314: Kernel Panic in the Night


00:00:00   I'm going to edit myself a lot tomorrow because I made no sense.

00:00:04   Yeah, I feel like there were a couple of times I went right off the rails myself. Make us sound smart, please.

00:00:10   There's only so much I can do.

00:00:12   Oh, brutal! Brutal! It's going to be like that tonight, I see how it is.

00:00:17   [beep]

00:00:18   Let's start with some follow-up. Mark Bramhill, a friend of the show, Mark Bramhill, who did, what was it, Welcome to Macintosh? Is that right?

00:00:24   That's right, yep. Great series. Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic series.

00:00:28   Mark writes that, and this is with regard to starting a podcast from nothingness, Mark writes,

00:00:34   "Maybe the most compelling reason for new podcasts to be run on Anchor is that it's completely free.

00:00:39   If you're making a show for fun and don't expect to make money, about $300 a year for Squarespace or Libsyn or something equivalent is pretty much a non-starter."

00:00:47   And that is a very good point that I think we kind of glanced off of last episode, but I don't think we really hammered home, so I'm glad that Mark clarified for us.

00:00:55   It's interesting, in most other types of online hosted content, there have been free options since early on for that content for a long time.

00:01:05   First you had online text hosting, and eventually online image hosting, and images with text in the form of blogs and everything,

00:01:12   and there have pretty much always been free places you could start a blog.

00:01:17   Tumblr was one of the first ones that really exploded in popularity as a free blog host, but even before Tumblr there were places,

00:01:25   they were more limited of what you could get for free, but you could put something up like GeoCities, you could put something up there for free.

00:01:32   With video, there was really not much of anything until YouTube came around, but before Anchor, I don't think there were any meaningful free podcast hosts.

00:01:41   What about SoundCloud? Oh yes, I guess SoundCloud, maybe that would be it, but I don't think you could host a podcast for free.

00:01:50   You could host a SoundCloud channel for free, but not every SoundCloud channel has an RSS feed to be a podcast.

00:01:57   I believe that's an optional thing that you have to pay for, but I'm not positive on that.

00:02:01   It is noteworthy that Anchor was basically trying to be the tumbler of podcasting, trying to do an easy end-to-end solution that was also free.

00:02:12   I still don't love that it's now part of a private podcast walled garden service. That's not great, but it is noteworthy that it was free.

00:02:22   For podcasting to continue to remain open and diverse and to protect the health of the ecosystem, I think we need more free options.

00:02:31   That being said, it's hard to make those economics work out, because while most podcasts don't get many downloads, and therefore the economics are fairly cheap for most of them,

00:02:41   if we hosted our podcast on something that was free, I know what it would cost them in bandwidth. We know that it would cost them probably thousands of dollars a month in bandwidth and CDN costs to host our show for free.

00:02:56   You need a lot of scale to be able to pay for the expensive shows with all the low traffic shows and some way to make money on whether it's ads or whatever else.

00:03:04   You need a lot of scale to make that work. And also, anything else about making podcasts is not free either. To make a podcast, you pretty much need a microphone.

00:03:12   And while you can try to use the microphone in your phone and get a little bit of the way there, it's going to sound really crappy and it's not going to be very easy to listen to.

00:03:23   You can make a beautiful blog that is easy to read on a free service like Tumblr and it's fine.

00:03:31   You can't make a good sounding, easy to listen to podcast without having spent any money at all on something.

00:03:38   While the value of a free service is very high, the idea of bringing podcasting to the masses by making it free, there's still that inherent barrier of the medium of you need a microphone.

00:03:50   And it doesn't have to be a great microphone, it doesn't have to be a very expensive microphone, but some outlay of money is necessary to make a podcast that sounds listenable.

00:03:59   So there is already a barrier there. I don't know how much of a barrier you're removing by making the hosting free when it's already pretty cheap.

00:04:06   Moving on, Hugh Rollins, and that's H-U-W, writes, "Further to John's email address woes, Gmail, among others, also redirects common misspellings. My username is Hugh, H-U-W.

00:04:18   The idea is instead of H-U-W, which is the actual spelling of his name, he can actually get email at H-U-G-H, which is kind of interesting.

00:04:26   Hugh continues, "It happens to my friend Nicky, N-I-C-K-Y, who gets emails for someone called N-I-K-K-Y Nicky. I bet John gets emails for J-O-N and so on."

00:04:36   I didn't test this, and this seems a little suspect to me. Can it possibly be true? It seems like it can't be.

00:04:43   But I was afraid to send mail. I was afraid to be one of those people who sends mail to an address that's not actually his own, to test this out by sending it to variations of my names.

00:04:53   But if true, that just increases the collision domain, and it seems completely bananas to me, and I don't understand why anyone would make a system like that.

00:05:02   Couldn't that be a security problem?

00:05:05   Yeah, no, I think so too. Some feedback confusion on this topic because they didn't understand what we were really talking about.

00:05:12   Bottom line is people don't know their email addresses, so they enter an address that is not there somewhere that's going to send them email, and the email gets sent, but not to them because they entered the wrong thing.

00:05:24   But a lot of people said that they get misdirected email, and not all of them had email addresses that look like they might have common misspellings or very short or whatever.

00:05:34   It's just a thing that happens to people. The one aspect I don't think we touched on very specifically last episode was, so Gmail might have all these rules about, "Oh, we don't care about dots," and like most email addresses, you can add stuff with the plus, and maybe there are also these homonyms or whatever.

00:05:50   But everything else on the web doesn't know or care about that.

00:05:56   So when a website asks you, "Set up an account. Enter your email address and a password," you can set up an account with a dot, without a dot, with a plus, without a plus, and as far as that website's concerned, those are all entirely different addresses and entirely different accounts.

00:06:12   So another reason I think it's such a bad idea to do this type of thing is because the particular rules for your email service provider can't possibly be known by the entire rest of the web. Even Gmail, which is probably the world's biggest email provider, its rules are not implemented in everyone else's websites.

00:06:30   So you can make multiple accounts with the "same email address" as far as Gmail is concerned. And that gets very confusing for people who don't remember their email address. "Did I answer with a dot or without the dot?" It's too much confusion over something that should be much simpler than it is.

00:06:48   I'm all for it being case-insensitive, which it is, I think, according to the email standard. But once you start doing sound-alikes, ugh, I don't like it.

00:07:01   Moving on, we had some interesting anonymous feedback about contacts syncing. I vaguely remember the contacts for this, but I think, John, it was you that had brought this up originally, is that right?

00:07:13   Yeah, I was complaining about my contacts not syncing, because it's the classic cloud-whatever thing, the simplest thing that was ever synchronized. I was like, "Oh, my contacts should be synchronized between my Palm PDA and my desktop PC." It's the stereotypical use case.

00:07:28   And in this day and age, contacts are so few, like we don't have many contacts. Most of you could have hundreds or maybe thousands, but it's not like there's millions. And they're so tiny compared to photos or video or all the other things that we deal with on a daily basis.

00:07:43   In 2019, with Apple being "better at cloud," your contacts should sync. And yet, still, in 2019, or I think it was 2018 when I last complained about this, sometimes I'll modify contacts on one Apple device, and those changes won't appear on any other Apple device ever, and there's nothing I can do about it.

00:07:59   And I was frustrated by that, and we went back and forth with a bunch of follow-up on it, and someone pointed us to an Apple page that said, "Oh, if your images are bigger than this size, we won't sync them, or maybe we won't sync them, or they should be smaller," and blah, blah, blah.

00:08:13   And then we were trying experiments, and people made shortcuts that would find all your big images and make them smaller, and it's just, "And why is there no error message?" And like, "Is this really true? Is this really a thing that happens?

00:08:25   If the images are too big, why wouldn't Apple just resize them?" I never actually experimentally determined whether this was the problem.

00:08:32   I did run a bunch of those shortcuts, but I didn't actually go in and shrink my images, partly because it's like a form of protest. You know, I'm protesting, biting off my nose to spite my face here.

00:08:42   My images aren't huge. They're reasonable-sized images. I want them to be okay resolution. I don't want to do what I see so many people do, both in their avatars and social networks and in their contacts, where they have an image of either themselves or some other person that's seemingly 32x32 pixels with heavy JPEG compression. It just looks like a splotchy mess.

00:09:02   I don't need them to be 20 megapixel images, but a 500x500 pixel image I think is reasonable for a headshot for a contact image, and that's too big. If the JPEG compression isn't heavy enough or, God forbid, it's a ping, then forget it. The limit was like 200K or something ridiculous like that.

00:09:23   I thought it was 224 or something along those lines. Yeah, whatever it is, Apple should just deal with this. If the images are too big, it should reformat and recompress them. And honestly, whatever the limit is, they synchronize a terabyte of my photos practically. They can handle my contact images, for crying out loud.

00:09:42   So I haven't personally resolved that, but here is anonymous feedback from inside the mothership attempting to explain what's going on.

00:09:51   So this individual writes in to say, "It turns out that the iCloud server only supports JPEG image types, even though the CardDAV spec allows any kind of image. On the Mac, all the images are just converted to JPEG before being uploaded, but on the phone, an image is only converted to another format if the original image is too large. So a small ping or TIFF would not be converted and would fail to sync.

00:10:14   Contacts uses bulk uploads to send multiple changes at once, and if one contact out of a bulk failed, that contact would just be blacklisted and never sent again unless it gets edited.

00:10:24   However, if the bulk upload only contained broken contacts, or just a single contact that was broken, there could be a bug that would cause it to immediately try to sync again and then bad things would happen, blah blah blah.

00:10:35   Regarding error messages about images that are too big...

00:10:47   Because I thought that would be a little too obvious to the poor person who was telling us. I didn't want to out the birdie by giving...

00:10:54   The anonymous person? They send the feedback. It's anonymous.

00:10:58   I think this is a key point. If there was a bad... Can we give Marco a clean edit? I don't care if you want to make me sound dumb.

00:11:06   Nothing about this is going to be clean. Oh my god, carry on John.

00:11:12   So if the thing has a broken contact image where it can't sync it, it would just keep trying to sync it over and over again, and this is another one of those possible sources of battery drain. So what's killing my battery? And that's why we have the energy thing.

00:11:28   You might find out contacts is killing my battery, or would it show up as iCloud or whatever, but it can get stuck in a loop where it's trying to sync the one and only image that was part of this upload, but there's a problem with it and it can't sync and it would just keep trying over and over and over again and then it would just kill your battery.

00:11:44   The problem with all these background processes, if you have any sort of little bug, you can destroy your battery without knowing it. It's not the type of thing that it would... It's like a game running in the background where it would just get super hot or whatever, but it's enough activity that it would slowly wear down your battery and you might not quite know what's going on.

00:12:00   So not only is contact syncing buggy and doesn't work all the time, but it can also kill the battery on your phone, which is no fun. You may continue.

00:12:07   But yes, Apple is definitely getting better at services. Speaking of, the same little birdie continues that with regard to error messages about images that are too big and really the lack thereof,

00:12:17   HI, which is human interaction, viscerally hates error badges or dialogues, especially on iOS. It's also very rare that a 400 or 500 server error actually is actionable by the user.

00:12:29   So even though this error, which technically had some way for the user to fix, or this is an error that technically had a way for the user to fix, the actual server error sent back to the client didn't even specify what was wrong.

00:12:40   So the server knows what's going on and arguably should have just fixed it, but be that as it may, it doesn't even tell the client, "Oh, by the way, this image is of the wrong format or is too big," or whatever the case may be.

00:12:54   This is a failure on multiple levels to me. The server should be able to fix this, first of all. Second of all, it should message it back to the client.

00:13:01   And third, the client should then message that to the user so that action can be taken. But instead, Apple chooses to just spin out of control until your battery melts. Good call, guys. Well done.

00:13:11   This is a situation where the things that they care about and are measuring just overwhelm the actual purpose of the system. So it's like, we don't want to see error dialogues, I don't want to see badges or things that are telling me what's wrong, and I just want this thinking to work.

00:13:29   So if you have small images or they're all JPEGs or if you satisfy all these invisible constraints that nobody knows about, everything will work fine. And your product will pass QA with flying colors and be like, "Look, it does all the things that we said it would do."

00:13:42   And it has that good old Apple user experience where there's no sync button and you don't have to do anything and it just works. But of course, it doesn't just work because the real world is different and you might have images that are too big and they might be in different formats and it doesn't convert them except on the Mac when it does, and they can repeatedly try to upload them.

00:13:56   That might fail, but it'll just keep trying again. And all the while it's doing this, one hand doesn't know what the other is doing, first of all. Like the system behind the scenes is doing a bunch of crap that apparently both the server and the client people aren't aware of.

00:14:07   But at no point is any dialogue coming up with an error message or anything, so it's like, "It's great. It's fine. It's good." And if it drains the battery somehow, it's so invisible they would never pinpoint it.

00:14:17   There was much more to this feedback about how they eventually found the problem where they'd get it reported and they'd be like, "I don't see what the problem is. It always works when I try it." And the timing happened where someone complained about it and it got to an actual human before the server logs for that interaction were expunged and they could see what was happening.

00:14:33   This is what happens with these client-server systems. Everyone has to be on the same page and understand how the system works end to end and connect the dots. You can't have it so every time someone complains, you're like, "Well, I don't know what your problem was, and we can't see the logs for that anymore, and it works when we try it, so I guess it's not a problem. Close the bug."

00:14:50   We all know when things like this happen where syncing doesn't work, but it's not. Marco talked about the reason why we don't report bugs, I think, on the last episode, but there are other reasons. Even if you were super conscientious, what are you going to say? It's so hard to reproduce and you don't control the server and so separated by time, you're like, "I did a change to a contact, and the change didn't show up elsewhere."

