Maccast 2017.07.21 - Show #621
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by and the Marbles
V News
V More iPhone 8 launch concerns
* Fast Company ran a report with sources who claimed Apple is having issues with the wireless charging software. So much so that there is "panic" setting in.
V It's believed that Apple is using the Qi(Chi) wireless standard (or variant of it)
* Hardware is said to be fine in this case, it's the software that is causing problems
* The report says it's so bad that Apple might consider disabling the feature at launch and enabling it later.
* Remember they did this the iPhone 7 Plus "Portrait" mode feature.
V A Bloomberg report also cites sources who say the new 3D sensors rumored to possibly drive a new 3D facial recognition system might also give Apple some grief
* The Fast Company piece supports this saying their source claims Apple engineers are having trouble getting the sensors to work reliably
* The source wouldn't comment on what the sensors are for, but we've heard other reports that the new iPhone could use facial recognition instead of TouchID. If true I imaging the 3D sensors not working perfectly is a huge concern at this point.
* Still the FastCompany source seems to think there is still a good chance the TouchID sensor will be integrated into the iPhone display.
* As the piece points out, with Apple, nothing is set in stone until they announce it and they can go late into the production cycle and still make tweaks.
V The Korea Herald reported that Apple has purchased "tens of millions of dollars" worth of rigid flexible printed circuit board equipment to help their suppliers keep up with iPhone production
* Supposedly this came about after one of Apple's suppliers backed out of a deal, leaving Apple with two Korean companies, Interflex and Youngpoong Electronics, to produce the boards they need.
* Apple will reportedly lease the equipment to suppliers to make sure their other two iPhone RFPCB producers stay on track.
V Should we be panicked?
V If you want an iPhone 8 day one this WILL be a problem.
* On analyst predicts that 40 percent of the current iPhone install base, more than 700 million customers, have iPhones that are greater than two years old.
* I predict you'll see backorders going to lat in the year within hours of sales starting and eventually they will fall into 2018
* That said, Apple is pretty good about beating expectations and the should catch up before the end of the year.
* The press will have a field day with this, but it would be worse (in the media) if Apple delayed the launch.
V High demand is also good for Apple on the marketing side and the stock market tends to like that too.
* They will take a small hit in the quarterly numbers possibly?
V New iPhone SE in August
* iGeneration cites a "new" source that says Apple is planning to have an event next month
* I don't put too much stock in this as production would have flown "under the radar" which seems unlikely
* Still they claim it will have a reduced starting price at 399 euros (currently 489 euros).
* If there is anything to this rumor I'm guessing Apple might just be planning a price drop and nothing more?
* There were also recent reports that the SE would be discontinued, I think that is unlikely as well.
V Will iPhone 8 still get here in September?
* At least one analyst is saying yes, but in limited quantities
* JP Morgan analyst Rod Hall thinks Apple will still launch in September but may sell 42.2 million iPhone units. And I only say "only" because Apple sold 45.4 million units during the September quarter last year.
* Pricing wise Hall thinks the iPhone 8 will come in two models. A 128GB unit selling for $1,100 USD and a $1,200 256GB model.
V Mac sales flat in Q2
* Latest numbers from Gartner for Worldwide PC shipment in the second quarter of 2017 have year over year shipments for Apple down 0.4 percent
* Normally this wouldn't be too concerning except that Apple has recently updated the Macbook Pro line and has great new iMacs out.
* Despite the slowness of shipments Apple's overall share of worldwide PC shipments went up about 0.2 percent to 6.9 percent. This is because big PC makers like Asus, Acer, and Lenovo saw much larger year of year shipment declines between 8.4 and 12.5 percent.
* Really only Dell and HP fared better than Apple in the quarter and not by much.
V Overall I feel like this is a trend we are likely to see continue
* Phones and tablets are taking over for a lot of people for a number f basic computing tasks (and even some advanced ones)
* As we supplement the need to upgrade desktops and notebooks I think is diminished.
