, adapt or die. You know, change to paid upfront,

01:04:20   go back to paid upfront or something like that. And I know that there are people listening. I

01:04:25   know, I've heard from you on Twitter. I know that there are people who really hate subscription apps

01:04:29   and that they like the idea, like just basic idea of, "All right, I'll give you, we'll agree X amount

01:04:35   of dollars. I'll give you $5 for this version of your app." And if a year from now you have a

01:04:40   a version with new features and you want more money from me, I get to evaluate

01:04:44   whether those features are worth it to me and if not I'll just stick with the

01:04:49   one that I have and it'll keep working. Whereas if it's a subscription model and

01:04:53   a year from now you're not happy with what the app is and you want to stop

01:04:56   your subscription before it renews, the app may, you know, depending on how the

01:05:00   developer has it configured, is probably going to stop working or go back to a

01:05:03   very limited feature set and you're going to lose what you had because you

01:05:06   didn't renew the feature.

01:05:08   I realize that in some ways that's a step back

01:05:10   from the user's perspective.

01:05:13   But the truth is that apps tend to stop working

01:05:16   after a year or two anyway if you're not

01:05:19   upgrading to the latest version just because of OS changes.

01:05:23   The subscription model just makes that more instantaneous.

01:05:27   And that's the way stuff has worked on the web forever.

01:05:31   I think the web has sort of changed people's mindset

01:05:33   on stuff like this.

01:05:34   If you sign up for a service like Basecamp,

01:05:37   if you stop paying for Basecamp, nobody expects.

01:05:42   - Right, exactly.

01:05:45   - Nobody expects that you could keep using the old Basecamp.

01:05:48   - Yep, yeah, the models have changed

01:05:51   and don't be a cheap ass, I think is part of it.

01:05:55   But if you get value from software

01:05:59   and if the model for the developer

01:06:01   to build a sustainable business

01:06:04   to make it a recurring revenue thing.

01:06:06   I also wonder how much of this has to do with this new Apple,

01:06:09   like we're a services company thing.

01:06:13   That's probably not the number one, number two,

01:06:15   or even number three factors,

01:06:17   but for Apple to get more recurring revenue

01:06:19   through the app store is a great thing as well.

01:06:22   - Yeah, well, this is why I think they should take

01:06:24   a laissez-faire attitude towards it,

01:06:26   and the reason that I'm optimistic.

01:06:28   I mean, to me, the biggest hole in the ecosystem,

01:06:31   And I think, I don't see how anybody could deny this.

01:06:34   The biggest hole in the ecosystem

01:06:36   is serious productivity software for the iPad.

01:06:42   That there's lots of great iPhone apps

01:06:44   that you can do, quote unquote, "work with" about as best

01:06:49   as you can expect to on the phone.

01:06:51   Ambitious apps for the phone.

01:06:53   And the Mac, that's the whole reason the Mac even still

01:06:55   exists, is that there are serious applications

01:06:57   that people who work on their Macs all day long

01:07:00   can get their work done on.

01:07:02   And those sort of apps, there are some for iPad,

01:07:06   but nowhere near as many as there are on the Mac.

01:07:08   And a lot of them are a lot more--

01:07:11   - I would say nowhere near as many as are necessary

01:07:15   for the iPad to become the future work machine

01:07:18   for a lot of people.

01:07:19   - Yes, exactly.

01:07:20   I mean, an example would be the very, very popular drawing

01:07:25   and it's sort of specialized in UI design.

01:07:27   tool, Sketch, Sketch app. It's very popular. And they just announced that they have a sort of, it's not a subscription, but they have a sort of annual, you know, I'll put it in the show notes, I make a note, but they're Mac only. And people love this app. Sketch is a big, big part of the UI work, UI design workflow for an awful lot of developers. And they don't have an iPad app.

01:07:57   And they've actually come out publicly and said,

01:08:00   "We don't really have plans to make an iPad app

01:08:01   "because we don't think it'll be worth it financially.

01:08:04   "We don't think that the money we could make from it,

01:08:07   "given the ecosystem, the prices people expect on iPad,

01:08:12   "that it's just not gonna be worth it."