00:15:12   It's just exhausting to even think about what they might have to bring you through to make it work. You can figure all of this out on your own, Apple. You don't need people. You need a good test suite. Try all the different things. Try big images, little images, images, different formats, different devices, turn them on and off at different times.

00:15:32   This is the job of doing Cloud Sync, and the fact that there are all these unwritten rules and edge cases and reasons why it won't work, and completely silently behind the scenes, that even Apple doesn't know, A, that it's failing, and B, if it is failing, they don't know why for years and years for something as simple as contact syncing. This makes me very depressed if all this is true.

00:15:53   This is basic stuff. Contacts have been a thing that we use on our devices forever. Contact syncing has been a service Apple has provided since it was called .Mac. This shouldn't be a hard thing. This shouldn't be like, "Oh, all of a sudden we've just started syncing contacts for the first time ever, and we all of a sudden have to deal with these new problems that no one's ever dealt with before."

00:16:16   Nope, this is pretty simple stuff, and it's embarrassing that this is as flaky and poorly implemented as it is.

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00:18:41   Now one of you is anxious to talk about Mojave stability. I'm guessing that's John, but you do have an ancient Mac.

00:18:52   No, I mean I'm not talking about that one obviously. I'm talking about the 5k iMac that is always on the latest operating system I got up to Mojave. Anyway, I didn't want to pass judgment too soon because the point zero is always weird and give it a while, but now I'm ready to declare that Mojave is less stable on all the systems that I run on which is my iMac and my work laptop than was High Sierra.

00:19:16   And it's not like there is some terrible problem that happens all the time, but there's just enough problems and when I say stability I mean like stability stability as in my computer doesn't work anymore.

00:19:29   Stability not like oh an app crashes or it does a weird thing or there's a bug. Both my work computer and my home computer exhibit problems that it's like game over you must restart the computer with the power button kind of thing.

00:19:42   It's not a hard freezer like this is everything so the laptop one is kernel panics which I had in High Sierra too. It's because it's a laptop and laptops do that and I have to plug it into a USB-C hub thing with an external monitor or whatever and I've still never been able to determine is this the problem of the hub device? Is it the problem of the laptop? Is it a software problem?

00:20:04   I don't know who or what to blame. All I know is that I get slightly more kernel panics in Mojave than I did with High Sierra. I got them with High Sierra too, but I guess I'll need more.

00:20:14   The only upside to Mojave on the laptop is that I can for the most part plug and unplug it with the laptop lid closed. I get kernel panics at different times.

00:20:24   Usually when it's plugged in my laptop for the first time during the day when it's been in my laptop bag the whole night sometimes it had a kernel panic in the night. Sometimes I think it panics when I plug in the thing for the first time whether it's open or closed. Anyway, that's the laptop.

00:20:38   And at home my 5K iMac is on all the time. There's no real weird software on it. I uninstalled Crashplane because I thought it might be to blame for all this stuff because it was running out of memory or whatever but that wasn't it.

00:20:52   The thing I get on my 5K iMac, which is on all the time, is I'll come up to the computer in the morning or the first time I use it for the day and I will wake it up and I will enter a password or whatever to unlock it.

00:21:04   And on the screen in front of me I will see a bunch of dialogues either asking for an iCloud password or a keychain unlock password and I'll see a bunch of them stacked on top of each other.

00:21:16   Very often the menu bar will be gone and I have learned from experience that there's nothing you can do to get out of the situation.

00:21:22   You can enter whatever password it's asking for and it will just reprompt you or you will reveal the dialog box underneath it.

00:21:27   You can hit cancel on these dialog boxes and new ones will spawn as fast as you can hold down the escape key.

00:21:32   Your computer is basically borked. It thinks it's not logged into iCloud anymore. You can't switch to a different account.

00:21:40   The way I usually restart is I open a terminal which brings back the menu bar and I reboot from the command line which I think counts as a clean restart then I suppose.

00:21:49   But sometimes the power button is required because you can't even get the terminal to launch because command space doesn't work or the dock is unresponsive.

00:21:56   I don't know what its problem is. What happens during the night that it suddenly thinks its keychain isn't logged into iCloud?

00:22:03   The best thing is when it comes back up everything is fine but then you get dialogs on all your devices saying you've just signed into such and such computer with your new Apple ID.

00:22:13   It doesn't happen every day or every week or even every month but probably every 1.5 months I'll come to the computer and it will be doing this.

00:22:23   This didn't happen, I'm going to say maybe not at all or maybe it only happened once in High Sierra so I don't know what its problem is. Mojave has not been a fun ride for me.

00:22:34   My Mac Pro running LCAP, solid as rock, doesn't have these problems.

00:22:38   It's because it's a Mac Pro that's why those things are flawless.

00:22:41   Yeah, I suppose so.

00:22:43   For whatever it's worth I don't discount all that but my experience with Mojave has been no different than High Sierra.

00:22:51   Now High Sierra was not great mind you but I haven't found it to be any worse.

00:22:58   I do want to mention there's this thing going around about USB audio potentially being a problem with T2 equipped Macs.

00:23:06   I think it's a thing but I can't tell how much of a thing it is.

00:23:10   Basically the idea is that a lot of people are reporting USB audio dropouts or glitches or other problems with maintaining continuous audio streams to USB 2.0 devices at least.

00:23:24   Maybe not 3.0 devices although there's very few audio devices that are actually USB 3.0.

00:23:29   The reports seem to indicate this is a T2 Mac only thing so basically only the most recent Macs.

00:23:35   Honestly I've seen a lot of reports and a lot of problems of USB audio being a problem on all Macs since either Sierra or High Sierra.

00:23:46   I forget which.

00:23:47   So there is something going on there but I don't think it's new and I also don't think it's every Mac or every audio device.

00:23:56   I use multiple USB 2.0 audio devices on my iMac Pro and I use the same ones on my previous 5k iMac before this.

00:24:06   So this one has a T2, that one didn't.

00:24:08   And neither of them seem to have these issues that other people have reported.

00:24:14   But other people report using other devices with other computers and they have issues.

00:24:18   So I don't think there's any simple thing that says it's only T2 Macs or it's only Mojave or only since High Sierra or whatever else.

00:24:27   But there is some kind of audio thing going on and it's been going on for a little while at least.

00:24:33   And I assume it was one of these discovery-do situations where Apple rewrote the audio subsystem at some point in the last few years and it's causing problems or something like that.

00:24:42   But I don't know.

00:24:43   There's something going on and it doesn't seem to be fixed.

00:24:46   That's another one of those problems.

00:24:48   I bet the people who have them can reproduce them but trying to convey the information to Apple is difficult.

00:24:53   You'd have to get them to bring them to your house and put your kernel into debug mode and attach a remote debugger to figure it out.

00:25:01   Because I bet they can't reproduce it.

00:25:03   I mean, just as you were saying, you use USB audio all the time and you don't have this problem.

00:25:07   So if someone reported this problem to you and you worked at Apple, you're like, "But I don't have this problem and maybe you even have the same hardware.

00:25:13   So what's the deal?"

00:25:14   Audio was always weird. It could be so many strange things.

00:25:19   And USB is always somewhat flaky.

00:25:22   I remember back when Max had FireWire and USB, the preference was always to use FireWire if you could for things like reliable audio.

00:25:30   Because it had features of the bus for guaranteed timings and everything that USB didn't have.

00:25:34   These days USB is so pervasive and so fast that it shouldn't be an issue.

00:25:38   But because there is not that sort of pseudo real-time guaranteed delivery, whatever stuff that FireWire had, you get by just with the massive bandwidth of modern USB.

00:25:48   But maybe there are still glitches. I don't know.

00:25:50   I'm glad I haven't had these problems either because all my audio peripherals are USB.

00:25:54   But then again, I'm using a 2008 Mac Pro.

00:25:57   And on my stability issues, the kernel banks and laptops, whatever, laptops are garbage.

00:26:02   I assume you can work on a laptop.

00:26:04   But for my desktop one, it annoys me that everything that goes wrong happens when I'm not there.

00:26:11   It's not like I'm using the computer and something goes wrong.

00:26:13   When I'm using the computer, everything is always fine.

00:26:16   It's when I come the next day and it's been on all night.

00:26:19   What happened in the night?

00:26:20   And the new console in Mojave is really annoying me because I can never figure out where it's hiding my logs.

00:26:25   Just show me the files and I'll run them through a pager myself.

00:26:29   It cuts them off and I can't say, "When did you kernel panic or when did you start freaking out?"

00:26:34   I don't understand the new database format. I don't understand how to find the files.

00:26:38   And the UI makes it seem like the world began 10 minutes ago.

00:26:42   So I'm very confused by the new console database thing.

00:26:46   Anyway, I don't know what happened.

00:26:48   Sometime in the night, this computer flipped out and the only way to bring it back is to reboot.

00:26:53   Hopefully cleanly, but if not cleanly, then a hard reboot.

00:26:57   I would love to know what's happening, but I can't report this to Apple.

00:26:59   "Hey, Apple, every month and a half or so I come on my computer, is really confused about the world and I have to reboot it."

00:27:05   They'd be like, "All right, well, what do you want us to do about it?"

00:27:08   I'm like, "I don't know, I don't know. I send the reports to Apple and there's some..."

00:27:11   It's not even a crash. It counts as a clean reboot.

00:27:14   I'm just like, "I don't like this kind of problem."

00:27:17   I much prefer a problem where when I do a thing, a thing fails and then I can debug.

00:27:23   But this is just a mystery problem.

00:27:26   So here's hoping that the next version of Mac OS somehow makes this better.

00:27:31   One thing also, before we leave the topic, before I forget about the audio stuff,

00:27:36   a lot of the reports of the USB audio bugs seem to suggest that using either Thunderbolt devices

00:27:44   or, here's the kicker, using a Thunderbolt hub, not a USB-C hub, but a certified Thunderbolt USB-C hub,

00:27:53   that apparently fixes the problem. So apparently, if you plug a USB audio device into a Thunderbolt 3 hub,

00:28:01   the problem goes away. Which suggests to me that the problem is not necessarily the system's handling of USB audio,

00:28:07   but is a problem with hubs, or some types of hubs.

00:28:12   You know, Thunderbolt hubs have way, way, way higher certification requirements than straight-up USB-C hubs.

00:28:20   That's why there's relatively few of them, that's why they're so very expensive,

00:28:24   and that's why they tend to not be small, like low-end things.

00:28:28   They tend to be like these $300, like big honking 17-port things,

00:28:32   because it just takes a lot of cost and complexity to make a Thunderbolt hub.

00:28:36   So what most people are plugging most devices into when using a T2-equipped, which means USB-C,

00:28:46   Apple laptop or desktop, what most people are using are cheap USB-C hubs that are based on USB, not Thunderbolt.

00:28:56   And so maybe these problems are mostly being explained by like,

00:29:00   "These hubs suck, and the way these hubs handle each other suck."

00:29:04   Like, that whole ecosystem of USB-C hubs is terrible.

00:29:09   Any kind of USB-C port adapter and everything, those are all awful.

00:29:12   And if plugging them into a Thunderbolt hub fixes the problem,

00:29:17   then the problem is crappy USB hubs, not USB audio in general.

00:29:22   So what I highly suggest, anybody out there who's having USB audio issues with any recent modern Mac with USB-C ports,

00:29:30   chances are good you're plugging into some kind of adapter along the way.

00:29:34   I highly suggest you please, for the love of God, don't do that with your sound equipment.

00:29:40   This is maybe why I don't have these problems, because I don't do that.

00:29:43   Whenever I have sound gear, I plug it directly into the computer with a USB-C cable.

00:29:49   I have a different cable, like the sound box has a USB-B port on it, like the big printer end.

00:29:58   I have a B to C cable, and I plug it in directly, so there's no adapters being used.

00:30:04   It's simply a different cable, with a C port on the computer end, and whatever the audio device needs on the other end.

00:30:10   That has solved the problem for me. Or, on my iMac, I plug it into a USB-A port, and the problem goes away too.

00:30:16   So, I highly suggest, anybody out there having these issues, eliminate the hubs from the audio pathway,

00:30:23   and just plug it in directly to a port.

00:30:26   If you only have one port, like KC, I'm sorry, this isn't going to work for you.

00:30:30   At least if your laptop needs power. But, whatever it takes, plug it in directly to the computer,

00:30:38   directly to one of its ports, without any hubs, and I bet the problem goes away.

00:30:42   That's why I was suggesting that my USB-C docking box thing that I have at work,

00:30:49   which is great when it works, because I plug in one cable and I get power, and I get my monitor out,

00:30:53   and I get my headphones, and I get my--

00:30:55   This could be the slogan for any USB-C. It's great when it works.

00:30:58   Yeah, I'm totally willing to blame that, because it does weird stuff.

00:31:02   One of the fun things it does is if I close the lid on my laptop when it's plugged in,

00:31:09   the external monitor, instead of just going black, often shows an exciting color static thing.

00:31:16   That's not what you want!

00:31:18   Garbage video memory, and sometimes it moves and has patterns that repeat.

00:31:22   So, it's something about--because who knows what's going on inside this box.

00:31:25   It's still sending a signal to the monitor, but it's just whatever garbage is in the video buffer

00:31:30   inside the box or something.

00:31:32   So, obviously weird stuff going on, and occasionally I will, after kernel panic,

00:31:35   see the report that it's sending to Apple, and it'll say something like,

00:31:39   "Thunderbolt 3 power initiate failure" or something.

00:31:42   It's not a Thunderbolt 3 box, but it's--I don't know.

00:31:45   The error message is something about the hardware did something unexpected.

00:31:48   So you're like, "Okay, well, it's not the max problem then. It's this weird box."

00:31:51   Well, there's two things about that. One, whatever the USB-C spec says or whatever,

00:31:56   the drivers should be able to handle exceptional cases where a peripheral does something unexpected without kernel panic.

00:32:04   I know that's a tall order, but ideally that should be what it does.

