Maccast 01.08.2013 - Show #426
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
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V News
V Macs to get faster WiFi
* The NextWeb is reporting that the next round of Apple's computers should have WiFi support for the 802.11ac spec.
* The say Apple has finally struck a deal with their wi-fi chip supplier Broadcom to bring 802.11ac to future Macs
* Also known as 5G WiFi, the new spec offers all the benefits you'd expect over the existing 802.11 specifications. Faster throughput, higher capacity, wider coverage and improved power efficiency.
* Further supporting the rumors that Apple may update new products a job posting recently appears on Apple's HR website looking for engineers experienced with Gigabit Wi-Fi.
* For speed 802.11ac promises at maximum throughput of up to 450Mbps in a single antennae configuration, that is the speed 802.11n with a 3 antennae configuration. So 802.11ac with 3 antennae would have a 1.3Gbps theoretical maximum speed.
* Best news, because the chips are also more power efficient, they are suitable for smartphones and tablets also.
* If and when Apple releases 802.11ac compatible Macs you'll need to have routers that also support 802.11ac to reach the faster speeds. I can only assume Apple will offer updated Airport base stations around the same time.
* And yes, it's backward compatible with 802.11n, but you'll be at the slower N speeds.
V iPhone 5S rumors already
* We've hardly begun the new year and already analysts are speculating what Apple will do this summer.
V Much of the speculation is likely based on prep work Apple is doing on the next iPhone
* running through design prototypes
* testing new chips and components
* lining up suppliers
V At least two analysts, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek and Brian White from Topeka Capital Markets, seem to be echoing the same intell
* Apple will release an iPhone 5S in June
* In colors, like the current iPods
* They also believe Apple will offer multiple screen sizes or at least a larger screen model to compete with the ever growing demand for Android Mega-phones with 5-inch plus screens.
V Also in the rumored specs:
* Improved camera
* NFC (again, with that yes)
* And surprise, an improved A7 processor and better battery life.
V Ahead of CES Corning announced it's next generation Gorilla Glass. They claim the 3rd generation is 3 times more scratch resistant that Gorilla Glass 2 using something they call "Native Damage Resistance" technology.
* Corning also says that when scratches do occur you are 40% less likely to be able to see them
* Begs to question if an iPhone's glass gets scratched on the woods and you can't see it is it really scratched?
V Samsung pushed out of AX manufacturing
* The writing has been on the wall for a while, but it looks like the exodus may be starting this year.
* Taiwan Commercial Times claims that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (or TSMC) is about to start trial production for Apple’s A6X SoC this quarter.
* If you remember there is a rumor that Apple and TSMC are building a $10 billion chip fabrication plant in the United States, possibly in New York or Oregon.
V Apple has also been reportedly cutting Samsung out of their display business to. I told you about their rumored move to Sharp IGZO panels via suppliers like Innolux and AU Optronics
* The China Times now says that Apple is evaluating Innolux Touch On Display (TOD) technology as a possible alternative to the in-cell the recently moved to.
* According to the source Apple has had interference issues with the in-cell technology
* TOD apparently offers better optical performance and 10-point multi-touch in a display as thin as 0.5mm
* If Apple does want Samsung out of it's processor business they have a year to get new suppliers in line. Apple has reportedly contracted Samsung until 2014 for processor fabrication.
V Apple first quarter 2013 earnings predictions
* Apple will be delivering it's 1st fiscal 2013 earnings on January 23rd, but already the estimates are showing the report should be pretty positive.
V An analyst from Evercore Partners thinks Apple may announce sales of over 50 million iPhones. A 35% year over year increase and up 86% from the prior quarter
* He also sees iPad sales up 56% year over year with a prediction of 24 million units with almost half of those sales going to the iPad mini which he thinks sold 10 million units.
* The prediction for the Mac however isn't quite as positive. Apple may actually see a slight year over year slide with sales of roughly 5 million Macs which would be a decline of about 3% year over year.
* According to numbers from NPD group the Macbook Pro line itself say a 6% year over year sales decline.
