Maccast 2015.12.07 - Show #551
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V News
V Rumors of Macbook Air updates
* Two muddy sources are being used to speculate that Apple plans an update to the Macbook Air lineup at WWDC in 2016
* The Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News says supply chain sources tell them that Apple is working on updates to the Macbook Air's
* Of course specific details are sparse and fall in the always safe prediction that the new models will be thinner, lighter, and faster.
* The supply chain are that Apple is sourcing new battery packs, cooling modules, panels, and a redesigned case for a new Macbook model.
V Why they jump to an Air update is confusing though
* As Apple Insider points out the Macbook Pro lineup is probably also overdue for a refresh.
* Yes the Macbook Air has not really been revamped since 2010, but I think it has a different fate (more in a minute)
* To me that also seems to be the system that would most interest developers at WWDC.
V Furthermore the rumor states that Apple is possible working on a 15-inch design in this refresh and might be considering killing the 11-inch Macbook Air model
* The reason, the 12-inch iPad Pro
* I get the thinking, but it's flawed. In my opinion Apple still sees the iPad and Macbook platforms as separate things. Yes the acknowledge some "cannibalization", but a Macbook customer is not an iPad Pro customer and vice versa.
V Just speculating on the speculation:
* Seems to me that it would be more likely Apple plans a redesign and revamp of the Macbook Pro lineup
* Using styling cues and engineering choices, like USB-C, from the Macbook line.
V They are more likely killing the Macbook Air lineup entirely since there is now a lot of overlap between that and the Air.
* Possibly add a 13-inch Macbook into the mix?
* Yes the Macbook Air offers more "Pro" specs than the Macbook which is why it makes sense to still have it around currently.
* But if the Macbook Pro gets thinner and more powerful it seems there is less room in Apple's notebook lineup for the Air.
V Getting back to Apple "four square" product matrix makes sense to me.
* Consumer notebook: Macbook
* Pro notebook: Macbook Pro
V Consumer Mac: iMac
* Pro Mac: 27-inch iMac or Mac Pro. (Ok the desktops are still overlapped)
V iPad Pro's 12-cluster GPU
V Analysis from Chipworks released through The Motley Fools has revealed more details about the iPad Pro's A9X processor including that it has a 12-cluster GPU.
* That effectively doubles the GPU capabilities of the iPhone 6s' A9
* Interestingly though the A9X doesn't have the "on-die" 8GB memory cache of the 9A, though speculation is the A9X doesn't need it because of it's memory interface is twice as wide.
* The extra GPU clusters also means the A9X is about twice a large as it's non-X sister chip.
* The breakdown also showed that the A9X has two CPU cores and that it has double the RAM. 4GB vs the 2GBs found in the iPhone 6s and iPad Air 2.
V Even for all it's great buzz and technology the question remains if the iPad Pro can counteract slowing tablet sales.
* Numbers from IDC predict 2015 worldwide tablet shipments to reach 211.3 million units, down 8.1 percent from 2014.
* Still they think "detachable" which is where they are classifying the iPad Pro will represent an area of table growth.
* They see a general trend of consumers looking to do more on tablets. Moving from consuming content to more productivity based usage.
* The growth being driven by the enterprise and prosumer markets.
* Still that growth is just being predicted for this one small segment of the tablet market. It remains to be seen if that will have any impact on declining unit shipment numbers,
* In Apple's case at least the higher ASP of the iPad Pro is predicted to have a positive impact on slowing revenues from iPads.
V Apple explores next iPhone features
* Apple is always years ahead on the next next gen devices so a report out of China from Weibo didn't surprise me.
* G for Games is reporting that the source says Apple is exploring at least five different versions of the iPhone 7
V What's more interesting is the list of technologies they are playing with
* A new type of USB-C connector that supports wireless charging and headsets
* "Multi-Force Touch", maybe levels beyond "peek" and "pop"?
* Dual camera configurations. Could play into some of their recent VR, augmented, and visual technology company acquisitions.
* TouchID integrated into the display.
* AMOLED displays
* Any one of these technologies could be amazing in the next iPhone, but just because Apple is playing around with something doesn't mean we'll see it in a production device.
* A lot of these features you know have been rumored in the past over several generations of iPhone.
