121: All Talk and No Trousers


00:00:00   [intro music]

00:00:09   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode 121.

00:00:13   Today's show is brought to you by our fine sponsors, Smile and Ecapsular.

00:00:17   My name is Myke Hurley, and I am joined, still, in the festive season by Mr. Jason Snell.

00:00:23   Happy Boxing Day, Myke.

00:00:25   The day of Boxers in which we celebrate all of the boxes that we got the day before. We

00:00:31   line them all up and we dance around them.

00:00:33   And we punch them.

00:00:34   And then we punch them. Yep, it's double type of boxing on Boxing Day.

00:00:37   And my dog is a boxer, so it's her day too.

00:00:40   We bring boxer dogs in to round up the cardboard boxes and then we fight them.

00:00:46   And then that's the best day.

00:00:49   So we are recording on the 26th of December, Boxing Day, which means that yesterday was

00:00:54   Christmas and I believe that we both participated in the tradition of gift-giving. So, Jason

00:01:00   Snell, what was your favorite holiday gift this year?

00:01:04   - Uh, this year my wife got me a, we are going to a baseball game in, I forget when it is,

00:01:13   April or May, and it's, uh, and it's, uh, like, craft beer night or something. So there's

00:01:19   before the game, like two hours before the game, there's like a craft beer tasting, like

00:01:25   fair and stuff that's in the ballpark and then and you get I think you get a hat or

00:01:30   something and then you also get to go see the baseball game and it's fun so it's like

00:01:34   a little little event that I can look forward to in 2017. So that was I would say that's

00:01:38   probably the best I got. I got some other stuff you know you get socks, foot cardigan

00:01:43   socks in this case and the I got some tea and some honey which is great because I like

00:01:50   those things in the morning and yeah that was that was me that was me what about you

00:01:56   just quickly craft brew like craft beer and baseball and baseball there is a strong chance

00:02:03   that might turn out to be the best day of your life that's still my favorite no but

00:02:08   but that's the thing Myke you you know that because for me but the fact is that that that's

00:02:12   also like the most San Francisco thing ever. That's true. It's very, you know, all those

00:02:18   things. It's just a very American thing. But you have a baseball now, so. I do. It's sitting

00:02:23   on my windowsill just over there. I unpacked it a couple of days ago. You're becoming more

00:02:27   American by the day. So I, so this year, because we just moved in, everyone was buying us lots

00:02:34   of practical gifts. Lots of gift cards for homeware stuff and glassware, you know, stuff

00:02:40   like that. So Adina knows how much I enjoy toys at Christmas, so she surprised me with

00:02:48   a drone. I saw the video. I was beside myself with excitement. I now have a Parrot Bebop

00:02:59   2 drone, which is, it's like a kind of middle of the line type thing, right? These aren't

00:03:06   the drones that cost like $1,000, but they're very expensive still because they have cameras

00:03:10   in them and they're controlled with an app on my iPhone and I took it out for a couple

00:03:15   of flights and I'm looking forward to when we get back from our trip because there's

00:03:20   a big park near where we live because we've been at my grandma's the whole weekend and

00:03:24   we're gonna go take it for some test flights there. I'm really excited about this because

00:03:28   it's like I mean I don't expect to start incorporating a plethora of drone footage into my vlogs

00:03:34   but it's just like a fun silly toy that I want to play around with because eventually

00:03:39   like I have my eyes set on one of the big expensive ones because I just think it's kind

00:03:43   of cool and I was so excited to get this. And honestly, even the footage that this thing

00:03:49   produces, it's super impressive to me. I think it looks brilliant. So I'm very excited about

00:03:55   this.

00:03:56   I enjoyed your Twitter video that you posted, which was also funny because you are looking

00:04:03   like you're beside yourself indeed and Adina is just amused by the whole thing.

00:04:08   like wearing a Christmas cracker hat. Yeah, wearing her hat. I had one of those on last

00:04:13   night and the one that, the thing that made me laugh is that, is that the, you know, the

00:04:18   drone rises and I just kept waiting for it to crash. But it didn't. No, I was good. I

00:04:24   made sure to have a good, a good air above me and I planned out the place specifically

00:04:29   because I knew nobody was going to be around because I was worried that I might crash into

00:04:32   somebody's face. They're actually not too difficult to control. You know, they have

00:04:37   like a bunch of sensors in them and things like that to try and keep them

00:04:40   balanced because it was pretty windy and you can see it like it you know when

00:04:44   you're watching it it does a lot to stabilize itself it's very impressive

00:04:47   technology in those things so yeah that's my new toy talking about new toys

00:04:53   I did receive a new toy of mine that I bought for myself after last week's

00:04:57   episode just my air pods oh that's right we were waiting for them to arrive and

00:05:02   and they didn't they weren't delivered during the episode they came just as I

00:05:06   was finishing editing. I really really like these things a lot. You know I've

00:05:12   seen many people say this and I can only agree that these AirPods is kind of

00:05:16   Apple at its finest. I agree. Because it's like this little little box with

00:05:21   something inside of it which you've never really experienced before in the

00:05:24   way that they've done it right like we've all used Bluetooth headphones but

00:05:27   again it's just like there's no wire between them and when you take one out

00:05:31   it pauses and you know like all these little things that Apple does like just

00:05:36   their little sprinkle of magic fairy dust that they put on their products.

00:05:41   Like this is very much like that.

00:05:42   And it's been a long time since we've had a product like this from Apple,

00:05:45   because there haven't been many types of things that they've had to improve upon

00:05:50   in their way.

00:05:50   I was thinking that the last time Apple released a product that I think struck

00:05:56   me as being like this, like, like it's just exactly Apple, um, was the, it was

00:06:04   the pencil. The pencil last year. Yeah, the pencil's a good example. Very good example actually.

00:06:09   They come from that word, it's like there is this thing that already exists, a stylus,

00:06:13   but how can we make it our version of that, right? There's this thing that exists, wireless

00:06:18   headphones, let's make our version of those, and it feels very much like that. And it's, you know it's a

00:06:23   high-tech product that's incredibly complicated and difficult to design. Because it has little

00:06:28   lights and magnets, you know, like there's those little touches. In the end, the interface is

00:06:32   is nothing, is non-existent. And that's, you know, the pencil is absolutely the case, right?

00:06:37   It has no interface at all. And with the AirPods, the interface is incredibly minimal. And I

00:06:44   think there's things to probably criticize about that. And I did, after we had our chat,

00:06:49   of course, I did go back to writing my review and we'll put a link in and I posted that.

00:06:53   But, you know, I think it's a first cut at this product for Apple and that there's a

00:06:59   a lot of stuff that they could improve and yet it's still like, I mean,

00:07:02   you could have said that about the original iPhone too, uh,

00:07:05   but still you just get that moment of like, Oh yeah, this is, this is what I,

00:07:08   this is, this is what all of us, I think,

00:07:10   expect from Apple with every product they do, which is unfair because they can't,

00:07:14   you can't do it with every product,

00:07:16   but it's this combination of pushing forward technology,

00:07:20   popularizing some stuff that was existed before,

00:07:23   but was not quite good enough and doing a few little things that add,

00:07:28   add care and personality to the product and the AirPods really have them. They really

00:07:35   do.

00:07:36   >> A lot of the early complaints when we saw these things, you know, like just from observing

00:07:39   them without ever using them was, oh, you know, just playing pause and asking Siri to

00:07:43   do this stuff for me is ridiculous. But the fact of the matter is, like, now that I've

00:07:48   used them, I can see that the sensors that are detecting those taps are nowhere near

00:07:52   sensitive enough. Like, if you -- I don't know how well it could detect between a double

00:07:58   tap and a triple tap. I just think, you know, this is one of those things where like Apple

00:08:03   obviously know what they're doing. And now I've used it, like they obviously know what

00:08:06   they're doing. If they could have somehow put in a tap three times to skip or whatever,

00:08:12   they would have done that. But these things, they're just not, you know, you have to sometimes

00:08:16   really give it a bit of a thunk to get it to do anything, which is actually kind of

00:08:20   uncomfortable. Like you should kind of smack in the side of your head. Like it's not really

00:08:24   a great method. My hope would be, and I'm sure that they are trying to work on this,

00:08:29   is some kind of just very slight touch gestures, you know, like swipe left, swipe right, swipe

00:08:35   up, swipe down, you know, like on a small touch interface that they could build into

00:08:38   the back of it, which seems like a incredibly difficult thing to do, but I have absolute

00:08:43   faith that they would be able to pull that off at some point in the future.

00:08:46   Sure.

00:08:47   That seems like technology that exists already, but is just, you know, not small enough, but

00:08:53   I believe that that would be something that Apple would be able to do, you know?

00:08:57   However, they would do it, you know, they might use some kind of light sensor or something.

00:09:01   But overall like I'm I'm really, you know, I'm really I'm really impressed and also showing them to my family over Christmas

00:09:08   That was everybody was impressed with them as well

00:09:11   Like they loved the way it all worked like the case and the pausing when you remove one type stuff like and it reminded me

00:09:18   me of how it used to feel to be the person who had Apple products before anybody else

00:09:25   really had them. You know, like before the iPhone or like before the iPhone 4, right,

00:09:29   when you could show somebody an Apple product and they were like, "Whoa, what is this? Like,

00:09:34   I've never seen something like this before." Like it reminded me of that because everyone

00:09:36   was like, they would take it out and it would pause and it would put it back in and it was

00:09:40   like, "Oh my God, that's amazing." And being the end user of an Apple product, their products

00:09:45   still do that, but you don't get to be the person to demo them anymore because everybody

00:09:50   already has the new iPhone, you know? So I don't know, that was kind of, that was cool,

00:09:54   but the consensus was, and you know, I think will continue to be that they look weird and

00:09:59   a little bit silly.

00:10:00   Yeah, well it'll take time.

00:10:02   Exactly, that this will just take time and then people won't care about that anymore.

00:10:06   Like I understand that, right? Because they do, I think they look ridiculous when I'm

00:10:09   wearing them. I'm like, oh my God, this looks so silly. Like just these stalks sticking

00:10:13   out in my ears, but that's just because they're new. And within a couple of years' time, this

00:10:18   is just how they'll be. Like, you know, I think that maybe within the next two or three

00:10:21   revisions, they might be included in the box. I hope they are.

00:10:25   Yeah, well, I don't know about that. That might take a while, but I do...

00:10:29   That was a funny thing talking to my family, that a bunch of people, like friends of my

00:10:35   family, thought that the AirPods did come with the new iPhone.

00:10:39   Oh. Yeah.

00:10:40   Which is, I can see how people would assume that, right?

00:10:42   Like, we're taking away the headphone jack.

00:10:45   Here's these new headphones we've made.

00:10:47   You just assume that it would be in the box?

00:10:49   Yeah.

00:10:50   Absolutely.

00:10:51   You know, I think it's, maybe not within the next few revisions, but I think eventually,

00:10:55   right, like eventually these are going to be the things that come with the iPhone, I

00:10:59   assume.

00:11:00   Yeah.

00:11:01   And everybody eventually is going to be used to little things sticking out of your ears

00:11:05   too.

00:11:06   I think that's only a matter of time.

00:11:07   So yeah, I'm really impressed with them.

00:11:09   - Yeah, I think, yeah, that was, that was in many ways

00:11:14   a pretty easy review for me to write because, you know,

00:11:18   I really liked them.

00:11:19   I mean, that's like, I didn't need to search my feelings

00:11:22   for the complexity of the, I'm like, no,

00:11:24   these are really good.

00:11:25   They've got some issues. - There really isn't

00:11:26   much downside at all, is there?

00:11:27   - You know, relying on Siri and those double taps being,

00:11:32   you know, like somebody's knocking in the middle

00:11:34   of your head are not the best.

00:11:37   Yeah, and like we said last week,

00:11:40   like the fact that in no internet circumstances,

00:11:44   they just don't work.

00:11:45   Like there's no capability for it to do basic processing

00:11:49   on the phone, which they used to have.

00:11:51   That's dumb.

00:11:51   There are things that they could fix with software

00:11:54   and then there are things that I hope they fix.

00:11:56   Like I would love to be able to assign different gestures

00:11:59   to the left and the right ear, for example,

00:12:01   for those double taps, that would be cool.

