222: As Thin as Humans Will Tolerate18 May 2017
The reports of MP3’s death are greatly exaggerated.
- Follow up: Revisiting the quiz from last episode
- MP3 is dead; long live MP3
- iPad Mini is dead?
- MacBooks and MacBook Pros are alive?
- Ending theme by Jonathan Mann
- Fracture: Photos printed in vivid color directly on glass.
- Audible: With Audible, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Get a free 30-day trial.
- Betterment: Investing made better.
- The sole Follow-Up
- Sponsor: Betterment
- MP3 isn’t dead
- Sponsor: Fracture
- iPad Mini is dead
- Sponsor: Audible
- WWDC laptop rumors
- Ending theme
The sole Follow-Up
⏹️ ▶️ Marco We should start tonight with all the exciting announcements from Google I.O.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So tonight tonight is a It’s an interesting and peculiar night. I’m looking at the follow-up section
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of our show notes and there’s only one entry So listeners look at you look at the time
⏹️ ▶️ Casey stamp on your podcast player of choice right now And we’ll see how long this one follow-up entry lasts
⏹️ ▶️ Casey cuz in theory it should be quick Calamity Jan was the first of
⏹️ ▶️ Casey many to write in and point out the error in our ways in the last episode. When Syracuse
⏹️ ▶️ Casey had us do that quiz, I don’t remember if John pitched it to us improperly, if we interpreted
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it wrong after John pitched it to us. But one way or another, we as a collective unit screwed it up. And
⏹️ ▶️ Casey the way the quiz was actually written is that
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it was not if we – it’s not if companies could disappear, it was
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that if we couldn’t use them anymore. So we couldn’t use Google,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey but the rest of the planet is still YouTube and like it’s their job. And we
⏹️ ▶️ Casey totally screwed that up and several people written to us. And I don’t know that we necessarily need to redo
⏹️ ▶️ Casey the quiz all over again. But it certainly would make me think long and hard
⏹️ ▶️ Casey about my answers. That’s for sure.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, I think what we did was an interesting question, but it was not what I was asking and by the way that since having just recently listened
⏹️ ▶️ John to the episode what happened was that We all correctly read what the quiz was about but then immediately forgot about
⏹️ ▶️ John it and did something different
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Wait you listen to the show. Yeah, I was listening to the show so you can hear my edits
⏹️ ▶️ John It’s not a secretly published show other people can get it’s like it’s there anyone could download it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco now this might change some things
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco How is this news to you? How is this news? I know
⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey I listen to all of
⏹️ ▶️ John the podcasts that I’m on.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey In any case, so how would I change things? Although I don’t feel like I’m reliant
⏹️ ▶️ Casey on YouTube, I think I did not appropriately weigh access to YouTube.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So I think Google may have risen a little bit.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I don’t think I would change my opinion of like Instagram, although man, do I love Instagram. I was thinking about that earlier today. Instagram
⏹️ ▶️ Casey always makes me happy. You know, what sometimes makes me happy? Twitter. You know what I’m totally addicted to? Twitter. But you know what
⏹️ ▶️ Casey always makes me happy? Instagram. Anyway, I don’t know. I don’t think
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I would change Microsoft. Oh, that’s the other thing, like AWS just disappearing. That would be tough
⏹️ ▶️ Casey because half the darn internet runs on AWS, so that would be very tough. But in broad
⏹️ ▶️ Casey strokes, I don’t think my answers would be too different.
⏹️ ▶️ John the difference is that it means our whole discussion of like, oh, well, if we got rid of that, something else would come along to replace
⏹️ ▶️ John it. That’s not true if the service remains and we are just choosing not to
⏹️ ▶️ John use it. So if we just choose not to use Instagram, don’t hold your breath for you know an Instagram replacement to
⏹️ ▶️ John come along. Same thing, we just don’t use YouTube. It’s not like a YouTube competitor is suddenly gonna spring up because we’re not using it right?
⏹️ ▶️ John So that makes it, I think that that changes my opinion a little bit
⏹️ ▶️ John about sort of my faith that if I get rid of Facebook an Instagram replacement will come along. I still think I
⏹️ ▶️ John would ditch Facebook first But I would feel worse about it because I do use Instagram and knowing that I couldn’t
⏹️ ▶️ John use it and that there’s not gonna be an alternative Would make that decision harder
⏹️ ▶️ John and Amazon Kind of similar if I don’t use Amazon, but everyone else still gets to use
⏹️ ▶️ John it and you’re waiting for something to come and replace Amazon it’s not gonna come along anytime soon Yeah, I think my rankings
⏹️ ▶️ John are probably stay the same, but I think I’d feel worse about all of them
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Wow, we did. Well, that was like five minutes. I don’t even know what to do it. This is a weird
⏹️ ▶️ Casey night I don’t know if I can even handle the rest of the show. So I guess, how does this work? Do we just immediately
⏹️ ▶️ Casey move on to topics? Is that what happens? I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m so confused. It just, it feels wrong somehow.
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m just thinking about it like when we have, you know when we have the follow-up list shows? Yeah. WWDC
⏹️ ▶️ John ones always have no follow-up. Our one interview show had no follow-up. When that happens, we seem to handle it. So I feel like
⏹️ ▶️ John we’re prepared for this. All right, so let’s move on.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco We are sponsored this week by Betterment. Investing made better. Go to betterment.com slash
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MP3 isn’t dead
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Betterment, investing made better.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey MARK ABRAMS Marco dropped some knowledge on the internet this week and talked about how MP3
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is or isn’t dead. And I don’t know, I can summarize this if you’d like, Marco, or
⏹️ ▶️ Casey since you’re here, maybe it would be better if you just kind of talk us through this. MARCO
⏹️ ▶️ Marco TURBO Yeah, so basically the Fraunhofer Institute for something for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco science, I think. It’s a big- MARK ABRAMS I love their chocolate chip cookies. Yes, it’s a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco big German research, I don’t know, organization. I don’t honestly know that much
⏹️ ▶️ Marco about it. But they invent a lot of technological compression
⏹️ ▶️ Marco formats and signal processing things and everything and they patent them. And one of the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco things they invented was, I think most or all, of the MP3 format,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of MP3 audio compression. The MP3 patents have all expired.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The last one expired in mid-April, so a few weeks ago.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Until then, they were running an MP3 licensing program where if you made any kind of MP3
⏹️ ▶️ Marco hardware or software, you had to pay them for a license to the patents. And they also would sell you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco reference implementations of MP3 encoder and decoder if you wanted them for an additional
⏹️ ▶️ Marco fee. Basically what happened was when the patent expired about a week later in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco late April, Ron Hofer published an update announcement to their
⏹️ ▶️ Marco site basically saying, we are terminating the license program
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for mp3, we will no longer license mp3 technology, pretty much everyone has moved on
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to AAC and all of you should too. And this was picked up by a lot of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco low-value news sites around the tech sphere as an announcement by
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the mp3 creator that the mp3 is dead and that we We should all just it’s time to move on.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It’s time to move on to a AC. The reality of course is all that patent stuff and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this actually means you know they had to terminate the license program because there were no more
⏹️ ▶️ Marco patents left to license and I’m guessing they decided at that point well why even bother licensing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco our encoder software since it doesn’t have that many users and if we’re not going to make any
⏹️ ▶️ Marco more money from the patent that’s where the big money is. So why even bother administering this program at all that that’s that’s my guess
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of their logic here.
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m kind of surprised they didn’t continue the program anyway just as a bluff because there’s so many people who will just
⏹️ ▶️ John like sign up for it anyway because like they’ll just have heard that’s the thing you have to do
⏹️ ▶️ John and it’ll be years before word of mouth gets around among people who are not clued in that you don’t you don’t have to license anything you can
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah so anyway the real story here is that mp3 is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco now patent free it was patent free in Europe I think since 2012 Wikipedia
⏹️ ▶️ Marco has a whole list of all the things and when they expired and everything. And it is now patent-free in the US.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And to the best of my knowledge, it is effectively patent-free or totally patent-free
⏹️ ▶️ Marco worldwide now. And so this means that, you know, there have been a couple of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco little irritating things that we’ve had to do over the years to work around MP3 being patented.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco We as computing users or as software developers. So for example,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco open source OSes and projects like browsers like Firefox, open
⏹️ ▶️ Marco source things would almost never support MP3 or would require you to do
⏹️ ▶️ Marco some kind of weird jumping through hoops like, all right, go download the lame MP3 encoder, which
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is an open source encoder. Go download that and get the compiled binary
⏹️ ▶️ Marco library for it and place it in this directory. We won’t distribute the MP3 code because that would be breaking
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this patent but if you have this encoder on your own you can put it in this location
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and we will support mp3s in our software and that was done by things like the audacity
⏹️ ▶️ Marco free open source audio editor I think I want does handbrake ever do that it might have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I forget but basically like you know open source tools that would support mp3 in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco some way would have to usually do things like that there was also a debate back when the HTML 5 audio
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and video tags started coming out and there was a debate about codec support
⏹️ ▶️ Marco about what audio and video formats would the browsers all support and there was a big debate when Firefox
⏹️ ▶️ Marco announced that they would only support free open-source things which at the time was only aug vorbis
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for audio and aug theora for video I think I don’t think there’s any other ones and the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco problem with the with the you know vorbis and the aura formats is that they’re just
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not very widely supported. But Firefox, being an open source project, said, well, that’s,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, we can’t support the patented ones because of open source and we don’t believe in it and everything else. There’s lots
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of practical reasons why patented stuff is a problem in open source projects. So basically
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it was this big problem that we always had to keep jumping around like, well, if we want this to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco play we have to, you know, encode this file in two different formats, you use
⏹️ ▶️ Marco MP3 for everybody else, or use AAC maybe. And then also use Ogg
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or Webm or whatever else for the open source,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco open standards-friendly holdouts. It was just a big annoyance, a big tax on
⏹️ ▶️ Marco everything. It just made everything more complicated and suck, because that’s what patents do.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And so this is great because for the first time ever, we now
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have an audio format that is supported everywhere by everything.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, MP3s… I wrote in my post that it’s the most widely
⏹️ ▶️ Marco supported audio format of all time, and I really do think that’s true. One reader, and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I figured this would come up, emailed me, Hi Chris Pepper, to say, what about WAV slash
⏹️ ▶️ Marco AIF? I thought of that when I wrote that sentence. I think WAV is actually
⏹️ ▶️ Marco less widely supported than MP3. If you look at all the hardware and software that’s out there
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all the little like little audio players car audio players like home stereo
⏹️ ▶️ Marco deck things like so many things can play mp3 files
⏹️ ▶️ Marco off of either a memory card or a USB stick or a CD you know full of files
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that I bet there’s a good number of those things that will ignore a dotwave file
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but will play an mp3 file. I think you mean wav right? Oh my god.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey I was gonna say the same thing. You beat me to it. Nice.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Anyway, so I really do think MP3 is the most widely supported audio format of all time
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and it’s now patent-free. Now the story from a lot of the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco stories that talked about this said we should all move to AAC because it’s better, it’s more efficient,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and MP3 is lower quality and everything else. And that is technically true. AAC
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is better. There are a couple of flaws in MP3 that very very well-trained
⏹️ ▶️ Marco people are able to reliably hear. Allegedly. I don’t know I’ve never met one but they claim
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to exist and I for the purpose of this discussion I believe that they exist. This is all true but most
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of the benefits of AAC are at very low bit rates. Things like below like 64k or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco below 48k where you’re trying to get acceptable quality at an extremely low
⏹️ ▶️ Marco bitrate. It’s not going to sound great but you want it to sound okay at like 32k
⏹️ ▶️ Marco UK or something like that. This is not what people are using for music and it’s not even what people are using
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for podcasts anymore because the standards for podcasts have gone up. People now expect podcasts
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to sound effectively perfect or at least very professional and so you know nobody wants super
⏹️ ▶️ Marco highly compressed voice stuff in distribution of podcasts or music. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the advantages of AAC while they exist and there are newer formats as well things like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the the Vorbis Opus format sorry the Opus format is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the new it’s basically the new hotness from the people who made Og Vorbis and they’re super smart over there
⏹️ ▶️ Marco anyway so there are newer formats like that that improve low bitrate
⏹️ ▶️ Marco quality but once you get to about 128k or higher the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco differences between these formats are really small and none of them can really represent
⏹️ ▶️ Marco music like transparently well enough for most people at bit rates
⏹️ ▶️ Marco below that. So it’s not like you’re gonna have your music collection which is currently probably you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco know 256k on average. You’re not gonna have that suddenly be encoded into like a you know a 128k AAC
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and think that’s okay or a 64k Opus
⏹️ ▶️ Marco file like that’s it’s gonna sound worse and it’s gonna be amazing for the size but it’s still
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not gonna be as good. So basically there’s not a lot of reason to dump mp3 as a format.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Now that being said, if you’re acquiring new music, if you’re buying from iTunes, if
⏹️ ▶️ Marco anybody still does this anymore, buying from iTunes or anything else, sure, buy AAC because it is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco better in that context. But basically if you already have mp3s, there’s no reason to put any effort into
⏹️ ▶️ Marco replacing them or upgrading them to AAC or anything else. And if you are choosing a format
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to distribute files in like what podcasters have to do or just to encode your
⏹️ ▶️ Marco music in, you know, it’s not that different basically is what I’m saying. And AAC
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is still patented. I honestly should have but didn’t look up for how much longer AAC
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is still patented. I think it’s a while because MP3 is really old and AAC
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is only kind of old. So I think it’s it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s another 10 years. there might
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have been that big of a space between them. Basically, AAC is good and in some ways it is better,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but it is still patented and it’s not better enough for that to be a big issue for most
⏹️ ▶️ Marco people who are considering using MP3. And MP3 is still more
⏹️ ▶️ Marco widely supported. You know, AAC, it’s kind of like the year of desktop Linux. AAC is always about to be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco supported everywhere. It’s always like on the horizon. Next year or in the next few years
⏹️ ▶️ Marco everything will support a AC and that just never comes and we are really close lots of stuff
⏹️ ▶️ Marco does support a AC but when you go into them with the more educated like I was saying earlier things like car stereos
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and stuff like that the support for AC is much more spotty and everything supports mp3 so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco when you’re distributing files like you like podcasters for instance
⏹️ ▶️ Marco mp3 is still the safest choice and actually ran some numbers to see if I was just nuts and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I probably am nuts but maybe not for this reason. In Overcast’s entire database,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this is every feed I know about, every feed anybody has ever searched for, every feed anybody
⏹️ ▶️ Marco has ever added. I crawl all of these feeds. I have a database that has 50 million
⏹️ ▶️ Marco episodes in it from over half a million podcasts. The entire
⏹️ ▶️ Marco database was, I think I said 92% of them, reported themselves as mp3s. 99% of the top 500 were mp3.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So basically all podcasts use it. There are some holdouts that use AAC, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco very, very few. The vast majority use mp3 for this reason, basically,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that if you’re going to distribute a file, you’re only going to make one file for most of these contexts.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So you might as well distribute the one that can play on by far the most devices, and that’s mp3.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So basically, going back to the original point, MP3 was declared dead,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but it’s very much not dead in a lot of areas, and in fact, I would now say that if
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you’re debating which audio format to use for almost anything,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco MP3 should be very high on your list, and it’s probably the right choice, because it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is pretty efficient, you know, not as efficient at the low bitrates as the newer ones, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco close relative to like a wave file, supported by everything.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And now totally patent free to encode and decode and distribute. You can do
⏹️ ▶️ Marco anything with mp3. Now it’s totally patent free. There’s lots of great software that supports it. There’s lots of great tooling
⏹️ ▶️ Marco around creating and editing mp3s. So basically, I don’t see it as
⏹️ ▶️ Marco an argument of like, you got to justify using this old format. I see it as an argument
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of these new formats formats have to justify to me why I should give up
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the freedom that mp3 now has and the widespread support that it has.
⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t understand how this like mp3 is dead thing even got started. Was it just one really dumb
⏹️ ▶️ John website that people picked up on because it was so easy to show how dumb they were? Or did
⏹️ ▶️ John multiple people report it? Like I don’t, it’s so nonsensical. Like the obvious story
⏹️ ▶️ John is mp3 is finally free. And you know, that it’s like, it’s like mp3 is birth. It’s not
⏹️ ▶️ John his death, it’s its birth. Like, finally, you can use it without having to worry about any of the crap. We wanted it
⏹️ ▶️ John for a long time, it’s been annoying us for a while, and now it’s open to everybody. Like, that’s the obvious story
⏹️ ▶️ John to make out of this, regardless of what someone’s press release does. But the fact that it got picked up so much and passed
⏹️ ▶️ John around with a dead thing, even if it was just a bunch of articles refuting the fact that it was dead is, I don’t know,
⏹️ ▶️ John disappointing. Or like some amazing PR triumph by somebody who’s like,
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco see if I can convince the world
⏹️ ▶️ John that when When MP3 is finally free for everybody, we’ll call it dead.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I think it’s just a really tempting tech headline to proclaim things dead
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that either are or were once popular. This is dead, or this is the X
⏹️ ▶️ Marco killer. And in tech, that doesn’t usually happen. Very few things in tech ever really get
⏹️ ▶️ Marco killed or die. Usually they just kind of fade more into obscurity,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or they lose the dominant market share they once had, but they still continue to be used,
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, the things that do die don’t get stories declaring their death. They just get fewer and fewer stories
⏹️ ▶️ John progressively. And then they get a retrospective. Like, I mean, just think of RIM as RIM slowly died.
⏹️ ▶️ John I think I said on an old Hypercritical episode when I was going through things, it was like WebOS
⏹️ ▶️ John dead. RIM dead soon. Right? But no
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco one even cares
⏹️ ▶️ John enough to complain about that. And the way it dies is you just see fewer and fewer stories about it. And
⏹️ ▶️ John then you wait three years and someone posts a story about, hey, I didn’t remember a rim like it becomes
⏹️ ▶️ John it becomes a nostalgia story, but it’s not worth talking about
⏹️ ▶️ John while it is actually dying. That’s what death means. No one wants to talk about you anymore.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, and like, and there are lots of places where mp3 either was never used or is no
⏹️ ▶️ Marco longer used and these new codecs are used like, for example, if you’re making a streaming service,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and you want to offer moderate quality at a cellular friendly bit rate,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and you want to save money on your bandwidth costs. It makes total sense for you to send a 128k AAC
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or something even better like Opus because you’re going to get more quality out of those
⏹️ ▶️ Marco bits than mp3 and you’re not going to have to worry about support because it’s only going
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to your app. So it’s like from your servers to your app you can do whatever you want. If there’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco going to be patent issues you’re probably going to have to pay a license fee for that. I haven’t verified this, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I heard Spotify actually uses Vorbis so that they don’t have to pay the patent licensing fees to anybody,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco which is interesting if true. But again, it doesn’t like the fact that that very little hardware and software
⏹️ ▶️ Marco supports of Orbis out there for Spotify, they don’t care. All they need all they need to support it is their app, which they control,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and their servers which they also control. So for them, you know, it’s it’s it’s a no-brainer.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So anyway, this is great news that we finally have, you know, this this awesome
⏹️ ▶️ Marco everything everywhere format that is patent-free and so many little barriers
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in technology now no longer need to be there. And I don’t expect this to like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco revolutionize the world or anything. I mean, heck, there aren’t that many people encoding their own audio files anymore
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to begin with, with the exception of content producers. And most of them are not doing it directly anyway.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They’re doing it through like software or services that supports multiple things and everything else. But
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for the people who do still work on audio files and who do still distribute files
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to be played like every podcaster. This is a big deal and it’s not it’s not going to be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco noticed by a lot of people but it does greatly improve things in a lot of ways
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that it might take a few years for them to you know to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to be deployed maybe like as software slowly drops restrictions on mp3 you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco know maybe Apple builds in mp3 encoding support to the to the core audio API’s which if they’ve never
⏹️ ▶️ Marco had it they’ve only ever had a AC encoding because Apple pays license to use the AAC patents
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but they never they never wanted to also pay one for mp3 except in their Pro Tools which they sell separately
⏹️ ▶️ Marco anyway so like you know just things like that like now maybe you’ll be able to encode a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or mp3s from all the system apps in the next Mac OS you know and maybe
⏹️ ▶️ Marco an iOS might get that support to now now lots of people myself included can ship apps that make
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or use mp3s in some way without worrying about about getting hit by massive patent fees,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and our lawsuits are worse.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So two quick pieces of real-time follow-up. First of all, in the arena in the chat gives
⏹️ ▶️ Casey us a link to what bit rate does Spotify use for streaming? This is on Spotify’s
⏹️ ▶️ Casey website. Spotify uses three quality ratings for streaming on the AugVorbis format, 96K, 160K, or 320K,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey which is only for premium subscribers. So I believe that’s what you said, Marco, and your theory is correct. Additionally,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey you said a moment ago that, you know, it seems to your recollection that only paid apps support MP3,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey but you can actually encode something as an MP3 in iTunes, and that’s effectively a system app,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey so. That’s true, I forgot about that. Yeah, because I used to do that all the time, back when I used iTunes,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey well, really, ever.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco never in like the QuickTime APIs that everything
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey else used. Sure, sure, sure. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is not available in the low-level Core Audio stuff either.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey That I didn’t know, but either way, I mean, it doesn’t make your point wrong, but it’s just an interesting counterpoint.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco can decode MP3, but you can’t encode it.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco right, iTunes does include that, and I forgot about iTunes. Yeah,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’m just trying to save you a thousand well-actuallies. So instead, I will actually do.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco That’s okay, though. Anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey no, this is fascinating. And this really is the happiest possible ending to MP3,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey which is to say it’s a brand new beginning, or it’s nothing else but continuation. And that’s
⏹️ ▶️ Casey really fantastic, that this format that is not perfect, but is pretty
⏹️ ▶️ Casey darn good, that to your point, freaking everyone knows how to read,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that it’s pretty much unencumbered at this point, which is fantastic.
⏹️ ▶️ John I wonder if we’re, I keep wondering if we’re gonna get into a similar, but perhaps even
⏹️ ▶️ John worse, much worse situation with video. Like with audio, I think it’s fine, because like Marker said, like
⏹️ ▶️ John MB3 does the job, and it does it in a reasonable way, and the ones that are
⏹️ ▶️ John better are not that much better, and all of them are kind of within the limits normal person
⏹️ ▶️ John human hearing like you don’t you don’t care about the quality like only super-duper order
⏹️ ▶️ John if I was even care about the bid rate and most normal people like it’s just fine right but for video
⏹️ ▶️ John h264 is the most popular sort of proprietary one that’s out there now
⏹️ ▶️ John similar thing you know with a the web M and everything and web browsers don’t want to include h264
⏹️ ▶️ John support you You know, in some cases the free open ones aren’t even as good as H.264, but H.264 has
⏹️ ▶️ John been around for a long time. There’s a lot of hardware that knows how to decode it,
⏹️ ▶️ John but whether dedicated hardware or hardware designed to be good at decoding it in a low power way, in
⏹️ ▶️ John our phones and in other sorts of devices and dedicated chips for like embedded things. And it takes
⏹️ ▶️ John a long time for that support to come up. of similar the way Apple was
⏹️ ▶️ John kind of gung-ho about how awesome their AAC decoders were,
⏹️ ▶️ John encoders and decoders, and you know I bet even today it wouldn’t surprise me if an
⏹️ ▶️ John iPhone is more energy efficient when decoding AAC files than when decoding
⏹️ ▶️ John mp3 files just because it’s Apple’s preferred format and they sell stuff in that format and stuff
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John Well there actually
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there used to be in older generations of iOS hardware, there used to be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco hardware encoders and decoders for AAC and I think maybe
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even H.264, but at least for AAC. And as far as I know, in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all the recent hardware, and not even that recent, there’s no longer hardware encoders
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because the CPUs just got so fast. I mean, like, I actually do, I use AAC encoding
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in overcast for the watch transfers because I mentioned I transcode the files to lower bit
⏹️ ▶️ Marco rates to save transfer time to make them to make them super small. It reads the mp3
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or whatever the source file is and encodes a new AAC at
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like 110x on an iPhone 7. Like 110 times as quickly as playback on an iPhone 7
⏹️ ▶️ Marco which is incredibly fast. And that is using the software only decoders
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because the hardware ones, they used to have lots of problems where like only one thing could use it at once. If your app was backgrounded,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it would not necessarily be guaranteed to be there. And it was really weird. So it’s and I actually encode
⏹️ ▶️ Marco things in parallel, because every modern iPhone is dual core. So and you couldn’t do that with
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the hardware encoder either. Only one thing could be using it. So anyway, all this is to say that the software
⏹️ ▶️ Marco basically everything’s done in software now. And it’s so fast, it doesn’t even matter between the formats. But there was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a time when you were correct.
