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00:00:00   What? What's happening? Why? Like, I don't…

00:00:04   [

00:00:08   We have actually gotten a considerable amount of feedback about this.

00:00:12   But I guess, John, that you felt that Matthew's feedback was perhaps the best summary.

00:00:18   So would you like to tell us about this?

00:00:19   Yeah, anytime we ask any question, the Apple geniuses or the ex-Apple geniuses all come

00:00:24   out.

00:00:25   And this was about serial numbers and motherboards and the serial number being etched into metal

00:00:29   on various Apple computers and what if you get parts replaced that the serial number

00:00:33   is attached to.

00:00:35   The only thing that the geniuses couldn't tell us is facts from my past that I can't

00:00:41   remember because I'm old.

00:00:42   I have this vague memory of getting some part swapped in the distant past that none of these

00:00:48   guys know about because they probably weren't Apple geniuses then because Apple stores didn't

00:00:52   exist then.

00:00:53   Or maybe, I don't know, anyway.

00:00:55   The idea was that I got a computer back and they were like, "Oh, just so you know, your

00:00:58   serial number will be different now because we replaced the parts that determined that."

00:01:02   In this modern day and age in some as of now and some indeterminate time in the past that I can't remember back to

00:01:09   All of the motherboards Apple cells are apparently able to be flashed with a serial number

00:01:14   So when they give you one they just you know, they put they put your old serial number into it

00:01:18   So your serial number of your computer doesn't change even if they replace the part that contains a serial number

00:01:22   I put Matthew Cox's thing in here because he had the interesting bit that

00:01:26   Each part is factory repair to reuse three times before being scrapped

00:01:30   So you're supposed to only flash three different serial numbers into there

00:01:33   Although in theory this you could bypass that if you wanted to

00:01:38   And what else did he have in here?

00:01:41   About the stickers the idea is you're not supposed to be able to see the stickers

00:01:44   Sometimes there'll be a part that's replaced that has an etching on it and those cases the technician is supposed to use permanent marker

00:01:50   To note the serial number. Obviously, this is not in a visible location

00:01:52   You wouldn't see it

00:01:54   But some people send us screenshots of the permanent marker thing like that

00:01:57   They need to write the actual serial number on the part if it's not etched into it

00:02:02   And so on the inside and someplace that you won't see they just in their little scrawl handwriting right right in this serial number and

00:02:08   Boy, I wouldn't want to know that's on my computer. So if it is don't tell me

00:02:12   How many of those do you think are in your monitor your cinema display? I hope none because I well who knows

00:02:20   I don't want to think about it

00:02:21   Anyway, the external case on my monitor is the same I can tell but it's got all the scratches

00:02:24   They put into it every time it gets repaired

00:02:26   It's not their fault.

00:02:31   They always ask in that survey, "How is the external appearance of your thing?"

00:02:34   It's like, it's fine.

00:02:35   A regular person won't notice it, but it's literally impossible to handle things like

00:02:40   this that are just like this perfect anodized aluminum finish, heavy things and moving them

00:02:46   around.

00:02:47   It's impossible to not get scratches on it, so they do every time it goes in and out.

00:02:52   Small ones that mostly you can't see, but anyway.

00:02:55   And the final bit that I thought was interesting is that Apple are starting to put serial numbers

00:03:01   on other internal components.

00:03:05   And he says this ensures that no three-way swaps are carried out for warranty scams and

00:03:09   also that each part is reused three times.

00:03:10   These parts usually have tiny QR codes on them, about half the size of a small fingernail,

00:03:15   which require expensive barcode scanners to scan and which are declared during the repair

00:03:19   process for tracking purposes.

00:03:20   So not just like big things like your motherboard or whatever, but even the little tiny parts,

00:03:24   to little, little tiny serial numbers and little, little tiny QR codes to keep track

00:03:28   of them all and to make sure that they're right.

00:03:30   And they say that the technicians like it because it's much easier to see it with the

00:03:34   fancy barcode scanners to scan the tiny little QR codes than trying to read tiny little alphanumeric

00:03:38   codes through a magnifying glass and copying them down because, you know, the zeros look

00:03:43   like eights, you know, look like Bs and all these other problems on these tiny things.

00:03:47   So I thought this was interesting that the serial number proliferation and using all

00:03:52   that with modern techniques to track it to make sure that the parts are used three times

00:03:57   and then trashed and stuff like that.

00:03:58   So never fear, your serial number will not change.

00:04:02   Although part of the process a lot of people wrote in about was the technicians are really

00:04:06   supposed to give you your serial number because if you get it and they don't give it to you

00:04:10   with your old serial number into it or with no serial number into it, lots of stuff won't

00:04:14   work.

00:04:15   Like iMessage will be all cranky if you don't have a serial number or any sort of thing

00:04:17   that's derived from the serial number involving authentication.

00:04:20   Like your hard drive and all your data will all be the same, but the OS and the computer

00:04:24   will be very angry if either they forgot to put a serial number on it, flash it into the

00:04:29   motherboard that they replaced, or they put a different one into it.

00:04:31   So I forget someone was telling us the techniques they used to make people remember it.

00:04:37   But anyway, if everyone's doing their job right, you shouldn't have to worry about this

00:04:40   issue at all.

00:04:41   You'll just have to think maybe a little bit about someone's handwriting and permanent

00:04:44   marker on the inside of your computer.

00:04:46   (laughing)

00:04:48   Oh goodness, I just wanna see your face

00:04:50   if you open up your computer one day

00:04:51   and see somebody's chicken scratch in there in Sharpie.

00:04:54   Oh God.

00:04:55   - I only accept the etched-in signatures

00:04:58   of the original Macintosh team,

00:04:59   which I do have on the inside

00:05:01   of a couple of my computers in the attic.

00:05:03   - Oh my goodness.

00:05:04   All right, so tell us about

00:05:05   long-distance wireless charging, Jon.

00:05:07   - That was at the end of the last episode, I think,

00:05:09   talking about, you asked about, Casey,

00:05:12   like inductive charging, like what if there's no

00:05:14   lightning port, what if you just had to put your phone

00:05:15   like a pad or a mat or some other thing that this way the watch charges where you don't

00:05:19   plug something into it but you just rest it on something and Marco was talking about how

00:05:24   that's maybe not such a great idea because you gotta have all these pads and even the

00:05:28   watch is annoying with its little pad that comes at it and you know and then I threw

00:05:32   out like the idea of well what would be something that everyone could agree would be great is

00:05:36   if you didn't have to put it on a pad or plug it into anything you just plug something into

00:05:41   the wall in the room and then all the devices in the room get charged.

00:05:45   Somehow it gets power wirelessly from that location specifically targeted to each device.

00:05:50   And your liver.

00:05:51   Yeah, and I just threw that out there as a thing, but apparently lots of companies are

00:05:56   working on this tech.

00:05:57   We'll throw some links in the show notes.

00:05:58   This is an Ars Technica article that links to a Bloomberg article that talks about companies

00:06:02   doing stuff like this.

00:06:03   Of course, there are competing standards and, you know, they're saying the current ones

00:06:06   are much slower than plugging in a wire, as you might imagine.

00:06:10   And the other link we'll put in the show, it's just to Artemis, that company with the

00:06:13   P cell technology that we talked about a while ago.

00:06:15   >> Oh yeah, is anything going on with them?

00:06:17   >> The whole thing with them was like, besides the thing that they were promoting, they had

00:06:21   that little teaser at the end of their intro, like, oh, and there are other applications

00:06:24   that we're thinking about for this technology that we're not ready to discuss.

00:06:27   And everybody who wrote about that story was like, we think probably what they're talking

00:06:31   about is power delivery, because their cool technology was like that they could use computers

00:06:38   essentially to calculate the correct interference pattern to exactly target the devices that

00:06:43   are in range.

00:06:44   So they would sort of manipulate all the big overlapping bouncing waveforms with like sort

00:06:49   of a feedback loop until it would hone in on wherever your phone is.

00:06:54   And it would track it.

00:06:55   Like you could be, you know, they had a thing like you can go in a car once you go over

00:06:58   70 miles an hour, it's not fast enough to keep up with where you are or anything like

00:07:01   that.

00:07:02   But for people just walking around holding their phones, it would use interference as

00:07:05   an advantage instead of a disadvantage, using the power of computers to figure out this

00:07:10   complicated math to exactly target you.

00:07:11   So what they're basically doing is taking electromagnetic radiation and concentrating

00:07:16   it in a fairly small area.

00:07:18   It's just Wi-Fi or cell signals.

00:07:20   It's not radiation that's going to do anything harmful.

00:07:23   But once you have that ability to basically say, "I can take electromagnetic radiation

00:07:27   and target it in a very small area that you can move wherever the hell you want, and we'll

00:07:30   keep up with wherever it is. Then if you crank up the power, you know, like, you know, it's

00:07:36   some form of delivering energy through the air to charge a battery. You can't really

00:07:41   crank it up ambiently because like then, you know, if you put all your devices in a microwave

00:07:46   and that bombards it with lots of high energy electromagnetic radiation, but it does it

00:07:52   uniformly. It doesn't like everything in the microwave is hitting that. You can't make

00:07:56   an entire room a microwave oven. Not that you're saying I'm using microwave radiation,

00:08:00   But anyway, you really need to target it because if you target it, then you can crank up the

00:08:03   power and everybody else in the room doesn't get a huge amount of power thrown into them,

00:08:10   just the spot where you're targeting it does.

00:08:11   You still have to stay within reasonable safe limits, which is why I keep talking about

00:08:15   cooking your internal organs and if they're off on where they aim it or whatever.

00:08:18   But the ability to target a small area is what gives you the ability to turn the power

00:08:24   dial up even at all, both practically speaking because you're concentrating in a smaller

00:08:30   area and also because if you start to get into the realm depending on what wavelength

00:08:34   and signals you're using, you start getting into the realm where they could actually affect

00:08:39   the human body, at the very least you're not just doing it to every single person standing

00:08:44   in the room, you're just doing it maybe to the hand that's holding the phone or whatever.

00:08:48   So I imagine that the companies that are working on this tech are working on it at such low

00:08:53   power that it does not pose a harm to humans and it's probably not as fancy as the P cell

00:08:58   where it exactly targets with this constructive interference thing.

00:09:02   It is probably much simpler and lower power than that.

00:09:06   But for a situation, the reason I was thinking about this, even not just like, "Oh, you show

00:09:10   up in the hotel room and you just plug this wall art in and all your devices charge."

00:09:14   Even for at home, because plugging in your phone before you go to sleep, it's got eight

00:09:19   hours to charge.

00:09:20   It doesn't take eight hours to charge your phone.

00:09:21   It takes way less than that.

00:09:22   So if I could just not have to worry about plugging in my phone, whenever my phone was

00:09:26   just on my nightstand, anywhere on my nightstand, not on a special pad or like even just anywhere

00:09:31   in my bedroom.

00:09:32   If I knew that if I put my phone anywhere in my bedroom and go to sleep, when I wake

00:09:35   up in the morning it will be fully charged and I have to do nothing, I would buy that

00:09:38   thing.

00:09:39   Like, because you don't care how slow it charges, you're going to be asleep for many hours and

00:09:42   it will, you know, it maybe wouldn't work for an iPad because sometimes it takes forever

00:09:46   to charge.

00:09:47   But even just the very simple, very low power version of this that didn't require me to

00:09:51   remember to plug my phone in, I'd buy that in a second.

00:09:53   So I hope these people working on this get it done sooner rather than later.

00:09:58   Just watch where you put your hand on your liver at night.

00:09:59   It's going to be so low power though, but it's barely trickling.

00:10:02   And maybe it'll keep me warm in these cold New England winters when it's 60 degrees

00:10:07   here today or whatever.

00:10:09   So tell us about the shared iPad development guidelines, which I didn't even know was

00:10:13   a thing until I saw this in the show notes.

00:10:15   We talked about it last time.

00:10:16   It was like the education, iPads, the multi-user account thing.

00:10:20   Sure.

00:10:21   I just didn't see the developer guidelines until tonight.

00:10:23   Yeah, this is just a public URL, so if you want to go to it, you can see the guidelines

00:10:27   for like, say you're going to write an application that's going to be on one of these shared

00:10:30   iPads in a classroom where you've got 20 different students that could all "login" to your iPad

00:10:34   at any time.

00:10:36   And it's all the same things that we thought, just following up on this to put the URL in

00:10:40   there.

00:10:41   Like the guidelines are like, make sure you put all the data in the cloud.

00:10:43   This is for app developers.

00:10:44   If you're writing an app that you want to be well behaved, put all your data in the

00:10:47   cloud, pull the data down when you need it.

00:10:50   Every time someone does something to change the data, shove it back up into the cloud.

00:10:55   All the little things that you're used to keeping locally, like first launch or progress

00:11:00   flags like how they launched this app before, what screen were they on or whatever.

00:11:04   That stuff that you used to keep like in a little plist locally, don't.

00:11:07   You got to put that in the cloud too otherwise every time someone logs in it'll be like their

00:11:10   first launching it over and over again.

00:11:13   And use all the APIs that Apple's added over the past few years about marking your storage

00:11:17   just purgeable by the OS so it can come through and say,

00:11:20   oh, I'm allowed to delete that because the app has told me

00:11:23   that it is available elsewhere.

00:11:25   So if I delete it, it's fine.

00:11:26   Because again, if you have 20 students,

00:11:28   they can't all fit their data on there

00:11:29   as multiple students log in and new data gets pulled down

00:11:32   from the cloud, it's going to inevitably evict data

00:11:34   from the person who used it five logins ago.

00:11:37   And they talk about using the various APIs

00:11:41   for syncing stuff.

00:11:43   But, so these guidelines, this is,

00:11:46   You know it's for it's for shared iPad which is their education thing, but these same guidelines are very similar to the guidelines

00:11:52   They've given to people on

00:11:54   iOS and even OS 10 again with the the marking your data as purgeable and doing everything with the cloud and

00:12:00   So that less state is kept on the local machine

00:12:03   Well, it's even closer to the Apple TV where the Apple TV from the start

00:12:06   They even they specifically say you have no persistent storage only iCloud

00:12:10   Yep, and then you can your app can't even be that big so half your app has to be pulled down on demand as well

00:12:16   So these are these are like guidelines many people pointed out like this is like slowly inch by inch

00:12:21   Creeping up onto the Chromebook model, which is you know, of course, there's nothing on this computer

00:12:25   This computer is nothing. This computer is basically a local cache of some stuff that lives elsewhere

00:12:29   Nothing is ever canonically on this computer

00:12:32   Which is a great idea and Google just skipped everything and went right to there and your whole OS is a web browser and so

00:12:37   and so forth, Apple is slowly moving up to it. Very slowly, but every little bit helps.

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00:14:04   That's audible.com/atp.

00:14:05   Thanks a lot to Audible for sponsoring our show.

00:14:09   So earlier today, Walt Mossberg discovered the functional high ground.

00:14:13   So this year, I don't have to say anything this year.

00:14:16   Everyone's doing it for me.

00:14:17   Yeah, I know.

00:14:18   You just planted the seed.

00:14:19   You incepted the tech press.

00:14:20   That's not the past tense of inception.

