471: A Technological 23rd Century Star Trek Thing


00:00:00   [Intro]

00:00:09   From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode 471. Today's show is brought to you by Squarespace, Vitally, and Ooni Pizza Ovens.

00:00:18   My name is Mike Hurley and I have the pleasure as always of being joined by Jason Snow. Hi, Jason Snow.

00:00:24   Hi, Mike Hurley, how are you?

00:00:25   Summer of fun!

00:00:27   Summer of fun!

00:00:28   Welcome back to the Summer of Fun! I'm gonna start out today's episode of a Snow Talk question that comes from Martin, who wants to know,

00:00:37   "When you're listening to a new album, do you shuffle for playback or listen in the order that the artist intended?"

00:00:45   How dare you, Martin?

00:00:46   Yeah, I'm flabbergasted by this question.

00:00:48   How dare you!

00:00:51   Do I shuffle? Okay, back in the era- okay, kids, pull up a chair while Grandpa tells you a story.

00:00:55   Back in the CD era, the compact disc era, when we put little plastic discs into devices in order to listen to music, before we had the iPod.

00:01:05   You may remember them as the thing you used to stick into your computer to rip, mix, burn, and put on an iPod.

00:01:12   But originally, back in the day, there was no iPod, and you just listened on a CD player to the music on the compact disc.

00:01:23   In this era, there was a shuffle button. And you know what? After you listen- and so you listen, follow me here, to one album at a time.

00:01:32   One album at a time. If you're very lucky, you had like a CD changer, and what that meant is you could put like five discs in, and it would shuffle between them.

00:01:40   Yep.

00:01:41   And you could- or play straight through, but you could shuffle between them. So you could have like a song from one disc, and then the next song would be from another disc.

00:01:47   Usually accompanied by the sound of a mechanism-

00:01:49   I was gonna say, was there like a delay as well between the songs?

00:01:53   Yes. And the sound of the discs moving around.

00:01:57   So it's like you always know you're gonna get something from another album because you hear the thing going off?

00:02:02   Absolutely. But if it's a five disc changer or a six disc changer, you don't know which one. But yes, absolutely. And there's a gap between them.

00:02:09   And oh, those were the days. Anyway, now that I've explained that, so I'll say when you're listening to a disc in the disc era, you might eventually say, "Ah, let's just take this- let's shuffle it. Just do something different."

00:02:23   Because everything you ever did was listen to things linearly. However, in the digital music era, in the era of playlists, I always shuffle playlists. Almost always.

00:02:35   Unless there's a playlist that I've carefully curated to go in a specific order. There are a lot of rules. That's a reference. Then I will shuffle it.

00:02:45   So unless you will play this beginning to end and it'll blow your mind, okay. But otherwise, I'll shuffle those playlists. Playlists, I just throw songs in them and I'm like, "It's a big bucket of songs I like, of a certain kind matching a certain characteristic."

00:02:57   And then boom, shuffle, it's great. I'm gonna listen to an album. I'm actually gonna go to the trouble of navigating to a specific album. I'm gonna play it, start to finish, in order without shuffling.

00:03:10   In fact, I filed a bug at some point, and I don't know if they actually fixed it or not, but I filed a bug at some point where the music app, if you had shuffle turned on and you pressed play on an album cover, it shuffled the album.

00:03:25   And I said, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Do not do that."

00:03:29   Because it treats it as a second, like as a, like, no, this is permanent across everything. Unless you, because there are buttons that play and shuffle, right?

00:03:38   And if you press shuffle, it will just do it for that one thing, whether it's a playlist or an album. But if you turn shuffle on in the little, like, in the actual UI, like where you also see repeat and stuff like that, I think shuffle just remains on.

00:03:52   Yeah, and I feel like if you're specifically looking at an album, and you've got the options of play and shuffle, play should play straight through, always. Shuffle should shuffle, always, right? Like, that's regardless.

00:04:07   Anyway, my point is, in this era where everything is shuffled in playlists, if I listen, if I actually pick out an album to listen to, I don't want to shuffle it. I want to play it straight through.

00:04:17   Otherwise, I'll just listen to a shuffled playlist. But I can't, unless there was some album that, like, literally didn't matter, but that's like the point of an album, is that it's a collection of songs put in a specific sequence for a reason, and so I would prefer to listen to that in that order if I'm listening to an album. So, there.

00:04:36   So, I am trying to check if this, what this, so I'm going to shuffle an album, I've just shuffled an album here, right? Now I'm going to go to another album, I'm going to press play on that album, and then we're going to see what it does. Press play on the other album, and it hasn't shuffled it, so they have fixed that issue that you've had.

00:04:57   That's the right way to do it, right? Play implies strongly, don't shuffle this, right? Yes, exactly. Yeah, I just confirmed that here, too, that I had it in shuffle mode, but when I press the play button, the shuffle mode actually comes off.

00:05:10   Yes, which is, I think that's good. I think that's a good way to do it. So, I will say, what I'm going to say is, the thing for me, of Martin's question, that I think is wild, is a new album. When listening to a new album, do you shuffle?

00:05:21   Oh, a new album? That's even more monstrous. I didn't even notice that. That is even worse.

00:05:27   Because I don't know why you would do that. The artist has dictated like a list, a record, like a listening, you know, but what I do...

00:05:34   Did you know, did you know that at one point Prince released an album on CD, and the entire album, or like maybe both sides of the record or whatever, was one track?

00:05:46   And that was so nobody could shuffle it. You had to play it straight through, which was really annoying, actually. But also I think it sends the message, right? Which is, "No, no, no, no, no, listen to it the way the artist intended."

00:05:59   But here's my personal asterisk on this, right? So, I always listen in order, right? Because I think that's the way you're supposed to do it. But if I've become like really familiar with an album, like I've listened to it a ton of times, I may start shuffling the track so I learn some of the late attracts more.

00:06:15   Because I find that like typically I end up learning like the first half of the album really well, but the latter half not so well.

00:06:24   You don't always get to it.

00:06:25   Exactly. So then I'll start like, "If it's an album that I love and I want to make sure I know all of it, then I will start shuffling it on occasion to make sure I get a lot of the album."

00:06:34   But that's after I really know the album is when I will make that.

00:06:38   Right. That's what I was saying. That is essentially the same effect as what I was saying about CDs, where after you've listened to it for a while, maybe you listen to it shuffled to change it up.

00:06:49   And yeah, you'll hear the ones at the end more, and you will also, it'll juxtapose the songs in interesting ways, but like that's like going back to a book you've read and reading a section of it that you really liked or you think you want to think about again.

00:07:04   But you read the book. And so listening to a new album, like, you know, listen to it in the order the artist intended. Yes, absolutely. 100%.

00:07:13   Even if you just, even if you change it later. I'll also, Mike, here's another thing I'll do. I will uncheck or remove, depending on where the, what the music source is, tracks from albums eventually, right?

00:07:25   Where I'm like, I don't like the song and I'll just remove it. And then I'll listen to the album with some of the intended tracks not there, but only after I've decided that, no, I skip this every time. This is not for me. This, this track's going to go.

00:07:37   Yeah. Cause it's like some, sometimes it's like a music, like a skit in an album and it's like, I don't need this. Right? Like, I appreciate what you're trying to do here, but like this 15 seconds skit in the album is not exciting to me.

00:07:50   So cut it out. Cut it out. Thank you so much. You can listen, by the way, you know, we have chapters on this show. You can listen to them and shuffle if you like.

00:07:58   Shuffle them. Oh man, summer of fun.

00:08:00   Let me know. All right, listeners, do any podcast apps do this? Did they let you rearrange by chapter?

00:08:08   Mike, I'm telling you, we need to do an episode where we shuffle the chapters afterward. Oh, wouldn't that be terrible?

00:08:15   Jason, write it down. Write it down.

00:08:17   Okay. I'm writing this down. Because we did this thing on connected once where we had a bunch of topics and Steven rolled the dice and it was a disaster, but we knew it was happening in real time.

00:08:26   The difference here would be we wouldn't know till afterwards, right? Like we wouldn't know.

00:08:31   Exactly. We would shuffle the show afterward and we can shuffle it differently for the, for the upgrade plus.

00:08:35   Oh, I like it. I like it. Write that down. That's going to be, we'll do that at some point in the summer, I think.

00:08:39   But I know that there are some apps that let you like untick like certain chapters when you want to listen to them, which breaks my heart, but I understand that everyone wants to listen to everything.

00:08:51   But the idea of shuffling, it's like a whole different thing. If any app does this, let us know. Go to upgradefeedback.com, write in.

00:09:01   And that's where you can also write in with your snow talk question if you have anything as monstrous like Martin. Martin, thank you very much. Hope you're a good sport.

00:09:08   Appreciate your question. Jason, I have some equally, I think, unhinged follow up.

00:09:13   Oh boy. Okay. Let's do it.

00:09:16   This is one of the greatest pieces of follow up I've ever received. Okay.

