229: A More Intentional Folding


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:08   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode 229. Today's show is brought to you by Freshbooks,

00:00:15   Luna Display, and Squarespace. My name is Myke Hurley, and I am joined by Mr. Jason Snell. Hi, Jason Snell.

00:00:21   Hello, Myke Hurley. How is Seattle, Washington? I am, yes, I'm in a hotel room in Seattle, having just

00:00:27   attended the second PodCon. It was wonderful. I really like Seattle. I like that we're on—well,

00:00:33   I kind of like that we're on the same time zone. I don't like recording at nine in the morning, but

00:00:38   here we are anyway. Welcome to my world! It's 9 a.m. Pacific on—it's not Monday, it's Tuesday

00:00:43   as we're recording this, because I had some travel for the holiday weekend in the U.S., and so we

00:00:48   pushed the release back a day. But yes, this is what it's like for me. 9 a.m. podcast is what I do,

00:00:53   Myke. Nobody cares about this, Jason. We have a Snell Talk question from Mark, and today Mark asks,

00:00:59   "Jason, if you were stationed on the USS Enterprise"—that's the Star Trek thing,

00:01:03   if you don't know—"what position would you want to hold, and which Enterprise would you want to be on?"

00:01:08   So this is a tricky question, because there's sort of like—I would like to minimize my

00:01:19   chance of having to put on a red shirt and then being killed by an alien. So what I want to say

00:01:28   is, like, I want to be the cruise director on Captain Picard's Enterprise, the Enterprise-D,

00:01:34   because—is that a job? You know, basically, like, it's like a big cruise ship, right? No threats,

00:01:39   just hanging out like it's the love boat or something. You want to work on the entertainment.

00:01:44   Yeah, that's right. I do some, you know, I take reservations for the holodeck, stuff like that.

00:01:53   The fun answer would be, I'm going to be the navigator on Captain Kirk's Enterprise, because

00:02:02   there were lots of them over time, because, you know, Chekov wasn't there in the first season and

00:02:07   all that, and that seems like a fun job. There's lots of buttons and switches to flip, and you get

00:02:11   to, like, go, you know, warp factor eight and, you know, steer us hard about and all of that kind of

00:02:18   stuff, and that would be fun. So that's my fantasy answer, but my real answer is, what would be the

00:02:24   safest place for me to be on the Starship Enterprise? Yeah, I don't think that I would be

00:02:29   very well equipped to do any of that stuff. Like, if there was—I like the idea of cruise director.

00:02:35   That seems like a fun thing. Do they have podcasters on the Star Trek spaceships? I mean,

00:02:41   technically, I think we would be in the communications department, right? We'd have to,

00:02:44   like, open the hailing frequencies and stuff like that, and we'd say, "Lieutenant Hurley,

00:02:49   contact the Klingon ship," and you'd go, "Boop, boop, boop, boop. Hello, Klingons. Would you like to hear a podcast?"

00:02:56   I feel like I have a pretty high rank as lieutenant on that, just for that. That seems like a great

00:03:01   deal. Thank you to Mark for sending in that suggestion. If you would like to send in a

00:03:06   question to help us open a future episode of Upgrade, just send in a tweet with the hashtag

00:03:11   #SNELTALK. A couple of items of follow-up. So last week we were talking about the potential for the

00:03:16   iPhone to get three cameras, and one of the things we were talking about was a proposed mock-up based

00:03:21   upon "information," you know, in quotation marks, from an account, Twitter account @onleaks, who seems

00:03:29   to have had some interesting stuff in the past. They posted a different prototype based on more

00:03:34   information of the three camera setup. Now, you know, we spoke about the idea maybe they were

00:03:40   going to do that weird square with the cameras all at different places, maybe there's some benefit to

00:03:45   that. This different prototype, or this mock-up, has the three cameras in a horizontal

00:03:54   orientation in the middle of the back of the phone, but it looks very much like the current

00:03:59   kind of design with just like the oval with the cameras inside. Now, this feels way more

00:04:07   to me like something Apple would do visually, but again, I don't know how it helps by having the

00:04:15   three cameras in that exact arrangement. Yeah, that's the great mystery here is, is it a, you know,

00:04:21   is it a deeper zoom? Are they trying to, you know, there's lots of possibilities for what it could be

00:04:28   if it has three cameras on the back. It is a mystery. So I guess we'll see. But this is the

00:04:34   trade-off of not being able to have a super thick space in your phone for a big long lens,

00:04:39   is that instead they, you know, sometimes you just stack on a bunch of different cameras that are

00:04:44   built for different tasks and you kind of move among them. I don't know, it'll be fun to watch

00:04:50   as the rumors continue. These seem less like rumors and more like, you know, conceptions

00:04:59   based on a spec rumor. Yeah, some information leaked out somewhere and then somebody's made

00:05:05   a design that they think matches that information effectively. Yeah. But this one is much more

00:05:10   appealing to me visually than the one we spoke about last week. Sure. And at some point,

00:05:14   presumably, if it's like every other year that there's been an iPhone, there will be a different

00:05:20   kind of leak that will be more specific about the actual placement. And that happens a little bit

00:05:25   later in the year. Not too much later, but a little bit later. And that's the one where there's

00:05:30   almost like a, you know, somebody describes it or somebody has a really low resolution image

00:05:34   or something, and then somebody turns that into a render. And that's the sort of like, this is where

00:05:38   we think it'll be and how it'll look, but we don't have that now. It's sort of the, it's the early

00:05:43   part of iPhone rumor season. So we just have a vague idea that there might be three cameras on

00:05:47   the back of the max. Yes, of the max. Oh, so I've got some follow-up as well, Myke. Okay.

00:05:53   I just want, it's not really follow-up sort of, it's follow out, I guess, to the TV Talk Machine

00:05:58   podcast, but I want to mention it here because I think listeners of the show might like it.

00:06:02   There's a show currently airing on the National Geographic channel or Nat Geo, as they want all

00:06:08   the cool kids to call it, but they don't. It's called Valley of the Boom. It's a six part

00:06:15   miniseries about the early days of the web in Silicon Valley. It's three interlocking stories.

00:06:21   It's Netscape and the IPO of Netscape, which was dominant and then was crushed by Microsoft. It's

00:06:28   a site called The Globe, which it was Facebook before Facebook, a little too much before

00:06:34   Facebook, which is why nobody has ever heard of theglobe.com, and a streaming site run by a guy

00:06:40   who is a complete fraud, who just stole people's money. And so those three interlocking stories

00:06:48   happen. And then it's told in this hybrid format. It's similar to what they did on Nat Geo with

00:06:52   the show Mars. Although I think it's done a little more artfully on Valley of the Boom,

00:06:56   where you have actors who are acting out things that happened theoretically in the 90s and telling

00:07:03   that story like a drama would, like a traditional drama. But there are also interviews with the

00:07:08   participants from the present day and they go back and forth. So a lot of times you'll see

00:07:14   Jim Barksdale talking about the early days of Netscape, and then you cut to a scene where that

00:07:20   is going on. And his comments, he's almost commenting on what's going on, very cleverly

00:07:26   done. It's not the usual kind of drama format or documentary format. It's this weird hybrid, but

00:07:32   I liked it and it gets pretty meta at several points where characters talk to the screen. One

00:07:38   of the actors playing one of the parts poses as the person doing the present day interview until

00:07:44   they're informed that they're an actor and they're not the actual guy. There's some really kind of

00:07:50   quirky, funny stuff too. And the 90s on the internet, this is like, it's almost like the

00:07:56   Pirates of Silicon Valley for the birth of the commercial web and internet. So I don't know where

00:08:03   it's available outside the US or when it will be available there. Currently airing on Nat Geo if

00:08:08   you've got cable or access in some other way to National Geographic Channel on demand or something

00:08:14   like that, you might be able to dig it up. And I think it's airing for the next three or four weeks

00:08:18   too. But Valley of the Boom, it was fun. I've seen the first half of it so far and it's

00:08:26   pretty good. So for those who are intrigued, check it out. So let's move into Upstream. As of today,

00:08:33   it was announced the Academy Award nominations were announced and there's some interesting stuff

00:08:36   in there. But as it pertains to this segment, Netflix have received 10 Academy Award nominations

00:08:43   for their movie Roma, which they made a real big deal out of, as you can see, quite rightly. So

00:08:48   this is going to be big for Netflix because I would say the odds are on for them that they will

00:08:53   walk away with at least an Oscar for an original movie, which is a pretty big deal for them. So

00:09:00   we'll be talking about that later on next month when the Oscars happen. Yeah, it's good. It's an

00:09:07   interesting sign that in the end, the Academy cares more about the art of Alfonso Cuaron

00:09:13   than it does about the politics of Netflix. Which is great. Because that was the question.

