Maccast 2016.04.22 - Show #568
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Smile
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V News
V iPhone 7 smart connector
V New reports from Mac Otakara that the iPhone 7 will feature a Smart Connector
* What for?
* Connector on the back, so seems not practice for Keyboard accessories.
V They also continue the rumors of ditching the 3.5 mm headphone connector and dual-lens camera system on the 7 Plus.
* Reports claim Apple is working on Bluetooth EarPods that will pair and charge through the Lightning port.
* The report also mentioned two new unknown sensors, but some think it could be for Apple's True Tone technology.
* Come in same sizes and dimensions as the iPhone 6s line.
V A report out of Korea hints at Apple's move to OLED iPhone displays.
* Apple reportedly signed a $2.59B deal with Samsung will provide provide 100 million 5.5-inch OLED panels a year.
* OLEDs don't need backlight panels meaning Apple could make thinner designs or fit more components, like battery.
* Challenges include higher manufacturing costs and shorter lifespans for panels.
* Apple might also look for similar deals for OLED panels from LG Display, AU Optronics, or Japan Display.
* Some think the OLED displays will be in this years phones while other reports said Apple plans to transition in 2018.
V Qualcomm's CEO hinted that Apple may be switching to Intel's LTE chips.
* Seems to confirm earlier rumors.
* Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested that Apple planned a "larger" 5.8-inch OLED display phone this year.
V Kuo had also hinted at a design change back to glass front and back. He also says that glass will be "curved" and the phone would have new biometric features, maybe face recognition for unlocking, and wireless charging.
* I still don't see the advantage of wireless charging on an iPhone if it's the ONLY way to charge.
V It remains to be seen if a new iPhone design will do much to stop slowing year over year iPhone sales
* Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported that Apple has told suppliers to maintain reduced output of the iPhone 6s line.
* They also eluded to Apple moving up a launch to May to make things look better for the 3rd quarter numbers (not likely).
* Apple already warned investors that iPhone will see its first-ever year-over-year decline in shipments in the March quarter.
* The iPhone 6SE still seems to be hard to get in store, but it's not clear if that's high sales or low production volume.
V Still it seems the SE might be making a dent in China
* DigiTimes reports that lower cost phone competitors like Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo have lost market share and are scaling back production since the launch of the iPhone SE
V iPhone's also saw a 10% price drop in Japan this week
* The price change was simply an exchange rate adjustment
* Anyone who purchased an iPhone at the higher price in the last 14 days can request a refund for the difference in price.
V Suppliers get Apple Watch 2 orders
* DigiTimes reports that Samsung and others are starting to get contracts for Apple Watch 2 parts
V Samsung will reportedly be supplying the CPUs And NAND storage for the watch's system-in-package (SiP)
* It combines DRAM, NAND flash and CPU all in one resin encased unit.
* Currently S1, so I assume the new ones will be S2s?
V The S1 package has been supplied exclusively by Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, but that May be changing
* The report claims Amkor Technology and STATS ChipPAC are also getting contracts for SiP package orders
* Some think the new Watch will have a design that's 20 to 40 percent year thinner.
* Still other believe this will be a performance upgrade only. Better processing, battery, etc.
* Component production is expected to ramp up in the next few months.
V Apple prepares to do battle in Washington
* The fall out from the San Bernardino FBI iPhone unlocking case continues
V Most are calling, especially Apple, for decisions to be made in congress and that appears to be happening.
* The Burr Feinstein bill is trying to gain support and others are working to shut it down
* The Reform Government Surveillance, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, and the Entertainment Software Association sent a letter asking the senators to reconsider the draft bill.
* The bill says companies would have to provide digital data in a "intelligible" form when served by a court order. Basically they need to be able to decrypt anything that they encrypted. Undermining security and privacy.
* Also points out that other governments would have similar laws passed and that customers who valued privacy would just purchase products from countries that don't impose the same restrictions.
