Maccast 2016.12.04 - Show #594
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Drobo
V Drobo
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V Why a Drobo?
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V News
V Apple users plagued by iCloud spam
* Happy holidays have some really annoying SPAM
* You likely woke up on black Friday to find a calendar invite for a great deal on Raybans or some other offer you didn't ask for.
* Oh yes, there is a whole separate special level of hell for spammers. True scum of the earth.
* What's happening is they are taking advantage of an iCloud feature that detects and recognizes events that come in via email and automatically creates calendar invites
* The spammers are just randomly generating and targeting iCloud, .me, and .mac accounts.
* The trouble is if you simply "decline" the invite the spammers get a notification verifying for them they have a valid email address and inviting more spam.
V So what can you do? There are two things.
V If you want to stop the stuff from showing up in the calendar all together:
* Go to and sign in.
* Go to the Calendar
* Click the "gear" icon and choose 'Preferences…' then click 'Advanced'
* Under the 'Invitations' section set "Receive event invitation as:" to "Email" instead of "In-app notifications"
* Now any invites will stay in email and you can simply delete them from there
* The big disadvantage is now legit invites will also just com into email and you need to click to add them to your calendar adding an extra step.
V If you already have SPAM calendar items and want to delete them without notifying the spammers
* In the Calendar app add a new iCloud calendar, call it something like "SPAM"
* Then move the spam invites to that calendar.
* Now select the spam iCloud calendar and delete it.
* A dialog will come up asking if you want to "Delete and notify", but there will also be a "Delete and Do Not Notify" button. Use that to safely remove the SPAM from your calendar.
V Apple is aware of the problem and made a statement to iMore
* "We are sorry that some of our users are receiving spam calendar invitations. We are actively working to address this issue by identifying and blocking suspicious senders and spam in the invites being sent,"
V Apple could do more than just block and I hope they do
* Add an option to "decline and not notify"
* I love to see a setting to only allow In-app notifications of events for people in my contacts. If they are not in Contacts then simply send those events to email.
V Move evidence of 10.5-inch (or bigger) iPad
* This time DigiTimes is echoing earlier reports.
* An update to the entire iPad line up seems destined to come probably near the end of the first quarter of 2017
* A new size, 10.5-inch iPad Pro along with the 7.9-inch iPad mini, the 9.7-inch iPad Air, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro
* The Pro models are expected to feature an Apple A10X processor
* Rumors claim despite the larger screen size that new models would be almost bezel-less.
V In fact, Makotakara thinks that the new 10-inch iPad will actually be 10.9-inches and feature what they call a "micro-bezel" giving it the large screen with the same footprint as the current 9.7-inch model.
* The bezel at the top will still house the FaceTime camera and mics, but home button will be removed and the side bezels will be reduced.
* The report also says the thickness will be increased to 7.5mm, the same as the iPad Air.
V Apple has at least ten iPhone 8 prototypes
* Rumors are that Apple might be exploring 10 or more designs for it's 10th anniversary edition of the iPhone
V One of the common rumors we here is that Apple would like to finally move to OLED displays in the 2017 generation
* To that end The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has asked its suppliers to increase their output of organic light emitting displays.
V If Apple can't get enough OLED displays for their new model a couple things might happen
* Some say Apple may only include a OLED display on the highest end iPhone 8 Plus model
* Others say Apple may just give up on OLED all together and stick with the IPS panels.
V It's believed there will be 3 updated models
V A new high-end flagship OLED model with a screen sized between 5.1 and 5.2 inches (this is the 5.8 inch device) and "wrap around" display
* Sorry but this feels a little like Apple "following" the Note and Galaxy EDGE.
* Two models are believed to with legacy LCD panels sized at 4.7 and 5.5 inches
* For the "flagship" model Apple has also reportedly asked suppliers for a better resolution than displays currently available on the market.
* Apple will also reportedly bring wireless charging to all the models
* They are also expected to have an all glass design with a thin aluminum frame.
