Apple told AppleInsider that in addition to running Apple’s Machine Learning division the former Google chief of artificial intelligence and search would also be in charge of the Siri team.
Apple indeed changed the info on their company leadership page giving home the title, “Chief of Machine Learning and AI strategy”
In the early days Giannandrea worked as a Senior Engineer at General Magic (a spin off company from Apple that developed a personal communicator in 1994). That company included great Apple engineers like Andy Hertzfeld and Bill Atkinson.
Other notable General Magic employees include Susan Kare, Tony Fadell, Andy Rubin, Megan Smith, and Kevin Lynch, Apple’s current VP of Technology who oversees Apple Watch.
Internally the structures of the two teams will remain the same, but they will now both be under the watch of Giannandrea
The Siri team was previously overseen by Apple’s head of Software Engineering Craig Federighi
As TechCrunch points out the goals of the two teams are often shared so it makes sense to bring them both under the supervision and direction of a single leader.
Apple is serious about stopping leaks
Federal authorities arrested a former Apple employee, Xiaolang Zhang, at the San Jose International Airport last week.
He has been accused of planning to take Apple trade secrets to XMotors, a startup in China focused on electric vehicles and autonomous vehicle technology.
Zhang was a hardware engineer on the team at Apple working on their secretive autonomous vehicle project
Reports claim that while at Apple Zhang had “broad access to confidential internal databases”.
He had been on a paternity leave from Apple in April and when he returned to Apple informed the company he’d be leaving to care for his ill mother in China. He left the company on May 5th.
When he returned his device to Apple their security team noticed dramatically increased download activity of information from their servers that included confidential files.
Zhang also admitted to Apple he had “Air-dropped” info from his devices onto his wife’s personal laptop and when he agreed to let Apple’s team examine the wife’s laptop they claimed 60 percent of the data was “highly problematic”
Some of the stuff he reportedly took includes:
Engineering schematics, technical reference materials, and technical reports.
He also admitted to removing two circuit boards and a Linux server from an Apple hardware lab.
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said, “Apple takes confidentiality and the protection of our intellectual property very seriously, We’re working with authorities on this matter and will do everything possible to make sure this individual and other individuals involved are held accountable for their actions.”
Zhang plead "not guilty" to the charges and has retained his own lawyer to represent him in the case.
If found guilty he could face as up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.
Jason Momoa will star in Apple series
Jason Moma who is know for his role as Drogo in Game of Thrones and Aquaman in Justice League will reportedly star in Apple’s upcoming futuristic drama series “See”
He supposedly has taken the role of Baba Voss, a “fearless warrior, leader, and guardian”.
The series is being called “an epic world building drama set in the future” and is currently set for an eight-episode run.
“See” is being directed by Francis Lawrence who is known for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay”.
The series is being written by Steven Knight who is the creator of “Peaky Blinders” who will also serve as executive producer.
Apple has also reportedly signed Mimi Leder to direct the “Morning Show” drama series that will star Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
All and all I think at lat count Apple had just over 20 series or shows in development and have a planned budget of $1 billion for all of them.
Apple is expected to roll out the shows starting sometime in 2019, but we don't know quite how they plan to do it.
New MacBook Pros, wha???!!
In a big surprise Apple magically rolled out all new MacBook Pro models this week.
The updates to the 13-inch and 15-inch models include all new 8th generation Intel processors and DDR4 RAM (but not LPDDR4), meaning we’re past the 16GB RAM limit.
You can now get up to six cores on the 15-inch models and 4 cores in the 13-inch.
The processor configurations vary by model, but at the top end you can get an Intel 6-core i9 at 2.9GHz with 4.8GHz Turbo Boost.
The 13-inch models come with Intel Iris Plus Graphics, and the 15-inch Models sport Intel UHD Graphics with discreet Radeon Pro 555X or 560X GPUs.
They also doubled the max SSD capacity to 2TB or 4TB between the 13-inch and 15-inch respectively
They still have the Apple “butterfly” keyboard design though Apple claims it’s been made quieter and have the Touchbar.
The new machines come with an Apple T2 Chip (security and "Hey" Siri) and have TrueTone for the display and touchbar.
