Maccast 02.11.2011 - Show #384
Links
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
* Mandaandthemarbles.com
V Sponsor
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V News
V iPhone continues to be a leader
* NPD released numbers showing that the iPhone captured the top 3 spots with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS respectively, based on US vendor sales last quarter
* The 4S was by far the most popular of Apple's devices, outselling the 4 by 75% and the 3GS by 5 to 1
V And while the Apple was the top US smartphone vendor, it still came in slightly behind Android in terms of OS share
* NPD says 48% of buyers picked up an Android powered device in the holiday quarter, while 43% of device were running iOS
* I still find the fact that Apple is just 5% behind Android in OS share staggering considering the shear volume of Android devices on the market
* Globally IDC showed that Apple shipped the most devices of any handset maker in the 4th quarter sending out 37 million devices and garnering a 23.5% share of the smartphone market
V All those iPhones not only translate into unit numbers, but also big profits.
* One analyst thinks Apple took in almost 50% 50% of all mobile industry revenues last quarter, but even more amazingly (thanks to the iPhone's high margin) 80% of the industry profits.
* HTC, which makes android devices, reported a drop of 26% in 4th quarter profits and cited the iPhone and competition from Samsung as a direct cause.
V Macs are also doing well
V Gartner release numbers that showed Apple was the only PC maker to gain significant market share in Western Europe and Germany in the holiday quarter.
* In the UK Apple's Mac business grew 17.2%
* Apple was up 15.3% in France, but there was out paced by Asus which gained 17.4%
* And these number do NOT include the iPad
* Numbers like these are likely why Apple's stock price has been pushing the $500/share mark this week
V Best Buy survey speculates at Apple TV
* It's likely purely a speculative question on Best Buy's part, but seems like they want to know IF Apple made an HD TV would their customers buy it.
V Here's the specs they asked about:
* 42" 1080p LED flat panel display
* Running iOS with the Apple TV 2 style interface
* Ability to run iOS apps on the TV
* iCloud support and iOS device integration
* Built in iSight HD camera for FaceTime and Skype
* Apple the Apple TV streaming service support like Netflix, You Tube, Flickr, MLB, etc.
* $1,499.00 USD
V So, would you buy it?
* I think at first blush it sounds impressive, but considering you can get a 42" LCD 1080p set plus a $99 Apple TV 2 for around half that price?
* Are apps and an integrated iSight enough?
* Ben A. Reitzes with Barclays Capital estimates that if Apple were to offer high-definition television sets with an average selling price of $1,500 the company could capture 5 percent of the market and earn $17 billion in revenue.
* Latest rumors are that the set will be dubbed the iTV and that providers Rogers and Bell in Canada already have prototypes in testing labs for deals to provide IPTV content
V I still think that it's the content play that is the bigger challenge in Apple bringing a TV to market and I think they are building a long term strategy around direct distribution models for content creators.
* Initially they will have to do deals with cable providers and networks to carry content.
* Success of projects like Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog and comedian Louis Ck Black show that there is potential.
V Feeling throttled by AT&T
* AT&T appears to have declared all out war on those of us grandfathered in on the Unlimited data plans
* I've had reports of users getting the letter and throttling at less than 2GB of data usage a month
* AT&T says, "Data consumption by all smartphone customers, including the top 5 percent of smartphone data customers, varies by month and by market".
* So the rules change depending on where you live and by the actions of your fellow AT&T subscribers.
* What makes me angry is that AT&T told us that 2GB was more than the majority of their customers use, but then just raised the data plan limit to 3GB and the price to $30 telling users its a value because they are using more data. Really?
* According to an AT&T spokesperson, “As of August 2011, the average data use across the country by the top 5 percent of AT&T smartphone customers was 2 GB per month.” So what are they selling us for the the extra $5/mo? Oh that's right, bandwidth that they claim none of us will ever use. Thanks AT&T.
V Oh, and next time you go to upgrade your iPhone be prepared for a 100% increase in the upgrade fee. Sunday AT&T will raise the fee for upgrading to a new device from $18 to $36 bucks.
* They say the have to because, "Wireless devices today are more sophisticated than ever before. And because of that, the costs associated with upgrading to a new device have increased".
* They also say they haven't raise the fee in 10 years, so we should be thankful. Ok, thanks. Jerks.
V Safari, something's different
* And it's the hand/pointer cursor. It's higher res
* Daring Fireball pointed out that in the 10.7.3 update a number of cursor assets got a high res update
* There is a new a new UI resource that scales gracefully to larger sizes.
