222: As Thin as Humans Will Tolerate


00:00:00   We should start tonight with all the exciting announcements from Google I/O.

00:00:05   So tonight, tonight is a, is an interesting and peculiar night.

00:00:09   I'm looking at the follow-up section of our show notes, and there's only one entry.

00:00:13   So listeners, look at the timestamp on your podcast player of choice right now, and we'll

00:00:18   see how long this one follow-up entry lasts, because in theory it should be quick.

00:00:24   Calamity Jan was the first of many to write in and point out the error in our ways in

00:00:29   last episode when when sarah kusa had us do that quiz i don't i don't remember if john pitched it

00:00:35   to us improperly if we interpreted it wrong after john pitched it to us but one way or another we as

00:00:39   a collective unit screwed it up and the way the quiz was actually written is that um it was not

00:00:49   if we if um it's not if the companies could disappear it was that if we couldn't use them

00:00:55   anymore. So we couldn't use Google, but the rest of the planet is still YouTube and like it's their

00:01:01   job. And we totally screwed that up and several people written to us. And I don't know that we

00:01:07   necessarily need to redo the quiz all over again, but it certainly would make me think long and hard

00:01:13   about my answers. That's for sure. Yeah, I think what we did was an interesting question, but it

00:01:18   was not what was asked. And by the way, since having just recently listened to the episode,

00:01:21   What happened was that we all correctly read what the quiz was about, but then immediately

00:01:25   forgot about it and did something different.

00:01:27   Wait, you listened to the show?

00:01:29   Yeah, I always listen to the show.

00:01:31   So you can hear my edits?

00:01:32   What do you think?

00:01:36   It's not a secretly published show.

00:01:38   Other people can get it.

00:01:39   It's like, it's there.

00:01:40   Anyone can download it.

00:01:41   No, this might change some things.

00:01:43   How is this news to you?

00:01:44   How is this news?

00:01:45   I know I listen to all of the podcasts that I'm on.

00:01:48   In any case.

00:01:49   So how would I change things?

00:01:52   Although I don't feel like I'm reliant on YouTube, I think I did not appropriately weigh

00:01:58   access to YouTube.

00:02:00   So I think Google may have risen a little bit.

00:02:05   I don't think I would change my opinion of like Instagram, although man do I love Instagram.

00:02:09   I was thinking about that earlier today.

00:02:11   Instagram always makes me happy.

00:02:12   You know what sometimes makes me happy?

00:02:13   Twitter.

00:02:14   You know what I'm totally addicted to?

00:02:15   Twitter.

00:02:16   But you know what always makes me happy?

00:02:17   Instagram.

00:02:18   Anyway, I don't know. I don't think I would change Microsoft. Oh, that's the other thing.

00:02:23   Like AWS just disappearing? That would be tough, because half the darn internet runs on AWS,

00:02:28   so that would be very tough. But in broad strokes, I don't think my answers would be too different.

00:02:33   Well, the difference is that it means our whole discussion of like, "Oh, well, if we got rid of

00:02:37   that, something else would come along to replace it." That's not true if the service remains and

00:02:42   we are just choosing not to use it. So if we just choose not to use Instagram, don't hold your

00:02:47   your breath for an Instagram replacement to come along.

00:02:50   Same thing, we just don't use YouTube.

00:02:51   It's not like a YouTube competitor,

00:02:52   it's not like gonna spring up

00:02:53   because we're not using it, right?

00:02:55   So that makes it, I think that changes my opinion

00:02:59   a little bit about sort of my faith

00:03:01   that if I get rid of Facebook,

00:03:02   an Instagram replacement will come along.

00:03:05   I still think I would ditch Facebook first,

00:03:06   but I would feel worse about it because I do use Instagram

00:03:09   and knowing that I couldn't use it

00:03:11   and that there's not gonna be an alternative

00:03:13   would make that decision harder.

00:03:16   And Amazon, kind of similar.

00:03:19   If I don't use Amazon, but everyone else still gets to use it,

00:03:21   and you're waiting for something to come and replace Amazon,

00:03:23   it's not gonna come along anytime soon.

00:03:25   Yeah, I think my rankings would probably stay the same,

00:03:27   but I think I'd feel worse about all of them.

00:03:30   - Wow, we did well.

00:03:31   That was like five minutes.

00:03:33   I don't even know what to do with this.

00:03:34   This is a weird night.

00:03:35   I don't know if I can even handle the rest of the show.

00:03:38   So I get, how does this work?

00:03:39   Do we just immediately move on to topics?

00:03:41   Is that what happens?

00:03:42   - I guess. - I'm so confused.

00:03:43   - It just, it feels wrong somehow.

00:03:45   I was thinking about it like when we have, you know when we have the follow-up list shows?

00:03:49   Yeah.

00:03:50   The WWDC ones always have no follow-up.

00:03:52   Our one interview show had no follow-up.

00:03:54   When that happens, we seem to handle it.

00:03:55   So I feel like we're prepared for this.

00:03:59   All right, so let's move on.

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00:05:22   Marco dropped some knowledge on the internet this week and talked about how MP3 is or isn't

00:05:28   dead.

00:05:29   And I don't know, I can summarize this if you'd like, Marco, or since you're here, maybe

00:05:33   it would be better if you just kind of talk us through this.

00:05:36   - Yeah, so basically the Fraunhofer Institute

00:05:40   for something for science, I think, it's a big--

00:05:43   - I love their chocolate chip cookies.

00:05:45   - Yes, it's a big German research, I don't know,

00:05:50   organization, I don't honestly know that much about it,

00:05:52   but they invent a lot of technological compression formats

00:05:57   and signal processing things and everything

00:06:00   and then they patent them and one of the things

00:06:03   invented was I think most or all of the MP3 format, of MP3 audio compression. The MP3

00:06:11   patents have all expired. The last one expired in mid-April, so a few weeks ago. Until then,

00:06:20   they were running an MP3 licensing program where if you made any kind of MP3 hardware

00:06:24   or software, you had to pay them for a license to the patents. And they also would sell you

00:06:29   reference implementations of MP3 encoder and decoder

00:06:33   if you wanted them for an additional fee.

00:06:35   Basically what happened was when the patent expired

00:06:38   about a week later in late April,

00:06:41   Fraunhofer published an update announcement to their site

00:06:45   basically saying we are terminating

00:06:49   the license program for MP3.

00:06:50   We will no longer license MP3 technology.

00:06:54   Pretty much everyone has moved on to AAC

00:06:56   and all of you should too.

00:06:57   And this was picked up by a lot of low-value news sites around the tech sphere as an announcement

00:07:06   by the MP3 creator that the MP3 is dead and that we should all just, it's time to move

00:07:11   on, it's time to move on to AAC.

00:07:14   The reality of course is all that patent stuff and this actually means, you know, they had

00:07:19   to terminate the license program because there were no more patents left to license and I'm

00:07:24   And I'm guessing they decided at that point,

00:07:25   well, why even bother licensing our encoder software

00:07:29   since it doesn't have that many users

00:07:31   and if we're not gonna make any more money from the patent,

00:07:33   that's where the big money is,

00:07:34   so why even bother administering this program at all?

00:07:37   That's my guess of their logic here.

00:07:39   - I'm kinda surprised they didn't continue the program

00:07:41   anyway just as a bluff because there's so many people

00:07:43   who will just like sign up for it anyway

00:07:46   because like they'll just have heard

00:07:48   that's the thing you have to do

00:07:49   and it'll be years before word of mouth gets around

00:07:51   among people who are not clued in.

00:07:53   You don't have to license anything on there,

00:07:54   you can just use it.

00:07:55   - Yeah, so anyway, the real story here

00:07:59   is that MP3 is now patent free.

00:08:02   It was patent free in Europe, I think, since 2012.

00:08:05   Wikipedia has a whole list of all the things

00:08:07   and when they expired and everything.

00:08:09   And it is now patent free in the US

00:08:11   and to the best of my knowledge,

00:08:13   it is effectively patent free

00:08:15   or totally patent free worldwide now.

00:08:18   And so this means that, you know,

00:08:21   There have been a couple of little irritating things

00:08:24   that we've had to do over the years

00:08:26   to work around MP3 being patented.

00:08:28   We as computing users or as software developers,

00:08:31   so for example, open source OSs and projects

00:08:36   like browsers like Firefox, open source things

00:08:39   would almost never support MP3

00:08:42   or would require you to do some kind of weird

00:08:44   jumping through hoops like, all right,

00:08:46   go download the lame MP3 encoder,

00:08:48   which is an open source encoder.

00:08:50   Go download that and get the compiled binary library for it

00:08:54   and place it in this directory.

00:08:56   We won't distribute the MP3 code

00:08:58   'cause that would be breaking this patent,

00:09:00   but if you have this encoder on your own,

00:09:02   you can put it in this location

00:09:04   and we will support MP3s in our software.

00:09:06   And that was done by things like the Audacity

00:09:09   free open source audio editor.

00:09:11   Does Handbrake ever do that?

00:09:14   It might, I forget.

00:09:16   But basically, open source tools

00:09:18   that would support MP3 in some way

00:09:20   would have to usually do things like that.

00:09:23   There was also a debate back when the HTML5 audio

00:09:26   and video tags started coming out,

00:09:29   and there was a debate about codec support,

00:09:31   about what audio and video formats

00:09:33   would the browsers all support.

00:09:34   And there was a big debate when Firefox announced

00:09:37   that they would only support free open source things,

00:09:39   which at the time was only Ogg Vorbis for audio

00:09:42   and Ogg Fiora for video, I think.

00:09:44   I don't think there were any other ones.

00:09:46   And the problem with the Vorbis and Theora formats

00:09:50   is that they're just not very widely supported.

00:09:54   But Firefox being an open source project said,

00:09:57   well, we can't support the patented ones

00:09:59   because of open source and we don't believe in it

00:10:01   and everything else.

00:10:02   There's lots of practical reasons why patented stuff

00:10:05   is a problem in open source projects.

00:10:07   So basically it was this big problem

00:10:10   that we always had to keep jumping around like,

00:10:11   well, if we want this to play,

00:10:13   we have to encode this file in two different formats,

00:10:18   use MP3 for everybody else or use AAC maybe,

00:10:21   and then also use Ogg or WebM or whatever else

00:10:25   for the open source/open standards friendly holdouts.

00:10:30   It was just a big annoyance, a big tax on everything.

00:10:35   It just made everything more complicated and suck

00:10:38   because that's what patents do.

00:10:40   And so this is great because for the first time ever,

00:10:44   we now have an audio format that is supported everywhere

00:10:49   by everything.

00:10:50   I mean, MP3, like I wrote in my post

00:10:53   that it's the most widely supported audio format

00:10:56   of all time and I really do think that's true.

00:10:59   One reader, and I figured this would come up,

00:11:02   emailed me, hi Chris Pepper, to say,

00:11:04   what about WAV/AIF?

00:11:07   I thought of that when I wrote that sentence.

00:11:09   I think WAV is actually less widely supported than MP3.

00:11:13   If you look at all the hardware and software

00:11:16   that's out there, all the little audio players,

00:11:18   car audio players, home stereo deck things,

00:11:22   so many things can play MP3 files off of either

00:11:27   a memory card or a USB stick or a CD full of files

00:11:32   that I bet there's a good number of those things

00:11:35   that will ignore a .wav file but will play an MP3 file.

00:11:39   - I think you mean wah-v, right?

00:11:40   - Oh my God.

00:11:41   - I was gonna say the same thing, you beat me to it.

00:11:44   - Nice. (laughs)

00:11:45   Anyway, so I really do think MP3 is the most

00:11:49   widely supported audio format of all time,

00:11:52   and it's now patent free.

00:11:54   Now the story from a lot of the stories

00:11:57   that talked about this said we should all move to AAC

00:12:00   because it's better, it's more efficient,

00:12:02   and MP3 is lower quality and everything else.

00:12:05   And that is technically true.

00:12:07   AAC is better.

00:12:09   There are a couple of flaws in MP3 that very, very well trained people are able to reliably

00:12:15   hear. Allegedly. I don't know, I've never met one, but they claim to exist and for the

00:12:19   purpose of this discussion I'll believe that they exist. This is all true, but most of

00:12:24   the benefits of AAC are at very low bit rates. Things like below 64K or below 48K where you're

00:12:31   trying to get acceptable quality at an extremely low bit rate. It's not going to sound great,

00:12:37   but you wanted to sound okay at like 32K or something like that. This is not what people

00:12:43   are using for music and it's not even what people are using for podcasts anymore because

00:12:46   the standards for podcasts have gone up. People now expect podcasts to sound effectively perfect

00:12:53   or at least very professional. And so, you know, nobody wants super highly compressed

00:12:56   voice stuff in distribution of podcasts or music. And so, the advantages of AAC, while

00:13:03   they exist, and there are newer formats as well, things like the Opus format, it's

00:13:12   basically the new hotness from the people who made Ogg Vorbis, and they're super smart

00:13:16   over there. Anyway, so there are newer formats like that that improve low bitrate quality,

00:13:23   but once you get to about 128K or higher, the differences between these formats are

00:13:28   are really small.

00:13:30   And none of them can really represent music

00:13:34   like transparently well enough for most people

00:13:37   at bit rates below that.

00:13:38   So it's not like you're gonna have your music collection,

00:13:41   which is currently probably 256K on average.

00:13:44   You're not gonna have that suddenly be encoded

00:13:46   into a 128K AAC and think that's okay,

00:13:50   or a 64K Opus file.

00:13:52   It's gonna sound worse.

00:13:56   And it's gonna be amazing for the size,

00:13:57   but it's still not gonna be as good.

00:13:58   So basically, there's not a lot of reason

00:14:01   to dump MP3 as a format.

00:14:04   Now that being said, if you're acquiring new music,

00:14:07   if you're buying from iTunes,

00:14:09   if anybody still does this anymore,

00:14:10   buying from iTunes or anything else,

00:14:12   sure, buy AAC, because it is better in that context.

00:14:15   But basically, if you already have MP3s,

00:14:17   there's no reason to put any effort

00:14:19   into replacing them or upgrading them

00:14:21   to AAC or anything else.

00:14:22   And if you are choosing a format to distribute files in,

00:14:27   like what podcasters have to do,

00:14:29   or just to encode your music in.

