Apple’s space ambitions, MacBook Pro ports, MagSafe battery pack
This week join 9to5Mac's Zac Hall and Benjamin Mayo to discuss Apple in space, what ports might we see on the upcoming MacBook Pros refresh, where is Apple's MagSafe battery case, Benjamin's love/hate relationship with Apple Music Radio, and more.
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Zac Hall @apollozac
Benjamin Mayo @bzamayo Subscribe
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Zac Hall: Hey, man, how's it going?
[00:00:01] Benjamin Mayo: It's going good. How are you?
[00:00:03] Zac Hall: Not bad. Did you see the other week Apple lost an employee to a rocket company?
[00:00:14] Yeah, it really it's really crossed my, my two interests and Apple in space. And I'm very familiar with the company Astra that poached this employee from Apple who apparently was. Was on the Apple car team. That's that's according to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg just based on their public information, they were, you know, on basically what's the R and D side of it.
[00:00:35] Benjamin Mayo: It's higher included like special director of special projects group. So
[00:00:40] Zac Hall: yeah. So something to drive, if
[00:00:42] Benjamin Mayo: you're in the special projects group, you're either in AI or you're in car,
[00:00:46] Zac Hall: right? Yeah. So this has Benjamin Lyon. And no, if he's gone from, from working on the Apple car team, as like you said, a senior director of special projects group, it seems pretty serious to to working for this company, Astra, which is.
[00:01:06] I think they're based in California, but they, they launch rockets out of Kodiak, Alaska, and they, they almost reach orbit for the first time in their last launch attempt. So, which was, it was a very big milestone for them. They, they got into. Into into space, but didn't re didn't quite reach orbit. But they're in the early stages of developing this rocket that they call rocket, which is a fairy, Apple only thing to do.
[00:01:29]I think the version of that almost restart, but it's called rocket rocket 3.2, because it's the third iteration of the, of, of this rocket. So 0.2. But, but yeah, you know, it was an interesting way of crossing over the streams and And it's, it's also, I mean, it's, I think it means the less for Apple, of course, because of the car team.
[00:01:46] We'll, we'll go on one person isn't going to make or break the car team at Apple. You know, it's, it's a, it's a very lively project all on its own. But it, but it does, it does probably mean a lot more for the company Astra and having this person be, I think like their hardware chief going forward chief engineer at Astra.
[00:02:04] So. It just kind of cool for me that there is someone in, in this, from this space world who's now, you know, for one will be much more accessible because they're not at Apple. And then for another, there they're involved in, you know, going from designing, you know, working on, on iPhones and that type of hardware to the eventual car project to literal rockets and things that got to space.
[00:02:29] So I really enjoyed this story.
[00:02:31] Benjamin Mayo: Yeah, I'll tell you what I found funny about this thing is that like, they made a big deal out of it. I did a press release. Yeah. Like a press release, like some Apple copy, you know, coordination, which is very rare for like a non-executive. Right? Like it basically someone you never heard of having some sort of like Apple coordination as they're leaving.
[00:02:51] It's very odd. Like tech crunch had like a. You know, multi page interview with the person where he's talking about his history of, you know, working on like the first iPhone to the iPhone 10 and everything in between. And like, that was, that was just unusual, right? Like, Hey, you don't know me. See, like, people may leave snap all the time, but most of the time you never hear about anything.
[00:03:11] It's only if they're only, if they're on leadership page, then they get a new story. If not, then they're probably going under the radar, but this was like a thing. And like w Apple didn't even try to hide it. They're like embracing it and like thanking him for his. You know, for his tenure at the company or whatever.
[00:03:26] And like, as far as it relates to the applecart project, it's pretty clear, obviously that the. Goes requirements, direction, focus engineering talent. Like that's been in so much flux with the car when they've been flitting from doing, you know, making the car to just doing autonomous systems, to going back to doing the car.
[00:03:47] Right. Like, and the, the deadlines are changing around that. And whenever you're having a project, that's having so many like shifts in. In a destination, like you're going to have employee turnover at the same time. Like it's just inevitable. Like say if you're, you know, we had it back in 2015, 2016, when they, you know, put, put the brakes on the actually making the car and you saw the hardware engineers, they hardly even go off and do other things.
[00:04:11] And likewise here. You know, maybe lion's was like ready to ship a car in two years time, but then the project changed and the directions came just like, Hey, this is going to take another five years to get, you know, to get off the ground. So I'm going to go and do something else. Okay. It's just, so it's one of those things that when you have, and you know, we're not on the inside, we don't know if this is a product of like early misdirection of the thing, or if they just don't know what they're doing or, you know, they're all over the place, but a certain side effect of.
[00:04:41] You know, divisions or projects changing objective means that you end up having the people underneath and move around as well. Like just, just look at the leadership of the project that we know, how many times is Mark Gurman at Bloomberg have to report in a new leader of the applecart team. Like that's happened probably four or five times already now, like, and they brought back the, you know, Doug Farrow from Tesla and stuff, and like, it all just comes together.
[00:05:02] But It is interesting for show
[00:05:04] Zac Hall: and looking at this story it kind of surfaced an older story from December, 2019 that I forgotten about because there's been no update to it, but it's a story from Bloomberg that Apple's researching ways to use satellites, to beam data directly between I-phones and the other devices and in the story you know, it's, it's basically, this is a, I think as you put it a five-year.
[00:05:26] You know, five-year out project that they're investigating and, and, you know, it's one of the typical R and D things, but there's kind of been no development to it. And that, that makes sense for something that's five years out, you know, or, or within five years. But it has been, you know, Let's see, it's been, it's been a year and a few months though.
[00:05:44] So yeah, this
[00:05:45] Benjamin Mayo: report was like the end of 2019. So if you do five years on from that, you're basically 20, 25, which is, seems to be the key date now for everything. It's like the round glasses of 2025, the Apple Carl's 20, 25, Apple satellites are 20, 25. Anything's just 20, 25 until we know any more information
[00:06:01] Zac Hall: about it.
[00:06:01] Yeah. The thing that I found interesting and revisiting this story about Apple's satellite ambitions is that one. Space X is. Kind of betting t…