Maccast 2016.02.07- Show #559
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Harry's
V Harry's
* I'm so happy to have Harry's razors as a sponsor
* I've been a Harry's customer for years.
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V Plus I never have to worry about having a supply of fresh blades
* Don't have to go to the store and wait for them to fetch blades from a locked case
* They come right to my door on a schedule that I choose
V Flexibility is why I'm a Harry's customer.
* There are other services, but not offered the ease of ordering and flexibility of Harry's
* I can customize how often I get orders and what additional items I need
* Extra blades, shaving gel or cream, or post shave balm
V These guys are serious about shaving
* They actually bought a factory in Germany to create their own blades
* Seriously
* And the blades are 5 blade cartridges
V And I love the experience of getting the blades
* The unboxing experience is top notch
V Best of all they are offering Maccast listeners the opportunity to try the Harry's shave experience for FREE.
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* Plus, they have a money back guarantee, so you've got nothing to lose.
* Big thanks to Harry's for a great shave and for sponsoring the show.
V News
V Apple Event possible in March
* 9to5 Mac has predicted the event will take place on March 15th
V IPad Air 3
V Slightly thicker than iPad Air 2 according to blueprints from a reliable source according to Engadget
* 6.15mm vs. 6.1mm
* Camera flash
* Quad-speaker design
* Smart connector
* DigiTimes claimed the unit would also ship with a 4K display and 4GB of RAM, but that seems questionable.
V iPhone 5se
* 4-inch iPhone with an A9 chip with M9 motion coprocessor, 1,624 mAh battery, 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.2, Apple Pay, VoLTE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and 16GB and 64GB storage.
* Will not have 3D Touch
V Metal case and colors in line with the iPhone 6 series
* Though the Japanese site Mac Otakara claims the 'pink' will be a deeper shade, more like the pink iPod Touch.
V Analyst Gene Munster doesn't think a March iPhone announcement makes sense
* Two iPhone launches a year would detract from other products and a Spring iPhone would be overshadowed by the iPhone 7 in the Fall.
V Maybe not, but I still see the benefit of trying to score some mid-term iPhone upgrades to counter slowing iPhone sales
* Latest data from Mixpanel shows that approximately 32.22% of active iPhone users still have a 4-inch screen
* And the iPhone 5s, only accounts for 20% of current iPhones in use according to Mixpanels data. So 12% are on even older devices.
V Apple Watch 2
* This seems unlikely.
* Will probably be a refresh of bands and possible new premium brad partnerships
* Apple Watch 2 will likely be announced this Fall with additional health and fitness features, better battery life, and possibly a FaceTime camera.
* Some, including do Gene Munster, still think Apple could announce a second generation Apple Watch at the March event.
V iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
* DigiTimes reports that Largan Technology and Japanese and Chinese camera lens makers are sending dual lens samples to Apple.
* KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that Apple has two versions of the iPhone 7 Plus in development. One with a single lens systems and one with the reported dual lens system.
* The second lens could offer optical zoom functionality
* The technology is supposedly coming because of Apple's acquisition of Linx
* The technology allows for optical sensors that are much thinner than other technologies.
V Some reports claim the camera bump will be removed on all the iPhone 7 models and that Apple might also remove the antenna lines that are across the back of the case
* early report have also said that Apple might have developed new case materials that can simply conceal the lines.
* It's also expected that Apple will remove the 3.5mm headphone jack.
V Apple Watch no longer "impact resistant"
* A UK man, Gareth Cross, sued Apple after the company refused to repair his cracked Apple Watch display under warranty and won
* The man was awarded £430 (US $620) to cover how court fees and the cost of his Apple Watch
* The claim was that Apple was in breach of the UK's Sale of Goods Act
* The BBC reported that Apple removed the phrase 'impact resistant' from it' s Apple Watch description after losing the court case.
* During the case the Cross said he had been influenced to by an Apple Watch by the 'impact resistant' description since he said he was, "prone to knocking things about a bit."
* I can say that I do have some small surface scratches on my Apple Watch Sport, but they are minor and mostly on the edge.
* I also have developed recently two small spots that look like the coating flaking off. Somewhat like the Retina Macbook Pro screens. Anyone else?
V Hack Apple hardware get aquihired
* Remember those guys who helped security researcher Trammell Hudson write the Thunderbolt firmware worm called Thunderstrike 2?
* Ok, I didn't either, but now they are apparently Apple employees
* Hudson was giving a presentation recently at 32C3:Chaos Communication Congress and revealed that back in November of 2015 Apple acquired the security consulting firm LegbaCore
* LegbaCore was founded by Xeno Kovah and Corey Kallenberg who are now full-time Apple employees
* Apple has always claimed to be serious about security and hiring the folks who figure out to hack Apple's stuff at low levels is a good way to prove that.