00:14:30   It's not that different basically is what I'm saying.

00:14:35   And AAC is still patented.

00:14:36   I honestly should have but didn't look up

00:14:39   for how much longer AAC is still patented.

00:14:41   I think it's a while because MP3 is really old

00:14:45   and AAC is only kind of old.

00:14:47   So I think it wouldn't surprise me

00:14:49   if it was another 10 years.

00:14:50   There might have been that big of a space between them.

00:14:52   Basically AAC is good and in some ways it is better,

00:14:56   but it is still patented and it's not better enough

00:15:00   for that to be a big issue for most people

00:15:02   who are considering using MP3.

00:15:04   And MP3 is still more widely supported.

00:15:08   AAC, it's kinda like the year of desktop Linux,

00:15:10   AAC is always about to be supported everywhere.

00:15:12   It's always like on the horizon, oh, next year,

00:15:15   or in the next few years, everything will support AAC.

00:15:19   And that just never comes.

00:15:20   And we are really close, lots of stuff does support AAC.

00:15:23   But when you go into the More Education,

00:15:25   like I was saying earlier, things like car stereos

00:15:27   and stuff like that, the support for AC is much more spotty

00:15:30   and everything supports MP3.

00:15:32   So when you're distributing files like podcasters,

00:15:36   for instance, MP3 is still the safest choice.

00:15:40   And I actually ran some numbers to see if I was just nuts.

00:15:42   And I probably am nuts, but maybe not for this reason.

00:15:46   In Overcast's entire database, this is every feed

00:15:50   I know about, every feed anybody has ever searched for,

00:15:53   every feed anybody has ever added.

00:15:55   I crawl all of these feeds.

00:15:56   I have a database that has 50 million episodes in it

00:16:00   from over half a million podcasts.

00:16:03   The entire database was, I think I said 92% of them

00:16:07   reported themselves as MP3s.

00:16:09   99% of the top 500 were MP3.

00:16:13   So basically all podcasts use it.

00:16:16   There are some holdouts that use AAC, but very, very few.

00:16:20   The vast majority use MP3.

00:16:22   for this reason basically, that if you're gonna distribute

00:16:25   a file that you're only gonna make one file

00:16:28   for most of these contexts, so you might as well

00:16:30   distribute the one that can play on by far the most devices,

00:16:33   and that's MP3.

00:16:35   So basically, going back to the original point,

00:16:38   MP3 was declared dead, but it's very much not dead

00:16:42   in a lot of areas, and in fact, I would now say

00:16:45   that if you're debating which audio format to use

00:16:49   For almost anything, MP3 should be very high in your list

00:16:53   and is probably the right choice

00:16:55   because it is pretty efficient,

00:16:59   you know, not as efficient at the low bit rates

00:17:01   as the newer ones, but close relative to like a WAV file,

00:17:05   supported by everything, and now totally patent free

00:17:10   to encode and decode and distribute.

00:17:12   Well, you can do anything with MP3 now,

00:17:14   it's totally patent free.

00:17:15   There's lots of great software that supports it,

00:17:17   there's lots of great tooling around creating

00:17:19   and editing MP3s, so basically,

00:17:22   I don't see it as an argument of like,

00:17:24   you gotta justify using this old format.

00:17:27   I see it as an argument of these new formats

00:17:30   have to justify to me why I should give up the freedom

00:17:34   that MP3 now has and the widespread support that it has.

00:17:37   - I don't understand how this MP3 is Dead thing

00:17:40   even got started.

00:17:41   Was it just one really dumb website that people picked up on

00:17:45   because it was so easy to show how dumb they were?

00:17:47   or did multiple people report it?

00:17:50   It's so nonsensical.

00:17:52   The obvious story is MP3 is finally free.

00:17:54   It's like MP3's birth, it's not its death, it's its birth.

00:17:59   Finally, you can use it without having to worry

00:18:01   about any of the crap.

00:18:02   We wanted it for a long time,

00:18:04   it's been annoying us for a while,

00:18:05   and now it's open to everybody.

00:18:07   That's the obvious story to make out of this,

00:18:09   regardless of what someone's press release does.

00:18:10   But the fact that it got picked up so much

00:18:13   and passed around with a dead thing,

00:18:14   even if it was just a bunch of articles refuting

00:18:16   The fact that it was dead is disappointing or like some amazing PR triumph by somebody

00:18:22   who's like, "I see if I can convince the world that when MP3 is finally free for everybody,

00:18:25   we'll call it dead."

00:18:26   - Yeah, I think it's just a really tempting tech headline to proclaim things dead that

00:18:32   either are or were once popular.

00:18:35   This is dead or this is the ex-killer.

00:18:38   And in tech, that doesn't usually happen.

00:18:40   Very few things in tech ever really get killed or die.

00:18:44   they just kind of fade more into obscurity or they lose the dominant market share they

00:18:50   once had, but they still continue to be used or to exist.

00:18:55   The things that do die don't get stories declaring their death. They just get fewer and fewer

00:18:59   stories progressively and then they get a retrospective. I mean, just think of RIM as

00:19:03   RIM slowly died. I think I said on an old Hypercritical episode when I was going through

00:19:09   things it was like, "WebOS dead. RIM dead soon." But no one even cares enough to complain

00:19:16   about that, and the way it dies is you just see fewer and fewer stories about it, and

00:19:19   then you wait three years and someone posts a story about, "Hey, I didn't remember RIM."

00:19:24   It becomes a nostalgia story, but it's not worth talking about while it is actually dying.

00:19:31   That's what death means. No one wants to talk about you anymore.

00:19:35   And there are lots of places where MP3 either was never used or is no longer used, and these

00:19:39   and new codecs are used.

00:19:41   For example, if you're making a streaming service

00:19:44   and you wanna offer moderate quality

00:19:47   at a cellular-friendly bit rate

00:19:49   and you wanna save money on your bandwidth costs,

00:19:52   it makes total sense for you to send a 128K AAC

00:19:56   or something even better like Opus

00:19:58   because you're gonna get more quality

00:20:00   out of those bits than MP3

00:20:02   and you're not gonna have to worry about support

00:20:04   because it's only going to your app.

00:20:07   So it's like from your servers to your app,

00:20:09   you can do whatever you want.

00:20:11   If there's gonna be patent issues,

00:20:12   you're probably gonna have to pay a license fee for that.

00:20:14   And I heard, I haven't verified this,

00:20:16   I heard Spotify actually uses Vorbis

00:20:18   so that they don't have to pay

00:20:19   the patent licensing fees to anybody,

00:20:21   which is interesting if true.

00:20:23   But again, the fact that very little hardware

00:20:26   and software supports Vorbis out there,

00:20:28   for Spotify, they don't care.

00:20:30   All they need to support it is their app,

00:20:31   which they control, and their servers,

00:20:33   which they also control.

00:20:34   So for them, it's a no-brainer.

00:20:38   So anyway, this is great news that we finally have

00:20:42   this awesome everything everywhere format

00:20:45   that is patent-free.

00:20:47   And so many little barriers in technology

00:20:49   now no longer need to be there.

00:20:51   And I don't expect this to revolutionize the world

00:20:56   or anything, I mean, heck, there aren't that many people

00:20:58   encoding their own audio files anymore to begin with,

00:21:01   with the exception of content producers.

00:21:03   and most of them are not doing it directly anyway.

00:21:05   They're doing it through like software services

00:21:07   that supports multiple things and everything else.

00:21:09   But for the people who do still work on audio files

00:21:14   and who do still distribute files to be played

00:21:16   like every podcaster, this is a big deal.

00:21:19   And it's not gonna be noticed by a lot of people,

00:21:22   but it does greatly improve things in a lot of ways

00:21:26   that it might take a few years for them to be deployed,

00:21:32   maybe, like as software slowly drops restrictions on MP3,

00:21:36   maybe Apple builds in MP3 encoding support

00:21:39   to the core audio APIs, which they've never had it.

00:21:41   They've only ever had AAC encoding,

00:21:43   'cause Apple pays a license to use the AAC patents.

00:21:47   But they never wanted to also pay one for MP3,

00:21:50   except in their Pro Tools,

00:21:51   which they sell separately anyway.

00:21:53   So, just things like that.

00:21:55   Now, maybe you'll be able to encode MP3s

00:21:58   from all the system apps in the next Mac OS,

00:22:02   and maybe an iOS might get that support too now.

00:22:04   Now lots of people, myself included,

00:22:06   can ship apps that make or use MP3s in some way

00:22:09   without worrying about getting hit by massive patent fees

00:22:13   and lawsuits or worse.

00:22:15   - So two quick pieces of real-time follow-up.

00:22:17   First of all, In the Arena in the chat gives us a link

00:22:21   to what bitrate does Spotify use for streaming?

00:22:25   This is on Spotify's website.

00:22:26   Spotify uses three quality ratings for streaming

00:22:28   on the Ogg Vorbis format, 96K, 160K, or 320K,

00:22:33   which is only for premium subscribers.

00:22:35   So I believe that's what you said, Marco,

00:22:36   and your theory is correct.

00:22:37   Additionally, you said a moment ago that, you know,

00:22:40   it seems to your recollection that only paid apps

00:22:43   support MP3, but you can actually encode something

00:22:46   as an MP3 in iTunes, and that's effectively a system app.

00:22:49   So-- - That's true.

00:22:49   I forgot about that.

00:22:51   - Mm-hmm, yeah, 'cause I used to do that all the time,

00:22:53   back when I used iTunes, well, really, ever.

00:22:56   - Yeah, but it was never in the QuickTime APIs

00:22:58   that everything else you used.

00:22:59   - Sure, sure, sure.

00:23:00   Yeah, you're absolutely right.

00:23:01   - It is not available in the low level

00:23:02   core audio stuff either.

00:23:03   - That I didn't know, but either way.

00:23:05   I mean, it doesn't make your point wrong,

00:23:07   but it's just an interesting counterpoint.

00:23:09   - You can decode MP3, but you can't encode it.

00:23:11   - I gotcha, okay.

00:23:12   - Yeah, but you're right, iTunes does include that,

00:23:14   and I forgot about iTunes.

00:23:15   - Yeah, I'm just trying to save you a thousand

00:23:17   well actuallys, so instead I will actually do.

00:23:20   That's okay though.

00:23:22   Anyway, no, this is fascinating,

00:23:23   And this really is the happiest possible ending to MP3, right?

00:23:27   Which is to say it's a brand new beginning, or nothing else, a continuation.

00:23:31   And that's really fantastic, that this format that is not perfect, but is pretty darn good,

00:23:39   that to your point, freaking everyone knows how to read,

00:23:43   that it's pretty much unencumbered at this point, which is fantastic.

00:23:47   I wonder if we're, I keep wondering if we're gonna get into a similar but perhaps even worse, much worse, situation with video.

00:23:55   Like with audio I think it's fine because like Marco said, like, MP3 does the job and it does it in a reasonable way

00:24:02   and the ones that are better are not that much better and all of them are kind of within the limits of normal person human hearing.

00:24:09   Like you don't, you don't care about the quality. Like only super duper audio files even care about the bitrate and most normal people like it's just fine, right?

00:24:17   But for video, H.264 is the most popular sort of proprietary one that's out there now.

00:24:27   Similar thing with the WebM and everything and web browsers don't want to include H.264

00:24:32   support.

00:24:33   In some cases, the free open ones aren't even as good as H.264.

00:24:38   But H.264 has been around for a long time.

00:24:40   There's a lot of hardware that knows how to decode it, but whether dedicated hardware

00:24:45   or hardware designed to be good at decoding it in a low power way in our phones and other

00:24:50   sorts of devices and dedicated chips for like embedded things.

00:24:54   And it takes a long time for that support to come up.

00:24:57   Kind of similar the way Apple was kind of gung-ho about how awesome their AAC decoders

00:25:04   were, encoders and decoders.

00:25:07   And you know, I bet even today it wouldn't surprise me if an iPhone is more energy efficient

00:25:13   when decoding AAC files than when decoding MP3 files

00:25:16   just because it's Apple's preferred format

00:25:18   and they sell stuff in that format and stuff like that?

00:25:21   - Well, there actually, there used to be,

00:25:23   in older generations of iOS hardware,

00:25:26   there used to be hardware encoders and decoders

00:25:30   for AAC and I think maybe even H.264, but at least for AAC.

00:25:34   And as far as I know, in all the recent hardware,

00:25:39   and not even that recent,

00:25:41   there's no longer hardware encoders

00:25:42   because the CPU just got so fast.

00:25:44   I mean, I actually do, I use AAC encoding

00:25:48   in Overcast for the watch transfers,

00:25:51   'cause I mentioned I transcode the files

00:25:53   to lower bit rates to save transfer time

00:25:55   to make them super small.

00:25:56   It encodes, it reads the MP3 or whatever the source file is,

00:26:00   and encodes a new AAC at like 110x on an iPhone 7,

00:26:05   like 110 times as quickly as playback on an iPhone 7,

00:26:10   which is incredibly fast.

00:26:12   And that is using the software only decoders

00:26:16   because the hardware ones, they used to have lots of

00:26:17   problems where like only one thing could use it at once.

00:26:20   If your app was backgrounded, it would not necessarily

00:26:22   be guaranteed to be there, and it was really weird.

00:26:25   And I actually encode things in parallel

00:26:27   because every modern iPhone is dual core,

00:26:30   and you couldn't do that with the hardware encoder either.

00:26:32   Only one thing could be using it.

00:26:33   So anyway, all this is to say that the software,

00:26:36   basically everything's done in software now,

00:26:38   and it's so fast it doesn't even matter

00:26:40   between the formats, but there was a time when you were correct.

00:26:42   Well, so no, there's still hardware support.

00:26:45   Like I said, even if it's not a literal dedicated separate little area on the dive with the

00:26:49   hardware H.264 encoder or decoder or both, the hardware in these chips in many ways is

00:26:55   designed around these particular difficult problems, whether it's encryption for SSL

00:27:00   or for just basic other kinds of encryption.

00:27:03   Like the SIMD instruction sets and specific instructions that you know are going to be

00:27:07   in a linchpin or a critical path along particular algorithms.

00:27:11   So it's not dedicated hardware just for this purpose, but it is hardware designed around

00:27:15   a set of problems that they know the things they need to solve.