00:09:17   Yep. It was like, will they downgrade? And they still might for the final voting. It's probably

00:09:21   not going to win Best Picture. Probably not. Although it might. It's got a chance, I would say.

00:09:26   But we'll see how that goes. But it tied for the most nominations. So clearly, whatever suppression,

00:09:34   you know, the politics of Netflix versus the Academy regarding, you know, it's a streaming

00:09:38   service versus a traditional theatrical release and all of that seems to have not had any

00:09:42   appreciable impact here. And NBCUniversal is working on a streaming service, of course,

00:09:51   because who isn't? They are looking to launch an ad supported, but I'll get back to that in a

00:09:56   minute, direct to consumer service in 2020. Bonnie Hammer, who was previously the cable chief,

00:10:03   has been put in charge of the effort. So NBCUniversal are going to be showing their own

00:10:08   content, new and old, and also offering some content from outside partners. So here's where

00:10:13   it gets a little bit confusing, but it is interesting. If you already pay for NBC via a

00:10:19   cable provider, you're going to get the service for free potentially with ads, maybe would not,

00:10:24   right? They are also planning a paid version with no ads if you don't have cable as well. So you can

00:10:30   get it straight over the top. Okay. It is confusing enough that you've only described two of the four

00:10:34   ways you can get this. Oh my God. Okay. So I believe what they're saying is, if you have

00:10:39   cable, this is so the easiest way to think of this is they're kind of doing a CBS All Access,

00:10:43   where in the US CBS All Access, the way it works is they've got original shows like Star Trek

00:10:48   Discovery, which just came back and The Good Fight, and they're doing a new Twilight Zone

00:10:52   version, and they're doing a bunch of other Star Trek and a bunch of stuff like that. Those are

00:10:55   their originals. And you also have access to basically all the CBS shows that are on the CBS

00:11:00   network and their library, and not just like the latest five, like on Hulu, but like the whole

00:11:05   season and all the previous seasons, and it's all there for you. So, and you pay for it. And there's

00:11:10   one price for CBS All Access that shows it to you with ads, and there's another price that shows it

00:11:15   all to you without ads, which is actually kind of fun for the network stuff, because it means that

00:11:19   you can watch their network programming without ads if you pay them enough. What NBC wants to do

00:11:25   is, and they made a big deal of, is this idea that primary, the primary audience for this is going to

00:11:31   be people who already have cable. So it's a streaming service where they're talking up the

00:11:35   non-cable cutter aspect of it, which is kind of bizarre. But what they're basically saying is,

00:11:39   and this is them walking away from Hulu, I think, because they still own 30% of Hulu and they play,

00:11:44   they're playing it coy about whether they'll sell it to Disney, which owns basically the rest of it.

00:11:49   But this is basically their own Hulu, which is, if you're paying for cable, you will get to log in

00:11:54   to NBC streaming service and watch it for free with ads. So it's basically a replacement for

00:12:01   NBC.com video streaming. They'll take all the Saturday Night Live content that they put on there

00:12:06   and they'll put it on this service instead, and they'll put it behind a wall, but it's not just

00:12:10   a paywall. It's a login wall if you've got cable. So that's option one. Option two is, if you don't

00:12:16   want to see the ads and you're a cable subscriber, you'll be able to give them money and turn off the

00:12:20   ads like CBS All Access. If you're a cord cutter, you can pay, I believe the plan is a little bit

00:12:26   like CBS All Access to get it with ads and more to get it without ads. So four different options

00:12:33   based on whether you have cable or not, and you want to see ads or not. It's super confusing. Tim

00:12:37   Goodman wrote a great piece, who I do the TV Talk Machine podcast with, where he basically said,

00:12:42   this is a fascinating example of a company kind of embracing the reality of streaming services in the

00:12:49   future while also being in complete denial about how it changes the business model. Because they're

00:12:54   like, we did a streaming service and let's tell you about how it'll work for cable subscribers.

00:12:59   Like, what are you doing? But that's what they're doing. But this is the reality though, right?

00:13:03   Like this is probably the best thing for NBC Universal. Follow the money is what I mean.

00:13:10   That's a classic thing, but do it here. Where's the money coming from? The people who make money

00:13:14   at NBC Universal on the NBC side, where are they making their money from? They're making money from

00:13:19   selling ads and they're making their money. Well, I mean, so it's ads and it's on the broadcast.

00:13:25   It's from like cable deals and stuff like that. So we're going to give this as a reason for you

00:13:31   to hold onto your cable subscription. They're owned by Comcast, by the way. So this is a key part

00:13:35   of how Comcast makes money is people pay for cable, right? So this increases the value of

00:13:41   your cable subscription, one. And two, the primary tier that people will be watching on has ads and

00:13:47   NBC's ad sales force will presumably sell those ads like they do ads now on NBC's website and also

00:13:53   obviously on their TV networks. So I think it's actually smart. It's too complicated, but I think

00:14:00   it's smart in the sense that it's them admitting they need to build their own streaming service

00:14:06   while also being accepting the fact that there's a current way they make money and they need to keep

00:14:13   the money rolling in that way. But this is an example, I think, Myke, when we talk about all

00:14:19   these streaming services and all the silos going up, like it used to be everybody had their own

00:14:24   business. And then there was this ancillary business for streaming where you just chucked

00:14:28   a bunch of your archival content and your old shows into it. And that's basically Netflix at

00:14:32   the beginning. It's just like, sure, Netflix, whatever, blah, blah, blah. And then they did

00:14:36   their own things on their primary business. And now all of them realize they can't do that.

00:14:40   Netflix is the primary business. They need to take their stuff back and build their own Netflix,

00:14:45   build their own silo. And so everybody's doing it. Disney's doing it. Warner's doing it. NBC's

00:14:51   doing it. CBS did it. And then obviously there are other players like Apple. So this is just,

00:14:57   this is where we're going to end up. And it's interesting if we bring in the other piece here,

00:15:03   which is, and I think we've got an item about it in a minute, is Netflix is aware that providers

00:15:11   of content like NBC Universal are going to be less inclined to sell a lot of their content to

00:15:16   Netflix in the future because they're going to want it for their own service. Just like how Disney

00:15:20   is going to build up Marvel shows on Disney Plus and the Marvel shows are going to get cancelled

00:15:27   at Netflix. So we're seeing this realignment happen where all the big players have realized

00:15:34   that Netflix is not going to, they don't, it's not an ancillary revenue stream anymore. It's like the

00:15:39   revenue stream of the future and they want to own it. And so they're all going to build their

00:15:43   own silos and pull their content off of Netflix eventually. You know, with the exceptions of,

00:15:47   like we mentioned a few weeks ago, that Friends deal where Warner Brothers basically got paid a

00:15:53   huge amount of money by Netflix to keep Friends on Netflix because it's a huge show for Netflix.

00:15:58   But in the end, they're going to put it on their own streaming service because of course they are.

00:16:02   Will Barron Disney will show off that streaming service that you mentioned,

00:16:05   Disney Plus for the first time on April 11th at their annual investor meeting.

00:16:10   Very keen to see what that ends up looking like. And mentioning Netflix and popular TV shows,

00:16:16   Steve Correll is going to be starring in a new Netflix comedy about Space Force, which is

00:16:22   the current US government's attempt at creating a new space...

00:16:26   A new branch of the military called the Space Force.

00:16:29   Yeah, I've struggled to really explain it because my brain can't effectively conceive it.

00:16:34   It's set to debut soon. Steve Correll is co-creating this series with Greg Daniels,

00:16:40   who is responsible for adapting The Office for the US. Now that is important for this reason.

00:16:46   The Office is still currently the most watched TV show on Netflix.

00:16:53   Like by a big margin, more than Friends.

00:16:55   Well, the NBC exec that Natalie Jarvi at The Hollywood Reporter talked to said it's

00:17:00   often number one. It's not always the number one show, but The Office is often the number

00:17:05   one viewed show on Netflix. So it is a huge deal for Netflix. I will tell you,

00:17:09   my daughter is responsible for a large number of those views because she watches The Office

00:17:14   endlessly on Netflix. So it's a huge deal for Netflix.

00:17:15   I found a report on Recode for data from Netflix for 2018, and The Office accounted for 7.19%

00:17:24   of all of Netflix viewing. The next is Friends with 4.13. So it's a huge difference.

00:17:32   Yeah, so it's a big show for Netflix. So here's Netflix. And this is why we don't talk about

00:17:39   every deal that is made with a streaming service because there's 500 TV shows on

00:17:44   English language scripted this year. But this is relevant because

00:17:48   pertaining-- so NBCUniversal owns The Office. So it's entirely possible that either NBCUniversal

00:17:54   is going to take its ball and go home when it launches its streaming service, and The Office

00:17:58   is only going to be available on NBC's streaming service. Or they will hold it for ransom for

00:18:03   Netflix and crank up the price even more and probably demand that it not be exclusive to

00:18:08   Netflix. So Netflix-- The Office is going to get really expensive for Netflix as time goes on.

