Episode 15

#015 - November 2020 Apple Event Reflections

Published on: 16th November, 2020

We're back with another fresh take on the recent November 2020 Apple Event. Igor and Robert discuss Apple's strategy around the M1 chip, how Apple devices can help stave off the "infinity pool" distraction apps we are bombarded with every day, and talk through our long-term outlook on Apple as one of the largest companies on the planet.

This is definitely something we would be talking about over coffee if we were able to meet in person and you are invited to be a fly on the wall.

If you want to reach out and continue the discussion, feel free to contact us at [email protected].


Robert Greiner 0:01

discussed the recent November:

Hey, what's going on? Robert, I didn't think we'd be back here so soon.

I didn't either. I'm kind of surprised. Actually,

Igor Geyfman 0:39

Apple pulled the old one more thing on us. We thought they were done after the iPhone keynote. But we got some some big mac news, man, some big mac news.

Robert Greiner 0:52

So some older Mac news, which is kind of still new, though, I did end up getting the Apple Watch 6. So I got that ordered for Christmas. Yeah, and one thing I wanted to do, and I definitely want to talk about this in future episodes, but I have a bit of a concern around social media, the impact it has on kids. I watched The Social Dilemma with Diana and now have some concern there. And one thing that comes back to Apple that I really like is Apple makes products, it makes tools, they make tools that sit there happily until you're ready to use them. And then it's just a matter of opting in. And using that tool, it's not trying to vie for your attention and peel your eyes away from being present with your family or anything like that. They're there to serve you. And I do like that about Apple. And so one thing I'm going to do with the watch is have cell phone, my phone number forwarded to the watch and try to leave it in the car more, you know, things like that, where if I need to take a call, if I need to respond to a text for work, I'm still reachable on my wrist. But I don't have the the supercomputer AI in my pocket trying to get my attention all the time. And I think the watch is a good way to do that in the apple ecosystem. Because I was looking at the light phone, I was looking at some of these other options and they're just not great. And I would unplug i-message and all these other things wouldn't work. So I'm really excited to see how the watch works from like a phone connectivity, text messaging perspective.

Igor Geyfman 2:19

Yeah, like

a digital detox.

Robert Greiner 2:21

Yeah, that's right. Yeah. from Cal Newport. And I think we're going to start that Diana and I sometime this year. Yeah. So we'll see how it goes.

Igor Geyfman 2:30

Well, Tim Cook started this keynote by saying we've had three events in two months. And the Apple Watch event was one of those. Right? So it was that was the kind of the iPad, Apple watch one. And now I guess they're shipping. Yep. And people, people like Robert can order them in time for Christmas.

Robert Greiner 2:51

That's right.

Igor Geyfman 2:52

And I think what's cool, right is also Apple fitness is coming, which is kind of the on demand fitness videos, which are, I think, very, very timely, when you can't when you can't go out to the gym. So I think that's very cool. Yesterday, I just, they didn't talk about it at all at this event. But they flipped the switch. And now you can sign up for Apple one, which is the service bundle. For all the apple stuff they didn't mention at all. I mean, not surprising was a Mac event. But I went ahead and I signed up for that. It's pretty good value, considering you're getting a lot of the core stuff, but you don't get the fitness stuff with I think the fitness one, the package with the fitness stuff is 30 bucks a month, something like that. Something dawned on me, Robert, last time, I was pretty critical of other organizations not taking advantage of the lemons that have been presented to them. And maybe not taking stuff nearly as far as, as Apple has. And then as I was watching this keynote, in the opening, you know, it opens up to this kind of multicolored background, behind the apple campus, Apple Park. And then I realized that Apple probably has built the most expensive video set on the face of the planet, because they're not using Apple Park probably for anything else or not a lot of stuff, right. And it's $5 billion to build that thing. And so they definitely have a very cool setting that a lot of other organizations, obviously, you know, don't have a $5 billion stage set that they can use to to do all their cool shots.

Robert Greiner 4:31

Yes. You're definitely right there. So let's jump into the event. What what are your initial impressions?

