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How Apple’s apps topped rivals in the App Store it controls • The New York Times
Jack Nicas and Keith Collins:
<p>Top spots in App Store search results are some of the most fought over real estate in the online economy. The store generated more than $50bn in sales last year, and the company said two-thirds of app downloads started with a search.

But as Apple has become one of the largest competitors on a platform that it controls, suspicions that the company has been tipping the scales in its own favor are at the heart of antitrust complaints in the United States, Europe and Russia.

Apple’s apps have ranked first recently for at least 700 search terms in the store, according to a New York Times analysis of six years of search results compiled by Sensor Tower, an app analytics firm. Some searches produced as many as 14 Apple apps before showing results from rivals, the analysis showed. (Though competitors could pay Apple to place ads above the Apple results.)

Presented with the results of the analysis, two senior Apple executives acknowledged in a recent interview that, for more than a year, the top results of many common searches in the iPhone App Store were packed with the company’s own apps. That was the case even when the Apple apps were less relevant and less popular than ones from its competitors. The executives said the company had since adjusted the algorithm so that fewer of its own apps appeared at the top of search results…

…Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president who oversees the App Store, and Eddy Cue, the senior vice president who oversees many of the Apple apps that benefited from the results, said there was nothing underhanded about the algorithm the company had built to display search results in the store.

The executives said the company did not manually alter search results to benefit itself. Instead, they said, Apple apps generally rank higher than competitors because of their popularity and because their generic names are often a close match to broad search terms.</p>

The scrolling presentation at the top of this piece is terrific. And Google? Rand Fishkin, an SEO expert, <a href="">says</a> that "Apple ranked first for an estimated 1.2% of all App Store searches. I can virtually guarantee Google ranks Alphabet-owned properties No.1 for more than that (in a clickstream analysis I did w/ @jumpshotinc in June, they got ~6% of all search clicks)."
apple  ios  algorithm  apps  appstore 
14 days ago by charlesarthur
Exploit sellers say there are more iPhone hacks on the market than they’ve ever seen • VICE
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai and Joseph Cox:
<p>On Tuesday, vulnerability broker Zerodium announced new prices for Android zero-days, which are bugs and exploits that are unknown to the companies that make the software or hardware, and coveted by sophisticated attackers such as law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Zerodium will pay $2.5m to security researchers who provide exploits that allow for the complete takeover of Android phones without requiring the target to click on anything, while the same type of exploits for iOS are still worth $2m.

“The zero-day market is flooded by iOS exploits, mostly Safari and iMessage chains, mainly due [to] a lot of security researchers having turned their focus into full time iOS exploitation," Chaouki Bekrar, the founder of Zerodium, said in an online chat. "They’ve absolutely destroyed iOS security and mitigations. There are so many iOS exploits that we’re starting to refuse some of them.”

Andrea Zapparoli Manzoni, director of Crowdfense, a company that buys zero-day exploits and sells them to governments, also said that there are more iOS exploit chains on the market, but with a caveat.

"There are more iOS chains on the market but not all of them are 'intelligence-grade,'" he wrote in an email.</p>

Interesting article; worth also looking at <a href="">this thread from "The Grugq"</a>, a security researcher who sells secured Android smartphones, and says that "a secured Android phone is safer than an iOS device." Note the use of "secured" as a qualifier there; the "average" Android device, he says, "can trivially be infested with malware". Even so, this unwelcome (from Apple's POV) attention is surely why Apple has started giving security researchers specially unlocked phones so they can find flaws. (Thanks #stormyparis for the link.)
apple  android  security  hacking  ios 
20 days ago by charlesarthur
iPhone hackers caught by Google also targeted Android and Microsoft Windows, say sources • Forbes
Thomas Brewster:
<p>The unprecedented attack on Apple iPhones <a href="">revealed by Google this week</a> was broader than first thought. Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation said that Google’s own Android operating system and Microsoft Windows PCs were also targeted in a campaign that <a href="">sought to infect the computers and smartphones of the Uighur ethnic group in China</a>. That community has long been targeted by the Chinese government, in particular in the Xinjiang region, where surveillance is pervasive.

Google’s and Microsoft’s operating systems were targeted via the same websites that launched the iPhone hacks, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

That Android and Windows were targeted is a sign that the hacks were part of a broad, two-year effort that went beyond Apple phones and infected many more than first suspected. One source suggested that the attacks were updated over time for different operating systems as the tech usage of the Uighur community changed. Android and Windows are still the most widely used operating systems in the world. They both remain hugely attractive targets for hackers, be they government-sponsored or criminal.</p>

This puts something of a different cast onto the Google Project Zero blogpost, which gives the strong impression that only iOS was targeted. If Google knew about attacks on Android and Windows, why didn't it blog those? If it didn't, how did it miss them, since they must have been on the same sites, at the same time?
google  ios  android  hacking  china 
22 days ago by charlesarthur
Google is quietly testing 'Play Pass' app and game subscription, taking on Apple Arcade • Android Police
Corbin Davenport:
<p>Earlier this year, Apple announced Apple Arcade, a monthly subscription service that gives you access to a library of mobile games (including some exclusive titles) on iOS devices. Apple Arcade isn't live yet, but Google is already testing its own competing service, named Play Pass.

XDA Developers found evidence last year that Google was working on the Play Pass service, but now the company is starting to test it. We received screenshots from a reader [shown in the story], which show the signup page for Play Pass and the $4.99 monthly cost. Of course, the price could change before the final rollout.

An info page reads, "Explore a curated catalog spanning puzzle games to premium music apps and everything in between. From action hits to puzzles and fitness trackers, with Google Play Pass you unlock access to hundreds of premium apps and games without ads, download fees or in-app purchases." Another screen shows Stardew Valley and Marvel Pinball as some of the included games.</p>

Our reader stormyparis <a href="">reckons</a> that if it could target 1 billion users, and get 5% of them, it could generate $3bn, but then you have to look at what people wouldn't spend as a result of their subscription, so..

It's probably only going to appeal to the whales who spend way more than $5 per month, though. And it doesn't "take on" Apple Arcade. It's entirely parallel and separate, and won't mean Android gets the games sooner than iOS.
google  apps  arcade  android  ios 
7 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="" width="100%" />
<em>Multiple Safari windows in iPadOS</em>

<img src="" 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 
june 2019 by charlesarthur
SensorID: sensor calibration fingerprinting for smartphones • Cambridge Computing Lab
Jiexin Zhang, Alastair Beresford and Ian Sheret:
<p>We have developed a new type of fingerprinting attack, the calibration fingerprinting attack. Our attack uses data gathered from the accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer sensors found in smartphones to construct a globally unique fingerprint. Overall, our attack has the following advantages:

• The attack can be launched by any website you visit or any app you use on a vulnerable device without requiring any explicit confirmation or consent from you<br />• The attack takes less than one second to generate a fingerprint<br />• The attack can generate a globally unique fingerprint for iOS devices<br />• The calibration fingerprint never changes, even after a factory reset<br />• The attack provides an effective means to track you as you browse across the web and move between apps on your phone.

Following our disclosure, Apple has patched this vulnerability in iOS 12.2.

…Our approach works by carefully analysing the data from sensors which are accessible without any special permissions to both websites and apps. Our analysis infers the per-device factory calibration data which manufacturers embed into the firmware of the smartphone to compensate for systematic manufacturing errors. This calibration data can then be used as the fingerprint.

