Maccast 05.20.2013 - Show #445
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
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V News
V Skipping stalling iRadio deal?
* I mentioned last time that Apple is reportedly stepping things up to get an iTunes streaming radio product to market.
* The story is that Apple wants it's own music streaming service to compete with services like Rdio, Spotify, Pandora, and now Google Play All Access.
* It's also reportedly something most record labels want as well.
* It makes sense. Streaming radio apps are a great way to help customers discover new music and since Apple's iTunes is the number one source for digital music purchases and Apple streaming radio service seems like a perfect match.
* We also mentioned that Sony seemed to be holding up the deal that Warner and Universal have already agreed to, but now we might know what's holding Sony and Apple up at least according to CNET. (The CNET piece notes that Warner apparently also hasn't signed yet, but that the deal is "close" to being finalized)
* Sony wants more money than Apple is offering for each song that gets skipped. Yup, they want more money for the tracks you don't listen to.
* Apple is offering to pay for streaming rights, give ad share revenue from ads on the service, make it easy for listeners to buy songs using their iTunes accounts, and they will pay for skipped tracks, but Sony wants more. Amazing.
* The other labels are reportedly not too happy with the hold up, for the obvious reasons just stated.
V I have no doubut Apple will get a deal done with Sony the question is who will win the battle. Likey Apple will just concede a bit, but my guess is that wouldn't have to. If they launched without Sony I think the service would still be huge and they could use a PR campaign to explain why Sony wasn't there.
* It'd be like when they let NBC leave iTunes. It didn't take long before they came back.
* Funny how going where the customers and money is always seems to always make smart business sense.
V While Sony isn't "getting" it when it comes to the value of letting your content on iTunes, surprisingly at least one independent US TV network is.
* Mark Pedowitz, president of the CW Network, said during a presentation with advertisers that they would be bringing their shows to Apple TV as an app.
* Best of all access to the content will be free (ad supported) and not require authentication with an existing cable subsriber to access.
* And none of the "clips" BS either. Full episodes of the shows will be available the next day after they air on TV.
* I now wish there were some CW shows I was in to, this might be an excuse to finsd some.
* HBO is also rumord to be working with Apple to bring an app to Apple TV, but my guess is it will have the same cable subscription requirement as the HBO Go app. I'd totally dive in if they'd let me subscribe to just HBO directly.
V Apple ID signed trojan surfaces
* Sounds nafarious at first, and while it does repersent a new malware targeting the Mac the attack was highly targeted and probably not something for wide spread concern.
* The details however are interesting.
* Acording to ArsTechnic the new trojan was discovered on the laptop of an laptop an Angolan activist attending a human rights conference an was discovered during a workshop showing freedom of speech activists how to secure their devices against government monitoring.
* Even more interesting was that the trojan app that was installed was signed using a vaild developer ID allowing it to bypass triggering the "Gatekeeper" warning that were added as part of security in Mountain Lion.
* The app installed itself into the Users home folder and also set itself up as a startup item. Once deployed it would take screenshots and send them back to the attackers servers.
V The trojan was delivered by a "spear-phishing" email
* That is a highly targeted e-mail that address the receiver by name and usually appear to come from someone the receiver knows. It also typically discuss topics the two people have talked about before.
* So as you can tell this is they type of attack that would be used to specifically attck a very select person or group of people for monitoring.
* F-Secure and Appelbaum said this is a new trojan and gave it the label of OSX/KitM.A, but Intego claims it seems to be avariaint of the OSX/FileSteal trojan which has been seen before.
* Since being discovered Apple has revoked the Apple ID used to sign the app, which is exactly how the system is supposed to work.
* In addition security experts have taken over the IP address of the server used in the attack, a procedure called "sinkholing". Basically ensuring the trojans traffic goes nowhere.
V Possible new Macbook Airs at WWDC
* According to AppleInsider availability of current generation Macbook Airs are dwindling at 3rd party suppliers.
* They say that the 13-inch 1.8-gigahertz processor, 256-gigabyte flash drive model is currently out of stock at Amazon, B&H, MacConnection, and MacMall. And that only Best Buy and J&R seems to be reporting any availability of that model.
* A quick check on Apple's sit shows they still are reporting a 24 hour ship time.
* It's not unusual for 3rd party reseller to start to have limited availability ahead of a product refresh. As it gets closer to release Apple should also start to show longer ship times on existing models.
* I'd say the sign is worth noting, but I wouldn;t take it as an eminent sign of a WWDC refresh.
* That said, Ming Chi Quo of KGI Securities also said last month that he was expecting refreshed MacBook Airs featuring Intel's next-generation Haswell processors at WWDC, so this latest ovservation does add more credence to the rumor.
