178: On a Dark Desert Highway


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00:00:08   >> From Relay FM, this is Upgrade.

00:00:10   It's episode 178, and today's show is brought to you by Pingdom,

00:00:14   PDF pen from Smile and Simple Contacts.

00:00:16   My name is Myke Hurley and I am joined by Mr. Jason Snow.

00:00:19   Hi, Jason Snow.

00:00:20   >> Hi, Myke Hurley.

00:00:21   It's good to be back, and I hope you had a good weekend.

00:00:24   And how you doing?

00:00:27   >> Good, it is my birthday week.

00:00:29   But I just want to let everybody know that I turn 30 on Wednesday.

00:00:33   Just so you know, you know, in case you feel like you need to wish me a happy

00:00:35   birthday, you can do that on Wednesday the 31st.

00:00:37   I turned 30 years old.

00:00:39   Everybody should care about that.

00:00:40   I think everybody does care about that.

00:00:42   But anyway, we're going to talk about our hashtag snail talk question.

00:00:45   And this one comes from Leonardo.

00:00:47   Leonardo wants to know, Jason, what is the feature that you missed

00:00:51   most when you use the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement?

00:00:54   So what is the thing you're sitting there of your your lovely iPad

00:00:57   in your keyboard and you're typing away and you're like, "Oh, this is really great."

00:01:01   But…

00:01:02   First, I just want to say it's really great to get a question from one of the Ninja Turtles.

00:01:10   And I'm sorry, I had to do that.

00:01:14   You've just given Leonardo the thing that he has had for the last 20 years of his life

00:01:18   and he thinks he's finally escaped it as an adult, but no.

00:01:21   No.

00:01:22   No.

00:01:23   No, and of course I could have gone the other way with a titan of the art world, but I didn't.

00:01:30   This is a tough one for me. I was thinking about this before the show, and I've got a lot of little

00:01:38   things where I wish the iPad Pro was better. Like iOS with Bluetooth keyboard still like,

00:01:46   if you command tab to different apps,

00:01:49   sometimes it thinks the command key

00:01:52   is still being held down when it isn't,

00:01:55   and then you type something and it,

00:01:56   instead of putting the letter,

00:01:57   it like issues a command and stuff.

00:01:59   There's occasionally I have that,

00:02:01   and that's across Bluetooth keyboard.

00:02:02   That's not one keyboard.

00:02:03   Like I see that happen a lot.

00:02:05   And that's frustrating when that happens

00:02:08   'cause my Mac is rock solid when it comes to that stuff.

00:02:10   There's a lot of little stuff like that, file imports,

00:02:12   there are these things that I miss a little bit,

00:02:14   but I think this is,

00:02:16   I know this is weird, but since I edit text a lot,

00:02:18   'cause I'm writing a lot on my iPad Pro,

00:02:21   I gotta say, I kinda miss having a track pad.

00:02:26   Like I kinda miss being able to select large chunks of text

00:02:30   and move them around.

00:02:31   And I know I can put my fingers on the screen

00:02:35   and do kind of like, sort of like a track pad,

00:02:38   but it's not quite the same as having a physical track pad.

00:02:43   And if iOS supported Bluetooth pointing devices

00:02:48   for you moving that text editing cursor around,

00:02:52   I would get one because I miss that

00:02:55   when I'm writing and editing stuff.

00:02:57   - Today, I was putting our document together

00:03:01   and it required today a lot of copy and pasting

00:03:05   where it typically doesn't.

00:03:05   Like I was copying and pasting quotes out of some web pages

00:03:10   And just text selection on iOS can get so fiddly sometimes, and, you know, like I'm

00:03:16   dragging the little anchors and then I let go of one and it just pings back to one character

00:03:20   as opposed to an entire sentence for a reason I can't understand.

00:03:24   And I wished for a mouse pointer at that moment.

00:03:27   Just at that one moment, I really wanted one.

00:03:29   The ability to be able to use a trackpad or something every now and then would be kind

00:03:34   of nice.

00:03:35   The moment that crystallized this for me is last year, my family and I went to Hawaii

00:03:42   and over New Year's. And I was working on the Apple report card story where I talked

00:03:47   to a whole lot of people, and we're going to talk about this year's today, and that

00:03:51   has lots of text from people who write in their thoughts. And then I trim it, cut it

00:03:56   down a lot. And I was doing that on my iPad using a Bluetooth keyboard, using the bridge

00:04:01   And I kept thinking, oh my God, this is so like, you know,

00:04:06   I can hold down the shift key and the arrows

00:04:08   and move it around.

00:04:09   But I just thought this is something that the iPad

00:04:11   is still just not good enough at.

00:04:13   Is this like a whole lot of text selection

00:04:16   and pinpoint cursor kind of stuff.

00:04:19   And it's, I feel like, you know,

00:04:23   if it's just purely a tablet,

00:04:24   you can kind of get by with the approach that, you know,

00:04:28   of using two fingers or standard kind of text selection stuff.

00:04:32   It's when you get, like with a keyboard,

00:04:36   and then it gets frustrating

00:04:37   'cause I've got to reach up to the screen to move it around.

00:04:39   And I just, again, I don't really understand

00:04:42   why Apple hasn't thrown Bluetooth pointer support in

00:04:45   to the OS because it would be super limited

00:04:50   and really a niche thing,

00:04:53   but it would work for text selection

00:04:55   and it would work for anyone who's using

00:04:58   like a screen sharing app.

00:05:00   You'd just be able to use those

00:05:01   instead of having to buy like a special mouse

00:05:03   that only works with a certain app or something.

00:05:04   - The Citrix X1 mouse,

00:05:05   which we spoke about a long time ago.

00:05:07   - So I kinda don't know why they haven't done it

00:05:10   just 'cause it would be like to throw a bone

00:05:11   at people who are like pros,

00:05:13   in a particular area using iOS

00:05:15   and like the cursor's already there,

00:05:18   the movement's already there.

00:05:19   They don't have to,

00:05:20   they don't have to,

00:05:22   'cause the argument that I always get

00:05:23   when I talk about this is somebody says,

00:05:25   well, but if they did that, they would need to have

00:05:27   a whole, you know, paradigm for selecting items

00:05:30   in all apps using a pointing device.

00:05:32   And my response is, no, they don't.

00:05:34   Like, they really don't.

00:05:36   They could, if they wanted, say, you know,

00:05:39   bullet point in iOS 11.4,

00:05:42   added support for Bluetooth pointing devices

00:05:45   in for text insertion only.

00:05:47   Done, like done.

00:05:49   And they haven't.

00:05:51   So anyway, that's the one,

00:05:52   that's actually the one that I miss

00:05:54   because I work with words a lot.

00:05:55   There are a lot of little details that I wish were more refined, like they are on the Mac,

00:06:01   but that's the one I think that I would say, when I'm traveling and doing remote recording,

00:06:06   it's the file access thing.

00:06:08   But day to day, when I'm using my iPad, it's text selection.

00:06:14   Thank you to Leonardo for suggesting the question.

00:06:16   I hope that was a good answer.

00:06:18   If you would like to submit a question for us to answer at the beginning of the show,

00:06:23   just send us a tweet with the hashtag SnellTalk and we'll pick it for a future episode.

00:06:27   Jason, I don't want to do this follow-up item but you are very insistent on it so I will

00:06:35   explain something here. So many people may have noticed this, many people didn't report

00:06:41   it because why would they? When you were listening to the Hamilton chapter last week in, if you

00:06:47   use Overcast, you may have noticed that during that part of the show, the Overcast app became

00:06:54   rather unresponsive whenever the audio was playing. So it would judder or you couldn't

00:06:59   scroll very comfortably and stuff like that. Turns out I discovered a peculiar kind of

00:07:05   edge case bug in Overcast and Forecast, Marco's application, which was that I needed to make

00:07:15   the file small. I needed to make it as small as it could possibly be because there is a

00:07:20   limit to how much you really want to make a show's download bigger because of images.

00:07:25   You don't want to make it too big. So I try and keep them to like, I don't know, 100,

00:07:29   150 kilobytes or something, which you can do and you can crunch the heck out of those

00:07:34   images because really they're never that big. So most of our chapter art is crunched down

00:07:38   to like 100 kilobytes because of this. And typically what I use is I just open these

00:07:44   images in preview and it's really easy like preview will just let you export it

00:07:47   drag the slider down and it's done like I don't need to mess around it's like a

00:07:50   super simple process but for whatever reason this image I couldn't get it that

00:07:56   small as a JPEG so I clicked and one of the options I had in preview is to

00:08:01   export it as JPEG 2000 I don't know what that is. Sounds really advanced. Yeah it's like it's the year 2000.

00:08:07   I didn't really know what JPEG 2000 is I still don't know but I could make

00:08:12   the image smaller with JPEG 2000 so I just did it. Turns out JPEG 2000 breaks basically everything

00:08:21   ever in the world so never do that. In fact to the point that to stop this from happening again

00:08:27   Marco has added something into forecast which will now convert images to JPEGs or pings I think

00:08:36   if they're not. So that's what happened. I felt stupid and it's done.

00:08:41   - So what I'm saying is you're a hero.

00:08:43   - I don't know about that.

00:08:44   - You didn't find one bug, you found two bugs.

00:08:45   You found a bug in forecast,

00:08:47   which should probably have converted that file.

00:08:50   And I think Marco may have updated forecast now that,

00:08:53   so it does some file image size compression on the fly

00:08:58   in order to solve this problem

00:08:59   so you wouldn't even need to do this.

00:09:00   And then a bug in overcast

00:09:02   where certain chapter marker file formats freak it out.

00:09:07   And I believe that's gonna be fixed in an upcoming version

00:09:09   and is already fixed in a beta.

00:09:11   So you're a hero for finding bugs

00:09:13   and exposing them to the world.

00:09:16   And I believe we replaced that file, right?

00:09:19   So if you download it after we discovered this, then--

00:09:21   - Yeah, unfortunately I had to just strip the image out

00:09:24   because there just wasn't an easy way.

00:09:27   I tried a bunch of things and there just wasn't an easy way

00:09:28   for me to crunch that file down to a small enough size.

00:09:32   So it was gone forever.

00:09:34   It was just a picture.

00:09:35   I'll put it in the show notes

00:09:37   'cause it was from my Instagram.

00:09:39   It was a nice picture of me taking a picture of the Hamilton logo.

00:09:43   And so that was that.

00:09:44   And yeah, I'm sorry everybody.

00:09:46   I'm sorry for the hassle for developers across the world and for listeners for what I did.

00:09:53   You found it, you know, I don't know, that's like, I think it's a great accomplishment

00:09:56   to, after all of this time of podcast app development, to find something that chokes

00:10:00   the podcast app is pretty impressive.

00:10:01   Anyway, my point is, just wait for JPEG 3000.

00:10:05   It'll be way better.

00:10:06   Yeah, then I'll get, then I'll really get what I need.

00:10:08   JPEG 3000, it's coming any day now.

00:10:11   All right, we have an action packed show today.

00:10:14   I guess first we should say surprise,

00:10:16   the HomePod has arrived.

00:10:17   So on the last episode we predicted that the HomePod

00:10:21   would come late because of AirPlay 2.

00:10:23   Well, Apple did something very surprising

00:10:26   in that AirPlay 2 is delayed as we were told, right?

00:10:30   And we're correct about that,

00:10:31   that AirPlay 2 is not ready.

00:10:33   But Apple decided to just release the HomePod anyway.

00:10:36   Pre-orders are available.

00:10:37   stereo pairing, no multi room stuff.

