233: Let's Start a Rumor


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:08   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade episode 233. Today's show is brought to you by FreshBooks,

00:00:15   Luna Display and Instabug. My name is Myke Hurley and I'm joined by Jason Snell. Hi Jason Snell.

00:00:21   Hi Myke Hurley, how are you? I'm very well Jason Snell, very well indeed. We have a #SnellTalk

00:00:26   question from Connor and Connor wants to know, Jason, when you're wearing only one AirPod or

00:00:33   when you take an AirPod out of your ear, which one do you take out? Is it the left or is it the right?

00:00:41   Okay that's a very specific... I don't know why. Does this make me left-brained? I always,

00:00:50   when I'm holding a phone to my ear or if I've got one earbud in, it's always in my right ear.

00:00:57   Okay. And it's not like I have a hearing issue in my left ear, I just,

00:01:02   whenever I am holding a phone to my left ear it feels completely wrong. Okay. So my right ear,

00:01:09   I will also, as a bonus, I will point out that as miraculous as the AirPods are,

00:01:19   I, my ears are itchy and I hate it that if I have to scratch one of my ears and take out one of the

00:01:27   AirPods that the podcast I'm listening to stops. I should probably do something about that. But it's

00:01:31   such a good feature all the rest of the time. But are those moments where I'm like, no, I don't

00:01:35   want to scratch, I don't want to scratch because I don't want to stop listening to... Oh God,

00:01:38   I got to take the ear, I got to scratch my ear now. So I don't like that, that's an issue. They

00:01:44   should have like a anti-itch plastic on it or something. Anyway, right. Right is the answer.

00:01:50   I'm not sure if it's the AirPods specifically that are making your ears itchy.

00:01:55   No, no, they just itch anyway. But then I have the AirPod in there. I wonder if I should get

00:02:00   some sort of like a technique where I like bring my finger up and like touch the proximity sensor

00:02:05   and then carefully lift it away. But I don't think that'll work. I think it'll know that the jig is

00:02:09   up and probably won't let me scratch my ear while still listening with the other ear.

00:02:13   So I take out my right AirPod and I think I know why this is. Because the right side is where the

00:02:21   controls have always been for iPhone earbuds and for like iPod earbuds and stuff.

00:02:26   Dangly controls are on the right, that's true.

00:02:28   Yeah, like the volume and the buttons and stuff. So I think I'm used to when I want to change

00:02:32   something, my right arm goes up to my ear, you know, or like it goes up towards my ear. So that's

00:02:37   why I take the right one out. That's my theory anyway. I'm sticking to it.

00:02:41   All right. Thank you, Connor, for this very peculiar but somewhat interesting question

00:02:46   nonetheless. And that is what we love here for #SNELtalk.

00:02:50   Yeah, I think that is like an archetypal SNELtalk question, which is very personal,

00:02:54   very specific and a little bit pointless. So well done, Connor. Well done.

00:02:57   There's no other reason that we would answer that question, you know.

00:03:01   Indeed. It wouldn't be part of follow-up for sure.

00:03:03   Talking of which, there are some audiobook streaming services. So this was something

00:03:09   we spoke about in #AskUpgrade at the end of last week's show. We had an upgrade in right in to say

00:03:15   why are there no audiobook streaming services? And we were like, hmm, that seems like there

00:03:18   should be some. Turns out there are some. I just don't know about them. But luckily,

00:03:23   our upgrade is due. So we had some suggestions come in. Peter wrote in to suggest Scribed,

00:03:30   but without an E. I'm pretty sure that this company used to do something else.

00:03:35   Yes, well, they used to be much more of a place where people could post copyright violations.

00:03:41   Right.

00:03:42   I don't have a Scribed script, whatever it is. I don't have a very positive relation with that

00:03:47   brand, mostly because my entire relationship with them was sending cease and desists about

00:03:51   people posting whole issues of Macworld online. Because it used to be Scans, right? They used to

00:03:55   do Scans? Yeah, yeah.

00:03:56   Okay. So now they also do unlimited audiobooks and such. And then another company called Plaster,

00:04:03   who have a whole bunch of services that I don't feel like I fully understand. Movie streaming

00:04:11   services and ebook streaming services, but also an audiobook streaming service. And

00:04:16   Lessden sent that one in. And then last one's from Corey, who sent in HyBooks as another option.

00:04:24   HyBooks.

00:04:25   HyBooks.

00:04:25   Oh, and Lorenzo said that in a few countries you can go to Storytel, S-T-O-R-Y-T-E-L.com.

00:04:34   So they're out there. It seems like there's no dominant player. And I am a little skeptical about

00:04:39   whether the catalogs are very good, but it's worth investigating if you're somebody who is

00:04:47   looking for a Spotify or Netflix for audiobooks. So they are out there. But it seems like it's a

00:04:52   much smaller part of the market than Musica. Which is interesting to me.

00:04:57   Yeah.

00:04:57   It's interesting to me that it seems like, I mean, we're assuming that these are all 100% above board

00:05:05   these services. But let's just assume that they are. They have all of the right deals that they

00:05:09   need to have to provide this content. Let's pretend, yeah.

00:05:12   If they can exist, it's surprising that a company like an Apple or an Amazon are not doing this.

00:05:19   That just seems like a surprise to me. If it can exist, then it's surprising to me that there are

00:05:25   other companies that are not doing it.

00:05:26   And I have heard that there is some audio content, some spoken word content on Spotify,

00:05:32   at least two, which seems weird. But they've been put in the system even though their audio content,

00:05:38   they've been put in the music system. So if you're a Spotify user or even an Apple Music user,

00:05:42   I don't know, search around, maybe you'll find something. But yeah, it is a little bit weird.

00:05:46   But I think it is the economics, like I said last week, the economics of the publishing industry

00:05:49   that publishers are really reluctant for books and audiobooks to give up the purchase model to a,

00:05:58   you know, it's like we talked about with Apple News, right? Do you want to give that up for a

00:06:04   promise of a portion of a big pot of money? And I think publishers have done the calculation and

00:06:10   they kind of are reluctant to do that. But I don't know.

00:06:13   I guess I'm expecting that Audible plays you more because people are specifically choosing your book.

00:06:22   Yeah, they are purchases, right? The Audible subscription is giving you credits to make

00:06:25   purchases. And that's their way of creating a subscription model, quote, unquote, subscription

00:06:31   service that in the end is basically an all-cart purchase system.

00:06:36   And the same for iBooks, audiobooks. So my expectation would be that larger publishers

00:06:42   don't want to rock that boat because people right now that want to get audiobooks

00:06:46   are paying, by and large, are paying full price for those audiobooks. So maybe there is an incentive

00:06:54   there on the part of the bigger publishers to not want to rock that boat because, you know,

00:06:59   look what happened to the music industry. No one buys albums anymore. So there we go.

00:07:06   Talking of which of all this stuff, we have some upstream news. So WarnerMedia's new streaming boss,

00:07:10   Kevin Reilly, who we spoke about a few weeks ago, he's recently put in place, had his kind of first

00:07:16   press junket. And one of the biggest headline tidbits that Reilly was talking about is saying

00:07:24   that it is not a good model to share. So he's talking about when, before he came on board,

00:07:30   WarnerMedia did a deal with Netflix for $100 million to renew their Friends contract for

00:07:36   streaming. This was before, as I say, Kevin took the role and he seems to not be in the mindset

00:07:43   that that is a thing that WarnerMedia should be doing going forward. When talking about

00:07:47   what was referred to as their kind of crown jewels of the WarnerMedia catalog,

00:07:52   Reilly says they should be exclusive to their upcoming service. They don't think this about

00:07:59   all of their content. I think that they're taking a slightly different stance to Disney here because

00:08:04   Reilly says that he feels WarnerMedia has such a large portfolio that they can do some deals,

00:08:09   but they need to be more strategic about it and not be giving away their big stuff. And Friends

00:08:14   is obviously a very big thing for them. But I think that Friends deal was just one year. So

00:08:19   considering Warner are not going to be starting even a beta of their service until 2020,

00:08:25   they'll probably be able to get Friends back for it.

00:08:27   - Yeah, it makes sense. This is the way video stuff is panning out here is people want to,

00:08:36   at this point in the game, people want to use their content to set exclusives to force you.