⏹️ ▶️ John Well, so no there’s still there’s still hardware support like I said even if it’s not a literal dedicated separate little area
⏹️ ▶️ John on the dive With a hardware h.264 encoder or decoder or both The hardware
⏹️ ▶️ John in these chips in many ways is designed around these particular difficult problems whether it’s encryption
⏹️ ▶️ John For SSL or for you know just a basically kinds of encryption like the the SIMD
⏹️ ▶️ John Instruction sets and specific instructions that you know are going to be in a lynchpin or a critical path along particular
⏹️ ▶️ John algorithms So it’s not dedicated hardware just for this purpose, but it is hardware designed around
⏹️ ▶️ John a set of problems that they know the things are need to solve. And like, even if it’s just, again, adding a special instruction,
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s more energy efficient to do that than to sort of manually implement that special instruction by a series
⏹️ ▶️ John of other instructions. And they test these things to say, this needs to be low power, not use a lot of power
⏹️ ▶️ John when showing H.264 video. If you’re going to do that with a dedicated H.264 decoder on a system on a chip
⏹️ ▶️ John on the iPhone 3G, fine. by the time the iPhone 7 comes along you can get that same
⏹️ ▶️ John job done with less die area by using special instructions and the extended instruction set
⏹️ ▶️ John of the new arm whatever thing or using your GPU or like a shader on the GPU to do it or whatever
⏹️ ▶️ John the hell you know that’s fine too but this is a known problem set and
⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t think for the thing for the formats that I don’t think they’re doing that same test for webm
⏹️ ▶️ John in other words like maybe the hardware is just as good for webm but it’s not an important use case for them because as far as Apple’s
⏹️ ▶️ John concerned h 264 video is kind of the standard for the stuff that they’re expecting
⏹️ ▶️ John you to play on iOS devices to the degree I don’t even know what kind of support there is for any other
⏹️ ▶️ John kind of video playback on iOS devices if it’s not h 6264.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I should clarify to my statement earlier about there being no more hardware stuff. I was only talking about audio video.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t know. I’m guessing there probably still is hardware acceleration for video just because it’s so much more complicated.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And I think you might be right that it might be at the GPU level instead, but we’ll see.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, I know these system on chips are big and complicated, but the point is, like, that’s the use case. And like I said, H.264 is the proprietary
⏹️ ▶️ John one. It’s the one that is patent encumbered that would be annoying for people to use, that is very widely supported,
⏹️ ▶️ John but only because, like, this big industry effort to get everyone to pay these patent fees, you know, and just, like, and it’s part
⏹️ ▶️ John of the Ampeg Consortium, and historically they have had good success getting their standards implemented in everything from
⏹️ ▶️ John DVDs to Blu-rays to you know the iTunes music store and YouTube
⏹️ ▶️ John and everything right now I don’t know when the patents run out in
⏹️ ▶️ John h264 probably a long time from now but h265 is already here and
⏹️ ▶️ John h265 is better than h264 in a more significant way than AAC
⏹️ ▶️ John is better than mp3 in terms of how small the files can be and at a very
⏹️ ▶️ John high quality and like h.265 is essentially required for
⏹️ ▶️ John reasonable streaming 4k video over connections that are not massively bigger than they were before
⏹️ ▶️ John so on and so forth. h.265 support in hardware and
⏹️ ▶️ John the decoders and everything is not great right now which you know if you ever encounter some h.265
⏹️ ▶️ John hardware and try to play it on like your dinky little Mac laptop that had no problem playing giant full screen h.264
⏹️ ▶️ John files and all of a sudden the fans are spinning up you’re like why the hell the fans spinning up this is just 1080 video oh it’s h.265
⏹️ ▶️ John and my computer doesn’t know what the hell to do with that and so it’s doing it the slow way with a plain old algorithm
⏹️ ▶️ John running on you know the no special-purpose hardware instructions not tuned to
⏹️ ▶️ John a decoder not tuned to my specific system like it’s not like Apple has I don’t know maybe they have but as far as I’m aware
⏹️ ▶️ John Apple has not written the hand-tuned perfectly designed for a Mac hardware
⏹️ ▶️ John h.265 decoder let alone having a dedicated h.265 decoders in your old mac
⏹️ ▶️ John laptop again maybe it’s in new ones um and there’s a bunch of drm crap in there i’m sure too
⏹️ ▶️ Marco i mean it’s basically what kaby lake is for it’s kaby lake is basically to add like h.265 support
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in various places and also lots of drm for 4k
⏹️ ▶️ John i know all right so um this long road for me to get to to this analogy, say
⏹️ ▶️ John H.264, you know, its patents run out and we’re like, yay, this video format that’s massively popular, that has wide support,
⏹️ ▶️ John again, like every phone can view H.264 video in an energy efficient way, and it’s supported
⏹️ ▶️ John in all sorts of set top boxes, and you know, it’s very popular, right? That becomes patent free,
⏹️ ▶️ John but you’re like, I wouldn’t want to be stuck with that. What I want to happen is
⏹️ ▶️ John the industry to move on to a format that is better than H.264. Now, maybe that’s H.265,
⏹️ ▶️ John which has all the same downsides of being proprietary and having all these patents associated with it, but it is better
⏹️ ▶️ John enough that I’m saying like, I want that. I don’t wanna be stuck with H.264 for the next 20 years. That
⏹️ ▶️ John seems like a bad scenario, whereas I’m okay to be quote unquote stuck with MP3s, I think it’s fine. But
⏹️ ▶️ John H.265 is a big step up. And if there is a free and open source alternative,
⏹️ ▶️ John like the next version, not VP9 is the next thing, but whatever the
⏹️ ▶️ John sibling open equivalent of h.265 is, ideally
⏹️ ▶️ John we would move to that. But the problem with those other ones, which I didn’t mention, but it came up with the whole Ogtheora thing
⏹️ ▶️ John and everything, it’s like, oh, these are free and open and there’s no patent licensing. People get a little
⏹️ ▶️ John scared for maybe it’s just, you know, FUD or it’s founded
⏹️ ▶️ John in some reality that just because the thing is free and open
⏹️ ▶️ John doesn’t mean that someone will find and that it actually infringes on some patents anyway, right? And
⏹️ ▶️ John so the creators say, here, it’s for you to use, and you can use it and don’t have to pay me anything.
⏹️ ▶️ John But if it became widely used, it could be that a bunch of people with a bunch of super dumb patents come wandering
⏹️ ▶️ John by and say, oh, the whole world is using this Ogtheora format. Well, it turns out Ogtheora validates,
⏹️ ▶️ John it infringes on my patent on ones because it uses both ones and zeros. And so
⏹️ ▶️ John now I’m going to collect money from everybody who has Ogtheora support, to spread over the whole industry so I’m going to be rich.
⏹️ ▶️ John And so people worry about that and in some ways the format backed by some giant
⏹️ ▶️ John consortium of companies like basically if all the companies that would sue you with their super dumb patents or all the companies
⏹️ ▶️ John that could support a lawsuit against them from people with even dumber patents, it’s safer to buy from them to
⏹️ ▶️ John say well I’ll license your patents and I’m legally covered and if someone decides to sue they’re going to sue
⏹️ ▶️ John you and you’re a consortium of all these rich companies and you can handle it yourself or whatever. I
⏹️ ▶️ John think it’s one of the things that also keeps people away from the open formats is the fear that maybe they’re not as open as they think they are because
⏹️ ▶️ John lots of patents are out there and lots of patents are really dumb.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Exactly, like because they haven’t really been challenged, you know, like they they are not usually used
⏹️ ▶️ Marco widely enough for any, you know, submarine patents to actually
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, they want they want to wait till it becomes popular and then collect the money. So they’re not even if someone knows, oh, that
⏹️ ▶️ John totally infringes on my patent, they’re not going to challenge it now when nobody uses it because you can’t get blood from a stone, Right, they were just like go
⏹️ ▶️ John ahead spread that everywhere and then hell then I’ll attack and get all the money So anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ John all this is say is that I hope it’s kind of weird to hope this but I kind of hope that
⏹️ ▶️ John We the video industry at least is not does not settle down and say once h264
⏹️ ▶️ John Is free of all of its patents We’ll just settle down into an h264 only future and we’ll have
⏹️ ▶️ John all have royalty-free beautiful video everywhere because I think video still needs to improve and
⏹️ ▶️ John things like color depth and frame rate and you know resolution and size and you know
⏹️ ▶️ John HDR and also see those areas that I think are perceptible to regular people and important
⏹️ ▶️ John especially if internet bandwidth doesn’t improve at the same rate as our demand for all those neat things that I just listed which
⏹️ ▶️ John I think it’s not in the US anyway I basically hope we move to h.265 and I hope hardware
⏹️ ▶️ John support for h.265 comes and I hope it doesn’t make the fans on my Mac spin up anymore and I hope we leave h.264
⏹️ ▶️ John behind but all that really does is reset the patent clock. So maybe when H.265 patents run
⏹️ ▶️ John out when we’re all 87 years old, then we can say this is good enough for human eyes. And
⏹️ ▶️ John for 2D video, but by then we’ll be arguing about proprietary patent-encumbered
⏹️ ▶️ John things for VR or whatever.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco five years, I think we might be allowed to use DivX patent-free.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Oh man, I haven’t heard that in forever. God, that was so amazing when it first came out.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Holy crap, I remember thinking this looks phenomenal.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey It did at the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco time and I love it. It was just like a stolen MPEG-4 codec basically. Like that’s all, it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco just MPEG-4. And like, but before H.264, like the first version of MPEG-4. That
⏹️ ▶️ Marco was just, that’s what DivX was. It
⏹️ ▶️ John was also that terrible disk format where you would get the disk and then I would have to destroy
⏹️ ▶️ John it or something and the disks would self-destruct or some
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco terrible thing.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It was like a rental thing, but yeah, like the discs would like it just had like an expiration on the on the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco DRM And it would like check in with a service I guess to activate it or deactivate and so like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you would like quote rent a movie and then when a few days later It would stop playing so you just have to throw
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it away Surprisingly consumers were not that into
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John the head great idea wasn’t like Best Buy
⏹️ ▶️ John or something It was back
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Yeah Circuit City.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey There you go.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Which, by the way, fun fact, Circuit City used to have its headquarters, guess where?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Richmond, Virginia.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That’s quite something to brag about.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey Congratulations. Yep. And
⏹️ ▶️ Casey CarMax is still here, though. CarMax was spun off of Circuit City. They’re still around. Anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey any other thoughts about file formats, MP3s, et cetera? I’m pretty amped to see if this
⏹️ ▶️ Casey changes things for the better. And I think it will in some minor ways. We’ll see if it really makes any empirical difference
⏹️ ▶️ Casey in major ways. But for nerds like us that occasionally encode things, I think it’ll be a lot better.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, and the reality is, like, the problems that John is citing with video formats, which are very real problems,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and we’re lucky in the audio world that audio is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not necessarily a solved problem, but it’s a lot closer to, it’s solved well enough for the most
⏹️ ▶️ Marco part with MP3, which is like a 25-year-old format. It’s, we’ve basically solved this
⏹️ ▶️ John problem. the bandwidth of ears is so much less than the bandwidth of eyes and ears are so much better
⏹️ ▶️ John more tractable as sort of simple Sensing machines than eyeballs and the perception of vision is which is way more complicated
⏹️ ▶️ John And so, you know once once we have a format that fits over our wires with the bandwidth most
⏹️ ▶️ John people have That it sounds as good as any normal person can hear you’re more
⏹️ ▶️ John or less done plus or minus like Dynamic range and like, you know, multi
⏹️ ▶️ John multi sound field crap and stereo imaging and stuff like that But but that’s why we get
⏹️ ▶️ John to them. It’s a sound sooner and vision vision is gonna be a while because even when you fit You’ve you’ve
⏹️ ▶️ John exhausted all the 2d Things then you have like well What about actual depth perception
⏹️ ▶️ John and being able to focus on the background of the foreground and then you’re like, oh no You start all over and the bandwidth it gets
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even worse Right and like and so, you know, not only have we reached limits of what people can hear But
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like even if you try to go like video is gonna have higher density density resolutions
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and stuff, or higher bit rates, or higher bit depths for things like HDR,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for a while to come. We’re not at the limit of our vision yet, as you said. But audio, like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco CD audio, 44K, back in whenever
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that was introduced, like the mid-80s, that’s basically as good as it gets for our ears. And there’s lots
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of people who say, oh, I can hear up to 24, 192, or whatever. And if they think they can, good for them.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the bandwidth of that too. It’s not a problem. That’s exactly the thing like with audio
⏹️ ▶️ Marco We’re talking about such smaller files that if you care that much about the quality
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of them You can just get lossless and the file sizes are not that prohibitive in modern technology Like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you can get a massive hard drive from Amazon for like a hundred bucks that can hold as much audio
⏹️ ▶️ Marco as you’re likely to have Ever even if you store it losslessly So like it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s not really like Like we don’t really need so badly to move on to better and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco better audio compression standards every five years like we do with video because the need just isn’t there. Like we’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco already pretty good.
⏹️ ▶️ John Well we already accept the size set because I remember every time I rip one of my blu-rays and I decide to put like one of my anime blu-rays
⏹️ ▶️ John and I put multiple languages on it. Those 5.1 tracks for you know DTS HD the size of that
⏹️ ▶️ John stuff adds up pretty soon the vast majority of the data in this file that I’m ripping is audio.
