276: It’s Always the Chips


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:08   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode 276, and it is the last regular show of 2019.

00:00:16   Today's show is brought to you by Pingdom, Freshbooks, and Direct Mail.

00:00:19   My name is Myke Hurley, and I'm joined by my friend and co-host, Mr. Jason Snell.

00:00:23   It's only irregular shows from here on out, Myke.

00:00:26   Indeed, we have the holiday special and then the upgradees to finish out 2019.

00:00:30   Lucky, lucky upgrade-ians.

00:00:31   Well, they'll be the judge of that.

00:00:33   No, they-- oh, I've already judged it for them, Jason, don't you worry.

00:00:36   We've got great content. #greatcontent.

00:00:38   Given that we haven't done any of those episodes yet, you're very confident.

00:00:42   Look, confidence is key, right?

00:00:44   I'm very confident.

00:00:45   I'm confident in our ability to create entertaining and exciting special episodes for the upgrade-ians.

00:00:50   Gregory has a #SnellTalk question for you, which says, "Jason, what is your favorite Star Wars

00:00:55   action sequence?"

00:00:57   To give a flavor, Gregory's is the sail barge in Return of the Jedi, as it combines everything

00:01:03   that Gregory likes about Star Wars, the characters, the action, and Jedi humor.

00:01:07   Can you think of a favorite other than McClunky scene, which is your favorite Star Wars action sequence?

00:01:13   Well, I mean, obviously the pod racing in episode one's-- anyway, the--

00:01:16   I mean, the pod racing's a good scene.

00:01:18   It just goes on too well.

00:01:20   It goes on-- there's one lap too many.

00:01:22   Mm-hmm.

00:01:23   I think I'm going to say there's a-- the climactic space battle that is being intercut with the

00:01:32   battle down on the planet at the end of Rogue One, because it's a modern Star Wars movie

00:01:38   with-- that is trying to do a take on the kind of classic Star Wars battle sequence,

00:01:42   and I think it's actually very, very good, where they're up in space waiting for the shield to open,

00:01:47   and they're down on the planet trying to open the shield, and that's a really good sequence.

00:01:51   I like it a lot.

00:01:52   You know, in terms of classic Star Wars, sure, I mean, Luke and Vader's lightsaber battle

00:01:59   in Empire Strikes Back is probably high up on the list there too, but, you know, there are--

00:02:06   there are lots of choices.

00:02:07   I don't know if I-- I have one that leaps out, but when I thought about this for a minute,

00:02:10   the Rogue One climax seemed to be the one that I had at the top.

00:02:14   It's a good one, because I don't think it's one that many people would have

00:02:17   instinctively picked, but it is a good scene.

00:02:19   I meant the reason I picked this this week? Star Wars week.

00:02:22   It's a new Star Wars movie coming out this week.

00:02:24   It is. I know. I know. That's, um--

00:02:28   Yeah, I got a-- we planned our incomparable episode about it.

00:02:32   I got a-- I think I'm gonna go see it at like 7 45 in the morning.

00:02:35   What day is it? It's a Thursday in America, or is it a Friday?

00:02:39   I think it's Friday release Thursday, but that means they do it Thursday night.

00:02:44   Right, because I'm going Thursday afternoon, because we get it a day early in the UK,

00:02:49   because we're very, very lucky like that, and I think give very, very good tax breaks,

00:02:53   I think is the main reason why, and then all the movies are shot here, so there you go.

00:02:59   Thank you to Gregory for the #SnailTalk question.

00:03:01   If you would like to send in a question to help start an episode of Upgrade,

00:03:05   just send out a tweet with the #SnailTalk.

00:03:07   So we spoke about the Mac Pro, the potential of a Mac Pro in last week's episode.

00:03:11   The potential came true, because a couple of days later everything was out.

00:03:14   I mean, we knew it was coming because of the the email,

00:03:18   but we figured it was like, you know, there'll be reviews, there were reviews,

00:03:21   there's been lots of great podcast content, but I wanted to do some follow-up to episode 258 of

00:03:27   Upgrade and 356 of ATP, where we made a bet. So we're following up and out.

00:03:35   Kind of, but it's all in the past now. Okay, yes.

00:03:38   To resolve this bet, there may or may not be some spoilers for the past week's episode of ATP,

00:03:46   so I'm going to play off the spoiler horn right now before this is Jason.

00:03:49   Let's do it. Okay.

00:03:49   We and you had a bet on the episode of Upgrade about which ATP host would buy the Mac Pro and

00:03:59   when, and now we have answers to those questions.

00:04:02   So we both thought that Marco would buy both the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR.

00:04:09   You said in two weeks, and I said before they start arriving with people,

00:04:14   there has at this time of recording been no evidence of Marco purchasing either a Mac Pro

00:04:19   or a Pro Display XDR. Here's the thing though,

00:04:21   it's not within two weeks yet, so I guess I still have a week before I'm completely invalidated.

00:04:25   Your guess and my guess are very, very similar because I think they have started arriving with

00:04:31   people now, right? Oh yeah, that's a good point. They have, so I'm out, right?

00:04:35   But Marco's not going to buy one, so I'm going to get it wrong too.

00:04:38   But still, it depends on how much you mind when you win this bet.

00:04:42   You said that John will buy a Mac Pro within the first three months, but not immediately,

00:04:46   and will wait because he will want to wait for the bugs to be ironed out,

00:04:49   and that John would not buy the Pro Display XDR. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. It

00:04:55   turns out John Siracusa is much more irrational than I gave him credit for.

00:05:01   I said John would not be buying a Mac Pro on day one, which I think I was wrong about, right?

00:05:10   It seems like he bought it immediately, but we can maybe get confirmation of this,

00:05:15   but I did say that John would buy the Pro Display XDR, which I am correct about.

00:05:19   You are absolutely correct. So, so far.

00:05:22   Again, so far. Again, John has proven to be...

00:05:25   10 years in the wilderness can drive a man crazy. Turns out, turns out.

00:05:30   Turns out. I'm pleased that you did it so fast, though.

00:05:34   Plus, it's a great episode of ATP, like the... Well, the reason to do it is because

00:05:38   ATP, right? Like, he doesn't need one at all, but it's so baked into not just his

00:05:44   personal brand at this point, but the show's ongoing storyline that I feel like it needs

00:05:49   to happen, right? Like, I've said in a few... This is not how it works, but I've said in a few

00:05:55   places that if ATP Incorporated existed, it should buy John a Mac Pro because it's, like,

00:06:01   it's very important to the show that John get a Mac Pro, but he got one. So, good.

00:06:05   Should we do some more follow-up? Yeah, why not? We're already here. So, makes sense.

00:06:10   The column browser's back in the music app. It's true. It's true. I updated my Catalina

00:06:16   on my iMac Pro last week to 10.15.2, and one of the features is the return of the column browser,

00:06:24   which I complained about over the summer with the public beta, and then I complained about

00:06:27   at slightly shorter length when the OS shipped because I figured old man yells at Cloud,

00:06:33   you know, it was enough. I had said my piece. Apple had decided to move on. It was a feature

00:06:38   I used all the time to create kind of arbitrary groupings and shuffles without having to build

00:06:42   playlists and stuff like that, and other existing features didn't really work. The column browser is

00:06:48   sort of the original iTunes interface, which is the sort of genre artist and album columns,

00:06:56   and then you can click within them in order to filter what displays in the list below.

00:07:01   On iTunes in recent years and in the music app under Catalina, it's something that exists only

00:07:07   in the songs view. Stephen Hackett actually sent me a message last week, and he was like,

00:07:13   "Where is that?" I said, "Songs view," right? Because it's like, you're like,

00:07:19   "How do I activate it?" It's grayed out in most places. In the songs view, which of course,

00:07:23   you're filtering the entire thing, so the name songs is not quite right, but anyway,

00:07:30   that's where it is. It's great. I don't know why it went away. I really don't know why it came back.

00:07:35   Perhaps they finally heard from people who, like me, were really unhappy that it went away. I don't

00:07:40   really see why it had to go away. It's off by default. You can just turn it on, but they brought

00:07:46   it back, and I'm happy about that. It has already changed my music listening back. There was a whole

00:07:53   kind of music listening I would do that was not playlist-based that I stopped doing when I switched

00:07:59   to Catalina because this feature went away, so I'm happy it's back. There have been lots of

00:08:03   upgradeions over the last week or so that have recognized what the chime is at the beginning of

00:08:08   this podcast. How about that? Before our music, there is a beep, and you may have thought to

00:08:12   yourself, "That's just a beep that begins before the music," but no, it is actually the startup

00:08:18   chime, the original startup chime from the original Macintosh. Yes. People have recognized

00:08:23   this because on the second episode of MKBHD's series "Retrotech," he takes a look at the original

00:08:29   Mac, and he starts it up, and you hear the beep, and it even did a thing to me. "Well, I know what

00:08:33   it is, but I heard it," and I was like, "Huh?" because I know that that means the beginning of

00:08:39   upgrade. So there you go, and you may have heard it in the past where we've changed the sound for

00:08:44   a little bit. They are just different Mac startup sounds that we've done. Yes, we have a little

00:08:48   library of Mac startup sounds. Occasionally, we'll vary it, especially when Myke is away,

00:08:52   and I get to play. I will sometimes vary it. When Apple TV launched, we used the cord that is at the

00:08:58   beginning of an Apple TV+ show, which is itself a reference to Mac startup chimes, right? But yes,

00:09:06   the one that starts out upgrade most weeks is the original Mac. It spent me a lot of time to get

00:09:12   that sound, and not one person commented on it. Well, yeah, but we were waiting for this moment,

00:09:18   clearly, that we would finally, 276 episodes in, blow people's minds, so that's good.

