Developing Perspective

#67: The Apple Business Team


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:04   news of note in iOS development, Apple, and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:08   an independent iOS developer based in Herne, Virginia. This is show number 67 and today

00:00:13   is Tuesday, July 24th. Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's

00:00:17   get started. First, I'm excited to report that I'm coming to you from my brand new Retina

00:00:22   MacBook Pro. I've mentioned this on a couple of different shows. Specifically, when I went

00:00:27   into all the details of why I bought it and all those types of things. And so I'm just

00:00:32   glad to finally have it. And I'll talk about that a little bit as the main topic of the

00:00:37   show and how I came about acquiring it. Before that, two little bits of follow-up. First,

00:00:42   thank you for everybody who took part of the survey. That was mentioned in the last episode.

00:00:47   It was really helpful for me to just get some feedback. I really appreciate everybody who

00:00:51   took the time to do that. And based on the feedback I got there, two things are probably

00:00:56   going to be changing or adjusting or becoming more consistent, maybe is a better way to

00:01:01   say it. First, I think I'm going to start recording two episodes a week. That seemed

00:01:06   to be right around the sweet spot. Most people wanted two, and then the second highest desire

00:01:14   was people wanting three. And so I figured I'd go for the lower of those to start with,

00:01:19   and I can always ramp up or add bonus episodes for topical things or for just, you know,

00:01:25   the mood takes me. But I think that's kind of what I'm going to be going towards. And

00:01:29   then I also got some feedback that it seemed like about 40% of you would prefer a regimented

00:01:35   schedule and the rest didn't have a preference. And so what I'm probably going to start trying

00:01:40   to do, and it should work, is I'll start recording and releasing episodes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

00:01:47   So if you're, that works out kind of well, if you're in a sort of, if you follow the

00:01:52   five by five podcast world, in the sense of because there's

00:01:56   typically there shows are typically Monday, Wednesday,

00:01:58   Friday, so you kind of maybe fills the fills out that little

00:02:00   gap in the week, if you listen on a regular basis. And

00:02:03   otherwise, it's also works out well for me and my schedule. So

00:02:08   typically going forward, I'm going to record two episodes a

00:02:10   week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And we'll see how that goes. I

00:02:13   mean, nothing's sort of set in stone. And the goal in all of

00:02:16   this is just for it to be helpful and useful to people. So

00:02:18   If it turns out not to be working, I'll change it.

00:02:22   But just kind of wanted to put that out there.

00:02:24   So that's the new schedule, Tuesdays, Thursdays.

00:02:26   Exact time of the day, I don't really know.

00:02:28   But probably, typically I record first thing in the morning.

00:02:32   So around then, unless there's news or other things.

00:02:36   All right.

00:02:36   So onto the main topic of today's show.

00:02:38   And like I said, I got a Retina MacBook Pro.

00:02:41   I ended up getting the-- I guess you'd call it the specced out version,

00:02:45   the max spec version, whatever you want to call it, in terms of--

00:02:49   so it's the 2.7 gigahertz i7 processor.

00:02:53   It's 16 gigs of RAM.

00:02:54   And it's 768 gigabyte hard drive.

00:02:58   So a fairly substantial investment I made into this computer.

00:03:02   And I had a couple of you ask why I was going to go with different choices

00:03:07   and what that looked like.

00:03:09   And so I figured I'd walk through exactly where I'm coming from with that.

00:03:15   And hopefully it will be helpful to other people who

00:03:17   may be thinking about getting one.

00:03:19   And specifically, I had a good question

00:03:21   from Paul Donahue, who was asking,

00:03:23   is it worth getting 16 gigs of RAM?

00:03:25   Is it worth getting the SSD upgrades?

00:03:28   And so basically, I think yes.

00:03:30   I think if you have the meat, it's

00:03:33   almost like the best advice-- I can't remember who said this,

00:03:37   but I've heard it once, and it's sort of rung true for me

00:03:40   ever since-- is basically, you should always

00:03:43   get the best computer that you can afford.

00:03:48   And what you can afford is, of course, entirely up to you.

00:03:51   But your computer is something that you're

00:03:54   going to use for hours and hours and hours and hours.