00:08:43   If you want to see it, you need to pay. And yes, this is like the decision CBS made with putting

00:08:50   Star Trek on all access instead of just putting it on Netflix. They could have made more money

00:08:54   upfront putting it on Netflix worldwide instead of just outside of North America. But they wanted,

00:09:00   in the US, they wanted to use it to build a new service. And this is what Reilly is saying here,

00:09:06   which is why I could make money selling Friends to Netflix, but in the long run,

00:09:12   it's more valuable to us as part of the content of our service to make people find it more appealing.

00:09:19   - I just checked. It turns out it was a multi-year deal. Nobody knows how long it is between Netflix

00:09:24   and WarnerMedia for Friends. - Yeah, it's a multi-year deal. It's a non-exclusive deal,

00:09:28   which means that the WarnerMedia service will probably launch with Friends, but it will go for

00:09:34   a few more years. It's unclear how long also being on Netflix where WarnerMedia is not going to have

00:09:40   the exclusive, but Netflix won't have the exclusive either. - Yeah, but it doesn't make it a selling

00:09:45   point for Warner specifically. - Not right at first, but you can see what Reilly is saying here

00:09:49   is in the long run, this is very much like Marvel and Netflix where you could see the writing on the

00:09:56   wall. Have I set you up for our next story right there? - Yeah, you have. This was announced just

00:10:01   before we went live today on the show. Coming from deadline, there will be no more seasons

00:10:07   of Punisher or Jessica Jones. - These were the last two Marvel Netflix shows that hadn't yet

00:10:12   officially been canceled because they were still rolling out their final season. And obviously,

00:10:16   everybody knows the jig is up because they did this even before the Jessica Jones season

00:10:20   rolls out. They waited for after Punisher rolled out. But yeah, so this is, I mean,

00:10:26   we've talked about it before, Marvel Netflix on both sides. This is a deal that was made in a

00:10:30   different era five years ago, and that era is ending. And Marvel stuff is gonna go on Hulu,

00:10:37   and it's gonna go on Disney+, but it's not gonna go on Netflix. And Netflix is not gonna give its

00:10:42   competitor money. It's for shows that are built on intellectual property it doesn't control.

00:10:47   So that model is over. And so these shows are over. And there is, if you're a fan of those

00:10:53   shows, it's really sad. There's probably not a big chance that they will ever come back in any form

00:10:58   elsewhere. It's not completely impossible, but there are several years where Netflix gets to

00:11:01   sit on them and have them be exclusive on their service. - Yep. Season three of Jessica Jones is

00:11:07   coming out soon. That's gonna be the last of both of these. - And that's it. Apparently, that one

00:11:12   they knew enough about what was going on with all the other shows that that is, what I've heard is

00:11:17   that that series ends with some more finality in terms of storytelling, because I think they had

00:11:27   the heads up that this was gonna be the end of Marvel on Netflix. - Going back to WarnerMedia,

00:11:34   they did call out specifically that they would have some shows set within the DC universe.

00:11:39   - Oh yeah, yeah. - As a thing for their future original content.

00:11:42   'Cause that's something that they have at hand. And if they do a good job of it, they can really

00:11:46   make some cool stuff. - Yeah, the real mystery is what this means for the DC universe service,

00:11:52   which is DC video content and movies and comics. My guess is that like HBO, the Warner streaming

00:12:01   service will be a super set. 'Cause I think that's another thing that Riley said is that HBO content

00:12:08   will be in the Warner streaming service. It's unclear whether all of it will be or not, but I

00:12:12   have a hard time believing that it won't be, you can get HBO for this low price, you can get DC

00:12:18   universe for this low price. And for this slightly larger price, you can get Warner streaming service

00:12:23   with everything, but we'll see how they do it. Because why do you wanna make DC shows for just

00:12:31   this one niche streamer? It seems like that's not a decision they would make today. They would say,

00:12:36   we don't need DC universe streaming. And they may fold the whole thing up and put it inside

00:12:41   at some point. And the plan is to get this out early, I think sometime in 2020, but the content

00:12:47   for this and the NBC universal streaming service that's coming in 2020, it sounds like,

00:12:52   it's everything we talked about about Apple, which is it takes a long time to make content.

00:12:56   And that means that they're gonna start with a small amount and then they're gonna have to build

00:13:00   it over time. Now they'll start with catalogs, both of these, because they have catalogs of

00:13:04   content that they own unlike Apple. But it takes a couple of years to roll out a full slate of shows

00:13:11   for a streaming service and they're both behind. So it'll be a, what he called it like a beta

00:13:17   version in 2020, which is really like, yeah, it'll be, I don't think it'll necessarily be

00:13:24   so much beta in terms of functionality as beta in terms of what's on it.

00:13:27   - Content, it's just all old stuff.

00:13:30   - Some HBO and some DC and maybe like another couple of shows and a catalog,

00:13:36   and then we'll figure it out and more shows next year.

00:13:38   - All right, today's episode is brought to you in part by Instabug. You can go to

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00:15:24   their support of this show and Relay FM. So it looks like that there's gonna be an

00:15:31   event, an Apple event on March 25th. This news kind of rolled out slowly over the last week.

00:15:38   It started with a report from John Paksowski of Buzzfeed. Paksowski reported an upcoming event

00:15:46   on March 25th at the Steve Jobs Theatre at Apple Park that would be focused on streaming,

00:15:51   well on services I should say, sorry, focused on services. Paksowski spoke about pretty much

00:15:58   primarily the news subscription service. This happened just a couple of days after the

00:16:04   rumour that came out that Apple wanted to take a 50% cut for publishers who want to work with

00:16:10   them on this service. Jason, we've spoken about this news service, we've spoken about the hesitancy

00:16:15   of news organisations wanting to work with Apple. Now we maybe know a little bit more about why that

00:16:22   is, right? Well, the 50/50 cut, which is rumoured to be what they're doing is they want 50/50,

00:16:32   which seems to be maybe the deal that a lot of the magazines who are kind of desperate are taking,

00:16:38   because Apple has obviously sold them on the idea that this is going to be huge and there's going to

00:16:43   be a lot of money and we're just going to be... It doesn't even matter that we're taking half of the

00:16:47   money for your content because we're all going to be rolling in dough because everybody's going to

00:16:52   pay money for this. And, you know, it's not... Ben Thompson wrote a great piece about it on

00:16:58   Stratechery that basically if you're a premium subscription model company like the New York Times

00:17:05   or the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Post, this deal doesn't make sense. I don't think it

00:17:09   makes sense at 30%. I don't think it makes sense at 15%, quite honestly. But it certainly doesn't

00:17:17   make sense at 50% for them. But if you're a smaller publisher and you're really desperate

00:17:22   for more incremental revenue, maybe it works. This report makes me think that it will be a

00:17:29   work in progress when it launches and that Apple is going to have to make some recalibrations.

00:17:34   And I don't have a really good vibe about this service. I remain open to the possibility that

00:17:40   it will be good, but I'm skeptical because it seems like a bad deal for publishers,

00:17:44   which means it's going to be a limited number of publishers. And maybe I get... I don't know,

00:17:51   I just get the feeling that this may suggest that Apple has an unrealistic opinion of what this is,

00:17:58   that they think that they've solved it and that a lot of their partners don't agree and are not

00:18:05   willing to sign on to this. And without a good selection of partners, it's hard to sell something

00:18:11   like this. You could throw it in a bundle, which is I suspect now what they're going to do. Having

00:18:17   gotten the... Adding this to the list, and we talked about this I think last time, that makes

00:18:22   me feel like the bundle is really going to happen. And if you bundle it with music and video, maybe

00:18:27   that's part of the calculation there. Although what is the bundle? It's 50% of whatever they assign

00:18:33   the value of the news percentage of the bundle at that point. I don't know. - And also dependent on

00:18:40   people actually reading your content, right? Because it seems like from the rumors that

00:18:45   they're going to be paying out the money based on engagement in Apple News. So you can go in on this,

00:18:50   but you might not make anything. - It also means that if you are somebody who gets paid by readers

00:18:56   to make content, your goal is to serve your readers. If you're somebody who gets paid

00:19:01   by the number of pages viewed, guess what? It's clickbait time. This is a model that unless they've

00:19:08   come up with some very clever ways, which I doubt to beat it, it means that there'll be clickbait

00:19:14   within Apple News because you want to drive engagement with your story so you get a bigger

00:19:18   percentage. And I don't think that's good. - You won't believe what happened next, Jason. You will

00:19:23   not believe. - You won't believe it. Just check in Apple News and you'll find out. So we'll see.

