MacBreak Weekly 443 (Transcripts)
Leo Laporte: It's time for MacBreak Weekly! Alex, Andy and Rene are here to talk about the latest from Apple. We'll talk about CarPlay, we'll talk about the Apple ad on the Oscar and why it's so incredible, we'll even show Apple's original ad on the Oscars from 2007. It's all coming up next, on MacBreak Weekly.
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Leo: This is MacBreak Weekly, episode 443. Recorded Tuesday, February 24th, 2015.
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Leo: This episode of MacBreak Weekly is brought to you by Audible.com. To download a free audiobook of your choice, go to Audible.com/macbreak. And by Personal Capital. With Personal Capital you can grow and protect your wealth, best of all it's free! And for a limited time, TWiT viewers can quality for up to $10,000 in any new account. To sign up, go to PersonalCapital.com/macbreak. And by LegalZoom. Get your life organized and protect your family with a will or living trust. Or incorporate your business, or form an LLC. LegalZoom, not a law firm but can connect you with an independent attorney of your choice. Visit LegalZoom.com and use offer code MBW to receive $10 off at checkout. It's time for MacBreak Weekly, the show that covers Macintosh and Apple news all over the place. Joining us as always from bitterly cold Montreal, where he hasn't seen a temperature above zero in weeks, Mr. Rene Ritchie of iMore.com.
Rene Ritchie: I forgot the temperatures come in the positives Leo.
Leo: (laughing) Well negative, is it centigrade or Celsius? Would you tell me?
Rene: We say Celsius. Centigrade sounds more formal.
Leo: Since Mr. Fahrenheit gets acknowledgment for his scale, Mr. Celsius should get acknowledgment for his.
Rene: I'm pretty sure Andy and I are switching to Kelvin.
Leo: In metric it should be centigrade, because it feels more metric.
Rene: It does, it feels more European too.
Leo: Yeah. The only reason I ask is because I was listening to a book, this biography of the Beatles that Andy recommended... hi Andy Ihnatko, Chicago Sun Times.
Andy Ihnatko: Hello Leo.
Leo: Good to see you. And we've got 2 people on fields of white. Mr. Alex Lindsay, from the snowed out Pittsburgh, PA.
Alex Lindsay: It's still the snow, we haven't gotten rid of it yet.
Andy: We're sharing one studio for warmth. We're trying to create the illusion that these are two separate studios, but...
Leo: Oh that's good, yeah. They're huddled back there.
Andy: Like near the end of times communities tend to clutter together so that they don't expect to survive together but they can see the end through with somebody else.
Leo: Yeah. And it's, you know. It's a 3 dog night. Or 3 show host night.
Rene: It makes the eventual descent into cannibalism easier.
Leo: No I was just saying this Beatles book, they said centigrade and I went wait a minute, whoa. I thought it was Celsius. So do you think in the UK they still say centigrade?
Rene: Graded by hundreds, is that what that means?
Leo: Yeah, no... I don't know. Yeah.
Leo: Yeah because it is, 0 to 100. 100 is boiling, 0 is freezing.
Rene: Yeah it makes a lot of sense, Leo. What's the Fahrenheit scale based on?
Leo: You know that's a really good question.
Rene: I have no idea.
Leo: 212 is boiling, 32 is freezing. What is that? What does that mean? Where did that come from?
Rene: I've got it. It was designed to improve memories in early students.
Leo: (laughing) Yeah exactly. Ladies and gentlemen, Apple is now double the size of Exxon.
Rene: And growing.
Leo: And growing! Actually the stock went down a little this morning but I was just kind of stunned as the stock continues to just climb. How long before Apple's back at 200 after a 7 for 1 split? 300, 400 is the sky the limit? The stock market loves Apple. A market kept for Apple now, $765 billion. Apple is worth at least double any other publicly traded US company.
Rene: I mean a lot of this is just making up for undervaluation that occurred previously, it was never at Amazon levels when you had the price to earnings ratio, things like that. It's been chronically... suppressed is the wrong word because the stock market makes no sense to any rational person and it's probably closer akin to gambling than it is to any mathematical transaction.
Leo: Yeah I don't really...
Rene: But a lot of stocks that... a lot of companies that made less money and less growth had much higher valuations than Apple by proportion and now Apple is gaining some of that back.
Leo: $132 at the time of recording, per share. I wonder, of course I guess we have to pop a bottle of champagne if they make a trillion dollar company.
Alex: I don't think it's a question of whether they're going to, I think it's a question of when. I think that's more of a... I mean they are definitely on that trajectory.
Leo: Boy I am really starting to regret my recommendation 3 years ago that everyone sell their Apple stock because it's guaranteed to go down.
Rene: No, regret not buying it when they sold Leo.
Leo: I'm now allowed to buy, I don't allow myself to buy so it's only others I've hurt.
Rene: Ah, shell companies. Bonds.
Leo: Actually for all... I do have mutual funds in my retirement and I don't check what they're made of for that reason. But it's possible I somewhere have some Apple stock. Golly. Golly! Now get ready because all the smartwatches are coming. The last minute smartwatches are coming. Pebble has announced a new one, with a color screen. Pebble said that they had, and you know they didn't exactly say sell. It sounded like they have a million watches in the channel, is what it sounded like, when they released that information.
Rene: They hired the Web OS guys, Mark Gurman had that on 9 to 5 Mac a couple days ago.
Leo: Web OS guys?
Rene: Web OS team to rejuvenate their operating system.
Leo: Oh that's interesting. The color screen watch. And they're going to do it on Kickstarter. Wait a minute, they don't have enough money to do this?
Andy: They did say that despite the fact that we've pushed all these watches, we're still a very very small company with not a lot of resources. Plus if you've got all these people who will easily fund you 4 million dollars in 30 minutes, go ahead.
Leo: Why not?
Andy: Welcome to 2015.
Leo: The first Pebble, wow they're already at 4.7 million. The first Pebble was very famous back in 2012 when Kickstarter was just, just discovering the world and the world was just discovering it. It raised $10 million... say again?
Andy: I'm sorry, I was watching your feed. Go ahead.
Leo: Oh, we'll go back to that shot in a second. Jason and I have dueling Pebble Kickstarters.
Jason: We'll see when they reach parity with each other.
Leo: The one that says E-Paper watch. It says e-paper watch for iPhone and Android. I actually, I bought into that one.
Rene: Me too.
Leo: I was a backer, I pledged I guess it says here $125 after Pebble.
Rene: He made the Impulse watch for Blackberry, he was well known in Canada. Eric Migicovsky.
Leo: Oh really?
Rene: Yeah, and then he moved from Waterloo to Pau Alta and made a device that wasn't, it's future was not as linked to Blackberry as the previous one.
Leo: But the 10 million they raised in that first one got them as a company, got them going. I remember it took a while to get the watch, I can't remember how long but it seemed like a year, to get the watch. Something like that.
Rene: Yeah it took me 13 months.
Leo: And now the Pebble Time. Oh yeah, because in fact I originally had a color body and they said you know you would get it faster if you just get the black one. I remember now, it's all coming back to me. So just, you know... I don't know. Is that him?
Rene: Yeah, Eric.
Ad: I'm the founder of Pebble. You may remember Pebble from our first campaign.
Leo: Who could forget?
Ad: When a bunch of you supported our quest to...
Leo: In one day they're half way back to where they were last time.
(ad continues in background)
Andy: We might be able to watch the number flip over to 5 million.
Leo: Yeah, we're watching it in live, real time.
Andy: Wait, that to me, it's nice to have $750 billion in equity, but when you have the ability to simply say hi guys, can you pre-order our watch? And suddenly you've got $5 million, that's an indication that they got some time to figure out how to compete with Android Wear and Apple. I thought it was kind of interesting that they're going for a $200 color watch that's a little bit more interactive. That's something that's closer to Android Wear and closer to Apple Watch, one of the I think best moves they made last year was to say we will have a $99 monochrome watch so that we're going to leverage off all the attention that smartwatches are going to get but we're going to give you something that people are going to say “$100 isn't nothing, but I've got $100. I don't have to think as much about my first device of this kind being a $100 device as opposed to my first device of this kind being a $350 device.”
Rene: I just think someone at Apple heard Andy tell them they should Kickstarter the Apple car, see if they can get to half a billion.
Leo: (laughing) You know what? How much would they raise? They'd raise a billion dollars, easy.
Andy: They get so many pre-sales, do you think that they would not sell 5,000 cars instantly if they simply said you will be the first 5,000 in line?
Leo: I'd kick in. Yeah. It does raise this question of what is Kickstarter any more? Is it now just a pre-sale site? As opposed to...
Alex: A lot of people have considered it a promotional site. We've definitely worked with some folks who shoot videos and so on and so forth. They're not, they have the money to do it. They are using it because it's a great promotional platform as well as guaranteeing a little bit more certainty over how exactly how many they should make in the first run.
Leo: In many cases the amount raised, even when you get to these giant stratospheric numbers isn't sufficient to make the watch or make a success of the watch, it's just seed money. Even at $10 million, or $5 million.
Alex: (cutting out, indistinguishable) It lets them really define a first run...
Leo: There it goes, just crossed $5 million.
Andy: That was fast.
Leo: While we were watching, ha! Holy cow, maybe I better get into this project before it closes.
Rene: By observing this we have changed this, right? Now everyone at TWiT is donating right now, so you're welcome Pebble.
Andy: That's right, they wouldn't have made it without us! They got the MacBreak bump.
Leo: It's kind of stunning. It went up today.
Jason: A few hours ago. 5 million, a couple of hours. No big deal.
Leo: It really makes me wonder why I'm not pre-selling stuff on Kickstarter myself.
Rene: Oh, can we Kickstarter the next week's MacBreak?
Leo: Why not? Why not? I'm leaving money on the table. So the minimum pledge is $159 and then you get your choice of a Pebble watch in any of 3 colors. That will be $40 off the retail price.
Jason: That sold out, right.
Leo: That one's all gone. $179 still has a few left. Like 7,867 for the regular, for $179. 2 of them... 5 of them... 10 of them...
Rene: I love Pebble, but they had to get that best smartwatch up there immediately.
Leo: Yeah, last chance. And they have time, maybe. Well they really had time to... well it ends March 27th. They end it right before Apple could possibly be selling the Apple Watch. Wow. Alright, well not to knock em', 7 day battery life? They've done... given the kind of limited things that we've learned at Apple, a lot of the things that Apple wanted to do. Like making a health device, they couldn't. So it's not so much less than an Apple Watch in functionality, it's considerably less in price.
Rene: And they have much less API access than Apple does.
Leo: And if you're an Android user, it's your... you know. It's that or Android Wear.
Andy: It's multiplatform, the other nice thing is that it's going to be interesting to see how people react to the Apple Watch as a wrist watch because the Pebble's greatest aspect is sometimes that every time you look at the watch, it will tell you what time it is. Or whatever piece of information you want to put on there because it's E-Paper, it's always lit whereas Apple Watch and Android Wear you have to either trade off a lot of battery life or you have to beware that okay, yes I flicked my wrist exactly the right way and waited a fraction of a second all to find out that okay well actually I am late in the time that it took for this watch to light up.
Leo: There is a new watch coming out, I got an invitation... wait a minute now, I don't know if I'm embargoed on this or not. Can you be...? If somebody sends you an email with information... unsolicited, can you say you're embargoed? Can he say but don't tell anybody?
Andy: You have to agree to the embargo. If they send you unsolicited text, it's yours to do whatever you want to with.
Leo: Well I don't want to make any enemies so I won't say... well, what the hell? This is another smartwatch, this is an event they're having, actually there's a couple of things coming this week, a box comes from Motorola tomorrow.