The TrueTone options also extend to the LG UltraFine 4K and 5K displays as well as Apple's 2011 Thunderbolt display (when connected with Apple's Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter.)
There is a checkbox that will appear in the Displays settings in the System Preferences in macOS High Sierra
Apple says the new machines are up to 70 percent faster.
Geekbench tests on the 15-inch show a 15-19 percent increase in single core performance and about a 40-46 percent increase in multi-core performance
For the 13-inch, 3 to 11 percent increase in single-core performance and 81 to 86 percent increase in multi-core performance
The design, battery life, ports, and weight all remain the same.
The batteries are larger and have more cells, likely to deal with the faster processors and DDR4 RAM (not LPDDR4)
Starting prices also remain the same at $1799USD (13-inch) and $2399 USD (15-inch)
You can top out the 15-inch config with a i9 six-core 2.9Ghz processor, 32GB or RAM, and a 4TB SSD for USD $6,699.00
About that "redesigned" keyboard
Apple told the Verge it was NOT redesigned to deal with the sticking and non-functional key issues that have plagued some uses of the 2017 models. Apple claims that issue has "only affected a tiny, tiny fraction of its user base".
The iFixit teardown revealed a little bit more.
A thin, silicone barrier around each keys butterfly mechanism.
Could be there just for the noise reduction, but also closely matches a patent Apple for a "guard structure" designed to keep direct contaminants away from the movement mechanism.
Apple will not be replacing older 2016/2017 model keyboards with the newer 2018 design.
This is likely because the entire units are part of the uppercase design and the new models appear to have an uppercase that is slightly redesigned to fit the new larger battery arrangement and to shed weight to compensate for said batteries.
Replacement parts won't be available for the new MacBook Pro until around September, so any repairs required in the meantime will likely result in a full replacement.
There is also a new Blackmagic eGPU
Co-Developed with Apple
Out of the box compatibility with the LG UltraFine 5K Display
Designed to be "plug-n-play" with a Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB memory
meant to be super quiet, as low as 18dB. Targeted at audio and video production studios that use DaVinci Resolve.
Some are upset because Apple also has stopped selling the 2015 MacBook Pro model
The last one with legacy ports and the non-butterfly keyboard.
Aside to talk about the community anger about this.
I think it's Marco Arment who has called the design so "devices" that he feels it's bad enough for Apple to roll back their design.
I have heard from members of the Maccast community similar sentiments.
A listener recently wrote me and said, "I feel that Apple is making a mistake by no longer selling this machine (meaning the 2015 Macbook Pro design) and is demonstrating tone deafness to the preferences of many people such as myself."
My question back is, is anyone really going to not buy a new Macbook Pro because they hate the keyboard design THAT much?
Many think so, but there's some evidence that isn't the case.
AppleInsider has been told the 2016 MacBook Pro outsold the 2015 models dramatically with one person claiming the ratio was 48 to one.
With data like that you can understand why Apple would be hesitant to roll back the design. I FULLY understand that this is not an endorsement that all those buying the new version like the keyboard, or the lack of port options or anything else.
Point is if they are selling them in droves Apple has no incentive to not move forward improving the design as they go.
Apple has made a clear statement with removing the 2015 option that they see this design as the future of the MacBook Pro and then intend to enhance and improve upon this design and not roll back to the old one.
That will obviously upset some customers, but at this point that seems to be a small minority.
So my question stands, is the keyboard alone enough to make you not buy A MacBook Pro and to look elsewhere?
Apple has never been much for admitting they are wrong nor looking backwards once they make a decision.
Updates won't stop with MacBook Pros
Analyst Ming Chi-kuo says before the year is out Apple will update all the things
Refreshes to the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, iMac, and YES even the Mac mini
A lot of this is stuff we've heard already
3 new iPhone models. 6.1-inch LCD, and two OLED models 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch
Non-home button iPads with FaceID and TrueDepth cameras. 11 and 12.9-inch models
Processor updates to the MacBook line, as well
Then the new stuff
Lower priced notebook. Could be a new lower-cost 12-inch MacBook model to replace the MacBook Air.
iMacs with a processor refresh and what Kuo called a "significant display performance upgrade" (maybe "ProMotion, 120Hz refresh rates"?)