* The design Apple would like is also supposed to put the FaceTime camera beneath the screen and integrate the Touch ID sensor and home button into the display giving it a seamless edge-to-edge display.
V Ming Chi Kuo thinks the 2017 iPhone models could see record demand
* He thinks Apple is ramping up production to between 120 million and 150 million units for the second half of 2017
* Believe consumers will respond to the all new design changes and new features like OLED displays and wireless charging.
V The Macbook Pro's mystery connector
* When iFixit did their teardown of the new TouchBar Macbook Pro they noted a connector that wasn't attached to anything
* Turns out it's a "service" port that Apple can use to recover data from the SSD on a failed machine.
V Apple Stores have special equipment to attempt to migrate the data to a new machine
* The device has a logic board holder with power adapter that allows repair staff to insert your logic board and connect it via USB-C to a MacBook Pro.
* It's sort of needed because consumers can't just remove the SSD and install it in an external case or new machine for recovery.
* Plus not almost any repair, logic board, SSD, Touch ID, or wireless card failures, require a new logic board taking your data along with it.
* The service is provided to anyone who is covered under AppleCare
V DigiTimes believe Intel will announce the "should have been in the new the Macbook Pro" H-series Kaby Lake processor at CES in January
* The H-Series are the all quad-core and deigned for high-end gaming laptops and ultrabook-class machines
* Nvidia’s next gen 1050 GPU is also expected to debut at CES alongside the new Kaby Lake processors
* Some, including myself, hope that maybe Apple will do a summer refresh of the Macbook Pro line to add in the Kaby Lake processors.
V Macbook Pros suffering GPU "glitches"
* Unfortunately some owners of new Macbook Pro might need to take advantage of Apple's new data migration service sooner than expected.
V There are reports of some new machines with display and GPU "glitch" issues
* Most are seeing "tearing" and graphics artifacts, random red and black bars, and freezing or crashes.
* Many early reports noticed the issues when running GPU intensive apps like media encoding especially when running Adobe software
* Some have also reported seeing the issues in Apple's Photos app.
* It's not 100 percent clear at the moment what the issue is or how widespread it is.
* Some believe it may simply be a software issue with some 3rd party apps, specifically Adobe apps.
* Other think the problem could lie in the AMD Radeon Pro 460 graphics chips on some units.
* One report I read claimed that users have had similar issues with hardware using AMD Radeon Pro 450 or AMD Radeon Pro 455 GPUs as well.
V MacRumors also has reports of some new Macbook Pro owners claiming they are only getting 30-60 percent of the 10 hour battery life promised by Apple
* With some people say their machines are dying after just 3-5 hours of use.
* It's hard to say at this point if this is an issue and my guess is it's likely not.
* This always happens with new machines and depending on use cases battery life can vary wildly.
* Most early reviews that did battery tests I saw reported as good or better than advertised battery life.
* Apple did issue a patch for the BootCamp audio drivers in Windows that were resulting in loud pops and damaging speakers on the new Macbook Pros.
V A few iPhone issues
V Battery replacement program for iPhone 6s
* Some iPhone will randomly shut off and not come back on
* Apple is replacing batteries for what it said is “a very small number of iPhone 6s devices” that were manufactured between September and October of 2015.
* They say the issue was caused by some batteries having been overexposed to "controlled ambient air" during the manufacturing process.
* The problem then cause the batteries to degrade faster than a normal battery.
* They have a checker on their support site.
* Batteries will be covered for three years after the first retail sales date of the unit.
V Some users who upgraded to iOS 10.1.1 are reporting their units are turning off with significant battery percentages left
* They also claim batteries draining much more quickly
* Many of the models listed in a discussion thread are not iPhone 6s models.
* Some claim turning off the Raise to Wake feature helps.
V There is also a repair program for the hinge on some 27-inch iMacs that fails
* If you paid for the repair already you might qualify for reimbursement from Apple.
V Trading Standards commissioned a check of 400 "Apple" branded chargers purchased from vendors in the US, Australia, and China and found 99% were unsafe.
* They had the units tested by UL labs and found that only 3 out the 400 collected had enough insulation to protect against electric shocks.