Leo: Sometime between 6 and 8, we don't know what it is.
Rene: A Moto box.
Leo: It could be Superfish. Your very own copy.
Andy: I think they just want to make...
Rene: The collector's edition of Superfish.
Andy: They just want to make sure all the tech press is at home so that when they have the real event in New York for the people they like they get the real scoop.
Leo: Well I agree to take the box, but I'm not going to be here 6-8am, I'll give it to Mike Elgan who can open it on Tech News Today at 10am. But everybody, you guys... I'm sure Andy you'll be getting a box.
Andy: I have been informed that I will be getting something on Wednesday, I don't know if it will be a box or simply an email, but we'll find out.
Leo: I think they said a box. I think they said the box.
Rene: Android central I think is getting a box.
Leo: Or you're maybe not on the box list.
Andy: I might not be on the box list as long as I get the information, that's really all I need.
Leo: Yeah I don't really need the box. Anyway, I'm assuming it's a replacement for the Moto 360. It's too early for a Moto X phone. I think it's going to be a 360 replacement.
Rene: Moto 720.
Leo: Moto 720.
Andy: It's pretty funny though that they really are taking a page off of Apple here where the announcement has like this curious phrase that kind of invites you to try to unwrap it and try to figure out oh do they mean it's going to be a VR goggle set? A new, better screen for the Moto G? It's... Apple... there's lots of good stuff to steal from Apple. Phones are just the tip of the iceberg.
Leo: And then I got an interesting invitation for an event Thursday in San Francisco, featuring the Red Violin from the movie, the red Stratovarius violin, played by its owner Elizabeth Pitcairn which would be wonderful just to see that, but it came from Philip Khan and the Motion X folks and it's a horological smartwatch. We've seen this attempt before or at least we've heard news of attempts by Swiss watchmakers to make smartwatches that are also watches. You know, like...
Rene: By the horologists?
Leo: They're horologists. Their brands will be Aplina, Fredrique Constant and Mondaine. All 3 well known brands, I'm not sure what exactly this is going to be. But...
Leo: That's a beautiful watch isn't it? So this... oh, wouldn't you love that? The Swiss Railway watch, look just like your Apple clock.
Rene: Not anymore!
Andy: I have the real thing.
Leo: Do you?
Andy: Yeah, it's like my favorite watch until I got the Moto 360.
Leo: It's so beautiful, look at that. The Swiss Railway... so they're going to make, they're going to be one of the partners in this, if you go to mnt.ch, I'm sorry mnte.ch, this is the watch. So I don't know exactly what we're going to see here. But this is another one and I think if you are a smartwatch manufacturer you darn well better get this thing out.
Rene: These Rolex cars aren't just going to walk in Leo.
Leo: Yeah, yeah. I am very curious. I think there are people who would want a watch that is more of an heirloom, more like a Mondaine than one that's a computer on your wrist. But there's all kinds. The world is full of all kinds of people.
Rene: Diversity is good.
Andy: It's a square pillow but there are other watches that are shaped like square pillows so that's not a problem.
Rene: Mine is a flat circle Andy.
Andy: Lunch time, doubly so.
Leo: The MNT horological watch platform I guess is what this is. It's a watch platform.
Andy: Good, that's even better than a watch. I was hoping to have a platform on my wrist.
Rene: On my watch it's not a platform I think.
Alex: A tiny elephant, like a really tiny elephant.
Leo: Well and Android Wear is a platform, right? And that's why I wonder what Motorola could do because Wear is tightly controlled by Google. All Android Wear watches have basically the same software, right?
Rene: Isn't the HTC one getting some attention?
Leo: Is that out yet?
Andy: It's another round dial... they basically took the guts of the one that they released with that fake number ring around it and put it into a much much smaller and classier case.
Leo: It's called a Petra?
Andy: It really looks very very smart. I had in front of me, yeah the LG watch Urbane.
Leo: Well the Urbane is very nice too. Yeah, I like the Urbane. LG did the round one. The Gear R. And then HTC is doing soon is doing a watch. They sent out invitations last fall, people went to see it. Did anybody see it? I didn't see it. But...
Rene: Oh it was the Sony smartwatch 3 that Dieter Bohn reviewed that was funny. Not funny but interesting.
Leo: Yeah. I feel like this is it. This is... last 2 months gentlemen. But then really, I also feel like at least Android Wear is a mature platform that is very usable. I sent... I received a text this morning on my watch and responded to it by talking to my watch and it was very convenient.
Rene: This is the bless and the curse of Android for everything, for phones and for watches. Companies can just use Android and it's better than what they might come up with on their own but it also means that we won't find any super interesting new technologies. That's why I like Pebble because at least they're doing something different.
Andy: Well I mean it's, there is no coin that has a heads but not a tails. You can't get the idea of a selection of different case styles, different manufactures, without having the limit of having a single reference operating system that can't introduce a brand new hardware platform. I don't think... it's going to be a long time before we see an Android Wear watch with NFC. At the same time, Apple's doing the exact same thing that you always have to do when you buy an Apple where if you like it, great. If you don't like it go away, we don't care.
Leo: Here's the Urbane that you were talking about, the video of the Urbane. And unlike the Moto 360 it's fully round. Which is the LG R also. This is pretty and this is metal. Looks nice.
Andy: I don't know if it's... I think it might be white metal and it's plated as opposed to...
Andy: Something that costs you about 1 semester of your children's college education.
Leo: And note the focus on bands once again which I think was a smart move on Apple's part.
Andy: It's quite pretty, also I'm really in love with the idea of a round LCD screen.
Leo: Yeah, me too.
Andy: A square screen is not a deal breaker but you really do have an immediate emotional connection to a watch that looks like the same watch that you've been using for years and years and years. And again, the Casio G Shock is a square screen, we've been using square calculator watches since we were in junior high...
Leo: Even some fashion, many fashion watches are square.
Rene: Mark Newsome watches were always square circles.
Leo: So... it's not the end of the world that it's a squared circle.
Alex: It does create a lot of, I think it creates a lot of design challenges. You know from a... not just from...
Leo: A round watch does, the round watch.
Alex: A round watch does, I mean for developers so go for it, I think that is the primary argument against the round watch is that it's just a lot harder to develop for.
Andy: I don't know. It's also a lot more exciting, especially if you're doing something that's focused on being a watch that has digital features on it. There was that, I don't know who started circulating it, after the Apple Watch came out and Apple now has little promotional like here's what the watch faces look like or what watch apps look like, someone said here's why you should never... a round smartwatch face looks stupid, and they just super imposed a circle over this user interface that had been designed for a square screen to begin with and well, what do you know? When you try to cram that into a circle the edges of the buttons get cut off, but it really is... circular interface, circular screens are a specific alternative that is baked into Android Wear. There are a lot of really cool interfaces that are designed for circles. And also, I think that the idea that Android Wear is based on not here are 5 different ways of inputting into this watch, it really is here is a button. Tap the button or swipe the button. I think it really works very nicely. But I just love that the interest that Apple's bringing to this is floating all boats. It is an Apple only game, you're not going to be able to use this watch with any other phone, and there are other phones out there. And that means that the attention that everyone is giving to smartwatches now has given these other companies, like LG, like Motorola sort of the guts to say you know what? Let's get into this game too, because there are going to be a lot of people with money to spend and we want to be there with an open basket when they start throwing it around.
Leo: Apple's making 5 million according to the supply chain. We had a little poll on TWiT on Sunday as to how many of those 5 million Apple would sell. You think they'll sell 5 million right away, first weekend?
Rene: That would be constrained.
Leo: It will be constrained, you'll have to get in line. Even with 5 million.
Alex: Yep. I mean it will be... I don't know if they will sell 5 million in the first weekend but they'll definitely sell 5 million in the first 3 weeks.
Leo: Is there any thought that it might be a disappointment? The Apple Watch might be a disappointment, that people might not...
Alex: I think it absolutely will be. For some people.
Leo: Just that it might be... in other... well... Buying the rumors, selling the story, right? Isn't that the old adage on the stock market? Are they buying on the rumor now? Will the stock plummet when the watch comes out because in fact it will not live up to its hype? Will people...
Rene: That's what they said about the iPhone and iPad. The iPhone and iPad both had bad reviews. Boring, unimaginative, no features, where's my MMS, where's my apps? It's a first generation product and it's going to have first generation pain. Some people will be happy that they got it earlier than if they waited for a couple generations, and other people will be content to let it go by and wait until it does everything that they want it to.
Leo: Will people just go site unseen and buy it and not wait to find out if the battery life gets you through a full day or things like that?
Andy: I think a lot of them will. I think the first 5 million people to buy it are going to be the people who, because I believe shipments will be constrained, those are going to be people who fought to get one of these things so these aren't just early adopters those are early believers so they are the sort of people like all of us who used the first iPhone that doesn't have cut, copy, paste. Doesn't have apps. I don't care because this speaks to me in a very very fundamental level and I'm willing to limp along with it for a year and a half until they fix these things.
Leo: Max Texan in our chatroom says 200 million Apple Watch compatible devices are out there right now, that's 5c's, 5s's, 6's. If, he points out, if only a couple of percentage points of them buy it you've sold out the 5 million.
Rene: And it gives people in the US for example who have iPhone 5c or iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s the gateway to Apple Pay which previously only had an iPhone 6.
Leo: Gateway to Apple Pay.
Rene: Yeah because you can authorize the watch and the watch has NFC and can do the transactions for you operating system if you've been thinking about upgrading but you don't want to just yet and all the stores you use have Apple Pay it's just another, it's another added bonus.
Leo: It is a little ironic that Apple was the last company to put an NFC chip in its smartphone and the first company to put an NFC chip in a watch.
Rene: Well because they don't think about chip sets, they think about feature sets and Apple Pay to them is a feature and they'll put the chip in that helps with whatever that feature.
Leo: Now you can use it, yeah. So we're agreed that they'll probably... I feel like there is a strong potential, not huge, but there is a potential that people will look at the reviews, say oh... wait, it doesn't do this that or the other, it doesn't have good battery life, whatever it is.
Rene: No flash.
Leo: It could slow down sales a little bit but I think there's just enough, there's enough people who would just... they'll sell out 5 million in the first week.
Alex: Well and also I think there's 5 million people that just want to be the first ones with the watch. I mean, it is a... any time you're the first one with an Apple product you tend to be... and sometimes with a Google product, you tend to be brought up in a conversation and some people want to be part of that. So I think that there's enough people that just want to do that that you're going to get a certain level.
Leo: And the rest will wait for the third generation.
Alex: I think, I'd say that in the first quarter I could see a supply of 8 to 9 million that would want to buy the watch and then after that it could slow down a lot without a lot of technological... without new apps and there are so many apps that could be written and it's just a matter of how fast they, you know, how fast those customizations happen will heavily affect it.
Andy: That's absolutely right. I think that the selling point of this is not even necessarily going to be Apple, it's going to be all the apps that get written for it and already we're seeing developers show off screenshots of how they're thinking about adapting things to Apple Watch. That's going to be the excitement that's going to get the Apple Watch into month 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. And also the fact that... and this is something that I only learned after wearing this Android Wear watch, it's a cool watch. That even if just did basic notifications, I like the fact that you have designers who are making beautiful watch faces that I actually enjoy using and can actually switch out for the weekend if I want to. Now if I'm kind of now concerned about what the pipes in my house are going to do, now I've got my watch face as a weather dominated watch face. Just as a watch that does nothing but tell time in interesting ways, that's a good $200 for a lot of, worth of value for a lot of people. And once there is some guy or some woman in every office that has one that gets to show it off to people it's going to be the same effect as, we were probably all at some point the one person that someone knows who has an iPhone, the one person that someone knows who has an iPad, and I still remember when I showed off my iPad to Roger Ebert for the first time, it was just let me play with this, let me draw on it, let me... and that's, I was selling so many that first week when I was at a conference, when I was the only person at this conference with an iPad.