00:14:22   Anyway, so the point is—

00:14:23   That sounds gross.

00:14:24   I'm sorry, tech press.

00:14:26   Whoops.

00:14:27   So anyway, so Walt wrote on The Verge an article about how he really feels like Apple software

00:14:34   quality has gone downhill lately, and so there are a couple of quotes I wanted to pull out

00:14:37   and read really quickly.

00:14:39   And this is Walt Mossberg again.

00:14:41   In the last couple of years, however,

00:14:42   I've noticed a gradual degradation

00:14:44   in the quality and reliability of Apple's core apps

00:14:46   on both the mobile iOS operating system

00:14:48   and its Mac OS X platform.

00:14:50   - He doesn't know what the name of the Mac operating system

00:14:52   is, that's fine, Walt, we know.

00:14:54   - It's almost as if the tech giant

00:14:56   has taken its eye off the ball

00:14:57   when it comes to these core software products

00:14:59   while pursues big new dreams like smartwatches and cars.

00:15:02   Fast forward a little bit.

00:15:03   But the exceptions are increasing,

00:15:05   and I hold Apple to its own higher,

00:15:07   often-proclaimed standard based on all these "it just works" claims of the oft-repeated

00:15:13   contention by Mr. Jobs and his successor Tim Cook that Apple is in business to make "great

00:15:19   products." Apple's advantage is that it designs and builds software together. So if the software

00:15:24   is an excellent, it does the superlative hardware a disservice.

00:15:29   It was a pretty stern lashing that I thought that Walt gave, and he seems to, from what

00:15:37   I've read of Walt Moseberg, he seems to generally like Apple stuff quite a bit. And he said

00:15:43   in this article, "I still think the iPhone is the best smartphone, I still love their

00:15:46   hardware, but man, this software is getting a little crummy these days." And it's fascinating

00:15:53   to me to see someone at The Verge, which clearly has a readership that surpasses Marco.org,

00:16:02   someone there saying, "You know what guys, things are looking a little rough these days."

00:16:08   And I don't know if you guys have anything you'd like to add about this, but I mean at

00:16:11   what point, and I feel like I've asked this question to you guys a thousand times, at

00:16:14   what point does Apple recognize this and start to fix it?

00:16:18   Yeah, this article, like so many articles that Walt Mossberg and those people are used

00:16:23   to writing, like it's necessarily has to be like, it's almost as if he's writing for newspaper

00:16:28   recall him inches, that he can't—he's not going to go on for just pages and pages,

00:16:32   as some people are known to do. He's going to get in and out quickly, but it also means

00:16:38   that he can't really support his contention particularly well. Like, it's just kind

00:16:43   of like, look, if you already agree with me, then you will enjoy my complaining session,

00:16:46   and I'll cite a few small examples, but there's no, like, systematic support for

00:16:51   the thesis, no attempt to explain why. It's just like, you know what, sometimes things

00:16:55   don't work for me and I'm cranky about it" and immediately jump to "I think this is part

00:16:59   of an overall trend" but by being just one more pebble in this little mountain or whatever,

00:17:05   it doesn't really matter what he says in this article. All that matters is that there's

00:17:08   an article on this topic, yet another article on this topic. Gruber wrote about it too,

00:17:14   a lot of people have been reacting to it because he's Walt Marsburg.

00:17:17   Dow Rimple too? Yeah, because he's Walt Marsburg and because The Verge is a big site or whatever.

00:17:23   In the media sometimes there are these fads where people get on a kick of like, you know,

00:17:27   complaining about a particular thing or harping on a particular topic.

00:17:30   So there's that to look for it as well and that like once a sort of a narrative gets

00:17:35   out there, every publication wants to have a piece either about that topic, supporting

00:17:39   it or, you know, surrounding it.

00:17:41   That comes and goes.

00:17:42   We know how that works.

00:17:43   But as Gruber points out at this point, you know, Marco wrote this thing a long time ago

00:17:46   and he, like was it like last year or something?

00:17:48   Yeah, 13 months ago.

00:17:49   And he wasn't the first one to complain about Apple software quality and he won't be the

00:17:53   last but the fact is that like we've had these flare-ups but it's not as if it just goes away

00:17:58   and people go oh year later no one will even be talking about Apple software quality like

00:18:01   I would feel like it's multiple years at this point and that you could say that you know part

00:18:06   of the media narrative and the sort of feeding on itself that they're getting more strident and

00:18:10   urgent but I even ignoring that just saying like they're not going away that this this story seems

00:18:14   to now be evergreen that you could write the story you know every few months you could write the same

00:18:19   story and as Gruber points out he sees a lot of people reading the Walt Mossberg thing

00:18:24   and agreeing and doesn't see a lot of people disagreeing.

00:18:28   And in some respects like you can say that makes sense too because of course everyone's

00:18:31   got complaints about their computers.

00:18:32   It's like you know complaining about work or traffic like everyone's like oh yeah no

00:18:36   those are all bad things right.

00:18:38   That may be true but especially for something like Apple if it was a if it was a non-story

00:18:45   you would have all the people who fill the traditional role of calling BS on people's

00:18:49   complaining about stuff that Apple does. Like Apple is, you know, like anytime someone slams

00:18:54   Apple for a reason that seems ridiculous or unfair or holding Apple to different standards

00:18:59   than other companies or whatever, there's plenty of press to fight back against that.

00:19:04   But I just don't see it for these type of stories where people are like, "You know what?

00:19:08   That's not fair." Apple stuff is actually really, because everybody is like, Apple's

00:19:12   not living up to its own thing. Mossberg said that, Gruber said that, a lot of people said

00:19:17   like it's Apple's own standards that we're holding them to.

00:19:20   It's not as if we're demanding that they be different

00:19:22   than other companies because just for the hell of it,

00:19:25   their whole value proposition is we are better

00:19:28   than the other guys.

00:19:29   We make the hardware and software together.

00:19:30   We make the best products in the world.

00:19:32   And so the fact that this can still be a story,

00:19:34   like I think that's the story,

00:19:37   not the individual articles or the details of them

00:19:41   or what people are cranky about

00:19:42   or what anecdote each person puts in their thing.

00:19:44   But the fact that you can just keep writing these stories

00:19:47   And I feel like you couldn't have written them, for example, maybe like in a time, think

00:19:52   of a time when Apple where people would have said, "No, that's not true.

00:19:56   I have a Windows 95 computer.

00:19:59   It's been nothing but problems.

00:20:00   But I got this new Mac with iLife and I'm able to do all these amazing things and it

00:20:07   is just so much better and nicer and so much more understandable and I couldn't make heads

00:20:10   or tails on my other computer."

00:20:11   So if you're saying that Apple doesn't know how to write software, you're crazy because

00:20:14   I think their software is great.

00:20:15   Yeah, all software has problems.

00:20:17   there are bugs, you know, that's what you would have gotten if you had done this during

00:20:21   one of the more, you know, one of the times in history when Apple software was more unimpeachably

00:20:27   good. But I think over the past, I don't know, I'm gonna say five years or so, not that it's

00:20:32   like they're going downhill or it's like they're sliding off into oblivion, but there's been

00:20:36   enough of an annoyance for enough people that you can write these stories and people go,

00:20:40   "Yeah, that seems about right." Like maybe your individual problems aren't a big deal,

00:20:44   haven't had your individual problem, maybe you're overblowing it for the sake of getting

00:20:48   views and being dramatic or whatever. But the general theme that Apple software quality doesn't

00:20:56   seem to live up to the standards it sets for itself, I think people broadly agree with that.

00:20:59   And as Casey points out, maybe Apple doesn't broadly agree with that. But at this point,

00:21:07   the bit that Gruber had at the end, the fact that we're still talking about it a year later

00:21:12   and that the consensus reaction is one of agreement suggests that Apple probably does

00:21:15   have a software problem and they definitely have a perception problem.

00:21:18   Like whether their problem is real or not, I think even Apple has to admit, even Apple,

00:21:22   if you disagree as a company that all these articles are overblown and you have your own

00:21:25   metrics that show your software quality is better than ever and blah blah blah, you definitely

00:21:29   have a perception problem.

00:21:30   Because I feel like all of us out here are just reading these articles and going, "Yeah,

00:21:34   yeah, that's pretty much the case.

00:21:35   It's kind of a shame."

00:21:36   - Yeah, I mean, when I first read

00:21:39   Walt Mossberg's article today,

00:21:41   I was honestly a little bit disappointed in,

00:21:44   that it wasn't better backed up,

00:21:46   because I think the examples he chose were not,

00:21:50   for the most part, they were not like widespread,

00:21:52   it seemed like they were all kind of like

00:21:54   weird things that happened just to him.

00:21:57   However, when I thought about it more,

00:21:58   and I started seeing everyone else's articles,

00:22:00   the reality is like, everybody has their own set

00:22:04   of weird Apple bugs and stuff that happened to them.

00:22:07   - And don't forget,

00:22:08   Walt Mossberg has this special concierge treatment

00:22:10   where if he has any weird problem,

00:22:12   weird things that happened to him,

00:22:14   Apple people parachute out of the sky

00:22:15   and help him debug his problems.

00:22:17   That does not happen for regular,

00:22:18   you go to the Apple store and buy a device

00:22:20   and you have something that you can't figure out,

00:22:22   no one from Apple calls you

00:22:23   and has the guy who wrote the software

00:22:24   walk you through debugging procedures, right?

00:22:26   Only Walt Mossberg gets that,

00:22:27   which totally skews his perception

00:22:29   and he has written in the past about,

00:22:31   "Hey, I had some problems with this device

00:22:33   but Apple helped me out and blah, blah, blah." I'm like, "It's great that you're telling

00:22:36   us this, but geez, don't you realize that's not going to happen for anybody else? They're

00:22:39   just going to be stranded." So anyway, that's why I tried to underplay this particular article

00:22:48   with just old man yells at Cloud, like, "My software doesn't work sometimes and it's

00:22:53   annoying." But like I said, it's just one more little pebble, one more little pebble

00:22:57   in a giant pile that everyone just chucks their own little pet problems onto.

00:23:00   - Yeah, and the reality is, some of this,

00:23:04   you can look back at any part of Apple's history,

00:23:06   and you can say, well, there were always problems.

00:23:08   Like, some people think, oh, everything was better

00:23:10   in Snow Leopard, but no, it wasn't.

00:23:12   Like, there were always problems with every release,

00:23:14   and there's always been bugs and shortcomings

00:23:15   with all their stuff.

00:23:17   Any time you can point back in history,

00:23:19   it was never perfect.

00:23:20   But I do think my thesis from last year

00:23:23   that blew up so badly, that like,

00:23:26   yeah, it's never been perfect,

00:23:27   but the list of asterisks just keeps getting longer

00:23:30   and longer and longer, I think that has only continued.

00:23:33   Now, I'm not personally having as many problems now

00:23:37   as I did a year ago, because the whole Discovery D fiasco

00:23:41   caused a lot of problems for me.

00:23:42   But even the same thing happened back then.

00:23:45   A lot of people said, "Well, I don't have that problem,

00:23:47   "but I have all these other problems."

00:23:48   And so everyone has different problems,

00:23:51   and I think the reason why everyone has enough problems

00:23:55   to be agreeing with these things.

00:23:58   The reason why I think this is not just a perception

00:24:01   of an overall quality decline,

00:24:03   this is a real overall quality decline,

00:24:05   is just that the world we live in now

00:24:07   has so many devices, so many services,

00:24:10   everything is constantly changing, everything's in flux,

00:24:14   that it is harder now than it's ever been

00:24:18   to maintain high quality.

00:24:20   And Apple's simply not doing it.

00:24:21   Like, they aren't maintaining high quality.

00:24:24   and it seems pretty clear that they can't.

00:24:26   It isn't that they're evil or stupid,

00:24:30   it just seems like they can't maintain high quality.

00:24:33   Actions speak louder than words.

00:24:35   I love the quote they gave Walt Mossberg.

00:24:37   In response to my inquiries about this, Apple said, quote,

00:24:41   "We have dedicated software teams

00:24:42   across multiple platforms.

00:24:44   The effort is as strong there as it has ever been."

00:24:47   - That's probably true, but you get an E for effort.

00:24:49   That doesn't really help you.

00:24:50   - Yeah, see this, this is a pet peeve of mine.

00:24:53   It drives me nuts whenever I hear somebody like Tim Cook

00:24:56   excuse something by saying,

00:24:58   "The team's working really hard on that."

00:25:00   'Cause you know what?

00:25:01   I don't care how hard the team is working.

00:25:02   That is your problem, that is the team's problem,

00:25:04   that is not my problem.

00:25:05   That is how you talk to yourself and your team internally.

00:25:08   That is not how you talk to the public,

00:25:10   because the public doesn't give a crap

00:25:11   how hard the team is working.

00:25:12   The public cares about results.

00:25:14   - Sometimes they care that, like,

00:25:15   it seems like you as an Apple don't care about this,

00:25:17   and sometimes part of the damage control is saying,

00:25:19   "No, no, we really do care."

00:25:20   Like, as if he can speak for the whole company,

00:25:21   But I believe they really do care.

00:25:23   This, Gruber cited his interview with Phil Schiller where he talked about these issues,

00:25:28   again, a whole year ago.

00:25:29   So this is not like, you know, this keeps coming around and around.

00:25:31   And I think a lot of things in that interview, like, all we have, this is the only insight

00:25:36   I have into what the hell is actually going on at Apple.

00:25:38   But the image I have in my head of what's going on is explained by the venues that I

00:25:42   think they're doing badly in.

00:25:44   One, which I talked about at length, is the whole cloud services thing, which they've

00:25:47   always been weak at, and that more and more things are cloud service based.

00:25:50   And so if they're bad at cloud services,

00:25:51   the badness spreads more.

00:25:52   So let's set that aside for a second.

00:25:54   The other thing that the thread that both Gruber

00:25:57   and Walt Mossberg are talking about in this round,

00:25:59   and not so much what you were talking about last year,

00:26:00   is not really like the OS or like something wrong

00:26:05   with the software in the sense that it bugs

00:26:12   and stuff like that, just like application design.

00:26:14   Like your application,

00:26:16   they don't seem to be as good as they used to be.

00:26:19   They're not as simple, they're not as understandable,

00:26:21   they do weird things.

00:26:22   Gruber's thing was that like photos told him

00:26:24   that five photos couldn't be uploaded,

00:26:25   but he couldn't figure out how to tell which five photos.

00:26:29   Like application design decisions.

00:26:31   And the reason I think,

00:26:32   this gets back to Phil Schiller in our interview,

00:26:33   the reason I think Apple probably is less inclined

00:26:36   to agree with this is that the metrics they've chosen,

00:26:39   seems to me, the metrics they've chosen

00:26:41   to put on their software efforts is,

00:26:44   one, they don't have a lot of good metrics

00:26:45   on how well things interact with the cloud,

00:26:47   because obviously it works in test

00:26:48   then it works when we connect to our test server and it works when blah blah blah but

00:26:51   then if it doesn't work for people out in the field, oh well, internet demons, we don't

00:26:55   know what's going on, right? But it seems to me that Apple has really concentrated,

00:27:01   and I hear this from Apple engineers, on like if there's a crash or if something that crashes

00:27:04   the application that needs to get fixed. And I think Apple software over the past few years

00:27:09   has crashed way less than it has in the past. I can't even remember the last time I had

00:27:12   like an Apple application on the other iOS on the Mac,

00:27:16   like a crash at all, let alone a repeatable crash.

