Maccast 2014.12.18 - Show #509
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
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V News
V Next gen A9 chip production
* Over the past week we’ve been getting various reports of where and how Apple may be producing the A-series chips for their next round of products.
* First a report from Cult of Mac suggesting that GlobalFoundries, the largest foundry in the US, was via for the business
* Apple reportedly wants to move from 20-nanometers to 14nm in the next round and Global Foundries, TSMC, and Samsung all want in on the action.
* Currently it’s believed that the A8s are mostly made by TSMC with Samsung possibly filling in some.
* But TSMC is supposedly not willing to budge on Apple’s pricing demands for the next gen chips giving an opportunity to Samsung and Global Foundries.
* But will the A9s really get a Made in the USA label?
V AppleInsider reported that trial builds of the so-called "A9" chip using Samsung's 14-nanometer FinFET technology began this week, according to ETNews.
* The trail though is still happening in the US at Samsung’s Austin, Texas foundry
* Trials in the US may or may not mean US manufacturing even if Samsung gets the gig. Samsung also has lines capable of FinFET process production in Korea
V Apple about faces on App rejections
* Remember how last time we discussed the continued mess that is the App review process?
V Panic’s update to Transmit was rejected because it used the "Send To" feature to allow uploads to iCloud of files that came from other sources (apparently a no no).
* That decision was reversed shortly after several sites reported on the rejection
* Remember in Oct. a similar reversal happened for pCalc which had added a Notification Center calculator widget to it’s app.
V Also last week the not taking app Drafts was rejected because they added a Today widget that had a button that would open the app and create a new note with the contents of the clipboard
* They were told that Today widgets were only allowed to present information.
* Obviously not the case if a full calculator can be a widget.
* That decision was also reversed this week.
V New 'Made for i’ guidelines
V And while they are sorting out App guidelines Apple also appears to be putting tighter constraints on 3rd party case makers
* 9 to 5 Mac reported that manufacturers will need to ensure that a 1 meter (or 3.2 foot) drop from any orientation will not cause any damage to the phone, on its front, back, or sides if they want Apple’s seal of approval on the case.
* It’s an update to their "Made for i" program
* For the front glass for example a MFi blessed case must provide at least 1mm buffer between glass and a surface (or provide it’s own covering for the glass).
* The new rules also ban several case materials that are not environmentally friendly, although most on the list were already banned in the US and Europe
* Since all the "Made for i" means is a logo on the packaging it remains to be seen how much impact the new rules will have on case design or manufacturing.
* I think Apple might need to do more on a consumer awareness campaign around "Made for i"
V Apple also added the first guidelines for companies building CarPlay hardware
* The certification will only be allowed for in-dash units built into vehicles or through aftermarket installations and not for rear-seat or other integrations.
* The spec allows for docks or custom cable solutions using the lighting connector, though most existing solutions use a standard USB to lightning cable.
* There is a requirement for audio and noise cancellation features and Apple recommends at least 24 bit 48kHz audio, but will allow 16 bit at a lesser sample rate.
* Displays must be a minimum of 6-inch diagonal with a resolution of at least 800 x 480 and 30 Hz refresh rate
* And unlike cases, Car Play systems will require a "Made for i" certification. Speculation is that also means needing a special "authorization" chip from Apple to allow connectivity with an Apple device.
V 2015 the year of HomeKit?
* Cult of Mac had a piece about a Park Associates report that shows 2015 may be a big year fro Smart Home devices that to support from Google and Apple with technology like HomeKit.
* Their survey of 10,000 US households frond that 37 percent said they plan to buy one or more smart home devices next year.
* This year thermostats, like the Nest, were the most popular smart home purchase making up 27 percent of device sales in the first 3 quarters of 2014, but the Park study claims smart lights will grab the most popular title in 2015 followed by Smart Appliances and power strips.
