The Talk Show

33: Apple`s Actual Problems


00:00:00   I mean, honestly, passing out a drag watching Mad Men is probably not a good habit to get into.

00:00:05   It's a terrible hobby. What are your hobbies?

00:00:11   Getting drunk and watching Mad Men.

00:00:13   You know what, though? I don't know what made you think of that episode, but it's funny.

00:00:19   It's probably true that we could just jump into any episode from any season,

00:00:24   but that one in particular was...

00:00:26   I think that's one of my favorites. It really sort of hits the nail on the head.

00:00:31   You know what? It's because we were talking about this Apple stuff and people leaving.

00:00:40   All right. Oh, maybe. Yeah, we'll tie it in. We'll tie it in when we get there.

00:00:44   Yeah. I was supposed to do this at the beginning and I let this run. But I'll just pretend this is

00:00:49   the beginning. I just wanted to say, I wanted to tell everybody out there that today's show is

00:00:54   sponsored by audible.com, a leading provider of spoken audio information and entertainment.

00:01:02   Listen to audio books whenever and wherever you want. And I'll tell you more about them

00:01:06   in a little bit. Are you sick of that? I'm so sick of this watch stuff.

00:01:10   Yeah. Yeah. Oh my God, this watch stuff to me is it's there's like 10 different threads

00:01:17   about Apple that I'm sort of following and almost all of them don't bore me, but they

00:01:22   aggravate me. And the watch thing like is epitomizes it.

00:01:26   I feel the same way. I don't think I would ever wear one.

00:01:29   I just think it's got to be wrong. It's like

00:01:33   I don't know. And people some people write to me like on twitter like once a

00:01:36   day I get a thing that says like I take your silence

00:01:38   on this watch thing as confirmation that they're that it's

00:01:42   a big deal and imminent. You know like somehow I'm so cued in

00:01:45   that I know all about it but I can't say anything about it. And no it's like the

00:01:49   reason I'm mostly almost completely silent on it is I

00:01:51   I just really don't care.

00:01:53   - Yeah, I'm kind of the same way.

00:01:55   Watches to me are basically jewelry.

00:01:58   Like I like watches, I really like good watches.

00:02:01   And I don't think I would have a use for,

00:02:04   I mean we don't know what it does,

00:02:05   but I don't need a gizmo strapped to my wrist

00:02:07   when I've got the phone in my pocket.

00:02:09   - Right, and somebody had a thing yesterday

00:02:11   that was one of the things about it

00:02:12   that I actually agree with,

00:02:13   which is what if the so-called watch

00:02:16   that Apple's supposedly working on

00:02:19   is just the next iPod Nano, right?

00:02:21   What if it's the iPod Nano comes with the thing,

00:02:25   then you can strap it to your wrist?

00:02:26   I don't know, I mean, that could be it.

00:02:28   It's like that's the thing that gets me,

00:02:30   not that I'm saying that Apple couldn't or shouldn't

00:02:33   work on a thing that you,

00:02:38   some kind of device that you strap to your wrist,

00:02:40   but just that why are people making it out

00:02:42   like it's a major deal, right?

00:02:43   Like it might make perfect sense

00:02:45   that Apple would make a thing that gets into this Fitbit,

00:02:50   the Nike fuel band type monitor your steps fitness type stuff

00:02:55   and maybe play music or something like that, too.

00:02:57   I don't know.

00:02:58   But why would anybody think it's a bigger deal than a new iPod?

00:03:02   Presumably, if they make it, it's

00:03:04   going to be something that sells for like $100, $200.

00:03:06   It's not going to be $1,000.

00:03:07   I don't think they're going to make $1,000 watches.

00:03:10   I hope not.

00:03:11   And it would probably, even if it's successful,

00:03:15   sell in the range of like the new, in terms of quantity,

00:03:17   the new iPod Nano. A nice little business, but this is not going to revolutionize the

00:03:24   company.

00:03:25   Yeah, I think that's a good way of looking at it. Maybe it's like the first iPod, a proper

00:03:31   iPod with iOS on it. That's interesting.

00:03:35   And so I've never heard of any idea. Number one, I still am utterly unconvinced that they're

00:03:39   actually doing it. And number two, even if they do, I don't think of all the things that

00:03:44   Apple's ever done and that they get, they release, and then immediately the tech

00:03:50   press crowd goes, "That's it? That's all?" Right? I can't think of anything that is

00:03:55   more obviously going to get that sort of response.

00:03:58   Right. Well, I think everybody wants Apple to introduce some new revolutionary product,

00:04:03   whether it's the TV or the watch or something. But I don't think anybody's really considering

00:04:08   what it actually could be. And it's not going to have a cell radio on it. You're not going

00:04:12   going to do the Dick Tracy stuff. At best it will be like an accessory for your phone.

00:04:18   Which just isn't that exciting.

00:04:20   Yeah, and I still can't get past the whole idea if it's really a watch. And that's what

00:04:26   everybody seems to be talking about. And again, one of the things that gets me so frustrated

00:04:29   is that people, it seems like nobody even has any reading comprehension anymore. Yesterday,

00:04:34   we're recording this on Tuesday the 5th of March. I don't know when the hell it's going

00:04:38   air. But on Monday, the 4th of March, Bloomberg published a story about the, a second story

00:04:45   about the watch that actually had literally had no new information in it whatsoever, except

00:04:51   that they sort of made it seem like it did, but they were really only citing the same

00:04:56   source from a month ago that they published a thing a month ago that Apple might be working

00:05:02   on some kind of watch type thing. And the story yesterday had no new information. All

00:05:07   All it really had that was new was comments from analysts about what it could mean, that

00:05:12   it could be a $6 billion business a year for Apple. But everybody jumped on it like they're

00:05:19   reiterating, like they've got more sources confirming that Apple's making a watch, which

00:05:23   if you read the article carefully, they did not. They said a month ago, as sources said

00:05:27   a month ago.

00:05:28   Yeah, it's just some weird feedback loop thing. How the hell do you estimate the size of an

00:05:34   industry when you don't even know what the device is?

00:05:36   It boggles my mind.

00:05:40   I think the way that they did it was that they talked that watches are $60 billion a

00:05:46   year spent worldwide on watches and that if Apple could take 10% of the market, they'd

00:05:51   have $6 billion.

00:05:52   Oh, that's bullshit.

00:05:53   That's the…

00:05:54   So, you know, it's all about the way you define the word.

00:05:58   Market share is annoying just because market is so ambiguous.

00:06:02   You can define market to be anything.

00:06:04   I guarantee you $60 billion worth of watches sold. How many of them are like Rolexes or

00:06:08   Amigas?

00:06:09   Right. And yeah, and that's exactly it is that watches are actually almost a fascinating

00:06:16   industry to look at as a whole because they literally go from one end of the economic

00:06:21   scale to the other where you can, as far as I know, I'm pretty sure you could buy a working

00:06:29   quartz wristwatch for I'll bet five dollars.

00:06:33   Right? I bet it would cost more to ship it from Amazon than the watch itself

00:06:36   costs. I'm going to go look this up right now and see what like if I can get a

00:06:39   five dollar watch at Amazon. And and Rolex and Omega have healthy

00:06:43   hundred year old, hundred maybe even more than a hundred

00:06:47   year old businesses selling you know watches that start at

00:06:52   four or five thousand dollars and go up from there because

00:06:55   you know you can get them with diamonds and you know made out of platinum and

00:06:58   stuff like that. You can easily spend $25,000-$30,000 on a watch.

00:07:03   Right. Well, it's like super well-crafted, all hand-built, designed, and not to mention

00:07:10   their fashion accessories.

00:07:12   Here's a Casio men's analog watch. It's $999 at Amazon. It looks actually a pretty

00:07:19   nice-looking watch, actually. But anyway, literally, $5 up to $50,000.

00:07:27   That is not a market. You can't just say Apple's going to take 10% of that because it doesn't make any sense.

00:07:32   Right. And I can't help but think that a huge chunk of that $60 billion is actually spent on those high-end watches.

00:07:39   Right? Rolex and Omega must have a pretty good chunk of that.

00:07:43   I'd imagine so, yeah. Also, is it watches or does it include clocks and all sorts of other timepieces?

00:07:48   I honestly don't know. But it does seem like a stupid way to come up with a number and make it seem like news.

00:07:54   Six billion.

00:07:55   Well, you know, how many of those watches get sold to the military or other mass purchases,

00:07:59   you know?

00:08:00   It's just insane.

00:08:01   Like, the market isn't... that is not a market.

00:08:04   So there's no way that you can figure out six billion for the device.

00:08:07   You don't even know what it does.

00:08:09   Right.

00:08:10   Like, you know, Apple is going to make...

00:08:11   Apple is working on a new, very small piece of consumer electronics.

00:08:14   Like, that's not news.

00:08:16   What do you think Apple has done every single day for the last 30 years is work on new little

00:08:22   computer type things by some definition of little.

00:08:25   Well, you know, I do believe they've got something pretty far along because, you know,

00:08:30   a lot of people seem to be hearing a lot of rumors. I just have no idea what it is.

00:08:35   And it doesn't really interest me. Wearable computing in general doesn't interest me.

00:08:38   Well, I guess what I want to emphasize is not that I'm bored by the idea of an Apple Watch,

00:08:43   but I'm bored by just the sentence Apple is working on a watch. If there were some details about it,

00:08:48   it right if there was something specific that we knew about it well that would

00:08:52   get me interested but we don't nobody has any information at all except stupid

00:08:56   patent filings which never well not never but they you know your success

00:09:04   rated predicting right here from of what Apple is going to do from patent filings

00:09:07   is just incredibly small exactly it's zero because it's they patent everything

00:09:12   they do exactly what everybody else in the tech industry does is not patent

00:09:16   everything they're going to do but patent everything they think of that's patentable.

00:09:20   It's not whether we're going to do it, it's whether you can get a—if you can get a patent

00:09:23   for it, you file it. Just in case. Cover your ass. It's just like your finger on the trigger

00:09:29   of a machine gun and you just keep pulling it. Everything. Spray those patents all over

00:09:33   the wall.

00:09:34   Yeah, that's a visceral and probably accurate way to think about patents in general. Just

00:09:40   bullets flying everywhere.

00:09:42   unlike a typical episode of this show, which is meandering and pointless. No, that's not true.

00:09:51   But I actually did. I got you. Guy English is a guy. Welcome to the talk show. I guess I should

00:09:56   do that too if I'm going to do a sponsor. I tell people who the hell you are. Everybody,

00:10:00   sometimes people say, "You should tell me who the hell is on the show."

00:10:02   Because I guess a lot of people start listening without reading the text that says, "Special

00:10:10   guest, Guy English, joins John Gruber to talk about whatever. They don't read that. They just

00:10:15   hit play and then they don't know who's on the show. But I actually asked you to be on the show

00:10:20   because I have a very specific theme that I want to talk about this hour. And actually this watch

00:10:25   thing sort of touches on it, but it's this whole circle and the stuff I wrote last week about the

00:10:31   stupid articles, this Apple is doomed scenario type stuff that... Let me try to encapsulate

00:10:39   this and I think you'll agree but more or less that on the one hand we've got

00:10:44   all these people saying that Apple is doomed or they're in trouble or they're

00:10:48   they're heading for a fall they're tanking and it was all obvious it was

00:10:52   you know it was inevitable because the way Apple works is is just it's not

00:10:59   sustainable and it all depended on maybe some people you know some people argue

00:11:03   it all depended on Steve Jobs or you know Apple's too closed and or another

00:11:09   Another one too is that if you're only succeeding because of design, you're inevitably... people

00:11:15   are going to copy those designs once they're successful and the copies will be cheaper

00:11:18   and then you'll lose.

00:11:20   That sort of argument.

00:11:22   That's why Apple stock is going down and that's why...

00:11:24   I don't know, they're going out of business or something.

00:11:27   And that's nonsense and there's no real evidence for that.

00:11:30   Apple's actually got a really strong business.

00:11:33   And so it's easy to see that these arguments are nonsense if you really look at them critically.