00:18:14   And there are going to be strategic reasons why the makers of The Office, the owner of The Office,

00:18:20   doesn't want it on Netflix without it being a high price to pay. So what does Netflix do to hedge

00:18:25   against that and to counter that is make a deal with the star of The Office and the executive

00:18:30   producer of The Office to make a new show on Netflix because they know that people like

00:18:35   what those guys do. And it gives them something that Netflix will own. That's Steve Carell and

00:18:42   Greg Daniels. So it's fascinating to view this through the lens of, like, why did they make this

00:18:48   deal? It's like, oh, that's why. It's because The Office is huge on Netflix and might be going away.

00:18:52   This episode of Upgrade is brought to you in part by Squarespace. Make your next move with

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00:20:10   code upgrade to get 10% off your first purchase. Our thanks to Squarespace for their support of

00:20:15   this show. Squarespace, make your next move, make your next website. Jason, let's talk about foldable

00:20:22   phones. Oh, foldable phones, you say. You mean like how the iPhone 6 could like bend? Well, sure,

00:20:31   but like I think more intentional folding than unintentional folding because of the differences

00:20:38   in air grade aluminium or whatever it was. Was it like air grade? That was it, right? Like airplane

00:20:44   spec aluminium was what they ended up using? I don't know. I can't tell the difference between

00:20:48   the airplane grade aluminium and the surgical stainless steel. I don't know how this stuff is.

00:20:55   This is like food grade. I don't know what these are. Anyway, foldable phones have long been

00:21:03   considered as like a potential future form factor, right? Because you could have a phone that you

00:21:09   could fold in half so it's smaller and you can open it up and you've got a small tablet. And this

00:21:14   has been something that people have thought about for a while. Flexible displays have been a thing

00:21:18   that have been shown off at CES for multiple years, right? As they've been building that

00:21:21   technology up. But this year, kind of the tail end of 2018 beginning of 2019, is where we're

00:21:28   actually starting to see it become somewhat of reality. So you may remember a few months ago,

00:21:33   Samsung had a super short demo at the developer conference where they turned all the lights off

00:21:38   and showed a phone that could open up, right? Like it was a prototype so they didn't want to show it,

00:21:42   but they could show that they had a phone which had a screen and you folded it in half and there

00:21:47   was another screen. So this is currently being referred to as the Galaxy F and we will probably

00:21:53   see it for sale at some point this year. I don't think that we're seeing this at the Galaxy event,

00:22:00   which I think is within the next couple of weeks. This will probably be, I reckon, announced

00:22:04   alongside the Note, which is like in September or October. Yeah, it's unclear. It's unclear,

00:22:08   but it seems like it's going to be a real product. They're not going to make a huge number of them.

00:22:11   It's probably going to cost a fortune, but they are going to do it. Well, we'll come back to this

00:22:15   a little bit later on, but kind of probably like the original Galaxy Note, right? Like,

00:22:19   maybe didn't sell a ton of them at first. It was a weird product. It had a bunch of strange downsides

00:22:25   but ended up becoming something quite interesting. But let's put a pin in that. We'll come back to

00:22:29   that in a minute. Because also at CES, the first foldable OLED phone that's available for purchase

00:22:35   was shown off. It's called the Royal Flexpie, which is just, that name by the way is spelled

00:22:41   in none of the ways that you would expect. Right, if you can think of how you would spell Royal

00:22:46   Flexpie, it isn't that. Yeah, no, let's do it because this will be, everybody's going to go

00:22:51   on a little journey now. Okay, R-O-Y. Okay, you're feeling good? Yeah. O-L-E. Oh, royole. Oh,

00:23:03   that's totally different. F-L-E-X. Yep, we're all good. We've got that part. Capital P-A-I.

00:23:11   Royal Flexpie. Everybody knew that, right? Royal Flexpie. Royal Flexpie. So as you can imagine,

00:23:20   the Royal Flexpie being the first phone of its kind isn't very good. There's a really good video

00:23:28   on The Verge from Vlad Savov and he kind of eviscerated the thing, right? I don't know if

00:23:35   you've seen this video, Jason, but he really just like, okay, it's cool that this thing exists,

00:23:40   but it's broken in every fundamental way. It doesn't work very well. He referred to it as

00:23:45   delightfully terrible or something like that. I mean, it's pretty funny. Yeah, so I mean,

00:23:51   but this is kind of what I think what you would expect for something like this in its first

00:23:55   iteration. Like I find it really funny, like, because I've seen a few videos about this.

00:23:59   Everyone's like, you feel like you're about to break it every time that you kind of bend it

00:24:05   around to where it's like that to the kind of the folding in half thing. Also, I actually think that

00:24:09   the way that they're doing the folding is is wrong. So the way that this phone works, I think this is

00:24:16   the way it will end up probably not being in a lot of instances. But the way that this phone works is

00:24:20   you have the screen and then you fold the screen in on itself. So you have a screen on each side

00:24:27   of the phone, right? So when it's folded in half, there's two sides. And when it's opened up, you

00:24:32   have a larger screen where it looks like, at least from what we could make out from Samsung is they

00:24:37   had a screen that you folded onto itself. And then there was an extra screen on the outside.

00:24:42   Now that probably logically makes more sense unless there's some way that you can like kill

00:24:49   half of the screen or whatever, because then you have like, you're holding the phone, but your hand

00:24:53   is touching an active screen. Like it's, it's, this is a complicated thing that I don't think

00:24:58   we've, well, we definitely haven't seen anybody make a good version of this yet. But this is how

00:25:03   it goes, right? The form factor isn't necessarily bad just because the first iteration of it isn't

00:25:09   great. And I will bring up phablets at this point. This was the joke. Nobody calls big phones phablets

00:25:16   anymore, right? That's the portmanteau of phone and tablet because all of our phones are that big

00:25:21   now, right? Like the phones that are available now, they're just smartphones. There isn't a

00:25:25   phablet anymore because anything bigger than what we currently have is just straight up a tablet.

00:25:29   Now, if you remember, like this was something that everyone was laughing at the original Galaxy Note,

00:25:35   right? We're all laughing at. And I bet like the iPhone 6, I bet is bigger than that now. I didn't

00:25:39   look this up, but I bet it is. And the thing about this is right, we're thinking about what the,

00:25:44   because obviously we're talking about it, would Apple ever do this? Would Apple ever make

00:25:49   a flexible phone? And this was an article that you wrote for Tom's Guide last week,

00:25:53   which is why we're talking about it. - Yeah, full credit to my pal, longtime pal,

00:25:59   Philip Michaels, who's an editor at Tom's Guide. And I would, you know, every two weeks when I write

00:26:04   for them, I say, "Any ideas, any thoughts? What do you want?" Like, I take requests. And he said,

00:26:10   "What about," and it's interesting because, you know, I'm sort of writing every other week about

00:26:13   the iPhone for them. And they are steeped in all of the other phones that are going on in a way

00:26:18   that like Mac world does not. I mean, PC world is, but Mac world does not. And so he comes with like

00:26:23   a lot of pitches for me that are, "What's the Apple take on this thing that's happening with

00:26:29   all the other phones, like 5G or something like that." And so he said foldable phones. And I was

00:26:34   like, he gave me a couple other items and I'm like, "I don't know." And then I thought about it

00:26:38   and I was like, "Actually, there's probably a conversation to be had about this. If we assume

00:26:43   that foldable phone tech is happening, when does Apple, if ever, embrace it? And what does that

00:26:51   look like? And what are the pros and what are the cons?" And that's basically what my piece

00:26:56   on Tom's Guide is about, which is, you know, yeah, Apple is not a company that rushes in because they

00:27:05   say, "Oh my God, everybody else is doing this. I have to get in on this now." You know, primarily

00:27:11   because unlike every other phone maker, Apple has a whole bunch of other things that differentiate

00:27:16   it, right? Like if you were Android phone maker X and you don't rush to this new thing,

00:27:21   your competition does, you know, you don't have, I mean, you might have some extra junk that you

00:27:27   loaded on the phone's home screen or something, but basically you have nothing else to differentiate

00:27:32   yourself because it's Android. And so, and this is how it worked with PCs back in the day. Apple did

00:27:37   the same thing because Apple was not playing quite the same game. They could afford to wait and say,

00:27:43   "It's not time yet. This stuff isn't good enough. Everybody else is rushing to get the checkbox that,

00:27:48   you know, on the spec sheet that says, yes, we have that thing. It doesn't do anything,

00:27:52   but we have it." And Apple can afford to wait until it feels the time is right. And I feel like

00:28:00   that is probably what will go on with this is that they'll wait. And you mentioned phablets,

00:28:06   it's the same thing. They can wait a little bit. They can even be skeptical about it, or they might

00:28:11   be super into it. There have been rumors that Apple has worked on foldable tech too. But if

00:28:18   there comes a moment where they feel like they figured it out and can put it in a phone

00:28:22   that they can price, I would say reasonably, but I think maybe not even reasonably, that they can

00:28:29   sell a lot of at a price that will give them the revenue that they want. Because maybe the first one

00:28:34   is a $1,200 phone, right? - Yeah, this feels like it would be the most expensive phone.

