Developing Perspective

#141: Sweeping Statements with Incomplete Information.


00:00:00   Hello, and welcome to Developing Perspective.

00:00:03   Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing news of note and iOS development, Apple and

00:00:07   the like.

00:00:08   I'm your host, David Smith.

00:00:09   I'm an independent iOS and Mac developer based in Virginia.

00:00:12   This is show number 141, and today is Friday, September 6, 2013.

00:00:16   Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's get started.

00:00:20   All right, a quick update about the Developing Perspective shirts.

00:00:23   Don't want to get too much into it, but first, just a big thank you to all the people who've

00:00:28   supported, spread the word about it, and bought them, I suppose.

00:00:32   At this point, I think about 100 t-shirts have been sold.

00:00:36   So they'll definitely be printed either way.

00:00:39   I think the campaign ends sometime late on--

00:00:42   so this is coming Sunday, September 8.

00:00:45   So if you are interested in getting one, by all means do,

00:00:47   if that's your thing.

00:00:48   Otherwise, no.

00:00:49   And just wanted to let you know that the--

00:00:51   I also had LadyStyles.

00:00:54   I heard it had some requests for that.

00:00:55   So there's both the regular American Apparel standard men's style as well as more trim

00:01:00   fit lady styles.

00:01:02   All right, that's it on that front.

00:01:04   And I'm going to get into my main topic for today.

00:01:06   And that's going to be kind of two things.

00:01:08   One is going to be tearing down a little bit or expressing some of my skepticism and concerns.

00:01:14   Things I always think about are pundits.

00:01:16   And then I'm going to punditify.

00:01:19   I don't know exactly what the verb is to pundit.

00:01:21   But I will do that.

00:01:24   So it's always kind of a funny thing.

00:01:27   And I say things, a lot of things are funny things,

00:01:30   now that I think about it.

00:01:31   But it's an interesting thing that whenever-- just being

00:01:35   in the industry we are and being in the circle side

00:01:39   that I live in, that there's a lot of people who

00:01:41   we love speculating.

00:01:42   We love talking about things.

00:01:44   We love getting on our soapboxes and talking about stuff

00:01:48   that we don't really know a lot about.

00:01:50   And this has become especially evident to me

00:01:53   we've gotten into this, it seems like this very recent section where it's just one thing

00:01:56   after another is causing this. You know, we had Microsoft reorg, we had Ballmer stepping

00:02:01   down, we have Microsoft buying Nokia, we had Nintendo coming out with a new device, and

00:02:07   apparently that says setting forth the, you know, the death and L of their demise, apparently,

00:02:13   or I don't even really know, I'm not a big, big up on games. But the phrase that sort

00:02:19   has started permeating and kind of consistently entering my head as I've been listening to

00:02:23   all this, has been that it's like, whenever you're a pundit or someone on the outside

00:02:30   making these sort of observations or commentary on companies, on products and things like

00:02:37   that, the thing that comes most to mind to me is that pundits or people or commentators,

00:02:44   whatever you want to call them, are always making broad, sweeping statements with incomplete

00:02:51   information.

00:02:53   And those two things fundamentally pull the legs out of the likelihood of the accuracy,

00:03:06   the reliability, and the usefulness of their statements.

00:03:10   And that's a little bit unfortunate in a lot of ways.

00:03:13   That's kind of what they have to do.

00:03:15   Unless you are in the boardroom at Microsoft,

00:03:19   you're always speculating.

00:03:21   And you have to make kind of broad statements,

00:03:22   because getting really specific is either

00:03:26   unhelpful to communicate or impossible to do

00:03:29   with any kind of accuracy.

00:03:31   You're always dealing with incomplete information,

00:03:33   because you don't really know what's going on.

00:03:35   You're kind of drawing-- you're reading

00:03:37   the tea leaves of all the little things on the outside

00:03:39   that you're seeing.

00:03:41   And it's just that's what you're ending up with.

00:03:44   And it's always something that I always try and remind myself.

00:03:46   And this is part of why I'm just mentioning it.