00:27:19   Like every time I do this, the whole app crashes.

00:27:21   Like I really think they have really reduced crashes.

00:27:24   Would you think that's great?

00:27:24   Isn't that great that they reduced crashes, right?

00:27:28   But maybe concentrating on that has taken their eye off

00:27:30   of the other balls, which is one, application design,

00:27:33   which I want to talk about a little bit more later.

00:27:35   I have this item in the show and it's about photos, right?

00:27:37   About like how you make the application

00:27:39   and two, cloud services, which doesn't show up as a crash,

00:27:42   just shows up as data that doesn't sync, and as cloud infects every single application

00:27:45   we have, that becomes maddening.

00:27:47   So Margo, you were talking about the functional high ground with stuff like, you know, the

00:27:51   naming service, just plain doesn't work.

00:27:53   And that's not really a crasher either, even if the demon was crashing behind the scenes,

00:27:56   you wouldn't see it, but it's just stuff doesn't work.

00:27:58   But I really feel like Apple's OS and their applications have way fewer crashes than they

00:28:04   did back in, like, I keep going back to the Leopard days and stuff like that, where things

00:28:07   would crash all the time.

00:28:08   and it's like, oh, you know,

00:28:09   or even the classic Mac OS days going back farther.

00:28:11   Like, that they've made such progress there

00:28:13   that they must feel really good about themselves internally

00:28:15   or their metrics must be all looking up,

00:28:17   but they don't realize that their crap discipline

00:28:18   doesn't work to perform the desired function,

00:28:20   either because the app is designed wrong,

00:28:22   or because it's trying to connect to some cloud service

00:28:24   and doing the wrong thing,

00:28:25   and people just have no recourse

00:28:26   other than to stare at their screen

00:28:27   and hope their note will appear.

00:28:29   - It is, it was very clear to me last year,

00:28:31   I kept hearing from people here and there, secondhand,

00:28:35   I kept hearing that internally Apple was caught by surprise

00:28:40   that that article was getting traction

00:28:42   because they thought everything was fine.

00:28:45   Because by their metrics,

00:28:47   everything was better than it's ever been.

00:28:49   And that's great if your metrics cover everything,

00:28:53   but nobody's metrics cover everything, that's impossible.

00:28:56   And so in reality, you've optimized for the metrics.

00:28:59   And I see Apple doing this a lot recently.

00:29:03   I don't know if that's a Tim thing

00:29:04   if that started before Tim was in charge,

00:29:07   but it seems like Apple's really heavily

00:29:09   into data-driven decision-making now.

00:29:12   And I think there's so many flaws with that,

00:29:15   and number one starts with what is the data

00:29:17   you're basing the decisions on,

00:29:18   and is that telling the whole story?

00:29:20   Is it accurate, is it being gamed?

00:29:23   Things like that, as these problems are very challenging

00:29:25   in any kind of organization that tries to measure anything.

00:29:28   And I think we're just seeing the ways that falls down.

00:29:32   And one of the ways that falls down is

00:29:34   if they're measuring quality by number of crashes,

00:29:37   well there's a lot of bugs that don't cause crashes.

00:29:41   And it doesn't seem like we're reducing those,

00:29:43   and in fact we seem to be increasing them.

00:29:46   And as you mentioned with services,

00:29:48   so many of the bugs that I see now,

00:29:52   now that Discovery is fixed as far as I know,

00:29:55   most of the bugs I see now are interactions

00:29:58   with Apple's services in some way.

00:30:02   Whether it's the Apple TV trying to play media

00:30:04   from iTunes and failing for God knows why,

00:30:06   or showing a bunch of weird password dialogues

00:30:09   on the phone for store purchases or anything,

00:30:11   like you know, weird stuff like that,

00:30:12   it seems like it's the interaction with the services

00:30:15   that is falling down so badly.

00:30:17   And we will definitely talk about design flaws,

00:30:20   because that's a separate category,

00:30:22   but the actual failures and bugs so often

00:30:25   are service related that people are actually hitting here,

00:30:27   that I don't think Apple is measuring the right things.

00:30:32   If they don't think there's a problem,

00:30:34   then their metrics are a problem.

00:30:37   - And like the seat of the pants thing,

00:30:38   like the way that we would imagine in the fantasy scenarios,

00:30:41   like how does Apple have such great quality?

00:30:43   Well, it's because Steve Jobs uses the products

00:30:46   and if anything goes wrong for him,

00:30:47   he comes back and yells at people and they fix it, right?

00:30:49   That's the silly fairytale of how quality was maintained

00:30:52   back in the Steve Jobs days.

00:30:53   But the reason that fairytale works for us

00:30:55   is because we can picture in our mind,

00:30:57   like this thing everyone asks ourselves,

00:30:59   like don't these guys at Apple actually use their products?

00:31:02   But again, I'll go back to contact syncing, which is, you would think the simplest possible

00:31:07   thing, very small, very bounded data set, not complicated data, it's basically all text,

00:31:13   right?

00:31:14   And you just want to have the same contact, you want to enter contact on your phone and

00:31:17   have it show up on your Mac, you want to enter contact on your Mac and have it show up on

00:31:20   your phone, you just want them to be in sync with each other.

00:31:22   Like maybe you have an iPad in it, but it just seems like it should be a problem that

00:31:26   is so incredibly boring and licked that it just works every time.

00:31:29   yet, pretty much once every 1.5 years, my wife comes to me and says, "I entered some

00:31:34   contact here and it's not showing up there." And then I have to do a bunch of rain dances

00:31:38   to make that work. And I'm like, "Seriously? I'm doing this again? This is happening again?"

00:31:42   It's contact syncing. And you think, "Doesn't Tim Cook have contacts in his phone? Doesn't

00:31:48   he, like, when he's on his phone, enter someone's contact information and then come back and

00:31:53   and go on his iPad at work and be pissed that that contact information isn't there?

00:31:59   That's not a crasher, but that should show up as, "Hey, contacts doesn't work for the

00:32:04   job that it's supposed to do."

00:32:06   And then, of course, he has no recourse because you just sit there and you stare at it like,

00:32:09   "Maybe the contact will show up eventually?

00:32:12   Should I try signing out of iCloud and deleting all my local data off the device?

00:32:16   What should I just..."

00:32:18   First you got to do all the stuff of backing up all your contacts.

00:32:21   I've done this so many times I know all the steps, but there's no way in hell a regular

00:32:24   person's going to do all these things, and you just sit there and you stare at it.

00:32:29   Stuff like that with services, how do you put a metric on that?

00:32:31   The only metric is Steve Jobs tried to enter a contact and got mad and came and yelled

00:32:35   at people.

00:32:36   I don't know how you, like, a cloud services company needs to measure that, and they need

00:32:40   to get good at measuring that, but Apple doesn't seem to.

00:32:44   When problems like that happen for a problem domain that I think should have been solved

00:32:50   like decades ago, it just makes me lose faith in everything.

00:32:53   I was like, "I can't get contacts right."

00:32:56   Like, forget about the complicated stuff.

00:32:57   That just, they should just spend the next five years

00:33:01   saying contacts will always work, right?

00:33:03   And I'm not even talking about like little things,

00:33:05   complicated scenarios, simultaneous use.

00:33:07   I'm just saying like, you enter it on your phone,

00:33:09   you come back five hours later,

00:33:11   you look on your Mac and it's not there

00:33:12   and you don't know why and you wait two days

00:33:14   and it still doesn't show up

00:33:15   and you're just scratching your head

00:33:17   and that makes me want to just scream.

00:33:19   You know, it's funny because my contacts sync, to my knowledge, has always worked perfectly.

00:33:25   I never run into the iMessage problems that so many people run into.

00:33:29   However, earlier today I was trying to AirPlay something to our brand new Apple TV, and I

00:33:37   cannot think of a device in the house that isn't on the latest and greatest version of

00:33:42   iOS or OS X.

00:33:45   and I go to AirPlay to my Apple TV,

00:33:47   and I see family room, space paren for paren.

00:33:51   (laughing)

00:33:52   - Oh no, it's back.

00:33:53   - Oh no, the house has been infected.

00:33:56   Clearly the only option is to burn it down and start anew.

00:33:59   - Well, did the AirPlay work though?

00:34:01   That is the real question.

00:34:02   - It did, it did.

00:34:02   - Well, then consider yourself lucky.

00:34:04   - Yeah, exactly.

00:34:05   I don't know, it's,

00:34:07   I feel like what you guys have said

00:34:11   is my experience as well.

00:34:12   Like, it used to be that I would have almost no glitches or random errors or issues.

00:34:18   I mean, it would happen from time to time, but very rarely.

00:34:22   And I feel like, and I don't have a list in front of me or anything like that, and maybe

00:34:25   I'm just allowing myself to be influenced by what, you know, the press is saying, but

00:34:30   I really do feel like I'm seeing a lot more small issues these days.

00:34:36   And sometimes big issues, like the iMac, the first iMac.

00:34:39   I've just seen these issues from time to time that I never used to see before.

00:34:43   And, you know, Aaron and my parents are coming to me and saying, "Oh, this isn't

00:34:48   working right. What can I do?" And my answer has been a very sad shrug a lot

00:34:54   more often lately than it ever was in the past.

00:34:56   Because what can you do?

00:34:59   Like, that's the thing with these sync issues.

00:35:01   And to bring up another one I heard recently on a podcast, I think it was the

00:35:04   talk show, I don't remember, that someone was talking about like, "Oh, I just used

00:35:06   the Apple bundled notes app, which has improved tremendously in capability.

00:35:09   You know, like you can do all the drawings in the notes app and you can do like rich

00:35:12   text and pictures and all this stuff.

00:35:14   And it doesn't use IMAP as a storage backend.

00:35:16   It's like a modern full fledged notes application.

00:35:18   So I'm using it so much more.

00:35:19   I practically, I practically use it as they were saying, I practically use it as a, like

00:35:23   as a replacement for like paste bot or like those copy and paste things where you will

00:35:26   essentially copy something on your phone.

00:35:28   You want to be able to see, to paste it on your Mac.

00:35:30   So they'll just enter it in notes and then, you know, put down their phone half a second

00:35:35   later, launch Notes on their Mac, and the note they just put on their phone is on their

00:35:37   Mac, and they're all amazed at how fast it syncs. And that's a success story. That's

00:35:41   the way it should be for all these things, because hey, it's not a lot of data. I just

00:35:44   pasted like a URL, for instance, in Notes on my phone, and then I'm going to open Notes

00:35:48   on my Mac, and that URL will be sitting there. Well, I also have a Notes document in the

00:35:51   Apple official Notes application, which I do use, that is just a bunch of URLs that

00:35:55   I frequently tweet at people, because they'll ask like, "Hey, where is Casey's blog post

00:35:58   on all the toasters you reviewed?" or something, and I don't want to have to find the URL again,

00:36:01   So I go to the Notes thing, and I added that URL note.

00:36:05   I don't remember.

00:36:06   A couple weeks ago I added it.

00:36:07   And then several days later I went to my Mac and someone asked a question about something

00:36:11   and I was going to tweet a reply with the URL and I opened Notes on my Mac and the URL's

00:36:15   note wasn't there.

00:36:16   And so I picked up my phone on my desk where I had added the note several days earlier

00:36:20   and I looked at it on my phone.

00:36:21   There's a URL note there.

00:36:22   I'm like, "Did I add it to the local only one because they know there's the cloud in

00:36:25   the local ones?"

00:36:26   Nope, it's in the cloud one.

00:36:27   And I put the phone down and then I look back at the Notes application on the Mac and then

00:36:31   And I went to the iCloud system preferences and said, "Yeah, Notes is checked, you know,

00:36:34   and it's syncing or whatever."

00:36:36   And then I quit Notes and I forgot about it.

00:36:38   The next day I came back again, launched Notes to get a URL.

00:36:41   The URL note wasn't there.

00:36:43   There's no, like, refresh button to click.

00:36:45   There's nothing to be done except for I could have signed out to iCloud or unchecked and

00:36:49   recheck the Notes thing or whatever, but I'm like, "What does a regular person do in this

00:36:53   scenario?"

00:36:54   And I thought about something like Dropbox where when I launch Dropbox on my Mac, a bunch

00:37:00   a bunch of little spinners run, a bunch of little badges appear on icons, and at a certain

00:37:04   point it's synced. Like, I know when I launch it, it syncs everything in my Dropbox. When

00:37:07   the little badge is gone from the Dropbox icon on Ionya bar, I have some faith based

00:37:12   on years of experience that Dropbox is satisfied that it has successfully synced everything

00:37:16   to my computer. Were I to quit Dropbox and relaunch it, I know that on launch it would

00:37:20   say "I better make sure everything in the Dropbox is up to date, and then we'll show

00:37:23   a little spinner, and then it will go away." And yet with Notes on my Mac, when I launch

00:37:27   it if the note I expect to be there isn't there like Casey said I don't know

00:37:31   I shrugged my shoulders you know and like and so I just quit it I quit notes

00:37:35   and then I came back a couple days later and I launched it and my year-old note

00:37:38   was there like that's that's not that's not a success it wasn't it there's no

00:37:42   crashes apples metrics muscle grade on that right but what what's happening why

00:37:48   like I don't like and especially for something you hear other people you

00:37:54   You know, saying great things about, like when it works you're just like, this is awesome

00:37:58   because you're excited the same way that people, I want it to be boring like Dropbox where

00:38:02   maybe it's not the most efficient and fanciest thing in the world, but over years of use,

00:38:06   you know, and Dropbox has its weird corners where it saves your conflicted copy with this

00:38:09   weird parenthetical name and it can get confused in complicated scenarios.

00:38:13   All I want is the easy scenarios to be so boring that I never think about them.

00:38:17   I don't launch Dropbox with trepidation wondering if the data that I expect to be there will

00:38:21   be there.

00:38:22   when I run out of my quota or whatever, it puts a little red badge icon and all I have

00:38:27   to do is free up a little bit of space and it notices that I freed up space and it resyncs

00:38:32   things. It should just be boring, right? It shouldn't be this mysterious roll of the dice

00:38:38   and then when it does work you have no idea why it started working because literally I

00:38:41   didn't even try to debug this. I didn't try to change it. So I think I went like a week,

00:38:44   a week and a half with that one note that I added on my phone not appearing on my Mac

00:38:48   And eventually it appeared.

00:38:50   And I have no idea why.

00:38:51   And so that's why, like Casey, one of my relatives

00:38:54   asked me questions.

00:38:54   I'm like, I don't know, take it to the Apple genius.

00:38:57   I don't want to do the rain dance for them.

00:38:58   There's no obvious solution.

00:38:59   They're not doing anything wrong as users.

00:39:01   It's just a constant source of frustration

00:39:04   for things that should be boring at this point.

00:39:06   And I give Apple a total pass at the edge of the envelope,

00:39:09   where they're pushing the envelope,

00:39:10   doing complicated things.

00:39:11   I give them a pass on things like Siri.

