Next big thing: The potential for Apple Glasses


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Rene Ritchie: I'm Rene Ritchie, and this is "Vector." Vector is brought to you today by Mint Mobile. Mint Mobile is like a traditional wireless service but ridiculously inexpensive for US data, voice, texting, that sort of thing.

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Joining me today is Neil Cybart. Neil, you were formerly, was it a sell-side analyst?

Neil Cybart: Yes. I was covering the property and casualty insurance industry. [laughs]

Rene: You always commented on the tech industry at the same time, right, if I remember correctly?

Neil: Yeah, Apple and technology were more of my hobby. I would do it especially on weekends and after work. P&C insurance, [laughs] it's not too related to technology, but, over time, you could say my hobby kept building and growing. I just became more interested in what was going on in Silicon Valley versus the P&C industry.

The good thing was I was able to take what I learned during those years in terms of financial modeling and Wall Street. I was basically covering the stock market every day for seven years. I was able to take that and then apply it to technology and my hobby.

I had a great time doing it on Wall Street, but it got to a point where I said, "Yeah, I think the things Apple and its competitors are doing and working on, I think that's a little bit more interesting [laughs] going forward."

Right after I started "Above Avalon," which was in 2014, then you start having these rumors of and the stories about Apple getting interested in transportation and all these other industries.

I knew at that point, I was like, "OK, this isn't...By saying that I'm covering Apple, this is not really just covering a smartphone company, or a company that sells Macs. This is a company that their ambition really spans the spectrum here."

You could say the same thing about all of these large companies -- Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet. All of these companies are trying to make their way into our lives in different ways. It's fascinating, though, to see how each is a little bit different from each other. At this point I like to say that it seems like everyone's operating within their own little bubble.

You have a little bit of squirmishes at the edges, but at this point everyone's doing their own thing, leaning on their advantages, and staying away from their weaknesses. It's going to be interesting to see where things head in the next couple of years. ? [laughs]

Rene: What I always liked about your work is that when you see some financial analysts writing about technology, or Apple, you think that they just don't understand the mystery at all. I understand that they're actually writing for their clients, and they're doing a whole different thing, but media outlets just love to take their statements and run them verbatim, and it doesn't resonate.

I think, because you have the interest, and the background, and the technology, you're able to bridge the gap between the two. It makes, at least for me, much more interesting than like something you'd get from one of the big banks or coverage companies.

Neil: My job is to analyze Apple's actions and to look at how Apple thinks of the world. The iPad is a great example of something where, if you go by the narrative that's in the press, it's like, "Oh, why does Apple even bother with this product? It's just a big iPhone.

"The sales aren't there," but, if you take a closer look at what really was happening, it was the iPad mini that was really dragging sales for the past few years. If you remove that out of it, sales of 9.7 inch iPads are actually doing a lot better.

Look at what happened in 2017. The whole strategy, that Apples entire iPad strategy, was basically doubling down on that 9.7 inch form factor. You saw them lower the price. Now they have a special education pricing available. There's rumors that maybe they even might get a little bit more aggressive with pricing, which I think makes sense.

You could see them, "OK. Well, maybe the 9.7 inch is a low cost 9.7-inch model with the right kind of accessories might get a little more traction in education." Going through the noise, putting that narrative aside and seeing what really is going on would have gave you a much better view of how Apple's looking at this product line.

Take that example and, now, apply it to all of these new products like Apple Watch, wireless AirPods where, from my estimates, the sales are really something spectacular. Now you could see, "OK. Well, this is a company that, yeah, they're moving into wearables. [laughs] They're really running into wearables."

I don't think a lot of people are giving that enough attention just because there's so much focus on all these other side tussles involving different hybrid devices, and speakers, and everything like that. It's all connected.

From my viewpoint, recognizing the double standard that's out there and recognizing that other companies are grading on a curve, it does help in terms of taking a step back and analyzing Apple and analyzing what their strategy will be going forward.

