Maccast 2017.04.03 - Show #608
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Harry's
V Harry's
* So I've been a Harry's customer since 2014
* Why have they kept me so long? Because of the quality of the product, the flexibility of the service, and the convenience.
* I was totally that guy who would use a "disposable" razor way too long because I don't have to shave that frequently and I'd always forget to buy razors.
V With Harry's that all went away. I get fresh blades and shaving products delivered on a schedule.
* Best of all I could tailor that schedule to my needs, which is different than other shaving plans.
* I order fewer blades and a longer interval and then can manually throw in product like cream when I need it.
* You might be different, maybe you need a few blades a week, so you can adjust your plan for that.
* Everything at an affordable price. Less than $2.00 per blade.
V And the quality of everything is great. Their blades feature
* 5 German-engineered blades
* Lubricating strip
* Flex-hinge for a comfortable glide
* Trimmer blade for hard-to-reach places
* Weighted, ergonomic handle
* The founders of the company were so obsessed with getting quality blades they bought a factory.
V Harry’s is so confident in the quality of their blades, they want you to try their most popular Trial Set for FREE!
* Comes with a razor handle of your choice, five-blade cartridge, and shaving gel
* The starter kit is amazing, I love Harry's handles. The trial one is great, but I "upgraded" to the chrome handles "Winston" a few years ago.
* Free when you sign up, just pay a small fee for shipping
* To redeem your free trial offer, go to right now.
* That’s
V News
V New Mac Pros and more!
* Rather than bury the lead I figured I'd give you the best news up front. Apple has updated the Mac Pro.
V Granted it's not a huge update, but it's something
V Starting today Apple has upped the specs of the "base" model Mac Pro to basically match the specs of the higher end model and is selling it at the same price
* The $2999 USD model goes from 4 Xeon CPU cores to 6, and from dual AMD G300 GPUs to dual G500 GPU.
* These models are available online and in Apple Retail Stores starting today.
V On the higher end, the $3,999 USD model, you get a spec bump
* From 6 CPU cores to 8 cores, and from dual D500 GPUs to dual D700 GPUs
* Both models now feature 16 GB of RAM standard, up from 12 GB
V Upgrades were also made cheaper
* From the base 6-core model.
* $800 for the 8 core upgrade vs $1,500 previously and $1,500 to go to 12-cores from $3,000 previously.
* The GPU upgrade from dual D500 GPUs to dual D700 GPUs is not $200 vs $600 previously.
* RAM and Flash storage upgrade prices remain the same though the Flash prices were reduced back in October when Apple announced the new MacBook Pros
* Everything else remains the same. Same ports. No USB-C, no Thunderbolt 3 (and so no support for the LG UltraFine 5K display).
V But wait, there's more:
* Apple said they are, "completely rethinking the Mac Pro".
* They are working on a brand new design. They said a "modular" system.
* Schiller said they asked the team to design something for Mac Pro customers who want more expandability, more upgradability in the future
* And oh, by the way, they are also doing a pro display as well.
* The bad news is you won't see this new system this year.
V Gruber culled some interesting facts
* 30 percent of the overall Mac user base is what Apple considers the “pro” market.
* Overall, the split between notebooks and desktops in Mac sales is roughly 80/20.
* Even among pro users, notebooks are by far the most popular Macs. In second place are iMacs. The Mac Pro is third.
V Apple wouldn't give details beyond saying that the Mac Pro was "a single-digit percent" of all Mac sales.
* One might argue that with better Mac Pro desktop option the percentage would be higher, and while I agree, my guess is it would still be in the single digit percentage.
* That's not to say Pro users are not important and the fact that Apple would even have the kind of announcements they did today say to me they see that small group as very important.
V And even more:
V Apple said it will be releasing "great" new iMacs later this year.
* Including some new configurations designed specifically for Pro users who fans of the all-in-one design.
* Touch based Macs are still a non-starter for Apple. That's what better iPad "Pros" are for.
V The Mac mini was asked about and Apple said:
* The Mac Mini is an important product in our lineup
* It’s… a mix of consumer with some pro use.