00:12:03   But, you know, I don't know if any of that is possible,

00:12:07   but it's all potential future versions of this.

00:12:11   But for a version of one product, I mean, it's great.

00:12:13   Somebody asked me, so I was writing a story.

00:12:16   I was writing one of my Mac World columns.

00:12:17   I decided to write it at Starbucks down the street.

00:12:22   And I brought my iPad,

00:12:24   and I actually tried out a new keyboard.

00:12:26   I tried out the Brydge keyboard for the iPad Pro.

00:12:31   And so I was trying all that stuff out,

00:12:33   and I was sitting at the table and I was using my AirPods

00:12:37   and a guy asked me, do you like them?

00:12:40   And I said, yeah, they're really good.

00:12:41   And he said, are they worth it?

00:12:42   And I said, well, you know,

00:12:45   you get headphones in the box, right?

00:12:47   So those are free.

00:12:48   And are they worth it is such a hard question

00:12:53   'cause it's like, well, I mean, it matters,

00:12:57   like what's it worth to you?

00:12:58   Wireless headphones are really convenient.

00:13:01   they don't get in your way. They stay in your ears, there's nothing dangling down there

00:13:06   in certain circumstances. If you're particularly active or if you're like, for me, it's always

00:13:12   like the cord getting snagged in the kitchen. Like there's so many things that are better

00:13:16   about not having the cords, but you know, but you pay for it. And these are not unreasonably

00:13:24   priced for a set of wireless headphones that sound like this, wireless earbuds. But still,

00:13:30   you get a free pair of corded ones in the box. So that was a tough question that I didn't

00:13:34   really have a good answer for which is like, you know, how much do you want to spend on

00:13:39   having these kind of fun and more convenient in many ways headphones and that make your

00:13:45   own decision there.

00:13:47   I mean, as with most of these types of new products, I would say wait to the next one.

00:13:52   Like if you're asking that question, just wait for the next ones because they'll be

00:13:55   better. It will be more worth it. You know, they might be cheaper. Who knows? But like

00:13:58   they'll be better. Like if you're fine with it now, like wait. But if you are a person

00:14:03   who enjoys fun technology, like most of the people listening to this show, I think you

00:14:07   get a real kick out of these if you own them, in all honesty.

00:14:10   - Yeah. I also, I mean, I think the argument of you can wait for the next one only goes

00:14:14   so far because you can always wait for the next one, right?

00:14:17   - Well, sure. But you know, like this is a version one though, right?

00:14:20   - But you're right. If you want to feel like you're part of the future and you're doing

00:14:22   something that everybody's going to be using products like this in five years, but you

00:14:25   could get it today but you have to pay for the AirPods to do that and that's true. It's

00:14:33   interesting because what's it worth to you is the answer there. You don't need to buy

00:14:39   a new iPhone this year, you can just keep last year's iPhone. There are lots of things

00:14:42   people don't need to pay for. Do you need to buy a pair of AirPods? You absolutely don't

00:14:47   need to buy a pair of AirPods. It's just a matter of do they offer you enough to make

00:14:53   it worth what the price is. But for a version one product, they're pretty great. I mean,

00:14:57   like I don't have any of those real wait till version two if you're on the fence kind of

00:15:02   feels about this product. It's also I'm not convinced that there will be a substantial

00:15:08   revision to them for a couple of years, but I think they're pretty good as is.

00:15:14   Next week, the show everybody's been waiting for.

00:15:18   Oh yes. The Upgradies.

00:15:20   Now we have the third annual upgrade is going out next week.

00:15:24   We're very excited.

00:15:25   The voting is closed.

00:15:26   We have a good idea of where who our winners are going to be.

00:15:30   We and Jason have our own votes and I'm sure we're both very confident in those votes.

00:15:35   We know what the listener votes are.

00:15:36   It's all very exciting.

00:15:37   It's all coming together.

00:15:38   And we have a little secret surprise.

00:15:41   If you are somebody who has the iMessage sticker app from the relay, sticker pack from the

00:15:46   relay FM app installed.

00:15:47   So if you have the Relay FM app, you can get our iMessage sticker pack.

00:15:51   There is an upgradey sticker which you will now find within that sticker pack.

00:15:56   It appeared a couple of days ago secretly, as we were able to do, because the iMessage

00:16:01   sticker pack stuff is actually very, very advanced.

00:16:05   It's pretty cool.

00:16:06   So you can go there, you can take a look, and you can send your friends all of the things

00:16:11   that you think are winning all of the upgradeies.

00:16:15   So you can send them out and have fun with that.

00:16:17   So there's an ugly little sticker

00:16:19   with more fantastic artwork from @forgottentell,

00:16:22   our incredible graphic designer that we work with

00:16:25   and collaborate with.

00:16:26   And we have some very special artwork

00:16:28   that will appear in the show notes as well.

00:16:31   Commemorate the upgrade is for this year.

00:16:34   - So tune in or podcast in on January 2nd

00:16:37   and you will get that very special episode.

00:16:40   It's a pre-taped episode.

00:16:42   We won't be live for the people who listen live,

00:16:44   but we will be providing on that date while we're traveling.

00:16:48   We will have pre-taped that episode

00:16:51   and you'll be able to hear it.

00:16:52   - Like all good award shows,

00:16:54   we have to have a tape delay in case something happens.

00:16:58   - Sure. - You know?

00:16:59   In case we have a run in or you never know.

00:17:01   So we gotta make sure we're prepared.

00:17:02   - Never in a streaker, a streaker, yeah.

00:17:04   - Exactly, exactly.

00:17:05   - Is that what you call streakers in England, a run in?

00:17:10   Somebody runs onto the field somewhere, is that a run in?

00:17:12   Well no, I mean they're still called Streakers, but Streakers are naked, you know, there might

00:17:16   be someone who's not naked, right?

00:17:18   Who just runs in and waves and it's like woohoo.

00:17:21   You know I think of Kanye West as a runner.

00:17:22   Fully clothed.

00:17:23   You know?

00:17:24   Kanye running.

00:17:25   Yeah, I suppose that's true.

00:17:26   You never know, we might get like John Siracusa bursting and demand an award.

00:17:30   It could happen.

00:17:31   It could be.

00:17:32   It could happen.

00:17:33   He doesn't have enough awards already, enough upgradees.

00:17:35   Who knows?

00:17:36   Does he?

00:17:37   Oh yeah, they've won twice, right?

00:17:39   ATP.

00:17:40   Uh huh.

00:17:41   Solvable differences win as well. It might have done.

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00:18:50   so much to Encapsular for their support of this show and RelayFN.

00:18:55   So we have a few things that we want to talk about today, a few stories, a few articles

00:19:01   that I was thinking I wanted to label as all about the Mac. We're going back to the Mac

00:19:07   today. That's right. Because there's been, thankfully, during the run-up to Christmas,

00:19:13   a few stories that appeared, which me and Jason were talking of us like we were very

00:19:18   thankful for these stories because it gave us something to talk about and what is potentially

00:19:22   the hardest episode to have something to talk about in the year, which is the episode "The

00:19:27   Day After Christmas." Not a lot of tech news breaks. Otherwise, this episode was going

00:19:32   to be entirely about putting stickers on our technology and me recommending comic books

00:19:41   to Myke.

00:19:42   >> Those topics, by the way, because I know people will now be screaming for them, they

00:19:46   will come at some point in the future. They are, we have, you know, as all good podcasters

00:19:52   do, we have a bank of evergreen topics that we can pull out if nothing has happened. So

00:19:56   they are two of those and that was what it was going to be today, but luckily there are

00:20:00   few things. So we'll start off with an article from TechCrunch of a leaked internal memo from

00:20:08   Tim Cook on an Apple message board it was described as. Like what is that?

00:20:13   I don't even know. It's some sort of internal HR memo, feedback, something. It's probably

00:20:21   heavily moderated by corporate human resources.

00:20:23   I bet it's like 15 years old and it's got pinstriping everywhere and stuff.

00:20:28   Probably.

00:20:29   Tim Cook said the following, I'm going to read some quotes, in a reply to a question

00:20:35   asking about whether Mac desktops are still a strategic line for Apple.

00:20:39   So Tim said, "The desktop is very strategic for us.

00:20:42   It's unique compared to the notebook."

00:20:45   So you notice this is specifically, this person is I think targeting the Mac Pro in their

00:20:51   question.

00:20:52   "It's unique compared to the notebook because you can pack a lot more performance in a desktop.

00:20:56   The largest screens, the most memory and storage, a greater variety of I/O and fastest performance.

00:21:04   There are many different reasons why desktops are really important and in some cases critical

00:21:08   to people.

00:21:09   Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we are committed to desktops.

00:21:13   If there is any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear, we have great

00:21:17   desktops in our roadmap, nobody should worry about that.

00:21:21   So before we kind of dig into some of the wording here, because I think there is some

00:21:26   interesting wording here.

00:21:27   Of course.

00:21:28   What's the driving force behind a comment like this from Cook, do you think?

00:21:32   Is he trying to talk to this person who asked him that question?

00:21:37   Or is he talking to the wider enthusiast audience, do you think?

00:21:41   What's the motivation behind this?

00:21:43   I think it's both.

00:21:45   I think there are presumably there are people at Apple who feel as upset about the Mac not

00:21:54   having a lot of attention put on it seemingly as there are outside of Apple. Presumably,

00:22:00   you know, though, you know, we are a lot of people at Apple or at least some of the people

00:22:05   at Apple are like us, right? They are. They are fans and they love and they use the Mac

00:22:09   every day and it matters to them and they read what is written and they listen to podcasts

00:22:14   and they want to know what's going on. But they're also Apple employees, so they get

00:22:17   to ask Tim Cook, apparently, in their, uh, whatever this thing is.

00:22:22   I'm also, like, really interested to know how this kind of thing occurs. Was it like

00:22:27   a town hall? Like, was Tim accepting these messages? Or can you just, like, any day,

00:22:33   any time, just say, "Hey, Tim! What do you think about this?"

00:22:36   So, some suggestion box sort of thing. I don't know, whether they do a regular Q&A kind of

00:22:40   thing.

00:22:41   right? Because this article had a few questions on a few things. So I guess it was like a

00:22:46   scheduled Q&A.

00:22:47   Tim Cynova Yeah, people submit questions and then some

00:22:50   of those are answered is my experience in corporate environments, right? You don't answer

00:22:54   all of them. You answer the ones you want to answer and give the answer that you want

00:22:58   to give and that's it, right? So we, this was chosen and you know, they know that this

00:23:03   is going to leak. That's, they absolutely know that, right? There's no way that any

00:23:07   statement from Tim Cook circulated to all Apple employees is going to stay confidential.

00:23:13   So I think that's always the secondary consideration here is it allows a message, an unofficial

00:23:20   message from Apple that's still official but unofficial to get out.

00:23:24   And this is a good way to do that, right? Let's imagine that me and you are working

00:23:28   at Apple PR at the moment. If I have the option here of like, you know, we kind of want to

00:23:35   get this message out, how do we do this? We can either do this as a statement direct like

00:23:39   on the PR team or somebody can tweet something or someone can give a statement to The Verge

00:23:45   or it can be a leaked internal like memo. That kind of adds, the leaked internal memo

00:23:52   kind of in my mind at least adds a weight of like this is definitely true because nobody

00:23:58   was supposed to see this. That's right. Well there's no spin in that message because it's

00:24:02   internal.

00:24:03   >> Apple doesn't--what Apple didn't want to do is give an interview, it looks like based

00:24:11   on this, give an interview to somebody talking about the importance of Mac desktops, right?

00:24:17   They didn't want to do a, you know, exclusive CNET talks to Tim Cook about Mac desktops,

00:24:24   right? Because they're going to want to talk about other stuff, they're going to want to

00:24:26   ask questions, pesky questions that Apple executives don't want to answer. They don't

00:24:31   to do that. This shields them from all of that because it's just this text is not even

00:24:39   released. This text is sent to Apple employees or posted for them to view and then they walk

00:24:44   away. And so it's a way to get direct quotes out that aren't leaks from sources but are

00:24:49   direct quotes without it being something that is part of a back and forth. Even with guidelines,

00:24:57   part of a back and forth with journalists, they're going to ask you follow-up questions

00:25:00   and things like that. And, you know, this way doesn't require that. This way you do

00:25:05   two paragraphs and you're gone.