Leo: I do also think that Apple has been very smart, and I'm not sure I support this but they've been very smart in creating a closed ecosystem. You see it with messages that there's a real strong incentive if your friends have iPhones that you get an iPhone so that you can communicate using messages rather than SMS.
Alex: I know the one...
Leo: And I think you sell one Apple Watch you sell 2 because there's going to be one other person... like, Lisa has to buy an Apple Watch.
Rene: They want your body part picture, right Leo?
Leo: Yeah, Lisa has to buy an Apple Watch otherwise half of the functionality, the drawing little things...
Rene: She won't get your heartbeat, Leo.
Leo: She won't get my heartbeat. So this is smart marketing.
Leo: No but this is smart marketing!
Andy: Oh my god, if that goes into a commercial where Apple, my spouse can't... my love can't feel my heartbeat. I have to have this watch, oh no she has a different watch, she can't feel my heartbeat!
Rene: It's one of those things that's absolutely self serving but at the same time if you don't, if you aren't willing to do that, there's no common standard for sending heartbeats over standardized protocols for internet communications. So you kind of...
Leo: They had to invent it, but they didn't have to make the Apple Watch iPhone only.
Alex: Well but the closed system gives Apple, I mean...
Leo: It's really good marketing.
Alex: Beyond the office business it also allows them to innovate much faster because they're not having to deal with standards, they don't have to deal with outside folks and trying to figure out we're going to all talk together, they just do it. And so they're able to move faster then, in the areas they want to because they have that closed system.
Rene: It's like the iPhone with Linux. It worked on Mac, it worked on PC because it had to but it never really worked on Linux because it was tethered to a cable. Now it doesn't have that tether any more so you can theoretically use it with any computer you want. The Apple Watch right now, because of energy constraints and other reasons, is incredibly tethered to an iPhone and making something that would have that deep integration with Android is not only not in Apple's best interests, but it's not in their expertise or skill set. So they can make a watch that is basically a little extension, a little broadcast from the iPhone, but as time goes on and it gets more radios and more independence of its own it will probably work with any system that you have.
Andy: I'm 100% in agreement, I don't even blame Apple for not showing any interest whatsoever in supporting other phones. Because why would they? Not only would they have to build an entire new team that they don't really have right now, but also they'd have to support a platform that is really hard to support in this way. It would really only work with the latest version, latest two versions of Android which is a fraction of the installed base out there and as you say, why are you helping for people to decide to buy an Android instead of buying an iPhone. This is what they do so well and also so much of the technology behind Apple Watch are technologies that are built into Yosemite, that are built into iOS. And to replicate that experience, to create analogues for Android for that, again it's just... there's an analogy that I really like and that's sometimes you're building a car with square wheels. Well isn't it all bumpy? Well we've invented this brand new suspension so that it goes well with square wheels. Well won't the tires wear unevenly? Well we've come up with this new kind of rubber... okay, look at all the stuff you're doing just to make square wheels work. Maybe you should just have made round wheels to begin with and I think that square wheels is Android support for Apple Watch.
Leo: Hold on a second, some great comments in the chatroom I want to throw in there and then we'll continue. You're next, Alex. Somebody points out that Apple, even if Apple Watch didn't do well in North America, let's not forget Apple now works in a giant global market. In Asia this might be a huge product. We don't even know how well it might do. Dr. Mom says, this is an interesting point, if they make it a closed ecosystem and it's a medical accessory then you have an ethical conundrum because you're restricting potentially life saving tech to only people who can afford it. I don't know if that's...
Rene: Well there's a counterpoint to that. I interviewed the school in redwood that I using iPads with children with cochlear implants for training and they weren't allowed to use Skype because Stamford and HIPAA didn't consider it securely encrypted end to end. But FaceTime is securely encrypted and so that fit with the health guidelines and that allowed them to have one product that did everything.
Leo: How interesting is that? Wow.
Rene: But Apple doing the whole thing can also make it better for some things like HIPAA.
Leo: And boy I might argue that why do you not think Skype is safe and you think FaceTime is? That's a strange...
Rene: Well Apple maintains that FaceTime is encrypted and there's security papers and Steve Gibson went through all of that. Skype will tell you that they're working on it but it's not done yet.
Leo: Skype's encrypted. Skype's encrypted, it's always been encrypted. That's a bizarre point of view, I have to say.
Rene: If you ask Skype they can't give you the end to end encrypted line that Apple can give you for the protocol and there's a lot of access that they've given that might not continue in the future.
Leo: Alright. And I love Curtis B's comment, once Apple integrates the Apple Watch with CarPlay in the new Apple Car then your spouse will be able to feel you revving the engine.
Leo: Now that I would buy it for.
Rene: Is that a double entendre?
Leo: I'm sorry, go ahead Alex. I just wanted to get some, because the chatroom is so great today.
Alex: No no, all I'm saying is with standardization Apple's... their general mode of operation is they look for standards in areas that they're behind and they look close systems in areas that they're ahead. That's what we can generally expect from Apple at any moment. I think the thing that's going to be interesting is we are going to see a single operating system in a lot of watches very very quickly after this is released and the hard part that other developers are going to have is that once one company like Apple has 5, 6, 10 million people using it... while we've seen a lot of other watches being made they're all in small numbers. Once they get that big, the entire ecosystem like everything else Apple has, it's not just what Apple's doing, it's all the developers and all the different ways that they can interact with that watch suddenly become commercially viable. And that will pick up and then it's, typically what will happen is it will pick up to support Apple but once they start making money with Apple, if the other watches are picking out then they will go after those markets as well because they've already developed the infrastructure but it's hard when there's only 100 thousand or 500 thousand people using your product to know that you're only going to get 1% of that product. Is that going to be enough to generate a factory run? 10 million it becomes more viable.
Rene: Leo, I just double checked this quickly. This is according to Wikipedia, Skype is not considered to be a secure VOIP system and the calls made over the network are routinely monitored by Microsoft and by government agencies.
Leo: That's Wikipedia. I don't... yeah. Skype's always using encryption and the presumption is that Microsoft is breaking it, which might be. But I don't understand why you'd presume that and not presume Apple's doing the same thing. I think that that's more a political point of view than a technical point of view is my point.
Rene: I think Microsoft...
Leo: Maybe it is. I mean FaceTime is, you put just as much trust in Apple with FaceTime as you do with Microsoft with Skype, don't you?
Rene: Sure but I think the same information about Skype's encryption is different than the publicly available information about FaceTime's encryption.
Leo: Okay. It still feels like an opinion to me. You know, let's ask Steve Gibson on Wednesday. Tuesday, he's today. It's right after this show. Steve's watching even, because I know he likes to watch this show. Let's take a break, we'll come back with more in just a second. Are you a Sonic Youth fan? I feel like Alex Lindsay might be a Sonic Youth fan.
Alex: I saw them a long time ago.
Leo: And the reason I ask, Kim Gordon's new memoir is just out. Girl In a Band. Now, I am not... I don't even know who Sonic Youth is, but I figure if you are into Sonic Youth you're going to want to listen to this on Audible.com.
Jason: I'll adding that Leo, for sure.
Leo: Okay so there you go.
Jason: It's like right down my alley.
Leo: Really? You're a Sonic Youth fan too?
Jason: I wasn't like an uber fan but I just love these kinds of memoirs. Like the rock bios and all that kind of stuff, I love them.
Leo: I've listened to Keith Richards, Neil Young's, Teppy Townsend's, I love them. I agree with you.
(Audiobook in background)
Leo: I think when you're listening to a memoir like this, it's so great when the author is reading it and Kim Gordon does read this. Now you can get this book for free, but let's not stop here. There are after all 150,000 titles on Audible. And by the way, when you become an Audible member there are always daily deals. Like this one, The Prince by Machiavelli. It's not very long, it would be hard for them to charge a lot for a 4 hour 47 minute gift but they're doing a daily deal on this for $2. Grover Gardner who reads is one of my favorite narrators, not an Italian. Okay. But still an audio classic. Here's a Grover Gardner with a little Machiavelli. If you haven't read this, you should read it.
(Audiobook in background)
Leo: I have to say, so this is something else that happens with Audible. You become a fan of not just the author but the reader. Grover Gardner does The Stand. O-M-G. 47 hours of Grover Gardner, you might say what? That's heaven to me. This is such a great narration. And if that's not long enough, how about Grover Gardner reading The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich? 57 hours, that is a book that will keep you busy all summer.
Andy: That's a lot of rising and a lot of falling.
Leo: You know, I actually read this in middle school. I was so fascinated by the history of World War II, I read this. There's a lot of skimming because William L. Shirer, who wrote it, includes a lot of the original documents and you can just skim through all of those telegrams. But it is actually really good. And if you're interested at all in history of World War II, this is the definitive story of the Nazi era. But this is, so history, yeah! Classics, yeah! But great fiction too. I mean Audible, if you're into sci-fi, Audible is phenomenal. If you haven't read Fifty Shades of Gray yet. Or Gone Girl. I've been listening to American Sniper, Chris Kyle's... I had mixed feelings about the movie so I wanted to read the book. If you've seen the movie, you must read the book. All of this is just fantastic. If you saw Unbroken. Laura Hillenbrand's amazing story that was made into that movie is incredible. A must read. I can go on and on. Andy what are you listening to at Audible.com?
Andy: Neil Gaiman has a new book of short stories out called Trigger Warning. I cannot tell you whether I like the short stories or not because, I'm sure they're great, because Neil Gaiman, any audiobook Neil Gaiman wrote it and Neil Gaiman is reading the book, automatic purchase. Money in the bag. He's like Gene Hackman in the credits of a movie, you're just going to have to see that because it's going to be great.
Leo: There are times you don't want the author to narrate it. Not all authors are great readers. There's no one better... listen to Neil Gaiman.
(Audiobook in background)
Leo: He is an actor.
Leo: He is amazing.
Andy: He is one of those writers who wrote, who read every single book in his... in the library as a kid, he understands every single story and when you have an author reading their own work, you have an understanding of that story that you can't get elsewhere. And the other great thing about this is you've just recommended a book that takes 54 hours to get through. This is a collection of short stories, so you can parcel one out for okay, remember how we're going to my aunt's house in 2 weeks and that's going to be a 90 minute drive? Here's a drive to the aunt's house story, here is spend 3 hours cleaning out that closet story. It's just, again, money in the bank.
Leo: If you are a Neil Gaiman fan and you haven't listened to the full cast production of American Gods, just do. Don't even... just do.
Leo: His narration of Neverwhere, there actually are 2 versions of Neverwhere on Audible. Get Neil Gaiman's reading of Neverwhere, just do. I mean I can go on and on and on. Did you read his last novel? The Ocean at the End of the Lane?
Andy: That's probably my favorite of all of his novels. I made the mistake, well I love his shorter novels because I can get like a 6 hour project done. I hate cleaning and I hate doing things like a home repair where I have to build something but that will get you right through it, and the job took me like 2 hours longer because I was stopping to just... imagine me in the middle of the kitchen with a mop in my had with all the drawers empty but just standing there just... oh. Aw...
