Maccast 2018.02.18 - Show #645
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V In this episode:
* Don't yank your HomePods tail
* HomePod teardown
* Apple may change OS feature rollouts
* Apple gains laptop share
* Another new Apple TV show
* and a new Messages bug
* That plus more iOS remote support tricks, iPhone battery replacement troubles, and a whole lot more.
V News
V You CAN remove HomePod cable. Don’t.
* An internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers says doing so could cause damage to the speaker's internal components.
* The guide also says if the cable does become detached to not attempt to plug it back into the HomePod.
* You’ll need to send it in to Apple for a repair. Also if the cable becomes damaged and needs too be replaced the cost of the repair is USD $29, even without AppleCare+
* This assume no internal damage was caused and it’s just the cable that needs replacing.
V If you heard the “audiophile” review of HomePod as always don’t believe everything you read
* The tests were not done in an anechoic chamber, but just a real room.
* The “flat” frequency response notes in the original posting was also in question because of the scale used. The chart used a 10db scale which is large. A 1/12 octave scale and it’s not as smooth.
* FastCompany did similar "room" tests with professional acoustic analysis hardware and software maker NTi Audio and found an average variance of 0.95 decibels across all audible frequency bands. Which seems to again validate the "flat" claims, but once again this is not in an ideal testing environment.
V Consumer Reports doesn’t agree with most Home Pod reviews
V They rated the Google Home Max (more expensive) and the Sonos One as having better sound
* Use dedicated listening room with experienced testers comparing vs. "high-quality reference speakers."
* HomePod received a “Very Good” rating
* Bass was "boomy and overemphasized and they called the mid-tones "somewhat hazy with treble that was “underemphasized”.
* Odd that they called it a “bit muddy” vs. the Sonos One, because i had the opposite experience vs my Play:1s
V David Pouge did a “blind” listening and also found the Home Pod not to be the “best”.
* The same test two r anked the Google Home Max the best, and three the Sonos One. No one picked the HomePod
* There might be a source/volume bias in the Pogue tests as he use Spotify as the source.
* He mentions in his piece the issue of volume level needing to match and did his best to match them by ear.
* I noticed in my tests that stuff played via AirPlay seems to be at a much lower volume level on the HomePod (not sure why)
* He also put a curtain in front of the HomePod which would impact it's beam forming and spacial awareness technology.
V HomePod tear down reveals “tank” like construction
* iFixit had to resort to a hacksaw
* Their tear down revealed the more “delicate” ways of entry.
* The covering has a sophisticated draw string mechanism.
* Under the mesh fabric is a plastic shell
* Inside the shell it seems like components could possibly be “screwed” out.
* Under the rubber foot is a 14-pin connector most likely there for diagnostics
* Tweeters are in little pods with horns that focus the sound down and out holes in the bottom. The screw posts are gold and act as a connector.
* LEDs at the top are in a diffused “matrix”.
* A8 chip, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage
V A production cost analysis by TechInsights estimates it costs Apple around $216 in raw component costs to make each HomePod
* That's a margin of just 38 percent which would be pretty low for other Apple products by comparison.
* It's also considerably lower then the estimated 56 to 66 percent other smart speaker makers like Amazon and Goggle get for their products.
* Still I think Apple views HomePod as an accessory that drives and supports their services like Apple Music.
V Reports of some issues with HomePod setup
* The “blank” panel issue.
* The bug seems to impact users who have deleted the Music app from their device.
* The problem came up because the first part of the set up offers users a 3 month free trial for Apple Music.
* Fix is to just download and install the Music app.
V HomePod leaves white rings on some wood furniture
* Seems to be isolated to wood surfaces that are treated with wax or oil coatings
* Reaction with the silicone base and not isolated to just a HomePod
* Still to me seem like Apple maybe should have included messaging in the box.
* Apple confirmed the possibility marks and said marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface.
* They also recommend cleaning the surface with the manufacturer's suggested oiling method to remove the rings.
* [Pad & Quill]( is already taking pre-orders for the Leather HomePod Coaster for USD $19.99
V Apple updated Shazam for the first time since they acquired the company
* Lyric sync in real time.
* Better search results display, and an all-new track menu providing access to all the information the service has.
* Easier ways to add songs to Apple Music or Spotify. Can also still open in Google Music.
V Apple’s changing OS release policy
* Bloomberg is reporting that starting with iOS 12 Apple will no longer focus all major new features of the operating system around a single point-zero release.
* The thought is moving forward major new features will be released through the year wen they’re ready.
V They call this a “cultural shift” in thinking, but one that is becoming more common in the software industry. Adobe adopted it when they went subscription with Creative Cloud.
* Gives teams the ability to really focus on a small number of features at any one point.