We found that the gyroscope and magnetometer on iOS devices are factory calibrated and the calibration data differs from device to device. In addition, we find that the accelerometer of Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 can also be fingerprinted by our approach.</p>
security  iphone  ios  tracking  surveillance 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Questions about Marzipan apps on the Mac •
Brent Simmons, the original author of the NetNewsWire newsreader app released back in 2002:
<p>Though I’m not going to rewrite NetNewsWire as a Marzipan app, I do have a bunch of other app ideas I’d like to do, and many of those should be iOS apps as well as Mac apps.

If Marzipan means I can get those apps made more easily and in less time — and that the Mac versions will be as good as an AppKit app, without compromises — then I’ll be happy to adopt it.

But that part is critical. It has to be as good a Mac app as the AppKit version that I would have written. Otherwise it’s not worth my time. Other people may make other calculations, and I respect that.

(Note to those who think of me as a Mac-only programmer: I’ve written several iOS apps, including Vesper, Glassboard, and early versions of NetNewsWire, AllThingsD, and Variety.)</p>
macos  marzipan  ios  mac  programming 
march 2019 by charlesarthur
US iOS users targeted by massive malvertising campaign • ZDNet
Catalin Cimpanu:
<p>A cyber-criminal group known as ScamClub has hijacked over 300 million browser sessions over 48 hours to redirect users to adult and gift card scams, a cyber-security firm has revealed today.

The traffic hijacking has taken place via a tactic known as malvertising, which consists of placing malicious code inside online ads.

In this particular case, the code used by the ScamClub group hijacked a user's browsing session from a legitimate site, where the ad was showing, and redirected victims through a long chain of temporary websites, a redirection chain that eventually ended up on a website pushing an adult-themed site or a gift card scam.

These types of malvertising campaigns have been going on for years, but this particular campaign stood out due to its massive scale, experts from cyber-security firm Confiant told ZDNet today.

"On November 12 we've seen a huge spike in our telemetry," Jerome Dang, Confiant co-founder and CTO, told ZDNet in an email.

Dangu says his company worked to investigate the huge malvertising spike and discovered ScamClub activity going back to August this year.

"The difference is the volume," Dango told us. "One of the reasons for the November 12 spike is that they were able to access a very large ad exchange. Previously they only had access to lower reputation ad networks which limited their visibility on premium websites."

Dangu said that during the 48 hours during which the malvertising spike was active, 57% of Confiant's customers were affected, showing the malvertising campaign's huge reach.

He said that the malicious ads were created to look like ads for official Android apps (, but in reality, they were engineered to hijack iOS US-based users and redirect them to ScamClub's adult and gift card scams, where crooks tried to collect users' personal and financial data via deceitful offers.</p>
ios  malvertising 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
An unzipping shortcut • All this
Dr Drang (who works in engineering, usually calculating how to stop bridges falling down, etc) likes noodling with scripts; here he tackles a problem many people face: how do you handle ZIP files on iOS?
<p>Apple provides the product images as zipped archives, so when I clicked on the link in the press release, I was confronted with this “what do I do?” screen in Safari.

<img src="" width="100%" />

The efficient thing would have been to walk ten feet over to my iMac and download the zip files there, where they can be expanded with almost no thought. But I took the procrastinator’s way out, deciding to solve the problem of dealing with zip files on iOS once and for all.

In the past, I’ve tried out a few zipping/unzipping apps, and they’ve all sucked, with user interfaces that are clumsy to navigate and look like something out of Windows 3.1. What I wanted was a clean, one-click solution similar to what we have on a Mac. A shortcut, if you will…

I went to the Shortcuts Gallery and searched on “zip,” “unzip,” and “archive.” There was a shortcut for zipping up a bunch of files and putting them into an email message, but nothing for unzipping and saving. I also couldn’t find anything by Googling. So I made my own.

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>

It will take you 30 seconds to write this Shortcut, perhaps less to download it from him. Anyway, that's another obstacle to "real work" solved.
unzip  archive  ios  realwork 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Redesigning Siri and adding multitasking features to iOS • UX Design
Kévin Eugène:
<p>I wanted to imagine an update that I would personally be excited about if it showed up at the WWDC, and this is what I came up with.

Let me introduce you to iOS Mogi.

This is Mogi, a beautiful fishing village near Nagasaki in Japan. I took this picture last year.

<strong>« Hey Siri, help me »</strong><br />
The first part of this concept is focused on Siri. The idea here is not to create new commands, rather to display existing vocal requests that work well (like « Find me a good restaurant nearby » or « Get me pictures of Japan I took last year ») in a different way so they could be more useful to the user.
In iOS Mogi, Siri has been designed around a concept I call parallel help. The idea is to have a vocal assistant that is non-intrusive (it won’t take the whole screen like it does today), context aware, and can do things in the background for the user while they are doing something else.
As images are more explicit than words, here’s a very simple example:

<strong>Using Siri in Messages.</strong><br />
When using apps, Siri takes the shape of a notification so as to be less intrusive as possible (if summoned from the lock screen or the home screen, it will still be fullscreen).

<img src="*dzWRwzj_t2qB7KaUOwk5Xg.gif" width="100%" />

In the example above, I ask Siri to show me pictures of Japan as I want to send one to my friend Yannick. Once the request is fulfilled, the result is displayed in the Siri notification so I can continue to do what I was doing without being interrupted. I can swipe down the notification to reveal more and select the photos I want to send.</p>

Like that? He's only just getting started. The idea of Siri as a really helpful full-time assistant <em>which you call on</em> (rather than which prods you annoyingly, Clippy-style) is truly attractive.
Apple  siri  ios  ux  ui 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
iOS 12 on the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Mini 2: It’s actually faster! • Ars Technica
Andrew Cunningham:
<p>I’ve been testing iOS on old devices <a href="">for six years</a>, and I’ve never seen a release that has actually improved performance on old devices. At best, updates like iOS 6, iOS 9, and iOS 10 didn’t make things much worse; at worst, updates like iOS 7 and iOS 8 made old devices feel like old devices. Anyone using an older device can safely upgrade to iOS 12 without worrying about speed, and that’s a big deal. You’ll notice an improvement most of the time, even on newer devices (my iPad Air 2, which had started to feel its age running iOS 11, feels great with iOS 12).

Again, it’s not all rosy. We didn't notice any improvements in keyboard display times. You may still run into trouble running newer games, since there's no software update that can transform an old GPU into a new one. And the iPad Air and Mini 2, in particular, are going to continue feeling kind of slow in general—an iPhone-class processor and 1GB of RAM are just not enough power to keep a high-resolution tablet feeling snappy for five years. With devices as old as these, the condition of the battery can significantly affect performance, too. If you’ve never replaced your battery (or if it has been more than two or three years since you did it last), make an appointment with the Genius Bar before those $29 battery replacements go away at the end of 2018.

But if nothing else, iOS 12 is a convincing counterargument to the theory that Apple intentionally hobbles its old devices to force people to buy new ones. In addition to running more like iOS 10 did, it supports devices going all the way back to 2013, which sets a new record for iOS’ software support window.</p>

I noticed that iOS 12 was faster literally from the first minute of using the first developer beta, installed on a 12in iPad Pro. Of course, having used it all summer, I'm now inured to the difference. But Cunningham found improvements of up to 26% in app launch times and restarts, and none where it was slower.
apple  ios  ios12 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
Nasty piece of CSS code crashes and restarts iPhones • ZDNet
Catalin Cimpanu:
<p>A security researcher has discovered a vulnerability in the WebKit rendering engine used by Safari that crashes and restarts the iOS operating system used by iPhones and iPads.

The vulnerability can be exploited by loading an HTML page that uses specially crafted CSS code. The CSS code isn't very complex and tries to apply a CSS effect known as backdrop-filter to a series of nested page segments (DIVs).

