Maccast 08.24.2013 - Show #458
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Smile
V TextExpander
* You really should just own everything they make
V I couldn't live without TextExpander
* Anytime I find myself writing the same thing more than once, it goes into a Textexpander
* One of my favorite features is 'fill-ins' this lets you define parts of your snippets that can be dynamically entered at expansion.
* I have one for a notification email I use after a show posts. I need to enter time codes and those are done with fill-ins.
* You can also set up 'optional' sections that you can flag on or off at expansion.
* Plus now TextExpander Touch has gone 2.0 and it has support for fill-ins.
* You can sync your snippets from your Mac and Text Expander Touch has Dropbox support
* Also, TextExpander Touch is integrated into over 160 supported iOS apps, so you can use your snippets right inside the supported apps.
* If you're not using TextExpander you really need to try it out.
* Free trials of the Mac apps are available on the website and while you're there checkout PDFPen and Disc Label too.
V News
V Apple continues buying companies
V About a week ago or so they scooped up Matcha
* They are a video discovery service
* The Matcha app let users scan multiple services -- such as iTunes, Netflix, HBO, and Hulu -- to find appealing shows and movies.
* According to reports what appealed to Apple though was that the company reportedly, "found the answer"
* Basically they have an algorithm to help make recommendations that lead to proven customer engagement. Fancy way to say it helps you find stuff you'll want to watch.
* For Apple that hopefully leads to you watching and buying for iTunes Movies and TV shows
* It was originally thought the purchase was made for $1 million to 1,5 million. but MacNN says Apple probably paid ten times that. $10 million to $15 million
V It was also confirmed that Apple recently acquired Embark
* The seven person company makes Transit related apps, so the assumption is Apple is looking to bring Transit directions to Apple Maps.
* If you remember, last month Apple acquired another transit map company, HopStop along with location based data company called Locationary.
V Recent Apple software updates
V iTunes 11.0.5 and (11.2 beta for developers)
* Corrects an issue with iTunes in the Cloud, where some purchases may download or play unexpected items.
V Find My iPhone for iOS was updated
* It was updated to 2.0.3 and contained bug fixes and stability improvements.
* There is also a new flat iOS 7 style icon
* The only thing was after updating the update was broken for some users saying it required a Developer account and iOS 7 Bets to use the app.
* Apple seemed to quickly realize the mistake and fixed the error on their end.
* Find My Friends was also updated with bug fixes
V Apple has also apparently opened up the iWork for iCloud beta for all.
* iMore says you no longer need a developer account.
* Just sign into and you should see the new icons.
V "Jekyll" malware on to App Store
* Researchers from Georgia Tech were able to sneak a malicious app onto Apple's App store despite Apple's review process.
* To make things worse the researchers were able to determine that the app was only launched and run for a few seconds before getting approval.
* They called their malware "Jekyll" since it used technique of having the malicious code lying dormant in the main app code.
* After running that App would later assemble the dormant bits and changes it's coding to phone home for commands.
* It was disguised as a news reader, but after being activated it could post tweets, send email and text messages, access the phone's address book, take pictures, and direct Safari to a malicious website.
* It also had software to monitor Apple's testing process.
* After approval researchers immediate pulled the App from the Store before it was ever downloaded.
* They published a paper on the app and an Apple spokesman said Apple has updated iOS to deal with the issues outlined in the paper and updated their App approval procedures.
* It's important to know this is just one app and no one knows exactly the process Apple goes through for test all apps.
* This kind of vulnerability isn't limited to iOS, and it's an issue that could affect all platforms.
V "Sandy Bridge" iMac replacement Program
* Apple has confirmed issues with the graphics in some "Sandy Bridge"-era iMacs and has started up a repair program according to 9to5 Mac.
* iMacs between May 2011 and October 2012 are said to be included in the program. Specifically 27-inch iMac 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 models with the AMD Radeon HD 6970M chips may fail
* The display on effect units may appear distorted, have white or blue with vertical lines, or to turn black.
