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MacBreak Weekly 389
Leo Laporte: It's time for MacBreak Weekly, we've got a great panel for you, Alex Lindsey is here, Rene and Andy, we're going to talk about Tim Cook's interview with the Wall Street Journal in great detail, what does he mean “A new category?”. We will talk about what an iWatch could do, might do and how much it should cost, all that and more, coming up next on MacBreak Weekly.
Netcasts you love from people you trust. This is TwiT. Bandwidth from MacBreak Weekly is provided by Cachefly. At cachefly.com. This is MacBreak Weekly episode 389, recorded Feb 11, 2014
A boy, a Pipe, and a Dream
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Leo: It's time for MacBreak Weekly, the show that covers your Apple sphere of influence... How about that?! That's a good one! Alex Lindsey is here, speaking of spheres of influence, he influences all, he was doing the This Week in Alex Show a little earlier, thank you for filling in for me during that time...
Alex Lindsey: You got in here late...
Leo: Rene Ritchie from iMore.com, thank you for being here, how is it in... wait a minute, your set has changed again!
Rene Ritchie: I'm not in Watrilla, I actually found a worse place to go, I'm actually in Winnipeg Manitoba right now.
Leo: Oh, no, no.
Alex: Did you decide it wasn't cold enough where you were?!
Rene: Out of the freezer and into the ice.
Leo: Winnipeg is the place where summer is 3 weeks long.
Rene: Yeah, it's actually the coldest place in the world some of the time!
Leo: I had a friend who played in a rock band who played a gig in Winnipeg. I actually asked him “What's the worst place” he said “Winnipeg”. I won't say the name of the band... very well known rock band. It was like without hesitation... Winnipeg. Summer or winter? Winnipeg. Andy Ihnatko is here with his robotic dentistry, once again on display.
Andy Ihnatko: On that list of “Once I become a psychotic trillionaire”, I would love to go to a place like Winnipeg, and simply say that “either you really, really love this place, or you're simply stuck here, I will contribute $15,000 dollars per person, up to $500,000 per family if you want to move, I will underwrite your moving expenses” and just see how many people actually stay! “Oh, it's a brisk -42 today”!
Leo: There are a lot of places, Alaska is like that...
Andy: It's a very odd place to choose to live, that's what I'm saying.
Leo: I watched the “free the whale” movie last night...
Andy: Free Willie?
Leo: No, the other one, where he was trapped in Alaska with John Krasinski. I don't know why I was watching that, there was no child with me... I just...
Andy: Just wanted to feel good again today.
Leo: That's it. I do too. 1090 in the chat room says “You're now in the cold part of Canada”.
Rene: Yeah, the coldER part of Canada!
Andy: They would put that on a bumper sticker and at that temperature adhesive doesn't work.
Leo: But think of the great groups that have come from Winnipeg, Curtis B points out, including “The Guess Who”, “Bachman-Turner Overdrive”, and Neal Young. And I think out of Winnipeg is the key in that phrase!
Rene: The guy who invented plane DE-icing lives in Winnipeg.
Leo: Not a surprise! I've never been there, and I would love to. Why are you in Winnipeg?
Rene: I am visiting my good friend Kevin Michaluk from crackberry.com we're doing a bunch of work and if you're going to work, it might as well be too cold to go outside.
Leo: Is that his apartment? It's a nice place.
Rene: Yes it's his house. He very kindly gave me his podcasting setup to use.
Leo: Beautiful. You sound good, you look good, and you have stairways. I like stairways on television sets, they go somewhere or they go nowhere...
Alex: Why don't we have any here?
Leo: I actually, believe it or not, it was in the spec. The original spiral staircase from the screen savers is up the road a piece, a guy has it – I met a guy and he said “you know, I have your staircase.” I was “What?!” He said “Yeah, you know when they took apart the set, they sold it off and I have the spiral staircase.” I said I want it but we never did manage to hook up and get it. Maybe we still will.
Alex: Great, then we'll have you walking down the stairs at the open of the show...
Leo: The best part of the show!
Andy: That's also great design aesthetic, you put that in the plan that “I want the set to look like the set of a 1983 action movie, with unnecessary railings and balconies everywhere, and a machine that does nothing but turn out geek gear and spit out fire every 8 seconds.
Leo: Brilliant! I think the reason a staircase works on a television set, is it gives you a cue that this is a real space and there's more above or below, and that's a good cue to have, especially in a space that's basically a box. Anyway, we are not here to talk about silly things like Winnipeg and staircases, we are here to talk about cabbages and Kings, we are here to talk about Apple. And the reason I'm not in a great big hurry, is it's basically the same stories we had last week. Tim Cook says “Apple is working on some really great stuff”...
Alex: R-e-a-l-l-y r-e-a-l-l-y great stuff. And there's lots of rumors that those things are – I think we've all collected that those great things are Apple TV and iWatch.
Leo: I don't think that he even... this was very much like he told all things 6 months ago. He told this to the Wall Street Journal – it's a longer interview that talks about how Apple is buying back 14 million shares, which means Carl Ikod...
Alex: Not many people push him to the curb. They pushed him to the curb and he gave up. That's because the investment firm said that they aren't going to back him. Once they announced that, there was absolutely no chance he were going to get it.
Leo: In the 1980's, you spelled greed ICHAN. He's the rebel investor, the guy who comes into a company, buys... he may be one of Apple's share-holders. He says (as a stock holder – he owns 4 billion dollars in shares) “I want Apple to give some of this cash – this hundred sixty seven billion dollars it has in the bank – to it's share-holders.” Back to him, basically! This is really what's wrong with the stock market! Carl Ichan couldn't care less about anything except “I bought 4 billion worth of Apple shares, I want it to be worth 8 billion dollars now!”.
Andy: “I don't have that much on me right now, I don't bend down in the street to pick up a million dollar bill if I find it there in the gutter”!
Rene: It's not about the long term value of the company, it's about a quick pump and dump, which is sad because it affects so many companies so badly.
Alex: The interesting date to consider in this whole conversation, is 2024. At the rate Apple is buying back, they will be private.
Leo: You think they will... the plan is to buy back 60 million, not to buy back all the stock.
Alex: What I'm saying, is if they keep on doing it at the rate they are doing it at, which they could afford to do... if they do it at the rate they are doing it now, their cash position would continue to increase if they bought 10% of their stock back per year.
Leo: Who is ISS? Is that his investment company?
Alex: No it's not his, it's another one.
Leo: He wrote “Dear fellow Apple share-holders, while we are disappointed that last night ISS recommended against our buy back proposal, we do not altogether disagree with their assessment.” Basically, ISS said “On the spectrum of options for allocating capital, the board appears to have been sluggish, only in returning excess cash to share-holders.” “Even though the company has in place one of the largest buy backs in history...”
Alex: It's not one of, it's THE largest buy back in the history.
Leo: “We agree that this effort seems like bailing with a leaky bucket, given the scale of the company’s cash reserves”. I think Apple's point of view, and Tim Cook's point of view is, “We want the cash in case”.
Alex: In case they want to buy AT&T, in case they want to buy Disney, or they want to buy something really, really big, you want to have that kind of cash available, because it gives you all kinds of freedom.
Leo: Carl Ichan says I see money in that vault, and I want some of it! Anyway, he's backed down...
Alex: How old is he? How much longer do we have to put up with this?
Rene: 932 like Yoda.
Leo: He's an older man, good looking fellow, nicely dressed,
Andy: He doesn't appear to be wearing sunscreen, so that's not a problem...
Leo: I wonder what he plans to do with all that fast fortune?
Rene: Probably not give it away back to the share-holders.
Alex: He's probably not going to go the way of Bill Gates with the Red Hot Chili Peppers...
Andy: He does seem like one of those billionaires that like it when people pay attention to the things that he says...
Andy: So when he makes all these statements like kind of – I wonder how much of this is really motivated by this intense belief that this is something Apple should do, and how much of this is just that I get to be “wise old investment guy” who gets to- Oh look, a microphone, I'll say something profound and interesting.
Leo: Apple has not made a lot of big purchases, you know they've bought little stuff...
Alex: I think I read that they've never bought any company for more than a billion.
Leo: They're fairly frugal. Tim Cook told Wall Street Journal though, We have looked at big companies, we have no problem spending 10 figures. How many is that – I have 10 fingers...
Alex: That would be a billion.
Leo: Right. We have no problem spending 10 figures, what about 11?
Rene: They're not going to spend it on Instagram was his point.
Leo: For the right fit that's in the best interest of Apple in the long term. No problem, none, zero.
Alex: I think that the challenge for Apple would be the mix of cultures. I think buying a company that's that big, I think the biggest problem would be trying to assimilate that many employee's, I think that almost every time we see this kind of merger's, it's pretty ugly.
Leo: It's ugly! Think of AOL-Time Warner! HP-Compaq...
Alex: Especially when you have such a specific culture at Apple, which is very different than most other corporations. I think that would be a difficult mix, if you had too many people in a new company.
Andy: Although they buy a lot of companies, can you name the last time they bought a company that had it's own public identity? They buy a lot of little companies that are starting up that seems to have the technology that they want.
Leo: Filemaker... that was years ago but it was the last big name acquisition.
Rene: Next was probably their biggest integration, but that went the other way.
Rene: And even now, it's a big struggle. They used to have enough people that you could do a mentor relationship with new people and really acculturated them quickly, and then they grew so fast they had to start establishing Apple University, and teach more like a lecture hall, because the people who were new to apple, started outnumbering by vast quantities the ones who were established at Apple. And that's a huge problem right now and any large scale purchase will only exasperate that problem.
Leo: Horace Dediu, he's so funny, he looked at Apple's 10-Q, and he said based on the app sales, iTune sales and all of that, he said if you just split iTunes off into its own company, it would be 130 on the fortune 500!
Rene: Bigger than Kraft, bigger than the Gap!
Leo: It's doing ok! Gross revenue, he figured out, based on all the information of iTune's, gross revenue is 7 billion dollars a QUARTER! On the yearly basis the iTunes saw 4 services group had gross revenues of 23.5 billion with the growth of 34% year over year.
Alex: It's not bad if you like that kind of thing, money hand over fist.
Leo: I'd take it! But really, and I don't know anything about running big companies, but it does raise the question, if you have a massive bunch of... I remember when Microsoft first started taking off, they didn't know what to do with all that cash! They bought certificates of deposit, they bought CD's, they just kept buying CD's! It's like putting it in your mattress, what do you do with it all?!
