The Talk Show

136: ‘Fully Charged Pencil’ With Jason Snell


00:00:00   As we record, we are recording on Thursday, November 19th.

00:00:03   I have seen reports now on Twitter that people are saying that the Apple pencils are actually

00:00:08   starting to appear in retail stores.

00:00:11   I saw that somebody was in San Francisco and there's a whole bunch of them available.

00:00:15   Yeah.

00:00:16   Yesterday, the Wednesday, the 18th, there were a lot of reports that it looked to me

00:00:20   like they were making an effort to get them out.

00:00:25   Like there were a whole bunch of reports of like I saw five of them here and there were

00:00:28   or 20 of them there.

00:00:29   And I thought that was a good sign

00:00:31   and there's more of that today.

00:00:32   So it looks like whatever was going on,

00:00:35   whatever logistical bottleneck was there maybe has,

00:00:40   if not, if it hasn't solved itself at least

00:00:43   has widened the bottleneck a little bit.

00:00:46   - I'm curious to see what happens to people who like

00:00:49   were promised three or four week shipping dates

00:00:52   like a week or two ago,

00:00:53   whether they start getting them way earlier than promised

00:00:56   whether the shipping ones still take as long as they had thought. Yeah, that's the—

00:01:00   I wonder sometimes if Apple has really thought through the whole dichotomy of

00:01:05   shipping versus Apple Store, you know, retail store pickup, because with the

00:01:11   Apple TV, I wonder how many returns they're gonna get, where people bought

00:01:14   them the moment that it was for sale, had them shipped on the cheaper

00:01:19   shipping so they would get them the next week, and then found that they were all

00:01:21   in the Apple stores on the day. That's what happened to me. I just—I got my box

00:01:26   and just put the label back on it and send it back out because three days earlier I just walked into

00:01:30   my local Apple store and picked one up. And this is like that too a little bit where it's like,

00:01:36   you know, if you could get one in the retail store and your order says it's going to be four weeks

00:01:40   out, that's, you know, that's sort of silly. I mean, I get why they don't want to turn people

00:01:45   away who want to buy an iPad Pro at the retail store and want a pencil with it. They want to

00:01:49   kind of have a pencil for them, but it would be frustrating if you were waiting at home for it for

00:01:54   months. Yeah, and it just it like when you show it to people, it's like just showing it to somebody.

00:02:03   If you if I didn't have the pencil, I would I honestly don't even know what I would tell them.

00:02:07   It's like here's a big iPad. Yeah, I mean, and they keep having gotten smaller. People definitely

00:02:13   want to try the keyboard and you know, yeah, it's you know, and it's interesting to you. It's easy

00:02:18   to imagine a big iPad, it is different to actually sit down in front of it and and use it.

00:02:23   it. But just for like the first minute or two, everybody wants to use the pencil.

00:02:28   Yeah, how could you not? And even though it's not like there haven't been styluses for iPads

00:02:35   before, but this is, you know, it's the Apple stylus, so it's got that kind of attraction

00:02:39   around it. And the idea is, and it sounds like this is bearing out for everybody we

00:02:43   know who actually knows about drawing things like Serenity Caldwell, that it really does

00:02:48   deliver on that, that its precision is pretty amazing and that on the apps that

00:02:53   have been updated, the lag is very, very minimal. Yeah, yeah, totally. I think

00:03:01   it's bearing out, and the palm rejection is all bearing out as promised. I've been

00:03:07   trying to like figure this out and look at how they're doing the palm rejection

00:03:11   and it, I'm sure it's probably more than this, but it seems like the two things I

00:03:16   I can tell that they're doing is, and the one is obvious,

00:03:20   which is kind of looking for what I'll just call a fat touch,

00:03:24   meaning like the meaty part of your palm

00:03:26   and just rejecting it outright.

00:03:28   That, wow, that is either an enormous thumb

00:03:31   or that's the palm.

00:03:33   But the other thing that they're doing is,

00:03:36   like in a drawing mode, I could see it in the Notes app

00:03:38   when you're in the little sketch mode in Notes,

00:03:41   is sometimes when you've pushed your palm down,

00:03:44   you'll get a false hit,

00:03:47   and it'll put like a little drawing mark there.

00:03:50   It's hard to see sometimes, you know,

00:03:51   you kinda have to look at it at an angle

00:03:52   because your palm actually covers it,

00:03:55   but it puts like a little false pen mark down,

00:03:58   but then as soon as the pen touches,

00:03:59   it just says, "Oh, okay, you're using the pen.

00:04:01   "Throw that last mark away."

00:04:04   - Yeah, which I think has something to do with their,

00:04:06   they've got this whole touch coalescing thing.

00:04:08   I mean, they're trying to view,

00:04:10   it's not a one-to-one, it's a little bit like autocorrect

00:04:12   for typing, I think, where it's trying to look holistically

00:04:16   at sort of like what it's getting input on the screen

00:04:18   and make some judgments.

00:04:19   And they may be sort of in real time,

00:04:21   they're trying to figure out what actually is going on

00:04:23   instead of just it being,

00:04:25   I think the old style touch screens were much more

00:04:27   of a one-to-one kind of thing.

00:04:28   It's what it's not, I'll tell you what it's not is,

00:04:30   it's not locking out everything but the pencil

00:04:33   because you can actually,

00:04:35   I don't know if you've tried this,

00:04:36   but if you put two fingers down on the screen in notes,

00:04:39   you'll get the ruler.

00:04:41   It'll actually bring up the ruler

00:04:42   and then you can, with your other hand, you can draw on the ruler,

00:04:46   and it'll snap with the pencil. So it's not like it's locking out the screen

00:04:51   from other, from fingers. Like, that's not it. It is looking for that meaty blob of

00:04:56   the side of your hand or of the butt of

00:05:00   your palm and realizing what it is and saying, "I'm

00:05:05   just going to ignore that." Right, and if it does get, I wonder if it,

00:05:11   Hmm maybe

00:05:13   But it's I think it's probably some kind of reasonable distance

00:05:16   You know like if you had if you had a finger way apart from the pen

00:05:20   It's gonna know that that's not a touch from the hand holding the pen because it's too far away

00:05:24   It's like that distance of when you're gripping a pencil in a you know a pencil grip that that touch

00:05:30   That's maybe like what is that about two or three inches away?

00:05:33   Okay, that's and it happened a half second before the pen began drawing. That's the one to throw away

00:05:39   way. Yeah, you're right. I just actually did it where I put my finger and the pen

00:05:45   down simultaneously very close to each other and started moving and

00:05:50   that the finger mark started and then vanished because I realized you're

00:05:54   kind of going along with the pen. You weren't meant to be there. Yeah, I

00:05:59   think long story short, and we can go long after the short version, but I

00:06:06   I think that even though I'm not an artist,

00:06:09   I just appreciate it and I just like playing with it

00:06:13   and I'm excited by it,

00:06:15   that it's one of the most exciting things

00:06:16   Apple's done in a long time.

00:06:17   Like this is the sort of thing that we look to Apple to do

00:06:20   and now they've done it.

00:06:21   - Yeah, this is, I feel like, right,

00:06:27   so much of the story of this product, I think in hindsight,

00:06:31   is stuff that Apple really didn't make much of an effort

00:06:34   to integrate into the iPad until the moment when Apple wanted

00:06:38   to build its own thing that was integrated hardware

00:06:41   and software.

00:06:42   And so you get all the keyboard stuff in iOS 9

00:06:45   is really leading to the smart keyboard.

00:06:47   And the reason that they haven't done higher resolution

00:06:50   digitizer, more 240 megahertz or 240 hertz scanner

00:06:57   on the digitizer, why didn't they do all that stuff?

00:06:59   Because they weren't ready for it.

00:07:01   And now they're ready for it.

00:07:02   And so the pencil gets to be first out the door,

00:07:06   because of course it is, because it's the Apple accessory.

00:07:09   Yeah.

00:07:10   I saw something.

00:07:11   Is it-- was it--

00:07:12   was there like a teardown of the pencil finally?

00:07:15   I think there was one.

00:07:16   I'm not sure I read it.

00:07:17   But they did--

00:07:18   I think they did take it apart.

00:07:21   I still don't think anybody has figured out

00:07:23   exactly how it works.

00:07:25   But from what I've been able to piece together,

00:07:27   I don't--

00:07:28   I think I was wrong in my review when

00:07:30   guessed that there's like some kind of new sensor like something in the iPad to

00:07:39   detect the pencil instead I'm almost certain that what's going on is that the

00:07:45   regular touch sensors in the glass are still touch still detect skin the same

00:07:55   way but that they've added into the exact same layer the ability to detect

00:08:01   the pencil and the way that the pencil makes itself known is it emits some kind

00:08:05   of like a radio wave of some sort at a known very specific frequency but that

00:08:13   it's not a different thing that's picking that up it's actually the same

00:08:17   as the touch sensors and that somehow it's like the the radio wave stuff is so

00:08:24   precise is that that's what allows it, like if you imagine that it's a grid of

00:08:28   sensors with capacitive touch where it touches your finger, it's always looking

00:08:34   for a bunch of them to light up at once because you're, you know, it's like your

00:08:39   little quarter of an inch round fingertip that's touching and so it's

00:08:43   lighting up all of these at once. And then with a pencil it's right down to

00:08:48   the actual pixels, including the ability to sort of tell when it's between pixels.

00:08:53   Yeah, I mean, I don't know enough about this to—something funny is going on, of

00:08:58   course, and we know that because you can't use it on another screen. It is not trying

00:09:03   to trick the device into thinking that it's a really thin finger, right? Whether it's

00:09:10   a radio signal or it's an electric signal of some kind that's not the kind that you

00:09:17   would pick up from a finger, there's something going on where it's doing it and getting

00:09:22   that precise, you know, it knows exactly where that pencil is. And then it also is talking

00:09:28   via Bluetooth and registering the pressure so it knows when it's down and not.

00:09:31   Right. Long story short, I'm nearly certain that they didn't add a second sensor grid

00:09:36   for it. What they did is make the existing sensor grid smarter and have it looking for

00:09:43   this other new thing, this short-term radio burst. Here's a weird thing that I didn't

00:09:49   about I haven't really seen anybody else write about but I still am not sure what

00:09:53   to think about it but it really seems very strange to me is the fact that

00:09:59   there is no there is no interface to the pencil other than plugging it into the

00:10:04   lightning port so you you charge it that way and you register it with the iPad

00:10:11   that way but then once you do that once you have a fully charged iPad or pencil

00:10:15   Once you have a fully charged pencil and it's paired

00:10:17   You never turn it on never turn it off and you never get any indication that it's on/off low on battery or anything

00:10:25   yeah, it's like a I

00:10:27   Mean we joke sometimes about Apple saying magical a lot and about how it wants to make

00:10:33   its products kind of black boxes that you can't look into but this pencil is is like

00:10:41   I'm gonna I'm gonna pander to you and say this is the this is the pencil that's on the desk that Dave Bowman

00:10:46   Wakes up in right it is like it look human

00:10:49   We have made a pencil and it's this perfectly white and a little bit silver slick

00:10:54   Kind of object that it does it I know it's shaped like a pencil

00:10:57   But it can't really be a pencil right and it that's what it feels like to me is it has no interface

00:11:03   You're right. It has no kind of markings other than the little silver circle

00:11:07   And yeah, you can get to the the lightning port if you take the cap off and you can unscrew the tip

00:11:10   but it is featureless. It is just, I mean, it is literally featureless, like not just like it's

00:11:16   looks of features, but it's features. It's, you don't do anything with it except draw. It's,

00:11:21   it's very clever, and I think it's also very much in line with Apple's design philosophy, which is to

00:11:27   have as little there as possible. Yeah, it's, we've, we often joke about Apple stuff that,

00:11:32   you know, they, they try to ship stuff with one button, but ultimately they want to ship something

00:11:36   with no buttons. And the pencil is the no button device. And there is this part of me that kind of

00:11:44   wants it to light have like a green just a little green dot that lights up when it's on and being

00:11:52   used and then it turns off when it's sleeping or whatever. But now here I am you know two weeks

00:11:59   later and I don't have that and it's never been an issue. Like I kind of see why they didn't do that.

00:12:05   that.

00:12:06   But I just assume it wakes up based on some, but based on motion or something or based

00:12:11   on based on I don't even know what it is.

00:12:12   I don't know because it saves some battery when you when you lay it down, it doesn't

00:12:16   move for a while or something, right?

00:12:18   It because it seems I still haven't even recharged it and I've been playing with it for two weeks

00:12:22   or something.

00:12:23   I don't I don't it definitely gets a long battery life.

00:12:27   So it can't be sitting there emitting these waves, you know until it's in use.

00:12:33   But on the other hand too, like if it was just in your backpack though, moving around

00:12:39   as you walk around, I don't think it's on.

00:12:42   I'm not quite sure when it turns on or what that means.

00:12:45   Or maybe like a lot of these things, like in the way that your iPhone can use the motion

00:12:57   co-processor to count your steps and it's not really having a significantly adverse

00:13:02   effect on the battery life of your phone compared to all the other things that can actually

00:13:06   drain your phone.

00:13:07   Maybe they put the equivalent of a little M6 in the pencil and it's always there kind

00:13:13   of detecting similar things.

00:13:15   I don't know.

00:13:16   But it's kind of crazy.

00:13:17   Isn't that wild though that it doesn't even tell you if it's on, off, or low on charge?

00:13:22   Yeah, it's featureless.

00:13:24   It's empty.

00:13:25   It's just a blank, right?

00:13:27   It's just an implement that you hold in your hand and use it against the glass surface

00:13:30   and things happen.

00:13:32   - So it is that.

00:13:34   - The big downside to it is that if it is out of battery,

00:13:38   the only way you're gonna know that

00:13:40   is by like having it fail on screen.

00:13:44   Like you're gonna go to use it

00:13:46   and you're gonna stab at the screen

00:13:48   and it's like the experience of figuring out

00:13:52   that your pencil has run out of power

00:13:55   is exactly the same as the experience of having a pencil

00:13:58   that isn't yet paired with your iPad.

00:14:01   I think the difference is that your iPad knows how much battery is in there.

00:14:06   And if you not only can you swipe down in Notification Center, it will there's a batteries

00:14:12   thing that will show you the iPad's battery and also the Apple Pencil's battery.

00:14:17   And I would imagine I would imagine that it tells you that the iPad tells you when you

00:14:23   need to charge your Apple Pencil.

00:14:24   So I just swipe down and I can see that this pencil that I'm holding in my hand is 26 percent

00:14:28   battery.

00:14:29   But that's the interface.

00:14:30   on the iPad, it's not in the pencil.

00:14:33   - I think I screwed myself by like,

00:14:35   at one point in my review process,

00:14:39   I just left it plugged in, and I'd used it a lot,

00:14:42   the pencil, and then I plugged it in for no reason.

00:14:45   It wasn't like it was out, I just plugged it in

00:14:47   and left it plugged in, and so it obviously filled back up,

00:14:49   and so I haven't run it back down yet.

00:14:52   But yet, I say I screwed myself

00:14:54   because I really did wanna kind of see

00:14:56   what, you know, does it give you a warning like that?

00:14:59   - Yeah, so I haven't seen it give me a warning yet,

00:15:04   but I can see that it's at 26%.

00:15:06   So that's like the one place where I can tell

00:15:09   that it's communicating beyond the actual drawing

00:15:11   is that it tosses in a little battery info

00:15:14   into the notification center.

00:15:16   - I had lunch today with Lauren Brikter,

00:15:22   formerly of Twitter, inventor of pull to refresh,

00:15:28   Tweety, et cetera, et cetera.

00:15:29   He hadn't seen it yet, so I brought it along

00:15:31   and he got to play with it.

00:15:33   And his first comment was,

00:15:35   and it's sort of like what you said about sort of like this,

00:15:38   you know, the 2001 style industrial design,

00:15:42   or like, you know, futuristic space aliens

00:15:45   have made this pencil.

00:15:46   That it is absolutely, it's so,

00:15:48   he said that this is such an Apple device.

00:15:50   It is so beautiful, but also,

00:15:53   this is not a material that anybody has ever used

00:15:55   to create a pen out of before.

00:15:57   Like nobody's ever made a pen or pencil that is slick.

00:16:01   - Yeah.

00:16:02   - And it's not to say that it's slippery,

00:16:04   and I don't know that it's even a problem,

00:16:06   but it is a sort of material that nobody

00:16:08   would ever have used for this before.

00:16:11   - It's a little slippery.

00:16:14   I mean, I guess it reminded me of, I mean, pencils,

00:16:17   depending on you get a brand new pencil out of the box,

00:16:19   and it's got that fresh coat of enamel paint on it,

00:16:22   it's not that far off from that.

00:16:24   I think the difference is that I'm used to pencils

00:16:26   that have, you know, that they're not round.

00:16:29   They're flat.

00:16:30   They're whatever, hexagonal or octagonal.

00:16:33   They've got the little flat surfaces

00:16:34   that come together to make the pencil.

00:16:35   And this is just perfectly smooth and perfectly round.

00:16:38   And it would roll right off your desk,

00:16:40   except it's weighted so that it will stop.

00:16:43   - Right.

00:16:44   I will say this, and you know, we could do a whole,

00:16:48   I could do a whole two-hour show

00:16:49   just on stationary pens and pencils.

