157: Your Legacy Chooses You


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:08   Hello and welcome to Connected, episode 157.

00:00:12   It is brought to you this week by Eero, Ting, and Crimson Mesa.

00:00:16   My name is Stephen Hackett and I'm joined, as always, by my co-host, Federico Vittucci.

00:00:22   Hi Stephen.

00:00:24   Hey buddy.

00:00:25   How are you?

00:00:26   I'm good.

00:00:27   Uh, it's, it's just the two of us, just the two of us this week.

00:00:31   I know there's a, there's a sense of, uh, being grownups when Myke is not around.

00:00:38   I feel like, uh, I feel like I'm having an adult conversation instead of, you

00:00:42   know, just basically, I don't know what, what is that we do with Myke, but Myke is

00:00:46   not with us. We don't know where, we don't know where he will be coming back if he

00:00:51   will be coming back but that Steven doesn't doesn't have to stop you from

00:00:58   doing the follow-up no the follow-up train cannot come off the tracks no it

00:01:02   must it's barreling down on us and it's really good getting dark so you guys

00:01:09   spoke last week about the iPad that you bent I found that whole conversation

00:01:13   hysterical because I want to follow up on the investigation have you

00:01:21   investigated what happened. So I tried to investigate what happened and I couldn't

00:01:26   come up with any reasonable idea for exactly how the iPad bent but I saw

00:01:32   someone on Twitter today with actually a pretty good idea that maybe this person

00:01:37   asked me did you leave the iPad in the Sun and is it possible that the iPad got

00:01:42   hot and the aluminum bent because of a of a just a light pressure not even a

00:01:49   strong force. Now it is possible that I left the iPad in the sun but you know I

00:01:57   don't think the aluminum would bend if I don't see at least the error message

00:02:04   with the you know on iOS that tells you that the your device is overheating I'm

00:02:09   not sure that that temperature you know if I don't see the message can the

00:02:13   aluminum really bent. So I'm doing some googling about the softening and melting points

00:02:21   of aluminum. The softening point seems to be like as low as 100 degrees Celsius.

00:02:27   I'm definitely not at a beach with 100 degrees Celsius.

00:02:31   No, you'd be dead or you'd want to be dead. So I don't think it's that. But iPads

00:02:37   not made out of butter. They don't slowly become softer as they warm up. But yeah, so

00:02:44   I don't have any real thoughts. I'm sure it was in a bag and just got squished. It

00:02:48   happens. But you went to the Genius Bar and I know they all know you there. I know that

00:02:51   they roll out the red carpet and they hand you an espresso.

00:02:54   They really don't. I wish they did, but they really, unfortunately they don't. So

00:02:59   yeah, I went to the Genius Bar and I take out my iPad. Actually, first I go to the guy

00:03:05   guy and I say, I have a problem with my iPad Pro. I made a reservation. It's like, yeah,

00:03:09   sure. What is the problem? So basically I just pulled the iPad from my bag and I showed

00:03:16   to the guy, I was like, this is the problem. And he was like, huh, how did that happen?

00:03:22   It was like, well, I have no idea actually. So Apple covered that under, thankfully I

00:03:31   AppleCare+ for my iPad. Yes. So instead of, and this is, I should say this is the

00:03:37   first time in eight, nine years that I'm buying Apple mobile devices that I ever

00:03:43   did AppleCare. I decided to do AppleCare+ because it felt like for a

00:03:48   thousand plus euro device it felt like a good choice. So I don't think I've ever

00:03:55   done it on an iPad. Yeah. But I do on the phone, I do the AppleCare+ on the phone

00:03:59   phone. Because as we've talked about at length, I carry my phone without a case. And sometimes

00:04:04   it comes in handy to have AppleCare+. Yeah, and so instead of paying, the guy did the

00:04:10   calculation, instead of paying 550 euros, I only had to pay 49, which was pretty nice.

00:04:18   Which is less. Which is less. If the math is hard, it is

00:04:21   less money. And last week I was telling Myke about these

00:04:26   AppleCare costs. And then I was left waiting for a… the guy told me you've got to wait

00:04:35   for five to six days. I was like, "Okay, sure I can use my bent iPad. I can go to the

00:04:40   beach with a bent iPad. It's fine." But then the following day I get an email from

00:04:45   Apple, "Your iPad is ready for pickup at the Apple Store." So I was really…

00:04:49   I bet it was. I saw that email address. So we better take care of this guy.

00:04:53   I don't know. I don't think that's the case. Probably just luck. You know, who's buying

00:04:58   iPad Pro, iPad Pros in August in Rome? Come on. Everybody's at the beach.

00:05:03   Just you.

00:05:04   Just me buying an iPad, getting an iPad Pro. So yeah, the following day I go to the Apple

00:05:08   store. Sure enough there's a cardboard box with an iPad Pro inside. And we make the exchange

00:05:17   and the first thing I notice is that I'm trying to turn on the new iPad Pro and it's stuck

00:05:21   at the Apple logo. I was like, oh man, this is a bad sign. So I had to do a force reset,

00:05:29   like a forced reboot, and then it worked well. I wonder why he was stuck on the Apple logo,

00:05:35   maybe some installation gone wrong. And actually I wanted to ask you, do you know if these

00:05:40   iPads that Apple gives you, these replacement units, are they actually new devices or are

00:05:45   they like refurbished devices?

00:05:48   That's a good question. I mean, my experience at Apple Retail so long ago is basically irrelevant.

00:05:55   But my understanding is that they are "like new," so they have new batteries and new enclosures,

00:06:02   but the logic board or the screen may have come out of something they refurbished. So

00:06:09   I don't think it's new, but I think it is "like new," where effectively there's no difference.

00:06:15   Okay. But again, that could be, if you're out there and you're listening and you're

00:06:19   yelling at me for getting that wrong, send us an email. We'll correct it next week.

00:06:23   Send an email to Stephen, yes. So the new one comes with some variant of iOS 10, I'm

00:06:28   sure. Did you put 11 on it right out of the box?

00:06:30   Right out of the box I went back home because thankfully I was still in Rome. I was in Rome

00:06:35   for a couple of days last week. So I went home and I downloaded iOS 11. And yeah, it's

00:06:43   fine I had to do a restore from backup which I usually do not perform because it tends

00:06:49   to be so slow but you know I have a fiber connection not as good as mics connection

00:06:53   but it's still manageable so I did a restore I had to put in a bunch of passwords again

00:06:58   but overall I was you know back up and running in I would say three to four hours the iPad

00:07:03   was normal again yeah yeah good I'm glad it worked out so quickly you know that delay

00:07:09   is kind of annoying but they just can't keep everything in stock right so they have to

00:07:12   order you in a service part but um well good I'm glad you're sorted I'm glad that this

00:07:18   one is not bent and you know don't dump in this one. Yeah I'm being super super careful

00:07:26   with what I do with this iPad. Now it's in your head right? I'm constantly looking at

00:07:32   the profile of the device and like is it slightly bent now? Am I bending the iPad? I did that

00:07:38   with my 6 Plus, because people remember that some of those phones, I won't say they're

00:07:43   prone to bending, but you could bend them. And yeah, sometimes I get in my head, like

00:07:48   I pick it up and like, oh no, I've bent it. And then I put it on like a glass top table

00:07:52   and like see if it wiggled any, you know, I'm sure anyone watching me thought I would

00:07:55   have just lost my mind. But once it's like in your head, right, that it's like, oh, this

00:07:59   feels bent, then you have to like prove to yourself that it's not. It's really upsetting.

00:08:03   Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, now it's in my head and I'm looking at it all the time, but it seems

00:08:08   to be fine. So I was really happy.

00:08:11   It's impressive really. You don't know your own strength Federico. That's what it is.

00:08:17   I don't know man. I don't know.

00:08:20   So we had a bunch of people send us an email about this TechCrunch article.