00:03:47   It's just the thing I've been thinking about,

00:03:49   is making sure that I don't get too wrapped up

00:03:50   in that kind of commentary, in those kinds of comments,

00:03:53   and understanding that the reality is,

00:03:55   unless you're actually an executive at one

00:03:58   of these companies, you really don't know what's going on.

00:04:00   You don't know the intricacies of what their requirements are,

00:04:04   what their goals are, how things are going financially for them,

00:04:08   All these kinds of things that are just incomplete.

00:04:13   And so getting too wrapped up and speculating about them,

00:04:15   or thinking about it too much,

00:04:18   just isn't really productive.

00:04:19   And I'd rather focus on things that are probably more productive

00:04:21   in terms of just like, maybe I should just focus on making my apps

00:04:23   and making them awesome, rather than getting too worried about

00:04:27   what some large Fortune 500 company is reorganizing

00:04:30   or shaking up their executive board or whatever.

00:04:34   And similarly, you get into the rumor side of things with Apple.

00:04:38   And obviously, the big thing that is coming up is next Tuesday,

00:04:41   there's going to be an Apple event that will brighten our day.

00:04:45   And there's some amount of-- I'm about to get into this later--

00:04:49   that it's fun to talk about these things ahead of time.

00:04:52   It's fun to think about them and to be thoughtful.

00:04:56   And obviously, the best part is when you're proven right

00:04:59   is by far the best part of this, where you can make a prediction

00:05:04   and be right. It feels really cool. And it's kind of fun. And I think a lot of people like

00:05:08   talking about them because it's fun to talk about something where there is no definite,

00:05:15   there's no defined facts. So you can kind of let your mind wander and come up with exciting

00:05:20   things or interesting things or things that you'd like without kind of being tied down

00:05:26   by the burden of reality. And so it's kind of fun. And, but it's always just kind of,

00:05:31   You know, it's making sure--

00:05:33   my goal-- and this is something that I've

00:05:34   been having to keep telling myself--

00:05:35   making sure I'm not getting too caught up in that

00:05:37   and spending too much time reading,

00:05:39   telling people, talking in broad sweeping statements

00:05:41   about-- with incomplete information--

00:05:43   about things that maybe aren't as relevant to my actual work,

00:05:47   to my actual day-to-day, to my actual--

00:05:50   the work that I'm doing.

00:05:51   And so this is just something that I wanted to think about.

00:05:55   As I was preparing this, I was looking

00:05:57   at the origin of the phrase, you know, with a grain of salt.

00:06:01   So the classic thing is, you know, take this advice with a grain of salt or take this commentary with a grain of salt.

00:06:05   And apparently it was,

00:06:07   based on a lot, as best I can find from five minutes on Wikipedia,

00:06:10   it was a Latin phrase that was referring to using salt as an antidote for certain kinds of poisons,

00:06:17   which seemed pretty apt. They're getting too wrapped up and these kinds of things could potentially be a little bit poisonous.

00:06:22   Alright, so now I'm gonna go and pontificate. So that is,

00:06:27   So take all this with a big grain of salt,

00:06:30   making sure that it's not poisonous to you.

00:06:32   Hopefully I'll try and keep these kinds of things

00:06:34   a bit relevant.

00:06:35   But I think any tech podcaster has

00:06:38   to throw their hat in the ring a little bit

00:06:40   and talk about what they think is going to happen

00:06:42   and how that is important or relevant.

00:06:45   So next Tuesday, Apple's going to have an event.

00:06:47   And it's exciting.

00:06:48   I mean, I, for one, I get very excited by these.

00:06:51   It's kind of silly in a lot of ways.

00:06:53   I think a lot of people were excited last night when

00:06:56   The first game of the NFL season came on.

00:06:59   And a lot of people were excited about that.

00:07:00   A lot of people talk about it.

00:07:02   In a lot of ways, this is kind of my season opener.

00:07:08   This is the exciting part of the year for me,

00:07:10   as somebody who makes my living making apps in the App Store,

00:07:14   who is a long time-- this is how I've been making

00:07:17   my living for a long time.

