MacBreak Weekly 450 (Transcripts)
Andy Ihnatko: Coming up next on MacBreak Weekly, we're talking about preorder sales for the Apple Watch, existing sales for the brand new super skinny Macbook, worries about Photos app and all kinds of other things we can worry about coming up in WWDC coming up shortly on MacBreak Weekly.
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Andy: This is MacBreak Weekly, episode 450 for April 14th, 2015.
Blood on the Wristband
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Andy: It's time for MacBreak Weekly, hello. Leo Laporte is off in Las Vegas at NAB leaving me, Andy Ihnatko of the Chicago Sun Times nominally in charge of the panel, but we have the usual powerhouse panel, including the guest panelist substituting for Leo that we most like to have, first up Alex Lindsay though is back with us. Alex how you doing today?
Alex Lindsay: Hello from Vegas.
Andy: From Vegas, so we're seeing a really good hotel room interior, what's your light source because your light source is gorgeous.
Alex: It's a window.
Alex: All I have is a big window, I'm looking out over Las Vegas right now, turns out to be a very good light source.
Andy: Is it a high roller window or is it a deadbeat window?
Alex: I think it's a deadbeat window with...
Andy: I believe, didn't they dome over Las Vegas so that they could have one sun for the whales and another one for the bus traffic?
Alex: No I think the whales are right above me in the real, the real nice places. I can see the little edge where that begins, in fact when the wind blows some of the metal is vibrating...
Andy: If you're underneath you can't see the whales breach and that's the most majestic reason to have them. Also with us from iMore is Rene Ritchie, Rene how you doing?
Rene Ritchie: Doing very well Andy, we've finally thawed out. I can look outside and see something that approximates green.
Andy: I know! I had just last week, I had to go for Boulder but for like two days before that the critters were back in the back yard for the first time in months, they were shell shocked but they're ready to trust again and the squirrels were like desperately trying to get at the hordes they buried four months ago but they haven't been able to get at because of the ice.
Rene: It's soggy greatness, Andy. It's soggy greatness.
Andy: I will take gray skies and people playing baseball and being able to back into my driveway without having to cut the wheel twice, that's springtime to me.
Andy: Filling in for Leo this week Serenity Caldwell also from iMore. Serenity, how you doing this week?
Serenity Caldwell: I'm doing great, how are you doing Leo? I just called you Leo, that's really hilarious. How are you doing Andy?
Serenity: Yeah I'm tired but otherwise great.
Andy: Yeah, I know what you mean. I am guest Leo this week but I don't have the guts to either shave my head or tattoo my butt.
Jason: There you go, I gave you the lower third. You're Leo now. It's cool.
Andy: Okay. Oh that's right...
Serenity: This is your new name, you've been christened.
Andy: Do I have access to Leo's corporate AmEx?
Jason: I'm working on it, I'm working on it.
Andy: Because I think it's bonus time here at MacBreak Weekly. Some of us don't have Apple Watch, some of us don't have new Macbooks but we can fix that before Leo gets back. A lot of, finally we've got some great stuff to talk about this week with both the start of preorders for the Apple Watch last Friday and also the start of availability for the new Macbook but let's start talking about the Apple Watch. There are some preorder sales numbers from a research group called Slice Intelligence, they have access to only US data and I talked to them a couple of days ago about where they're getting their data from, they have basically a sampling of two million users and they have access to their e-receipts. But for whatever this is worth, they say that they've figured that Apple sold roughly about a million Apple Watches pre-ordered, they're saying that two thirds of those were the sport model, the cheapest model of course. Each consumer spent an average of $504, the average order is 1.3 so you can get one for yourself and one for your .3 kids, and the most popular was the space gray color followed by steel and the black band was most popular. Also interesting that 71% seemed to have bought the larger as opposed to the smaller watch. Let's actually start off by asking, I want to know, has anybody pre-ordered one yet? I will answer my own question first, I did not because it was a $350 minimum thing and I run an Android phone so I couldn't really justify it. But Alex, did you preorder?
Alex: I have not, I went to preorder and of course the first thing that I found out is that I didn't really know what prices would be what. Of course the one that I want was the most expensive one other than the gold one. So at first I decided I had to think about that a little bit and secondly it wouldn't ship until July. And so I felt like I could probably wait now that I've missed the boat. That was like 8:00 in the morning on Friday that I found out that it was going to be July so they obviously sold a couple or they didn't make very many.
Andy: I'm sorry go ahead, keep talking.
Alex: I think it's interesting the reports of 5.5 million and it'll be interesting to see, but there's also so many variations. You know, so there's so many different options of how many fit into each one of these little... panels, I think that's probably one of the challenges. But it's like everything else, you probably need to be patient and figure out. And when you're spending that much money I do definitely want the one that I want.
Andy: Yeah that was a big deal for me too. I did do another check of the store just an hour ago and things seem to have improved a little bit because I couldn't find a watch that was not available later than June so maybe they've figured out when the container ship is coming back, Rene did you preorder a watch?
Rene: I did. I don't usually preorder because I actually like going to the stores when they have line ups and they do the little song and dance routine that everyone claps and you come in and I like all those festivities but we talked about that Angela Ahrendts memo or press release last weekend about how they were trying to push everyone online so I wasn't sure there would be any in store availability so I broke down and bought the watch that Alex didn't get, so I'm thankful that Alex left it available for me.
Rene: And then I got a bunch of bands to go with it. I always panic, Andy, like when a waitress asks you what you want and you haven't made up your mind and you blurt something out and I was saying “I want the black stainless steel but then it won't go with the band, so the then the silver stainless steel but then I might as well get the silver aluminum, but then the metal's not as...” and I just ended up getting the black stainless steel.
Andy: And you feel like your place in line is about to go away, I was at the... the short version of one of the most embarrassing social errors of my life, I wound up sticking my friend with the cost of a full lobster dinner because I arrived late, did not know that he announced that he was going to be picking up the whole check, the waitress took about 45 minutes to get to our order and when I ordered the casserole I wanted to get they were out and she was about to leave for another half hour so I desperately said “Fine, give me the lobster.” it was a lobster place so I know what you mean. You see that countdown timer saying “Uh give me the... whale gray made out of... dolphin beak and uh do you have an 81mm one? I'll take the 81mm one.” How about you?
Serenity: I did preorder. I pre-ordered a 38 millimeter sport with the white sport band, that was a late, last minute decision. I was originally pretty gung-ho on the blue and then at the very last second was like “Well the white might be more appropriate for all. I'm just going to go with the white.” But I also got a Milanese loop, thinking that well I really want a slightly fancier band for non-roller derby endeavors, and I really like the look of the modern buckle but unfortunately it's $249 which is about as much as the sport itself. So the Milanese is a slightly less pricey $149 and that kind of sold me in. I'm like well I really like the look of it too, and when went and tried it on, I tried it on yesterday and actually even got the watch specialist to swap out bands so I could see how the sport looked with the Milanese I was totally, 100% confirmed. I managed to order in the first 3 minutes through the app store, Apple store app and as a result I theoretically I think am in the original ship window, which is I think 4/24 to May 2nd.
Serenity: Yeah! Hey look at that. There's even, there's a thing on iMore too that has more beautiful pictures of it that I posted this morning. But yeah, I'm a little terrified about ship times because I had it shipped to my parent’s house since I'm going to be down in the California area for Yosemite. For the Yosemite conference by CocoaConf which you're going to that as well Andy yeah?
Andy: Yes I am.
Serenity: Is that right?
Serenity: So I'm going down to LA after that and I'm like “Oh shoot, I'm going to be in Los Angeles on Apple Watch launch day!” so I'm really hoping that I had the initial launch and it's getting sent to my parent’s house otherwise I'm going to be back home and my watch is going to be in California and I'm going to be very very sad.
Andy: I hope that right now throughout, through the chatroom, throughout everyone listening live you can feel the waves of sympathy and support as you say that you might have to wait three days til maybe the end of April...
Andy: Before you get your watch. So I think...
Serenity: Yeah yeah yeah.
Andy: Surely on this side of Jerusalem none suffer as you suffer. But I'm interested in your thought process on buying it. Like if you could divorce yourself from the idea that you are a tech writer and people are going to be asking you for your opinions on this and you can generate a lot of different things to write about on this, would you still have bought it just as a regular consumer?
Serenity: I would say yes, primarily for the health tracking functions. And the fact that... pretty much it all centers around roller derby and me being a jerk to people. The roller derby side is very much that I have yet to find a fitness tracker that accurately represents what I do on roller skates on a daily basis, which is to say that the kind of high intensity sport that I play is not easily measured by steps because you're on roller skates and it's very, it's fast paced, there's a lot of movement. You're working muscles in a very different way than you are in other sports and it becomes, and it's not... there's not basketball under most activity entries right? You can't... roller derby is so new that people don't quite know how to categorize it, or know how many calories or how good it is for your body or bad I suppose if you get hit a lot but the watch's tracking functions while they don't have a roller derby insert per se, they offer... they track a lot more varied health statistics than your average FitBit for instance. And the combination of it also integrating with my iPhone means that for the first time I will not be, I will not have to carry a phone on my roller skates while I am coaching. I can just put the watch on and then I can use the watch to read off my drills and make sure okay, we're on task. The time is... we've gone through 40 minutes of our practice and we're still on the second drill, gotta speed things up. Previous to this, I would carry around my phone and pray that I didn't drop it anywhere like on the concrete floor that we skate on. Or as happened to my brand new iPhone 6 the first four days I got it I rolled over it because I set it down to do something, and didn't hurt it because pressure on the screens is actually surprisingly good but still... it's like I would like to avoid destroying my phones while playing the sport that I like. So I'm really kind of hoping that the watch is going to be the thing for me. Now it remains to be seen how durable it is when met with roller derby, I have high hopes for the Ion X Glass, I thought about going up to the steel just for the sapphire but at the same time I'm like... what if it does get scratched and then I've just spent almost $1,000 on a device that I'm, you know, smashing around.
Andy: Also, is there some sort of rule that says that there's a weight limit to how heavy and how hard a watch that you're swinging around on the end of your arm can be when you're playing roller derby?
Serenity: Yeah, there is not.
Rene: (laughs) Yet.
Serenity: It would be under my wrist guard, so I'm not really worried about it hitting concrete or hitting other people because it's going to be under my gear but it is a general concern just in terms of like... I don't know. I wore a FitBit for a while just out of curiosity to see if it could track things and I've killed every FitBit that I've ever owned from sweat, it's very sad.
Rene: Andy if I can add, my mom's never gotten her first gen iPhone or iPad but she saw the most recent commercial and she wanted to order one so I took her for a try on yesterday and she went there and she went across the table and she went and tried the machines while she was waiting, then they showed her the watch and she was super happy. She said one of the things that startled her was that she's senior enough that she has a little bit of arthritis and she has a lot of trouble with her jewelry and she had no problem at all, especially with the loops with a lot of bands, and her current watch gives her a lot of trouble to take on and off and she really liked it sort of from an accessibility point of view and she thought it would be great because she leaves her phone in her purse and she misses calls and she misses texts and she's hoping at least with the watch on she'll see when... well she'll still skip my calls and texts but at least the people she wants to talk to will get through.
Andy: Yeah I've been following on Twitter, a lot of people have been reporting on their experiences with their concierge appointments trying on the watch and it's causing a lot of delight and a lot of excitement as long as you don't take a camera, because there have been a couple people also tweeting that they tried to video it and they said “No, no pictures no pictures please.” I don't know why they had a Russian accent when they said this to these people but...