00:08:25   If this is our legacy I'm happy with it.

00:08:30   You know it's not what I, you know, you don't always get decided what your legacy is going

00:08:34   to be, right? Sometimes your legacy chooses you and ours is wall to wall comprehensive

00:08:41   blah blah car coverage. So what is this story? Do you want to break this down?

00:08:45   So you know how in Google Maps, in the iPhone app, you can integrate with a bunch of what

00:08:52   do they call it? Ride sharing services, stuff like Uber and MyTaxi, you know, that stuff.

00:08:58   Yeah, Lyft.

00:08:59   Yeah, when you search for an address, you get the usual walking and car transit options,

00:09:06   but then you also get these integrations with these services. And if you don't want to use

00:09:09   your own transportation methods, you can hook up your account and get a fair estimation

00:09:14   in the app, and then you can request an Uber or Lyft directly from Google Maps. Well, now

00:09:20   it seems that there's a blah, blah, blah car integration in Google Maps. So if you want

00:09:25   to ride long distance and of course you don't want to spend like a thousand euros with Uber.

00:09:32   You can see if there's anybody who's traveling there with BlaBlaCar which is the awesome

00:09:38   service. Also possibly sketchy, I don't want anybody to get killed by a stranger in a car

00:09:44   but you know it seems to be quite popular in Europe and especially in France and Italy.

00:09:48   So if you want to ride with someone who's going to the same place where you're supposed

00:09:52   to be going, now you can see the estimated cost and the timeline, the schedule of someone

00:10:02   else sharing a ride with BlaBlaCard directly in Google Maps.

00:10:06   Which, I mean, if you trust and use BlaBlaCard, I should say, a couple of my friends swear

00:10:11   by this service, they are super in love with it.

00:10:14   So if you're into the idea of doing a BlaBlaCard ride, and if you can survive it, maybe you

00:10:22   should test the Google Maps integration because it seems pretty cool.

00:10:26   It is nice. I have used the Lyft integration, or at least played with it, you know, you

00:10:31   kind of poke at it in iOS maps and like, I'm looking at this place, someone in a car taking

00:10:36   me here. It's nice you don't have to go out to another app. It's one of those integrations

00:10:40   that makes a lot of sense. So yeah, making moves, man.

00:10:44   These integrations in mapping applications like in Apple Maps and Google Maps are actually

00:10:49   quite nice. Maps on iOS, the Apple one, has also extensions for developers. So a couple

00:10:57   of times in the past I use, I don't know if you're familiar with the service that

00:11:01   is called TripAdvisor. It's like a...

00:11:03   Yeah, sure.

00:11:04   Yeah. So in Italy, I guess in Europe it's super popular because we don't really have

00:11:09   Yelp. So we use TripAdvisor all the time. And one sort of sister company to TripAdvisor

00:11:16   It's called the Fork and it lets you book,

00:11:18   it's like open table but for Italians basically

00:11:21   and Europeans I think.

00:11:22   And the Fork has an Apple Maps integration.

00:11:26   So when I'm looking up, usually restaurants

00:11:29   in popular cities like in Rome

00:11:31   or in very touristy type places

00:11:34   and they have the Fork integrations.

00:11:37   So I can go into Apple Maps

00:11:39   and make a reservation from there

00:11:41   and it takes care, you know,

00:11:42   you get this custom UI inside of Maps

00:11:45   And it's very similar to the integration system

00:11:47   that Google Maps has, but Apple has an actually

00:11:50   like a developer API, so anybody in theory

00:11:53   can work with Apple to make these extensions,

00:11:55   which is kind of neat.

00:11:56   - So many times like you have an address or something,

00:11:59   you gotta put it on your clipboard

00:12:01   and then paste it into one of these other apps

00:12:02   or try to remember it or like,

00:12:04   it's just way cleaner to have it all in one.

00:12:06   So I'm a big fan as well.

00:12:07   All right, Jamie wrote in about subscription fatigue.

00:12:11   So I'm gonna read a little bit of Jamie's email

00:12:14   and I really want to know what you think about this.

00:12:17   So this is riffing off something that Myke said,

00:12:19   I think a couple weeks ago,

00:12:21   that if you only use an application once or twice a year,

00:12:23   you may not necessarily want to pay for it

00:12:25   for a whole year of use via subscription.

00:12:27   So if I have this app, I use it once in the winter

00:12:31   and once in the summer, I don't want to pay for it

00:12:33   the other 10 months out of the year, for instance.

00:12:36   So Jamie suggests a approach for these companies

00:12:39   that would be like a smart subscription system,

00:12:41   is what they call it,

00:12:43   so that you would still pay a monthly fee,

00:12:44   but you only get charged if you use the app

00:12:48   during that period.

00:12:49   So if I use this app in January,

00:12:51   I pay January's subscription amount,

00:12:54   but if I do not use it in February, March, or April,

00:12:56   I don't get billed for those months.

00:12:58   I open it again in May and use it, I get billed for May.

00:13:01   And I think Jamie's thought is that you could gain

00:13:06   casual users, part of the deal with subscriptions,

00:13:08   we've talked about it.

00:13:10   If you have an app that goes subscription

00:13:12   and you kind of only use it every once in a while,

00:13:13   you may drop it and this would help keep those people along

00:13:18   without getting involved for the full yearly fee.

00:13:22   I was curious what you think about this.

00:13:25   - I mean, I think these argument make sense,

00:13:28   you know, if you don't wanna,

00:13:30   we talked about this, I think, in terms of

00:13:33   the subscriptions are gonna target different types

00:13:36   of customers and different types of audiences.

00:13:40   But I think the problem is how do you calculate,

00:13:42   how do you create a subscription service

00:13:45   that can make these kind of calculations for everybody?

00:13:49   So if you apply that to millions of people on the App Store,

00:13:52   how do you create a system that can basically build

00:13:57   a subscription dynamically and differently for everybody

00:14:03   based on their usage?

00:14:05   Because that idea seems super smart, you know,

00:14:07   like I'm paying a quote unquote subscription but only for the months that I'm actually

00:14:13   using the app but how can you, you know it seems to add like a whole bunch of other complications

00:14:20   to the system.

00:14:21   Right, like what does using it mean?

00:14:22   Exactly, exactly.

00:14:23   Like if I tap it once when I'm like moving folders around because in iOS 11 that's super

00:14:26   confusing, oh no I opened it and I'm going to get charged $3.99.

00:14:30   I agree with you that it's fuzzy right?

00:14:32   You need some sort of clear definition.

00:14:34   - Yeah, and so I don't know because on one hand

00:14:37   you got a pretty simple model.

00:14:38   Every month or every year you pay X and that's it.

00:14:41   Instead we would say, oh well it depends

00:14:44   on how much you use the app.

00:14:45   So what does use constitute exactly?

00:14:48   And then you gotta make an API for this

00:14:50   because you gotta tell developers,

00:14:51   well either the system decides what using means,

00:14:56   so if I wanna export my data from the app

00:14:59   because I'm done with it,

00:15:00   because I don't wanna use it anymore,

00:15:02   I want to take all my documents out of the app.

00:15:04   Does that mean I'm using the app?

00:15:06   So does the app need to have like a grace period model

00:15:10   built in?

00:15:11   It seems like it makes sense in practice.

00:15:15   It makes sense in theory, but in practice, I

00:15:17   would just say, just go look for something else.

00:15:20   Because the subscription is clearly

00:15:24   meant for a different type of user.

00:15:26   And I think the greatest thing that subscriptions

00:15:30   are doing right now is they're sort of splitting up the apps

00:15:33   into two type of professional applications.

00:15:39   The ones that follow the old model of pay once and pay

00:15:42   for upgrades or buy the new version,

00:15:44   and the new sort of trend of doing subscriptions.

00:15:49   And we can choose, right?

