293: Opt In Your Face


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:08   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode 293. Today's show is brought to you by PDF Pen from Smile, Pingdom, Hollow and Rogue Amoeba.

00:00:18   My name is Myke Hurley and I am joined by the one and only Mr. Jason Snow. Hi, Jason Snow.

00:00:23   Hi, Myke Hurley, how are you?

00:00:24   I'm fine and dandy, my friend. Fine and dandy indeed.

00:00:27   Yeah, well, you know, we're locked inside.

00:00:29   Yep.

00:00:30   As usual, really, for us.

00:00:31   Yes.

00:00:32   Yeah.

00:00:32   I have a #SnellTalk question from Jordan and Jordan wants to know, "Jason, what is your Kindle font of choice?"

00:00:39   [Laughter]

00:00:43   Kindle font. Okay, I do read my books on a Kindle and Kindle comes with fonts.

00:00:49   Exciting for those who haven't been paying attention. You can now actually sideload fonts onto the Kindle.

00:00:56   Wow.

00:00:56   You can get fonts and put them onto the Kindle and use them.

00:01:02   Well, it's a feature that I wanted for a long time and then I went and got some fonts and put them on my Kindle and you know what I discovered?

00:01:09   Yeah.

00:01:10   They're not that great.

00:01:11   It's a third party font.

00:01:12   How does the licensing work?

00:01:14   I don't know. If you've got a font file on your computer, you can copy it onto the Kindle and then it shows up.

00:01:21   It's like your problem if there's a licensing issue there. I don't know.

00:01:27   Anyway, my point is that the Kindle fonts that are made by Amazon or put on the Kindle expressly by Amazon tend to be good because they were put there with the Kindle in mind, with that pink screen in mind.

00:01:39   And so I have two. I find them very similar and I do switch back and forth between them a lot, which is Ember and Bookerly, which are both on the Kindle. They come with the Kindle and I use those most of the time.

00:01:53   I get it.

00:01:54   Ember Kindle. Yeah, it's an Amazon Ember font. I think that's their custom. They may both be custom Amazon fonts. I usually use those.

00:02:04   Another thing you may not know about Kindle eBooks is that they often come with a font embedded because the publisher is very clever and is like, "Oh, we have the license to include the font that we used in publishing the print book."

00:02:17   And so we'll embed that in the Moby file. And so you can read this book with our fancy font that we have that'll make it feel like a totally new experience.

00:02:27   And the truth is I have always found those publisher fonts, because that's what it's called in the font interface, publisher font, not very good on an e-ink screen.

00:02:38   They're bad. They're usually weirdly sized and fuzzy and they're not good. They're good for printing and then on an e-ink screen, they just don't render very well.

00:02:46   However, I am currently reading a book with the publisher font and it's a good publisher font. I don't know what it is because it's just called publisher font.

00:02:53   And it's kind of a nice change of pace for that reason, the idea being that when you read a different book, it has a different typeface and it feels like a different book.

00:03:02   And when you read every book on the Kindle with the same font, it does feel a little samey, like it's all just the same book.

00:03:09   Even though the words are different, it all looks exactly the same. But it's a rare publisher font that's actually decent.

00:03:16   So hats off to the publisher of the book I'm currently reading. Your font is decent.

00:03:20   Maybe later on in this episode we're going to find out what book that is. We'll see.

00:03:24   Thank you so much to Jordan for sending in that #snowtalk question.

00:03:28   You should send in a question, dear listener, to help us open a future episode of Upgrade.

00:03:33   Just send out a tweet into the ether with the hashtag #snowtalk included and it will get collected up and we may talk about it at a future date.

00:03:41   And we may also, later on in the episode, talk about exactly how those tweets are collected.

00:03:46   Lots of foreshadowing to Ask Upgrade later on in today's show. But we do have an item of follow up which is the Bridge Pro Plus.

00:03:54   So this is the keyboard that we've spoken about a few times. Both Jason had a pre-production unit.

00:04:00   We spoke about it in relation to Apple's upcoming Magic Keyboard and Trackpad.

00:04:05   The Bridge Pro Plus is the keyboard which is still in the works.

00:04:10   It's going to be shipping very soon from Bridge People which includes and is their first iOS focused keyboard that includes a trackpad.

00:04:21   Jason has got his hands on a final unit.

00:04:26   That's what they said.

00:04:28   So this thing is as close to what will make it into your hands if you bought one as is possible.

00:04:35   Long and short of it is unfortunately you may not have wished you didn't buy one, right?

00:04:41   Yeah, that's basically it. It's a product that was designed for the assisted touch era before iOS 13.4.

00:04:48   Where it's like, well we have a cursor sort of and it's a virtual finger but it's something.

00:04:55   And you know, I think this product was always going to be a little bit esoteric.

00:05:00   It was really designed for people who really really really wanted that pointing device and were willing to deal with the fact that it was very limited.

00:05:07   That the hardware access to the operating system was limited.

00:05:10   You basically could only use a mouse so it's a trackpad that emulates a mouse.

00:05:14   And you have the assisted touch finger which isn't very good.

00:05:20   But Bridge decided, they made a business decision like we're going to sell this.

00:05:25   We're going to go ahead and do this.

00:05:27   And it was a gamble and unfortunately I think it's really just backfired because iOS 13.4 came out which has a much more traditional cursor kind of thing.

00:05:39   A full cursor support.

00:05:40   And it supports trackpads. It supports Apple's Magic Trackpad 2.

00:05:44   And the support there is perfect. It is exactly what you'd expect.

00:05:50   I imagine the new Magic Keyboard is going to have a similar kind of feel.

00:05:53   It's going to feel like a MacBook basically. It's going to have that kind of feel.

00:05:58   And the bottom line is that that trackpad on the Bridge Pro Plus just isn't that good.

00:06:02   Sometimes I would move my finger across it and it would sort of take a part of a second to wake up and then start moving the mouse.

00:06:12   So the cursor wouldn't move immediately.

00:06:15   And then other times I would move my finger across and it would kind of hesitate.

00:06:19   Scrolling with two fingers was not smooth.

00:06:23   Three finger gestures don't work at all, right?

00:06:26   Yeah, you can't do any of those things that the Magic Keyboard supports.

00:06:29   It's just not there.

00:06:31   And although it is theoretically possible that Bridge will be able to do a firmware update of some kind at some point to make it more functional,

00:06:37   I don't think you can ever buy hardware in the hope that it might get better later because it usually doesn't.

00:06:44   And so for now, I don't think anybody should buy this because it's just not very good.

00:06:50   In fact, I was using it and I found I was actively avoiding touching the trackpad because it would just make the cursor come back and it would not work right and it was frustrating and I was avoiding it.

00:07:06   So I have their other keyboard and I like it.

00:07:10   But in terms of unless something material changes in their firmware at some point, I can't recommend this product.

00:07:20   And I'm looking forward to seeing the Magic Keyboard because I think that's going to have to be the solution if you want a laptop-esque experience including pointing device on iPadOS.

00:07:32   Because we've spoken about this might be an option because the Magic Keyboard is like $100 and something dollars more expensive.

00:07:40   But honestly, it feels like the gap in functionality between the two will be greater than $100 in value.

00:07:49   Yeah, it just doesn't... I think there's a product here, right?

00:07:53   If it worked fine, I think there's a reason for this product to exist because it's more traditional laptop feel than the cantilevered kind of thing that Apple is doing.

00:08:01   And it's cheaper. It's cheaper. By $100 in the 11-inch one and the 12.9 is $130 cheaper.

00:08:12   They're both a lot cheaper. But unless they can get the trackpad to work better, I just can't recommend it. I mean, I just can't.

00:08:23   Which is a real shame. I mean, the thing was, if this would have shipped before or shipped when it was originally intended to, I think the reception would be different.

00:08:34   Where it would be kind of like, this thing isn't great, but it is giving you the option that you don't currently have.

00:08:40   Where it's like this, you know, it kind of works. I mean, the gesture thing wouldn't have been a thing at all, right? Because they didn't exist.

00:08:46   So it'd be like, you know, it's not great, but in a pinch I now have a trackpad there. Awesome. If you're on the edge case, this is an edge case for the edge case. Great. You're good to go, right?

00:08:55   But now it's a very, very different landscape where there are lots of possibilities for you now.

00:09:05   Because any mouse, any trackpad will work in some cases, right? And if you use Apple's trackpad or particularly any Bluetooth mouse, you're going to have a great experience.

00:09:15   And then when the Magic Track, Magic Keyboard comes out, that should in theory be an outstanding experience.

00:09:22   And so unfortunately, Bridge can't compete with that. Where if they would have been able to ship something where the trackpad worked like Apple's trackpad, you would say, all right, this is close and it's a different form factor and it's $100 cheaper.

00:09:38   Great option. But unfortunately, they haven't been able to hold that up and it's probably because they designed it for a different world.

00:09:48   They were taking a gamble. They were taking a gamble on how Apple was going to implement mouse support on the iPad.

00:09:54   And then they got delayed and shipped the product late and the world changed in many ways while that was happening. And it's a tough situation because they've been making these things and they're just not there.

00:10:10   So I hope for the sake of the people who made another product that I liked a lot, the original Bridge keyboard for iPad, I hope they can figure out a way to make this product more viable.

00:10:19   But they took a gamble and they knew that it was pretty risky and that this product was potentially a very esoteric product.

00:10:31   And you'd think that 13.4 would make it more mainstream, but it hasn't. In fact, the implementation at this point is, with Apple's product laying out there, it's very hard to see how anybody should buy this product because it's not good enough.

00:10:48   The cheapness of it, and it's relatively speaking, it's cheap-er, it's still not cheap. I would recommend that you buy the regular Bridge keyboard, which is a good keyboard and doesn't have a trackpad and is cheaper.

00:11:01   And then in certain circumstances, use a Bluetooth mouse or a Magic trackpad or something like that if you want that kind of more of a desktop-y feel.

00:11:10   And I know that you can't do that if you're traveling and it's on your lap, but I just don't think that as a touch device moving the pointer around on screen, it's viable right now.

00:11:22   All right, let's do some upstream headlines. Martin Scorsese is in talks with both Apple and Netflix to fund his next movie, according to the Wall Street Journal.

00:11:31   It worked well for the Irishman, right? They got a lot of award nominations and it seems like everybody's been pretty happy with how that went down.

00:11:40   And it's funny that you mention the Irishman, actually, because it's the same situation. So this film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, it's called Killers of the Flower Moon, was in development with Paramount.

00:11:50   But Paramount don't want to progress because the budget was getting too high, like it was costing too much money. So it's the exact same thing that happened with the Irishman.

00:11:58   They were spending too much money, so Paramount sold the movie to Netflix. And it seems like we're back here again.

00:12:05   Martin Scorsese is spending too much of everybody's money and now needs a suit with deeper pockets.

00:12:13   I would be very surprised if Apple doesn't get this movie because this will give them something that they want, which is a consideration in awards season.

00:12:24   They will put this movie into cinemas like they did with The Banker, or they were going to with The Banker, and they will want to put it in front of the Academy.

00:12:33   And they will bring it out on Apple TV Plus and everyone will watch it and will be excited about it.

00:12:38   And then they'll hope it will at least get them the nominations that they want because Scorsese is involved and DiCaprio is involved.

00:12:44   I could see that. I could also see the Netflix scenario where they've been through this together before and Netflix marketed it and they did get a lot of nominations.

00:12:53   Maybe there's some comfort in working with the people there and Netflix has got money to spend too.

00:13:00   One of them is going to pick it up because Paramount doesn't want to do it anymore.

00:13:06   And both of those companies will want it.

00:13:10   I don't know if Apple were in consideration for the Irishman, probably not because of the timeline.

00:13:16   But my thinking would just be that if there's going to be a bidding war, I would be really surprised if Apple let this one go because this is the exact type of thing that they want.

00:13:25   Where Netflix, they saw great success for it, but they're going to have other options to them, you would expect.

00:13:32   But we'll see. Bob Iger's back.

00:13:36   We reported a couple of weeks ago that Bob Iger had stepped down as the CEO or he's in the transition to stepping down and staying on the board.

00:13:48   He's the executive chairman now.