* The Evercore analyst also believes supply constraints on the new iMacs may be partially to blame for the lowered sales numbers. As a matter of fact 27" iMacs still show a 3-4 ship time.
V In terms of marketshare and usage Apple is still holding it's own
* latest comScore numbers showed that in the US the iPhone usage was at 35% of all smartphone use and 18.5% of all mobile phone use as of November 2012
* Samsung was still the #1 most used mobile phone in the US with 26.9% of the share and LG was just behind the iPhone with 17.5%
* What's good for Apple is that their usage for all mobile phones was up 1.4% likely spurred by the quick roll out and popularity of the iPhone 5
* Still on the OS front Android leads smartphone usage in the US with 53.7 percent of the market.
V In the shorter term there was good news for Apple on the sales marketshare front
* For a 12-week period ending November 25, 2012 Kantar Worldpanel crunched US sales numbers and found that the iPhone jumped to a 53.3% sales share beating out Android devices which saw a 10.9% decline for the same period dropping to a 41.% share.
* More positive in the Kantar report was a that 27% the customer buying an iPhone were upgrading from another OS. 40% were first time Smartphone purchasers and 34% were upgrading from an previous iPhone.
V Where Kantar's numbers look more positive than comScore's it's all about timing and the dataset
* Kantar is looking a recent sales numbers right after the release of the iPhone 5
* comScore is looking at overall usage numbers for a similar period, but includes all devices in the market at the time
* The good news for Apple in both reports is that they saw a trend upward in both accounts
V In tablets, Android also saw post holiday web usage gains at the expense of iPad according to Chitika
* Their report of weeks following christmas show that web usage of the Kindle Fire jumped more than 4 percent to 7.51 percent. The Samsung Galaxy tablet also saw gains coming in at 4.39%
* The iPad still has a commanding 78.86% of the web usage marketshare according to Chitika, but that is a drop of 7.1% from the pre holiday weeks.
* 2012 also proved to be a great year for App downloads. Monday Apple announced they had reached the 40 billion app download mark and that half, 20 billion, of the app downloads happened in 2012 alone
V Mixed directions on Waze buyout
* TechCrunch caused a bit of a stir last week when it claimed Apple was making an attempt to buy out the community-based mapping and navigation company Waze.
* According to the original report Apple had supposedly made an offer of 500 million dollars, but Waze was holding out for $750 million
* TechCruch and others later reported that there never was any buyout talks.
* Cnet went as far as calling the rumors "completely fabricated".
* Then the NextWeb claimed that Apple and Waze did talk about a potential buyout, but ultimately Waze turned Apple down.
* What actually happened only Apple and Waze will probably ever know, but Apple does already use some of Waze data for it's iOS 6 Maps
* It makes perfect sense that Apple would express an interest in Waze. Especially in light of their efforts to to imporve thier mapping system after bad press they got following it's launch in iOS 6.
* Waze has some cool technology to allow users to provide real-time traffic and incident data. They also have a system for the community to be able to submit Map corrections and updates making them more regionally accurate.
* At the very least I would imagine Apple could benefit from licensing and integrating more of the Waze technology into it's own Maps.
V Do Not Disturb should work again
* Apple reports in a support article that Do Not Disturb scheduling will begin working properly again after January 7, 2013.
V Intel announces next-gen mobile processors
* At CES this week Intel revealed details about the 4th generation of it's mobile processors codenamed "Haswell"
* The chips are based on the same 22 nanometer design that power the Ivy Bridge designs found in the most recent iMacs and Mac minis
* A main focus of the Haswell design is power efficiency which Intel claims is the “the most significant” improvment in mobile power efficencies in the companies history
* The Haswell also brings improvements to the integrated Intel HD graphics
* It's likely we'll see Apple use the new processors the next time they update their Macbook lines
* Intel's Vice President of the PC group, Kirk Skaugen, did throw a curveball to "ultrabook" PC makers who plan to use the new chips. Those systems will be required to have touch enabled screens.