V This week Apple seems to have beefed up it's political team by picking up a Cynthia Hogan, a former aide for former Senator and now VP Joe Biden.
* Most recently she has been a lobbyist for the National Football League.
* She will serve as Apple's vice president for public policy and government affairs for the Americas.
V Apple's Chief legal council Bruce Sewell was on a panel for a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, Oversight and Investigations
* The hearing was titled, "Deciphering the Debate Over Encryption: Industry and Law Enforcement Perspectives,"
* His panel was expected to argue the merits of keeping encrypted system completely secure.
V Speculation that FBI may have paid more than $1 Million dollars for the solution to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone
* Based on a statement made by FBI director James Comey
* They paid more than his salary for his remaining years at the FBI
* He said he had 7 year and 4 monthS=T left their and quick math put the figure at $1.3 million.
* Accurate? Who knows. I expect the FBI to respond denying the figure.
V Apple moving back to MacOS?
* Apple updates some pages on it's site for Earth Day and maybe have tipped their hand on a rebranding for OS X
V The pages referred to Apple's desktop operating system as MacOS
* Apple's OSes were called Mac OS until OS X Mountain Lion
* They use 'MacOS' and not lowercase 'macOS' like in iOS, tvOS, and watchOS. 9 to 5 Mac points out this may be because Mac (Macintosh) is a proper noun.
* A mention of "MacOS" was also found buried Library files in OS X 10.11.4 in late March
* Apple also seems to be dropping any 'version number' reference from most of it's products (iPad mini, iPad Air, iPad Pro, iPhone SE) so this makes sense.
* But will they keep the new California landmarks part if they make the switch? MacOS Golden Gate? MacOS Joshua Tree?
V Apple still looking at 'original' TV content
* FastCompany wrote a piece with details on secret invite only meetings Apple had a Sundance
* Part of "iTunes Lounge" they really looked like meetings with TV industry insiders and "triple A-list" talent.
* After the Sundance meetings they were reportedly in Hollywood to hear pitches for original TV series
* Apple plans to launch on an "exclusives" app on Apple TV and within iTunes
* Spurred on by the death of the TV bundle. TV execs are looking to see where consumers will invest their extra $200 from their cancelled cable bundles.
* The piece points out that with Apple's $216B cash on hand they could acquire Net­flix, Paramount Pictures, HBO, and Warner Bros. and have money left over.
V Notes a "two lane" approach of short films, documentaries, and shows to promote Apple Music and development of original programing for Apple TV and iTunes
* Apple is reportedly looking to debut multiple series at once.
* Robert Kondrk, Apple’s VP of iTunes is said to be heading up the original TV show efforts
* Apple is leveraging it's brand appeal among celebrities.
V Complaints that so far Apple's original programming efforts seem "disorganized" and that Apple hasn't presented a "coherent" strategy
* Is that just Apple's secrecy or do they really not have a plan?
* Is Apple moving too slowly as Netflix and Amazon plow forward?
V Apple sees their services business (iTunes, iCloud, App Store, Apple Music, AppleCare, and Apple Pay) as a huge area of growth
* It generated $19.9B in revenue in 2015 and Piper Jaffray estimates gross margins above 60 percent.
* Services revenues growing at 24% a year
* Munster sees services accounting for 10 percent of Apple's total revenue for calendar years 2016 and 2017, up 1 percent from 2015.
* According to VentureBeat 124.4 million people in the US accessed at least one Apple online service in March. That's more than half the US adult population.
V iBooks and iTunes movies were shutdown in China after being available for just six months
* Apple did have government approval to launch the service there, but the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television who regulates that content called for it to be shut down
* Two reason were given. Control of what Chinese people see to protect national security and favoring local companies vs. outside ones.
* Alibaba for example has a streaming movie service in China.
* Apple hopes to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible.
V Reports of infighting in Apple's cloud teams
* Strain over the move to in-house servers
* One "key" employee has reportedly left
* Fights between the Siri Team and and the iCloud team.
