232: De-emphasis on Trees


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:08   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode 232. Today's show is brought to you by ExpressVPN, Pingdom, and Holo.

00:00:17   My name is Myke Hurley, I'm joined by Mr. Jason Snell. Hello, Jason Snell.

00:00:21   Hello, Myke Hurley. Uh, 232, it's a palindrome. Yay.

00:00:25   Gary wants to know, for our #SnellTalk question this week,

00:00:29   Jason, what is a fandom or hobby that you never thought that you'd be into growing up that you are now a fan of?

00:00:38   Um, I like this question a lot. I've been thinking about it.

00:00:42   Um, I, my initial thought was, I was gonna say, um, role-playing games was like D&D.

00:00:48   Yep.

00:00:48   But the fact is that when I was a teenager, um, I don't know, I mean, maybe slightly preteen, like,

00:00:57   when I was like 11, 12, 13, I was obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons and I read the books and, uh,

00:01:06   I was, you know, the Monster Manual and the DM Guide and the Player's Handbook and all of that,

00:01:12   and I never played Dungeons & Dragons. Never. Never. Didn't have, I mean, I lived in a rural area,

00:01:16   there weren't enough kids who were interested to get a game together, there wasn't a knowledgeable person around,

00:01:22   and so it just never happened, 'cause it was hard to get to people's houses and things like that.

00:01:26   Um, but, and I play it now. But I was interested in it then, so even though I have only actually played D&D,

00:01:32   like, in the last five years, it was actually something I probably would have thought was something I would

00:01:37   eventually do, at least when I was 12. My answer is actually gonna be beer. That's my answer.

00:01:43   Is never particularly interested in drinking in alcohol of any kind, uh, as a teenager or even in my early 20s,

00:01:53   and it was only in my late 20s that I tasted a beer that was not disgusting, and that led me down a path

00:02:00   that, uh, means that now, yeah, I like to have different kinds of beer and, uh, and, um, like to go to microbreweries

00:02:06   when I'm in different towns and, and stuff like that. So I would say that one is probably the most surprising

00:02:12   to me, because that was not a thing that I was remotely interested in until I was in my late 20s.

00:02:19   That is interesting, yeah, 'cause I guess you are a microbrew fan, right? But I don't really ever know you to drink

00:02:25   any other alcohol. So it's like, yeah.

00:02:27   No, I mean, I don't, yeah, I don't drink, I don't drink, uh, hard alcohol at all. Um, I will drink, um, red wine,

00:02:35   it makes my tummy hurt, but it is good, um, and beer, and that's about my limit. I just, the hard stuff doesn't,

00:02:41   I have lots of friends who enjoy, uh, mixed drinks of various kinds and are very sophisticated with their interest

00:02:48   in mixed drinks, and it's just, or just straight up, uh, hard alcohol, and it's just not for me. It's not,

00:02:55   I don't like the taste of it, I don't like the smell of it, it's just, that, that is, I think, I think the truth is that

00:03:00   I never really liked the, the hard stuff, and the first time I tried beer, it was really bad, bitter, awful,

00:03:07   uh, American mainstream lousy beer, and that turned me off of the whole thing for a long time. So I didn't drink it all

00:03:13   until I had a very nice beer at 28 in, uh, Denver, Colorado, at the Breckenridge Brewery, the Breckenridge,

00:03:20   I remember the beer, it was the Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout, and I said, "Wait, they make chocolate beer?

00:03:25   I will try that," and, uh, the rest is history, friends.

00:03:29   If you would like to submit a question to open an episode of Upgrade, just send out a tweet with the hashtag #SnailTalk

00:03:35   just like Gary did. Thank you, Gary, great question. Jason, I wanted to know, because you sent me a picture,

00:03:41   that you have bought the Clearlook stand, which I decree is, I think, the best iPad stand available today,

00:03:48   of all the ones that I've tried. I bought it while we were talking about it two weeks ago.

00:03:52   So I wanted to know, uh, what do you think of it?

00:03:56   I like it. Uh, I actually used this as, uh, it was my pick on MacBreak Weekly last week, I was a guest on MacBreak Weekly.

00:04:02   Very cool. And my understanding is that it may have sold out briefly at that point, 'cause I think that a lot of people saw it.

00:04:09   I like it. Um, the thing I like about it the most is that it's tall. Like you said, it goes up way taller,

00:04:15   so if you are working in a standing position and an iPad with an external keyboard, you want to get that thing higher up

00:04:22   and in your field of vision for proper ergonomics. Um, and so I like that about it.

00:04:28   I, uh, I prefer the, like, the look of the clamps and stuff on the--look and feel--on the Viazon tablet--or, tablet case.

00:04:39   That one that I--was the first one that I was really using, 'cause I--this one, it's got kind of like these,

00:04:44   I don't know, silicone padded hinges with some, uh, you know, they're--I don't know.

00:04:51   They're--they're fine. They're not bad, and they work just fine. I just--I don't love how they look, uh, but I like that it's a lot taller.

00:05:00   And--and that's really good for the ergonomics. So, um, I'm using it and I've--I've kind of like stashed the others away,

00:05:06   and I think it's gonna be my primary stand from here on out. It's good.

00:05:09   Yeah, it's not attractive, but none of them are, and in my opinion, really, I think they all--they're all just a mix of silver, aluminium, or white plastic.

00:05:17   Right, like, it doesn't seem to all be that.

00:05:19   I like the Viazon one 'cause it looks--it makes it--'cause it's stealing the Apple industrial design of the iMac stand, the iMac foot.

00:05:26   Um, and I like that about it, but it's too short, like, the bottom line. And I know why it's too short, because with that stand design,

00:05:33   any higher up with a heavy iPad, and it'll topple over. This one's got a nice kind of weighted base, and then it goes, uh, you know, the pole goes straight up.

00:05:42   I have some concerns about, in the long run, whether, um, you know, if I use it for a long time, if it's gonna hold, or if that thing is gonna--'cause it's not like you kind of screw it into position.

00:05:52   No, it's like tension fit, isn't it?

00:05:54   Yeah, and I--I'm not sure I trust that in the long haul or not, but it's good. It's, um, I like it a lot, so I'm using it now.

00:06:01   Yeah, my thinking is, like, I kind of think the same, like, eventually that's gonna--it's gonna start to go down like a--like a cheap office chair, right?

00:06:08   But it's $35, so if I had to replace it every couple of years, I think I'd be fine with that, right? Like, that's kind of my feeling on it.

00:06:17   I mean, we're talking about a device that I replace every year anyway, so I would replace the stand if it was worth it.

00:06:23   But yeah, I really like this thing. I think it's my--it's definitely--definitely my favorite, so I'm pleased that you like it too.

00:06:28   And you're a taller person than I am too, so that if you're standing and working on it, it's even--it's even a bigger deal.

00:06:34   But I think even sitting, um, you can have this issue with these iPod stands where they're--or iPad stands where they're just too--too short.

00:06:42   iPod stands feel like a pointless endeavor.

00:06:45   Oh, you could probably fit an iPod in there. That'd be great.

00:06:47   You probably could. You probably could.

00:06:49   iPod Touch? Mmm, that's good times. Good computing.

00:06:52   Oh, so I also want to mention some follow-up, if that's okay with you.

00:06:55   Of course.

00:06:56   The Spotify and they bought, you know, some of the podcasting--the podcasting industry last week.

00:07:05   They bought both--in case you don't know, in case people don't know, they bought both Gimlet Media and previous Real AFM advertiser, Anchor, who are like a podcast production/hosting tools company.

00:07:17   Indeed. And they have suggested in the press that they're not done. That there is more acquisition.

00:07:23   Yeah, it's probably about half of the money that they have to spend, but not necessarily half of the companies.

00:07:28   Yeah, that they're going to spend $500 million in total on podcast acquisitions, and this is about half of that.

00:07:37   So, big story. I can also understand why you and Steven might be pondering your feelings about this or reluctant to speak in public about it because you are owners of a podcast network.

00:07:50   And, you know, it could be awkward if you get quoted or misquoted.

00:07:55   I don't want to speak about it extemporaneously. And we also have had a business relationship with one of the companies that's involved.

00:08:02   So, you know, I am--I would say I'm intrigued. I am a healthy dose of nervous and interested, I think, is probably my top level feeling on it.

00:08:14   Because you never know how these things are going to go. It could be really interesting. It might not be. You know, one thing that I do want to just put into perspective, I know that you've spoken about this in a couple of places as well.

