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 Cook at the D11 Conference
* Tim Cook was the keynote interview that kicked off this years D11 conference put on by the Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital and hosted by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.
* Try as they might the hosts couldn't Cook to open up about the details of Apple's future products, software, or services, but the interview still did manage to turn up some interesting stuff
V Apple TV
* An area of "incredible" interest for Apple and they do have a "grand vision" for TV.
* Beyond that Cook simply spoke about the success of the current Apple TV product and why Apple hasn't moved in the space yet.
V The Apple TV has managed to sell 13 million units to date and Cooks said half of those units were sold in just the past year. That's an impressive number for a "hobby"
* As a matter of fact Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune did some math and came to the conclusion that would mean Apple controls more than half of the digital media receiver market.
* Now his number excluded gaming systems, but still impressive.
* Cook simply said the device has proven more popular than Apple had though. Likely one big reason why TV is an "incredible" area of interest for Apple.
* Still Cook said the eluded that for Apple to enter the space they would need to bring the consumer TV experience "up to date" and create an experience that is "loved" by consumers. Something he said current products are failing to do.
V Wearables
* Simply called them "interesting"
* The trick according to Cook was to create a product that would get a person who doesn't already wear that type of product to want to wear it.
* He was specifically referring to a "watch" type product.
* He said he sees wearables as another branch on the Post PC tree and commented that Apple still believes in Post PC in a "big" way.
V He also commented on the explosion of the "sensor" market as it relates to wearables. Things like fitness products, medical monitors, environment monitors, etc.
* They are all over right now, I think meaning that there is lots of experimenting, but not the kinds of integrated, cohesive products, that Apple might look to do.
* He said with the arc of time the future of these kinds of products would become clear.
V Marketshare
* Nothing really new here.
V Basically marketshare isn't a driving factor at Apple nor something that is a driving force.
* "We want to enrich people's lives. That's what we're about"
* He said that he counts stats like usage and customer satisfaction as more important markers of Apple's success.
V What's coming next
* Confirmed that WWDC would be about the future of iOS and OS X
* Also said that there would be a focus on developers, stating that Apple owes the world to their developers. Something that I felt was good to hear.
* No specific products were discussed, but he did go over the philosophy of what's coming.
* He said the focus is on incredible hardware, software, and services and the combining of those so that you can't tell the difference between one or the other.
* He said the "magic" is at that intersection (a very "Jobsian" statement I think).
V This is a lot of what we've been discussing on the show and something I covered in detail on the latest Maccast Member show.
* The seamless integration of Apple's services into the OS on both desktop and mobile is going to be key in Apple maintaining it's technological lead in the future
* Something Google has been extremely good at and Apple hasn't.
V They either need to make up with Google ( and re-integrate their services), or double down on what they've been doing and fix a ton of stuff
* iCloud syncing
* Documents in the Cloud
* Siri services and integration with 3rd party apps
* Location and maps
* Social
* Search (probably the biggest and hardest area for Apple to expand and integrate without a partner)
V The Most Important things for Apple
* To make great products
* Keep the culture the same
* Fight the things that try to change it
V US Mac will be made in Texas
* During his testimony to the US Senate on Apple's corporate tax strategies last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said again that Apple plans to begin manufacturing a Mac here in the US.
* That news wasn't new, but he went on to reveal that the manufacturing would take place in Texas
* A couple weeks ago Apple said it would be making a a $100 million investment in domestic manufacturing.
* Prior to the location confirmation from Cook, there were rumors of various US sites where the new Mac might be made and Texas was one location mentioned, but now we know for sure.
* We still don't exactly where in Texas though.
V Apple already does some limited US assembly of iMacs in California and Tennessee through their partner Quanta and Apple has an administrative campus in Texas.
* In fact, the Austin campus is being expanded to become an "Americas Operation Center," handling operations and logistics for North, Central and South American Apple partners.
* The campus in Austin also contains R&D facilities used for work on Apple's A-Series processors.
* The Austin R&D makes sense, because Apple also manufactures their A5 processors in Austin at a Samsung owned facility.