Alex: What makes it more complicated is most of it is off shore, so it's not complicated as people...
Leo: Well, there's a tax consequence if your re-patriot it as well.
Alex: Which --- avoided.
Leo: I think 70% of that is off shore, so that means 70% of that is effectively untouchable, I think. Unless you want to pay a fairly high corporate tax.
Alex: Or you spend it on things overseas.
Leo: They could have bought AT&T! It's market caps 200 billion, they could have bought it.
Rene: The FCC comes with it though, which you don't want!
Leo: Yeah, you don't want that.
Alex: I think what's more interesting, as you look at the Apple TV issues, with that kind of money, is Apple looking at going head to head with AT&T and Verizon and so forth, in specific markets. As much as Google has done with the fiber...
Leo: Look at Apple... I'm going to try and put myself in Tim Cook's shoes. Apple's got a nice little business, doing ok. And he even says “we want to adjust for the long-term interest of the share-holder, not for the short-term share-holder day trader” And what he's really saying, is we want to plan for the long term. So what is the long term? It's not about bringing the stock prices back up, you are about what's the next thing, right? Because you can't just coast off into the sunset.
Alex: I don't think the information companies will get to do what the next big thing is until they start side-stepping the cable companies.
Leo: The last thing you want to do is get into an existing business, right? You're saying become a middle man for content?
Alex: Not a middle man for your own content, I mean – so the thing is, I just don't think you can do things that are aggressive, and to prove models when you aren't – when you are trying to go through companies that have a traditional model that you have to maintain. I think that Apple – in the same way that Google has done fiber in a handful of places to experiment, if you look at what's happening in Austin, when fiber went to Austin, it put an enormous amount of pressure on AT&T, who is now reacting.
Leo: How about this: Sprint has now backed off acquiring T-Mobile, regulators were pretty clear that isn't going to happen, so yesterday Sprint said We're not going to buy T-Mobile, T-Mobile is only 18.3 billion.
Alex: But I don't think you want to buy any of the existing ones, I think you're just buying a lot of baggage. But I think that looking at specific markets and building out your own network that supports those markets, that allows you to prove what's there, when people start to see that, it creates consumer agitation. People get upset that they don't have that where they are.
Leo: Mark Grman wrote a great article on 9-5 about what you can tell what Apple is planning based on the hires Apple has made, and we've talked about this a lot. So Cook said nothing, but every time he says this, he gets massive head lines. “There will be new categories, we're not ready to talk about it, but we're working on some really great stuff”. Which could be a para-phrase of what he said 6-8 months ago. He said “Anyone reasonable would consider what Apple is working on, as a new category. Apple is still a growth company”. That's sort of what investors are worried about, they want a growth company but Apple has not really been showing the kind of – at least it's last quarterly report showed slow growth that might concern the market.
Alex: I think a re-vamped Apple TV and an iWatch are two very different markets and I think they are pretty close to the surface. We're seeing enough rumors that I think it's more of a when than if. I don't know whether the Apple TV is going to be an actual screen or not, but I do think that a hobby is going to turn into a business.
Andy: That's a definite. But I have to ask myself, when he talks about a new category, is it a new category for Apple, or for the industry? I'm pretty sure it's just for Apple, but I wouldn't put it past them to create something that they feel is so separate from anything else that's ever been made, that they could call it a brand new product that has never been made in this form.
Alex: I do think that one of the interesting – a lot of the rumors with the Apple TV, if they open this up to games and lots of development and apps on your TV, that might not be an entirely new category, but it entirely changes the offering that they're putting on the big screen.
Andy: Particularly – I think that one of the least appreciated announcements from the last WWDC was IOS in the car, because when you take – at the surface you're talking about a way to make your phone integrate better with that little dinky little screen that's in your center console, but really what you're talking about is the ability to project an operating system onto a much dumber device. In which your iPhone is still critical to the process, your iPad is still critical to the process, but you can actually put it in a place – interact with it in a place where it's not actually a hand-held device. So I wonder if that really is one of the key things about the Apple TV, not just the idea of having a mirrored display, or having an Apple TV display, but the idea of your phone being the host for a much more rich interface, a much more rich experience because of the fact this Apple TV can simply take all of this IOS info-structure, and simply use that just as a way to project it on to an electric screen.
Alex: And I have to admit, I've really been thinking about the whole TV tuner issue, and being able to actually integrate with the cable companies and possibly even have a DVR or anything else that even looks like that, I find myself irritated – I'm irritated with the Comcast tuner that we have now, and thinking that if Apple TV – that's the last little bit because I always have to go back and forth between Apple TV and the standard cable tuner, being able to get that out of the mix, I think that would be – I would never go back. If I could mix my cable viewing with my Apple TV with everything else.
Leo: I don't know, I agree... that's what Steve Jobs said in his biography, is it's terrible, it's crap. It's been crap for years.
Alex: It's so horrible, every time I use Comcast, I'm just like “this is amazingly bad!”
Leo: We had Tivo which was better, we had replay which was better.
Andy: But this is the scale of the problem that Apple faces if they want to do something that ambitious with Apple TV. Remember that a lot of what they're able to do with the iPhone – merger 1.0 was due to the fact that they were able to negotiate terms with AT&T that were essentially “if you want this hot new phone, you've got to do exactly what we tell you to, and that includes info-structure at your end to make stuff work”. And the only reason why they were able to make that work, was because AT&T was really on the ropes, and I wouldn't go as far as to say that the iPhone was a lifeline for them, but if the iPhone had not worked out for them, they probably would have been bought out by someone else long before now. But cable companies are doing extremely well, there are very few of them who have the sort of like nationwide overage that AT&T would have, and so if Apple wanted to do that sort of integration where you would able to put something akin to a cable card inside of an Apple TV to make it into a cable tuner, they still have to talk to Verizon and talk to Comcast and talk to Cox and these big providers, and say “We would very much like it where people wouldn't have to pay $15 a month for your cable box, and another $20 a month for this multi-room service, we would very much like our $99 device to work so well with your system that you don't have to charge them for pretty much anything.” And given that all these companies are so well they feel as though they can punch HBO and Netflix around, Apple is going to get laughed out of the room if they offer that sort of a thing. That's why I really don't think that it's – I would be surprised if anything akin to a cable box or a placement or a tuner that works off of anything other than their broadcasts.
Leo: You don't want to deal with cable. Here's an interesting thought from someone in our chat room, Areo of course facing a supreme court challenge, if they win... what if Apple buys Areo?
Alex: I think it's a complicated business.
Leo: That's the company where you essentially rent a dime sized antenna in a metro area and watch off the air TV on your Apple TV. Do we agree that's the one thing missing that would make Apple TV a compelling product, is live television?
Andy: Not really. For sports, it would be great, but how much of live sports, like day to day, are even being broadcasted?
Alex: Even when you think you're watching it live, you're watching it recorded. I already know who won when I turn the Olympics on, we do a lot of live streaming, and I think there are 3 reasons to have it live, that's breaking news, sports, and interactivity. And you've got to have one of those 3 or it's not worth it.
Leo: I'm going to record to say “Interactivity” is key to all future media. Because that's what we do, and that's why we do it live. Hey, I want to show you the Chevy ad, speaking of the Olympics, I was watching and I saw Siri in a Chevy ad! This is why you should not ask Siri to read your text messages... Is this a compelling ad?! I can't wait to get that!
Alex: It's a funny ad!
Andy: I wish I knew how much different that is from like my old beat up beater that simply has a bluetooth button that can activate Siri.
Leo: My texts are read to me. I don't think when you – I'm not sure, correct me if I'm wrong, when you integrate Siri into the car, it's not like you have IOS in the car, it's just simply a pathway to the...
Andy: An easier button for activating it. Instead of reaching up to the home button to do that because you have it safely docked.
Leo: And notice, by the way, the guy did what everybody does, he said Siri. I always do that too – why? You don't need to address her when you use it.
Alex: But it does feel more... I don't know...
Andy: Well then it becomes more like “What? How should I know who called you the last time?! I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to Siri! Who is Siri?! It's my phone. That's not your phone, phones don't have names, you're going to tell me who Siri is right now!”
Rene: That's part of the genius of Siri is that they gave it a Pixar like personality, and that took away some of the hesitation or discomfort from a normal person using the system.
Alex: When Siri first came out, every time somebody would ask me how Siri was, I would ask her to open the pod bay doors, because the reaction was different every single time.
Leo: You know, by the way, Microsoft bought Tell Me, also has a fairly good voice control system, but they are going to add a Siri like assistant to Windows phone 8.0 called Cortana, and she is this character from Halo – quite beautiful – voluptuous character from halo...
Alex: Only Microsoft can take a perfectly good idea and make it weird!
Leo: They just a couple of days ago, invested 15 million dollars in foursquare, that will be the location services. I think Microsoft is playing catch-up all along here, in fact we just saw an interesting story here, we'll find out in a couple of days at Mumble World Congress, Nokia which is now owned by Microsoft, will be introducing its new Android phone. And it will be forked because it won't have the Google Play-store, which you really want, it will have its own Nokia app store built into it. I think it's pretty clear that Microsoft is not going to give up, but they're going to make a mess, they always do! The real threat is Android, is it not? And in fact, much of the Siri function is better than Android.
Andy: No, not really, they're just so different. I don't think you can compare Google now to Siri, because Siri really is exactly what the – it would be much more difficult to do that kind of in car demo on an android device, because remember that Siri is really a micro-app platform...
Leo: My Moto-X knows I'm driving, if a text message comes in, a very nice lady comes on and says “You just received a text message from Lisa, would you like me to read it to you?” I say “Yes”, I don't have to touch or look at anything, it reads me the message, I blush, it says “Would you like to reply?” and then I say “yes” and dictate the message, and then it reads me back the dictation...
Alex: Which you blush again...
Leo: Which I blush again, but then it's very accurate, which is interesting, and then sends it without any interaction except voice.
Andy: That's a Motorola feature, for one, and secondly, Siri, what I love the most about Siri, it's been set up to be smart enough to understand if it doesn't have enough information, it's just going to bounce you back. You can say “Siri, create a calendar appointment” and it will say “Ok, who is the appointment with, where is it, what time is it”, whereas in terms of stock Android, you do have to make sure that it is in the format that this voice recognition software is expecting, and if you are missing something, unexpected things can happen. They did create a personality that you expect to have a conversation with to get something done.