* The Mac Mini remains a product in our lineup, but nothing more to say about it today.
V Scripting and automation:
* "We think scriptability and automation of the system remain super important."
V This week the USPTO also posted three new Apple patents titled "Keyboard with Adaptive Input Row."
* Seem to describe a bluetooth keyboard with TouchBar.
* Maybe signaling an updated Apple Magic Keyboard with TouchBar.
V The most interesting parts of all these announcements:
* An unprecedented disclosure of Apple's future plans as it relates to Mac hardware.
V Apple held a "press" conference for five "chosen" journalists
* Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch), Lance Ulanoff (Mashable), Ina Fried (Axios), John Paczkowski (BuzzFeed), and John Gruber (Daring Fireball)
V Apple has admitted, without really saying it, that they made a mistake with the Mac Pro
* Specifically we "designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner". Limits of lower powered dual GPU architecture (vs single BIG GPU) and small case design.
* Too dependent on external expansion
* Met the needs of some, but not all.
* Schiller, " The current Mac Pro, as we’ve said a few times, was constrained thermally and it restricted our ability to upgrade it". He even went on to say, "we’re sorry to disappoint customers who wanted that". Apple never says "sorry". Unprecedented.
V So what do you think? The right move? Too little too late?
* I personally think this is the right move. I believe I even called for it a few months ago while stating my belief that Apple would never do it. Imagine my shock
V Reality is the current Mac Pro is still an amazing system and even better with todays updates.
* In many tasks, it still out performs most PCs and any Mac you can buy today (that's not a Mac Pro)
* What Apple delivered today was hope and not just "we care about the Pro user" hope.
* They admitted the current shortcomings, made some improvements for the short term, and laid out a solid plan for the future.
V Strange iPhone 'Edition' rumors
* I offer this rumor more as food for thought than anything I think may or may not be accurate
* A site called [iDropNews]( is claiming they have a source who spoke with a "Foxconn Employee" who has new details on Apple's next iPhone.
* The source is said to have seen a, "final stage" prototype.
V The report starts out with a rumor I like. Confirming the possible "iPhone Edition" naming.
* MacRumors is reporting also hearing 'iPhone Pro' popping up in the rumor mill recently
V But then it gets a little weird
V A vertical dual-lens camera setup. They claim for better depth of field when used horizontally. Helpful for AR/VR headset applications? 3D sensing?
* A report this week claims that Apple will tap the Taiwanese firm Himax Technologies to provide the 3D-sensing modules for the iPhone 8's front facing camera
* The module will use VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser)-based DOE (diffractive optical elements) for the camera.
* Himax's wafer level optics (WLO) technology can reduce the size and fit of 3D sensing in smartphones.
* Metal, not glass back-plate. They say the switch was due to glass being fragile.
V Finger-print scanner on the rear of the iPhone below the Apple logo.
* Apple hasn't been able to get scanning through the front glass working reliably
* Common on Android devices.
* Back of this "Edition" phone seems to be getting cluttered
V They then also "confirm" some other rumors
V A 2.5D OLED edge-to-edge display
* Apple has ordered 70 million OLED panels from Samsung for delivery this year with an option to request more based on demand.
* Wireless charging
* A11 Chip
* launching in September
V Barclays also shared some of the details on what they think the next iPhone will have with their investors
* Specifically that Apple plans to bring its True Tone display technology to all three of this year’s new iPhones.
* The note also echoed reports that Apple is expected to use 3D sensing technology for features such as facial recognition and augmented reality applications.
* They added the detail that there would be two custom 3D sensors with structured light cameras on both the front and back of the device
V Possible good news on the "it'll cost over $1,000" front
* Steven Milunovich from UBS said in an investor note that the prices may not be as high as some others have been reporting
* The report puts Apple's "factory cost" at about $70 to $90 higher than the equivalent iPhone 7s Plus model today
* Meaning a base 64GB model could start at $850 to $900 in US while he think the higher capacity 256GB models could cost between $950 and $1,000.