Backdrop-filter is a relative new CSS property and works by blurring or color shifting to the area behind an element. This is a heavy processing task, and some software engineers and web developers have speculated that the rendering of this effect takes a toll on iOS' graphics processing library, eventually leading to a crash of the mobile OS altogether.

Sabri Haddouche, a software engineer and security researcher at encrypted instant messaging app Wire, is the one who discovered the vulnerability, and published proof-of-concept code <a href="">on Twitter</a> earlier today.

<a href="">This link</a> will crash your iOS device, while <a href="">this link</a> will show the source code behind the vulnerability. Haddouche also tweeted a video of the vulnerability crashing his phone</p>

Feels like this stuff comes around every few months or so. Plenty of people hammering on the iOS code to see what happens. This is about the nice graphic effect sucking up all your CPU.
mac  ios  crash  code 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
From Android to iPhone: Some things were good, but I'll never switch • Android Authority
C. Scott Brown:
<p>With this experiment, I wanted to take away the safety net. I wanted to dive into the Apple ecosystem head-first and see if it’s as clunky and bad as I thought it was.

Here are the rules I placed on myself:

• I used an iPhone 8 Plus (Rose Gold, if it matters) on the latest version of iOS (11.4.1) from Sunday morning to the following Sunday morning — a full seven days.<br />• During that time, I could not even touch my Android daily driver: a OnePlus 5. I had to touch some other Android phones here and there because I work for Android Authority, so it’d be hard not to.<br />• Anything I could do on the iPhone I did on the iPhone. That means texting, messaging, phone calls, music, internet searches, and more.<br />• I relied on Apple apps as much as possible and only used the default settings and setup whenever I could.

Over the course of the week, I installed third-party apps like Facebook, Starbucks, Amazon, Slack, and so on. I tried my best to use every basic feature of the phone at least once, including things like Apple Pay, the Apple App Store, Apple Maps, and Apple News.

Be forewarned: both Apple and Android criticism is coming your way.</p>

It's a fair and interesting comparison. But his principal complaint - his real showstopper complaint - is about notification grouping (which is what Android users have disliked about iOS for years). Strange to test iOS less than two weeks before Apple will release a version which will change notification grouping. Sure, who'd expect him to know that? Except he mentions it.
android  ios11  ios  iphone 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
With expectations of a positive second half of 2018 and beyond, smartphone volumes poised to return to growth • IDC
<p>Android's smartphone share will hover around 85% share throughout the forecast. Volumes are expected to grow at a five-year CAGR of 2.4%, with shipments approaching 1.41bn in 2022. Among the more interesting trends happening with Android shipments is that average selling prices (ASPs) are growing at a double-digit pace. IDC expects Android ASPs to grow 11.4% in 2018 to $262, up from $235 in 2017.

IDC expects this upward trajectory to continue through the forecast, but at a more tempered low single-digit rate from 2019 and beyond. This is a sign of many OEMs slowly migrating their user base upstream to the slightly more expensive handsets. Overall this is a positive sign that consumers are seeing the benefits of moving to a slightly more premium device than they likely previously owned. The broad range of colors, screen sizes, features, and brands are a large catalyst for this movement.

For iOS, iPhone volumes are expected to grow by 2.1% in 2018 to 220.4m in total. IDC is forecasting iPhones to grow at a five-year CAGR of 2.0%, reaching volumes of 238.5m by 2022. With larger screen iOS smartphones coming up for launch in the second half of 2018, IDC has shifted greater volumes into the 6in to sub-7in screen size forecast for iOS. Products are on schedule to begin shipping in the third quarter and ramping up into the fourth quarter of 2018, with volumes growing to account for half of all iPhones shipped by 2022. </p>

The OS market is a complete duopoly; 85% Android, 15% iOS. And IDC sees it continuing that way. Apple gets the money, Android gets the volume.
apple  android  ios  iphone  idc  smartphone 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
Android users and men far less likely to make in-app mobile gaming purchases than iOS users and women • Android Police
Rose Behar:
<p>iOS users and women are much more likely to make in-app purchases than Android users and men. Liftoff reports that the 21% IAP conversion rates for iOS users are nearly double that of Android users, which rest at 10.8%. While it acknowledges that its own data, drawn from 350 gaming apps (58% iOS and 42% Android), may overemphasize the disconnect, the findings are backed up by evidence from other sources, as well.

<img src="" width="100%" />

App market data provider App Annie reports that Android users accounted for 70% of total app downloads in 2017, but generated only 34% of total consumer app spend. Still, the sheer size of the Android market — in 2017, Google reported over 2 billion monthly active devices — means mobile game marketers aren't going to give up on the platform any time soon.

As for the gender split, Liftoff's data showed that IAP conversion rates for women are 26% higher than for men, and that the install-to-purchase rate for women is an impressive 79% higher than for men.</p>

In many ways, not a surprise; this has been a consistent pattern for years, and there's no reason it would change.
ios  android  apps  purchase 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple pushes back on hacker's iPhone passcode bypass report • ZDNet
Zack Whittaker:
<p>We reported Friday on [Matthew] Hickey's findings, which claimed to be able to send all combinations of a user's possible passcode in one go, by enumerating each code from 0000 to 9999, and concatenating the results in one string with no spaces. He explained that because this doesn't give the software any breaks, the keyboard input routine takes priority over the device's data-erasing feature.

But Hickey tweeted later, saying that not all tested passcodes are sent to a the device's secure enclave, which protects the device from brute-force attacks.

"The [passcodes] don't always go to the [secure enclave processor] in some instances - due to pocket dialing [or] overly fast inputs - so although it 'looks' like pins are being tested they aren't always sent and so they don't count, the devices register less counts than visible," he tweeted.

Hickey credited Stefan Esser for his help.

"I went back to double check all code and testing," said Hickey in a message Saturday. "When I sent codes to the phone, it appears that 20 or more are entered but in reality its only ever sending four or five pins to be checked."

Apple is rolling out a new feature, called USB Restricted Mode, in its upcoming iOS 12 update, which is said to make it far more difficult for police or hackers to get access to a person's device - and their data.</p>

This would have been an amazing hack, if true. But it's not. ZDNet left the URL for this updated story untouched rather than write a new one and redirect from the old; the old URL is "a-hacker-figured-out-how-to-brute-force-an-iphone-passcode".

I don't think Whittaker rushed to (virtual) print on this; the fault was the researcher's, who didn't test it thoroughly before going public. A little embarrassing.
iphone  ios  hacking  security 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Shortcuts: a new vision for Siri and iOS automation • MacStories
Federico Viticci:
<p>In their apps, third-party developers can embed messages and buttons (which they can design) to bring up the Siri UI to record a shortcut phrase. This means we'll start seeing apps populate important screens or actions with suggestions and buttons to record a shortcut phrase. Moreover, in the Siri recording UI, developers can include a phrase suggestion, but it's up to the user to decide what they want to record.

More importantly, users always have to create personalized shortcut phrases through direct interaction: apps cannot automatically fill the 'My Shortcuts' page in Settings with shortcuts and custom phrases. The user has to associate a custom phrase to a shortcut first.

The more I think about it, the more I see custom shortcut phrases as the next big step in making Siri a more personal assistant that is unique to each user. As would happen with an actual assistant, shortcut phrases allow users to form their own language over time, creating a personalized set of instructions that only their assistant can interpret and act upon. It's the equivalent of jargon in a group of friends, but applied to Siri and app actions. The potential accessibility perks are tremendous too: Apple now enables everyone to create custom Siri phrases that can be however long or short they want; this removes the need to find actions nested in apps, multiple levels deep into their navigation stack.

