321: Dumbed Down, Locked Down, and Locked Out


00:00:00   Hope I can't catch this over the microphone. I want your germs. Want your virginian germs.

00:00:07   You know, why is it always got to be about geography? It's not always about geography.

00:00:10   Well, it's so far away. They should be safe from them. They grow in the south where it's warmer. Festers.

00:00:17   Is it like that? That's how we're going to start the show? That's how it's going to be?

00:00:21   I had a pretty good, what was it, a Snell Talk that I submitted. I don't remember what it was now, but I remember being pretty enthusiastic about it.

00:00:29   But Snell did not pick it. I was sad when you were on upgrade, which was good, by the way.

00:00:34   Oh yeah, that was good. You know the way it goes. You get a lot of questions. You can't deal with them all.

00:00:39   Yeah, but mine's the best because it's from me. Naturally. I'll workshop it and try sending it again.

00:00:44   Yeah, right. Oh, why don't you ask me now? That's an excellent question. What was it? It was something along the lines of...

00:00:50   I'm here with a podcast. It's so good, I don't even remember what it was. It was something along the lines of, what do you envy about California other than weather?

00:00:57   Oh yeah, I remember that. You told me that question ahead of time. So what do you envy about California other than weather?

00:01:03   Um... That long of a list, huh?

00:01:07   Easy travel time to WWDC. Easier travel time to WWDC.

00:01:12   I thought you were going to say easy travel time, and I'm like, where are you living in California for this?

00:01:17   That's why I said easier, because depending on where you live in California, it might not be that easy. But definitely it's less than a six hour flight. So there's that.

00:01:24   That's your big envy. I think you had some qualifiers, like you said you can't pick the weather or something. Like, why can't I pick the weather?

00:01:31   Well, because it's a cop-out. That's obvious. Everyone envies California weather.

00:01:34   Well, not all the weather. I mean, sometimes they're on fire for a while and they don't have any water, but...

00:01:39   And there's also the earthquakes. Yeah, it depends on where you are. Like, I feel like if you're in like Sonoma Valley, it's a beautiful place and maybe there's fewer wildfires.

00:01:47   But I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that's all burnt to a crisp now, too. Not much is the real answer.

00:01:53   So anyway, we should start with follow-up from anonymous, who writes, "The power-by-proxy acquisition was about acquiring people in patents, period.

00:02:00   I was at Apple working on wireless charging on iPhone/AirPower starting mid-2015, so I can say that with absolute certainty."

00:02:07   Now, of course, this is an anonymous contributor, so we don't know if that's true or not, but I take this person at their word. And that sounds like we really got wrong info there.

00:02:15   I sent a follow-up question. I mean, we said in the first one that we have no idea if this is accurate or not. And the second one I followed up question is like, I definitely believe that wireless charging and a way to wireless charge phones was at work, you know, that Apple was working on it long before this acquisition.

00:02:30   And I also believe that the acquisition was probably mostly about people in patents, but none of this actually precludes the idea that the acquisition was cemented by power-by-proxy, showing them this cool multi-coil way to put it anywhere on the charge pad.

00:02:44   So I sent a follow-up question. I said, "Oh, you're working on AirPower, but were you just working on like a way to wirelessly charge phones or a way to put them on a mat anywhere? Did you have the overlapping coil things or were you taking a different approach?"

00:02:57   Anyway, I don't know if we'll ever get a reply. So let's just consider it a wash and say we really don't know what happened and as in all these things, we'll have to wait for the tell-all book 50 years from now.

00:03:07   So true.

00:03:08   The important part is that we found a way to talk about AirPower even longer.

00:03:11   That's right.

00:03:12   It's the product that will never die.

00:03:14   This is the song that does not end. All right.

00:03:17   It can't die if it has never lived.

00:03:19   You almost got us a Game of Thrones quote waiting right there for you, but you do watch this show. You do.

00:03:24   Never seen it.

00:03:25   Never seen it.

00:03:26   We're the only people. I'm actually, I'm kind of glad, Casey, that we have this because I didn't think anyone else in the world wasn't seeing it.

00:03:31   It spawned between us.

00:03:33   I figure even you have probably seen it, but nope.

00:03:36   Nope.

00:03:37   Hand on heart, I don't think I've seen more than 15 frames of any episode of any of the seasons of that show.

00:03:44   And it's not from lack of desire.

00:03:46   Nope. Soon the series will be all done and then you can just binge watch it all at once.

00:03:50   It's funny you bring that up because Aaron and I were discussing exactly that, but isn't it something like 70 episodes or thereabouts?

00:03:56   I mean the exact number doesn't matter and each of the episodes is roughly an hour, right?

00:04:00   So that is a serious freaking commitment.

00:04:02   It's fine. It's short. In the scheme of things, it's pretty short because there's not that many episodes per season.

00:04:06   Yes, they are like an hour and 90 minutes and I think this season they're going to be up to two hours or something.

00:04:11   Each episode?

00:04:12   So there's like seven episodes this season. It's easier to get through than The Office, for example, or any other long-running sitcom type thing.

00:04:19   I don't know. We plowed through Scrubs pretty quick and those episodes are 25 minutes or something.

00:04:24   I think it would go fast except for the fact that you can't watch it when kids are anywhere in the vicinity, so that would put a damper on your ability to watch at all.

00:04:30   Well, there's that.

00:04:31   But anyway, What is Dead May Never Die.

00:04:33   Yeah.

00:04:34   That's the correct Air Power reference quote.

00:04:36   Good to know. I feel better having known that.

00:04:40   So wait, so because everyone in that show is always dying.

00:04:43   That is not the origin of the quote. If you watch the show, you will learn this stuff.

00:04:48   Is it actually worth watching or is it not?

00:04:52   Well, did you like the Lord of the Rings movies? Do you like people with swords and armor?

00:04:58   No. I've never seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies or any Harry Potters.

00:05:03   Alright, let me apologize to the two of you for all the email that we are going to get.

00:05:08   Lord of the Rings is not good. It's not worth your time.

00:05:12   Harry Potter, I actually think Harry Potter is worth your time.

00:05:16   The movies, I read the first book, didn't really care for it.

00:05:18   And actually, speaking of books, I read the first 50 pages of Game of Thrones and maybe it's just my feeble brain,

00:05:24   but there were so many different people introduced in the span of 50 pages that I could have had a, what was that, Russell Crowe movie, Beautiful Mind?

00:05:32   Like, style, strings throughout my entire office trying to connect all these people together.

00:05:38   And this was 50 pages in and I just gave up because I just couldn't keep it straight.

00:05:41   It's not that complicated.

00:05:42   I mean, if you like this kind of show at all and you would like a sort of dark, gritty, quote-unquote adult version of that, this is a good implementation of that.

00:05:53   There are some bits of it that are problematic, but in general, the overall story is good, the characters are good, the effects are good.

00:05:59   It is very epic and dramatic. It's like watching a series of short movies.

00:06:03   So, yeah, I would definitely recommend it if you're into that type of thing.

00:06:07   If you can't stand this whole genre or setting or anything about it, or if you can't stand things that are quote-unquote adult for the sake of being quote-unquote adult,

00:06:16   because you get annoyed about, like, gratuitous nudity and violence and other much more problematic things, then maybe skip it.

00:06:23   But you have to know what you're into.

00:06:24   I feel like, and maybe this is just me and getting tired from how terrible politics are in the world,

00:06:33   but I feel like, you know how when you're a kid, you reach a certain age where you start being able to use swear words around your friends.

00:06:43   Ages middle school?

00:06:45   Right, around middle school through probably mid-high school or so.

00:06:50   So you have this period where you've just discovered swear words and you just use them constantly between every word.

00:06:58   I'm still there.

00:06:59   It's just constant. And yeah, and some people never stop.

00:07:01   Casey never grew out of that.

00:07:02   Yeah, but at some point, you're so far past using them for any value, you're just way past that point.

00:07:12   And then, you know, eventually most people, except Casey, eventually grow up and kind of tame it back a little bit.

00:07:18   And you start realizing, oh, actually these should be conserved to some degree so they still have any kind of value whatsoever.

00:07:25   I think that we're going through this, we're kind of at the tail end of this phase with TV.

00:07:30   Because forever, almost any TV couldn't use any kind of swearing or nudity or most extreme violence because it wasn't allowed on broadcast networks.

00:07:40   And then cable networks kind of slowly opened the gate.

00:07:42   And then eventually the premium networks like HBO and then direct-to-streaming services like Netflix originals really blew the doors open.

00:07:52   And I feel like now, cursing, nudity, and violence are so cheap in TV production.

00:08:00   There's pretty much no reason not to use them for most shows now.

00:08:03   There's nothing holding them back.

00:08:04   And they have overused them so much, like the middle schooler who just discovered swear words.

00:08:09   Now, every show, seemingly, is just filled with gratuitous nudity and violence and swearing that doesn't really necessarily need to be there and doesn't really add anything.

00:08:19   And it seems like they're just pushing that button because they're still too happy to push that button. You know what I mean?

00:08:25   Well, that was the HBO formula.

00:08:27   And if you watch any of the most popular HBO shows of the past decade or so, episodes one, two, and three are of any series of the most likely to have gratuitous nudity.

00:08:37   And then they back it off because they want to get you a doke.

00:08:40   And in general, that type of thing sells.

00:08:42   But I think now, at this point, especially with the diversity of stuff like Netflix or whatever, that it's deployed more strategically.

00:08:49   There are genres of show where it's not appropriate and it's not there.

00:08:53   Like, if it really was the extreme case, you'd have shows that are something like, I don't know, like PEN15 I watched recently, which is basically a sitcom.

00:09:04   And it would be filled with gratuitous nudity because why not?

00:09:06   Like, there's no reason not to.

00:09:08   But they didn't because they're like, oh, that doesn't fit for this show.

00:09:10   But on the other hand, if it's supposed to be a sort of gritty incarnation of something, they're going to have the mega ultra violence and nudity and everything because they're trying to show that this is a world where life is cheap and blah blah blah.

00:09:24   So I think it is used appropriately.

00:09:26   It just so happens that a lot of the initial set of prestige shows were all in genres where it's appropriate, like The Sopranos or The Wire.

00:09:33   I'm thinking mostly of violence here, but the whole point of the show is like people are killing each other all the time.

00:09:38   And of course they're going to make the violence look brutal because that's part of the pitch of the show is we're not going to kind of like smooth over the violence.

00:09:46   We want you to see exactly how ugly it is.

00:09:48   The nudity is much more problematic because very often it's just there to titillate the viewer and it's kind of pointless.

00:09:53   But I don't, you know, we're not at the point where just like a random family drama is going to have nudity in episodes one and two to hook the viewers.

00:09:59   I hope we're pretty much past that by now.

00:10:01   But Game of Thrones is the kind of show where it's, I'm not going to say it's appropriate, but let's say it fits with the show.

00:10:08   I felt like Breaking Bad, which I loved, gosh did I love that whole series, but I felt like the violence was often a bit gratuitous in that.

00:10:16   Like I think some of it was, I agree with the premise of what you're saying, Jon, that a show like that is trying to show the violence for what it really is or ostensibly.

00:10:24   I mean, I don't know, one way or the other.

00:10:26   Or it wants you to feel uncomfortable. Like if you just go, "Yeah, yeah, you got shot and a fake bullet went off."

00:10:33   You have to feel it in the same way, or closer to the same way that you would feel if you were actually experiencing it, you know?

00:10:38   Yeah, yeah, I agree. But I felt like there were times that it was just there to be, I don't know, not noteworthy isn't the word I'm looking for, but...

00:10:46   Well, sometimes they bring it over into the comedy value. Yeah, you're horrified by it, but occasionally there is a comic effect like in Breaking Bad, the thing with the bathtub and everything,

00:10:54   which is gross, but it's also kind of darkly funny, but that's the whole Breaking Bad thing.

00:10:58   It's like scary and gross, but also darkly funny, but then you feel bad about thinking that it's funny.

00:11:03   And then, yeah, Game of Thrones is much more straightforward. It's people with swords and armor and big scary things and they kill each other.

00:11:10   It's very much a sort of medieval fantasy setting, but not cleaned up.

00:11:16   Not like, "Oh, King Arthur, and we are great people with swords, and I bop you with my sword and you are defeated."

00:11:20   It's like, no, people are going to be dismembered and killing people with swords is inherently a lot less clean than shooting them with a bullet.