V As is typical in these cases Apple has identified the units by serial number. The last four characters of the serial number must contain one of the following groups
* DPM1, DPM2, DPNV, DNY0, DRVP, DY6F, F610
* Apple will replace the AMD card free of charge up to three years from the computer’s purchase date. Additionally, if an affected iMac user had their graphics card already replaced at cost, the customer is said to be eligible for a refund.
* If you think you have an effected model you should contact AppleCare, a local Apple retail store Genius Bar, or an authorized Apple service provider to have your iMac checked out.
V More Apple hirings
V Apple has reportedly hired fitness consultant Jay Blahnik to be part of their "special projects" team
* Blahnik was a consultant to Nike when they developed their Fuelband fitness monitor
* Tim Cook is a fan of the fuelband and stated he found the technology "interesting" when asked about "wearables" at the D conference
* I'm pretty sure at this point when and if Apple produces an "iWatch" it will have some additional health and fitness monitoring features
* I'd also assume Apple would integrate with their own fitness app for iOS, Mac and iCloud.
V Apple also has reportedly hired a new VP for US retail
* Supposedly Apple has hired Enrique Atienza away from Levi Strauss, at least according to unnamed sources and a LinkedIn profile noted by 9to 5 Mac.
* He served as their Senior Vice President, Retail Americas and Global Store Operations
* At Apple Atienza will be the director of all retail matters for many regions within the West Coast of the United States.
* The report on his hire also mentions that Apple’s Steve Cano was promoted to Vice President of Retail Operations earlier this year and that many compare him to Ron Johnson.
V A former Hulu executive, Pete Distad, also started at Apple this week as VP of Product Marketing
* I guess Bloomberg had eluded to his hiring back in July, but Distad updated his Lined In profile just this week.
* Bloomberg felt he might be being hired to help with Apple's efforts to negotiate deals with cable and media companies. And while Apple is reportedly in on-going talks with the media companies, with the VP of Product Marketing title I don't think it seems like that's what Pete will be doing.
V International news
V Apple expands their USB charger take back program to 30 countries
* Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,and Taiwan.
V Apple hiring for new Store in Edinburgh, Scotland
* There is no official confirmation but rumor has the location somewhere on Princes Street, the main route through the City Centre.
* Also, no word on when it would open.
V iPhone 5C, tough as nails
* Or at least coins and keys.
V A Taiwanese blog reportedly got a hold of an iPhone 5C shell and ran it through a series of simulated "real world" durability tests on video
* Placed in a plastic bad with keys and coins for a good shaking
* tried to scratch it with a key directly
* It came out surprisingly well
* Jason D. O'Grady over at the Apple Core has a theory that the case might be LiquidMetal, but nitride-coated (not to be confused with Titanium nitride- coated). It's interesting because liquid-metal can be molded like plastic, but to date almost all reports are the the casing ARE plastic.
V KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo continues to prop up reports that the "low-cost" iPhone will be more of a "mid-range" device
* "iPhone 5C" to cost between $400 and $500 without a contract subsidy
* Replace the iPhone 5 in the line-up moving the 4S down to the "free" iPhone 4 position
* Why not 16GB iPhone 5 (low -end), iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S?
V Ming-Chi has also commented on expected ship quantities of both devices
* Apple is expected to ship 8.4 million "iPhone 5C" units in the current September quarter.
* For the same period Apple might ship just 5.2 million iPhone 5S's due to production yield issue related to the finger print sensor.
* But unlike some others he doesn't think the iPhone 5C will become Apple's most popular phone.
* He see production ramping up quickly and 5S shipments climbing to 28 million units in a three-month span while 5C shipments will rise to 18.7 million
V As for the latest on the iPhone 5S
* The home button will be largely the same even with the fingerprint sensor
* 'Gold' color is likely happening and will be more of a "champagne" color
* At this point we know Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 5S and 5C at an event on September 10th, but rumors out of Japan this week are suggesting the launch date for the devices will be September 20th
V China and the next iPhones
* Apple has been working hard for years to try and land a contract with China's largest mobile carrier China Mobile
* Recently China mobile has been reported that both parties are "keen" to get a deal done. And many think Apple and China Mobile will have a deal in place by the end of the year.