* At the very least, if i were in the market for a new Macbook Air I'd hold my purchase for a couple weeks just in case.
V Tim Cook also this week shed a little more light on the future "Made in USA" Macs he mentioned back in when he did an interview for NBC back in December.
* This time it was part of an long interview he gave the political blog, Politico, about his testimony in a congressional Senate hearing on "Offshore Profit Shifting and the U.S. Tax Code"
* At the end of the article though he spoke about the US Made Mac.
* Apple will be making an inital $100 million investment in domestic manufacturing and Cook said the comapny wouldbe "going very deep in this project"
* He claimed Apple will begin US production of a new version of a current Mac product later this year and that the Mac itself along with will many of its components will be produced in the US.
* Without giving specifics he also revealed that Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Florida and Kentucky would among the states making parts and/or handling assembly.
* In the past Apple has done some final assembly of build to order and refubished manufacturing of Macs in the US. Recently too some new iMacs began arriving to consumers with an "Assembled in USA" label.
* Sounds like this latest effeort takes things further and at least all of one update Mac model could be arriving with a "Designed by Apple in Cupertino. Assembled in USA" label. How cool is that?
V iTunes updated to 11.0.3, not minor
* The update includes enhancements to the MiniPlayer, an improved Songs View, and multi-disc albums, along with performance improvements when searching and sorting large iTunes libraries.
V Probably the most up front visual form of the update is the Mini Player
* It now has a progress bar and small (emphasis on small) scurbber slideer (although not as bad as the single red line on the iPad's Music app)
* Clicking the album artwork in the min player now expands the MiniPlayer into a larger album cover view (rather than opening a second window). Click again to collapse it. If you also have the Next Up list activated it appears below the expanded Album Cover view.
* If you have multi-disc albums the Album view now separates them by Disc number
V To show artwork in Songs view
* Choose View > Show View Options (Command-J)
* Click the Show Artwork checkbox. You can also adjust the artwork size and check 'Always Show'
* In the Title bar, conce enabled you can click the column header and choose small, medium, or large, artwork.
* Choose 'Always Show Artwork' so that the artwork will show even if there are only a couple tracks. When off artwork will only display if there are enough track for it to fit without adding blank lines to the rows
V The update also addressed 40 security issues, but it's worth noting that only one of these were for Mac owners. The other 39 updates patched security holes on the Windows side.
* The one Mac fix? Adressed an issue where iTunes could accept an untrusted SSL certificate without alerting the user which could let your iTines traffic be intercepted or maliciously altered. So a pretty big one, but at least only one. 😉
V Suppliers ready for iPad updates?
V AU Optronics is lowering iPad mini display shipments from 4 million units in the first half of the year down to 2.5 and 2.8 million units in the second quarter according to supply chain checks done by Digitimes
* While some might see this as bad sign for Apple or an indicator of draw down in advance of a new iPad mini whith retina display in my mind it's likely neither.
* The logical explaination is that we are simply entering the slow down of sales between the holiday post-holiday seasons and the Fall.
* Another explaination could be rumors that AU Optronics might not retain Apple display contacts after having some quality issues. So far we are hearing that only LG Display and Sharp have been selected as suppliers for the next gen iPad mini.
V What will an updated iPad mini look like? Boy Genius Reports says MobiLeaks is claiming that the second-generation iPad mini will feature a 2048 x 1536 (324 ppi) Retina display and Apple’s dual-core A6X processor.
* The also calim the cameras will be bumped with an 8-megapixel iSight camera and a 2-megapixel FaceTime unit.
* Because of the new display, like the iPad with Retina Display, the mini is expected to be just slightly less mini. It will possibly gain 0.3 mm in thickiness bloating to 7.5mm from 7.2mm to accomodate a slightly larger battery.
V The MobiLeaks claims do seem suspect though as Cult of Mac points out.
* The 324 ppi resolution is slightly off, probably the same pixel density of the 326ppi iPhone display, but this can be accounted for due to rounding and the 7.9" dispolay size.
* The bigger issue according to Cult of Mac is that MobiLeaks is targeting a 3rd quarter release for a new iPad mini, but most other sources seem to think a 2014 update is more likely.
V There are also rumors that suppliers are gearing up production of the next full sized iPad.
* Again Digitimes says Apple has begun trial production of full sized iPad displays with suppliers
* The displays are rumored to use "GF Ditto", also know as GF2 touchscreen technology.
* The newer thin-film process improves on the current "G/G touch structure" allowing for a thinner and lighter display.
