347: The Hubris of the HomePod


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:08   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode 347, and today's show is brought to you by Fitbod,

00:00:16   ExpressVPN, and Technology Untangled. My name is Myke Hurley, and I'm joined by Jason Snell.

00:00:21   Hi, Jason Snell. Hi, Myke Hurley. How are you? I'm doing okay. It's good to be here.

00:00:27   It's good to be awake and upright on a Monday morning to do Upgrade as we, as is our tradition.

00:00:32   Do you remember why we decided to do Upgrade on Monday? Did it just happen, or did we actually

00:00:38   choose this to start our week with Upgrade? I can't say I remember exactly. I can make

00:00:45   a few guesses. One, I can imagine it was a day in my week where I wasn't already recording

00:00:52   anything. I don't remember ever having recorded something on a Monday, so it worked for me

00:00:56   pretty nicely. I also do believe that there was an idea, or at least this is maybe why

00:01:03   we stuck with it, is that we get to go first a lot of the time. Every now and then, some

00:01:11   news breaks in the middle of the week, and other tech shows get to do it, but it's actually

00:01:17   more likely that we get the first crack at most of the stories, because it seems like

00:01:23   most stuff tends to occur later in the week or right at the beginning of the week, so

00:01:28   we tend to get to talk first, which I always really enjoy.

00:01:34   Yeah, well, happy Monday. I guess that's some #miketalk.

00:01:37   #snowtalkquestionforyou comes from Ryan, and Ryan wants to know, "How much tea do you

00:01:43   drink in a day, Jason?" I don't really want to measure it, but I would

00:01:48   say it is between one and three cups of tea, mugs of tea. We have a device that I like

00:01:59   to call the Tea Robot. It's a Breville tea maker that you put in the water, and you put

00:02:05   the tea in a basket, and you press the button, and it does everything else. It boils it,

00:02:09   drops the basket in, steeps it, pulls the basket back out, and beeps. So you only have

00:02:14   to do one thing. You load it up and press the button and walk away, and you don't have

00:02:18   to be sure that you come back in time to put the tea in and take the tea back out. It's

00:02:23   like multi-steps. You need to hover around your teapot if you're making tea, and this

00:02:27   thing is great because you don't have to do that. You press the button. It's great. I

00:02:30   love it. I bought another one. I did the John Saricusan method. I bought a second one so

00:02:36   that if it is ever discontinued, I have a backup of it because I love it. And usually

00:02:44   that makes a certain amount of tea, and now that we've been doing COVID, my wife and I

00:02:51   split all that tea. It used to be she would go to work and have some tea and then leave.

00:02:56   Anyway, that's 1,200 milliliters, I think. So 600 milliliters of tea is probably what

00:03:04   I would drink out of that pot. In COVID time with Lauren being here all day, we often make

00:03:10   a second pot. So I would say somewhere between 600 and 1,200 milliliters of tea. Yes, more

00:03:19   than a liter of tea. Yeah, sometimes. Some days. Hard days. Yes, I am a machine operated

00:03:26   entirely on caffeine. That's how that works. And then I switched to Diet Mountain Dew.

00:03:30   So it never ends, folks. It never ends until the evening. So yeah.

00:03:34   I have some follow up. This is kind of the longest, it feels like the longest term follow

00:03:41   up of all time now, which is talking about Find Mine.

00:03:44   I was going to say complaints about episode one. Why are you on Mondays? Okay.

00:03:49   I've been completely thrown off. If you'd like to send in a hashtag Snell Talk question,

00:03:56   just send out a tweet with the hashtag Snell Talk. Use question mark Snell Talk in the

00:03:59   Relay FM members Discord. Now we get to talk about Find Mine.

00:04:02   Oh, you didn't close the Snell Talk. We would have. The Snell Talk image would have remained

00:04:08   up there for the whole episode. The whole episode would have been Snell Talk.

00:04:12   Oh, we dodged a bullet there. We're going to close the brackets out.

00:04:16   Follow up. If you make a segment, a show like ours, you have to start and end the segments.

00:04:20   Otherwise, how's anybody going to know where we are?

00:04:23   Yeah. So Apple put out a press release talking about

00:04:27   the first products that are going to be integrated into the Find Mine app. So you may remember

00:04:33   they announced this at WWDC. So it's taken nearly a full year for this to be rolled out,

00:04:39   which I think over the last few years, that has become more common that they will announce

00:04:43   a feature at WWDC, but it takes about 10 or 11 months for it to actually start making

00:04:48   its way into the world. There were three products that Apple have highlighted

00:04:53   that will be integrated with Find Mine, which basically means you'll be able to register

00:04:57   them in the Find My app, which used to be... Was it called Find My iPhone before was the

00:05:02   name of the app, but then over time you ended up putting people into it when it swallowed

00:05:06   up the friends app. There was Find My Friends and Find My iPhone.

00:05:10   And then they merged them together into one app called Find Mine.

00:05:13   And then it's all sorts of devices and stuff now. And it's a pretty good app actually.

00:05:17   I like it. I think it's a great feature of the iPhone. And it will be even better as

00:05:20   more products and potentially AirTags, if they ever exist, get released.

00:05:27   But so the idea being that you could register a Find My enabled product with the application

00:05:33   and then it would be able to take advantage of every single iPhone in the world as a way

00:05:38   to locate itself if you lose it. So it's pinging Bluetooth off every device that walks by it,

00:05:46   that kind of thing. It's quite clever. We've spoken about it before. Apple's got more information

00:05:50   about it on their website if you want to find out more if you don't understand how it works.

00:05:53   But anyway, they have...

00:05:54   >> Devices. I like to think of it as devices in the AirTags genre.

00:05:59   >> Yes. Well, there's one of those...

00:06:02   >> There are no AirTags.

00:06:03   >> No AirTags.

00:06:04   >> But there are devices in the AirTags, you know, sphere, genre, the general area of AirTags

00:06:10   where AirTags would be if they were to exist.

00:06:15   >> One of the products is a tracker product from a company called Chipolo. And it is a...

00:06:21   >> Oh, man, you're making me hungry.

00:06:23   >> It is a little tag product.

00:06:26   >> Oh, I want the black beans with that. Oh, yeah.

00:06:29   >> Chipolo joke.

00:06:30   >> Okay, I'm done with that. Yep, there, insert Chipolo joke.

00:06:33   >> Some Belkin earbuds and some electric bikes from a company called VanMoof.

00:06:39   >> And I have to stop you there just to say, Myke, what sound do you hear if a dog howl

00:06:44   gets stuffed in the back of a van?

00:06:47   >> Moof, I'm in a van.

00:06:48   >> No, it's VanMoof.

00:06:49   >> Okay. I don't think it would say it in that order, but...

00:06:52   >> VanMoof.

00:06:53   >> These devices, so those three products, they're actually compatible with iOS 14.3

00:07:02   and later. I know that I thought this and so did others when Apple announced these products

00:07:06   like, oh, iOS 14.5 is dropping any day now. No, the Find My stuff has been around for

00:07:12   a long time, but there's been no products for it.

00:07:15   >> We actually got some feedback from somebody a while ago who said, I found this screen

00:07:20   in settings. Is this proof of AirTags? And the answer was, well, no, this is proof of

00:07:25   Apple's thing about how they were going to turn on third parties for Find My, but there

00:07:30   were no products to use it.

00:07:32   >> And for whatever reason, they've shown them off now because two of the products,

00:07:37   so the Belkin earbuds and the Chipolo tracker, they're not available to buy. They won't be

00:07:42   available for months. The VanMoof bikes have been on sale for a while and they're getting

00:07:48   the feature. So like they were on pre-order and now they're like months and months backordered.

00:07:54   I don't really know why they needed to announce this last week. Like it doesn't, I don't really

00:08:01   understand the thinking behind it when it's so limited and barely any of the products

00:08:08   are available.

00:08:09   >> That's a mystery, isn't it?

00:08:11   >> It is a bit of a mystery. I mean, we're going to talk about this later on, but I think

00:08:19   there were a bunch of balls in the air and some of them had just started to fall at the

00:08:23   moment is kind of how it feels. And this is just one of them that...

00:08:27   >> One of the falling balls? Yes.

00:08:30   >> That sounds about, that's a great metaphor for AirTags too. It's like, it's out there.

00:08:36   It's will it ever hit the ground? Will it evaporate before it hits the ground? It's

00:08:39   out there. They're juggling a bunch of stuff. Did we lose a ball? Did the AirTags not come

00:08:44   down? Where did the AirTags go?

00:08:45   >> Like I can imagine they maybe like made these arrangements with these three companies,

00:08:50   right? And it's like, oh, we're going to talk about it on such and such date. But then they

00:08:54   haven't released AirTags yet, but they've already committed to these other companies and there's

00:08:59   no harm in putting it out there. So we're just going to put it out there. But it's very

00:09:03   strange.

