284: We're In the Ear Business


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:09   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode 284. Today's show is brought to you by Linode, ExpressVPN, and Setapp. My name is Myke Hurley, I am joined by Jason Snell. Hello, Jason Snell!

00:00:21   [Makes laser noises] Hello, Myke Hurley! Oh, lasers at the start of the episode. I had some extra lasers, I thought I'd share them with you now. Very nice.

00:00:29   I have a #SnellTalk question for you, Jason. Perfect. I'm sure that this is inspired by episode 364 of the Accidental Tech Podcast. Eddie asks, "Jason, what are your dock settings on macOS?"

00:00:42   I gotta say, I heard them talk about this on ATP and I thought, "Should we go down that rabbit hole on Upgrade?" Well, maybe. I mean, everybody's got an opinion. Was it John Syracuse who said that left dock is a monstrosity?

00:00:54   Yeah, John uses the bottom middle dock, which I can't abide it. It looks nice, but I just don't think it is the right way to go.

00:01:08   So, a lot of time on a little laptop, especially the 11-inch Air, but I used a small laptop for even longer than that. And that space is at a premium, the vertical space. So to have a dock down there, it's just like, "No, I don't want to do that."

00:01:28   And then if you have an auto-hide, then you've got your windows that you're trying to have be tall again because you've got to use all of that screen space and then you move your cursor down there and it auto unhides.

00:01:41   Yeah, I don't like the hiding for that reason. Because it's like you actually don't get all of the screen space all of the time because if you have to go down there to get something, the dock's there.

00:01:50   It's like, "Well, now thank you. The dock's here now." I guess. Yeah, I mean, I'm not judging. Everybody should do their own thing, but it's not a non-starter for me. I am a right dock person. I have my right dock. It does not hide. It does not magnify. I use the scale effect if I minimize something, which I very rarely do. And that's it, yeah.

00:02:10   The only problem that I have with the right dock is that at a couple of different points, I've had an external monitor set up where I wanted to put it to the right of my monitor. And if you do that, macOS does not want you to have the dock on the border of something that has another screen past it.

00:02:28   And so it ruined everything, right? Basically, I couldn't put a monitor to my right because my dock would disappear. And it would either go all the way out to the other monitor or I'd have to move it somewhere else. So I didn't like that about it. But otherwise, I used to be a pin at the bottom person, but I'm not now because they took that feature away. So none of us are.

00:02:48   So it's, yeah, just a right dock. That's what I do. And I've got a small collection of apps that are in the dock all the time that are the ones that I want to have available. And I have -- what do I have?

00:03:00   I have a very large collection of apps in my dock always available.

00:03:04   Mine is very small. It's Finder, BB Edit, Messages, Safari, Mailplane, Fantastical, Slack, Music, Todoist, Twitterific. I think those are the only ones that are always there.

00:03:20   And then I have a -- there's a little line and then there's the stuff that's below the line that isn't apps. I have a shortcut to screen sharing with my Mac mini server. So one click and it opens up the screen sharing window to the server. I have my downloads folder and my Dropbox folder. That's it. That's my dock.

00:03:40   All right. I am a left person. No magnification.

00:03:44   A monster. John Syracuse would say a monster.

00:03:47   I can't understand why left would make it monstrous but not right. Like I don't understand.

00:03:52   Look, John has come a long way by judging people's choices. So let's let him have this.

00:03:56   I mean, he's allowed. Like I judged his. I think that the bottom dock is the worst option.

00:04:03   All right. You got your revenge now. Good job.

00:04:06   And then I have Finder, Safari. I don't know why the app store is there but it's there. System Preferences, iTunes because I'm on a -- I'm on High Sierra still.

00:04:17   Right. Oh, not Mojave. Sorry. I'm on Mojave.

00:04:19   Hi, Mojave.

00:04:20   I'll never let go of High Sierra. Like that's the version of Mac OS I always want to be on.

00:04:24   Quicktime, Skype, Tweetbot, Audition, Adobe Audition, Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro, Audio Hijack, Fission, Forecast, Sound Studio, Lingo, Notes, Notion, Clear, Byword, Todoist, Spark, Slack, Toggle, Pixelmator, Messages, Photos, Deliveries.

00:04:43   They're the applications in my dock and they're -- 75% of them at least are open always.

00:04:49   And then the rest of them I do open very frequently and then I have the three little apps that pop up, right, for the recency thing.

00:04:56   Oh.

00:04:57   Although I'm thinking about turning -- I'm actually going to turn that off right now because I don't like it on the Mac in the way that I like it on iOS.

00:05:03   Right.

00:05:04   And then I have a shortcut stack to my downloads folder.

00:05:07   Okay.

00:05:08   That's it. So thank you, Eddie, for that question and thank you to the ATP boys for inspiring it.

00:05:14   We have a lot of upstream to do because we didn't cover some stuff last week, so I want to get to that.

00:05:19   So, Apple has bought the rights to a critically acclaimed documentary called Boys State.

00:05:24   It was reviewed pretty well after a showing at Sundance.

00:05:28   It is a, I quote, "political coming of age story examining the health of American democracy."

00:05:33   It's basically, I think it's like 1,000 teenage boys get put in a place and they have to create a democracy.

00:05:40   I think is the kind of the overall idea of the movie.

00:05:45   Apple allegedly spent $10 million to get the rights.

00:05:48   You know, the movie is practically done.

00:05:49   They're not making it.

00:05:50   It's just by the rights.

00:05:52   The film was actually executive produced by Lorraine Powell Jobs, which is just interesting.

00:05:59   I don't think that there was any particular tie between the two, but it just -- that's what happened.

00:06:05   Apple are having the movie studio A24 help them get this film over the line, just like completely finished.

00:06:12   This company, A24, may be familiar to you because Apple had previously announced an overall deal with them.

00:06:19   And recently, the first movie project from Apple in the A24 is reuniting Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola for a movie

00:06:27   that Rashida Jones is also set to star in.

00:06:30   There's not really much information about that movie yet, but that's also coming to Apple TV+.

00:06:34   It seems like there are a lot of movies in development at Apple TV+.

00:06:39   So I think that's going to be something that's different as we go on because they haven't really had many.

00:06:45   I think it's maybe one movie out so far.

00:06:48   The elephant whatever, right?

00:06:50   Yes.

00:06:51   Oh, and they also had another documentary as well.

00:06:54   So they've had a couple of feature-length things, but there seems to be way more of that in development.

00:07:02   So that's good.

00:07:03   Apple has inked yet another overall deal with somebody.

00:07:07   This is for Kami Zlotnik, who is a former producer of SARS and HBO.

00:07:14   They produced a bunch of shows, including they had a hand in Outlander, American Gods, Power, The Sopranos, The Wire, and many, many more.

00:07:23   So this is another overall deal they've got with a producer for working on future projects.

00:07:30   So that's the Apple stuff, Jason.

00:07:33   And I have some Disney stuff and some other ancillary things for you.

00:07:37   Along with announcing that Disney+ has hit 28.6 million subscribers, which is huge, Bob Iger confirmed that Hulu is going to roll out internationally sometime in 2021.

00:07:49   Right.

00:07:50   This is a point that we've been talking about what's the strategy with Hulu because Disney now is in the process of owning all of Hulu.

00:07:59   And as I mentioned, I think last week they fired their CEO and didn't replace him because Disney's going to run Hulu now.

00:08:06   The question that was put to Bob Iger after Disney's earnings was, "What's your strategy with Hulu?"

00:08:14   Because Disney+ is rolling out everywhere and some of your content isn't for Disney+.

00:08:17   Disney+ is a family-friendly environment.

00:08:19   Presumably that goes to Hulu.

00:08:21   You're investing in content on Hulu.

00:08:23   FX is putting their shows on Hulu.

00:08:25   What is the plan with Hulu?

00:08:27   And Bob Iger said, "I think something that makes sense, it's frustrating if you're outside the US."

00:08:32   Hi, Myke.

00:08:33   "But it makes sense, which is we really wanted to launch Disney+ worldwide," which they did and are in the process of doing and doing really well with it.

00:08:42   "And then we'll follow with Hulu."

00:08:45   So they just had to prioritize and they decided.

00:08:48   And that makes sense also because Hulu has more contractual issues that make it a more complicated thing to move overseas.

00:08:56   So giving them -- it's not just more time to plan it while they're rolling out Disney+.

00:09:00   It's also more time to kind of unpick all of the contract details and figure out what it is that they're going to market with in other countries.

00:09:09   So you are going to get Hulu eventually as this other part of this more adult-focused Disney streaming service and presumably a bundle for people internationally too, like there is in the US.

00:09:22   But not yet. Not yet.

00:09:25   I just like to know, you know, that they will plan on doing it.