* Foxconn has facilities in Houston, but I have not heard if any work is done for Apple there.
V Apple has also said that some of the parts for the US built Mac could be sourced from US suppliers in Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Florida and Kentucky.
* Many think it might be a new Mac Pro that is going to be the US made Mac, but Apple get's their iPad and iPhone glass from Corning which has manufacturing in Kentucky.
* I'm sure other component parts, could come from Kentucky, but since Apple named that as a location it's possible the US made Mac could have Corning glass, so that would make me think iMac or Macbook Pro?
V Next generation Wi-Fi expected in future Macs
* A Chinese website posted images of next generation "Gigabit" ( 802.11AC ) components that some think may be destined for future Macs
* The component has 802.11AC and Bluetooth 4.0 support on a single chip and supposedly looks like it has connectors that could be backward compatible with the latest Macs
* If the connection turns out to be exactly the same that could mean 3rd party aftermarket updates may be available for recent and current MacBook and iMac models.
* Many think next gen Macs will support the new faster 802.11AC wi-fi since references to the technology have been spotted in betas of 10.8.4 Mountain Lion.
* The 802.11AC specification is in it's final stages, but not standardized yet. It's not uncommon though for new Wi-Fi components and routers to ship before the standards are ratified. Any late stage changes in the spec can often be addressed by pushing firmware updates
* Gigabit Wi-Fi promises speeds of up to 1.3Gbps using a three antenna design and is fully backward compatible. It's also said to offer wider coverage and better power efficiency.
V iPad sales lower in Q2
* I guess not releasing any new hardware products in the first half of the year might have a slight impact on sales, who knew?
* Well, I think we all did, but KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has the numbers to back it up.
* In a report to investors Kuo said he expects overall iPad sales to decline 10 to 15 percent year over year in Q2. That translates to a 20 to 25 percent drop from last quarter.
V Kuo is citing two main factors for the drop
V The rise in cheap Android tablets in the market. Consumers just have more buying options this year.
* IDC said last quarter Apple's tablet share dropped down to 40 percent even while overall they sold 65 percent more iPads than the year before. The trouble was that Samsung's tablet shipments were up 283 percent and ASUS's up 350 percent from a year ago (note too that Apple is one of the few companies to report unit sales vs. their competitors who report unit shipments).
* Also, supply checks show, a 40 percent drop in iPad mini shipments from last quarter
* In terms of units he sees Apple selling around 12.7 million iPad in the quarter with 6.2 million being iPad minis, 4.5 million iPads with retina displays, and around 2 million iPad 2s
* He doesn't specifically mention the lake of new iPad models as a driving force for the decline in the quarter, but does say that he expects iPad shipments to jump back to first-quarter levels in the third quarter when and if Apple introduces new models.
V Possibly to help those slumping sales a bit Apple this week lowered the price of refurbished versions of the iPad Mini and iPad with Retina Display on their online store
* You can now get the models at about a 15 percent discount
* For the mini, 16GB wi-fi for USD $279, a 32GB Wifi for USD $359, and the 64GB model for USD $439.
* Refurbished iPad with Retina Display models are now $419, $499, $579 for 16, 32, and 64GB respectively with cellular models at at $529, $609, $689 for the same respective storage sizes.
V Will WWDC bring update MacBooks?
* With reports that some retailers are running low on stock of Macbook Pros, some feel Apple may have a surprise hardware announcement at the show.
* The belief is that Apple may update the line up to feature Intel's latest "Haswell" processors and if so the new Macbooks could have significantly improved graphics performance and battery life.
* According to AppleInsider the Haswell's could have integrated "Iris" GPUs that Intel designed to compete with the Nvidia's GeForce GT 650 chips currently found in the 15" Retina Macbook Pro
* "Iris" will be featured in Intels higher end quad core Haswell designs, but even in the lower end Haswell's, the ones likely to be in models like the Macbook Air, Intel will use an integrated Intel HD Graphics 5000 chipset which Intel says offers a 50% improvement over the current Intel HD 4000 chips
* The Haswell is also designed with power savings in mind according to Intel. The focus being on notebooks and tablets.