00:11:39   But I think the worst thing that any of us who really care about the company as users

00:11:45   or just as people who appreciate the work that Apple has accomplished over the last

00:11:49   few decades, the worst thing we could do is look at these nonsense arguments that Apple

00:11:55   is in trouble and then console ourselves and think Apple doesn't face any actual, serious

00:12:02   problems.

00:12:03   And they do.

00:12:05   And that's what I would like to talk about.

00:12:09   What's actually facing Apple?

00:12:11   - Is that my cue to sort of chime in there?

00:12:16   I think there's two major big things.

00:12:19   I wrote a piece previously about this,

00:12:21   which is probably why you had me on.

00:12:23   And I had content management,

00:12:26   the fact that you have to juggle

00:12:27   all your iTunes subscriptions.

00:12:29   iTunes itself was an issue.

00:12:31   And the third one was talent retention.

00:12:33   I think basically the first two

00:12:35   can sort of collapse into one thing,

00:12:37   which is basically the technical debt that they sort of have to labor under.

00:12:42   They've got like the, you know, IOS is the oldest mobile operating system now.

00:12:48   And they've built a lot on top of it and the sort of infrastructure with iTunes and all that.

00:12:53   And I think that they're going to start running up against, you know, sort of the limits of where they've sort of put their tent poles as they built out everything.

00:13:06   Since I wrote that piece, iOS 6 came out, which makes you be able to stream TV from the cloud directly.

00:13:15   And I've released iTunes 11, which is the same core, but a different UI on it, and it's quite a bit better, I think.

00:13:24   Do you agree on that?

00:13:26   I do, and I was wondering what you think about that, now that it's sort of settled in and it's not new anymore.

00:13:31   not new anymore. I do think that iTunes 11 is an improvement interface-wise. I don't

00:13:36   know, though, that it goes far enough in terms of reducing the work you have to do through

00:13:43   it.

00:13:44   >> Yeah, I don't think it does either. And the reason for that is it's effectively like

00:13:47   a UI update, which you and Merlin talked about quite a lot, and that was a pretty good show.

00:13:54   But the fact of the matter is it's still the same code behind it. If you have a dialog,

00:13:59   you know if the preferences are up the whole app is blocked it's got a whole

00:14:03   bunch of modal dialogues all over the place right because it's a really old

00:14:07   code base you know tree dates no s-10 even I do think I think it's the last

00:14:13   app from Apple that has a modal preferences dialogue and I'm pretty sure

00:14:18   it's the only app I use that still has a modal preferences dialogue and for

00:14:22   anybody who doesn't know what that means in other words I think you just said but

00:14:25   But when you put the preferences open in iTunes, you can't use the other windows in the app

00:14:31   until you close that window.

00:14:34   And that's the way preferences windows on the Mac always used to be.

00:14:37   Everything was a modal dialogue.

00:14:38   And then slowly but surely, programmers updated their apps or all the old apps sort of faded

00:14:44   away and were replaced with new apps.

00:14:46   And the new way of doing it is to do it modelessly so that you can just leave the preferences

00:14:50   window open and switch windows.

00:14:54   I've still never heard a good explanation for why iTunes has modal dialog boxes for that.

00:14:59   Other than that, they started with it and never got around to rewriting that code.

00:15:04   Well, the thing is it's actually hard to do a modal dialog box these days.

00:15:07   You kind of have to go out of your way to block the whole app.

00:15:10   And the thing about those boxes, too, is that if you have AppleScript running,

00:15:14   and you've got one of iTunes' modal dialog boxes up, the AppleScript won't run.

00:15:19   So if iTunes has one of those dialogues saying "Check for your downloads" or something displayed,

00:15:27   and you are running an app that wants to add something to the iTunes library via AppleScript,

00:15:32   it won't run, it'll just fail. It's a chaotic mess.

00:15:38   I think the reason they keep it is because if you basically change the preferences and all of that kind of stuff

00:15:45   to be asynchronous with the rest of the UI, that is a lot of work and it probably will

00:15:48   expose a lot of bugs in weird little places that they don't want to shake out for the

00:15:53   sake of something that I think people like us notice, but I don't think that the general

00:15:59   iTunes user really cares about that much.

00:16:01   Right.

00:16:02   But you can just think of some comments.

00:16:05   It's easy to think of some scenarios where it would be a lot easier to keep it modal,

00:16:09   where like let's say with your device preferences, right, you can delete your backup for like

00:16:14   an iPhone that you no longer have in the preferences window. But if they did it

00:16:18   without, if they did it modelessly, you could open the preferences window, go to

00:16:24   a device, then switch to the other window, plug that device in and start a backup,

00:16:28   then go back to the preferences window and delete your phone's backup. You know,

00:16:32   it's, I don't know. You'd have to cover every single one of those edge cases.

00:16:38   Right. I mean, keeping it modal does keep it pretty simple for them.

00:16:41   But the bottom line, though, is that there's still like a thousand things you do in iTunes.

00:16:46   And if you really wanted to understand everything iTunes did, it really would require a book-length amount of knowledge.

00:16:54   Yeah, in fact, there's probably books out there covering exactly that.

00:16:58   It's way too big. And so much of that should be bust out and put into the operating system.

00:17:03   Or at least done some other way. Remember iSync?

00:17:07   Sure.

00:17:08   Brush Metal, your favorite?

00:17:10   Yeah, I think that was like the first one. That was the first metal app.

00:17:13   That one actually looked good, though. It did. It did look better.

00:17:17   Because it had that white content section. Right.

00:17:21   Like that, I think. A separate app for managing devices kind of makes more sense to me than sticking it all in iTunes.

00:17:28   I know why they stick it in iTunes. It's for the cross-platform stuff. But still, it's a hodgepodge.

00:17:34   So I think iTunes is eventually going to really start hurting Apple a lot more than it's

00:17:41   apparent right now.

00:17:42   Yeah, and they're still selling a lot of music.

00:17:45   Sometimes people see the future, and sometimes when you know that it's the future, it's

00:17:49   frustrating that it's not here yet.

00:17:51   I get emails sometimes from readers who are more or less expressing a sentiment along

00:17:55   the lines of, "Look, I've been using Spotify," or what's another one like Spotify?

00:18:00   RDO?

00:18:02   Yeah, RDO or and you know one of those streaming services and they're like, you know

00:18:08   How can Apple not have something like this already? They're doomed, you know

00:18:11   The the Apple way of managing my music is is so outdated blah blah blah

00:18:17   But and the truth is it's it's a lot simpler to do it the other way where you don't have to worry about where the audio

00:18:22   Is there's no file management

00:18:24   You just have the ability to place these songs and wherever you are. You can just play them

00:18:31   And yet, you know, the caching and etc is all taken care of behind the scenes.

00:18:36   And it does seem a lot more Apple-like to do it that way, right?

00:18:39   That's the way that, like, Apple, you know, the whole way that Apple, like, iOS approaches

00:18:44   an app's data is, okay, you don't have to worry about it anymore, it's just in the app.

00:18:49   And there's, you know, there's certain downsides to it, but on the whole, it's been a huge

00:18:52   win.

00:18:53   And I think it's, you know, it's why people, just regular, you know, Joe and Jane user

00:18:58   love their iPads because they don't have to worry about where the heck their stuff is.

00:19:02   It's just in the app. But yet Apple's the one who's not doing that with music.

00:19:06   Well, they kind of are. I mean, the iCloud

00:19:10   stuff kind of works pretty well. There's weird stuff.

00:19:14   So I watch a lot of TV on my iPad,

00:19:18   and you can stream. You can hit a button on the bottom

00:19:22   of the list of episodes in a TV show that says "Get more episodes

00:19:26   show the full season or something, and they'll have a little cloud icon next to the episode

00:19:31   for you to download. And you can hit that and it'll start downloading and you can start playing it right away.

00:19:36   But if there's not enough space on the device, it'll complain to you.

00:19:41   And then you'll have to go and delete a previous episode. And it's just a lot of weird juggling.

00:19:46   Yeah, overall they are definitely moving in that direction, but are they getting there fast enough, I guess is the question.

00:19:53   question. I don't know if they are. I think that there is a danger for Apple that they

00:20:00   can be out-simplified in terms of what you need to worry about in terms of this stuff.

00:20:06   I feel like, at least in the U.S., Amazon is probably the most likely to beat them on

00:20:15   that front.

00:20:16   Yeah, I agree.

00:20:17   Is Amazon – how good – you're up in Canada. How good is Amazon in Canada for –

00:20:21   Pretty awful. I don't even bother looking that much. I mean, you can buy a lot of stuff and they'll send it to you, but in terms of digital content, not great.

00:20:30   Apple and the rest of the world is way ahead on this stuff.

00:20:35   What about Netflix? Do you have the same Netflix content?

00:20:39   We don't. We don't. I wish I did. Netflix is sort of anemic, but not bad. For a while we were having Mad Men on it first, I think, before you guys had it.

00:20:49   We do have House of Cards and all that. It's not like they didn't intentionally shoot themselves in the foot.

00:20:55   Right, but that's because they own the rights to that. Because they own it, they can control it.

00:21:00   I'm sure that they want you guys to have everything. It's what they've negotiated from the studios.

00:21:05   Yeah, and that's another reason why I think Apple is kind of a little bit behind the eight ball in this kind of stuff.

00:21:10   I'm sure Apple wants to make it easy so that everybody can get everything wherever they want.

00:21:16   they want. But it's going to be a little bit harder. It seems like it would be harder for

00:21:21   them to negotiate with the studios now that they're established.

00:21:26   So the second thing that was on your piece, or like you've said, that really the first

00:21:31   two you can just sort of brush under it is content management and rights. But the second

00:21:35   one was talent retention. And I even pointed out a couple of weeks ago, I think on Twitter,

00:21:40   that if anything you probably should have listed that one first.

00:21:43   I almost disagreed with you by saying I kind of kept it for last.

00:21:47   But maybe last is best.

00:21:50   Well, I think that could have been a piece by itself, I think. Probably should have been.

00:21:54   But I think it's the... And you're the first person to say it explicitly.

00:21:59   And I continue to think so now, like a year later, that this truly is the single biggest problem that Apple faces.

00:22:09   And almost nobody is talking about it.

00:22:12   Well, I mean, so the impetus for my piece was a lot of people just sort of pick on people saying dumb stuff about Apple.

00:22:19   But there's not a lot of sort of prying apart exactly what's going on behind the scenes or what's going south.

00:22:27   Or at least the difficulties they're having. And I think the key difficulty is keeping people.

00:22:33   The team that made the first iPhone, that was 2005, 2006, they started working on that.

00:22:43   They've been at it for quite a while.

00:22:46   And they've already done their major life's work on that.

00:22:52   No matter how impressive iOS 7 is going to be, it's not going to be the first iPhone.

00:22:59   phone. So I think people are going to start looking for other opportunities, other things

00:23:05   to do, other interests that they have.

00:23:08   But I do think the heart of it, though, is this sort of inverse of the conventional wisdom,

00:23:15   which is that without this one guy, Steve Jobs, or say two guys, Steve Jobs and Scott

00:23:20   Forstall, that innovation can't come from Apple because they had all the good ideas.

00:23:24   I think the opposite. I think if there's going to be a problem coming up with big new things,

00:23:29   I think it's more likely a draining of really bright engineering and design talent at the rank-and-file level.

00:23:36   I agree, totally.

00:23:38   Right.

00:23:39   Well, maybe not your exact wording.

00:23:42   I don't think the problem will be coming up with great new things.

00:23:44   I think the problem will be executing them.

00:23:46   Right. I guess that is a good way.

00:23:48   That is absolutely a better way to put it.

00:23:50   The ideas will be there, but will the execution?

00:23:53   Yeah, I can see them having a really great, really ballsy idea and thinking,

00:23:56   "Well, we're Apple. We're going to nail this out of the park."

00:23:58   - Right, 'cause it's easy to say, to come up,

00:24:01   it's really easy to come up with a design

00:24:03   where the design involves something like,

00:24:05   and this list scrolls like butter.

00:24:08   - Right. - Right?

