Maccast 2015.08.17 - Show #537
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Smile
* TextExpander 5
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V News
V Apple Pay struggling to get users
* An ongoing survey conducted by InfoScout in cooperation with (US only) shows the number of eligible Apple Pay users who tried the service dropped from 15.1 percent in March to 13.1 percent in June according to a story on AppleInsider
* Customers were also asked, "Did you use Apple Pay on this transaction" and the number of "yes" responses fell from 39.3 percent to 23 percent over the same period.
V The study also had some odd findings
V Customers not using Apple Pay over security concerns rose from 15 percent to 19 percent.
* I’d say Apple and banks might need to do some better marketing and consumer education here.
* Also 4 percent of users who were using Apple Pay say they stopped because of bad experiences and they now worry the system won’t work. A situation that can be embarrassing if you’ve ever experienced it.
V In the US Apple has signed over 400 banks to Apple Pay, but the adoption at the register has not been nearly as good
* This is my biggest issue with Apple Pay
* Even location that DO support it often don’t advertise that they do or their staff is unaware of the support.
V Schnucks and Dierbergs Markets who serve St. Louis, Mo., area recently started taking Apple Pay. They join markets like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Lucky, Meijer. Albertson’s is listed as "coming soon", but I think some of their locations accept it.
* Schnucks has Apple Pay at 98 locations across five states and Dierbergs added support at its 25 stores.
V Apple is also struggling to get Apple Pay rolled out in more countries. They did have a successful UK launch over the past month, but now there are reports of Apple Pay resistance in Australia
* The issue is reportedly with then banks and interchange fees.
* Those are the charges paid by merchants to use a card payment platform.
* As part of Apple Pay deals it’s believed Apple gets about $0.15 of every $100 charged from a merchants terminal and that money is paid out of those interchange fees.
* In the US merchants are typically charged $1.00 for every $100 total on interchange fees, so $0.45 goes to the bank and $0.15 to Apple on Apple Pay transactions
* In Australia though their interchange fees are about half that of the US. Just $0.50, but Apple still want’s $0.15 of every $100 so it is a much higher percentage of the total fee.
* To make it worse, the Reserve Bank of Australia apparently trying to bring the interchange fee down to approximately $0.30 per $100 in transactions. So Apple would be getting 50 percent of the interchange fee an amount that supposedly won’t fly with the Australian bank.
* There are also other issues at play, but all of them just mean that ultimately Aussie’s might not see Apple Pay for a while.
V Apple Music has 11 Million 'subscribers'
V In a piece over at USA Today Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine told the paper that Apple Music has already signed up 11 million subscribers
* 9 Million single users subscriptions and 2 million family subscribers
* Spotify has 75 million active users and 20 million subscribers.
* Apple is offering a 3 month free trial of Apple Music so it remains to be seen how many of those 11 million users will stick around 2 months from now.
V Apple is still very positive about the numbers
* Cue, “We’re thrilled with the numbers so far,”
* To me it seems like the numbers are low considering the upgrade rates for iOS and OS X, the number of existing iOS devices and Mac in the market, the fact that there is 3 months FREE, and how heavily the service is pushed the first tome you open the Music app or iTunes after updating.
V Still, myself, and I think others are really enjoying Apple Music and a big part of that enjoyment comes from the really great recommendations
* That is no mistake. Jimmy Iovine claimed in a recent interview that Apple hired "hundreds" of people to work on music curation.
* Iovine said Apple needs to work to make Connect a better platform for artists and fans.
V He also hinted that curation is something desperately needed for TV and movie services as well.
* You’ve go tons of option on Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, etc but none of the service do much to help you figure out WHAT to watch.
V In more "happy music" news: United Kingdom’s High Court just ruled that copying music from your personal CD collection to iTunes violates copyright law.
* Also, backing up your music library to an external hard drive or cloud storage service. Illegal.
* When asked for clarification a UK IPO spokesperson said, “It is now unlawful to make private copies of copyright works you own, without permission from the copyright holder—this includes format shifting from one medium to another”.
* On the good news side the British government is reportedly not thrilled with the ruling and it looks like, at least for the moment, are looking into option before taking any action.
