Adam, Jerod, and Tim get together to put a spotlight on Apple’s October 30th Mac/iPad event from a developer’s perspective. They cover the specs of the new MacBook Air and the viability of having it as a development machine, the new Mac Mini in the ever popular Space Gray, and whether or not Tim will be able to stop pulling his hair out to find an affordable, yet powerful desktop machine with it, and the gorgeous new iPad Pro.
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Play the audio to listen along while you enjoy the transcript. 🎧
Welcome to the Apple special event October 30th, the day before Halloween. We have [unintelligible 00:00:23.10] in the Brooklyn area, the Brooklyn Academy of Music at Howard Gilman Opera House; it was bangin’. It started out with an ode to New York that was super-cool, and I kind of missed a little bit of it; I’m just taking the note that was there from Tim… So Tim, why was it so cool? Why was this ode to New York City so cool to you?
Well, I am a lover of New York City…
…because the city is just like – I don’t know, I guess people like me romanticize what New York City is, the feel that you have in the city, and the different sights of it, and I feel like that first video really did a good job of playing to that, and setting the stage, basically, of the fact that this event took place in New York.
I can’t disagree. Jerod, we were recently in New York together, man… Last November, actually. So close to this timeframe too, which is, in my opinion – that was my first time to New York City, so I have to say it was the best time to go… Because the weather was so perfectly better than it would have been in Texas, which is typically humid and hot, at least here in Houston… I don’t know about Omaha for you, I know it can kind of get colder there, but for me it was a familiar change because of the missing of fall here. I’m typically a North-Easterner. I was from - I still am from - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so for me it was like going home, but to New York City, and November… It was just before the Thanksgiving holiday, so you’ve got all this stuff happening… And the city definitely is a magical place, and it made me feel like I can be better a better creative just being in the city alone. The city has this beat, this hum, this buzz, this vibe that just speaks to creatives… And what better way to kick off this kind of thing for Apple than to do it in New York, where you would introduce brand new Macs, and new iPad Pros, and all this new stuff that’s for creatives…
Well, here’s one reason why I think maybe it wasn’t the best for creatives…
Oh… Always bringing it, Jerod… I love it. Always bringing your side. Always. [laughter]
Because 9 AM Central, which has to be 7 AM Pacific time… I mean, creatives wanna sleep. We like our coffee in the morning, we like to ease into the day…
I’m not claiming I know what everybody is like, but I’m just saying… Our chat room was a little quieter than usual… I think that’s because people are just kind of getting ready for their day, and then it’s like Bam! Apple event. Right there, first thing.
I can’t disagree with that.
I’m more of a morning person than you are, Adam, and you were here at 9 AM, ready to listen… So I’m guessing you had to set an alarm, or at least think about getting up. What was your routine?
I just had to speed up my morning routine, really. I’m up early. I’m just not ready to work until like ten… Nine-thirty, ten. That’s when my voice warms up, that’s when my brain warms up. I need at least an hour to boot. It takes me a bit to get to full capacity. But I went to bed earlier last night than my norm, which is good, and I woke up – I don’t know, like eight(ish), I guess, so I guess it’s a little earlier for me… But it was worth it, because I mean, for one, being at this call prepared, we had some notes in the background, which was great, we had a live #AppleNerds channel in Slack… So if you’re listening to this either now, live, or in the future, we have a channel dedicated to Apple nerds. Jerod, I think you started this channel a while back, and I was like “Okay…” I mean, I’m an Apple nerd too, but I never thought we’d actually have deeper commentary in there, because we’ve never traditionally been Apple fanboys, or Apple fanpeople, so to speak… I mean, definitely users, but never like–
We’ve gotta create content around Apple. As a matter of fact, this is the first time we’re ever doing anything event(ish) live alongside of Apple’s events. This is a first for us.
And we’re going on Spotlight, which is great… But yeah, my mornings are typically a little later. You know what, in the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, embrace who you are. If you’re gonna sleep in a little bit, kill at the rest of the hours of the day. That’s what I do. I work my face off when I’m up.
Well, you’re awake now, and I think I definitely woke up as soon as the announcement started, because there was a whole bunch of stuff that was announced… Everything that was announced was exciting; the only downer portion of the event, for me, where I lose interest and go start merging pull requests is during the Apple Retail section; that’s just not my bag.
But I wanna say, we haven’t covered Apple in the past… Oh, you see what I did there with the bag? It’s not my shopping cart. We haven’t really covered too much of this stuff in the past; we definitely are internally users of Apple products, for different things… Of course, we also use other manufacturers’ products. That being said – and we know there’s a lot of commentary around these events, and around Apple in general, and we don’t wanna be a me-too or an also-ran in that category; I think we wanna bring a little bit of a different perspective, because we are developers, we are podcasters, and we’re really going to look at Apple’s announcements through that lens, specifically developer-focused commentary, because that’s what we are and that’s what we do… And because of that, I think this event got us three super-excited, more so than WWDC, even though I’m typically more of a software person than a hardware person, so I tend to get geeked about WWDC… But man, everything here, I’m just like, “Shut up and take my money.” [laughter]
We need the hardware, and we need Apple to remain a company focused on hardware that delivers for creatives. Since you’ve just mentioned developer, it may jump the gun a little bit, but the shout-out to 1Password - such a dedicated team to great software, out of Canada… Amazing team. They have continued to be a number one must install application for literally all devices for me. So they got a shout-out for that around the Touch ID section, which was later for the MacBook Air, and I’m definitely jumping the gun, but that was pretty cool.
Let’s just say if 1Password were publicly traded, I’d buy their stock right now, for sure.
I’ll give a little 1Password shout-out to you all for making awesome software. Let’s make about the event and what was announced. First of all, we’ll just say up front - MacBooks, if you haven’t heard… Brand new MacBook, much-anticipated, still selling a non-retina MacBook – sorry, I said MacBook, but MacBook Air… Mac mini, which was the most amazing part, and then an iPad Pro that is just like “Holy cow… Can I use that to write software? Because I need an excuse to buy that thing.” [laughter] But let’s start where Apple started, with the Mac and with the MacBook Air. Who’s got the stats open and can give us the rundown of what all this device – starting at $1,199 now…
Go ahead, Tim. Take it.
Tim, tell us about it.
[08:00] Oh… Shoot, I’m caught off-guard here, but yeah. So the MacBook Air comes in a whole new 100% recycled aluminum enclosure, which was to me one of the biggest announcements that had to do with the MacBook Air, and really all the Mac announcements that they made. I don’t think they said the same thing for the iPad, right?
I think it was assumed…
If they did, I missed it. They definitely called it out for the Mac mini and the MacBook Air.
I think that might be just a trend that they sort of just pointed back to, the same recycled stuff… But I don’t think they said explicitly, no. What’s cool about that though is that it’s now, I would say, a more sturdy body than maybe previous generations… This is an all-new alloy. I mean, leave it to Apple to go to such great lengths to say that it’s not only from fully-recycled aluminum, but also a brand new alloy. That’s crazy.
Yeah. And now the MacBook Air only comes in one option, the 13.3-inch LED-backlit display. One of the notes here that was talked about was the bezel. Adam didn’t seem to really think that the bezel shrunk enough… I disagree with that; I feel like this new bezel is really thin. I mean, it looks very similar to all their other MacBook bezels, which – I don’t know how they could shrink that bezel more…
Okay, fine… Listen… I disagree with my original agreement, because that was based on–
[laughs] You disagree with yourself.
Yeah, I disagree with my original notes. I’m taking it back; it was premature. It was meant to be a future note, not a declaration. However, I was bummed it didn’t seem like it shrunk much. That’s why I put in quotes “much”. You quickly disagree, and I don’t disagree with your disagreement, but in comparison, I did say that it also did shrink plenty, which is great, because we always want less bezel around the screen, and you can see when they went from old to new, the bezel shrunk significantly. Plus, the previous generation was the silver color around it.
You always have to compete with where the screen was, and I like now how it’s become a standard of having the black bezel around the screen. I think that’s the best way to go.
It’s definitely better than the silver, yeah.
Regardless of what color you choose of a device, whether it’s a XS Max, or a XS, or whatever, the black bezel in my opinion – they’ve given other colors: they’ve had white, they’ve had rose gold, they’ve had others for different devices, and I think when you just put that black bezel around a screen, it’s the best way to do it.
Yeah, I agree. Now they also brought in Touch ID for the MacBook Air, which is awesome. I want Touch ID everywhere, to be honest with you. I wish that there was a way for them to put Touch ID in their Bluetooth-connected keyboards, but I understand that from an engineering points, that’s–
Security probably, too…
Yeah, and security… It’s almost impossible.