00:24:09   You say that, that's part of the design,

00:24:11   but you need someone to actually make it scroll like butter.

00:24:13   - Yep. - Right?

00:24:14   I mean, I'm sure that the design spec for Android

00:24:16   didn't say scrolling is gonna be real janky.

00:24:19   (laughing)

00:24:20   Right?

00:24:21   That wasn't part of the spec,

00:24:24   that's just how it ended up turning out.

00:24:27   And the scroll guy went away and worked on it for ages and had all kinds of parameters

00:24:31   behind that that you can tweak for the gravity and the deceleration and all kinds of stuff.

00:24:36   And they really worked on it.

00:24:37   I don't know if he's still there anymore.

00:24:38   But it's people like that that you need.

00:24:42   Part of what fuels this for us is that we know, me and you personally, know people who've

00:24:50   left Apple.

00:24:51   Yeah.

00:24:52   Right?

00:24:53   And so it's not really, we're not talking about it in the abstract.

00:24:55   We know some really good people who've left over the last year or two.

00:24:59   Just to be clear, we also know a lot of really good people that still had Apple.

00:25:02   A lot of really good people who are still there.

00:25:05   And I also know people.

00:25:07   And when this just came up a bit ago, like somebody had pointed out on Twitter

00:25:12   that, boy, a lot of people seem to be leaving Apple.

00:25:14   It was maybe like a month ago that I just-- just by coincidence,

00:25:17   you know, three or four people, somebody knew.

00:25:18   I think it was Dan Fromer that tweeted the hate.

00:25:20   Well, it was right after one of our pals.

00:25:22   Yeah, had left.

00:25:24   And not as a seeker, but I don't know.

00:25:29   I never mention people's names who work at Apple.

00:25:31   But yeah, somebody we know left,

00:25:33   and then I guess he knew him too,

00:25:35   and just said, "Hey, is it just me

00:25:36   "or a lot of people leaving Apple?"

00:25:37   And it's three, four people.

00:25:39   But if you only know a certain number of people,

00:25:42   your brain sees it as a pattern.

00:25:44   And so a couple people did write to me after that,

00:25:47   and after I chirped in on Twitter on it,

00:25:49   a few friends from Apple said,

00:25:53   you know that is true but keep in mind too that an awful lot come back

00:25:57   including somebody we know who did who has come back and and one of the things

00:26:02   Apple has is a standard policy where if you come back within two years you keep

00:26:07   your seniority really it's as the yeah it's as though I guess you don't get

00:26:13   credit for the two years you were gone or whatever but if you were there for 10

00:26:16   years and you leave you'd go work somewhere else completely you know you

00:26:20   don't work at Apple anymore. They don't do sabbaticals anymore at Apple.

00:26:28   That's a really enlightened policy. I think that is one of the smartest HR moves I can think of.

00:26:33   Right, because that was one of the things Steve Jobs changed in '97 when he came back,

00:26:38   is the Apple used to have a sabbatical policy, and he got rid of it for the obvious reason,

00:26:43   which was that in practice, when people took sabbaticals, you know what they did at the end

00:26:47   other sabbatical, they quit. So if you're gonna quit, quit. So in other words, what

00:26:52   they have is sort of an implicit sabbatical where you can quit and up to two years you

00:26:57   can come back and it's as though you never left, which is, I think, enlightened. And

00:27:02   apparently, and not even apparently, I actually know firsthand, it definitely is fairly common.

00:27:10   And I'll bet too that maybe even that two-year window is negotiable. Because you know what

00:27:16   I mean, when you're getting hired, everybody knows that, or at least you learn eventually

00:27:19   that when you're getting hired, everything's negotiable.

00:27:22   So if you were gone for three years, could you say, "Look, I'll do it, but I want my

00:27:27   seniority back"?

00:27:28   Right.

00:27:29   And if you're good enough, I mean, I'm sure, why not?

00:27:31   If they'll do it for two, why not three?

00:27:33   Right.

00:27:34   It looks like there's a guy that does a video.

00:27:37   The iMovie guy.

00:27:38   Oh, Randy Ublos?

00:27:39   Ublos, yeah.

00:27:40   Yeah, I'm sure that guy could go away for like five years, come back and just be--

00:27:45   Yeah, exactly.

00:27:46   gold. So that's pretty interesting. So maybe it's only like, you hear the plop of the pebble

00:27:54   falling in the water when people quit, but you don't hear so much when they come back

00:27:58   or the hires that they make.

00:28:01   But I absolutely think it's—and again, I don't think the problem is—to reiterate

00:28:05   so nobody misinterprets what we're saying—the problem isn't that Apple is bleeding talent.

00:28:12   The problem is, though, that they could.

00:28:14   And it would be devastating to the company.

00:28:16   Exactly.

00:28:18   And I don't think it's like these people will not

00:28:20   go work on Android, or they won't go work on Windows Phone, necessarily.

00:28:24   They will just go and do interesting stuff.

00:28:26   Exactly.

00:28:27   It'll be like The Nest or whatever.

00:28:29   Exactly.

00:28:29   No, I think that's a perfect example.

00:28:32   And the one thing we do know, we know Bertrand left.

00:28:36   I guess we should mention Bertrand as an executive who's left.

00:28:40   He was a while ago.

00:28:41   That's why I keep sort of forgetting about him.

00:28:44   Right. But everybody knows that he's working on some secret thing, and nobody knows what the secret thing is, really.

00:28:50   I mean, there's vague notions about something with the cloud, right? Because they have a website.

00:28:56   But I think that's more likely, is that people will even go do their own startup type thing.

00:29:03   Which I actually think will be pretty cool. I think there'll be like a lot of really cool ideas coming out of that sort of

00:29:09   the flowerbed of

00:29:12   apples

00:29:15   X

00:29:18   aces

00:29:19   You know another good example of that is is the speaking of Bertrand because he's an investor

00:29:24   But last week's the sponsor of last week's episode when I did with Jim Kudol ever picks

00:29:29   And I'm not just because they sponsored the show and they sponsored my website, but I hadn't heard of them before

00:29:35   It's one of those things where they're new and I'm pretty sure I would have heard of them anyway

00:29:39   But it's really kind of an amazing technology

00:29:41   I mean, it's you know, you'll you have to you know, if you haven't checked out ever pics

00:29:46   you have to take my word for it, you know know that they are sponsors, but

00:29:49   No, I checked it out after hearing you and you and Jim talk about it and it was pretty fancy

00:29:54   Yeah, and it works. It does something that to me

00:29:59   iOS and Mac OS X should do.

00:30:03   It has this sort of, you don't have to worry about it,

00:30:05   but you can get all of your pictures from anywhere at any time.

00:30:09   And they're not all synced, you know, you don't sync,

00:30:12   they're just there and you download them.

00:30:14   And yeah, it's not perfect.

00:30:16   It's like you're getting JPEGs instead of your...

00:30:20   You know, you're robbed.

00:30:22   So if you want to keep the raws, you've got to still manage that with

00:30:25   Lightroom or Aputure or iPhoto on your computer.

00:30:28   But that's not the problem. They're not trying to solve that problem.

00:30:31   Yeah, they're not trying to solve the problem.

00:30:32   They're not for professional use.

00:30:33   Right. You want to look at all of your pictures from anywhere and find the ones, you know,

00:30:39   you know, that time we went to Alaska in 2005, right? How do you find those pictures, you know?

00:30:47   And they've solved that problem brilliantly, I think, in a way that nobody else has.

00:30:51   And those guys are all ex-Apple guys. It's not just that Bertrand is a

00:30:57   investor. If you look, you can go to Everpick's website and look at About Us and look at what

00:31:04   the founders did. It's like some iOS guys. I think, effectively, some of your hypothetical

00:31:15   guys who built the original iPhone, who at least worked on some part of it.

00:31:19   Well, after this piece went up, I did get some feedback from people inside Apple pointing

00:31:23   to LinkedIn profiles of various people it left.

00:31:25   So I think it is, it's something that they're aware of.

00:31:29   One thing that's, you just sort of jog my memory though.

00:31:33   One of the last big Apple explosions

00:31:37   was really good for the industry.

00:31:38   We got like Palm.

00:31:39   Was it Handspring?

00:31:43   There was a bunch of companies that sort of came out of Apple.

00:31:46   - Handspring came out of Palm.

00:31:47   - Yeah, I'm thinking of it wrong.

00:31:50   - It was weird, and then they got like reverse,

00:31:52   It was sort of like a mini Apple where Handspring was sort of like Next a little.

00:31:59   The analogy breaks down because they were actually building devices based on the Palm OS.

00:32:03   They didn't build their own OS.

00:32:05   But they ended up getting acquired by Palm and the Handspring team took over Palm.

00:32:11   The same way that Apple's, everybody, describes the Next acquisition as a reverse acquisition.

00:32:18   So I mean, there's been times where people have left Apple before,

00:32:22   and a lot of cool little interesting ideas have sprung up that have been beneficial to the industry.

00:32:27   Right.

00:32:28   But it's interesting. So this Everpix and this theoretical thing that Bertrand is working on,

00:32:36   both of them address what I think is our mutual pal John Sirkirz's major point about Apple,

00:32:41   which I didn't actually put in his piece, is that they're really bad at doing server-side stuff.

00:32:47   stuff and services, and that is increasingly going to be the future.

00:32:54   I don't know what they're going to do in order to achieve sort of parity with Google on that.

00:33:00   All right.

00:33:01   Well, let's hold that thought, because that would be a great place to pick back up.

00:33:04   But let me do this first sponsor read here and tell you about audible.com.

00:33:11   So audible.com, here's the thing.

00:33:13   is listening to the show you can get a free audio book from audible all you

00:33:18   have to do is go to www.audiblepodcast.com/thetalkshow

00:33:27   www.audiblepodcast.com/thetalkshow and sign up right there you'll start by

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00:33:40   So you get to try it all out for free.

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00:33:52   If it is an audio book, they've got it.

00:33:55   That's more or less the appeal of Audible.

00:33:58   They've got it all.

00:34:00   One of the things they want when they sponsor these shows,

00:34:03   they want a book pick.

00:34:04   They want me to tell you what to listen to.

00:34:06   And I've got a great pick for you.

00:34:09   It's a book I just finished, and it's really, really--I thought it was great.

00:34:13   It's Devil May Care by Sebastian Fox.

00:34:19   And the writing credit is actually by Sebastian Fox, writing as Ian Fleming, which is interesting.

00:34:27   The gist of it is that the book takes place--it's a new book.

00:34:30   It was written in 2008, but it's relatively recent.

00:34:33   It's a James Bond novel, but that it takes place in 1967, effectively, like, roughly

00:34:40   one year after the last novel, James Bond novel, that Ian Fleming wrote.

00:34:45   And if anybody's, if you've read the Ian Fleming novels, you know that, you know, the guy had

00:34:51   a real style.

00:34:52   This guy, Sebastian Fox, like, it's a better Ian Fleming novel than Ian Fleming ever wrote.

00:34:59   But it really reads like an Ian Fleming novel.

00:35:01   It's almost uncanny.

00:35:04   And I've read a few of the other James Bond novels

00:35:07   that aren't written by Ian Fleming.

00:35:08   And some of them are OK, and some of them aren't.

00:35:11   But they don't sound like--

00:35:14   the other ones, to me, always read like the movies, not

00:35:17   the books, whereas the books are very

00:35:19   different than the movies.

00:35:21   This one, Devil May Care, it's uncanny

00:35:24   how much it feels as though Ian Fleming wrote it.

00:35:28   So like this writing credit, Sebastian Fox

00:35:30   writing is Ian Fleming. It's perfect. It's really almost uncanny. I almost recommend

00:35:34   the book just for the uncanniness of the authorial impersonation. But the story itself is good,

00:35:43   too. If you like James Bond novels, you're going to love Devil May Care. So that's my

00:35:47   pick as your audible novel. That's a cool idea. It's an amazing idea. And he also—and

00:35:55   And as soon as I finished it, I Googled about it.

00:35:59   And I guess the Fleming estate wanted him to do as many as he would, but he said one

00:36:04   and done.

00:36:05   Because Sebastian Fox is a real novelist.