00:09:20   So on last week's episode, we had an ask upgrade question written in from Mustafa who was asking,

00:09:30   how would it be possible for Apple to know if someone was to leak information about the Vision Pro, either the headset or the like developer labs or whatever.

00:09:40   Remember that? We're like, how would they even know? And we were kind of like talking about, well, they kind of isn't unless they've tried to trick you. Right.

00:09:48   I got this written in from another person called Mustafa who says, in the latest episode, you speak about a certain Mustafa and some people are sending me a clip of that recording thinking it's me.

00:09:59   And a certain somebody called me asking whether it was me. I have a lab appointment for the discuss hardware and it's being mistaken for me.

00:10:07   I know they shouldn't assume it's me, but not a lot of Mustafas are active in the community.

00:10:12   So they think it's me. Any chance you have the ability to clear my name? Incredible.

00:10:22   There's different spellings, right? Is that what I'm picking up here? Although they're both Mustafa, they are differently spelled?

00:10:30   Last week, the person who wrote in, this was via the upgrade feedback form, spelled their name PHA. And this week it's spelled differently.

00:10:42   I figure maybe I won't give all of the letters right for everybody, but there are these names spelled differently. I have no other way of confirming this information, right?

00:10:53   Mike, I just want to say nobody at the upgrade program is liable for these people's identities.

00:11:00   But what I will say is that this person wrote in, their name is spelled one way, another person wrote in, their name is spelled another way, and they seem to be quite concerned.

00:11:12   They were both sent in via the feedback form. I delete the things out of the feedback form so I have no more information than that.

00:11:19   But this was just one of these things to me. I read it and I was like, "Oh man, I feel bad for you, but also this is very funny to me."

00:11:27   It's just a thing happening like this. It's just Ask Upgrade, man. There's nothing more than that.

00:11:33   So anyway, attention, Apple Global Hardware Security team who is monitoring this either by listening or probably through some sort of AI flag.

00:11:42   Should I say things to get them to pay attention to this? Secret Apple Vision Pro leak hardware information.

00:11:49   Okay, now that you're listening, I will say please pay attention. There's two ways to spell, at least two ways to spell Mustafa and last time's Mustafa isn't the Mustafa you were thinking of probably, as far as we know.

00:12:01   This is not the Mustafa you were looking for.

00:12:03   Exactly.

00:12:04   I also have more LOL emoji suggestion follow up just because this one is a perfect mixture of a few things. So people will probably remember by now that there is an issue with the emoji suggestions when you type LOL on the iOS 17 keyboard.

00:12:21   Juan wrote in, "On the Spanish keyboard, one of the LOL suggestions is the laughing cat, which is from the worst emoji set."

00:12:32   So, we, I don't hate it like you do, but we discussed this in a previous episode as well. Because I said my mom uses the laugh, the cat emoji set. And you expressed your hatred for it.

00:12:53   It's terrible. That's why.

00:12:55   And our social media manager Jamie expressed that she likes it and suggested perhaps liking the cat emoji set skips a generation, which I thought was just right over me.

00:13:07   At least in the Snell timeline, it does.

00:13:10   Yeah. I mean, who knows? Who knows? Does your mom like the cat emojis?

00:13:17   I don't think so. The problem is for me, I think my mom uses emoji quite a lot, but I think by and large, she uses emoji that is recommended to her. So maybe if Apple includes the laughing cat emoji in the English keyboard, then I'll probably start seeing that one.

00:13:32   Okay. All right.

00:13:35   Saddle up, partner. It's time for a round off.

00:13:37   Yes. Yee-haw. Yee-haw. Let's do it.

00:13:40   So between Mark Gurman and 9to5Mac, it seems that we have some consensus for when we can expect the iPhone to be announced and released this year.

00:13:47   Mark Gurman is saying that an event on either the 12th or 13th of September seems like the best, seems like the time that he's expecting.

00:13:54   With the launch date of September 22nd, 9to5Mac is saying September 13th for the event.

00:14:01   I will also say, by the way, that there has been a Mic.ai, you know, an anonymous informant out there in the world.

00:14:07   Ah, yes.

00:14:08   That also suggested to me that the 13th was going to be a date.

00:14:12   So this is based on like the same as 9to5Mac.

00:14:16   Companies in the smartphone space who are asking their employees, please be available from this day or like no vacation on this day or whatever.

00:14:26   So what's interesting about this is it's been Labor Day week in the US the last few years, and that would put it a week earlier, but it seems like they're not going to do that.

00:14:41   They're going to do it the following week. That's interesting. A little bit interesting to me.

00:14:45   It's sort of, I think, better to not have it come right after a holiday weekend, give everybody a little bit more time.

00:14:52   This is also the 13th is a Wednesday and that is a Wednesday last year as well.

00:14:58   Yeah, but it was a Wednesday because it was following Labor Day on holiday Monday and so they didn't hold it on the Tuesday.

00:15:04   They hold it on the Wednesday. I'm not, I mean, Germin says it's the 12th or the 13th.

00:15:08   I'm skeptical about it being a Wednesday only because...

00:15:11   It might be that like people are being told like don't take the day off because it's the 13th, right?

00:15:16   But like which is the day after or something like that.

00:15:19   I don't know. I don't know, but yeah, that sounds sounds right.

00:15:24   But that's very interesting, right? Like that's just like that feels about right, you know, like that kind of week and released that week feels about right with the way the thing is going on this couple of years.

00:15:34   Here's a weird one. Min-Chi Kuo is saying that Apple is expected to launch a new AirTag in late 2024.

00:15:41   I'm going to read from MacRumors. Kuo believes the new AirTag will have better integration with Apple's upcoming Vision Pro headset as part of a spatial computing ecosystem, but he did not provide any additional details.

00:15:53   I don't even know what this means. Well, like you could see where your stuff is for the Vision Pro.

00:15:58   Yeah, I mean if it's if it's ultra wideband, it allows you to put a tag on something and see exactly where it is in space, right?

00:16:08   Yeah.

00:16:10   But the current chip has the current AirTag has the U1.

00:16:13   Yes, I don't know what it could mean.

00:16:16   Right, like more more wide.

00:16:19   Let's let's talk about the AirTag for a moment. Do you think Apple regrets making an AirTag?

00:16:27   No.

00:16:29   No, I think it's been a pain for them, right? Like I think it has been a it has not been a difficult road, right?

00:16:36   Where they've had to they've been you know, there's been a lot of articles written about them and they've had to do a lot of work to like get the product to where it is.

00:16:45   But I feel like it's calmed down now. Like they you know, they did a bunch of work about like making the devices easier to find.

00:16:53   And it seems like a lot of those stories are stopped. But ultimately, it's like a super easy add on for people.

00:16:59   Like this is the thing I find lots of people just in my regular life who have either bought them or they hear about them and like, oh, that's a great idea.

00:17:08   I've got to get one of those. Like it's not been easy for them, but none of their products are easy anymore, right?

00:17:13   Like every product Apple releases, there's always a bad news cycle about it.

00:17:18   I just I just wonder if it's such a headache for them.

00:17:22   I mean, I don't know. My question is more has it been worth it financially for the amount of effort that they've had to put into dealing with all of these issues and having these stories written about it.

00:17:35   And you know, this is a case where there were a bunch of a bunch of pieces of hardware in this category and then Apple rolls in which is sort of like they want to they want to throw some elbows.

00:17:46   They want to get everybody else out of the category. They want to own it.

00:17:49   But was it worth it? Would they have been better off sort of like building a works with find my spec and allowing third parties to support it rather than building their own hardware?

00:17:59   I mean, I guess they still would have gotten some headaches from issues with tracking, but it's different when it's specifically an Apple product tracking them.

00:18:07   I don't know. I just had that thought that like AirTag is an interesting product, but it's very easy for me to forget it exists and it hasn't changed the world.

00:18:15   And so sometimes I wonder if Apple looks back on it now and is like, wow, we put a lot of effort and you know, get delayed a bunch of times and now we have to keep updating it because there are bad stories about bad people using this badly.

00:18:28   If it was really worth it for them or not, but you know, the technology is cool. I'm just I sometimes I wonder.

00:18:34   Yeah, I see that.

00:18:36   Is a product of this with this price at this level, is it worth Apple's attention? I don't know. It's fine. It's a fine product. But I wonder sometimes.

00:18:46   Also, the New York Post is reporting that Bob Iger is looking to Apple as a potential strategic partner for ESPN. Disney is looking for some help with ESPN. They keep talking about like they're trying to get new ways of getting the content out there and they may be looking for a partner to help them.

00:19:08   It's being expected by a lot of people. It's going to be a tech company. Maybe Apple's the place.

00:19:13   There's a lot of talk about this. So Bob Iger did gave an interview where he basically said that they're looking for a strategic partner for ESPN. The challenge with ESPN, ESPN actually still makes a huge amount of money.