V Future iOS device may have Apple GPUs
* So by this point we all know how well Apple has done making their own CPUs for iOS
* Seems only logical for them to take their chip design skills all the way and design their own GPUs too. We might be on the cusp of that happening.
* A statement this week from UK based Imagination Technologies, who provides the PowerVR graphics processors currently in iOS devices, said that in two years Apple would no longer be licensing their technology.
* In their statement they said Apple is, "working on a separate, independent graphics design in order to control its products and will be reducing its future reliance on Imagination’s technology."
* Apple actually holds an 8 percent stake in the company and Apple pays license fees and royalties of over 60 million pounds (almost 75 million US) annually to the company.
* It was reported by the Financial Times about a year ago that Apple had considered acquiring Imagination Technologies but ultimately decided not to.
* During the buyout talks Imagination cut jobs with some of the employees reportedly ending up on Apple's in-house graphics team.
V Still Imagination thinks that Apple will have a hard time moving forward without their patented technology
* Again from their statement, "Apple has not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer require Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information."
* So we might be looking right not at the groundwork being laid for a future patent battle.
* There still might be time to avoid war through. Imagination says they are still looking for "potential alternative commercial arrangements" with Apple.
* After the release of the statement Imagination stock dropped almost 70 percent.
* It's conceivable, in my opinion, that without Apple's support Imagination could become so devalued that Apple might be able to pick up their patent portfolio before they launch their new GPU designs.
V Apple Music leads in unique monthly users
V According to the RIAA retail revenues from recorded music in the United States grew 11.4 percent to $7.7 billion in 2016 and for the first time more than half of that came from streaming services.
* It was the biggest increase the industry has seen since 1998
* Total revenues from streaming platforms were up 68 percent year over year
* And Apple Music may be big part of that.
* A new report from a market research firm call Verto claims that Apple Music had more unique monthly users in February than any other music service.
* The reports says Apple Music saw 40.7 million monthly unique users vs. Pandora with 36.2 million and Spotify with 30.4 million.
* The reporting methodology also only looked at Apple Music on mobile devices, yet it still be other others which included PCs
V The speculation is that Apple's unique 3-month trial is why they have some many uniques despite not being the tops in terms of subscribers.
* Apple now boasts over 20 million paid subscribers.
* Spotify has about 50 million paid subscribers, but well over 100 million when you count their free tier.
V Still while Apple had the lead in total unique monthly users they did not seem to "tune in" as much as users on other services
* Apple Music users averaged 12 sessions per month placing it 4th behind Spotify with 51, Amazon Music at 27, and Pandora at 23
V Still for artists I think it's really all about the streams and exposure
* The more plays (streams) the more the label and artist make
* Apple pays between $12 and $15 per 1,000 streams. Spotify pays around $7 per 1,000 streams, and YouTube pays around $1 pre 1,000 streams
V Spotify has seemingly tried to beat Apple to the punch when it comes to an original "in-car" based music video show
* They announced "Traffic Jams" which starts April 4th
* Hosted by comedian DoBoy who will also drive the vehicle.
* A rapper and a producer, who have never worked together, will produce a song in the back of the car while in LA Traffic and then perform it live when they get to their destination.
* Sound a "little" bit familiar?
* Interestingly this week Apple hired Shiva Rajaraman, a veteran product manager from YouTube and Spotify, to help shape the company’s video strategy, according to The Information.
V New iPad torn down
* iFixit did their thing and concluded that the new iPad basically looks like an original iPad Air inside and out.
* We already mentioned the similar thickness since there was a return to a non-laminated display
* Beyond a slightly smaller wi-fi module it's hard to distinguish the two visually on the inside.
* Still the new iPad does have a brighter display, a faster A9 processor, more storage (32GB), and a lower starting price, USD $329.00
V The rest of the specs are largely the same as the iPad Air 2 it replaced
* Display resolution of 2,048‑by‑1,536 at 264 PPI, 8-megapixel rear iSight camera, 1.2-megapixel front FaceTime camera, two speakers, Lightning connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, Touch ID with Apple Pay, and Bluetooth 4.2.