Rene: No Meerkat! No Meerkat!
Andy: Exactly. So it seems to be a good goodwill gesture at least, I don't know if it's translating into sales yet. We're going to have to... I was a little bit surprised that Apple didn't have a big announcement as they did for other successful preorder launches. Like hey, do you believe we sold six million of these in the very first week, and we sold more in the first day than we sold of iPads in the very first year, so I don't think that means anything but I think that it's an interesting thing to note. Also, none of us seem to have been so gifted with pre-advanced hardware so we don't, we don't have day to date experience. Let's note that there have been, earlier reviews started to hit middle of last week about half a dozen people seemed to get them. Let's just acknowledge that they... it seems like every reviewer had something positive and something not so positive to say about it, bit of a mixed bag. I can't talk about that because I have not been reading any of those because I expect to get one in the next week or two for review and I want my head to be clear for that, but Alex what do you think about how these reviews are going to affect people’s interest in the watch? Because it's still a brand new sort of thing, people still need to be convinced that they should start wearing a watch again much less start spending three or four hundred dollars on a gadget watch. Are people really going to be scared off by any sort of negative review, anything that's not the usual “Oh my god, Apple's once again brought the lord and put him in our watch!” sort of positive review?
Alex: I think that the first round of these watches are going to be picked up by people who are early adopters. There's going to be probably 3 to 5 million people that are going to buy these just because they want to be the first people that have them and so I think that that's not going to be affected by the reviewers, most of those people have already decided they're going to buy a watch. I think that the next step is when you start seeing applications. I think the big cheerleaders for the watch are going to be app developers who are developing really cool tools that allow you to use your watch. I was, and I was looking for it here but I can't find it, there was someone at NAB that have comm systems. You know, that you would use to talk to the rest of your team and they had set it up so that you can tap the watch when you want to talk. Like push to talk with your watch, and for me that was a very very great connection to that process. And I think that as we see people doing really innovative things, apps, I think that's what's going to draw people. They're going to see something or they're going to see a handful of things that get them really excited for what they can do with the watch, and I think that's what's really going to push it. There's a lot of integration that may or may not happen. But I think that the timing is actually of the whole process I think has been masterfully kind of laid out because you have this early launch, the preorder, they're going to be able to realize those sales, realize a lot of them before the end of the quarter, they'll talk about that in May and then you have WWDC where they're really going to talk about how many have sold and this is the real opportunity for developers and you're really going into the summer with developers who if they aren't thinking about it, will be thinking about it and I think that's going to push a lot of watches, is the real use of them. More than the first 3 to 5 million will just be people excited but the next 5 to 10 million or 20 million will be people seeing something in their life that is actually going to be affected by the watch.
Andy: Yeah and I think it's going to be a big deal when people start having friends who have them and they can actually ask them, “What's the experience like?” Because I think there is sort of three tiers to reactions to the watch, or even reviews. I think the first tier is you've had it for a couple of days and you actually can use it in your own life, but then the next important tier is you've been using it for an entire month and now you're totally used to it and then the third tier will be once, as you say, a lot of these third party apps that totally take advantage of Apple Watch get out there and it stops being hey look it takes time, hey look it's a fitness tracker. Hey look I can take phone calls and I can do Siri from it. But when your favorite app on your phone is also available as a watch app, I think that's when people start to really fall in love with it. Rene you were about to say...?
Alex: Well and I think that we're going to see...
Andy: Oh, I'm sorry.
Alex: Oh, yeah. I think we're going to see stuff like for instance being able to fire off your camera, I mean obviously you'll be able to do it with your iPhone, but you'll see controllers where I can sit there and stand in front and tap my watch, take a picture. Or start video, or slow video, in my field. I think those kind of things are going to... it's not going to take very many of those before people decide oh I've got to have one of those.
Andy: Yeah. I'm sorry, Rene what were you about to say?
Rene: No, I was just going to agree with Alex. I think one of the things that's interesting about the watch, it's an internet communicator, it's a phone, it's an iPod and we remember the iPad was for reading and for watching and they gave all these use cases where the Apple Watch, it felt a little more unsettled. No one really knew what exactly it would be and they tried to whittle that down at the last event but I think a lot of people will have completely different use cases. Like Serenity is going to love it for roller-blading, sorry roller derby and my mom's going to love it for notifications, and I might like it for something completely different like home automation and I think it has sort of these unique aspects and everyone, if they find something they like about it will find one or two of those that really make a difference to them and that's what they're going to go with.
Andy: Yeah one password announced on their blog I think it was today that they're going to be supporting the watch so that once you're done with your workout, you go back to your locker at the health club you can actually pull up your combination for the locker there. WebMD has also showed off what they're going to be doing with the app and it's going to be things like not just reminding you to take your pills but here is what your pills look like and here is how many you have to take, and also some sort of service where you can... it ties into a phone where you can then, if you need, like a consultation with an actual doctor for $2.99 you can actually talk to a real doctor, a regular provider for this sort of stuff and yeah, that's all that stuff is absolutely right. The delightful thing is not when you start to buy apps and install them but when your normal apps start to update and your watch starts to do things it did not do two days ago, like the first time, like Alex said. The first time I tried to take a picture and I noticed on the bottom of my Android Ware watch there's a little controller that says oh if you want to control the shutter from here, by all means do that. Like oh isn't that nice? You figured that out on your own? Aren't you getting smarter and smarter little watch. Wired had a really... oh, sorry go ahead.
Alex: And I think that also one of the things that a lot of people keep on asking me here is do I think that the watch is going to kill all the other watches and I think this is actually going to be a huge boon for Motorola, I think it's going to be a big push for Pebble because there's going to be a lot of people that really look at the Apple Watch and get excited about a smartwatch and then get not excited about the price. You know and so I think that there's a huge market that's going to be wide open in the sub $250 sub $200 range.
Andy: Yeah, Wired has, excuse me, where is it... no I'm sorry, The Verge had an article quoting sources they couldn't name that Google is very very close to finishing an Android Ware component app for the iOS so that the iPhone will have as much of the functionality as possible for Android Ware watches like the Moto 360 as they have on Android, which would be terrific because I do see both Apple Watch and Android Wares having two really different philosophies and both of them are totally totally valid, that's reason enough to support both watches. The other reason being that a lot of people can't even afford the $350 one and we have really good, I think the best watch available for Android Ware is the Moto 360 and it costs $200, and also every single Apple Watch is the exact same style and at least with Android Ware if you want a round face, if you want a square face that has a different sort of bezel to it there are at last a half a dozen now, I think there are eight or nine different manufacturers and so I really do think this will shake things up and make things pretty good. That wasn't the only hardware stuff from last week, also Apple started shipping the brand new Macbook. Thoughtfully named Macbook, so as to not cause any confusion between this device and anything else that Apple is shipping that runs MacOS. Rene your review, the iMore review just landed this morning didn't it?
Rene: Yes, absolutely.
Andy: What did you think about it?
Rene: I really, so like there's a huge caveat for me. I really like it. It did a lot of things that I think are incredibly practical, to me it's almost like an iPad in Mac's clothing where it's very light, it's Retina, it's got one port. It's made to be really accessible and appealing to people for whom computers might have always been intimidating or who gravitated towards an iPad and then decided they need more of a computer and I get people who complain about you know, the keyboard or about the trackpad or about the lack of ports but to me the only caveat right now is price. Because it starts at $1200, the original Air started at $1799 so it's not exactly...
Andy: $1299 isn't it?
Rene: $1299 sorry yeah, and the original Air started at $1799 so it's not unusual for new computers to be pricey but I think as years go on and this gets cheaper I mean the 11 inch Air is now $899, this will be a new generation of accessible computers, it will very much be sort of an iPad for Macs and I think that's a terribly exciting idea.
Andy: Yeah, I agree. I was away last week so I've only got it this week and boy, I'm surprised at how much I'm liking this because people are sick to death of me talking about the limitations of the Macbook Pros but I think they made a lot of really smart choices here. The trackpad, we've already talked about how just magical the trackpad experience is. It's not a clicky button but it feels like a clicky button, my next bit of skepticism was going to be about the super super super duper flat keyboard with the new key switch technology, and it is is super super super duper flat, it's like the flattest feeling keyboard I've ever used. Maybe next to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 like the cardboard keyboard that's the keyboard cover, and yet the fact that they made the keys bigger, it's... I'm still... I've only written maybe 800 to 1000 words on it yet but I can see myself getting used to it... it's not like it's slowing me down any, and you're right there's something so compelling about this tiny tiny little object. Last week for the conference I was going for an entire week and I packed grumpy.
Andy: You ever have one of those days where like...
Andy: You're packing and you kind of wish you were staying home, I've got so much work to do if I stayed in the office. And then you're like “I'm not gonna take the laptop, I don't want to take it out for TSA, I don't want to have to carry my laptop bag. I'm just going to take my iPad with me.” and so for good and for bad I took my iPad with me but if I had this Macbook with me, in the office oh boy that would not have been an issue whatsoever.
Rene: One of the things that was startling to me was I went back to using my 13” Macbook Pro today because I have a VPN on that that I needed to do a few things with and I hadn't set that up yet and immediately the keys felt loosey-goosey, it took me about three hours to get used to the keys. But now these keys feel loosey-goosey and I tried to force-press to bring up details and messages, and to bring up a file at some point and it didn't work and it was just, it occurred to me again how quickly our brains can make the new things seem normal and the old things seem utterly strange.
Serenity: That new keyboard is absolutely crazy, in terms of the fact that like... I know Jason Snell and I were talking about this a lot, in terms of when you first type on it especially if you're used to deeper or thicker keyboards they, it definitely feels weird, it definitely feels a little bit like you're typing on glass. Which is to say that you don't have, you know, you don't have the same kind of deep indentation pressure that you're used to from a keyboard but that said I actually found that once I kind of got used to typing on it, I actually feel like I type a lot cleaner whereas when I'm typing on my Macbook Air I feel like occasionally I'll hit keys the wrong way or my fingers will slip, but the... I don't know if it's the new key mechanism or if it's just the fact that it's slightly thinner, but I find that my fingers are almost gliding across the keys when I'm typing and it's allowing me to type much much quicker than I normally do, which is kind of... I mean it definitely is going to take some adjustment but I tested this again when I went in for my try on appointment, my watch try on appointment yesterday and I like, I find myself liking that keyboard more and more despite the fact that I've always been a fan of the deeper, squishier keyboards.
Andy: Yeah I'm totally with you, and I wonder how much of it is just the size, the fact that they made the keys larger and they made the gaps between them smaller so you can mis-hit them, it's not just that it's a bigger target area but that it's a flatter surface area so that if you mis-hit it a little bit it still feels like you hit it dead-center and it really gives you a sense of confidence. I had this thought that absolutely didn't occur to me until I started using it that I... I can't believe I'm saying this, but if Apple decided to get rid of mechanical keyboards completely and just go with haptics to give that sort of “gedunk” sensation, I could sort of see that working because when I move from tapping the trackpad which does not have a key switch to an actual key that does have a key switch it's hard for my brain to process that there's a difference between the feel. So I'm not saying that I'm asking for a keyboard like that but my mind is open to it in a way that it wasn't before.