00:09:04   >> I'll give you the alternate view of this, which is if you imagine this is going to be

00:09:11   hard. This is like trying to erase people's memory for years. So it's not possible, but

00:09:15   like imagine there were no rumors about AirTags. Apple announces a new API that lets other

00:09:23   devices attach to the Find My network, which you use to find your Apple devices. And they

00:09:29   announce it as part of iOS 14. It rolls out in 14.3. They make a press release for April

00:09:36   where they say, yay, the first products that incorporate this are being released and here

00:09:40   it is. And we all go, oh, okay. And that's it. Like that is the other way to view this

00:09:47   is that it has potentially nothing to do with AirTags. Like potentially the existence or

00:09:53   non-existence of AirTags, the great existential question of our time is not necessarily relevant

00:10:01   at all to this. It may be a thing that's happening on a separate track. I mean, conspiracy theories

00:10:06   are great and it may be that they're doing this because they're about to release AirTags

00:10:09   or they just killed AirTags and we can't tell, but you could look at it from the bigger picture

00:10:14   of like, yeah, they said they were going to do third party support. Here it is. There's

00:10:17   only a couple of companies. It's not that interesting, but it's there.

00:10:20   And I guess it's like, if the AirTags never existed, we'd still be saying like, oh, well,

00:10:27   it's weird that they've done it now when these products aren't available, but then we would

00:10:31   just blame it on those companies and move on, right? Like the Apple would set this date,

00:10:36   these companies just didn't have their products ready in time. And that's the end of that.

00:10:41   Yeah. Yeah. So it's also, yes, entirely possible that Apple is doing this to prime the pump

00:10:46   and that they've got an AirTags announcement coming and they want, you know, they're happy

00:10:51   to get this out there to show that it's not a monopolistic move, but I don't know. I don't

00:10:57   know at some point. You've got to wonder what, whether AirTags is officially like not going

00:11:05   to exist because they've done something like this. I do think it's worth asking that question.

00:11:09   No, I think it will. I just think this is to try and stop them from getting sued again.

00:11:14   Yeah. I mean that, I think that's a perfectly valid interpretation is that after Tile basically

00:11:19   said how dare you lock us out, Apple decided they were going to open it up so that third

00:11:25   parties could join under Apple's terms, right? Using Apple's system, which Tile doesn't like.

00:11:29   And then when Apple comes out with its tracker, it's not going to be a monopoly play. It's

00:11:33   going to be entering into a market that already contains other products. So look how magnanimous

00:11:37   we are. And I could imagine it would actually help sell AirTags. Like if you buy products

00:11:42   that have the integration built into them, you then understand more why you might want

00:11:47   these little tags or things that don't have them. Like I'm sure some tech forward backpack

00:11:52   company like a Peak Design or whatever is going to integrate this into a bag, right?

00:11:56   Sure. Which would be frigging awesome by the way.

00:11:59   Yeah. And I recommend some company tries to do that

00:12:02   because I think it'd be pretty cool. But then eventually, you know, you're going to be like,

00:12:05   oh, I've got it in a couple of my products. I like this. I want to get some more of these

00:12:08   things. But I do also think you should say, right, like Tile, as soon as the rumor started,

00:12:12   Tile fired an antitrust lawsuit. So Apple's like, you know what, we've got enough of these

00:12:16   going on right now. We don't need another one. Yeah. And again, would they build this

00:12:21   entire feature just because one company threatens a lawsuit? I'm not sure. I think it's maybe

00:12:27   a little more likely, this is pure speculation on my part, that they had always talked about

00:12:32   doing a third party integration and it was not necessarily highly prioritized and the

00:12:38   Tile thing happens and they're like, why don't we bump that up?

00:12:41   I'm sure it helped. Why don't we get that up there?

00:12:43   Whoever was making the argument to do this got, you know, they got some additional ammunition

00:12:49   in that meeting. Yeah. So we'll bump that one up a little bit,

00:12:53   increase the priority there. Yeah. It's a funny story that this product just continues

00:12:59   being out there as a rumor. They're like, oh no, they're going to do it. Yeah, sure.

00:13:03   They're going to do it and they never do it. So I don't know how excited I am about AirTags.

00:13:07   It's more like a feeling of relief when, if they ever get announced that it'll be out

00:13:13   in the world and we won't have to talk about it anymore. Like it will have been, his story

00:13:16   will have been resolved in some way or other. But yeah, as you point out, what's really

00:13:22   interesting here is using, and we've talked about it a lot for people who don't know,

00:13:27   like Apple has built this very interesting infrastructure where every Apple product in

00:13:32   existence essentially is logging Bluetooth LE IDs as they go by. And there's a way for

00:13:40   them to, when it's a privacy controlled system, it was something that's very similar to what

00:13:47   they use for their tracking thing for COVID. The idea is if you lose your device and it's

00:13:55   not on the internet, it's still emitting a little Bluetooth chirp. And if you mark it

00:14:00   as lost, devices can say, "Oh, I saw that on such a date at this location." And nobody

00:14:08   knows whose device it is. It's just a bunch of randomized numbers, but they can be matched

00:14:16   because you know what all your devices' random numbers were. Your Apple ID knows that. It's

00:14:22   a complex system. But the idea is that even if you're not, it's not like a lot of the

00:14:27   Find My stuff that's with Apple devices where it only works if they're on the internet,

00:14:31   basically. This is much more complex. It's the new Find My infrastructure. And if somebody

00:14:37   with an iPhone walks past the bushes where your keys with an AirTag thing got dropped,

00:14:45   it's gonna see it and say, "Oh, there it is. That's where it is." Because it's gonna be

00:14:49   able to log that data and show it to you. And it's a system that's built based on everybody's

00:14:53   privacy, but it does sort of turn every Apple device into a finding mechanism for this thing.

00:14:59   And then they're working on ultra-wideband with the U1 chip where you're gonna get even

00:15:03   finer kind of detailed control over it. So this is a very good, cool set of technologies

00:15:13   that has nothing other than Apple devices using it right now. I mean, I would assume

00:15:17   that there's gonna be an ultra-wideband something in the next AirPods cases, for example, or

00:15:23   maybe even the next AirPods. I think Apple is gonna put this in all of their products

00:15:27   because they want this to just sort of be Apple products are universally findable. But

00:15:32   the idea that it could be, as you said, in a backpack or in sort of any accessory that

00:15:37   you can think of that you might lose, I think that's pretty great. But the devil is in the

00:15:43   details. So I guess we'll see how this plays out in terms of who adopts this stuff.

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00:18:03   So there were some Bloomberg articles published this morning which I love when that happens. I especially love it when I see articles before I've done all the prep for the show.

00:18:14   That makes me happy because I saw these before I sat down to start looking at what we were going to talk about today.

00:18:21   They are both on the shorter side but they've got some interesting stuff to them.

00:18:25   The first one comes from Mark Gurman and it's focusing on Apple's home products.

00:18:30   The company is working on a product that will combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart home functions according to people familiar with the method.

00:18:45   Yes please! This is exactly what I want. It is an Apple TV soundbar.

00:18:53   Yeah, it sounds good to me. I really like this idea. It's not a soundbar. Well I guess it is. HomePod.

00:19:05   It could be, right? It's an Apple TV and HomePod together so you would expect that its purpose is to provide you with a home cinema experience.

00:19:16   You're right. This is the Apple TV soundbar with a camera. I've been on this for a long time.

00:19:25   I wrote a piece about this at Macworld where I suggested that they should make an Apple TV that literally is just an Apple TV with a camera that you clip on the top of your TV.

00:19:34   And then you've got FaceTime and you've got all these other things that you can just do in your living room and all that.

00:19:38   This is a little bit even more than that because you're right, it is kind of a soundbar. You put it under your TV or over your TV.

00:19:43   It's Apple TV, sound and video conference all in one. Very interesting. And also interesting from the broader perspective of what's going on.

00:19:57   Is Apple trying things in the home space? We've been reading the tea leaves. I got inappropriately excited about a Thread Radio and a HomePod Mini.

00:20:07   But again, it's the idea of are they actually waking up and trying a new wave of stuff in the home?

00:20:13   And this is certainly really interesting. I've seen some people say it feels like a Facebook portal. I don't know. You are right.

00:20:23   This does sound like it's an Apple TV soundbar with FaceTime in it too. With the ability to do video or Zoom or whatever.

00:20:32   And if they put some intelligent sort of like camera tracking in it where they've got a wide camera that can zoom in on faces and stuff or who's talking.

00:20:42   So that the video that it's sending out looks good and not like the picture of a living room with a person sitting in one chair, which is a little less good.

00:20:52   I don't know. Really interesting idea. And I think as I've beaten the drum about repeatedly, I think Apple TV as soundbar works spectacularly well.

