MacBreak Weekly 915 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.

0:00:00 - Jason Snell
Hey, it's Jason Snell sitting in for Leo on this MacBreak Weekly. Oh, there's so much. There's new MacBook Airs. Apple is doing weird stuff in Europe. The Vision Pro got some updates and you know we're still gonna talk about it because Leo's not here. Haha, we can talk about the Vision Pro. Apple's gonna do a bunch of ads on Apple TV Plus. Maybe all that and more coming up next on MacBreak Weekly.

0:00:23 - VO
Podcasts you love. From people you trust. This. Is TWiT.

0:00:32 - Jason Snell
This is MacBreak Weekly episode 912 for March 12th 2024: Macbook Air Heritage Club.

0:00:42 - Leo Laporte
This episode of MacBreak Weekly is brought to you by Rocket Money. Did you know that nearly 75% of everybody have subscriptions they've forgotten about? Yeah, you have any subscriptions. You don't even know you got them. I had a ton, In fact. Just the other day, I got a bill for $300 from WordPress. I haven't used WordPress in years. I guess I just forgotten about it. Well, Rocket Money saved me. They've saved me again and again.

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0:02:41 - Jason Snell
Welcome back to MacBreak Weekly. It's me, not Leo. I'm Jason Snell. I'm on this podcast every week, don't you recognize me? But I'm in Leo's chair because Leo is on vacation and we're going to do an episode of MacBreak Weekly. We're joined by the usual suspects Plus one. Let me introduce the usual suspects First. What they're suspected of, I leave to you our loyal viewers. Andy Ihnatko is here, noted, a beloved technology columnist and writer, and he appears regularly on GBH in Boston. High Andy, hello.

0:03:14 - Andy Ihnatko
Jason and I wouldn't come out and say this, but there's a reason why I'm technically flagged in Liberia and I'm not technically a United States columnist. But we'll leave that for the EU to talk about.

0:03:25 - Jason Snell
I think it's because you get away from taxes, right, isn't that? If you're, if you flag under the flag of a different country, then you don't have to pay any shipping taxes.

0:03:32 - Andy Ihnatko
Is that, and it's annoying because, like if I, if, when I do my weekly shopping, I have to make a stop in an out in a port outside of the United States just to get some buttermilk. You have to go out to Bermuda and then come back.

0:03:43 - Jason Snell
Yeah, I know it's un, it's unhelpful, also wanted in some jurisdictions, but not here. I mean no, I mean we want you to be here. You're not. Just never mind. It's Alex Lindsey. Hi Alex.

0:03:54 - Alex Lindsay
He's an usual suspect. All I can think of was and me the keys Anyway, so not that I've seen the movie a couple times.

0:04:03 - Jason Snell
The yeah, it's good to be here, it's good to have you as usual, and our plus one, because Leo is our minus one, which is why there's a whole line of succession thing that happens. I photoshop some pictures of me with my family in order to try to blur the waters a little bit about this, but let's not get into that right now. It is my colleague, longtime colleague and compatriot, co-macworld columnist and six colors collaborator, along with many podcasts, and I mean, if I'm here, of course Dan Lauren's going to be here. Hi, dan.

0:04:32 - Dan Moren
Hi, I'm contractually obligated to be here. I will say nothing. I'll just hold up a newspaper with today's date. All right, and do we have newspapers still? Do we still do that? Is that still a thing? What do you love now? A phone, I don't know.

0:04:47 - Andy Ihnatko
Can I say it's really suspicious. I would not have suspected but the fact that you cut your hair so close so that nobody could see like if there's a paste job. The use of the clone tool. Now I'm kind of worried.

0:05:00 - Dan Moren
I also appreciate that Alex and Andy and I have dressed in our primary RGB colors today.

0:05:05 - Andy Ihnatko
I think that provides a nice degree.

0:05:08 - Jason Snell
The Teletubbies of tech Hot potato, hot potato, potato, potato, potato. Let's talk about everybody's favorite subject, which is regulations in Europe. It's fascinating story, though. So, of course, the DMA has gone into effect the Digital Markets Act, I believe it's called. We just know it as the DMA. You know it, you love it, you can't live without it, and it means that Apple has to do things that Apple, quite frankly, does not want to do, but it has to do them because it's the law in the European Union, and we've had a lot of really interesting things happen in the last week. Boy, I mean, I'm underselling it.

A lot has happened, including a whole thing between Phil Schiller who, although he is now an Apple fellow and has no clear title, he is still in charge of things, including, apparently, the App Store, and had an email exchange with Tim Sweeney from Epic Games, in which Phil Schiller said oh, I see you registered an account to be in the store in Europe, but we don't trust you because you pulled a scheme earlier in the App Store and did something you weren't supposed to do when we kicked you out.

I need you to reassure me that you're not going to break the rules in writing. And Tim Sweeney wrote back and said I give you my assurance it absolutely. We will follow the rules. We are in this to follow the rules and do what we want to do, and we can provide you anything else that you would like in terms of reassurance. But, of course, meanwhile, tim Sweeney was still doing what he does, which is criticize Apple's policies, which is sort of one of the reasons we've gotten to this point. And then Apple apparently then sent him an email and said oh, because you were mean to us on Twitter, you're banned, and it sounds like I'm I'm making light of this. That's pretty much what happened, so not great.

0:07:06 - Dan Moren
Not great. I like your characterization of Phil Schiller as a contankerous high school principal from a 1980s movie you and your hijinks Sweeney it's detention.

0:07:16 - Jason Snell
Basically Strickland from back to the future, Exactly.

0:07:19 - Andy Ihnatko
And also like the EU, as like Calvin's mom from Calvin and Hobbes is saying yeah, you can't do that. We're kind of paying close attention to your relationships with people who choose to not use your app store, and if you ban people for reasons that don't involve actual buccaneering, I think that we're probably going to have you write us another check. So stand down, get your blood sugar back up.

0:07:45 - Alex Lindsay
Back away from the keyboard. And the real issue is that the EU is doing this because the United States courts basically gave Apple the OK because of what had happened earlier with Epic. The Apple was cleared to ban them if they wanted to. So this is a difference of opinion between Apple courts and the EU, you know as far, I mean not Apple courts, but you are, are they?

0:08:06 - Jason Snell
But yeah, yeah, exactly, or they are they.

0:08:07 - Alex Lindsay
Yeah, exactly, but you know. So I think that you know it'll be really interesting to see how this crossover happens between. You know kind of chaos in the EU for a little while and maybe forever, but maybe only for six months or so and it settles in and it proves that it wasn't that big of a deal and then we all move forward, or it'll prove that it is. It's a market that's large enough that if it was a mistake, we'll know it, so and so and so, and that's great for us as consumers. We get to watch them. You know, take all the the arrows first and see and see what it looks like. You know and see, and so.

So it's either going to work out well or it's going to be, you know, kind of a. It may not, it could be somewhere in between. It's just really just messed up. We end up with a lot of things like this, especially when regulators get involved, so so where things are just kind of just a munch of mess. You know nothing's horrible, nothing's great, it's just messy, you know, and so so you know, I think there's a high probability that will happen, but I also think that it might turn out that it's just no one's really using the apps, or no one really cares, or people are using it, it's not a problem, and so we'll. You know, we get to watch all of that in a microcosm instead of the whole world, which is, I think, great.

0:09:21 - Andy Ihnatko
Yeah, we're going to the people started having to comply on March 7th. They've had plenty of time to figure out what they're going to do. But I think the every single stakeholder in this has kind of agreed that there's these are brand new laws. Compliance is going to be a little bit fuzzy for a while and a lot of it is not simply Apple or anybody else, just you know, sticking up a finger in the face of the EU saying, well, we're going to do this in the minimum way possible. Of course they're going to, but they're they're trying to do it now in the minimum way legally possible, and we don't know what those borders are.

I thought it was kind of interesting that the EU is actually on March 18th, they're holding what they're calling specifically an Apple DMA compliance workshop I'm quoting the announcement here where it's an actual like in person workshop in Brussels where for people actually in person Prioritizing seating for and I'm also quoting here, so you know like who they're addressing. That said, quote representatives of Apple, business, users of Apple's designated core platform services and associations with represent a large number of stakeholders. So the fact that they have and this is not like a half hour, like zoom meeting, like they've actually blocked out an entire day for these sort of things. So the fact that even they're saying, look, we're having a meeting to have a discussion about, like what do you think all these rules mean? What is going to apply, what is not going to apply, means that it's not as though there's going to be like a vendetta of ban, hammers, and and and and fines. This is going to be trying to figure out. Here's the law. Now let's figure out what compliance actually means.

0:10:47 - Dan Moren
Yeah, I mean this is a huge piece of legislation and it's obviously huge like groups of technology companies not just Apple affected by this. And I think it's interesting because we always knew this would be kind of fuzzy. We always knew that I think to a certain degree, when the rubber hit the road there's going to be questions about where are the loopholes, where do you draw the lines, what things can you reasonably, what things you can't do. I mean, you can't just put an entire corpus of law into effect and immediately understand exactly how compliance and an enforcement is going to work. It's going to take real world examples. So, as Alex said, I think it's going to take six months before we sort of see exactly how much the situation stabilizes.

And I'm kind of curious in terms of where you know, other countries around the world fall into this category. You is a great trial balloon. It's a good chance to see how it works out. And a part of me wonders if things like you know we've heard rumblings of the DOJ finalizing some antitrust stuff against Apple and I have to wonder if part of them is like let's see how this plays out in Europe and we can figure out exactly what we can get away with here in the US in terms of what that like, what can we enforce? What can we demand? Because it's very easy to be like look at what you've done in Europe and do that over here, but there needs to be a will for that, and that is still sorely lacking.

0:11:59 - Andy Ihnatko
Yeah, the fact that this is an opportunity for all of these things, that doom and gloom have been predicted, from Apple saying, well, we can't do this because that will totally violate the entire platform. Also, on the other side, regulators saying, hey, look, if people have a choice of app platforms, imagine having so many new app. Platforms are going to bloom and proliferate and we're going to have competition. Now we get to actually see, like you say, where the rubber meets the road, and a lot of the stuff is not just stuff. That's like eight pay levels above us, the level of the users.

Another thing that came out again on the day that the DMA went into effect, apple released their report of compliance saying that here is power complying now, here's how we intend to comply in the future. And there's some stuff in there that is just universally really good for users. For instance, that by I think they said by 2025, they intend to have features and services in place so that if you do want to switch from the iPhone to an Android phone, we are going to have tools in place to make that migration a lot easier. We already have Apple already has that assistant that makes it easier, makes it attractive for an Android user to move to iPhone. Google has the same tool in reverse, but the idea of saying, OK, we are going to officially ensconce this as something that we should and are kind of forced to do, will make it easier for those people who are making the switch on both sides to not think that they are trying to change all the furniture in the room without without without changing the floor.

