87: Unchartable Tidbits


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:08   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode number 87.

00:00:13   Today's show is kindly brought to you by Squarespace, MailRoute, and Pingdom.

00:00:18   My name is Myke Hurley, and I am joined by...

00:00:20   Senor Jason Snell.

00:00:22   Hi Myke, how's it going?

00:00:23   Good, how are you?

00:00:25   Good, you know, it's Monday morning.

00:00:26   It's for me, so I'm waking up. I'm getting into it, but I'm glad to be here to start

00:00:32   my week with you.

00:00:33   David: Thank you. It's always a pleasure, sir. And in our tradition of continuing to

00:00:37   advance the medium, we are going to be today having some guest follow-ups. So we have Mr.

00:00:42   Scott McNulty with us today.

00:00:43   It's afternoon here in Philadelphia, but...

00:00:46   Adam, yes. Happy lunchtime to you.

00:00:48   Thank you.

00:00:49   We, yeah, so Scott was on a couple weeks ago, and we were talking about the Kindle Oasis,

00:00:55   we couldn't actually give any hands-on perspective about it because it had, like we did when

00:01:00   we talked to Serenity for an entire episode about the Apple Pencil and she didn't have

00:01:04   one. We did an entire episode about the Kindle Oasis and we didn't have it, but we have them

00:01:11   now, and so I thought that this would be a good way to start is with some follow-up with

00:01:15   guests about the Kindle Oasis. So Scott, oh this is a question Myke, "Who doesn't care

00:01:22   about Kindles, this is a question he's prepared for us. So Myke, why don't you ask your question

00:01:27   as an expert. Scott, do you like it? These are the hard-hitting

00:01:33   questions that I was not prepared for. This is the kind of journalism you can only

00:01:37   get on upgrade. The Kindle Oasis, I do like it. It is once

00:01:45   again, generally I have this thing where the most recent Kindle is my favorite Kindle,

00:01:49   I think that that streak continues with the Kindle Oasis.

00:01:52   - Yeah, which is a good sign, right?

00:01:53   That they're making things better in some ways.

00:01:57   I like it too.

00:01:58   I was really, I was skeptical of this one.

00:02:01   I don't know what about it, the idea that it was this,

00:02:03   well, they're doing the Apple thing,

00:02:05   if we're gonna make it thinner and lighter,

00:02:06   and you have to get it with a case.

00:02:09   And then I opened the box,

00:02:12   and I was kind of shocked at how small it was.

00:02:14   Like I have in my mind, like what,

00:02:17   how big a Kindle should be and it was a lot smaller than that and the case, I pulled the

00:02:22   case out of its little slip that it was in and I thought this is it, it's so tiny, was

00:02:28   there a mistake? Where's the actual case? Because it's all very small and thin and light

00:02:33   in a way that I didn't expect. I don't know what your reactions were when you picked it

00:02:38   up.

00:02:39   - I was surprised by the size of it. I have trouble visualizing sizes so I can read the

00:02:45   specs and I can see a picture with someone's hand next to it that still is meaningless to me until

00:02:49   I'm actually can see it with my my own eyes and and hold it with my own hands and it is surprisingly

00:02:55   small and the screen is the same size so that's great um and it's also very light especially when

00:03:00   you don't have the cover on it uh although I think with the cover it's still not very heavy

00:03:04   it's certainly yeah maybe maybe a tiny bit heavier than my voyage although I can't really

00:03:08   discern the difference um but yeah and I was also pleasantly surprised to see in the little package

00:03:14   that the cover and the Kindle came in two different boxes

00:03:19   in the same little box.

00:03:21   So that led me to believe that perhaps in the future

00:03:24   you can buy just the Oasis or just the cover.

00:03:28   But that's just me assuming that maybe

00:03:30   that's what that means.

00:03:31   But it could just mean it's easier to ship things that way.

00:03:33   I don't know.

00:03:34   - There's a certain weirdness in offering a product

00:03:38   that comes with another product.

00:03:40   Like it's very strange to me.

00:03:43   You buy the Kindle and it comes with the battery case.

00:03:45   It feels like it's an option that they give you.

00:03:48   It's kind of strange.

00:03:50   - Yeah, although, so here's one thing

00:03:54   that I noticed in using it.

00:03:55   Because they've made the main Kindle

00:03:59   so much lighter and thinner,

00:04:01   I think they've done away with some of the battery.

00:04:03   It's hard for me to tell,

00:04:07   but the battery seems to drain on it

00:04:09   when it's not attached to the case pretty fast,

00:04:11   like faster than I'm used to with a Kindle and I'm wondering if this was why they bundled

00:04:17   it all together is that they it's like yeah well on its own we really took a hit to battery

00:04:24   life but if you've always got the case around then the case will supplement that battery

00:04:29   life and give you back an extended range of it because I don't know if you notice this

00:04:33   Scott but it felt to me like every time I checked when I was just reading on the Kindle

00:04:36   without the battery cover attached like I could see it over like the course of a day

00:04:40   I could see the battery percentage go down, which never really happened on my older Kindles.

00:04:45   Oh, I think that's totally true and totally why they have the battery cover at all in their quest

00:04:50   to make it super thin and super light, which they have achieved. Good job, Amazon. They had to,

00:04:56   one assumes, squish everything into the little, I'll call it the Kindle hump on the side. I don't

00:05:02   think Amazon calls it that. And so it has a smaller battery in the main device, and so it

00:05:09   it doesn't last as long also something I didn't realize but which Amazon makes doesn't hide it

00:05:14   this Kindle doesn't have auto brightness with the voyage so the voyage will automatically dim or

00:05:20   brighten the screen based on the the light in the room which is a feature I really liked but I and

00:05:26   I didn't realize how much I liked it until I was using a Kindle that does not have it which the

00:05:30   Oasis does not have and I think that also impacts the battery usage especially for me because I keep

00:05:36   it bright probably more than I should and then you know it goes through the battery.

00:05:40   Yeah it uh it obviously I took out a sensor probably in order to make it thinner and lighter

00:05:46   they took out that light sensor. I never liked that feature because I would always find it

00:05:49   adjusting the light at a weird time when I'd be like no why are you getting dim? Brighter now,

00:05:54   brighter! Well it did have the problem where you would cover the sensor with your finger and then

00:05:58   it would be like you're in a completely dark room let me crank the brightness really down.

00:06:03   Yeah, yeah, exactly. But, you know, it's, I just, when they announced it, I rolled my

00:06:08   eyes at the whole idea of, "Oh, thinner and lighter, do we really need that?" But having

00:06:12   picked it up, like, the first time I picked it up, I was like, "Oh, I see it now." Like,

00:06:16   I get it. Because although you would never call the Kindle Voyage or the Paperwhite,

00:06:20   like, a big, heavy device, they're small, this is, like, it feels appreciably different.

00:06:27   Like, in a way, the Voyage didn't feel appreciably different from the Paperwhite, it was a little

00:06:31   bit different, but it was super subtle. The Oasis is remarkably thinner and lighter, and

00:06:40   even with the case on it feels compact, but with the case off, it's a pleasure. It's a

00:06:47   really nice thing. When I picked it up for the first time I thought, "Oh, I'm not sending

00:06:50   this back. That's never going to happen. This is a keeper because it's so pleasant to hold

00:06:57   and it's got the physical page turn buttons which they they finally went back to and on

00:07:02   the pictures it was unclear unlike I don't trust Amazon anymore I think about some of

00:07:07   this stuff because they took those buttons off it's like when they put them back and

00:07:10   they were just silkscreen things that you squeezed and it vibrated I was like alright

00:07:13   well we'll see if those are physical page turn buttons they're actual things you depress

00:07:17   them they depress the page turns it's you know I know it's not rocket science but they

00:07:22   did a good job with that they feel good to turn the pages.

00:07:27   - And one of the things that I didn't think would impact

00:07:29   my usage all that much,

00:07:30   but it has totally made this device even better for me

00:07:34   is the automatic flipping of the screen.

00:07:37   So when you move it from one hand to another

00:07:40   and it just automatically switches a small thing,

00:07:42   but it's just like fantastic

00:07:44   'cause the buttons are always in the right place.

00:07:46   - Yeah, every iOS device has had an accelerometer

00:07:50   to determine the orientation of the device

00:07:52   and no Kindle has had it.

00:07:55   And for this, because they only have the page turn buttons on the one side, it's especially

00:08:02   important that they have the ability for you to flip the orientation.

00:08:05   I found that I actually prefer it in my left hand, which means that it would be upside

00:08:11   down, I think, in terms of how you would orient it.

00:08:16   And it doesn't matter, right?

00:08:18   And if I want to switch to the other hand to turn the pages, I just flip it over and

00:08:22   It auto-rotates, which is, again, a feature that seems very basic but was not present

00:08:29   before.

00:08:30   So it's good to see that they finally did it.

00:08:31   And the Kindle OS had rotation built into it.

00:08:34   It just did not auto-rotate.

00:08:35   So you could go into a menu and move it around, but that was just a pain.

00:08:38   So having that auto-rotate is super great.

00:08:43   And I like the cover itself.

00:08:44   I didn't think I would like the cover all that much.

00:08:47   I mean, I thought I'd like the battery part of it, and I do.

00:08:50   I actually like the I don't know if it's real leather or not but I like it feels

00:08:54   like a book when you're holding it it does it's a it the leather though it's

00:09:00   super thin one of the problem I had with a lot of leather cases in the old they

00:09:04   like I had a leather Kindle case at one point and it was it was thick and weighty

00:09:08   and this is super thin it actually reminded me of kind of like the like the

00:09:12   Apple watch leather watch bands where they're they're leather but they're

00:09:17   of they're almost like papery thin and and sort of lightly textured and it's a

00:09:21   little bit like that and then the battery on the back you know it's not

00:09:24   one of these big wraparound cases it's like a battery that is the shape of the

00:09:28   of the indentation that's not the Kindle hump the non hump portion I believe they

00:09:36   call it and it just magnetically attaches so at that point it's it's a

00:09:41   you know a bigger device with a with a little battery and and it extends the

00:09:45   battery life. And I think one of the ways they want you to use this is, the main Kindle

00:09:50   has enough battery life that you can just carry it around without the case on it, but

00:09:54   they'll figure you'll have the case around, and at some point you'll store it in the case,

00:09:59   at which point the battery will just top up the battery on the device. And another funny

00:10:04   thing is you can't charge the case. The case charges through the Kindle, and the micro

00:10:09   USB port is on the Kindle, which I also thought was interesting, because I thought, well maybe

00:10:14   you just leave the battery case charging somewhere while you're out, but that's not how it works

00:10:18   either.

00:10:19   Although I do, that's how I am, they've made it very easy to take it off with, you know,

00:10:24   magnets and all that, so I've been just ripping it off and leaving it by my bedside table,

00:10:29   the cover, and walking around and reading on my Kindle, and then when it's time to go

00:10:34   to sleep, I put it back in, and I don't even bother to plug in the USB thing because it's

00:10:38   just charging off of the battery case, so that's kind of cool.

00:10:43   Yeah, I like that, and that means that your device itself is basically always charged

00:10:48   once it's spent some time in the case, and you just have to remember every so often to

00:10:52   charge it with the case. So they move the battery. It's an interesting idea, and it's

00:10:58   a little bit kludgy, but I get why they did it, the idea of moving some of the battery

00:11:03   weight and size out of the device itself, but into this kind of convenient product that's

00:11:08   by its side, but it also explains why they are sold together because I think people would

00:11:13   probably notice how much less battery there is in the main device if they didn't.