Rene: There are also different services, like Siri is at its heart a sequential inference engine and all it does is ask a question, it remembers what the previous discussion was about and bases its future responses on the ongoing discussion, it does that very well, and it can link into a bunch of other services, most of which Apple doesn't exploit yet, but Siri is built to spring board now, could theoretically have all sorts of services and apps hooked in. Where Google Now pulls in tons of data and then learns a lot of intelligence about you, what your air flights are, where you're going, and it does that prognostication thing which is really really convenient if you're willing to give them the access.
Andy: I keep saying that the signature difference between these two services is that Siri is like the personal assistant in the next room who will do what you ask it to do, Google Now is more like the Valet in terms of the upstairs, downstairs, Downton Abbey, where you basically pick up your coat and there's already a theater ticket in the left hand pocket and it's already been dusted down, and there's already a car waiting for you outside, this is the time you're supposed to be going out to the theater with Lady whatever her name is.
Leo: Lady Askwith! I like it, that's what I want!
Andy: I think also, Google Now would be the one to recognize that “Ok, I sense that your wife is in the car so I'm not going to read THAT to you”!
Leo: I see the appointment you're going to, your wife is with you, we'll just skip this for the moment.
Alex: No, really, dictate it to me... No, I'm not going to!
Leo: He also talked a little about Google selling Motorola to Lenovo, I wasn't surprised, says Tim Cook, it was a logical transaction. He also pointed out that Motorola was a financial disaster for Google. He also said that Google isn't committed to the phone business. “I think it's hard to do hardware, software, and services and link all those things together”. You know it's hard, Tim! You know it's hard! “That's what makes Apple so special, it's really hard, so I'm not surprised that they are not going to do that”.
Rene: We had a chance to speak to Ben Thompson earlier in the week, and he had a very interesting take, his theory was that Motorola has always been for sale, that Google needed to buy it because of the Motorola patent threat, but what's in it for Lenovo, is when they manufacture phones in China, there's no IP protection, so it's very easy to have low cost phones, but in North America, the cost of licensing IP's makes a phone $50-$100 more expensive. But now that they can cross license Motorola patents, they can reduce the bill of goods and compete on the price. Google was never interested in doing vertical integration for existing product lines, they want to do that for the future product lines with things like robots and Nest that do home automation, the things that are really, really hard, they want to help drive forward by doing the entire widget. Everything else including phones, they're much happier to have a horizontal layer on top of everybody's else stuff. And that made a lot of sense to me, at least.
Leo: Yeah. Who is Ben Thompson?
Rene: He does Critiquery. What's interesting about him, is he worked on Apple University at Apple, and then he went and worked on Windows 8 at Microsoft, so he has a very broad range of experiences to draw from.
Leo: That's a very good site, we've quoted from often. I think it's pretty obvious Google didn't have a big loss selling Motorola, they got a lot of great stuff, and I think they got some concessions out of Samsung as a result of the sale, that I hope will make a Samsung less crappy.
Rene: It was a good chess move.
Leo: It was a chess move – it felt like that anyway.
Andy: In terms of the big box of stuff they got out of it, but at the same time, I think there is more depth to this move than anybody is going to guess. The conversations that I was having with people I know inside Google, who've been friends for years – well before they even became employees at Google, talking to me about work that is being done, without violating anti-trust, of course, but the buzz that they were doing internally to make the Moto-X as good as it could possibly be, it left me with the impression that this wasn't simply a stock transaction or an IP transaction, or simply as a way of bullying Samsung. A very large part of the Google – inside the Google campus, this was an opportunity to create something that was a more Apple-like Android phone, to the extent that they actually succeeded with the Moto-X.
Leo: Asked about the possibility of a larger phone, Cook told the Wall Street Journal “What we've said, is until the technology is ready, we don't want to cross that line. That doesn't say we'll never do it, we want to give our Customers what's right in all respects.”
Rene: They don't like all that, at all.
Leo: I don't even know what he's talking about! “There are many different parameters to measure a display, and we care about all those, because we know that that's the window to the software”.
Rene: They looked at all that, and they looked at Pantel displays and they were kind of revolted by...
Leo: As they should be, I agree...
Rene: They don't think it's worth it doing big phones. It's the same thing with LTE, they are very slow in getting there because they wanted low power radio's...
Leo: Can you not do an IPS LCD in a 5” screen?
Rene: It depends, you're Apple things are harder, it's the same reason your Amazon tablets have higher technology levels than the Apple ones, because it's easy to make a small batch of that stuff, it's really hard to make 100 million of those things. Apple is not using OLED they're not going to use Pentel, they have to be able to make 100 million really high quality LED IPS display's.
Leo: And that might be tough.
Andy: And the other consideration is, whenever they make this move, that will be the only source of this type of phone for the entire world. Whereas if an Android device maker, or even a Windows tablet device maker decides “What if we had a new LCD technology that had yellow as a discrete color?” If that turned out to be a terrible product, or drive up the price or just drain the battery, you still have a million devices that don't have that bizarre technology. Whereas if Apple screws up with a large screen iPhone, every large screen iPhone in the entire world is screwed up.
Leo: Galaxy S5, we're starting to see rumors that's going to be announced soon as well, may have, in fact a QHD screen which would give it more than 5.25” screen would give it more than 500dpi, which is...
Alex: Absurd. I'll say it, I'll call it.
Leo: I think at this point, anything past 300 probably wasted, right?
Andy: If you happen to have a hawk who likes to do multi-touch, the hawk will be chasing vermin on that screen until the cows come home.
Leo: But that puts pressure on Apple, because for one thing Apple – you don't think so? I think people pay attention to numbers, as stupid as that is, Apple – that's why they said “We have a 64bt processor”.
Rene: In Samsung's defense, it's the same reason why they have a 7” tablet at 500dpi, because they want 1 screen resolution target, and that has to scale down, because otherwise the large tablet will look silly. So if you have the 5” galaxy s5 with that resolution, and then the note and the mega and whatever else, because they do phones at every quarter inch screen size, the ones that started getting toward 6 and 7 inches still look good, and they only have one resolution to target.
Leo: I had a G2flex, that's the curvy LG phone, and 720p screen in a 6” phone, it really doesn't look good! You've got to have some resolution there!
Andy: Rene, is that really a problem because the Android world doesn't have a problem with all these completely disparate phone, hardware, from completely disparate makers that can choose their own resolutions on the fly...
Rene: I don't know if that's a problem, but I got a chance to interview Samsung, the product director for Samsung's mobile divisions, and that was his reasoning, is that they wanted to be able to present a consistent screen size to developers.
Leo: Screen resolution, not screen size.
Rene: Yes res, sorry. A consistent screen target for developers, and they're doing their own developers conference, and they're trying to move Samsung in a certain direction, and that was the official corporate reason for why they are doing it at least.
Leo: Anything else about the Tim Cook interview? We really parsed the hell out of that thing. I think we got all of it... Do you want to mention anything about Sapphire? They are firing up that Sapphire plant in Arizona.
Alex: I do find it interesting they are doing it in Arizona rather than...
Leo: Well they bought it so it's already there.
Alex: But I mean I'm surprised that they are building it in the US rather than China.
Leo: That is interesting. This was a company that...
Rene: Gorilla glass was already in the US...
Leo: And they acquired this company, this is not a new building for Apple. They and GT Advance are going to open a facility in Mesa... earlier this year, according to Mark Germen with 9-5 Mac, “we learned that Apple is aggressively pushing to make the facility operational this month” and that “It will produce a critical new sub-component for Apple devices”. We've speculated on this show that might be the Sapphire on the finger print sensor, or the Sapphire on the lens, but, “Thanks to new documents and information, 9-5 Mac has uncovered with the help of annalist Matt Margolis, we have a clearer picture of Apple's plans.” Here we see some parts, and he says it “Appears Apple is planning to build Sapphire Crystal Displays for future iPhones”. Not touch finger print readers, not lenses for cameras...
Alex: That's a lot of Sapphire.
Leo: That's a lot! “Documents detailing inspection tool components explained their purpose.” It doesn't really mean much to read this stuff, “high quality Sapphire”... Sapphire is stronger than glass, in fact it's used on high quality watches, expensive watches, because it doesn't scratch. Normally in material science, the trade off is plastic doesn't shatter, it's softer, but it scratches. If something is brittle enough not to scratch, it's also brittle enough not to crack. So finding a material that can both resist scratching and not shatter.
Alex: I think it would be great to have it for iPhones, I still think it makes more sense for a watch than for an iPhone screen, but it would be great to have it on an iPhone screen.
Rene: Mark's point, I think, was they did the math on the amount they were producing, and it would take an awful lot of watches to use up that much glass.
Leo: They're saying – they bought these testing units, the first 518 units, according to Margolis, could build one hundred and three million and one hundred and sixteen million 5” display's a year. 5” display's. A watch would be considerably smaller. They're ramping up to do a lot of something...
Alex: And it could be just that that's what they're going to use for all their display's, that could be another...
Leo: And, they've ordered over 100 tons of graphite.
Alex: That's a lot of graphite!
Leo: To heat the furnaces?! That would be a selling point! There's a few things that are kind of ignored in the specs olympics, because they don't really lend themselves to specs very well. But longer battery life, I guess that lends itself to a spec, better battery life, and a better resilience. My daughter has gone through like 6 iPhones, they just crack all the time!
Alex: I drop mine all the time – I'm going to curse it right now – but I drop mine all the time and I've never had a cracked screen.
Leo: She has a case and it won't crack if it hits anything but the front, but if it hits the front – this is true of all smart phones – you've got a glass panel, it's very difficult to protect that.
Andy: I've got to say that ever since Apple stopped making the dual side sandwich of the iPhone 4, that's when I stopped breaking phones.
Leo: That was a bad choice.
Andy: for some reason, I have no evidence to prove this, but I suspect that one of the reasons for the design change is that. I don't Apple could have been blind to the fact that they were getting a lot of phones back with back panel cracks. Even when I was accidentally dropping an iPhone – later phones – They were doing pretty ok by then. Although it would be difficult – how would Apple actually sell that point though, if they say “Our phones are now made with a Sapphire front screen, and they are less likely to crack than anything else”, so are they implicitly encouraging people to say “Please don't put your phones in those ugly cases that we absolutely hate”, and can they say that without saying essentially there is now and expanded warranty on cracked screens?
Leo: I think they could do an ad in which they drop phones! Remember the old Samsonite ads where they add a gorilla handling the bags? Give a gorilla the phone, he throws it and stuff and it comes out fine...
