Maccast 2016.10.21 - Show #589
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Smile
V TextExpander
* I can't live without it. Every mac, every iOS device I have it.
V It helps you communicate better and more consistently. Think of all the things you type over and over. In your job, in your personal life.
* Remove repetitive typing from your day by turn those items into TextExpander snippets.
* I use them for various email signatures, code blocks, Maccast replies.
V With the advanced substitution and expansion time your snippets don;t have to be boring "boilerplate" replies either.
* You can combine, text substitution, optional elements, images, and even use scripting on your snippets
* Snippet suggestions help too. I have a new one for Apple Watch now since it noticed I type that so frequently.
* And when you get a really cool snippet you can share it, with friends, co-workers, or the whole office.
V Also be sure checkout the [TextExpander Tips]( section of the Smile blog
* Great one on setting up snippets for your presentations to avoid typing errors during demos.
* Try TextExpander free for 30 days. TextExpander subscriptions include software for Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Windows (beta).
V Smile has also given us a huge offer this month:
* You can get a 50% discount on your first year of a TextExpander Life Hacker subscription.
* Just visit to get the details and your discount.
* Hurry because the deal ends on November 15th.
V News
V Apple special event on the 27th
* Invites went out to the media the week. It will be held Thursday, October 27, at 10 a.m. Pacific at the Apple Campus in Cupertino
* The invite simply says, "Hello again", implying a Mac event.
* Same text was used in marketing the original Boni iMac release, so does that mean this event will be that significant?
V What's expected
V New Macbook Pro models.
* Both the 13-inch and 15-inch sizes
* Thinner and lighter with Macbook style keyboard
* Use Intel's latest-generation Skylake processors and integrated graphics along with new GPUs from AMD's Polaris family.
* USB-C standard and the ONLY ports beyond a headphone jack. No HDMI, SD Card, or MagSafe
* Thunderbolt 3 support, via the USB-C connector
V The biggest design change rumored to be an OLED touchscreen, now being dubbed the "Magic Toolbar", that will replace the row of function keys.
* The name comes via a trademark filing from "Presto Apps America LLC" and discovered by Brian Conroy at The Trademark Ninja
* He makes a case that the €16,000 filing cost and Apple tendency toward the "Magic' naming convention are signs this trademark is actually Apple at work.
* The main evidence being the "Magic Toolbar" application was filed by the same lawyers who applied for the "AirPods" trademark.
* Other rumored names have been, "Control Strip," "Touch Bar," and "Smart Button."
* Also, rumored to be the first Mac to have TouchID
V Some past rumors claim updates to a USB-C Macbook Air, but I think that line is done.
* If so they are saying just the 13-inch model will get updated
V New iMacs
* Also with new AMD graphics
* Maybe, though unlikely in my opinion, an 5K Apple Display with integrated GPU.
V Elephant in the room to me is the Mac Pro, with the baby elephant being the Mac mini
* The Final Cut Pro Summit is happening the same time in Cupertino
V Is Apple developing a 'dynamic' keyboard?
* A magic toolbar is one thing, but what about a whole keyboard?
* A post on Reddit started all off claiming that Apple was working on a new "SmartKeyboard" with e-Ink keys.
* The rumor goes that Apple was interested in the tech from an Australian startup called Sonder. They have a Bluetooth e-Ink keyboard that was shown off recently in Beijing and expect out later this year for USD $199.00.
* The Guardian backed up the story from a different source claiming that Tim Cook met with Sonder's founder on a recent trip to China.
* The post seems to imply that Apple might be looking to acquire the company.
* Sonder has officially denied that the company has met with Apple CEO Tim Cook
V AppleInsider seems to think it might have all been an attempt by Sonder to drum up some free marketing attention.
* Guess since I'm talking about it on the show it worked.
V Still the idea of a "dynamic" keyboard in a future Mac is interesting and I think likely
* OLED keyboards like the Optimus line are out, but expensive ($1,500).
* The idea just makes a whole lot of sense.
* Great for app specific keys and switching languages on the fly.
