MacBreak Weekly 435 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: Time for MacBreak Weekly! Oh this is so much fun, Rene Ritchie is in the studio. Alex Lindsay is in the studio. Andy Inhatko is on a Skype call, because he forgot to buy tickets, but we are on our last show of 2014, and there's even some Apple news. We'll also talk a little bit about what to look forward to in 2015 including home automation, a giant iPad and more. It's all coming up next on MacBreak Weekly.
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Leo: This is MacBreak Weekly episode 435, recorded December 30th, 2014.
Apple's Golden Ghetto
MacBreak Weekly is brought to you by Personal Capital. With Personal Capital you'll have many more happy holidays as you grow and protect your wealth with this award winning financial app. Best of all, it's free! To sign up go to PersonalCapital.com/macbreak. It's time for MacBreak Weekly, the show where we cover your Macintosh and Apple needs, and it's so fun we've got both Alex Lindsay and Rene Ritchie in studio, thank you for flying down Rene.
Rene Ritchie: Thank you so much for having me.
Leo: Rene came down from Montreal for just a couple of days, he came to our host dinner last night, MacBreak Weekly today. Tomorrow's New Year's Eve party, our 24 hours of 2015 and then you go home for two days, and you come back to CES.
Rene: It's a good way to start a year.
Leo: Crazy. Well anyway we're very grateful, thank you for being here. Thanks to Alex Lindsay who came all the way from Pittsburgh, PA.
Alex Lindsay: Yes. Happy to be here.
Leo: It's great to have you. And unfortunately, Andy Inhatko is still home. Still trying to find a flight.
Andy Inhatko: Well you know, I'm glad I brought my equipment because I was able to set up this corner of the terminal at Logan Airport to be an approximation of the studio, so I hope we get a good signal off my phone here. This is going to cost me at least $90 in overage fees. But...
Leo: We missed you, Andy.
Alex: You know what's really cool is there is this thing called the internet. And you can like order tickets.
Leo: Actually thanks to Skype it really is like Andy's here. And are you going to participate in any way on New Year's Eve tomorrow, are you...?
Andy: I have no specific plans for New Year's Eve. I would love to, and again I've got the studio set up here, in case my flight does not leave Logan in the next 36 hours. I would be more than happy to be standing by. I have a lovely bottle of champagne that someone was nice enough to send me. It's part of a beautiful gift basket that I've been nibbling at for the past week and we will pop that at the appropriate time, in the appropriate east coast time zone.
Leo: I shall inform the authorities. It's going to be fun. We're doing it for UNICEF, a benefit for UNICEF and if you go to inside.twit.tv, our blog, you'll see that people have already started donating, we've raised several thousand dollars before we even mentioned anything. So I think it's going to be a lot of fun. We're trying to recreate, kind of in honor of you Andy, and Merlin Man, the Jerry Lewis telethon. You guys always loved that. And we had a lot of fun talking about it.
Alex: Are you going to sing?
Leo: (sings)You'll never walk alone. I have to learn that song.
Alex: You realize, Leo, that you should have started taking the Percocet at least 3 days ago. So that it takes full effect by 1am.
Leo: I am really looking forward to it, we did something a little different this year. We started this last year because I thought well it would be fun to honor our global audience and say Happy New Year in every time zone, there are 27 of them. This year we've got 21 of the 27 time zones represented via somebody on Skype calling us from that time zone. We'll start counting down with the very first country to enter 2015 which will be 3:00 this morning, tomorrow morning. I'm confused. When? 3:00 tomorrow morning, 3:00AM Pacific time. 6:00AM Eastern Time, that will be New Zealand, and we have somebody. And we're going to just slowly walk down... John's running to give me the time zones. Somebody, oh we're getting close now. Who do we not have? We have 3... we have 4 time zones missing. Five. More than that? Alright, but we're pretty good. You see all the yellow, that's people. Green is people with really good connections. You know who's doing this is your people, Pixel Corps.
Alex: Yeah, Anna is working through the... yellow usually means yeah that we...
Leo: We'll start in Arrowtown, Otago, New Zealand with Andrew Smith. He, the camera's a bit grainy because speeds are kind of slow in Arrowtown. But he will be welcoming the new year at 3:00AM, 11:00 UTC, tomorrow. And on through the day. That's going to be fun. And we'll go to... now I don't see John, I thought we'd have one, we're missing a time zone here. We don't have somebody for the Sandwich Islands, or Samoa, or whatever it is. You're missing Jarvis Island at the bottom there, the 3:00AM.
Leo: Oh these are people. These are not the one...
Leo: One more line... yeah. Because I do want somebody at Jarvis Island. It's a bird sanctuary, uninhabited. But it will be the last place on the globe to welcome 2015.
Alex: It would be really cool if we had a web cam down there shooting the birds.
Leo: I think so.
Alex: In the middle of the night.
Leo: I think so.
Alex: While they're sleeping.
Leo: Anyway. It's going to be a lot of fun, we're looking forward to it and a lot of people coming up, are any of you... we have a big studio audience today, are any of you sticking around for tomorrow's festivities? I hope. Please do, yeah. You can stay up from now til then. And then you can... yeah, sure. Sure. Well did anything happen over the last few weeks since we've been here? We had a great best of, thank you Jason Howell for cobbling that together.
Jason Howell: No problem, my pleasure.
Leo: A lot of fun seeing all the stupid things I said, including me and was it Matthew Ingraham talking about how Apple was done? That was before WWDC in June. That's my only excuse.
Leo: Apple is far from done obviously. Apple is streaming The Interview, did anybody watch that?
Alex: Oh they finally decided to?
Leo: It's on iTunes. So it's on Google it's on iTunes, the theater in town is showing it.
Alex: It's made a lot of money.
Leo: Not as much as it might have made.
Alex: Here's the thing that's interesting. So it hasn't made as much maybe as it would have in the theaters, but as a internet mostly like a day and date release.
Leo: $15 million.
Alex: $15 million is the best Sony's ever done, and I think that the irony of all this is this may be what everyone looks back at as everyone thought wow maybe we could make some money on the internet.
Rene: I don't think all those people would have watched it if not for the surrounding circumstances. You can translate those into ticket sales.
Alex: No, I don't think so.
Andy: It's enough for, I think I agree with what Alex is saying. They would, they had to be dragged kicking and screaming into saying we're going to do a high profile movie release backed up both by national advertising and it's going to be available on streaming that very day, and this was not a bad result. It might even encourage them to say well here's the movie, we don't have a whole lot of confidence in it, let's do a second experiment in February or March. I think back to there was a writer's strike in the early 80s that created the reality TV boom. Because...
Leo: That's right.
Andy: Writers went on strike, they had to fill air and so they said well... it's not going to get any ratings but let's do this thing, we'll call it real people. It's just going to be interviews with people all across the country and we'll have a host that just sort of spontaneously say things and it got great ratings and it costs damn near next to nothing and the network said we would never have put this on the air if we had not been forced to, but now that we've been forced to and we looked at the numbers back, let's do more of this. Continue to strike everybody!
Leo: So the really interesting article in the New York Times about this happened, this came out the day before Christmas Eve, apparently the President actually intervened with Apple.
Alex: Oh really?
Rene: They tried and they said... so Apple doesn't, they were on holiday. iTunes Connect closes for two weeks.
Leo: Sorry, we're on vacation Mr. President!
Rene: Well no, but the process for iTunes is not the fastest in the world and when they're closed and they basically just said we're not going to go there and start cranking the computers for you, but the next available spot you'll get it. And so it got out as fast as iTunes would normally...
Leo: Credit to the Alamo Drafthouse, which is an Austin theater chain.
Alex: That is a great cinema.
Leo: I love it, I didn't know there was 20 others. Including supposedly one is coming to San Francisco, but they were the first to say you know what? We'll show it. And then that kind of began the run on it. But Sony had planned to have it 3,000 theaters for Christmas Day, and instead just a few hundred. Plus remember, Apple takes a third. I don't know what Google takes.
Alex: That's better, so the third is better than theaters. Theaters usually split...
Leo: I thought that theaters gave them the whole tickets...
Rene: I don't think Apple takes a third for movies.
Leo: Oh, no?
Rene: For indies they do, but I think for studios they sometimes even lose money still.
Leo: Make a deal.
Leo: And so you said, so the theater... I thought the theater deal was...
Alex: It's weighted.
Leo: Like ticket sales go to the movie company and then the theater gets the popcorn. Which is by the way, more lucrative.
Alex: Well yeah. I believe, and I'm not positive of this, but I believe that what happens is it's weighted so the first couple weeks the percentage is much more leaning towards the movie company, and then it goes back to as it goes... and that's why you have, that's why you're able to have these kind of second run theaters that run them, that can do it for a lot less and make it profitable. I believe that's how it works, someone will probably correct me but...
Leo: Initially, so before you jump on the bandwagon and blaming the theaters, exhibitors, the FBI had told theaters, remember the hackers said we threaten 9/11 style violence if you show The Interview. The FBI had initially told theaters, treat it like a bomb threat. Credible until proven otherwise.
Leo: You know and then Obama says in public, I wish they'd called me. And I feel like what he would have said would have been look, we know... we can assess this threat and there's no chance that North Korea is...
Rene: Well, they lack the capacity.
Leo: They lack the capacity to do that.
Alex: Well and I think that a lot of times there's things that he would want to say privately that he wouldn't say in public.
Leo: So far no problems, except that it's a crap movie.
Leo: But other than that...
Alex: All this over a...
Leo: You may get nauseous from the movie.
Alex: All this over the wrong movie most likely, but I still think the issue is that when you look at, it still proves. I don't think we've seen very many movies that have sold $15 million worth of ticket... I don't know if any have sold on that kind of level. And it's not so much that that makes it so you're not going to start seeing $100 million films, but if you're an independent film maker or you're Sony Classic Pictures, or some of these other ones looking at well, can I do a $2 million budget and you know, now it might be viable to do a $2 million budget and get my money back.
Rene: That Veronica Mars movie.
Alex: And there was a huge machine that occurred that used to exist around Blockbuster. Blockbuster and all the other rentals, where you could make a... you could be guaranteed... what you would do is you would get into distribution deals and you'd get some foreign distribution, you'd get some cable buys but the big thing was that you knew that just Blockbuster stocking Blockbuster would make you enough money to pay for the film. It didn't even matter if anyone bought it, just the rental would be enough. Netflix never really replaced that revenue. And so a lot of that stuff just kind of went away. If people start feeling like they can do a $2 million film can make a profit, that whole... and now it's cheaper to make the film than it ever has been because the hardware is less expensive, a lot of things that are more readily available. At a $45 million film or a $100 million film, I don't think that it necessarily adds up, but as art house $2 million, $3 million, $5 million. Blair Witch Project kind of stuff.
Andy: You're still left with the same problem though, where if you want like... I use the word professional actors not as a way of insulting anybody who doesn't get $500,000 minimum for a movie, but like you're not going to get the Kevin Spacey, you're not going to get an Allison Janney, you're not going to get like these people who have like 20 or 30 years’ worth of credits behind them and can really sell a role, when the entire budget is $2 million, unless they can...
Alex: But the whole machine that occurred before didn't have those actors either. And there were a lot of them that a tier one or two down, kind of the Rutger Hauer.
Rene: The Steven Seagals.
Alex: Well Rutger Hauer was like the king of a lot of these little films. And, I'm a big fan of Rutger Hauer. We used to do Rutger Hauer fests at my house.
Leo: You must be. He was in Blade Runner right?
Alex: He did Bladerunner, he did all of these. He did these like... what was it. Some angry swordsman.
Leo: Rutger Hauer?
Alex: Yeah it's really, cause it's really cheesy.
Rene: I mean, he's German Leo. I mean come on.
Alex: No there was something very fun about drinking whiskey and Rutger Hauer. So anyways, so the...
Leo: Wait a minute I've got to write that down. That's my new motto.
Rene: You had a point a long time ago about...
Alex: You've seen movies... he's been in... so he did bit parts in a lot of big films.
Leo: Many people don't know this but he's made of gold. Solid gold.
Rene: He is.
Alex: I wouldn't be surprised...
Andy: That's the luminosity of his talent, Leo.