Leo: We are really fans. But again, if you're not there is plenty more to choose from. So here's the deal, I want you to go to Audible.com/macbreak, you're going to sign up for the gold account that's a book a month. Your first month is free, so you have 30 days to pick a book. You'll also get the daily digest of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. The book you pick is yours to keep, regardless of whether you stick around or not. If you quit in the first 30 days you get nothing, but you still get the book. But I've got to tell you, you're never going to quit. I should just warn you this. Andy, in my experience, and Alex listens... I know you all listen.
Alex: Right now I'm working through one called Money: A Biography, it's really really good. It just really changes the way you think of currency. It's not really about making money, it's about how money is thought of and that's the one I'm kind of in the middle of right now but I'm on a subscription and I always forget, and then I go up there and I go I have a whole bunch of points and I buy like 5 or 6 books before every trip.
Leo: I know, isn't that nice?
Alex: It's great.
Leo: I've got 2 credits available. I always love having 2 credits. The other thing they do, I just want to throw this in, this is a freebie. They now have the Great Courses which means you can get college courses, this was a very expensive subscription. I used to get the Great Courses, it's now part of your Audible subscription. So if you're interested in almost anything they teach in college, including this one, a 12 lecture masterpiece of scientific reporting, The Higgs Boson and Beyond? Professor Sean Carroll at the California Institute of Technology gives his lecture. I mean, learning, entertainment, I mean... Audible. Audible.com/macbreak. It's just so great I can't, I can't...
Rene: I have a subscription. My mom, my sister have subscriptions, they just listen to it all the time. The whole family can enjoy it.
Leo: I love these Great Courses, there's just so much. History's Greatest Voyages of Exploration. Wow.
Andy: I would get, I have Hulu, I subscribe to Hulu and Netflix. If I ever really needed to economize, I would have to keep Audible and delete one of those two.
Leo: Audible.com/macbreak. Alright, back to the news. Sorry. I know we do like 8 minute commercials for Audible but we really...
Andy: It turns into like a... we have to talk about books that we love, and authors that we love and performances that we love. It's like...
Leo: It should... what can I say? I just...
Andy: I'm sorry, we get an advertiser of like cable clamps. I'm sorry, we just don't have 8 minutes, we'll read the copy but we don't have 8 minutes of things to say about your cable clamp. It's a great clamp, but that's all we have to say about it.
Leo: Is that going to be your pick of the week? I have a feeling.
Andy: Ah damn I just blew it.
Leo: So let's talk about car because this is, we're going to start seeing CarPlay soon, right?
Leo: And Android, same thing. Google really wants Android in the car. Not necessarily mutually exclusive. But this is a good article in the New York Times this week by Aaron Kessler and Brian X. Chen. Apple has 200 people working on electric vehicle technology, we've been talking about that. Google of course working, as we've known for years, on autonomous vehicles. For some reason though, it's the CarPlay or the Android Auto that's really going to be, that's going to be the beginning of it all.
Alex: Well both of these sit on top of QNX is that right?
Rene: Yeah. Well QNX was the easiest one to layer them on top of.
Alex: Right, so I think that it's, it sounds like the big winner in some ways is Blackberry of all things.
Leo: Because they own QNX, yeah, they bought them.
Alex: Yeah so Blackberry sits on top of QNX and so whether you're using Android or iOS, and I think it does give Apple, or not Apple but the car manufacturers a kind of middle ground so they can switch if they need to. And they're not committing to one or the other.
Rene: It's also... I forget it... I was talking Sam Abuelsamid who was the guy from GM who's doing a lot of their car tech stuff and he was pointing out that the autonomous and the automatic stuff sounds great but it's way in the future, right now if you have rain or snow or something those cars are completely flummoxed. So it's a beautiful dream, but the stuff like CarPlay and Android Auto are the present. They're much more, they're going to be what we use for a long time to come before we get to Star Trek cars.
Leo: You know we talked for a long time about a Ford Sync that was a big advertiser for a couple of years on the network, that was based on Microsoft Car. Ford this year has abandoned Microsoft Car and they are now doing QNX with both Android Auto and CarPlay available by the end of 2016.
Rene: It's a great Canadian embedded real time operating system, Leo.
Leo: Do you have to have QNX to do CarPlay and Auto?
Rene: No, it's just super easy. The surface stuff you need, the CarPlay and Android Auto have to interface with the in car entertainment system and QNX made that super easy to do. I'm sure embedded Android, embedded Linux can do it as well but the QNX team was very good to work with and it was a very quick process for them to do and a lot of cars already use them so it was advantageous to everybody.
Leo: It was also the case that people complained about, for instance, Ford Sync. Especially my Ford Touch which was a user interface layer on top of it that people just said, it's too complicated, we can't figure it out. Ford basically acknowledged it, did an update, people still complained. So it makes sense to say well let's take a step back and why not let the UI be determined by something people already understand, their phone. And by two companies that really know how to make UI... Siri of course is much better than anything...
Rene: Can you call Toyota and tell them that Leo?
Leo: What do they do? What does Toyota do?
Rene: They were saying they were going to do CarPlay and they were going to do Android Auto and then they gave the New York Times a quote saying that they're not going to do that now, that they believe that the future is in their proprietary interface.
Rene: They might revisit it in the future, they're still talking to Google and Apple but not soon.
Alex: And I think for the most part most of these... a lot of these manufacturers, whether it's camera manufacturers or auto manufacturers, a lot of them are... they think that the secret sauce to what they're selling is the interface. How you're interfacing with your Canon or your Nikon or your car and they're generally, in my opinion, wrong. Because I think it's just one of those things that they really should stay out of that and focus on the other parts that they provide in that area.
Leo: Do you guys have voice, do you have voice in your car Alex? Do you have voice recognition in your car?
Alex: I have old cars.
Leo: You don't even have any of the stuff.
Alex: No no, I have this old Ford Explorer that I drive around in Pennsylvania and I've got my older Beemer that I...
Leo: What does Carlita have? That's right, you have old cars, yeah.
Alex: Carlita has a CRV and she can ask the car for directions and then it pops up this absolutely horrid looking interface of how to get there and I won't use it.
Leo: My very fancy Audi, terrible voice recognition. And the voice coming back sounds drunk every time. It just sounds drunk, it's terrible and yet this is Audi, state of the art car electronics but they couldn't do that part right. How about you Rene? What do you have in your car?
Rene: I bought an all wheel drive Toyota the year before they got any sort of real integration and I asked them if I could upgrade it and they said no I have to buy a new car and I was waiting until they had a CarPlay version, but in light of their recent comments I'm going to be cross shopping now. But the next car I buy is definitely going to have it and it's definitely going to be compatible with both our CarPlay...
Leo: Well, see. And I think Toyota's going to learn that lesson aren't they?
Leo: Mac Texas says he has Siri in his BMW, early adopter I guess and he says it's truly the first hands free experience he's really apparently a fan.
Rene: I would like to see an offline mode because I don't ever want to be driving between cities and suddenly have my voice control or my navigation stop so I think it behooves them to get more offline things going but I think in general it's a great thing.
Leo: And that's one of the reasons probably the car recognition, voice recognition isn't great is because it is offline. It is in the car, right? It's not... the new stuff won't be, but in my Audi it's the car doing it. Doing the thing.
Rene: Near line would be best. Like online whenever it's available and then shunt back to local when it's not available.
Leo: Andy you probably drive a 63' I'm thinking maybe...
Andy: If this were a movie you would look at my car and think there goes the last honest cop in a corrupt town.
Rene: Do you have a Jeff Williams car Andy? Do you have a Jeff Williams car?
Andy: I'm very very proud that I have a car that can reach 175,000 miles, it is running like a top and I'm trying to get it to 200,000 because I would be proud as hell if I made it that... that's an indication of good safe driving.
Leo: Those Crown Vics just never die do they?
Andy: It's not a Crown Vic but it is a fleet vehicle. This is why I like fleet vehicles. They are designed so they run forever, they're easy to maintain, I love them. But every time I'm in like a rental car I can never get used to that screen in the center dash. I have a permanently mounted ram mount holder for my phone and I've installed it like at the same level as my side view mirror, I can just sort of flick my eyes towards it to get like navigation information. Every time the screen is like over here on the rental car I have to go like... and I feel like I'm just not... it's just not a smart thing to do.
Leo: It's so dangerous. What Andy just did, by the way, is fall over sideways to read his dash.
Leo: Yeah it's so dangerous, and really a lot of this... the feds do have guidelines. But I think it's not going to be too long given the hazards of distracted driving before these guidelines become rules for how this stuff works and really voice recognition is the key to this I think.
Alex: I think it's also pushing the demand up for self driving cars because as you start saying that we can't do that, then people get very I think that's really creating a situation where people really want to not drive their car any more and I think that regulations are important. I do think people should not be doing so much with their phone on in the car. But I also think that it is a real, it really starts a cascade that probably is not good for the car industry in the long run. Because people will first stop, one self driving cars. They won't want to own them, they'll just want to rent them. And before you know it you have a much smaller demand for cars.
Leo: That's why some people have said to Ford, why are you interested in this? This is going to cut your sales dramatically.
Rene: But it's better for... I remember commuting to work for a decade and it was an hour and a half commute and I would see people reading newspapers on their steering wheel, eating with two hands. So the distraction thing is real but the electronics haven't fixed it, they've made it either the same or worse. My colleague Georgia had the same problem I had. I rent a car, I go in there, you plug in your phone, all you want to do is use your Apple maps or your Google maps but they start playing your iPod music and you try to turn it off and it turns off the voice navigation. It's just so poorly integrated, but if I could just land at an airport, get in a car and it has Android Auto or it has CarPlay in it and I have my apps, I can press overcast, listen to my podcast, press the mass button, listen to my navigation, not have to worry about that. That to me is a huge win, and Alex's beautiful self driving future, I'll get into the next self driving car and it'll just have my interface and I won't have to worry about it.
Leo: Wouldn't that be nice? Dagamar makes a good point, he says...
Andy: So basically you're proposing a Google Chrome car where... it just connects to cloud, it instantly becomes your car as soon as you sign into your Google account. I would be interested in a car like that.
Leo: I like that. Dagamar is saying in our chatroom that only 19 states left allow windshield mounts. So that whole aftermarket thing of mounting a GPS with a suction cup to your windshield, that's gone. That's going fast.
Alex: I put mine on the... they're these little ones that pin to your, to the... exhaust. Your heating element. And they just kind of stick into it and you just wedge it in there and then you can set your phone on it. I mean, it keeps it below the dash.
Leo: There is...
Andy: I recommended ram mounts as pick of the week at least twice. Can't say enough about them. And twice now I have upgraded, I've had this car for a long time so twice now I've upgraded my phone. Did not have to unscrew this thing from the dash, you just pay $20 for the thing at the end of the arm you disconnect and put a new one in and can't recommend those mounts highly enough.
Alex: Wait which mount?
Andy: They're called ram mount, R-A-M hyphen mount. And even when, I even have a mount for like an iPad mini or a Nexus 7 tablet. Whatever you've got you can mount it to this system, whether you have to mount it to the floor, mount it to the dash, you want to switch to a suction cup mount? It's all modular so, I have done like time lapse videos of the Northeast corridor Amtrack ride from Boston to New York because I happened to have this, I just suction cup mounted the camera to the side of the window and have this, it's actually on YouTube somewhere, I'll see if I can find it because...
Leo: Of you doing it huh?
Alex: The typing that you're hearing is me ordering lots of...
Leo: Ram mount. So you can basically put this anywhere, it's not in the windshield it's... it can be in the windshield but it can be anywhere.
Alex: Well it's a whole system. It has little ball mounts.
Andy: Wait, here it is.
Leo: We're looking at it on the YouTube.
Andy: I'm giving you...
Leo: It's a ball and socket huh? This is hardcore, this is like we use in the studio.