00:21:03   Because then you've got great sound and all your video sources all in one attached to your TV. I just think that that's a product they could sell and that people would like.

00:21:13   I want to come back to what you were saying about the camera and we'll do that by talking about what else is in this rumor from Mark.

00:21:22   Additionally, Apple are also still considering a new high-end HomePod device that uses a touchscreen and includes a camera.

00:21:30   Apple has explored connecting the iPad to the speaker with a robotic arm that can...

00:21:35   They say iPad. That's a quote actually. I really didn't like the way this was written in the article.

00:21:41   They talk about the fact of like just taking a HomePod and iPad and putting them together as if that's what Apple was going to do.

00:21:46   It's not what they're going to do. And like, so I don't like the way it's written, but that's the way it's written.

00:21:50   Apple has explored connecting the iPad to the speaker with a robotic arm that can move to follow a user around a room similar to Amazon's latest Echo Show.

00:21:59   So the new Echo Show, by the way, looks amazing. I think we're both Echo Show users.

00:22:04   The industrial design of it is really cool. It looks like the iMac G4, you know, it's like a little bit in some way, a little bit of a base.

00:22:12   And it's got like a little arm and there's a screen on it. And it's really clever that if you use the Echo Show for calls, it physically follows you around if you're walking around a space.

00:22:23   And I've thought to myself like that looks really cool. But the problem with a device that specific device for me is I can't use all of the video chat services that I would want to use.

00:22:33   Namely FaceTime. So if I wanted a product like this, which I think I kind of do, I need Apple to make it. So I would be really into this HomePod.

00:22:43   And I'll tell you something, right? HomePod as a name, this product makes way more sense for it than this expensive music speaker.

00:22:55   This feels like a product which is centered around things that occur in the home.

00:23:01   Also, one of the most baffling things about the HomePod up to now is that it had no interface, right?

00:23:12   Like Apple just decided to make it a faceless speaker with a little glowy thing on the top.

00:23:16   And Apple has iPadOS, it has iOS, it has tvOS, it has watchOS, right?

00:23:24   It's got a lot of screen-based operating systems with apps and with a visual interface, right?

00:23:33   And so when Mark's story says with a touchscreen but then says an iPad, you know, Apple's not going to sell a screen with an iPad holder that you snap an iPad into.

00:23:46   That would be bananas. Who would do that?

00:23:49   But I think the idea that Apple would sell a HomePod-like thing with a screen on it and the screen could move around and follow you or whatever,

00:23:59   but also that it would have the ability to display information. Think about Apple's widgets. Think about tvOS apps.

00:24:07   One of the things I hate about the Amazon Echo Show, and I've talked about it here, is I hate that it uses Fire tvOS but won't let me install Fire tv apps.

00:24:18   So, like, if I want to watch a particular video service on the screen in my kitchen while I'm cooking, I can't because Apple, or Apple, Amazon has just decided,

00:24:28   "Nah, we're not going to support that on the Echo Show," even though it's supported on the Fire tv platform on which the show is based.

00:24:35   So I think about something like this and I think, you know, Apple could just put tvOS on this thing or a modified version of tvOS,

00:24:42   or yeah, I suppose a modified version of iPadOS, but I think that's probably the wrong thing to do.

00:24:48   I think having this be an iPad is a little bit weird. But whatever it is, you want to have something that will show you helpful things and listen to Siri and play videos and do FaceTime and all of those things.

00:25:03   And I, you know, it's this, this article is just like, I had a moment of, of, am I being pranked here? Because this is all stuff that we've been throwing out as ideas of how Apple could take its existing technology and build interesting smart home products.

00:25:19   For years, we've been doing that and, um, and, and there's been sort of nothing.

00:25:25   And this story makes it sound like they're actually at least trying this stuff out and considering it as products.

00:25:32   And I think that's great.

00:25:34   You're saying about the, it would be cool if it ran tvOS, I think sometime in the last year or so, they, they merged the HomePod's operating system into the tvOS area rather than in iOS.

00:25:47   So when HomePod first launched, it was updated as part of iOS and that was where all the HomePod stuff lived.

00:25:54   But then they changed it. They changed it to be updated with the TV. So, you know, that could have been the beginning of something like this, you know, like what would it take to have a HomePod device that ran some software that was closer to tvOS than iOS.

00:26:09   And I actually think that would make a lot of sense. I mean, tvOS is, is very like touch screen, right?

00:26:15   Like, you know, it's, it's, it's super, you could super easily imagine all of the buttons and everything you tap just being available for you to touch rather than to use a remote for, right?

00:26:26   Like it's, it's not a complex UI, right? Like you could use it quite easily in that way.

00:26:31   TV, tvOS feels very much like it could be adapted for a touch screen very easily.

00:26:39   And then throw in, like I said, widgets is an interesting example too, where those widgets exist on all these other platforms.

00:26:44   And it would be very easy to see, to imagine sort of widgets appearing on that device as well, which, you know, widgets are kind of like, they're kind of like watch apps.

00:26:55   They're kind of like, you know, they're, they're all of a kind.

00:26:58   So, cause, cause what I found is that with the Echo Show, you kind of, the screens most valuable thing is it's display of kind of ambient information and stuff.

00:27:10   And Amazon does a very bad job of that. Like there's a menu you can do to customize things.

00:27:16   And even if you turn most things off, it still will tell you, try saying this to, to the Alexa and see what she says.

00:27:24   And like, I don't ever want to see those. Doesn't matter.

00:27:27   They're going to show them to me anyway, along with random pictures that I've selected from my photo library and random sports scores.

00:27:33   And it's just kind of this mismatch. And I think to myself, well, first off, Amazon should do a better job here.

00:27:38   And second, could Apple do a better job of that? And Google may do a better job. I don't know.

00:27:43   I haven't used any of the Google home devices, but like ambient information out of widgets and apps and other sources is like, this is not stuff that Apple's platforms don't already do.

00:27:53   Like it's all the pieces are there to make something that would be really compelling.

00:27:57   And so like, just to put it into context, we both like our Echo Shows, but we agree.

00:28:01   I agree with you on everything that you're saying, which shows just how low the bar is.

00:28:05   Like you do not have to do a lot to make a product in this category, in this form factor that is liked by people.

00:28:13   Right. I mean, ultimately, I mean, one of the reasons I'm sure that we both like it is that, you know, the Echo Smart Assistant is quite reliable.

00:28:23   I find it to be for me anyway, for the things that I wanted to do, it's the most reliable.

00:28:28   So you do have to get that part right.

00:28:30   But the idea of like what makes it good to have a screen, the amount of information that we get from this product at the moment, it's not a lot, you know, and I'm happy with it.

00:28:41   Like it shows me the weather most of the time. If I have timers running, I can see those.

00:28:46   Like it's not difficult stuff. And also the touch screen and its sensitivity is garbage.

00:28:53   Like it's so bad.

00:28:55   It's real bad. It's real bad.

00:28:57   I like the product because for what I want it for, it does all of that stuff.

00:29:02   And I do wish that I could take advantage of everything that it did, but I'm just not as deep into the Amazon ecosystem as it would like me to be.

00:29:10   Yeah. It's also, you mentioned the touch screen.

00:29:13   I think that's a good point is these devices, in my opinion, don't have a touch first experience.

00:29:17   They have a voice first experience. The touch is there and it's nice to have it.

00:29:21   And you can, you know, mine's on the back of the bar. And so if I'm in the kitchen, I'm reaching over the counter and then, you know, it's not a great touch based location of at all.

00:29:32   Right. And yet TV OS is driven by the Siri remote. Right. So theoretically, so it's supposedly a voice driven thing already.

00:29:40   And then you could also potentially use touch on it. And I think, yeah, I think it's not ideal.

00:29:45   The bar is super low. Even even for Amazon's devices, it just again drives me up with a wall that they have all this capability on their Fire OS platform.

00:29:58   And the Echo Show has none of it, like none of it.

00:30:02   Why? Why there's a Hulu app on it, but not a Netflix app is beyond me.

00:30:07   I have no idea why it's all the same platform.

00:30:11   So there are issues here, but you're right. The touch screen isn't very good. The home screen experience isn't very good.

00:30:17   Alexa's skill thing. Sorry. The Amazon Echo skill platform is hard to understand. Hard to set up. Doesn't work.

00:30:25   I mean, once it's connected, it works fine. But to get to that point is, oh, boy, not a great experience.

00:30:32   So I feel like it seems like there's multiple different types of skills and you're not really sure which is which.

00:30:39   But the fact that it is open means you can get lots of cool stuff or stuff that's interesting.

00:30:46   You know, like there's some, you know, like I've said it before, like our grocery delivery service has an Echo skill.

00:30:54   So we can just add things to our shopping order from the Echo. That is very good.

00:30:59   Like I it's one of my very favorite features. That's our number one. Our number one use.