00:25:06   - Pretty great, right? It's a pretty great idea. Like, I think as a way to get this out,

00:25:10   it's a smart way to get this message out.

00:25:12   - As a journalist, I would say I'd rather they actually answer questions and not be

00:25:16   allowed to be somewhat cryptic. And this we can generate and have already plenty of questions

00:25:23   about what exactly he means here. But if you view it from Apple's perspective, you don't

00:25:28   want that.

00:25:29   No, I mean, it's a great way to do it purely from a, you know, being a tricky PR type thing,

00:25:38   right? Like, not as in, is this the best way for the message to be distributed? But I think

00:25:42   it's maybe the best way for them to try and get their intention across, which is to be

00:25:46   like, we do care about this. However, what is, what is Tim saying here, do you think?

00:25:54   Like, is this like desktop or desktops that he's talking about?

00:25:59   One thing that's clear here is that how you view this, how you judge what he's saying

00:26:05   here is going to be impacted by how you feel about where Apple is going, right?

00:26:10   Because this is meant to be a reassurance, right?

00:26:13   The headline is "Apple's Tim Cook assures employees that it is committed to the Mac,"

00:26:18   right?

00:26:19   That is the headline in TechCrunch that leaked this memo.

00:26:22   Okay, right?

00:26:24   And yet immediately after it, I saw like Marco Arment feels like Apple's probably not gonna

00:26:31   ever release another Mac Pro and is not interested in this kind of market and all that. And Marco's

00:26:35   take on this immediately was, "Well, look, you see what he's saying. He's talking about

00:26:40   the iMac. He's not talking about the Mac Pro." And he's right. You can read it that way,

00:26:46   right? And I think that if you're inclined to view this as a way for Apple to sort of

00:26:52   of like poo-poo all of that complaining, but not really promise anything other than that

00:26:58   there will be iMacs in the future, shocker, in an oblique way, then I think that's a valid

00:27:05   way to read it. So I think you can look at this and say, "Hey, look, it's some not official

00:27:12   official reassurance to Mac users that Apple cares about the desktop, but if you are convinced

00:27:18   that they don't really care about pro level desktops, you can definitely parse this and

00:27:24   say, "I'm not sure he's saying anything about that."

00:27:29   My take on this is that he's talking about the iMac, but I'm fine with that. The iMac

00:27:33   is as pro a machine as I ever could want or need, you know?

00:27:37   Yeah, yeah. My feeling is that they've got new iMacs that are coming out soon, right?

00:27:42   And he knows about them, and that's the next product up. So you're teasing the next product

00:27:47   up by saying we got some great stuff, you know, aren't there great things. When they

00:27:50   talk about the biggest screens here, like, why would you mention screens? Because the

00:27:56   MacBook Pro will drive a 27-inch 5K display, or two in the 15-inch case, right? So what

00:28:05   he's really thinking is sort of an all-in-one with a screen, I think, and that's the iMac.

00:28:10   So that's the, you know, greater variety of IO is interesting. I'm not quite sure. You

00:28:19   know, you could make some arguments that when he says a greater variety of IO, what does

00:28:23   that mean if we've got MacBook Pros with Thunderbolt 3? Does that mean more ports? Does that mean

00:28:29   expandability at which point we are talking about something that like there's no expandable

00:28:34   desktop Macs at all now. So I'm not quite sure what that means or does he literally

00:28:37   mean but there will be six and that's not variety necessarily will there be legacy ports

00:28:42   on the iMac. I mean you could parse it a bunch of ways but it's hard to find and fastest

00:28:49   performance great right but it's hard to look in here and say he's definitely talking about

00:28:54   more than the iMac and I think that that's what he's thinking of here just like this

00:28:59   happened like a year or two ago where he said something like this where it was like you

00:29:04   You know, there's great stuff on the way and people will see that shortly.

00:29:07   And it was a new model of something and it wasn't quite what we thought it was, but it

00:29:13   was the next product up and so why not?

00:29:17   You know, what do you think is going to happen?

00:29:19   There's going to be a new iMac.

00:29:20   I think that might have been the revision of the 5K and the introduction of the 4K?

00:29:24   Maybe?

00:29:25   Maybe?

00:29:26   Maybe, but it was one of those like, you know, we're working on some exciting things and

00:29:30   this is definitely important and you know, we've got some great stuff coming next year

00:29:33   and you're gonna love it." And it's like, okay. It doesn't really say anything. But

00:29:39   yeah, so it's interesting because it's reassuring on one level, which is we have great desktops

00:29:46   on our roadmap, we are working on desktops, which I think the real question is, were people

00:29:52   really worried about Mac desktops or were people worried about the Mac Pro and maybe

00:30:00   the Mac Mini. Because if you were worried about the iMac, I think you got your clear

00:30:06   picture here that Apple has a roadmap for the iMac and the iMac's not going anywhere.

00:30:11   But I would argue, of course the iMac's not going anywhere. Was somebody really thinking

00:30:15   that the iMac was going somewhere? Because the iMac's totally not going anywhere. So

00:30:19   I think maybe this is a case where the question gets asked in a vague enough way, or gets

00:30:25   it's edited by HR, I don't know how it works there, to be vague enough that he can answer

00:30:31   about desktops in general without actually addressing desk, you know, certain desktops

00:30:35   in particular.

00:30:36   >> I wouldn't say that there was like definite need for worry or that even I was worried

00:30:43   about the iMac, but you know, you could imagine a world in which we didn't see one for another

00:30:50   year, right? Like it could have, I mean, could have happened, who knows, right?

00:30:53   - Well, I think anything is possible now.

00:30:56   - Yeah, anything's possible, right?

00:30:57   - It was impossible to think that Mac Pro

00:30:59   would be un-updated for three years, right?

00:31:01   So, sure.

00:31:02   - I think that there is at least something to be taken

00:31:05   from the fact that they're saying

00:31:06   that they have iMacs in the roadmap

00:31:09   and assuming that there's not too many junctions

00:31:12   between here and there.

00:31:14   - I still believe there is a something

00:31:18   that's not the iMac, that's a desktop that they are planning.

00:31:21   I still believe that.

00:31:22   And my number one bit of evidence for that is,

00:31:25   I don't think the Mac Pro would still be for sale

00:31:28   if they were never gonna make the Mac Pro again.

00:31:30   I think the reason that it's sitting there,

00:31:32   and we talked about this before,

00:31:33   but I think the reason it's sitting there

00:31:34   embarrassingly long is because they wanna keep it

00:31:36   on the price list until they have a replacement for it.

00:31:39   And so it sits.

00:31:40   And there was, you know, we'll, yeah,

00:31:44   we'll see what happens there.

00:31:46   But that's my, the reason for my feeling about this.

00:31:49   And the fact that Tim Cook is saying the right things here

00:31:53   when he says screens and memory and storage and IO

00:31:57   and fastest performance and we care,

00:31:59   we know this is critical to people

00:32:00   and it's important to people and we are committed

00:32:04   and we have a roadmap and we're gonna work on this

00:32:06   in the future, so don't worry.

00:32:08   Like that is the message here.

00:32:10   And so beyond that, I guess you just have to say,

00:32:15   how much of that do you believe

00:32:16   and how much of that do you think has been?

00:32:18   And I think everybody's gonna have

00:32:21   a different percentage there.

00:32:23   And obviously somebody like Marco,

00:32:25   who was pretty down on the prospects here,

00:32:27   is gonna have a smaller percentage of reading into that

00:32:31   than somebody who's a little more positive about that.

00:32:33   I think anytime that Tim Cook says anything

00:32:36   even semi-publicly about the Mac

00:32:39   and about that aspects of the Mac's business

00:32:42   are important to Apple and they have a future,

00:32:45   I kinda wanna take that as a win.

00:32:47   but it doesn't brush away saying we're committed

00:32:52   and giving a thumbs up is not brushing away

00:32:55   the detailed questions about how the product line

00:32:58   has been handled and where it's going.

00:32:59   And those remain, this doesn't really dispel them

00:33:02   in any way.

00:33:03   - And you know, there's a phrase used here,

00:33:06   it's all talk and no trousers.

00:33:09   - Wow.

00:33:11   - I don't actually know what the full meaning of that is,

00:33:14   but it's like you can keep saying like,

00:33:18   we have great Macs coming,

00:33:19   but until you actually see them, right?

00:33:22   Like you can't see the level of commitment, right?

00:33:24   Like I think that's kind of what you're saying

00:33:25   to a point where it's just like,

00:33:27   you can keep saying it, which is awesome.

00:33:28   Like keep saying it, keep assuring us, great.

00:33:31   But eventually there has to be something

00:33:34   to back up those statements, right?

00:33:36   Like that has to eventually come.

00:33:39   And unfortunately over the last two years,

00:33:42   Those eventuallys have been getting longer and longer apart.

00:33:45   And so like, you know, at this point, it's like it is unknown how long it will be

00:33:50   before we get another MacBook Pro even, right?

00:33:52   It could be two years.

00:33:53   Who knows? We'll wait and see.

00:33:56   Now, talking about like what Macs are coming and Apple's commitment to the desktop,

00:34:03   there is another side of this.

00:34:04   There is a, you know, leaks from inside of the company that the type of person who

00:34:09   would ask the question in the first place, the disgruntled employee. There are those

00:34:14   people. And as you can imagine, someone has been talking to them and that person is Mark

00:34:18   Germin. And there is a Mark Germin report that we're going to talk about a little bit

00:34:21   later on in the episode today. It's a big report in Bloomberg, talking about kind of

00:34:27   what the state of the Mac is. But before we do that, let's just take a little break from

00:34:32   the heavy and just talk about something a little bit lighter, which is a really fun

00:34:36   an awesome YouTube video that you put together about kind of the max place in the Steve Jobs

00:34:43   idea of the Apple product line, the cars versus trucks argument.

00:34:47   Okay.

00:34:48   Can you sum up the cars versus trucks argument?

00:34:52   The real one or the fake one?

00:34:53   The one Jobs made.

00:34:55   All right.

00:34:56   So what Jobs said was, and this is at 2010 at the D conference, which is, that was Walt

00:35:03   Mossberg and Kara Switchers conference when they worked at the Wall Street Journal, essentially.

00:35:09   They now left and set up ReCode and now they do the code conference and there's still a

00:35:14   WSJD conference, I think. But anyway, in 2010 it was the Walt and Kara show and Jobs was

00:35:21   there and he went on, they asked him basically, "What do you think about like the iPad's future

00:35:29   compared to computers. And Jobs went on this riff about how in the past all car,

00:35:37   you know, all the vehicles were trucks and we were an agrarian nation and then

00:35:42   over time people moved to cities and and suburbs and needed cars and they made

00:35:47   cars. Now that's, historically that's basically not true, it's not true, but

00:35:52   his point, his real point was that computers are all, have been all purpose

00:35:58   tasks or taskers all all purpose like if you want to do this it used to be like

00:36:04   get on the internet is a good example it used to be you had to have a computer

00:36:08   like computers were a thing you bought not because you needed to do like

00:36:11   high-powered computing but that was the gateway to be able to get on the

00:36:16   internet to check your email to look at web pages and things like that and so

00:36:19   everybody had a computer but now what he's saying is with tablets he was

00:36:25   talking about but I think we have to throw smartphones in there obviously but

00:36:27   with tablets, his thought was there's a whole class of people who will not need a computer

00:36:34   because all they were doing with their computer is getting on the internet. And there are

00:36:39   more appropriate devices that let you do all of those things without having to have a big

00:36:45   old computer, a big old laptop or a desktop computer. And I think there's validity in

00:36:51   that statement. My mom had a laptop for 15 years or something like that, and now she

00:36:57   just is iPad only, iPad and iPhone, but she mostly is just using her iPad. And that's

00:37:04   a, so I can see it. I can see his argument there. So that's what he was saying was it's

00:37:10   going to be uncomfortable in this post-PC world when everybody's using devices that

00:37:15   aren't PCs to do all of these general tasks that used to be in the computing bucket but

00:37:20   now aren't. It's going to be uncomfortable for people to deal with that change, but that

00:37:25   in the end the personal computer is a tool, it's a particular tool for a job and if you

00:37:31   need to do that job you'll use it but it's no longer a general purpose device where you

00:37:36   buy it because you want to be on the internet. Like his point, if I had to boil it down is

00:37:41   it used to be that you bought an iMac like the iVoice for internet you bought an iMac

00:37:46   because you wanted to do email and go online so you bought a big iMac and you plopped it

00:37:52   down on a desk and you plugged it in and you plugged in your modem, you know, phone port

00:37:57   to the modem plug and you went online. Yay! You re on the internet. And today, you would

00:38:02   never do that. You know, you don t need if all you re doing is checking email and keeping

00:38:06   up with pictures on Facebook, you don t need a computer to do that. And in fact, the computer

00:38:11   is probably a, you know, depending on who you are, it might be the right tool for the

00:38:17   job if you have particular needs, but it's, you know, a phone and a tablet are absolutely

00:38:24   capable of doing all of the things that you need to do. And so that was his argument was

00:38:28   that over time, PC, people who came up in the computer industry were going to be uncomfortable

00:38:32   by the fact that this device that they loved, that is the center of everything, is going

00:38:39   to become not the center of everything because it doesn't need to be anymore and it's just

00:38:43   going to be more of a niche tool. It's a tool for very specific uses. When instead of it

00:38:50   being everything needs a computer, it's like some jobs need a computer. And that's really

00:38:55   different. So I think that's the heart of what Jobs was trying to say there.

