Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 316

Show 316 – December 23, 2019

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael                  



Still again a BIG THANKS to all the firefighters across Australia and all the visiting ones from overseas.  THANKS


Our Aussie Apple Ramblings

Story 1

Amazon, Apple, Google, Zigbee Alliance and board members form working group to develop open standard for smart home devices

Project Connected Home over IP Intends to Simplify Development for Device Manufacturers and Increase Compatibility for Consumers

Seattle and Cupertino, Mountain View and Davis, California — Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance today announced a new working group that plans to develop and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home products, with security as a fundamental design tenet. Zigbee Alliance board member companies such as IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian are also onboard to join the working group and contribute to the project.

The goal of the Connected Home over IP project is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers. The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use. By building upon Internet Protocol (IP), the project aims to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services and to define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification.

The industry working group will take an open-source approach for the development and implementation of a new, unified connectivity protocol. The project intends to use contributions from market-tested smart home technologies from Amazon, Apple, Google, Zigbee Alliance, and others. The decision to leverage these technologies is expected to accelerate the development of the protocol, and deliver benefits to manufacturers and consumers faster.

The project aims to make it easier for device manufacturers to build devices that are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and others. The planned protocol will complement existing technologies, and working group members encourage device manufacturers to continue innovating using technologies available today.

Further ~ Apple open-sources HomeKit Accessory Development Kit to spur adoption, grow new standard

Accessory Development Kit, allowing more users to experiment with the development of HomeKit accessories. The release is designed to accelerate development of a new universal smart home standard created by a consortium of companies including Apple, Amazon, Google and the Zigbee Alliance.


Story 2

FaceTime alternative ToTok is a spy tool, purged from App Store

Popular social messaging app ToTok has been found to spy on its users — and it likely was developed by the government of the United Arab Emirates to keep tabs on its citizens.


Story 3

$115K in iPhones stolen out of one car, $200K in iPhones lifted from Best Buy in the Apple Crime Blotter

Drug lord’s brother plans to sue Apple, ex-Apple engineer had missile documents, and more from the world of Apple-related crime.

The latest in an occasional AppleInsider series, looking at the world of crime involving Apple products. 

Over $100,000 in iPhones stolen from car

Police in Oregon say an uncommonly large cache of iPhones —worth $115,000 —were stolen from a woman’s car outside the Bridgeport Village Shopping Center in suburban Portland on December 8. According to Oregon Live, the theft took place while the owner of the car shopped at a nearby Apple Store.

Police say a man and woman broke a window in the car and took the iPhones. 

Charged Apple engineer had Patriot missile file

Jizhong Chen, the former Apple engineer who was indicted earlier this year for stealing trade secrets, also was in possession of a classified file from the Defense Department’s Patriot missile program. According to The Boston Globe Chen, who had been working on Apple’s self-driving car initiative, had kept the documents in his home, adding national security implications to his case. 

100 iPhones stolen from South Carolina Best Buy

Around a hundred iPhones, worth over $1,000, were stolen from a Best Buy in Summerville, S.C., overnight on Monday. According to The Post and Courier, police arrived at 2:18 a.m. to discover “two open cabinets and iPhone boxes scattered on the ground.” 

Surveillance video showed that three men wearing hoodies and dark clothing had opened the cabinet using a “Hyper Tough”-brand crowbar. 

iPad with pastor’s sermons stolen from Georgia church

Police in Hapeville, Ga., have identified a man who they say stole an iPad from an area church, which contained the pastor’s past and future sermons. According to Fox 5 Atlanta, the items were stolen in November while Rev. James Pullin was delivering one such sermon. 

Brother of Pablo Escobar launches gold Phone promises to sue Apple

We told you back in February about an effort by the daughter of imprisoned Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to sell El Chapo-branded iPhone accessories. Now, the relative of another notorious drug lord is planning a similar play. 

Roberto Escobar, the brother of the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, has announced the launch of a foldable gold smartphone which he claims is “unbreakable.” According to Sky, the phones feature Pablo Escobar’s mug shot as a default screen background, while advertisements from the device sport “scantily dressed models in heels.” And not only is Roberto planning to compete with the iPhone, but he also announced plans to sue Apple for $30 billion, for “cheating the people and selling worthless phones.” 

Oklahoma man accused of embezzling iPhones

A 33-year-old Oklahoma man has been accused of stealing $200,000 worth of iPhones from a Best Buy distribution center where he was working. 

According to KXII, the accused thief is out of jail on a $2,500 bond. 

Woman arrested for false iPhone purchases

A New Jersey woman was arrested in Connecticut for attempting to buy three iPhones from a Verizon store with a false ID. According to Patch, the woman tried to buy two iPhone 11 Pros and an iPhone 11 Pro Max with what store employees recognised as a fake ID, at which point they contacted the account holder, who was not the woman. 

She was charged with two counts of third-degree identity theft, two counts of sixth-degree larceny, credit card theft, second-degree forgery and attempt to commit third-degree larceny.

Two charged in Walmart iPhone scheme

Two people in Indiana have been charged for their parts in an iPhone theft scheme. According to the Journal Gazette, one of the accused conspirators executed the scheme with the help of the other, a Walmart employee, and together they purchased phones by creating fake accounts for false customers. They then sold the phones, making a total of around $15,000.