* So looks like for now they won’t be sending out the music police to start rounding up just about every person in the country with an iTunes library for copyright violation.
V Apple has an interesting patent filing for a digital "mixtape" according to Apple Insider
* I like this idea
* It’s seems tied to the iTunes store and would let you make an "mixtape" of songs and then gift it or send it to people for purchase.
V They also have some updated features
* restrict a recipient's ability to fast forward or skip songs
* Reveal song titles one at at time as the mix is played
* Add in multimedia like photos and video to be shown during playback
* When sent the recipient and accept or reject the mixtape. If accepted the sender is then charged, if not they are refunded.
V Research Kit goes international
* Research Kit is Apple’s open-source health software development kit that helps developers make apps to aid in research studies
* The technology has already helped make advances in the study of diseases like Parkinson's, but until now apps using Research kit have been US only.
* Stanford Research has now made their MyHearth Counts app available in the U.K. and Hong Kong.
* The app is used to collect data on physical activity and cardiac risk factors for a heart disease study run by the university.
* The app already has enrolled over 41,000 participants and will likely app thousands more with the expansion.
* And that’s exactly the point of Health Kit. To expand the sample size and diversity of participants in research studies.
V New iPhones expected in September
* KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors that he expects Apple to begin mass production on the rumored iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models in late August.
* That’s one to two weeks later than expected, but rumors say that will not effect the launch which most believe will happen sometime in September.
* According to Kuo Foxconn is manufacturing 60 percent of all iPhone 6s models, with Pegatron taking the remaining 40 percent and Foxconn taking on all iPhone 6s Plus production.
V Most sources are citing September 9th as the date for Apple’s fall event and it’s expected Apple will announce the new iPhone models along with new Apple TV hardware, a new iPad mini and possibly the larger iPad "Pro"
* A rumor out of Germany has the iPhone’s going on sale on September 18th, which backs up the September 9th announcement date since Apple has begun selling iPhones on the second Friday after the announcement a few times in the past.
* Perfect timing too since Apple will reportedly open it’s first Belgian store in Brussels on Saturday, Sept. 19th.
V The iPhone’s are expected to have new processors, upgraded cameras, improved wireless, and Force touch displays. Design and sizes are expected to be the same except for a slight increase in thickness to accommodate the force touch.
* Reinforced sides, especially near the volume buttons, to add strength but expected to be slightly, about 2 grams, lighter.
* Appears to be constructed from 6000 series anodized aluminum, not 7000 series like the Apple Watch as some had predicted.
V Force Touch is expected to enable "shortcuts" to menus and options. Developers will also have API access to Force Touch
* My biggest issue with the technology is discoverability, but that may be something that is overcome in time, like swipe gestures. Still it’s a "language" that will have to be learned.
V The iPad mini 4 is expected to get a processor update and a style that will match the more curvy iPad Air 2 design.
* Thinner, like the iPad Air. Possibly just 6.1 mm vs. the 7.5 mm of the current model
* It’s expected the internals may match the iPad Air 2 as well with an A8 processor, an 8-megapixel camera, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
* Matched specs could also mean matched features in iOS 9 including supporting split screen multi-tasking.
* A new iPad Air 3 is not expected to be at the event, but Apple might take the opportunity to unveil the larger iPad Pro. A 12.9-inch monster that’s designed to entice power users of tablets as well as enterprise users.
V Finally new Apple TV hardware is expected, although without Apple’s rumored streaming TV service.
* A slightly thinner design
* Faster A8 processor
* Siri voice support
* Redesigned touch pad remote
* More on board flash storage and support for Apps and an App Store.
* According to 9to5Mac, the Apple TV is getting a refreshed, brighter interface that will improve the current scrolling list of large icons, but still have the same general aesthetic of the current version.
* Bloomberg reports Apple is still struggling in content negotiations and that will delay the release of their rumored streaming TV service at least until 2016.
* Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said there is only a 50-50 chance that Apple would announce the service at next month’s iPhone event.
V The announcement of an iPhone 6c seems up to debate
* Sources have been saying recently that they don’t expect to see an iPhone 5c update this year.
* That changed though when a prominent "leaker", Evan Blass, said on Twitter that he expects the 6c to be announced right along side the 6s and 6s Plus.
