Objects in Apple’s Vision Are Closer Than They Appear

This week on Gadget Lab, we learn what it’s like to wear and use Apple’s Vision Pro headset. Also, we round up the rest of the news from WWDC.
Person wearing the Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset in living room
Photograph: Apple

After years of rumor and speculation, Apple finally took the wraps off its virtual reality headset this week. The Apple Vision Pro made its debut at the company’s big developer conference in Cupertino, California. The new headset lets the viewer enjoy a fully immersive experience, or dial in a little bit of their visual surroundings to mix the real world and virtual elements together. It’s an impressive feat of engineering. When it goes on sale next year for $3,500, Apple hopes it will serve as its next big platform for app developers—and the usefulness of the apps that wind up on the Vision Pro are what its success or failure really hinges on.

Our own Lauren Goode got to try the headset, and she tells us all about it. We also welcome WIRED product writer and reviewer Brenda Stolyar onto the show to go over all of the other updates Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference, including new Macs, and new software features coming to iPhones, Macs, Apple Watches, and iPads.

Show Notes

Read Lauren’s hands-on (face-on?) report of the Apple Vision Pro. Read Brenda’s roundup of the new features coming to macOS. Boone Ashworth asks if people really want to wear VR headsets. We also have a roundup of all the big WWDC announcements. Khari Johnson looks at why Apple didn’t talk about GenAI this week, even though it’s currently the hottest discussion topic in Silicon Valley.


Brenda recommends watching all of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime Video. Lauren recommends the outdoor consumer tech website, DC Rainmaker. Mike recommends the book The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross.

Brenda can be found on Twitter @bstoly. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode and @laurengoode.bsky.social. Michael Calore is @snackfight and @snackfight.bsky.social. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab on Twitter. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth, @boone.bsky.social). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

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Michael Calore: All right. You ready?

Lauren Goode: Ready.

Michael Calore: Everybody good? Energy up?

Lauren Goode: Yes.

Brenda Stolyar: Yes.

Michael Calore: Lauren.

Lauren Goode: Mike.

Michael Calore: Lauren, where are you? I can't see your eyes. I look at your face and I just see sort of a bluish purple blob where your eyes are. Are you in there?

Lauren Goode: Hold on. Let me twist my digital crown on my Apple Vision Pro headset.

Michael Calore: Oh, I can see your eyes now, but you still feel kind of like distant. You're not really paying attention.

Lauren Goode: That's the thing with mixed reality. You're there, but you're not. But you're here, but you're not.

Michael Calore: Are you present enough to do a podcast?

Lauren Goode: I think we should podcast.

Michael Calore: OK. Let's do it.

Michael Calore: Hi everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I am Michael Calore. I'm a senior editor at WIRED.

Lauren Goode: And I'm Lauren Goode. I'm a senior writer at WIRED.

Michael Calore: And we are also joined this week by WIRED product writer and reviewer Brenda Stolyar. Welcome back, Brenda.

Brenda Stolyar: Thank you. I'm happy to be back one year later.

Michael Calore: Yes, you are here in the room with us for our 600th episode. You should feel totally honored.

Brenda Stolyar: Oh, wow.

Lauren Goode: Oh my gosh. It's the 600th episode.

Michael Calore: It's number six zero zero.

Brenda Stolyar: Congrats you guys.

Michael Calore: Thanks.

Lauren Goode: I wonder what that number means in numerology. We should look it up.

Brenda Stolyar: Ooh.

Lauren Goode: Might be a special number.

Brenda Stolyar: Look it up for the end of the show.

Lauren Goode: Yeah. I will.

Brenda Stolyar: OK.

Michael Calore: It means the singularity is approaching.

Lauren Goode: We should probably tell people what we were originally planning for our 600th episode.

Michael Calore: We were going to float in a pool.

Lauren Goode: We were. We had an extremely random idea that we were just going to go find a pool somewhere, and all of us were going to sit there and tread water with our little Zoom handy recorders up to our faces and record a podcast. And our producer was actually on board with this.

