Maccast 2018.03.07 - Show #647
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V In this episode:
* You got your Google in my iCloud
* More iPhone X Plus details
* Apple audio products cranking up
* Possibly a new MacBook Air soon
* and more.
* Plus FileVault 2 followup, why is my FaceID so picky, will you dump your laptop, and a even more stuff.
V News
V iCloud on Google servers, not a surprise
* This story came out of CNBC after Apple updated it's iOS Security Guide last month.
V In the section under iCloud Apple states
* iCloud files are broken into chunks and encrypted by iCloud using AES-128 and a key derived from each chunk’s contents that utilizes SHA-256.
* The keys and the file’s metadata are stored by Apple in the user’s iCloud account.
* The encrypted chunks of the file are stored, without any user-identifying information, using third-party storage services, such as S3 and Google Cloud Platform.
V What really bugs me was how all of this reported like it was a big revelation and that Apple was somehow hiding something.
* This has always been disclosed by Apple.
* In the past Apple also used Microsoft Azure.
* Also, in 2016 CNBC, the same source, reported on the $600 million dollar deal Apple made with Google for storage services for iCloud.
* Apple has been building it's own massive data centers all over the world, but the infrastructure is not enough yet to meet all of Apple's needs for it's fast growing services business.
* All of the data is still secure because it's broken up and encrypted before it's sent to Google or Amazon and Apple keeps the keys needed for decryption on their servers. Without the keys the data is essentially de-cryptable.
* There's also the fact that neither Google or Amazon would want to risk very lucrative contracts with Apple just to try and hack Apple's user data.
V More iPhone X Plus details
* Coming from Bloomberg
* A “screen close to 6.5 inches” with a possible screen resolution os 1242 X 2688
* They also think Apple might bring back the gold color option with the next iPhone X updates.
V Other expected specs:
* 5.8 and 6.5 inch edge-to-edge displays
* Updated TrueDepth camera system, still with a notch, and FaceID
* New A12 processors
* The piece also mentions Apple considering a dual-SIM card feature in the larger iPhone for travelers, noting they could also wait for an e-SIM option.
V With the addition of a lower priced 6.1 LCD model Apple is supposedly hoping to have a model that appeals to everyone. Some say the move is Apple's response to iPhone X sales failing to meet analysts expectations (I still say bull).
* Apple only cares about meeting their own expectations, not analysts
* Still based on supply chai news of lowered iPhone production Business Insider said Citi in an analysts note almost halved its predicted iPhone X sales in the current quarter, from 27M to 14M and they think in Q2 they'l be down to just 7M units.
V Apple iPhone X loses the "best display" crown to Samsung's Galaxy S9
* DisplayMate ran the test on Samsung's flagship model and it was the first ever to get All Green ratings from the lab.
* It also receiving our their highest ever grade, an A+.
* When the iPhone X was released last year the iPhone X got the DisplayMate Best Performing Smartphone Display title at the time.
* DxO also gave the S9+ the best smartphone camera crown above the Google Pixel 2 and the iPhone X
* But don't despair, the iPhone X still is the fastest kid on the block when it comes to performance.
* Anandtech says the A11 outpaced the Exynos 9810 and the Snapdragon 845 chip in the Galaxy S9 in every comparison test and in some cases if the older A10 in the iPhone 7 out ranked the newer Samsung chip.
* Asymco’s Horace Dediu did some matholympics using Apple's latest monthly active devices number combined with cumulative devices sold to calculate the average lifespan of Apple devices. Any guesses? Yup, just a little over 4 years.
V That lifespan might be at least part of the reason why people haven't purchased a new iPhone 8 or X
* in fact Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson conducted a survey with 1,500 people and asked why they aren't upgrading their iPhones
* 44 percent said because their current device "works just fine".
* 31 percent said because the new devices are too expensive (6.1-inch LCD iPhone).
* Finally 8 percent said because they want en even bigger screen (iPhone X Plus anyone) and 17 percent said for another reason.
V And finally looks like the "notch" might not be with us forever.
* Probably just long enough for Apple's competitors to start copying it, which they already are, and then Apple will change.
