Maccast 2016.06.05 - Show #573
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Atlassian
V Atlassian
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V I've used Atlassian's BitBucket to work on a project with a remote team
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V News
V Will Siri come home?
* Reports that Apple is planning a Siri based competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home
* Report comes from sources who spoke to CNET.
V What might make Apple's different
V Camera that would detect who's in the room and adjust the preferences and response to be more personalized
* Seems like it'd be hard to pull off.
* But remember Apple acquired the facial recognition company Emotient. Which can not only detect faces, but decode emotional intent to aid machines to understand you better.
V Have HomeKit built in.
* HomeKit currently lacks security camera support though.
* Could ship by the end of the year, but more likely in 2017 or never.
* There were also rumors of an upgraded Apple TV with a speaker and microphone built in that would have "Always on" Siri.
V Another thought would be integration with Airports
* There was brief time Airports were off the online store, but they came back.
V Apple is expected to finally show off a Siri SDK at WWDC
* Still I wonder how they balance security and privacy while allowing 3rd party access
* A lot of the strength of the Echo, ann likely Home, will be data sharing with partners
V AI and voice technologies look to be shaping up to be the next big thing
* Pebble has a new wearable, the Core, that will tap Amazon Alexa.
V Will Siri become smarter?
* So for Apple to compete many are saying, and I'd agree, that Siri needs to be a lot smarter
* The keys I think are better understand us, doing a better job at understanding context, and the ability for Siri to get smarter on her own.
* Luckily Apple has acquired many companies and technologies that indicate that might be exactly what's been going on behind the scenes and what we may get some glimpses of at WWDC.
* A lot of focus this week came on VocalIQ. A small company in Cambridge, England that Apple acquired.
* Their system is a self-learning dialogue API that should offer more conversational dialog capabilities to Siri, but more importantly Siri can learn from past conversations and apply that to future interactions
* i.e. get smarter, but not just smarter, smarter about you.
V The memory is useful when you make future queries:
* I want to go see an action adventure movie at 8:00 PM
* Then later, simple "I've changed my mind, now I want a comedy at around 9:30". Most systems wouldn't know how to handle that.
* The source claimed that, prior to Apple acquiring them back in October, VoiceIQ's technology scored over 90 percent in difficult accuracy tests — compared with roughly 20 percent for Siri, Google Now, or Microsoft's Cortana
* The tech is also supposedly better at filtering out ambient noise and adapting to accents.
V To me Siri's biggest limits seems to involve not mining and reacting to data it already has.
* Location: Request I have at home, vs in a restaurant, or at work should be interpreted with that context in mind.
* Access to local data sets: If i've entered a location into a meeting, why cant Siri use that?
* React to past behavior: If I prefer a chain of hotels or restaurants then suggest those first. Or what if I prefer an alternate rout all the time? "Would you like your usual route or the fastest one?"
V Inside Apple Retail
* There was a [report]( from Business Insider of a long time Apple Retail employee in the UK.
V The report tries to "expose" many negative aspects of working at the Apple Retail store
* Low wages, 8£/hr. (about USD $11.70) and no promoting from within.
* Internal polices that don't allow part time employees to go full time
* Horrible customers who are abusive and often will issue death threats
* No sales commissions or bonuses.
* Employees are also banned, via non-disclosure, from talking about working at Apple online in blogs or social media, etc.
V The piece talks about retail employees not being able to afford the products they sell.
* Welcome to being young.
* National minimum wage was about £6.50, so it was £1.50 over.
* Pay raises were on a 3 band system and you only got a bump if you were in the second band. Yes, that's how it works everywhere.
V It does not some benefits
* The camaraderie among fellow workers
* The discounts on Apple products and 15 percent discount on AAPL stock
* Piece talks about a lot of training opportunities internally
* Piece also fails to mention that part-time Apple Employees get full health benefits.
V And there are good reasons for some policies
* No commissions, so customers are not pressured to buy.
* Making a connection with a customer, by pretending to be interested in them and asking personal questions.
* I know people who moved up at Apple from Retail, but they applied for new positions as they came up. They were not just "offered" them.
* Sounds like you could be promoted to the Genius Bar, but many don't like the dealing with angry customers part.