Serenity: Andy I... sorry, I completely agree with you on that point, that's actually the first thing I thought of when I was handling it during the hands on area. During the March event where it just definitely feels like they're getting closer and closer to the idea of experimenting with no keyboard at all but taking force touch technology and maybe transplanting it over. Based on again, the voodoo magic that the force touch trackpad employs I can envision, I don't know if this, I don't know if the future is coming in two years or coming in ten years but I can definitely envision a point where the haptics technology allows you as you brush your fingers across an otherwise smooth surface, if there's supposed to be a keyboard there you get little tactical... not even buzzes so much but it feels like you have individual keys and then as you press down it feels like you're pressing key. Like I can see that happening.
Rene: Or a piano.
Serenity: Yeah. Or I mean... there are lots of avenues for that to work if you open it up to third party apps.
Andy: Now do you think it would work better if it's now just a glass screen that basically virtualizes whatever control you want or do you think you'd rather still have the notebook form factor only you have this sort of space gray rectangle that is pre-printed with key caps and backlighting but can also be a game controller if you want.
Serenity: Yeah I don't think the pre-printing is necessarily a good idea because it does limit it to a certain extent, but at the same time I'm not sure that I want... like obviously haptics are coming to the iPad. It's going to happen. I don't know if it's going to happen this year but it's going to happen. But do we want an iPad that still the keyboard takes up half the screen and you're limited to that little narrow window? On a potential future laptop, I don't know about that. I'm not quite sure if getting rid of the form factor is the answer. Especially also you think about, you think about artists and you think about things like the Wacom tablets and the Cintiq, part of the appeal for artists and for musicians and things like that is to work tactically directly with your environment and with whatever you have on the screen but I feel like that differs from profession to profession. Artists want to draw directly on their screens and they don't necessarily want a substitute if they can avoid it. Whereas someone like a musician might want that full sized screen for their music and then want the second screen or the haptic surface to play their instrument. I just... I don't know. We're talking such future tech right now that it's... it's really exciting to me but I just... I can't predict where Apple will go. I'm sure they're testing both though.
Andy: It will be a great center console for the Apple Car in 2018 that's for sure. Let's make sure that we note that there are some big pain in the butt things about it, including that one and only one port. I'm going to be as Ren mentioned, we're both going to be thinking at the Cocoa Conference at Yosemite next week and now I really am excited about using this as my only computer and I was trying to work out the problem of oh man how am I going to drive a presentation from this and can I spend $70 on an Apple adapter just to hook it up to the projector and it's... my mind has been so ingrained into the idea that video is something you plug a cable into I forgot that well you could just take an Apple TV and use Air Play and have that as a wireless thing. So it really is a machine that tries to brow beat you in a positive way into adapting the way that you work to work around the limitations of what you have. Rene are you worried about the CPU? What was your experience using this really not terribly impressive, lets say, CPU? Fanless.
Rene: Yeah it's Core M which was code named Broadwell Y previously and it's a super low power chip and I don't think Apple has used them before, though other vendors have. But it's roughly analogous to a 2011 Macbook Air but a lot of people still use those and those are still practical machines, it's just I recently switched from a Macbook Air to a Macbook Pro because I was on the road so much and I do use Final Cut and I know some people want to use Handbrake and X-Code and they want to do things that are high performance and this is not the laptop for that, it's why Apple makes the Macbook Pro and you know, there's data out there about how many people actually plug into external displays and a lot of peripherals and it's not many, but for those people it's why Apple left the Macbook Air on the market. And I think this, you really have to know your use cases and for a lot of people, I was joking about this before but during the event I got a text and people were like, only one port! I don't have to worry about what to plug in where any more, that's a huge stress reliever for me. And as someone who's plugged USB into MagSafe before and had the computer shut down, I kind of appreciate where they're coming from. This really is almost like iPad level simple to use.
Andy: Yeah, it's... Alex, the question I want to ask you about this sort of stuff though is, though I like the fact that Apple has decided to not replace anything with this, it's clear that at some point the Macbook Air line is going to age out of the system and then when people are ready for a one port or two port computer, this is going to replace it sometime in the next two or three years but there's going to be sort of a hand off period between the two but as somebody who travels with computers and you have to do pretty intense stuff, is there like sort of a benchmark for you as to how you trade off something that's super light and portable and it's easy to get from job to job versus something that you're not willing to compromise tech specs for?
Alex: Yeah I mean I have to admit that I carry both. So I have you know, I think of my little 11” Air as kind of a, the little shuttle that comes out of the Enterprise so when I have a Retina at least one of them usually in my backpack that I'm really doing work on for the most part, whether jumping into Visual Effects or Final Code or whatever. Then the little one is just where I put in a small bag that I can walk around and still get connected. I think that the problem for me is that unlike you, I am very much addicted to my mag safe because I have kids and I may have frozen here so we'll see if you can...
Andy: Sounds like a good time as any to go to a commercial, we're going to work out to the dim past, the grim specter Leo Laporte from an age old time with this message from Audible.
Leo: Thanks Andy, we're going to interrupt just for a little bit so I can tell you about Audible.com that backed more of MacBreak Weekly, I don't... I mean Andy's a huge Audible fan, we all are. We love listening to audiobooks on Audible. I think I get the... I win in terms of the longest Audible subscriber, I started subscribing I think February 2000, you know what you can look. One of the nice things about Audible is all of your books are always visible online and downloadable so it's kind of like your library. Right now I'm listening to Becoming Steve Jobs, the evolution of reckless upstart into a visionary leader. It's actually great, we've been talking about that. Some of these are Andy's recommendations, Patton Oswald's Silver Screen, Fiend, still waiting to get to that one. As You Wish, behind the scene story of The Princess Bride. Audible has so many great books, both fiction and non-fiction. Lots of great science fiction, I'm reading the new... I just started Otherland which John Slenius recommended, so this is my first Audible book. Yeah, February 7th, 2000. Zero zero. So I have been an Audible member now for more than 15 years. It is a life... can you believe that? It is a life saver. I started listening to Audible when I was commuting to the screen savers, I had a two hour commute. Sometimes two hours each way depending on traffic, and Audible made... kept me from going crazy. In the car, at the gym, walking the dog, washing the dishes. Lisa and I both listen to Audible all the time and you know there's so much choice, so here's what I'm going to do for you. I'm going to get you your first title absolutely free. Go to Audible.com/macbreak. Audible.com/macbreak, you're going to sign up for the gold account, that's a book a month. What I do is I alternate fiction and non-fiction. So right now, listening to the Steve Jobs book, I'm going to go into the Otherland series as my next book. One of my favorite books of all time, Cryptonomicon I have it, I'm just saving it. Because it's really long and I'm saving it for a moment when I just... I need a break, I need to be uplifted. Oh Laszlo Bock's Work Rules is supposed to be amazing. The HR guy at Google. Supposed to be incredible. The Art of War by... so here's the deal. Go to Audible.com/macbreak, sign up for the gold account. That's... oh this is funny, Little Finger narrates The Art of War. Now that's good. Let's hear it.
(Audiobook: For control of a large force is the same principle as the control of a few men. It is merely a question of dividing up...)
Leo: It is Little Finger. Who better to narrate The Art of War? No one! Audible is so creative, I have to say. Go there, pick a book. There's so much great stuff. Your first one's free because you're going to get the gold account. That's a book a month, first month's free. You'll also get the Daily Digest of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal as part of your subscription of all subscriptions. Now you can cancel in the first 30 days, you pay nothing, you keep the book forever. It's yours forever. But I don't think you're going to want to cancel. It is so amazing, Martin Short, I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend.
(Audiobook: The man is an idiot. Nevertheless, after questioning both candidates, the interviewer declares...)
Leo: I have to say, I love listening to these autobiographies by comics when they read them themselves it's just hysterical. Look I shouldn't have to say any more, just go right now. If you're not yet a member, Audible.com/macbreak, pick a great audiobook, get it for free and a whole world of listening is going to open up for you. Audible.com/macbreak. Back to MacBreak Weekly, Andy Ihnatko.
Andy: Thank you voice from the past Alex... Leo. Actually before we leave the new Macbook, two quick notes. One that it seems to be shorted just the same way as the watches have. They're supposed to be on sale starting on Friday but if you go to the Apple store you're going to have to wait about four weeks for your delivery to arrive, and also while listening to Leo tell us about Audible I said hey I wonder what happens when you use force press on the outliner and it crashed on the outliner. So clearly there's going to have to be some people updating how their apps adapt to force touch trackpads.
Rene: I still want Apple to make a Mars Edit button where if you force press it it turns everything upper caps to all caps and you blog angry. I think that would be spectacular.
Andy: Or at least it should at least talk to your Apple Watch and get a pulse rate.
Andy: And if your pulse is above that, you know what? We're just not going to let you post this. We're going to cache that at least, it'll post in 24 hours, you have time to pull this back just in case your lawyers say “Oh... no. No no. Oh no no. No... no.” We also had a new iOS drop last week, iOS 8.3. Long feature list as usual, the kinds that some leap out and some are “Oh so you've actually changed the stack nature so that a stack overrun that is only possible when you're using a certain kind of keyboard does not happen when you're connected to a non-pliast network.” But the coolest feature that I've been playing with is the amount of diversity that Apple added to emojis of all things. So now that any emoji that is a human emoji you can adjust the skin tone, there's also emojis that show families, same sex couples represented as families. It's little stuff like this that actually is... it's, when you improve these finer finer points of the experience of using something that's when you really put, get a big smile on your face. But what else is in there? I mean is it... I did read that it was breaking TouchID for some people but I'm not having a problem with it. Rene have you heard of any reason not to update to 8.3?
Rene: No yeah, some people did have a TouchID problem but if you disabled it, rebooted it and re-enabled it it would come back. It was mainly for app store app purchases, some people got confused too and they thought that TouchID wasn't working in third party apps but when you reboot your phone like you do when there is a new iOS update you then have to launch the app that holds extension, type in your password and authorize that and mostly it's with one password. You've got to put in your master password and it re-enables TouchID for all your apps and I think some people, we reboot so rarely now that people forget about that when updates occur. But also they fixed a ton of security stuff which I was really happy to see.
Andy: Yeah and I was looking at the list yesterday or over the weekend and they were the usual esoteric stuff that doesn't look like they're going to affect much of anybody but if you're one of the lucky 1 in 100,000 that's probably a good thing to close up. One of them was a lingering bug that if someone is trying to force you through a proxy they could do some nasty things and lock you out.
Rene: An IP box was another one. They fixed it previously in 8.1.3 but they double dog dared them to try and break it now.
Andy: Yeah and they all seem to be the sort of stuff where like most angry fear mongering oh my god the iOS is insecure, it's like a really step of sequence of events has to happen in the proper order in order to render your device vulnerable but that doesn't mean that you would like to have your device vulnerable. Much more interesting is that Apple dropped a new beta of iOS 8.4 showing us a new tack towards the music app which boy am I happy to hear that because just last week I was reminding myself of what I don't use the music app on my iPad very much because it's just so hard to use. Has anybody downloaded the beta yet?
Rene: I have not.
Rene: I was busy Macbooking.
Serenity: I'm technically not officially allowed to say whether I have or not.
