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    A PREMIUM TECH NIGHT OWL LIVE EXPERIENCE! Welcome to Tech Night Owl+! For a low monthly or annual subscription fee, you will receive access to an ad-free higher-resolution version of The Tech Night Owl LIVE and other exclusive content. For more information and simple signup instructions, click here.

    DOWNLOAD — Free Version: On this week’s all-star episode, we present outspoken commentator and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” During this episode, Gene will recount his frightening experience, when his car was totaled as a result of being struck at high speed by a truck. The discussion continues with Kirk’s progress report on his home-built faux Mac clone, which is usually referred to as a Hackintosh. Was it all worth it, or is it better to buy a real Apple Macintosh and not put up with things that just won’t work without lots of baby-sitting? You’ll also hear Kirk’s skeptical comments about whether he’s interested in buying a new Mac, and about Apple’s forthcoming speaker/digital assistant known as HomePod, which will ship later in 2017.

    You’ll also hear from columnist Rob Pegoraro, who writes for USA Today, Yahoo Finance, Consumer Reports, Wirecutter and other publications. During this segment, Rob will recount his problems with a broken Google Nexus 5x, which succumbed to a known hardware defect, and why he bought a Pixel phone as its replacement, since he favors Android over iOS. Gene recounts his concern with the recent review of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 at Consumer Reports; Rob doesn’t do reviews there. He’ll also talk about his next computer, a 21.5-inch iMac with 4K Retina display. You’ll also hear a brief report on China’s version of the CES. The discussion will move to the productivity possibilities for an iPad, or the lack thereof, Apple’s forthcoming move to overhaul the Mac Pro, and the prospects for the iMac Pro, due to arrive in December of 2017 at a starting price of $4,999.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — June 24, 2017

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    Apple, In-house GPUs, and the Consequences

    June 23rd, 2017

    Apple has made huge progress in using its own silicon to power its mobile gear. The A-series processors, based on ARM silicon, are capable of performance that rivals traditional notebook personal computers with Intel Inside. Recent benchmarks of the 2017 iPad Pro reveal numbers that are faster than the latest MacBook and at least competitive with a MacBook Pro.

    Indeed, some suggest that Apple is missing the boat by not ditching Intel and switching to its own chips. But this is a really complicated issue, and it’s also true that Intel is making progress in making their chips run a decent amount faster. The Kaby Lake CPUs used in the latest Mac notebooks exceed the performance of their predecessors by decent margins. So it may not be time now — or ever — for Apple to consider another processor migration.

    That said, up till now, Apple has licensed designs from Imagination Technologies to provide the GPUs for such gear as iPhones and iPads. The UK firm receives royalties from the sale of these products. That these devices score well in benchmarks does indicate that the association has been productive. Until now.

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    The World of the Hackintosh Revisited

    June 22nd, 2017

    So eight years ago, Macworld columnist Rob Griffiths decided to take a stab at building an unofficial Mac clone. With Apple’s switch to Intel processors in 2006, it seemed logical that you could do such a thing, take generic PC parts and somehow induce them to run Apple’s OS, and many have tried. Rob called his completed computer a “FrankenMac.” Overall it worked, well mostly, but the setup process required lots of babysitting and false starts.

    But that was early in the game. Over the years, building a Hackintosh has become easier to manage, largely because there are online communities that specialize in testing PC hardware of compatibility and devising the best ways to install macOS. So if you choose the recommended hardware, you stand a decent chance of building a mostly usable computer.

    I say mostly, and you’ll see why in a moment. You see, the big problem is that macOS is tightly integrated with a specific number of Macs with certain hardware configurations. Where you have the option — and it’s one not often available anymore — you can install third-party RAM and maybe even a third-party drive. None of that should present a compatibility problem.

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    Looking Down at an iPhone: It Changed My Life

    June 21st, 2017

    When Steve Jobs demonstrated the first iPhone at a Macworld Expo on January 9, 2007, I was only half listening. To me, a cell phone was all about making phone calls. Their web browsers and email tools were clunky, clumsy, and how can you type quickly on a telephone keypad?

    At the time, I would cast a curious look at my son, Grayson, while his thumbs busily typed text messages to his friends. Clearly he knew something, but I wasn’t sure it was worth taking seriously. He’d grow out of it, I thought. But that’s what parents always say about their children.

    When the iPhone 3G arrived in 2008, I had the chance to get one from Apple to review. In addition to supporting 3G cellular networks, the Apple Store had debuted. When the first iPhone arrived, Jobs talked in terms of web apps, which went precisely nowhere. Having a real app store, with software that ran natively on the iPhone, created a revolution for developers.

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    Consumer Reports and its Samsung Disconnect

    June 20th, 2017

    So Consumer Reports has finally issued its verdict on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+. Both score 82 on the current ratings scale, placing them at the top of the heap. Plenty of praise was heaped on the phone, except for its lack of a removable battery, a difficult-to-access memory card, and then there’s that fingerprint sensor!

    Instead of being on the front, in the spirit of Apple’s Touch ID, it’s at the rear. The reason appears to be due to the difficulty of embedding such a sensor beneath the AMOLED display. This design decision fueled unconfirmed rumors that Apple had encountered the same problem, and would the forced to make the same placement decision for Touch ID on the rumored iPhone 8, which is rumored to also sport an edge-to-edge display.

    But recent iPhone 8 rumors indicates Apple won’t have that problem, and there will be an embedded Touch ID in its usual spot.

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