Maccast 11.26.2013 - Show #469
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
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V News
V iOS 7.1 Beta with developers
* Apple release a new beta of iOS 7 to developers a little over a week ago.
* iOS 7.1 beta, build 11D5099e
* iOS 7.1 beta 1 includes a number of bug fixes and performance enhancements.
* 9to5 Mac provided a lot of details on some of the more specific updates.
* There is a new closing animation in the pinch-to-close gesture on the iPad
V Accessibility updates
* A new toggle for ‘dark keyboard’
* Toggling bold text no longer requires restarting the device.
* The bold text option has also been added to the standard text size options
* Controls to better reduce transparency and increase contrast.
V Camera
* An option to upload ‘burst mode photos’ to Photo Stream for iPhone 5s users
* Auto 'HDR' mode which automatically select the best HDR photo from three exposures. Leave HDR on to keep all three
* indicator to let you know if the flash will fire in 'Auto' flash mode
V OS X 10.9.1 beta also out
* Apple also pushed an OS X Mavericks update to developers
* The update is listed as build 13B27 and Apple is asking developers to test Mail, graphics drivers, and VoiceOver accessibility.
* Some noted updates in the beta are improved compatibility with VPN servers in OS X Server. Also 10.9.1 Mavericks will now periodically updates Shared Links in Safari.
* The update also resolves a problem with VoiceOver when it is used to read emoji characters.
* 10.9.1 beta is available for registered App developers and available through Software Update or the Apple Developer Center.
V iBeacons making an appearance
* We are getting reports that Apple soon plans to provide shoppers with an enhanced experience in their retails stores using iO7s iBeacon technology
* iBeacons use low power Bluetooth 4.0 technology to provide GPS like location information, but at a more accurate level.
* Apple supposedly plans to install iBeacon transmitters in the stores that would work with the Apple Store app
* Walking near a product or display can then trigger an action in the app on the device. Automatically giving feature information, pricing, or even alerting customers to a sale on an item.
V Another company may have beaten Apple to rolling out iBeacon technology to consumers
* ShopKick, already has a shopping app that lets you flag items you want and then alerts you in store to offers on those products and others you might like.
* Now, according to TechCrunch, they running a limited test with Macy's in two cities, San Francisco and New York, installing their shopBeacon transmitters
* These would reportedly work in conjunction with the ShopKick app for iOS and Android.
* When a customer and walks past a beacon it can trigger an alert on their device
* The App even has an opt-in feature that can be set to allow a triggered beacon to automatically open the app and trigger an action.
* If the ShopKick test proves successful we will likely see the tech rolled out to their other retail partners in the US. Including companies like American Eagle Outfitters, Best Buy, Crate and Barrel, JCPenney, Macy’s, Old Navy, The Sports Authority and Target.
V So what do you think? Ready to have your iDevice notifying you about offers as you walk around the Mall?
* What about retailer tracking customer locations within retail stores?
* Can they be feed back to App analytics apps, like Flurry?
V Ready for bigger iPads?
* We've heard rumors of bigger iPads before and we are again. This time from the The Korea Times who says Apple's lined up a local supplier to make 12.9" iPad displays
* They also report that the displays will have a ultra high-definition (UHD) quality. They don't cite an actual resolution, but for reference Ultra high definition is spec'd at 3840 x 2160 pixels
V Some reports have claimed Apple could release a larger iPad in March, but Digitimes sources disagree.
* Boy Genius Reports says Digitimes supply chain checks have Apple place orders with Quanta Computer for a larger iPad model, but that the release is set for late in 2014.
* Digitimes tends to be hit and miss on Apple rumors, but leans more toward hit.
* In the same report though they claim Apple Inventec, Quanta and Foxconn to build an iWatch with they wanted to release in the first quarter of 2014, but that it has now been delayed to Q2
* To me, I still don't see a smart-watch as a viable product. The recent reports of the success, or more accurately non-success, of the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch seems to prove my point
* Likely Apple is developing a consumer wearable which the media is calling an "iWatch", but it's likely to be and do much more.
* I also think, like John Martellaro, that to be successful a wearable smart device will have to have functionality that allows it to operate autonomously. Features can be enhanced by another devices, but it needs to also be it's own thing.
V Bigger iPhones too?
* This is another rumor we have heard from multiple sources in the past.
