Maccast 2014.05.07 - Show #487
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Connected Data
V Transporter
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V What is Transporter?
* Personal cloud storage, but what is that?
* It's a simple network device that you connect to your home network. You don't need to connect it to your Mac.
* It has a built-in hard drive or you can add your own.
* Install the Transporter Desktop software, set up an account and now you have your own Cloud server.
* It works just like the cloud services you're used to, but instead of a server in their data center the device is in your home on your network.
* So you get access to as all the storage of the internal disk or connected hard drive and no monthly bill.
V They just updated their iOS app adding a photo and video upload feature
* All you images and videos can be automatically uploaded to your Transporter when you're connected to the same Network as your Transporter.
* No more needing to remember to connect to iPhoto to backup your Camera Roll.
* Transporters come in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities. And they have the US$99.00 Transporter Sync if you want to use your own USB hard drive.
* Best of all Maccast listeners get 10% off ANY Transporter, up to $35 off, by using the code MC10 and $20 off a Transporter Sync using the code MC20.
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V News
V Mac OS X 10.9.3 close, 10.9.4 appears
V Apple on Tuesday seeded the latest version of its OS X 10.9.3 Mavericks beta
* Focus areas for build 13D55 include graphics drivers, audio, Safari, Mail and Contacts & Calendar syncing over USB in iTunes.
* Basically the same list of features that was in the build a week earlier. Sign we're getting close to a release
* Apple has provided its employees with the first seed of OS X 10.9.4. Codenamed “Epic,” 10.9.4
V What's next For both OS X AND iOS should be hinted at during WWDC next month
* Current feeling seems to be OS X 10.10, codename Syrah, will be the main focus
* "End-to-End" redesign, like the treatment that iOS received in the move to iOS 7
* Apple has reportedly been allocating iOS user interface resources to OS X teams in order to finish up the new design in time for WWDC
V Apple is expected to maintain the differences of desktop vs. mobile OS experiences. We're not going to get a unified OS ( yet)
* Finder, multi-window multitasking, and Mission Control are expected to stay
* I would assume we're getting more iOS like styling and design cues.
* But expect more seamless integration (Mac to iOS AirDrop please?)
* Apple has been trademarking names for California landmark locations like Yosemite, Mammoth, and Diablo
V Rumors for iOS 8
* The big one is the Healthbook App. Think Passbook style with integration for various health statistics from App Store apps and third-party medical/fitness devices.
* Public transit directions in Maps
* Stand alone iTunes Radio app.
* TextEdit and Preview apps? meh.
* Rumors that some features have been delayed to the iOS 8.1 update.
* Apple is said to be planning some significant changes to iCloud and it sounds like the focus is making building iCloud integrated apps easier and more robust for developers. FINALLY, let's hope.
V Shazam song identifying technology in Siri.
* My hope is this is "active" listening.
* Apple is WAY overdue to give developers a Siri API.
* A8 processor to focus on power efficiency, and I would hope GPU enhancements.
V Apple TV should reportedly get some love too soon
* No longer a hobby development is now a "priority"
* Gaming integration
* Apps on Apple TV
* Siri support and gesture controls.
V Will there be a hardware announcement
* Apple TV and iWatch have been rumored, but not likely.
* WWDC is historically a software focused event aimed at developers.
* The question is if they need to tip developers on new hardware so they can build apps to support it.
* I still say no, they will pull in select launch partner developers secretly. Those they may approach at WWDC, but we won't know who they ate until the hardware announcements in the Fall.
V iPhone 6, it's only a mockup
* And a fricken ugly one at that.
* The inkernets were a buzzin with story's and pictures of the iPhone 6 'mockups' this week.
* The mockup even has a ugly camera lens "bump" which latest rumors say might be nixed along with optical image stabilization.
* Here' the thing, it's only model.
* And what's up the ugly plastic antenna ring? Talk about antenna-gate. Jony needs to give back his license to design and relinquish his Knighthood if that's the design.
* It will be thinner, it will be metal and glass, it will be bigger and better.
* Beyond that, we don't fricken know.
* How big, how much better? How much faster, lighter, thinner? Pull your own wishes out of your butt and make a blog post because you're just as likely to be as right as the next guy.