00:09:30   This is big, right? Because there was that real question like, "Are you going to do this? Is it going to be a US?"

00:09:34   Because so many of these services are like, "Yeah, we'll get international eventually, but it's just US only for now."

00:09:38   And so here we -- I mean, Disney has world dominance on the mind, right? Like that's their whole goal.

00:09:44   So of course this is going to happen, but it was good to hear them say it.

00:09:48   Spotify has acquired The Ringer, the sports and pop culture entertainment company founded by Bill Simmons.

00:09:54   The Ringer is responsible for producing many popular shows across those verticals, sports and pop culture, along with running a website as well.

00:10:04   Spotify have confirmed that all of the employees will be remaining intact, including those producing the website.

00:10:09   And they said on their earnings call that they were intrigued about new monetization things.

00:10:14   It's like, "I guess we could try and make money from the website too."

00:10:18   And terms of the deal were not disclosed. I have some questions here.

00:10:22   So Bill Simmons, for those who don't know, really made his name as a writer for ESPN.com.

00:10:28   And then he did Grantland, which was run by ESPN basically, and then they shut it down.

00:10:37   And he moved to HBO briefly, had a talk show that failed, and he decided to do this startup called The Ringer,

00:10:44   where he got to write and get good writing in sports and pop culture.

00:10:49   And then they built out a lot of podcasts, good podcasts.

00:10:53   So the question when Spotify buys them, Spotify is buying a lot of podcasting companies, right?

00:10:59   This is a trend that we've been talking about here for a while.

00:11:02   But The Ringer is not just a podcasting company. It does have this whole written word website part of what they do.

00:11:08   The podcast thing actually was kind of a spinoff of the written stuff.

00:11:12   And so the big mystery is like, "Okay, Spotify, you want our podcast, but we do this other part of our business

00:11:20   that is in some ways core to our business because it's part of our creative process to do this,

00:11:25   and there is money to be made on the web as well. So what do you want to do?"

00:11:30   I am skeptical of not knowing, again, details of the contract were not disclosed, right?

00:11:41   I think my gut feeling is that some of those details, especially since Bill Simmons has gotten run over by large entities in the past,

00:11:50   probably have to do with retaining the content, the written content portion of the company.

00:11:58   That part of the deal with Spotify is that we're going to keep doing both so that you can't just buy the company

00:12:05   and then in a year kill off all of the written content stuff.

00:12:10   And if I were making, I am not a lawyer, but if I were making that deal and I was Bill Simmons,

00:12:18   I would say, "I want an out. I want control over this other part of the business so that Spotify doesn't kill it."

00:12:28   And what form that takes in terms of being able to walk away with it, having them pay a penalty, having them, I don't know.

00:12:38   There are ways you could maybe structure it, and I would be shocked if there isn't something like that,

00:12:42   because if there isn't, I look at this and I think Spotify is just going to kill that in a couple of years.

00:12:47   As soon as they can.

00:12:49   Spotify doesn't want people using their eyes. They want people using their ears.

00:12:54   "We're not in the eye business," says weird, creepy Spotify executive. "We're in the ear business."

00:13:00   And so to me, that's the great mystery.

00:13:03   Spotify didn't actually say that. I just want to make that very clear. That was a Jason statement.

00:13:07   Yes. That's okay. Spotify forgives you now, Myke.

00:13:10   Good. Hey.

00:13:12   Isn't that funny? Because they collide. There are two things going on here.

00:13:17   So I'm fascinated by this because this is part of Spotify's expansion.

00:13:23   They really feel that they have had, I think they said, they have had success in growing the number of people

00:13:30   who are listening to podcasts on their service. And so, you know, great for them.

00:13:38   But it is a little bit weird. And it is also funny that a guy who's a writer makes a company

00:13:44   and it's like, "We're going to write a lot of great articles and also have some podcasts because they're fun."

00:13:47   And it turns out the thing that the podcast part is the part that got them bought.

00:13:52   It's currently unknown what Spotify is going to do with the existing Bill Simmons shows.

00:13:57   And the most likely outcome is what they have done with previous acquisitions is that the existing shows will remain as they are.

00:14:05   Right. So like available everywhere. But new properties created by the ringer will be Spotify exclusives.

00:14:12   This is what they've done with Gimlet. And I would also expect that Spotify reserve the right to change that whenever they want.

00:14:19   You know, like if they say like, you know what, actually want this show to be available everywhere because it's a marketing tactic.

00:14:24   Then they will do that. Well, yeah, that's the value is they can roll out new shows and promote them on the existing shows that people are outside of the Spotify.

00:14:31   The embrace of Spotify. Maybe that creepy executive would have said that too.

00:14:37   "They're outside our embrace." But it's good to promote that stuff. And then it's like, but this is just on Spotify.

00:14:42   You have to enter the doors of Spotify. Boy, I'm going to work this up. The creepy Spotify executive.

00:14:48   What is this character you're creating?

00:14:50   I'm just, it's a guy who's a little inappropriately creepy and works at Spotify and all the other people at Spotify.

00:14:56   I don't want to say Spotify is creepy. I want to say this guy is creepy and everyone else at Spotify is like, "Harold, cut it out."

00:15:02   "Calm down, please."

00:15:04   "No, but once they're part of us, they'll-" "Harold, I told you about this. Stop."

00:15:11   So I think it's pretty obvious that, you know, how we all feel about these Spotify exclusives that they're not what we think that podcast should be.

00:15:20   But it's working for Spotify and the Q4 on his call. Spotify has said that podcast listening on their platform has grown 200% year over year.

00:15:30   So it's working as they want it to.

00:15:32   Yeah. And that could be like it's introducing people to podcasts. It's not in the, like you said, it's not in maybe the way that we would like who are part of a kind of free open podcast ecosystem that these people may think of podcasting as a thing that happens in Spotify.

00:15:47   That's definitely what they want. At the same time, it is introducing a lot of people who have not listened to podcasts to Spotify.

00:15:54   And I think that's good. And it makes sense for their business, right? As we've said many times before, to get more engagement with the Spotify app.

00:16:02   And honestly, every minute that you're listening to a podcast on Spotify, you're not listening to a music stream that they have to pay a royalty for. And so that's good for them, too.

00:16:13   And if they do continue to just really keep adding to the overall podcast landscape, it's not the worst thing in the world, you know, because then people could find shows like ours in the Spotify catalog and listen to them.

00:16:25   Sure.

00:16:25   You know, so like as a podcast producer, there is some benefit to it. But overall, I'm not a huge fan of them buying up like all the most popular podcast producers and locking them away.

00:16:37   So at least in that regard, like I am happy that they aren't putting the existing shows behind paywalls, but it is a shame to take these very creative people and then lock them behind closed doors when they don't need to be, you know, but that such is life.

00:16:53   That is business, right? That's what it is. The Oscars were Sunday night last night. There wasn't a ton in regards to awards.

00:17:05   It's a nice way to say that Netflix didn't win anything.

00:17:08   Netflix didn't win anything.

00:17:10   They won one thing, but they didn't win for The Irishman, which is the one that they really were hoping to win for. It got a lot of nominations. It didn't win. Only one of them won.

00:17:19   And it was American Factory, which we've talked about here before. It won best documentary because that's the first production from higher ground, the production company run by the Obamas who were not mentioned on stage, by the way.

00:17:32   That didn't happen. I was curious. I was like, is something going to make a shout out to Barack and Michelle here? They did not for American Factory.

00:17:38   But I still think that that's the reason that they're not going to win because I'm sure Obama was there and that was probably what they wanted.

00:17:47   I'm still a little mystified that Apollo 11 didn't get nominated in that category, but you know, what you're going to do?

00:17:52   However, the reason we're talking about it today is because in the perfect intersection of upstream during an interview after picking up his award for best adapted screenplay, Taika Waititi spoke very negatively about Apple's keyboards.

00:18:07   It was out of nowhere. He was answering a question. His answer is completely unrelated.

00:18:13   About the Writers Guild and what the Writers Guild should be negotiating for. And he said, I'll tell you what, these keyboards on these Apple laptops are bad and they should do something about it. And he went on a little bit. It's very funny.

00:18:26   Apple needs to fix these keyboards. They're impossible to write on. They've gotten worse. It makes me want to go back to PCs.

00:18:32   He basically either uses a MacBook Air or one of the old MacBook Pros because he's upset about key travel.

00:18:38   He's talking about travel is what he's talking about. He also says, you know, it's funny because he's trying to give a he doesn't want to talk about the union negotiation.

00:18:45   So he's given this instead, which is a funny answer. There's a there's a hilarious moment where he says hands up who in here uses a PC.

00:18:53   And I think it's funny because Panos Penne of Microsoft like retweeted it and said, Hey, I gotcha buddy. Like, come on over here.