00:39:12   That's really hard to do.

00:39:14   Natural language.

00:39:16   Just make easy things easy, make hard things possible

00:39:19   to throw out more pearl catchphrases, right?

00:39:22   Easy things are not easy a lot of the time,

00:39:26   even when hard things are possible,

00:39:27   there seems to be no connection between them.

00:39:29   - Yeah, my favorite persistent bug

00:39:32   that was around for a long time and then resolved itself

00:39:35   and has now come back rearing its ugly head,

00:39:38   crippling my ability to respond quickly and easily

00:39:40   with emoji is the keyboard texture placement

00:39:44   that's built into the system

00:39:45   all synced via iCloud as far as I'm aware. So this is in, if you're on the Mac, System Preferences,

00:39:50   Keyboard, and then the Text tab. I use these to quickly type emoji that I use constantly.

00:39:56   And when I got the new iMac, none of them synced. There's still, as far as I can tell,

00:40:01   syncing between my iOS devices. They used to sync between my iOS devices and my Mac,

00:40:06   but now they're not syncing with my Mac and I have no course of action to diagnose. I have no way to

00:40:12   to figure it out. There's nothing I can do to fix this. Just hope.

00:40:16   Yeah, all you've got are the rain dances, because you know what the rain dances are.

00:40:19   You know, sign out of iCloud, disable that syncing, delete and recreate your account.

00:40:23   Like all these things, you're trying to basically kick the thing into gear to say, "Go do that

00:40:28   thing that you think you need to do where you synchronize data," because you have a

00:40:32   sneaking suspicion that it thinks it's synchronized. But you know it's not, because you can't see

00:40:36   your emoji shortcuts, but it thinks it's done. It thinks there's nothing to do.

00:40:40   Yep, that's exactly right.

00:40:41   - Well, and also, the rain dances that,

00:40:45   like John, you said, you just send people to the genius.

00:40:48   The geniuses can't do anything really.

00:40:50   - No, but I want them to walk through,

00:40:52   yeah, I want them to walk through the steps.

00:40:53   I don't wanna be the one walking through that.

00:40:54   - Right, and those steps are horrible.

00:40:56   Like, if anything involves either restoring your phone,

00:41:00   or even like, signing in and out of iCloud,

00:41:03   with modern computers and modern devices,

00:41:07   if you've bought into Apple's ecosystem,

00:41:09   if you use photos, if you use music.

00:41:12   Signing out of iCloud is an incredibly destructive action.

00:41:16   You should never, ever, ever have to do that

00:41:19   unless you're like selling a computer.

00:41:21   (laughing)

00:41:21   Then sign out of iCloud and format the whole thing.

00:41:23   Signing out of an iCloud on a modern Mac,

00:41:26   if you have stuff in photos and music and everything,

00:41:28   and if you're using all the sync and everything,

00:41:30   that is risky, it is complicated, it is time consuming.

00:41:34   It can possibly waste a ton of bandwidth.

00:41:36   You might lose data if you don't do it right.

00:41:38   - And it won't necessarily work.

00:41:40   - Yes, and although the sad part is unfortunately

00:41:42   how often it does actually solve the problem, but--

00:41:44   - Although when it does solve it, I always feel like,

00:41:46   so I'll see you guys here in a month

00:41:49   when it doesn't work again?

00:41:50   'Cause it's not like you've actually solved the problem,

00:41:52   you've just restarted the counter

00:41:54   on when things will go awry, it seems like.

00:41:56   - And so to me, if anybody at Apple is considering

00:42:00   it a success when you can solve a problem

00:42:01   by signing out and signing back in,

00:42:03   like no, that is not a success.

00:42:04   That is like, you saved your butt on that particular

00:42:08   instance of that bug by putting people through a really,

00:42:11   really invasive process, but that should not be

00:42:15   standard operating procedure.

00:42:17   You should not have people not only having to do this,

00:42:21   having to sign into iCloud and delete all the crap

00:42:24   and then re-sign back in and re-download all the crap,

00:42:27   or have to restore your phone,

00:42:29   which is even worse than all that.

00:42:31   You shouldn't have people doing this on a routine basis

00:42:35   to solve seemingly random and somewhat frequent problems

00:42:38   Because A, that's really destructive now,

00:42:41   and B, once people get into that habit,

00:42:43   it's like quitting all the apps in the app switcher,

00:42:45   once people get into that habit,

00:42:47   years from now, people are going to still be doing this,

00:42:50   thinking it's going to solve all their problems,

00:42:52   like that's gonna be like what annoying power users

00:42:55   tell their relatives, oh, you just gotta restore your phone,

00:42:57   oh, you just gotta sign out of iCloud and sign back in.

00:43:00   That causes damage for years to come

00:43:01   in people's superstitions way beyond the time

00:43:05   when you've stopped needing these horrible solutions.

00:43:08   So it really is a long-term damage being done here in so many ways, with the quality issues

00:43:14   and with the remedies and everything.

00:43:17   I just get the feeling, and I hope I'm wrong, I hope this is just Apple putting on a good

00:43:20   face because they don't really share a lot, but I just get the feeling that Apple is either

00:43:26   oblivious or in denial to these problems and also that they're defensive.

00:43:32   What I hear from Apple people, they're usually very defensive about how well they're doing

00:43:36   and they think they're doing a lot better than I think they're doing. Maybe I'm just

00:43:40   the least lucky person in the world, but it sounds like everybody has these stories about

00:43:44   random stuff that just doesn't work right for them or has failed for them or has done

00:43:49   bad things. Like, this is a big problem and I won't hedge my bets and say, "Well, either

00:43:58   it's real or there's a perception problem." No, no, it's a real problem. This is obviously

00:44:04   This is way too big and widespread

00:44:05   to be just a perception problem.

00:44:08   You know, I heard earlier, I read a blog post,

00:44:10   I forget, I'm sorry, I forget where it was,

00:44:11   but somebody was saying like, you know,

00:44:13   modern Microsoft stuff is no better for them.

00:44:15   It's a huge mess for them too.

00:44:16   Like, you can look at other makers,

00:44:18   you can look at Microsoft, you can look at Google,

00:44:20   you know, you can say, oh, well everybody has problems.

00:44:23   That is also not a defense.

00:44:25   Like, yeah, everybody has problems.

00:44:26   You know what, everybody else makes crappy PCs.

00:44:29   It doesn't mean the Mac can be crappy.

00:44:31   You know, like that's not how Apple works,

00:44:32   That's not why any of us use Apple stuff.

00:44:35   So you know, that's not good enough.

00:44:37   - And there are examples of things that are better.

00:44:39   Like it's not like you're saying, oh, nobody is better.

00:44:41   That's not true, I just named one, Dropbox.

00:44:43   Dropbox is better at syncing files.

00:44:44   - Right, right, you know, so like,

00:44:46   it seems like Apple, from what they project

00:44:50   to the outside world, again, whether this reflects

00:44:53   their internal thinking or not, I don't know.

00:44:54   But what they project to the outside world is,

00:44:57   everything's fine, we're working really hard on it,

00:45:00   and everything's fine.

00:45:01   Like that is what we hear from Apple.

00:45:04   And the reality is that everything's not fine.

00:45:07   And I really, really hope that they see that.

00:45:10   Because all I hear from them usually is defensiveness.

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00:47:56   I'm gonna throw in a couple other Casper tidbits.

00:47:58   I think probably this is gonna be in a future ad read

00:48:01   because they sent you guys two, I'm assuming.

00:48:04   - Yeah, the sheets and the pillow, right?

00:48:05   - Yeah, the sheets and the pillow,

00:48:06   and I'm assuming there's gonna be some ad read

00:48:08   in the future where it's gonna be like,

00:48:09   oh, let me tell you about the Casper who's in the pillow.

00:48:11   But I've already got the pillow,

00:48:12   and I've been sleeping with it,

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00:48:16   I read all the little piece of paper

00:48:18   that comes with the pillow about how they design it,

00:48:20   like yeah, yeah, whatever,

00:48:21   'cause I'm super picky about pillows.

00:48:23   And I was in the market for everyone.

00:48:24   - You?

00:48:25   Yeah, yeah. I was very impressed by this pillow. Like, the stuff they put in that little card,

00:48:30   like, "Oh, he specially designed it to be supportive and you can sleep in any position,"

00:48:34   and if you're just like, "Yeah, blah blah blah, it's a pillow, right?" I gotta tell

00:48:37   you, this is a hell of a pillow. We'll probably talk about it in some future ad read. But

00:48:41   I'm thinking of ordering a second one just so when this one wears out, if Casper, like,

00:48:45   doesn't make this pillow anymore, I'll have a backup.

00:48:48   You gotta have a backup pillow.

00:48:50   You have to. I've done this, I've made the mistake before with my stupid slippers that

00:48:52   I'm wearing now. I didn't buy two pair and these wore out and now I can't get them again.

00:48:56   You know, two is one and one is none.

00:48:58   Exactly. So, yeah, maybe I should buy three. I don't know.

00:49:01   I have a closet with two pairs of shoes in it that are replacements for the pair of shoes

00:49:04   I wear every day because in case Doc Martin stopped making them.

00:49:08   You know, you joke, but the Skechers shoes that Matt Alexander loves to make fun of me

00:49:13   for, they are not making them anymore probably because Matt called in a favor so I wouldn't

00:49:17   wear them anymore and I had one backup pair but now I'm out of backup pairs and I don't

00:49:21   I'm gonna do. It's terrible. Clothing's the worst. It is. You guys alluded to app

00:49:26   design and you had some thoughts about that. Let me prime the pump a

00:49:31   little bit and ask what the crap is the point in photos because I'm not... I added

00:49:38   all of my pictures to photos which I hadn't used in at least a couple of

00:49:44   years if not more than that. And outside of much easier access to shared photo

00:49:49   streams, which actually I should point out very quickly work flawlessly for me and I

00:49:53   have zero complaints about them.

00:49:57   What is photos really doing for me?

00:49:59   There doesn't appear to be a way to look at pictures by location.

00:50:05   There's the faces thing, which I never really trust.

00:50:07   I've got photo stream access.

00:50:10   Okay.

00:50:11   Yay.

00:50:12   But, and I can see all my selfies that I take all the time, I guess.

00:50:16   So what is the point in photos?

00:50:18   What is it doing for you that makes it worthwhile?

00:50:23   And then you can perhaps spring from that

00:50:25   to why is photos a piece of crap?

00:50:27   - I think photos is a great starting point

00:50:29   because I can answer your questions

00:50:30   at the same time talking about the app design issues

00:50:34   because they're both related to photos.

00:50:36   I guess I'll talk about this,

00:50:37   but my specific photo complaints in a future thing,

00:50:39   but just addressing your concerns,

00:50:40   like what am I supposed to be using photos for?

00:50:43   This is an app design philosophy

00:50:45   that really is kind of separate

00:50:46   from the like, do things work, is my data sinking,

00:50:50   you know, measuring crash or metrics

00:50:53   instead of something else.

00:50:54   But it's kind of related in that a lot of the time

00:50:56   people are complaining about Apple software quality.

00:50:58   Sometimes they're complaining about things don't work.

00:51:00   Sometimes they're complaining about cloud stuff,

00:51:01   but sometimes they're complaining

00:51:02   like even when everything's working exactly

00:51:04   as it's supposed to be, as it appears to be for you

00:51:05   in photos, people still don't feel the applications

00:51:09   are as useful or as interesting or as fun

00:51:13   or like they're not giving them enough value.

00:51:16   And I trace a lot of that back to the design philosophy that started many years ago on

00:51:20   the Mac specifically.

00:51:21   I mean, I guess you could talk about it on iOS a little bit, but on the Mac I really

00:51:24   feel it, where someone somewhere—I'm not going to say it was Johnny Ive, but it is

00:51:29   in keeping with his hardware ethos, but who knows—decided that complexity is the enemy

00:51:36   in software design.

00:51:37   And that's basically true.

00:51:38   Like, a lot of Apple's great software designs have been like, you know, "Let's simplify

00:51:42   this application.

00:51:43   Let's, you know, Steve Jobs, hopefully think—can I just say that?"

00:51:45   I just have one window that like I just drag a thing onto it makes me a DVD like I just want one window

00:51:50   I don't want a million buttons. I don't want a million pallets and toolbars and all those stuff

00:51:55   And you remember like those old pictures of like Microsoft Word

00:51:58   What version was it on the PC was it?

00:52:01   office 95 the one where like you can if you put every

00:52:04   Toolbar and word out on a six or a day before any screen you had like one line of text left

00:52:10   where you could type stuff in.

00:52:12   Like that was, you know,

00:52:13   and Apple's reacting against that to simplify, right?

00:52:16   But it really kicked into high gear,

00:52:19   I think maybe around Lion or something

00:52:22   where they took applications,

00:52:23   but even back when it was just iPhoto,

00:52:24   they took iPhoto, which had been, you know,

00:52:26   they'd been iterating on it.

00:52:27   They'd been making new versions of iPhoto.

00:52:29   They've been adding features and doing all sorts of stuff.

00:52:32   And then someone said, you know what?

00:52:33   We've got too much crap in iPhoto.

00:52:34   There's too many toolbar buttons.

00:52:36   There's too many like, you know, options,

00:52:38   the whole customized toolbar thing.

00:52:40   And then we have buttons in the bottom, and then we have a sidebar, and then there's regions

00:52:42   in the sidebar, and groups and subgroups, and then we have a floating panel for keywords,

00:52:47   and it's just too much stuff.

00:52:48   We need to clear all this crap out of iPhoto.

00:52:50   Again, this is before photos.

00:52:51   And so they went through, and they said this big top bar in photos, get rid of pretty much

00:52:56   all those buttons.

00:52:57   The bottom bar, get rid of the bottom bar entirely.

00:52:59   The sidebar, what can we remove from there?

00:53:00   Floating palettes, how many of those can we get rid of?

00:53:03   What things do we not need in the menu commands?

00:53:05   Options for showing the keywords underneath photos?

00:53:06   Nobody uses that except for Syracuse, so get rid of that feature and never bring it back.

00:53:09   Um, just removing, removing and simplifying.

00:53:12   And that instinct of simplifying, I think is admirable and the correct one.

00:53:17   But you know, as whatever that I forget it was that designer whose name I can't

00:53:21   remember is like everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.

00:53:25   They, I think they've crossed that line and what it has led to like, you know,

00:53:28   going through iPhoto and then going to photos, photos is even more like remove

00:53:32   everything, don't have any buttons or widgets or things like have to have just

00:53:38   like the minimum number of things you can possibly see on the screen as if

00:53:41   visual clutter is the number one enemy. Visual clutter is an enemy and

00:53:45   conceptual clutter and complexity those are enemies but at a certain point you

00:53:49   have someone like Casey who's like "I launched photos and it looks like an

00:53:52   unadorned window with a bunch of my photos in it" and I'm like "what does this

00:53:55   do for me? What can I do?" Like the silly field they used to have that had like

00:54:02   the star ratings in iPhoto you would look at that and if you're familiar

00:54:05   with iTunes, you're like, "Oh, what does this do? It's got these little empty white stars,"

00:54:09   and as you click on them, you can click on one, two, or three, and you would see the contents of

00:54:12   the window get filtered, like, "Oh, when I click this thing up, it's like a dedicated field for

00:54:15   quickly filtering by star rating," right? That's maybe like a UI too far, but at least you could

00:54:20   very quickly say, "Oh, that's a way I can do things," and then you would lead from there to

00:54:24   the little menu that would pop up from the bottom bar that would let you do more sophisticated

00:54:28   filtering on the view, so you could view by location and stuff like that. All of these

00:54:32   things that used to have toolbar buttons that have either been removed entirely from the

00:54:36   application or hidden away under some other little button or menu item.

