This Week in Tech 600
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech. Peter Cohen from iMore joins Robert Scoble and Georgia Dow from iMore, as we talk about the week's tech news, Robert's got a crazy theory about what Apple is going to do in 2017. I've been dying to put him on the spot. We'll do that and a whole lot more. Stay tuned: TWiT is next!
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 600, recorded Sunday, February 5, 2017.
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! The special superb Owl version. I'm Leo Laporte; joining us, 3 people who don't watch the Super bowl! Robert Scoble is in his tie dye celebrating, and I bet you want to watch the Super bowl after this is over. Look at that, he's got a Hololens!
Robert Scoble: Yeah. I won't use it on air, but we certainly are going to talk about it today, right?
Leo: I don't know what using it on air would even mean from our point of view. You just look like Jordie.
Robert: I wouldn't be talking, I'd be...
Leo: You'd be off somewhere else. We actually did, on Windows Weekly, we did a Demo, we were able to connect the output of the Hololens to Skype, Mary Joe Foley was wearing it and we could see her, and we could see what she was seeing. It was actually kind of cool. I'm a fan. But we'll talk about that in a bit, because you have some interesting theories about augmented reality and its future.
Robert: I read a book about it. I'm getting you a used copy of the book, by the way.
Leo: I haven't seen the book yet. I would like to. Also with us, Georgia Dow from iMore.com. Hi, Georgia!
Georgia Dow: Hey!
Leo: Fresh off the slopes. She skied this morning. She will be skiing this evening. She's a ski fanatic. Thank you for taking time out of your ski day to join us. Also with us, your former colleague from iMore. Peter Cohen is here. I guess not former. You're still at iMore.
Peter Cohen: Well I freelance. I'm at Backblaze these days.
Leo: That's what I thought. I know you've been doing a lot of stuff at Backblaze. Great to see you once again. Peter of course has been around forever, covering gaming of all things, but you cover everything these days.
Peter: Yeah, indeed. With an emphasis on the Apple ecosystem as always.
Leo: Good. You're all Appleites, so let's start off with Robert's thesis that there is going to be a massive announcement from Apple. We just got the Apple quarterly results this week. They sold a ton of iPhones. iPhone is still easily driving the company. They made 17.8 billion dollars in three months. They were back to revenue growth, which they had been off for a little bit, in fact, the actual revenue is an all-time record according to Apple. But the number 2 division in Apple is the services. Not Mac, not iPad. iPad declined 19% year over year. Revenue down 22%. But services was huge! They made revenue of 24 billion on iCloud, Apple Pay, Apple Music. I think it's safe to say at this point, the iPhone is an iCloud company. But as with any company in Silicon Valley, you've got to find the next big thing. I don't think it's the watch, sorry to say. I don't think it's the iPad.
Robert: A new watch is coming this year. A new iPad is coming this year.
Leo: That we expected.
Robert: A new TV coming this year.
Leo: Really? They're going to do a TV?
Robert: Everything is coming new this year. They are launching more new products this year than they have in a long time.
Leo: Before we go on, you don't mean a new television set, you mean an Apple TV
Robert: I'm talking about the box. I keep hearing rumors about a television set too, but I keep hearing that the TV box will have a new 3D sensor from prime sense. Apple has 600 engineers working on just the sensor on these new products.
Peter: I hear the rumors about the Apple television as well, but usually when gene Munster has returned from a 3 day payote binge in the dessert.
Leo: He was the guy who put his career on the line with the Apple TV and admitted that they're not going to do it. But it wasn't that they weren't thinking about it... and this is one of the things that is difficult. A, Apple is secretive and they don't announce anything, and B: they try everything. They've got hundreds of billions of dollars in cash. They can have a TV division that never produces a product because they're investigating it. Even Tim Cook has said that. We investigate a lot of things. So anything you say, Robert, at this point, could be something in Prototype and not necessarily a product. But you're convinced it's going to be a product.
Robert: I have many sources who say I'm right. Plus, I was on CNBC telling that audience the same thing I'm telling here. Nobody from Apple PR called, and you know how Apple PR is. If you get something incorrect about their company, particularly in a venue of that note.
Leo: So you think there will be a big announcement because it's the tenth anniversary of the iPhone; they're opening a space ship campus, and there will be something... how big?
Robert: Big. Huge for Apple. This is Tim Cook's legacy. In fact, it's Steve Jobs legacy too, because it goes all the way back to Steve Jobs when they had a conversation about the future of television. Right after that, they started patenting things about augmented reality; a phone that had a 3D sensor on it, that looked clear, where you held it up and you can see virtual things with this Hololens. It's not just Apple. If it was just Apple, I'd be like OK. But when I went to the consumer electronics show, I saw many things in the backrooms, like this pair of Lumus lenses. Look at just the lenses here. These have 720 P monitors in the lenses and a little computer. Notice it's sitting next to Snapchat glasses, which don't even have a screen, and that's from a company that got 60 million in investment. Apple forced Carl Zeis to pull their optics off the show floor...
Leo: I have to ask you about that because we've been going back and forth. I saw your Facebook post saying Zeis was in the AR booth with no AR to show, and you said that you were told Zeis was working on something with Apple, but it wasn't clear if you were told that or you deduced that from when you mentioned it the Zeis people looked away. Did somebody verbally say it?
Leo: that's what I thought. But some people said you were talking about this nuance thing...
Robert: You know what? That's how humans work too. If it's nuance then everybody starts laughing when you talk about something. That confirms your suspicions. Which other company has the ability to force a multi-billion dollar company, which Carl Zeis is... to pull something off the show floor? They showed optics the year before, and they were right in the middle of the augmented reality booth without any augmented reality stuff in there. Everybody knows that is a fact.
Leo: So what do you think? You got this from one source? Two sources?
Robert: Many sources. I've been flying the world and meeting with people on the highest level. Interviewing the chief economist for CTA at South by Southwest... on and on. This has been coming for a long time. I did the first interview for my book in 2011 with the chief technocloster of Matteo, which Apple bought. If you go and listen to my interviews with the founder for Prime sense, he tells you what he's going to do, and then he got bought by Apple. On and on and on. Tim Cook has bought a dozen or so companies, most of which we haven't understood why they're important. Companies like Trurie that are doing Artificial Intelligence, the founder of Curie keynoted the science conference in June, and two weeks later, he gets bought by Apple. Apple is up to something big. You can't deny that anymore based on the patents that have been reported, based on the rumors of glass iPhones coming and stuff like that. Whether you listen to me or not...
Leo: What is it going to be? What is it?
Robert: It's augmented reality! It's next generation AR, or what we call mixed reality in this industry. It's not just Apple. Microsoft has 1800 people working on this.
Leo: It's clear, they've got the Hololens. I think augmented reality is going to be big, I think it's bigger than VR, personally, but there's a jump from that to say everybody's going to be working on it, say Apple has a product. You think this year Apple will have a product? What will it be like?
Robert: Apple has a range of products coming out, including a new iPad, 3 new iPhones, a new TV product, a new watch. They've already had the ear phones; by the way, the ear phones have motion sensors in them. If you pull the ear phone out of the thing, your music stops playing. But it also has motion sensors for your head. Why? Because they're going to announce a very lightweight pair of glasses, and they're going to move all the electronics they can out of those glasses and into other places on your body. IE, a phone in your pocket, your headphones in your ears.
Leo: Peter Cohen, does this all sound reasonable to you?
Peter: Yeah. It does. Although I posit that VR is dead in the water until it stops looking like a toaster is trying to have sex with your forehead.
Leo: I agree with you.
Robert: I just showed you the luminostic. That's proof that they're coming and coming from a number of manufacturers.
Leo: Are those AR or VR?
Robert: These are AR. By the way, when you say do they do AR or VR, whenever you see new optics from now on, they're going to do both.
Leo: But something like those, those wouldn't be great virtual reality because they're glasses. You can see outside them. They're not immersive VR as we're used it.
Robert: We'll see. The optics, from what I'm hearing, are going to turn opaque or black and you can have some things that make your eyes totally black if you want to get into VR land.
Leo: But you can still see it on the sides. I think VR still has to be immersive.
Robert: You can have ways to cover that up. Does that bother me with glasses? No. My glasses turn black...
Leo: I guess it's what the VR is for. To me, VR is a gaming... you're all into VR, Georgia Dow.
Georgia: I love VR. I bought a house just for VR.
Leo: Wait a minute, no. Really?
Georgia: Kind of. That's not even a lie. We're buying a house, but we're making sure we have enough space for a dedicated VR room. If you're going to buy a house, you want it all. It's like our gaming den. It just has to have. Doesn't everyone have that? I think all of us agree that AR is something Apple is looking into. I think that where I might disagree with you, Robert, is the timeline. I don't think that this is going to be coming out this year, I don't think it's going to be coming out next year either. Apple doesn't do well when they're the first ones out of the gate.
Robert: They're not the first ones. Hololens is already out.
Georgia: Hololens isn't really a viable product. They don't do well until everyone else has gone out, see what they've done, and Apple goes out, takes a look at the data and does it better. That's when Apple is exceptionally successful.
Robert: You're forgetting about this. This is not the first time Apple is coming to the rodeo, and Microsoft is already out there, not the first one. They're not the first one in any stretch of the imagination. There's dozens of companies that are making augmented reality stuff. It just hasn't gotten to consumers because it hasn't gotten to the small enough sizes.