00:19:23   It's one of the great financial engines that fuels Disney. But as people stop doing traditional cable and satellite as they cut the cord,

00:19:34   ESPN is losing money because ESPN is so valuable to the cable bundle that every single person who buys cable in the US is paying like $8, $9, $10 a month for ESPN.

00:19:46   And not like as a choice. It's literally just straight out of their cable package, which as you might imagine is very lucrative because you're getting 100% of the cable subscribers giving you money.

00:19:57   And any product that is a direct-to-consumer product, right? Like a lot of people don't want ESPN and so they wouldn't pay. Whereas right now in the cable bundle, everybody pays.

00:20:08   Incredibly lucrative and you can't not have ESPN on your cable system because people won't buy it. People will demand it.

00:20:16   And what Disney says is you either pay us for every single person on your cable company or you can't have it. So they do. Great business to be in if you're ESPN.

00:20:26   However, it's all coming down now and that's bad. So they're looking at this and thinking we, sports rights are very expensive and we need to find a way to manage this.

00:20:40   They want to do an over-the-top version of ESPN. But again, if you're not going to make the same amount of money, even if you charge a multiple of what you're making per subscriber,

00:20:49   because a large percentage of people won't subscribe to it and those people are lost revenue, entirely lost revenue.

00:20:56   So a lot of people want to put Disney and Apple together because there is a relationship there, you know, that dates back to Steve Jobs and the sale of Pixar and all of that.

00:21:08   And Bob Iger appeared at the Vision Pro event and like, okay, it's there. And so I think it's worth thinking about whether Apple would want to be a strategic partner of Disney, especially regarding ESPN, given Apple's interest in this.

00:21:22   However, you know, they have their own over-the-top service that's supplementary called ESPN Plus. Like if Apple was involved, what does that look like?

00:21:32   What does Apple get out of it? Does Apple, you know, is that an Apple exclusive, Apple TV exclusive at some point?

00:21:39   Like I'm not sure how it fits other than the fact that the entertainment companies, here's the big dynamic.

00:21:46   The entertainment companies are looking for money because they're going to lose a lot of money here. And who has all the money?

00:21:54   Tech companies have all the money. So that's sort of the motivator here is like, how do we salvage this business that is going to be going down?

00:22:03   One way is rather than finance our transition to streaming ourselves, we have a partner.

00:22:11   I think though, there are more reports out there that what Iger really meant when he said a strategic partner was a sports league or two or three.

00:22:21   Like the NBA and Major League Baseball and the NFL invest in ESPN as a part of that. Now, would they do that? I don't know. Would anybody do that?

00:22:31   I don't know. What do they get out of it? But, and I think what Iger's trying to do here is find a way to get a cash infusion into ESPN and Disney without just outright selling ESPN, which is the other option.

00:22:44   So we'll see. But Apple, and we're going to talk in a little bit about Apple and sports. Apple's very interested in sports. And right now, all they've really got is MLS and their a couple of baseball games on a Friday.

00:22:56   So they're definitely interested. And a lot of the rights are out there are like kind of already locked in place for a while.

00:23:03   So if Apple wants to explore this more, one way to do it would be to create a strategic partnership. What does that mean? I don't know.

00:23:10   Maybe it means that they infuse some money or they pay Disney and ESPN and some of the content that currently is on ESPN or ESPN Plus ends up on an Apple platform instead or in addition to.

00:23:25   But it's all in the details. Like there's so much money involved here. The question would be, what's something that makes sense for both parties?

00:23:33   So I wouldn't be shocked. I honestly wouldn't be shocked if Disney and Apple did some sort of strategic partnership.

00:23:42   It would not surprise me because they are kindred companies and Disney is looking for money and Apple has lots of money.

00:23:52   So it would not surprise me. But as we'll discuss a little later on in the show, one of the challenges here is that Apple is only going to spend what they think it's worth.

00:24:03   Apple's got lots of money, but Apple doesn't spend money foolishly. Apple's got whatever, 40 some billion dollars in cash right now.

00:24:14   But that does not mean that that means that you can just make a deal with Apple where they give you free money. They're not going to do that.

00:24:21   So that's the challenge is finding the right kind of deal.

00:24:25   You know, like I know this has been offset at this point, but one of the best parts of the Vision Pro demo experience was the sports part.

00:24:36   And I'm sure that Apple would like to be able to have some sports stuff, but again, it's got to come at the right price and the right terms that they would be interested in.

00:24:48   If at all.

00:24:51   Yeah, yeah. So we'll see. I'm not sure this New York Post report like, look, I'm sure Bob Iger has talked to people at Apple about it, right?

00:25:00   But I'm not sure that when he was talking about strategic partnerships, that was primarily what he was thinking.

00:25:05   He also may have had nothing in mind and literally was just saying it so Wall Street could hear it.

00:25:10   That is also possible. Right? Like that is because this could have been nothing like the same as like putting out the for sale sign on all the TV networks.

00:25:21   Like it might have been a nothing. He's just trying to get people to to chill.

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00:27:00   Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo Sports Corner.

00:27:04   Okay, yes. All right, so big sports stuff happened.

00:27:08   For this podcast, we're going to try to talk about this from an Apple perspective.

00:27:12   I think it's an interesting story to see Apple from some different vantage points.

00:27:16   This is something that I've mentioned on downstream a little bit. I mentioned on Six Colors.

00:27:22   So the Pac-12 conference, which is a West Coast college football, college conference, not just football,

00:27:29   but football is entirely driven by TV at this point.

00:27:32   TV money pays the bills for everything else.

00:27:35   And this was the last of the five major conferences to have an open TV deal.

00:27:39   So Apple has been in conversation with them for a while as one of the possible partners

00:27:44   because it allows Apple to experiment theoretically with the most popular sport in America.

00:27:49   The NFL is the most popular, but college football is the essentially, it's the same sport,

00:27:53   but like it's the second most popular sport if you want to rank it that way.

00:27:56   So it's an opportunity for Apple.

00:27:58   So Apple has apparently been negotiating with them for a long time.

00:28:02   And everything came to a head at the end of last week,

00:28:07   where basically one of the colleges in the Pac-12 left the conference to a different conference

00:28:14   because they were impatient and the conference commissioner kept saying,

00:28:18   "No, no, no, we're going to have a deal. It's going to be a good deal. Wait, wait, wait."

00:28:21   And they got tired of waiting.

00:28:23   Can I try and get this into terms I understand?

00:28:26   So like, is that effectively like that team just joined another league?

00:28:30   Yes.

00:28:31   That's essentially what's happening here.

00:28:33   So these are conferences, a collection of universities that have these different sports teams in them.

00:28:38   Leading aside the whole thing about, well, wait a minute,

00:28:40   why is it a university that has a sports team where they're making decisions driven by money?

00:28:44   You know, that's a topic for another podcast.

00:28:48   Not this one at all.

00:28:51   So that other rival conference was circling around other members of the conference and saying,

00:28:57   "You want to come with us. We've got guaranteed money. We can guarantee you money.

00:29:00   We can guarantee you however many million dollars a year."

00:29:03   Putting pressure on the commissioner of the Pac-12 to provide them with a deal

00:29:08   because there was a feeling like they were going to leave.

00:29:11   More teams were going to defect, and it was going to become --

00:29:15   he was going to lose whatever deal he negotiated because those teams would all be gone.

00:29:19   So there was a presentation, and the presentation was thought, apparently,

00:29:25   by a lot of these university presidents to be two -- they were going to get two options.

00:29:29   And one was a more traditional option that involved a partner like ESPN or Fox or Turner Sports

00:29:35   or something like that for broadcast, and then also a streaming piece.

00:29:39   And then a second offer that was a more forward-thinking streaming offer.

00:29:44   And then they were going to be able to sort of discuss those and choose what they wanted to do.

00:29:48   It turns out that first composite offer did not ever get made, never got presented to the university presidents.

00:29:58   Instead, what they got was a single presentation, which was about Apple.

00:30:04   So it was a deal with Apple that they were working on that --

00:30:08   and we'll put a link in the show notes to a story on the athletic about it.

00:30:11   There's a great story on Yahoo Sports about it. There's a story on Sports Illustrated about it.

00:30:14   There are a bunch of different coverage of what went on here.

00:30:17   But the idea was Apple offered the Pac-12 a five-year contract at $23 million per school,

00:30:25   plus incentives -- and this is like the messy thing.

00:30:30   This is where we get back to sort of Apple wanting to do a deal that's not just cash.

00:30:34   Because most of these, it's just a cash outlay.

00:30:37   Apple's deal was not that. Apple was saying, "You're going to be our partner,"

00:30:40   just as they did with MLS and with Lionel Messi himself.

00:30:45   So they said, "We're going to give you $23 million per school,"

00:30:49   which was later, there was some back and forth and some threats and things like that.

00:30:53   And the counter-offer from Apple was $25 million per school.

00:30:58   And incentives based on subscribers to a special Pac-12 streaming product that would be like the MLS league pass.