01:08:14   I think Sketch is like $100 on the Mac,

01:08:17   and there's just no way,

01:08:19   it doesn't seem like the iPad supports that.

01:08:22   Maybe if they could go to say a $5 a month subscription,

01:08:26   they could. Maybe that would work. I don't know. I don't want to say Sketch in

01:08:30   particular, but that's just the sort of thing. You don't see people saying,

01:08:34   "We're not going to make a Mac professional tool because we don't think

01:08:36   we can make money at it." And you do see people saying that on iPad. And I can't

01:08:42   help but hope. I wouldn't necessarily bet on it, but it seems to me

01:08:46   possible that subscription pricing for apps like Sketch could be the answer for

01:08:51   for the iPad.

01:08:54   Yeah, we'll see.

01:08:54   I mean, it would have been neat to launch it

01:08:58   at the same time as saying, and by the way,

01:09:00   Sketch is coming to iPad.

01:09:01   But easier said than done.

01:09:05   The switch from buying stuff to subscribing to stuff

01:09:07   is happening elsewhere, too.

01:09:09   I mean, that's where music is going.

01:09:10   And there's rumors that Apple is in particular--

01:09:14   obviously, Apple Music is a big effort in subscription pricing,

01:09:18   but that they're strategically de-emphasizing purchasing

01:09:21   music from iTunes as time goes on. I mean, there have been a couple of reports about that.

01:09:25   And I subscribe to paper towels. An awful lot of people watch an awful lot of video through

01:09:33   Netflix, you know, that they're not buying all this stuff. They're paying Netflix eight bucks

01:09:37   a month or nine bucks a month or whatever tier they're at and watching it until their

01:09:42   subscription isn't there anymore, at which point they watch nothing. You know, you subscribe to

01:09:48   to paper towels. Your paper towels don't disappear though if you stop your

01:09:53   subscription. True. And I realize there are definitely trade-offs but I think

01:09:59   people who want to be knee-jerk, "I'm gonna resist this, you know, I'm not going

01:10:05   down this route at all," you're not moving forward with the industry. And again, I

01:10:10   acknowledge that there's, it's not perfect but it's, you know, it's the way

01:10:14   things are going. There's also the ads. We can talk about the ads, but let me

01:10:19   take a break before we do that. I'll come back to that, and I want to thank our

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01:12:41   and remember that code talk show great sponsor so the last thing Apple

01:12:47   introduces search ads in the App Store and now that I see what they're doing

01:12:54   here I don't think that it's I think it's worth talking about but I don't

01:12:57   think it's worth I think anybody who's upset about it is it's a little

01:13:01   misplaced. I don't know that Apple needed to do this, but I feel like it's this isn't really

01:13:06   detrimental and it might end up helping developers, including smaller ones. I think the fear that

01:13:14   people have is that this is going to be a thing where the auctions for these keywords or whatever

01:13:19   are all going to be won by bigger developers with big ad budgets and it's just going to further

01:13:25   promote the rich getting richer, meaning the most popular apps getting more popular. But talking to

01:13:33   Schiller and seeing how they're doing it, I think not. I think this might actually be a good way for

01:13:39   small developers, you know, including really small individual ones, to with a minimal ad spend that

01:13:45   they're completely in control of, to get their app at the top of the listing for more searches.

01:13:51   An interesting statistic that Shiller revealed was that 65% of all app downloads still come,

01:14:00   or the path to it is from the search box in the App Store app. So getting your app,

01:14:07   being able to pay to get your app at the top of that list actually seems pretty worthwhile.

01:14:12   Yeah, I mean these ads work for a reason and they've driven a lot of growth for Facebook's

01:14:19   mobile business and Google has them. It seems logical that Apple would have them

01:14:26   too. I'm sure they'll make a nice amount of money for it and it may, I don't think

01:14:35   it makes up for the fact that the App Store needs to be better organic search

01:14:40   and just the App Store browsing and discovery experience needs to be better

01:14:45   but it's hard to fault them for building a system like this.