00:11:18   >> Right.

00:11:19   >> Yeah, I think Amazon says it's something like two weeks without the cover, which is

00:11:23   ridiculously short amount of time for a Kindle.

00:11:26   So --

00:11:27   >> Yeah, and I imagine that if you have -- that's if you keep the brightness down and have Wi-Fi

00:11:30   turned off.

00:11:31   >> Yeah.

00:11:32   >> Right.

00:11:33   >> And you read, like, for 30 minutes a day or something like that, so.

00:11:34   >> Exactly.

00:11:35   There are a lot of asterisks next to that two week window.

00:11:40   - Lies about batteries, lots of lies about batteries.

00:11:45   - And another very small thing that I like,

00:11:47   obviously the face of the Kindle,

00:11:48   there's not a lot of room there,

00:11:50   but they took off all of the Kindle branding

00:11:52   on the face of it.

00:11:53   So it's just a frame, a black frame

00:11:57   without a little Kindle logo at the bottom.

00:11:58   Actually, I don't think it has a Kindle logo anywhere on it,

00:12:00   even on the battery case, but it has a couple of Amazon logos

00:12:03   but so it's not distracting you.

00:12:05   Yeah, no, I really like that, that there's nothing on the face, the bezels are a lot

00:12:09   smaller, the screen is the same as on the Voyage, but I like it, I think the backlighting,

00:12:14   or the sidelighting, whatever, is good. I read a book on it this weekend, and yeah,

00:12:21   it's really pleasant, but it's funny, it's one of those things where you kind of almost

00:12:24   have to hold it in your hands to get why it costs so much more than the Paperwhite, and

00:12:30   why that might be worth it for some people. It's a nice case and it's a nice device and

00:12:37   I definitely agree. When we talked about the Voyage Scot last year, I remember being very

00:12:42   much kind of on the fence about it. I decided to keep it, but I thought about even sending

00:12:47   it back because I didn't think it was that much better than the Paperwhite and I kept

00:12:50   recommending to people, "Just get the Paperwhite. The Paperwhite's really good." I don't think

00:12:56   that the Oasis is just slightly better than the Voyage of the Paperwhite. I'd say it's

00:13:02   better. It's really nice. I still wouldn't recommend that most people buy it because

00:13:08   it is a lot more expensive. You could buy like three Paperwhites for the cost of the

00:13:13   Oasis. So I would recommend doing that and reading three books at once instead for most

00:13:19   people. But it's a really nice piece of hardware. It's just, you know, it's probably not what,

00:13:24   know if you're a Kindle addict like me and that could be a new podcast Myke

00:13:27   take notes the Kindle addict like me and like Scott but you know but right Scott

00:13:33   I mean the paper what's a really nice product and at 99 or like a hundred

00:13:36   bucks it's a pretty great deal too yeah and I think the so the paper white kind

00:13:42   of redefined what a Kindle was when it came out and compared to all the other

00:13:45   kindles you thought oh this is what they were trying to get at and I think while

00:13:48   the voyage redefined, you know, it refined what the Paperwhite was doing.

00:13:54   It didn't really, it wasn't as great a leap forward.

00:13:58   Whereas I think the Oasis is once again, another thing they're getting even

00:14:01   closer to what they're trying to do.

00:14:03   And if you, like you said, Jason, if you have the money and you are really into

00:14:07   Kindles, the Oasis is the Kindle you should get.

00:14:11   If you just want to read a couple of books a year, probably spending $300 on a

00:14:16   single use device is not the best use of your money. But who am I to tell you what to do

00:14:21   with your money?

00:14:22   Yeah, well, our friend Dan Morin bought a Paperwhite and I think he was in that moment

00:14:27   like, "Oh, geez, they're going to announce new Kindles, but this is probably, now that

00:14:31   they cut the price on this, this is probably worth it for me." And I think he made a good

00:14:34   decision, I think, for him. And for most people, I think, if you want to get into the Kindles,

00:14:40   I would not recommend that $60 low-end Kindle. But the Paperwhite that lights itself and

00:14:45   has a good clear screen on it is and you know and no page turn buttons or anything but you

00:14:51   use the tab on the touch screen to turn the page and it's a very good product.

00:14:55   Yeah and now Amazon is selling that entry level $60 Kindle which no one should buy,

00:15:00   the Paperwhite which most people should buy, the Voyage which at this point I don't think

00:15:03   anyone should buy and I'm not quite sure why Amazon is still selling it and the Oasis which

00:15:08   you should buy if you were in the market for a Voyage because the Voyage is a lot more

00:15:11   expensive than the Paperwhite so just spend a little bit more and get an even better Kindle.

00:15:15   Yeah, the Voyage almost feels like Paperwhite 2 or Paperwhite 3, whatever it is, because

00:15:19   I think there have been two generations of Paperwhite, and I wonder if over time that's

00:15:22   what will happen is either it will go away or it will be the, you know, it will replace

00:15:25   the Paperwhite and they'll keep cutting the price on it, but I'm not clear kind of why

00:15:30   the Voyage needs to exist with the Paperwhite, because they're so similar now, and there's

00:15:37   this other product that's so clearly above them. Oh, a couple other things I wanted to

00:15:41   mention one is uh it doesn't let you rotate horizontally which uh except with

00:15:46   uh through the menus but i actually think that this this thing is so thin

00:15:49   and light that there's probably there probably people who would who would hold

00:15:52   it like horizontally and read that way um and you could do it i haven't tried

00:15:56   it i it's a little bit strange but uh but

00:16:00   you you could you could do that if you wanted to if people are into fonts it

00:16:04   has a new font uh amazon ember uh which i guess is uh

00:16:08   sans-serif. I can never remember what serif or sans-serif is, but it's one of those.

00:16:12   [laughter]

00:16:13   CB; It's either sans or yeah, no, it's a sans-serif font. But they had Booker Lee,

00:16:18   which is the serif font, and now they've got Ember, which is a sans-serif font that they did,

00:16:22   along with their other... I don't love their typography. We said that a couple weeks ago,

00:16:26   but it's fine. It's fine. I still wish you could turn off justification,

00:16:30   force justification. But they've improved their typography some, and it's still

00:16:37   worth. I love reading books on my Kindle so I'm happy to have it.

00:16:43   I have some thoughts about this actually because listening to you guys here.

00:16:48   Welcome back Myke. Hi how you doing? Nice to see you.

00:16:51   Do you like your Kindle Oasis Myke? I absolutely love it. It's almost like a

00:16:55   mirage. I'm very confused about this product especially hearing you talk about it because

00:17:03   What it seems like Amazon have done is make the Kindle better by just kind of cutting

00:17:08   it in half and giving you both pieces, but you seem really happy, both of you, about

00:17:13   the fact that that's happened.

00:17:14   It just seems very strange.

00:17:15   It's like, we're going to take the battery life and the thickness out of the Kindle,

00:17:19   put it into a case, give you the case, and then you think that we've solved the thickness

00:17:25   problem.

00:17:26   It just seems very strange to me.

00:17:28   I'm not saying that you guys are wrong, but it seems like a very peculiar approach that

00:17:32   I'm not sure many other companies could get away with.

00:17:34   Like if Apple came out and said,

00:17:37   the iPhone is now as thin as a piece of paper,

00:17:40   and it's great, it will last a couple of hours,

00:17:42   and you just need to put this battery case on it

00:17:44   that we're gonna give you,

00:17:45   and then you can get the regular day's charge out of it.

00:17:47   - Well, I think there's two very different use cases

00:17:50   with a phone and a book reader, right?

00:17:52   And I think that the weight of,

00:17:55   my phone does not need to be any lighter or thinner,

00:17:58   I'm sure it will be,

00:17:59   but I think that I'm holding in one hand

00:18:02   for hours at a time while I'm trying to read

00:18:05   needs to be as light as it can be.

00:18:07   And I think that's what Amazon is going towards.

00:18:10   And I put it down at night, right, so it doesn't matter.

00:18:13   I'm not gonna use it for those several hours.

00:18:15   Whereas my phone, I might use,

00:18:17   like it might wake me up or something, I don't know.

00:18:19   My phone often does.

00:18:20   My Kindle never wakes me up.

00:18:22   So two points to the Kindle.

00:18:24   - I mean, this is what I mean about like the fact

00:18:26   that maybe Amazon's the only company

00:18:28   who could get away with this, right,

00:18:30   because of the product that they make.

00:18:32   - Right, I think the e-reader market can get away with it

00:18:37   'cause it's a very different device

00:18:38   that's doing a different thing.

00:18:39   Like if it was, if Amazon's Fire tablets,

00:18:41   they did the same thing,

00:18:42   I don't think they would be as successful with that.

00:18:45   Although I don't know if they're being all that successful

00:18:47   with their Fire tablets or not, but yeah,

00:18:50   I think it's just a very different class of device.

00:18:53   - I don't think the Kindle use cases is the same,

00:18:56   like Scott said, as the phone,

00:18:58   because I think the Kindle Oasis without the battery cover will be good for you to read

00:19:03   all day. Like, I think it would be good to read all day. I think the difference is, maybe

00:19:07   the old one you could read all weekend and into the next week without ever plugging it

00:19:13   in and it wouldn't be a problem with Wi-Fi turned on. And this one, you know, after a

00:19:17   day, day and a half, maybe you would need to plug it in. So, the equivalent for a phone

00:19:23   would be, imagine you've got a phone that runs for five days without being plugged in.

00:19:28   That doesn't exist, but imagine it. Just dream about it. And then imagine that Apple says,

00:19:34   "Hey, what we're going to do is we're going to pare it back to one day, but also sell

00:19:40   this really nifty battery case that makes it a little heavier that will give you the

00:19:42   full five or six or eight day experience." That's sort of what Amazon's doing here. It's

00:19:47   like at some point they've they kind of had battery to give I guess I would say

00:19:51   and so they get they gave it and said okay here here we made it thinner and

00:19:57   lighter it'll get you through you know a couple of days you didn't need a week or

00:20:02   two of battery life all the time on just the device but we also had this case

00:20:07   that will recharge you so it's it's a little bit different because the the use

00:20:11   case is different because the kindles have had way longer battery life than

00:20:15   than an iPhone has ever had.

00:20:17   - So if you plug the Kindle into the case,

00:20:19   it charges the Kindle as well as give extra battery life.

00:20:23   - Correct. - Yeah.

00:20:24   - Yeah, it charges it back up.

00:20:25   Like if you leave it even in for like an hour in the case,

00:20:28   and then you pick it up again,

00:20:29   it's back to being basically full.

00:20:31   - It's very interesting.

