The new year is often used as a gateway for change. And while Apple does plenty of things right, we’re hoping that Apple takes this cue and introduces some much-needed changes of its own. In this episode of the Macworld Podcast, we talk about what we hope to see from Apple in 2023. Some of these ideas will seem outrageous, but a lot of them are realistic and would make for better customer experiences and a better company.
Transcript for Macworld Podcast episode 822: Apple, make our hopes and dreams for 2023 come true!
RL: Happy New Year, everyone! And with the new year comes new hopes. And since this is the Macworld podcast, we have hopes for what we’d like to see from Apple in 2023. On this episode, we talk about those hopes for the company. Stay tuned.
Welcome to the Macworld podcast. You’re listening to Michael Simon [MS].
I mixed it up. I mixed it up for the new year.
JC: Michael’s not ready.
RL: Yes, I mixed it up for the new year.
JC: Swapping it around this year.
MS: Uh, uh, Hi.
RL: And Jason Cross [JC].
JC: Hello, sir.
RL: And I’m Roman Loyola [RL].
The new year is often used as a gateway for change. And while Apple does plenty of things right, we’re hoping that Apple takes this cue, introduces some much-needed changes of its own. We have a few things we’re hoping Apple does in 2023. So we’re gonna talk about them over the next few minutes.
I can kick off our hope list with something that goes completely against Apple’s product philosophy.
RL: Apple is expected to release the Mac Pro this year. These are users that often have intricate hardware setups and upgrades are complicated enough for regular folks like you and me. So the upgrade process for pros can be a little bit more harrowing, I suppose.
So my hope is that when Apple unveils the Mac Pro that’s supposed to be unveiled this year, that it has more user-accessible upgrades than Apple usually does. You know, to start with, I’d like to see upgradable memory slots. And my real dream is that Apple figures out a way to have the Mac Pro have an upgradeable system on a chip.
JC: Wow. You can upgrade the processor. Boy, that is not going to happen.
RL: No, I don’t think it probably won’t happen. But you know, I have high hopes.
MS: I mean, the RAM, I think is, I give that 60/40, maybe 70/30. I think that’s a strong possibility, even though the M1/M2 has unified RAM and you can’t touch it after you upgraded, at the point of sale.
MS: The Mac Pro I think is going to be a different sort of thing. So I would not be at all surprised if you can, you know…I don’t know if they’re going to be Apple sticks or whatever you got to buy, but some way that you can add RAM after the fact.
RL: Well, that would be horrible if it was a proprietary RAM.
MS: I mean, I don’t know. Jason knows more about this stuff than me, but like, could they do that where you just buy Kensington stick and plug it in?
JC: Never say never. But the way the system on chips work is part of the whole reason they can be as performant as they are, especially with the graphics on the Mac Studio and everything, is that they have a really wide memory bus to chips that are physically located right around the SoC with very short traces, a very wide bus soldered onto the motherboard.
To go through a memory bus to a plug-in piece of RAM, it’s not impossible to have a wide memory bus, but they’re just not going to get the performance that they get. It’s going to be a real compromise over what they do now with the SoC. They don’t have that problem with the Intel ones because all the graphics stuff is a plug-in card that has its own RAM that is not upgradeable. It’s on the card, and that’s how much graphics RAM you have.
Yeah, I think this move to the Apple silicon means no upgrade for that and probably no upgrade for storage because…they also rely on storage. I don’t want to go storage as RAM, but the way they swap storage and move stuff in storage with this really, really fast storage and a big storage cache, they need to make sure that the storage performs a certain way. So just popping in any old M.2 drive, you could really host your system performance if it doesn’t meet certain performance characteristics in certain ways. And it’s not just like how fast is the transfer speed. It’s going to be like IOPS per second of things this size. So I would be worried that even storage will not be upgradeable.
MS: All right. So no RAM, no storage.
JC: Like like what’s left?
MS: Yeah. What’s the point of the Mac Pro? Because you have the Mac Studio like that’s we bring us back to that question, which is why we really want to see this thing, because I mean, maybe Roman’s right. Maybe they will just say, you know what? This is a completely different thing.
MS: Aimed for a completely different person, starts at $10,000. You buy it and yeah, you can call us up and get an M3 chip, get an M4 chip and it’s all super expensive and very modular and it’s only for like 0.8 percent of our users.