00:38:58   So you put this video together, which people should go and watch, it's on YouTube. Talking

00:39:03   about your kind of theory on this now is that Jobs' original argument, which is the argument

00:39:09   that many people still come back to today about why the Mac is important because the

00:39:13   Mac is the truck. It seems that there is a change at least from Apple in like what the

00:39:18   Mac is.

00:39:19   Right. Yeah, yeah. I mean that was what prompted me to make the video. I was trying to think

00:39:23   about it and I realized I need to go back to the Jobs video and then I watched the Jobs

00:39:28   video and I thought, "Oh, this is like..." I started to try to take it apart and first

00:39:32   I had to get over the fact that he starts with this kind of fantasy of agrarian truck

00:39:38   nation that doesn't exist.

00:39:40   I know you were really stuck on this idea for a while.

00:39:42   - You saw a version of my, an early version of my script.

00:39:45   I kind of want to do a whole video now

00:39:47   that's just about like the history of cars and trucks

00:39:50   and why Steve Jobs is totally wrong,

00:39:52   but that's kind of not my area

00:39:53   and I probably won't make that video.

00:39:55   But so I kind of got over it,

00:39:56   but I thought it was good going back to that

00:39:58   'cause I certainly use that car and truck metaphor

00:40:00   all the time, right?

00:40:01   - Because it's so beautiful, right?

00:40:02   Like it's such a beautiful metaphor.

00:40:04   - And it's not, so I think it's not quite right historically

00:40:08   but I like the idea as I just described it, right?

00:40:10   The problem is, as I thought about it more and more,

00:40:13   and as I was working on the video,

00:40:15   that, and I think I've mentioned it on upgrade before,

00:40:19   and I know I mentioned on clockwise at one point,

00:40:21   is how do you square the view that computers are trucks

00:40:25   with the fact that Apple makes decisions about the Mac

00:40:30   that seem to be driving it away from professional use?

00:40:34   Like if you just go straight with the metaphor

00:40:40   of like, you know, tablets and smartphones, let's say, are cars and computers or trucks.

00:40:44   Why, you know, shouldn't the Mac Pro and the MacBook Pro be the ultimate destinations and

00:40:49   they should be super powerful devices because in the end, who's buying Macs anymore? It's

00:40:55   pros. They're the truck drivers. They're the people hauling things. They need the tools,

00:41:01   the professional tools, or the contractors, whatever you, however you want to take that

00:41:04   metaphor, they need trucks, right? They're rendering video, they're editing audio, they're

00:41:09   doing you know special effects they're doing biotech they're doing I mean you

00:41:14   name all the things that they're and their developers right all of those

00:41:17   things throw that throw them in there they all need trucks right but you look

00:41:21   at the MacBook and you look at the MacBook Pro and you could even go back

00:41:25   and say things like the the iMac when they redesign the iMac to be thinner

00:41:31   it's like are these truck features are these truck features or are these car

00:41:36   features because thinner and lighter make sense on mobile and that's Apple's

00:41:41   playbook has been thinner and lighter because that those seem like car

00:41:44   features they're like pros may want it to be thicker and heavier and have more

00:41:48   power but regular people don't they need enough power to get by to do the things

00:41:53   they want to do but that that's the end of it so so you look at Apple's design

00:42:00   decisions with the Mac and you're like are they making do they really think the

00:42:04   Mac as a truck? And that's when I came to my conclusion in the video. And the video

00:42:08   is definitely me asking a lot of questions and not giving anybody the answer from the

00:42:13   mountaintop. I'm like, "What does this all mean?" Because I really am still kind of wondering.

00:42:17   But I am starting to wonder if Apple doesn't see the Mac as a truck at all. Or at least

00:42:25   Apple may see—because Jobs was talking about the whole personal computing industry—Apple

00:42:29   they look at the Mac and say what's the best target audience for the Mac and I feel like

00:42:35   it's more like an SUV or a crossover. John Syracuse gave me a hard time for lumping crossovers

00:42:41   in with SUVs. But you know, basically there's a whole class that's just as popular as a

00:42:47   traditional car that was originally sort of styled or based on a truck body but sort of

00:42:54   styled like a car. The idea is there's a whole new class of vehicle that's really for people

00:42:57   who want to drive a car, but they want it to be fancier.

00:43:00   They want it to be bigger.

00:43:01   They want it to be more powerful.

00:43:02   They want it to have more space, whatever it is.

00:43:04   It's a fancy thing that's no longer a car,

00:43:07   but it's not a truck.

00:43:08   It's not a pickup truck.

00:43:10   It doesn't have a truck bed.

00:43:11   It's just a fancier, bigger, more well appointed vehicle.

00:43:15   And then there's the truck, which I would say is like,

00:43:18   you know, you can have a truck and not use the truck bed,

00:43:20   but because you like to drive a truck,

00:43:23   and that's a perfectly valid use case,

00:43:25   or you need it to do your job, right?

00:43:27   And I started to think, okay,

00:43:29   we can go too far down the rabbit hole with these metaphors,

00:43:33   which is in itself another metaphor.

00:43:34   But what if the Mac is an SUV, essentially?

00:43:39   What if Apple's target audience for the Mac

00:43:42   is not professional users?

00:43:44   It's people who wanna have kinda like car,

00:43:49   or like trucky features, but still be a car.

00:43:53   And if you think about it,

00:43:54   there's probably to this day still a bigger audience for that

00:43:59   than for the high-end pro user.

00:44:02   - I agree.

00:44:03   - Right?

00:44:04   - People that just want the little bit more space

00:44:06   when they need it and more power when it matters.

00:44:10   - Right.

00:44:11   - But are not developing software.

00:44:12   Like the fact that Adina chose to go with the MacBook Pro

00:44:17   over the MacBook Air when she made her purchase

00:44:19   a couple of years ago because she wanted a retina screen,

00:44:22   which was a nicer feature, and, you know, just a little bit more power if she's ever

00:44:28   encoding a video or something.

00:44:31   Yeah, it's, um, and it's, I think Jobs, some of this I think is Jobs believing that the

00:44:37   tablet thing was going to take off more than it did, right? I mean, the fact is that the

00:44:41   tablet market is not, is not growing exponentially and consuming the PC market like I think he

00:44:46   probably thought it was.

00:44:47   Or at least at that time doing the right PR job required for the launch of the iPad.

00:44:51   Yeah, well, that's true. That's true. But I do think that's a factor here, because I

00:44:56   think that if the iPad and other tablets had really consumed in the last six years, had

00:45:06   consumed a huge part of that consumer PC market, even more—you know, PC market is shrinking,

00:45:13   but it's not collapsing. If the tablet market had consumed the PC market for consumers,

00:45:21   then the only place that would make sense

00:45:24   for you to make computers anymore

00:45:25   would be to make them trucks, right?

00:45:27   But that hasn't happened.

00:45:28   Like regular people buy computers, even now,

00:45:30   even with the option to buy tablets

00:45:32   and with their smartphones, people still buy computers.

00:45:35   They don't buy them like they used to,

00:45:37   but they still buy them.

00:45:38   And so, I think if Apple were to choose

00:45:42   to focus on the professional market,

00:45:44   they would lose these other sales.

00:45:47   You could make the argument that Apple doesn't need

00:45:48   to do that, Apple could do both.

00:45:50   And that's totally true.

00:45:52   I do wonder, and that was in the video too,

00:45:55   I do wonder sometimes if just because of the mindset

00:45:58   required to make cars, which are the iPhone and the iPad,

00:46:03   if it isn't easier and if,

00:46:07   and actually if Apple is best at focusing on those same

00:46:12   kind of values when they make Macs

00:46:15   and therefore making thinner and lighter friendlier

00:46:20   consumer friendly, not high end devices everywhere,

00:46:25   it like fits into who they are.

00:46:30   And the pro stuff on the Mac, just,

00:46:33   they don't think about it, they don't understand it,

00:46:36   they can't prioritize it.

00:46:38   I don't know what the thought is there,

00:46:39   'cause it's not like car makers can't make trucks too,

00:46:42   and cars and SUVs and all of that.

00:46:43   But Apple's a different kind of beast and it may be,

00:46:48   But I did have that moment where, you know,

00:46:51   the crystallizing moment for me was

00:46:54   when they do the MacBook Pro and they limit the RAM on it,

00:46:58   it is hard to look at that and say that is like

00:47:00   totally a professional product, right?

00:47:02   It is a professional-ish product,

00:47:05   but they're turning, you know,

00:47:07   they're turning their backs on,

00:47:09   or at least they're not catering to

00:47:11   a portion of their audience.

00:47:13   And that's the, you know,

00:47:14   that's the people who absolutely need something

00:47:17   or think they absolutely need something that they can't get.

00:47:22   So what do you think is the future here with this?

00:47:29   Do you think that, having looked at this, do you think that it's going to continue to

00:47:34   be this bifurcation of what these devices are capable of based upon market desire and

00:47:41   consumer need?

00:47:43   Is the iPad going to become the car more than it ever was?

00:47:48   Is the Mac going to become less of a truck and there will just be no trucks anymore?

00:47:53   Like what is going to happen here?

00:47:56   Well, first off, one of the places where this metaphor is fundamentally broken, because

00:47:59   Jobs is talking about the tablet in the original context of it, one of the places where this

00:48:04   is fundamentally broken is the iPad's not the car.

00:48:06   The smartphone is the car.

00:48:08   The smartphone is the car.

00:48:09   The smartphone is the thing that everybody has.

00:48:12   iPad is also, I guess, a car or maybe it's like a minivan or something, I don't know

00:48:17   whether it's, you know, but it's a general purpose device like that. Even the iPad Pro,

00:48:22   right? It's verging on being able to do more, but it's not, you know, it's not a super high-end

00:48:28   kind of product. And then you've got the Mac and the Mac's kind of all over the place.

00:48:31   My gut feeling, based on what we've seen, and again, if they offer a Mac Pro that's

00:48:36   spectacular in 2017, then we will have to recalibrate our feelings. But looking at the

00:48:42   evidence of the MacBook being like totally focused on thinness and lightness and not

00:48:49   on traditional kind of professionally kind of features. And then we look at the decisions

00:48:54   that went into the MacBook Pro and where it is. I think, you know, the thing I take away

00:49:03   from all the anger from certain markets, certain audiences, certain users of Apple's products

00:49:12   about the MacBook Pro. What I take away from that is it looks to me like Apple has decided

00:49:19   that certain markets aren't important enough for them to prioritize over other things they

00:49:28   want to do with their products. And we've talked about that before too, right? Which

00:49:32   is if your favorite maker of whatever decides that the flavor of chewing gum that you like

00:49:39   isn't selling well enough and replaces it, you're gonna be mad. You're gonna be really

00:49:45   mad. And you should be mad. They took away your favorite thing. But if it turns out that

00:49:50   it was by far their worst selling flavor, and the new flavor that they've come up with

00:49:55   is gonna do way better, it's hard to say that it wasn't the right decision for them to make.