* In fact, ETNews out of Korea says Apple is already working on notch-less design for their 2019 models.
* The don't know exactly how Apple plans to achieve the design, but theories are small holes drilled in the display or using a Black Matrix area within the display.
* Apple does own patents for embedding and integrating some sensors, like cameras, into the display, but that tech seems too far off at this point.
V Two security firms claim to have iOS 11 cracks
* The first is Cellebrite, the Israel-based firm who helped the FBI crack the iPhone 5c used by the shooter in the San Bernardino case.
* A source reportedly Forbes the company had figured out the hack in the past few months claiming they can now unlock all iOS versions up to 11.2.6.
* The company claims to be using exploits that they have not disclosed to Apple and they are advertising their unlocking services to law enforcement and private forensics companies.
* They exploit does require physical access to the device and cannot be run remotely.
V Meanwhile US-based firm Grayshift says they too can unlock Apple's latest devices though their tech is less specific about "which" versions
* They have an online tool called GrayKey that needs constant connectivity at the customer end and allows 300 uses for $15K
* Their offline version costs $30K and offers unlimited unlocks.
* It's unclear if their tool takes advantage of recent iOS 11 exploits that have been since patched by Apple.
* Their system seems to be relying on multiple brute-force cracking attempts.
V Apple's audio products are doing well
* At least if the latest numbers from NPD are any indication
* They said day-one pre-orders for the HomePod were higher then those for any other smart-speaker except the $49 Amazon Echo Dot.
* The report also notes that AirPods became the top-selling headphone product both by dollars and unit sales by the end of 2017.
* Also, together in 2017, Beats and Apple (together) were the top-selling headphone brand of 2017, accounting for 44 percent of all dollar sales
* Cloud be why we're hearing that Apple might developer's own branded high-end over the ear headphones.
V The rumors are sparse but we're hearing that Apple wants to release their own high-end over-the-ear headphones possibly before the end of 2018
* Beyond "high end" and Apple branded the only other detail seems to be that they would be noise-cancelling.
* The report also claims there is no guarantee it will ever ship. The piece says Apple has forced multiple redesigns and could be forcing more and even could simply shelve the project all together.
* Another not so small detail is the price. It doesn't get specific but mentions the new headphones likely won't cannibalize Beats sales because they would be priced even higher.
* Ming-Chi Kuo also mentioned the existence of a possible Apple high-end headphone project back in late February. At the time he said Apple supplier SZS, a metal injection molding specialist, is expected to be part of the project.
V Apple Video adds M. Night Shyamalan series
* Variety is reporting that Apple has ordered a straight-to-series psychological thriller for it's video service that will be produced by M. Night Shyamalan and written by Tony Basgallop.
* Shyamalan is know for his plot twisting films like "Signs," "Sixth Sense," and "Unbreakable".
* Shyamalan will also reportedly direct the first episode of the series.
* Basgallop also has a good working history having work on series like "24: Legacy," "Berlin Station," "What Remains," and "EastEnders".
* The only other detail seems to be that the order is for 10 half-hour episodes.
V Battery replacement times get longer
* The data was collected by Barclays doing Apple Store checks.
* They say average wait times for an iPhone replacement under Apple new battery replacement program have gone from 2.7 weeks to 4.5 weeks up from 2.3 to 4.5 weeks earlier in the year (not a huge change).
V If you are trying to get a replacement just be prepared to wait.
* Also follow the advice we gave out in the last show and make sure you go through AppleCare phone or chat support and get your battery pre-ordered.
V A video from an iPhone 6s user, Bennett Sorbo, shows why you may want too update that aging battery.
* He did real world and benchmark tests before and after his battery replacement.
* On Geekbench the "fresh" battery iPhone reported a 2520 single core and a 4412 multicore score vs. 1437 single-core and 2485 multi-core for the aged battery. Pretty significant, but…
* In the real world test, launching and running, various apps, it was less extreme.
* The "aged" phone took 5:45 vs 4:33 seconds on the fresh battery. about 21 percent faster. Not shabby, but also not the end of the world. I would say on average launching an app took maybe 1-3 seconds longer on the aged battery.