00:20:33   - Yeah, and I think the other thing that I would say is,

00:20:35   this isn't just like, even with the case on it,

00:20:37   it's just not just like one of the older Kindles,

00:20:40   because they have reduced the bezel

00:20:41   around most of the edges,

00:20:43   and then added to it on the one side

00:20:44   give you that kind of grippable area. And so it does feel like it's pushing, like Scott

00:20:49   was alluding to, pushing toward Amazon's vision for what the Kindle ultimately is, which is

00:20:55   that it should disappear. Like that's really what they've said, Jeff Bezos has said that,

00:20:58   that the goal is to disappear, you're just in the reading experience, it's all about

00:21:02   the words on the page. And the OASIS, because it's that much thinner and lighter, it is

00:21:07   sort of like getting to that point where it's starting to vanish. And it's a nice piece

00:21:13   of hardware I think they did a good job like with the case on it feels like this little

00:21:17   tiny compact almost like a notebook or something like a little digest that you would that you

00:21:22   would carry around and like a like a field notes kind of thing almost and I like the

00:21:27   feel of it too even with the case on it it feels compact in a way that the other ones

00:21:31   didn't. The only things that I miss about my Kindle Voyage are the auto brightness thing

00:21:36   which I already talked about and the cover that I had for that which was the Amazon origami

00:21:41   thing which would make it into a little stand so I would have to, when I was like eating

00:21:45   my lunch I wouldn't have to hold up my Kindle like a savage but now I'm back to holding

00:21:49   up my Kindle.

00:21:50   Now I just rest it against like a copper so it's so light I rest it against a feather

00:21:54   and it's fine.

00:21:55   [laughter]

00:21:56   >> The other thing that's weird about this and like what you've mentioned Scott and kind

00:21:59   of talking about the previous Kindles as well, Amazon seemed to not really mind too much

00:22:04   about giving features and then taking them away when a product is replaced.

00:22:09   It's also a very strange way of doing this stuff.

00:22:12   Like, oh, we have a new even better Kindle.

00:22:15   It has some additional features

00:22:16   and so we've also taken some away as well.

00:22:18   There aren't a lot of companies that do that.

00:22:20   - You could argue that Apple used to be more like that

00:22:23   and now that Apple has become more successful,

00:22:25   it's harder for Apple to take things away from their large,

00:22:29   not that they won't do it, but that it makes it harder.

00:22:31   And Amazon with this product seems very much in that space

00:22:35   of being like, you know, an artist.

00:22:38   is like, "No, you don't get that anymore. We have moved on. We've made a decision, and

00:22:41   here's the new thing." And then the buttons are gone. Just deal with it, the buttons are

00:22:44   gone now.

00:22:45   - The buttons are back.

00:22:46   - Yeah, and now they're back because I think they heard from people that the... And it

00:22:51   was a weird case where they took the buttons off entirely, and it was just touchscreen,

00:22:54   and then they're like, "Well, we'll bring back these funny buttons that aren't buttons."

00:22:58   And then they're like, "Okay, fine, buttons. Here you go. You get your buttons back."

00:23:01   - I'm happy now.

00:23:02   - Yeah, I am. Although, I wanted to throw out one other thing, which is that the Kittle

00:23:07   Oasis is $290, which is pricey. It is given that the Paperwhite's $100. But the thing

00:23:15   that really actually bugs me about it is they're still doing their thing where it's $290 with

00:23:22   special offers, and if you want to turn the ads off, it's another $20. And since everything

00:23:27   comes with the case, that means that by default, unless you pay the extra $20 when you open

00:23:31   the case, it wakes up to show you an ad, but you still have to swipe in order to get to

00:23:36   your book. And for $100, I feel like that's an okay thing to do. At $290, I think there

00:23:46   should be no ads. I think having everybody have to pay $310 in order to remove the Amazon

00:23:53   ads from the screen and have the experience that when you open the cover, the book just

00:23:58   appears. I think at some point, Amazon should kind of cut it off and say, "This, you can

00:24:04   cheap out by $20 in order to not see ads is kind of unbecoming of a product in this price

00:24:11   range but that's what they did.

00:24:13   That jump should be a lot bigger.

00:24:15   Oh yeah, you think so?

00:24:16   If they're going to do it, right?

00:24:18   The gap between those prices should be way, way bigger.

00:24:21   Yeah, it's not like the special offers aren't bad but I think from a usability standpoint

00:24:26   like if you're going to have a device with a cover that is this magnetic cover that automatically

00:24:30   wakes and sleeps the screen just like an iPad Smart Cover would be, the special offers really

00:24:35   get in the way. They kind of wreck that experience by having the special offers in the way. And

00:24:43   now every single one of these devices right now is shipping with that cover, which means

00:24:47   they're all getting the special offers in the way unless they pay $20. And yeah, you're

00:24:52   right Myke, maybe you put special offers in and you offer this for $250 and it's a $50

00:24:56   dollar or sixty dollar savings then that's a little bit different experience but

00:25:00   for the twenty dollars with a with a two hundred ninety dollar product it seems

00:25:03   like a miscalculation to me. On the other end of this as well it's very surprising

00:25:08   to me that there isn't yet a free Kindle with a Prime subscription. Well I I think

00:25:15   free is hard right because because if you give something away people get it

00:25:20   and not actually want to use it and they do want to I mean the the base Kindle at

00:25:24   $60 is getting perilously close. Yeah exactly. And I do wonder if you know they do a special

00:25:31   for Prime members at some point where it's $20 or something like that. I think we're gonna get there

00:25:35   where it's nearly free, not quite free, but nearly free for them. Right and they do have a the Kindle

00:25:41   Fire 7-inch is $40. So you know for $20 less you get a tablet that has a Kindle app on it.

00:25:48   It's not obviously if you're gonna get a Kindle E-ink Kindle they are better for reading but.

00:25:53   Yeah, see, those prices are why I think it's surprising they haven't done free. Because

00:25:59   for those devices, they're basically free, right? It's just strange for them, they don't

00:26:05   just say, "Hey, if you want one, let us know and we'll send you one."

00:26:09   They always seem to send me one, but it's not free.

00:26:12   Yeah. Yeah, it's, I mean, I think free, making any product free, you're going to get a lot

00:26:18   of people who get it because it's free and then don't use it. And if you're taking a

00:26:22   a loss on it, then there's no point in doing that. I think they do want to make money or

00:26:26   at least break even and then have the upside of selling you things. So like when they did

00:26:30   the Fire TV stick for $29 or something like that, I think that was one of those cases

00:26:35   where that's sort of pushing it where some people bought Chromecast and Fire TV sticks

00:26:40   with unclear about whether they would ever use them just because it seemed like an irresistible

00:26:46   price. And you know, if you're Amazon below a certain point, it doesn't make sense for

00:26:51   you to give them away because you're not going to get that money back because people are

00:26:55   just going to get them and then not use them as well as you need them to. So, you know,

00:27:00   free I don't know, although you're right, prime membership, if you're a prime member

00:27:04   saying you basically are eligible to get a free Fire tablet or Kindle once every two

00:27:08   years at this base level and we'll be happy to send it to you as a thank you, maybe that

00:27:14   will happen sometime. I'm a little surprised they haven't experimented with that as part

00:27:18   of the membership deal.

00:27:19   - Yeah, I mean, when I say free, I mean,

00:27:21   free for Prime members, not like--

00:27:23   - Yeah, free with your paid subscription.

00:27:25   - Yeah, yeah.

00:27:26   - Or they could do what they do with the dash buttons, right?

00:27:29   You pay them $5, but that turns into a credit

00:27:32   for your first dash order.

00:27:35   So it's kind of like a deposit.

00:27:36   - Yeah.

00:27:38   And it makes you try it out, right?

00:27:39   It makes you wanna use it.

00:27:41   And then you find out whether you like it or not.

00:27:43   That's all I've got about the Oasis,

00:27:44   except to say, yeah, I like it.

00:27:46   And I would not recommend it for most people

00:27:47   because it is the high end and it's got a high price, but it's a nice product. They're

00:27:52   not wrong in saying it's a premium product at that premium price. It's very nice. Most

00:28:00   people should probably just buy the Paperwhite, but it's a really nice product. I'm very happy

00:28:03   with it. It's really quite pleasant. It is better than I thought it would be, and I thought

00:28:08   it would be pretty good. Alright, I think that's it for our guest follow-up. Scott,

00:28:15   Thank you so much for taking time out of your work day to do some guest FU about the Kindle.

00:28:22   >> My pleasure. Anytime you need me, just turn on the Kindle sign and I will appear.

00:28:27   >> Yes, we'll shine the Kindle signal and Scott will appear.

00:28:31   >> Thank you to Mr. McNulty for joining us today and let's take a quick break and then

00:28:34   we actually have some other follow up to get into, Jason.

00:28:36   >> Yeah.

00:28:37   >> That's just between me and you and of course the listeners too. This week's episode is

00:28:41   is

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00:30:45   So Mr Snow.

00:30:46   Yes sir.

00:30:47   Let's get back in to our follow up.

00:30:51   So we had a great email from Ryan who was talking to us about a potential reason for

00:30:57   the Apple car and its existence from what we were talking about last week.

00:31:01   Ryan said "Wouldn't designing a car be like the ultimate challenge for Johnny Ive?

00:31:06   Surely he would jump at the chance to want to do this and might be kind of helping spearhead

00:31:10   the project.

00:31:11   For him to do to cars what he did for phones, computer design and things like that would

00:31:17   kind of put him, as Ryan says, in the Mount Rushmore of design. After his hand in designing

00:31:23   the new Apple Campus, quite literally the car is the only thing he has left.

00:31:28   Well, that's probably true, although you're not going to hire hundreds of people, thousands

00:31:36   of people, and spend a billion dollars just because you want to keep Johnny Ive engaged.

00:31:41   No way, but I mean, he might be there helping push it forward, right?

00:31:45   Sure, sure. And he's probably, if he's involved in this, I would assume he would be involved

00:31:49   with this, and then he's probably working with a team of designers who have some background.

00:31:53   I know that he loves cars and drives a Bentley and all of these things. Bentley, by the way,

00:32:00   so I'm not a car guy, but I see pictures of Bentleys. I'm like, "Wow, that's one ugly

00:32:04   car." But okay.

00:32:05   I don't like Bentleys either.

00:32:06   Yeah, they seem really horrendously ugly to me, but Johnny Ive likes them, so okay. Sorry,

00:32:11   these Bitly owners out there, I'm sorry, I like to apologize, but I don't like them,

00:32:18   they're ugly. So, yeah, I don't know, I mean, sure, I'm sure Johnny Ive would love this.

00:32:24   Although Ryan also says after the new Apple Campus, the car's the only thing left, I don't

00:32:29   think Johnny Ive designed the Apple Campus, I think there was a world-famous architect

00:32:32   who designed the new Apple Campus. Well, he's had a big hand in it, though, right? I'm sure,

00:32:36   and the materials on the inside and all that, I'm sure he's been involved, right, but it's,

00:32:39   I think not at the level like he designs hardware.

00:32:42   Yeah, because I think that that profile kind of spoke about him really being involved in

00:32:46   it, right?

00:32:47   Like, was it in New York Times or something?

00:32:50   Do you remember that big, big Johnny Iov profile?

00:32:53   Yeah, sure.

00:32:54   I think that's where that might have come from, whether it's true or not, like, as to

00:32:58   how much involvement he actually had, but they were really kind of talking about that.

00:33:04   I'm sure, but he's like, you know, he's part, he's one of the clients, you know, he's the

00:33:09   but there's an architecture firm that's building the thing and I don't I think

00:33:12   it's but that probably a lot of what Johnny Ive does these days is at that

00:33:16   level of remove where he's you know he's looking at the big picture of a lot of

00:33:20   stuff and then maybe he's diving into very specific things and perhaps the car

00:33:24   is a place for him to play I feel like I feel like the design of the shape of the

00:33:29   car while I don't want to say it's not important to Apple doing a car but I

00:33:34   I think I would say it's not the most difficult thing

00:33:39   about Apple doing a car.