Andy: I bet that that commercial would be the most expensive thing that Apple has made in 10 years, with all the lawyers that have to look at - “Don't say will drop, say if dropped, don't say shatter proof, say shatter resistant, actually, don't say shatter resistant, if you can try not to say shatter, if you can say it's the most durable phone we've made, not ever, how about in the last 2 ½ months...”
Leo: I feel like, maybe it's just me because I have such bad experience with my kids – both of my kids have broken their phones many times.
Alex: My kids have too.
Leo: I think this is something that generally consumers would get excited about.
Alex: That's definitely one of those things that I think that...
Leo: More so than a 64bt processor, or a faster thing, or even a higher DPI screen. Better battery life and it doesn't break?! That's a pretty compelling... I think that's what real people want.
Alex: I think that the 3 things that you do, is that it doesn't break, better battery life, and you have better better low light performance on the camera.
Leo: Oh, low light on the camera – better camera – that's a constant issue.
Andy: Lets also highlight that this is a feature that Apple can really make a lot of use of, because Apple loves talking about materials, and if they say that this is not just another rink-a dink blister packed android phone, this is a high quality phone made out of the best materials that exist.
Leo: And they are making enough that they could put it in the watch too.
Andy: It's a slam dunk for a watch, unfortunately I'm wearing a test watch today...
Leo: WAIT...What is that?! Let’s see that a little longer, is that a – is that the steel?
Andy: Pebble steel watch.
Leo: Look at that, that's nice! It still looks clunky, I've got to say, it doesn't make it a fashion statement.
Andy: I'll have to say that it's at least within the bandwidth that you would expect a men's watch to be. This is absolutely hopeless for... (music starts playing)
Leo: Did you just start music on your phone?!
Andy: Yeah, one of the coolest things about it is it does have a music controller, and so and by trying to show you how cool it scrolls through things, I accidentally started the music, and when it gets to the end – as it keeps moving, it will update and show you.
Leo: I've seen a lot of Pebbles, I have one too; I've seen a lot of pebbles amongst our Tech journalist friends. I saw my first Pebble in the wild sighting yesterday, I was picking up Lisa's son Michael, he had a play date, and the 16year old brother was watching them and we were leaving, and the brother looked at his wrist, and then got his phone out, and I said you must – is that a Pebble? I was far enough away, but the fact that his phone rang after he looked at his wrist told me he's got a pebble on, and he did indeed. This guy is kind of a geek, but I mean, he's a real person.
Andy: This is my first time wearing a pebble as my daily driver, and I'm really digging it a lot because you forgot about how many times you reach in your pocket for absolutely nothing that merits taking it out, and that includes Oh, the phone is ringing, I want to mute whatever is playing, I just want to touch this button, I don't want to have to even walk across the kitchen where I left my phone to find out who is calling, and all that kind of stuff. We can talk about that later if you like though. All I wanted to say is that if you had my real phone, for some reason, architect's hate men of average height who wear watches, because door knobs are exactly at the height of my wrist, and so every watch I own will usually have a scratch here and here where I simply graze it against a door knob at some point. So that's why if people are really hot about the idea of Sapphire faces on watches. We all know the famous story about in the development of the original iPhone, very, very late in the game, Steve Jobs threw his sample iPhone at the engineers, showing them all the horrible scratches on the front, and saying “We are not going to let our phone look that crappy after people have it in their pockets for 3 months, we're having a glass screen on this thing!”. And I'm sure that that same mentality is right here, because you don't spend all that time trying to develop a legitimately beautiful product only to let users make it look crazy and horrible after a couple of months.
Leo: So should I... See, I've been waiting for the Apple, I figure if I buy a pebble now...
Alex: I'm stalling. Same as when I had my Trio and I knew there was a phone coming, so for like a year I was just dragging along, and I'm doing the same thing now.
Leo: I have bought a Pebble and it still looks good, but I'm just thinking “If I buy this deal, I'll really, really regret it in 3 months”.
Andy: I don't know, it's – there are so many open questions about how Apple would actually implement this, do they actually feel like a watch like this makes sense, that can actually control a phone directly? And also, would they make it open enough so that it would work with – you won't be locked into an iPhone, but also that if Nest wants to do a controller, given who they are owned by right now, if Nest wants to make a controller for the Apple watch, would they do that? So far they've got no problem with putting that stuff into the IOS store, but how open will this device be, and how soon?
Alex: I think the other question too is, how many Apple users really care? I think a lot of them, if it fits into their eco-system, 50-60, maybe 70% of the Apple users will be like “Awesome”.
Andy: I realize this is the sort of conversation you have when you're 3 hours into a pot-filled cabin weekend with all your friends, but it's like “is that the proper roll for Apple?” If Apple really wants to aspire for greatness, do they really want to make products that are only going to appeal to people who own other Apple products, or do they really want to legitimately realize that there are wrists, there are pockets, there are desktops, there are notebook bags that we are not in right now, and we want to reach out to those people as well. It's more impressive for Pebble to say “We are creating a platform so that most people who own phones can benefit from this device, no Blackberry, no Window's phone yet, maybe they will fix Window's phone or Blackberry, but...
Alex: If Apple only attracted people who already owned iPads and iPhones and Mac's, - and a lot of them were really excited about it, that would be the largest electronic watch ever made. I think that the issue is, at least in the first year or two, they wouldn't need to pay attention to anybody outside of their own user base.
Andy: Just like the original iPod was Mac only at first, but at some point they had to prove it was a great product, and also they were a great company capable of creating a great product, they had to do a Window's version of it. It's sort of like – Hey, we built a moon rover that works great in earth gravity, with lots and lots of options around it. That's great for someone who grew up on earth, and has access to earth all the time, and can control the earth. Come back and tell me when you can build something that can work outside of your own environment and eco-system.
Alex: I think that that was also when Window's was so dominant, I think a lot of people who are using these watches are going to be in an IOS dominant world. I think they might do it eventually, but I think they could go 2 years without paying attention to anyone else, and sell more than they could make
Andy: That would be successful. That's why I underscore the need to be in Colorado or Washington state, and be very, very high to have this sort of philosophical discussion. It's – Apple is a company that is capable of, and has achieved true greatness in it's own time, and I would hope that as they are creating new markets, opportunities and products, they don't feel as though everything they do has to be so tightly wrapped up in their own eco-system, that they're incapable of creating something for people who haven't bought into that eco-system. That would be a shame, I think.
Leo: We're going to take a break, when we come back, a new special channel for the Apple TV and lots more. Alex Lindsey is here from the Pixel Corps, Rene Ritchie from imore.com, Andy Ihnatko from the Chicago Sun Times, did you see the super bowl add from Square Space? “A better web awaits” was the tag line. It was all the crap, you know that you see on the web, and then clear it away and make it a beautiful clean website with squarespace.com it's web hosting plus the best web content creating tools to give you the best of both worlds. I just saw Matt Cuts say, that Google is going to down rank sites that have a lot of ads and clutter on their sites. You want to make a better website? You want to go to square space. The all in one platform makes it very fast, very easy to make your own professional website, blog, your online portfolio... look at this they just added the logo creator tool, I'll show you the little movie... They're using Google fonts, and then they've got the noun project, 30,000 icons that you can use to design your own kind of simple logo. This is what Square Space is all about, is making things easier for you to do. To make your site look unique without having to know CSS or Java Script. Just really great stuff. Very easy to use, 25 templates now, they've added more, you start with those basic templates and you just customize them to your heart's desire. This is a demonstration of the logo design tool here, you get these icons on the left – like I said, 30,000 starting point, you can then add text obviously, in any of the Google fonts, and there's – I don't know – 300 or 400 of those. It's just really, really easy to use, and really gorgeous. If you need some help, live chat and email support 24/7, plus a completely re-designed customer help site for easier access to self-help articles and video workshops. E-commerce is now available for all subscription plan levels, including the ability to accept donations, great for non-profits. Or maybe you are getting married and you want to do a cash wedding registry, you don't need the little cash envelopes that you slip into the silk bags like in the Godfather, you could just say that's the modern way, go to the Square Space site. School Fund drives, things like that. It starts at $8 a month, when you sign up for a year you get a free domain name, and they've got the great apps too, the square space blog app, it lets you post but also moderate comments, the new metric app lets you take a look at page views and other statistics, unique visitors, social media follows... if you look at the code, if you do know coding, look at the back end code, you'll see how gorgeous it is.
Alex: We're about to rebuild our website. Guess what we're going to do it on
Leo: Square Space!
Alex: Our current one is on Square Space, but we did it in the older platform, so we're about to be a big upgrade.
Leo: It's mobile responsive; that means the sites look good on any size screen, that's the way to do it. You start with a free 2 week trial, you don't need a credit card, just build; you can use the logo designer and everything. When you decide to sign up for Square Space, just use our offer code MACBREAK2, we're in February now so MACBREAK2 and you'll get 10% off and show your support for MacBreak Weekly. A better web awaits and it starts with your new Square Space website. I like their regard for aesthetics. They really – these guys have a great design sense, and in effect, you inherit it from them just by using Square Space, it's great. Squarespace.com use our offer code MACBREAK2. I love that... If you didn't see the edits on there, it's really a great ad. Alright, continuing on. Did you see there's a Beetle's channel on Apple TV? I guess it's for a limited time,
Rene: I think it's in recognition of the Sullivan anniversary.
Leo: Yeah, February7th was the 50th.
Alex: I was like “Why is everyone talking about the Beetles?!” And then I was like “It's the 50th anniversary, idiot!”
Leo: He describes – Steve Jobs described the Beetle's as the Model for Apple's business. He said “My model for business is the Beetles”. They were 4 guys that kept each others’ negative tendencies in check, they balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of parts. Great things in business are never done by one person, but done by a team. I don't know about Ringo, you could leave Ringo out. No, I love Ringo.
Andy: I have to say that during the Grammy's, I had this observation, I had it tweeted out that “You have to remember that even on the worst day of Ringo Star's adult life, he was still one of the Beetle's”. If he spills coffee today, slips and breaks his hip on the kitchen floor and nobody recognizes him when the ambulance comes, he's still one of the Beetle's.
Leo: So is Tim Cook Apple's Yoko? No, Scott Forstall...
Andy: I don't know that we need to go there! It's definitely one of those similes that you have to cut off at around 1966 because there was a point at which all these people hated each other and they couldn't record...