V Avoid "Apple" phishing emails
* The latest attempts by hackers to get your personal data is emails pretending to be subscription renewal notices from the App Store
V Apple updated it's support articles to give you advice on spotting the fakes.
* Check the sender domain, if it's not and Apple domain, like or, then it's fake.
* If it's an email about an App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music purchase Apple says the email will include your current billing address. If you don't see that the email is fake (it's also data scammers are not likely to have).
* And Apple will never ask you to provide Social Security Number, Mother’s maiden name, Full credit card number, or Credit card CCV code in an email.
V Apple Watch track winter activities
* If you have an Apple Watch 3, that is.
* Apple says the watch can now track Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross Country Skiing, and Snow Show workouts.
V It's be able to give you stats like:
* Total vertical descent and horizontal distance
* Number of runs
* Average and maximum speeds
* Total time spent
* Calories burned
* The Apple Watch 3 requirement comes because it's the only model with a built-in altimeter to track elevation.
V Apple Watch continues to be the most popular smartwatch in the world by a wide margin
* A new report from IDC estimates Apple sold 8 million Apple Watches worldwide last quarter
* making it not only the best selling smartwatch, but also the top selling wearable.
* In fact IDC says Apple Watch accounted for one in every five wearables shipped last quarter.
* MacRumors asked IDC for the data on just smartwatches and there Apple accounted for 61 percent of smartwatch shipments last quarter.
* Estimated Apple Watch shipments from 2017 are 17.7 million units which was more units then all other smartwatch makers combined.
* Tim Cook noted in the last quarterly results call that Apple Watch had 50 percent growth in units sold and revenue and that Apple Watch 3 sales were twice as high as Series 2 sales from the same quarter the previous year.
V A 'lower priced' Macbook Air?
* Just when I thought the MacBook Air was on it's last model, here everyone's favorite analyst ming Chi-Kuo saying not so fast.
* According to supply chain checks Kuo thinks we might see a MacBook Air update at some point in the second quarter.
* Now it might just be a price drop, so no guarantee of an actual update, but at least something.
* He expects that a new lower priced Air could push up MacBook shipments up by 10-15 percent this year.
* Apple did a small update to the MacBook Air at WWDC last year, so if they do update this year the timing seems right.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V FileVault 2 clarification
* I may have provided some confusing information in the last show when i discussed FileVault 2 and how it behaves once you have powered on your machine and logged in via an account that is authorized to access the filevault volume
* I recommended setting a sleep/screensaver password (still do) and said that the drive is not in an encrypted state until you log out.
* I even said because of that you might want to set the "logout after inactivity" option to ensure security.
* Mike wrote in to point out my mistake.
* Turns out that once you've powered on and logged into an account that can access the FileVault volume that volume is accessible as long as the machine is powered on.
* And you actually want this for scenarios like remote access or in situations where automated tasks like backups need to run. It's also useful if you have other users whom you don't want to give FileVault access to, but whom might need to use the machine. You can log into your account first and then they can use their user account to access the machine, but they would not be able to power up or use the machine without your access.
* So, it's even more important that when you leave the machine powered on you log out and use a screensaver/sleep password (and that that password is strong).
* Most importantly know that to fully protect your data in FileVault you'll want to shutdown completely.
V Chuck also pointed out a scenario where FileVault might not work.
* He uses Splashtop to remote into his Macs and run updates.
* The issue is after many updates there is a restart required,
* With FileVault on after restarting you are booted to the recovery drive to log in, but not the main volume.
* That means remote software like Splashtop is not running, so you cannot access it or remote in until a successful login with a FileVault enabled account.
V Dealing with finicky FaceID
* I've made no bones about the fact that I don't think FaceID technology is yet on par with the reliability and ease of use of the most up to date version of TouchID. At least for me.
* So far when I've mentioned this I have felt like I was in a minority. I mostly get feedback from FaceID supporters to claim it's "flawless" for them and "better than TouchID".
* I'd argue that purely by the fact that I have to lift my phone up off the desk so I can check a lock screen notification that it's less useful then TouchID, but hey that's just me.