* This time it's a Chinese blog that claims Apple is testing an iPhone 6 model with a 4.94-inch display
* This would seem to be in line with other reports like we've heard from KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo, that Apple intends to have a scaled up version of the iPhone, with a 4.5 to 5-inch screen, out in 2014
V Bloomberg has also reported that Apple will finally make a larger iPhone and they have also said it could offer a slightly convex curved glass display.
* Many have departed the merits of using curved glass with some going so far as to call it a design gimmick
* Recent reports though say that slightly curved glass displays can offer the benefit of reduced reflectivity which can help git the screen better perceived contrast and color accuracy
* The debates are now looking at what size Apple will land on, but the resolution is said to be 1,920-by-1,080
* While I get the reason why some people want a GigantiPhone. I don't think I'm one of those people. If Apple can do a 4.5-inch version without significantly increasing the form factor, that might be OK.
* I've never bought the "use one handed" argument, for me it's about not having to carry a man-purse for my phone or looking like I have a tablet stuffed down in my pants.
V Apple TV adds new 'channels'
* Apple quietly added Yahoo Screen! and PBS content to your Apple TV last week while you slept.
* Yahoo! Screen lets you view episodes, clips, and digital exclusives from providers like SNL, Comedy Central, ABC News, and Wired. They also have movie trailers.
* The PBS app offers PBS content, but get the most out of it you need to "Activate" the app by creating a PBS account or signing in with Facebook, or Google+
* Once registered the PBS app offers more content including regional content based on your selected local PBS station
* The new content is great and free, although I don't like the whole "activation" thing with PBS. Still it give even more functionality to Apple's current product which is great.
V Apple Glass Factory in Arizona
* Looks like Apple is moving forward with plans to build a Sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona
* We started getting reports earlier in the month that Apple wanted to buy an old Solar plant in the area and work to convert it so that their partner GT Advanced Technologies could run the plant and produce sapphire glass for the company.
* Apple uses Sapphire glass a component in iPhones, iPads, and iPods to cover the camera lenses and Touch ID sensors.
* Before buying the old factory Apple was looking to approval to have it re-zoned as a foreign trade zone. They wanted the area government to extend the zone at a nearby airport to cover the facility
* The re-zoning would allow Apple to save as much as 70% off their property tax bill. A good deal for Apple, but it also required approval of all the taxing authorities who receive money for those property taxes.
* All was going well until the last entity, the Gilbert Unified School District's, board reported had a meeting where is seemed like Apple might not get the final approval.
* After the board meeting an Apple spokesman reportedly told the board that several other states are vying for the deal and that Apple would move the project elsewhere if the trade zone designation was not approved.
* Whether that happened or not the approval came through supposedly after it was pointed out to the two refraining school board members that the deal would still bring an extra $2.5million in funding to the school district.
* In addition to the tax incentives the Arizona Commerce Authority apparently also offered Apple a a $10 million grant to come to the region
* Apple will apparently foot the bill for converting plant which is said to cost around $578 million and GT Advanced Technologies will reimburse the expenditure over the next 5 years.
* Reportedly Apple total investment will be around 1.5 billion and will still bring
* The project is estimated to bring over 700 jobs to the area plus an additional 1,300 construction jobs while the plant is being built.
V iMovie and iWork, get minor updates
V iMovie 10.0.1 was pushed out this week and is a maintenance update
* iMove 10 was part of Apple's big iLife and iWork updates that came out out along side OS X Mavericks
V The 10.0.1 release notes say the patch:
* Allows iMovie to be installed on computers with some older video cards
* Addresses reliability issues when updating projects and events from previous versions of iMovie
* If you're running iMovie 10 you can get the update through the Software Update tab in the Mac App Store.
V Apple also released some much needed updates to the new iWork '13 apps
* All three updates, Keynote 6.0.1, Pages 5.0.1 and Numbers 3.0.1, bring back the customizable toolbars
* The also all add stability improvements and bug fixes.
* Keynote 6.0.1 has seven new transitions and builds
* Pages 5.0.1 brings back center and edge guides which are now on by default
* Numbers 3.0.1 lets you set the default zoom level in preferences and preserves the window size and placements when you save a document
* The iOS versions were also updated.
* You can get both the iMovie and iWork updates for MAc via the Updates tab in the Mac App Store. The iOS version you can get from the Updates section in the App Store app.