* You can see it if you crank up the cursor scaling (System Preferences > Universal Access > Cursor Size) which is part of Universal access.
* See how pretty the pointer is? Likely just Apple final making these assets scale nicely.
* But for you conspiracy theorists out there, some people are assuming this is Apple preparing for those new HiDPI iMacs and Macbook Pros that are reportedly coming out sometime this year.
V 2012 year of larger Macbook Airs?
* Several sources now have claimed that Apple has plans to completely revamp its Macbook Pro line in 2012 to take more design queues form the Macbook Air
* The details are thin, but I assume that means SSD storage, thin cases, heavy reliance on Thunderbolt for expansion.
* A few sources have noted Apple has had 15" prototypes on campus for a while
* While there are no hard dates the rumor is that Apple wants to have the entire line, including 17-models, in place before the end of the year.
V White Macbook Pro truly EOL
* It was made "End of life" by Apple in July, but they had continued selling it to Education
* They have now stopped selling there as well.
* As a replacement for the $999 white iBook Apple is now apparently selling a 13.3"Macbook Air model with the specs of the bottom end 11" retail model exclusively to education. To get that price though the models are ordered in packs of 5.
V EFI Firmware updates
* Apple released EFI firmware updates for the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMacs
* Brings Lion Internet Recovery to the 2010 models of the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac.
* If you have one of these models you can run Software update or check the download section of Apple's support site
V Hints of iPad 3
* Everyone wants to know when will see the iPad 3
* I assume we will get some sort of announcement this month and a launch in March,
V Some are now speculating March 9th might be the drop date based on YourDailyMac's findings of a potential iOS 5.1 release date.
* They found a string in the operator carrier profiles that lists March 9th 2012
* All Things D has pinned the announcement date in the first week of March with a release date in the 2nd or 3rd week of March
* Apple typically update the OS on or just prior to the release of a new device.
* Latest rumors seem to point to most of the changes being in the hardware and not design
V A supposed leaked rear case image indicates a smaller logic board potentially allowing for a larger battery.
* Also a modified camera and LCD mounting
* The Verge is claiming there will NOT be a quad core processor, but an improved GPU.
V Other spec rumors remain the same
* Sharp XQGA "retina" display running at a resolution of 2048×1536
* updated cameras
* possibly a 0.7 - 1.0 mm thicker case
* LTE is a maybe, but I think unlikely
V Sponsor
V Faronics
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V Feedback, Comments and Commentary
V Perspective on Apple in China
* Let me begin by saying that I know no matter how I cover this topic there is no way I can avoid saying something that some of you may take issue with. I think that is a good thing and I look forward to your feedback.
* That said my intent is to keep this discussion as neutral as possible because my intent to to make a rational point, not an emotional or political one.
* A lot of attention and focus has been brought on Apple and their suppliers in China. The main stream media is doing their thing and jumping on a trend and rolling with it to the fullest.
V The thing that those of us who can see through the media hype need to get to though is that Apple is being used here to sell controversy and media numbers
* they want viewers, eyeballs, hits, hype and it's Apple being the catalyst this time because it makes sensational news.
V So our goal is to know fact from hype.
* Do Apple's suppliers break regional labor laws in making products for Apple? Yes. It's right there in their supplier responsibility report. Only 38% of suppliers complied with working hour laws in 2012.
* So Apple doesn't hide from these numbers and they are taking more measures to change the behavior and practices of these suppliers than most other companies who make their stuff in the same factories.
* Apple joined the Fair Labor Association which will independently audit and report on Apple's suppliers. They are the only tech company to do so.
V Is it enough? Should Apple do more? Is it even Apple's right to do more or anything at all?
* They could simply stop doing business there, but what about the rest of us?
* My point is that this issue is bigger than Apple. At the moment Apple is an easy target to use to point shed light on a subject that most of us do ignore, but don't let them fool you into thinking Apple created or is solely responsible for the problem.
* My feeling is that Apple is playing by the current rules and working harder than any other company I can see to try and change those rules for the better. The thing is they were doing this long before the media started pointing fingers and will continue to long after the hype is over.
V Save photo from Contacts in iOS
V Bernard had an interesting problem. He took a picture in the Contact app on his iPhone, but now wants to have that picture also in his Camera Roll, but there doesn't appear to be any way to save it outside Contacts.
* When adding or editing a contact you can choose 'Add Photo' or 'Edit Photo' and then select from the Photo Library or choose 'Take Photo'
* If you take the photo in the app it only saves in the app.