00:27:18   And even if it's just, again, adding a special instruction, it's more energy efficient to

00:27:22   do that than to sort of manually implement that special instruction by a series of other

00:27:27   instructions.

00:27:28   And they test these things to say, this needs to be low power, not use a lot of power, when

00:27:32   showing H.264 video.

00:27:34   If you're going to do that with a dedicated H.264 decoder on a system-on-a-chip on the

00:27:37   iPhone 3G, fine.

00:27:39   If by the time the iPhone 7 comes along, you can get that same job done with less die area

00:27:43   by using special instructions and the extended instruction set of the new ARM whatever thing,

00:27:49   or using your GPU or like a shader on the GPU to do it or whatever the hell, you know.

00:27:54   That's fine too, but this is a known problem set.

00:27:57   And I don't think for the formats that are, I don't think they're doing that same test

00:28:02   for WebM, in other words.

00:28:04   Maybe the hardware is just as good for WebM,

00:28:05   but it's not an important use case for them,

00:28:07   because as far as Apple's concerned,

00:28:09   H.264 video is kind of the standard for the stuff

00:28:12   that they're expecting you to play on iOS devices

00:28:15   to the degree that I don't even know

00:28:17   what kind of support there is

00:28:18   for any other kind of video playback on iOS devices

00:28:21   if it's not H.264.

00:28:22   - Yeah, and I should clarify too,

00:28:24   my statement earlier about there being

00:28:25   no more hardware stuff, I was only talking about audio.

00:28:28   Video, I don't know.

00:28:29   I'm guessing there probably still is hardware acceleration

00:28:32   for video just because it's so much more complicated. And I think you might be right

00:28:35   that it might be at the GPU level instead, but we'll see.

00:28:38   >> BRIAN KARDELL Yeah, I know these system on chips are big

00:28:40   and complicated, but the point is like that's the use case. And like I said, H64 is the

00:28:44   proprietary one. It's the one that is patent encumbered that would be annoying for people

00:28:47   to use that is very widely supported, but only because like this big industry effort

00:28:52   to get everyone to pay these patent fees, you know, and just like it's part of the

00:28:55   MPEG consortium. And historically, they have had good success getting their standards implemented

00:28:59   in everything from DVDs to Blu-rays to, you know, the iTunes Music Store and YouTube and

00:29:05   everything, right?

00:29:07   Now, I don't know when the patents run out in H.264, probably a long time from now, but

00:29:12   H.265 is already here.

00:29:15   And H.265 is better than H.264 in a more significant way than AEC is better than an MP3 in terms

00:29:23   of how small the files can be and at a very high quality.

00:29:27   Like, H.265 is essentially required for reasonable streaming 4K video over connections that are

00:29:35   not massively bigger than they were before, so on and so forth.

00:29:38   H.265 support in hardware and the decoders and everything is not great right now, which

00:29:45   you know if you ever encounter some H.265 hardware and try to play it on like your dinky

00:29:49   little Mac laptop that had no problem playing giant full-screen H.264 files, and all of

00:29:53   a sudden the fans are spinning up.

00:29:54   And you're like, "Why the hell are the fans spinning up?

00:29:55   This is just 1080 video."

00:29:56   Oh, it's h.265 and my computer doesn't know what the hell to do with that.

00:30:00   And so it's doing it the slow way with a plain old algorithm running on, you know, the no

00:30:06   special purpose hardware, instructions not tuned to, a decoder not tuned to my specific

00:30:11   system.

00:30:12   Like it's not like Apple has, I don't know, maybe they have, but as far as I'm aware,

00:30:15   Apple has not written the hand-tuned perfectly designed for a Mac hardware h.265 decoder,

00:30:21   let alone having dedicated H.265 decoders

00:30:24   in your old Mac laptop.

00:30:26   Again, maybe it's in new ones.

00:30:28   And there's a bunch of DRM crap in there, I'm sure too.

00:30:31   - I mean, it's basically what Kaby Lake is for.

00:30:33   It's, Kaby Lake is basically to add like H.265 support

00:30:37   in various places and also lots of DRM for 4K.

00:30:40   - And the HDCP crap.

00:30:42   - Yeah. - I know.

00:30:43   All right, so, this long road for me to get to this analogy.

00:30:47   Say H.264, you know, it's patents run out

00:30:51   like, yay, this video format that's massively popular, that has wide support.

00:30:55   Again, like every phone can view H.264 video in an energy efficient way, and it's supported

00:31:00   in all sorts of set-top boxes, and you know, it's very popular, right?

00:31:04   That becomes patent-free.

00:31:05   They're like, I wouldn't want to be stuck with that.

00:31:09   What I want to happen is the industry to move on to a format that is better than H.264.

00:31:15   Now maybe that's H.265, which has all the same downsides of being proprietary and having

00:31:19   all these patents associated with it, but it is better enough that I'm saying like,

00:31:22   I want that.

00:31:23   I don't want to be stuck with H.264 for the next 20 years, right?

00:31:26   That seems like a bad scenario, whereas I'm okay to be, you know, quote unquote, stuck

00:31:29   with MP3s.

00:31:30   I think it's fine.

00:31:31   But H.265 is a big step up.

00:31:34   And if there is a free and open source alternative, like the next version, whatever, not VP9 is

00:31:40   the next thing, but whatever the sibling open equivalent of H.265 is, ideally we would move

00:31:48   to that, but the problem with all those open ones, which I didn't mention, but it came

00:31:51   up with the whole Ag theory thing and everything, it's like, "Oh, these are free and open and

00:31:55   there's no patent licensing."

00:31:57   People get a little scared for, maybe it's just FUD or it's founded in some reality,

00:32:06   that just because the thing is free and open doesn't mean that someone will find that it

00:32:11   actually infringes on some patents anyway, right?

00:32:14   And so the creators say, "Here, it's for you to use and you can use it and don't have to

00:32:18   pay me anything. But if it became widely used, it could be that a bunch of people with a

00:32:23   bunch of super dumb patents come wandering by and say, "Oh, the whole world is using

00:32:27   this Ag theory format. Well, it turns out Ag theory is infringing on my patent on ones

00:32:34   because it uses both ones and zeros. And so now I'm going to collect money from everybody

00:32:37   who has Ag theory support and it's spread over the whole industry, so I'm going to be

00:32:41   rich." And so people worry about that. And in some ways, the format backed by some giant

00:32:47   consortium of companies. Like basically if all the companies that would sue you

00:32:50   with their superdumb patents or all the companies that could support a lawsuit

00:32:53   against them from people with even dumber patents, it's safer to buy from

00:32:57   them to say "well I'll license your patents and I'm legally covered and if

00:33:01   someone decides to sue they're gonna sue you and you're a consortium of all these

00:33:04   rich companies and you can handle it yourself" or whatever. I think it's one of

00:33:08   the things that also keeps people away from the open formats is the fear that

00:33:11   maybe they're not as open as they think they are because lots of patents are out

00:33:14   there and lots of patents are really dumb.

00:33:16   - Exactly, because they haven't really been challenged.

00:33:19   They are not usually used widely enough

00:33:22   for any submarine patents to actually surface.

00:33:26   - Yeah, they want to wait until it becomes popular

00:33:29   and then collect the money.

00:33:30   Even if someone knows,

00:33:31   "Oh, that totally infringes my patent,"

00:33:32   they're not gonna challenge it now when nobody uses it

00:33:34   'cause you can't get blood from a stone, right?

00:33:36   They were just like, "Go ahead, spread that everywhere,"

00:33:38   and then they'll attack and get all the money.

00:33:41   So anyway, all this is to say

00:33:43   is that I hope, it's kind of weird to hope this,

00:33:45   but I kind of hope that we, the video industry at least,

00:33:49   is not, does not settle down and say,

00:33:51   once H.264 is free of all of its patents,

00:33:55   we'll just settle down into an H.264-only future,

00:33:58   and we'll all have royalty-free, beautiful video everywhere.

00:34:01   'Cause I think video still needs to improve,

00:34:03   and things like color depth and frame rate,

00:34:05   and you know, resolution and size, and you know, HDR,

00:34:09   and also see those areas that I think are perceptible

00:34:12   regular people and important, especially if internet bandwidth doesn't improve at the

00:34:17   same rate as our demand for all those neat things that I just listed, which I think it's

00:34:20   not in the US anyway.

00:34:22   I basically hope we move to H.265 and I hope hardware support for H.265 comes and I hope

00:34:26   it doesn't make the fans on my Mac spin up anymore and I hope we leave H.265 behind,

00:34:31   but all that really does is reset the patent clock.

00:34:33   So maybe when H.265 patents run out when we're all 87 years old, then we can say, "This

00:34:38   This is good enough for human eyes.

00:34:40   It's fine for 2D video, but by then we'll be arguing about proprietary patent encumbered

00:34:45   things for VR or whatever.

00:34:47   So probably in about five years, I think we might be allowed to use DivX patent free.

00:34:53   Oh man, I haven't heard that in forever.

00:34:56   God, that was so amazing when it first came out.

00:34:59   Holy crap, I remember thinking this looks phenomenal.

00:35:04   - It did at the time, and I love that it was just

00:35:06   like a stolen MPEG-4 codec basically.

00:35:09   Like that's all, it's just MPEG-4.

00:35:11   And like, but before H.264,

00:35:13   like the first version of MPEG-4.

00:35:15   That was just, that's what DivX was.

00:35:17   - It was also that terrible disk format

00:35:19   where you would get the disk and then

00:35:21   it would have to destroy it or something,

00:35:22   the disk would self-destruct or some terrible thing.

00:35:25   - Yeah, it was like a rental thing,

00:35:26   but yeah, like the disk would like,

00:35:28   it just had like an expiration on the DRM,

00:35:31   and it would like check in with the service I guess

00:35:33   to activate or deactivate.

00:35:34   And so you would like quote rent a movie

00:35:37   and then a few days later it would stop playing

00:35:39   so you just have to throw it away.

00:35:42   Surprisingly consumers were not that into that.

00:35:44   - What a great idea.

00:35:45   It wasn't like Best Buy or something that was back in the--

00:35:47   - It was Circuit City.

00:35:48   - Yep, Circuit City even worse.

00:35:49   - There you go.

00:35:50   - Which by the way, fun fact,

00:35:52   Circuit City used to have its headquarters, guess where?

00:35:55   Richmond, Virginia.

00:35:56   - That's quite something to brag about.

00:35:59   Congratulations.

00:36:00   - Yep, and CarMax is still here though.

00:36:02   Carmax was spun off of Circuit City.

00:36:04   They're still around, anyway.

00:36:06   Any other thoughts about file formats, MP3s, et cetera?

00:36:10   I'm pretty amped to see if this changes things

00:36:12   for the better, and I think it will in some minor ways.

00:36:15   We'll see if it really makes any empirical difference

00:36:17   in major ways, but for nerds like us

00:36:20   that occasionally encode things,

00:36:21   I think it'll be a lot better.

00:36:22   - Well, and the reality is the problems

00:36:24   that Jon is citing with video formats,

00:36:26   which are very real problems,

00:36:27   and we're lucky in the audio world that audio is,

00:36:32   not necessarily a solved problem,

00:36:35   but it's a lot closer to, it's solved well enough

00:36:37   for the most part with MP3,

00:36:39   which is like a 25 year old format.

00:36:41   It's, we've basically solved this problem.

00:36:43   - Well, the bandwidth of ears is so much less

00:36:45   than the bandwidth of eyes,

00:36:46   and ears are so much better,

00:36:47   more tractable as sort of simple sensing machines

00:36:50   than eyeballs and the perception of vision is,

00:36:52   which is way more complicated.

00:36:53   And so, once we have a format that fits over our wires

00:36:57   with the bandwidth most people have,

00:36:59   that it sounds as good as any normal person can hear,

00:37:02   you're more or less done,

00:37:04   plus or minus like dynamic range

00:37:07   and like multi sound field crap

00:37:10   and stereo imaging and stuff like that.

00:37:12   But that's why we get to the limits of sound sooner

00:37:15   and vision is gonna be a while

00:37:17   because even when you've exhausted all the 2D things,

00:37:22   then you have like,

00:37:23   well, what about actual depth perception

00:37:25   and being able to focus on the background and the foreground

00:37:27   and then you're like, oh no, you gotta start all over

00:37:29   and the bandwidth gets even worse.

00:37:31   - Right, and so not only have we reached the limits

00:37:34   of what people can hear, but even if you try to go,

00:37:37   video is gonna have higher density resolutions and stuff,

00:37:41   or higher bit rates or higher bit depths

00:37:44   for things like HDR for a while to come.

00:37:47   You know, we're not at the limit of our vision yet,

00:37:49   as you said, but audio, like CD audio, 44K,

00:37:55   back in, whenever that was introduced, like the mid 80s,

00:37:59   that's basically as good as it gets for our ears.

00:38:01   And there's lots of people who say,

00:38:02   oh, I can hear up to 24, 192 or whatever,

00:38:06   and if they think they can, good for them.

00:38:09   - We have the bandwidth of that too, it's not a problem.

00:38:10   It's like, fine, go ahead. - That's exactly the thing.

00:38:12   Like, with audio, we're talking about such smaller files

00:38:16   that if you care that much about the quality of them,

00:38:20   you can just get lossless.

00:38:21   And the file sizes are not that prohibitive

00:38:23   in modern technology.

00:38:24   Like, you can get a massive hard drive from Amazon

00:38:27   for like 100 bucks that can hold as much audio

00:38:29   as you're likely to have ever,

00:38:31   even if you store it losslessly.

00:38:33   So like, it's not really, like,

00:38:36   we don't really need so badly to move on

00:38:39   to better and better audio compression standards

00:38:41   every five years like we do with video,

00:38:42   because the need just isn't there.

00:38:44   Like, we're already pretty good.

00:38:45   - Well, we already accept the size hit,

00:38:47   'cause I remember every time I rip one of my Blu-rays

00:38:49   and I decide to put like one of my anime Blu-rays

00:38:51   and I put multiple languages on it,

00:38:52   those 5.1 tracks, you know, DTS HD,

00:38:55   the size of that stuff adds up.

00:38:56   Pretty soon, the vast majority of the data

00:38:59   in this file that I'm ripping is audio.