JC: Yeah, I could see them offering an upgrade path where it’s like you take it in and it’s basically a motherboard swap. You just have to swap the whole system board with a new SoC and all that stuff. They transfer all your stuff in storage from one to the other or something. I don’t know.
MS: Yeah. I mean, it would be certainly innovative if they went that route.
JC: Yeah. As a service thing.
MS: Yeah. It would have to start at, like I said, like $10,000. Some number that cuts out people like you and I who are going to call up and say, hey, I want the new chip now. They’re like, can you just stop? It has to be for people who really need it, really want it, and can afford to do it.
JC: It’s an interesting ask. I worry that this transition to Apple silicon has had so many benefits in terms of performance at a certain amount of power use. But it comes at the compromise of plugging in stuff inside your computer’s gone on the inside. And it’s just going to be more performance than Mac Studio, more I/O, more like Thunderbolt ports, SD card slot, all that other kind of stuff, more external expansion, maybe HDMI 2.1, I don’t know. But that kind of stuff is going to be what makes it pro over the Mac Studio.
It’s a good wish though for the wish list. It’s like, hey, remember your roots, Apple. You were the tinkering company. You were the company that was all about…when IBM was all locked down. You were like, no, you open it up. You buy RAM chips and you slot them in.
RL: It would be a modernization of that upgradable idea, I guess. And to put it in an Apple marketing sense, it’s not truly user-upgradable in terms of what the PC people are always wanting.
RL: Yeah. I mean, it does seem like an impossible task, but hey, Apple, you can figure it out. I don’t think it will really happen, but hey, why not?
JC: I always thought it would be very, very interesting if Apple took the main architecture that it has CPU architecture, its GPU architecture, and made separate chips for the Mac Pro. Instead of it all being one as the SoC, you’d have one chip that is your CPU and maybe machine learning stuff is on that die as well. Then another chip is that your GPU with its own bank of memory and stuff. Maybe you can replace that. Maybe that’s on a card or something.
I don’t think they’re going that route. I don’t think they want to do that. I think they see a lot of benefits to it all being integrated into one thing. That would be a way for them to get around the problem of the current Mac Studios chip is ginormous. Like just manufacturability. It is huge. It is at the very edge of what you can literally put on a silicon wafer and get a functioning chip that doesn’t have too many flaws to be usable. Silicon wafer, sorry.
RL: Mike, do you have something on your, wish list?
MS: Yep. Mine’s slightly more realistic but still probably likely not to happen.
I want, so we’ve talked about this for a while with the iPad, I want like a whatever you want to call it a desktop mode where when you pop that thing onto a Magic Keyboard or a stand or whatever you want to call it, it gives you a more of a desktop-like environment. Like the apps don’t change and the things don’t change but it looks more like a desktop. Samsung does something similar with, I think they still make it that DeX.
MS: They used to call it DeX. I think it is.
MS: Where you can plug a tablet or a smartphone into a monitor, into an external display, and it gives you a full environment for working. It has a dock and the layout shifts, apps are floating, things like that.
Now that the iPad has Stage Manager, which for better or worse is the closest thing we’ve had on the iPad to a Mac multitasking interface. I think that the next, you know, iPadOS 17 could do that. You know, Stage Manager isn’t really great. You know, we can talk about that for an hour.
MS: There are issues there. Sure. But it’s certainly like, it shows a completely different way for that Apple is looking at the iPad, at least it’s higher end iPads, the iPad Pro, iPad Air with the M1 chip. So I think rather than, you know, people are speculating like, oh, well, now that, so if the iPad mini gets it in A17 chip or an A16 chip, will that run Stage Manager?
I think that’s the wrong question. I think what you want to look at is how is Apple going to use Stage Manager to differentiate its higher-end iPads. I wish it was an iPad Pro feature like the iPad Air–it bothers me that that has an M1 because, you know, it feels like a pro-level thing, like geared towards users who are going to spend $1,000 on an iPad because they use it a certain way. But it’s fine. It could be on the iPad Air 2.