Rene: I think that's true. You mentioned AirPods, which I think people are saying are hard to find again over the holidays because they've become such a popular gift. That segues into the other thing I want to talk to you about, which is Apple's movement to augmented reality, because AirPods and audio-augmented reality are already here.

There are people who are taking guided tours with AirPods. There are people who have accessibility who haven't been able to walk or run outside who get complete instructions for going out for their first runs or jogs ever with the freedom of AirPods in their ears.

Apple's experimenting with the visual side of augmented reality now, too, with AR kits and with iPhone and iPad. There's still rumors that they're going to be doing wearable screen sometime in the future.

Neil: Yeah. A pair of Apple glasses, which you could refer to as augmented reality glasses, I think a product like that is inevitable for Apple. I will go so far as to say I think that has the best odds as of today of becoming Apple's next big product category. The way I describe product category is Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, and then you have something else.

I look at things like Apple TV, wireless AirPods, HomePod once it launches. I look at those as accessories that complement all of these other major product categories.

When you look at what this company is doing in terms of AR kit, trying to get developers interested in augmented reality, then you go through all of the things that you would need to check off for a product to get the green light in terms of something in which you're controlling both hardware and software.

Something which you can actually manufacture, which is a very important thing for Apple. Having the technology that can power that product and, then, even things like excelling at fashion, luxury, health, retail. All of that is there with Apple glasses.

Also, you have that go-to-market strategy where it seems pretty boring, but I think it could work, which, similar to Apple Watch, you're selling a product. It could be a couple hundred dollars in terms of Apple's recent pricing strategy. It's not as much as you would think. It's usually competitive with what else is out there.

It's something that a person would own, would purchase from Apple or a third-party, own, wear. All the pieces are there. It's just, now, I think we're in the critical R&D stage where, from the rumors that we have, they've already been working on this now for over a year, year-and-a-half. If you give it another year to two years, I do think there's going to be something here.

It's one of those things when you look at AR kit --I think I had mentioned this on Twitter a couple of months ago -- there are lots of examples coming on Twitter where you got all these 5- to 10-second cool demos. Again, they're cool, but you start to get the impression of, "OK, this is a little bit gimmicky. I don't know how exactly I'm going to use this on an iPhone or iPad."

You start getting this feeling that, "Oh, you know, that thing, that would make a lot more sense for something where I'm not holding an iPhone in front of me. Maybe I don't necessarily need to use my hands, or I could have that in front of my eyes." I agree with those who say that's where we're headed here in terms of having some sort of pair of glasses.

I think that glasses, in general, I say they get a bad rap. I wear glasses. I wear contact lenses. I usually just switch off them depending on my mood. I think the attitude of, "Well, I just wear glasses because I need to," that's the wrong [laughs] way of looking at it.

I wear glasses because it provides me utility. It provides me value. It's one of the most value-added products in my life. That value is I could see the world around me with clarity. If I take that product and add something more to it in which I can now enhance that reality around me, that's even more value. I would want to wear those glasses.

I get some people who say, "Yeah, but is that really the future, everyone having something on their head?" I say, "Well, if you go to New York City, go to San Francisco, and you see people walking around, they all have their head down, their backs twist, and they're looking at their phone in their hand."

In terms of being natural, [laughs] I don't think people would have any problem with wearing glasses as long as it provides that utility that people like. I really value that, and I'm willing to wear a pair of glasses to receive it.

Rene: To your point, it ties into a lot of what Apple has developed as its core competencies recently. That is this miniaturization, this ability to move content from one screen to another, one device to another, to have extensions that run off of where the logic was located, like originally with Apple Watch, in a way to make devices that are highly mobile.

If you use that as almost a template, you see the other aspect, which is the marketing, where you have Apple Watch tied in with Hermès and Apple Watch tied in with Nike. Also, one of the utilities people wear sunglasses for, aside from protecting from the sun, is because they look cool. They're fashionable.

