Maccast 2018.01.28 - Show #642
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V In this episode:
* Is the iPhone X a disappointment?
* The sound of HomePod's imminent arrival
* A bunch of OS betas
* Your feedback, a thing of the moment an a whole bunch more.
V Pateron
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V News
V Still debating iPhone X Success
V Data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners between October and December found that the iPhone 8 outsold the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X
* 24 percent of buys picked up an iPhone 8 vs 20 percent for the iPhone X and 17 percent for the iPhone 8 Plus.
* Interesting to me, at least for Apple buyers, is that the "gigantiPhone" seems to be waining? Could just be that techies are the one that prefer the bigger display.
V There have been other surveys like this that show the iPhone X is not outselling the iPhone 8
* That has caused some mild panic for some investors and analysts and been a source for some in the media to question Apple's success with the iPhone X
* I still believe none of this is a surprise to Apple. I believe it was all strategically planned and Apple knows it's audience very well.
V Canalys estimates Apple shipped 29 million iPhone X units in Q4 last year (Apple’s Q1 2018)
* They also said that 7M, almost 25 percent, were sent to China (well really they were already there, but you get my point).
* Canalys still notes however that those numbers were below expectations, with many buyers opting for the iPhone 8's and older models.
V Ming-Chi Kuo told investors despite any numbers the iPhone X is a "strategic success"
* Pointing to the Face ID and the TrueDepth camera systems which he still believes puts Apple "two years" ahead of the competition.
* The technologies are also the main drivers for Apple's further push into more advanced augmented reality and artificial intelligence applications
* He also points out that the above $999 price tag opened up Apple's option to expand features for it's premium offerings
V Ming-Chi Kuo also provided a few more details on his thoughts bout the next generation of iPhones
* Specifically on the rumored 6.1-inch "mid" level model which he's already mentioned would have the TrueDepth camera system and FaceID
* He also had mentions it would use a traditional LCD screen to keep the price down.
* Now he says the it will have an aluminum frame, though he didn't mention if this also means an aluminum back, which would also rule out wireless charging.
* In addition he claims there will me a single lens rear facing camera and no 3D touch.
* The lack of 3D Touch seems like a big step backwards and potentially limiting since so much of iOS currently can tack advantage of 3D touch.
* Internally the new iPhone is said to look more standard as well, not using the iPhone X's unique "stacked" logic board design and have a "standard" battery pack instead of l-shaped one. So more like the iPhone 8 and 8 plus.
* The price of the new 6.1-inch iPhone will be between $700 and $800. He expects the 6.1 model to make up for about 50 percent of the 80-90 million iPhones Apple will ship in the second half of 2018, mostly due to it's lower price point.
* It's expected to be announced, as usual, in the fall along side an updated 5.8-inch iPhone X and a new larger 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus.
V DigitTimes seems to disagree though. Their analysts are saying Apple will sick with the two LCD and one OLED lineup
* They have word that Apple looking at shipping 5.7-5.8-inch and 6.0-6.1-inch LCD models, plus an OLED model with a massive 6.4-6.5-inch screen.
* This would SUCK.
V DigiTimes is also reporting that Apple has a new iPhone SE in the works, we've already had rumblings of this
* Says it will have a glass back and wireless charging support, though not a TrueDepth camera system
* Expect a spec update too. A10 Fusion chip, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB and 128GB storage capacities.
* They believe it will be launched in May or June. Previous rumors mention a "first" quarter launch though.
V Will the Macbook Air be replaced?
* Some sparse info came from DigitTimes indicating that Apple is planning on adding a new "entry-level" 13-inch Macbook to it's lineup in the back half of this year.
* The report is based on Apple supposedly placing an order with General Interface Solutions for LCDs
* The jump that these are destined for a new Macbook seem highly speculative, but are not unfounded.
* Apple has not done much with the Macbooks recently and even less with the Macbook Air.
* It's not even clear if the displays are Retina or not. The entry level Macbook Air is Apple's last non-Retina laptop.
* I think it makes sense for the Macbook Air to be retired and replacing it with a Macbook at a $999 price point would be the logical thing to do.