V We might have more insight into the reason why Apple updated and lowered the cost of the 9.7-inch iPad thanks to data from Fisku
* It's been well reported here and even by Apple's own results that iPad sales have been on the decline.
* What hasn't been revealed though is the source of those declines and if the Fisku data is right it's the iPad mini that's bringing the average down
* By taking the iPad mini out of their numbers Fisku shows that sales are actually flat to slightly up over the past year.
* It sort of makes sense to me given the popularity of "GiagantiPhones".
* There is also the fact that iPads are becoming laptop replacements for many and a 7.9 inch "laptop" really just doesn't cut it.
V YAATVB - Yet Another Apple TV Bundle
* OK, I'm just coining the acronym YAATVB right now.
* Seems like Apple may be on the trail of another streaming TV "bundle" deal though to me this makes the least sense of all of them
* This via Recode, Apple is currently working towards selling consumers a “premium TV bundle” consisting of HBO, Showtime, and Starz.
* The idea is that many cable providers already offer this premium bundle, but it is only available when you have an existing cable package. Apple would offer a similar deal but a la carte.
V The odd thing is, at least according to some of the rumors, that may be the only benefit.
* You can currently "subscribe" to each service for $15 per month for HBO, $11 per month for Showtime, and $9 per month fro Starz. Total $35/mo.
* Some reports say that might be the price Apple offers for the "bundle".
* Plus, as with all the other TV "deals" we've covered, Apple has yet to secure anything. It's all just talk.
* When and if this "deal" ever happens remains to be seen.
V New data from comScore shows that 5% of all U.S. households with a WiFi connection now use Apple TV
* Most interestingly, and concerning for Apple, is that the report states live TV still accounts for 84% of all viewing.
* Time shifted TV is almost 15 percent and on-demand accounts for just 1.1 percent of viewing.
V iOS 10.3.1 update
* Already we have an update to iOS 10.3
* Most significant is this update will work for older 32-bit devices like the iPhone 5 and 5c which were briefly part of the 10.3 update, but mysteriously pulled.
* The only other things of note are the usual "big fixes and security updates".
V Sponsor: Blue Apron
V Blue Apron
V Blue Apron is the #1 fresh ingredient and recipe delivery service in the country.
* Blue Apron’s mission is to make incredible home cooking accessible to everyone.
* Blue Apron achieves this by supporting a more sustainable food system, setting the highest standards for ingredients and building a community of home chefs.
V We've been enjoying Blue Apron meals for a few weeks now
* Recently we had Spice Rubbed roast beef with Collard Greens and Potato Salad, and Chicken Lo Mein with Enoki Mushrooms and Bok Choy
* But you get to pick your own choices each week and there is a huge variety. In fact, recipes are not repeated within a year, so you’ll never get bored.
* The quality and freshness of the ingredients has been amazing. It's even guaranteed. Blue Apron’s Freshness Guarantee promises that every ingredient in your delivery arrives ready to cook, or they’ll make it right.
* Blue Apron sources ingredients locally and is committed to sustainable, responsible, and regenerative food sources.
V A huge advantage for us with Blue Apron has been learning about new foods and new ways of cooking
* We are becoming better cooks and learning about new flavors and spices from a variety of regions.
* It's helping my kids become less picky eaters because they are excited to explore and try new things
* Because the meals come with step-by-step, easy to follow recipe cards and ingredient lists we are expanding our families meal choices.
* We've already planned to remake several of the meals.
V Best of all as a Maccast listener you can try out Blue Apron for free.
* Check out this week’s menu and get your first THREE meals FREE—WITH FREE SHIPPING—by going to
* You will love how good it feels, and tastes, to create incredible home cooked meals with Blue Apron, so don’t wait!
* Blue Apron. A better way to cook.
* Big thanks to Blue Apron for supporting the Maccast.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Clarifying why "mini" Player isn't "mini"
* Last show I gave my iTunes rant about the mini player and I think I might not have been clear enough in describing my issues with it.
