Maccast 2018.03.12 - Show #648
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V In this episode:
* FaceID iPad Pros coming
* The next HomePod
* Analysts still down on iPhone X sales
* CA also thinks you deserve the right to repair.
* and another possible Apple TV show
* Your feedback, a tip about ringtones, plus a Thing of the Moment.
V News
V Face ID iPad Pro possible at WWDC
* Coming from a note to investors from Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang (Jong).
* Claims the new iPad Pro will have a slimmer bezel, no Home Button, and Face ID
V The new iPad should be ready for mass production with a release date likely in late-Q2, leading some to speculate a WWDC announcement
* make sense since Apple announced the 10.5-inch and current iPad Pro lineup at WWDC last year.
* Up for debate is if the new models will have a "notch"
* One China supply chain report so far has claimed the updated models could feature an eight-core A11X Bionic ship with three high-performance cores and five energy-efficient cores.
* There still is also the rumor from last week that Apple may update the 9.7-inch iPad with a lower price point in March. Possibly $259 USD
V Smaller cheaper Home Pod in the works?
* The from the same Rosenblatt source as out iPad Pro rumors this week
* Zhang didn't say when the small HomePod would be released, but other reports have mentions a "second half" of the year release.
V Could sell for between $150 to $200.
* Since the HomePod also doubles as a HomeKit Hub this could be a good option for folks who don't own or don't want an Apple TV
V Barclays analyst, Blayne Curtis, said in a note to investors that Apple's HomePod sales have been "underwhelming,"
* He claims that Apple was originally planning a first production run of 6 to 7 million units.
* That estimate just seems way too high to me. Amazon sold about 7 million units in Q3 2017. The TOTAL worldwide "smart speaker" market is around 40 million units.
* Another analysts claims Apple’s current HomePod sales are on track to meet Apple’s 5 million unit target, if that is a number they hit that's not too shabby in the first quarter of sales.
V Many have cited Siri's limited functionality as one of the issues with HomePod
* One of Siri's creators, Norman Winarsky, commented this week that Siri's capabilities have fallen short of where he would have expected them to be after Apple acquired the technology seven years ago.
* He says the original vision of Siri was to perfect they technology in just two key categories, travel and entertainment, before expanding into related areas
* Apple has taken a broader more encompassing approach which he feels has slowed things down saying Apple is searching "for a level of perfection they can't get."
* It has an imperfect grasp of users’ preferences and past history and therefore Siri's predictive intelligence is limited.
* He does note these are extremely hard problems to solve and especially with the expanded scope of functionality.
V Reports of updated AirPods in the works
* AirPods continue to sell well and it's believed Apple is on track to sell as many as 30 million units in 2018
* That might be boosted by a potential second generation version Bloomberg says Apple could release this year.
* New features could include integrated ‘Hey Siri’ voice coprocessors and noise cancelling improvements (not active noise cancelling though).
* The report also claims another revision could be coming in 2019 adding basic waterproofing.
* They also mention a possible price drop prior to the release of the new models.
V More reports that iPhone X sales disappoint
* Analysts continue to hound on iPhone X sales not meeting expectations and slowing down more then expected.
* The feeling is that consumers are already anticipating the larger and less expensive 6.1-inch LCD model we've heard rumors about Apple adding when they update the iPhone X and iPhone 8 models later this year.
* Speculation that Apple might update the iPhone X line with a product RED edition to help spark-up sales a bit.
* Patent for various water tight lightning cable designs. In one version the lightning cable would "deform" (expand) after it was inserted.
V Swift is now a 10 top programming language, tied with Objective-C
* RedMonk is a site that has been doing a quarterly ranking of the most popular languages since 2011.
* They say Swift is the fastest-growing language they've seen since they started the list.
V California next state to introduce a "Right to Repair" bill
* The idea is to add laws to require smartphone manufacturers to provide repair information, replacement parts, and diagnostic tools to product owners and independent repair shops.
* 17 other states have already introduced similar Right to Repair legislation, including Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia.
V The ideas behind the bill are great:
* Allow consumers more freedom and choice when it comes to getting repairs on aging equipment.
* Competition to help reduce repair costs.
* Availability of original quality parts for shops and DIY'ers
* Keep older devices in the market longer and out of landfills.
V Apple is already lobbying against right to repair bills in some states
* Part of the concern is that some repairs require removing certain software protections and making that information available to 3rd parties could compromise the security of Apple's products
* Another concern from manufacturers is that repairs might not be done to the specifications and standards of the original manufacturer potentially compromising the safety of the product.
* I think another issue is supplying replacement parts which becomes a significant cost and management overhead placed on the manufacturers.
* I'm also not sure the bill discuss or address pricing of parts or equipment needed for repairs?
* What about any mandates for how a product must be designed so that is easily serviceable? Apple uses a lot of glue and adhesives in their products andI'm not sure that states should be able to mandate how ANY manufactures chooses to design and build their products.
* Like many things the concept seems simple on the surface, but is more difficult in practice.
V Apple in talks for new show with the Obamas
* The story is that Netflix is a very close to signing a deal for a new series involving former president Obama and the former first lady, Michelle Obama
* The deal with Netflix is not sealed though and the rumors are that both Amazon and Apple have also been in talks to acquire the show.