00:32:09   And the second thing is, very often, even excluding that box entirely,

00:32:13   I will just take my laptop out of my bag where it's been all night and open it up

00:32:16   and expect the screen to come on for me to be able to use my laptop, and that does not happen.

00:32:20   And there is no USB-C in that scenario. It's just me and the laptop.

00:32:24   And so obviously it's not just a flaky USB-C peripheral.

00:32:27   Sometimes the laptop just doesn't want to wake up or wakes up but doesn't want to turn the screen on.

00:32:31   That could be the box not convincing it to switch to the internal thing.

00:32:35   Or we'll wake up but be doing something so that everything beach balls and I can't even reboot.

00:32:40   I have hard rebooted this laptop more than I have hard rebooted any Mac since the classic Mac OS.

00:32:45   It is ridiculous. So in summary, laptops are bad.

00:32:48   And just anecdotally, I have found the USB-C generation of laptops, 2016 forward,

00:32:55   for me has been the least reliable in waking from sleep and doing other things related to external monitors.

00:33:03   Like when you're just using it as a laptop, lift the lid, turn it on, close the lid, it's fine for me.

00:33:09   Whenever I've involved external monitors, I have just had them be incredibly unreliable.

00:33:14   This is across now three different ones that I've had. They've all been similarly unreliable.

00:33:20   And so I think it's just this generation.

00:33:23   And Apple can blame the hub makers, they can blame the monitor makers, they can blame USB-C.

00:33:30   Ultimately though, whoever's fault it is, it's Apple's problem because it's their computers

00:33:36   that are having problems for their customers as a result of whatever this USB-C garbage situation is.

00:33:42   So I hope in addition to whatever Apple might do to the laptops to make them more reliable in the future,

00:33:48   and by the way I'm super excited about these rumors, maybe we'll get to that,

00:33:51   but whatever they'll do, I hope Apple also really takes a good hard look at what they can contribute to the USB-C ecosystem, peripherally wise.

00:33:59   Like I still want them to make a hub. I want Apple to make a certified Thunderbolt 3 USB-C hub

00:34:06   because very few other people make them and no one makes any portable ones, as far as I can tell.

00:34:12   Correct me if I'm wrong listeners, I think all of the Thunderbolt 3 hubs are externally powered large docking station style things.

00:34:21   I don't think, like what everybody carries around with their laptops, those little USB bus powered things that are the size of a large card reader,

00:34:27   I don't think any of those are certified Thunderbolt 3.

00:34:30   Please, anybody if you know of one write in and tell me, small Thunderbolt 3 bus powered hubs, I don't think they exist.

00:34:38   And that's what everybody buys. So ultimately, if Apple is not going to themselves release something that is reliable in that category,

00:34:45   what everyone does is go buy these like $40 multiport things and then the result is their Apple laptop is unreliable for them.

00:34:54   So it's Apple's problem really. So I really hope Apple fixes that.

00:34:57   I'm still holding out hope, as remote as it might be, for Apple to make a first party good USB-C hub.

00:35:03   And I'm adding the qualification now, I want it to be Thunderbolt 3 certified.

00:35:07   You wish they were $40. At work we're all issued with our laptops with no ports on them,

00:35:13   we're issued this thing that fills both of the side ports. It's a single thing that looks like a big card reader and it's got two USB-C connectors.

00:35:20   So it plugs both of the holes and you get HDMI, USB-A, SD, a single USB-C maybe.

00:35:30   It's got a bunch of ports on it in a fairly small package.

00:35:33   But then I looked up how much those things cost, it was over $100 for each one of those things.

00:35:36   And no, they're not reliable. It's not even that cheap. I mean it's work paying for it or whatever.

00:35:42   And it's some no name brand or at least it's not a brand that I recognize. Over $100.

00:35:47   So it's like at that point, I've also never seen a Thunderbolt bus powered one so I don't know if they exist either.

00:35:52   If only. I mean given that Apple is so enthusiastic about staying in product categories like Wi-Fi routers,

00:36:00   I'm sure they're going to dip their toes directly into Thunderbolt basically routers.

00:36:05   But they are interested in being the dongle market. They sell tons of dongles.

00:36:09   Yeah. It's true.

00:36:10   This is just a different kind of dongle. I mean they should be all about that.

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00:37:51   We heard some rumors over the last week, mostly via MacRumors and in turn via Ming-Chi Kuo.

00:37:59   There's a lot here. So we can start, well how would you like to start? I guess we should talk about the MacBook Pros and the MacPro?

00:38:08   Yes, yes, MacBook Pros, oh my god.

00:38:10   Let me pour a drink real quick, no just kidding.

00:38:13   No, this is a MacBook Pro, I said MacBookPro.

00:38:16   This is the one you can actually pay attention to without drinking too much.

00:38:19   So, I preface all this by saying, these are all high level, vague rumors.

00:38:25   But the fact that they come from Ming-Chi Kuo is substantial.

00:38:28   He seems to have a very, very good track record.

00:38:31   Much of what he says comes true, probably more than any other reporter.

00:38:37   I would say, I think his record is even better than Germin's recently.

00:38:39   So I think his record is pretty good and he often has very specific details that show up nowhere else that end up being true.

00:38:48   Whatever he says that's spec wise, tends to be fairly good.

00:38:54   Where he's weak, which is where everyone's weak, is like the schedule, pricing, marketing, naming, and occasionally something that he says just won't ever happen.

00:39:07   But I think his record is better than most of the rumor sources.

00:39:11   So anyway, that being said, super excited about the rumored MacBook Pro 16 inch?

00:39:20   16 to 16.5 inches.

00:39:23   My impression of these rumors is that this is not a bigger 15 inch.

00:39:27   This is a replacement for the old 17 inch, which went away a while ago and now could potentially come back.

00:39:33   Basically, if you want a laptop and your main concern is not portability but instead having tons of screen space and lots of power, this is the laptop for you.

00:39:42   Since they got rid of the 17 inch laptop, there hasn't been a laptop like that.

00:39:46   The biggest you can get from Apple is 15 and if that's not big enough for you, tough luck, get an external monitor.

00:39:50   So even though they keep saying 16 inches, 16.5, I'm thinking that this is not like, "Oh, we'll stop making 15s and we'll just make this 16 or 16.5."

00:39:58   I'm thinking this is the new big laptop in the small, medium, large set of three, a 13, 15, and 17 inch.

00:40:08   I disagree. I think this is the new 15 inch, basically. I think this is the replacement for the 15 inch.

00:40:14   And honestly, I'm very excited about that because, as we've talked about many times before, so I'll be quick, I promise, please, I'll be quick.

00:40:23   There's a lot about the current laptop designs that I think is too much of a compromise for thinness and lightness.

00:40:30   I think Apple really gave up a lot of the high end value here with this generation of laptops and the high end features that buyers, especially of the 15 inch, really want.

00:40:41   It really makes sense to let the 15 inch be as high end as it needs to be and just get the size to accommodate that.

00:40:52   And it seems like, with the current generation, I've complained before, that they have made the same trade-offs for the whole line.

00:40:59   The same trade-offs being, "Everything needs to be as thin and light as possible and we will sacrifice things like power and thermals and reliability to get things as thin and light as possible."

00:41:08   That trade-off makes sense for some products. It makes sense for things like the 12 inch. It makes sense probably for the Air.

00:41:15   And maybe it might make sense for the 13 inch category, depending on what the trade-offs are.

00:41:20   But for the 15 inch, this is the high end model. This is the pro model. This is the model that people want the most.

00:41:26   They're buying the 15 inch because they want high end hardware. They want as few compromises as possible.

00:41:33   If they can make it a little bit bigger, even if it's only a small amount, first of all, I think they can achieve that screen size without making the body that much bigger because there's a lot of bezel you can still get rid of.

00:41:43   But making the whole thing a little bit bigger and a little bit thicker and maybe, heaven forbid, a little bit heavier could make them have a really awesome 15 inch that would resolve most of the complaints they've had with the current one.

00:41:58   And I really hope that's what they're doing. I think it's very interesting that this rumor is only about the 15 inch and does not specify anything about a 13 inch.

00:42:07   Because for the last few generations, they've replaced the 15 and 13 either simultaneously or very close to simultaneously to each other.

00:42:14   So that is interesting. Maybe that's just incomplete info. Maybe this really is only an update to the 15.

00:42:20   But I am super excited to hear both that they're looking at a bigger screen and that it is allegedly a redesign of the laptop.

00:42:31   Not just a, like you know, it isn't just a screen, it's a redesign. And all of our listeners know painfully well, I've been waiting for the next redesign of their laptops for a while now.

00:42:42   I've been very vocal about it and I can't imagine it would be worse than the current ones.

00:42:48   And maybe I'll eat my words, but based on what they have done to the products that are newer have been redesigned recently, like the Mac Mini, the iMac Pro, I'm hopeful.

00:43:01   I think they have their heads on straight again in this department and I really want to see what this is and I really hope it comes out this year.

00:43:08   I don't see how this is, you keep talking about it like this is the new 15 inch. There's not 1.5 inches to spare on the screen diagonally. This is a bigger laptop. It is not a new 15 inch.

00:43:21   Even if it's just 16. An initial inch of screen space is big and if it's 16.5, it's even bigger.

00:43:30   So, right, they could get rid of the 15 and replace it with this thing, but I feel like it would not be a new 15 inch with a bigger screen because a new 15 inch with a bigger screen is no longer a 15 inch.

00:43:39   Like this is not just a slightly bigger screen. 1 to 1.5 inches is big. And I think it's got to be the new big model.

00:43:48   Maybe they get rid of the 15 and just have a small and a really big and there's no middle ground anymore.

00:43:54   It's hard to tell with these rumors because basically what they've got is, let me tell you about a screen and they couldn't even nail on the screen size. It makes sense they don't even have a parts leak for the exact screen.

00:44:02   But, you know, this is setting aside the redesign because obviously I think they're massively overdue for a complete redesign of all their laptops and I hope they totally do that.

00:44:11   But the idea of a larger screen laptop mostly has me intrigued as the resurrection of the 17 inch because as a user of the 15 inch, I carry my 15 inch laptop from meeting to meeting.

00:44:21   I wouldn't want a 16 or 16.5. I would downgrade to the 13 which maybe is fine with Apple. Like whatever, pick the size you want.

00:44:27   But I think a 15 is a nice, a good size between as small as you can get without feeling too cramped and 16 or 16.5 which I feel like is, I want the biggest screen possible without being completely ridiculous.

00:44:42   Maybe they decided the 17 was ridiculous so a 16.5 is less ridiculous. We'll see.

00:44:46   The rumor site, I'm looking at this MacRumors article, does mention something about 13 just as they're going to add a 32 gig ram option to the 13 inch but that doesn't say anything about redesigns.

00:44:56   And I assume that when they redesign them, you know, as with all of their generational laptop things, it may not start across the entire line because that Apple is apparently gone.

00:45:07   It used to do that back in the good old days. Remember when they would redesign the laptop line on every single laptop?

00:45:11   There'd be a new 13, a new 15, and a new 17 on the exact same day. What a miracle that was.

00:45:16   Anyway, whatever new generation that come out, it will eventually spread to the whole line. Maybe not on day one but whatever the new laptop comes out with the new design, even if it's just one, we know that eventually this design will appear on all the other different sizes.

00:45:28   So it's long overdue and I'm excited about it as well but at this point, the rumors are pretty thin on the ground.

00:45:35   And even for the screen thing, like one of the things we've talked about that I'm most looking forward to with the redesign, aside from the keyboard obviously, is maybe having, getting rid of the non-native scale factor, right?

00:45:50   So getting back to the resolutions that we used to have before they went retina to, you know, to be true native resolution at 2x with a reasonable screen.

00:45:58   That just feels like, I kind of understand why they did that for power and size and stuff but it's like, screen technology has come so far since then.

00:46:06   So far that there should be no reason for that compromise anymore on at least one model. Maybe you have that compromise on some of your models or maybe most of your models but can we just have one with native res out of the box that doesn't feel cramped? That'd be nice.

00:46:18   Yeah, like that compromise makes sense on low end models. I would expect that compromise to continue on the 12 inch and the Air. Anything that ends in pro should not be running a non-native resolution scaling thing by default.

00:46:31   It just shouldn't. Like those screens, they already segment the screen quality as like, you know, the MacBook Pros have the higher brightness, they have the P3 color gamut.

00:46:40   Like they already have these be higher quality screens in other ways. The resolution should not be a compromise. It should be high end resolutions to match the other high end specs.

00:46:52   Right now it's not. And yeah, I too hope that this gives them a, you know, now that they're changing other things around here, I hope they take this opportunity to change that too.

00:47:00   I also think like size wise, I'm, you know, I've switched between the 13 and the 15 every few years basically. And I love having the 15 when I'm going to be doing a lot of work on the laptop.

00:47:13   Because obviously when you have more screen space, you know, it's great for certain types of work, which is really most types of work. But I'm very happy currently with the 13 for my current needs.

00:47:22   I would also though be very happy if they just kind of moved everything up a little bit. Like right now they have 12, 13, 13, 13, and 15.

00:47:31   What if they had, you know, 12, 13, 14, and 16? Like that, what if the Air is the 13 and the Pro becomes 14 and 16?

00:47:45   That I think would be totally fine. You know, the current 15s would maybe get like a half inch bigger in each dimension to accommodate the new 16 inch screen with a smaller bezel.

00:47:56   But that's fine. That's not a huge difference in practice. And I think 15 inch, I think people who want the biggest screen possible would take that trade off because having more screen space is that important.

00:48:07   But I think also having a MacBook Pro at around 14 inches could be awesome. Like if you look at the Matebook Pro, the rip off with the little pop up webcam in the F and key row.