JC: I dig this idea, but I wanted to get some clarity about what you mean. You’re talking about something more than Stage Manager. You’re talking about something where it’s like, it’s not macOS because that’s like a whole other OS and everything, but it’s something where you’re going to assume they’re using a pointing device, whether it’s a Bluetooth mouse or it’s just the trackpad built into the Apple keyboard or whatever. You’ll have a persistent cursor on screen. You’ll have freely resizable windows, or at least more freely than Stage Manager, not just a few options, things that layer on top of each other, not just Stage Manager, maybe a dock of some kind.
MS: Yeah. Well, basically, the evolution of Stage Manager, because you would plug it in and that’s the interface that would come up, presumably because that’s what you’d be using. But a better version of it, a more evolved version, a more mature version, a more powerful version, or whatever adjective you want to use there. But I feel like Stage Manager is basically just like, all right, so we’re working on something and we don’t know what it is yet, but here’s this. And we’ll see how people respond to it. Yeah, I think one of the issues… It doesn’t feel like it’s ready.
JC: One of the issues with Stage Manager, I think, from a design perspective is they tried to make something that is going to to still be useful and usable with a touch interface?
MS: It’s not really.
JC: It kind of isn’t and it’s also not taking advantage of a cursor. It’s not presuming that you’re going to have a pointing device and a cursor. I think if they made that distinction, if they said, no, we’re going to make an interface that presumes you have a pointing device. It’s a touchpad or a mouse. You’re not going to be doing all this with your finger on the screen. This only enables when you have a pointing device hooked up, whether that’s docking it in our keyboard or your own dock with a mouse or whatever, and then it enables this sort of Pro mode. That would be an interesting way to go. That might be more useful than what they’ve done with Stage Manager, which is kind of like, it’s kind of desktop-like, but it’s kind of tablet-like and it really doesn’t satisfy the needs of either one. It’s kind of taken the worst of both.
MS: When they announced Stage Manager, it seemed like that’s what they were doing, but just the execution’s all wrong there.
JC: Yeah, it is.
MS: Yeah, if they dialed it back on the touch side, maybe get rid of it completely. I put it on my son’s iPad Air, and he’s like, I hate this thing. I’m never using this. It’s not made for the common user. It’s more of a user who wants their iPad to be a Mac, and there’s not a ton of people who want that.
JC: The people who do are going to be really unsatisfied by all the compromises that they had to do to Stage Manager to make it a touch interface and not a pointer-driven interface. Embrace the pointer on the Mac, I mean on the Mac, on the iPad. On the iPad.
MS: There are so many people on Twitter that have wanted this and then they got it and they’re like, no, no, no.
JC: No, no, no, not this. This is not what we asked for.
MS: So yeah, I guess on the easiest way to say it is like, I want Stage Manager 2.0. I want it to be more kind of that hybrid device that we’ve been waiting for Apple to do now for five years at least where the iPad is so powerful with these, you know, now it has an M1 chip and a mini LED display and it’s 13 inches, maybe 14, maybe 16. Like it needs to be able to be so, versatile and flexible and it’s just not.
RL: Jason, what’s on your list?
JC: I’ll start with the biggest one first because we all picked a few for this. We have a million things we want. We just picked a few for this podcast. You know what? I won’t start with the biggest one. I’ll do a different one first because it carries on with Mike’s thing. It’s time to allow multiple users on the iPad.
MS: Oh my god, yes.
JC: Make it a pro thing even though there’s no good reason for that. That would be a stupid software lock and we would complain about that. We’d at least get something. There’s no good reason to do this.
From what I understand the software that they provide for schools who have iPads used for education actually work like this. You actually, a single iPad can serve a whole bunch of students and the students log in, get a profile and log it. So they’re like halfway there.
MS: Yeah, they’ve had that for a while too. It’s not, I think that came out in like what 2015 or something it’s been or 2017 it’s been out for a little while.
JC: Things like tvOS is built on the same sort of foundation as iOS. It’s not built on the macOS foundation and it has multiple users. This is there. It’s completely a policy idea that they just don’t want to allow multiple users profiles on the iPad. I think with the storage they have and the performance they have and all that other stuff, you can do, that they could let you log out, log in somebody else. iPads are so shared these days that it’s kind of a problem. It’s kind of a problem that if you want to use somebody’s iPad in your home, you’re using their profile, right?
MS: And it doesn’t make a lot of sense. You can say that, well, they’re not doing it because they want to sell more iPads. But I don’t think there’s anyone that’s looking to make an multiple user saying, oh, I can’t do that. I guess I’ll have to buy a second iPad. No one’s doing that. They’re just using these shortcuts and workarounds. And my son has apps on his thing that he doesn’t want because I need them. It’s ridiculous.