Here's why I believe Apple and the Workflow (now Shortcuts) team have been incredibly smart in reframing the concept of user automation around Siri and voice: when you think about it, custom phrases aren't too dissimilar from keyboard shortcuts. However, spoken phrases are easier to remember – they don't feel like dark magic to regular users who have never bothered with "automation" before, and, most of all, they are natively supported across the entire spectrum of Apple products, from iPhones and AirPods to HomePods and Watches.3

I strongly believe that personalized phrases are the first step towards changing the fundamental Siri experience, which is going to evolve into a personal command log – from one Siri to a million Siris, each uniquely tailored to the user who customized it.</p>

There's then a lot more about the Shortcuts <em>app</em> - what used to be the (third-party) Workflow app. You can turn any Workflow workflow into a Shortcut shortcut, if you follow me. It has taken quite a while, but Apple is getting iOS towards Android's scriptability.
apple  ios  automation  scripting 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple's software chief details how iOS apps will run on Macs • Wired
Lauren Goode:
<p>When addressing my question about whether iOS apps moving to macOS is a natural precursor to touchscreen Macs, Federighi told me he's "not into touchscreens" on PCs and doesn't anticipate he ever will be. "We really feel that the ergonomics of using a Mac are that your hands are rested on a surface, and that lifting your arm up to poke a screen is a pretty fatiguing thing to do," he said.

Federighi added that he doesn't think the touchscreen laptops out there today—which he referred to as "experiments"—have been compelling. "I don't think we've looked at any of the other guys to date and said, how fast can we get there?" (It's worth noting that Microsoft's Surface laptop, which has a touchscreen and is considered a top MacBook rival, has received largely positive reviews.)

Speaking of competition, Apple's biggest competitors in mobile and desktop software are both already offering some version of mobile apps that can run on laptops and desktops. Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform, introduced back in 2016, lets developers write just one app and have it run across PCs, tablets, mobile phones, and the XBox One. That same year, Google said it was bringing the Google Play app store to Chromebooks, which meant people could download and use Android apps on their ChromeOS computers.

Microsoft and Google have different technical approaches to running similar or the same versions of apps across different devices. But both systems are an acknowledgement of a basic truth: While people really love mobile apps, it can be inefficient and costly for developers to have to build entirely separate apps for multiple platforms.</p>

Federighi is being a little disingenuous about the "fatiguing" thing there. I'm writing this on an iPad Pro - lots of screen touching goes on. The interaction paradigm of a mouse, though, allows for much more precision, and a native desktop/laptop allows for far more information density. This is what advocates of touchscreen laptops overlook: a mouse is a pixel-precise device. A finger isn't.

This looks to me more like an effort to keep the Mac platform alive, by making it easier to write for, than any convergence. I could be miles wrong - Apple has made sweeping architecture changes in the past - but the need for precision is too big to ignore in desktop work.
Apple  software  ios  macos 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Google I/O 2018: The 11 most important announcements • BGR
Zach Epstein:
<p>The annual Google I/O developer conference is Google’s biggest event of the year by far. Unlike Apple, where the biggest event each year is the company’s late-summer iPhone unveiling, Google is a software company first and foremost. At Google I/O each year, Google takes us on a journey through the company’s efforts to push the boundaries of consumer technology. Google isn’t a completely open book, of course, and there are plenty of secret projects being worked on behind closed doors. But the company is always quite open about its core focuses, and Google I/O 2018 was a showcase of all the key areas of concentration at Google.

Artificial intelligence was obviously among the stars of the show at Google I/O 2018, and Google Assistant will play an even more central role in Google’s ecosystem than it already has over the past few years. We also got our first glimpse at the newly updated version of Android P, which is available to developers (and anyone else who wants to install it on his or her Pixel phone) beginning today. The company covered all that and more during its 90-minute Google I/O 2018 keynote presentation, and we’ve rounded up all of the most important announcements right here in this recap.</p>

Or if you don't want to read it, a couple of highlights...
google  ios 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Improving the Advanced Protection Program for iOS users • Google blog
<p>Last October, Google launched the Advanced Protection Program, our strongest level of account security, designed to protect the overlooked segment of our users who face an increased risk of sophisticated attacks. These users may be journalists, activists, business leaders, political campaign teams, and others who feel especially vulnerable.

Today we’re announcing that Advanced Protection now supports Apple’s native applications on iOS devices, including Apple Mail, Calendar, and Contacts. This allows iOS users to enroll in the program without having to adjust how they use Google services on their Apple devices.

To protect you from accidentally sharing your most sensitive data with fraudulent apps or web services, Advanced Protection places automatic limits on which apps can gain access to your Google data. Before today, this meant that only Google applications were able to access your data if you were enrolled in the program.

With today’s update, you can now choose to allow Apple’s native iOS applications to access your Gmail, Calendar, and Contacts data. When you sign into iOS native applications with your Google account, you will get instructions on how to complete the sign-in process if you’re enrolled in Advanced Protection. We’ll continue to expand the list of trusted applications that can access Google data in the future. </p>

I didn't even know this existed. (Perhaps it was only offered by invitation?) How is Google going to stop everyone from claiming they need Advanced Protection, I wonder.
google  protection  ios 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Designing better notifications • Martiancraft
Ben Brooks:
<p>We need to start being proactive in designing for the way people live. We should make use of Apple‘s tools for things like threading identifiers to consolidate updates into a single notification. Calendar access lets us determine when people are busy and should not be distracted; we can even determine if a person has enough time between meetings that they should see notifications, or if the app should wait. Notifications were never intended to be the all important and distracting force they’ve become. With a bit of discipline and care, we can craft notifications people will actually appreciate.

We could set notifications to auto-mute during meals, not just sleep, allowing us to focus on the time we spend with others. Notifications can even use geofencing to determine if we actually need notifications from a particular app. Home alarm push notifications are redundant when I’m at home. Nor do I need work-related notifications when I am not at work. In other words, notifications should only come in when they are relevant, important, and when I will want to deal with them. If smartphones are what chains people to their work, then as the creators of apps, we can help to unchain them by restricting work notifications not only to “work hours” but to work locations as well.</p>
design  ios 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
The new iOS update killed touch functionality on iPhone 8s repaired with aftermarket screens • Motherboard
Matthew Gault:
<p>“This has caused my company over 2,000 reshipments,” Aakshay Kripalani, CEO of Injured Gadgets, a Georgia-based retailer and repair shop, told me in a Facebook message. “Customers are annoyed and it seems like Apple is doing this to prevent customers from doing 3rd party repair.”

According to [Michael] Oberdick [owner and occupier of iOutlet, based in Ohio, which fixes iPhones etc], every iPhone screen is powered by a small microchip, and that chip is what the repair community believes to be causing the issue. For the past six months, shops have been able to replace busted iPhone 8 screens with no problem, but something in the update killed touch functionality. According to several people I spoke to, third-party screen suppliers have already worked out the issue, but fixing the busted phones means re-opening up the phone and upgrading the chip.

It remains to be seen whether Apple will issue a new software update that will suddenly fix these screens, but that is part of the problem: Many phones repaired by third parties are ticking timebombs; it’s impossible for anyone to know if or when Apple will do something that breaks devices fixed with aftermarket parts.</p>

It's the <a href="">Error 53 thing, which goes back to February 2016</a> (though that was about replacing the TouchID button).