00:31:06   Interesting. But not guaranteed money.

00:31:09   Well, there is a guaranteed number, but it's way less, right?

00:31:13   But it's less than what they were expecting. I think they were expecting sort of like $30 million a year,

00:31:17   $32 million a year, just to put it into what the other conference was offering for people to switch.

00:31:23   So it was going to be a partnership, right? Instead of just give me the money.

00:31:31   And that puts a little bit of the onus on the league and the members to sell this product.

00:31:39   But it was interesting. And it turns out that originally I was thinking this was going to be a story about the league

00:31:46   not speaking the language that Apple was speaking.

00:31:49   And this is what I was talking about earlier, about this idea that Apple is not just going to give you money

00:31:53   just because they have all the money.

00:31:54   So Apple was willing to give, again, this is maybe a $250-300 million guarantee per year for a five-year deal.

00:32:04   That's a lot of money. But what they weren't willing to do was guarantee above that.

00:32:09   They were instead like, above that, it's up to you to help us sell this product.

00:32:16   And if you're a league selling sports rights, that mostly doesn't happen, right?

00:32:22   That generally isn't done. Generally, you just pay.

00:32:27   This is so wild to me, this story, right? Because from the outside.

00:32:32   I mean, okay, maybe you'll get another couple of years at that guaranteed $30 million.

00:32:38   But this kind of deal from Apple, this seems like the way this is going.

00:32:43   And you either jump in now and get $25 million a year, or you give it another three years and maybe you get $15 million a year.

00:32:54   So this all, just a little foreshadowing here, this all fell apart.

00:32:58   But I'm going to tell you, I would say Apple was successful here.

00:33:03   So here's the story. Apple, they did that counteroffer where they got them up to $25 million per school, plus the incentives.

00:33:11   And at that point, the schools that were teetering said, "Let's do it," which got reported.

00:33:22   But here's what happened in the background. In the background, Fox TV, which has a very, very expensive deal with the second biggest, I think, second highest rated conference,

00:33:36   which is the Big Ten, which is based in the Midwest, although now they've got schools all over the place.

00:33:40   And they started all of this by taking two of the schools from the Pac-12 last year.

00:33:44   Apparently, they swooped in at the last minute, and by they, it really is Fox, because Fox is the TV partner and they basically run that league,

00:33:56   and sweetened the deal to peel off the two best teams in the Pac-12.

00:34:02   At which point, being with the bigger league for a lot more guaranteed money, those two teams backtracked Oregon and Washington, pulled out, went to the Big Ten,

00:34:16   at which point the whole thing fell apart. But what I think is interesting from an Apple perspective is, Apples, everybody, like Arizona, Arizona State, Utah,

00:34:26   they're all ready to go to this other conference, the Big 12, which is not the Big Ten, and neither of them have Ten or Twelve. It's complicated.

00:34:32   And the Big Twelve isn't the Pac-12 either.

00:34:35   Yeah, no, nor is it the Big Ten. Anyway, let's leave that aside and just say, there was a moment where Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah were like,

00:34:42   "You need to put a deal on the table now or we're gone. We're going to go to this rival conference."

00:34:47   And Apple sweetened the deal. And they said, "You know what? Good enough. Let's do it. We would rather stay with the teams that we've been playing against."

00:34:57   In the case of Arizona and Arizona State, for almost 50 years, this is a conference that's more than 100 years old. There's a lot of tradition here.

00:35:04   And that's when Fox and the Big Ten kind of went up to Washington and Oregon and was like, "Okay, we'll give you more money. Just come with us."

00:35:12   At which point the whole thing fell apart, detonated the whole conference. As of right now, last time I checked, there are now four members of the Pac-12.

00:35:20   Because the three, Arizona State and Utah went to the Big Twelve, and Oregon and Washington went to the Big Ten.

00:35:28   And the Pac-12, which as of this year will have 12 teams in it. As of next year, if it exists at all, there are only four teams that are committed to being in it.

00:35:40   So these teams are going to other leagues?

00:35:43   Other leagues, yes.

00:35:44   They are, as of next season. It's not this season.

00:35:47   From next season. So there's a sports angle here. But from the Apple angle, what I think is interesting is Apple wanted to do a football deal that was kind of like the MLS deal.

00:36:00   And they got really close. In fact, I would say they got so close that the linear TV giant, Fox, which runs the Big Ten, because they have all the money.

00:36:11   The linear TV giant had to, had basically panicked and had to pony up way more money and add two schools to the Big Ten that the Big Ten was not intending to do.

00:36:25   Because they were ready to swoop in and pick off all these teams cheap. And Apple closed the deal. Basically, Apple closed the deal.

00:36:37   But what happened is the next step was that the Big Ten went in and grabbed Oregon and Washington.

00:36:43   And if you were Oregon and Washington, you look at that offer and you're like, "You have to accept it."

00:36:47   It was so much more money to play it. Such a high-profile thing.

00:36:50   But they didn't make that offer last month or last year. They only made it because Apple came in with a deal that got all of the schools that were teetering to say, "You know, we'll go with it."

00:37:02   And I have a quote. This is one of my favorite quotes of the year. This is from Arizona State University President Michael Crow, who said,

00:37:09   "We were offered a media contract by the Apple Corporation, which was a technological, 23rd century Star Trek thing with really unbelievable capability that we were very interested in.

00:37:23   We thought there was some risk, but huge opportunity."

00:37:26   [laughter]

00:37:28   Wow. Wow. Wow. Oh my word. Okay.

00:37:35   Technological, 23rd century Star Trek thing.

00:37:37   Anyway, okay. Let me tell you. Let me tell you. Academia is a weird place. It's a weird place.

00:37:46   And here you get this fusion of academia, very highfalutin academia, university presidents, and TV money.

00:37:53   And they don't even speak the same language, so weird things happen in college football is what I'm saying. Very weird things happen.

00:37:59   Anyway, I think it's interesting as a show covering Apple, that this is how Apple approached another sports negotiation.

00:38:08   And there was skepticism, but it seems like they had actually turned the table, turned the tide of doing a deal at 25 million plus incentives,

00:38:19   feeling like they were fairly comfortable that in the end this would be a good deal for them.

00:38:24   And they would be seen as a West Coast conference, so ties to Silicon Valley being seen at the forefront of technological innovation.

00:38:31   And as you said, it's probably where this is all going anyway, right? However, I will say one of the big hitches with Apple,

00:38:38   and this is why Apple probably does need a partner, whether it's ESPN or something else, is no guarantees for simulcast on a linear network.

00:38:47   And linear TV brings in the big numbers. And if you're a college and you're recruiting, and you want people to see you,

00:38:53   and want to go to your school and play football at your college, you need to be on ESPN, or CBS, or NBC, or FOX.

00:39:01   You need to be on one of these places where you're not paying behind a paywall, or behind having to set up a streaming service.

00:39:09   You need high profile. The model—we talk about this a lot on the Downstream Podcast—but the model going forward probably is a combination of

00:39:17   free linear with ads that gets a huge audience, and then everything else beyond the marquee matchups is on a paid streaming service.

00:39:27   And you create a mixture of the two. This Apple offer might have led to some linear deals down the road, but they weren't in the deal at the moment.

00:39:40   And I think that, for your Oregon's and Washington's of the world who have real aspirations, the risk that nobody will see your games

00:39:49   except your existing fanbase was a major risk. And I think Apple, with MLS, had a linear deal.

00:39:57   I don't know when they had it, whether they had it after the fact or not, but they've made a linear deal.

00:40:01   Some of those Apple games are rebroadcast on traditional TV, but it was not in the deal as presented to the Pac-12 CEO group.

00:40:10   And I could assume neither would Apple guarantee one, or guarantee that they'd even look for one, right?

00:40:16   Because it's not necessarily in their interest, necessarily, but they might do it if the deal is right.

00:40:23   But I can understand why they wouldn't be like, "Oh yeah, we can do that for sure."

00:40:27   Well, I think my guess is that, just a guess here, not based on anybody's reporting, my guess is that Apple probably was like,

00:40:35   "Sure, we'll look at making deals to get some marquee games on linear TV."

00:40:40   And the schools are like, "Well, look, we closed the deal."

00:40:45   And keeping in mind, they're competition here. So does ESPN even have the money to offer a linear deal for a certain number of games?

00:40:56   Or do you go to Fox? Or do you go to--like, who do you go to for that deal?

00:41:00   And how much extra money does that bring in? And without a guarantee, like, again, this whole deal was not guaranteed money, right?

00:41:08   They didn't come in and say, "Look, we'll just write you all a check for $30 million every year for the next five years."

00:41:12   Done? Done? Good? Okay, done. They didn't do that.

00:41:15   In the long run, my guess is gonna be that I don't think the story here is Apple's gonna learn its lesson and needs to write a big check.