00:09:24   - The upgradees, they're coming. Get your votes in, upgradees.vote, closing date, December 24th.

00:09:30   Jason, we've had over 750 nominations made by upgradeians so far.

00:09:34   - That's good.

00:09:35   - So over 750, which is, that's more than last year.

00:09:39   - We could do better. We could do better, and just keep in mind, for those who have not submitted

00:09:42   yet, every submission you do makes Myke work harder, so please submit.

00:09:46   - Well, at least makes the spreadsheet work harder, but yes. upgradees.com, you can see

00:09:51   previous winners, but upgradees.vote is where you will go to cast your votes. You don't have to vote

00:09:58   in every category, none of them are required, so you can just send in the votes that you want,

00:10:03   but please be a part of it, because you can help with our award ceremony.

00:10:07   I have some varied upstream news this week, there's a few different things. They fall into

00:10:11   the overall kind of sphere that I think Upstream covers. One of them, which is I find a little

00:10:17   oddity, this is interesting to me, Netflix are creating a new limited series that retails

00:10:22   the story creation and kind of ascension of Spotify.

00:10:25   - Okay.

00:10:27   - But I don't believe that Spotify are involved in this. Netflix have bought the rights to a book

00:10:33   called Spotify Untold.

00:10:35   - All right, okay, so it's more of a social network kind of, it's like a biopic book.

00:10:41   - That's what I would assume.

00:10:42   - About a company and the rise of that company.

00:10:44   - I guess, that is what I guess they're going to be doing, right? Like when I read the story,

00:10:51   I was like, oh, okay, it's gonna be like one of those biopics. Because originally I was like,

00:10:55   that's strange, like, is it a documentary? But it's not, it's like a fictional retelling kind

00:11:01   of thing, if you know what I mean, like a fictionalized retelling of actual events. So

00:11:06   that's coming at some point, but I just thought it was kind of funny.

00:11:09   Apple have renewed the anthology show Little America. So this is the show created by Kumar

00:11:13   Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, Lee Eisenberg, and Alan Yang. This is the kind of American,

00:11:19   like the average American stories, right? Like from people all over America.

00:11:23   - I think it's, isn't it immigrant stories?

00:11:25   - Yes, that's it, you're correct, of immigrants. But like, you know,

00:11:28   - But it's an anthology series and they ordered eight of them and they, and you're saying to

00:11:34   yourself, well, wait a second, how is it that they've been renewed when they haven't,

00:11:39   did I miss it? Is it on? It's like, no, it's not. It's not, it actually isn't coming back

00:11:45   or coming out until January 17th. They're apparently dropping all of them, which

00:11:49   I think is fine for an anthology series, right? Because there's no ongoing storyline you want

00:11:54   to sort of let people pick and choose. I think that's the right way to do it. And that's

00:11:58   different from what they've been doing. But as we've said before, because some other shows

00:12:03   have been picked up, you know, the morning show was bought for two years, so it didn't get picked

00:12:08   up, but like For All Mankind is a good example of this, where it got picked up for a second

00:12:13   season before it had premiered. A lot of times what this is, is this stuff got put into production

00:12:17   so early. My impression is that at some point you have to contractually choose to renew it

00:12:25   and keep the, in this case, the producers from moving on to other things by picking up their

00:12:32   contract. And also the stars too, I guess. Yeah, except here there are no stars, right? Because

00:12:37   this is an anthology series. But the same idea that Apple TV+ took so long to gestate that

00:12:45   they have these, I think this is what's going on, I don't know for sure, but they have these

00:12:50   make or break dates in their contracts and they got to say yes or no. And they've seen them,

00:12:55   obviously, at Apple and probably like them and decided that they're going to place the bet that

00:13:01   they want more of it, even if they're taking the risk because nobody's actually seen them

00:13:05   on the outside, that they like it enough because it's either this or they walk away from the project.

00:13:09   So yeah, Apple will be dropping all eight episodes at once and then they've renewed for more to go

00:13:17   on. Yeah, yeah. So this is just related to that, Apple TV+, we should mention their first round of

00:13:24   shows that we spent two years talking about are wrapping up. See had an eight episode season,

00:13:30   it's done. They dropped the last episode a week and a half ago. The Morning Show and For All

00:13:35   Mankind, I believe, dropped their season finales on Friday. And we've seen that there's that

00:13:42   M. Night Shyamalan produced show Servant that launched on Thanksgiving.

00:13:47   And Truth Be Told. And Truth Be Told, which is the podcast true crime

00:13:53   show has launched. So we're in an interesting place now where the launch shows are going away

00:14:00   and we're having to start to see Apple's rollout of other content on the service. So

00:14:05   this Little America is going to be one of those, but that's something I think we should keep our

00:14:10   eyes on because there's the big splash launch, right? But then they're up and running and they

00:14:18   got to keep it rolling, right? So what's the rollout going to look like? And are they going

00:14:23   to drop things in batches? Is there going to be something new every week? Going to be interesting

00:14:29   to see how they do it. And we don't know for sure how they're going to roll it out. So that's

00:14:34   something to watch because we're kind of at the end of the launch of Apple TV+ right now.

00:14:39   Yeah, it's kind of an interesting thing where it's like, all right, so you started off with

00:14:44   three shows and they ran for about the same amount of time. I was interested in two of them. Now,

00:14:49   those shows are over and there's another two that are going week by week. And I'm only kind

00:14:53   of interested in one of them. So then what if by the time those shows are over, I'm interested in

00:14:58   none for two or three months? For me, there have been so many different shows on that we've been

00:15:06   watching for all mankind week by week, but we've been watching the morning show very slowly because

00:15:13   other shows get in the way of it, The Mandalorian and Watchmen and The Expanse and there's like

00:15:17   other shows that have gotten in the way of it. So we're only on episode four, I want to say,

00:15:22   of the morning show. So we got a lot more of that to go. So I'll go back to that as some of these

00:15:28   other shows wrap. But yeah, I think this is the ongoing question. And if you get it free for a

00:15:34   year, you're giving them a huge grace period, right? If you bought an Apple product and you

00:15:38   get it free for a year. But in the long run, it's a month to month thing where Apple TV+,

00:15:44   like any subscription service has to prove itself month to month. And if you at the end of the month

00:15:48   are like, this happened to me with Hulu not too long ago, where I had that moment where I thought,

00:15:53   have I watched anything on Hulu in the last month or two and I've been paying for it?

00:15:57   That's not what you want if you're a streaming service, right? That's not what you want.

00:16:01   No. And again, as you say, first year is free, which is fine.

00:16:05   But you don't want me to forget that it exists. For sure.

00:16:10   And if I've not got shows that I'm going back for every week, I might do.

00:16:13   Now that first year is really crucial because you want to get to the end of the first year

00:16:17   and get that little email that says, hey, you were about to charge your card for Apple TV+ for a month

00:16:23   because your year is up. You want to be like, oh, no, I can't miss the rest of season two of

00:16:29   For All Mankind or whatever it is. I've enjoyed this too much. It has too much value. I want to

00:16:35   keep it. This year is their way to prove that. And they get a little bit of time to do a shakedown

00:16:40   cruise here. But by the time we get to the end of the year, it needs to have proven its value to that

00:16:45   initial annual subscriber base that they speculated. And basically, what would Tim call it? A gift?

00:16:53   They give a gift to everybody. But the gift now, they need to prove themselves.

00:16:57   So yeah, I think it's fascinating to watch. I think this will be really interesting to see

00:17:02   how they make this happen because this is part of the execution part. We spent two years talking

00:17:07   about how they were buying a really nice bicycle and putting a lot of cool, fancy parts on it,

00:17:12   but they hadn't ridden it yet. And now it's like, OK, then we watch them get on the bike and start

00:17:17   to ride it. Go with me here. But now it's like, well, now they need to ride the bike to a

00:17:21   destination. And like, how's that going to go? We don't know. It's interesting. So I'm happy that

00:17:27   they are moving and we'll see where the bike goes.

00:17:29   And Apple News is going to be hosting an American presidential debate. This was announced by the

00:17:35   Democratic National Committee that Apple News will be partnering with ABC and WMUR TV to host the

00:17:41   eighth Democratic debate on February the 7th. This is part of an election coverage content alliance

00:17:47   between Apple and ABC. Oh, you know,

00:17:51   it's not new in the sense that a bunch of other online kind of news services have been a part of

00:17:58   the presidential debate mix. But it is kind of funny that it's Apple News, right? Like,

00:18:02   it's weird. Insert your own Apple News joke here. But it's not surprising on one level,

00:18:10   but it is a little bit strange. Especially because we don't think of Apple News as an

00:18:17   entity, like a news entity. It's like a conduit for other news entities. But,

00:18:25   I don't know, maybe it's just a nice advertisement for Apple News.

00:18:29   - It's weird. - Yeah.

00:18:30   - They're going to show it in Apple News. It's like this funny thing. So that will be video

00:18:33   content in Apple News. Then they have like music content.

00:18:36   - Well, that'll be perfect. There'll be like a link for a debate and you'll be like,

00:18:38   "Oh, I want to read this debate on the web." And then it'll hijack your link and take you

00:18:42   into Apple News. That's fitting. Yeah, zing, boom, burned.