00:19:00   But what's funny is he's like, who uses a PC here? And then he's like scanning the room to find it.

00:19:04   And there's like two people who he's like, Oh, well, you know what I'm talking about, you know, which I also find funny because it's kind of like he's saying, don't make me go back to using a PC.

00:19:15   I want to use a Mac. But what is really concerning is that part of what he's saying is that the key travel really exacerbates my RSI.

00:19:23   They have a different term for it in New Zealand, but that's what it is. But he also describes quite right.

00:19:28   Like how he has to, you know, move his hands in and use this tiny laptop keyboard.

00:19:35   And that's just an ergonomic issue with every keyboard. That's a that's you shouldn't if you've got really bad RSI.

00:19:41   Laptop keyboards are going to be bad for it. So I think if I had to pick apart Taika Taika Waititi's funny thing that he said, so I'm going to kill it by picking it apart.

00:19:50   I'd say he's somebody who suffers from RSI and the low travel on the current MacBook keyboards exacerbates his RSI.

00:20:01   It's worse for it. He still should probably not be writing on a laptop if he can help it.

00:20:06   But I'm sure he can't help it if he's traveling around and stuff. I'm sure he can't necessarily do that.

00:20:10   But he definitely wants a better keyboard. And he says at one point, like they keep making these better computers and the keyboards get worse.

00:20:18   And, you know, we all we all can agree with that. Like we're all like, we're with you.

00:20:23   But but it's it's a little more complicated because, you know, the source of his RSI is not I mean, it may be typing a lot on a laptop, but it's not gonna be solved by there's no to my knowledge.

00:20:36   There's no laptop that has a giant keyboard that pops out and spreads out and is like, wouldn't that be nice? Like the old those old IBM butterfly keyboards that Casey List probably had when he was a kid that actually popped out because the laptop was too narrow for the width of the keyboard.

00:20:54   But still, I mean, I love to see our complaints about Apple keyboards go mainstream. And that's what happened. So thank you to Taika Waititi.

00:21:03   Let it not be forgotten, though, that Taika is developing an Apple TV plus show. Oh, so he can talk to them. You just talk to them.

00:21:10   So the Time Bandits series, the Terry Gilliam adaptation, it was announced in March that YTT would be directing that. So I guess he could just call Tim.

00:21:23   Well, yeah, maybe he'll call Zach and say, hey, give me a special line to do. But you've got to assume like that, you know, not only is this frustrating for Apple PR, this is even worse for them. It's like, oh, gosh, would you like a 16 inch MacBook Pro now?

00:21:38   Would you like a prototype of a 13 inch MacBook Pro with a better keyboard? Just whatever, please, please. So funny moment, funny Apple related moment backstage at the Oscars.

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00:22:49   So this is, I guess, again, another bridging topic, but let's do this as a non upstream topic, Jason.

00:22:55   The Apple Television, the new Apple TV apparently could be coming.

00:22:59   I said television. I was being funny.

00:23:01   Gene Munster, is that you?

00:23:02   I don't mean an actual television set. I've walked into that one.

00:23:06   OK, so we're going to talk a little bit about some stuff that came out in iOS 13.4, which was released last week.

00:23:13   But tvOS 13.4 launched in beta last week as well.

00:23:17   This beta referred to an unreleased Apple TV code name model T 1 1 2 5.

00:23:25   This is not one of the code names or the codes that is used for all of the current Apple TVs in development.

00:23:30   The files that were unearthed via 9 to 5 Mac seem to suggest that the hardware would be seeing a processor upgrade to either the A12 or A13 Bionic.

00:23:41   The current Apple TV 4K runs on an A10, which is hilarious to think about.

00:23:47   So they're looking to upgrade it.

00:23:49   So, I mean, it makes sense that over time Apple is going to need to do this to the Apple TV, especially because of Apple Arcade.

00:23:58   Like if they want these software titles to run everywhere, over time they're going to have to do revisions.

00:24:05   But I want to kind of talk a little bit here about what else could they do and what else do we think they might be doing for the Apple TV.

00:24:15   So what is your kind of read on this?

00:24:17   I do feel like this is a little bit of an iPhone SE kind of thing too, where at some point you just want to upgrade the processor because, or a Mac Mini would be another example, a product that sort of sits out there for three years.

00:24:32   And then you update it and then it sits out there for another three years.

00:24:35   And what you want to do is put the new chip in it because that means you're not selling any more systems with the old chip.

00:24:42   And eventually they will go away, which is good for software. It's another chip that you don't have to support over time and you can slowly deprecate it and it goes away.

00:24:51   And the longer you leave that old hardware out there, the longer you're going to be living with it.

00:24:55   So I think that is probably part of the story.

00:24:57   And you're right, I have heard from developers and from game developers especially, I've heard them talk about how the Apple TV 4K platform is kind of underpowered for some of the stuff they do.

00:25:09   And so there are issues that you don't get on iOS that you get on the Apple TV.

00:25:15   So there is some value in that. Like obviously the Apple TV 4K handles 4K HDR video just fine.

00:25:22   So as a video player, it probably makes zero difference.

00:25:27   But for things like Apple Arcade games and stuff like that, and also just to keep the platform on modern hardware, those are my guesses for the two real reasons that they're doing this.

00:25:38   Do you think that there's any possibility of, I mean, you know, we've spoken about like different, when I say different hardware designs, I don't just mean to make the box look different, but like different form factors.

00:25:49   Do you think that at this point we're likely to see that? I think that the sun may have settled that idea right now.

00:25:56   Well, I think there's a great question, which is does the presence of the TV app on all other platforms essentially mean that Apple doesn't need to bother making a cheaper, or cheap device, like a stick, like an Apple TV stick?

00:26:12   I don't think we need to do it anymore. I think that answer is, yes, just buy Amazons. Like we're going to make something which is powerful enough to run all of the games that we want to play.

00:26:23   Right. So that's the next question is, why does the Apple TV exist then? And the answer is it exists because you want to play Apple Arcade games. It exists because you want that first party, you know, you want the AirPlay video mirroring features.

00:26:40   Like you want the stuff that only the Apple TV does and are willing to pay a premium. Now the question is, like I did the math, Apple TV 4K costs seven times what I paid for my Amazon 4K Fire stick.

00:26:55   Like seven times. It's for the cheapest Apple TV 4K. So I still have that question, which is it seems to be priced outrageously high for what it does.

00:27:10   And what it does is very limited. There's some TVs now that will support like AirPlay. So I wonder if that's even going to fade away over time.

00:27:19   But I just it's a product that doesn't make a lot of sense. It becomes much more of a hobby product, an ancillary. It's like an accessory almost.

00:27:29   Now that now that Apple TV's app is on other platforms, the box becomes more of a curiosity. So I don't know.

00:27:37   I mean, I'm actually a lot less excited about this concept now that it's not the only game in town in terms of playing Apple's content on other TVs.

00:27:46   I'm asking this is like we have no way of knowing this, but do you think they've sold more Apple TVs since starting Apple TV Plus?

00:27:52   I doubt it. Because I'm wondering if there's like a I don't mean like a ton, but I wonder what the perception is about where these shows are available.

00:28:01   Like if people think that you can just get them on Apple TV and then those people are going to spend, you know, one hundred and eighty dollars or whatever.

00:28:08   Not a lot. Right. I'm just wondering, like it's just like a curiosity more than anything else. Like I honestly don't assume we're going to see much more than just they upgrade the processor and just leave it.

00:28:20   Like, I don't think that this is a product that Apple is going to put a lot of focus into. Right.

00:28:28   Like, I think that they will just continue to make it something that is accessible and usable.

00:28:33   You know, like I've seen people saying like, oh, you know, like Apple Arcade, what if they just make like make it basic, like it's a games console now and it can also they're not going to do any of that.

00:28:41   Like that Apple are not going to make the controller you want them to make.

00:28:44   Like they're just not going to do it because they don't need to because they just made it possible to use the PlayStation controller or the Xbox controller.

00:28:51   Right. Because they know their place in this market. Right.

00:28:55   That like the Apple Arcade idea, it's not the only games console people have in their home. Right. I think Apple's pretty much understood that.

00:29:04   Like the majority of people that would ever want to play an Apple TV, like an Apple Arcade game on an Apple TV, probably also already have another games console because it's it's I think that's pretty niche to play Apple Arcade games on Apple TV.

00:29:19   I don't think a lot of people are doing that.

00:29:21   I think people are probably playing these games on their iOS devices. Right. And that's where they mostly stay.

00:29:26   Sure. And and if I think there's probably some people who are not coming from I have a game console but are coming from their iOS device and saying it would be fun to play this on the TV.

