Maccast 10.01.2013 - Show #463
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
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V News
V Uncovering the A7 and M7
* Chipworks and iFixit have done their magic voodoo stuff and we know now a bit more about the new silicone in your shiny new iThing
* The A& turns out is made by Samsung and uses their latest 28-nm process node.
* The transistors are also more densely packed, down 7.3% to 114 nanometers from the A6's 123 nanometers.
* Tighter packing and a larger die means the A7 crams in about one billion transistors on the chip.
* Still dual-core and sporting 1GB of RAM
V They also turned their scopes on the M7 motion co-processor
* It's an ARM Cortex-M3 part from NXP running at 180 MHz
* They speculate that the M7 is probably a custom chip built by NXP to Apple's specifications.
* It contains a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis electronic compass IC
* It collects data, at low power, from the iThings accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer then uses it's super duper math processing skillz to get an absolute orientation of the device relative to the world.
V iOS 7, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 5c get inspected
* There are several interesting stories highlighting the successes, and short comings, of Apple's new tech now that it's out in the wild
V The 5c is more profitable than it's predecessor and the 5s just a bit more pricey
* This is actually pretty typical for the alternate year "S" updates, but surprising on the 5s as it has several very new major pieces (64-bit, TouchID sensor, M7)
* IHS did a BoM breakdown of the 5c and found it 12 percent cheaper for Apple to build. At $175.85 build cost and a $549 retail price without subsidy that's an implied gross margin of 72%. Still doesn't factor manufacturing, shipping, advertising, and other costs.
* UBS also did BoM analysis and found even better numbers for the 5c. They had a 16GB model at just $156 and the 16GB 5s at $213, only $8 bucks more than an iPhone 5.
* UBS estimates Apple is keeping iPhone margins in the 50 percent range. Not too shabby if accurate.
V iOS 7 adopted and loved by many
* Despite mixed reviews in the press users have flocked to iOS 7 faster than ever other update
* Various reports from different sources are citing adoption rates of 50 to 60% just a week or so after Apple released the new OS.
* A firm called Pfeiffer Consulting did a user experience survey of iOS 7, iOS 6, Android (Samsung), Windows Phone 8, and Blackberry 10. and found the highest user experience satisfaction with what they call average, non-technical users was at 73% for iOS 7. iOS 6 was at 70%, Android at 57%, Blackberry at 56%, and Windows Phone last at 47%s
V Switcher effect?
* Gazelle said they saw a 210% increase in the number of Samsung phones during the new iPhones' launch weekend.
* I wouldn't read too much into this yet other than, "huh, interesting". People like new shiny things.
* Gazelle did note that overall trade-ins were up about four times more than last years iPhone launch weekend.
V Apple has re-enabled iPhone 5s online ordering with in-store pickup.
* I have heard rumors for years that the store stocking systems update around 10pm PT, so your best chance is checking stock around then according to some. I have never validated that.
V iMacs get the Haswell bump
* Early last week Apple quietly updated their 21.5 and 27 inch iMacs with new Intel processors
* The update also brought 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Nvidia's new GeForce 700 series graphics
* The design remains the same, but they did also ramp up the flash storage with faster PCIe
* The new entry-level 21.5-inch iMac features a 2.7-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and Iris Pro graphics
* The high-end 21.5-inch model and both 27-inch models feature quad-core Intel Core i5 processors up to 3.4 gigahertz and Nvidia GeForce 700 series graphics with twice the video memory
* The high-end iMac has a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor at up to 3.5 GHz and Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M series graphics with up to 4 gigabytes of video memory
* all-flash storage options are now available in configurations up to 1TB
* 21.5-inch iMacs start at $1,299, while 27-inch models start at $1,799
V iFixit quickly got their hands on the new systems and ripped their guts out. Inside their were some surprises
* undocumented secondary PCIe slots, suitable for an SSD or a Fusion Drive.
* a union of SATA power/data hard drive cables
* A slimmer CPU heat sink, but also a CPU that is now soldered to the logic board on the 21.5-inch systems.
V The day it was announced Apple issued a software update for the new iMacs
* iMac (late 2013) EFI Update 2.1
* Addresses an issue which may cause a black screen to appear when installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 using Boot Camp Assistant if both an external optical drive and USB thumb drive are connected to the system.
* Also ensures that the system will boot by default into OS X after installation of Windows 8
V Mac Pro should be here soon?
* A Geekbench score from a reported single processor 8-core version of the black cylindri-Mac surfaced
* Back in June a reported 12-core model supposedly score a whopping over 30,000 score
* The eight-core version (using an Intel Xeon E5-1680 v2 chip) scored 24,429 on the multi-core tests.
V Rumors claim to tell Apple Chip plans
V Reportedly Apple is opening up Six more positions in their Florida GPU design office in Orlando
* Reports of Apple staffing up a GPU design center surfaced back at the end of May
* They had supposedly hired 20 former AMD engineers and former employees and were looking for more
* According to that May report they were in temporary office space, but looking to build a permanent facility with a staff of 40
* The newest rumor says one of the six openings is for a program manager who will handle "SoC [system-on-chip] embedded silicon design."