00:15:50   It's not like everybody is switching to subscriptions.

00:15:53   If you-- even using Ulysses as a recent example,

00:15:57   The folks at IE Writer or ScrewRunner, for example,

00:16:01   which are pretty similar apps,

00:16:03   they are not switching to subscriptions.

00:16:05   So the great thing right now is that we have choice.

00:16:08   And so because we have choice, instead of saying,

00:16:10   we should create the system that accounts for

00:16:14   how much a user actually uses the app

00:16:18   and then calculates the subscription accordingly,

00:16:21   instead I think it's just better maybe

00:16:23   to pick a different tool and use it.

00:16:27   - Yeah, so far, the couple apps that I have had moved

00:16:32   to a subscription are apps that I really used.

00:16:34   And so they, so far I've not been in the situation

00:16:37   where an app that I only use a couple of times a year

00:16:40   has done this, but I'm sure it's coming at some point.

00:16:43   But you know, like when day one went to their premium model,

00:16:46   I used day one multiple times a week.

00:16:49   And I was happy to pay for it, and I did so like on day one.

00:16:52   For me, I don't use Ulysses, and so, you know,

00:16:56   that one kind of just went by me

00:16:58   'cause I didn't use it before.

00:17:00   I do like that if I want to use it,

00:17:01   now there's more options with their trial stuff

00:17:04   they've built in.

00:17:05   But if I have the need for it,

00:17:07   then I'll visit in the future.

00:17:08   But I think there are a lot of people

00:17:09   who are coming up against apps that fit

00:17:13   into what Jamie's talking about.

00:17:14   I think it's an interesting approach,

00:17:15   but I think I agree with you

00:17:16   that it's not quite the right answer.

00:17:18   But it's interesting to think about.

00:17:22   Because there are sort of all these,

00:17:24   anytime there's a change in the app store,

00:17:26   there's always pros and cons, right?

00:17:27   It's such a complex system with so many apps

00:17:31   and so many users that there is no one size fits all

00:17:34   in anything, and anytime something changes or is updated

00:17:37   or works differently, you always have to approach it

00:17:41   in a new light, both as a developer, but as a user as well.

00:17:45   - I have to wonder if this problem with subscriptions

00:17:50   is mostly a result of the fact that some of the established

00:17:55   developers in the industry right now are folks that used to be around before. Like they're

00:18:02   relatively old companies. They

00:18:04   have a vested interest in keeping the old model around.

00:18:09   So I wonder if the new generations of developers like the kid that is now

00:18:13   16 or 17 and wants to, it's her dream to start a company in three years. Is she gonna do

00:18:22   You know a paid upfront app or are the new generations more inclined to consider these new models whether they are

00:18:30   subscriptions or in-app purchases or you know new stuff because the popular apps that we use, you know, the OmniFocus and Ulysses and

00:18:37   Scrivener these are all folks that have been around for a long time and

00:18:42   Maybe some of them and this is not an accusation, but it's just a natural evolution of things

00:18:47   They don't have the mindset to try new stuff because they are structured in a specific

00:18:53   way as a company or because they just don't understand that change is scary for everybody.

00:19:00   But some people are more inclined to change and to experiment. And usually those people

00:19:04   are young people. So I wonder if the apps are five years from now, 10 years from now,

00:19:11   where someone who's a kid in college today will create a development studio in the future,

00:19:19   will they stick with the old model or will they change to the new ones? That is fascinating

00:19:24   for me to think about.

00:19:25   Yeah, I think kind of along those same lines, I wonder if this would have been different

00:19:32   had subscriptions been introduced five years ago.

00:19:34   Exactly. Yeah.

00:19:35   Paid up front was still very much the business model and we are also used now

00:19:40   to free with in-app purchase or free with ads that introducing this new paid

00:19:48   mechanism feels a little late and obviously there's no way to know but I

00:19:54   think about that a lot of like what would have this been like had been

00:19:57   available earlier in the store and it may have been a more natural stepping

00:20:02   stone over to this if we were all still used to paying for apps up front and

00:20:06   said that oh hey it's great now you can pay less just on a monthly basis or a

00:20:10   yearly basis or whatever and you know it's not a big deal but because we were

00:20:15   so used to free apps now that there's some backlash of of users who don't who

00:20:21   have been used to not paying for apps and now you know they're they're faced

00:20:25   with paying something on a regular basis I don't know it's just interesting you

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00:22:42   their support of this show and Relay FM. So we were falsely accused, Federico,

00:22:49   - Mm, by who? - As a show.

00:22:51   Somebody on Twitter, I don't remember.

00:22:55   Blaming us for killing Crash Plan.

00:22:58   - Didn't we?

00:22:59   - And I was like, no, we haven't talked about Crash Plan.

00:23:01   I even looked through the notes.

00:23:03   I was like, did we mention it recently?

00:23:04   And then the prompt curse killed it, no.

00:23:07   This is not our fault. - Okay.

00:23:09   - But the news is Crash Plan, which is a backup service

00:23:12   for your Mac or PC, they have exited, exited,

00:23:18   the consumer space.

00:23:20   So it used to be you go to this crash plan,

00:23:23   you pay whatever it was, five bucks a month,

00:23:25   and you can back up your Mac.

00:23:26   And they are moving out of that business

00:23:29   and just doing small business, basically.

00:23:33   Now we should say Backblaze has been a sponsor

00:23:35   of Connected and a bunch of Relay FM shows,

00:23:38   but I used Backblaze before then.

00:23:40   I've used Backblaze for a long time.

00:23:42   But just to get that off the table, they are a sponsor.

00:23:45   So I don't necessarily talk about the crash plan thing

00:23:48   all that much.

00:23:48   It's clearly that it's not working for them.

00:23:52   You can migrate from a personal account

00:23:53   to a small business account.

00:23:55   There's some incentives if you do that.

00:23:57   They reckon people use Carbonite.

00:23:59   I think all of us would say Backblaze is a better choice.

00:24:02   But it got me thinking again about Time Machine and iCloud.

00:24:08   So Time Machine backup is great, but the problem

00:24:10   is that your hard drive-- like for instance, on my iMac

00:24:13   here on my desk, my time machine drive is under the desk.

00:24:16   And so if my studio burns to the ground,

00:24:19   A, a lot of old Macs would be killed,

00:24:20   but two, my data, just on my iMac and the time machine drive

00:24:24   would go away.

00:24:25   And what Backblaze does, or Crash Plan,

00:24:26   or these other services, is they get your data offsite.

00:24:31   And I can talk about backups all day.

00:24:34   It's a very exciting topic, mostly in Federico.

00:24:36   - I had no idea, really, can you?

00:24:39   - Yeah, I know, right?

00:24:40   Yeah, huh, weird.

00:24:42   But it got me thinking, what would it take for iCloud to offer Time Machine backup to

00:24:49   the cloud?

00:24:50   So I looked up some pricing, because the iCloud pricing seems to change every nine months

00:24:54   or so.

00:24:55   Right now, if you're in the US, you can buy two terabytes of iCloud data for basically

00:25:02   ten bucks a month.

00:25:04   And all around the world, two terabytes is the max.

00:25:07   So that is more a month than something like Backblaze, which is five dollars a month for

00:25:11   for unlimited backup, but it's a reasonable amount

00:25:16   for that data, and for most people,

00:25:20   you know, if I had this two terabyte plan,

00:25:22   if I could go into the iCloud settings,

00:25:25   hey, I'm gonna use a terabyte for time machine backup,

00:25:30   just carve out a terabyte for time machine backup,

00:25:33   and let the other terabyte be used for iCloud photo library

00:25:36   and whatever else I have in iCloud.

00:25:38   And that seems not unreasonable to me at this point,

00:25:41   that they could do something like this.

00:25:45   I think it'd be nice.

