Maccast 2017.12.06 - Show #636
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Small Dog
V Small Dog
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V News
V Apple Watch band gets FDA approval
V This one is not from Apple though.
* Tim Cook has said public ally that Apple wants to avoid adding features to Apple Watch that would cause FDA approval requirements
* Would slow down Apple’s ability to rapidly develop Apple Watch features
V It doesn’t mean health features in Apple Watch can’t be really good
* A recent study, for example, found Apple Watch could detect sleep apnea with 90% accuracy and hypertension with 82% accuracy
V Limits what Apple and say and do related to health features
* Apple Watch will now detect abnormal heart rate issues, like abnormal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation, but it can only alert you to the issue and not provide any specific diagnosis
V A company called AliveCor has developed the Kardiaband EKG reader and after 2 years got FDA approval
* Gives an accurate EKG reading by touching a sensor on the band for 30 seconds.
* It can actually diagnose if you’re having atrial fibrillation, notify your doctor, and provide readout information to her.
* Uses a CR16020 battery in the band with 90 hours of operation time, which the company says should last 2 years in typical use.
* The band costs $199 and requires a $99/yr. service.
V Apple launched it’s own heart study app in partnership with Stanford Medicine
* The Apple Heart Study app is available for download in the US
* You can download it and opt-in to share data on irregular heart rhythms with the researchers at Stanford Medicine.
* If the app detects an irregular heart rhythm, the user receives an alert on their iPhone and Apple Watch, a free consultation with a study doctor, and an electrocardiogram patch for further monitoring.
* Just be at lest 22 years old to participate and own an Apple Watch Series 1 or later.
V Apple Watch now qualifies for refund in Apple’s Recycling program
* In the past they would recycle your old watch, but no cash was offered
* Now, through their recycling partner Brightstar, you can get a gift card for between $50 and $175 for older Apple Watches that are in good working order
* Gift cards can be used towards new devices purchased from the Apple Store, either at retail locations or online
V Apple may develop power management chips
* A report form Nikkei is claiming that Apple is working on developing it’s power management chips in-house.
V Currently the power management chips are designed by a UK company calls Dialog.
* This weeks report brings back memories of another UK chip company, Imagination Technologies
* They had GPU technology called PowerVR that Apple licensed in their A-Series chip designs.
* Apple informed them early this year that they had their own designs in the latest chips and therefore no longer needed to license the Imagination Technologies PowerVR designs.
* Apple reportedly accounted for nearly three quarters of Dialog Semiconductor's revenue in 2016
V If Apple does move to it’s own power management designs it’s possible they would also not need to pay royalties to Dialog.
* It’s not clear though if this would be the case.
V The piece from Nikkei claims as soon as this year we could see Apple move to their own chips, but that is not firm
* Other analysts have predicted 2019 for Apple to move to their own Power Management Integrated Circuits
* And they have reportedly been hiring a number of Dialog’s engineers
* I wouldn’t rule out a future buyout, either. Would resolve any IP issues and bring talent into Apple.
* If Apple does move forward it’s predicted that their partner TSMC would handle manufacturing.
V Apple’s ‘most affordable’ iPad coming 2018
* A report from DigiTimes claims Apple is thinking about release an updated, even lower cost, 9.7-inch iPad
* The current “entry” models is priced at $329.00, but the new price will reportedly be $259.00
* They believe the updated model will be released in the 2nd quarter of 2018
V Apple has recently seen an uptick in iPad unit sales growth after several quarters of decline
* The latest numbers up up 15 percent year over year with Apple selling 11.4 million iPads
* A lot probably helped my the updated 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the reduced cost 9.7-inch iPad (Apple had lowered it’s price in March of 2017)
* It’s likely Apple is considering another price drop to keep the good sales trend going for iPad.
V Unfortunately the piece doesn’t go into what, if any, improvements Apple has planned for the updated model
* I wouldn’t expect much outside the lower price
* They could possibly give it a small processor bump, maybe an A10 fusion?