* The 6c is expected to update the low-end iPhone line with Touch ID, and A8 processor, and a metal design and colors matching the rest of the iPhone 6s line, but still in a 4-inch screen size and form factor.
* Still a report from Fiksu, a mobile app marketing platform, says they have only been seeing two new unknown iPhones in their logs recently. An iPhone 8,1 and an 8,2 model. This would presumably be the iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 6s as the current 6 models are labeled iPhone 7,1 and 7,2. If an iPhone 6c was in the cards one would think they’d also be seeing a 7,3 model being tested.
V Apple updates iOS and OS X
V OS X Yosemite 10.10.5
* Includes bug fixes, security enhancements, and performance improvements.
* It includes a fix for the DYLD_PRINT_TO_FILE privilege escalation vulnerability. A zero-day exploit that had recently made it "into the wild".
V Other updates include:
* Improves compatibility with certain email servers when using Mail
* Fixes an issue in Photos that prevents importing videos from GoPro cameras
* Fixes an issue in QuickTime Player that prevented playback of Windows Media files.
V iOS 8.4.1
* MacRumors calls it a "a minor update that includes under-the-hood performance improvements, bug fixes, and security updates."
V Apple notes mostly just fixes for Apple Music and iCloud Music Library
* - Resolves issues that could prevent turning on iCloud Music Library
* - Resolves an issue that hides added music because Apple Music was set to show offline music only
* - Provides a way to add songs to a new playlist if there aren't any playlists to choose from
* - Resolves an issue that may show different artwork for an album on other devices
* - Resolves several issues for artists while posting to Connect
* - Fixes an issue where tapping Love doesn't work as expected while listening to Beats 1
V Here’s the thing, the security fixes are critical and extensive. The Apple support article on them is HUGE.
* The "File Conduit" and "Air Traffic" bugs, that give access to protected parts of the file system
* Also the "Code Signing" exploits that could allow unsigned code to be appended to signed code in a specially crafted executable file.
* The list goes on and on. Don’t miss this update if you’re running iOS 8.4 even if you’re not using Apple Music.
* Unfortunately Italian developer Luca Todesco was quick to re-open Apple’s iOS exploit wounds. Late Sunday, days after the iOS 8.4.1 release, he detailed a new zero-day exploit that would allow an attacker to gain root access without using a password.
* He did not share details of the exploit with Apple before releasing details on line, so Apple’s security team will bad case of the Mondays.
V iTunes 12.2.2
* Includes improvements to overall stability and performance and fixes and improvements for Apple Music.
V Specifically:
* Click on the Beats 1 banner to see what's currently on, or view a complete broadcast schedule so you never miss a show
* You can now view a list of the artists you're following on Apple Music
* Resolved an issue where iTunes loses its place when you go back to a previous page in Apple Music
* Addressed a problem where artists may be sorted incorrectly in My Music
* Fixed a problem where playlists displayed in the action menu may not match the playlists in your library
* Artists can now share thoughts, photos, music, and videos to Connect, right from iTunes
* Apple has also released Security Update 2015-006 for Mavericks and Mountain Lion users, as well as Safari 8.0.8 for Yosemite, 7.1.8 for Mavericks, and 6.2.8 for Mountain Lion.
V Also an unusual standalone update for the seventh-generation iPod nano
* Update v1.0.4 is available via download in iTunes and is the first update for the iPod Nano since 2011.
* No details on exactly what the update does or is for.
V Apple also seems to have recalled some recently sold Apple TV 3 units
* They have sent emails to effected owners offering an exchange including sending a new Apple TV until along with a return shipping box and label.
* The recall appears to be due to some units having a faulty part, but Apple doesn’t say what that part is.
* If you have not purchased your Apple TV in the past few weeks and you have not received an email from Apple then you likely are NOT impacted.
V Apple Car may be here sooner than expected
* Apple’s "Project Titan" car project could be nearing the testing phase at least according to The Guardian
* They say that Apple has had talks with a company called GoMentum that runs a car testing facility on a former naval base in California.
* Apple supposedly has several hundred workers on the project and while details are sparse many believe it’s an electric car project meant to complete with Tesla.