V Small shipments of Sapphire glass started shipping from Apple partner GT Advanced Technologies last month and seem to be continuing
* Just about a 100 furnaces that are believed to be turned on and running, but they were supposed to be up to 1,500 additional furnaces in the first half of 2014.
* So far just about about $1 million worth of sapphire has been shipped to China, but when Apple moves into full production mode shipments are expected to reach $50 million a months worth.
* Not clear at this point what the glass is for though most assume for the iWatch or iPhone 6 projects.
V Apple supplier Pegatron has received 15 percent of orders for the 4.7-inch next-generation "iPhone 6," which is expected to launch in September.
* Speculation that Foxconn will produce the remaining 85 percent
* TSMC is also reportedly entered into production of Touch ID sensors for then next gen iPhone as well as updated iPads and iPad minis
V Apple has hired former senior Nokia Lumia engineer Ari Partinen, whom Nokia has in the past described as its "own camera expert."
* Responsible for the highly praised cameras in the Nokia phones
* Worked on their PureView technology for low-light photography.
V iPad still dominates, but just barely
* IDC’s latest numbers for table marketshare show Apple’s iPad is still on top, but not by as munch.
* Apple’s iPad made up accounted for 32.5 percent of all tablets shipped in the March quarter.
* And that beats Samsung by over 10% for the quarter, but Samsung’s year over year growth was up 31 percent while Apple’s growth declined 16.1 percent.
* Apple noted as much at it’s last quarterly conference call, but said much of the decline was due to high numbers the prior year quarter due to pent up demand from l that was fulfilled in the first quarter that year..
* Compensating for that Apple said the net decline would have more like three percent, but still it would be decline.
* Total tablet shipments for the quarter are estimated to have been 50.4 million units, up 3.9 percent from the 48.6 million shipped during the same period a year ago. showing that overall tablet growth seems to be slowing.
* Some are attributing the slowing to customers with larger screen phones delaying tablet purchases, maybe one reason why Apple is finally set to make a bigger screen iPhone?
* Keep in mind though that IDC also historically plays numbers games with the classification of what is or is not a tablet from year to real and will adjust the prior year figures based on the new classifications. Something AppleInsider does a great job of explaining.
* So reality for Apple is that it’s tablet business is actually growing, maybe not at the rates it was when it was new, but they ship more tablets year over year and still hold, for now, the majority share of the market.
* Tim Cook aptly pointed out that the iPad is the fastest growing product in Apple’s history.
V iWatch as a platform
* More and more we’re seeing stories to indicate that Apple’s entry into wearables is much bigger than just a Smartwatch
V If you just look at the acquisitions and hires you get
* Health and Fitness
* Medial and bio
* Sensors
* Sports apparel
* Fashion
* Now stories are shifting to say that Apple is building a platform around wearables that could be to Smartwatches and fitness bands what iTunes and the iPod were to music
* Think about it, Apple could build an integrated core hardware and software platform with a broad consumer appeal, but then let more specialized apps and devices tap into the platform.
* The more I hear and think about it, it makes a lot of sense.
* It’s in many ways similar also to the iPhone and iPod Touch where you have an entire app and accessory eco-system supporting Apple core devices and cornerstone Apps.
* They could even allow their own Healthbook app to get specialized "Cards" added in for more specialized 3rd party apps and sensors.
* There’s also potential of integration hospital and other medical systems.
V All this makes much more sense especially given data from a recent question-and-answer session done with current Smartwatch owners by the website Fixya
* They are an just an extension of the Smartphone and not stand alone devices
* Unreliable notifications, poor speakers and voice controls, bad battery life are cited issues.
* Also poor displays.
V Apple post data request guidelines
* Apple has published a new set of guidelines that detail how government entities and law enforcement agencies can request user data.
* Apple will provide information when required to do so "with a subpoena or greater legal process."
* The pages outline which kinds of information require simply a court order vs. which require something heavier like a warrant.
* One of the biggest things is that, when they can, Apple will start notifying its customers when it receives law enforcement data requests. The "when they can" part is key here though. The court order could block Apple from notifying, Apple also says they have discretion to not notify if doing so might create risk of injury or death to an identifiable individual or group of individuals. They also would not notify in situations where the case relates to child endangerment.