00:36:07   He's like, "I don't want to get caught up in..."

00:36:10   Yeah, I mean, it's one thing it's a fun experiment to mimic another artist, but it gets stale

00:36:17   pretty quick, I imagine.

00:36:19   And apparently the reason they picked him is that he had a collection where he did parodies

00:36:25   of a bunch of writers. And one of the writers he parodied was Ian Fleming, but he did a

00:36:31   whole bunch of them. And apparently he's just got a natural aptitude for that, for writing

00:36:36   in the style of others. And the Fleming estate so enjoyed his parody of Ian Fleming that

00:36:42   they're like, "Hey, would you ever think about doing it seriously?"

00:36:45   That's great. That actually just seems like a really good writing exercise.

00:36:49   Yeah, it kind of is. Like, just copy your favorite writer.

00:36:53   Just to keep you on your toes.

00:36:56   Huh. Cool.

00:36:59   Years ago, Dean Allen, the guy who wrote Textism.com, and hopefully someday we'll restart it,

00:37:05   but one of my all-time favorite blogs.

00:37:08   This is way back, I mean, like 2002, 2003 or something like that.

00:37:14   He'd had Textism going for a year or two, and he did a contest where he invited the readers of the site

00:37:22   to parody him and the style of textism, like send in a paragraph.

00:37:26   And, uh, because he had a sort of very, very fussy

00:37:31   style, and, uh, my god, the parodies were hilarious.

00:37:35   But he was self-aware enough to know it was kind of silly? Yeah, totally. Oh,

00:37:38   absolutely, yeah. He's a very, very, he was, you know, I've met him, he's a very, very

00:37:42   down-to-earth guy. He was perfectly well aware of, you know, I

00:37:46   mean, the fact that he was willing to do it just shows how

00:37:49   almost meta-aware. He recognized he was fussy and it was kind of funny, just

00:37:52   In and of itself, yeah. That's cool.

00:37:55   We should get back to techs in a bit, but I think you might have linked to this.

00:38:00   Somebody wrote to Ian Fleming suggesting a gun for James Bond.

00:38:05   Yeah.

00:38:06   And he was in letters of note, and he writes back.

00:38:08   And he's still keeping it. He's not like, "Oh, thanks. I'll keep that in mind when I write my next book."

00:38:14   He writes it from the perspective that he is Bond's biographer.

00:38:17   Right.

00:38:18   I suggest it to Mr. Bond the next time he sees him.

00:38:22   He keeps it in the character of Erwin's writing style, which I found fascinating, and I really enjoyed it.

00:38:28   Right.

00:38:29   Yeah, he describes himself as James Bond's biographer.

00:38:32   So, go and load the letters of note and dig up the uniflamic one. It's worth reading.

00:38:36   Yeah, and he actually ended up naming the character who gives Bond the new handgun

00:38:41   after the guy who wrote the letter, like Major Boothroyd.

00:38:44   The guy who wrote the letter was named Boothroyd.

00:38:47   had a good memory for names. Eventually it'll cost me. Really the only thing I can remember

00:38:56   is stuff about James Bond. I don't even remember your name. It's Thomas. Thomas English. I

00:39:07   did a talk in 2010 at Macworld and it was supposed to be the Gruber 10. I didn't make

00:39:14   the name, but they gave me the name. But it was my top 10 issues facing Apple.

00:39:18   And I haven't looked at it in a while until I was preparing for the

00:39:23   show and I opened it up. And I think I did a pretty good job. And I think I

00:39:27   ordered them interestingly where like the first half aren't... I think I was

00:39:34   right to see them as issues, but I don't... I think that they proved not to be a

00:39:37   problem for Apple. And in the second half I think is stuff that has... it's still up

00:39:42   in the air. So here was my list, and this was the order it was. Number one was Steve

00:39:46   Jobs. At the time, he was still alive. And I said, more or less, let's face it, it's

00:39:52   an issue that maybe the guy's had health issues, so maybe he's not going to be around. Will

00:39:58   they do okay without him? Obviously, that has since come to pass. I mean, he's dead.

00:40:04   But I think I was right, too, that the company didn't depend on him. I mean, they depended

00:40:09   He was dependent on them, but he wasn't essential.

00:40:11   The company has done fine in the year and a half since he stepped down as CEO.

00:40:15   Even as weird as the stock price is now, it's still way higher than when he was CEO.

00:40:20   Right. Yeah, still is.

00:40:22   But the other thing, too, is that if and when he did leave, it wasn't unlikely to collapse immediately.

00:40:31   And the long-term effects, well, who knows?

00:40:33   And we still don't know. That's still up in the air.

00:40:35   Like it could well be that 10 years from now we'll look back and say, "Wow, Apple

00:40:39   really faded after Steve Jobs died."

00:40:42   We don't know that, though.

00:40:44   Number two, my slide title was AT&T, but I guess what I really meant was carriers.

00:40:50   That so much of Apple's success at the time was dependent on the iPhone, and they had

00:40:55   to go through the carriers.

00:40:56   I think they've done that very well.

00:40:57   I mean, since…

00:40:58   Was Apple really only on AT&T in 2010?

00:41:01   I think so.

00:41:02   Wow.

00:41:03   when I gave the talk, I think.

00:41:07   When did the Verizon iPhone come out?

00:41:08   I think that was like 2011.

00:41:09   - Seems so recent, you know what I mean?

00:41:10   And it seems like they've been on, anyway, yeah.

00:41:12   Sorry, continue, I couldn't.

00:41:14   - They weren't on Verizon yet.

00:41:16   But I think they've done well with that.

00:41:17   And I think that they, you know, everybody is sort of,

00:41:20   you know, the argument is, boy, the carriers hate Apple

00:41:23   because Apple takes more money from the carriers

00:41:25   than they do from other phones.

00:41:27   So that's why the carriers try to push these other phones.

00:41:30   But the iPhone is so successful that it's worked out, I think.

00:41:35   I don't think Apple really has a problem with carriers.

00:41:37   - I think they've also done well worldwide with carriers.

00:41:40   A lot of you guys tend to just focus on the US market,

00:41:43   but worldwide they've got pretty good reach

00:41:45   and they're on a lot of different carriers

00:41:47   all over the place.

00:41:48   - Right, it was the same thing in New Zealand

00:41:50   where there were a couple to choose from.

00:41:51   I think it was Vodafone and I forget the other one,

00:41:54   but there were a couple to choose from.

00:41:56   - And that's gotta be a relatively small market, right?

00:41:58   So the fact that they, it's good.

00:42:00   The next one was I filed under computers, but what I meant was, I don't know, it was

00:42:07   a bad slide title, but the gist of it though was that Apple had never successfully maintained

00:42:12   two systems at a time.

00:42:15   Once the Mac came out, the Apple II really faded fast.

00:42:20   They've tried it with the Newton and the Newton never took off.

00:42:23   They never had two computing platforms going at the same time and maintaining them.

00:42:29   And I think since 2010, they've done a pretty good job of moving iOS and Mac OS X forward.

00:42:35   I tend to agree.

00:42:36   Putting them both under Fredericke clearly means that they sort of understand that having

00:42:43   a bifurcated OS and computer development is not good for the company.

00:42:49   So they're sort of reorganized to be everything under one ship.

00:42:52   And they are moving iOS and OS X sort of closer together.

00:42:58   share the same kernel and a lot of the same frameworks and increasingly a similar user

00:43:07   experience in iCloud and in Launchpad and that kind of thing.

00:43:14   I realize, I'll bet a lot of people out there listening are disagreeing. I get a lot of

00:43:19   email from people who say that they're worried because Apple hasn't done anything radically

00:43:25   new with iOS since it came out that it's, you know, that that's, it's just, they need

00:43:31   something new. And a lot of people have really hung their hats on the fact that Forstall

00:43:36   is out and Johnny Ive is taking over. And I think a lot of people really expect iOS

00:43:41   7 to be new, new, new. They shouldn't. And I think that they are going to be disappointed,

00:43:46   disappointed, disappointed. I guarantee you they are. Well, I don't guarantee you because

00:43:50   I don't actually know. Right. I come and get close to guaranteeing, I would bet that the

00:43:57   reaction is going to be, "Really? This is it? I can't believe it. I thought it was going

00:44:00   to be all radically new." Yeah, I mean, I'm only saying guarantee because earlier we said

00:44:03   we knew people in Apple, but believe me, we don't know anything. Well, I don't know anything

00:44:06   about this. But just the way product planning works and timelines, there's no way they're

00:44:13   rebooting all of iOS 7 after 4-star left. Maybe iOS 8 will look really interesting,

00:44:20   IOS 7 will be less of a leap than I think many people are hoping for or expect.

00:44:26   And cosmetically, Apple, and they've said this expressly, like Schiller has said this,

00:44:34   I don't know if Steve Jobs ever did because it seems like the sort of thing that's only come up more recently.

00:44:41   But they've said it on the record multiple times that they don't do new for the sake of new.

00:44:48   They only do new if it's better.

00:44:51   And this was in response to the iPhone 4S in particular of,

00:44:56   "Wow, why would you guys make a phone that looks exactly like the old one?"

00:45:00   And their answer is, "If we can't do better, we're not going to do different just for the sake of different."

00:45:05   Here's the thing though, I think that they do need to do better.

00:45:08   I think something like Springboard is sort of running into a rut,

00:45:13   but sticking folders into it, and it gets complicated really.

00:45:17   It doesn't scale very well.

00:45:18   We're looking at sort of like OS 8 finder kind of stuff.

00:45:23   Do you know what I mean?

00:45:24   Where there's just a bunch of stuff crammed in there.

00:45:26   - I think it's really hard. - Which goes to the

00:45:29   technical debt thing that I was talking about earlier.

00:45:31   - I think the biggest problem with Springboard to me

00:45:34   is that it's really hard to manage a lot of apps.

00:45:37   Like if you have a bunch of apps and you want to,

00:45:40   It just turns into a mess after your first or second screen.

00:45:44   And yet they want you to have a lot of apps.

00:45:46   Like they clearly want you to and encourage people to go to the app store

00:45:50   and download lots of free and very low-cost apps.

00:45:53   But there's no good way to order them.

00:45:57   Yeah.

00:45:58   I mean, it's very straightforward, which I give it full points for.

00:46:02   But it's sort of just too much stuff going on there.

00:46:05   And it's sort of really stuck into it.

00:46:06   I think once you have them ordered,

00:46:08   the basic concept of all there are are apps, and you tap them, and then the app gets the whole screen.

00:46:13   I still think that's fundamentally brilliant and right. I think the problem is that Springboard makes it too

00:46:18   difficult to organize them.

00:46:20   Yeah, I think it doesn't scale very well. I mean, I end up using Spotlight quite a bit, because I've given up

00:46:25   organizing my apps. I just keep them kind of go, and I try to find one, or I just type it into the

00:46:30   Spotlight search field.

00:46:32   I've got two screens that are ordered, and then the rest, it's practically the same.

00:46:37   We've got like one and a half. But that's the user side of Springboard.

00:46:41   Behind the scenes, Springboard is a huge piece of software.

00:46:44   It is the window manager.

00:46:46   And so that is another part of technical debt, where it's really hard to sort of pry it all apart

00:46:53   and refactor it into something that is sort of more easily manipulated

00:46:59   in order to better serve the future design directions.

00:47:04   I and I think it might be something that if I was gonna say a flick

00:47:08   But I do think it afflicts younger people than older people is the desire for new

00:47:12   Because and I was talking about with moltz on this show a couple weeks ago about how we used to install these hacks on Mac OS 9

00:47:19   To like change the the window style, right? I would never do that now I wouldn't

00:47:24   That sounds so stupid to me now, but I was really into that when I was you know

00:47:29   1920 21 years old because I wanted something new I was bored with the way it looked and

00:47:33   that's not something that Apple is really going to concern itself with.

00:47:38   They're not going to concern themselves with changing Chrome just for the sake of changing the Chrome.