JC: Yeah, exactly. And it’s set. Even if you’re okay with that, it’s like, no, I want this on my home screen. I don’t want that on the home screen. I want this stuff. Just get rid of all that. Multiple users on iPad.
MS: Family iPads are a thing. People keep them in their living room, and they all use them together. And it’s, yeah, it would make a lot of sense.
JC: Over in Android world, they’ve had this for a while, and they do this on phones as well. I don’t think they need to do it on phones. Phones are such an inherently personal thing. But this is a perfect way for Apple to say, iPadOS is not just iOS, right? They’ve been trying to diverge these things ever since they gave it its own name a few years ago. And this is a really, really low hanging fruit for them to say, this is how iPadOS is not iOS. This is one thing.
MS: Like it’s on the Mac. Imagine you couldn’t have multiple users on the Mac. They’re not selling more or less Macs because they’re multiple users. It’s a convenience and a feature that is important. Apple wants you to use your iPad like you would a Mac or at least more like a Mac than you would an iPhone.
MS: Yeah. So multiple users are definitely important. And it’s so frustrating that year after year after year that that WWDC keynote goes by and they don’t use that as one of their slides.
JC: Even if they wanted to start with it being very limited in that they would say, if you have a child account that you manage, you can have your child account on your iPad. That would be something that would be a minimal compromise so that you can hand your kid your iPad with their managed account on it or something. But no, nothing. Year after year, like you said. That’s my wish.
RL: The next item on my list contradicts your guys’ items on the wish list.
MS: You want no more iPad.
RL: I want the iPad to be discontinued. No, I do not want the iPad to be discontinued, that’s a joke. I’m hoping that at this WWDC, Apple announces that iOS, macOS, and iPadOS this year gets basically just maintenance updates.
RL: That they take the time to kind of clean it up.
MS: That’s Roman’s thing. He loves maintenance. Maintenance updates.
RL: I love maintenance updates.
MS: That’s his main thing.
JC: That’s true. There are a number of fans on the internet who always say this because they always say, this launch was such a mess. There were all these bugs. They really need to take a year just to clean up and optimize everything and not add a bunch of features. That rings every year. There’s a little bit of truth to that.
RL: But I don’t think they’ll ever do it again.
MS: Well, I think they can do both. You can have a slide that focuses on performance and maintenance and also have a few new features.
JC: They do, but every time there’s bugs, somebody says, we have all these bugs because they focused on all these new features instead of focusing all their effort on the bugs and the problems that have existed since last year and all this other stuff. I just don’t think their software development works that way. I don’t think the teams are organized that way. I don’t think it’s the same people who would be working on those things as are working on these other new features and stuff.
RL: Well, the reason why I picked it specifically for this year is because I think they could spend WWDC this year focusing on xrOS, the OS for the headsets.
JC: Yes, I see that.
RL: And just make that the focus for the rest of the year.
JC: Even the maintenance releases of years gone by, which they never called maintenance releases, But like, but–
RL: They don’t call them that.
JC: Even they had some new features. It just very few, right? It could use that. And I think what we’re going to get, if anything, is a little bit the opposite. That kind of segues into my big hope. So–
RL: Perfect segue.
JC: Which is that, yeah, they’re apparently having to do a whole lot of work, a whole lot of work. It’s like an all-hands-on-deck, upend-everything job to get iOS ready for the European regulations that require them to allow, apps to be distributed outside the app store, to allow other payment options, to allow people to choose different defaults. They might even do things like let web browsers use their own rendering engines other than WebKit, like all this stuff. And they have to do it because the regulations are requiring it.
So, my hope is, and we don’t know how far they’ll go, they’re going to do the minimal possible. There’ll be a lawsuit about how it’s not enough. They’re going to fight that lawsuit and then make another change later. It’s going to be a mess, but it’s going to definitely be more open in some ways. The rumor says that’s only going to apply to iPhones in the European Union where that law applies. in North America and stuff, it’s going to be every bit as locked down as it is now.