00:39:01   So even though they are small,

00:39:03   if it's two hours of audio and it's six channels

00:39:07   and multiplied by three languages,

00:39:09   suddenly you're talking some real bytes.

00:39:11   - Yeah, but I would say that's not a major case.

00:39:14   Anyway, and also, you know, the whole patent issue is,

00:39:19   I think more of a problem in many ways in audio,

00:39:22   and I guess not anymore,

00:39:23   but it was more of a problem in audio,

00:39:25   because the world of audio distribution,

00:39:28   especially in the form of podcasts,

00:39:30   which is close to my heart, obviously, is decentralized.

00:39:34   And so you don't have to worry.

00:39:36   If you produce video, you produce one thing

00:39:40   in whatever format you want, and you upload it to YouTube,

00:39:44   and then YouTube worries about what format it serves,

00:39:47   And all it has to serve is what its own website and apps

00:39:50   and various integration deals can play.

00:39:53   So YouTube can buy one giant license for these formats

00:39:58   and basically be done with it.

00:40:00   And video creators aren't needing to worry about that

00:40:04   themselves or making a whole bunch of other services

00:40:07   because the world of video is so concentrated

00:40:10   in this very small number of proprietary places.

00:40:13   YouTube, Facebook, that's basically it.

00:40:16   But audio is different, audio didn't get that centralized

00:40:20   for the most part and so the formats

00:40:23   and the patents around them and the support still matters.

00:40:26   Like if you're gonna embed a video on a webpage,

00:40:30   you're probably not gonna have to encode the files yourself

00:40:32   and put them on your server,

00:40:33   you're probably gonna embed a YouTube embed

00:40:35   and you don't have to worry about any of this stuff.

00:40:37   But you can plausibly and people often do embed audio files

00:40:41   on their page, that like direct served audio files

00:40:44   from your own hosting.

00:40:46   And then you do have to worry about encoding,

00:40:48   and you do have to figure out these formats

00:40:50   and play or things like that.

00:40:52   In more proprietary worlds, like what video is,

00:40:55   like what you were saying earlier about big companies

00:40:57   like to license the other major formats,

00:41:00   this is less of a problem in practice for the producers.

00:41:03   But in audio, because it's so open and decentralized

00:41:07   and way simpler, it actually matters.

00:41:10   So that's why, it's another reason why

00:41:13   the video formats being patented probably forever, practically speaking, is I think

00:41:20   less of an issue in practice, or rather it's less avoidable in practice than the freedom

00:41:27   that we now have with MP3 and the need for that in the first place in audio.

00:41:32   The only other thing that occurs to me is on video formats. Because we don't need

00:41:37   to know what format things are. Very often a video codec will get embedded in a context

00:41:44   where it will just stay, will overstay its welcome. Arguably DVDs kind of did that with

00:41:49   MPEG-2. MPEG-2 is a bad compression format by modern standards. It makes files that are

00:41:55   big that don't look that good. If you take a DVD, and if you take the same source material

00:42:00   and clean code at H.264, it will embarrass the MPEG-2. As well it should because it's

00:42:04   It's an old codec, right?

00:42:06   But for a long time, and I bet probably today still somewhere, cable television that you

00:42:12   got over your coaxial cable, after they switched to digital cable from analog, right, whereas

00:42:18   a lot of those channels were using MPEG-2, which was state of the art at the time that

00:42:21   they decided to do that.

00:42:23   And a lot of them kept using MPEG-2 for a long time, delivering you substandard video

00:42:29   quality using more bandwidth.

00:42:32   And to some degree, that's the cable company's problem, not your problem.

00:42:34   What do you care as long as you see the picture on your TV?

00:42:37   I think over the air still does that.

00:42:39   I think over the air HD is still MPEG-2.

00:42:42   And the other thing is, the other side of the coin is like, I wish you would use more

00:42:46   modern codecs like H.264, but very often your telco in the US anyway provider will say,

00:42:52   "Great, this lets us jam more channels into the same bandwidth, let's massively compress

00:42:55   these things and produce tons of artifacts, because look how small you can make H.264!"

00:42:59   And it still looks kind of good.

00:43:01   I remember watching Mad Men and AMC and watching the incredible banding in the background of

00:43:05   like dark scenes.

00:43:06   Oh, all those dark rooms.

00:43:08   Yeah, and they were just, I don't know how, it's like they discovered, it's either they

00:43:12   had discovered H-264 and managed to jam the show down to a tiny little size or they were

00:43:17   still using MPEG-2 and using tons of bandwidth to give me a substandard quality image.

00:43:22   So in those embedded contexts, I still favor advancing the codec to keep up with the times,

00:43:30   there's very little incentive to do that, especially if they have their own dedicated

00:43:34   lines and they're the ones who decide how to chop up the bandwidth.

00:43:37   I saw something else recently with terrible banding in it and I was super angry about

00:43:41   it because it didn't seem like... maybe it was... I don't know. I wish I could remember

00:43:45   what it was. But when I see banding like that, especially if it's in some piece of media,

00:43:49   like if it's on a Blu-ray that I paid a lot of money for to get the highest quality of

00:43:53   an image and it's just like a bad choice in coding or something. Down with banding.

00:43:58   - Don't forget all the blocking, like the famous example

00:44:00   of the HBO intro with the static.

00:44:02   - The worst, that seems like trolling at this point,

00:44:05   doesn't it?

00:44:05   Like change your logo, come on.

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00:45:56   So we are coming up on WWDC time.

00:45:59   What is it, two weeks away, three weeks away?

00:46:01   I can't even keep it straight.

00:46:02   - Something like that.

00:46:04   - And there's a couple of rumors

00:46:05   that are starting to come out,

00:46:07   which may or may not even relate to WWDC.

00:46:09   But the first one is, and I'm sad you guys,

00:46:14   Apple is supposed to be phasing out the iPad mini,

00:46:17   so says 9to5Mac.

00:46:18   And truth be told, this makes me sad,

00:46:21   but at the same time,

00:46:23   As I've been telling the two of you guys for a while now, really I am just waiting for

00:46:29   the MacBook to get a refresh so I can replace my iPad Mini with the MacBook.

00:46:34   So this doesn't make me as sad as it used to.

00:46:36   But this would be a real bummer.

00:46:38   And my dad was really thinking about getting a new iPad Mini, and I told him, "Well, you

00:46:41   might as well wait to see when the new one is presumably coming out any day now."

00:46:47   And according to Zach Hall on 9to5Mac, maybe not.

00:46:50   - Yeah, I mean, obviously the iPad line is in the middle

00:46:54   of a transition right now, because if you look

00:46:57   at the prices, the new iPad, whatever they're calling

00:47:00   the new low-end 10-inch iPad, is 329.

00:47:05   If you leave out the mini for a moment,

00:47:08   the next one up is 599 for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

00:47:13   And for almost twice the money, you don't,

00:47:18   I would not say you get twice the iPad.

00:47:22   And I love the 9.7 inch iPad Pro,

00:47:24   but that's a massive price jump for what you get for that.

00:47:29   Not to mention the fact that if you actually use it

00:47:31   like a Pro and get either a pencil or a keyboard

00:47:34   or something, you're adding even then a lot more

00:47:36   to the cost. (laughs)

00:47:38   But anyway, that's that huge price hole

00:47:41   in the middle of 329 to 600.

00:47:46   Obviously this is the beginning of some kind of move

00:47:50   and it's not complete yet because that just makes no sense.

00:47:53   Like that is obviously like, you know,

00:47:55   something else is going to change in this lineup

00:47:57   because that is ridiculous.

00:47:58   'Cause that's not a very strong selling proposition

00:48:02   for the 9.7 Pro to be twice as much as the next model down

00:48:07   and be not that different from it.

00:48:11   I'm guessing there's another shoe to drop here.

00:48:14   And if the Mini goes away, and the Mini right now,

00:48:17   they reduced it to only the 128 gig model, right,

00:48:20   and it's 400 bucks, is that right?

00:48:22   - I think that's right.

00:48:23   - It is a significantly worse deal for what you get

00:48:26   than the new cheap iPad.

00:48:29   And it's significantly old by this point,

00:48:32   and the Mini was never updated that well

00:48:34   with the exception of the Mini 2.

00:48:36   That was the only time it was ever updated well,

00:48:39   in line with the rest of the lineup,

00:48:40   but otherwise, that was it.

00:48:43   - Yeah, to that end, to put things in perspective,

00:48:45   Aaron got me a then brand new iPad Mini

00:48:49   for not this past Christmas of 2016, but Christmas of 2015.

00:48:53   And if I'm not mistaken, that is effectively

00:48:57   the brand new iPad Mini you could buy today.

00:48:59   - That's right, yeah.

00:49:00   - And so you're right also, by the way,

00:49:02   that it's 128 for $400, or what you didn't mention

00:49:06   is LTE, also 128 gigs for $530,

00:49:10   but that's kind of off to the side.

00:49:11   You are correct about that. - Right,

00:49:12   - And they all kind of--

00:49:13   - Right, right, you're correct about 128 at $400.

00:49:16   - Yeah, and so basically,

00:49:17   by introducing the new cheap 9.7,

00:49:23   and not touching the Mini,

00:49:24   actually reducing the amount of Mini configurations

00:49:26   you can get at the same time,

00:49:28   I think it's plausible this rumor is correct.

00:49:30   Regardless of whether they're gonna end it

00:49:32   or do something else, I think this is very clear, though,

00:49:36   that they do not intend for you to buy the Mini right now.

00:49:40   because no one's gonna look at that price.

00:49:42   And if people were buying it before,

00:49:45   which is, that's worth asking,

00:49:47   were people still buying minis in meaningful numbers?

00:49:49   And for most of what we've heard

00:49:51   are from various analysts and stuff, the answer is no.

00:49:54   But if anyone was thinking about buying a mini,

00:49:57   they would look at this lineup now

00:49:58   and they would have serious second thoughts.

00:50:00   Because why would you?

00:50:03   I think that the new cheap 9.7 is probably better

00:50:06   in pretty much every way except size.

00:50:09   and maybe screen quality with the laminating method

00:50:13   and stuff, but basically there's no reason to buy it now.

00:50:18   And there's been lots of speculation about why the Mini

00:50:21   is not doing that well, assuming that's true,

00:50:25   assuming it's not selling very well,

00:50:26   which I think it's based on what people have been able

00:50:29   to derive from earnings and stuff like that,

00:50:31   it does seem like that's probably the case,

00:50:34   that it's not really selling well at all.

00:50:36   And there's lots of reasons why that might be.

00:50:37   I mean, we talked years ago about how the iPad in general

00:50:41   was being squeezed on both sides by Macbooks

00:50:45   and MacBook Airs and stuff getting smaller

00:50:47   and better and lighter, maybe taking away

00:50:49   some of the high end of iPad size-wise,

00:50:52   and then phones getting bigger and even more awesome

00:50:55   and big enough that you would often just not want

00:50:58   to have a separate device for a tablet anymore.

00:51:00   You would just have a phone,

00:51:01   and that would take your tablet roll close enough.

00:51:04   And I think that the market has kind of supported this theory

00:51:08   that indeed tablets are getting squeezed

00:51:10   by both of those sides.

00:51:12   And if you look at the iPad lineup, I feel like the mini

00:51:15   is the one that is most likely to get squeezed out first,

00:51:20   if that makes sense, by these forces.

00:51:22   Because if you have the bigger iPads,

00:51:26   there's probably something you do on them

00:51:29   or something you like about the bigger screen size

00:51:30   or whatever else that maybe your phone can't do.

00:51:33   The Mini though is, I mean it's still a lot bigger

00:51:36   than even the biggest phones,

00:51:38   but it's a smaller difference, you know?

00:51:41   And so that's why I feel like it probably

00:51:44   wasn't selling well because most people who buy it

00:51:48   were either looking for like basically a bigger device

00:51:52   that's still somewhat small,

00:51:55   which now big phones do better,

00:51:57   or were buying it because it was the cheapest iPad,

00:52:01   and now it isn't.

00:52:02   I think it's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy to not update the iPad Mini for two years

00:52:06   and say, "Well, it's not selling that well."

00:52:08   I know that's not the only reason.

00:52:09   I think everything you said is true, especially about price, because when the Mini first came

00:52:13   out its big selling point was like, "Hey, it's the cheapest way you can get into an

00:52:15   iPad."

00:52:16   But there is, like, you know, Apple always does these photos, and other people will compose

00:52:21   them as well.

00:52:22   Line up all of the glass and aluminum rectangles that run iOS that Apple sells, and you expect

00:52:28   to see some kind of reasonable gradation from the smallest to the biggest.

00:52:32   at various points there have been weird jumps in the size of it and if you put prices along

00:52:36   with them too then so there's weird jumps and they're like okay well these ones are

00:52:39   phones and these ones aren't technically phones but you can get them with LTE but you can't

00:52:43   make phone calls on them unless you FaceTime audio it's like it's this weird differentiation

00:52:48   but that continuum you know that the plus size phones have to have hurt the mini size

00:52:54   factor now with the possible size reshuffling of this rumors of the bigger than 9.7 inch

00:53:01   but smaller than 12 point whatever inch iPod or iPad Pro whatever it'll be like 10 and a half inch

00:53:08   or something like that that in other words that the quote unquote normal iPad size will get bigger

00:53:13   or at least the screen will get bigger and maybe the margins will pull in again or whatever.

00:53:16   If that happens does that open up a big enough gap for something that is not as big as that new iPad

00:53:25   size but not as small as an iPhone 7 plus? Does that does that open up that gap enough for them

00:53:30   them to put one in there because I think there are customers who want that entire range.

00:53:36   If the spacing in the range is right, if it's not too close to the phone, if it's not too

00:53:40   close to the, you know, the next size of a viapad, and if the pricing is right, if for

00:53:45   the smaller thing you spend less money, which is a perception that customers have, and there

00:53:50   is some vague reality because bigger screens are slightly more expensive than smaller screens.

00:53:54   Unfortunately for Apple, the internal guts don't get cheaper unless you give them crappier

00:53:58   guts and that really hurts the product. What people want, same thing the iPhone SE people

00:54:03   want is like, "Give me the best insides, just a smaller outside." And Apple's like, "Eh,

00:54:08   that doesn't, it's not great for us. We'd rather give you the same insides with a slightly

00:54:14   more expensive screen and charge you a hundred extra bucks for it and call it the iPhone

00:54:17   7 Plus." Like, they like that end of it as opposed to, "Shrink the screen by some percentage.

