Thursday, June 25, 2020 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The Talk Show Remote From WWDC 2020

The Talk Show:

John Gruber is joined by Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak to discuss the news from WWDC 2020: the Mac’s transition to Apple silicon, MacOS 11 Big Sur, iOS and iPadOS 14, and more.

John Vorhees:

In response to commentators who believe that Apple is merging iOS and macOS or abandoning the Mac, Federighi rattled off a long list of projects related to the Mac, commenting, “We love the Mac and we’re all in.” Joswiak added, “We’re far from bored with the Mac; it’s in our DNA.”

Federighi also addressed the relationship of Catalyst, SwiftUI, AppKit, and UIKit for developers, explaining that there is no single correct path. He said that the best path depends on where developers start. For example, some developers have invested heavily in AppKit and will probably want to stick with it, while UIKit developers may want to bring their apps to the Mac using Catalyst, whereas a new developer may want to start fresh with SwiftUI.

Previously:

Update (2020-07-09): John Gruber (tweet):

It doesn’t look or sound like a Zoom or FaceTime call that was simply recorded and played back.

A lot of folks noticed that, and have asked how we made it. I have good news and bad news. The good news is the answer is very simple and doesn’t require any expensive equipment. The bad news is it’s a lot of work.

Update (2020-07-27): Jesper:

Apple is judged by their actions, by their behavior and by their history, and in the absence of roadmaps and rationalizations, and in the recurring presence of re-contextualizations as new changes happen, the guessing game is the result. Every change turns into a proposed Chekov’s gun.

[…]

If you meet a person and they act a certain way, over time you learn to recognize that pattern in them. If you develop for Apple platforms and every year is a series of new inconveniences to manage just as much as it is new technology to consider adopting, you learn to assume a negative progression in convenience, utility and freedom, just as much as you have hopes for the advances in frameworks and hardware.

The “tools” Craig’s talking about have all seen the beginning of, effectively, the closing of the Mac as a platform. We know that Apple doesn’t like to dwell on the bets they make, and we know that Apple doesn’t usually back out of things. We’re waiting anxiously for the moment where the hammer drops. […] This bed is of Apple's own making.

18 Comments

I can't believe Gruber let Joz off so easily on that bullshit App Store answer. Apple's official position is that shareware and the internet were never a thing, and until software developers were freed from the shackles of putting CDs on shelves, they had no idea how good life could be.

That was easily the most blatantly deceptive, self-serving, and malicously stupid thing I can remember ever coming out of an exec's mouth. And Joz knows better too. He's a smart guy who's been around forever. They're just pissing on our heads and telling us it's raining.

Yes, that’s the same thing Shaan Pruden said last year. There are plenty of other, more conciliatory, things Joswiak could have said, without really committing Apple to anything, so the fact that he chose to go with that line is telling.

I was going to comment exactly the same thing. My jaw dropped when Joz said that, and SHAME on Gruber for completely letting it slide. I know he can't challenge everything (gotta be a kiss-ass to some degree, I get it) but this was a totally egregious lie, and it's dangerous to let Apple continue to repeat it, especially when so many younger devs might believe it.

Indie Mac devs have been shipping software via the internet for 30 years with near zero cost. Only the big guys like Adobe, Microsoft, Corel, Broderbund, etc had retail presence. This is just such a bold, sleazy lie to justify Apple stealing 30% from small developers who are trying to make a living creating software.

The worst part is that it's these small devs and the apps that they create which make Apple's platforms so compelling. It's not the apps from the big companies like Facebook, Netflix, Instagram, etc -- those apps are the same on Android, or on the web on a Windows PC.... yet they get to be in the iOS app store for free? But if I want to create an amazing app, I have to pay 30%?

I wish someone would ask Apple why some apps get to be in the store for free, but other apps have to pay 30%, when the only difference is the 2% payment processing fee that Apple pays to the credit card companies. Or why it's not a progressive or capped tax. If I make a $30 app why does Apple get $10, but a $3 app only gives up $1? None of it makes any sense.

Gruber loves baseball but every time he interviews Apple execs, he lobs softballs.

And I really wish he had asked Federighi about the decline and general bugginess of macOS as well has the ridiculousness of having yearly macOS releases.

Gruber isn't what he used to be as a Apple blogger. Not even close. He's got no fight left in him. Sad to see, but not surprising.

At next year's WWDC, Gruber should let Jeff Johnson (@lapcatsoftware) ask the questions.

Most developers didn't pay to put boxes on shelves even before the Internet existed. Shareware is called shareware because it was literally shared amongst people. The people were the network.

Another thing that existed were those "thousands of shareware titles" CDs you could buy for a few bucks in your local hardware store. The shareware devs that had titles on these CDs didn't pay anything for this shelf space. Magazines also distributed floppies, and later CDs, for free. In fact, they often paid developers to have special versions of their titles featured on their CDs. Maybe Apple should pay developers to have their apps in the App Store, too.