00:54:42   It's like, what do you think we want to do with the application?

00:54:44   Do we just want to go there and see our pictures and scroll through them?

00:54:47   Then maybe Photos is a good application.

00:54:48   But if the application is capable of doing anything else, say I want to organize my photos,

00:54:52   I want to sort through them into piles and make little albums.

00:54:57   Maybe I'm going to make a calendar at Snapfish and I want to find all the good photos of

00:55:00   the kids for the past year group by season and I want to edit my photos. Are all the

00:55:06   editing tools hidden behind a sidebar in a mode that are not visible or whatever? And

00:55:11   it's all the more going when I do it on a gigantic 5K iMac, huge 27-inch screen with

00:55:15   these massive toolbars going along the top and bottom and these sidebars and there's

00:55:20   nothing in them. There's no buttons. Everything is buried. Everything is buried under seven

00:55:24   clicks that I have to get to. It's like, "What are you saving the space for?" That empty

00:55:28   space in the toolbar is making Casey not understand what the hell this app is even good for, and

00:55:32   making me, that I know what the app is good for, have to click seven times to get to the

00:55:36   features I wanted.

00:55:37   It should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.

00:55:40   People want to feel like the application is there to help them do things, not wipe the

00:55:44   entire slate clean and like, "Oh, everything should be like," whatever, "deferring to your

00:55:49   content.

00:55:50   Your content should be the star."

00:55:51   But people want to do stuff with their content.

00:55:52   Let them have buttons easily accessible to do the most common operations.

00:55:56   And yeah, maybe the old way of like, oh, we'll give you a customizable toolbar with a million

00:55:59   toolbar buttons and you can decide what you need used most often.

00:56:02   And you've got to design your own application basically by direct, like maybe that's the

00:56:05   wrong answer too, but they've gone way too far on the Mac specifically made applications

00:56:09   that just make a mockery of the massive screen that I have.

00:56:12   And it makes people feel like, makes people feel like the applications are less useful.

00:56:17   And I feel like they are less useful either because people won't discover the things they

00:56:20   can do because they're too hidden.

00:56:22   Or they'll know the things they can do and get frustrated like I am having to click through

00:56:27   17 different buttons every time they do an operation they do all the time.

00:56:29   I want to crop, I want to straighten, I want to adjust some white levels, and I don't want

00:56:34   to click a million times.

00:56:35   I do that over and over and over again.

00:56:37   Every time I do it, I have to reveal these layers of UI that are hidden underneath the

00:56:42   magic cloth of don't clutter my UI.

00:56:44   That's not clutter.

00:56:45   That's what I want to use the application for.

00:56:47   So I need to strike that balance, and they're not currently doing it.

00:56:51   why I think a lot of people use Apple's applications and just feel like something is missing. Like

00:56:55   the excitement of using the original iLife Suite of like, "Wow, look at all these things

00:56:59   I can do!" And yeah, it's pretty complicated, I've never done it before, but there's like

00:57:04   three or four or five buttons and once I learn what they do, it's like you do this, you do

00:57:07   this, and then you do this, and you drag that over there and you get a thing, and you get

00:57:10   a movie, and you can play music, and you can burn a CD. Like, the old versions of these

00:57:14   applications had way more visual clutter on them, but people could use them to figure

00:57:19   out what is this app good for and then how do I use it to do that thing, right?

00:57:23   And at some point, the solution to everything was don't show people butts anymore, don't

00:57:29   show people panes, don't show people windows, hide everything under as few things as possible,

00:57:33   and that's the solution.

00:57:34   And I feel like that is sort of part of the dissatisfaction.

00:57:38   Like, getting back to Gruber's complaint was like, he was in photos and the little tiny

00:57:41   text was like the only friggin' thing in the entire gigantic bottom bar of my 27-inch monitor.

00:57:46   It was like a little text message that tells you like you have X number of items in your library

00:57:50   accounting for Y number of megabytes and he had a little message that said like

00:57:54   failed to upload five items and his his reasonable question was

00:57:58   What five items but what you know, so so what did he do in that? There's nothing there

00:58:03   He clicked on the text the completely featureless text like like iOS 7 and on has taught him

00:58:08   There's a slim chance that if you click on that text like just plain text not even like embossed really just like plain text

00:58:14   Maybe if I clicked on the text, it would tell me, "Nope, five items failed to upload."

00:58:19   And it's just sitting there staring at you, taunting you, like, "Five items failed to

00:58:22   upload."

00:58:23   And you're looking around, and you're looking around the bar, and I guess you just start

00:58:25   going to the menu bar and go, "Tell me what items failed to upload?

00:58:29   Show a log window?"

00:58:30   Like, no, no chance there's going to be a log window.

00:58:33   Are you crazy?

00:58:34   There's just nothing that can tell him how he's supposed to fix his problem.

00:58:39   Eventually he Googles for it, which is a bad sign, because if someone's using your application

00:58:42   and it's telling you something and the recourse eventually go to Google and he found like

00:58:45   a support discussion.

00:58:46   They said, "Oh, if you make a smart folder and you make the smart folder filter on items

00:58:50   that have failed to upload, no user's going to figure that out.

00:58:52   And then it will show you the things that failed to upload and you'll have to divine

00:58:55   the reasons they failed to upload on your own," which he eventually did and solved his

00:58:59   problem.

00:59:00   But like all in the name of minimalism, it's like, "I don't want anything on that bottom

00:59:04   bar except for text."

00:59:05   Should the text be clickable?

00:59:07   No.

00:59:08   It is.

00:59:09   Could there be...

00:59:10   If something goes wrong, what should we do?

00:59:11   No dialogues.

00:59:12   have a status bar, don't have an activity window, don't put all those confusing things,

00:59:15   and most of those things are right, but their solutions are wrong. It's making an application

00:59:20   that is less useful, more frustrating to use, but I guess it doesn't crash, right?

00:59:26   - Yeah. I mean, I use the Photos app. You know, Casey, honestly, I like it a lot. However,

00:59:33   the reason I like it a lot is because I don't do any editing in it, because doing any of

00:59:38   the editing drives me nuts, just like what John was saying.

00:59:41   So what are you doing with it? Because I'm not—maybe I'm just having a dumb moment,

00:59:46   but I don't see anything that this does for me other than maybe making a gazillion albums

00:59:52   and doing a whole lot of manual management that I have zero interest in.

00:59:57   What it does for me—and who knows what it does for everyone else—what it does for

01:00:00   me is a few things. First of all, it is one unified place where I can have all of my photos

01:00:06   synced to be visible, not only from my main computer,

01:00:10   where I'm working on them and storing the full res versions,

01:00:12   but also to be synced onto my phone, my iPad,

01:00:16   if I ever take it out of the drawer,

01:00:17   and my laptop when I take it on vacation.

01:00:19   And so I have access to all my photos everywhere.

01:00:22   And I know there are other solutions

01:00:23   that can do this as well.

01:00:24   However, I like this one 'cause it's built into everything

01:00:26   and syncs really fast most of the time.

01:00:29   So that, just having all your photos available everywhere,

01:00:34   at least for basic viewing, I love that.

01:00:36   That's number one.

01:00:38   Number two is it's another backup.

01:00:39   You know, it's kind of a safety

01:00:40   because I do the iCloud photo library thing, of course.

01:00:42   So it's kind of another backup for just my photos

01:00:45   that in case everything else goes wrong,

01:00:47   maybe someday I'll need that.

01:00:49   We also do the sharing thing.

01:00:50   Like between our family and friends,

01:00:53   we do often do shared photo albums.

01:00:56   Like if we go on a trip or something,

01:00:59   or we have friends over, or we visit some relatives,

01:01:02   we'll make a shared photo album for that,

01:01:03   and we'll send everyone the link afterwards.

01:01:05   And so for all these things, it does work fairly well.

01:01:10   The share photo album thing, the UI for how you invite

01:01:13   people on the Mac is horrible, but it does overall,

01:01:17   the functionality does work.

01:01:18   - Don't you love that little pop down thing

01:01:20   from the toolbar, this tiny constrained window

01:01:22   that you can't resize that it is deadly.

01:01:24   Like there are so many clicks you can do.

01:01:26   You can do clicks in that window that the entire

01:01:27   contents disappear and since there's no like save button,

01:01:30   you're like did it just auto save my deletion

01:01:31   of every person from this shared photo?

01:01:33   I've done that like three times accidentally to my entire family and said I have to invite

01:01:36   you all again.

01:01:38   Click on the thing in the email.

01:01:39   If you use Gmail, you can't click on your iOS device, forward it to your mail address

01:01:43   that's in Apple Mail.

01:01:45   Like all these Byzantine instructions.

01:01:47   And that UI, that frustrates me so much.

01:01:48   That little tiny UI.

01:01:50   Like you've got this huge screen.

01:01:52   And I'm only inviting like 15 people in my family to this thing.

01:01:55   You've got this huge screen and yet I'm forced to edit it in a buggy view, like a capsule

01:02:01   view.

01:02:02   shows everything in little capsules or whatever,

01:02:03   a buggy capsule view that periodically erases everything

01:02:06   with no sort of save functionality.

01:02:08   You just need to hide the thing

01:02:10   and assume that it is auto-saved or something.

01:02:12   The worst, it's the worst.

01:02:14   - So there's a lot of UI problems in photos.

01:02:17   And I agree, Jon, I agree that overall,

01:02:22   it does seem like Apple, in a similar way

01:02:26   that if you wanted to make a criticism

01:02:27   of their hardware designs, my criticism

01:02:30   for their hardware designs recently

01:02:31   has basically been like, basically everything

01:02:34   is just getting like, make it as thin as possible

01:02:36   and it seems like they don't have a lot of other ideas.

01:02:38   And that isn't always true,

01:02:40   but that is kind of the overall like,

01:02:42   if you had to pick one dysfunction that they have,

01:02:44   that seems to be the most common one.

01:02:46   In that same way, in the software design,

01:02:49   the main way the software design fails,

01:02:52   or fails most often, is that they oversimplify something

01:02:56   to the point where they are favoring the way it looks.

01:03:01   And so it can make great screenshots,

01:03:03   or it can make great ads, or great presentations,

01:03:05   or something, but when you actually have to use it,

01:03:09   the way it looks is getting in the way.

01:03:11   The way it looks is making them make decisions

01:03:14   that make it harder to use, or more confusing.

01:03:17   - There's actually a metric-based support for that too,

01:03:19   because a lot of what they're doing is removing features.

01:03:21   Like they're not just hiding them,

01:03:22   but they're flat out removing them.

01:03:23   For example, your options of how to sort the main view

01:03:26   in photos are drastically reduced from iPhoto, right?

01:03:30   Fewer features means fewer possibilities for testing,

01:03:34   means fewer bugs, right?

01:03:35   So there is actually a metric-based motivation for this.

01:03:38   Do we need to have all those features?

01:03:39   How many people do show keywords under their photos?

01:03:41   What if they have too many keywords and it busts our layout?

01:03:43   When we use this new iOS collection,

01:03:46   iOS ported collection view,

01:03:47   you can't have an unlimited number.

01:03:49   I'm just harping on my pet features.

01:03:51   But the fewer features you have,

01:03:53   the less stuff that can go wrong in your application,

01:03:55   the fewer crashes you have,

01:03:56   the fewer scenarios you have to test.

01:03:58   This is a metric that is appealing

01:04:00   internally the Apple, if your goal is,

01:04:02   let's write more bug-free software,

01:04:03   make your software simpler, it benefits the user

01:04:06   at a certain point because most people don't care about that

01:04:08   and you should simplify it and if they want a more powerful

01:04:10   one they should get the pro feature or whatever,

01:04:11   and it also benefits Apple in that they are,

01:04:14   they're making more reliable software by removing features,

01:04:16   but they just go too damn far and they get to the point

01:04:19   where Casey's like, so this is just a generic window frame

01:04:22   with my photos in them, what the hell is that?

01:04:24   What do I get?

01:04:25   What is this?

01:04:26   And the Photos app is, everything is so buried,

01:04:30   and this is what I refer to, I've referred to it before

01:04:33   as the junk drawer philosophy of design,

01:04:35   where you still have complex products,

01:04:40   you still have complex functionality.

01:04:42   Having one app that stores every photo you've ever taken

01:04:46   on any of your devices and cameras,

01:04:49   and that can do all these edits and all this sharing

01:04:51   and all this management.

01:04:52   - I think you can still order books from it, right?

01:04:54   - Maybe, like all the features that are still part of this,

01:04:59   that they haven't killed, that is a complex set of features.

01:05:03   And so there is going to be some minimum level

01:05:06   of just required complexity in any app

01:05:09   that encompasses all of those features.

01:05:11   And it seems like what Apple considers great design is,

01:05:16   as you said, basically just like delete everything.

01:05:18   Like great design is to have an app with no buttons anywhere

01:05:22   until you enter modes.

01:05:23   That is bad design, that is great visual design

01:05:28   for marketing screenshots.

01:05:29   It is horrible design for actual use.

01:05:33   And Apple has, this was not like a post-Steve Jobs thing

01:05:36   or a Johnny Ive in power thing.

01:05:39   This started earlier, this started way before that.

01:05:41   This started with Steve and earlier.

01:05:43   Apple has for a long time now been a little bit out of whack

01:05:48   in prioritizing visual appeal

01:05:51   a little bit too much over usability.

01:05:53   And you can see this going all the way back,

01:05:54   like when they get rid of the visible scroll bars

01:05:56   in Windows and stuff like that.

01:05:57   Like there's so many examples of this in OS X and in iOS.

01:06:01   And of course, iOS 7 I think went really far

01:06:04   in that direction, and probably a little bit

01:06:05   too far in that direction.

01:06:07   But the way to manage complexity in the interface

01:06:11   is not to just hide it all behind drawers and modes.

01:06:14   Like there are better ways to design apps.

01:06:18   And sometimes it will make for a screenshot

01:06:21   that has a few objects in it that aren't your content.

01:06:25   That's fine.

01:06:26   That's software.

01:06:27   This is, like, that's what this is useful for.

01:06:30   If that makes it useful, like, right now I have a photos app

01:06:34   where editing it looks so pretty that I never do it

01:06:37   because you have to enter, like, three different modes

01:06:39   to get through the controls that I wanna use every time.

01:06:42   Like, even rotating a photo.

01:06:45   Oh, I took this with my phone held in a weird way

01:06:47   and I wanna rotate it 90 degrees.

01:06:48   It's like four clicks.

01:06:50   - Tap the crop icon, right?

01:06:51   'cause you wanna rotate that sounds like crop, right?