V More evidence that Apple is thinking of about keyboard tech
V 9to5 Mac pointed out a patent called, "Depressible Keys with Decoupled Electrical and Mechanical Functionality"
* The idea being you could use an optical sensor is used to determine a distance, velocity, acceleration, and a force applied during a keypress.
* It describes both electrical and mechanical functionality that could allow users to customize the feel which could be key in a low travel keyboard.
* The optical sensors could be used when the setting is where it doesn't the mechanical key to register contact.
* I imagine too this could fit nicely coupled with an advanced Taptic engine system to create a tactile screen based keyboard.
V Apple changes 'Titan', again?
* Seems like we've been here already right?
V When rumors were that former Apple exec Bob Mansfield was brought in to reign back Apple's growing Titan car project.
* It was believe there was a lack of focus or direction
* Now we've got more rumors that Apple is changing the focus of 'Titan' away from developing a full blown autonomous electric vehicle to designing and building an autonomous car platform.
* This report says more than 120 software engineers working on a car operating system and testing procedures were let go along with a few hundred hardware engineers who were working on car chassis, suspensions and undercarriages.
* They say Apple could partner with someone or return to building their own vehicle if they decide to in the future
* They also reportedly have set a deadline of late 2017 for figuring out the viability of their autonomous car platform.
* At it's height the project was said to have up to 1,000 people working on it and was supposedly an electric car with a target release date of 2020
* They claim ultimately the project suffered because Apple couldn't secure manufacturing deals in the same way they do for iPhones.
* My impression is this is just more of the same and it's just now more details are leaking out.
* The report says it's unlikely that Apple would license the technology if they decide the research is viable
* I still personally think the future of personal transportation will be an autonomous car service where you buy time in shared vehicles based on some sort of subscription or pay as you go plan. Cars could be called on demand or set up based on your schedule.
* I think Apple's partnership with Didi Chung will be used to set up a pilot project of their system in China. The service could be deeply integrated into the iPhone, iOS and maybe even a future smart home system.
V Apple's advance into AI and AR
* They often say in grade school A is for Apple and it's looking like at Apple A is also for AI and AR
V Tim Cook talked to the Japanese publication Nikkei (knee kay) recently and explains a little about how Apple views AI and integrates it into what they do.
* Saying they see it as "horizontal" running across all Apple's products
* Not just things like Music recommendations or interactive assistants. It'll be used "under the hood" for things like better battery life or remembering where you parked.
* A key point being that AI will be integrated in ways that most of us won't directly notice. Thing will just seem better
V We're already seeing some of the advantages of Apple's recent big investments and acquisitions in AI, Machine Learning (ML), and Computer Vision (CV)
* Technologies like Memories and photo tagging, but it's also behind the magic of "Proactive" and probably a lot of other things we don't realize.
V Tim Cook in a recent BuzzFeed interview also continued to give the impression that Apple, or at least Tim, favors AR over VR
* He called VR interesting but mentioned not viewing it as a broad-based technology
* Meanwhile he said he thinks AR could be "profound", but did admit that AR will take some time to get right.
* He see AR as having the ability to enhance experience without getting in the way of interactions.
* "You want the technology to amplify it (conversations), not to be a barrier."
V Apple partners with home builders for HomeKit
* Apple is beginning to work with homebuilders to integrate HomeKit compatible products into new homes
* The concept is to sell the integration before a customer even moves in and lock them into the Apple ecosystem.
* They were showing off the concept in Northern California with major builders like Lennar and KB Homes
* The integrations and add up to $2,000 to the cost of the home and include things like lights, of course, but also thermostats, door locks, and automated blinds.
* Once rolled into the cost of a typical mortgage though the cost is pennies a month.
* It's sort of brilliant, but I wonder if t really will make much of an impact.
V The problem is not the individual devices, but more the integration.
* Presumably if it's all HomeKit it should "just work", but those of us who have tried know it's not quite a reality
* Still it's getting better and it's possible that initiatives like this could help Apple.
* Google and Amazon are getting in on the game too and ultimately I think the experience will win over any specific technology.
* I hope Apple chooses to focus more on that. I think the Home app and iOS 10 integration is a first step, but they need to take it further.