00:18:46   - This episode is brought to you by Direct Mail. Our friends over at Direct Mail,

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00:20:00   Direct Mail is free to download and get started and listeners to this show can get 10% off all

00:20:04   of their full feature pricing plans. Go to directmailmac.com/upgrade to check it out.

00:20:11   That is directmailmac.com/upgrade to get 10% off when you opt for a full feature plan. Our thanks

00:20:18   to Direct Mail for their support of this show and Relay FM. So I know that it's been about a week now

00:20:24   since the Mac Pro has been available, but let's talk a little bit about some of the aftermath,

00:20:32   if you will. You were on the talk show with Jon Gruber, and so there's a lot of initial

00:20:37   thoughts and impressions there if people want to go listen to that episode.

00:20:39   It's two and a half hours long, folks. So there's lots and lots of initial thoughts

00:20:43   and impressions sitting over there. We also talk about Perl and movable type and emoji.

00:20:47   Sounds about right for you too. Yeah, lots sounds. We're on brand. No keyboard. Very little keyboard

00:20:53   talk and no baseball talk. I'll just say that. So two and a half hours, yeah. I would just like to,

00:20:58   on the show, thank Jon Gruber for his kind words about upgrade. It was very nice of him to say.

00:21:02   Yes. So thank you. Very nice. Very nice. I have an answer to my question about where the Mac Pro is

00:21:09   made if it's not an American product. So this has happened in a couple of ways. This morning,

00:21:14   senior editor of French Apple magazine Mac Generation, who's Anthony Nelson Santos,

00:21:20   they wrote in to us to say that they had heard from their readers that Mac Pros that they were

00:21:25   starting to receive in Europe were being shipped directly from China and were stating that they

00:21:30   were made in China, like assembled in China. I'd also heard this. It corroborates something that

00:21:36   I'd heard. Mac Generation wrote this up on their website, but it's all in French. So Mac Rumors did

00:21:42   a translation of this. I'll include both in the show notes, depending if you know French or not.

00:21:46   Go to Mac Generation, I guess. But you can see it. It says on the Mac Pro hardware itself assembled

00:21:53   in China. Why is this important? Because it proves a point that I think is important to prove,

00:21:59   that the whole Donald Trump, Tim Cook thing is as much of a dog and pony show as I expected it was.

00:22:05   Because the Mac Pro itself is not assembled in China, is not this American product.

00:22:11   They are assembled in China if you've ordered it in America. It does not mean that the Mac Pro,

00:22:16   as a computer, is manufactured or assembled there in the same way that like iPhones are assembled

00:22:24   in China. iPhones are assembled in China because that's where they're made, right? And they're

00:22:27   shipped all over the world. The Mac Pro is only being assembled in America as a political stunt,

00:22:33   right? The idea of the Mac Pro being an American product made in America, it doesn't mean anything.

00:22:39   BRIAN: Well, there are lots of different reasons to make computers in different places,

00:22:44   and some of them are for politics and some of them are for tax purposes. I mean, we talked about how

00:22:50   in, I think in Brazil and in India, Apple has experimented with making at least iPhones and

00:22:56   maybe other products in the local, assembling them there so that they can avoid certain kinds

00:23:03   of tariffs and taxes. WILLIAM: In the same way that we mentioned that some bill to order products

00:23:08   like my iMac Pro was assembled in Ireland, right? Like, there are reasons to do it.

00:23:12   BRIAN Right, which these are not, which I think is an interesting quirk, right? Like that the,

00:23:16   it was possible at least that European Mac Pros could have been made in Ireland, but they're not.

00:23:23   WILLIAM Well, this is what I'm wondering though. So the ones that are arriving,

00:23:26   I don't know, are these just base models? BRIAN Yeah, I don't know, right? Do they get

00:23:31   configured in Ireland if you do that? I mean, there's more, there's a lot of complexity to

00:23:34   the supply chain here. Also, I suppose you could say that when you say for political reasons, like

00:23:39   avoiding taxes and tariffs are in some ways connected to political reasons, like that if

00:23:45   you don't make a big show about your assembling this product in the United States, that you'll get

00:23:50   tariffed and taxed. And if you do, then you won't even. So yeah, so I mean, this is the this is that

00:23:56   other data point. This is not a product that is being made in the USA for the world. It's being

00:24:02   made in the USA for the USA. It is a it's not symbolic, because it's real, but it is a gesture.

00:24:10   It is a tactical move to look good for the US government.

00:24:18   WILLIAM: I mean, the thing that bothers me is that Paul just

00:24:22   allow the US president to just say whatever he wants about it, right? Like, that's the thing

00:24:27   that frustrates me.

00:24:28   BRIAN Apple didn't say we are proud that we are making the Mac Pro in America for American

00:24:33   customers. Like, I don't believe they've said that. Like, they just let it be assumed if you

00:24:38   want to assume that the whole product line is being made there, but or assembled there,

00:24:43   but it's not. Now, the parts are presumably the same, right? Which means that still that

00:24:47   mixture of parts that are sourced from all sorts of places, including in the United States.

00:24:51   But as we've talked about on past shows, even with that, it's going to be way cheaper to

00:24:57   assemble those things in China and then ship them around the world. So that's what they're doing

00:25:03   outside of, you know, the US or maybe outside of North America, or there may be other regions that

00:25:09   we discover are getting the American sourced products. It may not just be the US. Canada

00:25:14   might get the American products, right? Mexico might even get them. But beyond that, it looks

00:25:20   like everything else is in China. And that's what we suspected, but now we know.

00:25:24   MATT WILKES: It was just important to me to close the loop, because it was a thing that I

00:25:28   cared about and we have now. And I'm pleased that our hypothesis was correct, right? That

00:25:35   they were not, if you were buying one in Germany, it was not coming from Austin, Texas,

00:25:39   because that would have been wild. So we know the pricing configurations, we know how expensive

00:25:45   this computer can get. This is exactly the amount of money I thought it was going to go to, right?

00:25:49   Like 50 grand, right? Like it just seemed like, of course. I don't know how you feel about it,

00:25:54   but like, you know, I've seen this, there's rightly so I think for how symbolic this product

00:25:59   is and how important it is. There is a lot of hand wringing about pricing and who this is for

00:26:02   and who it's not for. I think that it's a, I consider it very positive that you can spec this

00:26:08   machine the way that you can, because it means that this is finally a Mac, which like for nearly

00:26:17   10 years, right? We have not had the ability to create a Mac to go to wild purposes, right?

00:26:25   That like you could spec a Mac with internals that could be used in a vast, vast variety

00:26:33   of use cases. And 1.5 terabytes of RAM is a very extreme use case, but you can do it now.

00:26:42   And I think that that is great because if what you're looking for is an idea that Apple has

00:26:49   commitment to the Macintosh, this is it because there is for most business reasons, zero purpose

00:26:57   to sell that machine, right? Like I was wondering like how many machines are they going to have to

00:27:03   make to like recoup their R&D costs for this, considering this was a product that they were

00:27:10   never going to make in the first place. Right. Right. And I just think about the amount of money

00:27:14   that, because if you think about it, right, the iMac Pro doesn't need to exist in theory if the

00:27:21   Mac Pro is always going to be made. The iMac Pro exists because they were getting rid of the Mac

00:27:25   Pro. Exactly. And we know that there have been reports about that, that the iMac Pro was a

00:27:29   project that was made because they were killing the Mac Pro and then they decided not to kill the

00:27:35   Mac Pro. And there's an open question there about updating the iMac Pro, a product that I really

00:27:39   love, by the way, that we'll see, like, will they do that? Or is this the only iMac Pro that will

00:27:46   ever exist because they went in a different direction? I don't know. So then if you imagine

00:27:51   if somebody's trying to work out like what was the overall cost of this product, let's just imagine,

00:27:55   for example, that you took the iMac Pro into consideration, right? So like the amount of

00:27:58   money it cost to create and research and develop that product, the amount of money it's taken for

00:28:05   the Mac Pro, and then the whole thing together. People don't give that enough credit, right? Like

00:28:09   people think about the cost of the parts and all that, but it's so much harder to think, like,

00:28:14   this is time spent by Apple designers, Apple hardware engineers to build this thing. It's

00:28:20   time being diverted from other things. There's an opportunity cost here too because it's a computer

00:28:25   that's being designed instead of a different computer that could be designed. And, you know,

00:28:31   also the benefits are broader, like, you know, having making a gesture to high-end

00:28:37   filmmaking potentially means that Apple stays in the good graces of some high-end workflows.

00:28:46   In an industry that they are more, they care way more about than they ever have before

00:28:50   for various reasons. And you end up with not just selling iMac Pros, but you sell those monitors and

00:28:57   you sell MacBook Pros and you, I think it also can't be discounted. I mentioned this on the

00:29:03   talk show that there's also a, you know, good feeling, like an identity thing to say, look at

00:29:11   us, look at how we brush up against the fancy, you know, Hollywood folks and that that makes us look

00:29:19   good that we're, that they, you know, we can make this and that they can use it. Even if it, you

00:29:25   know, doesn't have a direct dollar benefit that, that it's, it's worth doing. But it's very clear

00:29:31   from the base price of this thing that like the conception all along was that Apple wants to build

00:29:37   something that can reach the stratosphere. And, as a result, like, cause if, if this was, if this

00:29:45   started at $2,000, there would, there could not be some of the stuff that's in it that is in it,

00:29:50   because they wanted to build it with the, at this very, you know, thing that could scale way,

00:29:55   way, way up. And as a result, the floor is way higher than I think a lot of people would like it

00:29:59   to be. You mentioned a very key word there, which was identity. I think that this Mac Pro is in the

00:30:08   identity of many people, right? Like you were mentioning it in the idea of Apple's identity,

00:30:12   who they want to be to the world, right? And they want to be, continue to be as they have

00:30:17   been for such a long time, the place that creative professionals go to. And the Mac Pro serves,

00:30:24   like serves a lot of high-end creative professionals. But there are lots of people

00:30:29   whose identity as computer users is tied up in Apple and a tower Mac.