00:08:24   Yes.

00:08:25   And you can talk about those. But like a lot of people are saying, right, like Spotify is the second biggest player right now.

00:08:31   But from all statistics that seem to be available from large datasets, whilst they are number two, they are number two by a very, very, very, very big margin.

00:08:41   Like Apple is significantly ahead of everybody. You know, Glibsyn, who we use as a host, they predict--their statistics say that Apple has 60% of the market and Spotify has 6% of the market.

00:08:52   I reckon Spotify's pie is probably a little bit bigger than that. But one thing that's interesting about Spotify, and I know this even from our own tests for Spotify, because really, if M-shows are available on Spotify, you can get them if you want them that way.

00:09:07   The audience, the type of person that listens on Spotify is significantly different. So our shows that are popular on Spotify are not necessarily our most popular shows elsewhere.

00:09:19   But it's very interesting. It's very different. So I think they are adding to the market as opposed to capturing the market.

00:09:25   That's my gut feeling is that what is good about Spotify--and I'm not talking about these acquisitions, I'm just talking in general--good about Spotify embracing podcasting. There are a lot of good business reasons, by the way, for it.

00:09:37   Ben Thompson wrote a good piece last week, I think his free piece was about this, about how if you think about it, music, every music play, Spotify has to pay somebody because that's how music licensing works.

00:09:51   And basically all music is everywhere, which means they can't do exclusives. That's not how music streaming works.

00:09:57   Podcasts, first off, you pay to make them if they're custom, and you don't pay anything if they're just open podcasts.

00:10:04   Every minute that a Spotify user spends playing a podcast is a minute that Spotify is not paying music royalties. So it's better per minute per user than music for them.

00:10:15   And it allows them to do exclusives. Like, Gimlet is going to make Spotify exclusives. There will presumably be a bunch of Spotify exclusive content.

00:10:24   And other--they're by far not the first to do exclusive content. Everybody's done that. But it gives them some leverage to spend some money to make exclusive content to drive people into Spotify as a Spotify user.

00:10:37   And the fact is, you know, music basically is not--they're not playing that game. You don't have a fractured music market that's like the video streaming market where certain artists are only on certain services.

00:10:48   Because in the music business, they want to be everywhere, largely. Maybe there's some little exclusives, but it's nothing big. And podcasting, they can do that.

00:10:55   So a lot of good business reasons, but I think ultimately, by being motivated however they are by business reasons, it's good for podcasting, I think, in general, because I think they're going to be evangelizing podcasting to people who don't listen to podcasts but are comfortable with Spotify.

00:11:10   And Spotify is a very successful company that has a lot of people who use their product, and Spotify is going to really be pushing podcasting on those people.

00:11:20   And the result is going to be new podcast listeners. And I think that's good, and they won't just be listening to Spotify's podcast. They will probably be listening to other podcasts and growing the size of the podcasting market, and I think that's good.

00:11:33   We talked about this, since Myke is not a dear listener, super comfortable about talking about this right now, except brainously, I will say, I talked to Natalie Jarvey on Download last week.

00:11:46   We were tinkering with the format over there. It was a really good episode.

00:11:50   Yeah, if you haven't listened to Download before, now would be a really good time to jump in, because Steven and Jason are doing some really interesting stuff.

00:11:58   Yeah, and that was a good episode where we actually had two separate guests. We're bringing on guests now to talk about areas of specific interest for them.

00:12:06   And Natalie Jarvey is the digital reporter at The Hollywood Reporter, which means she's covering the upstream segment here, basically, is her beat.

00:12:16   And she was really interested in the Spotify news, and we talked to her about that.

00:12:22   And then, of course, Marco Arment, you know, he writes a podcast app. He was an investor in Gimlet, so he has things to say.

00:12:31   He has things to say, so ATP episode 312 last week also has a segment, an Ask ATP segment, #AskATP segment. I wonder where they got that idea about the Spotify position.

00:12:45   That's right, it was such a good idea. So people could check that out, too.

00:12:50   I jumped immediately to that chapter of ATP.

00:12:54   Yep, me too.

00:12:55   One last thing I will say, as with a lot of stuff, people tend to just jump to a Armageddon doom and gloom scenario when big shifts in any industry happen.

00:13:08   I've been in the podcasting industry for nearly 10 years. I've been a professional in it for five years.

00:13:15   And over that period of time, I have lost count of the amount of Armageddon scenarios that podcasting has been through.

00:13:23   And by and large, nothing bad has happened, ultimately. The industry is growing.

00:13:32   For example, it was Armageddon two years ago when Apple introduced their statistics, the analytics that they added.

00:13:42   Because everyone was sure that nobody was listening to the ads, but that just wasn't the case.

00:13:47   It fit with about as many people as we naturally expected would listen. You'd be surprised at how few people actually do skip ads.

00:13:55   We keep going through this stuff, and the industry comes out of it, and it's mostly based on the open standard that underpins everything, I think.

00:14:04   And also the people like us.

00:14:07   And fundamentally, a big player is willing to spend half a billion dollars to invest in podcasting. I think that is going to ultimately be good.

00:14:13   I could get into this for days, but I'm not going to.

00:14:17   But we're not going to.

00:14:19   Of course, also, as well, I don't think it's that interesting to most people. For me to start talking to you about the inner workings of advertising agencies, I just don't really think anybody's that interested.

00:14:28   Should we go through some upstream headlines?

00:14:31   It's a natural segue. Sure, let's do it.

00:14:33   Apple has bought its first movie at Sundance. It's called Hala, and it's a coming of age movie that follows a 17-year-old girl who's raised in a conservative Muslim household in the US.

00:14:45   It follows her story as she develops feelings for a classmate and how this fights against her upbringing.

00:14:51   And this movie is executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith.

00:14:55   Pinkett Smith is, I think, the biggest name attached to this project.

00:15:00   And this is Apple's first Sundance pickup, which basically means movie was taken to Sundance, which is the independent, if not the biggest indie movie showcase.

00:15:11   And big companies can come in and buy the distribution rights to these projects.

00:15:17   Netflix have done it before. Amazon have done it before. This is Apple's first time.

00:15:22   This is Apple signaling that it is playing. And they already made their movie deals with some other players, but this is their signaling that they're going to be a player in buying movies.

00:15:31   And I think it's more newsworthy, really, as Apple bought a movie at Sundance than the specifics of this particular movie.

00:15:38   It is a sign of part of what Apple's doing here, because the streaming service that Apple's doing is going to have movies on it, not just TV series.

00:15:47   Former Netflix executive Terry Wood has been hired by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions to head up their content for Apple.

00:15:56   At Netflix, Terry Wood was part of the team that worked on Jerry Seinfeld's Comedian in Cars Getting Coffee, Chelsea Handel's Chelsea, and David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.

00:16:07   So she has a good set of content, kind of to her name.

00:16:11   And apparently, as well, she worked for Harpo in the 90s or something, and then left, has gone around, has come right back again.

00:16:18   So she's going to be working on the content for Apple. I was surprised to see this, because I would have assumed it was in the working already.

00:16:24   So we'll see what that means. I don't know what that means.

00:16:28   Yeah, I don't know. This is the only thing that Apple has specifically announced that they're doing.

00:16:33   Terry Wood's history is also like she helped Dr. Phil get to air. What it sounds like, considering who she is, her history, this feels like a talk show coming to Apple's streaming service.

00:16:45   Because the three big things that she worked on at Netflix were talk shows, and she has a history of talk shows for Oprah as well.

00:16:53   So I assume this is some kind of talk show, which is super interesting to me to think that Apple's going to do stuff like that too.

00:16:59   But if you're going to, Oprah's definitely the person to work with. Captain Marvel will be the first Marvel film to only be streamed on Disney+.

00:17:09   That's what the distribution will be for this movie. So we knew from before that if you wanted to watch these things in 4K HDR digitally, it was going to be Disney+.

00:17:17   And we had assumed that Disney would stop doing deals with Netflix and stuff like that. Well, yes, that's going to happen.

00:17:23   I think their Netflix deal lapsed and the current stuff that's rolling out is it. That's it.

00:17:30   And the line is drawn with the release of Captain Marvel. Disney currently makes $140 million a year in licensing of these types of movies.

00:17:39   They have told their investors that they can expect to see this stop as they're winding down those deals to plump up the subscription service.

00:17:48   This is during Disney's earnings call that they gave this information along with saying, Bob Iger noted, during the earnings call that every major brand that Disney owns will be creating content for the service, including Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm.

