Maccast 2016.01.17- Show #556
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
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V News
V Apple Music reaches 10M subscribers
* Apple Music has passed the 10 Million paid subscriber mark
V It reached it in six months
* Many pointing out that it took Spotify 6 years
* Not fair since Apple Music launched in 100 countries day one
* Spotify is also in only 58 markets
* Still Spotify claims 20 million paid subscribers and 75 million monthly listeners
* Spotify also gets a lot of revenue from ads on it's free tier service
* Also not clear how Apple is counting "family" subscribers
* Still it's a great milestone for Apple.
V Concerns for the Music industry?
* US album downloads fell 9 percent in 2014. Song downloads fell 12 percent
* I now pay, $15/mo. than the cost of one album. Typically I spent maybe $1-10/mo on albums and tracks, maybe.
V Related
* Apple dumping the 3.5mm audio jack in iPhone 7
* AirPods, BT EarPods
* High end Lightning connector headphones, also Beats options
* Hi-Res Audio format 96kHz, 24-bit
V Apple 4-inch iPhone rumors get stranger
* China 'MyDrivers' blog has thrown out iPhone 5e as a name. What?!!
* They claim the "e" stands for "enhanced". How about eh-No.
V They are now reporting it's back to an A8 processor with 1GB RAM, not the A9 2GB iPhone 6c model we've been hearing about for months
* One also reported on by ' MyDrivers' BTW
* Would be offered in 16GB and 64GB sizes only.
* They also think Apple will keep the 8MP iSight camera from the iPhone 5s, but upgrade the FaceTime camera with f/2.2 aperture
* It would also get TouchID and Apple Pay support (not avail on 5s)
* The model would also be thinner with curved cover glass like the iPhone 6 models.
V I see the logic in Apple producing a model with specs that are not updated as much as previously reported
* Much higher profit margin
* But giving it a "5" name doesn't and specs that almost completely match the 5s makes no sense.
V Boyle's 'Steve Jobs' "bomb" wins awards
* Despite being considered a box office failure the 'Steve Jobs' movie written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle is getting accolades from top awards shows
V Writer, Sorkin, and actors Kate Winslet and Michael Fassbender all had nominations for the Golden Globes
* Fassbender unfortunately didn't win for Best performance by an Actor
* But both Winslet and Sorkin took home statues
* Sorkin for Best Screenplay and Winslet for Best Performance by and Actress
* Daniel Pemberton was also nominated for Best Original Score, but did not win
V It really bummed me out how lambasted the film was in the tech press
* Done by many who refused to see the movie
* Many felt that too many artistic liberties were taken by the film
* Also many close to Jobs criticized the film for not being an accurate portrayal of the man they knew. Including Tim Cook and Steve's widow Lorane Powell-Jobs
* Those who knew Jobs earlier in life, the period mostly covered in the film, had good things to say and even consulted. Including Woz, Andy Hertzfeld, and Joanna Hoffman. All who are featured in the film.
V This week the nominations for the Oscars were announced and 'Steve Jobs' received two nominations
* Fassbender for best actor in a leading role and Winslet for best actress in a supporting role.
* Sorkin, Boyle, and Pemberton did not get any Oscar nominations for the film
V Apple updates all the betas
* Apple released bets updates for OS X, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS this week
* iOS 9.3 and OS X 10.11.4 for also released as public betas
V OS X 10.11.4 Features
* OS X 10.11.3 is also still in beta testing
V Live Photos support in the Messages app
* Shows the Live Photo circle icon on the upper left of the image
* Clicking on it will open the mini photo viewer and then clicking on the image will "play" the Live Photo
* Performance improvements and bug fixes
V iOS 9.3 Features
V Night Shift Mode
* Enabled in settings
* Shifts the color temperature as the sun goes down
* Can set the level of color shift from "blue" to more "yellow"
* Happens gradually as the sun goes down
* Makers of F.lux want Apple to open the API
V Secure Notes
* Encrypt individual notes
* Supports TouchID or a password
* Also more list view sorting options. Alphabetical, Date Created, Date Modified
V Multi-user support for educational iPads
* Shared iPad for Students
* New Classroom App - guide students through a lesson and see progress
* Apple School Manager - IT can create Apple IDs, purchase apps, manage devices
* Managed Apple IDs - Created and assigned by school
V Other features of note
* Wi-Fi Assist will now display how much data has been used by the feature.
