Maccast 2015.03.31 - Show #520
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V News
V Will Apple Watch supplies be low?
V I personally feel that any new Apple product these days can seem to keep up with demand.
* I plan to pre-order and to schedule a try-on appointment.
* If I feel I made the wrong choice I’ll have to live with it or cancel and likely wait a long time to get the Apple Watch I want.
* If a sketchy rumor out of China is to be believed things could be worse than you or I are even imagining.
V According to the report on there appear to be a number of issues in the Apple Watch supply chain.
* "Critical issues" in the manufacturing of the Apple Watch's flexible OLED display resulting in "perilously low" yields
* Quanta is also said to be having trouble in assembly because of the devices incredibly small size.
V For the display they claim just 30 to 40 percent of the displays coming out of the LG factory are useable.
* If accurate the assumption is that Apple will only get a yield of 1.5 million units a month about half the 3 million units a month they wanted.
V The report seems suspicious at best because both LG and Quanta have great track records at supply not just Apple, but other big name consumer electronics companies.
* LG is among the companies that first invented flexible OLED displays.
* Quanta has always worked closely with Apple and they are deeply involved with process and tooling on Apple’s production lines.
V Still this is at least the second report, and probably not the last, that we’ve had about production issues for the Apple Watch
* Last week Timothy Arcuri, an analyst at Cowen and Company, said Apple had had to tap Foxconn and Samsung as Apple Watch suppliers to help get production yields up to more acceptable levels.
V Even though we have no Apple Watch, the apps are starting to be available.
* Developers have begun rolling out compatible app updates into the store
* Apps like Evernote, Twitter, Dark Sky, Things, and Target surfaced this week noting Apple Watch compatibility.
* The features are are listed in descriptions of the latest app updates.
* I’d expect once the Apple Watch carries that apps with Apple Watch support will get some sort of mark or badge in the App Store.
V More on the Apple Watch buying experience
V Most try-on appointments will be scheduled in 15-minute intervals
* Apple Watch Edition will get 30 minute appointments.
* I would hope as long as they want actually.
* Apple is giving trying to employees that will have them focusing more on the style and fashion of the buyer
V They have been given a list of suggestions according to 9to5Mac that tell employees to make comments to appeal to the buys style. Putting less focus on the technology and pricing options.
* Make comments about why you think an option is a good choice rather than discussing why an option may not be a good choice.
* Explain how earlier customers made decisions between models.
Use other accessories [already] on a customer as examples for which model would look best.
* If the customer is with another person, make sure to get the opinion of that person on which model should be purchased.
* Don't focus on price as a reason to recommend an option because many customers may be willing to spend more for a model that makes them feel good.
V Also a focus on how the customer plans to use the watch and who they are buying it for to determine the appropriate model.
* With so many different materials and band combinations this makes sense.
V Another item mentioned is trying to push iPhone upgrades
* Employees will have the ability to check a customer’s iPhone upgrade eligibility with carriers on the spot.
* Opportunity to leverage the new Android trade-in program for customers on Android.
V Apple Watch try-ons will begin by appointment on April 10th and purchased and pick up begin April 24th
* We’ve heard Apple will have some ability to handle "walk-in" try ons without reservations, but I expect the wait times to be insane and think your best bet would be a scheduled appointment
V MacRumors also ran a report this week saying that at least at first you will not able to make a walk-in purchase of an Apple Watch
* This seems highly unlikely to me. My guess is they would still in-store offer to make you an in-store appointment to try on on purchase if there were stock available.
* But still MacRumors claims to have seen training documents that say customers must make an online "Product Reservation" to hold a specific Apple Watch model at a retail store.
* And that walk-in customers will be offered a "try-on" appointment and help placing an order online or through the Apple Store app.
* The document also notes that "try-on" appointments do not reserve a specific Apple Watch for purchase.