01:14:50   And even then, I've talked to developers

01:14:55   who buy a lot of downloads on Facebook and Google,

01:15:00   and it's still way cheaper than acquiring a customer

01:15:04   almost any other way.

01:15:06   - Yes, yeah, I've heard that too.

01:15:08   In Schiller's parlance, it's quote, unquote,

01:15:13   social networks and search engines.

01:15:15   But in reality, it's Facebook and Google.

01:15:19   And it's really no other social networks are really big.

01:15:22   Twitter has a little bit of it.

01:15:24   And when they first launched it,

01:15:25   I think a lot of people were optimistic about it.

01:15:27   But asking a few people,

01:15:29   it seems like Twitter is nothing compared to Facebook

01:15:33   with regard to being able to pay for placement

01:15:35   to get app downloads.

01:15:37   - Yeah, I would say it's Facebook and Google.

01:15:38   - Facebook and Google.

01:15:40   - To me, the question is,

01:15:42   will developers get any good data

01:15:46   from Apple on their campaigns?

01:15:48   Will they be able to see which keywords drove users?

01:15:53   Will they be able to tie those users

01:15:55   to any other analytics to tell paid user cohorts

01:15:59   versus organic?

01:16:01   I'm really curious about that.

01:16:03   - I think so.

01:16:05   I think that the answer is yes,

01:16:09   that you'll be able to see if a certain keyword worked

01:16:11   how many came from it. They also have an interesting option where you can just

01:16:16   say here's what I'm willing to pay and let Apple pick the the terms that that

01:16:23   would be relevant to your app and you don't even have to pick the search

01:16:27   keywords let Apple pick them and you only pay per so I don't know whether

01:16:34   there's a click or tap but since iOS is more popular than Mac OS I'll say tap

01:16:38   pay for tap so as a developer you only pay if your ad is shown but the user

01:16:43   doesn't tap it you pay nothing you only pay when the user actually taps on it so

01:16:48   if you figure out what what you know what conversion rate you think you can

01:16:52   get for everybody who actually taps on your app and they even have a calculator

01:16:56   for that to help you figure out like what you should be considering your

01:17:03   highest bid in the auction to make sure that you'd be profitable it seems like

01:17:07   they have tools like that.

01:17:08   And I think that the reporting tools are

01:17:10   probably pretty good.

01:17:13   We'll have to see.

01:17:14   - Yeah, I mean, to me, so,

01:17:16   and then there's always users who will tap the ad

01:17:19   and then not download the app.

01:17:20   And then there are people who will download the app

01:17:21   and never launch it,

01:17:22   and then they'll launch it once and then never again.

01:17:24   So what I don't know is will you be able to identify

01:17:28   which of your users were acquired

01:17:31   through App Store search ads?

01:17:33   - Oh, I don't think so. - Will you be able

01:17:35   to compare them?

01:17:35   - Yeah, I don't think you'll be able to do that

01:17:37   because there's so many privacy-related things.

01:17:41   Yeah, so I don't--

01:17:42   - Will you be able to target users

01:17:45   that have a competitor's app or something like that?

01:17:48   I remember hearing once that the iAd let you target users

01:17:53   based on what, maybe either what apps they had

01:17:57   or what songs they had purchased from iTunes

01:17:59   or something like that.

01:18:01   I don't really remember, though.

01:18:03   - Yeah, I don't know either.

01:18:04   And you can definitely target by location,

01:18:08   and a user can opt out of that.

01:18:09   It's part of the use location services,

01:18:11   and you can go to the settings and opt out.

01:18:14   But that is interesting to me.

01:18:17   I'm not quite sure, I'm not sure I can think

01:18:20   of a perfect example for where it would apply,

01:18:22   but that seems pretty interesting.

01:18:26   - But those are the sorts of things that,

01:18:27   as a developer, you would wanna have that access,

01:18:30   but Apple's privacy focus might prevent you

01:18:34   from having that access.

01:18:36   - Right, and I'm thinking about something like,

01:18:39   I don't know, like if a conference has a conference app

01:18:44   that the location thing could help.