V Some new features are still planned for 12.0
* Animoji in FaceTime
* Enhancements to Do Not Disturb
* Other future iOS updates include the ability to run "several windows in one app" on the iPad.
V Also planned for macOS this year is:
* Project Marzipan, designed top make porting iOS apps to Mac easier for developers
* Home app for the Mac, codename Liberty.
V As possibly more evidence the "notch" is here to stay for a while
* Apple has informed developers that all new apps submitted to the App Store from April 2018 must support the iPhone X’s Super Retina display.
* The policy will apply to new apps, but there is not a deadline fro updates to existing apps.
* all new apps must also be built against the iOS 11 SDK
V Apple moves up in global laptop shipments
* A recent TrendForce report ranks Apple now in 4th place for global laptop shipments.
* The report says Apple’s new MacBook Pro helped the company increase shipments by 18 percent in 2017 achieving the highest growth rate among all the notebook brands.
* Their market share rose to 9.6 percent up almost 2 percent from 2016 and TrendForce thinks they will continue that momentum in 2018 achieving a double-digit percentage of the notebook market by the end of the year.
V On the iPhone sales front for 2018
* KGI analyst Ming Chi Kuo seems to feel Apple's update the to the iPhone 8 and and 8 Plus will be popular among consumers
* The phone is rumored to be a 6.1-inch LCD model with a design similar to the iPhone X, but at a more accessible price point as low as $699.00 USD.
V The lower cost will come with some compromises beyond the lack of OLED display
* For example, using an aluminum instead of stainless steel frame.
* Reports have also claimed it might not include 3D Touch and would only have a single lens iSight camera.
* Still it would have the TrueDepth camera system and FaceID support.
V Still largely because of the price, Kuo thinks it will be Apple's most popular model in 2018 and that Apple could sell as many as 100 units, or about 50% of total iPhone shipments in 2018
* Apple sold a TOTAL of 77.3 million iPhones just last quarter
* Kuo expect total iPhone X shipment to be around 62 million units by the time Apple replaces the model with new versions this fall.
* Remember it's also expected Apple will deliver an update 5.8-inch iPhone X and a new "Plus" size iPhone X model at 6.5-inches this year.
V Strategy Analytics has also reported that last quarter Apple captured a record 51 percent share of worldwide smartphone revenue.
* They estimate that Apple's revenue was three times that of their next nearest competitor Samsung.
* So, Apple accounted for more smartphone revenue than the rest of the entire industry combined in the quarter.
V Apple developing TV show based on NBA’s Kevin Durant
* Variety is reporting that Apple developing a drama series based on the early life and career of NBA superstar Kevin Durant.
V The series, reportedly titled “Swagger”, is inspired by Durant’s youth basketball experiences.
* The show will look at Durant and also cover the the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) organization that Durant helped found and look at the lives of players, families, and coaches involved with the program.
* The show will be produced by produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Television along with Durant’s Thirty Five Media.
* Reggie Rock Bythewood who collaborated with Imagine on the Fox limited series “Shots Fired” and also co-wrote the Notorious BIG biopic “Notorious” will reported serve as writer on the project.
* I have to wonder if the fact that Durant plays for the Golden State Warriors and the fact that Apple’s Eddy Cue is a huge fan has anything to do with Apple wanting to pick up this project.
V Oddly Apple has also chosen to renew Carpool Karaoke for a second season
* Yes, we're all still confused because who's watching it?
V Apple working on fix of Indian character bug
* It's been confirmed that sending a specific Telugu (Indian language) character to a device running iOS 11.2.5 causes the app to crash. It also will do the same on macOS and watchOS
V Some reports claim that in some cases on iOS it requires a DFU (connected to iTunes) reset to fix.
* If it happens to you wait for the full Springboard reboot and don't force a restart and you can possibly avoid the DFU reset requirement.
* The crash can happen in almost ANY messaging app including Messages, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc.
* Apple already has fixes in place in the upcoming iOS 11.3, macOS 10.13.4, watchOS 4.3, and tvOS 11.3, updates.
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Another option for remote iOS support
* Sonal point out that you could also use Screen Sharing through Messages and then have the iOS user connect their device to the Mac with a USB cable and use QuickTime Screen Recording to display their device screen on their Mac.
* In a Messages conversation if you click on the conversation in the list and click "Details", you should see the 'Screen Sharing" icon (two stacked screens)
* Click that and click "Ask to Share Screen" or "Share my screen"
* The other person will need to accept the request.
* Once sharing is active you can then ask them to connect their iPhone Using the USB to Lightning cable.
* Then Open QuickTime.
* Click File > New Movie Recording (Oddly not New Screen Recording).
* Click the arrow next to the "Record" button and select the iOS device as the camera source.