00:49:59   And you could say, "But you could still make that too."

00:50:01   It's like, "Well, we could, but you know,

00:50:03   there's the packaging and there's the complexity

00:50:05   of our business that you don't see,

00:50:07   and we really need to just swap it out."

00:50:09   And I feel like that's what's going on here a little bit,

00:50:12   which is sort of one of the questions in my video is,

00:50:16   what if Apple decides kind of like,

00:50:18   we're not gonna make trucks.

00:50:20   We're not gonna make trucks.

00:50:21   We're gonna make really nice cars

00:50:23   that are still gonna be able to carry a lot.

00:50:24   But if you absolutely have to have a truck bed

00:50:27   to do your job, to just beat this metaphor even further into the ground, then we're not

00:50:33   going to provide that to you, because that's not the computer we want to make, essentially.

00:50:37   We don't want to provide that to you, because we need to make these kind of products that

00:50:40   we think have broader appeal than that. And the question in my video is, okay, so you've

00:50:46   been driving this Apple truck for years, and now you have to make a decision. And the decision

00:50:54   is do you buy an Apple SUV because you don't really need the truck bed, you just like to

00:51:00   have it? Or do you buy somebody else's truck? And that's the kind of like Microsoft question

00:51:08   like –

00:51:09   And learn how all their dials work for example.

00:51:11   Well whether it's the Surface Studio which is going to be an incredibly niche product

00:51:14   I think or just in general like it's entirely possible that Apple is going to say there

00:51:18   are certain – and it has already said potentially – there are certain parts of the computer

00:51:22   market that we are not going to serve. I kind of hope they don't do that because there's

00:51:27   lots of, you know, things that happen to make the Mac less important when they do stuff

00:51:34   like that. And some of it they may not even realize at the time. I would hate for them

00:51:38   to turn their backs on markets like that, but they may be doing that.

00:51:44   >> I don't want them to stop making the Mac. I don't want them to stop making the Macs

00:51:50   that people want to use, but I don't want them dragging something along and taking up

00:51:57   resources that could be used on making newer and cooler technology. And I don't mean, because

00:52:01   people always think, "I'm using my biases here," I don't mean make a nicer iPad. If

00:52:08   that's what it is, then great, but I'm well aware that the Mac and the iPad sells the

00:52:12   same amount, but if it is something else, like the future of computing, which is neither

00:52:18   of these things, then I want them to be focused on that.

00:52:23   I know it's difficult because I still rely on a Mac.

00:52:28   My iMac is still incredibly important to me and I consider my iMac a professional machine

00:52:31   because it is like the top of the line one.

00:52:34   It is beefy, very beefy.

00:52:39   And I do professional work on it.

00:52:41   I do what is considered the creative professional work on my Macintosh.

00:52:46   I really don't like the idea of Apple has to continue making these things forever because

00:52:53   I really need them.

00:52:55   Well and the, I mean, again, I feel for the people who are upset about this, but like,

00:53:04   how many people really do need more than 16 gigabytes of RAM?

00:53:07   I don't think many people.

00:53:09   I think many people might want it.

00:53:11   I really don't see how many people need it.

00:53:13   Well, yeah, I didn't say once.

00:53:14   - As cute as right now, right?

00:53:16   Like with the things that we currently do,

00:53:17   like I'm sure that, you know,

00:53:19   you'd listen to this in five years

00:53:21   and laugh at them for saying that, right?

00:53:22   Like that old thing,

00:53:23   but like with the stuff that is in our current future,

00:53:26   like that we can see in the stuff that we use right now,

00:53:28   I don't know how much more,

00:53:29   like realistically more RAM you need than 16 gigabytes.

00:53:33   - Yeah, and again, somebody will say,

00:53:35   but for my particular use case, it's like, okay,

00:53:37   you boil it down to the people

00:53:38   who absolutely have to have it.

00:53:40   Boil it down to them.

00:53:41   How big is that market?

00:53:42   And if the difference between having more battery life

00:53:46   or whatever in a, and we'll talk about

00:53:49   the Mark Gurman report, which lends some more

00:53:52   kind of understanding to what's going on

00:53:53   with the batteries in the MacBook Pro.

00:53:54   But if making these decisions that, you know,

00:53:57   99% of the users will find appealing in the MacBook Pro,

00:54:01   but that 1% will find a deal breaker,

00:54:03   you make the, you say goodbye to the 1%, right?

00:54:08   And you optimize for the 99%.

00:54:10   It just sucks to be in the 1%

00:54:12   because they've stopped making your gum.

00:54:14   And you should be angry about it.

00:54:16   But I don't know, I feel like the truck thing,

00:54:19   the truck thing is fascinating because it goes,

00:54:23   bringing it back around to apply it

00:54:25   to professional use of computers is really interesting.

00:54:28   'Cause that's when we have to ask that question of like,

00:54:31   well, who are the professional users?

00:54:32   What do they actually need?

00:54:34   Is Apple serving them,

00:54:36   but they're kind of like they have to adapt to Apple

00:54:39   instead of Apple kind of coming to them,

00:54:41   or is Apple completely turning their backs on them?

00:54:43   Does Apple care about that market?

00:54:45   What markets does Apple care about?

00:54:47   And we don't have a lot of evidence,

00:54:48   so we all end up sort of spinning

00:54:50   and asking us these questions.

00:54:51   And sometimes it drives people mad

00:54:53   and they go back to videos of Steve Jobs from 2010.

00:54:56   - I think it was very good that you made this video

00:54:58   to make the argument because I really liked the argument.

00:55:00   I liked the argument, right?

00:55:01   That the MacBook Pro is an SUV now

00:55:03   because it's not, they're not sold,

00:55:06   or at least Apple probably sees it that way

00:55:08   'cause they are not solving for the usual problems, right?

00:55:11   Like for trucks, you make them bigger, right?

00:55:15   Or give you more space inside of them.

00:55:18   Right, and they are completely going in the exact opposite

00:55:21   for the MacBook Pro.

00:55:23   They are making, they are doing the same things you do

00:55:25   for a car that you make it prettier.

00:55:28   - More luxurious.

00:55:29   - Yeah, prettier.

00:55:31   You give it new fangled features.

00:55:33   And you streamline it.

00:55:35   And that's what they've done to the MacBook Pro.

00:55:38   And they're probably gonna continue.

00:55:39   So there probably isn't a truck lap,

00:55:42   well, there isn't a truck laptop anymore,

00:55:44   unless you wanna go to the used car lot and buy one.

00:55:47   - Yeah, or another brand. - That's all there is.

00:55:49   Or another brand.

00:55:50   So does the truck desktop exist anymore?

00:55:54   We'll find out in a year.

00:55:56   - I think that's, yeah, that's about right.

00:55:58   That's about right.

00:55:59   'Cause the iMac, you know, again, the iMac of today,

00:56:03   the 5K iMac, which is the 2015 model still,

00:56:06   is the current one.

00:56:07   you know, that's a pretty darn powerful system,

00:56:09   like enough that a lot of people who only use Mac Pro

00:56:12   switch to the iMac because it's so powerful,

00:56:14   but it's not, you know, it doesn't have all the features

00:56:17   that the Mac Pro has traditionally had, right?

00:56:20   And so it's the same argument,

00:56:22   like it's compromised in some ways,

00:56:25   but it's pretty powerful.

00:56:27   So is that good enough?

00:56:28   And in 2017, I guess we'll see

00:56:31   whether Apple has other parts of this story

00:56:35   or if that's it.

00:56:37   - Can I continue to just make one more silly car metaphor?

00:56:40   - Sure, all right, my garage door is open, go ahead.

00:56:45   - I feel like the computers that we have now,

00:56:47   like these laptops, they're more like electric cars

00:56:49   than regular cars, because you can't lift the hood

00:56:52   on them anymore, right?

00:56:54   Like, you can't tinker around in there and replace things.

00:56:58   - You can't, yeah, and most cars,

00:57:00   if you open up the hood now,

00:57:01   you'll find that there's just a big block.

00:57:03   - Yeah, there's nothing there.

00:57:04   and you can't, they're very similar in that way too.

00:57:08   - So Apple doesn't make the types of cars

00:57:10   that you can still replace the transmission on yourself

00:57:13   if you want to.

00:57:14   And I think that is part of the truck thing, right?

00:57:17   Like I think people have long thought of the idea

00:57:20   of the truck Mac as the one where you can pop it open

00:57:23   and put the RAM in yourself, right?

00:57:26   Or you can pop it open and put in a new PCI express card.

00:57:30   No, not anymore, right?

00:57:32   like these things are just hermetically sealed.

00:57:34   (laughs)

00:57:35   - And that's what I talk about the philosophy of,

00:57:38   this is Apple's philosophy and it's not just bleeding over

00:57:41   from the iPhone and the iPad,

00:57:42   but it's also sort of a thing that Apple has been pushing

00:57:44   since the early days of Steve Jobs,

00:57:46   which is we can make our computers better

00:57:48   by turning away from,

00:57:50   you could say this about everything they've done,

00:57:52   we can make our stuff better by turning away from things

00:57:53   that are accepted as norms

00:57:56   because we don't think they're necessary.

00:57:58   And they have lots, a whole list of that, right,

00:58:00   including headphone jacks and particular ports that,

00:58:03   oh, you gotta have that.

00:58:04   And they're like, no, we don't need that anymore.

00:58:06   But you know what?

00:58:07   Individually replaceable parts inside of their devices

00:58:13   is one of those same areas.

00:58:15   And if you go on iFixit, you can see the tone

00:58:19   that iFixit takes with so many of Apple's products.

00:58:22   It's great that they do those tear downs,

00:58:23   but behind it all, there is definitely this,

00:58:26   oh, Apple is stupid because they're making this,

00:58:29   They're attaching everything together

00:58:31   and making it impossible to repair anything.

00:58:33   It's like, yeah, it's true, they are.

00:58:35   But they're not doing it to be jerks most of the time.

00:58:38   Maybe soldering on the RAM is jerky,

00:58:39   but most of the time they're not doing it to be jerks.

00:58:42   They're doing it because it allows them

00:58:44   to make a better product.

00:58:45   Because what they define as better

00:58:47   is that it's thinner or lighter or faster

00:58:49   or something else that is not about popping the hood,

00:58:52   taking apart your iPhone

00:58:54   and taking that one particular item off of it

00:58:57   and popping a new one on. And that's just how they've decided to do it. And that extends

00:59:04   to the modern Mac too, where there are no Macs with card slots anymore.

00:59:11   This week's episode is brought to you by our friends over at Smile. So we're still within

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01:01:30   of this show and Relay FM. Alright Mr. Snell.

01:01:34   >> Yes sir.

01:01:35   >> So this is I guess the main event of this discussion today.

01:01:39   >> I don't know.

01:01:41   >> Is the Bloomberg report.

01:01:42   >> Yep.

01:01:43   >> From our friend, Mr. Mark Gurman, the bringer of stories for upgrade.

01:01:49   upgrade. We thank Marc again for his commitment to giving us great topics.

01:01:54   Great things to talk about, sure.

01:01:56   Now I'm going to do a lot of talking here, as I try and boil down and tease out some

01:02:01   of the more interesting parts of this article. So, let's start with some quotes.

01:02:06   Interviews of people familiar with Apple's inner workings reveal that the Mac is getting

01:02:10   far less attention than it once did. They say that the Mac team has lost clout with

01:02:14   the famed industrial design group led by Johnny Ive and the company's software team.

01:02:18   There is a lack of clear direction from management. So this is like that the kind of that where this piece begins

01:02:24   Gorman is basically saying that he's speaking to people who are telling him that the Mac is not considered as important enough or as important

01:02:32   Anymore as it used to be inside of Apple now

01:02:35   Don't think this is a hard thing for us to assume but it's interesting to hear about. However, I feel that this

01:02:43   part

01:02:45   and some other parts a little bit later on in this article

01:02:47   Take some of this article for me. Now a long time ago. I asked you the question

01:02:54   Why do people leak to the press?