⏹️ ▶️ John You know, so even though they are small, if it’s two hours of audio and it’s, you know, six channels
⏹️ ▶️ John and multiplied by three languages, suddenly you’re talking some real bites.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, but that’s, I would say that’s not a, not a major case anyway. And also, you know, it’s, it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the whole patent issue is, I think, more of a problem in many ways in, in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco audio and I guess not anymore, but it was more of a problem in audio because the world
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of audio distribution, especially in the form of podcasts, which is, you know, close to my heart, obviously,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is decentralized. And so you don’t have to worry. Like, if you produce
⏹️ ▶️ Marco video, you produce one thing and you, in whatever format you want, and you upload it to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco YouTube. And then YouTube worries about what format it serves. And all it has to serve is what
⏹️ ▶️ Marco its own website and apps and various integration deals can play. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco YouTube can buy like one giant license for these formats and basically
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be done with it. and video creators aren’t needing to worry
⏹️ ▶️ Marco about that themselves, or making a whole bunch of other services, because the world of video is so concentrated
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in this very small number of proprietary places. YouTube, Facebook, that’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco basically it. But audio is different. Audio didn’t get that centralized
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for the most part, and so the formats and the patents around them and the support
⏹️ ▶️ Marco still matters. Like if you’re gonna embed a video on a webpage, you’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco probably not going to have to encode the files yourself and put them on your server. You’re probably going to embed a YouTube embed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and you don’t have to worry about any of this stuff, but you can plausibly and people often do embed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco audio files on their page that that like direct served audio files from, you know, from your own hosting.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And then you do have to worry about encoding and you do have to figure out these formats and players and things like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that. Like in more proprietary worlds, like what video is like what you’re saying earlier about, you know, like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco big companies like to license the other major formats this is less of a problem in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco practice for the producers but an audio because it’s so open and decentralized and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco way simpler it actually matters so that’s why it’s another reason why
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the video formats being patented probably forever practically speaking are
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is I think less of an issue in practice or rather it’s it’s less avoidable
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in practice than the freedom that we now have with mp3 and the need for that in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the first place in audio.
⏹️ ▶️ John The only other thing that occurs to me is on video formats because we don’t need
⏹️ ▶️ John to know what format things are very often a video codec will get embedded
⏹️ ▶️ John in a context where it will just stay will overstay its welcome. Arguably
⏹️ ▶️ John DVDs kind of did that with mp3 MPEG-2 is a bad compression format by
⏹️ ▶️ John modern standards. It makes files that are big that don’t look that good. If you take a DVD
⏹️ ▶️ John and you take the same source material and encode it at h.264 it will embarrass the MPEG-2 as well it
⏹️ ▶️ John should because it’s an old codec right but for a long time and I bet probably
⏹️ ▶️ John today still somewhere cable television that you got over your coaxial cable
⏹️ ▶️ John wet after they switch to digital cable from analog right whereas a lot of those channels were using MPEG-2,
⏹️ ▶️ John which was state-of-the-art at the time that they decided to do that. And a lot of them kept using MPEG-2
⏹️ ▶️ John for a long time, delivering you substandard video quality
⏹️ ▶️ John using more bandwidth. And to some degree, that’s the cable company’s problem, not your problem. What do you care as long as you see the picture on your
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think over-the-air still does that. I think over-the-air HD is still MPEG-2.
⏹️ ▶️ John And the other thing is, the other side of the coin is like, I wish you would use more modern codecs like
⏹️ ▶️ John h.264 but very often your your telco in the US anyway provider will say great this lets us jam
⏹️ ▶️ John more channels into the same bandwidth let’s massively compress these things and produce tons of artifacts because look
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco how small you
⏹️ ▶️ John can make h.264 and it still looks kind of good i remember watching mad men and amc and
⏹️ ▶️ John watching the incredible banding in the background of like dark scenes
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco oh all those
⏹️ ▶️ John dark rooms yeah and they
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco were just i don’t know how it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John like they they discovered it’s either they had discovered h.264 and managed to jam the show down to a tiny little
⏹️ ▶️ John size or they were still using MPEG-2 and using tons of bandwidth to give me a substandard quality
⏹️ ▶️ John image. So in those embedded contexts I still favor
⏹️ ▶️ John advancing the codec to keep up with the times but there’s very little incentive to do that especially if
⏹️ ▶️ John if they have their own dedicated lines and they’re the ones who decide how to chop up the bandwidth. I saw something else
⏹️ ▶️ John recently with terrible banding and I was super angry about it because it didn’t seem like maybe it
⏹️ ▶️ John was I I don’t know. I wish I could remember what it was. When I see banding like that, especially if it’s in some piece
⏹️ ▶️ John of media, like if it’s on like a Blu-ray that I paid a lot of money for to get like the highest quality of an image and
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s just like a bad choice in coding or something. Down with banding.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Don’t forget all the blocking like the famous example of the HBO intro
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John with the static. Oh, that’s
⏹️ ▶️ John the worst. That seems like trolling at this point, doesn’t it? Like change your logo. Come
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iPad Mini is dead
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Thank you very much to Fracture for sponsoring our show.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So we are coming up on WWDC time. What is it, two weeks away, three weeks away? I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey can’t even keep it
⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco straight. Something like
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that. And there’s a couple of rumors that are starting to come out, which may or may
⏹️ ▶️ Casey not even relate to WWDC. But the first one is, and
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’m sad, you guys, Apple is supposed to be phasing out the iPad So says
⏹️ ▶️ Casey 9to5Mac. And truth be told, this makes me sad, but at the same
⏹️ ▶️ Casey time, as I’ve been telling the two of you guys for a while now, really, I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey am just waiting for the MacBook to get a refresh so I can replace my iPad mini
⏹️ ▶️ Casey with the MacBook. So this doesn’t make me as sad as it used to, but this would be a real bummer. And
⏹️ ▶️ Casey my dad was really thinking about getting a new iPad mini and I told him, well, you might as well wait to see when the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey The new one is presumably coming out any day now. And according to Zach Hall at 9to5Mac,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, obviously the iPad line is in the middle of a transition right now. Because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if you look at the prices, the new iPad, whatever they’re calling the new low-end
⏹️ ▶️ Marco 10-inch iPad, is $329. If you leave out the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco mini for a moment, The next one up is $599 for the 9.7 inch iPad
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Pro. And for almost twice the money,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I would not say you get twice the iPad. And I love the 9.7 inch iPad Pro,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but that’s a massive price jump for what you get for that.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Not to mention the fact that if you actually use it like a pro and get either a pencil or a keyboard
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or something, you’re adding even then a lot more to the cost. But anyway, that’s that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco huge price hole in the middle of 329 to 600.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Like, obviously, this is the beginning of some kind of move. And it’s not
⏹️ ▶️ Marco complete yet. Because that just makes no sense. Like that is obviously like, you know, something else is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco going to change in this lineup, because that is ridiculous. Because it’s not a very strong
⏹️ ▶️ Marco selling proposition for the 9.7 Pro to be twice as much as
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the next model down and be not that different from it. I’m
⏹️ ▶️ Marco guessing there’s another shoe to drop here. And if the Mini goes away, and the Mini right
⏹️ ▶️ Marco now, they reduced it to only the 128 gig model, right? And it’s $400? Is that right? I think that’s right.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It is a significantly worse deal for what you get than the new
⏹️ ▶️ Marco cheap iPad. And it’s significantly old by this point. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the Mini was never updated that well with the exception of the Mini 2. That was the only time it was ever updated well,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in line with the rest of the lineup. But otherwise, that was it.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, to that end, to put things in perspective, Aaron got me a then brand new iPad
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Mini for not this past Christmas of 2016, but Christmas of 2015.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And if I’m not mistaken, that is effectively the brand new iPad Mini you could buy today.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco That’s right, yeah.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And so you’re right also, by the way, that it’s 128 for $400, or what you didn’t mention is LTE,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey also 128 gigs for $530, but that’s kind of off to the side. You are correct about- Right,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and they all kind of- Right, right, you’re correct about 128 at $400. Yeah, and so basically,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco by introducing the new cheap 9.7 and not touching
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the mini, actually reducing the amount of mini configurations you could get at the same time, I think it’s plausible this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco rumor is correct. Regardless of whether they’re gonna end it or do something else,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think this is very clear though that they do not intend for you to buy the Mini right now.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Because no one’s gonna look at that price and say, if people were buying it before, which
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is, that’s worth asking, were people still buying Minis in meaningful numbers? And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco from most of what we’ve heard, or from various analysts and stuff, the answer is no. But
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if anyone was thinking about buying a Mini, They would look at this lineup now and they would have serious second thoughts because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco why would you like I think that the new cheap? 9.7 I is probably better
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in pretty much every way except size and maybe maybe screen quality
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with the you know the laminating method and stuff, but It’s it basically there’s no reason to buy
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it now And there’s been lots of speculation about why the mini is not doing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that well well, you know, assuming that’s true, assuming it’s not selling very well, which I think it’s,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, based on you know what people have been able to derive from from earnings and stuff like that. It does seem like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that’s probably the case that it’s not really selling well at all and there’s lots of reasons why that might be. I mean
⏹️ ▶️ Marco we talked years ago about how the iPad in general was being squeezed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on both sides by Mac Books and MacBook Airs and stuff getting smaller and better and lighter,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco maybe taking away some of the high end of iPad size-wise and then phones getting bigger
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and even more awesome and big enough that you would often just not want to have a separate
⏹️ ▶️ Marco device for a tablet anymore. You would just have a phone and that would take your tablet role close enough.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And I think that the market has kind of supported this theory that indeed tablets
⏹️ ▶️ Marco are getting squeezed by both of those sides. And if you look at the iPad lineup, I feel like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the mini is the one that is most likely to get squeezed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco out first, if that makes sense. Buy these Forces, because if you have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the bigger iPads, there’s probably something you do on them or something you like about the bigger
⏹️ ▶️ Marco screens or whatever else that maybe your phone can’t do. The Mini, though, is,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, it’s still a lot bigger than even the biggest phones, but it’s a smaller difference.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And so that’s why I feel like it probably wasn’t selling well because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco most people who buy it We’re either looking for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco basically a bigger device that’s still somewhat small, which now big phones do
⏹️ ▶️ Marco better, or we’re buying it because it was the cheapest iPad, and now it isn’t.
⏹️ ▶️ John I think it’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy to not update the iPad Mini for two years and say, well, it’s not selling that
⏹️ ▶️ John well. I know that’s not the
⏹️ ▶️ John reason. I think everything you said is true, especially about price, because when the Mini first came out, its big selling point was like,
⏹️ ▶️ John hey, it’s the cheapest way you can get into an iPad. But there is like, you know, Apple always
⏹️ ▶️ John does these photos and you can, other people compose them as well. Line up all of the glass and
⏹️ ▶️ John aluminum rectangles that run iOS that Apple sells. And you expect to see some kind of reasonable
⏹️ ▶️ John gradation from the smallest to the biggest. And at various points there have been weird jumps in the size of
⏹️ ▶️ John it. And if you put prices along with them too, then sort of there’s weird jumps. And they’re like, okay, well, these ones are phones and these ones
⏹️ ▶️ John aren’t technically phones, but you can get them with LTE, but you can’t make phone calls on them unless you use FaceTime audio. It’s like
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s weird differentiation, but that continuum, you know that the
⏹️ ▶️ John the plus-size phones Have to have hurt the mini size factor now with the
⏹️ ▶️ John possible size reshuffling of this rumors of the Bigger than nine point seven
⏹️ ▶️ John inch but smaller than twelve point whatever inch iPod or iPad Pro, whatever
⏹️ ▶️ John It’ll be like ten and a half inch or something like that that in other words that the quote-unquote quote normal iPad
⏹️ ▶️ John size will get bigger or at least the screen will get bigger and maybe the margins will pull in again or whatever if
⏹️ ▶️ John that happens does that open up a big enough gap for something
⏹️ ▶️ John that is not as big as that new iPad size but not as small
⏹️ ▶️ John as an iPhone 7 plus does that does that open up that gap enough for them to put one in there because
⏹️ ▶️ John I think there are customers who want that entire range if the spacing
⏹️ ▶️ John in the range is right if it’s not too close to the phone, if it’s not too close to the, you know, the neck size
⏹️ ▶️ John of an iPad, and if the pricing is right. If for the smaller thing you spend less money, which is a perception
⏹️ ▶️ John that customers have, and there is some vague reality because bigger screens are slightly more expensive than
⏹️ ▶️ John smaller screens. Unfortunately for Apple, the internal guts don’t get cheaper unless you give them
⏹️ ▶️ John crappier guts and that really hurts the product. What people want, same thing the iPhone SE, people
⏹️ ▶️ John want is like, give me the best insides, just a smaller outside. and Apple’s like, eh,
⏹️ ▶️ John that’s not great for us. We’d rather give you the same insides with a slightly more
⏹️ ▶️ John expensive screen and charge you 100 extra bucks for it and call it the iPhone 7 Plus. Like, they like that end of it
⏹️ ▶️ John as opposed to shrink the screen by some percentage. You save a few bucks on the screen, but all the
⏹️ ▶️ John rest of the insides, I want them to be just as good as the iPad Pro. It’s like, well, then I can’t really price
⏹️ ▶️ John that. You know, people want, like, to look at the rectangle and say the smaller rectangles cost less money than the bigger
⏹️ ▶️ John rectangles, but it gets totally messed up by this iPhone 7 Plus, which is super
⏹️ ▶️ John expensive, and then to go back down to a lower price for the in-between-the-iPad,
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s a difficult problem. But I think there is a place
⏹️ ▶️ John in Apple’s lineup for something around the size of the mini. But it totally could be that
⏹️ ▶️ John this particular mini is the wrong size in the new lineup, and obviously it’s currently the wrong price.
