125: Tiny Adorable Fort


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:05   From RelayFN, this is Connected, episode 125.

00:00:09   Today's show is brought to you by Eero, Encapsula, and Blue Apron.

00:00:14   My name is Myke Hurley, and I am joined by Mr. Steven Hackett.

00:00:18   Hola.

00:00:19   And we have a special guest today, Mr. Dan Morin. Hi, Dan, how are you?

00:00:23   Buongiorno.

00:00:25   was that that's the best attempt I have at feeling filling in for Federico here

00:00:28   so it's all gonna be downhill from there but thanks so much for having me guys

00:00:32   it's a pleasure to be here you may know Dan Moran as the as the man Dan Moran as

00:00:37   we call him on this show Dan is what we like a senior contributor to six colors

00:00:43   do you have a title at six colors I don't know you should ask Jason I just

00:00:48   keep making up better things I'm going for supreme allied commander is my new

00:00:51   goal for titles. Or just the official Dan at Six Colors. There we go. Yeah, not like

00:00:56   those off-brand Dans you get. None of that. And Dan also hosts a selection of podcasts

00:01:02   including Clockwise on Relay FM. It's good. It's a good show. You should listen if you

00:01:08   don't. I mean, you're here on Relay already, so it's just a... It's like alphabetically

00:01:11   next to connected, too. So just hit it by accident. You'll be fine. And you will enjoy

00:01:16   it too. It's got Jason Snell on it as well. If you like Jason Snell, then you'll like

00:01:20   that show but really you should be listening for Dan. I mean everybody does.

00:01:24   That's true. Yeah, thank you. That's true. So we have some follow-up this week about

00:01:29   microblogging. So we spoke last time about Microdotblog by Maiten Rees. We're

00:01:36   gonna get to that but first in the news this week was a blog post from the folks

00:01:42   over at App.net which you may remember was a social media platform I guess that

00:01:48   spun up several years ago and I guess like a year and a half ago they went into

00:01:53   what they're calling maintenance mode where all the services still worked but

00:01:55   they weren't going to be improving it anymore.

00:01:57   And now that time has come to an end and App.net is shutting down and going

00:02:05   away. They do have a way to export your data which I did but it's all JSON files

00:02:11   so you have to know how to work with those so I just have them sitting in my

00:02:15   Dropbox for another day. But you can have all your stuff you just have to figure out

00:02:18   how to do it. It's not as nice as something like the Twitter archives, which if you've

00:02:21   ever downloaded those, it's available to everybody. And it's basically like a mini website that

00:02:26   you just run locally on your computer and it's pretty nice. I've done that, it just

00:02:31   gives you kind of a day to dump. And you know, it's not surprising, right? Maintenance mode

00:02:35   started in 2014. Honestly, it's surprising it's taken this long, but I thought it was

00:02:41   interesting in light of the micro.blog conversation we've been having and the need to, you know,

00:02:48   potentially have something besides Twitter to put things and especially having control

00:02:53   of your data in more complete ways, the App.net, which was kind of a, to date, the most successful

00:03:00   run at that, has come to its end. So if you were a member, log in, get your stuff, I think

00:03:08   that's worthwhile having, but it is going away.

00:03:11   I think you speak for all of us when I say, "That was still running?"

00:03:15   Yeah, it's like 2014 all over again.

00:03:18   Yeah, it hurts.

00:03:24   I feel pretty strongly that I'm guessing my entire archive there is stuff like "trying

00:03:28   out app.net" like I think those can disappear into time.

00:03:32   I think I'm okay with that.

00:03:35   It was a different time and I think even in the three years since it went to maintenance

00:03:41   mode and now I don't know if the time is right now for a Twitter alternative to

00:03:47   like rise up and and and sort of take take over at least in certain you know

00:03:52   communities but you know I've done that I think the timing just wasn't right I

00:03:56   think they had a lot of branding problems I think it was confusing that

00:03:58   they built something that was basically exactly like Twitter and it was kind of

00:04:02   hard to argue the case that it was better when it had fewer people and

00:04:06   basically the same feature set that's kind of where we get to maintenance so

00:04:10   So we spoke to Manton after the show last week,

00:04:14   and he wrote a nice email kind of walking through

00:04:17   a little bit about what micro.blog is going to be,

00:04:20   and I wanted to share that since last week

00:04:22   there were some questions around it.

00:04:24   And it's basically, kind of his pitch is that

00:04:26   it's a service that makes following what he calls

00:04:29   micro blogs easier.

00:04:33   And it lets you host your content

00:04:37   on the micro.blog platform.

00:04:39   be an iOS app or you can have an external website so WordPress, Tumblr,

00:04:44   anything that generates an RSS feed and you can have it integrated into the

00:04:49   timeline experience. So the way I kind of see this is you know you can follow like

00:04:55   you know relay FM or six colors or 512 pixels or Mac stories on Twitter and you

00:05:01   get you know the that headline and the link and it takes you off-site. This is

00:05:05   kind of a step beyond that where if I were publishing short snippets like short blog

00:05:10   posts on 5

00:05:29   And it's, so it's even different from app.net

00:05:33   where you had to go and log into app.net's website

00:05:36   or use an app.net client.

00:05:37   Remember those, like Felix was a real popular one

00:05:40   and Tapbot's had Netbot.

00:05:43   - Netbot, yeah, yeah.

00:05:45   - Which was a tweet bot with a brown icon

00:05:47   that connected to app.net for a while.

00:05:48   I had this too side by side on my iPad.

00:05:50   It was very confusing. - Oh, and repost.

00:05:52   - Repost.

00:05:53   And you know, but you were feeding content

00:05:57   into the app.net platform.

00:05:58   And now that that's going away,

00:05:59   you have to export that back out of their platform.

00:06:02   And it may be in a format that some people can't utilize.

00:06:06   Where with maintenance system,

00:06:09   I could have all that content on a WordPress site.

00:06:12   Or I could have it on Tumblr.

00:06:14   I could have it somewhere else.

00:06:16   So if micro.blog went away overnight,

00:06:19   I still have all the stuff that I've written.

00:06:21   And that's really the key difference.

00:06:23   And the reason I think so many people have backed it,

00:06:26   I mean the Kickstarter is just out of control,

00:06:27   we're gonna talk about that in a minute.

00:06:28   I mean, tons of support, which is really great to see.

00:06:31   But that's really the key difference,

00:06:32   that I can have all this writing on my WordPress site,

00:06:36   on a site that I have the keys to,

00:06:38   so if micro.blog is away, my content doesn't go with it.

00:06:42   I mean, even this week in the news,

00:06:44   Vine is shutting down, and I think today,

00:06:46   or I think maybe today is the last day you have

00:06:49   to export your content from Vine.

00:06:52   And a lot of services don't even offer that, right?

00:06:54   A lot of services just disappear

00:06:56   and your content goes with it.

00:06:58   And if you ever wanted that stuff,

00:07:01   you know, it's kinda too late.

00:07:02   So that's the big difference.

00:07:04   And Microdome Blog is, that's kinda what it's built around.

00:07:10   Maitin has, since last week,

00:07:12   updated the Kickstarter project page twice,

00:07:14   one with a little video of the iPhone app,

00:07:18   kind of explaining how that works.

00:07:19   And then one that I think is far more important,

00:07:22   he published, I believe, yesterday,

00:07:24   called, talking about a new stretch goal,

00:07:28   a new feature called safe replies.

00:07:31   So the idea that if you reply to somebody

00:07:34   who you don't have a following relationship with,

00:07:38   so if somebody replies to me on Twitter

00:07:40   that I don't follow, sometimes it's great,

00:07:43   and I hear from a lot of great people on that,

00:07:45   but also if you tweet about healthcare,

00:07:46   you get a lot of really ugly stuff.

00:07:49   And the idea here is that there will be a gate.

00:07:54   have to pass through for those replies of people who don't follow you to get to

00:07:59   you. And Mayden has made a promise that this is going to be automated in the code

00:08:05   but it's going to be augmented by a community manager if the Kickstarter can

00:08:10   hit $80,000. Right now it's at $41,000. This community manager will help set the

00:08:17   tone, set the policy, and help with curation when safe replies fail to kind

00:08:24   of automatically catch problems. So unlike Twitter, which is completely

00:08:28   open and of course has led to, I mean we all have heard the stories and have seen

00:08:33   them and experienced them of horrific abuse on Twitter, safe replies will be a

00:08:37   way to help limit that. And I think micro.blog and app.net are safer

00:08:44   environments from Twitter just because there is a payment piece that it is a

00:08:50   service that isn't necessarily open to everybody and you know a lot of

00:08:56   abuse online is anonymous or someone creating a lot of accounts and

00:09:00   automating abuse and it seems like man is thinking about that and building

00:09:04   tools and building things into the service itself to limit those problems

00:09:09   and that's really encouraging to read right like I think people who have

00:09:13   left Twitter I think I read an article just a couple days ago of a woman who left

00:09:17   Twitter after a string of abuse and and that happens to a lot of people and

00:09:22   that's that's terrible and like Twitter needs to fix it and they seem unable or

00:09:26   unwilling to but it seems like man is building those tools in from day one to

00:09:32   ensure that micro dot blog is a safe environment and that's super important

00:09:36   something I think all three of us are big fans of and so kind of want to

00:09:39   highlight that like just the big difference between this and app.net

00:09:43   which is you know the the thing people are connecting the two you know really

00:09:47   closely and I think that's unfair to what man is doing. There's one thing that

00:09:52   I wanted to kind of just get a clarification on because I think I'm

00:09:55   because in Manson's email to us he said that like some of the confusion that I

00:10:00   had about the service is confusion that he's working to like to try and give

00:10:04   people more information to right but one of the things that that keeps puzzling

00:10:08   me a little bit, is the service micro.blog is kind of like an app and a site that you

00:10:13   sign into. And I would see your, I don't know, posts, even if it was hosted on WordPress,

00:10:20   they still go into the system so I could view it in the timeline, right? Even if you're

00:10:25   doing the self-hosting thing somewhere else.

00:10:27   Exactly. So you don't have to go out to my, you know, ISMH WordPress site. You could just

00:10:32   follow me on microblog and see that content there.

00:10:35   Because you've put it in to the system.

00:10:37   Exactly. Okay. Yeah. I think there's an uphill climb which is both good and bad.

00:10:42   It's definitely more, requires a little more work it seems like, or a little more technical savvy in some of these instances.

00:10:49   Compared to something like Twitter, right, where you just log in, you start posting, that's pretty much it.

00:10:53   And it sounds like there is an option to do that kind of thing in micro.blog, but there's also the option to host stuff elsewhere.

00:11:00   where I would like Myke I get a little confused about whether there's is it two

00:11:04   things is it is it like trying to sort of cast a wide net over content and I

00:11:10   think there there are advantages that like you said talking about payment

00:11:15   plans like it's sort of a barrier to entry you have a stake in being there

00:11:19   right like people aren't gonna pay a couple bucks to necessarily troll people

00:11:23   and so that helps but it also hinders in terms of getting a you know a critical

00:11:28   mass for a community and I think that was one of the big problems app.net

00:11:31   always had which was you could get a certain amount of people in the door but

00:11:35   you need to have a critical mass in order for it to really be a

00:11:40   self-sustaining success and Twitter obviously has well over a critical mass

00:11:45   and that helps in some ways it hinders in other ways obviously because it's

00:11:49   really hard it's a scaling problem you can't have a community moderator on

00:11:52   Twitter as easily because there's so much volume and I wonder about that too

00:11:57   for having a community moderator on micro.blog is in terms of volume.

00:12:01   You know, that person's job could be very, very hard.

00:12:05   Or it could be very easy, I don't know.

00:12:07   You know, it depends who, what kind of people are there.