00:47:43   Right. I was talking with Grant Paul, Chip Owen, who's pretty big in the jailbreak scene

00:47:48   for my show recently. And he was pointing out that

00:47:53   a lot of people jailbreak just to do stuff different with their phone, just to make it

00:47:58   and make it look like their own.

00:48:00   And he was saying that even if Apple did allow you to pick themes,

00:48:05   people would still be very jailbreak because they would want to pick a theme that Apple didn't support.

00:48:10   Because it is all about the customization.

00:48:12   And yeah, I think, I feel now that the word "afflict" is correct.

00:48:18   It is an affliction to want to mess with this kind of stuff.

00:48:24   But I can remember wanting to customize that kind of stuff.

00:48:28   Well, the reason I say affliction is as someone who used to do it.

00:48:31   And I'll bet that if I were 21 right now, I'd probably have my iPhone jailbroken.

00:48:37   Sure.

00:48:37   And I don't now.

00:48:38   The only time my jailbroke was back with the original one when I wanted to run the Craig's app.

00:48:43   Well, I mean, I had to because I'm in Canada.

00:48:46   So you know what?

00:48:50   I bought my first iPhone in San Francisco with Ben Simmons and Chris Parrish, and I didn't even

00:48:56   know what I could do with it.

00:48:57   And I bought it home, and I basically just looked at it for days.

00:49:00   Because the jailbreak wasn't even out yet.

00:49:02   And all you could do is basically call 911.

00:49:06   So tempted just to call 911.

00:49:08   Just to do something.

00:49:09   Yeah, exactly.

00:49:10   I just kept playing with a little slider for days until the first jailbreak sort of came out.

00:49:15   But in hindsight, when I look back when I used to want to do that, I was never satisfied. Ever.

00:49:19   Like, I'd be satisfied, like, getting a new, you know, theme for the extension thing, the

00:49:27   Window Manager style, getting a new theme that made me happy would satisfy me for about

00:49:32   five minutes.

00:49:33   And then I'd think, well, now I want one that's better.

00:49:36   It never ended.

00:49:37   Well, I mean, you'd, because you know what?

00:49:39   You're trying to get, you're trying to make the Millennium Falcon, right?

00:49:42   Like, you want, with special modifications, and it just, you're never going to get there.

00:49:46   Like, it's never satisfying.

00:49:47   Right.

00:49:48   So the people who want that sort of newness from iOS, they're not going to get it from

00:49:51   Apple.

00:49:52   But you kind of have it now with jailbreaking.

00:49:55   I don't know.

00:49:56   You can do it.

00:49:57   Another thing that Grant, Paul, and I, and Vinay were agreeing on is that we kind of

00:50:02   think Apple should have a legitimate way to jailbreak, I guess jail release at that point,

00:50:10   probably through Xcode.

00:50:12   You can connect it.

00:50:13   You can say, "Yes, I want this totally unlocked," so you can SSH into the phone.

00:50:18   I don't think they'll ever do it, but I think it's a good...

00:50:22   I think it would be useful for the developer community.

00:50:25   I think, yeah, I kind of agree with that.

00:50:27   And something where it's somehow secure, I don't know,

00:50:31   you have to sign in with your Apple ID.

00:50:33   Yeah, exactly.

00:50:34   And do, you know, use some cryptography there, you know, to...

00:50:38   I don't know, a little bit, just something like an iOS,

00:50:41   not the same thing, but the same idea as...

00:50:47   What's it called on Mac OS X now, where the apps don't launch unless they're signed?

00:50:51   Gatekeeper. Right.

00:50:55   But the same basic idea, though, where some kind of user action...

00:50:59   Yeah, exactly. Something that went through Xcode, I think that would be fine.

00:51:03   It should not be on the phone. There should be no way on the phone to go and switch a button and put it into

00:51:07   developer mode. But I think that would be...

00:51:11   It would be useful for me as a developer to be able to mess around with this kind of stuff directly.

00:51:15   Let me just play devil's advocate and toss this at you.

00:51:20   Is there an advantage to the way jailbreaking works now, though, for Apple insofar as that

00:51:26   really, really smart guys hunt down bugs that allow for it and then Apple gets to close

00:51:33   those bugs because they've become public as opposed to those bugs remaining secret and

00:51:38   the black hat guys using it to do exploits?

00:51:42   Yeah, I mean, I don't think that Apple doesn't allow jailbreak simply to have smart guys checking out their code.

00:51:53   But I think it's a happy byproduct, for sure. And from talking to Grant, most of the smart guys out of the community

00:52:01   understands that when Apple closes one of these loopholes, it's because it is for security reasons.

00:52:06   They don't take it personally. A lot of the articles that run are like, "Ah, Apple shut down jailbreaking."

00:52:11   But it's not. When you can go to a website and it reboots your phone into a different OS, that's fine.

00:52:16   That's not Apple shutting down jailbreaking. That is a serious problem that they're addressing.

00:52:22   And Grant again points out that some of the exploits that you need to have the passcode and you have to be doing something very different.

00:52:30   you have to have local access to the device itself.

00:52:33   Apple can take like six months to actually close those loopholes.

00:52:37   Like they clearly prioritize not to shut down Jailbreak,

00:52:40   but to secure their phone for their customers,

00:52:43   which is the right thing for them to be doing.

00:52:46   Yeah, and you know, it's not just Apple that gets that sort of press coverage about that.

00:52:50   Mistakenly, you know, reading way too much into the reasons behind it.

00:52:56   I saw a story about Google that did the same thing.

00:52:58   the same thing. The headline was "Google shuts down ad blocker" and there was this ad blocker

00:53:05   app for Android that was taking advantage of lax permissions to block ads like in other apps.

00:53:12   I mean, it was more or less ways that, you know, and all that Google did was sort of make it so

00:53:17   that you had to get permission to do it, but it broke, completely broke this ad blocker app.

00:53:22   It really was though, it was fixing a security type. Now security maybe is the wrong word,

00:53:27   It was a bug.

00:53:29   Yeah, it was a bug. They were fixing a bug that the app was taking advantage of.

00:53:32   I mean, the fact that as a happy byproduct, more Google ads come through, I'm sure that they don't mind.

00:53:37   But that really wasn't why they did it.

00:53:39   Right. Yeah, I mean, people describe a lot of evil to companies.

00:53:43   It's not always that cut and dry.

00:53:47   That bug came across an engineer's desk and he fixed it.

00:53:51   It wasn't Google trying to gin up their ad numbers, really.

00:53:56   numbers really.

00:53:57   Right.

00:53:58   You know, I swear to God, by sheer coincidence, the next slide on my deck from that presentation

00:54:04   was the App Store.

00:54:05   And that at the time, 2010, there was still a lot more controversy about rejections and

00:54:10   what was getting through.

00:54:11   And I feel like they've, and I described it then as that they were a few degrees off course.

00:54:17   That they didn't need a radical turnaround, they just needed a minor course correction.

00:54:22   Because even if you're just a few degrees off course, if you keep going long enough,

00:54:26   soon you're lost. And I feel like they did that. I don't feel that rejection of content

00:54:31   in the App Store is a major problem.

00:54:33   No, I don't think so either.

00:54:34   Every once in a while there's an exception, but they tend to fix it, I think. They're

00:54:38   not going to be perfect. You can't have 100,000 apps in the store and never make a mistake

00:54:44   as to what gets in and what gets rejected. It's, can you get it fixed?

00:54:48   Yeah, I think they're doing a great job with the App Store. Personally, I would have totally

00:54:52   screwed it up and sank it already.

00:54:53   Because when the App Store came out, I was really--

00:54:58   I came from a console gaming background professionally.

00:55:01   And I was really sure that they should have launched with like 10 apps that

00:55:07   they'd worked very closely with developers on.

00:55:11   And what they did is launch very broad and very wide.

00:55:13   I thought the App Store should be way more confined.

00:55:16   You should pay a heavy price to get in there, and Apple should work with you

00:55:19   and really hone these sort of apps.

00:55:21   And I think what they have done is really sort of thread the needle between being wide open and being more directed.

00:55:31   Yeah, I honestly had the same… I don't know if I would have taken it quite as restricted as you,

00:55:37   but I expected and was sort of disappointed that they didn't reject more apps just for being ugly.

00:55:41   Yeah, exactly.

00:55:43   I really thought that if an app was ugly, that they would just say, "No, we're not going to have that."

00:55:46   I guess my thought was that they would only accept the apps that they now promote.

00:55:51   Right? Like, there's a certain... They're not going to promote an ugly app.

00:55:54   But I really thought that the apps that they promote, like in the featured page of the App Store app,

00:55:59   I thought that would be it. That that would be all of the apps in the App Store.

00:56:04   I'd go along with that. It's almost still... I would be wrong. I think it's the wrong thing to do.

00:56:10   I think that what they did is the right thing.

00:56:13   But I'm sure people in Apple were arguing like we were.

00:56:16   Right.

00:56:17   That it should be more restricted.

00:56:18   Right. But it's a case where Apple, you know, and some people would roll their eyes,

00:56:23   but that the App Store is far more open, closer to open than closed than I expected it to be,

00:56:28   and that it could have been.

00:56:29   Yeah, me too.

00:56:30   And I think it has been a success.

00:56:34   Yeah.

00:56:35   The flip side of it, though, is the thing we've just been talking about,

00:56:37   is whether it's a mistake and whether it's going to hurt the company,

00:56:41   that there is no Gatekeeper-like mode of non-App Store, sanctioned non-App Store software on

00:56:49   the phone.

00:56:50   I don't think that's a mistake.

00:56:51   I think that's exactly what I think they do.

00:56:55   What would it serve?

00:56:56   No, you just told me that they should have a mode in Xcode where you can't...

00:57:03   You want them to do it but think that they shouldn't.

00:57:06   Is that what you're saying?

00:57:08   No.

00:57:09   Okay, so maybe we're talking cost purposes here.

00:57:12   What I think that they should do is have a mode in Xcode in order to unlock the device and allow basically what is now jailbreak access for developers.

00:57:21   And for anybody who's paid the $99 to get the cert and runs Xcode and actually goes through the rigmarole.

00:57:27   Gatekeeper allows you to sideload software that's not from the App Store.

00:57:31   I don't think that they should be allowing that.

00:57:34   I think the way that they conceptually should do Gatekeeper on the iPhone is what you're saying and make it like a developer mode thing.

00:57:42   Okay, so we do agree.

00:57:43   Yeah, I don't think it should be anything that a consumer would in any way be encouraged to sideload apps.

00:57:48   Okay, yeah, so we do agree on that.

00:57:50   Right.

00:57:51   And now, is it short-sighted? I don't think it's that big a deal for them, frankly.

00:57:54   Yeah, I don't either.

00:57:55   - That's not, they're certainly not losing sales over it.

00:57:59   Maybe they're losing experimental stuff

00:58:03   that jailbreak guys do, but I don't think they,

00:58:07   I don't know how many ideas they pick from that garden.

00:58:12   You know what I mean?

00:58:13   Like back in the classic days,

00:58:14   they picked a multi-finder out of effectively

00:58:18   what today would have to be jailbreak.

00:58:19   - Right.

00:58:20   - I don't see them doing that a lot with iOS these days.

00:58:22   - No.

00:58:24   Although they've hired some jailbreak guys.

00:58:27   Yeah, because they're smart guys, and they've seen what they do, and it's good stuff.

00:58:31   But they don't necessarily pick the ideas.

00:58:33   Right, exactly.

00:58:35   My next slide was security.

00:58:38   And isn't it weird? I feel like, just like the last couple of months, there have been so many hacks.

00:58:43   Yeah.

00:58:44   That past screen one is nutty.

00:58:48   Yeah. So they keep coming up with ways, for example, that you can circumvent the passcode

00:58:54   screen on iOS. And it just seems, that one seems really weird to me in so far as that

00:58:59   it, every, there have been so many bugs that get around the pass screen in iOS that you

00:59:04   would just think that there'd be some kind of way to audit that code, to take a step

00:59:09   back and say, "Look, this, you know, one time is bad luck, but two or three times, you know,

00:59:14   audit that route. I mean, I, you know, I know that it seems like comps I want to

00:59:20   want like, yeah, don't continue until this number is typed in. Like the whole

00:59:24   system is never going to be bug free. It's just too complex and every, you know,

00:59:27   it's just it's just a bylaw of the way software works. It's always going to bugs.