V Apple will get $290 million from Samsung (maybe)
* When Apple won it's patent infringement case against Samsung back in 2012 the jury awarded damages of $1.05 billion.
* After a review of the sum Judge Lucy Koh threw out $450 million after finding the jury had improperly calculated that portion of the award
* The remainder of that settlement, $410 million had been in retail and this week a decision was reached in that case.
* Samsung was looking to have the award reduced all the way down to $52 million, Apple wanted $380 million out the the original $410 million.
* After two days of deliberation a jury decided to Samsung should be on the hook for around $290 million
* Samsung of course wasn't happy.
* After the settlement Samsung filed a motion for an emergency stay in the case pending the results of a PTO review of the pinch-to-zoom patent. The Judge denied that request.
* Now it's expected that Samsung, of course, will appeal the new judgement.
* As it stands now Samsung owes Apple $929 million in damages for infringing on iPhone and iPad-related patents, but that's for sure to change.
* Also with retrials, appeals, and new lawsuits for new patents we can be sure Apple and Samsung will be at this for a long time.
* Sigh
V Airport Update for 802.11ac models
* Apple has released AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.7.2 for the AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations with 802.11ac
* Fixes a bug that prevented a USB hard drive connected to an AirPort Extreme from being recognized as an available disk for Time Machine
* Resolves a problem that caused intermittent loss in WAN connectivity
* Addresses an issue that could result in a network loop
* If you have a compatible Airport Basestation, you can get the update by running AirPort Utility on your Mac or the AirPort Utility app on your iOS device.
V Your Mac Pro will be cheap
* The new Mac Pro is now on record as the most expensive desktop computer ever sold.
* No Apple didn't just up the price on the already premium priced model.
* Sotheby’s finished up their RED auction to benefit The Global Fund to fight AIDS which included several items designed by Jony Ive and Marc Newson
* The Ive/Newson RED Mac Pro went for a staggering $977,000
* Makes the $4000 6-Core model look like a bargain by comparison.
* The pre-auction estimates for the red Mac Pro were between $40-60,000, so it far exceeded the estimates. Which is awesome for the charity.
* Other items included a pair of Rose Gold Apple Earpods for $461,000 (estimate $25,000), a custom Leica Digital Camera for $1,805,000 (estimate $750,000), and The (RED) Desk for $1,685,000 (estimate $500,000).
* In total the even raised almost $13 million for the cause.
V Apple confirmed PrimeSense buy
* An Apple spokesperson told CNET that the company did in fact acquire the motion tracking sensor technology company PrimeSense
* These are the guys the developed the sensors for the original Microsoft Xbox Kinect
* Of course Apple declined to discuss any details or how they plan to use the technology.
* The deal is thought to be in the neighborhood of US$345 million.
* We know from statements he made that Tim Cook sees the sensor market as playing a big part in the future of technology
V The purchase has re-kindled a lot of speculation that Apple plans to create a TV product with a motion controlled interface
* Do we really want to Air Guitar control our TV sets?
* If Apple does move the Apple TV (set top box) into the gaming space a motion control accessory or system could be interesting
* There are some who also feel the technology could be integrated with future iMacs and Macbooks to allow motion control and may even makes it's way into iOS devices like the iPad
V Apple's makes Siri an iBooks shill
* TUAW found out something interesting can happen when you ask Siri to find you a bookstore.
* in addition to some responses like, "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
* In some cases she'll become a huckster for Apple's own iBookstore. Specifically adding, "If you don't find what you're looking for, give iBooks™ a try".
* I get that Apple is being cute and clever here with their marketing and some might find it endearing, but at the end of the day this is really like an ad for Apple in the OS and I find that disturbing.
* How far away are we from getting a response like, "I notice 'Thor' isn;t in your iTunes movies, would you like me to buy it for you?" when you ask for movie times for 'Thor: Dark Worlds'?
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Broken Twitter Share Autocomplete
* So last time we tried to help Todd with autocomplete on Twitter handles in Apple's Tweet Sheet in Safari
* The issue was that it would autocomplete some names, but not others. It would completely ignore many names of people he was actually following.