Igor Geyfman 4:39

They talked about in the worldwide developer conference that happened earlier this year, which is the first virtual event they did. They talked about system on a chip. They call them Apple SOC s. And actually I didn't know what that meant. And I really just thought that was you know, maybe a more advanced CPU or something like that. And it wasn't until I watched this keynote, that I started to become a little bit more clear to me what system on a chip means the whole system's on the chip, right? I mean, I should have known. But it's the CPU, the GPU, other sort of controllers, the IO controllers, the secure enclave. And also, interestingly enough, the RAM is all built into this chip. And they just kind of layer those things like a chip sandwich, right. And then it's all in that one unit. And we've obviously been using these SOC s on our phones, and our iPads but not in our computers. And so it's a it's a big, big shift. And I'm not sure what to think about it. How do you feel about it, Robert?

Robert Greiner 5:44

it's definitely something to be excited about. I think the proof will be in the pudding when it comes to their higher end machines. We talked about this, right. So new chip, the M1 looks really good on the MacBook Air, I think there's some really good opportunities for the iPad, and the iPhone, those kind of things and also the interconnectedness that that will create as far as an experience for using different Apple products at different times, it's, I think that's going to be great. What I'm not sure about though, is how it's going to work on some of the higher end systems like the business class, performance class. If you're editing videos, if you're writing code, if you have one of the beefier MacBooks, or IMAX, what's that going to do to your productivity, because it seems really cool on these lower end, I think it makes sense that they released at that at sort of that range. What's going to happen next, though, I think, is really what I'm interested in.

Igor Geyfman 6:37

You know, the the MacBook Air, I think, is the sweet spot for this sort of chip, because the M1 I think, is really just a continuation of the a series chips that they've been putting into iPads. And the MacBook Air is very close kin to, to like an iPad Pro, for example. So it really made a lot of sense for the M one to be in that computer. Once you start putting that even into the Mac Mini and into the MacBook Pro, you know, I'm curious to see if that's, if that's the right sort of move, because you may want more juice out of it. You may want more than 16 gigs of memory out of those machines, especially if you're doing more advanced things like video editing, or 3D work. And I know they showed that stuff, right, they showed, like DaVinci Resolve, and it showed Final Cut Pro. And they showed cinema 4D working on all of these machines. And, you know, they seem to be, you know, fast. But that's all marketing video. You know, I'm curious to see once you actually load your all your stuff into into your software, if it can actually feel as brisk as they made it seem in the keynote.

Robert Greiner 7:48

Yeah, definitely. But to be fair to the MacBook Air, the way that it was released this month is I finally saw one where I was like, okay, I can actually use the MacBook Air for work. Most of the time, I could carry that thing around. Try to do that with an iPad occasionally anyway, I don't feel like I need the MacBook Pro 13 inch or 15 inch. So that that was kind of nice. Like, I think you're right, that is a sweet spot there. The 13 inch, though was a little bit surprising that they went there as well with this first generation of the M1 chip. And I have similar concerns. But I'm wondering if the closed system, if the new sort of memory address architecture, if all of those things together, and the fact that it is that closed system really will help eke out the performance that you're talking about. And what you build on Mac is specifically compiled to run on this hardware. I don't know. I'm really curious to see how that goes.

Igor Geyfman 8:44

The plan is, I think they mentioned this in the keynote pretty lightly but it's for all the Mac's to transition to Apple silicom by the end of two years. And that includes Mac Pro's, which are big beefy machines. And anyway, really curious, there's a lot of interesting stuff that's happening on the software side too. And how the software will will adapt. Robert, you know, you're you're known for your humor. And as I thought of you as I was watching the video, the keynote. There's a point where Craig Federighi, he's talking about the software because they also released Big Sur, which is the latest version of Mac OSX there's a scene where he like dims the lights.

Robert Greiner 9:32


Igor Geyfman 9:33

Barry White starts playing.

Robert Greiner 9:35

That's right.

Igor Geyfman 9:36

He slowly, like opens the computer and the glow sort of overtakes him. And I was like that's a very Robert Greiner sort of sort of moment. And it's hard to pull off humor. I mean, when's the last time you really saw a senior executive giving a big product keynote and they really just nailed like a funny, funny skit like that, right? I mean, that's dangerous. territory as far as I'm concerned.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah. And the funny thing is, so I was watching the event with Diana. And we're polar opposites in a lot of ways. But one thing is we have the exact same sense of humor, which is great because of humor is what I'm best at. And I like that she has the same sense of humor as me. And I remember us just cracking up at that part. And also, when they go from Tim Cook to the first guy, John might be his name, I think. And they're just going down all those floors of different colored like levels of the basement. And John's way at the bottom. And as it's going Diana is like where they keep John like this is they can't let them out occasionally. So yeah, there was a little bit of humor there. But again, the polish, the precision, handing off actual like presentation to different people, everyone had really good talking points, I thought it was a extremely well executed event.

