641: Catching up with Federico Viticci

I keep wondering when it will be renamed pkm power users… :wink:


It’s getting a bit too much of the same, imho. Not just on podcasts, also on other media (like television). Too many hours too fill, too little interesting people (that are willing to show up).

But as long as there’s an audience, this will continue. Luckily there’s always the option to do other things.


I have solved this issue for myself by only listening to podcasts during my daily run. This way I free up other time for reading or other activities. It helps the run go “faster.” :joy:


I always love it when the tech mavens begin to become jaded. So world weary and tired of the same old, same old. Time for them to get hip to something new, I guess…

Good discussion. I always enjoy Federico’s take on things. He is very intentional and thoughtful.

I had listened to @MacSparky’s “lab update” just before this episode and David mentioned he is reading “After Steve: How Apple Became A Trillion-Dollar Company And Lost It’s Soul” by Tripp Mickle. One line in the book grieved David: Apple pushes services because it keeps stockholders happy. This contrasted with the Apple Steve Jobs built because Jobs was always more interested in creating awesome tech and an unmatchable user experience.

Listening to this episode with Federico, much of it was spent mourning the iPad that could be, if only…

This brought me back to a previous post pointing to a video by Linus Tech Talk: “Apple Makes Its Best Products Worse On Purpose. Why?

The point made in this video is that Apple spends $20 billion a year on R&D, so if there is a simple feature that is missing or lackluster in one of its products, it is because they are intentionally wanting it to be this way.

Like it or not, Apple exists to make money and the folks at Apple do not want to intentionally create a product that will eat into their profit. Stockholders are more important than end users. To create the iPad Pro Federico described would mean users would no longer need to purchase both an iPad and a MacBook. Moreover, to simply add a cellular radio to the MacBook Air means that users would no longer need to purchase an iPad and a MacBook.

The Microsoft Surface has existed for 10 years. It is the iPad Pro Federico described minus MacOS. It is both a tablet and a laptop. It has a cellular radio. You can plug it into a monitor and you have a fully functioning desktop. Moreover, Microsoft offers both its Surface Pro line of tablets and its Surface Laptops. Both can coexist and Microsoft still makes money and keeps its stockholders happy.

If Apple wanted the iPad to function like this they easily could have, but they don’t because they don’t want to.

Perhaps this is the cynic in me, but as I listened to this episode the thought crossed my mind that Apple was intentionally trying to sway Federico towards the Mac. Without a doubt, Federico is one of the biggest iPad Pro evangelists in the Apple ecosystem. If Apple can get Federico to say the Mac is better than the iPad, then this is a step towards Apple’s ultimate goal: to stop making a “Pro” version of the iPad. It’s time is limited. The iPad is a consumer device, and this is where the market is for Apple. There is no need to offer a high-end iPad.



If Apple can offer a high end iPad as an upsell from a normal iPad, using parts they already manufacture (e.g. M1 chip), and they can get pros (or those with a lot of cash) to buy BOTH, then they’ll be happy. I see no reason for Apple to discontinue the pro iPad.


Quicksilver is definitely still plugging along! I’ve been using it as my launcher for ~22 years now. Just haven’t found anything that was nice enough to get me to switch. However since getting my new M1, QS familiar gorgeous graphics have given up the ghost. It still works fine, just no longer pretty. Well it was a pretty good run for (free?) software that I used countless times every day.

Raycast looks real nice, so I’ll probably give that a go. Wonder if I’ll get another couple decades before having to switch again?

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My school went through a spell using MS Surfaces, and they were very much disliked by the majority of teachers for the bulk, battery life, and experience. It really was a very different product from the iPad, and each has its own problems.

I’m no expert on company finances, but Apple needs profit. They spend loads of money on R&D every year, and that money needs to be recouped somewhere. Since the R&D gives the fancy new features and most users don’t really care about being on the cutting edge, the cost is largely put into the top models and, to compensate, some features are excluded from (or turned off in) cheaper models. This makes total sense to me, to get return on R&D.

I personally just think it is taking time for Apple to figure out how to provide a more advanced software experience without moving too far away from the iPad’s amazing user experience. It’s a hard problem. One solution would have been to not put an M1 in an iPad, artificially limiting the power of the machine. Apple seems to have chosen the other route available to them, to allow the hardware to outpace the software.


The iPad can be used by 3 year old babies, 85 year old grandmothers, and Federico Viticci for a decade. :slightly_smiling_face: Not too shabby. I don’t think the Microsoft Surface is as successful with this range of users.

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Sure it is, so is the Mac. Apple “designs, manufactures and markets smartphones, personal computers, tablets, wearables and accessories, and sells a variety of related services.”

Everything they sell is a consumer product. They tried their hand at commercial computing and exited the business in 2011. The fact that businesses purchase their products doesn’t change that:

"The ‌iPad Pro‌ will be used for a range of pre-flight management tasks and processes, where flight data and aircraft load information will be delivered directly to each pilot’s EFB, which use custom-built apps. 5G connectivity, supplied by AT&T, will also be essential to how pilots use the device.

iPad Pro is extremely versatile in aviation, with its thin and light design, and bright, immersive display. The powerful new iPad Pro with 5G features the breakthrough Apple-designed M1 chip for a massive leap in performance, an all-new 12MP Ultra-Wide front camera, and advanced Liquid Retina display technologies with ultralow reflectivity for an unmatched viewing experience on the ground and in the air.