Rene: You had an interesting point a while ago...
Leo: I am Rutger Hauer!
Andy: Before we move on, I just want to clarify that I don't mean that you should have... only have movies that have big name brand actors, I'm saying that we're going to recognize 10 years later that most of the really, a lot of the meat of these movies is based on having really talented people who aren't at a stage of their careers where they don't need to support four ex-spouses and 8 ranches in Montana. It is going to be who, what kind of a team can we assemble for 2 million bucks that are going to enjoy this work, or take a cut for this two months they're going to be working just to say that they worked on this really weird project.
Rene: There's an interesting rumor going around that Jimmy Iovine is going to negotiate exclusive deals for iTunes. And it would be interesting to see if, because Alex has talked about this for years, whether Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, started getting into these exclusive arrangements.
Leo: Like Netflix has.
Rene: Like Netflix has.
Leo: It's been very good for Netflix.
Rene: Yeah, and then those markets start to open up because you have serious money behind just the streaming stuff.
Leo: That's bad for consumers though, because then we have to have a bunch of different boxes just so we can...
like Apple, you have to have an Apple TV really, right? I guess you could...
Alex: A lot of us have all of it. I have Netflix on my Apple TV and I have Hulu and then I have...
Leo: I think a lot of us are different than a lot of the rest of the world.
Rene: You get free Bono albums Leo.
Alex: But if you only have an Apple TV you have most of those services available to you at that point. You know, whether it's Amazon or...
Leo: No, because you're Amazon. No.
Andy: But it's not entirely. But it's not entirely an Apple TV or Apple world, I just don't...
Leo: You don't get Google, you don't get Amazon, you miss a lot of stuff.
Andy: I see a world in 10 years from now where there are fewer, I see a world 10 years from now where there are going to be fewer bands like U2, like Coldplay, like Foo Fighters, where they really are based on having a huge album release and making a lot of sales that way, I think there are going to be more bands starting with their first work at age 12, 13, 14, self-distribution like, why do I need to talk to Jimmy Iovine? Why do I need to make a deal with him to release an album to one outlet when I can have the entire internet?
Leo: And will that happen with films too? I guess it is sort of with YouTube.
Andy: I think so too. We've seen plenty of Jonathan Coultons in the music side, I think we're going to start seeing Jonathan Coultons in movies too. People who can, and we're seeing them already in the form of easily consumed entertainment like game videos, but we're going to have people who can make short videos, short movies at a budget and with a realistic framework where so long as they keep making these regularly and build up their fan base, they can't make $6 million per picture, but they can make a couple $100 thousand every time they go up to bat, and they go up to bat once every year. And I really think that's where it's going.
Leo: All of this is fabulous.
Andy: I've seen murmurs about Jimmy Iovine. I just don't know how that really plays into where the music industry is going.
Leo: He's the inner face of the old school and that still needs to be supported and there probably will still be blockbuster movies but some guy in his basement isn't going to make Terminator 4, but at the same time I think there's going to be,as there is in music, this right of the independent, and it's going to be great. It's good for everybody. And then people like you Alex who have the skills, who have the equipment, you wouldn't make a major motion picture, you might very well make a picture for YouTube.
Alex: I've been writing short films that we're getting very close, as we slowly accumulated all the hardware that we needed to do it.
Leo: Now's the time!
Alex: But my interest is oh I might want to do feature films some day, but we have like 10 or 12 of them right now that we're getting ready to record, but the idea is that we're not interested. What we're interested in is a whole bunch of money around the making of it. And the process rather than just...
Leo: Also with crowd-sourcing opportunities, Kickstarter and Patron. Everything becomes easier. And I think this is what... you know, yes this tells Hollywood the old school there may be some opportunities but really what's going on is what's happening on YouTube, what's happening, what's happening on independent...
Alex: And there are things that Apple and Netflix and others bring to the game. You know, there is a lot of people will tell you...
Leo: Marketing. It's the same thing with publishers, marketing.
Alex: Front page on iTunes is a big deal. That sells a lot stuff. And Apple pressing it, possibly running ads that there... that the next Taylor Swift is whatever.
Rene: And as hardware gets more comparable, and this hardware is enough, the software becomes more important again and you want almost like gaming consoles, you want exclusives to drive eyeballs to your service and that helps you promote all the smaller brands and bands and movies as well.
Leo: Well, I think also of interest, the fact that the EU has forced Apple to offer 14 day no questions asked refunds for app store and iTunes downloads in the EU.
Alex: I think that's really messy.
Rene: It's the way it's set up is... I mean they've done refunds before, you could always go to iTunes report a problem and ask for a refund.
Leo: But you... and for... on Android for a while you had a 24 hour window that you could return an app. Windows Phone too. I don't know what's happened on Windows Phone, I think that still exists but on Android they made it 15 minutes.
Rene: Yeah it gets smaller and smaller, because developers complain.
Leo: The concern is with two weeks, it's two hours?
Off-Screen: It recently went back to 2 hours, yeah.
Leo: The concern of course is, and 2 hours I don't think is a big deal but 14 days means you could download a game, play the hell out of it, or download an album, play the hell out of it.
Alex: Download it and copy it.
Rene: Download an app and then get your problem solved and then decide you don't want to pay for it. And it's hard on developers too because that money gets basically ripped out of them as well as it does Apple so...
Leo: I presume this is something the EU forced them to do. UK, Germany, Italy, France and other EU countries. And this is for iTunes app store and iBooks purchases.
Alex: I don't know, I keep on thinking the EU is committed to keeping their countries as far behind as possible.
Leo: The EU it's very... and we've talked about this a lot on TWiG because Jeff Jarvis is crazy about EU regulation of Google. And probably rightly so. But one way you could characterize it is, here in the States we have this great distrust of government. But, and I don't know what it is in Canada, but in the US distrust of government but a trust of corporations. Kind of in both cases a little bit unwarranted. And in the EU it's the opposite. A trust of big government but a major distrust of corporations, particularly US corporations. And I think that's what this reflects is just as with the Google stuff.
Alex: I just think we should see how that works for them.
Leo: Google presumably, Jason, would have to do this too in the EU, I would assume?
Alex: I think they have it available. I believe that it said somewhere in the article that it's available, they just don't promote it.
Leo: They do it for music subscriptions.
Rene: The other thing, consumers come first but you have to maintain the viability of your business and if any app you can buy you can get a refund in two weeks, people will just the app, play the games and refund them and there will be no money for people to make the future games. It's short sighted.
Alex: And I think that the other question is whether Apple decides to do, they obviously haven't here. And Apple tends to just try to manage it. But you know, what if you gave developers the ability to publish regionally. So a developer could just say I don't want to publish in the EU store.
Leo: I wouldn't be surprised if that's what happens.
Alex: That's what they should do is allow developers to decide well I don't really want to serve the EU if they're going to keep on doing that. I mean obviously things change pretty quickly in Spain.
Leo: If you buy a book, most books you can read in two weeks. So really it's a library policy and it's free.
Leo: And if I'm an author I might resent that a little bit.
Rene: Some of the developers...
Leo: It may decrease the amount of content available in the EU.
Rene: The great developers, people like Will Shipley, people do like... if you write to them and state your problem, they want to refund your money. They want to make you happy, they want to do this, but they want a relationship with you at the same time.
Leo: I still think that Apple's policy in the states is wrong too. There is no demo, there is no return, you have to beg. There should be a window of some kind where even if it's just an accidental purchase you should be able to quickly...
Rene: Will Shipley on Twitter this week, he put up a thing saying there was only 2 requests for that in the Apple radar database and he asked people to go in and duplicate it because if they don't see a demand they don't do it.
Alex: A lot of developers though...
Leo: Having movies of what the game is going to look like is not the same as me downloading it and saying this is terrible.
Alex: I think a lot of developers have adjusted to that where they are giving you a light version or an in-app purchase... or...
Leo: That's why you see free and paid versions of...
Alex: That's the new demo.
Leo: But that just clutters the place. I don't...
Alex: Well I think that too and I think the in-app purchase makes a lot of sense. Like I'm going to let you play...
Rene: There was supposed to be demos originally.
Leo: Why did they kill that?
Rene: Free would be free so you could download... it wasn't that they killed it, it was that they never allowed time-based demos. They didn't want people to get confused about the functionality that you got. The original idea was that you would get like a level to try out and then the in-app purchases would unlock additional levels. But it turns out people don't pay to get rid of ads, people don't pay to get extra levels. They'll just play the first level then go look for the next free game.
Leo: You could argue that premium was discovered that way. That people said alright, well let me make a free version. I mean we've had it for longer than the iTunes store but it certainly came into its own with in-app purchases and free.
Rene: There's only two things we'll pay for. We'll pay to get our car back on the track faster, or to have a better looking car than Alex has. Instant gratification and ego gratification.
Leo: Have you played Trivia Crack? It's the funniest thing. So this is a game my mom got me into and it's really ugly. It has a paid version with no ads, and a non-paid version but there's always in-app purchases and they call it Trivia Crack because you want to play and you want to play and then if you lose a certain number of games then you have to wait 45 minutes before you can play anymore, or pay 99 cents. And then it becomes a day that you have to wait and so I just feel like this is a really... this is like.
Alex: I think one of the best solutions for it that I've seen is...
Leo: It's a fun game. Trivia Crack, not track. Crack. Like the drug.
Off-Screen: I thought that was your nickname for it. Like it's Trivia Track but we call it Trivia Crack.
Leo: No it's called Trivia Crack. They make no bones about it my friends.
Alex: It's got a big pipe in the front of it.
Leo: Don't start playing.
Alex: No the... I think one of the best uses of this has been Field Runners where you pretty much play the whole game, you don't really think much of it, but if you want more points to buy the little extras, and you're not winning enough... and I have to admit that every once in a while I just...
Leo: Do you do that in Field Runners? You buy a little?
Alex: Yeah, it's horrible because I have this whole...
Leo: But see I feel like this is almost slimy because they're taking advantage of your own personal weakness.
Rene: Candy Crush man. All of the games are a casino model now.
Alex: But I don't really have a problem with it because I'm just playing it and...
Leo: It's just a buck.
Alex: Oh no it's more.
Leo: I spent $300 on Simpsons donuts. Do I have a problem? Yes.
Andy: I'm sorry I meant do you have an ethical problem with it?
Andy: I still feel that there's going to be some point at which Apple is going to have to every time that they put that slide in the next keynote saying and we've handed over $8.1 billion to developers there's the Greenpeace guys out front that are going to be shoved aside by the people saying yeah, how many people who have an addictive personality shoveled into that versus how many people who have the ability to not buy donuts are paying for that.
Andy: I think that it's one factor among many that... I believe that in the next couple of years there's going to be a cleaning house of the app store. A lot of policies that they were made perfect sense when they introduced it or things that... we'll set it up this way and then make modifications as necessary. And that will work for a few years but there's so many disgruntled developers about developers who don't have a real connection to... don't feel a connection to their users. As you say the inability to get demo versions going, the inability to easily get refunds for stuff and now this idea where there really is a lopsided amount of revenue coming in from just people who are in like... iOS Skinner boxes just tapping buttons and you get a pellet, tap a button and you get a pellet, that they're going to have to do a lot of cleaning house in order to make this continue to work for the next five years.
Leo: Couple of notes from our chatroom, ScooterX says the 14 day period in the EU is extended to a year if a business fails to properly inform consumers of the return period. So you've got to be very clear, you've got two weeks to return this. A year.
Andy: A year.
Leo: SjeffN6 who's in I think Sweden, right? He says you're thinking like the motion picture association, Leo. People are not thieves by default. And it is more expensive to not sell apps in the EU than to offer refunds to a small percentage. I guess that's the question is how many people will take advantage of this. Maybe you're right, maybe I shouldn't assume people would do that.
Alex: In my younger years I took advantage of a lot of that stuff.
Leo: Yeah but I think... the record industry says this too. Kids growing up today don't buy music, but I think those are people who probably wouldn't be spending that money anyway. You wouldn't have been spending that money anyway.
Rene: It doesn't translate to physical media though. If I go to Best Buy, buy a Blu-ray of Guardians of the Galaxy, bring it home, open it, watch it and then go take it back.
Leo: You could do that. People don't do that.