00:07:18   And then it's just a really exciting time,

00:07:20   because this is when all the change happens.

00:07:22   This is when the new opportunities are created.

00:07:24   is when things get mixed up in interesting and fun ways.

00:07:27   And so it's exciting for me to think about what's

00:07:29   going to happen on next Tuesday.

00:07:32   If this is your first rodeo and you haven't really

00:07:35   gone through too many of these, essentially what's

00:07:37   going to happen next Tuesday is Apple's going

00:07:40   to have an event.

00:07:41   I think it's on their campus this time,

00:07:43   rather than one of the bigger auditoriums.

00:07:45   So it means it's-- you could argue back and forth

00:07:48   about exactly why that is.

00:07:49   I think often that's been when they have new hardware.

00:07:53   They've often done it that way, but that's

00:07:54   one of those vaguely general things,

00:07:57   because it gives them a bit more control of the venue,

00:07:59   rather than if they go to another place,

00:08:01   they have to take whatever the hardware is

00:08:03   and the technology with them outside.

00:08:05   But that's probably not a rule.

00:08:06   Obviously, they introduced the new Mac Pros at WWDC

00:08:09   in one of the largest convention centers in the West Coast.

00:08:13   So it's not certainly a rule, but I

00:08:14   think there's going to be some interesting things that

00:08:15   are going to happen.

00:08:16   I think the difficulty that Apple has now

00:08:19   is to hold interest and to be exciting when you already

00:08:25   have one of the best products in the world

00:08:27   that you're iterating on.

00:08:30   And especially when this is the year

00:08:31   that everyone widely expects that it should just be a bump.

00:08:35   So people are expecting there'll be the 5S, which

00:08:38   will be the current phone that we have that I absolutely love.

00:08:43   It's, I think, my favorite iPhone to date.

00:08:46   It wasn't quite the most dramatic improvement.

00:08:49   I remember when I first got my iPhone 4,

00:08:51   that was just absolutely sort of mind blowing

00:08:54   in terms of the engineering and the aesthetic

00:08:56   and the design of that.

00:08:57   And it was such a radical departure

00:08:59   that I remember really, really sort of being blown away by that.

00:09:02   But the iPhone 5 is definitely better than the iPhone 4

00:09:05   in a lot of tangible ways.

00:09:06   And I think what they're going to do

00:09:08   is they're going to take that and they're

00:09:09   going to iterate on it.

00:09:09   That's what they've done.

00:09:11   Kind of this pattern they've gotten

00:09:12   into with everything other than the iPhone 3G

00:09:16   is they put something out and they iterate on it,

00:09:21   and they put something out and they iterate on it,

00:09:23   and they go back and forth in that.

00:09:24   And it means that the products get better and better,

00:09:26   and it really helps them, I'm sure,

00:09:27   in the margins in terms of creating these things.

00:09:29   And I think it also helps developers and helps customers

00:09:32   because they're not constantly throwing everything out

00:09:37   and having to relearn or get familiar with something new.

00:09:40   That if I get an iPhone 5S,

00:09:43   it's going to still feel comfortable.

00:09:44   It's still going to feel normal rather than if they keep

00:09:47   changing screen sizes and they keep

00:09:48   changing weights and orientations and materials.

00:09:53   That's just one more thing to adapt to.

00:09:55   And it sounds like there's a lot of smoke around them

00:09:57   going to be introducing a new lower cost phone, which

00:10:00   I think is something I've talked about before.

00:10:01   It's something I'm excited about,

00:10:03   especially if it turns out to be a relatively capable phone.

00:10:06   I would be very disappointed as a developer if it wasn't

00:10:09   as capable as, say, for example, the iPhone 5

00:10:12   or something like that.

00:10:13   It would be really disappointing,

00:10:15   because I think they're going to sell a lot of them.

00:10:17   And we're going to have to be supporting whatever

00:10:19   the 5C, the new plastic back phone for a very long time.

00:10:26   And so I'd really like for it to be

00:10:27   something very capable and very compelling to work with.