00:54:22   You save a few bucks on the screen, but all the rest of the insides, I want them to be

00:54:25   just as good as the iPad Pro.

00:54:27   Well, then I can't really price that.

00:54:30   People want to look at the rectangle and say the smaller rectangles cost less money than

00:54:34   the bigger rectangles, but it gets totally messed up by this iPhone 7 Plus, which is

00:54:39   super expensive, and then to go back down to a lower price for the in-between iPad is

00:54:45   a difficult problem.

00:54:46   But I think there is a place in Apple's lineup for something around the size of the

00:54:54   But it totally could be that this particular mini is the wrong size in the new lineup and obviously it's currently the wrong price

00:55:00   So we'll see how this shakes out

00:55:03   but if it disappears for a while and

00:55:04   Like makes a comeback as like an 8-inch iPad or something in a few years when they're filling in the gaps

00:55:10   I won't be super surprised at that because you know, I

00:55:13   We learned anything from the big phone thing. Is it different people have

00:55:18   different size

00:55:21   holes in their life to put

00:55:23   rectangles with screens whether it is your pocket or your purse or your backpack or your end table or your nightstand or whatever

00:55:30   There you know we all find the size of the device that fits into our lives

00:55:35   You know or whatever

00:55:36   Maybe it's just like the first one you got you get used to it you build your habits around it

00:55:39   And if the mini goes away entirely I bet there's a bunch of people still running around with minis who?

00:55:44   won't be enthusiastic about buying something bigger and

00:55:47   Won't be enthusiastic about you know replacing you with a big phone because maybe they don't want a big phone like maybe they're

00:55:53   iPhone SE users. So now they have this role that's just not being filled and they're going

00:55:57   to end up getting like a seven-inch Android tablet or something and be sad. So I await

00:56:03   the iPad Mini's glorious comeback, even if it never actually goes away, because at this

00:56:07   point it needs to come back, even though it's still for sale. They're selling one model

00:56:11   that's really old for a crappy price, it needs to come back now. So if it wants to take a

00:56:15   break and then come back, I'm fine. Or if they just want to replace the W2C, I'm fine

00:56:20   for that too.

00:56:21   I feel like almost all of this could have been said

00:56:23   about the Mac Pro, and I don't mean that to be silly.

00:56:25   I mean, it's a model that's kind of been on life support.

00:56:29   They're kind of making sure everyone stops buying it

00:56:32   because they won't update it.

00:56:33   Like so much of this is, I don't know,

00:56:35   I don't wanna say it's becoming the Apple norm,

00:56:37   but certainly we're seeing more than one data point

00:56:39   of this strategy of just kind of making it

00:56:42   fade into the distance.

00:56:43   - It's more like the Mac Mini because the role

00:56:46   of the iPad Mini, and the Mac's right there in the name,

00:56:48   the role of both the iPad Mini and the Mac Mini

00:56:50   is not to be the fastest, most awesome computer for its most demanding users.

00:56:54   That's always a thorn in the side about the Mac Pro, is that particular role.

00:56:58   Other devices you could say, you know, well, it's always been the most boring,

00:57:03   least popular, with the least attention paid to it.

00:57:06   That's not really true of the iPad Mini.

00:57:08   When it came out, it was the darling.

00:57:09   It's like, wow, they finally made a smaller tablet.

00:57:11   And wow, look how well it's selling.

00:57:12   And then the next, you know, Ernie's call, like, wow, look at the iPad ASPs.

00:57:15   Hmm.

00:57:17   (laughing)

00:57:18   - Yeah, I mean, and also, like, the iPad Mini

00:57:22   competes now against areas in which Apple

00:57:25   is doing worse and worse over time,

00:57:27   namely very cheap tablets.

00:57:29   Like, it was always the budget option, the value option,

00:57:33   the option that maybe you'd get for kids.

00:57:35   And actually, on my kid, his iPad is a Mini,

00:57:37   an old one that I had collecting dust in a drawer

00:57:40   for a while, and he loves it, it's great.

00:57:42   Like, it's a really good kid size.

00:57:44   So it is a nice size to offer.

00:57:46   However, in that market, in the market for smaller,

00:57:50   ideally as cheap as possible tablets,

00:57:53   Apple has not done well in a very long time.

00:57:55   Basically since there have been other tablets,

00:57:58   besides the iPad, that were at all competitive.

00:58:01   Now there are so many other options

00:58:03   and I think the market research has supported this idea

00:58:07   that there's basically two tablet markets.

00:58:09   There's tablets that are basically used as screens

00:58:14   video playback and not much else. And then there's like computing tablets that people

00:58:19   use like for computing tasks and stuff like that. And the iPad does very well in the latter

00:58:24   category and if you restrict what you're looking at to tablets priced above a certain

00:58:31   level, maybe it's like priced above $300 or whatever, Apple does great by share in

00:58:35   that market. But the total tablet market, most of the tablets being sold are these cheap

00:58:41   that are being sold for very simple purposes

00:58:44   where the OS and the quality of the tablet

00:58:46   matter a lot less.

00:58:48   And so Apple doesn't do well there.

00:58:50   And the iPad mini might have served that role

00:58:53   for a few years in the middle there

00:58:55   before the rest of the world kind of caught up to that.

00:58:58   But now anyone looking for a super cheap tablet

00:59:02   for some like, you know, embedded use

00:59:03   or some kind of disposable use is not going iPad at all.

00:59:07   They're going with something very cheap

00:59:08   from Amazon or something.

00:59:09   So I think maybe Apple decided to bow out of that market

00:59:13   because it just isn't, you know,

00:59:16   it isn't, not only was it not profitable per unit

00:59:19   for them maybe, but maybe in order to succeed

00:59:23   at selling into that market at a very good rate,

00:59:26   they would have to lower the price even further

00:59:28   to the point where they don't even,

00:59:29   it's not even worth them competing at all.

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01:01:02   Speaking of other rumors, suddenly there's new laptops coming. And my best, or my favorite

01:01:13   part of this is not only are there new laptops coming, but they're to take on Microsoft,

01:01:20   which is kind of interesting.

01:01:22   This is in Bloomberg by Mark Ehrman and Alex Webb,

01:01:25   and basically they're saying,

01:01:27   "Well, Microsoft is really doing well these days

01:01:31   "with all their fancy new laptops and tablets

01:01:34   "and whatever they are, Surfaces,

01:01:36   "so maybe Apple will update some stuff after all,

01:01:41   "especially the MacBook, which would make me very happy."

01:01:44   And interestingly, they're saying

01:01:45   that this might happen at WWDC,

01:01:47   which, I mean, certainly computers have been unveiled

01:01:49   WWDC, but it's not a terribly common occurrence.

01:01:55   So I'm very intrigued by this, I'm super skeptical, but it would make me very happy, if nothing

01:02:02   else, if I could finally buy a MacBook that I've wanted for like six months now.

01:02:06   So I think what we want out of revised MacBooks is more like what they hinted at at the MacPro

01:02:12   event, where people, you know, the people who were there were asking, "Hey, what about

01:02:16   the MacBooks and were you surprised by the reactions and blah blah blah and they vaguely

01:02:20   hinted that they're looking into the idea of making a new version of the MacBook Pros

01:02:26   that is more satisfying to the people who are upset with the current ones for whatever

01:02:31   reason.

01:02:32   Obviously they don't go into any details, but it makes everyone who's reading about

01:02:34   that say, "Ooh, maybe they'll add more ports!" or, you know, "Maybe they'll think about the

01:02:41   Touch Bar some more!" or, you know, if you're KC, "Maybe they'll actually update the 12-inch

01:02:46   MacBook to have faster insides because it totally needs them.

01:02:49   And everyone's dreams just attach to the vague idea that they're going to revise them with

01:02:53   -- which, of course, they always do.

01:02:55   This rumor seems suspect on the whole to take on a Microsoft angle because Microsoft may

01:03:01   be introducing hardware that's causing people to write stories about it, but their surface

01:03:05   sales numbers are not particularly indicative of a world-conquering product line, at least

01:03:12   not yet.

01:03:13   And the things they're talking about even just in this rumor seem like, I mean, fine,

01:03:17   it's a good speed bump, especially for the 12-inch MacBook that needs it.

01:03:20   And the other ones, you know, couldn't hurt.

01:03:22   We all like speed bumps like they're good.

01:03:24   But it doesn't seem like in a WWDC timeframe they could have the newly rethought revised

01:03:31   different in ways that will make people who didn't like the first ones happy about them

01:03:36   sort of MacBook Pros.

01:03:37   Like if you're expecting a new MacBook Pro with an SD card slot and maybe more different

01:03:45   ports on the other side of the thing to arrive at WWC, that seems highly unlikely to me.

01:03:50   There's also mixed in with this rumor the idea that they would update the 13-inch MacBook

01:03:55   Air with new processors, which at this point, we all love speed bumps, and if you want to

01:04:01   update the internals, that's fine, but they cannot update the MacBook Air again with leaving

01:04:05   that screen.

01:04:06   It is an embarrassment.

01:04:07   It is just, it's not even just that it's non-retina, it's that it's non-retina and it's not even

01:04:12   a good non-retina screen.

01:04:13   And it has not been a good non, I don't think it was ever a good non-retina screen, but

01:04:17   it was acceptable for the price point at one point, but now it's just embarrassing.

01:04:21   So if they want to update the, here's their problem.

01:04:24   If they updated the internals of the 13-inch MacBook Air and put a retina screen on it,

01:04:28   it would suddenly become their best-selling portable again.

01:04:30   And I don't know if Apple really wants that.

01:04:32   - That's so true.

01:04:34   - Oh, that's so true.

01:04:35   I don't know, Marco, thoughts?

01:04:37   - It's unlikely that people are gonna get what they want,

01:04:40   because it has been such a short time.

01:04:42   Everyone has a wish list for what they wish

01:04:45   the new MacBooks did, myself included,

01:04:47   or changes they wish for them.

01:04:49   And ever since I switched to the Escape,

01:04:52   I love the MacBook Escape so, so much in almost every way.

01:04:57   But of course I have a wish list too.

01:05:00   My key, I got a stuck key the other day.

01:05:02   my O key doesn't work anymore.

01:05:04   And then I kind of jiggled around

01:05:06   and then started working again.

01:05:06   So maybe there's something stuck under there.

01:05:08   And I tweeted about it and I heard from so many people

01:05:12   who have had multiple keyboard failures.

01:05:15   And key, like the new keyboard,

01:05:18   in addition to all of its other problems

01:05:20   of having very low travel, being hard to feel,

01:05:25   being very weirdly loud in a very unpleasant way,

01:05:29   all the different problems the new keyboard has.

01:05:32   the arrow keys being the way they are.

01:05:35   Another problem that it seems like is possibly

01:05:38   a pretty big problem with them

01:05:39   is that they fail all the time.

01:05:41   Like, it seems like this is a big thing.

01:05:44   You know, we heard from 12-inch MacBook owners

01:05:48   for the last couple of years

01:05:49   that it was a big problem on that.

01:05:50   And it seems like whatever the revision was

01:05:53   that they did to make it a little bit clickier and louder

01:05:54   for the new MacBook Pros last year,

01:05:57   it seems like that didn't get fixed.

01:05:59   It seems like they still fail all the time.

01:06:02   - I have a theory on this.

01:06:04   Not having owned any one of these keyboards,

01:06:05   but having seen the previous ones,

01:06:08   I have a theory on what the failure mode might be,

01:06:10   and maybe you can check your O-key

01:06:12   to see if this is the case.

01:06:13   In addition to having less travel,

01:06:16   and having a slightly different activation mechanism

01:06:19   underneath the keycaps,

01:06:21   another thing that distinguishes to my eyes anyway,

01:06:23   the new crop of very low profile keyboards

01:06:26   on these portables,

01:06:27   is that the gap between the top case and the key

01:06:32   is smaller than it used to be,

01:06:34   which is great for like this looks fancy and expensive

01:06:37   and it's precision engineering

01:06:39   to just cut out the hole just big enough

01:06:42   for the key cap to slide up and down.

01:06:44   But if anything manages to wiggle its way through that gap,

01:06:49   A, it's not coming back out the way it came in

01:06:51   because the gap is really, really small,

01:06:53   and B, if it gets itself underneath the key cap

01:06:56   to enough of a degree that it causes the thing

01:06:58   not to activate.

01:06:59   I've seen this exact problem with my keyboard

01:07:02   and the old laptop keyboards,

01:07:04   the old Apple flat key cap ones,

01:07:07   because the gap was big enough for lots of junk

01:07:09   to fall under there, but it was easier also to get it out,

01:07:12   even without prying the key cap off,

01:07:13   and it would sort of jiggle loose.

01:07:15   I'm wondering if the new ones are kind of like

01:07:17   a one-way trap for mice or whatever,

01:07:20   that is a really, really skinny opening,

01:07:22   and small bits of dust or food crumbs

01:07:26   or whatever the heck else is floating around

01:07:27   can get in there, but there's no way in hell

01:07:29   they can get back out and stuff builds up

01:07:30   and it causes them to fail.

01:07:31   That's just a theory.

01:07:32   If people have failing keyboards and they say,

01:07:34   "No, it's actually the key switch."

01:07:35   I don't know what the actual problem is.

01:07:36   And I'm assuming you don't know either

01:07:38   'cause all you're doing is kinda poking at it like an ape

01:07:41   and wiggling the O key.

01:07:41   "Oh, work now key, okay, key work now."

01:07:44   Like what can you do?

01:07:46   Have you pried off the key cap yet?

01:07:48   - I haven't and I don't think you can on these.

01:07:50   I'm pretty sure, I have to verify this,

01:07:52   maybe I'm sure people will email us.

01:07:54   - I fix it, probably not.

01:07:55   - But I think somebody told me that

01:07:58   with this new butterfly switch type

01:08:01   that they use in these new keyboards,

01:08:02   I'm pretty sure you can't actually pop them off

01:08:05   for service or cleaning.