0:13:29 - Jason Snell
So something I should close the loop on this. What ended up happening is that somebody from the EU whispered in Apple's ear and said you can't ban Epic from the App Store for crimes committed that are actually legal in the EU under the DMA and for criticizing you in public, which you know it's a sidebar here, but I said this on the upgrade podcast yesterday. I'll say it again here. Anybody who's worked with Apple over the course of decades knows that Apple is extremely sensitive to public criticism from those it perceives of as business partners, and I think what happened here is like when Phil Schiller sent the email to Tim Sweeney saying you know you're going to tell me, sure me, you're going to comply, and he said yes, we will. I think, from Phil Schiller's standpoint, compliance includes not criticizing Apple's policies, which I don't think a reasonable person would believe, but I do think that that is Apple's attitude.

By the way, speaking of compliance, a lot of people are using the phrase malicious compliance to talk about what Apple is doing. I don't think that's right. I think I would say something more like incremental compliance or limited compliance. I think Apple's goal here is to do what they think is the least they need to do to satisfy the regulators. Knowing is my theory, knowing that they're going to get bumped in other directions by regulators after the initial rollout.

And my evidence is what happened today, which is, after a very detailed system that Apple set up for alternative marketplaces, basically exterior app stores, because they were given the option in the DMA to either set up third party app stores or and or allowed side loading. Today Apple said oh actually, funny thing, later this spring you can do side loading too and there are some rules about it. But that was clearly never part of their original plan, and I think that's an example of incremental compliance, where they decided to read the DMA as strictly as possible and then See what happened. And and now we're seeing and it's fascinating, we are seeing Apple make these changes in the EU, like their limitations on external linking. Also today they announced that remember that template you had to use mandatorily if you're linking outside.

0:15:54 - Andy Ihnatko
Consider it was a guide, more of a suggestion, and so we're seeing that happen. We were serious about that. Oh, come on yeah yeah that's what the case and silly fill over Covertino, you know, you know that yeah.

0:16:07 - Alex Lindsay
Yeah, I think, and we'll also see you know how users feel about it too.

You know, I think that you know, being forced to be like I mean, if I get an external link in in my thing, that there's A one-star coming really fast, you know, like, like, no, thank you, and I'm going to spike you Because, because I hate being sent out of, out of the, out of my environment. You know, like the thing is, I'm happy to pay more, I don't want to deal with somebody else, I don't want to give them my emails, I don't want to give them my money directly, I don't want to do any of those things and I take it personally. You know, like.

0:16:37 - Jason Snell
You know it's so interesting is that we'll see the EU is sort of making the assumption here that this is what people want, what customers want, and they may be the customer deeply mistaken in that that it may be Developers want, but not what this is what a bunch of rich companies want to have.

0:16:51 - Alex Lindsay
This is not what users want. Well, I do not want to have to go out to a website and remember their passwords and have to manage, like, where their Subscriptions are and everything else. That is not user friendly. Yeah, you know, like and that's gonna be, and people are gonna start to talk about it and they're gonna start to get frustrated. You know about it too.

0:17:09 - Andy Ihnatko
Yeah, I don't think the EU is in their documentation has been talking about how well this we're we're doing, we're putting these regulations in place in response to User demand or user desire. It's more like they believe in principle that that there is a there is a whole category of things that are just you're abusing your power, certainly saying that. Oh, by the way, you're not allowed to link to your own website so that you're even even your own users can can be facilitated to get more information about, like this product. You're not allowed to cultivate a relationship directly with the user. You, their user, has a relationship with us and we're not gonna let you, let you end on that. But yeah, I mean, jason's absolutely right. There's just the past couple weeks We've seen at first to first it seemed as though Apple was going to kill web apps, and not because and not out of spite, but because they didn't know if the fact that a web app would have to run using Apple's browser technology Is that.

Would that be now a violation of the of the DMA? Then they backed off of that because they seem to have gotten reaction says okay, looks like we can get away with that. There is in the alternative app store rules, one of the early rules. Oh, and, by the way, you're gonna have to put up a million dollars One million dollars if you want to start an app store, and that was going to be a barrier to so many small, like startups, even if they try to get a bond instead of trying to get the actual amount. Then they backed off on that as well. So I like what I'm seeing. I don't, I'm not disappointed at all by Apple Looking at the laws and saying what is the least hassle, the least dangerous way of complying with this while still complying with that, because that's just, that's just.

That's what law is about. It's like well, and you have these guardrails in place because you want to know I don't, I don't want to be a foul of the law, but give me a guardrail so that I know when I'm about to cross it. This is this is one of the reasons why All every single tech company keeps saying that hey, every time there's a new statewide law banning this or controlling that, one of the biggest responses from Microsoft, google, apple, facebook, everything's like. We want a national law. We don't want to have to deal with 50 different states, attorneys generals with different political agendas that we have to lobby with infinite amounts of money. Give us a national law that we can start, we can create our policy against, and then we will start to make things better.

0:19:26 - Alex Lindsay
Yeah, anybody who thinks that, that it's a malicious or or anything else, should also remember. Like do you ever go to H&R block?

0:19:32 - Jason Snell
Yeah, well, right, like you know, like you know, I think you're trying to your own taxes, exactly, right, right, that's and that's why I say malicious isn't the right word for it. I do think it's incremental that the idea is Apple, look, apple's not gonna say you know what you asked for? You asked for the moon, but we're gonna give you the whole solar system. That's not how it works. They're like we're gonna read this the strictest as possible. But what's fascinating and, dan, you and I were talking about this earlier today is that we are now seeing Apple is, you know Apple says, well, we got feedback from Developers and other stakeholders. It's like, who are the other stakeholders, I wonder? And and so? So, dan, you know we were, we were seeing this that this is now phase two, which is, oh, that wasn't good enough for you. Okay, here's some more. How about now?

0:20:14 - Dan Moren
Yeah, right, and and Apple's clearly gamed out whatever scenario they felt like would be the worst case scenario right, they have sat in the room and thought about okay, if this really doesn't go our way, what are the steps, how do we actually do these things? And I think they then have a lot of those things kind of in their back pocket to think, okay, if we need to deploy this, this is what we're going to do, and I think this web distribution angle thing that they've rolled out today is a clear example of that. There's a reason it's coming later this spring, because they were not ready to do it now, but they knew that the possibility would exist that they would not meet the criteria of what the DMA set out, and so they had to have something ready to go where it's like all right, we, if we need to be able to, you know, have side loading in addition to third-party at map marketplaces. This is how we're gonna do it, and how we're gonna do it in such a way that we can still ensure some degree of safety and security.

And I think there there is a good point about both Alex and Andy we're talking about in terms of how do the users fall into this, because I think that there is both a positive and a negative to it. Right, I'm sure users who would prefer, for example, hey, be great if I could buy Kindle books in my Kindle app on my iPhone, right, like I don't want to go to an external site, necessarily. But also Apple is also not letting you know Amazon do that without jumping through a bunch of hoops that Amazon is literally never going to jump through. So how do you find that middle ground of, like, hey, I want to have all my stuff and be able to access it from my device without having to go through a lot of trouble, without having to do a Lot of extra steps? But how do I do that in a way like that Apple's actually gonna let people do that because they want to keep everybody in their own ecosystem.

0:21:42 - Jason Snell
Yeah, and there's the. There's also something that keeps coming up that I think is relevant, which is the chilling effect, which is the fact is, in a in a closed app store system where Apple has to approve everything and this has been the case Developers have to wonder. They have to consult their inner Apple right and say Will this get approved? And Apple doesn't pre-approved concepts. So if you're on the edge of something that Apple might not approve, I'll tell you it's already happened probably Numerous times over the last decade.

You just don't do it because there's nowhere else you can take that app. It's an iOS app and in at least certain circumstances, somebody could do this and offer it on their, on their website, and it may be maybe even just as a fallback. If it doesn't get approved for the app store, at least there would be some revenue there. I do suspect, dan, that this seems a lot like the way you would get a marketplace on your device right, like they're using existing tech. First off, a, they repurposed the notarization stuff that they rolled out on the Mac and now, in this case, the way you get an app you will be able to get an app by somebody's website is awfully similar to the way that you would install that app if it wasn't previously announced at marketplace, where you go to a URL and, and that one's been approved, that website's been approved and you download it.

So they're, you know, repurposing things They've already built in order to make this to happen but it is fascinating that this was like they had a very careful, carefully described and detailed description of how this was all gonna work, and then the DMA goes into effect in one week.

Later they're like oh, also the spring downloads and, like you can see it, this is it's gonna be like this for a while, I think where little itty bitty things are going to get pushed forward, although I did get somebody told me today that One way to look at this is that this is all to serve Bigger developers, and I think that there's some truth to that, that the the EC is listening to the large developers, because a good thing that I would think that they would, that the European Commission would look at, is Apple is using a very interesting proxy for what what they consider a reliable developer, and that is that they have a A million app downloads in the EU in the previous year and have been a developer in good standing for two years, and that will That'll cover major developers and even kind of mid-range indie developers, but smaller developers won't qualify and therefore won't be allowed to do this, even if they've been a developer in good standing for a long time, if they don't have enough of a user base, and Part of me thinks that'll be something that the EC may not like.

0:24:21 - Dan Moren
I but but not a terrible for me in an or yeah like situation where it's like or you're you've been into, you know You've had good tenure for these years, or you've passed a certain number of downloads, because I agree with you there's a lot of people who kind of get left out in the cold by that we're never gonna have a million downloads, except anything, because it's just not the way it is. And like do those people not Deserve to be able to distribute their apps on the web?

0:24:42 - Alex Lindsay
That's a real question.

Yeah well, and I think the other thing, though, is, as a I mean and again, this will be up to the users to decide, but as a user I would very rarely like the one secure thing I have on my is my phone, you know, and the thing the chances of me going outside of the app store to to do that are pretty low. But the other thing to realize is how few people are actually taking advantage of this. If you look at this Graph here, 86% of those never take a commission from, never get it, you know, never pay a commission to Apple for what they're doing. You know, 12% are in this world of their paying 15%, and there's only 2% of the developers that are paying 30%. So, really, the argument is all happening about that area. I mean, this really is a.

0:25:24 - Dan Moren
It's really aristocratic conversation here.

0:25:29 - Alex Lindsay
Rich company, and you know the bottom line is is that none of the companies that are being regulated against are European, you know, and so, of course, it's easy for the EU to do this because they they what they don't want their you know their companies, you know, you know they're they're protecting their own companies, their own aristocratic companies, from our aristocratic companies, but that's, this is really a battle of the aristocracy. I mean yes and yes, and we're gonna get trampled like as users. We will be trampled, no.

0:25:55 - Dan Moren
There, I mean keep in mind, of course, any of these companies that are European also at this point we're talking about a little tech companies, as you said, aristocratic are so big that they have worldwide reach. They may be headquartered in the European Union, but it doesn't mean that they don't have arms everywhere else. I mean Spotify, yes, is a European company at all, but they do a ton of business.

0:26:11 - Alex Lindsay
I don't believe, if Spotify was in the United States, that this law would exist.