00:12:08   And so I think this is the kind of project that definitely appeals to people like us

00:12:13   who are in sort of a tech-savvy community.

00:12:16   I think it's, you know, unlikely to obviously make a big dent into Twitter at large,

00:12:21   just like app.net wasn't.

00:12:23   And I've known Manson for a long time.

00:12:25   He is a incredibly smart guy and he has really thought hard about this whole owning your own content thing

00:12:30   And I think that's been a really big message and a really big goal for him

00:12:34   And so I think you know, this is it's a really interesting idea for a system

00:12:39   I am I am you know a little bit I don't wanna say skeptical that seems too harsh

00:12:44   But like I'm curious to see how this all plays out and I and I've definitely seen a few other things arise that

00:12:48   focus on the whole

00:12:51   Abuse issue there's a service

00:12:53   I've seen a couple people in my timeline talking about called IMZY, which I don't know if you

00:12:57   guys are familiar with, I-M-Z-Y, which I guess is sort of a micro-blogging type platform

00:13:03   that has a very, it's a message really based on safe communities and freedom from trolling.

00:13:11   But the problem with all these communities is that it's really hard to create a social

00:13:14   network that is popular, right?

00:13:16   Some of that is luck.

00:13:18   One of the things that I want to touch on very quickly about the kind of, you know,

00:13:23   we talk about like the barrier to entry type thing and how that can help.

00:13:27   Also can hinder in diversity in the platform, like even just from the perspective of college

00:13:34   kids, you know, may not have the money, the disposable income to sign up for a service

00:13:39   like this, which app.net tried to solve this by adding free accounts, but that was kind

00:13:46   of a nightmare.

00:13:47   Like there is a problem here where, you know, I could see like if this became the place

00:13:51   where nerd Twitter went, that nerd Twitter would just have an even stronger diversity

00:13:56   problem than it already has.

00:13:58   And again, this is like, I'm sorry, Manton, but this is another thing you have to think

00:14:03   about.

00:14:04   Like if this is the type of thing that is going to be hosted, and I'm sure he is, but

00:14:09   it's like it's just another barrier, right?

00:14:12   To put a, I was curious about this, so I was reading the Kickstarter.

00:14:15   In the FAQ at the bottom, he does say, "When it officially launches, Microdotblog will

00:14:18   be free for basic accounts and paid for extra features."

00:14:21   And if you want Microdotblog to host your Microblog, for example, that's included in

00:14:26   a $5 a month plan.

00:14:28   So this is the—yeah, I'm with you, Myke.

00:14:29   I have questions about how exactly that plays out.

00:14:32   What is a free level?

00:14:33   What is an extra level?

00:14:35   And it seems like there is—he is definitely considering that, because like you said, I

00:14:39   think college students is a great example.

00:14:41   So many people don't want to pay for a $1 app, right?

00:14:44   Getting into a recurring service is certainly a huge barrier to entry.

00:14:49   This is the perils of trying to start a social network.

00:14:52   It is, especially in 2017, what we expect from them is an incredibly well-established

00:14:59   thing.

00:15:00   And, you know, the reason we're covering this is because it is of interest.

00:15:02   I mean, you know, I think I speak for many people when I say I would love something like

00:15:07   I kept on it again because that plays so nice and Twitter is just less nice these days and

00:15:16   I think that everybody's a little bit rocked by the company's direction and it's not even

00:15:23   just about the content that occurs in Twitter or you know the types of things people receive

00:15:29   it's that the platform holder seems to be unable to yeah unable to kind of deal

00:15:38   with it and and that you know we're definitely back at that place again

00:15:43   where I think there is a wide desire for something else but how that actually

00:15:47   plays out is a whole other story. Moving on, Dan Provost of Studio Neat wrote a

00:15:53   great blog post on the Studio Neat blog where he did some math and this math is all about

00:16:01   the 10.5 inch iPad and what it might end up being. We have been talking about this at

00:16:10   length in recent episodes because it's something that is interesting to us all I think on this

00:16:16   show is about what could a 10.5 inch iPad look like, like a new iPad in the line, a

00:16:22   and

00:16:38   When the 12.9" iPad was unveiled, Apple spoke a bit about the fact that the dimensions that

00:16:44   they were going for and the resolution that they were going for was the same as the height,

00:16:48   so the width of the 12.9" iPad was the same as the height of a 9.7" iPad and the result

00:16:54   was basically like having two full-size iPads side by side, so you could get two full-sized

00:16:58   iPad apps side by side.

00:17:00   Now this math actually also could work out for a 10.5" iPad as well.

00:17:05   and calculated that a 10.5 inch iPad could have the exact resolution of the 12.9, which

00:17:11   is 2732 by 2048, but the same pixel density as an iPad mini at 256 pixels per inch. So

00:17:18   in terms of dimensions, a 10.5 inch iPad would be the same height as two iPad minis. So in

00:17:24   effect, everything would be smaller, but you could have two full sized iPad apps in portrait

00:17:31   mode side by side. It was it was my understanding there would be no math.

00:17:35   Well there's little math. A little bit of math. I think this makes a lot of sense.

00:17:40   Remember when they introduced the iPad Pro and Schiller was like you know why

00:17:44   did we get to the size and he had the graphic about the 9.7 inch iPad

00:17:47   turning it over and it makes sense in that perspective. It also makes sense

00:17:52   that they would not want to introduce a third or I guess really a fourth third

00:17:59   resolution, second resolution, I don't know how many resolutions are there on the iPad.

00:18:02   They don't want to introduce another one and they don't want to change pixel density.

00:18:06   They want to make this as easy for developers as possible and so to get to where they are

00:18:14   elsewhere on the line would be a big goal and you don't want to take the same resolution

00:18:18   that you had on the 9.7 and just scale it up.

00:18:22   This really feels like this is what's going on and in the post Dane has a picture of a

00:18:27   a 10.5 inch sheet of paper over a 9.7 inch screened iPad and it fits within the

00:18:33   same chassis which is really lines up with the rumors the thing is gonna have

00:18:37   very minimal side bezels and it's gonna be the same physical size as the 9.7 but

00:18:44   have a bigger screen and kind of in the same amount of space and so I think I

00:18:48   think Dan's on to something here not all Dan's are great but Dan Provis is great

00:18:52   so he's the better Dan of the two he makes me want to be a better Dan

00:18:57   There you go.

00:18:58   You know what, the thing that's curious to me about this is like at some point during

00:19:03   in the rumors people were talking about this existing coexisting with the 9.7 inch and

00:19:07   to me especially looking at Dan's picture with the piece of paper I don't see why you

00:19:12   would keep the 9.7 inch around if the chassis is the same size.

00:19:15   I mean other than keeping it around as sort of the legacy model that will keep selling

00:19:19   but to me the 10.5 inch screen I feel like might as well just replace the 9.7 inch screen

00:19:24   if the physical device is the same size.

00:19:27   Otherwise it seems really confusing and weird because it's not that big a difference, right?

00:19:31   It's less than an inch in terms of screen difference and I can't think of there will

00:19:37   be a lot of people...

00:19:38   That just adds confusion, right?

00:19:39   Like you have people sitting there going, "Do I want the 9.7 or 10.5?"

00:19:43   Well, I'm going to bring my tape measure into the store and start thinking about this.

00:19:46   So I think that the case for the 10.5 inch is definitely compelling but I wouldn't be

00:19:52   surprised if they didn't just replace the 9.7 inch with it entirely. You know, keep

00:19:56   the 9.7 inch Pro around as the cheaper model going forward. But yeah, why keep both? It

00:20:01   seems crazy. And that's their MO these days with the iPad, right? It's to have, I mean,

00:20:07   how long was the iPad 2 for sale? It was like 10 years, so. Yeah. I do think what it'll

00:20:12   do is it'll make the 9.7 look old immediately. You know, sometimes, like when they went with

00:20:17   the mini and then the air and then suddenly the iPad 4 just looked like this, you know,

00:20:22   relic. So I'm looking forward to seeing how they work that out, but as we've been

00:20:28   saying, talking about this iPad, this is something that I'm interested in, having used the

00:20:32   12.9 and then getting rid of it because I felt it was too bulky to use in everyday life

00:20:37   unless it was at my desk. The 9.7 does feel cramped as far as resolution, and so to have

00:20:42   something that kind of splits the difference, it gets a thumbs up.

00:20:46   it.

00:20:48   This week's episode of Connected is brought to you by Eero. These days, everything in

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00:23:31   Eero for their support of this show and relay FM. I saw some upsetting news today, very upsetting

00:23:39   news. As soon as I saw it I was not surprised. Apple made some pricing changes yesterday

00:23:47   in a few different territories. For example, in India, Turkey and Romania they made some

00:23:56   price adjustments for taxation changes that are going on in those countries. But in the

00:24:00   UK they put all the prices up. Because of fluctuating currency exchange in the United

00:24:07   Kingdom which just continues to get weirder and weirder every single day, Apple has raised

00:24:12   the prices of applications and in app purchases by at least 25% across the board.

00:24:20   So now a 99 cent application in the app store costs 99 pence as opposed to 75 pence which

00:24:28   it was before and that's tier 1 I think. So now an app that you get in America as of today's

00:24:34   kind of exchange rates will cost you 99 cents, it will cost me $1.25. And apps that previously

00:24:40   cost £1.49 will be £1.99 which is about $2.40 for a $1.99 application. So as it stands

00:24:48   right now we're kind of looking at numbers being basically the same so a $1.99 application

00:24:54   is a £1.99 app. I mean you know I can't really be annoyed at anyone about this, this is just

00:25:04   the way that our economy is right now in this country as our government continues to push

00:25:09   forward on a decision that was made by a selection of people in our country some time ago. So

00:25:15   we you know and it's changing the strength of the pound. So things are fluctuating you

00:25:20   know we spoke about this recently when when Apple put up the MacBook Pro they put up the

00:25:25   prices of basically all of their devices and you know there is a possibility that we may

00:25:33   see further increases. I think that we're probably kind of in the region that it's going

00:25:38   to be because even the hardware products they tend to be like dollar and pound figure being

00:25:45   the same you know like a hundred dollars is a hundred pounds and that's basically where we are

00:25:50   with the app store now as well there's nothing I can say about it like this is how it is um

00:25:56   at least now you can just say the app is 99 uh and everyone in the us in the uk can work it out on

00:26:02   their own so that's good for consistency that that's the silver lining and all of this really

00:26:07   It's just consistency. So I'm very happy about that

00:26:10   This is just more math Myke geez, I know

00:26:14   We had a discussion before the show and I promised Dan there be more no math, but actually there's more numbers in this

00:26:21   before

00:26:23   Yeah, I mean, you know, this is what it is right like I'm not upset about

00:26:28   Apple I'm not upset. I can't be it's like this is just the way it is. They're kind of

00:26:35   doing what they do.

00:26:37   - It's yeah, currency fluctuations are a much larger problem

00:26:41   than just a single company obviously.

00:26:43   So, you know, there needs to be some correction for that

00:26:47   given the way that it's going.

00:26:48   And like you said, it's hard to be mad about it,

00:26:51   at least as far as Apple goes.

00:26:53   I welcome you to be mad about the things,

00:26:56   the factors that led to this.

00:26:57   - Yep.

00:26:58   - But that's neither here nor there.

00:27:00   - Yeah, it's just, like you said, it's part of the world.

00:27:05   And we should point out it wasn't just the UK.

00:27:07   So Romania, like 19 or 20%.

00:27:11   Russia had a VAT of 18% added.

00:27:14   It was up in India.

00:27:15   I mean, they're making adjustments in different markets

00:27:19   that are handling things in different ways.

00:27:22   So I mean, I get your point.

00:27:25   Like it is lame.