V HomePod orders and arrival date
V The HomePod pre-orders started for US, UK, and Australia on the 26th and orders will be arriving on February 9th.
* Likely because of the launch countries the HomePod only works with three English language options.
* The HomePod will be coming to France and Germany this Spring.
V More details on HomePod features
* Support for FLAC lossless format. You'll need an app on your device that supports it and can AirPlay (likely needs AirPlay 2)
V HomePod can be set up with a tap and it's iCloud features will be tied to the account that set it up. No multi-user support, at least at launch
* Voice commands for things like sending texts, setting up reminders, and get calendar notifications using voice commands will only work when that persons iPhone is in the wi-fi network.
* General features like music playback, news, podcasts, etc still work for anyone.
V HomePod will consume less power than an average LED light bulb when playing back music at 50 percent volume. Just 8.74 watts vs 9-10 for a typical LED bulb.
* Goes into low power mode after 8 minutes of non-use drawing between 1.71 and 1.76 watts
V Not all features will be there at launch
* Multi-room audio playback with AirPlay 2 and stereo pairing are coming in a future update
* It will support peer-to-peer AirPlay (1) at launch.
* HomePod can also function as a HomeKit hub, so if you don't have an Apple TV 4 or better or want to use an iPad for that that's good.
* HomePod cannot function as a Bluetooth speak although it does have Bluetooth 5
V You can get AppleCare+ for your new HomePod for USD $39
* Coverage includes AirPort products and “adds up to two incidents of accidental damage from handling for HomePod, each subject to a $39 service fee.
V How to physically control your new HomePod
* Tap – Play/Pause
* Double-tap – Next Track
* Triple-tap – Previous Track
* Touch and hold – Siri
* Tap or hold the plus symbol – Volume Up
* Tap or hold the minus symbol – Volume Down
V This week a bunch of hands on review hit the streets and they are generally positive
* Apple set up demos in New York and London for select members of the media.
* Played a pre-select group of tracks in an Apple controlled environment.
* Had a HomePod, Sonos One, Google Home Max, and Amazon Echo.
V Almost every review praised the sound of the Apple HomePod
* Seven tweeter array and woofer with diaphragm that move up to 20mm and powered by an A8 chip.
* Some likened it to being at a live concert
* You get spacial speration even from just one speaker.
* One did note feel that the HomePod came up a little short in the mid-range for his tastes.
V Sound was just as good from anywhere in the room, thanks to it's spatial awareness
* You can also pick up the HomePod and an accelerometer will detect that and recalibrate when you put it down
V All noted how good Siri was at detecting you voice even when playing music at moderately high volume, 80% and without shouting
* Having six mics probably helps.
* Many also noted that Apple upped Siri's music knowledge and functionality
V Many questioned if just having the best sounding smart speaker would be enough, especially at the price
* The day before the HomePod went on sale Sonos began offering two Sonos One's at USD $349
* I think two things. Many reviewers are missing the point and likely Apple doesn't care.
* Apple set out to make an incredibly sounding great Home speaker that integrates with their eco system and that is exactly what they seem to have achieved.
* Once again many people in the tech media what to rate Apple's performance in a race that Apple never even entered.
* The more valid question may be is Apple making a mistake by NOT, getting into the race?
V It also doesn't mean that some of the critical points about the HomePod aren't valid
V Only supports Apple Music at launch for Siri features
* Plays iTunes purchased music, Beats 1, and Podcasts without Apple Music
* Despite early reports to the contrary it WILL support playback of your iCloud Music Library. iTunes Match users rejoice. Not clear if Siri will be able to work her magic with your "uploaded" non-matched tracks.
* You can use 3rd party apps, but only via AirPlay, so not Siri control
* I think Apple will eventually add some sort of 3rd party app support, as they often do (maybe a WWDC 2018 announcement?)
V OS updates, new betas, and more.
V iOS 11.2.5 came out
* Added support for the HomePod
* Fix for the "chaiOS" Messages bug
* UI change for audio sources in Control Center when you access the expanded audio playback tile (either by tapping the signal icon in the top-right corner, or by using 3D Touch or a long press). You'll see sources listed under the playback panel, oddly you can still also tap the source button in the panel to access the same options.
