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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: We present freelance writer and podcaster Peter Cohen. He covers the “Error 53” controversy, involving iPhone 6-family handsets that have had Touch ID sensors repaired or replaced by unauthorized service shops. When you try to update the smartphones, they stop working and display that obtuse error. Although Apple maintains the move was done for the customer’s protection, it has already sparked threats of class-action lawsuits. Peter will also talk about the fourth-generation Apple TV and whether some might have expected too much from it. And what about Apple’s so-far moribund attempts to start a TV subscription service?

    You’ll also hear from prolific author and commentator Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus. After he and Gene have a brief chat about Texas culture and cuisine, the discussion moves to the “Error 53” controversy and Bob’s take on it. He also talks about cable cord-cutting, admitting that he would actually like to shut off his cable TV service if he could replace the programming in other ways. Bob also details the course he’s taking in online marketing, and his plans to write a book on how to stop procrastinating when you’re trying to get work done with your Mac. He’ll also introduce his new recording and petition to persuade Apple to overhaul iTunes, entitled “iTunes Must Die!” You’ll hear an excerpt of the recording during the episode; we’ll present the full song in stereo exclusively in the version of the show posted for members of Tech Night Owl+.

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    The OS Update Dilemma

    February 5th, 2016

    Editor’s Note: I missed a few deadlines due to a nasty flu virus, so I’m playing catch up. I’ve got lots to write about, though, so stay tuned.

    Now we know that Windows 10’s upgrade pace has been  slow but steady. Sure, Microsoft claims that over 200 million PCs were upgraded as of January. It sounds like a huge figure, but don’t forget that the Windows user base is 1.5 billion. So it’s not nearly as compelling as you might think.

    It’s not that Microsoft isn’t doing everything possible to push updates. It’s free for consumers, at least until the time when it won’t be. They even downloaded the installer in the background on an unknown number of PCs, without your permission, so you’d take the hint. More recently, they claimed that many PC buyers of equipment with the new Intel Skylake chips must use Windows 10 for full compatibility even if they prefer Windows 7 or, perish forbid, Windows 8/8.1. But they’ve also distributed a list of products that can escape that requirement.

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    So Was the iPhone 6s Refresh Not Compelling Enough?

    February 2nd, 2016

    That Apple sold over 13 million new iPhones the first week the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus went on sale last September seemed promising enough. It fed the expectation of continued rapid sales growth for the iPhone. But after the needs of the early adopters were met, it appears that sales growth has stalled. The iPhone barely grew in the December quarter and sales are fated to fall in the current quarter.

    So was something wrong with the iPhone refresh? Was it not significant enough?

    That’s one argument, but it doesn’t hold up so well. You see, Apple has upgraded the iPhone on an alternate-year basis since the beginning. One year, it’s the same case design with new hardware features, and the following year the case is changed. In the case of the former, the critics routinely claim that, since it looks the same, an iPhone refresh isn’t refreshed enough regardless of what’s changed.

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    Newsletter Issue #844: The Nature of Getting TV Right

    February 1st, 2016

    Apple is interested in the living room. Apple wants to conquer the living room. That appears obvious from what Tim Cook has said on the subject. As soon as Apple expresses interest in anything, you know that loads of money are being poured into development for — well, something or other. But what that something might be has been the subject of plenty of guessing, and only one product has been released, at least so far.

    When the late Steve Jobs boasted of having cracked the secret of the best TV interface ever, an Apple “Smart” TV set was widely expected, and expected. But it never arrived despite the rumors of prototypes and possible configurations. Eventually stories appeared that Apple decided to give it all up. All this about something whose existence had never been confirmed in the first place.

    So just how was Apple planning to conquer the living room? Just another Apple TV? Well, that may have seemed the case in light of the release of the fourth generation model last fall. But in large part, Apple seemed to be playing mostly catch up with a more expensive product. So there were apps, and there was voice command, courtesy of Siri. But that wasn’t especially unique. What’s more, two other streamers, the Amazon Fire TV and Roku 4, supported 4K video. But not Apple.

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    About Apple Product Cycles

    January 29th, 2016

    Amid all the concerns about flat and falling iPhone sales, Apple has seemed somewhat predictable in recent years. This is particularly true with the iPhone, where there’s a major refresh with a new case design one year, and a “minor” refresh with internal changes the following year.

    Although the actual improvements in an off-year iPhone may have been more extensive, the general perception is that, if it looks the same, the changes don’t amount to much. Other than economic headwinds around the globe, is the lack of compelling new features one reason that sales of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus aren’t growing as fast as their predecessor? I suppose, but it’s also true that most people don’t upgrade smartphones every year. The traditional two-year contracts have resulted in comparable cycles.

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