00:31:04   Well, our number one uses timers. Our number two use is shopping list because we use any list and there's an any list skill that syncs with the Amazon shopping list.

00:31:18   And that's what we use. Like when when you connect a skill, you're like, oh, this is really good.

00:31:25   It's just they're hard to find. A lot of them don't exist. Like and I'll also point out, well, why do you even use one?

00:31:33   I got mine for like 30 bucks. That's the other thing is I have an Echo Show 8 and I traded in my original Echo Show.

00:31:41   They were having a special I had trade in credit. And so for something like I think it was like 20 bucks, I got an Echo Show 8.

00:31:49   And I know the list price is like 80 bucks or something. And and you can get referred ones for 60.

00:31:54   But that's the other part of it is also it's a cheap little kitchen appliance.

00:31:58   It doesn't have to give me the world because it's not that expensive. It's not that complicated.

00:32:04   But it does the job. And also, I will say the speakers sound OK. The speakers sound fine.

00:32:10   You can play music on them. They're not going to sound as good as a home pod, but they sound pretty good.

00:32:14   So like they're there. And I feel bad that I haven't tried out the Google stuff, but I just haven't.

00:32:18   And I would bet that Google probably does a better job than Amazon does at this.

00:32:22   Just my guess. But from what I've seen, the user interface is much more visually appealing.

00:32:30   It could it couldn't be worse like that. Yeah, it could have.

00:32:34   Having used the Echo Show from the beginning, Amazon's level of detail that they put into their visual interfaces is poor.

00:32:39   It's better than it used to be. And now that I can play Apple music on it. Right.

00:32:43   Like I can see the album art and it shows me the information and like that's nice.

00:32:48   But I just there's there's opportunity in this area. And Apple has this is my frustration with a lot of Apple stuff.

00:32:55   Lately is they have all the pieces to build this stuff. It's not going to take a lot of reinvention.

00:33:02   They have so many of the pieces already. And then they just and the bar the barrier to entry, let's say, in these categories is super low because the products that are in there aren't that good.

00:33:13   And then and yet with the HomePod, you see them come into the smart speaker area and they just whiffed it because they made very bad product decisions that made the product super overpriced and not appealing.

00:33:24   And so when I see these these reports from people like Mark Gurman, I think, well, on the one hand, that's super encouraging that they're actually considering doing what they totally should do.

00:33:36   My worry is that they're going to be coming in against one hundred dollar product or the larger, you know, Echo Show.

00:33:45   The new Echo Show is, I don't know, 250. Like my worry is that they're going to come in with something and it's going to be five hundred dollars.

00:33:54   Whereas if it was 300 or 250 compared competing against that 10 inch Echo Show, maybe they would have something.

00:34:05   I think for me, what I'm excited about with this report is.

00:34:12   If Apple are going to continue making both of these products.

00:34:17   This indicates that they are now making the exact products I want in those two areas.

00:34:23   If I'm going to buy an Apple TV again, I want it to be a high end feeling product.

00:34:31   Right. That's the only point of having an Apple TV now. Like for the HomePod, I do think that they need to be aggressive on price and features, as you're saying.

00:34:39   But for the Apple TV. Give me a really good home cinema experience.

00:34:46   Put a camera on it because otherwise, like I would just use the app that's built into my TV to get the content right.

00:34:52   Like I can get them all. It's built into the television or I can buy something for twenty dollars that's just plugged straight into the HDMI port.

00:35:01   Right. Like if you're going to continue making an Apple TV product, I do think that they should make a high end product.

00:35:09   And this sounds like it. And that one excites me a lot, especially now.

00:35:14   Now that I haven't bought a soundbar. Now I won't. Right. I have a white now.

00:35:18   And the right way to judge Apple is to judge it against the high end products in the market. Right.

00:35:23   Like this is Apple's not going to make an Echo Show five for 80 bucks or an Echo Show eight. Right.

00:35:29   They're not going to do that. If they make one, it will be that Echo Show 10 style. That's 250.

00:35:34   There's they're not going to go down below that. And the soundbar similarly.

00:35:39   And this this I do like the idea of.

00:35:44   Because one of the things that I like about the Echo products, especially, I like having these sort of like ambient home computers.

00:35:51   Right. It's a great type of thing. It's a thing that you can ask for things. Otherwise it will give you basic information.

00:35:57   And I genuinely think that not only could Apple do a better job with that, it's also more tied into everything else in my life.

00:36:05   It has all this data about me that Amazon does not have like calendars and stuff. Right. Because we're in the ecosystem.

00:36:11   Yeah. If if if I could put scriptable on there and use my widget that I built to show my air quality and my weather station and stuff.

00:36:22   I mean, that would be so great. And it would sync via iCloud. So I'd probably be able to use the exact same widget.

00:36:27   You know, there's so many benefits to being in the ecosystem and then adding in the cameras so I can have FaceTime calls and stuff and follows me.

00:36:36   Like, I love all of that. Like, it sounds great. Like, I'm into it, you know. So the development of both of these products are apparently still in the early stages, which I understand.

00:36:46   When I was reading this, though, I kind of felt like we've been asking for basically Apple to have the roundtable for their smart home devices like they did for the Mac.

00:36:57   And it feels like they've done that because if they do release these products, this is a huge recommitment to the home. Right.

00:37:06   And also they've gone ahead and done the things that we want them to do.

00:37:11   They should still invite some journalist to come and sit on that home set that they used.

00:37:18   Just, you know, sit around a table there and be like, this is this is our home. Good morning. This is Tim.

00:37:24   We've recommitted to this home.

00:37:26   We love this home. Look what's in it. We'll see if anything comes of this. Right.

00:37:31   You got to execute. They got to they got to make these products and have them make sense.

00:37:34   And if the HomePod taught us nothing else, they need to have it be a product at a suitable level where people will want to buy it. Right.

00:37:44   It's not they need to make them good because the HomePod, I would say it was good.

00:37:50   It just cost way too much and it was the wrong. And if you would argue in some will.

00:37:56   Oh, but for what you get, it didn't cost way too much. It's like, OK, but it costs way too much to be bought by people.

00:38:03   That's the that's the issue here. Right. So so a lot of this is calibrating what level of product you're trying to go.

00:38:09   If you want to make a home speaker with screen that does video conferencing that you can put in the kitchen or on the dining room table or wherever you put it.

00:38:18   What is that product feature set look like? What is the price look like? Do you make it four hundred dollars or three hundred dollars or two hundred dollars?

00:38:26   Like those are the key questions. And this suggests maybe they're asking those questions and that's great.

00:38:32   But, you know, they could they could make the wrong decisions and we could end up with a product that is messed up in some way.

00:38:39   That is a flop. So I'm excited, but guarded. I think that the the home pod also cost too much for the product category that people expected it was going to be like.

00:38:53   I don't think Apple were really making echo competitor. Right. Like they wanted to make this really amazing speaker which had Siri in it.

00:39:05   I would say I think you're right. I think that though that's the hubris of the home pod. Exactly. It was about it was the stupid decision.

00:39:13   You don't need an Amazon echo. You don't need that garbage. We're going to here comes Apple.

00:39:17   We're going to make you a brilliant audio file speaker. That's what we're going to do.

00:39:22   And you're going to buy it. And the answer was we're not going to buy it because they can, you know, even before that.

00:39:27   And I think the home was that like Apple basically kind of turned its nose up and having a device that needed to have it.

00:39:33   They were just like, oh, we just use Siri. Like what's the problem? Like all of your devices because that was when, you know, when when the echo was starting to become popular was when Apple did all of that stuff about, you know, like the device prioritization and all that kind of stuff.

00:39:47   Right. And I think it was kind of just like, oh, well, we're going to make this amazing product that you're going to love, but we don't need to compete with the echo because you could just use it in your phone or your watch or your iPad.

00:39:57   And it isn't really what people were looking for in a in a device. So I think that they really seem to approach it from the wrong angle.

00:40:07   And if it does come to pass, this new HomePod idea definitely sounds much more like the product it should have been, even if it ends up being way more expensive than the competitors, which obviously will be at least some.

00:40:22   But even if it ends up slotting right back into that overpriced price point again, it will at least, I think, do a better job of what people want it to do than the original HomePod did.

00:40:32   Yeah. This episode is brought to you by Technology Untangled.

00:40:37   I love finding new podcasts to listen to. I love especially finding podcasts where I can go back and listen to their back catalogs and really catch up, really binge them.

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00:41:22   This episode answered these two questions perfectly for me because one of the things that's really making supercomputers more powerful now is AI, which obviously makes sense.

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00:42:20   Our thanks to Technology Untangled for their support of this show and Relay FM.

00:42:24   Debbie Wu was reporting for Bloomberg as well. This is a short article, but is useful, I think.

00:42:30   Apple still plans on releasing their new iPad Pro this month, but they are struggling with the production of the mini LED screen, so they're getting low yields.