00:48:20   Like that thing had about a 14 inch screen and it looked amazing. And it was a great balance of size versus like screen real estate. It was a fantastic size.

00:48:30   And a lot of PC makers now are shipping little like, you know, 13 inch roughly sized laptops that have like 13 and a half to 14 inch screens. And they do look incredible.

00:48:41   This is exactly the area that I want Apple to really compete very well in because they used to. Like Apple used to really be industry leading in like the screen size and resolution that you would get for the size class of laptop body.

00:48:58   And they've lost that lead in recent years. I want them to regain that. And that's exactly the kind of thing that Apple could do. Like it's not like this is out of their expertise or it's not like it would require compromises there among the may.

00:49:09   Like it would just require them like putting their foot back on the gas like they used to. And so I again, I have such high hopes and I know my hopes are not going to all be fulfilled here.

00:49:17   And I know we're not going to get things like USB-A or the SD card back. Like that's, those are probably long gone and that's, I've accepted that now. What I really want is if Apple's going to make these, you know, modern USB-C laptops, make the damn best ones in the industry again.

00:49:35   And they haven't been for three years now. I really know, I know they can do it. They used to do it. And now that there's rumblings of something big and new coming, I really hope they retake their crown and start making the best laptops in the world again.

00:49:51   Do you remember the last 14 inch laptop Apple made?

00:49:55   It was an iBook.

00:49:56   Yeah, the iBook G4 back in 2005. Do you remember the screen resolution?

00:50:00   1024 by 768 I believe.

00:50:02   That's right.

00:50:03   Yeah.

00:50:04   I'm very impressed.

00:50:05   14 inches at 1024 by 768. And of course it was 14 inch but it was probably bigger than the current 15 inch because of the huge bezels on the thing. So like it was a different, it was a different, I think it was like an inch around all sides of the screen.

00:50:20   Yeah, probably heavier too.

00:50:22   Yeah, it was a very large laptop. But yeah, it is the size that Apple, Apple has been in the 13, 15, 17 breakdown. 14 is this kind of strange thing. But it's all about how you shape the case around it these days. So lots of new things are possible.

00:50:35   So we should probably move on to the Mac Pro.

00:50:38   Hey! Casey brought up the Mac Pro. Alright.

00:50:42   But before we get to the Mac, why don't we do the display before we do the Mac Pro? Because that's...

00:50:45   That works.

00:50:46   Potentially related.

00:50:47   They're all interrelated, yes. And as much as I snark about the Mac Pro, like this is, this is definitely interesting. And I am curious to, I would like to spend an episode talking about the Mac Pro when it is officially announced. What worries me is that we're going to spend a year talking about the Mac Pro and...

00:51:03   Us?

00:51:04   Yeah, I'm going to buckle up. Yeah. But anyway, starting with the display, a 31.6 inch 6K 3K monitor. So apparently we're skipping 5K and going to 6K, but where, what is this 3K? What's going on here, guys?

00:51:22   I love the very exact size. 31.6 inch display. Again, this has got to be because they've seen a panel, right? They've seen some kind of panel. Anyway, this is interesting. We talked a couple shows ago about like, you know, what if they do an 8K display and how feasible is that and how useful is it.

00:51:40   Obviously we have the 5K displays that are in all the iMacs. We even talked to a couple of shows back about how hard it is to find a 5K display outside of an iMac. Like if you just want an external one, there's that LG one that is apparently not very good and a bunch of other ones of dubious provenance on Amazon and stuff that don't, you know, it's not, it's not a common thing in the industry.

00:52:01   But Apple puts in all their iMacs and we love those displays. We're like, well, they could just make an extra one of those and that'd be fine. But for the pro, maybe they'll do something bigger. So now this rumor of not a 5K display, which would be boring and old hat because those have been an iMac forever, but also not an 8K display because maybe that's just too much to be driven by anything and maybe there aren't that many benefits and maybe it's too big and all the things we talked about, but instead a 6K display.

00:52:23   I don't understand the 6K, 3K thing either. So I'm going to set that aside because I haven't found good articles that link, first of all, I have not been able to find a link to the original Ming Chi Kuo thing. Is it not in English and that's why I can't find any links to it because I wouldn't be able to understand it in any way.

00:52:41   I think they're private research notes that he issues because he's an analyst that I think people like buy access to his research notes.

00:52:47   Well, someone's buying it and putting it all over these rumor sites, but they're doing a bad job of transcribing it or summarizing it. So anyway, a couple of things are interesting to me about this issue here.

00:52:58   One is that it is not 5K, but it's also not 8K. So I'm on board for a 6K. Like better than 5K sounds good to me, but I'm not dying for 8K.

00:53:09   And a larger screen. Apple used to make a 30-inch display that was higher resolution than any of the displays they make now in terms of points, obviously not in terms of pixels because of retina.

00:53:19   I would love a 31.6-inch 6K display, but the most interesting thing to me about this is the modifier in the title of this rumor that says, "With Mini-LED-like Backlight Design."

00:53:33   I'm not keeping up with the external display industry, but I am keeping up with the TV display industry.

00:53:39   And this is an interesting intersection because as far as I'm aware, I've never seen a computer display that attempts to bring television-like technology to computers.

00:53:51   Because they're different applications and television has different requirements than computer displays do.

00:53:56   But there's no reason they can't overlap. So what they're talking about here is in television, and we've discussed this on some shows in the past, if you have an LCD television, normal LCDs, there's a big white light that's on all the time behind the screen.

00:54:14   And then in front of that, you have a liquid crystal display that has a bunch of little cells that you can turn on and off to let varying amounts of light through.

00:54:22   And then there are colored filters over the different colored subpixels. And it's more complicated than that with QLEDs and so on and so forth.

00:54:28   But just picture this mental model of how an LCD works. Big light that's on all the time and a button thing in front of it that blocks the light from coming through to varying degrees.

00:54:37   And that's why when we talk about black levels, if you want an entirely black LCD screen, then the backlight is on all the time.

00:54:42   And you shut off all the liquid crystals and say, "Please, liquid crystals, don't let any light through. They can't do it. Some light comes through."

00:54:48   So if you go in a pitch black room and you put on a "black screen" on your LCD, it lights up the room because it can't stop the light from the backlight coming.

00:54:56   So for decades now, the technology in the television industry to try to deal with that has been called dynamic backlight, where the backlight isn't on all the time.

00:55:06   The backlight is instead segmented into pieces, and they only turn on the backlight behind the parts of the screen that need backlight.

00:55:14   So if you were to put on a 100% black screen, they would just turn off the whole backlight and lo and behold, perfect blacks.

00:55:19   The problem comes when you have something like credits going, like white text scrolling on a black screen.

00:55:24   You need the backlight on behind the white credit text. You can't turn the backlight off there because the white won't show up.

00:55:31   But you don't want it on any of the black part.

00:55:34   But the backlight is cut into segments, and those segments are like big.

00:55:39   They used to be 16, 20 segments, now they're up to several hundred segments, but they're not as small as a pixel.

00:55:45   So to light up a word that's in the middle of the screen, like a white title on a black screen, you have to turn on a whole bunch of the backlight segments so that you get the lights on behind all the letters.

00:55:56   But you'll also have lights on behind the black that's next to the letters because the segments aren't the size of pixels.

00:56:02   So mini-LED like backlight is the sort of march towards, can we get a backlight where the size of each addressable region of the backlight approaches the size of the pixels?

00:56:16   If you get it all the way to the size of the pixels, you don't need a liquid crystal display anymore.

00:56:19   You can just go to actual mini-LED where you just have light emitting elements that light up all the stuff.

00:56:23   We talked about that on a past show, but a compromise is to make the dynamic backlight segments small enough to be able to just light up the backlights behind the text in your fictional credit sequence.

00:56:36   So you get less bleed, like a bleed or bloom is what they call it, when around the white letters in the black background you see this glow.

00:56:43   It's because the glow is from the backlight that's behind the black sections because they can't address just the parts that are behind the letters.

00:56:50   So that's television technology. And computer monitors, they tend not to do that.

00:56:55   Maybe it's because you don't care about black levels in computer monitors. You're not using them to watch movies.

00:56:59   Most of them are lit up all the time anyway, and if they don't have good black levels, who cares?

00:57:03   It's not like you're watching your computer in a pitch black room, and if you are, you don't really care.

00:57:07   It's not important to computer displays.

00:57:10   Things that are important to computer displays, sometimes it's like responsiveness, and if you have a dynamic backlight, it requires processing to figure out which parts of the backlight can go on.

00:57:18   There can be greater input lag when you have a system like that.

00:57:22   But the upside is that you can have very powerful backlights to do things like HDR if you can light them up and turn them on full blast behind the bright regions and turn them off behind the areas that are darker, or dim them on the areas that are darker and get higher contrast ratio and all that other stuff.

00:57:37   So this rumor is that basically television-like technology coming to a computer monitor to presumably give you a computer monitor with better black levels and stronger HDR than any existing Apple monitor for sure.

00:57:52   And that I find very exciting because I've never liked the complete separation of television technology and computer monitor technology because people do watch video on computer monitors and people do computerish things on television.

00:58:08   Not that there's word processing on it, but every time someone turns on a television, essentially what you get is a computer display with some kind of remote, whether it's your Netflix app or your cable box program grid or whatever.

00:58:22   We're all using computers attached to our televisions, or if you have no computer attached, your television itself is a computer because they're all smart TVs.

00:58:29   And that's basically, when you're not watching a program, it is a computer display and then you're watching whatever video is on the set.

00:58:38   So it scares me a little bit because what they're describing is a very complicated technology and it makes for expensive, complicated televisions where all sorts of things can go wrong.

00:58:48   But I trust Apple for the most part to get displays right, so if Apple wants to make me a display that's better than a 5K display that has more pixels and is also 31 inch, I'm probably completely on board with that.

00:59:00   Like I said when we talked about the 8K display, I might feel better about it if they also offered a 5K display that was basically just the iMac display.

00:59:09   Because I love that display and I want the option to buy that for some reasonable amount of money than to be stuck with this very exotic, very strange first generation mini LED-like backlight 31 inch 6K display, which is probably going to cost an arm and a leg.

00:59:25   And like so many first gen display technologies, it's probably not going to be a particularly good iteration of this tech, just like the very first 5K display was quickly superseded by the one with the P3 and the very first Apple Cinema display that 22 inch was superseded by the 23 inch that was better in so many different ways.

00:59:42   So I'll probably buy it anyway, but if they offer both a 5K and a 6K, I may have a difficult conversation and hem and haw over it for an episode or two, which Casey originally deserved after hemming and hawing over which car to buy for like two years.

00:59:57   [Laughter]

01:00:00   At least I saved it for the after show, which means it could only be but so long.

01:00:04   I really am very intrigued by this rumor of this display. So all the stuff you said, all about the possible different backlight technology and possible HDR, that all sounds great.

01:00:18   I honestly am much more interested in the shape and size of this thing. The fact that this rumor is very specific, comes from Ming-Shi Kuo, and is about a supply chain part, I think the credibility is high here.

01:00:37   Again, this is not a guarantee, nothing ever is in rumors, but this sounds very likely to actually happen, to actually be real.

01:00:44   And it's very interesting, so for instance, by going larger than 5K, that alone is interesting, because Apple has not shipped a monitor larger than 5K resolution ever, and larger than 27 inches not recently.

01:01:00   They had the 30 inch back in the day, which was a great monitor for the time. It was a little bit, actually it was a little bit taller, but it was the same width pixel wise.

01:01:09   So for them to be going wider is interesting, but they're also changing aspect ratios here. They're going for 2 to 1, so it's actually a significantly wider aspect ratio than what they're shipping right now, in the 27s and everything frankly.

01:01:23   So to have a wide display is very interesting to me. On the desktop, the rest of the PC industry is doing that. We see these super wide, 40 inch, 37 inch displays from other people. They typically aren't retina, but those are out, they've been out for a while, and people tend to like them.

01:01:43   So to have a super high end retina version of something like that from Apple is really appealing and really interesting to me. What's also interesting, we got this wonderful, very detailed email from John Dietz, and I'm not going to go through the whole thing, but the short version is that the specific 6K by 3K resolution is very interesting for Apple products because it's exactly perfect for maxing out a Thunderbolt 3 single cable.

01:02:12   While still having just enough bandwidth left for a USB controller, so to offer a few USB ports and a FaceTime camera.

01:02:18   And so that I think makes this even more plausible, even more interesting that, yeah, you know what, if Apple's going to make a pro display today, most of the pro computers Apple sells are MacBook Pros.

01:02:31   And they wouldn't make a pro display in 2019 that wouldn't work with their flagship MacBook Pro. That would just be weird and not very wise.

01:02:42   So it would make a lot of sense for Apple's pro display to be something that the Thunderbolt 3 Macs that have been shipping for the last few years can use.

01:02:51   And so to max out the resolution of a Thunderbolt 3 cable to have the biggest display you could possibly have while still working on those makes perfect sense.

01:03:02   And so that alone is, I think that lends credibility to this, and also I'm just very excited about that.

01:03:09   Because this sounds like Apple's really turning stuff around and is going to release some really exciting stuff for the Mac this year.

01:03:17   And I just really, really love that.

01:03:21   I don't want them to max out that cable because I'm still holding out hope for FaceTime in this thing.

01:03:25   You mean Face ID?

01:03:26   Yeah, sorry, yes, Face ID. Because it's huge, it's a huge piece of hardware, you've got plenty of depth, like you can put Face ID in it, it will fit just fine.

01:03:34   Well, you would have enough bandwidth for an entire USB 3 hub, I have a feeling Face ID would be totally fine with that.

01:03:40   This would not preclude Face ID from going into this. I have my own concerns, I don't know if they would do that for lots of other reasons, but bandwidth would not be the reason.

01:03:51   I mean, you might, I don't know if they can tunnel it all over that same single cable is what I'm getting at.