01:02:57   and one of the things that you said to me at that point kind of knowing what you know and

01:03:02   Having worked with this stuff for as long as you have is sometimes it's disgruntled employees that have tried to make change inside of the company

01:03:09   They can't do it anymore. So they're crying to the press about it

01:03:13   This feels that way to me this whole yeah

01:03:16   feels like

01:03:18   Somebody inside of Apple who's super unhappy is a bending the ear of Mark Gurman or people who were at Apple

01:03:26   In fact, you can look at some of these attributions and it's people familiar with Apple's inner workings

01:03:33   Right that doesn't even say people at Apple. It says people familiar with Apple's inner workings

01:03:39   I'm not quite sure what that means

01:03:41   You know, you have to protect your sources here, but who's familiar with apples and workings?

01:03:45   I mean, there are lots of people who are familiar with apples and workings, but might not be,

01:03:51   you know, at Apple or were at Apple or are connected to Apple in some way. I don't dispute.

01:03:58   I mean, to be clear, I believe that Mark Gurman is diligent with his sources and that these sources

01:04:06   are legit, but yeah, this is one of those articles

01:04:10   where I look at it and I think, as you should always do

01:04:14   with any leaked story, which is who is the leaker here

01:04:17   and why did they decide to leak this?

01:04:19   And this story, I look at it and I say,

01:04:23   these are people who want to complain

01:04:26   about how the Mac is being treated at Apple

01:04:28   and are unhappy with some of the processes

01:04:33   that Apple is using in its product development.

01:04:38   There are a couple of other parts to this that kind of speak to that argument, I think.

01:04:43   There's one part where they're talking about the fact that when Apple reorganizes software

01:04:47   and hardware teams, and I'm assuming that this was the reorganization that happened

01:04:50   after Forstor, when they went into the big pillars, the divisions that we spoke about

01:04:55   a few weeks ago of software and hardware, right? When this happened, or if there's been

01:04:59   any since, they've actually disbanded the dedicated Mac OS software team and they have

01:05:04   just one software team now that of course focus majorly on iOS. The majority of those

01:05:13   people focus on iOS. And this kind of is an interesting thing to look at and I can see

01:05:17   that like you can look at this and say from a "where does the company's money come from?"

01:05:26   If it's all one budget, of course it goes to iOS, right?

01:05:29   Like 95% of the people go to iOS.

01:05:32   But if you're inside and you previously worked on Mac OS,

01:05:36   or you are working on Mac OS, this is gonna upset you.

01:05:41   Right? - Yep.

01:05:41   - And we spoke about this, my feeling, look,

01:05:45   I can't say that I know how to run

01:05:49   the most valuable company in history.

01:05:52   - No. - I can't say that.

01:05:54   But having just looked and doing some armchair business stuff

01:05:58   and reading what we've read,

01:05:59   this one article a couple of weeks ago,

01:06:01   that Fox article, which was really great,

01:06:04   I can see a real benefit for Apple

01:06:06   starting to silo some of these teams away

01:06:09   and giving them their own budgets

01:06:11   and letting them work in their own way and collaborate

01:06:14   as opposed to just constantly taking from this pool

01:06:17   of people who have to be put on different projects

01:06:22   because it's always going to be the project that makes the most money, that gets the most

01:06:27   attention, and that isn't always the best idea because I think it can stop some innovation

01:06:33   occurring or just like exciting things or you know maybe it's best to have the people

01:06:39   that really want to work on the Mac work on the Mac and not begrudgingly work on iOS when

01:06:43   you're looking at the sake of the quality of the product.

01:06:46   You know like you maybe want less people that are just annoyed and not working in the right

01:06:51   I'm

01:07:10   the stuff that we're seeing in regards to this

01:07:13   kind of hints towards the fact that Apple

01:07:15   is kind of shooting themselves in the foot in some areas

01:07:19   by making everybody work under one line of command.

01:07:23   - Yeah, I mean, I can take the counter argument there,

01:07:26   which is to say that so much of the stuff

01:07:28   that Apple does is shared,

01:07:29   that it's counterproductive to have these separate groups

01:07:34   when so much collaboration needs to happen

01:07:37   and that if they're building a feature

01:07:39   for all of the platforms that it might actually benefit

01:07:41   the Mac to have the group that's working on that feature

01:07:45   build it for all the platforms,

01:07:46   instead of having an iOS group build something wizzy

01:07:48   and then a Mac group be like, whoa, what do we do with that?

01:07:52   But I mean, I could argue that,

01:07:54   but I think I'm more inclined to agree with you

01:07:57   that the downside is that it becomes a thing

01:08:00   that people don't want to do, people, you know,

01:08:04   it's an afterthought and that it's, yeah,

01:08:08   that it ends up degrading the quality of the product.

01:08:12   - The thing is, this isn't sexy,

01:08:13   but you could have, as many big companies do

01:08:16   that work in this way, like cross-platform working groups,

01:08:20   where you'll bring in someone from this team,

01:08:22   someone from this team, someone from this team,

01:08:24   they are the team responsible for implementing

01:08:26   this cross-platform feature, and then they manage that.

01:08:29   And look, these things can add time.

01:08:32   They can add time to a project

01:08:33   because there's a lot of politics going on,

01:08:35   but it's a way that you could have these people

01:08:37   work together and collaborate by having people that are responsible for a

01:08:41   certain area working with their counterparts closely. Like these things

01:08:44   are possible to do but it's a company culture thing and that type of stuff

01:08:49   super changes your company culture because you know I wouldn't be surprised

01:08:53   if there is an element like historically going back in Apple of the idea of what

01:08:56   happened when Steve Jobs tried to take the Mac team off and then they had the

01:08:59   Lisa team right like that's what can happen is that teams can start fighting

01:09:04   because there is like everything that is in here

01:09:08   of these potentially disgruntled Mac OS focused employees

01:09:13   complaining, like that sort of stuff

01:09:15   can only happen tenfold, right?

01:09:16   Because if you're like, oh, well they get this

01:09:18   and this and this, but it could also end up

01:09:21   being significantly better for the state of the product

01:09:23   because they might get more dedicated love to them.

01:09:26   But as I say, I can't sit here and say that I know

01:09:29   how to run the biggest company in the world

01:09:31   better than Tim Cook because I can tell you

01:09:33   I do not know that.

01:09:34   And I also assume he's considered this, right?

01:09:37   - And our priorities as users of the Mac,

01:09:40   especially as we've declared, you know,

01:09:42   in detail, we've covered it in this show,

01:09:44   our priorities and the priorities of other people

01:09:46   who use the Mac may not match Apple's priorities too.

01:09:49   Like we can be dissatisfied and say,

01:09:50   why aren't they taking better care of the Mac?

01:09:52   And their answer may be,

01:09:53   we're taking care of the Mac exactly

01:09:55   as much as we feel we need to.

01:09:57   And that's not a very encouraging argument, but--

01:10:01   - I can't argue with it.

01:10:03   And you can definitely argue the other side that one of the things that Gherman says is

01:10:06   that departures of key people working on Mac hardware and technical challenges have delayed

01:10:10   the rollout of new computers, right?

01:10:11   Well, one of the ways that you potentially lose good people is saying we've got a Mac

01:10:16   group and you're going to design Mac laptops and there'll be a new one every two years

01:10:20   or every year.

01:10:21   Good luck.

01:10:22   Enjoy that.

01:10:23   And if you're an incredibly talented hardware engineer in Silicon Valley, that might feel

01:10:27   like --

01:10:28   I wanted to work on the iPhone.

01:10:29   I know, right?

01:10:30   And so two things happen then.

01:10:31   you get a different job at a different company.

01:10:34   Or another thing that I know has happened at Apple,

01:10:36   'cause I hear people, I have heard for years now

01:10:38   about people complaining about this inside Apple,

01:10:40   which is people get pulled off temporarily or permanently.

01:10:45   Like if you're an Apple employee working on the Mac

01:10:46   and doing hardware and you get an opportunity at a job

01:10:49   for the iPhone, you take it, I would assume,

01:10:52   if it all matches up, all things being equal,

01:10:54   it's a much more exciting product.

01:10:55   And then who's left on the Mac suddenly?

01:10:57   The Mac is the B team.

01:10:58   - Yeah, the small secure if you're working on the iPhone.

01:11:01   - And so that's all part of the issue here too,

01:11:05   where if you've got kind of like a unified team

01:11:08   and the Mac is one thing you make

01:11:09   as well as an iPhone and an iPad,

01:11:11   you could argue that everybody gets a little bit more.

01:11:13   I mean, I could also argue as a former manager

01:11:16   that you get people who are all kind of somewhat satisfied

01:11:20   and somewhat dissatisfied

01:11:22   instead of having satisfied people and dissatisfied people.

01:11:26   But it's a hard problem to solve

01:11:28   because the Mac is not the center of attention at Apple

01:11:33   and it's not gonna be.

01:11:34   So how do you structure it in a way

01:11:36   that you make good Mac products in a company

01:11:39   that is not, where it's not the number one priority?

01:11:43   That's a tough one, it's a very tough one.

01:11:44   - Whatever it is that Apple are doing,

01:11:46   it seems to be upsetting people.

01:11:47   That's apparently more than a dozen Mac engineers

01:11:49   and managers have left for different teams

01:11:51   or companies in the last 18 months.

01:11:53   Which could save one of the two things.

01:11:55   - Different teams though is interesting, right?

01:11:56   - Yeah, it's one of the two things.

01:11:57   either they're unhappy, they're bored,

01:12:01   or they're thinking about where job security is, right?

01:12:03   I think they're the three things that could be happening here.

01:12:06   - Or Apple is doing what they have definitely done

01:12:09   through the years, which is reprioritizing people.

01:12:11   I cannot tell you how many times I've heard stories

01:12:13   about people who got pulled off of the thing

01:12:15   they were working on because there's this other

01:12:17   important thing at Apple that you need to work on.

01:12:20   We like pull in employees from other teams

01:12:22   and have them do this.

01:12:23   And you know, if you need something that's super important

01:12:26   the iPhone and there's this person over here, you know, let's take them and do that. You

01:12:31   could also, I do feel like the story about, which I don't know what the confirmation is,

01:12:37   that when South Sagawian left Apple that the Mac automation group was disbanded and those

01:12:43   people were, I think, reassigned is the assumption there. But if that's the case, that would

01:12:48   be one of these examples of like, those were people who were focused on the Mac who have

01:12:52   now gone somewhere else.

01:12:56   Apparently Apple wanted to create new, longer lasting batteries for the new MacBook Pro

01:13:00   but was unable to meet a deadline. They were trying to pack these batteries into the case

01:13:05   akin to how they do that with the terraced batteries inside of the MacBook. So like to

01:13:09   kind of fill every inch with battery by using battery like slices of batteries rather than

01:13:14   filling the whole thing itself. These batteries failed the tests required running up to the

01:13:20   release so this technology had to be pulled to meet that deadline. It is said that this

01:13:25   late course correction that they had to take here took engineers away from the other Mac

01:13:29   products indicating that this might be why so little was unveiled in October.

01:13:35   Now this is interesting to me for a couple of things. One, okay, I can buy that, right,

01:13:38   that they had to rush and scramble to put some other type of battery tech into this

01:13:42   thing which required more engineers because they couldn't make it in time because they

01:13:46   spent maybe wasted time developing this new battery technology which only failed the tests.

01:13:51   But again, you know, people may want to strike me down for saying this. I don't know why

01:13:55   they didn't wait. Like, if they thought they could make this work, I don't think that the

01:14:01   holiday season is that important for the MacBook Pro line.

01:14:05   Well, it's not just the—so, Germin says the important holiday shopping season, but

01:14:09   let's also—he also says earlier it's been more than 500 days, right, since the last

01:14:14   MacBook Pro update. So they were feeling time pressure to get something out and

01:14:19   that they had already been too long in waiting before updating this product.

01:14:23   Holidays aside, and I see what you're saying, which is, well, if you need to

01:14:27   wait a few more months or whatever, why not do it? I think that's what happened.

01:14:31   Essentially, when you're making any of these product decisions, there comes a

01:14:35   point where you have to say, this feature is going to push us back, so we're just

01:14:40   gonna put it off until the next revision and we're gonna move ahead without it

01:14:44   because we need to ship something. Do they need to ship

01:14:49   something new here? It's like well no they could have no MacBook Pros for

01:14:52   another year and then ship something but I think that at some point somebody said

01:14:55   look let's ship what we got and the next one we'll do the new battery in the next

01:15:01   in the next one next year we'll do it then. That'll be our up you know that'll

01:15:04   be a reason for people to buy a MacBook Pro in the fall of 2017 or the spring of

01:15:09   2018.