00:29:37   Play it big, play it with the family or whatever and get a controller. Right.

00:29:41   I'm not doubting there are some, but I think that it is very small.

00:29:45   In the grand scheme of things, I think the number of people who are playing Apple Arcade games on Apple TV is very small.

00:29:50   Mm hmm. So I just think that really they will they will maybe every little while they will upgrade the processor in this thing and then just let it keep going.

00:30:00   You know, so they just they just keep it going because I guess at a certain point having the A10 around, it's just it's just a difficulty.

00:30:08   Right. Like just in general for development across the platform and having to keep that chip alive, you know, in the same way as you mentioned, just like why would they why would they change it in the SE or the iPhone 9 or the S?

00:30:19   Or the iPhone 9 or whatever, or like even the iPad mini, for example, right?

00:30:22   They decided they didn't want to kill that product yet, but they weren't ready to commit to giving it anything new.

00:30:28   So they put a new chip in it and let it keep going so they can so they can stop the targeting for that chip.

00:30:33   Let me give you a counterargument. And this is actually based on a tangentially on something I wrote for Macworld last week, which was the headline was something like surprise cheap Apple products sell.

00:30:45   And that would be that given Apple's increased focus on on services.

00:30:51   And as we have talked about here, services have twice the margin that products do.

00:30:55   They're high margin products. You make a lot of money selling services.

00:31:00   There is an argument to be made that a product like this should just get cut in price dramatically and used not as a source of enormous product margins for a mildly selling product, which I think is what it is now.

00:31:18   I think it has enormous margins and they don't sell very many of them.

00:31:21   The other way to go is to be really aggressive and price it super low and say we're not going to make a lot of money on this box, but it's going to be a gateway to Apple Arcade subscriptions and Apple TV subscriptions and Apple TV channels subscriptions.

00:31:41   And they could they could re that's the other way to go is lazy.

00:31:46   Sorry, but the easy way to go will say I'll say it differently.

00:31:50   The easy way to go is let's just keep the thing we've got floating there and it's anybody buys it.

00:31:57   We're getting a huge amount of profit from them and we're done the riskier.

00:32:04   But I think more interesting way to go is to say let's just tear this whole idea up and make a new Apple TV.

00:32:10   That's that we can sell as cheap as possible because the goal is really just to get our ecosystem extended to as many TVs as we can so that we can sell them services.

00:32:19   And I would argue that if they were building Apple TV today, they would do that.

00:32:23   That would be what they would do if they did anything right if they didn't just say we're going to just focus on building an app for other platforms.

00:32:29   But it's a very Apple thing to have their own hardware.

00:32:32   So I do think that that maybe is more in line with their business today, but that would require a major change and kind of throwing out the old thing and doing a new thing.

00:32:44   And I'm dubious that they will bother.

00:32:47   I think that it would make sense to increase the process, like just change the process to decrease the price.

00:32:53   I think that that's the way to do and just don't do anything else to it.

00:32:56   Like that's what I would do, I think. Yeah, sure.

00:33:01   I will say I honestly at this point believe that Apple will no longer offer a remote before they will change the remote.

00:33:10   Right. I honestly like I believe that they would more likely say the best remote is your iPhone before they would give you a remote that you actually want.

00:33:19   Everyone wants a remote covered in buttons. Right. That would be great.

00:33:22   Make that product even worse.

00:33:23   They're not going to do that. In my opinion, it will either be a just a different version of the current remote or no remote before they give you the remote with tons of buttons all over.

00:33:32   I just don't see it happening.

00:33:33   If we go down this path of they just need to find ways to make it cheaper and they're going to cut their margins, but they also want to save money on each unit, that remote is expensive.

00:33:43   That remote that we all hate is expensive.

00:33:45   It's got a touch surface and with glass.

00:33:49   They could replace that with a much cheaper Amazon-style plastic clicky remote that would work fine and would be cheaper and allow them to shave off even more if they're cutting the price to retain some of their margins.

00:34:05   Well, Jason, what if they just don't bundle a remote anymore?

00:34:10   So they can claim that it's even cheaper and then they can sell you a remote in the store if you want to also add a remote.

00:34:15   They can say, "Bring the remote you already have."

00:34:19   Yeah, because you can train it to accept signals from other remotes.

00:34:23   They can do the old Mac Mini thing, right? "Bring your own remote."

00:34:27   B-Y-O-R.

00:34:28   Again, that would make this product even worse, but it's possible.

00:34:31   I mean, like, every time I buy one of these little Amazon sticks, it comes with a little plastic clicky remote.

00:34:36   And the difference is that they want Siri, so they probably want to have—and Siri is actually one of the good features—and even the Amazon cheap plastic clicky remote, it's got a microphone in it and a microphone button, and you can talk to the lady who lives inside your television and tell it to do things.

00:34:54   Right, but if you want to use Siri, use the Apple remote app that's built into every iPhone.

00:34:59   I—well, it's something that they could do to make the product so bad that I would rather that they put a cheap plastic clicky remote with a microphone in the box rather than the remote that they've got.

00:35:10   But I will say I have spent the last two weeks using my Logitech Harmony remote as my Apple TV remote.

00:35:17   I put my regular Apple TV remote away.

00:35:20   And with the exception of really moving fast through a timeline, you know, where you basically click and then you swipe and you go, like, all the way to the end, with the exception of that one gesture, I don't miss it at all.

00:35:32   It's really nice to not accidentally trigger lots of things in the Apple TV because you touched the wrong part of the remote.

00:35:40   So I thoroughly endorse either training another remote in your house or if you've got a universal remote, training it to control the Apple TV because I've only done that for the last two weeks.

00:35:52   And it's great because it just reinforces how much I don't like that remote, even though it does have, like I said, that one really nice advantage, which is if you're at the beginning, this happened to us where we wanted to watch the credits of a show,

00:36:05   and it took us away and I didn't undo that fast enough and it ended.

00:36:11   And then when I started the show again to watch the credits to see the name of an actor, it started at the beginning.

00:36:17   And rather than fast-forwarding to the end, I actually went and got the Apple remote and did the click, swipe, all the way to the end, click again, and then watch the last 30 seconds.

00:36:27   But other than that, don't miss it at all.

00:36:30   I don't miss, and I don't even miss the Siri stuff.

00:36:32   So, yeah.

00:36:33   So there were lots of betas last week. There were some macOS betas.

00:36:37   And there were more references in the most recent version of macOS to AMD processors.

00:36:44   Apparently this has been popping up for a while.

00:36:46   And these references relate to code names that AMD has for its chips, like Picasso, Raven, Renoir, and Van Gogh.

00:36:53   Currently, Apple relies heavily on AMD for graphics, right?

00:36:58   So all of the graphics stuff, by and large, inside of Apple's machines is AMD.

00:37:03   But this indicates that they are maybe past the most basic of internal testing for AMD processors.

00:37:11   Like if these references are finding their way into betas of macOS, right?

00:37:16   Like it's maybe outside of just the one testing lab where we assume they test absolutely everything, right?

00:37:24   So I kind of wanted to talk this through a little bit.

00:37:28   Let's imagine that Apple are switching to AMD for their processors.

00:37:34   Why would they potentially want to do this, do you think?

00:37:38   Well, my understanding is that AMD processors are sort of in the lead over Intel right now.

00:37:44   If you want high-end--

00:37:45   If you're in the PC world, right now, a lot of what AMD is doing is one of two things,

00:37:50   either they're making things more, that are more powerful, or they're making things that are of equivalent power, but cheaper.

00:37:58   I think the first one of those is more of Apple's interest, which is more powerful.

00:38:03   The idea that you could--like, a lot of the reaction to the Mac Pro when it was announced from people on the PC side was,

00:38:12   you know, it's not even--like, it's a Xeon.

00:38:16   AMD has better processors than this.

00:38:19   So--and I'm not a PC person, and I do not know all the details, but I think it's interesting.

00:38:25   I wanted to take it from the Apple perspective of never be beholden to some other company for your future, right?

00:38:34   It's like jobs 101, and it still followed at Apple.

00:38:37   It's still part of Apple's corporate culture.

00:38:39   That's why Apple makes its own processors now for iOS devices and other devices that are not Macs.

00:38:44   So this is why we've been talking about this, is the Mac is still dependent on Intel,

00:38:48   has been for a long time.

00:38:50   My feeling is that there was that period of time when Apple basically had put the Mac in neutral,

00:38:55   where they were like, "Just let it ride," and then they seem to have come out of that and like, "No, okay, that was a mistake.

00:39:01   Let's pay more attention to the Mac."

00:39:03   And it's very easy to stick with Intel, right?

00:39:05   They're like a partner you've had for a long time, and they make chips available across your product line,

00:39:11   and your product line is kind of built around the products, the chips that Intel is making.