My wish is that, just bite the bullet and make it global. Whatever changes you make, just make them for everybody. Make them here. There’s no future, whether it’s one year from now or 10 years from now, in which the device this important is as locked down as it is now. Get ahead of it. Don’t carry around all of this technical debt of having two versions of iOS that operate differently in different regions and all this other stuff. Just open these things up to the degree that you are, open these things up all over the world. I just think it’ll be good for consumers.
Most people will still only ever use the app store, whether it’s side loading or other app stores or whatever thing you do to allow people to get apps another way. But that, other payment systems, all these things.
MS: Even on Android, Google makes it pretty difficult, to get outside stuff that you got to go into settings, you got to turn it on, you have to allow stuff. It’s not like you could just press a button and download a bunch of viruses to your phone. They make it hard and Apple is going to make it probably even harder than that to get there. I agree it would be so much cleaner and easier.
And also from just from a press PR and legal standpoint, like Apple would avoid so much negativity going forward if they just opted it for everybody at once.
JC: There’s regulatory pressure for them to do that stuff here. It’s just further behind than it is in the EU. The EU is done, they passed their law.
MS: The EU is always way, way ahead.
JC: Yeah, they passed their law, they made it and Apple’s going to fight it tooth and nail here. Whatever ends up happening here, whether it’s a year from now or 2027 or whatever, is going to be worse than what they would have just voluntarily done.
MS: Yeah, for sure.
JC: You know, just voluntarily do it, get them off your backs, have one version of iOS for the world, basically and not different policies and different features that work only in different regions. Yeah, just get it done. That’s my hope. I don’t think they’re going to do it. And it’s funny because that’s not where they make most of their money. It’s not like most of their money comes from App Store things. They make a lot, don’t get me wrong, but they make most of their money selling devices and they’re building all this services revenue and all this other stuff. It’s not–
MS: I think there’s a fear and if you like in that Epic case, some of those emails came out and it seemed to kind of underscore this that, if they allow too many people to do too many things between platforms that people just en masse, you know, leave the iPhone and go to a different cheaper alternative because I can still get iMessage, I can still get this, I can still get that. And I don’t think that’s true. I think people, enjoy their phones, you know, just from a hardware perspective, design perspective. But, you know, that seems to be what drives most of these changes is that the ecosystem is so tight and so strong and so integrated that if someone pulls one thread, the whole thing collapses. I don’t believe that and I don’t know if Apple believes that, but that’s where it seems to be.
JC: It does seem culturally that they believe in their holistic ecosystem less as a, this is good for users issue than a this is good for Apple issue. Which is a little frustrating. Hey, the point is they’re going to have to loosen some of those threads for the EU. They’re already apparently doing a whole ton of work to make it happen for the OS updates this year. Just give it to everyone. Give it to us too.
MS: That’s going to be the most interesting thing at WWDC is because that’ll probably be when they announce all this stuff like how far does it go, what do you, how does it work and you know it’s also it’s got to be difficult for them to have two completely different versions of iOS now around the world. That’s going to add more layers of performance issues and bugs and the things that we were just talking about.
JC: Yeah, that’s why it made me think of it when Roman was talking about we need maintenance here. I’m like, if anything, it’s the other. They’re tearing everything up to make two versions. It’s going to be a buggy year, I think. My guess is that they don’t mention it at all during the regular WWDC keynote. It’s going to be during some sessions, there’s going to be like, how do you use these new frameworks and stuff like that? But it’s, I think that they’re going to focus during the keynote sessions. Yeah, it’s going to be entirely on awesome new features and not on, and you can sideload apps or, and you could choose a default browser and whatever, stuff like that.
RL: Mike, what’s on your list?
MS: I’m very iPad-centric. I want Apple to completely overhaul the entire lineup. Make it make sense again.
JC: There are too many iPads.
MS: It’s too many iPads. There are too many overlapping features. So I’ll start with the Pro. Get rid of the 11 inch. Just have the Pro be 12.9 and if there’s a bigger one, 14 or 16, fine.
JC: Okay. Cosigned.
MS: So get rid of that. Keep the iPad Air, but bring it back to an A chip. So have the A17 or whatever it is chip. I don’t think it needs an M. Leave the M series for the Pro. The iPad mini, I’m on board with that. Of course, that’s fine. So, all right, so that leaves us with the conundrum.