V Technology also limits the data Apple could disclose even when ordered to do so.
* They can provide SMS, photos, videos, contacts, audio recording, and call history from passcode locked devices.
* They cannot provide, email, calendar entries or third-party app data if the device is locked.
* Apple ID, including iTunes and App Store record. Also, customer service records and Apple's retail and online store purchase history
* Apple ID information could also include a customer's name, contact records, and iTunes gift cards.
* iCloud data including, includes backups, connection logs, and IP addresses. iCloud Mail logs for the past 60 days.
* Apple maintains that it is not able to remotely activate the Find My iPhone service remotely if a user has not activated the service themselves.
* Data extraction can only be performed on devices "in good working order" and at Apple’s headquarters.
* If served with a federal wiretap order, Apple will be able to intercept a users' email communications, but not iMessage or FaceTime communications, as they are encrypted.
V Apple looks to buy Beats
V The Financial Times reports that Apple is in late stage negotiations to acquire Beats By Dre
* both Bloomberg and the WSJ have confirmed the report through their sources
V According to the report Apple is offering $3.2 billion for the company
* That's a crazy big number. Not only more than Apple has ever spent to acquire a company, but more than known amounts they've spent on ALL acquisitions since the founding of the company combined
* The company's largest acquisition to date was the purchase of NeXT in 1996 for US$400 million.
V Of course the question is why?
* Beats is a high end consumer accessory, so that partially fits.
* Beats does have a large popularity with teens and young adults, a demographic that Apple wants to appeal to.
V Another angle could be the Beats Music service
* It's a streaming service like Spotify or Rdio
V It's unique angle is playlists created by musicians and music writers
* The secret sauce is said to be in the editorial team behind the service.
* Fans claim the music recommendations are better than on any other service.
* Apple has the #3 streaming radio service behind Pandora and Spotify
* Apple's iTunes Radio already has featured artist stations.
* Beats Music, which launched in January, hasn’t been a roaring success: Industry estimates put the company’s subscriber count at around 200,000 users
* The think is that typically licensing deals don't transfer with an acquisition, so Beats Music would only bring the technology and infrastructure, and team, for the service.
* If it closes, the deal should be announced next week
V Just hours after that story broke, New York Post was reporting that Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine is in talks to join Apple as a "special adviser" to Tim Cook on creative matters.
* Iovine is also the chairman of Universal Music Group's Interscrope Geffen A&M music labels, but his contract is will expire at the end of the year.
* Iovine worked on music marking stuff with Jobs and the iPod in 2002-2003 and claims he tried pushed Jobs into creating a subscription music service
* Iovine, with or without Beats, could be a good ally for Apple due to his deep ties to the music industry.
V Apple did acquire LCD company LuxView this week
* Apple is said to have bought low-power micro-LED maker LuxVue Technology, a deal that could lead to better and more power efficient displays in future devices from the company.
* It unknown what Apple paid, but the company did recently acquire 43 million in venture funding.
* The company holds patents that focus on LED displays with brighter pictures and lower battery consumption.
* Micro LCD have applications in small LCD screens, like something that could be used in say a wearable?
* Seems, just like they did for processors, they may be looking at pulling at least LCD design in-house.
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Feedback on cutting the cord
* Got a lot of comments from people who agreed with me that due to the hassles and fragmentation of content that completely cutting the cord at this point is difficult.
V Some noted that they are able to get by with over the air HD content
* Kirk uses an over-the-air DVR called the DVR+ from Channel Master. It has a Rovi programming guide to control recording schedules.
* He also points out a "HD" antenna is not required (he uses an old style one mounted to the chimney). While true the thing is getting OTA content with any antenna can be tough depending on your market.
V Darren pointed out that Noteburner can remove the DRM from iTunes Purchased content
* I’ve had other tell me about Noteburner in the past and not mentioned it for a few reasons.
* First, chances are for most people (depending on the laws in your region) removing the copy protection is illegal. For sure it’s a violation of the iTunes license.
V I’ve also tried it and the results for me have been less than stellar.
* At first i got errors, but that was fixed by disconnecting my external HP display which doesn’t support HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection)
* I also had to turn of auto-syncing my iOS devices on iTunes launch
* Even when I did that the conversion didn’t work every time.
