Maccast 2017.11.19 - Show #634
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Support the Maccast
V Maccast Patreon
V Been lucky enough to be doing the Maccast for almost 14 years and for many of those I've been able to do it a semi-part-time job.
* All of that is made possible by you and the sponsors. I'm forever grateful for that.
* I've also been able to remain independent. It's just me doing all the show prep, hosting, production, and business management.
* I'm lucky to work with an awesome group at Backbeat Media to handle the ads, but the rest is all me.
V Podcasting is growing up. we've had hit podcasts like Serial and celebrities and major networks are getting in on the action.
* They bring awareness which is great, but they also make it harder for us indies to get noticed in the bigger ocean.
* I take great pride in the Maccast being a community and I want to do more to grow and server this community, but I can't do it alone.
* So today I'm asking for your support to help me try and cover the basic costs for running the day to day stuff here at the Maccast and, if we hit our goals, to potentially add more content, more opportunities to interact as a community, and maybe even have a Maccast Community conference.
V To make that happen there are a few things you can do:
V Direct support. I've started a Patreon at and set up some fun reward levels and goals.
* I realize not everyone can give, but it doesn't take much. If everyone who downloads this podcast each week gave just $0.15/mo. we would hit every goal in the current Patreon campaign.
* Review the show in iTunes. Easy and costs nothing but time. It really helps improve our ranking in iTunes.
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* Last but not least, HUGE THANK YOU, to you for all the support you already give by listening, supporting the sponsors, sending in emails and comments, and just being the best audience in the Apple/Mac community.
V News
V Bigger iPhone X
V I have had a number of you say that you love the iPhone X, but it feels like a "downgrade" in screen size from the "Plus"
* The iPhone X actually has more pixels, 2436-by-1125-pixel resolution vs. 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution
* It is also taller, but not wider. 2.46in wide x 5.32in tall vs. 2.69in wide by 4.79in tall
* The "safe" area is the same height as the iPhone 8 Plus, so video image is likely almost the EXACT same physical size on an iPhone 8 Plus and an iPhone X when "pill boxed" and "letter-boxed"
* Still physically everything on an 8 Plus would just be "bigger", good for us older folks.
* Good news this week because Ming-Chi Kuo told his investors he believes Apple will have a massive 6.5-inch OLED version of the iPhone out in 2018.
* He also says there will be an updated version of the iPhone X's 5.8-inch display and that Apple will add a 6.1-inch version of the "Plus" model with a TFT-LCD priced at $649 to $749 to keep targeted at the mid-range market.
* He seems to indicate that all models would feature Apple's TrueDepth camera system.
V Looking even further out Kuo has said that Apple is developing a 3D depth system for the iSight camera in 2019
* The big difference is it would use a laster and a time-of-flight algorithm.
* The iSight system would be more focused on AR.
* So that virtual objects could be more accurately positioned and interact more realistically in the scene.
V If you have an iPhone X now, there have been some reports of some people having issues
V "crackling" or "buzzing" sounds emanating from the device's front-facing earpiece speaker at high or max volumes.
* The new speakers get pretty loud, so I have to wonder about maybe them not handling the level well?
V Green lines forming along the left or right edge of the display, though have appeared in other placed too.
* Apple seems to be replacing effected units.
* Air bubbles and oleophobic coating rubbing off
V Rumors of updated iPads with TrueDepth cameras, FaceID, no home button, and edge to edge displays.
* Still LCD though, not OLED
* It would also feature a faster processor with a custom designed Apple GPU
* The report comes from Bloomberg and they say Apple is working on a new version of the Apple Pencil along with new "software tools" for using the stylus.
* They expect the release of updated iPad Pros to happen around September of 2018
V FaceID hacks aren't "hacks"
V First up was the Vietnamese "creepy" mask
V A security firm used a 3D printed frame, silicone nose developed with a forensic artists help, and 2D images
* It worked, but only after many attempts and tweaking at which point the phone would have fallen back to a passcode lockout
V In fact in a demo given to Reuters, it worked, but when asked to register a user ID and the mask on the phone from scratch the Vietnamese researcher declined
* He said, the iPhone and mask need to be placed at very specific angles, and the mask to needs to be refined, a process he said could take up to nine hours
* They also needed the exact dimensions of a persons face and detailed imagery.