* It’d be also nice to see the 32GB of RAM go up, but that’s not likely.
V AirPods will stay popular in 2018 according to Ming Chi-Kuo
* He said he expects shipments to double to between 26-28 million units in 2018
V Another week, more Apple bugs
* December 2nd brought a nasty date bug to iOS 11.1.2
* After midnight if an app sent a time-based local notification it would cause to continuously crash or relaunch the springboard (app screen)
V Apple quickly rushed out the iOS 11.2 update which appeared to have the fix
V If you were already being hit by the bug:
* 1. Tap Settings > Notifications.
* 2. Tap an app, then turn off Allow Notifications. Repeat this step for each app.
* 3. Update your device to iOS 11.2.
* 4. After updating, tap Settings > Notifications and turn Allow Notifications on again for each app.
* The fix seemed to be in the beta, but the release was seeming not scheduled to happen before the bug would hit users?
* The update also brought 7.5W “fast” inductive charging support to iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X models.
* The release notes also mention the Apple Pay Cash support being enabled by the update.
V That caused a lot of confusion
* Support WAS in the update, but Apple was not scheduled to actually enable the service
V Apple Pay Cash did actually go live on Monday/Tuesday, but it’s rollout was strange as well
* Many, myself included, saw the option for Apple Pay Cash on Monday morning
* If you tried to enable it it would fail
* Later in the day for many the option completely disappeared.
* By Tuesday it all seemed to be working OK.
V 9to5Mac reported on a HomeKit flaw that was demonstrated to them that allowed for unauthorized remote access of HomeKit devices including smart locks and garage doors
* The issue impacts the current version of iOS 11.2
* Apple has already implemented server side changes to prevent the access and is working on a software fix.
* Apple said in a statement that the temporary fix, "disables remote access to shared users, which will be restored in a software update early next week."
* 9to5 dis not explain how the hack was accomplished only noting that it is "hard to reproduce"
* The piece also claims that Apple was informed about this and related vulnerabilities in late October, and some but not all issues were fixed as part of iOS 11.2 and watchOS 4.2
V New tvOS and Amazon Prime app
V The Amazon Prime Video app is FINALLY available for Apple TV
* Was announced at WWDC for release this year
* Grab it from the App Store.
* Does support the TV app and Up Next.
V Support for HDR and 4K video, but oddly only 2.1 audio (bug?)
* Amazon support says the Apple TV app DOES support 5.1 audio
* Many users are reporting otherwise.
* Updated iOS Apps also support Apple’s TV app and Up Next.
V The audio thing might be related to the discovery that the app seems to be a trumped up port of it's HTML5 / Smart TV app it has on smart TVs
* Some wonder if they gave Amazon a special entitlement to use web views, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
* Developer Steve Troughton-Smith seems to think it took so long because Amazon had to develop a whole new custom "UI glue layer for tvOS".
* This means the app isn't likely using native code which also means it can't really access native libraries.
* Seems like this would actually be harder to port and maintain vs just building a native app. Will also be harder to add and support new OS native features in the future.
V tvOS 11.2 came out for Apple TV 4th gen and Apple TV 4K
* The big deal is support on Apple TV 4K to automatically switch HDR and frame rate settings to match the content
V Settings > Video & Audio > Match Content
* Separate settings for Dynamic Range and Frame Rate matching
* The update also adds “Live Sports” to the TV app
* Reports that over the weekend Apple's TV App is showing up for some 4th gen and 4K Apple TV owners in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
V Apple reportedly purchased a podcast search engine developer called Pop Up Archive
* They had a site called
* Their site was shutdown on 11/28
* The site offered full text search of podcasts and a search recommendation API.
* They gave shows a “Buzz” score based on iTunes Charts and reviews.
* Apple gave their standard statement, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time. We generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
* The hope is Apple plans to roll the technology into iTunes and the Podcast app.