Andy: Or whatever you want, I actually had it suction cup mounted for the first couple of years until I got tired of having to remove it every time that I want to order drive through and so that's why I said okay guess what, we're drilling holes in the dashboard.
Rene: Andy doesn't mess around.
Leo: Well that's the beauty of those Lincoln towncars, you can really pretty much do anything you want. Look at this thing. This is hardcore.
Andy: That was my old style...
Leo: Here he is, beloved technology pundit Andy Ihnatko with his camera glued to the train window. That's nice.
Andy: I'm sorry that's not ram mount but I've done it like that differently, I think it comes out a little bit.
Leo: That's the idea. And then somebody in our chatroom is recommending this aftermarket solution from Pioneer, the AVH-X4600BT which does support Siri. So you could do Siri, eyes free with iPhone 4s or later and this is obviously you'd have to mount this.
Rene: Pioneer and Parrot both have some good CarPlay aftermarket units as long as your car can take the double size units.
Leo: It does say that there are some issues I think with iOS 8.
Rene: There's new ones that have full support.
Leo: Okay. Yeah they say don't upgrade. Well that's a bad sign.
Andy: That's why it's kind of weird, for the next year, maybe even 2, it's going to be profoundly disappointing to either buy a car with CarPlay or Google car systems built in or buy a new head that supports that... and then find out that well I don't have many apps that actually work with it and it doesn't actually interface as cleanly as I would like. It's, there are times where I would much rather have a headphone jack that plugs into the phone which means that as soon as I do that I have audio as opposed to the Bluetooth which works 70% of the time. Maybe 70 times out of 75 but those 5 times where it does not connect and I have to manually pair it it's like aw, damn it.
Leo: And then incoherent drivel in the chatroom says he has... nice handle, the ILX007. Also a nice handle.
Rene: License to thrill.
Leo: Yeah. Is that their slogan?
Rene: No. It should be though.
Leo: It should be. Let me take a look at this one. He says he likes this from Alpine. Alpine does do good stuff, I like their aftermarket stuff. And that's, boy look how flush that is if you have the right hole in your car. And this is a CarPlay solution for $800, so this is an aftermarket CarPlay solution. That's kind of neat.
Andy: I still... if you can't get a dashboard skin that makes it look like the time controls from the DeLorean, I'm not going to buy this deck. This is a missed opportunity. This is money left on the table.
Rene: Jason Snell had a review of one of them and he said it was part of the way there, not all the way there yet but it makes me feel happy about the future.
Leo: Hey $800 is better than buying a new car.
Andy: That's about the value of my car.
Rene: No Andy, the value of your car is priceless.
Andy: Oh yeah I forgot I did buy that new water pump, it's worth about $1100.
Leo: (laughing) But do you have to then have a hole in your dashboard of exactly 178x100x75.5mm?
Rene: My car won't take it. You just can't put an aftermarket in there.
Andy: I bet Xzibit could get one in there. He'd probably take out your air bag to make it fit but...
Rene: I'm going to get a magnet mount and put an Apple Watch on my dashboard, that's what I'm going to do.
Andy: That's good because you're going to need to charge it up on your way to the office.
Leo: Air bag... CarPlay... air bag... CarPlay... I think I'd choose CarPlay.
Andy: So long as they make the knobs into little spikes so that if you do get in a crash it will be over quickly.
Leo: (laughing) Yeah just pointy little spikes, that would be good. Apple is overhauling the Genius Bar. Perhaps one of the most successful retail features of all time, they're going to change things a little bit. This is from Mark Gurman 16 hours and 48 minutes ago. That's a good way of...
Rene: He always looks so happy in that picture.
Leo: Hi. Apple soon, according to Mark, going to make significant changes to the Genius Bar appointments to improve customer experience. This is what happened March 9th. The new concierge will replace traditional walk in Genius Bar appointments. Customers seeking Genius Bar assistance can walk into an Apple retail store, you'll meet up with a checking assistant and you'll get a specific time to return for an appointment. Don't we get that already?
Rene: That's what's happening now, and what's changing is...
Leo: The new program, this is an Angela Ahrendts special, instead the customer describes the issue to an Apple store employee who inputs the issue into an updated iPad app. Using a special algorithm. (makes computer noises) Working. The application...
Rene: It's iPhone actuarial work.
Leo: I was watching Jeopardy the other night and algorithm was an answer. What is algorithm, Alex?
Rene: What is algorithm for 500 Trebek?
Leo: Al got rhythm. Okay stop. Using a special algorithm the application provides the customer a wait time based on issue priorities. They're going to do triage in the lobby. A customer seeking an iPhone screen replacement will be higher in the queue than a customer seeking help with a minor iCloud issue. Then you provide a phone number and Apple will send you 3 text messages with updates to the wait time first. An initial text message that says you've got an appointment. Actually not you've got an appointment, we've got your request, and the wait time is. The second message will say start heading back to the Apple store. The third message says... tells you when your technician is ready and where they are. That's a big change.
Andy: I hope this is true. This is exactly the sort of thing that the Apple I know and love would do because you walk into an Apple store, you see it often just packed with people just milling about, waiting to see the genius. This is not just a way to triage people, it's a way to encourage them to go... there's an Orange Julius here, that's a very frosty refreshing beverage, why don't you leave our store and wait there instead. It will ease up congestion and will let more people mongle around expensive hardware than just turning into a big waiting salon. Who would not rather wait wherever they want within the vicinity of a mile of a mall as opposed to having to hang around and play Angry Birds yet again on an iPad.
Leo: The good news is that if you're... you can still do the I'm online, I'm going to schedule an appointment and get an actual time. So that I think this way they handle both... because I don't want the uncertainty so I like the idea of being able to go online and say we'll see you at 10am tomorrow. And that's good, I know I'm going to see them, and they're usually pretty good that way.
Alex: Yeah and in San Francisco you've got very well trained, to never try to show up at the Apple store unannounced. I mean, if you want someone to look at something.
Leo: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Alex: It was like an hour and a half that you were going to sit there, but even now given that every Apple store is near a shopping area.I was talking to Carlita about this, this morning and she was just like, Oh, this would fix everything. She never goes in to fix her phone, because she doesn´t have an hour to just sit around and she never knows exactly when she´s going to show up, so for the idea that you can go do that and the go run some errands nearby and pick other things up and then come back is a huge update for the experience.
Leo: It does worry me though that my problem will be triaged as a lower priority than somebody else's problem. To you, your problem is the most important problem.
Rene: It´s like that horrible thing when you go to the mergence room you always have chest pains right because I´ll get right through. You´ll always have to say screen break, you can´t see it but it´s a screen break.
Leo: Yeah, I can´t smile with the left side of my face anymore, is that bad?
Andy: While I´m here, I´ve got this insurance where they just approve every single test so, I´m never out of here in less than 3 days. It´s just weird!
Alex: Just walk into an emergency room and say I feel like there´s a knot in my chest and I´m having trouble feeling my left arm and you don´t even have to fill out paperwork.
Leo: How about if I just say; I can´t breathe.
Andy: Ever since Michael Keaton at the Oscars I´ve just had this burning hole in my chest.
Leo: But what happens if you do that and then really all it is you get a sore thumb, are they going to throw you out?
Alex: You don´t want to do it because they pump you up with all kinds of drugs and make you stay overnight.
Leo: Oh God, they do have ways don´t they. Well let´s say you want to get to the top of the list in the Apple store, what would be the ?
Alex: Well the first thing step is to crack your screen, just knock it down and then walk in and while they´re replacing your screen say I´m having an iCloud problem.
Leo: Incidently, yeah. Apple is going to do an interesting thing, at least this is the rumor, and I´d love to get your thoughts on this confirmation, they´re going to do a public beta for 8.3 starting march and then for iOS 9 in the summer. True? I guess they did the public beta with Yosemite, I thought that worked quite well.
Rene: They had a developer beta on wwc last year where they included a bug reporter app and they got something like a hundred thousand bug reports the first weekend, and the screeners were just swamped and a lot of them apparently were just like random characters input and sent to Apple. So it makes sense to me that if they do this it´s going to be limited the way Marks says.
Leo: He says it´s going to be limited to a hundred thousand people.
Rene: And hopefully there´ll be a lot of prescreening involved because the last thing that I want is you know, 3 billion bug reports coming in that do nothing but slow down and clog up the system. No plan survives contact with the outside world so the sooner you can get the outside world involved the better you can arguably make the software. It just depends on whether you have the resources to screen it and then act effectively to triage it and figure out how to make it better going forward.
Leo: Is iOS 9 code name Monarch, is that for the new, the next generation iPhone?
Rene: Yes, we´ll see that at WBC in June and then we´ll see it on the phones
Leo: So public beta on that doesn´t make a huge amount of sense, cause it´s going to run a new hardware. Guess you still have to test it for the older stuff.
Rene: Well, it´ll be the same as the developer preview. So it´ll basically be just opening up the developer preview to public seeds exactly like they did with Yosemite. So they´ll have wwec announce it, they´ll be in developer beta, and sometime after that there´ll be a public seed beta, where a hundred thousand people can get on and test it out.
Leo: I think that´s a good idea. Microsoft´s doing the same thing with Windows 10 and I think that´s a very good idea. Not merely to find bugs but to get feedback on features.
Rene: The biggest problem is how well Apple manages, for example let´s say I´m one of the one hundred thousand people and I download the beta and then, like right now I´m running iOS 8.3. 8.2 and 8.3 are both in beta, and under 8.3 some of my apps crash immediately and some of them behave weirdly. I would hope that Apple does´t let me go to the store and leave a negative review for a developer whose app works perfectly fine on release software, but doesn´t work under the latest beta that I installed 3 minutes ago. I think it´s a great benefit, but I hope there´s checks put in place to make sure that nothing goes aright
Alex: And I do think it´s important, I think that Apple has had a lot of false starts with, you know the first time I´ve learned not to update with it. I definitely won´t set it to autoupdate, I have a tendency to wait a little bit to see what phones it breaks and what things it breaks, and so, I think getting it out in front of a lot of people early will hopefully reduce some of that pain for the early adopters when it´s actually released.
Rene: Like the 8.3 beta that went out yesterday when it was available to install over iTunes first, for a long time it didn´t go ota, and that might be in recognition of previous ota´s not being as easy.
Leo: I´d really like to see Apple move towards the example of Microsoft where they´re not very, very coy about new releases, they say this is not just a developer release if you really want to fly commando style, by all means users install this and use it and talk about it. And you will often find what they show off in January is nowhere close to what they ship in October. And if we get to see some of that from Apple, and say that it´s not the end of the world if we allow more ordinary people to use our operating system before it´s completely finished. I don´t think it would go so far as to allow people to really have an influence on design because I think they're emphatically a company that says we´re not doing our jobs as designers if we are letting you tell us how this thing should look and work. Now it´s one of the key notes, a pull quote from Johnny Ives piece in the New Yorker last week. He was complaining, he didn´t mention Motorola specifically but he was speaking about how other makers will have a piece of software and let you design the case, choose the colors, choose the trim color and I feel as though this is abdicating your responsibilities as a designer to simply let people have whatever they want, instead of using your skills as a designer to put something together. That´s why I don´t think that if Apple used this sort of system with Yosemite, we would still get the same fonts, we would still get the same transparency, maybe they would change the level in the intensity of transparency and maybe they would put in options to tone that stuff down, but it´s good to see them have at least an awareness of what problems people are going to encounter when they actually ship it to tens of millions of people.