01:06:53   And then on the crop thing there's a rotate thing

01:06:55   and just keep tapping until it's rotated the right direction

01:06:58   and enjoy the animations between each one

01:07:01   of those mode switches.

01:07:02   - Oh yeah, it just seems like all of their design now

01:07:07   is way too heavily focused on visual and marketing appeal.

01:07:12   It seems like not only have they not cared

01:07:17   about making it harder to use in favor of that,

01:07:20   but it seems like they don't even know how anymore

01:07:22   to make it easy to use.

01:07:24   It seems like whatever talent that existed at Apple

01:07:27   that was able to make things easy to use

01:07:29   is no longer in power or is no longer there or something.

01:07:34   It just seems like that group is gone.

01:07:37   And that is fundamentally what frustrates me so much

01:07:40   because they have the ability to make such great stuff.

01:07:43   They have so many smart people who work there.

01:07:45   They've done it before.

01:07:46   They used to be so much better at prioritizing usability.

01:07:51   And again, it was never perfect.

01:07:52   There were always examples of them prioritizing

01:07:53   looks over usability, but I think they're worse,

01:07:57   in that way, I think they're worse now than ever,

01:07:59   in a way that looks are taking too much precedent

01:08:02   over usability.

01:08:03   And I do think that lies right at Johnny Ive's feet.

01:08:06   'Cause I think that the rate at which that has accelerated

01:08:10   coincides exactly with Johnny Ive being made

01:08:12   head of all software design.

01:08:14   - Not exactly, but did he,

01:08:16   I really think 10.7 is where it started to happen on the Mac, because that's where I

01:08:19   really saw it.

01:08:20   Like, where applications that they've been year over year and always tend to come bundled

01:08:23   like Contacts and Address Book or whatever, they just got features just ripped out of

01:08:28   them.

01:08:29   And I think that was before Johnny Ive came over.

01:08:30   And again, the simplicity motive, like, it's positive.

01:08:34   In general, that's usually the right move.

01:08:36   A lot of the guidelines that Apple talks about in their UI guidelines are telling you to

01:08:39   simplify only, but you just have to know you can go too far.

01:08:44   It is really possible to go too far, both with removing features, which again is very

01:08:48   attractive to everybody involved, and with hiding features.

01:08:51   And it's just, it's like, I was just at a brief glimpse when you were talking, Marco,

01:08:54   about the possible Apple car UI, which I'm sure will be much smarter about the car UI

01:08:59   than this, but like, the equivalent of my iPhone of frustration is if the Apple car

01:09:03   came out and every time you wanted to indicate a turn, you would press on a touchpad to the

01:09:07   turn indication function, and then you'd press on the touchpad which direction you want the

01:09:11   indicator to go.

01:09:12   And then it would reset to the main menu each time.

01:09:15   And you're like, you know what, Apple?

01:09:17   One of the controls that you use a lot when you're driving a car

01:09:20   is a turn signal.

01:09:20   It should not be two button presses away on the touch

01:09:22   screen that you have to glance at.

01:09:24   And so to get use of what you use photos for,

01:09:26   what I use it for, Casey, is basically what Marco said.

01:09:29   I do iCloud backup, and my photos are everywhere,

01:09:31   and so on and so forth.

01:09:32   This is actually my wife's photo library,

01:09:33   because she's got the big library.

01:09:34   And they don't understand how families work.

01:09:36   Separate issue.

01:09:38   But also, I do all of my editing there.

01:09:41   I don't really fancy editing, but pretty much all the time

01:09:43   I am cropping, rotating, adjusting the lighting

01:09:46   before I throw it into a shared library.

01:09:49   And I also go through and I do my favorite.

01:09:50   So basically like the photos go in there.

01:09:53   I have to like manually import the ones from my phone.

01:09:56   Anyway, and then I go through them all

01:09:58   and I favorite the ones I think are good.

01:10:00   And at that point I might also adjust them.

01:10:03   And then if I'm doing something with them,

01:10:04   like, oh, I want to throw these into a shared stream

01:10:06   or we want to make a calendar,

01:10:07   I want to, you know, do something with the photos.

01:10:11   I do the editing there.

01:10:12   And every time, I always want to crop.

01:10:15   I probably want to rotate.

01:10:17   It isn't really bad at holding cameras perpendicular

01:10:19   to the, you know, parallel to the horizon or whatever.

01:10:24   I'm really crappy at that.

01:10:25   Anyway, I always want to do those things.

01:10:27   All of them are like nine clicks away.

01:10:28   And it's like, what is one click away in this application?

01:10:31   Nothing is.

01:10:32   Can I quickly filter the images based on writing?

01:10:33   Nope, that's not one click away.

01:10:34   Can I do like a quick smart,

01:10:36   Like nothing is one click away.

01:10:37   Everything is like two, three clicks away and cropping, cropping is the worst.

01:10:41   I just want to kill the person who made this feature.

01:10:43   Edit, edit, crop, aspect original, edit, crop, aspect, original,

01:10:47   edit, crop, aspect, original, edit, crop aspect, original.

01:10:50   How many, can you just remember that I always want original as the default,

01:10:53   even if you're gonna make me click 700 times to get to the fact that it doesn't

01:10:57   even remember the aspect that I want.

01:10:58   And then you get to drag and they changed the way dragging works in

01:11:00   photos and it's a little bit weird, but.

01:11:02   Oh, it's like, what, what do you think?

01:11:05   And I asked the same question.

01:11:06   What do you think people use this app for? There are features there. Why is every single one of them very? Surely there's one

01:11:11   It's like the controller where all the buttons are the same size. Surely there is one or two features that you think are the most

01:11:16   commonly used. Make them super obvious. In Overcast there's a big honking freaking play button because most people play audio

01:11:22   Marco had put the play button under three menus that you had to go through and straight across now

01:11:27   How to play this podcast. Go to options, go to playback and hit the play button. No, it's like a gigantic play button in the middle

01:11:34   the screen you can't miss it it's so frustrating so let's assume for a second

01:11:40   because I spend almost no time editing and no time categorizing my photos which

01:11:47   is true so let's assume for a second I want to go to a photo from when Marco

01:11:51   and Tiff and Aaron and I were in Germany how the hell do I do that I guess I

01:11:55   search like but if I know the date I just have to fart around with the

01:11:59   scroll bar until I know the until I land on the right date like it's just it's

01:12:03   It's insane to me that there's no, like, jump to date or anything like that.

01:12:07   In the iPhoto world, I would go to the lower left, and right next to that little rating

01:12:11   thing, there would be a little pop-up that you click, and it would pop up a calendar

01:12:14   widget and you could just click on a date.

01:12:16   And it would immediately filter the main pane view to that date.

01:12:20   Like, because, like you said, that's a common thing.

01:12:23   How do I quickly go to a date?

01:12:25   There should be a "always visible" button that you can click that pops up a calendar

01:12:28   thing that lets you pick a date from it.

01:12:30   Like if that's a common task, and I think it is a common task, and you've got literally

01:12:34   two feet of gray to put buttons in, put something there.

01:12:39   Like it wasn't even that much.

01:12:40   This was like a centimeter worth of space.

01:12:42   It was like a little field that you can click in for the rating and like a little like a

01:12:45   gear menu or a pop-up thing.

01:12:47   Like it was even a little bit too hidden back then.

01:12:50   But it's like what are you saving all the space for?

01:12:52   Like what do you get in the end of the person with the most unused gray pixels wins?

01:12:55   Well, this is what I'm saying.

01:12:57   Like this is bad design.

01:13:00   It's not just that this looks prettier

01:13:04   or this is clunkier to use.

01:13:06   Design is not about how it looks.

01:13:10   It's about how it works.

01:13:12   There's a reason why Steve Jobs said that

01:13:14   and everyone always quotes him on it.

01:13:16   Modern day Apple I think has forgotten that

01:13:18   or has deprioritized that too much.

01:13:21   Now it is all about how it looks

01:13:23   and we hope it kind of works well.

01:13:24   And there is no better example of this in my opinion

01:13:28   than a lot of the UI on the Apple TV.

01:13:31   And we have to also include Apple Music

01:13:33   in a lot of this as well.

01:13:34   - Now hold on, before we go there, which we should--

01:13:36   - We should do a sponsor break first,

01:13:37   'cause that's gonna be long too.

01:13:38   - Not only should we do that,

01:13:40   but I would also like to compliment photos,

01:13:42   because as Jon was talking, and I was lamenting,

01:13:45   how do I go to our trip, I did a search for Nürburgring.

01:13:49   I did not type the umlaut on the first U,

01:13:53   and sure enough, it came up.

01:13:55   So kudos to Photos.

01:13:57   I still would prefer to have an easy way,

01:14:00   even if it's just a keystroke,

01:14:02   to jump to a specific date,

01:14:04   but I was able to type out Nürburgring,

01:14:07   and because all of these were taken with an iPhone

01:14:09   and they're all geotagged and blah, blah, blah,

01:14:11   it did find, if not all of the pictures,

01:14:14   then darn near all the pictures almost immediately.

01:14:17   So, points for photos on that one.

01:14:19   - Well, that's why they can convince themself

01:14:21   that it's okay to remove all this.

01:14:22   So they say, "Well, regular people

01:14:23   "don't wanna deal with all these buttons.

01:14:25   "It would be better if there was just a search field

01:14:26   that everyone can use that would just do the right thing.

01:14:28   But we know that Apple still lags behind Google in general in the, "Hey, here's a box where

01:14:32   you can write random text and we'll figure out what you mean."

01:14:34   Google does that amazingly well.

01:14:36   Apple does it less well but is getting better at it.

01:14:38   But the bottom line is sometimes, like if you're doing that quickly, that's fine.

01:14:42   But say you were going to pick three pictures to make fractures of from the Nurburgring

01:14:47   thing, you want to make sure that you are seeing all the pictures you have from the

01:14:50   Nurburgring.

01:14:51   So merely the search wouldn't be good because you're like, "Oh, maybe some of them came

01:14:54   from someone else's camera and they weren't geotagged."

01:14:56   You'd want to, you know date-wise when you were there, so you would inevitably eventually

01:15:00   say, "You know what?

01:15:01   I just really want to see all the photos from date X to date Y."

01:15:04   And so you'd be forced to figure out how to do that in the UI.

01:15:07   And like, it's great that the search box is there for quick things like that, but the

01:15:11   next level down of like, "I just want to do a specific date search," the job of good

01:15:15   software is to make that task simple enough that people can figure it out.

01:15:21   Like that they can figure out without making like a smart album and using some UI to set

01:15:25   Boolean expressions and stuff. There should be a simple friendly UI that regular people can figure

01:15:30   out, like an obvious way they would say that they would just learn through the language of using the

01:15:34   application. If I want to see things by date range, here's this calendar widget. It pops up,

01:15:38   I can pick a start date and an end date and it filters the window. And that's very modal and it

01:15:42   means I can't do anything else in the main view or whatever, but it's simple enough that people can

01:15:46   use it. But, and it's the thing you're asking to do is just one step more complicated than let me

01:15:51   just type random search and hope the application figures out what I want to do. But still, I think

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01:17:58   - So Apple Music and the Apple TV.

01:18:00   - Oh boy.

01:18:01   You know, the Apple TV makes me so sad, it really does.

01:18:03   I mean, to me, the Apple TV is kind of,

01:18:08   it kind of exemplifies all the problems

01:18:11   I've been talking about tonight.

01:18:13   Really? Because I like most things with the new Apple TV.

01:18:17   The remote, I would say, is in keeping with what we've been talking about tonight.

01:18:21   But I have to admit that the fact that it has the Plex app on it and that I've been using it more,

01:18:25   and that most of the other apps that I do play video when I hit the button,

01:18:28   is really giving me a more positive attitude towards the Apple TV lately.

01:18:31   Yeah, I agree that the remote is a little rough, and I still think--

01:18:34   A little rough. The remote is a mess.

01:18:36   Yeah. And I still think that the up, down, left, right buttons work better for me

01:18:41   than the silly mini touch pad.

01:18:43   But all in all, I really do like my Apple TV.

01:18:46   So Marco laid on us, what's wrong with the Apple TV?

01:18:48   - So we should just briefly go over the remote,

01:18:51   just for the sake of completeness.

01:18:53   Obviously we've talked about it before,

01:18:55   but I think this remote is like the hockey puck mouse.

01:18:59   It is something that was designed only for visual appeal,

01:19:03   and such at the expense of usability

01:19:07   and just basic ergonomics.

01:19:10   The remote is just a design disaster, that's what it is.

01:19:15   I am not gonna say it's nicely designed

01:19:20   because it looks nice, because it is not nicely designed.

01:19:24   I will say it looks kind of nice,

01:19:26   but that does not mean it's well designed.

01:19:28   And the fact that that came out of a design division

01:19:30   at Apple, they should look at that and feel sorry

01:19:33   they put that out there and make a better one

01:19:35   for the next generation, because that is not good design.

01:19:39   If so many people have trouble with this,

01:19:42   it isn't just me, it isn't just you guys,

01:19:45   I don't know a single person who has an Apple TV

01:19:47   who has not had some kind of problem

01:19:50   with that remote design,

01:19:51   whether it's picking it up upside down

01:19:53   and accidentally inputting things into the touch pad,

01:19:55   not knowing which way is up in the dark,

01:19:57   not knowing which button is which,

01:19:58   which button is where, what the buttons actually do,

01:20:00   which one is kind of the home button.

01:20:01   Like, that is a massive design failure.

01:20:05   And that is the primary input method for this device.

01:20:08   So that's not a small deal. This is a big deal.

01:20:11   - You know, let's assume for a second

01:20:13   that the touchpad was okay, which it isn't,

01:20:15   but let's go with it.

01:20:16   What on God's green earth made them use menu for back,

01:20:21   because that's basically what it does, is go back,

01:20:25   and the TV for home?

01:20:28   Why not use the little rounded rect

01:20:30   that's been on all these iOS devices

01:20:32   up until Touch ID became a thing?

01:20:34   Why not use the rounded rect for the TV button?

01:20:37   Well, Rana Wreck doesn't make sense because the icons aren't little rounded things like

01:20:41   they are on the phone.

01:20:42   You know, like that's the mnemonic for that.

01:20:44   And menu, I give them a pass on menu because on every TV connected remote, like menu basically

01:20:49   means back.

01:20:50   Like, I think they're going in line with the terminology for menu.

01:20:53   They're going in line with the terminology precedent set by every other AV remote for

01:20:58   the past 20 decades or whatever.

01:21:00   It is kind of bad though that most of the time when you hit menu, what you see is not

01:21:03   a menu.

01:21:04   But that's true on every TV remote.

01:21:07   Menu always means back.

01:21:09   Yeah, but since when does Apple pay attention

01:21:11   to the consumer electronics industry's standards for design?

01:21:13   I feel like that's what they're doing.

01:21:15   The TV one, the home one, is--

01:21:17   I mean, really, it should have just been a house,

01:21:18   but Apple doesn't like to do that, right?

01:21:19   Because at least that would make some sense.

01:21:21   But that would be, again, falling in line

01:21:22   with the television thing.

01:21:24   The problem is, what they made looks like a television set

01:21:27   and not an application.

01:21:29   So if anything, you would imagine

01:21:30   that would be the power button.