Michael Calore: Sure.

Lauren Goode: Boone, the most excellent producer in the world. Most producers would be like, “This sounds like a nightmare from an audio perspective. You're bringing electronics into the pool.” We were like, “No, we're going to do this.” We had a pool in mind, and we were going to invite Mat Honan to come on the show.

Michael Calore: Yeah, just ghosts of Gadget Lab past, I think.

Lauren Goode: Yeah. We had this whole plan, and then Apple happened.

Michael Calore: And then Apple happened.

Brenda Stolyar: That's per usual. Apple throws every life plan off, and we drop everything.

Lauren Goode: But if you'd still like us to tape a pool episode in the future, we will do it for you. Just leave it in the comments on whatever podcast app you're listening to.

Michael Calore: Preferably with an address.

Lauren Goode: An address for what?

Michael Calore: For the pool, like the location of the pool.

Lauren Goode: Yes. If you have a pool.

Brenda Stolyar: If you're offering a pool, please let us know.

Michael Calore: But unfortunately, today we are actually talking about Apple, because this week the company is holding its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The opening keynote was on Monday, and there was a ton of news. The biggest announcement on Monday was the new mixed-reality headset called the Vision Pro. Of course, there were also updates to iOS, Mac computers, the Apple Watch, iPads. We'll talk about those later, but we should spend the first part of the show talking about Apple Vision Pro. And before we dive right in, I want to ask both of you to set the scene a little bit, because you went to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, to attend the keynote, did you not?

Lauren Goode: Yes, we did. We were there.

Brenda Stolyar: We did, indeed.

Lauren Goode: Yeah, this year was a lot more similar, I imagine, to what it was before the pandemic. Last year was my first time attending, and it was definitely a lot smaller of a group. I think it was a little bit more controlled in terms of our schedule. It felt quieter last year. I don't know why. I don't know how to explain it, but this year it just felt like there was a lot more people, a lot more going on. There was a lot of energy in the room, and some of that was undoubtedly because people were expecting the announcement of the mixed-reality headset. So in the past, WWDC has been at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Then it was at the Steve Jobs Theater down in Cupertino on Apple's new campus. And then last year and this year, they opened up the cafeteria area on Apple's campus so that it's partially indoors, but mostly outdoors. It really feels like you're going to a music festival or a concert. There's a stage set up, and there are some executives who come out and do little greetings on stage. Tim Cook came out and did his infamous “Good Morning!” To which the crowd actually kind of chuckled collectively, but then they're actually just showing a video now. It's a pretaped video, so it's a pretty controlled environment. And just to give a little more background, WWDC is typically about Apple software, but in recent years, it has also become a platform for the company to talk about new hardware like new Macs and its silicon, because it now makes these custom chipsets that go in almost all of their products. So we heard a little bit about that too.

Michael Calore: And we will talk about the custom silicon and all those products later in the show. But first I have to ask you, you got to try the mixed-reality headset, Apple Vision Pro. What was it like?

Lauren Goode: At first I wasn't certain that I was going to be able to try it on, because after the keynote ended, a whole bunch of us went over to the Steve Jobs Theater. And by the way, Apple's campus is huge, so wear your most comfortable shoes if you ever go there. And we went down to the bowels of the theater, and that's where the Apple Vision Pro headset, there were multiple units and they were set up on these stands. It was this circular kind of what I'd like to call the hands-off area, because we were not actually allowed to touch the product. We could merely peer at it. We couldn't even put our elbows on the counter. We were really being told by security like, “Stand back.” It was like being in a museum. And so I left the theater thinking, “Is that it?” I mean, I got to see it up close, but is that it? And then afterwards I actually did go to a totally separate building on campus, which I later found out was constructed specifically to house demos and meetings about the device, and I went into a private room and was able to try it.

Michael Calore: And Brenda, you did not get to try it, right?