There's all these chains of really high-end sunglasses, as well, and if people can get their running glasses from Nike that are Apple Glass compatible or Apple Glass Nike Plus, whatever, Apple Glass Hermès, which are like the really expensive [laughs] ones you get at the boutique, I think that opens a lot of doors for them.

Neil: I think we're at a point where, if you had to say 2003, 2004, and you're asking yourself, "OK, what's gonna happen in the smart phone era?" I think at that time, if you ask yourself that question, you would think, "OK, well we have something maybe where you could surf the Web faster, or maybe you could send text messages faster."

If you look at what happened, one of the main uses now of a smart phone is it's a really great camera. You can take some amazing photos. It's not that a smart phone ended up being some type of magical science fiction product. It was just there is a use case that it handled really well.

I tend to think, when you look at something like augmented reality glasses, a lot of people envision like, "OK, you put 'em on and you'll just see things floating all over the place and twirling on desks," and I don't necessarily look at it like that.

I could see where you have glasses on and it looks like nothings really there, but then when you look at something, say maybe a thermostat on a wall, you look at it and you get additional context from it because you have glasses on.

It's not that now you have like all these new objects that are there, and you take your glasses off and they're gone. It's something like that small step where now you're getting all this additional context where you're like, "OK, well that beats having to pull the app on my smart phone to adjust it."

I think it even beats, maybe, just talking out loud because now you actually have that visual element so you could get more data transfer that way. It's not just voice. That's how I'm thinking of this.

Then you could think, if you go to a supermarket and all the pricing is adjusted just for you because you have a special member's club account or something like that...I know people like to say the supermarket will be dead in five years, but I think it's going to be around a lot longer [laughs] than people think.

It's that kind of idea, though, where it's not that the entire world around us looks different because of these glasses or you just have like a floating TV screen in our room. It's that you can look at what's currently around us now and things almost get smarter because of the glasses.

Then you bring in hand tracking technology, eye tracking technology, there's a lot there. I like to say there's two groups of people. There's those who have really grown up with the iPhone, with the smart phone. I think these glasses will be a bigger deal than the iPhone. They will be more of a breakthrough for these people, because they're used to iPhones and smart phones.

I think for, maybe, people who have been used to...The iPhone was a remarkable product. I think maybe a pair of glasses could certainly hold its own in being compared with the iPhone in terms of this breakthrough product that will change everything.

That's why, when you listen to Tim Cook, Phil Schuler, they talk about augmented reality. At a certain extent you're like, "OK, well are they talking about AR kit?" because you don't quite see it. They're so excited. You're like, "OK. Well, I don't see that yet." I think it's because they're already starting to see what's possible.

I kind of agree with them where, in the beginning of the app store, I don't think we really knew what could be possible with apps, so it's a similar way. We're pretty early into this, and that's why it's so remarkable when someone can think, "Well, AR with glasses will lead to this experience, and then I'll come up with a completely different experience."

That's the fun aspect of this. It's so new. The more important thing is it seems like it's close by. More close than, say, things in transportation, which I still think Apple's interested in, but you don't get the same sense that, "OK, in the next three or four years you're going to see these changes."

With augmented reality in wearables in the form of glasses, you do get that sense where, "OK, there could be something a lot more attainable in just couple of years." That's where I think Apple is headed from a new product point of view.

Rene: I think you see the breadcrumbs. Sometimes you do see the breadcrumbs for Apple's products. I remember when Passbook first shipped, people were complaining that it doesn't really do much, but you could clearly see that, as they added to it over the years, it would become something.

Maybe you didn't see Apple Pay, and Apple Pay person-to-person, and Apple Cash out of it, but it was clear they were laying the framework for it. When you saw size classes, it's clear they were laying the groundwork for multiple apps on iPad Pro and for different sized iPhones.

Here, I think it's the same thing. If you look at Apple Watch, already it's a great way to get directions when you're walking around, but, if you could actually see, not have to look at our watch, but just see where to turn and see where to do those things, it just becomes that much more useful.