Delta follows JetBlue, which started rolling out the ‌M1‌ ‌iPad Pro‌ to pilots last month, but the airline has been equipping its staff with iPhones and iPads since it dropped Windows devices in 2017."

So glad to see someone else give Quicksilver some love! Stealing from Merlin Mann, I call it my Mac’s “neural interface.”

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Are we not due another episode with that loveable old hack soon.


I wouldn’t be too worried about this.

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I see macOS as helping to make iPad apps great by increasing the ROI on app development work via Catalyst and the App Store on M1.

Muse 2 is a recent example of what’s possible when a larger market allows (even) more effort put into a smaller platform.

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Really interesting and thought provoking comment if I might say so. I can sense you, like me, pulled by the contradictions here.
I think it is complicated. Apple is a weird entity and it is the puzzles that partly keep me interested in sites like this.
I am as suspicious as you are! But.
Centrally I think we underestimate, despite the big R&D budgets cited by you, how hard it is to get to something like an iPhone, Cruise Missile, mRNA vaccine and so on.
Much of the R&D was and is funded publicly often directly in public institutions or State supported monopolies like Ma Bell’s labs, often through the Defense budgets, especially since and during WWII.

What you say is arguable though I think and certainly worth thinking hard about: for example we as a society spend billions on tweaking marginal but patent friendly tweaks to perfectly good drugs while neglecting, to be blunt, low return tropical illnesses and public health in America itself.

Funny enough even though and I am pretty critical of ‘big Bizz’, my quibbles with Apple, AT&T, Microsoft etc. revolve round tax issues in Ireland, outsourcing, environmental damage and wage type issues etc. etc… NOT so much with what you are suggesting.

I do however think there is a negative evolution in products due to economic contexts, but I don’t think it works in the deliberate and company-by-company sense you imply, if I understand you right?
To some extent the drug industry can be viewed that way too, though it should be clear enough to researchers what they are doing and some folk frankly are ‘blind by choice’.

Apple is, I think, a very weird entity with a lot of contradictions still. As you probably can sense I am pretty much an ‘open source’ and very pro-Government, medicare-for-all ‘type’ person: however I still prefer to use Apple products for productivity and communication, I have a Jeep too, all the usual stuff though I am minimizing with a vengeance since COVID-19. I think at a certain level Apple does try, very simply, to make good products and do ‘care’ as it were.

I think making high-tech electrical products is harder than we think and way more “synargistic”, to euphemize massive joint efforts which include centrally Govt and tax money and the utilization of past discoveries in the public domain.
Currently I think Billions of dollars worth of research are totally off target regarding AI for example at Google, it is going to take a long time, despite some apparent and, I think, misleading successes. We have been to the Moon ONCE and we thought then we would be vacationing there by now! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Interesting insight. You have a much more macro perspective than me, so I appreciate your take.

I think what throws devoted iPad users off is the designation of a “pro” device. In truth, aside from some minor spec bumps there is not much difference between the current iPad Air and the iPad Pro. In Apple-speak “pro” has come to simply mean “more expensive.”

Traditionally, a “pro” user was someone who used a device to earn money while a consumer was someone who used a device for personal, non-revenue generating purposes.

The point driven home by both Federico and Macsparky is that after more than a decade of development, we need to give up on the effort to make an iPad your only work device. Yes, it serves a purpose, but unless you have very basic work requirements, you will quickly run into barriers with an iPad that are clunky at best, but for the most part unworkable.

Does this mean Apple won’t roll out a fully functioning “laptop replacement” based on iPadOS and an M1 iPad Pro? No. It could happen, but I think most dedicated iPad users have given up expecting something like this.


On that note my experience or rather my wife’s bears you out. She really likes the iPad and uses it a lot but I did notice did no work related stuff on it at all, fitted your analysis perfectly in fact.
Consequently I was never tempted by them and was fortunate to have my 2014 or 15 MacBook Pro 16 inch over the period until the newer ones came out. So it was never something in my field of vision as it were. I am tempted in fact towards adding a full keyboard and mouse to my current MacBook for some uses. So going the other way you might say? Nice engagement thanks.

In general I agree with that statement IF you are a traditional office worker. If you are a real estate agent, or in sales, or any number of “not chained to a chair” occupations that may not be the case. I’ve mentioned before that I started using an iPad 2 at my business because it was very difficult to use a laptop while on the move. How do you use a laptop when there is no place to set it down?

In his Build keynote a couple of days ago Satya Nadella showed an architect on a worksite using a iPP to “share designs” with a site manager. (This was accomplished by connecting to a virtual pc running in the cloud). Years after Microsoft introduced a tablet computer Apple made Bill Gate’s dream a success. It found a home as a consumption device, and is now becoming an important device for cloud computing. IMO the iPad Pro’s excellent screen and high refresh rate are more important than the M1 chip.

Now that Apple has shown people their value, tablet computers aren’t going away.

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Apple makes a range of tools for a range of people. Sometimes the tool best suited for us isn’t the one we want to be a good fit, but I like that we have more options than we used to!