* So this feels more like the new "norm" than cause for concern and I'm certain that Apple hasn't been caught off guard.
V Along with this change in buying patterns I think we'll see longer times between major upgrade cycles of Mac models
* I think small tweaks and processor bumps 1-2 times a year, but major upgrades coming 18-24 months apart (maybe further)
* If you are in the market for a Mac buying for the long term I think will be more important.
V Apple launches Machine Learning 'blog'
* We had heard that Apple was going to begin to allow their engineers and scientists talk about their work at conferences. Something that is new for Apple.
* Now they have also created a sub-site at [Apple Machine Learning Journal]( where, "you can read posts written by Apple engineers about their work using machine learning technologies"
* The first post is entitled, "Improving the Realism of Synthetic Images"
* It actually sounds similar, and could be the same, as a paper published by Apple engineers last year
* It discusses using synthetic images vs. real ones in training neural nets.
* The main advantage is a savings in cost and time as the training requires large and diverse data sets.
* One of the big challenges in using real images is they have to be identified and labeled, typically by humans, before you can feed them to the machine.
* If you generate them synthetically you already know the kind of image you're creating. The downside is synthetic images may not be close enough to the real thing to provide accurate training, but the piece explains that Apple, "developed a method for refining synthetic images to make them look more realistic."
* The published piece goes into detail on how Apple developed this "refiner" technique for synthetic images
* While it might seem counter for such a secret company to allow the disclosure of this kind of stuff Apple was reportedly finding that it was hard to get top researchers in these fields if they were not allowed to speak or publish their research.
* It's a compromise, but I think ultimately a good one.
V Dreamworks founder pitches Apple new TV concept
* Both Variety and CNBC are reporting that Jeffery Katzenberg is pitching Apple and other on a new "TV" service called surprisingly "New TV"
* The idea is content with "high-talent" that is in short 10 minute segments. The idea, I assume, being to capitalize on the younger 18-34 audience who seems to prefer YouTube and Instagram to broadcast TV.
* The report says there might also be five-minute talk shows, or a two-minute newscast.
V The report says content would come without ads, but be supported by integrating branding and "title" sponsors.
* There might also be a "free" tier of the service that includes ads
* The price tag is said to be high, around $2 Billion, but Ketzenberg has supposedly pitched the idea to Apple, Google, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Snapchat, and Spotify.
V I like the idea, but it's really just re-inventing a format that already exists.
* The vision is that existing content is not "professional", but I think that's wrong.
* There are loads of "indie" producers making great quality content and now the existing media, who ignored it until now, wants in.
V Apple partners with electric vehicle battery manufacture
* A Shanghai-based site claims Apple has signed a secret agreement working with Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited on automotive battery research and development.
* Specifics weren't given, but they say the two companies have signed a confidentiality agreement to work together on a "scheme" related to the field of batteries.
* CATL is a leader in lithium-ion battery research and development, including battery cells, materials, and recycling. They also claim to be the world's third largest manufacturer of hybrid and electric vehicle batteries behind BYD and Panasonic.
* Apple has reportedly shut down their rumored autonomous electric vehicle project to focus on autonomous systems so why they would need to partner with an electric vehicle battery maker is up for speculation.
* It could be more about lithium ion battery technology in general
* The company did show off battery technology last year that could bring an n electric vehicle battery to a 90 percent charge in just 15 minutes.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V ARKit could be Apple's biggest tech advance in years
* The more I see of the demos online the more I think this tech will put Apple far in the lead vs their competitors
V The kinds of "demo" applications we are seeing is amazing
* Virtual environments
* Navigation
* Games
* Tech support and how-tos
* We're seeing demos where turn by turn directions are overlaid on real world environments or you can exactly measure out distances or the area of a room.
* Plus the gaming and entertainment applications are endless.
* Developers are going crazy over this technology and that is HUGE.