V One thing is for sure Apple will likely keep the larger iPhone Plus size, but could they go bigger?
* Consumer Intelligence Research Partners research showed that customers are opting more for the larger iPhone
* In the first 30 days of sales 37 percent of customers bought the 6s Plus
* That was up compared to the first 30days of iPhone 6 sales when just 25 percent of customers opted for the larger size.
* The larger size also seems to be woo-ing Android switchers
* 26 percent of iPhone buyers switch from Android after the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus launch, compared to 12 percent for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch.
V Still some consumers prefer a smaller, not larger device
* Piper Jaffray polled 1,077 U.S. consumers about phone sizes and 20.3 percent said they prefer a 4-inch handset.
* 31.2 percent said 4.7-inch and 27.2 percent said 5.5-inch. Finally 21.2 percent in the "other" so even larger or smaller I guess.
V I guess that 20 percent is enough for Apple
* Supply chain sources within Foxconn are allegedly saying the iPhone 6c is on track for a February 2016 debut.
* Colorful anodized aluminum enclosure.
V TouchID, but no Force Touch
* Targeting a USD $400-500 price point.
V Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has chimed in with some specs
* A9 processor and support for Apple Pay
* identical camera specifications to the current 5s
* To ship in early 2016, potentially around the March-April timeframe.
* One out there rumor claims Apple will call it the 7c and that it won't be out until September with a full iPhone 7 line up.
V Another side bit of iPhone news.
* AT&T plans to raise the price of the "grandfathered" unlimited data plane from $30 USD to $35/mo. USD in February
* There has not been a price increase on those plans in 7 years
* Some same it's AT&T attempting to force customers off the unlimited data
* The data throttling cap will remain at 22GB.
V New Apple TV obsolete in months
* At least if a rumor from DigiTimes is to be believed
* The often right , often wrong Chinese site says Apple is already getting ready to test production of the fifth generation Apple TV in early 2016
* That would be less than 6 months after the launch of the fourth generation Apple TV in October.
V The details on new feature are vague at best with Digitimes simply stating it will ‘drastically improve the hardware performance’ and ‘add new functions’.
* Uh, Duh!
* The bigger point here though is, if true, it would have Apple launching an Apple TV update just 6 months after the last one.
* That is a-typical for Apple and odd considering it took them three years to update the current model.
* Still DigiTimes claims Apple will enter trial production before the end of this month and has ‘volume’ manufacturing planned for first quarter 2016.
V It's still believed that Apple wants a streaming TV service and it's possible they could launch new hardware along side that effort.
* Along with a price drop on current hardware to a sub $99 price point it may make sense.
* Still some current Apple TV purchasers are likely to be miffed.
V Twitter wants to help with Apple TV's convoluted on-screen keyboard password entry issue
* They are providing their single sign-on Digits service to tvOS developers
* Using the APIs and service and Apple TV app can display a code on screen.
* That is then used on another Mac or device via at and once verified authenticates and logs in the user in the Apple TV app.
* Works a lot like the "verify your cable subscription" scheme does for entertainment apps.
V Didn't have a place to stick this, so you get it here:
* Apple has upped the 25,000 match track limit on it's iTunes Match and Apple Music services to 100K
* Back in June Eddie Cue said Apple was working on it and he has now confirmed via Twitter they are rolling it out.
* The limit only applies to tracks that are not "matched" with ones in Apple's iTunes libraries, so 100K should be good for most large eclectic music collections
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Questions about Family Sharing
* Josh wrote in to say his wife has finally expressed interest in an iPhone which is great, but now he's in a situation where he might want to use iCloud Family Sharing and has some questions.
* It's good timing too as you might be adding new devices and iPhones to your family this holiday season.
* I've only just started using Family Sharing, but I'll do my best to cover how it works and answer questions.
V Let's start with your specific questions Josh
V Should we use just one iCloud account or multiple?
* This one is easy. You each want your own iCloud account. Family Sharing actually requires it.
* The iCloud account will be used for things like your iCloud email, contact syncing, calendar syncing, iCloud Photos, etc.
* You can also use it it for iTunes purchases and Apple Music, etc. But there you could use a single shared iTunes account.
* Remember an iCloud account and and iTunes account can be the same, but they don't have to be.
* There are pluses and minutes and I'll explain as I go along.