00:11:28   Fair enough. Wow, this went right off the rails.

00:11:31   Anyway, it's a good show if you like the kind of thing. You should absolutely watch it. Just don't watch it anywhere near kids.

00:11:36   Fair enough. I do want to at least try Game of Thrones. Like I said, I began the books and I didn't care for the books, but I'd like to at least try the series.

00:11:44   I was thinking about this the other day. I like the story and the character so much that I actually wish there was a cleaned up version that took out some of the worst parts.

00:11:54   Because the story itself, if you just take all that out and, you know, I mean, still there, still help people get killed and whatever,

00:12:01   but take out most of the gratuitous nudity and make some of the violence be off screen.

00:12:06   Because I'd like to show it to my kids because I think it's a fun story, but I absolutely can't. So that's a bummer.

00:12:11   I don't know. I'm in the midst of watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine for the first time and I've been enjoying that quite a bit.

00:12:16   Not a lot of dismemberment in that one. Nope, not nearly as much.

00:12:19   Our final bit of follow up, because guess what? We're still in follow up.

00:12:23   Our final bit of follow up is with regard to one of Jon's Macs. Now, is this the one that is twice as old as my child or is this the iMac?

00:12:33   I was talking to somebody on this very computer that I'm talking about today because they were saying how they weren't fans of Apple monitors.

00:12:41   And I was like, I love Apple monitors, you know, and I was going to say I have one at home that's super old like the one I'm looking at right now.

00:12:47   But I realized the one I'm sitting in front of at work is also now 10 years old. Just the monitor.

00:12:53   The monitor is the Apple 24 inch LED display, which I believe I got in 2009 with my then 2009 Mac Pro.

00:13:02   Anyway, at work I have a 2017 MacBook Pro. That is the one that is updated to the latest, greatest version of the US.

00:13:10   Therefore, it has Apple News and I mentioned several shows back that it crashes on launch. I just wanted to update everybody and say it still crashes on launch.

00:13:17   I have never successfully launched Apple News. I did at one point see the window appear briefly that said Apple News, but then it crashed.

00:13:23   Nice.

00:13:24   So to this day, Apple News continues to crash on launch. I really thought by now like if it's a data thing that they would have cleaned up the data or they have some corrupted CDN or like they would have fixed this or released some kind of point update or whatever.

00:13:36   But nope, Apple News crashes forever. I launched it today like 17 or 18 times just to send all the crash reports. Just to say hello, I'm here.

00:13:45   Well, I hope that that gets fixed soon because I mean how would you even know if it gets fixed if you can't read it on the news?

00:13:55   Yeah, I don't care if it gets fixed. I just think it's not great that they're letting some whatever my problem is go on that long.

00:14:02   And I saw the other day on my calendar that I had a reminder in there for me to cancel my Apple News subscription, which is rapidly approaching.

00:14:09   I got to do that.

00:14:10   And I realize I have just not used Apple News. So yes, I should definitely cancel it because I'm just not using it.

00:14:15   It seems like a good choice.

00:14:17   On my phone where it doesn't crash on launch, I mean.

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00:16:28   Netflix no longer supporting Airplay.

00:16:35   Now I have seen a lot of back and forth about this and honestly I don't get what is happening here.

00:16:44   Like I understand that Netflix doesn't support, you know, beaming via Airplay. I get that.

00:16:48   But I've heard so many people unequivocally say, "No, the reason is this."

00:16:53   But there's been like eight different reasons.

00:16:55   So do you guys have any read on what either what you know or what you expect the justification is behind this?

00:17:02   Well, I mean, at first you say, "Oh, I understand what the issue is."

00:17:07   But I had to read the story a couple times just to figure out what the issue is.

00:17:10   And as far as I can tell, and you can correct me if you think I'm wrong about this, is that say you have the Netflix app on your phone.

00:17:16   But you don't want to watch Netflix on your phone because the screen is small and you're in your house and say your house has an Apple TV hooked up to your television.

00:17:24   Or you have one of those fancy new TVs that supports Airplay.

00:17:27   Can you from the Netflix app on your phone use Airplay to send the image to your television?

00:17:32   Apparently that's a thing you used to be able to do and now it is a thing that you can't do because Netflix has decided they don't want to let you do it.

00:17:38   Is that everyone's understanding of what the deal is here?

00:17:40   That was my understanding, yes.

00:17:42   That basically if you try to present the video that is sourced on an iOS device to anything else via Airplay, it will no longer work.

00:17:51   So first of all, the idea of voluntarily watching Netflix that way does not match my value system, let's say.

00:18:00   Netflix is already heavily compressed and then Airplay itself adds another layer of compression.

00:18:07   And if the whole point is I want to see it on a nice TV, it's going to be so filled with compression artifacts and be all gross and everything.

00:18:15   It's not what I would want to do.

00:18:16   But I understand some people, if it's a thing that you can do and you're desperate and you're on vacation and you just want to beam a thing of TV, it's kind of a cool thing to do and maybe watch a show where you don't care about compression artifacts.

00:18:25   This is a sitcom or something.

00:18:27   Fine, I get it.

00:18:28   The only thing I think I agree with most of the other people who have had opinions about this that I agree with is that Netflix's stated reason doesn't make any sense.

00:18:42   So Netflix and their PR has their reason, which is they want to make sure our members have a great Netflix experience on any device they use.

00:18:51   And with Netflix rolling out to third-party devices, there is no way for us to distinguish between devices or certify these experiences.

00:18:57   You don't want an uncertified experience, do you?

00:18:59   So it's clear that this reason is dumb and bad.

00:19:03   So fine, dismiss the PR.

00:19:06   The PR is like what you say that makes it seem like you're looking out for customers.

00:19:09   But customers know you're not looking out for me.

00:19:11   If this is the thing I want to do, why are you stopping me from doing it?

00:19:14   We don't want your experience to be bad.

00:19:16   So then you have to figure out what is the real reason.

00:19:19   And that's where I think there's lots of disagreement.

00:19:21   I think everyone agrees that Netflix's stated reason is bogus, but there are lots of theories about why would you stop it?

00:19:26   Why do you even care, Netflix? Do you care?

00:19:29   And so there are many theories.

00:19:31   One of them is a data tracking thing where before, Netflix could tell what device you were beaming to and now they can't.

00:19:39   And they're like, "Oh, that information is valuable to Netflix for some reason."

00:19:42   I guess for the same reason all information is valuable because they want to know what you're watching, how long you're watching, what device you're watching it on.

00:19:47   That could help Netflix in its various negotiations with getting their client on different devices.

00:19:52   Why is someone using their phone to beam to it versus using the Netflix app that's built into the Apple TV or builds into their television?

00:19:58   I don't know.

00:19:59   But that explanation I feel like is, does Netflix care that much about what device you're using?

00:20:05   I'm sure they would like that info. They like all info.

00:20:07   I'm sure it helps. I'm trying to think of how strategically it's so important that Netflix would be willing to piss off its customers by removing the feature entirely.

00:20:14   Well, there's a couple angles there.

00:20:16   I mean, number one is I don't know how many of their customers they're pissing off with this because I don't think that many customers are airplaying Netflix to TVs.

00:20:25   Because almost everything that you would airplay to can run a Netflix app.

00:20:29   So it's not like that common of a use case.

00:20:32   And then secondly, there's all sorts of Netflix playing devices like the Apple TV that I don't think give Netflix the information of what TV it's playing to.

00:20:42   Well, they know they're playing to an Apple TV.

00:20:44   That's the bit of information that they would be losing.

00:20:47   Because I think now the way airplay works is you can't even tell whether it's sending to an Apple TV versus something else.

00:20:52   I believe that's right.

00:20:53   And I think that's the change that they're complaining about.

00:20:56   I think this is a change where you used to be able to tell.

00:20:58   Either they could either used to be able to tell or they could tell just because that's the only thing you could beam to.

00:21:02   But now that airplay is everywhere, I think they asked Apple, "Hey, can we get information about what they're airplaying to?"

00:21:07   That's the theory behind this.

00:21:09   And as far as the use case, I understand that if you can beam to it, you can probably also use the Netflix app.

00:21:15   But that makes me think that it makes the information more valuable.

00:21:18   Is it because they might want to know, "Why are people airplay beaming to this device when they could just use the app?

00:21:23   Is it because the app on this TV sucks and that's a barrier where we have to look into something?"

00:21:26   But again, I don't think that information is so valuable.

00:21:29   It just seems like a weird move.

00:21:33   Some theories that it's a licensing issue, like a copy protection thing because of all the HDCP, whatever, garbage copy stuff where the entire chain from the signal source to the destination has to be certified.

00:21:47   And if you can't tell what you're airplaying to, you can make like a fake airplay target.

00:21:51   And these arguments always... I haven't seen one of these in years and it was funny to see this pop back up again from various people saying they don't want to do this because they're afraid it will let people intercept the video from Netflix and pirate it.

00:22:06   And this reason is hilarious for the same reason it's always been.

00:22:10   All the people who have said we... The whole reason why you have DRM and these HDMI things with these big trusted passes is like, "Well, if we didn't do that, people could pirate our show."

00:22:19   Everything you want to protect is already pirated.

00:22:23   There is no... You can make... "We have to do this otherwise people could capture it. Good thing we did this DRM or other people could..."

00:22:30   What are you protecting? Name the thing you're protecting and I'll find the pirated version of it.

00:22:34   It doesn't matter. I don't know where these pirate things are coming from, but you allowing a double, triple stream thing or the analog hole or whatever.

00:22:42   People are getting these programs probably in a higher quality than intercepting the stream already.

00:22:48   There's no point in you destroying the user experience for regular people to "prevent piracy of something that is already pirated everywhere."

00:22:56   And will be and there's literally nothing you can do to stop it.

00:22:59   Because they get like... I don't even know where they're pirating from. Are they getting it from screeners? Are they getting the original files off of the hard drives of the production?

00:23:07   That's what it seems like sometimes. And it's like they're worried about making sure that the entire path from video source to television is this trusted, hand-shaped, copy-protected DRM thing inside of the game.

00:23:17   Inside millions of people's homes. And really what happens is if you have something, if you're a nerd and you're trying to play something and your Mac won't play it on your TV, or you try...

00:23:28   This happens to me. You try to screenshot something in the HBO Go app on your iPad and realize you get a black screen because you were just trying to make a meme or send a funny thing to a friend or whatever.

00:23:38   You pay for all this stuff. I pay for HBO. I pay for all these different services. I have the app. I have the television. I have ways to view this on every single device in the house.

00:23:48   And yet some DRM thing thwarts me from taking a screenshot. Because what would happen if I could take a screenshot of HBO? I could take 24 screenshots a second and then pirate the show that way.

00:23:57   I don't know what they're thinking would be bad about it. And you know what my recourse is if that ever happens? Or if, like I said, my Mac won't play to my television because it's not a trusted connection because Macs don't do all that stuff?

00:24:08   I just go get the pirate version and screenshot that. And it's like, "What pirate version? There couldn't possibly be a pirate version because we don't allow you to..." Of course there's a pirated version. I just go get it and screenshot it.

00:24:19   That's the solution to all this stuff. So I haven't seen this argument in years. I thought everyone was on the same page, but still people believe that... And I really hope Netflix isn't on this page.

00:24:28   I hope Netflix also understands that everything on the entire service is pirated. Most people, it's more convenient to just pay for Netflix and that's their business model.

00:24:36   And that should be their business model. Just like Steve Jobs said back in the day, the iTunes Music Store was not competing with CDs, it was competing with piracy.

00:24:44   So it has to be easier than piracy. And that's why it was a success. I think Netflix is easier than piracy. And that's one of the many reasons it's a success.

00:24:52   So just remove all the DRM, stop all this crap, let us do what we want with it, and everybody will be happier eventually.

00:24:59   Is there a third theory? Does anyone have a third theory for this? Besides the stupid DRM thing and the "can't certify the experience" thing and the data collection thing?

00:25:09   I've heard also, kind of related to the DRM thing, I've heard that if they can't certify that you're sending it to a TV, that could cause license breaking with the content providers.

00:25:21   That they might have certain terms in their contract where it has to only be shown on TVs or something like that.

00:25:26   I forget the details of what people were saying, but it could potentially cause a contract breach in some way if they can't tell what you're playing it on or to.