01:03:57   I want it just because every time I sit down in front of my computer, I'm like, "You have a perfect view of my face, giant monitor that I'm always sitting in front of and exactly facing."

01:04:05   Phones and other devices, as you found out with the iPad, very often doesn't have a good line of sight on your face either because your hand's blocking it or it's positioned in a weird way or it's on a table and you're glancing at it, but desktop computers, it's the one place where you have the highest chance of having perfect alignment of face and camera.

01:04:21   I just don't want to type my password anymore. I don't want to, and I don't get to use the fingerprint sensor on my laptop because it's always closed, and I wouldn't want to reach, like I'm right there, I'm sitting right in front of you.

01:04:32   Every time I see a box come up and it wants me to type my password, I'm like, "You're staring right at me, computer."

01:04:37   But it doesn't, you know, so I really, like that's definitely like a pro-level feature. Like how can you justify the enormous price of this monitor will surely have?

01:04:46   Throw in a $15 face ID sensor array from a phone in there and plumb it through the OS and the hardware and put face ID on a Mac, it's time.

01:04:57   Put face ID on a Mac, you cowards, as they say.

01:05:01   You know, the thing about the display and the Mac Pro and a lot of these rumors is I'm excited about them, not necessarily because I want to buy any of these things.

01:05:12   Certainly, I would imagine they will be unaffordable, but I'm just excited for Apple to really give a s*** again because I just feel like they haven't in a lot of ways, most especially the Mac up until recently.

01:05:28   But as we briefly alluded to earlier this episode about, you know, AirPort and Wi-Fi routers, I actually just unearthed my Apple rechargeable batteries that they made for Magic Mice and their keyboards.

01:05:42   And I'm not necessarily advocating for Apple to make battery chargers again, but it just seemed like there was a time that they cared more about every ounce of the experience, even the parts that seemed ancillary, like batteries.

01:05:56   They wanted every ounce of the experience to be really and truly great.

01:06:01   And I can't say I've felt that way about Apple for several years now.

01:06:06   I think some of that may have made sense, maybe some of it didn't.

01:06:10   I'm not really here to argue about the particulars.

01:06:13   If you're interested in that, listen to the last 300 episodes of the show, but I just feel like I'm really excited to see Apple really and truly start to give a s*** about the Mac from start to finish in a way that I don't think they have in a long, long time.

01:06:32   And it really seems like this is a very big aircraft carrier that takes a long time to turn, but I feel like we're seeing it changing direction, and I'm really, really excited about that.

01:06:43   The only problem I have with all this is that this is yet more stuff that we are, as a community, and the three of us as talking heads, that we are putting in 2019.

01:06:55   And 2019 was probably already destined to be a disappointment because of all the things that all of us expect, and I'm including myself in that.

01:07:04   But now with all this, oh man, that's a lot to deliver.

01:07:09   Because remember, we also are expecting wonderful things from iOS 13.

01:07:13   We're expecting Marzipan to hopefully not suck.

01:07:16   We're expecting now brand new MacBook Pros.

01:07:18   We're expecting the Mac Pro.

01:07:20   We're expecting maybe this fancy display.

01:07:22   Maybe an iPad mini, maybe an iPod touch.

01:07:26   There's so much we're expecting for this year.

01:07:28   And I would be flabbergasted to see Apple be able to deliver on all of those fronts.

01:07:35   So I think somebody's going to end up disappointed here.

01:07:38   It's just a question of who and why.

01:07:40   Everybody with the Mac Pro people should be disappointed because we waited the longest.

01:07:44   Get in line.

01:07:47   I guess the laptop people are the least likely. The laptop people are going to get something.

01:07:52   But we could transition to the Mac Pro rumors.

01:07:56   Gruber commented on this, and I forget which. Maybe it was from Mac Rumor Story or whatever.

01:08:00   Their attempt to summarize this Ming-Chi Kuo stuff that apparently we can't look at directly because you have to pay for it.

01:08:07   And no one just transcribed it.

01:08:09   Saying that they were, what was the language, considering saying something about the Mac Pro WWDC.

01:08:16   Or something like that.

01:08:18   Maybe it wasn't a quote, obviously, but considering.

01:08:22   As Gruber pointed out and as I said in the Slack channel earlier, it has to be WWDC.

01:08:31   It's either WWDC or you missed the whole year.

01:08:33   If it's not ready, fine. But you announce it when it's not ready.

01:08:38   It has to be done by the end of the year or you missed.

01:08:40   It's a 2019 product.

01:08:42   If you're going to miss that, everyone's going to be angry and bad things will happen.

01:08:46   But if you're not going to miss it, then show it to WWDC.

01:08:51   It's the time to show it. You have to show it. I don't understand.

01:08:55   Apple mulling preview of new modular Mac Pro WWDC in June. They're mulling it over, John.

01:09:00   First of all, I don't buy that for a second.

01:09:03   When a rumor site says Apple is still considering something, what that really means is,

01:09:09   "We think Apple is doing this, but we don't know yet."

01:09:12   It's not Apple is unsure. It's we, the rumor site, are unsure.

01:09:16   Things can get bumped from the show and could be announced around the show.

01:09:21   They could be announced before the show. Very often they'll have the stuff they announced before the show,

01:09:25   just to clear the decks for the stuff that's going to be in the keynote.

01:09:28   But I'm just saying, that time of year, obviously, I don't expect it in early 2019,

01:09:33   but I also think you shouldn't wait until November.

01:09:36   Even if it's not ready, even if it's not even going to ship in 2019, you show it at WWDC.

01:09:42   You have a video, you have a thing you like, and you tell us when we can put in orders and when it will ship,

01:09:47   and maybe you miss those dates or whatever.

01:09:49   But at this point, if it's a 2019 product, you should show it in 2019. WWDC is the time to show it.

01:09:56   I will be super disappointed if WWDC comes and goes and there is nothing about the Mac Pro,

01:10:03   because that will be very bad for everybody involved.

01:10:07   I have a feeling we will see either the Mac Pro's release or, more likely, a preview.

01:10:13   Boy, I'm getting nervous about the Mac Pro's release schedule.

01:10:19   The fact that the rumor is a possible reveal at WWDC, but no one's even rumoring that it's going to be released then,

01:10:26   which means that it'll probably get previewed then, and it'll probably be released in December.

01:10:32   I don't mind that. I don't mind if you show me the computer and tell me what's going to be in it

01:10:39   and maybe how much it's going to cost and when I can place an order.

01:10:42   We waited this long, it's not like I'm going to say, "Oh, I can't order it at WWDC. Total fail."

01:10:46   No, whatever. You've just got to say something. Show the monitor, show the Mac Pro, let us all know what we're in for.

01:10:53   I can imagine it being bumped by, for example, let's say they were revising all the laptops at that time,

01:10:59   and plus they have iOS 13 and the new version of Mac OS. I can imagine it being bumped from the keynote,

01:11:04   or preannounced, or something like that. It doesn't have to be on stage in the keynote,

01:11:10   but around that time of year, within a couple of weeks span of when all the Apple announcement stuff takes place,

01:11:15   they've got to say something. Because if they don't, there's going to be a million stories about it.

01:11:18   They're going to have to address it in the PR, and they can't just say, "We continue to think that Mac Pro's 2019 product

01:11:23   will have nothing to say about it at this time. It will be bad for them, press-wise." They could say that, but everyone will be mad.

01:11:29   I'm just waiting for you to realize that this is going to start at like five grand, and try to reconcile your frugal nature with that.

01:11:37   It's saving money for a long time. I haven't bought a computer since 2008.

01:11:43   Yeah, you say that.

01:11:45   Quite a nest egg. I could buy this computer with loyalty points from Amazon alone.

01:11:54   All I'm saying is, if this thing is like 5K for the computer, and 3K for each K, horizontal or vertically, in this monitor,

01:12:04   then you're going to be a very sad panda when you're paying like $8,000 or $9,000 or $10,000 for this silly Mac.

01:12:11   I have my limits. Like I said, if the 6K monitor is some astronomical price and they offer a 5K monitor, I like it with the 5K.

01:12:19   I like that monitor fine. I'm a little bit wary of first-gen, dynamic, backlight, 6K display stuff.

01:12:28   Honestly, they can't charge too much for the monitor.

01:12:32   Like the original cinema display was like $3,200 or something in 2001 money or whatever year that was.

01:12:42   This new one can't be more expensive than that. Honestly, you can get a 70-inch television with this technology in it for less than $5,000.

01:12:49   So I don't think. It has less resolution. Although, they had 8K displays at CES and everything.

01:12:56   Anyway, I don't expect it to be more expensive than an 8K television. Let's put it that way.

01:13:01   In theory.

01:13:02   And the Mac part, like if it's whatever, you know, the Mac Pro, we still don't have anything on the Mac Pro.

01:13:08   There's a couple of rumor stories going around that are just rehashing the same language we had before, but we get nothing solid on the Mac Pro.

01:13:16   But what could possibly be in it? It's either got expensive Intel Xeon and a bunch of PC parts or an ARM chip that Apple made up.

01:13:26   It's a magical thing. But either way, there's a ceiling on how much that stuff can cost. It's not going to have holographic magic pixie dust inside the thing.

01:13:36   It's just going to be PC parts in a really expensive case. So I think there's a ceiling on that too. I think it'll be fine.

01:13:41   You say that, but let's not forget how much Apple just loves marking things up. I don't know. We'll see what happens.

01:13:49   Any other rumors we really care about? Apple Watch, ECG in more countries, new ceramic casing design.

01:13:56   What article are you looking at that lists all these things? Because I've seen a million articles talking about this thing. Mac Rumors? Put the link.

01:14:03   It's in the show notes, and it is an image that I presume they just completely copy and pasted from the research note or whatever it is, because it is an odd image.

01:14:14   But it has all of this stuff in there.

01:14:17   I looked at that image five times and I'm like, "Why is the same ad showing up on all these articles?"

01:14:23   AdBanner Blindness refused to let my eyes look at that image, because I'm like, "This is a weird banner."

01:14:29   Ad inventory rotation is terrible because every article about this Ming-Chi Kuo stuff has the same AdBanner ad in it.

01:14:37   All right, yeah, this is a terrible graphic with low contrast, tiny text.

01:14:43   I think the other thing that's worth talking about is the Marzipan Rumors, which is a Gurman Bloomberg thing and not a Ming-Chi Kuo thing.

01:14:52   But I think it's worth talking about the extra nuggets of information that are about that.

01:14:57   We've talked about Marzipan many times in the past.

01:15:00   Honestly, this Bloomberg article doesn't have that much more information, except it tries to nail down both a timeline in terms of what Apple plans to do in year one, two, and three of its Marzipan rollout.

01:15:11   And it tries to talk about a purpose, a goal of eventually getting to the point where you can make a single application that you can buy from a single store and run that application on your phone, on your iPad, and on your Mac.

01:15:26   Which, it's presented as, "Here's what Apple is planning to do."

01:15:30   But when we were talking about Marzipan, that was one of the possibilities.

01:15:33   This is an experimental thing, but eventually what you want to be able to do is have some way, just like you can make an application today that runs on the iPhone and the iPad, the same application, to have an application that runs on all three of the platforms.

01:15:47   And they would do that by basically making UIKit run everywhere and having conditional code that understands when it's on a Mac and when it's on an iPad and when it's on a phone to lay out differently and handle touch differently and handle mouse input and all that other stuff.

01:15:58   But this explicitly says this is what I'm going to do, and it says, it would be like, "First the iPad apps will be able to run on the Mac, and then they'll do phone apps later because they're the most different from the Mac things."

01:16:08   It's all very vague and hand-wavy and schedules like that, and I can't imagine even Apple committing to.

01:16:14   But it does put its stake in the ground of saying, "What Apple's trying to do here is to get one store where you can buy one application that will run on all the platforms."

01:16:24   That's an interesting idea. It's certainly technically possible.

01:16:31   But I think as we've seen with the iPad, just because a thing is possible, you can write an iOS app now that is an awesome iPad app that takes advantage of the iPad and all of its unique features and the screen size and everything and is also a really good iPhone app.

01:16:48   But in practice, that doesn't happen too often. Some big, huge companies can't even be bothered to make an iPad app at all, let alone a single app that scales for both of them.

01:16:58   And the number of companies that make a really good phone app, a really good iPad app, and a really good Mac app are few and very far between.

01:17:07   And it's not because they can't do a single shared code base, because there's so many differences in the platforms, the input methods, the way things behave, that you don't magically get it for free.

01:17:22   You have to do additional work to get things to work.

01:17:25   I'm not saying that Apple isn't doing this and shouldn't do it, but the idea that once it is technically possible to do this, all the problems will be solved and the Mac will have as many apps as the phone, will have as many apps as the iPad is not going to happen.

01:17:39   Because the iPad can't even get as many apps as the phone and they are very similar to each other in terms of input methods and frameworks and all the other stuff.

01:17:47   So, if this is Apple's goal, I think it is probably an admirable goal and a good goal, but they will have a lot of work still to do, even once they make this technically possible.

01:18:04   Because the technical barriers are not the only and probably not even the biggest reason that the Mac doesn't have as many high quality applications as it should, or so many companies just ignore it entirely.

01:18:18   Yeah, I don't know. So, this marzipan thing where we're in so many ways bringing UIKit to the Mac, a lot of the older Mac folks, John, seem to be really grumpy about the thought of the design ideals of iOS coming to the Mac.

01:18:43   And as a person who really loves the Mac, I get that. I really honestly do. Because I like the way the Mac works. I like the way Mac apps work, particularly Mac apps that are done well.

01:18:58   And I don't think that iOS, generally speaking, that paradigm fits terribly well in the Mac. And certainly the example apps that we've seen, we've talked about this many, many times, are not great.