00:33:40   So yeah, I guess I would say to Ryan, yeah,

00:33:45   it's interesting to think about Johnny Ive doing this

00:33:47   and having it be an interesting challenge

00:33:48   to keep him engaged at Apple.

00:33:50   I don't dispute that.

00:33:53   I just, that's about as far as I'd go.

00:33:57   I think in the grand scheme of things,

00:33:59   it's not really an important aspect of the story

00:34:03   and it's not the hardest thing that they have to do

00:34:05   about like how it looks.

00:34:07   I think I'm intrigued to think of what an Apple designed car

00:34:10   might actually look like inside and out.

00:34:12   That intrigues me, but I feel like there's just so much more

00:34:17   to the story than just that,

00:34:18   that that's sort of how I approach it.

00:34:21   - You wrote a big review thing about USB interfaces

00:34:26   for audio work.

00:34:31   Can you talk a little bit about this and why you did it?

00:34:34   Yeah, I tried to deal with the fact that we have...

00:34:39   I get a lot of questions about like what microphone should I use?

00:34:42   Like I'm a podcaster and I'm looking for a better microphone, what microphone

00:34:45   should I use? And

00:34:46   we've talked a lot about, you know, there are USB microphones where you have a microphone, you

00:34:50   plug it into your computer and you use that.

00:34:53   The like Blue Yeti is one of those and there are a bunch of those.

00:34:56   And then there are the XLR microphones which are traditional,

00:35:00   more traditional microphones, they've got a big thick cable, and then you plug those

00:35:04   into a USB interface, and that is what goes to the computer and converts the audio signal

00:35:09   into something that's a digital signal that the computer can understand. And I didn't

00:35:14   have enough experience with the low-cost audio interfaces to make any recommendations there,

00:35:19   so I bought like five of them that were $150-ish or below and tested them and basically came

00:35:27   up with a recommendation of what I thought the right one to buy is if you are looking

00:35:34   to go to an XLR, a low-cost XLR interface right now. And the Tascam USB 2x2 for, I think

00:35:42   it was a Streeting at 119 when I wrote the story, is the one that I like the best. It's

00:35:47   super kind of heavy industrial feeling, which I don't love the design of it, but I feel

00:35:53   like it's the best in terms of the it and the Presonus Audio Box 2 were

00:36:02   the best in terms of the sound quality and the Tascam has the headphone jack on

00:36:07   the front and the Presonus has the headphone jack on the back which I do

00:36:11   not understand and so for me I feel like that was enough to kind of like nudge

00:36:16   plus the Presonus was was a lot more it was like $50 more so the Tascam is the

00:36:21   one that I like the best but I feel like right now, oh and I use those microphones that Marco

00:36:26   really likes that are the $20 knockoffs of the Shure microphones and I found that one

00:36:31   of the problems with them is that they're really prone to interference if you get it

00:36:34   near a source of interference so if you're like...

00:36:37   - A cell phone or something.

00:36:38   - Or a computer, right? And like if you're right next to the computer with those microphones

00:36:42   they put out, they're very noisy in the way that the Shure microphones aren't and so yes

00:36:49   you could get a Tascam in one of those pile cheap microphones and if you're in the right

00:36:54   place and you've got your cables positioned so that they're not going over a power source

00:36:59   or something and draining the interference, you could get a fairly good sounding, cheap

00:37:04   setup for about $140, $130. You gotta buy some cables and stuff. That all said, it still

00:37:11   feels to me like your best option is something like the Audio-Technica ATR2100, which is

00:37:19   a USB mic that also is an XLR mic if you want it to be.

00:37:23   All the links for these are in the review, by the way, which will be in the show notes.

00:37:27   Yeah, and it's, you know, that one is a relatively inexpensive microphone that is about 60 bucks

00:37:35   and it's a USB microphone and it repels sound that, unless you're very close to it, it really

00:37:41   shuts down like echoes and things aren't picked up you've got to be very close to

00:37:45   it when you talk through it but you know you should be that you should do that

00:37:49   anyway that's what it's for is for you being close to it and talking and being

00:37:52   on a podcast so I've got one of those here I'm going to spend a little more

00:37:56   time with that one too so I can I can see for myself but from from everything

00:38:00   that everybody I've talked to who's used it a lot that seems to be the best the

00:38:04   best buy so the XLR stuff it's really for like people who want to record

00:38:07   multiple microphones at once or have you know have them be more flexible about

00:38:16   being able to plug them into sound boards or remote recordings plus

00:38:21   attached to a computer but I'd say for most people regular old people who are

00:38:25   doing podcasts a little bit a USB mic like the Audio-Technica mic is probably

00:38:30   the best bet. I've recommended the Yeti over the years but the Audio-Technica

00:38:33   mic is cheaper and I think it I think it from everything I've heard again I need

00:38:37   to spend more time with it myself. It seems to sound better and it's cheaper and it's

00:38:40   more reliable. The only thing that's got going against it is it doesn't seem to have a mute.

00:38:46   It doesn't have a mute button on it, so you have to kind of like mute Skype or something

00:38:50   like that, but for most people that's not a big deal.

00:38:52   One thing I don't like about the Tascam is that a lot of the settings are in software.

00:39:00   Yeah there are, I mentioned that, it's not a lot, but there are some preferences basically

00:39:04   that you have to open up like a little control panel and check the box in order to set it

00:39:08   instead of having it be like on the very expensive ones that we have there are dip switches that

00:39:14   are for all the settings so you never have to have any software you don't have to have

00:39:17   any software on the task cam to record but if you want to like tell it to monitor and

00:39:22   stereo instead of mono through the headphones you actually do have to launch a piece of

00:39:25   software and check a box and then close the piece of software but most of it's not like

00:39:30   that. But still I feel like that one is again for 120 bucks, that's a pretty good deal

00:39:38   and you live with some of the downsides of that.

00:39:40   Yeah, I mean look if I'm paying $120 then like if the software dies after two years

00:39:45   and I can't change sentence anymore like I've not blown a lot of money. Like if I was you

00:39:49   know something like the USB pre which we use which is what like 600 bucks if that was software

00:39:54   configurable, I would never buy it. But I, you know, it's just a bit like, "I really

00:40:01   wish that this wasn't the case." You know? Like, it's just like, I really would much

00:40:05   prefer to have all of the settings be physical as opposed to software.

00:40:09   Yeah, I agree. I definitely agree. And it's harder to get that on a cheap piece of…

00:40:17   One thing I will say is, I'm not a fan. I had somebody recommend another one of these

00:40:21   things that's you know it's sort of like a next generation mixer and it's got a

00:40:24   screen and it's got special software and I tried one of those and I don't like

00:40:29   them like more more special software I you shouldn't have to install custom

00:40:34   special software in order to get your mixer to work and in fact what you're

00:40:38   doing there we had this happen to Macworld where twice our mixer basically

00:40:42   was fine and we couldn't use it anymore because we had to stop updating our

00:40:48   hardware and software or it would stop working and that's not cool where like

00:40:53   the developer the the builder of the hardware keeps the software up to date

00:40:58   for a couple of years and then there's an OS update that breaks it and the

00:41:01   hardware manufacturers like sorry and that doesn't happen when it's just a

00:41:06   kind of a vanilla USB device that you plug in and it just works with the

00:41:10   software and doesn't require your special stuff in order to function so

00:41:14   So, yeah.

00:41:15   Yeah, anyway, I know this is really insider-y, but I actually, I had just this weekend I

00:41:19   was talking to somebody about like, what's my podcast set up and, you know, what should

00:41:22   I buy and things like that.

00:41:24   So I decided that I, that was an area that Marco Arment didn't kind of go too far down

00:41:28   into when he did his big microphone roundup.

00:41:30   And so I kind of wanted to do it just so I could say, you know, basically the Tascam is

00:41:36   good, the Presonus is good, and I didn't like the Focusrite Scarlett's and, you know, there

00:41:43   was another one that was okay. Just so I can start down that path of being able to say

00:41:48   that with some authority instead of it being like, well I hear that this one's okay, but

00:41:53   I don't actually know.

00:41:55   Yeah, this is a good resource to have. I think that it's interesting to do the lower price

00:42:01   stuff because I do really feel like, at least just from me being in and around this all

00:42:06   day, that more people wanted to get involved in this, like people wanted to start blogs.

00:42:10   I'm starting to feel that kind of enthusiast, like I have a thing that I like to talk about

00:42:16   and I want to do this and I don't want to spend too much money but I want to make it

00:42:20   sound good. You know?

00:42:21   >> Yeah, they don't want to spend hundreds of dollars, but some people it's like, yeah,

00:42:26   but I also don't want it to sound bad. So, you know, you have to kind of balance that.

00:42:31   I think right now, like I said, I think that maybe the Audio-Technica mic, 60 bucks with

00:42:35   a really good microphone that's a USB microphone, that might be a good place for people to start.

00:42:41   But definitely I get that sense. And I've said this before, you know, a few years ago

00:42:45   I did a panel at a science fiction convention about podcasting and it really struck me that

00:42:49   the people there really were excited about podcasting, but they were not like a $30 microphone,

00:42:55   they're like, that's kind of pricey. Like these are people with not a lot of money to

00:42:59   spend on technology. So that was a good perspective to have for all the talk of

00:43:05   spending, you know, we as professional podcasters might decide to spend $800

00:43:09   on microphones and a mixer and all of that, but I think it's really important

00:43:13   to try and find that product. Like Marco's number one and two products are

00:43:17   like these $600 microphones that require a multi-hundred dollar USB

00:43:21   interface to work. And it's like, that's great, but you know, that's for a tiny

00:43:26   percentage of the audience and the bigger percentage is going to be people who are on

00:43:30   a budget and they want something that sounds good that isn't going to break the bank and

00:43:34   so that's what I'm trying to look at is you know in that price range you know 150 and

00:43:39   below what is there.

00:43:41   Yeah I mean me and you got to the levels that we're at right now after many years of using

00:43:46   cheaper microphones.

00:43:48   Totally yeah.

00:43:49   Right so like this it's just a progression if you if you become really serious about

00:43:53   it. Not necessarily like, "Oh, it's a business for you," but it's something that you consider

00:43:57   to be... you end up getting very serious about as time goes on. As with any kind of hobby,

00:44:03   really, you'll start spending more and more money on it. And that's when you can go to

00:44:06   get something like the Neumann KMS 105, which is what I use now, and I love it. But even

00:44:12   then, like, that was a... it was even a big step for me, because, boy, it weren't cheap.

00:44:17   But this microphone for me is absolutely fantastic.

00:44:22   that this is what you do all day, right?

00:44:24   - Exactly, like the first time I heard it,

00:44:26   I was like, oh wow, that's my voice,

00:44:27   that's how my voice sounds.

00:44:29   And this is the microphone that's been the closest

00:44:31   to be able to reproduce the way that I hear myself

00:44:34   and that's why I love it.

00:44:35   All right, so, there's something that I wanted

00:44:40   to just bring up because me and you spoke about this

00:44:42   a long time ago.

00:44:44   Dropbox seems to be announcing and trialing out

00:44:49   something called Dropbox Infinite.