* The report says significantly lighter, by up to 33 percent
* The display is also expected to have only one light bar vs. two
* The new panels are expected to come from at least three suppliers, LG Display, Samsung Display and Sharp and to start volume prodution in July with shipments in September.
* Once again the report supports earlier rumors from the more reliable Ming-Chi Kuo who said the new iPads would have the GF2 screen technology along with a smaller battery, 15 percent thinner frame, and smaller bezels like the iPad mini.
V And what about the iPhone 5S? We still have plenty of spec rumors there too.
* Boy Genius Report claims to have exclusive iamges of some of the new components for the upcoming iPhone 5S
* The parts include the loud-speaker bracket, ear speaker bracket, vibrating motor assembly, Wi-Fi flex cable ribbon and SIM card tray.
* Most are largely un-exciting and don't reveal too much, but that some of the brackets appear to be redeigned indicating some repositioning of internal components.
* Tht's really not all the unusual, but the one new part featured that is is the SIM card tray which the site show in two different colors. I silver/grey and a gold or biege color.
* The site claims that the two colors may support rumors of the 5S being available in multiple colors, but to me it almost discredits the images.
* I doubt Apple would do a "gold" iPhone. Now I don't know much about anodizing, so I guess it could be a raw metal part before color treatment and if the image is accurate I hope so.
* The one thing I think is accurate is that most of the iPhone 5S updates will be internal with the external look and form factor mainting the disgn in the current iPhone 5
V Over 50 Billion App Store apps downloded
* Apple hit the 50 billion apps downloaded milestone for iOS App Store apps last week.
* Apple started selling apps in 2008. They hit the 25 billionth app download in 3 years, 8 months. The next 25 billion apps took just 14.5 months.
* MacRumors estimates that at the current pace Apple is running at 20 billion downloads per year or just over 50 million per day.
* The 50 Billionth app was the word game app "Say The Same Thing" developed by members of the band OK Go
* The actual 50 billionth app downloader was Brandon Ashmore from Mentor, Ohio, and he recieved personal call from an Apple rep letting he know he had downloaded the 50 billionth app and he received a 10,000 iTunes store gift card.
V iWatch project still moving along
* We saw two seperate rumors this week out of the Economic Daily News that Apple is at least testing displays for it's rumored "iWatch" smartwatch.
* First is a claim that Apple is testing 1.5-inch OLED panels for the iWatch.
* The displays are rumored to have integrated glass and touchscreen layers and are being supposedly produced by RiTdisplay out of Taiwan.
* They also claim that Appl originally was working with 1.8" displays, but switched to 1.5" because the larger displays were a bit too large for a watch design.
* The other report is that Foxconn is already getting orders for the iWatch and that they have begun test production.
* Apple typically uses IPS LCD display technology in it's products, but Cult of Mac points out that OLED is a better choice for a product like the iWatch, OLED typically has lower battery consumption and Apple probably doesn;t want to go with an eInk black and white display like the Pebble watch.
* Cult of Mac also points out that Apple hired a Senior OLED expert from LG Display earlier this year.
* If these rumors are true it indicates that Apple is getting serious about possibly moving forward with the production of a smartwatch. My guess is that for timeframe we are looking at early next year at the soonest to see one in a Apple retail Store.
V Apple Retail customers provide profits
* Way back when I was one of the skeptics of Apple's announcement to open it's own retail stores. Maybe it was the bad memories of Gateway computer stores or the aweful Apple store within a store experience at CompUSA.
* Now year later there is no doubt the venture is a huge success.
* How much? Once again Horace Dediu of Asymco has looked at the recent numbers and Apple sells twice as much per squar foot in the US as the second place retailer Tiffany & Company.
* Last quarter capture $57.60 in revenue and $12 in profit for every person that came through it's shiny glass doors.
* Apple's revenue in reatils stores rose by 7% last quarter according to the report.
* Apple also appears to be focusing on expanding it US stores, vs. opening more new ones while agressively expanding retail locations in other countries. No doubut in an attempt to clone the success they've experienced in the States.
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V Feedback, Comments and Commentary
V Creative Cloud follow-up and FAQs
* After talking a bit about Photoshop alternatives in the last show I received some great feedback and facts about Adobe's new Creative Cloud Service.
* For those who had missed the news Adobe recently announced that it will be dropping it's Creative Suite boxed software and moving to a purely subscription based model for all software licenses moving forward.
V Ty was at some Adobe traing recently and asked for more info and clarification on a couple things. He emailed me to share and I thought it would be good in general to cover some of the more common questions people might have.