00:25:37   That's kind of like the transitive property of the stupidity. That it's not Netflix being stupid. Netflix understands that it's stupid, but because they're in deals with content owners who are not as enlightened as Netflix, then they're beholden to that.

00:25:51   I almost feel like if that was the case, maybe Netflix would say that. Maybe they just don't want to piss off the people. But I actually find that the most plausible explanation.

00:25:58   Even though I made fun of the Netflix BS reason, like the whole certified bias blah blah blah, I still don't think that's the reason, but I sympathize with that.

00:26:07   Because if you're a Netflix, part of the value proposition of your service is you do want it to look good for people.

00:26:14   That's why Netflix was pushing so hard into 4K, and I assume eventually Netflix will be pushing much harder into HDR.

00:26:20   And Netflix doesn't want to compress things any more than they have to. Netflix does want stuff to look as good as it possibly can.

00:26:29   And Netflix also knows probably better than anyone that everyone's TV is miscalibrated and all screwed up and everything.

00:26:34   And so they want to do everything they can to get the best picture to people, but that's always true.

00:26:41   And I don't think AirPlay is the least of those concerns.

00:26:44   Reminding how many people are doing it is still not the common case. But I do sympathize with that notion that regardless of this particular issue,

00:26:54   that Netflix would want more information from Apple so it could do a better job of displaying its stuff well on the various devices that it plays on.

00:27:01   It just seems an odd choice to me. There's got to be a reason, like we've been discussing, but it just seems odd.

00:27:08   And also, is it so terrible to just say what the real reason is? I don't know.

00:27:13   Obviously it is. Whatever the real reason is, is it too embarrassing or too petty or if it's the legal thing and they don't want to piss off the content owners.

00:27:21   And sometimes companies do dumb things. It could be that they actually really believe that the certification thing is the reason and they're super dedicated and standing on principle to getting the best picture policy.

00:27:32   So they're doing this out of spite. I mean, that would be a mistake and that sounds kind of dumb, but companies sometimes do dumb things.

00:27:41   So I suppose you can't discount it entirely. They're being honest about their own dumb reason.

00:27:46   And we're like, "That can't possibly be true because companies surely are smarter." But as the demotivational poster says, "None of us is as dumb as all of us."

00:27:56   Oh man, I haven't seen one of those in a long time. That's good stuff.

00:27:59   Meetings. That was that Meetings poster?

00:28:01   I think that's right. Yep.

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00:30:13   The great iTunes breakup. Fingers are crossed. Toes are crossed. We'll see what happens here.

00:30:20   So this is according to 9to5Mac and then according to sources familiar with the development of the next major version of Mac OS.

00:30:27   The system will include standalone music, podcasts, and TV apps.

00:30:32   And it will also include a major redesign of the Books app.

00:30:35   The new music, podcasts, and TV apps will be made using Marzipan.

00:30:37   It is not clear whether the redesigned Apple Books app will also be made using Marzipan or not.

00:30:41   This has been no small part because of Guy Rambo and Steve Shouten Smith and some others as well.

00:30:47   But we actually also have icons for podcasts and Apple TV, which look good.

00:30:52   I actually, I have such mixed feelings about iTunes. I don't use it that often anymore.

00:30:58   Almost all my music listening is done on Spotify these days.

00:31:01   And so because of that, I think I don't have as much anger toward iTunes as a lot of other people do.

00:31:06   But I think it is long since time we broke up iTunes into its constituent components.

00:31:12   Because it is one thing that does everything.

00:31:14   You know, it is the jack of all trades, master of definitely none.

00:31:17   And this is very exciting and interesting.

00:31:20   And I also think that if, especially for music, if Apple is dogfooding Marzipan, that's a good thing and a good sign.

00:31:28   I mean, obviously they already are. That's the only thing that is using Marzipan.

00:31:31   Some of Apple's own apps.

00:31:32   But it's Apple's apps that not as many people are using.

00:31:36   And so when things like, when music is using Marzipan, I think that's very good and very healthy.

00:31:43   But I don't know. I feel like, I don't know between Marco and John which one of you listens to iTunes the most.

00:31:49   I would guess it's Marco. So let me start with you.

00:31:52   Marco, how do you feel about this?

00:31:54   I think we're going to look back on this time and we're going to on some level think, "Oh, we were such fools we didn't realize what we had."

00:32:04   That's interesting.

00:32:05   We've been talking for years. Everyone in the Apple commento sphere has been talking for years, I'm sorry, about how terrible iTunes is.

00:32:15   And how they should break it up or rewrite it or whatever else.

00:32:19   And this has been a topic on the show in the past before because it's such a common attitude.

00:32:25   But, like I did an experiment a few years ago. I forget why, but for some reason I looked into alternatives to iTunes on the desktop.

00:32:33   Like what other Mac apps can play a library of music?

00:32:38   I think I remember this. I think we talked about it on the show.

00:32:40   We did. And I tried whatever was out there at the time, which was probably two or three years ago.

00:32:44   There were a couple of apps that were basically like re-implementations of iTunes that weren't very good.

00:32:51   And that iTunes was the best player to play a library of music for most needs.

00:32:58   Right now, today, I still use iTunes.

00:33:01   And it's frustrating because every time Apple touches iTunes they make it significantly worse.

00:33:07   Basically every iTunes update for the last five years at least has moved stuff around and redesigned stuff that didn't need to be redesigned.

00:33:18   Removed features. That's what they've been doing lately is removing features.

00:33:21   Which is good in some senses. Like you're getting rid of stuff that's bad.

00:33:24   And all I've heard from my non-tech nerd friends and relatives is whatever feature Apple just removed from iTunes is the one they used and they're angry.

00:33:32   Right, exactly. And so iTunes, it's clear that Apple shouldn't be touching it anymore because every time they touch it they make it worse.

00:33:41   And it's a good thing they don't touch it very often. So it doesn't usually come up.

00:33:45   But it does occasionally come up.

00:33:47   So that's problem number one is that they seem incapable of updating it. So that makes sense.

00:33:52   And yes, it is full of a lot of legacy, crufty stuff.

00:33:55   And yes, it is one app that's doing way too much.

00:33:59   But it is still the only way to manage a library of music on the Mac that's very good.

00:34:05   And it isn't just music. If you happen to also want locally downloaded movies that aren't pirated, it's still either the best or the only option to get a lot of legal stuff on a Mac without gripping your own Blu-rays and stuff.

00:34:18   Which is questionably legal.

00:34:20   Anyway, but if you want to buy a movie and have it delivered to your computer and take it on a trip with you, you can do it on an iPad.

00:34:26   But if you want to bring a Mac with you, iTunes is how you do that.

00:34:30   And so it's still the only app that does a lot of this stuff.

00:34:34   Now, in this likely future, likely near future, in which the Mars Japan iOS apps kind of replace iTunes on the Mac for things like music, movies, stuff like that.

00:34:46   Or TV, excuse me. Music, TV, I don't care about books.

00:34:50   That's nice from a few perspectives. It's nice in that they're moving things again and they're giving us more options on the Mac and everything.

00:34:58   But those apps, and I'm focusing mostly on music here because I don't do too much with the others.

00:35:05   But focusing on the music app, the iOS music app is still designed in the old principle, like when the iPhone first came out.

00:35:17   The recommended wisdom of how you were supposed to design iOS apps is to literally make them like baby versions of your Mac apps.

00:35:23   To make it so it has as few features as possible, totally stripped down to only what people need the most, and remove everything else.

00:35:32   That was actually how they were supposed to, how we were all told by Apple to design our iOS apps when iOS was new.

00:35:40   And even when the iPad came out, nobody was looking at it as a computer replacement.

00:35:44   Everyone was like, oh, still this should be like the baby version of your real app, which is on the Mac, or the web or something.

00:35:50   And so it's like, for a long time, the design goal of iOS and the direction that we were forced to take and encouraged to take was make this the baby app to your real desktop app.

00:36:02   And over time, what has happened is iOS has taken over the universe and you design for that first.

00:36:09   If you're making an iPad app, that should actually be your full app.

00:36:14   You shouldn't have a baby iPad app to your desktop app, like now the iPad app should be the full blown app.

00:36:19   That's the conventional wisdom today, but it wasn't that way for a long time.

00:36:22   And that's why you saw companies like Apple and big companies like Adobe and Microsoft first making baby apps for iOS before they eventually realized,

00:36:31   oh, these need to be first class, like the main apps. And then maybe we make our desktop version out of the iOS version, as like what kind of happened with iWorks reboot.

00:36:41   But anyway, the problem is that that design thinking of this should only do the minimum number of things, that's still there.

00:36:51   That is still like the design thought and design strategy that is leading the industry and is leading Apple.

00:36:58   Apple is now designing with basically subtraction as a feature, and that's infected the entire company.

00:37:05   The entire company, hardware and software, are now shoving on everyone less is more, even when it isn't.

00:37:14   And that's why you have things like various port removals and feature removals and software removals and hardware removals.

00:37:22   Some of them are necessary and a lot of them aren't. That obsession with removing things and offering you as little as possible has thoroughly taken over the company and a lot of the industry.

00:37:33   But the problem is, if you use one of the things that is being taken away in the name of minimalism or whatever, minimalism is the laziest form of design,

00:37:43   if you use one of those things, you're just out of luck, you're left in the cold. And we're in this crazy era now where the hardware is more powerful than ever.

00:37:56   We have amazing hardware, the software at the OS level is more capable than ever, we have amazing frameworks, we have amazing technologies that we can use,

00:38:06   but at the user level of software, everything is just being dumbed down, locked down and locked out.

00:38:14   Your computer now is capable of doing more than ever, but you are permitted to do less than ever with it.

00:38:22   This philosophy, the combination of lock everything down, keep the users out, don't let them do anything, along with minimalism as this lazy design trend of everyone thinks,

00:38:32   just take everything away, that makes it good design, has led us to this place now where we just keep getting less is more shoved down our throats.

00:38:41   It costs more too, by the way, but we're getting less, so it's wonderful. We're in a great place.

00:38:46   So now, bring all this ranting down to what's going on, what's about to happen to iTunes.

00:38:52   iTunes is going to be replaced, and yeah, it'll probably live on in the utilities folder for a little while, but that's probably not going to be there for very long.

00:38:59   Ask anybody who is still using QuickTime 7, because it still does a whole lot of things QuickTime X or X never did,

00:39:06   and QuickTime 7 is going away now, it won't run on the next version of Mac OS and we're just out of luck.

00:39:11   If you use it, too bad, right? You have to use this new thing that has fewer features.

00:39:15   It's going to be the exact same thing. iTunes is going to stick around in the utility folder probably for maybe a few years, and then it won't run anymore.

00:39:23   We'll be stuck with what we have now in the music app and then wherever that app goes in the future, like however they evolve it,

00:39:30   but the iOS music app is terrible, and maybe it's just me, I don't know, I don't think I'm alone in this.

00:39:37   It's pretty bad on the iPhone, it's really bad on the iPad, because they did such a half-assed job adapting it to the iPad,

00:39:43   and I'm assuming they're about to do a similarly half-assed job adopting the iPad app to the Mac.

00:39:49   So we're replacing iTunes, which, while it has a bunch of weird cruft and a bunch of different views and a bunch of different designs that shouldn't be there,

00:40:00   you can toggle it into, like, I like to keep iTunes in the songs mode, which is, it's the mode that used to be the only mode that you could view your music in.

00:40:10   And just have that with the two, I have the artist and album, like little top panes in the top third of it, and the bottom is the column of music organized by album by artist/year, the one true sorting method.

00:40:22   And that is a pretty good music player. There's nothing like that on iOS.

00:40:27   We're about to get the iOS music app replacing this pretty good local library music player on the Mac.

00:40:35   And it doesn't do that very well. And there's a whole lot of local music library stuff it doesn't do at all right now.

00:40:40   Like in the version we know on iOS today, it really doesn't at all allow you to do things like edit metadata, even display most metadata.

00:40:49   You can't import MP3s. And you might think, "Oh, no one does that anymore." I do it. Someone does it. People do it.

00:40:58   And there's always something. iTunes does so many things, and as John said, there's always, there's somebody who uses all these features.

00:41:06   It's just not the same features for everybody. So if iTunes is being replaced with this version that has like 10% of its features, which I don't think is an unreasonable estimate,

00:41:19   almost everyone who uses iTunes today is going to be affected by that in some way. And we're probably never going to actually get any of that back.

