Maccast 2017.11.27 - Show #635
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V The truck horn at the top of the show was posted in the Slack to celebrate the iPhone X release.
* If you're a Trucker and and fan of Apple Trucker Bob and Todd McCann of the TruckerDump podcast have a Slack Channel just for you.
* Email a request for an invite to (again Trucker's only).
V Patreon update
* You guys are AWESOME!
* In just a little over a week 94 you've pledged over $200/mo. That's covering our server and hosting costs! You rock.
V I really want to try and hot the goal of $3,000/mo. and we can have a quarterly "User Group" live stream presentation.
* It would take just 3% of the people who download the show each week to donate at the "Mini" level to hit that goal, so I think it's reachable. We'll reach it faster if you pledge at the higher level
* I have samples coming in for the Maccast membership cards for folks who sponsor at the 'Classic' and 'Pro' tier. I'll also be sharing possible designs for folks at that tier to vote on. They will also be numbered and give out in order pledged, so yeah Barry you'll be 1 (or maybe it should be 0?)
V If you did sign up, don't forget about the Maccast Slack
* Slack is a private group 'messaging'/chat service with "channels"
* Only Maccast Patreon supporter and Maccast members can access the Slack
* They have apps for Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android.
* Send me the email you'd like to sign up with (because of how Slack works this will be available to other Maccast Slack member (only Maccast Patreon Supporters)
* Also send the name you use if you want to appear on Maccast "supporters" page on
* If you want to help directly support the Maccast you can checkout the reward and goal level and make you pledge at
V News
V Apple changing up micro-LED efforts
* You might remember us discussing Apple’s acquisition of Taiwan based LuxVue Technology back in 2014
* The company was focused on R&D of Micro-LED technology which many believe is the next step after OLED
* There were reports this week that Apple has downsized their research team in the Taiwan lab and that has raised questions as to why.
* One theory put forth by DigiTimes who published the story is that Apple has simply realigned the team and still working on the technology for upcoming displays in products like the Apple Watch and possible for AR/VR applications
* Another theory is that Apple is shifting R&D focus on micro-LED tech back to the US now that the first stages. Of R&D are complete at the LuxView facility
V Apple is interested in micro-LED technology because it allows for high resolution, fast refresh rates, and high luminance displays that use a fraction of the power of LED and OLED technology
* Micro-LEDs consume 90 percent less power than LCD and half the power of OLEDs
* The technology also allows for even thinner panels than with OLED and a longer expected display life.
V As is typically the case the challenge will be in scaling the technology up both in size and in manufacturing capacity to meet Apple’s needs
* We expect, just like with the roll out of OLED, to see micro-LED displays in a product like the Apple Watch first
* Apple has reportedly been forking closely with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to get past slime of the manufacturing bottlenecks.
* At this time there are not any reports on when we might need the technology in an actual shipping product from Apple.
V Apple Watch Apps must go native
* Apple issued a blog post to developers of Apple Watch apps alerting them that after by April 1st of next year those apps must be “native”
* The post says all submissions after that date must be built with the watchOS 2 SDK or later
* New apps must be built with the watchOS 4 SDK or later.
* Any non-native apps that already exist on Apple Store will remain, but the developers must update their apps with using the newer SDK if the want to issue app updates after April 1, 2018.
V Questions about iPhone SE’s future
* Last week we mentioned reports from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo about updated larger iPhones in 2018 that will match the style and features of this year’s iPhone X
* But what about the SE?
* A [German site](, Curved, did some mockups of not just the larger device, but also an “iPhone SE 2”
V It showed the smaller form factor with the current SE case design, but complete with edge-to-edge display, no home button, and the notch.
* It looks amazing!
* Metal back would likely not be possible for wireless charging.
* I also doubt they would add an OLED display and maintain the "budget" price. You could even question the cost of the TrueDepth camera system.
V China's Economic Daily News claims Apple is working on an iPhone SE 2 and they have plans to have the assembly done by Wistron in Bangalore, India.
* Where the current iPhone SE is manufactured
* The report doesn't say anything about a re-design, but does mention upgraded specs like and A10 Fusion chip and bigger battery
* Outside of a spec bump i wouldn't expect many more upgrade for Apple's lowest cost iPhone offering.
V Apple seems to be getting a handle on iPhone X production
* Shipping estimates are down to 1-2 weeks and you can walk into many Apple retail locations and find at least some configurations and models available.
* Some have speculated week demand, but Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple has addressed production issues.
* Foxconn is now producing 450,000-550,000 units per day compared to just 50,000-150,000 a month or two ago.