00:44:52   Now I can't for the life of me work out if this is going to be something that's available

00:44:56   for everyone or just for business.

00:44:59   I feel like it's going to be available for everyone and basically what it is, is it's

00:45:03   making Dropbox on desktop computers a little bit more like Dropbox on mobile.

00:45:10   So on iPhone apps and Android apps you see kind of placeholders for your files which

00:45:15   you can then click and access and it will download the data from Dropbox and now they're

00:45:20   looking at trying to do this on desktop as well so you'll be able to save for

00:45:24   maybe specific files and specific folders. I don't want that 20 gigabyte

00:45:30   file always taking up hard drive space unless I need it and then you can go and

00:45:35   grab it. So this is something that me and you spoke about a long time ago

00:45:39   which is like I have a one terabyte Dropbox account and I don't have any

00:45:43   machine that has a terabyte of data on it so I can never fill it up and this is

00:45:47   now hopefully going to be what can solve that problem.

00:45:50   Yeah, I wrote about this on Six Colors too. It's interesting, they announced it at a business

00:45:56   conference that doesn't necessarily mean that it's only a business feature, also that they're

00:46:01   testing it with their, they had like a weird phrase for it, like their, what do they call

00:46:07   them, sponsor customers, I don't even know what that is, but yeah, my feeling is this

00:46:16   has to be part of their core product eventually. Maybe it's not there for free users, although

00:46:21   even there I think you could argue that it probably should be. The idea here is too fundamental

00:46:26   to how Dropbox works. The idea that you can see everything on your Dropbox and then choose

00:46:33   what syncs and doesn't sync into your hard drive space, or maybe even choose the maximum

00:46:39   out of Dropbox space to take up and have it sort of cache things on the fly down

00:46:46   the road. So I think those are all important features and they're key to

00:46:52   the fundamentals of Dropbox. It means you don't have to fish around in the

00:46:56   selective syncing button in the settings in order to say "Oh no, that giant folder,

00:47:02   I don't want it." Because the truth is, yeah, our hard drives, I've got a

00:47:07   terabyte hard drive on my iMac, an SSD, and it doesn't, it's not, it can't fit that.

00:47:14   It's like, it can't fit just my Dropbox folder because it's got the rest of it that it has to,

00:47:20   it has to deal with. I don't know, and I take it back, I don't even have the terabyte, I have

00:47:24   the half terabyte. I have the 500 gigabyte storage. So I literally can't on any of my

00:47:30   devices except for my server in my house, sync my Dropbox entirely. So this is cool because you can

00:47:36   can say, you know, sync these files or even double click on a file and it syncs

00:47:42   over and then opens. So it's smart and I went down there's a hacker news thread

00:47:49   from somebody who used to work at Dropbox who said that it's a very smart

00:47:53   feature that he thought that it was even at the command line level it does the

00:47:58   right thing so it's you know they put a lot of work into this and it works on

00:48:03   Mac and Windows to have it be that you basically your files are there on

00:48:08   demand and you can also set them to be there at all times if you are going to

00:48:12   go offline. I think it's the right thing to do for Dropbox because they are

00:48:16   making all of this, you know, if you pay for Dropbox even as an individual you

00:48:20   get a terabyte of storage and you probably can't use it all locally nor

00:48:24   should you need to use it all locally. Like I'm going to review the

00:48:28   MacBook and I set it up with Dropbox so I could get a lot of my files and it

00:48:31   wants to download my Dropbox. I have to like check a bunch of boxes like no no no no no

00:48:37   don't download any of these things it still wants to download a huge amount of data. I

00:48:41   would much rather be able to turn Dropbox on on that computer and have it see my Dropbox

00:48:45   but not download anything until I tell it to. That's a much better experience. So I

00:48:50   hope Dropbox rolls this out not just for its business customers but for everybody certainly

00:48:55   for all of its paying customers because I think it just makes the metaphor of the product

00:49:01   in line with reality of devices today.

00:49:04   Plus, calling it infinite is so genius. What a fantastic brand name. I just love that.

00:49:10   It's perfect.

00:49:11   Project Infinite.

00:49:12   Yeah, it's the—and I had the terabyte conundrum, was what I had been talking about. So Project

00:49:15   Infinite has solved the terabyte conundrum.

00:49:18   Sounds very scientific.

00:49:19   Yeah. Oh yeah. It's all science.

00:49:21   Should we take a break?

00:49:23   Yeah.

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00:51:34   Alright so it's been a few days since the Outlast Apple results came out and usually

00:51:39   on this show I don't know if it really gets in there often because it usually comes out

00:51:43   like the day after and the week goes by and it's like okay everyone made a bunch of money

00:51:47   congratulations yay but this one wasn't so much like that no I me and Federico had a

00:51:57   had a long conversation on connected about this right in which I really felt a lot of

00:52:03   what you were talking about but maybe we should actually have a conversation about it too

00:52:08   too, because your take, I, I, when I was reading your articles, the many thousands of words

00:52:13   that you've written about the last Apple results, I was feeling quite a conflict in

00:52:18   you, which you can correct me if I'm wrong, because there was, you know, there is the

00:52:24   whole argument which kind of frustrates me of, "Oh, but you know, they made so much

00:52:30   money so it was not too bad, it was actually really great." But then on the other side

00:52:35   of it there's also the fact that like this is the first time in 13 years where the numbers

00:52:39   are down and you know no matter how you want to place it Apple decides that they want to

00:52:45   be in the Wall Street world. They participate in it you know they are a public company you

00:52:51   know they made the decision and they pay everybody attention.

00:52:54   Yeah like 40 years ago they made the decision. Yeah but they go ahead and they pay the attention

00:52:59   that they need to everyone and they have the conference calls and stuff right?

00:53:02   They have to. They have to do it. They're a public company. That's just how it is.

00:53:06   Right. But what I'm saying is that they are involved in that scenario.

00:53:10   So they are in that world and that is part of it. And they play to it and they do what

00:53:15   they need to do to try and help. They definitely don't ignore the share price. They make decisions

00:53:21   and do things to try and influence that, I'm sure, because they're a public company.

00:53:26   So the fact that the results have changed and that they're now down year on year, which

00:53:31   is the first time it's happened in 13 years, has made this result and then the next ones

00:53:36   peculiar.

00:53:37   Well, I think, you know, writing about Apple, one of the challenges is there's so much stupid

00:53:44   stuff that's written about Apple that it's problematic to get around, yeah, there are

00:53:56   the knee-jerk reactions like I mentioned this on maybe on the Six Colors podcast,

00:54:01   I mentioned that there was a Colbert report, or not report, right, the Late Show with Stephen

00:54:06   Colbert. Stephen Colbert played a video about, his monologue was about the Apple results last week

00:54:11   at one point. It was just kind of mind-boggling to think about it. And he's a big Apple guy,

00:54:16   he's got all the devices, he's had a video at the keynote, all those things, right? But the local

00:54:22   news broadcast that they played was Apple releases its worst results, its worst

00:54:29   corporate results in 13 years or something. And that's the challenge

00:54:34   about this story. It's not technically inaccurate. It's wrong. That is the

00:54:39   wrong statement because that is making it about second level, it's

00:54:45   about growth, right? No, actually Apple released its what, fifth most profitable

00:54:50   quarter. Ah, I see what you're saying. Yeah. Eighth most profitable quarter. It's their

00:54:55   worst result in like six quarters in terms of profit, in terms of revenue. The only thing

00:55:02   it's the worst in 13 years is year-over-year growth. And this is the challenge of writing

00:55:10   about this, right? Or talking about it. How do you define that? And if you define it by

00:55:16   way Wall Street defines it, which is perfectly valid, and this is part of the challenge that

00:55:22   I feel and that you probably sense, is I don't like it when people who should know better say

00:55:30   it's totally unfair that Apple's stock price goes down after they report their earnings because they

00:55:35   made a lot of money. And this year, you know, it happens all the time, but it certainly happened

00:55:40   this quarter. That really bothers me because, come on, this is how Wall Street works. The

00:55:46   expectations of where the company is going are built into the stock price already. They

00:55:50   have given guidance. People know what the results are going to be and then Wall Street is reacting

00:55:56   to future growth, future ways to make money with this company because you put your money into it

00:56:00   and you want to see it grow. Now, what I would say is that that distorts our view of businesses.

00:56:10   So it's a little bit of both. Like, it's so easy to be like that local news reporter and just say

00:56:16   Apple had its worst quarter in 13 years. And it's just not true. Investors are unhappy with Apple's

00:56:25   least amount of growth, or in this case, negative growth of shrinkage year over year in 13 years.

00:56:33   But that is so specific. And I think if that's your mark of whether something was good or not,

00:56:39   you are really deep down in a distorted view of the world. Now if you're an investor, if

00:56:48   you're an institutional investor, if you're a Wall Street person, then that's how you

00:56:52   view the world because you're viewing it through that lens. But you know what, most people

00:56:55   aren't, and I think it's misleading. So I think when you want to understand what we

00:57:01   saw, you need to look at all of it. You need to look at the fact that yes, all of Apple's

00:57:05   products were receiving last quarter year over year. Absolutely true. Do not

00:57:10   soft pedal it. It's going to get worse or at least continue to be bad. That's one

00:57:15   of the things I said to end one of the pieces I wrote last week.

00:57:19   Their guidance is down next quarter too, right? I mean 2016 is going to be down

00:57:24   every quarter from 2015 for Apple. That's just how it's going to be. It's

00:57:29   interesting to wonder why and look at the story Apple's telling, which is that

00:57:34   the uptake on the 6 was huge and the uptake on the 6s is sort of like a little

00:57:41   better than the 5s which means perhaps what we're really seeing here is an

00:57:47   aberration because the 6 was such a huge hit because there was so much pent-up

00:57:51   enthusiasm for a big Apple phone that drove sales of the 6 and that if you

00:57:59   take the six out of the equation entirely, sort of delete 2015, then 2016 seems like

00:58:06   a reasonable follow-on of slow growth from 2014. But 2015 was this aberrant success,

00:58:13   and if everything you measure is year over year, guess what? That was the mountaintop.

00:58:19   Even if you keep growing from here slowly, year over year you're going to look terrible.

00:58:24   So I'm not saying that they're going to continue growing, they could shrink, and that's part

00:58:29   of the fear I think that drives some of the stock price stuff. But, you know, so there's

00:58:35   a lot going on here, I guess, and it's complicated, because what I don't want to do is say, "No,

00:58:39   no, everything's going to be fine, Apple's great, it doesn't matter." Because, to your

00:58:44   point, this is the game that they're playing, and they have written—their success that

00:58:48   they've been writing has not just been about profits and revenue, it has also been about

00:58:52   growth. And you can't suddenly say, "Well, it's really just about profits and revenue."

00:58:57   Yeah. Yeah. You can't ignore the fact that for the last... How many years was it again?

00:59:02   13. 13.

00:59:04   You can't ignore for the fact that for the last 13 years, we've all been like, "Look

00:59:07   how great we're doing!" And then when this happens, it's like, "Oh, no, but it's not

00:59:12   about that anymore." Because we've all been so excited to see those graphs go up.

