Maccast 2015.02.11 - Show #515
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Audible
* We are all pressed for time these days and so if you’re like me sitting down to read a book might not always be an option. That’s just one reason why I love Audible.
V I can do other things as I get to listen to the books I’ve been wanting to read.
* Driving in the car, doing work around the house, or catching up with a chapter or two at the end of the day.
* So I can listen for long periods or just a little and come back to it when I have time.
* Their library is huge, over 150,000 titles across every category imaginable. I’ve never had any issues finding what I want. They even have exclusive titles you won’t find anywhere else.
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* Their iOS and Android apps are also great and if you have the same title on Kindle or in the Kindle app Whispersync for Voice lets you switch back and forth between reading and listening without ever losing your place or missing a word.
V The best part of all is that you can try out Audible free for 30 days and get a free audiobook.
* And if you’re worried about which book to get, don't
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* We now know the Steve Jobs movie based on the Walter Isaacson biography will be out in October, so now would be a great time to catch up or re-listen to get ready for the film. You can pick that title or any other in their huge library right now.
* Just go to to sign-up
V News
V Apple’s New Green Initiatives
* Apple appears to be making good on it’s promise to do something with the failed GT Advanced sapphire glass factory in Mesa, AZ.
* Word came in last week that Apple plans to invest over $2 billion in the facility over the next 10 years turning it in to a "global command" data center.
* It would become the "hub" for Apple’s four other US based data centers.
V One thing Apple promised was to bring back some of the jobs that were lost in the region when GTAT was forced to shut down. According to Apple the investment in the new data center will, when completed, add over 600 engineering and construction jobs.
* 300 to 500 of those would be jobs created during the construction
* The facility will also create 150 full-time positions.
* While it’s great that the construction will generate so many temporary jobs, the 150 permanent positions of the new data center will fall short of replacing the over 600 positions that were lost when GT Advanced shut it’s doors.
* Apple has also pledged that the facility will use 100 percent renewable energy and will help finance and build a new 70 megawatts solar power farm.
* Apple is still waiting for GT Advance to sell off the large sapphire furnaces that are housed at the facility and construction is due to start by late 2016, possibly earlier.
V Tim Cook also announced that Apple plans to build a massive $850 million solar farm in Monterey County, CA
* He made the announcement during the Goldman Sachs Technology conference call, stating that it’s Apple’s "biggest, boldest and most ambitious project ever,".
* It’s a 1,300-acre project and Cooks said it will generate enough power for nearly 60,000 California homes.
* Apple 9to5 Mac notes that the facility will offset all of its California operations including 55 retail stores, its entire under construction Campus 2, its other offices in California, and at least one of its data centers.
* The project is in partnership with First Solar and Apple will receive electricity from 130 megawatts (MW)AC of the solar project under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
* Macworld notes, it doesn’t mean Apple’s stores and offices will consume power directly from the plant.
* They says it’s likely the benefit to Apple is locking in a low, fixed rate for renewable energy, and probably also obtain renewable energy certificates to offset its carbon footprint.
V Apple preps retail for Apple Watch
* Sources claim that with all the "gold" Apple will be housing in their stores when the Apple Edition Watches arrive at retail they are having to significantly beef up security.
* They basically will overnight become a kind of high end jewelry store and need the safe storage to go with it.
* Reports are that Apple is planning to add specially designed safes that will keep available inventory and also protect display units overnight.
* The safes will also contain built in Apple Watch MagSafe chargers to make sure demo watches are charged up overnight and ready for display the next day.
V The sales floor and selling processes for Apple Watch will also reportedly bring changes in Apple retail
* Apple is getting ready to re-organize Apple Store shelving areas to make room for Apple Watch display tables.
V They are also supposedly training employees and developing ways better demonstrate Apple Watch and it’s features and benefits to customers.
* Things like the ability to try on different styles, bands, and option in store before making a purchase decision.
* Apple also plans to send two employees from from many of its stores to training sessions in both Cupertino, California and Austin, Texas. Those employees will then return home and train the employees at their local Apple Stores.
V In addition to the changes for Apple Watch, it’s said that retail chief Angela Ahrendts plans other changes
* Possibly the addition of new seating areas where customers can sit and relax. This would be great for folks stuck waiting on a Genius Bar appointment.
* Due to space limitations not all store may get the new seating but it’s believed Apple is preparing a pilot program for select stores in the U.S. and Europe this spring.