Georgia: Isn't that...
Robert: They're coming this year. They're not coming next year, they're coming this year.
Georgia: I would love that. I'm not against it, but it seems like without the actual data of people using the products, Apple is going to say we're going to wait around and see what people like. See what they don't like, so they can fix it and make it better. They have all this money, there's no reason they have to be the first ones out of the gate. It doesn't benefit them in any way, shape, or form.
Robert: You're wrong about that. I've been talking to executives at competitors and the competitors believe I am right about this. The competitors believe from China believe Apple is two years ahead of the rest of the Industry with these announcements that are coming. This is very important for Apple to nail, because if they miss user interface switch, and this is what we're in, that's why we call it the fourth transformation because it's the fourth user interface switch of our lifetimes, you know when we went from DOS to Windows, word perfect went away, and they were dramatically important companies of the day. When we went to touch computing on our phones, Nokia and Blackberry went away for all intents and purposes. Right? Because they did not bet on the new user interface. Microsoft knows this, because they missed last time. They have to win in this space, or they're going to lose a lot of their business to others. Apple knows this as well. They're the ones that are expected to show up once in a while and really wow us with something new, and that is coming this year, not next year. Next year is too late. Microsoft, Facebook, Google are all going to uncloak next reality glasses in the next 18 months.
Leo: Absolutely think Apple is working on AR. I think there is no question. Tim Cook has said it, in effect. Every week. Certainly Apple has in the past, it's getting to be the distant past, by the way, made some transformative inventions, the iPhone, the iPod. You could argue about the iPad. You could also argue about the Apple watch, which is not in my opinion been successful. I wonder if Apple has what it takes to transform. I agree with you. There are two interfaces that are coming. Augmented reality is one, I think voice interfaces is also a very important shift. Apple sucks at that. It's the fourth worst choice out there, after Amazon, Google, and Cortana, then Siri. I don't know if Apple... Apple killed Siri. They took a good product and made it terrible.
Robert: Time out. I had dinner with Tom who still works at Apple and is one of the three guys who started Siri. Remember, Siri was launched on that couch right there. Adam Chier...
Leo: Adam went out and started Viv and sold it to Samsung.
Robert: That's the second part of my story. I had dinner with Tom three years ago and I asked him... this was at Adventure Capital. The Venture capitalist was Morgan Thailer of Morgan Thailer ventures, which is now called Canvas.bc, I was sitting in his backyard because they keep inviting me to this party because Gary Morgan Theller says only two people understood Siri: me and Steve Jobs. It all wraps up together, because when Toma and I had dinner three years ago, I said what are you learning about running Siri? He says I've learned that Google is beating us. We instrumented Google and we know that their AI is learning faster than our AI.
Leo: You know that by using it! Any idiot knows that; it's obvious. I asked Siri this morning "What time is kickoff on the super bowl?" and its response was that's a very interesting question.
Robert: He said something very important. He said we're going to have to re build siri from scratch and that they're going to launch it next year. The second part of this story is this: His two friends left Apple and started this company named Viv. When I saw it a year and two months ago, I asked Adam if he's going to sell this back to Apple because it's way better than what Apple has. It's way better than Siri. He told me no. I'm not going to sell to a big company because I think this is important to make a company around and go independent. Then, nine months later he sells to Samsung. Why?
Leo: You haven't proven anything except that Apple has lost its mojo! Apple has produced crap for the last three years. There's no way that they're going to jump on this AR thing and turn it around. I doubt Microsoft will, although Microsoft is way ahead of the game.
Robert: They bought the best companies on the field.
Leo: They bought Siri. How did that work out?
Robert: Siri was the most profitable acquisition of all time!
Leo: It's a piece of crap. How did Siri make any money for Apple?
Robert: Because when they first shipped the iPhone 4S, that was the only feature that mattered, and they sold billions of dollars the first day.
Leo: I won't dispute that they tricked people, but I don't think they produced a product of any value.
Robert: Siri has dramatically important product just because it sucks now, and you're going to see that the new one doesn't suck and what's worse is when you go to the glasses you only have room for one voice interface.
Leo: I agree. I think that AR and Voice can be magical transformation. I'm not saying it's impossible for Apple to do this; I'm saying there hasn't been a lot of evidence in the last couple of years. You can make all the acquisitions you want, but they know how to do this.
Robert: You have to look at what he's been doing under the covers. He's been working on this for seven years and spent more than ten billion dollars! Everybody knows you can look at the patents!
Georgia: I think though they are definitely working on it, the use case for AR is so week people don't know how they would use it, what would be the best cases to use it, when would they use it, and I love VR and AR, so I think it's the future, but the fact of Apple jumping in ahead of the game at this time just seems way too soon for Apple. Once it becomes more mainstream, once people understand it, trust it, feel comfortable with it, that would make more sense for Apple investing and launching a product because when Apple coughs or has a cold, something goes wrong. They lose a lot of money in stock.
Leo: They're doing fine. Nobody is denying Apple is making money. I'm not denying that.
Robert: You're assuming Apple is the same tomorrow as it was yesterday. That's a bad assumption.
Leo: That's what you're doing.
Georgia: That is our best way of assuming behavior though. It is the best way to tell behavior of any unitary source. Apple is a very pattern oriented company, when they jump out of their patterns they don't actually do that well. I think that they'll do something that will be amazing, I just think that our timelines are different.
Robert: You can argue all you want, I know what is coming and I have many sources saying I'm right. So if you're betting against Apple doing it this year, you're going to lose.
Leo: I hope you're right. I would love to see a transformative technology out of Apple.
Robert: The question is when do I get the glasses. They might show them off in June and say they're not going to ship until first quarter of next year, and that would make the timing suspect. I'm willing to concede that point, but you're going to see it in June or September at the latest.
Leo: Peter, do you think I'm a burn out? I've put my trust and love in apple for so long and been disappointed, and now I can't accept that Apple could possibly transform the world. Is that my problem.
Peter: I think listening to you and Scoble is like listening to Oscar and Felix.
Leo: FU! What does FU stand for? Which one is Oscar and which one is Felix.
Peter: You two bloviating blowhards. Shut the hell up! God.
Leo: What do you think, Peter?
Peter: I'm going to be interested in when Luxotica gets into the wearable business. Wake me up when that happens.
Leo: We do spend a lot of energy crystal balling Apple. Nobody knows what they're going to do, except Scoble who has the insight.
Robert: I have no idea, by the way, how advanced these things are going to be. A company from Israel called Yowza came and visited me a month ago and showed me some mind blowing AI that takes the 3D image of your scene and segments every object on your table into a separate object and starts doing AI look ups. It was absolutely mind blowing. That was done with 16 engineers in Tel Aviv. Apple has 600 working on the 3D sensors. So... that's pretty crazy.
Leo: What is the 3D sensor? Is it magic Leap? I don't understand what a 3D sensor would do.
Robert: There's a company called prime sense that 4 years ago, showed me a 3D sensor. They licensed it off for Connect. Connect became Hololens, which owns some of its birthright to Prime sense. The guy who started Prime sense showed me four years ago, a sensor that was aiming at tables about 3 feet away, and it could tell how hard you were touching the table.
Leo: This is from 2014. Apple's secret plans for Prime sense 3D. This is 2.5 years old, but you think this will happen sometime this year? This will be the time from a corporate point of view, it's a big anniversary. I wonder if Apple has what it's going to take. We don't know. We'll find out. We should bet some big thing.
Robert: I've already bet my entire career.
Georgia: You'll be fine, even if it comes out in two years.
Robert: It won't be two years; it's this year.
Leo: I hope you're right. I'm thrilled by this. It sounds a little science fiction-y to be honest.
Peter: I"m going to take at face value that the product announcements are coming and they're going to be glorious. But the question is what is going to hit with consumers? That is an area that Apple has not been consistent with for the past few years. I'm interested in seeing how that affects things.
Robert: Who has VR on the show?
Leo: I went the other way. Georgia obviously. I have Oculus Rift and Vive at home, and in both cases, I got bored with it and stopped using it. I've used them all. I didn't even buy the Playstation VR. Every time I mention I'm bored with Vive, somebody says have you seen... and it's fun for five minutes. What is it, Georgia, that it continues to compel you?
Georgia: I do martial arts and I love doing martial arts, and I can do my martial arts and interact with the world. The difference why a lot of people find VR more exhausting is because it is. This is not like the old gaming where you're doing this to decompress. This is going to make you more anxious; it's going to burn off some energy. It's going to make you feel exhausted after that. There's definitely a certain amount of mental and visual fatigue that you're going through because your brain is processing it at a much faster rate while you're playing these games. It's because it's more tiresome. There's a big setup that comes to it, you have to make sure everything is on, you have to clear your playing space. It's not like the usual games where you can sit there and relax. This is the opposite experience to that. That's what I enjoy about it, but it's not something I Could play for five hours during the day. AS we go and it becomes much more mobile and it's easier to set up and the headsets are not like toasters that are doing things to your face, I think then it's going to be easier to use and a greater set of people who want to jump in. But, its use cases are huge. I just don't think the general public has embraced that yet, I think they're testing out different things. But the ability to look all the way through an environment and your movement determines the speed at which the bad guys are coming towards you, it's a really neat experiential gaming thing. But if you don't like experiential gaming, then VR is not for you.
Leo: I feel like that's a niche. I don't know. That sounds like the same things people said about the Nintendo Wii. Or 3D TV, both of which were failures in the long run.