Leo: Steve had a little bit of a rose colored glasses view of the Beetle's. Remember, Apple didn't get the Beetle's on iTunes for a long, long time, it was a big deal when they do... They actually had a lawsuit with Apple Corp and they told Apple Corp that we will never get in the music business. Oops! And then they did, and it all started up again. Apparently there's footage from the Ed Sullivan show of their first appearance, available “for a limited time” this is on the new channel, you can listen to the US albums. That's kind of cool. A new channel on the Apple TV celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beetle's. Itunes radio comes to Australia too, Hello Australia, and all the ships at sea... Apple's iBooks court monitor, the ongoing case. You remember that Apple did not like the court appointed monitor in the iBooks case, they said “He doesn't know what he's talking about, he's never done this before, he's getting a lot of money and he's really pissing us off”. Michael Bromwich, they went back to court, saying “No, there was a little stay there”, according to the Wall Street Journal, the US court of Appeals Judge... actually the court of appeals reviewed the decision, and what they said is Bromwich stays in place, but his duties are a little narrower, he is authorized to request interviews and documents from the company ONLY to insure that Apple has policies in place to prevent future anti-trust violations. And that senior executives and board members understand them. So I don't know if that really cut him back that much.
Rene: His request to get Johnny Ive on the stand probably won't go anywhere now.
Leo: I don't know! Future Anti-trust violations... Johnny!
Alex: I do think that's what they really want to do, is not have him talking to people who don't really have any impact on the iBooks situation.
Leo: I think they felt like he was a little bit of a loose canon, that they had to pay him too much and he didn't have the expertise, and how he's subpoenaing members of the board of directors and executives – I mean who is this guy?! I can understand why they would feel a little bit that way, and I think they probably realized they will have to put up with him...
Alex: I think they realized he was just kind of doing the “Cha-ching”.
Leo: That's what Lawyer's – that's how it is.
Rene: He didn't work so hard for this cushy assignment to waste it now...
Leo: We kind of talked about the watch, did we mention Mark Germen's great article? You can make some decisions or some thinking about what Apple might be doing with the watch, based on who they have hired, because it really isn't merely fitness stuff. There's a lot of health stuff in here, they've been meeting with the FDA, you've got Bud Tribble, Bob Mansfield, two of their super stars on the team, Kevin Lynch who they brought in from Adobe, and then in the Fitness realm, of course Jay Blahnik, we've mentioned him before from – he's the guy who did the fuel bend at Nike, Tim Cook on the board at Nike, so that make sense. But they've also brought in health folks, a guy who was a scientist at Phillips research, named Roy Rayman – ooh, I like his name... he's a sleep expert.
Alex: I think the bigger picture here of course, is that Apple has hired 100 people to think about watches, and so obviously what they're trying to do is try to make what – at least when they come out the door, the best watch they can possibly make, that does as many things as it can, well. They're definitely not taking this likely, this isn't going to be an experiment.
Leo: They're throwing a lot of things against the wall, but it does sound like based on what the health book is keeping track of in IOS 8, Germen says “According to the sources familiar with IOS 8's health book, Apple has preparing its device to be able to measure hydration – that's the first I've heard of that. Blood pressure, glucose, pulse and heart rate.
Rene: One thing to remember about this stuff is that Apple doesn't just work on one device. Some people are saying, “How can they do all this this year, the technology is not ready, it's just impossible, it's too late.” Does this mean it's delayed? All it means is that Apple like with every other product is working on this year’s version, next year's version and then four years out. And whether we see, if the center technology is not ready yet, we'll just see at a later point in time. Everything they are working on now is part of the product cycle of this device. Not necessarily this specific generation we'll see now.
Andy: Absolutely. The version 1 will have limited feature set, but every feature will work perfectly or at least that will be the ideal.
Leo: But they hired the guy with white hair in a lab coat. That means to me...this guy is an expert on measuring pulse.
Alex: But I think a lot of this stuff is also, you're going to be thinking about what you want three versions down when you make the first one. Because you got to think about a lot of those bits and pieces. I definitely agree with Rene and Andy that...
Leo: You are not going to read the tea leaves and say oh, look.
Alex: No, we'll get something simpler. I mean the first iPhone didn't have any apps.
Rene: First iPad yeah.
Andy: I'll put it this way. If any company can successfully sell a product that requires you to insert a catheter, I think it's going to be Apple.
Leo: Wow! Ouch!
Andy: Leo do you want the data or do you not want the data? Yes or no? It's that simple.
Rene: How badly do you want the data?
Leo: Alright. Just bringing it up, just mentioning it.
Rene: But I think it's like what we discussed previously like passbook and everything else. We'll see the first generation of the technology, they'll become a lot more promising as more stuff falls into place.
Andy: How much do you think they're going to have to charge for this? I have been turning that one over in my mind, how much could they charge for an Apple watch, regardless of what it does, to make it into an attractive accessory to all the other Apple that stuff that you have.
Leo: I think we can answer the question how much could they charge? I don't know if we can say how much they will charge.
Rene: Will they play the Panerai Rolex card?
Leo: Well it's not $50,000. But I would say they can charge somewhere up to $500 for it.
Rene: What was that Galaxy Gear was that $300-$400?
Leo: It's $400.
Andy: Look how well that did.
Leo: Actually you know, I have a Martian, I have a Pebble and I have a Galaxy Gear and the one I wear all the time: Galaxy Gear.
Alex: How much is that?
Leo: I think its $400. How much was it? 3 or $400, I think you're right.
Rene: We have to wait for the Wall Street Journal leak and then it will be exactly half of that.
Leo: Can they go over $500?
Alex: I don't think they would. But they could.
Leo: $300 for the Galaxy Gear.
Andy: $250 for the Pebble still.
Alex: I think it'll be $399- $499. I think that's the range.
Leo: Maybe you know now that I am seeing these other watches are that much, I'm thinking they could go to 7.
Andy: Oh God no! That's stupid. That's crazy pants.
Leo: That's crazy talk?
Alex: I think it depends on what it is.
Andy: I myself am thinking they got to price this at under the iPhone. For every $25 they charge above the cost of a non-contract iPhone right now, that increases the degree of difficulty I think by a couple percentage points. I don't put it past Apple to create a product that is so compelling to demand a premium price, but I'm thinking that they're going to be aware of how much these competing things work. How much these competing things cost. And they have to start thinking about how much can we charge for a device that pretty much nobody has right now. Remember when the iPad first came out, everybody was throwing out that it was going to be a $1000, it can't be a dime less than $700. I think I said $700-$750. I think that one of the reasons why Apple got the price under $500 is that, they understood this was a brand new thing, that they were not going to be able to tell somebody, 'well, this is the reason why we charge a $1000 for our notebook is that it's $300 better than the $700 notebook.' This is a watch that they will have to convince people that they actually want and need. So, that's why I think that, I don't know what the target really is, but again I'd be really surprised if it's much above the cost of a new iPhone.
Alex: I think there is a psychological barrier for $500. I think a $499 watch would do much better than a $500.
Andy: That's crazy. $700 is crazy pants, $500: 'okay tell me what it does and you got to absolutely...You got to blow me away for $500
Leo: If it just does what the pebble watch does, it can't be more than $200-$300 bucks right. It's got to be Pebble watch price. So the Pebble watch ha notifications, you could play stop music, actually there's a little Flappy bird game you can play on it. You wouldn't really want to play games on it, it's like snake.
Rene: Remember what Steve Jobs did with the iPhone. He said, this is how much an iPod costs, this is how much a phone costs and altogether these things would cost you this...
Andy: And then three months later he said, 'guess what we are dropping the price by several hundred dollars.'
Rene: And they did that with Apple TV and they did that with the iPad when it went to the mini. So, they've got a history of putting things at what the market will bear and then making it cheaper...
Leo: So it does the Pebble, it does the Fitbit thing, maybe it adds some unusual stuff like hydration, you know measuring your hydration...
Alex: Heart rate.
Leo: Heart rate and perhaps even blood oxygen that kind of thing. So, let's say...and one more thing let's say it's gorgeous, let's say it really does...I mean the Pebble watch and all the others are clunky as hell. A guy might be able to put up with it, as you say Andy. What if it's really slim, it's beautiful. You are not embarrassed to wear it. In fact, it is a piece of jewelry. Remember they have hired a lot of fashion people.
Andy: But now you are getting into even another problem where you've got people like...Their best hope is to try to sell to people like me, who still wear watches and it was just five years ago that I bought my first watch that was not made out of plastic or had Star Wars logo of some kind on it. And even there I thought that okay $200 is a reasonable amount of money to pay for a watch because underneath me there are people who stopped wearing watches a long time ago. Above me there are people who are saying, ‘I just paid $2000 for a watch because you don't understand every piece was pulled right from the buttocks of the most rear jeweled insect that science can find inside the Amazon.' These watch aficionados for which they are not going to give up their favorite watches for an electronic gadget. Remember the other variable that we are not putting into this conversation; we are talking about, ‘okay here's the $400 Samsung, here's the $250 Pebble, well how about the $99 Fitbit that has been so strong is because it is so affordable, you can take a chance by it.
Leo: What if Apple doesn't try to compete with those and says,' no, we are going to go after product for the very well off.'
Rene: $2000 Blackberry.
Leo: There you go. Why is that $2000?
Rene: It's a Porsche designed Blackberry.
Leo: You have that?
Rene: Kevin has that.
Leo: You dog you! Look at that. How many of those did they sell?
Rene: I don't know, but they have a Porsche design store and they have one in gold if you want to start going up to the tens of thousands.
Leo: I am going to guess that they sold about three. One to Alicia Keys.
Alex: They gave her that one. That's part of the signed deal.
Leo: But I do think that they could go after...what if...okay, Apple used to be really not a company of the people, it was always the computer for the rest of us, but it really was a computer for the people who had a lot of money.
Alex: It's a company for the people who have a lot of money.
Leo: So what if they just embraced that and say, 'hey we're Porsche, we're BMW.'
Alex: Well that's why I think you would look at a $499 range.
Andy: They wouldn't get away with that.
Leo: Why not? Who’s going to stop them?
Andy: People who have money to spend on things. I think Apple understands that, here is how much money...we can sell...the reason why our budget Macbook is a $1000, but if they tried to make a $2000 one, well, it's the exact same thing as our $1000 version but it is framed in pure glimmering green and it's exclusively for the upper class people...
Leo: You know what's a deal breaker more for me is what we talked about earlier, which is the openness of it. All the other competitors, except maybe for Samsung, but the other guys are open and I think...