* 3D Touch supported and more features added on Apple's built in apps, like App Store, Stocks, Compass, Health, Weather and more
* Smarter "For You" section in News app. Play embedded videos in feed
* Health app now shows Apple Watch data and looks like may have options for 3rd party app integration of some data.
* Apple Music integration in Car Play and new 'Nearby' feature for local services like gas, parking, and restaurants.
V Reports of Apple "adding" the ability to hide stock apps are a bit over exaggerated
* You can do it, but it's not easy
* You have to use Apple's Configurator 2.2 Beta tool
* Then set up a custom configuration profile
* Add the apps you want to hide to the restrictions payload set using their bundle ID, like ''
* Then connect your iPhone to your Mac and use the Configurator tool to apply the profile.
* This seems mostly a feature for enterprise customers and not mere mortals.
V Apple acknowledged a bug for some iPhone 6s and 6s Plus owners where the battery percentage indicator might not update
* Seems to impact people who change their manually or change time zones when traveling.
* Apple is aware and working on a fix
* In the meantime if you are effected by the bug they suggest you Restart your iPhone and go to Settings > General > Date & Time and make sure that Set Automatically is turned on.
* Apple also shared numbers this week that iOS 9 is now installed on 75 percent of compatible devices, that's up 5 percent from November.
V tvOS 9.2 Features
V Support for app folders
* Works pretty much just like on iOS
* I would have preferred more of a "tabbed panels" style support so I could group screens into categories.
* Bluetooth keyboard support
V Updated app switcher that looks more like iOS
* Seems like a waste of space?
* Easier to see each app I guess?
* Podcast app
V More dialects for Siri
* U.S. Spanish and French Canadian
* U.K. English, Australian English, U.S. English
V Some current 4th gen Apple TV owners are reporting their unit are randomly waking up on their own
* The units turn on a minute or so after putting them to sleep and in many cases, because of the HDMI-CEC support, the TV comes back on as well.
* One possible fix is to close all apps before putting the Apple TV to sleep.
* Not clear if there is a bug fix yet in the tvOS 9.2 update.
V watchOS 2.2 Features
V Pair multiple Apple Watches to a single iPhone (requires iOS 9.3)
* Auto-Switch will automatically connect to any paired Apple Watch, once the user puts it on and raises their wrist.
* Developer's who own a 38mm and 42mm Apple Watch for app testing are likely to benefit from the feature
* More useful is Maps on Apple Watch will have add the "Near By" feature
V Apple's "open" secret
* Elon Musk told the BBC that Apple's rumored car project is an "open" secret
* Noting that it's hard to hide something when you're hiring "thousands" of engineers
V Apple and Tesla have been swapping engineering talent for years by now.
* Apple's also reportedly been hiring talent from Ford, GM, Chrysler, and Volkswagen
* Apple's hiring has been from automotive industry, battery experts, autonomous vehicle systems, artificial intelligence, and more
* Apple also recently registered the domains "", "", and ""
V Analysts see lower March iPhone sales for Apple
* This has been happening for weeks now, but now analyst Gene Munster from Piper is also lowering his iPhone sales estimates for Apple's next quarter
* In an investors note Munster said he now estimates that Apple will ship 55 million iPhones, down significantly from his previous estimate of 62.5 million units.
* Munster set his March quarterly revenue estimates on iPhones at 55.8 billion and thinks most on Wall Street are expecting between $59.7 billion on sales of 58 million iPhones.
V Most of the lowered estimates, including likely Munster's, is based on supply chain evidence that Apple is slowing iPhone production by as much as 30 percent according to some sources.
