Maccast 2017.12.26 - Show #638
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V News
V Fake 'Cuphead' hits the app store
* "Cuphead" was one of the most poular indie games of the year. If you saw an iOS version on the App Store this week you might have been excited to pay the $4.99 to give it a go.
* The only issue? It was a totally "fake" version of the game that sipped past Apple's App Store reviewers.
* The game was hugely successful on XBox and Windows platforms, but Studio MDHR, the real developers of the game have yet to create a version for iOS.
* Luckily just hours after the bogus version appeared they were able to get it removed.
* The game mostly consists of very challenging "Boss Fights" and some side games, but has had rave reviews for it's style of hand-animated are fashioned after cartoons from the 1930's. It also has a "jazz" soundtrack which hit the top ten on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart
* It's easy to say Apple's reviewers are at fault, but to be fair the criminals behind the app were really through in their deception.
* The game was playable, albeit with stolen content, and there was also convincing, though fake, website using a domain that copied the studios name and looked identical to the actual Cuphead site, but with banners announcing the upcoming iOS version of the game.
* 9to5 noticed the same people behind this game seemed to be planning similar "releases" of other "fake" indie titles. My guess is Apple is on to them.
V Apple battery 'slow down' causes a stir
* It started with some accusation on Reddit and some research by Primate Labs founder John Poole (developers of Geekbench)
V What happened is he looks at Geekbench scores for the iPhone 6s before and after the release of iOS 10.2.1
* What was found as a large performance peak at around 2500 for both OSes, but an anomaly in 10.2.1 that also showed groupings of phones with lower benchmark scores (100,1500, 1800, etc) that were not there in 10.2
* 10.2.1 release notes claimed Apple made "improvements" to reduce the occurrences of unexpected iPhone shutdowns, but no specifics.
* The allegation became that Apple was intentionally slowing down older iPhones to maximize power efficiency and stability when battery capacity has degraded
* With the release of iOS 11.2 the anomaly became even more obvious, because yes, a year later and more iPhone 6s models with older batteries.
V Well guess what, Apple IS tweaking performance to stabilize older devices with degraded batteries
* Apple gave a statement to TechCrunch.
* "Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components."
* Apple rolled out a feature to deal with the issue for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE and expanded it to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2. They say they will also"plan to add support for other products in the future."
* The throttling ONLY happens on devices with degraded batteries and ONLY at peak performance on those devices.
* Apple is already facing at least three class-action lawsuits over this which is ridiculous.
V People who are alleging this is some conspiracy by Apple to force upgrades are crazy
* It's actually the EXACT opposite. The change allows you to continue to use a device that has a failing batter for longer
* If the slower speeds are an issue doing a battery replacement is the "fix"
* Apple will do them for a flat fee of US $79.00 or you could use a 3rd party service or DIY for less.
* Apple could try to provide more transparency here with a notification to effected users that performance is degraded due to a failing battery and explain their options for replacing the battery.
V Apple already working on better/larger battery tech fro 2019
* As more AR and VR applications become a thing this will be critical (tried running an ARKit app?)
* Also more advanced 3D sensors chew up battery.
* Ming Chi Kuo, think Apple will get more battery performance the easy way, make space for bigger batteries.
* They will leverage the capabilities in semiconductor manufacturing processes, systems-in-package, and substrate-like printed circuit boards to make other components smaller freeing up battery space.
* Of course they will also improve battery tech as well and combining the two techniques keep our devices in power and with new features for years to come.
V Apple unveils Melbourne Store Plans
* It's been in the rumors and planning for a while, but this week Apple showed of the designs for it's new flagship retail store in Melbourne, Australia
* Apple called the site it's, "most significant store in the Southern Hemisphere," and it's a two story "pavilion" style structure set to go into an area called Federation Square
* The design also include the addition of 500 square meters of new public space to the area.
V The site and the new building is not without controversy though. Many locals have challenged the new project. Several issues are:
* The site currently is a "cultural" center with multiple museums, art galleries, and restaurants. Apple would be the first "retail" type space
* Apple will need to demolish the "Yarra" building which is already in place and has a significant architectural style that matches what is already in place in Federation Square, the new Apple building is a huge change from that style.
* The Koorie Heritage Trust Gallery which is in the current Yarra building will be relocated.
* Still Apple has worked closely with Federation Square and the Victorian government in getting the project approved and lead architects for both Federation Square and the Victorian government were involved in project planning and have endorsed the proposed design.
V Developer frustrated with Apple's "HomeKit" response
* According to 9to5 Mac the developer who found and reported the HomeKit vulnerability is "frustrated" with how Apple responded to the issue
* Khaos Tian did the right thing when he found the big back at the end of October. He reported it the day he discovered it, October 28th.