Rene: Well they have to be though.
Leo: Well they do and I don't think Apple, it's not in Apple' blood to be an open product. I want it to be an open product.
Andy: I think as I keep talking about this, I'm more inclined to think that; I'm right handed so I wear my watch on my left wrist, I'm inclined to think, Apple make a right wrist product. So you will still wear whatever your favorite watch is on this wrist but there will be another device like a Fitbit that is more like a band than an actual wrist device that allows you to deliver new services and new censors that can then be appreciated through a device made popular.
Leo: Oh no! No!
Alex: Yeah the only thing I think...so I had a Nike Fuel Band for quite some time until I broke it and I guess I feel like once my Nike Fuel Band stopped working, I didn't have the need to go get another one. Because I didn't like having two wrist experience. I think that was the issue that I didn't like having both of them. And I did find though that I almost wanted to just use my Nike Fuel Band instead of my watch, you know as a watch. And that what led me to definitely feel like if Apple did what the Nike Fuel Band did and did a lot of other little bits and pieces, I'd much rather have that than the watch that I have, which is in a reasonable price range to switch over. But I think that the reason I think Apple won't extend is that they just want it to work. Especially when they first come out of the gate. I think maybe they'll look at expanding to other markets or other platforms once it's working. But I think the way to guarantee that it's really going to work smoothly is to not try to integrate with Android and a bunch of other platforms. I know that we just started getting back into software development. My programmer was asking me what platforms I want to develop on and I was like yeah just the Mac, so we're first going to do the iOS because I don't want to think about it. I don't want to think about how we're going to work with a whole bunch of permutations it's just too much trouble. And I don't need to.
Rene: Yeah it's kind of like second level dependencies and Apple really likes being able to move quickly and not have to worry about what other people do with their stuff.
Leo: Alright. Our show today brought to you by Legalzoom.com. Not a law firm but they do let you save on your legal needs. And if you need to, you can access the network of legal plan attorneys in almost every state. Pre-negotiated flat rates, very affordable. legalzoom.com. Are you, I don't know, starting a new business? Maybe this is the year you protect your family with a will or a durable power of attorney, healthcare directives that kind of thing. This is a new year's resolution, in fact, it's better than 'I'm not going to snack, I'm going to exercise, I'm going to incorporate and form an LLC and I'm going to make a million dollars.' Of course the problem is when you're starting this business you don't have a million dollars to waste so $99 gets you an LLC or a chapter S or C corporation plus the state filing fees. That's what we did when I started TWIT. We are still using those papers, by the way, the LLC papers from way back when. A million entrepreneurs now have started their businesses with legalzoom.com. Trade mark protection as well. You got to trademark you're brand, so important. One of the nice things that should give you a little peace of mind, 90% of Legal Zoom customers recommend Legal Zoom to their friends and family. 90%. You could create a will for $69, a living trust there are no surprise fees, no hassles no headaches. It's very straightforward, very easy. They have done it nicely. Look at all the different things you could do with Legal Zoom. In fact go to legalzoom.com right now, browse around. I know there's some stuff you need to do, you've been putting off, you could do it right now at legalzoom.com. Legal Zoom is not a law firm but it can connect you with third party attorneys. The legal plan is great and very affordable.
Alex: You know what makes a good neighbor?
Alex: Good fences.
Leo: Yeah, that's exactly right. Don't ask for trouble, be proactive.
Alex: And the thing is a lot of times we get stopped. I come from a family of lawyers so you get stopped, even I get stopped, oh you know it's going to be expensive, and everything else and being able to find something that's going to tie some of these materials up is so important at the beginning not when you are in conflict. You have to do it when you're all friends. That's when you want to make the agreement.
Leo: Legalzoom.com. If you use our offer code MBW, you get $10 off at checkout. And they'll know you heard about it on this show. legalzoom.com. Give it a try today. What else should we talk about? Anybody got anything here? iOS 7.1, it's going to come out in March. It's not going to come out, it is, it's not, it is going to come out in March.
Rene: There's no GM yet. There's no final seat for developers yet. GM candidate...
Leo: So it means March probably huh.
Leo: But do you think the beta 5...have you heard from your sources is good enough to get the job done?
Rene: I haven't seen anyone throwing their phones into the...(laughing)
Leo: I think it is much needed. I don't think they should delay it too much longer.
Rene: I think they should have put out a 7.0.5 for everybody that fixed a lot of the lingering bugs already. Its way too long for a 7.1
Leo: Perhaps they have been waiting a little too long.
Andy: It's annoying. Just this morning I was doing some reading on my iPad and my iPad re started twice. And I was like oh that's bad.
Leo: Isn't that frustrating? So it's happening to you too?
Andy: Yeah and I don't blame anything larger than the scale of what they are trying to do with iOS 7. But it's like oh man, I remember when this never ever happened. The last time this would have happened would have been so long ago I couldn't even remember it. So, It's not unreliable but it's just... unfortunately this is a humanizing moment for iOS 7...
Rene: Every re start is a punch in your Apple heart.
Andy: It's like when you see your favorite action star, when he knows he doesn't have another movie coming out for another four months, it's like oh he doesn't always have those rippling abs and that sun tan. That's really only something that he has when it's time for... okay. He is human after all okay.
Rene: When you find out your father didn't know the answer to that one question.
Andy: Or when...cooking temperatures for like pork were recently reduced by the USDA like three years ago and I always used to hate like my mother's pork chops but now I'm cooking them...and so I thought I hated pork but now I'm cooking at the right temperature and like oh my mom didn't know everything about how to cook. This is moist and tender and delicious and flavorful instead of tough and leathery oh.
Andy: She could have made use of this information had she had it but she didn't have it, but okay.
Leo: Oh! Let's see. Flappy Birds. We haven't really mentioned it. The latest...
Alex: Is there anything new now other than it's no longer there.
Leo: I think we need a special logo, 'Flappy Bird. America held hostage, stage 14.'
Andy: I can't believe we are not talking about Bob Costas' eye infection. International news story, but fine if you want to have your click grabby sort of headline about Flappy Birds.
Rene: I tuned into TWIT breaking news and I didn't see it and I was just brokenhearted.
Leo: So the latest is that Forbes sent a Vietnamese speaking reporter to Hanoi to speak to Dong Nguyen. I don't need to explain the Flappy Bird flap, do I?
Alex: We should probably catch everybody up. Would you catch everybody up? I've done it so many times now, I'm sick of it.
Alex: Flappy Bird was released...
Leo: Flappy Bird was something you'll tell your grand kids about...
Alex: ...the day that Flappy Bird ended. It's a very, very difficult game evidently. I have not played it but I did download it because I found out that it was going to be gone. But you know it picked up, it became very...I think there was a reporter or there was a Youtube channel I think that really talked about it and pushed it into a...
Leo: Well there is some speculation that what pushed it...it came out in May you know. That what pushed it into the top was that somebody bought perhaps some reviews. Because all of a sudden reviews started appearing for Flappy Bird in December and the reviews feed ramped up quiet quickly and then tapered off and then ramped up again because people started using it. If you look at the early reviews there's very certain similarity to them that is a little bot of a giveaway. Flappy Bird obviously had the wings to make it as a real viral success. So it did go viral thanks to this strategy. Nobody suspects that those downloads aren't real because all you have to do is look around you. Everybody is playing this stupid game. By the way Paul Thurrott has the highest high score of anybody in the TWIT family. You want to guess what Paul Thurrott's highest score is?
Leo: No. Paul has 131 points. But there are other of us. I have 5.
Andy: I just don't know what the selling point of this game is because everybody who recommends or talks about it talks about this is the stupidest, frustrating , awful trolling game I have ever played in my entire life.
Leo: But you can stop playing it, that's why.
Andy: But why would I want to download it then? I want to have fun when I play games.
Alex: They have a game like that in real life it's called golf.
Leo: Yeah it’s pretty much like golf.
Andy: You fail most of the time, you're mostly frustrated and every once in a while you get a tingle that you might not be a complete failure and then you decide you have to play it over and over again.
Andy: But at least you are outside, you might even see a...
Alex: You argue with yourself that you are getting a tan and some exercise except that you are driving around in a cart.
Leo: A good walk ruined.
Andy: And sometimes a girl comes up in another cart and sells you beer. I don't see where this is a valid complaint.
Alex: You know my family's gold course has a cannon.
Andy: A beer cannon?
Alex: No it's just a regular cannon.
Leo: Does it carbide?
Alex: Yeah it's carbide cannon, It's a big cannon. No it's not a carbide cannon. It's a big cannon. We just don't put cannon balls in it. You can hear it for miles when they set it off.
Leo: Are you getting invaded?
Alex: No, it's when you do a shot gun start. So what happens is that when you have a tournament you put everybody on all the different holes so that you are not starting one at a time. And so it's called a shot gun start so...
Leo: So it's something that everybody on all 18 holes can hear. Is it 9 or 18?
Alex: It's 18. It's a really big golf course.
Leo: You have a family 18 hole golf course?
Alex: We had a farm that wasn't making any money. So the best thing to do with it is make a golf course out of it.
Leo: Do you charge people for using? Can strangers use it?
Alex: It's a public golf course. It's considered one of the best in western Pennsylvania.
Leo: So it's a business.
Alex: We have the Pittsburgh Steelers who come by and play.
Leo: Do you use the cannon on the Pittsburgh Steelers?
Alex: Only if they are there for a short gun start.
Leo: Now you know why there are all lawyers in his family.
Alex: My brother runs it. It is the craziest golf course ever because you just got to go to birdsfoot.com just to...you sign up for the newsletter just so you can get my brother's emails. Like the emails he sends out are the funniest emails.
Leo: Is there a picture of the cannon on the website?
Alex: Do they have the commercial? So my brother Joe...
Leo: Is this yet?
Alex: It might be.
Leo: Click to view. Aw.
Alex: Oh you see that's my whole family.
Leo: Here's the whole family. Birdsfoot golf course. Is that your brother?
Alex: No that's just one of our...
(In the commercial man saying: When we bring people here for the first time...)
Leo: We shoot them with the cannon.
Alex: That's my dad.
Leo: How can I do a whole hour on Triangulation with you and this did not come up.
Alex: I don't know how it did not come up.
Andy: One brother is making a movie and the other brother owns a golf course. That's a sitcom family right there.
Leo: I am telling you Arrested Development in real life.