00:13:50   And would be running some of the creative stuff but handing over the day-to-day running to Bob Chapeck. Is Chapeck right?

00:13:58   Yeah, I think so.

00:13:59   But reportedly, through the New York Times, Iger has retaken control of the day-to-day running of Disney to help them understand how they're going to change post-pandemic.

00:14:09   Because Disney and Iger is expecting that the company will be run very differently past this point.

00:14:15   Yeah, it's an interesting, the Times story is interesting because it is very much like everybody was speculating that maybe Iger stepped down because he saw the coronavirus coming.

00:14:24   He's like, "I'm out of here."

00:14:25   And in the article, they email Bob Iger and he's like, "No, it's really not that interesting. There's no secret behind it. We thought that this was the right time."

00:14:36   But the story is basically he has reengaged as executive chairman to run Disney in this crisis.

00:14:45   So although Bob C, Bob Chapeck, is still there, Bob, Bob Iger doesn't have a last initial, it's Bob, everybody knows who Bob is, at Disney.

00:14:54   He's apparently being really steering the company in this.

00:14:59   Because if you think about it, Disney, so when we talk upstream, right, we're talking about Disney Plus.

00:15:04   And there's some news about Disney Plus, very impressive, that we'll get to in a minute.

00:15:07   But what is the rest of Disney's business?

00:15:10   It's movie theaters and amusement parks, both of which put, pack a lot of people in a small space, or a series of small spaces, some of them enclosed.

00:15:23   And you gotta think that pandemic-wise, even post-lockdown, that is a business that is going to have some real challenges.

00:15:35   And that's a huge, the movie business and the parks business. And oh, sorry, also cruise ships.

00:15:41   There's a problem with all these things, okay?

00:15:44   The cruise ship business is done. And they're going to struggle with the parks, especially because Disney was re-engaging and putting a lot of money into the parks.

00:15:56   Not only are they building more lands, they've taken back the ownership of Disneyland Paris, and were investing heavily into Disneyland Paris over the next couple of years.

00:16:09   And what's going to be the plan now?

00:16:13   Yeah, so that's all bad for Disney, because there's a huge amount of uncertainty, and they're going to have to re-conceive, based on whatever world we end up living in in a year, what their business is like in those areas.

00:16:27   So it's a huge challenge for them, and Bob Iger knows those businesses well and is well respected, and even though they were doing successful...

00:16:33   This is interesting, because Bob Iger, I feel like, has tried to retire multiple times in the last 5-10 years, because he's got all the money, you know, he can walk away.

00:16:43   But every time there's been a crisis, and he's like, "Well, we need to pivot to streaming, and we're going to make that happen, and we're going to buy intellectual property from Lucasfilm and Marvel."

00:16:55   There always seems to be a thing where he's like, "Okay, I'll come back and do it."

00:16:59   And it seems to have happened again, where even though he's not the CEO, he basically is trying to save the company and be much more hands-on about it, at least according to this story.

00:17:08   So we'll see how it goes. The good news for Disney though, this is a segue, Myke, the good news for Disney, Disney Plus, that part of their business, which is perfect for this era, is doing great.

00:17:22   Booming. They passed the 50 million subscriber mark, so this has taken 5 months to put this into perspective.

00:17:30   Disney had originally forecast that they would achieve between 60-90 million subscribers within 5 years.

00:17:37   So, yep, they probably will hit that 90 before 2 years. So this is a big, big thing for them.

00:17:47   Disney is perfectly placed from a content and pricing perspective. That's why they're doing so well.

00:17:54   People want that content, and at $5 a month is an easy buy for a lot of people.

00:17:59   And I will say, I'm a few weeks into Disney Plus now, "Ah man, I'm loving it, Jason."

00:18:04   We're watching the Imagineering series, which is fantastic, but similarly, for reasons I can't understand, they are rolling that out weekly here. We haven't got the whole thing.

00:18:14   You can't wait to... You won't believe how it ends. They launch a Star Wars land, "Oh, I spoiled it for you, oh no."

00:18:21   No! So, you know, excited for the rest of that with 4 episodes in, very good.

00:18:27   Can't help but draw so many comparisons between Disney and Apple when watching this series of like, there is the visionary, and everyone follows the visionary, even though the visionary is not around anymore.

00:18:38   Very interesting. I recommend that series if you haven't watched it.

00:18:41   I was watching a bunch of movies, watched Moana last night for the first time. It's a great movie.

00:18:45   So yeah, Disney Plus is perfect right now for me.

00:18:49   And just to put that 50 million number in perspective, that's a third of the Netflix number.

00:18:54   Which is, again, in a few months. It's pretty good.

00:18:58   I think that's unbelievable that they've gotten that far.

00:19:01   It is pretty good, yeah.

00:19:03   Because, you know, it's like Netflix is basically in its own business. It's so big, right? You have Netflix, and then you have all the other new streaming providers.

00:19:14   They're like different businesses. The scale is so different, right? And especially because it's like, you think of streaming, you think of Netflix.

00:19:21   Netflix are a thing, and then you will choose your other streaming services.

00:19:25   I can't imagine that many people that sign up for Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus but don't also sign up for Netflix. Netflix is just like a given, right?

00:19:33   For lots of people. For good reason.

00:19:36   It is wild to think that in that period of time they've been able to amass a third of the user base.

00:19:43   That is very impressive. Very, very impressive.

00:19:48   Alright, today's episode is brought to you in part by our friends over at Rogue Amoeba, and I want to talk to you about their product that they make called SoundSource.

00:19:56   SoundSource is a sound control utility that is so good it should be built into Mac OS.

00:20:02   Whether you listen to podcasts like these, you're blasting music, or you're streaming video, SoundSource is for everyone who uses audio on their Mac.

00:20:09   And talking about it being built in, like it should be built in, one of the things for me is SoundSource gives me controls that Mac OS doesn't.

00:20:17   So I use a USB interface, right? That's how I have my microphone go in.

00:20:22   But I also have my headphones plugged into a box that connects to that, right?

00:20:25   In Mac OS, when I'm using the USB interface, which is whenever I'm listening to any audio, I can't control volume levels using the software settings.

00:20:34   I have to change the dials. But with SoundSource, I can now change in software what I cannot do in Mac OS.

00:20:43   Because I don't like to turn the dials on my equipment because I get scared that I'm never going to get it right again.

00:20:49   Right? Like this is the horrible thing about these USB interfaces. You change it once, you never get it right.

00:20:54   But now with SoundSource, I can just adjust the audio levels with software, and it should be built in. I love it. It's fantastic.

00:21:01   The UI is so simple as well, but it has really powerful features built into it.

00:21:05   For me, I can, if I want to listen to music on headphones, I've got my headphones attached to my little USB audio box.

00:21:12   Mostly I use it out of the headphone jack to a speaker. But with SoundSource, I can just go and say, iTunes or music app,

00:21:21   now play it through my headphones instead through my USB interface. And that one app now goes and the audio is in my ears.

00:21:29   And then I can flip it back over. And since I've got the headphones, another fun thing is I can route some audio through to the iMac speaker and other audio through the headphones

00:21:39   out to the external speaker. So it's like every device possible and every app running can go to a different place at a different volume.

00:21:49   You can set it to auto adjust the volume so it keeps a constant volume instead of having to keep adjusting it for louder and quieter and all of that.

00:21:59   You can just press this magic wand and it just auto adjusts it. There's a lot going on in SoundSource.

00:22:05   Also you can boost volume levels, you can add an equaliser and even apply advanced audio units to any audio on your Mac.

00:22:12   You have fast access to your Mac's audio devices, you don't have to dig around in system preferences when you want to adjust things.

00:22:17   And if you have a DisplayPort or HDMI device that doesn't offer volume adjustment, like when there's not just the USB stuff that me and Jason's talking about, SoundSource can help there.

00:22:26   It gives those devices a proper volume slider and the Super Volume Keys feature makes your keyboard volume controls work as well.

00:22:33   This is an absolutely fantastic piece of software made by a company that makes fantastic audio based software.

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00:22:58   Our thanks to the audio wizards at Rogue Amoeba for sponsoring this show and supporting Relay FM.

00:23:04   Cats and dogs living together Jason Snow. Apple and Google have partnered on COVID-19 contact tracing technology.

00:23:13   Now this is complicated stuff. I want to see if I can do my best to break it down. You can correct me if I'm wrong.

00:23:21   I was reading a lot of stuff for this to try and concisely explain what's going on here.

00:23:26   Then maybe we can talk about it in much broader terms.

00:23:30   In essence, contact tracing is a tool which public health authorities will use to track how diseases are spread

00:23:36   and they can also be used to alert people if they have been in contact with people who are affected.

00:23:41   Apple and Google have not created this idea. Contact tracing is a methodology that is used in different ways in different countries under different means.

00:23:51   Apple and Google's effort is going to be a two staged approach.

00:23:55   First, there will be a cross platform, or at least adopted on both Android and iOS API, that public health agencies will be able to implement into their own applications.

00:24:05   This will be released in May. So here, the NHS, we're going to talk about this a bit more in a minute.

00:24:11   They could implement this API into the NHS app and then people could use this information using the APIs with the system and stuff that Apple and Google are building.

00:24:20   Phase two is a system level contact tracing system integrated into the operating system.

00:24:28   Both of these methods are opt in.

00:24:30   Clearly the second stage has fewer barriers to entry because it does not require an app from a health agency or government agency to be required and will also be more battery efficient.

00:24:41   The contact tracing system works by using Bluetooth radios inside of our devices to transmit an anonymized cycling identifying number to the devices of other people.

00:24:51   So if two devices, i.e. two people, have spent a significant time in the same place, these anonymized IDs are exchanged and stored on device for 14 days.

00:25:01   If somebody tests positive for COVID-19, they alert the system or a health agency will alert the system, which will then alert anybody else who's been matched with your identifier.

00:25:12   So if me and Jason had been hanging around with each other and we'd been talking for like 20 minutes in the park, and Jason tested positive, sorry Jason, I would be alerted as being spent too much time near him.

00:25:24   So systems like this have existed in the past but not at this scale. This is a privacy first solution which was inspired by Apple's Find My technology.

00:25:34   Yeah, this is something I wanted to mention which is Apple, and Wire did a detailed story about this last year, Apple revamped Find My and one of the things they added,

00:25:47   and all of us assume it's because of these air tags that still have not been shipped that are little passive trackers, but the idea is the new Find My technology uses cryptography and Bluetooth beacons,

00:26:03   and it's looking for Bluetooth IDs and it logs them, and there's a whole system that Apple built, and the whole idea here is they want to be able to find your device if it's not on the network and it's lost somewhere.

00:26:16   But other Apple devices are going by and they see this ID and they log it and you mark it as lost, and you get the data of where your thing was seen, and boom, you've got your device was found and it shows up on a map.

00:26:31   That stuff rolled out, I think last year in Find My, in anticipation of the air tags product that still hasn't come, but when you read the descriptions of this system it's very similar.

00:26:44   And basically what this means is Apple already did a lot of research about how you do a tracking system while using cryptography and rotating IDs on the Bluetooth devices,

00:26:55   and a system that's built up around that that ensures as much anonymity as possible and makes everything opt in, and clearly the Apple side of this Apple-Google alliance came to the table with a lot of work they'd already done saying here's how we can do this, and that's good.

00:27:13   And Apple and Google, that's every smartphone essentially, and they want that. They want everything to be interoperable because Find My is just Apple devices.

00:27:23   But this contact tracing stuff should be completely interoperable between Android devices and iPhones because that's the only way you cover the maximum amount of the population.

00:27:35   So a system like this is useful in the long term really as social distancing measures will change from country to country?

00:27:44   Yeah, this is a phase two kind of thing where it's like, well, how do we loosen up the social distancing and the stay at home orders and things like that?

00:27:51   And one answer is you do contact tracing where if somebody is diagnosed, you can quickly find out everybody who is close to them.

00:27:58   This would be a tool in doing that, and then you can quarantine those people and you can stop it. You can stop a little outbreak from spreading exponentially and becoming a huge hotspot.

00:28:08   But you need to do that. In the past, they've relied on the memory, faulty often, of people and like where were you and when were you there?