00:41:23   I don't think that's the lesson learned here. I think the lesson is going to be, if you want Apple money, you gotta carry some of your own weight.

00:41:31   Apple's not gonna--and I suspect this is the way sports rights are all gonna go in the future--is you gotta be our partner, strategic partner.

00:41:40   You gotta be our partner, and some of this is on you. Like, you're gonna take some of the risk with us.

00:41:45   We're gonna give you a lot of money, but you're gonna take some of the risk and be motivated to help us market and sell this product.

00:41:54   And then we will both reap the rewards of that. And I think that is just Apple's--given what they did with League Pass,

00:42:00   I think this is Apple's structure for how it's viewing sports rights, is that they're not--they're clearly not playing the same game as everyone else, right?

00:42:08   They're clearly not just gonna write a check. They want it to be a partnership. Now, will that work? I don't know.

00:42:14   I mean, we'll see. I think that in this case, they found an organization under enough pressure that they were willing to consider it.

00:42:21   I will also say, though, that if they had just dropped a, you know, 32 million a year for all the member schools' offer on the table,

00:42:30   I think they would have all said yes, probably, right? I mean, unless Fox--again, unless Fox panicked,

00:42:37   realizing that they were gonna have to sweeten their offer in order to detonate this whole house of cards that they had built up.

00:42:43   So, I think it's fascinating, because I think in the end, what this is really about is people who are not TV industry executives,

00:42:52   they're college presidents, and they got used to deals of a certain kind. This is a deal of a different kind.

00:42:59   It was a hard sell. They almost got there, to the point where a competitor had to step up their offer in order to peel things off.

00:43:08   But in the end--so, leaving technological 23rd century Star Trek things aside for a moment--what happens now is unclear.

00:43:17   It's possible--there is a scenario where the four remaining schools in the Pac-12 invite two, four, six other schools to join them,

00:43:26   reform the conference, the conference has access to the college football playoff, you know, there are political reasons why

00:43:34   having a fifth major conference is actually preferable to some of the other large conferences, because they don't like--

00:43:39   they like having some counterbalance to their bigger rivals. So that's possible. If that happens, it's possible that they will make an Apple deal.

00:43:49   After all, it won't be for this much money, because they will have lost a bunch of schools that were higher profile.

00:43:56   But it's still out there, and it's still a power-ish, five-ish conference, if they can rebuild it.

00:44:05   So we'll keep an eye on it in case that happens. But I think it's fascinating to get--and because a lot of these are public universities,

00:44:12   and people are talking, and this all came out as part of this realignment and implosion that happened,

00:44:18   it gives us a little bit of a perspective of how Apple's approaching sports rights, and that they're not writing the checks,

00:44:24   they want partners, but that it's a challenge if you're Apple to talk to these people who are not used to thinking like you are.

00:44:32   And they don't speak the same language, they--you know, and so anyway, that's fascinating.

00:44:39   And I'll just do a footnote here, a personal footnote. Cal, which is one of the four left by the side of the road as a part of this implosion,

00:44:47   UC Berkeley, Cal Stanford, Oregon State, and Washington State are the four that have been left in the cardboard box by the side of the road.

00:44:55   I've been going to Cal football games since I was eight. My dad had season tickets starting in the 60s, we still have them.

00:45:01   Every year, you go in the fall, you see the same teams, it's all part of the Pac-10, then the Pac-12.

00:45:06   It's been a real tradition. No matter what happens going on, like, literally this is the end of an era that, depending on your age,

00:45:13   has been part of your life for your entire life for 50, 60, 70, 80 years, because the conference has been there for 100 years.

00:45:23   And after this year, it's over. Like, it's over. No matter what happens, no matter where the teams go or if they reform or if they make a deal with Apple or not,

00:45:31   the thing that was part of my life is gone. I'm really sad about that. So...

00:45:39   It does suck because it's money, right? Like, that's the thing that sucks the most.

00:45:44   I'll take the high-level view here, which is, where is this going? In the 2030s, there will be a Premier League.

00:45:49   There will only be 30 or 40 teams that will get all the TV money, and all of the other teams that are not at that high level will take a step back.

00:45:59   Football will probably be uncoupled from all other college sports, because the big problem with this is they make the deal for football,

00:46:06   but the volleyball team now has to... Like, the University of Oregon, where my kids go to school,

00:46:11   their volleyball team used to play in Seattle and in Pullman, Washington, and in Corvallis, Oregon, and in Berkeley, and in Palo Alto, California, and in LA.

00:46:19   That was where they played their games, and in Salt Lake City, and in Phoenix, and in Tucson, all in the western U.S.

00:46:25   The University of Oregon volleyball team and softball team and basketball team, they're now going to play in State College, Pennsylvania,

00:46:31   and they're going to play in Maryland, and they're going to play in New Jersey, and they're going to play in Ohio, and they're going to play in Michigan,

00:46:38   and they're all going to have to travel there. Now, there's more money, but they're all going to suffer because of that.

00:46:43   So hopefully, in the long run, college football, which is the moneymaker, will be uncoupled from what all the other sports have to do.

00:46:51   It's really messed up. This is the case where the sheer money, because of the ratings and because of the success of this one product,

00:46:59   is completely destroying all the other traditional connections between the universities that have been built up over 100 years.

00:47:10   That's unfortunate. I think it will probably all resolve itself, but I think it's going to take another 10 or 20 years for that to happen.

00:47:17   In the meantime, this is the way it works because money talks. The truth is, they are building, again, for people not in the U.S.

00:47:27   You don't understand this. The NFL is supreme in the United States. It makes so much money. The ratings are the best.

00:47:34   The top-rated primetime TV show every year is Sunday Night Football, which is an NFL product. It is number one.

00:47:40   Number two, essentially by rating, is college football. So they're building another NFL, a young, affiliated with universities,

00:47:52   but only tenuously, mini-NFL because they can play those games on Saturdays and make lots and lots of money.

00:47:59   If they would just say that and do it and leave everything else alone, it would probably be fine, but that's not how it works.

00:48:07   Instead, you've got an ESPN group and a Fox group, and they're both building their conferences up, and they've got their TV deals.

00:48:13   We know where this is going, but it's going to take a decade or more of destruction before they get to what they should, you know.

00:48:21   What will be perfectly reasonable, I guess, which is there will be 32 teams or whatever that will square off against each other.

00:48:29   Anyway, Apple will be a player here in sports stuff. It's going to happen.

00:48:34   But as for this deal, I want to say swing and a miss, but I can't. I think Apple actually ended up making a really compelling deal,

00:48:43   and they almost pulled it out. In fact, their deal was so compelling. This is what I will walk away with on this story.

00:48:49   Their deal was so compelling that the competition had to make an offer they didn't want to make.

00:48:54   They had no choice.

00:48:55   They thought they were going to be able to detonate this thing because people would walk away from the Apple deal.

00:49:03   Apple sweetened it enough that they had to resort to something that they weren't planning on doing,

00:49:08   which is pay more money to the Big Ten to let in Oregon and Washington in order for them to do that.

00:49:14   So I guess that's sort of a win for Apple. Anyway, if this debacle has a follow-up, I'll follow up in a future episode.

00:49:22   But in the meantime, I got tickets for Berkeley this fall. Tim, still got a seat for you for the Auburn game. Let me know.

00:49:31   Maybe it's bittersweet now, Jason. Maybe you would have done it if it was a bullet.

00:49:35   Well, this whole season is going to be bittersweet. This whole season is basically a farewell to my childhood.

00:49:39   Goodbye.

00:49:40   Okay. Goodbye. Go Bears. Yeah. Anyway, that's where we are.

00:49:44   Just keep in mind, if you forget everything else about this conversation, please focus on a technological 23rd century Star Trek thing.

00:49:52   I love it. It's amazing.

00:49:53   Incredible.

00:49:54   Okay, university president, whatever you say.

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00:52:12   So we were talking about money.

00:52:15   Let's cheer ourselves up and move from money destroying sports to more money with Apple.

00:52:22   Money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money.

00:52:26   Here we go. Earnings time. But it's not a fun one for Apple.

00:52:34   Well, you know, it's not fun.

00:52:37   It's fine.

00:52:39   It's fine. I always have this problem when I'm talking about Apple where, you know, the question is always like, how's Apple doing?

00:52:45   I'm like, you know, it's complicated. First off, it's complicated if you're a Wall Street analyst or whatever.

00:52:51   But on another level, it's not complicated. Right? Like, it's like, let me break it down for you, Mike.

00:52:59   How's Apple doing? Well, they made $20 billion in profit in the last three months. That's how they're doing.

00:53:04   That's pretty good. They're doing pretty good. Right?

00:53:07   Well, we can pick apart the numbers and there's like lots of things to talk about here.

00:53:11   But the answer is $19.9 billion in profit.

00:53:17   And that number is up from the year ago quarter, even though their revenue was down 1% from the year ago quarter.