00:59:30   But a small enough component you'd think you could get really close to being bug

00:59:35   free, and you would think that the passcode is a relatively, the lock screen

00:59:40   is a relatively small component. Well, I think what happens is it interacts with

00:59:44   The contact picker comes up, and the contact picker is, I don't know if it's a different process, but it's definitely a different group that develops it.

00:59:58   It's a different app. It's coming from the contents app.

01:00:02   Yeah, I guess so.

01:00:03   Well, it's coming from the frameworks, actually.

01:00:05   So, you know, and then you can cancel and get it into some weird kind of state, because that code isn't necessarily developed with the idea that it will be running inside the context of the passcode lock.

01:00:18   It's developed with the concept that it's going to be running inside the context of an app.

01:00:22   And I think maybe, I guess what I'm underestimating is how complex it is, because it's not truly

01:00:29   a lock screen.

01:00:30   If the lock screen really meant that you can do nothing except type in a number or a passcode

01:00:36   if you have the other one, passcode set, type in your passcode or passphrase and then you

01:00:42   can use the phone, they probably could make it bug-free, but the problem is you can, there's

01:00:47   exceptions that are poked through it, right?

01:00:49   the music player controls the fact that you can get to Siri, right? The fact that you

01:00:57   have to be allowed to make emergency phone calls. A lot of them involve that path through

01:01:02   the emergency phone call. And that once you have any sort of exceptions like that, that

01:01:09   some bugs are inevitable, I guess.

01:01:11   Yeah. It is still weird.

01:01:13   But I wonder, too, though, it must be the case that iTunes—and you hear about people

01:01:18   who've had their passwords taken in iTunes.

01:01:22   There's also that security, not just device security,

01:01:24   but what happens if there's a major breach in your Apple IDs.

01:01:31   I don't think that they're particularly--

01:01:37   I mean, didn't that happen to Matt Honan?

01:01:40   Yeah.

01:01:40   Was it Matt Honan?

01:01:41   Yeah.

01:01:41   Yeah.

01:01:42   Yeah, part of what happened to his Twitter account getting

01:01:46   hacked was that his mobile.me account got attacked.

01:01:53   And that was the email address he was depending on.

01:01:55   And it was taken not by a technical flaw,

01:01:58   but social engineering.

01:01:59   Somebody who called Apple and gave them

01:02:03   Matt Honan's-- I don't know-- his mother's maiden name.

01:02:05   Or I don't know, some stupid thing

01:02:06   that wasn't that hard to find.

01:02:08   And then all of a sudden, they had his account.

01:02:10   Yeah.

01:02:11   I'd be curious to know how much of a real world

01:02:14   impact that is, though? How many people it actually affects?

01:02:18   I don't know, but it does seem like it's growing, especially the attacks on services, right?

01:02:23   Twitter, you know, I mean, they say a couple hundred thousand accounts were compromised,

01:02:26   but everybody I know had their password reset, so I don't know.

01:02:29   Yeah.

01:02:31   So I think it's a risk. I think this is one of those things where I don't think Apple has a

01:02:35   particularly worse security threat than any other major company like Google or Facebook or Amazon,

01:02:41   But that it's a threat to all of these companies, right?

01:02:44   In terms of if you want to just do risk assessment that, you know, it's got to be a...

01:02:50   Well, here's the thing. I think those more web-based companies have a better handle on security than Apple, I think.

01:02:59   I don't know if I mean that.

01:03:04   I think there's a larger surface area for exploits in terms of what Apple shapes in code than there are in web services.

01:03:12   Yeah, maybe.

01:03:13   I mean, the scariest jailbreak to me was the one—I think it was just the one, but like you said, it was the one where you just went to the website.

01:03:21   And just by going to the website, it took advantage of a bug in Safari that let it root your phone.

01:03:30   I mean, that one to me was terrifying.

01:03:34   I mean, and again, talking about Apple shutting down jailbreaking, there's a reason that they only allow Nitro to run inside Safari rather than third-party apps using WebKit or the web view.

01:03:51   I know you know this, but the horrible exports that could be done if that thing's broken.

01:03:59   It's not a matter of them trying to shut down performance in other apps. It's them really trying to keep it secure.

01:04:05   Right. It is absolutely a security thing. It's almost more surprising that they even use it in mobile Safari.

01:04:11   Yeah, I mean, we talked about this offline at the time.

01:04:17   I think the only reason that they did it is because Android had a huge performance leap when they started doing it.

01:04:27   So I think they bit the bullet and went with it.

01:04:31   I do think that that's the reason. I think that if Android didn't use a just-in-time

01:04:37   compiler for their JavaScript engine, that Apple wouldn't have it in Safari either.

01:04:44   In fact, I know that they had it for a while and didn't deploy it until...

01:04:49   And if there were a way that they could make... Nitro's the one that everybody gets, right?

01:04:55   Or is Nitro the one that has the just-in-time compiler? It doesn't matter, I guess.

01:05:00   I think Nitro's a joke.

01:05:01   Well, the slower one that all the other WebKit using apps get on iOS, if they could make

01:05:07   it just as fast, but without the executable bits in memory, they would do it.

01:05:13   People who think that Apple's being spiteful to slow down other people's browsers on iOS

01:05:17   are nuts.

01:05:18   They don't want anything on iOS to be slow.

01:05:20   You know what?

01:05:21   Let's actually explain what happens.

01:05:22   So the JavaScript comes down, and it gets compiled into code, like honest-to-god code

01:05:28   that's going to run on the CPU.

01:05:30   And then that's put into memory, and that memory is marked as being executable, which means that the CPU will be able to interpret that code and run it.

01:05:37   That leads to horrible potential exploits.

01:05:42   Because then if you can put your own code into those same memory spots, it can do whatever it wants.

01:05:50   Because it's marked as being executable.

01:05:54   Yeah, including stealing your passwords because it's running under Safari, so it has access to the passwords.

01:05:59   It has access to everything that Safari has access to.

01:06:02   Yeah, or it has—which is a risk that they decide that they're okay with because they control Safari.

01:06:08   But if it was running inside a WebView inside any other app, it would have access to everything that that app had access to,

01:06:14   including potentially anything you're writing, anything you're working on.

01:06:18   And anything you've given the app permission to.

01:06:21   to be an app that you've given permission to access your location, then the exploit

01:06:26   has access to your location.

01:06:28   Yeah.

01:06:29   It's a horror show for Apple if that kind of stuff gets out in terms of PR.

01:06:32   And even worse, it's really, really bad for the user because there's private information.

01:06:37   Whereas the way things really are is that iOS has a rule that in third-party apps, memory

01:06:43   can't be marked as executable.

01:06:45   Right.

01:06:46   So there are bugs in other apps and stuff like that, but one thing that an exploit can't

01:06:50   do is inject code into memory and have that code executed.

01:06:55   Which is actually what a lot of these jailbreak apps and additions do,

01:07:04   is that they work sort of like old school classic extensions where they inject themselves into

01:07:09   running processes and sort of mess with them in order to add features.

01:07:12   So that's sort of the benevolent way of sort of using this kind of stuff.

01:07:16   The malevolent way is kind of a horror show. You have no idea what's going to happen.

01:07:21   Anyway, so I think they're reasonably pretty good on security. I think they've got a wider target area than some of the other companies.

01:07:31   Next on my list was MobileMe, which clearly is the weak spot of the company.

01:07:38   Still remains the weak spot of the company. If anything, I probably should have made this the biggest issue after Steve Jobs, in hindsight.

01:07:45   And my next slide is really the same thing. It shouldn't really have been a separate one. I added it under backups.

01:07:51   And that any data loss is a tragedy. And clearly the way this should work is it should all just go to the cloud.

01:07:59   Yeah. I mean, I think if you were right now, these two should collapse into one thing.

01:08:03   But at the time, we didn't have iCloud backup. They've done pretty well with this.

01:08:09   Like the way your phone comes back up to the cloud is pretty good.

01:08:14   What do you think about iCloud files? Because I think I've got a bone to pick with you on this, I think.

01:08:21   I think it's a good idea overall, but that they've got to have an official system-wide way of moving documents between apps.

01:08:32   Okay. So I think you're sort of an advocate of the way Dropbox works. Would you like to see that?

01:08:42   I don't think so. I don't think Apple should do Dropbox. I don't because I feel like Dropbox exposes...

01:08:47   It is a file system. I don't think that they should expose a file system. I think they should expose a file picker.

01:08:52   You know, I feel... You know, sort of... I'm not saying the interface would be the same, but basically the way that iOS has always allowed you to have this shared collection of photos that any app can access.

01:09:03   you should be able to get files from another app the same way, and that the system would provide it.

01:09:08   It's a hard problem to solve and to come up with an interface that is simple, but it's ridiculous, though, that if you've got a PDF in one app, that you can't get it into another app on iOS.

01:09:25   I'm disappointed to hear you say that because that's exactly the point I wanted to make.

01:09:29   Tell me that I'm wrong.

01:09:30   I thought you...

01:09:31   No, no, you're exactly right. I thought you were like an advocate of the Dropbox kind of way.

01:09:36   I totally agree with you. I think what we should have is some kind of sheet that pops up that you can give it...

01:09:43   You can tell it what types of data you can absorb.

01:09:50   give it PDFs or images or text files,

01:09:54   and a system designed picker will come up,

01:09:58   just like the photos want, and it'll be media specific,

01:10:01   so if it's images, it'll be images,

01:10:02   or you can tap on it and get sort of quick look style

01:10:06   previews of what you're gonna open.

01:10:08   I don't think file systems should make a comeback.

01:10:12   - And if you want it, Dropbox exists, use Dropbox, right?

01:10:17   I don't feel that they should try to solve the problem

01:10:19   the problem that Dropbox has solved. I feel like they should, but they should, the only thing they should copy from Dropbox is the reliability.

01:10:25   Oh, sure. Yeah.

01:10:28   But the arbitrarily nested folders thing? No, forget it. It's a mess.

01:10:33   I agree. Yeah. And this is one of the, like, one of Syracuse's bugbears is

01:10:38   file systems and their reliability.

01:10:43   I think that that doesn't really matter that much.

01:10:47   increasingly I'm seeing disk space, especially now that we've got SSDs and cloud stuff,

01:10:54   as a third-level cache, right?

01:10:57   Or a third-level swap, really.

01:10:59   You've got your RAM, you've got your swap, and then you've got everything that's on the disk,

01:11:02   and then you've got the cloud.

01:11:05   So increasingly I think that the specifics of the way the file system works won't be that relevant.

01:11:12   I agree.

01:11:13   And, you know, I know that Apple is thinking about this.

01:11:17   I don't know if they're thinking about doing it for iOS, but they're clearly thinking about

01:11:20   the general problem, because Mac OS X, now that it has sandboxing, has this, you know,

01:11:27   ways to get data from one sandboxed app to another, which is that the open and save dialog

01:11:35   box isn't from the app.

01:11:38   It's part of the system.

01:11:39   and you show this and the system has the right

01:11:42   to poke through the sandbox from one to another.

01:11:46   And because, what do they call it, intense?

01:11:48   It's not like Google intense,

01:11:49   but it's the fact that you the user have chosen the file

01:11:54   that they know that it's safe to say

01:11:56   that this other app can access this file

01:11:59   from the sandboxed app because--

01:12:01   - So long as it's an explicit action by the user,

01:12:03   it's good. - Right.

01:12:04   And that's what I think could conceptually,

01:12:08   I'm not saying that the interface is easy to design, but conceptually, though, that's exactly what iOS needs.

01:12:13   And that you, the app, can't just open the file from the other app silently.

01:12:18   You need the system picker and the user's explicit action, and now you've got it.

01:12:23   Yeah.

01:12:28   And that, again, goes back to the technical debt thing and Springboard, the complexity of the code base that is Springboard.