* I got more than one email pointing out that the mini player will still display album artwork, and that is true.
* The issue is that it only does that in "maxi" mini player mode and that "maxi" mini player is hardly "mini"
V Making matters worse is the stupid resizing artwork "hint" thing it now does
* As you resize the mini player window the artwork "peeks" out the top.
* Depending on how much you expose it will either snap back down or snap open, so you actually don't know exactly how large, or small, a window you will finally end up with.
* Sorry, but in my opinion, the UI on this is crap.
* And I still say it's wrong that the new minified "mini" window is now twice as high as the old one without the "miniature" album art being displayed.
* Also the "flip" the playhead bar to be inconsistent with the one in the main iTunes window. It's on top in the mini player and at the bottom in iTunes. WTF?
* Finally there is also an annoying bug with the new mini player where the close window "X" doesn't appear when you hover over the corner until you "resize" the window at least once. After that it's there until you close and re-open the mini player then you have to resize again to get it back.
* The one advantage of the new design is there is more space for controls and information, so yes I get that, but still.
V Some follow ups from last show
* Play comments/questions from Paul
* Basically without encryption your data is not really safe at all.
V On Find My Mac
* First this assumes you have enabled "Find My Mac"
* Also relies that at some point the Mac will have access to an "Open" WiFi network or the thief will connect to one.
V Remote lock, adds a passcode at boot up so you can't get to the login screen.
* Interestingly with the lock on you can't boot in target disk mode, but you can boot to the Recovery partition
* So you could still reset the password, but I assume the new "lock" would prevent access to the login screen.
V Remote Wipe
* The password reset option does not require a connection to the internet. No.
* Yes this could work, but it takes a long time to wipe the data. Hours. A "smart" thief would realize what was happening and quickly power down the Mac possibly preserving the data
* Plus an even smarter thief would simply know to pull the drives, without even powering on the machine and then just access the data directly.
* Even if the wipe completed simple data recovery tools could recover much of your data from the wiped drives.
* I haven't been able to verify this, but I assume that with FileVault enabled the "wipe" would work similar to how it does on iOS where Apple simply throws away (deletes) the encryption keys. Instantaneously rendering the data inaccessible.
V Here's a final thing to be aware of… Resetting the NVRAM (Command+Option+P+R) turns off 'Find My Mac'!
* I discovered this from a (TidBits article](
* Recently I kept discovering Find My Mac turned off on my Mac and had been wondering why. I have been trouble shooting and zapping the NVRAM.
V Siri + Maps
* When the iPhone is locked, but you have enabled directions from Siri. The screen will wake a few seconds before giving the next voice direction.
* You could also simply say, Open Maps and use touch ID to unlock the phone.
V I also asked about the "CAT M1" technology being rumored as an LTE data platform the next Apple Watch
* Robert gave me some info and links but basically it's a low power, moderate bandwidth (kilobits and megabits, not gigabits) cellular “always on” data network that piggybacks on existing LTE infrastructure.
* Designed mainly as an "Internet of Things" data network.
* Really like have a Bluetooth LE connection with a massive range.
* So would be good for small data applications and updates, but not really for things like phone calls or audio or video communications.
* Seems like a perfect technology for the watch. Calendar, todo updates, weather, etc. while not severely reducing battery life. Calls stay on your phone.
V A quick talk about VPN
V The White House has reversed a FCC privacy rule that was set to go into effect in November that would have required ISPs provide more options and transparency for controlling their privacy.
* Would have required ISP to get an "opt-in" before they could share use and share sensitive information.
* Would allow customers to "opt-out" if they did not want the ISP to use and share their non-sensitive information.
* What this means is ISPs will continue to be able to use any of this information however they want including selling it to advertisers.
V What kinds of data
* Your browsing history, location data, contents of your emails, etc.
* Just using "private" browsing mode does nothing.
* Also, SSL email and web surfing only protects data in transit, not at either end of the connection.
V So what can you do:
V Use a different DNS
* I like OpenDNS (
* Gets your browsing history away from the ISPs DNS server.
* You could use Google DNS too, but then it's still Google!
