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charlesarthur : apple   1298

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Here’s what to do if you have an Apple Card and lose your iPhone • Buzzfeed News
Nicole Nguyen:
<p>Apple Card is a new cash-rewards credit card that — Apple purports — is designed to be simple and transparent. But it’s also aimed at keeping you locked into your iPhone.

There are no paper statements with the digital-first Apple Card. Unlike a traditional credit card, everything is accessed through the Wallet app on the iPhone, including transaction histories, total balances, previous statements, and payments. There’s no website to view the latest transactions made on the card or make a payment if you lose access to that Wallet app.

So, how do you pay your Apple Card bill if your iPhone is misplaced or stolen? You could always wait until you buy a new phone, or recover your old one, but a late payment would result in interest charges which, obviously, would not be ideal. Because Apple’s support website doesn’t say, BuzzFeed News posed the question to a customer service representative through Apple’s phone and text message support system (Apple Card is currently available to a limited number of people and members of the press).

According to Apple Support, your options are: 1. Use an iPad or other iOS device to access the Wallet app, or 2. Call Apple Support (not, presumably, with the phone you just lost) and a representative will connect you to an Apple Card specialist at Goldman Sachs, Apple’s bank partner. You’ll need your full name, date of birth, last four digits of your Social Security number, and the phone number associated with your account to make a payment over the phone.</p>


That's pretty clever platform lock-in. Switched to Android? Sorry, you'll have to ring up to clear your balance. Presumably you could use it like a phone-only card. Though given that the attraction about the card is meant to be that it gives you a discount on Apple purchases, it would be a trifle perverse not to use Apple kit while using an Apple card.

Personally, I have a card from a big store chain which gives me cash back on purchases; more if I use it in one of the chain's stores. So I use it a lot. It's how the incentives work.
apple  card  credit 
5 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple is locking iPhone batteries to discourage repair • iFixit
Craig Lloyd:
<p>
If you replace the battery in the newest iPhones, a message indicating you need to service your battery appears in Settings > Battery, next to Battery Health. The “Service” message is normally an indication that the battery is degraded and needs to be replaced. The message still shows up when you put in a brand new battery, however. Here’s the bigger problem: our lab tests confirmed that even when you swap in a genuine Apple battery, the phone will still display the “Service” message.

<img src=“https://valkyrie.cdn.ifixit.com/media/2019/08/07170827/iphone-battery-service.jpg” width=“100%” />

It’s not a bug; it’s a feature Apple wants. Unless an Apple Genius or an Apple Authorized Service Provider authenticates a battery to the phone, that phone will never show its battery health and always report a vague, ominous problem.

We first saw this phenomenon in a damning video from Justin at The Art of Repair, and we were able to replicate it on an iPhone XS running both iOS 12 and the iOS 13 beta. Swapping in a new genuine Apple battery from another iPhone XS resulted in the “Service” message popping up in the Battery Health section, followed by an “Important Battery Message” telling us that it’s “unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery.” Justin says this only affects the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max for the time being.</p>

The obvious reason Apple is doing this: it doesn’t want repairers swapping in shonky batteries from all over, which I know definitely happens (it happened to a family member). Those batteries can die early, or explode. Yes, it’s going to have a software button to confirm the work involves a real Apple battery. Authorised companies will get to do this.

You can view this as Apple Is Evil, or you can see it as Apple trying to protect its customers from potentially dangerous counterfeits (bad batteries can blow up in your face) and shoddy work.
iphone  apple  replacement  battery 
11 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple, Eli Lilly studying if iPhones, Apple Watches can spot dementia • CNBC
Christina Farr and Kif Leswing:
<p>Apple has been adding health features to its iPhone and smartwatch, and is now working with Eli Lilly to see if data from the devices can help spot early signs of dementia.

According to <a href="https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3292500.3330690">research published this week</a>, the two companies teamed up with health-tech start-up Evidation to find ways to more quickly and precisely detect cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s disease with the help of popular consumer gadgets.

The study, which will be discussed on Thursday at a conference in Alaska, is the first to publicly link Apple and Eli Lilly. Of the 15 authors of the paper, five work for each company with the other five representing Evidation. It’s the latest sign that Apple’s health team is investing in deep medical research with traditional pharmaceutical players.</p>
apple  health  dementia 
11 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple’s iPhone 11 release date just leaked • BGR
Zach Epstein:
<p>A new law in Japan is set to go into effect on October 1st, and it will require that wireless carriers unbundle devices and service plans. Why? Because carriers were forcing customers to pay for overpriced data plans by bundling only the most expensive plans with the most popular smartphones. When asked how the new law might impact Apple’s September iPhone launch, [SoftBank president Ken Miyauchi] had this to say (machine translated):
<p>Honestly, I am wondering what should I do for 10 days. No, I shouldn’t say that. Anyway, I don’t know when the new iPhone will be released. However, after about 10 days, it will be unbundled.</p>


Oops.

Apple always releases its new iPhones on a Friday and if we count back about 10 days from October 1st when this new unbundling law goes into effect, we land on September 20th. That’s exactly when we expected Apple to release its new iPhone 11 lineup, and now it’s all but confirmed. And with that in mind, we can expect the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Max, and iPhone 11R to be unveiled at an Apple press conference on Wednesday, September 11th, or sometime thereabouts.</p>


"Miyauchi-san? Tim Cook on the line for you." Anyway, now you know. Also: Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 is launched today, Wednesday. It's a phone and has a pen - a sentence that also used to make sense in the early 20th century, when phones had fold-out tray tables underneath where one could keep paper notes. What's old is new.
apple  iphone  release 
12 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple halts practice of contractors listening in to users on Siri • The Guardian
Alex Hern:
<p>Contractors working for Apple in Ireland said they were not told about the decision when they arrived for work on Friday morning, but were sent home for the weekend after being told the system they used for the grading “was not working” globally. Only managers were asked to stay on site, the contractors said, adding that they had not been told what the suspension means for their future employment.

The suspension was prompted by a report in the Guardian last week that revealed the company’s contractors “regularly” hear confidential and private information while carrying out the grading process, including in-progress drug deals, medical details and people having sex.

The bulk of that confidential information was recorded through accidental triggers of the Siri digital assistant, a whistleblower told the Guardian. The Apple Watch was particularly susceptible to such accidental triggers, they said. “The regularity of accidental triggers on the watch is incredibly high … The watch can record some snippets that will be 30 seconds – not that long, but you can gather a good idea of what’s going on.</p>

One week from the original report to this change. That's impressive - moreso given that Bloomberg had a weaker form of this report much earlier this year but didn't get anything like the detail. The power of newsprint: it makes a difference having something you can put on a chief executive's desk (even if you have to fly it out there).

Apple has indicated that it's eventually going to restart this, but on an opt-in basis.
apple  privacy  data  siri 
14 days ago by charlesarthur
Sky, Netflix and software • Benedict Evans
<p>Netflix isn’t using TV to leverage some other business - TV <em>is</em> the business. It’s a TV company. Amazon is using content as a way to leverage its subscription service, Prime, in much the same way to telcos buying cable companies or doing IPTV - it’s a way to stop churn. Amazon is using Lord of the Rings as leverage to get you to buy toilet paper through Prime. But Facebook and Google are not device businesses or subscription businesses. Facebook or Google won’t say ‘don’t cancel your subscription because you’ll lose this TV show’ - there is no subscription. That means the strategic value of TV or music is marginal: it’s marketing, not a lock-in.

Apple’s position in TV today is ambivalent. You can argue that the iPhone is a subscription business (spend $30 a month and get a phone every two years), and it certainly thinks about retention and renewals. The service subscriptions that it’s created recently (news, music, games) are all both incremental revenue leveraging a base of 1bn users and ways to lock those users in. But the only important question for the upcoming ‘TV Plus’ is whether Apple plans to spend $1bn a year buying content from people in LA, and produce another nice incremental service with some marketing and retention value, or spend $15bn buying content from people in LA, to take on Netflix. But of course, that’s a TV question, not a tech question.</p>


Apple seems to be aiming at somewhere between the $1bn and $15bn, but closer to the $1bn.
apple  netflix  technology 
17 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple Maps in iOS 13: sights set on Google • MacStories
Ryan Christoffel:
<p>Favorited locations are represented by an icon and color corresponding to their location type. Home and Work have house and briefcase icons in blue and brown, respectively, while restaurants will show a fork and knife on an orange background, bars a martini glass in purple, parks a tree in brown, and so on. Another important visual detail about favorites is that they each display your distance from them, or the time it would take to navigate to them. This further reinforces favorites' design purpose: Apple intends that you use them for commonly visited locations. If you simply want to mark a spot to remember for later, that's where collections shine.

Collections [new in iOS 13] are groups of locations you can save for accessing later. Like favorites, they have the benefit of being displayed more prominently on the map, so they're easy to spot at a glance, but they also offer a lot of flexibility you won't find with favorites. A collection is ultimately just a list of locations, so it can serve any purpose you need it to. You can use collections to plan upcoming vacations, keeping track of all the places you want to visit on your trip; you can also have collections dedicated to intriguing coffee shops, prospective date night spots, or restaurants that have been recommended to you. Every collection can have a name and even custom photo set by you, so you can truly make it your own.</p>


The "ooh" feature for demos is Apple's equivalent to Street View, which it calls Look Around. However, I can only find it for San Francisco at present, so the above features - which might be better for real usability - are what people will really use.
apple  maps  ios13 
17 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple third-quarter 2019 results and charts! • Six Colors
Jason Snell:
<p>Apple’s latest quarterly results are out and the company generated $53.8bn in revenue, up 1% versus the year-ago quarter. It was (ever so slightly) the largest third quarter in Apple history.

Mac revenue was up 11% year over year, iPad up 8%, Services up 13%, and Wearables up 68%. iPhone was down 12%.</p>


Just again: Wearables (and Home and Accessories) up by 68%. Which is a hell of a lot of AirPods and Watches. (And maybe HomePods. Maybe.)

The graphs tell the story pretty well. Revenues from iPhones edging down (below 50% of all revenue for the first time in aaages), but everything else is looking well. The smartphone growth story is over, for pretty much everyone except Huawei, below, but there are other stories now.
apple  results 
19 days ago by charlesarthur
Google reveals fistful of flaws in Apple's iMessage app • BBC News
Leo Kelion:
<p>A team of bug-hunters at Google have shared details of five flaws in Apple's iMessage software that could make its devices vulnerable to attack.

In one case, the researchers said the vulnerability was so severe that the only way to rescue a targeted iPhone would be <a href="https://bugs.chromium.org/p/project-zero/issues/detail?id=1826&can=1&q=label%3AiMessage&colspec=ID%20Status%20Restrict%20Reported%20Vendor%20Product%20Finder%20Summary">to delete all the data off it</a>.

Another example, they said, could be used to copy files off a device <a href="https://bugs.chromium.org/p/project-zero/issues/detail?id=1858">without requiring the owner to do anything to aid the hack</a>.

Apple released fixes last week. But the researchers said they had also flagged a sixth problem to Apple, which had not been rectified in the update to its mobile operating system. [And which they're withholding from public disclosure until its deadline - so far unknown.]

"That's quite unusual," commented Prof Alan Woodward, a cyber-security expert at the University of Surrey. "The reputation of the Google Zero team is such that it is worth taking notice of."</p>


The bugs would have been worth millions on the black market - and still might be against phones that haven't been updated. Over the years, iMessage has been a world of pain as well as one of Apple's strongest selling points.
apple  imessage  hacking 
19 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple contractors 'regularly hear confidential details' on Siri recordings • The Guardian
Alex Hern:
<p>Apple contractors regularly hear confidential medical information, drug deals, and recordings of couples having sex, as part of their job providing quality control, or “grading”, the company’s Siri voice assistant, the Guardian has learned.

Although Apple does not explicitly disclose it in its consumer-facing privacy documentation, a small proportion of Siri recordings are passed on to contractors working for the company around the world. They are tasked with grading the responses on a variety of factors, including whether the activation of the voice assistant was deliberate or accidental, whether the query was something Siri could be expected to help with and whether Siri’s response was appropriate.

Apple says the data “is used to help Siri and dictation … understand you better and recognise what you say”.

But the company does not explicitly state that that work is undertaken by humans who listen to the pseudonymised recordings.</p>


So there's the trifecta: all of Amazon, Google and Apple sends some audio to humans to listen. In its way, rather like the revelation that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/apr/20/iphone-tracking-prompts-privacy-fears">your smartphone maps where you go and stores it</a>, which we didn't intuitively know in 2011 - but turns out everyone did that too.
apple  siri  privacy 
21 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple’s next CEO to replace Tim Cook: Jeff Williams • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman:
<p>While Williams can be direct and demanding in meetings with other executives, current and former colleagues say he sometimes relies heavily on a circle of lieutenants to play bad cop in larger engineering-team meetings. With the designers, his sensibility doesn’t always translate. “He comes from the operations side, and the metrics being applied there often have very little meaning in design,” says a longtime member of the design team.

The Watch has been Williams’s biggest test. Months before the first model’s release in 2015, some employees testing the device began having allergic reactions to the type of nickel used in its casing, a not-uncommon issue with wristwear. Williams made the call to scrap thousands of Watches the company had already produced and ramp up a separate manufacturing line with a different kind of nickel. Employees also noticed that the “taptic engine,” a Williams priority that allows the Watch to vibrate more quietly than a typical phone part when it receives notifications, was prone to long-term failure from corrosion. Again, Williams decided not to send out a few thousand Watches that were affected. Employees got them instead.