Brenda Stolyar: I did not get to try it, but I was in that same hands-off area, and I remember just putting my phone down on the counter, not even thinking about it—and immediately, I swear, I didn't even see the Apple employee. He just popped up out of nowhere and he's like, “Can you not put your stuff on the counter?” I swear I did not see him, and he just out of nowhere was heavily controlling this counter, this round table and making sure that there was absolutely nothing on it. But yeah, I did get to see it on its little stand.

Lauren Goode: And basically it was like looking at an original Picasso. They were like, “Don't go near the artwork.”

Brenda Stolyar: Exactly.

Michael Calore: All right. So Lauren, you go into the private room, what happens before you actually put the headset on?

Lauren Goode: So first, there were some calibration steps to take, where an optometrist took down my prescription information. I had decided to wear contact lenses yesterday, not glasses, because I kind of had a sense this was coming. And also they scanned my face and my ears. They used a face ID app to scan my measurements, and that was to create a spatial audio experience. And then there's a few minutes of lull. And then by the time I went into the private room, there was a headset waiting for me that had been calibrated to me. I put it on and adjusted the soft straps. There's one in the back and then one at the top. And I will say that the setup process was remarkably easy and pretty intuitive. I wasn't sure how much of that was because they had calibrated it for me in advance, or if it's going to be like that for everyone when they first put the thing on. There was a home screen in front of me, floating in front of me, and at this point, I was still in AR mode. So I was able to see, because of all the pass through cameras on the device, I was able to see the living room around me and the two Apple representatives who were sitting there. But it wasn't that I was staring through a transparent display or glasses. It was like, it's hard to describe for people who haven't tried pass-through VR, but it's like the room was being shown to me. Does that make sense?

Michael Calore: Yeah.

Lauren Goode: And then there's the dial on the front right of the device that lets you adjust whether you want to be in that augmented reality space or change the environment around you, so you're totally immersed. So you open a panoramic photo, and you could immerse yourself in that photo of a lake or Mount Hood or something like that, or you can have it so it's just cast in front of you as a 2D image, but you still see the living room around you. That, I think, is one of the more interesting parts of this headset, is that it does allow you to dial back or dial up the immersiveness. The other part that's pretty remarkable are the gesture controls. You're able to go through the home screen of Apple apps, and then within each app itself, by just tapping your two fingers together. It's really easy to grab things and move them and scroll. You're not using any hand controllers. The device has just scanned your hands. You see your real hands, and you just do these pinching gestures. I haven't experienced anything like that, I think, in any other headset.

Michael Calore: So you have tried a lot of different headsets. In what way is the experience of the scrolling and the screen resolution and all of the things like the technical aspects of the execution—in what way is that different in the Apple headset from the other ones you've tried?

Lauren Goode: So with gesture control, I think the most remarkable thing was that there wasn't any latency—or if there was any latency in milliseconds, it was barely detectable.

Michael Calore: Sure.

Lauren Goode: So that seemed pretty impressive from an optics perspective. The way that some of these AR headsets are designed is that they're using wave guide technology, where you have this little wave guide engine in the temple or side of the glasses, and it's basically shooting light into this display that then reflects the light back into your eyes. And that's how you see imagery.

Michael Calore: It's like a hologram.

Lauren Goode: Like a hologram. Exactly. Apple is not using that technology. What you're looking at are two 4K displays. Now, there is a limit to the field of view, and of course when you ask Apple about this, they do kind of a hand-wavy “It doesn't matter, because as long as we've made the experience better than everyone else, what does it matter?” But at some point, you do see the edges of the imagery you're looking at sort of, it's weird. It's not a hard edge, a square you're looking at. It's kind of like they do these wavy edges a little bit, but you do see at some point there's a limit to that. But the imagery is really, it was really crisp. It wasn't fitted perfectly to my face in this demo. So I'd have to tinker with it a little bit more if I ever got my hands on it again. But it felt like, “Yeah, OK.” I'm looking at Apple photos or looking at 3D version of the movie Avatar or watching this incredible John Favreau-directed dinosaur thing, where the dinosaur is jumping out at me, and it felt, it felt pretty crisp. I'm still not certain how long I would want to wear the thing for. Our colleague Boone, our excellent producer who I mentioned, wrote a great story this week on WIRED.com about, “Do people really want to wear VR headsets, and for how long?” And I think that's still a really important question to ask. But in the half hour that I tried it, I will say that it felt pretty comfortable. The imagery was really impressive, and the interface was intuitive.