00:19:27   But I think what's interesting is that Pekoski's story was followed up by Germin, right? And Germin

00:19:35   said, "Yeah, it's the Apple video launch and also news will be there," which it makes much more

00:19:39   sense, right? I can't really imagine the tap dancing on stage. - I felt like I was losing my

00:19:43   mind a little bit because Pekoski's source, he says in the article, his source said he had no

00:19:51   details on whether the video service will be shown. - Because his source is somebody in a magazine

00:19:57   somewhere. - It could be anything, right? Like, we don't know. I mean, that's probably the case.

00:20:04   - Really? Somebody who's only been briefed about what they need to do to participate in the news

00:20:08   part of the event. - Well, he did say that he's claiming no hardware, no AirPods, and no iPads.

00:20:14   - That's true. Although that seems very separate and not surprising. - That could be a secondary

00:20:20   thing. - But he has a separate hardware source that said that. - And so this led lots of people

00:20:24   to believe that, oh, well, there's not going to be a video service launch. And, you know,

00:20:28   I'm sure you agreed with me. Actually, you did from reading your article on Six Colors,

00:20:33   kind of your link to Pekoski's point on this, like his report. It seemed madness to me that

00:20:41   you would have an event like this and not show off the streaming service stuff because that's

00:20:46   the crown jewel, not this weirdo magazine service, right? - Yeah, exactly. - So, Mark Gorman and Anusha

00:20:53   Sokoy of Bloomberg, they had a report that Apple has invited many of the stars that they are

00:21:00   working with to this event, as we have spoken about many times in the past, because they will

00:21:06   indeed be showing the first information of the video service. Apparently, this list includes

00:21:11   JJ Abrams, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Garner. I saw on Variety as well

00:21:17   that Variety is saying that they have heard this will include the first trailers or clips,

00:21:23   if there are any, will be shown. But this is still like a summer to fall thing. - Yes, that was really

00:21:32   interesting. And I wonder, obviously, they're going to have footage to show, right? I think it might

00:21:38   even turn into something kind of like the up-fronts, where it's literally Apple saying,

00:21:42   "Here's what our lineup is," or it may be, "Here are some samples of the shows we're doing

00:21:47   with the people who are involved with them." And it wouldn't shock me if they even release

00:21:53   pilots, right? Or release a handful of things to people on Apple Music as a teaser for the whole

00:22:01   thing that's coming in the fall. That's a possibility. Certainly trailers. But the Variety

00:22:07   note is interesting in that it contradicts other reports that have said that they told them that

00:22:13   the service is launching in April, which what does that mean? What Variety says is, it's literally

00:22:19   March, April, they're going to do a rollout, which may be this event, and then maybe they drop some

00:22:24   sample episodes or something. But Variety says the bulk of the content at least is going to launch

00:22:29   summer or fall of this year, which is also a new thing from their sources. - Both the

00:22:37   Variety and the Bloomberg reports mention multiple times again the idea that Apple will be selling

00:22:45   other channel subscriptions through their service like Amazon Prime does. So maybe that's what comes

00:22:50   before the content, right? That like, "Oh, we're doing more with the TV app, and now you'll be

00:22:57   able to buy this channel and this channel and this channel right within the TV app. Maybe that comes

00:23:01   first, we don't know." But that could be something that Apple does if they don't have enough of their

00:23:05   own content to put forward. The new service is slated to be shipping with iOS 12.2 in the summer.

00:23:14   Maybe some of this TV stuff comes with that at the same time. - Who knows? - This is going to be

00:23:20   a real interesting draft. - Yeah, you're right. - The pics are going to be super weird, right? Like

00:23:24   JJ Abrams appears! - Almost like an existential draft of like, what an imaginary weird Apple

00:23:32   event we haven't seen before. Yeah, absolutely. I think JJ Abrams is an enormous Apple fan. So I

00:23:39   think I can really see him like running up on stage and being like, "I just am so excited to

00:23:45   be at an Apple event!" kind of thing. Would not surprise me at all. But yeah, that's an event like

00:23:51   no other, Myke. And so that'll be interesting. - Yeah, upgrade listeners. Let's see if we can

00:23:57   do you the service that we train and help you out with sometimes. This is probably going to be a

00:24:02   really boring Apple event, right? Like there's going to be a lot of celebrities come out. Remember

00:24:06   when Drake came out? Right, imagine that five times in a row, because that's what this one's

00:24:11   going to be like. You know, a bunch of stars are going to come out, or directors are going to come

00:24:15   out, and they're going to talk about their shows. Like, you're not going to get anything exciting.

00:24:19   They're not going to sneak a one last thing new iPad in there on you. They're not doing that,

00:24:23   right? Like, here's someone from the Wall Street Journal. Probably not the Wall Street Journal,

00:24:27   but like, here's someone from Vogue. Here's JJ Abrams. And here's Eddy Cue to talk about it all,

00:24:31   right? Like it's going to be a bit of a slog, this one, I think. So just bear that in mind.

00:24:36   Wow. Wow. You mentioned Drake. I can't believe you mentioned Drake. That's brutal.

00:24:43   That's the analog, right? That's the closest analog. They brought Drake out to talk about,

00:24:47   I don't even know what he was talking about, because like, it wasn't, he didn't have anything

00:24:51   specific with them. And so I think it's going to be a very kind of regular press event,

00:25:01   typically the type of thing that we don't see from Apple, right? But like, you'll get a lot

00:25:04   of companies do these types of things. You mentioned the up-fronts. If you don't know what

00:25:08   they are, this is when a bunch of media agencies and advertising agencies will come together in

00:25:14   rooms. And then the media agency say, well, here's our new shows. They are podcast up-fronts. There

00:25:19   are TV up-fronts. Here's our slate of content coming out this year with the provisio that you

00:25:24   hopefully want to buy it. Yeah. The president of NBC goes out on stage and lists all the shows that

00:25:28   are coming in the fall and say, now you want to buy ads on all of these. And it's going to be like

00:25:33   that. And once they're not Apple, Apple kind of spinning it in a slightly different way and just

00:25:38   sound like, hey, press, here's our new shows. And maybe you want to buy all of these and as in

00:25:44   buy into all of these. And it's going to be a very direct and a very, very, very different guest list

00:25:48   to normal. A lot more entertainment journalists, right? Would be your expectation. It's going to

00:25:55   be, it's going to be an interesting one for us. I don't know if the Apple fan base at large

00:26:01   is going to have a lot of warm words to say about this event. I feel, uh, people will be sitting

00:26:07   down to expect one thing and they're probably going to get another. We'll see. It's just a

00:26:12   different thing. Right. And I should say as the specter of Drake hovers over us both, uh,

00:26:17   this is what the event should be, right? Like it's not an Apple. This is no criticism from me.

00:26:21   Like this is 100% what it has to be. Bringing the celebrities is really important. I'm still

00:26:26   surprised that they're doing it in Cupertino and not doing it in LA. Like I, I felt like they'd

00:26:31   really want to glitz it up, but maybe they feel like the, the stamp of the big fancy theater

00:26:36   in Cupertino is a better way to do it. But I'm a little surprised that they didn't do this as like

00:26:41   a, you know, full on Apple embraces Hollywood kind of thing, but maybe they were uncomfortable

00:26:46   with that. I don't know. Yeah. Maybe, maybe as you say, they're trying to add a bit of importance to

00:26:51   it. Only iPhones have been introduced, right? Like the Steve Joseph, that's what it's been

00:26:55   useful so far as September iPhone keynotes. I don't think it's been used for anything else. So

00:27:00   like all the cow special come out to our beautiful spaceship and we'll treat you real nice. Oh yeah,

00:27:05   that's true. That's true. They could, they could treat them, treat them really good. I, um, I guess

00:27:09   we will all have to choose whether we want to draft JJ Abrams comes out wearing a vintage Apple jacket.

00:27:16   I think genuinely we have, we're going to have to think about going a little bit esoteric with this

00:27:21   one, uh, cause I think it's going to be a, there's not going to be a ton of stuff. And we also know

00:27:26   a lot more than we typically would know. Um, so this, this draft is going to be a really

00:27:31   fun one to put together. I think it's gonna, that'll be, that'll be a lot. That'll be wild.

00:27:36   So it'd be towards the end of March. So we'll probably know here in the next two or three

00:27:40   weeks, I reckon if this thing's, if this thing is going down when the reports say it suggested it is.