V Apple Store redesign has some surprises
V Apple has removed security tethers from iPhone display models at some of its retail stores.
* I say good riddance. I've been in more than one Apple Store where a customer has set these off accidentally and the experience is horrific.
V The idea from Apple's perspective is that customers can have a better experience in store trying them out.
* Hold them without a cord in the way
* Try out cases
* Even try putting them in their pocket.
* The tethers seem to be gone from iPhones, but remain on some products like MacBooks and Macbook Pros
V Worries about theft are minimized in a few ways
* First many location have in store security and video surveillance
* The devices also have some hidden tricks built into the hardware and customized demo OS
* There is now supposedly a software "kill switch" that locks and disables the iPhones once they leave the range of the store wi-fi.
* Security tether also are not really a deterrent. Thieves raided a Massachusetts Apple Store this week, cut tethers, and made off with $13,000 worth of iPhones. We seen smash and grabs in the past too.
* In retail the majority of theft is typically what's called "shrinkage". Employee theft.
V People who want to steal are going to find a way regardless of minor deterrents like tethers
* Mostly these measures seem to ruin the experience for others.
* A customer who accidentally sets off a tether alarm is embarrassed while an employee rushes around trying to turn it off and other customers are disturbed.
* I'm happy to see that Apple is opting for a better customer experience vs worrying about it's losses from theft.
V iPhone 7 sales looking up
V First reports that Apple's main chip supplier, TSMC, would be reporting record revenue
* They raised projected revenue growth up to 10-12 percent from an earlier prediction of 5-10 percent.
* The say the change is based on "Demand for high-end smartphones" continuing to improve.
* Apple accounts for 10-15% of TSMC’s revenues and Apple might ship as many as 82 million iPhone 7s, up significantly from early predictions of 60-65 million
* So seems to suggest that iPhone 7 demand remains high
V Then Samsung had it's issue with the Galaxy Note 7. Apple, and iPhone 7 Plus sales, are expected to benefit from Samsung cancelling sales
* I saw one survey that show 43 percent of Samsung owners would not be buying another Samsung phone
* Of course the Google Pixel is out too now, but Apple still will do OK
* Ming-Chi Kuo thinks as many as 5-7 million previous Note customers may choose an iPhone. Kuo's only worry is that Apple might not be able to keep up with the new demand and potential customers could opt for a different device rather than waiting on a 7 Plus.
V Good news is that recent checks have indicated that most Apple Retail Store have most models of the iPhone 7 Plus in stock. Apple also recently started selling SIM Free devices another sign that inventory constraints are lightening.
* Still the Jet Black iPhone 7 plus online has slipped backorders into December.
V Apple's earning results call is scheduled for the 25th and may look brighter than some were expecting
V iPhone 7s reportedly accounted for up to 43 percent of all iPhone sales in the quarter according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners
* This could be good or bad considering the iPhone 7s were only available in the last 2 weeks
V The fact that potentially so many new iPhones were sold in the quarter is good for the bottom line since the ASP of each device sold is higher
* That has some analysts adjusting their iPhone revenue predictions up.
* Apple said they expect revenue for their 4th Quarter 2016 to be between $45.5 to $47.5 billion.
* Right now some of the Wallstreet predictions we are seeing are trending to the higher end of that estimate around $47-48 billion.
V Genuine Apple chargers on Amazon, not genuine
* This is a bit scary.
* Patently Apple has a story that Apple was notified by that counterfeit Apple chargers and Lightning cables were being sold on it's platform as "genuine" Apple products.
* What's scary is the products were labeled on as being "by Apple" and were "Shipped and sold by". There would be no indication to a consumer that these were not genuine Apple products.
* The only hint being the price, about half of what you'd expect to pay in an Apple Retail store.
* The fake chargers were also being sold via Groupon.
* Not only were the products NOT genuine or made by Apple. They had not gone through ANY safety testing at all.
* Looks like Amazon became aware of the issue when customer complaints went up with many reporting that these products were catching fire sometimes within hours of being used.