These choices spared many early adopters from getting defective early models of the Apple Watch. They also helped make the watch tough to find in stores for months after its official release, and some online shipments were delayed, too. When customers could find some, they might be the Watch models shipped with 18-karat gold cases, which cost as much as $17,000—conceivable for wealthy Rolex fans, but a poor investment given that Apple’s model would be obsolete in a few years…

…One former senior Apple executive says he’s less worried about Williams’s ability to implement ideas from the design team than he is about the managers reporting to Williams. The new team leaders, longtime Apple hardware and software design managers Evans Hankey and Alan Dye, are a “step down” from Ive in terms of design prowess, the former senior executive says, but acknowledges that workflow may be simpler with Hankey and Dye running things. Before, “those people were pseudo in charge, but not really in charge, because Jony could overrule them.”</p>


Sounds like a pretty solid choice. Particularly his willingness to scrap things that don't work.
apple  williams  cook 
24 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple to acquire majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business • Intel Newsroom
<p>Intel and Apple have signed an agreement for Apple to acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business. Approximately 2,200 Intel employees will join Apple, along with intellectual property, equipment and leases. The transaction, valued at $1bn, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions, including works council and other relevant consultations in certain jurisdictions.

Combining the acquired patents for current and future wireless technology with Apple’s existing portfolio, Apple will hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation. Intel will retain the option to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, such as PCs, internet of things devices and autonomous vehicles.</p>


Been noises about this in the media for a week or so. Seemed worth just waiting for the official confirmation. The list of exceptions Intel gets is fun. But you can't make half a modem. Apple will have to set this group to work to make 5G modems, probably for 2022.
apple  intel  modem 
24 days ago by charlesarthur
16in MacBook Pro rumored to launch in October • 9to5Mac
Chance Miller:
<p>Apple’s rumored 16in MacBook Pro could launch in October, according to a new supply chain report from the Economic Daily News. The report also says that Apple will release updated versions of the 13in MacBook Pro and Retina MacBook Air in October.

Today’s report corroborates that the 16in MacBook Pro will launch with a 3072×1920 LCD display, which is up from the 2880×1800 panel in the 15in MacBook Pro.

As for pricing, the report says that the 16in MacBook Pro will bring a “new high price for Apple notebooks.” The supply chain industry reportedly expects the laptop to start at around $3,000, with Apple positioning it between the iMac and iMac Pro as a portable option for users with pro needs.

While Apple did just refresh the MacBook Air, the update only added True Tone display technology and left things like the processor the same. A refresh in the fall could bring improved performance among other changes. For instance, Ming-Chi Kuo has said that Apple will shift to a new scissor switch keyboard in the MacBook Air this year. </p>


Blimey, that really is priced for the iMac Pro brigade. Though the pro laptops always used to be; somehow they seemed to have edged down in price over the years. Now they would be jacking up again. Personally, I've used a 15in screen for so long that I don't think I could live with something smaller, but maybe that's just habit - which can be broken. Scissor switches, though. Going to love hearing Apple's execs explaining that one, if it comes to pass.
apple  macbook  scissor 
26 days ago by charlesarthur
Barr revives debate over ‘warrant-proof’ encryption • WSJ
Dustin Volz:
<p>While [US Attorney General William] Barr offered examples in which he said encryption thwarted criminal investigations, he didn’t provide fresh statistics about the extent of the problem. The FBI suffered a setback last year when it revealed it had accidentally inflated public statistics about the number of encrypted devices investigators were unable to break open, and officials haven't provided an updated metric since then.

Mr. Barr sought to convince technology companies to work toward a compromise with law-enforcement agencies, lest they are forced to deal with hastily passed laws in the wake of a crisis. “Given the frequency with which these situations are now arising, it is only a matter of time before a sensational case crystallizes the issue for the public,” Mr. Barr said.

The National Security Council convened a deputies meeting from various federal agencies last month to consider options on how to move forward on the encryption issue, but the meeting ended without any clear resolution on how to proceed, according to people briefed on it.

A US official said Mr. Barr’s speech wasn’t aimed at outlining the path forward but reflected consensus within the Trump administration that a solution must be found to address the proliferation of too-tough-to-crack encryption. Critics contend that the FBI and contractors that specialize in bypassing encryption possess the tools to get into many devices they want to unlock.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), a longtime privacy advocate who has vocally opposed government efforts to weaken encryption, called it an “outrageous, wrongheaded and dangerous proposal.”</p>


No clue what to do about it, but sure something should be done about it, and picking the wrong thing to do about it: the Trump administration in a nutshell. There's already been a "sensational case" - the San Bernadino one in 2016 - and the FBI paid an Israeli company about $1m to break into the iPhone in question, to find nothing useful. There was more, and better, data on the terrorists' Facebook profiles.
encryption  barr  apple  facebook 
26 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple dominates App Store search results, thwarting competitors • WSJ
Tripp Mickle:
<p>Audiobooks.com, an RBmedia company, largely held the No. 1 ranking in “audiobooks” searches in the App Store for nearly two years. Then last September it was unseated by Apple Books. The Apple app had only recently begun marketing audiobooks directly for the first time.

“It was literally overnight,” said Ian Small, Audiobooks.com’s general manager. He said the change triggered a 25% decline in Audiobooks.com’s daily app downloads. The app at the time had 35,000 customer reviews and a 4.8 on the App Store’s 5-star ranking. The preinstalled Apple Books app, with no reviews or ratings, has since ranked No. 1 in searches for “audiobooks.” It also ranks first in searches for “books” and “reader.”

Apple says the No. 1 position for Books in a “books” search is reasonable, since it is an exact name match. The app was also first for “audiobooks” because of “user behavior data” and the inclusion of “audiobooks” as a keyword associated with the app, a spokesman said.

Apple’s role as both the creator of the App Store’s search engine and the beneficiary of its results has rankled developers. They contend Apple is essentially pinning its apps No. 1, compelling anyone seeking alternatives to consider Apple apps first. Such a tactic would help preserve loyalty to Apple’s mobile operating system—a key to future iPhone sales—and encourage the use of revenue-generating apps such as Apple TV and News, developers say.</p>


I'd be surprised if Apple's apps didn't do well in searches for music or books. The WSJ graphic on this is pretty impenetrable. Quite what the algorithm is, nobody knows.
apple  apps  store  algorithm  search 
26 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple: no Macintosh forks. But the iPad… • Monday Note
Jean-Louis Gassée:
<p>another question emerges: By letting PC-like features emanate from the bowels of iPadOS, has Apple decided that the more PC-like iPads ought to openly compete with the Mac? Owing to Catalyst, Macs will get more — and more interesting — apps from the iOS world. And iPads present and future will have a dual personality: As “pure” tablets that provide an enriched touch interface, and as laptop-like alternatives, especially if keyboards and pointing devices keep maturing.

After arguing the two sides of the “to Axx or not to Axx” case, I think a simpler Mac evolution — no forks, stay the course with x86 processors — is the likely future.

Speaking of forks, yes, there clearly is one in the iOS world. In contrast to last week’s putative dual hardware and OS Mac transition, the fork I’m speaking of is a software-only divergence: As iPadOS lets iPads gain more use cases, especially in the realm of productivity, iPhones and their immensely larger number of devices will stay in the mainstream of iOS development. Undoubtedly, there will be unanticipated complications in some iPad uses, but the scheme feels more natural than last week’s convoluted formula.</p>


Gassée's argument is that Apple won't introduce ARM processors in its laptop line because that would create a dichotomy in its products - some would be Intel, some would be ARM. (He'd <a href="https://mondaynote.com/apple-macintosh-forks-1804c24db29f">argued the opposing point</a>, that Apple <em>would</em> fork them, last week. Cakeism!) But that overlooks the fact that that's what happened back in 2005, when Apple made the reverse shift (from RISC chips made by Motorola) to Intel. That wasn't instantaneous either.

But Apple could leave the desktop (or pro desktops) as Intel, for the software, and power lower-end devices with ARM chips for the battery life. That seems the most likely scenario.
apple  mac  arm 
28 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple's Touch Bar doesn't have to be so terrible • Gizmodo
Alex Cranz:
<p>Occasionally you see a good use, like QuickTime’s ability to scrub through a video file to find the exact frame you need. But the useful Touch Bars are just reminders of how pointless others are, like the blank Touch Bar you find in Sonos, Slack, and even Apple’s Voice Memo app.

Even the really good implementations of the Touch Bar, such as the ones used by Photoshop, Ulysses, and AirMail, aren’t sufficiently customizable. You get the options suggested by the app maker, and that’s it.

While I won’t fault an indie app maker, or even Google, for failing to do better with the Touch Bar, I can lay blame at Apple’s feet. The company introduced a cool new feature and then has just let it sit there. It has provided no incentives nor has it led by example with the Touch Bar. Beyond some useful implementations in Apple-built apps right at launch, Apple has done nothing with the Touch Bar.

So yeah, of course, it makes sense my coworkers hate it. Mercifully, you don’t have to be like Apple or all my co-workers. There’s handy software [BetterTouchTool, TouchSwitcher] that lets you better take advantage of the Touch Bar right now.</p>


As Cranz and others point out, what people want is to be able to call functions from outside the program they're in to affect the stuff on the screen. But the TouchBar, as currently set up, doesn't provide for that - so it just repeats what's on the screen, which is little use. Apple could fix this; the APIs are there, as BetterTouchTool shows.
apple  touchbar 
28 days ago by charlesarthur
Inside Apple factory thefts: secret tunnels, hidden crawl spaces • The Information
Wayne Ma:
<p>Some factory workers have hidden sensitive parts in crawl spaces and later returned to retrieve them when security guards aren’t looking. Employees have hidden parts in used mop water, tissue boxes, shoes and under discarded metal shavings. A factory worker was once caught hiding parts inside his belt buckle, hoping security guards wouldn’t pat down that area. 

A woman at Jabil once hid dozens of glass screens in her bra but was caught by security guards after they noticed her unusual style of walking. Apple once caught factory workers digging a small tunnel in a corner of a room behind a large piece of machinery, hoping to use it to ferry stolen parts to the outside world. “People were chipping away little by little at the wall ‘Shawshank Redemption’ style,” the person said. 

“Scrapping” companies, which help Apple suppliers destroy prototypes and defective parts, have also been a source of leaks. Apple once traced leaked enclosures to a major scrapping vendor, Singapore’s Tes-Amm. Apple removed the company from its approved list of vendors for a year but was forced to restore it because its options were limited, a person familiar with the matter said. Tes-Amm didn’t reply to a request for comment. Apple’s supplier security policies require an Apple employee or an Apple-approved contractor to be physically present when scrap is destroyed. 

Leaks also can come from Apple’s packaging and printing contractors. One worker snuck a smartphone into a printing factory in 2017 and was able to take photos of an instruction manual for the iPhone X before its release.</p>
apple  factory  theft 
4 weeks ago by charlesarthur
iOS and iPadOS 13 beta 4 signals death of 3D Touch, rise of Context Menu • VentureBeat
Jeremy Horwitz:
<p>If you aren’t already familiar with 3D Touch, the concept was simple: slight, medium, and heavy pressure on an iPhone’s screen could be recognized differently, such that a light press would open an app while a firm press in the same spot would instead conjure up a contextual menu. Apple sometimes nested additional “peek and pop” features within iPhone apps using the same pressure sensitivity, giving users extra options if they pressed down more on the screen.

Over the last few beta releases of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, Apple has been rolling out a replacement called <a href="https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/ios/controls/context-menus/">Context Menus</a> — a change it set the stage for last year, by releasing the iPhone XR without 3D Touch hardware. Back then, Apple said it was giving the XR an alternative called “Haptic Touch” that pulled up the same sort of contextual menus as earlier iPhones, but did so using two tricks: instead of pressure, it sensed button press time, counting an extra split-second as a stronger button press, confirming the different intent with a “thump” from the phone’s vibration feature.

Now iPad users will get a version of Haptic Touch minus the haptics. The “hold slightly longer” feature works the exact same way as on the iPhone XR, but there’s no confirming thump because iPads don’t have vibration actuators inside. (Presumably, the feature will work the same way on the seventh-generation iPod touch, the only iPod that supports iOS 13, while similarly lacking vibration hardware.)

The key change in iOS/iPadOS 13 beta 4 is that the timing for the Context Menus and a related UI feature — Home screen icon rearrangement — has been tightened to perfection. Hold down on an app icon for just under two seconds, or long enough to be “holding down” rather than tapping for selection, and a Context Menu pops up, as shown above. Hold an additional second or so and icons begin to shake to indicate they can be arranged.</p>


It had a good run, but was mostly used only by Apple; hardly any third-party apps did. It's got to be expensive to implement, and the challenge of "force touch" v "just press it" could be tricky. Unusual for Apple to dump a feature from its phones, though.
3dtouch  apple 
4 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple plans to bankroll original podcasts to fend off rivals • Bloomberg
Lucas Shaw and Mark Gurman:
<p>Executives at the company have reached out to media companies and their representatives to discuss buying exclusive rights to podcasts, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the conversations are preliminary. Apple has yet to outline a clear strategy, but has said it plans to pursue the kind of deals it didn’t make before.

