Maccast 2015.11.30 - Show #550
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
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V News
V Apple buys facial recognition company Faceshift
V When asked about the purchase Apple's "confirmation" came in the form of it's canned response
* "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
* Techcrunch reported that some of Faceshift's staff in Europe are now listed as Apple employees.
V The Faceshift technology is used in the movie and games industry.
* Avatars and facial motion capture.
* Uses capture points and depth maps to get movements and expressions
* Most recently it was used to animate the faces of CGI characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
V It's unclear what Apple wants the tech for, but we can speculate
* Apple has acquired other companies in dealing in augmented reality (Metaio) and motion tracking (PrimeSense)
* Gaming applications.
* Car project
* Security
* Facial recognition in Photos
V Apple Pay's limited Australian debut
* Aussies finally got Apple Pay, well some Aussies.
* See it only rolled out for Amex customers and only those who don't have bank issued Amex cards.
V The rumors are that Australian banks are not happy with the terms and are not signing up
* In the US banks get a 1 percent commission on card purchases. In Australia that commission is currently 0.5 percent.
* In both cases though if a customer uses their card via Apple Pay, Apple gets $0.15 of the banks commission.
* So for ever $100 in sales a US bank would get $0.85, but an Australian bank would only get $0.35.
* They want Apple to lower their commission because their deal with the card companies isn't as good as it is in the US, i.e. "it's not fair".
* Another stumbling block is that, unlike the US, Australia already has a robust mobile payment market with existing solutions. They argue they don't need Apple Pay as much since customers have other choices.
V Still not everyone in AU is OK with that. A Labor Party spokesman is suggesting that the banks refusal to adopt Apple Pay could be interpreted by some as anti-competitive behavior.
* “Australian consumers should not be denied the ability to make payment choices that are openly available to consumers globally,”
* It definitely limits consumer choice. I'm also suspecting that Apple's solution could have some security and privacy advantage over some of the other current choices.
V Apple also wants to expand Apple Pay into China
* Reports of a tentative agreement with China UnionPay
* That would open up more than 5 million NFC point-of-sale terminals in the region.
* But that's only one side of what's needed. The deal isn't signed because they need banks support and once again "fees" are a sticking point.
* Apple still wants their $0.15, but in China banks can get as little as 0.4 percent of a transaction.
* Still UnionPay and Apple are looking for a 2016 launch in China.
V Will UK outlaw iTunes and Apple Music?
* The UK Intellectual Property Office announced a decision to abandon it's private-copying exception which has been in place since October 2014
* Their decision was prompted by the High Court declaring the exemption illegal back in July
V What does that mean? Well it now means that in the UK it's probably illegal to "format shift" your personal music.
* The old exemption allowed you to duplicate copyrighted material for personal use.
V If true that puts Apple in a somewhat odd position
* The ability to rip CDs in iTunes would be illegal
* It's iTunes Match service, which gives you access to iTunes in the Cloud copies of music you own would be illegal.
* Also the "matching" part of Apple Music would be illegal.
* Also just having more than one copy of a song, i.e. on a Mac and an iPhone at the same time, could be in violation.
* For individual users it's unlikely the UK government would actively go after individuals, but for sure if music services wanted to continue to operate they'd have to change how their services work in the UK and Apple would be no exception.
* Between this and the proposed Investigatory Powers Bill that would make the kind of end to end encryption found in the iPhone illegal the UK is becoming a pretty Apple hostile environment.
V iPad Pro accessory drought lightens
* Over the holiday weekend it seemed like more Apple Stores had more available Apple Pencil and now even Apple Smart Keyboard inventory
* The online ship times still seem to be 4-5 weeks, but I had reports from many of you that you saw, or purchased, accessories at retail stores over the weekend.
* My Apple Smart Keyboard and Pencil actually arrived both on Friday.
V iFixit got their hands on one of the Smart Keyboards and ripped it apart, which wasn't easy
* It uses conductive fabric inside instead of ribbon cables to send and receive data
* The exterior fabric seems to be extremely water and stain resistant with no holes.
* They had to cut into it through several protective layers.
* The keys themselves use the same dome switches found in a 2015 Retina Macbook Pro.
* The gave it a repairability score of 0/10.
V A developer, Hamza Sood, also made the Apple Pencil do things it was never intended to do.
* He jailbroke the iPad Pro and used to to interpret data from the Apple Pencils pressure sensor.
* He was able to translate that into the 3D touch APIs and get the Pencil to activate "peek" and "pop" in the Notes app
V Then developer Simon Gladman create 'PencilScale' based on the 'Plum-O-Meter' project.
* Had to create a special harness.
* Wasn't really accurate, but was incredibly sensitive.
V iOS wins online on Black Friday
* Data from Custora of 200 online retailers and over 500 million shoppers on Thanksgiving day, showed that 78.3 percent of mobile online orders were made on an iPhone or iPad.
* The also noted that overall online shopping for Thanksgiving grew by 12.5 percent over last year.
* Still this years percentage of online sales was a slip of 1.6 percent from the 79.9 percent share Apple and iOS had last season.