Rene: Well it depends on... some of them have policies like it can't be opened, there's all sorts of different regulations.
Leo: It's pretty easy to push a button that says I want my money back. Delete this app, I want my money back. Or delete this book. I don't know, we'll see.
Rene: If 99% of people start returning apps...
Alex: I think a lot of the reason people don't return stuff... I mean there's stuff that I won't return which I should legitimately return.
Leo: All the time I should return stuff.
Alex: I can't get around, oh I gotta find the box or Amazon is going to charge me.
Leo: I have a lot of stuff I wish I could return.
Rene: And it will be interesting to see how this is implemented, is it still going to be the report a problem button that's sort of buried and you'll have to go digging for it and Google had to do it or is it going to be a big giant red button on every app purchase?
Leo: Right. Apple dominated Christmas 2014 in activations, in app sales, very very good holiday season for Apple. 51% of device activations were Apple. 17% Samsung. Oddly 5.8% Windows Phone, Nokia. This is according to Flurry.
Alex: Well do we know that all of Nokia is Windows?
Leo: It is.
Alex: Yep, yep all the Windows Phones.
Leo: There are a couple of Androids, there is a weird Android thing. But I don't think that's significant.
Rene: So good thing they didn't fire Tim Cook at the beginning of the year.
Leo: I didn't say they should have fired Tim Cook.
Rene: Haunted empire indeed.
Leo: And app downloads were also big. App installs, average daily app installs, December 1st through the 21st, 1 a day.
Alex: I think that's just a reference.
Leo: That's the reference.
Alex: I don't think it was... was it reference or was it...?
Leo: That's the unit. So it was 150% more on Christmas Day. But that makes sense, you get a new iPhone or new iPad you're going to install a bunch of apps. Flurry tracked 2 and a half times the number of app installs on Christmas Day. Compared to an average day in the first three weeks of December. You're right, that's just a reference number.
Andy: Also gift cards are being activated too so.
Leo: Yeah. And I should point out that Samsung is the big one here, but there are probably other Android devices. Well there's LG and Sony. Obviously it all adds up to less than half since Apple has 51%. Distribution of new devices by form factor.
Alex: I thought this was really interesting to look at how...
Leo: Good, because I can't... explain this chart.
Alex: Okay so your tan area is your larger phones, the red area is smaller phones...
Alex: Which is gone.
Leo: So the top bar is 2014, then 2013 then 2012. So you could see the shrinking small phones from 7% to less than 2%.
Alex: Right. The dark blue on left is full size tablets.
Leo: Like iPads.
Alex: Light blue is like an iPad Mini. The green is Phablet.
Leo: Giant phones. From 3% to 13%.
Rene: iPhone 6+.
Alex: Yeah. But it's just amazing how the large phones, and I find that my usage is the same. I mean, I finally after complaining after saying I was not going to do it I finally settled into the 6+.
Leo: You did. And I ask everybody this, do you find yourself using the iPad less?
Alex: Oh yeah.
Rene: I find myself using the iPad Mini not at all, but I use the larger iPad which I wasn't using at all.
Alex: Finally I put mini like a complete waste of time.
Leo: This would support the rumor that there would be an iPad Pro coming out this year, right? The 12 inch.
Alex: I would be much more likely to have an iPad... especially if they slowly merge the OS's so where I'm really just getting an OS you know that has... what I really want is a larger iPad with a keyboard and like a clicker ball keyboard onto it. People make those already.
Leo: Oh you want a Surface Pro 3.
Alex: Exactly except for the Mac.
Leo: It has a kickstand. Oh I wish I had one.
Alex: I don't need the kickstand. But I have to admit I look at the surface and that is exactly what I want except I want OSX. I don't want to deal with Windows.
Andy: Yeah. Apple has to do so much to the iPad, the 9.7 just to make it continue to be relevant. Because now there's... I actually like found myself writing thousands of thousands of words just to work out my own thoughts about it. And seeing under what circumstances would I continue to recommend a 9.7” iPad to somebody, and it's not that I can't think of situations which that would happen, but now it's like... you walk through that decision tree and again you imagine yourself having that talk with somebody at the Christmas Eve party and they know that you're the tech person so oh I want to buy one of this, which one should I get and I keep landing on squares that say well it sounds as though you really do want an iPad Mini or it sounds like you'd be happier with an iPhone 6 or gee did you know that for just a few hundred dollars more or a couple hundred dollars more you can get an iPad Air, 11” that will do really everything that you want this iPad to do and way way more and it will be much more useful, it's so hard for me to find the square that says oh yes, the 9.7” iPad is absolutely the right one for you, and a lot of the reasons why aren't because it should be 12” instead of 9.7, or that it should have a detachable keyboard, it's stuff like it should be easy to run two apps side by side. It should be easy to switch between two apps. Because the way to get a value out of that $500 minimum device is to offload some of your creative stuff and your productivity stuff off of whatever notebook you're using right now and it's such a pain in the butt, it really does require a bunch of commitment to really ultralight tablet computing because otherwise as soon as you put a relatively lightweight 13” notebook into the picture, that 9.7” iPad tends to stay home a lot more than it might have otherwise.
Alex: And I think again that it's that, I think that a larger one with a merged OS is the thing. I don't really want...
Andy: I don't think that works at all.
Rene: Let's just say that coming this spring there is an iOS that runs side by side apps and lets you drag and drop things between apps, that's probably the beginning of what you want Andy but not the end.
Andy: One of the things I like about Surface Pro is that I'm surprised that modern apps, they're Microsoft Windows 8 multitouch apps, I'm surprised there isn't a much bigger and better library than there is, but really all I want is the ability to have one window that has, if all I have is one Windows 8 window, a pane, and then simply a column next to it that simply has my Twitter client or simply has like something I can do, keep an eye on, a movie or keep an eye on my inbox, that will do me, and so if all I had the ability to do was take the iPhone articulation of an app and have the iPad articulation of a different app side by side on the same screen, suddenly my 13” Macbook stays home a lot more than it would without this update.
Rene: We saw this, the code is in there for iOS 8. They'll do 1/3 app, 2/3 apps, ½ apps. So we'll be happy.
Alex: And I think the number one reason I go to my iPad, and now it's really with my... with the iPhone 6+ I think that it's become more of an issue for me is that number one reason I go to an iPad is because there's apps that only run on iPad, even though the resolution on my phone is plenty to support it. So the thing is it really frustrates me that I have to go to an iPad app because it's only sold on... like there's certain sketching programs and all this other stuff, or some of the sound programs that I use that say oh they're only iPad. I can run them, I could run them on my phone if they just didn't define it as an iPad app.
Rene: I think that's changing though, because I believe there's a rumor that you'll be able to target like iPhone 6+ exclusively and make those big screen apps smaller.
Alex: I don't even know if I would use the iPad at all after that. It's literally like the handful of apps that I can't use over you know?
Andy: I'd love to know the thinking behind that because to me it's just insane that at launch you can't design something and target an iPhone 6+ specifically. It's like saying yes we put this amazing 10 kajillion horsepower engine in one of the most beautiful cars we've ever made but we also basically hardwired in this sail on the back of it that you cannot detach. It's like, why did you give me the power of a big screen without letting developers really make use of it yet?
Rene: Yeah, I don't think... I don't know if we'll be able to target iPhone 6 and 6+ but maybe we'll be able to target just iPhone 6+ if you want a big screen app.
Andy: Yeah. It's not like there's 100 different iPhones out there, it's a small enough sample size that if a developer really wants to create an experience for each of the... let's see... 3, 4 iPhone sizes right now they should be able to do that.
Alex: I mean I'd be happy if the OS just defined the iPhone 6+ as an iPad.
Andy: Hmm. I think that's a monkey paw wish where I would want it but then when my wish is granted I'd be sorry I made that wish. I think that it's an interstitial size that needs its own interface but when you see a big app that's been scaled for that, take advantage of that, boy does it fly. I really do appreciate the differences between like the Google Docs app and pages and other text editors where you can see that although it wasn't targeting this size, when you see one that it's just a harmonious balance of the interface and the editing area, that's when I look up thinking I was just going to test out this little keyboard for about 20 minutes but I've actually written now for 3 hours because I really just was able to get into the zone because it was such a nicely paired system of keyboard and hardware and software.
Rene: Man I love that split view controller on iPhone 6+ in landscape mode.
Leo: You use that?
Rene: I use it and it's like... Leo I have an iPhone, so I'm using my iPhone and all of the sudden I turn it and I have an iPad. Turn it back and I have a phone again.
Leo: And how many apps are now taking advantage of...
Rene: Nowhere nearly enough, all the Apple system apps but...
Leo: I think that's kind of the issue yeah. But will they? Why aren't they?
Andy: A lot of iOS stuff is very slow.
Andy: I've been talking to developers about this and there isn't a specific reason for this and developers are never hesitant to complain when they're unhappy about something, it's just that for whatever reason making an app not just compatible with iOS 8 but a celebration of iOS 8 is just not a high priority for them for some reason.
Leo: No. It's fragmentation, isn't it? Isn't that the word that Apple used about Android?
Rene: It's not fragmentation, a lot of them will complain that it's become incredibly hard for them to repay that development cost, people won't pay for new designs. They consider them entitled to them.
Leo: Have not enough people bought 6+ to make it worthwhile?
Rene: Well last year iOS 7 was a huge thing and Tweetbot came out with an update to make it look like iOS 7 and they charged for it, and people said we're not paying for that. And they said well user experience is the most important feature. This is the biggest update we've ever done, it's completely... they said no no, it's just a new skin, I shouldn't have to pay for that.
Andy: I think a lot of people are unaware of the time spent in updating an app is money spent, and that's one of the reasons why there was so much bad blood about the switch to iCloud which was kind of forced. Excuse me, another addition ago because this was kind of forced on people saying that hey if you want to continue to have your app in the app store you're going to have to support iCloud. And now all of this time and money was diverted away from the new features they wanted to put into their apps and was diverted into making iCloud syncing work and was just held together with spit and old twigs. A lot of them felt like I just wasted 8 months of development time on a feature that now I can't even use any more because it just doesn't work.
Andy: And so that's why a lot of people might be a little bit gun shy to Rene's point. To say that we can either continue to make our app work really great or we can invest a lot of time and money into supporting features that people are not really demanding yet and there are a lot of developers out there that are creatively intrigued by every new opportunity that Apple builds but most of those developers are not the people who are like, I've got a payroll. I've got to pay 3 people and I've got to support an office space and I have to figure out if I'm going to have my people spend 3 months working on something, it has to be something that users are absolutely going to relate to and pay for.
Leo: Will we see a 12” iPad?
Rene: I think so.
Andy: I think so, yeah.
Rene: The 2GB of RAM and the 8x chipset...
Leo: That makes a big difference doesn't it?
Rene: ...is a big clue as to what Apple's got planned for the iPad.
Leo: We're going to take a break, we were talking at the dinner last night about Apple's long term strategy and some two interesting hires that might tell us something about that. Rene Ritchie has some insight, but let's take a break and talk about our sponsor for this show today. PersonalCapital.com.
Alex: That's something I don't have anything... any...
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Rene: I won't name them publicly if they don't want to, but in general I think there's some interesting trends.
Leo: So what's going on?
Rene: If you look at Apple in general this year and the things that were super public, like Kevin Lynch coming out and demonstrating Watch OS, Watch OS doesn't look like iOS 7. They spent all this time making iOS 7 look a certain way and then making Yosemite look a certain way and yet Watch OS is something new, it's got a new system font, it's got a new way of doing things.