* Kuo thinks iPhone X shipments in the fourth calendar quarter could be 10-20 percent higher than he previously expected.
V An analyst at Rosenblatt China Technology thinks sold 6 million iPhone X units over the Black Friday sales period
* That was out of a total of 15 million iPhones over the same period.
* The also believe the 256GB model was about twice as popular
* Because of the high sell through the firm raised it's iPhone X sales estimate for the quarter to 30 million units.
V Cellular iMac Pro?
* We talked last time about hints in the firmware for the upcoming iMac Pro possibly hinting at an A10 Fusion "co-processor" chip and "hola" Siri functionality.
* Now the blog, [Pike's Universum](, has also discovered some possible new functionality in the iMac Pro firmware.
* An always on, "Find My Mac" feature, that could use "mobile connectivity". The post doesn't say "cellular", but does suggest the iMac Pro may have a "SIM" card for this purpose (or to allow making Phone calls?).
* It's an interesting thought. Since the starting price of an iMac Pro is $5K and could go well above $10K with customizations it would make sense to have that level of theft protection.
* Still, it leaves a lot of questions, like would it me another charge to have an iMac on your monthly cellular data bill?
* Right now you can set up your iPhone with your Mac and allow it to make calls via your iPhone (using Continuity) or just use FaceTime voice calling.
V Apple expanding HomePod production
* We already know that unfortunately Apple didn't make the window for shipping the HomePod this year.
V Word on the street is that the quality of the technology and user experience was just not up to Apple's standards and they need just a bit more time to get things right.
* I can appreciate them waiting.
* Now it looks like Apple may be taking advantage of the delay to ensure they have enough manufacturing to keep up with demand.
* Originally it was believed that Inventec was going to be the sole assembly partner for HomePod, but now DigiTimes reports that Apple may also add Foxconn to the mix.
* As for why the HomePod is delayed, we don't know for sure what the latest issues or concerns are beyond Tim Cook's statement that Apple needs, "a little more time before it’s ready for our customers".
V But [Bloomberg]( ran a piece claiming the HomePod project has been cancelled and revived several times in the past and that Apple was, "blindsided"by the Amazon Echo.
* They say engineers joked with each other about who "leaked" info to Amazon about their project, but after getting their hands on the Echo realized the sound quality wasn't even close to what Apple was trying to achieve with the HomePod.
V They claim HomePod development started back in 2014, but was dreamt up five years ago as a "side" project by some Mac audio engineers.
* the goal from the start was something that would sound better than offerings from Bose, JBL and Harman Kardon and be accepted by audiophiles.
* Apple struggled to see how the product would fit into Apple's ecosystem
V Also went through many design iterations
* At one point they claim there was a version that stood 3 feet tall and had over a dozen speakers
* Another was a flat panel with a mesh screen on the front
* The piece mentions a "mini museum" of HomePod prototypes.
V The story goes into details on why the HomePod has a music, and not Home Assistant, focus
V It's why the HomePod's Siri functionality is limited and why it will, at least at first, have limited 3rd party "apps" (skills on Echo).
* Those apps are messaging, to-do lists and notes and must be run through the iPhone for connectivity (much like the early Apple Watch apps).
* Apple is also still positioning it as an "accessory".
* Still Apple expects to ship 4 million HomePods in 2018. Probably why they're adding a second supplier.
V Apple reportedly bought VR headset firm Vrvana
* Reported by TechCrunch, but unconfirmed by Apple even with their "canned" statement (did not deny either and several employees who were previously with Vrvana are now with Apple.)
* The deal supposedly happened over the Summer and was worth $30 million
* The Canadian firm had developed a "mixed" reality head set called Totem
V It combines AR and VR on a 1440p OLED display inside a headset.
* Many other AR headsets use a transparent glass display and overlay AR images and object over the real world
* The Totem has external cameras that capture the external world, merge it with VR and AR images and display the combined images in the display for a "richer" experience
V It also uses the cameras and IR sensors to do head and hand tracking
* Because it uses the on board camera arrays and sensors it can do head and space tracking without the need for external equipment.
* Able to do near object masking with real and virtual objects (could be something Apple wants to add to ARKit and the TrueDepth system).
V It's no secret that Tim Cook sees AR as a big part of Apple's future
* There have been many rumors of Apple working on developing an AR product and possibly a headset with a built in display on-board processor and maybe a new OS.
* The products is rumored to be coming out as soon as 2020.
V An AR "headset" would be cool, but seems like much of this technology could be directly integrated into the iPhone.