00:25:46   - Yeah, and especially when you compare iOS devices and Macs,

00:25:51   even if I don't personally use iCalc backup and restore

00:25:56   every time, it's just so easy when you need it.

00:25:59   And it surprises me that the Mac

00:26:01   doesn't have a feature like this.

00:26:03   And quite possibly, I mean, the fact that Macs can,

00:26:07   They tend to ship with more built-in storage than iOS devices.

00:26:11   Probably that was a problem in the past.

00:26:14   But Apple seems to be open to the idea of extending the storage of iCloud Drive.

00:26:18   And especially now that they're also going to do family sharing in iOS 11,

00:26:24   you can share your space with other members in your family.

00:26:26   I'm surprised that the Mac still doesn't have any deeper iCloud integration when

00:26:31   it comes to setup and backup.

00:26:33   It is surprising.

00:26:35   So I've been setting up my High Sierra Drive over and over.

00:26:39   Like you, I'm in the depths of a review.

00:26:41   And if you sign into iCloud on a blank Mac,

00:26:44   it pulls down a bunch of settings.

00:26:46   You have all your contacts and calendars like you normally do.

00:26:48   But it pulls down account settings.

00:26:50   So it knew about all three of my email addresses.

00:26:52   And it knows about these other logins and stuff.

00:26:57   But it's not nearly as comprehensive

00:27:00   as a time machine restore would be, of course,

00:27:03   or an iCloud restore on iOS.

00:27:05   And we're at the point where I think most nerds know

00:27:09   about Time Machine.

00:27:10   It's been around since 10.5.

00:27:11   It's been a really long time.

00:27:12   But it still requires you go buy an external hard drive

00:27:16   and plug it in, right?

00:27:18   Or-- and most people have notebooks,

00:27:20   so you've got to remember, like, oh, it's on my desk

00:27:21   when I charge my laptop.

00:27:22   I need to plug in the drive.

00:27:23   I know I need to buy a dongle.

00:27:24   And I think a lot of people can go longer

00:27:29   than they think they do between backups.

00:27:30   and then you're at risk for data loss.

00:27:33   And something like CrashPlan or Backblaze takes care of that.

00:27:38   A lot of things would have to go wrong for me to go get my data off Backblaze.

00:27:41   It's not my first backup, but it is my safety net.

00:27:44   If my office disappears, then I can go get my data from Backblaze.

00:27:51   And I think people would be more willing to do something like this

00:27:56   if it's built in with iCloud system settings, because it's just built in.

00:28:00   They trust it, they don't have to go find something else.

00:28:02   They already know and trust Apple and the iCloud brand.

00:28:06   And it just seems like an opportunity for Apple

00:28:08   to maybe make a move here at some point.

00:28:12   And Dan Morin, I wrote this thing over at Macworld.

00:28:14   This is one of those deals where I was preparing

00:28:16   for the show and then somebody we know wrote basically

00:28:19   exactly what I was gonna say.

00:28:20   So go read Dan's article.

00:28:23   It's very much in line with this.

00:28:25   But I think it would be nice to have another option

00:28:28   for Mac users.

00:28:29   said that iCloud backup is so good on iOS and time machine is really good but again

00:28:35   you got to go you got to go buy a hard drive and not everyone's gonna do that.

00:28:38   mm-hmm yeah. Crash plan. It's time for backup plays. It's uh it's the way to go.

00:28:45   This week Apple introduced app development in Swift. This is a new

00:28:50   community college curriculum built around the Swift programming language.

00:28:55   So Tim Cook has been doing this like great American tour.

00:28:59   He's spoken at some factories.

00:29:02   He was in Austin, Texas where Apple actually has a really big corporate presence in Austin.

00:29:08   He was speaking at the Austin Community College District, which is apparently a 74,000 student

00:29:17   community college or group of community colleges and more or less this is a course on Swift.

00:29:29   This is a quote from Tim Cook.

00:29:30   We've seen first hand how Apple's app ecosystem has transformed the global economy creating

00:29:35   new industries and supporting millions of jobs.

00:29:39   We believe passionately that the same opportunity should be extended to everyone and community

00:29:42   colleges have a powerful reach into communities where education becomes the great equalizer.

00:29:47   feels good. Yeah. It feels nice. Yeah. They've been talking about this, you know, extending

00:29:53   Swift with this type of course. So I think it's, you know, I wonder if we'll ever see

00:29:58   this kind of initiative from Apple outside of the US, but still, I mean, in Italy they

00:30:03   do have the sort of the, what's it called? Not the Apple university, like the app accelerator.

00:30:11   Like the it's like, yeah, you get like a college degree or something and to become an app developer,

00:30:16   it's in Naples and it's structured like a university degree, I think. So that's great.

00:30:25   There's one in India too, I think, now.

00:30:27   Yeah, there's one in India, I think. But it would be great to have this kind of curriculum

00:30:32   in the community colleges as well. So it's great that they've started doing this in the

00:30:37   US. I think it's definitely, you know, it's one of the things that sort of distinguishes

00:30:45   Tim Cook's Apple from what the company was before, especially now that they have their

00:30:50   own programming language. And you can see a certain amount of pride every time Apple

00:30:55   talks about this stuff, whether it's like Swift Playgrounds and what they're doing with,

00:31:00   you know, extending playgrounds to, for example, now kids can, you know, run custom code on

00:31:06   like Bluetooth toys and small drones even. So that's awesome. And you can see how they,

00:31:12   As a company they are proud to ship this kind of software and to create these opportunities

00:31:18   for kids and students.

00:31:21   So I'm really happy to see that they're continuing to do this stuff.

00:31:25   Yeah, and so this is on the iBook store, which we can get to, but this is available, I'd

00:31:33   say it's going to be offered at more than 30 community colleges across the US in the

00:31:36   2017-2018 school year.

00:31:39   you would imagine that this would grow. And this is separate from things like Swift Playgrounds

00:31:46   on the iPad, but they are slowly building all of this stuff together. And I think it is interesting

00:31:52   that they are using their programming language as a means for civil good, if you can say that.

00:31:58   There's a quote in this press release from the Austin mayor talking about lifting people out

00:32:03   of poverty and into good jobs. I think you're right that Apple leverages Swift for much

00:32:10   more than "just" a programming language.

00:32:14   Yeah, I think you're right. They're sort of using this as -- I think Swift in this regard

00:32:23   is sort of the continuation of -- you know, Apple always said that education is really

00:32:29   important for the company and I think

00:32:31   Swift is now a representation of that.

00:32:33   So I want to talk a little bit about how

00:32:35   they're rolling it out. Like I said this

00:32:36   seems like it's in iBooks and this

00:32:41   comes, I mean they're unrelated stories

00:32:43   except I'm going to try to make them

00:32:45   related, and this comes after last week

00:32:48   Apple announced that in September

00:32:52   iTunes U collections will be

00:32:56   moving into Apple podcasts and that the courses will only be available through the iTunes

00:33:02   U app on iOS. So, I feel like it's always been one of those products that doesn't really

00:33:10   have a home. It kind of got glued into iTunes and they've had an iOS app. Do you remember

00:33:15   – I had a real flashback reading through this – do you remember the UI for iTunes

00:33:21   you at first it was the same bookcase as newsroom but like dark wood instead of light wood it

00:33:27   was like way to go guys good work. Do you mean newsstand? Yes yeah newsstand yeah. Yeah

00:33:35   because I think newsroom is their website for. That's very confusing. Yeah Apple names

00:33:41   man. Newsstand. So yeah I do remember the old iTunes U stuff and there were like some

00:33:47   elements that were like borrowed from iBooks even I think. Those old apps like iTunes U

00:33:55   and the first podcast app, you know with the tape reel and those were the days of iOS UI

00:34:03   design.

00:34:04   So many times.