⏹️ ▶️ John So we’ll see how this shakes out. But if it disappears for a while, and makes a comeback
⏹️ ▶️ John as an eight-inch iPad or something in a few years when they’re filling in the gaps, I won’t be super surprised at
⏹️ ▶️ John that. I’ve relearned anything from the big phone thing,
⏹️ ▶️ John is that different people have different size holes in their life
⏹️ ▶️ John to put rectangles with screens, whether it is your pocket or your purse or your backpack
⏹️ ▶️ John or your end table or your nightstand or whatever. They’re, you know, we all find
⏹️ ▶️ John the size of the device that fits into our lives, you know, or whatever it is, maybe it’s just like the first one you got and you get used to it and you build your
⏹️ ▶️ John habits around it. And if the mini goes away entirely, I bet there’s a bunch of people still running around with minis
⏹️ ▶️ John who won’t be enthusiastic about buying something bigger, and won’t be enthusiastic
⏹️ ▶️ John about, you know, replacing it with a big phone because maybe they don’t want a big phone, like maybe their iPhone se users. So
⏹️ ▶️ John now they have this, this role is just not being filled, and they’re gonna end up getting like a seven inch Android tablet or something,
⏹️ ▶️ John it’d be sad. So I await the iPad mini’s glorious
⏹️ ▶️ John comeback, even if it never actually goes away, because at this point, it needs to come back, even though it’s still for sale.
⏹️ ▶️ John They’re selling one model that’s really old for a crappy price, it needs to come back now. So if it wants to take
⏹️ ▶️ John a break and then come back, I’m fine, or if they just want to replace the W2C, I’m fine with that too.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I feel like almost all of this could have been said about the Mac Pro, and I don’t mean that to be silly. I mean,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it’s a model that’s kind of been on life support. They’re kind of, you know, making sure everyone
⏹️ ▶️ Casey stops buying it because they won’t update it. Like so much of this is, I don’t know, I don’t want to say it’s becoming
⏹️ ▶️ Casey the Apple norm, but certainly we’re seeing more than one data point of this strategy of just kind of making
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it fade into the distance.
⏹️ ▶️ John It’s more like the, more like the Mac mini because the
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco role of the iPad mini and the Mac, it’s right there in the
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco the role of both the iPad mini and the Mac mini is not
⏹️ ▶️ John to be the fastest, most awesome computer for its most demanding users. That’s that’s always a thorn in the side about the Mac
⏹️ ▶️ John Pro is that particular role other devices you could say you know well
⏹️ ▶️ John It’s always been the the most boring least popular with least attention paid to
⏹️ ▶️ John it That’s not really true of the iPad mini when it came out. It was the darling is like wow they’re finally made a smaller tablet
⏹️ ▶️ John Well look how well it’s selling and then the next you know Ernie’s call like wow look at the iPad ASP is hmm
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I mean and also like the iPad mini mini competes now against
⏹️ ▶️ Marco areas in which Apple is doing worse and worse over time, namely very cheap tablets.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It was always the budget option, the value option, the option that maybe you’d get for kids. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco actually, my kid, his iPad is a mini, an old one that I had collecting dust in a drawer for a while,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and he loves it. It’s great. It’s a really good kid size. So it is a nice size to offer.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in that market, in the market for smaller, ideally as cheap as possible
⏹️ ▶️ Marco tablets, Apple has not done well in a very long time, basically since there have been
⏹️ ▶️ Marco other tablets, besides the iPad, that were at all competitive. Now there are
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so many other options, and I think the market research has supported this idea
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that there’s basically two tablet markets. There’s tablets that are basically
⏹️ ▶️ Marco used as screens for video playback and not much else. And then there’s like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco computing tablets that people use like for computing tasks and stuff like that. And the iPad
⏹️ ▶️ Marco does very well in the latter category. And if you restrict what you’re looking
⏹️ ▶️ Marco at to tablets priced above a certain level, maybe it’s like priced above $300 or whatever,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Apple does great by sharing that market. But the total tablet market, most of the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco tablets being sold are these cheap ones that are being sold for very simple purposes where
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the OS and the quality of the tablet matter a lot less. And so Apple doesn’t do well there.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And the iPad mini might have served that role for a few years in the middle
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there before the rest of the world kind of caught up to that. But now, anyone looking for a super
⏹️ ▶️ Marco cheap tablet for some like, you know, embedded use or some kind of disposable use
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is not going iPad at all. They’re going with something very cheap from Amazon or something. So I think
⏹️ ▶️ Marco maybe Apple decided to bow out of that market because it just isn’t, you know, it isn’t,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not only was it not profitable per unit for them maybe, but maybe in order to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco succeed at selling to that market at a very good rate, they would have to lower
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the price even further to the point where they don’t even, it’s not even worth them competing at all.
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WWDC laptop rumors
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Thanks to Audible for sponsoring our show.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Speaking of other rumors, suddenly there’s new laptops coming.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And my favorite part of this is not only are there new laptops
⏹️ ▶️ Casey coming, but they’re to take on Microsoft, which is kind
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of interesting. This is in Bloomberg by Mark Gurman and Alex Webb.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey basically they’re saying, well, Microsoft is really doing well these days with all
⏹️ ▶️ Casey their fancy new laptops and tablets and whatever they are, surfaces. So
⏹️ ▶️ Casey maybe Apple will update some stuff after all, especially the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey MacBook, which would make me very happy. And interestingly, they’re saying that this might happen at WWDC, which,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I mean, certainly computers have been unveiled at WWDC, but it’s, it’s not.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey A terribly common occurrence. So I’m very intrigued by this. I’m
⏹️ ▶️ Casey super skeptical, but it would be, it would make me very happy if nothing else, if I could finally
⏹️ ▶️ Casey buy a Mac book that I’ve wanted for like six months now.
⏹️ ▶️ John So I think what we want out of revised Mac books is more like what they hinted out at the Mac pro
⏹️ ▶️ John event where people, you know, the people who were there were asking, Hey, what’s, what about the Mac books? And were
⏹️ ▶️ John you surprised by the reaction to them? Blah, blah, blah. And there, they vaguely hinted that they’re looking
⏹️ ▶️ John into the idea of making a new version of the MacBook Pros that is more satisfying
⏹️ ▶️ John to the people who are upset with the current ones for whatever reason. Obviously, they don’t go into any details,
⏹️ ▶️ John but it makes everyone who’s reading about that say, Ooh, maybe they’ll add more ports or you know, maybe
⏹️ ▶️ John they’ll, uh, think about the, the, the touch bar some more, or, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ John if you’re Casey, maybe they’ll actually update the 12 inch MacBook, uh, to have faster insights cause
⏹️ ▶️ John it totally needs them. And everyone’s dreams just attached to the vague idea that they’re going to revise them with
⏹️ ▶️ John uh you know which is what of course they always do now this rumor seems suspect on the whole
⏹️ ▶️ John to take on microsoft angle because microsoft may be introducing hardware that’s causing people to write stories about
⏹️ ▶️ John it but their surface sales numbers are not not particularly indicative of
⏹️ ▶️ John a world conquering a product line at least not yet and the things they’re talking about even
⏹️ ▶️ John in just in this rumor seem like i mean fine it’s good speed bump especially for especially for the 12-inch macbook
⏹️ ▶️ John like that that needs it and the other ones you know couldn’t hurt we all like speed bumps like they’re good but it doesn’t
⏹️ ▶️ John seem like in a WWDC time frame they could have the newly rethought revised
⏹️ ▶️ John different in ways that will make people who didn’t like the first ones happy about them sort of MacBook
⏹️ ▶️ John Pros like if you’re expecting a new MacBook Pro with an SD card slot
⏹️ ▶️ John and maybe you know more different ports on the other side of the thing to arrive
⏹️ ▶️ John at WWDC that seems highly unlikely to me There’s also mixed in with this rumor, the idea that they would
⏹️ ▶️ John update the 13-inch MacBook Air with new processors, which at this point, like
⏹️ ▶️ John we all, you know, we all love speed bumps and if you want to update the internals, that’s fine, but you can’t like, they cannot
⏹️ ▶️ John update the MacBook Air again with leaving that screen. They just can’t. It is an embarrassment. It is just, it’s not even
⏹️ ▶️ John just that it’s non-retina, it’s that it’s non-retina and it’s not even a good non-retina screen. And it was,
⏹️ ▶️ John has not been a good non, I don’t think it was ever a good non-retina screen, but it was acceptable for the price point
⏹️ ▶️ John at one point, but now it’s just embarrassing. So if they want to update the, here’s their problem.
⏹️ ▶️ John If they updated the internals of the 13-inch MacBook Air and put the Retina screen on it, it would suddenly become their best-selling portable
⏹️ ▶️ John again. I don’t know if Apple really wants that.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey That’s so true. I don’t know, Marco, thoughts?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It’s unlikely that people are going to get what they want, you know, because it has been such a short time.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Everyone has a wishlist for what they wish the new macbooks did myself included
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or you know changes they wish for them like and i ever since i switch to the escape
⏹️ ▶️ Marco i love the macbook escape so so much in almost every way
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but of course i have wish list to like my key i got a stuck key the other day my okie
⏹️ ▶️ Marco doesn’t work anymore and i can’t jiggle around and started working again so maybe there’s something stuck under there
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and tweeted about it and I heard from so many people who have had
⏹️ ▶️ Marco multiple keyboard failures and key like the the new keyboard in addition
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to all of its other problems of you know having very low travel being hard
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to feel being very weirdly loud in a very unpleasant way you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco know all the different problems the new keyboard has the arrow keys being the way they are
⏹️ ▶️ Marco another problem that it seems like it’s possibly a pretty big problem with them is that they fail
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all the time. Like it seems like this is a big thing. You know we heard from
⏹️ ▶️ Marco 12-inch MacBook owners for the last couple years that it was a big problem on that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and it seems like whatever the revision was that they did to make it a little bit clickier and louder for the new MacBook Pros last
⏹️ ▶️ Marco year, it seems like that didn’t get fixed. It seems like it’s still they still
⏹️ ▶️ Marco fail all the time.
⏹️ ▶️ John I have a theory on this not having owned any one of these keyboards but having seen the previous
⏹️ ▶️ John ones I have a theory on what the failure mode might be and maybe you can check your okey to see if this is
⏹️ ▶️ John the case in addition to having less travel and having like a different
⏹️ ▶️ John slightly different like activation mechanism underneath the keycaps another thing that distinguishes to
⏹️ ▶️ John my eyes anyway the new crop of very low profile keyboards on these portables
⏹️ ▶️ John is that the gap between the top case and the key
⏹️ ▶️ John is smaller than it used to be which is great for like this looks fancy and expensive and it’s precision
⏹️ ▶️ John engineering to just cut out the hole just big enough for the keycap to slide up and down
⏹️ ▶️ John but if anything manages to wiggle its way through that gap
⏹️ ▶️ John a it’s not coming back out the way it came in because the gap is really really small and B if it gets itself
⏹️ ▶️ John underneath the keycap to enough of a degree that it causes the thing not to activate
⏹️ ▶️ John I’ve seen this exact problem with you know my keyboard and the old laptop keyboards the old Apple
⏹️ ▶️ John you know flat key cap ones because the gap was big enough for lots of junk to fall under there
⏹️ ▶️ John but it was easier also to get it out even without prying the key cap off and it was sort of jiggle loose
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m wondering if the new ones are kind of like a one-way trap for like mice or whatever that is a
⏹️ ▶️ John really really skinny opening and tall bits small bits of like dust or food
⏹️ ▶️ John crumbs or whatever the heck else is floating around can get in there but there’s no way in hell they can get back out and stuff builds up
⏹️ ▶️ John and it causes them to fail. That’s just a theory. If people have failing keyboards and they say no, it’s actually the key switch, I don’t know
⏹️ ▶️ John what the actual problem is. And I’m assuming you don’t know either, because all you’re doing is kind of like poking at it like an ape,
⏹️ ▶️ John wiggling the O key. Work, work now, key. Okay, key work now. Like, what can you do? I don’t think,
⏹️ ▶️ John have you pried off the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco key cap yet? I haven’t, and I don’t think you can on these. I’m pretty sure, I have to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco verify this. I’m sure people will email us.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John I fix it, probably knows.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But I think somebody told me that with this new butterfly switch
⏹️ ▶️ Marco type that they use in these new keyboards, I’m pretty sure you can’t actually pop them off for service or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco cleaning. And like whenever people say that, like when people were telling me all their stories
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on Twitter about getting these keyboards replaced, by the way, this laptop line has been out for six months
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or something, like seven months, like it’s not that long. So to have a whole bunch of keyboard failures this soon is not good.