Rene: It's got icons that look almost like Yahoo from the 80s. It's really interesting, it's a new design language and you add to that things like the A8X processor, it's got not only a custom chipset but a custom graphics chip now too. 8 cores on there, 2GB of RAM. It looks to me like when you look at the kind of people that they're hiring and the kind of projects that they're doing that there is a very large movement moving all this mobile technology forward. Extensibility, it's been around a year already and not only does it allow us to do in or out communication but it's a foundation for projecting information back and forth between iOS and the watch. Handoff is moving things back and forth and I think when we look at that, to Alex's point earlier, I don't think there will ever be a point where iOS and OSX are merged, because Apple really truly believes that these are separating operating systems, but I believe that there will be a point where it won't matter. Where the device will understand our context and present us capabilities based on where we are. And the watch is a great point, if you have your arm out, if I'm just sitting here with Alex and I get a notification, it just taps my wrist. There's no loud buzz, there's no loud noise so he doesn't know about it. Then I tilt my wrist slightly and I get a ShortLook notification, little bit of information. I'm bringing it closer to me I get the whole notification. All of this works with Handoff, so if I see a small interaction it's not, it's too hard to do on a watch, that same thing. It's not just cloud sync. Because in a cloud sync I'd have to launch the app, launch the document. It would be in the same status but it wouldn't be in the same place. This will just have that app there waiting at the exact same place that I was before, and it'll let me move back and forth. If I plug a keyboard in suddenly it'll go oh now I have a keyboard. And it'll understand, and I think that's where Apple is maybe too slowly for some, but I think when you look at all the clues we saw this year, that's where they're heading in 15 into 16.
Leo: It makes sense, because the one thing it really does is it makes you want to use all Apple products.
Leo: I get left out in the cold. I could buy an Apple Watch but now I have to use my iPhone, and if I really want Handoff I'm going to have to use my laptop and my Apple laptop and my iPad and suddenly I'm all Apple.
Rene: And they reward that by making the experience as incredibly seamless and compelling for you.
Alex: And I think they're taking advantage of what used to be a disadvantage for Apple. Remember, back in the old days when Apple because they owned everything, it was like they were trying to develop everything, but now they're what I think Steve Jobs started and what Apple's doing now is when we own the entire ecosystem it works better, because we have control of the hardware, the hardware matches the software, the software matches... and I think the one thing Apple's gotten good at that they weren't good at a long time ago, and when I say long time ago... 5 to 8 years ago. Is that the teams are actually talking to each other a little more. I think the re-organization that was done come out...
Leo: And that was Tim Cook's goal obviously.
Alex: Sometimes I felt like I knew more about what was happening.
Rene: The guy who runs continuity extensibility for Yosemite also ran it for iOS so there was more separation of operating systems, it was one guy running a feature.
Alex: A lot of times you'd feel like you were talking to guys at Apple, at a convention or whatever and you'd feel like one team is working on one thing, another team is working on a completely different thing and they're integrated but they're not talking to each other at all. Now I think that integration is starting to show up all over the place.
Andy: Yeah. There's another tweet to this in that not only does it help to convince people to have all Apple stuff, but it also convinces them to have every single Mac and every single iOS device running the exact same latest version of the software. Because if you've got that one last iMac or you got one last iMac or the one last Macbook that's running 10.9 or 10.8 or god forbid 10.7, that's going to tell you that well why can't I access photos on this iMac? I used to be able to share it before? Well that's because everything else is running Yosemite except for your one iMac that runs 10.7. Oh well how do I upgrade that? Well you've got an old iMac that doesn't run 10.10 but have you seen our new Retina iMac? And I'm curious to see how this plays out because it's great if you walk into the store with your American Express black card and you buy all new stuff, but that's not necessarily the world that everybody works in. This is a story that I'm sure is going to fall on familiar ears now that we're recording after everyone is back from their Christmas business to like aunts and parents and sisters and brothers, that you spend a certain amount of time in somebody's rec-room, taking a look at why is my Mac not working. And the first, the first thing you check is okay, let's do a system version. Okay. You're running OS 10.5. Here's why some things are slowing down and here's why some things aren't working. And then you try to explain why they might want to upgrade, and then you're running into the brick wall of yes but everything outside of seeing a beach ball cursor every now and then, this is working fine. What problems am I going to encounter once I start running something that's from this presidential administration. So it's going to be... Apple has always had the wonderful benediction of we plan everything out, we have everything working together extremely well, a lot of that however is conditional upon you always having everything up to date, and in the past two or three years having modern software. I'm just saying that it would be interesting to at some point discuss, there is a wall I think has dropped down that wasn't there before in the Mac line in particular, where if you have a Mac made before then, you're kind of left behind. If you have a Mac made after then, you're perfectly fine. It might be 2008, it might be 2009, but it's something that I'm navigating in my office right now too, because I've still got an older Macbook that's kind of my bedroom Macbook that is useful for a whole bunch of stuff, it still works fine, it's got maybe a little green line of longevity on the left side of the LCD but otherwise it works fine. I've not updated it past 10.8 not because I've refused to but because it's never occurred to me to do so, and now I'm facing that okay I guess I have to upgrade this to 10.10 and let's hope that everything works fine.
Rene: I think Bluetooth LE was one of the big dividing lines for Apple though because they made so... all the new stuff is so dependent on it, that older Macs that don't have it really were technologically cut off.
Leo: Has NFC changed things too?
Andy: A lot of the power management, a lot of the networking stuff.
Leo: Does NFC change things too?
Rene: The way they're using it right now...
Andy: I would say so.
Rene: The way they're using it right now is just Apple Pay but in the future... you know, it took me a year to make an API for TouchID so maybe a year from now.
Leo: You know I look at my Sony camera which has... I can move pictures off of it onto a smartphone using NFC. And I couldn't do that with the iPhone until the 6 came out.
Rene: So if you look at what they're doing with the Apple Watch and especially CarPlay, even Apple TV is they've totally decoupled interface from device now. Like the iPhone 6+, iPhone 6 work because iOS is no longer bound to a pixel grid. That interface just scales to fit the phone, it scales to fit the watch, it scales to fit the car. Why can't we have camera play?
Leo: Wouldn't that be great?
Rene: So I get a Canon camera and my iPhone knows it. And that's their philosophy because...
Leo: Will they do that though? That's not an Apple product.
Rene: Unlike Samsung, Apple's never going to manufacture the range of equipment that a Samsung or an LG makes and they're not going to license an operating system the way Google or... so the only thing they can do is take over interfaces. And I think they've shown with the Apple... it doesn't matter whose TV I have, I just stick an Apple TV on there and hit play. It doesn't matter what car I have as long as it supports CarPlay. That Q and S system just gets totally overtaken by Apple. And in the future if my camera can do that, my appliances can do that, Apple gets to offer yeah all this stuff works, works better with Apple. Manufacturers have an advantage.
Alex: And I think that a lot of the manufacturers see their interface, the two things that I think they see there are, their secret sauce for these cameras. Because a lot of these cameras are commoditized, they are very similar. They see their interface and the way that they manage the raw data as kind of their secret sauce. Because they're all... a lot of them are using the same chips, a lot of them are using the same features. I think it's a mistake. I think that a lot of us would love to be able to... and we've seen a little bit of Sony experimenting with it by just having a lens that attaches to your camera, I mean it attaches to your phone. But it's still, you know. There's a lot of us that would love to be able to run whether it's our video camera or our still camera, being able to have a graphic interface to change the settings and so on and so forth I think would be very compelling. I think it's a hard press to get these Japanese firms to give up that control, but I think that if they did the first one that does it, wins. There's a lot of us. There's a lot of iPhone users. There's a lot of iPhone users that would be like I'm buying that camera.
Leo: I have to think a lot of pro photographers are using Apple gear. So if Canon or Nikon goes along with it...
Rene: And look at the car... I have a Toyota that was before it got integration. I said can I just upgrade the sound system and they said no you've got to buy a new car. But once I have CarPlay, every time my phone is updated, every time iOS is updated it's updated. And the same thing could be true of all these other appliances.
Leo: Do you think it's likely?
Alex: I think that eventually someone's going to do it. I think it's more likely when we look at video cameras I think we're more likely to see someone like red or black magic or AJA provide that kind of interface than we're going to see Sony or Panasonic or Canon.
Leo: And you'll never see Samsung because their goal is to make the entire line as well.
Rene: Touchwiz everywhere.
Leo: Go ahead Andy, I'm sorry.
Andy: I was just going to say that I think I'm very very cheered by CarPlay because if there's a limitation that Apple has not proven they don't have, it's that they're great at making things that work with other things as long as they make all of the things. However what if you don't want to buy an Apple compatible camera? What if you don't want to buy an Apple compatible printer, what if you want this tablet that is not made by Apple to work with this Apple computer? Then you start to run into problems and butt heads. So if Apple were to start to not just make this a way to reach the phone into the car, but a philosophical way of saying we are never opposed to people buying whatever hardware that they want, we just want them to have a safe and a very very consistent experience. If they are philosophically are starting to say that we want to start to make the transport technologies that will let us interface between anything we have to anything you have, that would be one of the most... one of the best culture shifts. The second best, number one being people talking to each other inside the company, but the second best cultural shift would be for them to start to have an embrace and extend some sort of technology.
Leo: I wonder if there's an example... the only one I can think of is printers. Apple for a while made its own printers, the Image Writer and the Laser Writer but stopped and they created Air Print which seems to be well supported by the printer manufacturers.
Rene: Yeah, all that stuff.
Alex: Don't they have like health care HomeKit?
Rene: HomeKit, yeah. Big example.
Leo: Well you can say that, but have nothing... is yet doing... working with it.
Alex: Well CES is a week away.
Leo: Okay, you think. Ah, that's interesting.
Alex: I think where we start, I think that where we're starting to see this is CES.
Leo: Because there's been pass book, and now there's HealthKit and HomeKit. You can make it, but will they come right?
Rene: As much as we make fun of Apple for being too controlling, whenever things don't work it's usually the parts that Apple doesn't control. Like it took CarPlay was being worked on for five years before they could even announce it because car companies are so slow, and the manufacturers now are a big holdup for HomeKit because they're actually making physical objects that they have to...
Leo: Will we see stuff at CES?
Alex: I think so.
Rene: I think so too.
Leo: There's always been a big home automation pavilion and it's always been very disappointing because nothing talks to anything else and Samsung's bought smart things and they're promising to put this into their appliances this year.
Alex: I think one of the things that a lot of these manufacturers have to weigh is that home automation is too important for Apple to leave it, I think it's too important for Apple to if it doesn't work, if HomeKit doesn't work I think Apple moves into manufacturing home devices and I think that...
Leo: Just because. Google's already acquired an estimate, Google's making a big play in this.
Alex: So I think Apple, I bet you somewhere in the back rooms when they're talking and it's basically like you're going to develop this or you're going to develop it, we'd be happy for you to develop it, it's something we don't want to deal with. But if you don't we're going to just... you know because if Apple built a nest like device, I'd buy it. And if Apple bought...
Leo: Well it's ironic because it's Tony Fidel who built the nest.
Rene: It's amazing how careful they're being though, because there's no home dot app. There's a health dot app, so you have an Apple front end to all to all the HealthKit stuff.
Leo: Where is HomeKit?
Rene: So you basically, when you make a HomeKit compatible accessory, your app has to be able to enable and set up HomeKit for everything.
Leo: Ah. And why hasn't Hue done that, why hasn't Belkin done that? Why haven't all these companies...?
Rene: A lot of these apparently are going to roll it out but the interface is strange because Siri it looks like is going to be the easiest, most common interface for...
Leo: I love that.
Rene: Siri, goodnight and it turns off everything. Siri, my country home, please make it warmer, I'm on my way.
Rene: All those sort of things look like they're coming.
Leo: And then you say I'm turning heat up to 120 degrees, enjoy.
Andy: ...is close to failure. 100% failure in 23 hours.
Leo: We replace the unit.
Alex: And there is the problem, when we first installed my nest it kind of went crazy.
Alex: It would turn the heat up really high and then really low...
Leo: Apple wouldn't accept that, right? Apple would say this is not okay.
Alex: Yeah. There was a certain level of expert... well also letting people install their own.
Rene: We saw with CarPlay though I mean some of them had wonderful multi-touch screens, other like Ferrari had horrible little...
Leo: Is there incentive for Apple to do this after all? Aren't they making money, printing money right now with their existing solutions? Do they really need...?
Rene: They've never been happy with now though. Apple's one of the few companies where like... you like at Apple as a contrast, Apple never mistook their products for their business. Some companies believed, like Windows, that's our company. We're going to put everything behind it and we'll riot it into the ground. Apple's like yeah we make iPods now, but that's just an instance of personal computing. That's going to go down. We have to have the next one ready. So you see with like the iPhones replaced the iPod, the iPad is replacing it somewhat. They have the Apple Watch coming on. They're always, they're really concerned about obsoleting themselves and that's a good... they don't maximize profits on any one product, but as a company they stay reliable longer.
