Maccast 2017.05.24 - Show #614
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Smile
V PDFpen 9
* If you've been a Maccast listener for a while you know that I don't own a Mac without PDFpen installed on it.
* There are so many times when I need to edit or annotate a PDf for a project I'm working. Or fill out and add a signature a PDF.
* One of the things I love about Smile is they are constantly making improvements some of them I don't even know I needed until they make them.
V They just launched PDFpen and PDFpen Pro 9 in April and it has tons of great new enhancements in features
* [Here's a video]( to show you what's new
V You can check []( for the full list, but some of my favorites:
* Enhanced Annotations - Now get a sidebar that shows all the annotations in a document including highlights, as well as text boxes, comments, notes, attachments, and more. You can jump right to an annotation.
* Linked Files - You can add links directly to another PDF that stored on your Mac.
* More export options - Export your PDF as a TIFF, JPEG or PNG, in color or grayscale. And you can export as a flattened PDF, preventing any editing of annotations, such as a signature.
* And that's just a couple of the dozens of new feature in addition to over 100 other usability improvements.
* If you're already a PDFpen or PDFpen Pro user you get upgrade pricing and for new customers pricing starts at just $74.95 and there is a free trial.
V News
V Apple Watch 'Smart' Bands
* Coming out of BGR, they claim to have sources close to Apple who claim the company is working on new "smart band" accessories for an upcoming version of the Apple Watch
* The main one their piece focused on was a glucose monitoring band
* Not the first time we've heard about "smart" bands or that Apple might create bands that add additional features to the Apple Watch
* Apple reportedly has teams of biomedical engineers and doctors working on all kinds of non-invasive sensors.
V The idea is that with interchangeable bands you could provide customized add-on functionality without driving up the base cost of the watch.
* It also is possibly a creative way of getting around the need to put an Apple Watch through FDA approvals.
* The Apple Watch "diagnostic" port has often been pointed to as something Apple might use for future connectivity.
* Other "smart bands" may include more battery or a camera.
V CNBC cited a source who said Tim Cook has been wearing a prototype glucose-tracker that connects to the Apple Watch
* Cook also said he was wearing such a device back in February
* It's not clear if it was a Apple designed device or a 3rd party one.
* The goal being understanding how diet effected his glucose level and changing diet to keep it more consistent.
V Third party iCloud access lockdown
* Users of 3rd party apps that tap into iCloud data, like calendar and mail apps, who have not enabled 2-factor authentication were warned that soon they will need to enable it or those apps will lose access to their iClod data..
* Right now if your account is NOT using 2-factor authentication they can use your iCloud username and password.
* Apple sent out a policy change that after June 15th that will all change.
* Users with 3rd party apps that want iCloud data access will have to turn on 2-factor authentication and use app-specific passwords.
V App specific passwords require the user to log into their iCloud account and to generate a unique password for each app.
* Sign into your Apple ID account page (
* Go to App-Specific Passwords under Security
* Click Generate Password.
* You give each password a name, like "Spark E-mail"
* If you are already signed in to a third-party app using your primary Apple ID password, you will be signed out automatically when this change takes effect.
V The idea is better security.
* Your iCloud password is not given over to those apps, so safe even if those apps or their servers are breached.
* If one of the apps gets compromised you can simply revoke it's password and your other apps will still have access.
V iPad updates seem to be looming
V The iPad updates should have happened this Spring, not some are saying June at WWDC
* Note that Apple sometimes, but less frequently, makes hardware announcements at WWDC
V June iPad line-up?
* iPad Pro in 12.9-inch, 10.5-inch, (and 9.7-inch?) sizes
* Low cost 9.7-inch iPad.
* DigiTimes claims Apple is already producing 500,000 10.5-inch iPads units a month and will increase that to 600,000 in June.
V The 10.5-inch model is supposed to be the same relative size as the 9.7-inch model
* A little taller and just a bit wider
* It will have a narrow bezel design and updated processor
* Other elements will be similar to the existing iPad Pro designs.