00:10:40   None of that is there at launch.

00:10:41   - A lot of the really big features have just been

00:10:43   just been pulled out until later

00:10:44   to an undefined period of time.

00:10:47   Pre-orders went available last Friday

00:10:49   and they're available for delivery and pickup

00:10:51   on February 9th in the US, the UK and Australia.

00:10:56   It's coming, it's expanding a little bit wider

00:10:58   to France and Germany later on this year.

00:11:01   I assume you bought one.

00:11:04   - I did buy one.

00:11:07   I mean, I'm gonna write about it,

00:11:09   so I kind of have to have one,

00:11:11   but I'm interested in it.

00:11:13   I think there might be a place,

00:11:14   I'm an Apple Music subscriber,

00:11:16   so I think there might be a place for it in my life,

00:11:19   somewhere in my living room.

00:11:21   That is, 'cause right now,

00:11:22   I've got Sonos connected up to my speakers,

00:11:25   but to get that on, you gotta like turn on the receiver

00:11:29   and then open an app and play something.

00:11:31   And if I've got a HomePod lurking somewhere

00:11:34   in my living room, that might be a better experience.

00:11:37   but I probably wouldn't have bought it right away

00:11:41   if I was just a civilian,

00:11:45   but since I also wanna be knowledgeable about it

00:11:47   and talk about it and write about it, I need to have it.

00:11:50   So yeah.

00:11:51   - I had no and still have no real interest

00:11:57   in having a home pot in my life,

00:11:59   and I decided I wasn't gonna buy one,

00:12:01   but I have ordered one.

00:12:04   (laughing)

00:12:05   The reason I have ordered one--

00:12:06   I took a twist.

00:12:07   The reason I have ordered one, and I fully expect that I will be returning this product.

00:12:12   The reason I have ordered this product is because of the last four or five days where

00:12:18   Apple has announced that a product is going to be available and have basically not really

00:12:25   given any information about it.

00:12:28   They've been doing these weird demos again, but still not letting people control the product

00:12:33   to the way that they want to.

00:12:35   So Serenity Caldwell, who is a host of query and relay FM and writes at iMore, she had

00:12:40   some hands on time with the HomePod and there was an episode of query, episode 23, where

00:12:44   her and Steven talk about her experiences in detail.

00:12:47   And the way that it was being presented and the way that Rem was explaining it, it was

00:12:51   still in a controlled environment with select songs and some of the actions were just being

00:12:58   done by the person who was demoing it for her.

00:13:03   I feel like this is a weird product that could potentially be a very bad product that Apple

00:13:10   is maybe trying to skirt around.

00:13:13   That's kind of my take on some of this.

00:13:15   It's weird.

00:13:16   What they're doing right now with the whole launch of this product is very strange and

00:13:21   it's compelled me to get one to see what the situation is.

00:13:26   Would you agree?

00:13:27   Like it's all very peculiar the way that they're doing this?

00:13:29   - Yeah, I mean, who knows exactly what happened

00:13:34   behind the scenes?

00:13:35   I mean, who knows?

00:13:36   People at Inside Apple know, we have to speculate.

00:13:39   I think it's clear that this product rollout

00:13:42   is not happening the way Apple would have wanted, right?

00:13:46   They delayed it, they dropped features out of it.

00:13:49   There was a long gap between when they announced it

00:13:52   and when it was even supposedly shipping.

00:13:55   - Nobody has reviewed one.

00:13:56   It seems like nobody has got one.

00:13:58   Like it seems very peculiar.

00:14:00   - Right, they did another listing party

00:14:02   and Serenity went to another one of these secluded grottos,

00:14:05   like at WWDC, where they could talk to it

00:14:09   and look at it this time.

00:14:09   They didn't have to just avert their eyes and listen.

00:14:13   Still using some of the same demo music,

00:14:14   which I find funny.

00:14:15   Somebody at Apple really likes that live version

00:14:17   of Hotel California,

00:14:18   'cause apparently they're still playing that,

00:14:20   'cause I got that and Serenity got that too.

00:14:22   So some of that Closet Eagles fan in there,

00:14:25   oh yeah, I know, right?

00:14:26   - That's not closet adjacent,

00:14:27   they're making everybody listen to it. No, I guess they're pretty far out there if they're like,

00:14:31   "You will keep the eagles in the demo, okay?" Can you imagine the pitch session for that, Myke?

00:14:39   Myke, okay, here's what happens in the HomePod room. On a dark desert highway, nope, nope,

00:14:45   we're not gonna do a dramatic reading of whoever you are, unnamed Apple executive,

00:14:50   go back in your corner, we'll play the Hotel California live, just, you know,

00:14:56   You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. We got it, we got it, we got it.

00:14:59   I can feel like I can never leave this meeting. Stop talking about it. Anyway,

00:15:03   so it is, it's weird. It's just, it's weird. And I think some of it is, the question is,

00:15:10   how weird is it from our perspective and how weird is it inside of Apple? Because like,

00:15:14   if this is Apple going off the playbook and forcing things that they're not ready for and

00:15:18   all of that, I guess that's a little bit worrying. At the same time, a lot of stuff seems troubled

00:15:25   and from the outside and in fact it might be kind of like complicated and troubled on the inside.

00:15:32   That doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. It just means that there were issues.

00:15:35   It really could just be poorly communicated.

00:15:37   Yeah.

00:15:39   Because I just feel like there are lots of questions that are taking a very long time to

00:15:43   answer. Like, I feel like the last five days has been a constant battle from journalists to

00:15:48   understand if you have to be an Apple Music subscriber to use this product. It turns out now

00:15:54   that it looks like, again, no one's 100% sure that you can use iTunes match with iCloud Music Library

00:16:02   and it's fine. You don't have to subscribe to Apple Music. Yeah, that is exciting. That is a really

00:16:08   nice thing that we didn't know for sure. That if all you've got is a lot of music in iTunes,

00:16:14   iTunes like, Music Library, Cloud Music Library, you should be able to access that even if you're

00:16:20   you're not an Apple Music person. But it still feels like everyone's like we were

00:16:26   like 90% sure this is the case you know what I mean? It doesn't feel like anyone

00:16:30   can really be like "this is happening." It sounds like Wren got that today maybe got that

00:16:34   confirmation I think she's gotten it now and it makes sense right it's basically

00:16:38   like it seems to me that there is one way that iTunes and the music app look

00:16:45   into the cloud and say what music do I have and it's it's kind of the same

00:16:50   for Apple Music and for iTunes in the cloud,

00:16:53   or at least it's very similar.

00:16:54   And so it makes sense that they would do that.

00:16:57   There's still questions about like,

00:16:58   if it's a track that you uploaded,

00:17:00   how good is the access gonna be via voice?

00:17:03   Is that stuff all indexed and understandable?

00:17:06   On download last week, Kirk McElhern brought up,

00:17:10   like he has a lot of classical music.

00:17:12   So how does he give Siri a command

00:17:14   to play a particular classical piece

00:17:17   from a particular orchestra or album or whatever,

00:17:21   and will that do the right thing

00:17:24   or will it get really confused?

00:17:25   And these are open questions

00:17:28   about how that's all going to work when we get this thing.

00:17:31   But I'm really interested.

00:17:33   By all accounts, it sounds great.

00:17:34   And I mean, it sounded great when I heard it too.

00:17:36   So I'm kind of looking forward to see

00:17:37   how the secret sauce of Apple processing the audio

00:17:42   and then throwing it out to those seven different tweeters

00:17:45   and trying to create kind of a directional sound

00:17:48   and throwing things off of walls and stuff like that.

00:17:50   Like how much work did they put in that?

00:17:53   How good does it sound?

00:17:54   'Cause in the end, I think this product kind of succeeds

00:17:59   or fails based mostly on if it's a really good speaker

00:18:02   for that price, because if they can't do that

00:18:06   for that price, I mean, that's a price

00:18:08   of a good sounding speaker, not a rudimentary speaker

00:18:11   with a really fun voice assistant around it.

00:18:14   So it's gonna live or die based on that one.

00:18:16   And then, you know, the fact is they can,

00:18:18   the rest of it they can fix

00:18:19   with software and service updates.

00:18:21   So if they can get it out there and it sounds good,

00:18:24   and it doesn't have to be a huge hit,

00:18:26   something that we all have to keep in mind

00:18:29   is everybody wants a brand new Apple product

00:18:32   to be a huge hit right out of the gate.

00:18:33   And it isn't always.

00:18:34   Like, you know, the Apple Watch has really grown and changed

00:18:37   in the last couple of years.

00:18:38   And the iPod took a couple of years to get right

00:18:41   because they had to update it and make it work on Windows and figure it all out.

00:18:46   The slow build is fine, so HomePod is a good place to start.

00:18:49   Yeah, so I'm keen to see what this product actually turns out to be like.

00:18:53   I want to see what it's like if I connect it to my Apple TV and that experience is like...

00:18:57   Yeah, I've become keen to see what it looks like.

00:19:01   I still don't think I particularly want it.

00:19:05   And honestly, I think that it might just be something that I spend a week with and return.

00:19:11   I just don't think I will want to replace my echoes with it, but I want to see because

00:19:17   there is a shroud of mystery around it, which is intriguing me, so.

00:19:22   Right? We have some Hamilton follow-up. First off, it sounds like you got more—did you

00:19:27   buy more Hamilton tickets, Myke?

00:19:29   Yeah, I bought more Hamilton tickets today. We're going again in September.

00:19:32   Okay, good. That's good. I had a couple people who wrote in to tell me something that is

00:19:37   absolutely true. I was talking about how Lin-Manuel Miranda talks about how Hamilton is an immigrant

00:19:42   story and one of his sources of inspiration is his dad who moved from Puerto Rico to New

00:19:46   York and I had several people point out Puerto Rico is part of the United States, which it

00:19:51   absolutely is. I wish there were a word for that was not immigration but was something

00:19:59   different for coming a very long way from a very different cultural location to another

00:20:03   place but it's still part of the same country because that's really the story of Lin-Manuel

00:20:09   Miranda's dad. It's also I think the story of Alexander Hamilton because I believe that

00:20:13   the Caribbean island he was on was a British possession just like the US was when he came

00:20:19   to America so he wasn't you know really technically immigrating to a new country immigrating,

00:20:27   immigrating depending on your perspective but anyway the point is and it's something

00:20:32   that every American should know already after what happened with the hurricane. Puerto Rico

00:20:36   is part of the United States. They're U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico. They are not some

00:20:42   foreign country that's sending their people into the U.S. They're actually Americans.

00:20:46   And that was worth mentioning again. You know, despite the fact that, you know, that movement

00:20:52   of people from Puerto Rico to New York City especially is deep in Lin-Manuel Miranda's

00:20:59   mind and his family history and was on his mind when he was writing about Hamilton. So,

00:21:05   but thanks to the people for pointing that out and it's worth saying again because not

00:21:08   enough people actually know that Puerto Rico is the United States. So there it is.

00:21:13   Good clarification. Last piece of follow up today. Messages in iCloud has returned in

00:21:19   the 11.3 beta, but it is not being promoted by Apple in their press release. So there

00:21:25   was a press release for 11.3 last week, which added more ARKit stuff, some Animoji stuff,

00:21:30   some health record stuff. 11.3 will also have the battery.

00:21:35   By the way, we talked about this last time. I love that Apple's doing this, because this

00:21:39   is... So Apple releases these betas, and all the sites that cover Apple write about them

00:21:45   and what's in them. They tear them apart and they say, "Oh, it does this, it does this."