00:42:42   Yeah, maybe this explains something about these events, you know, planned events that keep sliding backward and product releases. Like, I like that the reports seem to be very firm that there is going to be a new iPad Pro this month. Like, I like that. I like hearing that.

00:42:59   That they're going to do it, but it does sound like it's going to be limited supply for a while. And this gives some detail of that, that the screen is slowing them down.

00:43:12   And then there may be, you know, the broader issues too, that there is a supply constraint in other parts worldwide that is limiting Apple's tablet and laptop plans.

00:43:25   Like that, you put that all together, and that might explain a lot about what we've been hearing.

00:43:32   Well, because this is it, right? There was some reporting of this in the tail end of last week, which kind of makes sense, right? There is a global shortage right now of chips, like any kind of chip.

00:43:44   A lot of the companies that make them have got these huge back orders, there's parts issues, all kinds of stuff, right? Every industry is suffering if you put a chip in something, which is basically everyone.

00:43:57   And it's like a million different reasons for it, and it's just kind of like perfect storm kind of scenario.

00:44:03   And so the assumption by some, including myself, last week as this started coming out, more reports of this started coming out, is maybe one of the reasons we haven't seen an Apple event is because they're having shortages with the chips.

00:44:15   And now there's another thing to suggest though, maybe also they can't make the screen for the new.

00:44:22   Right, right. Because this is a new screen technology, and it may be that the production of it, once you crank it up to volumes that they need, is difficult, and they're going to have to figure out how to make it in volume.

00:44:36   And they haven't, right? Like, and that's one of those things where, can we make them? Yes. Do they work? Yes. Do they look good? Yes. All right, let's put it in production. Oh, now what do we have to learn, right?

00:44:47   I would bet that happens a lot with new technologies, that once you put it in production, that you have issues. And so I'm not entirely surprised that this is happening. It explains it.

00:44:58   I guess this is any time that a product appears to be supply constrained or is supply constrained at launch. It's just that they haven't gotten efficient at making it yet.

00:45:07   At making them at volume, yeah, at scale.

00:45:10   And so, but this time they seem to be having a particular struggle, which would make sense. It's a new screen technology. So all of this suggests that if they do ship or launch iPad Pros this month, which this report is still saying, April, there's not a lot of April left, we're nearly halfway through, that the 12.9 model could still ship later as well as being supply constrained.

00:45:32   Because the rumors have said that there will be multiple iPads, they're going to refresh iPad Pro line, but the mini LED technology will only be in the 12.9 inch iPad. So they may launch new iPads and if there's anything else, and then also say like, hey, you can buy them now, but the 12.9 shipping later, or you can buy the 12.9 in a couple of weeks time.

00:45:52   So this is one of those things where we're in a, it kind of, I don't want to say it's an unprecedented feeling, but it's a feeling that I don't remember in a long time of, they're feeling like there should be an event, but also that feeling of it should have been a month ago.

00:46:11   You know, we usually have this feeling of like, oh, is there going to be an event? But this time it feels like there really should have been one already. Because you're looking at stuff like iOS 14.5 and Apple's doing, and Tim Cook's doing more interviews about app tracking transparency.

00:46:26   But this is only going to be enforced once 14.5 ships. So it feels like the machine is running, but nothing's coming out. Right? Like we're doing all this stuff, which would seem to indicate that iOS 14.5 is coming.

00:46:43   But we're also, it hasn't, and we're not telling you when, and it really feels like that 14.5 is in lockstep with some hardware, right? Which is something that they do when they have new hardware, they have a new operating system version, and sometimes there's some secret things that aren't in the, uh, in the betas, but it comes out in the release.

00:47:04   And we said this for a while that it seems like 14.5 is being held for products. And now it feels like more and more stuff is being added into iOS 14.5 because they're just waiting.

00:47:15   And it's just, it's, well, we were talking about it last week, like this like snowball effect, like things just keep getting added and it's just, we're kind of in this, this limbo and it really feels like there should have been some products released by now, but they haven't been.

00:47:30   This is what I thought would happen last year with the pandemic, right? And we didn't get it last year, but it feels like we're getting it now, which is, it's a little sluggish.

00:47:39   And it is because of the pandemic in some ways, right? But it's just funny that it's taken this long for there to be that effect. But this is, as I say, like when I was talking about Perfect Storm, they did one of, one of the reasons, right?

00:47:55   Like there was, there was lots of reasons. I'm sure that the ever given to probably something to do with it, right? You know, it's just all these weird things that have occurred in the last few months.

00:48:05   It's just led to there being the shortage of chips, but then Apple's also got this, this yield issue. Um, and if you're not familiar, yield just means like of all of the screens that they produce, too many of them are bad.

00:48:19   Like they're just, they fail. So you end up with this scenario where, um, the, uh, you, you're like, I'm counting on a thousand that I make.

00:48:30   I can, and I don't know what the numbers are. 990 of them, 940 of them. Yields are different, right? But like, and you'd be surprised some things just have badly, bad yields.

00:48:42   And you're like, wait a second, you throw away a hundred, you throw, you throw away a hundred out of a thousand, one in 10, you throw away.

00:48:50   I was like, well, yeah, that happens. Right. But what if it's, what if it's two and 10, right? What if it's three and 10?

00:48:56   It's like, no, no, no, we can't do that. We can't, we, there, there, we, we can't do that. You can't throw away half the ones you make. Right.

00:49:04   And I don't know what the levels are, but regardless, there's, there is undoubtedly a target yield percentage that they're not hitting here.

00:49:11   Yeah. And it's like, you know, it's like, we can't go into full scale production on this, uh, until we can slim that down because we're just never going to be able to produce this at a price which makes any sense.

00:49:23   Um, and you know, things get weird from there. So who knows? I mean, I feel like every week I'm waiting for something, whether it's an event or press releases of products.

00:49:36   Yeah. I really thought we might get something last week saying, especially since I was traveling last week, it would have been very inconvenient for us to do a draft.

00:49:45   You would have had me right where you want me. Um, but now I'm starting to feel like there's just going to be an announcement on a, like tomorrow or next Tuesday or something where they're just going to say, Hey, new iPads here.

00:49:55   They are goodbye. And we'll just, you know, deal with it that way.

00:49:59   Jason, I have some upstream headlines for you.

00:50:01   Oh, good. Good. It's good. You, you, you put, you pulled a little, a switcheroo on me and you moved upstream to a different place, but it's fine here. We can do it here.

00:50:08   The reason was, uh, I accidentally read part of like, I accidentally jumped to a different topic earlier on the show.

00:50:15   Oh yeah. A little behind the scenes people. Yeah. Myke just jumped way down in our show document and I was like, uh, are we talking about that now? Okay. Uh, yeah.

00:50:22   I brought up the, our ad copy. I read the ad, I came back to the document and I was just in the wrong place and I didn't realize until it was too late and they just figured that I'll just roll with it.

00:50:32   So now we're going to talk about some Apple TV plus.

00:50:34   Upstream!

00:50:35   Upstream.

00:50:36   Apple last week debuted the line, a six part narrative, nonfiction podcast series and four part documentary on Apple TV plus. The podcast is available now. The TV show will be available in the fall.

00:50:49   This is from Apple's PR. Uh, these Apple original series are independently reported and offer a unique perspective on previously untold aspects of the story of the US Navy Seal, Eddie Gallagher, who was charged with committing war crimes before ultimately being acquitted on all but one count for posing in a photo of a corpse.

00:51:08   Both series will examine the complicated realities involved with fighting a decades long war, stripping back the layers of surrounding Gallagher's alleged crimes. What Jason is doing there is the joke that the two of us often make about like murder podcasts.

00:51:23   Yeah, this sounds like one, doesn't it?

00:51:25   Yeah. Like true crime, terrible things have happened.

00:51:29   I like this idea. We're not making light of this situation, but like Apple's like, huh, you know, talk about crimes. We're going to go to war crimes. You know, it's like, just keep one upping everybody else.

00:51:40   This definitely sounds like the kinds of podcasts that people seem to enjoy on the whole. So I'm not surprised that Apple are doing it.

00:51:49   I love the way you phrase that. It's like, it's great that you like crime podcasts. It's great. Enjoy them.

00:51:54   It's just not for me. Like I enjoyed the first series, a season of serial. Um, but that's kind of as far as it goes for me. And I think a lot of it is I was just caught up in the hype along with everybody else.

00:52:07   Uh, the ending of Syria was one of the most disappointing things that I've ever consumed with, with such a further, um, the podcast is being made by a company called Jigsaw productions.

00:52:18   They're actually producing both sides of this is my understanding from Apple's PR thing. Um, it, look, this is just interesting to me because this is a full original thing and it's available everywhere. Right?