* Some have reported that Apple was in talks with BMW about the manufacturing of BMW's i3 series and that they might have been interested in having BMW help in the manufacturing of the rumored Apple car.
* Some also thing Apple might be planning an autonomous vehicle alongs the lines of what Google is doing.
V Apple Watch gets bigger
* No, still seems like sales are good and steady, but now more customers might be able to get an Apple Watch
* Apple let out new watch bands and size options.
* The Sport Band is now available in an large and extra large sizes at no extra cost, but only for owners of 42-millimeter watch.
* They also added a Link Bracelet Kit for USD $49.00 to let you add up to 6 more links to your 42-millimeter Link Bracelet to make it bigger.
* If you have a 38mm Apple Watch you can now get the USD $249 Modern Buckle band.
V New Magic Mouse and USB Keyboard
* AppleInsider discovered new FCC documents filed by Apple that show a new Apple Magic Mouse and wireless keyboard.
* They both feature Bluetooth 4.2 support with Bluetooth LE.
* They also feature integrated batteries and will be rechargeable via USB.
* There doesn’t appear to be any filings for an updated Apple Magic Trackpad
* From the filing is apparent that Apple could have the new accessories ready soon, but there is no way to know from the documents exactly when.
* KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo did predict that Apple may release new iMacs by the end of September so it’s logical that a new mouse and keyboard would be released along side that refresh.
* They updated iMacs, and by proxy the Magic Mouse and wireless keyboard, may or may not be part of the September iPhone announcements
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V 'Thing of the Moment' update
* A while back I recommended the "Anker 40W 5-Port USB Charger", but Gordon had a couple of follow up questions that I thought were worth discussing.
V First was about what happens if you leave the device plugged in after it reaches a 100% charge
V His concern was consuming extra electricity or overcharging the devices
* iOS and iOS device hardware actually take care of this, going into a "trickle" charge mode.
* The device will slow down the charge rate just before the device reaches 100 percent (it will still display a full charge). At that point, it will continue charging to 100 percent, then discharge a bit and charge back up to 100 percent, repeating that process until the device is unplugged.
V The second concern was that Anker doesn’t list the USB charger as 'Made for i"
* I had not noticed this and I think it’s a legitimate concern.
* Apple recommends only using MFi certified products and there have been issues with some non-certified USB charging products in the past.
V I asked Anker about the lack of certification an their response was:
* "MFi certification is actually a lengthy and expensive process, and for some products we decide to save our customers some costs by not going through the Mfi process. As with all our products the 5 port chargers are thoroughly tested in house before going out to multiple 3rd parties for further safety checks and certification. We guarantee that this wall charger can be used 100% worry-free with all compatible Apple products"
* The Anker charger does have a UL Testing Labs certification, but it’s not MFi.
* Another advantage of MFi certification is that it requires suppliers to meet Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct for human rights in factories (a really good thing).
* I (and others I trust) have been using the Anker Charger without issue, but if the lack of MFi certification is an issue for you, then you should avoid this product.
V Collaborative iWork
* Play tip from Kevin
V To collaborate via the iCloud web interface
* Go to
* If you or the people you want to collaborate with don’t have an iCloud account you can sign up for one for free from the main login screen.
* Once signed in you can go to any of the iWork iCloud apps, Pages, Numbers, Keynote
* There you will see an iCloud Documents in the Cloud Documents
* Click on one to access the editor and then you can click on the Share button to share it if you didn’t already share it from the app.
* Once Shared you’ll see a 'people' icon where the share button was and you can access that to see who is currently editing the document
* The site Kevin mentioned is his site where he offers iWork courses which you can purchase and watch online.
V An annoying 'quirk' of Apple Music
* Dan Moren over at 'Six Colors' noted something that I noticed recently that bugged me too.
* I’ve been enjoying Apple Music a lt and using the 'Add to My Music' more and more.
* Recently I saw that many tracks that I "added" are greyed out and stuck with an iCloud Music Library status of "waiting"
* I though there may be an issue with the syncing, but tracks I added after those track sync’d up fine.
* Then I realized that one of the albums I added was pre-release and only one track was currently available. Yet, Apple still add ALL the tracks to my library, it was just that the one that were unreleased were unplayable
* Makes sense, by annoying. Why add track that I can’t play at all.