00:21:48   I know I said this last time, but I'm going to say it again. This is one of those things

00:21:52   where there was this old kind of like pretend agreement, which was this a secret and Apple

00:21:58   would pretend like it wasn't happening and everybody would report it anyway. Yeah. And

00:22:03   somebody at Apple has decided, why are we letting, you know, macrumors.com break stories

00:22:12   about what's in our new software? Why are we not doing that ourselves? Why, why do we

00:22:19   not control this story?" And, oh god, I mean they should have done this a long time ago,

00:22:24   but I'm so happy that somebody did that. So now when they're coming out with a new developer

00:22:27   beta with a bunch of new features in it, they put out a press release and say "new animoji!"

00:22:33   and this other thing is happening and this other thing is happening. So big thumbs up

00:22:38   for that. What's interesting about the messages in the cloud stuff is that that's absolutely

00:22:44   being pitched as like "it's not in the press release" and it's like "we're returning this

00:22:50   to testing" and it goes back to our conversations a while ago about like "you don't want to

00:22:55   screw this up" right? You don't want to turn on messages in the cloud to every iOS user

00:23:00   and discover that it's destroyed people's messages archive, right? You don't want to

00:23:04   do that. So they tested it in the iOS 11 beta and then they're like "okay it's not ready"

00:23:10   they took it out and I think by not putting it in the press release what

00:23:14   they're saying is no no seriously we've brought it back for testing we're not

00:23:19   committing to release it with 11.3 let's see how it goes but try it out and I

00:23:27   think that's I think that's really smart so I like I like this whole this whole

00:23:31   story here I like that they're not promoting it because there's clearly a

00:23:35   lack of confidence in it being you know they already made this mistake of saying

00:23:39   iOS 11 and then maybe not. Why do that again? If you're unsure but they're still using the

00:23:45   beta process to try it out and see if they can get it locked down before they release

00:23:50   it to everyone else because that would be really bad if it didn't work right. So yeah,

00:23:56   I think it's cool. And I think it's cool that they're new Animoji too. I think that's a

00:24:01   complaint that we had a lot about the iOS 10 messages improvements and came up with

00:24:06   iOS 11, which is one of the ways for them to keep people interested in their

00:24:11   updates and interested in these features, is to continue doing, it's almost like

00:24:15   DLC for games, it's like content releases, like adding new emoji, which they can't

00:24:20   control, they're kind of up to what is going on with the emoji subcommittee of

00:24:25   Unicode, but they can still do some of that, but the Animoji stuff, they

00:24:29   completely control, like, you know, little carrot to get people to update is,

00:24:33   why can't I send a lion message or a skull or whatever and the answer is well

00:24:38   just go to 11.3 and you'll be able to do that it's smart. Yeah so that's a bunch

00:24:43   of stuff coming and messages in iCloud is back in back in testing again which

00:24:48   is a good sign. Testing! experimental! Again it's like and I think Apple's doing the

00:24:52   right thing they couldn't get it right for the original release maybe they

00:24:57   still won't so that's why they're not promoting it as the thing but yeah the

00:25:01   11.3 also has the battery stuff in it, but that isn't in the developer beta or the public

00:25:05   beta right now.

00:25:06   I think that's going to be coming in a future iteration of this beta period.

00:25:10   Alright, today's show is brought to you in part by Simple Contacts.

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00:26:33   Now Jason, I believe that you have taken this vision test.

00:26:36   I have.

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00:26:43   and you step through it and it's super easy and fast and what they're really just trying

00:26:49   to do is verify that you are not you know you don't you don't have any big

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00:26:58   eye doctor for your regular visits they just want to make sure that your vision

00:27:04   is okay to continue doing a reorder yeah nothing's changed right which is exactly

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00:27:36   show. All right so upstream time uh chapter artwork is still coming we're hoping to have

00:27:42   have that set by next week so there will be a beautiful new chapter artwork for you.

00:27:46   But I have a selection, a plethora of media related news.

00:27:51   So if you remember when we were talking about Fox and Disney, there was a question kind

00:27:56   of outstanding about the fact that Rupert Murdoch was going to be buying Sky Television

00:28:03   in the UK.

00:28:05   But regulators in this country have blocked this purchase, believing that it would give

00:28:10   the Murdoch family too much control over news outlets.

00:28:21   If this regulator is able to completely stop the sale, this would also mean that Disney

00:28:29   won't pick up Sky when they make their purchase.

00:28:32   The regulators are considering that Disney are involved in this, but they're still not

00:28:37   very happy about the fact that the Murdoch family will get it in case the Disney deal

00:28:41   doesn't go through. And then they're allowing it to happen because, oh, Disney will have

00:28:45   it, it's not the Murdochs, but then the Disney deal doesn't go through and then the Murdochs

00:28:48   have got it and they don't want that. So this isn't over yet, but it's not looking very

00:28:52   likely that Sky will be able to fall under Disney in the future.

00:28:57   Right. It's interesting. There's going to be regulatory scrutiny of this deal all over

00:29:03   the place and so the details I don't think this is gonna change like break

00:29:07   the deal but it will change permutations of the deal it seems in Europe it is not

00:29:11   it's not unheard of like we a couple years ago a bunch of the mobile phone

00:29:16   networks were buying each other and one of the big ones was company called three

00:29:20   buying company called Oh - and the regulator stopped it wouldn't let it

00:29:24   happen like it was basically a done deal and they were just ended up would it

00:29:28   have been like 05? 302 I think is what they were going for. But no they weren't really

00:29:33   they were just going to keep it all. It was all going to be rebranded to three. But yeah

00:29:37   the regulators they stepped in and they were like no it reduces too much choice and they

00:29:41   killed the deal so we'll see. You never know.

00:29:44   Damien Chazelle. You may not know that name but Damien was the writer and director of

00:29:49   La La Land which was a very popular movie last year. Damien is the most recent individual

00:29:56   to sell a series to Apple. It is a drama series and the subject matter is being kept a secret

00:30:02   for now, which is peculiar. Chazelle will be joining up with a couple of executive producers

00:30:08   from La La Land on a new project. It is interesting because Chazelle also has already landed a

00:30:14   deal with Netflix to produce a musical TV drama series called The Eddie. So that is

00:30:20   two series orders happening in two different companies.

00:30:22   Remember, there was a time when movie and TV didn't cross over, but this is an example

00:30:28   where this guy gets this Oscar-nominated/winning film and he's like, "All right, TV money."

00:30:38   Now, which is interesting.

00:30:39   Now I need to know where the real money is.

00:30:41   It's weird, isn't it?

00:30:42   And the nature of his deals is fascinating.

00:30:43   So he makes this deal with Netflix, which is he's going to create and produce a musical

00:30:47   TV drama series The Eddie, so the upgrade he cannot be far behind, and he's gonna write

00:30:53   and direct the first two episodes I think is a part of that deal. The Apple deal, where

00:30:59   we don't know anything about it, but that deal he's going to write and direct every

00:31:04   episode. So if I'm Netflix I'm like, "Oh, oh." So you know like he's got a better deal,

00:31:12   but he's also got this deal, so he's now dealing with these two competitors. It's really interesting,

00:31:17   But it is another one we were talking about, like, Apple being interested in the J.J. Abrams

00:31:21   sci-fi series, which we haven't heard any more about, and being worried that there was

00:31:25   going to be, like, it's a little too much sci-fi and you want to get a little more content

00:31:28   diversity in your offering, here's an example of their going--unless the writer and director

00:31:34   of La La Land is creating a science fiction series.

00:31:37   That seems unlikely.

00:31:39   Maybe it's a musical science fiction series.

00:31:41   Musical drama sci-fi, it's all they want.

00:31:43   Just sci-fi, sci-fi, sci-fi.

00:31:45   Oh no.

00:31:46   It would be terrible if that Apple executive came into the room and said, "How about Hotel

00:31:49   California?"

00:31:50   I have a great song for you.

00:31:53   No, no, let's get out of that.

00:31:54   Get out back to your HomePod room.

00:31:56   Anyway, so this is presumably adding another piece to the Apple content library that's

00:32:07   in another area because you just want to have, and I'm not saying they have slots or anything

00:32:11   because it's going to be what the projects are that come by them that they're interested

00:32:14   in but I think having things with different appeal to different groups so that the service

00:32:19   as a whole has broader appeal, that there's going to be one or two things in it that you're

00:32:22   going to be interested in, that's part of what they're putting together. So this is

00:32:26   another piece of that.

00:32:29   And finally, YouTube megastar and filmmaker Casey Neistat has left CNN. Neistat created

00:32:36   a company called Beam which was purchased by CNN in 2016. Beam was an app and technology

00:32:41   company but they were going to CNN to also create content and Nice That was going to

00:32:46   be creating a news show with CNN. They created a YouTube channel and it was getting on its

00:32:51   way but now that has all been shut down. The deal in 2016 was reportedly worth $25 million.

00:32:57   It's not really known about the breakup of that, like how that was, whether it was stock

00:33:01   or cash or whatever. Beam, the app and the technology and the YouTube channel it seems

00:33:09   is all going to be shutting down with a portion of the team and their technology being absorbed

00:33:13   into CNN. For now, Neistat is going to be focusing primarily on his YouTube channel

00:33:18   and a quote from Casey Neistat to Buzzfeed News. I really like this quote actually. He

00:33:23   says "I don't think I'm giving CNN what I want to give them and I don't think they're

00:33:27   getting value from me." And that's why he left. It just wasn't the right fit for anybody.

00:33:33   So he's stepping away and he's going to be pursuing other projects. So it's interesting.

00:33:38   Does he take his $25 million with him or was that one of the questions I always had?

00:33:44   No, there is nothing said about that. My expectation from how these deals are done is whatever money he had, he won't get.

00:33:53   Because these contracts are usually written that you have to stay there for a certain period of time to get your payout.

00:34:00   Yeah, or there's an initial payout and then there's further payouts over time.

00:34:07   over time. So we don't know the details, but it's possible that there was like an option

00:34:11   point here where, you know, he may have just said, look, I don't want you to pay me anymore.

00:34:16   I'm we let's stop this. It's also possible that CNN went to them, went to him and it's

00:34:20   like, you know, we really, this is not working, but either way. Yeah. Like $25 million deal.

00:34:26   But for his year, plus how, how much did Casey Neistat walk away from? We don't know. It

00:34:32   is possible. They had a break point because a nice that had a co-founder. His name was

00:34:36   Matt Hackett and he also left. So they're both gone. So it may have been, who knows

00:34:43   what, why or how, but it's done. They've moved the one, they've moved them. So I'm interested,

00:34:50   I mean, I'm a big fan of Casey Neistat. I think that his work is incredible. I wasn't

00:34:56   particularly blown, like really like involved in the beam stuff that they were making, like the

00:35:01   the news stories, it just wasn't really my cup of tea.

00:35:04   And at least the YouTube numbers would suggest that that may have been the problem for a

00:35:07   lot of people, so this may have been one issue, that they just weren't seeing the results.

00:35:12   CNN took a gamble, then it doesn't look like it really paid off for them.

00:35:16   Okay, so that's upstream.

00:35:19   We're now going to talk about something that is becoming a yearly tradition because you

00:35:23   do it every year, which means I want to talk to you about it every year, which is the Six

00:35:27   Colors report card.

00:35:29   Jason, what is the Six Colors Report Card?

00:35:32   >> Six Colors Report Card.