00:39:17   And when you want to push them to do a variation of one of their products in order to fit into a new product you're building,

00:39:23   like the MacBook, that they will do it, or the original MacBook Air, the same way, right?

00:39:28   They'll work with you to make a product that works with that new computer,

00:39:33   and then they'll sell it to other people too, but they'll work with you.

00:39:36   So it's comfortable. It's a long, comfortable relationship.

00:39:41   But you look at what the stuff AMD is doing, and you say, first off, you say,

00:39:48   "Wouldn't it be nice to have two suppliers and be able to choose from --

00:39:54   you know, there are advantages to choosing this other supplier that we're not working with now, so that's interesting."

00:39:59   Or we could switch to them, which just moves the problem a little bit, like -- which Apple has done in the past, right?

00:40:07   It's like, "This chipmaker displeases me. I will move to a new, exclusive chipmaker, wait a few years.

00:40:13   This chipmaker displeases me," right? And you just keep going like that.

00:40:16   But why not, though? You know?

00:40:17   Well, you could. That's just shopping for chipmakers and saying to Intel, "You can win our business back."

00:40:21   But you could also just say, "We're going to use both."

00:40:23   I think Apple doesn't do that a lot. Like, you can see it in video cards too, right?

00:40:28   It's like, there is some simplification in only having to support one partner,

00:40:32   but the AMD processors and the Intel processors, my understanding, are so similar that they could use either one if they wanted to and build around it.

00:40:40   In the PC world, they're interchangeable, right?

00:40:43   Yeah.

00:40:44   The architecture is the same because it will have to run Windows.

00:40:46   And as well, there are people that have gotten Mac OS running on AMD chips, right?

00:40:53   Sure.

00:40:54   It is possible to do.

00:40:55   My feeling on this would be that I can't imagine Apple in their configurator having you pick between Intel or AMD because I think that's too confusing.

00:41:05   No. No. I could see a scenario maybe where you've got your, like, configured to, you know, it comes with a base, but you could configure up and you could configure up,

00:41:17   and some of those are from the other company. Like, it starts out as an Intel processor, but you can configure it up.

00:41:21   But I think it's more likely that you'd have computers that were based on one or the other because a lot of the complexity of, like, is this whole thing built around an AMD processor,

00:41:35   is this whole thing built around an Intel processor. But, again, you know, that would be simpler.

00:41:41   I think the other big question here is what we've been talking about for the last few years, which is Apple makes its own processors, and they're really good.

00:41:47   And so what about Apple's processors that are ARM-based, the A series, you know, that we know so well from iPads and iPhones?

00:41:57   What about that? Would those go in the Mac or a variation of those? I've always been talking about them, like, the M1, right?

00:42:05   It's the Mac processor, but it would be from Apple.

00:42:08   And the thing about ARM processors is they're not as focused on power as they are focused on energy efficiency, and there are issues with adapting a desktop operating system like the Mac to an ARM processor.

00:42:22   But you see Microsoft is doing it. Microsoft is doing ARM versions of Windows. Apple could totally do that.

00:42:29   And it does make me wonder if this is a two-part scenario here, if this is even true, like, why these things are in there, why Apple is allowing betas to leak out with data that they know people are going to find.

00:42:42   I still am baffled by that, that we have these Apple TV model numbers and these code names for AMD processors. Like, it is amazing.

00:42:51   Let's play house of cards here for a minute, Jason, right? Maybe this is all just to put the screws into Intel.

00:42:55   I like that. I like that conspiracy.

00:42:59   I feel like this is interesting because I would bet that AMD would maybe care more about gaining this business and Intel would care about losing this business. Maybe?

00:43:09   Intel has a new CEO. It's possible that Intel is like, you know, whatever, Apple is one of our, like, we're not that concerned about losing them or they've written them off, right?

00:43:19   They're like, we're going to lose Apple anyway.

00:43:21   Maybe Intel cared more when Apple were going to be using their modems, but Intel couldn't deliver, so Apple had to buy the modem division.

00:43:31   Also, if what we're talking about here, if the play is Apple is going to switch to its own processors for all of its laptops or most of its laptops or all of its consumer products, let's say, there's different ways you can slice it.

00:43:43   Then what we're talking about is high-end processors from Intel, which are low volume, although they do have nice margins, and maybe Intel looks at that business, not their current business, but what they forecast their future business from Apple being, and they're just not as worried about it.

00:43:58   And maybe they even say, you know, we're not going to be able to compete well with AMD on that anyway, so we're not going to worry about it.

00:44:05   Because I feel like that is, you know, if AMD is involved, I feel like that's the most likely scenario, which is Apple's going to make a mix of Mac products, and some of them are going to use AMD processors at the high end, and some of them are going to use Apple designed processors, ARM processors at the lower end.

00:44:21   I don't see a future where there are three totally different sets of chips in different Macs, because there aren't that many Mac models. I did a little chart on 6 colors last week about how many Mac, real like Mac models Apple introduces in a year, and it's a handful, right?

00:44:38   It's a handful of models. They're not going to have two that are using Intel and three that are using AMD and five that are using Apple, presumably. But it's really interesting.

00:44:51   Like this, we already were thinking that the future of the Mac was unsettled in terms of what the processor was that they were going to be built on.

00:45:00   And this opens up a whole other door of, "What does this mean? Like, would they do this?" And I don't know. I think, again, we've seen the Mac, Intel has benefited from Apple's inertia with the Mac.

00:45:14   Like, it's easier to just keep going with what we've got, and we know how to work with Intel, and that's it.

00:45:19   So would they care enough about the future of the Mac? Do they care enough to make a big move like this? And is it predicated on some other big move they want to make, like using their own processors?

00:45:31   Frankly, AMD are doing exciting things right now. And, you know, as I said earlier, for cost and power, there could be a really good choice.

00:45:40   And if Apple are indeed focusing way more on the Mac again, which it seems so, it could be a good move to make. Like, as well, in the Relay FM Slack, when these things happen, we all get excited and talk about them as any community does.

00:45:52   And John Siracusa noted something which I thought was especially interesting. So all of the next generation of game consoles, like the next Xbox and the next PlayStation, are integrating AMD CPUs and GPUs into one big chip.

00:46:05   So it provides great performance in a smaller form factor, or something that can be really well managed from a heat perspective.

00:46:14   That could be great inside of laptops as well, right? Like, the MacBook Pros could have this kind of thing, and it could be very interesting.

00:46:21   So, I don't know. There's a lot at play here, and this could purely be something that, as soon as Intel see it, they're like, "Oh, what are we going to do to keep you around?"

00:46:31   And they end up giving Apple exactly what they need. But just paying enough attention to this right now seems to suggest that, like, Apple has not had the best time with Intel over the last few years.

00:46:43   Maybe it is time to make a change, especially when there is real competition again. So, we'll see.

00:46:49   Yeah, definitely moving to ARM, though. Right, like, I think the long play, the ultimate play in a period of time into the future is every product Apple ships has one of their own chips in it, but it's going to take a while to get there.

00:47:03   But I think that they will start. I don't know if this year, I don't know if it's this year, but it's very soon, I think. In the next couple of years, we'll see the first ARM Max, right?

00:47:14   I don't know if it's 2020, but I think we're getting close. Would you agree with that?

00:47:18   It feels like it, but then again, I've been predicting that every year for like three years in a row and it hasn't happened yet, but maybe this time.

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00:48:35   One of the other things that came out with Xcode 11.4 last week in the release notes stated that a new feature for Xcode is to allow for Mac apps to be a part of a universal binary along with iOS apps.

00:48:52   This is something that we definitely expected would become a thing, especially with Catalyst, right? Like if you're making an iOS app and releasing it on the Mac, bundle it all into one thing and ship it.

00:49:03   But I don't think anybody expected it to happen within the first year, especially to be available in March, like not to be unveiled at WWDC.

00:49:13   It appears that right now you do not have to make a Catalyst app to do this. You can actually make a regular Mac app universal purchase in the App Store.

00:49:22   So if you're making an app with AppKit, for example, you can still do this. Not easy to do, but apparently it's possible.

00:49:28   And this will also be the default in Xcode for all new Mac Catalyst apps. You can choose for it not to be, but if you create a new Mac Catalyst project and you have an iOS app, it will be considered a universal binary.

00:49:41   So this all broke while we were recording Connected last week and we spoke about it at length and it was hilarious to try and keep up with this.

00:49:50   If you've ever wanted to listen to a podcast in which the hosts are reading Twitter and learning things minute by minute, that's the one for you. It was like watching a news channel live. It's like, "We're just getting this in."

00:50:02   It was actually a very fun episode for that reason, but now we've had time to ruminate on it more. And I just want to get your feelings on this.

