Maccast 2016.12.12 - Show #595
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V News
V Apple Watch sales in question
V IDC issued a report saying that Apple Watch sales declined 71 percent year over year in the 3rd quarter
* Apple doesn't provide actual numbers, but IDC estimated Apple sold 1.1 million units
* The IDC report was for all "wearables" and ranked Apple in the 5th position
V Tim Cook responded through a statement to Reuters
* Apple Watch sales set a record during the first week of holiday shopping and that the current quarter is on track to be the best ever for Apple Watch
* He also point out his numbers are for sell through to consumers.
* The IDC numbers also were for the third quarter and Apple did not update the line until mid-September, so many consumers were likely waiting.
* Checking on Amazon in the Smartwatch "best-selling" category on the Apple Watch 42mm "Series 0" Sport is in the top 10.
V Still a report from Slice Intelligence, which monitors online orders, says that Apple is getting 46.6 percent of the holiday revenue for wearables
* This would seem to back up Tim's statements
* Also not the Slice numbers are "revenue", not sales.
V iPhone 6s shutdowns increase
* This might be more than just a hardware issue
V Apple had started a battery replacement program for an issue with a "small batch" of iPhone 6s units
* They believed some manufactured early on may have had battery components that were exposed to air too long before assembly
* This was causing them to wear out sooner than expected.
V They now believe that some units outside that first batch might also be experiencing a random shutdown issue, but that they may be able to push out a software fix.
* They are still investigating, but think the units are shutting down to protect electronic components
* Apparently they plan to put additional diagnostic code in a future update to analyze the problem in hopes of a software fix.
V Apple also had recent reports of at least eight iPhone fires in China
* They have investigated and responded that the fires were caused by 'external factors'
* Apple said the units all had physical damage that lead to the thermal events
* Apple didn't provide specifics, but it's believed impact damage is probably the issue
* Another problem can be counterfeit charges. A recent study found that 99 percent of "Apple" chargers sold online can be counterfeit.
V Fix coming for MacBook Pro GPU problems
V There have been a number of reports of some users experiencing graphics "glitches" on the new MacBook Pro
* Tearing, transparency issues, crashes, and ,more
* Mostly when under hay load, like video rendering, or while using software from Adobe
V It caused a member of the MacRumors forum community to email Craig Federighi
* The response? Supposedly all the glitches have been fixed in the macOS 10.12.2 beta
* Still some reports of issues still existing, even while running the 10.12.2, are surfacing.
V There are still growing reports of battery life issues on the new machines
* Many of the complaints seem to be more based on the "estimated remaining" being reported.
* Showing as little as "3-hours", yet that may not represent actual battery life.
* One reason is the system decided when to switch between GPUs
* Still many are reporting "light use" in the range of 3-6 hours, far below Apple's advertised "up to 10 hours".
V Tidbits is reporting that some new MacBook Pros are having unexpected shutdown issues of their own
* In testing Tidbits thinks the issue might be related to external hard drives connected via Thunderbolt 3 over the USB-C ports.
* The issue seems to manifest itself when copying large files from one drive external drive to another.
* Copying from the internal to an external seems to be OK.
* There also seems to be issues if more than one drive is connected to multiple ports, but not via a USB hub.
* Time Machine also seems to be triggering the shutdowns for some users.
* They piece notes that the issues were not able to be replicated in the Finder at the Apple Store, but came up while using backup utilities.
* The theory is the issue might somehow be related to power draw on the drives.
V AppleInsider notes that the "hackintosh" community has discovered new references in the KTEXT files in macOS 10.12.2 that might indicate a Mac refresh
* Three different GPUs seem to be referenced.
* A Polaris 10 model, the 10XT2, likely an improved version of the Polaris 10 series in the current iMacs
* A Polaris 12, which doesn't map to anything currently in the AMD line up
* And a Vega 10, which is a GPU based on the AMD GCN architecture also know as the "Fury Pro"
* That last one could be the most exciting since it's a higher end GPU more suited for a Mac Pro or Retina iMac update.
V New iPhone color in 2017?
* Macotakara is reporting that Apple will add a new "red" case to the iPhone line in 2017
V You know we've discussed the belief that Apple will introduce 3 models in 2017
* A major new design, all glass "iPhone 8" with OLED screen
V Updates the the existing iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus designs.
* The new color may be coming with the later designs, what they are calling the "7s and 7s Plus".`
* In his reports, KGI analyst Mig Chi-Kuo said all three designs would feature all glass cases and wireless charging, but the Macotakara piece seems to dispute that.
V TSMC may be the exclusive supplier of the A11
* Nikkei Asian claims the company is working to deliver samples based on their latest 10nm process in the first quarter
* Originally they were hoping to capture 2/3 of Apple's business with the remainder going to Samsung, but now reports say they may again be the exclusive supplier
* The company is also already working on 5nm and 3nm chip making processes for the future.