V I thought that maybe there would be a way to pull the image once it syncs to the Address Book on the Mac and there is, but it's not perfect.
* 1) Make sure the contact is synced from your iOS device either through iTunes or iCloud.
* 2) Launch Address Book and locate the contact
* 3) In the contact details click and drag the image out of the Address Book. You can drop it to the Desktop, to a location in the Finder, or directly into iPhoto (or any other app).

Note: It appears images saved after a sync to Address Book are resized and cropped. My original iPhone 4S image was 2448 x 3264 pixels at 72 dpi, but the saved image in iPhoto using this method was 640 x 640 pixels.
* In the Contact app you can copy the image, but you can;t directly paste into the Photo app.
V Using Pastebot I was able to work a solution
* 1) If not already installed, download and install Pastebot ($3.99 US) from the App Store
* 2) Open Contacts and locate the contact you want to copy the photo from
* 3) Click and hold the Image and choose 'Copy' from the pop-up dialog
* 4) Launch Pastebot. The image should automatically be copied from the iOS clipboard and appear in Pastebot.
* 5) The image is actually a "group" and contains an extra data file from the Contacts app. Since we just want the image we need to remove that data. Tap the image in Pastebot to reveal the additional data and options. Click the 'options' (cog icon) and choose 'Ungroup Clip'.

This will result in 2 separate items now appearing in Pastebot. You can swipe over the extra data item and press the delete icon to remove it from Pastebot.
* 6) Now you can save the image to your iOS Camera roll. Tap the image item in Pastebot to view the item's information and additional options. Notice that the image size is the full size of the image originally added to the Contact record (in this case the iPhone 4S camera resolution (2448 x 3264). Click the 'Action' button and press 'Save Image' to save it to the Camera Roll. You also have an option to email the photo.
* 7) Exit Pastebot and open the Camera app to verify the image is now in your Camera Roll.
V Bonus tip:
* If you've installed the optional free Pastebot Sync System Preference pane from Tapbots, you also have the option to paste directly to your Mac over Wi-Fi. With this on your Mac a bonus trick is to open Preview on the Mac, use the Paste to Mac option, and then Choose File > New from Clipboard in Preview to get the image on your Mac.
V There may be other solutions to this so let me know if you have one.
* Other ideas include using iPhone Backup Extractor, but I think the photo is in the MySQL Lite database so getting at it may be tricky.
* Also, I tired using Bento which brings in Address Book data and could see the image, but the field seemed locked.
V Improving iTunes to DVD quality
* Phil uses his Apple TV 2 for watching videos from his video camera, but also shares those videos with relatives who he burns DVDs for. The trouble is he noticed quality loss when creating the DVDs with iDVD or Toast. Why?
* When I inquired about the process Phil uses it all made sense.
* The source images coming from the camera are in AVI format. That is just a wrapper and the underlying video files are likely some other compressed format, like H.264.
* The trouble is that to use those on the Mac they have to be converted, or at least have the AVI wrapper stripped off.
* Phil uses Handbrake to convert the AVi to an Apple TV 2 compatible format. That's good, but likely in that process there is some re-encoding happening. The result is another file in the h.264 format, but some data and quality loss will occur in the conversion
* So it looks fine on the Apple TV, but now he uses the iTunes file to burn the DVD. DVDs need to use the MPEG-2 format, so again the file is converted and re-compressed. More data and image loss.
* Would be best to start from the same source AVI file and convert to iTunes and burn the DVD both directly from the AVI.
V OS X Lion disappearing cursor
* OK, I don't often go to the Maccast community with problems, I actually prefer to be delivering solutions, but this one has me stumped.
* In OS X Lion 10.7.2 (and earlier) there are some specific actions that can can cause my mouse cursor to just disappear
* Specifically any time I use the "eyedropper" or color sample tool from a color picker (regardless of app) and when entering full screen movie playback in iTunes.
* Can get it back by activating Mission Control or moving the mouse to force the "invisible" cursor up to the menubar area and clicking.
* There seem to be number of reports from others on Apple's discussion boards, but no real fix
* I'm running a 2011 Macbook Pro with 10.7.3 and a Magic Mouse
V Airplay not playing nice
* I'm not sure the actual trigger moment, but I use Airplay for music to speakers connected to a 1st Gen Airport Express
* Recently I started having issues with stutters, drop outs and complete connection failures
* It might have started around the time of the 10.7.2 update or possibly with the recent Airport Firmware updates I'm not sure.