00:41:29   How likely is it that today's Apple, which struggles greatly to make first-party apps, especially on the Mac,

00:41:38   how can anybody predict that they are going to do things like add in local library importing and add in metadata editing?

00:41:47   It's never going to happen. That's not today's Apple anymore. Again, they can barely make apps anymore.

00:41:53   Apple really has a hard time making apps these days. They're good at the OSes and the frameworks, not the apps.

00:41:59   And so I just can't see any of this stuff coming back. And so if there's enough demand, I assume some, you know,

00:42:07   one of these third-party apps will rise to the occasion and become the new iTunes, or some new thing will come along and become the new iTunes.

00:42:13   Probably not, though. It's probably going to be like, we all just kind of tolerate this and keep the old iTunes around for a while,

00:42:20   and then God knows what after that. And it's hard because there's not a lot of market left because so many people use streaming services now

00:42:30   that if you aren't a streaming service and don't want to use a streaming service, then it's going to be hard for you to offer a music app

00:42:38   that anybody wants to use except other nerds like you and me, but there's apparently not very many of us.

00:42:43   So what's probably going to happen is this is just going to fragment, and it's going to be like Apple's music app that you eventually will lose the ability to import anything into

00:42:55   versus probably Spotify, which I think, I don't know enough about Spotify. Does it have the ability to add your own MP3s to it? I think it does, right?

00:43:05   It does, if I'm not mistaken. On the desktop, I believe it will crawl your iTunes library and leverage that if necessary.

00:43:13   Right, so I'm guessing it's just going to be this big battle now between Apple and Spotify over the next coming years of like,

00:43:19   they're both going to like half-assedly add these features to their music apps, and they're going to half-assedly work on the Mac,

00:43:28   but ultimately I think there are too few people like me who still use a local library as our primary music source for any of the big software companies to care about it,

00:43:42   and also probably too few of us for indie developers to be able to make a decent living if they target it with a custom app,

00:43:49   especially because if I were to make a music app to do this myself, I wouldn't be able to play songs from any streaming services,

00:44:00   because I'm not a streaming service. Who's going to buy that besides me? And maybe Jon, but no one else, right?

00:44:08   I'm sad that this type of app seems to be really going away quickly, and the dawn of these marzipan apps coming in the next version of Mac OS

00:44:18   and the inevitable eventual killing of the ability to run the old iTunes, I worry about how this will affect me.

00:44:27   And it's sad, but I have to realize that this is one area where the tech industry is just moving on.

00:44:35   Consumers have moved on largely, and we will have to go back to using terrible tools to listen to local music libraries, and that's kind of sad.

00:44:44   So I don't think this is great, honestly. I think anyone who looks at this and says, "This is an awesome move,"

00:44:53   it's awesome in the conceptual sense of, "Great, we're finally replacing iTunes."

00:44:59   Except if you think about it really more than like a second, you realize that we're replacing iTunes with things that are worse.

00:45:06   Oh, you don't know that, but I think that is a pretty safe guess. Now, I wonder, and I do want to hear Jon's take on this as well,

00:45:12   but I wonder if we, instead of killing iTunes, what if there was a mythical future wherein all of the superfluous stuff that does not involve music playback goes away?

00:45:27   So maybe there's a music store that's outside of iTunes. Certainly all the iOS device management stuff is outside of iTunes.

00:45:35   Maybe the video stuff even is potentially outside of iTunes. In this magical fantasy world where the only thing within iTunes is music playback,

00:45:46   and I'll even allow that to be Apple Music or local stuff, that wouldn't necessarily be that bad, would it?

00:45:53   I mean, if iTunes came back to just being for music, you know, what was it when MTV2 came out?

00:46:00   They were like, "Oh, this is the MTV where it's actually music videos instead of all the garbage that we put on regular MTV now." You know what I mean?

00:46:05   I wonder, would that satisfy you, do you think, Marco?

00:46:10   I mean, that's basically how I use iTunes now. I hardly ever go to any of the other areas of the app.

00:46:16   I'm almost always in that music songs view, and that's it, and that's iTunes for me, and it works fine for that.

00:46:24   I feel like to me that wouldn't be so bad, and I know a lot of people, I personally don't understand why,

00:46:31   but a lot of people seem to be really upset at the thought of losing smart playlists. I don't really ever use smart playlists, so I can't.

00:46:37   Smart playlists are awesome.

00:46:39   So tell me why, because I clearly have not seen the light on this.

00:46:42   It's a filter. It's a programmable filter. Like right now on the phone you have "recently added," but it's like a handful of baked-in things.

00:46:52   You can create those and anything else you want. If you want to say "recently added," everything recently added, but redefine what "recently" means, you can do that.

00:47:02   If you want to exclude certain types of things or certain artists or whatever, you can do that.

00:47:06   You can have, like I have, let's see, I have "recently added," I also have "recently played." I have "top 25 most played."

00:47:12   I have "my top rated," "general most played." It's a quick way to find iTunes match failures.

00:47:18   Like smart playlists, it's one of those things like, it's a computer.

00:47:25   You have the ability to process billions of whatevers per second.

00:47:30   Use the power of the computer to enable users to do smart things.

00:47:37   Let users access that computing power.

00:47:41   Create features that allow users to not just be dumb consumers of just "I'll take whatever you give me," but let us program our music app in some way, even some little thing.

00:47:51   That's what smart playlists are. Same thing, you know, like mail has smart mailboxes.

00:47:55   Like it's that kind of like smart filter where you can customize what's in it and it live updates.

00:48:01   That's incredibly powerful and lots of people find great uses for that.

00:48:06   And to replace that with either nothing or a very small number of pre-baked smart filters, like "recently played" in the iOS app, that's just, you're taking the power of this computer and you're just wasting it.

00:48:23   You're throwing it away and you're not letting people access the power of their computer.

00:48:28   I just looked on my phone and I have 29 smart playlists. And that hides another weakness of the music app on the phone, which is I have 29 of them, but in the car I use about three of them.

00:48:40   Scrolling through my smart and non-smart playlists to find those three, not easy.

00:48:45   If it knew that every time I'm in the car I play one of those three, or if I could arrange them to the top, or if it would like do something smarter with the UI, that would be nicer.

00:48:53   You mentioned before that we talked about the breakup of iTunes, probably from the first year of the show at the very least.

00:48:59   We've been talking about it forever because iTunes, ever since the dawn of ATP, has been this gigantic monster filled with stuff and an application modal preferences dialog box that has never been eliminated and now looks like never will be.

00:49:10   Not a great app, but I feel like somebody wished on a monkey's paw that iTunes would be broken up into individual apps, right?

00:49:19   Do I have to explain the monkey paw to you too? I realize I'm...

00:49:22   No, is it like the smart ass genie thing where you get your wish but it's terrible in some way?

00:49:27   Yeah, it's one of the canonical stories of you make a wish and the monkey's paw and you get what you wanted but not in the way that you wanted.

00:49:34   So that's exactly what's happening here. We talked about this on Upgrade with Jason and it occurred to me in real time on Upgrade that essentially iTunes, this application that we've been bashing on for years,

00:49:44   it was just this giant bloated thing that needs to be broken up because it's got too much stuff in it and it's bad at all the things that it does and it's just a bad old creaky app.

00:49:52   We want to get rid of that, right? And unfortunately one of us or somebody else mushed on the monkey's paw and we're getting our wish.

00:49:59   And what's actually happening is that iTunes becomes the new QuickTime Player 7, which for people who don't know Mac history, QuickTime Player has been on the Mac for a long time.

00:50:10   The latest version was QuickTime Player 7, that was replaced by QuickTime Player X or X depending on how you want to pronounce it, which was totally different and had vastly fewer features.

00:50:22   But Apple kept shifting QuickTime Player 7 or kept making it downloadable because if you wanted those features you could get them but really you should just use the QuickTime Player that comes with your Mac that is really just a front end for AV Foundation.

00:50:35   And so there became this love, this irrational love of QuickTime Player 7 among old Mac nerds because it was so powerful for a little player app because it revealed the entirety of the QuickTime framework.

00:50:47   You could do all these editing and splicing and copying and pasting and extract tracks and delete tracks and silence them and just do, you know, re-encode video and crop it and change the codecs and do like the entire power of the QuickTime framework was revealed in this one simple player application that was free.

00:51:04   And it was replaced by an app that essentially lets you play movies and trim the ends off them and that's it. Because that's all AV Foundation would do.

00:51:13   And QuickTime is going away and so will QuickTime Player 7 going away but anyway that love for QuickTime Player 7, an otherwise creaky and weird looking old app, the difference is with iTunes we had all these years of hating it and it's switching directly from being hated to, probably quickly, and I agree with Marco, becoming beloved because the app is so powerful.

00:51:33   Because the apps that will replace it are going to be hateful iOS clones.

00:51:37   And I was thinking about like, what is it that's bad about the iOS music app?

00:51:40   Like I just, you know, obviously on the phone it's very limited and you can't fit that much UI but I'm not sure, depending on how far Apple has taken Mars Band, we'll have to see because, you know, the Mars Band apps we have now are like the first ones and for all we know that Apple has come a long way with it.

00:51:53   Or maybe they haven't come a long way, we'll find out.

00:51:56   But conceptually the interface widgets available on iOS are just, I'm not going to say they're more limited but they're a different set than the widgets that are available on MacOS.

00:52:08   This is complicated by the fact that iTunes from its very beginning and its origins as SoundJam, all the way up to today, has always had some weird custom not really using a widget toolkit that you think it's using kind of controls.

00:52:19   At various times iTunes has looked very strange because of that custom UI, sometimes iTunes would look like what the OS is going to look like a little bit later, sometimes iTunes would just look like weird iTunes, but at all times it had strange controls.

00:52:32   But anyway, the strange controls that it's had have been lookalike, workalike versions of standard Mac controls.

00:52:40   Marco mentioned the songs view, which is also how I use it, but one of the major elements of iTunes from the beginning and still today in those more traditional views is a table view with sortable column headers.

00:52:52   Which is a control that as far as I'm aware doesn't exist in the same form on iOS, at least not in a recognizable view.

00:52:59   It doesn't exist at all on iOS and I tried to make one in Overcast and nobody ever finds it.

00:53:04   Obviously there are table views and there are collection views in iOS which are interesting and appropriate for different uses, but that kind of thing with sortable columns and rows, it's appropriate for larger screens.

00:53:17   You don't have room to put that on a phone obviously, maybe on the big iPad you could pull it off, but then maybe the tap targets for the columns.

00:53:23   I can imagine an iOSified version, but the whole point is the power it provides you. That if you have this view, and by the way you can pick which columns you want, you can reorder the columns, you can use some interface to select which columns you would like to see.

00:53:35   Tons of Mac apps have that, whether it's hitting command J to get view options or right clicking on the thing like in Microsoft's application to pick which columns you want to see and then sorting them and then resizing them.

00:53:47   Apple Mail does that, Outlook does that, for all of time anything where you have lots of stuff, lots of email messages, lots of files in the Finder, lots of songs in iTunes and you want to be able to arrange them and deal with them.

00:54:04   Having a table view where you can decide how you want to view that table, how you want to sort it, how much room for each column you want, that type of thing seems like, "Do you need that kind of customizability? That's kind of like options that no one needs. What if you just choose a nice layout and people take it?"

00:54:21   And I met people just do take the default layout, but again, the power of the Mac, the power of having a bigger screen and a precision pointing device should also include the power to do this type of things. In my email applications, since the dawning of GUI email applications,

00:54:37   I know that I like a bunch of little columns on the left for things like red status attachments, whether I replied or whatever, those little tiny columns. Then I want most of the space to be taken up by subject and then I want a from column and then I want a date column.

00:54:53   I want the date column to be small enough to fit the date and the time but no bigger than that and I want the from column to be big enough to fit a reasonable person's name but I want the subject column to be all the rest of the space.

00:55:03   Wait, you put the subject to the left of the from? Yes. Oh my god.

00:55:08   And then I want to have the date as the final thing, usually date sent instead of date received because sometimes you receive them in weird things and I want to know when they were actually sent and then I sort reverse chronological by date sent. Anyway, whatever. That's my arrangement that I use.