V Why AirPods are delayed
* We might finally have the answer to what happened to cause the AirPods not to ship in October as Tim Cook promised.
* The Wall Street Journal reported last week that a source told them the issue was getting the audio in sync.
* With most current wireless Bluetooth systems just on earpiece receives the signal and then transmits it to the other earpiece
V We've know that AirPods are designed to operate with just one earpiece and it can be either one.
* Reportedly you'll even be able to buy and replace just a single unit.
* But that's also where the trouble started. Each earpiece gets its own signal from your device and reportedly keeping those signals in sync is the problem.
* What still baffles me is how did Apple not know this was a problem before or during their September event?
* Apple does have several Beats models that are using the new W1 wireless chips and those are getting rave reviews.
V Apple support site adds AASPs
* You can now use Apple's support website to schedule repairs at Apple Authorized Service Providers
* Now when you've gone through the support questions and choose "Bring in for Repair" it will list the closest provider and that may or may not be a Genius Bar.
* The location will also show availability so you know which location can provide the most expedited service.
V Apple TV Single Sign On active for some
* Apple has finally launched Single Sign On for Apple TV.
* A feature that was supposed to arrive with tvOS 10, but was delayed.
* It allows you to sign in with your cable or satellite TV account credentials once and then get access from all the "apps" associated with supported channels.
V The main downside is the support is VERY limited
* US only, only on some providers, and only on some apps (channels).
TV providers: CenturyLink Prism, DirecTV, Dish, GVTC, GTA, Hawaiian Telcom, Hotwire, MetroCast, Sling
* Hopefully now that the feature is live more providers and apps will become available quickly.
V Bloomberg says Apple is in talks with studios to get movie rentals on Apple TV for films as soon as two weeks after they appear in theaters
* One option the studios seem to like is a high "early release" rental fee. Say $25-$50 USD.
* The studios of course are concerned about encryption and piracy
* At this point it seems to be just talks and no deals are in place.
V Apple also released the latest iOS, tvOS, and watchOS updates
V iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1 bring the new TV app.
* On iOS TV app replaces the Video app.
* Over 100 new emoji in iOS and new Message effects and wallpapers.
* watchOS 3.1.1 bug fixes and improvements
V Apple now at 35% of US merchants
* Apple VP running eCommerce and digital payments, Jennifer Bailey, spoke at the Code Commerce event and revealed that 35 percent of merchants in the US now take Apple Pay
* Just two years ago that number was just 4 percent.
* Apple Pay is also now available in 12 countries.
* Tim Cook also said that in September Apple Pay transaction had increased 500 percent year over year.
V Bailey said that the annoyances of new chip transactions in the US seem to be helping drive Apple Pay adoption.
* That along with the installation of the machines themselves which bring support for contactless payments (if enabled by the merchant).
* She also said something I was happy to hear that Apple is focused on creating new partnerships with banks and merchants.
* As for what's next, Bailey said Apple is thinking about "everything in your wallet".
V Foxconn considers US factory
* A CNBC story alleged that Foxconn would be investing $7 billion into expanding it's operation in the US and that the expansion could result in 50,000 new US jobs.
* The report claims the plans are to build a collection of US based assembly plants.
* Foxconn responded the the story saying that they were in talks with US officials and that details would come after the talks were complete.
* Foxconn currently operates manufacturing facilities in Virginia and Indiana, and has logistics services in California and Texas.
V The news came after a meeting between president elect Trump and the CEO of Japan's SoftBank
* After that meeting it was announced that SoftBank was pledging a $50 billion dollar investment in US expansion and the creation of a 50,000 new jobs as well.
V Before you think that bringing manufacturing to the US is crazy because of lower labor costs in China
* Tim Cook has said it's not cost of workers, but lack of enough workers with the proper vocational skills. But here we're taking about just 50,000 jobs.
* The economic and political climate in China has changed
* Most of the major components for Apple's products come from Japan, the US, Taiwan, and Europe, not China.
* Apple has reportedly asked both Foxconn and Pegatron to look into the possibility of doing at least some iPhone manufacturing in the US. Only Foxconn agreed.
V International news
V After a 4 year legal battle in Denmark a court ruled that Apple must replace a Danish man's iPhone 4 with a new model rather than a refurbished one.
* The case stems from Apple's long time practice of replacing devices under warranty with factory reconditioned or refurbished models.
* Apple has sued the Danish customer after Denmark's Consumer Complaints Board sided with his original complaint and told Apple to give him a new model.
* Apple argued that refurbished iPhones are produced and tested in the same way as new iPhones.