01:15:10   German talks about how Apple executives now ask for multiple concepts of new hardware

01:15:16   and they pick which is more shippable.

01:15:18   Let me tell you, this is the detail that screams of unhappy employee who doesn't like the

01:15:24   process being used internally.

01:15:26   This one is the "I can't believe they make us build two of these.

01:15:29   I worked on one and my buddies worked on one.

01:15:32   I can't believe they made us make two of these and then had a bake-off," right?

01:15:35   Which, you know, I can see the argument that that's dumb and that they shouldn't do that

01:15:39   and I can see the argument why they want to have those competing designs and they haven't

01:15:43   made up their mind. There are two ways to spin this, but it really feels like somebody

01:15:48   who was unhappy that they were being tasked to be a part of this process.

01:15:54   This whole thing was when my ears most pricked up.

01:15:56   Yep.

01:15:57   So apparently there was a light and heavy version of the MacBook. One was called the

01:16:00   Stealth Fighter and one was called the Stealth Bomber. Awesome. Awesome. Codenames.

01:16:05   I assume one had like more power to it, that's my assumption.

01:16:09   It isn't gone into in the article what the differences were.

01:16:12   My assumption is that the stealth fighter was more like a MacBook Air and used the MacBook

01:16:15   Air processor and had a fan and then the stealth bomber.

01:16:19   Fighter is what came out.

01:16:21   Stealth fighter is the one we know of, yeah.

01:16:23   That's my guess is that that's why it's using the lower power processors and has that super

01:16:28   thin fanless design.

01:16:29   Obviously the lighter model won out and they pushed the project forward and because they

01:16:33   they were too because the teams work on two different prototypes.

01:16:36   It took longer to actually finalize the MacBook.

01:16:38   They missed their shipping date because, you know,

01:16:40   they have people working on different things.

01:16:42   I understand this just makes sense to me, right?

01:16:43   Like they then had to move the people that were working on the stealth bomber

01:16:47   into the stealth fighter team, and then they missed their deadline

01:16:50   because maybe they were working like their original timescales.

01:16:52   And now Apple have realized, OK, these timescales are different.

01:16:55   Now, this just sounds like I completely agree with you.

01:16:58   Someone who is unhappy with a new way of doing things like I've

01:17:02   worked with these types of people.

01:17:04   Like I don't think that this is an inherently bad way.

01:17:07   I think it's a pretty good way.

01:17:09   Like why not let people work on bunches of different things?

01:17:13   - Well, so the argument is, and I've heard it before,

01:17:15   the argument is if you know you're only gonna go with one,

01:17:18   why are we building two?

01:17:19   What you're doing, this is the argument,

01:17:22   what you're doing as a manager is deciding

01:17:26   that you are gonna push off a decision.

01:17:29   And instead we're gonna waste our time,

01:17:31   half of our time on this project is going to be wasted fundamentally because you're

01:17:35   making us do two different things instead of making up your mind about what you want.

01:17:39   That's the argument. The other way to view this is we don't know which one of these will

01:17:43   work better. We're not sure that both of them will even work. So we need to go down this

01:17:48   path a little bit until we get some more clarity about it. We can't just make a decision now.

01:17:53   We need more information and that's the value in doing this. But again, I can see both arguments

01:17:57   and I've had those. I mean I had my art director make nine different Mac World cover designs

01:18:02   before we would pick a cover for an issue. I mean I get it.

01:18:07   It depends on what you're valuing in the process because everybody's learning stuff about the

01:18:12   product line in going through this process. Even the people whose version doesn't ship,

01:18:18   they have found something or they have done something differently or there's a thing taken

01:18:22   from that thing because that might be cool later. I can't imagine all of these people

01:18:26   just creating work which is inherently useless. Like, that doesn't really seem like a way

01:18:32   that these types of things would be done. I don't know. And I also wonder, like, seriously,

01:18:36   how far down the process do you go?

01:18:38   Yeah.

01:18:39   And I don't think these were two teams either. I think this is one engineering group that

01:18:41   was tasked with doing two things and they were both, they were working on different

01:18:45   things. But bottom line, yeah, if one of them is your baby and they pick the other one,

01:18:48   then that's not going to be great. And if you feel like it was a waste of everybody's

01:18:52   time because you know we put all this work into these two and knowing one of

01:18:56   them was gonna die but but also I would my gut feeling is that the person who

01:19:01   was upset about this the most is somebody who was working on the one that

01:19:04   didn't get picked.

01:19:05   So let's just play a bit of a thought experiment here.

01:19:09   Person who is working on the MacBook who is unhappy about the current direction

01:19:15   of Apple do you think that maybe their one was the one that wasn't picked right

01:19:21   that the person who is unhappy with Apple's current direction with the Mac

01:19:24   maybe wanted the one with the big fan in it that was more like just an updated

01:19:28   MacBook Air as opposed to the one that has one port and no fan and is really

01:19:33   underpowered of the new keyboard. Yeah sure. You know I really see that as being

01:19:37   like a kind of like a this wasn't what I wanted. Look so my thing is I believe all

01:19:41   of these things I believe all of these things are true. I just think that

01:19:46   there is a lens that is being put over them which is of anger and upset as

01:19:52   opposed to just like here is a clear stating of the fact right like Apple is

01:19:56   now Apple now has longer timelines because they are developing multiple

01:20:00   concepts of new hardware is very different to their wearing out the teams

01:20:06   because they're making make two things at once right both of those things are

01:20:11   talking about the exact same thing but they're painted in very different lights

01:20:14   you know because you can talk about the facts which is longer timelines or you

01:20:18   can talk about the it's wearing us out we can't get our work done in time like

01:20:21   they're different size of the same coin and you know that so it's a fact I

01:20:27   believe it's factual but I think that this is really painted in a way which is

01:20:32   and everything's terrible because of this here's something that I know you

01:20:36   won't agree with because I don't agree with it if I don't agree with it there's

01:20:39   no way that you will go man argues that more Mac use of switching because of

01:20:43   these longer delays in product provisions will make the Apple ecosystem

01:20:48   less sticky and suggests that this might lead to people abandoning the iPhone and

01:20:51   iPad. I really cannot believe he believes this. Yeah, that's a

01:20:58   that's a stupid statement. Because the inverse is definitely true, right? Like if people

01:21:04   start switching to Android, Apple might sell less Macs. I don't, you know, like

01:21:09   that just feels more true to me. Most iPhone users don't use Macs. No, of course they don't.

01:21:16   But what I'm saying is like if more people start switching away from the iPhone, they

01:21:20   may sell less Macs, right? That might be a thing. I don't know. Yes. Then if they start

01:21:24   selling less Macs, they're not going to start selling less iPhones. It doesn't make any

01:21:27   sense. The numbers don't even go near to each other. Yeah, but that's what I'm saying is

01:21:31   most iPhone users already don't use Macs. The Mac will not have an appreciable impact

01:21:37   on people using the iPhone and the iPad.

01:21:38   It just won't, there's no way, there's no way.

01:21:42   - If you're upset with Apple,

01:21:44   the iPhone is still kind of as good as it's always been.

01:21:48   Like if you wanna get a PC,

01:21:51   there's no reason you have to leave the iPhone.

01:21:55   - Exactly right.

01:21:56   So that's, I mean, less sticky.

01:21:58   Sure, in that the Windows support of stuff

01:22:04   is not always as good as on the Mac for Apple's ecosystem,

01:22:08   but it's all there and if you care, you can use it.

01:22:13   So I think that's a baffling statement.

01:22:17   And then the other statement, the paragraph before

01:22:20   that I find equally baffling is,

01:22:23   the company can't afford to alienate professional designers

01:22:26   and other business customers.

01:22:28   After all, they've helped fuel Apple's revival

01:22:31   in the late 1990s.

01:22:33   All right, again, I have great sympathy.

01:22:35   I covered desktop publishing

01:22:37   when Apple was going out of business.

01:22:39   The professional users did help fuel Apple's revival,

01:22:43   although that's even wrong.

01:22:45   They kept Apple alive long enough for Steve Jobs to come in

01:22:48   and turn Apple around and release the iMac,

01:22:51   and then consumers fueled Apple's revival with the iMac.

01:22:56   So even that statement is not really right,

01:22:58   but it is right in spirit in the sense that the pros

01:23:01   were the only thing that had let Apple have a heartbeat in the mid-90s, when I was writing

01:23:05   about this stuff.

01:23:06   Is there an argument though, like, because I keep running this one around in my brain,

01:23:10   that Microsoft is going after the creative professional in the hopes that they might

01:23:14   be able to do something similar, like the creative professional will keep them alive

01:23:18   until they have something?

01:23:20   Microsoft's going to be alive anyway because of all the services, but "can't afford" is

01:23:25   the part, it's like, it makes us feel bad that they're alienating these core users who

01:23:29   help keep them alive 20 years ago? Yes, absolutely. Can Apple afford to alienate a portion of

01:23:36   the Mac user base? 100%. Yeah. Well, Apple could in fact afford to alienate 100% of the

01:23:42   Mac user base if they, really, right? They could afford that. What would happen if Apple

01:23:47   just shut down the Mac business? Apple would be fine. That's the truth. Apple would be

01:23:52   fine. And again, I will underscore this, we really don't want this to happen. No, of course

01:23:56   - But I think it's super important to understand

01:23:59   that our own desires shouldn't be Apple's desires.

01:24:03   Apple's desires need to be what makes them

01:24:06   the best company that they can be

01:24:07   to please the shareholders, right?

01:24:09   - We are little fish swimming around a whale.

01:24:11   The whale is gonna do what it wants.

01:24:13   - What is the priority of Tim Cook, right?

01:24:15   That's what we're looking at right now.

01:24:16   And frankly, if you are a professional Mac user,

01:24:20   your priorities and Tim Cook's priorities do not align.

01:24:23   They do not align.

01:24:24   - Correct.

01:24:25   surprised if yours and Phil Schiller's, you know, I'm sure they align.

01:24:29   Because I bet that Phil and Craig Federighi love the Mac.

01:24:32   But their boss, I don't think cares about you.

01:24:37   I'm sorry. I'm sorry to say.

01:24:40   But but frankly, like, does that annoy me?

01:24:44   It frustrates me, but I don't think I am like.

01:24:48   It annoys me when Apple make decisions that seem weird, right, like in the moment.

01:24:53   right like when they do strange things to their products.

01:24:58   In the broad scheme of things, like as a fan of the company, I want them to do whatever

01:25:04   it is that keeps them making products for longer.

01:25:07   That's what I want.

01:25:09   And making the best products that they can make.

01:25:11   As a Mac user, I want to continue to have good, you know, a good product that I can

01:25:17   do my job on because I'm not going to use a PC.

01:25:20   So I would like them to make good Macs as long as they would like to do that.

01:25:24   That would be just peachy, right?

01:25:28   But yeah, this is the...

01:25:29   Again, it's just weird assumptions to make in the article that they can't afford, Apple

01:25:34   can't afford to alienate professional designers.

01:25:35   Of course they can.

01:25:36   Don't say that.

01:25:37   Will the Apple ecosystem become less sticky if Mac users switch?

01:25:41   No, it won't.

01:25:43   you define the Apple ecosystem in a very particular and weird way where people, you know, where

01:25:50   the Mac is the linchpin of it, which it isn't. So I don't know. This article is weird because

01:25:58   what it feels like is that Mark has multiple sources of good information about what was

01:26:03   going on inside of Apple in the last year or so, year or two, involving the Mac. So

01:26:08   put all of that stuff in here and then there needed to be kind of a larger

01:26:13   story connecting it all which is the unrest among Mac loyalists as the

01:26:18   headline says which is also true there is unrest in those areas and then it

01:26:24   sort of stitches it all together with some analysis and logic that doesn't

01:26:29   really bear itself out. But there is the chaser right at the end. Final paragraph

01:26:36   "Mac fans shouldn't hold their breath for radical new designs in 2017. Instead, the

01:26:41   company is preparing modest updates, USB-C ports and new AMD graphics processors for

01:26:47   the iMac, and minor bumps in processing power for the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro."

01:26:52   I believe this, and I am sad about this.