00:27:26   Like I'm sorry, you have to spend more money,

00:27:29   but it's just like Dan said, it's just part of the world.

00:27:34   - Yep.

00:27:35   - So, we're talking about Apple Music.

00:27:39   - Is it even music though?

00:27:41   - So let's get into this.

00:27:43   So, Jimmy Iovine went on a,

00:27:48   what I'm gonna call a media whirlwind, I guess, a blitz,

00:27:53   saying crazy things about Apple Music.

00:27:54   So, last week, the Wall Street Journal had sources

00:27:59   that they were unable to name,

00:28:01   saying that Apple was looking to push further

00:28:03   integrating original TV shows. And this, you know, comes on the heels of stuff like,

00:28:10   the last year we've been talking about this, and they've only really commented

00:28:13   on a couple of shows, probably. So they have the app show. Planet of the Apps.

00:28:20   Planet of the Apps. Oh man, I pushed that name out on my brain. Yeah, that's coming back. So good.

00:28:25   Planet of the Apps, which is, you know, star-studded. We have Carpool Karaoke, and

00:28:32   and that Dr. Dre drama music show, right?

00:28:35   I think they're the three that we know about

00:28:38   that Apple are creating so far.

00:28:40   And these rumors to the Wall Street Journal,

00:28:43   they seem a little bit,

00:28:45   kind of the phrases that they were getting,

00:28:50   it seems a little bit optimistic

00:28:52   that Apple is trying to acquire

00:28:54   and/or create television shows of the quality level

00:28:57   of something like Westworld or Stranger Things.

00:29:00   I mean, I don't know if that's how it works,

00:29:02   like that you decide you wanna make really good TV,

00:29:06   so you just do.

00:29:07   - You pay good people to make good TV, right?

00:29:11   Like, like, Eddie Q's not gonna, oh God,

00:29:14   Eddie Q's probably not gonna be in the director's chair,

00:29:17   but it's about finding the people who have those abilities

00:29:20   and giving them tools to do it.

00:29:22   - Nobody goes out and says,

00:29:23   "We wanna make television of the caliber of

00:29:24   Kevin can wait."

00:29:26   Like, that's not a thing that anybody says.

00:29:29   So, I get that point, right, that you find good people

00:29:32   and you pay them, but I also don't think,

00:29:36   and at least this article seems to indicate,

00:29:38   that Apple is not looking to spend a lot,

00:29:42   lot, lot of money on this.

00:29:43   They're not looking to spend Netflix

00:29:45   or Amazon levels of money on this.

00:29:48   That they are kind of just looking to get a,

00:29:51   they're just looking to get like a couple of shows

00:29:54   that they wanna put into what it would seem to be

00:29:57   into Apple Music.

00:29:59   They're not really, I mean that's kind of unclear right now,

00:30:02   but what it seems like they're trying to do

00:30:05   is to make Apple Music more compelling

00:30:09   to give them a competitive edge over Spotify

00:30:12   as opposed to going after Netflix.

00:30:14   - Absolutely, I'm gonna take full credit for this,

00:30:16   by the way, because last week I wrote a column

00:30:18   over at Macworld that was entirely about this,

00:30:20   and basically right before the Jimmy Iovine

00:30:23   started his little blitz, and I feel like,

00:30:25   man, I hope you read my article,

00:30:27   because he's saying everything that I said.

00:30:29   Which, you know, I agree 100%.

00:30:31   You know, it's hard.

00:30:32   Here's the thing.

00:30:33   We've got like, what, half a dozen,

00:30:35   probably solid streaming music competitors.

00:30:37   And at a certain point, it's mostly about ecosystem, right?

00:30:41   Like if you want to be in the Apple ecosystem,

00:30:44   you sign up for Apple Music.

00:30:44   If you're in the Amazon ecosystem,

00:30:46   you sign up for Amazon Music.

00:30:47   If you don't really care, you sign up for Spotify, right?

00:30:49   Like, but at a certain extent,

00:30:51   the content that's available with them

00:30:53   probably overlaps 90 plus percent of the time.

00:30:57   and the prices are generally within the same range.

00:31:00   So what draws you to sign up for one instead of the other?

00:31:05   At the end of the day, I think that exclusive content is

00:31:07   a big draw, especially if you can produce something

00:31:10   that's the critical acclaim of which it matches something

00:31:14   like Westworld or Stranger Things.

00:31:16   Not even critical acclaim, but there's

00:31:18   no accident that they picked those shows.

00:31:20   Those are the two shows that everybody was talking

00:31:22   about in the last year, right?

00:31:24   Those were the water cooler shows.

00:31:26   And so if you want to create a show that's at the level of everybody is talking about the show and therefore you are going to go sign up for the service because you don't want to feel like you're left out by not having access to those things, that is a great plan.

00:31:37   It's a brilliant plan as far as, you know, drawing more people into your service.

00:31:41   Whether or not it'll work is, you know, obviously depends on the quality of the shows that they end up with.

00:31:46   But I think that it makes a lot of sense since they're probably feeling like maybe they're not getting a lot of traction under Apple Music to broaden that.

00:31:54   I also think a big part of this is they've been trying to get a streaming TV service off the ground for years now and it hasn't worked because the content providers are basically retreating to their shells.

00:32:04   A) They saw what Apple did to the music industry.

00:32:07   B) They found that they can monetize that on their own in many cases.

00:32:11   And C) They just don't want to deal with Apple. They're used to having control and they've got their little niche carved out for them.

00:32:18   So I think Apple's eventually going to get fed up and say, "You know what? Let's just do it ourselves."

00:32:23   Maybe that'll draw more content from other traditional studios and networks if they show some success.

00:32:30   Or maybe they'll be scared off because they don't want to compete with Apple's in-house content. I don't know.

00:32:34   But, you know, I think for Apple, the big question is, can they do this well?

00:32:39   And can they do it, if not profitably, then without going into debt or spending a ton of money on something that ends up being a flop.

00:32:48   I don't know. They haven't really shown a huge track record with either of those things yet.

00:32:52   In an interview with a Hollywood reporter on Saturday, Jimmy Iovine said, "At Apple

00:32:57   Music, what we're trying to create is an entire cultural pop culture experience."

00:33:02   Wait, "entire cultural pop culture experience."

00:33:06   That's the quote.

00:33:07   And that happens to include audio and video.

00:33:09   We're fighting free, so a simple utility where here's all the songs, here's all the music,

00:33:13   give me $10 and we're cool is not going to scale.

00:33:16   I mean, so it definitely indicates, I mean, it's a very smart point.

00:33:21   And again, Iovine is doing what he does, which I think is just speaking in a way that Apple

00:33:26   would maybe prefer he didn't.

00:33:30   That's incredibly honest.

00:33:31   He burned down his own business model.

00:33:36   Eddie's over there cursing to himself as he reads the Hollywood reporters.

00:33:40   Why do I let him do this?

00:33:42   But it's a good point, right?

00:33:43   Which is like, they have no free model, so you have to go into Apple Music and you pay

00:33:50   for a reason, whatever that reason would be. And if one of the reasons was it's the way

00:33:56   that I get that TV show people are talking about, it makes sense, right? Like I can see

00:34:01   that. It makes sense. However, I do think that if they're looking to create shows that

00:34:07   aren't, so that one of the things that came from this report is that these TV shows aren't

00:34:11   necessarily going to be musical focused, right? Like some of the other stuff that they're

00:34:16   doing is like music focused or focused around Apple in some way, right? Like apps or the

00:34:21   Carpool Karaoke, right? Like those things maybe make sense in Apple Music. But, you

00:34:25   know, let's say that they try and create something like a drama or something or like a thriller.

00:34:30   Putting it inside of Apple Music just seems like a strange thing. It's like, "Oh, did

00:34:33   you see that like new TV show? Where is it? Oh, it's on Apple's thing." And then people

00:34:37   go to like the iTunes store and, you know, it's like Apple Music seems like a weird branding.

00:34:42   >> It's, they would have to, I think, alter the branding if they're gonna do that.

00:34:47   The other interesting aspect of this is, so traditionally Apple has used media sales to

00:34:53   push devices, right?

00:34:54   That was the whole point of the iTunes store, was people would buy the music.

00:34:59   Apple didn't necessarily make a lot of money off the content, but people would buy iPods

00:35:02   and later iPhones.

00:35:04   And so the question is, does that model work here as well?

00:35:07   Apple Music is weird, right?

00:35:08   Because it does exist on Android.

00:35:11   And so there's a question of, well, would content available on Apple's own platforms

00:35:17   also be available on Android platforms?

00:35:19   Part of me thinks no.

00:35:20   Part of me thinks that they would launch it and say, you know, Apple video or whatever

00:35:25   they're going to call this subset of it is only supported on Apple devices to thus also

00:35:30   bolster their back end by convincing people to or giving another reason for people to

00:35:33   buy iOS devices or Macs or Apple TVs, really.

00:35:38   So I'm interested to see how that plays out because this is an odd service in that they

00:35:42   do offer an Android client and it's pretty much the only support they have for Android

00:35:47   like across the board.

00:35:49   So yeah, that's going to be a big question for them is whether or not they're going to

00:35:52   use it to try and push hardware sales or whether this is just a pure up services play.

00:35:57   And the services division has been doing very well.

00:36:00   So I could see the argument for that as well.

00:36:02   I think it's interesting too that this would be a service that you potentially would have

00:36:07   Music and TV shows and video stuff all under

00:36:10   one

00:36:12   You know sort of one service one

00:36:14   I guess yeah, we bill unless Jimmy can make it free and that's that really sets it apart right Netflix doesn't have that

00:36:21   Spotify doesn't have that

00:36:23   Amazon sort of has it but not really yeah, I mean if you pay for Prime you get both video and music

00:36:31   But like there's like there's separate interfaces

00:36:33   And the music is much more limited than if you pay for their music service on top of

00:36:37   that.

00:36:38   Right.

00:36:39   So that I find really interesting.

00:36:41   How do you package those things together?

00:36:42   How do you have an iOS app that has those things in it together?

00:36:48   I mean maybe they shove the video stuff into the new TV app.

00:36:51   But that's really what's interesting to me is Apple looking at doing this potentially

00:36:56   as one service.

00:36:58   But maybe it is like Amazon Prime, right?

00:36:59   pay for Apple music and you get music and video it's kind of separate interfaces

00:37:03   kind of separate things but it could be a way to set Apple apart from their

00:37:09   competitors in this space that that by doing this maybe they're not taking on

00:37:13   Netflix directly maybe they're not taking on Spotify directly but hey if

00:37:16   you just want a bunch of streaming stuff and you know audio and video can I get

00:37:21   what he's saying then you know we have this one thing and you get both and you

00:37:24   don't have to worry about paying for Netflix and Spotify we kind of have both

00:37:29   types of things under one monthly bill.

00:37:34   There is a question of like, in three or four years time, how much money are we going to

00:37:38   be paying to get all of the TV?

00:37:41   Yep.

00:37:42   I mean, basically, have we just recreated the cable model?

00:37:45   I think so, but you just like, "Oh, it's all online!"

00:37:49   And it's, you know, you don't have to get every, you know, you don't pay once and get

00:37:52   a ton of stuff you don't want, you just pay for what you want.

00:37:55   But unfortunately, what you want is on four different services that all cost $10 a month.

00:38:00   Thank you very much.

00:38:01   Yep.

00:38:02   So we've just removed a middleman or potentially created a new middleman if somebody eventually

00:38:07   comes up with a way to put all that together.

00:38:11   Yeah I don't know.

00:38:13   I don't know how I feel about it.

00:38:14   I mean I'm not a cable subscriber.

00:38:17   I never have personally been and I don't expect to ever be.

00:38:21   What we have here, you know, do we have an option of cable and then also satellite with sky?