(all talking - indistinguishable)
Leo: Well they don't move fast enough for you and me.
Alex: I mean I think that for instance the HomeKit thing, I think we'll see what happens at CES but for a lot of people to jump onto it I think it makes sense but I do think that if we don't see a lot of people jumping onto the HomeKit in CES, I think that Apple should just...
Rene: New Apple TV has HomeKit hub.
Alex: Basically, because a lot of Apple...
Leo: I feel like that the problem is that Apple makes proprietary solutions, and so if even they're only at best half of the market, and it's the US they're half the market. That's not 100% of the market and so it's more concerning and certainly for me, I don't want to have to use an iPhone to take advantage of all this stuff, but I would.
Alex: But there's an enormous...
Leo: They want me to, but I don't want to. So if I'm another company, if I'm... I don't know, I won't say Samsung. But if I'm Frigid Air, I don't even know if they exist anymore, but if I'm another company, am I going to choose a thing that's going to lock me into a great ecosystem admittedly, but only half of my potential market.
Rene: You're not locked in, that's the brilliance with CarPlay, is that it's running mostly Q and X you could do it with Android...
Leo: So it works without an iPhone.
Rene: So it works with any... they just want, Apple wants people to say the best experience will be if you have an iPhone. If you don't have an iPhone, you'll log in, you'll use the Q and X system like anybody else.
Leo: If I'm Ford I would even be reluctant to do that.
Rene: They can put an Android in the car as well, the thing is it's a completely modular system. As long as you have the base unit. It's the same with a television.
Leo: I don't think you're going to see a third party company in most cases say the best experience is with Apple.
Rene: Well Apple wants to say that.
Leo: I know Apple wants to say that.
Rene: Like your television. You can buy any television you want, put an Apple TV on it and Apple will say look at this amazing experience you get with Air Play, Samsung doesn't care what Apple is saying, they're making their own box.
Alex: And we can all complain but the thing is that the other, the choice that you have here when Apple starts... when Apple builds it. Is it may not be perfect, but like there's a lot of things I complain about with Apple TV. The interface drives me a little crazy, until I got a Vizio 4k TV at Walmart for the house and the interface... you're just like oh my gosh the Apple TV is...
(all talking – indistinguishable)
Rene: Panasonic has ads, they play ads!
Leo: They have ads! It's frustrating.
Andy: Okay but you compare that now to the Roku 3 and what's your experience like.
Alex: I haven't used the Roku 3 yet.
Andy: Yeah, see.
Leo: I love the Roku 3, except it crashes once in a while. Like a lot.
Andy: For me I see a mysterious reboot maybe once a month, maybe a couple times a month. But the difference is that like my Apple TV is 100% reliable, 100% stable because I don't turn it on and I don't use it.
Andy: Because I also have a Roku here. And so there's... it's an interesting kind of dynamic that Apple puts into play like Apple is going to make the Apple Watch, it's probably going to be like almost all major Apple products, at least 90% there, say 85% there at launch but everything that's in it at launch is going to work perfectly. Meanwhile Android Wear, the first range of watches not really great but boy they only took a couple of months to get their act together with one firmware update and then now an update to the entire operating system so they're not afraid to iterate and maybe even screw up in public. And so Apple does not want to do a really big update to the Apple TV until they have a lot of other pieces in place. It's obvious that there's, with all the hires they've been doing and with also just how fallow the Apple TV has been laying for the past couple of years, there's going to be a huge update in 2015 but meanwhile nobody wants to... nobody should really want to use it. All it delivers right now is Air Play and meanwhile if Roku is so much better in every way.
Leo: Even Chromecast which is $35 offers some very interesting choices.
Alex: My problem is that when I can't find the controller I have two little kids, and when I can't find the controller I always know I can just pull my iPhone out and start running Apple TV and that's the number one reason I use it.
Leo: I lose my Apple remote every day.
Leo: Every freaking day. Fortunately most of my remotes work with it. They think they're Apple remotes.
Alex: That for me, being able to open up my phone and still be able to get back to my TV because right now with my TV usually I only have to worry about turning it on. Once it's on then I just run it with my phone.
Rene: Could you imagine Apple TV as a HomeKit hub where it's doing all of the... because HomeKit supposedly works remotely, like you could be in Rwanda and control your whole house and stuff. That just means you have to have something always on in your house to relay all those.
Leo: Somebody will lick this...
Andy: To me the most sensible thing to always have on is the computer.
Leo: I agree. Somebody will lick this whole home automation thing. Apple has an opportunity but if I have to have an iPhone and a Mac to make it work... and it won't work with my nest or my drop cam...
Alex: But still I think those, the drop cam and the nest are still tiny little... they've scratched the surface of their market.
Leo: Or my Samsung refrigerator which works with my smart things.
Andy: And the other thing that I point out is the nest thermostat is about 3 to 4 times more expensive than whatever you're going to get at Home Depot and when you talk about people who have the money to spend something like $200 per thermostat, you are talking about someone who also probably has an iPhone and probably also has a Macbook too. What we're discussing might be kind of irrelevant to Apple. Apple has the people who are willing to spend money for that kind of gear.
Leo: That would make me sad though.
Rene: It's a different kind of customer though, Leo. Apple's never chased huge amounts of customers. They are happy with their subset of customers. And when you have other companies, like Google wants everyone to be able to use their stuff. And Apple wants to be able to make things for people who just want to buy something and put it down.
Leo: Again, good for Apple. Not necessarily good for consumers or third parties.
Rene: We can choose the companies that suit our needs.
Alex: Go ahead Andy.
Andy: Whenever I hear that, I always feel the need, correctly or incorrectly, to interject and say that there are people who can't afford to buy the things that Apple is making.
Leo: Or choose not to.
Andy: Well choose not to is a different story. But I'm saying that there are people that they can admire a Macbook from a distance, they can admire a $350 Apple Watch from a distance, they could admire a $500 iPad from a distance, but then it's like... well let's go look at my wallet, well I've got $300. What can I do for $300, well you can buy this watch for $200, you can buy this Kindle for $70. I think that Apple should be praised for a lot of things, that has to be tempered however with the knowledge that there is a whole economic class of people for whom an Apple product is only going to be an aspirational thing and that these people should still have the benefit of being able to save money on their electric bill. They should still be able to let their kids have a reading device; as opposed to having one that has to be shared amongst the entire household. I'm just saying there is a big, big ball of data here and that no one part of it is more interesting than the rest of it.
Leo: There is a risk to Apple. I acknowledge that this is a great business model except Apple shouldn't want to become a Golden Ghetto. Where yeah, we have a very lucrative portion of the market and we are happy there. But it is a ghetto, it is a silo, it is a gated community and Apple has kind of pursued that all along.
Andy: I think that is just what happened. I don't think they pursued it.
Alex: Well I think that they I mean when I look at my service, we do a lot of live streaming. We do not serve; there is really small projects we just do not serve them. Like I can't do that, I don't have the systems. In the same way I think that Apple can't, just can't do that and do what they want to do. They can't concentrate on that many things; we try to we think about it and we just go back to what we were doing. I think that there is a lot of people out there who are very comfortable. When you talk about the MacPro
Leo: This comes back to the discussion of for instance this Sony camera and whether it would have some sort of card play; camera play interface to an Apple device. And if I'm Sony I'm probably not going to do that because it locks me into this limited market.
Alex: What Sony would do is build an STK or some kind of interface. Here is, whether you are on Android or iPhone you can interface with you phone. These are the instructions sets that you can make calls per phone.
Leo: As a consumer I would love that.
Rene: Sony camera would detect if you have an Apple device and offer you camera play; it would detect if you have an Android device and offer you Android on the camera.
Leo: It kind of does already, that is what this NFC thing does. Then you put Sony's app play memories on your iPhone or you Android phone.
Alex: And that is the closest.
Leo: It is a Sony system
Alex: What I am saying is that what you really want from these phones is that you want to have a way to call certain things.
Rene: I want my stuff to be everywhere because I don't want to have to program everything twice.
Leo: Yeah, that is what I'm asking for.
Rene: If the car has car play, I can walk into it with my phone. I don't have to have my stuff. I don't have to worry about setting up something else.
Leo: I do love that. That is the future that is what the cloud brings you.
Rene: Absolutely, but not just the cloud because Sync understands the car's state of data but not the car's state of my activity. That is one thing that car play and hand off is doing. It is translating our activity but also our state of data.
Leo: But cloud has given us that state of expectation.
Leo: That I can go anywhere with anything and still have my stuff. I think you are right, this is the next logical piece of that.
Rene: Thorsen Hines was laughed out of the building for saying that mobile is going to be an end point. He was absolutely right.
Leo: He was right, you think of it more as an accessory. It's not.
Alex: I spend more time on my phone then on my computer.
Leo: Everybody does that.
Rene: With the exclusivity though. I think in Apple's vision they believed that they only have the capacity to make a few products. If they try to do anything else they will ultimately fail or make a bad product. But, they are happy to let the technology that they make sort of be expressed by other companies in other areas. So you will always have the Xiaomi's and the companies that say look how many MacBook Air like laptops you can get now. Much more expensively from a wide range of
Leo: Apparently not from Xiaomi. According to 9 to 5 Mac or CultaoMac, I'm sorry. Luke Dormehl says despite the blogosphere going crazy over this from gizmokina.com. This is not Xiaomi making a complete rip-off of a MacBook Air. Xiaomi says no that is not what it is.
Rene: There are probably people who want everybody to believe that; and that is not the best thing
Leo: They did it with the phones didn’t they?
Leo: They shamelessly copied the iPhone; why not copy the Mac Air?
Rene: Is shame a good thing to have?
Leo: Right, not in this case. Here is the difference, it can't run OS 10
Rene: No, that is the same thing as the surface commercials, which is funny. They stopped marketing the surface against the iPad and started marketing it against the MacBook. Which is funny because they said: look we have a USB port which, the MacBook has.
Leo: That is right the MacBook has a USB port.
Rene: But it doesn't have, you cannot compare that with the OS 10 or Windows. I don't like the competition adds anymore because they are not just anymore
Leo: They are not head to head
Leo: It is not head to head. So, who cares if Xiaomi duplicates the hardware of MacBook Air it doesn't have OS 10. Who cares? In fact, let's face it, every single Windows manufacture has made a MacBook Air clone. That's what the Ultra Book is.
Rene: Which is why I think the Surface has, sorry go ahead Andy.
Andy: I'm sorry go ahead.
Rene: No, we are all in the studio so I think you are getting left out.
Leo: Poor Andy he is stuck out there on the East Coast in a little box.
Andy: I still have the remainders of my Christmas Eve/ Christmas Day cold, so perhaps its better that way.
Leo: Oh, it's better that way.
Andy: I'm like John Travolta where they wheel the TV into the school room
Leo: Bubble boy, I think it is Bubble Boy
Andy: You have a kindly face. Keep your pledge dollars coming in to help little boys like me. I often have, not just thoughts of the technology itself but of the attitudes about Apple; the attitudes about these products and I don't think that Ultra Books were really a copy of the MacBook Air. It is a merely a directions those kind things were naturally heading and I cringe a little bit when I hear. I was going to see these because it was a half formed thought. I'm just saying that I often cringe when I feel as though we are putting a sticker, a gold star on Apple's forehead or a gold star on someone else's forehead. When really they are just companies that are trying to make successful products that they can make a lot of money off of and that will make their customers very, very happy. And if Surface is being compared to the MacBook Air incorrectly and I think that is kind of an incorrect comparison, I agree with you Rene. Chiefly because it is like comparing an iPad to a MacBook Air; the iPad is not going to compare favorably to that, the MacBook Air is not going to compare favorably to that. They are such distinct objects. Unfortunately I'm at the end of my test cycle on my Surface 3; I'm going to have to send it back to Microsoft soon. I'm glad that I've had some deep soaked time with it because what I appreciate most about it is that so long as you don't want to have it standing in your lap; if you are in the situation where you tend carry a computer to a coffee shop and put a computer on a table boy that Surface is a much more comfortable thing to work with than either of the MacBook Airs that I have tried out. In many ways it is even more comfortable to use than my MacBook Pro.