* China Mobile is also reportedly making good progress preparing their TD-LTE network.
* China Mobile's 700 million subscribers would represent a nice new potential customer base for Apple and the iPhone 5C looks like it's a prime device to attract new customers
* It would reportedly have support for China Mobile's TDD-LTE network.
* Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty reported on an AlphaWise survey showing that if Apple struck a deal with China Mobile and offered a $400 phone they could see their market share in China rise 19.3 percent
* If the deal gets done and the predictions are accurate it could make the iPhone the best-selling smartphone in China
* UBS analysts also seemed to think the iPhone 5C could end up being big in China and raising their price target for AAPL from $500 to $560.
V There has been some debate also that on the premium end the "gold" iPhone would appeal to the Chinese market
* I floated this idea after a listener from Taiwan told me he felt the color would be popular there and in China
* Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt herd the theory, not from me, and called poppycock. Although he used Dupont Chinese car color preference data from 2011 to prove his point.
* I think that color choice for cars vs. consumer products can be compared. These days in many respects a phone can be considered, by some, to be a fashion accessory and "gold" is a popular color in that respect.
* And Samsung has already beat Apple to the punch announcing the Galaxy Golden (I can't make this stuff up). An Android flip phone that features two 3.7-inch AMOLED displays with a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera, LTE support, a 1,820 mAh battery and running Android 4.2 Jelly bean and of course in a "champagne gold" color
V China might not see the new iPhone's until November though
* China's First Financial Daily is reporting that the new phones will need to clear the verification process required by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and that will take some time after the announcement
* Because of that they are predicting a Nov. 28th release in the region
V And while iPhones are poised to do well in China, it would seem that the iPad is struggling a bit as of late
* IDC reports that iPads fell in the second quarter from 50% of China's tablet market to just 28 percent
* Samsung's share rose 11 percent and Lenovo 8 percent.
* Apple is also losing tablet share to a rising crowd of "white-box" Android tablets.
* The numbers don't really give a full picture though because we'd also need to know what the overall tablet sales growth rate is in China. My assumption is that it's rising sharply.
* So while Apple might be getting a smaller piece of the pie, that pie might be growing tremendously.
V Apple may delay iOS 7 for iPad
* Mark Gurman, at 9to5 mac is claiming that while iOS 7 for iPhone is on track to go GM in time for the iPhone 5S and 5C launch that iOS 7's iPad version is running behind.
* He says many developers have noted that the iOS 7 builds for iPad feel unstable and unreliable compared to the iPhone-optimized betas.
* As part of the reason for the delay they cite iOS 7 for iPad betas coming out weeks after the iPhone versions.
* The claim is that to give themselves more time on the iPad version Apple is considering delaying the iPad release along with new iPhones in September, waiting for new iPad hardware (which is expected in September or early October) and shipping iOS 7.0.1 along with the refreshed iPads.
* Seems plausible, but unlikely to me.
V Mac sales to slide. Surprised?
* Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has looked at the latest US domestic Mac sales from the NPD Group and guess what? Apple will follow the overall PC industry trend of declining desktop and notebook sales
* Luckily for Apple it looks like a slow slide and where the sales are going is (at least partly) right into Apple's own iPad business
* For the September quarter Munster thinks Mac sales will be down 5 percent year over year.
* Calculating out that could mean Apple will sell approximately 4.65 million Macs down from the 4.9 million they sold in the same period last year.
* It's probably no so bad for Apple though. Tim Cook said years ago that he saw tablet sales overtaking PC sales, so Apple knew it was coming.
* Bonus is that Apple's iPhone and iPad sales are booming and represent a much larger part of their overall revenue vs. Mac sales.