* Apple has chose to extend the Siri cloud computing platform to include services like iTunes and iMessage which were under the iCloud team.
* This is not surprising news to anyone who's ever worked in IT or infrastructure
* The in-house vs. outsourced debate.
V Macbook gets an update
V Apple updated the 12-inch Macbook quietly on it's website this week
* The updated version has new Intel Core-M "Skylake" processors.
V There's also better integrated graphics via the Intel HD Graphics 515 and it has faster flash storage and faster (1866 MHz) memory that's now 8GB standard across the line.
* The Verge had BlackMagic speed tests that showed a 80-90 improvement in Flash write speed along with "smaller, incremental improvements" to read speeds.
* Apple says the battery should go an hour longer and it now comes in a Rose gold color option.
V The rest of the specs remain largely the same with the 12-inch 2304×1440 Retina display, special "butterfly" key keyboard, Force Touch trackpad, and it's single USB-C port used for the display, data IO, and power.
* They still don't support Thunderbolt 3, which can run over the USB-C connector.
V Overall the performance improvements come together to bring about a 25 percent improvement in speed according to Apple. That despite the fact that spec-wise the CPUs are running at the same clock speeds as the old chips.
* Early Geekbench tests of just the CPU are showing 15 to 20 percent increase in raw CPU performance.
* Pricing also remains the same with the base 1.1GHz Core 3m model with 256GB of storage starting at USD $1,299.00 and the higher tier 1.2 GHz Core m5 with 512GB of storage starting at USD$1,599.00.
* The new Macbook is available online and in Apple Stores now.
* If you pick up a new Macbook there is already a software update that improves compatibility with third-party Bluetooth accessories.
V Internet "geek" reaction is seems to be mixed, but many think the updates are "not enough"
* List of complaints: Core-m processor too slow, still a 480p FaceTime camera, only one USB-C port, not Thunderbolt 3 support, and high price point.
* They seem to forget who this is targeted at.
V Except for the display, the Macbook Air is probably your best portability to low cost and higher performance value.
* 13-inch Macbook Air: USD $1,599.00 for a 1.6GHz Core i5, 8GB RAM, and 512GB of storage. 2 x USB 3, Thunderbolt, and SD Card slot. Weighs under a pound more.
* Apple also did a small tweak to the 13-inch Macbook Air models. They now include 8GB of RAM standard.
V Before the Macbook dropped some sites were reporting that Apple was planning new 'Ulta-thin' Macbook in the second half of 2016
* The report was Apple was looking to get metal injection molded hinges from a company called Amphenol
* They have some of the thinnest sliding hinges in the world according to their website.
* Not clear if the new models have new hinges.
V Since the Macbook only has one USB-C port there was concern when reports surfaced of faulty and cheap USB-C cables destroying devices
* The USB Implementers Forum will test and certify USB-C cables under their USB Type-C Authentication program
* Also the products themselves will be able to cryptographically verify that the cable or charger to which it is connected has been certified and has not been tampered with.
* Still it'll be a while and Apple has tried similar techniques with their proprietary cables and connectors and often suppliers find tricks and workarounds.
V What about Macbook Pros?
* Maybe around WWDC?
V There are strong rumors that Apple might switch to AMD's "Polaris" GPUs
* Use a 14nm FinFET architecture (vs 28nm) for current processors
* Would deliver double the GPU performance of current GPUs
* Should be announced soon and would be shipping in the fall, but in the past Apple has been able to get early access.
* There are also Polaris designs that would be appropriate for refreshed iMacs.
V Apple reportedly investigates App Store paid search
* Bloomberg ran a piece claiming that Apple put together a secret team to explore changes to the App Store, including a new strategy for paid search
* Basically a way for developers to pay to have their apps appear for certain search terms
* The piece claims Apple has about 100 people working on the project and that's it's being headed by Apple Vice President Todd Teresi, who led the recently scaled back iAd team.