00:30:35   - Yep. Yeah. Including the group that we would say Apple itself has identified as its largest group

00:30:42   of pro users, which are developers. A lot of developers are very technical people and they

00:30:49   love computers. That's why they're developers. And they don't like the idea of using a system that is

00:30:57   enclosed, that is a consumer that works really well for consumers, but they're like, but I want

00:31:02   to tinker. I want it open. I'm a more technical person. And these are the kind of people who have

00:31:06   been buying towers from Apple for years. They had a Mac Pro cheese grater, or they had a

00:31:12   Power Mac G5. Maybe they skipped past the trashcan Mac, but they would like to have a tower.

00:31:22   And the fact is that this is, at its base model, this is overkill for them. And it's Apple's take

00:31:31   on this is very clear, which is if you don't need the power of the base model Mac Pro,

00:31:37   you don't need a Mac Pro. The power is the differentiator here. And below this,

00:31:44   you should just get an iMac Pro or an iMac or a Mac Mini or a MacBook Pro and not this.

00:31:50   And the problem is that there's some people for whom it's not about the power of it. It's that

00:31:56   it's a box. It's an open box that they can swap out the storage and they can swap out the memory

00:32:03   and they can put in cards and they can do all of these things. And they want to do that. And

00:32:08   they don't want to spend $6,000 on an overkill machine in order to do it.

00:32:13   So I'll ask you, do you think that this configuration, this starting price, this $5,000

00:32:26   machine, should this be the only pro-focused desktop option that's not an iMac?

00:32:30   So yeah, you know, I can't win with this answer.

00:32:37   Nobody can.

00:32:38   I feel for the people who want Apple to make a Mac that fits them. And I feel for the people who

00:32:46   are, especially developers, but people who, you know, we talk about pro machines and there was a

00:32:52   post that I linked to on Six Colors from Martin Pilkington that I think explains the argument very

00:32:59   clearly. And, you know, in the end, what he says is, is the Mac pro machine, undoubtedly,

00:33:08   there's no reason why anyone who is not a professional user should even consider buying

00:33:11   one, but is it a machine for pro users for the vast majority of us out there because he places

00:33:16   himself in that group? The answer is no. The answer is, unfortunately, he says no. And that's,

00:33:21   I think that's exactly right. Like the issue here is that there are a bunch of people who

00:33:26   view themselves as pro users who are upset that the Mac Pro isn't for them.

00:33:30   I would argue that it's Apple, Apple makes a line of pro products and Apple doesn't believe

00:33:39   that the Mac Pro is for all pros, nor should it be. And they made those decisions. I think

00:33:44   the arguments I've seen, including Martin Pilkington's blog, which says it very well,

00:33:49   is that there are a lot of pros who want to tower from Apple. And Apple has essentially said,

00:33:55   no, you should get something else. You should get a laptop. You should get an iMac. You should get

00:33:59   a Mac mini, but this thing is not for you. Now, if I have strong feelings about this,

00:34:08   it is that I don't believe, and I think this has been true for a long time, I don't believe

00:34:15   most people who feel that they need an expansion full computer so that they can swap out parts and

00:34:24   plug in cards and do all of those things. I don't believe that most of them actually need it.

00:34:32   I think they want it. I think it makes them comfortable. I think it's familiar.

00:34:37   There has been a fallacy in computers for a very long time that people want to buy the upgradable

00:34:45   computer, whatever the upgrades are, because it makes them feel safe. It's like insurance,

00:34:51   it's future-proofing in a way. And I think if you look at, and I know Apple had research about this

00:35:00   back in the day, you look at how people use those computers, they never upgraded them. They never

00:35:05   did. They never did. And it's not to say that nobody did, but almost nobody did. And there's

00:35:09   a famous, maybe apocryphal, I don't know, story about Apple at some point realizing that they

00:35:14   could dramatically reduce the number of slots in their tower or in their Macs that had openable

00:35:20   boxes with slots in them, because they realized that although people said they wanted six slots,

00:35:24   nobody ever used more than two slots or three slots. And it gets overstated is what I'm saying.

00:35:31   I think in general, I would like Macs to have user removable and installable storage and RAM,

00:35:43   let's say. And Apple doesn't do that. Apple doesn't do that for some good reasons, which is

00:35:48   they engineer without that and their devices can be thinner and lighter and nicer in all sorts of

00:35:54   different ways. But I think there's an argument to be made there. But clearly that's not what Apple

00:35:59   believes. And my sympathy for Apple is at least exists in part because I do think that a lot of it

00:36:07   is more about an emotional desire to have control over your computer that is understandable, but not

00:36:19   necessarily logical or not necessarily something that actually gets put into practice. So, you know,

00:36:28   would it be great if Apple made a mid-range mini tower for people who are developers and not high

00:36:35   end video pros? Yes, of course. And that's been true since 2007 when we were running op-eds at

00:36:43   Macworld by Dan Frakes and Rob Griffiths about this very issue. Like it's been true for more than

00:36:49   a decade that Apple has been, back in the day, it was like, how about a thousand dollar tower? Now

00:36:53   it's like, we'll pay 3000 for a tower, please give us a tower that's not six grand. So I get all of

00:36:59   that. But I also understand Apple saying, look, we want to hit the high end here with this product.

00:37:05   And we've got our products below it are so powerful already. And with Thunderbolt 3,

00:37:11   they're so expandable that we just are not going to make another product. And we're not going to

00:37:17   hurt this product by bringing it down in scale because every product has a cost. Every new

00:37:22   product has a cost. So, you know, I understand the desire for it. I have some skepticism that that

00:37:28   would be a popular product. And I have a great deal of skepticism that that product would not just

00:37:33   cannibalize sales of other Apple products, which while not the problem of the consumers buying the

00:37:38   computer, it's a problem for Apple. Because, you know, if you go to Apple and say, well, okay,

00:37:43   we're going to make a $2,000 or $2,500 tower that is kind of like the Mac Pro, but way, way cheaper

00:37:50   and doesn't have the high end performance, but we're going to roll that out. And then I'm a bean

00:37:54   counter at Apple and I say, okay, what's the net increase in sales? And the answer is, well, no,

00:37:59   actually we're going to lose sales. Net increase is nothing or almost nothing. We'll lose some sales

00:38:04   of Mac Pros from people who are so desperate for a tower that they'd buy a Mac Pro. So we'll lose

00:38:09   those higher margin sales and we'll lose some iMac sales and some iMac Pro sales and some Mac Mini

00:38:13   sales. And maybe we'll have to kill the iMac Pro in order to do this. And I could see somebody at

00:38:19   Apple being like, that doesn't make sense. Why would we do that? Why would we spend time making

00:38:22   a product that is, and it's still going to be a niche product, right? It's still mostly not

00:38:26   going to sell, uh, like all these other pro products that are especially desktops. It's like,

00:38:31   yeah, that's true. So you can see why they would say no. Doesn't make it hurt any less.

00:38:36   If you're somebody who really wants that product and is frustrated that Apple won't give it to you.

00:38:40   Do you have any desire for the Mac Pro? Like forget cost for a minute. Cause I would love one,

00:38:49   right? I look at it and I'm like, that's super cool. Right? And the more videos I've seen on it,

00:38:55   the more I've heard about it. That's a cool computer. Like if you remember, I was waiting

00:38:59   to see what my option would be and the Mac Pro priced, like the base configuration,

00:39:04   like priced me out and I bought the iMac Pro, right? Cause it's just like, I don't want to

00:39:08   spend that amount of money for what will be a machine that will be lacking in the areas that I

00:39:13   need storage RAM. I could get what I actually need storage RAM processor and basic power cheaper than

00:39:20   I can on the Mac Pro, which is what I did. Right? Because it's not even, you know, monitor two,

00:39:26   which I didn't have. Right? So like the price goes up and up and up, but in a world where I could

00:39:31   get or could have gotten the Mac Pro and a monitor, a nice Apple monitor, right? That matches in some

00:39:37   way for around the price of the iMac Pro, I would have gone with the Mac Pro cause it, I think it

00:39:43   looks cooler than the iMac Pro. Cause it's a new design, right? Where like, yes, my iMac Pro is

00:39:48   space gray, but I've had three computers over the last like nine years that look just like this one.

00:39:54   So I am allured by it in that way. Are you?