* He recieved one email from Apple's Apple’s product security team two days later saying they were "investigating" and that was it.
* He tried following up four times in November, including one email directly to Craig Federighi, but nothing.
* Then when iOS 11.2 was released he though, good it will be fixed. Nope. There were some fixes, but they actually introduced a new message that made the attack a lot easier.
V For over a month the issue went un-fixed and not until he told 9to5Mac of it's existence and they contacted Apple PR did Apple really react. Within 48 hours they had the server side fix rolled out.
* Neither Tian nor 9to5Mac publicly disclosed the existence of the vulnerability until it had been patched by Apple
V It's worrisome in light of all the recent bugs and issues.
* This vulnerability was a serious flaw in a system that included door locks, garage doors, and security cameras.
* Apple also touts the "security" of HomeKit as an advantage over other home automation products.
V Apple may bring "cross-platform" apps next year
* Bloomberg says that next year Apple will give developers new tools that will allow them to build "universal" apps that run on both iOS and macOS
* The piece claims the plan is part of a project called "Marzipan" and is a multiyear effort that will begin rolling out next year and will be part of Apple's 2018 WWDC announcements.
V The idea would be to give developers who want to have the same app run on both mobile and desktop an easier way to do that and maintain a single code base.
* It's not clear how Apple would accomplish this
* Right not there are two different tools, UIKit on iOS and AppKit on Mac, for developers to build GUI applications
* Making an iOS app work on a 27-inch (or larger) display would also be a challenge
* The story also says the project is part of a larger effort to to make the underpinnings of Apple's hardware and software more similar.
* It's not clear at this point if the App Stores would remain separate or merge.
* This does also not appear to be an indication that Apple is planning to move to a single operating system.
V The story does start to bring up lots of old rumors and speculation though
* Touch screen Macs
* Macs running ARM based processors
V Future Apple Watch may have EKG
* Again according to Bloomberg.
* They say Apple is testing an EKG feature that may make it into a future Apple Watch.
* They say it works by touching the watch frame with the hand not wearing the watch an then that passes an imperceptible current across the person’s chest to track electrical signals in the heart and detect any abnormalities like irregular heart rates.
* We already mention the FDA-approved, Kardiaband, accessory from AliveCor.
* The thing is Tim Cook has already claimed he does not want Apple Watch development hindered by the slow FDA approval process, so not sure how this feature could get in or how Apple could work around the requirement.
V Apple grabs Amazon TV execs
* Variety confirmed this week that three "high-level" from Amazon Video have moved over to Apple.
* Amazon Video Business Affairs executive Tara Pietri will come over to head up Apple legal affairs.
* Tara Sorensen, lead of Amazon's child-centric video program, will take on the same role for Apple and Carina Walker, an International development executive will also take on the same role for Apple
* These are the latest in what seems like weekly leaks of big hires for Apple growing original content Studio head up by former Sony execs Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht.
V We already know about four new ventures Apple has planned
* A revamping of the Steven Spielberg produced series "Amazing Stories", a new drama show about a morning talk show staring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. A "space drama" approved to be created by Ronald D. Moore who's done "Star Trek" and "Battlestar Galactica", and an unknown series or movie by Drake, whom apparently was give a "blank check" to do what he wants.
* The piece claims Apple is looking to secure a total of around twelve original TV shows over the next year using a budget of around $1 billion.
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Follow up on Apple's "customer" focus
* Discuss the various feedback I've recieved since the last show.
* Not "negative", but for sure changed and not in the post positive ways.
V There also seems to be a lot of frustration with some of the changes to software and services
* Media management and photos the biggies here
* Merging of Aperture and Photos
* Moving Videos to TV app.
V AirPods with Apple TV trick
* This one courtesy of Andrew Orr at The Mac Observer
* Rather then having to go all the way into Settings > Audio/Video > Bluetooth
* From the main menu, press and hold the "play" button on your remote to connect your AirPods
* Should also work with other W1 chip powered headphones.
V Managing iOS devices without iTunes
* I need to bring this up because I had two different emails this week that had two different issues related to iTunes and iOS devices, but both with the same solution.
V First, Marty, he was upset with Apple's decision to remove App management from iTunes
* No you download and update apps directly on the device only
* He also mentioned not having local backups (only iCloud), but that hasn't changed.
* Second, Bernard, through some issues with his external media drive and lack of backup, he only has his media files sync'd on his device and needed to get them back.
* The answer to both these issues is [iMazing]( Yes, in the past they have sponsored the show.