The entry level iPad, there’s two of them, right? The ninth gen and the tenth gen. The tenth gen is just a bottleneck of price issues and features. The ninth gen is old and between those two, figure out a way to make a $299 version that figures out how to hit the price point, like the iPhone SE. It’s hard now to go back to the home button, they got rid of the home button, but they have to figure out that 10th gen iPad if that’s the way forward.
JC: Even $329, but they need to, yeah, they need a really affordable iPad.
MS: Right. $449 is way too much.
JC: And they can’t just keep stringing along the ninth gen.
MS: Yeah. Right. How long do you do that for?
JC: I think the answer is kill the ninth gen, make the tenth gen more affordable. Whatever you’ve got to do to make that happen.
I don’t know if I’m on board with the whole iPad Air doesn’t need the M1. I don’t know what differentiates the Air if it’s not got the M1.
MS: Well, if you take away the 11-inch Pro, you have a 10.9-inch Air, 12.9-inch, and then an 8.3-inch Mini. I mean, the other one would… I think the 9th Gen was fine. Give that an upgrade and keep it because people, they like the 9-button. They’re not–
JC: No, I mean the Air.
MS: I don’t know what you do. Yeah, yeah, the Air versus the 10th Gen you’re talking about, right?
JC: Or the Pro. I think it can have the M chip, but it wouldn’t have HDR. It wouldn’t be big.
MS: That’s what I’m saying. Get rid of the 11 inch so you don’t have this. The Pro is just a larger screen and a better chip and whatever else.
JC: What I mean is you said don’t have an M chip on the Air. I said do have an M chip on the Air because that’s how you need it. Otherwise, why not just get the 10th Gen?
MS: Well, that’s the thing. That’s what confuses me even in my own suggestion. I’m not sure what to do with it. I don’t think Apple knows what to do with it either.
JC: That’s why I say give it the M chip because it’s like you’re going to get the performance of the Pro, but you’re not going to get HDR. You’re not going to get the big size. You’re not going to get the fancy cameras. You’re not going to get LiDAR.
MS: Is anyone buying an iPad for a better chip? I guess some people might be.
JC: Yeah. I mean, that’s what the Pro people are writing for.
MS: The 10th gen and the iPad Air, you put those things side by side, I don’t think anyone’s going to be able to tell the difference in performance. Not at that level. On a Mac, sure. But on the iPad, it’s fast. It’s very fast. And it’s going to be with an A16 or 15, whatever is in the tension. And the M1, there’s not a measurable difference in the normal things that you do on an iPad with those two chips. But yeah, so the chip is fine. Keep the M1. I don’t care about that so much.
JC: But differentiate it more by not having a small pro.
MS: And they gotta figure out what that low-end looks like because it’s just too confusing right now.
JC: I mean, that 10th gen isn’t really even low-end anymore, right?
MS: I know, but it’s also not high end and it just makes most like, I can’t imagine that someone at Apple designed that, and Tim Cook didn’t say like, what is, like, what are we doing with this? Like, who is it for? What’s the point?
JC: And while we’re at it, just kill the old pencil. What are you doing?
MS: Yeah. I mean, I don’t care what the explanation is. There was that rumor that they had one ready and they killed it and they had to go, but I don’t care. It’s ridiculous.
JC: Now that you have the camera on the edge that you would charge it, it’s like there’s no room for the charge. I don’t know what you have to do to solve that problem. Charge it on the side. You’re a $2 trillion company. Solve that problem.
MS: Seriously, figure it out. It’s so crazy.
JC: The old pencil has to go.
RL: Jason, do you have one more?
JC: I do. The iPhone’s image processing has, for the last couple of years, gotten a little overzealous. If you just take a picture, you can get some beautiful looking pictures, especially on your screen. But they’re over-saturated. They’re over-sharpened. They’re over noise reduction to the degree where if you are looking at them zoomed in, you crop in or you look on your computer, especially some distant objects and stuff like that, it start to look like blobs of plastic and they lose their detail because they’re trying so hard to do noise reduction and sharpening and stuff. You get sharpening artifacts. They need to tone it down. I want a more natural look for the iPhone’s image processing. Now, the color oversaturation you can deal with photographic styles. I don’t think a lot of people do, but you can. It’s not a big deal, but the sharpening and noise reduction stuff is too much.
I feel like you take a picture, that’s all you get. You can’t years later go back and retake that picture. That’s your memory, so just don’t process it so heavily.