00:34:05   So I wonder if this stuff of iTunes U collections moving into podcasts and the courses staying

00:34:16   a separate app. Do you think we'll eventually see iTunes U rename to Apple Education or

00:34:22   something as a sign of iTunes as a brand and as a product eventually going away?

00:34:29   Yeah, I mean the iTunes thing is a bigger conversation, but I do think that this is

00:34:34   a step towards dismantling iTunes U and at the same time building up Apple Podcasts,

00:34:40   which is something they have a lot of equity in right now and they're really pushing

00:34:44   on with iOS 11. I do think that the name clearly comes from an age that we're not in anymore.

00:34:51   And there's a lot of talk about iTunes needing to go away, and my money is that 2018 is the

00:34:58   year we see iTunes on the Mac get broken up. But either way, I think what's more interesting

00:35:04   is Apple's still invested in this technology and invested in leveraging these tools for

00:35:13   for, because iTunes U, we should back way up.

00:35:16   For people who aren't familiar with iTunes U,

00:35:18   it is a platform where teachers or even professors

00:35:23   can basically load in content for their classrooms, right?

00:35:28   And students can download them.

00:35:30   There's a bunch of free stuff through iTunes U,

00:35:33   so you can go like, you know, basically look through

00:35:35   the material for a class at Stanford or something,

00:35:37   you know, or whatever.

00:35:39   It still being a standalone iOS app gives me hope

00:35:41   Apple is still invested in this. But yeah, I think iTunes on the Mac, it doesn't bode

00:35:46   well for that software.

00:35:47   Yeah, yeah. I was reading through a bunch of tweets from Marco Aurment a few days ago

00:35:53   and I think what he was imagining made a lot of sense that it's not like Apple will, you

00:36:00   know, have a big ceremony and kill off iTunes very publicly. Instead, it'll probably, you

00:36:05   know, it'll be slowly dismantled and a bunch of functionalities will be rolled out into

00:36:10   other products and into separate apps. And eventually they'll just put iTunes in a legacy

00:36:16   like the utilities folder on the Mac. Because nobody's really, you know, most people are

00:36:22   streaming music or they are using Netflix and, you know, streaming stuff from iTunes

00:36:28   on their Apple TVs. Nobody's really syncing their iPhones and iPads and iPods anymore

00:36:35   with iTunes. And so there's still those folks that sync their music libraries. But maybe

00:36:40   that would be better served by a separate music app instead of having every single feature

00:36:47   into iTunes. So maybe eventually iTunes will go into a folder and if you really want to

00:36:51   use it you will be able to open it and to sync your devices manually but I wouldn't

00:36:55   be surprised if Apple's intention is not to have a big announcement about killing off

00:37:00   iTunes. Instead you see a feature going into podcasts, another feature going into the TV

00:37:07   app and eventually, you know, maybe a couple of years from now, well, iTunes will be not

00:37:12   forgotten but just put there aside and, you know, it's going to be sad for those who,

00:37:20   I mean, iTunes did a lot of good things back in the day, you know, it sort of democratized

00:37:24   the Apple ecosystem in the sense of you have an Apple device, well now you have a single

00:37:28   app to put anything you want in there. So that was awesome but I think it's, you know,

00:37:33   it's passed its time and it's probably time to move on.

00:37:36   I just find it all interesting, they're making moves on content but not using the channels

00:37:40   they may have done a year ago or two years ago.

00:37:43   Alright, so we have more to talk about, but first I want to tell you about our second

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00:39:19   A story made the rounds this week about a hardware Kickstarter project, which is usually

00:39:24   something I don't know if we would cover on the show because hardware and Kickstarter

00:39:29   have a mixed history.

00:39:32   - They are probably, usually they are probably worse

00:39:36   than video game Kickstarters.

00:39:38   (laughing)

00:39:39   There have been so many examples of accessories

00:39:43   never shipping or being super delayed

00:39:45   to the point where they come out and they are irrelevant

00:39:48   because the technology has moved on.

00:39:50   But this one comes from a company that a lot of people trust

00:39:54   they're called Astro HQ, they make AstroPad,

00:39:57   is an iPad application to turn the iPad screen into an external display for your Mac, which

00:40:04   a lot of people use. Astropad comes in two versions. One is, you know, we were talking

00:40:10   about this actually just a few minutes ago, the basic version as a paid-up-front traditional

00:40:16   model. The other one, I think it's called Astropad Studio, it uses a subscription model

00:40:21   for users that want more from the app. So that's an interesting way to go about it,

00:40:25   actually release two separate apps and two sort of aimed at two separate audiences.

00:40:31   But anyway, now the makers of AstroPad are making the Luna accessory, which is a little,

00:40:35   should I say, a little dongle that you put into your MacBook and that basically via some

00:40:42   magic, I don't know even how this works, but this little USB thingy, it uses the GPU

00:40:48   the metal APIs on macOS to accelerate the graphics on the iPad screen.

00:40:58   That means that the iPad, if you have a Luna plugged into your MacBook, the iPad now becomes

00:41:03   an external display for anything, not just graphics applications, but for anything that

00:41:09   you want to use your Mac for.

00:41:12   And it's got insane performance to the point of it feels like an actual external display

00:41:17   you know, like something that is being streamed over Wi-Fi.

00:41:20   I don't know how these folks do it,

00:41:22   but the general idea is that because of the GPU acceleration

00:41:27   and because of the Metal API, by going deeper

00:41:30   into the system stack of graphics technologies

00:41:34   on MacOS, they can have better performance

00:41:36   than similar apps that just rely on Wi-Fi.

00:41:39   And that because of that, they have a lot of latency,

00:41:41   they have a lot of lag.

00:41:42   And anybody who's tried this says it's the best iPad as an external display solution

00:41:48   I've ever tried.

00:41:50   So it seems pretty awesome.

00:41:52   Yeah, it really seems like, from the video and people's reactions, it seems like all

00:41:59   the lag and stuff you get over a Wi-Fi setting is gone.

00:42:04   You don't have to use a lightning cable or anything, just this little dongle.

00:42:08   In the video they even show someone on a couch sketching, I think, an Illustrator with the

00:42:11   Apple Pencil, like you don't even see the Mac, like it's just somewhere else, right?

00:42:15   And the iPad can take advantage of it.

00:42:19   It really seems like something Apple would never do, but so many people would like them

00:42:23   to do, because there are some, like, especially illustration apps that are only on Mac OS,

00:42:32   but I think Apple's response would be like, "Well, you should build them for the iPad."

00:42:37   That hasn't really happened with some of these, and it probably won't ever with something

00:42:40   like Adobe Illustrator, but if you do need a Mac app,

00:42:44   but want to use the pencil and the iPad Pro,

00:42:48   this does answer that question.

00:42:50   Like the Kickstarter is like super funded already.

00:42:53   They're at, is this recording like almost $345,000.

00:42:57   Clearly there's demand for this 4,200 backers,

00:43:00   which is way bigger demand than I thought there would be,

00:43:03   but it does seem like something I'm not sure it's for me,

00:43:08   'cause I really don't have an app on my Mac

00:43:10   that I want to use this way, but if you do, this seems like the best way to go about it.

00:43:15   Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple is looking at this idea from a slightly different

00:43:22   angle. And that is most of these companies, their pitch is use your iPad as an external

00:43:29   display. And that makes a lot of sense if you're that type of user that mostly works

00:43:34   on the Mac, but also as an iPad. And so when you're working on your Mac, you want to find

00:43:39   some utility for the iPad. Instead I would not be surprised if Apple is sort of seeing

00:43:46   this as if they were ever to do a similar feature. Something along the lines of "use

00:43:53   your iPad to control your Mac". Something like "transform the iPad Pro into a Wacom

00:44:00   tablet". You know, with the Apple Pencil and with the, you know, with apps on your iPad,

00:44:04   can now integrate them with similar apps or with companion apps on macOS. And so whereas

00:44:11   these companies, they try to... I don't want to say they demote the iPad as a dumb display,

00:44:19   but they let you use the iPad when you wouldn't probably use the iPad because you're at your

00:44:24   desk. Instead, I think if Apple were to do something like this, they would do, you know,

00:44:30   your iPad Pro and now you can use your iPad to control your Mac. See, does it make any

00:44:37   sense what I'm saying?