00:18:01   And of course, we can expect the same for 20th Century Fox as well to be producing this type of content for Disney+.

00:18:09   It's what we expected, but they're saying it.

00:18:13   And I have another interesting data point, which is news that actually just broke right before we started recording today, which is Variety reporting that Marvel is producing four animated TV series using Marvel properties aimed at adults.

00:18:33   So these are not kid shows. These are aimed at adults, including Howard the Duck and Tigra and Dazzler, who are two female superheroes from the sort of second list.

00:18:48   I love the Dazzler. I think Tigra is Andy and Iko's favorite superhero.

00:18:52   And some other MODOK series, basically these four series that are intended for adults for Hulu. And that is to me the most interesting part of this because we've been talking about how Disney is really interested in loading content into Disney+.

00:19:12   This is an example of Marvel, which is part of Disney, building some content for Hulu, which Disney owns when the Fox deal closes. Disney owns the majority of Hulu.

00:19:23   They don't own all of it. NBC Universe owns some of it. And there's another little bit outstanding.

00:19:28   They will. It's just a matter of time.

00:19:30   They probably will. But this is the hint of a future content strategy for Disney because we've talked for a while about the challenges of some of the edgier content produced, especially by Fox, being available on Disney+, which is a Disney-branded service, which means it's got sort of an implication that it's not going to go above a certain audience-appropriate level.

00:19:54   It's not going to be. You're not going to have hard, you know, MA kind of content on there. So where does that go?

00:20:00   And the assumption has been that it will probably just go on Hulu since that's a place that already has a lot of that content.

00:20:07   There's already Marvel content on Hulu. And that's what makes it different from Netflix, where the Netflix-Marvel relationship seems to have been severed because of the other stuff Disney's doing.

00:20:17   Here we have an example of new products in development for Hulu. So I think it does signal that Disney is going to be channeling a lot of their stuff onto Hulu as well as Disney+.

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00:22:53   So, Jason, last week we spoke about the Mark Gurman report of Bloomberg detailing iOS 13.

00:23:03   And one of the things that was mentioned in that report, which was written by Mark Gurman and Debbie Wu, was the idea of the iPad getting a home screen refresh.

00:23:16   So we were kind of I think that the time and I still I think we both struggle to really think like what is this going to look like in its entirety?

00:23:24   But I know you've been spending some time thinking about it in a bit more detail.

00:23:27   And you wrote an article over at Macworld and I wanted to go through the things that you discussed because I think we could maybe try and unpack them a little bit more.

00:23:36   Yeah, this is one of those. I mean, taking one little fragment out of this story where everybody is like, oh, iPhones for the future, iPhones in 2020.

00:23:43   And I'm like, I've had home screen.

00:23:46   That's the most interesting thing to me is I was like, ah, I would love a new home screen on my iPad.

00:23:51   Like I would like it to do more. And so, yeah, that's that's that's what we've got here.

00:23:56   So if you look at the I mean, what we've had.

00:24:00   It's been around for like eight, nine years at this point, nine years, I think it just the iPad just saw its birthday.

00:24:05   And in that entire time, the home screen has been exactly the same.

00:24:09   Just a very, very stretched out version of the iPhone. Right. You can get more app icons on it.

00:24:15   They rotate in a weird way and it's just more space in between.

00:24:20   It really has always felt it's always felt kind of strange.

00:24:25   I honestly think that the people people used to say back in the day, it's just like a big iPhone.

00:24:31   It was purely because of the way the home screen looked. I think it's like, oh, well, it looks like just a stretched out iPhone.

00:24:37   It's very strange. And it feels like wasted space. And we and a lot of us were like, oh, well, surely that's temporary.

00:24:42   Surely they will figure out a new approach to that. And then, you know, nine years pass.

00:24:46   And you may think to yourself, hang on, didn't wasn't we talking about this last year?

00:24:50   Maybe because the rumour was this was going to happen last year, kind of around this time of the year.

00:24:55   I think that that was when the rumour was iOS 12 was going to see a refresh home screen for the iPad.

00:25:01   And as well as some other iPad Pro features. And then there was the whole secondary news story that broke.

00:25:08   Apple was putting everything on hold to focus on performance and stability, which pushed off a lot of the iPad functions to this year.

00:25:15   So I'm hoping that not only do we see them, that they're really good because they've had more time to work on them than they expected.

00:25:23   I think that's fair, right? I can just say that. We'll see. We'll see how that ends up going.

00:25:28   But you've you've touched on a few things and the icons is one of them.

00:25:32   So what you've referred to as higher density for your interface on the on the apps of the apps.

00:25:38   What do you mean by that? Yeah, well, so how do you quantify it?

00:25:42   I think when I look at the home screen, the first thing I think of is it's it's spaced out.

00:25:48   It's it is the iPhone screen just kind of stretched out and it's a low density interface.

00:25:54   There's not a lot there. You just got a grid of icons.

00:25:57   And I feel like any redesign of the iPad home screen needs to have at least the ability to put more information on it in general.

00:26:04   Now, you know, my gut feeling is that the right way to do this is to provide a widget somewhere that provides a list of all the apps in alphabetical order, kind of like you can do on the Apple Watch or on Android, quite frankly.

00:26:18   And then the home screen is a place where you put apps that you care about.

00:26:22   And right now, every app you install has to be somewhere on the home screen.

00:26:27   So we added folders at some point.

00:26:29   Yes, you could have the icons be closer together, but I feel like there needs to be something probably more conceptual here.

00:26:34   I like the idea of divorcing your list of installed apps from where you what you put on your screen and, you know, ideally where you put them that you would be able to maybe free form it a little bit more than is currently available where you're going, you know, from top top left to bottom right in rows.

00:26:51   Yeah, it stops to stop snapping to a grid like let me put them wherever I want.

00:26:55   Yeah, or maybe it's a grid, but it's a it's a pretty tight grid and you can put it anywhere on the grid instead of just in that, you know, scrolling like a piece of text in a like a typewriter, you know, basically is what what it is right now.

00:27:09   And that's that's not great.

00:27:11   So I like the idea of having the ability to get to a master list, whether that's via sort of like the spotlight window or whether there's a button, you know, some sort of icon.

00:27:20   You could put it on the dock.

00:27:21   All the apps.

00:27:22   That's where you can put it on the dock.

00:27:23   There's a lot lots of places you could put it, but I don't think it needs to be I don't think every app needs to be on the home screen.

00:27:31   One thing that I would like to have here.

00:27:33   I mean, I don't really know what multitasking is going to look like, but the ability to have app pairs tied together in a little button I can press.

00:27:41   This is something that we spoke about all the way back with iOS 11, right?

00:27:46   Wouldn't it be nice if we could just press a button and I could have Google Docs and Google Sheets just open up next to each other?

00:27:52   Yeah, I imagine the ability to save a view of apps or depending on how they do it.

00:27:58   I mean, if it's a tab interface, which is one of the rumors, like basically say save this workspace as a as an icon.

00:28:05   Like I just imagined like I would have a little upgrade icon on my iPad and I would tap it and it would open like the the exact Google Notes document that I want.

00:28:16   The exact Google Sheet that I want and my Apple Notes.

00:28:19   Like they're all there because they've got all the tabs because I can save them all out individually, right?

00:28:24   Because they're all these that's how you end up with multiple instances of applications because they're broken down to these tabs because tabs are instances that kind of thing.

00:28:31   I would love oh my gosh.

00:28:33   I mean, there's this is not easy stuff.

00:28:36   This is we're spitballing about this, but this is the sort of thing where, you know, if you're a an interface designer at Apple, you've been sweating this probably for years now about how to get this right.

00:28:46   But it is something that that I think leads to examples like what you said which is and Microsoft has been experimenting with some of the stuff in Windows.

00:28:54   It's the idea that you can mix and match different apps in in a tab group or in a even a side-by-side kind of interface group.

00:29:03   And then if you have the ability to save that as a as a setting so that you can launch into that view whenever you want.

00:29:11   That's that's really interesting, right?

00:29:13   So that's definitely got me close to the type of thing that I want right where I can I have a shortcut that I can tap and it asks me what show I'm doing and it will set a timer for when I'm preparing for the show and then it opens the Google Doc that I want.

00:29:27   What I really want to do is tell shortcuts to open two apps at once and then I would be set right.