01:12:33   the code base at Springboard, in that implementing something like Google Intents or what's a Microsoft one called,

01:12:40   Contracts, where an interface from some other app is presented inside the currently running app,

01:12:49   is currently sort of tricky to do on iOS.

01:12:52   And I think that that kind of flexibility is going to be required if we're to sort of get this cross application,

01:13:01   not communication, but interoperability, which I think iOS, I think that that's a sore spot for iOS.

01:13:08   And I think if we're going to move forward with it, that's going to have to be fixed.

01:13:11   To get more people only to be using iOS devices, as opposed to sometimes using iOS devices,

01:13:17   but needing a Mac or even a Windows machine for X, Y, and Z.

01:13:22   Right.

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01:15:34   - How do you like your Apple TV?

01:15:36   - What?

01:15:38   - How do you like your Apple TV?

01:15:39   - I love my Apple TV.

01:15:39   - Yeah.

01:15:41   - Do you like your Apple TV?

01:15:42   That was one of my next slides.

01:15:43   - I love it.

01:15:44   I've got a list, I've got a list here somewhere.

01:15:47   I love it. I use it all the time. I think it's kind of fundamentally screwed up in that you can't search across services.

01:15:56   There's so many people talking about this future TV panel thing that I don't know what to believe.

01:16:07   I think that's misdirection. I really do think that the secret of Apple TV is that what their secret plan for Apple TV is, what they've already shown us.

01:16:16   They've already shown us. It is that little $100 box.

01:16:19   I really think that the people waiting

01:16:21   for this amazing iPhone-like moment

01:16:25   of here's the real Apple TV

01:16:27   and it's a $2,500 TV set or something like that,

01:16:30   I think that they shouldn't hold their breath.

01:16:33   - Yeah, so I've written about this before,

01:16:35   but I think the only way that they would do it

01:16:37   is if the panel that they ship

01:16:40   is effectively just like an AirPlay receiver

01:16:44   and the box is, you know, it comes with the box,

01:16:47   but you can buy the box every year to update it.

01:16:51   And I can only see them doing a panel if they,

01:16:53   I don't know, buy up all the production capacity

01:16:56   for a factory and they just end up stuck

01:16:58   with a bunch of huge panels for some reason.

01:17:01   It's a weird product.

01:17:02   I don't see them necessarily shipping it.

01:17:04   - I've said before, and I'll say again,

01:17:05   that in some sense it makes sense in terms

01:17:07   of why sell a $100 device that you hook up

01:17:09   to a $2,000 TV set and why not sell the $2,000 TV set?

01:17:13   But in the time since I've been making that argument, A, TV set prices have dropped, and

01:17:20   they're no longer a lot. Most people don't spend $2,000 on a 50-inch TV anymore. It's

01:17:25   a lot less. And B, people just don't replace TV sets that frequently, right? I mean, there

01:17:30   are idiots like me who Apple releases something new, and if I don't even need a new phone,

01:17:35   I still go out and buy the new phone. But normal people…

01:17:39   But I wouldn't do that with a TV.

01:17:40   Right, normal people don't do that.

01:17:41   And that's…

01:17:42   Yeah.

01:17:43   Yeah, and even I wouldn't replace my TV just because Apple came out with a TV, unless,

01:17:47   I guess, if it had some amazing thing.

01:17:50   I don't know what it would be, but I don't know.

01:17:53   I just don't see what that would be.

01:17:54   Well, that's why I say, like, if they did do it, it would just be like a sort of a dumb

01:17:59   AirPlay receiver that…

01:18:01   Because at least then, when they do update the box, you don't have to replace the actual

01:18:07   expensive panel.

01:18:08   But it certainly wouldn't. I mean, that would be a hobby.

01:18:11   I can totally see. And you know, I know you would last time you were on the show, I think we talked

01:18:15   about how that some new box we had a better remote control than IR would be great, you know, Bluetooth

01:18:20   4 or whatever the hell the low energy Bluetooth is. That's, but that's still that's the same idea

01:18:28   that we have now, right? A new, it's a new $100 box with a better remote and therefore with the

01:18:32   with a better remote, a better interface.

01:18:34   So did you see that piece from MG

01:18:37   recently about Apple

01:18:40   basically eating the game console's lunch?

01:18:44   I mostly agree with him. I keep meaning to write this up.

01:18:48   But he totally sidestepped the interface.

01:18:52   It's like, yeah, the compute power is connected to your TV,

01:18:56   but there's no way to make a game out of it because the remote control stinks

01:19:00   in its IR. So I think, yeah, like a box with some kind of Bluetooth would be good.

01:19:05   And I think he's right in that it could do really well, because it's cheap.

01:19:09   And I think this is probably the last generation of dedicated game consoles we're going to see.

01:19:13   I think so, too. And that's partly why I was so pessimistic

01:19:18   about the PlayStation 4 launch, or "launch."

01:19:22   And I know, you know, I called it a shit show. They didn't show the box, didn't give a price,

01:19:26   didn't give a thing. And a lot of the response from people who follow games are like, "You

01:19:30   don't know shit about games. Who cares what the box looks like? It's just a box. It can

01:19:36   look like anything. It doesn't matter."

01:19:37   And I see the point of that, that it's a thing you just stick in your media cabinet, and

01:19:42   it doesn't really matter what it looks like. But that's not my point. My point isn't that

01:19:46   I really want to see the box. My point was that they blew all of this press on a thing

01:19:51   that they clearly haven't finished designing yet, right? That they've wasted all of this

01:19:56   energy and attention, and they're clearly not done yet.

01:20:00   That's my point. And I think that they've got to get their shit together,

01:20:04   because if they don't see Apple TV and Apple TV-like devices

01:20:08   as a bigger threat to their PlayStation business than

01:20:12   Xbox, then they're nuts. And I think Microsoft gets it.

01:20:16   I think Microsoft totally sees that Xbox needs to get

01:20:20   more like Apple TV. I tend to agree.

01:20:24   So the thing that you're missing about the PS4, because you don't really follow this stuff, is that they are actually addressing a lot of the reasons why iOS devices are more popular, or not more popular, but why they have such mindshare in the gaming world now.

01:20:38   You know, you'd boot up your PS3, you'd have to wait for, like, ages to get a software update. The games, you'd have to wait for, like, gigabytes to download to patch.

01:20:49   And a lot of the PS4 announcement was about them smoothing out that sort of trouble.

01:20:55   I just don't think they needed to announce it now, though.

01:20:57   I think they should have borrowed a page from Apple and waited until the thing was closer to being done.

01:21:03   And yes, I know that to get the games out, the developers have to be in on the technical details of it and to have games.

01:21:12   And that's not the way they worked out.

01:21:13   But that's, yeah, you do that in the back channels, right?

01:21:15   Yeah, exactly.

01:21:16   And sure, John Carmack is going to know all the details of it because you want to have some awesome game from him on the system.

01:21:23   But you don't do a press event for that.

01:21:27   No, no. I mean, Ubi has dev kits just down the street here. You don't need an event for that.

01:21:33   I don't know why they were trying to show off. Maybe they were scared of Microsoft. I don't know.

01:21:38   I don't follow that sort of side of the industry as much as I used to.

01:21:41   But you know how Google always tries to announce...

01:21:44   Remember they did the 3D maps before Apple announced their maps?

01:21:47   It totally feels like that kind of lame, reactionary kind of thing.

01:21:51   Right, that they somehow wanted to make an announcement first, whether they were ready to or not.

01:21:56   Yeah, it's just boneheaded.

01:21:59   So yeah, I think Apple TV is interesting.

01:22:03   I think what they need to do is release or beef up their Bluetooth stack

01:22:09   so that people can build controllers to work with games.

01:22:13   Like, let's say Nintendo, the Wii U is not selling great.

01:22:17   I don't think Nintendo should get it out of hardware. What I'd love to...

01:22:21   What could be an interesting path going forward is to make their own controllers that work

01:22:25   with software that you can download onto an Apple TV or whatever

01:22:29   Google happens to have at the time.

01:22:33   I could see something like that. I don't know. But maybe. I don't know.

01:22:37   Because consoles have lasted six, seven years now.

01:22:41   Can you imagine where the Apple TV is going to be in seven years?

01:22:45   Yeah.

01:22:46   Like they iterate relentlessly every year on this kind of stuff.

01:22:50   And it's just going to get more and more powerful.

01:22:53   And the way that the game console business works is totally going to get sideswept by,

01:22:58   if not Apple TV, something like it.

01:23:00   I totally agree.

01:23:03   And I feel like it's difficult to have a six, seven year

01:23:08   project-- almost impossible to have that sort of schedule now.

01:23:12   Yeah.

01:23:13   You can't do it.

01:23:15   It is a good question.

01:23:16   What will Apple TV be like in six or seven years?

01:23:19   It could be tiny, silent, and have incredible graphics.

01:23:24   Yeah.

01:23:25   Because by that time, a 1080p screen

01:23:28   is going to be tiny in terms of pixel count.

01:23:31   I mean, that's nothing.

01:23:32   I mean, we're already close to it on our phones, and some phones actually have it, other brands.

01:23:38   Yeah, I don't know.

01:23:42   I think that you could easily saturate the pipeline to a 1080p TV set six, seven years

01:23:49   from Apple TV.

01:23:50   >>

01:23:50   I mean, you saw what Cable and Panic put up, right?

01:23:55   Yeah.

01:23:56   What's it called? The adapter, the HDMI adapter.

01:23:59   Lightning to HDMI.

01:24:01   Has a little ARM chip in it.

01:24:03   It's a computer.

01:24:05   Running iOS.

01:24:06   Right.

01:24:07   They said, what did they say?

01:24:10   2 MB, or 2 gigabits of RAM.

01:24:16   made you at first it made it sound like it had two gigabytes of RAM which I thought was insane

01:24:20   I thought it had to be wrong and it is wrong it's two gigabits not bytes which is 256 megabytes but

01:24:25   still 256 megabytes of RAM isn't that what the original iPhone had or did the iPhone have 512

01:24:32   I think it could have been 256 I think that it has that the adapter has as much RAM as the original

01:24:39   - Yeah.

01:24:40   (laughs)

01:24:41   This is an adapter too.

01:24:43   And they don't even,

01:24:44   they don't pretend it's anything smart.

01:24:46   - Right.

01:24:47   - But it's running little iOS on it.

01:24:50   So yeah, this, it's,

01:24:51   you know, Apple TV's going places, I think.

01:24:54   I mean, you could easily cram Apple TV

01:24:57   - Let me see something.

01:24:59   - Within a few years into the,

01:25:00   that kind of form factor that you just stick

01:25:02   into the back of your TV and you're done, you know?

01:25:04   - Right.

01:25:04   I mean, maybe the--

01:25:06   - Actually, maybe that's it.

01:25:07   Maybe it's just an HDMI thing,

01:25:08   like it's like little dongles.

01:25:09   dongle you just stick it right in there.

01:25:10   Yeah, would it need power though?

01:25:12   It would need power, right?

01:25:13   Can you get power from HDMI like USB?

01:25:17   This is an interesting question.

01:25:18   I don't know.

01:25:24   This is awesome listening.

01:25:28   Getting power from an HDMI cable.

01:25:32   There's a page here on Stack Overflow that says the original iPhone...

01:25:35   The page...

01:25:36   Go ahead, sorry.

01:25:37   The original iPhone had 128 megabytes of RAM, and it didn't go to 256 until the 3GS, and then the 4 had 512.

01:25:44   The 4S had 512, and now the 5 has a gigabyte? Is that right?

01:25:48   Yeah, that seems to jive with my recollection, yeah.

01:25:51   So the Lightning to HDMI adapter has twice the RAM on the original iPhone.

01:25:57   You know what, though? It kind of makes sense, because they'd need it for a framebuffer, right?

01:26:01   That's insane, though.

01:26:02   That is insane. It's totally crazy, yeah.

01:26:04   Right.

01:26:05   So you know what? So I found this out. HDMI cable supports 5 volts of power.

01:26:10   Huh.

01:26:11   So it's quite possible that you could plug in an Apple TV HDMI dongle.

01:26:16   Right. And then have—you wouldn't see it, but you don't need line of sight because it's going to use Bluetooth instead of IR.