Michael Calore: I mean, it is important to note that we still haven't answered that question, because VR is still something that is not super portable, and it's still not acceptable to wear one in public. People will point at you and laugh at you, and maybe try to steal it if you wear one in public. A lot of people have predicted that, “OK, if Apple's getting into the game and they're doing this very design-forward thing, they could actually make the technology cool to wear.” I'm not at all convinced that's going to happen. I still think it's deeply weird to try to interact with people while wearing a headset, but they have done things to the headset to make it easier. There is the ability to see the eyes of the person who's still wearing the headset. If you're in the room with them and they have one on, you can actually see their eyes, and they can see you, and it's supposed to feel like you're interacting with them.

Lauren Goode: Well, what's funny about that is that I was not allowed to take photos of myself wearing it.

Michael Calore: That part probably just doesn't work.

Lauren Goode: So I couldn't see my own eyes, and then no one else in the room was wearing one. So I couldn't see if I could see their eyes. It was a very isolating experience. And I think you bring up a good point, which is that Apple seems to have done some things right thus far in designing this new spatial platform, but it's still an unproven market. And one of the points that I made in a WIRED story this week is that it's impossible to make this tech disappear. You can shrink it. Maybe it'll get to the point where we're wearing lightweight glasses and have this kind of experience. But a lot of modern Apple products have been successful because of the way they disappear into our lives. We all carry our phones around everywhere. We take them into the bathroom with us, they disappear into our pockets. We take them exercising with us. iPad is an incredibly portable and slim device to use for work or entertainment. AirPods disappeared into our ears. People forget they're wearing an Apple Watch. It's a watch. We're all used to wearing watches. But this is such an intrusive device. Face computers are intrusive. It's hard to imagine people really wearing this outside of the home. I mean, maybe they will in the workplace, maybe in schools. It feels to me like a really, really big swing.

Michael Calore: Mm-hmm. And at $3,500?

Lauren Goode: Oh yeah, the price.

Michael Calore: It's obviously not for everybody. It's primarily for developers. And in five years there will be one that is much cheaper and maybe more accessible and maybe doesn't have a battery pack that you have to carry around in your back pocket. And then maybe at that point it actually will be for everybody—if people are OK with walking around with a computer on their face, which is still a gigantic question mark.

Brenda Stolyar: I don't think we're going to answer it in this pod.

Michael Calore: I don't think so. We do have to take a break and talk about other things, but I'm sure we'll talk more about Vision Pro on future episodes and in future stories—and until the end of time, it feels like such a big deal that it came out. All right, let's take a quick break and then we'll come right back.


Michael Calore: OK. So let's try to get through the rest of the news from WWDC. We're probably going to have to do this as a lightning round because, as expected, Vision Pro sucked up all the oxygen. But let's start with iOS, it feels like a pretty big update. Brenda, you write about iOS and all the new features and iPhones and everything for us. So what stood out to you with the announcements around the mobile OS?

Brenda Stolyar: A lot of the Messages features stood out to me because I am somebody that texts a lot.

Michael Calore: Don't we all?

Brenda Stolyar: And these feel like features that I was hoping would arrive one day, but I didn't expect them for iOS 17. Specifically, the ability to read transcriptions of voice memos, because I cannot tell you the amount of times that my friends and I will send voice notes to each other and send the exact same text that is verbatim. “I can't listen to this right now, but I promise I will listen to it later.” And there have been so many times where I wish I could just transcribe it and read it, and then reply. And then I was like, “I guess that would actually be a text message though, if you think about it.” Because it just writes out your text instead of sending a voice memo. So that's why I was like, “Apple will never come out with that.” But then they announced it and Lauren and I both looked at each other, and we were like, “Oh my God, finally.” So I'm really excited for that. I think the new catch-up arrow that lets you jump to the first text in a long thread, if say you're in a group, there's a bunch of texts, and you step away from your phone for a while and you come back and you're scrolling up and you're like, “I don't know where I stopped and this started.” So that just brings you back up really quickly. I think that's cool. I really love the check-in feature, which will notify friends and family when you're home, because there's so many times where my friends and I will be like, “Text me when you're home.” Especially after a late night, and they'll get home and fall asleep, and it's 2:00 am and we're all like, “Where is she?” And we get worried, and then we have to wait until the morning. So that's nice. It'll also let them know if, say, there's a delay in the trip.

