Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 222

Show 222 – January 29, 2018

Run Sheet ~ Garth & Michael & Zarn

This week sponsors


Our Aussie Apple Rambling

How about that audio quality last week??

Story 1

HomePod ship date announced

As we reported last week on the Aussie Mac Zone Apple News Page pre-orders started n Australia on Jan 27 for deliveries starting Feb 9.

The day before this announcement, Tim Cook gave an interview to the Financial Post where the Apple CEO explained that the integration between the HomePod hardware and iOS is one thing that will make it unique:

“Competition makes all of us better and I welcome it,” Cook said. “(But) if you are both trying to license something and compete with your licensees, this is a difficult model and it remains to be seen if it can be successful or not.”

He also adds that sound quality is a differentiating factor of HomePod, saying that one thing that was missing from the smart speaker market was quality audio:

“We think one thing that was missing from this market was a quality audio experience, a very immersive audio experience,” Cook said. “Music deserves that kind of quality as opposed to some kind of squeaky sound.”

Also the first ads have arrived pushing it as a AUDIO device first

There are 4 ads and the link will be in the show notes


Story 2

Also on our Apple News Page last week

I reported on a very real looking phishing scam email I got. It was, so they hoped you believe, from the Australian Government.

It asked specific questions about your bank details, taxable income reported on your tax return, your Tax File Number, etc.

Specifically everything so they can become YOU!

We will have the images on the show notes page this week.


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Story 3

Man Bites Into iPhone Battery Causing it to Explode

This weeks Public Safety Announcement is don’t do this!

If you’re ever worried your smartphone battery is a fake, here’s a tip: don’t bite into it.

A man in China has learned this lesson the hard way. He chewed into an iPhone battery only to watch it explode.

Video footage of the incident has been circulating online. The explosion goes off right in front of the man’s face as he stands inside a local electronics mart. But amazingly, no one in the video appears to be seriously hurt..

The footage comes from an iPhone repair service called GeekBar, which is based in the Chinese city of Nanjing. The company originally posted it last week, claiming that the man in the footage was trying to test whether the battery was genuine or not. (Clearly it was real.)

Mishandling a smartphone battery is never a good idea. Over the years, lithium-ion batteries have shown their tendency to catch fire and explode whenever punctured.


Story 4

iOS 11.2.5 update

iOS 11.2.5 includes support for HomePod and introduces the ability for Siri to read the news (US, UK and Australia only). This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.

HomePod support

Setup and automatically transfer your Apple ID, Apple Music, Siri and Wi-Fi settings to HomePod.

Siri News

Siri can now read the news, just ask, “Hey Siri, play the news”. You can also ask for specific news categories including Sports, Business or Music.

Other improvements and fixes

Addresses an issue that could cause the Phone app to display incomplete information in the call list

Fixes an issue that caused Mail notifications from some Exchange accounts to disappear from the Lock screen when unlocking iPhone X with Face ID

Addresses an issue that could cause Messages conversations to temporarily be listed out of order

Fixes an issue in CarPlay where Now Playing controls become unresponsive after multiple track changes

Adds ability for VoiceOver to announce playback destinations and AirPod battery level

macOS 10.13.3 update

The macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 Update improves the stability and security of your Mac and is recommended for all users.

This update:

  • Addresses an issue that could cause Messages conversations to temporarily be listed out of order
  • Resolves an issue that could cause your Mac to stop responding when connected to an SMB server

watchOS 4.2.2 update

Release notes simply mention ‘improvements and bug fixes’ without noting any specific changes. Anecdotally, testers have reported faster performance when navigating in the redesigned Workouts app on watchOS 4.

tvOS 11.2.5 update

Basically just security updates


Story 5

Apple-based retail tech shows mobile at the core of commerce

Demonstrated by activewear vendor Outdoor Voices, a sales associate roaming the floor can look up a customer’s purchase history to make recommendations, search other local stores for out-of-stock items. Then, the person who ultimately makes the sale can schedule a delivery within the next few hours using Uber or other services and provide an estimate window of the delivery of a few minutes to the customer.

In another demonstration of streamlining the sales floor experience, Florida furniture store City Furniture recounted how it engaged with IBM to develop a iPad-based front end to an AS/400-based back end that had been in place for decades.

According to a salesperson involved in the project, the new system allowed her to close a sale and talk about add-on services such as stain-proofing while sitting on a model of the very couch a family would consider ordering. Not only did that provide a level of comfort and context, but it also avoided a trip to the sales desk where customers are more likely to reconsider things because of the mental shift to negotiations, she said.

But not all of Apple’s mobile technology will involve such in-person interactions. In yet another demonstration, eyewear juggernaut Warby Parker showed off use for the iPhone X’s front-facing depth-sensing camera. While many websites, including the company’s own, have long provided a way to preview glasses based on a facial photo, the additional info provided by the depth sensing allows the retailer to recommend a short list of styles that would flatter the face, according to company representatives.

And Apple itself is seeking to bolster mobile connections between consumers and businesses with Business Chat, a feature within its Messages app. Like many of the chatbot agents. However, unlike the implementations of chatbots that kicked off two years ago and haven’t really taken off, the feature uses humans on the other side of the customer experience. What the Messages app brings to the table is the ability to bring rich media and interactivity and, unsurprisingly, complete a transaction via Apple Pay.