00:16:52   (laughing)

00:16:53   But a very, very popular style of ink pencil,

00:16:58   I mean, talking about real pens here,

00:17:01   are like Pilot G, what do they call them, G3s.

00:17:06   I don't use the Pilots anymore, but the gel,

00:17:09   the clicky gel pens. - Yeah, I've got a G2

00:17:10   right here. - Yeah, the G2.

00:17:11   Which, and I use the ones from Zebra,

00:17:15   there's a couple of other brands,

00:17:17   but they started in Japan, now they're very popular

00:17:21   around the world, but my point is,

00:17:22   all of them share a design thing, which is that down where you grip it, there's a piece

00:17:27   of rubber, which just to me seems like total common sense.

00:17:33   But it's, I don't know, I'm curious what people, like one of the things I'm curious now that

00:17:38   the pencil is going from, "Okay, Apple released a new thing, it's a novelty," to, "Okay, people

00:17:43   are actually using it."

00:17:45   What are the people who are going to use this thing for like hours at a time for work going

00:17:49   to say about the ergonomics of the materials and stuff like that.

00:17:53   I'm not so sure that it's comfortable.

00:17:56   I'm not either, but again, I don't think pens in general are comfortable. I don't

00:18:00   like handwriting once I could stop turning in my papers in school, handwritten, and could

00:18:05   start typing them all. I was a very happy person. But yeah, it struck me right away

00:18:09   that there was no—I've gotten used to the grip on the G2 at the bottom, there's

00:18:15   clip on it. And I guess maybe that goes back to this sort of Apple philosophy of the, I

00:18:22   think it's what our friend John Ziracusa calls the naked robotic core, like make it, build

00:18:28   the product for its essence, almost knowing that if you want to add something to it, people

00:18:32   will build things to add to it. But that Apple, if Apple adds those things on, then you can't

00:18:37   opt out of them. And this definitely feels like somebody's going to want to make a grip

00:18:41   for it and somebody's going to want to make a clip for it and a little inkwell kind of

00:18:44   thing for people to stash it when they're not using it. All of those things will be

00:18:48   made for it, but Apple wanted to kind of get it all the way to its base. And whether that's

00:18:53   right or wrong, I mean, I think it depends on whether you like holding it in its base

00:18:58   form. If there are a lot of people who think, "No, no, I just want this and nothing more,"

00:19:02   it would kind of be a shame if it had other things on top of it.

00:19:05   Yeah. I wonder, I don't know, it's another one of those things that probably, if it's

00:19:10   not out already, there's going to be, there's got to be like some Kickstarters from people

00:19:13   who are going to make replacement caps that the only difference is that it has a clip.

00:19:21   Or even just some kind of asymmetrical nubbin so that it doesn't roll at all.

00:19:25   Right, a little clip-on clip so you can put it in your pocket or something I think would

00:19:29   be a natural one. I'm sure somebody's already got that 3D printed and ready for Kickstarter.

00:19:37   It's almost like, and I feel like that's also sort of Apple's decision on the much observed

00:19:45   point that there's nowhere to put it officially.

00:19:49   Meaning, let's just say compare and contrast with the Newton, where there was an official

00:19:54   place to put the stylus with the Newton.

00:19:56   It was a socket right in the top of the Newton.

00:20:00   And obviously that design wouldn't work for this because the pencil's actually thicker

00:20:03   than the iPad.

00:20:07   if it isn't, it's so close that there's no way that a socket would have would

00:20:10   have worked. But they wouldn't have done that anyway, just because I think that

00:20:15   there's that's not really their style anymore. Yeah, I'm a little surprised

00:20:19   there isn't an optional, you know, something and probably they looked and

00:20:22   just couldn't find a way to make it make sense. I mean you could use the magnets

00:20:26   and clip it to the side magnetically but they're probably not strong enough to

00:20:29   really reliably leave it there and the last thing you want to do is have it

00:20:32   fall off and break on the floor.

00:20:34   So, you know, instead it's just,

00:20:36   you find another place to put it.

00:20:38   And people will figure it out.

00:20:40   - Well, and I was a little surprised.

00:20:44   I mean, this goes all the way back to September,

00:20:46   because I could see, you know, in the hands-on area

00:20:48   that this was the case, 'cause they had the covers for it.

00:20:51   But on that day, I was a little surprised

00:20:53   that they didn't have, on the smart cover

00:20:55   and smart keyboard, something.

00:20:58   You know, whether it's just a flap

00:20:59   that you could stick it in, or a magnet,

00:21:01   or something on the cover that is meant for a,

00:21:04   well, okay, you can't connect it to the iPad Pro itself,

00:21:08   but if you get our cover or our keyboard,

00:21:10   there's a little place here where you can put your pen,

00:21:14   pencil.

00:21:15   And they didn't do that.

00:21:16   And I guess it's because not everybody gets the pencil.

00:21:21   And so then the thing where you would put the pencil

00:21:23   would look, if you got the cover, but not the pencil,

00:21:26   it would look like you're missing a pencil.

00:21:28   - Yeah, I think that's behind a lot of these decisions

00:21:30   It is not, as much as we all talk about it

00:21:34   and write about it,

00:21:35   it is not an essential feature of this product.

00:21:37   And so you can't build it with the assumption

00:21:40   that everybody's gonna have one.

00:21:42   - Exactly.

00:21:44   All right, let me take a break here

00:21:46   and thank our first sponsor.

00:21:48   And it's a new sponsor.

00:21:49   I'm very excited about this.

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00:22:15   heard of, cards of course, and more, all with a single integration.

00:22:21   One small snippet of code and you're all set up in less than 10 minutes.

00:22:25   That's how easy they say it is.

00:22:27   To learn more and you get your first $50,000 in transactions fee free, go to Braintree.com/thetalkshow.

00:22:41   These guys are talking points for this, are hell-bent on how easy this is to implement.

00:22:46   Not only do they say it's only going to take 10 minutes, they say if you don't even have

00:22:49   time, if you're worried about how long it's going to take to integrate, you can sign up

00:22:53   and call them and they have people on the other end of the phone who will walk you through

00:22:57   the integration of hooking up the SDK. SDKs for iOS, Android, and JavaScript for doing

00:23:05   it through the web. And seven different languages. Dotnet, Node.js, Java, Perl, PHP, Python,

00:23:16   Ruby, all sorts of stuff like that. Elegant code, clear documentation, and literally they're

00:23:22   saying you can integrate this into your app with 10 lines of code in your app. So go check

00:23:27   them out if you're a developer looking for payments. Braintree.com/thetalkshow. Ten lines

00:23:35   of code. Can't beat that.

00:23:37   >> It's pretty good.

00:23:40   >> So you had a piece -- one of the reasons I wanted to have you on the show and I thought

00:23:43   it really, really echoed my thinking on this, and I kind of touched on it but skipped about

00:23:50   it is this whole issue of okay now with the iPad Pro and with iOS 9 and where it

00:23:58   is today can you use your iPad can you use an iPad Pro for work which is sort

00:24:04   of I think the problem is that that's not a fair question I feel like you need

00:24:08   to specify what the work is but I thought you had a good piece that was

00:24:11   more or less for some definition of work yes and for your work mostly yes but

00:24:19   that it's with 20 some years of Mac experience

00:24:24   under your belt and all of this stuff,

00:24:27   maybe the answer is still just that you don't want to.

00:24:30   - Yeah, I counted it's 26.

00:24:33   Fall of '89 is when I started using the Mac.

00:24:37   - I remember, I actually remembered from your article

00:24:39   that it was exactly 26 because it was such an uneven number.

00:24:42   I figured it must've been exactly right,

00:24:44   but I didn't wanna say that because it makes us sound old.

00:24:47   So I just, I went with 20 some.

00:24:49   - I know 20 some, well, it could be even worse,

00:24:51   but it's probably better.

00:24:52   Yeah, it was, 'cause it was my sophomore year in college

00:24:55   and I was, I started working at the newspaper

00:24:57   and they were all Mac there and I had an Apple II.

00:24:59   So I'd used a Mac a couple of times before,

00:25:01   but that was the point where I stopped using my Apple II,

00:25:03   basically, and I did all my work on the Macs

00:25:06   at the newspaper office, even my schoolwork,

00:25:08   because I didn't wanna go back.

00:25:10   But that's a lot of history.

00:25:13   Yeah, I think it's absolutely true that you can't say

00:25:17   the iPad and iOS in general are not possible tools to use to do your job. I mean, yeah,

00:25:23   they're going to be jobs where the software isn't there and they're very particular. This

00:25:27   is the internet, right? So people are going to say, "Well, actually, my profession, I

00:25:31   can't do on that." It's like, I'll grant you, there are professions where you can't. But

00:25:35   if you're talking about general kind of, I look at spreadsheets and I write documents

00:25:39   and I answer email and the kind of businessy jobs we think of and I'm on the web, of course

00:25:46   of course iOS can do that, of course the iPad can do that. I think my realization in spending,

00:25:50   like so many of us who write about these products, have done over the last few days, which is

00:25:55   use the iPad Pro a lot to try to do things that we don't normally do on an iPad, it became

00:26:00   clear to me that it was not, the issue wasn't could it do it, the issue was the migration

00:26:06   thing. It's like, you know, for something to be worth migrating to from a place where

00:26:11   you're really comfortable and you've set up like, I've got scripts and you're like this

00:26:16   too. I know I've got scripts, I've got a workflow, I've got apps, I've got everything set up.

00:26:20   I feel like I've super optimized what I do on my Mac for me over the course of 26 years.

00:26:28   And for me to switch from that to something new, you know, there's the hit you have to

00:26:33   take. You have to learn new apps, you have to learn new automation processes. You've

00:26:38   got to put in, invest hours and hours of time to get back to where you were. And that's

00:26:45   a pretty decent calculation that you can make. You can say, "Look, even if it's as good

00:26:50   as the Mac is today, and let's just grant it that, that might not be worth it because

00:26:56   there's too much effort that's going to have to go into it to move over there." Or when

00:27:00   you get there, it's going to turn out that you're not quite as effective, you're not

00:27:04   as fast as you were on the Mac. And so I would say that I came to the realization because

00:27:12   I edit a lot of podcasts in Logic and I've had a bunch of people say, "Well, you should

00:27:15   really try Audition from Adobe." And I have the same sort of thing, which is Audition

00:27:20   might be better than Logic. I'm not sure if it is for what I do, but let's say it's

00:27:24   arguable that I would be better off editing in Audition than Logic. That's not good

00:27:28   enough. It's got to be a lot better because I'm going to take a huge hit when I move

00:27:32   and have to learn a new thing. And sometimes it doesn't, I mean, you never want to say

00:27:38   no to learning a new thing, but sometimes the math doesn't work where it's like,

00:27:41   it's incrementally better, but I will be so far in the hole in terms of my learning that

00:27:47   I'm never going to be, it's never going to pay off or it won't pay off for years and

00:27:50   years and you don't know until you try whether it's actually going to be better or not. So

00:27:55   that was my realization with the iPad is that probably 90% of the things that I've got set

00:27:59   up to do on my Mac I don't use very often and I don't need to bring over. I don't need

00:28:04   to list like, "Oh, I've got a hundred scripts in BBEdit that I need to change." It's probably

00:28:08   not that, but there are things that I would have to adapt to and, you know, that I think

00:28:13   is going to be a problem for everybody. Fortunately, we don't have to switch, right? I mean, I

00:28:20   can foresee using an iPad when I travel now in a way that I couldn't foresee it a year

00:28:26   or two ago. Not abandoning the Mac entirely, but using the iPad as a substitute when I

00:28:31   want to travel light. I could see that now, but, you know, that requires me to put in

00:28:36   some time and change my workflow and some of the things that I do and adapt to new tools.

00:28:42   But it's a matter of choice. And for somebody who's younger and who doesn't really have

00:28:46   those ties and hasn't super automated their computer experience, then that barrier is

00:28:54   completely gone.

00:28:55   Yeah, and in a couple of ways

00:28:58   podcasting is a

00:29:01   pretty fun example, right because

00:29:04   editing podcasts now you'd mentioned that people are saying that you should recommending you switch from logic to

00:29:11   Adobe addition on that's on the Mac, but you did find you there is a new iOS app

00:29:18   And so you actually edited an episode of was it the incomparable? Yeah

00:29:23   on the iPad. What's the name of the app? The app is called Ferrite. F-E-R-R-I-T-E.

00:29:29   Yeah, and it's free with two in-app purchases. It's basically,

00:29:33   if you want to unlock all the features, it's $20. But you can try it without, and

00:29:37   you can unlock half the features for 10 and then

00:29:39   go buy the other half for 10. And,

00:29:42   yeah, I tried it. I actually, I tried it and I was thinking, "Wow, these guys who wrote

00:29:46   this

00:29:46   totally read my mind." And then later I discovered that they actually had

00:29:50   had read my site and had seen my--

00:29:53   - And had been like listening to your shows

00:29:55   and listening to your, you're like, well,

00:29:58   one of the things that would keep me

00:30:01   from being able to work on an iPad

00:30:04   would be I need to edit podcasts,

00:30:05   and if I wanted to edit podcasts on an iPad,

00:30:08   I would need this, this, this, this.

00:30:10   - And all those features are in Ferrite,

00:30:12   which is, it was that moment of like,

00:30:13   are they reading my mind?

00:30:14   And it turns out, no, they're actually reading

00:30:16   what I've written, and they were working on it,

00:30:18   but that was like, I think it was a good,

00:30:20   I didn't inspire the app to be created,

00:30:23   but I think I maybe inspired some of the feature choices

00:30:25   that they made, which is awesome because that's great

00:30:27   for me, it's really nice when somebody builds an app

00:30:29   and keeps you in mind when they're doing it.

00:30:31   But I also forgot that in June, the guy wrote to me

00:30:34   and said, "Do you have any sample files?

00:30:35   "'Cause I wanna use like real world examples."

00:30:37   And I sent him an episode of The Incomparable

00:30:39   that was down just to the tracks.

00:30:41   And I said, "Here it is."

00:30:42   And I totally forgot about it.

00:30:44   And I sat down and edited, not remembering any of that,

00:30:47   I edited an episode and you know, it's the thing. I did this with Logic once. I did this

00:30:53   with Audition once. Before I switched to Logic, I definitely tried it where you take a run

00:30:57   at it and you're like, "All right, experiment. Could I use this other tool to do this thing

00:31:01   that I do every week that is mission critical, that if I'm 25% slower, I'm going to not

00:31:08   be able to do my job?" Because literally, I've got it totally wired and it needs to

00:31:13   be fast and it needs to be like this or I can't switch.

00:31:16   And I expected to get 10 minutes in and be like,

00:31:19   well, it was a nice try iPad,

00:31:21   but this is not gonna happen.

00:31:23   And like an hour and a half later,

00:31:24   which is about maybe two hours,

00:31:26   it's the standard time it takes me to edit an episode

00:31:28   of the incomparable.

00:31:29   I had edited the entire episode.

00:31:31   And about halfway through, I was like,

00:31:32   oh man, I'm actually gonna edit this whole thing right here.

00:31:35   And it was pretty great.

00:31:36   I mean, there were some issues.

00:31:38   It went a lot faster when I had the keyboard

00:31:40   than when I was just doing touch.

00:31:42   but it was pretty great.

00:31:44   And some of that was the screen size,

00:31:46   and some of that was the power,

00:31:47   although I think I could probably do it on the iPad Air.

00:31:50   But that was a funny moment where I realized

00:31:53   that when I had the right tool,

00:31:56   the iPad was great for that sort of thing.

00:31:59   - Yeah.

00:32:00   I do think, I think there's,

00:32:03   just to step back a little bit

00:32:06   to where we were five minutes ago,

00:32:07   which was this, when did you first start using a Mac?

00:32:10   and that transition from using something

00:32:13   with like a command line interface

00:32:15   as the main interface to the computer to the GUI,

00:32:18   I do feel that this is the same type of transition.

00:32:21   - Absolutely, absolutely. - Overall.

00:32:22   Except that one was,

00:32:25   it was different in a few ways for me at least,

00:32:29   where the difference with the command line

00:32:32   to GUI transition was that it was going to replace it

00:32:37   for everybody, that this is clear

00:32:39   that for almost everything, and obviously, you know,

00:32:42   Macs today still ship with a terminal app.

00:32:44   And I know that for, you know, the main use I can think of

00:32:48   is people who do like system administration type things,

00:32:51   just use, you know, terminal and SSH connection.

00:32:54   And for good reason, that there's, you know,

00:32:56   that that's actually a really good remote interface

00:32:58   to something that might be slow.

00:33:00   And there are things that you can do

00:33:03   remotely administering a faceless server

00:33:06   that the command line is just fine for,

00:33:08   if you're an expert.

00:33:10   But from 99 point, some very large 10th digit,

00:33:15   nobody needs to ever see that.

00:33:18   Whereas with this transition, I really do think

00:33:21   that Steve Jobs's trucks and cars analogy

00:33:26   is just an amazingly good analogy,

00:33:29   which is that for whatever odd reason,

00:33:31   we made everybody drive a truck for a long time

00:33:34   until we finally got good enough at this

00:33:36   and came up with ideas that were more like a car.

00:33:39   But, you know, just go out on a highway

00:33:42   in any state in the country,

00:33:44   and you're gonna see an awful lot of people

00:33:45   who drive pickup trucks.

00:33:47   But it's clearly not the majority,

00:33:51   and there's no reason for it.