* Still the numbers would seem to reinforce one of Apple's favorite claims that regardless of sales or marketshare numbers owners of Apple's devices tend to use them more and for more things than owners of competing devices.
V iPad Pro is generating some quick early revenue
* Amit Daryani of RBC capital is predicting the iPad Pro could generate $2.4 billion in revenue for Apple in the first 3 months of sales
* That's based on Apple selling 3 million iPad Pros which he also feels is likely.
* For perspective that would be roughly half of the total iPad revenue Apple earned in the March quarter of this year.
* KGI put their total sales estimate slightly lower at 2.5 million units.
V Amazon Prime Video may come to Apple TV
* Good news if you picked up a new Apple TV over holiday shopping weekend and you're an Amazon Prime customer.
* Amazon removed all Apple TV and Chromecast products from it's website last month because, they claim, the devices didn't offer Prime video and that might cause "confusion" for Amazon customers.
V But that might soon change according to a tweet and based on a response to feedback the tweeter made to Amazon
* Dan Bostonweeks claims that Amazon support says an Amazon Instant video app is in the works.
* The response gave a timeframe of "within a few weeks"
* Right now you can use the Amazon Video for iOS app on an iOS device and Airplay it to an Apple TV.
V Amazon might just have to give into the Apple TV's growing marketshare
* Amazon wants to sell more stuff and more people on Amazon Prime.
* They are producing their own shows and if they want more eyeballs they need Apple TV.
V For the third quarter of 2015 a Strategy Analytics repots says that Apple TV now has 20 percent of the global digital media streamer market.
* Keep in mind that number is for last quarter, before Apple released the new Apple TV.
* That puts Apple TV in second place behind the Chromecast at 45 percent. Roku is in third with 16 percent and "other" at 13 percent.
V In case you missed it Apple also added some new categories to the Apple TV
* They added Education, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, News, Sports
* In addition to Games and Entertainment that nows brings it up to seven
* Apple still needs a way to make everything more "browsable".
V No headphone jack on next iPhone?
* This is definitely not a new rumor, but it's making another comeback this week
* A report surfaced on the Japanese site Macotakara claiming that Apple wants to make the iPhone 7 even thinner and therefore the headphone jack must go.
* So you'd be left with two options. Bluetooth or Lightning.
* They also claim that Apple may include updated "Lightning" Ear Pods in the box.
V There would also be a DAC (digital-to-audio) converter functionality, presumably so you could use a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter for standard wired headphones.

* It doesn't say, but I assume this would be via a "sold separately" adapter. Price guess, US $19.99?
V Mac Rumors' report note that back in June 2014 Apple did add specs to it's MFi program to allow third-party manufacturers to make Lightning based headphones
* So far it seems only Phillips has made any.
V Not sure how I feel about this
* Do we need a thinner iPhone?
* What about battery? Would lightning headphones have more power draw?
* More adapters?
* Why not just go all wireless with Bluetooth and forget a "connector" all together? (Somewhat rhetorical because many options are not Bluetooth).
V Rumors of OLED displays in 2018 iPhones
* This seems a ways off, but what the heck it's rumors right?
* The source is Nikkei and the speculation is that Apple has been looking into OLED technology in a significant enough way that LG Display, an Apple supplier, has made plans to expand it's OLED manufacturing capabilities.
V In fact they are gearing up with two new factories in South Korea.
* In the past it's believed quality and yield issues have prevented Apple from moving to OLED
* It's also believed that Apple would source OLED panels from Samsung too.
V So why not until 2018?
* Well actually the report said Apple is aiming to have OLED ready for 2017 models, but might have to push back to 2018 depending on supply and yield issues.
* To let the suppliers spin up new factories and work out any production issues.
* Apple needs 200 million units a year at least. That's a lot of displays.
* The switch over is also expected to happen gradually. With some iPhone models featuring OLED, but many other still using LED panels.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V More cable protection tips and tricks
V Confirmation that many of you get cables replaced under AppleCare
* EarPods, Lightning cables and power adapters, even Macbook and Macbook Pro adapters. This is damage from normal usage, not because your cat chewed the cable.
* George uses a technique of using a loose "loop" that he hooks over the Macbook Pro's cable wrap prong. It's just far enough from the end to keep the potion that comes out of the "brick" from bending at an extreme angle. Here's some images on Flickr
* Amazon has a host of 3rd party products and as mention before you can use a product like Sugru
V iPad Pro Smart Keyboard
* As mentioned earlier I finally received my Apple Smart Keyboard
* Share my thoughts.
V Being prompted for logins
* A common question I get is from people who are suddenly prompted on iOS, or Mac, or iTunes for their Apple ID or iCloud login.
* We've all experienced this I think. It can be annoying and sometimes frustrating. In the heat of the moment it's easy to get angry and start blaming Apple.
V Over the years I've discovered and learned some things that might help
V First, pause and clearly ready the pop-up message. Often times it has clues to what info you're being asked for.
* I have more than one iCloud ID and a couple iTunes IDs the can get mixed up.
* Also important in spotting a fake request that could be malware phishing.
* Apple will never ask for your password in a website pop-up or email.