* Intel claims the Haswells designs will offer 50 percent longer battery life in normal operation and that they last 20 times longer in standby mode.
* With the Retina Macbook Pros already coming in at 6 hours battery life a 50 percent increase in usage time would be huge.
* So with potentially double the battery and two to three times the graphics performance the new Macbook Pros look to raise the performance notebook bar again. The question is will we seem them in the next few weeks?
V Ive OS: less color more flat
* 9to5 Mac's Mark Gurman said last week that Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive has made his mark on the upcoming version of iOS and that mark is "flat"
* They describe the interface design as "black, white, and flat all over."
* Basically they are exorcising the heavy textures, color palettes, and design flourishes that are present in many of Apple's apps current "skumorphic" designs.
* It's also being said that the icons for Apple's apps will shed the glossy "buttony" look for a more flat design.
* In Notification center Apple is said to be testing more "widgets", similar to the current Weather widget", but for things like localized news feeds, and WiFi, Airplane Mode, and Bluetooth toggles.
* The home screen may also get support for "panorama" style wallpapers that slide as you swipe through app screens.
V Apps themselves will get a more uniform look with a lot of white and flat textures.
* The main differentiator between apps being a unique button or accent color. For example red for calendar, green for messages, etc.
* Any heavy textures, like the green felt in Game Center or the wood shelving of Newsstand are expected to be removed completely along with embellishments like torn paper edges or stitching.
V As for major feature enhancements we aren't hearing much at this point, but expect big things at WWDC
* So far we've only heard about new 3rd party services integration with Flickr and Vimeo along with potentially deeper in-car support for Siri and Apple Maps.
* Any new hardware really isn't expected until the fall and the new iOS should release along with new devices, but at least we should get a sneak peek at what's coming soon.
V Low cost iPhone colorful, but which colors?
* Japanese blog Macotakara still claims their sources are telling them the low-cost iPhone will come in colors, but they can't seem to agree on which colors exactly.
* One source claims the colors will be navy, gold, orange, white and gray. The other claiming the colors are white, pink, green, blue and yellow-orange.
* They both agree though that 'black' will not be a low-cost iPhone choice.
* They didn't talk about the materials, but earlier speculation has said the colorful rear shells would be a polycarbonate plastic to keep the price points down.
* Some are expecting the price to be as low as USD $99.00 to $149.00
* The report then goes on to contradict an earlier Macotakara one that said a low cost iPhone wouldn't appear until 2014. Now the site seems to be falling in line with other sources looking for a Fall release.
* The site says low-cost iPhone production is set to begin in July with a release happening around the September time frame
V Macotakara also had a few updates on the iPhone 5S
* Possibly available in three colors. Black, gold (really?!!), and green. They did not say white?
* They also said the iSight camera would get a dual-LED flash and the rear mic hole shape would go form the "pill" shape to a round shape
V New low-end iPod Touch
* Apple replaced the low-cost last year model iPod Touch offering on their site with a brand new 4-inch Retina model
* The new model is priced slightly higher, USD $30 more to be exact, at USD $229.00
V It looks identical to the current generation iPod Touch with some significant modifications
* It has the same 4-inch Retina display and dual-core A5 processor, but no iSight camera and no "loop" strap attachment.
* Only available in one size, 16GB
* Only available in one color, silver and black
* Apple also announced that to-date it has sold 100 Million iPod Touches since it went on sale in late 2007
V Apple also now offers a sub $1,000 entry level MacBook Pro, at least if you're in the edu market
* They lowered the price of the entry level non-retina MacBook Pro for Education from USD $1,099.00 to $999.00
* They also dropped the price of the $1,499.00 2.9GHz model to $1,299.00 for the education market.
V Feedback, Comments and Commentary
V Rumors on the rampage. Bring out the crazies
* Seems like every time there is a lull in Apple products and we have a long run of rumors eventually the crazies start to come out.
* This is being reported as "news", but in my case I'm simply relegating it to the show commentary so we can look, point, and laugh.