V It's highly unlikely that Apple's Macbook Air will be required to comply with the restriction though.
* The "ultrabook" designation seems to only apply to Windows based PCs
* Also, I don't think Apple would ever agree to let a supplier dictate the design or functionality if it's products
* It's been rumored for a while that Apple is considering a move to it's own custom processor design in future Macs and many believe the Macbook Air may be the product they start with. If Intel did try to strong arm Apple they could use the threat of taking their processor business away from Intel as leverage, but I don;t think Intel would even try.
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V Feedback, Comments and Commentary
V iOS pricing still a big concern for developers
* Apple Sliced, an App Store price tracking site, came out with an end of the year report that claimed 32.7% of iOS app lowered their price at some point in 2012
* Now that may have been a temporary sale, but it does trigger a concern in my mind.
* For all the great benefits apps and the App Store bring us as consumers, still several years into it there continue to be bug challenges for developers
* Low app store prices make it hard for all but single indie developers to make sustainable profits (and maybe even for some indies too)
V Makes it hard to charge premium prices for quality software. Consumers see it as "gouging" and often will settle for inferior alternatives
* You may say this is how free markets should work, and I 100% agree, but if we force the quality out we will be left with only mediocre options, I'm not sure I like that idea
* Lack of a "real" trial system makes it harder for developers to prove their worth.
* No paid upgrades. Sustainable revenue and rewarding loyal customers. Devs are forced to use cheaper "upgrade" pricing for all or worse release entirely "new" apps abandoning old ones which confuses the simple buying and upgrading experience.
* And as I feared long ago the flaws of the iOS app eco-system are spilling onto the Mac.
V Backups in a Cloud world
* Hank asked, "The most important files on my Mac are my music, photos and movies. I have iCloud and iTune Match and Dropbox. Can you walk me through the differences and why I would need to backup those files?"
* Well first, none of those technologies in and of themselves is a "backup" system.
V They are all cloud based services and technically they have copies of your files (if you've put them there) so you could argue that they are cloud back-ups in a sense.
* Further more it's likely that at their data centers Apple and Dropbox have additional redundant backups of that data on their system, but that is likely just for their own disaster recover purposes. You wouldn'wouldnt have access to those backups, so we can't count those.
* So I think it's best to look at each service and how it works.
V iCloud
* Documents in the Cloud (iCloud) are placed there via integration in an app that supports it.
* In Mountain Lion the most obvious of these are Apple's apps, like iWork apps or even Text Edit.
* In the new Open dialog box you can access, add, and move files in or out of iCloud
* By the way iCloud works, copies are also stored ~/Library/Mobile Documents folder and then sync'd up to iCloud.
* You technically have a local copy, but not easy Finder level access to those files.
V iTunes Match
* This a $25 USD/yr. service and once you subscribe it scans your iTunes Library and any non-iTunes purchased music it finds it that matches what is in the iTunes catalog is made available to download or stream directly from iTunes in the Cloud.
* Any music it finds that is not in the catalog, but that was encoded at at least 64kbps is uploaded to iTunes in the Cloud and made available.
* Anything else is not uploaded or made available via the service.
* Anything purchased from iTunes is also available for download in the Match service.
* iTunes Match only works for Music
* Some Movies and TV shows purchased from iTunes can be re-downloaded from iTunes in the Cloud, but not all
* Your own video and tv show contents is NOT stored by iTunes Match
* Again, this is not a true backup because you don't necessarily have access to all the source data files.
V Dropbox
* This is a Cloud based storage service.
* Free accounts give you 2GB of storage
* It sets up a Dropbox folder and any files or folders placed in that folder are sync's up to the Dropbox servers
* They have an App for iOS so you can access files and folders from your mobile devices
* With Dropbox, only items under the ~/Dropbox folder are sync'd to the service
* You do have a local copy and the copy on Dropboxes servers
* The files in Dropbox are also versioned.
* The main thing about all these cloud services is that they just are not "backup" in a traditional sense.
* I do use these service to provide me one more copy of some of the files I already have backed up via other means.