* One recent leaked case design shows mic holes on the top edge and centered at the top of the rear side. (currently on the side)
V Curtains for the iPad mini?
* It doesn't seem like sales are going to stop immediately, but BGR says ‘a source close to Apple’ claims the company is planning no future updates and it will be phased out over time.
* Sized out and cannibalized by Apple's other offerings
V It's already been on borrowed time. Apple sells just one version a 128GB model for USD$399 or the cellular version for $529
* For just $30 more you could have the newer 9.7-inch iPad with better processor and better display
V There have been some rumors of hope for the mini
* iPad mini Pro with Smart Connector and Apple Pencil support.
* The Maccast community has a LOT of iPad mini fans.
V Macbooks at WWDC?
* Bloomberg thinks it might happen.
* They say Apple could update MacBook, MacBook Pro, and possibly event the MacBook Air
* The "touch-bar" MacBook Pros would get faster and newer Kaby lake processors
* A new version of the 12-inch MacBook with a faster Intel chip
* Considered updating the aging 13-inch MacBook Air with a new processor
* The piece also mentions that Apple has been working on it's own custom chip for the MacBook Pro that would manage the machine in 'low-power' mode, but that might not be ready yet.
V Apple Stores introduce 'Today at Apple'
* The program was actually announced back in April, but they are now rolled out at all of Apple's 495 stores worldwide
* You can now sign up for sessions on [Apple's website](
V There are classes and sessions throughout the day at each store
* Basics classes
* 90-minute 'Studio' sessions
* Special classes for kids.
* All free and taught by Apple's Creative Pros or sometimes by special guests. Well-known artists, photographers, and musicians.
* Every day there are 4,000 sessions around the world.
V Probably no iPhone 8 surprises
* Like it on not, at this point Apple probably has few if no secrets about it's fall iPhone 8 launch
V Mock ups and reported production molds are surfacing and all but confirming what has already been speculated
* Edge-to-edge screen with "2.5D" glass curved at the edge
* Stainless steel "band" around the edges
* 5.8-inch screen with embedded TouchID sensor
* Glass back
* Vertically mounted dual-lens camera with flash in between the two lenses
* Physical form factor just slightly larger than the current iPhone 7
V Additional specs
* Wireless charging
* Faster cable charging
* 3D facial recognition and/or iris scanning.
V Still staggered and odd leaks that the TouchID sensor could be on the back.
* At this point it seems HIGHLY unlikely.
V Will be announced at a September even, but may not ship until late October or early November.
* Supplies will be incredibly limited.
V Pricing is still being debated
V One report claims the 3D Touch señors in the new iPhone are up to three times more expensive
* The difference is integrating it into an OLED panel because they need to be embedded between the "glass sandwich"
V UBS analyst Steven Milunovich said in a note to clients he thing the 128GB version would start at USD $870.00 and the 256GB version would cost USD $1,070
* Lower than expected, but also an odd price difference. There is currently only a $100 gap between the 128GB and 256GB versions of the 7 Plus.
* Thinking seems to be because there would not be a 32GB version of the iPhone 8
V What's next for iPhone
V Apparently we can't even get to an actual iPhone 8 release before we start getting rumors of the "next" next iPhone.
* They are already predicting the iPhone 9 sizes based on speculation on future display deals between Samsung and Apple
* 5.28-inches and 6.46-inches
* So a version that sits between the 4.7-inch iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus and an even bigger than the 5.8-inch iPhone 8 phone.
V Apple filed an application with the FCC to begin testing "5G" technology
* 5G will use millimeter wave technology, or mmWave.
* In the filing Apple says they intend to transmit from two fixed points located at Apple-controlled facilities in Cupertino and Milpitas, CA
* It's still a shifting standard at this point because standards organizations have yet to formally classify it.
* mmWave transmits data at a higher frequency and a smaller wavelength of between 30 GHz and 300 GHz which makes it capable of reducing latency and expanding data transmission capacity.
* Plus it allows for reduced antenna sizes and supports more powerful multi-band antennas in a single device.
* An immediate problem for Apple with the tech is it has issues transmitting through some surfaces one of them being glass.
