Maccast 2017.07.25 - Show #632
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V News
V Apple Pay rolls out to more countries
* Apple Pay has launched in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates
V Apple Pay is now available in 20 countries.
* The US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and the U.K.
* Apple has noted on their developer blog that developers in the new countries can now use Apple Pay as a secure payment option for in-app purchases and online transactions.
* Looks like Apple Pay in Sweden, Finland, and Denmark are supported currently by two banks in each country while Apple Pay in the UAE has support from six banks.
* Apple's CFO Luca Maestri has promised during the August quarterly earnings conference call that Apple would add four new countries to Apple Pay this year.
* Italy, Taiwan, and Ireland were also added to Apple Pay earlier this year.
* In New Zealand, Bank of New Zealand has been added as the second bank in that country with Apple Pay support. When it launched in New Zealand last year Apple Pay was only available to ANZ Bank customers.
* I know for many in Germany it's a sore subject, but there have been recent rumors that Apple Pay might be coming to your region soon. There are also rumors of Poland and the Netherlands getting Apple Pay soon.
* MasterCard announced that cardholders will no longer have to provide a signature for any purchases in the United States and Canada after April 2018. The change will apply to both debit and credit cards.
V Apple blogs a bit about Siri
* OK, calling it a "blog" is probably not fair, but they did share some Siri insights on their (Machine Learning Journal)[] site.
V It goes into how "Hey Siri" works.
* A very small speech recognizer runs all the time listening for those magic words.
* When it thinks it's heard them it then uses a Deep Neural Network (DNN) to convert the acoustic pattern of your voice at each instant into a probability distribution over speech sounds.
* It then uses a temporal integration process to compute a confidence score that the phrase you uttered was “Hey Siri”.
* If the score is high enough, Siri wakes up.
* Obviously this whole series of steps is happening in a matter of milli, if not micro, seconds.
* The piece also mentions that when comparing the confidence score they actually use a normal and a lower threshold. If the rate in in the lower range then the system enters a more sensitive state for a few seconds. If you say the phrase again then Siri is more likely to detect that and trigger.
* The system uses the iPhone’s Always On Processor (AOP) (a small, low-power auxiliary processor, that is, the embedded Motion Coprocessor).
* Only after it detects that you said Hey Siri does it "wake-up" the main processor to do the Deep Neural Network work.
* Piece also talks about how they use the saved samples from the enrollment session to make sure you're more likely the only one who can trigger "Hey Siri" on your device.
* On the server They'll also detect things that sound close like "Hey Seriously" and send a cancellation request.
* The piece goes into a lot more detail and covers how they use machine learning with the acoustic models to do testing and tuning of the system.
V Prepare for iPhone X drought
* I know I sound like some crazy dude false profiting the end of days, but still all signs are pointing that way at least if what will make up your world is owning a shiny new iPhone X anytime this year.
V Ming-Chi Kuo thinks Apple will have between 2 to 3 million units ready at launch on November 3rd.
* Not too many considering the typical pre-order estimates of 12 million for past launches.
* Still he claims Apple has sorted out many of their component shortage issues and should be on track with production in November.
* Kuo seems to think it's flexible printed circuit boards that have been holding up iPhone production, not the TrueDepth camera sensors like many others.
V Bloomberg reporting that Apple has slightly eased testing/QA requirements on the laser dot projector to allow their supplier to produce units more quickly
* The piece notes that both the lens and laser are extremely fragile and at one point yields were just 20 percent
* It needs to be precise too, if component are off even by several microns ( a fraction of a hair width) the component might not work properly.
* The piece is positive that even if the accuracy is not one in a million it would still beat TouchID which Apple said was one in 50,000.
* I worry about two things. The fragility of the component and lower QA standards on a brand new and unproven in the wild component.
* I believe Apple trusts it's decision and I'm hopeful they're right. All eyes are going to be on this technology (this and the display in light of Google's on-going tech issues with the Pixel).