Peter: Take a look at using VR as a way of acclimatizing people to phobias that they've got. This is something that I'm sure Georgia can speak to better than I can.
Leo: PTSD, right?
Georgia: They've used AR in order to look at cranium sizes and how they're going to deal with surgery.
Leo: WE talked to a pediatric cardiologist who did a 3D rendering of a baby's heart and practiced and explored the heart so he knew what he would see when he did the surgery. Those are niches.
Georgia: It could be for training for many things. The closer we are to reality, the better we are to simulate the real thing once we go out and use it. Peter is right, the same thing for phobias, for post-traumatic stress for social anxiety, for flight simulators. The closer we get to being there, the better we get to dealing with it. Also interacting with other people in ways we couldn't before. Seeing things that are happening on the other side. I think it's really cool, I just think we are far off from it being accepted and I think those are things Apple likes to have in play before they decided to jump into a field.
Leo: Robert, you and Shell wrote the newest book the fourth transformation, how augmented reality and AI will change everything. Do you see people wearing augmented reality glasses all day or is it another... it's not just another interface to your computer, it's something you would wear around.
Robert: Yes. If you give me enough years, yes.
Leo: We can argue about the specifics of who is going to do it and how soon, but I think we can probably all agree that this is an interface that might have some interest. To answer Peter's question: is this something that is going to have mass appeal to a general audience?
Robert: I believe so, and going around to R and D labs, for instance, going to Sephora, which is a big cosmetic retailer, they're already using their augmented reality in their iPhone app, and they're building augmented reality experiences for going into the store with these glasses and looking at people who are wearing Sephora makeup with these glasses in some form. They're getting ready for this, and they already have it working for the iPhone. So you can download...
Leo: This is a challenge with new technologies, because when they first emerged they're toy like. So it's deceptive; you look at Atari 2600 video games and go that's never going to go anywhere.
Robert: I just had dinner with Ted Schillowitz at the 20th century Fox's futurist, the movie's company futurist, and he says it's coming and coming soon, within the next 18 months, and he's very excited about this area, and he's invested in some of the companies that are going to compete with Apple.
Leo: If I were a content creator, I'd be very interested for sure, right?
Robert: If you go to Ford, they already design cars in virtual reality. If you go to Disney, their new park in Shanghai China was completely designed in virtual reality.
Leo: That's been going on for years, though. That's been going on for almost a decade. That's not new.
Robert: But what is happening is the mobile Industry is driving the prices and the sizes way down. I just sat next to a guy who is a strategist at applied materials who makes the machines that make our chips. He says right now we're at ten nanometer, and he says next year's CES you're going to see seven nanometer. In one year, you're seeing everything shrink in size.
Leo: That's what is holding Hololens back is the need to get a full computer and battery into the viser.
Robert: But ODG showed a full computer and battery in four ounce glasses that are already being shown. So we know that startups can do it, the big boys are going to do it in the next 18 months. It's not just Apple. Google just bought influence, which is going to be part of these glasses, and Facebook bought iTribe, which is i sensor. Microsoft is building them, Google is building them, and on and on. You're going to see many companies in the next 18 months uncloak and ship new products that are going to be in the 2 to 4 ounce size of glasses that are going to look like the Snapchat glasses.
Leo: It's exciting. Let's take a break. Robert D. Scoble is here, author of the fourth transformation, brand new book available on Amazon, at Scobleizer.com, Peter Cohen is also with us from many different places, including backblaze.com, where he is... you do content at Backblaze?
Peter: I am the vlog editor at Backblaze.
Leo: That's fun. And of course, Georgia Dow, who is the creator of all these great videos, which your partner Sandra sent to me. I'm so grateful. Sandra is the clinical director of the Montreal center for anxiety and depression. Georgia is a psychotherapist, who specializes in healing anxiety. Georgia. All of these videos are available at anxiety-videos.com. I'm excited, this is great. Where should I start? Session 1?
Georgia: You should start with session one, and then the special series you use them on your own. So the one on sleep you can just watch the video on sleep, the one on parenting you can just watch the video on parenting.
Leo: I'm done with parenting. My kids are lost to me. When are you done with parenting? They're 24 and 22.
Georgia: You're never really done, although you don't have the same responsibility as you had before, so you've done most of the work already.
Leo: This is the expensive part. I don't know about responsibility, but I'm writing a lot of checks. Our show to you today brought to you by ziprecruiter. If you are hiring, if you're in that enviable position of having to do the hiring at your company, you have to know about Ziprecruiter. Ziprecruiter takes all the pain out and makes you more effective at finding just the right person. Let's stipulate for the moment that there is a perfect person for that job opening. If you hired them, it would make such a difference in your company, it would transform your company. And we could also know from experience that there might be people less good in that job, who might hurt your company. How do you get to the right person? You don't know what job boards they're reading, you don't know where they are, you need help. That's where Ziprecruiter is amazing. One post to Ziprecruiter puts your job listing on 200+ job boards, including Twitter and Facebook. It all goes into the Ziprecruiter interface, which is great. Not only does it make it easy to sort through your applicants, they pre format the resumes so they're uniform, it's easy to read, you can set up screening questions, true/false, yes/no, multiple choice essay questions, so you can automatically narrow down the candidates. Thumbs up, thumbs down, screen them and rate them. The right person is out there, this is the best way to find that person. Ziprecruiter has been used by Fortune 100 companies thousand small and medium sized businesses. It's just fantastic. We've used it. You should try it. Go to Ziprecruiter.com/twit. Ziprecruiter.com/twit for a free trial. We thank them so much for their support of This Week in Tech. Robert and I are good friends. We have fun yelling at each other.
Robert: We like debating. We're like this when we get together for dinner.
Leo: The thing about Robert, which is true, is he is an enthusiast. Sometimes, I think that clouds your judgment as to whether that technology is going to happen, whether it'll be as interesting as its potential. I don't think anybody denies the potential for AR and VR is huge.
Robert: I thought Google Glass is going to be more important than it was. That's a good example.
Leo: I bought it. I put my money where your mouth was.
Peter: I'm still traumatized by the image of you wearing Google Glass in the shower.
Leo: He's done it with everything. You wore your Snapchat goggles in the shower.
Robert: That's going to be on my grave when I die. Just that image.
Georgia: Was yours that photo of the person that was going to wear it forever? Is that you? I didn't know that. That's great.
Leo: That's his claim to fame.
Georgia: There we go.
Leo: Magic Leap actually used it in its patent filings. Is that wild or what?
Peter: That image is going to outlast me by a long shot.
Georgia: I've tweeted out your image when I wrote an article why Google glass failed.
Leo: Because of Robert. A lot of people thought it was Robert.
Robert: A good product.... I'll say this. A great product will survive my shower.
Leo: Has anybody seen Magic Leap?
Robert: I have not, but I've talked to more than 50 people who have seen it, including Ted Shillowitz who has seen it several times.
Leo: There's a question about how real this is. Kevin Kelly wrote a long piece in Wired Magazine singing its praises. But just a handful of people tried the technology and lately it's come out that the technology they tried is nothing like what MagicLeap promises, it's a massive computer, big wires... they may be having trouble with the central technology in all this.
Robert: There's a pair of mixed reality glasses. The secret sauce is the optics. What he was trying to do was make it so that images could refocus over to you, and the earlier optic would show six levels of depth and the new optic only shows two levels of depth. They give away some of the secret sauce, but Ted says Magic Leap is still going to shock the world.
Leo: We want these companies to do these moonshots of course.
Robert: They have 4 billion dollars without a product and without a customer, so that tells you something is going on.
Leo: Of course, has Apple has proven, if you can trap lightning in a bottle, it can power you for years to come. Ten years Apple has been making money on the iPhone, and this last quarter shows they still make quite a bit.
Robert: This is an unusual time in the Industry and I think Apple is going to behave differently than it did before. When Apple started up, Woz told me everybody ignored the personal computer Industry for a couple years. Including his bosses. He worked at HP forever; I would have let HP build my mother boards. He tried to get the bosses at HP to build a personal computer and nobody is ever going to buy them. The skepticism around whether Apple can...
Leo: Sometimes big companies are not the best place for these new ideas. Speaking of big companies, Facebook announced his quarterly results from Q32016: another huge success for Facebook, but what's really interesting: 84% of their total sales revenue came from Mobile. This was the question mark. Robert, to your credit, you've been saying Facebook is the one for at least a year. Daily active users: 1.1 billion. Unbelievable. Monthly active users, 1.8 billion. That's roughly 16 or 17% increase over a year. Mobile active users, every month 1.66. Mobile is clearly this is where Facebook lives and this is where you want to live. Anything to say about that? You want to take a victory lap, Robert, or anything?
Robert: I'm going to save the victory lap for June.
Leo: June! We'll have you back. We'll have you part of... You know what? First of all, this will be the first announcement in the round building, right?
Robert: I talked to somebody who is working on the building, talked to a few people who are working on the building, and they say it's unbelievable inside. They said more new technology went into the building and designed the inside of the building than any other building in the world. That's going to be quite something to see alone, right? If you got an invite to go see that for the first time, I think you would go. I would certainly go.
Leo: I haven't been invited to one of these events in a long time, but I'm going to beg for an invite to this first event. I think you'll get in. We'll sit outside in the street in Cupertino. It does make sense. Will they make an announcement... we know that there will be a new iPad, new macs announcement in March. You think this is when they would announce this, or is it more like June?