* After being notified Apple started an investigation and found that almost 90% of these products are counterfeit.
V They also traced a portion of the counterfeits back to a single source out of New York. MobileStar, LLC.
* Amazon has removed MobileStar's selling privileges.
* Not sure they couldn't just set up a new account under a different name though
V Apple filed a trademark infringement cases against Mobile Star LLC
* Apple's seeking an injunction to stop them from selling the counterfeits, asking the company to destroy all counterfeits, and looking for damages of $2 million per product type.
V The disturbing part is how these guys leveraged Amazon's brand to come off as trustworthy.
* As far as I see it there is no way, with Amazon's current selling model, that this couldn't happen again.
* You see "sold and shipped by Amazon" and "by Apple" and a title of "Apple Original OEM", you'd reasonably assume this is coming directly from a reliable source.
* If you purchased ANY charger from Amazon as "genuine" and paid less than the standard Apple Retail price and/or it came in packaging that was not the Apple official packaging. I'd be suspect of it.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Apple fixes LTE issues on Verizon iPhone 7s
* iOS 10.0.3 is an iPhone 7 and 7 Plus update only
* It fixes bugs including an issue where some users could temporarily lose cellular connectivity.
* Many on Verizon were reporting this issue, but I also noticed some problem on AT&T.
V I was worried it might be the new Intel modem, but other reports claim that that modem may have an edge on the Qualcomm one in the Verizon/Sprint phones
* Cellular Insights did some testing and found that, in some cases, the Intel achieved much better LTE data performance. It did much better when there was weaker signals.
* Of course the Verizon/Sprint model has the advantage of doing both GSM and CDMA
V iPhone 7 broken home button
* I never thought about this, but because the iPhone 7 has no physical home button, what happens if the touch tech fails?
* Luckily Apple did think about it. If the OS detects a home button failure it will notify you and politely add a "virtual" home button to your display until you can get your iPhone repaired.
V There was an image posted on MacRumors and I can;t confirm, but it looks like the 'Assistive Touch' home button you can access from Settings > General > Accessibility
* This is actually pretty cool even if you're not activating it for accessibility reasons
* Put a 'virtual' button on the screen and you can drag it to any place on either side of the screen
* Tap it and you get a menu to access 'Home', 'Control Center', 'Notification Center', 'Siri', or Custom gestures
* Custom includes a "Pinch, 3D Touch, and Double Tap" control. And you can make customer ones by recording a "macro" of swipes and taps (good for some repetitive games maybe?)
V There are also device controls you can access
* Buttons for Lock Screen, Rotate Screen, Mute/Unmute, Volume Up/Down
* Under "more…" you get Shake, Multitasking, and Screenshot, Plus Gestures including 2, 3, 4, and 5 finger swipes (virtual fingers).
* In Assistive Touch settings you can even customize the items that appear in the man menu when you tap the button.
V What's wrong with Siri?
* I've been having this conversation a lot more these days and it's puzzling in some ways, but not surprising in others.
* There are a lot of people, like Walt Mossberg in [this Verge piece]( asking why the "intelligent" assistant Siri can often seem dumb.
V A puzzling thing is why, when Siri was one of the first, does she seem to be falling behind the competition?
* Google Now, Amazon Alexa, and even Microsoft Cortana seem to have gained ground and even surpassed Siri.
V A big part of seeming "dumb" in my opinion is the lack of awareness or context.
* Apple has done a great job of getting Siri to understand us and parse text
* But when it comes to processing the intent of our requests she falls short.
* Great at doing the stuff she knows, like replying to texts, activating a timer, finding a local gas station.
* Falls down on broader requests, that other assistants now tend to understand.
V Not using her, "intelligence".
V Asking about current events, will often attempt to process them in terms of the things she does understand
* For example, "When's the election?" Results in a web search.
* She knows I'm in the US, she should know that the US Presidential Election is on November 8th. Google Now, on my iPhone, asked the same question immediately got the result.
V Not using context
* An early ability touted by Apple was the ability to respond to one question and then you could ask further questions related to the first.
V This only works in limited areas
* On the Apple TV for movies, but not on the phone.