00:55:21   I can do that in basically any Mac mail application and I've used many, many Mac mail applications over the years because that's just the way I like to do it and it's not like all those Mac mail applications had to anticipate my need or I could only use the one Mac mail application that shows the mail the way I like it.

00:55:38   They all just use fairly standard facsimiles of sortable table view with customizable headers. Very often they come out of the box with all sorts of columns I don't even care about. The archive flag, category, you know, all sorts of stuff that I'm not interested in.

00:55:56   I just remove those columns and I rearrange the ones that I want there and I size them the way I want and that's how you make it. That's again the power of the Mac. I'm not saying that's a pro application feature but if you care about your applications and your working environment, it's a great relationship where the application maker doesn't need to either make one size fit all or anticipate everyone's needs. They just need to use a standard flexible control and then the user is empowered to either accept the developer's defaults and not have to decide about it at all or make it the way they want it.

00:56:25   And also I should add that it is incumbent upon the application developer on the Mac to make sure that if the user does resize all those columns, rearrange them, change the sorting order, and do all that stuff, that you remember that they did it.

00:56:38   So the next time they launch the application it's the way they put it because if it's not they're never going to do that again and your application is essentially broken.

00:56:44   All this is to say that iTunes is basically just a big table view with column things and a bunch of different views that you can arrange and blah blah blah and I do arrange my views in iTunes the way I want them to be arranged and the things that I want to sort on.

00:56:57   And that's basically what makes iTunes to me. And because iOS doesn't even have that control at all, I can't imagine Apple trying to re-implement that control with custom controls because that just seems crazy. They should implement that control in iOS so it can be used in iPad's apps but I don't think they will.

00:57:16   And that means the music application can't do the basic functionality of the most basic view of iTunes, the one and only view on the original implementation of iTunes.

00:57:28   It can do all sorts of collection views with album covers. It can do the really anemic list view that you see on the iPad or on a phone of music. But those things don't give you any of the power.

00:57:40   Another example, smart playlists, we just talked about them. How much of a pain in the butt is it to make any kind of playlist in iOS music let alone making complicated smart playlists?

00:57:49   I think still some smart playlists don't sync, or maybe I'm thinking of photos, some smart playlists in some apps don't even sync to the iOS versions at all, let alone let you be able to make one.

00:57:59   Some of Apple's applications with very smart things or third party applications on the Mac let you make smart, you know, safe searches essentially with nested Boolean logic where you can say, you know, was taken in London and was with this camera or with that camera.

00:58:17   Right, it's a compound logical condition, it's not just a bunch of conditions and a bunch of conditions or it's basically as parentheses. That's extremely powerful. You can simulate that in iTunes by saying condition A or in smart playlist B and smart playlists please your parenthesized expression.

00:58:33   This sounds all super nerdy but it's actually not that complicated. And even though it's something that a lot of people won't do, it's one of the situations where they might not do it or know to do it, but people want it like I will be over a relative's house and they will say,

00:58:50   can you just make a thing that shows me all the pictures of my kids but not the ones taken on my phone? Like if it even occurs to them to ask for that, or they might just say wistfully like it would be cool if I could just see that and it's like, you know what, you actually can do that.

00:59:04   And I know maybe you don't know how to set it up that way, but I can make that view for you and it just appears in your sidebar. And then you're like, Oh, great. I love this application now. Can you make me want to do this? Can you make me want to do that?

00:59:14   And soon they have five smart playlists that they never touch again for the rest of their life but that constantly provide utility to them. That again, I would say is the power.

00:59:22   And I mean, it's not like Mark always make it sound like it's the computing power or whatever. It's basically the power of the form factor of having all this room on the screen to put all these kinds of controls, having a precision pointing device, having all these controls, these Mac like controls out of the box for context menus, dialogue boxes, the menu bar, all that other stuff.

00:59:41   To make complicated, powerful applications that are simple enough that if you don't care about any of this stuff, you can just use it and it works. Like people were playing their music on iTunes 1.0, but it's complicated enough that if there's something you want to do with it, you probably can do it.

00:59:54   Or if you can't do it, someone can do it for you and set it up and then hopefully it syncs to all your devices or whatever. Like this goes back to the Gruber thing from years ago that the heaviness of Mac OS allows iOS to be light or something similar like that.

01:00:08   A lot of the features of the music app on iOS exist because there's a thing that you can do in iTunes on the Mac that then is reflected on the phone, but that you can't actually do on the phone. Like lots of the smart playlist setup is like that.

01:00:23   That's not tenable if you take away the place where you can do all that stuff. If you take away iTunes and replace it with the music app on the Mac, then suddenly you can't do these things anywhere. And if you legacy have them synced into your iCloud, whatever, then maybe you have them, but how are you going to create new ones?

01:00:41   I think the only thing I'm optimistic about is I think there has to be a way to add music to your iTunes music library. So I think as terrible as the Smart Zebra Man music app is going to be, there's got to be some terrible way, probably through some weird modal dialogue or popover or something, to add a song in some way.

01:01:01   If that's not true, it's going to be really depressing, but that's my one hope so far. It can't literally be like the iPad music app. It has to be a little bit better than that, I hope. But maybe version one doesn't have to be, I'm not sure.

01:01:17   I love how you brought up the column headers and being able to rearrange them and resize them and choose which ones you see at all and sort by different things and combine that with the creation of the smart playlist and everything else. That's what I feel like the world of mobile, and mobile is now increasingly all of computing, but the mobile design paradigms basically consider all of that to be unnecessary and if you try to do it, it's considered bad design.

01:01:46   To allow that kind of customizability on mobile. Mobile apps are discouraged, actively discouraged from having any kind of interface. Like any kind of customized ability in the interface and anything like that. Part of it is just because it's small screens, but that really encapsulates what it seems like we're losing.

01:02:06   It seems like the direction we're going, mobile software taking over and becoming all software, is going to be taking away things like that. And a lot of those things are what have made the Mac the Mac. What have made the Mac the platform that we all love and use and are so happy and productive on for so much of the time.

01:02:30   And I really am concerned as we go in this direction, first of all it seems like whoever at Apple is left who can do that kind of thing, it seems like they are no longer empowered to do it.

01:02:46   I'm sure they still have the talent left there who can make user empowering software, but they're not running the show anymore. It's pretty clear. And so I'm concerned like in so many ways, way beyond iTunes, I'm concerned that in a much larger way we are losing these abilities.

01:03:06   You see also like the mail app. There's a huge difference between the mail app on Mac OS and the mail app on iOS. Tons of huge features that you can benefit from on both platforms, but might have to set it up on just the Mac. Or features that really are only good on the Mac mail app and are either absent or terrible on the iOS version like search.

01:03:29   Search is just the worst on iOS. It finds nothing and takes a long time to do it. And Mac mail search occasionally has a corrupt index and finds nothing and at least finds nothing very quickly.

01:03:41   But usually when it's working right, you can search your entire mail archive in seconds with advanced operators if you want to and everything. Stuff that the iOS version can't do at all and should be able to do.

01:03:53   But just, you know, they haven't added it yet. I don't know what they're waiting for exactly, but it doesn't seem imminent.

01:03:59   But anyway, so like I feel like we're going in this direction so hard with Apple leading the way, but with everyone else following it seems. But certainly Apple is going hard in this direction of reducing the amount of power user features that even exist.

01:04:15   Like it was, it used to be that like they were present, maybe not clearly exposed. So if you were a power user you could find them. But it wasn't overwhelming to non-power users.

01:04:27   You know, a great example of that kind of thing is keyboard shortcuts where like non-power users don't really notice the little symbols in the menu next to the things they're selecting and it never gets in their way and it's fine.

01:04:37   Power users eventually figure out those symbols mean keyboard shortcuts and you eventually might learn some of those shortcuts and try them and you get more productive. And so that kind of like progressive disclosure of complexity is wonderful.

01:04:48   And it's one thing that has made the Mac the Mac for most of its life. Is, you know, it had power user headroom for you to get into if you wanted to or if you needed those features.

01:05:00   But it kept things simple enough for regular users that those things wouldn't get in the way. Now the current design trend is to not even have that headroom at all. To cut it off if you do have it even.

01:05:13   We are losing the ability for power users to exist. And where we can still exist, our capabilities are getting limited over time by this oversimplification, over reduction and the continued like walling of the gardens and locking down of the little fiefdoms that everyone has like between the different companies and services and apps and everything else.

01:05:38   Plus the increasing number of walls enforced by the OS's themselves. And I just, I don't like how this is going and I'm really concerned that we're just dumbing everything down. Not with any like actual measurable benefit.

01:05:55   Like, you know, we make up these users in our heads and we argue that like X, Y or Z is too complicated for quote regular people. And you know what? Regular people are fine. They figure stuff out. We cut things out because we think it makes for a clean design.

01:06:11   It's more pure, down to the essence. Or we make up these people and say it's easier for all people, people who are novices to figure it out. Most of that's just total bullsh*t though. Most of that we are just making up. We think it's better.

01:06:25   Or we are clouded, our judgment is clouded because what we're actually doing is going to save us a bunch of work by not implementing features. Or will allow us to delete a bunch of old code that we don't want to maintain anymore. That we don't want to deal with because it's too hard.

01:06:38   But what we're really doing is we're just lopping off capabilities off of computers. That like the computers that we had in the 90s and early 2000s, so many generations ago of hardware sophistication.

01:06:54   But like we could, they were more flexible to how we could use them than the newest iPad Pro. And so I worry that we keep going this direction of like locking down and locking down and locking down and deleting features and deleting capabilities and making things even more isolated.

01:07:14   It's ruining the power of computers. Like Steve Jobs famously, you know the whole bicycle for the mind thing, but increasingly computers are being dumbed down so much that they're more just like, I don't know, like shopping terminals and ad terminals.

01:07:28   And I just, anything that looks like it's attacking what I love about computers, which is their power and my ability to use that power, their ability to expose things that let me use that power, the ability for me to customize my computer and use it the way I want to instead of using it the one true way.

01:07:48   Anything that attacks that, I worry because clearly that is the direction the industry is going. So even small things like if the new music app replaces iTunes and it doesn't have all these power user features, that I take as like a personal attack on what I view as what computing is and should always be.

01:08:09   Because it's this conflicting view that Apple has that everything should be simple and dumbed down and locked down and I strongly disagree with that and it's extra concerning coming from the company that for so long made a really good balance of power usability versus ease of use.

01:08:25   So I mostly agree with Apple that the simplification is appropriate, but in the big picture, like in the analogy to use some more terrible analogies to go with the bicycle for the mind analogy, right?

01:08:39   So the bicycle for the mind was the, I'm sure Steve Jobs got it from somewhere like many of the things he said is, you know, he used to Henry Ford the, yeah, the analogy of like transportation efficiency, like how, how much energy does it take to travel over a certain distance and humans walking have a certain efficiency.

01:08:58   And I think you go through all the different kinds of animals and then it was like the Condor was the most efficient because it would just spread its big wings and like glide and it was really efficient way. You didn't didn't have to expend a lot of energy to travel long distances.

01:09:09   But then the bicycle thing was like, but if you put a human on the bicycle, it becomes the most efficient animal because it's way more efficient to, you know, travel five miles on a bicycle in terms of energy expense than even the Condor soaring.

01:09:19   It isn't the bicycle, right? So the computer is the bicycle for the mind, yada yada, right? The sort of iOS touch revolution or whatever is like the bicycle for the mind is one thing, but bicycles do take some skill to use.

01:09:32   And it's, you can, you can ride a bicycle on a smooth path, but if you have to ride a bicycle, like up a rocky hill or upstairs or through a building, it can be done.

01:09:41   You see people do it on YouTube, but it's really hard to do and it takes some skill. So yes, the bicycle for the mind. What the iPhone is, is sneakers for the mind.

01:09:48   It's like, well, you just put them on your feet and it's better than bare feet and you don't really have to know much to use them. Like there's no learning curve, there's no balance, but, and they're better than bare feet.

01:09:57   It's so much better. And in fact, you can sell sneakers to the whole world. You can sell bikes to a lot of the world, but sneakers like go on everybody, kids, adults, everybody just put the sneakers on your feet.

01:10:07   It's way better than stepping on hard, sharp rocks with, you know, you don't have to really learn anything. You just put them on and once you can walk, you can use them.

01:10:14   And so that's, I kind of feel like the, and to be clear, I agree with that. Like that there's a reason everybody has an iPhone and uses it constantly, but a far smaller fraction of people had a Mac and used it constantly.