V Try a reset or reboot.
* Sometimes things just get wonky and simply rebooting your iOS device or restarting you Mac will resolve things.
V The multiple prompts might be legit
* I get this on a Macbook Air I only use my account on occasionally
* I think for security iCloud logins can get cleared and need to be reauthenticated.
* Thing is stuff like iCal syncs or Apple Mail is always trying to update in the background and I each one asks for a login.
* I just enter a bunch of times until it stops asking. Can be dozens of logins sometimes.
* Here again a reboot might just reset things too.
V Sometimes logging out of an account and logging back in can fix stuff.
* I've had to do this with iCloud account from time to time
* Also works well for finicky iTunes accounts
V With iTunes check your account info
* Specifically the credit card data in file.
* Sometimes if that's expired you'll keep getting a message about updating you account.
V Apple Watch and "known" Wi-Fi
* Play comment from Gary
* So I looked into this and most of what you are saying is true, but the Apple Watch does have some limited functionality when connecting to known Wi-Fi networks
V The first issue is making sure the Apple Watch can connect to the "known" Wi-Fi network
* Apple Watches built-in wi-fi is only able to connect to a 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz.
* The watch gets it's "known" network info from the iPhone and ONLY knows those networks.
* In my tests one issue was dual-band routers. My iPhone connects to those "known" networks on the 5GHz band. Meaning that the my Apple Watch only seemed to see that band when the iPhone was disconnected (powered down).
* If I forced the connection to the 2.4GHz band on the iPhone then the Apple Watch could connect
V How to get the Apple Watch on a "known" Wi-Fi
V Connect your iPhone at 2.4Ghz
* Power off Apple Watch (press side button and slide to power off)
* You have to go into Settings > Wi-Fi on the phone and "Forget" any 5Ghz networks
* Turn off bluetooth on the iPhone (disconnects from Apple Watch)
* Connect the iPhone to a 2.4GHz network
V This should happen automatically if you're using a dual-band wi-fi router
* It was unreliable for me though
* Also you may not always be in control of the "known" networks band.
V Once connected without a Phone what can you do
* To test it's best to use Control Center on the iPhone and disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (don't use Airplane Mode)
* On the Apple Watch pull up the 'Settings' glance and you should see the words "Connected" and a green cloud icon
* I was able to use Siri, Messages, Weather, Time and clock functions, Activity, and Apple Pay with existing registered cards should work
* Most glances will show a "red phone with slash icon" indicating that they need a phone connection for data.
* Maps worked, but only with data already cached. I doubt turn by turn directions would work at all.
* Health and fitness data would presumably be synced back once you were reconnected to the phone.
V You get all your functionality even if the Bluetooth connection is disabled but the iPhone and Apple Watch are on the same Wi-Fi network
* In this case you can make phone calls, get app data, etc.
V I side note on Wi-Fi and dual band routers
* On a wi-fi network older devices on the network, especially 802.11b devices, can slow it down
* Not to the 802.11b speed like some people (including myself) have said. That's a myth.
* By using dual band you can for older devices, like a 2.4 GHz only 802.11b device, off the fastest part of your network.
* Think about really old devices. I had an old TiVo or older gaming consoles.
V When Mobile Backups Attack
* I know I've covered this topic in the past, but since discussing freeing up disk space on the last show and because I have a new bit of info I thought it worth re-visiting.
* Credit to this Macworld article by Glenn Fleishman for inspiring our discussion.
* Time Machine is a great thing and most of the time it works great. Sometimes actually too great.
V Apple thought about what would happen if you've enabled Time Machine but for some reason your Time Machine volume isn't available.
* Maybe disconnected or your on the road say with your laptop.
V What it does and is supposed to do is this:
* It generates a snapshot that it stores locally in a hidden folder '.MobileBackups' at the root of the hard drive.
* It continues to store these until the local drive is about 20 percent full
* At that point it should delete any older snapshots and if your drive becomes more than 90 percent full or has less than 5GB of disk it more aggressively removes any Time Machine local snapshots.
V The snapshots stay on the local volume until you reconnect with the external Time Machine drive
* At that point it should copy the snapshots off the main drive.
* It's also supposed to then delete them.
* It does the deleting by renaming the hidden folder to .MobileBackups.trash and then progressively deleting unneeded files and hard links
V That's all great when it works, which is most of the time. Occasionally things go wrong though.
* If the Time Machine drive gets renamed
* If the drive disconnects during the transfer of the local snapshot or you change to a new Time Machine drive
* When it happens sometimes the .trash Mobile Backup gets stuck there eating space.
V You can see how much space is used by local backups in the 'About This Mac' menu.
* Click on Storage and view the 'Backups' section.

V So what to do if you find stuck local storage backups
* You can use a Terminal command, see Glenn's article, to remove them or more safely move them to your trash
* Always backup first of course and be careful
* There is also a Terminal command that can permanently disable the local snapshot feature of Time Machine, though I wouldn't advise using it.
* I would say the issues where things go wrong are rare.
* If you find there is a large chunk of disk space missing and you can't figure out where this a good place to look.
V Closing
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