00:53:24   And that's where you start to get into the Wall Street analyst thing where it's like, what is it in constant currency versus what is it in US dollars and the strong dollar and financial headwinds.

00:53:32   You talk about how the street thought it would be down one and a half percent, but it was only down 1% so it's better than expected.

00:53:37   Is that good even though it was down that it's better than expected? But the bottom line for all of us to remember is also Apple made $20 billion in profit.

00:53:47   And so is Apple okay? I think they're doing okay. I think they're doing fine.

00:53:52   Right now, right? You know, it's fine right now.

00:53:56   But if it's down 1% revenue this time and then 10% next time, but it's probably not going to go like that.

00:54:03   Well, what if there's a war between the US and China and Apple's cut off from all of its factories? Well, that wouldn't be great.

00:54:12   Then they'd have to use that $50 billion in cash that they've got and do it that way.

00:54:16   Takes, right? And maybe your take will be right this time. Maybe you say this is the beginning of the end and at some point your take will be correct.

00:54:26   I'm on your side with this argument of this was just one of those quarters, but ultimately they prepared for it and it's fine?

00:54:36   And it's not even one of those quarters. Their revenue is down, although they pointed out that they're in constant currency, their revenue is up.

00:54:50   So basically their revenue grew in net across all countries. But the dollar is, well, they said that it ate 3 or 4% of their revenue was conversion to the dollar.

00:55:04   And I can imagine that it's frustrating if fluctuations in currency are the difference between you being up or being down.

00:55:11   But regardless, we could say it's basically flat. And this is, I think, what is the mega trend with Apple is that they set new plateaus for themselves every few years.

00:55:25   And then they are on that plateau for a while. So in fiscal 2021, they had four straight quarters of double digit revenue growth.

00:55:35   And then in 2022, they had three quarters of, you know, it was 11, 9, 2, 8. It was kind of middling.

00:55:43   And this year it's been minus 5, minus 3, minus 1. And this is kind of like the mega cycle for Apple where, and it's tied to the iPhone essentially,

00:55:52   which is they hit a new height and then they kind of flatten out. And then presumably they will, if it goes like it's been the last few,

00:56:01   they will do something else that will push them to a new height. Because although it is an absolute excuse for them to say,

00:56:09   "Oh, this is a tough compare," classic word, "tough compare," hard to compare it to last time.

00:56:14   The truth is that when you go up 36% and then in quarter three of 21, and the following two quarter threes are up 2% and down minus 1%,

00:56:26   what you're doing is retaining all of the 36% growth you attained in your 21. That's what you're doing.

00:56:35   You didn't give back, because 36% up is a huge number, right? And you're like, "Okay, well, it's up, but they're going to give that back.

00:56:42   They're surely not going to maintain at that level going forward." And the answer is they absolutely did maintain at that level.

00:56:48   They haven't gone beyond that level, or they crept, last year they crept a little bit beyond it, and then this year they've kind of receded slightly,

00:56:55   but in the net, when they went up in fiscal 21, they didn't go back down. This is the new level for Apple. And so that's a thing to keep in mind.

00:57:05   I want to double down on that point a little bit. It's just a slightly different way. So as you were saying, 2021 was just a bananas year, absolutely bananas.

00:57:14   They did 21% year over year growth in the first quarter, 54, then 36, then 29. Just obscene growth numbers.

00:57:22   And then two years later, from that huge jump, they're still kind of single digit percentages off of those numbers.

00:57:31   So as you say, they grew massively one year, and it's not like they then two years later went 36% down on those figures.

00:57:39   They're just sticking around, around about what we considered was a huge increase. They've just leveled out at that point.

00:57:48   Until something happens, maybe it's the vision products, in maybe five years' time, where they have another huge jump of 36%,

00:57:58   because now they're selling these products at scale, and people are super excited about them.

00:58:03   Generally though, what happens is there's a redesign of the iPhone, and that ratchets them up to the next level.

00:58:11   If I look at my chart, and my chart only goes back, I've got charts that go back way far, but in the ones that I publish,

00:58:18   I generally only go back to 19 in this case, so four years.

00:58:24   Four or five years, yeah.

00:58:26   And you can see it if you look at the total Apple revenue chart, that they were chugging along,

00:58:32   and outside the holiday quarter, they were just chugging along at 63 billion, 58 billion, 54 billion, 64 billion.

00:58:40   And if you look at them now, they're chugging along at 83, 90, 95, 82.

00:58:48   The numbers aren't close. They have thrown an extra 20 billion dollars a quarter into their revenue engine,

00:58:58   and don't seem to be going back.

00:59:02   My question is, because we talk a lot about the vagaries of iPhone product line management,

00:59:13   which is a thing that we talk about that I like, the idea that there used to be one iPhone, and then there were two iPhones,

00:59:19   and now there's like five iPhones, but the iPhone is the driver.

00:59:23   So my question is, with all these iPhones, can they hit upon the product that takes them to the next level with the iPhone again?

00:59:35   That's always the question.

00:59:37   And there are pundits out there who are like every year, like, "Oh, it's just like the last iPhone."

00:59:41   It's like, you know what? They don't reinvent the iPhone every year, but they do sort of reinvent the iPhone every three or four years now.

00:59:51   It's not every two years. It's now more like every three years.

00:59:54   But they do reinvent the iPhone every three years, and it drives sales, because it gets a lot of people to buy a new iPhone,

01:00:01   and probably those iPhones are more expensive, so they generate more revenue.

01:00:04   So I think that's always the question.

01:00:06   I wonder if that's this year's iPhones, right?

01:00:09   I don't know.

01:00:11   I don't know if we know yet, right? We know what is being rumoured, right?

01:00:15   We can hear the rumours, and we hear the specs, as we were talking about last week or the week before from Mark Gurman,

01:00:21   but there is a thing about the look of it, right?

01:00:24   And we're hearing, "Oh, maybe the bezels are going to be slimmer, and maybe the back is going to be curved."

01:00:30   It could look quite different.

01:00:32   And with the right product additions and naming, potentially, this could be that year,

01:00:39   or if it's not this year, it's probably next year.

01:00:41   Timing-wise, I would think it would be this year, but we don't know.

01:00:45   We just don't know yet.

01:00:46   We're getting closer to knowing, but that's the driver of so much of what they do.

01:00:52   We talk about all this other stuff, and yeah, service is growing, helps lift the tide and all that,

01:00:56   but I feel like that moment when they do that phase change, it's because there's a new iPhone model.

01:01:01   There's a new iPhone model that sells really well.

01:01:03   It might be this time.

01:01:04   If we think about the Profones, which are the driver, right? We know that.

01:01:07   We've heard this many times.

01:01:09   We're talking titanium, different back glass, thinner bezels on the front, potentially a new name for the big phone,

01:01:19   and a new camera system with a completely new camera, right?

01:01:25   Like this periscope lens.

01:01:27   This could be that year, like the Profones this year could be the like, "Oh, this is like an iPhone."

01:01:34   Oh, and USB-C, right?

01:01:36   Yeah, this is it. This is it.

01:01:38   Like this is going to be the one, right? Like it's this year. Huh.

01:01:41   So my question is, you know, when we're looking at the revenue figures for Q2, 3, and 4 of next year.

01:01:49   Oh, and a button. The button.

01:01:51   And a new button.

01:01:52   Yep.

01:01:53   Okay. So this is, I think this is the thing for people to watch is what do the Q2, 3, 4 numbers look like next year?

01:02:01   Because if they're in the 80s again, they didn't have their mega cycle bump.

01:02:07   Yep.

01:02:08   But if they're in the 90s or hundreds, then they will have done it.

01:02:12   Yeah.

01:02:13   Right? And that traditionally, that has been the pattern is they, a new iPhone model that's pretty massive in terms of change comes out

01:02:22   and they get a year of double digit growth.

01:02:27   And then year two is slight growth and year three is flat or down a little bit and then the cycle continues.

01:02:34   So I think that's that's what we'll have to watch for over the next year is, you know, and you can get a hint from the holiday quarter,

01:02:42   but holiday quarters are hard, but you can get a hint from the holiday quarter.

01:02:45   If it's another record holiday quarter, that's going to be a good sign for them.

01:02:48   I wanted to double back down around to that thing you were talking about with currency.

01:02:52   And then I want to just hit the headlines real quick of the numbers.

01:02:55   Like that just to say like those things frustrate me.

01:02:59   Like when they're like, oh, if the if if currency hadn't fluctuated, we would have been we would have grown.

01:03:05   It's like you can't just make up a reality because it's not like you're always reporting when currency is good for you.

01:03:11   That's true. They don't play fair.

01:03:12   But the reason I think it's relevant to talking to Wall Street analysts is because it allows them to say we're not we're not down because we're down across the board in actually in most countries, we're up.

01:03:26   But then we take it back to the U.S.

01:03:29   Yeah, but if that's so important, give us your unit numbers.

01:03:32   Like if you want to prove to us that you've sold more, tell us how many you sold.

