Maccast 11.10.2013 - Show #467
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Gazelle
* The new iPad Air is here and the iPad mini with Retina is coming.
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V Benefits
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V News
V Apple hard at work fixing app bugs
* While early reports of Mavericks being a fairly benign and stable upgrade seemed to be prevalent in the days following it's release the same can not be same about some of the updated apps Apple shipped along side Sea Lion
* In addition, the sunny early reviews of bug free Mavericks upgrades are also beginning to look cloudy.
V I myself ran into a few issues while presenting OS X Mavericks at my local Mac User Group Meeting
* At one point my screen when black after trying to access Versions
* My Desktops when mysteriously invisible when accessing Mission Control. They were there and I could drag them around, but they were not visible.
V One of the apps that has suffered bugs is Mail.
* Apple reportedly issued a new update for Mail to address a number of issues including some issues impacting Gmail users
* The Gmail issue was that if you couldn't delete messages from the Inbox unless Google’s “All Mail” folder is visible in Apple Mail. The bug is that Mail doesn't remove the Inbox label from Gmail.
* Enabling ALL Mail though can eat up tons of local storage as IMAP syncs, also whenever the “All Mail” folder is visible, every new message that comes into the “inbox" also shows up as a new message in the “All Mail” folder as welL
V The new update addresses the Gmail problems and more, but comes with an out of the ordinary disclaimer.
* Apple urges users to back up their systems with Time Machine prior to installing the update and warns that they "may experience unexpected results if [users] have third-party system software modifications installed, or if [they have] modified the operating system through other means.
V The update notes say:
* Fixes an issue that prevents deleting, moving, and archiving messages for users with custom Gmail settings
* Addresses an issue that may cause unread counts to be inaccurate
* Includes additional fixes that improve the compatibility and stability of Mail
V iWork has also been a bit of a pain point for many upgraders
* I've been hearing from many of you who are struggling with the transition
* The main problem seems to be Apple choose to remove and pair down features to bring parity between the iOS and Mac versions
* Listen to these comments from Maccast listener Javier, which seems to be typical of the experience.
V On their support site this week Apple basically apologized for the mess of iWork.
* They put up a post informing customers that they rewrote the iWork apps from the ground up and that in the process many features from iWork '09 had to be cut, but that they would return over the next 6 months .
* The post goes on to cite specific features in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote
* Specific addressed are manage pages and sections in thumbnail view in Pages, auto complete text cells in Numbers, restoring old transitions and builds in Keynote, and adding more AppleScript support in Keynote and Numbers.
V iTunes 11.0.3
* Equalizer and other minor bug fixes
V GarageBand 10.0.1
* No details, just "improves stability and addresses a number of minor issues."
V iBooks for Mac update
* Addresses performance and stability problems as well as other miscellaneous bugs.
V Two EFI Firmware updates for MacBook Pros
V MacBook Pro Retina EFI Update v1.2
* Specifically aimed at models equipped with Nvidia graphics
* Updates a problem that, "in rare cases, may limit the performance of the discrete graphics processor after a system wake or boot.
V MacBook Pro Retina EFI Update v1.3
* Recommended specifically for 13-inch models
* Fixes an issue that cause the built-in keyboard and Multi-Touch trackpad to become unresponsive
V Apple doing more iPhone repair on-site
* 9to5 Mac reports that Apple will be doing more iPhone 5s and 5c repairs in house rather than simply swapping out devices
* They say the move is part of an effort to save costs on iPhone replacements and repairs
* Supposedly Apple Geniuses can now replace displays on both the 5s and 5c in the store at a cost of USD $79 for AppleCare+ owners and USD $149 for non-AppleCare+ owners, if the damage was user inflicted.
* Apple will also have the ability to replace volume buttons, sleep/wake buttons, vibrating motors, the rear camera and speakers systems on both phones.
* Repair costs will vary by the component if the device is off warranty, but the piece claims a home button for example would carry a USD $29 fee (iPhone 5c, they can't replace the TouchID home buttons in store)
V More iPhones more frequently
* That's what Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty would like us to believe
* She recently met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer to gain some insight on Apple's future plans
V After that meeting she eluded to the fact that by launching two iPhone model lines into the market Apple opens up the possibility to have multiple refreshes per year
* He theory is is gives Apple the option to update the lines more frequently or to adjust pricing to drive unit growth.
* It's not clear the me that that is what Apple will do.