Apple Watch. Two new models with bigger displays (39.9mm and 45.2mm). Possibly reduced bezels to keep physical sizes the same. Also enhanced heart rate detection features.
Mac mini. Surprisingly the "biggest" of the update rumors for a lot of us.
Unfortunately not a lot of detail here
Processor updates (expected)
What about ports (USB-C/Thunderbolt 3?, SSD (or more Fusion options?), redesign case or form factor?
Not surprising that having new models might help sell more machines
New estimates from Gartner claim Apple sold 4.4 million Macs in the three-moth period ending in June giving them a 7.1 percent share of the worldwide PC market.
That was also a 3 percent increase in Mac shipments from the same period a year ago.
The report also notes that the PC market in general saw an uptick though Apple's increases outpaced their competitors.
The general increase was said to come mainly from the business market and that there still is a general sales decline in the consumer segment as more and more users rely an their smartphones and tables for many of their daily computing needs.
Leaked images may confirm iPhone lineup
Images appeared from Ben Geskin, who has reliably leaked info in the past
The images show all three sizes and the thinner, but not quite as thin, bezels on the 6.1-inch display
Apple has reportedly placed orders with LG Display for OLED and LCD display panels
According to DigiTimes Apple has requested 3-4 million OLED panels and about 20 million LCD displays
The OLED orders may seem low but Apple will likely get the majority of their OLED panels from Samsung. The thought is LG may supply the bulk of the new 6.5-inch "Plus" display.
Samsung announced it completed functional testing and validation of the industry's first 10-nanometer class 8-gigabit LPDDR5 DRAM
Then new RAM is 1.5 times faster then the LPDDR4X DRAM in the current iPhone X and has a new sleep-mode and other energy saving features that could reduce power consumption by up to 20 percent.
It's expected the new RAM would show up in future iPhones, but the timeline is unclear.
Apple kills print products in Photos
Apple has started notifying customers that they will have until September 30th, 2018 to purchase printable items using the built-in "Projects" feature inside Photos.
Users in macOS 10.13.6 started seeing the pop-up warnings last week.
As an alternative Apple is recommending downloading third party apps from the App Store which support Photos Project Extensions.
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Feedback, commentary, opinions
Subscription app retention
Diego brought up an interesting followup to our recent discussions on subscription based apps.
He feels like many subscription apps possibly suffer from less loyalty because it makes it easier to be "not attached" to the product. Does not having a larger upfront investment in a piece of software make it easier to switch if you find an alternative?
He gives a few examples:
AIWriter vs. Ulysses, Illustrator vs. Sketch, and Adobe Premiere to DaVinci Resolve.
I told him I felt it was more about the "more timid" users running for the hills with faced with the idea of an ongoing payment to use the software.
Basically that it separates the wheat from the chaff.
I think there are many people who purchase an app falls on the edge of being a "critical" app for their daily use.
It will often be an app that they like and do use, but when faced with paying for it every month they realize it's not as necessary and that is when they go looking for alternatives.
These are the same people who might not upgrade a paid app every cycle because they don't rely on all the features and is another reason why switching away becomes easier.
This is actually a reason why I think some developers are choosing the subscription model. They would rather have fewer, but more loyal, customers who pay on a regular basis to support the product vs. more "edge case" customers whom they constantly have to convince to upgrade.
Diego still didn't feel the same and pointed out that his examples are "heavily used" and I totally agree with that. Every one of those "pay up front" alternatives are excellent apps.
My point is that I think at first, yes, moving to a subscription model for many developers will cause a certain percentage of customer loss
But I argue it's actually a good thing for both the customer and the developer.
Customers are forced to look hard at a piece of software and evaluate it's value to them. In some cases they may realized they only use that software because someone told then that was what to get or that it is a "de facto" standard.
Developers ultimately wind up with more dedicated and loyal customers who find total value in the product they are creating. They also gain a more sustained and consistent revenue stream.
It's also great for the many and many great alternative apps to the big guys like Adobe and Microsoft. They have an opportunity to gain new customers who will grow to love, use, and be dedicated to their products as well.