V Another small change you might notice this month at an Apple Retail store, the employees are back in blue
* Either crew neck or polo shirts, long or short sleeved, with a smaller Apple logo centered over the heart.
V iOS 8 and OS X updates continue to roll
V iOS 8 adoption rates are good and continue to rise but they still trail the rate of adoption of iOS 7.
* The latest App Store Distribution data shows, 72% of iOS devices are now running iOS 8 with a quarter of devices running iOS 7 and a just 3% of users running iOS 6 or earlier versions
* For comparison iOS 7 reached about an 85 percent adoption rate over a similar period of time when it was released in 2013.
* Some of that might be due to some early stumbles and bad press, but Apple seems to be on an aggressive path to fix what’s wrong and change that.
V Apple released iOS 8.3 Beta to developers
* And no, you did not miss the 8.2 update. The fifth version of that beta was just released to developer last week.
* 8.3 removes the "beta" label from iCloud Photo Library and it offers new wireless CarPlay features. Also a new "scrollable" emoji picker with categories.
* 8.3 also came with Xcode 6.3 beta with Swift 1.2. Swift is said to have big changes and performance improvements.
* Xcode 6.3 has enhancements to ease interoperability between Swift and Objective-C code.
V MacRumors also claims to be seeing iOS 8.4 in their logs. Likely Apple internal builds.
* Speculation is that iOS 8.4 might bring Apple updated Beats Music services to iOS (more later)
V We are also now hearing some rumors that iOS 9 could be a mostly "no new features" release focusing on "stabilizing and optimizing the operating system", at least that’s what 9to5 Mac thinks.
* They say the release is codenamed "Monarch" and Apple is putting a “huge” focus on fixing bugs, maintaining stability, and boosting performance
V Developers also got a first look at Photos with the OS X 10.10.3 beta
V Photos
V New cleaner "Yosemite" style look. White and transparent
* I think this is not idea for photo viewing and hope they add a "dark" option
* According to Jason Snell, developers are reporting signs that Apple has built this new app using something called UXKit.
* iOS has had UIKit, but there hasn’t been anything similar on the Mac. UXKit might be that link making it easier for devs to bridge the gap between iOS and the Mac.
* Tabs at top for Photos, Shared, Albums, and Project. "Import" also appears when you have a connected device.
* The sidebar is still there and can be turned on, but is hidden by default.
* Scrolling and navigating large libraries is said to be vastly improved.
* Like the Photo app in iOS images are organized in Years, Collections, and Moments views
V Shared section for accessing iCloud Photoshares and Photostream
* Option for iCloud Photo Library, but not required
* Albums has access to All Photos, Faces, Last Import, Favorites, Panoramas, Videos, Slo-mo, Time-lapse, and Bursts. Also any personal Albums you’ve created.
* "Info" is now a standard floating palette.
* Editing tools are like iOS 8 edit tools and do have a "dark" look.
* "Adjustments" have a "preview" slider with image effect applied under the slider indicator.
* Early community impressions seem generally positive.
V Like the first version of Final Cut X, this version of Photos seems to be lacking many "Pro" features. I full expect we’ll be hearing from jilted Aperture users (Apple will get a ear full too).
* Apple has confirmed that Aperture will be removed from the Mac App Store when the Photos for OS X app launches.
* Those who have previously purchased Aperture will continue to be able to download it from the "Purchases" tab.
* The iCloud Photo Library beta FAQ was recently updated to say the app was coming at a "later date" instead of "early 2015."
* David Pogue, there will be a public beta of Photos in a few weeks, but seems like if you’re already in the Apple OS X Yosemite Public Beta, you may be able to log in to ADC and get it now.
* Better support for Google accounts with 2-Factor authentication enabled.
* New "emoji" picker. Single scrolling pop-up. Space for new "skin tone" variants.
V The Apple Van Mystery
* I know it sounds like an episode of Scooby Doo. "And we totally would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for that meddling blogger and his crazy iPhone".
* Reported by a CBS affiliate in Concord, CA a local news blog captured an image of a Dodge Caravan driving around with a crazy camera contraption on the roof.
V A little digging discovered the van was indeed leased to Apple leading to speculation as to what the vehicle could be doing
* The local news blogger noted that the Apple car looked similar to a self-driving Dodge Caravan spotted in New York in September 2014.
* But to me a more rational explanation was it was for a "street view" like mapping project.