00:38:26   Which is that I think still the biggest player but and there are a few different ways to get TV here

00:38:31   We have a quite a good free digital service

00:38:34   Which is a kind of blanket across the nation

00:38:37   Of course, we have our TV license that everybody must pay but that's a whole different thing for a whole another time

00:38:42   But I have always been somebody who just pays for services, right?

00:38:46   So I have a couple of services that I pay for I pay for Netflix

00:38:50   I don't pay for Amazon Prime, I get Amazon Prime because I'm a Prime customer.

00:38:55   I watch Amazon Prime TV shows but I don't really consider that a service that I explicitly

00:39:01   pay for because I get it for free because I want next day delivery for free on Amazon

00:39:06   stuff.

00:39:07   And I guess in the same way I'll get Apple's TV shows for free because I'm an Apple Music

00:39:13   customer.

00:39:14   but it's just starting to get a little bit more peculiar

00:39:19   as time goes on that we're ending up just with like,

00:39:22   just moving the price and complexity of cable to apps.

00:39:28   And it's like I wanna watch that show, where do I go?

00:39:34   Well you need to go to this thing and go to that thing.

00:39:37   Dan, you'll be very happy to know

00:39:38   that I just bought an Amazon Fire Stick.

00:39:41   - Ah, congratulations.

00:39:44   Thank you. I was away this weekend and was in a hotel and needed to watch a TV show as

00:39:50   part of this event that I was going to and I had nothing with me that I could use for

00:39:55   it except for getting something and plugging it into a TV. So I went with a fire stick.

00:40:01   There's just a bunch of weird reasons that it makes sense this way. It's a super long

00:40:05   story. It's not that exciting. So the fire stick, I needed something to plug into the

00:40:10   TV in the hotel room so I could watch this thing with a few different people.

00:40:13   Right, it's basically imagine watching a WWDC keynote in a hotel room. It's that idea, right?

00:40:20   That's kind of the situation. So the best thing for that job was an Amazon Fire Stick.

00:40:25   So I plugged it in and then kind of as I was looking through it I was like, oh, I've just

00:40:28   realized something. The Amazon Fire Stick has all of the streaming services that I want

00:40:34   where Apple TV is missing Amazon.

00:40:37   Right, right. So if you get Amazon if you want Amazon but not iTunes

00:40:42   Then the fire TV stick is a clear winner if you want iTunes, but don't care about Amazon

00:40:48   Then the Apple TV is you know, frankly, you know better in that case, obviously

00:40:52   But you're never gonna get anything that has all of them the problem

00:40:57   So like I'm I'm I now will have two of them hooked up to the TV

00:41:01   Which we're gonna be getting within a couple of weeks time

00:41:04   And then because we were using the Apple TV before we moved constantly. It was just the way that I watched like YouTube and Netflix

00:41:10   But we're currently rewatching Parks and Recreation

00:41:13   So for the time that we're doing that on a TV

00:41:16   We'll use the Amazon stick for that because that's where we watch it because that's where it is in the UK

00:41:21   I don't know what it's like elsewhere. But in the UK Amazon has all of it

00:41:25   So I'm wondering if like over the time of doing this am I just gonna start picking up the fire stick

00:41:33   Remote instead of the Apple TV remote. I don't know

00:41:36   but anyway

00:41:36   the reason I mentioned all this is because this kind of just plays into like the

00:41:39   complexities of it all because let's say we're in a world where we need to

00:41:43   Subscribe to four different services you then need to have the box or device that has all of them

00:41:49   and currently

00:41:52   That's gonna get more tricky because

00:41:54   Amazon won't put theirs on for whatever reason on apples and you can bet your bottom dollar that Apple music won't be coming to

00:42:03   the Amazon Fire Stick. So then it's not even just you need to have all of these different

00:42:08   plans, you then also need all of the various devices to play all these shows.

00:42:14   Yeah, it's funny because my Fire Stick/Apple TV usage ends up being, invariably I try to

00:42:21   watch a show and one of them is not behaving well, like I've had the Hulu app on the Apple

00:42:27   TV freak out and not want to play anything, and it's like I could spend the time restarting

00:42:31   Or I could press this button on my harmony remote switch over to the fire TV. Yeah, let's watch it there instead

00:42:37   Which is a very very I feel like a first world, but it's like day day streaming box night streaming box

00:42:43   Like why do I have two of these?

00:42:45   Here's the other question right here's the elephant in the room question

00:42:52   I'll go ask you first even do you want Apple to be put in their effort into this? I

00:43:00   mean, so I

00:43:02   So the complaint a lot of people have and this sort of thing is oh, you know, they're doing this

00:43:06   They're not paying attention to X insert your favorite Apple product here that hasn't been updated

00:43:11   Like that's that's not a real argument. It's not like Mac Pro engineers are going to be

00:43:16   Editing a TV show, right?

00:43:18   That's kind of a BS argument

00:43:21   And I understand that if they want to be competitive in this space that video is part of that world and that if they want

00:43:28   the Apple TV and they want Apple Music to be more valuable to customers, then they need

00:43:34   additional content.

00:43:35   So I am okay with it.

00:43:37   I'm not in love with the idea just because Apple hasn't proven that they can be a media

00:43:42   company.

00:43:43   Like even in the iTunes store days, like what you were saying, they were really a retailer

00:43:47   more than anything.

00:43:49   So it's new in that sense and I hope that if they get into it and they stink at it,

00:43:54   that they get out, that they understand that it's not for them.

00:43:58   But I'm okay with them trying and I'm okay, it seems to be they're being very slow and

00:44:02   very deliberate about it.

00:44:03   And that does make me feel better about it.

00:44:07   Now what would make me feel really great is if Apple could land, you know, third party

00:44:11   content deals and that seems like it's not happening and this kind of reinforces that

00:44:17   in my mind that if they're doing this, they really don't have other content to put on

00:44:22   their streaming service.

00:44:24   And that makes me sad.

00:44:25   But overall I'm okay with it, I'm not in love with it, and I guess it is what it is.

00:44:35   My feeling on it is I know the idea of the Mac team aren't working on this instead of

00:44:42   Macs, but there maybe is an argument for just focus of the company.

00:44:50   What is the company focusing themselves on and is that the right direction?

00:44:55   Well, I mean, it, this sort of, that, like that sort of argument lends itself to the

00:45:00   conversation we had weeks ago or months ago with that Vox article about Apple being a

00:45:03   functional organization.

00:45:04   Like, if this falls under EdiQ and, you know, uh, services and iTunes and like all this

00:45:13   falls under ediQ, then like his team and his organization is maybe doing too

00:45:20   much. And this is where the argument that the functional organization doesn't work

00:45:24   anymore is really strong in my mind. That you know like you can do this but don't

00:45:29   put it under Q. Like don't put it under an organization that already has a

00:45:33   lot of other stuff to do. And of course we don't know how it works internally

00:45:36   but that's like the thing that springs to mind immediately is that yes, you know, the

00:45:41   the Mac Pro engineer, the one guy left, isn't doing this.

00:45:44   But there are resources being diverted somewhere.

00:45:48   And so I totally get what you're saying,

00:45:49   and I think it's part of that broader conversation.

00:45:52   - It's the executive head space that you're worried about

00:45:54   more than the workers who are working

00:45:58   on a specific product, right?

00:45:59   It's how you're talking about the direction of the company

00:46:02   and how the executives and leadership is thinking

00:46:04   about where their priorities are.

00:46:06   And if they do end up with things where they have to be like,

00:46:08   let's adjust, let's give more money over here,

00:46:10   or let's de-emphasize this product

00:46:12   because it's not doing as much for us,

00:46:14   then there is a concern as far as that goes.

00:46:18   But it is a big company and they do have a ton of money.

00:46:20   So as far as them trying it at least,

00:46:22   I don't see any problem with it.

00:46:23   But I agree with Stephen, if it doesn't work,

00:46:25   you'll cut your losses.

00:46:26   - You could help fix the executive headspace problem

00:46:29   by promoting people, right, that you can have,

00:46:33   that also would help potentially your diversity issue

00:46:35   in your executive ranks that, you know what,

00:46:37   maybe it's time for--

00:46:39   - New executives.

00:46:40   - Yeah, for a senior vice president of content, right?

00:46:43   Maybe it's time for separate software heads

00:46:48   and not just crack.

00:46:49   I mean, some of those people exist within Apple

00:46:52   and we don't see them, right?

00:46:53   Because they're just LinkedIn pages

00:46:55   that no one comes across

00:46:56   and they're not on the executive page.

00:46:58   But I would hope that if this does take off, right,

00:47:01   that Apple really hits something magic

00:47:02   and this just is really successful for them,

00:47:06   that you know what, maybe it's time to have somebody

00:47:08   on that executive page that's over content.

00:47:10   It frees up Eddy Cue to do the other things

00:47:13   he's responsible for, and it gives you an opportunity

00:47:16   to diversify that page and to bring new voices

00:47:18   and new faces into the conversation.

00:47:21   And there's no losing in that.

00:47:23   So hopefully, you know, Apple sees that as an opportunity.

00:47:25   Maybe they experiment and then graduate it

00:47:27   and do its own thing.

00:47:28   Like, that'd be a really interesting thing to see.

00:47:30   You know, some companies would be tempted

00:47:32   to like, spin it out into its own, like, separate,

00:47:34   you know, subsidiary or something

00:47:36   that's not really Apple style anymore,

00:47:37   But creating an organization around this, if it's successful, I think is key.

00:47:41   And not lobbing it into the same team that is doing all this other stuff.

00:47:47   I just hope that there isn't a trend which seems to have been manifesting itself with

00:47:53   Apple's product releases recently.

00:47:56   That there is an element in the executive team of wanting to be celebrities and like

00:48:02   to hobnob with Hollywood.

00:48:05   There have been a lot more celebrity call-outs on stage, people coming on stage, phone calls

00:48:11   being made to people as part of awkward product demos.

00:48:15   Beyond Eddie though, you think? I mean, I feel like we get that a lot with Eddie, but

00:48:19   I'm not sure that the rest of the team does it as much.

00:48:23   You too, man.

00:48:24   You didn't like Drake's cool Apple jacket? That thing was awesome.

00:48:27   Oh, man.

00:48:28   And it's just like, okay, so let's say that Eddie does feel that way. Well, doesn't this

00:48:32   fall under Eddie? This whole initiative, this TV initiative?

00:48:37   I would think so, probably, yeah. So I don't know, like, this is completely unfounded,

00:48:42   right? But it's just like, there seems to have just been more focus on Apple and celebrities,

00:48:49   and I just don't know if this is like another step in that realm?

00:48:54   Frankly, frankly, put Eddie in charge of content and promote someone else to be in charge of

00:49:00   services. Because I don't think anybody has ever felt like Eddie's services division is

00:49:05   necessarily like the one that's...

00:49:08   Well, or that it's really like he's, it's benefiting from his close attention, right?

00:49:13   Like this is the whole issue with iCloud when iCloud was, you know, under services and app

00:49:18   store, right? Like everybody's kind of felt like, uh, is this the right place for this

00:49:22   to be? Especially the app store stuff, I feel like before it got moved to Phil, like everybody

00:49:27   He's like, yeah, really do we want Eddie in charge of this while he's working on like cutting his content deals seems weird

00:49:33   There's no content deals getting cut anymore

00:49:35   Golden State Warriors games. Yeah, he opens calendar app and it's like oh they got nothing to do today

00:49:43   Well, either that or Jimmy's just gone rogue at this point, yeah

00:49:49   Yeah, I have no I have no idea. I don't know maybe I I don't know about all of this

00:49:55   I don't know how I really feel about this. Search your feelings Myke.