* It's not clear what the series would be exactly but some concepts are the president moderating conversations on issues that came up during his presidency or the first lady could produce shows about nutrition and fitness among children.
V Sponsor: Casper
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Feedback on iPad Pro as laptop replacements
V Rick wrote in to say that he now does about 95 percent of his computing on the iPad Pro and has for the past couple years.
* Still has a MacBook Pro, but only turns it on occasionally to back it up or for some tasks like dabbling in XCode.
* Like I mention, he's also excited about a future with different devices and different interfaces like voice and AR.
V TouchID vs FaceID
V Diego, agrees with me that FaceID isn't quite where TouchID was, but points out that it's the best option if you want an edge to edge display
* Well, that or the under the screen technology, but from all I have heard Apple (and others) have tried that and the technology is problematic.
* He also asks if I will switch to an iPad with FaceID if they're updated?
* Probably not, my 12.9-inch 1st gen iPad Pro is awesome and does everything I need. It would take a lot more than just an edge-to-edge display to get me to upgrade.
* Also asks why i think there are not development tools like XCode for the iPad Pro?
* I'm not really sure, I would guess it has a lot to do with the "sandboxing" that exists in the environment, but that's really just a guess.
V Chuck agrees too that in many scenarios, FaceID is not as "seamless" and  Craig Federighi would have had us believe in his demos
* If the iPhone is flat on a surface or off to the side you need interact with it directly by moving it in front of your face. That means you are forced to "think" about the unlock process. The fact that your authenticating is literally forced right in front of your face.
V On the other hand Peter wrote in to say it works for him almost without fail. 99 percent of the time.
* He does point out one area where i agree FaceID is better and that is with stored passwords and keychain items for the apps that support FaceID unlocking.
* That experience is truly seamless and does work really well.
V Creating and loading a ringtone
* Ron wrote in because he was having issues installing a custom mp3 ringtone he had found online onto his iPhone using iTunes 12.7
* The issue is Apple changed how ringtones work in iTunes and iOS when they removed App management.
* First thing you need to do is get the file/track you want to use as a ringtone into iTunes. Also, you cannot use an Apple Music item (DRM), or anything that is in the cloud
V You'll also need to be sure the length is not longer then 30 seconds for text tones or 40 seconds for ringtones.
* If you select a track in iTunes and choose Get Info.
* Select the Options tab and set the start and stop times to the section you want to make a ringtone from
* Just remember to undo it after you convert your track.
V To Create a ringtone in iTunes
* 1) Select a track to use as the source.
* 2) Under Edit (Win) or iTunes (Mac) > Preferences > General tab > Import Settings choose AAC Encoder > High Quality 128k.
* 3) Use File > Convert > Create AAC version.
* 4) Right-click on the new copy and click Show in Windows Explorer or Finder.
* 5) Delete the new entry from the library without sending to the recycle bin/trash.
* 6) Change the file extension from .m4a to .m4r. (You may need to adjust folder options to see the extensions.)
* 7) Connect your device to your Mac with the Lightning cable
* 8) Back in iTunes, select your device in iTunes by clicking the device icon.
* 9) In the sidebar under "On My Devices" click on the "Tones" section
* 10) Drag the ringtone (m4r) file from the Finder on to the "Tones" panel in iTunes to copy it to your device.
* You should now be able to see the tone in Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtone on your device. If you still don't see it you may need to reconnect your device to iTunes and manually click the "sync" button.
V Thing of the Moment: LIFX Bulb
* Picked this up so I could demonstrate HomeKit and the HomePod to my Mac users group.
* Having had insteon stuff in my house and dealing with some of the issues I wanted to find something that was going to be simple and easy to set up.
* The nice thing about the LIFX is that there is no "hub". You just connect the bulb.
* It also supports ALL the major smarthome platforms, not just HomeKit. It'll do Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Works with Nest.
V HomeKit set up was amazing. Just Open the Home app, point at the HomeKit code in the instructions and it was added to my setup after a minute or so.
* I could control the light, colors, and color temperature settings all from the Home app and with Siri voice controls.
* There is also a LIFX app, but at least from what I could tell, I don't think it offered any controls over and above what was also available in the Home app
V Amazon set up was not quite so simple.
* It involved Downloading the app, adding the bulb to the app, then adding the bulb to the LIFX cloud (a step I missed at first), then opening the Amazon Alexa app and adding the bulb to Amazon SmartHome.
* Not a huge deal, but what a difference in setup vs. HomeKit.
* LIFX offers a range of products including bulbs (in various shapes and sizes), mini-bulbs, light strips, "beams", and panels.
* I got the [LIFX A19]( "standard" bulb.
* I really like the product and for me, not having another "hub" to connect to my router is a big bonus.
V Unfortunately the multi-platform and hubless support adds to the cost. I picked up my bulb from BestBuy for USD $55.00.
* They do say the bulb should last almost 23 years, so I assume we'll have some tech beyond HomeKit or traditional lights long before I need to replace this bulb.
* They do also offer multi-packs (4 and 6) for a slight discount vs. buying individually.
V Closing
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