Here’s one thing I wanna say on this part here… I know this is new. Do either of you own an Apple Watch?
Okay. The unlock feature from the Apple Watch to any Mac is amazing.
It’s pretty great.
Right? I kind of prefer that over the touch. I like to connect and be me to the watch, and let the watch act as me, so sans Touch ID… However, I do agree that it is pretty cool to have Touch ID.
[12:00] Here’s the big point, I think, with regards to this particular feature… On the MacBook Air, the brand new MacBook Air, which is not a Pro device, it has Touch ID in the keyboard, and it also has a hardware Escape button. So there’s no touch bar; they’ve just put the Touch ID in there, which is kind of what we all really wanted in the first place for the Pro’s, and a hardware Escape button. I think a lot of developers, especially us Vim users - although I have adjusted to the touch bar’s Escape… I just basically tap it like three times now, instead of once…
It’s just not the same though…
Just to make sure that I – yeah, you just can’t get that satisfaction of like just drilling escape in anger like you can with the hardware button…
But I think this makes it very attractive for developers, especially Vim users, because they don’t lose their beloved Escape, and get the avenge of Touch ID, although I admit, with the Apple Watch, I use the Touch ID less than previously… That being said, it is nice for Apple Pay and for points where the watch doesn’t work, like the request of fallback authentication. It’s nice to have that.
Right. Almost zero. It’s almost reduced to zero for the Touch ID if you’ve authenticated… Originally you have to start with your password, and then you can use Touch ID from that point on, similar to when you restart a phone, with similar – like, now it’s Face ID, where before it was Touch ID…
The cool thing on the developer front too is the accessibility. $1,200. $1,199 is the starting price. Most developers, or even brand new people who want to come into the software world - that’s an approachable price. I mean, several thousand dollars for a MacBook Pro is not, whereas this is like, it’s pretty much all you need, and you get the tactile escape key, as you said you need and I totally agree. I’ve embraced the touch bar. I don’t love it, but I think it’s kind of cool. It has future opportunities…
It’s taken me about a year, but I’ve started to find specific use cases. I like the emoji picker… There’s certain things where – I like if you’re watching YouTube and you go into full-screen mode, you still have access to the scrubber via the touch bar.
There are just certain things that took – it took me a year, maybe nine months before I used it for anything, except for angrily hitting escape. But it’s starting to slowly work its way into my life, in ways that I could definitely live without, but in ways that I think are additive, and not just subtracting.
What’s the entry-level MacBook Pro price? I’m trying to grab it… Because we were talking about accessibility in terms of affording a device like this – I mean, $1,200, which is the entry-level new MacBook Air, still isn’t super affordable. It’s still a high-end starting price, especially now that you have a Mac mini that starts at $800, you can cobble together an old screen and a keyboard and you have an even cheaper way in to development… But definitely a cheap way, $1,199 - a nice price, but it’s not like you can’t get into development for cheaper… Right, Adam? There’s tons of other devices you could do…
Right… The entry-level MacBook Pro, which is a 2,3Ghz dual-core processor, all the specs, whatever - $1,299. So we’re talking about $100 more.
And actually, comparing those prices as an entry-level, one, that doesn’t include – that’s the older model, 13-inch, that’s sans the touch bar… So you’re not getting the latest gen. If you look at it and you say “Give me the latest gen MacBook Pro at the cheapest price”, I think we’re looking at $1,799. That’s the latest quad-core processor, 8th generation versus 7th… It’s still an i5 processor, but when you go over to the Air being $1,199, it just is an accessible price.
I really do think that this computer feels like the ideal portable developer machine, because the specs seem to be just right for what you would need to do most development, web and software at least… And the size of this thing is just wonderful. Didn’t it say that it weighs something like 2,75 pounds? That’s just crazy to me.
It’s basically nothing. It’s basically zero.
And I love that it has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, so you can hook it up to an external display if you want to… And I also love that they’re doing the three different colors, especially space grey. I wish they’d make something matte black, but I’ll take space grey.
Tim, you’ve left this note for the Thunderbolt ports here; you were glad they did this instead of USB-C, like MacBook…
…which I totally agree. Because if you’re gonna give USB-C and not Thunderbolt 3 on a Mac, I’m gonna punch you. [laughter] Seriously… Like, who wants USB 3.0 speeds, or 3.1 speeds, or whatever? Give me Thunderbolt 3 options, or I’m super-angry. Don’t even give me the peripheral. At that point just take it away.
So what kind of stuff are you all plugging in that you would like the Thunderbolt speeds?
Drives. Primarily drives.
Drives and displays.
Yeah, drives and displays, or multiple displays… I mean, you don’t wanna plug in any drive that has Thunderbolt 3 at USB 3.1 speeds. You just don’t. In most pro cases, you’re doing a RAID setup, and the point of it is access to an external drive that has much more expandability, at a cheaper than Apple price point, with speed. That’s the point. And if you take that away, it’s just – you should have kept it.
I definitely agree, it’s good to have it in there. I think for an entry-level MacBook Air, which aside from the new Mac mini, is I think the cheapest way into an Apple laptop, besides going back to previous models or buying used… It’s awesome that they’ve put it in there, and maybe it didn’t cost them any extra to do the Thunderbolt versus just the typical USB 3.1.
I think it comes down to the motherboard really; it’s what enables that. I’m not sure what they had to do to engineer that, but it comes down to the bus and the motherboard speed, and all the things it has to do in addition to, say, faster battery life, or better speakers… All this space that just gets munged into this 13.3 inch brand new aluminum alloy 100%, whatever… You’ve got a lot to shove in there, and I agree, I’m really glad they did whatever it was necessary, because I can’t imagine what it is. I’m not that level of smart, but I do appreciate it, because that’s critical. This machine, the MacBook Air, in my opinion is probably – I almost regret buying a MacBook Pro. Almost.
I think there are a few more of these stats in agreement with Tim on the idea that this might be the ultimate importable development environments, unless you wanna get something that’s in the super-low price range… Because it’s still $1,200, it’s not super-low… But like Tim said, 2,75 pounds, crazy light. It’s 17% smaller than the previous MacBook Air, which was the skinniest thing they made anyways in laptop size.
[20:11] That being said, I was wondering, are they gonna keep the Air moniker, because the MacBook Pro’s are so small now. Does the MacBook Air actually feel like it’s airy? And I think 2,75 pounds says yes, but the all-day battery life, interestingly, 13 hours of movie playback and 12 hours of web browsing playback, which is crazytown…
So the web – come on, web devs… We’re just killing people’s batteries out there… And we know that we have GPU and other specific playback encodings on chips, and stuff… So they’re optimizing video playback, whereas the web just does its thing.
Yeah, I didn’t notice that stat, actually. That’s a good point.
Yeah, you get an extra hour if you’re watching movies versus if you’re browsing the web. Maybe they should do that test with an ad blocker on, and you’ll probably get a lot more web browsing. [laughter]
Hang on, is that video on YouTube? Because that is the web… At least if you’ve got a browser opened up…
…because there is no need of a YouTube app.
It remains to be seen.
Yeah, I would think that when they say “video playback”, they’re talking about their native–
Yes, something inside of – yeah, exactly. Anyway…
Well, I would say that that’s such a more controllable environment, right? You can control the H.264, H.265 codec so much easier than anybody can create it on the web-web.
Even then though, even if they were talking about YouTube, I don’t think that that number would be a more drastic hog on your battery necessarily…
My only concern would be ads. The rotation of ads. If you’re a non-premium YouTube user, you’re gonna have ads, you’re gonna have other things happening inside the playback, which is like the smart, clickable options, and just different things. That would change that to a more dynamic video than just a straight through codec…
But still, those things are hyper-optimized.
The internet is definitely not hyper-optimized… [laughs]
I said “And the web is not… “, and that’s the moral of the story here.
Is music an important feature for you when you have playback with a device like that? Are you listening to much music from your actual MacBook speakers?
Not me personally.
Either AirPods, or… Most of the music I listen to is on my iPhone, which is next to me… I mean, I do turn on music on the Mac, and I guess I listen to other speakers, but it’s usually background noise, so it’s not a huge concern… But if they can get a lot louder, that’s always nice. They have the Hi-Fi speakers… I missed most of that section and I’m not sure what all that entails, but the speakers are better than the previous generation.