00:33:52   - Yeah, I mean, the command line thing,

00:33:53   what struck me about it is,

00:33:55   so many of the arguments were the same, right?

00:33:59   It was like, well, when you start using a Mac,

00:34:01   back in the day, it was, well, you can't do,

00:34:03   I can delete every file with this name in it

00:34:06   by just typing a quick command in DOS.

00:34:09   Can you do that?

00:34:10   I can write a program and run it,

00:34:12   but you can't do that on the Mac.

00:34:14   And totally true, right?

00:34:16   Totally true.

00:34:17   But the answer was we had our own ways, right?

00:34:19   We had our own nerdy things that we did

00:34:20   that weren't those ways,

00:34:22   and they were right about those,

00:34:23   but the Mac was just different.

00:34:25   It didn't do those,

00:34:26   and that's the same argument, right?

00:34:27   It's like, oh, well, the iPad, it's not powerful.

00:34:28   You can't do this thing you can do on the Mac.

00:34:30   It's like totally true.

00:34:31   - Right, you could.

00:34:32   The argument about being able to delete every file

00:34:37   with the same extension--

00:34:40   what was the DOS command for it?

00:34:42   Dell was the equivalent of rm.

00:34:44   rm, right.

00:34:45   Right, that you could do--

00:34:47   star.star, sure.

00:34:49   Dell or dell-star.txt or something like that.

00:34:53   It's such a bad argument because that was a command that was--

00:35:02   there was no undo.

00:35:03   It was, you know, it's like how fast can you--

00:35:06   - It's a nerd argument though.

00:35:07   It's like power.

00:35:08   I can, you know, I can take this thing,

00:35:10   right, my car can go 150.

00:35:12   It's like, okay, well, good luck with that.

00:35:15   You know, if you're not on the Autobahn,

00:35:16   that's probably not that practical,

00:35:18   and you might get yourself killed.

00:35:20   But good, you know, good for you

00:35:21   that your car can theoretically go that fast.

00:35:23   But it was a point of pride and flexibility.

00:35:26   And I hear the same things when people,

00:35:27   when I write about the iPad,

00:35:29   and I'm not Federico Vittucci, right?

00:35:30   I'm not 99% on the iPad, but I'm open-minded enough about it that I hear from people who

00:35:37   are like, "No, never because of X and Y that it doesn't do the Mac."

00:35:41   It's like, you're right, the Mac does those things and it doesn't.

00:35:44   I'm not sure in the end that for the people who are going to want to use the product,

00:35:48   those things are going to matter.

00:35:49   The fact that it doesn't do AppleScript and it doesn't have some of the automation utilities

00:35:56   that run in the background and stuff, that's true, but it's got its own scripting and its

00:35:59   own automation utilities.

00:36:00   They're just different.

00:36:01   And there are, OS, iOS nerdiness is there already.

00:36:06   It's just not the same as Mac nerdiness.

00:36:08   And, you know, that's gonna be off-putting for some people.

00:36:12   I don't know, the truck metaphor,

00:36:14   I see what you're saying in some ways,

00:36:17   but I don't think it's gonna be a matter of

00:36:20   that the touch interface is inappropriate

00:36:23   or that the devices aren't powerful enough.

00:36:26   I'm starting to think,

00:36:27   and that's why I mentioned 26 years of using the Mac,

00:36:29   I'm starting to think that it's gonna be

00:36:31   in some ways generational.

00:36:33   That it's like, I'm more comfortable using these tools

00:36:37   in this way and this industry is more comfortable

00:36:39   with these tools that are used this way.

00:36:42   And I'm not sure that people who are, you know,

00:36:46   your kid's age, my kid's age, are going to feel that way.

00:36:50   Or even people in like in their 20s or 30s,

00:36:52   people who haven't invested like in their computers

00:36:55   as a nerdy platform, but just as a, you know,

00:36:58   a standard tool that they use to get things done.

00:37:00   Because it's, you know, I do think that these,

00:37:05   that the iOS devices are capable of doing this stuff.

00:37:08   That's not the issue.

00:37:09   It's not like, you know, you can't load a couch

00:37:11   into the back of your car, but you can into a pickup truck.

00:37:13   It's more like, maybe like how we'll get

00:37:16   with self-driving cars, where some people

00:37:17   are gonna wanna drive their own car,

00:37:18   and other people are gonna be like, "Eh, I don't care."

00:37:21   Where it's about like, what's your preference,

00:37:23   and what tools are you comfortable with?

00:37:24   And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

00:37:25   I don't think anybody should feel threatened

00:37:27   that, I mean, Apple feels very strongly like the Mac is a tool and iOS is a tool and you

00:37:35   can use them as you choose and for the right jobs. And I think that's a good attitude to

00:37:39   have that, you know, it's not either or and, you know, people shouldn't feel threatened

00:37:44   by one or the other.

00:37:46   But they do. Some people.

00:37:47   They totally do.

00:37:48   Right? And like I heard from some of the, like some of the, you know, and I, if you're

00:37:54   If you're listening, if you're one of the people

00:37:55   who's emailed me and sort of angrily denounced Tim Cook,

00:37:59   this was all, it started with Tim Cook telling

00:38:02   the newspaper in England that he,

00:38:05   you know, he was, I don't know,

00:38:06   maybe he's still in Europe, I don't know,

00:38:08   but he was on like an extended trip in Europe.

00:38:10   He was, you know, visiting a couple countries over there.

00:38:13   And he said that for this trip,

00:38:14   all he carries with him was his iPhone and his iPad Pro,

00:38:19   and presumably his watch.

00:38:22   In fact, somebody pointed out that in one of the pictures,

00:38:25   he's clearly wearing his watch, no surprise.

00:38:28   And I heard from readers who were like,

00:38:31   "That's BS, maybe if you're an executive

00:38:33   "and you've got a staff that travels with you

00:38:35   "that can do your work, you can do your work with it."

00:38:37   But it's like, I think people underestimate,

00:38:39   a lot of people underestimate how,

00:38:43   there are a lot of jobs in a lot of places

00:38:45   where you really could just do your job

00:38:47   with nothing but communication tools, really.

00:38:51   If you can read on the device and you can, you know, send email and do iMessage and Slack

00:38:58   or whatever similar type thing, if it's mostly about communicating, you can easily do all

00:39:05   your work with an iPad and a phone or even just a phone.

00:39:09   Yeah, and our audiences are, you know, they're more advanced than a lot of people.

00:39:17   They care about this stuff to a degree that a lot of people don't.

00:39:21   I think that that's all true, but that's why when I,

00:39:25   I hate to be so reductive because everybody's different.

00:39:27   Everybody has different needs.

00:39:28   And there are gonna be some people,

00:39:29   I talk to them and they say, "Can I do X?"

00:39:32   It used to be, "Can I switch to the Mac from a PC?

00:39:34   "I have these needs."

00:39:35   And sometimes I would just say,

00:39:36   "I don't think it's a good idea."

00:39:38   Right? - Right.

00:39:38   - Because sometimes it's just, the tools aren't there.

00:39:41   My dad was a dentist and they talked to other dentists,

00:39:45   would say, "What about this?"

00:39:46   And I'd be like,

00:39:47   "You know, all the dentistry software is on Windows,

00:39:49   "so you should probably just get PCs."

00:39:51   wish I could help you, but you know,

00:39:52   this is probably the safest option.

00:39:54   And the same is true with going to iOS.

00:39:56   But when I look, I mean,

00:39:58   I was talking to David Sparks the other day,

00:40:00   and he said to me, it was funny,

00:40:01   he said to me something I had been thinking

00:40:03   in the last few days using the iPad Pro,

00:40:05   which is, he said, you know,

00:40:06   I think Word is better on iOS than it is on the Mac.

00:40:10   And I totally agree.

00:40:11   I think Microsoft Office on the iPad

00:40:13   is way better than Office is,

00:40:15   at least for my uses and in my testing with it,

00:40:18   than it is on the Mac.

00:40:19   It just, it feels really good.

00:40:21   It's really, these are class of the platform kind of apps.

00:40:25   And I think, you know, there are a lot of people

00:40:26   whose jobs are entirely Microsoft Office and email,

00:40:30   and you can use Outlook for that or whatever, and the web.

00:40:32   And those are their jobs.

00:40:35   And they're not specialized in any way.

00:40:37   And those kind of jobs where you're not having to dive deep

00:40:40   into a particular vertical, you know, platform thing thing,

00:40:43   why not do that on an iPad?

00:40:47   I mean, whether you want to use an external keyboard or not,

00:40:50   not to say that you have to, but you could.

00:40:52   - Yeah.

00:40:53   So I'm gonna take another break, but when we come back,

00:40:57   and this is where my podcast amnesia strikes in,

00:40:59   what I want to talk about next is,

00:41:01   I want to go right from there into,

00:41:03   to me, the lack of thought that Apple,

00:41:09   or maybe not thought, but the lack of running code

00:41:14   that lets you use the iPad with a keyboard connected.

00:41:18   In other words, that you can't,

00:41:19   more or less, why can't you navigate

00:41:21   the whole interface with the keyboard?

00:41:23   But first, I wanna tell you about our good friends

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00:42:02   You can register your domain with them.

00:42:04   They obviously take care of the hosting,

00:42:05   but they've got these great drag and drop visual tools,

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00:42:15   like a visual style for what your site's going to look like,

00:42:18   or just the templates for setting up

00:42:21   different types of sites, like the difference

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00:43:38   All right, so I wanna talk about this.

00:43:41   I touched on this in my review.

00:43:44   And more and more, I think,

00:43:45   if I continue writing about the iPad Pro,

00:43:47   I think it's the main thing I wanna write about.

00:43:49   I love the pencil, but I feel like,

00:43:51   because I'm not an artist,

00:43:52   it's not really for me to go into depth about it.

00:43:55   But I do use a keyboard sometimes.

00:43:59   And the more I think about it, the more it drives me crazy

00:44:03   that this is not more deeply integrated into the iPad.

00:44:08   And here's what I'm thinking.

00:44:10   I think it comes down to, all right,

00:44:13   when they first made the iPhone and they said,

00:44:17   Steve Jobs is up on stage,

00:44:19   and he's talking about what they did.

00:44:20   And he says, it runs OS X.

00:44:22   And it's this, you know, for years and years and years,

00:44:25   everybody would, you know, we'd had this,

00:44:27   what if Apple could do a stripped down version of macOS

00:44:30   that would run on a smaller device?

00:44:31   I mean, I say Mac OS because I would say that the dream

00:44:34   of a quote unquote stripped down Mac OS

00:44:38   that runs on a handheld device even predates Mac OS 10.

00:44:41   And here it is, they've finally done it.

00:44:44   And it's, you know, it's wow, how did they do it?

00:44:48   And it's not by running Mac apps, right?

00:44:51   And there's no menu bar.

00:44:53   It's like they went back to ground zero

00:44:54   and rethought the entire user interface.

00:44:58   And there are certain things that carried over,

00:45:01   like the idea that there's an app and to launch the app,

00:45:06   you would double click on the Mac,

00:45:09   you just tap it on the phone, very similar.

00:45:11   Other things, very different, right?

00:45:13   Like buttons were the same, like a push button.

00:45:15   You tap, what do you do with a push button?

00:45:17   Well, the same obvious thing you do on a Mac.

00:45:20   But you would click on the Mac, you tap here.

00:45:22   Other things, though, very different.

00:45:24   I feel like with the iPad, and to me,

00:45:28   especially with the iPad Pro,

00:45:31   and when it's hooked up to a keyboard,

00:45:33   if all you did was lock up some good designers

00:45:38   and say, "Here's the form factor.

00:45:39   "We've already finished the hardware.

00:45:42   "It's this 12-inch piece of glass with a touchscreen,

00:45:47   "and it has this incredible resolution,

00:45:49   "and here's the keyboard it can connect to."

00:45:52   What does the user interface look like to this?

00:45:55   Like, what is the home screen?

00:45:57   What's the root level?

00:45:58   like when you're just starting.

00:46:01   I don't think anybody would come up with what the iPad home

00:46:04   screen looks like.

00:46:06   It's so clearly-- like when the iPhone was not the Mac OS--

00:46:14   what we think of as Mac OS just shrunk down

00:46:16   to fit on the screen with a menu bar at the top

00:46:18   and little draggable windows.

00:46:20   That's exactly what they've done with the iPad, though.

00:46:22   They've just taken the phone interface

00:46:24   and moved it to this new thing.

00:46:26   And now that it's more capable, and now

00:46:28   that it really is fast enough to be treated as a Mac,

00:46:32   I feel like it's almost painful

00:46:35   that Apple hasn't been more ambitious

00:46:37   with the interface to this.

00:46:39   - Well, I think this goes back to,

00:46:42   this is the iPhone OS, right?

00:46:46   It's the iPhone OS,

00:46:47   and it was formulated for a very small screen.

00:46:50   And when they took it up to the iPad,

00:46:52   they didn't do a lot to change it,

00:46:54   other than to say, you've got more room

00:46:55   to spread out your interface.

00:46:57   And we've gone with that.

00:46:59   iOS 9 shows some signs, right?

00:47:01   That they're like, "Oh, we need to really address this now."

00:47:04   But it took them,

00:47:05   people are out there using keyboards

00:47:07   on this thing for years and got very little support

00:47:10   beyond the most rudimentary like,

00:47:12   "Yes, we will support Bluetooth keyboards."

00:47:15   And it's only with iOS 9

00:47:18   that they really have been kicked into gear.

00:47:20   And so they're kind of behind in it.

00:47:21   But you're right.

00:47:23   It's not the interface that you would build

00:47:27   for this device. It's an interface that's evolved from the original iPhone, essentially,

00:47:32   and there's still parts of it that haven't evolved very much. I mean, the springboard,

00:47:35   the home screen, is not evolved, essentially, at all. And there are lots of other parts

00:47:41   that on the iPad Pro, it's just sort of a stretched out version of what was on the iPad

00:47:44   Air. So, you know, it's... I don't know. I've seen people suggest that they ought to make,

00:47:52   know, they ought to consider this, you know, iPad OS and that it's something that needs

00:47:56   to be, whether you call it something different or not, it needs more investment into features

00:48:02   that only matter for the iPad. On one level, it's totally understandable. The iPhone is

00:48:07   so huge that you want to devote so much iOS development time to features that the iPhone

00:48:12   will use. But I wonder sometimes if it's a self-fulfilling prophecy a little bit that

00:48:19   the iPad isn't growing because they aren't putting the work in and making it more of

00:48:25   a product than it could be. And, you know, it's always the iPhone that gets the priority,

00:48:29   it seems, except with these new features in iOS 9, it's felt like, you know, it really

00:48:34   is about the iPhone and the iPad is lucky to kind of come along. And the iPad Pro could

00:48:38   be a lot better if there were more features that took advantage of things like an external

00:48:42   keyboard. And I'm not saying it needs a mouse and drop-down menus, which, you know, because

00:48:48   than it's a Mac, but more than it's got now.

00:48:50   Dave Asprey Right. I definitely think that a mouse pointer

00:48:54   is not the right way to go. I feel like that's this. I'm fully on board with exactly what

00:49:01   Apple's executives, Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, I think even Eddie in a couple of interviews,

00:49:07   Eddie Q. I really don't think it's spin. I think they truly believe this. I do too,

00:49:14   the Mac and iPad OS are not going to converge. There's not going to be any sort of point

00:49:20   in the foreseeable future. I mean like years and years out where everything is just one OS and you

00:49:26   can touch your iMac 5k. I really think that it and I think the mouse pointer interface isn't going

00:49:34   anywhere and that's in Apple world that's called the Mac and the touch interface isn't going

00:49:40   anywhere. But there needs to be some kind of directional input that's not touching

00:49:45   the screen. And I think, you know, Apple TV shows how that's possible, right? And I

00:49:50   know that it's... even the old Apple TV which just had the... with no swipe pad, it

00:49:57   just had up, down, left, right, you know, you could do it. And I feel like the new

00:50:00   one with the touchpad, it even shows even more how possible it is. And this focus

00:50:06   engine that they have where you have these selections and it just shows you based on

00:50:10   the depth. I'm not saying that that's exactly what they could move to the iPad because then

00:50:15   I don't think it would work with touch, right? I think if they put the focus engine UI on

00:50:20   the iPad for use with a keyboard with the arrow keys or with a trackpad, a trackpad

00:50:26   that isn't there but if they added a hypothetical trackpad, you could do the focus. The focus

00:50:32   thing would definitely work and I think that would be pretty useful and then you could

00:50:35   use the trackpad to move the insertion point around

00:50:39   in text editing views.

00:50:40   And all of that would work and be useful

00:50:41   and not introduce a mouse pointer,

00:50:43   which I think is problematic in a lot of ways.

00:50:45   - Yeah, I mean, in some ways,

00:50:49   the trackpad's already there, right?

00:50:51   Because if you put two fingers down

00:50:52   on the software keyboard,

00:50:54   you can move the text insertion around.

00:50:57   And so there is a pointing device.

00:50:59   It's not gonna, you know,

00:51:00   it's not a cursor that's available everywhere,

00:51:02   but it is there.

00:51:04   And in that way, if you're using an external keyboard,

00:51:08   you lose that feature.

00:51:09   And there isn't the support.