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, you really get really got to keep those hardware people as far underground as possible. You know, everybody, everybody knows that. He talks about like the marketing and the presentation, one of the things that I started, I don't remember when I noticed it, I should go back and see when they started doing it. But I call them these product placemats. When I say that, do you know what I'm talking about?

Robert Greiner:

Now, why don't you lay it out for me?

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, so as as they're unveiling the M1, or they're unveiling the MacBook Air, there's a slide that comes up. And the slide has all these little like boxes on it. And each box says you know, two x battery performance, and you know, new signal processing for the camera. But it's this one sheet of paper. It's like a little placemat that has all the big talking points for that product laid out on it. And it's, you know, very graphically engaging. And it's an it's something that you just, you know, you have up on the screen that really summarizes what the product key features are. And what I noticed is that a lot of people who cover Apple events, end up using that placemat in their videos or in their materials, right? they'll they'll throw that up as a background for when they're talking about and doing analysis on it. I thought that's such a smart, smart thing to do. And so I'm I'm definitely going to steal that for myself as I put up presentations. You know, think about what the product placemat could be for some of the things that I work on. I really like that part of the the deck if you still want to call it that.

Robert Greiner:

That is an interesting point. I like that. One other thing I wanted to talk to you about as well, as we've been talking about the book How to Win, which is about strategy. And if you think about Apple's strategy here, winning aspiration, you know why they exist, guiding aspirations that seems to be clear. Where will you play, also seems to be clear, based on the products that they're building, things like that. How to win, obviously, building these premier interconnected products and services that just work in an entire ecosystem, the management systems, that's the bottom one, I skipped one, I skipped capabilities, I'm gonna come back to in a minute, very clear that their entire value chain is tightened up, they're being really bold, pushing out a lot of productivity in a time where it'd be very easy to take your foot off the gas and phone it in a little bit. So I get all of those components of this sort of strategy playbook that's outlined in How to Win. What I don't fully understand is capabilities around the chip, like you said, So did you read anywhere like this new Apple silicon? Can you run Windows on it? Can you use boot camp and boot natively into Windows like you could before?

Igor Geyfman:

You can't, right? So it's it's a, it's a RISC arm chip. It's not an x86 chip. And so if you're going to be running Windows on it, or even most machop applications that exist today, you're going to be running them emulated. And so Apple created their newest version of Rosetta, which is their kind of translator emulation layer. And so as far as I know, you cannot, you can note, there's no longer any boot camp. You know, because we have these x86 packs now. You can boot camp into Windows. And for all intents and purposes, you know, your machine thinks that it's a Windows machine. You know, that's no longer something that's supported, it has to have an emulation layer in between. and the claim is that the emulation layers, very efficient, and some of the claims or even, it's so good, that the apps are even faster with emulation on the new chip, like the new chip is so much more powerful, so much more efficient, that some applications run faster even though they're being emulated, rather than the non emulated version on non Apple silicon. I don't know how much I believe that. But, but that's what's happening. And it also gave them the ability to expand their library of apps. Because now, you know, all the mobile apps have been written for arm and RISC architecture for the A chips, right? those, those chips are the basis for the M chips in your laptop now. And so the Apple App Store is now available on your Mac, which is a Cambrian explosion level event for software for the Mac, which is really interesting. The question of how much of that how much of the sort of mobile touch experience can translate well onto, you know, a laptop that doesn't have any touch capabilities beyond your, your touchpad. But it's pretty cool. One of the things that I saw on there was, and the executive from that company from Shaper 3D was was in Keynote. Shaper 3D is a really cool, easy to use CAD program, Computer Aided Drafting, I think that's what CAD stands for. But it's where you can create industrial products or little architectural plans, things like that. And I've been using that on my iPad Pro. And now to be able to have a workflow where I can open up shaper, on my laptop or on my iMac when I need it, but then also have the ability to do a quick sketch on the CAD on my iPad Pro. It's really nice. So to have that level of seamless integration between your mobile workflow and your desktop workflow, I think for some instances, it's going to be really useful.

