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Meeting Notes from November 19, 2012

posted Dec 1, 2012, 9:27 PM by Robert Brown


[A set of links to current stories is shown below the end of the meeting notes.]

Management shakeup!

Scott Forstall, John Browett leaving Apple as senior execs... likely at the request of Apple's other management.

Rumor that Forstall's departure was predicated by a refusal to apologise for the iOS Maps issues. More credence to the notion that Forstall was getting harder to work with.

He was called more Jobs-like than anyone currently at Apple...

Lots of folks regarding this as Tim Cook putting his stamp on the company.

This is NOT Steve Jobs' company anymore.

New hardware!

Mac mini, iMac, 13" Retina MacBook Pro

Rumor that iMac wouldn't be available until January?  Counter-rumor is that they're still on schedule for Nov-Dec.

iPad mini and iPad (4th Generation)

Macworld Expo registration is now open!

Sign up for the iFan pass (the exhibits and second level conferences), and get a free Wednesday workshop.

Palo Alto Apple store is now open, after its redesign. New store half a block away from the 

Place is a good bit louder than the old store. The ceiling is apparently a parabolic dome, reflecting the sound back at the floor.

we're sure they'll redesign it at some point.

Apple stock has been going wild.

Down 23% total, from its high of $700 to around $525.

Nobody give a good reason for the drop, saying it's more likely due to profit-taking in the face of the Federal fiscal cliff.

Looks promising, since this morning saw rumours that a Federal compromise was in the works, and Apple shot up nearly $40.


Apple and Google are considering arbitration over FRAND patents.

Apple and HTC have settled all their issues.

Samsung vows to fight to the end, and wants to see the details of the Apple/HTC deal.

A British judge ordered Apple to post that Samsung didn't copy Apple in public.

Microsoft Office has some notable security patches. All should be installed if you use any Microsoft software.

Java and Flash have similar critical security updates.

Apple Updates:

iOS 6.0.1, Aperture, Safari, iBooks, all given updates.

iTunes 11, promised for October, will be out end of November (or later) instead.

The Good Fellas heist!

A group of people stole two pallets of iPads from JFK airport, in an almost exact replica of the heist in the movie "Good Fellas"... in the same warehouse the movie was set in!

One JFK worker is already being seriously questioned for spending nearly a day asking "are there any spare forklifts I can use??"

Windows 8 head Steven Sinofsky is leaving Microsoft, and Paul Otellini is leaving Intel.

So Apple is not the only one having management shakeups.

Apparently Windows 8 migration seems to be very slow and extremely cautious.

Steve Ballmer still seems a bit delusional.

He stated the problem in the tablet space is that nobody has made a tablet that anyone wants to buy.

... and Windows Surface Tablet would change that.

AT&T is now allowing its customers to use FaceTime if they have: 1) an LTE-capable phone and 2) any phone plan besides the original "unlimited" data plan.

They don't allow the Unlimited people to use tethering, either. Sounds like they're trying everything they can to get people off of old plans.

Rumor floating that Apple might drop Intel chips in favour of ... something else.  ARM based Apple designs, most likely.

No evidence one way or the other, and such a transition would need at least 3 years anyway.

Comment that users WANT a tower with an Intel chip. They won't buy a tower without them.

Perhaps Apple is dropping the pro users? Not entirely. Tim promised a tower sometime in the Spring.

It would make sense that laptops could use an Apple-designed chip, though.

Main presentation: Dan Frakes, Senior Editor at Macworld Magazine!

We were going to talk about Mac Gems, but Apple just sort'a went crazy with new products in the last few weeks.

So let's talk about the new models, and then take a bunch of questions.

It was only the end of July when Apple released Mountain Lion.  New version of OS X.

September... and now Mountain Lion feels old. They've had two press conferences since then, and they've swapped out most of the Apple products.

Maps were a pretty big issue. Word is that Apple's worst circumstance was in Europe. Best was in China, where they don't like Google Maps as much. (Apple licensed the data from official sources there)

The iPhone 5 came out, with larger screen, better CPU, better camera (working with the better CPU) and a new Lightning connector on it. Just a general upgrade/improvement across the board. Not anything really stunningly new or innovative... just better. Same with the iPod Touch.