0:26:15 - Dan Moren
But that's because Spotify would have had to complain to the United States government, which would be bound by it and the United States government is definitely not gonna do anything about that. But I mean, I think the part of the challenge is also, like, a huge percentage of those apps that are not paying any sort of commission to Apple are based on, you know, models of monetization that don't go through the apps, or right things like ads. Right, a lot of apps that are making money and yeah.

0:26:40 - Alex Lindsay
All the apps that I've built up into up to date, all the ones that I've worked on the development of, have none of them have I've charged anything for. They're there for companies who put something out that helps them promote what they're doing and help some do those Think, you know, put those things out. There's been one that's been sold, but outside of that it is. They've, they've all been. You know apps that are free, you know. So there's not any commission and we do have to go. Oh, you sent, you sent something to Apple and Apple sends it back. You know like we, I we give about a three to four week turn from the time we took, from the time we submit to Apple, we expect it Within three to four weeks to be in the app store, and so we submit it. They come back and say, no, you can't do this, and you're like, and then you move, you, you submit it two or three times and then you're, you're in. You know, and you know we tend to call that adulting. You know about how to get in, so it's, but it rarely, is Rarely, do we get something back that that we go. Oh, I just didn't think of that, like I didn't think that that would be a problem. I mean, rarely do we get something.

And again, there are so many things to build apps around that the fact that you're building ones that Apple doesn't think are that Apple isn't gonna let through. You're really dancing along a very, very small edge between you know there's this, there's the. You know there's a, there's a bunch of stuff Apple's not gonna let you do, and then there's a. There's this stuff, and the people who are Confused are in here, you or they're over here and they want to sell porn. So you know so that you know so that I think that's the only thing they want to do, but Mostly so anyway.

So the and so the. So I think that you know it's, it's rarely unclear, and again, there's just so many opportunities that don't require you to get anywhere near that edge, like that's. The thing that I'm always amazed by is that they're like I can't build my app. Well, what are you doing with your app? You're trying to, you know, find some loophole that Apple doesn't. That usually says somewhere in the policy you can't do, and if you don't try to get creative and you just produce a great Right.

0:28:30 - Jason Snell
Don't try to get creative app developers.

0:28:33 - Dan Moren
Unless you're in Europe, I guess.

0:28:36 - Andy Ihnatko
I mean Alex.

0:28:37 - Jason Snell
We've had decades of stories of developers getting rejections for things that are not them trying to pull one over on Apple, but that Apple has just decided they don't want that app in the store. I mean, it has happened. Is it a huge number? No, but it's been happening. It's a steady drum beat over a decade I'd say it's less than in the last few years because people have learned not to try because Apple will just say no and then they'll have nowhere else to take their software. I'm not sure that this will solve any of that in the EU. I think it's unlikely, because you're gonna Now you're like great, we can sell our app in one region, but it is a chilling effect. It is real and I know developers who have said I'm never going to develop this good idea because I don't know if Apple would accept it.

0:29:16 - Andy Ihnatko
And also I by as a matter of policy, but also I think there's evidence that this actually works out in Apple's history. Apple doesn't do anything that they aren't excited about doing, they don't want to do, unless there is pressure from somewhere. Every positive change that's happened in the app store for the past five years has happened only because people are starting to hold their feet to the fire and Apple is starting to negotiate, and the people who live inside of Apple who have always been arguing that, look, it is kind of silly that we can that maybe this made sense when we opened the app store in 2007, 2008,. But no longer makes any sense that we can't allow developers to have a relationship with the users that the user might actually want. Can't we? Can't we reduce this a little bit?

It's kind of silly that people who are only making, who only stand to make about two or three thousand dollars a year off of their app, why are we trying to get 30% off of them? Can't we just let them have like five thousand dollars instead of three thousand dollars, because that'll make a big, big difference. It'll encourage them to make great apps and also it's the weirdos that make like the real on-the-edge, breaking new grand making apps that we can't make for ourselves. So, on all the dimensions of these discussions about pressures from regulation, I just think that if it makes Apple listen more closely to arguments internally that say that look, why are we being so tight about this? Why can't we loosen this up? Why can't we give more opportunities? If this change would only improve the lives of five percent of our users, those five percent are going to really appreciate that our platform is easier to use and seems less draconian and unfair, so why don't we do it?

0:30:55 - Alex Lindsay
And I would argue that's easier to use for the developers because it is not going to be easier to use for the users and the users and this is going to leave. The problem that smaller developers are going to have is a loss of trust. I looked at how many, because there's so much you depend on the app store. Part of what the app store does, it goes well. Apple's looked at all these things and while some things get through, not very many in a percentage perspective. But what I have looked at is how few apps I download.

Now I realize now this isn't part of the EU, but I download probably one-tenth the number of apps that I used to. And I realize those subscriptions Subscriptions have me like, oh, and there is zero chance that I'm going to get something on the outside. But I do think that what's going to happen if they're not careful is that the users will get upset and the users will become more assertive. And it's a lot harder to control a bunch of angry users than it is to control a big company. And if people start getting assertive about how to prove, how to nail this to the ground, if users decide to do something about it for instance, running around with one star, I'm sorry.

0:31:59 - Andy Ihnatko
I'm going to tell you I absolutely hate that attitude. It's a real dirtbag response of saying oh so if I gave you $10 for this app and the, I go up in the app and I said hi Alex, you're an idiot, I hate you, and here's a fake photo of you kissing a duck, it would still get a one-star app. That's totally disrespectful of the work that goes into it. I don't like. You're free to make that free statement, but I do think that's dirtbag behavior.

0:32:29 - Jason Snell
That's all. You're not a dirtbag. I think what we're going to end up finding. I think what we're going to end up finding.

0:32:35 - Alex Lindsay
User has the right to assert themselves. Is that what we'll find?

0:32:38 - Jason Snell
out a couple of things going forward, because obviously we're going to be talking about this forever. One is how do the users respond? Because I do think that that's part of this is there's assumptions being made about oh, this is going to be great and people are going to use it, and they're going to find just the sound of crickets and that's going to be instructive in some ways. And then we're also going to find the places where Apple has to shift. It's very carefully constructed strategy, but again, I really believe that part of the strategy is the shifting part and where they're pushed into changing their behavior and what the ramifications of that behavior change is. But in the end, you can change all the rules and you want, but the users? If the users aren't interested or don't follow you, if the experience is bad?

I will point out that the apps are scanned by Apple for all sorts of things, even if they're outside the store, but just like they are on the Mac, except more. So we'll watch it and we'll see what happens. It's a very dynamic story, fascinating to see change happening in Apple's app store policies in many ways for the first time ever In some areas. So we will be back to talk about things that are probably not European based. I don't know. We'll see. The future is a mystery, but right now I want to throw it to Leo, who earlier was sitting in the chair. I'm sitting in now to tell you about our first sponsor, leo.

0:33:52 - Leo Laporte
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0:35:46 - Jason Snell
Thank you, leo, from your chair. He said it was okay. Everybody Don't get mad, I can be here in this chair, it's okay. Now nobody told Leo.

Let's talk about the Vision Pro. Vision OS 1.1 was released last week. It improves personas. I can personally attest to the fact that they are better. I would even say less creepy, I'd say more accurate. My favorite thing about the new persona capture is that there's an accessibility mode. You can actually take a capture or a persona while you're not putting your arms out like Frankenstein holding the Vision Pro. You can be a little more relaxed and set it on a sort of an eye level instead. It's very nice. It does look better.

There are a bunch of other features as well Mobile device management. If you're in an organization that's rolling out Vision Pro to staff, you can actually manage those devices. Now I message contact key verification. They finally sync that up so you can actually use it. There's a grab bag of other things, including improvements to the virtual display, support for captive Wi-Fi networks some little things that are nicer. If you're logging in in a hotel or an organization, we have to log into Wi-Fi. You can do that. There's even shortcuts improvements in there too. Presumably there'll be a Vision OS 2.0 at WWDC in June, but in the meantime, I like that Apple is continuing to update Vision OS because, unless we forget if you don't want to take your life into your own hands and install beta software Vision OS is not going to get a 2.0 improvement until September. It feels like the OS probably should get some more incremental improvements between now and then. I would say a good sign, I don't know. I think, alex, you have a Vision Pro. Have you tried this update?

0:37:33 - Alex Lindsay
I haven't tried. I haven't seen the Persona since I got updated. I do use it, but I just haven't used it. Since the last update, there was nothing else that I really noticed. That was dramatically different, although after the update there were a couple apps that actually broke a little bit. I think that they're still working. On some of the.

I got into a situation, like on the Red Bull app and a couple other apps, where you get between the interface and the selector. You can get in the situation in the Red Bull app for some reason does it more often than not for me anyway where you get the video in front of you and the controllers behind you. The only way to get out of that is to kill the app. You still feel like you're a little bit in the very beginning of it. I will say that again. We've talked about this over and over again. I'm always surprised at how long I spend time in it. We were talking about this morning in office hours. One of the things I noticed is, I said, when I go into the quest which I do fairly often as well I'm going in to do something and then I leave. When I go into the headset, I usually don't have a plan. I just put it on and start hanging out. I'm going to watch some movies, I'm going to go check this out. I'm going to see if there's any new apps. It's just a very different experience from a usability perspective. Then I suddenly realize I've lost two hours or three hours. That's the thing that I think is very distinct from it Someone was asking about is it the same as watching an 85-inch TV?

I really have looked at it and it really is sharper than 75-inch TV. I can't diagnose the grain on my TV the way I diagnose it on the Vision Pro. It's a really fascinating. A lot of us are talking about theatrical releases and so on and so forth. It's going to be really interesting to see how this affects that over time.

0:39:22 - Jason Snell
Yeah, it's a great movie watching platform. I do think it's incredible. I would like One thing that we should note is that it's been a few weeks now when there's no new immersive content on the TV app, which I think is interesting. Remember they didn't ship that. The highlights of the MLS playoffs last season are still not out and the new season has started. I think that that's an example where post-production on this is probably real hard.

0:39:51 - Alex Lindsay
But I would like to see more content be. A lot of people right now are working. The big thing that everyone's working on in my world is how do we get to MVHEBC? So that's not a. There's no great platform for that right now. There are some HLS tools that are out there. There's a couple of companies that are building those. Atem, which is out of France, is building a live encoder that will do some of those things. So how do we take a side-by-side and convert it to the format that it needs for the Vision Pro, which is the MVHEBC? And so they've come out with this product or they've come out with this support. But even Apple isn't like. I keep on saying, hey, we'd like to have some more information. All we hear is I hear you, yeah, like you know like they're not.

0:40:29 - Jason Snell
You know they're just like. Ah, you know, so it's your. They gotta build their own tools first before they can tell other people, because they're still figuring it out.

0:40:34 - Alex Lindsay
The MVHEBC is a known thing. It's just that Apple hasn't been you know like, and we can deliver to it as a, you know, as a regular HLS. It's the streaming part that has been a little bit, you know everyone's. And again, atem is probably the furthest along as far as a hardware appliance, and so that. But those are the things that I think a lot of us are excited about is how do we start delivering concerts and other things directly to the headset? And I think that that's gonna be. And then, you know, because we've learned a lot working, we've learned a lot shooting for Meta or for the Meta platform, and so we all have things we wanna do in the Vision Pro, and so I think that it's gonna be. It's gonna be really interesting as we get closer and closer, because NAB is coming up between now and WWDC.