01:10:29   Like it was a lot of people, but it was a smaller fraction. Part of that is because the Mac was big and not portable and more expensive. There's lots of reasons, but the sort of touch revolution and simplification in general has been a good thing.

01:10:39   And here comes another big, but, but given that that's the world we live in, what then is the role for the Mac? The role for the Mac is to be the other stuff is to be the bicycle because you've got something covering all those other bases.

01:10:52   You've got, you know, you've made the product that sells to billions of people and you, even the iPad, you can argue is like more in that direction. Fine, whatever that leaves the Mac to fill the needs of the people who need something more than a sneaker.

01:11:04   That's what it's there for. That's the only reason it even exists. Why have it at all? It's to fill that role. So even if you agree, which I do, in the argument that simpler interfaces are better for most people and that there's too much complexity, still I think you have to say, okay, and then the more complex stuff goes where in Apple's product line? It goes on the Mac. That's what it's for.

01:11:26   That's the argument I would make to Apple is like, let, let the Mac be the Mac, let it do Mac things. It's not the argument that the whole world should be adjusting their column headers and crap. That's not the argument at all.

01:11:35   The argument is if there are any people who want to customize their column headers and use a table for you to do that crap, those people, they'll buy a Mac from you. That's who you sell the Macs to.

01:11:47   And this, all this stuff with like the music app or whatever, like it just kind of feels like, and this is another optimistic, I think that the limitations of the UI kit essentially are like one big phone hangover.

01:12:02   Because a lot of the decisions were absolutely the appropriate and only thing to do on a phone. There's no way in hell that this stuff should be jammed onto like the original iPhone 3.5 inch screen.

01:12:13   Like the original iPhone UI was brilliant and the iPhone UI, they used to be really, cause it's a tiny screen. You can't use a Mac UI on it. Like I remember Windows phone that had like a start menu and stuff like it.

01:12:24   I had one of those.

01:12:25   That's the wrong way to go. You can't just take the desktop UI and make it small. Right. But as it scaled up to the iPad and now basically it is scaling up to the Mac in the form of Marzipan.

01:12:35   Those aren't the right decisions for these larger platforms. Certainly they're not the right decisions for the Mac. Probably they're not the right decisions for the iPad.

01:12:43   It's a little bit tricky on the iPad because a lot of those paradigms, like again, take the table view with the column headers.

01:12:48   I'm not sure how well that would work on the iPad without some rethinking because you'd like, you'd have to make the columns bigger.

01:12:54   And if I accidentally tapped one or like swiped it and something weird happened, like it might not be, you might have to rethink it a little bit there. Like, so I understand some hesitation to figure out how do you make essentially a pro UI on the iPad.

01:13:06   And lots of companies are working through that with graphics apps mostly, but like lots of, you can't do exactly the same thing you do on the Mac, but on the Mac, guess what?

01:13:13   You can do the same thing you do on the Mac cause it's the Mac. Like column view tables, you know, tables with adjustable columns.

01:13:20   There's a reason that's basically a standard control in Mac apps and has been for decades. It works fine. It works great with mouse cursors. Just ship that.

01:13:28   And part of the phone hangover is that Apple, not that they can't, but they no longer put the resources behind making, I'm not going to say pro level, but making traditional complicated Mac applications.

01:13:45   They just don't make them anymore. The ones that they do make, they're stopping making them slowly. The ones that they used to make, some of them have been simplified, like photos that went to UXKit or whatever, that basically became a weird phone app, right?

01:13:56   They used to make apps like that, but Apple just doesn't anymore. Probably because they put all the resources behind doing other things, but possibly also because in Marco's darker theory, that they really believe that the simplification that's been successful on the phone necessarily needs to sweep through their entire product line.

01:14:13   And I think that's wrong. I think the one place where it doesn't need to extend to is certainly the Mac. And that leads me to another idea, which is never going to happen, but it's like, it's kind of one of those things where accident of history could have made things different.

01:14:28   One of the accidents of history is that email is a system with no proprietary vendor behind it, kind of like the web, which is why we can have things like mail clients, right?

01:14:38   Apple makes a mail client, and it's fairly complicated as far as like compared to iOS applications, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not as complicated as other mail applications.

01:14:47   You can make a web mail application like Gmail, because web is just a thing that people don't own. That's one extreme.

01:14:54   In the middle ground are things like contacts for a variety of weird historical reasons. Contacts on the Mac and on all of Apple's platforms are this database with an API in front of it.

01:15:04   And you can make an application that lets you view and edit your contacts. Apple makes one, it's called contacts. And they also, there's an API where you can do that from lots of other apps, but other companies can make them too, like that card hop application that the Fantastical people just came out with, because it is a database, essentially, and an API and a cloud syncing backend.

01:15:26   Apple makes all that part of it. There's one system contacts thing, and they handle all the syncing in theory between everything, and they provide the public API, which allows people to have all sorts of different applications that either access contacts or dedicated applications to modify the contacts.

01:15:42   If Apple did the same thing with music, turned to music, basically made the iTunes music library, the Apple music, iCloud, whatever the hell they're calling it, the collection of all the music that you have synchronized in the cloud with your Apple ID, if that was treated like the contacts database, and Apple shipped the music application that was just like this Marzaban port that was very simple, because Apple doesn't want to put the resources behind or is philosophically opposed to a more complicated one, fine.

01:16:10   Then a third party could come and make an application that talks to that same library, and provided there are also APIs like stream Apple music and stuff from it, someone could make Marco's dream application that would be able to stream all Apple music stuff and have a direct interface to Marco's collection of music, and just make a really complicated pro-level application and sell it to a handful of people, and that would be viable in the same way that Fantastical with calendars or card hop or whatever are viable third party applications, even though most people just use it.

01:16:39   Even though most people just use the default. That's not going to happen for many reasons, but the fact that it has happened for contacts and calendar and kind of for email outside of Apple's control, kind of proves that concept that it would be good for customers.

01:16:59   I'm not sure it would be good for Apple, which is why I don't think they're going to do it, but if they don't, there's not really any room, like Marco said, for an iTunes caliber of complexity music player application, because it won't be able to use any streaming services.

01:17:15   And so it's really a narrow use case. Now, when the new music app comes and has no features and makes a bunch of people angry, maybe the market for that application will grow, because suddenly there's a bunch of angry customers and someone can swoop down and scoop them up.

01:17:32   But I don't know. All we have now are rumors and the current state of Mars Band apps and some icons. For all we know, behind the music application icon, which we haven't seen, right? We just see the podcast ones and the TV one.

01:17:45   Behind the music application icon, there could be an impressive music application that has way more features than even the iPad version. We don't know, but I think the safe money is that it will not have 50% of the features that iTunes has when it comes to playing music.

01:18:04   And then we'll all just have to deal with it. And hopefully Apple snaps out of this, because in this type of situation where Apple is the only company that can make this, like Spotify can make their app and Apple can make their app and no one else can make any app because you don't have access to any streaming services.

01:18:20   They should really make a better, more powerful application. But looking at Apple's recent history of making new applications, whether it be the new version of Photos that replaced iPhoto or the iBooks application, or any other...

01:18:39   What's a new application that Apple has made on the Mac recently? Any of those, if you look at all of them, they're all in this kind of simplified thing. And it could be conservation of resources and all the other stuff, and it could be now that everyone's working on the same code base, they can suddenly start adding features again.

01:18:53   But if it's their philosophical opposition to anything that is not purely simple, I think you either change that philosophy or continue that philosophy, but allow third parties to fill the gap that you're not willing to fill by making the library centralized or something like that.

01:19:10   It's just so hard to say because when I think about these sorts of things, and I think about what I love about computers and what I love about the Mac specifically, a lot of the things that I love about computers and about the Mac, they're the things that are, I would argue, in many ways unique to me.

01:19:29   I like being able to write code. I like being able to customize things in certain ways, in certain contexts. And a lot of the things that I love, as an example, let's take writing code. Why would I want to write code on an iPad?

01:19:45   I have this beautiful 27-inch iMac that's a few years old now, but it's a beautiful 27-inch iMac that I'm talking to you on right now that has more, you know, three times the real estate of my iPad or something. I don't know, it feels like that anyway. It has really precise ways for me to control where my text insertion point is with a mouse or a trackpad if I so fancy.

01:20:05   I can do many, many things at once. I can have many windows open at once. Like, in so many ways, this Mac that I'm sitting in front of is the correct tool for writing code.

01:20:15   But yet, I can't help but have my iPad on my lap or, you know, near me when I'm sitting on the couch watching TV and think, "Oh, you know that problem I was working on earlier at my desk? I wonder if I could do it this other way?"

01:20:29   And I just want to spend a couple of minutes just trying something out. And I cannot tell you the amount of times I've wished for Xcode on the iPad so that I could just try something out real quick.

01:20:39   And yes, I am fully aware of the existence of Swift Playgrounds, but oftentimes it would take me so long to get to the position that I could kind of mock the problem I'm trying to solve that it's just easier to get off my lazy butt and go upstairs and mess with it.

01:20:55   And so, I bring all this up to say, on the one hand, I would never want to write code on the iPad. But on the other hand, I cannot wait until I can write code on the iPad.

01:21:07   And it's hard for me to separate how much of my feelings about "I don't want the computer and the Mac to change that much," how much of that is me just living in the past and not being willing to adapt, and how much of that is that the Mac is legitimately the correct tool for the job.

01:21:24   And I think with all things, it's a little of column A and a little of column B. I think that the Mac is probably the most appropriate tool for the job when it comes to writing code.

01:21:33   But it doesn't necessarily have to be the only one. And I'm kind of extrapolating a bit from the specifics about iTunes.

01:21:40   But to bring it back to iTunes, you know, like, is it so terrible if I can't have a smart playlist that does these sorts of things?

01:21:51   I know all the smart playlist people are going to write me now, but I'm picking on that as an example just because I don't use it.

01:21:56   But I'm trying to think of something esoteric in iTunes that I use, and I can't think of anything specifically. Or, like, let's take editing metadata.

01:22:02   I do edit metadata in my iTunes library from time to time, you know, and adding artwork or something like that.

01:22:07   Is it so terrible if that's not necessarily done in the stock iTunes app? And to your guys' point earlier, could that need be filled with other things? Today, the answer is yes. But tomorrow, I don't know.

01:22:19   So I guess it's just hard for me to-- am I just an old man shouting at the cloud, is I guess what I'm asking in summary.

01:22:26   I don't think so. I mean, I think what you were getting at is, like, I don't think anyone demands Apple make all the fanciest apps for everybody.

01:22:32   There just needs to be a way for those needs to be filled. And I get back to what I was saying before, that, like, the mass-- this is not talking about the mass market.

01:22:40   Me personally, I'm totally on board with the idea that the mass market wants things to be much more simplified, you know, powerful, but, like, that power behind a simplified face.

01:22:49   A great example of that, Marco mentioned search for with the different Boolean operators and stuff, a great example of that is how Gmail handles it, right?

01:22:56   The whole Google philosophy is tremendous complexity hidden behind a single search field.

01:23:02   Because that's what most people want, like, the whole Google value proposition is, like, I want to find something in my email, I don't know how to find it, I'm not a computer programmer, I'm just a person who has a lot of email.

01:23:13   I just want to type vaguely what I mean, and I want the magic of Google to show me the handful of mail messages, one of which is immediately obviously the one I'm interested in.

01:23:23   That is very complicated from a computational perspective, and it's a lot of development, but the correct way to present it to people is not to say here is an interface for, you know, doing nested Boolean logic and queries with a query syntax.

01:23:36   On the flip side of that is if you wanted to cater to the minority of people who do understand how searches work, and you present them with that interface, they find it frustrating because they're like, yes, I love that most of the time, but occasionally I want to do basically advanced search

01:23:51   and let me use exact operators and essentially write a query because I am a programmer, and sometimes I can't find what I want using your do what I mean box, right?

01:24:00   And that is a smaller market, but it is still a market, and the only way you can cater to that market is if there's some common way to access everybody's mail.

01:24:09   So multiple people get a shot at writing a mail client, which may be a bad example because even though that's true of email, the market for mail clients is a rough one.

01:24:18   Just ask Mike Hurley about his experience trying to find mail clients that he likes. There's a lot of them out there, but they tend to die, and it's hard to be sustainable.