00:28:17   And then how do you reach the people who were in that park on that day? How do you know who they are?

00:28:22   And this technology would allow that to be a lot more straightforward first by apps and second, ultimately, what they're saying is in the operating systems themselves that there will literally be Android and iOS updates that would make this work at a system level.

00:28:41   So you wouldn't even need to download an app to enable it. But that's not going to be step one.

00:28:44   And there's a lot of questions around that, which obviously we're not going to know for a while because stage one is May, so it's not like today. It's close, but it's not immediate.

00:28:55   So we don't know when stage two is going to be, but you would expect it to be before. This won't be an iOS 14 thing, I don't think. This will ship sooner on both platforms.

00:29:08   And I've seen speculation that says that this is an example of Apple probably taking people off of working on iOS 14 and having them do this instead.

00:29:16   Which they should.

00:29:17   Which they should, right.

00:29:18   Of course.

00:29:19   So I would imagine this is going to be an update that happens this summer and that, you know, who knows what will happen with iOS 14 in the long run, but they need to do this first. And so they're working on it.

00:29:30   And the exact implementation of that is going to be interesting, like how it's going to be into the system and how we are going to be alerted to it. Because this is all opt-in.

00:29:39   So you both, obviously the phase one is like a double opt-in because you have to get the app and then opt-in.

00:29:49   So that's why, you know, obviously, and I believe the second phase of this is vital to make sure that the system works.

00:29:58   So the NHS here in the UK has already announced that it will adopt this technology.

00:30:04   They're going to be actually, which I found interesting, they're doing a pre-release test of it next week in a part of the country.

00:30:12   So, you know, this isn't like an API that is going to be available for anyone to use, right. Like you have to be in a relationship with Apple and Google to be able to use this technology.

00:30:24   Something that's happening here though is there is also going to be a self-reporting option built into the application, which I'm seeing a lot of people criticize, right.

00:30:32   Because self-reporting is obviously not information that you can rely on and also is open to trolling or whatever.

00:30:43   I saw somebody on Twitter speculate that you could just take your, you know, you just go to the supermarket and hang around there for a little while and then go home and self-report.

00:30:51   And now everybody who is at the supermarket is going to get an alert saying they might have been exposed.

00:30:56   And yes, and you know, every system needs to be guarded against terrible people because there are terrible people.

00:31:04   But I think the idea of marking it as self-report or having it have to be validated by the health organization before it goes out, combined with, I'll put this out there too, combined with penalties for lying about that, right.

00:31:20   Like if you file a false self-report, that's like a false police report, you should actually be probably held accountable for that, like legally.

00:31:28   So, you know, there's a combination of things that will need to happen to prevent, you know, or really disincentivize trolls from doing it.

00:31:37   But, you know, I think having it, having, you know, going through your local health channels is probably the right way to go.

00:31:43   But, you know, the reason that we're doing that here is because the testing just isn't widespread enough. So, you know, you can adopt the technology.

00:31:50   And I actually quite like the way that they're doing it, you know, on paper. So there's two, there's gonna be two alert stages.

00:31:56   If somebody self-identifies and reports to the system, you are given what they're basically calling like a yellow alert, right?

00:32:03   Like you were being told that somebody has self-reported for this, right? So then you can monitor your own symptoms.

00:32:10   But if they then or somebody is coming through the health service, this is like a red alert, like you have been in contact with somebody who's tested positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate, right?

00:32:23   So like, it's kind of a situation of, you know, you can get into the politics as much as you like, and that's fine. This is a very politicized thing.

00:32:30   But, you know, my kind of read on the way that NHS is implementing this is like, this is the best that we can do right now, so we may as well do it.

00:32:37   And I'm fine with that. There is also a lot of conversation as to whether Bluetooth is actually good enough for this, like accuracy concerns, like, you know, two people next to a thin wall.

00:32:49   I mean, but it's like, what else are you gonna do?

00:32:51   Well, that's it. And I think that they've tried, Bluetooth LE, you know, its range is limited. It's supposed to be nearby.

00:32:58   And the way this works, it's these rotating blocks where it's like every 20 minutes or something like that.

00:33:04   So you need to be, the idea here is you need to be in close proximity. It's not just passing by someone.

00:33:11   It's like close to them so you can see their thing for a long time is what they're going for here.

00:33:18   Like, you know, it's not supposed to be, they're trying to get some of the noise out of it while still keeping up what a contact is.

00:33:26   So, yeah, we'll see. We'll see how that goes. But, you know, clearly whoever engineered this has been thinking through these issues, but you're right.

00:33:35   It's not pinpointed. It's the technology that we have in all the phones right now.

00:33:40   So it's what needs to be used because you need to really roll this out to all hardware possible.

00:33:46   Let's talk about the privacy concerns because you couldn't have them, right? Like, Google and Apple are being very forward in their approach talking about privacy first, right?

00:33:59   And the partnership between them is probably a good thing, right? Like, you want Google and Apple to do this and take a privacy first approach because it's better than governments doing it, right?

00:34:13   In theory. And also they're being very open with that, so I think that's really great.

00:34:20   There's a zero use of location data in this information, so it's just these identifiers, right?

00:34:26   Like, the identifier is not then tagged with where you were when the exchange took place, which I think is really great.

00:34:32   Because really, location data, at least for this right now, is not necessary, you know?

00:34:40   I think that, and as well, no data leaves your phone unless you explicitly say, like, "Report me," right? Like, "Report and move," right?

00:34:50   Like, my data is not leaving my phone unless I'm saying to the system it should.

00:34:57   Yeah, like, there's gonna be a tinfoil hat crowd who are gonna say, "This is all just a way for the technology, government, industrial complex to track all of our movements."

00:35:13   But, and it is a tracking system, but if you look at the way it's built, it's trying to use cryptographic techniques to separate the data so it can't be analyzed.

00:35:30   So a lot of the stuff stays on your device until there's an incident, right?

00:35:35   So you have your codes, and then if you test positive, you share your codes, which are then used by other people to look up if their codes match.

00:35:47   But it's not like there's a centralized repository. They're trying to sort of keep it separately and keep--you need both pieces of information in order to understand what's going on.

00:35:57   It is true that this system, once you say, "I've tested positive," you're entering that into the system.

00:36:06   And then your, you know, somebody, your local health department or whatever, knows that you have reported, and that is a loss of privacy at that point.

00:36:17   And you can choose not to do it, but again, this is the whole kind of idea here.

00:36:21   There are absolutely issues here, and I think it's instructive for those who remember back to post-9/11, where in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, a lot of rules were changed and laws were passed that were essentially supposed to be temporary measures for security during the crisis that never ended.

00:36:49   And so I think it's all, all of us need to be wary of that, that this is the perfect opportunity for governments especially to take more control over our lives that, in the circumstances where we're willing to give it to them, and then keep it forever.

00:37:09   It's always worth doing that.

00:37:11   That said, you do have to balance that with the serious public health issue, and the story of governments is the story of balancing the personal need with the societal need.

00:37:25   You can read about that in your college philosophy textbooks if you like, people, go look up Rousseau sometime.

00:37:35   But I think it's a very strong social need here, and I actually kind of appreciate Apple being involved in this because Apple is trying very hard to walk that line of functionality without having it be a giant privacy loss.

00:37:51   And that's good.

00:37:52   Like, I do believe that this is an attempt to make this as non-invasive as possible, but we should all keep an eye on it, and I think there's an argument to be made that them making this announcement now also gives an opportunity for everybody to scrutinize it and say, "Well, what about this? What about this?"

00:38:11   And maybe make them make changes. And this is not a kind of thing that if just governments rolled it out and said, "This is what we're doing now. We're taking over your phones, and we're reporting where you're located, and it's for your own good."

00:38:23   That's a lot more scary than all the white papers being posted on Apple and Google's websites with detailed technical documentation where they're really saying, "Here's what we plan on doing," and they know that people are going to scrutinize that, and they welcome it.

00:38:36   I like that about it.

00:38:38   And there is a severe public health need. If we want to unlock the world and go back to something that at least allows us to move around a bit more, testing and tracing has to happen.

00:38:51   That's how we get out of this without it being just another huge flare-up. So I'm encouraged by this, but yes, it should absolutely be scrutinized.

00:39:01   It's a very dystopian thing to think about, but it's even more dystopian to be forced to stay in my home. And I would like to not do that. I would like to be able to leave my home.

00:39:15   So I welcome this personally. I even, again, just thinking aloud here, I question if opt-in, that you have to opt-in is the right move for this, ultimately. I wonder if it should be an opt-out situation.

00:39:40   My feeling is that it's opt-in, but it's opt-in your face, which is, especially once it gets on the phones, I imagine it's going to be like an emergency alert.

00:39:55   I want people to be told multiple times to opt-in.

00:40:00   Well, I'm sure that they will have a debate about that internally, but certainly it's going to be one of those things where you're not going to have to go to a setting that you don't know exists and flip it.

00:40:11   I think it's going to be a thing that pops up in your face on the phone that says, "Contact tracing, help stop the spread. You're going to do this unless you say, 'I don't want to be involved.'"

00:40:26   And then you have to tap, "I don't want to be involved." And then, yes, perhaps at that point, you even get bugged a couple more times saying, "We really need your help here."

00:40:35   But I do think it'll be that kind of a thing. It's not going to be, you know, find it in settings or download this app, which is how it's going to start.

00:40:42   Ultimately, it needs to be a foundational part of using the phone that it's going to get in your face and say, "We need you to do this."

00:40:49   And you're going to opt in by not saying no, but it's as close to an opt-out as you can get.

00:40:59   And I think that's probably the right balance to strike is you want people to be able to say no, but you want to strongly encourage them to say yes.

00:41:06   Because I think that a lot of people that would say no or would not opt into this are the same people that would also not respect social distancing measures. So they're like the people you need to be monitoring with this system.

00:41:24   That is not a one-to-one correlation, but I expect people that would not choosably opt into this system are maybe also thinking, "I don't need to worry about this." And they are the exact people that we need to be worried about.

00:41:40   Because they need to be protected from themselves and also other people need to be protected from them.

00:41:49   And so that's what gives me, I am perfectly happy with what is being announced here. I'm so proud of these two companies for getting together to do this. This is the way it should be done.

00:42:03   But I really hope that they are leaving things on the table that they might pick up again later on, which is a stricter approach.

00:42:11   Because it's for people's good. And if they are saying they're doing it right and they're not going to give these keys over to the governments afterwards, maybe we do need them as a social responsibility to eventually make this more of a thing.

00:42:26   And I'm really happy to see that it's not just an API. That it is going to be a system-integrated feature to the devices. Because it's like, Tim Cook, we were talking about this last week, talking about at Apple we are trying to find the ways which we can make the biggest impact based on what we do.

00:42:47   I mean, this is it, right? These are those things.

00:42:52   And the counter argument again is the idea of you're enabling the surveillance state by doing this. And I really see that argument.

00:43:01   But what, a couple of things. One is the fact that the system is being built with privacy in mind is a good start.

00:43:12   And the fact that it's opt-in is a good start. And there's a huge public health benefit. But I think the problem I have with a lot of the counter arguments is the counter argument is, but governments will take this and say, why don't we, you know, you can see the FBI argument, right?

00:43:32   Like we've had this conversation on this show before. The FBI argument is, well, if we had tracking turned on on everybody's phones, we would know where the terrorist, who the terrorist came into contact with.

00:43:46   And that would be an important piece of information for law enforcement. Even if it turns out that it's not, they would make that argument. And it would be, you know, you could do that.

00:43:55   What I'd argue is governments are going to do that. And it's up to the people in democracies at least, and the judiciary and everybody else to fight it if they can.

00:44:10   It's up to these companies to build these things around things like cryptography so that it's a little bit out of their hands about what happens.

00:44:21   That it's not one of those things, because as we know with end-to-end cryptography, you know, encryption stuff, you know, they try to legislate it.

00:44:31   And the answer is you can't because it's math. Like you actually can't open that hole and use the magic golden key to unencrypt things in certain circumstances.

00:44:41   And I know this is depressing, but the bottom line is oppressive governments are going to use this tech anyway and already are.