01:21:32   - Yeah, I mean, really the problem with the home button

01:21:35   is the placement, you know, like,

01:21:36   I know Rene Ritchie did this little mock-up,

01:21:38   we'll finally link again, but like,

01:21:40   if you put the home button centered below the other buttons,

01:21:43   like in a place where a home button on iOS device is,

01:21:45   it makes a lot more sense.

01:21:47   All the different shortcuts, like, you know,

01:21:48   you can double tap it and go to a multitasking feature

01:21:50   and kill unresponsive apps.

01:21:52   Most people will never know that, they will never find that.

01:21:54   If it was where a home button is on iOS,

01:21:57   they might get that, the chances would be higher.

01:21:59   It's still not great.

01:22:00   - But it's not a touchscreen.

01:22:01   Like they just need to start over with remote.

01:22:03   Like again, they have to realize that it's like a device

01:22:06   that sits on couches, that's wedged between couch cushions

01:22:08   that's held by entire hands that, you know,

01:22:12   I mean, I didn't want to harp on the TiVo remote,

01:22:13   but like they just need to start over with that.

01:22:15   But the worst thing about it,

01:22:16   you mentioned the hockey puck mouse.

01:22:17   I think it's worse than the hockey puck mouse

01:22:19   because using the hockey puck mouse could be frustrating

01:22:22   when like you'd push the mouse up

01:22:24   and the cursor would go up on an angle

01:22:26   and you'd realize you don't have it aligned

01:22:27   and you do some little finger feel to feel

01:22:28   where the cord is or feel the little dent

01:22:31   they put in later versions or whatever.

01:22:33   But I never felt sort of like timid

01:22:36   using the hockey puck mouse.

01:22:37   I never felt like I need to approach it gingerly

01:22:39   that something will go wrong.

01:22:41   And yet this stupid remote, I have to place it gingerly

01:22:44   to make sure it's not on a surface

01:22:46   where it will slide down into a crack

01:22:47   'cause it's so frigging small and skinny, right?

01:22:49   I need to, when I pick it up,

01:22:50   I need to pick it up carefully,

01:22:52   both because I wanna make sure I got the orientation right,

01:22:55   which I have done a million times the wrong way.

01:22:57   I have not succumbed to putting a Roar brand on it,

01:22:59   but I'm getting really close.

01:23:00   Because I have to be careful not to touch the touch sensitive top half of the thing because something you know

01:23:06   Because that it will take my touch input and do something with it even it's always on it's always hot

01:23:12   Even if the thing it does is non-destructive merely by bringing up like the progress bar at the bottom

01:23:17   I don't want to accidentally bring the progress bar up if I'm just moving the thing out of the way to make room for like

01:23:23   A snack or something

01:23:24   I don't want to suddenly put a giant bar in the middle of the show that a bunch of people are watching

01:23:27   Even if it goes away on its own like I don't have to do anything. It's non-destructive, but it's annoying

01:23:32   And so I feel like I'm playing a game of operation which is an old board game kids go find the old ad

01:23:37   Every time I use this thing

01:23:40   I don't feel that way when I touch any of my other remotes

01:23:43   And you know my favorite one Tebow remote like everything's fine about it

01:23:47   In fact the only thing that you were like a dame for is that?

01:23:49   When it became when I got a TV or Bluetooth support now

01:23:52   I can't blindly mash it with as long as I know it's not plenty of TV because now

01:23:57   If you mash a Bluetooth remote, it doesn't matter if it's pointing the TV, which is a great feature and I love it

01:24:02   But it does make me have to be slightly more careful not to just pick it up like a barbarian and just squish the whole

01:24:07   Thing but I feel I feel like I am on you know, I'm walking on

01:24:12   I don't know what the expression eggshells. There you go. That's it. That's what I'm walking on eggshells

01:24:18   When I'm trying to use that stupid little remote, right because like it's always

01:24:23   waiting for you to accidentally touch this area that is not a button that actually does

01:24:27   things and like that is unlike every other remote that has ever existed and there's

01:24:31   a reason for that. So anyway, you know, I don't want to beat up too much on the remote

01:24:35   because I think that we could take a whole episode on that and most people have probably

01:24:39   agreed that yeah, it's not good. But just the entire Apple TV interface, there are parts

01:24:44   of it that work fine but the main content browsing interfaces, you know, which is kind

01:24:48   of a big thing that you do a lot on this thing. Like we buy Top Chef. We have bought every

01:24:53   season of Top Chef from iTunes since season five. We're currently on season, I believe,

01:24:58   13. When a new episode comes out every week, we go to the top and we click on the Top Chef

01:25:05   because it's new and it loads after a very long wait time. The Top Chef section of the

01:25:10   iTunes store, in the bottom half of the screen, there is a horizontally scrolling line of

01:25:18   episodes. This includes every episode from every season we've bought. So from season

01:25:25   5 through season 13, every single episode is in that list. Somewhere along the way,

01:25:32   Apple forgot that we had watched seasons 5 through like 10. So those are all marked as

01:25:38   unwatched for some reason. So every time we open this up, it opens up to the first unwatched

01:25:47   episode in the list, which is the very first episode in the list of season 5. Delightful.

01:25:53   We're in season 13. Now there is no entry here that says, you know, switch to a different

01:25:57   season or anything. No. The way you have to switch is by scrolling to the right through,

01:26:03   I don't know, 70 episodes or something? Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, paging through this

01:26:08   giant long horizontally scrolling list of episodes, which are squares, you know, this

01:26:15   massive line of episodes from season five all the way,

01:26:19   scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll,

01:26:21   scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll,

01:26:22   all the way till you get to the end of season 13

01:26:24   where we actually are, and then hit play on that.

01:26:27   I don't know if there's any way for me to mark

01:26:29   six seasons of a show as play without actually

01:26:31   opening up every single one of them,

01:26:32   seeking to the end, letting it stop.

01:26:33   Like, who knows, it doesn't matter.

01:26:36   And of course, we hope the episode's actually there

01:26:38   when we look, even though iTunes says it was there,

01:26:41   and if you click more on iTunes, it'll be there,

01:26:43   that problem is just on the old Apple TV too.

01:26:45   - Just mark them all as viewed in the web interface

01:26:47   or in the Mac version of this app?

01:26:48   - Oh yeah, sure, yeah, that's a good idea.

01:26:50   So, yeah, like-- - Those exist, right?

01:26:52   - Oh yeah, of course.

01:26:53   I'm sure desktop iTunes will work perfectly.

01:26:56   So, you know, it's, every part of this interaction

01:27:00   is a failure in some way.

01:27:01   So A, why were those marked as unplayed?

01:27:04   We watched them all, we bought them all years ago,

01:27:06   so A, something went wrong on the service end at some point.

01:27:10   Of course, it's Apple's services, it's iTunes,

01:27:12   it's the iTunes store, of course something went wrong.

01:27:14   So that's problem number one.

01:27:16   Problem number two, why is this every single season

01:27:20   in one giant list?

01:27:21   Was this designed in a way where they ever tested it,

01:27:26   loading a show that had more than one season?

01:27:28   I honestly am asking this question.

01:27:30   Did any of the designers at any point test this interface

01:27:34   with a show that had seven seasons, 10 seasons?

01:27:37   There are many shows like this.

01:27:40   - Even if it had one season,

01:27:41   - That's too much to scroll horizontally.

01:27:42   - Yes.

01:27:43   - The idea that horizontal scroll,

01:27:44   no one wants to scroll horizontally.

01:27:46   We learned anything.

01:27:47   - Yes, horizontal scrolling is always wrong.

01:27:48   Like the old Apple TV put this

01:27:50   in hierarchical vertically scrolling lists.

01:27:52   So every season had its own entry, perfect, right?

01:27:55   Because usually like changing seasons

01:27:58   is kind of a big navigational step.

01:27:59   You don't like accidentally cross over

01:28:01   between seasons very often.

01:28:03   Like you do that intentionally.

01:28:04   So like that can be its own stage in the tree.

01:28:08   You know, so A, there's the failure of like

01:28:10   why were these episodes all marked as unplayed?

01:28:12   B, why are they all on the same list?

01:28:14   C, when I play one in season 13,

01:28:18   and then we come back a week later

01:28:20   when there's a new episode in season 13,

01:28:23   right after the one that we just played,

01:28:25   why does it start again at season five?

01:28:28   Every part of this is a failure.

01:28:29   And the reason why this is designed this way

01:28:32   is either A, incompetence, that they didn't even test

01:28:36   whether this would work with a show

01:28:37   that had more than one season,

01:28:39   or B, that it was more important for them

01:28:42   to have this big, glamorous, pretty looking screen

01:28:46   that has this big promo art in the background

01:28:49   and it doesn't have the clutter or the ugliness

01:28:51   of actual text that describes what you're looking at

01:28:53   or a vertical list that's easy to navigate.

01:28:56   So either way, this is a massive failure.

01:28:59   And this, I'm just picking on one screen here,

01:29:01   but it's a pretty common screen you see on the Apple TV.

01:29:04   And this just, to me, represents so much

01:29:08   of the pattern of design failure that we keep seeing out of Apple recently. And Apple Music

01:29:13   is very similar. And I haven't, I honestly have not spent a ton of time with Apple Music

01:29:17   because it is so bad. And for me, it not only is badly designed, for me it actually doesn't

01:29:22   work. Like, whatever their local CDN node is that serves me, very often a song will

01:29:29   just end before, like it'll end prematurely and just go to the next song. And I assume

01:29:34   some kind of streaming failure, but I don't know why. It sucks. That's infuriating,

01:29:41   honestly, because I would like to use Apple Music, and I'm still paying for it because

01:29:44   I keep forgetting to go cancel it, and I keep thinking, "Oh, maybe it'll work better."

01:29:47   I would love to discover new music, but Apple Music just sucks so bad I can't do it. It

01:29:51   literally just doesn't work well for me. But also, just the design of that and the

01:29:56   design of the new iOS music app that followed from that, it is so much in the same design

01:30:02   failure pattern of we're gonna make it look like a magazine, like we're gonna make it

01:30:07   look like this fancy rich content experience, but in fact it's really hard to both use and

01:30:14   to figure out what the heck is going on, where you are, what's going to happen when the song

01:30:18   ends. It is so hard to figure out anything. This is not good design. This is not how you

01:30:26   you design software. And it is not only bad ideologically, it's bad in actual use. It's

01:30:34   one thing if you say, "Well, you know, you should really always have whitespace around

01:30:38   X for good practices." This goes beyond good practices. It is actually dysfunctional.

01:30:43   You know, if they had only looked at Plex, which gets this whole season thing right,

01:30:48   I know you're tired of hearing--

01:30:49   No, Plex doesn't quite get it right either.

01:30:51   Oh, please.

01:30:52   So Plex is trying to present me with like the next episode in the series that I want to watch

01:30:57   But I never trusted it to pick the right one so to make sure I have to go it

01:31:01   I have to go early back out and then I have to pick all instead of just the browser to pick all so I can

01:31:05   See the thing and then I click into it

01:31:07   And then I see the seasons listed then I have to click into the season and then I see the episodes in a horizontally scrolling

01:31:11   List and then I scroll over to the episode that I want

01:31:14   When you're looking at an episode on the Apple TV you're looking at an episode and there's like three or four buttons on there on

01:31:20   on that screen. One of them is "Go to Season."

01:31:23   I'm saying, like, starting from the top. I launch the Plex app, it brings me to the

01:31:26   thing that says "Discover," which I never want to see, and then "All." And I have

01:31:29   to go to it, because if I do go to "Discover," like, in the upper left it has a thing, but

01:31:32   it shows, like, the icon of the show that I want to watch. But if I click it, I'm not

01:31:36   sure it's going to resume me at the right time. Maybe I should just trust it. Like,

01:31:39   I feel like Netflix does a better job where it very quickly presents me with a thing that

01:31:43   says, "You watch this, you watch this, you watch this, you're in the middle of this,

01:31:46   or the next one is this," where with Plex that stuff's buried in Plex. Still does

01:31:49   horizontal scrolling for the episodes within a season at least it's a hierarchy there.

01:31:53   But anyway, like yeah, everything about Apple TV being designed like a magazine and not

01:31:59   like a thing that people use and that horrible remote, that's all bad.

01:32:04   But the final note, I guess to cap this thing off, is sort of the meta discussion we've

01:32:09   had many times about negativity towards Apple and you know, complaining about things and

01:32:15   stuff like that and the fact that the show isn't called Hypercritical even though it's

01:32:17   It's got one of the people from that show on it.

01:32:21   Two aspects of this.

01:32:22   One is, although we're complaining about a lot of things here, at the end of last year

01:32:28   I listed photos as one of my favorite things that Apple had done that year.

01:32:31   And that's still true, because the main functionality that photos provides, having my photos everywhere

01:32:35   and having them backed up to the cloud and stuff like that, I've wanted that for so long,

01:32:38   and it actually does that job so far for me.

01:32:40   If it doesn't do it, I have no recourse, because I don't know how to make it do what it's supposed

01:32:43   to do, but so far it's been good for me, so I still give that a thumbs up.

01:32:47   And like I said about the Apple TV, which has all sorts of problems, in the end, if

01:32:51   video plays when I press a button, that is a big step up from the previous one, which

01:32:55   would just show me spinners and strange error messages and numbers inside parentheses and

01:33:01   make me sign into my iTunes account and stuff.

01:33:03   So progress, good progress there.

01:33:05   But the broader thing I think on the negativity is I don't think anyone who is listening to

01:33:11   and is, you know, complaining, can say, you know, listen to the complaining and not liking

01:33:16   it, can say that this is just us at this point. Like, I feel like this is a broader thing.

01:33:21   Now, you can still believe that it's a broader narrative about a drop in quality that is

01:33:25   not founded, that it is somehow, like, feeding on itself and that it is a manufactured thing

01:33:30   of the media and of people all talking to each other, and like, that, again, that is

01:33:34   an aspect of the media, and we are a small part of that. But so much time has passed,

01:33:40   so many people with so much experience, so much diverse backgrounds.

01:33:44   All the people saying this aren't all jilted lovers who idealized some point in the past

01:33:48   where Apple was great.

01:33:49   Some of these people are people who recently switched to the Mac.

01:33:52   Some people have been Mac users forever.

01:33:53   Some people are not Mac users at all.

01:33:55   They're just looking in from the outside.

01:33:57   It's so diverse and there's so many different opinions about this and all of them are kind

01:34:00   of concentrating on it.

01:34:01   It's not the end of the world.

01:34:02   The company's not doomed.

01:34:03   We still like it better than everybody else for the most part.

01:34:07   It's a trend.

01:34:08   It's a thing.

01:34:09   want to just, you know, like Marco wasn't willing to backpedal this far, but if you're

01:34:13   going to say, maybe it's just a perception, right? But whatever it is, there's something

01:34:17   there. And we are not manufacturing that thing. And we are not, like, I feel like we're not

01:34:23   blowing it out of proportion. I feel like we all have a proportional idea of like, in

01:34:27   the grand scheme of things, we're all still using these products. We all still like them.