* If you're being hunted down by the super spy agency of a foreign government you might need to worry. Use a passcode.
V Then the kid and Mom
* A mom showedd how her 10-year old son was able to access her phone with FaceID
* The kid looks almost identical to his Mom
* Apple also says that, "The statistical probability is different for twins and siblings that look like you and among children under the age of 13, because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed."
V Parents seem particularly worried about this one. If you have a child that cannot be trusted then you're going to have to use a passcode.
* My kids just know my passcode (in case of emergency), but are told not to go into my phone without permission and guess what, they don't.
V The passcode "hack"
* We already discussed the AI learning algorithm
* Every time you fail a FaceID scan there is a "statistical probability" number that is checked. If that number is close to being probable that the scan was you and you enter the passcode it assumes it's you (because you knew the passcode) and temporarily adds that "failed" scan to the data. If that data become the new "norm" it is adopted if not it is discarded.
* This is how it can deal with your face changing over time, or dramatically, say if you have a full beard and then shave it off.
V Animoji didn't use TrueDepth until it did
* There was a report out that if you covered up all the sensor on the TrueDepth camera except for the RGB camera that Animoji still worked.
* The implication is that you don't need an iPhone X to do Animoji and therefore Apple is using the feature to try and sell higher priced iPhones.
* I was even fooled by the report because when I tested it on my iPhone X it did seem to still work.
* It does work, just not as well as it can with the TrueDepth camera system. Why?
* The TrueDepth camera system captures a crude depth mask with the IR system.
* Once it has that it uses the RGB camera to track and match your facial movement and expressions.
* It also uses the power of the Neural Engine on the A11 Bionic to process all that data.
* So yes, it works, but not nearly as well.
* This is proven out by looking at 3rd party pass that do similar tracking on older iPhones with just the camera.
* Another great example is the SnapChat "face mask" filters. An iPhone X tracks those much better than say an iPhone 7 Plus.
* So yes, Apple could probably have Animoji working on older iPhones, but seems like they make the call that they wanted the feature to work at a certain quality level and they were not willing to compromise.
* That might upset some, but it's something that Apple does. Was it to try and sell more iPhone X's, I doubt it, but maybe?
V iOS 11.1.2 released
V Apple released iOS 11.2 with a few key fixes.
* Fixes an issue where the iPhone X screen becomes temporarily unresponsive to touch after a rapid temperature drop
* Addresses an issue that could cause distortion in Live Photos and videos captured with iPhone X
* Grab the update through the standard Software Update in Settings
V Apple delays HomePod
V Apple made a statement to Tech Crunch saying they, "…need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers."
* Apple did not share any specific details about why the HomePod was delayed.
* Not too surprising because we had heard the supply chain build up was small, maybe as few as 50,000 units ready to ship this year and predictions that Apple would ship just 4 million units next year.
V They gave a new shipping window of early 2018 in the US, UK, and Australia.
* "Early" is a big window for Apple and could mean anytime between January and June.
* The HomePod is Apple's USD $349 speaker with a Siri digital assistant built in. They showed if off at WWDC and even had demos, though they were not "hands on"
* Still reviewers said it sounded great.
* It features seven tweeters, a central up-firing subwoofer, and a 6-microphone beam forming array.
V It's also features AirPlay 2 technology allowing one iOS device to simultaneously stream music to multiple speakers at once.
* It's not clear if the HomePod delay will also delay AirPlay 2 which will be in 3rd party speakers as well.
* It's a little bit of a bummer if you were hoping to have one for the holidays, I'm sure Apple's not happy about missing the holiday season either
* Still I'd rather see it delayed then ship on time in limited supply or worse with unfinished features or hardware issues.
* There have also even already been rumors of features for a 2019 HomePod with an analyst saying a future version could incorporate facial and image recognition.
V iMac Pro may have A10 Fusion
* Johnathan Levin and Steve Troughton-Smith have been digging into Apple's latest release of BridgeOS and it seems like the new iMac Pro may contain an A10 Fusion coprocessor
* Troughton-Smith thinks it would let “Apple experiment with tighter control” of macOS by handling the macOS boot process, security, and the FaceTime camera.