V International Stories
V Wall Street Journal, Apple has confirmed that its manufacturing partners in India have started domestic production of iPhone SE
* Wistron is Apple's main assembly partner in India
* Devices will have an ‘Assembled in India’ label on the hardware
* iPhone SE's are being made in Bangalore and will ship to customers later in May
* Apple has moved to making the iPhone SE in India so they can comply with a state law that says companies wanting a retail presence must source at least 30% of their goods locally.
* The iPhone SE production should meet that requirement paving the way for Apple Stores in India
V Apple sells a 32GB iPhone SE for $399 in India, but the local government hopes because of the cost saving by producing locally that Apple would lower the cost to $299.
* Apple typically doesn't price differently for different regions beyond adjustments for exchange rates and local VAT taxes.
* Still average price of a smartphone in India is $150, so Apple might have to do more to complete.
V Apple Music trial not free in some countries
* In Australia, Spain, and Switzerland the "free" 3-month trail now costs 0.99 cents
* It's not clear why Apple has made the change
V Jennifer Bailey, head of Apple’s payments business told the Telegraph they they now think that a "majority" of the contactless terminals that work with Apple Pay in the UK are "limitless"
* Last year many still limited transactions to £30.
* There technically might be a limit of around £600 - 700
* Apple says Apple Pay transactions in the UK are up by 300 percent vs last year and that 23 banks now supporting the service.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V No one is immune to hacking
V This past week the folks at Panic disclosed that they were hit by the Handbrake trojan and that some of the source code for their iOS and Mac apps was taken
* They say no customer information or logins for their sync service were compromised
* The attackers tried to ransom the source code. Panic did not and will not comply
* Panic assumes the attackers will attempt to create and distribute malware-infected versions of Panic apps, so the company is working with Apple to disable illegitimate versions as they pop up.
V In case you missed it the popular video encoding software Handbrake had a mirror download server that was compromised and between May 2nd and May 6th there was a hacked version of their app that contained a Trojan
* If you downloaded the software around that time there is a 50/50 chance you could have been infected
* If you see a process called "activity_agent" in the OS X Activity Monitor application. You are infected.
* The [Handbrake forum]( has details about the attack and instructions for removal
* Share story of my daughter getting the "install profile" request on her iOS device.
* The bigger point here is that more and more these days, no one, is immune to potential attacks.
* No matter how "smart" or "safe" you think you're being.
V What can be done for protection
* Ironically, continue to be smart and safe
* Stay suspicious
* Keep informed.
* Download releases only through an existing app’s internal update process, via a developers’ official website, or from the Mac App Store if the app is sold there.
* Avoid third-party update sites, which also often wrap downloads in adware.
* Anti-virus and anti-malware may help you detect an infection but are very unlikely to stop you from getting infected.
* Stop thinking "It will NEVER happen to me" and stop making those who do get hit feel dumb or stupid.
V There were a few signs that the Handbrake app was compromised.
* Internal update of the app failed
V Handbrake is an "unsigned" app because the developers don't participate in Apple's program (not THAT unusual)
* Hackers can easily get a signing certificate by joining the Apple Developer program for USD $99.00
* The "hacked" version of the app asked for "heightened" privileges when being installed (again, not really that unusual).
V Some real-time monitoring tools
* [Block Block]( - Free (beta). Notifies you when launch-time daemons and other 'persistent' software is installed on your Mac.
* [Xfence](, Used to be "Little Flocker". A utility for keeping your personal data safe from malware, trojans, back doors, misbehaving applications. Monitors apps that attempt to access confidential files and system resources and notifies you when they attempt to read, modify, or delete items.
* Basically reports on anything trying to access your data or even hardware (like camera, microphone, etc) without your permission or you knowing about it.
V Everyone wrong on patent troll story
* At least with regards to Apple
* The Supreme Court of the United States decided that U.S. companies may only face patent infringement lawsuits in the jurisdiction in which they are incorporate.