V Boxed copies of Creative Suite 6 will be phased out, but the electronic distributions and licenses at the moment are set to remain on sale indefinately
* Sounds good and Adobe has said that they will continue to offer maintainence updates which is also good.
* There will be no new feature updates and OS support, as it usually does, will eventually break. At that point Creative Cloud will be the only option.
V You can use your software without an Internet connection
* Creative Cloud apps are still downloaded and installed locally.
V The also still see to follow the two install one active user licensing rules.
* If you leave an app running at home, it will need to be shut down before you can access it at work
* The software needs to validate your subscription every 30 days, so you are supposed to connect to the internet at least once every 30-days
* If you stop paying your subscription then apps stay on your computer, but eventually you will be locked out from using the apps until you renew.
* According to the Mac Observer after your subscription lapses the apps will revert to a "demo" mode for the next 30-days.
* Adobe says you can acually access your apps offline for up to 99 days and reportedly plans to increase that limit to 180 days.
V Files can be stored in the cloud, but don't have to be
* Creative Cloud comes with 20GB of storage, for individual plans more for others, and you can use that to store and sync documents
* If you stop your subscription you lose access to that storage, so it's advised you store your files offline if you want to retain copies.
* If your subscription lapses your files should remain in your account for a period of time (not sure how long) and if you re-new they should still be there.
* Adobe pledges not to raise prices for the first 12 months of your subscription, but could up the costs for subscribers each year if they want.
* Cost wise the general rule seems to be that if you rely on Adobe products and you are an every version upgrader then the new Creative Cloud model ends up saving you money. For the rest of us though I think it might be time to find and take advantage of some of the great alternatives that are out there.
V Quick update on SSD boot times
* Rob emailed me after the last show with a follow-up.
* He had already tried all my tips on the last show to get the boot speeds up on his Macbook Air and iMac. The iMac BTW is taking 25 minutes to boot with an SSD installed. Crazy.
* He did install Trim Enabler & Chameleon SSD (not together, though) on the imac and that made no difference either.
* Finally he took the Macbook Air to the Apple Geniuses and after they couldn't figure it out they wiped the drive and did a clean 10.8.3 install. That did the trick.
* Rob restored from his Time Machine back-up on returning home and the Macbook Air now boots in 10-15 seconds as expected.
* Still no idea what the issue was, but at least we have one possible fix.
V What's the deal with iWork Updates?
* Play the comment from Graeme
V I'm not sure I have a definitive answer on this one. I can speculate a bit though
* iWork for the most part works as is. Apple has done minor tweals and updates in the past four years, so it hasn't been stagnant, but no major updates.
* Does it need them? For me, and I'd imagine most people, the apps have the functionality and features I use most.
* Sometimes I want new templates, but there are tons of 3rd party services and shared templates on line to meet that need.
* At the same time I'm not a heavy user of iWork. What new features are you looking for Graeme?
* Apple seems to have been focusing on iCloud services, we'll not trasition into how well, and their mobile device sand hardware more lately.
* Jason O'Grady at Zdnet reported recently that his sources say Apple repurposed most of it's iWork developers to work on Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iOS and they are updating that at the expense of the desktop apps.
* Back in February there were rumors from a few sources that Apple was hiring senior level engineers for it's iLife and iWork teams. That could mean that that Apple was staffing up for an update, but it would take a while.
* Most recently there have been rumors Apple is now looking for iWork QA engineers, so that could signal they are getting closer to a release
* Tim Cooks statement in the last results call that Apple will have exciting new products and services to announce in the Fall could be right in line for an iWork update.
V Moving "Home Movies" in iTunes
* Mark is like me and has been converting DVDs on his Mac. I've been working on finally getting my collection into a digital form so I can sync to my iDevices and stream to my Apple TV.
V I finally felt comfortable doing this when I got my Drobo so that I have a backup for my iTunes Media folder on-site
* The Movies just take up so much space that I exclude them from my Time Machine backup and my iTunes library lives on an external so that isn't backed up by Super Duper.
* I do have it backed up to Crash Plan and also have any changes copied nightly to my Drobo using ChronoSync
V There are many ways to backup DVDs but my current process is:
V Extract the raw VIDEO_TS using Mac DVD Ripper Pro
* I used to use RipIt, but have had a few issues lately with some DVDs
V I then take the VIDEO_TS and use Handbrake to convert it to an iTunes friendly .m4v file.
* Interestingly, if you take a VIEDO_TS folder and give it a .dvdmedia extension on the Mac you can then double click it to have it open in Apple's DVD Player. You can also put the VIDEO_TS folder inside a folder that you name, say with the movie name, and give that folder the .dvdmedia extension and it will work too.