* Macs are still important, but will be and were expected to be taking a smaller role.
* Apple also is still seeing their PC sales decline at a much slower rate than their Windows based competitors, likely due in some part to the nice "halo" effect that iPad sales lead to.
V If you really want to hone in on a part of Apple's business in serious decline look no further than the iPod.
* NPD's latest data shows domestic sales of Apple's portable media players down 41 percent year over year in the month of July
* And Munster thinks September quarter year over year sales for iPod will be down 20 percent
V One thing that could help would be updated Macbook Pros and iMacs and at least some sources think we might see the Haswell refresh in the next few weeks.
V iMac models, especially custom configurations, are reportedly being discounted at many retailers and reportedly channel shipments are also slowing.
* Some speculate that is is because an updated Haswell iMac refresh is coming as soon as the end of the month.
* Sources in the supply chain claim that Taiwanese manufacturers have begun to ship components for new MacBook Pros
* So think Apple could unveil the new Macbook Pros along with the new iPhones at the September 10th event.
* In addition to the new processors it's expected the update macbook Pros would have new Intel Iris Pro 5200 GPUs. Those are meant to compete with dedicated GPUs from AMD and nVidia.
* Like the updated Haswell Macbook Airs, the Pros are expected to bring improved battery life performance
* Apple has also been running ads in Movie theaters for the new Mac Pro teasing their "Fall 2013" release.
V iTunes Radio attracting advertisers
* It won't be here for another month, but Apple's is reportedly already attracting some high profile advertisers for it's iTunes Radio service
* According to AdAge Apple has already lined up companies like McDonald's, Nissan, Pepsi, and Procter & Gamble to run spots
* iTunes radio will offer a "Pandora like" streaming music service for free inside the Music app on devices running iOS 7. Users create "stations" based on artist or song preferences and then get streaming music from similar artists. The service also offers "one tap" purchase integration with iTunes.
* To support the free service they will insert audio and video ads and reportedly Apple is striking deals in the millions to tens of million dollar range
* iTunes Radio listeners will hear one audio ad every 15 minutes and will see a video ad each hour.
* Some partners are also being offered the opportunity to create sponsored stations that have fewer ads.
* iTunes Match subscribers will be able to use the service ad free.
V OS X Mavericks Developer Preview 6
* There was no change log posted, so Apple wasn't saying what was in it.
* It did bring them back online with the two week release cycle.
* Two weeks ago the fifth Developer Preview brought iBooks functionality to Mavericks.
V Apple still pursing TV deals
* According to MacRumors a new business publication called Quartz, staffed by some former Wall Street Journal reporters, is reporting that Apple is involved in high-level negotiations with television content providers, including ESPN, HBO, and Viacom, to provide programming through 'apps' instead of channels.
* The report claims this likely isn't too shocking because currently in the TV industry "everybody is talking with everybody."
* The gist is that Apple wants to provide a paid TV service hopefully to launch in conjunction worth it's on television product, not just a set top box.
* Basically Apple would become like a cable provider, but delivering shows over the Internet. Intel, Sony, and Google have been looking for similar deals and so far it sounds like the TV providers are offer terms similar to those they provide the traditional Cable companies.
* I would assume that those terms are not the terms Apple is looking for as they likely wouldn't "revolutionize" the current system.
* The report goes on to say that the cable companies, not surprisingly, aren't too keen on Apple and the providers signing deals.
V Apple already reportedly has a deal in place with the CW and they could probably launch a service with just a few key providers. Especially if they are providers like HBO, ESPN, or Viacom (Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV).
* There have also been reports that the NFL is talking to Google, and maybe others, about NFL Sunday Ticket deals.
* Enough "top tier" content to launch and Apple could grow momentum and start to attract other players
* A strategy that has worked well for iTunes and the Apple TV in the past.
* Sounds great, but don't get too excited. Apple and Viacom aren't commenting and representatives from HBO and ESPN basically denied the talks were happening.