* This could, for many companies, stop the practice of patent trolls filing suits in plaintiff friendly jurisdictions like Tyler, TX (30 percent of patent dispute cases in the US are currently tried there)
* This sounded like good news for Apple because they are incorporated in California.
V The trouble is many reporting the story did not read the actual text of the ruling or left out a critical "OR" from the text.
* "provides that [a]ny civil action for patent infringement may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business."
V So for Apple it will come down to the interpretation of the "and has a regular and established place of business" part.
* At the very least I would assume the 270 locations where Apple operates a retail store in the US qualify.
* It's also possible locations where they have sales offices that sell to dealers, distributors, and non-Apple retail outlets.
V Don't toss your old keyboard
* Play comment from Vicente
V I think it's generally a good idea to have backup wired mice and keyboards
* You can get an Amazon Basics USB keyboard for $14 or $20 for a mouse and keyboard
* That said the advice you were given by Apple may be incorrect.
V Yes if you hold down the keys before the Mac starts booting up they might not work, but if you time it right most, if not all, alternative boot environments should work'
* This includes Safe Boot (Shift), Single User mode (Command+S), Diagnostics Test (D), and Target Disk mode (T)
V Apple's Bluetooth hardware controllers activate after all of the system's self-tests at boot complete and the EFI firmware loads successfully
* You know this has been done when you hear the startup chime
* At this point the system will take boot variables from the PRAM or the keyboard input and pass them to the kernel
* If any inputs are being sent via the Bluetooth keyboard before the controllers are active, then they will not be recognized by the system
* So the key is to wait until your hear the chime, then press the keys, not before.
* I tested this with my Apple Wireless keyboard and safe boot and it worked.
* That should work, but if not then the backup wired keyboard would be handy.
V If you happen to not have a wired keyboard, but still have access to the Mac and the Terminal you could set the boot arguments in the PRAM with the `nvram` command passing the `boot-args` parameters
* You can reference [this cnet article]( for instructions and the commands.
* You'll need to unset them and probably the easiest way is to zap the PRAM. Hold the Option-Command-P-R keys at startup.
V While were on the topic reasons to keep other kinds of older tech
V Older Macs in case your primary one needs to go in for service
* Since I have cloned backups I can often boot off those or at least have access to files if the older machine can run the latest OS
* I "repurpose" these machines too so they are not just sitting idle.
* Servers, my kids "hand me downs", etc.
* Older HDDs. Place in external enclosures and use as extra storage. I don't necessarily "trust" them, so maybe in a Drobo or just as "extra" storage.
V Can Siri learn from her mistakes?
* Last time I discussed Siri and some of the ways Apple will need to make her "smarter" if they intend to create the rumored Siri Home Assistant speaker.
V Neil sent me several examples where he asked Siri for information and she gave incorrect responses and he brought up a good way Apple engineers could make her smarter… allow feedback
* Not just my emailing, but right there in the interface.
* A simple button you can press when Siri misunderstands a request that would let you submit a "ticket" of what went wrong.
* They could get a log of the audio, the speech to text translation, and an explanation from the user.
* It could also be simply parsed by an AI engine and fed right back into Siri's data.
V I thought it would be great too if the system could work all with voice commands:
* 1) Siri responds with an incorrect response
* 2) You reply, "Siri, you misunderstood me"
* 3) Siri responds, "I'm sorry, please explain my error and I'm let the engineers at Apple know"
* 4) You explain the what went wrong and the expected response.
* Many already know that you can 'Tap to edit" the text to speech translation to correct words and I think that data is fed back into the "Apple Brain" to make Siri better at understanding your speech, but the idea of users feeding back into Siri's knowledge is a good one.
V Another idea could be to take all the misinterpreted queries or ones that became "here's what I found on the web" and put those into some sort of crowd sourced "answer" engine. Maybe let people sign-up to research and answer the questions. Feed the responses back into an intelligence engine in exchange for earning iTunes credits or something.
* You could weed out errors and inconsistencies in responses by having thousands of people answer the same question and the finding and aggregating the most frequent and common answers that are the same.
V Closing
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V Thanks to my sponsors
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