01:08:06   And whenever people say that,

01:08:09   when people were telling me all their stories on Twitter

01:08:11   about getting these keyboards replaced,

01:08:13   by the way, this laptop line has been out

01:08:15   for six months or something, like seven months,

01:08:17   it's not that long.

01:08:18   So to have a whole bunch of keyboard failures this soon

01:08:20   is not good.

01:08:21   - Yeah, like it could be, you know,

01:08:23   it could be a design flaw.

01:08:23   Like if it turns out that that little gap

01:08:25   is great for looking cool in photos

01:08:27   but terrible for actual use, then that's your problem.

01:08:29   And getting a new keyboard is not gonna solve it,

01:08:30   it's just gonna reset your timer.

01:08:32   - I mean, I would argue that's the failure mode

01:08:33   of almost every decision on this keyboard.

01:08:35   It's designed for product photos,

01:08:37   but not good in actual use.

01:08:38   - Some people like typing on it, some people like it.

01:08:40   - I mean, some people like Dell PCs, you know?

01:08:44   Some people like Dave Matthews Band.

01:08:45   - Is there a quota?

01:08:49   Is there a frickin' quota at this point?

01:08:50   What the hell is this?

01:08:52   Anyway, yeah, I'm super skeptical of the timing.

01:08:57   I'm super skeptical that Microsoft is the reason why.

01:09:00   - Oh, Microsoft is definitely not the reason why.

01:09:03   If they're gonna change anything,

01:09:04   it's gonna be because of feedback from Apple's customers

01:09:08   or performance of the sales that are maybe not doing

01:09:11   what Apple wants them to do or things like that.

01:09:13   It's not gonna be about what Microsoft is doing

01:09:16   in their laptop line because--

01:09:17   - Or because the 12-inch MacBook really needs an update.

01:09:21   Right? - Yeah.

01:09:22   - Like that's the other reason to do it.

01:09:23   Well, it's been a kind of a long time.

01:09:25   - Does Apple care about that though?

01:09:26   Really?

01:09:27   I think they've shown that they mostly don't.

01:09:29   - Maybe we're hoping that like one of the lessons

01:09:31   it learns from the Mac Pro fiasco

01:09:33   is that if you want people to think that you care

01:09:37   and to not be afraid to buy your computers

01:09:39   and to not be angry when they buy them,

01:09:40   that like update them on it.

01:09:41   Not me, you know, there'll always be ones

01:09:43   that are the least favorite child,

01:09:45   like the Mac Mini or whatever.

01:09:46   But the MacBook, the new MacBook, the MacBook One,

01:09:49   the 12-inch MacBook, the MacBook Adorable,

01:09:53   that's not supposed to be a forgotten child.

01:09:55   That was one of your flagship, we're so excited,

01:09:57   look at this amazing new thin computer.

01:09:58   And then a couple of revisions later,

01:10:00   it's like, eh, 18 months, two years,

01:10:03   do we really need to update it that often?

01:10:05   And that's bad, that's a bad look.

01:10:06   Like someone has to be the favorite child in that lineup,

01:10:09   it can't just be the MacBook Pros.

01:10:11   And even those went a long time

01:10:12   before the touch bars appeared.

01:10:14   - Oh yeah, I mean, that's why I like,

01:10:16   I think if Apple's going to change anything else

01:10:20   with the Kaby Lake revisions of these laptops,

01:10:23   if they're gonna make any other edits to the design,

01:10:26   it's probably not gonna be anything large,

01:10:29   it's probably not gonna be anything that would require

01:10:31   like new cases or anything like that.

01:10:33   I think it's most likely to be price changes

01:10:36   or new low end configurations to hit new lower price points

01:10:40   because I think much of the criticism has correctly

01:10:45   been about the increased prices of these new laptops

01:10:48   compared to the old ones.

01:10:49   And so if Apple just dropped some prices a few hundred bucks

01:10:52   on a couple of models here and there,

01:10:54   or makes like a new low-end 15 inch

01:10:57   that doesn't have the discrete GPU,

01:10:58   and prices that-- - That's time

01:10:59   to come up eventually. - Of course.

01:11:00   - It's the Marco's wishes.

01:11:01   Just a 15 inch with real keys,

01:11:03   but also with touch ID, but with no discrete GPU.

01:11:05   That's the Marco computer.

01:11:06   - A 15 inch escape, basically.

01:11:08   Like that-- - With touch ID, don't forget.

01:11:10   - Oh, that would be great,

01:11:11   but I'm not holding my breath on that one yet.

01:11:13   But like-- - I feel like

01:11:14   I think that's a change they could do for even for, I'm hoping that Touch ID proliferates,

01:11:20   that it spreads across the Mac line slowly but surely because it is like a universal

01:11:25   good.

01:11:26   Like as long as you can find a place somewhere to put it, who doesn't want that to authenticate

01:11:31   and do all sorts of things?

01:11:32   I think it would be very popular just like it's popular on phones.

01:11:36   But if it has to come with a touch bar, then suddenly at least Marco is less interested

01:11:39   in it and it's more difficult to implement.

01:11:42   And so I'm hoping that it's more expensive.

01:11:44   Yeah, I'm hoping a touch ID on, well, you have to end up putting like the secure enclave

01:11:48   and everything in there anyway, so once you have all that it's like, well, we basically

01:11:51   have the guts for the touch bar, why don't we add it?

01:11:53   But anyway, touch ID spreading to like the escape lineup does not seem out of the question

01:12:01   for me.

01:12:02   Unfortunately for you, Marco, I think the even more likely scenario is the escape disappears

01:12:05   as the touch bar proliferates across the entire line as it comes down in price and so on.

01:12:10   that is definitely a big risk to the escape line.

01:12:13   But I think it's more likely that it would just

01:12:16   replace the MacBook Air eventually as the cheap one.

01:12:19   And so they would keep this configuration around,

01:12:22   basically just like the Air is now,

01:12:24   they would update it occasionally,

01:12:26   but probably not even as often as the rest of them.

01:12:28   And they would push it slowly towards $1,000.

01:12:31   Right now it starts at $1,500,

01:12:32   so there's a long way to go.

01:12:34   - The iPhone SE of the Mac laptop line.

01:12:37   - Yeah, it really might be, honestly.

01:12:39   because again, it's an awesome computer.

01:12:41   Really, my biggest complaint about it

01:12:43   is that it's not a very good value,

01:12:45   and then my second biggest complaint about it

01:12:47   is the keyboard sucking.

01:12:50   But other than those two things, it is quite awesome.

01:12:55   And yeah, I would love another USB port,

01:12:58   I would love an SD card reader,

01:13:00   but those aren't massive problems for me.

01:13:03   It's just a really nice computer.

01:13:06   I really enjoy the MacBook escape.

01:13:08   and I enjoy it more and more the more I use it,

01:13:11   which is the opposite direction my opinion took

01:13:12   of the 15 inch Touch Bar model.

01:13:15   I think that one of the more interesting questions is

01:13:18   what do they do with the Touch Bar?

01:13:20   Because I think it's pretty clear by this point,

01:13:22   now we've had seven months or whatever,

01:13:25   we've had enough time for everyone's keyboards to die,

01:13:29   so I think it's enough time to judge the Touch Bar

01:13:32   a little more objectively than when it first came out.

01:13:36   And I've heard a few other podcasts talking like,

01:13:38   "So hey, how are you using the touch bar these days?

01:13:40   "Are you getting into it?

01:13:41   "What do you think of it now?"

01:13:42   And the universal opinion from nearly everybody

01:13:46   seems to be either negative or kind of middling.

01:13:50   I haven't heard from anybody who loves the touch bar.

01:13:54   I haven't heard from anybody who's like,

01:13:56   "Man, I use it all the time.

01:13:57   "I'm so glad of all the new capabilities it offers,"

01:13:59   or whatever else.

01:14:01   I haven't heard of any interesting app uses for it.

01:14:04   And I think it'll be interesting to see

01:14:06   what Apple does with that?

01:14:08   'Cause I think they've kind of felt this too,

01:14:10   that the touch bar did not land as well

01:14:13   as they hoped it would.

01:14:14   Will we see more options in the future,

01:14:17   such as a 15-inch escape?

01:14:19   More options without the touch bar

01:14:21   for people who don't want the touch bar itself

01:14:23   or don't wanna pay the premium for it?

01:14:25   Or will Apple kinda double down on it

01:14:27   and kinda force it into the market as much as possible,

01:14:31   even more so than they do now,

01:14:32   and eliminate all the options that don't have it anymore?

01:14:35   I think it's way too soon to judge the success of the touch bar in no small part because

01:14:42   for a lot of people they

01:14:45   often don't buy

01:14:47   Laptops for themselves. They just use whatever laptop work issues them and I can assure you that

01:14:53   Most workplaces that I've ever worked are on two to three year

01:14:58   refresh cycles and a lot of workplaces aren't really buying touch bars yet in part because they don't have to and

01:15:05   And so I think it's--I would say it's not worth judging the touch bar as a success or

01:15:12   a failure for at least another year, if not another two years.

01:15:17   So for me, this job and the last job I was at, I was on a three-year cycle.

01:15:22   So every three years I get a new computer, which means I'm not getting a new computer

01:15:26   for two more years, and I've been at my job over a year now.

01:15:30   So I mean, we are two years removed from me getting a new computer, which if history tells

01:15:36   us anything, it means I'll be getting the exact Touch Bar model that's out right now.

01:15:41   But you see what I'm driving at.

01:15:42   It's a long time for a lot of people to get into the Touch Bar.

01:15:48   I think we're judging it way prematurely.

01:15:51   One of the things—my work made some judgment on the Touch Bar model, because I am due to

01:15:55   get a new computer, but my work refuses to buy the Touch Bar models because they perceive

01:16:00   them to not be a good enough value upgrade over the old ones.

01:16:06   So work I have, I guess it's the 2015 MacBook Pro, whatever.

01:16:10   I don't know the specific model that I have.

01:16:11   But anyway, the pre-Touch Bar MacBook Pros.

01:16:16   Does it have a force click track pad?

01:16:17   Yeah.

01:16:18   Then it's 2015.

01:16:19   I'm wondering if I have a 2015.

01:16:21   Was that literally the last one before the Touch Bar?

01:16:23   Yeah.

01:16:24   If it's a 15 inch and if it has force touch, then it's 2015.

01:16:27   Yep, that's what I have.

01:16:29   And I think that's what you probably have too, Jon.

01:16:30   Yeah, but anyway, this is not just a company saying, "Oh, we're on this upgrade cycle

01:16:35   and we're not thinking about buying one."

01:16:38   I was waiting to get the Touch Bar ones, like, "Well, the Touch Bar ones are out and you

01:16:42   have no more laptops in stock, so you're going to have to buy a new one.

01:16:46   And when you buy a new one, obviously you're going to buy the Touch Bar ones."

01:16:49   And they were like, "No, they still sell the old ones.

01:16:52   We're not buying the Touch Bar ones.

01:16:53   Why not?"

01:16:54   "Well, they're expensive and get worse battery life and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

01:16:57   And so that's a judgment call.

01:16:59   They're not making it based upon the touch bar, but the company is deciding that these

01:17:02   are not better enough and are worse in enough ways that they don't want to deal with it.

01:17:06   Now eventually they'll have to be – if this touch bar spreads everywhere, eventually they'll

01:17:10   have to buy them because they'll have no choice.

01:17:11   But that is not a – I'm sure Apple doesn't like the idea that a corporation decided not

01:17:18   to buy their new laptops and continues to buy the old ones.

01:17:21   I mean maybe that happens all the time in enterprise, I don't know.

01:17:24   Meanwhile my computer at work is eight years old.

01:17:27   - It's great pairing with my home computer.

01:17:29   - But that's what I'm saying,

01:17:30   I think Apple could solve a lot of this need

01:17:33   by just making a couple of low-end configurations

01:17:35   and making them cheaper.

01:17:37   And then that would get people like your company

01:17:40   to at least get their foot in the door

01:17:42   for new upgrades and the new line,

01:17:43   because now instead of starting at 2,300

01:17:46   or whatever it starts at,

01:17:47   now it might start at 1,900 or something like that.

01:17:51   - Yeah, I don't know, we'll see.

01:17:52   It's just such a hard thing,

01:17:53   but the only thing I feel like I know for sure

01:17:56   that it's way too early to judge.

01:17:57   And we need a little time to kind of figure out

01:18:01   whether or not this is for real.

01:18:03   And I think one way for Apple to compel adoption

01:18:07   or to compel people to take the touch bar more seriously,

01:18:11   well, I guess two ways.

01:18:12   One is to make them cheaper or a better value

01:18:14   by whatever metric that may be.

01:18:16   And two is to just force it across the entire line.

01:18:19   I don't know, we'll see.

01:18:21   It'd be cool to have some hardware at WWDC though.

01:18:23   That'd be neat.

01:18:24   I doubt it'll happen, but it would be neat.

01:18:26   One thing that Marco can be optimistic about, by the way, speaking of his complaints with laptops,

01:18:30   is that Apple has shown that it is willing to revise the new weird keyboard that he hates,

01:18:37   because it was released on one model of computer, and then when the new MacBook Pros came out,

01:18:42   one of the things that was emphasized was that they had made a revision to what appears to be

01:18:49   the same keyboard, presumably in response to people using the MacBook One and not being happy

01:18:54   with the keyboard. Now this has a different set of problems of being noisy and maybe they both

01:18:58   have the problem of the keys dying or whatever, but I was encouraged by the fact that they didn't

01:19:04   say "well let's just ship this keyboard for five more years and see how things work out."

01:19:08   They immediately revised it and attempted to improve it and so it's not inconceivable that

01:19:13   the next major revision, maybe not this kind of speed bumpy thing, but the next major revision

01:19:17   of the laptop line will have yet a third iteration of the keyboard Margo Hates, which presumably will

01:19:23   make a different set of trade-offs

01:19:24   and maybe be better overall.

01:19:26   So that's something to watch for

01:19:28   and potentially look forward to.

01:19:29   - I mean, it's possible.

01:19:31   I just think that they went into the original MacBook 12

01:19:35   inch one baby, whatever, keyboard design,

01:19:38   and the goal of that was make this keyboard

01:19:41   as thin as humans will tolerate.

01:19:44   And they did, and they made other design decisions

01:19:46   around that, but that was like the invariant.