A lot of Apple Watch apps just become that much more useful when you don't have to look down at them anymore. There can be some combination of things like maybe the glasses contain the display elements, and the watch contains the logic, and the AirPods contain the audio, and whatever mix that is.

I also think that, where the phone was fairly fully formed when Apple made theirs, they were just making a better version of the smart phone. I think this is one of those interesting areas where Apple is going to be entering it early enough that it won't just be Apple's version of glasses.

I know Google Glass came out, but those were more of a personal display. This will be Apple thinking about what that next product is, not just 10 years later making [laughs] the Apple version of the tablet or the phone.

Neil: You raise a really interesting point, because when you think of something like the Apple Watch Series 3, they're actually leading the market here in terms of a cellular smart watch. I know there's other companies that were technically first, but when you're looking at a company that's selling an independent Apple Watch at scale, it's Apple.

You look at wireless AirPods, another example. Yes, there could be one or two companies that were out there with truly wireless pair of headphones that were able to do other things, but with wearables, you see Apple. If you're judging it on a spectrum, they're leading the way here. Whereas, you look at something like the iPhone, you already had them.

You had Blackberry. You had companies where they were already seeing volume, and Apple said, "OK, you're going this direction. We're gonna go in this slightly different direction."

It raises an interesting question where you do have a number of companies here who are working on what I will call face wearables or different versions of augmented reality, virtual reality glasses. Does that mean that maybe Apple is more of a leader here in terms of getting to market?

You don't necessarily need to wait to see, "OK. Well, let's have all these other companies come out with their own version. We don't think it's going to work out, but it gives us time and then we come out." You may not get that.

You may have Apple be early here, relatively speaking. I would say Apple Watch, in general, probably that would apply to. I think some criticism with the product was it felt like maybe it was a year or two early and, before, you got a product that, "OK, now it sort of makes a lot more sense."

There could be some truth to that where it was announcing it in 2014. There wasn't a whole lot out there in terms of smartwatches selling in volume.

Rene: I think that's absolutely true. I think that's going to be one of the more interesting things to watch, is that Apple is not...Typically, they would wait and they would watch for years. They would see the pain points. They would find things they hated about the products. They would be clear what they needed to do

Where, with Apple Watch, it wasn't really a minimal, delightful product yet. They didn't pare down to those core features that you wanted to rush out and instantly demo to all your friends, to be an evangelist for Apple Watch, but they got there. They did it in public, which is unusual for them.

That seems to lay the groundwork for doing this in public, too, because there's no way they're going to wait 10 years to do. I'm saying that there's no way [laughs] they're going to wait 10 years to do these glasses. Whatever they put out is going to be subject to early mover scrutiny. I think they built up their tolerance to that over the last few years.


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Neil: With the watch, it wasn't born out of this hatred for the Campo luxury watches. It was like, "Here's our interpretation of adding additional utility to the wrist." I think, similarly, you could see that with glasses where Apple could take this mindset of glasses have been around for a while. We're going to, now, take the glasses and give it a different trajectory.

For any pair of augmented reality glasses, I think being able to have prescription lenses is critical. It's essential. I was looking up a couple of data points. I think it was like 75 percent of consumers have some need for corrective lenses. That doesn't mean that 75 percent of people wear glasses, but they don't have perfect vision.

When you look at certain age demographics within that group, it's almost 100 percent. It's a lot harder to say, "Well, this is this new pair of computer for the eye." No, you could just say, "These are glasses. We're changing what it means to use glasses." It's a much easier sales pitch.

It had a little bit of trouble in the beginning with Apple Watch were it was like, "OK. Is this kind of like a mini iPhone on your wrist, or is it just a better watch, or can I say it's a better watch? Does that make more sense?"

Again, a lot of times it's a learning experience. I think Apple even says this, themselves, over and over again. You're going to expect a lot of changes. You're going to expect some mistakes. Every company makes [laughs] them, including Apple. It's the ability to recognize those mistakes and also, still, when you're doing research and development, placing a couple of big bets on trends.