Apple all but invented the podcasting business with the creation of a network that collects thousands of podcasts from across the internet in a feed on people’s phones, smartwatches and computers. The Apple Podcast app still accounts for anywhere from 50% to 70% of listening for most podcasts, according to industry executives.

The news sent shares of Spotify down as much as 2.7% to $150.09 in New York on Tuesday, marking the biggest intraday decline in three weeks. The stock had been up 36% this year through Monday’s close.

After years without making substantial changes to its podcasting business, which first launched in 2005, Apple has recently focused on upgrading its app and has added new tools for podcast makers.</p>


Going to be a challenge for Spotify. Apple-only podcasts will have a lot more reach than Spotify-only podcasts, as the data suggests. Then the problem is how you get people to see them.
apple  podcast  spotify 
4 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Jony Ive’s mistakes: when beautiful design is bad design • OneZero
I wrote about the design of objects which are intended to be used:
<p>All of the plaudits for Jony Ive begin with how he and Steve Jobs saved Apple with the iMac. No doubt about it: that instantly recognizable shape became an icon, and led to thousands of imitations using translucent colored plastic, often in that same Bondi Blue, to show that they were part of the late-90s vibe. In a sense, the iMac was a triumph of packaging: the components inside were pretty straightforward. If Apple had put them into a beige box, the company would now be a historical footnote.

Yet what’s almost universally overlooked in the paeans to Ive’s design legacy is that the fabulous iMac design also included one of his worst mistakes: the “hockey puck” mouse, whose round shape was so unfriendly to the human hand that it effectively kickstarted the market for third-party USB mice out of thin air.</p>


There's more (including the Apple TV remote, aka the "Siri remote"), the "trashcan" Mac Pro v the cheesegrater, butterfly keyboard and others.
apple  design  ive 
5 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple has pushed a silent Mac update to remove hidden Zoom web server • TechCrunch
Zack Whittaker:
<p>Apple has released a silent update for Mac users removing a vulnerable component in Zoom, the popular video conferencing app, which allowed websites to automatically add a user to a video call without their permission.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant told TechCrunch that the update — now released — removes the hidden web server, which Zoom quietly installed on users’ Macs when they installed the app.

Apple said the update does not require any user interaction and is deployed automatically.

The video conferencing giant took flack from users following a public vulnerability disclosure on Monday by Jonathan Leitschuh, in which he described how “any website [could] forcibly join a user to a Zoom call, with their video camera activated, without the user’s permission.” The undocumented web server remained installed even if a user uninstalled Zoom. Leitschuh said this allowed Zoom to reinstall the app without requiring any user interaction…

…The update will now prompt users if they want to open the app, whereas before it would open automatically.</p>
apple  mac  zoom  hacking  vulnerability 
5 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple disables Walkie Talkie app due to vulnerability that could allow iPhone eavesdropping • TechCrunch
Matthew Panzarino:
<p>Apple has disabled the Apple Watch Walkie Talkie app due to an unspecified vulnerability that could allow a person to listen to another customer’s iPhone without consent, the company told TechCrunch this evening.

Apple has apologized for the bug and for the inconvenience of being unable to use the feature while a fix is made.

The Walkie Talkie app on Apple Watch allows two users who have accepted an invite from each other to receive audio chats via a “push to talk” interface reminiscent of the PTT buttons on older cell phones.</p>


People use the Walkie Talkie app? Amazing.
apple  watch  security  vulnerability  hacking 
5 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Investigating some subscription scam iOS apps • Ivan Rodriguez's blog
<p>For some reason Apple allows "subscription scam" apps on the App Store. These are apps that are free to download and then ask you to subscribe right on launch. It's called the freemium business model, except these apps ask you to subscribe for "X" feature(s) immediately when you launch them, and keep doing so, annoyingly, over and over until you finally subscribe. By subscribing you get a number of "free days" (trial) and then they charge you weekly/monthly/yearly for very basic features like scanning QR Codes.

I've been trying to monitor apps that have these characteristics:<br />- They have In-App purchases for their subscriptions<br />- They have bad reviews, specially with words like "scam" or "fraud"<br />- Their "good" reviews are generic, potentially bot-generated.

This weekend I focused on five apps from two different developers and to my surprise they are very similar, not only their UI/UX but also their code is shared and their patterns are absolutely the same. A side from being classic subscription scam apps, I wanted to examine how they work internally and how they communicate with their servers and what type of information are they sending.</p>


There's nothing fishy in the actual code - all the bad behaviour is right there in front of you, with the scammy subscription stuff. Apps like this are skimming millions every year - probably every month - from Apple users, and Apple could, if it wanted, stop it in a couple of weeks. There's the nanny state, and then there's protecting people from exploitation. This is the latter.
apple  subscription  scam 
5 weeks ago by charlesarthur
For better and worse, we live in Jony Ive’s world • The New Yorker
Nikil Saval:
<p>The archetypal telephone, the Model 500, designed by Henry Dreyfuss, had a clunking rotary dial, a heavy base, and a coiled cord that connected to a curved handset. It had, surprisingly, some mobility: you could hold the base of the phone in one hand, ideally with your middle and ring fingers, while walking around a room to the extent that the connection to the copper-wire outlet would allow. But it was the handset that was the product’s masterpiece. Molding itself to your hand and also to the crook between your shoulder and ear, it was a perfect instantiation of how a designer could shape everyday technology to the form of the human body, while anticipating the instincts—such as the desire to speak hands-free—that would guide the use of that technology.

The Apple iPhone, in the various iterations that the industrial designer Jony Ive produced, is the opposite. Few objects so continuously in use by human beings are as hostile to the human body as this slim, black, fragile slab, recalcitrant to any curve of head or shoulder or even palm, where it usually rests. It is made for a world without liquids, secretions, or hard surfaces, all of which threaten its destruction. Except for the curve of the edges, where the bevel of the glass screen has been painstakingly fused to the phone’s body, it is the shape of a photo, not a face. </p>


The extent to which Ive's designs are anti-ergonomic is something that hasn't been remarked on much, but it seems important. OK, the purpose of a smartphone isn't to curve around your face; it's to show you things at arm's length. But the thrust of this article seems right, to me.
ive  design  apple 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Jony Ive’s fragmented legacy: unreliable, unrepairable, beautiful gadgets • iFixit
Kyle Wiens runs iFixit:
<p>Ive succeeded at building on the concepts he celebrated in Rams’ work at a vastly greater scale than anything Braun ever produced. The iPod, the iPhone, the MacBook Air, the physical Apple Store, even the iconic packaging of Apple products—these products changed how we view and use their categories, or created new categories, and will be with us a long time. And Apple has made a lot of them—they’ve stamped out over one billion iPhones to date, with a current production rate north of 600,000 per day.

Rams loves durable products that are environmentally friendly. That’s one of his 10 principles for good design: “Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment.” But Ive has never publicly discussed the dissonance between his inspiration and Apple’s disposable, glued-together products. For years, Apple has openly combated green standards that would make products easier to repair and recycle, stating that they need “complete design flexibility” no matter the impact on the environment.

Gary Hustwit, the documentarian behind the design-focused films Objectified and Rams, understands Dieter Rams’ conflicted views on Apple’s products better than many alive. “He doesn’t feel like he’s responsible [for consumerism], but I think he definitely feels like he had a role in getting to where we are now…

…It’s a shame that Ive is leaving Apple without reconciling this. His iPod started the practice of gluing in batteries, a technique that initially brought scorn but has since become the industry norm. AirPods channel much of Rams’ design aesthetic, except they have a built-in death clock and stop working after a couple years. The last seven years of Apple laptop designs have pushed the envelope of thinness, sacrificing upgradeability, serviceability, external ports, and usable keyboards along the way.</p>
apple  mac  design  ive 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Kuo: Apple to include new scissor switch keyboard in 2019 MacBook Air and 2020 MacBook Pro • 9to5Mac
Benjamin Mayo:
<p>Apple is apparently set to ditch the butterfly mechanism used in MacBooks since 2015, which has been the root of reliability issues and its low-travel design has also not been popular with many Mac users.

In a report published today, Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple will roll out a new keyboard design based on scissor switches, offering durability and longer key travel, starting with the 2019 MacBook Air. The MacBook Pro is also getting the new scissor switch keyboard, but not until 2020.

The new scissor switch keyboard is a whole new design than anything previously seen in a MacBook, purportedly featuring glass fiber to reinforce the keys. Apple fans who have bemoaned the butterfly keyboard should be optimistic about a return to scissor switches.

Kuo says that Apple’s butterfly design was expensive to manufacture due to low yields. The new keyboard is still expected to cost more than an average laptop keyboard, but it should be cheaper than the butterfly components.

Apple has introduced four generations of butterfly keyboards in as many years, attempting to address user complaints about stuck keys, repeated key inputs, and even the loud clackiness of typing when striking each keycap.</p>


The butterfly keys have all these problems in use <em>and</em> they have low yields? Those things are Pelion piled on Ossa. (Though I'm hoping my ageing 2012 MacBook Pro will survive long enough to let me skip the whole butterfly age.) But what's the thinking behind using glass fibre? Is anyone complaining that their keys are breaking?
apple  design  keyboard 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Google Translate: In the second half of 2018, Apple removed 517 applications at the request of the Chinese government • VOA China
<p>US Apple released a transparency report for the second half of 2018 on Wednesday, revealing that Apple, at the request of the Chinese government, removed 517 applications from China's "app store" in the second half of last year.

In the report, Apple pointed out that the Chinese government filed a total of 56 requests for Apple to remove applications in the second half of last year, involving 626 applications, and Apple removed 517 of them. In comparison, Apple's total number of applications requested by the government in the rest of the world is only 117. Apple said that the vast majority of applications that were removed in China were "related to illegal gambling or pornography."

The report also shows that the Chinese government's request for Apple to provide personal device information has increased dramatically, including who owns the device and what it is purchased with. The Chinese government requested 137,595 Apple devices in the second half of last year, up from 30,764 in the previous six months, and China's figure is more than seven times that of the US, far exceeding half of the global total. Apple said the high figure "is mainly due to tax fraud investigations by tax authorities."</p>


The <a href="https://www.apple.com/legal/transparency/">transparency report is here</a>, or just <a href="https://www.apple.com/legal/transparency/pdf/requests-2018-H2-en.pdf">grab the full PDF</a>. Biggest number of "device requests"? Germany. Largest number of "devices specified in requests"? China, by a factor of about 10.
apple  china  apps  transparency 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple’s iOS 13 update will make FaceTime eye contact way easier • TechCrunch
Darrell Etherington:
<p>Apple has added a feature called “FaceTime Attention Correction” to the latest iOS 13 Developer beta, and it looks like it could make a big difference when it comes to actually making FaceTime calls feel even more like talking to someone in person. The feature, spotted in the third beta of the new software update that went out this week, apparently does a terrific job of making it look like you’re looking directly into the camera even when you’re looking at the screen during a FaceTime call.

That’s actually a huge improvement, because when people FaceTime, most of the time they’re looking at the screen rather than the camera, since the whole point is to see the person or people you’re talking to, rather than the small black lens at the top of your device.

The catch so far seems to be that this FaceTime feature is only available on iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, which could mean it only works with the latest camera tech available on Apple hardware.</p>


Well, when it's introduced it will work with the latest *and* last year's phones, but anyway. It's optional (you choose whether your eyes are redirected) and works, it seems, by <a href="https://twitter.com/schukin/status/1146359923158089728">making an augmented reality depth map of your face</a> and adjusting where it shows your eyes. Finally, a use for AR! Though I saw a discussion on Twitter of whether this would lead to strange effects because you'd seem to be gazing at the other person <em>all the time</em>, which we interpret differently depending on our gender.
apple  facetime  augmentedreality 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
iOS 13 beta 3 suggests new wired method for transferring data between devices • 9to5Mac
Guilherme Rambo:
<p>While looking into the code changes between iOS 13 beta 2 and iOS 13 beta 3, we noticed some new assets in the Setup app – which runs when you set up a new device for the first time or after a reset. These new assets could suggest that Apple is working on a new way to transfer data between devices.

Currently, when you set up a new iOS device, you can restore it from an iTunes backup or from an iCloud backup. The second option can be sped up by having another iOS device next to the new one, logged in to your Apple ID account. This allows your data to be transferred wirelessly.

<img src="https://9to5mac.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/07/Screen-Shot-2019-07-02-at-23.34.50.png" width="100%" />

New assets and strings found in iOS 13 beta 3 suggest Apple is working on a way to transfer data from another iOS device directly, using a cable. One of assets shows an image of two iPhones connected to each other using a cable. It’s unclear how this could be achieved exactly given that current iPhones feature a Lightning port and Apple does not offer a Lightning-to-Lightning cable.</p>


Surprised he didn't say "but you could with a USB-C to USB-C..." Still hard to figure out whether Apple is ready to move to USB-C for its phones, though. The Lightning port has a gigantic installed base (nearly a billion devices?) which only grows with time; while USB-C remains a hot, if slowly improving, mess.
apple  usbc  iphone 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple to launch tailored iPhone for China: report • Global Times
Huang Ge:
<p>Apple Inc will launch a new iPhone tailored for Chinese consumers, media reports said on Monday, a move that industry insiders said showed the US technology giant's urgency to arrest a sales decline in the domestic market due to mounting cost pressure from the China-US trade war.

The new phone will reportedly remove Face ID, the facial recognition system for the iPhone, and instead employ an under-display fingerprint function, news site caijing.com.cn reported, citing sources on the upstream industry supply chain. An industry insider revealed that this is likely to "save on costs." 