00:35:35   So three years ago, Koi Vinh, the web designer, or designer, I should say, came to me and

00:35:44   said, "I have this idea and I'm not going to do it, but I think somebody should do it,"

00:35:49   which is do a poll, do a survey of a bunch of people who follow Apple and about like

00:35:56   a report card of how Apple did the previous year,

00:35:58   like an end of the year kind of survey.

00:36:00   And I said, that sounds like a good idea.

00:36:02   He actually came to me like the middle of the year

00:36:05   or something and said this, and I was like,

00:36:06   "Eh, let me think about it,

00:36:08   and I'll get back to you in December or January."

00:36:11   And so I decided I would do it.

00:36:13   And so I've done that for the last three years.

00:36:16   So this is the third one.

00:36:17   And I went this year to about 75 different people

00:36:22   in the Apple observing world writers, podcasters, developers,

00:36:27   and asked them to fill out a survey

00:36:32   with a bunch of different categories

00:36:34   and rate Apple's year 2017 one to five,

00:36:38   and also put in comments about each category

00:36:42   that I was asking them about.

00:36:44   And that's the Six Colors Report Card.

00:36:46   I don't vote in it.

00:36:48   I just let them get their say out.

00:36:51   And so I think it's useful in the sense of getting

00:36:54   a broad sense of what the, you know,

00:36:56   kind of what the vibe is in terms of how people

00:36:59   who observe Apple are feeling about Apple

00:37:02   and seeing now how that feeling has changed year to year,

00:37:06   because I've left the categories the same

00:37:09   for all three years.

00:37:10   So you can actually track sort of the changes

00:37:13   in attitude over time.

00:37:15   And I'm not saying that it's like definitive in any way.

00:37:18   It really is a measure of how Apple observers are feeling about Apple.

00:37:23   I think there's something to be gleaned from that, even though I think you could argue

00:37:28   that there aren't going to be a lot of surprises because you've spent a year picking up on

00:37:33   everybody's comments about what's going on at Apple, right?

00:37:38   And if that's the feeling for the year, then an assessment of sentiment at the end of it

00:37:43   is going to reflect it, and it certainly did this year.

00:37:46   Yeah, whilst there aren't surprises as such, there are interesting things where the comments

00:37:51   in some categories seem much harsher than the grade, and I want to get into some of

00:37:56   that with you to try and work out why some of that has happened.

00:37:59   Well, you know, some people give something a 5 and other people give something a 1, and

00:38:04   what I didn't do is pull out, like, "This is what they scored, this category," which

00:38:08   I thought about doing, but that was kind of a lot of work and I didn't want to do it, so

00:38:11   I thought about it, though.

00:38:13   So it's like Rob Griffiths gave this a 2 and this is why he's grumpy, but I didn't do that.

00:38:18   Okay, so I submitted grades.

00:38:21   You have my grades because I've forgotten what grades I gave, so you can tell me as

00:38:25   we go through.

00:38:26   I didn't submit any comments because I saved those for now with you.

00:38:34   But I also want to, as we go through each of these categories, I would like to know

00:38:38   what you would grade, like what your score would be if you were filling it out, like

00:38:42   just to try and get a feel for your personal feeling in each of these categories.

00:38:46   And then I wanted to pull out some of the interesting comments that I found in the article

00:38:52   that you posted and we can talk a little bit about each of these categories.

00:38:56   So it starts with probably the most contentious, which is the Mac.

00:39:02   So this year in 2017, so in the 2017 report card, the Mac graded with C with the average

00:39:10   score of 2.9.

00:39:11   This is up from a C- last year. Where would you score the Mac for 2017?

00:39:19   It's a tough one. I probably would answer something like 3. That I think was the most

00:39:24   common score and it's about what the average score is. 2016 was a tougher year for the

00:39:34   the Mac. 2017 though, we got promise of a better future and a lot of the people who

00:39:41   filled out the survey filled it out when the iMac Pro hadn't started shipping yet because

00:39:45   it was sort of fielding, the survey was fielding in mid-December to early January and so a

00:39:50   lot of them filled it out right away and were like, "Well, we haven't seen the iMac Pro

00:39:53   yet," and then we saw the iMac Pro and I got an iMac Pro before the end of the year and

00:39:57   I was like, "Yay! Hooray!" That made the Mac kind of brighter for me the year in the Mac,

00:40:02   there's a lot of questions about the Mac's future and there's a lot of

00:40:05   commitments from Apple but we haven't seen all the results of those

00:40:10   commitments so I think that in looking at all the comments that came in I think

00:40:14   there's a feeling like they're not gonna they're not gonna rate Apple up for

00:40:18   saying that they're going to change that they want to see the changes they want

00:40:22   to see the Mac Pro ship they want to see products get updated before they kind of

00:40:27   of upgrade the scores there. So I think that's going on. And yeah, so you know, it was a

00:40:35   I guess there's a lot of keyboard angst to laptop keyboard and that is definitely a part

00:40:39   of it too.

00:40:40   That's a little bit more specific later on like when we talk about hardware in general.

00:40:45   What was my score? What did I grade? You gave it a three? Yeah. So that's that was that

00:40:51   That is unsurprising from past Myke.

00:40:53   I think that a three is good.

00:40:56   I think I would have given it way less last year.

00:41:00   Like I understand that the product releases

00:41:03   haven't been incredible, you know, for the most of the year.

00:41:06   You know, the iMac Pro was great, but on the whole,

00:41:08   people were kind of upset about a,

00:41:12   not an amazing revision again with the MacBook Pro.

00:41:14   People were hoping for more fixes

00:41:16   and the keyboard was revised,

00:41:18   but didn't really seem to do much.

00:41:20   I was interested in seeing in the article that whilst there were most people were unhappy,

00:41:26   there were varying levels of unhappiness and the most unhappy person is Rob Griffiths,

00:41:32   who is a former colleague of yours at Macworld.

00:41:34   This is generally the case. Rob is grumpy.

00:41:37   Okay. Rob said, "Tim can say whatever he wants, but the evidence to date is that Apple

00:41:42   doesn't care about the Mac very much at all." Which is a very strong statement. I found

00:41:48   some hope from John Siracusa who said Apple's apologetic recommitment to Pro Max in April

00:41:55   is a big step in the right direction. And this is the thing for me where I am really

00:42:00   hanging on with believing that things are going to get better because this isn't something

00:42:06   that Apple do. They don't come out and apologise for a commitment to a product line. This was

00:42:13   was

00:42:31   people were very, very happy with that machine. And that's what happens when you push and

00:42:37   make it a real thing. So I think that they made a real commitment, a real change, and

00:42:42   being very open about that. I think that's been great.

00:42:45   Yeah, and it's weird because, you know, I don't have any rules for this. It's like literally

00:42:49   share your feelings. I think it's the right decision to say, "I'm glad that, as John said,

00:42:59   know it's a step in the right direction it's an apologetic recommitment I think

00:43:05   it's right to say that's good but I want to see them walk the walk before I you

00:43:11   know truly elevate the the score here I think there's a lot of anticipation

00:43:15   where people want to score the Mac higher because they feel like maybe

00:43:18   Apple's attitude here has really changed and they did that unusual recommitment

00:43:24   but that they're not all the way there yet. The highest scoring product or

00:43:32   category was the iPhone. The iPhone was graded an A with an average score of 4.4.

00:43:39   Last year was hovering between a B+ and an A- so there has been improvement

00:43:44   in the iPhone. I would say that for me it's it's funny I feel like there

00:43:50   should be a bigger improvement shown in the numbers than there actually is

00:43:54   because the jump year on year has been more significant than like a B+ to an A.

00:44:02   Yeah well I mean it's a straight A from like a B+ A- so it is I mean the

00:44:07   scores the scores definitely did go up you gave this a 5 yeah I would give this

00:44:12   a 5 the iPhone 10 is great and the iPhone 8 is pretty good too yeah so it's

00:44:19   pretty good year for the iPhone like they're there they didn't update the

00:44:21   iPhone SE and and I'm wanting to do that soon but like they they managed to ship

00:44:27   two three really top-of-the-line models this year and you know push the old line

00:44:38   forward a bit and then also came out with this completely new device that

00:44:41   they were able to ship in quantity and that is really good and face ID works

00:44:44   all of these things, it's a pretty good, I mean, if you're not gonna give the iPhone

00:44:50   a 5 in 2017, I don't know when you're gonna give it a 5.

00:44:54   You're never gonna.

00:44:55   Like this is, you know, this is one of the best years there has ever been.

00:44:59   You know, I would say, you know, you got the original, the 4, and this.

00:45:05   Yeah, and I did have some complaints, for the record, only integer ratings are allowed.

00:45:12   Dan Frakes from the Wirecutter, who I used to work with at Macworld, kept writing in

00:45:16   his comments. I was going through editing the comments and there was a lot of, "I would

00:45:19   have given this three and a half if I could have." Like, you can't, Dan. You're not allowed

00:45:23   to pick.

00:45:24   He just wants you to know. He really wants you to know. There were some great comments

00:45:27   in the iPhone. One of my favorites was from Joe Kissel. He says, "iPhone 10, baby, is

00:45:32   everything I could possibly have asked for in a 2017 smartphone."

00:45:36   I could have put in like 20 of those. There were a lot of people who were like, "Come

00:45:38   on, iPhone 10."

00:45:40   Stephen Hackett, the iPhone X simply put feels like a new generation of phones from Apple.

00:45:45   And Carolina Milanese says, "I really think no other company would have been able to implement

00:45:51   a core UI change like Face ID and make it feel like the most natural thing you've ever

00:45:55   used."

00:45:56   Which is a beautiful way of putting it because that is so true.

00:45:59   It is wonderful.

00:46:01   I am very intrigued to see how this category scores next year.

00:46:05   Yeah, now what?

00:46:07   we're all very excited about the wonder of the iPhone X, but next year is vital, right?

00:46:11   We were talking about this last time, like how do they keep the momentum going? What

00:46:14   does the line look like? And I would say, I mean, I don't know if you saw this, but

00:46:18   we got some criticism, which is completely correct from last week's episode, from people

00:46:23   that like smaller phones, right? So like people in the SE category or people that like currently

00:46:28   like the iPhone 6 size, it's looking like phones for people that like those sizes are

00:46:33   kind of going to get left in the dust a little bit and that the most that they might get

00:46:38   is like here's a new processor for you. Like what happens to those phones and I'm interested

00:46:44   to see how that changes over time. Like if all phones are trending larger and larger

00:46:48   and larger and then there's kind of old phones or phones of older technology kept around

00:46:54   at the small level it seems you know it's like why if you like a small phone you have

00:46:59   have to have an old phone. So I'm interested to see how that kind of thinking goes over

00:47:06   the next couple of years if Apple continues to course that they currently aren't. People

00:47:10   that like small phones either get a bigger phone or get an old phone. So I'm interested

00:47:16   to see what happens there. But yeah, the iPhone graded in A was not very surprising. Not very

00:47:22   surprising.

00:47:23   No, it's just you make a good point. What comes next? What's the next act for the iPhone?

00:47:28   But yeah, but they did, the fact that they had this ambitious plan and that they executed

00:47:33   it and we'll see what happens.

00:47:36   I mean, there could be some sort of, you know, security problem or hardware problem or, I

00:47:41   mean, there's lots of different things that could go wrong where they could have a kind

00:47:43   of underwhelming refresh in the fall, who knows?

00:47:47   But for 2017, like, it was a good iPhone year, all things considered, it was a really good

00:47:52   iPhone.

00:47:53   - I love my iPhone X so much.

00:47:54   I still do.

00:47:55   I absolutely love that phone.

00:47:56   I love it.

00:47:57   - Me too.