V Huberty also thinks Services will provide Apple with significant opportunities moving forward.
* A payment system linked to TouchID and Apple's 575M iTunes a accounts with credit cards
* Expansion of iTunes Radio
* Move into video on demand and TV services
V iPad Air confirmed IGZO
* DisplayMate did an extensive analysis of the new display and confirmed Apple switch from amorphous silicon (a-Si) to indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) technology
* We have had years of rumors of the switch, but according to reports production issues at Sharp have delayed the technologies appearance in an Apple product until now.
V IGZO offers some benefits particularly suited to tablets
* Better power efficiency, 57% improvement in the Air
* The efficiency is due to better electron mobility.
* Also, decreased screen reflectance, increased brightness and contrast, and better contrast in high ambient light scenarios.
V Still the new technology couldn't keep the iPad display at the top of the tablet heap in Display Mates tests.
* The title actually went to the Kindle Fire HD, based mostly on color accuracy where it just edged out the iPad.
* They noted with sight tweaking both tablets, the iPad and Kindle, could server as reference displays.
V IGZO on the smaller iPad mini retina displays could be one reason for its delay and rumors of low quantities.
* MacNN is reporting that an industry source says burn-in on Sharp IGZO LCD mini panels is causing problems
* The burn-in is supposedly not visible to the user, but doesn't meet Apple's standards
* The report also says that Sharp is handling 40 percent of the displays and LG the other 60 percent, but the LG displays use amorphous silicon (a-Si) technology and don't have the burn in issues.
* Still LG is also reportedly having issues as well that might be related to the high pixel density of the mini displays which pack the same resolution of the 9.7” retina display into the mini 7.9” package.
* The reports go on to imply that Apple might be turning back to Samsung for displays in 2014 to keep the iPad supplies flowing.
V We are also still hearing reports that Apple is planning, or at least testing, a larger iPad
* AppleInsider says a Chinese tablet news site called PadNews claims that Foxconn is testing the larger pads for Apple
* Supposedly there are two screen sizes being explored. A 11.4” and a 12.9”
* He site also clams that Apple is looking to release the device in the spring. Around March.
* We have heard these rumors before from other Sources and linked to other Apple suppliers, like Quanta Computer
V Sometimes referred to as the iPad "maxi", the release of the new iPad Air has lead many, myself included, to the conclusion that at some point Apple will do. Larger tablet and dun it the iPad Pro.
* It could come alongside Apple Pro accessories like a keyboard case, styluses and BT enabled tools, etc.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Easy way to make a bootable OS X Mavericks drive
* On a past episode I mentioned a Terminal trick and procedure to create a bootable OS X Mavericks installer USB drive
* I used the process myself and was able to create a drive without issue, but the process wasn't the easiest thing to do.
* After that episode I received a slew of emails with a link to an app called, "Lion DiskMaker", now called DiskMaker X.
* It's an AppleScript application that you can run that will automate the process of creating a bootable USb OS X Mavericks installer.
* It even uses a Spotlight search to locate the downloaded OS X Mavericks installer files.
* Sounds like it worked well for those who used it, so I thought it worth a mention.
V Western Digital data loss in OS X Mavericks
* If you own a Western Digital external drive and you've upgraded or plan to upgrade to OS X Mavericks the company is sending out a cautionary email
* Apparently some of their popular models, including ones in the MyBook line, could experience data loss.
* The issue isn't with Mavericks itself, nor with the hardware.
* The trouble is in the bundled software that comes with the drives. specifically the WD Drive Manager, WD Raid Manager, and WD SmartWare apps
* The company is warning users not to upgrade until they work out a fix with the help of Apple or if you must upgrade to remove the software before you upgrade.
V iPad Air experiences
* I had shared my experience with buying the iPad Air along with some early impressions
* I asked for some feedback and received this comment from Eric
* I didn't try out the iPad Case, but I do have an iPad cover.
* Interesting about the 3 vs. 4 articulations. The Smart Cover is basically a larger version of the iPad mini Smart cover.
* I think it works fine with the cover and the angle seemed Ok to me. I also feel like the magnets are much stronger.
V Beware the lemmings
* I know I have had situations where I just blindly followed the crowd. We all do it.
V Apple has tired to position itself as the company for those who, "think different"
* In the 90s they ran the IBM PC lemmings commercial
* But they to are guilty of following the crowd once in a while
* It's a normal human trait, but one that's good to keep in check
V Recently I feel I've had to deal with pulling more people back from the cliff though when it comes to popular sentiments about Apple and it's products.