* Apple is moving more and more chip design in house and baking in some awesome GPU tech to their A-series chips
* The A7 has the latest PowerVR technology and changes are Apple is preparing to step things up again for their A8 designs.
V Who will be building the A8? Well leading up to the A7 launch my money would have been on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC)
* That all changed when it was revealed by Chipworks last week that Samsung was still a big player in Apple's A7 production.
* Apple has supposedly signed a deal with TSMC to provide A-Series chip manufacturing beginning in 2014, but they might not have an exclusive.
* The Verge is reporting that while TSMC will have a hand in making the A8, Samsung will still likely produce 30-40 percent of Apple’s chips in 2014.
* So it seems what looked like a move away from Samsung to TSMC is looking more like simply a move away from relying on a single partner for all SoC chip production.
* Another possible explain action is that Apple is having to hedge it's bets on a 20nm supplier. TMSC is reportedly experiencing difficulties (presumably yield rates) with its manufacture of 20nm chips
* The A7 was found to be using Samsung's 28nm process.
V What's up with the Retina iPad Mini?
* We're all expecting an October Apple event with updates to Apple's iPad line up. Both the Retina iPad and the iPad mini
V Most have felt that the major update on the mini would be new Retina Display.
* It's been an on, off, on, and now maybe off again rumor
* IHS iSupply is claiming their checks show that manufacturing volumes look to be pointing to a 2014 launch for a Retina mini.
* I say poppycock. Apple needs a min update and it must be this year and it MUST be Retina. At worst I would say we would see constrained holiday supply which only fuels demand. Something bad for us, but good for Apple.
V Latest rumors
* Reduced bezel and iPad mini styling on 5th gen iPad
* Colors to match iPhone 5s launch
* Possible addition on Touch ID to both models
* New Apple A7x processor possible?
V What about a "maxi" iPad (and yes, let's never call it that again). How about "giantiPad"?
* BGR had a piece that claimed the Chinese newspaper United Daily News said Apple was teaming up with their partner Quanta Computer to design a 12-inch iPad.
* The theory put forth in the report is that Apple plans to use the mega device to offset declines in MacBook Air sales. (Ah, what declines?).
* As the piece points out they existence of a mythical whale iPad has surfaced before in the Wall Street Journal. They said earlier this year that Apple was testing larger screen iPhones and a 13-inch iPad.
* I've no doubt they may be having them work on prototypes, but I would suspect this thing is far from becoming a reality and may never be one.
V EU wants Apple to standardize iPhone connector
* An EU Parliament Committee has voted to propose a law to standardize power connectors on handsets
* The vote was unanimous and the idea is that setting a standard for all manufacturers would reduce the amount of waste created by old or unused phone chargers.
* They have not yet said what they think the standard should be, but it's assumed they would opt for MicroUSB
* It also should be noted that this was passed by a committee of Parlament members, but it's far from becoming law. They are still deciding whether to start informal negotiations with the Council in order to seek an early first-reading agreement.'
* If it does move forward it could mean Apple would have to ditch their Lightning connector in Europe for EU countries
V In 2009 Apple and nine other mobile phone makers signed a voluntary agreement to use standardized chargers for mobile phones using a micro-USB connector.
* That standard was set for the same reasons as this new motion and required that a charger that output 5V at 500mA and a cable that terminates in a micro USB plug.
* The 2009 agreement allowed manufacturers that do not already include micro USB ports on devices to comply by offering a suitable adapter. So Apple released the 30-pin to micro USB option.
* There is also a Lightning to micro USB adapter sold at Apple stores for around £25.
* I would think if this action from the committee moves forward Apple might work to see if they could get the actual future law worded so that including an appropriate adapter with the device would be enough.
* The logic seems a bit flawed to me, since wouldn't you get a new charger with your each device, but only need one, since it's "standardized". You would not need as many chargers so therefore would likely throw more out?
V Feedback, Comments and Commentary
V iPhone 5s and 5c feedback
* Aside from Apple Stores most places only had Space Grey fro your feedback. A few silver, no gold.
* Des, gave a point of order on my 5s "aperture" comment. I said the camera had a "smaller" f2.2 aperture. What I should have said was smaller "f-stop" of 2.2, which is actually a larger aperture allow more light in for better low light. The trade-off is a reduced depth of field (stuff not in the primary focal point will be more blurry), but that is often desirable as Des mentions.
V Play comments from Ty
* Online many other said they were in and out in no time, especially if they used Apple's App Store App
* Some reports of carrier upgrade eligibility verification server issues for some
* Most orders were quoting the September 27th to Oct 2nd deliver dates, but many reported getting it earlier than that, starting as early as the 24th.
V Play comments from Gary
* On the Siri activating from home button
* Software has some motion stuff built in.
* Interesting you should mention the difficulties in remembering that longer passcode.