A structured light laser emitter, the major component of Face ID, would cost several hundred yuan, said a Beijing-based representative who preferred to be anonymous. He told the Global Times on Monday that "only Apple can afford it but that would also affect its sales."

Apple declined to comment when reached by the Global Times on Monday.

Apple has lost many Chinese users who prefer smartphones priced at around 5,000 yuan ($731), indicated by an increase in purchases of local brands including Huawei, OPPO and Vivo.

Huawei shipped the largest number of phones in the Chinese market with a 34% share in the first quarter, followed by Vivo with 19%, OPPO with 18%, Xiaomi with 12% and Apple with 9%, showed data from the global industry consultancy Counterpoint Research. </p>


First time I've heard this rumour. It would be a break from using FaceID, but the price difference might be attractive for Apple and for users. And under-screen fingerprint readers are popular in China.
apple  fingerprint  touchid 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Jony Ive is leaving Apple, but his departure started long ago • WSJ
Tripp Mickle says that this story follows conversations over "more than a year" with people who worked with Ive and "people close to" Apple's leadership:
<p>Mr. Ive had been growing more distant from Apple’s leadership, say people close to the company. Mr. Jobs’s protégé—and Apple’s closest thing to a living embodiment of his spirit—grew frustrated inside a more operations-focused company led by Chief Executive Tim Cook.

Mr. Ive, 52, withdrew from routine management of Apple’s elite design team, leaving it rudderless, increasingly inefficient, and ultimately weakened by a string of departures, people close to the company say.

The internal drama explains a lot about Apple’s dilemma. Its one major new product of the post-Jobs era, the Apple Watch, made its debut five years ago. Its iPhone business is faltering, and more recent releases like its wireless AirPods haven’t been enough to shore up falling sales. It hasn’t had a megahit new product since the iPad that started selling in 2010…

…At a meeting with members of the watch team, [Ive] thanked them for their work, and said 2014 had been one of his most challenging years at Apple. The company sold about 10 million units in the first year, a quarter of what Apple forecast, a person familiar with the matter said. Thousands of the gold [Edition] version went unsold.</p>


There's a <a href="https://daringfireball.net/thetalkshow/2019/06/30/ep-256">terrific podcast hosted by John Gruber, guest Ben Thompson</a>, which runs over Ive's importance and the questions that arise over his leaving. Gruber has the contacts, Thompson has the insight. (Hardware matters less at the modern Apple than in the past, for example.) The feeling is that Ive, like Jobs, wants to leave a permanent mark on the world. Apple Park - his last design job at Apple - is definitely a start.

What's odd is if Mickle had been talking to people for a year, why he didn't write it a week ago, before the announcement? Though sometimes the story only emerges in retrospect.
apple  ive  design 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Can Apple hack it in Hollywood? We talk to the man behind Apple TV+ • British GQ
Stuart McGurk:
<p>Cue himself is something of an Apple lifer, having joined the company in 1989. It was Steve Jobs who spotted his potential and over the years Cue has been responsible for everything from creating the App Store to the acquisition of Beats Audio.

What are his main memories of Jobs?

“Someone I loved dearly as a friend. So when you ask that question to me it’s a personal question. He was obviously an incredible boss. I had the greatest mentor in the world.”

Cue says he didn’t realise it at the time – “I was young” – but that one of the greatest things to happen to Apple was Jobs getting fired in 1985 by then-CEO John Sculley.

“Because when he came back, one of the things that he wanted to do is create a company that would outlast him and could live for hundreds of years.”

He was really thinking in terms of centuries?

“He absolutely was. And he put people in place and created a culture that he thought would do that. But obviously he was taken way too early. I figured I'd be walking out of Apple the same day he was walking out of Apple.”

He does not much rate the portraits of Jobs that have appeared since, not least the biography by Walter Isaacson and the film, Steve Jobs, written by Aaron Sorkin.

“No. Terrible. They’re not true. Most of the stories are just not accurate. They’re just not accurate. And I think they missed the boat on Steve. They don’t capture in my mind the real Steve. There’s a good book called Becoming Steve Jobs, which I think is the best book. It captures good, bad, fun, pain, emotions, all of it. That’s better than anything I’ve seen. So I’d encourage you to read that.”</p>


Lots of good stuff in this interview; Cue denies the story that Cook (or he) passed "notes" on the content of the proposed TV dramas. Doesn't deny he might have fallen asleep in a meeting. And more.
apple  cue 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Inside Apple's long goodbye to design chief Jony Ive • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman:
<p>He was in charge of a roughly two-dozen person design team that included artists whose passions extended to the development of surfboards, cars, and even DJing on weekends. Many of their spouses worked as designers, too…

…some people familiar with Apple are already worried about the new design leadership. Now that Ive is officially leaving, longtime studio manager Evans Hankey will run the hardware design group, Apple said. Hankey is a great team leader, but Apple now lacks a true design brain on its executive team, which is a concern, a person familiar with the design team said.

Hankey and Dye will report to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. While Williams is a talented executive, some people familiar with matter believe the shift is another sign of Apple becoming more of an operations company. Apple declined to comment.

“The design team is made up of the most creative people, but now there is an operations barrier that wasn’t there before,” one former Apple executive said. “People are scared to be innovative.”

…The design team is taking on this challenge without veteran members. Christopher Stringer and Daniele De Iuliis, a pair of key Ive lieutenants, kicked off the departures a few years ago, with Daniel Coster leaving to lead design at GoPro in 2016. The team lost three members in the past six months: Julian Hoenig, Rico Zorkendorfer and Miklu Silvanto.

While each Apple designer specializes in specific product lines, they all contribute to each other’s products and plans. That means losing an individual designer is still a big deal, a former Apple executive said. “The design studio has no secrets,” this person said. “They all know what each other is working on.”</p>


It's definitely worth re-reading <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/shape-things-come">the New Yorker article from 2015</a> about Ive in the light of this announcement. It makes it feel a lot different. I didn't think that Steve Jobs leaving Apple was the catastrophe some did. But Apple without Jobs and Ive isn't the same beast.
design  business  apple 
7 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Publishers says Apple is changing Apple News Plus, its subscription bundle • Business Insider
Lucia Moses:
<p>publishers have had mixed views on Plus so far. Some saw it as a way to reap revenue from Apple's massive customer base as many of them struggle to grow ad revenue. (Apple is sharing half of the revenue with publishers based on how much time users spend with the given publishers' content, knowledgeable sources said.) The Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, Vox, and TheSkimm, opted in, as did Business Insider. Big magazine chains including Hearst, Meredith, and Condé Nast are also participating in the bundle, but are contractually obligated to do so as former owners of the app, according to sources.

Some publishers had concerns that the bundle would not produce meaningful revenue and that it would cannibalize their own subscription businesses, though. Major subscription publications The New York Times and Washington Post opted out of the bundle.

Apple gave away Plus for free for the first month, and in its first two days, it reportedly had about 200,000 subscribers, which is about what Texture had. But three months in, publishing execs who spoke for this article said the subscription revenue they'd gotten from the service was underwhelming based on two months of data after the trial ended.

One publishing exec said Apple projected publishers would get 10 times the revenue they made from Texture at the end of Apple News Plus' first year. "It's one twentieth of what they said," the exec said. "It isn't coming true."</p>


Got to admit, I don't open Apple News (the app) from one month's end to the next. The fact that it defines links using its own URL schema is almost worse than Google's AMP. There are better news aggregators.
apple  news  subscription 
7 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Jony Ive, iPhone designer, announces Apple departure • Financial Times
Tim Bradshaw:
<p>Sir Jonathan is setting up his own new venture, a creative business called LoveFrom, with Apple as its first client. The transition will begin later this year, with LoveFrom launching fully in 2020. 

“While I will not be an [Apple] employee, I will still be very involved — I hope for many, many years to come,” Sir Jonathan told the FT in an exclusive interview. “This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change.”

The departure of the world’s most famous industrial designer and the custodian of the entire Apple aesthetic — from its hardware and software to its physical architecture — will come as a shock to its investors and customers. Many see Sir Jonathan as one of its most crucial assets as it looks beyond the iPhone into a new phase of products and services. 

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, sought to play down the changes as an “evolution”, pointing to an expanded group of in-house designers that is “the strongest it’s ever been”. 

“We get to continue with the same team that we’ve had for a long time and have the pleasure of continuing to work with Jony,” Mr Cook told the FT. “I can’t imagine a better result.” </p>


So Apple's going to be one of his clients. Which makes sense of a sort, but given the way that the ID (industrial design) team has determined the direction of the company for years and years, it will be up to Apple to prove that this isn't going to be a huge disjointing change. The only way it couldn't be is if Ive has been of diminishing importance over the past few years, and now someone else is going to step up and lead the ID team.

One must expect there will be a power struggle too. Dan Riccio is head of hardware engineering; is he going to move up to oversee design? There's no visibility of who is below Ive in the design team who might otherwise take that crown.
apple  ive 
7 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Streaming TV is about to get very expensive – here's why • The Guardian
Stuart Heritage:
<p>Right now, things are just about manageable: if you have a TV licence, a Netflix subscription, an Amazon subscription and a Now TV subscription, you are pretty much covered – but things are about to take a turn for the worse.

In November, Disney will launch Disney+, a streaming platform that will not only block off an enormous amount of existing content (Disney films, ABC shows, Marvel and Pixar films, Lucasfilm, The Simpsons and everything else made by 20th Century Fox), but will also offer a range of new scripted Marvel shows that will directly inform the narrative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Essentially, if you want to understand anything that happens in any Marvel film from this point onwards, you’ll need to splash out on a Disney+ subscription.

Apple will also be entering the streaming market at about the same time, promising new work from Sofia Coppola, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Brie Larson, Damien Chazelle and Steven Spielberg. In the next three years, Apple will spend $4.2bn on original programming, and you won’t get to see any of it if you don’t pay a monthly premium.

There are so many others. NBCUniversal is pulling its shows from Netflix for its own platform. Before long, Friends is likely to disappear behind a new WarnerMedia streaming service – along with Lord of the Rings films, the Harry Potter films, anything based on a DC comic and everything on HBO – that it is believed will cost about £15 a month. In the UK, the BBC and ITV will amalgamate their archives behind a service called BritBox. The former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg is about to launch a platform called Quibi, releasing “snackable” content from Steven Spielberg and others that is designed to be watched on your phone. YouTube is producing more and more original subscription-only content. Facebook is making shows, for crying out loud.</p>


Yay Americans! You cut the cord! Now you can get it all over the internet. In pieces.
tv  streaming  platform  netflix  apple 
7 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple hires ARM's lead CPU architect amid rumours of ARM-based Macs as early as 2020 • MacRumors
Joe Rossignol:
<p>ARM's lead CPU and system architect Mike Filippo joined Apple last month, based out of the Austin, Texas area, according to his LinkedIn profile. Filippo led the development of several chips at ARM between 2009 and 2019, including the Cortex-A76, Cortex-A72, Cortex-A57, and upcoming 7nm+ and 5nm chips.

Filippo also served as Intel's lead CPU and system architect between 2004 and 2009, and he was a chip designer at AMD between 1996 and 2004, so he brings a wealth of chipmaking experience with him to Apple.

Filippo's profile still lists his ARM role as ongoing, but social media talk suggests that he has left the company.

Apple designing its own ARM-based processors for Macs would allow it to move away from Intel processors, which have frequently faced delays. In fact, sources within Intel reportedly confirmed to Axios that Apple does plan to transition to ARM-based processors in Macs starting next year. </p>


That's quite an aggressive hire; can't imagine ARM being charmed by it. The timetable for ARM-based Macs is going to be the focus of everyone's interest in the next few months, for certain.
arm  mac  apple 
7 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Drive.ai, a self-driving car startup once worth $200 million, is closing • SFChronicle.com
Sophia Kunthara and Melia Russell:
<p>Mountain View startup Drive.ai, which made kits to turn regular cars into autonomous ones, will shut its office in June and lay off 90 workers in a permanent closure of its business, according to a filing with a state agency.

At the same time, Apple has hired a handful of hardware and software engineers from Drive.ai, in what appears to be part of a renewed effort by the iPhone and Mac maker to branch out into self-driving cars.

Three weeks ago, Apple was said to be exploring a purchase of Drive.ai, a deal that would let Apple pick up dozens of Drive.ai engineers while eliminating a competitor from the market.

So far, five former Drive.ai employees have changed their LinkedIn profiles to say they left Drive.ai in June and joined Apple the same month. Four of those workers list “special projects” in their job titles. Those employees include data, systems and software engineers.</p>


Apple doesn't seem to quite want to let go of this idea. Can't be a sunk cost thing; they know when to stop throwing good money after bad. Either their ambitions are much bigger than we suspect, or much smaller than we infer.
apple  selfdrivingcar 
7 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple files response to Spotify complaint in Europe • 9to5Mac
Chance Miller:
<p>In March, Spotify’s public PR campaign against Apple focused on the company of charging a 30% “tax” on all App Store transactions. In actuality, Apple now says that Spotify isn’t paying the 30% fee on any of its subscribers.

Essentially, Spotify only offered the ability to sign up for a subscription through its iOS app from 2014 until 2016. For subscriptions, Apple charges a 30% fee for the first year, then a 15% fee each year after that. All of the subscribers that Spotify acquired though its iOS app are long since out of that one-year window.