* The study also says retailers will be devoting more shelf space to connected devices and that some Best Buy stores will set aside 800 square feet to connected home products like bulbs, thermostats, security cams, sprinkler controllers, smoke detectors, door bells, etc.
* In my opinion the trouble right now is all these system are separate and interconnecting them, while sometimes possible, is a nightmare for consumers.
* HomeKit has the promise of a solution, but it will take developers and device makers adopting and integrating with it to make it work
* If the Health devices support for HealthKit is any indicator the adoption and support will probably happen more slowly than most of us would like.
V Apple wins iPod anti-trust case
* Last week an almost 10 year old anti-trust case against Apple finally went to trial
* As the trial was progressing The Wall Street journal reported on testimony from a former iTunes engineer Rod Schultz who said he worked on a project to block non-iTunes clients and shut out third-party music providers competing with the iPod.
* Since the case claimed that Apple was using their position in the market to block out competition the statements seemed damning at first.
* As Schultz continued though he restated the company line that Apple’s hand was forced by the record labels who demanded that Apple take steps to block any music copying and to keep the iPod locked down
* Schultz was the closing witness and I guess his testimony did little to help the plaintiffs. After less than 24 hours after deliberations the jury decided Apple was not guilty of violating antitrust laws.
* The jury was also unanimous on the decision.
* And the wins for Apple didn’t stop there. You may also remember from last time that the media was seeking to gain access to a video-taped deposition given by Steve Jobs related to the case.
* A District Court Judge ruled that the tape should not be handled as judicial record and will therefore not be made public.
* The tapes were made just prior to Steve’s death and are said to be one of Jobs' last filmed appearances.
* Since written transcripts of the taped interview were already available I think there was no need to see the actual tapes. The media tried to argue that the videotaped testimony is "far more compelling".
V Apple Pay gears for Expansion
* Apple has said it’s already "working hard" to bring Apple Pay to additional countries.
* iClarified noted a new job listing for an Apple Pay Intern that included the statement that Apple Pay is "set to expand across Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa."
* Also the intern would have a position working with the London-based Apple Pay team that is working with issuers, payment networks and merchants across Europe.
* Apple also posted a position for a Shanghai-based Apple Pay Site Reliability Engineer according to AppleInsider. Indicating that the company is also working on expanding into Asia and China too.
* The listings offer no insight into with order in which the service might roll out across other countries, nor do they give a timeline, but representatives from Visa have made statements that they have been working with Apple to roll out Apple Pay across Europe in 2015.
* It’s also already been reported that Apple Pay users with US based credit cards can use Apple Pay at NFC-supported point-of-sale systems in other countries.
V In the US Apple now says they have Apple Pay support for the cards representing about 90 percent of the credit card purchase volume.
* In the 10 percent is my Chase Business MasterCard. Only Visa is supported by Chase.
* McDonalds reported that in November Apple Pay accounted for 50 percent of their tap-to-pay purchases.
* Apple continues to add more and more bank support and the Amway Center, the home of the Orlando Magic basketball team, just announced support for Apple Pay.
* I love Apple Pay and use it whenever I can. I’m also actively trying to avoid retailers who don’t support it was my own small personal way of self protest.
V A significant tax change is also coming for Apple customers in Europe
* Apple has reminded developers via iTunes Connect that after the first of the year the value-added tax (VAT) rate policies will change
* Right now Apple charges a flat VAT across the EU fro iTunes app purchases. This is despite the fact that across the EU VAT rates vary widely.
* After the first of the year everything will change to customers paying VAT based on their country of residence.
* This means that in high VAT rate countries like the UK customers can expect app prices to go up to reflect the higher rate.
* The increases, or decreases, will not impact developer revenues since those are calculated based on the pre-tax price.
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V TouchID and 5th Amendment
* Last show I had some stories about encryption and the iPhone. Specifically the DOJ saying Apple’s encryption was too secure and that it was hindering law enforcement.