V Apple officially announced the April 10 grand openings for its three dedicated Apple Watch shops located in high-end department stores in London, Paris, and Tokyo
* The store-within-a-store locations are at Selfridges in London, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, and Isetan in Tokyo.
V New Apple TV hardware soon?
V Last week we were discussing the rumor that Apple still is trying to bring on a new streaming TV service. Partnering directly with networks like ABC, CBS, and FOX.
* There were also rumors that Apple wasn’t holding talks with Comcast owned NBCUniversal because of a falling out.
* This week a Comcast attorney wrote to the FCC to say that NBCUniversal has not 'withheld' programming from Apple's new venture and in fact Apple had not even approached NBCUniversal with such a request.
* So that seems to clarify and mostly corroborate the stories we’d been hearing. The hearsay is mostly the "why" has Apple not asked for the content.
* Whether on not that happens this week were are hearing renewed rumors about a hardware update.
* Rod Hall at J.P. Morgan thinks Apple will announce a new App Store for Apple TV at the upcoming WWDC in June.
* Why? Apple wants a piece of the estimated $35 billion dollar PC Gaming market.
* He says that an Apple TV using the iPad Air’s A8X chip could be as powerful as a PlayStation 3.
* Add gaming and apps to the previous rumored subscription TV service and the Apple TV could be a serious contender for the living room along side other dedicated gaming consoles and set top boxes, especially among the growing "casual gaming" segment.
* Apple’s A8, not just the A8X, was found to be capable of driving 4K-resolution video.
V Adding living room gaming could be big win for consumer who are already invested in iOS gaming
* Support for Bluetooth controllers
* iCloud sync’d game saves
* GameCenter integration.
* Plus other Apps, like news, weather, social media, photo viewers, etc.
* Netflix launched finally in Australia and New Zealand this week and is now available on Apple TV in those regions.
* Apple also recently added 3 new channels to the current Apple TV. Young Hollywood, Tastemade, and TED (finally).
V Apple acquisitions point to Cloud
V TechCrunch reported that Apple acquired the database company FoundationDB
* They (TechCrunch) wrote that they thought Apple may want Foundation because of the speed at which it handled ACID-compliant transactions and the platforms strong scalability.
* A company blog post suggested it could achieve 54 billion writes per hour
* When asked for comment Apple provided their boilerplate response, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
V Apple also seeming acquired a London-based big data analytics firm called Acunu
* Although the timeline and nature of the acquisition seems unclear.
* AppleInsider noticed the story in Bloomberg this week and believes the move was an aqui-hire
* Over the past year or so Apple seems to have hired at least at least seven software engineers, including founding CEO and CTO Tim Moreton.
* The company companies product was a real-time analytics platform that boasted high-velocity ingests and compatibility with Cassandra databases.
* What Apple is doing with the engineers is unclear, but most of them seem to be landing in Apple iCloud or back end data systems areas which seems logical
* Acunu’s own products were focused on building analytics and data analysis of bank financial market data to understand activity patterns in trading environments. They also looked for anomalies and performed risk analysis.
* Apple could be applying the technology or skills from the engineers for services like iAds, Beats Music, iTunes Radio, App Store curation and more.
* Apple appears to have added a second building to it’s Reno Technology Park data center. Effectively doubling their footprint and capacity over the past year. There’s also plant of room for more expansion since they have 345 acres of land reserved in the region.
V OS X 10.10.3 beta and iOS 8.3 beta updates
V iOS 8.3 beta 4
* Can now call people via Siri using the speaker phone. Finally. "Call [name] on speaker".
* New toggle to allow downloading of free apps on the app store without requiring a password.
* In beta 4, the category filter for iMessages sent from those who are not in a user's contact list has been renamed to "Unknown Sender."
V OS X 10.10.3 beta
* Features version 3.0 of the Yosemite Recovery partition and its tools.