01:18:46   But on the other hand, that also seems like the sort of thing

01:18:48   where you shouldn't have to pay at all

01:18:50   because the search terms should absolutely,

01:18:52   if you type in recode conference,

01:18:57   the recode app, if you guys had an app,

01:18:59   I don't know if you did,

01:19:00   If you did, why in the world would it not be the number one result anyway?

01:19:03   Yeah.

01:19:04   I think we had a web app this time that actually was very nice.

01:19:09   Actually surprisingly nice for a web app.

01:19:12   Yeah.

01:19:13   I think, I mean, so kind of zooming out a bit, I think it's interesting that they went

01:19:21   for the strategy of announcing these things first.

01:19:26   My guess is that none of these would have made the key,

01:19:31   maybe the subscription pricing

01:19:32   may have made the morning keynote,

01:19:34   but probably not the ad stuff.

01:19:39   - I think review times would

01:19:41   because they could cover it quickly.

01:19:42   And I still think that they're gonna,

01:19:43   I still think they'll touch upon it.

01:19:45   I think they'll say, as you've probably heard last week,

01:19:49   we've made some changes to the App Store.

01:19:51   It lets them, here's what I think they're gonna do.

01:19:53   It's like the typical Apple keynote style

01:19:55   where they'll introduce it, and then at the end of the segment,

01:19:58   they'll review what it is we just--

01:20:00   here's what we're going to tell you,

01:20:01   now we're going to tell you, now we're going to review.

01:20:04   They can skip all but the review and just say,

01:20:06   as you've probably heard last week,

01:20:09   we've put new systems and tools in place

01:20:12   to get app reviews to 50% within 24 hours and 90% within 48

01:20:16   hours.

01:20:17   And then the crowd will go nuts and then cheer.

01:20:20   We're adding subscription prices to all app categories

01:20:23   and 200 price points for subscriptions

01:20:26   and territory-based pricing.

01:20:30   We didn't mention that, but I've heard,

01:20:32   I try not to be US-centric,

01:20:36   but I can't help but be sometimes,

01:20:39   but I've heard from a couple people

01:20:41   that this territory-based pricing for subscriptions

01:20:43   could be huge, and the fact that it wasn't allowed before

01:20:46   was really problematic, that effectively,

01:20:49   the old way was you'd set a price,

01:20:51   If you set it in dollars, the price in China

01:20:54   would just be the conversion rate between China's currency

01:20:58   and US currency.

01:20:59   Whereas now, you could set a dramatically lower price

01:21:02   in a country like China and India,

01:21:05   where your US price was completely out

01:21:09   of reach of most people.

01:21:11   And apparently, this is something that is a huge deal.

01:21:15   And it could make subscription to even content-based services

01:21:19   a lot more interesting.

01:21:22   - Yeah, that makes sense.

01:21:23   I mean, if you imagine Netflix has a smaller library

01:21:26   in many countries, maybe would want to charge a locally,

01:21:31   whatever the local equivalent to eight bucks a month is,

01:21:34   as opposed to the direct conversion of $8 a month.

01:21:38   - Yeah, yeah, I don't know.

01:21:40   I could see this stuff being in the keynote,

01:21:42   but I can see how if the keynote was deemed full,

01:21:44   that these were the things that were,

01:21:46   let's just announce them a week in advance.

01:21:49   Like I could see it both ways.

01:21:50   Like if there was room,

01:21:51   I could see holding them for the keynote.

01:21:53   If there wasn't, none of them are that blockbuster

01:21:56   of a thing.

01:21:59   That much of a blockbuster.

01:22:02   - They'll have enough to go over with the ARM-based Mac OS

01:22:06   to, wouldn't that be something?

01:22:11   - You're joking, I mentioned that as an example.

01:22:13   I mentioned something like, you know,

01:22:16   that apps break over time,

01:22:17   like PowerPC apps don't run on Intel Macs anymore.

01:22:21   And that something like that could happen again

01:22:22   in the future with Intel to ARM.

01:22:25   And that was not one of my coy little,

01:22:28   I know something is coming.

01:22:29   I don't know, I have not heard one thing from one person

01:22:32   that ARM-based Macs are a real thing.