Apple also underscores in its response that Spotify only pays Apple a fee on just over 0.5% of its total subscribers. As noted by CNET, Spotify has around 100 million paying subscribers. Apple says that Spotify acquired 680,000 subscribers through its iOS app. That means that Spotify gives Apple a cut on only 0.68% of its total subscribers.

This response from Apple marks the first time Apple has formally responded to Spotify’s European Commission complaint. Immediately after Spotify’s initial PR campaign in March, Apple publicly responded to the accusations made by Spotify, but as of earlier this month, it had not yet filed a formal response to the commission.</p>


Well that's quite the response. Although, of course, the complaint is about a matter of law, not number.
apple  spotify  antitrust 
7 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple plans to ship 16in MacBook Pro this year, says IHS Markit, with more details • Forbes
Brooke Crothers:
<p>The 16in MacBook Pro is slated for release this fall, according to IHS Markit.

"We foresee that Apple will release a new product [at the] Sep’19 Apple event if there’s no unexpected development issue," Jeff Lin, Associate Director, Consumer Electronics at IHS Markit, said in an email, referring to the 16in MacBook Pro.

IHS Markit describes the future MacBook Pro as having a "new display size (16in), new Mac OS (Catalina) & CPU," as cited in its "IHS Markit Q1’19 Mobile PC Market Tracker."

<img src="https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fbrookecrothers%2Ffiles%2F2019%2F06%2Fmacbook-pro-16-inch-ihs-markit-1200x445.jpg" width="100%" />
The coming 16-inch MacBook Pro: expected specs. CREDIT: IHS MARKIT

If the IHS Markit data is accurate, Apple will opt for a 3,072-by-1,920 resolution* LCD not an OLED display - at least on the model specified by IHS Markit. Hewlett-Packard and Dell are now moving to OLED displays on large, select 15.6in laptops.</p>


The demand forecast points to sales of 750k per quarter, which is a bit over 15% - or nearly one-seventh - of all Apple's quarterly computer sales. There are seven different models of Mac (MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro, Mac mini). If the forecast is right, this would be one *variant* of one model, the MacBook Pro, taking a huge chunk of the market. In other words, they're expecting it to sell well.
apple  macbookpro 
8 weeks ago by charlesarthur
15-inch MacBook Pro battery recall program • Apple Support
<p>Apple has determined that, in a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk. Affected units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 and product eligibility is determined by the product serial number.

Customer safety is always Apple's top priority, and we have voluntarily decided to replace affected batteries, free of charge.

First check to see which 15-inch MacBook Pro you have. Choose About This Mac from the Apple menu () in the upper-left corner of your screen. Confirm your model is "MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)." If you have that model, enter your computer's serial number below to see if it is eligible for this program.</p>


Afraid they're only going to replace the battery, not the whole device.
apple  battery  replacement 
8 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Premium smartphone market collapses 8% in Q1 2019, after Apple shipments drop 20% • Counterpoint Research
Varun Mishra:
<p>Apple’s declining shipments has pulled down the global smartphone premium segment. Data from Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor Service for Q1 2019, shows that Apple’s shipments fell 20% year-on-year in Q1 2019, resulting in an 8%  YoY decline for the global premium* segment. However, as Apple is losing ground, Samsung is gaining share. During the quarter, Samsung ended up with one-fourth of the global premium segment, its highest ever share over the past year. This was also the first time when Samsung launched three devices instead of the usual two in its S series, thus covering wider price points.

According to our analysis, the trend of users holding onto their iPhones for longer has affected Apple’s shipments. The replacement cycle for iPhones has grown to over three years, on an average, from two years. On the other hand, substantial design changes in the Galaxy S10 series and the better value proposition it offers compared to high-end iPhones helped Samsung close the gap to Apple in the global premium segment.

<img src="https://www.counterpointresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Global-Premium-Market-Share-2019Q1.jpg" width="50%" />

Apart from Apple’s falling shipments, the sluggishness of the Chinese market was the other key reason for the decline in the global premium segment.</p>


Old news, in a way; wait and see what happens to Huawei's numbers in the next couple of quarters. (Might rise in the next one because networks are trying to get them out of their channel so they aren't left with unsaleable stock.)
huawei  apple  premium  smartphone 
8 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple CEO Tim Cook: Technology companies need to take responsibility for chaos they create • CNBC
Kif Leswing:
<p>Apple CEO Tim Cook warned that Silicon Valley companies needed to take responsibility for the “chaos” they create in a speech Sunday at Stanford University.

Although Cook did not mention companies by name, his commencement speech in Silicon Valley’s backyard mentioned data breaches, privacy violations, and even made reference to Theranos, a disgraced startup.

“Lately it seems this industry is becoming better known for a less noble innovation – the belief you can claim credit without accepting responsibility,” Cook said. “We see it every day now with every data breach, every privacy violation, every blind eye turned to hate speech, fake news poisoning out national conversation, the false miracles in exchange for a single drop of your blood.”

He continued: “It feels a bit crazy that anyone should have to say this, but if you built a chaos factory, you can’t dodge responsibility for the chaos.”</p>


Plenty of easy pickings to be had on this front - though strangely he didn't mention tax avoidance at contributing to the wider chaos of lowered tax takes in countries.
apple  cook 
9 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Initial thoughts on iPadOS: a new path forward • MacStories
Federico Viticci:
<p>not only does iPadOS enable split-screen for the same app, but it also supports an arbitrary number of app windows; in fact, just like on a Mac, you can create as many app windows as you want in iPadOS, and you can even preview them all with Exposé; however, the whole system has been designed around the iPad's touch interactions with long-tap gestures, drag and drop, Slide Over, and Split View.

The net result of this new multitasking approach is a drastic departure from iOS' longstanding assumption that an app can only live in one window at a time: it's going to take a while to get used to the idea that iPad apps can spawn multiple windows, and that the same document or app view can coexist with other app windows across the system in different spaces. At the same time, iPadOS' multitasking builds upon the Mac's multiwindow environment and iOS 11's drag and drop multitasking in a way that feels inevitable – like the best innovations always do.

<img src="https://2672686a4cf38e8c2458-2712e00ea34e3076747650c92426bbb5.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/2019-06-12-00-50-33.png" width="100%" />
<em>Multiple Safari windows in iPadOS</em>

<img src="https://2672686a4cf38e8c2458-2712e00ea34e3076747650c92426bbb5.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/2019-06-12-00-52-43.png" width="100%" />
<em>Creating a new Notes window in Slide Over by dragging a note to the side of the screen</em>

At a high level, iPadOS multitasking is still largely enabled3 by drag and drop: while iOS 11 allowed you to add apps to Split View or Slide Over by dragging their icons into a space, iPadOS lets you add windows by dragging app views or content around. For instance, Notes lets you pick up an individual note and create a new window off of it by dragging it to the side of the screen; in Messages, conversations can become windows; in Mail, a specific feature of the app (the message composer) can be detached from the main UI and turned into a window.</p>


This does look fascinating. The first public beta is probably next month.
apple  ios  ipados 
9 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple has capacity to make all iPhones for US outside of China • Bloomberg
Debby Wu:
<p>Hon Hai, known also as Foxconn, is the American giant’s most important manufacturing partner. It will fully support Apple if it needs to adjust its production as the U.S.-Chinese trade spat gets grimmer and more unpredictable, board nominee and semiconductor division chief Young Liu told an investor briefing in Taipei on Tuesday.

“Twenty-five percent of our production capacity is outside of China and we can help Apple respond to its needs in the U.S. market,” said Liu, adding that investments are now being made in India for Apple. “We have enough capacity to meet Apple’s demand.”

Apple shares were up more than 1% to $194.99 in New York on Tuesday.

Apple has not given Hon Hai instructions to move production out of China, but it is capable of moving lines elsewhere according to customers’ needs, Liu added. The company will respond swiftly and rely on localized manufacturing in response to the trade war, just as it foresaw the need to build a base in the US state of Wisconsin two years ago, he said.</p>


It was all going so well until that mention of Wisconsin.
apple  iphone  china 
9 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Worldwide all-in-one (AIO) PC shipments to drop further in 2019 • Digitimes
Betty Shyu:
<p>Because of the US-China trade tensions and Intel's ongoing CPU shortages, worldwide all-in-one (AIO) PC shipments are expected to shrink 5% on year to arrive at only 12.8 million units in 2019, a weaker performance than expected previously, according to Digitimes Research's figures.

All-in-one (AIO) PCs will account for 12.6% of overall desktop shipments in 2019, Digitimes Research's numbers showed.

Of the top-4 AIO PC brands, the top-2 brands - Apple and Lenovo - will see sharper shipment declines than others in 2019, while third-place Hewlett-Packard (HP) and foruth-place Dell will both see stead performances.</p>


12.8m in a year is about 3.2m per quarter on average. Assume that the top two have 40% of that market, and that that splits 25-15. That would mean Apple is selling 0.8m iMacs per quarter. A tiny fraction will be iMac Pros. And then consider how big the market for the Mac Pro is: likely smaller than for the iMac Pro (because you'd only want the Mac Pro if the iMac Pro didn't do it for you). So much effort, so few buyers.
apple  imac 
9 weeks ago by charlesarthur
iOS 13 shows a map of where apps have been tracking you • 9to5Mac
Chance Miller:
<p><img src="https://i1.wp.com/9to5mac.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/06/ios-13-locations.jpg" width="100%" />

As you can see in the screenshots above, iOS 13 presents popup notifications when an app is using your location in the background. The notification also shows a map of the location data a specific app has tracked. The above screenshots show location data tracked by the Tesla app as well as the Apple Store app.

In addition to showing the map, the notification also presents the app’s reasoning for needing background location access. This is Tesla’s explanation:
<p>Tesla uses your location to show your proximity to your vehicle (while the app is open), and to optimize phone key on your support vehicles (while the app is in the background).</p>


And the explanation for the Apple Store app:
<p>We’ll provide you with relevant products, features, and services depending on where you are.</p>


…Ideally, the new pop-up reminder notifications with map will make users more aware of how often apps are tracking them in the background. In certain instances, always allowing location access makes more sense – such as Tesla – but the developer explanations will have to convince users of that.</p>


Nice idea. It's probably going to freak app developers out.
apple  ios13  apps 
9 weeks ago by charlesarthur
25 things Apple announced for iOS 13 that we want on Android • Android Police
Rita El Khoury:
<p>While the dominating rhetoric over many years has been Apple's uncanny ability to announce an Android feature that has existed for years as innovative and ground-breaking, things have changed recently. 2019 was one of the most interesting thanks to plenty of both small and big additions to iOS 13 that leave us a little doe-eyed and jealous. So here are twenty five new iOS features we'd really like to see on Android.</p>


Top thing: sign in with Apple. The list is quite surprising. (The comments are.. comments.)
apple  ios13  android 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple’s new sign-in button is built for a post-Cambridge Analytica world • The Verge
Russell Brandom:
<p>Apple is introducing its own single sign-on (SSO) service, a direct competitor to the services offered by Google and Facebook. The new service is aimed at paring back data collection, with only minimal data shared with the app and a promise to quarantine any data collected within Apple itself so it can’t be used for other purposes. More importantly, the service will be mandatory for any iOS apps using SSO, which makes it an instant competitor to Google and Facebook’s offerings.

That might seem like an odd move from a hardware company, but Apple has made an explicit push toward web services in recent years, with a particular focus on privacy. The new sign-on button fits right in with iMessage’s focus on encryption and Safari’s push against third-party tracking, all fitting in with Apple’s broader vision of itself as a cleaner and more controlled alternative to the rest of the tech world. Unlike iMessage, that system won’t be restricted to iPhone users. It will be available on Android and web browsers, too, which means there’s less concern about lock-in than you might think.

It also means the system could reach more users than any previous effort, aiming for internet-wide scale in a way that few Apple products do. But unlike cookie-blocking or encryption, this latest move is targeted at legitimate software as much as hostile intruders. The people losing data from this change won’t be hackers or third-party ad networks, but apps you’ve purposefully installed on your phone and networks you’ve chosen to join. It’s a product of the growing scope of privacy concerns in the wake of Cambridge Analytica, and it’s a sign of just how much tech infrastructure needs to be rebuilt as our expectations of privacy change.</p>


Also has some explanation of how this works (it's not quite just giving you a fake email). Brandom suggests "it's just shifting your trust from Google/Facebook to Apple", but that isn't right. Apple doesn't have any incentive to take a meta-view on that data, unlike the other two.
apple  signon  sso 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Google Stadia launches 4K game-streaming in November for $9.99/mo • TechCrunch
Lucas Matney:
<p>Top-level details are the company’s Stadia Pro service will launch in November for $9.99 per month. The price gets you 4K 60fps streaming but you’ll need at least a 35 mbps internet connection to get that speed. Alongside the streaming capabilities, you’ll get access to some Stadia games with the Pro subscription.

At launch, the service is coming to the USA, UK, Canada, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden. Users in Hawaii, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands aren’t supported on Stadia.

We also learned that playing Stadia on a mobile device will be confined to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a at launch so that means no iOS or iPadOS devices at launch though you’ll be able to play in the Chrome browser on your Mac. Not a ton of love for Apple devices though.

