Maccast 2016.05.15 - Show #571
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
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V News
V Apple HomeKit app?
* This wouldn't be the first time we've heard rumors of Apple making it's own "Home" app
V Now MacRumors says they discovered a review of a Smart Home Devices product on, of all places, supposedly written by an Apple Marketing employee
* They claim it matches a LinkedIn profile and they confirmed the connection to Apple
* Not clear if they still work at Apple after the story posted. 😬
V In the review they mention some 3rd party apps, like Home, but then claim that, "The next version of iOS due this Fall will have a standalone "HomeKit" app as well".
* There was a trademark filed by Apple for a HomeKit app icon
* The app is rumored to be called "Home". Apple bought iWork from Igg Software, so it's not impossible.
V Now here's the punchline that most who covered this story didn't give you, MacRumors later learned that the review was a hoax.
* They updated their article, but not before many other outlets picked it up.
V Still I think the story feeds on a pretty deep emotion from a lot of HomeKit users.
* The platform has so far failed to live up to a lot of it's promises.
* I feel it's a hardware problem though and not a software one.
* We need a HomeKit server/hub, not software per se.
V Rumored iPhone 7 designs
* A French site is claiming to have production schematics of the upcoming iPhone 7 design
V Aligns with other rumors that the outward size and appearance will remain unchanged
* Something that some believe will hinder sales.
* The physical dimensions 2.64 X 5.44 inches and 6.1mm thick.
* Also all port and cutout locations are the same, except the camera opening
V The camera opening is round and a bit bigger
* Designs for the iPhone 7 Plus have shown a larger oval or pill shaped opening
* Hinting at a dual-lens system
* The no 3.5mm headphone jack rumor is still in flux.
V Ming-Chi Kuo is reporting that Apple will just produce a single model of the iPhone 7 Plus
* Earlier he reported that Apple may do both a single-lens and a dual-lens version
* Now he think just a dual-lens model with 3GB of RAM (still 2GB of RAM in the 4.7-inch)
* Design constraints may mean "limited" optical zoom capabilities.
* Same 5.5-inch form factor, there were also earlier hints of a massive 5.8-inch design.
V Reports that Taiwanese suppliers are getting fewer orders in the build up to iPhone 7 than last year
* Speculation is this means Apple is not expecting iPhone 7 to sell well
* TSMC may ship 30 percent fewer chips and they are believed to be Apple's sole supplier.
* Cook often warns of watching the supply chain.
V Apple meets with "top" Podcasters
* The NYT reported that Apple recently met with seven "top" Podcasters who expressed "serious concerns" over Apple's neglect of the podcasting business
* The article seems to indicate that the trouble is that Apple has failed to provide reporting and analytics tool, not provided support for selling podcast content, and makes it hard for Podcasters to get promotion in the Podcast app/iTunes
* Really mostly it comes down to concerns on how to monetize in the Podcast space and frankly as a Podcaster who's been in the business long before "Serial" brought the conversation to the main stream these "complaints" are not new.
* The "complaints" also are frustrating. We don't know who the "top" Podcasters were, but I assume many were heads of some of the larger, and likely more commercial, podcast networks.
V What they seem to be asking for seems to be one thing that I hope Apple doesn't give them
* Apple taking more ownership and control of the podcast marketplace
* This would be terrible and plays into one of their other complaints, that Apple controls the "only reliable way" for a podcast to build audience.
* Frankly I call "BS".
* Apple is not responsible for, nor do they have an obligation to, help me build my business or audience.
* Also, we want Apple to have less control not more. Frankly the conversation should be more directed at Spotify, Google, Amazon, and other as to why they are not doing more to help break Apple's dominance over Podcasting.
V Apple only "controls" so much of podcasts because their were one on the only companies to believe in and invest in it early on.
* And to be 100% fair, Apple technically does not "control" podcasting
* They are just have the most popular directory for podcasts and the most popular player app
* Beyond that ALL podcasters control control every aspect of the content, feeds, relationships with listeners, etc.
* The RSS feed is listed in the podcast app, but when a person subscribes the relationship is handed right back to the Podcaster.
* You get my show from my feed, from my servers, and I use my stats to track it.
* Apple never dictates or "controls" anything.