00:27:44   All right, let's take a second break and thank our friends over at FreshBooks for their support

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00:29:39   FM. Friend of the show, Ming-Chi Roger Kuo, as we call him. Roger, codename Roger. Codename Roger.

00:29:47   Not his actual name. Not his actual name. Not his actual name. This stems from a few new

00:29:51   listeners. Stems from a time when for some reason Jason randomly called Ming-Chi Kuo Roger. Because

00:29:56   I went to college with a guy. That was it. Yeah, guy named Roger Kuo. Yeah. I don't know,

00:30:01   my brains are weird. What can I say? So, Kuo dropped a...

00:30:07   Just an absolute... Roger? Roger? The word you're looking for is Roger?

00:30:10   Roger. Okay, go ahead. Dropped an absolute bombshell of a report on everybody yesterday.

00:30:16   And there's a lot of stuff here. It's kind of unclear at some points, as these things tend to be,

00:30:22   because Kuo is an analyst, how much he knows, how much he is expecting. But this list rings true to

00:30:33   what I would expect to see over Apple over the next year. So let's go through some of this and

00:30:38   we'll stop and talk about some parts along the way. So, some details about the current... Well,

00:30:43   the current upcoming, I should say, 2019 iPhones. Sizes and kind of basic specs remaining as you

00:30:50   expect. They're not gonna change any of the sizes of the phones. They're gonna keep lightning ports.

00:30:55   They're not gonna go to USB-C. The Qi charging will go bilateral, which means the iPhones can

00:31:02   charge stuff as well as getting charged by Qi. So your AirPods, for example, if your AirPods

00:31:09   got a wireless charging case, then you will be able to charge those with your iPhone,

00:31:14   which I think will be a really, really wonderful feature. But I bet we'll make the cost of

00:31:20   replacing that back glass even more expensive than it currently is. In talking about that,

00:31:25   the glass will be frosted on the new iPhones. So that would give it a slightly different look.

00:31:30   I'm intrigued to see what that ends up looking like, if it maybe means some different color

00:31:34   changes to make that show through. But that's a different look, an interesting look. We'll see.

00:31:40   The Pixel line is glass and has this weird texture to it. It makes it look very different. So

00:31:47   might be nicer to hold, might be more grippy. We'll see. Upgraded Face ID, a bunch of new

00:31:51   internals in Face ID, hopefully making it faster, maybe making it work from further distances. We'll

00:31:57   see. Bigger batteries. That would be nice, wouldn't it, Jason? Just a bigger battery,

00:32:01   if you can fit them in there. - Sure, always. That's part of the constant Apple Quest

00:32:05   of trade-offs is size and thickness, but also battery and capacity and trying to extend the

00:32:13   life. So yeah, that would be nice. Always. - And Quo also echoes the rumor of triple cameras,

00:32:18   but does not say where we will see those. Like if it's gonna be one phone or the phones.

00:32:22   But that's kind of the information Quo has given us about the iPhones. This all seems

00:32:27   pretty logical to me. I like the bilateral charging, I think, maybe the most out of all of that.

00:32:32   - It's not a huge update cycle, and people will probably howl constantly between now and when

00:32:38   they're released and after they're released about the fact that iPhone sales are flat and this year's

00:32:44   models are not gonna necessarily be an enormous change. It's also not surprising and not new.

00:32:49   This is sort of, you know, it takes Apple a long time to make changes in their planned iPhones,

00:32:56   and these iPhones were already on the way. So these are the kind of logical, not super exciting,

00:33:02   but continuing to be available versions of what we got this year, or last year. It's next year's

00:33:10   half step kind of thing. - This is a surprise to me. Upgraded processes with two new iPad Pro models.

00:33:17   That seems strange, seems different, right? To take the current iPad Pros, put new processes in them.

00:33:23   Apple hasn't done that for the iPad Pro line. They've waited until they've been able to make

00:33:28   bigger changes to the models. That would be interesting. I'm keen to understand why that

00:33:35   would be so needed, and if that's all that there really would be for them. - Yeah, I guess it's them

00:33:43   treating them more like laptops. - I guess. - I wonder if there's more here in terms of things

00:33:51   they're doing for new versions of iOS or something like that, where they want to put different

00:33:57   hardware in there, but it does seem a little bit... I mean, I'm not going to complain about a new iPad

00:34:01   Pro model in 2019, but I really didn't think that they would bother doing a yearly cycle for them.

00:34:07   So that was a surprise. - Here's something that I've been trying to think through this. So the

00:34:13   Smart HDR, right? That required the most recent chip, and so the devices could do it. So there

00:34:23   might just be some software thing that requires these new chips, and it might be an interesting

00:34:29   part of the new iPhones that gets added to iOS. So maybe they decide to put it in the iPad Pros as

00:34:34   well? I don't know, but that's the only thing I can think of, if that's all they're going to do,

00:34:38   right? That there might be something that is going to be a cool feature, and they would like it to be

00:34:43   on the iPad as well, but they need the new processes in them. Because, you know, these

00:34:48   iPad Pros are so powerful. It's not like... I don't think we're going to need a speed bump. That seems

00:34:53   unlikely, but again, we don't know what iOS 13 is going to bring in general. - Yeah, right, right.

00:34:59   And there may be something like that is not part of Quo's sources that are like explanations why

00:35:06   they're doing this. But it may just be that they just decided, "Why don't we keep cycling that

00:35:11   processor every year as we cycle it for the iPhone and just keep them on the same page?"

00:35:15   I don't know. - Sticking on the iPad train, a 10.2 inch version of the base iPad, so taking the

00:35:22   current kind of regular iPad and taking it from 9.7 inches to 10.2, so making the bezel smaller,

00:35:28   plus a new iPad Mini which Quo states of just having a new processor. I expect to see the

00:35:35   iPad Mini with a new processor. He also mentions the iPod Touch kind of getting the same treatment.

00:35:40   This feels like, potentially, that the processors that are currently in these devices won't be

00:35:49   supported anymore. And if they want to keep selling them, they have to update them. - This

00:35:56   is the thing that we talked about with the MacBook Air at some point too, which is like,

00:36:00   at some point you can't keep making that thing. You can't. You just can't. It's too old,

00:36:05   and you can't move ahead with your product line and sell a product that doesn't work with your

00:36:09   product line. So it is the... I'm fascinated by it because there's just the basic idea that

00:36:18   we have to make a decision about this product that we kind of don't care about. And the easy

00:36:22   decision is to stop selling it, but there's somebody inside Apple who's like, "Wait, no,

00:36:26   don't. You've got to keep selling it for some reason." And you're like, "All right. Okay,

00:36:31   fine. We'll just put another processor in it and put it back out there." Which is a little

00:36:36   bit like the Mac Mini story, right? It's like, "You need to do something. What are you going

00:36:41   to do?" And they're like, "All right, we'll do it, and then we're going to let it sit there

00:36:44   again for five more years." Then the really big story, the wild story, is a 16-inch MacBook Pro.

00:36:52   So I think the easiest thing to assume here is we're talking a 15-inch MacBook Pro with thinner

00:37:00   bezels, right? To give it a bigger screen as opposed to a brand new form factor. Yeah, I...

00:37:08   -So what he says is it's a redesigned... -Yeah. He says redesigned, and I take that to believe

00:37:15   that maybe this is the first in what will be a series of replacements for the existing MacBook

00:37:22   Pro line. That this is the next generation of MacBook Pro, and it's starting with this model.

00:37:28   Now, maybe that's wishful thinking, but that's my hope, is that that's what it is.

00:37:37   I think the 15-inch is a real question, right? Which is we know that Apple has had success

00:37:45   in just pushing the bezels in, right? Like to... I mean, I guess out, but making them super thin.