Leo: If only it had OS 10
Andy: Yeah, I'm saying that if Apple decided to make a kick stand screen, with a touch screen, that ran Mac OS 10 that would be my next Mac no question about it. Because, every complaint that I have about my MacBook Pro in front of me right now is related to ways they cheeped out and cut corners to make this notebook profile work for them and make the size and the weight work for them. Whereas if you have a detached screen and you have an Apple wireless keyboard; which kicks the butt of every keyboard on every MacBook that is available right now, the ability to move the screen wherever you wanted to. That is an interesting idea and I'm glad that there are companies that are prosecuting it. I'm sorry to be babbling, it is a half formed idea. It is just that it think that we need to move; the thing that is sort of bothering me over this past year or so is that we have to say that Apple is winning in some way. Or that we have to say if you are on the other side of the conversation that Apple's numbers are not as significant compared to this. I just feel that this is a wonderful, wonderful world full of all different kinds of great technology that helps people in ways that can understand and in ways that we will never appreciate. We should be happy for everybody that has something that works great for them and that they have that in front of them.
Leo: Yes indeed, right on.
Rene: As Andy says that, Samsung beats Apple to 12 inch fan less laptop.
Leo: Samsung beats Apple to 12 inch fan less laptop running Windows
Leo: Which is again; remember you said that OS 10 Apple would start, were they going to open source it first?
Alex: That is what I thought they should do.
Leo: And then sell it for Windows machines.
Alex: What I thought they should do, is next generation OS. I still think that in the next two years there will not be two OS'. So you get that new merged one and you take the old one and you just open source it and just wipe everything out.
Leo: Wouldn't that be nice.
Alex: Because then it would cease to be the current OS, and they can say you know we are not supporting it.
Rene: You’re not cannibalizing your new stuff?
Alex: You're really not and the way that Apple moves forward because I think that the new OS will not; I really do think that two of them. As you look at the different icons coming in and piecing together I just feel like if you look at the long term projectory, you see two OS' that are pointed at an angle towards each other that eventually you see more things from the Mac that are on the IOS, you see more stuff from the IOS on the Mac. I think that they are slowly being merged together. It is not like Apple has never said that they are never going to do something and then do it.
Rene: I think that the quibble is that will they merge something or will something new that has the capacity for both take its place.
Alex: I think that it is going to be something new, but I think that what it's going to do is
Rene: It will fill both needs.
Alex: It is going to be a slope. It is not going to be like suddenly they come out with something that is radically different. It is going to be we say this coming and then one of these developer conferences this year, next year, or the year after they are going to go we are really close together we just thought we would do one that works on everything.
Rene: It is one of those wonderful arguments like in 500 years will there still be IOS and OS 10. No, okay then well in 100 years, well then in 50 years, well in 10 years.
Alex: How about in 3?
Rene: Eventually that has to be right, right? Eventually we won't have these things anymore.
Alex: We only need one operating system; it doesn't make sense to keep both of them.
Andy: I disagree, I do think that Apple's breakthrough technology over the next two or three years is not going to be a new operating system but simply getting a way for IOS and Mac OS to integrate and whatever it is that Apple watch is wearing to integrate and provide one seamless experience. Because that is something that everybody is going to appreciate. It is going to be hard to teach somebody, to teach a Mac user: here is why your Mac now looks so much like IOS; and it is going to be so hard to teach and IOS user: here is why we added and Apple menu to the middle of the top of the screen. I think that it is really going to be about, let's continue to sell everything that we sell but let's basically continue our focus on making one product that is known as the Apple product.
Alex: I just think that by the time you get to where they are merged you are not going to have to teach anybody anything because there are so many similarities between the two OS' that by the time the merge it they will almost be the same but we will see.
Leo: We started this conversation with the idea that Apple is moving into kind of a new world with perhaps more, is it more mobile focus? What is it exactly that these higher are moving them towards?
Rene: I think it is interesting. Again extensibility shows us a lot. It is a world where things are more modular, where things are projected, where previously with my iPhone and with IOS in general; everything I had to go hunt for it, I feel Android was the same for a long time too. Yes, they had widgets on the home screen, but I had to leave my app go to the home screen; I had to leave my app go to the home screen find another app. You always had to go chasing after what you wanted and then you have to find your way back.
Rene: And now we are getting this generation of apps where data is being pushed into other apps, being pushed into the system. So I can be in one app, pull down a shade; get all the widgets I want, I can pull up extensions that give me the functionality right where I am. So the interface is being changed for being pull to push. As you do that there is all these security implications that come with it; there is all these OS structure things that come with it because eventually, and Andy's point as a user I don't care where this things are. I don't care what this is running, what that is running I just want my stuff and I want it in front of me when and where I want it and that I think is a capability we are starting to see here. I think everything we have seen this year is Apple creating decoupled computing and push interface and then Alex can have whatever he wants on whatever device he wants to.
Leo: I like it. I wonder if I could ever have Apple pushed into my Windows Surface Pro tablet. Then Andy gets the best of everybody's world.
Rene: Then Microsoft says this is just a screen that you can project onto.
Leo: You know I think Microsoft is moving in that direction, I hate to say it but I have a feeling that is not so farfetched.
Rene: All it is, is remote viewers; they have packaged remote viewers for a super secure method and now they are showing that not only does that go into your device in other apps but also other things like a watch; so why not.
Andy: There are so many great reasons for having a Mac Mini on your network and one of them is to just be a Mac OS application server for all of your tablets, all of your laptops, all of your everything because having a Surface Pro 3 running remote access into a Mac mini that is part of a slice of heaven.
Leo: There is kind of an example of that here in the studio, we use that Black Magic router because we have so many cameras and inputs, it allows 72 inputs and then you can program it for 144 outputs and what does it run on. It runs on a Mac Mini and that Mac Mini is on our Wi-Fi network and I can control that from this laptop, from that laptop, from that iPad, Jason has an iPad that allows him to do all of the switching and all of that is talking back to the Mac Mini which is talking back to the big switcher. It is incredibly flexible and functional. There it is. It is awesome, I can do the same thing in my office; I can do the same thing right here with the right software.
Alex: And when you have something like we do that with the Maracci system where all of our systems will plug in. You can do that with any of our hardware anywhere
Leo: You can control them all.
Alex: I can run the switcher here in D.C. from here on my iPad
Leo: In a way that is kind of home automation isn't it that is the beginning of home automation.
Andy: That is the whole thing, I have exactly one HD cable box with DVR in my entire house and because I've got it hooked up to a Sling box, anytime I want to watch it at any HD screen I just simply activate the Sling Player app on my phone and switch over to the FIOS remote app, Wi-Fi remote so I am actually having a full functioning remote with one app while streaming via another app and be able to see it anywhere I want in the entire world. It is like I think what an interesting factor in the next few years is that people are losing sort of obedience and fealty to whatever logo they have actually parked in front of. They really are believers that I have Evernote; Evernote simply projects itself on whatever screen I have handy to me and it works just as well on a Chrome book as it does on my $4,000 gaming laptop.
Leo: And that is why I brought up the cloud because the cloud has introduced that concept to us. You know on the other hand, we wanted to have Crestron controlled window shades and stuff, and that doesn't talk. If that all talked to some central thing then Jason could sit there and lower the lights, rotate the bed, and close the shades. We would be ready; make it a little love machine.
Rene: We would be at Jason's mercy. Jason let us out.
Leo: Oooo, the look of love is in your eyes.
Rene: Imagine if you could have Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro just detect that you have iPhone or iPads with push control surfaces to them, there are sorts of things that you can do with this handoff technology.
Leo: All these little theiftums and Crestron doesn't want to do that. What is going to have to happen is somebody is going to have to have enough market share that they can say look. It could be Google at this point, it could be Apple, it could even be Samsung.
Rene: Hopefully all of them.
Leo: It would be wonderful if it were all of them.
Alex: But I still think that, exactly what Andy was talking about; I can go to Sling box and I can go to my DVR and that is great for us because we all do that.
Alex: The hard part is how do my parents do that and I think that, that integration is still something that is still geeky.
Leo: I agree, I agree.
Alex: And I think that in the problem with
Leo: If it becomes an Apple TV and it just talks to everything.
Alex: And I think that still, I think that this market is too big for Apple to ignore. So if manufactures don't go down that path, I think you see Apple starting to add automation. Like here is one bit to that and they are trying to show them that you can go down that path but they are also I think that, that is a you go down this path we will go down this path.
Leo: When you look, are you going to CES this year?
Alex: I am not.
Leo: You are Rene.
Leo: And Andy you are going to stay at home because you haven't bought your tickets yet.
Andy: Well only because I did have this idea that I would talk to friends of mine at New York Times, at other places where we are all just like staying home this year. I'm thinking that we should find some beautiful resort.
Leo: All CES
Andy: Get a cabana and if we are just going to be watching this through a glass screen anyway, we may as well be on a nice beach while doing it. And you know what, maybe we will set two hours of the day aside if people, if product reps want to come, executives what to come visit us; we will have the drinks cart, we will have the beach, we will look at your new home automation thing so long as you're out of here in 20 minutes. We are back to contemplating the service.
Leo: I think this entire studio, Trinidad and Tobago maybe this is the opportunity maybe for next year.
Andy: For tax purposes
Leo: For tax purposes
Alex: What I have been thinking of doing for CES is sending someone with a live.
Leo: Remote Alex
Alex: Just send someone and then I will ask the questions in their ear. It's like okay I'll ask them this.
Rene: Telepresence Alex.
Alex: Yeah, telepresence Alex
Leo: We do have Scott Wilkinson going down he will cover TVs. We have Father Robert who will cover anything that he feels like is an interesting thing. Dick DeBartillo our gadget guy will be down there. So we will have people down there and I will make sure Father Robert goes over to home automation and I hope you will too. Because I and then we will cross our fingers that maybe the solution is this year. Although I have been going for 10 years praying the solution would be this year and it hasn't yet.
Alex: And I don't think the solution will be this year either, I think it will be next year.
Leo: There is always next year.
Rene: They have looked at TVs every year for 3 years right.
Alex: But now forecast.
Rene: It took 3 years of CES though
Alex: It did but it is now $850 at Wal-Mart.
Rene: Just to review, Serenity Caldwell did an awesome article yesterday. She spent holiday with her family and she is trying to introduce them to home automation. She got them the hue light bulbs and the Sonos and she is setting it up for her mom and dad. She wrote a thing about how to introduce your family to all of the stuff that you can do now in the home.
Leo: How did that work for her?
Rene: I think it is still a work in progress. She has got the patience of a saint.
Andy: There is sort of an exchange of like humoring going on during all of the family visits where 2 days after Christmas the adult kids are back in their own homes, the parents have their home back to themselves, the adult kids are now changing the hair back to the way it was before their parents fixed it, and now the parents are like okay let's get this TV back to how I like it; I don't care that it is supposed to be optimized this way, I don't care if I have the wrong aspect ratio damn it this is the way I like to watch the NFL.
Leo: Man I am so jealous that you snagged Serenity Caldwell; she has become such a great part of iMore.com.
Rene: She is terrific.
Leo: And you guys did a round table and review; she is the host of that, the pick came out this morning and your favorite thing from 2014. She liked the WWDC 14 Keynote, I agree that was a great keynote and you said extensibility. We have talked about that today. Worst thing in 2014, Peter Cowen says anything colored in gold.
Rene: That is just a Peter Cowen comment; it is probably directed to anyone that wears Bruins hats honestly.
Leo: iPad 3 mini, Ali says; Serenity says the return of the App Store review madness. Yeah I have to agree and of course the bugs; we talked about the bugs.
Rene: No iTunes this year that was the other thing that was a big surprise because they integrated.
Leo: I was sure we are going to get new iTunes.
Rene: So I'm wondering if integrating Beats is something that pushed that forward. There was no hand off for media; it would be great to hand off media. Like I have iTunes on my Mac; I start walking away and it just takes over on my iPhone.
Leo: Every time we say the chat room sends me emails with people saying what is wrong with iTunes, I love it. It is so broken; so out of date.