Robert Greiner:

So you've touched on an analogy that I want to make here. That is of Windows Vista. You remember Windows Vista? Yes.

Igor Geyfman:

I do remember Windows Vista.

Robert Greiner:

Okay. So

you had XP, which was, by all intents and purposes, a great operating system, people liked it.

Igor Geyfman:

Probably the best Windows operating system.

Robert Greiner:

Vista came out, and all your printers broke, and everything was just chaos. Not many people liked Vista, then Windows 10 came out. And it's been largely appreciated, well received. Not a lot of complaints about Windows 10, you spoke sort of reminiscently about Windows XP, but Windows 10 is fine.

Igor Geyfman:

But when Windows 7 was great.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, but Windows 7 came right after. That's what I meant. Yeah, Windows 7 came right after Vista, yeah, needs to be windows seven. So Vista needed to be this transition layer between XP and 7, in order to get to 10, in order to get to the next evolution. And so when I look at the capability section of the strategy playbook, when I think about what you just said, where I can have a workflow that spans devices and operating systems, this M1 chip seems to be the first stepping stone in that transition layer that will ultimately, 10 years from now lead to an ecosystem experience that we haven't, we could we can imagine right now.

Igor Geyfman:

It's it's undoubtedly the smart thing for Apple to do. Right? It's smart, because it allows them to have this sort of software continuity across their entire device lineup. It also frees them sort of from the tyranny of Intel, and x86 space, you know, processing. And there's a lot of benefits to Apple, this financial benefits, right, they don't have to pay licensing fees and R&D fees for Intel, which by the way, they're also still paying for their arm risk R&D stuff that they do for themselves, like they have to do R&D for their mobile devices. And now they're able to use that R&D budget and have it on all their platforms. It's a smart move from an economic standpoint. And the question is, you know, are they going to be able to do the transition smoothly enough? Where the consumers will sort of go along?

Robert Greiner:

That's the question. Is this going to be a Windows Vista level catastrophe to get to some greater plane of existence that you just can't get to in a linear way? Because they're going all in on this chip? I mean, what two years? Is that what we talked about? Every Mac? Yep.

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, two years, the whole the whole lineup? Apple is in a good place? Because they've done this before? Right? They they were on the power PC chip for for the longest time. At some point they made a transition to x86. that transition wasn't without its issues. But I think, you know, there's probably enough people at Apple that were there for the power proceed to x86 transition, that have internalized the lessons that needed to be learned and are now able to go back and apply them as they make their transition from x86 to Apple Silcon.

Robert Greiner:

Well, I hope so. We'll see. So before we wrap up, two questions. One, what are you most excited about from this last event? Then two, what are you most excited about from the events in 2020.

Igor Geyfman:

There's a segment in the event where Craig brought on software makers. And really the software makers created like zoom videos, and the way that they were able to cut those videos together from all these disparate sources, and produce a really great advertisement, from the perspective of their software vendors, was really awesome. And I loved it, because I'm a longtime fan of the company Panic. Do you know who Panic is, Robert?

Robert Greiner:


Igor Geyfman:

Panic. They make Kota, which is a IDE, and they also make transmit, which is an FTP program. And they've been, they've been making Mac software for forever. So a big fan of Panic, they've done an amazing job, they've been at the forefront of software design, and just design in general. And I'm a big fan of Cabel Sasser, who's the CEO of panic. And so I think this may be the first time that I've seen Cabel included in an apple event like this. And so when I saw Cabel come up, and talk about what the what the move to M1 and Apple Silicon means for him. And all the other folks that was that was, that was a really cool moment. And I also thought that, you know, anyone can do this, right? Anyone can have all these zoom videos that come in, and stitch them together, and have like a really nice commercial come out of it. So it was a way for even if you don't have the budget, and the $5 billion campus, and all those other things, you can still put together a very capable video. So that's the thing that was most exciting about the, I'm not buying any of the Macs, I'm not buying a MacBook Air, I'm not, you know. And actually, if they come out with an iMac, with Apple silicone, I would buy it, because I'm just not in the market for a laptop. Um, and then for 2020, I still think the iPhone Mini is the most interesting product that they've released because they're kind of going against the grain and releasing a smaller device. It's it started now to show up in people's hands. And the reviews are coming in. And it's a very affordable entry point from a price perspective as well to the latest, you know, iPhone 12 performance. What about you, Robert?