Leo: Let´s take a break, when we come back more from Macbreak weekly. Andy Ihnatko the Chicago Sun Times. Alex Lindsay the Pittsburgh Penguins, no he´s with the Pixel corp, we´re all penguins on this, except for me, I´m sitting in the sun, enjoying the beautiful weather, I´m wearing shorts. And Rene Ritchie in Montreal with iMore.com.
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Siri now knows Russian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai and Turkish, This will be in iOS 8.3 beta 2. Really enhancing the languages.
Rene: Yeah, that´s a point of pride for them, there was a recent study I forget by who that did a bunch of language tests and showed that Apple was getting really good accuracy results on you know, Mandarin and other languages. I believe Apple does their own localization for that kind of stuff so they´re putting a lot of effort into it.
Leo: That´s a lot of work. It´s one thing to add, you know a language to a text on an app, but to add recognition, that´s got to be tough.
Rene: Yes because it´s um, there is text to speech that goes on and there is voice stuff but there´s also the contextual, the sequential inference system which realizes that I said Leo before so obviously I´m still talking about Leo now, and this is how Leo relates to everything and this is an indication that I want dining directions instead of movie listings, there´s a lot of dependencies in those frameworks.
Leo: What is the latest with photos? I know you and Serenity did a really great review on iMore about the new app that is coming to replace sort of Aperture in Yosemite, of course we already have photos on iOS although I presume there´ll be a new iOS version as well to tie it together. Where are we right now? That´s going to be in 10.10.3?
Rene: Right now it´s in the 10.10.3 beta. Apple updated a 10.10.3 beta yesterday, There was a slight incremental improvement to a photo, it´s just the build number changed, I didn´t notice any new features, but you know, it´s a brand new app so I´m anticipating new features in subsequent betas, but yeah, I´ve been using it, going on a month now, I don´t have my primary photo library in there, still that´s still sitting on a big drive off of my big computer but, I´ve put a ton of photos, you know several thousand photos in there and it´s working really well. And the best part is that they really, there´s this constant challenge between making it accessible to new people but making it powerful enough for mainstream maybe pro users and that whole idea of yes, there´s a magic wand, if all you want to say is make this good, but there´s also the 3 slider for brightness, for color, for black and white which is really easy for humans to relate to. But if you are a pro you can open each of those up and do color, so I can do like balance, or uh, saturation, or hue, or any of the things you would traditionally find in an Aperture style program. You can close those up if you don´t want them, you can open up a histogram if that´s helpful to you, but you never have to see it if you don´t want it. And that I think is making it really useful for a lot of people.
Leo: Alex I don´t think you´ve been on since we started talking about this, it replacing Aperture, or have you?
Alex: I don´t know if I have.
Leo: You were devotedly Aperture focused.
Alex: Yeah, I´m bitter.
Leo: Just asking, Just question. What are you going to do? Photos?
Alex: You know, I´m probably, I´m strongly considering moving to Lightroom for a lot of this stuff, I think that, one of the issues that I had with Aperture actually, what really killed it is not so much them dropping the support, was that, going back and looking at some of my older photo libraries, because I kind of incorporated other Apertures libraries and old iPhoto libraries, I don´t think it was doing it correctly. So one of the basis of Aperture was the idea that it´s going to keep track of your libraries, keep track of where all those photos are and you don´t really have to think about it, it´s all in a big package. And that kind of fundamentally doesn´t look like it was actually happening very well. So that was kind of terrifying because you end up with just a bunch of preview images of stuff that you thought you still had full version. So I had to go back and dig through archives and find them, but that kind of shook my confidence in the idea of a library that is not being managed. I don´t do that very often and Aperture was one of the few places, cause I trust Apple to do that, so now I´m kind of looking at more, moving to something where it´s an external collection that I can control.
Leo: I would love to know what software you end up choosing.
Alex: Most likely it will be Lightroom, because Lightroom likes to do that. So, you really kind of set your folder and set up how you´re going to do it and then you import them in, so, I think, my sister uses it pretty heavily.
Leo: She´s a photographer.
Alex: Yeah, if you go to familiar light.com that´s her little blog and she´s an incredible photographer. So, you know, one of the best photographers I know. So anyway, she takes a lot of photos. So. I´m actually, she mostly takes photos of her family, that´s what she does. Watch what she posts, she takes a lot of photos for other people, but what she tends to post is her kids.
Leo: Was she an Aperture user that moved to Lightroom?
Alex: No, no, she started in Lightroon and she just stayed there.
Leo: What plug ins does she use for the monochrome? The black and white?
Alex: I don´t know, I´ll ask her. It´s probably a good conversation to have with her. But I´m sure she´s not probably using anything exotic, you know, she´s just, mostly just uses a lot of skill and a good eye.
Leo: I´m happy with the Lightroom and somebody in the chatroom is saying this, that the Lightroom app on the iPad because it syncs 2 collections on Lightroom and that´s pretty nice. But, I´m very interested in seeing what Apple does with the photos on the desktop and photos on iOS, because there´s supposedly going to be some conversation there. And have you got clarification yet Rene on the plug in situation for photos?
Rene: Yeah, so, I know a lot of people have been wondering about it.The issue with plug ins right now is that Apple´s new plug in architecture, which is built off extensibility ,which is a much larger framework is only available for iOS, but I think it´s impossible for anyone to imagine that that won´t be moving to OS 10 maybe 10.11 or something else soon because it makes a world of sense for that to be available on OS 10 as well.
Leo: Yeah, I just bought the latest version of the alien skin exposure plug in which is a great plug in. Photoshop and Lightroom has such great support from Nik and from alien skin and all these companies that, Silver Efex pro from Nik is an incredible black and white tool that I just, I feel like that´s another argument to go, to move towards the Adobe side of the equation. There is an open source program I´ve been playing with called Light Zone. If you´re price sensitive, although Lightroom plus Photoshop and the creative cloud is only $10 bucks a month which is a good deal.
Rene: I subscribed to that, it´s an amazing value. The thing with photos though, it´s a brand new app, you have this contention of everyone wanting everything in there immediately and everyone else wanting Apple to slow down and make it stable. So in this case they´re making the core functionality stable before they add extensibility. If they try to do everything at once I think we´d have that situation where people complained on the other side again!
Andy: Also, I really think that Apple´s goal is not to, I think they´re willing to sacrifice pro users to Adobe if it means really having a laser focus on the people who are using the first or the second most popular camera in the world i.e. the iPhone. This really is optimized for people who are using the phone as the family camera, or, at best, have it they have a point and shoot, they slap the card in and it´s really just for sharing stuff with other people. It´s so easy, it´s so much less fuss, it´s so much less randomness than using Aperture or even iPhoto. You use it for about 30 minutes and you totally get why they´re going in this new direction. I do think it´s a shame that they can´t embrace pro users by continuing development on Aperture as a separate thing, but I totally understand where they´re getting this. It´s a really clear statement about here´s the issue that we really need to spend all of our time taking care of.
Leo: Have you tried Alex? Have you tried open source LightZone?
Alex: I have not tried it yet.
Leo: It seems like they´re trying to clone Lightroom.
Alex: I guess for me, I tend to lean toward them out. I really want to see competition, but when I´m actually using my own photos I tend to want to have something that´s working. My biggest problem right now is figuring out where to put in on the cloud and to back up my entire library which is about 2 terabytes, you know, so that´s been me trying to figure out the best place to store it has been my biggest process. And I kind of want everything on the cloud as well as, right now you just hit a lot of ceilings. So trying to get to 4 terabytes or 5 terabytes of total storage is what I´m trying to make sure that I figure out.
Leo: That´s a lot. If you watched the Oscars you saw a couple of things. First of all, I´ll mention the Adobe 25 ad which I thought was really, did you guys see that ad?
Rene: Heart strings Leo.
Leo: Well I don´t know about heart strings, it was just, it just felt like a great ad.
Andy: It was like the triumphal march through a conquered city. There are all kinds of things that are Photoshop alternatives but they are called Photoshop alternatives because there really is just Photoshop for this kind of work.
Leo: Just a really spectacular, and they did include some movie posters and movie stills and so forth. It was also just the kind of random stuff you can do with Photoshop.
Rene: 25 years is amazing.
Leo: I can´t believe they´re 25 years old. Holy cow!
Rene: I was joking that I don´t really miss Aperture because mostly of what I used Aperture for was to organize my photos so I could right click and go edit it in Photoshop.
Andy: I remember when the color palette for Photoshop was a very easy decision.
Rene: I remember doing the Pixel corp tutorial on how to cut out your avatar and stuff for me.
Alex: We´re very specific about our avatar.
Leo: That´s a 2 million dollar half minute by the way. Apple also spent 1.95 million for a half minute ad on the Oscars. This one featuring students from Los Angeles County high school for the Arts. Well I´ll show the ad. In the beginning of the ad, what I didn´t realize, this is shot on an iPad, and it features a speech somewhere by Martin Scorsese as the soundtrack, but the whole thing is shot on an iPad.
Andy: The entire speech is definitely worth watching.
Leo: Where is it from?
Andy: It´s from, he gave a commencement address at NYU Tisch School of the Arts that he graduated from years and years ago. I just put the link in the google doc. And the entire thing is just, I´m torn between wanting to listen to this entire 30 minute speech and suddenly wanting to stop what I´m doing and make something. This is so much stronger I think than the Robin Williams voice over Dead Poets Society because that sort of, it´s easy to make fun of the "What will your verse be today?", whereas, this is one that’s saying look I don´t like the term being live your dreams because if you´re dreaming you´re not doing, and so, get out there and do stuff.
Alex: And I think that is the thing that´s really great about some of these ads and this one specially, is that it specifically is not just there to sell you on an iPad, it is actually encouraging people, hey, these kids did it, you can go do that.
Andy: Here´s what you could do that you don´t think you can do, but if you had this, you know.
Alex: A lot of them already have it and more people are out there doing it with the iPad.
Leo: I love the iPad that´s covered with paint.
Rene: It also gets rid of the notion, a lot people have been very judgmental about people using iPads for photography and videography and it´s got a tremendous view finder, it´s very accessible to a lot of people.
Leo: But would you really?
Rene: we used it for CS. We shot a lot of CS
Leo: I mean let´s be honest, would you really use an iPad and make that an assignment? Is that really, I mean it´s a 5 megapixel camera right?
Rene: The new one is 8.
Leo: 8, sorry, okay. And after all this commercial was shot on it, so. Oh that was edited on it, or was it?
Andy: I think that should be part of the message though. Samsung also had a commercial about hey here´s this woman who wants to shoot a movie and she story boarded it on a Samsung tablet, she shot it on a Note 4, and the Note 4 is arguably the best camera you can buy on any mobile device right now, but the thing is, you have to then take that file and put it into final cut or to put it probably into an Apple device or okay yes Windows 2, but you can´t just do it all within the phone, you can even shoot something on an iPhone 6 and cut it together and do something that´s not much more less complicated than what you´re seeing in this commercial.
Leo: It does have that disclaimer, additional hardware used but it is shot on an iPad 2 so.
Rene: Well they have accessories like they have the mounts and they have the microphones.
Leo: Apple does´t make its own Jibs yet.
Rene: The color grading software, I wasn´t familiar with that and that looked great too. And that was all on the iPad.
Leo: Students filmmakers featured, um, I don´t know if they did this shot. The behind the scenes footage. I think they did. And so that´s interesting. It´s also an ad made by high school kids in effect.
Alex: And I also, I think that it is a really useful thing for teaching because it lowers the iteration. When you´re shooting your first films what´s important is that you get a lot of experience actually doing it. And it´s amazing when you´re training people how much time they spend dealing with ingestion and dealing with processing, rather than, go shoot it, go do something you know, get it done quickly. And I think that using an iOS app or an iOS solution or an Android solution, but using something that they have around all the time really makes a lot of sense. So it´s not just a marketing thing, I think it´s actually really good from a training perspective.