Alex: Yeah Exactly. So they have the best movies. So my brother just goes out with a couple of cameras and shoots these. Yeah he shoots this, my brother Joe.
Leo: Oh yeah, we've worked with Joe before. We used Joe as a cameraman. He's using a 5D looks like here.
Alex: Yeah he did use a 5D for this. He did a commercial where he used the FS700 so we've got like a slow motion guy hitting a...not many golf courses get a guy to come out and put a FS700 shooting...that's my brother Travis. He is the funniest guy. The funniest guy I know.
Leo: Who gets to drive that?
Alex: My brother Rob actually used to drive it.
Leo: Whose Michelle?
Alex: That's my cousin Michelle. She plays the bagpipes. She gets out there with a kilt and plays the bagpipes. It's amazing.
Andy: Serious question okay. Have you ever pitched or been pitched for a reality show?
Leo: I think we should do it.
Alex: We have been pitched for a reality show because our family is crazy.
Leo: There's machinery and we like that.
Alex: There's my brother Rob running the machinery, family business.
Leo: We call him three fingers Rob. Wow that's a nice golf course wow.
Alex: It's a really nice golf course. That's as serious as my brother ever gets.
Leo: This is so cute, you've got an and everything.
Alex: Yeah this is the long version not the commercial version. You can cut it off.
Leo: So if you are in the Pittsburgh area go to the Birdsfoot Golf course.
Alex: Right. But you should sign up for the...just to read my brother's prose.
Leo: I really want to see a picture of the cannon.
Alex: I don't know if they have any of the cannon's.
Leo: Like how big? Is it a army surplus cannon?
Alex: I don't know. It's someone my brother knew of course. I don't know if we actually own the cannon. I know we bring it out and fire it and it's a big cannon. You can hear it from my parents’ house and its miles away.
Leo: Wow. Well there we go. We've learned something new.
Alex: Yeah just when you thought you knew everything about me.
Leo: I will never learn everything there is to know about Alex Lindsay that's for sure.
Rene: Layers upon layers upon layers.
Alex: I don't know how we got into that. That's an epic...
Andy: Because we were talking about Flappy Birds and we're talking about golf.
Leo: okay Flappy Birds. Let's get back on topic. So the guy who created it according to the Verge, he told the Verge $50,000 a day. It's an ad supported program. I can vouch for its addictiveness because everybody here plays it. And then I was talking to one of our interns, everybody in the high school like within three days downloaded it. It really is a viral hit. But oddly enough last week, Dong Nguyen the author tweets, “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore. “I cannot take it anymore, I'm going to pull...," he tweeted this on Saturday, "tomorrow I'm going to pull the program from both the Android and the iOS app store." That's it. And "by the it's not for sale and yes, I still make games, goodbye."
Alex: The question is a whole bunch of people must have downloaded it over the weekend like me and I'll eventually get around to selling it. It seems like it may increase the amount of money he's actually generating by all this. In a month he'll say people talked me into releasing it again.
Leo: We don't know how many he sold on the app store, but on the Android 50 million copies. Presuming he sold 150 million total, he's going to reap the ad rewards as long as people continue to play that game. So, he's made a lot of money. Robert Scoble agrees with you, he thinks it's a marketing ploy. He says," in six months watch he'll say from the creator of Flappy Birds, Crappy Birds."
Alex: This doesn't make any sense at all.
Andy: Especially with the Forbes article that says one of the reasons why he pulled that because he didn't want to be responsible for people too addicted to a game and it really upset him. And that I hope that proves to be true because that's really a wonderful altruistic motive. But as soon as that thought completed itself in my head, I realized that yeah but you know, you could have pulled the plug immediately without pre announcing it if it really was upsetting you that badly. But no you basically gave the entire world warning that you know that viral hit that everybody is talking about, you will not be able to get it. It goes into the Disney vault along with the song of the south on Monday.
Leo: There's also some other theories. Some of his friends told Reuters that he pulled him off because he got a cease and desist from Nintendo. Apparently he stole the columns directly from Super Mario. And then Nintendo says, 'we don't know.' They didn't deny it but they didn't say they did either. Of course there's the additional point that when you make a lot of money in Vietnam and a number of people pointed this out to me, stand back because here comes the government and in fact, the Forbes guy said the interview was delayed because Dong Nguyen had an interview with the Vice Prime Minister right before, clearly looking for tax revenues. So, it may also be that...
Rene: A lot more trouble than it's worth.
Leo: Yeah a lot of trouble. A lot of money is going to end up in the hands of the Vietnamese government.
Andy: Or maybe it was like, there's a famous story about Whitey Bulger here in Boston, where somebody who is sort of connected somewhat to him won the lottery. Won a million bucks in the lottery and guess what a week later it turned out that 'I forgot to say that I'm actually in a pool with Whitey Bulger so the lottery should send the money to Whitey instead.'
Leo: Yeah send it to Whitey.
Andy: The most interesting line from all this is his saying, 'this has ruined my life.' And it's like there's like so many ways...again get your smoking jacket get a snifter brandy, settle into you leather armchair lean back and wonder all the different ways in which...
Leo: There's an excellent after market in phones with Flappy Bird installed on eBay. Here's an iPhone 5, 16 gigs with Flappy Bird. So far 10 bids, $6,000, but you can shop around because there are a 'buy it now' for iPhone 5 for $1,000.
Alex: We get paid to work with a lot of ad agencies for viral marketing campaigns and none of them has been as effective as this.
Leo: You can't can viral. If you could...
Alex: It wouldn't be viral.
Leo: It wouldn't be good. There's something magical that happens that no one really understands why.
Rene: A Boy, a pipe and a dream.
Andy: At the same not everybody posts something on Youtube with the goal of becoming a viral sensation. It would have made them very happy if their piano recital or whatever had gotten oh jeez 10,000 people thought this is really really great, but if it's suddenly 5 million and now they are getting a phone call from the Jimmy Kimmel show, they are getting a phone call from the Today show and they are like, I thought that maybe a hundred people would see it and now this is all everybody is talking about all across the country this weekend. That has the capability of freaking some people out. It's possible that, I do think this is in some form a marketing campaign. But it's certainly possible that he was just not prepared to have the viral hit of the entire globe this week. I'd much rather make a comfortable living in anonymity than make a fortune as the face of this viral hit.
Alex: I've already made a comfortable living.
Leo: He's easily made over a million dollars and in Vietnam that goes a long way.
Andy: I am talking in general. There are some people that if you gave them a deal with the devil but let's say a friendly devil that just expects you to make him a nice Thanksgiving dinner. I'll offer you two different versions of success. You can either have the sort of success where you will do a line of apps that will do very, very well and earn you a comfortable living of maybe $130,000-$140,000 a year but consistent for five years. Or I will give you that exact same amount of income as the viral hit of the planet. You will have one hell of a summer. There will be t-shirts base on your game. There will be sitcom pitches based on your game. Everybody will know who you are and everything you went through to produce this game. There a lot of people who would much rather say, 'I will take half that money if I get to have the anonymity of no one knowing who the hell I am.
Leo: Interesting story on the Bloomberg Business Week, the iPhone is a new international currency. Vernon Silver said, "I live in Rome, where domestic work comes cheap and technology is expensive." One worker who was I guess doing his laundry, I don't know heard he was going to the states, she said pick me up an iPhone, I'll take that instead of cash for the month's work. So he went to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, lining up he said, “I was surrounded by shoppers speaking languages from around the world. The salesman looked stunned when I said I wanted just one unlocked iPhone." He said, "we just got a new shipment. We got the gold model, the most popular in Europe and the easiest to resell. To my right, a man with a credit card from a Saudi bank was trying to buy his third and fourth phones of the day." So Silver says, “make it two. There was one more step, the salesman grabbed a landline from behind the counter to connect me with my bank’s antifraud department. Purchases from this store, he said, are red flags to the credit card companies." So apparently this has become a currency. The iPhone is a currency. The priciest country Brazil, an iPhone is worth $1,196. Jordan, Turkey, Romania, Greece and Hungary all worth more than a $1,000.
Alex: I have to admit, I have often thought about it. I just don't have the time or I'm just too lazy. But I'm in and out of Africa all the time and when especially when something has just been released, I get a lot of emails from folks like, 'hey I'll pay you 50% more than you paid for your iPad or iPhone or whatever.' And it's been clear that if I bought in 10 iPads I could definitely pay for my entire trip.
Leo: It's called iPhone arbitrage. Kyle Wiens of IFixit, we've talked to him many times said he was in Cabo and the dive leader offered free boat trips if Wiens ever returned to Mexico with iPhone, not for free to sell it at the US price, the price that Kyle paid for it because there is such a markup in Mexico. iPhone aritrage. Just thought I'll pass that along, if you're planning to travel you might want to pick up a couple of gold iPhones before you go. It's interesting; this is a long standing tradition. When I first went to Eastern Europe in the 60's, Levi's blue jeans worth money, big money.
Alex: I have a lot of artwork in my office that I traded logo-ed shirts for in Africa. And they didn't want the money. I said I'll pay you cash, they said, 'no we'll have the shirts because I can get the cash anywhere but I can't get that shirt."
Leo: When we were in Egypt, our guide said, 'next time you come back bring a lot of ball point pens, we can't get them and the kids love them.'
Alex: i take whole packs to Zimbabwe.
Leo: Yeah and you hand them out because they are cheap. And they prefer that to money.
Alex: i keep on meaning to like when I go there I keep on meaning to like get Pixel Corps ones so that they always remember me like twenty years later they'll remember...
Rene: The Pixel Santa.
Leo: They'll be a cargo cult now twenty years from one worshiping the Pixel Corps. Oh the great God of Pixel Corps came to our land and gave us pens. By the way Bitcoin real quick and then we are going to get to our picks of the week. Bitcoin two things. One Apple has killed the most popular Bitcoin wallet app in the app store. Apple really doesn't like Bitcoin.
Rene: It wants no part of it right now.