* Tech analyst Rob Enderle was contacted by the CBS affiliate and he agreed claiming that the van had "too many" cameras to be used for mapping and that the cameras were "angled down at all four corners of the vehicle" leading him to concur with the blogger that it was some sort of self-driving car project
V Needless to say this has stirred a big debate in the Apple community.
* The "too many" camera argument is out in my book. Mac Rumors noted that Goggle’s Street View vehicles use 15 cameras, this van had 12.
* Apple is not one of the six companies who have a permit for testing driverless cars. Enderle dismissed this saying Apple may simply be in partnership with one of the companies who does.
* The vehicle also appeared to be fitted with a LiDAR sensor which can be used to make high-resolution maps and is also a part of many self-driving vehicle sensor systems.
* AppleInsider readers report sightings in Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Panama City, Panama too.
V Tesla CEO Elan Musk claims Apple has been trying to hire their engineers
* Offering as much as 250K signing bonuses
* Seems to be working in reverse. Musk claims very few Tesla employees have jumped ship, yet they’ve hired more than 150 of Apple’s former employees.
* Some say this adds credence to self-driving car rumors, but I think battery technology and in-car systems like Car Play seems more likely.
V According to BusinessInsider, an Apple employee wrote to say that his group was working on something that will, "give Tesla a run for its money."
* And Bryan Chaffin over at The Mac Observer, claims his sources are 80 percent certain that Apple is working on a car, not just car related technology.
V More on Apple’s return to Samsung
* This time it’s Re/code saying Apple is indeed turning back to Samsung for it’s A9 series production
* The chips expected to power and new Apple iPhones and iPads coming out in 2015.
* The final blow in the battle between TSMC and Samsung had reportedly all come down to the nanometers
* In December it was reported that Samsung was already doing trial runs of a new A9 design using their 14nm process.
* TSMC was also allegedly doing trial production, but they used a 16nm process.
* Smaller nm processes tend to result in more energy efficient and cooler running processors. Both very good attributes in mobile processors.
V It’s interesting to note that Apple’s long time chip partner ARM recently announced a new processor built on a 16nm design
* the Cortex-A72 designed to run at up to 2.5GHz
* Combined with ARM’s ARM’s Mali-T880. The company claims the new mobile chip brings “console-class gaming performance,” to mobile. (something Apple arguably already has with the A8 and technologies like Metal).
* Since the A6 Apple no longer uses stock ARM processors, but uses their own designs and GPUs and are based on the ARM instruction sets.
V KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, says Apple’s next iPhone will feature an improved TouchID sensor for better Apple Pay security.
* Also reduced reading errors for an improved user experience.
V And Apple’s big quarter number just keep giving.
* Apple accounted for 93% of smartphone profits in Q4 2014 reports Canaccord Genuity’s
V Apple’s plans for Beats Music
* 9to5Mac says that Apple might be planning to bring the Beats Music service to more users by offering deeper integration with it’s existing Music software.
* They claim Apple wants to integrate Beats into iTunes on the Mac and the Music app on iOS
* They also say the updated service would be available for Apple TV and Android as well.
V The new service would still be subscription based but take on a more native iOS look
* Centered around the users music library it would still be a steaming service
* Search and play any song in the Beats/iTunes Music catalog.
* Can stream from the catalog or your own Music Library
* Deeply integrate Beats Music’s Playlists, Activities, and Mixes features into the new service. Giving you the advantage of Beats human curated playlists.
* Current Beats users will be able to merge their accounts into their iTunes/Apple ID account and bring their content with them.
* Beats would lose it’s black and red design and take on a more integrate iTunes and Music app feel.
* New social features for sharing music and playlists with friends.
* Apple's new subscription-based service is expected to cost $7.99 per month, lower than the $9.99 currently offered for Beats.
V Interestingly the report says that Apple will continue their iTunes Radio and iTunes Match services, along with the iTunes Store and the new Beats offering.
* I get iTunes Radio, but if I can access my entire library from Beats and more, why keep iTunes Match? (price?)
V Hints at Apple Event Updates Soon
* Some sites have been hinting at an upcoming Apple event to announce Apple Watch or iPad Pro, or new Macbook Airs (or all of the above), but dates and details are sketchy at best.
* Regardless here are the rumors that are stirring
V Macbook Air refresh
* AppleInsider says we might see these on or around Feb. 24th
* Expected to be a refresh of the line with new Intel Broadwell chips, but not a debut of the rumored 12-inch Retina macbook Air
* Apple could choose the 2.2GHz Core i5-5250U, a 1.8GHz Core i5 chip, or a 2GHz Core i7 variety.