00:29:33   So like then again like imagining all of that tying in together and then just adding that shortcut to the home screen would be perfect because then I could like put music on if I wanted, you know, like to like to have in the background and I could set all my toggle timers and all that kind of stuff like that's what I really want.

00:29:52   And I feel like we're getting I do feel like we're getting closer to that world.

00:29:56   And whilst I have been struggling to conceive of what a tabbed interface means I think like that that wording is just it's very misleading.

00:30:07   And I think it does make a lot more sense to me if you if you assume that if you just replace the word instance with tab, I think it starts to make a lot more sense to me that like you end up with just everything is treated as a more like a document than it is an application, right?

00:30:25   So like you end up treating the Google Drive document like a Google Drive document as opposed to something that only lives inside of the siloed version of the Google Docs app, which could then for all we know, I'm just talking now I can't stop it.

00:30:39   That could be what the the improvements to file management could also mean right that like yes, like Google Drive, if you downloaded the Google Drive app on your Mac, it treats everything as if it's a document, but they're actually just the Google Drive web pages, right?

00:30:55   They're not actually documents, but they look like they are.

00:30:59   So, you know that there is precedent for something like this. I would love to see that like that would be perfect for me like well, there's you already have file manager plugins.

00:31:11   You could have it be that apps could present their documents as to the system as documents.

00:31:17   I'm hesitant to what I'm not trying to say here is I want to I want the Finder right because I don't want to find her.

00:31:25   No, I want and this is what you and I when we went back and forth about the idea of Windows on iOS and you're like, I don't want Windows.

00:31:33   I want something that lets me work with different documents at once, but that it doesn't have to be Windows.

00:31:38   In fact, the Windows is a very Windows is a very you know, 80s metaphor that we're still living with and that what would be the modern take on that?

00:31:45   You know, it's tiled interface or something like that.

00:31:47   This is like that which is I want the Finder but and I don't want to break the app centric nature of iOS completely because it is I think important that iOS is app centric that iOS is home is a list of apps.

00:32:02   Whereas the Mac OS is home is a list of files.

00:32:04   I think one of the things that makes iOS more comfortable for a lot of users is that they're not opening Windows and managing files.

00:32:12   There's a files app now, but it's a separate app and it's not the core part of the experience that said I feel like a redesigned home screen probably should take files and file systems into account to a certain degree.

00:32:28   You know, maybe it's just integrations that lead you ultimately to the files app or maybe the files app becomes less relevant because you can put your Dropbox.

00:32:40   You know, and you yeah, you would Dropbox app there now, but the idea of putting like your Dropbox or your shared folder or your iCloud and being able to get into it and manipulate it and and have it be all sort of happening where you're putting shortcuts to things or putting the files themselves if that's the metaphor, but having views into into your files as well as into your apps in this screen and I'm being very vague here because I'm not trying to say this is how they should do it.

00:33:07   I just I just get this feeling that if you've got the file access needs to be better and Mark Gurman does say they're working on a bunch of file improvements as well.

00:33:16   And I just feel like these have to work together and you know that if I am document centric in some way if I do have a document or a folder of documents that I live in having that be part of the home screen experience is probably a good idea in some way and beyond that.

00:33:35   I can't say but it just it struck me that files could be files were not part of the conception of the original springboard right and if we're revisiting it for today and for iOS and especially for the iPad Pro that I think you need to take into account the fact that files are part of iOS now.

00:33:55   Yeah, I agree with you. Like I don't think that the idea here is that you completely fundamentally change what iOS is about like to make it like the Mac which is more file based and app based right like just kind of like fundamentally with the way that user behavior has been trained.

00:34:11   But I think that if you are trying to position the iPad Pro especially as you say as a professional piece of equipment the ability to make that choice is important right that if you are a file first thinking person working across multiple applications that you should be able to have a little bit more of that flexibility which 100% started with files.

00:34:36   Right. Like it 100% started there and my hope now is that files and everything that Apple has done to kind of make people think more in the files way like you know how you open some applications and you're actually just taken to files now as like the way that they launch right like that is becoming more and more of a thing which Apple is encouraging.

00:34:57   Yeah, every time I watch Numbers on iOS and it just basically says okay here's your iCloud drive like it is literally the files interface inside Numbers because they know that you want to open a file so you know the jig is up there.

00:35:09   And also like that recent documents thing which never really took off because it's a super awkward gesture to like where you kind of have to like long tap but not too long to bring up that little pop up on the app icon.

00:35:20   My hope would be stuff like that was like laying the seeds for a more file based version or more file based option for iOS which I think would be would be really cool.

00:35:32   Yeah, and I want to reiterate that what I'm not saying is that I want Apple to go down a route where everything has to be dense and there have to be files. I want there to I would like it so that if you are just using your iPad you bought the low end iPad and you just want a couple of apps and to watch you know videos and stuff that it should be easy to make it simple and low density and not do all the rest of this stuff.

00:36:01   That's the flip side of this is that if you have the ability to load the information onto the screens or the screen depending that you should also be able to unload it and probably that's the default is something more simple and then people who want more complexity can add it.

00:36:16   But right now we can't add it so it's like how it's part of my hope. I feel like many people I've heard complain that like I the iPads multitasking is too complicated for like someone to just stumble upon but I actually think that this is a can be a good thing because if you just want to use your iPad like an iPad like you open the Netflix app or you open the Safari and that's it.

00:36:41   Then none of that multitasking stuff gets in your way. And I actually think it's kind of amazing how they built this complex like featured multitasking system which is you know compared to the original iPad idea does a ton of stuff.

00:37:00   But if you don't want it, it never bothers you. You can just keep using your iPad like the consumption device that they used to be right and I find that kind of amazing and I hope that they're able to continue pushing the idea forward so that you because you know if they're going to keep putting the same version of iOS on the entire iPad line, especially with the rumors of more like the iPad mini comeback again or whatever.

00:37:29   That you've got to be able to kind of run these two things in parallel for the pro user and the regular user that can the more just like consumption user.

00:37:39   That'd be interesting today view widgets is another one. This seems like the easy one right? It's a no brainer right? Yeah, because it's like you've already got them. They already exist. So, you know, this is they've been put into other places of iOS already.

00:37:51   They're incredibly capable. Yeah, and right like people who haven't tried some of the modern today view widgets like they're interactive.

00:38:02   They're you know, you can James Thompson's got like you can calculate in pcalc in the widget. If you do shortcuts, you can put like questions in there.

00:38:12   Like when I post a podcast on six colors that I'm on like like this episode of upgrade. I actually often do that from my phone. I literally swipe to the today view with shortcuts and I run the shortcut from there and that's it.

00:38:25   That's all I do and it does it all in the in in the widget and ask me which podcast and I tap and it goes great and then it goes in. It does it really powerful, but they're in this separate view that's walled off.

00:38:40   You have to swipe from the first page of the screen or you have to go up to notification center and swipe over. It is not where your other stuff is and I think that makes it out of sight and out of mind and I think the best place for these widgets that are now so powerful would be to let you put them on the home screen proper so that I want I want one place.

00:39:00   I want my home screen to be a home screen not an app launcher. I want to be where the most important stuff on my device lives and I want to be able to see it all at a glance and know. Yeah, and this can be overstated because people have been talking about like Android has the ability to drop widgets on the home screen and having used Android a little bit that gets overhyped because they're big.

00:39:21   They take up a lot of space on the home screen. A lot of them don't impart very much information. You might end up with one or two or maybe one on a page and one on another page. I've had more screen real estate. So it's more relevant there. But like I don't want to overhype it, but there is something to be said for being able to say this widget is really useful.

00:39:39   It's part of my universe. This file this widget and these apps and I want them all in one place not in separate places because it's you know, it's less brainpower required if I can see it all at once instead of having to sort of chase it around and I don't like that idea to that when I'm in the widget view.

00:39:59   I can't see anything else. I'm out of my apps and I'm out of my home screen. I don't like that either. And also that part of the UI on the iPad is not good. It's like just that single column right in the middle. It really does feel at this point that it's like it's not supposed to be there and everybody knows it, but they just have yet to integrate into the home screen.

00:40:20   This is one of those things where we're going to look back and be like aha now, you know, they they invested all of this effort in making these widgets great and now they're bringing them out and putting them front and center and I hope that's the case.

00:40:31   It's like I use a lot of these widgets every day. Like I use shortcuts. I use widgets for my time tracking. I use widgets my calendar and todoist and for time zones. I use those like these five widgets multiple times a day every single day. I would prefer them to just be on the home screen like they're just there.