Andy: So we can say that there have been published reports that allude to the idea that creating custom playlists is a lot faster. There is a rumor that it will also be possible to when you create custom playlists to add your own artwork to represent it, there is also a very very well sourced rumor about new hooks for iTunes radio to make that more prominent, since there's stuff that we can't talk about I suppose on this show, let's talk about what we're hoping is going to happen to Music. I'll tell you that I'm very very surprised that most of my music is available through iTunes Match. I can use the native apps if I want to, but I find myself using the Google Play music app and I find myself using my Amazon cloud music app because they're just more reliable. And, Ren do you have the same problems, are you happy with the current app?
Serenity: Oh god I'm so unhappy.
Serenity: I listen to a lot of music, I don't have a commute because I work from home but I have a boyfriend who lives 45 minutes away, an hour and a half in traffic so I spend a lot of time listening to music or I have been in the last couple of months doing that drive, and I've very quickly discovered just how much I hate working with the music app. In terms of it's just, it's... the organization is difficult, especially if like my car is only partially integrated with Bluetooth so it's very hard for me to quickly search for songs and the only way that I can try and get things to work is usually by like Hey Siri, sorry to everybody who was listening, play this song. And I don't know, I have some problems with the music app even off of that as well. I was trying to make a playlist the other day for like a roller-derby thing and when I was trying to make this playlist I'm like okay I have these songs and I go to add songs and some songs you tap on them and they just won't add, and it's not an iTunes match error because I was adding songs that I hadn't personally downloaded to my iPhone, but just some songs wouldn't add. It just... no idea why. So just little bits here and there, organization, I love Beats so I'm really kind of hoping that Beats' custom playlists as well as some of their technology is either integrated into iTunes radio or replaces iTunes radio it would just, it would be real swell.
Andy: Yeah, I'm... I've now, to save all of us I've pulled up the article from 9to5 Mac, so we're just quoting 9to5 Mac here. And 9to5 Mac quotes the release notes saying: “It has an all new design, a beautiful new design that makes exploring your music collection easier and more fun, recently added which is a feature I've wanted for so long, albums and playlists you've recently added are now at the top of your library so you don't have to figure out “Now what album did I add? And is it alphabetized under The Beatles, Beatles or some sort of stupid studio thing?” iTunes Radio has been streamlined, there's a new mini player, now that a new, a better now playing list so that it's easy to see what's playing right now, what's going to come up next, and another thing that... have you ever had that experience where you can't make something work and the only thing going through your mind is “I must be really stupid.” Because it must be right in my face, I can't believe I'm so stupid that I can't find the search box in the music player because obviously that's like the first thing you put in there, a big button marked search because I can't believe... I must be drunk or maybe the oxygen here in the airplane. And that no, it's because it's just so darn hard to find. So supposedly there will be a new global search, you can now search from anywhere in the music app, just tap the omnipresent magnifying glass and search results are...
Rene: I don't remember. Maybe you guys remember but I don't remember Apple doing such a core application in a beta, like a point release beta before. They almost always wait for the big number like the eight or the seven or the eight or the nine to show off the new music app. It's interesting that they put it in 8.4.
Andy: It's kind of interesting that they wouldn't do that to... as part of the roll out for the new Beats music integration and so I wasn't expecting any news about this until June, WWDC, but maybe... I don't know maybe there's other cards left to play or maybe... maybe just the people inside of Apple are sick of the music players as much as we are.
Rene: Because we could see Craig going “We've got a brand new music app for you! Let me show it to you.”
Rene: I'm going to miss that now.
Serenity: Yeah well I mean okay, so here's the other thing is that 8.4 may just be a preview of some of the things that they are working on, there's nothing to say that Craig still doesn't have an all new music app up his wrist which might well be paired with a new version of iTunes, up the sleeve is completely unintentional but yeah.
Rene: Continuity for iTunes please.
Serenity: Oh my gosh, please. Alright, so there was a great little app made by a developer who I think later went to work for Apple called Seamless which was an editor's pick of mine from way back when, I think 2011, that does... Seamless did the exact same thing essentially that continuity did where it would hand off the song you were playing in iTunes to the song you might be playing on your phone, so you could just walk out of the door and theoretically continue listening to where you left off.
Rene: Take Air with me when I leave the room.
Serenity: Yeah exactly, but it has been updated because I think the developer went to go work for Apple or another silicon valley technology company and I'm so bummed because I really want that feature. Apple it should be so easy, why is it not?
Andy: Yeah, you ever get the sense that you're walking through like a house that is only one month away from getting its occupancy permit because you can see the stove and the fridge are all hooked up and the water's connected to them and there are bathrooms and there's stuff like this but there's no carpet laid yet and there's a lot of like bare walls, that's sometimes the feeling I get when I walk through iOS and MacOS. I see so many great components that are just waiting to be hooked up and then one switch flipped to make all of this work so amazingly well, although I'm a dope and I've been saying that about the music app for the past two years probably. Which is why all my music is now in Google Play or Amazon. Other updates though, got an update to Final Cut which dropped just yesterday. Alex I think I'm going to ask you about this because I'm guessing you know more about Final Cut than I do.
Alex: Yeah so you know, a got release uplay but there are some really interesting things that are in it. There's some basic stuff that is kind of more technical, some different support for red raw as well as being able to open more than one scope, I think that those were the things that I'll get excited about but I'm not sure if everyone listening would be that excited about. The big news of course is 3D text so you know and it's really more than just 3D text, it's a 3D render that's inside a motion in Final Cut and I think that there's a lot of performance, a lot of underlying bits and pieces but one of the things about this is that it... they've really kind of experimented with making it a lot easier for the average person to use 3D text and I think that my guess is that of course this is kind of a dip in that, in that pool so what you can do now is you can have your text there and you can just select the little selector that says I would like this to be 3D and now it's extruded and one of the things that they did that was a little different is guys like me are used to like really setting up all the materials and putting it all together and Apple did what Apple does which is they simplified everything so they said you know, you can do metal or plastic or stone or wood or concrete and you can even add layers so you can add extra substances on top of those but they really stopped talking about surface attributes, specular versus the views versus reflectivity and really just went shininess and thickness and we're going to add these things, at first when I first turned it on I was like “Oh I don't know if this is a good idea.” Because you kind of feel like, as someone who does 3D you feel like you can't get a hold of everything the way you want to. But as I've started to play with it a bit more, I think that for the average editor and for motion designers this is going to be great. I think we're going to see a lot of really interesting things with it, so I think that that is, and you can do things like for instance, it only handles text right now but you can, if you went into a font editor, take your logo and make it “A” (laughs) you know.
Alex: And then you can extrude your logo out, so there's a little bit of a roundabout way to bring your own graphics in, it's still just a straight extrusion, it's not whole 3D models but it's obvious that there's an engine in there. It looks great, I mean the renders look really nice. There's a lot under the hood there that you can really get to, so I think that was the big thing I added there, there are some other things that are interesting around. A Compressor that kind of let you deal with a variety of issues that you would need to publish more effectively to iTunes, which I think could be really interesting and that's becoming more widely available. That might be a precursor to things in the future. I don't know that for sure, but it definitely is interesting that they're making it much more easy. I mean it's always been one of those things that I've been surprised by is that Apple has basically an entire vertical market, all the way from when you're creating content to when you're watching it on TV and they've never, I've never felt like kind of like what you were talking about with all these things being not being quite hooked up, you never feel like that pipeline is completely... and probably on purpose, completely connected. But it feels like they might be connecting that a little bit further.
Andy: So how important is it that they've improved support for Compressor inside the app itself. Have they added, taken features from the Compressor app and put it inside Final Cut or is it just an integration thing?
Alex: You know, I believe that there have been some additions of taking some of the Compressor pieces and I haven't really tested that that heavily and I have to admit that that has more to do with me than... and I wasn't on a beta or anything with Final Cut so I just got it, I've been in a hotel so I got it late last night finally after you know... as you can see with my connection here on Skype it was like that downloading a big file. So I haven't tested it that heavily, I usually kind of glaze over the compressing in final cut conversation because I just don't do that ever, so I don't... I'm really old school about I want a Apple Pro res file to come out of Final Cut and then I open that into Compressor, so if anything goes wrong with the compression, I have my file that I'm now just working with that, I'm not opening up Final Cut every time I wanted to recompress something, so I have to admit I've never been a very good tester of those tools of being able to compress out of Final Cut because I kind of have a religious objection to rendering straight to H264 to any of my contribution software devices, so...
Andy: I was going to ask, why do you think the Compressor is so hard to use? I have it, I try to figure out how to make it work because I would much rather have better... when I do do videos I would much rather have higher qualities, lower file size but it really is... it's for somebody with, I don't know nine years of ITT Technical Institute plus post-grad...
Rene: Like black magic.
Andy: Yeah exactly, and it's... is it just never intended for somebody who is not a professional in the video field, and a high level professional to use.
Alex: You know, I have to admit that I've been using Compressor since pretty much day one, or a little before day one. And so for me it's always been... there was a big jump when they went to 10 where there was a big interface change, but for me it's always been kind of incremental so I don't think I notice it much. I think that there's often times I just with Quicktime I used to just have little Quicktime settings that I would still use to get something out. I think that the big advantage of Compressor is that you do have a lot of control, the problem you really get into is with great power comes great responsibility and so I think a lot of people have trouble, there's so many little buttons on there that you can grab on to and you can really mess up your files. I don't really use any of the presets that are in Compressor so I have my own little presets that are like my... like upload to YouTube, upload fast to YouTube which is slightly different compression setting and so I have a couple of... a lot of different things that I use for outputs, I think that you do have to have a little bit... if you're going to open up Compressor, you have to have a little knowledge of how compression works and what you're doing to your file, it also... there's a lot of management issues, one of the big advantages of Compressor is it is blindingly fast on the newer Macs. I can remember back in the day when we were talking about the compression time being two minutes for every one minute of content, and now it's like ten seconds for every one minute of content. Compressor is incredibly fast on the modern architectures and because of that I use it all the time just because I don't want to... I used to think Quicktime, oh you'll get something relatively good out of it. The old Quicktime, and now I'm fairly... the compressor, and I think Final Cut will do this...
Andy: Okay but... now, before we... since we're on Final Cut though, do you think that pros are... is Apple making pros happy with Final Cut now? Is the mutiny of a few years ago kind of over with and forgotten or have the people who are going to leave already left?
Serenity: It's hard for... like I really like using Final Cut Pro 10, I liked 7 as well. I feel like 10 made it much easier to do some things and more obtuse to do others, but I can't answer the... exodus question because I'm no longer really actively working in film and I can't be like, I'm not going to speak on behalf of other people, but it certainly feels like the drama and the fervor has died down a little bit. People are either quietly switching to Final Cut Pro 10 or the people who are continuing to use Avid, continuing to use Premier, other apps that better suit their needs.
Alex: And I think that... sorry, I dropped out again. I think that the interesting thing about it is I talk to a lot of folks who, the folks that really... were high end film guys that were using Final Cut went back to Avid or went to Premier, but there's this huge group of people that have entered the Final Cut and I think they're kind of invisible to a lot of people, because they're not the guys working on Conan O'Brien or whatever, but they are just average folks that just want to get their edits done, and I think that a lot of people are finding that it's just a lot faster and easier to put that together. And so, the things that are big pluses of course is that it's $300, it's not a subscription. It is not... we haven't paid for an upgrade since it was released. If you're an average person kind of putting that stuff together, that's pretty compelling. Once you get used to using it I have to say that it's very hard to go back to the older platforms. Like the older way of approaching things, I was... I've been editing on some kind of non-linear editor since 1993, so it was definitely a process for me to kind of get into that but it's... Final Cut's so much faster, get the most work done. By the time I would normally organize a set of files, I'll have the edit largely done and so it's just very hard to... especially for journalists or anyone trying to do anything with it that are fast turns, to me when they say they're using something else I kind of internally go “Well how's that working for you?”