* Apple has had a history of hiring hackers to help beef up the security in it's products. They have also hired many well know iOS Jailbreakers
* Thunderstrike was a particularly nasty malware in that it is impossible to remove and resistant to both firmware and software updates.
* LegbaCore was a security consulting agency and apparently Apple became interested in the firm back in the Summer of 2015
* They began winding down client work and were eventually hired by Apple
* As for what they are working on in a Twitter post all they revealed was that they were hired to work on "low level security".
* Seems right up their alley.
V Beware of cheap USB-C cables
* USB-C is some cool technology
V It's the only port on the new Macbook and I fully expect they might be the only ports on new Macbook Pros
* Especially if Apple adds Thunderbolt 3 which Intel is reportedly designing to operate over the USB-C port
* One advantage of USB-C is it can carry high-speed data, video signals, and up to 100W of power over that single cable and port
* But there might be a lurking problem with USB-C if you should choose the wring cables
* Benson Leung, a member of Google's Pixel Chromebook team, has been testing and reviewing USB-C cables on Amazon to make sure they are USB-C compliant.
V He reviewed over 100 cables and all was fine, but then he got one that was miswired from the factory and disaster struck
* Because can carry a large amount of power a faulty cable could fry your machine.
* That's what append to Benson
* The moral is to just be careful. Sometimes a really cheap cable could wind up being just that and might cost you a lot more than you think.
* Also you can now check the site which was set up by Reddeditors and based on Benson's research
V Apple's partners vie for Sharp Display
* At a PR event Sharp's CEO confirmed that they are entertaining an offer from Foxconn to acquire their display business
* At the same time he denied that they have given Hon Hai [Foxconn] exclusive negotiating rights
V Sharp also appears to also have looked into the possibility of a deal with Innovation Network Corp., a state-backed Japanese fund
* If that deal happened instead of the Foxconn deal the Sharp Display business would be rolled into Japan Display, another Apple Supplier
* In face Japan Display was formed from units spun off of Hitachi, Sony, and Toshiba.
* Sharp originally said it will make a decision within the month, but with the Foxconn bid rumored at US$5.3 billion, it's about double what Innovation Network Corp is offering, it now looks like Foxconn may have won.
* Foxconn's CEO Terry Gou told reporters that they are now just waiting for the details to be finalized.
* Still it's not a done deal and just the day before Foxconn's statement Sharp's CEO claimed his company had given Foxconn exclusive negotiating rights, making it seem like they were still entertaining the Innovation Network Corp. deal.
V Either deal could have a impact on Apple.
* With Foxconn there would be an integration of display production and device assembly. Could mean better control for Apple and Foxconn
* With a Japan Display deal, Japan Display would have more of Apple's business and be able to increase their display production for Apple.
* Still with fewer vendors for displays I would imagine Apple could also potentially face future price increases when current contracts come up for renewal.
V Apple expanding iPhone trade-in program
* They will now accept iPhone's with damaged screens, cameras, or buttons.
* The Apple Store Reuse and Recycle iPhone trade-in program currently allows you to bring in an older iPhone model and trade it in for credit toward the purchase of a new iPhone
* In the past it excluded any damaged devices. Now Apple will allow trade-in of iPhone 5s and iPhone 6/6 Plus units with damaged displays, cameras, and buttons within reason.
* They are also adding a service to install your screen protector for you right in store.
V Right now it's appears that Apple has partnered with at least one company, Belkin, to offer screen protectors that can be installed in store
* Apple has never offered installation because of concerns over improperly installed screen protectors.
* Belkin reportedly has supplied Apple with TrueClear Pro machines in the back of the house that will be used to install the protectors perfectly every time.
* Even if anything goes wrong during installation Apple will give a free replacement and reattempt the installation.
V Apple's view of 2016 revealed in Town Hall meeting
* Apple's CEO Tim Cook and newly appointed COO Jeff Williams both spoke about the company and it's product outlook for 2016
* The details of the employee only meeting came in a report by Mark Gurman over at 9to5 Mac
V Cook addressed concerns over the iPad and iPhone sales slowdown
* He expects iPad revenue growth to return by the end of 2016. I wonder how?
* He did say, Apple is preparing to release a new iPad next month.
* On iPhone he said Apple has room to grow the iPhone for decades, noting that 4G LTE networks are not in every emerging market
* He also called India one of iPhone's most important growth areas
V He also cam across very positive on Apple Watch
* Noting that it was one of the “hottest” holiday gifts and that it sold more units than the iPhone did in it's first holiday quarter of 2007.