00:50:00   You know it to be true. If Apple really are able to create great TV shows, great! I'm

00:50:06   very happy for that. But things are just getting weirder and weirder as the things that I expect.

00:50:12   It's just a strange new world that we're kind of mumbling our way into.

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00:51:43   So having Dan Moran on the show means that we must talk about digital assistant canisters

00:51:48   because Dan Moran is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to voice assistants.

00:51:55   It worries me when you say this, Myke, because it means that if the voice assistants become

00:51:59   homicidal I will be the first to go.

00:52:01   You will be the first to go.

00:52:02   The cautionary tale.

00:52:05   So like, I think that, I mean, of everybody that I knew you were extolling the virtues

00:52:11   of the Amazon Echo way before.

00:52:14   Like you got one of those things pretty early on, right?

00:52:17   Yeah, I think I had, if not one of the original round of them, pretty close.

00:52:22   I think we, I tried to pre-order one.

00:52:24   I think I had one pretty early.

00:52:26   And you also now own a Google Home as well.

00:52:29   I do, I do.

00:52:30   That might have been a mistake, but we'll see.

00:52:33   If they do, now they outnumber me is the problem.

00:52:36   You do too, Stephen, right?

00:52:37   We haven't spent a ton of time talking about it, but you have a Google Home as well.

00:52:42   I do, and I'm curious to hear Dan's thoughts on this, but for me, the Echo was already

00:52:49   so entrenched and hooked up to all these things and set up with all these skills

00:52:53   and in trying to duplicate that on the Google home product proved difficult and

00:52:59   and you know Google's improving it and they're making strides but Amazon has a

00:53:03   head start here and so I kept finding things on the Google home that you know

00:53:09   a were just annoying to set up again or you know didn't quite work the way I

00:53:13   wanted them to but I do have both but like in my office like the the echo is

00:53:19   what's plugged in and in the kitchen as well the the home has not replaced them

00:53:24   yet. Right now the the Google home is next to next to my Echo Dot and

00:53:28   sometimes I will talk to it as opposed to the Echo but I have not definitely

00:53:32   not switched and definitely don't think I'm going to be anytime soon but what is

00:53:37   really interesting is that because Google has access to my calendars and my

00:53:43   contacts and my email that there is you know some more integration stuff there

00:53:48   which is potentially interesting, but for me so far just kind of interesting on

00:53:53   paper that I haven't done much with those sorts of things with my voice and

00:53:58   and maybe just because I've been trained by Amazon that I can't do it by voice

00:54:02   but on paper that's a benefit but in practice at least for me I'm curious

00:54:06   what Dan thinks has not been a game changer. Well yeah if you already have I

00:54:12   think my conclusion after looking at these two things is that the overlap is

00:54:15   very high in terms of what they do right they both let you sort of ask queries

00:54:19   they both can do like certain utility tasks like set timers they can both do

00:54:25   calendar access they can both control some smart home appliances they can both

00:54:30   play music you know like a lot of what they do is very similar and so if you

00:54:34   already have an echo you're probably not in the market for a Google Home if

00:54:37   you're making that decision off the bat well do I want a Google Home or do I

00:54:41   want an Amazon Echo, that becomes a little bit harder and a little bit more about what

00:54:47   your priorities are. And I think right now in most cases the Echo has a leg up because

00:54:52   as Steven said it's got a big head start and there's a lot of stuff that's integrated with

00:54:56   it that is not available on the home yet. I do know one friend of my acquaintance who

00:55:02   opted to buy a Google Home off the bat because the one thing it could do that the Echo could

00:55:06   not was it could do translation so you could ask it how to say a word in a different language.

00:55:13   And specifically he and his wife are raising their son is about one and his wife is from

00:55:19   Taiwan, and so they're trying to teach him both English and Chinese. And so having that

00:55:26   to be able to, especially for him because he is not of Chinese descent, so he doesn't

00:55:30   know Chinese, to be able to ask the Google Home, "How do you say this word in Chinese?"

00:55:34   and have it speak it aloud is pretty cool and pretty handy.

00:55:38   And so, I think there are little use cases like that

00:55:42   that might tip you in one direction or the other.

00:55:45   But right now, both of these are kind of

00:55:48   still in nascent stages.

00:55:49   And Amazon also obviously has this huge advantage

00:55:51   of these skills in terms of third-party development.

00:55:55   And Google so far does not really offer that.

00:55:58   So there isn't a lot of expansion capability right now.

00:56:02   There's no reason that couldn't come later

00:56:04   because there's nothing I would say in the hardware that precludes it, but Google has

00:56:08   not decided to make that choice yet.

00:56:10   Let me come back to skills and services in a minute, because I think that's quite a big

00:56:14   topic.

00:56:15   But the home was interesting to me because it has Google behind it.

00:56:22   And Google has the answer to everything, right?

00:56:25   In theory, you Google it.

00:56:26   That's how we get answers to everything in modern day life.

00:56:29   We put it into Google.

00:56:31   And if I'm correct, Amazon with the Echo uses Bing, I think, for the search.

00:56:38   That sounds right.

00:56:39   Yeah.

00:56:40   So, you know, I mean, I can't speak to how much information Bing has because I don't

00:56:45   know.

00:56:46   But what I know is that it isn't, Google isn't just like a pure search engine.

00:56:49   I mean, we know this.

00:56:51   Google takes some of the questions that you give it and gives you answers that the system

00:56:57   understands as opposed to just looking on the web.

00:57:00   So translation is a great example of that, right?

00:57:02   Like there may be some search engines

00:57:04   where if you typed in like,

00:57:05   how do you say cheese in Romanian?

00:57:10   It might take you to a website

00:57:12   that can give you that answer

00:57:14   where Google is just gonna use Google Translate

00:57:16   and just tell you what it is

00:57:18   and speak it to you if you want, right?

00:57:19   Like, and it will do that on the web.

00:57:21   So I'm wondering, are there more instances like this

00:57:25   where the Google Home is able to give you answers

00:57:28   the questions that the Echo is unable to do?

00:57:31   - In my experience, hard to say because, you know,

00:57:35   as Steven pointed out, one of the problems

00:57:36   with having both of these things is remembering

00:57:38   which thing you're going to address a question to.

00:57:41   And there are definitely times I've tested them back to back.

00:57:44   I feel like I've had ones that they've both failed on

00:57:46   and then I've had ones where I think in general,

00:57:48   it seems like the Google Home does provide,

00:57:52   if not a broader answer to questions,

00:57:55   often a deeper answer to questions

00:57:57   Because, you know, so we've all had those instances

00:57:59   where you search Google for some particular query,

00:58:03   and it'll often not only give you a list of hits,

00:58:06   but it'll give you that little box at the top

00:58:07   where it's like called the relevant section

00:58:09   from like the top hit.

00:58:11   I often do it, and this will just tell you

00:58:13   a bit more about me, I often do it when I'm googling

00:58:16   how long something like food is good,

00:58:18   like oh, how long does like chicken last in my fridge, right?

00:58:21   And it'll like call the first hit and be like,

00:58:24   oh, it says from this site that chicken will last this taste.

00:58:27   And the Google Home will actually read that excerpt aloud.

00:58:30   - See, I find that I ask those sort of questions

00:58:33   to my Echo where I'll say like,

00:58:35   "How long, what temperature is chicken breast cooked at?"

00:58:40   And it can't give me an answer that I want.

00:58:43   But my assumption would be that the Google Home would,

00:58:46   because what I do when the Echo cannot answer that

00:58:49   is open my smartphone, I open my web browser,

00:58:54   I type it in, I type in to go to Google,

00:58:56   I do the search and it does that thing, right,

00:58:58   where it pulls out the box and it's like,

00:59:00   such and such website says it's such and such degree Celsius

00:59:03   and my assumption would be,

00:59:05   as I think you kind of said there, Dan,

00:59:07   is that Google Home will read that back to you,

00:59:11   which is, that's I guess the most useful, you know,

00:59:15   or like, you know what Siri would do,

00:59:16   be like, I found this on the web for you.

00:59:18   - Right, exactly. - No, no, it's not.

00:59:20   What I want is the assistant to speak the answer back to me,

00:59:24   having found it because--

00:59:26   Because if you're asking, using your voice,

00:59:29   there's a reason you're doing that

00:59:30   and not looking at a screen.

00:59:32   You've already made that decision to interact in that way.

00:59:35   So obviously there's a reason behind it.

00:59:37   It's like hands-free in a car, right?

00:59:38   Like don't start showing me,

00:59:40   the iPhone is smart enough in many cases that if it knows,

00:59:42   or at least in the sort of car kit stuff,

00:59:44   if it knows you're asking for something,

00:59:45   you say, "Oh, I'm in a car.

00:59:46   I'm not gonna respond with this.

00:59:47   I'm just gonna like speak it aloud or whatever."

00:59:50   And so that is a win in terms of

00:59:52   voice interactive insistence,

00:59:55   is you really do want it to speak it aloud

00:59:56   because either your hand's deep in your chicken

00:59:59   at that point and you're like,

01:00:01   oh man, my hands are covered with raw chicken.

01:00:02   I don't wanna go Google this on my phone, right?

01:00:05   And so I think that the queries do seem like Google

01:00:09   certainly, it's positioned very well as a device

01:00:12   that's sort of like your answer box, right?

01:00:13   Where it's like, I need the answer to this question.

01:00:15   Let me ask this box.

01:00:16   There are definitely things, you know what,

01:00:19   the thing that befuddles me that I can't figure out

01:00:21   why none of these things do is I often ask to be,

01:00:24   I've often tried, one of my test queries is always,

01:00:26   tell me when the next episode of a specific TV show is on.

01:00:29   And neither of them could do this.

01:00:31   I don't understand why, 'cause I feel like

01:00:32   that data is structured out there somewhere.

01:00:35   There's no way, reason I shouldn't be able to ask,

01:00:36   like, when's the next episode of Arrow on?

01:00:38   And have it just say, oh, it's Wednesday,

01:00:40   January 23rd, or whatever.

01:00:42   Like, that should be totally doable.

01:00:43   But it's possible that it's just like,

01:00:44   it's not getting enough core.

01:00:45   - That feels like one of the things

01:00:46   that Apple was talking a lot about with the Apple TV,

01:00:48   which is about passing that information correctly.

01:00:51   Like, it may be it could do it,

01:00:53   but it doesn't know what Arrow is.

01:00:55   When you're initially asking that question,

01:00:57   it can't work out the answer to that.

01:01:00   - Context.

01:01:01   - Like it doesn't know what that means.

01:01:04   I mean, and that's feels like 90% of the battle, right?

01:01:08   It's understanding what it's searching

01:01:11   or where it's looking for,

01:01:12   or what is the noun in this statement?

01:01:16   - Right, it's all the machine learning stuff

01:01:18   that they've been talking about so much recently

01:01:20   is this is where this comes into play.

01:01:22   How well do you feel, I guess it goes both of you,

01:01:26   how well do you feel these devices hear you?

01:01:30   Do you feel there's any difference there?

01:01:32   Steven, do you think there's any difference

01:01:33   from the Home to the Echo about which device,

01:01:36   not necessarily how it understands you,

01:01:40   but just how well it seems to hear you?

01:01:42   - I think the full-size Echo is probably the best

01:01:47   out of the three.

01:01:48   think the Echo Dot isn't super great. I haven't had widespread problems with the Google Home

01:01:56   by any means, but that full-size Echo, I mean, it can hear me across the house, like, rooms

01:02:03   over with music playing. It's really impressive. By far, I think it's the most impressive out

01:02:10   of any of these, but that doesn't mean that I haven't had any problems with the Google

01:02:13   Home, but the Echo seems to be in a class to itself.

01:02:17   Some of it depends on placement.

01:02:18   I've noticed my Echo's in my kitchen and it's pretty close to the wall.