00:47:58   asked me, a friend of mine asked me last night, we went out to dinner and Lauren's got her

00:48:03   iPhone 8 and I've got my iPhone 10 and he has a 6 I think and he was saying, "Well,

00:48:07   so why, you know, why would you get the 10 instead of the 8?" And I said, "Look, it's

00:48:12   really nice. It's the most expensive one. You probably don't need it, but it's really

00:48:17   nice." And Lauren said, "I really like the iPhone 8." And I said, "The iPhone 8 is great."

00:48:23   Like, it's one of those funny things where I really like the iPhone 10, the iPhone 8

00:48:28   is also great and the iPhone 10, you know,

00:48:30   is you're paying extra to get this thing

00:48:33   that's from the future a little bit.

00:48:34   And you know, it's not for everybody, but it's really good.

00:48:38   I mean, that's the thing about it is it's really good.

00:48:41   So good year for the iPhone.

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00:50:47   So we move on to the iPad. The iPad was graded in A- with an average score of 4.1. Last year

00:50:53   was a B+, so another increase.

00:50:56   Yeah, and I think not too surprising, right? We get the 10.5 iPad Pro, we get the new,

00:51:02   cheaper iPad, and we get an update to the 12.9 model too. We also got iOS 11 features

00:51:09   that were focused on the iPad. So again, like, oh, and sales turned around, right? iPad sales

00:51:15   turned around. So I would argue again that this was a really good year for the iPad.

00:51:22   The only reason I think you don't give it a five out of five here is because you want

00:51:27   to see it continue to grow. You want even more growth in the iPad category, but given

00:51:34   what the last few years have been for the iPad, this was a really good year.

00:51:38   So what are those scores? Scores on the doors?

00:51:43   You gave it a five.

00:51:44   And what would you give it?

00:51:46   - I mean, yeah, I think it's a four or a five,

00:51:49   something like that.

00:51:50   It was a really good year.

00:51:52   I was very happy that the 12.9 got updated.

00:51:54   And yeah, I mean, yeah, it's just a question,

00:51:57   like I said, about whether you're holding the five back

00:52:00   for the year that the iPad conquers the world or not,

00:52:04   because it was a very good year for this product.

00:52:06   - This is why I did it.

00:52:08   It's like, what am I holding for?

00:52:10   Like, I couldn't have asked for more from the iPad

00:52:13   than what I got this year.

00:52:14   - I think this is the best year

00:52:16   we could realistically have hoped

00:52:18   at the end of last year for the iPad.

00:52:21   - Yeah, that is exactly how I think about this grading,

00:52:24   is to grade it within the context, right?

00:52:27   Like within the context of 2017,

00:52:30   what could I have realistically asked for from the iPad?

00:52:33   Well, I got all of those things.

00:52:35   Like everything that I could have realistically wanted,

00:52:38   I got.

00:52:39   Like I can't imagine getting a better year than we got,

00:52:42   especially in the last six months,

00:52:44   than what they gave us.

00:52:46   I feel like it would just be holding back the points

00:52:48   for the sake of it.

00:52:50   So some of the quotes, one comes from you, Jason.

00:52:52   This was a bounce back year for the iPad,

00:52:54   as new hardware and improved sales

00:52:56   gave Apple's larger iOS device a shot in the arm,

00:52:58   which is very nicely put.

00:53:01   Federico Vittucci, of course, I had to read Federico.

00:53:04   Apple didn't disappoint with the 2017 iPad Pros.

00:53:06   Quite frankly, after the lack of updates in 2016,

00:53:09   they absolutely delivered with a refreshed

00:53:11   12.9 inch model and the new 10.5.

00:53:13   The combination of iOS 11 and the new iPad Pro is a great year for the iPad.

00:53:18   Now let's hope we won't have to wait another two years for updates on hardware

00:53:22   and software. Uh,

00:53:23   James T. Green said this is the year that the iPad has become my new general

00:53:27   purpose computer. Um, and to kind of back that up a little bit, Marco Arment said,

00:53:31   the 10.5 inch iPad Pro is the best all-around iPad ever made.

00:53:34   I completely agree with Marco.

00:53:35   And I think that that 10.5 is really what's pushing people like James.

00:53:40   and I see this more and more every day to consider the iPad as much more serious in

00:53:44   their computing life, which is exactly what this product is being aimed to do.

00:53:49   And I think that this was the year that they really made some significant jumps and advancements

00:53:56   in making the iPad a more general purpose computer for more and more people.

00:54:02   So we move on to the Apple Watch, graded A- of an average score of 4.0 last year at a

00:54:08   be what's your score Jason? Well you know what I think I have to say again

00:54:16   this is a four or a five I think I'd go more four here because while this was a

00:54:24   very good year for the Apple Watch getting LTE having the new version

00:54:29   having a watch OS update that was fine although not not enormous but it was

00:54:36   fine. I think we're aware of some of the limitations of Apple Watch that didn't

00:54:41   get addressed in watchOS like podcast support for example that is frustrating

00:54:49   that the now that the LTE stuff is there there's this feeling that apps need to

00:54:57   be rethought that the old approach to apps that sort of stems from the

00:55:01   original conception of apps that they need to be rethought again and be more

00:55:05   independent and that the OS is not entirely up to the task right now. So there's still

00:55:12   some issues there, but still I think it was a good year. So I would say a four. And you

00:55:16   gave it a four.

00:55:18   To back up what you were saying from James Thompson, the software is still holding things

00:55:22   back. I don't get the impression that third-party apps are gaining traction, even though the

00:55:27   devices are a lot faster, which makes them more feasible to use. I completely agree with

00:55:33   what you said and what James says, the hardware is becoming better and better at an increasing

00:55:38   rate, but there doesn't really seem to be a lot going on in the software department.

00:55:42   And I think that this is one of the problems with that, right? The software isn't good

00:55:46   enough, the apps aren't good enough, what is this product meant to do? From Jessica

00:55:50   Dennis, "The new hardware plus the incremental watch OS improvements have made the Apple

00:55:54   Watch a truly good piece of kit," which I agree with, right? And the scores show it.

00:55:59   This is the only platform in your survey so far that has improved year on year because

00:56:03   the watch continues to improve year on year, but this is way more focused in the hardware

00:56:08   and Apple's software is where it's getting better. There hasn't really been a lot of

00:56:14   significant change in third-party apps and what's going on there. So that is obviously

00:56:18   something that Apple will be trying to address as time goes on. It may be time to allow people

00:56:23   to pay for customization stuff like watch faces. That would sound really well.

00:56:29   It feels it's funny where we are.

00:56:31   I feel like the.

00:56:33   The Apple watch for a product that was so constrained from a hardware perspective.

00:56:38   Right.

00:56:39   Like the idea of like, how are they going to get a whole computer with

00:56:43   networking on, on your wrist?

00:56:45   Like, boy, that's really hard.

00:56:46   Well, here it is.

00:56:47   They've got it now.

00:56:48   Cellular networking.

00:56:50   It's all there.

00:56:50   Um, this, this pretty huge hardware challenge.

00:56:56   And if you had told me that in 2017, this would be the hardware on the Apple

00:57:03   watch platform, I would say, well, they got it made, like that's it.

00:57:07   And it turns out that this is one of those areas, and this is a trend a little

00:57:12   bit where you look at it and you say, wow, Apple's hardware designers are doing a

00:57:18   better job than their software people are like the, the, the software, and it's

00:57:24   not a bad experience. I love my Apple Watch, but the software is letting down the Apple

00:57:28   Watch hardware. Bottom line, you can't overlook it. This hardware is amazing, and the software

00:57:38   for third-party developers and even the stuff that's on it and what it's capable of and

00:57:41   what it's not capable of, its limitations, it's not good enough. It's not good enough

00:57:47   to take advantage of the amazing work the hardware side has done. So that's what we

00:57:50   have to like hope for in future watchOS updates is that for them to get up to speed because

00:57:57   if I was doing watchOS software I don't think I could point my finger at the hardware people

00:58:01   and say it's not us it's them it's like nope that's you know the fingers are pointing the

00:58:05   other way right now.

00:58:08   Apple TV graded C+ average score 3.2 last year C-

00:58:13   Yeah I went up to a C+ yay!

00:58:16   Does this match your thinking kind of around the three,

00:58:19   four level?

00:58:20   - Yeah, you know, I get, so there's two ways

00:58:24   to think of this one.

00:58:25   One is to say, look, Apple TV 4K was late,

00:58:30   it's too expensive.

00:58:31   Apple TV in general is too expensive.

00:58:34   There are other incredibly capable products

00:58:36   in this category that are way cheaper

00:58:38   that do everything the Apple TV does and maybe more

00:58:41   other than Apple's exclusive content.

00:58:45   you know, AirPlay and iTunes content. Other than that, like, they're the more expensive

00:58:54   option that's like behind and less functional. The other way to look at it is to say they finally

00:59:01   shipped the 4K and they are making progress, but, you know, so I could go either way with that.

00:59:13   So in my mind that's like it's a two or three and I think I would probably say three because you got

00:59:19   to give them a little bit of a clap on the back for actually finally shipping a 4k HDR product

00:59:24   and getting 4k HDR content to go with it not just from Amazon and Netflix but in their store and

00:59:30   doing the kind of free upgrade of a lot of that stuff if you bought it in HD. Really saved some

00:59:35   of the scoring for me here because that was unexpected and a really nice bonus if you if you

00:59:41   put down what is too much money for the Apple TV 4K to actually be like, "Oh, if you have

00:59:47   a movie that's now going to be in HDR 4K, we'll give it to you." That was a real bonus.

00:59:54   Yeah, you still gave it two out of five.

00:59:57   Because I think that there's... Okay, so again, in the context...

01:00:00   Well, it's all the reasons that I just said, right? The remote, I didn't even put in...

01:00:05   There were so many things about how bad the remote is in the text that people typed in.

01:00:09   so it's like the remote is still bad, they didn't, they put a ring around it,

01:00:13   uh, that's, that's, that's not it. It is still like

01:00:16   so much more expensive than its, than its competitors, and its competitors are

01:00:20   cheap and really good, and so it feels like one of these

01:00:23   Apple products that Apple's not really putting as much effort

01:00:26   into it as they should, and that they really just want to kind of

01:00:29   skim money from people who are, uh, so close into their ecosystem that they

01:00:35   can't, uh, that they're not willing to give up

01:00:39   the stuff that they bought on iTunes and that like they're going to just leverage that to

01:00:42   get more money out of them. That is one legitimate way to view where the Apple TV is right now.

01:00:50   So one of the reasons that I gave it the score that it was within the context is looking

01:00:56   at the Apple TV as more than just the box, it's also everything that goes around it and

01:01:01   I think that Apple is falling significantly behind in many areas because they have not

01:01:07   put out any compelling programming, even though they tried. They should have had some kind

01:01:13   of solution before now, whatever it was, right? They should have either been further along

01:01:17   than they are with their current television efforts, or they should have been able to

01:01:21   somehow convince companies to allow them to start streaming and pay for the TV and movies

01:01:27   that they currently have. Like, whatever it was Apple was going to do, it's taken them

01:01:31   too long to get to the point that they're at right now, when all of their competitors

01:01:36   have different offerings, right? Like all of the Amazon stuff is super cheap and they have a great

01:01:41   streaming service with their own original content. Netflix doesn't care about having a box, they just

01:01:46   get this stuff everywhere and they have the like incredible content, right? Like I just feel like

01:01:50   Apple has not gotten far along enough and that what they have got is underwhelming and disappointing

01:01:58   in ways that are frustrating. Like how long it took them to get the TV app outside of the US?