Leo: We want no part of it. And there is a Trojan you should watch out for OS 10 that targets your Bitcoin wallet. So watch out. We are going to get to our picks of the week in just a second. Our show today brought to you by 99 designs. That's my pick this week. 99designs.com. we’ve used them before. This is the place to go if you need designs. If you need graphic designs for landing pages, websites even like email templates, t-shirts, that's what we use it for, car wraps whatever. Apps. If you got the next Flappy Birds, you can write it, program it like nobody's business but do you have the design sense? 99 designs has the designers. 280,000 designers are waiting for you to go and pitch them. They call it a contest, where you say, 'here's what I need.' We just did one for our new hoodie and we got 5 designs. We actually liked the designs so much that we got at least 5 of them. And you can vote if you would like. If you go to our blog insidetwit.tv and scroll down. There's links to the four designs. There's design A which is a beautiful four color design. Then there's the next design, you want to show them all? That's the vertical design, design C. Remember these letters because we're going to have you vote. These all came from 99 designs designers. I love these. We actually couldn't choose. Design B is the graffiti design which I really like. Design D is the steam punk. So these will go on a hoodie that we will sell. You can cast your vote on our straw pole at strawpole.me/1079823. Wow he's gotten into the millions now straw poles. strawpole.me/1079823 or just go to insidetwit.tv, actually you need to because you want to see the designs before you vote. 99desings.com. you can enter the great graphics designs right now. So you create a contest you say, 'I need a t shirt or a logo or whatever.' Last month they have paid out over $2 million to the designers. $68 million dollars total. It's a really great idea for a company. 99designs.com. Start your next graphic design project for as low as $199 and by the way go to 99desings.com/mbw to get a power pack of services for free. The power pack gives you more designer time and attention, bold highlighting and featuring your designer project in their market place. 99desings.com/mbw. We thank them so much for their support and their hoodie designs, we can't wait. Let's get our picks of the week. Andy Ihnatko we'll start with you.
Andy: Real quick because I have actually recommended this one before. This is a Mactubes which is my favorite Youtube down loader for Mac. But John Syracuse posted a video to the lightning fast F1 Ferrari tire change pit stop and it was so fast and I really wanted to look at it in greater detail but it was going too fast. So Mactubes can pretty much get any...sorry screwed up my monitor set up. But the idea is that you just get the URL from the top of the address bar, plug it into Mactubes, it will let you either watch the video or via a little pop up in the corner of the screen it will show you all the different video files that are hosted on the actual source video files. It will let you download the HD version, the SD version of the it if you want the really awful open source compressed version, it lets you get that. The idea though that now let's say Quicktime file that's on your desktop that you can then watch. And then there are also lot of stuff on Youtube that are like 1970s TV show that are technically not out of copyright but nobody is claiming them and if you are going to be able to watch this old Tony Randall TV show of which there were four episodes this is your only opportunity to do it which is to watch it on Youtube. You can also download it in case it goes away later on. So I use it all the time for stuff like that and also again if I really need to super slo-mo through Ferrari pit change. It's free, I believe it's an open source project. I've been using it for years. It's a very quiet little app but it works great.
Leo: Very nice. Mactubes. Always god to have some way to get those videos. Rene Ritchie, you're pick of the week. Oops you're muted dude. Unmute.
Rene: Sorry. My pick of the week is Threes. You might not like me for recommending it because I can't stop playing it. I've been losing sleep over it but it's a load of fun. I play this in lieu of Flappy Birds.
Leo: Much better. Much more satisfying that Flappy Birds.
Rene: Absolutely. So basically the red and the blue numbers you can combine together. 2 and 1 makes three. Then you can combine any pairs. So for example, there's two 12's there, I can combine those. I can combine two 3's and you want to basically get the highest number you can. Every time you combine something it's value goes up. It's a lot of fun. I wouldn't say it's a math game, some people call it a math game but you are really just adding some numbers.
Leo: It's a matching game with numbers.
Rene: It's a matching game absolutely. You have one chance and as soon as the screen is full and you can no longer match any tiles the game is over. I've gotten to about 9,000 some people in my game circle. It's quick so you can get in and out. It's incredibly fun. It's addictive in the right way, it's not maddening, it's actually enjoyable. And it filled that Flappy Birds hole in my heart.
Leo: it is the greatest game ever. Brian Brushwood showed it to me on TWIT, I recommend it yesterday. It is very addictive and very hard to stop.
Rene: And the best thing about it, there's no in app purchases, there's no in app ads. They just ask you for a small amount of money upfront and just let you play.
Leo: What are you showing there Chad?
Chad: This is a new viral way of sharing stuff. It's a GIF that plays over and over again. I've been seeing this on Google+, on Twitter.
Leo: It's in fact an ad.
Chad: It's in fact an ad for Threes. It's on their website, it's a GIF so they can throw it absolutely anywhere and it kind of shows how it works and everything.
Leo: This is the thinking person's Flappy Bird and it is spreading just about as fast. There's something about it that's really satisfying.
Rene: I hope more developers take up this model because It shows you can have a successful game without doing incredibly...
Leo: It's a $1.99 and that's it. No in app purchases, gosh I pray this is a success. Alex Lindsay your pick of the week looks like a cable.
Alex: I got a cable. Turns out I think Thunderbolt is the future.
Alex: I hesitated to recommend anything in this area for a while because I really wanted to test a lot of this stuff. One of the hardest things to do with what we do with live streams and hangouts and so on so forth is getting regular videos, so cameras you know you're HDMI camera or you SDI camera into Wirecast or Hangouts or Skype or whatever. And we have a lot of different interfaces and we have kind of decided that this is, not the only one we use but definitely the one we're using now the most which is the Blackmagic Ultra Studio mini recorder.
Leo: I'm holding it in my hands now Mr.Chad so you can show the world.
Ales: So this is about $150. It's tiny. You need a Thunderbolt computer but you can take SDI or HDMI. So you plug the Thunderbolt in, it's powered by the bus.
Leo: This comes from the computer like tmy MacPro let's say, is it the Apple video interface? Because I thought they had to reverse engineer this you know.
Alex: There's the box for it. So it's a Thunderbolt and it's a SDI and/or HDMI to the Thunderbolt. So it's basically just a very inexpensive way for you to get either you switcher output or your camera output, whether it's a little HDMI camera or a SDI camera or SDI feed into your computer.
Leo: So you would hook into your computer?
Alex: So that way you would want to get you video camera say your G10 like these little cameras...
Leo: Oh so it comes this way.
Alex: It goes in.
Leo: It goes this way. So it goes in the SDI or HDMI port and out the Thunderbolt port and into your computer.
Alex: And this will just show up on your Hangouts, on Skype.
Leo: Do we use these, John?
John: We tried it for Tom...compatibility with Skype.
Leo: Oh so a lot of Black magic stuff Skype doesn't see for some reason. We haven't figured that out why.
Alex: We don't use Skype very much, we mostly use Hangouts...
Leo: Works with Hangouts, though? Web RTC and all that?
Alex: Yeah. And we use two different ones. We use the AJAIOXT. The reason we like the AJAIOXT is because AJA has a great interface that lets us know what the video pipe is, that's not what you get with this but this is 1/10th the price. So we use both of those. Most kids will have one or the other. But if we are having any trouble we'll put the IOXT in. But the IOXT is bigger and more sensitive and so on and so forth. So anyway that's the ultra-studio mini recorder, but if you are trying to get started and you want something inexpensive to get your video in for a live streaming, this is a great solution.
Leo: Thank you. That is from Blackmagic Ultra Studio mini recorder. How much?
Leo: And I was just going to ask you about this. Uberconference has been getting a lot of press lately.
Alex: We just started testing it.
Leo: This is web RTC, in other words it's Google Hangout compatible, conferencing.
Alex: I haven't used Uberconference from the video. I have been using the phone version.
Leo: It does support phone calls in.
Alex: Uberconference, the Uberconference phone is just awesome. What's really cool, the funniest song, 'I'm waiting on the conference call,' you know that we enjoy. There no pins that drive me crazy. I hate pins so...
Leo: I do too because you get the number and then you go oh! What's the pin?
Alex: And the problem is you can't just click on something and get there and I am on probably 5 or 6 conference calls per day.so Uberconference works out. They now have integration with Hangouts so you can have people in a Hangout but then on of the people can be in a phone to Uberconference and you can be integrating...
Leo: So it's not doing video then?
Alex: Not that I know of.
Leo: But it uses Hangouts as a back end?
Alex: You can now integrate it with Hangouts. Uberconference works on its own as well. SO I have the Pro Plan so I can have a 100 people on a call.
Leo: Which is $10 bucks a month.
Alex: $10 bucks a month, it's nothing so...
Leo: There's a free plan that is actually does a lot of...
Alex: Free plan does 10 people. So for most people that's fine. We do a lot of things that require a lot of people.
Leo: i wanted to ask you about this. It's gotten a lot of press lately.
Alex: Yeah so we're experimenting with this mostly because it integrates with Hangouts and we're always looking at anything that touches Hangouts, we pay a lot of attention to. We have six Pro accounts and we also use Team speak. This is one of the easiest ones and because it ties into Hangouts it's a great solution.
Leo: So I just wanted to mention, if you didn't get t play Flappy Bird at all, Kongregate with a 'K' has a Flappy Bird, flash Flappy that you can play.
Alex: Is it exactly the same?
Leo: It's exactly the same.
Rene: There are clones too.
Leo: Yeah there are a lot of clones but this is exactly the same. It's Flappy Bird online. There a ton of them on Kongregate, there's more than one. So that's weird. I was just playing it, I don't know what happened. Forget Kongregate just do flappybird.io. That's pretty much the same isn't it? Are you getting any sound?
Leo: That maybe be my machine. And I guess they pay for it with that little Amazon ad on the right there. Oh! Enough of that. Ladies and Gentlemen thank you all for being here. Thank you to Andy Ihnatko, the Chicago Fun Times, my friend. Great to see you again and you're little robot dentist friend. We thank Andy for being here. We thank Alex Lindsay for joining us with his golf club and cannon. I want video of the cannon.
Alex: Okay, we'll work on that.
Leo: Pixelcorps.com. Soon?
Alex: It's this month. By the end of the month we'll be opening back up.
Leo: And the Exquisite Corps. And Mr.Reneof imore.com and a littel tip of the hat to crackberry.com for the use of the facilities of the hall. Apparently squishybird.com is even better. We do this show every Tuesday at 11am. Oh Squishy Bird, it's full screen. Oh but watch out if you don't...Oh no! Am I trying to get squished?
Leo: it's like angry pigs. We do this show 11am Pacific every Tuesday that's 2pm Eastern Time, 1900UTC at twit.tv. Please tune in live, that way you can feed us things like Squishy Bird but if you can't make it here live, we always have on demand audio and video available after the fact at twit.tv/mbw or wherever you subscribe to finer net casts like iTunes. Do subscribe, you'll get it every week. Thanks for joining us but now I'm afraid it's time to get back to work because break time is over!