* Play interview with George
V Todd wanted to know why AirDrop isn't supported on older devices like his wife's iPhone 4s
* I also don't get it on my iPad 3rd gen and only the iPod Touch 5th gen is supported
* What I've read is the technology behind AirDrop in iOS 7 depends on something called WiFi Direct and it's built into the Wi-Fi chip in the device itself.
* The technology has been around since 2010, but Apple didn't have it in their chips until the iPhone 5, iPad 4th gen and iPad Mini, and 5th gen iPod Touch.
V Siri could be telling your secrets
* With all the stories recently of iOS 7 lock screen and Touch ID hacking some of the media seems to be on a scare campaign.
* I mentioned last show that the holes, while there, didn't seem to offer too much exposure or risk. Plus, Apple has already patched them with the iOS 7.0.2 update (a new and even more difficult to execute phone call from lock screen one did surface).
* The TouchID hack was also proven by a respected security researcher to be difficult to execute and take more time and technology than eluded to by the original report and some of the stories on the web.
V In all this listener Rich told me about a something you should be aware of with Siri, if it's enabled from the lock screen.
* You can ask things like, "What's my home address, what's my phone number, what's my birthday, what's my spouse's name, etc?
* Basically anything in your "Me" card in Contacts. Including all your "relationships" and all their contact records.
V You can disable Siri on the lock screen in Settings > Passcode Lock (Passcode & Fingerprint on the 5s)
* Toggle the Siri setting under 'Allow Access When Locked' to Off
* Less convenient, yes. More secure, yes.
* On the 5s, you you set up TouchID, Siri still works from the lock screen because it scans your fingerprint while accessing Siri
V Another option is to set up a "limited" contact card and tell Siri to use that data
* Open up Contacts and create your card and set the 'Company' field to 'Private Card'
* Only add the info you'd like to have exposed to the public
* Open Settings > General > Siri
* Tap 'My Info' and then search for 'Private' to locate the new card you just created and select it.
* This method has huge downsides. You can say things like 'Directions Home' or 'Call my Wife'. Also this changes your 'Me' card, so probably not a good solution.
* Apple needs to set up the ability to define "Private" fields, link in your vCard on the Mac, and then set up a Siri option to not expose those "private" field's data from the lock screen.
V iOS 7, never gonna give you up
* Apparently someone or several people on the iOS 7 team are making a concerted effort bring back the 'Rick roll'
* First, TUAW reported on Apple knowledge base article HT5858. It discusses the new Control Center features including the Media Player controls and has a screen shot included. It's the screenshot that contains the gag because it's currently playing "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley
V Then later in the week TUAW found a second iOS 7 "rickroll". This one in Siri.
* Ask, "What is today going to be like?" and Siri returns the Wikipedia entry for "Never Gonna Give You Up".
* Are there other Astley Easter Eggs I've been missing or is this purely an iOS 7 thing?
V iOS 7 iWork BSoD
* So according to a story on Cult of Mac users of iOS 7 and iWork are experiencing a "Blue Screen of Death" on their iDevices.
V I was shocked, but was also very easily able to reproduce the bug.
* 1. Open any iWork app on your iDevice
* 2. Within the app, open any existing document
* 3. Once doc is opened, tap Home button. iPhone INSTANTLY crashes. Blue screen, then automatic reboot. (well in some cases I had to try a couple times).
* As the piece points out Reset Screen of Deaths and BSoDs on iOS are nothing new and this is a brand new OS so there are bound to be bugs.
* Still as a group of people who made fun of the Windows BSoD for years it's never fun when Apple throws egg on our face. Let's hope they patch this one up soon.
V Reclaim space on your device
* Many went to run the iOS 7 update only to find they didn't have enough free space on their device to do an OTA update
V You can check what's eating up all the room
* Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
* Tap on General.
* Tap on Usage.
* Check the Storage section (it can take a minute or so to load)
* You'll see a summary of how much storage each item is using. Tap an item to see more details on how much storage space it's taking up.
* For Apps, you can even delete the App Data from here. Keep in mind this could be off line data or your documents, so be careful.
* Buy if an app lets you store Documents in iCloud or Dropbox you might consider using that in lieu of local storage
V My Photos & Camera roll were using up almost 2GB. 1.3GB for just the Camera Roll
* The trouble was even when I cleared it, it still was saying it the space was used
* It took a erase and restore from backup for me to clear it out.
V Another area for some is Messages
* Especially if you get a lot of Videos and Photos via iMessage and MMS
* You can use a tool like PhoneView from eCamm to back that stuff up to your Mac, or just save the images to your Camera roll and sync to iPhoto to clear them off
V Then you can delete the Messages
* Go to Messages and tap 'Edit' and then the circle 'delete' icon to delete entire threads
* In a thread you can tap and hold a bubble and choose 'More…' in iOS 7 and then select individual messages (indicated by the blue checkmark on the left) and then 'Delete' (trash icon)
V Closing
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