V Still a report from Nikkei is suggesting that iPhone X shipments will only reach 20 million units by the end of the year.
* Based on a 10 million unit a month production level.
* Ming-Chi Kuo had originally estimated recently that Apple would ship 45 million iPhone X units in 2017, then revised down to 40 million, then 30-35 million, and now he too is at 25-30 million units.
V Economic Daily News report that Apple is planning to cut iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus production by nearly fifty percent in November and December.
* More production focus on iPhone X
* Some are speculating this is a sign that iPhone 8 sales are not going well with at least one analyst suggesting the iPhone 7 was outselling iPhone 8 just a month after launch.
* This can be typical
V UBS did a survey that showed intent to purchase a new iPhone in the next 90 days is at it's highest level since Apple launched the iPhone 6
* They polled 3,840 consumers in North America and 69 percent said they plan to buy a new iPhone
* 43 percent of those polled in their survey said they intended to purchase an iPhone X
* The survey also indicated that the iPhone 8 Plus seems to be more popular than the 8
* Bernstein did their own survey of 1,000 iPhone owners in the US, UK and China and found 48 percent were "excited for iPhone X" and of those 25 percent said they intended to buy an iPhone X.
V What to do if you want to pre-order
V Prepare before 12:01 a.m. PT on Friday, October 27.
V If you're in the Apple Upgrade Program right NOW open the Apple Store App and get pre-approved for your upgrade.
* need to pass a credit check and you want it done NOW, not at midnight on launch day.
V Make sure your payment method, shipping address, and all other account data is up to date.
* Includes making sure your credit card on file is correct with billing address, expiration date, and CVV2 code
V Enable Apple Pay and make sure it is working (maybe order an accessory or cable a day before to be sure)
* Make sure you're credit cards are nearby, again as backup.
V Make sure you go into the Apple Store App and pre-configure your device and save it as a "Favorite"
* Have some "backups" if you want.
* When the time hits make sure you've got the app open, may need to keep opening it, and when the store goes "live" hit 'Account', you should see your "favorite", tap that, verify it's correct, tap buy, Apple Pay, and pray it all works.
* Good luck.
V And if you just want to get one at an Apple Store? You can apparently do that too? (if you're early and REALLY lucky)
* Apple said they will have limited inventory of the iPhone X available for walk-in customers on Nov. 3
* They also encourage customers to "arrive early". Why do a feel a McDs schezwan sauce moment happening?
V Where do you buy your Apple Products?
* It might surprise you to here where others do.
* Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) did a survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers who bought a major Apple product in the last year.
V The found that about 40% of Macs were purchased directly from Apple
* Many likely build to order configs which you can only get from Apple.
* About 75 percent of iPhones are purchased directly from carriers. Only about 10 percent are purchased directly from Apple.
* BestBuy sells more iPads than Apple. Not by much though 25% are through Best Buy and about 20% through an Apple Store.
* The piece does note that seasonally and around new product launches Apple direct sales make up higher percentages for brief periods.
V Mac mini still 'important' at Apple
* I love the Mac mini, but lets face it, the last update was fine but far from stellar.
* Plus that update happened, now, more than three years ago.
* Everything else in Apple's lineup has had relatively recent updates, so mini fans might be wondering what us?
* A MacRumors reader decided to ask the highest source at Apple and asked Tim Cook himself.
* He didn't reveal much, but did reiterate what he said when they had those tech journalists in for the "secret" macPro meeting.
* Basically that there are customers who love the Mac mini and use it in creative and interesting ways and that Apple loves it too. He also said it will be an "important" part of the line-up going forward.
* Still he said, "it is not time to share any details".
* With Craig Federighi telling another customer that Apple is "Keynoted" out for the season don't expect an update this year. Maybe in 2018?
* Apple suppliers are reportedly preparing the AMD Radeon Pro Vega cards for iMac Pros. Apple has only said "Available December".