* There's very few details on how and when at this point
V A lot of immediate reaction online was negative, but let's think about this.
* Concern is that only "rich" developer could pay for exposure.
* As long as the results or obviously separated from non-paid results and they don't bias the standard results in favor of those who pay.
* If they take a more 'Facebook' like approach where devs paid for highly segmented groups it may still be affordable. to many
* Additional services revenue could be big for Apple
V And paid search is only one part of what the team is looking into
* Also looking for better general search, browsing , organization, and discovery on the App Store
V Apple recovers 89 million pounds of recyclable materials
* Apple issued it's annual Environmental Responsibility Report
V In it they state that their recycling program last year recovered 89 million pounds of materials.
* This includes over a ton of gold, 2,204 pounds.
* Many sites were quick to point out that that would have a current value of over $40 million dollars
V But not so fast. That's not direct revenue for Apple as some reports made it sound
V Many reports made it sound like three things were true
* 1. That Apple had recovered all that gold from their products like iPhones.
* 2. That Apple ended up with the gold and thus the money from the gold.
* 3. That Apple used it's new Liam robot for iPhone disassembly.
V As a piece on Motherboard points out that is very likely NOT the case
* All this was derived from Apple's Environmental Responsibility Report
* If you read that report Apple makes none the the direct statement that were conclusions in much of the reporting
V Apple's recycling efforts DID recover a ton of gold, but it wasn't from all from iPhones or even just Apple products
* It would take 33.3 million iPhones to recover that much gold and most phones taken in my Apple's exchange program are refurbished and resold. They make more money that way.
* In most states they are required to do e-waste recycling based on how much they sell and their market share.
* But here's the deal, to meet those requirements they don't have to recycle THEIR products.
* They contract with 140 recyclers (in the report) and typically buy "credits" from them for the amount of e-waste they would be required to based on the laws.
* That's not to say Apple doesn't recycle many of their own products, they do, but it's a small fraction of the total volume.
* Also the report claims phones and tablets often don’t count toward the overall recycling requirements in many state laws.
* Point is Apple is paying for and not making money on the deal.
* Apple has also set up recycling programs and contracted with e-waste recyclers in states where there are no e-waste laws.
V Reports also claimed that Apple was using Liam to recover materials, but that is not 100% clear from the report
* They do talk about Liam and mention that prototypes are operating in California and the Netherlands
* They also note however that Liam is, "an experiment in recy­cling technology".
V Apple's secret German car lab
* A German paper claims Apple's is running a secret vehicle research and development lab in Berlin
* They say it has a top tier talent with 15-20 people many of who were recruited from German car companies.
* The also claim the workers are “progressive thinkers” in their respective fields.
* And it reports Apple plans to use Austria-based automotive contract manufacturer Magna to build its electric vehicle.
V This may have come about after talks with Daimler and BMW broke down
* Talks reportedly ended over disputes on who would lead the project and who would control user data
* Apple supposedly wanted "deep" iCloud integration which by proxy would mean "deep" protection and privacy of customer data.
V WWDC dates announced.
* Apple opened up the lottery line for WWDC 2016
* It will once agin be in San Francisco. This year from June 13th to the 17th at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
* Tickets are USD $1,599 and developers will get access to all the sessions, 150 hands-on labs, and access to over 1,000 Apple engineers. And of course the after parties, etc.
V Sponsor: proXPN
V proXPN
* proXPN is a VPN service.
V Given Apple's recent events it's particularly timely that we talk about a service that can better protect your security and privacy.
* When you're on public wi-fi or going through your ISP there are logs of what you are doing where you're going , etc.
* Some ISPs are also now watching the kinds of traffic and throttling or shaping your connection.
* Security on open networks and also from region limiting.
* There are lots of VPN services out there, but proXPN offers all the features you want and should be concerned about.
V The first is privacy
* You have to be able to trust your VPN service
* You should read through the terms and conditions and privacy policy of ANY VPN service
* proXPN uses plain language and has a serious commitment to protecting your privacy.