Nab is the National Association of Broadcasters Convention. That'll happen the middle of April, and we there are rumors that we'll see more cameras, you know, that are more leaning towards. You know like the next stereo video is. Revolution is about to come up. We don't know if it'll last more than two or three years, like every other one has, but it's about to turn back on again. So suddenly, you know, there's the dual lenses and the dual cameras and all those things are starting to happen again as we get a little closer to NAB, and so we'll see what happens there and then, as that rolls into WWDC.

0:41:53 - Jason Snell
Yeah, I hope there's more content soon. I'm looking forward to it because that is one of the great things about it. You saw the dinosaur one, right I?

0:41:58 - Alex Lindsay
think that was the last one I've seen, the one where you're on the beach with the dinosaurs running around. Oh, I've seen them all now.

0:42:04 - Jason Snell
I've run out of them. That's why I want more. I want that MLS, but I'll take anything Like. I just want more immersive video because it is such a great experience and it's so fun. I mean I watched Dune in 3D. Right, like 3D movies are great, but like the immersive stuff is amazing. And actually 2D, I think, is really nice. Like you said, alex, the picture can feel huge and immaculate in a way that is remarkable, but your 3D brain flips in and like you're processing that image differently. But watching a 2D piece of entertainment that's at high quality in that space it looks so good it really does. Yeah, absolutely.

Mark Zuckerberg, friend of the show, has more to say about the Vision Pro. Unsurprising now I hesitate to break this up. It's in our show, doc. I'll mention it. It is a little bit like a dog bites man kind of story, because it's a person with product that he's selling Keep insist that his product is good. Of course he does. Of course he does. So he is obviously sensitive about comparisons to the Vision Pro. What's interesting is he responded to a thread from venture capitalist Benedict Evans, who said Vision Pro is the device Meta wants to reach in three to five years and the Quest is selling at the price Apple wants to reach in three to five years.

I think this is a pretty decent take, and Mark Zuckerberg did not. He's like no, no, no, we're better, we are better. We're gonna double down on the fact that we're better and Apple did. You know that? Apple has motion blur and, yeah, their resolution is higher, but they've made other trade-offs. That's not what we aspire to, and we're not just for games. We have social apps, and I honestly think this is one of his strongest arguments is that Apple is a little behind in the collaborative workspace area, where you can actually have like a little avatar and be in a virtual room with people and have some virtual objects in common, and that's something that Apple is a little bit further back on, although I think they will probably prioritize that and catch up.

I don't blame Mark Zuckerberg for saying this. I just think it's interesting that he feels like he really needs to extoll the virtues of his product. I'm on the record as saying I think one of the greatest things to ever happen to the Quest is the Vision Pro, because not only is the Quest way cheaper than the Vision Pro, but it means we're all talking about VR headsets. We're all talking about comparing the Vision Pro to the Quest, and I think that's good for the Quest, because I think the Quest problem was that nobody knew it was a category or a product or was talking about it, and I say that as somebody who owns a Quest 3 and a Quest 2. So I think it's good for Mark, but I also totally get that he's defending his product.

That said, motion blur and this is actually related to another story the motion blur is not in the. It's not a reflection on the quality of the screen, right, it's a reflection on the quality of the cameras in the Vision Pro and Canon and another story that was at Petapixel. Executives from Canon pointed out that perhaps even Canon does not make a camera good enough to match the screen of the Vision Pro, the display of the Vision Pro inside, and that's clearly as a 1.0 product. The place that I'm fascinated, where one tech is ahead of the other here, is that the displays are better than the cameras. So virtual stuff, fake stuff in the Vision Pro looks way better than reality, because reality has to come through a camera and the camera struggles to match reality because it can't capture it as well, which I just think that's fascinating and I think it's true, because when I go into a virtual environment, it looks way better and there's no motion blur and there is in reality. That's just it's clear.

0:45:37 - Dan Moren
Right, because, as we've all discussed for years and years leading up to this, what Apple probably wants to do eventually is build some form of smart glasses. And the virtue of smart glasses is you don't have to recreate what the human eye is doing, because the human eye is already doing it. So you don't have to worry about reproducing things with absolute fidelity, because if you can essentially pass through people's actual vision, not using a camera and screens to replace that, then those problems kind of solve themselves. But that technology is so far away we really have no insight to it whatsoever. So for the moment we have to deal with sort of what is the state of the art in terms of how good can we replicate this facet of biology that obviously has been designed and honed over millions of years, and that's a big challenge for all of this tech, and I think it is.

It's a great point that, like, there is an imbalance in terms of we've gotten really great at screens, right Cause we've been building these screens better and smaller and faster and higher quality and higher resolution for a decade now, plus driven by all these revolutions in technology, and not to say cameras have not improved as well. Obviously they have. You take your iPhone 15 pro camera and stack it up against your original iPhone camera and it's night and day. But the curve on those is clearly not improved, in part, I think, because they've had to deal a lot more there with issues of size and like image quality and things like that that are probably just harder problems overall. So all that stuff will continue to improve but it's gonna take a lot of time and, pardon me, does wonder at what point do you hit on that curve? Do you hit the? You know the other technologies coming in that might make that technology not as useful to you in terms of where you're tending to take that product in the long run?

0:47:18 - Alex Lindsay
Yeah, and I don't think we're that far away from that the limit of what the product needs to do either. So I think that you know the vision pro, the next pro version of the vision, most likely a couple of years away, most of us are guessing we're gonna see 8K per eye or higher, plus 120 frames a second. The 90 frames a second is kind of a little bit of a. That was a compromise, so 90 frames a second is like that's an MVP for a headset and so so I think that that is or a minimum viable product for a headset, the, but the 120 frames a second is probably very, very hard to do and it's very, very hard to do get the 8K per eye, but we can probably assume that I don't think it's gonna go much more than that. So the good news is that we're getting to the top of where the headset wants to go, and then after that it's gonna be.

A lot of other creature comforts, and you know that are there, but we know that there are cameras out there that can do that right now, you know, and so those are all you know. Those are. I think that's a little bit of. There are definitely cameras that are able to shoot a still, I mean a video image that can be displayed at the highest resolution on it. It's just that they're not and they're not practical for production yet. So that's the issue. And so, like you know, if you get a you know the sphere camera, for instance, is an 18K camera and you know that kind of resolution is probably something that's probably not far away from other cameras. As the pressure starts to build to reach these.

0:48:41 - Jason Snell
Right. The challenge is gonna get the cameras good enough for them to sit on the device to capture reality versus the professional level stuff, and that's just. I mean, it's just gonna be a challenge. We've got, like Dan said, we've gotten really, really good at screens and not we've gotten really good at cameras, but not quite as good as that we've got at screens. That's just where we are right now.

0:49:03 - Alex Lindsay
I will be interested to see if we see 4K in the 16, the 5-phone 16. So we saw 1080p, which does feel pretty soft. I'd be really interested to see if they go ahead in the 16, that's a big bump. For a stereo capture 4K 60, 4k 60 stereo capture will look dramatically different on the headset. Like it is not, it won't. It's like night and day compared to what we're getting right now with the 1080.

0:49:25 - Andy Ihnatko
Yeah, and this was a good piece by Peter Pixel, because oftentimes when you hear, like, when you see a headline like, oh, canon executive says blah, blah, blah, you wonder if this is okay. Well, canon wanted to make sure that they are part of this news cycle, that they get some attention for their executives and their technologies, because a lot of people are writing about Vision Pro. No, this was someone from Peter Pixel who's just happened to be talking to executives at an event and they were talking about this. The executive was talking about the exact problems here. And, yeah, that 18K camera that they in the article, they do mention that. Yeah, this is a. It requires like 18 people to even operate. The executive was saying that they're looking for 100 megapixels or like a 14K video capture, which is in no way practical. 60 frames per second is doubly not practical. But, yeah, that's this is. Things are gonna take a while to sync up. I did want to. I'm sorry, but I muted myself because I was like loading something on something that cost it's gonna cause some noise. Just quickly to button what we're talking about on the MediQuest that, yeah, that.

I do understand why he was talking about stuff like that, because one of the most brilliant things, it turns out, I think, that Apple did was to reframe augmented reality, virtual reality, in terms of spatial computing. It's not a term that they invented, but it does help them to frame it as no. No, this is a platform for running apps and, yes, virtual reality and games are going to be some of the apps on that platform, whereas MediQuest is most obviously most closely tied to entertainment experience and game experiences because they have so much that's a rich library that way. There was a bunch of news, I think a few weeks ago I think the information had some had talked to somebody who was privy to conversations that Meta was having with Google about bringing Android XR and the Google Play Store for virtual reality apps to the MediQuest, and it fell apart largely because, like the MediQuest runs on open source Android and I think they'd much rather build their own app store and not be required, not rely on Google's faith and vision plan for virtual reality for bringing their own platform forward.

But it was important for Zuckerberg to make the point that, no, this is not just a, this is not a Nintendo, this is not a limited games platform. This is a full computing device. That, for now, the best thing it does is run games, but there is no stop. There's nothing stopping it necessarily from running the same kind of iPad apps that the Vision Pro runs. What we're lacking is a developer community that's been developing apps like that for like 10 years, and that's what I was gonna say.

0:52:06 - Alex Lindsay
It's the ecosystem that Apple sits inside of is its real advantage, in the sense that you have a lot of developers that have to do very little to start developing for this platform In fact, they can just let their iPad apps be openable in that area, and so that makes it a lot easier and you have this huge ecosystem. I know that a big chunk of why I spend so much time in the Vision Pro much more than the meta, than the Quest is because I have so many things already there my notes and my FaceTime and my movies, and since I buy all my movies in Apple TV, that all paid off and so photos and all these other things so all that stuff's already built in when I got there and for developers, all that's kind of built in as you get there and so there's a lot of it that's a lot easier to step over. I think that the reason it's very it's much harder to build those apps for the Quest because you're kind of starting from scratch and I think that's a-.

0:53:01 - Jason Snell
There's a real Go ahead, sam, go ahead.

0:53:03 - Dan Moren
I was gonna say there's a real inversion here too, in terms of, you know, meta focusing on things like games and like some sort of social collaboration, which seem to be areas that Apple is definitely lacking on right now. There, the gaming story on Vision Pro is still very meager. The social collaboration stuff, as Jason pointed out, is also very thin on the ground. Those are areas that Met has spent a lot of time and energy building up its catalog. There are also areas that Apple has questioned who are interested. I'm sure Apple would love in some ways if a lot of more games were brought to the Vision Pro, but they have done very little to support that. They have done very little to encourage that.