* Also Apple doesn't have stats on any subscription that happen outside of iTunes or their own apps.
* The fact that they has sort of ignored it and let it languish a bit is actually a good thing and an opportunity to open the platform up.
V As far as better more standardized ways of calculating, collecting, and reporting stats?
* I hope to god that a consortium of Podcasters, Podcast hosting companies, and podcast software developers would define those standards via an industry association
* To let one company, Apple, set, define, and control that would only make things worse.
V We need less Apple in Podcasting, not more
* And please don't get me wrong.
* I'm incredibly grateful and thankful to Apple and all that they have done for Podcasting
* Their adding it to iTunes and supporting it has gotten it to the point it is at today
* Without Apple the entire industry would possibly not exist as it is today. We owe them a debt.
* But it's time to enter the next phase of growth and other need to step up and help write the next chapter.
V Foxconn will open iPhone plant in India
* It's as if I can predict the future.
* Really I think it's just my ability to see the next logical step after following Apple so closely for so long.
* The Economic Times of India says that Apple's iPhone supplier Foxconn has plans to open an iPhone manufacturing plant in India
* The deal is still in the works, so not set, but if it happens they will build a $10 billion dollar facility on 1,2000 acres of land and it will take about 18 months to build.
* They are reportedly looking to open 10 to 12 facilities in India by 2020
* The Indian government has been protective about the local Indian companies and blocked or restricted outside companies in various ways.
* Apple felt this in their recent attempts to get permission to sell refurbished iPhones in India
* One way to get around restrictions or build good faith is to simply set up facilities in India.
* India is a potential area of huge growth for iPhone. The country just now is beginning to seriously build out their 4G cellular networks.
* In Q2 where iPhone saw sales declines in other regions iPhone sales were up 56 percent in India
V Siri's little sister, Viv
* Shown off at TechCrunch Disrupt this week Viv Labs, headed by former Siri co-creator and CEO Dag Kittlaus , showed off their new technology
* Not fair to call it just another digital assistant.
* A system that could not only understand and parse complex language quirks, but could also break down the request and "on the fly" create a program to process that request.
* They key is an open platform and a way for web and cloud services to open up their data and functionality to be tapped into by Viv
* Many in the tech and Apple communities are seeing this and decrying that this is what and where Siri should be by now.
V Here's the thing. Siri is NOT Viv, I think, by design
* I've heard that Viv's technology was already potentially in the roadmap for Siri, but Apple chose not to pursue it.
* Even if that isn't the case I believe Siri could never have Viv like capabilities because of Apple's strong stance on customer data privacy.
* Viv needs the cloud and outside services and it relies on openly sharing data and information with those services.
V For the same privacy reason I don't think Apple will try to acquire the Viv technology
* Nor do I think Viv Labs would sell to Apple again.
V There are still hopes that at least Apple may open the Siri API to 3rd party developers at WWDC.
* That might happen, but it will be in a VERY controlled way
* This might hinder what developers will be able to do with the technology.
* Also, Siri can access local data, say stuff on Calendars and use that to be smarter too.
* Play comment from Colm.
V Apple Pay hits Canada
* On May 10th, some Banks in Canada started supporting Apple Pay
* If you have a Visa, MasterCard, AMEX or Interac card with AMEX Bank of Canada, RBC, CIBC, or ATB you should be able to use Apple Pay
* TD Canada Trust, BMO, and Scotiabank have said they will enable Apple Pay in June.
* As in the US which kinds of cards and payment methods are supported will vary from bank to bank.
V A report on MacNN says that since launching Apple in in Australia ANZ bank has seen a marked increase in bank account and credit card applications
* ANZ's CEO said attempts to apply for a new credit card online had increased by 20 percent since the Apple Pay announcement
* Also that the day of the announcement of Apple Pay that the number of online deposit applications was double the normal daily average rate
* This has reportedly sparked other banks in Australia to step back up their negotiations with Apple
* The sticking point in most regions outside the US has to do with Apple's fee. Apple want 0.15 percent per transaction.
* In the US the bank typically gets 1 percent on credit card transactions, which would still leave them with 0.85 percent after Apple's cut.