00:39:59   Do I appreciate the idea of a shiny new Mac like this? Absolutely. And I used to have a five,

00:40:10   a G5, I had a G4, I had a G3. Like I had a whole, and I had a power computing clone before that. I

00:40:17   had four times, four years or not four years, four computers in a row that my desktop computer was a

00:40:23   Pro tower. So I get the appeal. I also kind of feel like I never really took advantage of the Pro

00:40:32   tower. And I kind of really love the idea that I've got my whole computer in this giant monitor

00:40:40   that's floating above my desk on an arm. And I don't have like a box on my floor somewhere

00:40:48   that's the real computer. Wheels, Jason, the wheels, you just move it around like you can

00:40:52   in the mixer arm, you know, just move it around. So the new shiny appeals to me. The fact that

00:40:59   there's no Apple monitor that is suitable because the Pro Display XDR is just a non-starter. It's a

00:41:05   waste of money to buy that if you are not a high-end color, video, whatever professional,

00:41:11   it's a waste of money. And if you want to get it because it's pretty and great, but you are wasting

00:41:16   your money, again, if it makes you feel happy, great, but like I'm never going to buy that

00:41:20   monitor. I buy the LG monitor. It's okay. It's not any better than what I've got because I think it's

00:41:28   the same panel as on the iMac Pro. So in the end, am I tempted only by the fact that it's new and

00:41:37   shiny and neat? And, you know, could I use more cores for some of the audio stuff that I do?

00:41:45   Probably. But first off, I wouldn't be tempted right now anyway because I have a two-year-old

00:41:52   iMac Pro that is great. In a few years, though, would I be tempted by a Mac Pro? Probably not,

00:41:59   but never say never. You know, I would need to buy a monitor and the computer and upgrade the storage

00:42:08   and all of these things like, and it's going to be a big ticket item. And the fact is my iMac Pro base

00:42:14   model is more money than I've ever spent on a computer before. And it's with the exception of

00:42:19   the audio stuff, it's more computer than I need already. So I think the answer is no. As cool as

00:42:25   it is, I would never buy one. Well, you mentioned about like the next time you need a computer. For

00:42:34   all you know, the iMac Pro might not be an option anymore. It's true. It's true. The next time I need

00:42:41   a computer, if we're still in an Intel world or if we're still in a partial Intel world where I need

00:42:45   to have an Intel system to run, you know, we don't know. That's the other thing is we've got this

00:42:50   transition coming up, but that's true. Like at that point, though, I would hope that if they don't do

00:42:58   another iMac Pro that they maybe take the lessons learned from the iMac Pro and put that in an iMac

00:43:03   so that we have a better, quieter fan's iMac, right? Yeah. I don't think we will have another

00:43:12   iMac Pro after this design that we're currently in. So what I mean, whenever Apple revised the

00:43:20   iMac in a significant way, so like they change its design, right, like as well as internals,

00:43:26   I think that they will just have lots of, you know, they will have a really powerful version

00:43:31   you can get, but it probably won't be the iMac Pro. Well, there's two paths forward for the iMacs,

00:43:35   right? There's a path forward where the iMac Pro kind of continues. Well, maybe there's

00:43:41   more than two paths, but I keep thinking of it this way. The iMac Pro is a rethought version of

00:43:45   the iMac with no spinning drive internals, right? So you could look at the iMac Pro design and say,

00:43:51   in the end, the iMac Pro design is an iMac design, a future iMac design, and they will drop the

00:43:55   spinning drives, maybe in the, you know, maybe it's just in the 27-inch, the 5K version, maybe

00:44:03   that version is the basis, and this design is the basis for future iMacs. And maybe because of the

00:44:09   existence of the Mac Pro, there isn't an iMac Pro per se, there's just an iMac. Maybe there's a 6K

00:44:16   iMac, which is bigger, more powerful. But with the cooling that's in the Mac Pro and no longer

00:44:21   supporting spinning disks, and, but using the desktop or laptop class of chips, the core,

00:44:28   Intel Core chips, instead of the Xeons. And it's, so it's got the power, because the power of the

00:44:35   iMac already is up against the bottom of the, it's like the fastest iMac you can buy is faster

00:44:41   than the base model iMac Pro already, for most uses, I believe. So you could do that and just

00:44:47   sort of the iMac Pro kind of quietly goes away, but a lot of its legacy lives on in the iMac line.

00:44:53   But there's another fork here, which is ARM, which is if Apple does an ARM transition, would it

00:44:59   take its consumer desktop, essentially, and turn it into a, an ARM computer that is like,

00:45:06   doesn't need as much cooling and is thinner and lighter again, and just because it's cool that

00:45:13   they can put it on a, you know, thinner or lighter stand. I don't even know where they would go with

00:45:17   an ARM iMac, but they could go down that path. And then just Pro means old at that point, right? They

00:45:24   keep the Pro around for the old chips. I think there is a strong, we've talked about this,

00:45:28   I think, I think there's a strong argument to be made that if Apple makes an ARM transition,

00:45:32   that when it starts, at least the code is that the word Pro means Intel.

00:45:36   I think that makes a lot of sense.

00:45:37   So like, so that's, that's an open question there. And then for me, as somebody who's doing this high

00:45:43   end audio work, and I've got a desktop computer that I use, that is a good question in two years,

00:45:51   three years, what do I buy? And is that an iMac or is that not an option for me? Do I buy a Mac mini

00:45:59   or is that not good enough for me? And, and is the Mac Pro the only option there?

00:46:08   The challenge, I, I, my guess is it, it can't be because Apple has done this where they've said,

00:46:15   you know, we're not going to even start this until we get up to $6,000 that they, they have to make

00:46:21   solutions for Pros that are below $6,000. And maybe it's the MacBook Pro and it's a,

00:46:25   it's a high end iMac. I don't know. I don't know. It's a challenge, but they don't,

00:46:29   by, by making the choice of starting at $6,000, they don't have that release valve to say,

00:46:33   Oh, well, you just buy a tower for two or three, three grand and then get on with your day.

00:46:37   They, you know, it's, it'll be interesting to see how it plays out, but there's a lot more

00:46:42   going on here. And there's a lot more to talk about. I want to come back to the iMac Pro,

00:46:46   but before we do, uh, let me thank our friends over at FreshBooks for the support of this show.

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00:48:41   show and Relay FM. Okay, so talking about the iMac Pro, one little piece of information which

00:48:51   has been interesting, brought the iMac Pro up again even more over the last few days,

00:48:55   is the Pro Display XDR on the technical specs page. It lists all of the devices that are

00:49:03   supported with the Pro Display XDR, including all the MacBook Pros and all that kind of stuff.

00:49:09   But one of the very clear omissions on this page is the iMac Pro. The iMac Pro is not listed as

00:49:19   being able to actually drive the Pro Display XDR. So this is interesting, right? And there's been a

00:49:25   lot of thought that maybe it has something to do with the chips, right? They haven't been able to

00:49:30   update the graphics or whatever it is. Always the chips. Always the chips, those darn chips,

00:49:35   those bags of sand inside of the computers messing up everything for us. But there's a slight

00:49:41   wrinkle in this, but I can understand what's happening. So this was confirmed by video editor

00:49:46   Thomas Grove Carter, who was on the most recent episode of Mac Power Users. Thomas has had an

00:49:50   Mac Pro for a few weeks, at least a period of time before it became available. Apple gave one

00:49:57   to Thomas to test out and to give feedback on. The Pro Display XDR does work with the iMac Pro,

00:50:04   but in 5K, not 6K. Apple doesn't state this anywhere. I guess it's for good reason in that

00:50:11   it's not fully supported. You're not actually getting everything you're paying for.

00:50:14   But it's interesting, right? It is a thing that will work, but they don't want to tell you that's

00:50:21   the case because I guess you're not going to get everything out of it that you should be.

00:50:26   Yeah, I mean, it's weird because it, yeah, you could probably, it's better for a tech note,

00:50:32   right, saying that it'll drive it, but it won't drive it at the full resolution. And that's,

00:50:36   yeah, I get it. It's a two-year-old computer and it's using an older chipset. And what it tells me

00:50:44   is that they really ought to update the iMac Pro. But as you and I just discussed, that's a good

00:50:50   question. Like, I hope they do. And this came up on ATP last week because we have the secret society

00:50:55   of iMac Pro users now. And it's like, I hope they do an update to the iMac Pro because it's great.

00:50:59   And I hope that if they don't update the iMac Pro, it's because they have a bigger plan on updating

00:51:06   the iMac to make it much more iMac Pro-like. But in the short term, if that's going to take a while,

00:51:13   like, I hope that they could do an update and put a new chipset in it and support that external

00:51:19   monitor and just keep it rolling down the road because, because if I, like Marco on ATP, if my

00:51:29   iMac Pro died tomorrow, I would get a new iMac Pro. I just would be very sad if it was literally

00:51:36   the same one that I had bought two years ago without any improvements. But I would, I would.

00:51:40   I'm very happy with it. Yeah, I find, you know, oh, it is worth noting, of course, that you can

00:51:48   put a Blackmagic eGPU in the middle and it will work. And it will work, right. So if you, if you're,

00:51:53   I mean, honestly, if you're buying a $6,000 monitor, then why not just buy an expensive eGPU

00:51:59   and like that'll get solved, problem solved. How much is the Blackmagic eGPU? It's £599

00:52:07   for the regular one. It's a bargain. £1200 for the regular one. I mean, honestly, at that point,

00:52:11   why not, right? You've gone that far. So it is compatible. It's just, it's less than the stand.

00:52:18   Yeah. I will say though, of everything, I like, I'm most lost for the monitor.

00:52:25   I just think it's super cool. There's like a lot more coolness to it. It is super cool.

00:52:31   A lot of people said they're going to test it. I haven't seen any, uh, any results yet of if it

00:52:38   will work in any way with the iPad Pro, just like purely out of interest, right? Like, um, but I'm

00:52:45   going to say no. Yeah. I expect no too, but I want to see somebody plug it in and see what happens.

00:52:51   I think it's a Thunderbolt. I think it's a Thunderbolt 3 display. And so the answer is no.