00:50:09   So what do you think the overall ramifications are for developers? Is this going to change business models? Good, bad? Is this going to change expectations from customers?

00:50:21   Oh, there's a lot here. Well, first off, it's like, "Why now?" And we can talk about this later because why all of these things now? It's such a strange place to do it.

00:50:30   But the idea here, like there are going to be good fits and bad fits for this. There are people who make apps that are free or that they're cheap and they really just want you buy it once, you get it everywhere.

00:50:46   There are people who make apps and they really do want you to buy it on different platforms and that their business model will be harmed severely if all of a sudden you bought it on your iPhone and now you get it for free on your Mac, right?

00:50:58   Like that would change the equation and you end up in a situation where like, "Well, do I charge more?" But the iOS app store doesn't really want me to charge more. The people there don't want to spend more, so maybe I should just keep them separate.

00:51:10   But there are others who want them together and the advantage of having them all be under the same bundle is also you can do in-app purchases and they go across and subscriptions go across.

00:51:20   So I think it depends, but this is really good news for people who didn't want to force everybody who's using their app on iOS to pay again to use it on the Mac.

00:51:32   Like Steve Trutton Smith was somebody who was like, "This is really great. This is fantastic." So it depends, right? It depends on your business model.

00:51:41   And we talked last week briefly about the Fantastical business model and offering a subscription and updates and all that. Like it's hard to figure out, to navigate Apple's rules and what Apple provides and figure out the one that you're going to be able to use that makes sense for your users and makes sense for you so that you can continue to be a developer.

00:52:00   And this strikes me as being another tool for developers, which is fantastic. The only hesitation I have is if it becomes expected that the same app travels and you get it everywhere on Apple's platforms, that could have potential to hurt some apps and some developers.

00:52:24   Because like I said, there are some where it's like, I'm pricing this low on the iOS app store because if you're just using Peacock on an iPhone, then it's got its price there.

00:52:37   But if you're now also using it on your iPad and on your Mac and it's everywhere, like James, I don't want to speak for James, but as an example, James Thompson would be like, "I can't make a living if all I ever charge for Peacock is the one low price that's there."

00:52:53   So that would be my fear is the pressure to conform, to be the same everywhere, because that'll break some people's business models.

00:53:04   Now, you know, we could argue the counter, which is if I buy an app on Apple's platforms, I should just get it everywhere. And I can see that, but the truth is there are cases where that's not the right approach.

00:53:14   So Apple's not mandating this, at least not now, but that would be my hesitation is if culturally it becomes kind of expected that if I buy it here, I get it everywhere.

00:53:25   Yeah. And as you say, why not mandating it, setting a default, surely in like telegrams what they think you should be doing, right?

00:53:34   And it's a default for Catalyst, right? So you can do this with non-Catalyst apps, but it's sort of, I think Apple got a lot of feedback from people who are iOS developers who are looking at Catalyst saying, "This doesn't make sense for us unless we can bring our in-app purchases and our subscriptions and everything else with us and treat this as another variation of our iOS app."

00:53:56   And I get it. And I think it's fantastic that Apple is going to roll this out in March instead of making everybody wait until September, right? Like, that's great.

00:54:05   This is very interesting that Apple is taking this half year correction here to get something that we didn't think would happen until September at the earliest. So that's all good.

00:54:16   Like, it makes more sense for things like Catalyst apps.

00:54:19   Well, okay. Let's actually dig onto that a little bit more. It's very good that they've done it now, quote unquote, like done it now so developers can take advantage of it now. But is that why they did it? Is that why they pushed us out in March? Because people wanted improvements?

00:54:38   I think that this particular feature got pushed out now because they prioritized it as the biggest piece of feedback from iOS developers about why they aren't using Catalyst.

00:54:53   Okay.

00:54:54   I really believe that that is probably what is behind this is that they had this, like, all of our developers are complaining that it's completely unhooked. So basically the Steve Trout and Smith take, which is it's completely unhooked from the iOS experience.

00:55:09   But the whole point is that we want to bring our iOS experience. And if we can't attach it to our iOS experience and our subscriptions and our in-app purchases and all of those things, we're not going to do it.

00:55:18   This is so we'll wait. We'll wait it out until you do it. And perhaps they looked at it and said, well, this isn't that hard. Like this is more policy thing. And we'll implement a few things. And we could we could totally do this.

00:55:29   Should we do this now instead of waiting? And somebody somewhere said, let's do it now. Let's not wait until September. Let's not announce this in June and give everybody until September.

00:55:37   We could do this in the middle of the cycle and roll it out in February and tell everybody we're going to do this in March. And it's optional.

00:55:45   So if they don't want to do it, they just don't do it. But it will provide relief to all the people who are saying we really don't want our Mac app to be separate from our iOS app.

00:55:55   I think that's the motivator because I was positing the conspiracy theory that I have to that one Apple conspiracy theory guy over here, that one Apple figured this would be a controversial point.

00:56:10   And they knew they didn't have to wait until they were able to see to do it. So don't just put it out now and then everybody can get used to it by the time June rolls around.

00:56:20   Second one being that this model, this idea from like a business model perspective, really benefits you if your application is a subscription app. Right.

00:56:31   Like, you don't have to care. In fact, it is a much benefit to you. If you're a subscription within Apple subscription structure. Yes. To have universal apps. It is just a benefit to you if you run a subscription business.

00:56:46   Apple wants developers to run subscription businesses. That's what they want because subscription businesses get to be reported into Apple's growing services line.

00:56:56   So Apple are actively doing everything they can as well in good and maybe in sometimes bad to incentivize subscription businesses. So is this another incentive for subscription businesses?

00:57:11   I'm sure that's part of it. I think it's bigger than that, but I'm sure that's part of it. Because I think it comes back to it's a pain point for people who are looking at catalyst and they've heard that feedback.

00:57:23   And part of the reason they get that feedback is because those people are building a business on subscriptions or in-app purchases and they don't extend.

00:57:33   And it means that they have to it's too messy and that they're sitting it out. So I think it's a great combination of things that it could be and perhaps is, which is lagging catalyst support,

00:57:43   complaints from developers for why they're not going, the fact that it's something that's mostly a policy change so that it's not something that requires such an overhaul that they need until the summer to put it together.

00:57:54   And it is all about stuff ultimately that's going to Apple services line because the whole business model of these apps that are complaining is, you know, we want to have our in-app purchases crossover or our subscriptions crossover.

00:58:07   Because developers would not be pounding at the door saying, we want to not charge people a second time on the Mac. We don't want that money, right? That's not what they're doing.

00:58:17   They're saying we want to sell them something on iOS and have it carry over to the Mac. That's what they want. They want one thing that carries over and those are those in-app purchases or subscriptions.

00:58:27   So I think we're both probably on the case. It is fascinating reading between the lines, right? Because again, why now? Why now is always the question. There were other features that we haven't even talked about yet that appeared in iOS betas that it's the same question, right?

00:58:43   All of these things that are a little bit outside of what Apple usually does this time, we look at them and go, why are you doing that? Like, there's got to be a reason.

00:58:51   So let's talk about those. Along with all of this, Steve Trout Smith, who is the perfect person to follow when this type of stuff is going on.

00:58:58   Oh, yeah.

00:58:59   And many new things in iOS 13.4 and Catalyst that could improve development and usability with these tools. One of them, which is one that everybody wanted, improved date pickers. So it would be like a date picker, which makes more sense for the Mac, right? Rather than the scrolling wheel thing.

00:59:13   Yes, it's in there. It's in there.

00:59:15   APIs for key up and down events.

00:59:18   Basically, iOS developers have been frustrated for a long, long, long, long, long, long time at the inability to have access to the keyboard and the status of the keyboard at the level that they do on the Mac for people who know both like, and you see it in lots of ways like is the shift key being held down, right? Like on the Mac, you can do that on iOS.

00:59:43   Like, and there are workarounds and they can build things. And I know many developers who have done this to try and figure out what's going on on the keyboard at any given time.

00:59:52   But my understanding as not a developer is that it was always frustrating because you should just be able to get the status of the keyboard. If you're doing an app that has a keyboard option, right? Like you, you want to have access to it.

01:00:08   And in 13.4 beta, you just get it like there it is. You now you have access to the status of whether a key is going down, a key is going up. You can register and say, tell me when the shift key is is let up or push down or any other key.

01:00:27   And that's much more powerful and they're not trying to kind of hack. They don't have to hack something in order to get some sense of what's going on with the keyboard. So it's a very good, long desired feature for apps that are running on iOS with a keyboard attached.