V Larger base storage in iPhone
* It may be finally happening at least if a source from IHS Technology is to be believed
* They claim that with the iPhone 7 Apple will bump the base model storage option to 32GB.
V They also claimed the iPhone 7 will have 2GB of RAM just like the iPhone 6s
* Remember the iPhone 7 Plus is rumored to have 3GB of RAM
V There's also been rumors of 256GB coming to the top end model, so it's not 100% clear how the line up would shape up.
* 32/64/256 or would it be 32/128/256. I think the latter.
* I don't see a 64/128 and 256 option.
* Some speculation that maybe only the Plus gets a 256GB size.
V Overall design is still expected to be the same
* Remove antenna lines across the back
* possible less protrusive camera bump
* dual-lens on Plus
V IDC thinks Apple could see an overall decline in iPhone shipments this year.
* They're predicting 227 million units vs. the 232 million Apple shipped in 2015
* That would be against overall predicted growth of the smartphone industry of 3.2 percent.
V Might not look good for Apple, but IDC believes they will bounce back in 2017 helped by lower priced models like the iPhone SE and their trade-in programs which encourage more frequent upgrades
* Not sure on this one.
* I think were in for a future where longer upgrade cycles become more common.
V Bigger design changes for the iPhone 8 next year and some expect Apple skipping the "S" cycle next year.
V Enhanced Taptic engine that would offer more complex vibrations
* better haptic feedback for features like 3D touch.
* Switch to OLED display
V Japan's Nikkei newspaper claims that Apple is moving to major iPhone model refreshes on a 3 year, rather than 2 year cycle.
* There are fewer major features or design moves Apple can really make.
* The last several cycles it's been the same bullets. Faster processors, more RAM, better cameras, etc.
* Some major advances like Apple Pay, 3D Touch, etc.
* I could see the updates moving to every 18 months as product demand slows.
V What's next for Macs
V Intel has four new CPUs based on the Broadwell-E architecture.
* These could be ripe for high end Macs, like the Mac Pro
* Historically the Pro uses "server" processors but this E series is server grade and has the price tab to boot
* The come in 6, 8, and 10 core versions.
* The 10 core model though carries a $1,700 price tag.
* I say maybe the Mac Pro processor of choice because also 4 -months ago Intel announced their lineup of latest Xeon chips which Apple typically uses
* There are some rumors Apple could have a new Mac Pro to launch along side WWDC so using the Xeons seems more in line with that
V Intel also announced it's seventh generation of Core processors which will arrive later this year code-named Kaby Lake. They also announced Apollo Lake processors designed for 2-and-1s and tablets.
* Kaby Lake uses a 14nm process and supports Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1, but not DisplayPort 1.3 (5K on a single cable not possible).
* Samsung is showing off a 512GB SSD module that's the size of a postage stamp with data. rates that surpass the 6Gb/s SATA interface.
V Images of a supposed Macbook Pro top case an keyboard with a channel for an OLED touch display
* Seems to confirm a rumor by Ming Chi-Kuo
* Where the function keys would be
* Would allow for custom configuration and controls
* Also shows 4 USB-C slots and a headphone jack.
V Apple Watch lacks developer interest
* Claims that developer interest in Apple TV apps development is going up while Apple Watch interest goes down
* Based on data from Realm, an app database used by 100,000 developers
* "For every 1,000 new iOS apps being built, there are 10 tvOS apps and maybe 1 Watch app."
V Points out that WatchOS 3 may change things
* will have stand alone, native apps.
* Still Apple Watch platform has far fewer app opportunities because of it's limited screen.
V The Coach bands were spotted on the companies site
* No prices or availability
* Could be announced at WWDC
V Apple TV third in set-top revenue
* IHS says Apple TV is in third place for global set top box revenue, up from ninth in 2014
* That's behind Arris and Technicolor. Yeah, I didn't know either?
* In the US Apple is reported still in 4th behind Roku, Amazon, and Google, but 50% of those devices were "sticks', not technically 'set top' boxes.
* Apple made a small tweak to the "top apps" lists. now if you have the app installed its removed from your view of the list.
V Jeff Bezo's said at Re/code that they will not put Amazon Prime on Apple TV (or any box) until "acceptable business terms" can be reached
* He did not explain what that meant
* When they pressed him and asked if the 30 percent take was a concern he said, "private business decisions should stay private."