* They mention some things to look for like making sure the plug pins are the right size and at least 9.5mm in from the edge of the plus. Also checking for CE safety marks (but those can be faked), and inclusion of safety instructions in the package (required by law in most countries).
* Still your best bet is common sense. Apple sells their chargers for about $20 USD. If you're getting a price considerably less then that then buyer beware.
V Two researchers (one from India and the other from Germany) found a flaw in iOS that allowed them to bypass the activation lock on an iOS device
* The exploit takes advantage of the fact that the locked device will allow you to connect to a wi-fi network
* They then used a "buffer overflow" hack to get the crash the wi-fi service
* The attack is done by entering very long strings of characters (emoji) in the WPA2-Enterprise username and password fields until the device crashes.
* Once it crashes you then use the smart cover to put it to sleep and when it wakes back up eventually (after 20-30 seconds) the Add Wifi Connection screen crashes to the dumping you to the home screen.
* The flaw was tested on iOS 10.1 and reported to Apple on November 4th.
* The German researcher who verified the flaw tested on an iOS 10.1.1 device.
V Apple out of the router business?
* There was a report by Bloomberg claiming that Apple has been slowly dissolving the team responsible for their Airport and Time Capsule routers
* They claim the move is so Apple can sharpen the company’s focus on consumer products that generate the bulk of its revenue.
* Still the news comes a a shock because the Airport has many fans.
V In fact just after the Bloomberg report Apple's Airport routers were ranked (once again) highest in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power.
* Apple scored a rating of 876 out of a 1,000 point scale beating second ranked ASUS who had a score of 860.
* Apple was the only route in the bunch to ear a 5-power circle rating.
V Tim says AirPods here in "next few weeks"
* From MacRumors and reportedly responding to a customers email asking for a release date
* Tim Cook's response was, “Thanks for your note. Sorry for the delay—we are finalizing them and I anticipate we will begin to ship over the next few weeks.”
* Many immediately took that to mean they will ship before the end of the year.
* I'm not that optimistic and hope I'm wrong.
V Can drones make Apple Maps better?
* Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is working on new improvements to Apple Maps including possibly using drones for data collection
V Apple filed for an exemption on Sept. 21, 2015, from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones for commercial purposes and supposedly on March 22nd 2016 the FAA granted Apple approval to "operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography,".
* The exception request mentioned Apple planned to use drones from DJI and Aibotix for data collection
* According to the report the drone fleet would examine street signs, track changes to roads and monitor if areas are under construction.
* Current FAA regulations don't allow commercial drone flights over people or buildings.
V Other new features mentioned in the report
* Providing indoor maps including inside views of buildings
* Plus improvements to in car navigation
V I think Apple Maps have improved greatly, but they still have a long way to go.
* Still seem to be slow to update with current data
* A lot slower than Google.
V Apple wrote the NHTSA a letter
* In the letter Apple was asking that "new entrants" to the auto industry get the same rights as established ones.
* Specifically they say established car manufacturers do not have to pursue exemptions to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards when attempting to test cars on public road, but "new entrants" do.
* In a statement to the Financial Times Apple explained that they wanted to be sure the NHTSA is defining the best practices for the “machine learning and autonomous systems.”
* They said that "Apple is investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems,” stating that these investments have "many potential applications" including in transportation and that Apple wants to work with the NHTSA to help define the best practices for the industry.
* They seem to want to spin it to look like Apple is not working on a car but more on machine learning and autonomous systems in general.
* That does seem to line up with the recent reports of how Apple started restructuring it's rumored car efforts.
* Many are point to this letter as "proof" that Apple is building an autonomous vehicle. I think it might show they are heavily invested in building an autonomous vehicle platform and that they hope to partner with someone who could benefit if the NHTSA policies were more open to new comers.
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Touch Disease, sorry wrong phone.
* So I want to play you this voicemail I received this week and then I'll have some explaining to do.