01:03:37   Again, well, they will talk about they do that in the call, right?

01:03:41   They'll say, oh, we actually we had record numbers in this country and they listed off like 10 countries and all that.

01:03:47   They do that. And it's 70 percent new to iPhone or whatever.

01:03:51   It's like, yeah, I get it. I get it.

01:03:53   Right. And they they had they did those numbers.

01:03:55   More than half the iPad sold were were new to iPad.

01:03:59   Slightly less than half the Mac sold were new to Mac.

01:04:02   And three quarters of the Apple Watch sold were new to Apple Watch.

01:04:07   I will say, though, when we talk about the pandemic and Apple Silicon driving sales, maybe outside of a normal buying cycle,

01:04:16   I think although Apple is quick to trumpet those numbers of people who have never used before,

01:04:23   think about it the other way, which is when those numbers are high, that is a sign that a lot of your usual reliable buyers aren't buying.

01:04:35   So I think that actually is a is a sign that right.

01:04:39   Like if I bought an iPad a little early to refresh my iPad or a Mac a little early because I wanted to refresh Apple Silicon,

01:04:47   I'm not in the pool of buyers this quarter.

01:04:50   And that is going to drive the first time buyers number higher.

01:04:54   And because because it's a percentage and those numbers were high.

01:04:59   And I think that's why Apple Watch is different.

01:05:01   I think that they were right to say that Apple Watch selling three quarters to new people is encouraging because that's like a barometer of how how into the Apple ecosystem are you?

01:05:10   Because it's an iPhone accessory.

01:05:12   So getting 75 percent of Apple Watch sales to be to new Apple Watch users, they're kind of saying at least some of those people were like had one Apple device.

01:05:23   And now they have two or whatever it is.

01:05:25   It's a plus one to the Apple ecosystem for them.

01:05:28   It doesn't surprise me, though, because I do feel like the Apple Watch is a you have one for multiple years kind of product.

01:05:34   They're like I would never expect that number to be different.

01:05:38   And that is one reason that that number is is high.

01:05:41   But I can see Apple looking at it and saying, but this is good because that's all incremental to the install base.

01:05:48   And there are more Apple Watch users out there.

01:05:50   And like, again, part of what they're talking about here is trying to speak the language of Wall Street and explain their business model and explain why they keep adding active devices and active users and adding more devices into their ecosystem.

01:06:07   And that that's all part of what makes Apple so successful.

01:06:10   So part of this is some of it is to obfuscate like the disappointment in being down 1 percent, but a lot of it is also just trying to give positive signals to Wall Street people who are looking for signs of growth and of future growth, because that's what they're most interested in.

01:06:27   Quick headlines. So revenue 81.8 billion dollars down 1 percent year over year. iPhone 39.7 down 2 percent. Mac 6.8 billion dollars down 7 percent.

01:06:41   iPad 5.8 billion dollars down 20 percent.

01:06:44   This was a tough compare, though, because there was a new iPad last year at this quarter. There wasn't one.

01:06:49   And there was nothing.

01:06:51   Wearables, home and accessories, which would include the Apple Watch and AirPods is 8.3 billion dollars up 2 percent year over year and services 21.2 billion dollars up 8 percent year over year.

01:07:05   Quote, Apple announced that it passed a major milestone during the third quarter. It's reached a billion paid subscriptions.

01:07:12   That was a quote from your article, but it's also quoted everywhere.

01:07:15   And this is a year over year doubling. So there were half a billion last year, right? And now there are a billion, which is wild.

01:07:22   No, I think there's half a billion three years ago.

01:07:25   Sorry, sorry, sorry. Three years ago.

01:07:27   And 15 percent up in the last year.

01:07:29   That was what I meant to say. I'm sorry I wrote that down wrong.

01:07:31   But something I wanted to just clear up, which I think is the case, is that these aren't like, you know, you can read that and be like, oh, man, that's a lot of people subscribe to Apple Music and Apple TV.

01:07:41   It's like, it might be, but as far as I understand it, this is all subscriptions, right? Even third party apps?

01:07:46   All subscriptions. Yep.

01:07:48   So it's just one of those things, it's like Apple doesn't, I don't think very clearly they don't really state that, and I understand why, but like, because as well, like there's this thing of like, they all, they believe every subscription is their subscription, even if it's got nothing to do with them, really, they just provide the mechanism.

01:08:04   But all I want to say is don't read that number and think there are a billion people that have Apple Music because they're on.

01:08:09   Right. Yeah. Services also includes, yes. And those subscription totals include your subscription to that app that you like. That's also a subscription.

01:08:18   If you're a Call Sheet subscriber, by the way, a fantastic new app from our friend Casey List, friend of the show, it really is a wonderful app. I've tried Call Sheet for months.

01:08:27   If you ever look up movies and TV and that kind of stuff, and you're like, hey, who is that person that plays that thing? What else were they in?

01:08:34   Call Sheet is a really lovely app that lets you do all that stuff. You can subscribe to Call Sheet, and if you do, Apple will include it in their numbers every year.

01:08:42   So if a hundred million people get Casey's new app, then Apple will be really happy, I suppose.

01:08:49   Yeah, because it's a hundred million new paid subscriptions in Apple world, which is how they count it.

01:08:55   I can see their argument because, yes, from their perspective, it is in their ecosystem. It is another paid subscription. They have built an engine that generates all of these subscriptions, and that's true.

01:09:07   But also don't be misled into thinking that that is a billion people paying for Apple TV Plus because that's not what it is.

01:09:15   Nor is anyone choosing, right? Like, this isn't a choice, right? They have the mechanisms, and the mechanisms work great, and a lot of developers love them.

01:09:24   But you have no choice. But anyway, so that is Apple's revenue and earnings and all that kind of stuff for the quarter.

01:09:32   I think an interesting one. We've had a really good conversation, and now me and you will be looking eagerly as to whether this next iPhone is going to make that big jump for them.

01:09:40   I think that's the real question because they have become reliant on that as the way.

01:09:45   Instead of growing gently, they don't grow gently. They are relentless, but they make these quantum leaps. Is there another quantum leap coming that takes them out of the measly $80 billion in revenue a quarter up to $90 or $100?

01:10:02   I guess we'll find out. Oh, before we move on, I have one more item I wanted to mention, which is just how do you go from 1% down on revenue but 1% up on profit year over year?

01:10:16   How do you do that? The answer is—well, there's two answers. One is very favorable conditions for profit margin.

01:10:23   Their profit margin was basically a record, 45% nearly. It was a third quarter record. It's one of the highest margins Apple has ever shown.

01:10:31   Services is a huge component, and they are incredibly profitable. But all of their stuff is very profitable, and Luca Maestri, the CFO, said that in comp—remember Legacy nodes?

01:10:42   Well, right now, he said the component world is very favorable. So now everybody's built back up in supplying components, and the component costs are apparently pretty cheap and very profitable for Apple to take those components and put them in their devices.

01:10:58   So that's one thing. But the other thing that they pointed out is they cut costs. And this is the "we didn't hire people," you know, "we did attrition and we closed."

01:11:07   You know, they didn't do a hiring freeze per se because they still hired some people, but they hired fewer people than they were intending. And that's catnip to Wall Street.

01:11:15   But that's how you get up in revenue when you're down—or up in profit when you're down in revenue is they have some favorable profit margin stuff, but also they cut costs. That is a thing.

01:11:28   And the message they kept sending to Wall Street was, you know, "We continue to invest in R&D, but in the other parts of the company, we cut costs."

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01:13:05   It is always pizza season in the snow house, but it is outdoor pizza season in the snow house. So yeah, I've got the Uni out there on the table. In fact, if I wish I had the picture, we had a house sitter this weekend and there's a picture of a dog, not our dog, sniffing the Uni oven because the dog was up on the table. I don't know why that dog was up there.

01:13:30   Anyway, get off dog. That's pizza land. That's just where the pizzas are made. So yeah, we've got it out there. We've had a bunch of, it's been a cold summer, but it's just heated up and that's my best thing is to go out there on a warm day and turn on that pizza oven and get it up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit or something and heat up that pizza stone and make pizza. It's great.

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01:14:26   Now listeners at this point think that I'm about to ask you a very specific question. This is the final segment of the show, but almost like chapter shuffle, I moved something.

01:14:35   And it's really, to be honest, this is kind of an ask upgrade question, but I just wanted to mention, we're back for the B-tails right now because we have, thank you.

01:14:44   We have amazing new chapter artwork for the B-tails courtesy of our designer JD. And so I wanted to be able to have that in today's episode, even though I don't actually have a B-tail for you.

01:14:55   But we did have a beta related question that came from David that I thought we could talk about in this segment where David says, with all of the talk about the betas from Apple, I'm very tempted to jump on the bandwagon, but I wondered how you manage your iCloud accounts.

01:15:10   Do you have a separate iCloud account for your betas? What happens if you have a phone on the new beta and your other Apple devices are on the standard releases?