00:51:10   I was arguing with somebody on Twitter,

00:51:12   I think you were part of that chain too,

00:51:13   about this idea of a trackpad on a keyboard from Apple,

00:51:18   which I think is less likely,

00:51:19   but I kind of feel like they might as well

00:51:22   just support Bluetooth trackpads,

00:51:23   because just for text insertion,

00:51:25   because it's not as if it's not there,

00:51:27   the alternative would be something like,

00:51:29   I think there was a patent for a keyboard,

00:51:32   an Apple patent for a keyboard

00:51:33   that you could also just move your finger across

00:51:36   and it would act like a track pad,

00:51:39   which that's how the software keyboard works.

00:51:42   So if you had a hardware keyboard that you could do that,

00:51:44   that might solve it too.

00:51:45   It's like, look, if you wanna move

00:51:46   the insertion point around,

00:51:47   you just, you don't push down on the keys,

00:51:49   you just drag your fingers over them and we'll,

00:51:52   that's close enough for us to figure out what you're doing.

00:51:55   So maybe there's something there because that,

00:51:57   I mean, it doesn't get enough publicity,

00:51:59   but that's like one of the biggest breaks

00:52:00   with the iOS interface metaphor that has ever been is the idea that suddenly you've got

00:52:05   a little cursor that you move around on screen. That's not something that we've really had

00:52:10   on iOS before. And once that's out of the box a little bit, and I think it's great for

00:52:14   productivity, I think it's fantastic on the iPad Pro. It's the easiest movement of that.

00:52:19   I find it harder to move around on the iPhone and on the smaller iPads, but it's really

00:52:23   good because you've got that space and it totally works. So, I'd like to see more of

00:52:29   in more places, plus simple stuff like if I do a spotlight search. I can't arrow down

00:52:33   into one of the results.

00:52:34   I can't help but feel that that's just coming. It has to be coming.

00:52:39   Sure. I think a lot of these are very clearly like they're very close and they're just not

00:52:45   quite there yet. Autocorrect is one. I just wrote a piece about this yesterday on the

00:52:49   iPad Pro for Macworld where autocorrect is one where there's this whole autocorrect system

00:52:55   that's been built up for the software keyboard because it's really important for the

00:52:59   software keyboard. But right now there's no system level way to assign autocorrect

00:53:03   on or off for hardware versus software keyboards. So every time I use a hardware keyboard I

00:53:08   have to go turn it off because it is terrible when I'm using the hardware keyboard. It

00:53:12   corrects things that I type correctly into other things and I type so fast that I go

00:53:16   right over it. My incidence of typos goes up. I'm correcting things all the time.

00:53:21   And it's just one of those things that like that's a pretty simple thing. I don't

00:53:24   know, again, I don't know how deep into the text code, maybe it would be hard to implement,

00:53:29   but from a user perspective, it's like, it makes sense that my rules for my software

00:53:33   keyboard and my hardware keyboard would be different, and it goes to like the auto-capitalization

00:53:39   stuff. I don't know if you've tried this, but if you type, if you hold down the shift

00:53:42   key a little too long, so the first two letters of a word are capitalized, and you're like,

00:53:47   "Oh, I meant that to be lowercase," you lift the shift key off, you backspace, and

00:53:51   and then you type the key again on the iPad,

00:53:53   it just stays in capital letters.

00:53:55   - Oh, yes. - Right?

00:53:58   And that's been a problem from the iPhone

00:53:59   since the beginning, which is like,

00:54:01   no, no, you toggled the shift key up.

00:54:02   You probably wanna type a capital letter here.

00:54:05   And-- - Right.

00:54:06   Like, Sir Cusa has spoken about this,

00:54:08   where when you get to know in a rich text editing interface,

00:54:11   like Word or TextEdit,

00:54:13   where there's bold, italics, and underline,

00:54:15   there are implicit invisible marks, effectively.

00:54:21   And in the old days, like when we used to write

00:54:23   on our Apple IIs, you could see them.

00:54:26   - Show codes.

00:54:27   - Right, show codes.

00:54:28   - It was a classic.

00:54:29   - But in other words, if I start typing Jason

00:54:34   and I type, for whatever stupid reason,

00:54:38   I just want the first two letters to be bold.

00:54:42   If I go back and delete the A that's bold

00:54:45   and I type it again, it's still gonna be bold

00:54:47   until I hit Command + B again before I type it, right?

00:54:51   And the shift key is like that on iOS.

00:54:53   The shift key is sort of like an invisible marker in there.

00:54:58   It's like a mode that you go into and stays on.

00:55:01   - Yeah, and it's, I mean, that's just a bug, right?

00:55:04   I mean, it's really just a bug,

00:55:05   but it stems from the fact that there's this whole

00:55:08   infrastructure of input that has been built up

00:55:12   around the iPhone originally, and then the iPad,

00:55:16   and the external keyboard thing is just kind of

00:55:17   this weird thing that's grafted on,

00:55:19   which in the context of the time made sense.

00:55:21   But when you're trying to think of this

00:55:23   as more of a productivity device

00:55:25   and that a lot of people are gonna be using a keyboard,

00:55:28   that Apple sells a keyboard now,

00:55:30   it's all stuff that just needs to be better.

00:55:31   And I keep coming back to the iOS 9 thing.

00:55:33   I feel like what the real story here is just

00:55:36   that Apple already has gotten their religion about this,

00:55:39   but they didn't really get it until iOS 9.

00:55:41   And that before then,

00:55:42   they sort of just kept their hands off of it.

00:55:44   And then since they only got that religion for iOS 9,

00:55:48   they haven't had time to build this stuff.

00:55:50   And I was hoping to see a little more of it

00:55:51   in the build of iOS that ran on the iPad Pro.

00:55:54   And I'm still hopeful that maybe 9.2, maybe 9.3,

00:55:58   we'll just see this stuff trickling out

00:56:00   instead of having to wait for an iOS 10.

00:56:02   But that's the optimist in me is that

00:56:05   I feel like maybe they have got it, right?

00:56:07   They've got the product out there.

00:56:08   They've got that keyboard.

00:56:10   And they do know that this is important to the iPad Pro

00:56:13   and that they're gonna prioritize more of these features

00:56:15   to make it better.

00:56:17   - I think that one of the most telling things,

00:56:20   and to me it contrasts with,

00:56:23   this episode of the show almost,

00:56:25   it looks like it was organized.

00:56:27   I think it contrasts so poorly with the pencil,

00:56:30   where to me, every aspect of the pencil seems so thoughtful.

00:56:34   But the thing is, is that the pencil is this all new thing

00:56:40   that slips into the touch world established by the iPhone,

00:56:46   I'm not misspeaking, but like the 2007 iPhone,

00:56:48   in theory, would work great with the pencil, right?

00:56:51   And my guess is that going forward,

00:56:54   all future iOS devices will be,

00:56:56   have the touch sensor that the iPad Pro does

00:57:01   and will work with the pencil.

00:57:02   Or at least they could.

00:57:03   And at least all iPads, I think.

00:57:05   I don't know, maybe not the phone,

00:57:07   but I don't see why not with the phone.

00:57:09   - Yeah, I agree. - Why not?

00:57:10   - And it's not the Apple Pencil for iPad Pro

00:57:13   or something like that.

00:57:13   It's the Apple Pencil, period.

00:57:15   But it doesn't force any kind of rethinking of the interface,

00:57:19   of the touch-centric interface.

00:57:21   It's all on new.

00:57:22   Whereas the keyboard is so in conflict with that.

00:57:26   And not that I don't think--

00:57:28   I think that in theory, there's a way to arrive at a--

00:57:32   this works.

00:57:32   It works just as well with the touch and the keyboard,

00:57:35   but different ways.

00:57:37   And I'll give you an example of that in a second.

00:57:39   But the other example-- and it just

00:57:41   reeks to me of the, wait a second,

00:57:46   didn't somebody think that this is crazy?

00:57:47   So in theory, if you have the hardware keyboard attached,

00:57:51   typing should be better in every way,

00:57:54   because it's an actual keyboard.

00:57:55   Or at least, or if in theory, you are the world's,

00:58:00   a world-class type on the iPad screen typist,

00:58:03   then it should be at least as good.

00:58:05   But in a huge way, it's worse,

00:58:08   because when you're using the on-screen keyboard,

00:58:11   you can put two fingers down and move the insertion point.

00:58:14   And you just spent three minutes praising.

00:58:16   I'll just say ditto, it's one of the greatest inventions

00:58:20   of the touchscreen era.

00:58:21   And then if you have the hardware keyboard,

00:58:23   there's no way to do that.

00:58:24   - Yeah, there's not-- - I find that to be

00:58:27   absolutely crazy.

00:58:28   And again, whether it,

00:58:32   I'm not saying it's an easy thing to solve.

00:58:34   It's, like you said, maybe it's some kind of weird

00:58:36   patented material that turns the surface of the keyboard

00:58:39   into a touchpad sensor just for going,

00:58:43   just for moving around.

00:58:45   You don't have to do anything else.

00:58:46   I don't know what the answer is,

00:58:49   but boy, that seems crazy that you get

00:58:52   this really cool feature with the onscreen keyboard,

00:58:54   and when you hook up a hardware keyboard,

00:58:55   you completely lose it.

00:58:57   So the other example, and this one really bothers me,

00:59:02   is for Command Tab.

00:59:08   So the command tab that they've added to iOS

00:59:13   is just, it looks exactly like the Mac's command tab,

00:59:17   which in and of itself, not, you know, okay, it's familiar.

00:59:20   Your apps start with, they go left to right,

00:59:24   with left is your current most app,

00:59:26   and then as you move to the right,

00:59:28   you see your, the apps you've used in whatever,

00:59:33   you know, the order in which you've used them.

00:59:34   So one command tab gets you to the one you used

00:59:37   most recently to get you to the second most recent, etc. But there's the double

00:59:46   tap the home button switcher which provides the exact same task, the exact

00:59:50   same, solves the exact same problem which is I want to switch to a recently used

00:59:55   app. But on iOS it's completely different. It looks different. It's this 3D stacked

01:00:01   view and it even goes in a different order starting with Mac OS 9 it goes

01:00:07   from right to left but they had a left to right version in Iowa 7 & 8 with the

01:00:17   old card style interface to me as a general principle there's absolutely no

01:00:23   reason why that shouldn't be the exact same interface whether you're using

01:00:26   command tab or using the screen and double clicking the home button it

01:00:31   should be the and they had it they had it right there they had the iOS 8

01:00:35   switcher and I think the only reason they switched it for iOS 9 was for the

01:00:41   iPhone 6s with the force touch where you can force from the edge and I don't

01:00:49   think that that's I don't think that's worth it I feel like maybe they should

01:00:53   have just made it so that you instead of force touching from the left edge you

01:00:56   have to do it from the right edge so that the order could be the same between the two.

01:01:02   I don't know. But somehow, if they wanted to add the force touch switcher, they should

01:01:07   have done it in a way that they could use the same switcher for double tap home, go

01:01:13   from the edge, and definitely from command tab. The command tab switcher should be the

01:01:16   same as the double tap, the home button switcher. And it's, to me, a lack of thoughtfulness

01:01:23   that it's not so.

01:01:24   Well, I mean, it is more dense to have just the icons up there and not the previews. And

01:01:28   if they had it, you know, although you could have that same sort of stack of, you know,

01:01:33   angled textures of what those apps were or something, I'm sure they could unify it if

01:01:38   they really wanted to. But it's funny when you think about Apple taking the approach

01:01:42   that each device is its own thing. And unlike Microsoft's approach, the Mac's going to be

01:01:48   the Mac and the iPad's going to be the iPad. This is a case where when you've got an extra

01:01:54   keyboard attached. The iPad kind of is a Mac, sort of. It's using the Mac

01:01:58   switcher instead of... And I don't know whether that's a good thing because the

01:02:02   people... Depends on if your attitude is people who use external keyboards are

01:02:05   fossils. They're old people who want the old ways and this is providing

01:02:10   some continuity for our users who are less comfortable with the new ways of

01:02:14   text input or whether, you know, it's just a nice accessory for people who want to

01:02:19   input text faster. And if it's the former, then the app switcher makes sense,

01:02:24   because it'll scare them less. But it's not the same metaphor as the rest of the

01:02:29   system. It's this bizarre thing that kind of got imported from the Mac.

01:02:33   In a way, I'm glad that it's there, you know, and I'm glad that

01:02:39   while I've been trying to use my iPad Pro as, you know, like, how much of my

01:02:44   work can I do on it, you know, to try this thing out? I'm certainly glad that

01:02:47   that Command Tab works.

01:02:48   - Oh yeah.

01:02:50   - But I think that just stick,

01:02:52   we'll just stick a Mac style switcher in there is crazy.

01:02:55   Especially when iOS 8 had a switching,

01:02:59   an app switching metaphor that would have worked perfectly

01:03:01   with Command Tab.

01:03:03   And I really think that that's a lot slicker

01:03:05   and I feel like it really,

01:03:06   I feel like the beauty of it is,

01:03:10   and even the new iOS 9 switcher

01:03:13   still has the same quality where you can see the apps

01:03:16   as you're switching between them.

01:03:18   And that doesn't really translate well to the Mac

01:03:20   because Mac apps can have lots and lots of windows open,

01:03:24   but every single iOS app only has one screen

01:03:27   at a current time.

01:03:28   And I feel like the visual aspect of that,

01:03:31   where it's like a layer of abstraction has been removed

01:03:34   and you actually see the apps,

01:03:36   Safari looks like the currently showing Safari tab,

01:03:40   is so much more iOS-like.

01:03:44   it's so much more what iOS is supposed to be

01:03:47   rather than this extra layer of abstraction

01:03:50   where Safari is represented by its home screen icon.

01:03:52   - Yeah, and I don't even wanna get into that

01:03:57   when you've got two apps running in split view,

01:03:59   the iOS-based switcher is even weirder

01:04:03   because I think the split view on the right

01:04:05   just sort of vanishes.

01:04:07   - Yeah.

01:04:08   - Because of what it show and would it show the split view

01:04:11   or would it show the last time it wasn't in split view

01:04:14   And it's a, there's a lot going on and you do get the sense.

01:04:17   You said it.

01:04:17   And I had, I had been thinking that you do get the sense that there was a long

01:04:20   debate at Apple about the app switcher stuff and about, uh, productivity for

01:04:24   keyboard people. And at some point somebody said, look, just put the Mac app

01:04:28   switcher in there for the keyboard people.

01:04:30   Just, just it's good enough for them.

01:04:33   So I hopefully there are people and it's just, hopefully that it's just some sort

01:04:39   of, look, we, you know, we can ship this big iPad now.

01:04:43   We're ready to do it.

01:04:44   We have the--

01:04:45   I think-- and again, this is the sort of thing

01:04:51   that even when you know people at Apple and friends,

01:04:54   and they just don't like to talk about timelines.

01:04:56   But I think that the iPad Pro has been something

01:05:00   that they've been thinking about ever since they started

01:05:03   working on the iPad in terms of what size of these devices

01:05:06   would we like to ship.

01:05:07   And having to make something that's this big,

01:05:12   but weighs as little as it does, right?

01:05:15   Because think about the fact that the original iPad,

01:05:17   famously now everybody says,

01:05:19   talking about the weight of the iPad Pro,

01:05:21   weighs almost exactly the same as the original iPad.

01:05:24   Well then obviously at this size back in 2010,

01:05:28   it would have been way too heavy.

01:05:31   - Yeah.

01:05:31   - Right, 'cause it would have been as thick

01:05:33   and as dense as that iPad and now it's heavier.

01:05:36   So it took them a while to be able to make something

01:05:39   that was this big and that would be tolerable weight.

01:05:42   And clearly, once they've gone to the retina era,

01:05:45   they ran into these incredibly difficult things

01:05:49   with the graphics to be able to drive a screen this size that's

01:05:52   retina.

01:05:52   They had to do the same thing with this

01:05:54   that they did with the retina 5K iMac, where they have

01:05:57   their own timing controller to control the whole thing,

01:06:00   because nothing on the market could drive that many pixels.

01:06:03   So I think that this year, I think 2015,

01:06:07   they've shipped a big iPad the first year

01:06:11   that they could have. That, you know, with all the engineering constraints that they

01:06:16   had to work with to be able to ship something that meets their definition for, you know,

01:06:21   here's an IP, here's what we could, we would be willing to ship as an iOS device. To make

01:06:25   one this size, it took until now. And because they could do it now, they're shipping it

01:06:29   now, even though the software on the software side, clearly they're, they're not caught

01:06:34   up to the level of, well, what could we do with an iPad of this size?

01:06:38   Yeah, I think that's exactly right that this is this feels like like I was saying like I with iOS 9 and with a putting the

01:06:45   iPad Pro into getting it ready for production that would there was a moment of like, okay

01:06:48   this matters to us now and the problem was that they weren't laying the foundation before and

01:06:53   and you can't you can't turn on a dime and add all those features in and so the software is lagging behind and it's a

01:06:58   Shame that it wasn't you also feel like the iPad air 2 was so over specked that that was almost like the pilot program

01:07:07   of the iPad Pro a little bit.

01:07:09   It was like, whoa, where did this thing come from?

01:07:10   It's like, oh, I understand now.

01:07:13   But the hardware is spectacular.

01:07:15   It really is a great piece of hardware.

01:07:16   And that's why I think it is striking that we come back to

01:07:19   the software kind of hasn't caught up.