* This week 9to5Mac mentions [a Reddit]( post that appears to give me some backup. It asks if faceID is getting worse over time.
* That has not been the case for me, it should improve over time. I have found it's pretty much stayed the same.
V Tips for improving FaceID
* Enter the passcode when it fails. This will add additional training based on the "confidence score"
* Move the phone around or give it your full attention (stare into the TrueDepth sensor system)
* Play with distance.
V Reset the system
* Settings > Face ID & Passcode. Then tap 'Reset Face ID'
V Disable "requires attention"
* Settings > Face ID & Passcode.
* Toggle off "Require Attention for Face ID"
* This is less secure though.
* I think FaceID will get better over time. I don't find it really "that" bad. My only point is that it's not at the level of convenience, at least for me, that TouchID was at on my iPhone 7. Still I'm not willing to trade back in my iPhone X's camera for going back to TouchID.
V Sharing purchases with Family Sharing
* Robert ran into a bit of frustration when trying to install his favorite podcast app, Downcast, for his wife on her iPhone.
* Not only that, Robert says it took Apple Care support an hour an a half and 5 levels of support to give him the solution I'm going to share with you now.
V They are on a Family sharing plan and he opened the app store on her phone and went to the Downcast page, but when he pressed "buy" it wanted to charge him (or appeared to want to charge him)
* If you go forward with the purchase you'll get a pop-up that says" "A family member has already purchased this item. To download it again for free, select OK."
* Still, not the best experience.
V Luckily there is another way to access the iTunes and App Store purchases of other family members.
* In the store app go to the 'Updates' tab
* Tap on your profile icon (upper right)
* Then tap on 'Purchased'. You should see 'My Purchases' and also 'Family Purchases'
* Tap on the family member who's purchases you want top access
* There will be "All" and "Not on my device" tabs on this screen.
* You can browse and install apps from there.
V For iTunes & iBooks it's a little bit different
* You just need to access the 'Purchased' tab
* In iTunes it might be under "More…"
* There you should see the 'My Purchases' and 'Family Purchases' sections.
V Will iPads replace laptops
* Mark emailed in with a question that I'm hearing more and more often these days.
* Do you see it (the iPad) completely replacing the laptop anytime soon?
V The reason Mark brings this up is that iOS and macOS are slowly becoming more and more similar in terms of functionality
* As Mark points out iPads are just as capable for many tasks
* Surfing the web, managing contacts, emails, and calendars. Even office tasks, taking notes.
* Advances in photo management and editing, audio content and video content too.
* He also mentions some once "critical" Mac apps, like Quicken, going to the cloud and offering iOS "client" apps. Billings Pro, is like that for me.
* Still, there continue to be specific tasks and apps, for him Family Tree Maker, that remain firmly in the mac camp.
* For me software and web development tools. There are some, but they are not nearly robust enough yet. No Xcode for iOS yet.
* My answer remains the same. I think more and more devices like the iPad and iPhone are going to take a "primary" computing role for a lot of people.
* To use Steve Jobs metaphor they will be the "cars" of the computing world.
* Desktops and laptops will be the trucks used for more and more specific and specialized situations, but not by the majority of users.
* Also keep in mind that even phones and tablets are the computing future.
V If I'm honest I know use no less than six different Apple devices for my computing needs daily.
* MacBook Pro, iPhone X, iPad Pro, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Home Pod. (seven if I could iCloud)?
* Every computing device serves a different purpose and offers a different and specific interface (some with no screens at all) that is appropriate for the task at hand.
* I think actually more fragmentation in our computing devices and interfaces is the future not less.
V And while it sounds like it will be more complex, it really isn't. The seamless integration is the key.
* Also note that you'll pick and choose the devices and experiences that are right for you. While I have seven you might only choose one or two.
* I can use all these "computer" together and really don't have to think about it too much because of the cloud or wi-fi or bluetooth. It's really pretty amazing.
* And I think it's only going to get better. Start to mix in AR and VR (facetops? will those be a thing) and it gets more fragmented in hardware, but more integrated at the same time.
* Fascinating.
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