Robert: I think it's June because they need to show off the expansiveness of their vision about mixed reality and all that. The iPad will have a prime sensor in it, so they're going to probably ship it really fast so developers have something to build games and other things for the new iPhone and the new glasses and the new iPad coming out. I won't be shocked if in June they announce it and they say oh the iPad is available right now... and then the glasses come later or come with the phone too. I won't be shocked if they all come at one time. The real problem, and you're starting to see senses of this, is they don't know that they can make enough. I'll say they can't make enough. Like you said, they sold 78 million iPhones last quarter alone, and anything that looks at all cool is going to drive that number up this year. Let's say they do have an expansive new phone that is clear and you look through and do Pokemon hunting and you put it on a headset and play VR and play AR. That alone is going to drive sales double of what they were last quarter. They can't get enough screens to make 150 million iPhones right now.
Leo: What is going on? It's not just Apple. Apple wasn't able to make the air pods in any quantity and fill demand in any reasonable time frame. Google is having a lot of trouble making its... they're not selling anywhere near those units. Google Pixel has been out of stock for a while. I can go on and on. A lot of these products... why is it hard to make, meet demand these days?
Robert: It's hard to build things that are physical. When you think about moving around 100 million pieces of glass and a hundred million sensors and a hundred million GPUs and a hundred million.. all the pieces that go into a phone, that's not easy. It's not easy for Apple who does it the best on the market.
Leo: The problems that Samsung had with the Note 7 are an example.
Georgia: You see what happens when they're able to ship a bunch at the same time. It also brings it demand, there are shortages, and it seems more sought after.
Leo: You think that they're faking it, Peter?
Peter: Tim Cook is the master, the supply line master. That was his reputation, as CO of Apple before he assumed reigns from Steve. I don't think that anything in Apple's supply line is out of Apple's control or out of Apple's management. Most of the time. I do think that it benefits them to exit quarters with a healthy backlog of products that haven't shipped. It does create the illusion of scarcity. The illusion of higher demand then there would need to be if production was ramped up to equal it, so it benefits them, and they've done it for a very long time very effectively.
Leo: By the way, Robert, I will buy you... what can I buy Robert? Something that would... I will buy you dinner at Joel Ruba shawn in the city of your choosing if...
Robert: And they have these badass Madalines that they serve in the tray where they make them. They're glorious.
Leo: All right. I will buy you and me dinner in Paris at Jo el Roubeshawn if Apple ships a clear iPhone. This year. An iPhone that you can look through and if I held it up here, I would see you on the other side. If they do that, I will buy you dinner in Paris.
Robert: They have a patent out there that explains how it works, but my friends who are in the Industry and have seen the prototypes say it's a clear piece of glass with a pack at the bottom...
Leo: Obviously there is somewhere you have to put the electronics. There are screens, now that you can see through?
Robert: Absolutely. If you go to Samsung's museum, all of the displays are clear displays and they turn clear so that you can see the object that is behind the glass.
Leo: And then they superimpose something on top of it? Does it go completely opaque before it can be a screen?
Robert: It can be either way.
Leo: You can have an iPod floating on a pane of glass that you can see through. I would be happy to buy you dinner in Paris if that comes out. I would be thrilled!
Georgia: And get a phone in the process. Now Robert, you have to offer something if it doesn't happen though.
Leo: I'm not going to put Robert on the spot. A firm hand shake.
Robert: My career will be in tatters if none of this comes along.
Georgia: It will not.
Leo: As many of us have learned, it's good to make wild projections. Nobody remembers if you're wrong, but if you're right everybody remembers that.
Georgia: You get a few tweets out. But that's it.
Leo: In the world of Twitter, nothing lasts for more than ten minutes. Have you ever made a prediction, Peter? Do you do predictions?
Peter: I don't. I'm no good at them. My predictions are always wags. Wild asked guesses.
Leo: I make wild ass guesses all the time. Here's a picture. John is handing me, on his clear phone, back in 2006, I guess John had a clear iMac. You can see right through it to the woods beyond. Remember that? You take a picture of what's behind the Mac and you make that your wallpaper? that doesn't count. That's not dinner in Paris I'm looking at.
Robert: I'll grant you this, even if it's a clear piece of glass, you need to hide things along the edges, wires, batteries, antennas. I won't be shocked, the lower end phones will still do mixed reality, but won't be clear like that. I won't be shocked if they do trickery in conjunction with also having a clear piece of glass. We'll see.
Peter: I don't care about a clear iPhone at all. what I want, I want them to do the ultra violet purple color that they've got for the Beats headphones.
Leo: That raises an interesting question. You can make it, but does it mean people will want it?
Georgia: I'd buy it.
Leo: They took the headphone jack out and people were clearly not deterred by that. I'm kind of surprised, frankly.
Robert: The lack of headphone jacks made a lot of sense this year. They removed it for a reason.
Leo: They didn't want to distract from this year's phone by doing too much, so they thought we're going to take the hit in 2016, remove the jack then, because we would have had to by 2017 and people will have forgotten. It didn't hurt the sales, obviously. It helps the sales of Apple's Beats and other Bluetooth headsets.
Robert: Apple is moving towards a Wireless world from what I'm hearing and I haven't confirmed it so I can't say it's happening definitely. It certainly makes sense that we're going to see Wireless power delivered in a new way on these devices.
Leo: We've been talking about this on MacBreak weekly. This I don't buy. Renee has talked about it and others, this wireless charging where you don't have to put the phone on anything. It just charges it across the room.
Robert: I was at Qualcom going through their R and D room, and they showed me wireless charging in a number of ways. You don't need to lay anything on top of anything any more. The receiver of the power is going to be built into the phone or into your glasses or into your watch. It'll receive power from some distance. I don't know how much that distance is. Qualcom said it was a few feet. But does Apple have something better than that?
Leo: This to me violates the rules of physics. The energy dissipates by the inverse of the square very rapidly reduces over a short distance. It's not going to be feet, if anything it's going to be inches. The amount of energy you would have to pump out of that thing to charge a phone three feet away will kill you. You will have cancer. It's not a good idea.
Robert: I disagree. The people who are working on it... there's a kid at Stanford who has a lab is working on it, and there's a company called Ubeam and others who are working on wireless transmission, they can focus and defocus the bug. It was not dbunked, and this week alone, they showed off to the press how it works and everybody says oh sh** we were wrong about this. Look at the Verge or other companies about Ubeam and you'll see the journalists saw it this week and said it works. There's stuff coming and we'll see how good it is. Qualcom, broadcom both showed me wireless power that doesn't need to be touching a coil or something like that. We're going to see new kinds of Wireless power that can go further than just a few inches.
Leo: The ubeam...
Georgia: I don't mind if it's just sitting on the chi. I just don't... my issue with charging is having to insert a device and I'm trying to get it in and it's dark and where's the stupid wire.
Leo: Here's the video of the ubeam demo. This was, by the way, everybody was told it's off the record. She's holding it a few inches away.
Georgia: So close it might as well be sitting on top of it. It's not close enough that it's actually useful...
Leo: I think anything Apple does will do that too. You've got to send a lot of energy through the air, and it's... we'll see. I'll believe it when I see it.
Peter: It's cool and all, but is it actually a practical solution to a problem that everybody is having?
Leo: I like wireless charging, but I don't mind putting it on an actual stamp and it charges.
Peter: I've got the Apple watch and it uses inductive charging, and the problem is that I'll put it on its charger and then it's not connected right and I come back to it and it's still only half charged.
Leo: That's where Wireless might make sense if you put the watch within a few inches of the charger... what they don't show in that demo is how much power is coming across. Is it going to take four days to charge? How much cancer it's causing!
Robert: Qualcomm showed me wireless charging for driverless cars, admittedly the plate is within a few inches, they say it's 90% efficient. We'll see. Broadcom showed me a coil, and keep in mind, the reason that somebody in the chatroom was saying Tesla tried to do that years ago and failed, the new wireless charging has a huge number of computers on it, and it's aiming at figuring out where the receivers are above the coil, and it's then focusing the energy on that receiver, so you can put your hand in between and it won't zap you or do anything negative. There's a lot of technology going into these, and they are coming. You're starting to see them at Starbucks even. Wireless little chargers, but you have to have those little receivers built into your phone, and I don't have a phone that has a built in yet. I don't have a watch that has it built in yet.
Leo: Most of these phones are losing wireless charging, the Pixel doesn't have it.
Robert: It costs money to put it in, if you want the cheapest product you have to put that in.
Leo: Let's take a break. We had a great week this week on TWiT and we created a fun little promo to remind you of what you're missing if you don't watch constantly.
PREVIOUSLY ON TWiT:
Stacey Higginbotham: Did you guys see that Americans are eating so much bacon that reserves are at a 50 year low?
Leo: The good news... 'Rest assured, the pork industry will not run out of supply. For more information, there's a website.'
Leo: Maker's city is the practical guide for reinventing our cities.
Peter Hirshberg: When we say maker's city we don't just mean manufacturing stuff in cities, we mean making things to solve the problem in cities.
THIS WEEK IN LAW
Denise Howell: Ben Wizner from the ACLU is here with us today. He is also well known as Edward Snowden's lawyer.