V Rumors that Apple might be looking to acquire Shazam
* This is coming out of TechCrunch
* The service, if you're not familiar, allow you to identify any song, TV show, film or advert in seconds, by letting it listen to an audio clip.
* Shazam is integrated into Siri.
* The piece claims the deal was in the works and could be announced as soon as Monday December 11th.
* They estimate the deal at around $400 million dollars
* It seems like this is something Apple would acquire to maybe integrate with Apple Music or expand functionality inside Siri?
V Ive returns 'full time' as Apple CDO
* Bloomberg reported, and Apple confirmed, that Jony Ive will once again take over direct management of hardware and software design teams
V Ive became Apple's CDO back in 2015, but recently had stepped back from heading both the Hardware and Software design teams to focus on Apple Park
* At the time there were rumors that Ive might be considering leaving Apple and going back to the UK, but not many of us put much stock in those rumors
V Still Apple did add Vps Alan Dye and Richard Howarth to their Leadership page with Dye in charge of UI and Howarth heading up Industrial Design.
* They have now been removed from the leadership page, but are assumed to both still be at the company.
* We are unsure at this point how their roles have changed.
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Alternative iOS App Launcher
V Back in the 11/19 show I mentioned the issue in iOS 11 where you can have trouble using Spotlight as an app launcher
* If the App is not part of Siri Suggestions. Settings > Siri & Search. Tap app and then turn on Search & Siri Suggestions
* It will only show up on the search screen once you've typed the full name of the App.
* The fix of course is to enable Siri & Search suggestions for all the apps you might ever want to lunch, but that may not be really what you want.
* Douglas wrote in with a possible alternative. A 3rd party app from Cromulent Labs call [Launcher]( - Free, with $2.99 IAP for "Pro" version
* Give you a "widget", or multiple widgets so you can have multiple groupings of apps to launch.
* Just pull down Notification Center and swipe right to access the Launcher Widget
* Can also set up actions with some apps and perform other tasks.
* Dougles did note that it might not work with ALL apps, but you if you run across one that is missing you can ask the developer to add it.
* I know there is also the app [Launch Center Pro](, but I think that is focused more on launching actions in apps.
V Using Apple Pay Cash
* You need to be running iOS 11.2 and watchOS 4.2
* You must have two-factor authentication enabled on your iCloud account.
V Apple Pay Cash transactions are handled through the Discover Network payment network
* Can only be used where you can use Apple Pay
* If a PIN is required by the terminal the PIN is “0000” and cannot be changed (irony).
V Payments made using a credit card will incur a 3 percent transaction fee
* After you hit “send” you’re given the option to select which card to use for sending, if you don’t have an Apple Pay Cash balance or are sending an amount over your balance.
V To enable Apple Pay Cash
* You need to have Apple Pay on and cards registered
V You can enable in three ways
* From the Wallet app, tap the Apple Pay Cash Card and hit continue
* From Messages, it will prompt you or you can open the Apps and tap on the Apple Pay Cash app to turn it on.
* Finally from Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay. Turn on the Apple Pay Cash toggle.
V Transfer funds to an Apple Pay Cash Card
* Tap Wallet and tap the Apple Pay Cash Card
* Tap the “i” icon
* Tap Add Money, set the amount, tap ‘Add’
* Select a payment source.
* You cannot add funds directly from a bank account. Has to be through an Apple Pay registered debit or credit card.
V Transfer Apple Pay Cash funds to your bank account
* Tap Wallet and tap the Apple Pay Cash Card
* Tap the “i” icon
* Tap ‘Transfer to Bank’
V If you have not set it up you’ll be prompted to add your back account
* You’ll need to account and routing numbers
* To use Apple Pay Cash at an Apple Pay terminal just select it as your payment choice.
V To send money to a friend (or your favorite podcaster ;) )
* Open Messages
* Select or start a new message with the person you want to send Apple Pay Cash to
* Tap the apps and choose Apple Pay Cash
* Set the amount (you can also “request” funds) and then tap Pay
* Review the message and amount and tap Send.