00:03:58   And making sure that it's good and effective

00:04:00   and the sharpest tool for that job

00:04:02   is absolutely almost always worthwhile.

00:04:06   And so in this case, for a Retina Mac Pro,

00:04:09   the nice thing is there's really not that many choices

00:04:11   you have to make.

00:04:11   I mean, getting a Mac Pro is a bit more complicated because you have so many different things

00:04:14   that you can tweak and adjust and play with.

00:04:16   With the Retina MacBook Pro, it's really how fast you want your processor, how much RAM,

00:04:20   how big of a hard drive.

00:04:21   And all three of those things you need to decide up front because you can't change them

00:04:25   later.

00:04:26   So I got the fastest CPU because the thing that I do the most as part of my job is development,

00:04:34   which involves compilation.

00:04:37   Compilation is largely CPU bound.

00:04:39   And so the faster I can make my CPU, the faster my compilation goes, the less time I spend

00:04:44   waiting.

00:04:45   It's fairly straightforward for me.

00:04:47   For RAM, I think 16 gigs is ideal for most people these days.

00:04:53   And in running up to getting this machine, what I started doing is I left activity monitor

00:04:57   running on my previous machine, which had 8 gigs, which is what typically you'd get

00:05:03   otherwise on a MacBook Pro.

00:05:05   And what I found is 8 gigs is sufficient for most general computing operations that you'll

00:05:13   do these days.

00:05:15   However, it's not great.

00:05:18   You'll often be hitting that limit in a way that is kind of frustrating or annoying.

00:05:24   And you won't notice it, but your computer will just sort of start slowly to get slower

00:05:29   and slower.

00:05:30   And so it's the kind of thing that I just decided, you know, I'm just going to go ahead

00:05:33   and invest in the future.

00:05:37   And I don't think applications going forward

00:05:39   are going to require less and less memory.

00:05:41   I suspect they will start requiring

00:05:43   more and more memory.

00:05:44   And so I'm just kind of future-proofing myself

00:05:47   a little bit there.

00:05:48   And so that's kind of what I did there.

00:05:51   And then, let's see, the last one is hard drive space.

00:05:55   And this is a little bit silly and a little bit

00:05:57   of an extravagance.

00:05:59   But I ended up just getting the largest hard drive possible.

00:06:02   And the reason for that is one of the most annoying dialogues

00:06:08   I've ever seen on a Mac, and I've seen it increasingly

00:06:13   often since moving to SSDs, is the little thing that pops up

00:06:16   and says, your computer is almost out of space.

00:06:19   Would you like to empty the trash?

00:06:20   Or you need to do something about this.

00:06:23   That just drives me crazy, because it happens randomly,

00:06:26   or perhaps more often.

00:06:27   It happens when I'm doing things that are intensive

00:06:30   and require lots of resources.

00:06:32   And so then all of a sudden, if you run out of disk space,

00:06:36   all kinds of horrible things happen.

00:06:37   So I'm feeling like there's a great Wallace and Gromit

00:06:40   cartoon where the dog-- you didn't need to know

00:06:43   about the show-- but anyway, there's

00:06:44   a dog on a little model train, and he's building the train

00:06:47   in front of him.

00:06:47   So he's laying the tracks just as he goes,

00:06:49   right in front of him.

00:06:50   And that's kind of how I feel like.

00:06:51   I'm constantly trying to find something

00:06:53   to delete so I can make space for this new thing,

00:06:55   delete something, make space for something new.

00:06:58   And that drives me crazy.

00:06:59   And I looked at it and I was like, you know, 768 gigs is a lot of space.

00:07:03   Right now I'm working on my main computer at 120 gigabyte hard drive

00:07:08   that's always getting full.

00:07:10   I've attached to that like a half a terabyte of resources and data

00:07:13   and pictures and things like that.

00:07:15   I'm like, you know what, I can just take that, throw it all on that drive,

00:07:19   and still have maybe one to 200 gigabytes available.

00:07:23   And that was made a lot more sense to me.

00:07:26   I hope to never see that dialogue again, and if I do, I hope it is in the far, far future.