For example, with Apple Watch, it's health. It's medical. That's a big bet that they're placing on. Now, you have all this RD where you're going to try to see additional sensors and go that way. Some of the minor details are on marketing. I bet that could change from year to year, from version to version.

Judging from sales, it does seem like they've been able to position it a lot more appealing than maybe in the first year or two. Now it's the thing, of course, the lower price, which is a whole 'nother story which we won't go into.

They're getting very good at running with very competitive pricing and surprisingly still able to make a margin on that, which just goes to show their expertise in manufacturing and the scale that they're operating at. You ultimately do get benefits from selling 10s of millions of a wearable device.

Rene: Totally. This is the Apple that I love. It's sort of damned if they do, damned if they don't. If they're seen as moving slowly, then they've lost innovation. If they move too fast, then they're making mistakes. I would rather Apple does accelerate a little bit and make some mistakes, but gets us to the future faster.

That's what I love about Apple, is that they've never mistaken their product for their company. In other companies, that's been their doom. "We make Windows, and we're not going to make this Courier thing. We're not going to make this post-Windows operating system. We make Windows." It's good profits, but they ride it into the ground, and it's really hard to recover.

Where Apple, "We make the iPod. Now, we're going to destroy it and make the iPod Mini. Now, we're going to destroy it and make the iPhone. Now, we're going to destroy the Mac, make the iPad. Now, we're going to make the Mac again. The iPad's got to fight." They're willing to do all this.

Once you have that mentality...Apple wanted to have the best computers on the desk. Then they wanted to have the best computers in your pocket, the best computers on your lap, the best computers on your wrist. Now, they're going to want to have the best computers on your face.

We went from analog to digital to computational watches. Now, we're going to go from analog to computational eyewear. I think that is Apple's strength in bringing these products to market. This is literally their business, not any of those particular products along the way.

Neil: To a certain point, it's almost like they're paranoid in a way. [laughs] You know that something will eventually be a good alternative to the iPhone. I'm very confident.

I don't agree with people who say, "Oh, the iPhone is going to be around for 50 years, 100 years." Something's going to come up that's a good alternative. Some people may think that's voice only, voice first interface via stationary smart speaker.

It seems like Apple thinks a little bit differently about that and thinks that screens are going to still be very important. It's not that digital voice assistants don't play a role here, but the presence of a screen combined with a digital voice assistant, that will start to serve as a good alternative for the iPhone.

I don't like the word replace. I don't think products replace other products. An iPad doesn't replace a map. I don't think a pair of augmented reality glasses will replace an iPhone. Instead, the much more worrying thing for companies isn't that a new product replaces your bestselling product. It's that another company comes up with a product that's starting to serve as a good alternative for it.

People start to say, "Yeah, you know what? I could still use an iPhone, but I'm going to leave it behind. I could use this and this. I can use this wearable and this wearable when I go off and do an errand or two."

You start to notice, year over year, people are starting to give more and more tasks to these alternatives that, at first, you're like, "There's no way this can actually serve as an iPhone alternative." I think Apple looks at wearables. That's the bet that they're placing on.

Then you look at things like HomePod, which I view as a device that's providing the best sound in the home, or then wireless AirPods, a device that's providing the best sound on the go. Those would be accessories that I think have a pretty big place in a wearables world actually.

That's where you could bring in digital voice assistants. You could bring in that intelligence that I do think is essential. As you mentioned earlier, you have to have all these products be able to talk to each other. I like saying, "I have the Apple Watch, the new Siri watch face."

When I think of a digital voice assistant, I think of that. I think of that Siri watch face because it's a digital assistant that's giving me information that's tailored to me. It changes throughout the day, changes day to day. It's not just me having a conversation with my computer.