Ben Wizner: Technology has taken some of the sting out of exile. It allows Edward Snowden in 2016 to do 50 public appearances by video technology. The government has been able to keep him out of the country, but it hasn't been able to keep his message or his voice out of the country.
TWIT: BROADCASTING FROM THE CAPITOL OF THE FREE WORLD: PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA!
Leo: It's blank. There is no baconshortage.com.
Stacey: That is really. There's so much...so many questions here.
Leo: What's coming up in the week ahead? Jason Howell tells us.
Jason Howell: Hey thanks, Leo. Here's a look at a few things we'll be watching in the week ahead. On Tuesday, February 7, Dell is going to release its new line of education focus chrome book laptops. The two in ones feature a stylus, a full touch screen support, and the ability to run Android apps right out of the box. ON Thursday, February 9, Google is expected to unveil its big version 2 update for Android wear, of course it's rumored at this point, but it is expected. Also expected to launch with two new watches both developed in partnership between Google and LG. Also on February 9, Twitter is expected to report its earnings for the last quarter of 2016. Twitter has had a rough time gaining new users throughout 2016, and has declined in five consecutive earnings report periods. As well, Twitter now faces even stiffer competition from other including Snap which just filed for its own IPO as you know last week. Megan Marrone and I will cover all of this and a whole lot more on Tech News Today each and every weekday at 4:00 PM Pacific. That's a look at the week ahead. Back to you, Leo.
Leo Laporte: Thank you, Jason. Monday through Friday, 4:00 PM, 7:00 PM Eastern time, 2400 UTC. So this is going to be a big week for Android. All About Android's going to have Evan Blass, the guys who runs the @evleaks Twitter account on All About Android. Is that this week, on the 8th? And by the way, he was the one that leaked out the first images of that LG Android Wear 2.0 Watch so that's coming out. I'm actually getting the Samsung Plus, should come on the 13th, in the next week or so. That's the Chromebook that has also a stylus and is a convertible, much like the Dell. It's going to be an interesting spring for Chromebooks.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by Stamps.com. Why go to the post office when you can do everything you would do at the post office without leaving your desk. Stamps.com makes it possible to buy and print real US postage whenever you need it, right from your desk with your computer, your printer. You don't even need a meter. It's not a postage meter. You don't need anything special. You've already got what you need. And the best part is, you know, you can—they've got an USB scale. I'll show you how you get that for free. You put the stuff on there. You always have exactly the right amount of postage. It will make suggestions for different ways to mail something to save you money, like media mail if it's appropriate. It will print out all the forms you need if you're doing certified mail or you're doing express mail or maybe you're doing an overseas shipment. It will print out the customs forms. In fact, not just the forms, it will pre-fill it with the information. So if you're an eBay seller, Amazon, Etsy, you've got the buyer's information, it just fills out the form. Everything you need, you print it. You're ready to go and then an uniformed official of the U.S. Government will come and pick it up, the mailman. He'll come and pick it up. There's a button on the Stamps.com site that says, "Ok, come get it." You literally don't have to go to the post office anymore. We've got a great deal. If you want to try it, a 4-week trial that includes—it's worth $110-dollars—that scale I mentioned. You pay the shipping and handling on that which is $5-bucks but they make that up with a $5-dollar supply kit and $55-dollars in free postage. Literally, postage coupons you can use over the first few months of your account. You've got to try it. Go to Stamps.com before you do anything else. Click the microphone in the upper right-hand corner. Please use the offer code TWiT, T-W-I-T. That lets them know you heard it here. If you're still doing this the old fashioned way, get with the program. This is the way mailing ought to be done. Stamps.com. Click the microphone in the right hand corner, promo code TWiT for $110-dollar no-risk special offer.
Leo: Robert Scoble is here, the Scobalizer from Upload VR. His new book, The 4th Transformation. All about not just AR, artificial intelligence which I like. I'm very excited about that and voice interface I'm sure is included in that. Georgia Dow--
Leo: Our friend from iMore.com, virtual reality expert, she can kick your ass literally because she is a trained martial artist and Canadian champion. Don't mess with her.
Robert: I'm not going to mess with her.
Georgia: (Laughing) It's ok. We can fight it in VR so it doesn't matter. We won't get hurt. It's just fun.
Leo: Yea. Can you do that yet? Can I—I want to put it on my Vive. You put it on your Vive and you can kick my ass remotely?
Georgia: We can do that, yea.
Georgia: Yea, for sure. It's not actually—you can't do a martial arts game yet. Like there's some boxing games and stuff that are a little bit weak, but yea, there are some other games. We can pay paintball and shoot it out. There's lots of fun things to do.
Leo: That would be fun. Yea, maybe that's what's gone wrong. I haven't really connected to anybody else. I'm just, you know, a lonely boy playing with my—
Peter: Leo, there was a company at CES this year, and I'm sorry that I don't remember their name. But they have sensors that you strap to your feet so you can actually do and hand controls so you could actually do like a Hoboken street fighter at somebody or you know, like a round kick and actually have it track. It looked really kind of cool.
Leo: That's neat.
Robert: At Sundance I wore an entire suit with 26 sensors on it as part of one of the exhibits there. It was amazing. But—
Leo: I don't think—
Georgia: That's kind of too much for me, though. I don't know if I want to get fully suited up unless it looks really awesome.
Leo: Yea, it's enough work as it is, isn't it?
Robert: I think gloves are coming along. I saw some gloves with ultrasonic speakers that touch your fingers and you could feel fabric. It was nuts.
Georgia: That sounds amazing. I just want it to be so I can have it on, like a sensor strap that I can strap to my ankles so that they can tell when I'm running or walking or kicking and then that would be perfect for me. I don't think I would need much more besides that.
Peter: The cool thing about this thing that I'm talking about that you strap to your feet is that this actually transmitted a haptic response back to your feet. So if you wanted to simulate the sense of crushing snow or walking across gravel, or you know, pea sized rocks for example you could do that. Or splashing in water. So there were some really cool ideas that were being introduced through that thing.
Leo: I hate to bring us down to earth, but I guess we have a few stories that relate to modern times, the current times. Google, for instance, has been—a US judge, a magistrate in Philadelphia, Thomas Reuter has ruled that Google must hand over emails even if they're stored on a foreign server. You remember Microsoft had a similar case which they fought and won. Emails stored in Ireland, a district judge said no, they don' t have to hand that over. So we have two conflicting opinions here. And I'm sure appeals will come in both cases. You know, on the one hand, if you use Gmail or you uses Microsoft's outlook.com, I don't know if you have a – do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy just because your data's stored on an international server? And yet it makes it difficult for companies to operate because it isn't long before every country says, you have to have—Russia's already doing this. Russia closed down LinkedIn, remember, in Russia because they didn't store their data on Russian soil.
Georgia: I think the question is not just do you but should you. Like what kind of legislation do we want to have to be able to have what is unlawful versus lawful search and seizure to what you have. And what is privacy versus not because now everything is going to be served onto the cloud. And so when we make that change versus where mail is actually stored inside of our house and you could not get to it versus being on a computer where part of that is not tracked onto our house.
Leo: Well and even Google says that. They say, "Sometimes it breaks up email into pieces for performance reasons." So it doesn't know where emails are stored. It doesn't know what country. I guess my point would be—well I think a normal person would say, it's trickery to say well it's, part of it's in Ireland, part of it's in Denmark. It's a US company and the defendant in both cases is a US citizen. What does it matter where the data's been routed? And I think most normal people would say that. Maybe I'm wrong. In any event, that's one situation. The other down to earth situation has to do with the new chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai. We were all a little worried when Trump made him the chairman of the FCC because he's a commissioner. He was on the commission and didn't need Senate approval for that reason. But elevated to the chairmanship replacing Tom Wheeler who's been a surprisingly strong advocate for net neutrality and other things. Ajit Pai very much against net neutrality. Pro competition. I guess a better way to say it from his point of view would be he's for competition and against government regulation of the internet. We might be able to agree on that. But on Friday, what one commissioner called a clean-up of the trash moment, Pai made a bunch of rulings that threw out things that the FCC had been working on, one of which was kind of a pet project of ours was the idea to open up cable set top boxes to competitors. So if you're a Comcast customer instead of having to rent a kind of low-tech box from Comcast, you could get something much more interesting from say Apple or Google or Roku. That move which had been approved by Tom Wheeler was reversed on Friday. Pai also announced that the FCC, in a letter to the big mobile carriers, that the FCC's going to drop its investigation into zero rating. This is one, another one where I think the average person says, "What's wrong with zero rating? This is a great thing." And it's kind of harder to convince them that in fact it's detrimental to net neutrality. Any thoughts about either of those? Guess not.
Peter: Yes, actually I do.
Leo: Ok, go ahead, Peter.
Peter: I'm mad as hell about the cable box thing.
Leo: Yea, me too. I thought that was pretty, was a no-brainer.