* The Jude's in Denmark ruled this was a violation of the countries Danish Sale of Goods Act
V Apple can now appeal to a higher court, but I hope they don't.
* They might because this would determine how they have to operate in Denmark for the future
* There is already another case this year in which a Dutch court ordered Apple to replace a woman's iPhone 6 Plus with a new model, not a refurbished one.
* Where they are going to find a brand new iPhone 4, I have no idea.
V Apple adds 'Report Junk' to Calendar
* Looks like Apple is moving forward with more fixes designed to address the recent iCloud calendar spam issue
* They recently rolled out a "Report Junk" feature for the Calendar on
* There you can click the link to remove the calendar event (without alerting the sender) and report the sender to Apple for further investigation
* It's a step in the right direction. Hopefully this feature will also be making it's way to the Calendar app on the Mac and in iOS soon.
V Sponsor: Eero
V Eero
* Let's face it for many of us our wireless connectivity in our home has become as essential as our electricity
* When it's not working reliably or servicing the entire house equally it's a big deal.
* If you've ever tried repeaters on range extenders you know they really don't work well to solve the underlying issues.
V That's where a whole house system like Eero comes in
* It uses an advanced wireless mesh network that covers your whole home in fast, reliable WiFi.
V Setup is super easy
* You get one Eero unit to replace your existing router and then additional Eero units to provide coverage to other areas,
* Set-up is super easy, just plug and play.
* An app for your mobile device or tablet walks you through the entire process.
* A typical US house can be covered by 2 or 3 Eero units, so their convenient 3-pack is a great place to start.
V Another great thing is they provide excellent, real person, support and are constantly updating and improving the system through automatic software updates
* They've pushed over 12 updates since Eero was launched adding cool features like parental controls.
V They also recently improved the mesh technology with "TrueMesh" and added the ability to integrate Eero with Amazon Echo
* You can use it to find devices throughout your home, based on which Eero the device is closest to.
* Pause your Internet, so you can say focus on family dinner.
* Also turn off the Eero LEDs at bedtime
* Plus the Eero system looks great, like something Apple would have designed.
* So if you're looking to give your wi-fi a boost in performance and reliability an new Eero system is a smart choice.
V Plus right now you can get expedited shipping for free.
* Visit and enter maccast then select a free expedited shipping method.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V More 'Touch Disease' feedback
* Play comments from Ben
* This could be a potential issue with a lot of "replaced" devices, especially if Apple's stated reason for the issue is true.
* I'm thinking Apple looks now at the replacement history when deciding to charge you or not for any repairs.
* Still wonder how many "time bombs" Apple themselves might be sending into the wild?
* Another reason why, to me, even if the issue is caused by drops it's still a design flaw.
V The "battery replacement" experience
* Play comments from Wyane Henderson
* I've heard mixed report depending on the Apple store. One listener told me Apple took his phone and sent it in for a replacement so he was without his device for up to a week.
* Share my experience
V My thoughts on Super Mario Run
* Arguably one of the biggest games to come to iOS will launch on December 15th, Super Mario Run
* Apple has been hyping it since their September event and has a demo running in the Apple Stores
* Early estimates are that at $9.99 the game could generate $71 million in revenue in the first 30days according to some estimates.
* I had a chance to play a little when I took my iPhone 6s in for battery replacement.
* It was really fun.
* You can play with one hand and the concept is fairly simple. Tap to jump.
* Mario can jump and bounce off walls, obstacles, and enemies
* You're trying to collect as many coins as you can including special colored coins that will "level" up. Pick at first then harder to gab ones in different colors (adding replay ability to the levels).
* Because you can't control Mario's running, beyond bouncing off walls to temporarily change direction, clearing all the coins on a level becomes challenging. Note you don't need to clear all the coins to clear the level.
* The game is therefore easy to learn, but will be very challenging to master.
* The download is free, but you'll need to pay a one time $9.99 in-app purchase to get the full game.
V One potential downside to the game is that it will require an "always on" internet connection.
* So Mario can jump, but he can't fly (unless you pay for in-flight wi-fi).
* Nintendo says the requirement is because they are concerned about piracy
V Apple says you can dump iTunes Match
* Apple quietly changed it's Apple Music Membership FAQ page according to iLounge
V Specifically the "Do I need iTunes Match with Apple Music?" question was changed from a "Maybe"? to "No."
* “Apple Music includes all the benefits of iTunes Match to make all of your music available on all of your devices.”
V The big difference in the past that possibly required both Apple Music and iTunes Match was how the system managed "Matched" tracks when the files were downloaded from Apple
* With iTunes Match the tracks would download as 256kpbs AAC files in a non-DRM'd format
* With Apple Music they would be the same format, but with Apple's FairPlay DRM applied.