The demonstration also included a novel application of augmented reality using Apple’s recently upgraded ARKit in the world of fashion. As a representative from PTC noted, it is often difficult for those planning fashion lines to have a complete line of products in front of them when evaluating which ones to move forward on in selling to retailers.

However, with ARKit, managers at the company were able to use an iPhone to visualize a closeup look at 3D-scanned dress variations on an AR-produced mannequin. While many AR demonstrations have focused on customer retail experience and I’ve previously written about its potential use in retail business intelligence analysis, this demonstration showed a good application of how far back in the planning process AR can have an impact.

I hope this inspires some Aussies to get creative!


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Story 6


There have been conflicting theories about why Apple spent a rumoured $400M on acquiring Shazam. Some suggested it was nothing more than protecting Siri’s Shazam-powered music recognition. Others wondered whether it was to expose Shazam’s customer base to Apple Music. Yet others theorised it was for the data.

Now one early investor in Shazam has suggested that the combination of the latter two elements could significantly boost Apple Music subscriptions

Business Insider reports the comments made by DN Capital analyst Mark Mulligan.

Shazam has 150 million active users a month, and about 300 million to 400 million uniques per year. If you convert 1% to 5% of those users to Apple Music, the investment will pay for itself in spades.

That alone would add between 1.5M and 7.5M subscribers to Apple’s streaming music service. But Mulligan also strongly supports the data theory.

“The Shazam dataset will be an important asset”. When you open the Shazam app and identify a song, you can then stream that song via Apple Music or rivals like Amazon Music and Spotify. That’s valuable insight into how people are using other services.

“It’s a window into billions of data points about Shazam’s Spotify, Amazon, and Deezer users, there’s some value in that,” said Mulligan. “It really comes down — how short was the iTunes dataset coming up? If iTunes’ data on a decade of user preferences wasn’t good enough, then maybe Shazam was necessary.”

This approach – analysing who is listening to what – was successfully used by Spotify to drive its popular Discover Weekly playlists.

The sheer range of DN Capital’s estimates reeks of ‘finger in the air’ guesswork, but the data theory seems to be gaining ground. I wrote before that whether or not Apple shuttered the Android Shazam app would give a big clue as to its motives; right now, the app is still alive and well.


Story 7

Jan 27 – iPad turns 8

Eight years ago, Steve Jobs introduced iPad, positioned as a new device category between the highly-mobile iPhone and conventional Macs. Some critics were disappointed that it wasn’t a Mac in tablet form; others were upset it wasn’t a telephone, that it wasn’t smaller, that wasn’t larger—or that it effectively was a larger iPod touch. All critics have since agreed that iPad is a disastrous, disappointing problem Apple should feel bad about despite it being the most popular, most profitable, most influential new form factor in personal electronics since iPhone itself.



How To 1

Use This Temporary Fix For The Galaxy Note8’s Battery Bug

In late December, Galaxy Note8 owners started to report a bizarre issue with the phone’s battery. If the power dropped too low it couldn’t be recharged, making it impossible to use the device at all once the battery died.

A few days later, Samsung confirmed the bug, claiming it only affects a small number of devices. Still, the company’s already sold millions of Note8s since launching in August 2017, and the issue appears to be plaguing some Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus devices as well. So even a small percentage could mean thousands of people are at risk.

Samsung hasn’t released an official fix yet, but in the meantime there’s a third-party solution to keep your phone’s battery from dropping too low. The Deep Discharge Protection Tool promises to do just that by warning you when your battery starts to drop and shutting your phone off entirely when it hits 12 per cent before you cross the point of no return.

One small caveat is that your phone needs to be rooted for the automatic shutdown feature to work. You’ll still get a series of two noisy alerts as the battery starts to drop, and the developer says they should be loud enough to wake you up if you’re sleeping. They’re also looking into getting the entire program to work on non-rooted Samsung phones.

You can download and install the app from XDA’s developer forums right now. Hopefully, Samsung releases an official fix soon (maybe in its Android 8.0 update), but until then this is your best bet.

How To 2

How To Get Siri to Read Anything to You

The list of things Siri can help us with grows more and more with each update Apple makes. In the last few years Apple allowed better integration with 3rd party apps and more natural voices for Siri with iOS 11.

One very helpful often overlooked Siri feature is reading whatever text is on your iPhone’s screen. This is a great trick for catching up on your saved articles when getting ready in the morning, commuting or doing chores around the house.

You can enable this setting on any up to date iOS device with these few easy steps.

1. First, you’ll need to open the Settings app then navigate to General -> Accessibility -> Speech.

2. In here you’ll see two options at the top, the first called “Speak Selection” will add an option to speak text you have highlighted which can be found in the copy and paste menu. The second “Speak Screen” option will enable Siri to speak whatever text is on the screen, go ahead and toggle that one on.

3. After Speak Screen is enabled you can go to any webpage, PDF, or note and simply swipe down from the top of your screen with two fingers to access the menu.

Once you have the menu up on screen you can speed up or slow down Siri’s reading pace, pause, skip ahead or back paragraphs and collapse the menu to have a better view of your screen.

full article with screen shots

How to 3

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