* I didn't have time to test but my theory was that it was pulling only from contacts that had Twitter handles assigned and I suggested running the 'Update Contacts…' option in the Twitter account from System Preferences > Internet Accounts pane (Mail, Contacts, and Calendars on pre-Mavericks)
* Well guess what? I was wrong…
* Play comment from Todd
* OK, so what's the secret sauce here? I did some googling and found others noting the same issue, but what's the fix?
* Where is this mythical auto-complete data coming from and how do you update it?
V Developers and your privacy
V I have been on several shows over the past week recommending a new trivia game that hit the app store called QuizUp
* The game is fun, really well designed, has some awesome features
* It is also social. It links with Game Center, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
V The app came under scrutiny over how it handles user data and Privacy
* A developer, Kyle Richter, was able to determine that the app was receiving and sending data, things like email addresses, genders, birthdays, location data, even your Contacts database (in some cases) in clear text.
* The sending contact data thing is similar to something that got Path into trouble, resulting in an $800,000 settlement with the FTC.
* Kyle wrote up a blog post about his findings after he notified the developers of the QuizUp app with his concerns about the security of the data and, according to Kyle, they failed to respond.
* Kyle notes in his blog post that he is also a developer of a Trivia app and started looking at QuizUp after he noticed they were using his apps name as a keyword in QuizUp's app store posting
* What he was at first curious about was the apps claim of offering "real time" game play, a feature that would be technically difficult.
* So he was looking at the traffic using some readily available tools and noticed that the app would, "send you other users’ personal information via plain-text(un-hashed); right to your iPhone or iPod touch.".
V I was able to do a similar trick and confirm Kyle's findings, but as you know I don't like to have just one side of the story.
* I had a private Twitter conversation with Kyle and totally get the concerns he raises in his post.
* The kinds of data being passed back and forth by this app would be a potential goldmine for the apps developers
V There is a point of clarification to be made for people who are less technical about HTTP traffic
* The data the app was sending was encrypted via SSL
* So the transmission of the data was encrypted from the QuizUp servers to the Device
* Once received on the device though the data that was received was in an open Plain text format.
* To access the data you would need to have access to a device
* The issue here though is that in QuizUp you can play random strangers and those people's info is received by your device and, if you know what your doing, you can get that data.
* In other words anyone could use their iPhone and the QuizUp app to scrape data from QuizUp users.
V It's also very easy to jump to conclusion and be reactionary.
* I was upset at finding out that the developers were sending this kind of data
* It seems unnecessary for the functionality of the app
* So then the question start to become, "why"
V And you can end up with many answers to that question depending on the assumptions you want to make
* If you assume the developers are evil then they are scraping your data and using it for some nefarious purpose, like sending spam, or marketing to all your Facebook friends or maybe worse
* If you assume the developers are good. Then you might conclude they simply made some kind of mistake and now aware of the issues will fix the problem.
* They reality is like more complex and the truth is we will likely not know the real answers.
V The developer, Plain Vanilla's, CEO Thor Fridriksson CEO did respond to TechCrunch
V “We never send or receive any data in plain text to our servers.”
* This is where the debate of SSL transmission vs. that data contained in the transmission is up to interpretation
* QuizUp says it is not retaining any contact data on their servers and that it was a mistake to send the data without hashing it.
* Fridriksson did admit that there were were security flaws in the way the app handled a user’s information saying it was due to "a bug in our third-party network library".
* QuizUp has already changed the kind of data and how they are sending from their servers (I was able to see that change)
* They also say they have a fix in App approval with App for many of the other security issues and bugs.
V So what happened here? Was it intentional or a series of bugs?
* We'll never know for sure
* I am probably naive or too trusting, but I lean more to it was unintentional. I like to believe most people are inherently good.
* I'm a developer and I see it all the time where to get data developers take shortcuts.
* They SELECT * from the database get all the possible data and then filter in the app. I hate that approach, but it's done all the time.
* The developer did respond quickly and says they are taking action to fix the concerns and issues. That's a good sign.
V So this brings up the question who do we want to trust and believe
* This is a personal choice
* My take has to always assume that if I have information on the internet and grant a app, website, or other entity access they have access to all of it and would use it for almost any purpose.
* Part of the concern here was that you were getting other players data, but this again was provided to the App when you signed up. Email address was required, so I assume that means QuizUp and anyone they would want to send it to would have my email address.
* If I'm OK with that, then I play. If not, I don't use the app.
* I generally don't Sign in to things with other services.