Peter: Yea, it is because the whole experience of using cable is sort of artificially screwed up by the fact that you have to negotiate everything through the cable company and the cable box. And look, I understand that they want to be the gatekeepers of revenue and the entertainment companies are content to make them the gatekeepers of revenue. And I understand that there are going to be issues like having to authenticate different services and different channels and stuff like that on my Apple TV. But you know, when I look at trying to use—I'm an Xfinity customer for example. I'm a Comcast customer because they are literally the only game in town. You know, I can get DirecTV but it's not competition. You know, they're functionality the only broadband slash cable provider. So I'm either stuck with X1 or you know, GTFO as they say. And I've done things like gotten a TiVo and you have to get a cable card and they never, never really kind of gels quite right. Or you get an Apple TV or a Roku box or something else and you plug it in and you can use it in addition to what you're using for cable but you can't really cut the cord. You can't really do that. And this was an opportunity for customers to kind of divest themselves of that hostage relationship that we've got with the cable companies that I thought was a very pro-consumer choice, or pro-consumer move and to see them back pedal on it tells me or it affirms to me that this administration or at least Ajit Pai is more interested in corporate harmony than he is in providing anything of benefit to actual people who are paying for this crap. That's my rant.
Leo: Strong recommendation for the Backchannel interview Susan Crawford did with the outgoing chairman, Tom Wheeler who has some very strong words for Ajit Pai and what he's up to. And I think defends the notion of internet regulation. I remember talking to John Perry Barlow, one of the founders of the EFF. He said the EFF board was really torn over this because many of them said, "We don't want any government regulation of the internet. That's always a bad idea. They're guaranteed to do it poorly." But many of them also say the necessity of protecting net neutrality against companies who don't really have an interest in preserving net neutrality but instead, maximizing profit. Wheeler's response to this conundrum is, "People who say the problem is government are so wrong." This is so surprising because we thought Wheeler was going to be terrible when he came in. He was a former lobbyist for the cable and the wireless industries. But he turned out, he kind of knew what he was talking about. He says, "Because the people say the problem is government are so wrong. The government is the people. It's where we come together to solve our common problems. It's a messy proves and it's a painful process. But if we can't work out things there, we're in a whole hell of a lot of trouble." He says what's going to end up happening, in fact it's already started, Pai is using the excuse that we're going to modernize the FCC to move much of the FCC's authority to the Federal Trade Commission . Of that, Wheeler says, it's a fraud. The FCC doesn't have rule making authority. They've got enforcement authority. And their authority is whether or not something is unfair or deceptive. They have to worry about everything from computer chips to bleach labeling. Of course the carriers want telecom issues to get lost in that morass. That was the strategy all along. One more action on Sweep it Out Friday. And this one, I'm not going to weigh in one way or another. It seems on the face of it a bad idea. They're revoking permission, the FCC is revoking permission from companies that have been offering Lifeline broadband service. You may remember in the mid-80s the FCC created Lifeline Service for telephones. It's a charge on our bills that pays for inexpensive phone service for poor people. This was expanded last year by the FCC to include broadband, subsidized broadband for people who couldn't afford it. Quite reasonably, I think saying that everyone needs access these days to the internet for education, for information, for participation in government. That was reversed on Friday by Pai who eliminated 9 companies from providing federally subsidized internet to the poor. So the Lifeline Broadband Project is now dead as well. And that seems like a serious problem. Some say, well it was rife with corruption or you know, was misrun, mismanaged. You're going to have to prove that to me but those three things put together all on Friday seems to me the FCC's very much in favor of corporate interests and very much against the interests of the people.
Georgia: Which is really sad because the digital divide is a big issue for families that can't afford it because everything's on the internet. There's now homework that children are going to be doing or projects that need to be done that you can't do without having internet access and it also cuts off access to information which is a really big deal.
Leo: Yea. Well, I'll just have to keep watching and you know, I guess voting, not just with our dollars but with our emails, our letters, our messages and I think you're going to have to pick the topic that you care the most about because there's a lot of them.
Peter: Speaking of zero rating and the EFF, they had I thought back in I guess it was about a year ago. It was February of last year they did a look at zero rating and why they've got a problem with it. And not only are people clearly falling off on that end of the digital divide, you know, people who are under privileged, people who don't live in well-served markets are not able to get high-speed internet communications or in many cases internet communication at all because they don't even have a device that can connect to the internet, let alone the access to do it. But with zero rating you've got consumers increasingly funneled to specific types of content that the service providers like T-Mobile and the other companies that are doing zero rating have deemed to be free. But that, all of a sudden you're disincentive from using services or products that aren't free. I know I've even run into this as a T-Mobile customer. It's like hey wait a minute. Is this music streaming service that I'm using actually something that's supported by my data plan? No? Ok, well I don't know that I necessarily want to listen to this stuff then and waste my bandwidth because I've only got X gigabytes to use every month. So I know from my own experience just anecdotally that I'll police myself if I don't know that the data's going to be free. That's in itself I think a very dangerous precedent. You know, where consumers are incented to value, some types of data over another because you're getting it for free. This does not sit well with me at all.
Leo: It's just difficult to argue because when you say free, consumers go, "Yea, I like free." So it's hard to convince them, well, this is a bad idea. This is putting T-Mobile or Verizon or AT&T in charge of which services win and which services lose. And it really impairs innovation. And I have a dog in this I have to confess because we're an internet consumed product and we're not zero rated by anybody. And so that means you're much more likely to listen to Spotify than you are to TWiT is bad for me. And I don't even care for me because frankly I think it's the next thing that's coming, the next TWiT, whatever the next thing is. That's when it's really going to hurt us. We lose that. Anyway, there you have it. That's the FCC roundup for this week. Let's take a quick break. We'll talk about, oh, I don't know, something happy like ordering Starbucks from your Amazon Echo.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by our internet service provider, fighting the good fight, Sonic.com. You know, we actually have—if you ever want to experience wonderful internet access, unlimited, no cap, no zero rating, everything is the same, absolute net neutrality, a company that fights for your privacy, a company that fights government orders whenever—in every case, you would want to try our internet. Come over to the studio and use our Sonic. We've got—what is it? 10 gigabits symmetric? 10 gigabits up, 10 gigabits down. Now, no machine we have can take care of 10 so all of the machines which have gigabit Ethernet are getting a gig both ways but that's good enough. We should get one machine with a 10 gigabit card just to see what that would be like. It's awesome. Sonic is not available everywhere I'm sorry to say but businesses all over and homes all over California can take advantage of Sonic's amazing internet infrastructure with—I'm going to give you, this is how it could be. I like talking about this because this could be in your neck of the woods if there were true competition. Sonic delivers residential and business fiber to the premise, not to the curb, but into the place, gigabit connectivity in San Francisco, the North Bay Area, the East Bay Area. What do you get? All right. You get of course, you get a gigabit of internet download speeds. You get 15 email accounts. You get a gigabyte of storage. You get personal web hosting with a new domain. You get fax line service. You get a home phone. All of this you get, a home phone with unlimited local and long distance calling. You can even switch you existing number over from your company. And you know how much? $40-dollars a month. $40-dollars a month. And if you want TV they can do that too. They bundle it with Dish and save you $120-bucks a year on your bill. They stand up for your privacy. Just look at the EFF scorecard. Sonic's the best. Sonic.com/twit. Go there right now and find out if you can get Sonic in your neighborhood. You'll get your 1st month of Sonic internet and phone service for free plus bundle it with Dish and save $120-bucks on your Sonic bill. I know most of you who are listening can't get this. I just want you to know it's possible in the United States. This is a profitable, successful company that is doing the right thing by their customers. Sonic.com/twit. And we're so glad that they gave us 10 gigabits. You know what's fun? I like to do this. Go to fast.com. That's the Netflix bandwidth tester. Just to—show my screen. There you go. What are we getting now? Oh, yea, just about 920 megabits per second. That's all. I love it (laughing).
Leo: All right, moving right along. You can now order Starbucks from Alexa.
Georgia: But does she show up with your coffee?
Leo: No, you still have to go to the Starbucks. Actually I mentioned this I think on Wednesday. People were pissed because they said, "Yea, you can order all this stuff from Starbucks. You go and get in line. You say, oh there's no line. But then you're still in line because they're making coffee for all the people who aren't there."
Georgia: Right, so if I still have to get in my car, I don't know if it changes any time because when I go in the drive thru I'm still—I'm waiting in the line with all the other cars in the drive thru. I don't think it would be any different than just waiting.
Leo: Because waiting makes it worse. But it's kind of cool. Amazon, as long as we're talking about them, is now—they don't say how many Prime members they are but, for the first time since 2013 they revealed the growth rate. But according to Jason Del Ray who did a little kind of figuring on Recode.com. He last year did some calculations that came up with 46 million paying Prime members and in Amazon's new earnings release this past week they said they added tens of millions of new Prime members in 2016. So Jason's doing the calculation. He says, "Well, let's see. If it's 20 million on top of 46 million, at least 66 million Prime members." We don't know the real number but that is a lot of money, and billions of dollars just from the Prime subscription fee.
Peter: I'm curious about what their churn rate is for Prime members, like how many people just never renew after they get Prime?
Leo: Do you think anybody doesn't renew? I think everybody—I would never quit Amazon Prime.
Peter: Well you're forced into it because you've got to have a valid credit card on file and you know, everybody forgets and the year comes up and you get dinged with this bill.
Leo: But don't you get a lot of great stuff from it? Isn't it worth it?
Peter: You know, some years yea, and some years no. It really depends on my buying habits. I mean I'm certainly happy to have it.
Leo: It's brilliant marketing because you're basically paying them for the right to buy everything from them from now on.
Peter: Right, exactly. And I mean certainly there's some benefits to it but you know.
Leo: One thing we do know from the 4th quarter earnings report, they added 110,000 employees this year. This is the—here's the graph from Geek Wire comparing Microsoft which is roughly flat, Google, slight increase to Amazon's growth. They now have 341 thousand employees. Wow. Anything to say about that? We just happy for them? A lot of that's got to be warehouse fulfillment staff. I don't think it's programmers.