00:28:39   - This is the next step above the iPhone 10. Yeah, that's right. This is another like quantum leap

00:28:42   where it's like, it's way more expensive. And maybe the iPhone 10 tech has come down at that

00:28:46   point and then this thing leaps in above it. But I don't think they wouldn't do it. I think if the

00:28:52   tech is good so that they can make a good product with it, Apple actually has a lot of advantages

00:28:57   to this kind of approach, but it also has some disadvantages, like the fact that they don't make

00:29:04   their displays, right? Like this is a display tech, which means that in the end, they're going

00:29:09   to be relying on Samsung or LG to make these foldable OLED displays for them, unless they have

00:29:17   a Skunkworks project where they're working on foldable phones, which the only rumors we've

00:29:20   heard are about the OLED, the micro OLED stuff that Apple is working on, but not the foldable

00:29:30   OLED stuff. So they may have to wait for this tech to come from a provider. But if they feel

00:29:37   the time is right and they've got a good product and a good story, I don't know. They've got some

00:29:43   advantages too. I thought it was a worthy exercise of like, what would it be like? Because this is

00:29:48   something that we've talked about foldable phones and we've talked about what will Apple do in the

00:29:54   future, but I hadn't personally at least walked down that path of what would it look like.

00:29:58   Will Barron So when I was thinking about this, I kind of broke it down into four areas that Apple

00:30:03   would have to overcome or would have to have answers for, for why they would make this, like

00:30:08   looked up looking up on previous decisions that they've made. So like, is the market proven?

00:30:12   Right? Like Apple tend not to release products that are brand new, right? Like nobody, nobody else is

00:30:19   doing anything like this. Chris Smith

00:30:20   Sometimes they do, but it's in rare cases. And it's not usually when, like in this case, unless

00:30:26   they have secretly built a factory that makes foldable OLED screens, like they're going to be

00:30:32   using a part from a partner, which means it's going to be on other devices. It's not going to

00:30:36   be, they're not going to be first out with this because they can't, they can't be, they're going

00:30:39   to be using a Samsung widget or somebody else's widget. So they can't be that. Like Siri was,

00:30:45   was first, right? They do that occasionally and they think they can make a big splash, but

00:30:51   the conditions have to be exactly right. And for this, it seems like not. So instead they're going

00:30:55   to play the waiting game, which is, you know, when do they think it's a product that, or a feature

00:31:01   that is worthy of the Apple level of quality that is expected? And I'm making air quotes there,

00:31:06   but you know what I mean? Like from Apple's perspective versus it being sort of a silly thing

00:31:10   that isn't practical that people are doing because they can, but they don't have any idea of how to

00:31:15   do it. And then Apple sweeps in and goes, aha, we figured it out. And then the first ones to do this,

00:31:19   right? Cause that's, that's Apple. That's what they do. It seems, you know, to them to do that

00:31:23   stuff for software, right? With hardware, it is way harder for them to, or they are way less likely

00:31:29   to kind of roll into an unproven market and be like, aha, we made a new thing. Nobody's doing

00:31:34   anything like this. Like that's less likely for them. Unless they invest in it enormously over

00:31:39   the course of many years, like with the PA semi acquisition, which led to all of their processor

00:31:44   capabilities. Now they can do that with processors, but it took them a long time to get there. And

00:31:50   they may be doing that with displays now with this rumor about micro OLED stuff, but who knows? And

00:31:54   it might be years before we see that if ever. Can they do it elegantly? Because here's the thing

00:32:00   that the, all of these first models, what they are not going to be as elegant and that's understandable,

00:32:04   right? Because we're in kind of the infancy of this technology being available to consumers,

00:32:10   but it's why like, you know, the mechanisms of bending these things is going to be super

00:32:14   awkward. They're all going to have, well, at least I reckon that most of them will be like this

00:32:18   Royale where it's kind of like that surface book where the join isn't flat. It means air that you

00:32:25   can see through. So like it doesn't actually close completely. Right. So like all of this stuff,

00:32:30   has to be maybe ironed out or at least accepted upon. But like when we see these phones,

00:32:37   I don't think we're going to find them very elegant for awhile. Yeah. In Europe,

00:32:41   it's called the Royal with cheese. Um, yeah, I think you're right. I think, I do think this is

00:32:47   a place, a case where maybe Apple and Samsung actually, I think maybe there's some hardware

00:32:53   design prowess that comes into effect because Samsung's got a very good hardware designers too.

00:32:57   We can, we make fun of Samsung for knocking off Apple's phones, but you know, they, they

00:33:01   among Android phones, you know, they do a very good job. Um, Oh, and also like, don't forget,

00:33:06   uh, we had all those beautiful Samsung phones while Apple was still rolling out the iPhone

00:33:11   6 design, right? Like Samsung for awhile, in my opinion, like they way eclipsed Apple in what they

00:33:17   were actually producing. Well, I mean, regardless of, of those kinds of opinions, I mean, there's

00:33:22   no denying that they have hardware. They're good at hardware. Um, so, but Apple is good at hardware

00:33:29   too. So I do think that that's a possibility here where, all right, we built flexible OLED screens,

00:33:34   but only a few companies are going to at first, at least build them in a way, if it's possible,

00:33:42   that isn't super awkward and, and janky, right? Like that's, and I'm not entirely convinced that

00:33:46   that first Samsung phone won't be that where it's really like, well, we want to, we want to sell

00:33:52   these displays and we'll make one, but it's not there yet. But at some point, and this is where

00:33:58   Apple can bring it skills to bear. Apple's going to get samples if they don't have them already,

00:34:01   a foldable OLEDs, and they're going to be, maybe they've been spending the last couple of years

00:34:04   with samples from Samsung and they've been figuring out like, how would you do this? And do you do

00:34:09   a sandwich kind of thing where there's a folded layer and then there's another screen? Or do you

00:34:14   do it where it it's actually the screen that folds around and does the folded around part?

00:34:18   How do you get it to deactivate? Or do you, could you put, could you put data on the backside? Do

00:34:24   you put an Apple logo back there? What do you do? What do you do with the backside? And, and think

00:34:31   about that stuff. And that's all like hardware design that Apple's good at. And they've got the,

00:34:36   they've got their own platform that they can customize for it. So that's their advantage

00:34:40   in this scenario is that ultimately, you know, I think iOS being on devices as small as the SE,

00:34:48   all the way up to the big iPad pro gives them some, and the fact that apps are on iOS are better

00:34:57   suited for large screens, like very large screens than on Android because of the iPad. You know,

00:35:03   maybe not phablets, but even then, I mean, my experience with Android has always been that

00:35:07   even on very large Android phones, it feels a little empty because of the way that Android apps,

00:35:14   most Android apps are built. They don't like, and the lack of popular Android tablets makes me

00:35:20   skeptical about large screens on Android in a way that I'm not at all about the iPad because,

00:35:27   you know, Apple, Apple has done a pretty good job getting iPad software there. So I think there's

00:35:32   lots of advantages that are in Apple's, on Apple's side here, including the fact that they would have

00:35:38   to design something like this so that it didn't feel super weird and unpleasant to use. It would

00:35:44   have to be a pleasant experience. And, you know, that might not happen until the screen tech gets

00:35:50   a lot better. I don't know what the state of affairs is. Is this something they could do in

00:35:53   two years or not? But it's interesting to think about that.

00:35:56   I think there are a lot of questions until we see what Samsung have done. Right, like that's the key.

00:36:01   Right. Like what have Samsung been able to produce? Right. With their own display.

00:36:04   They should be able to make the best one. Yeah. And have it do what they want it to do because

00:36:09   it's their display. Right. So that should be, they should do that. It's not to say that though,

00:36:15   so I was starting to envision what an iPhone foldable iPhone display thing would be like.

00:36:21   And I have two different thoughts about it, which is, you know, the first one is the obvious one,

00:36:25   which is you take something the size of the 10S or the 10S Max, and you have it flip open

00:36:31   and suddenly it's got double the screen size. And it's like a little, it's like a mini iPad.