Google will be offering a free base subscription next year that lets gamers who purchase titles from the Stadia store stream them for free at 1080p 30fps. This is a major announcement and something that Google really slid into the stream at the very end, but this is really going to put some pressure on the company to have some quality free content to keep gamers interested in the Pro tier.</p>


This will be going up against <a href="https://www.apple.com/apple-arcade/">Apple Arcade</a>, an all-you-can-eat games fest targeting iOS and macOS (and tvOS.. well, Apple TV) devices which is probably going to launch about the same time for the same money but will work offline and won't require you to buy games.

Not gonna lie, looks tough for Google.
google  games  stadia  apple  arcade 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple backs off crackdown on parental-control apps • The New York Times
Jack Nicas:
<p>After promoting its latest software updates in a splashy two-hour presentation on Monday morning, Apple articulated its new policy in a <a href="https://developer.apple.com/news/?id=06032019j">short blog post</a> on a section of its website for developers.

The post said parental-control apps could now use two technologies that Apple had recently cited as grounds for their removal from iPhones.

One technology, mobile device management, or MDM, enables parents to take control of a child’s phone. The other is a virtual private network, or VPN, which parents can use to block certain apps on a child’s phone.

In the post, Apple said the apps could use the technologies if they didn’t “sell, use or disclose to third parties any data for any purpose” and included that promise in their privacy policies.

“These apps were using an enterprise technology that provided them access to kids’ highly sensitive personal data,” an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement. “We do not think it is OK for any apps to help data companies track or optimize advertising of kids.”

She did not say whether Apple had found evidence of the apps doing so. The app makers deny such activity. The spokeswoman declined to say why Apple had changed its mind.

Fred Stutzman, the chief executive of Freedom, an app that helped people track and limit their time on iPhones, said, “My reaction is: Why this last year of pain? And we end up exactly in the same place.”</p>


Stutzman says the policy cost his company more than $1m since its implementation in August, which suggests to me that Freedom was doing pretty well. Not great PR work by Apple, though.
apple  mdm  apps 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple restricts ads and third-party trackers in iPhone apps for kids • TechCrunch
Zack Whittaker:
<p>Apple has told developers to stop including third-party trackers in apps designed for kids — or they face having their apps pulled from the app store.

The tech giant quietly updated its guidelines for apps that are submitted to the app store’s kids category following the keynote address at its annual developer conference on Monday.

“Apps in the kids category may not include third-party advertising or analytics,” the new guidelines say. Previously, the guidelines only restricted behavioral advertising tracking.

Apple also currently prohibits apps in the kids category from including links that point outside the app or contain in-app purchasing.

Apple has come under fire for its recent marketing campaign claiming “what happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone,”  which critics say is misleading. All too often apps include ads or tracking code that allows app makers to collect information about the device, including its location and other data, and send it back to base so companies can better target its users with ads, learn more about how you use the app, and more.

Just last week, the Washington Post found over 5,400 app trackers were uploading data from an iPhone over a single week — even at night when the phone owner was asleep.</p>


Wonder if Google will follow suit.
apple  google  tracking  kids 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
iOS 13 introduces new 'optimized battery charging' feature • Mac Rumors
Juli Clover:
<p>For example, if you often charge your phone up at night while you sleep, Apple might charge it to 80% right away, but wait until an hour or so before you wake up to charge the remaining 20%.

That keeps your iPhone at an optimal capacity for battery health, rather than keeping it close to 100% on the charger.

Avoiding topping up the battery continually while it sits on the charger reduces the amount of time that your device spends at maximum capacity, and over time, this could extend the life of your battery.

Battery health has been a hot topic over the course of the last year, after Apple was found throttling the processor speeds of iOS devices with degraded batteries to prolong device life as long as possible.

That issue spurred Apple to be more forthcoming about overall battery health, providing details about capacity and performance in the Battery portion of Settings. </p>

Clever move. Wonder if it notices when your alarms are on, or whether it just notices what time in the morning you tend first to pick it up?
Apple  battery  charging 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Developers sue Apple over App Store practices • Reuters
Stephen Nellis:
<p>Two app developers on Tuesday sued Apple Inc over its App Store practices, making claims similar to those in a lawsuit brought by consumers that the U.S. Supreme Court recently allowed to proceed.

California-based app developer Donald R. Cameron and Illinois Pure Sweat Basketball alleged in federal court in San Jose, California that Apple engaged in anticompetitive conduct by only allowing the downloading of iPhone apps through Apple’s official App Store. Apple also requires developers to price their apps in tiers ending in 99 cents and takes up to a 30% commission from developers on the sale of apps.

“This practice is analogous to a monopsonist retailer paying artificially low wholesale prices to its suppliers,” the developers said in their suit. “In both paradigms a competitive market would yield better post-commission or wholesale prices, and fairer profit, for developers’ digital products.”

The claims center on the same Apple practices highlighted in a lawsuit brought by consumers, arguing that Apple’s practices have artificially inflated the price of software in the App Store.</p>


So Apple is being sued by both consumers (which is what the recent Supreme Court decision allowed) and developers? As Ben Thompson notes in his Stratechery newsletter, this doesn't really make sense, legally speaking, because it creates a sort of double jeopardy - as though a store were being sued both by its customers and its suppliers. If the monopsonist retailer is paying artificially low wholesale prices, then customers must be benefiting from lower prices. If the developers' argument is that Apple kept prices high, then developers are getting more money, so what's the beef?
apple  appstore  apps  antitrust  lawsuit 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
MacBook Pro keyboard failures: why Apple's dust excuse is bull [Teardown + Explanations] • Reddit/apple
:
<p>From my experience as an Apple Technician, here are the most commonly reported problems at my store, in order of most to least common:<br />• No-input, particularly from all vowel keys, most commonly used consonants, spacebar, enter, and shift<br />• Multi-input, particularly from all vowel keys, most commonly used consonants, spacebar, enter, and shift<br />• Sticky/Crunchy/Stuck keys.<br />•

As for demographic, the most common folks we see with these issues are:<br />• Writers or any kind (blog, scripts, office workers, etc)<br />• Students of all kinds<br />• Programmers. …</p>


He's pretty sure it isn't dust, which he demonstrates in all sorts of ways. ("Dust" wouldn't explain why it tends to be the most commonly used keys, and particularly the spacebar - which should be the most tolerant, since there's more of it? - that tend to be affected.) So what is it?
<p>As for what the actual cause is, honestly I don't know. My suspicion is that the metal dome experiences metal fatigue and slowly begin to lose connection, or that that little U-shaped cutout in the centre of the dome weakens and starts to easily bounce when pressed, making contact 2+ times. I honestly cannot test this at home, my equipment is woefully inadequate to go that deep.</p>


Well look surely this new generation of keyboard will...
apple  keyboard 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
65+ iOS 13 features that Apple didn't show off at WWDC • 9to5Mac
Jordan Kahn:
<p>Today at its WWDC keynote presentation, Apple officially announced iOS 13 arriving later this year for iPhone users. The company demoed a few of the notable new features including Dark Mode, a new swipe-based gesture keyboard, as well as new features for Siri, Photos and AirPods. It also, however, quickly flashed a slide on stage showing over 65 other new iOS 13 features arriving with the release this fall. Take a look…</p>


"Indian English Siri voices" 👀
apple  ios13 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Here’s why Apple just killed off iTunes • Music Industry Blog
null:
<p>Craig Federighi’s tongue-in-cheek quip”One thing we hear over and over: Can iTunes do even more?” hints at just how bloated and no longer fit for purpose iTunes had become.

iTunes actually started off as a tool for ripping and burning CDs. In fact, its original marketing slogan was ‘Rip Mix Burn’. It evolved into a tool for managing and playing music and supporting the iPod. Over time it layered in videos, books, apps, Apple Music etc etc. But one thing iTunes never excelled on, even before it suffered from feature bloat, was being a great music player. It was if it could never quite shake off its origins. Apple Music has of course picked up the player baton and run with it for Apple. Now that iTunes has splintered into three apps, we should start to see the evolution of three distinct sets of user experiences. Apple hasn’t pushed the boat out yet because it has a fundamentally conservative user base that has to have change implemented at a steady rate in order not to alienate it…

…Apple is now poised to go deep across a wide range of content offerings. Unbundling its apps and subscriptions gives it the agility to build sector specific user experiences and marketing campaigns. Separating out podcasts is particularly interesting, as Apple is making the call that they do not belong with music. A stark contrast to Spotify’s approach. Indeed, Spotify may just be approaching its own iTunes moment, with an app that is trying to do too many things for too many different use cases. iTunes just committed hara-kiri to enable Apple to compete better in the digital content marketplace. Spotify may need to do something similar soon.</p>


Apps absorb as many other apps as they possibly can until it's decided they need to be broken up into as many other apps as they possibly can.
apple  itunes  music 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Best of iOS 13: The 15 most exciting new features coming to your iPhone and iPad – BGR
Faster, darker, swipier, mappier (with its own version of Street View - 12 years after Street View was launched), and more. Plus you can bump phones to share audio; I remember a few years ago Craig Federighi introducing AirDrop and saying "you won't have to bump your phones together", mocking a then-popular Android app, Bump (bought by Google) for sharing content.
ios13  apple 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
iPadOS, coming “this fall”: thumb drives, more gestures, “desktop-class” browsing • Ars Technica
Sam Machkovech:
<p>iPadOS does put a welcome, Apple-like spin on multi-window support: supported apps will allow users to grab and drop content between windows. Federighi showed this off by using a "tap-and-drag" feature to move attachments and links from one Mail window to another on the same screen. He pointed out that third-party apps like Microsoft Word will also support the feature. But he said nothing about such multi-window support working with multiple apps on the same screen—such as dragging-and-dropping Safari content into a Microsoft Word window.

An update to iPad's native file-browsing interface looks decidedly more like MacOS, with a column-view option that enables file preview tabs and quick-action menus. iPadOS will support a suite of new file sharing options, including iCloud folder sharing and file servers.

Arguably the biggest file-system win, at least for owners of recent USB Type-C iPads, is native file-browsing support for thumb drives, SD cards, and directly connected cameras. (We'll have to wait to see how many older iPads will support the same thing via legacy adapter devices, but this at least directly answers a major criticism Ars leveled at the most recent iPad model.)

iPadOS' version of Safari will no longer render mobile-browser versions of sites by default. Instead, it will deliver "desktop-class browsing." Apple promises to render sites on iPadOS as built for the desktop version of Safari, only with Apple layering its own iPad-specific tweaks on top via software (mostly for the sake of "touch input"). Whether this will ultimately require website designers to juggle another spec for browsers remains to be seen, in spite of Apple's promises. ("Sites like Google Docs... work great in Safari now," Federighi said, at least.)</p>


We'll see what Google has to say about that. It likes pushing its Docs, Sheets and similar apps; perhaps it can see more going on in them.
ipad  apple  wwdc 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple expands tvOS gaming with PS4, Xbox One S controller support • Ars Technica
Kyle Orland:
<p>At the 2019 WWDC keynote today, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the company is expanding Apple TV controller support to include "two of the best and most popular game controllers available, Xbox One S and PlayStation DualShock 4" with the next tvOS update. Note that this expansion does not include original Xbox One control pads that shipped with the 2013 version of the system—only the Bluetooth-equipped controller update that premiered alongside Microsoft's One S update in 2016 will work with Apple TV.

The announcement, which drew large and sustained applause in the presentation hall, comes nearly four years after Apple's second-generation Apple TV became the company's first foray into TV-based gaming since the ill-fated Pippin. At launch, Apple TV games were required to support the hardware's touchpad-focused, tilt-sensitive remote, and those games could optionally support any number of MFi controllers already designed for mobile iOS hardware. While Apple reversed that decision in mid-2016 to allow for MFi-exclusive games, Apple TV game developers continue to complain about the fragmented control landscape on Apple's set-top box.</p>


Long overdue (as is the addition of multi-user); the WWDC keynote felt like being in a bus station, waiting for them all to arrive after noodling around for ages.
wwdc  apple  tvos 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple launches 'Sign in with Apple' button for apps, ‘no tracking’ login • 9to5 Mac
Benjamin Mayo:
<p>Apple announced a new Sign in with Apple button as part of its iOS 13 announcements. The button offers Apple ID single-sign on functionality similar to sign-in buttons from Twitter, Facebook or Google.

Apple is marketing this as a privacy-secure sign-in option. Apple will mask user email addresses and other personal information, whilst still allowing the apps to contact users indirectly.

Users select what information to share with the destination app. You can share your real email address with the third-party app, or use the ‘hide my email’ option to forward email onwards. In the latter case, the app would only see a random anonymous email address.

Of course, apps must update to integrate the ‘Sign in with Apple’ button. A lot of apps may not want to add the Apple ID login because they cannot access customer data they want.</p>

Logical expectation is that Apple will push it on its devices, so apps and sites may feel they need to support it. But with the tech landscape as it is, there might be some reluctance to not gather data when you can slurp it up via Google or Facebook. Those sites and apps aren't on your side. They're on their own side.
Apple  data  privacy  signon 
10 weeks ago by charlesarthur
iPhone privacy is broken…and apps are to blame • WSJ
Joanna Stern:
<p>Congratulations! You’ve bought an iPhone! You made one of the best privacy-conscious decisions... until you download an app from Apple’s App Store. Most are littered with secret trackers, slurping up your personal data and sending it to more places than you can count.

Over the last few weeks, my colleague Mark Secada and I tested 80 apps, most of which are promoted in Apple’s App Store as “Apps We Love.” All but one used third-party trackers for marketing, ads or analytics. The apps averaged four trackers apiece.