* Munster believes the supplier guidedowns are more in the 10 to 15 percent range
* If the numbers come in under 61.17 million units, as predicted, it will be the first time Apple has seen a year-over-year decline in iPhone shipments since 2007.
* Some feel if that happens it will indicate Apple has finally reached market saturation with iPhone.
* Despite the lowered estimates Munster still sees Apple stock as a "top pick" for the year.
V Munster also expects Apple Watch to do well in 2016 and 2017
* For the holiday quarter he thinks Apple will have sold 6 million Apple Watches
* And believe they will sell 20 million units in 2016 followed by 40 million in 2017
* It'll be interesting to see what guidance Apple gives at it's quarterly results call later this month.
V A potential positive for Apple is China, despite some past reports that the iPhone might be struggling in China
* China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has released data showing a significant drop in Android's share of smartphone sales in the December quarter
* The numbers showed a 33 percent increase in non-Android phone sales in China, a segment dominated by the iPhone
* The report claims iOS represents 90 percent of the non-Android smartphone segment in China.
* Over the past few quarterly results calls China has account for huge iPhone growth and sounds like we still expect similar results for this past holiday quarter.
V Apple Watch most popular smartwatch of 2015
* At least according to the folks at Jupiter Research
* A recent study by them predicted that Apple shipped 8.8 million units in 2015 accounting for 51.5 percent of all smartwatch shipments this past year.
* They think, like with the iPad and iPhone, apps are the key top the platform's popularity
* When the Apple Watch lunched last May they had 10,000 apps vs. roughly 4,000 on Android Wear
V Apple Watch 2 has been predicted to be coming from Apple this March
* TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino reported this week though that his sources say an Apple Watch 2 will be unveiled this March
* Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin also claims supply chain checks don't seem to show anything related to Apple Watch happening in the first half of the year.
* He doesn't say when or if he thinks an Apple Watch update would happen, but doesn't rule out the possibility of it being updated along side the iPhone 7 in September.
* To be honest a longer, 18-month, upgrade cycle on Apple Watch seems to make more sense.
V Apple's iAd seems to be winding down
V Reports from BuzzFeed that Apple plans to get rid of it's iAd sales team and move to an automated platform
* Publishers would be able to create and directly sell ads into the iAd platform using automated tools
* Apple would also no longer be taking their 30 percent cut of iAd revenue
* Apple had already update their iAd Workbench tools to allow publishers to sell ads directly in the Apple News app
V Apple also announced that they will stop iAd network operations on June 30th and that they are not accepting any new apps into the Network
* Developers currently using iAds in their apps will have support through June
* New content can also be created for currently active campaigns via iAd Workbench.
V It's really unclear what the future of Apple's iAd program will be.
* They are clearly making huge changes and in the short term appear to be mostly shutting it down
* What's not clear is if that's a permanent decision.
* The end of June timing also seems like it could be significant to me as that lease the way for a WWDC announcement of a revamped system at the beginning of June.2
V Apple also announced that it's free Ad Supported iTunes Radio stations will be going away and made only available ad-free via an Apple Music subscription
* Apple has notified customers via email that the free radio services will end on January 29th.
* Beats 1 will remain as the only "radio" style offering on Apple Music available to non-Apple Music subscribers
* To me Apple had already hobbled iTunes Radio to the point of making it almost worthless even to paying subscribers.
V New York bill to force smartphone "back door"
* A new bill is being thrown around in the state assembly that would require, “any smartphone manufactured on or after January 1, 2016, and sold or leased in New York, shall be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.”
* If it would pass, the penalty for any manufacturer failing to comply would be USD $2,500 for each infringing device sold in the state
* Apple and specifically Tim Cook have been fighting this kind of legislation on many levels
* The current NY bill is very similar to the recently proposed Investigatory Powers Bill being proposed in the UK
* The main issue is that by making decryption by governments and law enforcement possible the same "back door" could be used by criminals and thieves to access sensitive consumer data.