01:02:23   And I think sometimes it gets weird if, again, this is, again, maybe this will tell you more

01:02:27   about me than anything else, but I'll have something else on the kitchen table that's

01:02:31   of the Echo height, like a box of cereal.

01:02:33   And it just happens to be sitting between me and the Echo.

01:02:35   And I actually find sometimes that interferes with it.

01:02:37   Like if I move it, it will hear me better if I'm calling from someplace where the box

01:02:41   is in between us.

01:02:43   My dot is in my office, and I also have the weird thing where they added a feature to

01:02:49   the echoes where supposedly they can use multiple devices and then will answer on whichever

01:02:54   one they think is appropriate.

01:02:57   And so there's a place in my, I can stand in my living room and both of them can hear

01:03:01   me from there.

01:03:02   And sometimes it makes really weird decisions about that.

01:03:04   Like I'll be in my kitchen asking a question and it will respond on the dot in my office.

01:03:08   And I'm like, I don't know what made you think that was the right answer, but it was not.

01:03:13   So you need a little tweaking on that algorithm.

01:03:16   The home I think has been pretty solid.

01:03:18   I have it, as I'm talking to you right now,

01:03:21   I'm on my iMac, which is my recording setup,

01:03:23   and the home is about four inches from me.

01:03:25   So certainly if I'm sitting at my desk, it's fine.

01:03:28   I've used it sitting in the living room,

01:03:30   which is probably about 10 feet away,

01:03:32   and it's totally fine from there.

01:03:34   My house is not huge, so this is not a big problem

01:03:37   I end up running into.

01:03:38   I think that they're all pretty good.

01:03:40   I would agree with Steven that the full-size Echo

01:03:42   probably has the best. And then the Dot, I don't know, it's fine, it's obviously not

01:03:48   the size as far as the speaker goes, but I think the mics are fairly similar. And then

01:03:54   the Home only has two mics, but it doesn't seem like, it hasn't had any problems for

01:04:00   sure.

01:04:01   I found recently that we've kind of moved things around in the kitchen, and if we have

01:04:08   our like extractor fan on like above the hub like the hood the echo just cannot hear us

01:04:15   like yeah it doesn't like white noise that it's not producing i was standing in front

01:04:20   of it today and shouting at it and the light wasn't even coming on yep so i don't know

01:04:25   if maybe there's like going to be a better place in the kitchen that we need to put it

01:04:28   in but it seems to be getting quite upset at points but it doesn't seem consistent with

01:04:33   that it's very strange you know it's funny it has trouble i often use it while i'm washing

01:04:37   dishes and when you have the water running. Which, if you've watched any classic spy movie,

01:04:43   everybody knows when you want to avoid being detected by bugs you turn the water on! So

01:04:47   apparently that works. Obviously it can correct to a certain degree when it's playing music

01:04:52   because it knows what it's playing, and so I think it does a good job of being able to

01:04:58   respond even when you're playing music. But only if its music is producing. I've also

01:05:02   had instances where I'm playing music from, say, my Sonos, and it does not know about

01:05:07   that, right? So it doesn't like that because it's just getting noise that it can't really,

01:05:12   it can't interpret the difference between a song, you know, playing with lyrics and

01:05:16   me trying to talk to it.

01:05:18   Yeah, um, I just, it's strange, like, there's another thing that we've been, that I've been

01:05:26   trying to do because I feel like that the Echo struggles to hear Adina more than me,

01:05:32   So we wanted to do the voice training, but that's not available in the UK.

01:05:38   So you can't do the voice training of the command words.

01:05:45   I've noticed with the roll out to the UK there are just some weird parts that are missing

01:05:50   on this thing.

01:05:51   Yeah and that's definitely international support is definitely the biggest ding I guess.

01:05:57   I think against both of these.

01:05:58   I'm not sure the Google Home is any better.

01:06:00   anywhere else except the US. Yeah I think it's just the US so yeah they at least

01:06:04   Amazon is trying to expand but it's definitely been a slow rollout. What

01:06:11   about the iOS app? I assume it needs an iOS app the Google Home what is that

01:06:16   like? It is home so it's the same app that it used for I want to say like

01:06:23   Chromecast device management yeah they moved that right it used to have a

01:06:27   a Chromecast app and I think it's now in Google Home.

01:06:30   It's fine, it's obviously very similar in some ways to the Alexa app.

01:06:37   It's got, you know, same sort of thing where it's got breakdowns on like, here's the music

01:06:41   services you want to connect to.

01:06:42   I think it might be a, predominantly a web view.

01:06:45   I think I was reading about this somewhere, somebody was saying if you have, if you're

01:06:49   like trying to use it with an airplane mode or something, it won't, mostly won't work

01:06:53   because everything it's loading is kind of, you know, it's Google.

01:06:56   is kind of a webview. It's fine, it doesn't, it neither blows me away nor disappoints me,

01:07:02   I guess. It's really just like, therefore, setup mostly. It does have some of the same things that

01:07:07   the Amazon app does in terms of like, here's a list of all the queries you've made, you know,

01:07:12   you can remove some of this data if you don't want it stored, here's an overview of devices.

01:07:19   I do like the, the one other feature I really do like about the Google Home, which is true in the

01:07:23   app or you know partially available in the app is you can you can tell it to

01:07:27   output audio or video to a Chromecast and so if you have a Chromecast setup

01:07:33   that's connected to your TV for example you could say open Netflix on my

01:07:37   Chromecast and it'll open Netflix on your Chromecast or play this song on my

01:07:41   audio Chromecast and it will start doing that which is a place I think the echo

01:07:46   has not really gotten into I'm kind of surprised that with the fire TV and fire

01:07:50   TV stick that you can't say to your Echo, "Oh yeah, open the Hulu app on my Fire TV

01:07:56   and it will just do it." Because that seems like a no-brainer to me.

01:07:59   Yeah, especially if for whatever reason they hadn't thought of it, now that they've seen

01:08:04   Google do it, it would be surprising to me if they didn't do it themselves. It just feels

01:08:09   like a good thing to do. Yeah, I agree.

01:08:13   So I feel like I know the answer to this. Would you recommend the Echo now? Would that

01:08:19   be the device that you would recommend over maybe the home?

01:08:23   Yeah, unless there's a really particular reason that you want the Google Home.

01:08:30   Right now it seems like the Echo is definitely ahead, certainly in smart home control things.

01:08:34   I think it's still definitely the undisputed winner.

01:08:38   The only things I will say, and I mentioned this briefly in the story, I wrote on Six

01:08:42   Colors about this.

01:08:43   I actually think that Google's probably done a slightly better than Amazon in terms of

01:08:47   aesthetic design.

01:08:48   I think the Google Home is very nice looking.

01:08:51   It feels less obtrusive to me in terms of like,

01:08:55   it's kind of nondescript, it's sitting down there.

01:08:57   I know there have been plenty of people

01:08:59   who compared it to an air freshener.

01:09:01   Yeah, kind of looks like an air freshener.

01:09:04   But I think it's shorter and squatter than the Echo.

01:09:08   And it looks less gadgety.

01:09:11   It's got those swappable bases

01:09:14   that you can change the colors on.

01:09:15   But like with the default gray one,

01:09:18   It's pretty unobtrusive.

01:09:20   It doesn't really catch the eye.

01:09:21   There are no buttons on top.

01:09:23   The lights are underneath the plastic,

01:09:26   so they don't show up at all unless you say the trigger

01:09:29   word.

01:09:31   And it's really-- I think it blends in very well in a way

01:09:35   that the Echo is a nice piece of-- it's made nicely.

01:09:38   It feels nice.

01:09:39   But it's also very obviously this big monolith

01:09:41   that's sitting there.

01:09:43   And so if you have that sitting in a room,

01:09:46   it draws the eye, right?

01:09:47   It looks like this big wacky gadget thing

01:09:50   And I think that the Google has definitely taken a little more time to think about the design and how it fits into the home

01:09:56   And so again there are people I for whom that will make a difference and they want something that doesn't look as obviously

01:10:01   techy sitting around

01:10:03   And so that's another reason I think that the Google home might be compelling to some people when a place where the echo isn't but

01:10:08   For my money. I definitely still use the echo a lot more

01:10:12   Than the home or maybe one of these moments

01:10:14   I should unplug it and see how far I can get with a Google Home before I get frustrated.

01:10:20   Do you think that that would change if Apple were to build a canister?

01:10:25   I'm super interested to see what that would look like.

01:10:28   My current feeling based on where Siri is right now is I'm not very optimistic about

01:10:33   it because I don't feel that Siri does a good job.

01:10:35   That said, when you're designing for a canister-type product that's purely voice interaction, I

01:10:40   think that they obviously would have to take different design decisions into account because

01:10:44   because it wouldn't just be like, oh yeah, I've done a Google search.

01:10:48   Check your phone, right?

01:10:49   Like, that would be an automatic fail.

01:10:52   So I'm curious to see if they decide to enter that market, what that would look like.

01:10:56   I don't have the biggest hope for it, but I would certainly, because I clearly have

01:11:00   a problem, I would certainly buy it and try it out and see how it compares to the other

01:11:05   competitors in that field.

01:11:07   And I certainly think the big advantage there would be the Apple ecosystem, right?

01:11:10   It can play with all your other devices if you have Apple music it will work with that

01:11:16   I'm sure they would make it look nice. I'm sure it would have good sound and there's advantages in there, right?

01:11:22   There's niches in that market for them to get into

01:11:24   but I don't

01:11:26   This Siri there's a lot of arguments going back and forth about oh, yeah people ding Siri, but it's actually pretty good

01:11:32   my feeling is no, I actually feel like it's good at some things but

01:11:36   The number of things that it's good at is pales in comparison to any of these other things, and that's yeah

01:11:42   I know Phil Schiller just said a thing the other day about

01:11:44   The like it's still the best thing because you've got the voice assistant you have with you

01:11:49   And it's like I don't think that many people use it when they're on the go

01:11:52   I think it makes sense to have in the house because if you're wandering around and want to talk aloud

01:11:57   You don't look like a crazy person and if you're on the street trying to use Siri

01:12:01   To do a bunch of stuff like you know I don't know

01:12:04   We'll talk to people about air pods and how much they use Siri on their air pods

01:12:08   But I feel like there's a higher stigma attached

01:12:10   There's a higher barrier to get people to do that whereas in the privacy of their own hams

01:12:13   People feel perfectly comfortable doing something stupid like talking to a computer

01:12:17   Yeah, no. I think I think that's I think that's totally fair and and I agree that

01:12:23   Apple's service

01:12:26   Need would need to make progress

01:12:28   So just sticking it in a canister is not enough to to make a super compelling product at this point

01:12:33   At least for those of us who have gotten used to what Amazon and others are doing. So I guess we'll see

01:12:39   the

01:12:41   you know

01:12:42   For me, I think the the end of this conversation is that all of these products can be better like as good as the echo

01:12:50   Is and as Amazon services are?

01:12:52   As flexible as Google's, you know potentially could be there

01:12:55   It's still early days, right?

01:12:57   And I don't think Apple's missed the boat yet,

01:12:59   but I would expect if they enter the market

01:13:02   for them to make a big push in improving their service.

01:13:07   And that's something that it's weird for Apple

01:13:09   because they've been doing it longer, right?

01:13:11   That Siri has been around for years and years now,

01:13:15   and Amazon is new to the game,

01:13:16   but they started from a very different place,

01:13:20   and I think there's room for all of them

01:13:22   to improve and change.

01:13:23   So I don't think this is done yet.

01:13:24   I think this is sort of the first round,

01:13:26   and as these things improve,

01:13:29   and as Amazon and Google introduce new things

01:13:33   their canisters can do,

01:13:34   and then ultimately new hardware,

01:13:35   like the Echo's probably due for a hardware update

01:13:37   at some point, that that stuff will change and evolve.