01:19:13   This is the home app in Mojave, stocks, news, etc. That being said, I think I'm overall kind of excited to see what happens from this. Because the Mac certainly seems to be the also-ran platform amongst Apple's platforms.

01:19:32   Because all the attention seems to be on iOS. And I would really, really like to see what comes of unleashing a bunch of really quality iOS developers on the Mac.

01:19:43   You know, Marco has said in the past that he has no interest in overcast for the Mac. And I bet you, Marco, that you would, at your first glance, or first thought, might be to kind of phone it in if you were to make one with this mythical marzipan.

01:19:57   But I could see you of all people just kind of phoning in one to begin with, and then realizing, "Well, if I just tweak this a little bit, it feels a lot better on the Mac."

01:20:07   "Well, if I just tweak this other thing a little bit, it feels a lot better on the Mac, too." And next thing you know, you have this really incredible overcast for Mac, which you kind of stumbled into by accident.

01:20:18   Accidental. And so I'm excited to see how this goes. The only thing that kind of disappoints me about this article, this Bloomberg article, is that it says, or it either implies or says that ARM Macs are going to be like maybe next year, maybe in probably 2021 or 2022.

01:20:38   And I'm also really excited for ARM Macs, and so I'm hopeful that that timetable is wrong. But we'll see what happens. But I don't know. A lot of the long-time Mac users seem to be really, really grumpy about marzipan, and I am not. I am cautiously very, very, very optimistic.

01:20:56   The thing I'm looking forward to the most about marzipan is shovelware. It sounds so terrible, but I'm not looking forward to the idea of there's going to be these great triple platform apps, and I don't care about the unification of the store.

01:21:10   But I do continue to be frustrated by so much of the modern computing world that just bypasses the Mac entirely. I realize that I don't think about it that often because I'm not stuck on a Mac. I have an iPad, I have a phone, so it doesn't feel like I'm personally missing out.

01:21:28   But the Mac platform is missing out. I was thinking today about the idea of Netflix, which we all have and we all watch. It's on our televisions, it's on our iPads, you can watch it on your phone if you want to.

01:21:42   And Netflix, a couple years ago, I forget what it is, their first show, they rolled out 4K and their flagship shows, Amazon Prime brags about its 4K content with the expanse and everything.

01:21:55   So 4K is a thing on video streaming services, and Netflix is the biggest video streaming service, or I don't know if it's the biggest, I think it is, but it's the biggest in terms of mindshare.

01:22:04   But you can't watch 4K Netflix on a Mac. And it's not because Macs don't have 4K displays. Macs have huge, beautiful displays. Even a 5K iMac, 4K video would look great on that.

01:22:16   Now people probably don't watch Netflix much on their Macs, they probably watch it on their television or on a portable device, like I get that, but the fact that it's not technically possible.

01:22:26   So there's two aspects to that. One is the web and its open standards and its associated DRM and HDCP and all those other stupid things.

01:22:36   So that's the reason why you can't go to Netflix.com and watch 4K content. Again, it's not a technical barrier to techno-bureaucratic BS reason, but it's the truth. You can't see it there for stupid reasons.

01:22:48   But you can see 4K video on your 4K television, because if you couldn't it would be pretty dumb. And on iPads, I think, I'm not sure what they're streaming this, it's not like they stream 4K or 1080 or like there was this dynamic streaming and various different compression techniques or whatever, but I think you can get better than 1080 on an iPad from Netflix.

01:23:14   So, if Marzipan existed, and if you can get better than 1080 video streaming in the Netflix app for iOS or in the Netflix app for your crappy smart TV, and it was easy to port the iOS Netflix app to the Mac as shovelware, that could be finally a way to give the Mac a capability that it never had before,

01:23:38   an ability to watch 4K Netflix using your shovelware Marzipan Netflix app on your Mac. And because mostly what you're doing is just blowing it up to full screen and just letting video play, I don't really care how ugly the UI is, I just want that capability.

01:23:52   I want the Mac not to be 100% ignored. Twitter, another example, bought a great Mac Twitter client and then just let it die on the vine and just said no we're not going to make that anymore, go to the website. Like they can't even be bothered to provide an official, after killing third party clients as hard as they possibly could without actually killing them 100%, they couldn't even be bothered to, just use the web.

01:24:16   I feel like the Mac is being left out of so many things. So if Marzipan lets those companies provide shovelware, minimal effort, oh we found a way we can make a little bit of extra money with very little effort by just taking our iOS app and throwing it over the wall and letting it be a terrible Mac app,

01:24:35   I'm all for that if it gives me apps that I was never going to get in any form anyway, like Overcast, like you're not going to get Mac original Overcast ever unless something like Marzipan exists.

01:24:46   That to me is the biggest short term benefit as a Mac user of Marzipan that I just want access to apps that no one would bother making before.

01:24:55   That's not great for the Mac as like, show me the power and glory of the Mac, shovelware does not do that. But in the short term, that's what I want. I want that shovelware. I want Overcast for the Mac shovelware and I want Netflix app shovelware and I want Twitter client shovelware, maybe not because I use Twitter, it's way better than that.

01:25:14   I want to sort of get on an even playing field and then we can see, okay, how do we actually, is this actually a way to make good Mac apps with this? What's the three year plan for this framework evolving and making unified apps across platforms and is that a thing that people do?

01:25:29   One of my hopes is that perhaps because Mac users are willing to spend more money on apps, again probably because they're bigger, like a physical size and people, I still subscribe to this theory, people will pay more money for things that display on a larger screen.

01:25:43   Television accepted. If it turns out you can charge more money for a Mac version of an app, maybe that incentivizes people to, it doesn't incentivize them to make a universal app because people are like, $10 for this app that runs on my phone, my iPad and my Mac and is great on all those platforms, that's a rip off.

01:26:03   But you can sell it, the Mac only version for $29 to provide utility for a Mac user who needs it to do their work. So this is weird, historical and I think current day dichotomy in markets.

01:26:16   And I'm hoping that if Mac enables shovelware and also lets people realize, you know what, if we just make a straight up Mac version of our application, we can charge astronomical by iOS standards money for it if it actually is an application that has utility for professionals to do their job.

01:26:35   I think that's still true, it's not as true as it used to be, you can't charge $499 for Final Cut or whatever the hell it cost originally, but you can charge more than $5 and people don't have an aneurysm, so there's that.

01:26:51   I hope, what did I say, someone on Twitter who's like a modern, regular, rational person was discussing applications and they're like, I found this app, you know, and I was surprised, it's expensive at $9 but it's pretty good, it was talking about a professional graphics app or something, expensive at $9?

01:27:12   Like what planet are we on? People just get so, talk about the Overton window.

01:27:21   It's a professional app, like the sales tax should be $9.

01:27:46   I'm hoping on that level, where $9 seems like the steal of the century when you see what this application can do.

01:27:52   I don't know what the ceiling is on Mac stuff these days, but I feel like it's still higher than iOS.

01:27:58   I'm hoping the medium term is that we see some people looking again at the Mac and thinking of targeting it because they can actually charge more money there.

01:28:20   I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.

01:28:32   I mean, I've talked about this before, so again, I won't go into too much detail here, but there's the idea of the Mac purity, where we as Mac users and Mac enthusiasts want all Mac software to be Mac-like and that means certain things and it means certain behaviors and it means being implemented with certain APIs, like the native app APIs and everything.

01:28:54   But the market is very different and the reality of the market is very different today. There is very little new Mac software being developed that is that definition of Mac-like, that is using the native APIs, using AppKit and everything.

01:29:09   There's very little Mac software being developed anymore like that and even less new Mac software being developed like that.

01:29:25   And while we still have apps like that, and I hope we continue to have apps like that because they are really good, we can't expect all apps to do that and we can't expect all developers to come to the Mac at all to come to the Mac on those terms.

01:29:40   Because that has been the selling proposition for a long time now and we see that the market has said no.

01:29:46   That's why you have companies like Netflix and Twitter not having Mac apps or ending their Mac apps because it's just not worth it. That's why you have people like me who make iOS apps not coming to the Mac because the amount of additional effort and recoding that would be required, or having a separate code base that would be required, is not worth the market it would get us.

01:30:08   So you need something to resolve this. Even Apple can't justify spending completely separate from scratch different effort on the Mac anymore.

01:30:20   Like Apple tries to unify their own efforts between the Mac and iOS as much as possible. Everyone else does too.

01:30:26   The reality is that you can get people these days to write software for a very small number of platforms. iOS number one, Android number two, and the web number three. That's it.

01:30:37   And so if you want the Mac to continue to have good apps that aren't all just electron garbage, you need the Mac to be able to run iOS code more.

01:30:49   And you need the process of bringing an iOS app to the Mac to take way less effort than it does today.

01:30:56   So Marzipan is 100% necessary even if the apps aren't as good, even if it will result in mostly shovelware, which it will, and even if it makes all of us Mac enthusiasts cry when we try to use these awful apps to do anything beyond the most trivial of tasks, which it will.

01:31:16   We still need it. The market still needs it and the Mac still needs it because of the reality of the market and the realities of what is worth developing for most companies these days.

01:31:29   Apple has all the ways to do this though. There are other levers that Apple could in theory pull. Maybe they've given up on them, but back before iOS, obviously Apple was making tons of apps for the Mac because it didn't have any better option. So iLife and all those other great things.

01:31:46   We can't go back to those days, but one thing Apple can do is sell tremendously more Macs than they do now. Obviously they're never going to sell as many as they sell phones, and maybe the only way they can sell more Macs is to cannibalize PCs, Windows PCs.

01:32:00   But that's a way to make the Mac as a platform more attractive. Sell way more Macs. So far Apple has not seemed very interested in selling way more Macs. They've been happy to sell a gradually increasing number of Macs.

01:32:13   They're not doing anything. If you had to list what are the things Apple has to do to take market share away from Windows, they're not doing most of those things or certainly not doing them particularly aggressively.

01:32:23   So given Apple's apparent willingness to let the Mac's market share be more or less what it is, their only options are things like marzipan. Because what can you do to make your platform more attractive, you can either resign yourself to only having it be the platform where things that only take place on the Mac happen.

01:32:44   And even that's temporary because you assume that someday Xcode will be available on your big iPad and so on and so forth. But in the meantime, people can buy Photoshop and Lightroom and run Xcode and buy big expensive Macs.

01:32:57   But do everything else on their iPads and phones, including watching Netflix because you can't do that decently on a Mac.

01:33:03   Or you have to find some way to make the Mac a platform where it is worth it to take the custom effort to do applications made for the Mac that are Mac-like that take a significant investment and that you can charge a lot of money for and actually sell a lot of copies.

01:33:21   Maybe that's a loser deal because you can say, "What if Apple had 100% PC market share?" Still not worth it. So what? It's still such a drop in the bucket compared to phones and really Apple should be concentrating on AR or whatever. I see the arguments. It makes sense.

01:33:35   But that is another thing they can do and that doesn't seem to be part of their strategy.

01:33:41   Well, I don't even think that would be enough though because you don't see a lot of these companies making apps for Windows either.

01:33:46   Yeah, that's what I'm saying. It's bifurcated. Windows has 80% or something and the Mac maybe has 20 worldwide and so they can't even bother for the 80%.

01:33:55   But I feel like Apple has the best 20% and that's not enough. Maybe if they had 100% maybe that still wouldn't be enough but maybe it would be closer.

01:34:04   Maybe you'd get more than just Photoshop Final Cut and three other applications. Is that it? Is that the only room in the entire Microsoft Office I suppose? And maybe the days are numbered for that.

01:34:20   Maybe there's room for four more applications if you had tremendously more market share. I don't know. It can be better than it is.

01:34:29   You definitely need to enable Shuffleware and unifying the platform will go a long way. This whole situation we're in could have been solved long ago by one of the two approaches that we thought Apple was going to take.

01:34:42   They seem not to which was basically making the iOS devices more capable or making the Mac more iOS-like and they've chosen to do neither very well.

01:34:49   So we're in the current situation. We should have already had an iPad where you can run Xcode and do everything you can do on a Mac but we don't. So until we have that we're stuck with the Mac and the Mac is still the Mac.

01:35:03   It's still big expensive complicated not a substitute for an iPad or a phone. Most people do not choose it. Most people choose to get an iPhone and maybe an iPad but probably not a Mac.

01:35:14   So here we are so many years after we thought these two that one of those two things would have happened and neither has happened.

01:35:20   So instead we're trying to bridge the divide with marzipan which doesn't make iOS devices more capable and doesn't really make Macs as friendly as iOS devices but at least lets the software travel more nicely between the two realms.

01:35:36   I still think they're faced with the fundamental problem of what's the deal here? Is this mean you're never going to make iOS devices more powerful or as powerful as the Mac and just forever we're going to be in a situation where there's a weird platform where a few really cool things happen plus a bunch of shovelware?

01:35:50   That doesn't seem particularly tenable either. I hope there is a larger grand plan than just "Hey now we have a way for you to develop for all of our platforms with a single application" because that's technically cool and is probably required but it doesn't solve the fundamental platform divide that Apple continues to be faced with of their own doing.

01:36:09   That was intense. Shall we do some Ask ATP?

01:36:13   Let's do it.

01:36:14   Alright, let's start out with Ed Cormani. He says "With AirPlay 2 coming to so many TVs, do you think there's a chance that the next Apple TV hardware could go wireless only, so it's similar in shape to like an AirPort Express or an Eero Beacon, and sell the lack of cord clutter as its premium feature?"

01:36:33   So I'm not entirely sure what Ed means here. I'm assuming there's still HDMI from this thing to the TV, right?

01:36:41   No, I think he's saying no, not that.

01:36:43   So the Apple TV would put its picture on your television without having a wire that attaches it to you?

01:36:49   Oh, hence the AirPlay 2, right? Sorry, yes, yes, yes. Okay, that makes much more sense. Okay.

