June 30, 2018 — Rene Ritchie and Louryn Strampe

This week we present commentator Rene Ritchie from iMore.  During this episode, Rene will offer a detailed overview of Apple’s iOS 12, based on a lengthy preview article he wrote recently. iOS 12 is now available for download as a public beta, for release this fall. You’ll learn about all the clever programming tricks Apple’s developers used to make the new mobile OS run noticeably faster, especially on older gear, going as far back as the iPhone 6. While most of the new features are largely under the surface, there are a number of useful innovations. As part of an effort to boost Siri’s accuracy, reliability and usability, Apple has launched Siri Shortcuts, which allows you to automate functions and activate them by voice. You’ll also learn about macOS Mojave, and why Gene is not able to install it on his 2010 MacBook Pro due to Apple’s design decisions.

You’ll also go shopping with Thrifter’s Louryn Strampe as she offers a tech preview of Amazon Prime Day. This is the event where Amazon offers a whole range of special discounts for alert shoppers. Louryn is a senior editor with Thrifter (Mobile Nation’s deal-tracking news site) and she’s a former deals specialist with BFAds. This episode doesn’t just focus on Amazon Prime, but on how Thrifter seeks out online bargains that can save you lots of money, plus verify that the offers are genuine and come from reliable companies. Gene and Louryn tour the site, covering different categories of merchandise, plus the site’s newsletters, blogs and other features. The shopping tour includes Gene’s search for a bargain for his pet bichon’s favorite dog food, plus information about a one-day offer where a highly-rated TV set was heavily discounted.

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June 23, 2018 — Major General Earl D. Mathews and Joe Wilcox

This week we present a special featured encore episode in which we invite you to meet Major General (Ret) Earl D. Matthews: He spent three decades at the nexus of big budgets and cybersecurity, including stints as Director, Cyberspace Operations and Chief Information Security Officer at HQ, U.S. Air Force, and VP for Enterprise Security Solutions at Hewlett-Packard. In his current role as Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer at Verodin, Inc., he champions the concept of security instrumentation, a process that continuously validates the effectiveness of each security element in place. During this episode, he’ll cover a gamut of cybersecurity issues that include the privacy issues at Facebook, the DNC hack, along with managing your personal privacy at a time when tens of millions of Americans have had their credit reports hacked. Major General Matthews will also reveal two episodes of ID theft that impacted his own family.

You’ll also hear from tech columnist and former industry analyst Joe Wilcox, who writes for BetaNews. During this episode, Joe will explain why he regards Apple’s Siri voice assistant as worse than Microsoft’s Skype, despite all the connection glitches with the latter. Will hiring former Google executives help Apple make Siri more responsive and accurate, without sacrificing your security? You’ll also hear about Google I/O and Android P, and about all those fake news reports that the iPhone X was unsuccessful. For two quarters straight, however, Apple reported that the iPhone X was not only its best selling smartphone for each week it was on sale, but the hottest selling smartphone on the planet. Gene shares his 20 years experience with the iMac, which began with the original Bondi Blue model that he beta tested for Apple as part of the former Customer Quality Feedback (CQF) program. You’ll also hear about the Apple Watch and whether it makes sense for Apple to switch Macs from Intel to ARM CPUs.

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June 16, 2018 — Bryan Chaffin and Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus

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?

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June 9, 2018 — Kirk McElhearn and Jeff Gamet

This weekend our guests focus mainly on Apple’s 2018 Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) and its June 4th keynote featuring CEO Tim Cook and several members of his executive team. During that event, the wraps were taken off iOS 12, macOS 10.14 Mojave, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5; all will be released this fall. We talk about the splashy new features, and the ones that aren’t so flashy but might impact the user experience. Among the topics discussed are the planned improvements to Apple’s Siri digital assistant, which includes Siri Shortcuts, an easy automation feature reminiscent of AppleScript, and the planned performance improvements of at least 50% to older hardware that runs iOS 12. With macOS 10.14, the new Dark Mode will be profiled, along with announced Finder improvements that’ll make it easier to manage cluttered desktops on your Mac. There will also be discussions about what’s forthcoming in tvOS 12, and whether any of it is compelling, and what about the walkie-talkie feature planed for watchOS 5, which will impact Apple Watch this fall?

Our special guests include outspoken podcaster and columnist Kirk McElhearn, who also details his concerns about Skype, and a problem he encountered due to a severe lack of security protections. During the second half of the show, we feature commentator Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer, who will also talk about the experience of watching his bed-in-a-box expand to several times its size after removing it from the box and separating the plastic wrappings. Jeff will also focus some on pop culture, and the latest security problems with Facebook.

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June 2, 2018 — Peter Cohen and Josh Centers

The weekend before Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), the Night Owl assembles a panel of expert commentators to speculate on what Apple might announce. The main expected development is the launch of the newest operating systems for iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, Apple Watch and Macs. Will there be loads of new tentpole features, or, as some rumors claim, will Apple take a more measured approach, to reduce the possibility of bugs, a problem that hurt the reliability of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra. Our panel willl also speculate on whether or not Apple plans to introduce new Macs and other products. There has been speculation on both sides, mentioning at least some new hardware, or no hardware at all. What about the possibility that Apple will someday release at least some Macs using Apple’s ARM-based CPU? Is that the result of the obstacles Intel has confronted in releasing new silicon? You’ll also hear speculation about whether Apple is prepared to demonstrate its promised revision to the Mac Pro, which is expected to be released in 2019, and is the Mac mini an endangered species despite a recent statement from CEO Tim Cook that the company “loves” its smallest and cheapest Mac?

Our guest panel includes outspoken commentator and podcaster Peter Cohen, and commentator Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles, who also explains why he finds it difficult, if not impossible, to recommend any of Apple’s current Macs. Josh will also talk about the confusion surrounding all those updated privacy statements to comply with the EU’s difficult-to-understand GDPR regulations.

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