00:37:54   And that's a trend in the laptop world in general, PC laptops as well. So when we say 16 or... I think

00:38:01   he said 16 or 16-plus inch. -Yeah, somewhere between... I think somewhere between 16 and 16.5

00:38:06   is the spot. -Yeah, my gut feeling is that ultimately this is the replacement for the

00:38:12   15-inch MacBook Pro, but what it is is thinner bezels and maybe a wider... Maybe the laptop gets

00:38:23   a little wider, but they will make some claim about it being thinner or lighter or better by

00:38:30   volume or whatever it is, right? But I don't think what we used to think of as the step from the 13

00:38:37   to the 15 to the 17, which was an enormous distance in size, I don't think that's the kind of size

00:38:43   difference you would get from this one. That's my gut feeling, is that this isn't like the new

00:38:47   lunch tray of 17-inch laptop, that what they're trying to do is create a 15-inch model, a mega

00:38:57   15-inch model with more screen space without it being enormous. And that in the end, yeah, in the

00:39:04   end, maybe the product line is the 16-inch MacBook Pro, a 14-inch MacBook Pro instead of what we have

00:39:11   now with the two 13-inch models. And then you have the 13-inch Air and the 12-inch MacBook. Maybe

00:39:17   that's where they're headed. -I mean, that would make a lot more sense, right? That would start to

00:39:22   differentiate the whole lineup again. -Yeah, like the iPads, right? -Yeah, just like the iPads. -Like

00:39:28   the iPads, your Pro models have bigger screens and some fancier tech, and they're up at the high end

00:39:33   in those small bezels. Like, it is, it starts, whether it's the right story is an open question,

00:39:39   but it starts to sound like an interesting parallel to what they've done with the iPad

00:39:43   to differentiate them, which is they've got the technology now to really slim down those bezels

00:39:50   and use that space for screen. And that means that they make a choice. Do I want to make the

00:39:57   laptop smaller, or do I want to make the screen bigger? And for a Pro, given what they've talked

00:40:02   about, about the Pro users on the Mac, for a Pro laptop, why would you not, on the big Pro laptop,

00:40:08   why would you not give those people more screen space? Like, they value more screen space. So,

00:40:13   it kind of follows. I think it's really interesting, since this is something that

00:40:18   nobody has talked about before, to my knowledge. This is a new one. And it opens, because he says

00:40:24   new design, it really does open the question of, like, do we get face ID for once? Because you've

00:40:29   got to fit all those sensors into that smaller bezel, little hatch thing. But the iPad has it,

00:40:35   but the iPad is thicker than the screen part of a MacBook. But they could, or they could do it with

00:40:42   a combination of different sensors and machine learning. They could put that sensor, they could

00:40:47   shoot up from, by the keyboard, and shoot up into your face from there to look at you. I mean,

00:40:51   I don't know, there's stuff they could do with optics and, like, sensors in different places.

00:40:55   I want to be open to that. But, and then the big one, of course, is they could rethink the keyboard.

00:41:00   They could. I think they probably would. I mean, I'm intrigued to see what a fully new design.

00:41:07   So here's my thing. If you put these, if you put this laptop next to a 15-inch current MacBook Pro,

00:41:16   would you, would you see, how much difference would you see? That's what I really wonder,

00:41:20   because, like, I feel like laptop design has been, is a solved thing now. Like, they look how they

00:41:26   look. And I would be super intrigued to see what a new design looks like. Like, what could they do

00:41:32   that, that I'm not seeing? Or will it mean, or does new design mean it has a bigger screen and

00:41:38   we've re-engineered it in these certain ways to make X, Y and Z better, right? Like, a fully new

00:41:44   design could mean we had to go back to the beginning to make the keyboard work and keep it

00:41:49   thin. You know? Well, I, it could, it could. My guess is that, and this is just a guess, is that

00:41:58   it'll look more like the iPad Pro, which it already kind of does, but more like that. More, more,

00:42:03   less rounded corners. More sharp edges. Try to make it thinner. But more, more of those,

00:42:08   yeah, more of those right angles and, and a little less of the curves. But that's just a guess that,

00:42:15   again, I'm trying to place that iPad Pro parallel and think. I always feel like Apple is always

00:42:19   striving to have their whole product line kind of work in harmony. And it doesn't, because that's,

00:42:24   it's very, very, very hard to do that. And like the iPhone, for example, he doesn't say in this,

00:42:29   the iPhones are going to look different and they're going to look more like the iPad Pro,

00:42:32   which is something people have commented on. It's like those iPad Pros look great. What if the

00:42:36   iPhone looked like that? And, you know, Kuo says no. He says that's not going to happen.

00:42:41   I almost called him Roger again. It's fine. Codename Roger. But I think they try, right?

00:42:48   I think they try to have harmony between their products. They want, Apple really wants Apple

00:42:53   products to feel of a kind, which is a challenge when you have two completely different operating

00:42:58   systems, which is why they're also pushing the operating systems closer together. So that if they

00:43:02   do a hardware redesign here, it might only be internal stuff like keyboards and all of that.

00:43:08   But I think they might take the opportunity to take whatever this design language is that they

00:43:13   use in the iPad Pro and also apply it to this. You know, normally I would say, what's their most

00:43:18   recently released laptop and what does that tell us about where they're going with laptop design?

00:43:22   But what it tells us is nothing because it's a retro design. It's literally just the MacBook Air

00:43:27   design updated. So it tells us nothing. So we're left just guessing until they release one of these

00:43:33   things. And then with this one, we will read the tea leaves and say, oh, this is going to be what

00:43:37   all the future laptops look like. But I think, you know, the chances are good here based on what

00:43:42   Kuo is saying that this is going to be that laptop where it's the model and all the rest of them will

00:43:49   follow it for the next three years or whatever. - Allow me to start the speculation train, Jason.

00:43:55   - Oh, okay. All right. I'll put some fire in the engine, some coal in the engine of the locomotive.

00:44:04   The speculation train is now rolling down the track, Myke. - Intel or ARM.

00:44:08   - Oh, boy. Intel. Intel. I think ARM transition is going to happen, but boy, I think putting it

00:44:15   at the pro line seems like a mistake. - I'd be surprised. I'd be surprised,

00:44:18   but I just wanted to say it. You know, I just wanted to say it because it's a thing, right?

00:44:22   Like it is a thing that is, it's floating out there. We don't know what it's going to look like.

00:44:27   We don't know when it's going to happen, but you know, like we would expect this product

00:44:32   will probably not replace the 15 inch for a while. It will probably be too expensive and it will sit

00:44:38   alongside it. So, you know, I never know. - Okay. So here, here, I'll throw something in.

00:44:45   I'm going to be the, I'm going to do the most wild speculation of all, which is it's going to have an

00:44:51   ARM processor in it because the T2 is in most of the new Macs now, all the new Macs now. What if

00:45:00   it has an ARM processor that's more like an iPhone or iPad processor in addition to Intel? And you

00:45:05   have the ability to target software to it because we're entering marzipan land. And also these are

00:45:10   used by developers and they're iOS developers. So having it run on the actual hardware is kind

00:45:15   of an interesting idea. - Maybe this is the machine that if you want to do this type of

00:45:19   development, this is the one that you should be buying. - And I'll just throw on top of that,

00:45:24   at that point, if you're going to be, because again, wild speculation, wild speculation.

00:45:28   Why would that new nice screen not be a touch screen? - Oh, damn. - I'm an iOS developer.

00:45:40   I am developing touch software. I want to run it on my screen. Maybe I want to touch,

00:45:47   interact with it as it's supposed to be interacted with. - Hey Jason, what if that new design... - Let's

00:45:52   start a rumor. Let's start a rumor right now. Let's do it. - What if Jason, that new design

00:45:57   includes a hinge that allows you to flip the screen all the way around to the back, Jason?

00:46:03   - You lost me. You lost me. Now we really are in Fantasyland. It was just increasingly bizarre.

00:46:10   The train is so far off the rails now, Myke. It's off the rails. It's in the canyon. - Disclaimer,

00:46:15   these are not our official predictions. Merely wild speculation. - No, but I do. I mean, I think

00:46:22   if I'm... We are only able to view what Apple is doing from the outside, obviously. They're the

00:46:28   ones who know what their strategy ultimately is with Mac OS and iOS and where they're taking all

00:46:32   this. But if the speculation is right about like more iOS apps on the Mac and bringing them much

00:46:38   closer together in terms of their interfaces and in terms of their app platform, and touch is such

00:46:42   a big part of mobile and Apple has not done touch on laptops for reasons involving like Mac OS's

00:46:49   suitability to it, but now we're bringing in all these apps from iOS. I keep asking the question,

00:46:54   like, I don't know whether that's a good idea or not, but I would imagine that if you're somebody

00:46:59   inside Apple talking about the future of the MacBook Pro and your audience, a huge part of

00:47:05   your audience is graphic designers and iOS developers, that having touch for an Apple Pencil,

00:47:17   for marzipan apps, or just in Xcode for doing app testing and previewing on your laptop is...