Michael Calore: That feels like a pretty big one.

Brenda Stolyar: 100 percent. I will sometimes call friends on the way home because I just want to make sure that they're on the line in case anything, God forbid, happens. So that's nice. It's nice to know somebody will be keeping an eye on your route. And I think I'm also really excited for FaceTime messages, which will allow you to record a video or an audio message when someone misses a FaceTime call, instead of texting them and being like, “Why can't you pick up?” Or, “Where are you?” I'm excited to see how people will use that.

Michael Calore: Nice. What about the journaling app?

Brenda Stolyar: The journaling app? So I wonder if that's going to take off for anyone that's not familiar. The Journal app is a separate app that will provide you with writing prompts based on your activity, like say you worked out, or it'll pull from maybe your photos and it will give you a prompt to inspire you to write a daily post. And you can also schedule notifications to kind of create this daily habit of journaling. I personally have tried journaling since middle school, and it doesn't stick, but Apple does want you to, I guess, take a pause in your busy day and reflect and think about your emotions. It's coupled with a new feature in the Health app that will let you log your moods. So I think there's this big push for mental health, and there have been rumors in the past that the Apple Watch will be able to recognize signs of any mental health struggles such as depression or anxiety, similar to the way that it can detect signs of sleep apnea. So I think that's great, because we're leaning more into a space that does not get nearly enough attention. And I think that can be not easily diagnosed, but monitored in a way that can help people understand their feelings, emotions, moods a lot better. So instead of just being time to stand, it'll be like, “Time to actually go do something this weekend, because you've been in bed for three days. Also, we've detect grease on your scalp. It is time to wash your hair.”

Lauren Goode: Exactly. Instead of just staring into space being like, “Why am I feeling like this? What is happening?” Something that'll just tell me, “It's OK. You've been stressed out lately. Take a break or go outside,” like you said. Or “Call your friend.”

Michael Calore: I do think it's a little bit morbid that they're asking you to use the device that you carry with you everywhere, that's always connected to the internet, that's constantly buzzing and sending you notifications. You should also use that device to talk about how you're feeling so overwhelmed. But that's just me …

Brenda Stolyar: You're right. It's funny because there are Screen Time features that try and get you off of your phone. Instead of them being like, “Get a real journal and write your notes on real paper,” they're like, “Open your phone and type everything out.” But I wonder if this comes from a lot of people using the Notes app for journaling, because I think that's pretty popular. So they were probably like, “Let's just make a separate app for this.”

Lauren Goode: It's so easy to use. It's so accessible. I have to give a shout-out to old-school journals. I'm old enough to have started scribbling in actual notebooks when I was around 11 years old.

Michael Calore: Yeah, yeah, you're right, Lauren. Young people have no idea what pen and paper are.

Lauren Goode: They don't tweet you a whole podcast on it, so we can help explain it to them. Mom, if you're listening, burn the journals. But Brenda, what you said about the correlation to Screen Time, that really stood out to me as well when they announced the journaling app, and then the mindfulness features like this idea a few years ago of, “Oh, you're feeling overwhelmed by your phone, or you're too immersed in social media. We'll just give you this Screen Time tool.” It really just seemed like slapping a band-aid on the issue. Similar to this idea of, “Write your gratitude list here, and we're going to give it a little cover art and also start to categorize it based on where you are and add some photos to it.” I don't know how much of a solve that really is for deeper mental health issues.