01:34:30   They all are better than their predecessors in important ways. But we're seeing things

01:34:34   fall down in ways that we had historically expected Apple to do better at. And we can

01:34:38   see obvious problems that Apple seems like they don't, and that it persists and it goes

01:34:41   on and on, and you know, like we talked about, not having crashers is great. Like, I really

01:34:45   do feel that over many years that their software has gotten more reliable. It's not like you

01:34:49   can only have one or the other. It's not like we're saying, "Bring back the crashers and

01:34:52   put a million toolbar buttons in our applications and stuff," right? It's like, we're looking,

01:34:57   you know, we want them to keep that good stuff, but bring back some of the old skills that

01:35:03   they had, like Margo said. Whoever was designing those other applications that are not there

01:35:06   and they're not in charge, they need to be because, you know, like, it's a regression.

01:35:13   It's a small regression, but it's a trend, and it's happening, and I think we are not

01:35:17   the source of that trend, and I think none of us are saying anything is dire as the emails

01:35:24   we get from people who just can't hear, can't bear to hear us say anything bad about Apple.

01:35:28   Like, I don't, the sky is not falling. We don't hate Apple. Apple's not a bad company.

01:35:34   is not doomed, but I feel like this is a thing.

01:35:39   I feel like this is a thing, and this is not a thing that we have manufactured.

01:35:43   Marco didn't make this happen by writing a blog post last year.

01:35:45   It didn't start with him, it's not going to end with him, and it is ongoing from people

01:35:49   who have no idea who any of us are.

01:35:51   Yeah, I completely agree.

01:35:53   And, you know, looking at the devices that I've bought over the last year or so, I love

01:36:00   the crap out of my iPad Mini 4.

01:36:02   I mean, I can't, off the top of my head, think of any complaints I have about it.

01:36:06   This 27-inch iMac that I had no business buying because I don't do desktop computers, that's

01:36:12   not my thing.

01:36:13   I freaking love this computer after I got my second one because the first one didn't

01:36:18   work.

01:36:19   But that's neither here nor there.

01:36:20   But I really like my 6S.

01:36:23   I can't think of any particular complaints I have about that.

01:36:25   I would like things to be a little different in a couple of departments, but I don't have

01:36:29   any actual complaints.

01:36:31   And I actually really like my new Apple TV.

01:36:33   I was wishy-washy on getting it, and it ended up being a holiday gift, but now that it's

01:36:39   here, I use that thing constantly.

01:36:42   And it was getting to the point that I almost never used our old Apple TV.

01:36:46   Yeah, I'm using my Apple TV way more than I use the old one as well.

01:36:49   Like, that's the real proof.

01:36:50   Like, as annoying as that remote is, the old Apple TV was getting almost no use, and now

01:36:53   this one gets a ton more.

01:36:55   The reason why the Apple TV's problems drive me crazy is that we use the Apple TV every

01:37:00   day. Like this is, like, and I could go on a much longer rant about how much worse I

01:37:05   think the both the Amazon Fire TV and the Roku whatever whatever that I got, you know,

01:37:10   a year ago or whatever, both of those are now sitting collecting dust because I hated

01:37:14   them both even more. But, you know, the fact is like, as you said, like this drives us

01:37:19   nuts because like we do use this stuff. And in some cases we don't want the alternatives

01:37:24   because they're worse for us in some way or they're, you know, they don't solve

01:37:27   or whatever, but the reason why this stuff matters,

01:37:31   what am I gonna do?

01:37:32   If Mac OS takes another dive towards bad reliability

01:37:37   and stuff, what am I gonna do, switch to Windows?

01:37:41   That's worse, that's way worse.

01:37:43   So the reason why we care so much about this

01:37:46   and we harp about this is because we don't wanna

01:37:50   go to the alternatives, or the alternatives

01:37:52   are actually worse, and so this is all we have.

01:37:55   Like if Apple starts getting mediocre and crappy,

01:37:59   well almost everyone else in the industry

01:38:01   is mediocre and crappy.

01:38:02   So it's not like we are holding onto dear life

01:38:06   because we want Apple specifically to be great.

01:38:09   It's that we want somebody to be great

01:38:11   and the rest of the industry keeps showing

01:38:13   over and over again for decades

01:38:15   that they can mostly just manage mediocre.

01:38:17   Like that's about as good as they can do most of the time.

01:38:19   - And the places where things are better,

01:38:21   like just to go back to the example

01:38:22   you mentioned Dropbox before,

01:38:23   I haven't used Apple, anything produced by Apple for email in ages because Gmail just

01:38:28   just always works for me.

01:38:29   Like it's the type of things just use it year after year after year after year on different

01:38:33   computers and different browsers, different versions of Gmail.

01:38:35   They've changed their UI, blah, blah, blah.

01:38:37   It just does my email.

01:38:39   It just does it.

01:38:40   It never doesn't work.

01:38:41   It just works like Gmail.

01:38:44   I just never look back and Dropbox, like I'm still using that and like Dropbox has problems.

01:38:49   We're going to email people like, oh, Dropbox deleted all my stuff and didn't save my old

01:38:52   like everything has problems, but over the many, many, many years that we've used these products,

01:38:57   that's why Apple's been cut out of those. I've chosen the better competitor's product.

01:39:01   It can be done. Gmail for email, Dropbox for doing my file syncing. Both of those things could be

01:39:07   better in certain ways, but they have to get the basics right. And so I don't think we're blindly

01:39:13   tied to Apple, but by the same token, I think Marco is choosing to use the Apple TV over those

01:39:18   other boxes because he tried all those other boxes. And just because Apple is the best one

01:39:21   doesn't mean they're not making what we view as like silly mistakes. It should have been

01:39:26   clear to them from all the time that they've been holding this thing waiting for streaming

01:39:30   deals or whatever that there were problems with this product that should have been obvious

01:39:34   to them and they shipped it anyway, designed problems with it, if not in this case reliability

01:39:38   problems or whatever.

01:39:39   All right, thanks a lot to our three sponsors this week, Audible.com, Casper, and Fracture.

01:39:45   And we will see you next week.

01:39:46   week.

01:39:53   Cause it was accidental, oh it was accidental John didn't do any research, Marco and Casey

01:40:03   wouldn't let him Cause it was accidental, oh it was accidental

01:40:10   And you can find the show notes at ATP.fm And if you're into Twitter, you can follow

01:40:19   Follow them @CASEYLISS

01:40:24   So that's Kasey Liss, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M

01:40:29   Auntie Marco Arment, S-I-R-A-C

01:40:34   U-S-A-C-R-A-C-U-S-A

01:40:36   It's accidental (it's accidental)

01:40:40   They didn't mean to accidental (accidental)

01:40:45   ♪ The tech podcast so long ♪

01:40:48   - We didn't really talk about the hardware side of it.

01:40:51   That's a big angle on Gruber's thing was like,

01:40:53   oh, everyone agrees their hardware is doing better.

01:40:55   I know Marco's been upset about their hardware

01:40:58   a little bit more than I've heard other people, but--

01:41:00   - Well, but honestly, the hardware is really good.

01:41:02   I harp on two main problems.

01:41:06   Number one, that I wish battery life was longer,

01:41:10   and number two, that even though we seem to have

01:41:13   more entries in the product line than ever,

01:41:16   I think we actually have less choice.

01:41:19   We have more options that have, among them,

01:41:22   less diversity, if that makes sense.

01:41:26   Like, every laptop Apple sells is a thin and light.

01:41:30   Like, they don't have any big honking laptops

01:41:33   that have like, three day battery life.

01:41:34   That just doesn't exist.

01:41:35   Every phone they sell is a thin and light.

01:41:38   You know, like, every laptop they sell now,

01:41:41   except for the 101 doesn't have user replaceable disk

01:41:45   or memory in most of them either.

01:41:47   There's stuff like that.

01:41:48   No computer they sell, no desktop they sell anymore

01:41:52   has internal disk bays that are actually accessible.

01:41:55   - I think you may be living a little bit in the past

01:41:57   with a lot of those requests,

01:41:59   but I understand where you're coming from.

01:42:01   - Some of those, yes, but if you look at the roles

01:42:04   that were served by the old Mac Pro,

01:42:05   yes, I got the Mac Pro in this episode.

01:42:06   If you look at the roles that were served by that,

01:42:10   That could handle a lot of edge cases.

01:42:13   If you really want a Mac that has X, Y, or Z

01:42:17   hardware capability, the Mac Pro is oftentimes

01:42:19   the answer to that.

01:42:20   And the new Mac Pro they replaced it with

01:42:22   knocks out the vast majority of those.

01:42:25   It just removes them from possibility.

01:42:28   Similar with laptops, if you wanted a laptop

01:42:31   with four terabytes of storage, you could do that before,

01:42:33   and now you can't.

01:42:34   There's a pretty big list of things that used to be

01:42:37   possible or configurable with Mac hardware

01:42:40   that is no longer possible in the current lineup.

01:42:43   Or like is only possible in the 101,

01:42:46   the non-retina, the 13X or whatever.

01:42:48   There's a pretty long list of those things.

01:42:50   And the list of things we used to be able to do or get

01:42:53   or configure that we can't do now,

01:42:55   seems to be getting longer over time.

01:42:57   And not all those things are just outdated old technology.

01:43:00   Some of those things are actually,

01:43:01   wow, it would still be nice if I could do that,

01:43:03   or I need to do that and now I can't.

01:43:04   So that's my main criticism of Apple hardware

01:43:07   is that we are actually getting less real choice than ever.

01:43:11   - I think it's kind of a luxury to be able to complain

01:43:13   about things at that level though,

01:43:14   because what we're not saying is that in general,

01:43:17   especially with the mobile hardware, year after year,

01:43:19   the hardware gets better in measurable ways

01:43:22   that are meaningful to people.

01:43:23   The CPUs get faster and you feel that speed.

01:43:26   The cameras get better and you see the results of that.

01:43:29   They add features, they change the size of those,

01:43:33   make a bigger screen, add features like the stylus,

01:43:35   like that the products are just, you know,

01:43:37   the hardware is progressing.

01:43:38   And then we can have quibbles about the directions.

01:43:40   Like it's basically what you're coming to is like,

01:43:42   how do you design your product line?

01:43:43   What products do you choose to feel?

01:43:44   What direction do you want the overall product line to go in?

01:43:46   But in general, the individual products,

01:43:48   like I think about my iPhone 6, I love this phone.

01:43:51   It's great.

01:43:52   I'm jealous of the 6S because it's a little bit faster

01:43:54   and has better cameras off, you know what I mean?

01:43:55   Like the hardware is still doing what we expect it to do.

01:44:01   It's not as the equivalent in the hardware realm in the software room would be as if

01:44:05   when the 6s comes out after the 6, like that whole bunch of things that used to be able

01:44:11   to do on the 6 are buried under a bunch of different screens and they remove, they have

01:44:15   done it with removing the mute switch, but they remove like all the buttons from the

01:44:18   entire thing and it's harder to get to the camera.

01:44:21   And like say there was like a cover that you had to slide down from the camera every time

01:44:23   you wanted to take a picture because they wanted the outside surface to be like, why

01:44:26   did you put a cover over the camera?

01:44:28   You know, like that's the type of crap we're talking about in the software world.

01:44:30   So I feel like in the hardware where we have luxury

01:44:32   of saying, yeah, yeah, yeah, Apple's doing the basic stuff

01:44:34   like general design, reliability, the things look nice.

01:44:39   They feel nice that they seem to be more cognizant

01:44:44   of the aspects of it having to do with being held

01:44:46   in the hand, even if the things are slippery,

01:44:47   they try to make it less slippery in the next generation.

01:44:49   Their cases are kind of grippy.

01:44:51   They take a shake that might've been slippery

01:44:52   and they put a case on it and it improves it

01:44:54   and they learn from that.

01:44:55   CPU is getting faster.

01:44:57   It's like being back in the 90s on the desktop

01:44:59   'cause they're still going through that whole chain

01:45:00   of things, they add more memory eventually,

01:45:03   maybe they'll go past 16 gigs.

01:45:05   In general, we just take for granted all the standard,

01:45:08   Apple is doing good hardware stuff.

01:45:10   And that I think is why when people talk about it,

01:45:12   they're like, Apple hardware is doing great

01:45:14   and the software, there's more of a problem like that.

01:45:16   I think that is also a general perception

01:45:18   that is not just us, that if you had to rate Apple,

01:45:21   when Jason Snell did that big survey,

01:45:22   and again, maybe he's all echo chamber

01:45:24   and he's just serving a bunch of tech reporters,

01:45:26   but like, you know, tech report, you can't, you know,

01:45:28   it's not as if you can discount the opinion

01:45:30   of all tech reporters, so they're too inside.

01:45:31   Or like, so should we just ask people

01:45:33   who don't know about the tech industry, I guess?

01:45:35   Anyway, we did that big survey,

01:45:37   and you look at the little bar charts

01:45:38   of how is Apple doing with like, you know,

01:45:39   grades from like A to F or whatever.

01:45:42   Hardware, they got a way higher grade

01:45:44   than they got software.

01:45:44   Like just broadly speaking, whatever you think about,

01:45:47   they're just doing better with the hardware than software.

01:45:49   And that the quibbles you get to have about hardware

01:45:51   are so much more specific and minor

01:45:56   than the basic stuff we're talking about on the software.

01:45:59   Going to a television show

01:46:02   and wanting to watch the next episode,

01:46:04   a television show that you've purchased

01:46:05   in the Apple ecosystem, or it's like a common task,

01:46:08   and making that task frustrating

01:46:10   is just falling down on the basics.

01:46:13   So again, the overall trends, I think,

01:46:16   it's like it's not us being negative nellies.

01:46:19   There is an actual thing out there about that,

01:46:21   whether it's a real thing or not, it is out there.

01:46:24   And I think everyone can agree,

01:46:26   even no matter how much you love Apple,

01:46:27   if you had to say,

01:46:28   "Is it they're doing better on hardware or software lately?"

01:46:31   Probably have complaints about both,

01:46:32   but you have to say they're doing better on hardware

01:46:34   because the software,

01:46:35   the unforced errors they're making on software

01:46:37   are just so inexplicable and such a regression.

01:46:40   Whereas at the very least,

01:46:41   even if they make a slight mistake on hardware

01:46:42   and making like the 6 slippery,

01:46:44   when they make the 6s,

01:46:45   they try to make it less slippery, right?

01:46:48   We give them the pass,

01:46:49   and like you're making progress,

01:46:50   they'll be, you know, you fold it,

01:46:51   but like they're making it better.

01:46:52   And is the 6S faster?

01:46:53   Yes, it is.

01:46:54   And does it have a better camera?

01:46:55   Yes, it does.

01:46:56   And does it have, you know,

01:46:57   cool 3D touch and the haptic engine and all this?

01:47:00   It's like, it's cooler, it's better.

01:47:02   I wish I had one instead of my 6.

01:47:04   But I don't wish I had the version of iPhoto

01:47:07   that removed all the toolbar buttons.

01:47:08   I wish I had the previous one,

01:47:10   because I liked those buttons.

01:47:11   And I don't wish I, you know,

01:47:12   photos is great because it brings these great features

01:47:14   with the cloud syncing,

01:47:15   but all the other stuff I do with it

01:47:17   was better in old versions of iPhotos.

01:47:19   At least you weren't an Aperture user.

01:47:22   (beep)