01:02:03   Like we just got the TV app.

01:02:05   Like why? It doesn't make any sense. Like I haven't got anything different. The TV app is just

01:02:10   the iTunes app and

01:02:13   my videos app pushed into one for me. That's kind of all I've got.

01:02:17   So like, you know, I feel like that they're really kind of dragging their feet with the product and the overall service.

01:02:23   And I hope that with all the news and focus, I mean we put into this show now on what they're doing here,

01:02:29   I expect that score to start to increase.

01:02:32   but that comes with good content.

01:02:34   So that's kind of my overall feeling on it.

01:02:37   Like I use it every day, but I don't really think fondly of it.

01:02:40   To be honest, it's mostly okay.

01:02:42   Because even then, right, the apps that I use on it suck and that's not

01:02:47   necessarily Apple's fault, but they still suck.

01:02:49   The YouTube app is so bad.

01:02:51   Oh yeah.

01:02:52   I'm really happy to be using it instead of the apps that came on my TV.

01:02:57   Because it's a better experience than the YouTube app built into my TV is bet.

01:03:02   than the YouTube app on the Apple TV.

01:03:04   Yeah, that's not the case for me.

01:03:07   Plus, the only way I could watch 4K stuff on Amazon or Netflix was through the TV app,

01:03:12   and now that I've attached a 4K box to my TV, I can do that, which is nice, but again,

01:03:18   you could also have done that.

01:03:19   I could have also done that with an Amazon box or a Roku box for cheaper.

01:03:25   So yeah.

01:03:27   again, right? I can't watch 4K on YouTube on the Apple TV. Right. Also a

01:03:33   frustration, right? So like I feel like that the product whilst I use it every

01:03:37   day it's because it's the box that I have and there are things that are

01:03:43   better and it's where all my iTunes purchases are so that's the library I've

01:03:46   built up over the last 10 years so yeah I'm interested to see where it goes I

01:03:50   think C+ is mostly fair considering the way to think about it. Like for example

01:03:54   example, like Glenn Fleischman, he was raving about it, like the TV app evolving and starting

01:03:59   to incorporate more streaming services has made it my increasing, increasingly my go-to

01:04:03   location. I'm sure there are many people that feel that way.

01:04:06   Cloud services are graded at a B- of an average score of 3.4 out of 5. This is up from a C

01:04:14   last year. Jason?

01:04:15   Yeah, it's funny. People, it's a long road for people to trust Apple's cloud services.

01:04:21   I think that's the short version of what I wrote,

01:04:23   which is it keeps going up.

01:04:25   Apple keeps getting better.

01:04:26   The perception is that Apple's cloud services stuff

01:04:29   is better than it was.

01:04:30   A lot of the verbatim replies that I got from people

01:04:36   were basically saying, well, I don't trust Apple,

01:04:40   so I don't use them.

01:04:41   Or I've been using them and they've gotten a lot better.

01:04:44   Or I've been using them and these got a lot better

01:04:46   and these are still not great.

01:04:48   But I didn't get a lot of,

01:04:50   I tried to use Apple cloud services in 2017

01:04:52   and it was a disaster.

01:04:54   I didn't get that.

01:04:55   I feel like there are the people who have sworn off them.

01:04:58   There are the people who have used them begrudgingly

01:05:03   and sparingly, and there are the people

01:05:05   who've kind of just embraced them and gone with it.

01:05:08   Like David Sparks, I think does all of his stuff

01:05:10   with iCloud now he moved off of Dropbox

01:05:11   for a lot of his stuff.

01:05:13   And I think that's about right.

01:05:17   I use some, but not all of Apple's cloud services stuff.

01:05:20   I feel like they've come a long way

01:05:22   and that it's pretty reliable.

01:05:24   And a lot of my complaints about like iCloud drive

01:05:27   are that there are features that iCloud drive lacks

01:05:30   that are in Dropbox that, you know, over time,

01:05:33   if they continue to iterate the software stuff

01:05:36   attached to iCloud drive,

01:05:38   I might even stop using Dropbox

01:05:41   if it does everything Dropbox does.

01:05:43   It doesn't, but it continues to get closer.

01:05:46   And the photo library syncing works great.

01:05:50   Like I've got issues with like the lack of family sharing.

01:05:53   And I've talked about that a lot,

01:05:54   but like the actual like trust and reliability

01:05:58   for me is pretty high.

01:06:00   Like it all works pretty well.

01:06:02   I have issues with their pricing structure.

01:06:04   The fact that they had that stupid free tier

01:06:06   and then the 99 cent a month tier,

01:06:08   which they should get rid of

01:06:10   and replace with a more generous free tier

01:06:13   because I truly believe it's a better user experience

01:06:16   and the more people rely on the free tier,

01:06:17   the more likely they're gonna be willing to spend money

01:06:20   on more storage and that they're doing it wrong right now.

01:06:24   That calculation is off.

01:06:25   But in terms of like how the cloud stuff work,

01:06:27   when I put this question in two years ago,

01:06:29   it was very much a like, oh boy, Apple cloud,

01:06:33   get out your knives, right?

01:06:35   And now it doesn't feel like that.

01:06:37   I feel like a lot of the people who don't score it well

01:06:40   are people who have sworn off of it

01:06:42   because of previous bad experience.

01:06:44   - Yeah, to echo some of the negative points

01:06:48   you were saying, Aline Simms says,

01:06:50   "I think that they still have a lot of catching up to do,

01:06:52   especially where photos are concerned,"

01:06:54   which is an interesting point

01:06:55   to put in the cloud services area.

01:06:57   She says, "I wish they'd at least let people

01:07:00   back up their iOS devices as well

01:07:01   without paying for extra storage."

01:07:03   - Yeah. - I agree with those points.

01:07:04   I think that they're things that a lot of people feel.

01:07:08   But I like Stephen Aquino,

01:07:10   he had some really good comments saying,

01:07:12   I use Apple Music every day and love it.

01:07:14   That is a cloud service, completely.

01:07:16   That makes perfect sense.

01:07:17   Apple Pay continues to be magical.

01:07:19   And the editorial changes on the App Store

01:07:21   have made browsing and learning about new apps

01:07:23   a much more enriching experience.

01:07:25   And I also, like Steven, I consider all of those things

01:07:28   a part of the cloud services.

01:07:29   And when you pull those things in as well,

01:07:32   that is a much better thought than just like,

01:07:35   oh, my backups aren't good, which is true, right?

01:07:37   They should have more there,

01:07:38   But everything that is now encapsulated in that cloud services bucket, a lot of it's

01:07:45   really good.

01:07:46   Um, so, so yeah, there are definite, I agree with you completely, right?

01:07:51   A few years ago, this was just like the easy one to get the bad score in.

01:07:55   Uh, but it, but it's getting, it's getting a lot better now.

01:07:59   It's getting a lot better.

01:08:00   So credit, and this is the constant question, which is, do you give them credit for getting

01:08:04   better because they were bad before?

01:08:07   do you score them because there are still things that they need to do because

01:08:10   they're in the middle there, right? They're in the middle. This has been,

01:08:13   they have shown a lot of progress. I feel like Apple is getting better at cloud

01:08:18   stuff all the time. In fact, most of the issues I have with Apple's cloud stuff

01:08:23   is features that they haven't implemented in software, which I'm not

01:08:28   sure is the fault of the cloud reliability, right? And their

01:08:33   pricing policies, which again, not the fault of the service itself, it's sort of Apple's

01:08:38   approach to it. So those are all fixable if Apple wants to fix them. But, so yeah, I think

01:08:46   the cloud stuff has gone well. This is a better than expected for me. I feel like the Apple

01:08:50   cloud services stuff has gone a lot better than I would have thought.

01:08:54   Let's talk about HomeKit. Graded at a C-, average score of 2.7. Last year was a D+.

01:09:02   that's great up from D+ to C-. No.

01:09:04   Did anything drop? So I think software quality dropped, right?

01:09:08   Oh, lots of stuff. Yeah, yeah, software quality dropped.

01:09:11   Okay. So what about HomeKit then? Where are you kind of feeling on that?

01:09:17   I feel like I may be more positive about HomeKit than the panel, only because I finally used

01:09:24   HomeKit in 2017 after being in kind of parallel home automation, Internet of

01:09:32   Things universes before that with, you know, Amazon Echos and non-HomeKit

01:09:38   compatible devices in my house. I bought some HomeKit compatible devices, I

01:09:42   installed HomeBridge to get my incompatible devices in HomeKit. I'm

01:09:46   using the Home Control Center widget all the time now, which actually is why I

01:09:52   complain about the control center pull down in iPhone 10 a lot is that I use it

01:09:58   a lot and that's my primary interface for turning stuff on and off in my home

01:10:03   that's a smart device is that is just the home widget in control center so I

01:10:08   think they've I think they made a lot of progress I think the policy changes to

01:10:11   make not require hardware encryption and to open it up to essentially have more

01:10:18   third parties be able to support home kit

01:10:20   I think HomeKit is getting momentum.

01:10:22   I think HomeKit's gonna be okay.

01:10:23   I think everybody's gonna wanna support HomeKit

01:10:26   and that HomeKit's got those additional security features,

01:10:29   which makes people happy.

01:10:30   So I think that's all fine.

01:10:34   I think Internet of Things stuff is in general a mess

01:10:41   and HomeKit is a subset of that mess.

01:10:44   So, you know, it's one of those things that I think,

01:10:47   I think Apple is making progress

01:10:50   and they've made some changes to open up HomeKit

01:10:54   that they needed to make and that are good

01:10:56   and will overall be good.

01:10:58   So yeah, I'm kind of embracing HomeKit

01:11:02   and I think Apple has turned it around,

01:11:05   but it's still a weird category

01:11:06   that I don't think I would recommend to most civilians.

01:11:10   It's still really messy, it's early days for sure.

01:11:13   - Merlin Mann echoes your sentiments.

01:11:18   "It still feels like the wild west,

01:11:20   how it feels like the early days of the wild west.

01:11:23   Everyone's moving around, new categories and products

01:11:26   are popping up all the time,

01:11:27   nothing's working with each other.

01:11:29   There's a lot of real strangeness going on

01:11:32   in the home automation world.

01:11:34   And Carolina Milanese says,

01:11:36   I think Apple has a lot of work to do

01:11:38   to make HomeKit broader and hopes that HomePod will help.

01:11:41   I'm hoping that some of the software authentication stuff

01:11:44   that they're doing and certification, I think it's called,

01:11:47   That stuff I think is still underway

01:11:51   and I'm hoping to see some changes,

01:11:53   some more products popping up when it becomes easier

01:11:57   to make your product HomeKit certified.

01:11:59   So I still have my fingers crossed for that.

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01:13:51   Moving on in the report card, we now get to Hardware Reliability. This is one of the really

01:14:00   interesting ones because the majority of comments were negative. Then there were some good ones.

01:14:07   So Dan Provost says that Apple is still best in class. Andy Anatko says still the gold

01:14:11   standard for initial build quality and overall endurance. Completely correct.

01:14:15   And getting a positive statement from Andy Anatko about Apple. Not an easy thing these

01:14:20   days. He's definitely very critical of Apple and I thought it was interesting the places

01:14:24   where he said, "No, they've got this. This is their, this is why they're great."

01:14:29   But this one is was a tricky one. Now, this is an average score for last year, A minus

01:14:34   still in A minus stuck where it was. Does that feel right to you that it would stick

01:14:39   where it was? Is hardware reliability not changed too significantly on the last year

01:14:43   in your opinion?