V Feedback, Comments and Commentary
V Why a buyback would raise the stock price
* Play the explanation from Bill
* Great explanation and it makes sense.
V Expanding the "more RAM" conversation
* If you are not visiting the Maccast forum, you're missing out on a great part of our community. I know I don't visit often enough, so I'm just as guilty.
* We have some great, smart, and very active members there who provide a lot of really good advice.
* John Foster, from, is one of those members and posts some great stuff. He has a good "more RAM" discussion post that expands on some of my "absolute" statements about RAM
V Some points John makes in his post
V Why buy as much as your machine will take?
* 1) Makes the system slightly more future proof.
* 2) You can often double or max out the RAM for typically not much more cost. You may add a hundred or couple hundred bucks to the price. Adding RAM (when buying from Apple) doesn't effect the shipping costs or installation (assuming you're not installing yourself).
V There is a limit on older systems, but it might not be what Apple told you
* Often Apple will set a limit based on RAM sizes available at the time the machine was made and they don't update that.
* You can check with RAM vendors to see if your system will take more
* Also, a great resource is MacTracker
V The rules are not that absolute
* More RAM will not always make everything go faster
* Eventually you'll hit other bottlenecks. CPUs are only so fast
* Hard drives can and will be bottlenecks. Especially if they are spinning drives and also if they are almost full. many like to point to SSD and Flash drives as the solution, but they tend to be smaller and most people I know run them very full.
* Not all apps are optimized to take full advantage of all the RAM
* Not all apps need the RAM. You're text editor will go faster if you improve your typing skills but probably not much faster with more RAM
V Shut stuff down.
* this is even easier and cheaper than buying more RAM.
* Look at your dock. Why do you have some many apps open and running? Do you really need all those?
* Same thing for your browser. Why are there so many fricken tabs open. You now how many sites are sitting there running ads and flash in the background that you can't see? They are stealing precious resources from that Word Dock you're working on.
* OS X Mavericks has technologies that are specifically designed to address your bad working habits. App Nap, Safari Power Saver, Compressed Memory, Timer Coalescing, but why wait. Mavericks also may not run on that older Mac you aren't ready to upgrade.
V Page outs and SSDs
* I also had many of you point out that my old rule on when to decide to add more RAM may not apply in the world of flash storage based Macs and SSDs.
* Since the storage is solid state and fast the idea is that moving memory in and out is not as costly to overall performance as it is with system with traditional spindle drives.
* I buy the logic, but I haven't done the research to know how it compares to avoiding page-outs all together with more RAM. My assumption is that even with SSDs there is still some overhead.
* At the very least if you are writing RAM out to your Flash Storage you are using up storage which could be precious. You are also adding extra write cycles adding wear to the drive (probably not a big deal, but still it's there).
* To that end, adding in an SSD drive is another nice way to bring new life to an old system, but it's not so cost effect. Even though prices have come way down I have still found that to go to SSD I'd be sacrificing storage capacity and paying a per GB storage premium.
V Issues with Apple's podcast app
* I did some "venting" about Apple's Podcast app on Twitter recently. 140 characters is a great way to start a debate, but hardly a great place for any kind of really meaningful discourse.
* What I learned is the camp is pretty evenly split and there are defenders on both sides.
V I wanted to clarify my "unique" position
* For a long time I've done the extra work to support Apple's enhanced AAC features
* I use an Apple tool, Garageband, to create those features
* You (and I) love those extra features. Chapter markers with titles, hyperlinks, changing artwork. They "enhance" the listening experience.
V Apple has been doing a horrible job supporting their own format in their own apps
V iTunes 11 has removed almost all support
* Especially in the mini player
* Still has chapters, in the 'Chapters' menubar when playing the episode
* Artwork and titles work there, but not in the mini player and there is no support for hyperlinks
V The Podcast app has become better, but still has big bugs than full support.