* However in AU, for example, the bank only gets about 0.5 percent, so Apple's 0.15 percent eats considerably into the banks take from the transaction. Just $0.45 on every $100 of transactions.
V iTunes downloads are almost done
* A rumor from "Digital Music News" that Apple is considering either a two-year or a three to four year timeline for shutdown of iTunes downloads.
* The belief being that streaming is the future. Would fly directly in the face of Steve Jobs belief that people want to own their music.
* I have no doubt this is a conversation that has been had at Apple and is likely coming up from time to time.
* Thinking about something and choosing to act on it are VERY different things.
V The discussion is supposedly focused on speculation on a timeline for when it will no longer make sense to continue downloads.
* The thought is it would happen over regions starting with "tier 1" regions like the US and UK and then progressing to other regions in countries over a couple of years
* There is not doubt that music purchases and downloads are declining as the popularity of streaming services increase
* Still estimates are that iTunes music downloads will be worth $600 million in 2019.
V I think this is years off, if it ever happens at all. There is not much extra overhead to continue allowing music downloads.
* The infrastructure and distribution is already there
* Comes down to operational costs.
* An Apple spokesman told Recode that the report that Apple would stop iTunes music downloads is simply "not true."
V Apple's increased R&D Spending
* Apple watcher Neil Cybart says Apple's R&D spending is up 30 percent from 2015 at $10 billion
* He also notes that just 4 years ago Apple was spending only about $3 billion annually on R&D
* His theory is this is a sign that Apple is working on "pivoting" into something big
V Still if you look at Apple R&D spending amounts related to their net sales, they are devoting roughly the same percentage. Really just up about 2 percent
* It's natural for R&D spending to be tied to net sales. Looking at spending this way Apple has remained fairly consistent.
* Certainly Apple has been investing in many large projects. We have the Apple Car, investments in chip technology, their environmental projects like Liam, sending in areas like AI and VR as well.
* The question is will any of these lead to "the next big thing"
V Another possible take on the massive increase in R&D spending is that Apple is trying to spend it's way into a breakthrough.
* Not a bad investment or thing to do, but one could argue that in the past Apple had a vision for what was next and now maybe they don't.
* I'm not saying I believe that, but playing devil's advocate this is what I think many on Wallstreet are worried about.
V Apple's investment in Chinese "Uber" may, among other things, may be a kind of outsourced R&D
* Apple made a $1 billion dollar investment in DiDi Chuxing, the biggest ride sharing service in China.
V In a statement to Tim Cook said Apple had several strategic reasons for the investment
* To learn more about certain segments of the Chinese markets
* They see a strong return on the investment
* He also said the deal, "reflects our excitement about their growing business ... and also our continued confidence in the long term in China's economy,".
* That last part may be the biggest reason for Apple's investment. Show the Chinese government that Apple is interested in the future of the Chinese economy and the growth of Chinese companies.
V Cook insisted that Apple continues to focus on the "in-car" experience with technology like CarPlay
* Some think another advantage of the deal would be insight for Apple into the Chinese market for their own future car project
* One idea is that possibly Apple's car efforts could be for developing a "driverless" car service. Uber without the drivers.
* Even a driver based service powered by Apple electric cars could be an interesting play.
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V More wireless charging feedback.
* Play comment from Bob
* Play Comment from Danny
V iTunes bug may delete music
* After all the hub bub made last week it seems there may be an issue were iTunes is deleting Music.
* Being clear as we talked last week this is NOT Apple Music, but iTunes and the circumstances do seem isolated
* The most recent version of iTunes 12.3.3 may contain a database error that affects a small number of users.
* Some have reported seeing their music collection deleted after the update. After that if they're Apple Music subscribers the missing local tracks become replaced with tracks from the iCloud Music Library and as noted those tracks are sometimes incorrect, different versions, in different formats and contain DRM.
V If you've upgraded to iTunes 12.3.3 you can check your local music by turning on the iCloud Status and iCloud Download columns in iTunes
* If you local music files are missing then restore from your backups.
V Apple told The Loop that they are aware of the issue happening "In an extremely small number of cases" and that they are "taking these reports seriously"
* They also say they've not yet been able to reproduce the issue, but will release an update next week that has "additional safeguards"
V Defending more frequent device upgrades
* Play response from Nick
* I think a in some ways we're having two different conversations
* As mentioned in the last episode, I'm not saying to NOT upgrade every two years nor that there are not benefits to doing so.