* Developers were asked to focus testing on "captive portals", wi-fi in hotels, airports, and other public spaces. Also, the Photos app which continues to improve yet still has bugs mostly related to the iCloud Photo Library beta.
V Macbook Air upgrade has surprises
* When they were announced many were disappointed that Apple didn’t bring Retina displays to the line up.
V Some said the new MacBook Air’s Intel HD Graphics 6000 chip allegedly didn’t support Retina which was why we didn’t see it.
* That was odd to say though because the Macbook has a lower Intel HD Graphics 5300 chip and supports Retina just fine.
V Ars Technica has discovered Intel's new Broadwell processors with integrated Intel HD Graphics 6000 support 4K output at 60Hz using a DisplayPort 1.2 cable.
* 3840×2160 at 60Hz, though Apple claims a max external display resolution of 2560×1600.
* In order to achieve this feat though you’ll need to run in clamshell mode (with the lid shut).
* Probably why Apple doesn’t tout the feature.
V Apple revamped Beats headed by Reznor
* As we get closer to a possible re-launch of the Beats music service The New York Times had a story with some more details.
V It will retain some of the best of Beats
* Focus on curated playlists
* A "vivid visual appeal" that also fits into Apple's minimal design aesthetic
* Supposed to retain the "Beats" name.
* Supposedly part of iOS 8.4
* A desire to reduce the price to $7.99/mo was reportedly met with extreme push back from labels, so likely will remain $9.99. Also, no "free" tier.
* Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor who was Chief Creative Officer at Beats is reportedly playing a major role in the redesign of the service.
* Apple is also working hard to secure prominent album releases that will be exclusive to Apple.
V There are also rumors that Apple plans to revamp iTunes Radio along side the updated Beats release
* The two services will remain separate products
* The service is said to be getting more regionally tailored selections
* Former BBC radio DJ, Zane Lowe was recently hired and is assumed to be part of this effort.
* It’s thought that Apple will likely announce the new music service around the WWDC timeframe.
V Updated 4-inch iPhone model
* MacRumors caught a DigiTimes report that Apple plans to expand their iPhone lineup this fall with an updated 4-inch model.
V Expected to be an update of the iPhone-C line many are calling it the iPhone 6C.
* This would be in addition to new iPhone 6S Plus (5.5-inch) and iPhone 6S (4.7-inch) models
* This is welcome news for many buyers who have expressed love for the 4-inch form factor and are not happy with being forced up to the larger sized phones if they wish to upgrade.
V Still it’s unclear what the specs of the new device might be, but because it will get the "C" moniker I assume it will offer entry level specs and an entry level price point.
* The specs might not sit well with customers who want the 4-inch for factor, but updated 6S like specs.
* Expected to use the current iPhone 6 series A8 processor and basically a re-package 5S design.
* Support for Apple Pay
* Possibly Apple’s Force Touch display technology
* Supposed leaked back shell images show the polycarbonate case with two rows of speaker holes at the bottom, like the 5S. The camera is also supposedly flush with the casing, unlike the protruding camera of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
V The report claims the updated iPhone 6C will be manufactured by Wistron out of Taiwan
* I am unfamiliar with them as an Apple Supplier, but they appear to have done assembly work for Microsoft on tablets and phones.
* Apple’s iPhones to date have had assembly done by Foxconn and Pegatron
V The main updated rumored for the iPhone 6S Plus and 6S is a move from 1GB to 2GB of RAM
* Updated A9 processor
* Possibly Apple’s Force Touch
V Japan Display is still a major Apple display provider and confirmed plans for the new $1.4 billion LTPS LCD plant in central Japan earlier this month.
* That plant is reportedly being built with a billion-dollar prepayment from Apple
* It is set to produce roughly 100 million 5-inch LTPS LCD panels a year.
* Leads J.P. Morgan analyst Narci Chang to believe that Apple is sticking with LCD technology for their iPhones and not moving to OLED displays.