* This would be a "quite" update, so no big event or splash.
* We could still see an 12-inch Retina Macbook Air, but most don’t expect it before March.
* With Apple Watch on board for an April debut according to Tim Cook, it’s possible we could see a March event with the new Air and Watch sharing the spotlight
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Lost iPhone mode and activation locks
* Play message from Gary.
V Good news is starting today US carriers have to unlock eligible phones. AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, and U.S. Cellular are all on board.
* Carriers must respond to unlock requests within two business days
* In 'Lost Mode' the device will immediately lock it with a passcode, display a custom message on the screen, and keep track of its location.
* Lost Mode requires the 'Find My iPhone/Mac' service to be active on the device.
V Notes on Lost Mode
* When your device is in Lost Mode, it doesn’t display alerts or make noise when you receive phone calls, messages, or notifications, or if any alarms go off.
V If you put your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in Lost Mode and you have credit and debit cards in Passbook for Apple Pay, Find My iPhone attempts to suspend your cards immediately, even if your iPhone is offline
* To resume using your suspended credit and debit cards, turn off Lost Mode, then sign back in to iCloud.
* If you lock a Mac, you won’t be able to locate it if it isn’t near a previously used Wi-Fi network, and you won’t be able to erase it remotely.
* Lost mode will let you set a passcode on the device when you enable it if it did not already have one assigned.
* Having 'Find My iPhone' enabled on an iPhone enables the 'Activation Lock' feature.
V With Activation Lock, your Apple ID and password are required before anyone can:
* Turn off Find My iPhone on your device
* Sign out of iCloud on your device
* Erase and reactivate your device.
* Lost mode is a better option to use while you are attempting to track and recover a device. Once you’ve kicked in the 'Erase all content' option then tracking is no longer possible.
* With a passcode lock will keep the device hardware encrypted when the device is locked. This feature is on iPhone 3GS and later, all iPad models, and iPod touch (3rd generation and later).
V Blank Apple support screens
* This one is a quickly, but recently in Safari I’ve had an issue when following links from Google to Apple Support articles
* When I click through all I get is a blank white screen
* I read somewhere that this is a bug in Safari with Apple’s support pages where the Apple cookie in your browser can cause an issue.
V Clearing your Apple cookies in Safari should fix it. It worked for me.
* Safari > Preferences
* Click on the 'Privacy' tab
* Wait and under the 'Remove All Website Data…' button you’ll see a smaller 'Details…' button. Click that.
* In the search field type: ''
* Select the '' item in the results
* Click the 'Remove' button and then 'Done'
* Close the preferences window and reload the Support article.
* You could do Safari > Clear History and Website Data. Select 'All History' and clear everything. Less steps, but then you lose everything.
V Unrecoverable iTunes purchases
* I recently was troubleshooting a sync and storage issue on an iPad mini.
* As one of the steps I need to remove the music and media files from the iPad and then re-sync from iTunes.
* I had first connected the iPad and also backed it up and sync’d any data. At the time it did warn me that the iPad had "purchased" content that wasn’t sync’d to the Mac, but I figured syncing and backing up would cover that.
* I then removed the content from the device, did a few other resets, and then proceeded to sync the data back from iTunes.
* Trouble began though when I went to re-sync Audiobooks. They were not there in iTunes and I had purposefully removed them from the iPad. I’m guessing these were the "unsync’d purchases"
V No big deal right? I’ll just re-download from my purchased content in the iTunes Store. Nope. Audiobooks and Ringtones are NOT re-downloadable.
* To be fair many of these warning and restrictions are easy to learn about, but still I had somehow missed it.
* Luckily I was able to find my original order numbers for the four audiobooks I was missing and an Apple Support chat session helped me get them recovered.
* Still knowing a few things could have kept me out of trouble.
V Make sure to transfer purchased content into iTunes
* This will make sure that copies of Ringtones and Audiobook are copied from your device into your ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media folder
* With your device connected in iTunes, select it, Then go to 'File' > 'Devices' > 'Transfer Purchases from [device name]'
* You need to do this for each individual device that you have purchased Audiobooks from since they are not transferrable between devices (at least not automatically).
V After you transfered them they should be in the ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Audiobooks folder
* You’ll then want to make sure this folder is part of your backup plan.
V This is also a good time to remind you of the dangers of not backing up your iTunes Purchases
* Even for things that are "purchased" there is no guarantee from Apple that the titles will always be available.