V Guilherme Rambo found a setup animation for "Hey Siri" on the mac, so it seems like the A10 on the iMac Pro will enable that too. He even notes the process is implemented with regular AppKit, not a UIKit port or UXKit.
* Seems to have support for multiple users, which you'd need for a Mac version.
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Updating an iPhone X from iTunes backup.
* Play message from Steven
V Play feedback from Mike
* I think one of the best things I ever did was turn off the percentage. Then I don't obsess about it.
* Apple Pay is for sure clunkier.
V There is almost no reason to "quit" background apps
* The only legit reason is if an app is locked up or misbehaving
* Apps in the background, with a few exceptions, are frozen.
* They are not using any more battery or RAM.
* They will actually run faster if you don't shut them down.
* So outside OCD, you don't need to close them.
* I still can't seem to use "Hey Siri" if there is Music or a Podcast playing on my phone which is driving me nuts.
V Don't use a mounting "plate" on the back of your iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X if you want to do wireless charging
* Steve left a voicemail about this.
* Did discover that if you mount the place near the bottom of the phone (or top) it might work
* Recommended a smaller plate from iOttie.
V Siri can't find Apps
* George emailed and has been a little frustrated by the new Siri Search and Suggestions in iOS 11
* He uses it mainly as an app launcher and doesn't like all the "extra" info that's now in search
* This is all powered by Search's new "Suggestions" feature. When it's on it uses iOSes AI to mine the data in your apps and tries to make suggestions based on what you might be searching for.
V You can disable the feature in Settings > Siri & Search. Turn off 'Suggestions in Search'
* Once you do Search will be back to more like it was under iOS 10
V You can also just disable the feature for individual apps
* Settings > Siri & Search
* Scroll down to see the list of apps
V Tap and app and turn it's 'Search & Suggestions' toggle off.
* Note if you had turned "contents" searching off in iOS 10 it is off in iOS 11.
* The "bad" part about this though is that it also makes the App itself not come up in a Siri search until you type the FULL app name.
V Do I buy an iMac or an iMac Pro
* Geoff has an 8 year old iMac and is ready for an upgrade, but wrestling with buying a new iMac or waiting for an iMac Pro
* The question, “Do I buy a reasonably juiced iMac ($3000-ish), a maxed out iMac ($5,300) or a basic iMac Pro ($5000)?”
* Keep in mind Geoff uses his Mac for video and FinalCut
V He already alludes in the email that he knows what I'm going to say, and he's correct.
* If you are running an 8 year old iMac that is only just now getting, "long in the tooth", then an current 27-inch 5K iMac at $2,300.00 is about all you'll need.
* I'd probably advise upgrading to the 1TB SSD and go to 16GB or 32Gb of RAM. but even there that brings the cost to $3,099.00 to $3,499.00.
* If you really want to splurge, add the 4.2GHz quad-core i7 for another $200 bucks.
* You will have a MASSIVE upgrade and keep about $2,000 in your pocket.
V OK, ok says Geoff, but here's my concern.
V I WANT a kick-ass top-of-the line desktop!
* You'll have that and then some with the 27-inch 5K
V That Space Grey combo and keyboard look really cool! (Hate the new flat-on-its back white Magic Keyboard.)
* Spray paint?
V The iMac four-core limit might be a real drag by 2020 and I don’t want to buy again so quickly.
* Well you did go 8 YEARS between computers, so you win the argument here.
V I know the iMac will render a lot better than my old Mac, but surely the Pro will be comparatively instantaneous?
* Buy a second iMac just for rendering with the cash you saved? You an work while you render without any performance it and you'll have a "backup" Mac?
V I could add memory to a greater degree on the Pro beyond the ceiling that the iMac has.
* Yes 128GB vs 64GB max, but will you really need that? Maybe?
V Ok, that all said, geez if you have the friggin' money get the iMac Pro. Why the heck not?!!
* Basic specs are:
* 5K display
* 8-core CPU with 32GB RAM and a 1TB SSD
* Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics processor
* 10GB Ethernet
* and of course Space Gray
* Seriously who wouldn't want that?
V Closing
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* Smile
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