00:52:34   Like it's not completely locked down. Uh, you know, this is not a compendium to something else. This is not a companion. I should say this is not something obvious. Like let's do news. This is we are making a popular focused, right?

00:52:50   Like in its kind of storytelling podcast and, uh, we're calling it an Apple original. And then because we have investment in this idea, we're also going to do a TV show, but they're not companions.

00:53:04   It's not like a companion that is telling the same story, but with completely different people. So it's interesting.

00:53:10   My only thing about this that I wanted to mention is, although it is an interesting standalone thing, it's not quite, you could interpret this as an, an experiment in, can we use a podcast to build hype for our documentary?

00:53:30   Right? Like you listen to the podcast now find out about it in this documentary or alternately you enjoyed this documentary. There's also a podcast, right? And there's some sort of podcast and Apple TV plus programming synergy going on here.

00:53:45   Um, but you're right. You could also just consume the podcast in isolation and never deal with the TV show and be fine, which is not what it would be like for the safe for all mankind.

00:53:57   Podcast. Right. If Apple was dipping its toe in before that's like, it's whole foot is in the, in the water now. Right. But it's not, not all, it's not all in, but there's more of it in the premium, your original podcast space.

00:54:11   Well, it's different to what they're doing with John Stewart. So John Stewart's Apple TV plus show has a name now it's called the problem with John Stewart, which is a fantastic name because it's, it's got that dual, dual meaning, right?

00:54:23   Like what is wrong with John Stewart? And also every episode, uh, is looking at a specific issue or every season is looking at a specific issue. So it's the problem that they're going to be talking about with John Stewart.

00:54:35   It debuts this fall. It will also have a companion podcast, right? Which goes along with what they're doing in the show. Um, it's a multi season thing. We spoke about it before. I'm really intrigued.

00:54:47   Well, and that's an example too, where Apple, Apple made this deal with John Stewart and undoubtedly, I mean, it's possible that John Stewart's production company said, we're going to, you know, we want to do a podcast too, but it would not surprise me if Apple said, we want a podcast too.

00:55:00   We want you to do not just the show, but we want you to build a podcast around the content in the show, you know, use other correspondence or whatever, but like we want them, we want it together. We want this as a package deal.

00:55:11   And that I think that's smart. I think as somebody who does some podcasts about TV shows, I think podcasts about TV shows connected to TV shows are great because if you're a fan, if you're somebody who's really into it, you want, you want more stuff.

00:55:28   You want extras and honestly, you know, video extras can be okay, but, but, uh, a conversation with more depth about the show and how it was made or what you're trying to say. Um, it's, I love those for shows that I really love.

00:55:43   And I don't, you know, not every show I watch, do I listen to the companion podcast of, but the ones that I really have enjoyed either because I love the show or because the podcast has executed show well, that it really illuminates the show.

00:55:58   Um, there's so many examples of that out there. So like, you know, the good place podcast and the Chernobyl podcast and, you know, so, and Apple's doing the for all mankind podcast, and then there are all the independent ones, like the stuff that I do.

00:56:10   Like, I love it. So I think if you're making a TV show, you really ought to have a podcast component. I think there's because you have the access, you're the ones making it. You can make it.

00:56:19   If you're, if you're formulating your content, knowing there's a podcast and a TV show, I feel like that's the ideal thing because you can actually plan like his staff can plan upfront for what's in the show and then what goes on the podcast and maybe use the same people who built the show to talk on the podcast.

00:56:37   And that's the best you can do. And let's just say, frankly, for the types of shows that these tend to be, they are not expensive to produce right now. I'm sure Apple is paying way more money than they need to be paying for these things because sure.

00:56:51   And if you're John Stewart and his production company, you know, you're, you're probably going to hire. Podcast producers to build it, right? So it's, it's still going to be relatively cheap compared to the TV show.

00:57:02   But, you know, it is, you know, it is more people on your staff, right? To do this. It is. There is a, it's not like a few thousand dollars or something, right? It's it's it costs more than that, but you're right compared to a TV budget. It's nothing.

00:57:15   Yeah. Or like compared to any other type of companion thing you would do, like if you were going to do a YouTube thing, this is going to be cheaper than that.

00:57:24   Yeah, exactly. Actually not to get, not to, not to bring it back to 60 minutes as an, as a person with gray hair, I get to talk about 60 minutes now. It's very exciting. Um, but that's an example where Paramount plus we're in upstream. We can do this. It's legal.

00:57:36   Paramount plus launched with 60 minutes plus. And the idea there is that they're going to make extra segments of 60 minutes and just put them on Paramount plus.

00:57:47   It's not even a show. It seems it's just segments and you know, as talked about on upgrade, the app is bad. It's hard to find them. I feel really bad for the correspondence. Cause it's like, I even kind of am interested in it and you can't find it.

00:58:02   It's really terrible. And first off, I thought you should put them in 60 minutes, like literally in Paramount plus, they should be in with the 60 minutes stuff. You should be able to see it.

00:58:12   Right. Because that's, that's better, but I have now started to think maybe they should have just done a podcast. Maybe what instead of doing, and I know for Paramount plus they got funding to do something that was an exclusive for that, but I'm thinking, would this have worked better?

00:58:27   As a companion podcast about the stories that you're writing, because you know, in journalism, one of the challenges of television journalism is that you've got to have interesting visuals.

00:58:40   And what I learned in journalism school and before when I was working on my college newspaper and my high school newspaper, but especially in, in grad school where I did TV for a year is there's like a continuum of the amount of quality, like reporting that your medium allows you to do without boring people.

00:59:00   And it starts with writing and it goes to radio and then it moves to video. And when you're in video, if it doesn't have an interesting image, you just can't, you can't use it for very long.

00:59:12   Even on a documentary, it's very, very, very hard to do that. And so I look at something like 60 minutes and I think, well, of course you should have a podcast because you are doing all this reporting and talking to all these people.

00:59:25   And you're throwing most of it away because it's a TV show and you've got 11 minutes and it's got to have interesting visuals. So I do, I do think everybody should have a podcast now too. Also Paramount Plus is very confusing.

00:59:39   And according to a report from the information, Apple is changing their stance a little bit as they want to be bringing more than their previous target of 12 feature films a year to Apple TV Plus as a way to bring more subscribers.

00:59:51   So they spoke about this earlier, I think it was after Greyhound that they wanted to increase to 10 to 12 feature films because they thought it would be good for them.

00:59:58   And now they're like, we need five blades. They just want to keep adding more. And to help them with this, they hired Jesse Henderson. Henderson was previously the executive VP of feature films for HBO Max at Warner Media.

01:00:13   And they've hired Henderson to help them track down more feature films. Something that I thought was interesting here is that I was wondering if there's a secondary thing, which is that Apple may find these feature films as a way to secure stars to the platform.

01:00:29   Because in the last week, they have announced that they've ordered two new series, one with Justin Timberlake and one with Tom Holland, who have both been in movies on Apple TV Plus.

01:00:39   And so I just found that was interesting of like two new series get ordered with two stars that have already been in movies.

01:00:47   So I figured maybe it's like it could be like a dual thing. Like we get a movie and then if people like the experience, maybe we could sign them up for a TV show or see what other things they're working on and try and create these more of these kind of like symbiotic relationships with big names.

01:01:03   Well, and it so the movie I wanted to I don't know how you feel about this, but one of the things that I find curious is the movie push by all of the streaming services because I don't subscribe to streaming services for their movies.

01:01:21   Like if that makes any sense, or at least for their original movies, I don't do the thing where it's like, Oh, what's this week's Netflix original movie? I want to watch a Netflix original movie. What's this week's right?

01:01:30   Whoa, I'm excited. I just don't like there will be movies that will be on a streaming service that there are reviews of and I'll be like, Oh, I want to watch that.

01:01:37   Palm Springs came on Hulu and I'm like, Oh, that sounds interesting. I'll watch that. But we know now that all of the streaming services are working very hard to do not just take things out of theatrical and put them on quickly on streaming or day and date in the case of this year with HBO Max.

01:01:53   But they're also buying movies at film festivals and things and putting them on and there's the kind of a little bit of an arms race on one level. That's great because a lot of those movies didn't have much of a theatrical audience anymore.

01:02:07   The the the kind of mid budget and indie movies like there's room for more movies on streaming services. And I'm glad that that's true.

01:02:17   That said, I am more of a TV guy than a movie guy. Me too. I I don't like I said, I don't anticipate whatever the latest original is. And yet these streaming services do be do seem to be rushing headlong into getting as many movies on their platforms as possible.

01:02:35   I like your theory that it's a little bit about relationships and about proving yourself because the other thing that I find interesting is what if it's a what if it's not a TV show, but it's not a movie and like the the Chris Evans thing that was on Apple TV plus right.

01:02:52   That was a mini series and I wonder about that sometimes if like stage one is we buy your movie and then as you said stage two is now we're going to put you in maybe it's a series. Maybe it's a mini series.