V Change OS X full screen background
* Mikael uses his iMac with an HDMI connected TV as a second monitor and watches Swedish TV shows in Safari
* For a better experience he goes full screen on the TV, but that causes the iMac monitor to display the new simple dark grey background.
* He would like to change that to black, but how.
* One thought I had would be, since Mavericks can now run two apps in full screen, would be to run another app, like a paint app, in full screen on the iMac monitor and have just showing a black canvas.
V I found a trick on Lifehacker that describes how to hack the Core Services Dock app to change the grey linen background.
* Basically you go to '/System/Library/CoreServices/'
* Then you right_click and 'Show Package Contents' on the
* Then go to '/Contents/Resources/' and find the 'defaultdesktop.png' and 'defaultdesktop2x.png' files and replace them with the pattern you want.
* You can also simply remove them and then in Mountain Lion, Mission Control and the Full Screen backgrounds will revert to the 'defaultdesktop.jpg' file that's found in '/System/Library/CoreServices/'
* But the 'defaultdesktop.png' files are no longer present in OS X Mavericks
* Do you know how Mikael might be able to get the second screen in full screen mode to be blacked out?
V Mavericks window loss
* Jason emailed me about an OS X Mavericks bug he ran into recently and his timing could not have been more perfect.
* Like the day before I ran into the exact same issue and it effects some of us who use Fast User Switching on out Macs.
* For those who don't know Fast User Switching is a feature in OS X that has been around for a while and it give you the ability to have multiple user accounts logged in on the same Mac at the same time and to move quickly between those accounts.
V To enable Fast User Switching:
* Open System Preferences > Users & Groups
* Click on Login Options
* Click the Lock icon and authenticate if needed
* Check the 'Show fast user switching men as…' option and set the drop down to your preferred style to appear in the menubar (Full Name, Short Name, Icon)
V Once it's on there is an item in the menubar (an icon or name depending on your settings) and you can click the to switch between accounts
* One desktop will "roll away" and you can log into the selected account.
* So the bug is that when you have open windows and apps in one account, fast user switch to a second account, and then return to the first account all those windows are pushed off the top of the screen.
* You can see just the bottom edge of the windows and there is no way to grab them and pull them back down.
* I tried activating the various Mission Control modes but the windows alway returned back to their original, off screen, positions.
* Jason found that sometime quitting and app and reopening it would restore the windows.
* The way I fixed it was to completely log out of the effected account and log back in.
V Jason through some research online found a quicker fix:
* Reposition the dock to a different side of the screen and back again will reset the location of the windows.
* So if you normal have it on the bottom, then move it to the side, then move it back.
* In Jason's case he said it happen to him all the time. In my case I have not been able to reproduce the issue since it happened that one time, so I'm not sure what the trigger is.
V Why the 64GB iPhone is not 64GB
* Neil wrote in because he noticed that since upgrading to iOS 7 when he views the Storage on his iPhone 5 under Settings > General > Usage he seems to be missing almost 7GB of storage
* On his device it shows 52.9 GB as used with 4.3 GB available.
* So he was wondering what happened since it wan't like that in iOS 6
V What you have noticed and maybe now iOS 7 is indicating where iOS 6 didn't (although I think it WAS the same even then) is two things
* The OS is taking up a specific amount of storage that not available for you to use and not show as available
* The difference in Apple GBs vs. actual GBs
* The first one is easy to understand. iOS 7 uses approx. 2GB or so of storage. So that leaves about 5GB unaccounted for.
* For the second one we look to Apple's iPhone Tech Specs page. Next to the storage there is a little "1" and checking the foot note it says: 1GB = "1 billion bytes; actual formatted capacity less."
* So Apple counts 1 GB as 1 billion bytes, but in reality it's 1,073,741,824 bytes.
* Apple is not counting 73,741,824 bytes of each byte.
* Doing the math there should be 68,719,476,736 bytes, but only counting 64,000,000,000 you end up with a total max storage of 59.604 GB.
* Subtract about 2 GB for the OS and you'd have 57.6 GB and so Neil's iPhone showing 52.9GB used and 4.3 GB available totals? 57.2GB, pretty close to the max 57.6GB.
* Mystery solved.
* So the reality is that the numbers the OS shows are estimated too low. They should be doing the math with 1,073,741,824 bytes per GB.
V Closing
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