* There's no way to just let the "good guys" in and keep bad guys out.
* Additionally it's likely to help very little in stopping the very worst kinds of people, like terrorists, from using encryption. They will just use other methods to protect their communications.
* You "average" consumer though will likely go unprotected because rolling their own solutions would be too technically difficult for them to bother with. It becomes much more difficult to implement than just using iMessages or setting a passcode lock.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Remote Access and Notebooks
V Remote Access apps
* Parallels Remote, USD $19.99/yr.
* TeamViewer, Free for personal use. USD $809 forever. Seems much more business focused.
V Notebook alternatives
* DEVONthink, USD $49.00 - $149.00
V CarPlay Feedback
* Got a lot of great information from John, who's had the system in his Chevy Malibu for about two weeks
V Maps
* Seems that traffic information is only visible when using navigation and looking at an overview rather than in detail view
* Be nice to have local traffic in detail view.
* Sometimes the "night time" mode doesn't kick in.
* Maps, seems to be the only option. Be nice to have 3rd party app support like Waze or Google Maps
V Podcasts
* Apple's Podcast app or Overcast. Downcast doesn't seem to have support yet
* Podcasts in Overcast work well most of the time
V Apple Music
* Doesn't currently have support for "For you" or "New" tabs, though that may be changing soon I think (iOS 9.3)
* Works flawlessly about 90 percent of the time, but sometimes there are odd connectivity issues
V For Nate it's all about ecosystem "stickiness"
* He installed a Pioneer AVIC-5000NEX in his car, but had a Sony Xperia and an Amazon Fire.
* Having Car Play capability made he want to get back on iOS
* Now he says he uses CarPlay daily. Taking phone calls, using iMessages, listening to Podcasts
* On his unit the iPhone has to be plugged in via the Lightning cable, but that has the benefit of charging the iPhone
* It's not without bug. He mentions a few drops in audio and crashes back to the home screen and very rarely a lock up, but says as time has progressed those have become less frequent.
* The only non-built in app he has tried is Audible and it works well except it required the phone being unlocked. Other apps work while the phone is locked.
* He says Maps is mush easier with Siri vs. having to pull over and mess with the built in nav system.
* And don't discount the UI. It looks better than the built in stuff in most vehicles.
* He notes it's just slightly more convenient than the decent Bluetooth compatibility, but concedes that if CarPlay was a choice next time he buys a car he'd go for it. Noting also it's be great to have Android Auto as an option too, "just in case".
V Export originals from Photos
* Darius emailed me about a cool video project he's working on.
* He is using Adobe Premier to take old videos from his Flip camera and iPhone and edit them into a story.
* The story he wants to tell will play out in chronological order though and when he went to pull the iPhone videos which he had stored in Photos he ran into a small issue
* When he selected his videos and drug them out into his project folder the dates on the videos were all set to the current date and time for both date created and date modified
V The reason is that when you select an image or video in Photos and drag it out it is creating a copy of that item
* It also retains any modifications and edit you might have made in Photos
* Darius, in your case what you are looking to do is grab the "originals" that you put into Photos when you first imported them
V Luckily it's fairly easy to do that from the Photos app
* Simply select the items you wish to export
* Then go under 'File' > 'Export' > 'Export Unmodified Originals'
V You'll be given some filename options.
* Use File Name, Use Title, Sequential
* You're also given an option to export the ITPC metadata and an XMP sidecar file if you'd like.
* And you can choose to have moments exported into individual subfolders if you'd like
* Then choose the location for your export and click 'Export Originals'
* After that you should have the files exported with their original created and modified dates
V The trouble with printers
* Geoff struggled recently with a basically DOA HP 8600 inkjet/scanner/fax, all-in-one printer
* I took had to dump an Epson all-in-one recently who's scanner unit died in about a year.
* The trend to "all-in-ones" is frustrating to say the least, but also printer hardware quality seems to have gone seriously downhill.
* The issue with all in ones is the same we had with bookshelf stereo systems in the 80's. If one part breaks you can't just easily replace it.