00:59:16   It's one of the dimensions of Apple's success that has stopped. And you can't say, "Now

00:59:28   it doesn't matter," and it was really about the other two. That said, you also can't say

00:59:33   it's the only one that matters. Well, you can, and if you're a Wall Street investor,

00:59:37   you can. I would argue that most people should not do that, right? Because I actually think

00:59:41   corrosive if the endless quest for growth as the only thing that's valuable destroys

00:59:47   companies with great profitable businesses that could potentially jeopardize those businesses

00:59:54   because they need to find the next growth thing. And that's one of my worries about Apple is that

00:59:58   Apple is going to get so concerned with growth that they're going to lose focus even more over

01:00:05   their core products because they've got to find the next big thing, whether it's a car or something

01:00:09   else, right? That worries me a little bit. But, you know, so I think it's healthy to say, "Look,

01:00:16   Apple is very profitable and has huge revenue. And the only way that we're concerned about this is

01:00:23   because 2015 was so good. And by pre-2015 Apple standards, this quarter was actually quite good.

01:00:30   It's just that last year was so good that this year doesn't look as good." And I think

01:00:38   think it's that's complicated, right? That's not a "it was great, it was terrible, everything's

01:00:42   going to be fine, everything is awful," right? It's not either of those things. It's kind

01:00:46   of in the middle. And so it's a challenge. And I know people on both sides of those arguments

01:00:52   are also up in arms and trying to find, you know, find people who are behaving the other

01:00:57   way and attack them too. I got a little of that. I wrote a piece for iMore on Friday

01:01:02   that was like literally, if you take the iPhone out of the equation, what's happening with

01:01:07   Apple's other businesses. And the whole goal of it was to say, "Let's not lose sight because

01:01:12   the graph is so huge on the iPhone, and we've lost the scale of what the Mac business does

01:01:17   where it chugs along making Starbucks profits every year, essentially."

01:01:25   Also that profit number, that's something that people bring up a lot, and that's another

01:01:29   thing that kind of frustrates me. "Oh, even in a down quarter they make more profit than

01:01:34   next company. But like it's all relative though, you know? Like, I know that people

01:01:39   are like, "Oh, why are we ignoring the fact that they've made so much profit?" But,

01:01:43   "I've made so much profit for so long that now it's kind of just the number." Right?

01:01:48   Yeah, I mean, but in the end, I, as, you know, your profit is what keeps you afloat, is that

01:01:57   they're making a profit. I don't have a profit. I mean, profits, like I said, revenue

01:02:01   is important, profit is important, and growth is important. They're all important. And they

01:02:05   have hit a bump on growth, but they're still profitable. And that's, you know, it leads,

01:02:11   I think one of the issues is it can lead to a narrative that like Apple's in trouble,

01:02:15   which is funny because Apple's not in trouble. Apple has really shown no signs of trouble.

01:02:18   The only trouble Apple is in is with investors who wanted to have a continual huge growth

01:02:25   percentage every year, because I don't think that's going to happen. Right? And so they

01:02:29   should be in trouble for that. And that's the other part of this is you can't soft pedal

01:02:32   that. It's like, yeah. I mean, one of the analysts asked him, Cook, do you see this?

01:02:36   Are you still a growth company? And he did not answer that question. He's totally sidestepped

01:02:41   that question and said, no, no, I'm really optimistic about how great things are. And

01:02:44   he didn't answer the question. And I think it's a fair question to ask, which is, you

01:02:47   know, yeah, I know you've got room for some smart incremental smart phone growth here,

01:02:52   but is Apple going to be a company that grows 20% year over year regularly again, or is

01:02:58   Is it going to be a company that doesn't grow a whole lot, maybe a little tiny bit, but

01:03:02   will continue to throw off 10, 15 billion dollars in profit every quarter?

01:03:06   Which makes it one of the most profitable businesses in the world, but it's not growing

01:03:10   anymore.

01:03:11   And that's, you know, I think that's a fair question to ask.

01:03:15   But that's different from Apple's losing money, you know, iPhone sales are in the tank.

01:03:20   I think the iPhone quarter was like, again, the, if you go back five quarters or six quarters,

01:03:26   would have been the record number of iPhones sold. It's just that last year, year and a

01:03:31   quarter that were even higher. So it's about keeping perspective. But it's weird, right?

01:03:40   Because it's profitable and lots of revenue, but it's not growing anymore and you got to

01:03:45   call it that. You got to admit that that is not happening. And it's a muddy argument to

01:03:51   make. There was a lot of other interesting stuff, by the way, in the numbers, which is

01:03:55   why I wrote so many stories last week about it because you know beyond the big picture

01:03:59   of like oh no they lost you know they they they failed to grow year over year for the

01:04:04   first time in 13 years absolutely true there were some other interesting things in the

01:04:09   numbers but I don't know it's it's it was a weird quarter and I think people just need

01:04:13   to who are thinking oh well they'll turn it around next quarter they're not gonna they're

01:04:18   not gonna the guidance is what it is that's one of the reasons that the stock was down

01:04:22   is not just because of their results, because the results were within guidance. It's because

01:04:25   their guidance for next quarter is more of the same. And traditionally that is a down

01:04:30   quarter over the second financial quarter and they said it would be down year over year.

01:04:35   So it's going to, you know, this, this will happen again. The gnashing of teeth will happen

01:04:40   again in three months. So get ready. And probably in six months too.

01:04:45   [Sigh] Still there, still with me?

01:04:49   Yeah I am, I am. One of the things that I liked that you pointed out that I didn't really

01:04:55   see too much of, and I know Dr. Drang wrote something about this a while ago, is if you

01:04:59   imagine 2015 never happened there was no problem. And it really did seem that 2015 was just

01:05:06   this year for Apple that may never happen again and you kind of would hope wouldn't

01:05:12   happen again because it was just too much in one year right was like there

01:05:16   was too much stuff happening. Think of the pent-up demand for a bigger

01:05:20   iPhone. I mean bottom line the pent-up demand for a bigger iPhone. The people

01:05:24   wanted to get a bigger iPhone whether they were using an Android phone because

01:05:28   they wanted a bigger phone and we're like oh finally I can get an iPhone

01:05:31   that's big or they were iPhone users are like yeah it nothing really excites me

01:05:35   I'm gonna stick with this phone and then the big the 6 and 6 Plus come out

01:05:38   and they're like oh yeah now is the time but for whatever reason the 6 was a huge

01:05:42   hit and you're measuring growth that's the problem is if you have a huge hit

01:05:46   then measuring growth the next one has to be huger and if it's not then you've just lost your growth

01:05:54   that's that's how it works that's that's how math math works so it's a it's true dr drang wrote that

01:06:03   piece in january too group linked to it i i was looking at it he called it right which is the

01:06:12   you know, if you look at 2015 from Apple and thought, "Aha, look, they're accelerating again,

01:06:16   and they're going to put this these numbers up in 2016 and 2017 and 2018, it's just going to keep on

01:06:21   going to the stratosphere." If you thought that, you absolutely should be disappointed.

01:06:25   I could argue that nobody should have really thought that, but that's that the fact remains,

01:06:32   the fact remains that they're not selling iPhone 6s like they sold iPhone 6s, for whatever reason.

01:06:40   Can we talk about the iPhone SE for a second?

01:06:42   - Of course.

01:06:44   - I thought this was really one of the fascinating things

01:06:47   about the call was the iPhone SE,

01:06:52   the call with analysts because...

01:06:54   So when's the last time that an iPhone

01:06:57   was like unable to be purchased because it was oversold?

01:07:01   Like the last couple of years, they've gotten really good

01:07:03   at making lots and lots of iPhones

01:07:05   so that they could fill the channel.

01:07:07   But the iPhone SE, they can't make them fast enough,

01:07:10   which I find interesting.

01:07:12   - I feel like there has to be qualification though,

01:07:14   because how many did Apple expect to sell?

01:07:18   Because if they didn't expect to sell a lot

01:07:21   and they've sold some, then it's a different scenario, right?

01:07:23   We don't know those numbers.

01:07:25   - I think that's why it's interesting though,

01:07:27   is that they cop to it in the call.

01:07:28   They said, "We didn't expect this much demand

01:07:31   "for the iPhone SE."

01:07:33   So that's good.

01:07:34   I think maybe it says as much about Apple's internal culture as it does about the iPhone SE.

01:07:41   Right, in that they just were like, "No one wants this. This is just a placeholder product."

01:07:45   Well, and we've heard it from people in our community too, that when we talked about the

01:07:51   4-inch phone last year, we heard from a lot of people who were like, "Bigger is better."

01:07:57   iPhone people are a little less than people who have more exposure to Android, but on

01:08:00   Android side, the point of pride of having gigantic phone sizes, especially when the

01:08:07   iPhone didn't have them, was like part of the culture. And on tech sites, you would

01:08:12   definitely see it like bigger is better, bigger is always better. And the iPhone SE goes against

01:08:18   that. It's not bigger. And I think people, at least some people at Apple, I suspect,

01:08:26   fall into that trap of like, "Come on, nobody wants a small phone anymore. Everybody likes

01:08:31   a big phone." The fact is there's an audience for the small phone. They were selling an

01:08:34   old version of the small phone and getting like 13% of the iPhones sold were the old

01:08:39   version of the small phone. So the fact that they admitted that they, and very specifically

01:08:45   admitted that they misjudged demand for this phone because it was smaller, that they realize

01:08:52   now that there was a market that they didn't, that they underestimated who wanted the smaller

01:08:58   phone. So I think it's kind of cool because I think the iPhone SE is actually a little

01:09:04   bit of a sleeper hit that it took Apple by surprise, that Apple was thinking maybe it

01:09:08   was more for people who couldn't afford a more expensive phone and whether it was in

01:09:14   an international market or whether it was even in their richer places, that it was going

01:09:19   to be like their downscale thing because they cut the price on it and didn't realize that

01:09:23   there was actually this whole additional market of people that was just don't want a bigger

01:09:28   phone, which I think we all tried to tell the world about. But there's there was always

01:09:34   skepticism about it and they and Tim Cook cop to it, which I thought was really kind

01:09:37   of interesting. He's like, Yep, we underestimated this. And so we are an out of balance with

01:09:43   our production. And we have to ramp up production to fulfill the need for the iPhone SE. And

01:09:48   And I don't think that means anything beyond maybe it will be 17 or maybe even if it's

01:09:53   they're really going good 20% of the mix of iPhones for this year. But still, I think

01:10:00   that's really interesting that they that that product has sold better than expected and

01:10:05   that they that they were kind of caught unaware of how many people wanted a smaller phone.

01:10:10   So here's the other part of it then, right? We have been expecting that this will be the

01:10:16   product that will remain for many years to replace the 5s. If the demand is this great,

01:10:21   may it encourage Apple to update this phone more frequently?

01:10:26   Tim Cynova Wouldn't surprise me. I still am imagining

01:10:30   this is on a two-year cycle, but who knows? I think one of the challenges everybody faces,

01:10:36   and this is another question that came up that I feel like Tim Cook didn't have a good

01:10:39   answer to on the analyst call, is sticker shock, is the idea that people are, especially

01:10:45   in countries like the US where we used to bury everything in a two-year

01:10:49   contract people are seeing the actual prices of phones now and is that going

01:10:53   to lengthen the amount of time between purchases of phones and so that's a

01:10:59   question like do you really need a new iPhone SE every year or is every other

01:11:03   year okay because the speed of the iPhone 6s and the features of the

01:11:08   iPhone 6s are going to be fine in a year. No, they won't be the same as the 7

01:11:12   but they're close enough that it'll be okay. We'll see. I mean, I think one of the great

01:11:18   things that the SE has going for it is that price, that it's got, you know, for $399,

01:11:23   you just get the phone and it's yours and that's free and clear. And that's a, you know,

01:11:29   Apple needs to, without contracts in those markets, the prices matter more and you can't

01:11:36   hide that you've been buying, "Oh, I didn't realize I've been buying a $700 phone every

01:11:40   two years, well yeah you have, it's been in your phone bill that whole time, but now it's

01:11:44   out right in your face and that can change buying behavior. So that may accumulate to

01:11:50   the success of a product like the SE2. I don't know.