V 5K Thunderbolt Display
* Codenamed 'Yetti'
* It started out as reports that Thunderbolt displays were in limited stock at Apple Retail Stores
* The current Thunderbolt Display is 5 years old and showing it's age against new 4K and 5K models on the market.
V There were then rumors of an updated 5K starting with a report by 9to5Mac.
V Thunderbolt display based on the display in the 27-inch iMac
* 5,120 x 2,880 pixels
* Built in USB-C connectors and Thunderbolt 3
V This issue with a new Thunderbolt display is that Thunderbolt 3 still only supports DisplayPort 1.2 which can only drive a 4K resolution at 60Hz over a single cable.
* To do 5K you'd need DisplayPort 1.3
* Apple worked around the limits inside the 5K iMac by building their own timing controller, but that won't do for an external display.
V They claimed the display could have a built in graphics card (to get past the Display Port issue). It would be possible because of the speed of the Thunderbolt 3 bus.
* That would be great because it would ensure that ANY Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 port could use the display regardless of it's built in GPU.
* The 9to5Mac report said Apple could announce the new display at WWDC for release later this year.
V Then Rene Ritchie threw some cold water on the rumor via Twitter
* His basic point being that adding a GPU to the display would "create expectational debt"
* I'm not 100% sure what he means by that, but I felt an issue with the rumor is that Apple is historically so slow to update their display that the GPU in it would quickly fall behind and become outdated.
Maybe that's the "debt" Rene eludes to. Apple would have to be frequently updating another piece of hardware.
* BTW, I totally made up the codename "Yetti"
V WWDC 2016 Keynote
V Apple sent out invites for the keynote which will happen on Monday June 13, at 10:00 AM PT
* Show off iOS 10, OS X 10.12, tvOS, and watchOS 3
* Remember OS X could be rebranded MacOS
* Possible Siri API and 3rd party app support via an SDK
* Redesigned Apple Music app.
* The keynote will be in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the rest of the conference is in Moscone West in San Francisco.
V Some of the more "out there" rumors
* AirPort refresh
* Home voice control device like the Amazon Echo, possibly built in to an updated Apple TV device
V Apple Cloud Outages
* Things seem to only be getting worse for Apple's Cloud. They suffered a major outage this past week
V Last Wednesday Apple Music suffered an extended outage
* Many people hit by a "Unable to connect to iCloud Music Library" message
Then some reporting their Music Libraries were disappearing, though it was unclear if that was just a side effect of non-access to music in the cloud.
* The outage also impacted other services including App Store, Apple TV, Mac App Store, and other iCloud services.
* Not everyone was impacted and not all services were down for everyone.
* Apple has not commented at all on what happened.
V iOS 9.3.2 fix for iPad Pro 9.7
* Apple finally pushed out a fixed version of iOS 9.3.2 for owners of the iPad Pro 9.7
* After Apple released the update a couple weeks ago some owners of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro started reporting that their devices were being "bricked"
* The impacted units would simply display an "Error 56" message which is a generic hardware error.
* Apple never commented or said what the issue was, only that they were aware of the issue and working on a fix.
* If you suffered a "bricked" iPad Pro 9.7 I assume you'd run the update via iTunes to get the latest version. If you haven't updated yet you can just get the update OTA or via iTunes.
V Apple Pay adoption still slow
* In 2015 in the US Apple Pay was used to transact almost $11 billion in purchases according to research from a firm call Timetric
* The called the figure a "small dent" in the overall global payments market.
V Still Apple seems to have a bit of a battle as they roll out internationally
* They've met resistance from banks especially over their 15 percent of the bank transaction fee requirement
* Still they've done well expanding into Australia and Canada recently.
* They've also made small headway in China, but struggle against already established systems like WeChat.
V I still feel that in the US the biggest challenge Apple has is adoption by retailers.
* The frontline battle seems to me to be the most important if Apple wants to get an consumer adoption.
* It's great if I can register my cards, but if I can't use the service when and where I want, what's the point.
* Until they have total ubiquity, like a chip dip or card swipe, then I think most consumers will opt to take out the card rather than their phone.
V Musk on Apple Car
* Elon Musk said some things about the Apple Car during his Re/code interview
* He thinks Apple will be "late" to the game with volume production in 2020, but said Apple will be more of an automotive industry contender than Google.