Alex: That's my nicest way of saying that's crazy.
Andy: What's your blood pressure today?
Alex: Yeah exactly.
Andy: But I mean, that's been on my mind because last week I haven't even downloaded it yet because it's part of the things I need to catch up on after a week of speaking for like three hours a day for five days a week, Apple released MacOS 10. 10.10.3 and the highlight is the new Photos app, Rene... so that's the official release? It's officially out of beta now?
Rene: Yep, photos for OS10 and iCloud Photo Library, all of them out of BETA and into your life.
Andy: I should have guessed because, iMore has a wonderful multi-part series that explains all about photos. I’m trying to figure out, I’m hoping you’re going to help me out with this, ‘cause I’m an Aperture user, and I’m the sort of person who would, I will put on the artistic beard and say, “you know, my needs for photo editing far surpass those of a consumer oriented editing option. I mean there are things I understand about light and fields and emotion that I don’t think that simply pushing sliders around in a free app are going to do.” So obviously you and Ren have been spending a lot of time with Photos. Well, somebody who wants to do more than tweak brightness and contrast, have a lot of fun with Photos, or is it really going to be, “here’s your excuse for moving to Lightroom now that Aperture’s been killed.”
Rene: I’ll let Ren handle the bigger picture. My quick take is, ‘cause I am an Aperture user too, but I would say 50% of my Aperture use was right click, Edit in Photoshop, because I am just way more used to Photoshop. And this is similar to me. I can get away with using Photos because right now there’s a one click “Send to Aperture” button. So anything that, even if I could do it, and I don’t know how, and I don’t want to spend the time learning, I just send it to Aperture. So, right now, I feel like we are in a really safe place, Andy. We don’t have to make any hard choices yet. But there’s a lot to like, and like I said, Ren’s been spending a lot of time on that part of it.
Andy: Ren, I mean, I’ve been starting to learn Lightroom because I know that at some point I’m going to have to know how to use it better, and also I didn’t want to start the investment in Photos. Do you think that I’d be better off trying to learn how to build the BERKFLOWS for Photos or is it a limited option, do you think for editing?
Serenity: I really think it depends on your needs. I, after using, I’ve used Photos for Mac since the first develop for BETA came out. And I am of the opinion that if you are anything under a frequent prosumer, which is to say that you have a DSLR and you take a lot of really awesome photos on vacation or you wander around, say, the Boston Common, and take a lot of photos. I think actually any of those use cases on down to the super beginner, you’ll actually really like Photos. Because Photos has that super basic sliders, yes, but those super basic sliders can turn into much more complicated sliders, and get yourself additional little widgets like levels, contrast and brightness, histogram so that you can see where your colors are being integrated. It really, again, I feel like it’s your personal use case, and it really depends, but what I would suggest is, if you’re interested in at least playing around with Photos and seeing if it’s potentially good for your use case. Take 500-1000 photos, or even just one batch of photos, and create a tiny photos library that isn’t connected to iCloud Photo Library. Just have, make yourself a demo Photo’s library and play around with the editing tools. It’s a free program and it comes installed as part of OS10, so it’s not like you’re losing money, or really time, to give it a quick whirl and test through. And if you don’t like what it has, or it doesn’t currently suit your needs, then you don’t have to use it. I do think that from a management perspective and especially when you incorporate iCloud Photo Library, if having your photos available to you from any device is important to you, Photos is a must have. And the editing process, unfortunately open end does not currently work, which is very annoying for me and it’s something that I really hope that they fix in future versions. But, even that said, the cumbersome process of taking, exporting the photo out and editing in Photoshop and popping it back into your library, that’s worth it if you want to be able to carry around all of your images. The fact that I now have a 15,000 photo library, and I can pull up any photo I want on my iPhone 6 at any point in time. I did this while I was traveling in Pittsburgh. We were going, we stopped over at my friend’s mother’s house, and we were talking about cats. And I was like, “oh, I used to have a cat that would try to climb out my window, and he would like paw up.” And I’m like, “let me see if I can find a picture.” Because I took like a billion pictures of this back in 2010. And I knew it was 2010, so I just scrolled up, I found the cat photo in probably 5 seconds, 10 seconds, and I showed it to her. And she, she wasn’t even looking at the cat. She was looking at my tiny years grid. And she’s like, “how did you get all of your photos on your phone? I want to be able to do that. Can you tell me how to do that? That’s amazing!” So, I really do feel that Photos is incredibly useful if you want your large library on your phone or at least potentially referenced on your phone. And I go into greater detail about why that I think that’s important in my Photos’ review. I don’t want to take the entire day of MacBreak Weekly on, going on and on about Photos. But, for that subset, and for, again, prosumers on down, I think it’s great. If you are a professional photographer, you will be unhappy with Photos. It is not Aperture. It is not Lightroom. It is not designed to be Aperture or Lightroom. Apple may fix some things, I really hope it fixes somethings, I hope it adds some more brushes then its tiny little re-touch button. I hope it adds edit, you know, edit it an external editor other than just this weird “Add to Aperture” button. But for the time being, I think it’s a remarkably stable 1.0 release, and I feel like a great number of people will be very happy with it. Professionals, no. You still got to either use Aperture or Lightroom. I’m sorry about that, but it doesn’t seem like this, Apple is not solving your dilemma. Apple is not positioning Photos as an Aperture replacement, I’ll final cut pretend like being, like, “I know it’s, it’s kinda Lucy goosey but we’ll fix it later.” No, they’re like “this is the photo editing program, and the management program for the vast majority of people. If you don’t fit in this little box, or in like this very big container and you fit instead in a little box, we’re sorry, we’d love to support the little box, but we can only do so many projects. We already have a watch, and a Mac, and a, maybe a television, and maybe a car, and all of this stuff.”
Andy: We didn’t say television, we didn’t say television, we didn’t say television! It’s obviously a real slam dunk for consumers, I mean, just like you say, the ability to simply, I can make an edit on a photo, and I know that no matter what Apple device I have, I can access that photo and show it off. That’s just, it’s such a really great reinterpretation of what, how people use photos in 2015. As good as whatever they had before that was working, it was really like a 2002-2003, I will upload it to a public photo album then share out that album. I was wondering what the, I’ve been trying to figure out what Apple’s motive was though, in killing Aperture. And one of the things that was on my mind was, well maybe they’ve actually, maybe they’re actually saying that the new framework is not just this Photo’s app, but really is a whole architecture for a Photos on every single device that Apple makes. Maybe they’re saying that we can, you’ll be able to do as much with Photo’s plus maybe a $30-$40 dollar plug-in that a 3rd party will come up with, as you could with Aperture or Lightroom or anything else you’d like to use. So, I do have the developer build, I’ve been trying it a little bit, but certainly not as intensively as you have. So, I guess, the other big question for myself and so many other people, Ren, can I trust giving it one of my Aperture libraries or my iPhoto’s library, or do I, my instinct is, I’m going to, I’m going to create a copy of my Aperture library on my current MacBook, I’m going to put it on a flash drive, and I’m going to mail it to myself, by route of Brazil, to make sure it’s 3000 miles away before I show Photos this library. What’s the worst, ok let’s not say worst, the worst that can happen is that asteroids kill us all while we’re trying to get my photo’s loaded in. But, realistically, can I feel as though I can trust Photos with my existing libraries?
Serenity: Yea, well, so the number one concern that you have that Photos might otherwise destroy…
Andy: I’m stuck using Photos and now I can’t open up an Aperture and stuff like that.
Serenity: So, when Photos looks at your Aperture and your iPhone photo library, it doesn’t actually convert it. So you actually can keep on using Aperture with that original library that you made, way back when, or iPhoto with your original iPhoto library. Even after you have “converted” the library. Because it’s actually not converting it, it’s making a hard, like a second copy, with hard links. Which basically allows it to take up the same amount of storage space, despite the fact that theoretically your hard drive thinks that its taking up twice as much storage space, but it’s not actually from an overall picture. It’s just sharing the data in between libraries. So that if you’re, you know, you can still keep on editing in Aperture, you can keep on editing in Photos, but your management is entirely separate. There are two separate libraries. Something you do in Photos will not reflect in Aperture and vice versa. But if you delete your Aperture library, or if you delete your Photos library, your Aperture library is still fine or your Photos library is still fine. It’s not going to destroy one or the other, if the other, it’s not a symbiotic relationship. You can part them if you want, or you can keep them together on the same hard drive, and run them side by side even, if you wanted to. It’s not a huge problem. In general, again, I feel like it’s totally worth getting, you know, given the risk, taking the, no not taking the risk, taking the jump and just be like “I’m going to test this out. And if it’s awful, I will just delete the Photos’ library and then, whatever. Then we’re cool.” Or honestly, I know a couple people, friends of mine who are doing this, who are actually using Photos as a way to just store their final, finished, edited photos. Their sort of marquee product, so to speak. And then, syncing those with iCloud Photo Library. So they do all their work in either Lightroom or Aperture, and then they’re using Photos as a way almost to have a portfolio. So that those photos all sync across their devices, and in addition, if they have optimized storage on, and they’re not storing them locally to their phone, they can pull low-res versions of those photos up, even while they’re offline. So, if like, you know, my friend, my friend James who takes photos, is sitting on a plane and he’s suddenly sitting next to a National Geographic photographer, he can still pull up a low-res version of a photo he took five years ago in Africa, and show it to the photographer without having to be stored locally on his device. And I think that’s really cool. That’s like a big plus for Photos for me over something like, like Drop Box, or even Creative Cloud, where it’s like if I don’t, or can’t, store all my photos on my phone or my iPad because of space reasons, iCloud Photo Library allows you to have sort of those low-res, very minimalistic-space-taking-up copies, and allows me to look at them even if I have no internet connection. And if I have an internet connection, it allows me to pull it down almost immediately from the great expanse of iCloud. Yea, back to your essential question, if you’re an Aperture user and you want to give Photos a try, you can import your Aperture library and nothing bad will happen to your Aperture library. You don’t need to mail it to Brazil and back, it can stay on your same computer. If you’re really terrified, you can make a separate copy of it. In fact, I recommend everybody back up their stuff before trying something new, just on point of principal. But overall, I found Photos to be incredibly stable when importing other libraries and doesn’t screw with it at all.
Andy: Well, we need to go to commercial, another ad, but before we do, do you think that, we’re going to have to all upgrade the size of our iCloud libraries in order to make room for all these photos that we are going to be starting to sync in? I’m on the 200GB plan. Do you think I’m going to need to get more?