00:07:33   So anyway, those are kind of my rationals behind it so far. I love the machine, it's

00:07:38   gorgeous, it is ridiculously fast, and strangely, it reminds me a lot of when I first got my

00:07:43   iPhone 4, and not for the reason that's perhaps obvious. The obvious similarity between those

00:07:48   two is they were both the introduction of retina screens on their respective platforms.

00:07:53   The thing that I found most shocking and surprising about this is that it crosses over the speed

00:07:59   chasm or the performance chasm, whatever you want to call it, from where you're used to

00:08:03   waiting for things to when you're used to things happening instantaneously.

00:08:08   And that's a very subtle difference, but it's a very important difference.

00:08:12   It's that difference where you just kind of, things just happen right away.

00:08:16   And on a slower computer you get used to the fact that you hit something, wait a beat,

00:08:21   and it happens.

00:08:22   way to be it happens. And we to go from that to essentially instantaneous is a very substantial

00:08:28   improvement in happiness and usefulness. So, so far very pleased with it, I'm expecting to do some

00:08:34   few more benchmarks and things. I mean, I know for example, definitely compilation versus my old i7

00:08:41   eight core iMac is massively better. So I'm very, very happy about that. But so far, very pleased,

00:08:50   highly recommended. And then the last thing I was going to talk about is how I actually

00:08:53   got it. And so they're very backordered. And but I ended up getting it through the local

00:08:57   business rep at my Apple store, like my local Apple store. And I just wanted to talk a little

00:09:02   bit about business reps and how they work. So, so you may or may not know, every Apple

00:09:09   store has a business team. And the business team's job is to essentially help Apple sell

00:09:15   into businesses, whether that be large businesses, big enterprises, or if it's going to be sort

00:09:20   small businesses like me, who's one guy writing apps.

00:09:24   And their job is to do a couple of things.

00:09:27   Apparently they do all kinds of support and education and stuff.

00:09:30   They're services that I just really don't need or care about.

00:09:33   It's like the classic thing of I know more probably about Apple and iOS

00:09:39   and OS X and all these things than they do probably.

00:09:42   So that's really not what I need them for.

00:09:45   What I find them very helpful for is two things.

00:09:47   One is getting discounts on hardware.

00:09:51   So typically, Apple has a very one-price-across-the-board

00:09:54   pricing regimen, where no matter what you buy,

00:10:00   it'll always be the same price.

00:10:01   So if you can buy it online, you can buy it in the store,

00:10:03   you can get these tiny discounts on Amazon or places like that.

00:10:06   But typically, it's one price across the board.

00:10:09   And the only exception that I've really found to that,

00:10:11   or the primary exception that anyone can access,

00:10:14   is that if you're a business, you

00:10:16   get small discounts on hardware.

00:10:19   And these vary, and the formula used to calculate it is kind of--

00:10:24   I don't know, it feels like voodoo sometimes.

00:10:26   But basically, the more you buy, in terms of-- as you buy things,

00:10:30   you kind of build into different tiers of discount,

00:10:34   and it sort of builds on itself.

00:10:35   And these discounts aren't massive.

00:10:37   I think I got a-- I think it was about a $200 discount on my Retina MacBook

00:10:42   Pro, which is great.

00:10:43   I mean, it's not a massive discount in terms of percentage,

00:10:46   but I'll take it.

00:10:47   And then the percentages get really nice for accessories.

00:10:50   I've often get 20%, 30% off for minor accessories,

00:10:53   like a Thunderbolt ethernet adapter or something like that.

00:10:56   You can get these nice little discounts.

00:10:57   And it's not something that you can really plan on or expect.

00:11:03   Every time I've talked to them, they're like, well,

00:11:05   it builds into the-- they put it into the system,

00:11:07   and the system tells them, based on what you've bought,

00:11:10   you can get this discount.

00:11:11   But it's always free money.

00:11:13   It's always something nice that I can take,

00:11:15   and maybe it's covering the tax. Maybe it's helping in that way. So that's always really

00:11:20   nice to just get that little discount. So definitely always do that. And if you aren't,

00:11:25   just go and register with your Apple store. You just walk in and say, "Hey, I'd like to

00:11:27   talk to someone on the business team." Or you can email the Apple store, or you call

00:11:32   up the Apple store and ask to talk to someone to make an appointment, or maybe even work

00:11:34   better. And you just say, "Hey, I'm a business. This is what I do." And they'll say, "Oh,

00:11:38   great. Let's set up an account for you." And then from then on, you just kind of, when

00:11:42   When you buy things, you either ask for a business discount and give them your business

00:11:45   card, or you just contact the business team ahead of time and say, "Hey, I'm going to

00:11:49   need to pick up one of these.