* We also touched on Touch ID and I brought up a story about a boy who "borrowed" his dad’s fingerprint while he was sleeping so that he could play angry birds and commented that I didn’t law enforcement could force someone to unlock via TouchID because of the 5th Amendment which protects against self-incrimination
* Several of you pointed out that TouchID might not be covered by 5th Amendment protection because a precedent set by a judge in Virginia last October
* A piece on Mac Rumors had the details, but basically the judge ruled that a fingerprint is similar to other physical evidence like a key or DNA sample, so a person could be compelled to provide it when requested by law enforcement
* The claim is that the 5th Amendment would only protect "memorized" information like passwords and passcodes.
* The thing is, because how TouchID works it’s likely that in most cases you’d still get the 5th Amendment protection. To use TouchID you have to set a passcode and if your device has not been unlocked via TouchID for 48 hours it will require a passcode anyway.
* It’s also just one precedent and that doesn’t mean that a higher court couldn’t overrule this decision or another judge might rule differently in a similar situation.
V Mac network service order
* Last show Gary had sent in a comment about dictation commands and he also had a question about instant hotspot that I wasn’t really able to help with.
* The issue was that with instant hotspot now in OS X Gary now has the hotspot turned on his phone all the time. That way it’s convenient when not connected to wi-fi to be able to simply connect to his iPhone Hotspot from the wi-fi menu on the Mac.
* The trouble is the hotspot also turns on when he tethers his iPhone to his Mac to sync. When you do that and have the hotspot feature on your mac and use the network connection over USB.
* Gary was worried that it could be possible that, even thought he’s already connect to his home network via wi-fi, the tethered connection my continue to use his cellular data.
V One thing I thought of, but didn’t have time to test out, and Bruce emailed me about was the 'Set Service Order' option in the network settings on the Mac.
* In System Preferences > Network
* Look at the list on the left. You’ll see things like 'Ethernet', 'Wi-Fi', etc. That order (top to bottom) should be the order that your data connections are used. "Green dots" are active, but the system should "prefer" the topmost one first and only send data over lower ones if there is an issue with higher ordered ones.
* You can change the order by clicking the "cog" (settings icon) at the bottom of the window and choosing, "Set Service Order…". Then drag the active services to order them.
* I have not run any tools to verify the Mac only uses the wi-fi, and nor the iPhone USB, when connected to both, but Bruce says he has and this method should work.
V The thing is the tethered iPhone still does make a connection and you get the blue Personal Hotspot "connected" bar on the iPhone.
* Bruce's tip got me thinking though and if this still bothers you Gary you can take it one level deeper.
* You can remove the "iPhone USB" connection option from your Mac completely
* In System Preferences > Network, select the iPhone USB option, click the "-" (minus) at the bottom, then click "Apply".
* That will remove the "tethered" personal hotspot connection completely, but when you are not tethered if personal hotspot is turned on you can still connect and use your hotspot over wi-fi or bluetooth.
V A final reminder from Bruce is to clean up your public "known" hotspot connections.
* In System Preferences > Network
* Select the "Wi-Fi"
* Click "advanced"
* In the "Wi-fi" tab you’ll see the list of "Preferred Networks"
* Select any you no longer visit or use and tap the "-" (minus) button to remove them.
* If you want to prevent them from being "remembered" completely in the future then uncheck the "Remember networks this computer has joined" option. Just not that as long as it’s unchecked no network you join will be remembered, so if you want them to be you’ll have to add them manually from this screen using the network name (SSID).
V Does turning off iCloud have to be frightening?
* Peter Cohen wrote up a piece at iMore this week addressing something that has bothered me for a long time.
* Turning off iCloud services is a terrifying ordeal and mostly because of the alert messages Apple has chosen to display.
V Like Peter I’ve made the choice on occasion to turn off iCloud syncing to help troubleshoot something and every time my heart leaps into my throat
* System Preferences > iCloud
* Uncheck the box for say Calendars and you get:
* "If you stop using iCloud for Calendars, calendars stored in iCloud will be deleted from this Mac. Your calendars will still be available on other devices using iCloud. And the only button scare the default "Delete from Mac" or "Cancel"
* Things are a little better for Contacts since it does have a "Keep Contacts" option.