V The trouble is it seems to be getting harder and harder to find just a printer and even harder to find just a scanner if you need that
* Many iOS apps work for "scanning" just using your iPhone's camera.
* If you have an old scanner laying around check out VueScan. I still can use an old Canon CanoScan scanner I bought in the 90s.
V I finally took the leap and moved to a laser printer and never looked back
* The cost in toner is more up front, but the per print costs are much cheaper.
* We do mostly black & white printing. The speed is amazing as well.
V I got a Brother MCF-9340CDW, USD ~$400.00. A complete set of toner cartridges will cost around USD $250.00. These are OEM cartridges and high-yield.
* Number of prints will vary depending on what you are printing, but B&W approx 2500 pages and full-color 1000-1500.
* It does include a set of standard yield cartridges.
* Laser is something to consider if you don't need high quality photo printing.
* We only print photos a few times a year, so just using online services like Apple or Snapfish or sending prints to Costco, Walmart, or Walgreens works for us.
* For school stuff, day to day printing, etc. the laser printer is awesome and you can get a good B&W laser printer for about $100.00
V Thing of the Moment: Homebridge
* So HomeKit is one of those Apple technologies and announcements that I was really excited about
* The trouble is that the true promise of HomeKit still really hasn't been realized.
* A system to bring together all of my home devices and control them all easily from my iPhone with Siri
* To date the ecosystem still feels fragmented with each vendor making their own app and hubs. Plus some vendors don't want to offer HomeKit support making things even more fragmented
* That's why I became very interested when listener Richard told me about Homebridge
V Homebridge is a lightweight NodeJS server you can run on your home network that emulates the iOS HomeKit API.
* In essence it's a way to set up and configure your own HomeKit bridge
* You can run it on almost anything. Your Mac, a PC, Linux box, NAS, or even a Raspberry Pi
V And it has plug-ins that anyone can right to integrate products and devices into your Homebridge network
* There are plugins for Nest, Sonos, Hue (if you don'r have a HomeKit hub), SmartThings, Belkin WeMo and more
V Setting it up can be a little bit tricky
* You need to set up and install Node JS which involves running some command line stuff
* You also need to install the Node plugins which you can get from the NPM (Node Package Manager) site. Just search for 'homebrige-plugin' and substitute your device for 'plugin' i.e. homebridge-sonos
* The Homebridge GitHub page provides all the instructions you need.
* You'll also need to configure your Homebridge server and plugin by editing son simple JSON files.
V Once you have the server set up and your plug-ins installed you'll need to run an iOS app to add your Homebridge devices and configure them
* The good news is most HomeKit compatible apps will let you do this. The bad news is there is no consistency in the UIs
* So far my favorite apps are Home ( USD $14.99) from Selfocoded and El Gato's Eve (Free)
* You can also use Insteon's Hub Pro app (Free)
V Whatever app you choose, the setup is basically the same
* You'll first add the 'Homebridge' server as an Accessory
* Then you should be able to see any devices or accessories that you have Hombridge plugins installed for
* You can then start adding devices and accessories and assigning them to Rooms and placing them in Scenes (scripts)
* You also and assign unique "names" for devices and accessories to be used by Siri
V Some tips on naming
* Avoid names or terms that might confuse Siri's built in commands
* For example, when setting up my Sonos integration I used "speakers" instead of the words Sonos or Music as Siri could interpret those me wanting her to open the 'Apps'
V Scenes are fun because you can tie many actions together under a single voice command
* A "Ready to Party" scene could dim the lights, turn on you hue light strip, set it to your favorite color, then start some tunes playing on your sonos, setting the volume up to an appropriate rocking level
* The you just say Hey Siri, Ready to Party and it kicks everything off.
V So even with Homebridge everything isn't perfect. There is still a lot of fiddling and finagling to do
* But at least your in control and not waiting on a 3rd party to build out the integrations you want
* Definitely worth checking out if your tired of waiting for Apple to get HomeKit in order.
V Closing
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