01:07:21   And it's not just like,

01:07:22   there's the whole other debate about professional software

01:07:25   in the app store and all of that.

01:07:27   But like the iOS itself is kind of just,

01:07:30   it's a little bit behind what the hardware can offer.

01:07:33   And it's not surprising because I think they got a late start

01:07:38   because it wasn't a priority until they decided.

01:07:42   I wonder, I really wish,

01:07:45   I would be fascinated to know the stories behind it.

01:07:48   My gut feeling is also that Apple has changed its philosophy

01:07:51   about its product lines,

01:07:52   where it feels that they don't have to be as focused,

01:07:55   that every product doesn't have to be for every person.

01:07:58   And I think that evidence one of that

01:08:00   was the existence of the iPhone 6 Plus,

01:08:03   where it was not the flagship, it was this oversized phone,

01:08:06   and I think that Apple felt bitten by the fact

01:08:09   that they were so maniacally focused on having one iPhone

01:08:11   that they got behind in the large phone category,

01:08:14   and Samsung showed them that people wanted that.

01:08:17   And I wonder if that bleeds down to the iPad a little bit too

01:08:20   and it gives them the freedom to have this product exist,

01:08:22   where it's like, look, we can have

01:08:24   a bunch of different iPads.

01:08:25   And the Mini was the first example of that.

01:08:28   And then this is another example where it's like,

01:08:29   look, we can have a lot of these iPads,

01:08:31   we can't ship them all the same year

01:08:32   'cause it's too much, but we have to ship like a couple,

01:08:35   one or two a year.

01:08:36   But I wonder if there's a story there

01:08:39   that maybe it's just me seeing things,

01:08:40   but I feel like there's something there about Apple

01:08:44   shifting gears from sort of like, this is the iPhone,

01:08:46   to saying, we have many iPhones you can choose from,

01:08:48   we have many iPads, choose the one you like.

01:08:51   And that's not where they were two, three years ago,

01:08:54   but that's where they are now.

01:08:56   - Yeah, it's a fascinating device, the iPad Pro.

01:09:02   and pencil and the keyboard.

01:09:04   And there's so much to think about.

01:09:06   But it is as interested and fascinated in it as I am,

01:09:11   I think you're exactly right,

01:09:12   is that it is the device I would recommend

01:09:15   to the fewest people for one of their big things.

01:09:20   I guess the only thing, again, I think the iPhone Plus,

01:09:26   the 6S Plus and 6 Plus are similar,

01:09:30   where, but even, maybe even a little bit less.

01:09:34   You know, like I feel like it's,

01:09:35   the people who want the plus size phone, they know it.

01:09:38   Right?

01:09:39   It's just a gut feeling.

01:09:40   If your gut says I wish my phone was really big,

01:09:42   then go ahead and get it.

01:09:44   Whereas this is a little bit,

01:09:45   it's a little bit more complicated.

01:09:48   Like I, I don't, I really don't think,

01:09:50   it's not just an issue of,

01:09:52   like in the old days I think it used to be,

01:09:56   in the PowerBook days,

01:10:00   The only reason to get like, you know, the old,

01:10:02   you know, back when we used to call them iBooks,

01:10:04   remember that?

01:10:05   - Oh yeah. - Or even the MacBook.

01:10:08   The only reason to get one other than a MacBook Pro

01:10:11   was, I think, you know, about cost.

01:10:14   Did you, you know, if you can afford the MacBook Pro,

01:10:16   you're gonna want that MacBook Pro

01:10:18   'cause you're not really saving much else.

01:10:19   It wasn't like they were lighter, you know, or thinner.

01:10:23   They were just slower.

01:10:25   - No, the only time I had a MacBook

01:10:26   was there was the period where there was,

01:10:28   the MacBooks were smaller,

01:10:30   and the MacBook Pros were not smaller,

01:10:32   and that was the reason to get it was,

01:10:34   you want a smaller laptop, we've got it.

01:10:36   But if all other things are equal, then, I don't know.

01:10:40   Do you think the iPad Pro is a little bit

01:10:41   like the old 17-inch?

01:10:43   - Yeah, maybe. - MacBook, right?

01:10:44   Where it's sort of like, who wants this?

01:10:46   And the answer is, there are some people

01:10:47   who really want this.

01:10:49   But most people are probably not gonna want it.

01:10:51   And you could do the industries.

01:10:52   And with the iPad Pro, it'll be different industries.

01:10:53   But you could say, people who do wanna do video editing,

01:10:56   this might actually be on the road,

01:10:58   this might actually be great for it,

01:10:59   it's got the big screen and people who want to draw, graphic artists and

01:11:04   comic book artists and colorists and all sorts of different jobs with

01:11:09   the pencil and the giant screen, perfect. And like a thousand other niches plus

01:11:14   the power user type people who can do their whole jobs with it and then over

01:11:20   time maybe it becomes more than that. But that's my gut feeling now is

01:11:23   like, yeah, like, Federico, I mean, he's the poster boy for it, right? But I

01:11:27   I think there are other people and, you know, people who just like having their iPad and

01:11:31   realize they've got Office on there and that's all they need.

01:11:34   I think it will find lots of surprising audiences.

01:11:37   I'm really looking forward to actually in the next six months, there will probably be

01:11:40   a lot of stories about, "Oh, did you realize the iPad Pro is actually great for X?"

01:11:44   And you'll be like, "Oh, that is, of course, it makes perfect sense.

01:11:47   I didn't think of it at the time, but it's the perfect product for that."

01:11:51   But you know, that 17-inch PowerBook was like that too.

01:11:53   It weighed a ton.

01:11:54   It was huge.

01:11:55   It was ridiculous.

01:11:56   wanted it. It was in the price list forever because people just did not want to give up

01:12:01   the 17-inch in certain audiences. And it wasn't really until finally the 15 was so powerful

01:12:07   and the 15 with retina and all of that that it was no longer the cafeteria tray laptop

01:12:13   was no longer relevant.

01:12:14   Dave: Yeah. I think it's maybe that's... The 17-inch PowerBook or no, I guess, did

01:12:20   they... Yeah, there was a Mac. Yeah, the last one was still was a Macbook. They definitely

01:12:24   had Intel versions.

01:12:25   I think that's probably a little bit more niche than the iPad Pro, but I think it's

01:12:30   along that spectrum, though, that you kind of need to have an exceptional need to justify

01:12:34   it.

01:12:35   I agree.

01:12:36   It's not as expensive compared to the other products, I think, and it is not as kind of

01:12:40   unreasonable.

01:12:41   It's big, and some people are going to get turned off by its bigness, but there are other

01:12:45   people for whom having the bigger screen, it's just going to be good.

01:12:50   It's an iPad, right?

01:12:51   In all other ways, it is an iPad, and it's got this big, bright, beautiful screen.

01:12:56   If you don't care about the weight and the size of it, it does what it says.

01:13:01   It is a big iPad.

01:13:02   I loved—I linked to it and even said it was just my favorite observation.

01:13:07   The one person's observation about the iPad Pro that I was jealous of that I didn't

01:13:11   think of was Horace Dejus, that it's a desktop iPad.

01:13:16   Not desktop, meaning like it runs desktop—you know, desktop, it gets so overused because

01:13:20   That's what we mean when we say Mac and Windows.

01:13:23   - Right.

01:13:24   - But he just meant literally that you put it on a desk

01:13:27   and it's meant to be used.

01:13:28   - And so much of what we do now on desktops

01:13:30   is actually a laptop.

01:13:32   - Right.

01:13:33   I thought that was so keen.

01:13:35   And I have to say in all my time,

01:13:37   and again, when you're doing these things

01:13:40   and you're in an R racket

01:13:41   and you wanna write a review of this thing,

01:13:43   you do, you spend an,

01:13:44   I spend an awful lot of time on it,

01:13:47   especially that first week where I had the review unit.

01:13:51   And I did everything on it, even things

01:13:53   that I knew while I was doing it, like, wow,

01:13:55   in the long run, I am not going to use this to do this.

01:13:58   But I was doing it just to see what it was like.

01:14:00   And I really have to say that the stuff that I usually

01:14:04   do with an iPad on a normal day, just

01:14:07   sit there at the end of the day and just sort of--

01:14:09   if I'm watching sports on TV and I'm just paying attention

01:14:12   to Twitter on the other, you know,

01:14:14   the quote unquote second screen and I'm on the couch,

01:14:17   the big iPad Pro is cumbersome.

01:14:21   It's hard to hold in one hand.

01:14:22   I mean, this is not like something that you couldn't foresee

01:14:26   but it's kind of wants to be used on a desk

01:14:29   or like on your lap with the keyboard attached

01:14:33   so that it's resting on it.

01:14:35   And that's to me is different than from what most people

01:14:38   I think do with their iPad.

01:14:40   - Yeah, everybody's ergonomics are gonna be different

01:14:43   but it feels comfortable, yeah, on a table, on a desk,

01:14:48   it's totally comfortable.

01:14:51   I think sitting up, it is, for me, ergonomically,

01:14:54   it's fine if I'm sitting upright in a chair

01:14:57   or even on my couch in my living room.

01:15:00   When I'm leaning back, like I'm laying on the couch

01:15:03   or I'm laying in bed and I'm like checking email

01:15:05   in the morning or something like that,

01:15:06   it's kind of ridiculous, I can get used to it,

01:15:09   but it's like, it probably doesn't fit as well there

01:15:12   And I'm not sure people really wanna have two iPads, right?

01:15:15   They're big iPad and they're small iPad,

01:15:18   but it almost comes across like that.

01:15:19   But this is not an iPad you use everywhere, probably.

01:15:23   - Yeah, and it does seem like in some ways,

01:15:27   Apple is sort of optimizing for the case

01:15:29   where you're gonna have a whole house full of Apple products

01:15:33   and just pick the one that, you know, a downstairs,

01:15:35   you know, like that, like the daytime, nighttime iPhone guy,

01:15:40   you're gonna have an upstairs iPad and a, you know, a downstairs iPad,

01:15:44   which is terrible. It's so gratuitous, but I do kind of feel that way.

01:15:50   Yeah, exactly.

01:15:51   All right.

01:15:52   Let me take another break here and thank another one of our longtime friends of

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01:16:00   Warby Parker believes that prescription eyeglasses simply should not cost $300

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01:16:21   you get the lenses that go darker or something like that and it costs a little

01:16:25   more and the bifocals cost more. Um,

01:16:28   but 95 bucks is a starting price for a regular pair of glasses.

01:16:32   And that comes with everything.

01:16:33   They don't upsell you on anti-reflective coatings

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01:16:45   They even come with nice cases and a nice cleaning cloth.

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01:16:51   Buying eyeglasses online.

01:16:52   Sounds crazy, right?

01:16:53   Everybody's, or most people I know,

01:16:55   are really super picky about something

01:16:57   that they're going to put on their face.

01:16:59   And how do you get around that?

01:17:01   Well, you go to their website

01:17:02   and they've got some really cool tools.

01:17:05   You can use webcam or just upload a picture of yourself

01:17:07   and you can preview what some of the glasses

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01:17:11   They even have a tool that lets you measure your eyes

01:17:14   'cause part of the trick about getting glasses,

01:17:16   you wanna know exactly how far apart your pupils are.

01:17:18   They have a little thing where you use a credit card.

01:17:20   It's really clever 'cause every credit card

01:17:22   is sort of a standard width

01:17:23   and you hold a credit card up to your face

01:17:25   and they can measure your pupils.

01:17:28   It's funny 'cause I got that measurement.

01:17:30   I did it with Warby and long story short,

01:17:34   I've been to the eye doctor a lot in the last year.

01:17:36   The measurement I got from my eye doctor,

01:17:38   exactly the same as Warby Parker's

01:17:40   seemingly gimmick-like online thing.

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01:19:04   If you think about that, imagine being so poor or living in a country where you can't

01:19:07   even see sharply because you can't afford or can't get access to prescription glasses.

01:19:13   Well, these charities help and Warby does like a one for one matching with them, which

01:19:17   is really great.

01:19:18   So here's where you go to find out more. Go to warbyparker.com/the-talk-show, warbyparker/the-talk-show,

01:19:26   and check them out next time you need eyeglasses. My thanks to Warby Parker.

01:19:34   Anything else you want to talk about this week? I have a couple of other things that

01:19:36   are sort of maybes.

01:19:37   No, I don't have anything more on my list. I mean, iPad Pro has been at the top of mind,

01:19:43   I think, for so many of us the last couple of weeks.

01:19:48   Because the issue that you touched on about this sort of, and I feel like everybody's

01:19:55   been talking, I mean this is like a perennial topic, but the whole idea of is there a market

01:19:59   for professional software for the iPad? And if so, why does it seem like it's worse than

01:20:06   on the Mac? Just to name a price. There's a lot of apps that sell for 20, 25 bucks on

01:20:11   the Mac and there are indie developers using that 20 to 25 dollars per sale to build a

01:20:16   a healthy business. And on iOS, even on iPad, it seems like it's the, you know, $5 is considered

01:20:28   expensive and you sell an app for $10 and nobody buys it and it just doesn't seem like

01:20:33   there's a market.

01:20:34   I don't know. If you look at the size of the iPad market, I mean, there's this argument

01:20:39   that because the iPhone is so big,

01:20:42   that people are building for iPhone

01:20:47   and they're not worried about the iPad,

01:20:49   but the iPad market is what,

01:20:51   bigger than the Mac market on its own?

01:20:54   - Yeah, definitely.

01:20:55   It has to be. - Because its average

01:20:56   selling price is way less

01:20:57   and the revenue is about the same.

01:20:59   - Right.

01:21:00   - So I'm not sure I buy,

01:21:01   I mean, I buy the argument that the iPad Pro

01:21:03   is not gonna have such a huge user base

01:21:04   that products just built for the iPad Pro

01:21:07   are going to not be able to sell well.

01:21:09   I will agree with that, but I'm not sure I buy it

01:21:12   when it comes to the iPad in general

01:21:14   because the iPad Air 2 is very functional,

01:21:17   and so is the iPad Mini 4.

01:21:19   And, you know, there are issues with the Mac App Store.

01:21:23   There's no doubt about it that Apple could do a better job

01:21:26   of making --

01:21:28   I mean, about the App Store in general, not the Mac App Store.

01:21:31   There are lots of issues with the Mac App Store,

01:21:32   but, you know, the idea that you can't do tryouts

01:21:35   and you can't do paid upgrades, and, you know,

01:21:37   the same stuff we've been complaining about forever, but I'm not sure that I... I'm not

01:21:42   saying it's easy, but I'm not sure I buy that it's not possible for software companies to

01:21:47   make money building iPad software.

01:21:50   I don't know, and I know none of these observations are original, but it does kind of ring some

01:21:57   alarm bells for me that... just with the iPad Pro, like, what are some of the apps that

01:22:04   that people are talking about.

01:22:05   Well, Adobe has the Adobe Sketch app,

01:22:07   which is a really cool demo app for the pencil.

01:22:10   And one of the reasons it's cool to demo

01:22:12   is that Apple has been working with Adobe long,

01:22:14   you know, more than just last week or two,

01:22:16   they let Adobe in early.

01:22:17   People are saying--

01:22:19   - I mentioned Microsoft Office, right?

01:22:21   They were up on stage two.

01:22:22   - Yeah, yeah, and like you said,

01:22:24   you can make an argument that the Office apps

01:22:29   are better on iPad than they are on Mac.

01:22:31   But those two companies, A, they're huge,

01:22:34   and B, they've both kind of switched

01:22:37   to this subscription model, right,

01:22:39   where you just pay Adobe for the Adobe Cloud

01:22:41   and you have a subscription

01:22:42   and then you can use all of Adobe software.

01:22:44   Well, that's fine for Adobe, to borrow a phrase.

01:22:49   But how many companies can get away with that?

01:22:54   And I don't mean get away with it that they're cheating,

01:22:57   but that they have a rich library of apps

01:23:02   and decades of trust with certain user bases

01:23:06   that people will look at the price of that

01:23:09   and knowing, go into it with their eyes open

01:23:12   and know that it's going to renew

01:23:14   and they're gonna pay this every year

01:23:15   and they'll say, well, that's worth it

01:23:16   because I use Office all the time.

01:23:18   - Yeah, like I said, I think it's not easy

01:23:23   and I think that Adobe and Microsoft have this advantage

01:23:26   in that they have a subscription relationship

01:23:28   with their customers.

01:23:29   That means they have ongoing revenue from these things

01:23:31   and not everybody, you know, most companies can't offer that sort of thing. They don't

01:23:36   have the ability. But, you know, again, I think there are plenty of things to criticize

01:23:41   and ways that the market could be better. But, you know, there are professional-level

01:23:48   iOS apps that come out that people love and that people are charged a decent amount of

01:23:55   money for. And on top of that, I'm not sure this is any different than a lot of other

01:24:02   difficult software environments to work in. When I went to the release notes conference,

01:24:09   what I heard loud and clear from a lot of the developers there is, "Focus on niche markets.