Serenity: I’m on 200GB as well, and so far that seems to be ok for me. I think I’ve filled up something like 80GB. Granted, I don’t have a super ton of raw photos in this library, most of it’s just high quality j-pegs. But, I do feel like if you have a gigantic library, you might need to look into upgrading. I know some people’s hesitancy is like, “oh, God, I don’t want to pay for another storage plan.” And I feel that. Because I’m already paying for Dropbox and then all of these other, the pay TV subscription , like I’ve got a lot of computer subscriptions going on. It’s kinda crazy. But, I will say that, again, going back to having the reference photos, and the fact that your photos are being kept securely, and privately, which means there’s no chance that Apple’s going to use your photos and make ad money off of it, or use your photos to try and determine what you might like, you know, the way that you might run into trouble with some of the freer ad supported services. I really like that aspect of it. I like the fact that it syncs so seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem, and as much as I loathe paying an extra $4 dollars a month, I feel like it’s worth it for my needs. May not be worth it for everybody else’s. Again, I really stress, with almost anything Apple related, or anything technology related for that matter, it’s like, if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, that’s ok. Just because one person loves it, and thinks “oh my God, this is the perfect thing for me, and I can’t believe it wasn’t available sooner,” doesn’t mean that’s going to be the same thing for you. And if it’s not, than that’s fine. There might be something else for you. It’s no big deal.
Andy: The only wound that sometimes we suffer is that Apple has a wonderful plan for all of our lives. Apple likes to remind us that, “We thought about this way more than you did. So, Andy, don’t worry you’re pretty little head about how to connect things to your MacBook. We’ve planned that for you.” “But what how about this one thing?” “We’ve planned this for you.” “But I can’t post on…” “Andy, thank us and say goodbye. We’ve planned this out for you.” We’re going to be taking a break, let’s go once again to Leo Laporte from the distant past to tell us a little bit about Square Space.
Leo: Thank you, Andy Ihnatko, we’ll be back with more MacBreak Weekly in just a bit, but first I have got to tell you about our favorite web hosting company, Squarespace.com. You know what’s great about Squarespace? It makes sense if your Squarespace, their web page, their homepage is always different. Beautiful. It’s gorgeous now. You know, they just do such great stuff. They have the best designers. Now, let me explain what Squarespace is. It’s not just a hosting company, when you get started at Squarespace, you will choose your first template, and they’ve got some gorgeous ones, and I’ll tell you in a little bit why these templates are extra special. Let’s just pick Momentum. You’ll set up your first site, and you can do this, by the way, absolutely free, you don’t need to give them a credit card or anything, for two weeks you got the site. You’ve got the hosting; you’ve also got the software running on top of it. And there’s a real advantage to doing it this way. Because Squarespace runs the software, they know the software, and they’re using custom built web servers to work with the software so they get a really incredible performance in linking. And it just works so well. Every Squarespace template is what we call mobile responsive. That means it looks good on everything from an iPhone to a 55” television. And when you upload an image, it will resize, it will actually makes 8 or 9 different thumbnails of that image. Notice right here on Momentum, the big screen, the 27” version has the doggy. And the little mobile version has the doggy and the mistress holding the doggy. This is a full blade template. That means the pictures go all the way to the end of the screen and it looks so great. Every Squarespace template has e-commerce built into it, but more importantly, they’re all customizable. So these are sites, actual customers using medium and you can see each one looks different. Each one’s unique and that’s why you’re going to like this. Squarespace lets you create a site that reflects your unique abilities, your unique style, but it gives you such a great head start doing it. And you can try it for free at Squarespace.com right now. No credit card needed. If you want some help, Squarespace has live chat and e-mail support 24/7, right from their office in New York City. They start as low as $8.00/month after the trial, and they do the hosting, they do the software. You even get a free domain name when you sign up for a year. I love Squarespace, there’s this new Cover Pages thing they have. I love it, gives you a beautiful one page online presence in minutes. It’s also great for kind of a one-off site or a quick landing page for a new product, that kind of thing. By the way, if you live in the area, or if you’re willing to move to the New York area, Squarespace is hiring engineers. Right now, who are ready for the next step in their career. That’s why they created NY Commit. It’s an initiative that will select up to ten engineers from all over America, oh, boy, I wish I could do this, to experience the history, vibrancy, diversity of New York City. If you apply today, and interview before April 30th, you and your spouse or partner will get a complimentary weekend in New York City. They’ll fly you out! They’ll put you up! To learn more go to N-Y-C-o-m-m-i-t, NYCommit.com. This is a great idea. Easy, Squarespace is a great employer. Start a trial at Squarespace, no credit card required, start building your website today, and when you sign up for Squarespace, all I ask is that you use the offer code “MACBREAK,” that will let them know you heard about it on the show. And you get 10% off just as a way of saying thank you. Squarespace – Build it Beautiful. Thanks Squarespace, so much for their support of MacBreak weekly. And now I send you back to the studio. Wait a minute, I’m here. Andy Ihnatko.
Andy: Singing out, Puck, for the future. Just before we start recording Apple announced that the date for WWDC2015 and started the lottery, it’s going to be June 8 – June 12 at the usual locus of insanity, the Yerba Buena Center. And people can start applying for tickets today through Friday, and I bet they’re already gone. Rene, the tickets are already gone now, right?
Rene: It’s a lottery like last year’s, so basically you get to throw your hat in the registration ring and then, I forget when they said, they announced the date that they’ll be telling you whether you were laboriously hand selected for a ticket or not. Then they’ll charge you the associated credit card
Andy: Monday, April 12th.
Rene: Yea, Monday, April 12th.
Andy: Random selection process, it’s like being drafted. It’s like Monday, April 12, at 5:00 PM. Isn’t it kind of amazing that people are going to like, “Oh my God, I’m so lucky, I won the opportunity to spend $1,600 to go to a trade show.” But lots of, if you really need to know things firsthand about development hardware and software, you’re going to have to be there, or am I overstating it?
Rene: Well the labs, there are always going to be the labs, there are only so many Apple engineers, and they only get so much time to actually interface with the developers, but this year, if you read the fine print, they’re going to be streaming a ton of stuff, which means that if you don’t get the ticket… It’s way better, it used to be months, I think, before you get the videos, and recently, over the last couple years, they got it so it was almost day in date, it would be a few hours after the session. But it the description this year, it says that they’re going to try to stream, doesn’t say everything, but it seems that they are going to be streaming a lot more than just, you know, they usual, keynotes, state of the unions. Which means if you don’t get a ticket, you can still come for the drinks, and actually, I think a lot of people are going to rent rooms and join their friends and just watch them over the air.
Andy: (laughs) That would be cool, just like around the Super Bowl, if you don’t get tickets to the Super Bowl, at least you can still be like part of the Super Bowl community for that week.
Andy: That seems like unusual given the historical nature of WWDC. It used to be where San Francisco is on lockdown, if you go there, you’re not supposed to write about this, you’re not supposed to talk about this, you’re not supposed to wear the t-shirt or the blazer until three months afterword. And now, is everybody going to be able to watch these streams, or it going to be you need a developer account in order to do that?
Rene: I mean, last year, you were supposed to need a developer account, but it was unlocked for a surprising amount of time, it might still be unlocked. If you go to developer.apple.com I don’t think they still ask you, and they were giving journalists passes to the entire event, not just for the keynote. And the basic NDA had changed to where you couldn’t show screen shots or video, people where just live tweeting state of the union, which never happened before. So in many ways, it’s a whole new WWDC.
Andy: Is there any upside to Apple having secrecy at this point?
Rene: I don’t know, I would say that anyone who’s been in the industry long enough can kinda look at any platform and see what the most likely observable hulls are, and you know, there’s been a lot of commentary about that. So, I think this new climate is better for developers, they seem happier, it seems less constrained. I think it’s a net positive all in all.
Serenity: Yea, I agree with Rene there. I do think that there is a certain amount of a … It’s important for Apple to maintain a certain amount of secrecy, especially when it comes to developer APIs, because when you’re talking about you know, obviously these are available to anybody who has an account, but at the same time, a lot of it’s very technical. It’s very technical, and it’s very much, I don’t know, I feel like if we were given free rein to write about everything that happens during WWDC, we would probably end up with a bunch of our readers being like, “why do I care about watch kit API that allows developers to call sign brackets.” You know, a lot of this stuff isn’t necessarily interesting for the average user. And also some of the stuff is talking about features that won’t officially ship until the fall. It’s the same reason why Apple doesn’t really, isn’t thrilled about sites like 9-5 Mac writing about the music app in 8.4 and on iMore we like try to keep ourselves to mostly published software because we don’t want to either hype up a feature that changes in the official build, or something that may disappear entirely by the time it’s released, those kinds of things can really, not only from Apple’s point of view, make users mad at them, and be like, “Well, I bought this for this feature, because I saw it on this website, and now it’s not here.” But from a, you know, from a journalist point of view, if we’re telling people, we’re writing how to’s about features that haven’t been released yet, and then we’re basically doing disservices to the people who read us and the people who rely on us for good information to help, to like help them make decisions. Because if we’re telling them things that they can’t actually use, how is that helping them?
Andy: Yea, I think the other problem is that this is information that Apple has put together for the benefit of developers and they’re speaking developer language, and if you have a journalist, no matter how tech savvy he or she is, they might not have that broad understanding that allows them to understand the context that’s being presented in and I mean every time that I’m trying to process a piece of news from WWDC, I have to call like a whole tray length of seeing eye nerds to say, “well I think that this means this, am I off base or on base?” And they say, “No, you’re not even, you’re not playing baseball, you’re playing football there, son.” And that’s the problem of when Apple’s trying to communicate to developers but they’ve, the whole world starts listening. So you mentioned, Ren, you mentioned Watch Kit, that’s certainly, so I think we’re kind of counting on Apple releasing the development kit for 3RD party watch apps at WWDC?
Serenity: Yea, I’m hoping we’ll see.
Andy: Seems like it, yea, nothing’s for sure.
Serenity: I’m absolutely hoping that we’ll see it for more, realistic is the wrong word, more thorough watch kit options. Right now, of course, developers have been largely limited to essentially hand off applications, things that are running on the iPhone, and pushed to the Apple Watch. But I’m crossing my fingers that we might see stuff like that, more stand-alone apps appear at WWDC. We’ll have to wait and see, it may be constrained as much as I really want to see full features apps this year, it may be a constraint of the current generation Apple watch, that it just won’t, it just doesn’t have the horsepower, or it doesn’t have the battery life, or any number of other things to potentially run full applications. And if that’s the case, we may be kind of stuck in the same kind of like iPhone to iPhone 3G limbo. Only it’s a little bit better than last time because we’re not having, we’re not limited to web apps. These hand off apps are actually pretty full featured, and pretty awesome, and they can store a certain amount of info direct on the watch. So you can still use the app even if your iPhone is not necessarily directly by your side. But, you know, I don’t know, I’m kinda up in the air on whether or not we’ll see it at this year’s WWDC or we’ll see it during next year.
Andy: Yea, not to re-open Watch, but that’s something that’s been on my mind a lot. I kind of founded a Twitter storm a few days, two days before pre-orders started, by sort of saying maybe you want to consider not pre-ordering this one, knowing that it would be great advice for anybody that was looking for advice, and the people that the best audience for the first generation don’t care what anybody says, pro or con, they’re going to buy it anyway. Because, I’m with you, I think it’s going to be like the first iPhone, like the first iPad, where there’s going to be a lot of stuff coming up, and I feel as though there’s a lot of stuff coming up in 2016 that a first generation won’t have the hardware to handle. Although it’d be hard to imagine Apple not having native watch apps, at least in time for the Christmas buying season when I hope they’ll have enough stock on hand. Alex, is there anything that Apple could possibly announce at WWDC or at least tip their hand to that would be really, really welcome news to you? I’m trying to, as when I heard about WWDC this morning, I was kinda like making a mental list of, here are all the rumored things that we’ve been hearing about, things that have been picking up velocity that would need developer support, and Apple would either want to announce it at the WWDC keynote or they would at least through some of the sessions, tip their hands to what’s going to be possible with the phones and the iPads next year. Is there anything in particular that you’re kind of on tenterhooks to hear about at WWDC?