* When it did the quality seemed pretty good on the video, but I had audio bugs, something Darren confirmed he gets in the latest version too.
V I’m pretty sure the way the software works is by hijacking the digital video signal after the OS authorizes playback and before it gets to the display.
* Probably why having a non-HDCP monitor connected caused it to freak out.
* Also why iTunes needs to be quit and then launches and quits when you start a conversion.
* For me, I just don’t like the complexity and fiddliness of all of it.
* I’m happy to live in the Apple eco-system that "just works" even if I’m locked in.
V NFC relevant outside the US
V Andrew says, here in Australia, NFC (we call it ‘PayPass’/‘PayWave') is used almost everywhere.
* We have PayPass BTW too, but retailers I’ve tried to use it with won’t let me.
* Supermarkets, department stores, gas stations, technology suppliers, fast food outlets (everything from McDonalds, KFC and Subway down to mum-and-dad fish & chip shops), hardware stores, taxi cab.
* I think in the UK it’s called chip-n-pin.
* in the US MasterCard and Visa have reportedly set a deadline of October 2015 to have the systems changed over.
* I don’t doubt the convenience and extra security of NFC systems
V So to be clear, I believe that Apple will have a touch-less payment system in their products, iPhone, iWatch, etc. I just don’e think it will be the NFC, chip-n-pin technology that we have today.
* Apple’s system would likely use a combo of Bluetooth-LE and iBeacons, plus TouchID (not a pin) for authentication, and be tied to your iTunes Account credit card (not directly run through the credit card companies).
* As for non-Apple devices? iTunes is cross-platform (if not cross device yet) Apple could allow the system on other devices (though unlikely).
V Retailers might also not want to support Apple’s system, so NFC may still find it’s way onto future iDevices.
* As another listener pointed out, the Broadcom chipsets could just have NFC in them anyway.
V OS X older printer support
* Play comment/question from Tim
* As far as i know it’s not that Apple would have to write the drivers, but printer manufacturers do have to distribute their drivers through Apple.
* Drivers are now all updated through Apple’s software updates as far as I know. My assumption is that it has something to do with the sandboxing that is now part of OS X.
V There is also CUPS (Common Unix Printing System)
* CUPS is the standards-based, open source printing system developed by Apple Inc. for OS X® and other UNIX®-like operating systems. CUPS uses the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) to support printing to local and network printers.
V CUPS has a web interface that can be accessed locally on your Mac at: http://localhost:631/
* Must be enabled by entering the command: 'cupsctl WebInterface=yes' in Terminal (Applications > Utilities > Terminal)
V As much as I’d love for Apple to have support for every printer, scanner, and peripheral out there, it’s just not practical
* Apple is currently very consumer focused
* I found it easier to upgrade to newer printers and scanners. (yes I HATE re-investing in ink)
V Some other solutions if you’re dealing with old technology
V Dedicate an older Mac and use printer sharing to make it a Network printer.
* System Preferences > Sharing
* Check on Printer Sharing.
* VueScan for older scanners
V Draw your own iPad Game
* I don’t usually just make software picks on the Maccast, but this is way too cool not to share.
* PixelPress did a Kickstarter a year ago for and app that would let you use a pencil and graph paper to design and draw your own 2-D side scrolling game.
* After you draw it, you would take a picture with your iPad and it would turn it into a fully functioning game.
* Well they got funded and it took a year, but "Floors" is now available in the App Store
* There’s a PDF with instructions and a special "grid" template with 3 - floors (levels) per sheet.
V You draw out the elements
* Platforms, hazards, coins, power-ups, etc.
* Then you "scan" it in with your camera to play test and add textures and more interactivity, like Enemies and Power-ups, etc.
V There are two stock "stories" (themes) for backgrounds, textures, and characters
* The company has plans to allow users to create and add their own "stories" at some point
* Right now only the iPad 3rd, 4th gen, Air, and Mini with Retina display are supported for the scan from paper feature.
* It also required iOS 7, but they are working on iOS 6 and Android support
* Free, with in-app purchase for Enemies and additional power-up design options.
V Closing
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V Thanks to my sponsors
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