Camera in the iPod Touch hasn't really been a very good photo camera.  The new one, while it still isn't as good as the iPhone, is a decently good one now.

iPod Nano seems more like the old design, instead of the little tiny touch square from last year. You could view it more like a smaller, cheaper Touch rather than a Shuffle with a screen. The FM radio is pretty good, too.

Apple's new headphones (the earPods) are a solid improvement, but still not as good as a decent-quality professional set. Certainly a full headphone set are going to beat out most any earbud set. Only the earPods with the iPhone have the in-line controls, though.

and Shuffles. No real change there.

Then October came around.  New Macs!

iMac is redesigned to give a crazy-thin edge on it. Drawbacks are that it's not that thin in the rest of the machine, and has no optical drive.

Does it still have a fan? Yes, but that's apparently the only moving part left in the thing (apart from the HDD).

13" MacBook Pro with Retina display looks very nice, with a great screen, though not as fast as the 15" Retina. No dedicated graphics in the 13, unlike the 15. SSD gumstick only, non-replaceable battery, non-upgradeable RAM.

and the Mac mini. Identical to the previous model, but with the USB3 and faster CPU.

The iMac and the Mac mini also have a new thing called a Fusion Drive. It takes a standard HDD drive (with the capacity for lots of files) and a standard SSD drive (with the speed of solid state) and combined them in software into a single drive volume. Frequently used stuff gets moved to the SSD for fast use and access. Lesser used files and applications are moved to the HDD for longer-term storage.

If you have Mountain Lion, it is possible to merge these two on your own machine to create your own Fusion drive, using some special reformatting commands. (Directions are posted on

This is NOT the same as a hybrid drive. Those are single hardware items with flash and HDD built into a single device. Fusion is a software generated option.

Available in the portables? No. Fusion requires two physical drives.

Two hard drives or two SSDs --> use RAID 0 formatting. This has been pretty standard.

One hard drive + one SSD --> Fusion drive.

All of these Macs have USB3 on them, so you can get pretty fast speeds from an external USB3 drive. That's another option.

Are the drives upgradable? Technically yes -- it's possible, but not easy. (except in the Mac mini).

Is the RAM upgradable? No. these are soldered onto the logic board.

How much RAM should I get? General advice is to get as much as you can afford.

And then the iPads were announced.

iPad 4. Sorry, 4th Generation iPad.  Same screen, same size, same memory. But this one has new CPU and graphics chips. Realistically it now has enough power to drive the Retina screen, with room to spare, unlike the 3rd gen. Newer camera too, which (like the iPhone 5) has better image processing. LTE and WiFi are also improved, and theoretically faster.

iPad mini is out, too, roughly merging the features of the iPad 2 (screen, CPU) with the iPad 4 (camera, wireless). No retina display, but that's mitigated by the smaller and lighter size of the mini. 

Which would you recommend for people? If you do a lot of content generation, or use the on-screen keyboard, then the iPad 4 is best. If you want it more for reading or travel, then the mini works better. Gaming could go either way. 

Does the mini still have a GPU? No, it only uses Intel Integrated 4000. Highest resolutions can slow it down, but it takes effort to hit those marks. 30% faster than last year's 3000. Aperture runs okay on it, though obviously not as good as it would be on an iMac.

Apple TV was updated in March, when they added 1080p. Not much by hardware, but Apple has been steadily adding features in software as new channels come into the last THREE Apple TVs via software updates. Add the AirPlay connectivity,  and it really doesn't need much more.

What about the tower? Really only used for high-end throughput stuff. No updates there, but it hasn't meant much since Intel hasn't updated their high-end chips much in the last year or two.

If anyone has thoughts or comments, see, and email


How about a new high-res desktop screen?  What, like a desktop-scale Retina display?  That has a ways to go.

Remember that any new displays from Apple will be Thunderbolt.

Note that Monoprice is buying high-res displays, putting them into a plastic case, and plan to sell them with a DisplayPort connector for $500.  They claim it's the same display that Apple uses in the Thunderbolt display.

Could I stream video to a Mac mini?  Not with Apple's AirPlay software, but some third-party programs can. AirServer and Reflection are prime programs for this. Most folks are expected to use an AppleTV and a TV set instead.

Open Source presentation

Tor network and Onion Browser, for anonymous browsing.