01:22:34   I just, common sense tells you though,

01:22:36   that it might be a thing,

01:22:38   because I think Apple has good reason

01:22:40   to be unhappy with Intel.

01:22:41   Intel seems to be late with everything

01:22:44   from mobile chips to desktop chips,

01:22:48   Apple would surely like to have it under control,

01:22:50   under its own control.

01:22:51   And the existence proof is there that there

01:22:53   are benchmarks that show the iPad Pro outperforming

01:22:57   the new MacBook One.

01:22:59   And it's at least roughly on par in terms

01:23:01   of just pure CPU performance.

01:23:04   So the possibility of ARM-based Macs is real.

01:23:07   And when they did the Intel thing back in 2006,

01:23:13   They announced it at WWDC, not with hardware

01:23:17   that you could go buy, but they preannounced it

01:23:19   at WWDC so that developers could start thinking,

01:23:22   get the tools to recompile their apps to be fat binaries

01:23:26   with native ARM and Intel code.

01:23:28   So if such a thing were to happen, it wouldn't be--

01:23:33   it would actually be--

01:23:35   there's precedent that they might announce it at WWDC

01:23:38   nine months before the machines actually ship.

01:23:42   So who knows?

01:23:43   Huh, all right.

01:23:45   I'm all for it.

01:23:46   I think that'd be great.

01:23:48   Let's do it.

01:23:49   I do too.

01:23:49   I don't know.

01:23:50   I think it could be--

01:23:51   I think it's got to happen eventually.

01:23:52   I don't know.

01:23:53   It might just be three, four years from now.

01:23:56   And it's like, well, maybe it just took a while for--

01:23:59   maybe they really wanted those chips to be super fast

01:24:02   before they do it.

01:24:03   But I just think it could happen eventually.

01:24:07   And it just seems like something Apple would like to have under its own control.

01:24:12   So we'll see.

01:24:12   I don't know.

01:24:14   - What do you think of this week's rumor

01:24:16   about iMessage for Android?

01:24:19   - It's in my notes.

01:24:19   So that's an interesting thing at a meta level

01:24:22   because it came from Mac Daily News,

01:24:24   who is not really known for breaking rumors.

01:24:27   Mac Daily News is sort of a mysterious website to me

01:24:31   'cause I don't know who, there's no byline on it,

01:24:33   but it's been around forever.

01:24:35   - Forever, yeah.

01:24:36   - I mean like, longer than Daring Fireball, I'm pretty sure,

01:24:41   But I don't know who runs it.

01:24:44   It's a weird little site.

01:24:46   Apple to deliver iMessage to Android at WWDC.

01:24:49   This was yesterday.

01:24:52   Apple will announce that iMessage encrypted text

01:24:54   messaging is coming to Android users at WWDC next Monday,

01:24:59   according to a source familiar with the company's thinking.

01:25:01   This will make it possible for Android and iOS users

01:25:04   to communicate securely as iMessage features

01:25:06   end-to-end encryption.

01:25:08   Blah, blah, blah.

01:25:10   The source notes that plans are constantly in flux leading up

01:25:12   to Apple keynotes, and the timing of the announcement

01:25:14   could change, but that the iMessage instant messenger

01:25:17   service would, quote, "definitely be coming

01:25:20   to Android this year."

01:25:23   The other thing he says is that--

01:25:25   because there's a separate rumor that Apple is going to allow

01:25:28   person-to-person Apple Pay payments via messages.

01:25:32   That's been around for a while.

01:25:33   And it's just common sense that Apple has a payment service.

01:25:36   Apple has a secure messaging service.

01:25:39   Why wouldn't they let me send you money through iMessage?

01:25:43   The only thing I question about that-- this is a great topic.

01:25:46   I definitely want to talk about it with you.

01:25:49   The payment thing, though, is what

01:25:51   confuses me because I thought that so much of Apple Pay

01:25:56   was tied to the hardware in the phones, the secure enclave.

01:26:02   Well, and to me, the bigger question

01:26:05   is the fact that it's connected to the credit

01:26:09   and debit card network, which has a cost to it.