Brenda Stolyar: Yeah. I really am curious to see if people are going to use it, rather than it just sitting on your phone and not really, people not really paying much attention to it. We'll see. But I do know that I feel like on social media lately, journaling, there's a big push for that. So I wonder if Apple was leaning into that as well.

Lauren Goode: Is it really private journaling? If you're journaling on TikTok?

Michael Calore: I don't think it matters. Performance is part of it.

Lauren Goode: Remember when people got really into bullet journaling? That might still be a thing, but people would share images of their really cool-looking bullet journals.

Brenda Stolyar: I think this is an example of people wanting to journal because they want to think they're fitting in with what's cool right now. “Oh, got to set aside time to journal every morning.” Because that's what happens in these day-in-the-life blogs on TikTok. It's like, “Today, I woke up and I journaled for an hour.” So there's a big push for that. So I wonder, we'll see.

Lauren Goode: Yeah. I like a good gratitude list. I do them probably three or four times a week. I really like it.

Brenda Stolyar: Yeah.

Lauren Goode: I can't believe I'm admitting this on the Gadget Lab podcast, but maybe I will. I'll give it a try. It's true, it's important that last night as I was driving home from WWDC at 8 o'clock at night, after being there since 7 in the morning or something absurd like that, and having my face in a computer. It was a beautiful sunset. And I thought, “Oh, that's really nice. I can see the clouds over Highway 280, and the sun is just peeking through. That's real life right there.”

Michael Calore: And then you reached up to your glasses to try and twist.

Lauren Goode: That's right. And then I turned the dial and I was once again enveloped in my self-driving car.

Michael Calore: You go back to reading emails.

Lauren Goode: That's right. Slack. Yes.

Michael Calore: OK, well we do have to talk about some of the other things.

Lauren Goode: Yeah. Let's talk about the MacBook Air.

Michael Calore: OK. 15-inch MacBook Air?

Lauren Goode: Yeah.

Michael Calore: Exactly like the 13-inch except for the bigger screen?

Brenda Stolyar: Exactly. That's it. That's all we have to say. Yeah. The 15-inch MacBook Air. I mean it's the first 15-inch in that lineup. It has a 15.3-inch display though, so you get a little bit more screen real estate. I am personally very excited for this MacBook because I typically switch between the 14-inch MacBook Pro and the 13-inch MacBook Air. When I'm traveling I will take the MacBook Air, but then I miss the large screen on the 14-inch MacBook Pro. I just cannot schlep that thing around. It's heavy. I had seen, I don't know how much I can say, I maybe saw the MacBook Air in person and I picked it up.

Lauren Goode: Did they give you a soft strap and ask you to strap it to your face?

Brenda Stolyar: They did.

Lauren Goode: OK.

Brenda Stolyar: They did. They did exactly that, which is—

Lauren Goode: Comfortable.

Brenda Stolyar: … very lightweight. But it's definitely lighter than I thought. It looks like the inside of a 16-inch MacBook Pro, so there's a bit more room on the sides where the keyboard is. The trackpad is bigger, so that might take a little bit of getting used to, but I'm very excited to be able to pick that up when I travel and still have that big screen but not feel like it's weighing down my bag.

Lauren Goode: And what about the chipset?

Brenda Stolyar: Oh, yes. So it is an M2 chip. It's an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU.

Lauren Goode: And is the M2 a new chip?

Brenda Stolyar: The M2 is not a new chip. It was announced last year. So that's powering the 13-inch MacBook Air and also the 13-inch MacBook Pro. So this is just the base level within the M2 chip models. It's the entry-level chip. So I'd say this is great for basic tasks. Emailing, web browsing …

Lauren Goode: Everything that you do.

Brenda Stolyar: … photo editing. Yeah, the preferred chip for the average person.

Lauren Goode: But they also talked about the M2 Ultra a little bit yesterday.

Brenda Stolyar: Yes.

Lauren Goode: Yeah. So WWDC is now, once again, not just a platform for announcing new software. It's for talking about the underpinnings of all of their hardware products and all of the power now that comes with them.