What is this? A way to do Internet surfing from somewhere that's extremely difficult to trace back to you. You sign up on a Tor network, and you're redirected (proxied) to a random computer somewhere else in the network, and you connect to the Web through there. Add in a lot of blocking mechanisms for callbacks and cookies, and it's nearly impossible to get to you.

When you first turn on Onion Browser, it takes a LOT of time - at least 5-10 minutes - to log into the Tor network, because you're bouncing between a lot of machines in the process. The latency is very large, so all browsing can be very slow. Some countries block Tor entirely, and some countries consider it illegal and an arrestable offence.

Preferences allows you change the user client setting ("spoofing") so you appear as either a Mac running Safari or a Windows 7 machines running Firefox. Good for misleading, but can cause trouble if that web server sends you a special page meant for that particular browser software.

Does this help with MAC address spoofing? Not at all.

There are still a few security things that can happen with this. HTML video can still leak where you're coming from.

Rumor has it that this was originally set up by the US Navy to allow secure communications from other countries. Another rumour has it that this was originally to help dissidents in contested countries (like the Arab Spring). The EFF funded the project for a time.

group Q&A 

Q: using Quicktime to record audio tapes. I want to burn this to a CD, but the option is grayed out.

A: does Quicktime offer this?  QT Player doesn't, and the Finder only burns general files.

iTunes will burn a playlist to an Audio CD if you set up the music in its own playlist. You can then choose File: Burn Playlist to Disc. If the playlist is longer than an hour, 

It's an MOV file.

Oh, that's a different issue. iTunes thinks that's a video file, and it won't translate the file into an audio version for burning. You'll need to use a third party program like Garage Band to save just the audio track. Quicktime 7 (and maybe Quicktime X) will have a way to export the movie or extract an isolated sound track from the movie as an MP3 file.

How can I handle Contacts with multiple numbers... say, 2-3 mobile numbers? I want to mark one as Her Mobile and one as His Mobile.

One suggestion: three cards. One for each person, with personal stuff, then one with them as a pair for unified stuff.

Another possibility: put a custom label for the phone numbers. Syncing may not work well with those.

Another possibility: add an alpha suffix on the end of the phone number. Address Book will save it. If you dial it, those alphas may dial as well, but the phone call is already going through at that point, so it doesn't matter.

Is there a difference in recording quality on the iPod touch or iPad if I use an external microphone vs. the internal microphone?

Data quality is likely to be the same, unless you're using a different app to do the recording (that's the app's decision).

Physical quality is going to be dramatically different, depending on the quality of the microphone you're using. More expensive microphones, even for the iPod or iPhone, will provide better sound.

How about between the iPhone, iPad, and touch?

Newer devices will have better microphones, but they're still more designed for close distances. A decent external will trump the internals every time.

Has anyone seen a problem printing Address Book labels (from Address Book) then can't get the contacts back to alphabetic order?

No sign in this crowd.  Recommend you submit this to Apple Feedback. (

If you're an Apple developer, you can submit such bugs directly to Apple's bug system.

Don't just post on the forums. Apple may not be able to respond or deal with something unless it's been officially submitted through one of the above channels.

Watch out for Apple's Black Friday offers on Friday, Nov 23.

There will be no advance notice, and the deals won't be fantastic, but it's likely to be more offers than Apple offers any other day of the year.

Keep watch on Apple's Refurb section, too. Good - and varying - deals all year long!

Tip for iPad 1 people: this does not take iOS 6. As more iOS apps get updated, they'll not be usable on your iPad. (older iPhones, too). A recommendation is to save a copy of the current (working!) version of the apps for safe keeping. Right-click on an app and choose "Show in Finder", then drag a copy off to a safe place.  If an app has just been replaced with a newer (non-working) version, you may still be able to grab the old version from your Trash.

Does this mean I can keep both the old and new versions of an app in iTunes?  No. iTunes will only work with one version at a time. If you have two devices with diverging support like this, we recommend creating two separate iTunes folders/indexes, which you can swap between by holding the option key down while starting iTunes on your Mac. Yes, this is complex.