00:44:39   Yeah, yeah. I think it does. And I think that opens it up to more users than just people

00:44:46   who want to use Illustrator. It makes it more flexible.

00:44:49   Yeah, and again, this is all speculation. I don't actually know if Apple is planning

00:44:55   something like this. But it would make more sense to me because I cannot see Apple coming

00:45:00   out on stage and saying, "Well, if you hate your iPad, now you can use it as a dumb monitor

00:45:05   for your computer."

00:45:06   I mean, that kind of takes the wind out of the sails of iOS, right?

00:45:11   Pretty much.

00:45:12   Forget all this stuff.

00:45:13   Just everyone's Mac OS over the network.

00:45:16   Yeah, just buy a dongle, because we love to sell you dongles anyway.

00:45:21   They do love dongles.

00:45:22   So buy a dongle and use your iPad as a display.

00:45:24   That's it, we're done.

00:45:25   Pack it up and go home, iPad.

00:45:28   We fired all the iOS engineers. That would be... they're not doing that.

00:45:32   But still, still, if you want to use your iPad as an external display, this is probably

00:45:37   the way to go. And I mean, we all knew that Wi-Fi was a lossy solution to this problem.

00:45:44   So you know, whatever these guys did in terms of code, you know, the fact that they can

00:45:50   hook up with the, you know, with the metal APIs on macOS and the GPU, that seems crazy

00:45:56   to me. So it sounds also crazy awesome. And if I were, you know, that type of user, I

00:46:03   would be all over this. I would probably buy the 10 pack option, you know, just, just buy

00:46:08   a dongle for every occasion, you know? So yeah. So there's that. So best luck to those

00:46:12   guys that seems to be, uh, rocking and rolling. Yeah. So, so Frederick, it is the end of August

00:46:19   and the iPhone event, depending on what you read, could be just a couple of weeks away.

00:46:25   So today the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the iPhone event will take place on September

00:46:32   12th, which is a Tuesday, and it will take place in the Steve Jobs Theater, which of

00:46:37   course is built at Apple Park.

00:46:40   It has got an above-ground lobby, I guess, an entryway, and then the theater is underground.

00:46:47   We talked about it when they announced the name.

00:46:48   It's a perfect name.

00:46:49   So yeah, I was curious if you think, I mean this seems like the ideal thing to start holding

00:46:57   events at the C-Jobs Theater with, right? Having your iPhone, your biggest product,

00:47:01   introduced there seems like a great way to introduce it. What do you think?

00:47:04   Yeah, and I mean especially after 10 years of the, from the first iPhone, that would

00:47:09   be perfect. I think that would be the right way to look back tastefully, but also look

00:47:16   forward to what is coming to the iPhone's future. So I think that would be a perfect

00:47:20   combination honestly. September 12 as the date, personally I would be extremely relieved

00:47:29   if an event is in mid-September because that would mean that iOS 11 is not launching for

00:47:35   at least a week after the event, which would put the iOS 11 release date at least September

00:47:43   19th or September 20th. So that would be awesome for me because it means another 20 days of

00:47:47   editing my review and preparing all the little surprises and extras that we're working on.

00:47:54   And also I wonder if maybe pushing the release of the new iPhones by a week, you know, compared

00:48:01   to the previous two years, instead of returning to the pattern of the 2014 releases, I wonder

00:48:09   if it's a product of Apple is making a new phone and they needed slightly more time.

00:48:14   So they had to push the announcement and not in the first week of September but in the

00:48:19   second week with the iPhone launching in the third week of September. So that could be

00:48:22   a possible reason. But if the rumors are correct, we are in for quite the show because Apple

00:48:30   in theory is announcing three new iPhones but also 4K content on iTunes with a 4K Apple

00:48:37   TV launching in theory alongside 4K movies and TV shows on iTunes. And what else? Probably

00:48:44   another announcement/demo of the HomePod. Am I missing something else?

00:48:51   I mean, we'll see software, right? We'll see if we can have iOS 11 and High Sierra.

00:48:56   And of course the new Apple Watch, which according to the rumors has an LTE version this time.

00:49:01   So that would be quite a lot of stuff, you know? No iPads because they did the iPads

00:49:06   in June but still quite the show. There's a lot of stuff man. I think back about two

00:49:11   years ago they had the Apple TV 6s and 6s plus, the big iPad Pro, it was a big two hour

00:49:20   event and this would be on up there with that. I think it would be great to have it at the

00:49:27   theatre. We've talked about this before where they lump other products with the iPhone to

00:49:35   to share that stage with the iPhone, right?

00:49:37   'Cause that is their biggest, I mean, WBC is big,

00:49:40   but the world cares about the iPhone keynote, right?

00:49:44   People don't really pay attention to WBC as much.

00:49:48   But, so if you have all that attention,

00:49:51   why not do this other stuff

00:49:54   and have these other products ready to go?

00:49:57   And so many of them work together

00:49:59   where the Apple Watch and the phone go together.

00:50:01   And maybe there's something unique there

00:50:03   if you pair it with a new phone

00:50:05   or the Apple TV is sort of always floating,

00:50:08   so they have to stick it with something

00:50:10   to make it make sense?

00:50:12   - Well, this is something that I wonder about in my review,

00:50:17   and I don't remember if I also discuss this on the show,

00:50:22   but there's a section in my IOS 11 review

00:50:25   where I'm talking about the new image and video formats

00:50:29   coming with IOS 11, if and HEVC.

00:50:34   And I wonder if maybe, because Apple is supposedly

00:50:39   going to roll out 4K content, and of course,

00:50:41   traditional 4K content is huge in terms of file sizes.

00:50:46   So I wonder if maybe Apple was waiting for HEVC,

00:50:49   the high efficiency video codec, to roll out with iOS 11,

00:50:54   with tvOS, and with macOS High Sierra.

00:50:57   I wonder if for a 4K Apple TV to come out

00:51:01   and for 4K content to be available on iTunes.

00:51:05   If Apple wanted to have that piece of the ecosystem

00:51:09   in place first, to have HEVC available as a format on iOS

00:51:14   and all the other platforms, and to request all the movie and TV

00:51:22   show companies to release their 4K stuff in that format,

00:51:27   with that codec, which results in better compressions,

00:51:31   smaller file sizes, built-in support for HDR,

00:51:35   and all these other modern features of movie formats

00:51:39   on our devices.

00:51:41   So I do wonder if,

00:51:45   everybody's been saying Apple must do 4K,

00:51:47   and Apple must do 4K,

00:51:49   and Apple knows that they have to do 4K

00:51:50   if they don't wanna be left behind,

00:51:53   but before they can do that,

00:51:55   they wanted to have the underlying technology

00:51:58   done first with a better format.

00:52:00   - Yeah, it's interesting.

00:52:02   Anything they could do to bring those file sizes down

00:52:06   is good for them, but it's good for customers too, right?

00:52:09   If you hit play on the Apple TV

00:52:11   and you're downloading 4K HDR content.

00:52:14   You know, right now,

00:52:15   if you have a pretty decent internet connection,

00:52:16   you hit play on a rental and it just starts, right?

00:52:18   There's enough data coming in that it has plenty of time

00:52:22   to stream it all down locally

00:52:23   before even getting close to needing it.

00:52:27   And 4K is a lot more data, but with this new compression,

00:52:30   they may be able to help balance that out.

00:52:33   I think, the more I think about it,

00:52:35   the more I think you're right

00:52:36   that the 4K Apple TV is dependent on this.