01:13:40   And I think the ground may shift a little bit.

01:13:42   - There was one, Lucinda, I didn't cover,

01:13:46   Dan was the question I wanted to ask before we kinda move on,

01:13:49   was about the integrations and the services.

01:13:52   Because obviously, one of the things

01:13:54   makes the Echo line great is that they have all the skills.

01:13:58   My understanding is that Google are working on this but don't have stuff yet or have very

01:14:02   limited, is that right?

01:14:04   I haven't seen anything specifically, just looking at the Google app, I don't think there

01:14:09   is like a open, it's kind of like the old Apple TV and it seems like Google's made some

01:14:15   partnerships obviously with certain things.

01:14:19   They do have a bridge because there is some IFTTT access so you can control some things

01:14:27   that are not directly controllable.

01:14:29   But if anybody's used that on the Echo, you've found that that's often a subpar experience

01:14:33   to the direct integration skills.

01:14:37   Right now, I don't think there is anything, I'm just looking, I don't think there's anything

01:14:40   that's actually available beyond the stuff that's like the Play Netflix thing I just

01:14:44   mentioned which is clearly Netflix had to do something in order for that to work or

01:14:48   maybe that's all curbcast I'm not actually sure but yeah it's not it's

01:14:51   certainly not the open development community that we're used to from say

01:14:54   iOS and the echo has thousands of skills I think available now it's kind of

01:14:58   ridiculous a lot of them are silly but you know it obviously people are

01:15:03   building actively building stuff for it I'm sure Google will do that I'm sure

01:15:06   they will there's no reason for them not to and it unlocks the ability to a lot

01:15:11   more things so and Google has no problem making partnerships with other companies

01:15:16   or having a developer ecosystem,

01:15:17   they know how to do all of that.

01:15:19   So I think that's just a matter of time.

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01:18:09   Steven, take us down memory lane.

01:18:13   That's what I do best.

01:18:14   That's what you're known for.

01:18:17   So I wrote a thing on Mac stories this week about the Mac Mini looking back at the original

01:18:25   introduction of that G4 machine and then the move to Intel and then the new body style

01:18:31   And it was really a machine that was built to lure switchers to the platform.

01:18:39   Apple had the switchers ad campaign, which had a lot of funny videos in it.

01:18:45   This was after that, but it was $499.

01:18:47   It was the cheapest Mac ever made.

01:18:50   This is the lowest cost Mac to date.

01:18:54   Far lower than anything else that was available at the time or even historically.

01:18:59   And to do so, you know, this was the G5 era,

01:19:01   they put a G4 in it, they put a combo drive in it,

01:19:03   it was low respect, but it was still a plenty powerful

01:19:08   computer to run things like iLife and iWork

01:19:10   and you know, those applications that really defined

01:19:13   that decade.

01:19:15   And because it was only 500 bucks,

01:19:17   you could just basically plug in all your PC stuff to it

01:19:19   that you're displaying keyboard and mouse

01:19:21   and be up and running on a Mac very easily,

01:19:23   you didn't have to replace the rest of your setup.

01:19:26   And over time, I think the Mac community strayed from that

01:19:30   a little bit, I think it was a successful machine

01:19:34   in the regards of bringing people to the Mac

01:19:36   for the first time, but people started putting them

01:19:38   in entertainment centers and started running them

01:19:42   as servers and putting them in cars.

01:19:45   There's like this whole interesting subculture of nerds

01:19:48   there for a minute that maybe Dan remembers.

01:19:51   I remember very distinctly someone,

01:19:53   I think it was in a DeLorean?

01:19:56   - It's like a projector, because the hoods open

01:20:00   from the front, there are hinges at the front,

01:20:02   so you could pop the screen up,

01:20:04   or pop the hood and have a screen on it,

01:20:08   all sorts of crazy stuff.

01:20:09   Anyways, slowly Apple evolved the Mac Mini,

01:20:14   I think, to better reflect that,

01:20:16   so that adding things like front row,

01:20:18   which was basically the first-gen Apple TV interface

01:20:20   with the remote, it ran on iMacs as well,

01:20:22   and Macbooks and stuff, to control your music

01:20:25   and TV shows and stuff from across the room,

01:20:28   adding things like HDMI to it once they

01:20:31   kind of reformed it with a unibody case.

01:20:35   They even had a server version.

01:20:37   So in writing this, I'd forgotten the 2009 server existed,

01:20:41   so it's like the original case,

01:20:43   but no optical drive and two hard drives.

01:20:46   So I just have a screenshot of that

01:20:47   because I couldn't find one in time for my deadline, but--

01:20:50   - Did that crush you?

01:20:52   - It definitely hurt my heart a little bit.

01:20:54   Federico's like, "My photos are going to be incomplete," and he told me to grow up.

01:20:58   So he's like, "I really don't care."

01:21:00   Yeah, yeah.

01:21:01   He's like, "Oh, okay."

01:21:02   There was also a moment when looking through the pictures where I was like, "Oh no, he's

01:21:07   included the same photo twice."

01:21:09   But then you go into detail to explain the minuscule difference between one of the Mac

01:21:15   Mini models and another one, because it had an IR pull, I assume, for front row, right?

01:21:19   For front row.

01:21:20   So you know Apple slowly changed the Mac Mini and has evolved it right up until 2014 when

01:21:27   they ruined it.

01:21:28   And the...

01:21:29   Why don't you say how you really feel buddy?

01:21:32   Yeah, I was, I took the gloves off in this.

01:21:34   So the unibody design had a very simple plastic bottom.

01:21:39   You could just like twist it and have access to the RAM and even though it wasn't user

01:21:43   serviceable it was pretty easy to replace the hard drive.

01:21:46   The 2011, 2012 machines, you could add a second hard drive if you wanted to.

01:21:51   Again, you had to get in there and have tools and stuff.

01:21:56   It wasn't like clip it in and go, but it was doable.

01:21:59   In 2014, they left the door, but instead of seeing your memory, it's just a sheet of metal.

01:22:05   I don't even know why the door comes off anymore.

01:22:08   It's really insulting, honestly.

01:22:09   So you can hide things in there.

01:22:11   It's like a little secret place.

01:22:12   I guess.

01:22:13   - Those books when you carve out a book

01:22:14   and you put like a gun in it, I mean,

01:22:16   I hear people do that, that's the thing.

01:22:18   - Don't hang out at Dan's house.

01:22:20   - Those voice assistants are, I'm starting to hear them,

01:22:23   even when they're not on.

01:22:25   - They also got rid, and this is pretty well known,

01:22:27   they got rid of the quad core model.

01:22:30   The 2014s are all dual core, so not as powerful.

01:22:32   And they got the price back down to $499

01:22:36   for the 2014 models, but they could've left

01:22:38   the other stuff in place, or at least had

01:22:40   as a build to order option.

01:22:42   So a lot of people, including me, have old Mac Minis.

01:22:46   So I have one at home that we use in our entertainment center.

01:22:51   We have an Apple TV, but the Mac Mini's plugged into

01:22:53   the television as well, mostly for DVD playback for the kids,

01:22:57   but also if we need to watch something

01:23:00   that the Apple TV doesn't have accessible.

01:23:02   And it is the iTunes server through a Drobo

01:23:07   and like file serving and stuff in the house.

01:23:09   And then the second one is a quad core model

01:23:11   that Relay FM owns that is at Mac Stadium,

01:23:14   that if you are listening live right now in our app

01:23:16   or on the web, you're hearing me via that many,

01:23:19   that many runs, open source software called Icecast

01:23:22   that is our streaming server.

01:23:24   And both machines have SSDs, both have as much RAM

01:23:29   as you would take, the one at home actually have more RAM

01:23:31   than Apple says it will support, and it totally works fine.

01:23:34   But they're six years old, and I have two critical machines

01:23:39   in my life that are six years old,

01:23:42   that they still run Sierra, but at some point

01:23:45   you know they're not gonna run the newest Mac OS.

01:23:48   And that's kind of a bummer because I don't want

01:23:50   a new Mac Mini that they sell now.

01:23:51   A, it's not new anymore, and B, it's worse.

01:23:55   So it's really frustrating, and I was curious

01:23:58   about the two of y'all.

01:23:59   I know Myke, you had a Mac Mini for a long time,

01:24:02   but kind of what your experience with this computer

01:24:06   has been and how you feel about it now.

01:24:09   I ran a Mac Mini for years. When I kind of started my podcasting career, I was doing

01:24:18   it all on an 11 inch MacBook Air. And then I moved to a Mac Mini because what I ideally

01:24:26   wanted to do was to have one monitor that I could use for my Mac and for my games console

01:24:32   at the time so I was able to do that with a Mac Mini. I then went from that Mac Mini

01:24:40   to a Mac Pro, that Mac Pro, which was a bane of my existence before I moved to the iMac.

01:24:47   But the Mac Mini lasted for a long time, it had a spinning hard drive in it. That thing

01:24:52   got me through some serious times, you know like, it was a really good machine. Like Relay

01:24:59   I think the day a fan was started on that Mac Mini, believe it or not.

01:25:03   I had a MacBook Pro that I had as well, but all of the recording happened on the Mini.

01:25:07   The Mini was a separate device that I used just as a production machine.

01:25:14   It worked really well.

01:25:16   Those things are workhorses.

01:25:17   And it is a shame to see them at a place now where they are kind of fallen by the wayside.

01:25:26   Well, not kind of, they have.

01:25:28   But I feel like the Mac Mini has always been like that.

01:25:32   Like for as long as I can remember it,

01:25:34   like it is a product that has always just had

01:25:37   like life snatched from the jaws of death.

01:25:40   It feels like it's just about to go.

01:25:43   It is older than it's ever been

01:25:44   and they're like, "Here's a new one!"

01:25:46   Even though, you know, maybe it takes away

01:25:47   the user serviceable parts that Steven desires.

01:25:51   - It's not just me.

01:25:52   So yeah, so like the mid-27 model,

01:25:55   the mid-2007 model was on sale for like 19 months and I remember articles at the

01:25:59   time of like the Mac Mini's dead like it's going away and then the 2012 one

01:26:04   was for sale for almost two years and again people said it's almost dead it's

01:26:08   going away something happened to the Mac Pro right before the 2012 model maybe

01:26:14   there was a there was a big gap and but now the Mac Pro is longer than the

01:26:19   previous longest gap and the same thing with the same thing with the Mac Mini

01:26:23   that there have been big quiet periods in this life but we're now in the biggest

01:26:29   one. So yeah I mean you're right and I think I think you know you saying hey

01:26:35   you know I use it as a production machine I started my business on it like

01:26:38   that really proves the flexibility of this computer that you can buy the cheap

01:26:42   one and you know if you just need the cheapest Mac or just a really basic

01:26:46   computer for a family member buy the cheap one you know put in their office

01:26:51   and it's gonna be fine.

01:26:52   But if you upgrade the RAM or put an SSD in it,

01:26:56   or even if you don't, you can hook a bunch of stuff up to it

01:26:59   and it's a really powerful system.

01:27:02   You know, I went and opted for an iMac when I built my office

01:27:05   but had the budget not been what it was

01:27:09   and had the Mac Mini been something that I was interested in,

01:27:12   I could have done that.

01:27:13   I could have gotten a loaded Mac Mini and external display

01:27:15   and probably would have been fine

01:27:17   for the vast majority of my work.

01:27:19   It really scales nicely.

01:27:22   And that's kind of what I want them to return to.

01:27:26   But Dan, if I remember correctly,

01:27:28   you're on an iMac at home, right?

01:27:30   You're not using a Mac Mini?