* Yeah, I screwed up. The touch disease issue impacts the iPhone 6 Plus not the "6s Plus". I somehow put in in the show notes wrong which caused my error and likely confusion for many of you.
V Details on Apple Melbourne
* Joe was kind enough to write in from down under and explain things for us.
* Apple currently has five stores in the state of Victoria all located in suburbs of Melbourne, what they call greater Melbourne.
* All the stores are within 40 km (25 miles) of downtown Melbourne, but there are currently no stores in the Central Business District which is what they call the downtown region.
* So Apple Federation Square would be Apple's first downtown Melbourne store.
V Is Apple's org chart holding back the Mac?
* Bill sent me a link to [this Vox piece]( which makes the case that Apple's decision to structure their organization functionally vs by division could be why they have not been updating the Mac.
V What's the difference
* A divisional structure means your management is focused on lines. So VP of Mac, VP of iPad, VP of Services, etc.
* Functional is based on roles or functions regardless of the product line. Why you have Jony is a Chief Design Officer and you have a VP of software or hardware technologies.
V Why is Apple functional?
* There are big benefits to using a functional structure when you want products to be integrated or share technologies.
* Functional structures allow for collaboration
* A great is example of this benefit from the piece is how a chips and an OS based on the Apple Watch show up in the TouchBar on the new Macbook Pro. In a divisional structure this kind of technology cross over would not usually happen.
V What's the problem (according to the piece)
* Hard to run a "large" company under a functional structure
* When things go wrong in a divisional structure there are ""clear lines of accountability"
* The Mac doesn't get attention or get updated because it's really not any one persons job to make sure it does.
* More critical/profitable products will get the attention over others.
* The trouble for Apple is that to whatever degree all of their products are profitable, but some percentage wise, vastly out rank the others.
V The piece brings up some good points
* The iPhone requires yearly updates to maintain it's position and relevance in the market. The iPad gets to some along for the ride because large parts of it's technology are shared with the iPhone
* Services support the iPhone so they get some pull too
* The Mac is bottom of the totem pole, but of the Macs the notebooks are the most important
V I'm not sure I agree 100% with the conclusions in the piece, but it does map nicely to some of the changes we see Apple making
* Dropping displays, routers and other supplemental products that can take focus away from other things.
* The neglect of the desktop Mac
* The slow rate of core technology updates to the Mac lines.
V The piece does seem to ignore the "divisional" structures that exist under the higher management structures
* From what I've heard individual teams for say iOS vs tvOS or iPads vs iPhones are largely operated independently with very little crossover or knowledge of what one or the other is working on.
* I'm also not sure this would play into this argument
V Mac sales continue to be OK, but the question becomes if this trend of Apple ignoring regular periodic technology updates continues will their customers continue to stand for it.
* Right now early signs are that, at least the pro and "techy" side of the community have reached a tipping point.
* Apple needs to be careful
* I don't think Apple has a culture that could support a divisional structure and I don't think they should.
* I do think they need to be a bit more concerned about this small but vocal part of the community and pay more attention to the Mac. They might not want to admit it, but it's still a foundation that a lot of their iPhone and iPad business is built on and it's stating to show signs of cracking.
V New Macbook Pros use non-native resolution?
* Winter emailed me and pointed to [this 9to5Mac piece]( claiming that Apple has changed the resolution defaults to use a non-native screen resolution out of the box.
* According to the report this is true for all the new 2016 models including the 12-inch Macbook, 13-inch function bar and TouchBar Macbook Pros, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.
* For example the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar model uses a "scaled" resolution that "Looks like 1680 x 1050" vs. the native looks like 1440 x 900 (really 2880 x 1800) resolution.
V Why does it matter? A couple reasons
* Using a "scaled" resolution some may notice some blurriness
* Also puts some more stress on the GPU since it needs to interpolate the pixels displayed on the screen.
* The main advantage is you get more desktop space than the native resolution would typically provide and many don;t notice any quality issues.
V This might bother some people, but you can change it.
* System Preferences > Displays
V Select "Scaled", so you can see all the options.