* iCloud drive also warns that all iCloud documents will be deleted from the Mac.
* If you actually read the messages and think it makes sense and it’s sort of clear that once you re-connect to iCloud your data will sync back to your Mac, but even knowing that it gives me pause every time I do it.
* It’s really that word "Delete" because it sounds so permanent.
V I’m so paranoid that many times I will go into Mail, Contacts, or Calendars, in advance and make extra backups just in case.
* Calendar > File… > Export > Calendar Archive…
* Contacts > File… > Export > Contacts Archive…
* This is despite the fact that I have Time Machine, Super Duper, and Crash Plan backups of all that data as well.
* Not sure what Apple could do it tone down the messages or why I don’t trust that iCloud will reliably sync back the data once I re-enable sync. I guess I worry that in turning it back on it will say, oh this Mac has no contacts and therefore I need to sync nothing to all other devices (yes, i know it doesn’t work that way but still I have that fear).
* I’m sure some of it’s history. Syncing is a tricky thing and it’s not always reliable. If you’re like me and ever had to recover from a sync gone wrong then I think you’re also overly suspicious and less trustful of syncing.
* As Peter concludes in his piece the process is intimidating and "Intimidating" should never be a word that we associate with the Mac (or iOS) user experience.
V Changing Mail swipe gestures
* Here’s a cool tip that Jeff Gamet wrote up over at the Mac Observer
V In iOS 8’s mail app there are swipe gestures on the message list.
* Swipe left to archive or trash a message
* Swipe right to mark as read.
* Swiping left part way and stopping lets you access the 'More, Flag, and Archive or Delete' options
V You can actually control the swipe behaviors
* Tap Settings
* Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars
* Tap Swipe Options
* Swipe left can be None, Mark as Read, or Flag, so you are controlling the middle option.
V Swipe right can be 'Mark as Read, Flag, or Archive
* The cool thing on this option is if you pick 'Archive' on an account that has 'Archive' as the default option, like GMail, then the action becomes 'Trash'.
V Fixing a Safari pop-up DOS
* Charles emailed me in a panic because he had an issue where a member of his family had visited a legitimate site, but as they were surfing it they suddenly got a pop-up alert about maleware.
* The pop up dialog said, "Chrome alert. Suspicious Activity Detected. Chrome may get stuck as an anonymous activity has found. To fix, please call our Support at 888-XXX-XXXX(Toll Free) immediately."
* Behind that pop-up box was a red window with a white box with a Chrome logo and in big black letters it said, "Reported Phishing Website Alert. Your network has been monitored. Your network has been compromised due to a browser hijacking.
The browser hijacking SOFTWARE may redirect you towards phishing websites that try to access your login, password details. To fix browser redirection we recommend you ask for instant help” Help Line 888-XXX-XXXX
* Worse when clicking "OK" on the dialog it just popped back up the same dialog. Effectively DOS-ing Safari.
V Obviously the pop-ups were just malicious Javascript controlled by something on the page of the legit site.
* Possibly the legit site had been hacked and the code inserted.
* More often these days I see this stuff get in via banner ad network code.
* The trouble for Charles was that quitting Safari did no good because of the feature in OS X that reopens any windows or tabs that were open at the time you close an app.
V Here’s the trick i offered to help Charles, and this works for any app you want to quit, but not have the open windows re-open on the next launch.
* Hold down the 'Option' key when choosing 'Quit'.
* When you do that the 'Quit' option should now say 'Quit and Close All Windows…'
V If you see, 'Quit and Keep Windows' instead it means you change the default preference at some point so that apps don’t reopen with open windows. You’re old skool like me.
* System Preferences > General
* Check the 'Close Windows when Quitting Application' option
* This is global for all apps.
V Closing
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