01:11:54   I'll wait and see on this one. I mean, you know, we're never gonna get the numbers, but...

01:11:59   No, we're not. Well, they might throw out one of those, you know, "Unchartable Tidbits"

01:12:04   like they did with the saying that they sold a certain, you know, how many million four-inch

01:12:09   iPhones did they sell in the last year when they announced the SE. That was a, we don't

01:12:13   know, we don't know the time period exactly, you know, but they threw that out there. So

01:12:20   they may do that again at some point with the SE to say, you know, it's actually been

01:12:23   a very successful product. It's made up, they might even say it's made up 15% of our mix

01:12:28   or 20% of our mix and, and that's all we'll ever hear about it, but they might, it's possible

01:12:33   that they'll do that at some point. The other thing I wanted to mention is services just

01:12:38   because I thought that was the another interesting thing that came up in the

01:12:40   call is you know the last quarter they did the whole appendix and I think we

01:12:46   talked about it here about how like hey everybody look how much money we make on

01:12:49   services and I think the service line actually surpassed was the only product

01:12:55   line that grew this quarter and I think services revenue like met or eclipsed

01:13:02   Mac revenue and this is you know it's App Store and Apple music and stuff like

01:13:08   that. Oh, they also said that their music sales have been falling, which they've never

01:13:12   talked about before, but they talked about it in the context of Apple Music halting the

01:13:15   fall of Apple's music revenue, which I thought was interesting. Never talk about the bad

01:13:20   news, only talk about when the bad news is over. Apparently.

01:13:25   Why would Apple Music stop the fall of music sales?

01:13:30   Well, it's music revenue.

01:13:34   revenue. Okay. So they're encapsulating the subscription inside of that as well.

01:13:40   At least for the purposes of this conversation where they basically said that their music

01:13:43   revenue was going down and now it's reached what they called an inflection point so it's

01:13:48   probably still down but has stopped its fall and they anticipate that it will go back up

01:13:52   because Apple Music subscriptions are now offsetting the loss in iTunes sales.

01:13:58   You know, like the services thing is where they have to go next, right? It's like you

01:14:03   potentially, you know, with a bunch of caveats, Apple have sold iPhones to the maximum amount

01:14:09   of people that want to buy them, right? That's kind of what the numbers would suggest, right?

01:14:13   If the growth on the iPhone is stopping, then everybody that wants one within reason has

01:14:18   got one. So now how do you make more money out of those people? I think that's the next

01:14:23   question that they're looking to answer. Apple Music is one of them. Apple Video might be

01:14:28   another one, you know, and they're gonna be maybe more stuff with the App Store, and then

01:14:33   you can carry on from there because you have these money-making machines in people's hands,

01:14:39   how do you squeeze the money out of them?

01:14:41   Yeah, I mean, Apple would say that they still have room for growth, that they're seeing

01:14:45   record numbers of Android switchers, and that there are markets that they are growing in

01:14:49   that they have, that they, like India, where they have not been in before and that they

01:14:53   feel like they can make an impact, and there's some skepticism among people who know that

01:14:56   market about that but it's a yeah it the thing that I'll am intrigued by about

01:15:04   this whole services thing is when they brought this up last time I really felt

01:15:09   like it gave me the the heebie-jeebies a little bit made me a little concerned

01:15:16   that what Apple was saying is we're going to nickel and dime you that we're

01:15:21   gonna we're going to scrape even more money out of all of our existing

01:15:24   customers and find ways to do growth there because that's all we can do now

01:15:28   to find growth. We need to find growth somewhere we're desperate for it.

01:15:31   iPhone sales are slacking off in terms of growth and so the only way

01:15:36   we're going to grow is to just pull more money out of every single iPhone user

01:15:39   and that leads to a bad place potentially right that leads to a place

01:15:42   where you know what they're selling you is kind of an empty box and then you get

01:15:47   it open and it starts asking you buy this buy this buy this other feature you

01:15:50   know, in-app purchases for OS features or whatever, right? And that really reduces

01:15:55   the user experience. That makes it... you know, Apple's supposed to be this

01:15:58   maker of a premium product, you should be paying for the product and get a good

01:16:02   product. And then if there are additional services you want that should sort of

01:16:05   like that you should naturally flow into them and not have them throw up a big

01:16:08   barrier that says, you know, "Nope, you really need to pay for this thing even

01:16:12   though you thought that you should get that for free." And somebody... I've been

01:16:17   thinking this all along but somebody else called them on it. Steve Milanovic of UBS

01:16:24   asked on the phone call, "Is it a driver of earnings or is it more about creating ecosystems

01:16:30   to support the hardware?" And that was a question I had, so thank you to Steve Milanovic for

01:16:37   asking it. And Tim Cook's response was, "The most important thing is the customer experience.

01:16:43   Overwhelmingly, the thing that drives us is to embark on services that help become part

01:16:50   of the ecosystem, and that in doing so we've created a profitable business that grows,

01:16:54   so we wanted to call it out. And I felt like that was exactly the response I wanted to

01:17:00   hear, because what it was is Cook saying, "Look, no, what we're not saying is that we're

01:17:05   going to keep cranking up services revenue by nickel and diming our customers. We haven't

01:17:09   changed our philosophy there. We made this a big deal because it's growing a

01:17:14   lot and we want to show that off, but we're not expressing a

01:17:19   shift in strategy to try to squeeze more money out of our existing user base. Now

01:17:25   you know, maybe they will anyway, but he said the right thing and I'm taking some

01:17:30   encouragement from that because I was a little worried that this is one of those

01:17:32   cases where, well, if Apple really is trying to drive growth, would they

01:17:36   compromise here? Would they compromise and start making the products worse essentially

01:17:41   unless you pay? Well I mean you know there's some grumbling in the chat room over this

01:17:46   and I see it like if you're not an Apple music subscriber the music app really tries

01:17:51   to make you win. Yeah I know it keeps it keeps putting it right in your face it is it's

01:17:55   really annoying. And you know what that is? That's big company mentality you know it's

01:17:59   like the the person who's got the target and they decide to keep prompting you about

01:18:04   it. I mean that's why look I'm not worried I'm not running for the hills but hearing

01:18:08   things like that and seeing things like this this is how these things tend to roll right

01:18:15   like company needs growth company decides that they have service companies to sell service

01:18:21   so they keep hijacking parts of their software to show service to you.

01:18:27   Yeah I I mean I wouldn't have been as concerned as I was when that appendix came out if I

01:18:34   weren't already kind of mad about the fact that they have the free 5GB for one account

01:18:39   iCloud storage thing that they haven't changed that I think is a huge usability problem.

01:18:45   I hear from lots of regular people who say, "Oh, I'm getting this iCloud--something's

01:18:50   wrong with my phone, I'm getting this iCloud error, what should I do? It's telling me to

01:18:53   pay." And it's like, they feel like they're being held hostage by their iPhone unless

01:18:56   they pay Apple. Like, for basic backup, that should probably--Apple should probably change

01:19:03   the way that works so that you know the average user can get by with a backup of

01:19:11   their most important stuff without paying and then open up to like look at

01:19:15   all the things you can do by paying for more space and they you know and they

01:19:21   haven't they haven't gotten that together families can't share their

01:19:24   iCloud storage space which is a problem too because I am actually paying for

01:19:29   more iCloud storage space, but my wife's phone still tells her that she needs to

01:19:34   pay for more backup, and I'm not going to pay Apple again for storage space that I

01:19:38   already have, right? So she just gets those errors and I try to manage her

01:19:41   backups or back her up to a computer. And so yeah, these things all erode the user

01:19:46   experience, so I was glad to hear Tim Cook say that, because at the very least

01:19:50   that implies that they're not admitting that they're doing this, or that maybe

01:19:54   they are going to not push as hard into it as they could. But it doesn't mean

01:19:58   that this isn't going to be an ongoing problem which is shiny shiny service

01:20:02   revenue looks really good

01:20:04   how do we make more of that and the answer is we get in the way of everybody

01:20:07   who uses the music app on their iPhone and try to sell them Apple music and we

01:20:11   get you know and we we throw up an emergency scary dialog box about failed

01:20:16   storage that failed amounts of failed backup because of not having enough

01:20:22   storage as a way to upsell them on iCloud storage space

01:20:25   that's not you know that's not good user experience which is what Apple should be

01:20:31   focused on. I don't I don't I have no problem with Apple charging for services

01:20:37   right I mean I think that's only right and fair but it's a tough line when

01:20:42   you're selling that a premium bit of hardware that is a tough place to draw a

01:20:46   line of what is enough and what you know when are you nickel-and-diming somebody

01:20:52   or when are you giving them a generous amount for their big purchase and then offering additional

01:20:58   add-on services and in some cases they are not drawing the line in the right place and

01:21:02   that's my concern.

01:21:03   Yeah, like how far away is the Apple Music ad from Kindle with special authors?

01:21:08   Well yeah, absolutely. Yeah, that's, well that's, it's funny that it's come back to

01:21:14   that but it's the same thing, right? For a premium product, certain kinds of requests

01:21:18   seem inappropriate and lead to a bad user experience.

01:21:23   And I would say, yeah, in terms of the Kindle Oasis,

01:21:25   paying $300 for an e-reader and opening the cover,

01:21:28   your leather cover of your super thin, fancy e-reader

01:21:31   and seeing an ad that you have to swipe

01:21:33   every time you open the cover,

01:21:35   I think that's a user experience problem.

01:21:37   It's not whatever you're charging to turn that off.

01:21:41   It's like, don't do that.

01:21:43   Just raise your price and turn it off

01:21:45   because your product is not,

01:21:49   that's not appropriate for that kind of product.

01:21:52   And so, yeah, it's gonna be a challenge for Apple

01:21:54   because that service's revenue

01:21:55   is certainly tantalizing, right?

01:21:56   So we'll see where it goes.

01:21:58   But what I didn't hear Tim Cook say was,

01:22:02   "Oh, yeah, Steve, this is a new direction for us.

01:22:05   "We're very excited to increase revenue per user.

01:22:08   "We've got lots of great ideas of ways

01:22:10   "to get more money out of our existing user base.

01:22:12   "We really think that this is one of those assets

01:22:14   that we can monetize in order to really reignite the growth engine.

01:22:19   And so you can look forward in the forthcoming quarters to more announcements from Apple

01:22:23   about ways that we'll be able to charge our existing users for more of what they need

01:22:27   out of their iPhones.

01:22:28   But, on the flip side, he did say this is our first solution service.

01:22:33   You can look at that on whatever way you want to look at it.

01:22:35   Well, I think Apple offering more subscription services if they have value and if they don't

01:22:39   get in the way of the existing product is perfectly fine.

01:22:42   I think that's great.

01:22:43   But that's the trick. Yeah.

01:22:47   This is a brave new world. It is different.