V Can purchased apps be shared, or does each individual have to buy them separately?
* If you each use your own iCloud account in iTunes, Apps are purchased separately.
V All Family accounts use the same credit card, the one attached the the "master" account
* This is one area where you might decide to use separate iTunes account, but then if you do iTunes purchases cannot be shared.
* One creative way around this is to buy and use iTunes Gift cards for each users account as these are redeemed and used per account.
* For any child accounts you can also enable the "Ask To Buy" option.
* The good news is that when you view purchases you can see and access the content purchased under each family members account.
V There are a couple of exceptions
* In-app purchases and subscriptions
* Audiobooks
V How does sharing work for iTunes content? Apple Music?
* Purchases are shared just like Apps.
* Apple Music offers a USD $14.99/mo plan for Families.
* iTunes Music Match cannot be shared.
V Sharing calendars, contacts, reminders
* There is a 'Family' item set up in Reminders that is shared by all iCloud Family members
* There is also a 'Family' Calendar set up.
* And you can still use the "Sharing" in any Calendar and Reminders and invite specific family members using their iCloud email addresses.
* There is no iCloud sharing options for Contacts or Notes though.
V Beyond the "Ask to buy" there aren't any restrictions on child accounts that are specific to iCloud Family Plans
* There are always the Parental controls though and they can be used to restrict access to content by rating and also to making purchases.
* Another cool feature is in Find My iPhone you can see each family member's devices from one account.
V One critical thing that is NOT shared in a Family Plan is iCloud Storage
* Each account gets the free 5GB, but if you upgrade one account that storage only applies to that one account.
* iCloud Photo Libraries and Storage is all kept separate.
V Managing iCloud Storage
* Eeshan wrote in and is asking about storage in iCloud. He's migrating back to iPhone from an Android and has stuff left over in his iCloud account from hen he owned the iPhone.
V 1. Is there a way for me to download all the stuff on my iCloud account onto a backup drive and clear my iCloud account for when I receive my new iPhone?

I think the biggest thing taking space there is pictures, and although I want to keep the pics I want clear the iCloud space.
* The short answer is "yes"
* Buy really it depends on the data and how you were using it in iCloud.
V For Photos you have iCloud Photo Library, Photo Stream, and Photo Shares
* All of these can by sync'd into the local Photo app on your Mac and then backed up to other locations
* Once they are in your Photos library you could backup the entire Library file or manually export select photos or albums.
* If you want to backup Documents they can be accessed on the Mac via the iCloud Documents area of the sidebar.
* For sync'd Calendar's and contacts you can export that data from their apps.
V 2. On a go-forward basis I want to be more effective in the way I manage my iCloud storage. Are there any specific tips and tricks you can recommend?

For example, I get very confused with photo streams, my camera roll and what gets backed up to iCloud.
* There's really not much you need to do beyond just configuring the service you want to use and sync.
* Obviously don't turn on features you don't use.
* Keep you Photo Library lean. Archive old photos regularly and remove them from the main System Photos library.
* You really don't have control over the specifics of iCloud backups.
V Is there a way for me to manually manage what pictures get uploaded to iCloud and which one's don't?

I do want to backup my stuff, but want to leverage the numerous cloud based options that exist so as to avoid purchasing storage with a single provider. For example, I could use Dropbox to backup my photos.
* If you use iCloud Photo Library you really can't beyond just keeping a lean System Photos Library.
* Dropbox or Flickr to Backup photos is a great idea.
* Also, remember that you should not treat iCloud Photo Library as a "backup". You'll still want local and online backups of that data.
V Do you recommend purchasing the Apple iCloud storage so as to have seamless integration all in one place?
* I personally bought and like having the extra space.
* I would never tel everyone to do it, but with the features and the latest pricing I think it's worth it if you're heavily invested in the Apple eco-system.
V Troubleshooting with Console
* We as Mac users hate beachballs right?
* They are frustrating, they make us wait, and we often have no idea why.
V We even have the now infamous Merlin Mann rubber chicken waving dances to try and exorcise they off our system
* Repair Permissions (though we don't do that one any more)
* Zap the PRAM
* Clear the caches, rotate the logs.
* Toggle this setting and that.
* Often this voodoo works and things get better for a while, but we never really know why or what caused the trouble in the first place.