RL: Is that part of that photogenic engine or whatever the heck that thing is called?
JC: No, the photonic engine. No, it’s been doing this for a couple of years. It’s just part of their regular image processing that they’ve been doing for…since the photonic engine is just a this year thing and just on the new hardware, it goes back to, I want to say the iPhone 11 or 12, and the iOS of that time. You can find some of the more hardcore users, especially on Reddit and stuff with some really good side-by-side examples where they’ll just go like, here’s what this bicycle looks like in the background and then here’s what it looks like on this other thing and you see where, well, this looks like a blob of plastic and the spokes are messed up and this one doesn’t. It’s less noisy, but it’s also just like the processing is way too strong.
So, I would like more natural processing and unfortunately, the raw mode is not the solution. The camera raw on iPhones, it’s not like raw on a DSLR where it’s just the straight camera output. It’s still doing all this processing and multiple exposure image processing. There’s a whole pipeline. It’s just building in the full exposure range of data, but it’s still doing all the sharpening and noise reduction and all that other stuff. I want a more natural image processing where I feel like 10 years from now, when I look at this image, I’m not going to be like, I can never get back that detail. You can always take a crummy image from a long time ago and improve it with newer, better processing, but you can never go back and get detail that was lost from your original picture.
Maybe even it’s a mode. Maybe it’s a switch in settings, camera, there’s a toggle for like, you know, natural image processing or something, give it some name, you know, Apple has to attach a name to everything.
RL: Mike, you got another one?
MS: Yeah, I got, I’ll do an iPhone camera one, two. Well, not a camera, a photo one. And this is just a straight rip off of Google. I want that magic eraser feature to come to Apple Photos because it’s awesome. It works really well.
So what it is, is you take a photo and there’s something in the background that you don’t like or someone photobombs you or there’s just something that you want to clean up and you literally just go into a mode, circle it and it just kind of uses AI to figure out how that background would seamlessly gel, takes it out and it’s awesome.
JC: It’s Photoshop’s content-aware fill.
JC: But built into your phone like with a really simple interface.
MS: And super easy. Like you don’t have to like, it just works. And it’s the kind of thing that Apple would come out with and also call Magic Eraser. Like it’s so much an Apple feature.
JC: Especially, yeah, calling it magic. Yeah.
MS: Yeah. I don’t care if it’s a ripoff. Like there’s enough of things that Apple’s copied and Google is copied from each other, it’s fine.
MS: Just copy.
JC: Yeah. Apple’s object detection and stuff is really good. They have that feature built into iOS now where you can take the subject out of an image and stuff like that.
MS: Yeah, it’s the same. It’s got to be similar.
JC: Yeah, that sort of segmentation and object detection is part of it. And then the content aware fill stuff–
MS: That’s better than anything you get on Google. I’m sure that 90 percent of your iPhone, maybe even higher, don’t use it. Yeah, they know where it is.
JC: And it works on Macs and stuff too.
MS: Or at least as someone who spends a lot of time on Photoshop like with the pen tool cutting things out. It’s pretty sweet.
JC: Yeah. Depending on your image, you can get some janky edges sometimes, but it’s pretty good. Photoshop’s content aware fill is similar. And this is not something that I think like Apple would be reinventing the wheel. I think they can do this.
MS: I mean, Google has it on their cheapest phones. It’s not something that–
JC: Oh, no. Apple would totally make it an iPhone 15–
[undetermined]: I don’t have any information about that, but I found something similar. Do you want to know what the cheapest phone ever is?
JC: All right. I’m changing my wish.
RL: That’s on all of our wish lists is that Siri got better at responding.
MS: I don’t know if that’s…
What the hell is happening?
RL: Oh, technology.
MS: Hold on. I’m not even sure what’s playing.
RL: That wasn’t Siri?
MS: Well, it’s not Siri. What is playing?
JC: I heard a HomePod. I heard what sounded like a HomePod.
RL: I thought it was Siri.
MS: I don’t know where that came from or what it was. Wow, that was fun. We should absolutely leave that in.
JC: The only reason Siri being better wasn’t on my list is because it’s always on my list. It’s like Siri’s, Apple squandered their voice AI lead and they haven’t caught up ever. And it keeps getting better, but they’re still behind. They’re always behind. They’re behind Google Assistant in a measurable way constantly. And they need to get on.