01:36:53   No, I don't think it'll happen, personally. It's too much latency. Wi-Fi networks are too iffy, in no small part because there's no Apple Wi-Fi hardware anymore. I say no. What do you say, John?

01:37:08   Latency is not a problem, but the problem is that, you know, the reliability, but basically there's no reliable good standard for this, and HDMI continues to evolve.

01:37:18   Like the big selling point on the 2019 televisions is who can get HDMI 2.1 support, which supports 4K at higher frame rates and larger bit depths and all the other stuff.

01:37:28   Like HDMI continues to get bigger, better, and faster, and there's no wireless standard out there that is keeping pace with that.

01:37:38   So there's no way that Apple would confine themselves, even if there existed a reliable standardized way to wirelessly send pictures.

01:37:46   At this point in the evolution of television, they would not confine themselves to that because they want to be able to support all the new standards.

01:37:53   So, you know, I don't think the current Apple TV supports HDMI 2.1. I'm not sure if they even can.

01:37:58   But if Apple wants to stay in this business, they will have to because higher frame rates, higher resolutions, and higher bit depths continue to come to televisions.

01:38:06   And our benefits that customers can see, for the most part, especially better color depth and better HDR, and so we're stuck with cables, probably HDMI cables, for a long time to come.

01:38:19   And by the way, kind of like USB-C with the million different cables that look the same but are actually different, HDMI is just like that, probably even worse.

01:38:26   Because you can buy a cable, but there's no such thing as an HDMI 2.1 cable.

01:38:31   Right? Because, "Oh, I saw an Amazon. I can buy this cable. It says HDMI 2.1."

01:38:35   HDMI 2.1 has a bunch of features, not all of which have to be supported.

01:38:40   The official support naming scheme for HDMI cables is kind of like USB. Remember, they have like super speed, high speed, mega speed.

01:38:49   Like, they had all these stupid names where they used up their super relatives so they had to make even dumber super relatives.

01:38:54   HDMI is doing the exact same thing with 2.1. So you cannot get a 2.1 cable, but you can get like a high bandwidth, maximum speed something cable, and each one is like, "Oh, this one has..." What are the things? Like auto latency mode, and variable frame rate, and high bit depth, but doesn't do high frame rate with 4K.

01:39:15   Like, it's a big menu of things you can choose from. Depending on which cable with which adjective, it's exactly the same mess as USB.

01:39:22   That's why these companies don't learn their lesson. It's mostly because they make these a la carte standards where they can't ask every manufacturer to support everything.

01:39:30   Very often because it's not possible. Like HDR is a good example where HDR had a standard, but to this day I believe there is no television that achieves the maximum brightness as specified in the HDR specification.

01:39:43   Period. Let alone across the entire screen. But they can't say, "Well, you can't call your television, you can't say your television has Dolby Vision support unless you can output like 20,000 nits or something."

01:39:54   They can't say that because no one can do that. So they have to let the people say, "This television supports Dolby Vision."

01:39:59   So you have to be able to support some subset of the features, but still be able to call yourself Dolby Vision, or HDR 10+, or HDMI 2.1.

01:40:07   So tons of televisions will be coming out that say, "HDMI 2.1 support," but it's this giant technical morass once you figure out, "Well, what does that actually mean? What features of the specifications does it support?"

01:40:18   And God forbid, what cable do I actually need to get those features? Wireless, forget it. We can't even get the wired stuff right yet.

01:40:25   Eventually, we will reach reasonable limits of human perception until we go into retinal implants or glasses or other things that are closer to your face. But that's no time soon.

01:40:35   I would also add that the idea of the Apple TV getting cheaper by omitting HDMI, I don't think that's what's making it expensive.

01:40:45   The Apple TV is expensive for a number of reasons. Number one is Apple, that they probably still want a very healthy hardware margin on this product,

01:40:56   whereas their competitors are mostly selling them at or near cost to achieve, later on down the road, margins using service revenue.

01:41:05   It's a good question whether Apple should do the same thing. Should the Apple TV hardware be a major profit center for Apple?

01:41:12   I would say probably not, especially since they are pushing a services narrative now, and it is incredibly uncompetitively priced against its competitors, but that could be me.

01:41:24   The other thing is that Apple has made the Apple TV a fairly high-end device, hardware-wise. It has a pretty good processor in it, it has really good support for the HDMI and 4K and everything else.

01:41:37   It has wired Ethernet and everything else. It's a pretty good box. If they wanted to make a cheaper one, I think step one is cut their own margin, and I don't know if they're ever going to be willing to do that or not.

01:41:49   Step two would be to make a lower-end box, and they don't do that by cutting out the HDMI port. They do that by scaling back the processor and maybe removing Ethernet and stuff like that.

01:41:59   That's the kind of thing I would expect to do that. The current Apple TV box is specced for a very advanced operating system running on it, a very highly interactive UI, and to have enough hardware to play games and stuff.

01:42:16   And those are things that maybe it doesn't need. Maybe Apple could scale back the software that runs TPOS. It turns out most people aren't using it to browse real estate listings and shop and other things that they originally demoed when they revealed this generation of Apple TVs.

01:42:34   Maybe they could scale it back and have one that really just runs the TV app and has very simplified hardware as a result and could be therefore sold at a very low price. I don't know. I'm just spitballing here, but I don't think the HDMI port is what's making it expensive.

01:42:50   Eddie Lee writes that, "My lease is up in a few months, and the only requirement I've given for my next car is wireless CarPlay. But there are very few cars with this. I've never used it. Should it really be a deal breaker for me? We have two cars now, both with CarPlay, neither with wireless.

01:43:07   To my knowledge, and this is outdated, so I'm probably wrong, but to my knowledge, the only stuff that does wireless CarPlay is BMWs and certain aftermarket head units. Now that's possibly incorrect, so check my work on that. But that was the last I heard.

01:43:20   And so if you really, really, really want a BMW, then guess what? Jackpot. But otherwise, I think you're in for a rough ride. I personally use CarPlay only very rarely. I use it when I'm driving Erin's car because I don't have my phone hooked up to her car's Bluetooth.

01:43:38   And if I'm in my car, I only use it if I'm doing something like navigating with Waze. I'll use the onboard navigation in my car for most things, but if I'm going somewhere that I know is trafficy or if I'm going on a very long journey, then I will use CarPlay for that.

01:43:54   Or if I'm in the middle of a text message conversation that I really don't want to stop because it's much easier to do that via Siri, via CarPlay. But otherwise, I don't use CarPlay that often.

01:44:04   That being said, I didn't want to buy a car without CarPlay as a form of future-proofing and insurance. So as CarPlay hopefully gets better, and I don't think it's bad today, but as it hopefully gets better, then even if I do have to plug in like an animal, then at least I still have that option.

01:44:20   Now, Jon, neither of your cars support CarPlay or just Tina's, is that right?

01:44:26   None of them do. So I have no experience with it, I'm not even sure if I would use it. I would say, though, you should get your phone hooked up to the Bluetooth in your wife's car. We have all our phones on all the Bluetooth on all our cars, and it's fine. It's convenient.

01:44:39   If both phones are in the car, you can pick which one, but if you're the only one driving, it's nice that it'll just pick up your phone and go. You don't have to get plugging in.

01:44:47   Yeah, but I sometimes get collisions, like if both of us are in the car and a phone call comes in from me and then it's going through the car audio, which isn't a problem. It's not that I'm taking a private call or something like that. I don't know, I've never had a good experience with that in any of the cars we've had.

01:45:02   Speaking of phone and Bluetooth, though, this is a good opportunity to say that ever since iOS 12 came out, I think my car or my phone or some interaction between them is causing the Bluetooth stack to crash on the phone.

01:45:17   I can see this when I open my phone, because I was getting tired of, "Why are you not connecting?" Sometimes it just wouldn't connect at all, or sometimes it would take a long time, so I'm like, "What's going on?" I went to the Bluetooth screen on my phone, and you see it sitting there.

01:45:33   I was doing something. The phone was hanging out there, and I was like, "Okay, connect, connect, connect." What will happen is, while I'm staring at that screen, the big switch at the top that says Bluetooth will switch to the white. It'll go from green to white. It'll go off. All of the devices will disappear and roll up in an animation. The screen will entirely blank out, and then it'll all come back, and then it will connect.

01:45:54   So it seems like Bluetooth is crashing on my phone, or the entire Bluetooth interface is crashing and rebooting on my phone. I don't know how my car is doing that. It causes delays. It could just be a weird car thing. I have no idea who to blame, but this didn't happen with iOS 11. It does happen with iOS 12, and it's not great.

01:46:09   So, coming back around to the actual question, which I'm not sure I even really answered, to be honest. Do you need wireless CarPlay? I would say it's certainly better, but no, I don't think you need it. CarPlay in general, yes. Wireless, no. Jon, thoughts?

01:46:24   Having not used either one, I can't, it's hard to say. I like the comfort of having a wire, but I like the idea of not having to plug something in. I feel like I'd have to own both a wired and wireless CarPlay to make the call, but I've owned neither, so I can't have a good opinion about it.

01:46:39   Marco, how's that CarPlay in your Tesla? Fair enough. And keeping with the car theme, Paul Walker asks, "How are you enjoying season three of The Grand Tour? Did you like the Detroit episode?" Have either of you kept up with Grand Tour at all? I'm a little behind, but I'm assuming, Marco, you have not?

01:46:57   Correct.

01:46:58   And Jon?

01:46:59   Nope.

01:47:00   Alright, do either of you plan to?

01:47:02   I'm not opposed to pulling up an episode if you tell me there's one segment of one good one, but I'm not watching the show. I'm more likely to see segments of it as clips in YouTube or something than I am ever to go back and watch the whole episodes.

01:47:17   Whenever I think of watching TV, I don't think of pulling that up. And it's always in the back of my mind like, "Oh, I would like to at some point check out that show again," because people like you say that it's good now, and it just hasn't come up. It hasn't happened yet. So someday maybe it will, but I'm not there yet.

01:47:37   Yeah, so about The Grand Tour. It's not that good.

01:47:40   That good, huh?

01:47:42   No, I don't know if it's me. It's not you guys. It's me. I don't know what the problem is, but this season I have watched I think all but the most recent episode, or maybe all but the most recent two, and it's just not doing it for me.

01:47:57   And the interesting thing is, in my personal opinion, the last couple of seasons of Top Gear, like Top Gear as it exists today with Joey from Friends, with Matt LeBlanc, and Chris Harris, and Rory Reid, and Sabine Schmitz, I actually think that I enjoy Top Gear by and large, and there are some cringy moments within it.

01:48:18   The Grand Tour, it occurred to me over this season, is mostly cringy, but there are some good moments within it. And I keep watching it, I guess out of habit? I don't even know anymore.

01:48:33   And there are definitely moments that are good. In the beginning, the beginning of the Columbia special was this season, the beginning of it, the first like 10 or 15 minutes of it was really, really good. And then it went right the crap downhill real fast.

01:48:50   And so, I don't know, how am I enjoying it? No, not really. I'm not actively disliking it. And yes, I know everyone is running to Twitter to tell me about how much of a jerk Jeremy Clarkson is. I am aware of it.

01:49:03   Listen to the most recent episode of Analog. I think you can separate the art from the person, maybe you can't, and that's fine. Different strokes for different folks.

01:49:11   But I will say that I don't think that The Grand Tour is really doing it that much for me. And I think some of that is me seeing Clarkson as being a real and true jerk, which I always sort of did, but I'm seeing more and more of it now than I ever have before.

01:49:26   I think some of it is realizing how unbelievably scripted and staged it is, which yes, I know it's always been that way. Like my brain really does understand that all of the show has always and forever been scripted.

01:49:39   But I think in the past I was able to kind of turn that off and just let it wash over me and enjoy the theoretical spontaneity of it. And now, as I watch them blowing up a helicopter in ultra slow motion with six different camera angles, and you know that that's deliberate.

01:49:57   And yet they're playing it off poorly like, "Oh, geez, how did that happen?" It's just, I don't know. I feel like maybe it's because of my own car videos, even though I'm not saying they're anywhere near Grand Tour quality.

01:50:10   But something about it has clicked in my brain where I've seen how the sausage is made and I'm not interested in the sausage anymore.

01:50:18   Our little Casey's growing up. Now he knows Top Gear is fake. I've always known, I swear. I know, but I feel like now you know. Oh, God, do I ever know? I know.

01:50:30   And Clarkson is just so not a good person. Yeah, they're done. I think I would, if I was going to watch a car show, I think it'd be more likely to, because I'm still recording the new Top Gear, I'd be more likely to pull that up.

01:50:43   Honestly, even that, I like watching the Chris Harris Top Gear segments on YouTube. Some of them are long. Some are like eight or nine minutes of him just driving a car and talking about it.

01:50:50   I like Chris Harris. I like Chris Harris on Cars when he was just on YouTube. I like him on Top Gear. I don't like Joey.

01:50:57   Really? I think he's pretty good on Top Gear. Not doing it for you?

01:51:01   I don't want to hear what he has to say about Cars, I've decided. But Chris Harris I do like, so I watch him on YouTube.

01:51:07   Well, thanks to our sponsors this week, Fracture and BoxySuite, and we will see you next week.

01:51:14   Now the show is over, they didn't even mean to begin, cause it was accidental, oh it was accidental.

01:51:25   John didn't do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn't let him, cause it was accidental, oh it was accidental.

01:51:36   And you can find the show notes at ATP.FM, and if you're into Twitter, you can follow them at C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S, so that's Casey List M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M,

01:51:55   N-T-M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M-N-S-I-R-A-C-U-S-A-C-R-A-C-U-S-A, it's accidental. They didn't mean to, accidental. Tech podcast, so long.