Leo: It´s a great viewfinder, you can´t knock that. They do have, as they do with all their ads, a page on the Apple website changing, Apple.com/changing-film, that has all the information about the people who shot it, how they did it and what apps they used.
Rene: It´s an extended page on iTunes that gives you a bunch more, like the ones they used as well as a bunch of other apps in similar category which is great.
Leo: VideoGrade was the program we were talking about that change color, saturation, you can also meet the students. I think that´s very, very cool. It´s not the first time Apple advertised on the Oscars though. They in fact advertised the first iPhone in 2007 shortly before its release. Here is the original ad. Just the rights, acquisitional loan must´ve cost 10 million dollars. And there it is, that´s a great ad! Specially for film buff right?
Andy: Specially for the Oscars because that was a time where there would be a montage edit in every, at least, maybe even 2 in every single broadcast.
Leo: Let´s see. what else? Oh, hey! Here´s some good news, for a year I´ve been getting emails from people saying why won´t Apple fix these issues in the Macbook Pros? Why don´t you hammer on them? Finally Apple has launched a repair program to fix Macbook Pros sold between February 2011 and February 2013 that have problems with distorted video, no video or unexpected reboots. Do check to see of course you´ll have to fill in your serial number as this has happened before in Apple recall to make sure yours is affected.
Alex: I´m going to check, I think mine is affected. I have an old one. And so it was, yeah, it´s a bummer
Leo: Yeah, you´ve complained about this.
Alex: I´m really glad Apple´s done this.
Leo: It took them a long time and people were complaining for an awfully long time. Effective products include 15 and 17 inch MacBook Pro models manufactured in 2011 and 15 inch retina MacBook Pro prop models, oh that´s, this is one of them, manufactured between mid 2012 and early 2013. So you go to the check your coverage page, which is self solve at Apple.com and enter your hardware serial number. Should I do that? I should just check. Where´s my serial number?
Andy: I got one of them things, I´ll definitely be checking.
Leo: I don´t have any problems.
Andy: I´ve had a few problems that I can´t really explain, either it´s an old, old, old system folder, system library that needs to be replaced or it´s just an old machine but yeah, if there´s any chance whatsoever I can take this completely old machine into an Apple store and come out with something that has at least a new part in it, I´m definitely, that´s worth the cut and paste I think.
Rene: Fleet car of computers Andy.
Leo: Actually you can do this very simply if you go to, thank you for coming over here John Stanea whose done this, you´re doing this with probably all of our Macs aren´t you? You go to about this Mac and if you go to the third, fourth tab now service, you can just check, click a link that says check my service and support coverage status, it will automatically send your serial number to Apple and bring you to this self solve page and tell you your status. In my case, it´s covered, it does´t say really whether there´s anything wrong with it though. Would I get a red box or something if it were? Or should I just go back to that original page and see? Yeah, let me copy the serial number and see. Check your hardware and, I think it´s the same information so, I presume if there´s a recall, It would, yeah, it´s the same information, when there´s a recall they would tell you. Yeah, Okay, so people should probably do that. Boy, that makes it as easy as pie. Don´t bother going to the webpage first, just go to about this Mac, click that fourth tab service then click the link.
Rene: And not a single one of those will say Superfish on them.
Leo: Ha! Man, now you know, people always complain about why, why do Macs cost so much money? Now you know why. You could get a cheap computer but you could get something else too. I feel sorry, I almost said poor Lenovo, I don´t feel sorry for Lenovo those guys are morons and they´re not a victim, they´re a perpetrator. I feel sorry for the people who bought consumer grade Lenovo laptops, it´s not the high end ones, it´s the consumer grade ones.
Andy: In their press release they were really, really careful to say none of the think pad brand have been affected. It really just shows you the problems that occur when you really have to try to make these machines at a budget price, if a company offers you a manufacturer x number of dollars per unit to put software on the device, that´s another dollar you can make per unit and your margins are razor slim to begin with. It´s a damn shame because one of the great advantages of Windows is that you can buy a decent machine for $60 dollars, and find something that does on the Macs the minimum buy for a notebook now is
$900 dollars. It´s a damn, damn shame, If I were the mayor of technologyville, I would basically be saying yeah, we´re pulling your license Lenovo, you don´t get to sell things in my town for the next year.
Leo: And frankly, I, Even though it didn´t affect the Think pad, you can´t recommend the Think Pad anymore because any company that´s, whether it´s evil or stupid, it does´t matter, any company that does something like Superfish, does´t deserve your business period.
Rene: The press release was dubious too because the first time it came out they said that there was no, they did it to enhance the customer shopping experience and there was no security concerns, and then that was quickly revised an then the CTO said we just admit, the whole thing, it just made, I stopped buying Sony after root kit and I don´t want anything from Lenovo after that.
Leo: Yep, the Rootkit and the Sony music disks was enough to sour a lot of people on Sony and may have something to do with the fact Sony had to sell its music division, and now this and I hope it puts Lenovo out of business. I don´t, I mean, shocking.
Andy: I think, if it´s a tylenol sort of situation where they, they have one chance to really save themselves and their brand and that is to be so, absolutely, willing to stab themselves in the heart, to not only fix the problem they created, but also demonstrate, we didi´t just simply say our bad and send out a few $10 dollar gift cards to make it up to people, we´ve actually had, we´ve actually done away with the approvals process that led this to happen, a certain person, they might have to sacrifice a goat in the form of an executive that has to leave the company. They are going to have to rebuild trust. The tylenol case is a good example, it´s different in that they were actually the victims of product tampering from an outside force, but they did not wait 10 seconds, they said we´re pulling all of our product off the shelves. We are introducing a brand new product that cannot be tampered with, we are disposing with this packaging that was vulnerable, and that´s why, despite the fact the entire news story for an entire week was that people were getting, that there was tampered product out, it became, we took this seriously, now we realize it´s a problem and you can trust our brand again. Lenovo has a long hill to climb. Good business for Apple though. They´re just sitting back and saying yep!
Rene: But that´s the thing, the company value, they, some people will buy based, like cheapness is the most important feature for them and Apple is saying that we want to make this sort of like a good experience the most important feature for us and they´re willing to put not just words behind it but a significant amount of their buying experience behind it. And you can go to a Microsoft store and get Microsoft signature or get a surface that also does´t have this adware, it´ll cost a little bit more, but I think the cost is more than made up for by the value of what you get for it.
Alex: This underlines what Tim Cook said which is, if you´re not buying the product, you are the product. It turns out if you´re not paying a lot for the product, you might be the product too. So I think that´s the issue.
Rene: I don´t know if you buys saw it, but How to geek did the follow up to their downloads.com or downloads.net I forget the exact URL, where they went and downloaded 10 of the most popular apps and 2 of them have super fish on them so.
Leo: So let´s just really make this clear, when you download something from the CNET downloads.com site and we´ve talked about this before, part of the download of this other company´s software usually free of shareware, is a downloader which wraps around it and downloads many other things, you can say no but you got to be quick. Among other, and by the way who owns CNET? Oh yes CBS, among other things it downloads 2 different items with super fish on it, which means you got that commodious certificate on there, which means your machine is now compromised.
Rene: And people, you can download bad Mac software, you can get adware on the Mac, like a lot of 3rd party flash download sites like to throw adware on it, so you should only get flash ever from Adobe if you really want it. But it´s just the perniciousness of the adware, it´s appalling.
Leo: Shocking, shocking.
Andy: Bring it back to Apple, I don´t like that quote because I think it´s kind of glib and it hides the fact that we don´t, we´re not selling you a $1500 notebook for $900 dollars. We´re selling you a product that´s a pretty substantial mark up and that´s what our business is based on. And also the fact that if the entire world built all of their machines the way that Apple builds theirs, how many people would not have a computer in their houses, homes or in their schools, in their classrooms because you just can´t have a world in which the minimum buy is $900 damn dollars.
Leo: I agree. I wonder though how much money?
Andy: I´m just glad there´s versatility. I´m glad there´s just variety out.
Leo: Yeah and I recommend if you´re going to buy a Windows machine you go to the Microsoft store and you buy a signature PC which will have none of that stuff on it, Microsoft makes sure of that. And I just wonder how much Lenovo makes on all the crapware or HP or any of these companies.
Rene: They said that not much that was the worst part.
Leo: So If I had to pay $50 dollars more for a computer it´s still not $900 dollars, uh, do that! Right? Just do that.
Andy: You can get some very decent stuff for 5 or $600 dollars and for a lot of people that $300 bucks is the difference between someone owning their own machine and having to share it with a couple of people.
Rene: They put it on the box too, say like because some people are worried that people will always buy the cheapest machine, so they have to have the cheapest machine and they have to figure out the way to make money. Make that a point of pride or a point of value on the box that someone knows that if its 20 bucks, 30 bucks more, this computer ships without adware.
Leo: Dell used to do that. Dell used to have a check box that you could say, I will pay, are you willing to pay a little bit more and not have anything on there, and have a clean install of Windows and you could check that. I wish they would continue to do that, they don´t. Although to their credit Dell, I just bought a Dell laptop that does not have much, it has one piece of crapware, Mcafee, which is easy to remove.
Andy: That´s why I absolutely don´t like it when people make fun of amazon for selling tablets that have ads on them. That is absolutely the way they should do it. They said, you can choose, are an extra $30 dollars more important to you than having ads, we will give you the free choice, here are the prices of both of them, we feel as though the ads are unobtrusive but we´re not going to force them on you nor are we going to force you to pay $30 dollars that maybe you don´t really have. Up to you.
Rene: If you do the ads, make them secure. Please, make them secure.
Leo: We´re going to take a break because we want to make some room because Steve Gibson is coming up in about 15 minutes and he of course is going to cover the, I´m sure, the super fish issue, from a technical point of view, not from a commercial point of view but from the technical point of view of what it was, what it did and what it means. But before we go into our break and you guys can get ready with your picks of the week, I do want to mention this is Steve Jobs 60th. birthday today, Tim Cook remembering Steve on Twitter, who would´ve turned 60 today, the only way to do great work is to love what you do, and a really good picture of Steve. 60 years old today, it´s so sad that he is not here to celebrate that birthday. Guys get your picks ready.
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Forgot to mention that Modern Family is going to be on tomorrow and you probably all know that it´s the episode that takes, place, the entire episode takes place inside a Macbook Pro, including FaceTime calls, messages, messages from the family. The episode is called Connection lost, and Apple says we did not pay for this, we were happy to provide the equipment and I imagine Apple has a promotional deal with Modern Family because you see a lot of iPads and stuff on Modern Family, but that just means they give them in kind promote you know, equipment.
Alex: But I´ve been in a lot of productions actually that have gotten the support from Apple and you know, they don´t pay for it, in fact they generally it seems like they´re fielding hundreds of these requests a week. And you know, people will think, crazy think because they know that they´ll get a lot of promotion by using, doing something crazy like this, so really but they call Apple , what you do is you call Apple and say, hey can I have a couple of laptops and a MacPro, this is what we want to do, and you know, it´s an arduous process to do that with Apple, it used to be very easy. When Steve Jobs came back in it closed down pretty quickly, it used to be a very free wheeling system. That is no longer that way. But I don´t believe that Apple paid anything but I´m sure I don´t think anyone approached them with the idea, I think that they came up with the idea and they came to Apple and said, we need a bunch of extra equipment to do that and Apple allowed them to do it.