00:44:51   The solution is not to not use the tech because the tech is going to be used regardless. It's culturally to fight it as citizens, as companies.

00:45:02   And I think that's what Apple has been trying to do all along with stuff like this. And also this feels just very necessary.

00:45:11   So I think we need to be in a situation where this implementation is done with privacy in mind so that it cannot be picked up in two years and turned into a universal surveillance,

00:45:23   where if the police want to find out every single person that you've been in contact with over the last 30 days, they can get a court order and they can do that.

00:45:30   By the way, they can already do that because they can use cell phone towers and there's like other ways to do it.

00:45:35   Like there's a lot of surveillance that already goes on. We all know about it. This doesn't necessarily need to be in addition to it.

00:45:42   But if you're troubled by surveillance saying this is where I draw the line is protecting the public health, I think that that argument is bad.

00:45:49   So scrutiny is good, but this sort of thing does need to happen. Trying to build it with privacy and transparency in mind is the right way to do it.

00:45:59   And that's why I'm pretty positive about what's going on here because you could imagine another scenario where some government somewhere just demands that all operating systems of smartphones immediately start tracking everybody and dumping it in a central database.

00:46:17   Right. And this is kind of an end run around that. Not to say that the government of China won't do that if it hasn't already. That'll still happen. But this might not be the vehicle in which that happens and that's good.

00:46:31   We still have other things in regards to Apple's response to coronavirus that I wanted to touch on real quick. A bunch of headlines.

00:46:38   A selection of Apple TV plus shows have been made free in many countries around the world. So if you haven't yet qualified for that first year promo by buying a device, you can check out Dickinson, Ghost Writer, Helpsters, Servant, Snoopy in Space, The Elephant Queen and For All Mankind.

00:46:54   For All Mankind is Apple's crown jewel, in my opinion. So I'm happy that's in there.

00:46:59   Watch it. Watch For All Mankind.

00:47:01   If you haven't seen it because you haven't wanted to pay or whatever, go watch it now. It's free and I think everywhere pretty much.

00:47:07   I think you need to use the app, one of the apps and not the website. It's unclear whether they're rolling that out on the website or if you need to be in the app.

00:47:15   But there are all of those Apple TV shows and those are worldwide or free. In the U.S., Apple is, among other providers, enrolling out some other free content that I wanted to mention.

00:47:26   The book of Epics, which is an Apple TV channel, is now free in the U.S. for a limited time. This is all limited time offer kind of stuff, but it's also free.

00:47:39   And there are some great shows on that. Get Shorty, which is based on the Elmore Leonard novel. You may have remembered there was a movie based on it as well, but this is a TV series that's very good and that's available for free, so you should check out that.

00:47:55   Pennyworth, which when I describe what the show is, you're going to roll your eyes a little bit because it's the past, sort of spy past, of Alfred Pennyworth, Batman's butler.

00:48:09   But it's a really good show. It's actually a very stylish spy kind of show and its relationship to Batman is not relevant, so you should check out Pennyworth. And if you're a fan of Patriot, also called Sad Spies on Amazon Prime, check out Perpetual Grace Limited, which is by the same people and stars many of the same people.

00:48:34   Plus, Jimmy Simpson from Westworld and Ben Kingsley. And it's bananas. If you like Patriot, you may like Perpetual Grace Limited. It's not for everyone. It's a very strange show.

00:48:46   But if you like Patriot, you should watch it because it's essentially like the Patriot people. What's their next show? And the answer is Perpetual Grace Limited was their next show and they did a season of it. I don't know if there's more ever planned ever. Who knows anymore? But that's also available for free.

00:49:04   And in the US, HBO Now did a big unlock, which you can get via the Apple TV channel or by downloading the HBO Now app or going to HBO Now's website. And there, there's an enormous number of shows that they've completely unlocked, like The Sopranos.

00:49:18   Trim to yourself to some of the best television ever made.

00:49:34   That is in there. Barry with Bill Hader, which is a really good comedy drama hitman show that you should check out. Elizabeth Warren's favorite show, Ballers, is available. Silicon Valley, which just finished like Veep did and is extremely relevant for our listeners.

00:49:54   That's all available for free and Six Feet Under is also free. So lots of free HBO stuff, at least in the US. And if you're not in the US, look around. There may be stuff that got unlocked in your country too. But that's, it's a really, literally, if you've never had a streaming service before, get something attached to your TV and watch this stuff because it's free. And there's a lot of good stuff. You'll find something good that you like.

00:50:19   I would just like to add to that that I think that Sopranos is the greatest television show ever made.

00:50:26   I mean, a lot of people do. And it's there. All of it is there. So go watch that. And The Wire. And The Wire is in HD now. They did an HD revision of it with the creators of the show. So it's all approved and not a weird squirrely HD version. And yeah, in terms of the Apple stuff for all mankind. So there's just so much. Just of those shows I mentioned, just there's a lot of great free stuff right now.

00:50:47   Apple has published their most bizarre, like bizarro world support document, which is how to put together the face shield that they created for medical professionals, including some gifts and stuff.

00:51:01   It's just, you know, today in things you never thought you would see, this is one of those.

00:51:07   They made an ad called Creativity Goes On, which is just a nice little ad, but it's just showing the way that many people are continuing to use technology to spread creativity and joy to people.

00:51:19   It's just like a nice little ad you can watch if you want. But the thing that I found the most interesting is Apple retail have created a selection of video materials called Today at Apple at Home.

00:51:33   So teaching some of the Today at Apple type things. So like how to use your camera well and all that kind of stuff.

00:51:41   But the thing that I found interesting in this is an indication of the fact that Apple can and are able to create high quality video "from home", which I think is a good sign for WWDC.

00:51:54   Ah, yeah. Right? So they're still able to do it, right? So these are very well produced videos that I don't know exactly how they're being done.

00:52:04   Like I don't know if the people that are talking are literally at their own homes or not, you know what I mean? I can't tell that.

00:52:13   But however they're being done, they are being done in environments which are deemed to be safe. So when you're thinking about how are Apple going to do WWDC videos and sessions and keynotes and stuff, well, they found the way.

00:52:28   So I think that's a positive sign to see.

00:52:31   Alright, today's episode is also brought to you by Pingdom from SolarWinds.

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00:54:13   Mark Gurman and Debbie Wu reporting at Bloomberg about the iPhone 12 or the 2020 iPhone lineup, along with some other little tidbits of information.

00:54:24   This stuff is good because it's a good sense check as to all of the rumours that we've heard. Where are they going towards?

00:54:32   I enjoy it as a brief return to normalcy too, to have a Mark Gurman report about future Apple hardware.

00:54:38   Yes, that's all I want. Feed me this information Mark. Thank you.

00:54:43   Yes, inject it right into my veins. Thank you.

00:54:45   So we'll break this down. The iPhone 12 Pro, so this is the expensive phones, right? We'll call it the iPhone 12 Pro.

00:54:52   On the way later this year with a refresh design, quote, "borrowing cues from the latest iPads with stainless steel edges that are flat with sharply rounded corners, flat screens meaning no curves on the edges."

00:55:06   So imagine you're 2018, 2020 iPad Pro, but now an iPhone.

00:55:11   It's a phone.

00:55:12   This is what we want, right?

00:55:13   Or the iPhone 5 design too, but yeah, I think that could be really good.

00:55:17   This will be a strong contender, I think, for the best looking iPhone ever.

00:55:23   Because I know that phones in theory get better every year, but you look back at them, right?

00:55:28   People look back at the 4 and the 5 as being the best looking iPhones, and I think that this one will be a contender in the future if it does look this way on paper.

00:55:39   Because people like that boxy design, and I've said it before, I think we both have, the 2018 iPad design is my favorite Apple hardware design of all time.

00:55:48   It's so good.

00:55:49   I adore it.

00:55:50   And the iPhone 5 is up there for me too.

00:55:51   Yeah.

00:55:52   So I think this is a great look, and I'm very excited.

00:55:58   I mean, the moment they showed those iPads, we were all like, "I wonder, is that a..."

00:56:03   But yeah, well, I mean, it's like, "Wow, look at that."

00:56:05   But it's also like, "This is interesting.

00:56:07   Is this a new design direction that we're going to see elsewhere?"

00:56:11   And I think this at least suggests that we are, and I'm happy about that.

00:56:16   And I think it would be really interesting to have the Pro and the regular phones look different, like significantly different.

00:56:26   Not color, right?

00:56:27   And not just camera, but like, that is, you look at it like, "Oh, that's a different phone."

00:56:33   Yeah, differentiating the models is not bad, right?

00:56:36   Like, you want a reason to buy a Pro phone.

00:56:38   You want enough reasons that you don't just go and get the 12 or whatever.

00:56:41   Yeah, and one of those reasons, a valid reason for many people is like, "I think this looks better, so I will spend the money on it."

00:56:48   Three cameras and a LIDAR sensor.

00:56:50   So it will be a combination between what we have on the current iPhone and the iPad.

00:56:56   I can imagine a real stovetop array, right?

00:57:00   Like the four, you know, is probably what we're going to end up with.

00:57:04   There will be two Pro phones, and the larger, the Max, will have an even bigger display.

00:57:10   So a slightly larger than the 6.5 inch display.

00:57:14   This mirrors some rumors that we've been hearing for the best part of a year now.

00:57:19   I think even before the 11 line was shown off, and we'll bear this out a little bit more in a moment,

00:57:24   but there will be changes to the physical sizes of some of these phones.

00:57:30   And this was one that's really interesting to me, and I'd be super intrigued to see how this goes,

00:57:34   but it is expected that Apple will debut a slightly smaller notch design on the Pro line,

00:57:42   because they are, as you would imagine, trying to remove that notch over time.

00:57:47   But it will still feature Face ID, there's no rumor of Touch ID, and of course 5G on this phone line as well.

00:57:54   I will say, that lineup, that is an exciting phone.

00:57:58   That is a much more exciting sounding phone than I thought we were going to get from the 11 Pro to the 12 Pro.

00:58:07   Yeah, and a more Maxi Max, you've got to love that, right?

00:58:11   You'd love to see it, Jason, if you're me.

00:58:14   If you're you, yeah, sure.

00:58:16   You'd love to see it.

00:58:17   Then as well, this is another really interesting thing, so this is a different.

00:58:21   Two lower-end iPhones to replace the 11, so the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Max, we'll call it.

00:58:28   That is interesting.

00:58:29   Yeah, and the rumor here, I think, was that it's, we can call it the 12 and the 12 Max,

00:58:34   but I think the rumor is that it'll be a smaller phone than the current 11, something that is more,

00:58:41   because the 11, again, originally was the XR,

00:58:46   and it was a mid-sized phone between what is now the Pro and the Pro Max.

00:58:52   And so I think the idea here is use that as the big 11, but have a smaller 11 too,

00:58:58   because some people like the 11 concept, but it's still a big phone, and some people want a smaller phone.

00:59:04   But, like, you know, it is possible.

00:59:07   I would be surprised if they didn't call those 12 and 12 Max.

00:59:10   Yeah, I mean, it makes perfect sense, but in that case,

00:59:14   the scenario there is that what we think of as the 11 would be the 12 Max, its successor,

00:59:18   and the new 12 is a lower-end, or at least a smaller, not a lower-end, but a smaller version of the bigger 11.

00:59:27   But this is not the SE, though.

00:59:30   No, that's yet another phone.

00:59:32   That's a different thing, yeah.

00:59:33   It still hasn't happened yet.

00:59:34   But it probably will.

00:59:35   And then, you know, I think the thing about the SE is not size anymore.

00:59:39   SE is price, and that's the way that that will differentiate.

00:59:43   Like, the iPhone SE is not the small iPhone, because it's not going to be the small one anyway.

00:59:47   You know, you may already have seen the SE by the time you're hearing this.

00:59:51   People are saying that it's going to come out this week.

00:59:53   But that's not going to be an iPhone 5-sized phone, or whatever it was, right?

00:59:59   It's going to be like an iPhone 8-sized phone.

01:00:01   So, the iPhone 12 and 12 Max will have two cameras, so we'll expect that all the cameras will get better,

01:00:10   but it won't be gaining a telephoto lens or a LiDAR.