* My point was that there is nothing wrong with buying refurbished gear to save money if that gear meets your needs. It's still a "new" machine for you.
V And I do object a bit to the it feels good and I look cool status pressure that we place on each other in our community
* It can lead to some people making bad choices because they feel pressure to have the latest and greatest tech.
* It's one of the reasons I spent time pointing out that not everyone should use Apple's or their carriers iPhone upgrade plans.
* My point is each person needs to make their buying choices and technology choices on what their own situations and needs are. That's all.
* Again, my 2011 Macbook Pro has served my well for 5 years now and continues to serve me. The battery is still great and it has plenty of RAM and no issues with the processor. I did invest $150 in an SSD upgrade, but consider that money well spent.
* The advantage of using my machine longer too is that I can save more money so that when I am ready to buy a new system I can get more machine.
* I understand that I might have been able to sell my old mac in the intervening years, spend maybe $1000 or so on an upgrade and enjoyed "newer" technology for those periods.
V $1,000 on a new machine every 2 years is the same net result as $3,000 ever six, right?
* But still I have to deal with finding a buyer for my old gear
* I'm not 100% free from issues because often new equipment, especially new technology, can be more problematic than the old reliable system I have.
* It's really about choice. You like and prefer your way, I like and prefer mine. Isn't it great that we can each do our own thing and also support the other?
V Restore iCloud files
* Elliot wrote in based on our conversation about backup up and restoring Contacts on the Mac
* He told me something I didn't know about
V If you use it for documents or syncing you can actually recover or restore some old or deleted data.
* Go to and then Click on Settings
* Scroll to the bottom and you'll see links to restore Files, Contacts, Calendars and Reminders, or Bookmarks
* Files shows any deleted files within the past 30 days
* There are some warnings and instructions on the page so read carefully before you restore.
* Not only that, you can also "reverse" a restore.
V Using Homebrew package manager
* Jason wrote in because he needs to install FFmpeg on his Mac and when looking at how to do it it recommends compiling it yourself or using Homebrew
V [Homebrew]( is a package manager for OS X
* It's a way to find, download, and install UNIX tools and other open-source applications on the Mac
* Packages are bundles of source code distributed by developers of software, which can be compiled and installed on your machine.
* It takes care of downloading the files and their dependancies and compiling then on your Mac.
* The other popular package manager for OS X is called [MacPorts](
V How does it work?
* Takes a single command as input and figures out which software package you want installed
* Downloads the source code of the package (or in Fink's case, the pre-built application itself)
* Figures out if any dependencies are present and if so, downloads them as well
* Compiles (builds) the dependencies from the source code files and installs them
* Builds your requested software
* Installs it into the predefined location
* Homebrew installs packages to their own directory and then symlinks their files into `/usr/local`.
* Homebrew uses `git` ( version control) and Ruby (programming language) to do its stuff.
V Jason's main question though, and a good one, is "Is it safe"?
* There are many things to think about when we are using the word, "safe".
* The Homebrew tool itself is "safe" in that it's good software that is maintained and supported by a good community
V The software you get via Homebrew also is about as safe as any other app you might get from outside the Mac App store with a couple of caveats.
* Since you are downloading and compiling and installing it locally from source it is not monitored by Gatekeeper
* You are running command line commands and when you do that there is always a possibility for mistakes to be made.
* Keep in mind though that OS X's structure and permission will minimize that.
V As with any source code there is always the possibility for a vulnerability or exploit to sneak in
* Again though this is unlikely and minimized with open source software because stuff is generally found quickly in the community and patched
* At least for well know or active projects, like FFmpeg for example.
V Often times you may be able to find already compiled "binary" software installers for the same packages.
* MySQL for example can be installed via Homebrew, but you can get an OS X native package installer from Oracle.
* Indeed someone has made an OS X [FFmpeg binary]( That said, I think in this case Homebrew is probably the "safer" choice since you're going direct to the project source.
* Finally for FFmpeg specifically it used to be that VLC would install FFmpeg, but I guess not anymore.
V Closing
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