V They don't log ANYTHING and they have a 'Canary' policy
* On their Privacy Policy page they disclose if they are currently under
* I asked about the name. eXtreme Private Networking.
V Ease of use
* They have a Mac app and easy instruction for setting up VPN access on your mobile devices
V Great support
* What’s cool about proXPN’s support is that the same team that does the testing of new software releases, servers, and so forth do the support for users. So you’re dealing with people who really know the product, and indeed VPNs, inside and out.
V Best of all you can get a proXPN account to try completely free, no credit card required.
* It does come with some limits, but it's open enough to let you try the service for yourself.
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* To try out proXPN or sign up at up to 50% off visit
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Feedback on app subscription pricing
* After my talk about subscription pricing last week a received a bunch of great feedback from you. Stuff like this message from Mike.
* Play comment from Mike.
* Explain Smile's "stand alone" apps and decision. Also, "lifetime" discount.
V I think by and large based on the responses I got the consensus was that the subscription model doesn't work for everyone and may not work for every app
* The main thing I have to add to that is that I think developers "get" that.
* They are not choosing to go subscription without knowing that they might lose some customers
* Also, you cannot take it personally. I know that doesn't make the feeling of "losing" one of your favorite apps any easier.
* I know the thing that triggered this latest conversation was Smile's decision, but this is a broader conversation the future of software in general
* There was a lot of great feedback on why subscription models don't work for many.
V Losing access to the content you've created. Sort of a new form of "data rot". Stop paying for the app and I can no longer open my files or content.
* This is not new, though subscription apps bring on a new form of it.
* Even today I get people who ask about opening Wordperfect or Appleworks files.
* Any app that uses a native format has the potential for this independent of how you buy it.
V Don't see the immediate value in the subscription
* I had this with Adobe Creative Cloud.
* Now that software has more value and features, but it took time for that to develop.
V I don't upgrade to every new version
* Sometimes the current version is fine and I don't want or need new features
* Fair point and many apps will stick to existing models
* Some developers see this and will price the subscription accordingly. If they upgraded the app every year and upgrades were $30 they may price their yearly subscription at $20/yr. Still doesn't allow you to skip versions though.
V We all have to evaluate the cost vs. utility proposition of the tools we use. I think for a lot of people subscription pricing is forcing the issue and maybe that's not such a bad thing.
* Developers will choose the models that bring them the best return and that they feel best servers the customers they want to server
* Customers will stop blindly investing in software that may not offer the utility the need for the cost
* Some of that new found revenue will go to other developer and tools that do have value for those customers.
* I know that Pixelmator, Acorn, and others benefited from Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe is doing just fine too.
V Feedback on the iPad Pro 9.7
* I asked for this last show
V Corey sent in his thoughts
* "My reaction to it is pretty blasé."
* Replaced and iPad 2, so was really excited about the upgrade at first
* Space for writing and drawing feels limited
* Feels it should have had 4Gb of RAM, not 2GB
V Seems to keep restarting itself
* I would try a backup and restore. Shouldn't have to with a new device though.
* Camera upgrades are great, but may not be that useful
* "So in short, I'm not unhappy with the device, but it hasn't really set me on fire".
* I had a chance to play with one at the Apple Store
* Might be biased buy the iPad Pro 12.9, but I kind of agree on the size. As I leaned from my iPhone 6 Plus experiment device size is a very personal thing.
* TrueTone is neat, but not sure most of us will care or benefit from it in any significant way.
* Keyboard was surprisingly useable even at the smaller size.
* It's a really good update to the iPad, but beyond the Pencil support or Smart Keyboard I don't think I'd say it's a "must" upgrade if you're happy with your current iPad.
V iTunes and App Store Tricks
V Rick wrote to ask if there was a way to not show the "you have X updates" badge on the Mac App Store icon in the Dock
* He has the OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 update waiting, but doesn't want to install it yet and doesn't like seeing the constant reminder in the Dock
* You can right-click (Control+click) the name of the update and hide it.