00:40:51   It's always it's so I just was one tap away as opposed to two and then I have to kind of wait for it to load a little bit like I would just like them to all be integrated because this is stuff that I'm using all the time and I would like to just have better access to it.

00:41:06   Integrated more with the operating system than it currently is. I think it would be awesome. I would love it. I think it would be really great and I feel like it would boost the usefulness of them in general because it would give a new new lease of life to these widgets even though as you said they're being advanced and are getting better and better over time.

00:41:25   And part of this came I think from there was a version of iOS I don't remember which one which added them on the iPhone to 3D touch like if you 3D touch an icon and it has that app has a widget it loads there.

00:41:38   So just as I can have a way to show you that information I think that that helped even further to push the development of them but it could be more.

00:41:47   And the last thing that I wanted to touch on that you mentioned in your article was basically a menu bar but for the iPad.

00:41:57   The idea there is that the status bar is very small. It's that simple. The status bar is designed for the iPhone which has a small screen and it's just that little bit of information up there. And the iPad's got a bigger screen right like on a 13 inch or 11 inch or 12 inch MacBook you have the whole menu bar.

00:42:18   Whereas the iPad has this little tiny sliver and I keep thinking you could put more up there whether it's a menu bar or whether it's a status bar that's a little bit heftier it's got more bigger icons that are easier to tap.

00:42:32   Maybe you know maybe you're pulling down notification center or control center from that from the status bar rather than sort of from the invisible space above the status bar and you can see status at a glance or maybe tap on different icons.

00:42:46   I don't know again the details of this it was just a thought that occurred to me. I am not an interface designer. The thought occurred to me that there's no reason for the status bar to be so limited and and small other than the compatibility with the iPhone.

00:43:05   And if they're building a new home screen design for iPad that's one of those assumptions that they can throw away.

00:43:14   Most definitely. I would love to see the ability to be able to just again can't help myself but put a shortcut up there. Let's put shortcuts everywhere. You know like you just add a couple in. It'd be lovely wouldn't it.

00:43:27   You just tap them from wherever you are in the system. Doesn't do. Oh man. I just wanted shortcuts all over the place just like can't even move for tripping over them.

00:43:37   So the iPad please give us give us some just give us some. That's all we ask for. I'm not greedy right. Don't want everything to some of this stuff would be really lovely.

00:43:48   We're only a few months away I think from finding out right. Just a few months away. Yeah can't wait. Should we take a break Jason. Yes good idea.

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00:45:11   So last week last Tuesday it was announced that Angela Ahrendts is leaving Apple in April and Deidre O'Brien will be taking her place. Deidre will now be adding retail to her existing role as SVP of People.

00:45:26   I wanted to know what you think about this Jason especially now that we've had about about a week to kind of think about it and to hear opinions and to hear reactions.

00:45:36   The reaction I think overall was surprising to me. I think people seem to be more down on Angela Ahrendts than I was expecting. Like I feel like there wasn't a lot of like particular displeasure in her until it was announced that she was leaving Apple and then everyone was talking about all of the things that they don't like.

00:45:57   So I wonder what your thoughts were because I don't really well in public space I know that listeners of the secret podcast may have gotten a bit of this but I haven't seen you talk about it too much yet.

00:46:10   Yeah I think the problem here is that it is I mean last week on connected Federico put it perfectly which is it's a Rorschach test.

00:46:20   It is it says as much and I am writing a piece about this but I just it has been hard to kind of put it all together.

00:46:27   But I think that Federico is right people put their own experiences with the Apple retail store positively or negative and their feelings about Apple in general and they put it all together and they kind of use it as to judge Angela Ahrendts.

00:46:47   And you know people are funny like that. It's just like anything you know an airline wrongs you and you're like I'm never flying them again.

00:46:59   Yeah they're the worst airline.

00:47:00   The other airlines are also bad or a hard drive dies and you're like I'm never buying a Western Digital hard drive again.

00:47:05   It's like well all of the hard drives fail. Somebody else is doing the same thing about Seagate.

00:47:10   That's just people are funny that way and if you have a bad experience in an Apple store and then the head of Apple stores leaves you're like aha take that victory for us you have been defeated.

00:47:21   But I think the reality is just super complex.

00:47:26   First off I think last year was almost a lost year in Apple retail for the sole reason of the battery upgrade thing.

00:47:33   The battery replacement thing all of the people I've talked to who worked in Apple retail have said it was a nightmare because they weren't staffed to handle the enormous flood of battery replacements that were going on.

00:47:46   And from a customer perspective it was really frustrating because they were standing around the Apple store forever or told to come back in order to get their iPhone battery replaced.

00:47:54   So it was bad on all counts and I think that's not a simple story because I think it's a corporate Apple making a PR decision that ended up having this huge ripple into retail and then retail was responsible for making it work.

00:48:10   And short of inventing a new way or more machines or whatever or hiring more staff to do battery replacements.

00:48:19   But that's a hard one and so service suffered and people's happiness with getting that battery replacement were tampered with long lines or long waits or frustration where they'd go in and they'd have to leave or come back later or something like that.

00:48:35   So I think it was a tough year on that front.

00:48:38   I think Angela Arendt suffers from being perceived as being an outsider because she comes from fashion and not from technology and I think that that hurts her.

00:48:49   I don't think I haven't sensed a lot of sexism in the criticism of her.

00:48:54   I feel more like I'm getting the vibe of people who care about tech and now that she's leaving they feel comfortable saying she was never one of us after all.

00:49:03   I think I'm getting that vibe more.

00:49:05   You've nailed it. I couldn't work out what it was because it didn't feel like I don't know.

00:49:11   Me and you are not necessarily the right person to 100% judge this.

00:49:16   But it didn't necessarily feel like people were attacking her because she was a woman.

00:49:22   No, no. I haven't seen that.

00:49:25   In the first place. And if anything, at least in our part of the community, was really strongly welcomed because she was a woman on the Apple executive team.

00:49:37   That was a great thing to see.

00:49:39   But it does feel more like, and I'm really pleased that you vocalized this because I haven't been able to get my head around it, but it feels more like, "Oh, you're a fashion. You're not tech."

00:49:51   You weren't really one of us. You didn't really get Apple. And I think the truth is that she was hired specifically because of who she was by Tim Cook.

00:49:58   And who also hired the guy from Browett from the bad UK tech chain.

00:50:07   And that was a bad cultural fit. It was Tim Cook's first big hire and it was a bad one and they had to cut that guy out and get rid of him.

00:50:15   And then they brought in Angela hired, who was a CEO. So they bring in her to do this. She was a CEO at Burberry, but running Apple retail.

00:50:24   And I've had people say, "Well, yeah, but Apple is huge." And they paid her a lot of money.

00:50:28   I said, "Well, yeah, but she's also not the CEO anymore." And that is a big step to not, career-wise too, to go to a bigger place but to take a lesser role.

00:50:35   Once you've been the boss.

00:50:37   It's hard to go back, but she did it. And I believe firmly that she did. This is my simple line here, my TLDR about Angela Ahrendts' tenure, which is I think she did exactly what she was hired to do.

00:50:49   I think, now we can debate what she was hired to do, but I don't think she came in and said, "Okay, well now that I'm here, this is what I'm going to do."

00:50:57   I think that the conversation that she had with Tim Cook was very much, "Use your fashion industry knowledge. We need a refresh here. We've got a demoralized retail chain that had this bad hire in charge of it.

00:51:10   We are expanding. We need to rethink our flagship stores. The Apple Watch is coming and it's going to have a fashion element," which kind of went away.

00:51:20   I think there's an aspect of that. I think ultimately, she did what they wanted. She turned over the Today at Apple program. They have a whole new curriculum.

00:51:29   That doesn't get widely talked about, but they basically have a whole new curriculum of classes across all the Apple retail stores.

00:51:35   There's a question about why Apple is putting so much effort into classes at Apple retail instead of selling products and doing support.

00:51:45   That is a philosophical thing that clearly Angela Ahrendts and other people at Apple feel like that's part of the retail experience at Apple.

00:51:55   She said, "We're a town square," and everybody made fun of her. But the idea that it is a third place, it is not home or work, but it is another place you go like a Starbucks or a library or something.

00:52:06   You go to the Apple store and you hang out and you learn things. That may be fantasy, but that definitely seems to be a fantasy that Apple has had.

00:52:14   It feels like a very Tim Cook's Apple thing, not just an Angela thing. Tim has put a lot of time into general curriculum, which is put into schools.