V After Apple made their change to iTunes they actually figured out a way you can manage your Apps directly from inside iMazing
* You can even link it to you iTunes Store account and search for Apps you've purchased on the App Store and download and add them to your device.
* Has view for what's on your device and what's in the iMazing Library
* Can import IPA files directly from your iTunes Media folder.
V For grabbing media off your device you can access both Music and Videos
* It has options to show only what is "transferable" (downloaded to the device)
* Can transfer back to iTunes or directly to a folder.
V Manage all kinds of other content as well.
* backup voice mails or Messages
* Grab your notes to Contacts
* Manage your Backups, and extract files and data from your backups.
* Download for Mac or PC, just $39.99, but 20% off for the Holidays
V Device numbers and security
* Play question from Gary
* I think yes, there is at the very least a slight privacy concern with these numbers, but I don't think they are particularly worrisome.
V Let's define what we're talking about here
* The IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identification) number is attached to the SIM and is used to identify the device to your carrier.
V The IMEI ( International Mobile Equipment Identifier) is attached to the hardware itself. Keep in mind the hardware also has a serial number and a MAC address that are identifiable to the device as well.
* MAC ( Media Access Control ) address uniquely identifies wireless transmitters like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips in the device
V Do you need to worry about these numbers getting into the wild? Maybe. The reality is they already are out there at least for Apple and your carrier
* For example, your carrier uses a bunch of numbers and info from your device and SIM to track your usage on the network
* The Mobile Identification Number (MIN) or Mobile Subscription Identification Number (MSIN) are used to uniquely identify a subscriber.
* The SIM (Subscriber Identification Module), includes information about which carrier is associated with the module, its time of manufacture and other carrier-specific information, as well as a serial number uniquely linked with the SIM itself
* And the SIM has that IMSI number which has the mobile country code, network code, and mobile subscription identification number.
* Your carrier typically collects geolocation records of your devices movements based on proximity to cellular towers and of course they collect billing and usage information (e.g., websites visited, numbers dialed out, numbers dialed in, messages sent and received, etc.).
V We hope Apple and carriers don't abuse or sell the data they have and they keep it safe.
* [Apple's Privacy]( website.
* Apple claims to use "differential" privacy techniques to render much of the data they collect and store not identifiable back to a particular person.
V For the numbers on the box or from your device to be useful you would need not just the numbers and who they are attached to, but also the data behind them.
* Who can access the data? You, the carrier, Apple, App Developers
V That last group, might be a concern. Apple of course has strict policies and the App review process.
* Though we know of breaches and issues in the past and stuff does get through
* Keep in mind you also often "allow" apps access to more identifiable info, "location", "contacts", "photos" (which may have GPS data), etc.
V So do you need to be "paranoid"?
* I don't know. Maybe a little?
* I think you do need to be aware, smart, and vigilant.
* Always asking, "why" would someone need this info, "what" could they be doing with it, "how" can I protect and secure more of my data, "do" I have the tools it need and if not ask Apple to do more.
V Syncing bookmarks between browsers
* Brian wrote in to ask if there was a way to sync bookmarks locally between browsers on the Mac (Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera)
V I know one way used to be to use [Xmarks](, but that's through a service and not locally
* XMarks is the same company that does LastPass and I can't vouch for it personally
V The other idea I had was to use a 3rd party bookmark manager outside the browser
* [Pocket](, not really a "bookmark" manager per se.
* [Stache](, was really popular, but doesn't seem to have been updated in almost two years. iCloud sync support in macOS Sierra and High Sierra may be broken
V [Raindrop]( subscription that runs $3.00/mo if you want "pro" features (basic for free)
* Apps and extensions for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.
* I briefly tried and it seems to have good recommendations.
* Pro version allows you to have nested categories, look for duplicates, cloud backup, uploading of images, etc.
* There may be other apps and solutions from the community.
V Thing of the Moment: Gorogora
* I love puzzle style games and I ran across this one over the holiday
* [Gorogora](
* I beautiful hand drawn game with a really unique way of playing.
* The whole thing is like an interactive story told through the images, but with no words.
* You tap to zoom in and out of the pictures to discover clues.
* At certain points you pull frames apart to reveal new panel and you can then interact with those panels as well.
* You then use the process of pulling apart, exploring, and combining panels (like puzzle pieces) to solve the puzzles and advance the story.
* It's really incredible and I had a great time with working out the solutions
* That said, the game is pretty short. I was able to complete it in about a day taking breaks, so about 4-6 hours of game play maybe?
* Some might balk at $4.99 for that amount of playtime, but I get as much if not more enjoyment of it then say a movie rental which runs the same price.
V Closing
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