* I use the 'Universal' preset so I have the most compatibiliy. Even back to Apple TV 1.
* You could use Handbrake to to the ripping , but I just perfer the simplicity of the Mac DVD Ripper Pro interface for this step.
V After I have my .m4v file generated I have Handbrake send it to IDentify (USD $9.99)
* I use this to add all the additional meta-data and video artwork.
* This way it all shows up in the Apple TV and iOS Video player.
* It will scan the internet, mostly IMDB and Amazon to extract as much data as possible
* You can also tweak it by hand.
* If the scan doesn't find the data you can feed it the IMDB id and that works 99.9% of the time.
* IDentify is also great if you want to add any missing metadata to your media. It gives you access to meta data that can't normally be edited in iTunes like cast & crew, runtime, movie rating, etc.
* After I save the metadata IDentify is set to automatically add my movie to iTunes.
* That's it.
V Mark has been using Handbrake to rip, convert, and then send the movies to iTunes all in one step.
* He ran into trouble though with the last iTunes update because now Movies you add yourself will often end up in the 'Home Movies' category and not in the 'Movies' section proper.
* 1) Select the Movie in iTunes.
* 2) Choose File > Get Info…
* 3) Click on the 'Options' tab.
* 4) Change the 'Media Kind' value to your desired kind 'Movie' or 'Home Movie'.
* 5) Click 'OK'
* Then it should move it to the appropriate section of the Movie library
* If you use IDentify it will default to setting the Media Kind to Movie.
V Using multiple monitors on your Mac
* Johannes wrote me to ask my opinion on the advantages or disadvantages of using multiple monitors with your Mac
* Like many of us he is using multiple apps and thinks his workflow could benefit from multiple monitors.
V In my opinion there are not too many disadvantages to using multiple monitors on your Mac, so let's start with those
V Cost. Especially if you go all Apple it can get pricey.
* You don't have to buy expensive monitors
* Depending on your needs. If it's just for haveing additional real estate for web suffing, email, skype, chat, etc.
* I picked up a 24" HP monitor for about USD $140.00 about a year ago and it's been great. Hooked up to my Macbook Pro using a Thunderbolt to DVI adapter.
* Desktop space. And I mean your physical desktop, not your Mac's desktop. Depending on the size and number of displays you'll need to have the room.
V Limited by Thunderbolt/Mini Display Port or HDMI connections
* You can only have one monitor per Thunderbolt/Mini Display Port connection. You can daisy chain Thunderbolt, but the monitor needs to be the last device in the chain.
* Retina Macbook Pro has two Thunderbolt and an HDMI. Mac Min has Thunderbolt and HDMI. iMacs have two Thunderbolt.
* There are products now that take one Thunderbolt connection and give you multiple options, but they can be pricey.
* You'll need the appropriate adapters for your style external display.
* The graphics chip in your model may also limit the number of displays and resolution it can support, so check that too. Most modern Macs can drive at least their internal display and one external. Many will support two or maybe even three external monitors.
V OS X doesn't fully support multiple monitors when apps are in full screen mode. you can have the full screen app on either display, but the other screen will be blank.
* You can't have one full screen app on one monitor and one on the other.
* Rumor is that 10.9 might change that which would be awesome
* I guess a final "problem" could be resources. Since you can see more apps at once you might have more open at once, so the more RAM you have the better!
* So the advantages of a second or third monitor are great. The extra destop real estate is good for all kinds of applications.
* I've become much more productive.
* A work around if you have just one desktop is to use multiple Desktops, but of course you don't have the visibility for many multiple apps at the same time.
V Moom is a great tool for managing many apps and windows and keeping them organized.
* It has a feature to let you set up and save layouts and even trigger layouts when you switch to multiple displays
V The final thing Johannes asked was wondering if he should go for a high end mac Mini and just buy two matching monitors to replace his aging iMac
* That's a tough call.
* We've had reports from a listener that getting an HDMI monitor that plays nice with the Mini can be tricky, although in theory any HDMI monitor should work fine. Do your homework though.
* The iMacs displays are hight end and very nice. So a $1,299.00 21.5" iMac with a 24" 3rd party monitor would be $1,499.00. A $799.00 Mac Mini with dual 24" 3rd party monitors might come in at $1,199.00, so you save $300.00 but the iMac has a fatser quad-core i5 vs. a dual core, more RAM, and dedicated GPU.
* I think it will come down to the specific configuration, but I'd lean toward an iMac with an low cost external display for the best balance of performace and bang for your buck. Plus you'll have one nice calibrated display for color accuracy.
V Closing
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