01:03:06   Maybe it's another movie but like I think it's really interesting because there's a whole machine out there of like I want to make a movie. I'm going to make a movie independent movies.

01:03:15   We're going to get funding. We're going to go to this film festival and that's great. And that's the kind of stuff that gets bought and put on streaming services. What doesn't happen is I want to make a six-hour mini series and then I hope somebody buys it right.

01:03:26   It's like that doesn't happen. So I do wonder if there's like an ecosystem building here where these companies get into buy these movies get into a relationship with the stars or other other talent that they want treat them really nicely and and then go to them and their agents and say,

01:03:44   you know, if you've got a long-form project that you're interested in bring it over right like and just sort of recruit them that way. It's fascinating to me.

01:03:54   But whatever they end up doing whatever their reasons it's clear. They're just continuing to get more and more serious more movies movies and maybe maybe I'm wrong.

01:04:02   Maybe we will get to the point where you flip on your your streaming services and it's like going to the movies on a Friday night.

01:04:09   Whereas like, oh there were like five premieres. There's one on HBO Max is one on Netflix. There's one on Apple TV Plus. There's one on Hulu. There's one on Prime Video, which what do you want to see?

01:04:19   We can watch a movie on a Friday night. I can see the appeal of that even though I don't do that so much and it has been fun.

01:04:27   When like when Greyhound went on Apple TV Plus I was like Tom Hanks interesting. Let's watch that not like that movie. That was an enjoyable movie so I can see it.

01:04:35   I don't watch a lot of these direct to streaming movies, but I can see the appeal of it. So I don't know. I don't know.

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01:07:10   Let's do some hashtag ask upgrade questions.

01:07:13   Dr. Boral asks. This is a fun one.

01:07:16   Dr. Boral because we get people's names right.

01:07:19   And the Twitter name was like Dr. something Boral and I figured I couldn't just use their first name I felt like because they said they're a doctor.

01:07:28   So you know you got to put the respect on it.

01:07:30   So Dr. Boral says I guess if you want me to ever say doctor just change your Twitter name or name in Discord to doctor.

01:07:35   And I will clearly say it is what I've is what we can all learn from this.

01:07:39   So if you ever want to send in a question.

01:07:40   We'll also accept other titles.

01:07:42   Captain. Captain. Commodore. All those kinds of things.

01:07:46   So if you have one of those names in your Twitter handle or your Twitter display name or your Discord name I will clearly read it.

01:07:54   So this is something we've all learned.

01:07:56   Dr. Boral says in the hypothetical of a larger iMac.

01:08:00   We were talking about that a couple of weeks ago say 32 inches or so. Would your preference be a higher resolution display or to keep it at 5K but at a higher refresh rate?

01:08:13   I have complicated feelings about this.

01:08:15   Good.

01:08:16   So if we take a 27 inch iMac and just scale it up to 32 inches, but it's still just a 5K display that means that the resolution is getting worse, right?

01:08:30   The dots are going to get bigger.

01:08:32   We're literally just stretching a 27 inch interface up to 32.

01:08:39   I don't think I support that.

01:08:40   I don't think I want bigger pixels on a screen that's larger.

01:08:45   I think if you're going to make the screen larger, I'd like the resolution to be higher. Higher than 5K.

01:08:52   If this hypothetical had been, if you have a 32 inch iMac and it's the same resolution as the current 5K iMac, you know, would you prefer upping that resolution even more or going to a higher refresh rate?

01:09:09   I'd say refresh rate because my retina display doesn't need to be higher resolution than it is, but I'm not really interested in taking the contents of my screen and spreading it out over a larger space and having everything be bigger.

01:09:23   I guess I could turn it down into sort of like smaller and more space mode and maybe that would look okay.

01:09:31   But I feel like I'm pretty happy with the resolution of this monitor as it is and I would have to see a 32 inch monitor at 5K and see if I really liked that.

01:09:42   But I'd prefer not. I'd prefer Apple to sort of keep it the way it is and just make it more pixels.

01:09:50   Obviously, I would love to live in the world that you have proposed to get both.

01:09:54   But if I had to choose, I think I would choose a higher refresh rate.

01:09:58   And my reason for this is I'm using a monitor right now at home, which I ostensibly bought for my gaming PC or my streaming PC.

01:10:09   But I also plug my MacBook Pro into it. It is not retina.

01:10:16   It's not a 5K monitor. I don't remember the exact resolution of it and I'm fine with it.

01:10:21   But I'll just say I have a monitor that's a 5K monitor and then this one isn't. I don't remember the exact resolution of it off the top of my head, but it's not.

01:10:29   And I can live with that. It doesn't bother me too much, to be honest.

01:10:35   But when I switch from using my Mac to my PC, I really noticed the difference of the PC taking advantage of the higher refresh rate of some of the display.

01:10:49   And it feels so smooth. So smooth. And so, honestly, I have noticed the refresh rate difference on this more than I even noticed a promotion on the iPad.

01:11:02   The mouse cursor moving across the screen just feels so nice. And it makes the machine feel faster in a way. It's very interesting.

01:11:15   I'm going to defer to you on this because the challenge here is that I don't ever look at my Mac screen and say, "Oh, I wish it was smoother scrolling," or "I wish the cursor moved more smoothly."

01:11:26   And although I appreciate promotion on my iPad a lot, I'm going to defer to you here that maybe higher refresh rate is the way to go if it is that pleasurable an experience to have it be like that.

01:11:42   So I'm going to leave it. I mean, the problem with this hypothetical is I have not seen or spent any amount of time in front of a 32-inch 5K display or in front of a high refresh rate PC.

01:11:55   And so I can't. I'm just trying to imagine. And I suspect if I sat down in front of those two options for 15 minutes, I could probably give you a definitive answer.

01:12:06   And it's very hard to do so without doing that.

01:12:09   So the monitor that I have, it is 2560 by 1440. So I don't know, it's like nearly 4K or whatever. I don't know.

01:12:20   But it's 144 hertz refresh rate. And the difference really is quite astounding when I move from OS to OS on that monitor. So it's cool.

01:12:32   Eric asks, "The new Apple Arcade games that you spoke about last week, like 3s Plus and Flip Flop Solitaire Plus aren't on the Apple TV or the Mac.

01:12:41   Do you think this signals a shift in Apple Arcade or have those games not been ported yet?"

01:12:47   So I think this was actually a part that I didn't think about to talk about last time when we were talking about the fact that this did seem like a shift.

01:12:53   I think that the idea that these have to exist on the Mac and Apple TV, that is arcade originals.

01:13:01   If it's not an arcade original, they're not going to make you do this.

01:13:05   Yeah, I saw a note on Twitter this morning where somebody was like, "Well, wait a second. I thought the whole appeal of Apple Arcade was that they were exclusives."

01:13:11   It's like, well, no.

01:13:13   Who cares? How is that an appeal to anybody except Apple?

01:13:16   That's exactly it. So yes, if your appeal is a "ho," I get games nobody else gets on this platform.

01:13:22   I guess that was part of a larger thing, which was you pay money and you get games.

01:13:28   And what Apple's doing here is repositioning Apple Arcade to be three things.

01:13:33   It's Apple Arcade originals over here. Those are the exclusives.

01:13:38   And again, the exclusives have always had an asterisk, which is it's exclusive to mobile platforms.

01:13:43   So that's over there.

01:13:45   But then there's the new stuff that is the free—it's on the App Store, but now you can get it for free with Apple Arcade, these plus things.

01:13:54   And the idea of the retro stuff that's being revived.

01:13:57   And there are three different streams for game content on Apple Arcade.

01:14:02   I think it's interesting to point out that stuff doesn't show up on the Mac or on Apple TV in some of the other categories,

01:14:08   because that could be a shift in Apple's strategy.

01:14:10   It could be just the reality that they couldn't get it up and running with those things.

01:14:14   And I don't know that—are they willing to pay to bring it over, but not willing to pay to have it be built for other platforms?

01:14:22   Some games just wouldn't work. If you're building an arcade original, you're building that in mind of, "Okay, this is going to be working on every platform."

01:14:34   And so that's how you build the game with that in mind.

01:14:37   If you've built the game for the iPhone, they're not all going to work on the Apple TV or the Mac.

01:14:40   The experience isn't going to be good enough in some instances, I feel.

01:14:45   Yeah, also, I'm checking right now, but my guess is that—so you can get threes on the Mac if you're using an Apple Silicon Mac, right?

01:15:02   Okay, yep.

01:15:03   So you could argue that the "aha, but it's not on the Mac," it's like, "Well, it would not surprise me if they're all on the Mac via Apple Silicon."

01:15:14   Yeah, but you might have to use that weird—what is it—touch assist thing.

01:15:19   You might.

01:15:20   But I think that the idea being, you know, the fact that these games have all been on everything previously, that was part of the old system, which is now arcade originals.