01:24:26   But anyway, on that real-time follow-up, people in the chat room pointed out MusicKit, which is a framework on iOS that's basically if you want to play music from inside your iOS application, use MusicKit, and you have access to the current user's music library, and also you have access to Apple Music if they have an account, and you can add songs and make playlists and stuff.

01:24:46   It's not entirely the same as the contacts database interface or the calendar where it's complete read/write, but you can imagine a new version of MusicKit providing essentially enough functionality to write an iTunes replacement on top of.

01:24:58   And I'd totally forgotten about this, mostly because every time you see it at WWDC they're showing you basically how you can use it to play music in your account, but it does have some write permissions, albeit extremely limited.

01:25:08   So if Apple wanted to enhance MusicKit to make it as powerful as the contacts and calendar and all that other stuff, they could, and that would open the door for third-party music players, and maybe that's their strategy.

01:25:20   They'll make the crap Marzipan music port that lets people play their music, and someone else can make the good one that we'll all use. But this is what we'll find out at WWDC, I suppose.

01:25:31   Well, and also I would not want to rely on MusicKit, because that is an API that Apple makes only for other people. I bet nothing Apple makes uses MusicKit themselves, and that's never going to be a high priority for them.

01:25:48   And so it's probably full of bugs already, and those bugs probably never get fixed, and it's full of limitations that your app will be limited by and everything, so I have a feeling, like I would not feel great building an app where MusicKit was something that it really needed for its value.

01:26:06   This is a web version too, if you want to play stuff from Apple Music on a web page. Talk about things that are going to have spotty support. Any kind of web technology from Apple. Real core competencies going on there.

01:26:18   I mean, it's interesting that the pieces are there for Apple to have its cake and eat it too. Having its cake is Apple deciding, do we really have to make the very best, most complicated version of every application on the Mac, even if Apple suddenly agrees that the Mac is the appropriate venue for very complicated applications?

01:26:39   Does Apple need to be the one to make the most complicated? The answer to that used to be yes. Apple used to make iMovie and Final Cut Pro, and they still do, right? And Photos and Aperture. They would make a nice version for the consumer version, and even the consumer versions were very complicated, but you could see the attitude towards simplicity, like an iDVD or whatever with Steve Jobs' insistence that it be one window and all that stuff.

01:27:03   They wanted it to be powerful because it was still the age where you would wow people by showing them the amazing things you could do with your Mac, basically features, like I can do this, I can do that. And the interface would be nice and simple, but it's kind of like the Google search box.

01:27:17   Like, look how easily I can find these things. Look how I can add a transition. Look how I can add a title. This is way easier to do in this cool interface than it would be in Adobe Premiere that existed before, the iLife suite or whatever.

01:27:27   But then Apple also would make the super duper complicated Pro one, and if they couldn't make it, they would buy a company to make it. They bought the spinoff for Macromedia where Final Cut came from. They bought Shake. They bought Motion, I think. They bought Logic, right?

01:27:43   They wrote Aperture themselves, but I forget where the problem is that came from. But those things have been falling by the wayside, and even the new version of essentially iPhotos, even though iPhotos was already the, not the dumbed-down version of Aperture, but the little brother to Aperture.

01:27:59   Aperture was the Pro one, and iPhoto was the regular one. But even, like, remember that state when iPhoto 5 and Aperture alongside each other. iPhoto was still pretty complicated and had tons of features, and Aperture had even more.

01:28:14   They got rid of Aperture, and they took iPhoto and replaced it with an application with a quarter of the functionality. And that's where we've been stuck for a long time. And that wasn't even Mars Band. It was UXKit, right? So I think that's why we all have our concerns about the feature set and power of these upcoming Mars Band applications are well-founded in history.

01:28:34   Doesn't mean Apple can't change. Apple can, you know, make things, but a turnaround in this way, there's no evidence of it, first of all. Like, the turnaround in Mac hardware we have some evidence of, but the turnaround in Mac software, there's no evidence of it, and even if they had decided, it would take many, many years.

01:28:50   So I think we just have to brace ourselves for the monkey's paw curse that we deserve, which is getting rid of iTunes, thus turning iTunes into our most beloved application.

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01:31:04   Alright, let's do some Ask ATP. And let's kick off with Sean Kelker who writes, "I've read on the Apple Store forums that using a big Mac Pro charger to charge an iPad is alright, but it causes a noticeable heat on my iPad.

01:31:16   I know this extra heat is detrimental to battery health, so am I ruining my battery or should I just trust Apple and ignore it?" What do you think about that, Jon?

01:31:24   I put this question in here because I do this from time to time because it's a question we get all the time and I think it's okay to answer it once every six months or so. So it's time for us to answer this question again.

01:31:34   Sometimes maybe our answers will change, but yeah, the whole idea of I have a way to charge a thing that either someone says is okay or is faster or whatever, but it has this side effect that I think is detrimental.

01:31:47   What should I do? In this case, it's the idea that I can charge it from a big charger, but it gets warm. Is it detrimental to my battery health? I'll try to give the same answer I always give on this, which is, yeah, things like heat, extreme temperature, and really, really fast charging and really, really fast discharging, those are all things that are bad for your battery.

01:32:09   But your battery exists for you, you use it, and it's going to deteriorate no matter what anyway. So I would say if it's an appropriate supported charging device that you think charges and you are in a hurry, use it. Will it shorten the life of your battery slightly? Yes, but it will shorten your life if you have to wait around for your iPad to be charged.

01:32:28   It's more of your life that you don't get to use your iPad. So I'm not saying you should just abuse your batteries, treat them as gently as possible, but don't avoid entire types of charging just because it gets a little bit warmer.

01:32:41   It would be better if it didn't get warmer, but the warmth is how you know it's working. It's charging faster. More heat is dissipated over a shorter amount of time, which makes it feel hotter.

01:32:50   I understand the concern, but as long as it's actually supported and is okay, if you're in a hurry, do it. And don't fret about, "Oh, now I'm shortening my battery." All the batteries are all going to be dead after a thousand cycles anyway. Just do it.

01:33:02   All right, A.D. writes, "Many people are describing the new AirPods as not version 2, but something more like version 1.2. And I've written a couple of small scripts and don't understand when and by how much to increment version numbers. What should one do if each commit is just a small change? What do each of you do?" What is it, semantic versioning? Is that what I'm thinking of? That's the major, minor something something?

01:33:25   I like this question, by the way, because it starts off being an AirPod question and takes a hard left turn to be a programmer question that has nothing to do with AirPods.

01:33:34   Yeah, semver.org is the answer to this question is a website. If you go to semver.org and read the website, this is a version numbering scheme that has been informally used for many, many years and was formalized at some point in the last decade or so.

01:33:52   You can read it. It's not the only way to version things, but it's a reasonable way to version things. And if you're wondering, if you don't have a system of your own that you really like, use semver.

01:34:00   Yeah. So the summary of this is it's three numerals. The first one is major version. The middle one is minor version, and the last one is a patch version, or at least that's what they call it here. And the idea is if you have 2.0.0 and you then release 2.1.0, then that should be backwards compatible with things that relied on you.

01:34:23   But if you go from 2.1.0 to 3.0, then something is different enough that it's going to cause, or it could potentially cause problems. So that may be something that could cause problems in human beings that use your app or script or what have you.

01:34:37   It could be something that causes problems in the clients of your code, you know, so if you're writing some sort of API. But basically, if the major version number changes, then it is expected that other things will break.

01:34:49   If the minor one in the middle changes, everything should keep working. And if that last one, the patch changes, it's basically just a bug fix release or something like it.

01:34:58   That was a long-winded way of not very well summarizing the summary on semver.org. The one point you missed is when the minor version increases, you're adding a feature.

01:35:10   So major version is backward incompatible, minor version is all you do is add a thing, and patch is not incompatible, you didn't add anything, you just fixed something that wasn't working the way it was supposed to.

01:35:20   Alright, moving on. Vincent Steinman writes, "In recent months, I've been having more and more situations in which I am writing code, and I remember that I had a nice solution for this particular problem that I either wrote myself or got from the web.

01:35:31   What mostly happens then is that I search my projects and try to remember where I may have used that code snippet. I've found various apps like Snippets Lab that try to solve this problem, but none of them fully satisfy my needs.

01:35:41   Maybe a simple folder of text files is the best way to organize code snippets and add comments. I was wondering if you guys have a system for this.

01:35:47   I totally sympathize with this problem. I have no such system for it. There was an app that I was using, I don't know if I'll even be able to find it while we're recording, but there was an app I was using that allegedly did this sort of thing.

01:36:00   But I used it for 10 seconds and decided it was just too clunky. And so I don't really have a great answer for this. John, do you have something good here?

01:36:09   I do save. I don't save them as snippets, but I save all my code on my disk, on my Mac, and have a way to search. It's just text files, so it's fairly easy to search. I seem to have a pretty good memory of when I did a thing, and I can usually find it either by date or just by searching for the contents of the file.

01:36:33   To give an example, I worked extensively with Postgres database for several years, and then I didn't use it for about a decade, and then I had occasion to use it again at work.

01:36:43   I didn't remember every detail of using Postgres, but I had used it a lot in the past. So when I was using it in my job and we had to do a thing, I was like, "Oh, I've done that thing before, and there was a particular way I wanted to do it that I worked on for a while that I really liked."

01:37:01   I could remember that I did that, so then I could say, "Let me go find that," and I would go dig back through my old code, and I knew more or less where it was.

01:37:11   I don't have a system for filing it. My brain is a system for remembering, "Oh, you did that in Postgres lots of years ago. You tried three different systems for doing that, and you come up with a good one that you liked. Remember that you did that."

01:37:23   I didn't remember the details of it, but those two pieces, and plus the fact that I save all my code, let me go back and dig it out.

01:37:31   The other way to do this the more modern way, and again, I don't think this is a particularly good solution, but it's the more modern way that I have done from time to time, is it's kind of one of these milestones of being a programmer, where you are trying to figure out how to do something or remember how to do something,

01:37:48   and you do a web search, and you land on a Stack Overflow answer that you read, and you're like, "Yep, this is awesome. This is what I want," and then you realize you wrote the answer. I've had that happen.

01:37:59   That's basically using Stack Overflow as your outboard brain, where either when you learn something or because you're into Stack Overflow and you figured out how to do something, you write it into Stack Overflow, knowing that Google will continue to index that.

01:38:13   When you search for it later, it can find it in your outboard brain, which is Stack Overflow.

01:38:18   Marco, do you have solutions for this?

01:38:20   Most of the code that I write is related. Almost all the code that I write is part of Overcast or part of Forecast or part of the various PHP backends and everything, and I have utility libraries in each one, in each place that I can just add to over time, and that's usually what I do.

01:38:41   All the audio engine stuff that has its own repository that is added as a submodule to both Overcast and Forecast.

01:38:51   Any iOS app I write includes my FC model and FC utilities libraries, which are both public.

01:39:01   I also have a private version of FC utilities that has stuff that I haven't made public yet or don't want to make public of common utility things.

01:39:11   On the PHP side, I have my own PHP framework that I've taken from project to project and evolved over time.

01:39:17   There's places in there for various utility code and everything, so mostly that's how I do it, is I have utility areas in each language that I work in that themselves are versioned and managed and just are part of my Git footprint, I guess.

01:39:37   Fair enough. The best I do is try to keep a pile of all the old code I've written, and there have definitely been times that I'll refer back to it.

01:39:47   Typically, for me, since most of the code I've been writing has been reflective of stuff I've done only in the last couple of years, that means I actually have a prayer of remembering where I've done it, and so I can refer back to old code, like John was saying.

01:39:59   But if I need something from 5, 10-plus years ago, I am pretty much screwed.

01:40:04   Oh, the other outboard brain thing is contribute to open source things.

01:40:07   So I have tons of CPAN modules or NPM packages.

01:40:10   If there's a public repository of code for your language, when you solve some problem, like, oh, I found a cool way to do a thing with strings, instead of just saving that in a utility library or putting it in a Snippets thing or whatever, release it as a package into a public repository.

01:40:26   And then if you need to find it again later, it will be there.

01:40:29   Obviously, there's lots of caveats to that. We've talked about that in lots of past shows, like, well, what responsibility do you have to the public at large if you release something that you're going to be annoyed by support email or whatever?