One of the arrestees was charged with forgery, fraud and theft and one count of corrupt business influence and misdemeanour resisting law enforcement, while the other was charged with 11 counts of fraud and one count of corrupt business influence.

Wave of iPhone robberies in The Bronx

A crew operating in the New York City borough of The Bronx has stolen more than a dozen iPhones directly from people’s hands and back pockets. According to CBS New York, the people executing the thefts are between 15 and 18 years old. 

Police using iPads in “bait boxes” to catch package thieves

Police departments in the Seattle area, seeking to deal with the problem with package theft heading into the holidays, have begun placing “bait boxes” in front of homes, complete with iPads that help track the false packages. According to Q13, police have already successfully used the tactic on four occasions.


Reminder this week we are bought to you by

Microseconds re Mikah Sargent


Story 4

Apple opens security bug bounty to all researchers

A revamped Apple Security Bounty sees the company setting out much higher rewards for anyone finding bugs in its software, especially in beta releases. It also now covers all Apple operating systems, and no longer requires an invitation.

Following its unveiling back in August, the revamped Apple Security Bounty has been launched and is effective from today. It’s a reward system designed to encourage people to find and report bugs. 

While Apple has had such a program since 2016, it was limited in scope and would pay out a maximum of $200,000. Now that ceiling is generally $1 million, but Apple will also pay a further 50% if the bug is found in beta software and so can be fixed before public release.

“Bounty payments are determined by the level of access or execution obtained by the reported issue, modified by the quality of the report,” says Apple on its developer website. “Issues that are unique to designated developer or public betas, including regressions, can result in a 50% additional bonus if the issues were previously unknown to Apple.”

As well as the bounty, Apple will publicly acknowledge the discoverer of the bug and says that if the reward is donated to a qualifying charity, it will match that donation. The qualifying charities are those listed on the Benevity Causes website.

The rewards in the newly expanded Apple Security Bounty are significant for more than just their size. Apple has previously been seen to offer below industry rates, and also to make bug reporting unnecessarily hard. Now it exceeds both Microsoft’s maximum and Google’s, too.


Reminder this week we are bought to you  by



Story 5

Apple sold $6 billion worth of AirPods in 2019. Even more next year

AirPods could be Apple’s biggest hit since iPhone.

Apple is doing extremely well out of AirPods right now.

One analyst thinks 2019 sales will reach $6 billion.

And 2020 will be even bigger for AirPods.

2019 saw Apple’s AirPods sales double, bringing $6 billion into the company according to Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein (via CNBC). And things look even more promising for 2020.

The analyst notes that Apple could sell as many as 85 million AirPods next year – amounting to around $15 billion in revenue for the year. Saccanaghi also points out that if the growth continues into 2021 AirPods will become Apple’s third-largest business.

The strength of AirPods this holiday season is made clear when you see the difficulty stores are having when trying to keep stock levels high. Apple itself is struggling to provide AirPods and AirPods Pro to customers before Christmas and it’s been that way for some time.


Story 6 ~ Entertainment

Apple TV+ signs comedy star Sharon Horgan to first-look deal

Writer and actor Sharon Horgan has signed a deal with Apple TV+ that gives Apple first refusal on all her future works for an unspecified number of years.

Apple orders second season of ‘Mythic Quest’ before series’ official launch

Even though “Mythic Quest” won’t premiere until February 7, Apple has already ordered a second season to be produced.

“Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” is centred around a team of video game developers as they navigate the challenges of running a popular video game. The show is being exclusively released to Apple’s Apple TV+.

The show is written by Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, known for their work on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” McElhenney will star as the fictional company’s creative director. 


Story 7 

Apple earned 66% of the entire smartphone market’s profits in 2019

Research claims that while the entire market’s smartphone profits declined by around a tenth in 2019, Apple continued to dominate with 66% of all profits and the nearest competitor being Samsung on just 17%.

The global profits from cell phone sales fell by 11% in the third quarter of 2019, earning companies an estimated total of $12 billion. Apple has again dominated those profits, though, earning a reported 66% or almost $8 billion. When compared to revenue instead of profits, Apple remains in the lead with 32%.

According to Counterpoint Research, the remaining 34% of profits was chiefly divided between Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiami. Of all of these, Samsung was the closest to Apple, but it only earned 17% of the profits.


Story 8 

So I read a post on iMore about a Tweet from MacStories about a thread spotted by MacRumors that ….

It Goes ~ There are some things you don’t expect to wake up too. Flood. Fire. Brimstone. People sniffing AirPods Pro. Things like that. Yet I came across one of those over my morning coffee. Can you guess which one it was?

Unbelievably, it seems some people have been sniffing AirPods Pro and finding that they have a subtle aroma. One that reminds them of blueberries. At least, that’s what the people of the internet have been saying.

This whole thing reminds me of people licking their Nintendo Switch cartridges because people told them they tasted bad. And I didn’t understand that, either.

So here I am. Writing about people sniffing their AirPods Pro and smelling blueberries. And pondering exactly which life decisions brought me here.

And not having a pair myself I rang around and this was confirmed by several wearers.


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