01:00:15   So, that makes a total of four iPhones at the end of the year, which is a lot of iPhones.

01:00:21   Plus an SE, theoretically, coming now.

01:00:24   Both lines of phone are going to see what is quoted as "significant processor upgrades"

01:00:31   with an emphasis on AR and AI, so artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

01:00:36   I mean, that's what all of Apple's chips have been focusing on for years.

01:00:40   I mean, they get more powerful in other ways, but...

01:00:42   The A14, presumably, and it'll be more in all those ways.

01:00:49   Because it doesn't say it either way.

01:00:50   Like, this would suggest to me that we're going to see a similar line to the 11,

01:00:54   and that really, like, you know, the cameras and the chips are the same in both phones,

01:00:59   but they differentiate in other ways.

01:01:01   Yeah, more cameras in the high end.

01:01:03   Different design now. 5G.

01:01:05   Different design, smaller notch, all those things.

01:01:08   Yeah.

01:01:09   We obviously, as well, you know, as you would expect, a staggered release due to coronavirus.

01:01:15   Some phones will launch weeks after, but apparently, Apple is not expecting, currently,

01:01:20   significant delay, but it will be staggered.

01:01:23   I think of, like, iPhone X, right?

01:01:25   Like, the iPhone X came like a month later or whatever.

01:01:28   Probably a similar thing, where, like, these phones will be available on these dates,

01:01:32   these phones will be available on these dates, that's that, right?

01:01:35   So, that's the phones.

01:01:37   Cool to have that line up.

01:01:39   Super excited about that 12 Pro Max, right?

01:01:42   That seems like an amazing phone.

01:01:45   It's the microphone.

01:01:46   It's like the most mic phone that could be.

01:01:49   I wonder about, like, thickness and stuff.

01:01:52   That's going to be interesting to see what they do there.

01:01:55   Like, what is going to happen there? I'm intrigued about that.

01:01:57   I would love to see more battery gains, but we're probably not going to see those.

01:02:01   Like, I have no problem with my phone's battery.

01:02:03   So, well, it doesn't matter anymore, right?

01:02:05   I'm not going anywhere, so my phone's battery can do whatever it wants.

01:02:09   That's right. Who needs batteries?

01:02:10   Just remove the battery. Why not?

01:02:12   Just constantly, just tether it to the wall and I'll walk around.

01:02:15   But we've got some other stuff.

01:02:17   So, a smaller, cheaper HomePod is in development,

01:02:20   expected for release in the second half of this year.

01:02:23   About half the size, but a similar design, and of course, a lower price.

01:02:27   Let's imagine, for the sake of conversation, half the price.

01:02:31   Half the size, half the price.

01:02:33   Could you imagine a $100 HomePod?

01:02:36   I can't really, because in my mind, I've turned that into a $150 HomePod.

01:02:43   Just now, I just did it.

01:02:45   But yeah, cheaper HomePod, smaller, cheaper HomePod, great.

01:02:49   Let's do it.

01:02:50   Can't you get the current one for like $150?

01:02:53   On sales, you know, yeah, you can get it for cheaper.

01:02:56   I mean, the current one, it's a much better product when it's cheaper.

01:02:59   It's not a bad piece of hardware.

01:03:02   It's just overpriced.

01:03:04   So, a smaller version that presumably isn't as maybe over-engineered

01:03:09   with as many speakers and all that,

01:03:11   a smaller one that they can make cheaper and drive into more places.

01:03:16   Great.

01:03:18   And if the rumors of the video believed,

01:03:21   it will be a very different product as well.

01:03:23   Come iOS 14 time, like you might be able to set default music streaming

01:03:28   and stuff like that.

01:03:29   So, it could actually be a much more compelling product

01:03:32   for more people at a cheaper price point

01:03:34   with different software in the inside.

01:03:37   And then Apple tags, our friend, good old friend, Apple tags.

01:03:41   Yeah, still there. I'm not dead yet.

01:03:43   Not dead yet.

01:03:44   This, you know, I don't remember if I spoke about it here.

01:03:47   It may have been unconnected about like,

01:03:49   I just think Apple's delayed this because it's pointless

01:03:51   bringing out this product now.

01:03:53   We talked about that here.

01:03:54   It's a series of delays that have now reached the point

01:03:57   where nobody's leaving their home.

01:03:59   So, or at least many people aren't leaving their home

01:04:02   and it's less urgent to have a product like this.

01:04:06   So, at this point, sort of why don't you delay it?

01:04:08   I think that we all agree that this,

01:04:10   it seems like this product is probably ready to go or close to it.

01:04:13   And they might announce it or they might just hold it for a little while.

01:04:18   But yeah, yeah.

01:04:20   And I think it would be a fine thing to announce in September anyway,

01:04:23   because, you know, we're going to,

01:04:25   things will have changed one way or another by then, you would expect.

01:04:29   But we've learned that there will be,

01:04:32   these will be bundled with a little leather sleeve and a key chain

01:04:35   and will be thin, small and puck shape in design.

01:04:40   It's that Apple touch that that's why it'll be so expensive

01:04:43   is that they'll have all those nice touches to it.

01:04:45   But, but yeah, I think for the,

01:04:48   actually the thing that we talked about earlier about contact tracing,

01:04:51   like the way this tech is built,

01:04:55   these will be the ultimate trackers in terms of being able to find stuff

01:04:59   that you lost. And you throw in the ultra wideband chip that's in the 11s,

01:05:02   the U1 chip in the iPhone 11s,

01:05:05   and there you're going to be able theoretically to have it be pinpoint

01:05:08   accuracy of where that thing is in your house or wherever.

01:05:11   But in a larger scale, if you lose it,

01:05:14   it's going to be like a lot of these tags that we've talked about over the years

01:05:17   with the difference being that the identification network for these

01:05:21   is every Apple device basically.

01:05:23   And that means you're much more likely to find it

01:05:26   unless you left it like on the top of a, even on the top of a mountain,

01:05:30   there's going to be a hiker with an iPhone up there who's going to find it.

01:05:32   So this is going to be like an ultimate pro.

01:05:34   I'm super intrigued about this product.

01:05:36   Like I wonder if like, you know,

01:05:38   cause even people that like don't use an iPhone,

01:05:40   if you have an iOS device in your home that you compare to this thing,

01:05:44   like you'd be crazy to buy this over a tile, right?

01:05:47   Which is why tile is taking them to court, right?

01:05:50   Like that's why.

01:05:51   I wanted to call your attention to the last sentence in that article.

01:05:56   Let me read it to you.

01:05:58   This is just, it's so tossed off.

01:06:00   And I don't think there's another article about this.

01:06:02   It's just tossed off at the end of this.

01:06:03   Apple is also working on a new version of the MacBook Pro,

01:06:07   Apple TV, refreshed budget iPads,

01:06:10   and a new iMac.

01:06:11   People familiar with its product, right?

01:06:13   Bloomberg have reported this.

01:06:16   I think this was a couple of weeks ago when we were talking about like

01:06:19   potential product delays.

01:06:21   They threw this out before this exact.

01:06:24   Yeah. So here it is again, you know,

01:06:26   I've yet to see details of a new iMac and whether that's a speed bump or

01:06:30   whether it's really a new iMac.

01:06:31   And is that an arm iMac or whatever, but yeah,

01:06:35   there's no detail about any of these products.

01:06:37   Like a new version of the MacBook Pro doesn't state what size or whatever.

01:06:41   Is that the 13 without the, you know, with, with a new keyboard presumably,

01:06:45   but, but maybe there's speed bumps to the other MacBook Pro as well.

01:06:48   Refresh budget iPads make sense, right?

01:06:51   Like at some point you would just upgrade the specs on the budget iPads a

01:06:54   little bit and keep them going. New iMac. What does that mean? I just,

01:06:58   I'm fascinated by the fact that it's just a like iMac people who are

01:07:02   interested in the iMac. There'll be one.

01:07:04   We're not going to give you any details.

01:07:06   Maybe they have no details to give that could be.

01:07:08   Yep.

01:07:09   But, uh, there's, uh, they're not sitting down.

01:07:12   Well, you know, they're still, they're still moving forward.

01:07:15   And I am, I'm still remain very excited about what products could be released this year.

01:07:20   It seems like there's a lot of cool stuff still to come.

01:07:22   All right. We should do some Ask Upgrade before we do our mic at the movies today.

01:07:26   Before we do our questions from our wonderful Upgradients,

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01:09:23   Our thanks to Hullo for their support of this show and Relay FM.

01:09:28   #askupgradequestions.

01:09:31   Flying Maltese wants to know, "What is your choice of task manager?"

01:09:34   What does this mean, Myke?

01:09:36   Are we going existential here?

01:09:38   What is it? Well, I mean, there are like computer task managers.

01:09:42   Like, I don't know what those would be.

01:09:45   Only Focus, Todoist, Reminders.

01:09:47   Oh, you mean to manage my personal tasks, not like...

01:09:50   Oh, you're thinking like Control or Delete?

01:09:52   Like, what are you thinking about here?

01:09:54   Yeah, Command and Tab, Launch Bar, the Dock.

01:09:56   No, it's not that. Those are my task managers.

01:09:58   Oh, okay.

01:09:59   This is so interesting to me, Jason,

01:10:01   because I never ever could have imagined somebody interpreting the question differently to the way that I did,

01:10:08   because like task managers are so ingrained in who I am as a being.

01:10:12   I've heard Cortex, Myke, yes.

01:10:14   It's important to my life, but that's just hilarious to me.

01:10:17   I mean, so I guess take this question as you will.

01:10:20   Let's start with you then. What's your choice of task manager?

01:10:23   Todoist.

01:10:25   I think that it is the option most people should try.

01:10:28   You can try it for free. It's on every platform.

01:10:31   It has all of the features that most people would want.

01:10:34   You can go higher end, you know, like deeper with a product like OmniFocus,

01:10:39   but I will recommend Todoist.

01:10:41   So what is your choice of task manager?

01:10:44   The... I sort of use two.

01:10:49   I have... So I use Apple's Reminders app.

01:10:52   Yeah.

01:10:53   As... First off as a place, I actually do use it as a place for reminders.

01:10:57   Like if I come up with an idea for a present to give a member of my family for their birthday or for Christmas,

01:11:02   I actually have a list and I put it in there.

01:11:05   I'm like, remember this, right?

01:11:06   It's perfect for that.

01:11:07   It's a literal reminder.

01:11:08   I also have a reminders list called story list, and I've talked about it here before.

01:11:12   If I think of an idea for a story I want to write, it goes in story list.

01:11:16   So that's my running list of ideas for things I might want to write about,

01:11:20   whether it's from a Mac world column or it's for six colors.

01:11:24   That's where that goes.

01:11:25   And sometimes I look at... I'm like, oh, I want to write an article today.

01:11:28   And I'll look at it and say, that one is a Mac world column and that one is not, right?

01:11:33   So... But I put them all in there.

01:11:35   In terms of like more traditional tasks, I am using Todoist at your behest.

01:11:40   I started to use it and I do use it mostly for recurring tasks

01:11:44   because I have a lot of recurring tasks, monthly or weekly recurring things I need to do.

01:11:49   That I used to have as calendar entries because calendaring,

01:11:53   one of the ways I block out time to do work is I put calendar events in saying,

01:11:58   write this article at... write my Mac world column on Tuesday at 2 p.m.

01:12:03   It's a real thing.

01:12:05   But now I use Todoist and I have a recurring event with a checkbox for Tuesdays

01:12:12   that says write the Mac world column.

01:12:14   And with the new version of Fantastical, with Todoist integration,

01:12:18   it's just in my calendar app.

01:12:20   So I'm back in my calendar app but with Todoist to-dos.

01:12:24   And the difference there is that I can check it off when I'm done, which is pretty sweet.

01:12:27   I think Reminders is like an excellent to-do list or a to-do app.

01:12:36   I know this sounds weird, but kind of different from a task manager.

01:12:42   Task manager has way more to it. You've got projects.

01:12:45   And the new Reminders can do more of that, but I don't do it there.

01:12:49   And I will say, if you're talking about projects with lots of steps, I don't do that.