Peter: Yea, I was going to say that's kind of like Apple's employee figures. How many of those people are working in retail stores?
Leo: Right. Have you been in Elon Musk's tunnel, Robert? Whoa, whoa (laughing).
Georgia: That's personal. That's personal. He can't talk about that.
Leo: He's muted, hold on. I don't hear a word he's saying. Is he up? Oh you must have muted him.
Robert: Sorry, I muted.
Robert: I had the first ride in the first Tesla before Elon—
Leo: I know.
Robert: But no, I haven't been in his tunnel. I did visit Hyperloop in Dubai where they're going to build one of these Hyperloops so there's now 2 separate Hyperloop companies if I remember right.
Leo: There's actually several because you know, Elon just talked about it. He didn't say he was going to do it. And so there's been a lot of venture capital raised on the building and there's been various tests and so forth. The tunnel Elon's going to do. In fact they started digging a test tunnel this week. So this all came because Elon tweeted, "Ah, this traffic is killing me." He drives back and forth from Space X to his office at Tesla in Los Angeles. So over the weekend, workers built a test trench, 30 feet wide, 50 feet long and 15 feet deep on the grounds of Space X. Musk said, "We're just going to figure out what it takes to improve tunneling speed by oh, somewhere between 500 and 1,000%. We have no idea what we're doing." He wants to dig a tunnel between the two corporate headquarters. I don't know if he'd be the only guy who gets to drive in it. I think it would be a great benefit for Tesla owners and frankly you don't want gas vehicles in a tunnel. You would want electric vehicles in a tunnel, right? So you don't have to worry about emissions. I just like that story. I guess it's no weirder than Apple having augmented reality glasses and a clear phone this year.
Georgia: It's a bigger deal, though, right? It's a really big undertaking to try to bore—like the idea of the boring company, to be able to bore through great amounts of land. It's not like you see it on video games. There's many different things underneath the ground. There's water systems and well systems and different types of earth. And so no to mention the amount of infrastructure that we already have built underground and so I think that the time and effort is a lot more than just being able to bore through a lot of earth quickly. But you know, going through the amount of, how damaging it can be if you take a small creek that's underground and you take the water out of that creek then there might not be support for an area that could be miles away from that area. So it's a huge undertaking. I'm happy that he's trying it out. I just don't know if it's going to be as easy to do as he believes it is.
Leo: Do you think that the reason he can do all this crazy stuff is because he doesn't believe it's real life and we're all just in a video game and that's given him absolute permission to be nuts?
Georgia: I think that he actually really is, wants to try something different and see why not. I think that often we stop ourselves because we think of all the reasons we shouldn't do something so we don't. And I think that he's more of a visionary and says, let's—he believes in his own words and thoughts and says let's see if this can be reality or not. And I like the idea that he tries that. I think we need more people to be able to make a stand by something. And if it doesn't work out, that's fine. That's ok. You learn another way not to bore through earth.
Peter: I think that Elon Musk, ever since the Mark VI prototype of the Iron Man series was upgraded to the C60R generator, he's been really worried about it too much because the repulser blasts from his suit will blast right through solid rock. It's not going to be that big a deal. And he's always got the targets, or the rockets for targeting.
Leo: There you go.
Peter: You know, Jarvis' control of weapons firing is pretty advanced.
Leo: Really good.
Georgia: That's true. And worse comes to worse, he can always head towards Mars, so.
Leo: I think there is—I think though you said something, Georgia, that's kind of interesting. I think Elon shares an attribute that Steve Jobs had of not having any—most of us have barriers to just kind of true creativity and just like expansive, generative thinking. Steve Jobs, and this is a Steve Jobs from that interview that was unearthed, his vision of the world. And I'll never forget this quote because I think it's why Steve can be as great as he is.
Steve Jobs: When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just a little life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact and that is everything around you that you call life was made up people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own things that other people can use.
Leo: Everything around you.
Steve: Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.
Leo: It was invented by somebody, and of course, Steve's being polite, no smarter than you. What Steve's really thinking, is people who are dumber than me. Because Steve always thought he was the smartest guy in the room. I think that gave him permission to just—let's rejigger the world.
Georgia: Right. Right.
Georgia: Yea, well think that kind of strong amount of narcissism that he had kind of helped the fact that he was an only child that really wasn't given a lot of notes, also helped him to be able to say, "I don't have to listen to you because I'm probably right and you're not." I think that Elon Musk is a very different personality type. He's much more caring and actually much more sensitive to that. But he also has a strong vision of can we do it better and if we could do it better, how would we do it? Let's try it out. And luckily now he has the backing to be able to do actually do that. When he started out, he didn't. So it's a really interesting personality type to that and I think that in our world now we really do, it would behoove us to kind of let go a little bit of our critical voice of saying why I shouldn't and say why don't I try.
Peter: You know, I'm reminded of a quote from George Bernard Shaw that seems somehow relevant. He once said that the reasonable man adapts himself to the world and the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress is dependent on the unreasonable man. You know, the expectation that we're just going to conform and sort of vibe within society's restrictions I think is an imagination killer. And that's what he's talking about for sure.
Leo: I remember when Bill Moyers was doing the, interviewing Joseph Campbell, one of the quote from that, Joseph Campbell said—
Peter: The power of myth stuff?
Leo: Yea, the power of myth stuff. Joseph Campbell said, "You've got to remember, if you don't like the culture that you're in, go make one of your own. Go make a new one. You can make a new one." So in every, in all of those respects, Musk, Jobs, George Bernard Shaw, Joseph Campbell, the common thread, they're all, you're right, were damaged in different ways. But the common thread is you can change your world. You're not stuck with what you've got. That's powerful, powerful stuff. A little narcissism is not a bad thing.
Georgia: It isn't and then having different things that damage you is not a bad thing. Most people that are really strongly driven, they're driven because they have something to prove because they needed to prove that. And so I think that you know, we need to stop being so complacent and get off of our tokuses and actually go and do some good in the world.
Leo: I like it.
Peter: Well I mean a lot of behaviors and a lot of pathologies, narcissism exists on a spectrum, right?
Leo: Right. We're learning that these days. I mean I'm the last guy to say anything about narcissism. I'm on camera 20 hours a week, thinking somebody wants to hear what I want to say.
Georgia: But a whole bunch of people want to hear what you have to say, so you're proven right at the same time.
Leo: You see (laughing)? I am the—I really do envy those people who can create without blocks. We all have kind of blocks. Oh, you can't do that or whatever in our head, you can't—you know. And people like Jobs and people like Elon Musk seem not to have blocks. They just—
Peter: Isn't that the whole thing about micro-dosing on LSD now? People are micro-dosing on LSD to help remove those blocks?
Leo: Does that work?
Georgia: It does.
Leo: I need to talk to the guy in the tie-die shirt here (laughing).
Robert: I'm not going to touch that comment. Because in my world, micro-dosing means a whole other thing because there's a game called Microdose where you spray psychedelic things in the air while you're listening to music and you see a lot of that.
Georgia: Versus LCD which the actual thing which we believe that forms connections in parts of our brains that are not usually connected. And I think that there are a lot of different medications that could actually do a lot of good.
Leo: Steve always said that he's very glad he took acid, LSD, and a lot of people in the industry should have taken more. He felt bad for people who hadn't. And I'm the same generation as Jobs and in our generation it was not uncommon to take psychedelics, whether it was LSD or psilocybin or mescaline. And I think that our generation was an interesting generation. I mean the tech world was created by people of that ilk.
Peter: Dirty hippies.
Leo: Dirty hippies, that's me. Proud to say it. What is micro-dosing, Robert?
Robert: It's using, instead of using a full tab of LSD, you use a fraction of that which gives you--
Leo: Do you trip?
Robert: You get less of the tripping and it gives you some of the benefits of making new neural pathways that you get with psychedelics.
Leo: I don't think I'm going to mess with that. My neuro pathways are pretty well set by now. It was leaked. We've been talking about Windows 10 creators update but also the new Windows 10 Cloud. Somebody saw a SKU in some of the Microsoft code and now an actual ISO has been leaked. And actually this is an interesting story for Robert. The VR-heavy Windows 10 Creators Update. But also this new cloud version of Windows designed to compete against Chromebooks looks to be a reality. This ISO, you can install it. It leaked out. It's not a release by Microsoft. It does require that you purchase all your apps from the Windows Store. And it's expected to be shipping on less expensive computers, laptops mostly for education. Yea, there it is. It's Windows 10 minus the wide open app ecosystem. You have to buy everything from the Store. And then I guess this goes with HoloLens a little bit but the next version of Windows which comes out in the next couple of months, this spring, is going to have a considerable amount of VR in it. They call it the holographic interface. Have you been playing with that a little bit, Robert?
Robert: Not much. I've been spending more time in the Vive and the Oculus because that's where the bleeding edge is.