* Sure they are better than nothing, but your are essentially relying on someone else for "all" your backed up files. If that service is down or goes out of business you are sunk.
* You still want at least 1 or two forms of local backup and a 3rd offsite solution, like CrashPlan, Backblaze, or Carbonite.
V Inside the iOS DCIM folder
* Listener Mike emailed me a while back asking me to explain the DCIM folder structure that is on the iPhone and iPad.
V The first thing may be that many of you don't even know this folder exists. That's because it's not typically visible
* Make sure to back up and be careful
* eCamm PhoneView
* Macroplant iExplorer
* The DCIM folder is in the '/var/mobile/Media' folder
V If you own a digital camera you my have seen a DCIM folder there too.
* It's a standard folder name (Digital Camera IMages) and part of the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) Design rule for Camera File system (DCF) specifications
* These rules define the industry standard directory structure, file naming method, character set, file format, and metadata format for digital cameras, including smartphones.
V For the DCIM folder the spec defines a DCIM folder at the root level (if one doesn't exist it's created)
* In that, subdirectories with a name consisting of a unique directory number (in the range 100…999) and five alphanumeric characters, which may be freely chosen and often refer to a camera maker.
* In those sub-folders there are files with names such as "ABCD1234.JPG", which consist of four alphanumeric characters (often "DSC_" or "IMG_"), followed by a number. The file extension is "JPG" for Exif files and "THM" for Exif files that represent thumbnails of other files than "JPG".
V Apple uses these specs
* DCIM folder
* Sub folders named 123APPLE (starting at 100 to 999, following the standard)
V Files in each sub folder named IMG_0000.JPG (again following convention).
* Apple uses the .JPG extension for photos, .PNG for screen shots, and .MOV for video files
* 3rd party apps that add images to the camera roll could use other extensions, I'm not sure.
* Each subfolder will get 1000 files added to it before a new subfolder is created and the numbering of both subfolders and files continues in sequence
V The number sequences appears to be maintained by a PLIST file found at '/var/mobile/Media/Photo Data/MISC' in a file named DCIM_APPLE.plist
* There is a <dict> entry called DCIMLastDirectoryNumber and DCIMLastFileNumber
* But I tried hacking these files to see if I could alter the number increments, but couldn't.
* I'm not sure if the bug still exists, but back in 2009 TUAW discovered a bug where if you let the photo folders exceed 999APPLE (99,999 images taken) then the camera suddenly appears empty.
V The only easy way to reset the count I believe is to restore your device and set it up as new.
* You could also sync all your photos to iPhoto and back them up and then remove all the photos from the Camera Roll via iPhoto (or Image Capture). NOT recommended.
* Then use a tool like Ecamm Phone View to go in and delete the empty XXXAPPLE subfolders
* A new subfolder with the next sequence and filename,
V Closing
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* Smile
V Gazelle
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V Maccast Live at Macworld/iWorld
* Macworld is coming up January 31st to February 2nd, 2013 in San Francisco at Moscone Center
* I'll be recording a live Maccast from the show floor on Friday February 1st from 2:30 to 3:30
* I want to interview Macworld attendees and Maccast fans about why they come to the show and the kinds of things they are seeing and doing at the show. Email me if you'll be at Macworld and if you're interested in being on the air.
* If you need them I have free Expo Hall passes, details on the Facebook page and Google+ community. Or email me.
* Free Macworld/iWorld 2013 Expo Hall Pass here
V Mac Geek Disneyland Day
* If you watch my Instagram you likely know I'm a bit of a Disneyland fan and as it turns out so are a lot of Mac Geeks it seems.
* David Sparks (MacSparky) is too and he and I thought it would be fun to have Mac and Disneyland fans get together and do an informal meetup
* We set a date of Saturday January 26th, which is the weekend before Macworld.
* Basically it's just a chance for a bunch of us to be in the same general area at the same time.
* Go to the website for details
V Keep emails coming. Audio comments.
V 281-622-4269 or 281-Mac-I-Am-9
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