00:52:39   It's also dependent on them having 4K content ready

00:52:43   in iTunes, like we spoke about a couple weeks ago,

00:52:45   having some way to upgrade your 1080 content to 4K.

00:52:48   There's a lot of moving parts there

00:52:50   and the iTunes movies and TV show, you know,

00:52:54   that is probably the most important part

00:52:57   of the iTunes ecosystem.

00:52:58   I think it's probably more important than the music store at this point.

00:53:01   And obviously it's front and center on the Apple TV. So you have to have that,

00:53:06   right? You can't launch a 4k Apple TV and not have 4k,

00:53:10   at least some 4k stuff in the iTunes store. That would just be, that'd be silly.

00:53:14   So there's a lot of moving parts there, but I think the more I think about it,

00:53:17   the more I think you're right that this is sort of all one lump sum.

00:53:21   And again, it's a big stage, so why not do it here if it's already. Yeah,

00:53:26   Exactly.

00:53:27   Yeah.

00:53:27   So we'll see.

00:53:28   Oh, how many days left?

00:53:31   Uh, two weeks at this point.

00:53:33   Yeah.

00:53:33   Just about.

00:53:34   And, and surely if, if this 4k Apple TV is real, we're going to see demos.

00:53:39   We're going to see Netflix or Hulu or somebody, uh, Amazon prime video, uh,

00:53:44   on stage and saying, Hey, we're ready for this on day one, because that's important.

00:53:49   I write that if you, if you have this TV, that's 4k and you have this box, it's 4k.

00:53:54   You want to have all your other stuff.

00:53:56   And so this is this is going to be one where I think we see some demos

00:53:59   I'm sure there'll be there's always a cringe-worthy video game demo

00:54:03   I will get that too

00:54:04   But I mean we'll know within the next couple days if it's the fifth or not because they've got to send invites out if it's quiet

00:54:09   Over the next couple days, then I think the 12th is is much more likely. Yeah, I

00:54:14   was waiting for the invitations to go out today and instead we got the

00:54:20   developer beta 8 of iOS 11

00:54:22   So I was really surprised by that. We don't always get to beta 8 or you know, even better 7

00:54:28   Yeah, so if Apple can still no GM, right?

00:54:31   No, no GM. The GM is gonna be officially announced as usual at the event and you know developers on that day can you know

00:54:40   Maybe the following day can submit

00:54:42   is11 apps to the App Store, so

00:54:46   Definitely looking forward to that because the final week for me means taking screenshots and videos because now I was seven in theory is final

00:54:53   Yeah, I'm super excited about all this. You know, we've been talking about this phone. It feels like about ten years

00:55:00   yeah, like I feel like we've talked about this phone forever and

00:55:03   I'm just super excited about it. The more we learn about the more excited I am about it and

00:55:09   Not everything that introduced will be for me. I don't have a 4k television

00:55:13   I'm not looking to buy a new television so the Apple TV won't be for me yet, I don't

00:55:17   think.

00:55:18   But there's other stuff, you know, an LTE Apple Watch, I'm very curious about how they

00:55:22   pull that off and what that's like in experience.

00:55:24   I'm very curious about the new phone and I think it's going to be a fun fall and, you

00:55:30   know, along with Myke and his, you know, year of enthusiasm or whatever he's called on this

00:55:35   show, like, I think the three of us are just, we're excited about seeing this stuff and

00:55:39   get our hands on it next month.

00:55:40   I think it's called the year of optimism.

00:55:43   Yeah, something.

00:55:45   Myke gives names to everything.

00:55:47   Everything.

00:55:48   Do you know Myke has nicknames for objects in his house?

00:55:52   Yes.

00:55:53   OK.

00:55:53   I know that his canary is called Buster.

00:55:55   Yeah.

00:55:56   Is it called?

00:55:56   Because it busts the bad guys.

00:55:57   Buster or Alfred or--

00:56:00   I think it's Buster.

00:56:01   I'm almost positive.

00:56:02   OK.

00:56:03   He's adorable.

00:56:05   He really is.

00:56:06   All right.

00:56:07   We're gonna get into some teachy-teaches,

00:56:10   but first I wanna tell you about our final sponsor.

00:56:12   That is Crimson Mesa.

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00:56:27   Shokim Niimai is a fun strategy game

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00:56:46   And now it's back, it's on the iPad, and costs just $9.99.

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00:57:34   Thank you so much to Cryptza Mesa for supporting this show and relay FM.

00:57:39   All right, Federico,

00:57:40   you are here to talk about something that I will admit to you.

00:57:43   I didn't know was a thing in iOS 11 until you suggested it,

00:57:46   that you talk about it. And that is SMS filtering in iOS 11.

00:57:51   So I assume is this like call filtering is an iOS 10 where it detects spam or

00:57:56   what is this? What is this thing?

00:57:57   So last year Apple rolled out the spam calling extensions that allowed the

00:58:04   developers to identify potential robocallers, you know, those companies, awful companies,

00:58:11   that call you and they want to sell you something or maybe it's like it's not even a person

00:58:15   on the other end. Anyway, that was a new extension point in iOS 10. With iOS 11 they want to

00:58:21   tackle another aspect of this problem, of the same problem, which is companies that

00:58:26   spam you over SMS or MMS even, because they found your phone number somewhere and they

00:58:33   they get in touch with you, they send you offers, they send you links, they send you

00:58:36   just annoying messages to catch your attention and you know for spam reasons and engagement

00:58:43   and whatever. So how do you block SMS? Well you cannot really block SMS if you don't know

00:58:50   the source beforehand. So iOS 10 and even iOS 9 I think it featured a built-in unknown

00:59:02   and junk section of the Messages app that, by default,

00:59:06   put messages from unknown contacts into that view

00:59:12   so that you wouldn't be distracted by notifications

00:59:15   so that those messages wouldn't end up

00:59:17   in the main conversation list.

00:59:20   But still, there's still some messages

00:59:25   that go through that filter.

00:59:29   Because sometimes-- I don't know if it ever happens.

00:59:32   to you but sometimes I get these messages that don't actually show a phone number.

00:59:36   They show like a name of a store or I don't know how that works but somehow my iPhone

00:59:44   doesn't recognize that as an unknown contact. And so it goes through the unknown and junk

00:59:50   filter and it ends up in my main conversation list. You know, spammers are really enterprising

00:59:58   They always find a way.

01:00:01   So with iOS 11, there's this new API.

01:00:03   It's called the Identity Lookup API.

01:00:06   And it's the foundation for this new extension type, the SMS

01:00:11   filtering extension.

01:00:13   This allows developers to write apps

01:00:16   that don't block SMS and MMS from these companies.

01:00:21   Again, you cannot block them beforehand,

01:00:23   but you can filter them.

01:00:24   And by filtering them into the unknown and junk

01:00:27   view of the Messages app, you can allow the users to not be distracted by notifications

01:00:34   and to go into that section when they want to clean up and remove all of these conversations.

01:00:39   The filtering extensions, they only work with SMS. They cannot integrate with iMessage,

01:00:48   and they work locally on your device. They cannot integrate with your carrier, for example,

01:00:57   or they cannot integrate with the iMessage protocol.

01:01:01   They are a simple way to listen, basically, for incoming SMS.

01:01:06   And based on a list of keywords or phone numbers

01:01:10   that you want to filter, they can hide those messages

01:01:14   by default and put them into the unknown and junk

01:01:18   view of messages.

01:01:20   There are some details of these extensions

01:01:23   that we should cover.

01:01:24   First, you can only activate one at a time.

01:01:27   Unlike content blockers, if you want, in Safari, if you want,

01:01:30   you can activate multiple content blockers at once.

01:01:33   I don't recommend you do that.

01:01:35   But if you want to, it's possible.

01:01:37   With the SMS filtering extensions,

01:01:39   you can only activate one at a time.