⏹️ ▶️ John It could be a design flaw. If it turns out that that little gap is great for looking cool
⏹️ ▶️ John in photos but terrible for actual use, then that’s your problem. And getting a new keyboard is not going to solve it. It’s just going to reset your timer.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, I would argue that’s the failure mode of almost every decision on this keyboard. It’s designed for product photos
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but not good in actual use. Some people like typing on it. Some people like it. I mean, some people like Dell
⏹️ ▶️ Marco PCs. Some people like Dave Matthews Band.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Is there a quota? Is there a fricking quota at this point? What the hell is this? Anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey yeah, I’m super skeptical of the timing. I’m super skeptical that
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Microsoft is the reason why.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Microsoft is definitely not the reason why. You know, if they’re going to change anything, it’s going to be because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of feedback from Apple’s customers or performance of the sales that are maybe not doing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco what Apple wants them to do or things like that. It’s not going to be about what Microsoft is doing in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco their laptop line.
⏹️ ▶️ John because the 12-inch MacBook really needs an update, right? Yeah. I mean, that’s the other
⏹️ ▶️ John reason to do it. Well, it’s been a kind of a long time.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Does Apple care about that, though? Really? I think they’ve shown that they mostly don’t.
⏹️ ▶️ John Maybe we’re hoping that one of the lessons it learns from the Mac Pro fiasco is that if
⏹️ ▶️ John you want people to think that you care and to not be afraid to buy your computers
⏹️ ▶️ John and to not be angry when they buy them, that update them. There will always be ones that are the least
⏹️ ▶️ John favorite child, like the Mac Mini or whatever. But the MacBook, the new MacBook, the MacBook
⏹️ ▶️ John One, the 12-inch MacBook, the MacBook Adorable, that’s not supposed to be a forgotten
⏹️ ▶️ John child. That was one of your flagship, we’re so excited, look at this amazing new thin computer. And then a couple
⏹️ ▶️ John of revisions later, it’s like, eh, 18 months, two years, do we really need to update it that often?
⏹️ ▶️ John And that’s bad, that’s a bad look. Someone has to be the favorite child in that lineup, and it can’t just
⏹️ ▶️ John be the MacBook Pro. Even those went a long time before the touch bars appeared.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Oh, yeah. That’s why I like I think if Apple is going to change
⏹️ ▶️ Marco anything else with the Kaby Lake revisions of these laptops You know if they’re gonna make any other edits
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to the design It’s probably not gonna be anything large It’s probably
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not gonna be anything that would require like new cases or anything like that I think it’s most likely
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to be price changes or new low-end configurations to hit new lower
⏹️ ▶️ Marco price points. Because I think much of the criticism has correctly
⏹️ ▶️ Marco been about the increased prices of these new laptops compared to the old ones. And so if
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Apple just drops some prices a few hundred bucks on a couple of models here and there, or makes
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like a new low-end 15-inch that doesn’t have the discrete GPU,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John and prices that… I knew you’d come up eventually.
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco It’s a Marco’s
⏹️ ▶️ John just a 15-inch with real keys but also with Touch ID but with no discrete GPU.
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco That’s a Marco computer.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John With Touch ID,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco don’t forget. Oh, that would be great, but I’m not holding my breath on that one yet. I feel
⏹️ ▶️ John that’s a change they could do for even for… I’m hoping that Touch ID proliferates,
⏹️ ▶️ John that it spreads across the Mac line slowly but surely because it is like a
⏹️ ▶️ John universal good. As long as you can find a place somewhere to put it, who doesn’t want that
⏹️ ▶️ John to authenticate and do all sorts of things? I think it would be very popular just like it’s popular on phones.
⏹️ ▶️ John But if it has to come with a touch bar, then suddenly at least Marco is less interested in it and it’s more difficult to implement.
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco And it’s more expensive.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah. I’m hoping a touch ID on… Well, you have to end up putting like the secure enclave and
⏹️ ▶️ John everything in there anyway. So once you have all that, it’s like, well, we basically have the guts for the touch bar. Why don’t we add it? But anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ John touch ID spreading to like the escape lineup does not seem
⏹️ ▶️ John out of the question for me. for you Marco I think the even more likely scenario is the escape disappears as a touch
⏹️ ▶️ John bar proliferates across the entire line as it comes down in price and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so on that is definitely a big risk to the escape line but I think it’s more
⏹️ ▶️ Marco likely that it would just replace the MacBook Air eventually as the cheap one
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and so they would keep this configuration around basically just like the areas now they would update it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco occasionally you know but probably not even as often as the rest of them and they would push it slowly
⏹️ ▶️ Marco towards a $1,000. Right now it starts at $1,500, so there’s a long way to go. It’s
⏹️ ▶️ John the iPhone SE of the Mac laptop line.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, it really might be, honestly. Because, again, it’s an awesome computer. Really,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco my biggest complaint about it is that it’s not a very good value, and then my second biggest complaint about
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it is the keyboard sucking. But
⏹️ ▶️ Marco other than those two things, it is quite awesome. And yeah, I would love another
⏹️ ▶️ Marco USB port, I would love an SD card reader, but those aren’t like massive problems for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco me. It’s just a really nice computer. I really enjoy the MacBook
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Escape, and I enjoy it more and more the more I use it, which is the opposite direction, in my opinion, of the 15-inch
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Touch Bar model. I think that one of the more interesting questions is, what
⏹️ ▶️ Marco do they do with the Touch Bar? Because I think it’s pretty clear by this point. We’ve had,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, seven months or whatever. We’ve had enough time for everyone’s keyboards to die. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think it’s enough time to judge the Touch Bar a little more objectively than when it first
⏹️ ▶️ Marco came out. And I’ve heard a few other podcasts talking like, you know, so hey, how are you using
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the Touch Bar these days? Are you getting into it? What do you think of it now? And the universal opinion
⏹️ ▶️ Marco from nearly everybody seems to be either negative or kind
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of middling. I haven’t heard from anybody who loves the Touch Bar. I haven’t heard
⏹️ ▶️ Marco from anybody who’s like, man, I use it all the time, I’m so glad of all the new capabilities it offers or whatever
⏹️ ▶️ Marco else. I haven’t heard of any interesting app uses for it. And I think it’ll
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be interesting to see what Apple does with that. Because I think they’ve kind of felt this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco too that the Touch Bar did not land as well as they hoped it would. Will
⏹️ ▶️ Marco we see more options in the future such as a 15 inch Escape? more options without the Touch Bar
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for people who don’t want the Touch Bar itself or don’t want to pay the premium for it? Or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco will Apple kind of double down on it and kind of force it into the market as much as possible,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even more so than they do now, and eliminate all the options that don’t have it anymore?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I think it’s way too soon to judge the success of the Touch Bar, in no
⏹️ ▶️ Casey small part because for a lot of people, they often
⏹️ ▶️ Casey don’t buy laptops for themselves. They just use whatever laptop work issues
⏹️ ▶️ Casey them. And I can assure you that most workplaces that I’ve ever worked
⏹️ ▶️ Casey are on two to three year refresh cycles, and a lot of workplaces
⏹️ ▶️ Casey aren’t really buying touchbars yet in part because they don’t have to. And so I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey think it’s, I would say it’s not worth judging the touch bar as a success
⏹️ ▶️ Casey or a failure for at least another year, if not another two years. So for
⏹️ ▶️ Casey me, this job and the last job I was at, I was on a three-year cycle.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So every three years I get a new computer, which means I’m not getting a new computer for two more
⏹️ ▶️ Casey years. And I’ve been at my job over a year now. So I mean, we are two
⏹️ ▶️ Casey years removed from me getting a new computer, which if history tells us anything, it means
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’ll be getting the exact touch bar model that’s out right now. But you see what I’m driving at.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey It’s a long time for a lot of people to get into the Touch Bar.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I think we’re judging it way prematurely.
⏹️ ▶️ John Well, one of the things, my work made some judgment on the Touch Bar model because I am due to get a
⏹️ ▶️ John new computer, but my work refuses to buy the Touch Bar models because they perceive them to not be
⏹️ ▶️ John a good enough value upgrade over the old ones. So,
⏹️ ▶️ John work I have, I guess it’s the 2015 MacBook Pro, whatever, I don’t know the specific model that I have, But
⏹️ ▶️ John anyway, the pre Touch Bar MacBook Pros.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Does it have a force click trackpad?
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Yeah. Then it’s 2015. I’m wondering if I have a 2015.
⏹️ ▶️ John Was that literally the last one before
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco the Touch Bar?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco If it’s a 15 inch and if it has force touch, then it’s 2015. Yep,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that’s what I have. And I think that’s what you probably have too, John.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, but anyway, this is not just a company saying, oh, we’re on this upgrade cycle and we’re not thinking about
⏹️ ▶️ John buying one. It’s like, I was waiting to get the Touch Bar ones. like, well, the touch bar ones are
⏹️ ▶️ John out. And you have no more laptops in stock. So you’re gonna have to buy a new
⏹️ ▶️ John one. And when you buy a new one, like, obviously, you’re gonna buy the touch bar ones. And they were like,
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco No, they still sell the old ones.
⏹️ ▶️ John We’re not we’re not buying the touch bar ones. Why not? Well, they, they’re expensive and get worse battery life and blah, blah,
⏹️ ▶️ John blah, blah, blah. And so like, that’s a judgment call. They’re not making it based on the touch bar, the company’s deciding
⏹️ ▶️ John that these are not better enough and are worse in enough ways that they don’t want to deal with it. Now, eventually,
⏹️ ▶️ John have to be but if this touch bar spreads everywhere eventually they’ll have to buy them because they’ll have no choice but
⏹️ ▶️ John that that is not a uh i’m sure apple doesn’t like the idea that a corporation
⏹️ ▶️ John decided not to buy their new laptops and continues to buy the old ones i mean maybe that happens all the time in enterprise i don’t know
⏹️ ▶️ John um meanwhile my computer at work is eight years old it’s great pairing with my home
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but that’s what i’m saying like i think apple could solve a lot of this need by just making a couple of low-end
⏹️ ▶️ Marco configurations and making them cheaper. And then that would get people like your company
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to at least get their foot in the door for new upgrades in the new line. Because now instead of starting
⏹️ ▶️ Marco at, you know, $2,300 or whatever it starts at, now it might start at $1,900 or something like that.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s just such a hard thing. But the only thing I feel like I know
⏹️ ▶️ Casey for sure is that it’s way too early to judge. And we need a little time to kind of figure
⏹️ ▶️ Casey out whether or not this is for real. And I think one way for Apple to compel
⏹️ ▶️ Casey adoption or to compel people to take the touch bar more touch bar more seriously. Well, I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey guess two ways, one is to make them cheaper or a better value by whatever metric that may be.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And two is to just force it across the entire line. I don’t know. We’ll see. It’d
⏹️ ▶️ Casey be cool to have some hardware WWDC though. That’d be neat. I doubt it’ll happen, but it’ll be neat. It would be
⏹️ ▶️ John one thing that Marco can be optimistic about, by the way, speaking his complaints with laptops is that
⏹️ ▶️ John Apple has shown that it is willing to revise the new weird keyboard that he hates
⏹️ ▶️ John because it was released on one model of computer and then then when the new MacBook Pros came
⏹️ ▶️ John out one of the parts one of the things that was emphasized was that they had
⏹️ ▶️ John made a revision to what appears to be the same keyboard presumably in response to people
⏹️ ▶️ John using the MacBook one and not being happy with the keyboard now this has a different set of problems of being noisy and
⏹️ ▶️ John maybe they both have the problem of the keys dying or whatever but i was encouraged
⏹️ ▶️ John by the fact that they didn’t say well let’s just ship this keyboard for five more years and see how things work out they
⏹️ ▶️ John immediately revised it and attempted to improve it and so it’s not inconceivable
⏹️ ▶️ John that the next major revision maybe not this kind of speed bump you think but the next major revision of the laptop line
⏹️ ▶️ John will have yet a third iteration of the keyboard margo hates which presumably will make a different set
⏹️ ▶️ John of trade-offs and maybe be be better overall. So that’s something to watch for and potentially look forward to.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, it’s possible. I just think that, you know, they they went into the original MacBook 12
⏹️ ▶️ Marco inch one baby, whatever keyboard design, and they the goal of that was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco make this keyboard as thin as humans will tolerate. And they did and and they made
⏹️ ▶️ Marco other design decisions around that. But that was like the invariant you could not like it. Number one
⏹️ ▶️ Marco had to be thin, and all other parts of its usability were numbers 2 through N.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And with this, I think when they carried this over into the entire MacBook
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Pro line, I think that invariant held. Again, it’s like,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you can do whatever else you want to it, but it must remain super thin. Again,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco at all other costs. Make it less reliable, make us spend of fortune on warranty
⏹️ ▶️ Marco repairs make people hate this keyboard at a large scale? Well, I
⏹️ ▶️ John don’t think the reliability was a factor. Rather, it may have been a result of that, but I don’t think they factored in. I
⏹️ ▶️ John think they expected the reliability to be about the same as the old ones, and only they know for sure whether
⏹️ ▶️ John it really is, how big the scope of the problem is. But I don’t think they traded the reliability. It just turned out, perhaps,
⏹️ ▶️ John to be, oh, surprise, you made that trade-off and you didn’t realize it when you made the gaps really tight, which really has nothing
⏹️ ▶️ John to do with the thinness, because that’s like lateral width and stuff. they could have made the gaps around the keys, change
⏹️ ▶️ John the size of the key caps and make the gaps bigger, it wouldn’t have looked as nice. It’s almost like a design decision
⏹️ ▶️ John as an aesthetic design more than it is a functionality decision because that gap has
⏹️ ▶️ John no influence on, assuming that gap has anything to do with this problem, probably know it’s something entirely unrelated.