V iOS 11.3 beta made its way out to beta testers.
* Offers a new "Health Records" where you can connect and download your health records through participating health care provider patient portals.
* The section is in beta now with just a handful of providers at the moment.
* The data is encrypted and protected with a passcode.
V ARKit 1.5 which can now map and recognize vertical surfaces and better detect irregularly shaped surfaces like circular tables.
* It can also find and recognize the position of 2D images such as signs, posters, and artwork and bring them into augmented reality experiences
* 50 percent greater resolution when viewing the real world through a device's camera.
* New animoji including a lion, dragon, skull, and bear.
V Adding "Business" chat to Messages. Have a conversation with a service representative, schedule an appointment or make purchases using Apple Pay in the Messages app. Will launch this Spring with select support from businesses, including Discover, Hilton, Lowe's, and Wells Fargo.
* Business Chat doesn’t share the your contact information with businesses and gives users the ability to stop chatting at any time.
* 11.3 will also bring the new Battery notification improvements and give users the ability to disable the power management feature if their phone has an aged battery. That feature is not yet in the beta release.
V Privacy icon when an app or feature is asking to use your personal information.
* Will be controlled at the system level so if an app is asking for personal info, like a password and you don't see the icon it's an indication to beware.
* AirPlay 2 support and you can add AppleTV to HomeKit setup to play and pause music.
V iBooks renamed to just 'Books'
* Mark Gurman at 9to5 Mac also has heard Apple is planning an iTunes Store like redesign with a "simpler" interface and a "Now Reading" section
* Last month Apple also hired Kashif Zafar as Global Head of iBooks, he was the former senior VP of Amazon's Audible business
V tvOS 11.3
* Enhancements to Match Content support
* Automatic frame rate switching on the fourth-generation Apple TV
* Automatic mode switching for AirPlay video sessions
* AirPlay 2 support, means you can send audio to multiple Apple TVs simultaneously.
V macOS 10.13.4
* Seems to indicate privacy information for a "podcast" app? Does this signal a stand alone Mac Podcast app arriving soon?
V Swift Playgrounds 2.0
* Subscribe to playgrounds from third-party creators
* Support for new robots including IBM's TJBot and Mekamon
* In the iOS betas there have been more "hints" that indicate a "modern iPad" with FaceID.
V Almost made a week without this
* But, nope. Yet another series has been rumored to be picked up by Apple's original content team.
* This time it's a drama series from "La La Land" creator Damien Chazelle according to Variety and The New York Times
* Not much is know, but supposedly Chazelle will write and direct each episode as well as executive produce.
* The series will be produced by Media Rights Capital.
* He also recently signed a deal to produce a musical series for Netflix.
V Sponsor: Smile
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Some followup from past shows
V Barcode scanners with NFC readers and using barcodes saved as PDFs or images
* Many of you suggested trying putting the iPhone into Airplane mode to disable the radios, but unfortunately that does not disable the NFC capabilities of the iPhone.
V Vladi wrote in and said he uses an app for this called [Pass2U](
V The app is free, with in-app purchase, if you want access to shared templates
* Be aware that to use this feature you need to connect to a Facebook account
* I believe because that is how the developer facilitates sharing passes with the App.
* The app lets you use a photo or PDF, an iPhone scan, or typed in barcode data to create a pass that you can add to your Wallet.
* This works since when the Wallet app is open the NFC on the iPhone is disabled.
* The free app will let you select the type of pass, ticket, loyalty card, boarding pass, etc.
* You can do some basic design customization like change colors, add logos, etc.
* I you want to totally customize designs you have to pay the $1.99 in-app-purchase (and connect to Facebook)
V Using iTunes accounts in multiple countries
* Douglas says he's in Japan and has US and Japanese accounts
* When he logs into either countries iTunes with the opposite country account is is switched to the appropriate country.