01:22:50   It is different. And you know, you see Apple trying to figure out what's their

01:22:54   business now. Are we gonna do

01:22:56   cars? Are we gonna increase services revenue? How do we do all of

01:22:59   this? And that's,

01:22:59   again, that's why I thought that the numbers last week

01:23:03   were interesting, not just the questions of what grew and what didn't

01:23:07   grow,

01:23:08   but, and we didn't even talk about the iPad, which,

01:23:11   You know my my my joke about the iPad figures is I feel like they haven't hit rock bottom

01:23:16   But the iPad can now see the bottom so it'll you know it's still gonna hit bottom next quarter probably maybe but

01:23:24   Tim Cook was optimistic

01:23:27   Strangely optimistic as he always is about the iPad, but in this case what he said was

01:23:31   Next quarter will be the best year-over-year compare which is you know?

01:23:35   jargon, but of iPad

01:23:40   Revenue?

01:23:41   But that they would still be down on units

01:23:43   So I don't know what that means Myke other than to say that I guess what they are saying is that iPad year-over-year

01:23:50   Revenue decline will be in single digits, which will be the best in a couple of years and that

01:23:57   They'll they'll be down on

01:24:00   They'll be down on units, but not way down

01:24:03   So it's like the bleeding is stopping my imagination in that is that the iPad pros they make more money from

01:24:09   maybe if they also count the pencils and the keyboards in there too.

01:24:14   They might be making more money per unit on the iPad Pro, but it doesn't fill me

01:24:21   with a lot of optimism to think that we still haven't hit the bottom of this

01:24:26   product line. How many ways does he qualify that, right? It's like our best

01:24:31   year-over-year comparison in terms of revenue, and then meanwhile

01:24:36   elsewhere the guidance is yeah units will be down. So the fact that he's going that far and stretching

01:24:42   it that far tells me that the use is still not good you know otherwise you just say like I'm

01:24:48   bullish and it's going to be a great quarter like but he didn't say that. Yeah I mean I think I this

01:24:53   was his his corporate way of saying we you know we think we are seeing the bottom without saying it

01:25:02   it that way which is like this is good news but just as we said earlier that defining

01:25:09   the worst quarter based on growth maybe is not entirely accurate I think saying that

01:25:15   the iPad is turning it around when what they're talking about is the reducing the rate of

01:25:22   decline also is not really turning it around right it's slowing the descent. Turning it

01:25:28   around is increase, not slowing the bad stuff. Yeah, so like I said, I think it's still waiting

01:25:34   to hit bottom, but you might be able to see the bottom. Like, "Oh, what's that down there?"

01:25:38   Thump, right? They haven't thumped yet. They're just seeing like maybe there's some, a floor

01:25:44   down there that they're gonna hit. But, you know, Cook is really good at this, because

01:25:50   just as an aside, in a segment of the column out about mainland China, he did this incredible

01:25:56   bit of ledger domain where he's like, "Well, we're down 26%, but in mainland China, you

01:26:01   know, as opposed to the greater China region that we reported, we were only down 11%, and

01:26:05   if you take a constant currency base, it's actually only 7%, and if you really look at

01:26:09   sell-through, which is totally the most important thing that we do, it's really only down 5%,

01:26:13   and like in three sentences, he went from, he took 26 to 11 to 7 to 5, and then I don't

01:26:18   know where he goes from there, like, "But yeah, in terms of shiny happiness, we were

01:26:21   up so we're up." It's like, "Kill me now, just do it." He's very good at that but I

01:26:27   mean come on he's like that's how I mean that's why he's the CEO I suppose but

01:26:31   you take a 26% decline and you turn it into a 5% decline in a couple of steps

01:26:35   by redefining what what you're looking at. There was some of that this quarter

01:26:40   too. So yeah interesting times for Apple trying to decide what it wants to be and

01:26:44   where it goes from here while again still presiding over a machine that is

01:26:49   generating incredibly high revenue and profits, but not really knowing where they're going

01:26:57   next in terms of growth. It's going to be interesting to watch. And the usual suspects

01:27:02   will still freak out and say that Apple is falling apart and it's terrible and doom,

01:27:07   doom, doom. But it's also wrong to say everything's fine because, you know, they are at a crossroads

01:27:13   here. So it'll be interesting to see what happens next.

01:27:15   Let's finish up with some Ask Upgrade. Jason, who sponsors Ask Upgrade this week?

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01:29:37   - Rajiv would like to know,

01:29:41   what is the appeal of the addition

01:29:43   of a cell radio in the Apple Watch?

01:29:45   Wouldn't it be more cumbersome without an iPhone?

01:29:48   Jason?

01:29:49   - Yeah, we need to do a whole episode

01:29:52   about the Apple Watch today

01:29:54   and we've been putting it off,

01:29:55   so maybe next week we'll see.

01:29:57   But there are, you know,

01:29:59   I think it's inevitable

01:30:00   And I think the idea there is that the Apple Watch can count on getting data at all times,

01:30:04   even if it can't connect to your iPhone. So I think that's... if what you're thinking

01:30:08   is, "Why would I talk on the iPhone?" or "Talk on the watch and not the iPhone" or something

01:30:13   like that, I think that's a fair point. But I think the idea here is, if you have... let's

01:30:20   say you want to go for a run with your Apple Watch and you don't want to bring your iPhone

01:30:23   with you and you can listen to music streamed from the Apple Watch and it'll monitor your

01:30:27   heartbeat and it'll do all of those things which are great but what if you

01:30:32   get a call or what if you get a text right now that stuff is turned off

01:30:37   basically because unless you're near a known Wi-Fi network the Apple watch

01:30:40   can't help you if it's not near its paired iPhone so that's the

01:30:45   advantage is data the watch can get to the internet for data all the time and

01:30:49   that opens up a lot for apps and it allows you to be independent from the

01:30:53   iPhone it allows you to... it'll work better if it loses connection with the

01:31:01   iPhone which sometimes happens even if the iPhone is around it's got a fallback

01:31:04   in addition to Wi-Fi so I think there are lots of there are lots of reasons

01:31:09   why it makes it a little more of an independent device so I think yeah in

01:31:12   the long run the Apple watch absolutely needs access to a data network because

01:31:17   it makes it a more independent product which makes it more useful.

01:31:21   Paul would like to know where I store my watch bands. I just have them in my bedside table,

01:31:29   in a drawer in my bedside table. I don't have anything fancy. I don't have like a watch

01:31:33   band box or anything. I just have a drawer and the top drawer, they just go in there

01:31:37   and they stay nice and snug. I recently acquired, well I actually ordered this when it came

01:31:41   out, one of the royal blue nylon bands. So I have like the gold one which I just picked

01:31:48   up in a store because I wanted to grab it but I got the royal blue one and I really

01:31:52   like these nylon bands a lot a lot a lot they're very very comfortable and they're much more

01:31:56   comfortable for me than the sport bands so two thumbs up for those if you've been thinking

01:32:01   about them I now have my second one I think I'm up to like seven or something like that

01:32:05   now watch bands you might have a well we'll talk more about watch bands maybe next time

01:32:09   too I have a little basket on top of my armoire next to my bedside that is where the Apple

01:32:17   watch bands sit. Much fancier. I have a basket and an armoire. I just have a bedside table.

01:32:23   There's lots of junk in the basket. And Apple Watch bands. It's not an elegant solution

01:32:28   but it's a place for me to dump the Apple Watch bands when I'm not using them. Brian

01:32:32   wants to know, Jason I have no idea for this so I want to see if you can help me out. Alright.

01:32:36   I want to keep the battery healthy on my Mac but keep it plugged in most of the time. Is

01:32:41   there a way to run off the battery while still safely having it plugged in? So I'm assuming

01:32:46   that Brian has a MacBook or a MacBook Pro that he wants to just keep plugged in, maybe

01:32:52   he has it connected to a monitor or something. And the kind of the understood knowledge,

01:32:57   I think, over time is that's bad for the battery. So how can Brian kind of keep his battery

01:33:02   healthy?

01:33:03   Well, one of the secrets of your Mac battery is that the Mac battery, my understanding

01:33:08   is, actually does cycle a little bit when it's plugged in. Like, they will, the system

01:33:14   it will when it gets full it will actually stop charging I believe and let

01:33:20   it run down a little bit I know this is true for iPhones I think this is true

01:33:24   for max too and then it will run down a little bit and then it will charge back

01:33:28   up and the idea there is to not have it just be maxed out all the time but I

01:33:33   don't think there's any way for regular users to do that if they're right in if

01:33:37   there is a way so you know my recommendation is I have to say it just

01:33:40   kind of simple is run it unplugged a little bit just I know and like every so

01:33:46   often like not even not even every week necessarily but every so often run it

01:33:51   unplugged and let it run down and then you know I'm not a battery expert I'm

01:33:56   sure battery experts will write in I think Apple is aware of this is an issue

01:34:00   and tries to do some things behind the scenes but I don't think there's

01:34:04   something you can do to sort of like check a box and have the battery be used

01:34:09   while you still get your power cord engaged. I think you have to pull the plug.

01:34:15   And finally today, Gary asked that, on six colors, tea has been covered in the past and

01:34:20   in the magazine stuff. I know that you and Dan have gone through tea. So Gary wants to

01:34:24   know what my coffee ritual is, because I am a coffee drinker. So I tend now to have two

01:34:29   coffees a day. I've gone up from one coffee a day. My morning coffee, all of my coffee

01:34:34   Coffee is made of an Aeropress and there's a company in the UK called PACT Coffee and

01:34:42   they deliver coffee to me. So it's like if you've ever heard of Tonks, it's like that

01:34:48   but in the UK. And I like their coffee a lot, I get a bag from them every week and it's

01:34:52   ground for me to be used in the Aeropress. And in the morning I kind of wake up, I get

01:34:59   started with some work and then after checking Twitter and email and Slack and stuff like

01:35:04   that I go downstairs make my coffee in the morning and it makes me very happy. And then

01:35:10   you know I tend to have coffee with milk so I'll make coffee in the Aeropress and I'll

01:35:15   add some milk and then I will drink it from a big mug and then later on in the day usually

01:35:22   after lunch time I will make myself an iced coffee so I'll just basically the whole scenario

01:35:27   again with the Aeropress and some milk and I throw some ice in and some simple syrup

01:35:32   and that's my second coffee of the day. That's how I run.

01:35:35   Alright, that's good to know. I don't understand anything about it, because I don't drink coffee.

01:35:41   That's okay though. So I just make tea, and then I drink it.

01:35:46   And I like the coffee. You know.

01:35:49   You're a terrible Englishman. Yeah, and you're a terrible American, so…

01:35:54   Yeah, fair enough. High five! Woo hoo!

01:35:57   Okay, thank you so much for listening to this week's episode of Upgrade. If you'd like

01:36:02   to find our show notes head on over to relay.fm/upgrade/87.

01:36:08   Thanks again to our sponsors, the great people over at Squarespace, MailRoute and Pingdom.

01:36:13   If you'd like to find Jason online head on over to SixColors.com and he is @JSNELL on

01:36:20   Twitter.

01:36:21   I am @IMYKE.

01:36:25   Thanks again to Scott McNulty for joining us at the top of the show and most of all

01:36:28   thank you for listening.

01:36:29   Until next time, say goodbye Jason.

01:36:31   Cheerio!

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