* It should be on "Default", but show that it "Looks like" then non-native resolution (not a scaled 1:1 ratio)
* Find the "scaled" resolution that maps 1/2 (2x) the displays native resolution.
V Why is Apple storage so damn expensive?
V Jeff wrote in to share a feeling that a lot of us have when it comes to iCloud storage.
* Apple is stingy about the amount we get for free, just 5GB
* It's WAY more expensive then completing cloud storage options from Amazon, Google, Dropbox, and others.
V This is made more aggravating as Apple adds more services and features that rely on moving out data to their cloud.
* Moments on iOS devices
* Backups of ever growing and multiplying iOS devices
* macOS Sierra's new Document & Desktop syncing.
V So why doesn't Apple give us more for free and why is their pricing not competitive?
* Amazon Prime for example gives "unlimited" photo storage
* Google includes unlimited storage with your Pixel Phone.
V Only Apple really knows why, but I have some theories
* Services, which includes iCloud and Apple Music, is Apple's only business currently seeing large growth in terms of revenue. Up 24 percent year over year last quarter
* So, at the moment, it's a revenue generating center for Apple and adding more services and features that might compel us to buy more iCloud services seems good for business.
* For Google and Amazon their cloud storage is a "loss leader". Amazon wants to sell more Prime memberships and Google wants all that juicy metadata in your photos for it's advertisers.
V Apple also makes the upgrade tiers not TOO expensive
* $0.99 for 50GB/mo.
* $2.00 for 200GB/mo.
* 1TB for $9.99/mo.
* 2TB for $19.99/mo.
* My big complaint is their lack of a "shared" storage plan. Each iCloud account in a family has to buy it's own storage.
V That said, I think Apple will need to probably need to up the minimum tier soon.
* Especially since they have all but dropped the 16GB tier on iOS devices.
* I think a free tier with enough iCloud storage to backup a single iOS device is the bare minimum they should provide at the free tier.
V iOS designed "FOR" California
* As we move into the winter months here in the northern hemisphere Jung pointed out some [this interesting Apple Support article]( about iPhone batteries and their operating temperatures.
* "Use iOS devices where the ambient temperature is between 0º and 35º C (32º to 95º F). Low- or high-temperature conditions might cause the device to change its behavior to regulate its temperature."
* "Store the device where the temperature is between -20º and 45º C (-4º to 113º F). Don’t leave the device in your car, because temperatures in parked cars can exceed this range."
* See Jung is in China and guess what it gets cold outside. 0º C is really not that cold in the grand scheme of things.
* What do people in Chicago or Michigan do?
* I think the reality is that when on your person the device is protected by appropriate clothing.
* Here in California the upper temperature tends to be more of an issue. An iPhone out in your hand at the beach can easily exceed the 95) temperature.
* When your iPhone goes into the "extreme" temperature zone it will sometimes display a temperature warning screen and you cannot use it until it returns to it normal operating range.
V Thing of the Moment: Common Sense Media
* A couple of apps to help parents figure out the appropriateness of media for their kids (or even themselves)
V [Common Sense Media](
* Age rating
V Ranks for Violence, Sex, Positive Role Models, Language, Positive Messages, Consumerism, Drinking & Drugs
* Gives details on each including citing specific scenes
V There's also a review broken down by:
* What parents need to know
* What's the story?
* Is it any good?
* What families can talk about
V In the app you can also get the user reviews and the age rating is further broken down by "Parents say" and "Kids say"
* Almost always the parent age rating it about 1-2 years older than the kids rating.
* Apple also includes Common Sense Media age ratings on the new Apple TV, I believe it's what Siri uses.
V [Kids-in-Mind](
* Not as "pretty" as Common Sense Media, but much more detailed
V Again gives ratings for
* Sex & Nudity
* Violence & Gore
* Profanity
* Under each category it will describe the specifics of what is shown scene by scene.
* I find their descriptions much more helpful than the overview ones in Common Sense Media
* I would also say in general they are more conservative in their ratings.
V Closing
V Podcast Marketplace
V Thanks to my sponsors
* Smile
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