00:52:55   But hey, I still want to see someone try. Um, so overall, Jason, where we are right now,

00:53:01   do you think that there's any takeaways Apple should have? Like anything that they should have

00:53:06   learned from this whole experience? Like that people maybe want more choice? Should they get

00:53:11   that choice? Or do you think Apple's doing the right thing already with the way that they've

00:53:17   rolled these products out? Well, they changed stream, right? We don't know what Apple's

00:53:22   end state is for this stuff, right? Because as we said earlier, the Mac, the iMac Pro is, was

00:53:28   conceived as a replacement for the Mac Pro. They were going to kill the Mac Pro and the iMac Pro

00:53:33   was the replacement. And then there was obviously an argument internally. My guess is that the Pro

00:53:38   workflow group was, was formed around this point and that this was part of it. But there was this,

00:53:43   the strong argument that Apple was, or they heard from customers, perhaps in the video industry,

00:53:47   like an iMac is not going to do it for us, right? Like we can't just use an iMac. And they changed

00:53:54   direction and they made the Mac Pro. But that opens up the door of like, well, what is the strategy

00:54:00   with the iMac Pro? Is that an existing product? Like what is the strategy? Like they upgraded the

00:54:05   Mac mini and it's pretty powerful, but again, it's this tiny little thing. You and I joked,

00:54:09   and there actually, somebody is kickstartering this, joked that what you really need is just a,

00:54:13   a Mac mini in an enclosure with a Thunderbolt 3 attached to it and some slots. And you just say,

00:54:20   no, no, it is a mini tower, even though it's literally Mac mini tower. Don't look at that part.

00:54:27   That part is just a Mac mini. Don't, don't go there. So, you know, here's the question,

00:54:34   like what, uh, what does Apple want the end state of their pro Mac desktop line to be? Keep in mind

00:54:40   desktops, it's a quarter, maybe of their business. And most of that is the iMac.

00:54:47   So pro desktops is a sliver of a fraction of a minute shade of a, like, it's a tiny thing.

00:54:55   And it's important in our, as a symbol, like I said last week, it's important to our, uh,

00:55:02   concerns about Apple's commitment to the Mac, but Apple, it's not going to get a lot of attention

00:55:09   from Apple in the long run. And, and I would say that among the people who are upset about the Mac

00:55:15   pro, like that it makes it seem their feelings are real, but it makes it seem more prevalent than it

00:55:26   actually is. Cause the truth is that most of the stuff that we're talking about here, most people

00:55:32   who buy Macs don't care about, right? We are, we're talking about a very specific set of, of users.

00:55:41   Right. But couldn't it be argued that that those same set of users, the discontent that they felt

00:55:46   about the trashcan and about other professional max is the whole reason this Mac pro exists anyway,

00:55:51   like the round table thing happening and all that stuff.

00:55:54   It's how you define it, right? Like this is, was that all, was that all about, uh, developers and

00:56:00   $3,000 towers? Obviously Apple doesn't think so because they didn't make that computer.

00:56:03   If you're a developer and you thought this meant that you were going to get the computer you wanted,

00:56:08   um, you are right to be disappointed because they don't think that, and it really stinks to be told,

00:56:15   you know, we don't, we're not going to fulfill your desire with a product. We think that we've

00:56:20   got it covered in other places and we're, we're just not going to go there. Could it be a mistake

00:56:23   on Apple's part? Sure. It could be. Um, I would argue that those people have already not been

00:56:30   served by Apple for a very long time, catered to by Apple for a very long time. And even longer,

00:56:35   if you consider that back when the Mac pro was $2,500, $3,000, uh, people like my friend,

00:56:42   Dan Frakes, um, were writing articles about how they needed to make a cheaper tower computer,

00:56:49   right? Like this is, this argument continues and continues and Apple is always reluctant to do it.

00:56:55   So, you know, is it the right move? I mean, maybe not. We'll see. But I do think that, uh,

00:57:02   that it over, it's such a small market that I think Apple is not risking a lot there. I mean,

00:57:12   like, let's be honest, Apple screwing up the laptops is a way bigger issue, right? The pro

00:57:19   laptops and the keyboards and people really being angry about the USB-C on the laptops and the touch

00:57:25   bar and the escape key and all those things, much bigger issue in terms of Apple's business. They

00:57:30   sell way more of those. They are way more likely to be the tool of choice for developers. Like

00:57:35   that is a huge issue. If Apple screws up the pro desktop, what happens? They lose some, they lose

00:57:43   some really high end customers, which they obviously have decided that they don't want to,

00:57:47   and they, they symbolically make it seem like the Mac is not a priority. Um, but you know, if,

00:57:53   if screwing up the Mac desktop was fatal for Apple, Apple would be dead now because they,

00:57:59   they did screw it up. So, and this is the, this is the fix and maybe this fix isn't great, but again,

00:58:05   you know, so, so I, you know, we can, we can, we can over talk this, but, you know, seriously,

00:58:11   um, I understand why people are upset about it. Uh, and it does matter, especially symbolically,

00:58:17   but in terms of the grand scheme of things, let's not lose track of the fact that, uh,

00:58:22   the most important Mac thing to happen in the last month and the most important pro thing to happen

00:58:28   in the last month was the 16 inch Mac book pro by a mile. Should we talk about Apple podcasts?

00:58:36   Are these podcasts by Apple? Not yet. Or from Apple? Maybe. Before Apple? Because Apple podcasts

00:58:42   are now available on the Amazon echo. Yes. You can say, Hey lady, in the canister,

00:58:48   play the latest episode of this podcast or continue playing this podcast. And it will,

00:58:57   um, and it will sync too. So if you're, if you're listening on the lady in the canister

00:59:01   and then you pause it and then you go to the podcast app on your iPhone, it should have the

00:59:06   play position synced. So it's using iCloud. Using Apple servers to sync that data, which is a key

00:59:13   thing, right? Because it's one thing to say, pick a random arbitrary episode of a podcast and play it.

00:59:18   And it's another thing to have it integrate with the database that they've got based on your, uh,

00:59:25   devices that are using Apple podcasts. So it's currently available in the U S only.

00:59:31   This is a thing with Amazon. They, they update their products internationally very, very slowly.

00:59:36   If you're, you know, you can all do this with Apple music. It took months, months for them to

00:59:41   have the Apple music support in the UK and Europe and elsewhere. Um, doesn't bother me cause I don't

00:59:47   use Apple podcasts, but it's just a thing. So the way that it knows your player position is because

00:59:52   you sign in with your Apple ID inside of the app, the Amazon echo app, it syncs all of the shows and

00:59:57   playback position. This is of course the first non Apple device to get this kind of integration.

01:00:02   There is no other Apple podcast client for anything other than Apple made products.

01:00:08   So this wasn't this case of music because there was a music app for Android before, uh,

01:00:14   it rolled out to the Amazon echo. So holding off the obvious, which we've been speaking about for

01:00:20   a little bit, which we'll get to why have they done this? Like it's easier to understand why

01:00:26   Apple's paid services on competing hardware, right? Why Apple TV is on television sets made by Samsung

01:00:33   and LG, et cetera. It's makes more sense for Apple music to be on products that play music like the

01:00:39   Amazon echo stuff. Apple podcast is a client for an open platform of which Apple owns nothing,

01:00:46   right? Except a directory. What is the benefit of doing this? Well, I mean, the benefit,

01:00:53   the big benefit is just Apple services being available everywhere. Um, this is the,

01:00:58   so Apple wants you in its ecosystem and it wants you in its podcast ecosystem partially because it

01:01:05   doesn't want to, you know, it doesn't want to give that up to Spotify, let's say. And it's so much

01:01:12   more convenient if, as I said a moment ago, your, when you say play the next episode of this thing,

01:01:19   it knows what podcast that is and what episode you listen to it. If you resume an episode,

01:01:25   it knows where it was like, that's such a better thing that honestly it goes from being,

01:01:31   I'm never going to listen to a podcast on this speaker in my kitchen to, Oh, I can listen to

01:01:36   podcasts. Like it's, it's literally a, uh, a moment where you're converting from not using it to using

01:01:43   it because, uh, now you're, you know, you're not doing cause I've done that where it's like, Oh,

01:01:48   play this podcast. And then I go back later and I'm like, now I need to manually sync to it because

01:01:52   there's no conversation between these things. So I think it's just, you know, Apple wanting to have

01:01:57   its ecosystems be expanded further and further, and then realizing that, um, that people are going

01:02:02   to use stuff like other TVs and, and Amazon echoes and things like that. And what they really want is

01:02:08   to keep you in Apple podcasts. Um, so number one reason is, uh, fight against Spotify. Uh,

01:02:15   you want to be the default, um, not Spotify. You don't want people being like, Oh, well,

01:02:19   this will work. This works with Spotify, but it doesn't work with Apple. I'm just gonna use

01:02:22   Spotify. That's easier. And they're an important competitor here. Um, right. And it's worth that

01:02:28   asking the larger question, which is we've talked about it before is does Apple have designs here?