One point is that Apple won't be trying to hobble legitimate third-party screen repairs; people break their phones so much that it can't be that grasping. Just as with Error 53, there will be some subtle reason around this. The fact to me that the problem can be ended by "upgrading the chip" suggests to me that someone at Apple <em>overlooked</em> that update, and so it hasn't been applied, but the rest of the system needs it. Hanlon's Law at work. (If this applied to the iPhone 7 or others too, then it would be a conspiracy against third-party repairs; the fact it's only the iPhone 8 - not 8 Plus? Not earlier? - suggests to me that's the problem.)
ios  iphone  8 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Why iOS in-app browsers that don't use Safari's WebKitView are dangerous • Krausefx
Felix Krause on the risks from custom in-app browsers:
<p>This is basically the main reason why in-app browsers are still a thing: It allows the app maintainer to inject additional analytics code, without telling the user. This way, the app’s developer can track the following:

- How long does the user visit the linked website?
- How fast does the user scroll?
- Which links does the user open, and how long do they stay on each of them?

Combined with watch.user, the app can record you while you browse third party websites, or even use the iPhone X face sensor to parse your face. Every single tap, swipe or any other gesture; device movements, GPS location (if granted) and any other granted iOS sensor, while the app is still in the foreground.

Any app with an in-app browser can [also] easily steal the user’s email address, passwords and two-factor authentication codes. They can do that by injecting JavaScript code that bridges the data over to the app, or directly to a remote host. This is simple, it’s basically code like this:

email = document.getElementById("email").value
password = document.getElementById("password").value

That’s all that’s needed: just inject the code above to every website, run it on every user’s key stroke, and you’ll get a nice list of email addresses and passwords.</p>

In short: open links in Safari if you don't trust the app; or insist it opens a Safari webview.
Ios  security  app  browser 
march 2018 by charlesarthur
A new iOS bug can crash iPhones and disable access to iMessages • The Verge
Tom Warren:
<p>The bug itself involves sending an Indian language (Telugu) character to devices, and Apple’s iOS Springboard will crash once the message has been received. Messages will no longer open as the app is trying and failing to load the character, and it appears that the only way to regain access to your iMessages is to have another friend send you a message and try to delete the thread that contained the bad character.

We’ve also tested the bug on third-party apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Gmail, and Outlook for iOS and found that these apps can become disabled once a message is received. It might be difficult to fix and delete the problem message for apps like WhatsApp, unless you have web access enabled. Telegram and Skype appear to be unaffected. The public beta version of iOS 11.3 is also unaffected. It appears Apple was made aware of the problem at least three days ago, and <a href="">plans to address it in an iOS update soon</a>.</p>

Let's hope soon is "very soon". Though it's clear that iMessage has real challenges when it come to rendering text - moreso, it seems, than any other app. Why?
Ios  text  bug  imessage 
february 2018 by charlesarthur
Scoop: Apple delays iOS features to focus on reliability, performance • Axios
Ina Fried:
<p>Software head Craig Federighi announced the revised plan to employees at a meeting earlier this month, shortly before he and some top lieutenants headed to a company offsite.

On the cutting board: Pushed into 2019 are a number of features including a refresh of the home screen and in-car user interfaces, improvements to core apps like mail and updates to the picture-taking, photo editing and sharing experiences.

What made it: There will be some new features, of course, including improvements in augmented reality, digital health and parental controls. In addition, Apple is prioritizing work to make iPhones more responsive and less prone to cause customer support issues.

But, but but: While a renewed focus on quality and performance might ease some outside criticism, some inside the team question whether the approach will actual lead to higher quality. Plus, customers tend to pay for features more than security and reliability, which are tough to assess at the time of purchase.</p>

I don’t think customers pay for software features on phones. They pay for the phones, and the software comes along for the ride; its quality decides whether they pony up when it comes time to replace it, though. (A friend told me today how his Moto G died on him in France. Annoyed, he has replaced it with an iPhone 6S, which he’s delighted with.)

The offsite meeting might be the “top 100” group which sees what it coming up for the rest of the year. New Mac Pro, iPhones.. what else?
Apple  ios  software 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Die With Me
<p>The chat app you can only use when you have less than 5% battery.

Die together in a chatroom on your way to offline peace.</p>

A clever idea: finding a niche in what seems like the utterly known territory of the smartphone. What about "The 1%" where it only works on 99%.. OK, something else? 4G connection? 3G? Edge?
app  ios  fun  smartphone 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Holy ****, the iPad Pro • BirchTree
Matt Birchler got a 10.5in iPad Pro:
<p>There is nothing I can throw at this thing that it does not do basically instantly. I was a little apprehensive about getting an iPad with an A10X processor when my iPhone has a newer A11, but those fears are (at least for now) unfounded. The A10X is blazingly fast, and all the apps I throw at it run perfectly. Whether it’s editing a podcast in Ferite, editing RAW image files in Lightroom, or multitasking with up to 3 apps on screen at a time, the iPad Pro keeps up. As many have mentioned before, the bottleneck on the iPad Pro is software right now, not hardware.

Another part of the iPad Pro I love is the Pro Motion display. For many years, we described 60fps animations as the buttery dream all software should strive for. Now with the 2017 iPad Pros, 120fps now feels like the benchmark, and my god is it nice. I mentioned above that the iPad Pro has a one generation older system on a chip than the iPhone 8/X, but the iPad Pro often feels even faster than the iPhone because of the fluidity of the animations. Seriously, it is an absolute joy to use a computer with everything moving with this level of fluidity.

Finally, despite all it’s flaws, iOS 11 is a game changer for the iPad. The dock is a great addition, and the multitasking view is miles better than what we had last year. The split screen options are better than ever, not only because the zippy iPad Pro loads multiple apps with ease, but because you can now more easily manage your multiple apps, and you can even have a third app on screen at a time with a swipe in from the right gesture. I use this all the time and it makes me treat the iPad more like a computer built for getting things done than ever before. I’d love to see Apple continue to move the needle this year with iOS 12, but the advance we got last year is fantastic, and Apple should be credited with making the iPad leaps and bounds better than any other tablet computer.</p>

He also has a post about <a href="">which apps he retains a Mac for</a>; basically, Final Cut Pro X. For me, it's just my incompetence at rewriting Applescript in Python (using <a href="">Pythonista</a>), and/or the lack of an equivalent for the now-discontinued <a href="">Viewfinder</a> for searching Flickr.
ios  macos 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple plans combined iPhone, iPad & Mac apps to create one user experience • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman:
<p>The Mac App Store is a ghost town of limited selection and rarely updated programs. Now Apple plans to change that by giving people a way to use a single set of apps that work equally well across its family of devices: iPhones, iPads and Macs.

Starting as early as next year, software developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac hardware, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Developers currently must design two different apps -- one for iOS, the operating system of Apple’s mobile devices, and one for macOS, the system that runs Macs. That’s a lot more work. What’s more, Apple customers have long complained that some Mac apps get short shrift. For example, while the iPhone and iPad Twitter app is regularly updated with the social network’s latest features, the Mac version hasn’t been refreshed recently and is widely considered substandard. With a single app for all machines, Mac, iPad and iPhone users will get new features and updates at the same time.

Unifying the apps could help the iOS and macOS platforms “evolve and grow as one, and not one at the expense of the other,” says Steven Troughton-Smith, an app developer and longtime voice in the Apple community. “This would be the biggest change to Apple’s software platform since iOS was introduced.”