01:27:32   I do have a Mac Mini, actually.

01:27:33   In addition to my iMac.

01:27:34   Secret Mac Mini.

01:27:36   It's not secret.

01:27:36   It's hidden inside of a hollowed out iMac.

01:27:38   [LAUGHTER]

01:27:41   Which is itself in a classic Mac that I turned into an aquarium.

01:27:45   I have one hooked up to my TV.

01:27:48   I have for many years.

01:27:49   That's the second one it is. I was just looking it up because I was curious trying to remember what era it was it is a

01:27:54   late 2012

01:27:57   So no optical drive, but you can upgrade the RAM

01:28:01   it's the second one the first one was a

01:28:04   One of the early hammer for the core doors of course, oh, I think it's a core duo

01:28:09   It was a leftover for one of the macworld labs

01:28:11   And that was sort of my first attempt at that and I pulled that one apart many times to do some upgrades with the old

01:28:15   Putty knife trick oh, yeah, so I yeah that one was

01:28:19   it's terrifying every time you open that thing and I think I bent several of the clips.

01:28:24   The mid to, or the 2012 model I have, I have also upgraded within the last year following

01:28:31   the iFixit guides, I put in an SSD and built my own fusion drive.

01:28:40   And that's a fun upgrade because you, the hard drive brackets, so in that model there's

01:28:46   There's a hard drive bracket that will accept a second hard drive.

01:28:49   Like there's just an empty space there.

01:28:51   But in order to get to it, it's at the top of the machine and since you access the machine

01:28:56   through the bottom, you literally have to pull everything out of the case in order to

01:29:00   get to it.

01:29:02   And that's a little bit nerve-wracking at times because it means unscrewing and disconnecting

01:29:06   a lot of little wires.

01:29:07   And I know when Jason Snell did his, he broke the IR cable, which, eh, you know, not a big

01:29:12   deal who uses the IR cable that much.

01:29:15   I definitely had problems when putting it back together and trying to get things in the right order and plug things in the right places

01:29:20   And I had to like nope didn't quite do that right and had to like take it apart and put it back together again

01:29:25   But I really love my Mac Mini. It is basically always on it is connected to my TV

01:29:30   It hosts a Plex server it ho it runs OS 10 server

01:29:35   And I have a VPN or a setup on it a VPN server

01:29:40   It's screen sharing accessible from anywhere like it's basically like my Gateway computer like when I'm away

01:29:46   And I need to get into my home network. I could sort of use that to get into my home network

01:29:51   You know it runs a lot of others tasks and servers that need to be always on

01:29:55   And I really I really like it. I love it as a computer

01:30:00   I agree that they really have crippled it over the years by

01:30:04   Taking out the ability to upgrade the RAM and by making the hard drive a lot harder to access and yes

01:30:09   They've done this in order to make it smaller and slimmer and all that stuff

01:30:12   But you know for the people who are buying Mac minis most of us we like to have a little bit of customization

01:30:18   I love that you know upgrading from the

01:30:21   HDMI to the HDMI port and the new model was a big draw for me because in the old one I had oh god I

01:30:26   Had some crazy daisy chain to get from DVI

01:30:28   There was some weird bug with my old Samsung TV

01:30:33   where I actually needed to like it needed to be like

01:30:36   Translating it into analog and then back into digital or something insane like through a DVI to VGA because otherwise the signal would come through

01:30:42   Crazy corrupted and so I had this hilarious daisy chain of like three adapters to plug it into my TV

01:30:49   Yeah

01:30:49   And that was back when I was actually like watching stuff in on the on the Mac mini

01:30:54   Rather than just using the Mac mini as a server because now there's like a Plex app for the Apple TV so I can do

01:30:58   that from there, but it's also like my canonical server storage so like

01:31:03   Photos is on there and downloads all of the originals of my like everything from my photos

01:31:08   Like the iCloud photo library my entire iTunes library is hosted on there because that's like my backup

01:31:13   old files I archive there so it's like it is my machine in the house where it's like

01:31:19   Yeah, I could if my iMac exploded tomorrow that would inconvenience me

01:31:25   But it wouldn't be like I've lost all my data if the Mac Mini exploded

01:31:28   I mean, obviously it's backed up in a number of places,

01:31:31   but like that is a important computer for me.

01:31:33   - Yeah, and you know, looking forward,

01:31:38   it would be great, like I have two thoughts,

01:31:40   like it would be great for Apple to take the Mac mini

01:31:43   and to like reinvent it.

01:31:45   And you know, the design that we have today

01:31:47   was based around the optical drive,

01:31:49   which lasted exactly one generation in the new case.

01:31:52   And then they removed it.

01:31:53   It's like, it is the size that it is

01:31:55   because of the optical drive.

01:31:56   And it's not even using,

01:31:58   you know if you get an SSD one or a fusion drive you know it's using the the

01:32:01   PCIe storage like it's it's imaginable to see a future machine that is much

01:32:07   smaller and you know runs even cooler and you know you can put under a TV and

01:32:13   no one ever notice like an Apple TV sized Mac yeah it'd be really

01:32:16   interesting but what I really want is for them to kind of return it to the

01:32:22   glory days of like the 2011 2012 Mac minis like even if you're gonna keep the

01:32:27   same design like yet silly but like if that if that's the trade-off like keep

01:32:31   the same design give us quad core options give us the ability to upgrade

01:32:34   the RAM and you know a lot of that would not be possible if they shrink it down

01:32:39   to like a you know a MacBook style system so I'm fine with it being the

01:32:44   size that it is but restore the functionality that so many people wanted

01:32:48   that if you want to buy a bone stock $500 Mac it's cheap it's great it does

01:32:53   gets the job done. But if you want to spend more money or you need more power, then like

01:32:59   give those people the option to and like you can have it both ways because Apple had it

01:33:04   for both ways for years. Like it's not it's not like new ground, right? All I'm asking

01:33:08   is to go back to the ground that we were on and there's no need to make it thin. There's

01:33:13   no need to trade out all the ports for USB C, although I'm sure they would do that. Leave

01:33:17   HDMI, leave these other things so you can use it in an entertainment center. But I'm

01:33:21   just nervous about it.

01:33:22   And we call it the new Mac Pro. Yeah, I mean, I mean there's that there's that angle too, right?

01:33:28   Like if if the two headless desktop Macs

01:33:31   condense into one machine

01:33:33   I think that would be harder to serve both markets

01:33:36   You can't serve the $500 Mac market and the pro market in one box

01:33:40   Unless it's something totally different from the Mac mini and the Mac Pro as we know today

01:33:45   But it's also I guess that's also an alternative right that they have sort of one system

01:33:50   that's really flexible and really wide-ranging, but that just doesn't seem like the Apple

01:33:54   we know today.

01:33:55   Yeah, it seems unlikely.

01:33:58   I mean, the same things people are saying about the Mac Pro, right?

01:34:01   They apply to the Mac Mini as well.

01:34:04   And the question is, are those of us who feel strongly about that enough of a voice to make

01:34:10   Apple change its tune?

01:34:13   And a large part of me thinks, well, maybe not.

01:34:16   But at the same time the Mac is a lot smaller market than the iPhone and there are a lot of people in the Mac market

01:34:22   Who do crave some sort of machine that is more easily?

01:34:26   Tinkerable and if the Mac Mini is indeed only a portion of that market like once again

01:34:32   I feel like there is a your percentage gets louder and louder as you shrink the you know the audience of the product

01:34:38   And so I feel like for the pro especially which is obviously I think tends to be a fairly small audience obviously

01:34:46   That's more appealing to have a device that fits the needs of that voice of that of that slice of the audience because they are

01:34:52   a larger and larger voice

01:34:53   So for the mini, I'm a big fan of it

01:34:56   I don't know what will happen when I eventually I don't think mine's even running Sierra yet because I it's always the last computer that

01:35:01   I upgrade

01:35:02   Because it's so critical to a lot of stuff in the in the house

01:35:04   and so you know eventually there will come a time where it doesn't run the newest operating system and

01:35:10   Yeah, I guess I'll have to make some choices at that point as to whether or not it is

01:35:15   You know needs to be retired. I mean a lot of the stuff that it does could be done by an NAS

01:35:20   That's a possibility but some of the stuff cannot be duplicated by that and so you see some of the interesting concepts, too

01:35:28   There's a article I read a few weeks ago about Intel making these tiny tiny computers

01:35:33   that are essentially upgradeable by they kind of do what uh

01:35:35   What Apple did with the Apple watch in that the you know with the s1 where it's like all in one module

01:35:41   And so Intel has been like talking about these computers that are essentially

01:35:45   You can just swap out a module and like get new guts for the computer

01:35:49   And it's like well, you know, there's something interesting in ideas like that, but clearly you can make a computer that is very very small

01:35:55   You know, so there's an interesting application that it might not be what the everybody in the Mac Mini wants

01:36:01   But it might have some advantages for some of those some people who are looking for those things

01:36:05   So are there multiple products here?

01:36:07   I don't know, but I'm I'm not holding that hope that it's gonna survive much longer along with the Mac Pro and we might see those

01:36:13   both

01:36:14   You know die off within the next couple years or Apple might surprise us as it seems to constantly do and be like you know

01:36:19   What we do have new versions. Here you go. What do you think Apple sell more of the Mac Pro or the Mac Mini?

01:36:24   Minis cheaper, I would think they sell more just by

01:36:27   volume I would think many as well and

01:36:30   Pro users know that the Mac Pro is not a good machine like people switching to the Mac. No one's buying it now

01:36:37   Yeah, or just needing a cheap computer. No don't know or care the Mac mini is just as old

01:36:42   So I'm sure the iMac outsell both of them put together sure. Oh, yeah, and and they're all you know

01:36:47   Whatever it is 10 15 percent of the overall Mac market where everyone's buying Mac books and MacBook pros and MacBook errors Mac mini, man

01:36:54   Rest in peace, buddy. You keep keeping on Steven

01:36:57   Go find that go find that one that you're looking for

01:37:00   Yeah, if when they come for his Mac minis, he'll be in a fort that he's built out of them. It's a tiny adorable for it

01:37:06   Dan Morin, thank you so much for joining us today and filling in for Federico who is on

01:37:12   vacation. We're expecting Federico to come back next week, who knows, he may stay on

01:37:17   vacation. Dan, where can people find you? Where can they get in touch? Where can they

01:37:21   engage with the Morin brand? Oh, the brand. The brand is big. The brand

01:37:26   is getting bigger. I am @dmorin on Twitter. I'm of course writing over at Six Colors and

01:37:31   weekly at Macworld. I'm on Clockwise here on this Verifying Network, also on the Rebound

01:37:37   tech podcast with John Moltz, Lex Friedman, The Incomparable, tons of other places, my

01:37:41   personal website's dmoran.com. I'll pimp my first novel comes out in a few months. Pimping

01:37:47   that. So keep your eyes open.

01:37:49   Why can people find out more about that?

01:37:52   Right now, my website's probably the best place. There'll probably be more stuff coming

01:37:56   down the pike in the next month or so as that all gets squared away. But yeah, follow me

01:38:02   on Twitter too and you'll get the latest straight from the horse's mouth.

01:38:06   Alright, if you want to find Steven online you can go to firetopexels.net. Of course he

01:38:12   writes his monthly column for Fedorico at Macstories as well. You can find things about

01:38:18   old computers. That's the place where Steven writes stuff about old computers. You get

01:38:21   all

01:38:41   you want to go to Twitter and follow me there you can. Thanks again to our sponsors this

01:38:46   week the fine folk over at Eero, the lovely people at Encapsula and the fine ladies and

01:38:53   gentlemen at Blue Apron. Thank you for listening and we'll be back next time. Until then, say

01:38:59   goodbye guys. Goodbye. Adios.