01:52:15   I moved my Apple ID stuff to the after show cause I didn't want to just continue to complain about stuff that doesn't work with Apple, but honestly, so this is a whole giant cluster of things.

01:52:25   It's tied up in the thing that we could have talked about, but it's probably too much inside baseball if Apple requiring developer account, developer Apple IDs to have two factor on, which is kind of a hassle for unrelated reasons.

01:52:37   But anyway, this is why I was delving into Apple ID stuff. It's like, okay, well I got to enable two factor on my Apple ID and I figured out how I'm going to do it and how I can reuse my phone and add the Apple ID, but deactivate the stuff on it and make a new account on my Mac and yada yada. It's annoying, but it can be done, right?

01:52:53   And delving into Apple ID management has reminded me that my base assumption, which continues to be reinforced, is that nothing associated with this will work.

01:53:07   So there are ostensibly a bunch of features, things that you can do to your Apple ID. For example, in theory, Apple IDs have payment methods and you can change the payment method.

01:53:19   There are screens for it all over the place. You can do it in iTunes, you can do it in a web browser, you can do it on your iPad, you can do it on your phone, you can do it on your Mac and the system preferences.

01:53:28   There's all sorts of different ways to see your payment method and change it. Maybe your credit card needs a new expiration date. Maybe you want to swap one credit card for another.

01:53:38   But in practice, my base assumption is that won't actually work. There are screens for that, but you won't actually be able to do it and it's proven true. Again and again, I will go in there and try to change my credit card and it will be like, "obscure error."

01:53:51   Different error if you do it on the web, different error if you do it on your Mac, but it just doesn't work.

01:53:58   Can I remove a payment method? Nope, your only choices are credit card or PayPal. There is no option to remove a payment method. What if that card has been stolen and canceled and you want to just get it off of an account or whatever?

01:54:12   In theory, you should be able to remove it, but there doesn't seem to be an option. Why? I don't know.

01:54:17   So I spent 90 minutes on the phone with Apple trying to get this stuff resolved, working my way through the layers of technical support from first level, second level, trying to get up to the point where someone can actually...

01:54:29   I wish I could just jump to the end and say, "Can you put me in touch with someone who has access to the server logs?" I need to just go to that level.

01:54:38   Because I know where all the UIs are. I know all the things. But the thing is, in second, that would be a mistake because in second and third tier, they have new information at those tiers as well.

01:54:46   And a lot of that information is part of why I just assume nothing will work. Because there are rules, kind of like the contact syncing, there are rules for this system that are not presented to you, the user.

01:54:58   Maybe they're on some support article somewhere. They're certainly not in the UI and they're certainly not propagated back from the server to the client in a way that you can...

01:55:08   They just give you these generic error messages. So one of the rules I discovered, or I don't know if I discovered the rule, but I discovered the shape of a possible rule is...

01:55:17   What they told me on tier two or three support was, "Oh, I see. When you try to change your payment method, it's telling me that you can't add that credit card to this Apple ID because it's already used on too many Apple IDs."

01:55:30   Did you know that was a thing? No. And so I'm like, "Hm. Used on too many Apple IDs." The error doesn't tell you that. The error says like, "Invalid payment method" or "An error occurred. Please contact Apple."

01:55:42   One of the things gives you a link. It gives you a URL in the dialog in a web browser, but the URL is not a link. And so you can copy and paste that URL.

01:55:52   And if you copy and paste it, it just lands you on a generic, "Here's how to get help. Pick your product page." It's a terrible link. At least it goes to a page. It's not a 404. But it doesn't help you at all.

01:56:03   But anyway, it doesn't say anything about that. I'm like, "Okay. Here's some actionable information."

01:56:07   My next question was, "How many Apple IDs is this payment method used on?" Do you know what they told me?

01:56:15   We don't know. No, they didn't say it. They did not say they didn't know. What do you think they said? What would be too... So they gave you a number. Yep.

01:56:24   I'm gonna say... What would be too many? I'm gonna say two. No. It'll be three or four.

01:56:32   They told me that this credit card number couldn't be added to this account because it is already used on eight Apple IDs.

01:56:39   What? Is this your whole family? And I said, "Eight Apple IDs? Do I know eight Apple IDs?"

01:56:48   First I said, "Kid Apple IDs don't count, right?" Because they can't have payment methods. Yeah, kid Apple IDs don't count.

01:56:56   I don't know whether to trust them, but they told me kid Apple IDs don't count. I've only got the two kids.

01:57:00   So if I count my Apple IDs, my wife's got an Apple ID, both my kids have one, and then we count one for me. So that's four Apple IDs.

01:57:06   But of course I don't just have one Apple ID. I have my developer Apple ID. That's five.

01:57:10   My developer Apple ID is the one that used to not be an email. That's my oldest Apple ID.

01:57:14   I also have Apple IDs that I've used when making OS X reviews back in the day.

01:57:19   So I know I have more than just that. But of the five... So I know I have at least one other testing Apple ID. So that's six.

01:57:27   But I know that credit card isn't used on all six of those Apple IDs. The kids ones don't have any payment methods,

01:57:33   and a bunch of the other ones have a different credit card. I can't name eight Apple IDs that are in my family.

01:57:40   Even if I think that maybe I edited it for my mom's Apple ID at one point, that still doesn't add up to eight.

01:57:45   I said, "Can you tell me the eight Apple IDs?" They said, "No, we don't have the list in front of us. It just says using too many Apple IDs is eight."

01:57:51   So let's just set that aside. I'm like, "Okay, well, at least I know something new now. Now I can maybe solve this problem."

01:57:58   My problem, by the way, was I wanted to enable two-factor, and I also wanted to make sure that my developer Apple ID is all set to go for WWDC.

01:58:04   I know this isn't pressing in February or whatever, but when the WWDC lottery comes, if you win, they try to charge your card,

01:58:10   and if they can't charge your card, they might give your ticket to someone else.

01:58:14   So I wanted to make sure that I had a payment method working with my Apple ID.

01:58:17   And I had done this. I made sure that everything was okay before the two-factor stuff came along.

01:58:24   But then my credit cards all got stolen, so I had to change them all, so it was a big mess.

01:58:28   Anyway, so here I am doing it again. So I'm like, "Alright, I can solve this problem. What I'm going to do is find an Apple ID that has the credit card on it,

01:58:35   remove the payment method from that Apple ID, thus freeing up one less than whatever this limit is, and then add it to the new thing."

01:58:43   But again, you have to go back to your base principles. Assume nothing will work.

01:58:47   Can you remove a payment method from an Apple ID? No, of course you can't.

01:58:54   I go to an Apple ID, I find one, I found one of my testing Apple IDs, I went through one of my old OS X articles,

01:59:00   looked at the screenshots, and found out what the old Apple ID was, and then was able to log into it.

01:59:04   And I went to the payment method thing, and I'm on the phone with the person at this point, and I'm like, "How do I remove a payment method?"

01:59:11   Because I had seen that my other one didn't give me an option, and she's like, "Well, you should have an option for none."

01:59:15   I'm like, "I don't. I just have my two choices, my credit card and PayPal."

01:59:18   And again, I have to do this in three different interfaces. You can do it in iTunes, you can do it on the web, you can do it in System Preferences.

01:59:23   And she was like, "Well, why won't it--" because I had a different Apple ID where I did have the None option.

01:59:30   Why don't I have the None option in this one? So she was like, "Oh, well, if you have any subscriptions, you can't pick None,

01:59:35   like if you pay for iCloud storage or something." So we figured out where my subscription would go there.

01:59:40   I'm like, "Nope, no subscriptions." As you would expect, this is a testing Apple ID that I use for review.

01:59:45   I never subscribe to anything. I'm not getting a monthly bill on it. There are no subscriptions.

01:59:49   Why can't I--what is the unwritten rule that's preventing None from appearing in the payment method pop-up menu

01:59:56   so I can free up this Apple ID? I could have changed it to PayPal, but I wanted to actually just remove it.

02:00:04   I don't want any payment method being on this focused Apple ID that I had.

02:00:10   So then I offered this. It wasn't even offered to me, but I said, "Wait a second. This Apple ID is also the organizer of a family."

02:00:18   You know, you can have the Apple family thing, right? And again, the reason it's part of a family is because I needed to make screenshots for an OS X review.

02:00:25   I understand this is an edge case. Like, "Oh, yeah, that's it. If you're the organizer for a family, you can't ever get rid of a payment method,

02:00:31   even though you're not being charged for anything." Like, "Great. Well, I'll just dissolve this family, and then I won't be the organizer for a family anymore,

02:00:38   and then I can remove my payment method." And so I go to do that, and it's like, "How do I get rid of the family?"

02:00:44   Like, "Well, you can't get rid of the family. You have to just, like--"

02:00:49   You're stuck with the family you have, Jon.

02:00:51   You have to take the family members out of--like, the organizer can't dissolve it, but if you are a member of the family, you can remove yourself, right?

02:01:00   So I go to the Apple ID that I have as a member of the family with another fictional Apple ID, and it's one of the ones that I counted, but it still didn't add update.

02:01:07   I log in as that one, which was difficult because it was so old that it said, like, "Your password's too insecure, and you have to set up security questions."

02:01:14   And to log into it, I had to remember the password, and then it asked me the existing security questions. It was a whole big thing.

02:01:19   I eventually got into it, but this Apple ID is a minor. This fictional Apple ID is a fictional minor, because, again, to make a family thing for screenshots,

02:01:29   to show the sort of permission stuff or whatever, and minors cannot remove themselves from families.

02:01:35   The only thing you can do with a minor is the minor can request to be transferred to another family, or you can request to be transferred to another family.

02:01:43   But I didn't want to transfer this fictional child to my actual Apple ID family.

02:01:48   So I said, "What are my other options?"

02:01:50   I said, "Well, you can just delete that Apple ID."

02:01:52   I'm like, "Great. Let's delete the fictional child Apple ID."

02:01:55   But again, assume that nothing will work. So you can't actually delete the Apple ID as a minor, but you can request to be deleted, and then the organizer will get your request and can approve it.

02:02:05   So I requested, I went to the organizer, I saw the request, it came in the form of email, and it says, "If you want to approve this removal, click this link."

02:02:11   I click this link, I get an error page.

02:02:12   Nice.

02:02:13   Because even though, in theory, you can delete an Apple ID, in practice, you can't actually delete an Apple ID, because that feature doesn't work.

02:02:20   Why doesn't it work?

02:02:21   Beats the hell out of me.

02:02:23   At that point, their literal answer was, "Maybe something's down. How about we call you back in an hour and it might work?"

02:02:30   Wow.

02:02:31   Needless to say, an hour later, it still didn't work. I still have another callback scheduled for them or whatever.

02:02:38   But it frustrates me that there are many features of the Apple ID system that allow you to view, edit, delete, all sorts of things that you can do.

02:02:47   And yet, so many of them, I just assume they won't work, and they don't. And they don't work for inexplicable reasons.

02:02:55   And even if you think you have an explanation, there's just one more thing waiting for you.

02:02:57   Like, deleting Apple IDs. As far as I can tell, it's not a thing that actually happens.

02:03:02   There are features that say they're going to do it, but the end of all of them is an obscure error message that gives you no further action.

02:03:09   And then I have not penetrated to the level of the support where someone can say, "I've figured out why it's telling you you can't delete that Apple ID."

02:03:16   Like, I got to the middle tier where they had ideas about why I couldn't do what I was doing, but that just led to more things that didn't work.

02:03:22   So I'm very frustrated with this, despite the fact that it's not particularly pressing.

02:03:25   And I did get new credit cards issued after my stolen one, so I was able to add a brand new credit card number that hasn't been used in supposedly Apple IDs.

02:03:33   Like, the situation is mostly resolved, but I'm going to continue to pursue this because I do want to delete that Apple ID.

02:03:39   And once I delete that Apple ID, I do want to remove the payment method from the other Apple ID that I want to keep.

02:03:43   Like, I want to see the features work. If there's going to be screens and menus and other features for these things, they should do the thing that they're supposed to do.

02:03:52   They shouldn't all dead end in a bad text adventure and obscure error messages that let me make no forward progress. It's very frustrating.

02:03:59   Why didn't you say, "I'm John Syracuse and I want this fixed properly"?

02:04:04   I'm not mad about it. It's not the fault of any of the people on support, but I think it's a bad system where there are all these unwritten rules and obscure things that nobody knows about.

02:04:15   How many people do you know in the Apple world that know that there is a limit on how many Apple IDs a credit card number can be associated with?

02:04:21   And if you hit that limit, you'll get totally obscure error messages that don't tell you anything.

02:04:25   One of the error messages I was saying was saying "invalid payment method." It was an incorrect credit card number. It's like I'm being gaslit by the system here.

02:04:31   And as far as that limit, what is the limit? I don't know. And what are those eight Apple IDs? I don't know either. It's not a good system.

02:04:42   I haven't penetrated down to the bottom level of support, maybe on the next call. Because the next call is going to be, "Where last we left, you told me perhaps in an hour I'll be able to delete this Apple ID. Let me tell you, it's two days later, still can't delete the Apple ID."

02:04:55   So let's defeat that. If you need to pass me down one more level or up, I don't know which direction I'm going, send me to the person who's going to let me know, "Hey, I want to delete this Apple ID, and apparently that's not a thing I can make happen. So let's work together to make this happen."

02:05:10   Let's not get off this phone call until this Apple ID is deleted.

02:05:13   This Apple ID that has no purchases ever, never had a payment method, is entirely created in 2015 or when families came out to make a bunch of review screenshots, "I want to delete it, and it's apparently not a thing I can make happen. So let's just stay here until we can get it done. Please don't tell me to try again in an hour."

02:05:31   I'm so sorry.

02:05:33   So did you guys set up two factor on your developer accounts yet? I heard the deadline was extended to the 27th, so you don't actually have to do it for another week, but I suggest you maybe start now.