01:15:19   Okay. So I love listening to podcasts. We're very sober and careful technology journalists and enthusiasts talk about how they very carefully curated their iCloud account and they've got one that they use in the beta, so they don't want to mess up their iCloud account. And then scrupulously, when the fall comes, they will then log out of that and log into their real account, but they don't sully their regular iCloud account with beta stuff.

01:15:46   You know where this is going, right? I just use my account and I don't care. That's it. That's my answer. I just use my regular iCloud account. I have a beta iCloud account, but I have that so that I have an extra account that I can test for things like AirDrop or anything like that.

01:16:08   That's why I have it, is when I need a second that's not me. I have it, but I just use the betas with my regular account.

01:16:15   There was a time where it was bad. It was a bad time to use your iCloud. I have a bunch of friends whose iCloud accounts got destroyed many years ago from doing this or you'd end up with some kind of issue that would just persist forever.

01:16:33   I would say if everyone I know, OTJ John Voorhees, does actually still end up with a bunch of problems. I don't really know why. John I think does terrible things when he's on the betas and has created some of the things that I've found the funniest in my life with some of the issues that he has.

01:16:51   But I am like you. I don't set up anything new. I think these days it's not as necessary as it has been in the past. I would actually say it's not necessary at all. I think once the public betas became a thing, I think they became a lot more careful about not messing up people's iCloud accounts and not tinkering around too much in there as part of the beta process.

01:17:13   Here's the thing. You just got to understand this. If you're going to install a beta of any kind, you're YOLOing a little bit. So just YOLO all the way.

01:17:23   Let's finish up with some Ask Upgrade questions.

01:17:28   First comes from Chad who says, "The Vision Pro has been pitched as the best device to watch 3D films. With all of the talk about needing to see Oppenheimer in IMAX, what is the likelihood that Apple would offer IMAX versions of films or even IMAX making any kind of video that would be better for 3D films?

01:17:42   IMAX making apps specifically for IMAX films seems like it could be an ideal way to watch IMAX at home."

01:17:48   In terms of resolution, you're going to get the resolution you get on this. IMAX is also often in a different aspect ratio. It's actually a taller image. Disney actually uses some of that IMAX thing on the Disney+ service. If you've got a normal letterboxed widescreen film that's more letterboxed than 16x9 TV, they actually use the IMAX aspect ratio.

01:18:17   content to fill in the screen to make it 16x9, which is a weird choice, but they make it. My guess, Chad, is that if IMAX is related to Vision Pro, probably what you're going to get is the ability to watch a movie in a virtual movie theater and have it be the IMAX shape instead of a more letterboxed shape.

01:18:40   Like if you were at a movie theater. If you were at an IMAX screen and you watch a movie in IMAX, you see the height. And if you watch a regular movie on that IMAX screen, they don't have that height, so they don't show you that. They just sort of show you the regular frame.

01:18:52   So that's my guess. Given that Vision Pro doesn't have a frame per se, that's what you'll see. There'll be movies in all sorts of different aspect ratios. And the advantage of the more square IMAX aspect ratio is on a widescreen device, it's a bummer because you've got pillar boxes.

01:19:16   You've got black bars at the left and the right, but in the Vision Pro, there's no such thing. It would just be a different movie theater experience. So that's my guess about what it will be. So is it the true IMAX experience? Well, no.

01:19:31   But they might use that extra aspect ratio stuff to make a different version of it so that you can, again, because you might not want, on an iPhone screen, you might not want to watch an IMAX clip because the shapes don't match.

01:19:45   But in virtual reality, the shapes don't matter.

01:19:48   They could do it. 100% they could do it. We both watched a clip of Avatar that was in front of us and then also it became the visual size of a cinema screen, which was absolutely massive.

01:20:02   So they could make it IMAX size and be huge. It could be bigger than IMAX, but that isn't the full IMAX experience anyway. It's the Christmas, it's the projection, and the sound, and this thing is going to be resolution wise.

01:20:15   But basically, I think the answer just is, sure, they could. I actually think, yes, they could. This could be a thing that hasn't really been possible at home before to actually see it in a good way.

01:20:28   I guess you could keep pillar boxing until you get the square of the screen. But you could do it. Maybe they will do it, which is a fun thing to think about.

01:20:37   This could even literally be a Disney thing, since they've got the access to their IMAX versions for their enhanced, or whatever they call it, versions that they make available.

01:20:45   Would that Disney+ version be like, "Oh yeah, and you can actually watch it in IMAX now." And we'll all say, "Okay, asterisks. It's not the resolution and this and that and that."

01:20:56   But Disney will just be like, "In IMAX!" I'm like, "Okay, alright."

01:21:01   To be fair though, IMAX, there's already a bunch of caveats, right? Something's called IMAX, but there are then different variations of what IMAX is.

01:21:11   Exactly.

01:21:12   It's already complicated. You know what? Forget it. Put it in there. Just do it.

01:21:16   Put it in there.

01:21:17   Dylan asks, "A recent DigiTimes report claims that the sales of the 15-inch MacBook Air have been below Apple's expectations."

01:21:26   Which is actually a story I've been meaning to mention, so I thought we'd talk about it here. Dylan carries on with, "This left me wondering, should Apple have waited to release the 15-inch MacBook Air until it could ship the product of an M3 chip?"

01:21:36   I'll give a quick quote from 9to5Mac here, reporting on DigiTimes' report. "Reports stated that the supply chain's July shipment volume is 50% less than the original estimate."

01:21:48   I don't know. I mean, should they have waited? I think based on what the reports we've heard is, originally this was going to be part of the same release as the M2 13-inch, and then it got pushed back.

01:22:01   And then we heard about more delays, so I think they wouldn't have released it if they went on their original plan.

01:22:11   But also, I wonder if once you've designed it, why not release it? Especially if you're not going to do an M3 revision until next year. Why not get it out there on the channel?

01:22:23   I would say that this report, the real issue here is that they misjudged what the demand would be, which I think that that's what they would probably take back at this point, is that they would lower their expectations for how many of these that they would sell.

01:22:38   I still think it's going to sell well, though. I think it'll sell well in the fall and the holiday season, and I think regular buyers do not say, "Oh, but there's going to be an M3 next year."

01:22:49   They just don't. We do, but they don't. For who this computer is probably mostly aimed at, whether it came with an M2 chip or an M3 chip, did not delay sales, in my opinion.

01:22:59   I don't think that's the reason that they're 50% less than the original estimate. Maybe they just ordered too many, or maybe they think they'll ship that many in a year and it just wasn't at the right time frame.

01:23:09   Maybe this original estimate was when they originally meant to ship the thing, rather than when it actually came out. This is going to be a product that I reckon will do well, as you say, when people are going to the Apple Store to buy the next computer.

01:23:23   Around school time and all of that kind of stuff is like, "Oh, that's when you expect to see those kinds of purchases." Maybe it just hasn't rolled around enough yet. I don't know.

01:23:35   If you would like to send in a question for a future episode of the show, you just go to upgradefeedback.com and you can send in your Ask Upgrade question, your Snow Talk question. You can send in whatever you want. There's some follow-ups and feedback. Maybe some anonymous stuff.

01:23:51   You can send it all in to us over at upgradefeedback.com.

01:23:55   Calling all Mustafas.

01:23:57   Yes. If there is another Mustafa who does want Apple to put them in Apple prison and you want to clear your name of not wanting to have your name cleared, you can write in upgradefeedback.com. We're really going to stack this one out there into infinity.

01:24:15   By the way, Mustafa, I am genuinely sorry if we caused you any concern. All I'm doing is reporting the news, Jason Snow. These things come in to me. These questions come in. All I can do is read them. upgradefeedback.com.

01:24:29   Thank you to Ooni and Squarespace and Vitaly for their support of the show. Thank you to our members who support us with Upgrade Plus. Go to getupgradeplus.com and you can sign up. You get ad-free, longer episodes of the show each and every single week.

01:24:42   If you want to send us in some information, like I mentioned, upgradefeedback.com. You can check out Jason's writing over at sixcolors.com and here he's podcasting at the incomparable.com and here on Relay FM.

01:24:52   You can listen to me here on Relay FM and check out my work at cortexbrand.com. You can find Jason on Mastodon. He is Jason Al at zeppelin.flights and I am at iMike, I-M-Y-K-E on Mastodon and Threads.

01:25:05   You can also find the show on Mastodon. We are upgrade at relayfm.social. You can watch video clips of the show there and also on TikTok, Instagram. We are @upgraderelay. We're also on YouTube.

01:25:18   Go subscribe to the YouTube channel so we can claim the name because you can't do that until you get to us.

01:25:24   Thank you to our members, as I mentioned, who support us with Upgrade Plus, but most of all thank you for listening. Until next time, say goodbye to Jason Snow.

01:25:33   Goodbye everybody.

01:25:35   [Music]

01:25:47   [ Silence ]