01:19:48   You could not, like, number one had to be thin,

01:19:52   and all other parts of its usability

01:19:54   were numbers two through N.

01:19:56   And with this, I think when they carried this over

01:20:00   into the entire MacBook Pro line,

01:20:03   I think that invariant held.

01:20:05   I think that was, again, it's like,

01:20:06   you can do whatever else you want to it,

01:20:08   but it must remain super thin.

01:20:11   Again, at all other costs.

01:20:13   Make it less reliable,

01:20:15   make us spend a fortune on warranty repairs,

01:20:17   make people hate this keyboard at a large scale.

01:20:20   - Well, I don't think the reliability was a factor.

01:20:23   Reliability may have been a result of that,

01:20:25   but I don't think they factored in.

01:20:26   I think that they expected the reliability

01:20:28   to be about the same as the old ones.

01:20:30   And only they know for sure whether it really is,

01:20:32   how big the scope of the problem is.

01:20:34   But I don't think they traded the reliability.

01:20:35   It just turned out perhaps to be,

01:20:37   oh, surprise, you made that trade off

01:20:39   and you didn't realize it when you made

01:20:40   the gaps really tight.

01:20:41   Which really has nothing to do with the thinness,

01:20:43   because that's like lateral width and stuff.

01:20:45   Like they could have made the gaps around the keys,

01:20:47   changed the size of the keycaps and make the gaps bigger.

01:20:49   it wouldn't have looked as nice.

01:20:50   It's almost like a design decision as an aesthetic design,

01:20:54   more than it is a functionality decision

01:20:56   because that gap has no influence on,

01:20:59   and again, assuming that gap has anything to do

01:21:01   with this problem, probably know it's something

01:21:02   entirely unrelated, but if it is that gap,

01:21:04   they can fix that while keeping all the thinness benefits.

01:21:07   - Right, but anyways, the point is,

01:21:09   thinness was number one priority.

01:21:12   Everything else was secondary to thinness.

01:21:14   And so it's like when they made the revision

01:21:17   between the 12 inch original keyboard

01:21:19   and the new MacBook Pro keyboard,

01:21:20   they said, okay, we can improve these other areas,

01:21:22   but you cannot make it thicker.

01:21:25   Whatever you do, we are using this keyboard, dammit,

01:21:29   and just make it tolerable a little bit more if you can.

01:21:32   - You know how they love to use the same keyboard everywhere.

01:21:35   - I don't expect any revisions of this computer

01:21:38   to make the keyboard significantly better

01:21:40   because I think, I'm not a keyboard engineer,

01:21:44   but just seeing the performance of this,

01:21:46   the original MacBook One and every other keyboard

01:21:48   in the world, I think in order to make it better,

01:21:51   in order to fix the problems with it,

01:21:53   they're probably gonna have to go back to a scissor switch

01:21:56   instead of these weird butterfly switches.

01:21:58   And I don't think you can get scissor switches

01:22:00   that are this thin that are any good.

01:22:02   I think that's the reason they went to this switch

01:22:03   in the first place.

01:22:04   So I don't think they're able to fix this keyboard's

01:22:08   biggest shortcomings without making it thicker,

01:22:11   which is something that I just think there is no way

01:22:15   that modern Apple would ever ship a laptop

01:22:18   that was thicker than the one that came before it,

01:22:20   even if it made it a lot better in a lot of different ways.

01:22:23   I don't see that happening.

01:22:24   - You could change the switching mechanism

01:22:25   underneath it yet again,

01:22:26   'cause that's what they did with the thing

01:22:28   that revised the little switchy thingy,

01:22:30   like to have different feel and different sound,

01:22:33   as it turns out.

01:22:34   They could revise that little switchy thing again,

01:22:35   keeping it the same size to try to find a different balance.

01:22:38   Again, maybe that will or won't help reliability,

01:22:41   depending on what the heck the problem is,

01:22:42   or if it really is, you know, how big the problem is at all.

01:22:47   But you know, if you wait long enough,

01:22:48   it'll be as we talked about

01:22:49   when the touch bar first came out.

01:22:51   The other possibility is that touch bar slowly expands

01:22:53   to fill the entire bottom of your screen,

01:22:55   and now you've just got two screens

01:22:56   that close like a clamshell,

01:22:57   and you don't have to worry about key travel anymore.

01:22:58   Ha ha. - The MacBook DS.

01:23:00   - Yep. - Wow.

01:23:01   I don't know, I, it's hard to say what's going on in Apple,

01:23:06   and Marco, it almost sounded as though,

01:23:10   And I think I am taking this a half step further than you

01:23:13   intended, but it almost sounds as though you're attributing

01:23:15   this to malice or just unbelievable hubris.

01:23:19   And maybe you're right.

01:23:20   Who knows?

01:23:20   But I think if I were to wager a guess, I think what's

01:23:23   really happening is Apple is saying, hey, lighter computers

01:23:27   and thinner computers as well-- let's leave lighter out

01:23:29   of it, I shouldn't have brought that up-- thinner

01:23:31   computers, generally speaking, are better for everyone.

01:23:34   I would like a thinner computer.

01:23:36   Now granted, I may not want to make a bunch of the trade-offs

01:23:38   necessary to get it thinner, but if you said to me, "You know, you don't have to make any

01:23:43   trade-offs, but would you like your computer thinner?" Well, yes. Yes, I would. And everyone

01:23:48   likes thinner computers. Part of the reason I want this MacBook so bad is because it's

01:23:51   so portable and so thin. And, I don't know, I just, I don't think it's that they're like,

01:23:58   "Screw it, this is the new design, and if anyone else doesn't like it, tough nuggies

01:24:02   for them." It's just, I think that they're marching toward as thin and as light a laptop

01:24:06   as they can possibly get, and one of the things that stands in their way in making that is

01:24:12   these big switches that they've used classically, and so now they have these new switches that

01:24:16   they're trying, and they'll iterate on it, and they'll make it better, but obviously

01:24:19   there are trade-offs.

01:24:20   And I don't know, I haven't used one of these new laptops with these new switches, but the

01:24:29   brief—well, I haven't used them for a long period of time—but the brief times I've

01:24:32   used it, I didn't find them that offensive.

01:24:34   And I think that all the nerds, the same kinds of nerds that often but not always like mechanical

01:24:40   keyboards, all them kvetching and whining about the feel of this keyboard, yeah, okay,

01:24:45   that's to be expected.

01:24:46   But I cannot remember a single time I've spoken to someone that's in the "real world" that

01:24:52   has been so upset about this keyboard.

01:24:54   I'm sure those people exist.

01:24:56   But I certainly personally have never noticed that.

01:24:59   And I would think it would make the rounds as like, "Oh, these Apple keyboards are garbage!

01:25:05   Everyone agrees!" if they really were that bad.

01:25:08   Well, it's, again, I want to be clear.

01:25:11   First of all, I don't think this is malice.

01:25:12   I think this is bad design decisions, or bad design priorities.

01:25:17   It's not that everyone hates the new keyboard.

01:25:20   Maybe even most people can tolerate it.

01:25:24   My dislike of it—I'll try to be brief because we talk about this so often—but my

01:25:29   My dislike of it, I think, boils down to that it's an unforced error. That they have taken

01:25:34   this, what used to be fairly ignorable. Like, no one talked about the keyboards on Apple

01:25:40   laptops for years. It was just never a thing that mattered because every laptop had a keyboard

01:25:46   that was pretty good and it was fine and no one cared. And once the MacBook 12 inch, one

01:25:52   baby came out, now all of a sudden there's this extremely controversial keyboard that

01:25:57   a lot of people are okay with, but a lot of people were like,

01:26:00   "Oh my god, I hate this."

01:26:02   And so they took something that was not controversial

01:26:05   and made an extreme version of it

01:26:07   that was very controversial.

01:26:09   And that was probably okay if it was only ever on that model

01:26:14   and which was the assumption that we all had

01:26:15   when it came out.

01:26:17   But now it's on all the key,

01:26:18   now it's basically the same keyboard everywhere.

01:26:20   Now it's on every laptop that you buy that is new,

01:26:22   that has been updated in the last 20 years,

01:26:25   now has this keyboard on it.

01:26:27   And so it's like now there's no more choice.

01:26:29   This extreme polarizing thing in this category

01:26:33   that used to not be polarizing,

01:26:35   now this is your only choice.

01:26:36   So if you wanna keep buying modern Mac laptops,

01:26:39   you now have to accept this keyboard

01:26:41   whether you like it or not.

01:26:43   And there's a lot of people who don't.

01:26:45   And nobody was really begging for

01:26:49   the previous generation laptops to get thinner.

01:26:51   They do love lighter.

01:26:53   And thinner does feel great in the store and sell well.

01:26:57   But there's also a balance to be struck with.

01:27:00   How many people find this appealing?

01:27:02   Do people make more errors?

01:27:03   Does it break more often?

01:27:05   'Cause you know what, here's the thing.

01:27:06   Apple might not care about the warranty costs so far

01:27:10   of replacing all these dying key caps

01:27:11   and dead keyboards on all these laptops.

01:27:14   But you know what, I as a user care quite a bit.

01:27:17   I have bought something like, geez, I don't know,

01:27:20   10 Apple laptops in my life so far,

01:27:22   something in that ballpark, I've never had a key problem.

01:27:25   I've never had a key break.

01:27:27   That seems ridiculous to me.

01:27:29   And now I have this MacBook escape

01:27:31   that's like two months old,

01:27:32   and I already have a key problem.

01:27:34   And so even if Apple fixes it for free,

01:27:36   which they damn well will,

01:27:39   I still have to now go get it serviced,

01:27:42   I have to be without it for a certain amount of time,

01:27:43   I have to go through the process of getting it serviced,

01:27:45   which is its own pain now with Apple

01:27:47   'cause they're so crowded now with everything.

01:27:49   And so I as a user, now I feel like I've bought

01:27:54   this fragile thing.

01:27:55   Now I'm thinking, you know, I should probably buy

01:27:57   AppleCare on this, another $300 or whatever it is,

01:28:01   because if it's gonna be this fragile and have a key break

01:28:03   after a very light use for two months,

01:28:06   obviously this is not a well-built machine.

01:28:10   And all of this is an unforced error,

01:28:13   because they didn't have to make the machines this thin.

01:28:18   they could have just made them this light

01:28:20   and made them almost this thin

01:28:23   and given like an extra millimeter

01:28:25   or whatever it would have been

01:28:26   to have a less controversial,

01:28:29   more durable keyboard in there.

01:28:31   But they didn't.

01:28:32   And they made that choice now for the entire product line.

01:28:36   So if you disagree with that choice,

01:28:38   you now have no more options.

01:28:40   - I'd like to respond to that very quickly in two ways.

01:28:43   One, you said unforced error, which is a sports reference,

01:28:46   and I don't think we appropriately

01:28:47   Congratulated you for that so well done. I actually didn't know that I I've only heard John say it. Oh

01:28:52   Can you guess which sport it's from then since you heard me say it I know baseball has errors

01:28:58   So I'm gonna say baseball. No, good try. No, is it exceptions in baseball tennis?

01:29:03   Come on, let's pour to know stuff about this exceptions

01:29:08   The other thing I want to say is you've you've said a couple times Marco that you know

01:29:12   Not a lot of people seem to care about thinness or why would why would people care about them? So I disagree

01:29:17   I think thin really matters. Well. No I didn't say that I

01:29:19   Said it. I said it does sell well it feels great in stores, and it sells well, but ultimately weight is much more important

01:29:26   And the laptops were already really thin before so it like it people weren't crying out

01:29:33   I see, but weights more important to you if I carried a purse every day thinness would be pretty darn important to me

01:29:38   I don't think that I think you're underselling the importance of thinness. I do agree full of Foley

01:29:44   I completely and utterly agree that weight is more important.

01:29:48   But I think a lot of times, or I would wager a lot of times that people conflate weight

01:29:53   with thinness.

01:29:54   And, you know, especially if you're carrying something a lot.

01:29:58   It's not just going in like a backpack, it's not just going, I don't know, in a laptop

01:30:03   bag.

01:30:04   You're carrying it like on your personal lot, like in a purse, or in the same way you would

01:30:09   carry an iPad.

01:30:10   That's exactly why I want the MacBook.

01:30:12   In many ways I want the MacBook not only because it's light, but also expressly because it's

01:30:19   so thin, because it feels like nothing.

01:30:21   That's why the air was so cool the very first time we saw it, because it fit in that damn

01:30:24   envelope that Steve had.

01:30:26   I think, maybe not for you and maybe not for everyone, but for a lot of people, I think

01:30:30   thinness is certainly important.

01:30:32   Yeah, it is, but we're talking about such small numbers.

01:30:36   We're talking about single millimeters or fractional millimeters, and it's like, yes,

01:30:42   thickness and thinness do matter, but as the absolute values of these numbers get smaller

01:30:48   and smaller, the relative differences matter a lot less. Because we're talking about,

01:30:52   like, every laptop that Apple sells is ridiculously thin. Every laptop Apple sold before these

01:30:59   came out, the entire, like, 2012 Retina generation, was also really thin. Like, and the MacBook

01:31:05   Air generation before that, also really thin. Like, Apple doesn't really sell a thick

01:31:10   computer anymore. Right, but that's a competitive advantage. Yeah, but I'm saying, like, you're

01:31:14   talking about the difference between – it's literally talking about the difference of,

01:31:17   like, a millimeter for different keyboard types. Like, that's the scale of what we're

01:31:22   talking about here. So I don't think – and, like, look at the 11-inch Air before this.

01:31:28   The 11-inch Air had a regular scissor switch keyboard, and it was a really small, thin

01:31:34   computer that is of similar dimensions, although again slightly larger, as the 12-inch MacBook.