Similarly, collaboration is something that they have tried to nail, even on their existing platforms a whole bunch and have not done a great job on, but they do have, as Alex said, a huge ecosystem of all these apps, and the fact that all those computing technologies are available to people starting on the Vision Pro is enormous because it does automatically start them at a level where we have all these different types of things that you can do.

And, yes, maybe our game story is not as robust as we would like it to be. That's not saying it couldn't develop in that way or they couldn't get better at that. It's just one facet it's missing, and I think they probably have a stronger catalog in that way than meta does, because meta is sort of starting out pigeon told, and you can see from these Zuckerberg comments he wants to make the point that it's larger and it's bigger and it can do more than that, and that is, as you said, jason, a good thing for meta is the Vision Pro, and I think vice versa too. These products are very different in some ways, right, their price tags are very different, their capabilities out of the box are very different, but they are the closest competitors that exist in this market and, as such, they are going to get lumped together, and I think that's probably good for both of them in terms of having a competitor. You don't want any of these products to exist in a vacuum, otherwise they have no impetus for improving them.

0:54:50 - Alex Lindsay
Yeah, and I think that the challenge again for meta is like it's easy for game developers to develop for a headset because you build it all in Unreal and then you publish it. It's much different than you have your basic interfaces for how the game is going to work and then you're going to publish that out. It's much more complicated to take that Unreal engine or Unity or whatever else you want and develop a business app with it, and I think that that is still the big limitation that you're going to continue to have. That it's still going to be hard for meta to break out of where they're at is because the ecosystem, all the APIs, all the controls, all the interfaces, all the other things Again, I've built apps for meta as well and it's been challenging.

0:55:32 - Andy Ihnatko
You know what. It remains to be seen. Because the thing is, when people talk about using the Vision Pro for things that are not like games or immersive reality experience, we are still talking about hey, I have a fake screen, I have a rectangle into which that will accept mouse clicks and keystrokes. That ain't that hard, given that so many apps, even for desktops, are built on a framework that are intended to make it portable. If they are able to get those frameworks on meta and create policies that make it attractive for developers to deploy on this platform at scale, I think they catch up really quickly. Again, it's still very, very early days. I think that we can't even talk about the app market for Vision Pro yet, not just because it's such a new product, but because developers only got their hands on hardware 24-7 a month ago. I'm sure that they're not going to start to commit resources for a very, very small market based only on an emulator and maybe a couple of days experience at a developer camp. So I don't think that's actually started.

But the thing is we're still looking at things on the meta quest like hey, isn't it great to have a window to basically mirror my screen on my Windows machine and I can work very comfortably with this alongside VR apps. That's very, very attainable. So that's why it's going to be really great to see that conflict between how underspect is the meta quest in terms of frame rate, lag, resolution, accuracy, versus how over-spect is the Vision Pro. How much better could the Vision Pro be if it were $1,000 less? How much better could the meta quest be if it were $500 more? And the difference between. Again, this competition is wonderful for everybody because it's going to help both companies realize that, ok, maybe we did go a little bit overboard, making the absolute best hardware, and now Meta's saying gee, if we really do want to pursue this with the same intensity that we've been saying, when improving this, we need to address people who want to do this for more than just chasing invisible elves across my desktop.

0:57:49 - Jason Snell
Yeah, it's going to be fascinating to watch, and Leo skipped this part. That's fine. It's fine we're here. I enjoy giving a little stick to Leo about this and I hope he enjoys taking it. I mean, he's sort of Friendly ribbing.

0:58:05 - Andy Ihnatko
He started it. He started it. Come on, it comes out of here. This is where it's coming from. It's coming from a place it's a place of love.

0:58:14 - Jason Snell
We're going to be back with more, including new Apple hardware that we haven't talked about the ship last week and some ads Not the ad you're about to see, but Apple ads that are kind of. It's an interesting strategy for them. But first I'm going to take you back in time and a message from Leo.

0:58:34 - VO
Hey, jason, we'll be right back, but first a word from our sponsor, Robinhood. This episode brought to you by Robinhood. Did you know that even if you have a 401K for retirement, you can still have an IRA? Robinhood is the only IRA that gives you a 3% boost on every dollar you contribute when you subscribe to Robinhood Gold. But get this now. Through April 30th, Robinhood is even boosting every single dollar you transfer in from other retirement accounts with a 3% match. That's right, no cap on the 3% match. Robinhood Gold gets you the most for your retirement thanks to their IRA with a 3% match. This offer is good through April 30th. Get started at Subscription fees apply Now for some legal info Claim as of Q1 2024, validated by Radius Global Market Research.

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0:59:57 - Jason Snell
Thank you, leo, for the legal disclaimers. I love them.

1:00:00 - Dan Moren
I love them may cause better than the illegal disclaimers.

1:00:04 - Jason Snell
Yeah, well, that's true, I was gonna do not taunt. That's a different story. Happy Fun Ball. You can taunt it in the EU. It's okay, we'll see what happens to you, but you can taunt it in the EU.

Macbook Air came out last week. I thought we should talk about it. We're deep in the show now and we haven't even mentioned it. We mentioned that it got announced. I have them here on the desk, if we can show. Oh, look, it's midnight and it's good for in Starlight.

This is the 13 and 15 inch MacBook Airs. They're here. They're the M3 models. They look exactly like the M2 models. These could be M2 models in front of me and you wouldn't know. You wouldn't know, but I assure you they are the M3. I am not lying when I say this.

I wrote a review of this on Six Colors because I got these models last week from Apple, which was very nice of them to send review units. They are what you'd expect. They're as fast as the M3 iMac because it's the same chip and they have this really nice design. The M2 model is now cheaper, which is really great. We mentioned that last week. I put them on my desk with two displays and a lid closed MacBook Air and guess what? It drove two studio displays, which is not a thing that it could do before, and I don't know what else to say about them. They're not that different. They really are largely identical. There are a few little things here and there the ray tracing support if you wanna trace some rays on your game on the M3, it's better.

1:01:26 - Dan Moren
But the big Love trace and raise.

1:01:27 - Jason Snell
There's nothing better than trace and catch and raise and trace and raise, trace and raise. So but you know I love the MacBook Air. I think it's a really great value. I think it's the best Mac for most people to buy. If we had to pick one, this would be it. And then the M2 is there and is still great, if that is what is good enough for you.

A few little quirks the resolution-wise. The one of them gets more pixels than the other, essentially, so there's a more space mode on the extended display. That is going to be a little bit is gonna be accessible, but not on the main display, which is using the same video subsystem that was using the laptop display. It's a little quirk, just a little quirk, just thought I would mention it. But generally, if you're one of those people who are like I, have an Intel MacBook Air set up with two external displays and I can't update to Apple Silicon, you can now Because I can tell you it works great with the lid closed. You gotta close the lid and I had people ask me what happens. How does that dance work? And the answer is if you plug in two displays and the lid is open, one of the displays does not light up, it just is like I don't know what that is. And then you close it and it pops open and that becomes your main display, because it's thinking it's using it's literally taking the main display and transferring it over there, and that's how it thinks of it. But for fans of two displays, it's great. And it's a MacBook Air and it's an M3. Like again, it's like 16% in some of my speed tests faster Again, incremental progress.

If you've got an M1 MacBook Air I know it's Sattica, discontinued, but still a great computer and if you've been holding out on Intel, what are you waiting for? M2 at $9.99 and M3 at various prices they are beautiful. And the 15,. If you want a bigger laptop, you don't have to buy a $2,000 MacBook Pro. You can buy a 15 in share. So I don't know if anybody has any thoughts about the MacBook Air, but please share. I've got them here. I've got all of them here.

1:03:24 - Andy Ihnatko
They're all here. I do have a question. I've never run my MacBook closed attached to an external display. Do you have problems with thermal throttling, particularly because, like the Air, doesn't have a fan built into it?

1:03:37 - Jason Snell
The vents on the back, so it should still be fine. I didn't like kill the CPU to see, but generally the Air is gonna get warm if you really hit it hard, but there's still air circulation in there. It's gonna be okay and it's actually a great lifestyle. I used to live that lifestyle of running a MacBook Air lid closed on an external display and every now and then, if you're a primary laptop connected to display as person, a desktop laptoper, you will find that you need to pull out the laptop and open it because certain things it's gonna say oh, I need you to. It doesn't say that it sort of doesn't do anything and you're like maybe I need to open the display and then, sure enough, there's a thing you have to click to say okay. Occasionally I find that I have to actually pull the laptop out and open it up and do something, but for the most part it just runs and you don't even know that you're not using a desktop Mac on an external display, by the way, something going around. That was really interesting and again, hector Martin posted about this on Mastodon. Hector Martin does Asahi Linux, which is trying to bring Linux to Apple Silicon. It's a very cool project and he said that some of the changes from M1 to M2 actually set us down this path where the original Mac mini on M1 could only run that second monitor on HDMI On the M2, they changed that and the idea here is they're changing the way that the displays are controlled so that, theoretically, you can put that second display and do what the M3 MacBook Air does. Now there's been a lot of people are not sure about whether this means that the M2 MacBook Airs could have done this but were for some reason not enabled, and we now know that this firmware is going to be updated on the M2 MacBook Pro to support this as well, or M3 MacBook Pro to support this.

My take on this is don't get too excited by the conspiracies. I think that if Apple had made this functional in a level that they liked, they would have done it and extolled its virtues as an M2 feature. I think they were doing either some incremental work where they're like, okay, step two is we changed this, and then step three, we need to change a bunch of the software and we'll do that in the M3. Or another I think strong possibility is they thought they had it figured out and they tested it in the M2 and they're like it's glitchy, it's weird, it doesn't work up to our standards as Apple, and so let's just not do it. And so that they never did it.

But I am positive that if Apple could have extolled the virtue of this feature in the M2 generation, they would have. I don't think they just didn't get around to writing the firmware for a year and a half. I don't think that's the case. But anyway, it is a conversation that people are having out there, but I think a lot of times people ascribe a conspiracy to Apple where they are withholding features from older hardware that's enabled on new hardware. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes what's actually happening is that they tried it and they're like, oh no, and then they just turned that feature off on old hardware.

1:06:44 - Andy Ihnatko
Sometimes they do withhold features from old hardware, it is true, but sometimes and it's impossible to tell the difference from the outside, unfortunately- yeah, that reminds me of the story that I thought was kind of interesting that not that we're ever recommending people buy the base model of anything unless this is all you can afford and it's good for your uses.

But apparently one of the complaints about the previous MacBook Air was that if you buy the 256 gig storage version of it it's super, super slow, because they were only using one 256 gig storage chip. Apparently, according to a tear down a whole bunch of other reports, with this new model they are using actually two 128 gig chips, so you get two channels. So it's actually much, much faster. And this is another area where I really wish that Apple engineers were more loose lip, because I would love to have heard the conversation about whether it really was look, it won't cost us that much more to do it this way, it'll be a faster product for entry level users or whether it was just simply that it will cost us less money if we populate two spots on this board than if we have one line that does one spot and the line does two spots. But I'm glad that people got a free feature, that even the people who are in the cheap seats are getting a better view.