00:10:32   And so I think if they did an iPhone 5 with cheaper

00:10:35   components, I think that would definitely be that.

00:10:37   And so I'm excited to see that.

00:10:39   And I think mostly just in the sense

00:10:40   that I think it helps anything that the Apple can

00:10:42   to help broaden the user base is always going to be good for developers.

00:10:46   There's an old cliche amongst app developers talking about,

00:10:51   "If I could just sell my app to a tenth of one percent

00:10:56   of all the people in the world with iPhones, I'd be living large."

00:11:01   And in many ways that is true.

00:11:05   And I think the tenth of one percent is still really hard to do,

00:11:07   but the reality is the bigger the pot,

00:11:09   that percent you need to have to hit that same kind of number.

00:11:12   And that's always just, I think, a good thing.

00:11:15   I think there's going to be some surprises.

00:11:17   I was thinking about this a lot this morning.

00:11:19   And I think the reality is if Apple just came out and introduced

00:11:22   those two products, I think it would feel anticlimactic.

00:11:27   And this is as somebody who is very excited about those two products,

00:11:32   in that they're not dramatic.

00:11:38   And I think if you're going to have an event,

00:11:40   you want to have it to be something dramatic.

00:11:42   And so I think they need some other stuff.

00:11:44   So whether that is new MacBook Pros, which

00:11:47   are due for an update, whether that is a retina cinema

00:11:50   display, which is just me dreaming,

00:11:52   whether that is new iPads, which I think

00:11:57   are probably going to be coming later on, potentially

00:12:00   in October.

00:12:01   Though I really hope they don't end up forking iOS 7

00:12:05   like they ended up having to do when they introduced

00:12:07   the initial iPad where we were on iOS 3.2 was different than the version that was running

00:12:14   on iPhones. It was a big mess. Hopefully they don't end up having to do that, but hopefully

00:12:22   the new iPads may not launch until a little bit later, a little closer into the holiday

00:12:27   season. But generally I think there'll be something else, and I'm not sure there'll

00:12:31   be a new product category at this point. I think this event is mostly going to be about

00:12:36   the iPhone, because he's certainly being in new iPod touches, new things they're doing

00:12:40   there that could be kind of interesting or exciting.

00:12:41   But I think there's got to be something.

00:12:43   There's got to be something that Apple does to just sort of fill out the event, because

00:12:51   it wouldn't take all that long for them to-- they'll go up and they'll talk about how the

00:12:54   retail is doing well.

00:12:55   They always like showing a picture or a video about a new store they opened somewhere in

00:12:58   the world that's in a kind of a cool place.

00:13:00   And then they'll launch into the products and kind of talk about them.

00:13:04   And I think it'll be interesting to see what that is.

00:13:06   What's that new exciting thing that they're trying to bring forward and talk about?

00:13:10   All right, that's it for me for my pontificating.

00:13:12   So that's kind of what I'm expecting next week.

00:13:15   And I'm excited about it.

00:13:16   I think it'll be fun.

00:13:17   I'll definitely be sitting there watching the live blogs or they live stream it hopefully.

00:13:20   I'll be watching the live streams and it'll be exciting to see what they do and hopefully

00:13:25   we'll have a lot of fun things to talk about next week.

00:13:27   I may end up doing a couple of shows next week or at least an off-schedule show to talk

00:13:32   about things as they're exciting and as they're interesting.

00:13:34   Often I find it's kind of fun to do a show right after an event, kind of do first impressions

00:13:38   before I read a lot of analysis from other people and kind of get my first thoughts out

00:13:44   and then to be able to kind of give a more thoughtful discussion maybe a little bit later

00:13:47   in the week.

00:13:48   All right, that's it for today's show.

00:13:49   As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns, or complaints, I'm on Twitter @_davidsmith.

00:13:53   Email me david@developingperspective.com.

00:13:56   And otherwise, I hope you have a great week, happy coding, and I will talk to you later.

00:13:59   Good luck with your iOS 7 updates.