V First off we have the the Chinese blog,
* They say their "insiders" are telling the the display on the iPhone 5S will pack in double the pixels. 1.5 million to be exact.
* The display is said to remain at 4-inches and it fails to explain how Apple would mash in more pixels.
* MacRumors speculates one way would be for Apple to up the density by a factor of 1.5 giving then a 1704 x 960 pixel display with 1.6 million pixels and a density of about 489 pixels per inch (PPI).
* Some think Apple needs a 1080p or better and 400 PPI or better display to keep up with competing phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 which has a 1920 x 1080 display at 441 PPI
* Scaling at an incremental factor though could create more work for developers and I would think that wouldn't be something Apple would do just to keep up with the Androids
V The other crazy is that Apple is planning an iPad "Maxi" for release in 2014.
* Where to start? Well the name maybe? No way Apple will market a "Maxi" (i)Pad
* This one is from ETNews in Korea and they say Apple is talking to display manufacturers and other component suppliers in Korea about producing a 12.9-inch iPad display
* They "rationale" if you can call it that is that Apple wants a device to compete with small notebooks and "ultrabooks"
* I think Apple doesn't care one bit about the ultrabook market let alone are they worried about competing with it.
* I'd put more stock in they looking at 12.9" touchscreens for a 13" touchscreen Macbook product, but even that is crazy. Crazy, but less crazy.
V Re-mounting drives on wake from sleep
* Jason is a fairly new Mac owner after coming over from Windows and he has set up Time Machine, but has a question about mounting drives
* Being from Windows Jason is also new to the whole "Eject Drives" approach Apple takes for external drives.
V I covered the Windows vs. Mac ejecting philosophy on the 5/1/2013 Maccast
* The short answer is that Macs and Linux they use write caching on external drives, Windows doesn't. Write caching improves performance by not writing files (especially small ones) to the drive immediately, but requires drives to be ejected to avoid potential corruption. Even if it's not actively writing there is still risk of corruption pulling a mounted drive without unmounting it first, Windows just won't warn you.
* That's why if you yank a USB drive on the Mac without ejecting first you might get the "The Disk was not ejected properly" message.
* If you yank a drive while it's actively writing there is always a chance for corruption, so even on Windows it's generally a good idea to use the 'Safely Remove Drive' option from the system tray.
V To make things more convenient and safe, Jason is using the great utility Jettison
* It watches and ejects volumes when your Mac goes to sleep.
* The trouble is that drive won't auto re-connect when waking from sleep. You need to unplug and re-plug in the drive.
* Time Machine will attempt to resume after waking from sleep, but if the drive isn;t mounted it can't do it's thing.
* Jason, I would recommend that you not eject your Time Machine drive so that it can do it's thing.
V Now what's odd is I checked the Jettison site to see if you could selectively define which volumes to eject on sleep and which to not and while it didn't have that feature the site does say that if you close the Macbook lid and then re-open and the drives are still connected that they should re-mount.
* Not sure if this requires you to physically close the lid to have your make sleep.
V That said, I did find an article that has several methods to hacking together scripts to allow you Mac to unmount and remount drives when going to and waking from sleep.
* The main premiss uses Sleepwatcher, a daemon that executes Automator or AppleScripts when a sleep or wake from sleep event is detected
* The trouble with this method is it changes the default way your Mac was meant to work and it can cause other unintended side effects.
* In one method your drives "unmount", but don't eject. This has the side effect of causing some Macs not to be able to go into Standby mode.
V Automounting Network drives
* You can use SleepWatcher for this too. Here is an article:
V An easy way to mount Network drives on Mac Startup is to add them to your Startup Items
* Mount the drive on your Mac as usual
* Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups
* Click on your user account and go to Login Items.
* Authenticate if needed
* Click the "+" to add an item.
* Now browse and select the network volume or share you want to have auto-mount at startup
V Use Terminal to find open files
* Here is a totally awesome Terminal trick to show you ALL the files currently open by ANY app running on your Mac.
* Open the terminal and type, 'lsof' and hit return.