RL: The thing is, it’s not just a hope for 2023. It’s like an ongoing process that we want to see happen year after year after year and it hasn’t been happening. I just don’t want to see Siri get better in 2023 and stop. I want to see it continue so I get better.
JC: Yeah. I feel like the attitude that they had with Apple Maps. Apple Maps was such an embarrassment out the gate. And their architecture was such a mishmash of other sources all layered together and everything. That when they, it has to be like five years ago or something now, but they said, we’re starting over, it’s all going to be all our own data. getting rid of all this other data that we’ve been using and we’re building a new architecture and we’re building new features. Apple Maps is honestly pretty good now. It’s been a really, really big, really, really expensive year after year continued effort of driving it forward and they keep doing it.
I feel like that’s the way Siri needs to be. They just need to say, you know what? Siri is not something that’s ever done. It’s something that’s a massive undertaking every single year.
RL: So my last one, my last hope for 2023 is since we’re talking about stuff we’ve already talked about, this is one we’ve talked about several times on the show, is that Apple increases the default iCloud storage over five gigabytes.
I would even be happy if Apple had an event and that’s all they announced. Drop the mic and walk down the stage. Just give us more than five gigabytes.
JC: Yeah, five gigs is so bad that even 10, like it could double it and you’d still be like, that’s not enough.
MS: Google gets 15 and that’s kind of not enough.
JC: Yeah. But I understand that they don’t want to make the free version enough for everybody.
So I get that. But it needs to be enough that you can do basic things. Yeah.
MS: Yeah. But they have, so they have the Apple One now, which I don’t know what the percentage people who subscribe to it but I assume it’s you know enough and that gives you 2TB which means you never have to worry about it it’s for five people, and you know even if you even if everyone uses their allotted storage I mean forget you’re never gonna blow through that too much so if they can do that for $30 a month I’m pretty sure they can afford to give us 15 or 20 gigs. Give us 20 gigs, one up Google. Because the people who are comfortable with five gigs, maybe they pay a dollar a month for 200 gigs or something. It’s not like this is a major source of revenue for Apple. It would generate a ton of goodwill, they would get all the headlines and that would be it. Just give everyone 20 gigs, it’s enough to back up everything you got.
JC: It probably isn’t, but it’s not depending on, your photos and all that stuff. But honestly, 20 gigs today is still less compared to how much data things take up than five gigs was when they started giving us five gigs.
MS: Yeah, seriously. Yeah.
JC: Right? And so, it would still be, there’s still plenty of reason for somebody who has plenty of photos or videos or things like that to want to pay their $1.99 a month and get 200 gigs or whatever. The hoops will jump through not to raise it from five gigs…when you’re upgrading your phone, if you don’t have enough iCloud storage, we’ll give you free iCloud storage for your backup, just for the duration of your upgrade. All this stuff, it’s like, argh!. You don’t have to go through all of these things, just give people more storage.
MS: And along those lines, I want Time Machine backups for iCloud on the Mac. Just let me back up. If you have like maybe you need a terabyte or whatever, like make it a higher tier thing that you need. But let me do it.
JC: Yeah, make it an Apple One thing.
MS: Especially now that iPhone backups are encrypted, like they’re being encrypted. That’s not an issue anymore. So with the advanced data protection that came out last month, just do it.
JC: Well, that’s iPhone stuff.
MS: Yeah, but I assume that they could just bring it to them because there’s no reason for it.
JC: Yeah, Time Machine backups are their own encapsulated data. They could encrypt that and then easily. That’s just your stuff and it’s your machine backup. But backing up a whole computer, it’s a lot of data and that’s kind of slow, but there are plenty of cloud backups, data storage companies.
MS: They can do it quietly while you do work and you don’t even know it. Take two hours, that’s fine.
JC: Yeah, it’s just about the data, people’s internet upload speeds and stuff like that. That’s where I’m saying it. But there exists, it’s an optional feature. There exist cloud backup data storage solutions. Apple, I don’t see any reason why Apple shouldn’t allow that to happen. Make it for people who have Apple One Premier or whatever or anything. Who cares?
RL: That does it for this episode of the Macworld Podcast, episode 822. Thanks to Jason Cross. Thanks to Michael Simon. And thanks to Thanks to you, the audience. Thank you for tuning in.
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