* This also was the case for a song on an album that was "Album only".
* For sure this is some strange licensing quirk, but come on.
* Dan like soundtracks and since they are compilations the issue is even more prevalent.
* Making it even more annoying for soundtracks often the track that aren’t available from the soundtrack ARE available as parts of other albums, so why not substitute those version?
* Apple Music is new and there are bound to be some oddities and growing pains so while this is irritating it’s not a deal killer. I still love the service.
V Understanding iCloud Music Library
* Along with Apple Music came a feature called iCloud Music Library and based on a number of emails I have received since the launch of Apple Music it has caused a TON of confusion.
V iCloud Music Library, formerly 'iTunes in the Cloud’, is Apple’s term for the music you have stored in iCloud
* It’s now used for both the Apple Music and iTunes Match services
* Currently you can store up to 25,000 songs with an iTunes Match or Apple Music subscription and it does not count against your iCloud Storage. When iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan come out that limit will raise to 100,000 songs.
V How 'Matched' tracks work
* Apple will scan the local library and try to "match" tracks you’ve ripped or acquired from other services with those in the iTunes catalog (iTunes Match) or Apple Music catalog (Apple Music)
V Matching tracks are simply "unlocked" and added to your iCloud Music Library. Any iTunes purchased tracks are also simply made available in your iCloud Music Library.
* Metadata seems to be key for good matches
* Apple likes to have your data match theirs.
* Anything that is not matched is uploaded to the iCloud Music library as long as it’s at least a 128kps MP3 file or (I think ) 64kbps AAC or better.
V For non-matched tracks Apple says, "You can also download them in that same uploaded form when you save them offline on your other devices."
* Audiophiles who use the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) have discovered that tracks re-downloaded to an iOS device come down as 256kbps AAC files.
* Songs that are encoded in ALAC, WAV, or AIFF formats will be transcoded to a separate temporary AAC 256 Kbps file locally, before they're uploaded. The original files aren't changed.
V It’s NOT cloud backup.
* Apple is very clear that the iTunes Match, Apple Music, and even the iTunes Store "purchased" section are not cloud backups.
* You need to backup any and all copies of the music you’ve ripped, acquired, downloaded, or purchased from the iTunes Store, or any other store or source.
* This is even if it’s "matched"
* I would recommend always keeping one local "master" copy of your entire iTunes Music library (and back that up).
* Don’t upload everything to iCloud Music Library and then delete all your music to "save space".
V Once turned on, ALL syncing happens via the iCloud Music Library
* This seems to be a big point of confusion.
* It’s just like iCloud sync for Contacts and Calendars. You no longer can sync direct via your USB cable in iTunes.
* There is a 10 device limit for access.
* If you want to save music from Apple Music to your local library then you need to enable iCloud Music Library
V When DRM and when not.
* If you use Apple Music and iCloud Music Library any matched tracks will be downloaded to other Macs or iOS devices in Apple Music (DRM’d) format. Your original tracks (that you backed up right), will remain in their original formats.
* If you use iTunes Match tracks are not DRM’d. You can have both services, so if DRM is an issue for you you should consider getting or keeping iTunes Match.
V iCloud Music Library destroyed your collection, now what?
* You have your backup, right?
* Turn off iCloud Music Library and restore from your backup.
* No backup, then there might be something Apple Support can do, call them.
* If that doesn’t work you might be spending some time restoring things. After you do, make a backup (lesson learned, right?).
V iTunes Family Plan tip
* James has a family plan dilemma as in his "family" all the members are adults with different credit cards attached to their iTunes accounts.
* The issue is once you enable the 'Family Sharing' all purchases go under the main 'Organizers' credit card.
* There is no way around the credit card issue, but James did find a good work around.
* Turns out that any 'credits', say from iTunes gift cards, that are on individual accounts will get used up first.
* So as long as you keep the sub, non-organizer, accounts charged up with credits the main card should not get hit.
* The other advantage is often you can find "deals" on iTunes Gift cards, like 4 x $25 gift cards at Costco for $84.49. I’ve also seen online deals for cards at up to 20% off from places like Best Buy.
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