* An odd and really meaning less comparison, but OK.
* Still recent numbers from Canalys indicate Apple probably sold 12 million Apple Watches in 2015 or about two-thirds of all smartwatch shipments.
V Cook was also positive on Apple TV noting that Apple sold more set-top boxes than ever during the holiday quarter.
* The talk seems to acknowledge Apple's desire for doing more with Apple TV
* Recent speculation has been on a stream TV service and possible original programming for Apple TV
V Apple is also negotiating against Apple, Google, Amazon and Verizon for the NFL streaming rights for Thursday Night Football.
* Any digital streaming deal will likely not be exclusive, but I feel Apple should bid hard for these rights and I think they will.
V Cook was positive about Apple's future products and services
* Saying Apple TV and the tvOS sets the stage for a “bright” future for Apple in the living room.
* He also mention Apple using Apple Music in Android as a testing ground possible expanding more Apple services on other platforms
* And he teased some "far off" product announcements that are beyond this year.
* Jeff Williams spoke mostly on Apple's supply chain noting that soon Apple will announce that all of its smelted metals for products used across 2015 and beyond are either completely conflict-free or coming from smelting partners that are are amid validation for becoming wholly conflict-free.
* Finally Cook said Apple will continue it's focus on expansion in China and they believe that they don't need to have cheeper product in emerging markets to compete.
* Apple continues to believe that people are willing to spend more for a better experience
V 'Error 53' is a thing, but not an "error"
* The Guardian ran a story about an iPhone error that some have experienced after getting a TouchID based iPhone repair.
* The error is 'Error 53' and it most often occurs for folks who have had a repair don't by a non-Apple authorized 3rd party
* Once you get the error the iPhone is basically bricked and needs to be replaced.
* It also isn't typically triggered until you run an iOS software update, but might seem odd considering Apple's explanation.
* The error has to do with the hardware pairing between the TouchID sensor and the Secure Enclave chip that stores you fingerprint data on the device
* Error 53 is triggered if the hardware has been altered, say by installing a new TouchID sensor during a repair, but the sensor and Secure Enclave have not been re-validated.
* In other words it's a security feature.
* Some claim that they also received the error after getting a screen replacement. There I'm guessing maybe because you just disconnect the home button and attach it to the new display assembly.
V The odd part is why isn't the error triggered immediately?
* Why does it only check on a software upgrade or a restore from backup?
* There have been allegations by some that the error exists to force customers to use Apple or their authorized repair centers to force customers to pay more for repairs.
V Mac Pro Repair Extension Program
* Apple has determined that graphics cards in some late 2013 Mac Pros, manufactured between February 8, 2015 and April 11, 2015, may cause distorted video, no video, system instability, freezing, restarts, shut downs, or may prevent system start up.
* Both video cards must be replaced on effect units and AMD's FirePro D500 (high-end model) and D700 (built-to-order) GPUs are affected.
* The FirePro D300 GPU on the base Mac Pro does not appear to be part of the program.
* Under the program Apple will offer repairs free of charge until May 30th, 2018. Repairs are said to take 3-5 days.
* If you believe your Mac Pro is exhibiting the issues it's best to make a Genius Bar appointment or visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to get your system checked. If that isn't possible contact AppleCare support.
V Sponsor: Gazelle
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Feedback on death of 3.5mm jack
* I've received quite a bit of feedback from you and most people seem to not be too worried about losing the standard headphone we've had since the Walkman came out int the 80s
* Still for others it's a really big deal.
* Especially for those of you who have a big investment in premium headphones or those who hate Bluetooth options.
* Unfortunately like it or not I believe the next iPhone will not have a 3.5mm jack
* But the more I read about this the more it makes sense and I'm going to try to convince you.
* Chances are after the change your old headphones might even sound better.
V Apple will sell an adapter that will let you use your old headphones
* Yes it will mean giving Apple likely another 20-30 bucks, that does sting a bit.
* But with that adapter you'll plug your headphones in and it will be just like it was before.
* Lightning can pass through the converted analog signal through the adapter
V But where it's get's better is the opportunity a pure digital connector affords headphone makers
* Almost as important as the headphones you paid a premium for is the source of the signal for those headphones.
* The key for 3.5mm headphones is the DAC (digital to audio converter)
* The iPhone has one, but it's not great. It's a volume low cost component.
* Also on Apple's built in DAC higher-impdedence headphones can sound quiet and will under-perform
* With a Lighting connector your headphone maker can make not only Lightning headphones, but also cables or adapters that could include a better quality DAC that is designed to match the performance of your headphones exactly.