Leo: Let's talk about Oculus because Oculus just got a blow in their court case against ZeniMax. Oculus, the court decided, will have to pay half a billion dollars to ZeniMax. ZeniMax owns ID software. That's of course the company that created Doom and Quake and John Carmack who was one of the programmers there, left, so the story goes. He saw an early demo of Oculus, got so excited about it he left ID and went to Oculus and he's been accused of bringing with him trade secrets, reusing code, destroying evidence. The problem is of course this is a jury trial in Dallas and I don't know how well the jury understood what it was seeing. But in any event they eventually found Oculus liable for some instances of copyright infringement and NDA violation. But the rejected the larger claim that Oculus had stolen trade secrets. Nevertheless, $500-million dollars civil verdict which will of course be appealed. Is this damaging to Oculus, to its reputation or—I know it's owned by Facebook. They could probably afford the fine.
Robert: You know, I've met people on both sides when I worked at Microsoft, who lost suits and stuff. I think this comes out in the wash at the end of the day. But it shows that Carmack doesn't understand the lie. He very clearly admitted taking stuff out of the company. And that's not legal. You know, and it's the first thing you do. I mean I've left Microsoft and NEC and Fast Company and Rack Space and at each one they have you sign a contract that you're not allowed to take anything from your workplace. And he admitted it on the stand so that's why he got wacked.
Robert: I can't say not to tell the truth, but you know, when you break the law you're going to get, you're going to see consequences when there are so many billions of dollars involved.
Leo: Take a break and we'll get to a few final thoughts so we can all go watch some football game I guess that's going on. Our show today brought to you by my sheets. We have—it's funny. We have advertisers for my mattress and my sheets. I know, that's odd, isn't it? But I love these sheets. These are from Boll & Branch. They are beautiful, 100% organic cotton sheets that they start off super soft. They get softer over time. Boll & Branch is a great company. They use only sustainable, responsible methods of sourcing and manufacturing. And because you're buying it directly from them you're eliminating the department store markup which is massive. Great sheets like these, $1,000-dollars in the department store. Only a couple of hundred bucks when you buy directly from Boll & Branch. And they donate a portion of every sale to help fight human trafficking. They're very conscientious. I really like it. Thousands of 5-star reviews. They've been written about in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, Fast Company, even 3 US presidents sleep on Boll & Branch sheets. You can try them right now risk free for 30-nights. If you don't love them, send them back for a full refund but you're not going to want to send them back. In fact, I should warn you. You're probably going to just end up buying more. By the way, the packaging—I don't know if we have a picture on the website. They come in these beautiful boxes with satin ribbons. If you are giving these as wedding gifts, you wouldn't have to wrap them. When I got mine I thought, "What is this?" Then I opened it up and went, "Oh, it's the sheets." They're so nice. They're so comfortable. You deserve great sheets and now you don't have to be a millionaire to buy them. In fact, we're going to save you an additional $50-bucks off your first set of sheets if you go to B-O-L-L, boll like cotton boll, Boll & Branch, B-R-A-N-C-H, today. Use the promo code TWIT and you'll save $50-dollars off your first set of sheets. Won't be your last, I promise you. Love our Boll & Branch sheets. Boollandbranch.com. And we thank them so much for their support of This Week in Tech and giving me a good night's sleep every night. I love going to bed again, and feeling those sheets. They're so soft. So nice.
Leo: Snap has announced, or I guess they filed and now we're seeing leaked stories, for their IPO. And the speculation is they'll try to raise as much as $3-billion dollars. Some interesting stuff though if you read the filing. Snap paid out $58-million dollars to media companies last year. They have a multi-year contract with Google for storage for cloud services, $400-million dollars a year for 5 years minimum. That's a $2-billion dollar commitment to use Google Cloud. We did know that Snap's user base, Snapchat's user base was not growing as fast last quarter, Instagram taking a dent. But they did add 50 million new users last year, but only 5 million in the 4th quarter. We also found out that one of the founders of Snap who was kind of forced out a few years ago and sued, got $158-million dollar payout. Now, he's not going to be in the money when Snap goes public and it's likely that the two Snap founders will become instant billionaires with this IPO. So I love reading these—I don't read them, but I love reading about people who have read these filings because it's really interesting it see what Snapchat's up to. Robert, are they you think, is this—if you invest in Snap in their IPO are you buying into this augmented reality future?
Leo: They're going to be players in this. Is that why they're such high-flyers? Because right now it's just an app.
Robert: I think it's a high-flyer because they have so many of the younger people, people under 25 on the service and those people monetize at a higher rate than others. And they're more influential on culture. And this—
Leo: Oh, sorry.
Robert: It's seen as how Facebook started out, right, which is true. They started out with college kids and moved up throughout society and the hope is Snap does the same thing.
Leo: They certainly know how to monetize with the filters, with Discover. Do people pay Snapchat to be on that Discover page, like brands?
Robert: There's revenue sharing going on.
Leo: Oh, there's ads and then they—ok, yea, yea. They share the ad revenue.
Robert: I broke my Snap Spectacles now.
Georgia: Oh, no.
Leo: How'd that happen?
Robert: I stepped on them.
Leo: I still have mine. I bought mine on eBay. I actually went to eBay and paid a premium to get those.
Robert: Well, my son got these for me in New York. It's fixable with super glue but I just haven't fixed it and I sort of like being able to look inside.
Georgia: You should probably use 2-part epoxy instead of super glue.
Leo: Ok, there you go. You heard it here first.
Robert: So not only do you know how to kick box, but you know how to fix too.
Leo: She's amazing.
Georgia: I break stuff all the time.
Leo: She's amazing.
Georgia: I just break everything. That's how I know how to glue stuff back together.
Leo: Have I hit every topic? Oh, I've been playing a little bit with Dropbox's Paper. I think that's pretty intriguing. Dropbox coming out of beta with basically a Google Docs competitor. It's pretty nice. It looks a lot better than Google Docs. It's very pretty, lots of templates and if you're a Dropbox customer you probably should try it out. It's cloud based documents. I can't remember if this is an acquisition or something they developed inside of Dropbox. I feel like it might be something the acquired.
Peter: I am so excited, by the way, Leo, to have yet another cloud based document storage.
Leo: Who cares?
Georgia: I care. I actually care. I'm a therapist. I have to make sure that if I have these documents that there's a certain amount of safety and when I—because I send out a lot of documents.
Leo: And you couldn't use this for instance for notes because we know Dropbox employees can read them if they had it in their mind.
Georgia: Exactly, so I need to know if there was two-part encryption and there was something but right now there's a huge grey area for anyone in the medical field and how are you going to be able to send medical files to doctors instead of having it through a fax machine, which again, everything has its own faults.
Leo: I think we can wrap this up. I think we've covered every possible angle. Anything else, Robert? Anything else I should be looking for in the future?
Robert: We could have a whole show on self-driving cars or drones that fly around—
Leo: Oh, we could.
Georgia: Drones. I love drones.
Leo: I love Robert. I want to live in Robert's future.
Leo: I don't think it will be my future somehow. I think I'm going to—
Georgia: (Laughing) It's going to skip you?
Leo: It's going to skip me.
Robert: You'll have to go through a lot of airports if you want to keep up with me because I'm going to Seattle this week to meet with a bunch of VR companies up there. Then I go to Los Angeles for a conference about streaming. Then I go to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. Then I go to Ireland to speak at a gig. And then I go to South by Southwest. So I'm not going to be home very much.
Leo: Where's the best place to follow you?
Robert: That's where I put everything.
Leo: Scobalizer.com is of course his website. And his new book with Shel Israel, The Forth Transformation, is available now on Amazon, How Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Changed Everything. Nice to have you. Thanks for stopping by, Robert. I appreciate it.
Leo: Peter Cohen is editorial director at Back Blaze, backblaze.com. Is that the best place to go to read your stuff, and of course iMore and other places too, right?
Peter: Yea, you can find me on Twitter @flargh, F-L-A-R-G-H. I probably spend more time on Twitter than I have any reasonable reason to. And also my own website at peter-cohen.com.
Leo: Peter-cohen.com. Thank you for being here, Peter. I appreciate it.
Peter: Thank you as always, Leo. It was great to see you guys.
Leo: Yea. Georgia Dow is a psychotherapist as well as a great writer at iMore.com. And I want to point you toward anxiety-videos.com where they have a lot of great videos in all sorts of wonderful areas including how to sleep better, anxiety, parenting, breathing, and this can't be right, $5-dollars per video? That's a great deal.
Georgia: There's some little short clips if you want to just learn how to do passive relaxation or if you're dealing with like boundaries and consequences and you're not dealing with them well and you just want a little quip to that, then you can just get a little, tiny snippet of it. And if you are dealing with a larger issue, you can get a full video.
Leo: Georgia does those with her partner Sandra Reich, Clinical Director at the Montreal Center for Anxiety and Depression. It's great to have you, Georgia! Thank you for being here.
Georgia: Thank you so much.
Leo: Thank you all for joining us. We do TWiT, normally—we did it a little early to get out in time for the Super Bowl or at least the 2nd half. I want to see those commercials. But normally we do it at 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern time, 2300 UTC. If you want to stop by and join us you can also visit us in the studio. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll gladly put a seat out for you. And if you can't watch live, and by the way, we are now on YouTube Live at youtube.com/twit. You can see the live stream there and then download or watch any of the other shows there. You can also subscribe at our website, twit.tv or wherever you get your podcasts. Don't forget, we're still running that survey. Just a couple of minutes, get to know a little bit more about you. Help us sell advertising. Help us tune our content towards your interests. That's online at twit.tv/survey. We do not keep track of your email address. No salesmen will call. We're just trying to get a better idea of who you all are. TWIiT.tv/survey. Thanks, everybody. Have a great week! We'll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-bye.