00:47:26   I mean, it's worth asking the question if... And everybody freaks out when you talk about Macs.

00:47:33   People who have really believed everything Apple has said about it's a bad experience,

00:47:38   zombie arms, all of those things. The fact is, it's not a primary interaction method. It's not.

00:47:44   Even on the laptops that have touch screens, people don't spend all their time with the

00:47:48   zombie arms up touching the screen. But as an extra thing, it has applications. And so I think

00:47:54   it's... I just want to put it out there because I think I would be surprised if Apple never

00:48:01   adds touch support to the displays on Macs. I would be surprised, but they might not. Anyway,

00:48:09   I think it's worth going down that road of what other iOS tech could they put into these things.

00:48:14   And Apple Pencil support is one of them. Touch support is one of them. ARM processors that can

00:48:21   actually run software, like run apps, is one of them. And that would also create a transitional

00:48:29   developer machine if the platform is going to ARM, right? You expect at some point some or all of

00:48:35   these things are going to happen. This could be the beginning of some of it, right? That's the

00:48:42   thinking. 31 inch 6K external display. I saw this and I was like, "Sure, why not?" 6K. Actually,

00:48:54   we've heard a lot from people and on other podcasts about how the 5K that we use in our

00:49:02   iMacs and that Apple has talked up is not really a thing in the broader computer industry. 5K

00:49:07   displays are not really what people are doing. They are pushing further out into 8K displays

00:49:14   and all that. So the idea of a 31 inch 6K display is... I could see that. Why stop at 5 when you can

00:49:22   have 6? Why stop at 27 when you can have 31 inches of display, especially if the bezels are really

00:49:28   small as opposed to our iMacs which have huge bezels? It's quite a jump from "we don't make

00:49:34   monitors anymore," isn't it? "We don't make them anymore." Oh, by the way, here's a 31 inch 6K.

00:49:40   Here's the best monitor of all time. Mini LED backlight design. I don't know what that means.

00:49:46   I'm going to wait for John Sukuso to tell me in a bit more detail. It's a different kind of LED

00:49:51   backlighting that's supposed to be better. That seems to be what it is. With "outstanding picture

00:49:56   quality." Of course. Of course. I'm sure we'll have all the colors. It will literally run the gamut.

00:50:00   Haha. See what I did there? Anyway, yeah, all the colors. Here's what I think. I think June,

00:50:06   WWDC, we get the laptop and the monitor, and then they say, "Here's what the Mac Pro looks like,"

00:50:11   and it will be out later this year. That's what I think we're going to get. Yeah. Yeah. I think

00:50:14   that's about right. That's going to be... Some one of us will get to draft that, but that's my gut

00:50:20   feeling is that they will mention the Mac Pro and do like they did with the iMac Pro. They will

00:50:26   unveil it. And the Mac Pro. The trash can. They did it for both of them. Oh, yeah. Yeah. So you

00:50:31   can see it, and then it'll be available later. But the monitor could come out now. One of the

00:50:37   reasons I think that it's just based upon the information that Kuo gave, he references the Mac

00:50:42   Pro but doesn't really say anything new about it, which makes me think that the MacBook Pro and the

00:50:47   external display are closer to production because everybody knows that Minqi, Kuo's sources come

00:50:51   from the production line and the suppliers. So maybe these two products, which are new products,

00:50:58   right? Nobody has spoken about either of these two things at all anywhere before now. So if

00:51:05   Kuo's on the money, which a lot of the time he is, it would make you think that these things are

00:51:11   closer maybe than the Mac Pro is. So, yeah, we'll see about that. Last couple of little parts. A new

00:51:17   ceramic casing for the Apple Watch and ECG to roll out to more countries. AirPods 2 will have wireless

00:51:24   charging case and upgraded Bluetooth connectivity. So I guess maybe the Bluetooth stuff will be

00:51:29   better in some way. And obviously it needs the wireless charging case if the phone can charge

00:51:33   them. And believe it or not, I don't, but believe it or not, AirPower to ship during the first half

00:51:40   of 2019. Believe it or not, indeed, I think it's going to happen. I think it sounds like,

00:51:45   you know, it's not the AirPower that they announced, obviously. Like that's the truth

00:51:50   of it is that this is almost certainly a completely different product that they've engineered because

00:51:54   they had to go back to the drawing board. And I've heard there was a story about how it's going to be

00:51:58   like way thicker than they showed and stuff like that. But it sounds like it's in the works and

00:52:06   AirPower and the AirPods 2. And I've heard, you know, I heard from somebody in, I'll say,

00:52:13   position close to retail that the AirPods are becoming kind of hard to come by in the

00:52:20   product chain, in the supply chain. - Yeah, I've seen people talking about that,

00:52:23   that like they're out of stock a lot more frequently now. - Yeah, which makes, I am

00:52:27   skeptical that what this means is that they have ceased production of the old AirPods and have

00:52:32   begun making the new AirPods. And it may be that the way this works is it just stock is reduced.

00:52:38   So if you run out, you can't get more from the factory. So instead they kind of like take it out

00:52:42   of wherever there is stock and they move it around. So it may not be imminent, but it feels like the

00:52:48   AirPods are coming sooner rather than later because they're having all of these issues with keeping

00:52:55   them in stock. That's not a run on AirPods. It is that they may be preparing to turn it over and

00:53:01   sell AirPods number two instead. - So Roger, Roger, thank you Ming-Chi Kuo. - Thank you Ming-Chi Kuo.

00:53:09   - There's a lot to go on there. And I'm really intrigued to think more and hear more people

00:53:18   talk about this MacBook Pro. - I like Mac rumors. This is like, you know, iPhones, yeah, they'll be

00:53:25   new. iPads, yeah, there'll be upgrades. Oh, now let me tell you about all the new Macs and external

00:53:31   devices and stuff. Like, okay, cool. That's cool. Yeah. - I am still most interested though in

00:53:36   learning more about the Mac Pro. I think that is the most likely product in my future.

00:53:44   You know, I would really like a Mac Pro that I could assume I could keep for 10 years and

00:53:51   keep upgrading. I'm on my 2015 Retina iMac at the moment. No desire to change it. This machine is

00:54:02   brilliant. Like, I don't feel the requirement to get an iMac Pro. I don't need it. But I'd like the

00:54:12   idea of a Mac that I could just beef up and leave for a long time, but to provide that I could then

00:54:18   change graphics cards and change RAM more easily in the future, right? So like, I buy a 10-year Mac

00:54:24   instead of a three-year Mac, you know? So I've got my eye on that, but it might be more than I need.

00:54:31   Probably is more than I need, but we won't know until we see it. - Yeah, yeah, this year. This year.

00:54:37   - This year. All right, today's episode is also brought to you by Lunar Display. Our friends over

00:54:44   at Lunar Display are helping many of us and hopefully helping some of you and can help some

00:54:48   of you save money and improve your workflow. Talking about these external displays, right?

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00:54:58   be lovely if you could use it as an external display for your Mac? Well, you can with Lunar

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00:55:23   on new screens. It's even better when you travel as well. If you travel with a laptop and an iPad,

00:55:28   because that's just your usual travel kit, that's my travel kit a lot of the time, I can use Lunar

00:55:33   Display to have a second display and more space when I'm working on my laptop, which has a much

00:55:39   smaller screen than my iMac. So it's nice to have that extended screen real estate. Or you can do

00:55:43   like what I do. I have a Mac Mini sitting here and I use Lunar Display to connect to my Mac Mini.

00:55:48   My Mac Mini runs about a display attached to it. I can have Mac OS as like an app on my iPad,

00:55:54   which is a wonderful experience for me that I enjoy greatly. And it allows me to easily tackle

00:56:00   some of the things that the iPad falls down on. So I really, really have absolutely loved my Lunar

00:56:06   Display. It's totally changed a lot of my workflows, like genuinely. When I got it,

00:56:11   I thought, "Oh, this will be a nice thing to have." But it has ended up becoming an essential part

00:56:16   of a lot of the work that I've been doing recently. So I'm a big, big, big, big fan of it.

00:56:20   Don't just take my word for it. TechCrunch, for example, said that the visual fidelity is frankly

00:56:26   stunning, which it is. They actually just made it better. They did some upgrades to their engine

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00:56:53   money on extra screens. One last time, Lunadisplay.com, promo code upgrade for that 10% off.

00:56:58   Thanks to Lunar Display for their support of this show and really have fun.