00:52:24   This kind of technology education, even within Apple, Apple University is a thing.

00:52:33   Apple wants to be seen as more than just a seller of tech products. I think it's important to the people at Apple. It's kind of an ego trip on one level where we don't want to just be seen as a purveyor of software and hardware.

00:52:53   We want to be seen as something greater.

00:52:55   Like a force for good, right?

00:52:57   Yeah, it's part of their brand image. Again, you can judge that accordingly, but I do think it's a thing that they feel about it.

00:53:05   Her leaving, nobody except the people involved know for sure. My gut feeling is that she was doing what she was brought in to do.

00:53:15   And that sometime in the last few years, what Apple and Tim Cook want out of retail and maybe want out of the larger corporate strategy is not what she was brought in to do.

00:53:31   And I think it's a perfectly reasonable place to land. It may not be true, we don't know.

00:53:36   A perfectly reasonable place to land is that Apple's been recalibrating its strategy. The iPhone sales flattening is probably part of it.

00:53:45   Realizing that fashion is not really the primary goal of the Apple Watch might be part of it because that was a skill that she had and is not being able to put to use as much.

00:53:56   And then they end up in a point where she's been there five years, presumably she's got a lot of stock that's vested.

00:54:03   They feel like they want to take the stores in a new direction. It's not really the direction she was brought in to do and it's not a direction she's maybe thrilled about.

00:54:12   And both sides are like, this is a good stepping off point. She's also mentioned her kids live in London.

00:54:18   They're a little bit older, but she misses them and she had to move back to the US and be in California, which is, as you know, far away from London.

00:54:28   So I think it's a complex story with some complex reasons that it's happening, but I do believe that Apple is doing some rethinking about retail.

00:54:38   I have definitely heard that maximizing iPhone sales is on the agenda for Apple retail now in a way it wasn't before.

00:54:49   And that's not surprising, right? Because of the shortfall that they had last quarter.

00:54:53   So I would not be surprised if what we see over the next couple of years in Apple retail is a re-emphasis on sales and support and maybe a little de-emphasis on trees and classes and things like that.

00:55:11   But I don't know. That's just a guess.

00:55:14   So who is Deidre O'Brien? I feel like I didn't really know a lot about Deidre O'Brien, but I saw a tweet from Ryan Jones, came by my radar a couple of days ago that kind of gives a brief overview of her time at Apple.

00:55:27   She's been with Apple for 30 years.

00:55:29   She was responsible for launching and was responsible in the efforts of launching the original Apple store and the original online store.

00:55:37   She worked in product launches for 20 years. She was the VP of operations and she became the VP of people, which is effectively human resources, 18 months ago.

00:55:47   So, I mean, I knew that she'd been in Apple for a long time, but I wasn't that familiar with her path.

00:55:54   But it feels like a path that makes sense for why they've given the role to her as someone who can do things in this role.

00:56:04   And the operation stuff seems really interesting to me because it's like, I mean, and I don't know if this is the case, but like maybe, you know that like the adage of like, uh, when you're, when you're a hammer, everything you see is a nail.

00:56:17   When you're an operations guy, everything, every problem is an operations problem to fix.

00:56:24   Maybe Tim is like, well, I know that Deidre knows how to do ops and she, maybe she can help us fix the Apple store, the sales issue.

00:56:34   Uh, if, you know, if retail covers the online store, which we believe it does as well as the Apple, like the physical stores, maybe this is why, right?

00:56:43   Like we have a problem. Maybe Deidre can help us fix it in the time that it will might take for us to find somebody more permanent.

00:56:50   I don't believe that the merging of people and retail is a permanent solution, is a permanent thing.

00:56:57   Yeah. It feels to me like they didn't want to replace Angela right now with a new hire. Right?

00:57:03   So they go to Deidre O'Brien and they say, here's what we're going to do.

00:57:08   We're going to add, you know, most of our employees are retail employees anyway, and you're in charge of people.

00:57:14   Um, why don't you take this too? And presumably all of Angela Ahrendts' people are reporting to Deidre O'Brien.

00:57:25   So in some ways it's, um, Angela is leaving, but we want you, we want to, you know, keep this going and not stop and search for a new leader.

00:57:38   In the long run, they may, they may get a new leader.

00:57:41   Or they may get a new people person, right? Like they may, it's unknown what part of the organization would stay with Deidre. Like it depends. Right.

00:57:50   Right. And, and there may be that there's just no clear successor to Angela Ahrendts at the, at the next level down in retail right now.

00:57:58   And that who knows, maybe it is Deidre O'Brien's job to do that job. Maybe it's her job to find the successor and identify them.

00:58:07   Um, unclear, but there are a lot of, a lot of different options potentially going on there.

00:58:12   Um, I would imagine that part of this is also going to be, um, and again, it's so easy to look at people changes and say, well, this is when the policy changed.

00:58:22   And I don't think that's necessarily true. I've heard a lot of people complain about Angela Ahrendts and say, I, I hate that there are no registers and that the Genius Bar top is gone.

00:58:32   And you know, all these things that predate her, like they were doing weird things with lines and not having lines in the Ron Johnson era.

00:58:39   Like that was not an invention. There's lots of things that she gets accused of that are, it's, it's a little, a little far apologies for this political sidebar, but it'll be very brief, which is I find that a lot of people blame Obama for policies that actually came from his predecessors.

00:58:57   It's like, um, you know, it's very easy to, to, to blame the last guy for everything that's ever happened in history, but it's not always true.

00:59:05   And I think in Angela Ahrendts case, she gets, uh, you know, some of the weirdness and I agree, like, I hope Apple is looking and again, my sources within Apple retail and they know who they are.

00:59:14   Um, are, uh, they're out there. Um, uh, and I, I do, I know people who are gonna have a retail and I talk to them occasionally. And, and my impression is that like, they're well aware of the issues with you make an appointment and it takes too long or they shuffle you off to a bench and you sit there for a while.

00:59:32   They are well aware of walking into a store and feeling like you don't know where to go. They I've noticed in the last year that they put more of those people at the door, those door, you know, maitre d type people who are like, hello and welcome.

00:59:44   And what would you like? Ah, yes, go over there or go over there. I will call a person for you, um, in order to make that better. So I think they're aware.

00:59:54   Um, so I also would caution again saying, well, aha, now that Angela Ahrendts is leaving, everything is going to be different because I don't think that's true. I think that, um, there may be some changes in the works.

01:00:06   Uh, but I, unless she really was legitimately an impediment to Tim Cook doing or other people at Apple doing what they want with the retail store.

01:00:16   Um, and she was told, do this or get out. And she said, I get out or, or, you know, you can't fire me. I quit. Uh, which I don't know. My gut feeling is that that's not what it was, but I don't know.

01:00:26   So, so we'll have to see, but I'd imagine that if the Apple store is changing, uh, Angela Ahrendts leaving may be a symptom of the Apple store making changes and not, uh, the reason that the changes are happening.

01:00:37   So it is at least interesting, right? In the sense of like, well, that was a surprise. It did really seem like it came out of nowhere. There were a lot of, I mean, who knows? Right.

01:00:52   But I feel like that there may have been a lot of wheels in motion. And as you say, this iPhone thing really took Apple by surprise. And it may have been a case that like part two of a 12 part plan to try and improve iPhone sales includes a complete overhaul of some of the retail initiatives.

01:01:13   And maybe it just meant that it didn't, it just didn't fit anymore. And then it wasn't something that everybody wanted to do.

01:01:19   What I don't like is the idea that iPhone sales are flat because of very big global reasons and some, and you lash out. This is a little like me saying, if you think a recession's coming in your Apple, what you don't do is lay off people in order to prove that you care, that you're worried, even though you should really be hiring people.

01:01:35   It's a little like that, which is you are, you are probably making a giant tactical mistake if you completely try to transform your retail operations in order to goose iPhone sales a little bit when there are huge global reasons why iPhone sales and category reasons, right?

01:01:50   Market reasons why iPhone sales are what they are. And it probably isn't underperformance in the stores. But that said, I do think that maybe when Angela Ahrens was hired, Apple felt like the purpose of the retail store was as much brand extension as it was a revenue generator.

01:02:08   Because they made, you know, at that point they were already, I think, number one in sales per square feet in retail. Like they were already a huge success in terms of retail. And so you're like, we're, we're already making money hand over fist in retail.