Brenda Stolyar: Yeah. So the M2 Ultra was announced alongside the Mac Studio. So you can now get the Mac Studio with the M2 Max or the M2 Ultra. And then they finally announced a new Mac Pro with the M2 Ultra. If you—

Lauren Goode: It's the world's most powerful cheese grater.

Brenda Stolyar: It is. This thing is a monster, and this basically closes out the M2 lineup. So the M2 Ultra is the last of that lineup, which means the M3 is coming. But right now the M2 Ultra is the most powerful chip, and that's really, you'll know if you need it. That's for just some heavy-duty stuff, editing heavy-duty footage, 3D rendering.

Lauren Goode: Editing this podcast.

Brenda Stolyar: Yeah. Boone will definitely need that M2 Ultra.

Michael Calore: So we do have to wrap up, but one thing I want to point out before we move on is that Apple didn't really talk about generative AI at all at WWDC, which feels like out-of-step with the wind that is blowing through Silicon Valley right now, with all of the other big names making generative AI the centerpiece of their developers conferences. Apple skipped it. This was not really surprising, because Apple has not really been flexing gen AI muscle, but we had a couple of stories go out about that this week. One written by our colleague Khari Johnson, noting that Apple really had the first AI-powered thing in our lives, which was Siri. For a lot of people, their first encounter with a computer that feels like it's talking to you was Siri, which actually did talk to you. And since then they haven't really flexed that muscle.

Lauren Goode: I think it's because Siri turned out so well. Sorry. You know what? I respect that yesterday did not just become gen-AI bingo. I really do. Because you know that Apple has been making AI products for a very long time. They are almost certainly working on generative AI products. They did mention Transformers at some point when they were talking about predictive texting in iOS, but they weren't filling the conference with all the jargon and stuff. And I was kind of glad for that, honestly.

Michael Calore: It was like, "Hey, do you guys like gadgets? Do you guys like widgets—

Lauren Goode: Chips.

Michael Calore: “… on the macOS desktop? Do you like chips?”

Lauren Goode: Would you like some chips?

Brenda Stolyar: Oh, but widgets were abundant.

Michael Calore: Yeah. So they're basically doing the things that they do well and stopping there, and that's pretty good, I think.

Lauren Goode: There's so much going on behind the scenes at Apple that we just, they've just turned the dial on, so we're blocked from that environment.

Michael Calore: OK. On that note, we should take a break and we'll come back with our recommendations.


Michael Calore: All right. This is the last part of the show. We will go around the table and we each give a recommendation to our listeners of things they might enjoy. Brenda, our guest, episode 600 special guest. You get to go first. What would you like to recommend?

Brenda Stolyar: I would like to recommend The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. It is officially done, so the last season is out now. It's just beautiful television, and it's a show that is unique in the sense that every single season has been successful, in my opinion. And I think also in terms of reviews. It's a wonderful journey. I'm sad it's over, but I know that there are a lot of people that haven't watched. So it'll only just begin for them. I wish I could forget it completely and rewatch again.

Lauren Goode: Yeah, I know that feeling. Such a great show. I think I stopped watching after season 3 and now you're making me want to pick it up again.

Brenda Stolyar: Now you get to binge-watch it, which is the best part.

Lauren Goode: Oh yes.

Michael Calore: How many seasons are there now?

Lauren Goode: Five?

Brenda Stolyar: Five, I think. Yes. Either four or five. But yeah, I believe it's around that number.

Lauren Goode: Don't spoil it. Does Midge Maisel end up happily ever after?

Michael Calore: Don't spoil it.

Lauren Goode: Don't spoil it. Don't spoil it.

Michael Calore: Let me ask the big question.

Brenda Stolyar: You'll have to watch to find out, because I know there are people out there that will be so mad if I even give a hint, because I am like that. I don't want to know anything. I just want to go into it completely unaware. I want to go into it fresh.

Lauren Goode: Yeah.

Michael Calore: Lauren, what's your recommendation?