V Apple's ability to match the hardware and software to support this should not be underestimated
* First, many existing devices will support this tech day one (that is a huge advantage for developers). They get millions of potential customers day one.
V Apple has optimized the software for their hardware. It's fast and very capable on existing devices
* iPhone SE, iPhone 6s and up. 2016 and newer iPad and iPad Pro models
V New devices will have tech that makes it work even better
* Apple rumored to be adding new 3D/Laser sensors to the iPhone 8 to enhance the experiences.
* The iPhone is going to have some of the most advanced imaging and optical sensing technology of any smartphone on the market
* Benefits AR and also Photography
V Guy upgrades a new iMac
* Check out [this YouTube Video](
* YouTuber Quinn Nelson was not too impressed by Apple's $5,300.00 pice tag for a new fully loaded 27-inch iMac.
* He took it as a challenge to see if the config could be had for cheaper.
V Started with the base model 27-inch with a 500GB SSD upgrade. ($1,799.00)
* Fast boot drive.
V Then he got the stuff he needed to soup it up
* Intel i7-7700K CPU
* 2TB Crucial MX300 SSD (2.5 TB internal storage total)
* 64GB DDR4-2400 RAM
* OWC Thermal Sensor for SSD ($40)
* Adhesive Screen Kit
* HDD 2.5-to3.5" Adapter.
* You also need a proprietary Apple Data/Power cable combo to support the second drive (SSD). Can be found on eBay or online.
* Total cost, $3,471.00 USD, saving about $1,800 bucks.
* Need the iFixit "wheel" tool to separate the display from the glue.
* Completely disassemble the iMac including removing the fans and speakers. Also clean off (and re-apply) thermal paste.
* He claims the whole upgrade took about an hour ( I would guess a bit longer)
* His GPU geek bench stores were about 8 percent faster than Apple's top of the line one.
* Void the warranty if you do this.
V The main major difference is the GPU
* Base model is a Radeon Pro 570 with 4GB of VRAM vs the Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB of VRAM you'd get the the top of the line model
* He claims that in his FinalCut Pro tests his modded Mac was 5 percent faster.
V A 'modular' Mac Pro
* Play comment from Tim
* Discuss my thoughts on the Mac Pro form factor.
V Understanding kext files
* Ethan wrote in with a simple question, Is it possible to remove system extensions in OSX?
* He's old school like me and remembers the day when system extension were something to be managed in OS 8 and OS 9.
* The short answer Ethan is that in macOS these days we shouldn't need to worry about "extensions" too much.
V They still exist as Kernel Extensions (kext) files and most Apple ones live in 'System/Library/Extensions', third party ones (it seems to me) reside in 'Library/Extensions' or '~/Library/Extensions'
* They are generally small, a few hundred Kb to a couple MBs.
* With OS X Yosemite Apple started requiring that the Extension be signed in order to be installed, so old ones (left over after upgrades) are probably not even loading.
V Still a kernel extension is code that extends the capability of the base kernel of an operating system. They generally deal with and manage I/O requests and operate a a fairly low level. If they do conflict with the kernel code they can be a cause of kernel panics.
* Often display drivers or things that deal with input like a mouse or keyboard may install kext files.
V You can actually run a simple terminal command, 'kextstat -l' to see which ones are loaded and running. If you "grep" it you can filter down to just the non-Apple ones, 'kextstat -l | grep -v'
* My Mac only had about 8 active kext files. Most for Parallels, Duet Display, and my Drobo.
* There isn't one source I know of for looking up the "owner" application of a kernel extension, but generally you can tell by the filename.
* The best way to ensure these files are cleaned up when removing an app would to use an uninstaller (if the developer offers it) or a 3rd party uninstall tool like [Clean My Mac](
* You can also go to the directory and remove the files manually (may need to authenticate).
* Even better would be do a clean install the next time you upgrade the OS and re-install only the apps you use from scratch.
* In general though even having old non-loaded kext files around is not going to be too big a deal.
V Closing
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