* Consumer application of a stand alone headset or "glasses" outside of maybe gaming or specific specialized applications might be a hard sell.
V Apple testing self driving cars again?
* Apple's own CEO Tim Cook has already said the company is woking on projects focused on "autonomous systems", but we've not heard much lately
* This week Jalopnik reports that Apple may have leased a former Fiat Chrysler-owned proving ground in Arizona to test autonomous vehicle.
* A source told the publication that Apple has been recruiting automotive test engineers and technicians from other proving grounds in the state.
* The space in, no joke, Surprise, Ariz. includes a city traffic course and has over 3,000 acres of fenced land and over 5,000 acres of land total.
V At some point the land was sold to home builders before being annexed by the city of Surprise and then leased to a comply which intended to lease it to a company called Route 14 Investment Partners LLC.
* Route 14 is incorporated in Delaware under the Corporation Trust Company and guess what, Apple just happens to have a dropbox at the CTC's main office. (thanks AppleInsider)
* We do know that Apple does have several self-driving Lexus SUVs on the road in testing in California
V Sponsor: Smile
V Textexpander
* There's a concept in coding called DRY, don't repeat yourself. The idea being that if you find that you're writing the same code in different places to perform the same task you should probably move that code into a single function or object that can be re-used over and over.
* TextExpander can help you take the same idea to all the typing you do on a daily basis on your Mac, iOS devices, or PC
V Think of the number of times you might type the same or similar things over and over
* An email signature
* The typical quick replies you might send in a text
* Industry specific phrases
* Code snippets
* Actually you don't even need to think of them because TextExpander and watch and suggest them to be created into snippets.
* Plus because it has advanced features like fill-ins, nested snippets, optional sections, and even JavaScript, AppleScript and shell script support you can do amazingly advanced and powerful things.
* And when you have a really useful snippet or group of snippets you can share them with friends or co-workers so everyone can save time and communicate better.
V As you might imagine I have a bunch of snippets with responses to common questions I get about mac and iOS stuff. Things like tips & tricks or where to I buy my cables, [Monoprice](
* One of reasons, to this day, I can answer all my show emails personally.
* Visit for 20% off your first year.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Reasons to still shutdown iOS apps
V I mentioned on the last show that these days there are very few reasons you need to close down background apps in iOS
* In fact, doing so, in some instances, can slow down your experience and possible give you shorter battery life.
* Still like all things this is not an "absolute" rule, and while I did mention there were exceptions I didn't really give examples beyond the "misbehaving" or "crashed" app scenario.
V Luckily Dan emailed to share some of the times he shuts down apps and explains why.
* 1) Navigation is on - Apps like Waze and Apple Maps don’t shut down the GPS quickly enough for my taste.
V 2) Banking apps - Say you want to be positive that the banking app is not open in the background.
* Good piece of mind. Typically, if the app is good, it should require re-authentication when returning from running in the background.
V 3) Upgrade time - I’ve read elsewhere that it’s a good idea to shut down all apps before upgrading.
* Not sure this is really necessary, but maybe can't hurt?
V 4) Bad behavior - if anything goes weird.
* Yup, this one for sure.
V I'll add a fifth, wanting to make sure Apps with "background app refresh" are shut down and not updating
* Settings > General > Background App Refresh
* Review and control which apps have this feature
V This was all in response to the iPhone X's changing how we close background apps (feels old school)
* Swipe up and pause to switcher
* press and hold an app.
* Swipe up or tap the red "close" (minus) icon.
* Again, apps in the background are for all intents and purposes "shut down". Even background apps that are set for refresh are controlled pretty well by the system.
V Let's talk about the "mask" hack
* They're back! The team from the Vietnamese security firm Bkav made another slightly "less creepy" mask and unlocked an iPhone X with it.
* They have "spoofed", not HACKED, FaceID with a $200 mask.
* While it's cool that they have done it, does anyone really need to be worried? I guess government officials with high level access to secure information maybe? Super spies?
* The firm claims the materials and tools used to create the mask are "casual for anyone" and that Face ID is "not secure enough to be used in business transactions".
V Ok, but let's define "casual for anyone"
* Physical access to the phone
* Detailed facial photos
* Detailed 3D facial scan (claim it could be done using multiple cameras in a few seconds when entering a room)
* Sophisticated stone powder 3D printer
* If you don't get everything exactly right in the first 5 attempts, including accurately positioning of the phone, you're locked out.
* Remember too that similar kinds of spoofs can be accomplished by lifting fingerprints and fooling TouchID.