I would say that the speakers are good in the cases of when you’re doing conferencing with people… Because that’s where maybe you have headphones on; you don’t have to, because they have noise-canceling, and what comes out of the speakers can go back into the mic kind of situation, so… Hearing people better when you’re on the road, which is the whole point of a laptop, or in this case a MacBook (you’ve gotta be on-brand), is that you can actually hear something.
[23:39] Maybe you have your AirPods on, maybe you have headphones on, since it does actually have the headphone jack, which we haven’t mentioned - they could have maybe gone a little thinner, I guess, if they removed that… Which they seem to refuse to do on their hardware. I mean, kudos to them, because I still use it, but to me, if I had to buy a brand new machine today, that was like “Okay, Adam, take this thing and it’s your to-go studio. Maybe you can do some development on it, of course… To-go studio, run Audition…” I don’t do much in Photoshop these days. I couldn’t – I think based on the specs along (and I’m just assuming here), I could buy a MacBook Air and still take it with me and do all the necessary audio creative things we do, as well as the development creative things we do here at Changelog.
So this would be an all-in-one machine. I do think you’d only go with MacBook Pro if you wanted to have so much more RAM, so much more processing power… That’s where it’s at.
I was gonna say, the real sticky point is the RAM. It maxes out at 16 GB of RAM, which you can definitely get by on, but in 2018 for a brand new development environment, you may think 32 GB is really gonna feel better…
The SSD is fine, up to 1.5 terabytes. That’s plenty for me, as a developer. Maybe if I’m not recording 4K video and using it in and out – but you probably have external drives at that point.
I was wondering, could I do everything I do on this device? And I would say “Yes”, with the caveat of “I might want more RAM…” And then, secondly, even my MacBook Pro, honestly - I have a 13-inch MacBook Pro, last year’s model… Even it, the processor, gets taxed when I’m doing – not when I’m developing, except for during compiling and tests, of course… But when I’m streaming, and stuff. If I’m trying to stream to Twitch and keep a Skype call going, and doing these different things, that’s when my MacBook Pro can’t handle it, and I think “Man, I just need something beefier. I need a Mac Pro, or iMac Pro.”
Describe “can’t handle it.” It’s just the fans, or…?
My CPU is chilling at like 85%, 90%, 100%, and my fans and going off, and my hands are sweating, because I’m on the keyboard…
The heat is coming from it… The heat is on…
Yeah. I’ve gotta take my T-shirt off, otherwise I start to pit out, that kind of thing…
Come on, now… Keep it friendly.
Okay, alright. That’s how to verbalate. Painting a picture…
I do think though if the MacBook Air isn’t your primary machine, it is ideal for what Adam just explained. As a conference-going machine, it’s perfect.
And actually, also a caveat - I’m chilling on 16 gigs of RAM on this machine as well, so I know what that feels like, and I can suffer it. There’s times where I think I’m swapping… I’ve seen it swap, but for the most part, it’s fine. It’s not ideal, but it’s fine. The mobility, the portability… The thing is as sexy as it’ll get; I love the way it looks. I think it’s an excellent developer device.
Tim, I think you asked in the notes of our doc, “Does the new MacBook Pro even have the T2 security chip, and it does. They’re definitely bringing it home there to me. They didn’t spare any expense. I would wanna scrutinize the profitability level of this machine for them, because they’ve put so much into it… And Apple is typically known for high margins, and that’s what makes them a likable stock from the mainstream stock market arena… Not much of a developer conversation, for sure, but sustainability is, so in that case I would be curious to know what their margins are on this, because they really have put so much into it, and they’ve even given us way more by saying “Okay, you’ve definitely revolted against the touch bar. We’ll take it away, but we’ll still give you Touch ID.” T2 security chip, decent RAM, decent CPU, all-day battery life, smaller, thinner, lighter, aluminum alloy - all these things crammed into this machine.
It’s like they said, “You love this machine? Fine. We’re gonna keep it, and we’re gonna put everything we can into it, and we’re gonna love you back… And give it to you for $1,200. Take that.”
[28:15] “We’re gonna love you back?” You’re anthropomorphizing quite a bit there… [laughter]
Well, I mean, people have been buying this machine even sans Retina, because they love it so much.
“Are you lonely? Do you need love? Buy a MacBook Air, it’ll love you back.” Maybe you should work for their sales team.
Well… Maybe so.
I’m just messing with you. So maybe it changes the question… I think the question I’ve always asked myself when buying a new laptop is “Can I get away with a MacBook Air?” And I think maybe the question now is “Why buy a MacBook Pro?” versus “Why not buy a MacBook Air?” because I think this is the starting point for any decision if you’re already decided to go MacOS. “Well, do I need portability?” because then you might go Mac mini at this point… But for Apple laptops, the question is “Why buy the Pro? What am I getting there?”
Well, here you go… I’m gonna go fully spec out a MacBook Air, give it everything I can, max it out. It maxes at $2,599.
Still expensive, but that’s 16 gr– not 16 grams… 16 GB of RAM, 1.5… Why the 1.5? Weird… 1.5 of SSD storage… And that’s all you can tweak - memory and storage. You can’t tweak CPU; you’re getting a 1.6Ghz dual-core 8th generation core i5, with Turbo Boost up to 3.6Ghz - that’s decent; it’s common. It’s a common outline.
I think the other reason you would go to a MacBook Pro would simply be to tweak your CPU. Maybe you need those CPUs; you need more cores, more than dual-core. Maybe you need quad-core, or whatever further up… That would be the reason why, is you need more CPU.
So on the 13-inch MacBook Pro maxed out, it’s $3,700, and you’re still only at 16 GB of RAM. That just seems like “What’s the point? I’ve maxed one of those out…” What about the 15-inch…? I think things change…
Don’t even max that thing out… Gosh, I think it’s really expensive, yeah.
The 15 can go up to 32, isn’t it?
Well, you can get to almost $7,000. $6,699 for a totally maxed out 15-inch MacBook Pro.
Yeah, and I think at that point you’ve got 64 GB of RAM, I wanna say, with the 15-inch model…?
- So you can go up to 32 there.
I thought it was 15-inch you could go up to…
It doesn’t seem so. 32 gigs is the max, at least on their options here…
You are getting the upgrade Radeon Pro… I think this is truly for somebody that’s graphics-intensive. I wouldn’t recommend a MacBook Air to somebody who’s really kicking it on Photoshop, or into any 3ds Max, or anything that’s really GPU-heavy, many more monitors… I’m assuming this, at least in the monitor front, it may be able to be capable for dual 5K monitors, or something like that… But I would say anything video - video people are not gonna be grabbing this MacBook Air. They’re gonna try, but I think they may have it for, say, somebody who is on the video team that needs to do some stuff occasionally, that can be okay with puttering here and there. But anything that needs to be quick…
Yeah, you could do a quick edit on the MacBook Air…
Yeah, I mean, and you’re gonna embrace it… But a daily machine, you’re gonna be like “Man, this sucks. I’d rather spend the extra grand or two maybe to get something that’s more capable.”
[32:01] Right, right. But that’s what I’m saying - like we were talking about before, as a portable, conference-going machine for what we do… I mean, we could totally do a quick edit of a video on this, on location, for sure.
Yeah, so it makes it an affordable can-also kind of machine, but not daily. Definitely affordable on that front, affordable on the weight front, and I will even venture to say that maybe our AI folks, machine learning folks are saying “This Air is probably great for me, too” because you still have the necessary USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, so I can eGPU it externally still yet, and still get a (for better or worse) $1,200 machine and still eGPU and add on things.” I’m assuming the I/O is there for those external ML tasks. This is still a dev-friendly machine, even for those.
You have to mention at this point a lot of the real heavy machine learning deals you can run on an EC2 instance, or on Azure… The real heavy lifting - you usually don’t run it on your laptop anyhow; you’re just accessing the results, and for that you’re in good company here.
Maybe we should move on to part two, because we could probably talk about the MacBook Air all day, but…
…but come on, the Mac mini…! It’s been four, five years…? An eternity.
It seriously has been too long. As an owner of many, many generations, current owner of four… As a matter of fact, we’re speaking right now through a few Mac minis… We use them as Skype machines every single day to do live broadcasts and to do our recording. It’s part of a system that just works for us, so we have networked Mac minis, four of them, that all feed back into our multi-channel interface.