01:02:34   Like are they going to be pairing? Yeah. Cause they, they could be preparing for, uh,

01:02:39   things that are exclusive to Apple podcasts, but it could just be, again, I think you could explain

01:02:44   it away largely the same way by saying Apple wants to not have other people hot taking the podcast

01:02:53   ecosystem and putting it inside their own proprietary thing. Like, I think that that can

01:02:58   be true too. Like, I do believe that it's possible that Apple will do some Apple podcasts only

01:03:04   podcasts. I think it's more likely that Apple will do podcasts and they'll just be podcasts and

01:03:09   they'll be in the podcast app and that Apple will say, we believe in an open open ecosystem. And

01:03:14   that's why we're the leading podcast player. That's an open ecosystem. I think that could be true

01:03:19   just as easily as Apple saying, aha, we just spent a lot of money on a podcast you could only get

01:03:24   if you use our app, but it could be that. Yeah. It'd be interesting. Like maybe it's

01:03:31   potentially they're doing it the other way around that they have their other services, right? Where

01:03:35   they get the, the, the platform, the free thing available before they then switch over to that.

01:03:40   We're now offering this exclusive thing, this paid thing, but all signs are continuing to point

01:03:46   towards Apple making some kind of move in this area, whether it is some kind of paid podcast

01:03:51   service or just original content. We've spoken about it over the last few months of like,

01:03:56   first there being rumors, now Apple's making hires. Um, this could be a big part of that.

01:04:01   And having their podcasts available on other platforms is, or their podcasts app available

01:04:10   on other platforms is important if this is a route that they want to continue pursuing.

01:04:15   Right. They're laying the groundwork for something in the same way that they, I think got kind of a

01:04:21   little late to the game, but they got there in time for the Apple TV plus launch where they made

01:04:25   those deals about a year ago. Now we heard about those deals with the TV manufacturers and the TV

01:04:31   box manufacturers to get their, their stuff. And remember that, you know, there was a serious

01:04:37   debate a year ago, maybe two years ago about if Apple would ever let you watch movie, movie rentals

01:04:45   or TV shows you purchased or their new streaming service on anything that was not Apple hardware.

01:04:51   The answer was you absolutely can. Like it's everywhere. I bought an Amazon fire 4k stick

01:04:59   the other week for 25 bucks and plugged it into my, my 4k TV. Uh, that's in another room.

01:05:06   And, uh, and logged into Apple TV and now it's all there, right? Like it was that simple and I

01:05:14   didn't need to buy an Apple TV to do it. So this is like that. And maybe, you know, maybe this is

01:05:21   laying the groundwork for something, but it's doing it. It seems like they may be doing it a

01:05:24   little bit further in advance, which is a good thing. And like I said, their user benefits,

01:05:28   regardless of what their future strategy is, because it means you can use this. And, and as

01:05:32   people who know Marco Arment who does overcast, right? Like this has been something that he's

01:05:37   wrestled with for a while, which is like, do I want to do this or not? Cause it's, there's a

01:05:40   lot of effort that goes into it, but you know, this is the benefit of it is that now Apple's

01:05:45   podcast app has a feature. Uh, that's a leg up on him, right? That, that he can't do this right now.

01:05:52   And so that'll be a question for him. Like do, do, does it matter? Cause it's like a check box

01:05:57   on the side. And I think he would say that so few of his users would use something like this,

01:06:02   that maybe it's not worth it. And we have to keep in mind overcast is a single person. Like,

01:06:06   like pocket cast has a whole team and, and Castro now got sold and has a whole team. And obviously

01:06:14   Apple has a whole team and overcast is one guy, you know, him, it's Marco. And so he has to pick

01:06:21   and choose, uh, and, and he can't be like, Oh, well, Apple's got it. So I got to do it as a

01:06:25   response. Cause it's like, what does he give up if he doesn't go that direction? But you know,

01:06:31   it is a, it is a challenge because this is a legitimate feature. If you are in the echo,

01:06:35   uh, ecosystem, the ecosystem, and you love using this, uh, and you want to listen to podcasts and

01:06:43   have been frustrated about it. Like you'll, it's a good reason to switch to an app that sinks so

01:06:49   that you can, you know, move around and I'm an overcast user. And so I, I don't use this feature.

01:06:55   And if I really wanted to use my echo speakers for podcasts, I would, you know, seriously consider

01:07:01   switching because of it. So it's something that's, uh, that's interesting too. It's so, but, but my

01:07:05   point is it's got a user benefit. It's not just aha. This is part of our strategy to be everywhere

01:07:10   because we've got grand plans. It's also, you know, this keeps people in our ecosystem because

01:07:16   it helps them, you know, listen to podcasts in more places.

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01:09:33   Noah has a question for me. What has Myke been doing with his custom built gaming PC? So I

01:09:37   bought a gaming PC, I don't know, a year or two ago now. Um, and I do what you would assume. I play

01:09:43   games on it. Uh, it is something that I use to some PC games. Um, I don't have an Xbox so I can

01:09:48   play a lot of windows or Xbox games on the PC. Cause that's like a thing that you can do. Uh,

01:09:53   I have a, uh, Oculus VR system and there, and there are games that I will play every now and then.

01:09:59   I'm looking forward to the Half Life, uh, Alex VR game, which I think is going to come out next year.

01:10:04   Uh, and also any video streaming, game streaming, that kind of stuff that I do, I use the PC for it

01:10:09   because it's way easier to do, uh, than I've found it to be on a Mac. And that was one of the reasons

01:10:15   that I did it as well. So I have a rig for that kind of stuff too. So it's very useful for that.

01:10:19   Adam asks, if podcasts keep going behind paywalls, so referring to the Spotify thing that we spoke

01:10:27   about last week, could third party apps add some sort of login feature to allow access to services

01:10:34   like Spotify for podcasts? Now I heard from somebody by the way, that the Spotify exclusive

01:10:41   podcasts aren't for premium, that you can listen to them without Spotify premium. So you can listen

01:10:48   to them for free, but just you have to use Spotify though, right? So they're not, they're not behind

01:10:53   a paywall. They're just locked into an ecosystem, right? They're locked into an app or into an

01:10:59   ecosystem. So it's not quite the same. Which is probably what Apple would do too. I think.

01:11:05   Yeah. If, if right. I agree. We talked about, uh, uh, I don't know a few months ago about all

01:11:11   the different options that Apple had. And I think that's the most likely, um, maybe, well, I don't

01:11:15   know. I think maybe the most likely is that they just do podcasts and they say we love it open,

01:11:22   but I think, um, it's also likely that they would not say we're going to create a service or this is

01:11:26   only for these subscribers and just say it's only in the app. It's only in podcast app. That's the

01:11:31   only place. But, um, for this, I mean, there, there are login features for apps for paywalls.

01:11:42   They there, there are lots of them. Authenticated feeds is one of them, right? Yeah. So you can,

01:11:48   you can have a username and a password and it's using authentication on the web server

01:11:52   end and, um, many, not all, but many podcast apps support that. So you can put in a username and a

01:11:59   password and get the feed. And then there are, um, other approaches like what I think Patreon does,

01:12:07   which they give you a hashed URL, which is basically it's a URL with a bunch of, uh,

01:12:14   unreadable characters in it that is generated per user. So it's just for you.

01:12:21   And, um, it has no username and password. So if you gave it to a friend, they could listen to,

01:12:28   but they're listening to your feed. And if you stop paying, it stops working. Um, and, and that's

01:12:36   what I think the Patreon approach is. Um, and then there's security through obscurity, which is what

01:12:41   relay does and what the incomparable does and what six colors does, which is you have to log into a

01:12:45   page and get a URL and just put that in. And that's it too, which is not that different from what

01:12:50   Patreon does, but it's not tied to the user and it doesn't get shut off when the user isn't paying

01:12:54   anymore. So there are a bunch of ways out there to do this. I wish there was a, uh, a better way

01:12:59   that everybody supported and everybody agreed on, and maybe we'll get there someday. But I,

01:13:04   my guess is that we won't because most of the organizations that want to do this want you to

01:13:09   use their app and, you know, we don't like that and I, I won't support that, but, um,

01:13:15   there are other ways. I was like, that's the thing. Even if there was a new standard created

01:13:20   Spotify is not going to sign up for it. They don't care about creating a Spotify customer. They want

01:13:26   you using the Spotify app. They want you to be a customer in their application, not just a person

01:13:32   listening to the podcast that they are creating. Right. And a lot of those, the hash URLs, the

01:13:37   individual customized URLs won't work in certain apps. Like I think like Spotify, because Spotify

01:13:44   views podcasts as having a canonical feed that is for everyone. It's very centralized. And, um,

01:13:51   that's not how those work. Those work on, you've got a podcast app and you put it in,

01:13:55   it's just for you and it doesn't sync anywhere. And it's, it's just your thing. And, and, and some

01:14:00   apps don't like that at all, but you know, I'm definitely looking into that for mine. I'm doing

01:14:05   the obscurity thing right now, but I'm trying to work in the background on coming up with,

01:14:09   uh, you know, using a plugin that does what the Patreon thing does, which is just, you know,

01:14:14   every, every individual subscriber gets their own custom feed URL. And as long as they're a

01:14:18   subscriber, it works. Yeah, because there are, it's not just about, um, like privacy, piracy is

01:14:26   a thing. It's also less work for you or for us because changing the feed every couple of years

01:14:33   or whatever, to kind of clear out people that aren't paying anymore is overhead and it's

01:14:38   complicated and it's a pain. It's a pain for the users too. Also, when I changed the last time for,

01:14:44   uh, incomparable, or it was actually the first time I changed for incomparable, I left it for

01:14:49   the first couple of years we were doing it. What we discovered is that there were a lot of people who

01:14:54   signed up, got their feeds, put them in and were very happy and didn't realize that their card

01:15:03   you know, didn't renew or whatever. And they, and contacted me when the feed changed because I put

01:15:09   an item in the feed that said, Hey, everybody, you're, you're getting this cause your feed

01:15:13   changed. You need to go log in. And then they log in and they wouldn't be a member. And then they'd

01:15:16   sign up and they'd email me and they'd say, I'm so sorry. I, I thought I was, was a member all

01:15:22   this time. Right? So if you have a feed that, that goes dormant when your subscription expires,

01:15:28   it also is a reminder. It's a nudge to people who want to subscribe that something went wrong.