01:15:32   And then the other two, which was like the timeless classics, and there was one other category I don't remember the name of.

01:15:39   I don't think we can expect the same.

01:15:42   I'm looking here, too, and I think that maybe this person's point was that those categories aren't showing up yet on the Mac App Store arcade.

01:15:51   I think it's just a matter—for that, I think it's just a matter of time before they update that, because that's the beauty of this going forward with—and I'm sure this will be a condition of it—is if it runs on the Mac using the iOS apps run on Apple Silicon feature, then that box is checked.

01:16:11   Right? You check that box, because we want these available on the Mac, too.

01:16:16   And that's an easy one, right? Because you don't have to do any extra work really or probably very much to make it functional.

01:16:22   I think they will do that. Apple TV is a—it's a great question, but—and philosophically, I think they would like them on all the platforms, but that doesn't necessarily mean that technically it's possible.

01:16:32   And, you know, so is this a change in policy? I don't know.

01:16:35   I feel like the originals are all going to probably have to be across the platforms, but I don't know for sure.

01:16:40   Now this question from Simon. This is basically—I like this idea of us outside of the draft getting some predictions on record here.

01:16:50   Okay.

01:16:50   Simon's question is, "Do you think the iPad OS 14.5 will include external monitor support, but it's just not in the betas, like how the trackpad wasn't in the betas 13.4? The rumored iPad Pro with Thunderbolt could launch alongside it."

01:17:05   So this idea of enhanced external display support, do we think that it is A) going to be happening with the next iPad Pro, and B) that it is in iPad OS 14.5?

01:17:22   Well, it hasn't been rumored by anyone. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they couldn't do it because it's a software feature.

01:17:30   And again, that trackpad thing basically came out of nowhere for it being available at the time that it was.

01:17:38   You know, it was—we thought maybe sometime this year we would do it, but it was like, boom, it's available now. Nobody expected that.

01:17:45   So I have—there's no way for me to judge because first off, I want it to happen. Second, there's a precedent last year that they did this.

01:17:56   So—but it's also not been rumored or anything. So do I think it's going to happen?

01:18:02   I would—honestly, I would say it's 50/50, so if you want me to flip a coin, I want it to happen.

01:18:08   Mm-hmm.

01:18:10   I would also—if somebody else was very excited and enthusiastic in saying it's going to happen, I'd be happy to take the alternate, right?

01:18:17   Because I think that it is—I think it's a toss-up.

01:18:21   I think this is not a part of iPadOS 14.5. I think this is an iOS 15 feature.

01:18:27   Could be. Could be.

01:18:29   That's—if I was going to put my cards down, that's why I'm putting them down.

01:18:33   I think—I think the reason that there's room for skepticism is that you and I have spent a long time over the years talking about windowing and all of that on iPadOS.

01:18:51   And the cursor—you know, the little pointer thing is it's so delightful. They did such a good job. It's so well considered.

01:18:59   That said, it wasn't as huge a leap, especially since they'd already done the assistive touch version of it.

01:19:08   It wasn't that huge a leap from what had come before. It was kind of a progression.

01:19:15   And although there's—we do have multitasking, you know, side-by-side, split view, all of that, and essentially expose, you know, to show all the windows.

01:19:26   We've got all that stuff.

01:19:28   When you start to think about what happens when you plug an iPad into a big monitor and how you put those apps on there,

01:19:36   and I think especially when you think, "Take your favorite app and then run it full screen on a 27-inch monitor," like, "Oh, no, no, no, that's no good."

01:19:49   It doesn't work. It doesn't scale. It's meant to be at most on a large iPad Pro screen, right, which is much smaller.

01:19:59   So what do you do? And then it all starts to unravel, right, because it's then, "Okay, are those windows the size of various iOS device screen sizes that you can resize sort of like you do on Apple Silicon

01:20:15   where you can resize certain apps in certain ways? Is that what it looks like? Do you want windows? Do you want something that's sort of like tiling? How does that work?"

01:20:26   And the reason that I would take an enthusiastic person's yes bet and say no, maybe I'm not 50/50, is because it's a big leap.

01:20:41   I feel like there's a revisiting of multitasking on the iPad that's required for this to work.

01:20:46   That's my thinking. I think iOS 15 needs to bring about some larger-scale changes.

01:20:52   Could they do it in 14.5? I think they could. I think they could even do it part way and then do more in 15. But, yeah, I think you're right.

01:21:02   I think in the end you've convinced me, Myke. If I had to bet money, I would bet on no.

01:21:09   I think there's a possibility they'll do it, but if I had to bet money, I would bet on no, and the reason would be what I just said, which is I think it's more complicated than the cursor thing was,

01:21:22   because it has huge ramifications for how the iPad handles windowing, and maybe that's a full OS version with developer support that is required.

01:21:30   And I do think that some rethinking of iPad OS is in the wings. I would like to think that it will be 15, but I don't know.

01:21:41   Just thinking about things, we were talking about widgets, you know, widgets on the home screen, that kind of stuff.

01:21:47   And also the conversation around multitasking on the iPad has been going on for years, and at a certain point, Apple does address this stuff if people keep talking about it.

01:21:56   And as an iPad fan and a long-time iPad OS user, I know that there could be a lot of refinements to the way the multitasking system works, so I'm expecting that Apple know that too.

01:22:08   And so, yeah, I expect that it's coming, and I don't think they can do true external monitor to support until they've also addressed some of the other parts in the way that windowing stuff works and multitasking works.

01:22:27   Right, and a total overhaul in a mid-year OS update seems like it's asking a lot.

01:22:35   There's no way that they're adding a brand new multitasking system to iPad OS 14.5. There's just no way, in my opinion.

01:22:43   Two months before WWDC, why would you do that? There would surely be a lot of developer work needed to make sure that everyone's supporting this properly.

01:22:51   I can't imagine this being something where it just works, because it was the same with the trackpad. The trackpad needed developer work, right?

01:22:58   And they released that in March, and people did it, they got it working in time. But the idea of requiring all this work in April/May, I just don't see why you would do it this way around.

01:23:12   Especially when the 2020 iPad Pro, the actual iPad Pro, kind of didn't really have anything going for it.

01:23:19   It had LiDAR, where the 2021 iPad Pro will at least have this new screen technology, which will make it more desirable to people.

01:23:33   And if they put Thunderbolt in it, that will also be a thing that people will enjoy.

01:23:38   There are features I think that this hardware will have that the 2020 iPad did not have anything really compelling to it.

01:23:46   And I think it really helped them to have activity in the product line over the year, because they brought in the Magic Trackpad, which is an expensive accessory.

01:23:57   So yeah, I don't know. But if I was going to say, I'd say not 14.5, but I do think it's coming.

01:24:04   All right. Yeah, I think if they make iPad Pros that are very capable of driving external displays, I mean, the existing ones are too, right? Like, this is a feature that we've all we all looked at this last year or the year before and said, well, this is obviously coming.

01:24:20   Once they get cursor support in the system, you got a pointer, you got a keyboard, you're there, right, to drive an external display. You're there.

01:24:28   You just need to figure out how to build that. And, you know, they could have said, well, we can't get that part in 14, but we're going to keep working on it and we're going to drop it along with these new pieces of hardware.

01:24:39   That's the scenario where there's something to release in the next couple of weeks that does it.

01:24:44   But yeah, it's such a huge overhaul that it feels like the more likely scenario is that they announced it in June.

01:24:50   Let developers test their stuff on it, right? To get your iPad out, plug it into a monitor, see how your apps look and go from there.

01:24:58   If you would like to send in a question for us to answer in a future episode, just send out a tweet with the hashtag #AskUpgrade or use a question mark AskUpgrade in the Relay FM members Discord, which you can get access to.

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01:25:21   And thank you so much to everybody who has signed up and supported the show. We really appreciate it.

01:25:27   It's a wonderful club of Upgradients and we love seeing you in the Discord as well, which is an awesome feature of the membership program.

01:25:35   I want to tell you about another show here on Relay FM called Roboism. It's by Alex Cox and Kathy Campbell. This is recently rebooted as well with Kathy joining Alex.

01:25:44   So it's a super great time to jump on. They explore how artificial intelligence, machine learning and digital assistants affect our culture every day.

01:25:52   Explore the humanity behind the bots that are quickly becoming part of our everyday life at Relay.fm/Roboism or search for Roboism wherever you get your podcasts.

01:26:03   If you want to find Jason online, go to SixColors.com or TheIncomparable.com and he is @Jasenell on Twitter. I am @imyke.

01:26:13   Thank you to ExpressVPN, Technology Untangled and FitBud for their support of this episode.

01:26:19   But most of all, thank you for listening and we'll be back next week. Until then, say goodbye, Jason Snow.

01:26:24   Goodbye, everybody.

01:26:25   [Music]