I still think that that framework is still so inefficient in terms of transferring data, transferring information. If you have something like a Siri watch face and the intelligence that's build into that, start giving that more and more as time goes on. Start involving more wearables into that. That's where I think things become really interesting in terms of tying this all together.

Right now, it feels like we're all over the place. You have a lot that's going on in the smart home, a lot of interest in speakers, not clear how people are really using that. You have wearables which, in terms of Apple Watch sales, look really good. We're in early stages, I think, what is shaping up to be a pretty big shift that's coming up soon.

Rene: That's true. What is especially interesting about what's happening now is it was almost linear for a while there. My father got an Apple II when I was a kid because he didn't want to have to drive downtown to work on the IBM mainframes just to do a spreadsheet, so he had VisiCalc.

Later on, I got a Palm Pilot and an HP Jornada and, eventually, a Palm Treo smartphone or a Treo Pro, and then an iPhone so that I didn't have to go running back to my Mac all the time. I could do some amount of important yet not hyper-involved tasks.

Now, I have an Apple Watch. That lets me do certain things. I can go out with that now because of cellular and do certain things without having to even be bound to my phone. I think now what's happening is a bit of a shift, that things like glasses, to your point, won't replace my watch. We start to look at it not as a linear replacement cycle, but as more of a mesh.

Siri exists on phone and exists on tablet, and Mac, and Apple TV, and HomePod, and watch, and glasses. Now, they're all discreet components, but it's not hard to imagine what our mutual friend, Ben Barron, calls it, the ambient computing, that to be a mesh network.

You'll have mesh Siri. You'll have a mesh of devices that you pick the right ones for whatever. If you're going out for a run as opposed to if you're going to a business meeting, you pick the devices in there. They're aware enough of each other to provide you with the context and the functionality that you need from out of what your whole kit looks like. [laughs]

Neil: Right, and then I think it's going to become critical to determine your product marketing where you have an Apple Watch, you have augmented reality glasses, you have a pair of smart wireless headphones. Technically, each one of those products can do similar things.

Maybe, if going forward, you have a situation where the Apple Watch becomes your medical health device. It's always going to be on you. You have a lot of surface area with your body in terms of your wrists. I think that's important.

Meanwhile, maybe the glasses, even though they could technically put certain health sensors in them, maybe they don't do that. Maybe they say, "OK, well, that's going to get a little bit too complicated. We really want to make this product focus on a few tasks and do really well at that."

Rene: Just keep them light.

Neil: Right, exactly, so augmented reality glasses. It's designed in terms of being light on the face. That's its key selling point. Then you have wireless ear pods in which you do have room to put some technology in there. We don't want to attach that to the pair of augmented reality glasses.

You develop this network of devices. Then you could take a step back and you say, "OK. Well, that's very different that what a lot of people think it's which, 'Oh, it's always going to be the iPhone, and then all these devices build off of that.'"

I just don't see that's really what's going to happen here. I think that each one of these wearable devices is going to start getting tasks. It's going to get really well at that, and then you could add additional devices to that.

Then, if you think from a competitive point of view, this gets really interesting now because, if you're a company like Fitbit, or if you're focused, even if you could maybe think of Snap -- which I do think Snap is working on a pair of augmented reality glasses -- it may not be enough to just sell one type of wearable device.

You're going need to sell all of these other devices because people are going to want that ecosystem. Then you add in things like HomePod. I think Apple feels very strongly, if you can get people into your ecosystem and provide them these types of solutions, you're talking a pretty sticky ecosystem here where people are not [laughs] going to really be moving in and out of your ecosystem too much.

Once people are in it, they're in it. It's not easy for a company, especially for a startup company, to come out and say, "OK. Well, we're not going to introduce wearable hardware and produce tens of millions of devices for the wrist, for the ear, for the face."

That's the competitive advantage that's really...It's growing for Apple. Then you bring into all of these all this effort that Apple's doing in terms of controlling more of the core technology. They're buying themselves years in terms of a head start here versus other companies.