01:00:45   And there's also a user setting, which I find really interesting because some keyboards that I use don't have an escape key on iOS keyboards to remap modifier keys, right? So if you've got a PC keyboard that you attach to your iPad and it doesn't have its own Mac key layout option, the option and command keys are flipped.

01:01:05   And it's frustrating because on the Mac, you can just remap those back. Well, in this iOS 13.4 beta, you can remap those and you can remap the caps lock to be an escape key or whatever.

01:01:14   The other one I love is the globe key. The globe key is the keyboard changer, which is really great because that's how you get to emoji. So being able to add that in on any keyboard now, I will use it instead of caps lock is great.

01:01:26   And move it to a place that you're less likely to hit it accidentally, I'll say too, because I hit it accidentally all the time on the smart keyboard. And I would like to not do that because then it slides up the keyboard into my face and I don't want to see it.

01:01:38   So there's lots of yeah, yeah, it's it's interesting things revolving around keyboards that have just happened in the middle of nowhere in February.

01:01:48   And so what's the question we ask Myke? Why now? Why is this happening now?

01:01:56   The Xcode release notes seem to suggest that the universal app thing will take effect in March, which suggests that 13.4 will come out in March.

01:02:10   Apple was rumored to have an event in March, where in March there is likely to be new iPads, which also in March, it has been indicated by Ming-Chi Kuo that there would be new keyboards, new smart keyboards with a quote unquote glowing.

01:02:30   Like I like to imagine glow in the dark, but probably backlit keyboard option, but that could mean significant changes to keyboards on iOS with a new smart keyboard.

01:02:44   That is the most logical answer here is that if there's a new iPad Pro coming out, one of the things that they can do to refresh it, because it's probably not going to look that different in terms of the industrial design because they just redesigned it.

01:02:55   They'll put new cameras on the back. But one of the ways they could do it, and I mentioned this when we were talking about what was going to happen this year and wish lists and all of that, was one thing you could do is upgrade the keyboard.

01:03:06   You don't have to upgrade the iPad Pro hardware necessarily as much, but you could take that smart keyboard design and offer either a brand new fancy smart keyboard or offer a second smart keyboard like Microsoft did for a while.

01:03:21   I don't know if they still do where it's like you can get the cheaper smart keyboard or Microsoft keyboard or you can get the fancier, more keyboard like, more features, backlit whatever fancy keyboard.

01:03:33   And what you can get with that, that is a further differentiator between the iPad Pro and the other iPads because they can all use the smart keyboard now. It's a different one.

01:03:44   Right. So this would be a smart keyboard Pro, let's say, and it's got backlighting and maybe it's got some different things. And then maybe part of the story, because remember it's all about telling stories, you know, even though it's centered on that keyboard, it's also a story about using the iPad Pro in keyboard contexts.

01:04:02   And without a brand new version of iPad OS, which they're not going to have until the fall, how do you make the case that like keyboards on the iPad are awesome?

01:04:16   Well, one way to help support that case for this product rollout that's happening in March is to throw some keyboard features into the midstream iOS update.

01:04:29   To me, I look at this and I think, well, there's totally a keyboard story in whatever they're releasing in March because why else would you pull this stuff out? This stuff could very easily be iPad OS 14.

01:04:42   In fact, arguably, like if you're hunting around for features for the iPad so that you don't have your iPad OS release seem scant, you would hold on to this, right? But they're not because presumably they've got an iPad Pro to launch and they want to launch it with a keyboard story.

01:04:58   And the keyboard story is probably centered on that new smart keyboard, but it's probably more than that. It's probably also a pro story about like, look at all the different ways people are using the iPad Pro and it's so powerful and you can put a keyboard on it.

01:05:12   And there are lots of different keyboard options and it's a little bit more, but it's still part of that same story that they will tell on a stage somewhere in March, presumably.

01:05:22   Exciting.

01:05:23   I'm very excited, right?

01:05:25   Like we're iPad keyboard aficionados.

01:05:29   So the iPad getting better at keyboards is great.

01:05:33   And I actually think in the long run, regardless of what the hardware does, these two changes are going to be big because it means that apps are going to start being way better at the keyboard than they are now.

01:05:44   I expect games will be better. I think game developers were really frustrated by this especially, but I know that also more pro tool kind of stuff, apps that are used with keyboards have been frustrated by the keyboard limitations on the iPad versus a Mac.

01:06:00   And then the remapping the modifier keys is just like, it's not system-wide keyboard shortcuts, which I also want, but it is a solid improvement in the usability of keyboards to be able to set those modifiers to be what you want instead of having to take whatever the keyboard does out of the box.

01:06:17   Which, like I said, there are a lot of really nice keyboards that are Windows format keyboards and on the Mac, you just remap them and you're done.

01:06:23   You plug them into an iPad and it's like, oh no, right?

01:06:27   Like you can't do that. So now you'll be able to.

01:06:30   All right, let's do some hashtag ask upgrade to finish today's show.

01:06:33   But first I will thank our final sponsor and that is Linode.

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01:08:01   So our first upgrade question comes from Rob and Rob says, "Do you have a pre-show ritual to recording your podcasts?"

01:08:10   Oh wow, I don't think I do. Beyond putting in the headphones and sitting down, I don't think I do.

01:08:19   For upgrade, I make sure that I've got tea or I've drunk all the tea that there is.

01:08:24   On the planet.

01:08:27   All the tea. And that's about it. I don't have a fast fancy footwork, like a thing you say to loosen the...

01:08:38   Conique New York.

01:08:40   I don't have any of those. Crisp crumb coating. I don't have any of those. Do you, Myke? Do you have a ritual?

01:08:48   I do the basic thing. So we use the bathroom because we're usually here for a long time

01:08:55   and I consume lots of liquids while I record. Typically coffee, especially depending on the show.

01:09:01   Always before... So shows that I would drink coffee... I typically would drink coffee before every show,

01:09:05   but always before upgrade because it's later in the day. Always before connected because it's later in the day.

01:09:10   So I will always do that.

01:09:12   Caffeine, that's the tea thing. Caffeine doesn't make me hyper, but it does make me a little chattier,

01:09:18   which is good for a podcast, I think.

01:09:20   I think so. What else do we have? I'll make sure I have my notes all set up, right? Like my physical notes,

01:09:30   because I take notes while I record of things that need editing with some shows. So I get that all set up.

01:09:35   Get all my tabs where I need them to be. You know, just simple stuff.

01:09:38   I actually have a keyboard maestro thing. I wouldn't call that a ritual, but I do have a keyboard maestro thing

01:09:42   that will open Audio Hijack and it opens my IRC client and puts it on the right screen and it opens the show doc

01:09:48   and it puts the show doc in the right place on my screen. Sure, that's like getting ready to go.

01:09:56   That's like putting in your headphones for me. But yes, that is a thing that I do, for sure.

01:10:00   So yeah, we don't like to do jumping jacks or whatever like that.

01:10:04   We could start. Want to do some jumping jacks? Next week.

01:10:07   The next question is from Tim. Tim wants to know, "Is covering your laptop's camera good privacy practice

01:10:13   or unnecessary paranoia?"

01:10:16   I'm going to go with unnecessary paranoia. Ooh, okay.

01:10:20   Yeah, I'm going to go with unnecessary paranoia. That said, if it matters to you or if you're doing things

01:10:28   in front of your camera that you're concerned about people watching, then sure, cover it.

01:10:33   But I just don't care. Modern Macs are generally engineered so that it can't turn on the camera

01:10:42   without the light going on. So I just don't think it's that big a deal.

01:10:49   If you work in a place where you have to be secure, they probably have removed the camera

01:10:54   from your computer already so you can't use it. But I think it's unnecessary paranoia. Yeah.

01:11:01   I don't do it, but I understand why people do it.

01:11:06   Sure, and I think it's a personal choice. But if I have to choose, I read good privacy practice as,

01:11:12   "Hey, backing up your computer, hey, you should probably do it. Hey, everybody, just want to say,

01:11:18   'Public service announcement, cover your webcam.'" I don't feel that way. I don't think it's necessary.

01:11:24   If you are creeped out, if you are concerned, go ahead and do it. I'm not going to laugh at you.

01:11:29   But it's not advice I would dispense to the general public.

01:11:34   My kind of feeling on this, I think, is if I was using a PC regularly, I would.

01:11:42   Because I just don't know enough about how they're architectured. But I am very confident with my iMac Pro

01:11:49   because I know how the T2 chip works, that it's not going to come on when I don't expect it to.

01:11:55   Because I know it's hardware turned off. I'm confident in that.

01:12:00   Because I have a base understanding of how that stuff works, but I don't know if I would trust everything.

01:12:07   It's like in the same way, I don't cover the cameras on my iOS devices. But I understand why people do.

01:12:14   When I see people doing it, I don't think, "Do you also want a tin foil hat with that?" You know what I mean?