Apple is developing the strategy as part of the next major iOS and macOS updates, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss an internal matter. Codenamed “Marzipan,” the secret project is planned as a multiyear effort that will start rolling out as early as next year and may be announced at the company’s annual developers conference in the summer. The plans are still fluid, the people said, so the implementation could change or the project could still be canceled.</p>

Quite the scoop. How will it work? How do you get something designed for touch to work on a mouse-driven interface? How do you get something designed for a mouse-driven interface to work on touch? Nor is it going to solve the problem of getting people to pay for apps on iOS - that ship has sailed and foundered.
apple  apps  ios  mac 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple addresses why people are saying their iPhones with older batteries are running ‘slower’ • TechCrunch
Matthew Panzarino:
<p>The short-form version of what Poole’s benchmarks are showing is the result of a power curve-smoothing algorithm that Apple rolled out last year to mitigate iPhone shutdown issues. I <a href="">wrote about it here</a> [in February 2017]; you can read that and come back.

Basically, iPhones were hitting peaks of processor power that the battery was unable to power and the phones were shutting off. Apple then added power management to all iPhones at the time that would “smooth out” those peaks by either capping the power available from the battery or by spreading power requests over several cycles. This is clearly shown in Poole’s charts in his post:

<img src="" width="100%" />

Also, to be clear, Poole’s charts appear to be accurate — nor is Apple saying this isn’t happening.

Some users who have had older batteries replaced also said they’ve seen improved benchmarks after replacing their batteries. Well, yeah. Of course. As batteries age, they stop working as well. Period.

And that age isn’t just about years or charge cycles — heat is a huge killing factor for batteries, for instance. If your iPhone gets left out in the sun a lot or gets hot a bunch, then your battery will kick the bucket a lot sooner.

As that battery ages, iOS will check its responsiveness and effectiveness actively. At a point when it becomes unable to give the processor all the power it needs to hit a peak of power, the requests will be spread out over a few cycles.</p>
apple  ios  battery 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
iPhone performance and battery age • Geekbench
John Poole:
<p>I believe (as do others) that Apple introduced a change to limit performance when battery condition decreases past a certain point. Why did Apple do this? <a href="">kadupse</a> on Reddit offers the following explanation:
<p>Many iPhone 6s devices were shutting down unexpectedly, even after the battery replacement program (Which many people weren’t entitled to use). Because degraded batteries last much less and end up with a lower voltage Apple’s solution was to scale down CPU performance, it doesn’t solve anything and is a bad experience… but it’s better than having your device shutdown at 40% when you need it the most.</p>

Apple acknowledged the sudden shutdown issue that affected the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s earlier this year. However, does the same issue affect the iPhone 7? Apple appears to have added a similar change to iOS 11.2.0 for the iPhone 7.

If the performance drop is due to the “sudden shutdown” fix, users will experience reduced performance without notification. Users expect either full performance, or reduced performance with a notification that their phone is in low-power mode. This fix creates a third, unexpected state. While this state is created to mask a deficiency in battery power, users may believe that the slow down is due to CPU performance, instead of battery performance, which is triggering an Apple introduced CPU slow-down. </p>

So this could well be the answer to "why is my iPhone slower now I've upgraded?" Older batteries.
battery  ios 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
Android Oreo review: conclusion • BirchTree
Matt Birchler:
<p>Honestly, if I could run all of my iOS apps on the Android operating system I think I’d feel a lot better about Android. It’s a lack of consistent quality software on the platform that really drives me away. The vast difference in quality software from non-Google companies is just depressing for someone coming from the iOS world. Websites like MacStories exist almost completely to talk about third party apps on iOS, and there is enough new and exciting software coming out on a regular basis that they can make a business of it. You simply don’t have that on the Android side, as Android-centric sites instead focus mostly on hardware, sales, and what updates Google themselves are making. In the past 2 months with the Pixel 2, the only “exciting” app releases have been AR Stickers for the Pixel 2 camera app and a new file management app made by Google.

As I return to iOS full time, I do intend to keep carrying the Pixel 2 with me for a while. I’ll carry it mostly for the camera, which is indeed quite excellent, but there will also be a few Android features I’ll miss. I’ll miss the superior notification management. I’ll miss the far superior do-not-disturb options. I’ll miss having Google Assistant as my main digital assistant. And I’ll miss picture-in-picture on my phone. I will miss these things, but as I think is very clear by now, I’ll miss those things less than I missed all the goodies iOS brings me.</p>

Nails it about Android news sites. There's really very little to chew on there.
android  ios  review 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
Android to iPhone, part two: What I've liked about switching to the iPhone X • Android Police
David Ruddock has been trying out the iPhone X for a month or so, having never used iOS before. Here's his bit on notifications:
<p>I will get this out of the way: notifications on iOS are terrible. Actually bad. Just not good. I will cover that in my next post.

But! iOS does do one thing right with them, at least for me: it cuts down on information overload. Just looking at my Android phone’s notification bar practically compels me to clear it out. I don’t really like that feeling - it’s a distraction and keeps me from focusing on whatever I’m actually trying to do with my phone in a given moment, constantly sending me back and forth between apps and clearing out the bar.

iOS requires you to authorize an app to send notifications on its first run after install. What I’ve noticed is that, oftentimes, I really don’t need many apps to send me notifications… ever. I don’t need to hear from the Kindle app, the Amazon app, Google Maps, Dropbox, the New York Times, YouTube, or Yelp. The list goes on, but you get the idea: I get fewer notifications on iOS than I do on Android because iOS has forced me to think about which apps I actually want to get them from.

Not only that, the lack of notification icons in the status bar area means that unless you pull down the notification tray, you just don’t see your notifications all that often. You might catch a glimpse of them when you go to unlock the phone, but as soon as your swipe up, they’re gone.

I don’t find I’m any less effective at responding to emails or messages on iOS than I am on Android. I do find I am significantly less mentally burdened with the task of managing my notifications. It’s going to make me take a long, hard look at how I manage my notifications on Android when I switch back.</p>

There's plenty more to digest in this post. His next one, later this week, will be about the things he hasn't liked with iOS, and he says it's going to be longer.
android  ios 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
Android Oreo review: performance and stability • BirchTree
Matt Birchler, continuing his series comparing his experience using Oreo on a Pixel 2 with his experiences on an iPhone; though he's usually an iOS user, he's also very familiar with Android:
<p>In day to day use, Android on the Pixel 2 does not feel much slower than the iPhone 8. Apps launch quickly on the Pixel, sometimes even faster than they do on the iPhone. Part of this is due to the shorter animations on Android, but other times it is just that the Pixel is just as fast or faster than the iPhone. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say this before, but apps actually tend to launch a tiny bit quicker on Android than they do on iOS.

Once you get into apps, the experience changes a bit. While iOS takes milliseconds longer on average to load apps, once you’re in apps everything seems to go in iOS’s favor. First is general performance things like scrolling, which holds steady at what appears to be 60fps much more often than Android. Scrolling through lists or websites is where this is more noticeable, as Android has a slightly harsher feeling to moving around pages. It’s not bad by any means, and may be a preference thing, but i just feel more like I’m directly manipulating content on iOS than I do on Android.

Adding to this feeling of direct manipulation is the touch response on the Pixel 2 is noticeably slower than it is on the iPhone. There’s a slight delay in my finger moving and the screen updating behind it on iOS, but on Android the delay is much more pronounced. This lends to the overall feeling I sometimes get that I’m imputing commands to the phone rather than directly moving around the content on screen.