They’re essentially Skype machines. I call them cloud microphones, basically, because that’s what it is; each one is a cloud microphone. It allows me to connect people in the cloud to here locally, as a local mic, via the audio in and out. If it weren’t for those machines, our setup would be just a little less professional, let’s just say…
And I don’t think – we don’t really need to upgrade to a this newest version of Mac mini. I don’t think our needs in that case need this new Mac mini. However, for anyone holding on to who’s bought the oldest trash can possible Mac Pro, and just kept it because – you know, it does look sexy; it is a very nice machine, and you’ve kept it, or you’ve desired to keep it, or desired to go back onto the market of eBay and buy one because you don’t wanna buy the non-existent Mac Pro now, and you want Pro-type server related stuff to the Mac mini of today, prior to today, real-today couldn’t handle, then you probably either went Hackintosh, you probably went PC, and you’re not too much [unintelligible 00:35:20.00] in our show because the Mac mini just didn’t compete for you. Or you pushed to Mac mini and just bought two versus one, I don’t know… But the current Mac mini is pretty freakin’ awesome.
Let’s talk about what was announced.
Yeah, of the specs. So it starts with four cores. You can go up to six cores. This to me feels like Apple is listening to its customers. I was shocked that it starts with four cores. Also, space grey - amazing. Again, I would love matte black, but I’ll settle for space grey. 64 GB of memory… Now, can someone explain to me what SO-DIMMs mean?
Somebody who’s not named Jerod. [laughs] He did make a point of saying “It’s got SO-DIMMs”, so I’m sure listeners out there know what that is, but I don’t…
[laughs] Okay. Because I didn’t understand what that was all about. Alright, so it starts with 256 SSD; you can go up to 2 TB. It also has the T2 security chip, which I’m wondering – I always felt that the T2 chip was mostly for Touch ID, but I guess it’s not. It also does some encryption on the drives, right?
To rewind a little bit, I can explain the SO-DIMMs… [laughter]
I’m over here on Wikipedia also, looking up SO-DIMMs…
I think it’s worth mentioning, just simply because I’m assuming it’s of similar speed, but not of similar size. So when you talk about the DIMMs that go in for the RAM, then the SO-DIMM, they call it Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module. It’s the type that can be just a smaller alternative to the typical DIMM that you put into, say, maybe a laptop… You may see some laptops out there pushing it, and doing the SO-DIMMs in there, but in probably most cases you’re going with probably just full DIMMs, if that’s the case… [laughter]
So SO-DIMM is basically just a smaller version of what’s typically known as RAM.
Form factor-wise at least, but your question was?
Well, I wanted to know what SO-DIMM was, so you mentioned that…
So they’re basically just like regular RAM DIMMs, but they’re half the size, so they fit better into smaller spaces, like in the Mac mini. I don’t know why customers would care so much. Maybe they’re popping them open and replacing them, I don’t know…
Yeah, I think that’s definitely mentioned as an earmark for “Hey, if you plan to crack this open, you’re gonna deal with SO-DIMMs.” And I’m assuming you can crack it open. I’m also assuming, based on this conversation, or at least what they’ve shown so far, that the form-factor hasn’t changed… Because one thing that would really chap my butt is if the form factor of the new Mac mini changes so much that you couldn’t use all of the existing rack mount options out there for Mac minis currently.
That would f– so many people. We never curse on these shows… Gosh, I don’t even know why I’m saying that… It would severely upset people; let’s use a more friendly term, and we’ll bleep that one out if we can… But it would, because in most cases - sure, you wanna get this as a bring-your-own monitor, bring-your-own keyboard kind of machine… And from a price point - even more approachable, maybe even more dev-friendly, even more brand new dev-friendly potentially at $799 open price.
I mean, that’s a good price. That’s better than $1,200, right?
Yeah. I also love that they talked about the thermal flow because that’s a big deal, especially for me on my MacBook - it runs so hot sometimes, and if it’s not properly aired and cooled, basically your machine is not going to last very long. I love that it also has four Thunderbolt 3 ports, 10 Gigabit Ethernet… I believe it has two USB-A ports as well, which is awesome to see. The I/O is just crazy cool, and like Adam said, the price of $799 to begin with is just wonderful. I was shocked to see them start at $799.
Well, if we rewind a little, it did start before at $499, so that’s kind of terrible on that front…
[laughs] “That’s kind of terrible…”
[39:58] I mean, the difference on the starting price is kind of terrible… on that front.
No no no, $499 is the price that it is right now though. The old generation is $499. When it was new, it didn’t start at $499.
I think it might have. I think it was at $499 and then it went up to maybe $699. I can’t remember the exact history, but there was an entry-level of $499, because I remember thinking “Get on the MacOS (or back then it was OS10) for $500.” That was kind of the sales pitch in my mind for a Mac mini.
Yeah. Let me call at Apple a little bit here, because some of this stuff – I mean, this is exciting; I love that there’s a new Mac mini, the specs are good, but the marketing speech to me rings a bit disingenuous, because they’re like “It’s five times faster! It’s 60% faster integrated graphics!” All these numbers which are amazing - 5x performance boost, 60% better graphics, 7.8x faster than the previous hard drive, or whatever… These are easy numbers to hit when you don’t release an update for four years, you know? It’s not that impressive, simply because –
The expectation is what they’ve done.
Right. It’s because they haven’t updated the thing in four years. Of course you’re gonna blow the previous one out of the water. It’s four years old.
Probably comparing spinning disks versus SSD, too.
Yeah. In that case, definitely.
You can swap out pretty much any run-of-the-mill spinning disk to SSD and get that performance.
I agree with you. Do you wanna know how hard or easy it is to get to be a $4,199 machine? Well, you add a 6-core 8th generation 3.2 processors, 64 gigs of RAM, 2 TB of SSD storage, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet. That’s how you get a $4,200 Mac mini.
The fact that you can is great, because there’s some who want that form factor, but very server, that runs macOS. I think that’s the one key thing here. This is only kind of machine you can max out to that level and run macOS. Anything else out there, you’ve gotta go to Linux or, dare I say, Windows. I mean, that’s what gets me… When I run a machine in my house, I love Linux, but my familiarity is around macOS… And I can hack around Linux, but my preference is typically a macOS. It’s just the case, for most cases for me.
Now, let me ask you a question… This is the question that I wanted to ask you before, and I wanna hear both of your opinions on this. I am sick of using my MacBook Pro as my main machine. After this day, after this announcement, I feel like I could do most of my work off of a Mac mini, and have a MacBook Air as my secondary machine for conference-going, and things like that. Would you agree with that, based on the new specs that we learned from this new machine?
I don’t wanna do that…
I think what would hold me back would be on the video front, for you in particular… Because you may not do video every day as your priority job, or even your day-to-day habits. The graphics is probably missing there. It’s definitely not a video-friendly machine, so I think once you get to that point, that’s where a MacBook Pro or an iMac is better. With an iMac, you get the screen built-in, which shouldn’t be frowned upon. And I’m not sure I would ever actually pay $4,200 for this machine. You’d have to be crazy.
[43:57] Well, you don’t have to do that… What specifically is missing with the – I mean, you say it’s not for video… Is it because the GPU, the graphics card…?
Yeah, the graphics, the GPU… You need that. You need the graphics card with at least 4 gigs of GPU, for decent video stuff. Even if it’s in 4K, you’re gonna be dropping frames left and right, and not very happy… The graphics is where it’s missing.
What’s in there? It’s just an Intel graphics card…
Intel UHD Graphics 630, which, going back to the Air, is an Intel UHD Graphics 617. I’m not sure of the spec difference between those two, besides maybe 13 numbers…
[laughs] It’s barely 13 numbers better than the MacBook Air…
Well, 617, 630 - it’s 13, so that’s the difference there… I would just say that if you couldn’t do it on an Air with that graphics, I can’t imagine that the graphics card on the Mac mini is so much better than that Air’s graphics card. So if we’re talking about video on a MacBook Air, it’s probably a similar scenario where you can, but would you wanna do as your daily driver is the thing.
So you’re talking about in the case of replacing the need for a MacBook Pro, and I think it’s still not there. Just based on that. Because when you go to, say, a fully-spec’ed out MacBook Pro, which I’m assuming you may or may not desire, is a Radeon Pro 560X (560-ten, if you wanna stay on-brand with Apple), with four gigs of GDDR5 memory. So a big difference. That thing alone is gonna handle all of your video performance, it’s gonna push your different displays, it’s gonna allow you to edit in 4K and not drop frames, and you still have the option to push your RAM and push your SSD, and you have four Thunderbolt 3 ports, not three or two.