01:24:14   Don't try to build a hit app. Focus on these niche markets that want your stuff and that

01:24:19   will give them a reason to adopt iOS." Or, "They're frustrated because they're using

01:24:23   tools that aren't targeted at them. And that's true on the Mac too, but you've got big players,

01:24:30   and then you've got some players that build a better mousetrap so well that they grow

01:24:35   a following, and then you've got apps that are not necessarily the most exciting, but

01:24:39   they do the job for a particular area. And I think there's nothing in the iPad market

01:24:49   dissuades me from the belief that people can still have a success making

01:24:53   professional software on the iPad. I think if it's just the iPad Pro it's

01:24:58   more problematic. It would be advantageous if that app also ran on the

01:25:02   iPhone, of course. But I don't know. I guess I'm just... I'm not saying that it's

01:25:08   not hard and there aren't issues. I just don't think it's quite as extreme as

01:25:12   all that. That there isn't a place for good professional apps to make money. But

01:25:16   That's a, it's a very different game, right?

01:25:18   The volumes are gonna be a lot less,

01:25:19   and the price is gonna be a lot higher,

01:25:21   and you know, but I don't know.

01:25:24   I just, I have a hard time saying

01:25:27   it's gonna be a barren wasteland,

01:25:28   but I think it could be better.

01:25:30   - Yeah, and I just, I don't know.

01:25:35   I feel like, I wanna say that the iPad Pro will help,

01:25:40   but then I, then I try to,

01:25:42   well, how am I gonna explain why I think that's so,

01:25:45   and it's just, it more or less comes down to,

01:25:49   'cause it's a really cool computer.

01:25:50   And so I don't know that that's,

01:25:53   I don't know what the path forward is.

01:25:55   I can't explain it, but I,

01:25:56   it, I think it needs to happen though, right?

01:26:00   Like, but you know, one example of it would be,

01:26:03   and it's that app we just mentioned earlier in the show,

01:26:06   Ferrite, now there's, that's the exact type of app

01:26:08   that I'm talking about, an app that somebody could use

01:26:12   to do serious editing of a podcast using this device.

01:26:16   So my hope is that those guys do just as well

01:26:21   as they would if it was a Mac app

01:26:23   and that people don't hesitate to make these $20

01:26:27   in-app purchases to unlock the full app.

01:26:29   I don't know though.

01:26:31   Like I just worry though that the consensus seems to be

01:26:35   that people in large enough numbers

01:26:38   won't do that for an iPad app.

01:26:41   - I think some of it is about the fact

01:26:45   that there aren't trials,

01:26:46   although Ferrite gets around that by making the app free

01:26:50   and it's very limited.

01:26:51   And I think you can even do that with the Office apps

01:26:54   that for really basic use, you can just use them.

01:26:58   You don't even need an Office 365 account.

01:27:00   And their point is that once you use them,

01:27:02   you're gonna wanna connect to their services

01:27:04   and do all these other things,

01:27:05   at which point you need an Office 365 account.

01:27:07   I think there are ways around it,

01:27:09   But I get that it's scary and moving something like Sketch

01:27:12   from the Mac to the iPad,

01:27:14   they've said they're not gonna do it

01:27:15   because they're afraid that, you know, for $100,

01:27:18   that their app would be,

01:27:20   nobody would pay that sight unseen.

01:27:23   I think there's some truth to that,

01:27:24   although I think, again, people,

01:27:28   there are ways, there are ways.

01:27:29   But yeah, it's very easy to say,

01:27:33   "Look, they should radically change

01:27:35   "how they handle apps for the iPad,

01:27:37   "and they should allow sideloading,

01:27:38   or something like Gatekeeper, where on the Mac you can download apps from third parties

01:27:44   and depending on your security settings you can just run them. And that is a breach in

01:27:48   this semi-impregnable wall of the fortress of iOS and the App Store. And it would bring

01:27:57   problems, but it would also bring some freedom and latitude that some of the professional

01:28:03   software developers might like. I don't know. It's complicated, and I think it's

01:28:09   interesting to look at it through the lens of what we were doing just a little while

01:28:13   ago about the keyboard thing, which is, is the iPad being allowed to be its own thing?

01:28:21   If we start with the iPad, do we come up with some different answers than we might for the

01:28:25   iPhone, and does it need to be, like, "No, if it's this way on the iPad, it's always

01:28:29   this way on the iPhone," or does it become a little bit more like the Mac and the attitude

01:28:33   Toward things like software is a little bit different. I don't know and I don't know if that would solve it

01:28:38   I don't know if opening up, you know the ability to download software from the internet

01:28:43   Rather than over the App Store. It would be a cure-all it might help but I'm not sure it it's enough

01:28:51   Yeah, and I wonder too how much of it is that independent developers whether it's like a small like two-person

01:28:58   You know true indie

01:29:00   App making you know

01:29:03   duo, sort of like the Tapbots gang,

01:29:06   which I know is a little bit more than two guys now.

01:29:09   Or bigger, true companies where there's maybe

01:29:14   like 10 employees or something like that.

01:29:16   But all the way up to a company as big as Apple itself,

01:29:19   that there's the whole mythical man month aspect

01:29:26   to software development that you cannot just

01:29:28   throw engineers at a problem.

01:29:32   At some point, when there's too many chefs in the kitchen,

01:29:34   you can't cook anything.

01:29:36   It gets bogged down by the bureaucracy

01:29:38   of managing the team.

01:29:41   And the world keeps moving, and the industry moves.

01:29:44   And it's not all in isolation.

01:29:48   And I just wonder how much of it is that by wanting

01:29:52   to keep your iPhone app up to date, and moving forward,

01:29:56   and adding features, and wanting to have maybe

01:29:59   for some services like something like Slack where, you know, the big their big

01:30:04   screen interface sort of defaults to a web view, you know, even their native Mac

01:30:09   app is a web view whether it's a website or a Mac app that by the time you do

01:30:14   these things at the at the ends which would be like one end would be the

01:30:19   smallest screen like the iPhone and the other would be the big screen like what

01:30:23   are you gonna do when you're sitting at your desk that the iPad gets lost in the

01:30:26   middle. And maybe that's the exact same reason that some of these that we seem to bemoan

01:30:31   a lack of professional strength apps for the iPad. And like we talked about an hour ago,

01:30:37   that just iOS itself that seems to have sort of like they just never seem to get around

01:30:43   to making the iPad optimized.

01:30:46   Yeah, I think I think there's a chicken and egg problem there a little bit. And then there's

01:30:52   also this issue of getting lost in the shuffle that of course you prioritize the iPhone over

01:30:58   the iPad. But if you do that, then you lose the iPad because it needs love too. And you

01:31:04   know, it's got to have some percentage of it if it's gonna succeed, but it's the same

01:31:09   platform as the iPhone. And so it's not as if you can send a team off to do the iPad

01:31:14   on the side. It's all part of the larger whole. And it is, yeah, back to the chicken and egg

01:31:23   problem that you almost need more people saying, "This is a place where I'm doing work in order

01:31:29   to create a place where developers want to be." But I think there will be some developer

01:31:33   success stories, and I think maybe, in a strange way, the existence of the Microsoft and Adobe

01:31:39   apps on there makes it a more welcome place, because that gets you a long way between that

01:31:44   and all the stock Apple stuff, you can go a long way with what's already on the iPad

01:31:50   Pro. You can go a really long way. And that might make it easier for people to start using

01:31:57   the iPad Pro and the iPad Air to do even more of this stuff, and the more welcoming a place

01:32:02   it is, then maybe the more welcoming a market it is for people building other software.

01:32:07   But it's not going to be easy, there's no doubt about it. I'm just not sure whether

01:32:10   there are a lot of things that can be done to make it easy. I think it's going to always

01:32:15   be hard because business is hard. And it comes back again to what we've been saying, which

01:32:21   is what level of attention does Apple want to devote to this market and this product

01:32:25   line? Because on one level, if you look at the numbers on their own, it is a very sizable

01:32:31   business and on another level, it is in the shadow of an enormous business. And I think

01:32:36   that's been to the detriment of the iPad all along.

01:32:39   The existence of the iPhone is as great as it is for Apple,

01:32:42   it makes it just so easy to ignore the iPad.

01:32:45   - Right, and I wrote about,

01:32:47   I forget, Brian, somebody's article,

01:32:51   I wrote a piece on Daring Fireball,

01:32:53   sort of taking an article apart

01:32:56   for arguing that Apple is in trouble

01:32:58   because the iPhone is so big.

01:33:00   But I think that there,

01:33:03   I do think that it's not that Apple is actually

01:33:06   in danger because the iPad or iPhone business is so big.

01:33:09   But I do think that there are plenty of arguments to make

01:33:12   that it's not good overall that the iPhone is so big,

01:33:17   but they're subtle arguments.

01:33:19   And for example, one of them is that

01:33:22   the iPad lacks attention.

01:33:24   - Yeah, yeah, and it's not, right, exactly right.

01:33:28   The danger of having such a wildly successful business.

01:33:31   I wrote a piece about this like a year ago on six colors,

01:33:34   and it was all just about the crushing math of the iPhone.

01:33:37   It's like, it's so big that it's very hard

01:33:40   if you're a responsible manager at Apple

01:33:43   not to always choose the iPhone.

01:33:46   Because every little bit you do improves,

01:33:50   if you do a thing that improves the iPhone by 1%,

01:33:52   you've made up, you'd have to improve the iPad sales

01:33:56   by 40% or whatever, I don't know, whatever the number is,

01:33:58   but it would be, it's just an enormously different scale.

01:34:01   And so you need the discipline to say,

01:34:03   this business is also important and it deserves a percentage of our time. But I can tell you

01:34:09   as the guy who worked at Macworld that once we were part of PC World, which was larger than us,

01:34:15   it became very difficult to get people to pay attention to us because we were a small fraction

01:34:22   of the business. And if you, you know, it takes some discipline to say, "I have two businesses

01:34:27   that I run and I need them both to succeed." And it's very easy to say, "Well, where can I

01:34:33   I get the most return. It's the big business. So let's just invest in the big business

01:34:37   and not worry about the small business." And sometimes I see that with the iPhone and

01:34:40   the iPad.

01:34:41   Yeah, it's a much more nuanced argument to be had, but I do think it's there, and

01:34:49   it clearly sort of stands out. So switching gears a little bit, there's this article

01:34:54   I have not written about it, and I didn't even read it until just before we recorded,

01:34:59   Fast Company had an article this week by Bruce Tognazzini, aka Tog, and Don Norman of the

01:35:08   Norman, whatever group. What's it called?

01:35:11   It might be the Norman group. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

01:35:15   It's the Nielsen Norman group.

01:35:19   Yeah.

01:35:19   And this article broke my heart. Because, I mean, were you a fan of Tog back in the day?

01:35:29   - Yeah, I guess, I guess.

01:35:31   Ask Tog, right?

01:35:32   - Tog on Design.

01:35:33   Tog was a guy who was at Apple in the '80s

01:35:37   and really kind of spearheaded

01:35:38   the original human interface guidelines.

01:35:42   And Tog on Design, I don't know how I got my hands on it

01:35:46   because sometimes it was hard to get those books back then.

01:35:48   I don't know, but at some point in high school,

01:35:51   I got my hands on Tog on Design.

01:35:54   And I realized, I was like so,

01:35:58   It was the sort of thing I loved thinking about,

01:36:00   but it was like, this is what I wanna do with my life.

01:36:05   I guess at the time I thought more

01:36:07   I wanted to design interfaces and do that,

01:36:10   and instead, but I was right in a way though.

01:36:13   Instead of really doing much design work,

01:36:15   I just think about them and comment on them.

01:36:17   But I knew that this was the field

01:36:19   that I wanted to dig into.

01:36:22   And what I remember in particular about Talgun design

01:36:26   was he had this whole chapter about how they started

01:36:31   with check boxes and a check box was on or off,

01:36:36   zero or one and not very hard at all.

01:36:41   And I think it even got into, like remember in the old Mac,

01:36:44   it used to be filled in with an X instead of a check.

01:36:47   - Like a phantom, oh no, yeah, right.

01:36:51   It was an X inside the square, yeah.

01:36:52   - Yeah, I mean, we were talking like system six, system seven

01:36:56   before they went to color. But then the other thing, but the meat of the chapter though

01:37:02   was that they encountered, there were certain scenarios where something that clearly was

01:37:08   asking for a checkbox could have an indeterminate state. And it wasn't on or off, but it was

01:37:16   like halfway. And I can't think of an example off the top of my head, but he had a good

01:37:20   example.

01:37:21   I remember the idea of a roll-up where you've got a couple boxes that are checked underneath,

01:37:28   and the roll-up is where you can toggle something on and off.

01:37:32   And some of them are checked and some of them are not, so you can't say that the roll-up

01:37:35   is on or off.

01:37:36   It's in this indeterminate, some on, some off.

01:37:40   Right.

01:37:41   Here's an example.

01:37:42   An example would be, let's say I select the name Jason, and I hit Command-I, and I italicize

01:37:50   it in the middle of a sentence where the sentence wasn't italics. And then when I

01:37:55   still have Jason selected or I select just the J and I go up to the menu where

01:38:00   it shows me italics, the word italics in the menu would have a check next

01:38:04   to it. Now that's not a check mark, a check box, but it still is a check and

01:38:07   it's the same problem. What do you do though when I select your name and the

01:38:12   next word where one of them is, so one word is italicized and one is not, what

01:38:18   you put next to the word italic and they were stumped by this and then the

01:38:22   solution they eventually came to and I they still use is to use like a dash so

01:38:27   there's a check to say that it's on but then there's a dash to show that it's

01:38:32   sort of on it yeah it's complicated I did that chapter and the fact that they

01:38:39   some company that you know and I well I knew who Apple was at the time and I

01:38:43   knew Apple was the computer company that I was most interested in but the fact

01:38:46   that they had clearly spent as much time thinking about this problem as in my imagination Apple

01:38:52   spent on problems like this. That you could just go off and have like a team of your top people

01:38:57   spend like a week trying to figure out how to solve the problem of what do you use when a check mark

01:39:02   isn't quite right. I was like this is what I want to do. I don't want to say he was a hero, but he

01:39:07   was clearly somebody who inspired me to get into this industry. This article of Fast Company, it

01:39:14   It breaks my heart.

01:39:16   It's so bad.

01:39:18   I just told you to read it before the show.

01:39:21   What did you think?

01:39:22   - Yep.

01:39:23   Yeah, I think what my response was,

01:39:25   it's just as bad as I had feared

01:39:26   from seeing it linked everywhere.

01:39:28   You know, there are a couple things going on here.

01:39:32   It's how Apple is giving design a bad name.

01:39:35   - That's the headline.

01:39:35   That's the actual headline of the article.

01:39:37   - Yeah, a lot of the way it's played,

01:39:40   and I can't tell how much of this is the writers

01:39:42   and how much of this is the editors.

01:39:44   They want this story to be how current Apple design

01:39:49   is a failure.

01:39:50   They want this to be about the sort of last couple of years,

01:39:54   functional high ground, skeuomorphism debate kind of issues

01:39:59   have left Apple in a place where it's kind of lost it.

01:40:02   That's the story that they want to tell

01:40:05   and that Fast Company Design wants to tell, right?

01:40:09   That's the story.

01:40:10   The problem is, and this is, I saw Richard Karras who used to work at Apple, he tweeted a link to this,

01:40:15   and my response was, "I love those guys, but you realize they've been complaining about Apple design for like 20 years now."

01:40:22   And that's one of my problems with it is, I think it's, well, I know, it is disingenuous,

01:40:28   I'm just not sure exactly who's being how disingenuous, it is disingenuous to suggest that this is a comment about anything Apple has done just in the last couple of years.

01:40:39   because these guys have been complaining.

01:40:42   These guys have not been at Apple since basically

01:40:44   right when Steve Jobs came back.

01:40:46   And they have been complaining about Apple's bad design

01:40:49   for a very long time.

01:40:51   They have been complaining about it.

01:40:53   They complain about the iPhone design, you know,

01:40:55   and I don't wanna say that they don't have valid complaints.

01:40:59   Some of their complaints about usability are right.

01:41:02   There are some aspects where there's the old man

01:41:05   yells at cloud kind of thing, where they're like,

01:41:07   it's totally Apple's fault.

01:41:09   but why is Google following them?

01:41:10   And Microsoft is also doing things that aren't that great.

01:41:13   Where it's like, oh, so everybody then, except you,

01:41:15   because you know how to do this and nobody else does.

01:41:17   And, you know, again, there's plenty to criticize here,

01:41:21   but I'm not sure this is the article

01:41:23   that does the best job of it,

01:41:24   because it's not new for them to criticize Apple Design.

01:41:28   They've been doing it a very long time.

01:41:29   I think a lot of the things they criticize are not recent.

01:41:32   They're root issues about the touchscreen interface

01:41:35   where they don't like it.

01:41:36   And there's this little veneer that I have to say,

01:41:39   find kind of distasteful where I feel like, you know, they're really mad that there aren't

01:41:44   drop-down menus. And that there's not the discoverability, because what they did with

01:41:48   the drop-down menus and stuff in the early Mac, that was aces. And now, you know, now

01:41:54   these devices aren't discoverable like that. And they're right that they're not. But, you

01:42:00   know, it's, we've come a long way since then, and there are kind of different metaphors

01:42:05   at work there. And you can dislike them all you like, but it's very difficult to play

01:42:10   this as being like Apple is in a design tailspin the last couple of years, because if you really

01:42:15   went back and looked at what these guys have been criticizing, they've been saying Apple's

01:42:18   been in a design tailspin for like 15 years. Or 20.

01:42:23   In theory, if you had told me a few years ago that Bruce Tognazzini and Don Norman would

01:42:30   write this article about Apple design in 2015, I might have thought a few years ago, "Ooh,

01:42:37   that might be really good."