00:11:51   I need to get an iPad.

00:11:52   Can you help me out?"

00:11:53   They're like, "Oh, sure.

00:11:54   No problem."

00:11:55   And you go in, you get a little discount, and it's great.

00:11:57   All right.

00:11:58   And then the other thing that the business team is great for is getting hard to buy items.

00:12:03   So this is an example.

00:12:04   So the Retina MacBook Pro is still back ordered and hard to find.

00:12:07   And what I ended up doing is basically the business team has the ability to put items

00:12:12   aside as they come into inventory.

00:12:15   So I was after the maxed out MacBook Pro, which is one of the models, thankfully, that

00:12:19   they do offer.

00:12:20   In store, typically, you can get all of the base models or the max model.

00:12:24   You typically can't get weird configurations in between.

00:12:27   But since I was after the max model, that worked out fine for me.

00:12:30   And so I just walk into the Apple Store, or call up the Apple Store, talk to my business

00:12:36   and said, hey, I'd like to get one of these.

00:12:38   Can you put me on the list?

00:12:40   And he says, absolutely.

00:12:41   And so yesterday morning, one of them came into the store.

00:12:44   He says, calls me up, hey Dave, one of the Retina MacBook Pros

00:12:47   is in stock.

00:12:49   Would you like it?

00:12:50   At this point, I can say, yes.

00:12:52   I can come in.

00:12:52   Typically, what they want you to do

00:12:53   is come in that day or within 24 hours

00:12:55   to pick it up just so that otherwise they

00:12:57   can give it to the next person.

00:12:58   And so I was like, yep, absolutely.

00:12:59   I'll be there in a couple hours.

00:13:01   Stop by, pick it up.

00:13:02   No problem.

00:13:03   It's also really helpful for other kind of hardware.

00:13:05   They typically can't do launch day set asides.

00:13:09   So like, whatever, say this fall when the new iPhone comes out,

00:13:13   they're not going to be able to put one aside for me on launch day

00:13:15   or launch weekend, typically.

00:13:18   But if I decide I don't want to wait in line

00:13:21   and do all that to get it on launch day, what I can do

00:13:25   is you can typically say, I'd like one in the second shipment,

00:13:29   if that makes sense.

00:13:31   And they'll typically be able to put one aside for you there.

00:13:33   And so it's just, you know, maybe that later that following week, maybe the Wednesday, maybe the Friday of the following week, you can get one without having to kind of be getting up and going waiting in line and all these kinds of things. And that's just really nice sort of peace of mind and productivity benefit that I'm not constantly, you know, so I don't have to fight the lines to get a hold of the technology that I need to develop one to work with.

00:13:55   So that's what I found pretty helpful for those two reasons, primarily.

00:14:00   Apparently, if you do things like big bulk purchases,

00:14:02   they can organize it for you and do all kinds of fun things there.

00:14:06   But I've never needed to do any of that.

00:14:08   But for me, it's just I get nice discounts,

00:14:10   and they can hold things aside for me, which is really helpful.

00:14:13   All right, that's it for today's show.

00:14:16   Just a quick reminder, so I'm going to be moving to a Tuesday, Thursday schedule.

00:14:19   And hopefully that works out well for everybody.

00:14:22   And otherwise, I hope to talk to you on Thursday, I guess.

00:14:25   And as always, if you have questions, comments, concerns,

00:14:28   complaints, the best place to contact me is on Twitter.

00:14:31   I'm @_davidsmith there.

00:14:33   And if you want to follow the Twitter feed for this show

00:14:35   and get updates whenever a new show is posted,

00:14:38   the Twitter feed for this show is @devperspective.

00:14:41   Otherwise, thank you so much for listening.

00:14:43   I appreciate it.

00:14:44   If you enjoy the show, tell a friend, tell two.

00:14:46   Otherwise, happy coding, and I will talk to you on Thursday.