The I/O is really interesting. I think the Mac mini in my opinion is probably a good fit in server-like installations, or people who don’t do graphics that need server-like scenarios; so then let’s push in, say, a NAS… Or RAIDs, or something like that. It’s your networked macOS server locally; it’s maybe commanding your many – I don’t know if macOS Sever is still a thing. They don’t talk about it much. I think it is still there. But basically, you have the idea of active directory in windows, where you have all the people in one machine and you manage the people in a local network via one machine. That’s where this is gonna thrive. And there’s a lot of people who use it like that, because you have a lot of Mac installs, and as IT you tend to have to go from machine, to machine, to machine, where in this case you wanna have a networked Mac Server… And we’ve had to deal with a Mac mini that wouldn’t keep up, and you wouldn’t wanna buy a Mac Pro because maybe it’s just too costly, so… Something in the middle there, I would imagine, where the Mac mini fits in price point-wise and capability-wise where you wanna go.
So the answer from Adam is “No, because of video.”
If you don’t need video, maybe you’re there.
Totally. If you’re just audio, no video, maybe even lightweight Photoshop, occasional graphics manipulation, if you’re doing anything where you’re doing things in the cloud – that’s essentially like Citrix back in the day; client-server, server-based computing stuff… And if you’re doing stuff in the cloud, then the Mac mini would be a good option, graphics-wise, for example.
It would be adequate. I can’t say perfect.
Well, here’s the other issue with a Mac mini, which is that now you have to go out and find a display. With a MacBook Pro you’re getting a display built-in, with the iMac or iMac Pro you have an Apple display built right in… There’s no such thing as an Apple display right now, which we’re all kind of hoping that they do that soon, especially with the – not the rumored Mac Pro, but the promised Mac Pro in 2019…
I would expect them to go back to building their own displays, versus just saying “Use LG.” Which, by the way, I have a third-party LG display and it does not work very well with Mojave in terms of plugging and unplugging it; it just sometimes doesn’t get picked up… And I’m like, “If this was just an Apple display, it would have worked 100% of the time.” Which makes me also like a world where I have a desktop and a laptop, and not a multi-purpose laptop that I plug in and unplug because it doesn’t always work, and it’s a pain in the butt to do that.
So I do like that world; I think I could probably live there as a developer, because I’m not doing video processing, but obviously, with Changelog and our media content that we’re producing, I would not wanna put myself into a corner of not being able to do video editing, so I probably wouldn’t do it either… But it’s a very attractive option. A Mac mini at the desk, and a MacBook Air in your backpack - I think that’s an awesome combo.
I can’t say though that you don’t have to shoot 4K. And when I say video, I usually caveat that with most video folks are like us, they’re pushing the edge.
So the caveat there is 4K. If you’re not shooting, editing in even 4K, or 4K raw, or some of these higher-end much more sizeable resolutions, and you’re shooting HD, you probably would get away with it just no problem.
Well, the thing is I’m usually shooting in 4K, then creating 720p proxies, editing those, then exporting back to 4K.
Yeah, that’s a pain in the butt. [laughter] It really is, because now you’ve gotta manage proxies, and it is painful. Here’s why it’s painful - one, it’s time-consuming; it’s a workflow thing, that’s usually a Tim thing, and if you invite somebody else into your workflow, now they’ve gotta adopt that as well, so that’s just one piece.
The other piece is the original size of the 4K, and then the smaller size, which isn’t much, but still enough to add to the 4K size of a proxy file. And then file management. It just gets to be error-prone. It’s so much nicer if you can just pull up the 4K footage and just literally push the space bar and go…
I’m curious though, seven minutes ago [unintelligible 00:51:06.16] in our Apple Nerds chat room - he did something interesting around when it comes to developer-isms with the Mac mini, where he’s pushing a CI environment that’s powered by GitLab. He’s using VirtualBox to run VMs for Windows and Linux, and then he’s also got GitLab on the macOS. So he’s got three OSs he’s doing continuous integration for. I’m not really sure of his use cases; we do plan to do potentially a Backstage on this… So he hasn’t said it yet, but I wanna earmark that, because that is one interesting thing where this machine can be used by, say, developers in an environment where they need to do CI, or anything that’s debugging on several platforms, and potentially offer that to the other folks in their network to utilize for those needs.
[52:10] Worth noting that Apple also gave a shout-out to people who are running Mac minis in servers, so they’re very well aware that this is a thing that people are doing. What was the name of that company that had 8,000 Mac minis racked in a server farm? MacStadium?
That was very, very cool. And lots of different uses for developers. Like you said, CI, you could have a build farm, especially if you’re building for iOS… You can off-load your compiles and different Xcode things to Mac minis. Of course, there’s live performances, you could use them for your home media server… Of course, the Apple TV plus Plex may have rendered that – or could you just run Plex on your Mac mini, Adam?
Well, let’s go back to the specs… I think the answer is definitely getting closer to yes. I would say you probably wanna max it out, because Plex, in a transcoding scenario – just to rewind a little bit… Plex is like a media server for your either home or business, where you can do lots of interesting stuff (let’s just say that, and cap it there). Go back and listen to a Backstage near you to get the deeper details… But since you could bump to a 3.2Ghz 6-core processor, you’re definitely gonna get the transcoding you need from a native MKV file, which is a full-res HD file, typically 20-30 gigs in size.
You don’t need much memory for Plex, really. You can get away with 8 or 16 gigs of memory. The CPU is really where it’s at. Most of the stuff that Plex does is CPU-intensive, which is why an Air would never work, but a bumped-up Mac mini – in this case actually, if I were to configure a Mac mini for Plex and I didn’t care about on-board storage, because I knew I had external storage that was totally adequate, I could buy a $900 Plex machine as a Mac mini and be totally happy.
That gives you 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 128 gigs of SSD storage, 8 gigs of RAM - because you really don’t need much; you don’t need it. Sure, maybe you could bump up to 16 at $200 to your price point (that’s $1,099)… Actually, I made a mistake there. That’s $1,199, sorry. $1,199 for the 6-core model, not $899.
Wouldn’t you be able to do that exact same thing with eGPU, what you’re talking about?
I can’t confirm or deny.
I don’t know… I really don’t. I’ve never attempted to look into eGPU for Plex reasons, probably because of components, really… The complexity. If you can get a machine that just bumps your CPU up one level, why get eGPU? I guess if you had an older machine you wanted to retrofit and use, maybe…
No, because you have a Mac mini and you can’t get a dedicated GPU on that thing, so you get an eGPU, that’s why.
Yeah, I guess so… I mean, okay, so let’s keep at the lowest pricepoint, which is $799, but you’d have to consider how much an eGPU would be on top of that.
Why not just add $300 to your price point here, do $1,199, and no external or extra thing…
$1,199 and then buy not a Mac mini? Buy something else?
No, buy a Mac mini at $1,199 by just bumping only the CPU, keeping everything base…
You’re not bumping the GPU though…
They don’t offer that.
Well, with eGPU you get that. That’s what Tim’s saying. You can buy your own external GPU and attach it via Thunderbolt, right?
Boom goes the dynamite.
Let’s see how much a typical eGPU might cost…
That actually solves my problem too, possibly.
If you could get a Mac mini and yo spec it out to wherever you want in terms of memory and solid state drives, then you get an external GPU - boom, you can edit 4K no problem.
Okay, so here’s the add-on there… I’m just referencing because it’s quick to google and it’s on Apple, so it’s trusted at least. It’s a trusted point to start at. You may be able to go lesser on price and smaller on size - I don’t know, I haven’t done the research, but… A Black Magic eGPU, which is a very trusted brand name in the video world, so when it comes to graphics and in video performance, this is trusted… It’s $699. And just based on the visuals, it seems like the older – what was the Wi-Fi tower-looking thing Apple had before? Extreme.
Oh yeah, AirPort Extreme.
It seems very much like an AirPort Extreme.
So if you can deal with one more plugged in device, $700, and this in particular eGPU, then sure, what you mentioned, Jerod, is great. Or you can just add $300 and then move on with your life.
Well, the nice thing with the Mac mini is you have options.
And that shows it right there. Maybe it’s not for you, maybe the pricing – you go crunch the numbers and it doesn’t make sense to do an eGPU for that use case, but the fact that you have options… There are so many ports in the back… And I think the biggest deal with this Mac mini release is just the fact that it’s not dead in the water, and Apple is updating it once again. Hopefully they don’t wait for more years… Just give us spec bumps every year; you don’t have to have a big event for it, but just keep it updated, and there’s a lot of uses that we can go and use it for, so… Super-exciting. Just the fact that we have a new Mac mini, that’s big news.