Distributing software has never been an actual problem, even before the Internet. People want software, so it will get distributed.

Great points Lukas, I had forgotten about when magazines came with CDs full of shareware.

I really have no idea, but I wonder if it was better to be a developer back in the mid-90s when the Mac was much smaller market share, but had more passionate users? e.g. does BBEdit make more money now? There's certainly a lot more competition now, both for free and paid options.

Anyway, one other thing bugged me about the Talk Show interview: When Joz was making an offhand comment about buying his daughter a new MBP, it was so tone deaf... like oh, woe is me, why can't I get a discount? How will I ever afford to buy my daughter something that's .001% of my hundreds of millions net worth? Boo hoo.

I can’t believe Gruber let Joz off so easily on that bullshit App Store answer.

I can never quite tell if these softball interviews — be they on The Talk Show, Accidental Tech Podcast, Upgrade, … — are that useful.

On the one hand, I rarely find the answers to the tough questions satisfactory or helpful. On the other hand, well, it’s nice to hear their take on some subjects with a bit more personality, and a bit more off-the-cuff than the heavily rehearsed WWDC keynote.

As for the App Store in particular, I think there just wasn’t the time. Like John said, he could make the entire episode about the App Store only. Or the point. What’s the gain in John arguing? Would Joz have responded, “you know what, you’re right”? Probably not.

And I really wish he had asked Federighi about the decline and general bugginess of macOS as well has the ridiculousness of having yearly macOS releases.

I do think that should’ve been addressed, yep. I’m quite worried that we have a massive feature release after… quite a buggy release.

like oh, woe is me, why can’t I get a discount?

I think the laughter afterwards was a little tonedeaf (I also felt this way last year when they laughed about how the wheels are going to be priced), but the discount was brought up because he did get one. It might have been better not to say that part.

Does anyone mind writing Gruber's question about the AppStore and Joswiak's (non-)answer? Or at least point to the position in the video? I'm not going to watch an hour and a half of this.

There are services that allow you to download YT subtitles as a txt file. But it's really all a bunch of nothing.

"Absolutely Johnny, you know we look at the App Store this whole week is about developers, right, it's about providing information for developers, listening to developers, and you know I, I've been around for a long time, you know that I've been at Apple for decades and I look back at what we've done with the App Store and the iPhone and the way we've changed the daily lives of users and developers in a way that's almost hard to remember what things were like. I remember what software development and distribution was prior to 2008, if you were a small developer it was pretty hard to get a title published and if you did get a title published it meant you went to a publisher, and after the publisher and the channel took their cut you were left as a small software developer with very little, and again that's assume you even got published, and we revolutionized that, we changed that, we leveled the playing field so whether you were a small developer a big developer we gave you way to, to get distribution, and not just local distribution, you get worldwide distribution with the App Store, and it changed everything, right, we have two million apps now, we, you know as I said we've changed the daily lives of our users and our developers and all along the way we've tried to listen, right, we try to pay attention to what our developers are saying, not just in weeks like this but certainly during weeks like this, and we've made a lot of changes along the way, as a matter of fact yesterday we put out a pretty big release which I, you know, urge you to go look at that show, you know, here are the things that we're doing for developers this week, everything from APIs and tools, they're changing, as well as new ways to provide us feedback and new ways to even challenge, you know, decisions that we make, you know, we're we're all about what we can do together."

@Sören Right, a really tough question isn’t going to get a satisfactory answer, so what’s the point? It’s like on those analyst calls where someone always asks Tim Cook what products are in the pipeline. I think Gruber did a good job bringing up the App Store topic to see how they would respond, and then moving on to the other topics where they were more free to talk. I do wish he had asked about the annual schedule, though.

@Nick It’s right at the beginning (after the sponsors).

Does anyone mind writing Gruber’s question about the AppStore and Joswiak’s (non-)answer? Or at least point to the position in the video? I’m not going to watch an hour and a half of this.

The podcast version has chapter marks. The subject App Store (which is basically John’s brief question, and Joswiak’s fairly long but somewhat disingenuous answer) goes between 15:26 and 18:08. The video version probably doesn’t match the audio version down to the second, though.

Right, a really tough question isn’t going to get a satisfactory answer, so what’s the point? It’s like on those analyst calls where someone always asks Tim Cook what products are in the pipeline. I think Gruber did a good job bringing up the App Store topic to see how they would respond, and then moving on to the other topics where they were more free to talk.

Agreed.

I do wish he had asked about the annual schedule, though.

Yes. Something about software quality vs. annual schedule.

I also think he could’ve more explicitly asked about Windows; the Boot Camp answer was a bit ambiguous (perhaps they don’t quite know yet?).