01:02:20   We also want it to be a brand extension. This is what we can do. And that now five years later, maybe the feeling is, no, you know, actually sales are really more important to us than we were saying.

01:02:31   And we aren't going to take them for granted like we were taking them for granted five years ago. And that I think that that's realistic. I just don't want it to be a panic about iPhone sales in one quarter because that would be the wrong move to make.

01:02:45   And it's not the move that I hope to make.

01:02:47   And it's like, if you imagine that they sat down and they were like, all right, we have these initiatives and we believe these initiatives would either stabilise or increase iPhone sales in the stores. And it's about kind of let's go community first. And it turns out that that doesn't work. Right. And like, oh, it hasn't helped. And at the same time, things are going in a place that we don't want.

01:03:10   Maybe we need to start to shift some of this strategy or add a new strategy that doesn't meet with the kind of the goals and objectives of our current retail leader.

01:03:19   So it's less about her and more about, well, this stuff's happened. This plan didn't work in the way that we exactly expected. Or, you know, the situation has changed.

01:03:30   Then it may mean that it's combined with a bunch of other factors. Just time for Angela to move on.

01:03:37   Maybe. Or maybe it's all doom and gloom, Jason. And we mean you were just far too optimistic.

01:03:44   Well, there's no way to know. That's the real chance here. And that gets back to what I said at the very beginning of this segment, which is in the end, you can put whatever you whatever narrative you want on this because the information that we've got is very limited.

01:03:58   And so I feel like our approach to this and trying to make guesses about is pretty good. But in the end, we don't know. Only Tim Cook and Angela Ahrendts maybe know for sure.

01:04:09   Maybe we'll find out in 25 years. There'll be a book. Maybe the great tell all book. Maybe. Maybe.

01:04:15   Let's do some hashtag ask upgrade questions. But before we do, let's thank our final sponsor for this episode. And that is Express VPN.

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01:06:38   #AskUpgradeTime. David wants to know, do you think there's room for a streaming service version of audiobooks?

01:06:47   I'm surprised that Amazon or Audible haven't tried such a thing as part of Prime.

01:06:53   When I read this question, I was like, oh yeah, why isn't that?

01:06:57   My only thinking, Jason, could be that there must be some kind of like issue with book publishers because this seems obvious to me.

01:07:06   Yeah, I thought there were some Audible things that are in Prime that it's like the Kindle Library.

01:07:16   I think you get some credits, right? Like every now and then.

01:07:18   There's a small amount, like rotating group of audiobooks that's in there.

01:07:23   I think it's not, I'm a Prime person, I've never used this service, so I don't know.

01:07:27   I think the answer is, and you said it Myke, audiobooks are profitable, right?

01:07:36   They're not cheap, they're expensive to produce, and they sell. And they sell well.

01:07:41   And it is a big part of it. Amazon also doesn't have, you know, they have Prime access to some books,

01:07:48   but again, it's a very limited number of books that you can do with the Prime reading.

01:07:52   And then they've got that separate Kindle Unlimited, which is a larger group of books, and then there's the broad spectrum of books.

01:07:59   And it's the same story, which is, I think publishers would rather get your money to buy it directly from them and pay them a lot of money to buy it.

01:08:09   And they will fight hard against being part of a, you know, rental streaming kind of model for books.

01:08:17   And so far they have succeeded. You can also go to your local library and get audiobooks and regular books for free.

01:08:24   And some of them even use like OverDrive where you can check them out digitally and listen to them and then return them.

01:08:30   So there are some options at the library, even though the options on Amazon are limited.

01:08:35   Yeah, it was just a surprise to me. It's like, yeah, I think you can get some stuff here and there with Prime.

01:08:41   And Audible is trying to be a streaming service in a way, right? Audible's entire setup is to make, you sign up for a monthly plan and you get credits.

01:08:52   So it's really a purchase system, but they want you to feel like you are paying once and you can, you know, depending on how many books you read,

01:09:01   you can get these books and you're paying with credits. And, you know, that's what they're trying to make it feel like, is like Netflix for audiobooks.

01:09:09   Even though it's not quite. So that's definitely what Audible's whole marketing strategy is.

01:09:14   Like how we were talking about Spotify earlier. They do original content too that you can only get there by and large.

01:09:20   So they're like, well, whilst it's always been that thing of like paying and you get the credits, now they are also adding a bunch more other stuff.

01:09:28   Right. And Audible has experimented with things that are like podcasts that are Audible originals.

01:09:35   And those I think you can listen to as a Prime customer for free. That's part of your Prime, just not the books, because those are the things that are commissioned by Audible.

01:09:42   So they have kind of rights over those that they don't have to compensate a publisher for in the same way.

01:09:48   Newen asks, the reported Samsung S10 screen is being considered by many as a much better and more reasonable alternative to the notch.

01:09:57   So if you don't know what this is, I'll find some stuff and put it in the show notes.

01:10:01   This is what is being referred to as the hole punch display, where instead of a notch, there is just a circle for the camera and that's it.

01:10:08   So Newen continues. I know many non-techie folks who think the notch is too big or ugly.

01:10:14   And it seems but it seems like on the iPhone, the notch is going to be around for a while.

01:10:19   Do you think that this move will end up being a disadvantage for Apple as more screens are shaped in different ways by different providers?

01:10:30   You know, in the long run, maybe in the short term, I don't think it's that big a deal.

01:10:34   I'm sure Apple would tell you that they are more concerned with getting the screen to the edges as much as they can.

01:10:43   And they want the advantage of the, you know, that whole setup that they've got with the camera and all the sensors and the dot projector and all of that.

01:10:53   And that that is those features, face ID and the rest are worth the space.

01:11:00   I'm sure they would tell you that. I'm also sure that Apple's ultimate goal is to make that stuff as invisible as possible and that the notch is what it is now because that's as small as they can make it.

01:11:09   So if they can make it a hole punch in the corner, I'm sure they would love to do that.

01:11:15   But I think what they would say is that Samsung is compromising elsewhere by minimizing it there and that in reality, the notch isn't a big deal.

01:11:25   And as somebody who's been using the notch for a year and a half now, it's not a big deal.

01:11:29   But I question whether there are a lot of people out there who are holding a Samsung phone and an iPhone next to each other and saying, I don't know which screen looks better.

01:11:38   That's the one I'm going to buy. Maybe there are some. I don't know.

01:11:41   I think in the long run, Apple, if every other phone has done away with this stuff and Apple still has a really big notch on their screens, it might hurt their perception.

01:11:52   But I feel like that is a long term question, not a not a short term thing.

01:11:56   Yeah, I think there are some other parts to this as well where it's like if we think about the notch, right?

01:12:00   So like the notch is what it is because of Face ID. And yeah, I wonder if in the short to medium term, if like Face ID harms Apple over a fingerprint based system where, you know, it seems like everybody else is probably sticking with it.

01:12:17   Most Android manufacturers still use some kind of some kind of fingerprint processing as well as some kind of typically more basic facial recognition.

01:12:28   But that is just like another element of like, I don't know.

01:12:32   Yeah, I think it's more likely that they would come up with a new Face ID approach that requires less hardware to do it than that they would back off of Face ID.

01:12:42   I don't think Apple's backing away from Face ID, but like I just wonder if like what the general market feels about facial recognition over fingerprint recognition.

01:12:54   I don't feel like I don't understand that element yet, but I think that it's like an interesting point of difference.

01:13:01   I did see today too that Samsung, so they have their event in like next Wednesday on the 20th, right? Where they're going to show off the S10.

01:13:10   Oh boy, get ready for some awkward presentations.

01:13:13   Oh yeah, they are heavily teasing their foldable display.

01:13:18   Oh sure.

01:13:19   So I don't know if they're just going to show it or if they're going to actually have it for sale.

01:13:27   Right. Or if it's going to be a tease, but I'm really intrigued to see what that's going to look like.

01:13:35   Because we've been talking about those foldables.

01:13:37   All right. Our next question comes from Eric.

01:13:40   What do you use to keep your screens on your devices clean?

01:13:42   I find that the iPad Pro in particular is incredibly good at collecting a large amount of finger grease.

01:13:50   I use the sleeve of my hoodie.

01:13:54   Yeah.

01:13:55   That's it.

01:13:56   The only other thing that I will use because I'm a glasses wearer is like the microfiber cloths that you use to clean like eyeglasses.

01:14:05   I don't use any kind of like screen cleaning solution or anything like that. Yeah, I don't do anything like that.