01:42:39   And the reason why, and I think at a fundamental level, they have a sort of—they approach

01:42:47   design from what I would describe as a sort of academic background, and they use a sort

01:42:52   of academic level of rigor and they are both famously very, very strong proponents of user

01:43:01   testing where you get real people and you study them in a very formal way and with a

01:43:11   real procedural aspect to it and you study AB test, all sorts of different things and

01:43:17   and measure response times and stuff like that.

01:43:21   And Apple, the modern Apple that they're comparing to,

01:43:28   it's not quite, I wouldn't call it cowboy,

01:43:30   but it is definitely not academic.

01:43:32   It is a lot more of a liberal arts style approach to design.

01:43:37   And that to me, there are differences

01:43:40   and there's definitely some things,

01:43:42   I think you could, there's on this general subject,

01:43:47   a book could be written, a wonderful, thoughtful book

01:43:51   that would be worth referring to for decades to come

01:43:55   by talking about the differences between the old Apple

01:44:00   that was more academic in its approach

01:44:02   to user interface design and the new Apple, which is not.

01:44:06   And this article is not it.

01:44:09   This article is definitely more old man yells at the cloud.

01:44:15   And it really just broke my heart.

01:44:18   - I remember, so I started at Mac User

01:44:20   as an intern in the summer of '93.

01:44:23   So it was like right when the Newton came out

01:44:24   and it was in the Scully era.

01:44:26   And then I got to work there through the sort of darker,

01:44:30   even darker times and they got darker still

01:44:32   and then jobs came back.

01:44:33   And these guys are both representatives

01:44:35   of that kind of like first half of Apple's existence.

01:44:38   And you're right.

01:44:39   You know, I don't know how much you had,

01:44:42   if any interaction with Apple at that time,

01:44:43   I was just a super junior editor.

01:44:45   So I didn't have a lot of it, but that Apple was so unlike the Apple that Steve Jobs

01:44:49   fashioned when he came back because it was like super, they had pie in the sky R and

01:44:54   D. They were super academic focused.

01:44:57   And the problem was that they spent a whole lot of money and they had a hard time shipping

01:45:02   products.

01:45:03   And I'm not saying that these guys aren't brilliant and that they don't make some

01:45:08   good points, but it was a different company then.

01:45:12   And the results of—when Steve Jobs came back and said, "We're not going to be

01:45:19   like that anymore.

01:45:20   We're going to be like this," they started to ship some really great products.

01:45:23   Now, were they compromised in ways that perhaps some of the earlier Apple products weren't?

01:45:28   Maybe, but those early Apple products were compromised in all sorts of other ways.

01:45:31   So the academic Apple, I would say, as much as I appreciate it conceptually, I got to

01:45:40   live through the latter days of it, and it was bad. I mean, they did a bad job with products,

01:45:46   and they might have been thinking about it really hard, but the actual company was falling

01:45:50   apart and the products were bad. And I don't know, Tog was long gone, I think, by then,

01:45:54   but I don't know. This article, yeah, there's some old manuals at cloud in here where it's

01:46:00   like why is nobody listening to us and why are all the touchscreen interfaces bad, and

01:46:03   I don't agree that they're bad. There's some valid criticism in there. They pick on some

01:46:08   very specific things that are very obviously problematic in the way Apple's products

01:46:15   are designed, I think, and totally valid. And then there's this third thing at work

01:46:20   and that's what I can't tell, whether it's how much of it is Fast Company and how much

01:46:23   of it is the writers, which is what's the news peg for this? How do we make this relevant?

01:46:28   And the answer is to sort of play up that Apple has suddenly gotten to this point and,

01:46:32   you know, these aren't the guys who cried wolf. This is an alert about what's going

01:46:38   on at Apple right now. And the fact is these are the guys who cried wolf. These guys have

01:46:41   been complaining about Apple design for years.

01:46:43   Yeah, and there's aspects of it though, of their criticism that to me are just wrong.

01:46:48   Like they're complaining about that on like the iPhone and I guess iPad, but like on iOS

01:46:53   that the fonts are too thin to read. And I think that was true of the iOS 7 public beta,

01:47:02   or I guess it wasn't a public beta, but like when iOS 7 was first shown two years ago at

01:47:06   and they were using the really lightweight version,

01:47:10   the weight of Helvetica Neue throughout the UI,

01:47:14   including it was like the default font

01:47:15   for the body of an email.

01:47:18   I would totally agree.

01:47:19   I think that that was too thin,

01:47:20   but they changed that before it even shipped.

01:47:23   - Yeah, that was two years ago.

01:47:24   - The fonts are not too thin,

01:47:26   and they kept saying that the contrast is too low.

01:47:29   Almost all the text I read on my phone

01:47:31   is black text on a white background,

01:47:33   or even in like messages

01:47:35   where you've got these colored backgrounds.

01:47:36   I don't think it's a lack of contrast.

01:47:38   And I think that the font size choice

01:47:43   for system-wide control of the font thing

01:47:48   is really great in iOS.

01:47:50   I think that they're totally,

01:47:52   I think that what they're saying is a problem

01:47:56   is actually one of the things that iOS does great,

01:47:58   I think, and especially with the switch to San Francisco,

01:48:02   I think text has done nothing but get more readable onscreen.

01:48:06   And I say that as somebody with less than perfect vision

01:48:09   at this point.

01:48:10   - I think, and some of what they're picking up on

01:48:12   is some technical issues, which again,

01:48:15   makes it feel a little more dated,

01:48:16   which is some apps haven't really adopted the text size,

01:48:21   the system-wide text size format, like Google's apps.

01:48:24   Last time I checked, didn't do it, right?

01:48:26   And so my mom was using the Gmail app,

01:48:30   and she's got an iPhone 6 now, so it's scaled up

01:48:33   and it's bigger and she can read it better,

01:48:35   but she wanted to scale up the font,

01:48:38   but she uses the Gmail app and it doesn't scale up.

01:48:41   And that's a technical issue where app developers

01:48:44   aren't adopting it, but the idea that you can set

01:48:46   a system-wide text size if you want it bigger or smaller

01:48:49   is not a bad one.

01:48:51   - Slack doesn't do it, which bothers me.

01:48:54   Slack's default font size is actually beneath

01:48:56   the threshold of what I can comfortably read

01:48:59   and they don't follow the system-wide setting.

01:49:01   And I don't wanna change my system-wide setting for Slack

01:49:03   because I like the default system-wide setting

01:49:05   for the system font,

01:49:07   but I feel like if you're gonna go with a custom font,

01:49:10   which Slack has, then you need custom font size.

01:49:13   But anyway, I really doubt that Norman and Tog

01:49:16   are talking about Slack.

01:49:18   - No, my big problem with, I think,

01:49:20   the premise of the article that Apple is destroying design

01:49:22   is that in the end, it's so reductive.

01:49:24   What they're basically saying is,

01:49:26   look, there are two ways to do design,

01:49:28   And one is you start in the user and you think about usability and you build a design from

01:49:33   it.

01:49:34   And the other way is you just care about how it looks and you don't care about it.

01:49:36   And Apple's doing that and we think you should do this.

01:49:38   It's like, I think it's really unfair to say that Apple's doing that.

01:49:42   I think Apple, I think the fact that Google and Microsoft are also doing it to a degree

01:49:46   suggests that they're all struggling with how you do touch interfaces and create discoverability.

01:49:51   I think, you know, I don't think Apple's like, "As long as it looks pretty, the usability

01:49:54   doesn't matter."

01:49:55   I think it's a way more complicated story than that.

01:49:57   I do think it's true that, you know, Johnny Ive has a huge amount of weight, and he is

01:50:00   a very visual designer, and so there perhaps is too much of an emphasis on that in a lot

01:50:05   of the decisions Apple makes, and that he might need a counterbalance of some sort that

01:50:10   isn't there, but not to the extremes that this article seems to take it, where it's

01:50:15   the destruction of design, and it's all about style over function, and I just don't, you

01:50:19   know, I don't agree.

01:50:20   they argue in favor of the Android system-wide back button.

01:50:25   - Yeah, which if you've used it,

01:50:28   I haven't used it in a while.

01:50:32   I do have a new Android phone here

01:50:33   that I've been trying just to try to stay up on it.

01:50:36   But my history with the Android back button was infuriating

01:50:40   because you never knew where it would take you.

01:50:42   The previous app, the previous function in this app.

01:50:45   - Or back to the home screen, right?

01:50:47   - Back to the home screen.

01:50:48   - Right, back to the home screen.

01:50:49   - Oh, I thought I was going back to a different pitch.

01:50:51   It's really bad.

01:50:52   And they don't mention that iOS has added,

01:50:56   I think, a very clever system-wide feature in iOS 9,

01:51:00   which effectively gives you that.

01:51:02   It gives you that cross application back

01:51:04   so that when you're in mail and you tap a link

01:51:06   and you go to Safari and you just wanna go back

01:51:08   to where you were, which is a real problem,

01:51:10   and iOS wasn't great at, but now actually

01:51:13   is really pretty good at, because it both gives you

01:51:18   just tap here to go back to where you were.

01:51:21   But way better than Android.

01:51:22   It tells you where it's going to take you

01:51:24   'cause it goes back to mail.

01:51:27   And the whole thing that drives me nuts about it.

01:51:30   - It sacrifices some beauty for discoverability, right?

01:51:33   Which is exactly what they say that Apple's not doing.

01:51:35   - Now they do make some good points.

01:51:36   And I feel like they could've written a whole article about,

01:51:40   but it would've, the old style would've been

01:51:42   to also propose a solution.

01:51:44   But they do point out that undo is better on the Mac

01:51:49   than on iOS because on the Mac,

01:51:52   pretty much everything you can do,

01:51:53   you can just go Command + Z and a whole lot of things

01:51:56   that you might want to undo, you can undo.

01:52:00   And iOS undo is literally like a joke.

01:52:04   Like they didn't know what to do.

01:52:06   They knew they didn't have it.

01:52:07   And an engineer at Apple, like as a joke,

01:52:11   said, "Well, we could just make it

01:52:12   so that you shake the phone and undo it.

01:52:14   And Scott Forstall was like, "Great, that's it, do it."

01:52:17   And they were like, "No, no, that's not really it."

01:52:21   And he was like, "No, let's do it."

01:52:23   - Actually, in text, starting with iOS 8,

01:52:25   the undo is better because the smart bar

01:52:29   or whatever they call it, the quick bar,

01:52:31   has an undo icon on it.

01:52:33   So if you're in text, you can at least undo it.

01:52:35   And there are undo buttons in other places,

01:52:37   but it's not system-wide unless you're using a keyboard,

01:52:40   in which case you can usually Command + Z now.

01:52:42   and undo. But yeah, the bumping the phone thing was always,

01:52:46   there's nothing worse than you're out in the world and you see somebody like

01:52:48   shaking their phone like a

01:52:50   tambourine and it's because they need to try and get that thing back that they

01:52:53   just

01:52:54   undid by mistake. So it's an interesting,

01:52:57   there's an interesting argument to be made there that, you know, given the

01:53:00   the idea, the basic gist of the iOS interface,

01:53:05   how do you implement undo? It's a heck of a puzzle and Apple clearly hasn't

01:53:09   solved it yet and I don't know what the answer is.

01:53:12   But on the other hand, I really don't think

01:53:13   that it's a real world problem that's set iOS back.

01:53:18   Like, what I see in the real world,

01:53:21   and again, I just feel like these guys have missed it,

01:53:24   is I see real people who are doing more stuff

01:53:28   with either the iPhone, or even if it's like Android,

01:53:31   which clearly follows the iPhone's fundamental idea

01:53:35   of what the design is like,

01:53:37   that they're doing more than they ever did

01:53:40   on their old computers.

01:53:41   because it actually is a better design for most people.

01:53:46   - Right, because of the amount of complexity

01:53:49   that's been packed into that screen,

01:53:50   it's actually kind of a harder challenge,

01:53:52   and people feel really comfortable using their phones.

01:53:55   - Yeah.

01:53:56   I have one last sponsor to thank,

01:53:58   and it's our good friends at Harry's.

01:54:02   You guys know Harry's.

01:54:03   Harry's makes high-quality shaving

01:54:07   and personal grooming products.

01:54:11   They just sent me, I just got a new thing.

01:54:13   They have a facial wash.

01:54:14   So now I've got a fancy,

01:54:16   fancy facial wash that I can take with me in the shower.

01:54:20   Great products like that.

01:54:21   You guys have heard of them before.

01:54:23   They've sponsored the show many times.

01:54:26   But what they want me to tell you about right now

01:54:27   and remind you while it's still fresh

01:54:30   is that they are the official partner

01:54:33   of the Movember Foundation.

01:54:36   And they are donating money

01:54:38   and helping to raise awareness for men's health.

01:54:40   Movember is a thing where what you do is you grow a mustache for the month of November.

01:54:48   And then when people ask you, "Hey, are you growing a mustache?"

01:54:51   Then you tell them, "I'm doing it for Movember."

01:54:53   It's a thing where we raise awareness for men's health issues.

01:54:57   It's like a gimmick.

01:54:59   You could do it while you're writing your national novel writing month thing.

01:55:03   That's right.

01:55:04   Simultaneously.

01:55:05   Yeah.

01:55:06   Grow a mustache.

01:55:07   Write a novel.

01:55:08   Well, Harry's is a big partner in this.

01:55:09   do all sorts of good stuff and they're raising money for this. And to top it off, the fact

01:55:16   that they're raising money for a great cause. They make great products and it's super, super

01:55:21   convenient where you can just get into the Harry's products and then you just never have

01:55:27   to go buy shaving stuff again. You just sign up for it. You find out how frequently you

01:55:32   need new blades and they just ship them to you. Really high quality stuff, great blades.

01:55:38   They own their own factory over in Germany.

01:55:40   Great handle, great, they're shaving creams

01:55:43   and lotions and stuff, everything I've ever tried from them

01:55:45   I really like.

01:55:47   Amazing packaging, really cool stuff.

01:55:49   And their website is super easy to use.

01:55:53   My dad, it was not really that good with computers.

01:55:57   My dad saw that they are always sponsoring my stuff.

01:56:00   He needs to shave, he signed up for it.

01:56:02   He actually navigated the website and bought it

01:56:04   and he called me to tell me how proud he was of it.

01:56:08   Super, super easy.

01:56:09   They say you can get started in 30 seconds or less.

01:56:11   I believe it.

01:56:12   It's that easy.

01:56:13   You just sort of go there, pick what you want,

01:56:14   you enter your name, your credit card, your address.

01:56:18   Most of that stuff for most of you probably auto-fills.

01:56:20   And then boom, next thing you know,

01:56:21   two days, two, three days later,

01:56:23   you got a nice little Harry's kit in the mail.

01:56:25   Also makes a great gift.

01:56:27   So if you wanna get somebody else in your family

01:56:29   a little starter kit from Harry's for the holidays,

01:56:33   now's the time to order.

01:56:34   Here's the thing.

01:56:37   go there, go to harrys.com and enter the code "TALKSHOW". These guys don't have the "the",

01:56:43   it's just "TALKSHOW". And they will give you five bucks off your first order. So you could

01:56:49   get started with that code "TALKSHOW", you could get the starter kit for just ten bucks.

01:56:55   That's a razor, a couple of blades, some shaving cream, great deal. So my thanks to Harry's.

01:57:00   go to harrys.com/talkshow.

01:57:04   You've got the membership thing going at six colors.

01:57:07   - That was what I was gonna mention, so yeah.

01:57:10   Yeah, I did it.

01:57:11   I spent like a year fussing about whether I wanted to do it,

01:57:15   and the implementation actually took like an hour.

01:57:19   So after a year of saying, "Do I wanna do this?

01:57:21   "Do I wanna do this?"

01:57:22   I did it in an hour.

01:57:23   - So how did you, how does that work?

01:57:25   How did you, 'cause I, it's funny,

01:57:27   I did memberships for Daring Fireball a long time ago.

01:57:31   - Yeah, I've got the card.

01:57:32   - And it, really the only thing anybody ever got out of it

01:57:36   was a card, and I kind of moved away from it,

01:57:39   and it's, well not kind of, I totally moved away from it,

01:57:42   but I spent an awful lot of time implementing it,

01:57:47   and I didn't have any features.

01:57:49   I think it's just me stubbornly trying to build everything

01:57:52   for Daring Fireball myself.

01:57:54   So what are the mechanics behind it at Six Colors?

01:57:58   So yeah, so I mean, technically, fortunately, there is a company that has integration with

01:58:06   Stripe, which does credit card processing, called Memberful. And Ben Thompson uses them

01:58:12   for Stratechery. Federico uses them for Mac stories. And I had been looking at them since

01:58:18   sort of mid-year for Six Colors. And they're very easy to work with. You pay them a monthly

01:58:23   fee and they take a percentage of the credit card transaction, which includes the percentage

01:58:27   that's going to Stripe. And they, and you drop some, they've got a WordPress integration,

01:58:34   but of course like you, I am using movable type, which has no integration, but there's

01:58:37   a JavaScript integration where you put some JavaScript in the header of the page and it

01:58:42   basically takes all the links to Memberful and turns them into little pop-ups. And I

01:58:47   actually got an email from somebody who said that it was the easiest e-commerce thing they'd

01:58:51   ever seen because they never left the page. You know, you click and a little box comes

01:58:56   up, the striped box comes up. And on the back end, Memberful does all the membership. What

01:59:01   they provide is the signup stuff and they keep track of the members and you can cancel

01:59:06   and renew and update your information and all of that using their servers. And then

01:59:11   they have integrations with other things, so there's the benefit. I mean, the primary

01:59:15   reason for it is to say, you know, you want to support me in what I'm doing. And the more

01:59:20   people who do that, the less freelance work I'll take.