00:36:37   So it's a big phone that becomes a tablet. And I think that's the most kind of obvious answer,

00:36:42   but I did have this thought about if this was a way to make a smaller phone, because I'm not sure

00:36:48   people love phones with big screens. I'm not sure they love a big screen in their pocket. They love

00:36:55   it, you know, in their eyeballs basically. And so could they instead make a phone that was smaller

00:37:02   that folded out into something that was bigger? And would that be a thing that would be popular

00:37:07   with people? Something that's maybe even more like the SE, more like that dumb like Palm phone that

00:37:14   was your second phone kind of thing. The idea that if you could fulfill the, you know, Steve Jobs'

00:37:20   law of iPhone design, the everything must get thinner and lighter and smaller. Well, it wouldn't

00:37:26   get thinner, but you could have something that was smaller in your pocket and then you opened it up

00:37:30   and flipped it out and it was a big phone. And then when you were done, you just closed it and

00:37:35   stuck it back in your pocket. And I wonder about that as an opportunity for basically making a

00:37:42   phone that has a big screen, but still fits in people's pockets in a way that the XS Max maybe

00:37:47   doesn't. - Yeah, I was thinking like, how would I want to use this? And I was thinking about that

00:37:51   example, right? Because if you had a small phone going to a big phone, so like, imagine you were

00:37:56   looking through Twitter and you were like kind of scrolling things on the smaller screen and

00:38:00   you see a video and you open up the phone and press play on the video. So you have a bigger screen for

00:38:06   the video and then you close it back again and go back to Twitter, right? Like I kind of think that

00:38:10   that's an interesting way to use your device. - Check your notifications and see what the time

00:38:16   is and do something really quick. And then if you want to dive into something, you pop it open and

00:38:21   then you've got a bigger thing. It's possible. - It's very science fiction, isn't it? - It is.

00:38:26   In fact, I would imagine that if you're somebody at Apple who designs iPhones or at Samsung, right?

00:38:32   And you get your hands on one of these as a demo, as demo tech, or even you don't have them and

00:38:38   you're just mocking them up in hardware. Like one of the first things you've got to do is have a

00:38:44   whole bunch of people try to use it. And like the early days of the iPhone where they had things

00:38:50   hooked up to like Macs with a cable in order to pretend that you were holding a phone in your hand

00:38:57   like in Ken Kachenda's book, right? It's a little like that because I'm not quite sure what all the

00:39:03   ergonomic ramifications of this are. It might be that if you make a foldable phone that's like an

00:39:07   SE, people are like, "Oh yeah, I mean, it might be whatever it is that people hate unfolding it,

00:39:14   right? Like we could make a foldable phone and the world says we're not interested in that."

00:39:19   It might be, we don't know. And the first thing I would do if I was working on a project like

00:39:25   this would be to try it out with as many people as I could, presumably secretly inside Apple or

00:39:31   Samsung, and just discover, you got to learn what the issues are with this stuff. Even if it's an

00:39:38   idealized version of this, like do people want to do this? Are people ever going to open it up?

00:39:43   Are they going to get frustrated? What are all the issues there? And that's fascinating. And that's

00:39:48   a huge amount of work, which is why this is, you know, those people presumably hopefully get paid

00:39:52   a lot of money to do their jobs well. There were two other points that I was thinking about as to,

00:39:58   you know, if Apple would want to do this. One of them is if they can do it at large scale,

00:40:02   right? Which is a thing for them, which makes sense, right? They sell lots of phones.

00:40:05   If they can only sell 500 of these a year because of the technology, well, they're probably not

00:40:11   going to get into that market. But the other is can they do it without too many trade-offs?

00:40:15   And in your article, you mentioned something that you referred to as Jobs's Law. What is that?

00:40:21   Yeah, right. Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, I mentioned it earlier. It's the short version is the Jobs's

00:40:25   Law, which is every iPhone, every Apple product should get thinner and lighter, basically, is the

00:40:29   Jobs's Law. That is the ongoing push. It doesn't always happen, but I think the idea there is that

00:40:37   Apple is always pushing its product designs to be thinner and lighter. Now, are there...

00:40:44   I'm not saying that that's like an ideal form. I'm saying that I think Apple feels it's an ideal,

00:40:48   it's something to strive for. And so if you can make your laptop smaller and lighter instead of

00:40:53   bigger and heavier or keep it the same even that Apple... It's like you've got a manager saying,

00:40:59   you know, could we make it lighter? Like, not that you have to, but like, let's strive for that.

00:41:07   Let's try to make this thinner and lighter. And that's the question with something like this,

00:41:13   is that this is totally new tech and I'm not... Just looking at it, it seems unlikely that this

00:41:19   would be something that would be thinner and lighter. So you would have to, you know,

00:41:23   how does Apple handle that? You know, and is Apple's goal to make it thinner when unfolded

00:41:31   and then thicker when folded or what? I don't know. It's a mystery.

00:41:35   It's like, oh, at its thinnest point, this is the thinnest iPhone we've ever... You know what I mean?

00:41:39   What happens when you fold it on itself?

00:41:42   Right. It's like the most surface area display per gram or per volume that we've ever put in

00:41:49   an iPhone. Right. I'm sure there's some spec that Apple will come up with. Most screen density in

00:41:55   the smallest phone volume ever. Something like that.

00:41:59   You know, and it's like, I guess the way you would... The easiest way to get away with that

00:42:02   idea is it's a brand new phone in the line. Like the XR is thicker than the X, right? And they

00:42:07   kind of like was because it's brand new. So... And this would be like that, right? This would...

00:42:11   If they did something like this, it would have to be a completely new part of the product line.

00:42:14   It would be... The fourth new iPhone that they release.

00:42:16   Yeah. It's above the 10. It's this other thing that goes beyond it and is even more kind of

00:42:23   expensive and aspirational, at least at first. This very much could be a brand new product line,

00:42:30   right? Like it could be named slightly differently. Like it might not be called like

00:42:34   the iPhone 12 flex or whatever. Like they might give it a new name even because it is this weird

00:42:40   thing that sits in the middle. It's like this convertible thing.

00:42:43   I would imagine they'll call it an iPhone just because the iPhone is such a big product.

00:42:47   It's such a great brand, but it would be a very different kind of product. And potentially,

00:42:52   it might not be. It might really be a phone and even unfolded. It's not really even iPad screen

00:42:58   size. It's still a phone with an alternative view. So I would imagine they would call it an iPhone,

00:43:06   but who knows? Who knows? I don't know. I'm really excited to see Samsung's

00:43:10   genuine. I cannot wait to see what they've done. Well, I mean, people can roll their eyes and be

00:43:16   like, "Oh, this is ridiculous." It may well be ridiculous. But what's interesting is that a

00:43:20   product that has been a category that has been talked about for ages, since the beginning of the

00:43:25   conversations about OLED, people are like, "Oh, you know what? They're going to be able to make

00:43:28   flexible displays." And there were demos of this thing. But 2019 seems to be the year where these

00:43:34   products will actually be released that use this technology. Now, will they be good? Will they be

00:43:38   practical? Who knows? Probably not. But it's a starting point and it makes you start to think,

00:43:43   "Okay, what if this is a real thing?" And we'll find out. Maybe it's not. Maybe Samsung will.

00:43:48   It'll be a complete flop. Maybe that LG TV that rolls up that was shown at CES that is apparently

00:43:54   actually going to ship this year, maybe it will be a flop. Maybe it won't. Maybe it has weird issues

00:43:58   that they're not talking about that the reviewers were discovered. That's all to play for. But it is

00:44:03   interesting in the sense that we might be at the point where this tech that has been promised for

00:44:08   a long time actually exists. And if it does, then things potentially get interesting.

00:44:14   Will Barron Alright, today's show is also brought to you by our friends over at FreshBooks. I use

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00:46:09   So there's been a bunch of interesting ads that Apple have been putting out recently and there

00:46:17   was a big selection of ads for the iPad Pro. Now these are the types of ads that

00:46:23   are interesting in their execution because of how they're displayed. A lot of the time,

00:46:28   the only time you ever see them is by going to Apple's YouTube page and watching them. Or

00:46:34   otherwise they tend to be used in online media like these ads, these ones that we're talking

00:46:39   about right now, they're not shown on TV. They're all too long and yeah exactly right.

00:46:45   I was hesitant to even call them ads, they're like are they videos?

00:46:51   They're kind of like little tutorial videos. But they're interesting because of their focus. So

00:46:58   there are five of them for the iPad Pro and I'll give you the quick titles of them. So

00:47:03   a new way to create a presentation, a new way to take notes, a new way to design your space,

00:47:07   a new way to go paperless and a new way to host your own podcast. And the reason that I saw about

00:47:13   these ads in the first place is because a bunch of people sent to me the podcast one because

00:47:17   naturally it's cool to see Apple focusing on that. So they use a bunch of apps, they use actually

00:47:23   pretty much all third-party apps for these so that's cool as well because they're showing them

00:47:27   off. So they use Good Notes which is a wonderful app that just received a new update which is

00:47:31   really great. Notability which is another app that I really love. I use both of those, they're

00:47:36   like note-taking apps on the iPad. But for the podcast one they show off Anchor and it's a really

00:47:41   good one because they show how you can just plug a USB-C microphone in and you can record and then

00:47:47   you can go to GarageBand and make your theme song. I actually really like it, I think it's really good

00:47:51   and it shows off the tools that Anchor have to allow you to put a show together really quickly.