Going back to one more spec on this, which we covered quickly, is the thermoflow - I think what that’s gonna offer you is quietness. When it comes to whether or not you can kick it on your desk, as we say - like you mentioned, Jerod, your MacBook Pro still has trouble with Skype and several things happening; your fans spin up… For those reasons, that’s why we typically don’t–
Google Hangouts, I hate you…
Yeah, these are the things… I’m assuming it’s part one of just necessary cooling, but the double airflow that it offers now I would imagine cools it better, and probably quieter than typically a MacBook Pro does. I’m just assuming that, just based on the form factor, and having Mac minis currently – I can’t even hear these things; I’ve got four over here, that I can’t even hear.
Yeah. I agree with Jerod. What I love the most of the Mac mini is the fact that it feels like obviously it’s not dead, hopefully they’ll continue to update it, and it gives you options… The whole reason why I ask about this Mac mini as a good option as my primary desktop computer is because I don’t know how to justify the $8,000 of an iMac Pro, even with the work that I do… So it’s nice to see that there may be other options that are more affordable, that would get you maybe not the same performance, but at least performance where you’re not pulling your hair out in frustration.
[59:52] Well, I think on that front you may be on to something, Tim, with the eGPU scenario, because I believe those will begin to be more and more price-competitive, and not very uncommon as an add-on to scenarios where you wanna have more control. In this case it’s about control, and less about retrofitting… The reason why think maybe the previous version of the Mac Pro fell down was because it did not allow you to treat it as a componentized machine in a pro environment where you wanna have control over CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, and they just packaged all in one really beautiful design, but very little versatility when it came to expanding it.
They gave you access to it, but the limitation on size… Whereas previous generations of Mac Pro’s were these gigantic boxes, like the old-school way… And there’s people who literally will retrofit the old-school boxes into the new-school ways and make these new Hackintosh-Mackintoshes… It’s kind of funny.
So you might be on to something. I would say the price points on eGPU’s will get more and more competitive, especially as AI machine learning - which is not a one-to-one; they will still be available to you. I’m assuming those are also similar, where you can use them in a video environment and do what you’re saying once you get a Mac mini, and go to an eGPU.
Actually, looking here, if we’re using, say, a PCI version as a price point example, like an NVIDIA, it’s like $100 for a 2-gig external graphics card. I’m sure they’re taking that kind of technology and making it more accessible from a Thunderbolt 3 peripheral.
Let’s talk about this iPad Pro, and - can I just say it? The pencil attaches to the iPad Pro with a magnet, and it charges the pencil… Whooo-weeee! That’s my highlight right there. I was just like, “That’s so cool…!”
I can tell you’re really digging the attachment – well, add to that, so it attaches magnetically, and it wirelessly charges.
So it’s always powered. That’s amazing. I mean, leave it to Apple to go that far. That kind of detail is led by them. Sure, others do it – man, they think about all the user experience, so that’s big in product design and releases. It’s not just “Hey, this thing does this thing.” It’s “This thing does this thing in these ways.” And that’s how they do it.
Well, remember the previous pencil. You had to plug it into the bottom… Dead center bottom, and it stuck out, it was all dorky, and everybody would make fun of them for their bad design.
A bunch of memes.
Yeah, it was meme-worthy. That was dumb. But it was like, maybe that was just a setup to make the magnet so much better when we see it. We’re like, “Oh, now they’ve solved it…”
Have you ever seen the comparison of the iMac iteration? As you know, I’m a huge fan of iteration. I say it all the time, because it’s like – people just see the final product… Let’s say even the iPhone is a final product. If you look at that versus gen one to now, you would probably never buy a gen one given what’s available now, right? But it was a breakthrough, and Apple is such a long-tail player, iterative kind of embracer, so to speak… The iMac began a freakin’ TV, basically. A color TV that you can see into, and that was cool. It was cool.
With huge bezels, too.
[01:03:48.04] Huge bezels, many colors… An amazing machine. I’ve actually seen several of them, even though it’s uncommon these days to see the oldest school iMacs of anything, right? But then you compare that to an iMac Pro, and you take the picture of the iMac generation from one, and all of the visual differences and changes from then to now, and you just see it basically get thinner and thinner and thinner, bigger and bigger, and better and better. And that to me is like this pencil idea, Jerod - the previous generations were like “Hey, we’re releasing this today, and we can already predict 2018’s release in October. We know it’s gonna attach via magnetic, we know we’re gonna offer the wireless charging, and we’ll take one on the nose today, from the pundits and the memes.” That’s Apple’s braveness and willingness to embrace that and take that, and say nothing. That’s so cool.
I don’t think they’ve ever done the different colors with iPad Pro, but I just feel – and I think we touched on this before with the MacBook Air, that the black bezel just looks so nice, and now that it’s almost edge to edge, which we should quote Jerod on this one, “with 100% less notch”, it just looks so nice and sleek and stylish.
It looks spectacular. They’ve made it thinner, they’ve added this magnet-based charging of the pencil, and of course, all the specs are upgraded… One thing was even 1,000 times faster, and unlike the Mac mini, where it’s been four years, so it better be faster, this was from last year’s model. It was a very specific context, and I can’t remember what that was about, but it was like, come on, 1,000 times faster…
The presenter even said “That is nuts!”
Yeah… Because it really is, any sort of improvement like that. We’ve got USB-C in the bottom, we’ve got Face ID, it’s 5.9 millimeters thin… I mean, let’s address the elephant in the room, which sir Timly said during the event in our Apple Nerds chat: “You still can’t do web dev on it”, so from our developer perspective it’s potentially falling apart in this particular piece of hardware right now, unless you’re doing Swift Playgrounds… But man, this thing is cool!
I was not ready to be impressed by an iPad Pro release today; it was kind of an after-thought to me. I figured, yeah, they’d spec-bump it, it’d be fine, it’d be the next iPad. I don’t own an iPad; I’ve had an iPad, I gave it to my wife and moved on, but man, this thing is hot!
I like that mention of Swift Playgrounds, because this is an $800 Swift Playground machine if you’re just getting it for development, right?
Most businesses can afford that, and would afford that, and just hand them out, be like “Go learn Swift.”
Yeah, but I think Swift Playgrounds is playgroundy enough that it’s not gonna take you the full length of where you need to be. I mean, until you can run Xcode on this and it’s built to run Xcode, you’re not gonna be doing development on this, aside from introductory learning things like Swift Playgrounds. So it’s a starting point, but it’s not – I mean, a Mac mini is a much better purchase at the same price point…
So you’re a developer, right Jerod?
Okay. And you got excited by this…
Um, as a human…
As a human. What about the developer side of you got you excited? Anything at all? Anything?
That’s my point, not really… I mean… No.
[01:07:49.13] Now, we kind of laugh at that, but I made a note here. I’ve seen Spielberg use this AR stuff to create spaces, so like space creators meaning people designing spaces, which they’ve showed off with Adobe, and whatnot… I think that’s an area where we think it’s only – AR and gameplay, in the future, or all that stuff around that, is kind of like “Meh”, not so much to me. But the way Spielberg used AR to jump into scenes for Ready Player One, because all those were CGI-created… That’s an area of developer that we cater to tangentially now more so than we had before, that I’m just curious of your thoughts on.
AR definitely has potential. I think the only real valuable SpaceBoard in the kind of programming that I do is mostly web development. Shopify has done some interesting things with AR, and enabling that for their customers to do eCommerce sales. I think it’s a perfect pitch for that use case, whereas like “Here is a product. It’s a vase.” I’m not sure how it will look on my table. “Well, here is the AR-ified 3D rendering of that vase. You can now put that into real space and see what it looks like, and then click Buy and pay with Apple Pay. It’s a pretty cool demo. I think it’s actually a very valuable use case for getting sales, because the customer doesn’t have to be in a store; they can be on their iPad and can actually envision what this product will look like in the room they’re sitting in, and they’re way more likely to buy it, as opposed to having to drive to Bed Bath & Beyond, or buy vases from some store.
I believe it’s pronounced vase [va:hz].
Oh, I’m sorry…
It’s like “foyers”, and you guys are like “I believe it’s a foyer [fawyer]” and I’m like, “Not where I come from. I’m from Little America.” We just sound things out where I come from.
I think I was the one who told you that.
Yeah, it’s true.
In Portland. [laughs]
Yeah, in Portland, of all places.
In Portland I told you it’s foyer [fɔɪeɪ/], not foyer [fawyer]. [laughter]
So we can see the sophisticated ones amongst us…
…not the Nebraskans.
Can I play Suz Hinton for a second, please? Meaning that she’s the kind of person that goes on JS Party and has crazy ideas and shares them with the public…
Oh yes, please do.