* "iTunes Radio sucks."
* "Have you tried it?"
* "No, I heard it sucks."
V The the media piles on stories with sensational headlines that support the lemming agenda
* "Pandora market share grows in the wake of the iTunes Radio launch" -BGR
* But if you read the article it explains that Pandora's radio share grew, but it's active users went down 2.7 million
* They also give no proof that Pandora's gains were Apples loss, as a matter of fact one might argue that iTunes Radio could have reminded some a Pandora users about the service and they returned to using the service.
* And this is just a single example. I constantly hear similar things about iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Services, etc.
V Siri is often a victim
* "Siri, is horrible”
* "Oh, you don't like Siri?”
* "Well I never really used it because I heard it doesn't work."
* Never trust anyone, and never trust a single source
* If you have the opportunity, try the product, software, or service yourself and form your own opinion.
V Don't Jude something by a single 5 minute interaction
* I often have find first impressions don't wind up being final impressions.
V Shuffling in iOS Music App by Genre
* iOS 7 has brought radical changes to not just the OS, but also many apps.
* As a result, not only the designs are changing, but how a lot of the functionality works too.
* In some cases that functionality might need to be re-discovered, but in others it seems to have been removed all together.
* That is what Tim noticed when he tried to Shuffle his music in Apple's Music app by genre.
* It was something that could be done in the last version, but in iOS 7 when you browse your genre's there doesn't seem to be any "Shuffle" option
* You can drill down in the genre to the 'Artist' level and then there is the "Shuffle" icon, but that's not what they want.
V Luckily, Tim discovered a workaround.
* In the 'Genre' view pull down to get the search box
* Start typing the genre, for example 'Jazz'
* Find the 'Genre' section in the results and tap the Genre you want.
* On that next screen pull down again to reveal the 'Shuffle All Songs' option for those results.
* It works, but not really convenient.
* There is also a bug that's on the search results screen where all the albums say, "Unknown Album" (when you drill in on the Genre results only).
V Jump to player App from Control Center
* Michael Johnston from We Have Communicators and creator of Applr has been lamenting the loss in iOS 7 of old-style pop-up music controls with the button that would take you to whichever app was playing audio.
* Luckily he discovered some secret areas in the Control Center media controls that perform the seemingly lost functionality
* You need to be using an app that plays media and would trigger the presence of the media controls in the control center
* As the content is playing, access the player and the tap the song title area.
* Michael reports getting the best results by tapping the song/audio title at the far left- or right-hand side of the screen
* If it works you should be transported right to the playing app. In the case of say the Music app, into the "Now Playing" screen.
V BBC iPlayer Review
* I had asked a few shows back for a review of the updated BBC iPlayer app because I had read they added support for Podcasts
* Now I assumed that meant it could possibly work as an alternative to Apple's Podcast app.
* I received many great reviews and while I can't play them all, this one from Tony was great and explains why, unfortunately, you won't be hearing this podcast in the BBC iPlayer app anytime soon.
* Play review from Tony.
V Why MOVs won't preview in OS X Mavericks
* I had some of you write to tell me of video playback issues with you video files after upgrading to OS X Mavericks.
* The two most common issues seem to be movies that no longer preview in the Finder or QuickLook or ones that were embedded in apps, like Pages or Keynote, that no longer play.
* To me it seemed like Apple has reduced the codecs they support in OS X Mavericks
* The guys at TidBits looked into it and think it's another attempt to move the feature sets of OS X and iOS into closer feature parity, which makes sense.
* It seems .m4v (H.264, MPEG-4) are cool, but some of the other .mov codecs might give you trouble in Sea Lion
* If you open one of these troubled files in QuickTime it will likely start "converting" it, if it can.
* If you have a player that support those codecs, like VLC or MPlayer, then you can still open the videos and play them, but until we get someone to write a QuickLook plug-in to support non-Apple supported codecs you're likely out of luck in the Finder.
V We also used to have apps like Perian, that would add codecs and allow playback in apps and QuickTime for video formats not normally supported out of the box, but alas Perian stopped working with QuickLook in Snow Leopard. I think a victim of Sandboxing though I have no proof.
* The Perian system preferences pane still seems to work in OS X Mavericks, so it's plugin may still work in QuickTime too.
V Closing
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V Thanks to my sponsors
* Smile
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V Gazelle
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