A final point that came up was that Diego did not feel there was a "long term future (for) simple apps that embrace subscriptions"
He feels they're "too exposed" to competitors offer non-subscription options.
He thinks customers will choose to try the non-subscription option, but doesn't see it going the other way.
I feel this has more to do with the app and the price of the subscription.
Point is this is the SAME issue if you're pricing for single-price or subscription.
If you have an app you love, are dependent on, find value in, and the price is right subscription or not it doesn't matter.
If an app is $10-20/yr. on subscription and I get that value out of it that is about the same to me as buying an app for $30 one-time and then paying $15-$20 again when a paid "upgrade" comes out in a year or so.
Obviously if a developer over charges for the subscription then people will ok for alternatives, but they'd have the same issue if they over priced their one-time use app.
Listener Paul had some of his on thoughts on subscription based software
Play comments from Paul
Again, I totally agree. You say it needs to be "affordable", but that to me is a bit too simplistic
It needs to have "value" is I think the better way to put it. You have to feel the cost justifies the utility and value you are getting back
The final comment about not updating old versions is an interesting one. We've already covered this a bit in past shows
It's a big problem for developers and at the same time something that is solved for them by having subscriptions.
For many customer though they like NOT having to update older software. It saves them money if there are new features they don't need. The downside to that is developers lose recurring and sustaining revenue.
The past solution was paid upgrades, but often those don't work either because customers choose to opt-out anyway.
To this day I know people still running Adobe Photoshop CS 5 because, "it works just fine".
Controlling cellular data usage
It's vacation time and for a lot of us that means being away from Wi-fi for longer periods of time and relying on cellular data.
Unfortunately for many cellular data limits are still a thing and so it's helpful to maybe have some tips on controlling cellular data usage.
Part of me bringing this up in this episode comes from an email I received from listener Toby.
His wife hit her data cap while on vacation and in the process of trying to determine the cause he noticed the large amounts of data that was being consumed even when the device was not in active use.
So he asks, what is happening "behind the scenes" to cause all this data usage and how can you reduce or limit this usage beyond the obvious method of just turning off cellular data all together?
As to the cause for all that background data:
Background app refreshing
One quick and easy way to reduce a lot of background data usage temporarily would be to enable "Low Power" mode.
this has a secondary benefit of reducing battery usage. Helpful when you are not going to be near an outlet or charging location for a while.
You'll find the setting in Settings > Battery
You can also add a Control Center item to control it. Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls, then select Low Power Mode to add it to Control Center.
It will reduce Email fetch, "hey Siri", Background app refresh, Automatic downloads, some visual effects, Auto-lock (defaults to 30 seconds), and iCloud Photo Library (temporarily paused)
Your battery icon will also be yellow (vs green/red) while this feature is enabled.
Turn off background app refresh
Settings > General > Background App Refresh
Tap Background App Refresh at the top
Make sure it's set to "Wi-Fi" only and not "Wi-Fi & Cellular"
On the main Background App Refresh screen you can also individually toggle which apps are allowed to refresh their data in the background (i.e turn background app refresh off completely for that app).
See which apps are using cellular data, how much, and control them.
Settings > Cellular
Under 'Cellular Data' you get a list of all the apps that are allowed to use cellular data
You can view their data usage for the current or last billing period"
Under the name of each app it will list is data usage for that period. The list (unfortunately) is listed alphabetically, not by app data usage.
You can toggle off any apps you don't want to use data over cellular or any apps that are using cellular data heavily.
If you want to see what System apps are using data, scroll to the bottom and tap the 'System Services'
Stop automatic app updates
Settings > iTunes & App Store
Toggle off 'Use Cellular Data'
Some other things not specifically related to background data usage
Disable Wi-Fi Assist
This kicks in if you have a weak wi-fi signal and forces you over to cellular
Settings > Cellular
The Wi-Fi Assist toggle is ALL the way at the bottom past all the apps.
Download media, don't stream.
Settings > Music. Toggle
Tap 'Cellular Data'
You can toggle off 'Streaming'
You can also disable "High Quality Streaming"
Finally there is a seeing to disable downloads over cellular
There is also a 'Cellular Data' toggle in Settings > Podcasts
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