⏹️ ▶️ John But if it is that gap, they can fix that while keeping all the thinness benefits.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right, but anyways, the point is, thinness was number one priority. Everything
⏹️ ▶️ Marco else was secondary to thinness. And so it’s like when they made the revision between the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco 12-inch original keyboard and the new MacBook Pro keyboard, they said, okay, we can improve these other areas,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but you cannot make it thicker. Whatever you do, we are using
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this keyboard, damn it, and just make it tolerable a little bit more if you can. You
⏹️ ▶️ Marco know how they love to use the same keyboard everywhere. I don’t expect any revisions of this computer
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to make the keyboard significantly better because I think, I’m not a keyboard engineer,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But just seeing like the performance of this, the original MacBook One, and every other keyboard in the world,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think in order to make it better, in order to fix the problems with it, they’re probably gonna have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to go back to a scissor switch instead of these weird butterfly switches. And I don’t think you can get
⏹️ ▶️ Marco scissor switches that are this thin that are any good. I think that’s the reason they went to the switch in the first place.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So I don’t think they’re able to fix this keyboard’s biggest shortcomings
⏹️ ▶️ Marco without making it thicker, which is something that I just think there is no way
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that modern apple would ever ship a laptop that was thicker than the one that came before it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even if it made it a lot better in a lot of different ways i don’t see that happening
⏹️ ▶️ John i could change the switching mechanism underneath it yet again because that’s what they did with the thing they revised the little switchy
⏹️ ▶️ John thingy like to to have different you know feel and different sound as it turns out they could
⏹️ ▶️ John revise that little switchy thing again keeping it the same size to try to find a different balance again
⏹️ ▶️ John maybe that will or won’t help reliability depending on what the heck the problem is or if it really is, you know, how big
⏹️ ▶️ John the problem is at all. But you know, if you wait long enough, it’ll be as we as we talked about when the touch bar first
⏹️ ▶️ John came out. The other possibility is that touch bar slowly expands to fill the entire bottom of your screen and I just got
⏹️ ▶️ John two screens that close like a clamshell and you don’t have to worry about key travel anymore. The MacBook. Yes. Yep.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I don’t know. I I it’s hard to say what’s going on in, in
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Apple and Marco, it almost sounded as though, and I think I am taking this
⏹️ ▶️ Casey a half step further than you intended, but it almost sounds as though you’re attributing this to like malice or
⏹️ ▶️ Casey just unbelievable hubris. And maybe you’re right, who knows? But I think if, if I were
⏹️ ▶️ Casey to wager a guess, I think what’s really happening is Apple is saying, Hey, lighter computers are in,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey in thinner computers as well. Let’s leave lighter out of it. Then I shouldn’t have brought that up. Thinner computers, generally
⏹️ ▶️ Casey speaking, are better for everyone. I would like a thinner computer. Now, granted, I may not want to make a bunch
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of the trade-offs necessary to get it thinner. But if you said to me, you know, you don’t
⏹️ ▶️ Casey have to make any trade-offs, but would you like your computer thinner? Well, yes. Yes, I would. And everyone
⏹️ ▶️ Casey likes thinner computers. Part of the reason I want this MacBook so bad is because it’s so portable and so thin.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And I don’t know. I just, I don’t think it’s that they’re like, screw it. This is the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey new design. And if anyone else doesn’t like it, tough noogies for them. just, I think that they’re
⏹️ ▶️ Casey marching toward as thin and as light a laptop as they can possibly get. And one of the things that stands in
⏹️ ▶️ Casey their way in making that is these big switches that they’ve used classically.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And so now they have these new switches that they’re trying and they’ll iterate on it and they’ll make it better. But obviously
⏹️ ▶️ Casey there are trade-offs and, and I don’t know, I, I haven’t used one of these
⏹️ ▶️ Casey new laptops with these new switches, but I, the brief, well,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I haven’t used them for a long period of time, but the The brief times I’ve used it, I didn’t find them that offensive. I think that all the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey nerds, the same kinds of nerds that often but not always like mechanical keyboards, all
⏹️ ▶️ Casey them, kvetching and whining about the feel of this keyboard, yeah, okay, that’s to be
⏹️ ▶️ Casey expected. But I cannot remember a single time I’ve spoken to someone that’s in the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey quote-unquote real world that has been so upset about this keyboard. I’m sure those people exist,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey but I certainly personally have never noticed that. I would think it
⏹️ ▶️ Casey would make the rounds as like, oh, these Apple keyboards are garbage. Everyone agrees, if they really were that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, again, I want to be clear. First of all, I don’t think this is malice. I think this is bad design
⏹️ ▶️ Marco decisions or bad design priorities. It’s not that everyone hates the new keyboard.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Maybe even most people can tolerate it. My dislike
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of it, I’ll try to be brief because we’ve talked about this so often, But my dislike of it, I think,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco boils down to that it’s an unforced error. That they have taken this, what
⏹️ ▶️ Marco used to be fairly ignorable, like no one talked about the keyboards on Apple laptops
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for years. It was just never a thing that mattered because every laptop had a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco keyboard that was pretty good and it was fine and no one cared. And once the MacBook
⏹️ ▶️ Marco 12-inch 1 baby came out, then now all of a sudden there’s this extremely controversial
⏹️ ▶️ Marco keyboard that a lot of people are okay with, but a lot of people were like, oh my God, I hate this.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And so they took something that was not controversial and made an extreme version
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of it that was very controversial. And that was probably okay if it was only ever on
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that model but now it’s on, and which was the assumption that we all had when it came out. But
⏹️ ▶️ Marco now it’s on all the key, now it’s basically the same keyboard everywhere. Now it’s on every laptop that you buy that is new,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that has been updated in the last 20 years, now has this keyboard on it. And so it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like now there’s no more choice. This extreme polarizing thing that in this category
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that used to not be polarizing, now this is your only choice. So if you wanna keep buying modern
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Mac laptops, you now have to accept this keyboard whether you like it or not. And there’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot of people who don’t. So it’s, and nobody was really begging for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the previous generation of laptops to get thinner. They do love lighter. and thinner
⏹️ ▶️ Marco does feel great in the store and sell well. But there’s also a balance to be struck
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with, like how many people find this appealing? Do people make more errors? Does it break more
⏹️ ▶️ Marco often? Because you know what, here’s the thing, Apple might not care about the warranty costs so far
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of replacing all these dying keycaps and dead keyboards on all these laptops, but you know what, I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco as a user care quite a bit. I have bought something like, jeez, I don’t know, 10
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Apple laptops in my life so far, something in that ballpark. I’ve never had a key problem.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’ve never had a key break. That seems ridiculous to me. And now I have this MacBook Escape that’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like two months old and I already have a key problem. And so even if Apple fixes
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it for free, which they damn well will, I still have to like now go get
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it serviced. I have to be without it for a certain amount of time. I have to go through the process of getting it serviced, which is its
⏹️ ▶️ Marco own pain now with Apple because they’re so crowded now with everything. And so I, as a user,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco now I feel like I’ve bought this fragile thing. Now I’m thinking, you know, I should probably buy AppleCare
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on this, another $300 or whatever it is, because if it’s gonna be this fragile and have a key
⏹️ ▶️ Marco break after a very light use for two months, obviously this is not
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a well-built machine. And all of this is an unforced
⏹️ ▶️ Marco error, because they didn’t have to make the machines this thin. they could have just
⏹️ ▶️ Marco made them this light and made them almost this thin and given like an extra
⏹️ ▶️ Marco millimeter or whatever it would have been to have a less controversial, more
⏹️ ▶️ Marco durable keyboard in there but they didn’t and they made that choice now for the entire
⏹️ ▶️ Marco product line. So if you disagree with that choice, you now have no more options.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’d like to respond to that very quickly in two ways. One, you said unforced error, which is a
⏹️ ▶️ Casey sports reference And I don’t think we appropriately congratulated you for that, so well done.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I actually didn’t know that. I’ve only heard John say it.
⏹️ ▶️ John He’s copying me. Well, can you guess which sport it’s from, then, since you heard me say it?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I know baseball has errors, so I’m going to say baseball. Oh, good try. Is it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco exceptions in baseball? Tennis.
⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey Tennis, come on. One sport I know stuff about.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey It’s exceptions. The other thing I want to say is, you’ve said a couple times, Marco, that
⏹️ ▶️ Casey not a lot of people seem to care about thinness or why would people care about thinness? I disagree. I think thinness really
⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco Well, no, I didn’t say that.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I said it does sell well, it feels great in stores and it sells well, but ultimately weight is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco much more important and the laptops were already really thin before. So it’s like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco people weren’t crying out.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey See, but weight’s more important to you. If I carried a purse every day, thinness would be pretty darn important to me.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I don’t think that, I think you’re underselling the importance of thinness. I do agree
⏹️ ▶️ Casey fully, I completely and utterly agree that weight is more important. But I think a lot
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of times, or I would wager a lot of times that people conflate weight with thinness. And,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and, you know, especially if you’re carrying something a lot, it’s not just going in like a backpack,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it’s not just going, uh, I don’t know, in a laptop bag. You’re carrying it like
⏹️ ▶️ Casey on your personal lot, like in a purse or in the same way you would carry an iPad. That’s
⏹️ ▶️ Casey exactly why I want the MacBook. In many ways, I want the MacBook not only because
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it’s light, but also expressly because it’s so thin, because it feels like nothing.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey That’s why the Air was so cool the very first time we saw it, because it fit in that damn envelope that Steve had.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I think for, maybe not for you and maybe not for everyone, but for a lot of people, I think thinness is certainly
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, it is. But we’re talking about such small numbers. We’re talking about
⏹️ ▶️ Marco single millimeters or fractional millimeters. And it’s like, yes, thickness and thinness
⏹️ ▶️ Marco do matter, but as the absolute values of these numbers get smaller and smaller,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the relative differences matter a lot less. Because we’re talking about, like every laptop that Apple
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sells is ridiculously thin. Every laptop Apple sold before these came
⏹️ ▶️ Marco out, the entire 2012 Retina generation, was also really thin. Like,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and the MacBook Air generation before that, also really thin. Like, Apple doesn’t really sell
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a thick computer anymore.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey but that’s a competitive advantage.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, but I’m saying, like, you’re talking about the difference between, it’s literally talking about the difference of like a millimeter
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for different keyboard types. Like, that’s the scale of what we’re talking about here.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So I don’t think, and like, look at the 11-inch Air before this. The 11-inch
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Air had a regular scissor switch keyboard. And it was a really small,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco thin computer that is of similar dimensions, although again slightly larger
⏹️ ▶️ Marco as the 12-inch MacBook. But it was still like it was really close to those dimensions
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and that thickness. And so it’s like I just don’t think they needed to make this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco decision for the entire lineup and that has consequences. And what I’m saying is it was a poor design decision
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to go with this extreme polarizing option when going with something
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that was a little more mainstream acceptable, like your beloved Magic Keyboard 3 or whatever it is, like the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco current Magic Keyboard. That has scissor switches. And if they put that in the laptop,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that would be great. Wait,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I thought it didn’t. I thought it didn’t have
⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco scissor switches. So I originally
⏹️ ▶️ Casey thought it, okay, so I almost said that and then I could have sworn I was wrong. So okay, then I agree with you.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey If this thing was in a laptop, oh my God, I would be in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco heaven. Right, but they didn’t do that. And to do that would not have made the laptops that much thicker. It
⏹️ ▶️ Marco would have been a really small difference in thickness. It would have been probably zero noticeable difference weight
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because keyboards are mostly empty space they’re pretty light so it it would only have made
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it a little bit thicker probably but they didn’t do that because they made this decision for everybody
⏹️ ▶️ Marco now that that I think was a bad decision but that’s it I we don’t need to keep talking about this we don’t
⏹️ ▶️ John want to you’re losing sight of the real crime the real multi-decade crime which is using the same keyboard no matter how
⏹️ ▶️ John big the laptop is you have all this room for other keys but they cannot handle the asymmetry
⏹️ ▶️ John they just cannot handle it You can’t they can’t give us an inverted T at home and end and like nope
⏹️ ▶️ John They just not gonna happen same keyboard exact same keyboard constrained to
⏹️ ▶️ John its little rectangle No matter how big how much aluminum there is around it just sitting there with tiny
⏹️ ▶️ John little holes that look like speaker grills But aren’t really that is the real crime and that is a multi-generational
⏹️ ▶️ John multi-decade crime instead of this very recent really shallow key travel thing
⏹️ ▶️ Casey real quick real-time follow-up the The 13-inch MacBook Pro, I think I’m looking at the 13,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey one of the MacBook Pros, it doesn’t matter, is 1.49 centimeters height. The
⏹️ ▶️ Casey MacBook is a maximum of 1.31 centimeters height. So that’s a difference
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of, what is that? 18 millimeters, is that right? I can do math, it’s late, I don’t know. But
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it’s not that much to your point, Marco. It’s certainly, yeah, that too, whatever. Anyway, point is,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it’s not a lot, no matter how you slice it, and that is absolutely true. But one of the benefits of this march
⏹️ ▶️ Casey to thinness is that a person who maybe always
⏹️ ▶️ Casey carries their computer with them, be it somebody with a purse or somebody who just always has a laptop
⏹️ ▶️ Casey bag on them, maybe they always, always, always have to have a computer with them
⏹️ ▶️ Casey for whatever reason. And they might’ve been forced to in the past use
⏹️ ▶️ Casey either the underpowered MacBook or the slightly less underpowered MacBook Air. Now,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey because of Apple’s general march of thinness and toward thinness, now they can, to your point,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Marco, use a MacBook Pro because really the Delta isn’t that big in the grand scheme of things. So
⏹️ ▶️ Casey again, I think thinness does matter to everyone in ways that may not be obvious, even though
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I completely and utterly agree, I’ll say it again, that weight is the ultimate number one issue.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco In better real-time follow-up, chatroom user Jobius says, baseball errors are not called exceptions
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even though they are a failure that occurs the try catch block.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Thanks to our three sponsors this week, Betterment, Audible, and Fracture. We will see you next week.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Now the show is over, they didn’t even mean to begin, Cause
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it was accidental, oh it was accidental.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey John didn’t do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn’t let him, Cause
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it was accidental, oh it was accidental.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And you can find the show notes at atp.fm
⏹️ ▶️ John And if you’re into Twitter, you can follow them at
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So that’s Casey Liss, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M, and
⏹️ ▶️ Casey T. Marco Armin S-I-R-A-C-U-S-A
⏹️ ▶️ John Syracuse It’s accidental,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’m excited for WWDC. It’s gonna be weird this year. It’s gonna be super weird being in a new place.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, it’s gonna be really weird, but I’m also really excited about it because, you know, A,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s new, it’s different. B, we’re doing a live show and I’m super excited about that. I got to buy a whole
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey bunch of cool
⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey That’s not why I’m excited, but I am still excited.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And C, if any of the rumors are correct about
⏹️ ▶️ Marco either hardware or software, it’s going to be a big one. And I’m looking forward to that.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m excited. As much as I seem skeptical of a lot of things that Apple does
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in recent times, they also do a whole bunch of stuff I’m really excited about. And this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is one of the biggest events of the year. I would say probably the second biggest. I think the biggest is probably
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the fall event where they announce new iPhones and stuff. But this is probably the second biggest event of the year
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and lots of stuff is gonna probably be mentioned that’s gonna be really cool and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m just looking forward to that. We might even, you know, like Tipster says, we might even get the the new Mac Pro teased, who knows
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if that’s the case, but I just I’m just really excited about whatever it is because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like even if they only deliver on like a quarter of the rumored things that’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco still gonna be really cool.
⏹️ ▶️ John I agree with you. I will be incredibly surprised if there is anything that they can that
⏹️ ▶️ John they could even tease about for the Mac Pro like even like a logo with words
⏹️ ▶️ John not even not even like a glimpse of the computer or anything about it but I would surprise that they haven’t even had time to do
⏹️ ▶️ John that it just seems like they maybe wouldn’t want to remind us about that fiasco
⏹️ ▶️ John at this time especially if they have tons of other stuff to announce so I’m not looking forward to that. The thing I think I’m most looking forward
⏹️ ▶️ John to is hopefully improved weather because I’m always tired of like being cold in June
⏹️ ▶️ John is just not right. And and it’s the kind of weather where it’s not really cold, cold.
⏹️ ▶️ John So you don’t bring like your warm clothes, but then like suddenly you’re out and it’s like one a.m. and you’re freezing. You’re like, why
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, that’s that’s why they always give everybody jackets. And everybody you see, because like
⏹️ ▶️ John those jackets are the cruelest jackets because they’re like, oh, this jacket, like you’ll be baking in the sun in the middle
⏹️ ▶️ John of the day in that jacket. But if you wear that jacket all night, you will eventually be freezing in it. So it’s a cruel
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Oh yeah, I have a whole
⏹️ ▶️ Marco stack of them in my closet that I just never wear because it’s always either too
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sweaty or too uninsulated for whatever
⏹️ ▶️ John condition I’m in. Or it has no pockets like that one year.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Do we want to talk about this Steven Levy new Apple new campus Apple Park
⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John thing? I didn’t read that yet. Neither did I. I opened
⏹️ ▶️ John it and I scrolled the page and I went, ugh, one of those.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, here’s the thing. I don’t really care about Apple’s office building. I think
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s cool that they do stuff like this, that they put so much thought into it, but I think it’s also arguable
⏹️ ▶️ Marco based on some of the reporting coming out of this that maybe this was a massive distraction
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for them and especially for people like Johnny Ive. And maybe it’s better that Johnny Ive was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco busy doing this instead of making our keyboards even worse, but I don’t know. We’re making our Mac Pros
⏹️ ▶️ Marco even less useful, but it is certainly arguable that this has been a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco massive distraction for a lot of top people at Apple. But other than that,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t really care about the details because I’m probably never going to be allowed inside
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the giant ring and I’m probably never going to work there.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So I don’t think it’s ever really going to affect me.
⏹️ ▶️ John It’ll be a great place to probably settle in in the end times if you’re
⏹️ ▶️ John able to secure that facility and protect it from the zombies and the chuds because it’ll be like
⏹️ ▶️ John fairly self-sustaining and probably have like nice views and be secure and look kind
⏹️ ▶️ John of cool. So look forward to that being a good apocalypse bunker.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey You know, it’s interesting having read the article. I do think it’s worth reading. But
⏹️ ▶️ Casey what I found interesting about it was that you can read it two ways, right?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey You can read it as this is the epitome of Apple taking
⏹️ ▶️ Casey things seriously. They’re just taking the stuff seriously. Even stuff like the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey handles on the doors they take seriously and it matters to them. And that’s just
⏹️ ▶️ Casey admirable and respectable how seriously they take even the most minute
⏹️ ▶️ John well, there’s a line between admirable, respectable and pathological. That’s I think the line.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey exactly that’s exactly where I was going with this. Or you can say, this is just freaking crazy
⏹️ ▶️ Casey pants that they are going this deep on these stupid decisions that
⏹️ ▶️ Casey really don’t matter. Like,
⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t think it’s the fact that they matter or not. Like I go, you shouldn’t be worried about that. I think it turns
⏹️ ▶️ John on the sort of anti pattern that you see with a lot of these fancy buildings.
⏹️ ▶️ John They should care about these things and they should care about all the details. And I think it is not like beneath their
⏹️ ▶️ John level of concern because it’s just a doorknob. I think the problem is from my perspective anyway, that
⏹️ ▶️ John Apple doesn’t have a lot of experience building buildings.
⏹️ ▶️ John And when you go from one domain where you’re building a computer hardware or things related to that and go
⏹️ ▶️ John into another domain and say, just because we care a lot and we have a lot of money, we will be able to
⏹️ ▶️ John produce a building that fulfills our desires, but also
⏹️ ▶️ John functions in a way that fits with that. And one of the best examples is the
⏹️ ▶️ John status center at MIT. What is his name? Frank Gehry or whatever, the guy who makes those buildings look
⏹️ ▶️ John like they’re falling down. If you just Google for it, you’ll see the picture of it. And it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John very strange and interesting looking from the outside, and it is also strange from the inside.
⏹️ ▶️ John And regardless of what you think of the aesthetics and the style and the statement that it’s making, as a building,
⏹️ ▶️ John because of those design decisions, which were probably expensive to have him do and all these non-rectilinear
⏹️ ▶️ John walls and all this weird stuff. It fails in some of the basic functions of buildings, like for example sight lines
⏹️ ▶️ John for certain places where you can see downwards into the bathroom on another floor. That’s failing as a building.
⏹️ ▶️ John Doors with motion sensor things, which because of the way everything’s connected, it’s possible to trip them and open
⏹️ ▶️ John a supposedly secure door because there are gaps or other things that
⏹️ ▶️ John allow the motion sensor to be triggered. It’s failing as a building. So when I see Apple
⏹️ ▶️ John spending all this money on tables and doorknobs and stuff like that. I don’t think it’s because those things are Below the level
⏹️ ▶️ John of concern they shouldn’t worry about and they should just accept it I have just have little faith that no matter how much money and
⏹️ ▶️ John and you know especially if it’s a Johnny Ive type thing and style they put into this design
⏹️ ▶️ John that It’s not going to work as well as a building if you had just taken the standard
⏹️ ▶️ John Contractor office door because the standard contractor office doors have had years and years to be honed like
⏹️ ▶️ John this is the right balance between between reliability and cost over time. This door is gonna work,
⏹️ ▶️ John the knob is gonna work, it’s gonna fulfill the function, it’s gonna last you five, 10 years and you won’t have to replace it,
⏹️ ▶️ John as opposed to this beautiful artisanal door handle that you’ve designed that no one else has installed that
⏹️ ▶️ John like Marco’s keyboard, six months later, the doors aren’t working anymore. And that’s, but the status center
⏹️ ▶️ John is like a flagship for that, because you spend all this money and all this time and all this prestige of this fancy architecture
⏹️ ▶️ John to this thing, and it fails as a building. Someone in the chat room says it also leaks. Like,
⏹️ ▶️ John you’re, you’re, oh, and a lot of the Frank Lloyd Wright office buildings were like that too, the big lily pad thing, like, and leaks and stuff. It’s like,
⏹️ ▶️ John this office building looks really cool and has all these great architectural aspects, but it doesn’t keep the rain out. That seems pretty
⏹️ ▶️ John important. And I don’t think that’s a smart trade-off to make. Now, it could be that Apple has spent all this time and money
⏹️ ▶️ John and actually has gotten all these things right. But in every area where they innovate,
⏹️ ▶️ John innovate, quote, in every area where they do something different than every other office building, if it hasn’t been done a million times before
⏹️ ▶️ John by other people’s office buildings, I worry about it. In the same way that it was a no-brainer to predict problems with the Tesla
⏹️ ▶️ John Model X’s gullwing or eaglewing or whatever they are, falconwing, sorry, falconwing doors, it was a no-brainer
⏹️ ▶️ John to predict there would be problems with that because that’s not how every other car door in the world is made and you’re not going
⏹️ ▶️ John to get it right on your first try. It seems to me that if Apple is doing anything in this building that hasn’t been done
⏹️ ▶️ John many, many times before, but is being done for the very first time in this building,
⏹️ ▶️ John those things are going to have problems, and that’s probably not a good trade-off. Now, it’s possible that they pulled it off
⏹️ ▶️ John and this building is like the iPhone, where they just nailed it. Like, they did an amazing new thing,
⏹️ ▶️ John and they got so much right about it that it overwhelms any possible problems that it has. And it’ll be great.
⏹️ ▶️ John But it’s also possible this will be a beautiful round status center.