01:12:54   I don't have that.

01:12:56   I don't have projects with multiple steps in them.

01:13:00   I just don't. I don't.

01:13:02   Even something that actually has multiple steps, it's multiple...

01:13:05   Like the Six Colors newsletter that we do every month.

01:13:07   I've got a recurring monthly event for the middle of the month that says basically prep the document

01:13:11   and ping Dan and Steven and say, "It's time. Here's the document."

01:13:15   And then I've got another to-do item that's monthly toward the end of the month that says,

01:13:21   "You need to write your stuff for the newsletter."

01:13:23   And then another one that's at the end of the month that says, "You need to send the newsletter out."

01:13:27   But it's not like a project that has multiple...

01:13:30   It's just three to-do items that repeat monthly.

01:13:33   So again, this is my failing.

01:13:35   But the last time we talked about this, I just put things on a calendar or in my brain.

01:13:40   And I'm trying to use the infrastructure a little bit better.

01:13:43   So who knows where I'll go from here, Myke.

01:13:45   But I think I'm doing better.

01:13:47   Gary asks, "How do I convince my family that their phones aren't secretly listening

01:13:54   and sending data to Facebook and Instagram for ad targeting?

01:13:57   I explain the algorithms, look at their posts and all their friends' posts,

01:14:00   and what you talk about online is what you talk about in person, but they're not believing me."

01:14:05   This is a difficult one.

01:14:06   Because it is like... This stuff is like it's creepy sometimes, right?

01:14:10   How good it is.

01:14:11   It's like I was thinking about this thing and now I've got an ad on Instagram for it.

01:14:16   And I, knowing how the technology works to a degree, accept it and shrug it off as a funny thing that happens.

01:14:23   Coincidence or a lot. But it's not coincidence.

01:14:26   I don't know how you recommend to people.

01:14:30   Joe in the chat room has said something that I understand.

01:14:32   It's like Reply All did a big thing about this once.

01:14:35   If somebody can give me that link, I'll put it in the show notes.

01:14:38   But I remember that episode going around that they did a big deep dive into it.

01:14:42   But do you have one... What is your opinion on this stuff?

01:14:46   Yeah, I mean, what I would say is you need to tell them that apps don't record audio unless you give them permission.

01:14:53   And you can give them not permission and then they can't.

01:14:56   And that's because Apple wants to protect you.

01:15:00   And as for the one thing that is listening, which is Siri,

01:15:05   I would explain to them that the way that these assistants work is they're listening for the trigger word.

01:15:14   And that's on device.

01:15:17   And then if they hear the trigger word, then they record you and send that information.

01:15:21   But you can opt out now and you can turn Siri off.

01:15:26   Or turn Siri off as listening for the trigger word.

01:15:30   And if they still think that that's all just mumbo jumbo and the truth is that those microphones are listening all the time,

01:15:39   I would say, I don't know, that you can either buy them like a tinfoil hat

01:15:46   or you can buy them a Faraday cage case that they can put their phones in that will block all signals.

01:15:53   Or you can tell them to turn off their phones when they're not using them. I don't know.

01:15:56   But beyond a certain point, what can I tell my family member about who thinks the earth is flat?

01:16:02   There is a point beyond which you just have to be like, "Okay, I can't convince this anymore."

01:16:06   But there's been a lot of scrutiny here. There are a lot of things you can turn off.

01:16:09   And the separate apps on the iPhone, that's the beauty of it, is they have to ask for permission and you can just deny it.

01:16:15   This is an interesting spin on the question because usually it's about those personal assistants

01:16:20   that are like an Amazon Echo or something and that they're listening to you.

01:16:25   And I always point out to those people that you have multiple devices with microphones on them around your house all the time.

01:16:30   They're your phones and iPads and Apple Watches and things like that.

01:16:33   But this has gotten to the root of it, which is yes, those things are listening to us. What do we do?

01:16:38   And the answer is opt out, turn off permissions, turn off Siri.

01:16:44   And beyond that, I guess, hope, trust Apple or use a dumb phone then or something. I don't know.

01:16:54   Beyond a certain point, I don't know what you can say to them.

01:16:57   Yeah, honestly, I would say that Gary has explained it the best way it can be explained.

01:17:05   And if someone's not willing to believe that, I don't know if you could ever convince them otherwise.

01:17:10   Anton wants to know, is there some way to keep the iPhone from unloading certain applications?

01:17:18   For example, payment apps that remind you to pay an invoice every now and then.

01:17:23   So this is that thing that you may see where you see cleaning or it removes from a device or something.

01:17:30   And then you have to download the application again, which can be a useful feature if you want to save storage on your phone, that kind of stuff.

01:17:38   But I looked it up. There is a way to do it. If you go to settings, general iPhone storage, you can disable the feature offload unused apps.

01:17:47   This is a good screen to just look through because the iPhone storage screen got way better over time.

01:17:53   And it will recommend to you things that you could just have saved in the cloud if you want to save space.

01:17:59   It's also where you get to a feature that I always disable, which is to have some photos stored in iCloud only.

01:18:08   I have the big phone storage space because I want to keep all my photos on my device. I just like that.

01:18:13   I like being able to get to them quickly. I like being able to get to them if I don't have great coverage and I don't have an absolutely massive photo library.

01:18:23   So, you know, this is like a good screen to look through. But if you want that to stop happening to you, that's where you go to do it.

01:18:30   Jason, Ann wants to know, do you have any book recommendations to help with lockdown boredom?

01:18:37   Oh boy, I do. I do. How should we do this, Myke? Do you want me to just list them out and we'll put them in the show notes?

01:18:49   That is exactly what I want you to do.

01:18:51   All right. I recommend a bunch of books. I just, recent books that I've really loved.

01:19:00   I loved A Memory Called Empire by R.K.D. Martine. This is a space opera-ish kind of book, also kind of society.

01:19:11   It's a space opera in the sense that it's about a star empire, but not in the sense that they're like lots of spaceships firing on each other and stuff.

01:19:20   It's not that kind of book. More of them. If you want a page turner that's not particularly deep, but is just a fun outer space adventure,

01:19:30   I recommend The Long Sunset by Jack McDevitt. It's part of a series, but it doesn't really matter. And that was fun. I read that recently.

01:19:39   I liked, there's a couple of wacky time travel-ish books that I've enjoyed recently that are both fairly short. The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz is really great.

01:19:50   And This is How You Lose the Time War, which just got a Hugo nomination. That's by Amal El-Mothar and Max Gladstone. We did an incomparable episode about that.

01:20:03   I liked To Be Taught a Fortunate, which is another novella, so short reads, and that one's on sale right now as we're recording this for two bucks.

01:20:11   To Be Taught a Fortunate by Becky Chambers, that was pretty great. I liked The Cruel Stars, I read that last year. That is a space opera of the truest kind by John Birmingham.

01:20:22   I'm listing a lot because everybody's going to have a different thing that they're into, and if I can blow through a bunch of them, you've got some different things to check out.

01:20:31   The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alex Harrow was a lot of fun. That's a kind of a fantasy novel about a world where there are many worlds with doors in between them, and the characters travel between them, and it's nice.

01:20:46   I enjoyed Gideon the Ninth by Tamson Muir, which is a very weird book about goth skeleton wizards who are on a planet run by an evil galactic emperor, and it's bananas, but it's really good.

01:21:02   One of the best books I've read in the last couple of years is a series. There are two books out now, and I enjoyed them both.

01:21:07   Rebecca Roanhorse's Trail of Lightning is the first book in that, and that is on the Navajo reservation post-apocalypse, and they're supernatural creatures, and the main character is kind of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque young woman with a power to destroy monsters, and it kind of messes her up, but that's her power, and I enjoyed that too.

01:21:28   So there's a bazillion books to recommend to help with boredom.

01:21:32   Dan wants to know, "If I have the 10.5-inch iPad Pro with the bezels in it, should I upgrade to the brand new 11-inch that I deeply want?"

01:21:44   Yes.

01:21:45   You should.

01:21:46   We're going to be your enablers. We're going to take a page from Marco Arment here and just be your enablers. Yeah, brand new, came out. They're not probably going to revise this for a little while. It's the 2020 model.

01:21:56   You've been waiting with the bezeled one and looking at the awesome look of the new modern iPad Pros, and do it. Do it. Say goodbye to that home button.

01:22:06   I genuinely think the thing that sells it for me is the "desperately want." If you've been waiting for this thing, treat yourself.

01:22:14   Now's the time. Yeah, if you desperately want it and you've been deeply wanting and waiting all this time and they just did a revision, go. Now's the time.

01:22:24   And a bigger screen, because the new bezels is a bigger screen in the same size iPad. It's just, yeah, do it. Now's the perfect time.

01:22:32   If you use any of the accessories, they're all better, especially the upcoming accessories, right? Because you get the ability to be able to use the Magic Keyboard, which you wouldn't on the 10.5.

01:22:43   And I would say if you find a used or refurbed 11 from 2018, you can get that too for a deal because they're not that different. That's another thing you could do.

01:22:52   I actually recommend that is what most people should do.

01:22:56   If you can find it for a deal, do it. Otherwise, just get the new one.

01:23:02   And last Ask Up Great Question today, Ethan wants to know, "How do you get these questions into a spreadsheet automatically?"

01:23:09   So I do it by using a tool called Zapier. Or is it Zappier? Sorry, Zappier is the correct pronunciation.

01:23:18   And it basically, you can hook up Twitter to look, you can have it look for hashtags.

01:23:24   And then you can pull in information from a tweet, which you can say, "This is the information that I want."

01:23:29   So I ask for the name of the person, the tweet content, because you can actually ask for the person's name, not their user name.

01:23:39   The tweet content and the date to be put into a Google Sheet. So you just connect all those together.

01:23:46   It's really great, but I pay for Zapier to do this.

01:23:51   IFTTT will also do it, but what IFTTT does not do, or didn't do when I used it at the time,

01:23:58   was it would pull in only the username, the Twitter username, which I didn't want. I wanted the person's name.

01:24:04   Because I would be going in every single time, opening the link to the tweet, getting the person's name, and then putting the name in the document.

01:24:12   And I use Zapier for a bunch of things, like for multiple shows doing this stuff, so pulling in tweets to put into spreadsheets.

01:24:20   But also for business stuff, we have tools, because you can use it to effectively, in some ways, build your own little Slack integrations.

01:24:27   It's a very, very powerful tool, and that is the tool that I use for this.

01:24:32   Otherwise, I would be crawling through Twitter searches, which also don't work very well in the long term.

01:24:39   So this is a great system, it keeps them all there, and I can just pick the ones that I want.

01:24:44   I recommend, if you're interested in, if you use web services, Zapier is a great way to tie them together.

01:24:52   It has plugins for lots of services, and I've been able to surprise myself with the things that I've been able to do,

01:24:59   because their interface is also very IFTTT-like. It's very visual, and it's easy to plug stuff together.

01:25:05   They do lots of testing for you as part of the process, which I like, so it's really good. It's a really good tool.

01:25:11   Alright, we are going to talk about Star Trek 4, what is it called? The full name?

01:25:19   The Voyage Home.

01:25:20   The Voyage Home, after this break, as we thank our final sponsor for this episode, which is PDFPen from our friends at Smile.

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01:25:43   Plus it has shapes for drawing, proofreading marks and stamps for marking documents as read, confidential and more.

01:25:50   So if you need to do that, you can just pull those in, it has a bunch built into the application.

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01:26:39   Star Trek IV The Voyage Home is from 1986.

01:26:46   So going into this, I knew what I mentioned.

01:26:51   What did you know about it?

01:26:52   Well, I knew Wales. That's all I knew. I knew Wales.

01:26:55   The one with the whales.

01:26:56   The one with the whales. I don't know exactly why I knew that, but I just knew it. I guess it's just one of those nerd pop culture things that somehow got to me.

01:27:06   There was the one with Khan and there's the one with the whales, and those are the Star Trek movies people have heard of.

01:27:11   Yeah, and I knew both of those things. I also knew the characters, right? And I knew from what you had told me because I asked you.

01:27:19   Yeah, and we watched Star Trek II, so you've seen a Star Trek movie.