* That’s it.
V When you receive Apple Pay Cash you will get the message and you can tap to view the transaction
* By default Apple Pay Cash payments are accepted automatically
* You can go into the Apple Pay Cash card settings and change it to only “manually” accept payments.
V Apple’s Gatekeeper Security
V I light of the latest ‘root’ bug it’s probably good to have a discussion about how Apple manages security on your Mac.
* FYI, if you updated to macOS 10.13.1 after applying the security patch to macOS 10.13.0, then you’ll need to re-apply the security patch.
* If you don’t see the security patch in Software Update, go to Apple’s webpage for the security update and download it from there
* Or just install the macOS 10.13.2 update which came out.
V Some people might have noticed that the patch Apple pushed out was automatically downloaded in the background
* Then there was a notification to install the update immediately
* That was macOS “Gatekeeper” in action
V It goes further in the case of some updates, like this one.
* Had you not manually updated it could have, “automatically installed on all systems running the latest version (10.13.1) of macOS High Sierra.”
* And by design you cannot opt out of Gatekeeper updates like this.
V Apple obviously only uses this functionality in the most critical of situations
* Back in December of 2014 they pushed out a critical update that impacted security related to the Network Time Protocol (NTP)
* Another feature of Gatekeeper is it maintains a list of known malware and Trojan apps preventing them from installing or running on your Mac.
V There are some settings you can adjust related to Gatekeeper and software updates
V System Preferences > App Store
* Download new updates in the background
* Install app updates
* Install OS X updates
* Install system data files and security updates (you should probably leave this checked)
* Automatically download apps purchased on other Macs.
V Additional protections
V System Preferences > Security and Privacy
* FileVault encryption
* Firewall
* Password settings when mac goes to sleep
V System Preferences > Sharing
* Check remote access, screen and file sharing settings
* iTunes Sharing
V System Integrity Protection (SIP)
* Built-in and stops apps from being able to access, install, or manipulate items in places that could alter or impact the operating system
* Some people disable this to add low level code or apps, generally not recommended. Make sure it’s re-enabled if you do disable it.
V Apple Watch helps Maccast listener in emergency
* This is gonna be like one of those "I never thought it would happen to me letters…" though a lot less risqué
* Since Apple started adding things like Siri and SOS to the their devices we've all likely heard the stories how an Apple Watch saved someones life.
* This time we all know know someone, I got an email and a link to news coverage from a maccast listener Bryan
* He began working as a truck driver in May and a couple weeks ago we was driving down the highway and a car crossed over the yellow line and came head on into his lane
* He tried moving to the shoulder to avoid the car but a guardrail force d his truck down an embankment.
* His leg was trapped and the entire drive side cab was crushed
V His iPhone was no where to be found, but he remembered he had is AirPods in and used them to call 911. (The news report incorrectly implies it was his Apple Watch)
* I would say it definitively proves that AirPod do not fall out easily.
* Luckily all involved, even the driver of the other car, survived.
V 'Let it Snow' in Apple Store
* If you have the Apple Store app (not the App Store) on you iOS device Apple has hidden a little holiday easter egg in the latest update
* Just open the app, tap the search icon, and type 'let it snow'
* You'll get falling snowflakes in the app.
* You can even shake your device to give it a little flurry
* It will stay persistent until you fully quit the app in the background.
V Thing of the Moment: FlipFlop Solitaire
* A little solitaire game from the same creator as Really Bad Chess and Sage Solitaire
* In this variant you only have 5 piles
* You can stack both down and UP! So 7-6-5-6-7-8 is valid
* You can only move 'suited' stacks, so all spades for example.
* You start out with a deck of just one suit to learn the game. You can then have 2 suited, 3 suited, etc.
* The design is clean and simple and looks awesome.
* It's free to try and just $2.99 to unlock the full game.
* [ FlipFlop Solitaire](
V Closing
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