It's all taking place within wearables. It goes back to the beginning of our discussion. You judge from the tech press and the tech landscape. Not too many people are talking about wearables it seems. It's like that's where so much is happening in terms of Apple creating a future for itself.

It's a fascinating time where, on the surface, it may not seem like there's much going on here. Deep down, I think they are placing a [laughs] lot of bets here that are going to be measured almost in decades really, not just years.

Rene: I think what you said earlier is super important, too, that Apple traditionally has had products that could stand by themselves. Then they've had other products that were designed to increase the value of those products that could stand by themselves.

People would buy an iPhone and AirPods. Apple can sell them aggressively because they increase the value of iPhone. At some point, there might be a disruptive technology. Maybe they'll be a chance for a startup implant company when we get into full-on cybernetics, because they won't need all the adjacent technology to run those, but maybe they will.

They'll need the infrastructure. There might be points where you have to stay ahead of that curve. For now, Facebook spent a lot of money on Oculus. Apple's bought a lot of AR companies, and Google. A lot of people are investing in this technology.

I think, when the companies are well-rounded like that, it gives them an incredible advantage moving into this more multi-device future.

Neil: Yeah, and then you go even further. You could envision have to go to a health clinic. You get your pair of contact lenses, a pair of Apple contact lenses, fitted directly for your eye. [laughs]

I think that's why all these tech companies moving into health, medical, I think that's probably one of the more interesting things that's going on here. It's that and transportation. Those are my two focal points. It's just these things, they impact everyone.

It's not like, "Well, you're tracking running. You're tracking swimming," which is a pretty small target market. When you talk about health, that's everyone. It's just that it's new. We aren't used to monitoring our health like this. A lot of people, it's a foreign concept.

When you think of where this is going in terms of how technology can improve things like health monitoring, I don't know how you can't be somewhat [laughs] excited about all of this. It's...

Rene: No, it's quiet though, too. The logistical revolution happened quietly all around us almost at the same time. The telemedicine, digital health, and computational health is happening at the same time.

Apple has its fingers in both of those systems, whether it's the Stanford and Telemedicine Health Study that they announced a couple of weeks ago, or it's their ongoing efforts with computer vision and, they don't call it driving cars, what are they?

Automation, I think, in general, is what they're working on and AI, because Apple was out of AI. [laughs] Coincidentally, three years ago, they were building it into the Silicon. I think all of those things, to your point, they play very nicely together.

Neil: I think it's only fitting they have Jeff Williams, the Chief Operating Officer, be in charge of Apple Watch, health. I think very highly of Jeff Williams as a tech executive in Silicon Valley. All the pieces are there. It seems like it's starting [laughs] to come together.

Rene: Neil, if people are either following you on Twitter or...I read your newsletter every day. It's a must-read for me. Where can they can get more information about it?

Neil: My site is I do a weekly podcast. I publish a weekly article. Those are available to everyone. Then, for those of you who want more analysis and more of my perspective, I have membership. I have an exclusive daily email that I write throughout the week.

Then Twitter, I'm @Neil, N-E-I-L, Cybart, C-Y-B-A-R-T. That's usually a good way to reach out and contact me.

Rene: It's an awesome newsletter, awesome podcast, and awesome follow on Twitter.

Neil: Thanks, Rene.

Rene: Of course.

Neil: Good luck with the podcast.

Rene: Thank you.

Neil: I've been enjoying it. [laughs]

Rene: Thank you so much. Thank you so much for joining me. That was great. You can find me, @reneritchie, on Twitter and Instagram. You can contact me, Rene at with your thoughts on the show. I'd love to hear them.

I want to thank you so much for listening. If you haven't already, you can subscribe. The links are in the show notes below.

Please, if you go to iTunes or Apple Podcasts and leave a review, leave a rating, it really helps them learn that people love the show. Maybe they'll come over a little bit more, and we'll get a few more people to love it as much as I [laughs] love making it. Thank you all so much. Have a great day. We are out.


Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.