Leo: There´s some interesting behind the scenes stuff. Steve Levitan who created Modern Family says he got the inspiration because he has 2 kids in college and that they do a lot of FaceTiming. He was working one day with a number of emails and websites open on his machine, video chat from his daughter popped up, he saw everything and his wife doing something behind him, he says I realize on that screen you can tell so much about my life just if all you saw was the screen. John Brown was involved in this, you know John Brown don´t you Alex? Motion graphics guy, very well-known name so, Levitan went to John Brown, and shot it with crew members as a proof of concept. Brown put the footage together into a mockup of Claire´s computer screen and they had their story boards. They were a little worried given the resolution of the, that the image would lose clarity when they pushed in on elements so instead Brown duplicated and animated get this, the entire Mac interface manually at 4 times the resolution. So they can push the camera in. So you´re not actually looking at a Mac Pro screen, you´re looking at a simulated screen. Brown said he worked on the assets for Yosemite when Yosemite was in beta, so, he had to, they actually shot it before Yosemite came out so apparently they had to tweak and swap things around. Yeah, John Siracusa had to do that for his screenshots right? Brown said it was frustrating to be like act 1 totally locked and then come back Monday and hear the Face Time notification had changed. So they really put some effort in making this look like Yosemite.
Alex: Which is funny because a lot of people wouldn´t have noticed, it wouldn´t have been a big deal for them, so that just shows you there´s a lot of attention to detail.
Rene: So many horrible iPhone interfaces on tv, they get a text message and this thing pops up.
Leo: Well we´ll watch tomorrow, I think that´s something to look at is how closely did they really, since you now know it´s not a Mac Pro, it´s a simulated Mac Pro.
Rene: Remember that video from the iPhone 4? When they introduced Face Time and Scot was just saying I´m talking to my kids eyes and see how are you doing, it was just so intense and I picture that being on the Modern Family screen.
Leo: You will notice one thing and this comes from a great article on The Verge from Bryan Bishop, he says one thing will stand out at you, Face Time, they wanted to have multiple video chats at the same time on the screen which Face Time can´t do, but they had that going, so you´ll notice that and may say to yourself whoa I didn´t know you could do that, well you can´t. And apparently Brown did not, aesthetically like the heavy use of translucency in Yosemite. That was such a thorn in my side, everything is transparent when the message scrolls up you can sort of see it through the top of message.
Alex: Specially if you´re rebuilding the interface, that becomes a big deal. I´ve had to do quite a few projects where we rebuild and reanimate interfaces and the simplest things that you think, that you just do while you´re in the interface, animating that is an entirely different world.
Leo: Well he picked the easy solution, he just decided Claire, the mom in the show, is kind of a neatnic I think you know that if you watch the show, so she´s turned off translucency in the settings.
Rene : She went to Daring Fireball.
Leo: Is it terminal command? Do you have to do it? It´s not in the control panel?
Rene: No, i think you put on inaccessibilty settings.
Leo: Ah, inaccessibility. Well you can see, there´s no translucency here.
Andy: It´s actually marks something like, tone it down.
Leo: Tone it down.
Andy: It´s actually called give me a break with the translucency.
Rene: Enough already.
Andy: Enough with the translucency, A little picture of Paul Reiser going.
Leo: I´m trying to do playback here, please! Alex Lindsay your pick of the week.
Alex: So, um, I do a lot of walk throughs, you know, for locations. Location scouting. And one of the things that we do, we build 3d models of almost every place that we work, so we have to figure out where our cameras are going to be and a lot of times we won´t have very much time when we get there so we have to block everything out. One of the things that I need to do is take pictures and then put measurements on so I got this little laser pointer which I can make it the hardware pick of the day, it´s not really a Mac, but Bosch, my little Bosch. So I take little laser shots of exactly how high the building is and dimensions, and I use a program on my iPhone called my measures pro and what it does, there´s my measures and my measure pro and what you can do is basically you take the photo and then I take measurements and I just kind of use my finger to kind of create arrows, you just kind of pinch your fingers away from each other and you´ll create little arrows and then you just say how big everything is.
Leo: But you have to measure it yourself it doesn´t measure it for you.
Alex: It doesn´t measure it for you. I have never found, for a, at a professional level, I have never found that the measuring for you really works.
Leo: They have those tools, but yeah, they´re always a little off.
Alex: They´re always a little off and if they´re off by a couple of inches sometimes we end up in big problems because we bought railing for it and everything else. So we really want to do a, I´m happy to do the measurements but I just needed something quickly so that I can just put in the measurements where they make sense. For a long time I was like drawing on them with my finger and saying 25 ft and none could read it, and so this is a great little app that just kind of does all of those things, and I get a series of photos and then I send them out. And so it keeps it in folder and you can kind of have you know, sections of this location after this location with those measurements and it´s just a great way if you´re doing that kind of thing, you might need something for your house or in my case you´re doing location scouting, it´s a great way to just kind of send it back or keep track of it, on top of the photo. So, that´s it.
Leo: Neat, Neato. My Measure and dimension Pro, and it´s what? $3 dollars? $4 dollars?
Alex: Something like that. A coffee…
Leo: What do you see Jason? $8.99 alright, 2 cups of coffee.
Alex: Big spender. A really nice cup of coffee.
Leo: Triple brave venti
Alex: Yeah, exactly. My kind of coffee!
Leo: Rene Ritchie, pick of the week sir.
Rene: I´m piggybacking off Serenity Caldwell again, big surprise. I only had a chance to play with this a little but she´s on a full review already and it´s called Forge, it´s by the people who make the Adonit jot touch stylus´s which is the pressure sensitive stylus and it’s optimized for use with the stylus and what it is, it´s a drawing application almost like Paper by 53, oh whatever number they are. Yeah 53 so it´s got the same kind of tools, markers and pencils and things like that, but what it does it lets you storyboard as well so those pictures go down to little boxes and you can do very quick, very new once iterations. I stuck the link for Serenity´s thing in the Google doc as well and you can see she´s done a whole series of sketches and you can page through all of them.
Leo: Don´t tell me Serenity´s also a good artist!
Rene: She is a terrific artist.
Leo: I hate her, she´s just too accomplished. She´s good at everything.
Rene: Yeah, amazing. So it excellently works with the stylus, you can really get a sense of you know, costume design, animation or any sort of iconography. I was quickly using it to make, you know, different ideas for an album we´re working on, and then you can just sort of page through them you can stick items in the corner and move them between projects. You can export as a PNG or a PDF file. And it´s just a really, really great experience. It came out today so it´s a version 1, so it is limited. You can´t do everything with it yet, but they chose really, really smart things to start off with. And as much as I love Paper, I like the fact that we´re getting this sort of vibrant creative ecosystem on the iPad, you know this thing with Adobe voice, with all sorts of great apps, and this to me is what sort of unlocks the potential of the iPad, it´s the ability to use it as a much larger canvas for things that would simple be too small on an iPhone to do. So it´s called Forge again by Adonit.
Leo: Forge, Forge. Thank you for that pick. Mr. Andy Ihnatko.
Andy: Mine is a really cool music app. Thanks to the future video podcasting. there´s so much going on in classical music that you enjoy the pretty, pretty music, but then, like when somebody who knows what they´re talking about can explain what´s actually going on with a piece of music, we get something familiar like Beethoven´s 9th. symphony, what this app does is, it has recordings of 4 different recordings and 4 different decades a nd it will take you through the entire score, you can see down here, note for note, showing you these lights here´s what the sections of the orchestra are actually doing, here´s video of the conductor and the orchestra actually playing it. And there´s captions, like down here, to show you, here´s what this movement is doing, here´s the composers now setting this section of the orchestra against this other section of the orchestra. There´s just hours and hours, and you can switch between like different composers see how each, excuse me different conductors, to see how each of these conductors has decided to interpret the same text. There´s also like documentary like interview footage to people, explain the history behind it, the history of Beethoven, like what was going on in his mind at this point in his life. There are few pieces of classical music that are more well-known than the 9th. but you just, you have no idea how much is going on here and how this thing was put together and I was just wound up listening to this piece of music like 4 times in a row just to just see, oh well I ´m not going to pretend I understand exactly why Bernstein decided to go that way instead of this other composer, this other conductor. It´s not cheap, it´s a free download and you get about 2 minutes of this, for $13.99 you get all 4 recordings, all 4 videos and the entire symphony illustrated this way. So, it really is pretty exciting, there´s also an iPhone version of it, that´s certainly not as cool as the iPad version but it´s only $5.99. If you do buy the iPhone version, they will let you apply that I think towards unlocking the iPad edition too. But it´s really just supremely entertaining. This is the same publisher that also publishes Elements by the way, the periodic table of the elements explorer and it really just shows you the potential of devices like the iPad. There´s no way to really teach stuff like this as clearly and as compellingly as having a fully interactive app like this, and of course you can scrub, you can go, check out this thing, it´s just really, really cool.
Leo: Is that? That´s not new, I think I´ve seen that before maybe.
Andy: They have a couple of different educational apps, I don´t know when this was released, I think it was released about a year ago maybe.
Leo: Yeah okay. I love this. This is so cool.
Andy: I just found it last week, it´s like I, yeah. It´s pricey, it´s a real thrill to finally recommend something that´s more expensive than whatever out, this is $14 dollars with entertainment.
Leo: And I´m thinking they do other musical things too.
Andy: I think they have another musical piece, they also have another educational app that walks you through Winston Churchill´s biography and his thought process.
Leo: Yeah, yeah. Nice stuff. We´re going to get out of here because we’ve got to get ready for Security Now; a couple of things though, I´ll mention. If you use an iPad, we mentioned this yesterday on iPad the day, both Goole´s inbox app which is their email app which I love and Google Play music now have iPad native versions, thank you finally.
Rene: And YouTube kids Leo.
Leo: And YouTube kids came out yesterday, which is a kid version of YouTube, limited to videos that are kid friendly. I think that´s cool. And um, somebody in the chatroom pointed out and I should mention this as well and I´m sure we´ll talk a little more about it another time. Firefox 36 just came out featuring built in video connections, no download software. They´re using something called Telefonica. I know Web RTC right is the Chrome Google version of this. I don´t know if you can talk to somebody other than people using Firefox, that´s kind of interesting that this is kind of built in you just send.
Rene: Web RTC is the audio and Web AM or something the video.
Leo: Oh, okay. But I actually now have a video conference running in the latest Mozilla and I could just copy the link and paste it in and you can call me without any additional download so that´s kind of cool.
Rene: Are Firefox and Facebook in a version number are risk?
Leo: I think so, I think 36. And it updates magically in the background all the time too. Chrome is in 40 so, you know. It´s 4 better.
Alex: It´s using WebRTC.
Leo: This uses WebRTC? So then it should be compatible with Chrome?
Alex: It should be, yes.
Leo: That´s interesting.
Alex: It just makes it much more turnkey.
Leo: Yeah, yeah. Audio or video or both. Thank you everybody for joining us we are so happy to have you every Tuesday 11 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Eastern time. 19:00 UTC that´s when we do it live. The chatroom is so valuable so please if you can be here live and in the chatroom that would be neat and nifty, but if not don´t worry about it because we make on demand audio and video available of course on our website Twit.TV/mbw Youtube.com/macbreakweekly and wherever podcasts are aggregated like iTunes. And of course the apps, there are apps on every platform, iOS has Apple zone app plus Marcos great app, there are so many good podcast apps now and we´re on all. All you have to do is subscribe and you get each and every episode or use the great Twit apps, iOS, Android, Roku, Windows Phone apps, we didn´t do them, all dome by great 3rd part developers and we thank them for their efforts. Thank you for being here, now back to work because break time is over!