00:57:02   The Lunar Display does make me have moments where I think I understand why Apple

00:57:08   is hesitant. You would need to make some changes to how macOS works for it to make sense as a

00:57:15   touchscreen, right? Like if you really wanted to interact with all parts of it.

00:57:18   Well, I use my Apple Pencil. That's how I do it.

00:57:20   That's true. Good point.

00:57:21   Like, it's trickier with the—I mean, it works. The touch works, but the Apple Pencil makes it

00:57:27   just like a cursor and it's perfect. So, like, that's how I've been using it.

00:57:30   Yeah.

00:57:31   And I like using it that way. Jason, should we do some #AskUpgrade?

00:57:35   Yeah, let's do it. Let's do it. Is this a—this is a—we didn't—unfortunately,

00:57:41   events continue to occur. So we haven't had a chance to do our mega Ask Upgrade episode,

00:57:46   but we can clear out a bunch today, I think. We most certainly can. Our first question comes

00:57:50   from Frank today. Frank says, "In regards to the rumors of a 50% commission on Apple News

00:57:55   description revenue, which we spoke about earlier in the show, what if the rumors were leaked

00:57:59   strategically to manage expectations? Remember how relieved we all felt in 2010, when the first

00:58:05   iPad started at $500 instead of the rumored $1,000? What do you think about that?"

00:58:09   I think it's—I think it's somebody leaking that information strategically. I think this is

00:58:19   negotiating in the press. My guess is that there's somebody who's so outraged by the 50%

00:58:29   that Apple wants to charge somebody probably for a newspaper that they leaked it because they want

00:58:35   Apple to look bad. And, you know, it's possible that it's Apple playing a game where they, you

00:58:43   know, set a high number and then they change, but I doubt it. I think it's more likely that it's

00:58:48   somebody who's kind of outraged and is hoping that Apple will be—this will put more pressure on Apple

00:58:53   from other publishers to not make a deal with them so that they back down and they change their

00:59:00   percent commission. But it does definitely feel like—like I said one of the last times we talked

00:59:06   about rumors like six months ago, always ask yourself why it got leaked. Always ask yourself,

00:59:11   "Why did this information come out?" And for something like Ming-Chi Kuo, it's people in

00:59:16   his production—he's got sources in the production line and he's reporting on the supply chain and

00:59:21   he's saying which companies are building what and the people there are motivated probably by just—

00:59:25   possibly by money and if not that, then they like that they're feeding this analyst that information.

00:59:33   But for something like this, I think it's very clearly motivated by something that caused this

00:59:37   to leak and beyond just, "Oh, I know a percentage number." It feels more like it probably was

00:59:44   tactical of, "This is ridiculous. Let's leave this to the press and Apple will get roasted."

00:59:48   I agree with you. Yeah. Like Apple, I feel probably do strategic leaking from time to time,

00:59:56   but this wouldn't be one of the things that they would care—like they care to tell the public

01:00:01   about. This is not general public information. This is—why would you leak to the public a 50%

01:00:06   number and then go back to the people you've been negotiating with for the last six months and say,

01:00:10   "Okay, we'll make it 30% now that it's leaked." That doesn't make any sense. So yeah, that's

01:00:15   right. The audience here isn't really the public because it's the people they're negotiating with.

01:00:19   So I think it's far more likely that this is the negotiations on the other side where they're

01:00:25   saying, "This is outrageous. I'm going to shame you in public and then maybe you'll get the word

01:00:31   from everybody that everybody thinks that you're—this is ridiculous." I'm not saying it'll

01:00:36   work, but that feels more what it is, is somebody who's frustrated that Apple is sticking to this

01:00:41   number that is bananas. It's just I can't believe it. I mean, I kind of believe it because it's

01:00:48   Apple, but it doesn't make any sense to me and I wouldn't take that deal for—if I was—again,

01:00:55   maybe there are some businesses that it makes sense for, but I have a hard time conceiving

01:00:59   of what those would be. So our next question comes from Eric. Eric says, "With the 'other'

01:01:03   category being renamed to wearables, home, and accessories, what is a new product in that area

01:01:10   that you think could be profitable for Apple? Like with their privacy stance, Eric would love to see

01:01:15   home cameras or security systems. Are there any areas that you think Apple is likely to move into

01:01:21   when it comes to home technology?" I would say right now, no. Apple seems to have decided they're

01:01:28   just not going to bother making smart home products. I think—I mean, what do they make?

01:01:34   They make—the HomePod. They make the HomePod and they make Bedit, right? The sleep sensor,

01:01:41   which they bought and they still sell, and I have one. One of these days I'm going to write about

01:01:46   it. But it's a weird thing, and like why is that product there? And I think it's to feed home kit

01:01:53   data and because they wanted it, but my bigger—my overarching question here is I'm a little bit

01:02:00   mystified why Apple has decided they're just not going to bother competing and they're going to let

01:02:05   Google—I mean, you look at the Eero acquisition by Amazon. Like you're letting other tech giants

01:02:11   build infrastructure in smart home tech and you just don't care. Like you got out of the Wi-Fi,

01:02:20   they're in the—with the HomePod and that's about it. On one level, it allows them to say,

01:02:28   "We just want everybody to use HomeKit and then it'll all work and it'll be great."

01:02:31   But on another level, I think you're letting your competitors buy out everything and you're not

01:02:38   going to choose to compete. And when Amazon owns Eero, I do have that moment where I think

01:02:42   if I were at Apple, I would be like, "Wait, everything that happens on a network is going

01:02:49   to be seen by our competitors potentially. Like why would we not want to—why did we stop making

01:02:56   AirPort? Why did we not make our own mesh networking where we guarantee that your data is

01:03:00   secure?" We live in an era where our competitors are—the people who are using Wi-Fi are often using

01:03:07   it from either their cable company or they're using it from like Google or Amazon now. Why would we

01:03:12   not want to do it? But they obviously made a decision. They can reverse themselves. They've

01:03:15   done it in the past to just say, "No, we're not going to bother. Unless it can be an enormous hit

01:03:20   or as an accessory to one of our enormous hits, we're just going to walk away." It's weird.

01:03:25   It's weird. I don't think I agree with that approach. I feel like it would be more Apple-like

01:03:33   for them to make these products. But at the same time, I'm really sensitive to the fact that

01:03:39   it really seems like Apple can't even reliably update and develop the products that it has.

01:03:46   That the way that company works, their attention has to be focused on a very small number of

01:03:52   things. Maybe somebody inside Apple said, "You know what? We could build Wi-Fi routers or a

01:03:58   smart thermostat or whatever, but it's going to be a super distraction for us, and we don't need

01:04:04   that kind of distraction." For a company their size with the money they've got, I'm a little

01:04:08   surprised that they just haven't built a smart home division and put everything inside of it and let

01:04:13   their speakers and thermostat and Wi-Fi and all sorts of other stuff like that go in there and let

01:04:20   them compete. But it is possible that they've just decided philosophically they'd rather

01:04:26   get everybody to use HomeKit, and then you can use anybody's stuff with Apple stuff. The Wi-Fi is the

01:04:32   one that gets me, though. That like, that Eero being bought really made me think, "Hmm, Apple,

01:04:37   maybe you should have not punted on Wi-Fi after all." Because it's a market, right? It's a market

01:04:44   people want the products. Right, and your competitors are among the leading manufacturers,

01:04:50   of that stuff. It was reported over the weekend by CNBC that Apple hired a guy by the name Sam Jadalla,

01:04:58   who used to work on Microsoft and started a company called Otto, which ended up not working out.

01:05:04   It was like a smart lock. And CNBC is reporting that Jadalla is going to be revamping the smart

01:05:12   home business, whatever that means. Could be Apple branded products, could be different stuff for

01:05:17   HomeKit, we don't know. But they did hire somebody who has experience making smart home hardware.