00:47:55   Maybe it would have been nicer as Jason points out to use Ferrite because that's the actual

00:48:02   really powerful app. I know why they didn't, which is that with Anchor what you get is

00:48:07   Ferrite you can record in and you can edit but Anchor because it's made by a hosting company,

00:48:14   it's a good app and it has some features that Ferrite doesn't like. It will just post your

00:48:21   podcast right, like it will then upload it to Anchor servers and your podcast episode is live.

00:48:25   And I think I'm unclear, I need to follow up on this, but I think they've got it set up that if

00:48:30   other people are running the Anchor app on iOS you can call them inside and everybody records together.

00:48:36   I'm not sure if you can do that if you're not running the Anchor app. I'm not sure if you can

00:48:40   do that with desktops on the web or not. I think it might just be app only but yeah it is a thing

00:48:45   you can do. They have a lot of features right? And also as well, I'm sure that Apple's super

00:48:51   aware of Anchor. They have business relationships right, so it's not surprising to me that they'd

00:48:56   feature them. But it probably is the right thing. I think using Ferrite in an ad like this would be

00:49:01   too much. It's maybe a little bit overboard. Yeah I will tell you, I will admit, and this may happen,

00:49:07   it depends on how much time I have and I don't have a lot of time, but I have been tempted to

00:49:11   set up my camera and my table and replicate that ad with Ferrite. I don't have a white table with

00:49:21   a white background so it would not be exactly the same, but I have been tempted to do that because

00:49:25   it is a little more complicated but it does actually work. Right, but Jason will you go

00:49:30   the whole way because these ads they all say, well most of them say at the end that they are filmed,

00:49:36   edited, designed, and made with the iPad Pro. Yeah, yeah that's true. I saw on Twitter there

00:49:44   were some people who were like really skeptical. They're like, you know, what is this? Do they

00:49:48   really mean this? It's like, yes they mean this and you can like the new iPad Pro. There is no

00:49:51   benefit to lying about this. The camera is good and shoots 4k and there are many video editors and

00:50:01   I was surprised that people were surprised. It shows you I think how skeptical people are about

00:50:07   this do real work on the iPad thing and I will point people back again to Serenity Caldwell's

00:50:13   review of the sixth generation iPad that she did last spring which was entirely drawn, written,

00:50:20   edited, and produced on the iPad. You can do a lot of stuff on the iPad folks. It's not surprising.

00:50:30   It should not be surprising at this point. That's the reason they did it is they want to just throw

00:50:34   it out there in every single one of these that like, yes we can absolutely do this all on iPad

00:50:39   Pro. There's some conspiracy theories out there that are like, oh they were secretly using a new

00:50:43   version of Final Cut Pro 10 for iPad. LumaFusion is incredible. Yeah, it's fine. It is an absolutely

00:50:50   amazing application and you could 100% make a video like this with LumaFusion. Sure. It's

00:50:57   possible. I find it funny because it's like they don't need to say this. If they didn't do it,

00:51:05   if these videos were not made with the iPad, people wouldn't go, "Aha! You can't do real work

00:51:10   on the iPad." It just never would have come up. I actually think it's really great that they did

00:51:17   do this because it's proving a point which I think is really important. This is dogfooding in public.

00:51:24   They're like, "We did this too. We made these videos with the iPad Pro. You can do all of this

00:51:30   stuff." I like to believe that the pro workflow team made these ads. That's what I like to

00:51:35   believe. That's my headcanon. Interesting. Or at least maybe they were involved. Yeah,

00:51:41   they were consulted. Involved in the, you know, I, and I'm gonna obscure all the information here,

00:51:46   but I was asked by somebody who works at Apple a while ago what I thought of Anchor

00:51:52   and would it be a valid podcasting tool? I said, "Yes, it's very good."

00:51:57   It's tied into their system, but it's very simple to use and does all the things and lets you edit

00:52:06   and all that. I should say on that podcast, they also go to GarageBand at one point to make a theme

00:52:11   song, which made me laugh. I thought that was really funny. I love that. I think it's funny.

00:52:15   Yeah. I don't know. I saw this and I was like, "I wonder if that's why they asked about Anchor."

00:52:22   Is it just getting a read on whether this is legit enough to put in a video like this?

00:52:26   But it totally is. And it's a good video. You know, it's funny. This is not a podcast where

00:52:30   we talk about, like, Apple released some ads a lot because it's just like it's marketing from Apple.

00:52:35   And I generally am not super thrilled about it, but I thought these were interesting enough to

00:52:39   talk about, especially since you and I care about the iPad Pro a lot. And I think they're very well

00:52:43   done. And I like that they filmed and edited and designed them on the iPad Pro. I did want to

00:52:50   mention, since we broke the seal and talked about Apple ads, I wanted to mention another Apple ad,

00:52:58   which again, we never do on the show, but it's watching sports the last few weeks. I keep seeing

00:53:06   the Color Flood ad, which is for the iPhone XR. This is an ad. This is the ad where there are

00:53:12   people in various colored outfits running around in like streams of color all over a city.

00:53:19   You know it if you've seen it. And I just wanted to say, I loved this ad before I even discovered

00:53:27   it was an Apple ad. It immediately caught my attention. And I thought it was a great ad.

00:53:34   I didn't know what it was for. It turns out it's all the color. It's like the colors on the back

00:53:39   of the iPhone XR, which is okay, fine. But I love it as a piece of commercial art. I think it's a

00:53:46   really cool ad. And the song that goes with it, which has come along by Cosmo Shell Drake,

00:53:51   great name, is super catchy. And I think it's a cool little short film, basically, that also

00:53:59   happens to be an Apple ad. So I wanted to plug it and mention that I love it. I can't believe I

00:54:06   haven't seen that ad yet. Like this just feels like something that should have been shared on

00:54:10   the internet, like as a look at this incredible ad, because it is beautiful. Yeah, I really like

00:54:15   it. Again, like how difficult must that have been to make? That is a very expensive shoot, right?

00:54:21   Yeah, my assumption is there's two things going on here. You know what it reminds me of? Do you

00:54:24   remember the bouncy balls ad from Sony, where they let all the bouncing balls down a hill in San

00:54:31   Francisco? Oh yeah, yeah. Right, it was set with, I think it was Teardrop, or was it Heartbeats by

00:54:37   Jose Gonzalez, right? That was the song which made that song famous. But what they did with that ad

00:54:44   is they actually did let a ton of bouncy balls down a street in San Francisco, but they also

00:54:50   put some in with CGI, right? So like they did a bit of both, right? And I expect that that's what's

00:54:56   going on here. There's too many people running way too close together. It feels like there is a

00:55:03   bit of both, I think, going on with that one. Yeah, it may be that there's some cleanup or

00:55:08   there's some doubling and all that, but it is very impressive. And there's things they do where they

00:55:12   like jump, they do like high dives off of a level. It makes it look like a waterfall. And then the

00:55:18   one guy flips back off of one level and is caught by the people. And there's a disclaimer at the

00:55:23   bottom that says, "Don't do this." But it is, yeah, it's cool. It's cool. It is now. I don't

00:55:29   know, as a sales tool for the iPhone XR, I don't know. It doesn't make a difference. The point is,

00:55:34   I think, to get people's attention. And that is part of Apple's marketing campaign. It's like when

00:55:39   they did that Christmas, you know, they do the Christmas ad every year. It's not a showing off

00:55:44   all the features kind of ad. It's a branding campaign. Yeah. Which I think are very important.

00:55:49   I hope that companies continue to do this. It's my favorite type of advertising. It's when you see

00:55:55   the brand and it just makes you go, "Oh, they're so cool." And like that is incredibly powerful if

00:56:00   you can do it. So yeah, I think it's a great ad. I think it's a great example of something. I did

00:56:06   want to just go back to those iPad Pro ads just for a touch. Oh yeah, okay, fine. I just like what

00:56:11   they're focusing on. They're focusing on a bunch of just real work that you can do on the iPad.

00:56:17   I like the things that they've picked, you know? These are a combination between purely creative

00:56:23   stuff and also kind of just like regular stuff like make a presentation, take notes, things that

00:56:29   the iPad is really good at and in some places uniquely good at, especially when you put the

00:56:34   Apple Pencil in and stuff like that. So I really like him. I think that they chose some really good

00:56:38   stuff. And again, I want to reiterate how happy I am that they chose some really good third-party

00:56:43   apps to show this stuff off with. Because if they would have, for like Notes, it's like, "Oh, great.