* The thoughts on Google come mostly from the belief that Google will license their technology rather than build the product themselves.
* Apple is often not the first to market with a new technology, but they bring out more mass consumer ready products. I think a key to their success.
* Musk seems to agree saying, "they'll make a good car and be successful".
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V The problem with a Siri "Hub"
* Play comment from Matt
* I have definitely had this issue.
* Mention Apple Watch trick for the car.
V What Google knows about you.
* This week I discovered [Google History](
* If you have a Google account this one URl will let you access and see much of the data Google has gathered on you including search history from Google, You Tube, and Google voice searches (hey Google). You can see You Tube Watch history, location data from where you've been, trips, and more.
* The site will also allow you to clear the history and data as well as access the preferences to control what data is collected.
* Use the "hamburger" on the left to access the various sections.
* There are also search and "calendar" icons to filter the data.
* YouTube searches were hard to view because of "live" search results.
* You can see total searches and top search clicks. 10,794 for me last year and no surprise Stackoverflow and Wordpress Codex were top sites for me.
V From the "hamburger" menu at the bottom you can access 'Activity Controls' to get to the setting to turn off what's collected
* Just be aware if you disable the setting then some of the Google "smarts" will no longer work.
* For example I have Voice Searches and commands disabled.
* I also disabled Information from your devices, which would include contacts, calendars, apps, and other device data.
V On one hand seeing all this collected data is creepy and gives you a sense of the vast amount of personal information collected and what Google (and others like law enforcement an government) could glean from it.
* It showed locations and dates of places I was going back a few years. I had forgot some of it, but there it was.
* On the other hand, the transparency and controls Google are offering are behavior nice, but only if you know about it.
V To be fair Apple also collects similar types of data, but it's all kept private at Apple and only for your use.
* In iOS Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services (at bottom) > Frequent Locations
* You can See and clear the data for places you visit most often.
* Tap location to see points on map with a list.
* Also in Privacy controls you can control which apps have location access and when (like While Using App vs. Always).
V The business of Apps
* Play comment from Scott
* I actually agree on many levels.
V Yes, this IS about business
* When I say "race to the bottom" I use it more as a description of behavior, not necessarily as a market force.
* Yes there is economic pressure to price software cheaper, that's the free-market, but developers (as you point out) can also make the choice.
* And that where I think many developers are going wrong. It's the exact problem that needs to change.

* The issue is they are software developers and not marketers or business managers. More developer need to partner with those folks though.
V On the Smile and community thing.
* My issue on the community reaction was that the community was treating Smile like their "friend".
* Don't misunderstand, Smile is a great company and a valuable member of the community. I also have many friends there.
* But what I was trying to convey to the community is that this specific decision was not a "slight" to them. But this was how many reacted. Like a friend had somehow "betrayed" them.
* I was arguing that we should consider the possibility that they made a "business" decision after evaluating their market and choose the new features and new pricing plan based on those factors.
* I think your right, business is business.
V But in the world of Apple business and community are closely tied and often mixed.
* This isn't exclusive to Smile
* Look at the reaction to Marco Armant's "Peace" ad blocker
* Or the reaction when Apple killed off Aperture or changed FinalCut.
* I hear all the time from Pros and Higher education that Apple has "abandoned" them as they focus more on iOS and consumer products.
* They say "Apple owes me" an new Mac Pro or better support because I am more devoted to the platform.
* It's crazy, but I totally understand it. We feel connect to Apple and our community. We spend so much time with these products and there is a real connection and it hurts when it feels like we've been wronged, or abandoned, or slighted.
* My only point is to remember that this IS our community, so try to step back past the first reaction and try to understand the decision from their point of view. They are a business and they can't always be our "friend" even when many times they are that too.
V Possible SE Camera alignment issue
* Play comment from Fillip
* He sent me an image that shows this issue that I'll post on the Maccast site with this episode
* I also tried this with my iPhone 6s and it's dead on.
V You can try it.
* Turn on the the grid lines on your iPhone Camera app
* Take a piece of paper and put it flat on the table
* Now place the iPhone pointing with the camera straight down on top of a glass.
* Line up the edge of the paper to the grid line on the display
* Now look straight down at the edge of the iPhone relative to the edge of the paper.
* They should be in straight alignment.
V Closing
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