October 28, 2017 — Kirk McElhearn and Jeff Gamet

This week’s guests include outspoken podcaster and commentator Kirk McElhearn. After Kirk mentions seeing a performance in a Shakespearean play by Ian McKellen, the subject turns to pop culture. Kirk isn’t a fan of super heroes, well except for The Shadow, an old radio and pulp novel character featured in a 1994 movie that starred Alec Baldwin as the titular character. Gene and Kirk discuss who might play the character if it was brought back. With Apple CEO Tim Cook making positive comments about the future of the Mac mini, the discussion moves the future of the cheapest Mac. The apparent backorder situation with Apple’s new flagship smartphone, the iPhone X, is also discussed. Gene mentions a published report that some iPhone X preorders might have been delayed because customers put freezes on their credit reports as the result of the hack at Equifax that impacted 143 million Americans.

You’ll also hear from Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. In pop culture mode, Jeff mentions The Shadow before moving to a pair of Fox TV genre shows, “The Orville,” a sci-fi series reminiscent of Star Trek with comedic elements, and “Gotham,” the Batman prequel. After Jeff admits he hasn’t kept up on the super hero shows on The CW, he explains how he got up early in the morning to place an order for an iPhone X at AT&T’s site. Although he says he appears to have been successful in placing that order, it appeared there might be glitches in AT&T’s ordering system. After a brief discussion about the iPhone X’s most controversial features, such as the “notch,” the conversation moves the future of the Mac mini. Just what sort of upgrade is Apple working on? Will it offer more powerful components to make it more suitable for use as a web server or a low-cost workstation? Does the delay in updating a product last refreshed in 2014 mean that Apple is working on a major redesign?

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October 21, 2017 — Peter Cohen and Joe Wilcox

This week’s guests include outspoken podcaster and commentator Peter Cohen. This week, Peter and Gene talk about the fate of Apple’s cheapest personal computer, the Mac mini, the downgraded 2014 version, and what sort of upgrade might be in the pipeline in light of positive comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook. Peter explains why he feels that Apple has taken the wrong direction with the mini. Gene and Peter talk about low-end printers, and about using third-party toner. A good idea? What about the Apple TV 4K? Overpriced, not compelling enough to boost sales? The segment moves into pop culture, where Gene and Peter discuss Star Trek fandom, TV super heroes and similar subjects, as Gene recalls meeting some of the stars of the original Star Trek series at a convention in 1975.

In a special encore presentation, you’ll also hear from columnist Joe Wilcox, who writes for BetaNews. He explains why he recently switched from T-Mobile to Verizon Wireless, mostly to improve coverage, but is now considering a return to the former. The discussion covers the ongoing dilemma of choosing the right carrier. And what about published reports that T-Mobile and Sprint, the two smallest carriers in the U.S., might be ready to ink a deal and merge? It’s not the first time this has been rumored. Gene and Joe will also talk about the new productivity features in iOS 11, and whether they might impact the use of the iPad as a productivity tool. There will also be a brief discussion of macOS High Sierra before the conversation moves to the Apple Watch Series 3, which comes in a version with LTE so you can use it to make phone calls without connecting it to an iPhone. Does this big step now liberate the Apple Watch so it can do most things all by itself? Does the future take us away from a big smartphone to a tiny smartwatch?

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October 14, 2017 — Josh Centers and Bryan Chaffin

This episode focuses heavily on Apple TV 4K and Apple’s reported efforts to provide original TV content. Tech journalist Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles, will explain why he is not buying the newest Apple TV. There is an extensive discussion of the state of cord-cutting, and the report that Apple has inked a deal to reboot Steve Spielberg’s anthology series from the 1980s, “Amazing Stories.” Just how does Apple plan to offer this 10-episode show, via Apple Music, separate downloads, a new streaming service? Does the world need another source of streaming TV? There will also be a discussion about Movies Anywhere, a free service that integrates movies and TV shows from several major studios.

You’ll also hear from Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer. In this episode, Brian will also talk about the Apple TV 4K and whether it can have any impact in the set-top box market, currently led by Roku. In discussing iOS 11, released in late September, Bryan explains how the new Control Center delivers misleading messages to users. So the act of turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi doesn’t actually turn those services off. Gene explains one of the actual reasons for the slower iOS 11 adoption rate, and he also talks about his offbeat methods for handling unsolicited phone calls, and about a visit by a UPS days after they left a Vizio TV set, sent by the company’s PR department for review, on the open patio of Gene’s Arizona apartment. Was that the responsible thing to do?

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October 7, 2017 — John Martellaro and Kirk McElhearn

We present outspoken columnist John Martellaro, Senior Editor, Analysis & Reviews for The Mac Observer. This week, Gene and John have an extensive discussion about the Apple TV 4K, and 4K TV. Did you know, for example, that not all 4K movies are really 4K? They are actually upscaled HD movies, and is that why Apple got the movie studios to agree to offer them at the same price as 1080P John explains why Apple TV will remain a “hobby” and its future prospects as a streaming set-top box that costs more than the competition. But what if it provides a safer experience to customers who are willing to pay the price? You’ll also hear about Tim Cook, and whether or not he’s a product visionary, and whether he needs to be for today’s Apple. And what about all those glitches reported with Apple’s new file system, APFS?

You’ll also hear from commentator and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, who will also discuss the Apple TV 4K, and why he returned the one he ordered — without ever nothing to open the box. He’ll also talk about the fact that not of Apple’s 4K movies are 4K, and about the downsides of cable cord cutting, such as having to pay for lots of separate services if you want to watch a wide range of TV programming. Gene explains what happened to a 4K TV that Vizio sent him to review, and where the delivery person placed it because nobody answered the door at Gene’s home. Even though Kirk prefers the iPhone SE for its size and convenience, he explains why he purchased an iPhone 8 Plus, and why he was not going to wait for the arrival of the flagship and costly iPhone X. There will also be a discussion about ongoing problems with APFS and macOS High Sierra.

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September 30, 2017 — Rob Pegoraro and Kirk McElhearn

We present columnist Rob Pegoraro, who writes for USA Today, Yahoo Finance, Consumer Reports, Wirecutter and other publications. During this segment, Rob will discuss his recent experience driving a Cadillac CT-6 equipped with a cruise control option that allowed him to travel to Cleveland, and not have to touch the steering wheel during a long stretch on an Interstate highway. Is this a major step towards autonomous driving? Gene and Rob will also discuss reports of problems with the initial releases of macOS High Sierra, and iOS 11. And what about cable/satellite cord cutting? How do you cope with more and more services that charge separate fees, and how will that impact your ISP’s bandwidth cap? Gene mentions that he plans to review a new 4K set supplied by Vizio.

In a special encore presentation, you’ll also hear from columnist and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, who will join Gene in a pop culture discussion, focusing on recent movies. What about a recent newspaper report about famous singers, most recently Adelle, who are losing their voices and have to undergo delicate microsurgery to resume their careers? Are they following the wrong singing techniques? There will also be a lengthy discussion about the potential for Apple TV, and whether cord cutting makes sense. Is it possible to get all the TV shows you want with such streaming services as Netflix, or is there the danger of getting so many services and apps that you end up spending more than with a traditional cable and satellite TV package with hundreds of channels?

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