* Also (as I vaguely understand it), this likely won't do much if you're not on an HTTPS connection because the domain of the sites your are visiting still come across in the headers. Heven with an HTTPS connection the server certificate contains the host name you're connecting to and that is transmitted in the "handshake"
V Encrypt all your email with a system like PGP or get an SMIME certificate
* Trouble here is you need to have the key of the person you are sending the email to to encrypt it.
V Use a VPN service
* There are a lot of great ones out the [Tunnel Bear]( and [Cloak]( I've also used [ProXPN](
* Disclosure both Tunnel Bear and ProXPN have been Maccast sponsors in the past.
* The issue here is you need to "trust" your VPN service as they would have access to the same data as your ISP.
* Also not that because your traffic now comes from a different location Web base location data will be off.
* If you "roll your own" VPN then all your remote traffic winds up going through your home ISP (oops). You'll want to still rout your home outbound traffic through VPN (maybe use an Amazon server instance?)
V Strange files in the HD root
V While trouble shooting some general hard drive issues on my Mac I cam across a couple items at the root of my main boot drive
* A 'blank' file with no name or extension associated with it
* A 'lost+found' folder with an "iNode" file in it that was over 4GBs
* Naturally I was curious about these and why they were there.
V The "mystery" blank file.
* Opening it in TextEdit it contained what looked like typical macOS PLIST (Property List) data in an XML format.
* In the '<dict>' item there was a 'MTMUUID' <key> entry with a long <string> entry.
V Some quick googling revealed this file is created by a bug in the code for local Time Machine snapshots.
* Local Time Machine snapshots are created when you 1) use Time Machine, 2) Are disconnected from the Time Machine volume, and 3) have available disk space.
* My best guess is this file is made to act as the ID for the "virtual" local snapshot Time Machine disk. It should be invisible, but that is the "bug" and it's been around since OS X 10.11.1
* You can delete the file, but it will likely just come back again.
* You could use a Terminal command to disable the local snapshot feature, but I would not recommend it.
V The 'lost+found' folder
* It's part of macOS, Linux, or other UNIX based systems
* Each file system/partition will have it's own 'lost+found'
* The files in 'lost+found' are put there when running hard drive tools like 'fsck' or Disk Utility
* Any bits of orphaned or corrupt files found may be placed in the 'lost+found'
V The 'lost' iNode file
* If the file is large and has a name starting with 'iNode' in macOS it is typically, but not always, an orphaned macOS installer.
V How can you check?
* Using Terminal you can navigate to the folder `cd /lost+found`
* Then type `file iNode`, hit Tab to autocomplete the file name, and hit Enter.
* It will tell you the file type, typically an XAR archive.
* If you want to verify what's in the archive type `xar -t -f [filename]` where [filename] is the name of the iNode file.
* If you see something like `InstallOS.pkg` at the top of the file you can be pretty sure it's a macOS installer file.
V Can I safely delete the `iNode` files.
* If you can verify it's an installer file yes.
V Probably the safest thing to do is:
* 1) Have full and complete backups
* 2) Move the iNode file to the Trash
* 3) Reboot your Mac
* 4) After a couple days if you verify there are no issues on your Mac empty the Trash and the iNode file
* This actually might be overly cautious, especially if you verified it's an installer file, but better safe than sorry right?
V Show invisible files in macOS Finder
* In the Finder hit Command+Shift+Period and suddenly all the "invisible" files will be visible. Right in the Finder, not Terminal needed.
* Hit the key combo again to hide them.
* Obviously be careful when using this new found power because as Uncle Ben told us, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
* Many of the hidden files in the system are hidden for a reason… most should not be touched or messed with. Don't edit, don't delete, etc.
* Still there may be moments when you need to see or access these file or folders and this tip is handy.
V As an alternative you can of course use the Terminal, but I also like using the 'Go' > 'Go to Folder' menu.
* Just type in the path to any folder, even an invisible one and it will take you there.
* It's won't show you the invisible files inside an invisible folder so you may combine the two tips if you'd like.
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