Alex Lindsay: I really want to see something with Apple TV. So you know, to me I think that you know, you are looking at an iOS platform that is completely undeveloped, I think that Apple’s getting serious about it, I think that there is a real opportunity there to, to do a lot of development. When you think of it as a gaming platform, communications platform there’s a lot of things that can be done with that one too. And I’m not talking about… oh, man.
Andy: And we lost Alex again? Hello? I think we’ve lost Alex again, because he’s looking contemplative. Rene, same thing to you, what are you looking for, not even a prediction, but what are you hoping to learn more about, or at least see some movement on at WWDC?
Rene: Yea, we’ll assume that iOS9 and iOS10.10.11, you know, Apple’s not getting out of the computer business, so we’ll see those things, but I’m going to echo Alex. I think Apple TV was last updated spring 2012, the little boxes sat there kinda forlorn ever since. And Apple’s got all it’s great technology now, they have the A7 and A8 processors, they’ve got metal, they’ve got an STK that’s not to keep saying this, but’s been sitting up on bricks for a long time, and I think if you put all those things in the field and you have things like the Apple Watch and the Home Kit, and all these other sort of… There’s always been a limit to what Apple can touch in our lives. You had to have a phone, you had to have an iPad, you had to have a Mac, but it was very little beyond that, and now that they’ve decoupled interfaces, and they’ve sort of unbundled functionality, an app is no longer an app. An app is now a series of discreet things that you can do almost anywhere. It just seems like it’s going to be really interesting when you have Car Play and Home Kit and Health Kit and Air Play and all these different things, an Apple TV that ties into that, it seems like the lone thing that we’re sort of still dragging from the past. And I think when we have, you know, the watch, the pads, the iPhone, even the new Mac Book in some ways, it’s going to be a very big, big, bright WWDC future. Not to oversell it.
Andy: Yea, I can’t, yea, no, not to oversell it either, there was, I was kinda in the dumps with Apple about a year, year and a half ago, because I saw a lot of lack of movement on everything that I thought was going to be a really good idea and not a whole lot of signs that Apple is terribly interested in things that are not making them bucket loads of money at this given moment. And it’s like I was saying earlier, I see so many components sitting around, that, oh my God, they’re about, they’re building a giant, fighting robot. They are building a fighting, giant robot, because look. There’s the big purple fist over there, and over there’s like the antenna that will fit onto the head, and all they’ve got to do is snap this on to that. So, I’m pretty excited about WWDC even if we don’t have, even if we’ve already seen the watch, and even if we know that we’re not going to see, oh excuse me, we’re pretty sure we’re not going to see a phone, and other things don’t seem to make much sense. I just, I want to see all these things connected together. We will be back with our picks of the week after past Leo tells us about Trunk Club. Leo?
Leo: Thank you, Andy. They say guys don’t like to shop. And I’ve been thinking about that, I like to shop. I like to shop for gadgets; I like to shop for tools. But I don’t like to shop for clothes. And that’s why I was so glad, right? Right. There is no guy alive, that’s why we look like the way we look. Because we don’t want, we want, give me a t-shirt, shorts, flip flops, I’m happy. Even Mark Zuckerberg, how rich is Mark Zuckerberg? Billionaire wears hoodies and flip flops, shower shoes. We don’t like to shop. But … what is somebody shopped for you, picked the stuff you really liked, put it together, beautifully displayed, and said “What do you like?” And what if they did that for you for free; you only pay for the stuff you keep. That’s Truck Club. That’s, and I love Trunk Club! Your own personal stylist, mine is Robin, you can’t have her, she’s really great. Actually you probably can. I like to think she’s a one client gal. Robin is, I talked to her for about half an hour, told her what, you know, I’m a preppy, I’m kinda chunky. You know, gave her all the feedback. She picked out some great stuff, put it up on a website, and then Lisa and I looked at it and said, “Na, Yea, no.” And then she put together the trunk. I got my, I got my, this is not my first trunk. This is, I love this so much I got another trunk. By the way, this costs nothing. You don’t pay for the shipping or returns; you don’t pay for Robin’s time. You only pay for what you keep. That’s it. So I haven’t opened this yet. It’s going to be my first time. This is the biggest trunk, this one’s really big. They do such a nice job, though; you’ll be so excited when your trunk arrives. I can’t remember what we, oh wait a minute, I’ve got it all sideways. Here we go. I can’t remember what we told her this time. So one of the nice things they do, is they give you an envelope with return mailing. You see how they tie it nicely and everything. Great stuff. Oh my gosh. OK, I’m definitely keeping that. Ah, probably not that. This is nice; this is like a pea coat. Oh I can’t wait to try that on. So here’s the deal. You’re going to try all this stuff on. You’re going to see if you like it. Anything you don’t like, you just throw back in the trunk, send it back, they pay the shipping. This is the return shipping envelope. You only pay for the stuff you keep. If you keep nothing, you pay nothing. We asked her for some neckties. Oh, I love this! Look at that, isn’t that beautiful? We’re keeping that for sure. I love this one too. Beautiful shirts, sweaters, but it will be, it will all depend, you know, this is my stuff. It will all depend on what you say. Oh! Look at that! See, the nice thing is, I don’t know what’s trendy and hip; Robin does. So, if Robin sends me a bright red tie, I know people are wearing, that will look good. I should wear this to my presentation. Should I? All right, I’ve got a presentation in Vegas. That’s why I’m not here. Oh, look, it’s like a pocket square. Oh, that’s so cute! That goes with the tie. Oh, that’s so cute! Anyway - I’m sorry, I’m going on and on about my trunk. Your trunk is awaiting for you, so is your stylist. Oh, this is made in Italy, this is an Italian shirt, this is – do you like that? I like that. Your stylist is awaiting. Right now, go to TrunkClub.com/twit. You’ll sign up with your stylist, it will not cost you anything, it’s free to join. There’s no subscription free, shipping is free, returns are free. There’s no minimum purchase. And they don’t send you a box every month, it’s not a subscription. It’s not like book of the month club. You talk to your stylist whenever you’re in the mood for more stuff and she’ll send you stuff, and that’s it. It couldn’t be easier. Gorgeous clothes, handpicked for your style. You don’t have to shop. You just have to talk to Robin. Trunk Club – no you can’t have Robin, she’s mine! TrunkClub.com/twit. Oh, I love this cable knit, that’s beautiful. See, it’s interesting because this is the second box, she’s totally, she’s refined what she’s sending me. It’s like, the first box I kept a couple of sweaters, a few things, some shoes. This box I’m probably going to keep most of it because it all looks gorgeous. Look at this jacket. It’s a Vince, you know. See, I don’t know from labels. But then I show this to the ladies and they go, “oh, you’ve got a Vince!” Yea, I’ve got a Vince. I know my way around fine wardrobe clothing. TrunkClub.com/twit. Try it today, you’re going to love it. Andy, you could, you could use a little TrunkClub. Andy Ihnatko.
Andy: Yea, Leo, you’ve got a point there, because, and this is no joke, last night I was on EBay buying a second hand sport coat because I had seen a fellow speaker at last week’s conference wearing one just like it, and I thought, yea, I bet I could pull that off. And, I have to be, I’m a monkey see, monkey do sort of self-tailor. I need help, I need assistance, I need, I need my mom to come and just – but if not for my mom buying me clothes for Christmas, I would have nothing sporty in my wardrobe at all. Let’s get on to our picks of the week, starting with Alex. Alex, what do you got for us?
Alex: So, my pick of the week is a new camera that is, that they’re having a lot of fun with, I’ve been doing a lot of spherical work, so shooting, you know, lots of stuff for the headsets and so on and so forth. And the one that I actually shoot with looks like this, which is very much of a spaghetti mess that Go Pro is…
Rene: Is that a spherical selfie stick?
Alex: (laughing) It is a spherical selfie stick.
Andy: No, it’s an everybody’s stick. It is an ISS Space Station and the worms in the ground stick.
Alex: So, anyway, that’s what I’m shooting with and obviously carrying that around all the time is hard, but I want to test things, and think through things, and try to figure things out. So I got this little thing called a Theta, this is made by Ricoh. And this has lenses on both sides, you can see, they’re right there, it’s got lenses on both sides. And what I actually does is shoot a spherical video or still in one click. So if I want to do this here, I just hold it up here and you might have heard that little (sound). So anyway, that will be a really weird photo.
Andy: And then we black out and have all forgotten about what you’re telling us.
Alex: (laughing) Exactly. It feels like that when it makes the noise. So, anyway, it’s funny, I shot a video and the audio’s a little rough, but I shot a video of my mom, her birthday was a couple of weeks ago, blowing out the candles, so it was like you were sitting at the table. You know, and you put it on, and it is kind of the next generation of selfie because it’s a selfie, you know you’ve had ones that are front and back, you know where you get the two photos? This is like you, you know, talking to someone and picture with them and everything that you were standing inside of at the same time. I would like to say that in my own defense I did order black, and somehow winded up with pink. But I needed it, so I kept it. So anyway, I’ve done stuff like, I’ve suction cupped it to the front of my car, which makes a really odd experience in a gear VR because it feels like you’re sitting on the hood of the car (laughing).
Andy: What can you do with the video? Does it require a standard video file?
Alex: It creates a video file that is two halves and their software will stitch it together. And their player will do it, there’s some players on-line that are capable of playing it, but you can see, what’s really interesting is that it looks like you’re just pinching, it looks like you’re just holding up your hand, and it maps itself out of the picture.
Andy: Clean your thumbnail first.
Alex: You know, I do regret that I bit my nails now, because I keep on looking at these photos and they’re like, oh, man that’s rough. It’s got a 1/4-20 on the bottom so that you can mount it to tripods and do all that other fun stuff. So there’s a lot of other things that you can kind of get it away from yourself. That’s probably a better solution. And it’s just… I really, really enjoy it. Like this is where I was, this is the whole, there are some good examples there, anyway, it’s good.
Andy: How much is it? Alex? Oh, now we don’t …
Rene: He’s not going to tell us. We got through the review at least. We’ll find out next week on the exciting conclusion…
Andy: Exactly (laughing). We will find out how much that is in case we don’t get Alex back. Until then, Rene, what have you got for us?
Rene: So, I’ve had a long and abiding love for an app called Snapseed. It’s on iOS and Android, it’s by Nik Software and they got bought by Google. And Google’s a big company, and I understand they can’t always put all their attention everywhere that I’d like it all the time, but they sort of left it to fallow for a long time. Felt like years and years. And it just sort of got older and older, and I used it less and less. Well, finally, and I’m going to use the full on, italic, bold version, of FINALLY, they’ve released version 2.0 of Snapseed, I think it was last week. And it is awesome. I haven’t used it on Android yet, but on iOS especially it is terrific most of all because it actually took the time, they actually cared enough, to implement a photo kit, which is Apple’s API that lets you tie into the non-destructive edit pipeline that iOS8 introduced. So, theoretically, you could do stuff in photos, you could do stuff in all the different filters in photos, and you can do stuff in Snapseed, and then if you later change your mind, it’s not “oh, I have to go back to the original and painstakingly reproduce this entire chain of events.” Except changing that one step that will lead me to a better, brighter future. But you can just go in and twist the knobs and dials and change just the part that you originally changed with Snapseed. The downside is that not everything, including some of Apple’s stuff, doesn’t support the non-destructive edit pipeline yet, but Photos does and for a lot of people that’s their primary way of getting to all sorts of pictures on iOS and OS10. And I just couldn’t be happier. I don’t know if it’s a complete re-write, and I don’t know if John Nack was specifically involved, but I feel like when he arrived there at Google from Adobe, magic things started to happen.