01:26:13   So if you look at the free person-to-person payment systems,

01:26:18   they mostly go through bank transfers, ACH bank transfers.

01:26:23   If you do wanna use credit or debit,

01:26:27   you usually have to pay,

01:26:29   although I think Square Cash is free,

01:26:30   but Square's in the position to lose money to get new users,

01:26:34   whereas that's not really an Apple way.

01:26:37   - They're eating those transaction fees.

01:26:40   - So you wouldn't just be able to,

01:26:42   I couldn't just send you 100 bucks

01:26:44   and put it on my Chase Visa.

01:26:45   That would cost Apple whatever, like three bucks.

01:26:50   So they're not gonna do that.

01:26:52   I don't know.

01:26:55   And one of my colleagues reported earlier,

01:26:58   Apple Pay's interesting.

01:26:59   I mean, one of my colleagues reported earlier

01:27:00   that they would also be working on Apple Pay for mobile web.

01:27:04   I don't know how that would work.

01:27:05   Would that be, would there, you know,

01:27:07   how would that launch and how would,

01:27:09   how would Safari access the secure enclave?

01:27:12   You know, going back to the iMessage thing,

01:27:16   if iMessage is a marketing tool for selling iPhones,

01:27:20   and I think that's how you maybe described it

01:27:22   in a previous show,

01:27:25   it doesn't make sense to launch it on Android.

01:27:27   But if iMessage is suddenly a platform for payments,

01:27:32   for potentially bots for all sorts of stuff,

01:27:35   then yeah, let's get that on as many devices as possible.

01:27:39   So, and then maybe even get a few of those Android users,

01:27:44   much like Apple Music going,

01:27:46   oh, these Apple services are kind of cool.

01:27:48   Maybe I should just get an iPhone and log right in.

01:27:51   So I've long been curious as to when there would be

01:27:56   some sort of iMessage platform,

01:27:59   the way that Facebook Messenger is opening up,

01:28:01   the way Slack is and you can kind of see, I believe Apple itself uses iMessage

01:28:08   through some sort of server because when you buy, uh, if you use, if you buy

01:28:14   an Apple product through their Apple to the Apple store online and then pick it

01:28:19   up in a store, they send you an iMessage saying that it's ready for pickup.

01:28:23   So, and I don't think that's someone sitting at a Mac or an iPhone typing that

01:28:28   And so Apple obviously has a backend to send iMessages

01:28:32   through some sort of server queue.

01:28:34   So the question is, how rich is that?

01:28:39   Are those APIs, is that the kind of thing

01:28:40   that they would ever open up to third parties,

01:28:43   the way that, again, Facebook Messenger, Line,

01:28:47   all these other services are becoming WeChat,

01:28:50   becoming platforms for bots

01:28:52   and for other person to machine communication.

01:28:57   I don't know where that sits for iMessage,

01:28:59   but I think it could be really interesting.

01:29:01   - And I know there's a lot, this broke yesterday,

01:29:06   and most people asking me what I thought

01:29:08   were very skeptical of why would they,

01:29:10   this seems completely opposite of Apple,

01:29:12   and maybe iMessage even was this all previously,

01:29:17   was a premium messaging service.

01:29:21   Just one of the nice things you get as an iPhone

01:29:24   and Mac user is you get this nice messaging service that's

01:29:28   end-to-end secure.

01:29:31   Maybe they're looking past that now.

01:29:32   And as you mentioned before, two quarterly conference calls

01:29:37   in a row, a main talking point from Apple

01:29:39   was that they are a quote, unquote--

01:29:41   they're now one aspect of the company that's

01:29:43   worth talking about is that they are a services company.

01:29:46   And a messaging service would play exactly into that.

01:29:49   And bringing it to Android would be a way to emphasize that.

01:29:53   I keep thinking when I see like the monthly active users

01:29:56   or daily active users for messaging apps like WhatsApp

01:29:59   and what are some of the other, WeChat

01:30:02   and some of these other ones,

01:30:04   that iMessage has to be up there in the same ballpark

01:30:09   in terms of active users on a daily basis.