01:27:23   And I needed to know what was filled in in the gap, right?

01:27:26   Right, they searched for Spock and they found him.

01:27:28   So this movie was very confusing to me in a lot of ways, and I think it's because I didn't watch the one before.

01:27:35   Right, so like I didn't know what happened to Spock.

01:27:39   Yeah, we did hear from somebody who said you should really watch Star Trek III, and it's true. Star Trek II, III, and IV all run together.

01:27:44   And I just didn't want to assign you homework, and I didn't want to do Star Trek III for the money and movies.

01:27:49   I didn't want to watch two movies.

01:27:50   So I mean, I could have summed it up a little bit. Basically, the Enterprise gets destroyed and they steal a Klingon ship and the Genesis planet blows up.

01:27:57   But they find Spock's body and they are able to put his mind back in his body because his mind has been hitching a ride with Dr. McCoy.

01:28:03   Yeah, that was confusing for me.

01:28:04   Secretly since the end of Star Trek II.

01:28:05   I picked that part up, but when he mentioned that I have carried your soul, I was like, "What happened in that previous movie?"

01:28:11   Yeah, before Spock goes into the death chamber essentially in Star Trek II, he puts his hands on McCoy and says, "Remember," and he's transferring his essence to McCoy in that moment before he sacrifices himself.

01:28:23   So yeah, in the end though, they're on Vulcan and Spock is back but a little bit weird and they have to go home and face judgment for all the things that have happened.

01:28:32   Terrorism.

01:28:33   In fact, at one point, yes, the angry Klingon ambassador in one of my favorite moments in Star Trek IV decides to show them the two previous movies on a screen.

01:28:41   The Federation is like, "Why don't you watch Star Trek III and then we'll talk," and they put up parts of Star Trek III on the screen.

01:28:47   It's like, "Great. That was great. Thanks, Klingon ambassador," who's angry.

01:28:51   That moment, that whole thing just proves to me that all space franchises eventually lead to political council debate.

01:28:59   They will all trend towards it eventually. There will always be confederations, there will always be debates, there will be procedures, there will be laws, there will be rules, and there will be judgments.

01:29:09   There will be angry ambassadors who demand justice. Sure.

01:29:13   Did these movies have big budgets? I can't tell.

01:29:19   I would say, well, I don't think Star Trek movies after the first one ever really had a big budget until the J.J. Abrams one.

01:29:27   They had mid-sized budgets, but not big ones, and I think it's very clear here that the decision to do a movie largely set in what was then the present day is a real budget saver, right?

01:29:41   Clever.

01:29:42   Major budget saver.

01:29:43   Can I just say about the premise of this movie? I have no idea how anybody came up with it, and I have no idea how it was agreed to, like how anybody accepted it.

01:29:52   This is not me saying that the movie is bad, I can maybe get to my thoughts about it in a minute, but just like, alright, so Earth is under siege from a probe, which is never really explained.

01:30:03   A serious probe. A serious alien probe that leaves as soon as they solve the problem and we never hear about it again and nobody knows where it came from or where it's going.

01:30:10   Don't worry about it.

01:30:11   Nope.

01:30:12   And so, the probe is trying to contact whales.

01:30:16   Whales.

01:30:17   And it can't find the whales, so it's sucking all the water.

01:30:19   Because they've gone extinct.

01:30:21   They can't see water out of the planet trying to find the whales, which is destroying everything.

01:30:27   I guess, or it's punishing the people who live there for killing the whales. Again, it's unclear. It is a sci-fi premise that's intended to make it...

01:30:34   But it's like a water-based attack, right? Because it's like messing up the atmosphere and all that.

01:30:37   Yeah, so the clouds, and they've all used solar power now, so they can't survive if it's cloudy.

01:30:43   So it's like, clouds are the true villain here.

01:30:46   So the only way to fix it, because they're extinct, is to time travel back to the 21st century from the 23rd century.

01:30:54   To the 20th century.

01:30:55   20th century, sorry. To steal some whales.

01:30:59   Yes, and then bring them forward in time so that they can say, "Hey, we're here. We're okay. It's fine. Go away."

01:31:06   This is one of the most bizarre premises for a movie.

01:31:11   What I would say is two things. First off, it's the mechanics to get to the fish-out-of-water story, which is that our crew has to go back in time and navigate the 20th century in order to find the whales.

01:31:24   And literally take the fish out of the water.

01:31:27   Yes, exactly right. They're the fish out of the water, but then they have to take... But they're not fish either.

01:31:32   Because they're mammals, as is explained in a scene later. They're not fish. That's a common misconception that is explained.

01:31:39   It is a framing sequence in order to generate the plot, so it's a little bit silly. I will also say, you're right, I watched this movie and I think, "Who thought this was..."

01:31:49   Who is like, "Yeah, that's a perfectly reasonable premise for a movie." Because it's bananas.

01:31:53   At the same time, I think it's very Star Trek, because the original Star Trek especially had so many strange episodes that were...

01:32:00   Because it was in the 60s, that were like... There was one with space hippies and stuff like that. There have been a lot of strange episodes.

01:32:08   So I think in that way, it's actually kind of very Star Trek to say, "In this movie, we save the whales."

01:32:14   But yes, it is a time travel premise. Like how in Back to the Future, we have to set everything up in the present, but really in the end, it's just about the mechanics of getting him back to the past to have that story.

01:32:26   I think that happens a lot with these time travel movies, is you have to sort of set it up to give your characters a reason and a mission and a plan that puts them back in time.

01:32:36   So yeah, that's the setup. I think that's the weakest part of the movie, is the setup and the frame on both sides of it.

01:32:43   Really, it's all about seeing all the Star Trek people trying to figure out what it's like in 1986 San Francisco, and how you work and how money works and how buses work and things like that.

01:32:55   Yeah, and I will say, I'm sure there's a lot of people upset, the whales thing, it didn't work for me. It was super weird.

01:33:02   The idea of saving the whales? Or the actual whales?

01:33:09   No, no, no. The idea of the key is the whales is just like, I couldn't get on board with it.

01:33:18   Well, okay, that's going to be a problem for this movie then, because you do have to go with it. It's like they need to save the whales.

01:33:25   This was really a thing, right? In the 80s, this was an environmentalist message, essentially, that the whales are going to go extinct.

01:33:32   And today, if they made this movie, it would be, I don't know, a rhino or something. It'd be a rhino probe that came and tried to speak a rhino.

01:33:39   But that's the problem.

01:33:41   We don't have the rhinos anymore.

01:33:43   It's like, I appreciate the message. There was a lot of gruesome whale slaughter images in this movie, right?

01:33:52   There were a lot of positive messages about environmentalism and trying to stop the extinction of animals. I appreciate all of that.

01:34:01   But as a set-up for a time travel mechanic in a space movie, I don't know why we're here.

01:34:10   Why? Who is?

01:34:12   We gotta save the whales!

01:34:13   But why though? What alien was looking for the whales?

01:34:20   Yeah, I don't know. It's Star Trek, man.

01:34:23   Actually, my thing is, why don't you go back to when there were no people and there were just whales, and then beam up some whales and then go home?

01:34:32   I need to understand, what is the time travel rules of Star Trek? Are there any established before this point?

01:34:39   Yes.

01:34:40   And what are the general ideas? Because I assume they spent an entire movie trying to make Spock good, but why couldn't they just go back in time and save Spock?

01:34:52   What are the rules of time travel in the Star Trek universe?

01:34:56   Well, okay. The rules are, it's time travel, it's a mess, is basically it. But I think the idea is, if you make a change back in time, it's gonna have a horrible effect on the past, and so you don't want to do that.

01:35:10   But in a lot of Star Trek, it ends up being that the things that they do actually cause history to happen as it was recorded. So there's a suggestion that...

01:35:18   They make reference to that in a couple of points in this movie, right?

01:35:20   Yeah, because there's some original episodes about that. So the idea here is that they're trying to... You can't just go back and save Spock because that's not what happened and you would change the entire flow of time.

01:35:32   Here, what they're trying to do is just steal a couple of whales who are gonna get harpooned anyway, as it turns out, and bring them forward. And yeah, they passed on a secret bit of scientific information to a guy.

01:35:42   And the glasses, right? It's like all getting back in there.

01:35:45   But they're creating a time loop, and those are all just for jokes, because it's time travel. Again, I don't think you can take it seriously. This is a wacky time travel movie involving saving the whales.

01:35:54   I'm not trying to take it seriously at all. My issue with the whales thing is not that, "Oh, this is ludicrous." It's just that I couldn't attach myself to this as a framing device for the entire movie.

01:36:09   It just didn't click for me, because it was like, "This is too weird." And maybe it's because I don't have enough bass in this Star Trek, which my understanding is is campy and weird.

01:36:22   That this kind of band of crew, like in all of the TV shows, is like strange stuff.

01:36:29   Weird stuff happens.

01:36:30   I expect that it's too much.

01:36:33   I do think it's a very Star Trek-y thing, the alien whale program. I will say, film audiences in 1986 did not have a problem with it. This was the biggest box office hit of any of these Star Trek movies.

01:36:46   It was a certifiable hit. Everybody else was okay with it.

01:36:50   Could that have been because Wrath of Khan was good?

01:36:52   No, but Star Trek 3 came out and it did okay. No, it's because this was a word-of-mouth hit, because it was funny and it was whales. It was considered more accessible than your average Star Trek movie, because it was set in the present day and it had jokes.

01:37:06   It is funny, was entertaining. I didn't dislike this movie. Do not get me wrong, I'm not saying that I dislike this movie.

01:37:14   I get what you're saying, which is that for you this premise seems so out of the blue and random and doesn't really connect with you.

01:37:22   Scott McNulty and I do a podcast about the new Star Trek series that are rolling out on CBS All Access in the US.

01:37:30   Every now and then we have a conversation that basically ends up being, "This is a really ridiculous thing that they did, but it's very Star Trek-y."

01:37:38   I think that comes to the core of it, is that maybe we've internalized a little bit that Star Trek is not above completely bizarre scenarios and leaps.

01:37:49   You just kind of laugh and go with it, because it's like, "All right, it's Star Trek. I guess I'll..."

01:37:54   I won't spoil it too much, but in a recently aired Star Trek series, at one point big flowers attacked spaceships, and Scott and I were both like, "Yeah, Star Trek, okay. Flowers attacking spaceships, got it."

01:38:11   I never watch any Star Trek TV, really. I'm very familiar with Star Trek as a franchise and its characters, just from general pop culture, and I've watched most of the Abrams movies.

01:38:25   Sure. There's three. It's not that hard.

01:38:29   I've watched two of them, though.

01:38:31   That is most of them. You got it.

01:38:33   That's why I didn't say all of them, or one of them. I just think that this premise is too much of a jump for a cold viewer.

01:38:44   Yeah, I would say, and this is coming out in the chat room, too, I do think the idea of saving the whales and all of that, it was easier to buy into this in the '80s, whereas now we feel like we sort of saved the whales.

01:38:59   The whales are going to be okay. They're still whaling and it's bad, but the whales are not. Those are not the species that are going extinct.

01:39:06   I made the joke about the rhino probe. Again, that would be bizarre, but at least it would have that currency of like, "Oh, this is a topic. This is a hot topic right now."

01:39:16   And it's not now, so it seems that much more bizarre than it would maybe in 1986.

01:39:23   Because the idea of needing to save the whales is not forefront in my mind.

01:39:27   Right, but it was a real thing in the '80s. There were all these discussions about how the humpback whales were going to go extinct because of whaling and all that, and there was an international movement to stop whaling and outlaw it.

01:39:38   Now it is outlawed in most places, and the whales have bounced back.

01:39:41   All right, that context helps make a little bit more sense to me.

01:39:46   It's not what I thought would stop you about this movie, but there we are.

01:39:49   The thing that stopped me from really enjoying this movie was that, and it was maybe lacking some of the context. Because there are emotional things that are happening that I just don't know why they're happening.

01:40:01   There are a lot of Spock jokes about the fact that it was very sad that he died and then they brought him back, but he's not quite right yet.

01:40:07   I can't understand why exactly McCoy hates him so much. Like, really just hates Spock.