01:40:37   Like, it's not the best tool for the job, but I've also done that.

01:40:41   And GitHub is kind of the medium thing where you put it on GitHub, but you don't actually put it anywhere public, and you just have a private GitHub page.

01:40:48   There's lots of ways, and I notice none of the things that we've said are Snippet libraries.

01:40:53   Like, it's not like, oh, here's the thing for reversing a linked list. Like, I guess you can find that in interview questions and stuff, but it's actual full-fledged code, either, you know, full-fledged packages or libraries, not just a Snippet.

01:41:04   And those can be put in all sorts of places where you can find them again later, whether it's on the public Internet or on your computer.

01:41:11   Yeah, and I'm with you that Stack Overflow is the world's Snippet library, and we don't really need, like, we don't need individual ones.

01:41:19   Stack Overflow has a lot of Snippets, but, you know, I think having your own Snippet libraries, like, you trust yourself that at one time this was reasonably valid, whereas Stack Overflow, you really have to look carefully at this point to know what it is that you're copying and pasting, because there's lots of bad and wrong or just plain outdated code on Stack Overflow.

01:41:39   And if you don't know how to do it and you're searching around, you might not be in a position to be able to tell that, so be careful.

01:41:46   All right, thanks to our sponsors this week, Eero, Squarespace, and Linode, and we will talk to you next week.

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01:42:28   E-Y-L-I-S-S, so that's K.C. List M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M-N-T, Marco Arment S-I-R-A-C-U-S-A, Syracuse. It's accidental. They didn't mean to. Accidental. Tech podcast. So long.

01:42:55   I watched a little bit of your live car review on Instagram today, K.C.

01:42:59   Ah, mhm.

01:43:00   It's interesting. Like, I wanted to see, I watch all your Instagram stories and everything, but like I heard you were doing this car thing. I didn't catch it in real time or whatever. I just saw it after the fact.

01:43:08   I thought, I thought it was interesting. How is K.C. live talking about cars different than K.C. like pre-recorded on an edited video?

01:43:19   Mhm.

01:43:20   It's very different. The live K.C. is, I'm not going to say more like Doug DeMuro, but kind of more like Doug DeMuro.

01:43:27   Tell me why you say that.

01:43:29   Live K.C. is very animated. Live K.C. is loose and relaxed. Live K.C. is not reading a script.

01:43:34   Well, no, no K.C. ever reads a script, but I do take your point.

01:43:38   Yeah, I mean, obviously the camera's all over the place and it's not organized and you know, it's an Instagram story, but I thought there was a certain looseness and fun that I found enjoyable in that, you know, vertical video and all.

01:43:52   Ah, that I think you could inject some of into your prepared videos where you're still doing prepared videos.

01:43:59   Yeah, so what this is about is, after a month or two ago, I told you guys and the listeners that I was probably going to sunset my brand when it comes to K.C. on Cars.

01:44:11   That was like two weeks ago.

01:44:12   Was it? I feel like it was more than that.

01:44:14   So long ago on K.C. time.

01:44:15   It felt like it was more than that.

01:44:16   It was a BS before the sickness.

01:44:19   Ah, fair enough. Whatever the case may be, whenever it was. I had planned on mostly, you know, retiring K.C. on Cars and then my contact at Alfa Romeo reached out and said, "Hey, I actually have the Stelvio Quadrifoglio in the D.C. area. Would you like one?"

01:44:36   To which I immediately said, "Yes, I would," without really thinking about it.

01:44:39   So that sounded like a great idea at the time and then my whole family got sick and we were sick for like three days and that kind of put a damper on everything.

01:44:49   But this morning, this is Thursday morning as we were recording, I thought, "You know what? I'm pretty darn sure I'm going to try to do a prepared video for this."

01:44:58   I've certainly filmed a little bit of a prepared video for this.

01:45:00   And the advantage of this particular car is that it's basically a mashup of the very first K.C. on Cars, the Giulia Quadrifoglio. Take that motor and slam it into the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, their SUV, and voila, that's what I have sitting in my driveway right now.

01:45:15   Well, anyways, so I thought, you know, it's clear that I'm probably never going to be a YouTube star.

01:45:22   So with that in mind, not that I expect to be an Instagram star, but is there any attention there? Is there any real interest there?

01:45:28   And I haven't had a chance to look at metrics or whatever Instagram gives me, but based simply on likes and follows and things, it doesn't seem like my video really got any traction.

01:45:40   But anyway, what I did was I filmed a, I would guess, a five or so minute video of me just talking at the camera and talking about the car.

01:45:47   And it's funny you bring that up, Jon, about me being more animated because I was being a little more, like the way I felt was that I was being more goofy about everything.

01:45:56   You were.

01:45:57   And I felt like that was okay because it was just Instagram. It's casual. It's live. You know, it's unfiltered, you know.

01:46:02   I wish I remembered the Real World theme song and whatever. But anyway, the point is that it doesn't matter because it's more casual, right?

01:46:10   But then after I stopped the live stream, I actually thought to myself, you know, you were a little bit over the top, but that probably was for the best.

01:46:20   And you should really try to capture that when you do any further filming.

01:46:23   You were a lot over the top. Like, I'm not saying you should be exactly the same way, but it was just, it was so far in the other direction that I feel like it was, it establishes the endpoints of the spectrum.

01:46:32   Yeah, fair enough. Now, I will say that after I came into the office to record, I received the following text message from my lovely wife.

01:46:42   "Just watched the full live Instagram thing you did. Jon and Marco are totally going to yell at you for basically doing your whole video on Instagram.

01:46:48   And I am surprised that you have not yet done, neither of you have yet done exactly that."

01:46:54   That actually is a totally defensible thing. You can just, just like pretend for a minute that you didn't like accidentally do this.

01:47:01   Pretend like you are really telling us, you know, I've decided that YouTube is on the way down, Instagram's on the way up, and I want to be where the people are.

01:47:09   And today the people are going to Instagram. Just call it a strategy.

01:47:12   Instagram stories is a separate skill though. Like, I think if you did it as an Instagram story, it still could have been tighter. Like, it was pretty long.

01:47:19   Oh, sure. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Oh, absolutely.

01:47:21   I don't know how people do that, by the way. I see lots of Instagram stories that almost seem like they're edited, but you can't edit it, right?

01:47:27   Sure you can. No, you can.

01:47:29   You can import video that you've created elsewhere and make it a story.

01:47:33   I mean, so here's the, yeah, like the answer to like, how is, you know, X person so good on Instagram? The answer is always that they're putting in way more effort into it than you think they are, and then it appears they are.

01:47:48   Like, the way people have these amazing looking Instagram photos and these amazing stories is that like they're making that their job, and they're taking hours, and they might have a crew to help them or something like that.

01:48:01   It's just like making good video and good photos anywhere else. Like, if you want to do really, really good video and photos, especially like to the levels that a lot of these like high follower people are doing it, you pretty much need, like, that has to be your job.

01:48:17   That has to be your life. You have to have help. You have to have a staff. You have to have money. Like, that's the answer to that usually.

01:48:24   The stories you can do, like, it's mostly just where the cuts are placed. Like, I didn't realize, you can tell I've literally never done an Instagram story, even though I watch them every single day. But like, it's still all just handheld, shaky, bad picture, bad sound. It's just that the cuts are in the right place. Right? So in theory, if you were clever, you could do that directly on the thing, but it makes so much more sense that they just record raw footage with their phone, bring it into an editing application, slice it all together, and then upload it as a story.

01:48:51   Yeah, and I think the real difficulty from what little I've understood, having not really looked into this, is that not a lot of video editing suites are really designed to edit portrait video, which makes things quite...

01:49:03   There's the application that's just for that. What are they called? Rush? Adobe Rush?

01:49:07   Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

01:49:08   It's one of its big selling points is edit vertical video.

01:49:11   Yeah, but anyways, I think you're exactly right that in using me as a particular case study, like, it was completely extemporaneous. It was not really designed to be a long-lived thing.

01:49:23   By the time listeners listen to this, it will probably not be available on Instagram anymore.

01:49:28   But it could have been tighter. I didn't really have any particular agenda to it. I was just kind of talking. But I do think with a little bit more thought, it could be an interesting avenue if I wanted to continue this Casey on Car stuff.

01:49:46   Because I think if I were taking it more seriously, I like the idea of being live. I think that that's kind of neat. I think being live at something like 11 o'clock in the morning Eastern time is not the correct time to do that sort of thing if you want any real viewers because people are working.

01:50:03   But I could totally see doing something, like announcing a week or two in advance, "Hey, at 6 o'clock in the evening or 7 or 9 or whatever in the evening, I'm going to be live for 10-15 minutes talking about the Stovio Quadrifoglio. Join me."

01:50:19   And I could see that being interesting and fun. And what's really interesting about doing Instagram stuff live is that it's, to some small degree, it's a two-way street, right?

01:50:31   When people are listening to this podcast, unless they're in the chat room, and unless one of the three of us happens to look at what they're saying, it is very much a one-way conversation.

01:50:41   Whereas Instagram live, I guess it's actually not that different from podcasting because you can replay it for at least a short duration. But my point is just, at the end of it, I thought I'd see if there were any questions.

01:50:51   I only did that for a minute or two, but I asked, "Do you have any questions?" And a couple of people asked questions and I answered them, and that was very cool to have that happen live and have that happen with an audience that isn't there to make fun of everything about what you've said and what you've done, which is exactly what happens in YouTube comments.

01:51:07   Maybe it's just that I have a more positive feeling about Instagram, just by being owned by Facebook, than I do about YouTube, but it just seems like the audience, or my audience there, is more respectful and kind.

01:51:23   And maybe that's just the problem entirely, is that, for better or for worse, I'm only getting my audience on Instagram, where I am getting at least a smattering of other random people on YouTube, and maybe I'm confusing the audience crossover with just the temperament of the platform.

01:51:42   I don't know of Instagram and an ephemeral thing like Stories as the correct venue for footage of a big expensive thing that somebody loaned you, because you want the value of that, you want that to be preserved. Like car videos, you have that big expensive thing for a short period of time, it's a rare thing to have, you want to record that and put it somewhere where people can watch it all the time.

01:52:04   A much better fit for Instagram Stories is drawing Pokemon for your kids' lunches, like Marco did, which is like, the whole value in that is being there for the experience. The replay is less valuable, you don't get to ask questions, but even so, it's more of a personal, like vlogging, essentially.

01:52:20   Here's a snippet from my life, and you can watch it in real time or a little bit later, but 24 hours later, you probably don't care what I did yesterday, and it doesn't involve someone loaning me $85,000 worth of metal.

01:52:30   Yeah, and I haven't really looked into Instagram TV yet, but I wonder, and I mean that genuinely, I honestly don't know, I wonder if that may be the equivalent venue for it, but I've never watched Instagram TV.

01:52:44   Instagram TV is like YouTube, but no one's watching it.

01:52:46   Well, right, exactly, exactly.

01:52:48   You know, I want to take back what I said about the Pokemon, because now that I think about it, I would watch a pre-recorded version of Marco drawing Pokemon forever. But I think the live experience of it is important, you know why?

01:53:00   Like, the live experience is what makes the recorded thing better. This is the best part of Marco drawing things. So he's there, Tiff's gone, he's trying to do the Pokemon for the lunch, he's got Tiff's art supplies, and he's using them and narrating what he's doing while he's doing it.

01:53:14   And he has musings that he muses out loud about like, "Maybe I should use this marker here, or I'll put the clear thing on it or whatever." And then like on a two-second delay, the entire "chat room" is like, "No, don't use the clear marker on that, it will mess things up!"

01:53:30   And it just starts scrolling and scrolling and scrolling, and the super turbo version of that is when he thinks about doing something, then Tiff herself chimes in and says, "Don't do that, no, don't touch my teeth, use the other thing."

01:53:40   And then you're biting your nails and saying, "Is he gonna see that?" He can't look at all the chat all the time and they're scrolling so fast. I feel like at a certain point, I was hoping that Tiff would call him on the phone and say, "Don't use that marker! You're not allowed to use those, you're just gonna mess them up!"

01:53:54   And that drama happens in real time, but you can appreciate it later when it's replaying. I think it's still a better fit than a car review, but I guess I'm coming down on the side that if some content is good, making it available more permanently than 24 hours is probably a good idea.

01:54:16   [beeping]

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