01:15:34   And that's good. No, like, is it a reminder? Like, does anything happen? Does the feature

01:15:38   stop working? Cause if the features like with this Patreon thing, the feature stops working,

01:15:43   you may never know. Then you may never know. That's true. I always put when I, when I change

01:15:46   a feed, see, there's a feature. We can add this to our feature list when we design this

01:15:50   for ourselves and build it ourselves, which is what we're not going to do, but, uh, is you want

01:15:55   to have a, if a, if a feed gets deactivated, you want a deactivated item to appear as the,

01:16:01   as the most recent item in the feed that says this feed just got deactivated to reactivate it.

01:16:05   You need to resubscribe, but I don't think they do that. That's what we'd like when we changed,

01:16:09   I think a couple of years ago, we changed a relay FM URL and we put a thing like,

01:16:13   if you're hearing this, you need to go and get a new feed. Uh, we're going to email it to you.

01:16:18   If you don't get an email, you need to pay again. Right. Cause it means you won't pay.

01:16:22   Exactly. So in short, no, this won't happen because it makes no sense for Spotify's

01:16:29   business plan to allow for this because they want people in the Spotify app.

01:16:32   So we're going to use this. This is what we're going to get is what we've got, which is either

01:16:37   HTTP authentication for feeds or a hashed custom feeds or security through obscurity. And those

01:16:45   are the ways that it's going to work. And I will say also, uh, as a podcaster, um, there need to

01:16:52   be better tools for this. And I did find there's a company that I'm actually talking to this week

01:16:56   that, that, uh, is building like a membership platform for podcasts. The problem being that,

01:17:02   you know, we already have our platform, but I wish this, my point is I wish this technology

01:17:08   was better because it would be great if I could just pay some amount to some service and have

01:17:14   like, uh, uses the membership API for memberful and it generates these feeds and, uh, or generates

01:17:21   HTTP authentication or stuff like that. But as it is basically most of this stuff is just being

01:17:26   built by the companies that are doing it. They're building it themselves. It's very much like the

01:17:30   early days of the web where it's just not, there's just not enough critical mass here for people to

01:17:35   develop a system. So we use what we got. Well, you know, I guess if we're going into the weeds

01:17:39   and this one now, which we'd most definitely are. Oh yeah. We're in the weeds now. We're below the

01:17:44   weeds. We're in the, the, the swamp beneath the weeds. I, Myke, I get concerned about stacking

01:17:50   all these companies together because yes. Cause then, then if one of them breaks, they all break.

01:17:55   But then, then again, if you have one company that does it all and they break them, it all breaks too.

01:17:59   But yes, I, I agree with you. That is, uh, you know, but then you can build it yourself,

01:18:04   but that can be very expensive and then you're reinventing the wheel, but sometimes that's the

01:18:07   way to do it too. Yeah. Where we are right now and where a lot of the people that do what we do are,

01:18:13   are in it was we're using a service called member for, which was bought by patrion,

01:18:17   which is probably a better overall outcome for member for as it stands because I mean,

01:18:23   I don't know what member for situation was, but they were a, seem to be a small company

01:18:27   now owned by a much larger company. Um, but that much larger company is a venture capital backed

01:18:34   company, which can who knows implode on themselves or bought by somebody who doesn't care about what

01:18:41   member for those. Yeah. Well, or, or to take it back to the Mac pro conversation, they could

01:18:46   decide that we are not their focus. Right. And that all of their efforts go towards something

01:18:51   else. And they're like, you guys have to go, right? Like we're not going to support your stuff

01:18:55   anymore. And that could happen, right? We were like, we don't make enough money from you. So

01:18:59   we're going to go over here and, uh, and yeah, that would be that, that I dread that, right? Because I,

01:19:05   a significant portion of my income from my two membership sources. And if member full

01:19:09   disappeared tomorrow, um, I would be real sad. There are other options out there,

01:19:14   but I would be really sad. That would be a rough and disruptive for everyone. So, um, yeah, it's,

01:19:21   it's, uh, it's a funny world out there, but anyway, this is one of those cases where I

01:19:26   couldn't take something off the shelf, even if I wanted to, because it's just not memberful has

01:19:31   made some strides here, but like, it's just, it's a complicated thing. And there's, I think there's

01:19:34   not enough yet, not enough podcasts wanting to do a kind of premium podcast feed, uh, to have made it

01:19:40   worth building those tools. I have some light breaking news, Jason snow. Okay. Breaking news.

01:19:48   The iPad pro does indeed drive the protest. Jonathan Morrison at TLD today as a, what a 4k?

01:19:59   I don't know because he's got a video that I'm not hearing, uh, but it works.

01:20:02   Okay. That's weird. Don't do that. Federico don't buy the monitor. Don't do it.

01:20:12   Who knows what's going to happen now over in Rome. Wow. So it does work for some wild values of,

01:20:22   of work. Right? Yeah. I have a bunch more questions that may be answered by the time

01:20:27   you're hearing this, like what happens if you turn the iPad into portrait mode?

01:20:30   Can you, can you work with the monitoring portrait mode? Oh yeah. That's a good question.

01:20:38   More questions to be answered, but it does in fact work. So basically the,

01:20:45   what it seems like is the pro display can be used as a four or 5k monitor.

01:20:50   Yeah. But it will also go to 6k.

01:20:55   Now, isn't that interesting with HDR support? Yeah.

01:21:04   Hmm. Huh. Yeah. You can watch that Netflix movie in 4k on your $6,000 monitor.

01:21:13   I'm just saying I'm in the market for a new monitor. That's what I'm going to say.

01:21:16   Darren says final question today. I'm ready to leave the iPad only lifestyle

01:21:22   is Google photos or iCloud photos, the best choice for backing up images. Is there a way

01:21:28   with the iPad to also have some kind of physical local backup as well?

01:21:33   No, no, no, no. You gotta have a, you gotta have a Mac, uh, to back up the files locally.

01:21:44   Um, if your iPad entirely iPad only, I'd say it doesn't really matter. Google photos is

01:21:53   good and it's free, but it doesn't, you know, you have to keep it open and launch it occasionally

01:22:01   because it doesn't necessarily always back up in the background. Whereas iCloud will back up in

01:22:04   the background entirely. Um, I think iCloud is the right solution. If you're willing to spend the

01:22:10   money on it because it's the first party solution, the platform vendor runs it in it. They tweak it

01:22:16   all to work well. If you don't want to spend the money, Google photos is great because the price

01:22:21   can't be beat and it's a very good service. Um, but in terms of having a local physical backup,

01:22:27   um, guess what? If you're leading the iPad only lifestyle, you're not going to have that.

01:22:31   You're just not, you're, you're not going to have that. You'd be better off having a leading the

01:22:37   iPad only lifestyle with an old Mac, with a big hard drive attached to it, hidden somewhere in

01:22:41   your house with photos set to keep all on the drive. And then you've got your backup. But, um,

01:22:48   I think if it's strictly iPad only, you just have to give up on dreaming about having a local

01:22:53   physical backup. You can turn on sync only to your iPad, but that's not a backup. That's just,

01:22:57   it's a, I guess it's a physical backup on your iPad of what's in the cloud, but you need a really

01:23:03   big iPad for that. You can also use, I mean, if you just want another place to do some backups,

01:23:09   you could also use Dropbox. Like Dropbox has a camera uploader. Like you can do all of that

01:23:15   there using the app. Yeah, but then you're uploading photos a second time to a different

01:23:20   cloud service out of your camera roll. I'm not saying it's ideal. It's just like another thing

01:23:27   you could do maybe if you want to do. Well, I mean, if you're using iCloud photos, you can

01:23:32   use Google photos too, right? Yeah. But you're gonna, you're gonna use a lot of bandwidth to

01:23:37   do that and it's not necessarily a complete backup. So yeah. Yes. It's one of those things, but

01:23:43   I really think that if you choose iCloud photos and then maybe have another service that you

01:23:49   periodically do some backing up to, then you're probably, I reckon you're good.

01:23:52   But I understand the hesitancy if you're used to doing a physical backup as well.

01:23:58   All right. If you'd like to send in a question for an episode of upgrade to send in a tweet with

01:24:04   a hashtag ask upgrade, we may or may not be doing any over the next couple of weeks. Who knows? We

01:24:10   have something special we're working on next week. And in the week after is the upgradees.

01:24:14   Don't forget to go to upgradees.vote to enter your nominations for the upgradees of this year.

01:24:21   Sixth annual upgrade is, is it 2019 or 2020? I think it's 2019, right?

01:24:26   Yes. Yes. Okay, cool. I'm just checking. I always forget about how we date those,

01:24:30   but we date them for the year the upgradees are like honoring honoring. There you go.

01:24:35   So that's the best way to say thanks so much for listening to this week's episode.

01:24:39   Thanks to Pingdom and Freshbooks and direct mail for their support. Go to sixcolors.com. Find

01:24:45   Jason online. He is @jasonel. I am @imike. I am Y K E and we'll be back next time. Until then,

01:24:51   say goodbye, Jason. Bye Myke.

01:24:54   [Music]