So let’s say AR might be interesting for the SVG creators out there, where you can create an SVG on an iPad Pro, potentially using interface-driven type toggles, because SVG is very much like a visual thing, and use AR to step into your layered SVG… Somebody who’s doing some serious stuff, right? There’s been SVG games, SVG interactive stuff, and as we get into a world of (let’s say) React Native and SVG doing some interesting stuff, in all this graphic-driven stuff that comes back into, say, a storyboard, or React Native, or different things like that. That may be an interesting world where AR becomes a player… I’m just assuming or pontificating at this points. I don’t know, really… What do you think?
I would say potentially yes.
There’s almost nothing so far of AR that really impresses me, so I don’t feel adequate to respond to that… I think the only real thing that involved AR that I thought was really cool, and that felt useful to me so far in the demos that Apple has done was – I think for WWDC they invited someone on with an app that allows you to monitor your shooting in basketball… That I thought was pretty cool, but so far, a lot of the demos just feel really gimmicky to me.
It’s definitely a technology looking for problems, and I think the problems will arise… Or what’s the saying - “I’ve got a solution looking for a problem”, or whatever that saying is…
[01:12:04.00] And a lot of it is like “Look at this cool technology…”, but I think it’s a scenario where you need the technology to lead the way, versus the problems to lead the way, and to get people’s ideas going. I think give it 3-5 years and I think we’ll see some killer apps for AR. Right now, the most killer thing we’ve seen is Snapchat filters, and Instagram stories, like draw-a-dog-on-your-face kind of stuff.
I haven’t seen any games that have really taken the world by storm, besides I guess Pokémon Go, where they put the Pokémon out there on your screen… That’s basically what we’ve gotten so far, but I do believe that there’s actually going to be that thing, it’s just not here yet.
There could be economy out there, actually. If you can create on an iPad Pro and sell what you create on an iPad Pro, like filters, or whatever… If that was a sellable market, you can – I’m gonna just assume that you can probably easy make 50k-100k per year as an iPad Pro creator of some sort.
Well, I quit. I’m gonna go do that.
And that’s a respectable living for people who didn’t have that – I think it’s less about like “It’s a lot of money” and more like “It’s accessible”, right? Because starting at $800 and thinking outside the box far enough, and let’s say you can be a digital sticker creator for, say, messages, or a watchface creator for Apple Watch simply on an iPad Pro… If that’s possible ever because of taking all the interesting things that the iPad promised, and now the reason why you have the Pro added on to it is the necessary pro features, like the cores, and the speed, and USB-C, or whatever the Pro moniker adds to it, to creators who visually create, then it’s what Tim said, which was – or no… Who said that? Phil Schiller… It’s like a computer, but unlike any computer.
You’ve gotta say Tim Cook, man, because I think you’re talking about me. [laughter]
Like, “Wait, what did I say?”
Tim Cook. I thought it was Tim Cook, but it was Phil Schiller. He said “It’s like a computer, but unlike any computer.”
That’s a good marketing line right there.
And that was in that sales video, which - Apple is the master of sales videos, in my opinion. There’s no company better out there that can create a video that 1) is super-cool; you’d probably watch it 2-3 times, and 2) it also makes you say “Take my money.”
Well, this is something I said for the MacBook Air in our doc; I said “The MacBook Air video is peak Apple.” It’s basically just the product breakdown, but it’s beautifully art-directed, and that really goes for all of these videos.
One mention here for developers that we can’t forget is gaming. They did a demo which I think was less about “Here’s how awesome this game is” and more “how awesome the device is”, as it relates to the display, and its abilities to do this massively visually detailed game. Jerod, you said if this had a first-party controller, gaming would be better. What did you mean by that? Because we all know developers of gaming. A lot of developers come from a gaming background, because that was their first entrance into tinkering.
[01:15:45.22] Yeah. I myself am gonna be a retired gamer, because I have too many children to game anymore. Actually, that’s not true; my boys love playing games with me, but I have less free, disposable as I used to; I used to game all day, every day… Back in the day, the good old days.
Yeah, so there’s a certain class of games that work well on mobile, and these are cinematic, explorative games, some strategy games… Anything where you can point and move slowly an object through space. Or games like the typical non-deep, shallow, enjoyable, fun games, kind of like popcorn games. Those are all fine. But serious gaming – and specifically the reason I thought of it was the demo they were showing today was an NBA… I don’t know what the name of the game was; NBA2K, something-something… But basically, you’re playing it as Lebron James, and basketball is a fast game; this is a fast-twitch kind of game, where you’re directing a player around, and you like to be hitting buttons to invoke certain moves - dribbling between the legs, a spin move when to shoot - and a touch device is never gonna be a good interaction for a fast-twitch game like that.
Similar with shooters… Anything where it’s fast-twitch, you do not want a touch device. Because of that, I think it’s very much limited, the types of games that are on iOS and on Android, to the kind of games I’m describing, plus a few others I’m not thinking of… But these are not just – I don’t know, would people call them hardcore games? I’m not sure what the title is, but a game like that is not gonna be fun on an iPad, no matter how fast it can render it, or how many frames per second, how smooth it is, and how much that actually looks like LeBron James - it’s not going to be fun, unless you have a gaming controller. This is why the consoles – or maybe have a full-on keypad in the case of Call of Duty style of game, or a Fortnite, where you wanna have the full-on WASD controls… All these buttons, right? Zero buttons is not the right number of buttons.
I have an area where I believe they’re missing out, and it could be something that you go “Oh my gosh…” when I say it.
Okay, I’m getting excited…
Let’s see… So we’re familiar with the Nintendo Switch, right?
I’m very familiar, yes.
Okay. And we can kind of agree that a lot of kids love that. I think it’s been sold out every time I’ve ever thought about even just looking at it for as a gift, not even for me.
The price point is $300, but if you break down the iPad Pro, it’s $799, but it’s so many things in one that if you start to divide what it is for a future creative, it can be so many things in one, so it could be a much better version of Nintendo Switch. If you could just take what is really the thing with a Switch, if I can understand correctly, it’s like you can take the Switch, drop it off on something, and suddenly it becomes the powerhouse of a bigger display; then you can remove it from that and take it with you and attach the controllers to it, and then now it’s a personal gameplay that’s networked. That’s the iPad Pro.
The display is phenomenal, it’s got USB-C, so that’s fast, it’s next-gen, it’s future gen - at least in terms of the next hook-up point… You’ve got the pencil, you have all the necessary graphics in it, you’ve got the gaming store, you’ve got all these things that Apple has already got… If you ask me, they’re missing out on stealing Nintendo’s lunch. Literally stealing it. This is just an assumption though. Just an assumption.
[01:19:56.02] I missed it. Did you say a first-party controller? Did you include that in your–
I just didn’t get to assume that. I think Apple’s missing out by not, and maybe–
Maybe there’s something behind the scenes where eventually they’re buying Nintendo, and eventually Nintendo Switch becomes an app, not a platform inside of iPad Pro.
I don’t see that future… I don’t think Nintendo will sell. But I think this was a huge missing point with the Apple TV as a gaming platform, because they said “You can bring your own controller.” No one’s ever going to build a game that requires a remote, on a platform that doesn’t require a remote. You need a first-party official, in-the-box remote. Not even like an accessory.
I don’t know about that…
I do know about that. I’m pretty sure about that.
If the accessory is affordable… I mean, most gaming systems come with one.
Yeah. I think one is table stakes.
Right. Okay, so give me one at least, which they do. They give you the one, that does most things; the game part of it, not so well. Hey, I could play crossword all day on the typical–
That’s not a video gamer though…
It’s a remote though, so we gotcha… [laughs]
No, because that is not a game controller.
I’m only messing around, I agree. I do agree. I think if they could just take it one level further and say “Not only is it this, but you can buy (maybe, say) the game version of it”, or add it in the process of buying an Apple TV. Maybe it’s not default in every one of them, but when you buy it - similar to a computer, you can bump up the CPU or RAM - you could bump up the peripherals that they add to it; and it’s first-party, I agree. If they did a controller first-party, they can own the gaming world.
It’s a great display, it’s great graphics, why not push into gaming there? Maybe they’re just not ready yet. Maybe they’re playing the long game, and eventually they’ll get there.
I don’t know if they care so much.
E-sports? It’s a billion-dollar industry.
Well, they’re already the biggest company in the world. They’re doing pretty well with hardware.
I mean, it’s not a company – oh, you’re saying Apple. I thought you said e-sports.