01:26:58   I know that my feelings are complex when I talk about them, about Apple and its decisions

01:27:04   about the Mac, but I've really hoped that like many people did that the reason that

01:27:10   we haven't seen something is because we might have something more, right? Like, because

01:27:14   I do want that to happen. I don't want all of this stuff to just wither away and die

01:27:18   on the vine. But I can't look at that statement and be like, really? Like, really? Yeah. The

01:27:27   whole year? Is that all? Like the MacBook Air, like, is that still around in 12 months?

01:27:33   Like you keep in this?

01:27:35   What about the Mac Mini?

01:27:38   And the Mac Pro?

01:27:39   Like are you seriously telling me that in 2017, we're still going to be sitting here

01:27:44   in January of 2018 and saying the MacBook Pro is like four and a half years old and

01:27:51   it's still on sale?

01:27:55   Because if you're doing that, like if that's the choice you're deciding to make, kill it

01:27:58   now.

01:27:59   Just stop selling it now.

01:28:02   if you want to do one in the future just just stop it just stop it so there there are a

01:28:08   couple possibilities here one I mean could be completely right it could be that there

01:28:12   is a new Mac project that is going to replace the Mac Pro that Mark Gurman doesn't know

01:28:16   about because the people he's talking to don't know about it yep it could also be that rolled

01:28:21   it because he doesn't mention the Mac Pro at all in this the other possibility is that

01:28:27   is rolled into this and that what we'll get is some perfunctory new version of the

01:28:33   Trashcan Mac Pro that has new processors in it.

01:28:35   That doesn't feel good enough though, honestly. Because of how long it's sat there.

01:28:39   I'm sorry you don't feel good.

01:28:40   No, but like, it feels like if that's all that it's ever gonna be, then why has it been

01:28:45   waiting for so long with nothing? That's what I find weird.

01:28:50   One report is that, and this is in, this is also in Germin's story and we didn't even

01:28:55   cover this. One report is that the challenge here is that this is being assembled in the

01:28:59   US, the Mac Pro, and that it's become a huge problem because they've had, although I did

01:29:06   have to laugh, it's like the Mac Pro meant, you know, they had to make their own tools

01:29:11   and train people to run them in an assembly plant. This slowed production and constrained

01:29:14   Apple's ability to make enough computers to meet demand. Do you think they can meet demand

01:29:17   now? Three years later, are they meeting demand? Are they making enough Mac Pros every day

01:29:22   in order to fill the channel for Mac Pros three years later.

01:29:25   - It's just one guy and one girl in a shed somewhere in Texas.

01:29:29   That's all it is now.

01:29:30   - No, they just, they got a bunch of boxes.

01:29:31   I mean, the scary theory here is that there's just

01:29:34   a bunch of boxes of unsold Mac Pros in a warehouse somewhere

01:29:37   and they're just trying to, you know,

01:29:38   but they shouldn't be warehousing them, right?

01:29:40   They should be making them on demand.

01:29:41   But what does that look like?

01:29:42   So anyway, that's the, that's part of German's story too,

01:29:45   is the suggestion that the Mac Pro is meant to be a like,

01:29:47   Apple likes the USA kind of thing.

01:29:50   And now that Donald Trump is gonna be the president

01:29:51   of the United States is like, oh, the last thing we can do

01:29:54   is pull the manufacturing of that back to China.

01:29:57   So what are we gonna do?

01:29:59   And you know, that's interesting detail,

01:30:02   although I'm not sure how current that is,

01:30:04   or if that's just sort of old information

01:30:06   that's been kind of recycled here.

01:30:08   But I don't know, that's another question mark

01:30:12   for the Mac Pro on top of everything else.

01:30:14   - I both believe and disbelieve that final statement

01:30:17   in equal proportions, because my belief in it is like,

01:30:20   look at the last year.

01:30:22   Does that seem like a possible outcome?

01:30:25   Yes.

01:30:26   But then look at this entire article.

01:30:28   Does this seem like an impossible outcome?

01:30:31   Like, does this seem like somebody

01:30:32   who's maybe trying to upset someone?

01:30:34   Does this seem like somebody who's maybe trying to like,

01:30:38   tip over the apple cart a bit?

01:30:39   Or does this seem like somebody

01:30:41   who doesn't even work for the company anymore?

01:30:43   - Yeah, I don't know. - Yes, all of those options

01:30:44   seem true, so I don't know.

01:30:46   However, it is fascinating.

01:30:48   - Again, I don't dispute the details and neither do you.

01:30:50   It's the question of like always asking like,

01:30:52   why this information, why now?

01:30:55   What's the reasoning for talking to a reporter about it?

01:30:59   And then I have some questions about the overall,

01:31:01   like how it's all glued together in terms of the premise

01:31:04   that this is a big business problem for Apple,

01:31:07   as opposed to more of a frustration

01:31:10   for a part of the Apple's customer base.

01:31:12   - I believe that there are many facts in this article.

01:31:14   However, I believe that they are poisoned in some way.

01:31:18   - Fair enough.

01:31:19   I couldn't think of what the opposite to sugar coating would be.

01:31:23   So you went with poisoned.

01:31:26   Upset the poison apple cart.

01:31:28   What are we doing to these apples here?

01:31:33   Let's finish up this episode as we have finished up every single episode in 2016 with some

01:31:38   #AskUpgrade.

01:31:41   Pete asked, "Does iCloud sync AirPods pairing to the Apple TV's?"

01:31:45   know how your AirPods will have that iCloud syncing from device to device from

01:31:50   your Mac to your iPhone to your iPad does this work with the Apple TV? I don't

01:31:54   think it does although I haven't checked the latest version of the Apple TV

01:31:58   software which just came out you know where they put the TV app on there and

01:32:02   all that. I wouldn't even know where you put headphones. Well in the settings there's a

01:32:05   Bluetooth there's a Bluetooth connection thing and and I so I think not but it

01:32:11   doesn't matter because you can still pair them using standard Bluetooth

01:32:13   pairing. But I don't think it syncs. I imagine it will one day. If it doesn't already, it

01:32:17   will soon. But I don't think it does right now. Last time I checked, it didn't do that.

01:32:22   Sounds like they need a cross-team working group for the AirPod syncing functionality.

01:32:27   Brent asked, "Which device do you consider to hold the true set of your data? The one

01:32:32   that you use as a primary sync for conflicts, and the one where you go to check for the

01:32:36   most up-to-date data?" Mine is my iPhone. My iPhone, whilst it is arguably in the day

01:32:43   day, maybe my most of my working days, my least used device, you know, I use my iMac

01:32:47   or my iPads more than my iPhone, I do still consider it as the hub, like the central source

01:32:54   of information.

01:32:56   I'm going to refute this entire premise. I don't consider any of my devices to hold

01:33:04   the true set of my data. The truth is in the cloud.

01:33:08   it's out there apparently. Brent asked, "In episode 19, Brent, much respect." This is

01:33:14   the same Brent by the way. Yeah, alright. They're all good dogs, Brent.

01:33:20   "In episode 19, you both said that you really only use Siri to set timers. Has that changed?"

01:33:28   Yes, because I now don't use Siri to set timers. I don't use Siri for anything. I don't have

01:33:33   any standard use case for Siri anymore. My current standard use case for Siri is when

01:33:39   none of my other voice-activated assistants can give me an answer. I will then ask Siri

01:33:45   on the hopes that it will give me. And a lot of the time, actually it does. Like, if Alexa

01:33:49   cannot give me an answer to something, Siri tends to have the answer, like to a question.

01:33:54   Like I wanted to know how many, I think it was like, it was a measurement. It was like

01:33:59   a weird measurement of food like how many X's in Y and the Alexa had no idea but Siri

01:34:04   knew it immediately. But now to set timers I either do them on my Apple Watch using the

01:34:09   complication because it's super easy to do it in just a couple of taps especially with

01:34:12   watchOS 3 or as I do most of the time I just ask Alexa to do it.

01:34:17   Yeah I do I do still set timers using Siri mostly on my Apple Watch and but I also use

01:34:27   It's funny, for Christmas Eve, we cooked on Christmas Eve,

01:34:30   we went over to a friend's house on Christmas night

01:34:32   for dinner, but we cooked on Christmas Eve.

01:34:34   And at one point, I think we had the Amazon Echo timer

01:34:38   going, the oven timer going, the microwave timer going,

01:34:42   my watch timer going, we had many, many timers were set.

01:34:46   Although I believe one of the nice things about the Echo

01:34:48   is you can actually set multiple timers on it.

01:34:50   - You can, however, the flaw of this is you cannot name them.

01:34:55   - Yes, right.

01:34:56   And so what you can do on Google Home, which is like the only reason that

01:34:59   interesting is exciting to me, is like I could say, set the timer for the chicken,

01:35:03   set the timer for the potatoes.

01:35:04   Yeah, exactly.

01:35:05   And then it'll, and then it'll go boop, boop, boop, boop.

01:35:07   The chicken timer is over.

01:35:09   Or even like, how long is left on my time is you have 10 minutes left on the chicken

01:35:13   timer.

01:35:13   You have nine minutes left in the potatoes timer.

01:35:15   That's what I want, you know?

01:35:16   It's important stuff.

01:35:17   Yeah.

01:35:17   We quite frequently set multiple timers on the Alexa and then just kind of have to

01:35:21   reconcile it in our brain.

01:35:22   Yeah.

01:35:24   And Simon asked, do you guys use or like any of the accessibility settings on iOS for normal

01:35:29   day to day use? Like do you trigger anything? On iOS I don't. I don't use any of the accessibility

01:35:33   settings. Um, but on the Mac I use the increase contrast setting, which kind of makes all

01:35:42   of the lines thicker and some of the stuff darker. And I use this purely for aesthetic

01:35:47   purposes. There was one day Gray sent me a screenshot and everything looked too different

01:35:53   on his Mac and I was like, "What is that?" And he said, "In accessibility, it is in

01:36:00   display increased contrast." And I love it. I think it's awesome. I just love the way

01:36:05   it makes everything look. And you don't get the same settings in iOS, the increased contrast

01:36:09   settings do different things. But it just puts thicker outlines around everything and

01:36:13   I think it looks really nice. That's it. That's the only accessibility setting I use.

01:36:17   >> Interesting. The only accessibility setting I use, and even though they've got the color

01:36:21   blind stuff in iOS 10 now.

01:36:23   I was going to ask actually if you've ever tried the color because I was poking around

01:36:26   to see like oh is there anything in here that I do have on and I noticed they had a lot

01:36:30   of color settings.

01:36:31   Yeah it's weird and it makes everything look weird and I don't use it.

01:36:37   The only thing I use is on iOS I use triple tap for invert screen.

01:36:42   For night mode.

01:36:43   And that is because there are certain apps that I will be using in the night with the

01:36:49   light off and it will be entirely white and I will triple tap to invert it so that it's

01:36:56   not as bright. But that's it.

01:37:00   That brings us to the end of this week's episode of Upgrade. You can find our show notes at

01:37:03   relay.fm/upgrade/121. Thank you again to our sponsors, Smile and Encapsula, for helping

01:37:11   support this week's episode. Most of all, thank you for listening, especially if you've

01:37:15   listened to every episode of the year. We very much appreciate that. Both me and Jason

01:37:20   and everyone at the Upgrading Office of Affairs would like to wish you the –

01:37:26   Upgrading Embassy.

01:37:27   The embassy. The happiest of New Year's. And we dearly hope that you tune in to next

01:37:34   week's show where we will very excitedly, at least 50% of us, be giving our awards,

01:37:41   our Upgrading Awards out.

01:37:44   That's it. On behalf of us and the upgradians to the people and creators of the universe.

01:37:51   OK, wow. I can't wait to hear that one.

01:37:53   I know. If you want to find Jason online, he's @jsnell, J S N E double L on Twitter.

01:37:57   I am @imike, I M Y K E. You can find Jason's work over at sixcolors.com

01:38:02   and the incomparable dot com.

01:38:03   And you can find a plethora of shows that both myself and Jason host at relay.fm.

01:38:09   We have something for everyone there.

01:38:10   I'm sure you'll find something that you like.

01:38:12   Until next time, say goodbye to us now.

01:38:15   Happy New Year, everybody.

01:38:17   [ Music ]