* Some had thought that Apple might finally begin to transition their phones displays to OLED since Apple is using the technology in the Apple Watch displays.
V This week also brought back sketch images of the long rumored iPad Pro
* From, which has sourced proven leaked product images in the past.
* A secondary Lightning port or a USB-C port on one side of the device.
* Could just be a R&D unit with both ports for testing and development?
* Images also show a rear camera with light sensor and microphone and the set of speaker holes next to the headphone jack. iPad Pro has long been rumored to feature "stereo" speakers.
V Thanks ifo Apple Store
* Gary Allen has announced he is stopping his work at if Apple Store and while I totally respect his decision I’m saddened for our community.
* He was a top notch journalist and wrote the definitive content on and about what was happening in Apple Retail
* He cites the fact that when he began no one focused on Apple retail, in fact many called it a joke. Now with Apple’s success there is tons of coverage by financial analysts, designers, architects and other special interests.
* He now wants time to focus on my family and friends. Something I think we all "get".
* I wish him the best of luck. Thanks Gary.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Choosing an Apple Watch Band
* One subject I broached, at least in terms of cost was Apple Watch bands
* I think they are a bit too pricey for my blood, but I guess I also had’t considered some other factors.
V Gary’s been thinking about it quite a bit more than I and had this to say.
* Play Gary’s comments.
* There is a great article written by Rene Ritchie over at iMore that has tons of details, including all the weights and materials data.
V Band weights
* Classic Buckle is lightest at 16g and 19g for the 38mm and 42mm respectively
* Interestingly the white sport band is about 10g heavier than the back sport band at the same face size. For example in the 42mm the black is 40g and the white 51g
* Steel link bracelet is heaviest at 65g for 38mm and 75g fro 42mm
* I don’t wear a watch much and had not really considered weight.
V Damages Macbook Pro screens
* There have recently been reports of Retina Macbook Pro screens with ant-glare coatings coming off.
* I asked if anyone in the Maccast community had experienced it and Diego responded with some horrific images that look pretty much like the ones being posted on the web.
V He’s also been in contact with Apple and the response was not good. They are calling it user damage and refuse to cover the cost of repair or replacement
* 99% of all the affected displays are being affected in 2 areas: in the black 'bezel' around the screen and in the middle of the screen. (look at the gallery of images in the Facebook group).
* Apple has said to multiple users that the center stain is due to the keyboard being oily / too much pressure applied to the screen.
* Diego took precise measurements with calipers and sent me images. In his measurements you can see that the main area of damage seems to be around the trackpad.
V The areas around the edges of the displays also seem to be impacted as well.
* Apple has said multiple times that sweat/oil from the hands is affecting the AR coating and that is why it is falling off.
* Wonder if people who use hand sanitizers, which are alcohol based, are more susceptible.
* But as Diego mentions this is a design flaw in the relentless pursuit of thinness.
* Elements push up against the display, including the keyboard keys.
* I’ve for years used a RadTech ScreenSaverz sheet to protect my display.
V I still believe this is a product issue and not user damage.
* I have never seen a good anti-glare coating that doesn’t scratch or flake off over time.
V Interview: Michael Simmons from Flexibits
* Play interview with Michael Simmons, @macguitar
* In a way this is this weeks "Thing of the Moment"
V Quick Tip: iOS 'CHOCKLOCK'
* Apparently Craig Hockenberry has been able to somehow infiltrate Apple’s iOS development team and slip in a personal Quick Type easter egg.
* I actually learned about this from the guys over at Cult of Mac.
V In iOS if you use the Quick Type feature you can select individual words while typing and quickly convert them to ALL CAPS.
* Make sure Quick Type is enabled. You should see the options above the keyboard.
* Select any word, unfortunately at this time you can only do one at a time.
* With it selected double tap the Shift key.
* In the Quick Type options you will now see an option for that word in all caps.
* Tap that to have it replace the word.
* Luckily the trick also works in reverse.
V Closing
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