* What I do know is that I'm not the only one.
V The issue seems to be possibly a bug with IPv6
* IPv6 is the next generation IP (Internet Protocol) standard designed to address the issue of us running out of IP addresses for device connected to the Internet. John Martellaro over at TMO has a good overview piece on the what and why if you're interested.
V In my case I only care that it's messing up my music and my theory is a potential bug in the way Apple is supporting, or in this case maybe not supporting, Dual Stack, or the ability to have IPv4 and 6 running together, but not interfering with each other.
* It may likely be that my Airport Express is a 1st gen device and doesn't have IPv6 support at all and Airplay is trying to force the issue in Lion?
* Turning it off at the sending location would likely force Airplay back to using IPv4 or that's my theory
V The fix would be to simply turn off IPv6 for now, since I'm not really using it
* That was easy to do in Snow Leopard.
* System Preferences -> Network -> Advanced… -> TCP/IP and look at the 'Configure IPv6 Setting'. You could set it to 'Off'
* The IPv6 option for 'Off' has been removed in Lion.
V Luckily the Apple thread has a fix
* You can re-enable the option in Lion with a terminal command
* Applications > Utilities > Terminal
* Issue this command to see the available network interfaces: 'networksetup -listallnetworkservices'
* Then you can turn off IPv6 for an interface by issuing the command: 'networksetup -setv6off [Interface]'
* So 'networksetup -setv6off Wi-Fi' will turn off IPv6 for the Wi-fi interface.
* This can be verified after running the command by looking at the the 'Configure IPv6 Setting' in System Preferences -> Network -> Advanced… -> TCP/IP
* Note that is you change away from the Off setting in the System Preferences -> Network -> Advanced… -> TCP/IP dialog you will need to re-issue the terminal command to get the option back.
* After I turned off IPv6 on my Wi-Fi and Ethernet Interfaces on my Macbook Pro my Airplay connectivity has been restored and seems to be good.
* Hopefully Apple is aware of this bug and working on a fix, but for now if you've experienced issue you might try this fix.
V Mac's iTunes in the iCloud PlayCache
* So Maccast listener Matt sent me an very useful tidbit about iTunes Match and iTunes in the Cloud Mac
* We discussed before that in iOS when you play a track from iTunes in the Cloud it downloads that track to your iOS device on the fly (progressive download) and then it's there for future playback
* In iTunes the Mac you seem to have the option to download the track, by clicking the Cloud Download button or to simply stream the track by double clicking it.
* Well, as Matt discovered that isn't the whole story. Turns out iTunes on the Mac is also progressively downloading the track they just hide it better.
* If you go to '~/Library/Caches/com.apple.iTunes' after "streaming" a track from iTunes in the Cloud you'll see there is a folder called PlayCache
* Inside the PlayCache folder may be several items depending on when you look and if you've "streamed" music from your iTunes in the Cloud account.
V There could be:
* A PlayCacheInfo.xml file
V A folder that contains subfolders and the downloaded (cached) music files
* Has the following structure:
* <DSID in 16-character hexadecimal>/
<two-digit folder>/
<two-digit folder>/
<two-digit folder>/
<hexadecimal DSID>-<song's iCloud ID in 16-character hexadecimal>.m4a
V If you are actively streaming a file there will be
* A folder called, "Downloads"
* In it a temporary folder named for the file being downloaded (in the rough format of <song name>_<album name>_<artist name>.tmp)
* Inside the downloads folder a 'download.m4a' file and an 'Info.plist' containing some metadata about the m4a file. This seems to be the file iTunes plays from as the file is downloading.
* The thing here is that depending on how much you are "streaming" from iTunes in the Cloud on your Mac this cache could get fairly large fairly quickly.
* There seems to be no way to set a limit or control the size of the cache in any way.
* You can safely manually delete the '~/Library/Caches/com.apple.iTunes/PlayCache' folder or any of it's contents. They will get recreated the next time you play an iTunes in the Cloud track.
* So why does Apple put this cache here and not simply just take the approach that iOS does and add this stuff to your main library? At least then your not assuming you are purely streaming when you have actually downloaded the file.
V I'm continuing to try and find out if there is a cache limit or if you can control it and when it gets purged.
* Cabel Sasser and Ted Landau on twitter both were asking about this too
* And Christopher Brown at The Confusatory blog has a great post that goes into more depth about the PlayCache folder and is where I got some of my info.
V Closing
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