01:14:44   I think it depends on the acts that you're grinding. Like the, the keyboards on the Mac

01:14:50   books have been an issue and people are frustrated by them. And if you've been bitten by that,

01:14:56   especially like Stephen Hackett, like Marco, like, you know, other people we know, that

01:15:04   is going to show up. But there's also kind of the bigger picture of, you know, in general,

01:15:11   is Apple's hardware pretty reliable? Yes, it is. I should say that the battery stuff

01:15:17   about the iPhone, like, 6 and all of that, the battery throttling and all of those things

01:15:23   going on happened mid-fielding of this survey, so it's possible that people might have changed

01:15:30   their mind. You always have to roll with it if there's a big story that happens during

01:15:36   the survey. It can affect the results and that's just something you just got to deal

01:15:40   with it. But I think the panel gave voice to the issues about things like the keyboards

01:15:47   while also wanting to give Apple credit for making good hardware that generally is solid

01:15:53   and trustworthy.

01:15:54   From Jessica Dennis, "The thing with the new MacBook Pro keyboards breaking due to

01:15:59   dust and that condition requiring an extensive repair is really, really bad."

01:16:05   David Sparks says, "This year it became clear that the new laptop keyboards, regardless

01:16:10   of how you feel about their travel, have been a reliability problem."

01:16:14   Which is true.

01:16:15   And this is the thing I think I saw, I think Marco may have talked about it a little bit, but the fact is,

01:16:22   if it's truly a reliability problem, Apple's going to change that keyboard.

01:16:26   They can't keep, because if you've got keyboards that break easily and are expensive to replace,

01:16:33   it's going to have huge impacts on, as they age, on warranty repairs and product liability,

01:16:43   like people start to do class action suits saying you've got to you know you

01:16:47   got to repair this for free or whatever it's like if if a bad design that

01:16:52   increases the cost for Apple is like the gonna be the number one motivator to

01:16:57   change the design it's not going to be well we like the style we think this is

01:17:01   a good fit for our product line if that's all true and it's still like way

01:17:06   more breakable than they thought they'll change it because they have to because

01:17:13   it's going to cost them a whole lot of money and and also make people feel less

01:17:17   good about their products that they do so we'll see I guess we'll get a sense

01:17:20   this year right about whether they are going to rush out a new keyboard design

01:17:26   that is better that would be the third iteration of this modern keyboard or a

01:17:31   first of a new one and and we'll see there's some rumors out there that they

01:17:36   may be working on something there are some competitors I think there's a

01:17:39   a laptop from, I don't remember the PC laptop manufacturer,

01:17:43   but it uses like magnetic switches.

01:17:45   So it's like a totally different switch approach

01:17:48   where it's using magnetic repulsion.

01:17:50   Like would that work for Apple?

01:17:51   Who knows what they're gonna do.

01:17:53   But I do think it's worth pointing out

01:17:55   that like I've been very happy

01:17:56   and most of the people who were reporting the survey,

01:17:58   like very happy with the reliability

01:18:00   of their Apple hardware in general.

01:18:01   So there's a sore point amid a lot of positivity.

01:18:06   - It might be Dell.

01:18:08   The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 has a magnetic levitation keyboard, whatever that means.

01:18:18   It sounds very interesting.

01:18:21   I think it's attached at the corners, but the repulsion that you feel in the middle is actually a magnetic repulsion, not a physical pushback.

01:18:29   I think it's something like that.

01:18:31   People are trying that stuff, and maybe Apple is trying that too.

01:18:37   But again, Apple could be completely--because there's the "I don't like it" aspect of this,

01:18:41   and there's the "it breaks" aspect. And Apple knows the numbers for people bringing their laptops

01:18:48   back to Apple stores. Apple knows that. They've got figures. They can tell whether it is truly

01:18:53   an epidemic or whether we are overblowing this, right? They know. They know what that is.

01:18:59   They may also have an opinion about how great the new MacBook keyboard is. Somebody obviously does,

01:19:06   because they've rolled it out to the entire laptop line. But what I'm saying is, like, if that,

01:19:13   if the reliability issue is there, doesn't matter, right? That's going to override people thinking,

01:19:20   "No, but we like this keyboard." It's like, but it's unreliable. That will be enough for them to

01:19:25   change, even if they're sad about it. >> Software quality. So we went from hardware

01:19:32   Public quality to software quality.

01:19:34   Last year it was a B minus, this year it's a C minus,

01:19:38   with an average score of 2.7.

01:19:40   Now you were mentioning a moment ago

01:19:43   about things in the news affecting the scores,

01:19:47   and I would say towards the end of the year,

01:19:50   for a bunch of varying reasons,

01:19:53   there has been a lot of upset about software quality.

01:19:58   Now Serenity Caldwell does a good job of summing this up.

01:20:01   Apple, get your security house in order ASAP.

01:20:04   Some of the bugs in iOS and Mac OS year were outrageously bad.

01:20:08   Talking about stuff like the root bug, right?

01:20:10   Like there was a bug a couple of weeks ago

01:20:12   about the app store and all this kind of stuff.

01:20:14   - This survey fielded as the enter in no password

01:20:19   and get root access bug was hitting.

01:20:21   So I think that came up a lot in the comments,

01:20:24   but in general, like this is the place

01:20:27   that everybody took the hammer to Apple and said,

01:20:30   this score went way down and there's just this feeling like it's buggy. It's really buggy.

01:20:36   And there was an expectation that this year's software releases, especially High Sierra,

01:20:42   would smooth things out. And yet people really feel frustrated about High Sierra and iOS 11.

01:20:47   This is the one that stands out as this is where people are grumpy this year. It's about Apple's,

01:20:56   the quality of Apple software. And some people were very specific to say they thought the OS

01:21:00   OS work was doing okay and that some security issues are understandable and they reacted

01:21:05   to them quickly. And so some people were willing to give Apple a pass on the OS and singled

01:21:12   out something that's very common over the past few years, which is all the apps that

01:21:17   Apple releases that are often not updated or kind of like just halfway addressed. And

01:21:24   so some people were specific about that. But I think there's generally this feeling among

01:21:28   these observers that there is a little bit of a malaise at Apple in terms of the

01:21:33   quality of the software they're putting out.

01:21:34   One of my problems is like,

01:21:37   I expect there to be bugs in new things, right?

01:21:41   Like I spoke about files being buggy.

01:21:43   I expected it to be buggy because it's a new thing and I expect it will get

01:21:47   better over time.

01:21:48   My big problem with Apple software quality this year

01:21:54   has been where specific stands that Apple makes,

01:21:59   makes things worse, like the autocorrect issues

01:22:03   that we've had this year,

01:22:05   where Apple is deciding to use their privacy methods

01:22:10   to create autocorrect suggestions.

01:22:14   It's pulling in incorrect things

01:22:16   and pushing them out on a large basis to people.

01:22:20   But then my biggest frustration with this

01:22:22   is that the only way they can fix this

01:22:24   is via a software update.

01:22:26   Like you have to update the software on people's phones

01:22:30   to stop a question mark showing

01:22:31   where the letter I should be.

01:22:33   Like that feels like the wrong approach.

01:22:36   I feel like something's gone wrong here

01:22:39   in that now you have to issue a point release

01:22:42   of the operating system to fix an autocorrect bug.

01:22:46   Like that's the sort of stuff

01:22:48   that has frustrated me the most this year.

01:22:50   I like what Dr. Drang says, this is not an illusion.

01:22:55   Apple software quality is dropping

01:22:57   and they don't seem to recognize it.

01:22:59   I understand that there's much more to keep track of now

01:23:02   than there ever has been.

01:23:04   But being sympathetic to Apple's difficulties

01:23:06   doesn't make me blind to them.

01:23:08   I like that.

01:23:09   Trust Dr. Drang to say something succinct.

01:23:12   Where would, did I ask you,

01:23:13   where would you score the software quality?

01:23:16   - You didn't?

01:23:17   I don't know.

01:23:18   I would put it down.

01:23:20   I would put it down.

01:23:21   I'd put it at like two or three, yeah.

01:23:23   - And we move on to developer relations.

01:23:26   Graded a B, average score of 3.6, last year C+.

01:23:31   Got a couple of quotes from some developers, Marco Womant.

01:23:33   The App Store and iTunes Connect keep getting better

01:23:35   since Phil Schiller took over, James Thompson.

01:23:37   Review times are really quick on the whole.

01:23:40   If I did have a complaint,

01:23:41   it would be that the TestFlight app review process

01:23:43   is now slower than full app review,

01:23:44   which is kind of funny to think about.

01:23:46   and that test light for the Mac has just never happened.

01:23:50   And then Casey, Casey really goes for it here,

01:23:53   is the Casey list.

01:23:54   I really think that Apple is already having a bit

01:23:57   of a reckoning when it comes to their obsession

01:23:58   with secrecy sooner rather than later.

01:24:01   Apple can't be reliant upon third-party developers

01:24:03   whilst also petulantly refusing to scratch our backs.

01:24:06   The community puts up with it

01:24:08   because we have little choice.

01:24:10   So like, whilst they, you know, you can see Marco and James

01:24:13   saying things are getting better,

01:24:15   Casey is saying that whilst they're getting better,

01:24:17   the way that Apple keeps so many things close to their chest

01:24:21   is still not very helpful to people.

01:24:23   And that developers kind of just put up with a lot

01:24:26   that they maybe wouldn't if there was somewhere else to go.

01:24:29   - I have to say that this is a fun category

01:24:31   because I had a lot of people who said,

01:24:32   "Well, I'm not a developer, I don't really know."

01:24:34   And even some sort of like,

01:24:35   "Well, why are you even asking this question?"

01:24:37   And the truth is, I just decided because I wanted continuity

01:24:40   that I would keep asking the same questions every year.

01:24:42   And three years ago, you know, at the very end of 2015,

01:24:47   so I guess two plus years ago,

01:24:51   when I did the first one of these surveys,

01:24:53   Apple's, there was a lot of friction

01:24:57   about Apple's relationship with developers, right?

01:25:00   About App Store delays and App Store rejections

01:25:03   and all of these things that frustrated developers.

01:25:05   It was a hot issue, so I put it in the survey.

01:25:08   And the next question is also sort of in that context

01:25:12   of like, it was seemed like a bigger deal two years ago than it is now, but I want to keep it around just to see, to monitor it. Um, and Marco said it all, which is what really is funny is Phil Schiller took over the app store and developer stuff.

01:25:25   And has made a lot of improvements and things have gotten a lot better.

01:25:29   So now I think it's gotten so much better that people look at this category and they're like, why are you even asking about the relationship between Apple and its developers?

01:25:37   And that's funny that it has come that far,

01:25:39   but it was much more controversial than it has been lately.

01:25:43   This is trending in the right direction.

01:25:46   - And the final category is environmental and social impact.

01:25:52   It's graded a B plus with an average score of 3.8

01:25:56   down from an A minus last year.

01:25:59   - Yeah, it's funny.

01:26:01   This is, so this is, the reason this got in there,

01:26:04   there are a few reasons.

01:26:05   When I started doing this,

01:26:06   It was right at the height of lots of stories about essentially human rights abuses in the supply chain, in China especially.

01:26:15   And at the same time, Apple also has environmental initiatives and they bought all this solar power for their headquarters.

01:26:24   And they worked with Greenpeace on improving their recyclability of their products.