01:59:23   There's some freelance work I really like to do

01:59:25   for various reasons, but there's a lot of it

01:59:26   that I, in the first year of being an independent person,

01:59:30   I've said yes to because it's very hard to turn down money

01:59:33   when you're starting out and you don't have a salary anymore.

01:59:36   And some of those yeses I would like to turn into noes

01:59:39   and instead spend that time writing more on six colors.

01:59:41   But, so that's the premise.

01:59:45   But I also didn't want it to be a purely

01:59:47   kind of karmic subscription,

01:59:49   where I didn't want to go out and say,

01:59:51   hey, give me money because you'll feel good

01:59:53   and you'll help me.

01:59:54   I wanted to at least give something back

01:59:55   'cause I felt like it was important

01:59:56   that there be something tangible as a part of it.

01:59:59   So, although I did think about the membership cards

02:00:03   like the one I've got for "Daring Fireball,"

02:00:05   what I decided was to do, I wanted to do a newsletter

02:00:08   and I was thinking about frequency

02:00:10   and do we want it to be weekly?

02:00:13   Sometimes that's a bit much for people.

02:00:15   Do I want it to be every other week?

02:00:18   And I decided for the start at least, I want it to be monthly and I'll try to make it a

02:00:21   little more substantial.

02:00:23   And at that point I'm doing a monthly release, I might as well call it like the Six Colors

02:00:27   Magazine.

02:00:28   And that's mostly because, you know, I used to work in a magazine, Dan Morin who writes

02:00:31   some stuff for the site, you know, he works, he worked at a magazine too.

02:00:36   It's not going to be like a super fancy magazine, magazine.

02:00:39   It's going to be a monthly, you know, a bunch of words and some pictures in a newsletter.

02:00:43   But that's what we're going to do monthly for the subscribers and maybe throw in some

02:00:46   extra stuff. So there'll be something that only people who pay can get, but the goal

02:00:51   is not to gate content on the site or anything like that. The goal is actually to use the

02:00:56   money from the people who are subscribers to generate a lot more stuff on the site for

02:01:01   everybody to see. So it's a combination of karma and getting something in return.

02:01:05   Dave: Right. And if there's a certain, you know, however, you're a fast typist, but there's

02:01:09   still a limit to how many words are going to come out of your fingertips in a month.

02:01:13   to get more of those more of that writing on sixcolors.net and less of it spreader spread about the

02:01:19   you know dot com places um six.com you can spell it with you could spell the colors with a u though

02:01:26   but it is a dot it is a dot com i was really hung up on getting a dot com for this one

02:01:30   but uh but yeah that's that is i i think i would say that's the number one feature of the six

02:01:35   color subscription is not the newsletter the the six colors magazine it's that uh the more

02:01:41   people subscribe the more I can do and honestly also the more I can pay Dan Morin to do and the

02:01:46   more stuff we will do on the site instead of taking an assignment for something that you know that is

02:01:52   not going to be on the site it might be on a site with you know a bunch of ads on it that you don't

02:01:56   want to see or on a subject that you don't really care about we you know we'd like to be able to do

02:02:01   less of that and more of six colors because you know it's like more of what you want to see.

02:02:05   Yeah, and I find, and I'm sure that you feel the same way, but it's, when I went full-time

02:02:11   with Daring Fireball, it wasn't just about getting the revenue up to the level where

02:02:15   I could call it a salary. It mattered to me that it was coming from multiple sources. Like,

02:02:24   I wanted it to be a stool with three or four legs. And sure, maybe one of the legs would

02:02:29   get bigger over time. Like I get more money from say the weekly RSS sponsorships than the deck or

02:02:37   whatever. But that and maybe five years from now that would change though and maybe if you know

02:02:43   the demand for the RSS sponsorships waned maybe the deck would get more popular or whatever. But

02:02:49   I've just felt much better when I had four or five things that were all contributing to wow that's I

02:02:57   I can actually say I do this full time,

02:02:59   than if it was all coming from one source.

02:03:03   Because that just made me very nervous

02:03:04   because what happens, you know,

02:03:06   as we've seen, the industry changes.

02:03:10   And things that used to be popular aren't popular forever.

02:03:13   And direct support from users is one that I feel like,

02:03:17   if it works, boy, that's one that should stay consistent

02:03:22   as long as I keep doing good work.

02:03:24   - Right, and diversifying is definitely a part of it.

02:03:28   I did hear from a bunch of people when I launched the site

02:03:30   who said, "I wanna support you

02:03:31   "and I'm not gonna sponsor your website

02:03:33   "'cause I have nothing to sponsor."

02:03:34   And right now that seems to be the only way

02:03:36   that you're being supported.

02:03:37   Basically, they're saying, "You're ad-supported,

02:03:39   "why don't you also be reader-supported?"

02:03:41   And that was definitely a motivator to make this happen,

02:03:43   is it wasn't just my scheme of like,

02:03:45   "Oh, they will pay me money, ha ha."

02:03:47   It was people saying, "I will pay you money.

02:03:50   "Let me pay you money for what you do."

02:03:52   And so that was part of the plan,

02:03:54   but you're right, it's also about diversity.

02:03:55   I saw that during the recession that, you know, at IDG,

02:04:00   the, you know, a company that is largely run by salespeople,

02:04:04   that there's that moment when the sales go off the cliff,

02:04:06   where suddenly the fact that you've got these

02:04:09   hundreds of thousands of paying subscribers

02:04:11   became a much greater asset than they had ever appreciated,

02:04:15   because those people were still there,

02:04:17   and they were still paying,

02:04:18   even though all of your clients

02:04:20   that you used to sell ads to have vanished,

02:04:22   because they're afraid of the recession.

02:04:24   And that lesson stuck with me,

02:04:27   that being diversified is not a bad thing.

02:04:29   And when I left Macworld, that was always part of my plan

02:04:32   was to have like some money coming in.

02:04:34   So the incomparable has sponsorships.

02:04:36   So there's some money coming in from that.

02:04:38   And I wanted to do tech podcasting.

02:04:39   So I do a couple of things at Relay

02:04:42   and there's money coming in from that.

02:04:43   And Six Colors, I figured, okay,

02:04:45   if I can do a weekly sponsor,

02:04:47   like you do on Daring Fireball,

02:04:48   that there would be some money coming in from that.

02:04:50   And then that was my plan

02:04:52   was sort of like the three pronged attack.

02:04:53   And in reality, I picked up some freelance writing work,

02:04:57   which I hadn't planned.

02:04:58   And then there was this thing kind of floating out there

02:05:02   about the reader support.

02:05:04   So that makes it that much more diverse

02:05:07   and also gives me the freedom, like I said,

02:05:10   of making some decisions of saying no.

02:05:11   'Cause the first year in, I felt like it was very hard

02:05:14   for me to say no to anything because it's like,

02:05:16   you know, you don't have a job

02:05:17   and these people will pay you money to write an article

02:05:19   and you could write that article.

02:05:21   "So why don't you go ahead and write that article?"

02:05:23   And at some point you need to be able to say,

02:05:24   "I did this with you with Macworld, right?

02:05:26   "Where I finally, one of these days I came to you

02:05:27   "and I said, 'You wanna write a back page column?'

02:05:29   "And you're like, 'Yeah, I don't need to do that anymore.'"

02:05:32   - Yeah.

02:05:33   But it was a huge deal to me when it happened though.

02:05:35   I mean, it did come about at a time when I was,

02:05:40   Daring Fireball, I mean, it's a lot more successful now

02:05:45   than it used to be, but there was never any point

02:05:47   where it was like, "Wow," all of a sudden,

02:05:49   it's successful.

02:05:50   It's just been like a slow, steady increase.

02:05:52   And 10 years ago,

02:05:55   getting to write a back page column for Macworld,

02:05:58   maybe once a year or so,

02:06:00   actually was like, yeah, like we need that money.

02:06:04   That was good. - I remember very clearly,

02:06:06   you wrote a how-to article for me about BB Edit.

02:06:10   And you were doing Daring Fireball at the time,

02:06:12   but you wrote this article.

02:06:13   It was like a two page, three page how-to article.

02:06:15   And I remember later you said to me,

02:06:18   I think I might have made more money from that article than I made from Daring Fireball.

02:06:21   That was really, really early on. And the freelance rates at Macworld were really good back then.

02:06:27   Yeah, they were.

02:06:28   Still, I mean, that was in the early days. And then over time, you made more money from

02:06:33   Daring Fireball. And there comes that point where you say, "You know what? I need to say no to

02:06:39   things, and I need to focus on the thing I want to do. And I have the ability to do that now because

02:06:44   of the money that it's bringing in. And ultimately, I said this in my post about the Six Colors

02:06:50   membership thing, is ultimately what I would love to do is do Six Colors and some podcasts

02:06:56   as my job. That would be like the perfect thing. And I'm not at that point yet, but

02:07:03   I would love to be able to get there. And the membership thing helps me move toward

02:07:08   that.

02:07:09   Yeah. So how's the reaction been so far?

02:07:13   It's been good, I had a little number in my head

02:07:15   of how many people I hoped would be done,

02:07:19   you know, would sign up after the first sort of week.

02:07:21   And it's within like, it got within about 15 of that

02:07:26   after the first week, which I was really happy about

02:07:28   because I thought that was just the beginning

02:07:30   and I, you know, I haven't even mentioned it

02:07:33   very many places other than on Twitter and on the site.

02:07:37   So, you know, there are more people

02:07:39   who will hear about it over time

02:07:40   and so I hope that that number will grow.

02:07:42   So I'm pretty happy with that initial week one number.

02:07:45   I think that's pretty good.

02:07:47   I'm surprised the percentage of people

02:07:49   who choose the annual and just pay for a year upfront

02:07:52   is much larger than I thought.

02:07:54   It's about three quarters.

02:07:55   - Yeah, that's what I did.

02:07:56   - And that's beautiful because that's people who say,

02:07:58   look, I'm not gonna try it out for a month.

02:08:00   I'm in for the year.

02:08:02   I think that's really great.

02:08:04   So it's been going pretty well

02:08:05   and Memberful has made it really easy.

02:08:07   So they're not paying me to say this.

02:08:08   In fact, I'm paying them,

02:08:09   but that's made it a lot easier too,

02:08:11   to not have to deal with a lot of the stuff

02:08:14   that I was afraid of about dealing with money.

02:08:18   And I've only heard from two people who said

02:08:20   what I expected, which was,

02:08:22   "I paid $60 a year for Macworld,

02:08:25   or $50 a year for Macworld,

02:08:26   why am I paying $60 a year for six colors?"

02:08:28   And the answer is,

02:08:30   "Well, you're doing this to support me, number one.

02:08:32   And number two, Macworld was able to have

02:08:34   hundreds of thousands of people pay them,

02:08:36   and I'm not gonna have..."

02:08:38   Tell you what, if I have hundreds of thousands of people paying me for a six-color subscription,

02:08:43   I'll cut the price.

02:08:47   I guess I never...

02:08:49   I only got two of those, though, so it's okay.

02:08:51   My reaction is to laugh, and then I want to stop laughing because I want to say I never

02:08:56   want to tell other people what to do with their money.

02:08:59   I agree.

02:09:00   It's a very personal thing, and if that's really how you feel, okay.

02:09:05   I do feel like there's a teaching moment there about the scale of something like Six

02:09:10   Colors or Daring Fireball.

02:09:12   I replied to both of those people.

02:09:14   I replied to both of those people and I had somebody tell me, "Oh, you shouldn't."

02:09:17   Don't reply to those people and say, "No."

02:09:19   I think it's a teachable moment to say, "Look, this is mostly about supporting me.

02:09:25   I'm not ad-supported at the level of something like a Mac world, but 100% of it is going

02:09:32   And you know, we don't have a lot of corporate overstructure here.

02:09:36   And you know, you should do it because you want more stuff on this site that you like.

02:09:40   And if that makes you feel good and you want to get some benefits out of it too, then you

02:09:43   should do it.

02:09:44   And if you don't want to do it, that's fine.

02:09:46   The site's still free.

02:09:48   I'm not making you feel bad about it.

02:09:49   I'm not trying to guilt people into giving me money.

02:09:53   Please continue to read the site.

02:09:54   The RSS feed is free.

02:09:55   The website is free.

02:09:57   Keep reading the site, right?

02:09:58   And both people responded quite positively,

02:10:00   and one of them actually said, "I'll pay."

02:10:02   So, you know, that's not bad, batting .500 there.

02:10:06   - It makes a lot of sense.

02:10:07   It warms my heart and makes me feel good

02:10:09   about the state of humanity.

02:10:11   - Yeah, yeah, I agree.

02:10:13   - Well, I knew you were talking about it,

02:10:16   and I'm the master of having ideas

02:10:20   to do things like with the site

02:10:22   or to start a new site or something,

02:10:24   and then years go by, and yeah,

02:10:26   I'm still thinking about it.

02:10:27   So, I knew you were thinking about this from a while ago when you first struck out on your

02:10:32   own, but I think hitting it right around the one-year anniversary somehow felt right.

02:10:39   Yeah, yeah. Anyway, I'm glad that in the end it's a bonus feature that I got a little more

02:10:45   of a track record to do it, even though I was just hopelessly procrastinating. It's

02:10:52   hard to ask for money from people. It really is. And you don't know whether they're going

02:10:57   and they're judging you at that point.

02:10:59   So that makes it a little harder.

02:11:00   And I got better over the first year

02:11:03   at asking sponsors for money,

02:11:05   but asking the audience, asking the readers for money

02:11:09   is just, this is why I'm not in ad sales.

02:11:11   And so I think ultimately that's why it took me a year

02:11:14   to actually do it is that I just,

02:11:17   every time I thought about it, I'm like,

02:11:18   oh man, I don't really wanna do that.

02:11:20   And I would just put it off.

02:11:21   So finally I got kind of spurred into it

02:11:24   and given a deadline and by some friends.

02:11:28   And I was like, all right, okay,

02:11:29   I gotta make it happen in November, so let's do it.

02:11:32   So I did it.

02:11:33   - Yeah, well, I'm glad you did.

02:11:35   And anybody out there who's thinking about it,

02:11:37   go check out sixcolors.com

02:11:39   and you can see how to become a subscriber yourself.

02:11:42   Jason, I thank you for your time.

02:11:46   It was a good episode.

02:11:48   Anything else you want to promote?

02:11:50   - I appreciate it. - I wanna mention

02:11:51   some of these other podcasts you're on.

02:11:52   I'm counting right here. I was going to make 40.

02:11:59   It's too many. I'm not sure I can count that. I'm on four weekly podcasts and then others

02:12:09   that kind of come and go with the wind. But Upgrade and Clockwise on Relay and The Incomparable,

02:12:17   Those are the big three.

02:12:19   And yeah, you know that new Star Wars movie is coming out.

02:12:23   Maybe I need to talk to you about that sometime.

02:12:27   That might be a good thing to do.

02:12:28   - I wonder, you know, if some people have mentioned that.

02:12:29   - Or is that gonna be the holiday spectacular this year

02:12:30   for the talk show?

02:12:31   - And it seems like it would be a good thing.

02:12:32   - It was like eight hours about Star Wars.

02:12:33   - The idea is we did a holiday spectacular last year.

02:12:35   We're in that nether zone where there's no news happening

02:12:39   around the holidays.

02:12:40   We just talked about Star Wars.

02:12:42   And now we're gonna have a new Star Wars movie.

02:12:43   But I wonder, is it fair to do it right when it's new

02:12:47   and assume that everybody's gone to see it in theaters?

02:12:49   I almost feel like with this one, it is fair.

02:12:51   Like, come on, who's not gonna go see this in theaters?

02:12:54   - I think so. - Yeah.

02:13:01   - Well, if it's that another week,

02:13:02   that's gonna be like a week and a half after it came out,

02:13:05   two weeks after it came out.

02:13:06   That's plenty of time.

02:13:07   For the people who care,

02:13:08   and the people who don't care should just not listen.

02:13:10   Or they could listen and they don't care.

02:13:12   Either way, right?

02:13:13   I doubt there were gonna be people

02:13:15   who want to listen to many hours--

02:13:16   - Right, and the other thing too is that podcasts,

02:13:19   well, I guess some-- - Two weeks later.

02:13:21   It seems like that's a really small--

02:13:22   - No, because I was gonna say it's pretty easy

02:13:24   to avoid spoilers on a podcast,

02:13:26   because even if you're using a podcast player

02:13:28   that plays, auto-plays the next episode,

02:13:30   once you realize that we're talking about Star Wars,

02:13:32   it's pretty easy to pause it and wait until you go see it.

02:13:35   So let's file it under probably,

02:13:37   that we will talk about The Force Awakens.

02:13:40   - Yeah.

02:13:41   - I thought you were gonna do a Yoda there.

02:13:44   (laughing)

02:13:46   [laughter]

02:13:47   Alright, I will not...

02:13:49   Spoil...

02:13:50   Spoil, podcast, do not!

02:13:54   (laughs)