Finally, I have had some inconsistency when tapping a notification on my lock screen to go straight to that app. Usually it’s fine, but there have been dozens of times where the phone locks up for about 5 seconds between entering my fingerprint to unlock and the app actually coming up.</p>

He's also not complimentary about Android stability, or third-party apps. The latter is a situation that seems to be unchanging over time.
android  ios 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
Later iPhone X release hurts Apple share • Kantar Worldpanel
<p>In the three months ending October 2017, iOS share fell in key markets, making clear the impact of the flagship iPhone X not being available to buy in the month of October. And, as Windows continued to drop in share, Android was able to gain 4.3 percentage points in the big five European markets, 8.2% in the USA, and 7.5% in Japan. Urban China remained a bright spot for Apple, with its share edging up 0.5% in the latest three months to reach 17.4%…

…Urban China, a market once overrun with new challengers, is maturing, with the top five players all posting strong growth and the long tail of challenger brands falling away rapidly. In the three months ending in October 2017, the top five brands – Huawei, Xiaomi, Apple, Vivo, and Oppo – made up 91% of sales, compared to 79% a year earlier.

“Chinese brands like Meizu, LeTV, Coolpad, ZTE, and Lenovo were once on the same trajectory as the like of Xiaomi, but any momentum they once had has abruptly stopped, with many struggling to get past a 1% share,” Sunnebo said. “Samsung’s performance in China continues to deteriorate, with its share now down to just 2.2% of that market.”</p>

The crunch in China is quite a thing, unnoticed (mostly) in the west. (Neil Cybart of <a href="">Above Avalon</a> picked up on it, though.)
china  ios  smartphone 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
How the iPhone earned its security record • FT
Tim Bradshaw:
<p>Apple’s security team, led by Ivan Krstić, has won increasing respect from researchers in the field over the past few years. Typically, as the volume and variety of a company’s devices on the market increases, the security can often deteriorate. With Apple, even after more than 1.2bn iPhones have been sold over 10 years, its security has been improving. 

iPhones and iPads “are legitimately the most secure phones and tablets out there”, says Rich Mogull, chief executive of Securosis, an independent security research and advisory firm. “I don’t know if I can put a timeline on when Apple’s culture changed, but it did,” he says. “They take security and privacy very seriously now and they are getting a little better with every release of hardware and software.”

One key ingredient is the Secure Enclave, an encrypted “coprocessor” in the iPhone’s A-series chips that was first introduced with the iPhone 5s in 2013. 

This was the “underpinning for a significant step forward in their security model”, says Pepijn Bruienne, research and development engineer at Duo Security. “They can embed the security architecture in at the silicon layer.”

…As well as requiring every new app submitted to the store to be reviewed by Apple’s staff before consumers are allowed to download it, the iOS operating system is much more restrictive than Google’s rival, Android, in what apps are able to do. 

“The app can’t just go on your phone and start requesting access to your location or contacts” without the user granting their permission, says Andrew Blaich, a researcher at mobile security specialist Lookout. There are also restrictions on reading text messages, overlaying ads and running in the background. “Apple have insulated themselves from a lot of the common attacks that we see on the Android platform day to day,” he says. 

As a result, in the fourth quarter of 2016 and first quarter of 2017, 47 in 1,000 of Android enterprise devices protected by Lookout encountered app-based threats, compared with only 1 in 1,000 iOS devices. </p>
ios  security 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
The mystery of Apple's one-time Services boost • Yahoo Finance
Evan Niu on the mysterious extra payment which appeared in Apple's Services segment in the past quarter, ascribed to "a favorable one-time adjustment of $640 million due to a change in estimate based on the availability of additional supporting information". Whaaat? It's probably traffic acquisition payments from Google for being the default search on Safari and Siri on iOS:
<p>[on the desktop] the rising popularity of Google's Chrome browser over the past decade as it overtook Firefox directly undermined the need to occupy Firefox's default search spot (which was long Mozilla's primary revenue source); Yahoo! scored the default search spot in Firefox back in 2014. In other words, Chrome cannot displace Safari on iOS in the same way that it displaced Firefox on desktop [because you can't change the default browser on iOS]. It's also worth pointing out that Apple just switched Siri search from Microsoft Bing to Google too, which sounds an awful lot like a change in "partner agreements."

This all comes just months after Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi estimated that Google could end up paying Apple approximately $3bn this year in TAC, which gets booked into Apple's services business. This revenue is "nearly all profit," since Apple incurs virtually no cost in sending traffic to the search giant, which helps boost Apple's overall gross margin. It could offset some other margin headwinds that Apple is currently facing, like the current memory pricing environment. Apple's gross margin last quarter came in at 37.9%, near the high end of guidance.

Investors don't have confirmation, but all signs point to that $640m adjustment coming from Google.</p>

That's a lot of money just for the Siri switch. And Apple now has millions of reasons not to allow people to switch default apps on iOS.
apple  ios  tac  google 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
RIP Camera Button ☠️ – Astro HQ • Medium
Savannah Reising:
<p>A few weeks back we unveiled the Camera Button — a new iPad interaction that turns the front-facing camera into a button. Tap the camera to reveal workspace shortcuts in our productivity apps Luna Display and Astropad.

We planned to introduce the Camera Button in an update to Astropad Studio going out today. However, we are disappointed to report that the Camera Button was rejected by Apple’s App Store review under Section 2.5.9:
<p>Apps that alter or disable the functions of standard switches, such as the Volume Up/Down and Ring/Silent switches, or other native user interface elements or behaviors will be rejected. — App Store Review Guidelines.</p>

The Camera Button might be dead, but our urge to innovate lives on.</p>

Sadly, this was entirely predictable. Great innovation running full pelt into the rules.
camera  ios  button 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
iOS Privacy: steal.password - Easily get the user's Apple ID password, just by asking • Felix Krause
<p>How can you protect yourself

• Hit the home button, and see if the app quits:
-If it closes the app, and with it the dialog, then this was a phishing attack<br />-If the dialog and the app are still visible, then it's a system dialog. The reason for that is that the system dialogs run on a different process, and not as part of any iOS app.<br />• Don't enter your credentials into a popup, instead, dismiss it, and open the Settings app manually. This is the same concept, like you should never click on links on emails, but instead open the website manually<br />• If you hit the Cancel button on a dialog, the app still gets access to the content of the password field. Even after entering the first characters, the app probably already has your password.

Initially I thought faking those alerts requires the app developer to know your email. Turns out some of those auth popups don't include the email address, making it even easier for phishing apps to ask for the password.

<img src="" width="70%" />


Modern web browsers already do an excellent job protecting users from phishing attacks. Phishing within mobile apps is a rather new concept, and therefore still pretty unexplored.

• When asking for the Apple ID from the user, instead of asking for the password directly, ask them to open the settings app<br />• Fix the root of the problem, users shouldn't constantly be asked for their credentials. It doesn't affect all users, but I myself had this issue for many months, until it randomly disappeared.<br />• Dialogs from apps could contain the app icon on the top right of the dialog, to indicate an app is asking you, and not the system. This approach is used by push notifications; also, this way, an app can't just send push notifications as the iTunes app.</p>

This is still bad, and Apple's security people should have stamped it out ages ago. I suspect they couldn't and so their pivot has been to try to persuade people to enable two-factor authentication on accounts.

But as Krause points out, even if you've got 2FA, that won't protect any accounts where you've used the same username/password combination.
apple  security  phishing  ios 
october 2017 by charlesarthur
Is it true that iPhones get slower over time? • Futuremark Consulting
<p>Last week, a story went viral that claimed Apple was intentionally slowing down older iPhones to push people to buy its latest models.

The claim was based on data which shows Google searches for "iPhone slow" spiking dramatically with the release of each new model.

And while plenty of reputable sites debunked the logic of that claim, no one looked at actual performance data to tell the true story.

Fortunately, we have plenty of real-world data we can use. Since 2016, we have collected more than a hundred thousand benchmark results for seven different iPhone models across three different versions of iOS.