01:14:12   I have a little spray bottle that actually came with my glasses that my eye doctor gave me.

01:14:16   And I think it's just pure water or something, but I will sometimes spray that on there with a little eyeglass cleaner.

01:14:23   But generally, and that's usually if I'm like taking a picture of it for an article.

01:14:26   Sure.

01:14:27   But generally I'm just pulling up my hoodie sleeve and rubbing it. That's about it.

01:14:31   Because I just feel like that these things get so dirty, so greasy, so oily, so fast.

01:14:38   Any kind of like involved cleaning process is just going to be frustrating because you're going to be doing it all the time.

01:14:45   Right.

01:14:46   Because you could clean an iPad screen in 10 minutes. It's going to have fingerprints all over it again.

01:14:51   That's just how it goes.

01:14:52   Yeah.

01:14:53   Chris asks, do we have any thoughts on when or if an Apple TV dongle will be likely to come out?

01:14:58   Chris just got a new TV and doesn't want to spend $180 for an Apple TV 4K right now.

01:15:04   Well, the report about this was that Apple was considering it, not even that they were designing it.

01:15:09   So I think it would likely not come out for a long time.

01:15:12   I think the thing to watch for is to see if AirPlay or Apple, you know, access to Apple's TV and movie library gets added at some point to a Roku or Amazon products.

01:15:26   Because then you could go that direction and just see.

01:15:30   But I think it's an open question about whether Apple will ever do a stick kind of product for Apple TV.

01:15:37   And I wouldn't hold my breath for it because there are no legitimate rumors that it's actually happening.

01:15:45   Yeah.

01:15:46   There could at least be some pricing change for the Apple TV along with the streaming service.

01:15:51   Like that could also happen.

01:15:52   Yeah, but it's never going to be the price of an Amazon or Roku.

01:15:55   But I would say that if you are able to wait on buying an Apple TV, like it's not massively important to you right now.

01:16:04   You know, I really, really believe there will be an event in the spring.

01:16:10   And if they're going to do anything, they're going to do it then.

01:16:14   Like if any changes to the Apple TV in models or pricing is going to happen within the next six to 12 months, it will happen when they announce the TV service.

01:16:26   Would be my expectation at least.

01:16:28   But we'll see.

01:16:30   So yeah, this is, you know, we'll give the advice that we always give when it feels like that there's something looming and if you're able to hold off, then you should.

01:16:39   And right now, of everything in Apple world that is looming, like if anything's going to occur before WWDC, it's the TV streaming service.

01:16:47   And so then that would be the most logical time for any hardware that goes along with it.

01:16:52   So if you can wait, wait.

01:16:55   And finally today, Jared asks, Jason, what are the rules for Apple review units?

01:17:01   I hear people talking about how some keep them for a long time, some turn them back right away.

01:17:06   Can it be used as a personal device?

01:17:09   Some inside baseball here today.

01:17:11   Yeah, and I don't know how much, I don't think I'm under any restrictions.

01:17:15   So basically the rules are complicated.

01:17:17   There are, you get units, well, different models are different.

01:17:23   The iOS devices have different timing than Macs.

01:17:28   Sometimes the loan periods are long and I think to myself, well, I don't want to keep this thing that long, right?

01:17:38   And I'll send them back.

01:17:39   So it can really vary.

01:17:41   I do have, like Macs, they always want back within a very short period of time.

01:17:49   So I had, you know, I had a MacBook Air for a while, I had a MacBook for a while,

01:17:54   and it's one of those things where it's like, oh, I'd really like to have one so that I can write about the,

01:17:58   like have a MacBook Pro so I can write about the Touch Bar or have a MacBook Air so I can write about Touch ID.

01:18:05   And, but they want it back and I don't want to buy one.

01:18:09   So I just send them back and I'm like, oh, well, I bought Lauren a MacBook Air.

01:18:13   So we actually have a MacBook and a MacBook Air in the house right now in use,

01:18:18   which is one of those funny things where as somebody who writes about this, it's like, well, you can use this and that'll be great.

01:18:22   And also it'll be around in case I need to write something about it, which is it pulls double duty a little bit in this house.

01:18:28   IOS devices are a little bit different.

01:18:31   You can, there's a short loan period and then you can ask for an extended loan, which tends to be for a longer period of time.

01:18:38   They still want them back eventually, but sometimes I will take advantage of that because I want to have a product around for reference,

01:18:48   especially like the next time that product gets updated.

01:18:51   So I have a, I think I have, do I have a seven and an eight?

01:18:57   I have some, I have some older iPhones in a drawer that I pull out when it's the new iPhone comes out

01:19:08   and I want to take a picture of all the different models or I want to compare the cameras or stuff like that.

01:19:11   I also save almost every phone that I buy and every iPad that I buy for that same reason,

01:19:18   which is I want to have some old models around that I can compare.

01:19:21   Can it be used as a personal device?

01:19:24   Well, while you've got it, you can, although, you know, don't give it to a friend because Apple will want it back.

01:19:31   I sent them a box of stuff in December full of different phones and iPads and stuff that were on the extended loan.

01:19:41   It's still a loan and they still want it back.

01:19:42   So it's complicated and kind of boring, but it is basically, you know, you get to keep them for a while.

01:19:49   I still have the XR because I don't have a XR in my family and they, I reached the end of the loan period

01:19:55   and I said, can I extend on that one?

01:19:57   Because I don't have one and if accessories come out for it, you know,

01:20:01   or if I want to take some pictures comparing it to the XS, I want to have one around.

01:20:06   And it's also well on their rights to say, we know we really need it back.

01:20:10   And sometimes they're like, yeah, okay, hang on to that.

01:20:11   And so I've got it in its box in a drawer where it sits.

01:20:14   And occasionally I'll take it out and pop my SIM card in it and use it for a couple of days.

01:20:19   So it's boring and complicated, but it is one of those things that is more of a challenge for me now

01:20:24   because I can't buy every product, right?

01:20:26   I can't afford to buy every product.

01:20:28   I still buy a bunch of stuff.

01:20:29   Like I got a loan on the, on like product A and then I had to buy product B like because they're like,

01:20:36   like when they do iPads, they don't give you both sizes to review.

01:20:39   They give you one size to review and then I buy the other one.

01:20:42   And then I end up with having bought two iPads instead of one because I need to have both.

01:20:46   And I do that sometimes, but I can't afford, at Macworld we bought everything.

01:20:49   And now I can't afford to buy everything.

01:20:52   So sometimes there are holes in my collection.

01:20:55   Like I don't have a touch bar Mac in my house right now.

01:20:57   And sometimes I've got some review units that are extended

01:21:01   and sometimes it is stuff that I've bought and put into use in our household

01:21:06   that is there for both personal use and also sort of on call in case I need to run a speed test on it

01:21:14   or take a picture of it or something like that.

01:21:17   All right.

01:21:19   If you would like to send in a question to be answered at the end of the show,

01:21:23   just send out a tweet with the hashtag #askupgrade

01:21:25   and we'll try to get to as many of them as we can.

01:21:28   We've got a good list building up for future episodes as well.

01:21:31   So please keep sending them in, #askupgrade to do that.

01:21:34   If you want to find our show notes for today's episode, relay.fm/upgrade/232 is the place to go.

01:21:40   Well, they should be in your podcast app of choice, but if they're not, they're always on our website.

01:21:45   You can find Jason online in a bunch of places.

01:21:47   He's on Twitter. He's @jasonl.

01:21:49   He's @jasonl on Instagram as well if you want to see Jason's pictures of his wonderful animals,

01:21:53   which get posted every now and then.

01:21:55   Dogs, cats, sporting events, occasionally food.

01:21:58   All the great things.

01:22:00   You can find Jason at the incomparable.com where Jason is a host of many wonderful shows

01:22:05   about beautiful pop culture things.

01:22:08   But Jason also hosts many shows here at relay.fm as well.

01:22:10   Like I do, you can go to relay.fm/shows to find this and many more podcasts about technology

01:22:16   and the worlds that connect to that.

01:22:20   You can also find Jason's work at sixcolors.com as well.

01:22:24   I am @imike, @imike on Twitter and Instagram.

01:22:28   Thanks again to our sponsors this week.

01:22:30   Hello, Pingdom and the wonderful people at ExpressVPN.

01:22:35   And we'll be back next time.

01:22:37   Until then, say goodbye, Jason Snow.

01:22:39   Goodbye, Myke Hurley.

01:22:41   [Music]

01:22:47   [Music]