1:07:53 - Jason Snell
And I want to give a thumbs up to the cheap seats because I know all of us and all the people probably who are listening to or watching this show are computer people and they're very discerning about it. But I will say, a base model MacBook Air is great. Could it be better? Sure, you can pay to make it better, but I know we turn our nose up at eight gigs of RAM and 256 storage and all that. You know what. It's pretty good, especially for sort of regular people who are not computer connoisseurs. It's pretty good. So I'm with you, andy, it's a great computer and I'm glad that they have made it not have another penalty for being the base model, which they did when they were sourcing those 256 chips instead of the paired 128 that they can interleave, which makes them twice as fast.

1:08:38 - Andy Ihnatko
Yeah, just quickly. Most of us most users, myself included spend almost all their time either clicking web links or pushing the cursor to the right in some way or one app or another, and for that the base unit of anything is more than adequate. It's just nice to have a little bit of future proofing so that you won't have to replace the whole deck in five years if you don't have it.

1:08:59 - Dan Moren
I do hope this is one of those things Apple takes to heart a bit in realizing that when it makes these choices, they invariably do get picked up by people.

1:09:06 - Alex Lindsay
People will find out that you have chips in.

1:09:09 - Dan Moren
Rather than trying to figure it I don't know just avoid this problem in the first place. Try to have some sort of pressions about are people going to be mad about this? There's things that you're OK with. Ok, it's fine if they get mad about this, but you don't want to be mad about things where your product doesn't perform as well as you'd like it to right. So I think that hopefully, some of this is taking a lesson for the future and being like all right, well, let's make choices that are not going to get people distracted from the exciting news that we have a new product and it's like whoa, what are we hitting Gotcha's with the before?

1:09:40 - Jason Snell
Should we buy 128 gig chips? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. We could just put in one, 256. It'll be fine, it'll be fine, and that no one will know. It's like Gerald, you're out, you're being transferred, it's one chip, Michael how much could it cost? Exactly about $100. Reference acknowledged.

1:09:56 - Andy Ihnatko
You're exactly up.

1:09:57 - Jason Snell
There's no seat, All right. Anyway, MacBook Airs are out. I love them. They're great. They're great computers and I think for most people, if you're looking for a computer, MacBook Air, it's going to be a good deal.

1:10:09 - Alex Lindsay
And I think the only thing that always we have a pretty new one here in the house and the only thing that gets you is the number of ports. So if you decide, you want to, because there are certain things you want to do if you're going to use it for Zoom and you're going to put anything more than the internal camera which is OK but not great as soon as you want to have your audio and your video go directly into the computer, you don't want them to go through a hub.

Those are the ports, and then you want to be done, but then you're out of that one, and then you have your keyboard and you're out of that one and now you don't have anything else. So that's the thing that we get. The keyboard can share a hub, but the other things you often don't want to share a hub if you want to get the absolute stability out of it, and that's where a lot of us start to look at the pro yeah, absolutely.

1:10:50 - Dan Moren
I will say as somebody who's owned an Air for years and years and years. I almost never put anything into it, like once in a while a drive, but like, yeah, I mean I have a mini on the desktop right and I have a ton of stuff plugged into that. So, totally, if it's my only laptop, it's probably a different situation.

1:11:05 - Jason Snell
So I had one of these weeks when I was in Arizona visiting my mom and I had the green screen behind me, like you, totally didn't know that I was somewhere else, except that people thought my lighting was better. I forgot to bring my MagSafe cable with me and I had my camera and my microphone connected and I did the whole show on battery and it was because I had used the ports and it was on me because I didn't bring the MagSafe and I thought, oh, why will I need that? I can just use USB-C, I'm already bringing that cable. That was a mistake, that was my mistake, but it did.

Again, if you're somebody who really is plugging in a lot of stuff, what I'm not saying is there aren't reasons to get a MacBook Pro. Of course there are many. It's just that I think most people don't need those reasons and it's great that Apple makes such a fun, good, solid system that starts at $999 now with the new design, with the M2. It's one of the best Macs ever, I think, in terms of value and design. I really love it, so I'm happy that it exists.

1:12:01 - Alex Lindsay
I think it's really high value. I think that my particularness is that my wife asked is a Mac, is an Air OK? And I said, yeah, sure, that'll be fine for what you're using it for, and I pay for that every day. Every day I pay, I have to deal with I'm working around the two port issue and I'm just like oh.

1:12:16 - Andy Ihnatko
But, to be fair, a port scarcity is part of the amazing cultural heritage of the MacBook Air. In the MacBook Air, indeed, remember the first generation that had 64 gigs of storage, which was not a whole lot even for the time, and had one Countem 1 USB 2.0 port. I remember that distinctly because I got my press unit, like, oh wow, this is great. It's like the lightest, most easy to travel with laptop ever. Next week I'm going to be at this week-long conference in Colorado. I'm just going to. Oh my god, the pain, the pain, the pain. So, yeah, maybe it's just again. It's like the Citroen CV2. It's like, yes, we could put a bigger engine in it, but a tiny, tiny little two-stroke engine that looks like it was made out of bicycle parts. That's part of the charm of the beast it is.

1:13:09 - Jason Snell
We suffer in that way in order to generate the love that we feel for it.

It's part of our shared cultural heritage as MacBook Air users. Thank you, andy. Ok, I want to talk about Apple in ads, because Apple is doing some things involving ads and you might be saying to yourself, as some of us do, I think, on a regular basis Apple is one of the most profitable and successful companies in the world. Does it need more ads? Does it need to do ads? Not ads for Apple? Does it need to sell ads in its products? But the fact is that, especially when we talk about Apple TV+, every other streaming service at this point essentially has an ad tier, and I know, I know you don't like it, I don't like it either. I don't pay. I pay the extra for the not add tier because I just don't want to see the ads. But what Netflix found and Netflix is number one is that they were at their existing price points. They were making more money per user from the add tier than from their premium no add tier, which led immediately to two things which is a reinvestment in the add tier and raising the prices of the premium tier so that they could make that money from those people too. But what the net result is that Netflix, who was famously like no, no, no, we're not going to even do ads is now reeling to ads. And then you see companies like Disney. Disney Plus launched famously no ads. They're like no, no, no, it's a beautiful premium experience. Well, guess what? There's a Disney Plus with ads. Amazon added ads.

You might say to yourself, I'll just keep this bit going, amazon. Well, they're. It's more of an ecosystem play. Really, they're not going to, they don't need to put ads in it. They're like wait a second, but have you met Amazon? It's all about the ads. And so now Prime Video customers also get to receive ads.

And you're saying to yourself well, if there's ever going to be a holdout, it's Apple, because Apple is providing a premium product. And the answer is Apple TV. As good, I would say, as the programming is on Apple TV doesn't get viewed by a lot of people and it probably would get more customers if it was cheaper and you could also generate money from those customers with ads. And, as Gizmodo wrote, a story called Apple TV is probably getting ads. Yesterday they have hired a 14 year long ad executive from NBC Universal named Joseph Katie to beat beef up its growing video advertising team, and I think it's great that we ever were feeling like it was going to happen and I think it's great that this headline appeared in Gizmodo yesterday, because I want to point out a story I wrote on Macworld in April of 2023.

I had lined why ads on Apple TV plus are as inevitable as a Ted Lasso spin off. For all the reasons I just said to you. It's going to happen because it's a way for Apple to increase its revenue and create new customers who don't have to pay or pay as much for Apple TV plus, and we don't have to like it. But I think that they're not hiring NBC Universal ad executives for kicks.

1:16:05 - Andy Ihnatko
Not only that, but it also speaks of Apple's commitment to Apple TV plus, not just as a part of.

Hey, we want to make the Apple premium package more valuable by making each component of it more valuable.

It's like if we can get people to subscribe to interested in soccer, who are running Android, who are running like other set top businesses, we could, if they, if we want to make it attractive for them to be able to subscribe to Apple TV plus as a standalone thing, we have to absolutely, absolutely do that. And, yeah, it also shows that once again again, ad money is really, really lucrative. This is that Apple already has an ad business the, the app store and other places. When you, what you see are influenced by ads there. Apple runs their ad business a lot better than Google and Facebook do and Amazon do, but nonetheless, it is an ad platform and as they, as Apple continues to find pressure internationally on even selling their biggest cash cow, the iPhone, every place where they can. Every unit that can make more money without sacrificing Apple's mission, should be trying to make more money and if advertising on on Apple TV plus is going to do that, it's going to make. It's going to make the next crop of Oscar losing Apple features.

1:17:21 - Jason Snell
Ouch, well, that's somewhere Martin Scorsese just wins, but it's okay.

1:17:26 - Alex Lindsay
I was, by the way, in Oscars. I thought it was really funny that Jody Foster said I really like streaming, I really like streaming, I really like streaming. Like she said it like three times in one in one interview and I was like somebody is ready to want someone to hire her for more streaming.

1:17:41 - Andy Ihnatko
But anyway, but someone really is into that.

1:17:43 - Alex Lindsay
But the you know, one of the things also scales up with usage. When we look at, for instance, netflix is a good example. They're, you know, in some of those shows if you watch the macro blocking on the show, you can see every block because it's being compressed so heavily and one of the reasons for that is that every user watching costs the money. You know like it costs money to deliver that video to the person. When they pay $8 a month or $12 a month or $19 a month, let's just say every hour costs them. Costs Netflix 8 cents, you know, let's just I don't know what the number is, but let's just say it's 8 cents. Or the, you know, every hour movie might cost 20 cents, you know. Or two and a half hour movie might cost you 20 cents to deliver that to you.

Now, if I'm only going to get $15 from you, how many things, how many of those things do you watch before I stop making money, especially because I'm paying back other things?

I've got other investments. It's not just like it can be up to $15, it can be up to like five for that transfer or whatever. And I am now that's getting spread out If I'm, if you're with advertising, if I make, if you cost me 16 cents and I make 17 cents, then that's a much more scalable model when it comes to the total number of viewers. And so, so, as you start to want to go wider, you know the, you know, you know getting that cost to work out. That cost works out way better as long as you can make an incremental increase in value. And so I think that that's going to be. I think that's part of it, and I do think it will widen and widen the market. As long as Apple doesn't take away I think I'm fine with it, as long as they don't take away the ability to pay our way out, because I haven't seen ads in so long.

1:19:15 - Jason Snell
I think. I think one of the reasons, one of the reasons it's $10 a month now, is probably that they know there's going to be a $5 a month ad plan, right, I think that's probably the other shoe drop and these companies are going to like you know, you're large enough for getting a pay deal away right, and preferably twice.

1:19:30 - Dan Moren
That's your goal with this right, like when Amazon added ads and there's like oh, you pay a little bit extra, you can stay ad free. It's like well, we win either way, because either you watch the thing with ads and we get paid from the ads, or you give us more money, in which case we get more money. It's kind of like Apple's EU business terms, where it's like you can leave the app store but you're going to pay us that core technology fee because we're going to get our money one way or the other At the end of the day. That's what's going to. You know, that's what's driving them, and I think you know to Andy's point, apple has made really good strides with Apple TV plus of trying to make it available in as many places as possible, because it knows that as a service, it has to succeed that way. That's why it's on smart TVs and other set-top boxes and all these third-party places, right?