* You'll see a dump of all the files currently open on your Mac. Not just the ones you see on the Desktop, but any files the system may have open.
* What's cool is it shows that patch to all kinds of internal app files, plist files, resource files, data files, graphics files (like icons and UI elements), etc.
* It can be overwhelming and cool at the same time.
* Be careful, but if you copy and paste a path, say a .tiff or .pdf, gui image file for an app, into the Finder's 'Go' > 'Go to Folder…' you can preview the image from deep inside the bowels of an app package (don't change, modify, or move it though).
* I got this great tip from Melissa Holt over at the Mac Observer
* "lsof" stands for List Open Files
V And rather than just dumping a bunch of stuff the real power of this trick comes into play when you put a path to a pesky file after the command when you get the dreaded "The Operation can't be completed because the item "This File.jpg" is in use." message
* To do that in the Terminal type "lsof" and a space
* Then drag the file referenced in the error message onto the Terminal window (this will add it's path to the Terminal) and hit Return
* Now it should display which app is currently using that resource.
* Then you can quit, or force quit, that app to allow you to get past the error message.
* It works for figuring out why you can;t eject a disk or external volume too, but on current version of OS X this info is displayed in the error, so it's really not necessary
* Still a cool trick though.
V Can't dictate? Quit your apps.
* One of my favorite features of iOS on my iPhone 5 is the dictation feature.
* Bring up the keyboard, tap that little mic icon, and chat away. Tap when done and in few magical seconds, boom text. Amazing.
* I use it all the time and luckily I've never had it become unavailable, but according to iMore it can.
* I guess in some cases you might see that little mic icon greyed out. Scary right?
* Never fear though they had and explanation and a fix.
* I guess the issue happen more in third party apps, like Twitter but can happen in Apple's apps too.
* What seems to be happening is that if memory gets low iOS will turn off Dictation.
* I always thought if an app was "backgrounded" iOS could choose to shut down it's resource to be used for the active app, so maybe I'm wrong or maybe there is a bug in iOS and that isn't happening.
V Regardless the fix for the inability to access dictation is to simply shutdown apps.
* Double tap your Home button to bring up the fast App switcher.
* Press and hold an App icon in the switcher until it jiggles
* Start tapping the red "close" circles to shut down your apps and free up memory.
* once the resources are freed up tap the Home button to exit the App switcher and return to the App you wanted to dictate in. The button should now be returned to normal and you can dictate away.
* As iMore mentions, if this is a bug lets hope it's fixed in iOS 7 or even better yet before in an iOS point release.
V Let Siri "Roll the dice"
* Cult of Mac highlighted this cool Siri "easter egg"
* Tell Siri to "Roll the dice" and she will come back with two numbers between one and six. Handy if you've lost the dice to your favorite board game or maybe want to play an impromptu Craps game.
* You can also use Siri to help you make a quick decision by telling her to "Flip a coin".
V Another trick, also via Cult of Mac, is to get Siri to generate you a secure password using Wolfram Alpha.
* Activate Siri and say "Wolfram password" or "WolframAlpha password".
* Siri will return an 8-digit secure password along with some other cool stuff
* The Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot way of expressing it
V Six additional 8-digit passwords
* If you need a more secure password, I prefer 16-24 digit ones, then just append the additional results to the first password as needed.
* The password seems to be upper and lowercase alpha numeric only, no-special characters, so you'll need to add those yourself.
V Where to get Maccast show notes
* Some of you may or may not know that I take and use extensive show notes for the podcast.
* Not only that, I make these available to you to pursue, reference, or even copy if you'd like.
* You can get the show notes in both an HTML format and an OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) format that you can import directly into many outlining apps, like OmniOutliner or Circus Ponies Notebook
* I also place a 'text' version in the 'notes' metadata of the AAC and MP3 files and many Podcast players will display that data to you.
* To get full HTML or OPML versions though, go to and find the show post for the episode you want the notes for. Then near the bottom there are two links. 'Shownotes in: HTML or OPML'.
* To save the OPML version, control + click (right + click) the link and choose the 'Download Linked File As…' option in Safari
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