Rene: iTunes should be on the cloud. Yeah the out of date thing is tough because it was built before all of the modern frameworks existed. You would think that with iWork on the cloud, having iTunes on the cloud would solve so many problems.
Leo: They would have to do what they did with iWork though I suspect; which is start over.
Rene: Modern web technologies.
Leo: People are still bitching about the fact that iWork lost so many features.
Rene: Yeah so Apple is not afraid to do minor re-compatibility at that price but, supporting the PC specifically is no longer as important as it used to be because the cloud can do a lot of that stuff for us; iCloud Sync all of these things.
Alex: I have to admit that we have tried to go to keynote because I wanted to stop using, not keynote
Alex: Numbers on the web, you know their web version.
Alex: Like we would upload a file and it was
Leo: Not useable
Alex: Not a useable experience because, there are parts about Google spread sheet that make us absolutely insane.
Alex: And you get used to building, whether it is Excel or Google. You start building spread sheets in Excel or you build them, I am not talking about heavy calculations for your financial. I am talking about organizing budgets; you know budgets for events or whatever. It is so much faster than Numbers; it is not even worth like if you just do it in Numbers and you use the web interface, there are so many features that are not even there. It is literally like cutting 4 of your fingers off.
Rene: I talked about this with John Gruber during Fireball, sorry the talk show this week. That Apple is a very strange organization; iWork is all done by Eddie Que's organization, it is not done by Craig Federighi or Ian, the software people. So is the iTunes app, so are all of these things; they have their own marketing. There is a lot of different organization in Apple that still haven't been sort of mushed together and I think that one of their ways of getting iTunes into the future is maybe breaking down those walls as well.
Leo: Just fire everybody in the iTunes group
Andy: Meanwhile it is like what we were talking about with the Apple TV; meanwhile this thing just gets sicker and sicker and sicker and people get less and less interested in using it and they start looking at more alternatives. I just, I really wish that Apple could grasp the idea that you have to really keep, you even need to cultivate the plans that you will be ripping out in 3 years anyway. Because if you just rip them out to begin with; you just have this big bare patch that looks ugly.
Rene: They like do the Swift thing; you don't hear about it for 5 years and now all of a sudden it is at WWDC.
Andy: Well no one was looking for, no one was relaying on the Swift thing that they hadn't actually released yet. People rely on iTunes to manage their devices. It is so bad that it is like I know I have the ability to.
Leo: Why doesn't a third party write into iTunes? Why is it that
Rene: It is like the old argument like email clients, Apple used to be terrible but there is no money for anyone else to make one and Double Twist tried. There are people but not enough that think it is a viable business.
Alex: You look at Google Maps, which is far superior to Apple maps, but still 60% of iPhone users are using Apple Maps because when you click on the link it takes you to Apple Maps.
Leo: One other story and then we will get to our picks of the week and that was Apple last week pushing its first ever automated security update. You all got it whether you said yes to an update or not, it didn't ask it just did and actually this was a good one. This was a fairly severe flaw they fixed.
Rene: When they take too long to fix stuff they start manually pushing out updates.
Leo: The good news is this update didn't seem to break anything.
Alex: Next thing you know they are going to be sending us albums over iTunes.
Leo: So it went out I guess last Monday; it fixed a critical vulnerability in OS 10 in the network time protocoler in NTP. They didn't say exactly what it was fixing but it was in response from a security bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security in Carnegie Mellon. So you figure that it is fairly serious. We know that NTP has for instance, has been used by bad guys to amplify DDoS attacks, I don't know if it is related to that but it is a vulnerability and it is fixed. So does everybody automatically have it, there is no way out of it you just get it? I know that I got a little note on Monday that said you have been updated, no reboot and that was a good thing it didn't need a reboot.
Rene: Yeah no, as far as I know. There might be a way to go in and disable those things in the future. For years people have been saying Apple is not responsive enough to security. It takes them too long to put out patches.
Leo: This one they had to put out apparently.
Rene: They did it quickly.
Leo: It was a zero day.
Alex: And I think that if we look at what happened to Sony and look at what happened to all of these other things; I think that being able to react quickly to security breaches are going to be more and more important. By the way
Leo: This capability was added to years ago.
Alex: Right, did we cover the fact that at Sony they said that everything is shut down except for the Macs and the iPhones. They said the Macs and the iPhones were fine.
Leo: They are still working because I guess the hacks were against Windows machines.
Leo: Actually we are going to talk about that in about 20 minutes because Steve Gibson is in studio. He is down for the New Year’s Eve party as well and Security Now is coming up as well. Steve is going to review the year in security; what a year it has been!
Rene: Ended with a bang!
Leo: And he will answer the question: so was it North Korea? Time now, no hints; time now for our picks of the week and I guess we will go left to right how about that. Who's left?
Rene: Army left.
Leo: My left or your left let's do stage left Andy Ihnatko.
Leo: Or is he stage right? He is stage right.
Andy: I'm stage right but that is okay you have to have a theatrical background in order to understand.
Leo: I don't understand this upstage is where, downstage is where. I don’t under, left.
Andy: Just as long as you don't mention the name of the Scotch play it should be okay
Leo: My note is Snaggle Puss: exit stage left. So stage right Andy Ihnatko, see Serenity would have known that.
Andy: Mine is a cheap, at the intersection of cheap, useful, and tiny. This is the miraculous Hootoo travel
Andy: Hootoo Tripmate wireless travel pocket router which cost all of
Leo: That is so small!
Andy: And it cost all of 17 damn dollars
Andy: On Amazon and elsewhere; it is a fully capable 8211 all the way up to N router but it is also packed with all kinds of really cool features. Starting with FormFactor, it is powered by micro USB so you don't have to pack another travel brick. You probably already have a brick that will power this; also if you want to have a truly mobile router that is okay, you can also power it from whatever anchor or whatever battery pack that you have for a phone extender. It will do customary things like plug in an Ethernet port and now it is an access point but you can also use it to bridge one wireless network to the other; it also has a USB port built into it so if you wanted to
Alex: I just want to back up there; so you said bridge one wireless network to another. So you can receive and broadcast a Wi-Fi signal.
Andy: Um I have to double check but I just got this 2 days ago and I am running it through all different kinds of phases, but yes last night I had it plugged into I had it connected to my home wireless network and then I had other devices connected to this. So apparently yes, it must have multiple radios.
Alex: That is cool
Andy: That is something that I absolutely did use yesterday so I know that is true. It also has USB so that if you plug in a storage device you can turn this into a server it works, not necessarily with NAZ, it works with Samba. It will go through configurations to set it up as a home media server. So if you have a drive that is full of MP4 video files, you can stream those video files to basically anything that can connect to this. It has a really good, sophisticated web 12.0 based web administration tool. It is just one of those things where you buy this, you put this in your travel pack, and if you are traveling with you MacBook Air and you thought that this place was going to have Wi-Fi but you can't get Wi-Fi in that part of the hotel. That is okay you are not screwed, you can basically put a Wi-Fi based station inside your room.
Alex: The reason I was so excited about the whole it can bridge wireless networks is because in a hotel you can defeat all of the multiple devices. So you would link this to the hotel and then all of your devices link to that.
Andy: Absolutely, that should work again I definitely tested that last night and that worked fine. The fun part is that you go to the Amazon page where there is a whole bunch of
Leo: What are these different; there is the 1, 2, 3, and 4 of Hootoo
Andy: I believe this is the 02 that I have here.
Alex: 04 is amazing!
Andy: It is the HT-TM02 if you go to, they also have TM03 and TM04 on the
Alex: TM04 will take USB sticks
Andy: This one should too.
Alex: Does it?
Andy: It has the USB port thing
Leo: And the beauty part is that all of the packets are routed right through Beijing so think of it as a cloud back up.
Andy: I didn't run a trace route on the packets but for 17.99 you have to expect a certain amount of espionage; at this price point I think you will agree
Andy: It is well worth, 955 customer reviews at four and half stars out of five. There is a lot of active discussion about different ways that people are using this and people are using it for adHoc wireless gaming. One of the things that I wish my Chrome cast could do is I wish I could just plug this into my TV in my hotel room and now just use that as a wireless point. With this one you just simply use this as your intermediary between whatever device you are Chrome casting from to the Chromecast device
Leo: It doesn't have and Ethernet jack; oh it does.
Alex: Yeah it does
Leo: Holly shamoly, holly samolians
Andy: So if you don't have the latest Chromecast software, I think the latest Chrome cast actually can do an adHoc I have to double check whether that works or not. I just love these ideas where it is not the first travel router that you have. I used to travel with and Air Port
Leo: An Air Port Express.
Andy: base station with me but it comes down to, why wouldn't I want to travel with that. Well because it is too big; well this is not too big. Well because I don’t want to spend $100 on something that I may or may not need; well this is only $17. Well I don't necessarily, necessarily need to have Ethernet to Wi-Fi transmodification; well that is cool because this will do other things too like the ability to move files and videos from whatever you've got onto your iPad because it has and IOS app it has an Android app and so long as any of these apps are on these devices it can connect to whatever this is connected to via USB. So it seems like a really good thing just simply buy it, toss it in whatever bag has your bag of wires and stuff that you take with you when you go on a trip. It will come in handy, I still a couple of different conferences that I have been to where because, this is back in my Air Port stream days, where someone has complained: I have to file 3 stories and my room is the only one without Wi-Fi and I only have a MacBook Air and I have to go to the Apple store and buy a cable now because I didn't bring the dongle with me. That’s fine I have Wi-Fi in my room, why don't I just lend you my Air Port and it is like lifesaver, lifesaver, lifesaver. So this can get you out of a jam really, really quickly.
Leo: So it looks like the difference in models is how much extra battery it has for charging phones. Otherwise
Alex: So the 4, the 04 has 2 USB connections, 2 USB inputs, 6,000
Leo: USB charger
Alex: It will charge your other mobile devices, and it plugs into the wall.
Leo: Oh this doesn't plug into the wall, it charges by USB. Got it.
Andy: It is the $18 one and
Leo: You pay a lot more for that
Andy: that is why it is this big as opposed to a power AC brick.
Leo: They do have some caveats for instance, it will not bridge iPhone hotspot for instance, you can't use it as a bridge. But boy that is really good 17.99
Andy: I have to admit that I bought it on a complete flutter.
Leo: It does seem like a whim
Andy: It seems interesting and if it turns out as a piece of crap that doesn't work as advertised I'm only out 18 bucks. But, I have been spending the last day or two saying oh it does that oh wow that works great too. I didn't think the administration panel was going to be that nice. I would not run a full network on this for in my office but again as something that you keep inside your shaving kit and you just always have it with you when you travel it's pretty nifty.
Leo: Hootoo Tripmate, you can get it on Amazon or just search for h o o t o o
Andy: Also on New Egg
Leo: Newegg as well. Mr. Alex Lindsey what do you have for us.
Alex: It is Christmas so I picked 2.
Leo: Picked 2 why not.
Alex: They are both on the iPad. The first one came out right when our show, two weeks ago I think so I didn't talk about it, I was excited about it. Have you seen or played at all in duet display?
Leo: No, I've heard about it. This lets your iPad be a second display.
Alex: Another monitor let me see if I can get it.
Leo: Can you do it? How fast is it? So you run the software on you iPad and you plug it in via USB to your computer.
Alex: So you take your lightning bolt
Leo: Lightning bolt?
Alex: Your lightening connector and connect it up to your,
Leo: Alex Lindsey is now plugging a USB cable.
Alex: Upside down.
Leo: into his MacBook Pro, the other end of the cable is going
Andy: Steve Jobs said this is the wireless age where we don't use wires any more.
Alex: And that is the whole thing; like that is a cute thought but the delay on all of these wireless ones has never really been acceptable.
Andy: Also if you have copper why not take advantage of it and eliminate the problem
Leo: Crash the TriCaster.
Andy: Now I am the only channel available
Leo: You are, we are going to be staring at Andy while you do this display
Andy: Now I can reveal the reason why I don't want to be in pendulum on this particular day.
Leo: As soon as you plugged in the duet the TriCaster said well that is it I give up. So you are able to run a second screen. Oh look at that it is true. Show the camera because they can't see over your shoulder.
Man: It's not on.