The old Apple probably would have been like oh, it's on our stuff, you've got to buy an Apple TV or a Mac or an iPhone to watch it. No, they don't want that. They're selling services. They want it to be available by the broadest number of people possible and, to that end, if you're going to lower the price and add ads or you need to introduce an ad free tier that's at a higher cost, like all of that serves to bringing in more revenue and expanding the market chip. So I think you know it's only a matter of time. That's where we are now. It is a little galling, I think both ways, because it does smack a little bit of being caught in that, you know, in that corner by these companies where it's like, well, I'm paying you but I'm also seeing ads. Like I kind of hate that. Right, like you know, I feel like there used to be an agreement that you would. You know, public broadcast television it's free, but you watch ads in exchange.

And you know that hasn't been the deal for a long time, but it still galls a bit.

1:20:57 - Alex Lindsay
I think that the I think it they have to be Apple does have to be careful because they make so much money on so many other things in that. I know that for me for some reason and I don't know what it was, because it was only $3. But the Amazon when.

Amazon said there was something about that $3 that made me so angry that, like I was like I'm already paying Prime.

I'm paying not an incident an infinite amount per Prime and I get that it's packaged with a bunch of other things, but it's mostly there for you, for me, to buy more things from you anyway. And I this 390, I don't know why it was so insulting. I hate Prime, like you know. Like I literally went from from loving Prime, like Prime is like my second favorite thing to heck with those guys, you know, and it's not that I don't watch them, but I've watched them kind of begrudging. I paid the $3, you know, because I was like I don't want to watch ads but but I, I paid the $3 a month, but I'm still, you know, and I think that Apple this is the risky part of what they're doing is they're already making a bunch of money and then they're selling us this thing. I think it would be easier for them to charge us more than if they turn those ads on and say, okay, now you got to pay another $3 a month to get rid of them.

1:22:09 - Jason Snell
I think that's why they raise the price first, instead of rolling everybody to the ad plan is I think that they want, actually, which is the right thing to do is to say OK, here you, if you're not on the plan. Netflix, I think, did this to you you're on the the no ad plan. The no ad plan is the plan, which I think is a better way to do it, and it's not what Amazon did. And then you come underneath and Netflix has shown great success in getting people who previously might have canceled Netflix to instead dowed and grade to the ad plan and keep Netflix. So you get a little bit of retention in there and you're reaching, maybe, an audience that wouldn't have gone without angry, like I.

The last thing I want to do is somebody who is used to not seeing ads on a platform is suddenly see ads, right, like that's the worst, especially when you're playing for but I'm not offended and I know, but I mean it's true Like magazines and newspapers we used to pay for and they have ads in them, but something about TV in the era of TV and then streaming we have we have reached that point where where we get frustrated. I totally, I totally get it. But I think that what we've seen is there is definitely success and everybody else is doing it because it's successful to broaden your audience by offering a cheaper plan that has ads in it, because some people don't care and they're happy to save the money and bless them. That's great, but not for me. But it's great.

1:23:26 - Andy Ihnatko
Also also, apple is in an interesting position with it. With Apple TV plus and Apple music, they don't enjoy any of their usual advantages of anything else they do Like if they, when they, when they create some of the, they can create a superlative experience on the iPhone, the iPad and and the Apple Vision Pro and the Apple Watch, because they build the entire thing from start to finish. They build it to synchronize very, very well. They can make sure that the API is for the apps that are run, that run there, make things as professional and as wonderful and as easy and attractive as possible for the user. However, apple music on an iPhone really runs absolutely no differently than it does on an Android phone.

Apple TV plus on a on an Apple TV box runs Okay. So the screen quality is better, but not to the extent that anybody who's running like a five year old 1040, a typical TV, is going to notice it's the exact same experience. So they this is one, they're two of the businesses that have to absolutely compete on almost the same commercial footing as any of their competitors, and that's where like the nickel and diming happens, because the nickels are really, really important. The dimes are doubly as important as the nickels.

1:24:39 - Jason Snell
That's true. Dimes are roughly twice as important as nickels. I found I'm not an economist.

1:24:45 - Andy Ihnatko

1:24:46 - Jason Snell
I don't know, I mean maybe independent labs have determined that. There's so much going on, but you know we've also been talking for a very long time, so I am going to bring in our good friend Leo from the past, haunting us here in the present One more time. Everybody, ready your picks of the week, because we'll do that when we come back right after this, leo.

1:25:08 - VO
Hey guys, I just wanted to step in, if you will, to tell you about a great app I've found for my Apple Watch called StepDog. I'm using it right now on vacation to keep track of my steps. StepDog, brought to you by DC Labs, is an Apple Watch app, a virtual pet. Now it says dog, but then they've got lots of dogs, but I'm using it as a cat. Sammy, our black and white cat, walks with me everywhere. It's a virtual pet that lives in your Apple Watch face and helps you track your steps. Your stepdog moves around with you throughout the day and you know it's cute. There's a little cute things, depending on what's up. It falls asleep once you hit the step goal that you set. They have a little food bowl. It's so much fun.

The app is free, but I paid the 99 cents a month because I wanted to choose from over 30 dog breeds and cats Labradors, huskies, german Shepherds, all kinds of cats. You could even name your stepdog. I've, of course, named mine after our kitty, samantha. This upgrade includes weather forecasts for dog walks and I love this. It really inspires me to get out there walking a leaderboard to compete with nearby stepdog users or friends, if you want with the most steps Awarding gold, silver and bronze medals. Download StepDog S T E P D O G. You'll find it in the app store and it's free right now. All right back to you Jason. I'm going to go take a walk with my kitty cat.

1:26:30 - Jason Snell
Oh, okay, Leo is going to walk his cat. That's interesting Pecs of the week time. Let's have the newbie go. Dan Moran, do you have a pick for us to add to the illustrious selection of MacBreak Weekly picks?

1:26:43 - Dan Moren
Yeah, well, I'll throw this one out here because maybe I'm the last person in the world to get to it. Baldur's Gate 3, which was a game that came out last year on a variety of different platforms, including the Mac, is a game that I started playing in January I don't even remember now. I've been playing it on my PlayStation 5 with my wife and we've been playing split screen, which is kind of a lot of fun, and I looked last night when we hit our save point and it's like 70 hours or something. So clearly I have been enjoying this game a lot. It's basically a you know, it's an RPG. It's Dungeons and Dragons, it's based on Dungeons and Dragons. It is very, very in depth, like tons of content, tons of different story lines, subplots, all this stuff.

I have enjoyed this game immensely. It's got a lot of like character stuff, a lot of like dialogue options. If you like sort of some of the you know, bioware style RPGs like Mass Effect or something like that, you will really enjoy this. But it's also got like classic D&D combat in it. You can spend a million hours creating your characters with all these different options. It's just a lot of fun. I've really been enjoying it to the point where, like, I have had so many TV shows that I want to watch that have fallen off, like because my wife she's like I just want to play Baldur's Gate tonight. It's like, all right, fine, we'll sit down on the couch, we'll play Baldur's Gate for a couple hours and that's it. So I think it's a lot of fun. Unsurprisingly, it was on a lot of the best of 2023 game lists last year. You know it was much anticipated and I think it's great. Honestly, I've really, really enjoyed playing it.

1:28:22 - Jason Snell
Darn it, Dan. You're going to cost me like 80 hours of my life now because I have one.

1:28:26 - Dan Moren
It really is a time sink.

1:28:27 - Jason Snell
Let me tell you, I actually think I just didn't pay attention and assumed it didn't come out on the Mac. So now I'm ruined, I'm completely ruined. Oh no, oh no. What have you done? Well, thank you, that's an excellent pick. Other than that, it's ruined my life. Andy, do you have a pick for me?

1:28:44 - Andy Ihnatko
Yes, a pick and a half. I'm a big fan of the Panic Playdate. It's the only game platform that I actually use. I preordered it. I had to wait like a year and a half because, as we know, like it sold, every time they come out of the new wave of manufacturing they would just have to like say okay, you're in the wave three or wave four, the 40,000, the next 40,000, the next 10,000, the next 10,000. I'm happy to say that now, if you can, actually you can actually order the Playdate. Order it for $200 and get it like. It will ship in two days. So now, absolutely caught up, I would say that definitely spend extra $20 for the cover because the screen is like I don't know. It's the sort of thing you've. Actually it's small enough and light enough and friendly enough that you actually do want to like carry it around with you and just stick it as part of your daily carry and you want to protect that screen. Beautiful experience. I'm very, very happy with it.

Now they've the specific pick is actually underscores the reasons why I had faith, and someone who doesn't again, who has never owned a game console, a game platform before, never owned a game console, decided to risk at the time $180 on something that was unproven. I was hoping that, because it was panic, it would be not just oh, look, it's another. Like Nintendo emulator. Look, it's another set of like very, very basic, like simple games. There are other platforms that do that sort of thing much better for much less money. I want, like the weirdos, to come up with weird games that are just intriguing just on the concept of them. And today was a drop paid for very eagerly anticipated Playdate game called Mars After Midnight and like well, what happens on Mars? And you're dealing with all kinds of aliens. Like oh, wow, so you have to like go hunting aliens and go shooting. No, you are the night manager of a community center and from 1am to 6am all the aliens like come in for their like group meetings, like, again, their anger management with the, their version of AA. It's your job to make sure they have enough meeting rooms and make sure, like the donut table and the coffee tables are stocked and that nobody's getting in who doesn't have permission to get in. And it is like I am so into this. It's weird I've only installed it today because, once again, it just dropped today for $6. I'm willing to have a good amount of fun. If it's a kind of a puzzle game, I get the impression from like the devlog and stuff like that is definitely not a shoot them up, but it's going to be several hours of very, very odd adventure.

The person who wrote this you buy his stuff on Reputations. His name is Leslie Pope. His previous. One of his previous hits was called Papers Please, in which all you do is like your passport, border control, and people come to your station and present their papers and you either admit them or don't admit them, based on all kinds of stuff, and it's like, wow, this is so totally not Mario Kart, as great as it is.

I would have bought a switch if I wanted like a Mario Kart sort of experience. So yeah, I will also end this by saying that I also had a great amount of faith that, because it was Panic Software who was creating this, it would both attract enough really nice weird developers, but also that within a year's time, it wouldn't be just the 20 free games you get with it that they bankrolled. There is actually a very interesting library of 400 to 500 games. Some of them are very, very simple and very, very familiar and, yes, there are Nintendo emulators for releasing till Nintendo starts to bring the Sue Hammer to do that attention as well. But yeah, it was a good investment for me. I'm still enjoying it and it usually stays charged. It doesn't stay in a drawer for very, very long.