01:12:21   Yeah.

01:12:22   Steven asks, "Do you think we'll ever get true family sharing for photos on iOS or macOS?

01:12:27   I'm sure you might want some photos to remain private, but I would like to share most across my family."

01:12:32   I want to say yes, but I feel like we would have had it by now if Apple thought it was a feature.

01:12:37   Apple's philosophy here is that most scenarios you want to specifically share certain photos rather than sharing everything.

01:12:49   And my tip that I had to mention to John Zaragoza, because they were talking about this on ATP and they didn't,

01:12:54   I think, realize this feature is there, there's a great feature in iOS 12 and 13 where if you select a bunch of photos and share them and choose "Share iCloud link,"

01:13:08   it generates this link that you can paste in an email or in a text.

01:13:12   And if you're on iOS, it adds your -- it doesn't transfer the photos. You select 100 photos.

01:13:21   It doesn't transfer the photos from the one device to the other. It's just a link.

01:13:25   But on iOS, you receive that link and you tap, like, "Add to my library."

01:13:29   And in iCloud, it adds those photos to your library from the other source.

01:13:33   Like, it happens in the cloud. You don't even -- it doesn't get transferred to your device automatically or something except via iCloud.

01:13:40   It's very clever, and it's a method that they could use for broader sharing.

01:13:46   But I just -- I feel like since they built that feature, that's also them saying, "We're not comfortable in photos going from one account to another account without them being selected and shared."

01:14:01   Now, I think -- like, so do my kids want to have all their photos automatically?

01:14:07   Like, does my daughter want all her photos automatically put into our photo library?

01:14:10   No, she does not, right? So it should not be on by default.

01:14:14   But my wife and I would -- our lives would be way easier if we could just turn that feature on.

01:14:20   So I hope they offer it because there are lots of people in families who just want to pool their photos together and can't.

01:14:28   But my gut feeling is that we -- because we haven't seen it and we've seen them implement other sharing features like this iCloud link feature, which is pretty great, that we're not going to ever get it.

01:14:39   Great luck with that feature. Like, where I've tried to do it and it's been stuck on the, like, preparing thing for a while, or I send it to people and they can't download all the images at once.

01:14:51   That shouldn't happen. The preparing is an issue where -- I've seen it where if you select a lot of them, it will sometimes be like, "Oh, I don't know what to do with this many photos," and it fails.

01:15:03   But the beauty of it is that if you're not on an iOS device and you click -- even if you're on a PC and you click, it will open a web page and you can literally just download the photos from there as a zip archive of all the original photos.

01:15:15   They did a really good job of, like, it's not a lower resolution version, it goes straight into your library if you're on iOS, and everybody else can just sort of, like, download the file and add it.

01:15:25   I would like -- because I kind of sit somewhere in the middle -- me and Adina take lots of photos and we don't want all of each other's photos in our libraries because it would just be too many photos.

01:15:36   But I would love a way for us to both be able to just take a bunch of pictures and just say, "Send them to Adina's library," and they just appear, right, because we're in a family.

01:15:47   Well, they just need to refine -- I think they need to refine that iCloud link feature.

01:15:50   I think so too, because the idea of me sending it in an iMessage to her to add them, it's just like it's too many steps that I don't think are needed.

01:15:59   Yeah, you should be able to say, "Somebody in my family, I want to share these with somebody in my family," and they should just get a notification on their phone that says, "Myke has photos for you," and you just say yes, right?

01:16:12   Like, you don't need to have an email or an iMessage or something, it's wired into the app.

01:16:16   Or a drop or anything like that.

01:16:17   Exactly.

01:16:18   And there's problems of AirDrop recently as well, where things just keep getting stuck.

01:16:22   And I think that's the best we could hope for, is that Apple greases the skids a little bit for in-family sharing of stuff via iCloud, but not automatic, which is too bad, but I think that that's just -- I think they've decided that they don't want to open the can of worms of having every photo that person A takes on their phone automatically shows up on person B's phone,

01:16:47   even though that is exactly the feature that my wife and I want.

01:16:51   All right, we have a question from Florian.

01:16:53   "I'm thinking about getting a Mac Mini for mainly Plex and photos and some other backup stuff. Do you believe it could be updated this year? Is it better to wait or is it safe enough to get one right now?"

01:17:04   Florian, I've got some advice for you. Never, ever, ever wait for a new Mac Mini.

01:17:10   Yeah.

01:17:11   Yeah.

01:17:12   Just get it.

01:17:13   I actually agree.

01:17:14   If you don't update it, they probably won't. You'll be waiting, and then you'll get to the end of the year and they won't have updated it, and you'll say, "Well, maybe next year," and you'll never get one.

01:17:21   It's not a product. It is good enough. It was updated relatively recently, even though I know that that was more than a year ago.

01:17:28   They did a great update, though.

01:17:29   And it's a good update. There are lots of options. Just get it. Don't wait. Don't wait.

01:17:34   And generally, I would say don't ever wait for a Mac Mini, because unless it's like five years old and there are rumors that they're about to update it, just get it.

01:17:41   Yeah, I kind of feel like this is a product right now that even if they did update it this year, the updates wouldn't be so big that you'd regret it.

01:17:47   Yeah, you're not going to be putting your head on your desk and like, "I cannot believe that I didn't get the 2020 Mac Mini."

01:17:53   But if you would have bought one like last July or last August, you would have been kicking yourself, because it would suck.

01:18:00   Right, because it was very, very old and there were rumors that there was a new one coming, but that's just not the case now. We're in the salad days of Mac Minis. Just buy one. Just go ahead.

01:18:09   And lastly today, a question from Joe. Joe wants to know, "Myke, I'm curious about the mechanical keyboards that you're using and how they could affect your RSI. I have the Keychron K2 and it's pretty tall. Do you use a wrist rest?"

01:18:21   So I use wrist rests. I have a wrist rest built into the Sculpt ergonomic keyboard that I have, the Microsoft one that I use all the time.

01:18:30   So when it's come to using mechanical keyboards, I'm using wrist rests for them.

01:18:35   The Argadex keyboard that I have comes with one and I've been using an existing wrist rest that I have when I've used the WASD keyboard.

01:18:44   And I've ordered one that fits a little bit better. I'm looking around at stuff like that. Yeah, I use wrist rests. It works for me.

01:18:53   I can't say it will work for everyone. I can't say it will definitely work for you. But especially because a lot of mechanical keyboards add quite a little bit of height over a regular keyboard, I use wrist rests.

01:19:03   Yep. I also have a squishy kind of wrist rest that I like and it's mostly because of that. The keyboard is so high that I want to have a surface near it that is of similar height.

01:19:16   That's due to aggressive for me to be typing on. So yeah, I recommend getting something squishy and you'll be fine. You'll be fine.

01:19:24   I don't have a particular recommendation for a wrist rest. I think, again, this is something you probably need to try it yourself.

01:19:30   I have a Belkin one now, but the ones I like are the ones that are the gel kind of feel. I don't like the ones that are the harder foam. I like the ones that are more of the gel kind of feel.

01:19:39   And the problem I've got is that I like these small keyboards that don't have extra width with number pads and things like that.

01:19:46   And getting a gel wrist rest in that width is almost impossible. I've actually been tempted to cut this gel wrist rest and then heat something.

01:19:58   If I can see if I can melt it together at a smaller size, but instead I just have this kind of like four inches of pointless wrist rest off to the left of my keyboard.

01:20:07   It's dumb, but I've yet to find one. But I do like the squishy gel. That's the best.

01:20:12   If you would like to send in a question to be answered on a future episode of the show, just send out a tweet with the hashtag #AskUpgrade and it may be included in a future episode.

01:20:23   And if you want to help open the show, just send out a tweet with the hashtag #SnellTalk and that could help us open it in a future episode.

01:20:30   We could ask a little question to Jason. It could be anything. Who knows what we may include.

01:20:33   Thanks again to our sponsors this week. The Fine Focus Set App, Linode, and ExpressVPN.

01:20:40   If you want to find Jason online, he's at sixcolors.com and @jsnell, J-S-N-E-L-L on social networks.

01:20:47   I'm @imikeyke. If you want to find more shows from Relay FM or just more podcasts, more tech shows to listen to in general, go to relay.fm/shows.

01:20:56   We have shows on technology, shows on creativity, many more verticals of programming.

01:21:02   If you want to get some wonderful shows about what's going on in the world of pop culture, go to the incomparable.com.

01:21:07   Right, Jason?

01:21:08   Ah, yes. Indeed, you should do that.

01:21:10   Thanks so much for listening. We'll be back next time. Until then, say goodbye, Jason Snell.

01:21:15   Goodbye, everybody.

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