Management Shake up

Apple - Press Info - Apple Announces Changes to Increase Collaboration Across Hardware, Software & Services

Apple Executive Refused to Sign Maps Apology -

Welcome to the Jony Ive Era at Apple - John Paczkowski - News - AllThingsD

Make no mistake: it’s Tim Cook’s Apple now — Apple News, Tips and Reviews

Analyst: Management Shakeup Good for Apple - The Mac Observer

Behind Silicon Valley's Un-Retirement of Apple's Bob Mansfield - John Paczkowski - News - AllThingsD


New iPads, and Macs (& S/ware)

Apple - Press Info - Apple Introduces iPad mini

Apple - Press Info - Apple Sells Three Million iPads in Three Days

PC Magazine names 13-inch MacBook Pro Editor's Choice | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Mac mini gains Ivy Bridge CPU, up to 16GB of RAM with Apple's latest update

Apple's new Fusion Drive debuts in latest iMacs, Mac minis

Apple - Press Info - All-New iMac Features Stunning Design, Brilliant Display & Faster Performance

iBooks 3.0 now available, adds iCloud purchase support, scrolling theme


Macworld/ iWorld

Macworld / iWorld Opens Registration for 2013 Event - The Mac Observer


Palo Alto Store Back (Renovated)

New Prototype Apple Store To Open In Palo Alto This Saturday | Cult of Mac


Stock has been down quite a bit - up quite a lot, today

Pawtucket Times - News from the Associated Press

What's eating Apple? The analysts weigh in - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Tech

Apple, its mojo and Doug Kass - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Tech

Apple Shares: 11.07.2012 - Mac OS Ken: The Posterous Edition

Foxconn Struggles with iPhone 5 Demand - The Mac Observer

AAPL: RBC, JP Morgan Upbeat; Stock’s Corrected, Says Kass - Tech Trader Daily -


Apple Earnings Results

Apple - Press Info - Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results


Lawsuits continue, but maybe a glimmer of hope for peace 

Apple, Google Consider Arbitration Over Standard Patents - Bloomberg

Apple - Press Info - HTC and Apple Settle Patent Dispute

Judge to review whether foreman in Apple v. Samsung hid info | Apple - CNET News

Japanese court tosses Samsung claims against Apple | Electronista

Apple and UK Judge, re Samsung

Apple loses appeal of UK ruling in patent case against Samsung

 After website shenanigans, Apple forced to pay Samsung’s legal fees in UK court case | 9to5Mac


MSFT patches for Office 2008 and 2011

Microsoft Patches Security Holes in Office 2008 & 2011 for Mac - The Mac Observer


Apple Updates

Apple promotes Java 6 SE fix through Software Update | MacNN  (Zero Day …..) 10/16

Apple Updates MacBook Air  & Pro S/ware (June 2012)

Apple Releases MacBook Air & MacBook Pro Update 2.0 - The Mac Observer

Apple Updates iOS - 6.01

Apple Fixes iPhone 5 Bug That Prevents OTA Software Updates | Gadget Lab |

iPhoto, Aperture, and Safari all get updates | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple updates Final Cut Pro X & iBooks Author with new features | 9to5Mac

a Delayed Apple Update

iTunes 11 delayed into 'end of November' | Apple - CNET News


Thieves steal 3,600 iPad Minis - and then get caught

Thieves steal 3,600 iPad minis from JFK airport | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

JFK worker found to be involved in $1.5M iPad heist from earlier this week | 9to5Mac


Windows 8 May not be doing so well AND Sinofsky Out

U.S. consumers hesitant to make switch to Windows 8

Windows Head Steven Sinofsky to Leave Microsoft - Ina Fried - News - AllThingsD

PC Sales Could Decline 'For Years To Come,' Analyst Says - Forbes

The Verge shows Microsoft Office on iPhone | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer On Apple - Business Insider


iTunes now accepting donations for the American Red Cross Sandy relief efforts | 9to5Mac

Apple Donates $2.5 Million for Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief

Apple Donates $2.5 Million for Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief - The Mac Observer


AT&T Backtracks on FaceTime Limitations - 

AT&T decides to offer FaceTime over cellular, but only on LTE devices with tiered data plans (update: sometimes on 3G) -- Engadget


Pixar Names building after Steve Jobs

Pixar names building after Steve Jobs | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog


Apple Might Drop Intel from Macs?

Apple Mulls Dropping Intel for Macs - The Mac Observer


Newsweek Goes all Digital

Newsweek goes all-digital, will cease print publishing at end of 2012 | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog


Phil Schiller clarifies iPad mini has stereo speakers following Amazon’s Kindle comparison | 9to5Mac