V He also notes that when he attempts top switch from Japanese Store to the US store after logging in, he gets a notice that he needs to first cancel his Apple Music Subscription)
* This seems odd because he uses his iCloud account and NOT iTunes Account for Apple Music and presumably that isn't tied to a country?
* I'm not sure that is true, because you purchase Apple Music via, iTunes right?
* If I log into my iTunes Store account at least under the Settings > Manage Subscriptions settings I see my Apple Music Membership.
* Douglas was wondering if somehow Apple was using the credit card on file to determine country of origin and I believe that is exactly what happens.
* So the question is can you unlink the credit card and switch and use app stores that way? I think maybe?
* I have been told by some people that they create accounts and use pre-paid iTunes gift cards to make their purchases, but then I've also been told that you have to get the gift cards from the country of origin, though that might only be for emailed gift cards? Seems odd that I couldn't buy a US gift card and send it to someone say in the UK to use. All very confusing.
* He does confirm that updating apps does seem to work fine regardless of which store the App was purchased in, so if you bought an app in one and are logged the other when you run app updates for an app that is only in one store it will just ask for your credentials and update without switching stores.
* The dilemma for the listener in China, is that if you don't agree to allow the new Chinese company take over your iCloud data the account is cancelled so presumable you will no longer be able to log in as your account will be only a "country of origin" account.
V Sometimes your iOS stuff just needs a brain transplant
* As much as it sucks, many wrote in to say they thought their older devices were suffering slowdowns from the battery issue, but after checking their batteries were still in the 90% plus "healthy" range.
* The fix for many was to do a backup, erase, and restore.
* I do have to admit that the past few times I've done this it did't feel nearly as bad as in the past.
* I really recommend doing an "encrypted" backup in iTunes and restoring from THAT backup. Will save your health data, network configs, passwords, etc.
* You'll still have to reset up FaceID/TouchID and Apple Pay.
V Keeping older gear
* Nathan wrote in with his experience "upgrading" his Macbook Pro 2009, which he had added extra RAM and did an SSD upgrade on.
* Right before Christmas the keyboard on his 2009 went out and he bought a refurbished Touchbar Macbook Pro.
* Interestingly, since he had upgraded, the new machine had the SAME RAM and SSD storage as the old 2009.
* In the end, he decided to return it and stick with his old gear. For him the loss of MagSafe, poor keyboard and expensive USB-C breakout accessories ultimately meant it wasn't the right machine for him.
* He found a replacement keyboard on eBay for £15 and swapped it out. He's happy with his machine, saved £1800 and learned how to do repairs on his Macbook Pro in the process.
V Some more of your Store experiences
* Play feedback from Stefan
* There have been many of you that have reported back that a new battery has breathed life into your old phones
V The biggest bit of advice I have for you if you need a battery now is start with Apple phone or chat support
* They can run the diagnostics remotely then order the battery and have the store contact you when it is ready to be replaced.
* Just make sure you clearly ask and confirm that they are ordering the new battery and that you will be able to have it installed when you arrive at the store.
* Be prepared it might be several weeks before you can get an appointment depending on your location
* If you CAN wait, WAIT. I think in a few month things will die down and it will be much easier to get a replacement
V Play AirPods comments from Bill
* I've mentioned that AirPods don't fall out too easily. Wearing cold weather gear seems to be the exception.
* I had another Maccast listener, Paul, who lost his while doing some work in the snow and mud. Was able to find it with Find My iPhone and it too was fine.
* I love the fact that we have such an international audience. I get feedback from the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan, China, Taiwan.
V Thing of the Moment: Anker PowerPort Wireless
* I picked this up on an Amazon deal, actually two
* It's the older 5W Anker Wireless pad, Anker-Wireless-Charger normally USD $17.99, but got then for just $12.99
V I have been down on wireless charging and I still am not convinced it's all that much more convenient than just dropping my iPhone in the dock
* These are small and single coils so you have to "hit the target".
* I'm actually really struggling to re-train my brain.
* Even if you spring for the 10w "fast" charger, still slower then the cable
* Still at this cheap a price I can afford to have a bunch around the hose setting up little iPhone "top-up" zones.
V Closing
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V Thanks to my sponsors
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