* I believe this only works with OS X updates and not third party ones.
* To get them back after hiding them. Use the 'Store' menu and select 'Show All Software Updates…"
V Mac App Store: Hide and unhide purchased apps
* Go to the Purchased tab
* Right-click (Control+click) the name of the app and choose 'Hide Purchase'
V To get it back you have to go into your account.
* Store > View My Account…
* Log in
* Under 'Hidden Items' click 'Manage'
* Find the app and click the 'unhide' button.
* When you're finished unhiding, click 'Done'
V iTunes: Browse in Safari:
* Go to (or your country code)
* Now you can click the links and browse Music, Movies, TV Shows, App Store, Podcasts, and Books
* Very basic UI and leads to the web previews you're used to seeing when clicking on App Store links posted online and in social media.
V iTunes & App Store: Copy Link from icon
* You can right+click or control+click on a icon or media artwork to copy the link to that item
* Good for posting to Social Media
* Of course you can also go to the item page and click the "down arrow" next to the Buy/Get/Download button and choose 'Copy Link' also
* This is also how you access 'Add to Wish List', 'Tell a Friend', 'Share on Twitter to Facebook'
V Wish List is accessed from the 'account' menu to the right of the playback info box.
* In the App Store or iTunes Store Apps you use the "Share" button to access the "Add to Wish List" feature.
* Tap the "Lists" icon to access Wish List, Siri, and Search history.
V You can "Gift" apps or media to people.
* On iOS tap the 'Share' icon and choose 'Gift' (paid apps only)
V Get apps and media on a discount
* You can often buy discounted iTunes gift cards via Best Buy Online, Costco, Amazon, or eBay. Up to 20% off.
* Gift cards are also a good way to get around the single credit card on Family plans.
* Just be aware that iCloud storage charges will come off the individual account credit first.
V Couldn't Apple TV do more?
* Play comment from Mark.
V I would agree if we are talking about the Apple TV being able to create it's own WiFi network.
* As long as it's not range extending. Explain.
* If you need a second aireless "zone" in your house and don't want to run wires look into Powerline.
* So far though Apple doesn't seem to think of the Apple Tv as anything other than a media streamer and app player
* Many, myself included, would love to see it be a universal Homekit Hub, with a app to controll Homekit devices.
* Would also be great if it could be an iTunes Media server.
* Maybe a seperate product that combines the Apple TV and Airport Extreme into one package?
* I just don't think that's Apple's way.
V Help for dual Apple Watch Health data
* Khol emailed me and is looking for our help.
* He recently picked up an Apple Watch to compliment his Apple Watch Sport.
* iOS 9.3 introduced the ability to pair multiple watches to an iPhone and that seems to work fine for Kohl except for one problem.
* All his health and activity data seems to only be coming in from one watch.
* To make things worse it's his new Apple Watch and not the Sport which is the one he uses, logically, for working out.
* I asked if he had double checked all the Health settings and if he was possibly using any third party health apps that may be throwing things off. He answered yes and no respectively.
* Since I only have one Apple Watch I can't test this and so far my Google-fu has totally failed me.
* Now it's up to you, the community. Any idea why this is failing?
* It seems to me like an HUGE bug if there isn't a simple explanation or work around.
V Thing(s) of the Moment
* Steve the Dinosaur (iTunes) - Free with IAP
V Break this Safe (iTunes) - Free
* Does have a bug where the app occasionally locks up.
V Quit an App on Apple Watch.
* Open the App you want to Quit
* Press and hold the side button until you get the power off screen.
* Press and hold again until the App quits.
V Closing
V Podcast Marketplace
V Thanks to my sponsors
* Smile
V Gazelle
* Gazelle. The fast and simple way to sell your used gadgets! Find out what your used iPhone, iPad and other Apple products are worth at
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