01:05:22   **Ezra Klein:** Interesting. Interesting. Well,

01:05:24   I don't know the details of all of Apple's business and their culture on the inside, but

01:05:31   I will say it feels like a missed opportunity for Apple not to play in some of these smart

01:05:35   home spaces and not to have maybe bought up some of these smart home companies that are now going

01:05:41   to be guided by their competitors among giant tech companies. **Aaron asks, "I have a mid 2011

01:05:52   iMac and I'm considering a new Mac Mini. My understanding is that with the right adapters,

01:05:56   I can use target display mode to just display the Mini to the iMac. Is this a viable long-term

01:06:01   solution or should I buy a new monitor?" **Ezra Klein**

01:06:05   I mean, it depends on your feelings about retina is what it comes down to to me,

01:06:09   which is if you've got an iMac that supports target display, it's not a retina iMac,

01:06:13   which means you've got an iMac running in target display mode with a new Mac Mini that's capable

01:06:21   of retina and the iMac can't display retina. And so you're going to get a nice picture,

01:06:26   but it's going to be a low resolution picture. I don't consider that a long-term solution,

01:06:31   but maybe you don't care. I would buy a new monitor because at this point, I don't want

01:06:36   to use a Mac without a retina display. But if you want to save money and don't care about retina,

01:06:44   then it's viable. I think I have not used an iMac in target display mode for any length of time at

01:06:51   all. So I can't say just how annoying it would be over time to have to be putting it in target

01:06:55   display mode and all of that because it is a computer and you have to put it in target

01:06:59   display mode. So I would say in the end, I'm skeptical of its ability to be a long-term

01:07:06   solution. It's a solution, but because of the fiddly nature of it being an iMac in target mode

01:07:13   and not retina, I wouldn't consider it personally a long-term solution.

01:07:17   Will Barron 7:00

01:07:18   Stephen asks, "Do you think that Apple's new subscription news service will be limited to

01:07:22   existing Apple news countries, currently the USA, the UK, Australia, and I think Canada,

01:07:27   as you've just launched, are just about to? Or do you think it's going to roll out more broadly

01:07:31   than that?" Apple news is so slow to roll out that I think it's going to be limited. I think it'll be

01:07:37   limited. It may be even USA only at launch. I know they're going into Canada, finally. They announced

01:07:42   they're going into Canada and the weight there was that they wanted to go into Canada multilingual,

01:07:47   so that they'd have French and English versions. You go to Europe, you got to make a deal with

01:07:54   European publishers. You go to Asia, you got to make a deal with Asian publishers.

01:07:57   Will Barron 8 I think this is more likely to make it worse

01:08:00   rather than better.

01:08:01   Stephen Eckert 8 Yeah. So my gut feeling is that it's probably

01:08:04   a US only rollout. Maybe US and UK, but they're still struggling to negotiate with the US. And

01:08:11   then once they're done with that, yeah, then they'll have to go to the UK and negotiate there.

01:08:14   And when they're done with that, they'll have to go to Germany and negotiate there. And that's what

01:08:17   they're going to have to do. And that's a lot. I don't envy them because they have to approach

01:08:27   every single publisher and talk to them one on one and have those arguments about 50% are you crazy?

01:08:32   And they're like, "Every time. I don't want to be that person. I feel for that person who has to

01:08:37   get yelled at about what Apple's terms are." So I think it's going to be a slow rollout.

01:08:42   And I think, like I said earlier, I think it's also going to be something where the product is

01:08:46   not quite fully formed at launch and that they continue to tweak it. They may get there with it,

01:08:52   but I think I'm really skeptical that it is not going to be kind of broken when it launches.

01:08:57   Will Barron 5 And finally, Jeff asks,

01:09:00   "Do you think there is or could be a viable market for a second HomePod device? Different size,

01:09:07   different focus?" So my question is kind of in twofold to you, Jason. One, do you think there

01:09:13   could be and two, if there was in your mind, what does that look like?

01:09:16   Jason Anticare 6 Well, I've been meaning to write this for a while,

01:09:19   and I'm far from the first person to have this idea. But I think just as Sonos has done this,

01:09:24   I think Apple should make a soundbar. I think Apple should make a Siri enabled soundbar.

01:09:31   I'll go further and say, I think Apple should make a Siri enabled soundbar that's also an Apple TV.

01:09:35   And you plug it into your TV and it makes nice sound and gives you surround-ish sort of sound

01:09:41   and will also plug into your TV and let you have stuff on your TV menu and do all the things that

01:09:48   an Apple TV does. And it'll look good and it'll sound good. And it'll do Siri, whether the TV's

01:09:57   on or not, and play music that sounds good. That's the one that I keep thinking of, is an opportunity

01:10:04   for Apple to get people. Why attach an Apple TV to your TV? Well, if it's a soundbar that's also an

01:10:13   Apple TV, then you're getting good sound on your HDTV. Plus, you pick up all the Apple stuff. And

01:10:20   I feel like there's a product there that maybe would give people more reason to buy an Apple TV.

01:10:26   And with the HomePod tech, it could also be functional all the time. You can talk to it.

01:10:30   You don't need to even hold up the Siri remote and talk into it. You can just talk and the

01:10:35   speaker will hear you and control your TV or play music or do whatever. So that's kind of my pitch

01:10:41   for the HomePod. I mean, I think the HomePod should be cheaper.

01:10:44   Like, bottom line, I think the HomePod's not bad. I think the problem with the HomePod,

01:10:50   and I feel like as I look at my iPod Hi-Fi that's right here, I think it's the same story, which is

01:10:54   people say like, "Oh, well, the iPod Hi-Fi, that was a really bad product." It wasn't a bad product.

01:10:59   It was a misguided product that was overpriced and kind of oversold for what it was, but it's

01:11:04   a perfectly fine speaker. The HomePod is good, and two of them is kind of great, but the price

01:11:10   is just completely out of whack with the rest of the market. And so, borrowing a soundbar,

01:11:18   I would say, I just think that the HomePod should be cheaper and that they should sell it,

01:11:24   and they should really aggressively sell it in a bundle, make the bundle of two of them cheaper,

01:11:29   because everybody I know who's gotten two HomePods has said, "Oh, yeah, it's so much better now." Like,

01:11:36   in a stereo pair on different sides of a room, and it fills the room, and it goes from being

01:11:41   a curiosity to being the go-to music player in the house. But that's $350 times two. No,

01:11:48   it's too expensive. So, my feeling is the product's okay. They could hang a screen on it or

01:11:55   something, but at that point, it's basically like an iPad attached to a speaker. I'm not sure that's

01:12:01   great. So, my feeling is, yeah, price and soundbar. What about you?

01:12:07   - I had never thought of a soundbar. I think that's really cool. I would like that a lot.

01:12:14   My thinking was the same that you were, that they should just make the current one maybe a bit more

01:12:19   affordable before they worry about building a second one. But that soundbar idea of an

01:12:24   integrated Apple TV is a genuine product that could exist without them needing to touch the

01:12:30   current one. It's got enough new and cool about it. I like that, Jason. I would like that a lot.

01:12:36   I find it frustrating that I always have to remember to change my audio outputs to the HomePod

01:12:43   from my Apple TV because I have the two and we have them kind of in a position that it's nice.

01:12:47   They're around the television. We actually have them on either side of our sofa. So,

01:12:51   it's perfect for us for watching TV through the Apple TV. But it never seems to lock to it. I have

01:12:58   to keep remembering to change the audio output. And if it was a device like a soundbar, it's more

01:13:03   in tune to actually doing what it's supposed to do. And that's where the sound's going to naturally

01:13:08   come from if the Apple TV is built into it too. I would like that product a lot.

01:13:11   SoundPod. No, it's a terrible name. HomePod TV. There you go. We found it.

01:13:19   Thanks so much to Instaburg and FreshBooks and Luna Display for their support of this

01:13:23   week's episode. You can find Jason online at the incomparable.com and sixcolors.com.

01:13:28   He's also @jsnell on Twitter and Instagram. I am @imike. I-M-Y-K-E. You can find this show

01:13:35   and many other shows at really

01:13:38   and many other shows at really the FM/shows. There's tons of great content there for you.

01:13:41   To feast your ears on? That's not a phrase that exists.

01:13:47   Yeah. Sure. It's an ear feast.

01:13:49   If you'd like to send in questions for the show, #snelltalk for something fun to open with.

01:13:54   If you have any questions you'd like to hear us answer at the end of the show, #askupgrade,

01:13:59   where we can get into some good detail about those. Thank you so much for listening to episode

01:14:04   233 of Upgrade and we'll be back next week. Until then, say goodbye, Jason Snow.

01:14:09   Goodbye, everybody. Goodbye, Myke Hurley.

01:14:12   Well, goodbye, Jason Snow.

01:14:13   Bum, bum, bum. John didn't do any research. Mark going... No, sorry. Wrong show.

01:14:17   Wrong one. Wrong one.

01:14:19   Every podcast should end with Jonathan Mann playing the banjo.

01:14:24   [music]