* The redesign brought back the chapter list, but a bug causes it to not show the titles. It also doesn't have artwork thumbnails.
* Links are there and work and the artwork does change on the 'Now Playing' screen.
* The big issue is that it crashes when playing AAC files, especially for users of older devices
V After my rant, Ron Walch from Today in iPhone emailed me to explain that the engineers at Libsyn discovered that if Chapter album art is larger than 300 x 300 pixel or bigger than 200Kb then it can cause issues.
* Apple's current podcast spec calls for artwork that is 1400 x 1400 pixels (at least for the main art) to support retina devices.
* Why chapter artwork would need to be low res is just dumb.
V Of course I've personally reported all these issues to Apple, but little to nothing seems to be being done.
* I know that there are other priorities, but still.
* They are the creator of the AAC format and have made Podcasts a big part of their eco-system.
* At a certain point, it feels like they don't want to fix bugs so that folks are forced to upgrade.
V The Podcast app also doesn't, easily support, protected feeds.
* The 'manually add URL' trick.
* Put a feed URL in the search box to manually subscribe
V There are lots of great 3rd party apps that are worth using as alternatives
* Downcast
* Instacast
* Pocket Casts
* Podcaster
V Best car for iPhone integration
* Play question
* iOS in the Car and Siri Eyes Free are integrated with iOS 7 and should be in some 2014 models
* Acura, Ferrari, Infiniti, Jaguar, Kia, Opel (owned by GM), Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volvo, Honda, Chevrolet, and Hyundai are working with Apple.
* For now I've gone low tech. I have a mount for my iPhone, a Thought Out Ped 3 Auto, tied into my head unit with a 1/8" audio cable and a Belkin lighter charger.
* I use Siri voice commands to control everything as the phone is positioned near my stereo controls.
V Auto updates cool. Maybe Dangerous?
* A cool new feature in iOS 7 will be the ability to have your apps auto update.
* No more worrying about clicking the "update all" button.
* It's cool because when you have it on and go into 'Updates' it will list what was updated and when.
* But their could be a potential problem for users of older devices, if the new version of an App is iOS 7 only.
* On the device itself it's not an issue, but when you sync that back to your Mac iTunes will happily update and overwrite old IPAs
* The same is true if you update directly in iTunes. It doesn't care if the new version is compatible with all your devices or not.
* Now existing apps that are older versions on your older Devices won't be replaced, but the next time you need to erase and install you might have a problem.
* This whole issue is not new and as a matter of fact was pointed out to me by a listener, Calum, who had this happen with OmniGraffle on his 1st gen iPad. iTunes happily upgraded the app to an iOS 6 only compatible version and he didn't notice until he erased and restored his device and the app didn't reload.
* From the research I have been able to do, it looks like if you use iCloud Backups then it will attempt to re-install the last version you had installed on that device, so long as the developer has not disabled that version in iTunes Connect.
* But if you're like me and just use local iTunes backup then you are probably going to want to make sure you store old versions of IPAs
V In my case I have my iTunes Media Folder backed up via Cronosync to my Drobo
* It allows be to sync and 'archive' saving all versions of the files in the Media folder
* I sync, but don't sync deletions
* I have a backup of every version of every app I own.
* Unfortunately because of account signing you can't just get an old IPA from a friend and sideload it.
* Apple's official stance is they tell you to ALWAYS backup your App Store purchases
* All my evidence is mostly circumstantial at this point because very few people seem to be talking about this.
* This could be an even bigger issue after iOS 7 arrives as the iConfactory did a survey and found that 52% of the developers they surveyed planned to make their next updates iOS 7 only.
* Luckily auto app updates also at the moment seem to be 'opt in'.
* But what happens when iTunes and the Mac App Store also get the 'auto update' feature.
V Closing
V Applr
* We're looking for some help if the Applr site
* Improving it it with new features
* Make it more mobile friendly.
* PHP, Javascript, AJAX, and good eye for design.
* Email me, with links to samples of stuff you've worked on.
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