00:56:49   Look how great Apple Notes is." It's like, "Yeah, I know, but Apple Notes can't take handwriting and

00:56:54   convert it into text. And it can't really mix all the mixed media in as nicely." And so I'm pleased

00:57:00   that they actually did choose some of these third-party apps to really give them that shine.

00:57:05   And I also hope that it results in a lot of sales for these companies because they do good stuff.

00:57:09   That was my last thing, my closing statement on the iPad Pro.

00:57:15   Approved. Now it's time, Myke, for us to put on our full body blue jumpsuits and run through a park.

00:57:24   Okay. So we're going to do that while we're talking about lunar display. Okay. So this...

00:57:29   No, I'm not going to do that. It's brought to you by our friends over at Lunar Display. They are the

00:57:33   makers of the only hardware solution that would take your iPad and turn it into a wireless display

00:57:38   for your Mac, which means you're going to have a second display with you all the time. It's super

00:57:42   portable with basically zero lag and stunning image quality. Setting up Lunar Display couldn't

00:57:48   be easier. You just plug their wonderfully small red dongle into your Mac and you're good to go.

00:57:52   Everything works seamlessly over Wi-Fi. So no matter where you are, as long as you're on the

00:57:56   same Wi-Fi connection, you can jump back into your Mac when you're away from your desk, or you can

00:58:00   have it with you while you're at your desk and have that second display experience. But it also

00:58:04   works over USB. So if you're traveling, I think about someone being on a train. I've taken some

00:58:10   long train journeys in my life and you get a little bit more space on a train maybe than on a

00:58:14   plane. Maybe you've been lucky enough to get one of those four seat table dealios and you're all

00:58:19   on your own and you can put your laptop down and then you can plug in your iPad with a USB cable.

00:58:24   And then you have with Lunar Display two displays right there so you can get your work done.

00:58:29   Super simple to set up and you get all of that beautiful extra screen real estate.

00:58:34   I love my Lunar Display. I use it all the time. Whenever I'm at home, I'm jumping into my Mac Mini

00:58:38   now performing little tasks when I need to. It is truly a wonderful thing for me to have Mac OS live

00:58:44   as an app on my iPad. Listeners of this show can get an exclusive 10% discount on Lunar Display.

00:58:50   Just go to lunar display.com and use the promo code upgraded checkout to get that 10% off.

00:58:55   That is L-U-N-A-D-I-S-P-L-A-Y.com and use the promo code upgraded checkout.

00:59:01   Thanks to Lunar Display for their support of this show and Relay FM.

00:59:04   It's time for some #AskUpgrade.

00:59:08   Matt asks, I have a wallet case for my iPhone that holds two credit cards.

00:59:14   I'm sure it wouldn't work with screen face up, but do Qi chargers work with the screen facing down

00:59:21   and will this fry my credit cards? Let's break this down a little bit.

00:59:24   I don't know what it is, but there is a maximum distance that the phone can have to a Qi charger.

00:59:32   It seems to work fine through regular cases, but like I have a pop socket on my phone, right?

00:59:36   It will not charge to the pop socket. If I take the plastic part off and I just have the rubber

00:59:41   part that's underneath on the pop socket, it will charge. There is a distance from how far away

00:59:47   your phone needs to be to a Qi charger. So if your case is thin enough and you have two credit cards

00:59:52   in it, it might work. It might be within the distance. You kind of have to play around with it.

00:59:58   The thing is, Qi charging does not work with the iPhone screen face down because the coil is in

01:00:02   the back of the phone. So that just doesn't work. Would it fry your credit cards? I have no idea

01:00:07   about that, Jason. Do you know? I don't know. It might not. I mean, your credit card company will

01:00:17   send you another one if it does fry them. I would be more skeptical about whether it actually will

01:00:21   work to charge them. Screen facing down, by the way, it's not going to work. That's not how it

01:00:26   works. It has to be the back because that's where the coils are. And you could give it a try.

01:00:35   You could give it a try and see. And the worst thing that happens is you have to get them to

01:00:39   send you a new credit card because your credit card stops working. The magnetic strip won't.

01:00:43   I'm a little more worried about what might happen to the little chip. It might be okay or it might

01:00:50   not or it might die over time. It's not something that I've tried. My more concern would be that if

01:00:55   the cards are in the way, it's going to stop working because it's going to be too much material

01:00:58   between the charger or it's going to be a lot less effective in transmitting through all of that.

01:01:05   I will point out, you might want to, if you really want to do cheat charging, you might want to look

01:01:09   into like a folio case. Apple makes one, but there are others where you put your cards in the front.

01:01:14   That didn't used to happen before the 10, but the 10 and now the 10s and 10s max, Apple actually

01:01:20   makes a folio case and there are third-party ones. They have a hall effect sensor now on the iPhone

01:01:25   where it locks and unlocks when you open and close the folio, like on the iPad cover. The iPhone does

01:01:32   that now too. So that would be one way to go. Not everybody likes folio cases, although I know people

01:01:37   who really love them and there's official Apple ones now if you want to go that route where you

01:01:42   put your cards in the front and then it, you know, flip over backward and you know, close it.

01:01:45   cards in the front, cheat charging in the back, right? That's how that works.

01:01:50   Sure, sure. That's how it works.

01:01:52   Joannic asks, "First time iPad comic book reader. Jason, do you recommend buying a comic on the

01:01:58   Kindle or Apple bookstore? Which app is better for reading? I'm gonna assume you say none of the above.

01:02:03   No, no, I don't say that. Well, I mean, this is an interesting choice because I do most of my

01:02:09   reading in other apps, but I did write a story on six colors about comic reading on the iPad Pro,

01:02:18   which I'm going to put a link in the show notes right now.

01:02:23   I've already got it. Don't you worry. I've got it, Jason.

01:02:24   No, I got it. You got it. All right. Thanks, Myke. So my answer is I don't like how iBooks does comic

01:02:30   reading. They do it. It feels to me, just my personal opinion, I don't like their really kind

01:02:39   of skeuomorphic approach to it where they want to show you like the spread and then zoom into one

01:02:43   page and then you flip the page and stuff like that. I much prefer the Kindle stuff because the

01:02:48   Kindle stuff is ComiXology integrated into the Kindle app. And if you did not know, not only did

01:02:54   Amazon buy ComiXology, which is the leading digital comics exclusive seller, they have their own app,

01:03:04   which was the best app for reading comics that you could, you know, not sideloading comics, which is

01:03:10   a separate issue where you've got files and you want to display them, but like to buy them,

01:03:14   ComiXology was great at reading comics that you bought. When Amazon bought them, they began a

01:03:20   process. The guy who's in charge of ComiXology is actually, I think, in charge of comics at Amazon

01:03:26   too, digital comics at Amazon. Basically ComiXology is Amazon's digital comics shop too,

01:03:32   kind of, or at least they work together. As a result, the Kindle app basically has ComiXology

01:03:37   in it. So when you open a comic in the Kindle app, you're getting a good comic reading experience.

01:03:43   I prefer the ComiXology app. Comics from ComiXology and Kindle, I think your Kindle

01:03:49   purchases sync to ComiXology. I'm not sure if it goes back the other way. But anyway, I would

01:03:54   choose the Kindle over iBooks or books because I just don't like how the Apple Books experience is

01:04:01   for comics. But other people disagree and that's fine too. I don't need, like my article details

01:04:07   it. Like there are things you want out of a comic reader experience. And right now I would choose

01:04:13   Kindle or ComiXology first in terms, and I do, in terms of reading comics on the iPad that I

01:04:20   bought from Amazon basically. Gareth asks, "If the price of OLED screens come down to the point that

01:04:27   Apple can use one in the cheaper phone, so like the R series, is there still a place for three

01:04:32   phones in the lineup? If they both use, if they all use OLED, what distinguishes the R from the

01:04:37   standard phone?" So this is the assumption here that OLED will be the only distinguishing factor

01:04:45   in the difference of these phones going forward, right? So if you look at the R line, right now

01:04:51   it doesn't have OLED because OLED is the core new technology that makes the phone more expensive.

01:04:56   My assumption would be that if the R does stay around, which I am inclined to think that they

01:05:02   are going to maybe give this a bit more of a college try than they did the C line, right?

01:05:07   Irrespective of how well or not it's selling, Apple saying it is selling well,

01:05:10   the rest of the world is saying it's not, I don't know what the truth is.

01:05:13   My thinking is that as new technology finds its way into the more expensive phones, it doesn't all

01:05:22   find its way into the R line, right? So let's imagine Apple adds X new wonderful feature to

01:05:29   the iPhone 12. Maybe it's the three cameras, maybe the cameras get a little bit better in some way,

01:05:33   maybe there's some new technology, and maybe the R at some point picks up the OLED, but it doesn't

01:05:38   get feature X, right? The thing that's pushing the phone to make it more expensive. Because if the

01:05:44   price of OLED screens comes down, then they don't need to keep OLED away from that phone.