I also think he could’ve more explicitly asked about Windows; the Boot Camp answer was a bit ambiguous (perhaps they don’t quite know yet?).

Was it? Seemed like a clear "no."

>the Boot Camp answer was a bit ambiguous

You can't buy an ARM version of Windows, so purely on that level, there can't be Boot Camp on an ARM-based Mac. And if you somehow get ARM Windows to run on this, there are pretty much no ARM Windows apps, it won't run x64 apps, and x86 apps will be slow, so it will be useless.

>A really tough question isn’t going to get a satisfactory answer, so what’s the point?

I haven't listened to the whole thing, so maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like all the answers are bland platitudes, particularly Craig's. It's a great time to buy Macs, people will find that Mac OS runs well on ARM, Intel Macs will be supported for years, you can still launch Terminal on ARM Macs. I mean, okay.

So if you have these people there, and they're anyways not going to say anything interesting, why not at least make the questions interesting?

Am I wrong? Did anything interesting come out of this that we didn't already know?

Not really, that about covers it. It was basically “don’t worry we’re not gonna screw up the Mac, we love the Mac, everything is awesome!”

At times it seemed like all they were doing were making not-funny jokes and quips (often, it seemed, to sidestep giving and actual answer instead of marketing drivel). Gruber didn’t push back on anything significant, which is to be expected.

At least that’s my basic recollection of it...

What a frustrating listen. It felt like a replay of the Keynote, just in a friendly "fireside chat" format. Maybe I have the wrong expectations, but I would have hoped someone as insightful as John would look at this as a 1.5hr opportunity to uncover details not already talked about in the keynote, and to challenge Craig & Joz. (Both things Marques Brownlee did well in his interview.)

On top of this, what grated on me was that John's interview style came across as constantly ingratiating himself. Just one example:
"The Mac App Store — still going to be just as great as ever for Macs based on Apple silicon, but it's not the only way to get apps on [the Mac]."

This should have been a _response_ from Craig or Joz. Instead this was an unnecessarily complimentary prompt from John, which tee'd up Craig to talk about how everything's great with Mac apps. When it comes to this topic, there are dozens of good questions, like e.g. what internal policies does Apple have in place to ensure it doesn't abuse the power it has on all apps, whether inside or outside the store. Or which parts of the security sandbox, which prevent a lot of great apps from being on the store, are intentional vs. works-in-progress. Or how they're going to make running iOS apps on the Mac good enough to meet their quality standards. Or what the process for challenging App Store rules will be. Etc.

What's even more frustrating about this interview is that Gruber gave Apple's Mac software and OS a report card rating of D in Jason Snell's Six Colors Repot Card (https://daringfireball.net/2020/02/my_2019_apple_report_card).

He gave overall Apple software quality a C (mostly because of iOS), but without iOS, he gave it a D. And yet, he was totally gutless when interviewing Federighi.

And the thing with Federighi is that you have to stop listening to what he says and look at what he's doing as the person in charge of Apple's software. So many people get seduced and disarmed by how charming and funny he is. Stop falling for his schtick. Look at the state of macOS under his leadership. It's been terrible.

If you look at Jason Snell's Report Card (https://sixcolors.com/post/2020/01/apple-in-2019-the-six-colors-report-card/), Apple's overall software quality gets a D+ rating based on all the people that submitted the report card. Let that sink in. Apple software got rated a D+ by Apple industry writers, editors, developers, podcasters, and others.

John’s interview style came across as constantly ingratiating himself

Not sure I’d use “ingratiating”, but yes, I feel there were too many leading questions.

“Some people say this is a sign the Mac is dead, but you made that big slide a few years back that said the Mac isn’t dead, so it’s not dead, right, Craig?” “Exactly. (Why are you asking me this?)”

What’s even more frustrating about this interview is that Gruber gave Apple’s Mac software and OS a report card rating of D in Jason Snell’s Six Colors Repot Card

Yup.

And the thing with Federighi is that you have to stop listening to what he says and look at what he’s doing as the person in charge of Apple’s software. So many people get seduced and disarmed by how charming and funny he is. Stop falling for his schtick. Look at the state of macOS under his leadership. It’s been terrible.

I mean, all three can be true:

he’s charming and funny
he delivers a good set of features each year, and confidently presents those
he doesn’t seem to deliver well in terms of quality

I would’ve liked to see Gruber force Craig to address that third one, but I don’t know that there is a productive way to do so.

>he delivers a good set of features each year

Does he, though? To me, it seems the main thing that changes with every update is that it gets more and more inconvenient to develop for Macs, and to use MacOS in ways that aren't 100% condoned by Apple. Other than that, if you sat me in front of any OS X release from the past five years, I probably couldn't immediately tell you which one it was without looking at the About this Mac window.

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