* Does seem to work for some sports, but still limited.
* I can ask, "how far is it from the earth to the moon" and she answers, "230,192" miles, but if I then ask "And how far is that in meters" she doesn't understand, actually thinking I want a map location.
* Ask, "how far is it from the earth to the moon in meters" and all is fine. Nope. "I can find the moon in meters". Yet, "What's the distance from the earth to the moon in meters?" Fine. 370 million meters.
V Some will say Google and Alexa get an advantage because they don't respect your privacy and to a small degree they do get an advantage of being able to share some of your data with outside services
* Still Apple is falling short on tapping the local data it does have access to
* My contacts, health data, frequent location data, calendar, etc.
V Sometimes it's Siri trying to be too smart that makes her seem dumb.
* She will sometimes use geolocation data and return local results when you want results based on a "popular" location.
* Mossberg used the example of "what's the weather in Crete" where Siri assumed Crete, Illinois instead of Greece.
V Apple says they are focused on getting better at the majority of queries that people often ask of Siri
* Common tasks placing phone calls, sending texts, and finding places.
* They use that data and feedback to make Siri "smarter", and that seems true
* But they don't worry as much about less frequently asked, "long tail" questions.
* The trouble with all this though is that it's the "long tail" type questions that Apple's competitors seem to be getting better at and the ones that are making Siri look like she is not as good.
V I don't think Siri is bad or failing. I also don't think Apple is ignoring this. Their heavy investment in AI and other similar technologies says they are up to something
V They recently hired Carnegie Mellon University professor Russ Salakhutdinov as "Director of AI Research" at Apple.
* He specializes in statistical machine learning and written papers on neural networks, deep kernel learning, and reinforcement learning
* Apple is also close to finishing an R&D research center in Yokohama, Japan, that will focus on "deep engineering" and developing artificial intelligence services.
* Also consider that Apple controls the whole chain from Cloud to software to OS to hardware all the way down the chipsets, the "metal". That's an advantage no other competitor currently has. Apple can tweak ANYTHING to get the best results.
* Just seems like they need to maybe move quicker on this than waiting until iOS 11.
* Maybe at the iPad event in the spring they can upgrade Siri.
V Using the iOS 10 Magnifier
V How to enable
* Settings > General > Accessibility
* Turn on Magnifier
V Access it by triple clicking the home button
* If you have set another action for triple click under the Accessibility Shortcuts, then the triple click will give you a pop-up menu of the options and you can access the magnifier from that.
V Once it's enabled
* It will activate the camera and you can magnify an object
* You can slide your finger on the image or use the slider to change magnifications
* There is a "flash" button to enable the light
* Once the image is in focus you can tap the "lock" icon to lock in that focal point.
* Tap the "shutter" button to freeze frame the image. In this mode you can swipe to scroll around the image
V Filters
* Finally there is a "filter" button
* You can adjust the brightness and contrast with the sliders
V Swipe between color filters
* White/blue, Yellow/Blue, Greyscale, Yellow/Black, and Red/Black
* Finally there is an "Invert" button that will work with any color filter you're in.
* Press Home button to exit the magnifier
V Visual bonus if you suffer from color blindness
* Settings > General > Accessibility >Display Accommodations
* You have Invert Colors and Reduce White Point (intensity of bright colors)
* But also color filters
* At the top you can swipe between some color "test" palettes. Colored pencils, a color grid, and color blindness test strip?
V Turn on color filters and you get options for different kinds of color blindness
* Red/Green
* Green/Red
* Blue/Yellow
* For each you can adjust the intensity of the adjustment
V There is also a color Tint option that will allow you to select a Hue and intensity
* This some may want to use a permanent "Night Shift"
* You can change the "warmth" or color profile of the display.
V Encrypting Time Machine
* David asked if you encrypt your hard drive with FileVault, should you also be encrypting your Time Machine drive?
* The answer is really it depends. It depends on how important it is for you to protect your data.
* In general though, I'd say if you're bothering to encrypt your Mac then you likely want to protect the SAME data that is in your backup.