01:30:12   It has to be that if they,

01:30:14   somehow if it made sense in any way

01:30:16   to spin iMessage off as an independent company,

01:30:18   it would be one of the biggest messaging services

01:30:20   the world and it would have just by the fact that the demographics of Apple's

01:30:27   customers are that they tend to be for lack of a better word richer there you

01:30:34   know it's it's a it's a it's not just the number of users but the amount of

01:30:38   money that they have to spend is is significant that that would be a valuable

01:30:42   company yet so many times when I see I just noticed it last week with Mary

01:30:46   Mieker's internet trends thing and she talked about the top messaging services

01:30:50   in the world and iMessage wasn't listed.

01:30:55   Perhaps I'm colored by being mostly Apple-focused in what I write about, but I really do think

01:31:01   iMessage deserves to be treated in that caliber, even though it is iOS and Mac only.

01:31:08   I think bringing it to Android would open a lot of people's eyes to iMessage's value

01:31:14   as an independent service.

01:31:16   - Yeah, by the way, credit where due,

01:31:18   I'm now hearing those words in Ben Thompson's voice,

01:31:21   the iMessage as iPhone marketing tool.

01:31:24   So I think that was Ben who said that on your show

01:31:27   a few weeks ago. - Yeah, maybe.

01:31:28   - I'm hearing the Wisconsin tones.

01:31:31   - So how could they make any money at all on this?

01:31:33   You know, like what would be the sense of bringing,

01:31:35   like bringing Apple Music to Android makes sense

01:31:38   because however many Android users are using it

01:31:42   are paying for it.

01:31:43   So duh, it makes sense to try.

01:31:45   What sense would it make to bring iMessage to Android as it stands today?

01:31:51   Well, I don't think any, right?

01:31:53   Because it would just be that they would just be losing money on whatever it costs to develop the app,

01:31:58   which is probably minor, but they'd be losing on the, you know, the ongoing cost of supporting all those additional messages.

01:32:07   Right, all the bandwidth of photos and videos and all that.

01:32:11   I think from when Eddy Cue was on the show a couple months ago, I think that at peak

01:32:15   that iMessage handles 200,000 messages per second, which is really impressive.

01:32:21   I mean, it's, you know, I know that, you know, blah, blah, blah, Apple gets services wrong.

01:32:25   I feel like it's like they, all we see are the ones they get wrong.

01:32:28   And the fact that iMessage does a tremendous volume and does it really well, and in my

01:32:33   experience as a heavy iMessage user, better and better all the time in terms of like not

01:32:38   not getting duplicate notifications

01:32:40   on different machines and stuff like that.

01:32:42   There has to be some other way

01:32:46   that they're gonna monetize it from Android users,

01:32:48   whether that's payments or whether that's bots

01:32:51   from other, like say that other stores

01:32:53   could do the same thing that the Apple Store does.

01:32:57   But there has to be something like that.

01:32:59   So I wouldn't be surprised if that rumor is true at all.

01:33:03   - Yeah, I think that could be really interesting.

01:33:08   - But you also couldn't argue that that would also be

01:33:10   the first ticket for a lot of people to get rid

01:33:15   of their iPhone and go to Android, maybe.

01:33:18   Probably not millions of people,

01:33:19   but there's probably some folks out there

01:33:21   who would find switching to Android easier

01:33:25   if iMessage were there.

01:33:27   It really is a good network effect and a good lock-in,

01:33:30   but if the idea is to build a really robust

01:33:36   messaging platform out of it that's for other,

01:33:40   for bots and other services,

01:33:42   then why wouldn't you want to access it?

01:33:46   And I wonder if like some markets like India,

01:33:49   which Apple has now brought up several times

01:33:51   as a key growth area,

01:33:54   and Tim Cook spent time there earlier this year,

01:33:57   I wonder if that's the kind of thing where it's like,

01:33:58   well, first get iMessage on your Android phone,

01:34:01   see how cool it is,

01:34:02   and then buy a refurbished iPhone

01:34:07   as your first opportunity.

01:34:08   But I don't know.