01:26:21   Exactly.

01:26:22   Right.

01:26:24   Oh, man. I think that could be it. That'd be great. The only thing is would be—

01:26:28   And if it's not it, we just designed an awesome product for them.

01:26:30   Right.

01:26:31   You're welcome, guys.

01:26:32   (laughing)

01:26:34   The last item on my list from that talk I gave in 2010

01:26:38   was about box credits, by which I meant

01:26:40   that I thought it might be problematic

01:26:42   and that Apple should go back to letting

01:26:45   the people who make their products

01:26:46   somehow get credit for them.

01:26:48   - Right.

01:26:49   - And that maybe that'll be,

01:26:50   but I do think it ties in with retention too, right?

01:26:53   That if you want to make a name for yourself in your career,

01:26:56   it's really, really hard to do that at Apple

01:26:58   because there's only a handful of executive level

01:27:02   employees who they allow to do so.

01:27:04   Yeah, with the occasional, Mike, I forgot his name again, Randy Uberos, kind of weird

01:27:10   starlet sort of spots, you know?

01:27:12   Right.

01:27:13   And I'm so curious about what the thinking is behind, like, why does Randy Uberos get

01:27:19   to get credit by name and come up and do that, you know, and what's his name does, Jeff

01:27:24   Robbins, the iTunes guy.

01:27:27   There's a handful of guys who get to do that, but very few.

01:27:30   Well, both of those got bought in through purchase, didn't they?

01:27:34   Yeah, but I don't think that's the only explanation.

01:27:36   Well, I think they also sort of...

01:27:38   They're pillars in what Steve loved, right?

01:27:42   He loved iMovie.

01:27:44   He loved iMovie to the expense of chasing down music when he should have, right?

01:27:51   Right.

01:27:51   And then he bought iTunes, and that did really well.

01:27:54   So it's kind of the two pillars of media that sort of get that little...

01:27:58   Right. But it is a… To me, it just plays into your argument though that talent retention

01:28:04   is a problem. And one of the areas that they're clearly weak about, I think, is allowing employees

01:28:10   to take credit. And I'm not saying that they should broadcast it. I'd realize that

01:28:14   marketing-wise, it's much stronger to put Apple behind it.

01:28:18   Designed by Apple in California.

01:28:20   But to me, it's like Pixar is the example where it's… Pixar is way, way more heavily

01:28:25   promoted than any, you know, the directors are, but they certainly give credit to the

01:28:29   directors, you know, and it's not like, you know, and the argument with Apple, the original

01:28:35   argument behind getting rid of about box credits was that it was being used by poachers, recruiters

01:28:42   to poach talent, but that's, and today that's absurd, right, with LinkedIn and I mean, Apple

01:28:48   employees are allowed to have LinkedIn profiles or at least they do have them and whether

01:28:52   I mean, the idea that that's what recruiters need, that recruiters can't poach from Apple because the apps don't have about box credits. It defies belief. It's goofy.

01:29:03   I mean, not to mention the legal deals, not to cross recruit people.

01:29:08   Right. If a recruiter looks at an Apple product, just pick an app, and says, "I want to see if I can hire some people who wrote this for Apple." They're going to find out who it was. It's not that hard.

01:29:20   Yeah, no, it's not hard. Yeah, I'd like to see about box credits. I don't know if that's such a big deal. I don't know if people care really anymore.

01:29:27   Yeah, I don't know.

01:29:29   Like, it used to be a big thing. Like, I would love to see my name in the credits.

01:29:33   Right.

01:29:34   I don't know if people care that much anymore. Maybe they do. I don't know.

01:29:38   I don't know. I would like to know. I don't know. I like credits. I sit through the credits in the movies, you know.

01:29:44   - Yeah, me too, very much so.

01:29:46   But what I like about this is that you're right,

01:29:50   this is another form of retention, right?

01:29:52   Like you wanna give people credit for their work

01:29:54   and sort of thank them for spending their talent

01:29:58   on making things for Apple.

01:29:59   - Right.

01:30:00   - So yeah, and I think that's increasingly

01:30:04   gonna be a problem, but we'll see, yeah.

01:30:07   - Anything else to add?

01:30:09   Do you think that the,

01:30:11   I think that that covers the actual problems that Apple faces.

01:30:15   Yeah, this is a good list. I actually forgot that you've given this talk, but it's pretty good.

01:30:19   I don't see

01:30:23   competitive pressure being that much of an issue for Apple.

01:30:27   Do you? I mean, so there's all this market share stuff, but like we were talking at the top

01:30:31   about the watch, it totally depends on how you define a market, right?

01:30:35   I don't think so. I don't think that's the problem, really. I don't think

01:30:39   they have a problem with that. Do you think the share price matters? I don't

01:30:47   really think so. I guess if it fell significantly further, it might, because at some point,

01:30:55   the shareholders could disrupt the actual way that the company is being run, that they'd

01:30:59   have to respond. But part of the advantage of having the amount of cash that they have

01:31:04   is that the share price can't fall that much further.

01:31:07   Right?

01:31:08   Like Apple is--

01:31:09   Well, that's in theory, right?

01:31:10   Like you can't actually have a company that's valued less than its cash pile.

01:31:13   Right.

01:31:14   I guess that is true.

01:31:15   But it gets to the point, though, where it's starting to really get--

01:31:17   It's obviously stupid.

01:31:19   Right.

01:31:20   There's all sorts of ways that the stock price can be irrational, but at a certain level,

01:31:26   it can't get that low on a PE level, right, as long as the earnings stay up.

01:31:31   I think that it's already as low as it is because there's clearly some people who

01:31:34   trade the stock who actually think that their earnings are going to fall.

01:31:38   Whereas I think that the problem, if insofar as it's a problem, is that they're just slow,

01:31:44   the growth is significantly slowing down because they've sat, you know, they've reached a point

01:31:48   where not where the phone market is saturated, but where it's closer to saturated, where it's

01:31:54   more in equilibrium, that they're really just up against the pace at which people around the world

01:32:00   are able to, and are willing to, switch from dumb phones to smart phones.

01:32:06   Whereas they had a couple of years of growth where it was, you know, they weren't near that limit.

01:32:12   Well, yeah, it was explosive, right? It was a whole new thing.

01:32:15   And it just, what used, like, I didn't used to care about smart phones.

01:32:19   I don't know about you. I had like a Motorola, like a Razr.

01:32:22   I remember, I can't remember who wrote it, but somebody wrote a story in like 2006 about,

01:32:28   it might have been, what's his name, the coding horror guy.

01:32:33   Oh, Jeff Atwood.

01:32:34   Yeah, it might have been, and if not, it was somebody who I've filed in my head as being

01:32:38   like Jeff Atwood, but who had a Windows Mobile smartphone, you know, the old Windows Mobile,

01:32:45   and was saying about how amazing it is.

01:32:46   And yes, the phone, you know, and it was like fully aware that the phone is kind of janky

01:32:49   in a lot of ways, in all the ways that like the iPhone came and just blew them away.

01:32:54   But he was just talking about how awesome it is to be able to just Google things whenever

01:32:57   you want.

01:32:58   And that was pretty much his whole argument came down to whoever wrote it, their argument

01:33:02   came down to it's kind of amazing to be able to Google and get Google to answer a question

01:33:07   anytime anywhere.

01:33:09   And that you could do that on this phone and that he can't believe how many, you know,

01:33:13   for all the flaws of these devices, he can't believe that anybody, you know, who could

01:33:17   have one doesn't.

01:33:18   And it did kind of make me think, hmm, maybe.

01:33:22   Then I looked at them and I was like, ugh.

01:33:26   I don't think that the stock price matters that much, because I just don't see how the

01:33:31   P/E value can go much lower than it is now. I think that the company will largely still

01:33:36   continue to be undervalued overall.

01:33:38   Here's one thing. I think that the stock price may have some impact on retention.

01:33:45   I just read my mind. There's another possible problem where if the share price stagnates,

01:33:54   giving out stock options doesn't really mean anything, right?

01:33:59   Right.

01:34:00   I think Microsoft ran into that for a while, too.

01:34:03   Although, yeah, they definitely did.

01:34:06   Because that was, you know, and I remember reading about it.

01:34:09   I think I might have even been in the novel micro-surfs,

01:34:12   where there came a point where the stock was going up, up, up,

01:34:16   and all employees had a lot of options.

01:34:19   But there came a point where when the stock stopped going up, up, up,

01:34:23   that there were like two classes of employees in the company.

01:34:26   They were the ones who were millionaires and the ones who just had nice jobs,

01:34:30   you know, with a good salary.

01:34:31   But you didn't even, you know, and it was just, you know, at a certain point,

01:34:34   the people who'd been there for so long were all, you know,

01:34:38   millionaires many times over in terms of their net worth

01:34:40   because of these options they had.

01:34:41   And the new hires had no hope of getting that.

01:34:44   Right. And then words, you know, everybody, you know,

01:34:46   everybody seemed to realize that.

01:34:48   And so it became a less attractive place to go work.

01:34:51   Because it used to be, for a while it was, if you could get a job at an engineer at Microsoft,

01:34:55   if you did it and you did a good job, within three or four years you'd be a millionaire.

01:35:00   I don't know if a lot of people go to Apple for that kind of financial reward.

01:35:03   No, I don't think so either.

01:35:04   I think they go to, for lack of a better word or phrase, change the world.

01:35:12   That you can work on products at Apple that you can have an effect on people that you can't have anywhere else.

01:35:19   Which interestingly is what Zuckerberg is pitching people now.

01:35:23   I think he's probably right.

01:35:25   Maybe.

01:35:26   Yeah. Well, it's possible.

01:35:28   In a different way, you know?

01:35:29   Right.

01:35:31   It's possible because Facebook, you could probably argue,

01:35:33   has more users than any other thing.

01:35:38   I'd guess so, I don't know.

01:35:39   Google search probably has more, I guess,

01:35:41   but that's just Google search.

01:35:43   I don't think any other Google product has the reach that search does.

01:35:47   No, I don't think anybody is as engaged with any other service more than Facebook.

01:35:51   Right.

01:35:52   Like the most of the people.

01:35:53   And that's a total black hole to me.

01:35:54   I know nothing about it, and I know you're the same way.

01:35:57   It's one of those, like, yeah, kind of feeling like a...

01:36:01   May get blindsided from that.

01:36:02   Right.

01:36:03   Yeah.

01:36:04   Because eventually at some point, me and you were the only two people on the planet who

01:36:07   aren't using Facebook.

01:36:09   Yeah, exactly.

01:36:10   Right.

01:36:11   Could happen.

01:36:12   It's probably going to happen sooner rather than later.

01:36:13   I actually have an account.

01:36:14   I just never check it.

01:36:15   No, I don't even have an account.

01:36:16   Yeah. So there you go, boys and girls. Somebody sign up as Jon Gruber.

01:36:21   I think there are, in fact, a couple of—I don't know if there are even parody accounts,

01:36:25   but—and somebody set up a Daring Fireball account, like an unofficial—for all I know, it's incredibly active,

01:36:31   and there's a thriving group of people commenting on everything I write on the site, and I have never seen it.

01:36:37   I don't know. Somebody wrote—somebody did it, and they wrote to me afterwards, and were like,

01:36:43   like, "I hope you're okay with it." I don't think I ever—I think I gave no answer. I didn't say,

01:36:48   "I'm okay with it." I didn't say, "I'm not okay with it." I just ignored it.

01:36:52   Well, are they taking your stuff or just—

01:36:53   No, no, no. Actually, I don't know. I have no idea. Maybe they are. Maybe they're republished.

01:36:59   I have no idea what it is. I've never seen it. All I know is that there's an unofficial

01:37:04   Daring Fireball account. I don't know. I have no idea what it is. I was going to say, "No,

01:37:12   I think they're just discussing my stuff, but maybe they're republishing it.

01:37:16   So that brings us to something I've been wanting to talk about. I'm selling

01:37:20   Daring Fireball t-shirts. Is that a problem?

01:37:24   Well, as long as you stick to Canada, I guess it's fine.