* Stuff goes out of license and Apple has been know to change content and versions on some media.
* You want to make sure you download every purchase and make a backup/archive.
* This goes for Apps too.
* I have one computer where I download everything, even though I’m an iTunes Match subscriber. The movies alone eat 800GB of storage.
V Downloading SD movies on iPad
* Here is a cool little trick to save precious space on iPads when loading videos say for a trip.
* Even if you’ve purchased HD content you can get the lower resolution and smaller SD versions.
V One way is to adjust your iTunes settings before you download and sync movies to your device.
* iTunes > Preferences > Store
* Set the 'When downloading High Definition videos. prefer:' option to 720p.
V Still that will still get you the smaller "pseudo-HD" version. What if you want smaller?
* Connect your device to iTunes
* Select the Device in iTunes and go to the 'Summary' pane.
* Check the 'Prefer standard definition videos' option.
V But what if you want to get the SD directly on your device without syncing?
* Open the iTunes Store.
* Instead of going to the 'Purchased' tab. Go to 'Movies' and browse for the movie you already own and want to download the SD version of or better search for it.
* On the page you’ll see the "cloud" download icon instead of the "buy" button. Don’t click that, it’s the HD version.
* Instead scroll to the bottom and look for the 'Also Available in SD' link and click that.
* Now on the "SD" page click the "cloud" download icon and you’ll download the much smaller SD version of the film.
V Exporting Slow Motion iOS video
* David wrote in to express a frustration that many of us have with the slow motion video feature on iOS
* It’s an awesome feature and the 240fps slow mo on the new iPhone 6s is great
* But the frustration comes in as you try to share that slow motion video or back it up to your Mac.
* In David’s case he noticed when he transferred the files to his Mac for backup they did not keep the slow motion effect that can be seen in the same video file on the device.
* Basically when you’re watching the video it’s captured at high framerate and then there are metadata markers that are set to control when the video is played back at the slow motion speed.
* So when you copy, export, or transmit the video many viewers, including iPhoto or Quicktime on the Mac they don;t apply the effect. They just play the video normally.
* All the frames are still there though. but you’d have to use a tool like iMovie to re-apply the effect.
* To make it more confusing if you export video from the iPhone to a service like YouTube, it does preserve the slow motion effect.
* The way I get around this is to use a free app called TruSloMo, $0.99 for the 'Pro' (get the pro)
* With it you open the app. it will display any slo motion videos in your camera roll.
V It will open that in it’s editor with any of your slo motion points already in place.
* With the free version you can adjust the start point, but not end point
* The Pro version lets you adjust the end (STOP) point and add multiple slow motion sections.
* Once you’ve got it set tap 'Done' and it will process the video with the slo-mo intact and save it back to the Camera Roll.
* It also gives you access to the share sheet to share on social media, like Instagram or to other apps.
V A sane Mac antivirus discussion
* Jim is a Windows switcher who asked me to share my thoughts on Macs and anti-virus as well as possibly recommend software for any folks who decide they want to run something.
* I know I’ve covered my thoughts here and there, but it’s been a while so let’s have a real discussion
V First, Macs can, have, and will be the targets of attacks
* Some say with Apple’s popularity growing they are a bigger target than ever.
* Perspective though is Apple is growing PC share, but still a drop in the bucket to Windows
V Apple has done really good "hardening" the OS in recent years
* Gatekeeper to reduce users risk of being tricked into installing malware
* Sandboxing in apps that limit what they can do if they are malicious or exploited
* Java is not installed by default
* Apps like Flash can be remotely disabled via Apple’s OS X protections. Which they did recently when a Flash exploit surfaced.
* Apple is also pretty good about issuing security patches. If you keep up to date you can maintain a fairly good level of protection.
* Anti-virus software typically detects using "signatures", they need to know about a virus before they can detect it.
V If you keep your system up to date and avoid the pitfalls of malicious software (phishing scams, malicious sites, etc.) then you can stay fairly safe
* Use email services that have protections (Google, Yahoo, Apple Mail). They filter before it get to you
* Use a DNS like OpenDNS that detects and blocks known malicious websites
V If you just want more piece of mind, are running an older version of OS X, or sharing lots of files to PCs then you may still want anti-virus software and there are good ones for the Mac.
* Sophos (Free)
* Avast (Free)
* ESET CyberSecurity ($39.99/yr.)
V Closing
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