Robert Greiner:

Oh, yeah, very much excited about the MacBook Air, it is in that sweet spot, like we talked about. And I could very much see myself using it at work, at home. And I like the idea of just having a single device, maybe bringing it home docking it. And then now it just lights up my my desktop setup. And I just have one device for everything. And so I think that could be kind of interesting. For the 2020. I think the watch, I know they've had cellular watches before. I think though that this is a step forward in fitness tracking and what you can fit on the device, its capabilities, all the style around it. And so I'm really excited about maybe, like I mentioned earlier, leaving my phone somewhere and just still being connected if I'm needed, but not having to worry about being distracted, maybe can be more present, more productive. And so I'm hoping that the Apple Watch helps me be more productive in 2021. We'll see that's a really tall order really big ask, but that's why I'm most excited about it.

Igor Geyfman:

Dude, I'm stoked to do a check in with you and see how your experiment is going as far as using the Apple Watch as like a diet version of, you know, getting what you need, but being disconnected enough where you're not being bombarded with all the things that you don't want to be bombarded with from a social media perspective and everything else. So I let's let's do a check in soon. And see how that's going. Maybe after the New Year.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, for sure. And one thing I forgot to mention too, is I always keep my air pods in my pocket. It's part of my everyday carry. And so having the air pods I pop those in for phone calls and things like that on iPhone so I think the I'm hoping the workflow of when I get a call I can pull the air pods out, put them in answer the call on my on my watch. Verizon has all the numbers sharing and stuff and so it'll be transparent to me to everyone else. So I'm hyper optimistic about it but also wondering how good or bad it's going to work. So yeah, let's check in soon and and see how it goes. Hopefully it goes well.

Igor Geyfman:

That's awesome. Robert, these

are fun. I you know, I know I love talking about Apple. I know you love talking about Apple. And so it's really great that we're able to get together and chat about it. One more question. Is this a buy for Apple like is this, you know, I feel like every keynote is an opportunity to say, bye stay or sell for Apple. And so which of these is was this last keynote for you?

Robert Greiner:

I think it's a buy for a couple of reasons. One, I'm, as I'm thinking about the technologies I want to have in my life, the apple ecosystem is non invasive, and it works. I like the ecosystem, there are tools happily waiting for you to use them. And so I like that Apple is continuing to push in that direction. So it's something that I want to support, personally. And also, they're making a big bet on M1. And just like you said, before, they've done it before, if anyone's going to be able to knock this out of the park, it's going to be Apple. So I would this was, would be more of a speculative buy, that I could see this massive potential upside. There's also a lot of risk. But I think that if I was going to trust a company to pull something like this off, it would be Apple. So for those reasons, I'm a buy. What about you?

Igor Geyfman:

I was probably a stay until our conversation just now. And and that stay got tipped into a buy, because of something that you remarked on using that framework that we talked about the plain twin framework. In three to four years, there's going to be a whole new way that you're going to be able to engage with the ecosystem in a consistent way. And I don't think that's currently priced into the Apple stock. And so that's, that nudged me from a stay to a buy after after this keynote.

Robert Greiner:

Awesome. I do like that. And I, I think that explosion of apps, like you talked about is going to be a really big thing. And I'm excited about the workflow. It is Playing to Win. By the way, I think I said how to win now that I'm reflecting on the conversation. But yeah, well, we'll see how it goes, man, but either way, I'm excited about the watch. I'm excited about the future. I'm excited about talking about this stuff with you. Normally, like we said before, this would be done over coffee. And so at least we can have these conversations occasionally. So thanks for taking the time, man.

Igor Geyfman:

Thanks for spending time, Robert. Have a good weekend.

All right. Bye. Have a good one.


Robert Greiner:

Bye. That's it for today. Thanks for joining and don't forget to follow us on Twitter at one grab coffee or drop us a line at [email protected].

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