Leo: What is not on?
Rene: Alex's rear shot
Leo: Yeah that is why he needs to turn it around and show that camera there you go.
Alex: That is my monitor
Leo: So that is his desktop display but your desktop has gone dark. So do you have to set up mirroring?
Alex: Yeah I don't know why it did that. It didn't do that before, I think is because I didn't run the app I just plugged it in.
Leo: So you run an app on the desktop as well as on the iPad.
Alex: I literally just plugged this thing in and it worked, the thing is that a lot of times for us we want to have this. I love the idea of this mirrored, I mean not mirrored but sent over so that I can interact. This gives you a sense of what you are doing.
Leo: Is that an Air 2, Air 1?
Rene: Air 1
Leo: Air 1
Alex: Air 1 yeah.
Leo: So it is suggested that you have a faster iPad
Alex: It works
Leo: Well you will get obviously more responsiveness.
Alex: More responsive but I have found that when I am clicking on it I don't feel that there is a lot of delay.
Leo: It is very odd to see an OS 10 desktop on your iPad I must say.
Alex: It is pretty awesome.
Leo: I must say
Alex: So anyway, duet display is
Leo: How much?
Alex: It is like 15 bucks I want to say or something like that. Again it is a separate monitor that is in your bag. If you want another monitor for display or whatever; we are going to use it for things like Teleprompters and stuff like that because there is a lot of teleprompters that work with iPads.
Leo: Second display.
Alex: I never wanted to use the wireless because I didn't trust it. So now I can hook one up into one the super portable Teleprompters. The second one is called LightBot, have you guys seen LightBot at all?
Alex: Okay so this is for kids and
Leo: You said that Malcolm loves this.
Alex: Malachi has gotten through most of the levels and he is 7!
Leo: And he is learning programming at the age of 7?
Alex: So what it does, all you have to do is turn the light bulbs on. See now P1 is a sub routine, so it says to a little thing down below and go back and do. So he is learning how to do sub routines, he is learning how to think about instruction sets, and it gets more and more complex. What I was amazed by was watching a 7 year old go from the really easy stuff to building all of the very, very complex moves and he is thinking it out and he is also think well I'm going to test that. So the whole test process.
Leo: This looks like I would like it, I might learn programming.
Alex: So look at this there are conditionals that are built into it so the thing is that
Leo: So there are two versions one for 4-6; 4-8 and one for 9 and up
Alex: I got him both.
Leo: Which one does he like?
Alex: He is using the 9 and up.
Leo: Of course he is, he is above average.
Alex: He jumps back and forth between the two of them but, the 9 and up.
Leo: I want this; I want the 9 and up.
Alex: It is a really, really fun app and you are sitting there just playing around with it. When you think about teaching kids how to program, I think this is something they can be doing when they are 7 or 8 years old. Maybe they don't start typing any code until they are 10; which is when I started typing code. If I had done this before I had started, it is all of that flow charting for all of the old folks.
Alex: For when you had to build flow charts to think about how you are going to build a program; this teaches you that thought process of building flowcharts and making decisions in a much more interactive and fun way to do it.
Leo: It is on the app store, so it is on the desktop, can you get it for the iPhone as well?
Alex: I don't know.
Leo: Or iPad
Alex: I can do it on my iPad I didn't even know it was on the desktop
Leo: It is 4.99 on the desktop.
Andy: Now is this to teach kids about the app store approvals progress; or do they want us to grow up with hope.
Alex: That is going to be in the new LightBot Pro.
Andy: In 2-8 weeks you will find out whether or not your solution works.
Alex: A lot of times we are trying to figure out, is it really worth it. As a parent you want to give your children a game that they are actually going to play. I have installed a lot of apps that I think oh that will be very educational and then they don't touch it.
Alex: But watching him over a couple of hours just cruise through this and get really excited about doing that. I think is pretty exciting when it comes to that. So if you have a younger member of the family.
Leo: I think for grownups.
Alex: Even for grownups, it is a great way to start thinking about programming.
Leo: I bought it, I'm playing it. 60 puzzles, 20 stars, you can learn: procedures, overloading you mean it has object oriented programming too, loops, conditionals, challenge levels. Wow, I like it.
Alex: I was amazed at how educational this is because I was like I don't know how complicated this is going to get, it is just a couple of instructions. When you start getting the conditionals, when you start having the procedures which are really subroutines it is pretty exciting.
Leo: I am LightBot when you are done reading instructions good luck. Pass, go, move forward; I have to get 3 of those 1, 2, 3, and then get the light now play.
Andy: Walk towards the light little robot.
Leo: I can do it.
Andy: Walk towards the light
Rene: It is like Hour of Code.
Leo: Yeah, there are other programs like this Tinker is another one. There is some really neat stuff out there I think this is fabulous. I am going to walk 2, 3 steps, then turn on a light, then another step. See it is not that hard.
Rene: You aced it Leo.
Leo: Wait a minute I didn't get it.
Alex: You didn't get it there is another light.
Leo: I left out a light, there we go .
Leo: This is fun. Alright LightBot, it is available on almost every platform; it is available on the Android and Windows phone as well.
Andy: It is just not possible that someone has not built Minecraft using this platform.
Leo: Your turn Mr. Rene Ritchie.
Rene: I have two, the first one is ProCreate; which was a wonderful, still is a wonderful iPad drawing app. People who use the paper app, which is great for sketching things but if you really want to do art; Procreate is fantastic and they released Procreate Pocket now for the iPhone as well. So you have a larger screened iPhones, this is an example of what we are talking about. Now the canvas in your hands is so much bigger so they have put all of the terrific tools salvage interactive and incredibly interactive development house; they have put all of that into the iPhone 6+. It's just fantastic. Yes, if it would digitize with the stylis that would be super nice Apple, at some point. But even with just finger painting on it or using the multi touch stylis it is a terrific app. You can draw illustration quality work on there really, really great. The second one I feel a little dirty for recommending but I was at the TWiT party last night and nobody had heard of it. So I showed it to everybody.
Leo: Oh I love this game.
Rene: It is a game called Crossy Road; the title is like Flappy Bird, the game play is like Frogger. You have a tremendous amount of characters. You start of as I think it is a duck, you can get frogs, you can get dark lords, you can get unicorns. There are in app purchases but the developer is totally not optimized for it.
Leo: It is Frogger.
Rene: It is Frogger
Leo: 8 bit Frogger
Rene: 8 bit Frogger that is sort of parallaxed scrolled.
Leo: Lego Frogger
Rene: It is gorgeously done; you can in app purchase more characters if you want but if you are willing to wait 5 minutes they will give you so many characters that you never really have to buy anything.
Leo: Frogger was a brilliant game.
Andy: It was transformative!
Leo: Yeah and I think that it is time to bring Frogger back in a Minecraft game.
Rene: If you are looking for just a time waister over the holidays,
Leo: Oh Slap
Rene: it is one of those things. It is sort of like Flappy…
Leo: Oh, trains!
Rene: where you start to get a little ways and then you get hit by a truck and then you have to start again. So it is rage of mouth advertising; people get so upset with it they tell their friends about it and then everyone wants to try it to see how far they can get because there is no way they can't possibly be as bad as their friend. Then they are and they complain about it to more people and more people.
Alex: For some reason as I am watching this I am thinking what someone should make is a really graphic Frogger.
Leo: It is graphic enough!
Alex: I bet you that would be really awesome.
Rene: You can get it in the App Store and it is the latest game to hate on IOS.
Leo: And rightly so me thinks. It is called Crossy Road.
Andy: Help the teen industries, another hate generating
Leo: There can be but one.
Andy: Continue to try to cross the road.
Leo: If you are watching live, you may want to take advantage of a great deal for today only on Amazon; which is that SanDisk, Amazon is offering, someone is offering 70% off SanDisk SD cards and micro SD cards. So camera folk might want to take advantage of this. I bought a couple of 128 gig ones. They have up to U10, they don't have the 40 mega bits, I don’t see the 95 mega bits the super duper fast cards; but there are few that need those.
Alex: I remember when we started looking at the SD XC spec and going there is no way they can put 64 mega bits on that little card.
Leo: Then they got 128 gigabytes on a micro SD
Rene: On a micro
Andy: I think that the most significant move is that now there is enough capacity on each one of these cards that I am terrified, it is more than I am willing to lose on a single card reader.
Leo: That is right, that is right.
Andy: And so that is why I seem to have topped out on camera cards at 32 gigs because I would much rather swap out than lose 2 weeks' worth of pictures.
Leo: So up to 70% of SanDisc memory cards on Amazon today and I think that is worthwhile. My other recommendation is something that Jason Cleanthus told me about, our newest producer F & Dunn. You know Decal Girl, she makes decals for your laptops and Jason took some of our wallpaper art and turned it into decals for your laptop. This one is my favorite, Lisa and Jason both; Jason why don't you bring your laptop over here. You can get it for any size this is $25 and it is from Decal Girl and I think the TWiT logo is if you search under custom decals for the TWiT circuit. Go ahead bring it around here, twit-circuit; it really is nice they have matte, this is matte, and they also have high gloss finish. It is $25 for the MacBook Pro 15 but you can get it for other sizes as well. Thank you Jason for making that available and I got these as stocking stuffers for my kids and Lisa has one on hers. I think I will probably put this one on for the New Year's celebration. They are on that 3M material that is really easy to use you just pull it right off.
Rene: They look great.
Leo: Doesn't that look nice
Andy: This part of the show is always so expensive for me
Leo: I know I bought the Hoo Too, I bought the game,
Alex: I've already bought them all
Leo: I bought them all; I bought them all. Thank you folks we have completed the last show of 2014 and for those of you, many of you in the chat room were saying are they live?
Rene: No we are all dead.
Alex: Are they really that are they live.
Rene: Zombie MacBreak
Leo: Is this real life.
Andy: This is just fantasy.
Leo: This is just fantasy.
Andy: Caught on a landslide, a break from reality. Open your eyes look up in the skies and see.
Leo: We will be here tomorrow as you all know for a very special event we are going to do a 24 hour broadcast. As we did last year, the 24 hours of 2015, welcoming the New Year. Starting all the way from New Zealand going all the way to Samoa; 27 time zones, 24 hours. It begins at 1100 UTC that is 6 AM eastern, 3 AM Pacific on New Year's Eve and we will continue for 24 hours after that. I know you probably have plans for New Year's Eve but if you can come early and stay as long as you would like. I can't promise you that every fabulous thing that happens, and there are many fabulous things that a planned which I don't know about because they haven't told me; but I can't promise that we will make them all available for download so try to watch as much as you can and it all benefits Unicef. We have already raised more than $2,000 for Unicef from people who just discovered the listings.
Rene: That is great
Leo: We have Fez's, we have lots of things that we are going to be selling and giving away.
Rene: Fezzes are cool
Leo: Yeah, thanks to Fezorama for providing those.
Alex: I'm going to be there.
Rene: Me too
Leo: Yep a lot of our host will, and Steve as well
Alex: We cleared our schedule
Andy: I will be there remotely
Leo: Have they contacted you Andy, have the producers reached out?
Andy: I have not checked my email since the show started but again I will be here for whatever times you want me to be here.
Leo: It is going to be a lot of fun. We will be back with your MacBreak Weekly next Tuesday and every Tuesday in 2015; 11 AM pacific, 2 PM eastern, that would be 1900 UTC. If you want to be live in studio, as these good people so many of them are; you should just email email@example.com and we will put a chair out for you. If you are early you will get a good chair otherwise
Rene: You get the bad one.
Andy: The rickety chair
Rene: The naughty chair
Leo: They are not so comfortable; we call them the iron chairs
Andy: I picked up on that right away and I appreciate that reference.
Leo: You two, you are like peas in a pod there. What else should I say? If you can't be here live in some form or fashion all of our shows, I can't promise New Year's Eve is going to be done this way; but all of our shows are put out on demand after the fact; twit.tv/mbw for MacBreak Weekly or on iTunes or where ever you get your podcast, the podcast app and of course the great third party twit apps that our wonderful developers have made on all platforms including IOS. Thanks for being here, I'd say get back to work but surely none of you are working on December 30th
Alex: Go out and party.
Leo: Go out and party because break time is over!