Some apps send personal data without ever informing users in their privacy policies, others just use industry-accepted—though sometimes shady—ad-tracking methods. As my colleague Sam Schechner reported a few months ago (also with Mark’s assistance), many apps send info to Facebook, even if you’re not logged into its social networks. In our new testing, we found that many also send info to other companies, including Google and mobile marketers, for reasons that are not apparent to the end user.

We focused on the iPhone in our testing—largely because of Apple’s aggressive marketing of personal privacy. However, apps in Google’s Play Store for Android use the same techniques. In some cases, when it comes to providing on-device information to developers and trackers, Android is worse. Google recently updated its app permissions and says it is taking a deeper look at how apps access personal user information.</p>


Stern must be furious that her former colleague Geoff Fowler, now at the Washington Post, got ahead of her with the story - his appeared a day or two before hers - but it shows that we've become complacent about apps, and especially the third-party trackers they tend to incorporate.
apple  apps  data  privacy 
11 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple expected to remove 3D Touch • Michael Tsai's blog
Michael J. Tsai:
<p>Last week, in a research note shared with MacRumors, a team of Barclays analysts “confirmed” that 3D Touch “will be eliminated” in all 2019 iPhones, as they predicted back in August 2018. The analysts gathered this information from Apple suppliers following a trip to Asia earlier this month.</p>


What's different about Tsai's approach is that he rounds up not just the news, but also the reactions, and his reactions. 3D Touch has always felt like one of those things that's just on the verge of being really useful, but didn't tip over into it as much as anything because Apple hasn't shown a clear path for third-party developers. And it did tend to confuse things: the subtle distinction between a long press, a 3D press and a short press can be particularly annoying when you're trying to reorganise your home screen and it brings up the 3D Touch menu, or vice-versa.

A quick note too that when it became known that Apple was going to introduce this in 2015, Huawei <a href="https://mashable.com/2015/12/10/huawei-mate-s-review/?europe=true">hurried out its Mate S</a> with the same feature, which was quickly abandoned.
apple  3dtouch 
11 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Inside Apple's top secret testing facilities where iPhone defences are forged in temperatures of -40C • The Independent
Andrew Griffin:
<p>The cost of those [Apple] products has led to some criticism from Apple's rivals, who have said that it is the price of privacy; that Apple is fine talking about how little data it collects, but it is only able to do so because of the substantial premiums they command. That was the argument recently made by Google boss Sundar Pichai, in just one of a range of recent broadsides between tech companies about privacy.

"Privacy cannot be a luxury good offered only to people who can afford to buy premium products and services," [Google chief Sundar] Pichai wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times. He didn't name Apple, but he didn't need to.

Pichai argued that the collection of data helps make technology affordable, echoing a sentiment often heard about Apple, that their commitment to privacy is only possible because their products are expensive and it can afford to take such a position. Having a more lax approach to privacy helps keep the products made by almost all of the biggest technology products in the world – from Google to Instagram – free, at least at the point of use.

"I don't buy into the luxury good dig," says Federighi, giving the impression he was genuinely surprised by the public attack.

"On the one hand gratifying that other companies in space over the last few months, seemed to be making a lot of positive noises about caring about privacy. I think it's a deeper issue than then, what a couple of months and a couple of press releases would make. I think you've got to look fundamentally at company cultures and values and business model. And those don't change overnight.

"But we certainly seek to both set a great example for the world to show what's possible to raise people's expectations about what they should expect the products, whether they get them from us or from other people. And of course, we love, ultimately, to sell Apple products to everyone we possibly could certainly not just a luxury, we think a great product experience is something everyone should have. So we aspire to develop those."</p>


Lots of other details in there, but this is the core.
apple  privacy  google 
11 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Huawei ban nudges Chinese iPhone fans to switch sides • Tech In Asia
Meng Jing and Zen Soo:
<p>Both sense and sensibility played major roles when diehard iPhone fan Wang Zhixin finally made the decision to become a first-time Huawei user after sticking with the US brand for almost a decade.

“There is a calling from my heart that I need to show support for Chinese brands, especially in the trade war climate,” said the manager at one of China’s largest solar module manufacturers. When the time finally came to retire his three-year-old iPhone 7 earlier this month, Wang went with a Huawei P30.

Huawei was not entirely chosen out of sympathy. “The company has a reputation for better quality at a cheaper price,” Wang said. “[The P30] is faster and can take better pictures.”

For Sam Li, who works at a state-owned telecom company in Beijing, switching from Apple to Huawei was also driven by an emotion. “It’s kind of embarrassing to pull an iPhone out of your pocket nowadays when all the company executives use Huawei.”</p>


And in today's example of "irony": <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/huawei-founder-ren-zhengfei-buys-apple-iphones-2019-5">"Huawei's CEO says he admires Apple and buys his family iPhones when they're not in China"</a>.
huawei  apple  iphone 
12 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple tweaks its troubled MacBook keyboard design yet again, expands repair program • The Verge
Dieter Bohn:
<p>Apple is announcing an update to its keyboard repair program today. All MacBooks with the so-called “butterfly mechanism” (that’s pretty much all modern MacBooks) will now be fully eligible for Apple’s Keyboard Service Program. The expansion means that a few newer models that weren’t previously covered will be able to get repairs. Unfortunately, Apple is not extending how long that program lasts — it’s still “four years after the first retail sale of the unit.”

Apple is also announcing that it has created yet another iteration of its butterfly keyboard, which will ship on the new MacBook Pros it’s announcing today. It also promises that it will speed up keyboard repair times. You will not be able to just take your MacBook in to have its keyboard replaced if you don’t trust it, of course; it will need to exhibit issues for Apple to fix it.

Apple has been put through the wringer over the reliability of its butterfly keyboards for the past few years, and rightly so. Although the company stressed again in a call today that the “vast majority” of customers don’t have a problem, all too many of them have had issues with stuck keys that could cause double letters or no letters at all. It only recently began to apologize for the issue, but has also been trying to characterize it as something minor that doesn’t affect that many customers.

The amount of evidence we’re seeing on social media, among writers, and on our own laptops is getting to the point where you can’t call it anecdotal anymore, though. So simply expanding the repair program won’t be enough.</p>

Ed Bott <a href="https://twitter.com/edbott/status/1130881829022552064">calls this</a> "Apple's [equivalent of] Windows Vista, a reputation-destroying slow-motion train wreck". He's not wrong. But if this does actually fix this, then I might buy one. Wait for iFixit's teardown, I suppose.
Apple  keyboard 
12 weeks ago by charlesarthur
July 2018: We estimate China only makes $8.46 from an iPhone – and that’s why Trump’s trade war is futile • The Conversation
Greg Linden, in July 2018:
<p>Start with the most valuable components that make up an iPhone: the touch screen display, memory chips, microprocessors and so on. They come from a mix of U.S., Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese companies, such as Intel, Sony, Samsung and Foxconn. Almost none of them are manufactured in China. Apple buys the components and has them shipped to China; then they leave China inside an iPhone.

So what about all of those famous factories in China with millions of workers making iPhones? The companies that own those factories, including Foxconn, are all based in Taiwan. Of the factory-cost estimate of $237.45 from IHS Markit at the time the iPhone 7 was released in late 2016, we calculate that all that’s earned in China is about $8.46, or 3.6% of the total. That includes a battery supplied by a Chinese company and the labor used for assembly.

The other $228.99 goes elsewhere. The U.S. and Japan each take a roughly $68 cut, Taiwan gets about $48, and a little under $17 goes to South Korea. And we estimate that about $283 of gross profit from the retail price – about $649 for a 32GB model when the phone debuted – goes straight to Apple’s coffers.

In short, China gets a lot of (low-paid) jobs, while the profits flow to other countries.

A better way of thinking about the US-China trade deficit associated with one iPhone would be to only count the value added in China, $8.50, rather than the $240 that shows up as a Chinese import to the U.S.

Scholars have found similar results for the broader US-China trade balance, although the disparity is less extreme than in the iPhone example. Of the 2017 trade deficit of $375bn, probably one-third actually involves inputs that came from elsewhere – including the US.

The use of China as a giant assembly floor has been good for the US economy, if not for US factory workers. By taking advantage of a vast, highly efficient global supply chain, Apple can bring new products to market at prices comparable to its competitors, most notably the Korean giant Samsung.</p>

You can argue about the minor detail, but this is broadly correct; and quite opposite to the general expectation. What the films of Foxconn workers in Shenzhen assembling and testing phones doesn't show is the container loads of components that have come in from abroad to be assembled.
China  us  trade  technology  apple 
12 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Handful of tablet vendors consolidate leadership positions in Q1 2019 as market falls 5% • Strategy Analytics
<p>Incredibly fierce price competition has put incredible pressure on many Android tablet vendors, but a few companies stood above the rest in Q1 2019. Apple, Huawei, Amazon, and Microsoft have each found ways to press their advantage and gain market share as the rest of the market struggles to find momentum. The global tablet market declined 5% year-on-year in Q1 2019. The question remains, can more vendors break through to growth or will they continue to cede ground to the market leaders?

Eric Smith, director – connected computing, said, “Amazon had an excellent post-holiday quarter on the back of several promotional discounts, pushing shipments 21% higher than a year ago. Huawei is still eating the lunch of its Android competitors, particularly in EMEA and China, growing 8% globally year-on-year. There are signs of stabilization among some vendors, including Samsung, HP, Dell, and even TCL-Alcatel. Certainly, the picture is rosier for many companies still in the tablet business when you look at revenues, which explains why competition is so heated.”

Chirag Upadhyay, senior research analyst, added, “Most Windows Detachable 2-in-1 vendors are targeting the premium tier for enterprise users to make higher profits but a crowded market prevents all vendors from growing at once, especially now that Apple is competing strongly with three iPad Pro models in this price tier. As a result of taking focus off of the larger consumer market, Windows market share actually fell by 1 percentage point year-on-year to 14%. Windows shipments fell 13% year-on-year to 5.0 million units in Q1 2019 from 5.7 million in Q1 2018. Shipments declined 29% from the previous quarter on low seasonality. Microsoft fully owns the leadership position in Windows Detachable 2-in-1s with the release of the lower cost Surface Go and a refreshed Surface Pro 6 all in the last half of 2018. This is the fifth straight quarter of year-on-year shipment and revenue gains for Microsoft.”</p>

I'd hazard a guess that average selling prices are rising, while small players are being squeezed out at the bottom end. In other words, the tablet market has hit maturity, and it's all going to be consolidation now.
Table  apple  ipad 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Supreme Court allows antitrust lawsuit against Apple to proceed • The New York Times
Adam Liptak and Jack Nicas:
<p>The legal question in the case, Apple v. Pepper, was whether the lawsuit was barred by a 1977 decision in Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, a case that allowed only direct purchasers of products to bring federal antitrust lawsuits. Apple argued that it was an intermediary and so not subject to lawsuit.

The majority rejected that argument. “The plaintiffs’ allegations boil down to one straightforward claim: that Apple exercises monopoly power in the retail market for the sale of apps and has unlawfully used its monopoly power to force iPhone owners to pay Apple higher-than-competitive prices for apps,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote.

Apple argued that app developers set their own prices, meaning that consumers should not be able to sue the company. Justice Kavanaugh responded that the argument missed the economic reality of the relationship between Apple and app developers.

“A ‘who sets the price’ rule,” he wrote, “would draw an arbitrary and unprincipled line among retailers based on retailers’ financial arrangements with their manufacturers or suppliers.”

“Under Apple’s rule a consumer could sue a monopolistic retailer when the retailer set the retail price by marking up the price it had paid the manufacturer or supplier for the good or service,” he wrote. “But a consumer could not sue a monopolistic retailer when the manufacturer or supplier set the retail price and the retailer took a commission on each sale.”</p>

Here's <a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf/17-204_bq7d.pdf">the Supreme Court ruling</a>. In effect, it says that Apple's a monopolistic retailer, and thus able to set prices (why is it 30% on top? How does one shop around to get apps at a different price?). Apple's going to have to let apps be sold in a different way, or at least allow different transaction paths to be signposted.

Apple's response: "Developers set the price they want to charge for their app and Apple has no role in that. The vast majority of apps on the App Store are free and Apple gets nothing from them… We’re confident we will prevail when the facts are presented and that the App Store is not a monopoly by any metric.”
apple  antitrust 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Global smartwatch shipments grew 48%yoy in Q1 2019; one in three was an Apple Watch • Counterpoint Research
<p>Global smartwatch shipments grew a healthy rate of 48% year-on-year (YoY) in Q1 2019 driven by Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Huawei, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Global Smartwatch Tracker.

Commenting on the major shift in the market, Counterpoint Research Analyst, Satyajit Sinha, noted, “Apple Watch shipments grew a solid 49% YoY despite the weak demand for its iPhones. Apple continues to focus on the health-related features like ECG and fall detection in the Apple Watch Series 4. The ECG capability in the Apple Watch is the most desirable feature, according to our latest Consumer Lens survey. Apple has now received approval on its ECG features from healthcare authorities of Hong Kong and 19 other countries including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK.”