* According to the Loop's Jim Dalrymple Apple was working on gradually bringing full iTunes Match capabilities to Apple Music subscribers and with this change it's possible it's complete.
V I tested this on my system and found that it did work just like iTune Match did, but you need to be careful
V First of all this only works on tracks that have the iCloud status of "Matched"
* I found that at some point I had messed up my Library by removing my local copies and re-downloading from Apple Music. So now All my files have a status of "Apple Music" and are DRM'd.
* Luckily I have full backups, but to clean things up I will need to delete and remove all the Apple Music versions from iTunes and iCloud Music Library and then re-upload, rematch, remove the downloads (local files), and re-download the non-DRM's 256kpbs AAC versions.
V To check your library
* Go to Songs view of My Library
* Enable the iCloud Status column
* I also like to enable the Bit Rate column
* Before you make ANY changes be sure you have a full backup of all the local files in your iTunes Library.
V If you'd like to pull down Apple's AAC versions of your "Matched" tracks:
* Turn on the "iCloud Download" column
* Select the "Matched" tracks
* Control+Click the tracks and choose "Remove download"
* The iCloud download column should now show a Cloud icon with a down arrow (download)
* Control+Click the selected tracks again and choose 'Download'
V Port confusion
* Ron asks about the differences in the connections on the Macbook Air, the Macbook, and the new Macbook Pro
* The question is basically can all my existing stuff, printers, drawing tablets, iPhones, be hooked up to this stuff.
* The question seems simple, but from outside of nerdville it's really not.
* For some of us, who care about this stuff, it seems straight forward, but don't forget that to many folks changing connection and IO standards can be confusing.
V The short answer Ron, is yes, but how you will connect is where it get's trickier
* The Macbook and new Macbook Pros have standardized on the latest USB connector technology a port called USB Type-C
* Up until the USB Type-C connector Macs with USB-C, going all the way back to the original iMac, had USB Type-A connectors. That's the wide flat one that's on the USB end of say your iPhone's Lightning cable.
* There is also a USB Type-B connector, the fat square one mostly seen on USB printers or scanners. And mini and micro versions of these. Micro USB-Type B and Mini USB-Type B are the most common (connector on cameras and other small USB devices).
V The different connectors can support different USB versions with USB 3 being the latest USB technology
* But even that gets confusing because USB has many versions. It was simple, USB 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0.
V Then for some reason after 3.0 they started to muddy the waters I don;t want to go into a lot of details because it gets VERY confusing
* Basically there was the base spec and then all kinds of "enhancements" depending on the hardware support, power, etc.
* So we got things like "SuperSpeed" USB
* Then we got USB 3.1, which replaced "SuperSpeed" (now called USB 3.1 Gen 1) with "SuperSpeed+" (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
* USB-C is actually just referring to the "connector" USB Type-C and depending on hardware USB-C can run different IO protocols (including older versions of USB, say USB 3.0) and provide power.
* The Macbook Air comes from an era where we had different connectors (mostly) for different IO functions. You have MagSafe for power, Display Port (Thunderbolt) for your Display or high-speed I/O, SD-Card slot, 2 x USB Type-A (USB 3)
V On the new Macbook and Macbook Pro system your only connector option is USB Type-C, but the advantage is you now have just one connector type, but that one connector can support almost any connection you'll need (provided you have the correct adaptor or cable)
V The Macbook USB Type-C connectors support:
* Charging
* USB 3.1 Gen 1
* Display Port 1.2, VGA, and HDMI for video
V The Macbook Pros USB Type-C connectors support:
V Thunderbolt 3 (backward compatible for 2 or 1)
* On the 13-inch 4 USB Type-C Port model the two ports on the right side have reduced PCI Express bandwidth.
* The 13-inch non-Touchbar (only 2 ports) and 15-inch models ports all have full PCI Express bandwidth.
* Charging (any port)
* Display Port, VGA, and HDMI for video
* USB 3.1 Gen 2
V Of course the downside that many point our with the move to all USB Type-C connectors is that many of your existing devices will need a new cable or adapter to connect to your new Mac
* USB Type-C to Lightning cable for your iPhones and iPads (or a USB Type A to USB Type-C adapter)
* Another option is to get a USB C "dock" that provides a single cable to an external box with standard ports like USB Type-A, Ethernet, Thunderbolt, Firewire, etc.
* Many new USB Type-C (DisplayPort) monitors, like LG's new UltraFine 4K and 5K displays, have USB Type-C hubs built in.
* A company called "Aukey" makes these little USB adapters you can stick on the ends of existing cables.
* So there are currently a lot of solutions and eventually it won't matter because USB Type-C will become common place.
V Closing
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