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    DOWNLOAD — Free Version: This weekend our guests include outspoken writer/editor Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer, The discussion includes Apple’s efforts to expand its AR efforts, and Gene’s concern that it probably won’t mean much unless you’re into gaming. And what sort of AR glasses might Apple devise to avoid the problems that afflicted the failed Google Glass? There is also a lengthy discussion of Apple’s TV prospects, where it is spending an estimated one billion dollars or more to create original content with well-known producers and directors. What format will Apple use to present these shows, which are expected to debut beginning in 2019? Will it be something to accompany Apple Music, thus Apple Music and TV? Or will Apple establish a totally separate streaming service for its new content? Gene expresses his skepticism that the world is ready for yet another streaming TV service what with so many available already, whereas Bryan feels it won’t be part of Apple TV.

    In a very special encore segment, you’ll also hear from long-time Apple guru and prolific author Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus, as Gene recounts yet another episode of his ongoing troubles with AT&T when he tried to take advantage of a cheap offer for DirecTV. Gene explains why he’s kept AT&T service for his iPhone even though there are other and possibly better alternatives. Bob says he switched from AT&T to T-Mobile. There’s also a brief discussion of “world backup day,” as Gene facetiously suggests that maybe the show ought to go back in time to honor the event in the proper fashion. And what about published reports that future versions of macOS and iOS might allow you to run the same apps on both? And what about recent speculation that Apple will someday ditch using Intel processors on Macs and make yet another processor move, to the same A-series ARM chips used on iPhones and iPads? Is this a reasonable possibility, or would the fact that many Mac users need to run Windows at native speeds make such a move unfeasible?

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — June 16, 2018

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    Forcing Your Apple Gear Out to Pasture

    June 7th, 2018

    When the question comes up, Apple regularly denies that it’s deliberately making, or sabotaging, older gear to become obsolete; there is no nasty planned obsolescence plot that will force you to buy a new model before its time.

    But it’s not that Apple hasn’t done things to foster that impression. It almost always seems as if the newer OS is slower than the previous one on older gear. So is Apple doing nasty stuff under the hood to make it run that way? Or is it just a matter of having more features, and exploiting the capabilities of newer hardware to do things quicker?

    There is also that notorious update, which first appeared in iOS 10, to manage a problem with sudden shut-downs on some iPhones. What Apple failed to explain at first was that this problem only occurred in units with failing batteries, and thus Apple opted to reduce peak performance to fix it. At least until the battery was replaced. But it also meant that many users would suddenly see a huge dip in performance, made crystal clear in benchmarks.

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    Newsletter Issue #966: WWDC 2018: Forget the Hardware

    June 5th, 2018

    Last week, there were contrary rumors about whether new Macs, and possibly iPads, would debut this week at the WWDC. It was largely wishful thinking, because there were few indications of impending hardware updates, but since last year’s developer event was flush with hot new gear, there was always a possibility. I even thought Apple might demonstrate the next Mac Pro, expected in 2019. But that didn’t happen either.

    This is not to say there was nothing that would impact hardware. There is a set of performance boosts for iOS 12 that will benefit many iPhone and iPad users, especially those with older hardware who have experienced slowdowns whenever major OS updates arrive.

    It’s a common theme, those slowdowns, which fuel the theory that Apple really wants you to buy new hardware, and thus throttles performance of older gear to hasten the process. It’s not just that the new OS requires more resources to effectively access new features. And this is what has caused people to expect the worst when Apple did release an iOS update that actually reduced performance on some older models.

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    Should You Believe Even Positive News About Apple?

    June 3rd, 2018

    It wasn’t so many months ago when there were loads of reports that Apple’s great experiment, the iPhone X, was a huge failure. Inventories were growing, there were major cutbacks in production. All this allegedly based on reports from the supply chain.

    Such blatant examples of fake news aren’t new. It happens almost every winter. After a December quarter and peak sales, Apple routinely cuts back on production from the March quarter. It’s not the only company to follow such seasonal trends, but somehow Apple gets the lion’s share of the attention.

    From time to time, Tim Cook schools the media about relying on a few supply chain metrics, reminding them that, even if true, it doesn’t necessarily provide a full picture of supply and demand.

    He might as well be talking to himself since he’s almost always ignored.

    In any case, the numbers from the December and March quarters painted a decidedly different picture than those rumors depicted. The iPhone X was the number one best selling smartphone on Planet Earth for every week it was on sale. I don’t know if the trend has continued, but Apple has nothing to apologize for.

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    Newsletter Issue #965: SSSSHHHH: Alexa is Listening

    May 28th, 2018

    Let me start with the Siri follies.

    With growing concern that Apple’s Siri digital assistant isn’t capable of matching the competition from Amazon and Google, there are rumors that the next WWDC will feature news of a major refresh. Last year, Apple touted that Siri would receive a new voice and machine learning, but it’s not at all certain there has been much change beyond a smoother conversational tone.

    A recent published report featured expressions of sour grapes from former Siri employees who worked at Apple, plus a claim that it worked fine when reporters tested it before it went public. But after it was launched, beginning with the iPhone 4s in 2011, Siri’s bugs were legion. Maybe it just couldn’t cope with massed requests under load.

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