Sinha added: “The heart rate sensor for health monitoring, GPS and pedometer sensors for fitness, and NFC embedded for payment are some of the key integrated technologies. Related use-cases and in addition to notifications with cellular capability are driving the smartwatch adoption. However, limited battery life remains a pain point for consumer’s decision-making process, irrespective of region and price band.”</p>


I don't think Apple is going to dramatically extend battery life. Surprised that after four years people haven't figured this out. It hasn't done on its laptops, phones, tablets or AirPods. Not going to happen on the Watch. Meanwhile, Huawei is coming up fast.
smartwatch  apple 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Airpods are a tragedy • Vice
Caroline Haskins with the first (?) of a series about "what if you found these artefacts in a thousand years' time":
<p>For roughly 18 months, AirPods play music, or podcasts, or make phone calls. Then the lithium-ion batteries will stop holding much of a charge, and the AirPods will slowly become unusable. They can’t be repaired because they're glued together. They can’t be thrown out, or else the lithium-ion battery may start a fire in the garbage compactor. They can’t be easily recycled, because there’s no safe way to separate the lithium-ion battery from the plastic shell. Instead, the AirPods sit in your drawer forever.

Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, which does electronics teardowns and sells repair tools and parts, told Motherboard that AirPods are “evil.” According to the headphones review team at Rtings.com, AirPods are "below-average" in terms of sound quality. According to people on every social media platform, AirPods are a display of wealth.

But more than a pair of headphones, AirPods are an un-erasable product of culture and class. People in working or impoverished economic classes are responsible for the life-threatening, exhaustive, violent work of removing their parts from the ground and assembling them. Meanwhile, people in the global upper class design and purchase AirPods.</p>

*Microsoft Clippy voice* Hi there! It looks like you're critiquing capitalism! Would you like to follow your logic through to its effects on your life?
Airpods  apple  capitalism 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Brussels poised to probe Apple over Spotify's fees complaint • FT
Rochelle Toplensky:
<p>Spotify’s complaint centres on Apple’s policy of charging digital content providers a 30% fee for using its payment system for subscriptions sold in its App Store. The policy applies to Spotify and other music subscription services but not apps, such as Uber.

After considering the complaint and surveying customers, rivals and others in the market, the EU competition commission has decided to launch a formal antitrust investigation into Apple’s conduct, according to three people familiar with the probe.

Apple and Spotify both declined to comment.

EU enforcers can require companies to change business practices they deem unlawful and levy fines of up to 10% of a company’s global turnover. The investigations have no set deadlines and can take years to resolve. However, companies can speed up the process and avoid fines by offering to settle the probes with binding promises of behavioural change.

In an interview in March after filing the complaint, Daniel Ek, Spotify’s chief executive, told the Financial Times that the company’s long-running battle with Apple had become “untenable”. He warned that the music-streaming service would raise prices if Apple continued to charge the 30% fee. 

Deezer, a rival music-streaming service, and BEUC, a European consumers’ group, echoed Spotify’s concerns. </p>

Well, this is going to get interesting. Assume the EC rules for Spotify: Apple will either have to reduce its 30% fee (to zero?) or let companies offer alternative payment schemes, as Google does.
Apple  spotify  antitrust 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
There used to be an app for that • Medium
OurPact makes a "control your kid's screen time" app which Apple recently yanked from the App Store, saying that its use of Mobile Device Management (MDM) - an API Apple provides - left it vulnerable to hacking:
<p>Shortly after the release of the iPhone in 2007, a growing body of research confirmed the negative impact of excessive screen time exposure for growing children and teens. In 2012, the OurPact team recognized the lack of solutions available on iOS and set out to develop comprehensive parental controls for families. We don’t just develop OurPact, we use it in our own homes.

From day one, our focus has been what’s best for parents and their children. A core part of that mission is a commitment to data protection and user privacy — we never have and never will sell or provide any user data to any third party.

Since its initial release, OurPact has employed a public, documented Apple technology known as MDM.

While MDM was initially intended for company-owned or personally-owned BYOD implementations, it has also been used by many parental control applications to give parents more freedom to manage their children’s mobile devices. In recent years, Apple has also extended MDM for use by children and teachers in schools.
OurPact’s core functionality would not be possible without the use of MDM; it is the only API available for the Apple platform that enables the remote management of applications and functions on children’s devices. We have also been transparent about our use of this technology since the outset, and have documented its use in our submissions to the App Store.</p>

Plenty of detail in this, and Apple doesn't come out looking at all good. The MDM point looks extremely weak, in fact.
Apple  mdm 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Apple Watch has record breaking quarter and it's not letting up • Wareable
James Stables:
<p>“The [Apple Watch business] is now about the size of a Fortune 200 company, an amazing statistic when you consider it’s only been four years since we delivered the very first Apple Watch,” said Tim Cook, Apple CEO.

Impressive stuff, as Apple CFO Luca Maestri explained:

“Wearables, home and accessories revenue set a new March quarter revenue record at 5.1 billion, fuelled primarily by the strong performance of our wearables business, which grew close to 50%.

“Within this category, Apple Watch is the best-selling and most loved smartwatch in the world, and produced its best results ever for a non-holiday quarter. It’s reaching many new customers, with three-quarters of purchases going to customers who have never owned an Apple Watch before,”

This confirms what we already know – that Apple is totally bossing the smartwatch market.

But it shows how much appetite there is for this segment, and that’s good news for everyone. The walled garden of iOS and high ticket price means there’s always room for other companies to play, which explains the success of the Fitbit Versa and Samsung Galaxy Watch.

However, as CCS Insight’s Ben Wood tweeted, it’s also a great lock-in. The Apple Watch can only be used with iPhones, so those millions of people who are investing are far more likely to stay within the iOS ecosystem with a new iPhone.</p>

Since you're wondering, Fortune 200 companies in 2018 had annual revenues of more than $14.6bn. If you assume a $400 ASP, that's 36.5m Watches sold in the 12-month period. Meanwhile, everyone in London seems to have AirPods.
Apple  watch  smartwatch 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Smartphone shipments experience deeper decline in Q1 2019 with a clear shakeup among the market leaders • IDC
Worldwide volumes down 6.6%; stagnation rules the day:
<p>"The less than stellar first quarter in the United States can be attributed to the continued slowdown we are witnessing at the high end of the market," said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Consumers continue to hold on to their phones longer than before as newer higher priced models offer little incentive to shell out top dollar to upgrade. Moreover, the pending arrival of 5G handsets could have consumers waiting until both the networks and devices are ready for prime time in 2020."

Samsung saw volumes drop 8.1% in 1Q19 with shipments of 71.9m. The results were enough to keep Samsung in the top spot of the market, but Huawei is continuing to close the gap between the two smartphone leaders. Despite challenging earnings in terms of profits, Samsung did say that the recently launched Galaxy S10 series did sell well during the quarter. With the 5G variant now launched in its home market of Korea and plans to bring this device and other 5G SKUs to other important markets in 2019, it will be equally crucial for Samsung not to lose focus on its mid-tier product strategy to fend off Huawei.

Huawei moved its way into a clear number two spot as the only smartphone vendor at the top of the market that saw volumes grow during 1Q19. Impressively, the company had year-over-year growth of 50.3% in 1Q19 with volumes of 59.1m units and a 19.0% market share. Huawei is now within striking distance of Samsung at the top of the global market. In China, Huawei continued its positive momentum with a well-rounded portfolio targeting all segments from low to high. Huawei’s high-end models continued to create a strong affiliation for the mid to low-end models, which are supporting the company's overall shipment performance.

Apple had a challenging first quarter as shipments dropped to 36.4m units representing a staggering 30.2% decline from last year. The iPhone struggled to win over conusmers in most major markets as competitors continue to eat away at Apple's market share. Price cuts in China throughout the quarter along with favorable trade-in deals in many markets were still not enough to encourage consumers to upgrade. Combine this with the fact that most competitors will shortly launch 5G phones and new foldable devices, the iPhone could face a difficult remainder of the year. Despite the lackluster quarter, Apple's strong installed base along with its recent agreement with Qualcomm will be viewed as the light at the end of the tunnel heading into 2020 for the Cupertino-based giant.</p>
Smartphone  apple  huawei  samsung 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Apple’s iPhone sales drop 17% • WSJ
Tripp Mickle:
<p>Apple’s core iPhone business, which accounts for about two-thirds of total sales, has been hobbled by smartphone owners holding onto devices longer and by competition in China where local competitors offer lower-priced, feature-rich handsets. Its iPhone sales fell 17% in the quarter to about $31bn.

Apple blunted the damage from its iPhone business by extending the robust growth of services like app sales and streaming-music subscriptions, which collectively jumped 16%. It also said it would increase the size of its ongoing share buyback program by $75bn.

The report on Tuesday capped off a mixed bag of results from tech giants, including a major stumble by Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. that caused its stock to plunge nearly 8% on Tuesday. The digital-advertising giant and e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. both over the past week reported their slowest revenue growth in four years as their core businesses showed signs of maturity.</p>


The headline's a little misleading: Apple's iPhone <em>revenues</em> dropped 17%. Mac revenues dropped 5%, but iPad revenues were up 21% (!), "Wearables, Home and Accessories" up 30% (!!) and Services up 16% (~, wait for News+ and TV+ and so on to feed in). China was down 22%, which apparently isn't as bad as some had been expecting.
apple  iphone  china 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
Huawei gains record 34% of China's declining smartphone market • Canalys
<p>China's smartphone market contracted 3% to 88.0m units in Q1 2019, making it the market's worst performance since 2013. Market leader Huawei grew its share to a record 34%, up by more than 10% on the same period last year, making it the only vendor in the top five to report growth in an otherwise declining market. Huawei (including Honor) shipped just under 30m smartphones. It was followed by Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and Apple, which each suffered year-on-year declines.

<img src="https://www.canalys.com/static/campaign/117/smartphone-shipments-fall-300419.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="337" />

…"Oppo and Vivo are both shifting their product strategies to refresh their brands," said Canalys Research Analyst Yiting Guan. Vivo is going for a bigger product portfolio in China to cover a wider range of consumer demographics than before, and now offers seven product families. Oppo has put a strong emphasis on its new Reno series to renew its appeal in the mid-to-high-end segment. More interestingly, its RealMe spin-off has been brought from India to China to compete at the low end with Xiaomi and Huawei, including Honor.

<p>Xiaomi recorded quarterly growth against its weak Q4 last year as it improved its channel inventory situation, but still suffered a year-on-year decline in both shipments and market share…Apple shipped 6.5m iPhones in the last quarter, suffering its worst decline in two years. "Despite the iPhone&rsquo;s installed base in China being well over 300 million, it is vital that Apple prevents users deserting it for Android vendors. Apple faces a challenge in China to localize its software and services offerings as quickly as in Western markets," said Jia.</p>
apple  china  smartphone 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
The facts about parental control apps • Apple
<p>We recently removed several parental control apps from the App Store, and we did it for a simple reason: they put users’ privacy and security at risk. It’s important to understand why and how this happened.

Over the last year, we became aware that several of these parental control apps were using a highly invasive technology called Mobile Device Management, or MDM. MDM gives a third party control and access over a device and its most sensitive information including user location, app use, email accounts, camera permissions, and browsing history. We started exploring this use of MDM by non-enterprise developers back in early 2017 and updated our guidelines based on that work in mid-2017.

MDM does have legitimate uses. Businesses will sometimes install MDM on enterprise devices to keep better control over proprietary data and hardware. But it is incredibly risky—and a clear violation of App Store policies—for a private, consumer-focused app business to install MDM control over a customer’s device. Beyond the control that the app itself can exert over the user's device, research has shown that MDM profiles could be used by hackers to gain access for malicious purposes.</p>


It's very unusual for Apple to make a public statement like this. It removed 11 of 17 of the most-downloaded screen time/parental control apps, which the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/27/technology/apple-screen-time-trackers.html">NY Times suggested</a> was anti-competitive. Apple's saying: not at all.
apple  apps  security  hacking  parental 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
The feature Apple needs to change in AirDrop • Yahoo Finance
Rob Pegoraro:
<p>AirDrop’s default setting, which only lets people already in your contacts list send you files, isn’t the problem. But if you spend enough time with other people who use iPhones, you’ll probably find somebody not in your contacts list offering to share a file via AirDrop.

For example, Donald Glover used AirDrop to give away shoes at Coachella. And after my daughter’s Brownie troop had an event at our neighborhood’s Apple Store two weeks ago, the staff offered to AirDrop pictures of the kids to the parents on hand.

My wife was unable to take them up on this offer, since she uses an Android phone. But anybody with an iPhone would have only had to switch AirDrop to accepting files from “Contacts Only” to “Everyone,” either via the iOS Control Center or in the Settings app under the General heading…

The predictable result: creepy guys exploiting this to send photos of a particular body part to iPhones, especially those whose names suggest they’re used by women. It seems to happen most often on crowded trains, but in 2017, a friend had this happen on an airplane. Unfortunately, the flight attendants she summoned for help were unable to locate the offender and transfer him to the cargo hold.

Apple’s response every time has been to remind iPhone users that they can switch AirDrop back to “Contacts Only” or to “Receiving Off.” That’s not good enough. AirDrop’s architecture enables this abuse, and telling targets of it to change how they use this feature is a lame response.

The simplest fix would be to have AirDrop’s "Everyone" setting expire after a few minutes—the suggestion cybersecurity consultant Ken Munro offered to the BBC in 2015 after what appears to be the first reported case of “cyber flashing."</p>


I was ready to ignore this - 90% of people never shift from defaults - but for that "expire after time" suggestion, which is fair. Perhaps in iOS 13?
apple  airdrop 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
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