01:31:42   But it was still like, it was really close to those dimensions and that thickness. And

01:31:46   so it's like I just don't think they needed to make this decision for the entire lineup

01:31:52   and that has consequences. And what I'm saying is it was a poor design decision to go with

01:31:57   this extreme polarizing option when going with something that was a little more mainstream

01:32:03   acceptable like your beloved Magic Keyboard 3 or whatever it is like the

01:32:06   the current Magic Keyboard. Yeah, yeah. That has scissor switches and if they put

01:32:11   that in the laptop that would be great. Wait, I thought it didn't. I thought it

01:32:15   didn't have so I originally thought it okay so I almost said that and then I

01:32:19   could have sworn I was wrong so okay then I agree with you if if this thing

01:32:23   was in a laptop oh my god I would be in heaven. Right, but they didn't do that and

01:32:26   and to do that would not have made the laptops that much thicker it would have

01:32:30   a really small difference in thickness,

01:32:32   it would have been probably zero noticeable difference

01:32:35   in weight, 'cause keyboards are mostly empty space,

01:32:37   they're pretty light.

01:32:38   So it would only have made it a little bit thicker, probably.

01:32:43   But they didn't do that, because they made this decision

01:32:45   for everybody now that I think was a bad decision.

01:32:48   But that's it, we don't need to keep talking about this,

01:32:50   we don't want to.

01:32:50   - You're losing sight of the real crime,

01:32:52   the real multi-decade crime, which is using

01:32:54   the same keyboard no matter how big the laptop is.

01:32:57   You have all this room for other keys,

01:32:58   but they cannot handle the asymmetry.

01:33:00   They just cannot handle it.

01:33:02   They can't give us an inverted T, home and end,

01:33:05   and like, nope, they just not gonna happen.

01:33:07   Same keyboard, exact same keyboard constrained

01:33:10   to its little rectangle, no matter how big,

01:33:13   how much aluminum there is around it,

01:33:15   just sitting there with tiny little holes

01:33:16   that look like speaker grills, but aren't really.

01:33:18   That is the real crime,

01:33:19   and that is a multi-generational, multi-decade crime

01:33:23   instead of this very recent,

01:33:24   really shallow key travel thing.

01:33:26   - Real quick, real-time follow-up.

01:33:28   The 13-inch MacBook Pro, I think I'm looking at the 13,

01:33:31   one of the MacBook Pros, it doesn't matter,

01:33:33   is 1.49 centimeters height.

01:33:36   The MacBook is a maximum of 1.31 centimeters height.

01:33:41   So that's a difference of, what is that, 18 millimeters?

01:33:44   Is that right?

01:33:45   I can do math, it's late, I don't know.

01:33:47   But it's not that much to your point, Marco.

01:33:49   - 1.8. - It's certainly,

01:33:51   yeah, that too, whatever.

01:33:52   Anyway, point is, it's not a lot, no matter how you slice it.

01:33:54   And that is absolutely true.

01:33:56   But, you know, one of the benefits of this march to thinness is that a person who maybe

01:34:02   always carries their computer with them, be it somebody with a purse or somebody who just

01:34:07   always has a laptop bag on them, maybe they always, always, always have to have a computer

01:34:12   with them, and for whatever reason, and they might have been forced to in the past use

01:34:19   either the underpowered MacBook or the slightly less underpowered MacBook Air, now because

01:34:25   of Apple's general march of thinness and toward thinness, now they can, to your point, Marco,

01:34:30   use a MacBook Pro because really the delta isn't that big in the grand scheme of things.

01:34:34   So again, I think thinness does matter to everyone in ways that may not be obvious,

01:34:40   even though I completely and utterly agree, I'll say it again, that weight is the ultimate

01:34:43   number one issue.

01:34:46   In better real-time follow-up, chatroom user Jobius says, "Baseball errors are not called

01:34:50   exceptions even though they are a failure that occurs in the try catch block.

01:34:55   [Laughter]

01:34:56   Well done.

01:34:58   Thanks to our three sponsors this week, Betterment, Audible, and Fracture.

01:35:03   And we will see you next week.

01:35:05   [Music]

01:35:06   Now the show is over, they didn't even mean to begin, 'cause it was accidental.

01:35:14   Accidental.

01:35:15   Oh, it was accidental.

01:35:16   Accidental.

01:35:17   John didn't do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn't let him

01:35:23   'Cause it was accidental, it was accidental

01:35:28   And you can find the show notes at ATP.FM

01:35:33   And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them

01:35:38   M A R C O A R M

01:35:45   A N T M A R C O A R M

01:35:50   S I R A C U S A C R A C U S A

01:35:55   It's accidental (It's accidental)

01:35:58   They didn't mean to (accidental, accidental)

01:36:03   ♪ The Tech Podcast ♪

01:36:05   ♪ So long ♪

01:36:08   - I'm excited for WWDC.

01:36:09   It's gonna be weird this year.

01:36:10   It's gonna be super weird being in a new place.

01:36:12   - Yeah, it's gonna be really weird,

01:36:14   but I'm also really excited about it,

01:36:15   because A, it's new, it's different.

01:36:19   B, we're doing a live show,

01:36:21   and I'm super excited about that.

01:36:22   I got to buy a whole bunch of cool stuff to do.

01:36:23   - Me too.

01:36:24   That's not why I'm excited, but I am still excited.

01:36:27   - And C, if any of the rumors are correct

01:36:31   about either hardware or software,

01:36:34   it's gonna be a big one, and I'm looking forward to that.

01:36:37   I'm excited, you know?

01:36:38   As much as I seem skeptical of a lot of things

01:36:41   that Apple does in recent times,

01:36:45   they also do a whole bunch of stuff

01:36:46   I'm really excited about,

01:36:47   and this is one of the biggest events of the year.

01:36:51   I would say probably the second biggest.

01:36:53   You know, I think the biggest is probably

01:36:54   like the fall event where they announced new iPhones

01:36:56   and stuff, but this is probably the second biggest event

01:36:58   of the year and lots of stuff is gonna probably

01:37:03   be mentioned that's gonna be really cool.

01:37:04   And I'm just looking forward to that.

01:37:05   We might even, like Tipster says, we might even get

01:37:08   the new Mac Pro teased, who knows if that's the case.

01:37:10   But I'm just really excited about whatever it is

01:37:14   because even if they only deliver on a quarter

01:37:18   of the rumored things, that's still gonna be really cool.

01:37:22   - Yeah, I agree with you.

01:37:23   I will be incredibly surprised if there's anything

01:37:26   that they could even tease about for the Mac Pro.

01:37:30   Like even a logo with words on it.

01:37:32   It's not even a glimpse of the computer

01:37:35   or anything about it, but I was surprised

01:37:36   that they even had time to do that.

01:37:38   It just seems like they maybe wouldn't want to remind us

01:37:42   about that fiasco at this time,

01:37:44   especially if they had tons of other stuff to announce.

01:37:46   So I'm not looking forward to that.

01:37:46   The thing I'm most looking forward to

01:37:49   is hopefully improve weather,

01:37:50   'cause I'm always tired of being cold in June

01:37:53   is just not right.

01:37:56   and it's the kind of weather where it's not really cold,

01:37:58   cold, so you don't bring your warm clothes,

01:38:01   but then suddenly you're out and it's like 1 a.m.

01:38:02   and you're freezing and you're like,

01:38:03   "Why, isn't this June?"

01:38:05   I hate that.

01:38:06   - Well, that's why they always give everybody jackets

01:38:08   that everybody sees, because like--

01:38:09   - Those jackets are the cruelest jackets,

01:38:11   'cause they're like, "Oh, this jacket,"

01:38:13   like you'll be baking in the sun

01:38:14   in the middle of the day in that jacket,

01:38:16   but if you wear that jacket all night,

01:38:17   you will eventually be freezing in it,

01:38:19   so it's a cruel jacket.

01:38:20   - Oh yeah, I have a whole stack of them in my closet

01:38:22   that I just never wear because it's always either too sweaty

01:38:27   or too uninsulated for whatever condition I'm in.

01:38:30   - Or it has no pockets like that one year.

01:38:32   - Yeah. (laughs)

01:38:34   - Do we wanna talk about this

01:38:37   Steven Levy new Apple new campus Apple Park thing?

01:38:40   - I didn't read that yet.

01:38:41   - Neither did I.

01:38:43   - I opened it and I scrolled the page

01:38:44   and I went, ugh, one of those.

01:38:47   - I mean, here's the thing.

01:38:48   I don't really care about Apple's office building.

01:38:51   I think it's cool that they do stuff like this,

01:38:53   that they put so much thought into it,

01:38:55   but I think it's also arguable,

01:38:57   based on some of the reporting coming out of this,

01:39:00   that maybe this was a massive distraction for them,

01:39:03   and especially for people like Johnny Ive.

01:39:06   And maybe it's better that Johnny Ive was busy doing this

01:39:09   instead of making our keyboards even worse,

01:39:10   but I don't know,

01:39:12   but we're making our Mac Pros even less useful.

01:39:14   But it is certainly arguable

01:39:17   that this has been a massive distraction

01:39:20   for a lot of top people at Apple.

01:39:22   But other than that, I don't really care about the details

01:39:26   because I'm probably never gonna be allowed

01:39:29   inside the giant ring,

01:39:31   and I'm probably never going to work there.

01:39:35   So I don't think it's ever really going to affect me.

01:39:37   - It'll be a great place to probably settle in

01:39:41   in the end times if you're able to secure that facility

01:39:44   and protect it from the zombies and the chuds,

01:39:46   because it'll be like fairly self-sustaining

01:39:49   and probably have nice views and be secure

01:39:52   and look kind of cool.

01:39:53   So look forward to that being a good apocalypse bunker.

01:39:58   - You know, it's interesting having read the article.

01:40:00   I do think it's worth reading,

01:40:02   but what I found interesting about it was that

01:40:05   you can read it two ways, right?

01:40:08   You can read it as this is the epitome of Apple

01:40:12   taking things seriously.

01:40:14   They're just taking the stuff seriously.

01:40:16   Even stuff like the handles on the doors they take seriously and it matters to them and that's just admirable and respectable

01:40:24   how seriously they take even the most minute stuff or

01:40:29   Well, there's a line between admirable respectable and pathological. That's I think the line

01:40:34   Hey, it's exactly that's exactly where I was going with this or you can say this is just freaking crazy pants that

01:40:41   that they are going this deep on these stupid decisions that really don't matter like oh

01:40:47   it's all I don't think it's the fact that they matter or not like oh you shouldn't be

01:40:51   worried about that here I think it turns on the sort of anti-pattern that you see with

01:40:58   a lot of these fancy buildings they should care about these things and they should care

01:41:02   about all the details and I think it is not like beneath their level of concern because

01:41:05   is just a doorknob.

01:41:06   I think the problem is, from my perspective anyway,

01:41:09   that Apple doesn't have a lot of experience building buildings.

01:41:16   And when you go from one domain where you're building a computer

01:41:19   hardware or things related to that and go into another domain

01:41:22   and say, just because we care a lot and we have a lot of money,

01:41:25   we will be able to produce a building that

01:41:29   fulfills our desires but also functions

01:41:33   in a way that fits with that.

01:41:35   And one of the best examples is like the status center at MIT.

01:41:40   It's a-- what's his name-- Frank Geary or whatever,

01:41:43   the guy who makes those buildings look

01:41:44   like they're falling down.

01:41:46   If you just Google forward, you'll see the picture of it.

01:41:49   And it's very strange and interesting

01:41:51   looking from the outside.

01:41:52   And it is also strange from the inside.

01:41:54   And regardless of what you think of the aesthetics

01:41:56   and the style and the statement that it's making,

01:41:59   as a building, because of those design decisions, which

01:42:03   were probably expensive to have him do in all these non-rectilinear walls and all this

01:42:06   weird stuff.

01:42:07   It fails in some of the basic functions of buildings, like, for example, sight lines

01:42:11   from certain places where you can see downwards into the bathroom on another floor.

01:42:15   That's failing as a building.

01:42:16   Doors with motion sensor things, which because of the way everything's are connected, it's

01:42:20   possible to trip them and open a supposedly secure door because there are gaps or other

01:42:25   things that allow the motion sensor to be triggered.

01:42:29   It's failing as a building.

01:42:30   So when I see Apple spending all this money on tables and doorknobs and stuff like that,

01:42:34   I don't think it's because those things are below the level of concern they shouldn't

01:42:38   worry about and they should just accept it.

01:42:39   I just have little faith that no matter how much money, especially if it's a Johnny

01:42:43   Ive type thing, and style they put into this design, that it's not going to work as well

01:42:50   as a building if you had just taken the standard contractor office door.

01:42:54   Because the standard contractor office doors have had years and years to be honed like

01:42:58   This is the right balance between reliability and cost over time.

01:43:02   This door is going to work, the knob is going to work, it's going to fulfill the function,

01:43:05   it's going to last you 5, 10 years and you won't have to replace it, as opposed to this

01:43:09   beautiful artisanal door handle that you've designed that no one else has installed that,

01:43:13   like Marco's keyboard, six months later, the doors aren't working anymore.

01:43:18   The status center is like a flagship for that, because you spend all this money and all this

01:43:21   time and all this prestige of this fancy architecture to this thing, and it fails as a building.

01:43:26   in the chat room says it also leaks. And a lot of the Frank Lloyd Wright office buildings

01:43:31   are like that too, the big lily pad thing, like leaks and stuff. It's like, this office

01:43:34   building looks really cool and has all these great architectural aspects, but it doesn't

01:43:37   keep the rain out. That seems pretty important. And I don't think that's a smart trade-off

01:43:41   to make. Now, it could be that Apple has spent all this time and money and actually has gotten

01:43:45   all these things right. But in every area where they innovate, quote, "In every area

01:43:51   where they do something different than every other office building," if it hasn't been

01:43:54   done a million times before by other people's office buildings, I worry about it.

01:43:56   In the same way that it was a no-brainer to predict problems with the Tesla Model X's

01:44:01   gull wing or Eagle wing or whatever they are, Falcon wing, sorry, Falcon wing doors,

01:44:05   it was a no-brainer to predict there would be problems with that because that's not how

01:44:09   every other car door in the world is made and you're not going to get it right on your

01:44:11   first try.

01:44:12   It seems to me that if Apple is doing anything in this building that hasn't been done many,

01:44:16   many times before but is being done for the very first time in this building, those things

01:44:21   are going to have problems and that's probably not a good trade-off. Now it's possible that

01:44:25   they pulled it off and this building is like the iPhone where they just nailed it. They did an

01:44:30   amazing new thing and they got so much right about it that it overwhelms any possible problems that

01:44:34   it has and it'll be great. But it's also possible this will be a beautiful round status center.