V Enabling encryption on a Time Machine drive is fairly easy
V When select the Time Machine drive for the first time you will see an "Encrypt backups' check box.
* Encryption is available for Time Capsule, disks connected to another Mac on your network, and disks partitioned with the GUID Partition Table (GPT) scheme
* You will be prompted for a password for the encrypted drive. Do not lose or forget this password. If you do your backup will be useless for recovery and all you can do is erase the drive and start over.
* Use a strong secure password and store it in your password manager. If you write it down make sure is stored someplace secure, preferably locked up.
V Encrypting a Time Machine drive after the fact, Apple says you need to Remove the Existing disk first and re-add it.
* In our testing though we found that you could go to System Preferences > Time Machine > Select Disk…
* Select the existing Time Machine volume under the list of "Available Disks" and then check the box and enter the password.
* It seems to preserve the existing backups and start encrypting the disk.
* Note it can take REALLY long to encrypt the data. Just let it do it's thing.
V If you use Super Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner you may also want to encrypt those drives
* For this the process is tricker. You'll want to check with the developers site for best how to do it.
* For example, if you used a CCC disk with an OS X Recovery Partition you basically need to make a bootable backup with no encryption on the backup drive, then boot to the CCC backup after it's done and enable encryption from there. See [these instructions](
* For a bootable volume without a OS X Recovery partition, like Super Super or CCC you can simply right+click on the volume in the Finder and choose "Encrypt [Drive Name]".
* This is also how you can encrypt any other external drive connected to your Mac.
* Same rules apply, do not lose the password as you will need it anytime you need to mount or use the external drive.
* Again encryption will take a long time and there really is no progress bar. You can come back to the FileVault system settings and see what's going on.
V John also wanted a refresher on using File Vault
* It's really easy, just turn it on and set a password.
* It's in System Preferences > Security & Privacy. In the FileVault tab.
* It will ask if you want to allow your iCloud account to be used to unlock your disk and reset your password. That choice is up to you. If you don't use it then it will give you a recovery key to store in a safe place.
V If you're worried about the hassles, don't as it's generally not an issue.
V You will be given the option to save the password to the OS X keychain so that on future restarts or connects it can auto mount the drive without prompting you for the password. Basically if you can log into your Mac (which accesses the keychain) then you're good to go.
* Obviously for security your Mac should be set to NOT auto log in and to lock when going to sleep.
* Your backups will all still work and you'll have full access when you are logged into your Mac.
* Scheduled and automated processes will continue to run fine as well.
* Once encryption is set up your really won't even be able to tell the difference on a day to day basis.
V Thing of the Moment: Blackbox
* The best thing I can tell you about this game is as little as possible
* It's called "Blackbox" because that'e the whole concept. It's a puzzle game with almost not instructions.
* They give you a "box", a small square icon with a dot. The idea for each puzzles is to figure out some series of actions or physical things to do with your device that will cause the box to "light up" (turn solid).
* If you get the box or boxes to light up you pass that level.
* What's awesome is most of the puzzles involve performing action with you device and not integrating directly with the Blackbox app or the screen
* Actually tapping the screen while in a puzzle in the game takes you back to the main screen where you select the puzzles.
* Some of the puzzles give you vague on screen visual clues as to what task you're to perform, but by design you have almost nothing to go on.
* It's the most frustrating and fun game I've played in a while.
V You do get the option to take 'hints' if you get stuck. You get two freebies, but after that you have to earn or buy more.
* You can earn them by sharing the game
* You can buy hints with in-app purchases.
* The game is free and lets you access dozens of challenges for free. There are then in-app purchases for more advanced puzzles and the developer plans to release more.
* This game is so fun and I absolutely hate it.
* If you do decide to try it out please use [my link](, in the show notes, so I can get more free hints.
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
V Supporters
* Bandwidth for the Maccast provided by CacheFly at
* Advertising is handled by Backbeat Media at
V Keep emails coming. Audio comments.
V 281-622-4269 or 281-Mac-I-Am-9
* MacCast Forum
* Follow me on Twitter
* Checkout the page on Facebook