Lauren Goode: So at Apple WWDC this week I ran into an old pal, Ray Maker, who may not be a household name to you if you're not super into wearable tech or outdoor fitness. But if you are into those things, you've probably heard of Ray Maker, or you've heard of his website, which is DC Rainmaker, but I hadn't seen him in a really long time. We taped a podcast episode together way back in the day, where I got to just grill Ray for an hour and a half on his approach to testing wearable tech and all the cool outdoor gear he gets to use. It was really nice running into him again, and it made me revisit his website. And it is such a great resource if you're looking for a smartwatch, a bike monitor, basically anything that is tech that you attach to yourself or your gear because you want to get out there and do some athletic stuff. He does videos as well. I recommend checking out DC Rainmaker if you're into outdoor tech.

Michael Calore: Nice. Is there a paywall? Is there a subscription?

Lauren Goode: Nope. It's totally free. You can go there, get product reviews, buyers' guides, how-tos, tips, all that stuff.

Michael Calore: Excellent.

Lauren Goode: So check it out. Mike, what's your recommendation?

Michael Calore: I'm going to recommend a book that I'm almost finished reading. It's called The Rest Is Noise, by Alex Ross. Alex Ross is a music critic, and this book is old. I think it came out in 2007, but it's excellent. It won a bunch of awards. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer that year. It is about 20th-century classical music, particularly 20th-century music, but it focuses on classical music, what we would know as Western classical music in this world. So all the German composers and the New York minimalists and everything. Really excellent book. Not only is it well written and entirely comprehensive, but it does two things that I really like. One is that it puts all of these big works that, if you are a fan of 20th-century music, you have heard about, Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, Salome, by Richard Strauss, and all the John Cage stuff. It puts all of that into very deep context. It really tells you what was going on in the years leading up to it. The big events or the big releases that you've heard about, how that changed things. The other thing that it does is it turns all of these people, all of these composers into actual human beings who interacted with each other. There were parties they all attended. There were groups that they were all part of. They sent letters to each other. And if you just listen to the music and you see the names, you know the names, like Schoenberg, Mahler—

Lauren Goode: Mm-hmm. Mendelssohn.

Michael Calore: Yeah, you know the names.

Lauren Goode: Is Mendelssohn a part of that? I just like that because I've been listening to a lot of Felix Mendelssohn lately.

Michael Calore: But what you didn't know is that they hung out together and they had meals together and they had arguments. And it really puts you inside those conversations, because a lot of them were documented in letters and in journals. Maybe they used the iPhone app. I don't know. But anyway, I really like that because it's very humanizing. To not only love the music and hear about how the music was created, but also learn a lot more about the people that actually created it and what they were thinking. So yeah, great book. I recommend it for anybody. Read it, and don't do the audiobook, because then you can listen to the music while you're reading about the music, which is crazy meta way that I like to read music books.

Lauren Goode: That's cool.

Brenda Stolyar: That is cool.

Lauren Goode: It's almost like mixed reality without the headset.

Brenda Stolyar: An immersive experience.

Michael Calore: An immersive experience. You got to twist that dial. All right, well that's our show for this week. Brenda, thank you for joining us. Thank you for flying all the way out here.

Brenda Stolyar: Thank you for having me. I'm glad I am on the 600th episode.

Lauren Goode: We're so glad to have you in studio.

Michael Calore: And we appreciate you flying all the way across the country to cover Apple and to be here with us. And we hope that you enjoy your airport meal and your flight home.

Brenda Stolyar: Thank you. I'm not looking forward to it, but I know that my bed awaits, so at least I have that.

Michael Calore: And thanks to all of you for listening. If you have any feedback, you can find all of us on Twitter and on Bluesky. Just check the show notes. Our producer is Boone Ashworth. We will be back next week. And until then, goodbye.

[Gadget Lab outro theme music plays]

Michael Calore: [In a deep voice, like he's announcing a monster truck rally] Do you like chips? Do you like gadgets? Do you like new features in iOS? Do you like widgets? Get them all. Monday, Monday, Monday at DubDub in Cupertino. Invite only. OK. Did you get all that?