Andy: Yea, he’s been really active that way. I’m sorry, Ren, you’re about to say?
Serenity: No, I wasn’t going to say anything.
Andy: OK, in that case it was my mistake.
Serenity: I’m just listening in contentment.
Andy: (laughs) Exactly - basking. As usual basking in the Rene wisdom. But so long as we’ve got the camera swung around to you, Ren, what’ve you got for us this week?
Serenity: All right, well I’ve got a physical item and then a bonus iOS app. We’ll start with the physical thing. So I’ve been carrying around … I’ve looked for a new backpack at the beginning of the year, because I was going to be doing a lot of traveling in between CES and OHL, and now I’m going to Yosemite, and I wanted a good, tech backpack to carry all of my tech things, as well as to just, you know, carry some miscellany. And a friend of mine was like, “oh, you should try Osprey, I know they usually make hiking backpacks but they also make these really awesome tech backpacks.” So this is the Osprey Pixel. And I’ve been testing it for about four months? I got it the first week of January. So, this thing is amazing because it can be really, really slim, or really, really big depending on whether you need it, it looks nice and it has a million pockets, which is what I love about backpacks. So, I’ll show you the side. I feel like their actual video. So, it has a side pocket that fits both a laptop and a super side pocket that will fit a 10” iPad, and all of that is easy access right on the side, so if you’re going through a lot of airports, you don’t have to open your bag and dig through all of your stuff for your laptop, which I love. I had never seen this on a backpack until I picked this up, and I know that lots of backpacks have it, but it was so one of those, my mind is blown! It has like all of these zippers that will expand or contract the backpack. It has a top zipper here, where you could put front things. I have like an iPhone cable, just in case and I think there’s a battery pack in there as well. On the bottom, I haven’t even opened the bag yet. On the bottom, there is this little pouch which will fit a DSLR with a 40mm pancake lens on it, and it’s actually the perfect place to hide a DSLR because it’s, again, easy access, and it’s padded. And then, you open up the backpack itself, there’s another zipper pocket here, where you can put like pens, and I’ve got more cables. It comes with a cable organizer and it has giant bag space for anything you might need.
Andy: And more pouches.
Serenity: And more and more pouches. And you know what, I never knew that this was important until I found it on this backpack, it has a handle on the inside, so if you have the bag open, and it’s on the floor, you can pick it up and dig through it while you’re still holding it without having to be like, “uhhhhh, where is that? Where can I charge my phone? Or my computer?”
Andy: It’s also awesome that the lining is like a bright color, it’s not black, so it must be easier to find things inside there, too.
Serenity: Yea, I really like it. So, I think I got it for only $120.00, so it’s not even super, super expensive for a nice backpack. And it’s made out of the same materials, it’s a grey herringbone, which again, I feel like it looks really classy, it doesn’t look like your average geek backpack. And it does have that nice, sort of neon interior. But it’s also made with the same quality construction materials that you’d find in a hiking backpack. So you don’t have to worry about it ripping, and there are extra clips and snaps if you’re putting on something particularly heavy. And that top cover over that holds the main compartment in, it can be expanded or contracted as necessary. So I’ve stuffed things up like, like I had a bed roll in there. I could theoretically go hiking with this backpack, and have tech stuff, which is pretty cool. I used it extensively when I was in Ireland and I really, really liked it. So that’s my hardware thing. My software thing is more of a quick shout out. So, I forget who mentioned this game to me. I have become addicted to a Japanese cat game. Which I think Tiffany and Marco are to blame for this because Tif was talking about it in Ireland and I then I just went for it. It’s called, I think, Neko Atsume. The game is entirely in Japanese. So the first time I saw it, I’m like, this is insane. I don’t understand what to do. But it is adorable. It’s basically you put out things, you buy little like, food and cardboard boxes, and other random things, and then little tiny cats come to visit you, from who knows, neighboring environments. And they come and they play with your toys, and they leave you sardines as gratitude. And it’s like, it’s this little, it’s set it and forget it, you just go back every so often and you put down little things, but all of the cat animations are so cute. It’s like one of the cats is playing with the ball, and it’s just teetles back and forth. They’re really well designed; it’s a really well designed, very adorable little game. It’s total fluff, like it’s totally something that I’m just enjoying. But it gives me the same kind of weird glee of actual pet ownership without the stress of like a Tamagotchi, or like a Hatch Pet, I have to check this every five seconds or the pet will die. With this one, it’s like, the pets just wander in and out. They’re not yours, you can take pictures of them if you want.
Andy: Like a real cat.
Serenity: Yea, exactly. The cat is not at your beck and call, it is not there to amuse you. It just happens to enjoy itself and you can occasionally peek in on its delight. So it’s my perfect happy time app. So I’m going to recommend that to everybody. I’m so sorry in advance because it is kind of addicting. There are in-app purchases, but you can totally get away with not doing them at all. It’s just, again, just playing with adorable cats.
Andy: That’s not a bad thing at all. Do we have Alex back.
Rene: No, he’s dropped, he’s not coming back. Although I will tell you, to just round up his review of the Ricoh Theta, it’s 300 bucks.
Andy: That’s not too bad. And for collecting stuff that you can’t collect otherwise, I had 160 degree lens for my Nikon Cool Pix 990, and I was showing off at my parent’s house, “oh, here’s how well this camera works, and oh my god, look what it can do.” My parents had never seen a digital camera before. And then only 2-3 years ago, I came across those stupid pictures I took just to show it off, like oh, I have 360 degree views of my mom and dad’s living room. Oh, I have 360 degree view of the kitchen. And there’s a time when you’re going to be an older fool, your parents are going to be gone, and your parent’s house is going to be sold, or events are going to be long, long gone, and it will be like, “oh, it’s just like you being there again, isn’t this lovely?” I don’t know how to decide where to point the camera. So that’s pretty cool. My pic is a free piece of software that I discovered last week. A lot of us are using, If This Then That, that really cool web app that does like internet rules where you just set up a recipe like if the RSS feed for this podcast is updated, take the episode of that podcast and copy it into my Dropbox folder inside this folder. And it’s just, you can basically, what is the thing that you want to trigger an action, then what action do you want it to do as a result of that trigger. And you can almost like write apps yourself, even though you’re only doing is connection an action to a consequence. They have released a camera app for both iOS and for Android. And it is the simplest thing ever. It is a recipe app where it takes pictures, then you basically tell it what you’d like… hey I can actually frame this (laughing). Almost like being there. So you can actually set it up, so that for instance, this is an Evernote recipe that I’ve setup, so that every time I take this picture, like if I’ve just had a business dinner or something, all I have to do is switch to this camera then click the button; it will take a picture, and then that picture I take of the receipt will then go into Evernote inside the notebook that I keep receipts in, and you can define multiple cameras. So, for instance, here’s one that you take a picture of a lot of Mac leads, this will be tweeted, here’s another one that whatever photo I take will be e-mailed to myself. You can do things like if you’re often sending pictures to your parents, your boyfriend and your girlfriend, your kids or something like that, you can basically now define a camera, this is the camera that whenever I press this button, whatever picture gets taken will be shared with my folks. And there is a very, very wide recipe library available. These are simple and obvious ones. But if you tap on that recipe box right there, you can start to either use recipes that other people have created for you, or you can start creating ones of your own. For instance you could do things like, take a picture of something and then your hue of the lightbulbs will change color to match the color of whatever it is you just took a picture of. And it’s one of my favorite kinds of apps in that it’s a tool that you use to create new tools. And because I’m not even a competent Swift programmer, I would love to have certain apps that do really tricky things that only I would appreciate, but I’m not going to spend a few days or a few weeks writing that. But when you have a tool like this, if it involves taking a picture, then doing something with that picture, it is super quick, super easy, and it does pass my chainsaw test, where after you use it for the task for which you downloaded it, do you start walking around the house seeing what else you can do with it? Yes, you do. And that’s how you wind up with an old sofa that you’ve been meaning to take out of the guest bedroom and now you can carry it home in a shopping basket because you’ve cut it up with the brand new chainsaw that you were having so much fun with. That’s it for MacBreak this week. I’m sorry that Alex Lindsay has gone, but he’s gone to a better place, I’m sure. A mid-high priced hotel in Las Vegas. We also had this week Rene Ritchie from iMore. Rene, what else is going on this week on iMore that we should know about?
Rene: Oh, I think we’re just re-covering now, Andy. Watch stuff…
Andy: You’re not allowed to re-cover, you’re a trusted news resource, Rene!
Rene: We’re ramping up for the Apple Watch, Andy, that’s what we’ll do next.
Andy: Exactly. And Serenity, I want to make sure everybody checks out the stuff you wrote about Photos, because it really, for me personally, again, I knew that it was going to be waiting for me when I came back, and I spent like Friday and Saturday saying, “Oh… oh, so that’s good… oh, I don’t know how to do that…” What else is going on?
Serenity: Well, we’re working on Photos, we’re also continuing our Apple Watch ramp up coverage. I just posted a thing, I think I mentioned earlier, on my try-on experience, including matching the sport with different bands, including the Milanese loop. I’m going to write later on why I’m choosing a 38mm over a 42mm watch. I know a lot of people are having kind of a discussion who haven’t been able to try it on yet. “Well, do I need the small one; do I need the big one? What’s going on?” We’ve got a buyer’s guide up there; all kinds of other fun things. I’m going to be continuing to write Photos How To’s, because even after the 55+ How To’s we wrote for iMore, people are coming in with questions. And I’m like, “oh, yea, that’s actually a great point. Let me explain how to do that instead of trying to fit into 140 characters, let’s make this an actual post.” So a lot of Photos triage, some Apple Watch stuff, I’ll probably bump, I did a guide on playing Hearthstone. That just hit on the iPhone right now, and I know that’s a secret guilty pleasure for me and quite a few other people, so if you’re interested in that, I’m sure you can find that on iMore.com. Just all the things, all of the things.
Andy: Awesome, awesome, awesome. Serenity and I and Jason Snell and Jim Dowrimple and a whole bunch of legitimately cool people are going to be at the Yosemite Cocoa Conference next week, and I will be there with more photo equipment then … I’m going to have to go through every single closet to get every single camera that I can to see that. I’m going to be finishing up my MacBook Pro review soon. I’ve got two or three other things in the hopper. I’ve got another Apple Watch piece coming, and I’m trying to be a little bit more discreet about Apple Watch, because, it’s like, you start, I think I have nine things to say about it and I’ve already said seven of them, so I’ve got to make sure that the remaining two I really put it out there when I can create the greatest impact. Leo Laporte will be back with us next week, until then thank you so much for watching this week, and get back to work! Break time is over!
Gold Bricks! You’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean! Didn’t realize I was paying you to Facebook! Hope you’re doing a good job of it! Because I’m giving you fourteen bucks an hour to do it…