01:34:09   - I think that iMessage as lock-in

01:34:15   is more effective than iMessage

01:34:17   as a reason to get an iPhone in the first place.

01:34:19   And I've heard stories about like,

01:34:21   teenagers who it's like totally uncool

01:34:27   to be getting green messages from somebody.

01:34:30   And there's memes that are out there

01:34:33   where people like on Instagram tweet screenshots of, ooh,

01:34:37   gross, a green message.

01:34:40   But I can't see how that really works for anything

01:34:44   other than teenagers.

01:34:46   I mean, who else would be--

01:34:48   I notice when I get a green message from somebody,

01:34:50   and I think, oh, that's surprising that--

01:34:54   I wouldn't have expected so-and-so's

01:34:56   to have an Android phone.

01:34:59   But I don't think lesser of them, right?

01:35:03   - So I do.

01:35:06   - Well, I do a little bit.

01:35:08   I just think they have bad taste.

01:35:09   I don't think of them as a bad person.

01:35:11   And I don't think they should therefore feel bad

01:35:14   and go buy an iPhone.

01:35:15   I just think, oh, there's somebody who doesn't have

01:35:18   the good taste to buy an iPhone.

01:35:19   - Yeah.

01:35:20   - I was lying when I said I don't think less of them.

01:35:23   (laughs)

01:35:24   But--

01:35:26   - Okay, my Google reporter, Mark Bergen,

01:35:29   I excuse that he has an Android phone.

01:35:32   - Oh, yeah, yeah. - He needs to.

01:35:34   - Yeah. - In fact, I prefer him to.

01:35:35   - Yeah, I know Mark.

01:35:37   We rode in the back of a self-driving Mercedes together.

01:35:40   - Really? - Yeah.

01:35:41   - Oh, that's cool. - Yeah.

01:35:43   - Nice.

01:35:44   - I talked about it a couple episodes ago,

01:35:47   a couple months ago when we were at the Mercedes

01:35:49   self-driving outfit out there in the valley,

01:35:52   and Mark and I were the two guys

01:35:53   that got picked to go together.

01:35:55   - Oh, sweet. - So we could have been

01:35:55   killed together as well.

01:35:57   - Yeah. (laughs)

01:35:59   Yikes.

01:36:00   - Yeah, if you follow, if you're a Google reporter,

01:36:03   you gotta have an Android phone.

01:36:04   But anyway, I don't think they sell many phones with it.

01:36:06   But I think once you have a phone

01:36:07   and you're used to using iMessage,

01:36:08   it's definitely, you know, if you're like,

01:36:11   hey, maybe one of these Android, you know,

01:36:12   maybe there's some stuff in Android that's appealing to me,

01:36:15   like not having your iMessage anymore,

01:36:17   it seems like, well, maybe I shouldn't switch.

01:36:20   But so it would be magnanimous for Apple

01:36:22   to offer it on Android in terms of we

01:36:26   don't want to use this as a lock-in.

01:36:29   We're confident that people will stick

01:36:31   with iPhone for other reasons.

01:36:33   And if you do want to leave, take your iMessage ID

01:36:36   with you.

01:36:39   I also really do believe that the hassles--

01:36:41   and I think they've fixed some of these problems.

01:36:43   But there were problems that people had, maybe still have

01:36:47   to some extent, where once your phone number gets associated

01:36:49   an iMessage phone number. If you do switch to Android and just pop your SIM into an Android

01:36:54   phone, you don't get text messages from people. You don't get SMS. It's like you have to remember

01:37:03   before you switch to disassociate your phone number from your Apple ID and then switch.

01:37:09   And that even there were people who even did it the right way and it still got lost and they don't

01:37:14   they don't get text messages from iPhone users because Apple keeps trying to send them as iMessages

01:37:19   and you know it's a pain in the ass so I think now you can after the fact go in and remove an

01:37:26   iMessage device from the server somewhere yeah I think that's the solution that they can they've

01:37:32   come up with a way to do that they've given it delivered some kind of interface to allow it

01:37:37   but it wasn't there before here's a question I have though about it iMessage on Android

01:37:42   is part of the appeal to me a huge part