* Then the iOS's display will be visible on the Mac screen and you can see it remotely. (they don't even need to press record)
V Once in Sharing mode you can click the "Control" button in the window to take control of the remote Mac.
* You won't be able to control the iOS device though.
V How to reset a HomePod
* You can of course do it from the Home app on your iOS device, but only if you're on the same network.
V What if you've taken your HomePod someplace else and forgotten to reset it before hand?
* Unplug the HomePod and Plug it back in.
* Press and hold the top of your HomePod and keep pressing even while Siri does her spinning light show.
* Wait until Siri announces that your HomePod is about to reset, but keep holding.
* Once you then here three beeps you're done.
* Now you can bring you iOS device near HomePod and start the process of setting it up and connecting it to a new network.
V Apple needs to fix Album categorization
* Benjamin Mayo, from 9to5 Mac, wrote [a great piece]( on his personal blog where he highlights a big issue with how Apple Music (and iTunes) categorizes albums.
* The crux of the issue is that all types of albums are treated equally. EPs, singles, specials, deluxe, originals, live albums are all just "Albums"
* This means typically one of two things, you either will not find a song, because you own the "deluxe" version instead of the standard version or, as is more typical for me, you get the wrong album or some odd version.
* This also happens VERY often with tracks. If you ask for a song, but fail to specify the album or artists you can get odd alternate versions. It's annoying.
V Apple should be smart enough to know that 90% of the time someone is going to want the original version from the original album it was released on.
* Better yet if multiple versions are available why not just ask which version the person wants?
* To see an example of this just search for an artist on iTunes and then look at the list. It won't just be the main album releases, but every album that artists music has been on including things like soundtracks and compilations. It's just odd.
* Wouldn't be that hard to separate, except it all probably dates back to Apple's original conversions of a lot of this stuff from CDs back in the day.
V When Apple won't replace your battery
* We have a bit of a frustrating story from a Maccast listener in the Netherlands and it sounds like something that could happen to anyone.
* Sander wanted to get his iPhone 6 battery replaced. He set everything up and spent 1.5 hours traveling to the Apple Store in Amsterdam to get the replacement.
* All was going well as the checked him in and set about doing the repair. While he waited 5 hours for the repair Sanders enjoyed a day in Amsterdam eating and seeing the sights.
* The trouble came when he returned to pick up the phone with the new battery. They told him they had not replaced the batter because the phone had water damage and that his only option was to purchase an out of warranty replacement at a cost of 350 euros.
* The thing is his phone works perfectly fine regardless of if the moisture sensor was tripped. He even asked if he could buy the battery and do the replacement himself and was told no.
* Sander did not remember at the time, but when he returned home he remembered that three years earlier the iPhone was briefly dunked in a Swedish lake, but it was dried out and has worked fine since then with the exception of the now failing battery.
V So he ask what can he do?
* I would say the best option right now would be to order a battery replacement kit from [iFixit](
* They even have an [iFixit EU Store](
* The replacement kit for an iPhone 6 is just 24,95 € + shipping.
* Then just follow the iFixit guide.
* Apple will apparently not service an iPhone if the Liquid Contact Indicator (LCI) is tripped.
V They have a [support article]( that show the Liquid Contact Indicator location for each model iPhone
* On most it's through the SIM card slot. Shine in a light and if you see a red line or dot then that indicates water damage. Apple claims that humidity or temperature changes cannot trip the sensor.
V There also seems to be general confusion and wildly varying reports on the battery replacement process
* Play battery experience from Paul
* I also got an email from Carlos in Argentina who had a similar bad experience with chat support.
* What's odd about your experience Paul is I have been told by SEVERAL Maccast listeners that Phone support ran remote iPhone diagnostics, just like they did for you, and that should be exactly the same tests they would do at the Genius Bar.
* That said, even those who had remote diagnostics run said they often re-ran the tests in store.
* Still several had phone support order the battery to be shipped to stores, at least here in the US, and the were contacted by the store once the battery was in and ready to be replaced.
* At first I thought maybe they are only offering this for batteries that "fail" the diagnostic?
V So I went on with chat and pretend like I wanted to get a replacement battery. When I asked if the battery could be pre-ordered I was told YES. In fact they explained the whole process.
* All they needed was the iPhone Serial number
* That would be forwarded to Apple's Battery Reservation Team
* They would reserve a battery for me and send me an email within 3 - 5 calendar days to confirm that it had been ordered. That email would also indicate when the expected the battery to arrive at my local Apple Store.
* After that the Store would contact me when the battery arrived to schedule the replacement.
* So, maybe it's different for different countries? Or possibly it's just making sure you're asking the right questions?
* At the very least I would use the words. I told them I wanted to "pre-order" a battery to be shipped to my local Apple store because I heard they were extremely back ordered.
V Closing
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