01:40:14   McCoy, you know, but he loves Spock, but they have an adversarial relationship. They enjoy jousting with one another. That's just a thing about them.

01:40:24   I love McCoy because he's just so cranky. He's just a cranky man.

01:40:29   And my favorite scene, I think, maybe in this entire movie is the scene where they have the wacky hospital hijinks where they have to get Chekov out of the hospital.

01:40:37   It's got the wacky music, they have a fake patient, they're rolling down the hall, they've got all this stuff that's going on.

01:40:43   My favorite part of it, though, is that McCoy is aghast at 20th century medicine, and at one point just says, "This is like the Spanish inquisition to this."

01:40:53   And he gives an old lady a pill that grows her a new kidney. That happens in passing. It's like, "Okay, I guess we're doing that now."

01:40:59   And he's to doctors in a clean operating room. He's like, "This is barbaric!" And then he puts his little sci-fi thing on Chekov's forehead.

01:41:06   I love that because it allows McCoy to be peak crankiness. I love that. I love that he's a grumpy guy.

01:41:14   I enjoyed that scene. It was really jarring. He was really taking pleasure in any failure or potential failure that Spock could go through.

01:41:24   "Hey Spock, we saved your life. Now you're back, jerk."

01:41:27   It was really weird. It was a very strange thing for me to try and come to grips with. I got the idea that he helped save his life, but then seemed to really begrudge it.

01:41:39   And it was very strange. Oh, the animations in this movie. There is that moment when they do the time travel. What is that?

01:41:48   Isn't that bizarre? I think they want to get across that time travel is weird and strange. It's very strange when there's a whale and there's a mannequin and you hear dialogue from later in the movie.

01:42:01   It's very weird.

01:42:03   There's a lot of weird stuff in this movie. But then again, there's that section of the movie where they have to sell his glasses, they get the money, they have to go on the bus.

01:42:18   When he was like, "Will you guys break up?" And they can't do it and they keep walking around with some packets.

01:42:34   Why is nobody helping him? It's not like he can talk in a way that is completely... Oh, because he's Russian. Because they call him a "Rusky." Also, such bad security on that naval ship. He just gets up and runs out of the room.

01:42:50   He throws his phaser that isn't working at the guy and then runs the other way and somehow almost escapes an entire nuclear vessel.

01:43:10   So the core of this movie is the stuff with the whale biologist who is only in the Star Trek movie. And they shot this at the Monterey Aquarium. There is no whale thing at Sausalito.

01:43:26   Because it's too expensive. We've learned this.

01:43:28   Well, and you can't do. There are no whales in captivity. That's just made up. Or no humpback whales, anyway. But when they get there and they're on the tour and then Spock jumps in the thing and does a Vulcan mind meld with the whale and then they pull him out.

01:43:46   And the scientist is intrigued. You are weirdos and yet you also know things. She picks them up as hitchhikers and gives them a ride. And then she has dinner with Kirk and Spock explains that the whale is pregnant, which she doesn't know how he knows that.

01:44:03   That to me is the core of the movie because it is these familiar outer space future characters having to explain themselves sort of and sort of not to a person in the present day and how would that person react.

01:44:17   And the answer is she thinks they're weirdos and yet there's something about them that makes her kind of want to believe them.

01:44:24   And every time I watch this movie I enjoy that part, which is like how much does she believe them and how much does she think that they are just crazy people? And how does her belief progress over time?

01:44:37   Didn't like the restaurant scene. It was really weird. But I enjoyed the three of them together more than Kirk and the biologist together.

01:44:48   Kirk drinking a Michelob and ordering a product placement and ordering a pizza.

01:44:54   That conversation is just strange. The way that they're talking is just really weird.

01:45:00   It is a little bit weird. Like, "I'm in Iowa. I only work in outer space." That line makes me laugh.

01:45:08   I loved that scene as a kid because it's like, "Oh my God, Captain Kirk. You're just having dinner with Captain Kirk. What is that about? In a pizza place in San Francisco."

01:45:18   I find it, upon rewatching, very strange that she calls it Italian because they just get a pizza. You'd say get pizza, not get Italian.

01:45:25   Pizza is Italian, but I don't think you'd—this is a question for Robot or not. We'll move on.

01:45:30   But yes, in hindsight, that scene seems less necessary because it gets truncated. He immediately is like, "Oh, they're leaving now. Well, we gotta go." And they're out of there.

01:45:43   And then Captain Kirk gets dropped off at the park. This is another thing I didn't notice at the time. And then he holds the pizza box vertically.

01:45:50   This is a man who's never seen a pizza box before.

01:45:54   That's a nice touch, though. Because why would he hold it horizontally?

01:45:59   Or not, but it is hilarious to me. Yeah, because it's like he has no idea how pizza works. Replicated pizza is all he's ever had.

01:46:07   Horizontal and vertical. The end of the movie where the whales and the probes are talking for way too long.

01:46:15   It's just way too long, that part, right?

01:46:19   It does go on a while. Let's show the whole conversation with the whales and the space probe. I can see the argument, which is like, "Well, we can't just have them go bloop."

01:46:30   And they're like, "Alright, I'm out of here," and disappear, right? And the answer is you probably could just fade away.

01:46:35   Suffice it to say that they had a conversation in the end. But they're like, "No, let's show the whole thing."

01:46:41   When the whale goes vertical, the probe goes vertical, I don't understand why they feel the need to do that. Why is that a thing?

01:46:49   But then also, the whole problem is... And the probe's really weird too, because the probe's like a tube with a ball that comes out of it.

01:46:54   And it's like, "Okay, that's really weird, but alright." Is it a ball? I thought it captured Earth and Earth was the ball.

01:47:00   Oh no, no, I think that's the... No, because it sucks it into itself at the end. It doesn't do that with the Earth.

01:47:06   No, that's just like the probe transmitter or something. I don't know, I always thought that ball was suspicious.

01:47:12   I also thought they put in a lot of faith in the whales.

01:47:15   What are the whales? You don't know, maybe these are jerk whales. Maybe they're gonna say the wrong thing.

01:47:19   By the way, I was trying to imagine what that conversation is, and it's like, "Yes, they're hunting us to extinction."

01:47:25   Exactly!

01:47:26   "But there's only two of us left!"

01:47:29   They should have gone further in time.

01:47:31   Because the probe should be like, "Wait a second, there's only two of you left? What is wrong with you people?"

01:47:39   They should have gone further in time.

01:47:41   "Oh no, it's fine, we're f***ed."

01:47:42   To when whales were aplenty, so the whales wouldn't be mad about their existence, right?

01:47:48   Yeah.

01:47:49   Like, what is it? The whale's just like, "No, but don't worry, because I'm pregnant, so we're all good?"

01:47:55   "We're starting a family, there's gonna be more whales, hooray!"

01:47:59   "We're gonna repopulate this entire planet, team in with whales here, you won't be able to move for whales."

01:48:04   And the probe says, "I did not get you a gift, I am sorry, I'll return."

01:48:11   "I will not destroy your home." Very strange. Also, it's like, the presumption that the probe would have been happy anyway about there being whales.

01:48:21   You know? I don't know, maybe the probe didn't want there to be any whales.

01:48:25   Maybe it's looking for the whales because it hates them.

01:48:27   Yeah, it's just really looking, and it was nearly done, and it would have left, and it was like, "Oh, you got these whales? Blow up the whole planet."

01:48:34   Maybe.

01:48:35   It's a funny movie in a lot of ways. I did not dislike this movie.

01:48:40   That's why I suggested it. It's a weird and wacky movie.

01:48:43   So weird.

01:48:44   But it's light and fun, and I think that's one of the great things about it, is it is not like other Star Trek movies because it's goofy.

01:48:49   Oh, we have to mention before we wrap up, there is a Mac in this, and it's funny.

01:48:53   Yes, that's the big scene. Scotty is given a Mac to talk to.

01:48:59   And use a keyboard in the most weird way anybody's ever used a keyboard in film.

01:49:04   Yes, well, he generates the whole 3D diagrams by typing on a keyboard.

01:49:08   But also just the way he's typing. I couldn't tell if it was either A) the actor playing Scotty has never used a keyboard before, or B) Scotty was supposed to look like he'd never used a keyboard before, but that wouldn't make sense.

01:49:21   Also, probably true.

01:49:22   But that wouldn't make sense because he uses it so proficiently.

01:49:25   The best part about that scene is that first off he talks to the computer, and then Dr. McCoy picks up the mouse and hands it to him.

01:49:35   And this is the original Mac, right? And hands it to him, and he goes, "Oh, okay." And he says, "Hello, computer," into the mouse, and that doesn't work either.

01:49:42   He used the keyboard. It's like, "Oh, keyboard, how quaint." And then he goes tap tap tap tap, and intense 3D diagrams appear somehow, which is hilarious.

01:49:52   So that whole scene is very funny.

01:49:55   And my favorite part, favorite weird part, people who've listened to me talk about this movie before will know what I'm about to say, which is at some point during this, when they're offering him the secret to transparent aluminum, a lady walks into his office, and he just shouts at her, "Not now, Madeline!"

01:50:10   And she walks out. And on one level it's like, "Why is that in there?" On another level, "It's hilarious! That's why it's in there."

01:50:17   This movie is full of little things like that, though. Like, why is this happening right now? But I guess this is just happening right now.

01:50:26   Why is Spock answering so many questions to those computer screens for so long? And also, why can't I— They're testing him to see, like, is his brain functioning? No, no, no, I get what's happening, but it's very long as a scene.

01:50:43   It's a movie made in the 1980s. It's a much slower-paced movie. I love that—okay, it's not short, but it's a two-hour movie, and it's padded out with these things.

01:50:52   And also, those screens are funny, projection screens, right? But as we are behind them, and we can read them, which means they're backwards for him, the words, which is just one of those funny little movie things.

01:51:04   But yeah, this is a very strange movie. Also, Spock looks older than his dad.

01:51:11   Yes, that is—well, they weren't that different in age.

01:51:15   I can imagine that, because there is a funny thing of age and time and how it changes, because everyone in this movie looks so old, but they're not. But in this movie, they all look very old.

01:51:28   So the actors who played Spock's parents were in the original series, as Spock's parents in one episode, so they brought them back, and this is the only other time for them both to appear. They don't have a scene together.

01:51:39   Mark Leonard, who plays Spock's dad, was seven years older than Leonard Nimoy. So they gray up Mark Leonard, but yeah, I had that same thought every time I watch this movie. I think I have that thought, which is, when the original series was on,

01:51:54   Mark Leonard played a little bit older, and Leonard Nimoy played a little bit younger, and they could swing it. But now that it's 20 years later, they can't. It's much harder for that to do.

01:52:10   So yeah, Spock's dad. It's Vulcans. They age differently. Whatever. It's Star Trek, man. Star Trek. I love this movie. I love this movie. We did this for the incomparable as a Christmas episode, because it has those kind of feelings to me.

01:52:23   It's just a warm, fun, silly movie. It's escapism and goofy and not serious in the way that most other sci-fi movies are. It's like a silly 80s comedy, except with Star Trek. I like that about that.

01:52:38   I wish there were more movies like this that are just fun adventure stuff, but the stakes, you know, there are stakes, but who cares? It's just a goofy movie. And Star Trek did this the one time, and they were successful with it, which is kind of funny. So yeah, there we are. Star Trek IV.

01:52:59   Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Upgrade. I want to thank our sponsors one last time. Smile, Pingdom, Holo, and Rogue Amoeba. Please go check out their products. And our thanks to them for supporting the show.

01:53:11   If you want to find Jason online, you can go to sixcolors.com. Jason is also @jsnell. I am @imike. You can find links to things discussed, including all of those books that Jason mentioned over at relay.fm/upgrades/293. But you can also find those links in your podcast app of choice.

01:53:35   We'll be back next time. Until then, say goodbye, Jason Snow. Live long and prosper.

01:53:44   [whale noise]

01:53:50   Oh, it's a whale noise. Ah, okay.

01:53:53   [whale noise]

01:53:56   I won't destroy your Skype call anymore.

01:53:59   [laughs]

01:54:01   [music]

01:54:07   [Music]