01:01:42   When you go into-- when you have some of these apps installed,

01:01:44   you go into the settings for messages,

01:01:47   and you see the unknown--

01:01:49   I think it's called the filtering section or the unknown

01:01:51   and junk section.

01:01:53   Anyway, you go in there and you see that you can select one of these filters.

01:01:57   You get a message, you get like a permission dialog that says the extension will be able

01:02:01   to read your incoming messages, of course, because it needs to actually take a look at

01:02:06   the phone number or the keywords included in the body of the message.

01:02:11   Once you enable one, it's running in the background, you don't have to do anything else.

01:02:16   So I've been playing with three or four of these.

01:02:19   I think they're going to be an extremely popular category of IS-11 apps because they

01:02:24   remove that tiny frustration of getting SMS from my local grocery store, now for some

01:02:31   reason sends me spam via SMS because they have my phone number, because I have a loyalty

01:02:38   card and they have my details. So a few months ago they decided, "Let's just start sending

01:02:42   Federico some SMS about, you know, vegetables discounted on sale today. I have no idea what

01:02:50   they think that's a great idea, but they do it anyway.

01:02:52   The way that, at least, you know, based on the betas that I've had so far, most developers

01:02:57   are going to offer blacklist and whitelist features. So if you want to make sure that

01:03:04   some SMS, either from a specific phone number or that contain a specific keyword, they go,

01:03:11   are filtered out and they go into the unknown and junk section, you can create a blacklist.

01:03:17   Otherwise if you want to make sure that some SMS, stuff like one-time passwords from your

01:03:22   bank or two-factor authentication codes, if you want to make sure that those SMS go into

01:03:30   the main conversation list and that you get notifications from them, you can whitelist

01:03:35   them. So you can make sure, you know, these are the good ones and these keywords, they

01:03:39   are bad messages, filter them out. I think they're going to be extremely popular and

01:03:46   you know, considering that Apple has already done spam call extensions and now they're

01:03:51   doing SMS filters, I think they're really helping people get rid of these annoyances

01:03:59   on a daily basis. It will be interesting, I think, to see how developers design these

01:04:07   extensions in the sense of I've seen for example developers integrate with core

01:04:15   ml and the natural language api's to automatically detect possible spam

01:04:21   keywords I've also seen some folks try to do like a crowdsourced database of

01:04:28   popular spam keywords so aggregating that data across the extensions user

01:04:36   So it will be interesting to see if most developers settle on "here's the app, create your own

01:04:44   blacklist manually, type in some keywords, type in some phone numbers" or if they will

01:04:49   do some type of smart extension that tries to figure out on its own what is potentially

01:04:55   spam over SMS.

01:04:57   So again, this is probably not a big deal as spam called extensions last year, if only

01:05:05   I think spam calls are more intrusive and more annoying than SMS. But they're still

01:05:12   welcome. So I'm gonna keep one enabled. I still gotta choose the one that I prefer.

01:05:18   But I think it will be a nice addition to iOS.

01:05:21   Yeah, and carriers have tried this. Just like carriers had robocall stuff. But I use...

01:05:27   I was actually trying to find on my phone, I forget the Nomo something, Nomo Robo.

01:05:37   It's like two bucks a month or something and it does a really good job.

01:05:39   You can add calls to the blacklist and they look over them and then add them to their

01:05:45   database so it's crowd sourced a little bit.

01:05:47   But this sort of stuff is nice to have because spam, at least for me, has gotten way worse

01:05:54   on my phone number.

01:05:55   It really got worse when we founded Relay because my phone number was attached to a

01:05:59   bunch of paperwork that I assume is public record, but it's out of control.

01:06:03   So I'm glad that they're doing something here.

01:06:06   And it seems like they're doing it the right way, where it's on-device.

01:06:08   It's very Apple-like, it seems like, in the way that they're going about it.

01:06:12   Yeah, the extension itself, it cannot even talk to the network.

01:06:17   So if you want to have an associated web server that goes along with your app.

01:06:23   So these extensions, as you mentioned, as any other extension on iOS, they are bundled

01:06:28   with an app that you download from the App Store.

01:06:31   But the extension itself, it cannot talk to the network, it doesn't have network access.

01:06:37   And the way that Apple has designed the Identity Lookup API is iOS acts as a middleman.

01:06:44   iOS talks to your server, and if your server wants to evaluate some keywords that the extension

01:06:50   doesn't understand, or if your server has some more information about potential spam

01:06:55   keywords. Anyway, iOS talks to the network, and then iOS passes that information back

01:07:02   to the extension. So there's no direct network access between the extension and the server.

01:07:08   There's iOS in the middle taking care of that translation between the two. So Apple always

01:07:13   likes to design these APIs with privacy and security in mind.

01:07:19   And I'm not a technical expert, but looking

01:07:22   through the documentation, from what I can understand,

01:07:25   it seems that they are following through.

01:07:28   The same with content blockers and spam calling last year.

01:07:32   These APIs are always designed to make sure

01:07:34   that user information is not given away to developers

01:07:40   and given away to extensions.

01:07:41   So the Identity Lookup API follows content blockers.

01:07:45   For example, they cannot see the URL of the web page

01:07:48   that you're visiting at the moment.

01:07:51   And it doesn't surprise me that Apple has designed the API

01:07:55   this way.

01:07:56   Yeah.

01:07:57   You know, it pops up every once in a while.

01:08:02   I saw it kind of floating on tour the other day of like,

01:08:05   the phone numbers, like the app or messages,

01:08:08   is really the only thing on your phone that really

01:08:11   can take over the phone, so you get a phone call,

01:08:13   that UI takes over the whole screen.

01:08:15   People are like, "Well, it'll just be a notification."

01:08:17   I don't know how I feel about that,

01:08:18   but same thing with SMS in particular.

01:08:21   These things can just come to you.

01:08:24   And, you know, or something like the weather,

01:08:27   or with Twitter or Instagram, I'm going to it,

01:08:29   but with phone number, it feels like stuff

01:08:32   is just always pouring in.

01:08:33   And so to have some smart stuff built up around that

01:08:36   to make it a better experience,

01:08:38   you know, it's like, yes, let's leverage

01:08:39   what iOS can do, what the iPhone can do to make this better for people.

01:08:44   And so I'm excited they were adding it.

01:08:46   I can't believe I missed it over the summer, but I'm glad you explained it.

01:08:50   Yeah.

01:08:51   I feel, I feel, I feel teached, so to speak.

01:08:53   You feel teached.

01:08:54   Okay.

01:08:55   That, that is great to know.

01:08:56   That is great to know.

01:08:57   I think that does it for this week.

01:08:58   I think we're done.

01:08:59   Yeah.

01:09:00   If you, if you want to find show notes this week, point your web browser to relay.fm/connected/157.

01:09:08   While you're there, we should mention that it is still August, and that is Relay FM's

01:09:13   birthday month, and we're winding down our membership drive.

01:09:16   If you're not a member, go check out relay.fm/membership.

01:09:20   You get lots of goodies.

01:09:22   You can support this show, you can support all the great shows, so every Relay FM host

01:09:27   benefits, but lots of goodies.

01:09:31   We're doing member-only episodes, we have a newsletter, we got a bunch of 5K wallpapers,

01:09:36   A lot of fun stuff, so relay.fm/membership.

01:09:39   If you are a member, thank you so much for your support.

01:09:44   If you wanna find us online, Myke isn't here,

01:09:48   but if he were here, he would be on Twitter,

01:09:50   at twitter.com/imike, I-M-Y-K-E.

01:09:54   You can find Federico at maxstories.net

01:09:58   and Vitici on Twitter, and you can find me

01:10:00   at 512pixels.net, and I am I-S-M-H.

01:10:04   And I think that's it.

01:10:07   So until next time, Federico, say goodbye.

01:10:10   - Adios, echos. - Adios.