1:32:24 - Jason Snell
Love the Playdate and they are for people who are skeptical about the platform. There are so many games for the Playdate. Now they added the catalog, which is like their App Store you can also side load though it's not a restrictive App Store like Apple's and the catalog alone, it's amazing. Plus, it comes with 20 games and they're available now. So if you were one of those people who was like I don't want to wait two years for it, I believe you can just roll right up and buy one now.

1:32:49 - Dan Moren
Also you had to Andy's suggestion, lucas Pope's other game, return of the Overdin, which I think is available on. That game is awesome as one of the best games I've played in the last five years yeah love it.

1:33:00 - Andy Ihnatko
And one very last note, now that it's been out for a couple of years now the first wave of games was going to be good, but the developers would not have figured out the tricks to make games work really, really well on this platform. Now you're actually getting pseudo 3D racing games on it because developers have figured out here is how. Oh, okay, that wasn't getting the frame rate I wanted because I was doing it this way. I should try this way. And other frameworks and platforms been created, for it's a very vibrant system. So again, it's not going to be for everybody, but if you think it's for you, please don't be dissuaded by the idea that, oh, I'm only going to get 20 games. They're not going to be very good. This is a very, this is one of those. This is a very, very good investment. In short time, waiting for buses, waiting for trains, waiting for planes it's a pleasure for me Nice.

1:33:46 - Jason Snell
All right, alex your turn.

1:33:48 - Alex Lindsay
What do you have? So I'm picking a topaz photo AI. I think I talked about video AI the last time on, but I needed to upgrade something. You know, we were doing a show and I needed to get an image and I was like, okay, I want to try this. I'm pretty impressed. I was like I don't even know how it does this.

So if you look at, here's an example here of this droid that I did in mid-journey. It's a nice safe image, anyway. So obviously on the right, but I can start to zoom in and as I start getting closer, of course you have, you can start to see it make the correction there. And we're really, you know, as we get closer. So this is the, this is the scaled up version, and I have to admit I've been scaling up images for a very long time and to see something with this kind of detail get reproduced, I mean, it is definitely at a level, and this is this is a little harder because it's not doesn't have a human face, which it does activate. It does look for human faces to try to improve them. But but when you look at this kind of, you know, when we get up to the, you know the actual, you know, really getting in there. There's not a lot of other things that would be able to really, you know, achieve those edges.

And if we look at another one, I was grabbing a couple of things. Here's a ship here. You can see it here. This was, this was actually a heritage. Oh, is it true? Port scarcity. I went ahead and put it into, into and got this.

But you can start to see, I mean, when you start to zoom in here, just what is just pixels here becomes something that you know looks a lot more realistic as you, as you start to, as you start to pull back here, you can see a lot of the, a lot of the benefits here. Here's another one that I did from mid journey, which is this is a little cartoon dude talking about how much I dislike open mics, so you can see him with the mic there and our little know it all that is ruining my show, anyway. So the but you can see, look at this, all these pics, this pixelation here and something that just looks nice and clean. You know, as you start to go through that I have to say that I've never seen anything.

Sharpen or enlarge photos for X as well, you know, and so, and again I put it off because it they don't have a demo, so you have to pay $200. They say they'll give you no, no questions. Ask if you have the money back in 30 days, if you don't like it. So they're there. So I was like I put it off and put it off, and put it off and finally bought it. Yeah.

1:36:14 - Andy Ihnatko
I got 100% endorse this and you can download it. You can get the full use of the app. You just can't actually save. So maybe you can, but while I'm, while you're saving, I didn't even know, yeah, well. Well, I will give you like I am legitimately saving up for this app because it's a $200 app. You can, however, screen to go into a full, full size and then screenshot them, stitch them back together, but, but, but, but. I'm evangelized. That's really really hard because I there are a lot of AI Obscalers and stuff like that.

What's great about Topaz is that it's not you. It's designed to give you full control. It's designed to make a photo look better, not look like AI. So, yeah, there's. If, for instance, one feature of it is oh wow, there's a human face in there, I know I have AI that knows what a human face should look like. I can Synthetically add details based on what I understand by human faces, but if you think the results look a little bit fakey, you can either slide, push a slider and back it off a bit, or just turn that off entirely, and so I've.

I've been going. It's been encouraging me to go through like old photos, like I have a photo of. I got a tour of the of the Lerman show and, of course, I got my picture taken behind Letterman's desk and it was taken with 2006, 2000 sorry, 2008 with a camera with a sensor that was really old to begin with. And then, to make things worse, I know I've got the original somewhere, but all I could find was the 800 by 600 downscaled version that was on Google photos, and it was able to very, very quickly turn it into a very convincing 16 megapixel image. That was with. All the noise is absolutely gone. D noise is almost flawless, I guess, just really, really perfect it's.

I can't recommend this enough. The fact that a cheapskate like me is Saving up $200 to buy this it's it underscores the reason why years ago, when I was buying my first really big investment pro, I was thinking do I go with full frame Sony or do I go with micro four-thirds, which I love everything about it? But if you do pixel peeping, it's just it's a small. It's a smaller sensor, so the noise is going to be a lot worse. I had faith that denoising software would be much better in the future, and this is the app that I was waiting for. It's like there is. I do not regret that 100%. So, again, I will be buying this very, very soon and I will.

I feel so guilty about like occasionally doing stuff like this by saying, oh well, if I take like 18 screenshots and then dump them into Photoshop to stitch them together, I can have the original back. I will be paying for this. But again, 100% we can. For if you've been taking pictures since, like the iPhone 1, 2, 1 and 1, 3, 3 s, you can suddenly have like iPhone, iphone 14, the iPhone 15 pro level picks generated from these old pictures. 100% recommendation.

1:39:02 - Jason Snell
Amazing. Thank you, alex. That's a great one. Well, that does it. We reach the end. We've accomplished a lot. I think we've learned a lot. We think we've grown together. We've definitely shared our MacBook Air heritage and gotten that out there. There'll be a. There'll be a spaghetti feed later for all the members of the MacBook Air heritage club we it's been a privilege to host. I will be doing this privilege again next week because Leo has gone for two. Count them to Tuesdays and we'll have a different special guest, but I want to thank Dan Moran for being my special guest this time. Dan, thank you. Tell people where they can find you.

1:39:40 - Dan Moren
Or you can find me on most social media, as at the more and I'm D more net Zeppelin, da flights on mastodon. I'm also on blue sky and threads and all that good stuff. But my website D more and comm is a place to find everything I do, including the numerous podcasts, including Technology shows, clockwise and the rebound, as well as my many novels. My most recent novel is also lost, which is a supernatural detective Story set in Boston, where I live, that may involve some shady goings on in a big technology company.

1:40:07 - Jason Snell
Yes, which could be of interest little Apple like angle there, but no spoilers.

It's maybe a little bit, maybe a little a little bit. And of course Dan's my is my Co-author at six colors comm, so you should check them out there too. But yeah, by his book, by his books, do it please, do, do it please. And also, lost is not part of a Like. You don't have to read a trilogy or quadrilogy or something else, just it's what we used to call a book. It just stands on its own, you can read it. Oh boy, a book, catchy Book. Thank you for being here again, dan. Andy in, I go pleasure as always. I got to see you from in the big studio this time and I guess Leo asks you when you're gonna be on WGBH next.

1:40:49 - Andy Ihnatko
So let's do that. I was on last week so I'm off this week's, but you can go listen to the previous show. Good, don't go to WGBH news org and for other my stuff, go to just type and not go into almost any Almost any social media platform, less Twitter than used to be. But I H N a T KO. That's the, that's the shibboleth you give it's. You have to prove that you're interested in my stuff. I'd be able to spell my last name.

1:41:12 - Jason Snell
Yes, but you're the only one essentially, so there's that. It's ease of use once you get the Spelling right. I learned this lesson along. I don't want to say how long ago I just spelling in his last name, but it was a long time.

1:41:22 - Andy Ihnatko
I guess my mother, my cousin is a famous like economist in in Australia. So we often we often exchange like misrouted emails or people are saying, wow, are you related to the famous economists? Like I was a student. Like oh, wow, hey, hey, I got this, I'm nice.

1:41:37 - Jason Snell
I got an email the other day that said Jason, it's so great to see you doing podcasts and stuff. I sold a deck Like a VMS system to you in the early 80s and I was like that wasn't me Sorry. Sorry, I know I got gray hair, but I'm younger than that, but anyway, it was very sweet because there, I guess there's Jason snows out there too, it happens the nice, the nice thing about a name like an outgo.

1:42:06 - Andy Ihnatko
There are some of us out there but we all know that if there's a good chance for your blood and tissue type compatible, if push came to shove, so a good Google search will probably find a kidney out there for me.

1:42:15 - Jason Snell
And, and we know you have many Alex Lindsay's to choose from, but we appreciate you choosing ours. Alex, thank you for being here where people can find you.

1:42:23 - Alex Lindsay
Yeah, in office hourscom global, of course we're gonna talk about, talked about memo composer, memo composer, memo live, of course, by Boeing software. But they have a composer which is replacing quartz composer Because they needed it and so they've been rebuilding it from scratch and you can actually import quartz. So they gave us a little preview of that today. I was talking about radio place, tomorrow with David Osman from yes, so is how those things get put together and then we're. Then we go into like looking at, you know, like the, we're gonna look at the Oscars and figure out, like what do we like, what do we not like?

We will do geeky things like notice that all of the red carpets, except for the main red carpet we're on wired mics and ours are on, and then the main main one is all on wireless. They're like oh, somebody didn't. Someone said we're not gonna give you wireless and so if you really want to go the deep broadcast geeky thing that'll be on Thursday on gray matter dot show with Michael Krasny. We've got We've got Andrew fracknoy on. He is one of the world experts on the eclipse.

Yeah, as we get closer and closer to the eclipse. Andrew is gonna come on, so if you're interested in that, check that out. Gray matter dot show should be a great podcast. That'll come out next week but we do it live on Fridays and if you follow me on Twitter I'll put out the link and you can watch it live excellent.

1:43:39 - Jason Snell
Yeah, the eclipse is coming. The moon next time it Gets to a new moon it's gonna cover the Sun, it's gonna happen, it's gonna be exciting.

1:43:46 - Alex Lindsay
Yeah, I know we've talked about this before on the show. If you are anywhere near or I'm driving all the way there, like I'm going there with my family, we're gonna go, look, we're gonna go watch it. It is. If you've never seen the clips, it is a thing. It's not like a total.

1:44:01 - Jason Snell
Oh, it's kind of cool. Total solar eclipse is not like a partial solar eclipse. It is a completely different beast, and this is your last time to see it in North America in a very long time.

It starts 20 years down in Mexico, goes through Texas, up through the Midwest to Cleveland, across the Great Lakes, ends up in Maine. Go see it. If you can go to totality, go to totality. Bring your glasses with you, because they're they're the parts before and after totality to get some eclipse glasses, maybe at your local library or something. But you got to go for totality. You must. I agree absolutely. And that brings us to the end. But, like I said, I'll be back hosting for Leo next week with with the usual gang plus one a special bonus guest. But until then, I'm sad that I have to tell you you have to get back to work because break time is over. Bye, everybody.

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