* What if I told you of a magical place, a fountain of knowledge that might just reveal the mysteries of the beachball to you? Now what if I told you this place is not a myth, but is real?
* You'd want to go there and see it for yourself right? Now what if I said it was the Console app? Wait, where are you going? Why are you running away?
* In all seriousness. The Console is a valuable troubleshooting tool that many avoid because you open it and it looks "scary"
* It's all text and code gibberish. Where are the pretty pictures.
* What it's good for is looking for patterns and errors.
* Combine it with some Google foo and it can lead you down paths to enlightenment or at least to maybe finding the root cause of your computer issues.
V Here's some tips to taming the Console.
* When you're having an issue note the time. Use this to look at the entries in the Console around that time
* Also not the app or service that might be giving you trouble. The app name is often listed in the error.
* Look for keyword like "crash", "error", "fatal"
* Use the "search" (really a filter) to narrow down. Use the app name or service name, like 'airport'
* If it's a repeatable error use the 'Clear Display' option in the toolbar. Then repeat the steps that caused the issue and watch the console.
V There are really just three main areas I find helpful for general system errors:
* All Messages - this is where I start
* Diagnostic and Usage Messages
* system.log
* Other logs are generally more service or app specific and sometime are worth checking if you hit a dead end in the other logs
V When you find a possible suspect copy the text and search it in Google
* Helpful to wrap it in double quotes
* If the entire error doesn't yield results shorten it to the critical parts.
V Different types of NAS
* Drobo is a sponsor of the Maccast and Mark heard the spot, and about the current Maccast $100 discount (use code CAST100), but he had some questions.
* Specifically he wanted to know about the Drobo 5N (which is Drobo's NAS) vs. other products like the Synology NAS and the QNAP
* Now, I'm personally a Drobo owner and I only have direct attached, though I use an old Mac mini + Drobo as a file server (not quite NAS).
* I don't own a Synology, but I know Dave Hamilton and have talked with him extensively about his, which he loves BTW.
* But Mark you had very specific questions and I think I can answer them at least to the best of my understand and then any of you listening can send use feedback and share your thoughts.
V Mark's Questions:
* Oh and BTW, Mark says he's not a "geek", so many of my answers and recommendations are going to keep that in mind.
V What are the difference and similarities between the two:
* They are both NAS
* The both take multiple drives and RAID them together.
* Drobo will not "traditional" RAID like RAID-5. Synology can, but also offers Synology Hybrid RAID (like Drobo's "Beyond RAID").
* It's my experience that Drobo is "plug-n-play" and I've been told Synology tends to be a little more "geeky"
* Both have "apps" for things like PLEX servers. Synology has had apps longer and tends to be more "open" and hackable.
V Can you back up to them with Time Machine and from more than one computer?
* The answer is yes for both the Drobo 5N and the Synology
* I'm not 100% sure how it works on the Synology, but on the Drobo you set up dedicated Time Machine shares for each Mac you want to back up over the network
* These shares are allocated out of the total Drobo "pool" of storage. That TM storage is not shared.
* There is storage that is used for redundancy and overhead so don;t forget to calculate that. You have 5 bays, but just because you pop-in 5 2TB drives doesn't mean you get 10TB of useable disk space, you actually get ~7.26TB.
V What is PLEX and how do the NAS fit in?
* PLEX is media management software. It's a server, where you store video and audio files, and various clients, iOS, Apple TV, Mac, Windows, that can connect to and view the files on the server.
* Think of it like creating your own mini version of Apple iTunes Data Center, but loaded with just your own content.
* In the Drobo and Synology you can install and run the PLEX server software.
V You use a web browser interface to connect the PLEX server on the NAS and then point at folders of Media you have stored on the NAS
* PLEX then recognized those files, add metadata (if you want) and make everything available to PLEX clients on your network, or over the Internet.
* The content you have need to be DRM-free, so iTunes purchased movies or TV shows won't work unless you convert them first.
V Downloading content from your PLEX server over the Internet requires a PLEX Pass
* 'Plex Pass' subscription ($4.99/mo or $39.99/yr. or $149.99 lifetime).
* Can still stream over the Internet without PLEX Pass and it will even vary the stream rate on the fly based on your device and connection speed.
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