01:05:49   You know, maybe it never gets 3D touch because 3D touch is more expensive. So even when they move to

01:05:56   OLED, it still uses haptic touch, right? So my expectation is that the R line is just,

01:06:02   it keeps getting better, but never has everything.

01:06:06   - Yeah, I think this is, you've hit on the real question about this line, which is, is the R,

01:06:14   the XR there because Apple wants to establish a line of phones that are cheaper than their super

01:06:22   high-end line that have some but not all of the features? Is that what they're doing here? Or is

01:06:29   the R, the XR a side effect of where they are currently in their product cycle, where they

01:06:37   need to have a phone like this, or they want to have a phone like this because the OLED stuff is

01:06:41   too expensive and they want to have something that costs a little bit less? If the last couple of

01:06:49   years of Apple and the iPhone is any indication, I would expect change more than I would expect

01:06:55   things to stay the same. Will the XR or a version of it be there next year? Maybe, but in the long

01:07:02   run, do I expect something like the XR to stick around? Maybe something like it, but I also would

01:07:10   not be shocked if it went away at some point. And then if a different kind of outlier phone came back

01:07:16   some other time, it really depends on what Apple's strategy is going forward. And that has to do with

01:07:24   do they think that the 10 line as the regular line is price right? Do they think there need to be

01:07:28   more phones that are cheaper? Do they think the 10 line needs to be cheaper, but there could be

01:07:32   phones above it? There are a lot of options there, but I think there's some validity in this idea that

01:07:38   they build a nice phone that's got a lot but not all of the features that they can sell for cheaper

01:07:44   that is going to be more of a crowd-pleaser. I think Apple wants that to be true, but since we

01:07:49   don't know how well it's selling and how Apple is interpreting those sales versus other sales

01:07:55   elsewhere in their product line, it's very hard from the outside to say, but it does seem like

01:07:58   they want there to be a market that allows them to sell a super expensive high-end fancy phone with

01:08:05   all the features and another phone that's good, but they can price it for $200 or $300 less.

01:08:12   I think they would like to do that if they can get away with it. I'm not sure whether we know

01:08:16   if they can get away with it. This question comes from Brian Hamilton. We have two doors,

01:08:22   a front door and a back door. If we get a smart lock, do you think it should be the main way to

01:08:28   get into the house with the back door as a backup, or should the smart lock be the backup to a front

01:08:32   door with a key? Does that make sense? Yeah, the front door is the backup, the backdrop is the

01:08:38   back door is the backup? There's a Dr Seuss poem in there somewhere. Listen to Brian,

01:08:45   the whole reason you get a smart lock is for convenience. So it would be the front door,

01:08:49   because then if you come to the front door, it unlocks itself. And if you want to let somebody in

01:08:57   temporarily as a guest, you can give them a temporary guest coat and it can come in the

01:09:01   front door. The back door is presumably not a normal way anyone enters the house.

01:09:07   And so it seems perfect to be a backup unless your back door, like the house I grew up in,

01:09:12   the front door was never used and the back door was everybody's access point. But I would say

01:09:17   it's supposed to be your primary access point that you use a smart lock on, because what you're

01:09:21   really trying to do is just make it super convenient for people to get into the house.

01:09:26   And then you can hide a key in a rock somewhere in the backyard to get in the back door or whatever

01:09:31   you need to do. Luke asks, do you know if the new battery cases would fit the iPhone 8 Plus?

01:09:38   They do not. They are made complete. Have you seen or tried one of these yet?

01:09:42   I have not done it. I was enjoying Renee Ritchie and John Gruber talking in depth about these

01:09:48   battery cases. And I haven't even been to the Apple store to see one. I don't really have a

01:09:54   need for them because I work at home and I travel infrequently enough that bringing a battery

01:10:01   with me when I need it is fine. I don't like... You really need to be committed to,

01:10:08   you're always using your iPhone and it's always out of battery. That's when you go to the case.

01:10:13   Because if it's occasional, I don't see why you can't just bring a battery with you,

01:10:16   unless you've got very particular needs or no pockets or whatever it is, in which case,

01:10:20   I understand that. So yeah, but by all accounts, they are incredible for battery life. They have

01:10:27   the secret sauce because they're built by Apple that the phones talk to the batteries and it knows

01:10:32   when to charge them and they work without you having to press buttons or do anything,

01:10:36   and that's all great. But they're also for the 10s, right? So the iPhone 8 phones are

01:10:42   not the right size, so they don't work. Yeah, like for me, I have more devices than just my iPhone.

01:10:49   So I typically prefer to have a big external battery that I could also use to charge my iPad

01:10:55   or my Nintendo Switch or whatever when I travel, you know. On a daily basis, even when I'm out and

01:11:00   about, my iPhone does not need more than what I already give it. It just doesn't need it.

01:11:08   I'm very happy with the battery life on my 10s Max. But I'm pleased that they're doing it for

01:11:16   the people that want it, right? Like if you've been waiting for this, that would be great. And

01:11:20   it was weird that they didn't make them for the last generation of phones, which just seemed very

01:11:27   strange to me that they didn't do that. Yeah, I wonder if they're charging tech people were

01:11:35   working on a different product instead. Oh, Jason Snell. Finally today, Jeremy asks, "Do you think

01:11:51   Apple will experiment with more region-specific iPhone models in the future, like the dual SIM

01:11:56   10s Max in China, to compete stronger in markets where maybe they need a little bit of a leg up?"

01:12:02   I think it's possible. I think that the reason they went with the dual SIM was so it would sell

01:12:07   better in China, right? I think that was why they did that. Yeah, I think Apple is open to this. But

01:12:12   what I would say is that every design variation has a cost, and Apple needs to see potential payoff

01:12:20   for them to do it. And building a phone for China, given Apple's commitment to China and wanting to

01:12:27   be appealing in China, makes sense. Building region-specific phones for markets where the

01:12:34   iPhone is less appealing because it's too expensive basically means making region-specific

01:12:41   cheap iPhones. I think it's possible. It would be a real break in strategy from them.

01:12:50   Do that. They would be purpose building a new cut rate cheap iPhone for markets that can't afford

01:13:00   the iPhone. And there's a question of like, does that devalue the iPhone? Maybe. The iPhone brand

01:13:06   and its perception it's a high quality product, maybe. But if you're in a market, if you're

01:13:12   failing to get any traction in a market like India, because you're just out completely out

01:13:17   of range for anybody, I wonder if they would do that saying, we can't be a luxury brand in India

01:13:25   if our phones, our cheapest phones are too expensive. We need to build a phone

01:13:29   that will be priced like a luxury brand in India that people who have the money, who are middle

01:13:37   class in India will buy. And right now it seems like most of their phones just can't crack that.

01:13:43   And that price is one of the big reasons why. So, I think not impossible, but that would be a real

01:13:50   change in strategy for them over just building a, just selling and leaning into the models that are

01:13:57   cheaper and trying to sell them in those markets. It would be, Hey, Apple just had their big oopsie

01:14:04   with their forecast for their sales. iPhone sales are slowing. Would it be unlikely for them to take

01:14:12   a totally new approach to a market like India or Brazil or any of these other kinds of markets where

01:14:18   they have not had as much traction? No, I would say, although it would be a big break for them,

01:14:24   I feel like they're in a position now with the iPhone where they might be willing to take some

01:14:28   risks and go outside their comfort zone because they want to keep expanding. But,

01:14:34   I think it's a coin toss kind of like they might do it, but it would be a big change. So,

01:14:42   I wouldn't expect it. But, anything's possible given where they are right now.

01:14:46   Will Barron Alright, if you would like to send in a question for us to finish the show with,

01:14:51   just send in a tweet with the hashtag #AskUpgrade and it may be picked for a future episode. If you

01:14:56   want to find the show notes for this episode, you can find them in your podcast app of choice

01:15:00   or at relay.fm/upgrades/229. Jason is the host of many shows here at Relay FM, like I am. Go to

01:15:07   relay.fm/shows and you can find something new if you are looking to find more podcasts for your

01:15:13   listening enjoyment. But, Jason also hosts a bunch of shows over on the incomparable as well.

01:15:17   Jason writes at sixcolors.com and he is on Twitter, he's @jsnell. I am @imike. Thanks again to our

01:15:25   sponsors this week, the fine people over at Freshbooks, Luna Display and Squarespace. But,

01:15:30   most importantly, thank you for listening and we'll be back next time. Until then,

01:15:34   say goodbye Jason Snell. Live long and prosper, Lieutenant Hurley.

01:15:38   May the force be with you. Start… No, no!