V Dealing with a nasty macOS HighSierra bug
* Root access is something that you don't want anyone getting access to on your computer, In fact macOS has many, many protections to prevent even you for gaining root access to your system.
* Welp, a HUGE bug discovered in macOS HighSierra makes it actually pretty easy to get "root" on your Mac. Assuming you have physical access to an already logged in account, or if you can remotely access the Mac via ScreenSharing, VNC, or SSH.
* The bug, discovered by developer Lemi Ergin.
V I confirmed the bug on my Macbook Air and all you need is a way to get the "request for admin password" login prompt to come up.
* An easy way is via the Users & Groups system preference pane. Just click the "lock" to allow access to make changes.
* In the prompt type "root" as the username and no password. Repeat several times until it let's yo in and "boom" you have root.
* It enables the "root" login, which is disabled by default and unfortunately also by default the "root" account has no password.
* Once it's on at the login screen after rebooting you'll see an "Other" option and you can log in as root with no password needed. Did I mention it was "bad"?
* Apple issued a statement to iMore that they are aware of the critical issue and are working on a fix.
V In the meantime if you're concerned there are some things you can do.
* Setting a password for the "root" account. You'll need to enable it to do this.
* Choose Apple menu () > System Preferences, then click Users & Groups (or Accounts).
* Click lock icon, then enter an administrator name and password.
* Click Login Options.
* Next to "Network Account Server:" click Join
* Click Open Directory Utility.
* Click lock icon in the Directory Utility window, then enter an administrator name and password.
V From the menu bar in Directory Utility:
* Choose Edit > Enable Root User, then enter the password that you want to use for the root user.
* You'll have to leave the "root" user enabled until Apple issue a patch because if you disable it will erase the password for root and you'll be vulnerable again.
V Boot failed Mac without a recover partition
* Most of you know that these days when you install macOS by default Apple will create and set up a recovery partition.
* If something goes wrong with the main OS install partition you can reboot your Mac holding down Command+R to boot into that partition.
* From there you can access the Terminal, run Disk Utility, and even re-install macOS (over the top can fix some issues sometimes).
* But what if your hard drive completely fails or you want to prep for a clean install and don't have another drive or USB installer or anything?
V If you have an Internet connection turns out you can still boot. Apple has macOS Recovery over the Internet.
* Option-Command-R, Upgrade to the latest macOS that is compatible with your Mac.
* Shift-Option-Command-R (if you're running macOS Sierra 10.12.4 or later), Install the macOS that came with your Mac, or the version closest to it that is still available.
* Release the keys when you see a spinning globe.
* Then you should eventually get the macOS Utilities screen and from there you can access Disk utility or Re-install macOS
* Thanks to listener David for the reminder about this feature.
V Keeping batteries 'healthy'
* Michael asked this about iOS and Mac batteries, "I was wondering if you think that it is still good to do an occasional full cycle recharge of a battery?"
* Apple has a great [batteries]( page on their site.
V My general summary of that is keep the juice flowing and avoid extremes.
* That's extreme charges and extreme temperatures
* “Battery life” is the amount of time your device runs before it needs to be recharged.
* “Battery lifespan” is the amount of time your battery lasts until it needs to be replaced.
V Keep it cool: it can handle some extremes briefly, but 62° to 72° F (16° to 22° C) is the ideal temp for battery operation.
* Can get decreased battery life in extreme cold, but that should just be temporary
* Exposing your device to ambient temperatures higher than 95° F (35° C), which can permanently damage battery capacity. And charging it in that heat can damage it further.
* Some case can lock in heat, so consider removing the case before charging if you notice it gets hot when your topping it up.
V Never store batteries at full or no charge, keep 'em in the middle
* Power it off
* avoid extreme temps and moisture
* Avery six months, while in storage, top it back up to 50% (yes it will slowly lose charge while not even being used)
V Cycles are the key
* Doesn't, and maybe shouldn't, have to be full cycles. i.e. 100% to 0%
* But let the battery do it's job.
* I've found that leaving it always plugged in, generally shortens the overall battery lifespan
* Don't "leave it lying around at low charge", plug it in at 10-20%.
* Batteries do have a "cycle" lifespan, but modern ones if you take care of them should last a good long time. Chances are you'll want an upgrade before the battery runs out it's lifespan.
* That said I think if you're getting 3 years or more off a battery you've done well. They do need to be replaced.
* You'll typically know when you're feeling like they're lasting at about 70-80% of their original capacity.
V Closing
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