No, I’m thinking about Apple. No, I agree, it’s huge. I just think Apple is the hugest, and we all talk about focus amongst the things that we try to do, so maybe it’s a focus thing. Maybe, I think, they might have blinders and they might think that what they’re doing is already good enough, because look how great iOS is - all the top apps are games, and so much gaming is happening, and all these things, that I think they’re maybe ignoring the more immersive, interactive, deep, harder-core games, because they think they’re doing alright. I don’t know…
I would like to think that it’s a focus thing, because I feel that that’s when Apple is at its best, when it focuses on things that it can do really well, and it does a lot of those things already.
I wanted to talk also about some of the other features that were very appealing to me, of the iPad Pro… Not so much from a developer standpoint, because like we’ve already said, there’s not a ton on the developer end that maybe is exciting - I don’t know if that’s the world necessarily… But as a writer, oh my goodness, the iPad Pro is pretty exciting.
I can do a lot of writing on the go, and their new Smart Keyboard Folio thankfully covers the back-side of the freaking iPad. I don’t know why that wasn’t a thing with their last generation of iPad. I’m glad that it’s now a thing. It’s got two new angles, which is pretty cool, depending on whether it’s on your lap or on the table, and I find that particularly important. I’m a man of substance, as some like to say, so having something on my lap is not the easiest thing for me… But I think the new angles might help a little bit with that.
[01:24:08.07] Also, USB-C for me was a big feature, because it now allows me to connect my camera directly to the iPad. Like with the trip that I just took to London, for example, for Sustain, I can just hook up my camera directly to the iPad, import my pictures, edit them on the iPad, in VSCO, or whatever other editing app that you may like, and then post them. That’s so awesome. I’m so excited for that. And also, the charging capabilities of USB-C is really fun, so that I can charge my iPhone on the go. Anyway, those were some of my highlights of the iPad Pro.
So let’s close with this - we’ve had three big, new, purchasable products announced today. We’ve had the all-new MacBook Air, the all-new Mac mini, and an all-new iPad Pro. Hypothetically, you can only buy one of these three devices, but you have to buy one, so you can’t say no. You have to buy something, but you can’t buy all three; you have to buy just one. Which one do we buy, and which two do we leave at the store?
When you say “we”, are you saying we, or are you saying individual needs?
I’m saying you, Adam, and then you, Tim, and then me, Jerod.
Yes. Which one are you gonna buy?
Who’s going first?
Well, I’ll go first, because mine is a pretty easy decision… I’m getting the iPad Pro, because I don’t have one, and it looks really fun. The Mac mini is awesome; I already have a pretty new laptop, so I’m not gonna upgrade my laptop any time soon. I may eventually get a Mac mini for kind of a home server situation, because I’m using the previous laptop as a server, which is not ideal, and I think it’s probably not gonna last… So the Mac mini would be my second.
I have a pretty new MacBook Pro, so I’m not on the prowl for a new laptop, but I am iPad-less. This iPad Pro looks spectacular, and I would buy it. There you go. Tim? You’re trying to buy all three of these.
Well, that’s a hard question for me, because I feel that – to me, this whole announcement day was Apple listening to what it is that I feel like people want… But I think I’m gonna go iPad Pro too, because… You know, we’ve talked a little bit about my different needs here at Changelog, and what I need out of a machine, and I’m not 100% sure that I could do with a Mac mini yet. I think a MacBook Air for traveling would be amazing… But yeah, I’m going iPad Pro, too. It looks awesome, and it’s wonderful. It looks so beautiful, and the USB-C features to me are really cool, too. What about you, Adam?
I’m going counter-cultural, man…
[laughs] That doesn’t surprise me…
None of the above.
Yeah, I’m gonna resist.
You’ve gotta pick one. You’re breaking the rule, man…
Oh, okay, I have to…
Well, that was the rule. You’ve gotta pick one.
[01:27:43.12] Barring no rule, I would go with none of the above… Because NEED is not true in this case. WANT, however, is true, and I would say the Mac mini, because it has so many more uses for the things I could need it for. I think that it’s obviously for all the reasons we’ve already talked about - it’s amazing for developer stuff, but I think for a home server, where you’re building out more of a smart home, which is sort of a hobby for me, you know… But future Backstage content, so it’s kind of like one of the both, in a sense… That’s where I would probably go with the Mac mini.
The MacBook Air, while it’s amazing, I already have a MacBook Pro, and I’m more of a Pro user than an Air user, although I can admit where the Air would shine, and where the Pro would shine a little brighter, and I’m not sure how marginal that “little brighter” is for the use cases I have. I’d say Mac mini. And it would be rack-mounted. And it would be 10 Gigabit. I’m not really sure about the memory or the storage… I’d probably bump the CPU just because; like, if you’re gonna get a machine that can, and it’s just a small jump on the price point, that’s where you should push it, for sure, especially in the case of potentially Plex. So that would be really it.
And then after I bought the Mac mini, I would then go and change from Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 RAID arrays, because currently we’re using Thunderbolt 2, which as we know, is a little slower. Thunderbolt 3 is so much faster. I would probably then go and bump up some of the RAID arrays we have from Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3, and maybe even go from 2 to 1 RAID array.
Less around needed, more around future-friendly… Because it’d just be so much faster. We talked in our editorial meeting yesterday about the needs for you all (you and Jerod and other members of the team) to have access to the archives, the infamous Changelog archives, which have been so well kept over all the years; we literally have every podcast probably we’ve ever produced as an archive. We can go back to literally episode number one and remaster them all. So if you wanna be a future lover of us, we have some things coming in store that you may be able to power the future remastered archives of the Changelog, [echo] Changelog, Changelog… Because we’re gonna have this Mac mini in place, because Jerod is just making me buy it, of course, and Thunderbolt 3, of course, and RAID, of course… [laughter] We’ll have some networked ability for Jerod, Tim and others to be able to access that archive in its original form, right here from the Changelog headquarters here in Houston, Texas – which is not really a headquarters, it’s a data headquarters, if anything.
Why don’t you just put it on S3, or something.
That would take way forever, bro… Like, way forever.
We’re talking about at a minimum, most of an individual show’s archive is one at least, or potentially several gigs.
We’re talking about– it just took me…
You have fast upload.
Bro, I just moved 9,25 TB across the network. It took 15 hours. Let alone to the internet.
It’d be one big back-up first…
Have you ever done BackBlaze or whatetver? It’s like, takes you thirty days and then… You don’t need to have a central Houston headquarters, you just have a cloud.
I do, I have a fiber right connection to AWS.
Yeah, so upload that stuff to AWS.
No, I’m just kidding, we don’t have that. It would be cool. If somebody knows more about this–
I don’t see why you would ever wanna have to hold that on your own network. That’s just such a liability there.
I like it, I like the liability.
Yeah, but if your house burns down, you’re screwed.
It’s not gonna burn down.
Oh, okay. That sounds like a good gameplan.
Nah, it won’t burn down.
If it doesn’t exist in three places, it doesn’t exist… And one of those places has to be not geographically local. Just keep that in mind…
If we had a fiber store somewhere, or a fiber access to something externally, and it would take maybe two days to get a – even then… I mean, this is a whole different subject. We’re talking about disaster recovery, which is such a deep topic, and one that I’m somewhat familiar with…
Well, we can go Backstage on this, but it’s super-easy for you to just get that onto a cloud, and then you’re just additive at that point. You’re just adding new episodes. You don’t ever have to do that 10 TB again, but you can pull it down whenever you want, so… Look into it. We can Backstage that, but…
Let’s Backstage that.
…let’s wrap this one up as we’ve switched topics away from Apple hardware to why you need to be in the cloud.
Alright… Well, let us know what you think of this episode. Of course, next time Apple has an event, if you all like this, we will continue to do this. We like to nerd out about these things, and more.
Come nerd out with us… Not just about Apple stuff, but about all things software, open source, developer - you know the kind of stuff that we talk about. Changelog.com/community… If you’re listening to this on the Spotlight feed, which is Changelog.com/spotlight, realize that we have a Master feed. That’s where you can get all of our shows. If you like this show, if you like any of our shows, you will probably like all of our shows, so definitely check changelog.com/master. It’s nice, you can remove all those Changelog subscriptions out of your podcast app and just put one in your podcast app, and get all of our shows. That’s almost too good to be true right there, so check that out. Closing thoughts, guys?
One feed to rule them all…
Nothing for me.
That’s my closing thought. One feed.
Our transcripts are open source on GitHub. Improvements are welcome. 💚