V Apple adds another TV exec
V Variety reported that Morgan Wandell, Head of International Series at Amazon Studios, has been hired by Apple to develop original content for international audiences
* For Amazon he worked on many successful series like "Sneaky Pete", "The Man in the High Castle", and "Goliath".
* He is expected to begin at Apple by the end of this month.
* He is joining a number of other studio execs Apple has been poaching recently to build out an original video content team headed by former Sony Pictures executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg.
* Last week it was announced that Apple signed on to reboot the Steven Spielberg series Amazing Stories. Apple will create 10 episodes with a production budget of $5 million per episode.
* Apple is reportedly looking to spend $1 billion on creating original programming over the next year and have been also looking at and adding office and studio space in and around Culver City to support their efforts.
* Expect these kinds of announcements to continue. They supposed are looking for a "Game of Thrones" level drama series, so I look forward to hearing what they come up with.
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V More on iOS 11 "wake" issue
* Many more of you have confirmed you are seeing this "bug" as well.
* I did try doing a full backup and restore and the issue persists
V One listener mentioned he used XCode and logging and debugging tools to find an app that was crashing in the background.
* Said re-installing that one app "fix" his wake issues.
* A erase and install of the OS re-installs ALL your apps from scratch, so think his fix is unrelated?
V Bluetooth "disconnecting" issue
* Mention this.
* My theory now is both may be related to Do Not Disturb While Driving.
V Be careful using the iOS 11 calculator
* An "animation" bug means if you type operations too quickly you'll get the wrong results
* The bug has existed since the betas and Apple has over 70 Radar's filed so let's hope it's fixed in the next release.
* I use Calcbot, so had not noticed.
V Clearing up Apple TV "forced" 4K
* During set-up the Apple TV will pick a format based on the output capabilities of your TV.
V Once you choose, say 4K Dolby Vision 60Hz, the Apple TV outputs ALL content at that format regardless of the source format
* 24 fps HD SDR content will be converted by the Apple TV and output at 4K 60Hz.
* Video enthusiasts (and some others) may or may not be happy with Apple's results.
* You can manually change the output to match your source in the Apple TV settings, though it's a pain and you may not always know.
* Would be nice if there was a setting to allow this to happen automatically.
V To that end your TV will always tell you the incoming signal is what the Apple Tv says it is, what it's set to.
* This might be confusing to some.
* Good example of this is YouTube video, which on the Apple TV app doesn't support 4K, even if it's labeled in You Tube as 4K HDR, what is sent to the Apple TV is HD SDR, but the Apple TV will upscale and convert it to 4K HDR and deliver it to your TV which will believe it's 4K HDR when in reality it isn't quite?
* Needless to say, confusing for some.
* The reality is MOST people won't notice or care. They want a set it and forget it and that's what Apple TV 4K will deliver.
* Still for those of you who might care this is good info to know and thanks to Diego for point these items out.
V 25 dollar Apple Watch for your Health data
* Life insurance firm John Hancock is going to offer a 38mm GPS model Apple Watch to customers via it's Vitality program for USD $25.00
* The catch is if you don't meet a goal of at least 500 fitness-based Vitality Points per month you'll have to pay back the device cost installments.
* If you want a model LTE, different bands, and/or different case materials you'll need to pay the cost difference (basically you get a $304.00 credit).
* The idea is that by staying healthier John Hancock will have to pay out less on medical care claims. Also I bet they really like the idea of getting all that juicy customer behavior and fitness data too.
* So would you sell your data and lifestyle monitoring to your health insurance company for a $25 Apple Watch?
V Interview with Michael Simmons of Flexibits
* Flexibits has a new Contacts app out called (CardHop)[] and it's awesome.
* I invited Michael Simmons on to talk about how they come up with ideas for apps and how they turn those ideas into successful apps.
* Play interview with Michael Simmons
V Closing
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