01:26:32   and there's a lot of issues like that and Apple talks about making changes in the world and

01:26:38   they've got health initiatives and there's a lot of stuff that rolls into this, but that was the

01:26:42   genesis of it was especially around that time when they were talking about the supply chain in Asia

01:26:49   and a bunch of other stuff that they were doing. So I thought, why don't we just stick a monitor on

01:26:53   this and say, "How do you feel about this?" And again, there's no rule about what this means to

01:26:58   to you environmental and social impact but it's really just like apples

01:27:02   programs and behavior in terms of things that are larger than a particular

01:27:06   product but how Apple behaves as a company and the scores are are down a

01:27:13   little from last year but pretty positive this is where this is where

01:27:18   apple last year got credit for refusing I think from a lot of the panel for

01:27:22   refusing to hand over encrypted data from an iPhone used by a person who did

01:27:30   a mass shooting and that was, I think people gave them credit for

01:27:36   standing up for consumer privacy but you know the issues change year on year and

01:27:41   so I'm not sure whether the trend means as much as it does to sort of like see

01:27:45   what people call out. Yeah I think also, I'll read some quotes, I think a lot of

01:27:49   people are hoping that they would have done more in some areas than they have.

01:27:52   Yeah and there seems to be some stalling. So Stephen Hackett says Apple continues

01:27:58   to lead the way in environmental and social issues but diversity within the

01:28:01   company especially at the top continues to be a problem. I understand this stuff

01:28:05   takes time but I'd like more visibility into what's going on throughout the

01:28:09   company when it comes to hiring and promoting women and people of color. And

01:28:14   then Stephen Aquino says Apple continues to lead the industry in providing

01:28:19   comprehensive assistive tools for its disabled users.

01:28:23   Carolina Milanese says, "I think Tim Cook has become a great ambassador and has given

01:28:27   Apple a very human side."

01:28:29   This is something that I have felt for a long time.

01:28:32   I've said it before, I'll say it again.

01:28:33   I think that Tim Cook is a better CEO for Apple than Steve Jobs could be at this point

01:28:39   because the biggest company in the world needs someone more like Tim who can stand and speak

01:28:46   on social issues and stuff like that. He has come under criticism. There were a few comments

01:28:52   in the article mentioning that some people believe that Tim has not shown his hand enough

01:28:58   in political issues this year or in the past year. But there are a lot of things that he

01:29:03   does stand up for and there are a lot of things he has spoken very openly about. He can be

01:29:09   good for that kind of stuff. Serenity Caldwell says, "I'm incredibly pleased to see Apple's

01:29:13   work in healthcare and accessibility. Not so thrilled with continuing diversity issues

01:29:19   inside the company. And Jessica Dennis points out how there is a lot of interesting work

01:29:24   going on at Apple campus, the Apple Park, for environmental issues and they're thinking

01:29:29   about lots of open spaces and stuff like that. But Apple could continue to go further. We

01:29:35   were talking about this at the time, public transport expansion in these areas could be

01:29:39   something that Apple could push on to continue to go further and further.

01:29:43   I think that this is one of those areas that people will always want more in and it's not

01:29:49   wrong but I think it's always going to be difficult for this one to go up significantly

01:29:56   because every time they get close to something it will uncover something more and this is

01:30:01   the peril of being the biggest company in the world.

01:30:05   want you to do a lot of stuff and you kind of have to because you should. So this is

01:30:11   a tricky one.

01:30:12   We talked about this last week when we talked about taxes and things like that too is that

01:30:16   you know Apple is it's a complex issue because Apple is complex because Apple is enormous.

01:30:23   It is enormous an enormous corporation that has huge amounts of money and needs to lobby

01:30:30   the government for tax changes and needs to lobby the government for policy on things

01:30:36   like encryption that affect their customers and their products. They also want to say

01:30:42   that they're making a difference and committed to change in various social areas and in improving

01:30:48   people's lives through medical initiatives and as Stephen Aquino pointed out, assisted

01:30:54   tools for disabled users and there's like there's a lot there's a lot and so

01:30:59   it's that's it's it's never gonna be a simple thing to say oh they're good or

01:31:03   they're bad they're there it's way more complicated than that but it's worth at

01:31:07   least checking the pulse on this every year so I do so having completed the

01:31:12   survey did it go as you expected were there any surprises in the grading I

01:31:18   don't know I mean anything where you take an average you're going to push

01:31:23   everything toward the middle, like, because that's just what's going to happen. So you're

01:31:28   trying to pick things out. I think the trend of the downward trend for software quality

01:31:34   is really telling that like in a year where everybody seemed to be griping about keyboards,

01:31:40   people were really concerned about the software quality like that is. And again, is it real

01:31:43   or not? We can argue about it every now and then I post, I post one of these and somebody

01:31:47   says, that's not true or I don't agree. And it's like, okay, it's just a, I mean, like

01:31:51   It's an opinion survey.

01:31:52   It's it's you can disagree.

01:31:54   It's fine.

01:31:55   This is, I'm just trying to get a sense of it.

01:31:57   And clearly there is a sense among people who carefully watch Apple

01:32:01   that Apple has a software problem.

01:32:03   And there's also a sense that, uh, Apple's most important platforms.

01:32:08   Had a good year, like the core platforms, uh, uh, the iPhone and the iPad,

01:32:15   especially like they had a good year.

01:32:17   The Apple watch had a good year.

01:32:20   The Mac, not so much, but I feel like there's a lot of anxiety about the Mac

01:32:27   out there and it shows that. And that's why I keep saying, in some ways,

01:32:32   what you do is you look at a server like this and you nod because it's sort of a

01:32:35   formalization of the stuff you've been hearing on podcasts and reading on blogs

01:32:39   and talking to people about Apple because it sort of feeds into that.

01:32:44   that this is the summation of it. So not surprising in that sense. And I think,

01:32:51   yeah, would you be surprised if I walked up to you and said, "So in

01:32:55   2017 people really worried about Apple software quality and not quite sure

01:32:59   what's going on with the Mac." You'd probably say, "Sounds about right." So

01:33:03   that's where we are. But the good thing and the interesting thing about doing

01:33:07   something like this is the trends. So being able to see how things change year on year

01:33:12   is one of the things that I find so interesting about this.

01:33:17   - Yeah, now that I have a little bit of a track record,

01:33:19   and the question next year is,

01:33:20   will I add some things to the survey?

01:33:22   But one of the reasons you keep things on a survey

01:33:26   is that you get to start comparing.

01:33:28   And there's a lot of interesting trends,

01:33:32   like hardware reliability,

01:33:34   although it's still got a pretty good score,

01:33:36   is trending down.

01:33:37   It did, there has been an impact

01:33:41   with all of this discussion of especially like the keyboards and the, um, the, you know,

01:33:46   the environmental social is actually trending down. Um, but developer relations, like I said,

01:33:53   is trending up. And, uh, so, you know, it's, it's just a, and a home kit is actually for as

01:34:00   low a score as it's, it's got, it's trending up, which I think makes sense. Like it's a low score,

01:34:06   but the perception keeps going up so you can see where they're getting momentum. They're

01:34:12   changing minds even though it's a slow process. So that yeah it is fascinating to have that

01:34:18   trend now which I didn't used to have because I've only done the survey for three years now.

01:34:23   - Where I'm asking you to crack out a crystal ball right now but is there anything that you're

01:34:29   currently watching for for 2018 scorecard? Is there anything you're expecting to change

01:34:34   or anything that you think that you will add or that you will want to add as a change of

01:34:39   Apple?

01:34:40   I don't know. I want to see where the Mac goes, but don't we all? I feel like we've

01:34:46   really set the Mac up for the – expectations are high for Apple to change how it does the

01:34:53   Mac.

01:34:54   I would say they did it. They brought a bunch of journalists into a room. They set themselves

01:34:59   up pretty high.

01:35:00   Yeah, no, expectations, they set the expectations, right?

01:35:03   But expectations are high.

01:35:04   People are going into this year thinking,

01:35:07   all right, Apple's gonna do a new Mac Pro,

01:35:09   let's see if they're gonna fix the keyboard thing,

01:35:11   do they know, you know,

01:35:12   and it just takes them time to turn the ship,

01:35:14   but this is the year, they're gonna get it together,

01:35:17   we're gonna see more of a recommitment to the Mac,

01:35:20   you know, maybe some of that will be true.

01:35:22   I believe that Apple is going to change

01:35:27   and is already changing its approach to the Mac hardware

01:35:29   and we'll continue to do that. I think the big question mark is going to be, is the Mac

01:35:34   as a platform something that Apple is going to really invest a lot of effort into? Or

01:35:39   are they going to keep it going, but it's kind of in maintenance mode? And some people

01:35:46   will react very differently than other people to that. My gut feeling is that a lot of Mac

01:35:54   people could use a year of maintenance mode. But there is also a frustration

01:36:00   like why isn't this on the Mac? Why isn't this on the Mac? Why are they not doing

01:36:03   new things on the Mac? Because they're all all the new stuff is happening on

01:36:05   other platforms and there's there's a lot of truth to that. So I think the Mac

01:36:10   just there's still question marks there there's more expectation and and we'll

01:36:15   see where it goes. I'm curious about the watch now that the watch hardware they've

01:36:19   kind of achieved their first major milestone of like the watch as a product

01:36:25   by getting to LTE. What happens next with the watch? Do they change the design?

01:36:29   Do they keep it static and work on the software side? That remains to be

01:36:35   seen. And then, you know, generally software quality and hardware

01:36:39   reliability. Like, people are grumpy and they're giving them credit on hardware

01:36:43   and not on software and is that going to change this year? In terms of new

01:36:46   categories? I don't know. I'm thinking about it. We'll see what sticks in my

01:36:51   mind by the end of the year. I don't want to make the survey too long. A lot of

01:36:53   people were very nice. I think I had about 25,000 words in total written in

01:36:57   the survey boxes, which is just-- it was a lot and that's why it took me until the

01:37:02   middle of January to get the story out. But I appreciate that. I don't want to

01:37:07   make the survey longer, nor do I want to mandate, because I don't, that people

01:37:11   actually fill in all the boxes, but some of them do. So I don't want to do

01:37:16   too much but we'll see.

01:37:19   So we have run out of time for Ask Upgrade today but I'm going to save those great Ask

01:37:25   Upgrade questions that we have for next week.

01:37:26   So you can always send those in with the hashtag #AskUpgrade if you have any questions you'd

01:37:30   like us to answer at the end of the show.

01:37:32   We collect them up and I've got a lovely set already set for next week's episode.

01:37:37   If you want to find our show notes for today, relay.fm/upgrade/178.

01:37:42   If you enjoy this show and there's a friend of yours or a family member that you think

01:37:46   may also enjoy it, why don't you ask them to subscribe?

01:37:49   Say, "Hey, Myke and Jason have a great discussion every week about Apple and technology and

01:37:53   now media as well.

01:37:54   You should go and check it out.

01:37:55   I think you'd enjoy it."

01:37:56   I think people would be happy because we like this show and we think that more people would

01:38:00   like it too.

01:38:01   If you want to find Jason online, he's over at SixColors.com, TheIncomparable.com.

01:38:06   He is @JSnell on Twitter.

01:38:08   I am @imike, I-M-Y-K-E.

01:38:10   We both host a slew of shows at Relay FM and you can find those at relay.fm/shows.

01:38:17   I want to say thanks again to our sponsors this week, the great people at Pingdom, Smile

01:38:21   with PDF Pen and Simple Contacts.

01:38:24   And we'll be back next time.

01:38:26   Until then, say goodbye, Chasersnow.

01:38:28   Goodbye, everybody.

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