* So you can finally take full advantage of the headphones you paid for.
* Yes you'll pay a bit more for an adapter, but the sound experience you get could prove to be worth every penny.
V Tip, set lower brightness
* Play comments and tip from Gary
V To enable
* Settings > General> Accessibility > Zoom
* Turn Zoom 'On'
* Turn 'Show Controller' On
* Double-tap with three fingers to zoom or un-zoom
V Tap the Controller to bring up the menu
* Tap on Choose Filter
* Inverted, Greyscale, Greyscale Inverted, and Low Light
* Tap Low Light
* Come back to here and tap 'None' to remove the low light filter.
* Turn off Zoom to disable.
V On the Apple Watch scratches.
* Some people report online being able to use toothpaste to remove and buff out minor surface scratches.
* Needs to be regular toothpaste, not gel or whitening, etc.
* use some on a soft cloth in a circular motion over the scratch until it goes away. Then clean with a damp cloth.
V For protection I would look at the options from Spigen
* Their Thin Fit one just snaps on
* Plus they are only USD $15 - $25 bucks.
V Snell, Armant and others on "App rot"
* Apps that are left abandoned in the App Store for various reasons
V One of the most common is the App Stores unhealthy economics
* Probably lead by the inability for developers to sell upgrades
* Other issues include developers moving on to other projects or careers, contacts expiring (when part of a development team), can't afford to spend time updating the app.
V Sometimes to the underlying technology or service an app depends on rots itself or shuts down
* It will happen next January when Facebook shuts down Parse, a service it acquired.
* Parse was NoSQL Backend as a Service that let developers quickly build mobile apps.
* Developers didn't have to worry about writing and maintaining a custom server backend.
* The issue is when it shuts down many developers will likely not update their apps and those apps will simply be broken.
* Parse is providing migration tools, but some developers just might not bother.
V Developers are not seeming to optimize for new screen sizes or features as frequently
* This also plays into the maturing of the platform and features
* What's a developers incentive to add 3D Touch support to their app?
* Also developers seem to be slower to adopt new platforms like Apple Watch or Apple TV. Where's the financial incentive?
V I'm struggling with this on the iPad Pro
* My RSS reader of choice, Mr. Reader, still has yet to support split screen on iPad Pro, so I'm back to Reeder.
V Many apps are built on contract by well meaning developers on a clients tight budget and then handed back to the client
* In many cases the client might not even be aware of their\\\ apps impending doom.
V And for those who would argue that there are many developers making money on the App store, let me share some data
* A ' Pollen Insights' story using data from Mobile Advertising Watch showed that as of November 2015 1,887 app developers made more than $1 million in revenue over the past 12 months
* They also claim more than 20,000 app developers and companies will have made over $100,000 in revenues
* Sounds good right? Until you realize that Apple claimed in 2014 they had 9 million registered developers.
* That number includes Mac and iOS, but let's assume a absurdly small number of the 9 million, say just 300,000 are active iOS developers.
* That would mean 0.4% are making more than $1 million in revenue per year and just about 6% are making $100,000
* And that's revenue, not profit. Apple takes 30% off the top.
* Plus, most of those making money are not single developers, they are teams or companies. They have office space, overhead, etc.
* Even a small team of say 5 people if their app generates $100,000 in revenue are netting $14,000/ea per year after Apple takes 30 percent. Do you work for that? That's below the US poverty line for a household of 2 in 2015.
* And remember these are the one making "money" on the App Store.
* I'm not saying some developer have not been highly successful making apps. They are some, but it's the exception, not the rule.
* There are also likely many solo developers who can make a good middle class living off their apps and being an app developer is a choice.
* My point is that if we don't start seeing the value in what they create and rewarding that value with our dollars there are going to be a lot more rotting apps and a lot fewer apps for us to buy regardless of their price.
V Saving iBooks notes
* Play question from Adam
* You can select any note in iBooks and then choose the sharing options and email it to yourself. You can also select all the notes in a book to get them all in one email.
* There is also an app called Digested that you can run on your Mac, after syncing your iBooks of course, that can export to PDF or Evernote
V The underlying data is actually stored as a SQLite database
* ~/Library/Containers/
* You could open this with a SQLite editor and go digging, say the free DB Browser for SQLite
* Just make a copy of the .sqlite file before trying to open it.
* I even found a project on GitHub that is a PHP script you can run on the command line to export your iBooks notes data to Evernote called iBooks2Evernote
V Closing
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V Thanks to my sponsors
* Smile
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