These benchmark results provide a unique insight into the everyday performance of each iPhone model over time. And, as you'll see, there are no signs of a conspiracy.</p>

So, no. Though people have complained about battery life on iOS 11.0. I'd suggest restarting, and perhaps waiting to 11.1.
ios  speed 
october 2017 by charlesarthur
What's going on With HEIF and Mac OS 10.13 "High Sierra" • The Shape Of Everything
Gus Mueller is author of Acorn, a terrific low-cost image-editing program for the Mac:
<p>This past summer at WWDC, Apple introduced a new (to iOS and Mac OS) compression format for images named HEIF. HEIF is pretty neat because it allows for better compression compared to JPEG, without sacrificing quality. It's got some other fun properties as well, but it's not relevant to this post.

If you have an iPhone with an A10 Fusion processor or later (iPhone 7 and 8), you can turn on support for taking pictures in this format via the Settings app. iOS 11 also obviously adds support for viewing these files and includes APIs for developers which can write new images in that format.

Mac OS 10.13 High Sierra includes support for decoding and viewing HEIF images. There are no OS supplied libraries for writing or converting images to the HEIF format.

And because of this, Acorn currently only allows reading for HEIF files, not writing.</p>

That's.. weird. He has filed a Radar (bug report).
ios  graphics  heif 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Lying to machines: how Apple’s new “Do Not Disturb while driving” feature will shape your soul • Don’t Eat The Fruit
John Dyer:
<p> I’d like to think that the “Do Not Call While Driving” feature will at least cause drivers to think about how much they use their phones in the car. But my prediction is that in the next few weeks, millions of people will begin doing the exact same thing that I, to my shame, did. It’ll start small with a “legitimate” purpose, but eventually it’ll snowball and people will just tap “I’m Not Driving” as unthinkingly as we all check the “I’ve Read the Terms and Conditions” box.

Unfortunately, this will come quite naturally to us, not because we’re liars, but because of the way computer user interfaces (UI) are designed. Over the past few decades of computer use, we’ve been presented with thousands of buttons that say “OK” and checkboxes that say “I’ve read …” This has taught us that interacting with computers and devices means tapping whatever button is in the way of what we want.

This probably wasn’t terribly significant when the stakes were low, and it might seem hyperbolic to call it “lying.” But when we bend the truth about reading the Terms and Conditions, there aren’t kids in the roads or oncoming vans full of people. </p>

It starts with the little things, then it grows, and pretty soon you’re president.
lying  ai  apple  ios 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
ARise is an AR puzzle-platformer for ARKit • UploadVR
Jamie Feltham:
<p>Unlike VR, AR’s rise in relevance hasn’t largely been fuelled by gaming (save for the enormous success of Pokemon Go). That’s why we’re so interested to see the first games for Apple’s new ARKit. Arise is one of those games.

This is the latest project from Climax Studios, the developer of VR games like Lola and the Giant, Balloon Chair Death Match and even some Google Tango apps. It looks like a clever evolution of puzzle-platformer games like Echochrome using the new positional tracking featured in ARKit. You help clear a path for a tiny knight that journeys through virtual levels that appear in the real world through your phone. Check out the <a href="">first trailer</a> below.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p>

As a side note, I think that UploadVR will find itself writing many more AR stories in the near future.
augmentedreality  ios 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Changes in the new iTunes • Apple Support
<p>The new iTunes [on desktop; version 12.7] focuses on music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks. Apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are now exclusively available in the new App Store for iOS. And the new App Store makes it easy to get, update, and redownload apps—all without a Mac or PC.

You'll find these changes in the new iTunes:
• Apps: Looking for your past iOS app downloads? Learn <a href="">how to redownload apps on your iOS device</a>.

• iTunes U: Collections of iTunes U content appear in the Podcasts section of iTunes. 

• Internet Radio: Your Internet Radio stations appear in your music library's sidebar. Click Edit in the sidebar to show or hide Internet Radio.

• Ringtones: iOS 11 supports redownloading ringtones directly to your iOS device, without the need to use iTunes on your Mac or PC.

•Books on Windows: Books on iTunes for Windows are managed in iBooks for iOS. Learn how to redownload books on an iOS device.</p>

It's been a long run, iTunes - 16 years of syncing with Apple's top portable devices! - but it's finally time to cut the cord.
apple  ios  itunes 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Sony and Samsung pressure Huawei’s growth in Europe • Kantar Worldpanel
Dominic Sunnebo on the three months to the end of July 2017, according to Kantar's longitudinal buyer panel (which looks at shifts in ownership, not pure sales numbers):
<p>The renewed focus by Sony and Samsung on their successful entry-level models put more pressure on Huawei in Europe, as its share fell in Spain and Great Britain. However, gains in Germany and Italy helped Huawei’s EU5 share grow to 14.6% in the three months ending July, up from 12.4% one year earlier.

In the USA, Samsung remained in the top spot during the three months ending in July with a 36.2% share, with Apple close behind at 34.1%. The growth rates of the two brands are almost exactly matched at 2.5% for Samsung and 2.6% for Apple. The iPhone 7 was the top-selling handset during the period at 12.6% of sales, while the newer Samsung Galaxy S8 stood at 8.8%.

“Apple’s US growth is very impressive, given that an all-new iPhone is expected to be announced on September 12, and should become available for purchase later in the month,” Sunnebo added.

Apple saw something of a rebound in Urban China in the July data period, with share +5.1%pts to 19.3%. The large screen iPhone 7 Plus was the top selling device in Urban China in the month of July, the first time the Plus version has outsold the smaller screen iPhone 7.</p>
kantar  ios 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
The best utility apps for iOS • Initial Charge
Michael Rockwell:
<p>On a recent episode of Mac Power Users, Katie Floyd and David Sparks discussed their favorite iOS utilities — simple little apps that do one thing really well. I thought I’d follow in their footsteps and publish a list of, what I consider to be, the best iOS utilities available.</p>

If you use iOS, you'll probably find something you like here. (Read it on your iPhone/iPad so the links work directly..) The "Unobstruct" content blocker for getting rid of floating social toolbars "and other unnecessary cruft" is probably a must-have.
app  ios  productivity 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
iOS cropping • All this
Dr Drang:
<p>I’m pretty sure I’ve always been frustrated by the way cropping works in the iOS Photos app. It’s <a href="">usually presented as being so easy</a>—just drag the crop handles where you want—but that isn’t really how it works. Quite often, a handle you aren’t dragging moves too, screwing up your careful editing…

…There is a way around this, but it’s also unintuitive, and I often forget about it until my crop is ruined and I have to start over again.

Instead of dragging the crop handles at the corners of the image, touch and drag from the middle of an edge. For God knows what reason, cropping this way doesn’t change the position of the other crop handles.</p>

I wasn't particularly aware of this as an annoyance, but it clearly bugs him a lot. (Also, I don't think it will change.)
ios  cropping 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Broadpwn: remotely compromising Android and iOS via a bug in Broadcom’s Wi-Fi chipsets • Exodus Intelligence
Nitay Artenstein:
<p>As modern operating systems become hardened, attackers are hard at work looking for new, powerful and inventive attack vectors. However, remote exploits are not a simple matter. Local attacks benefit from an extensive interaction with the targeted platform using interfaces such as syscalls or JavaScript, which allows the attacker to make assumptions about the target’s address space and memory state. Remote attackers, on the other hand, have a much more limited interaction with the target. In order for a remote attack to be successful, the bug on which it is based needs to allow the attacker to make as few assumptions as possible about the target’s state.

This research is an attempt to demonstrate what such an attack, and such a bug, will look like.
Broadpwn is a fully remote attack against Broadcom’s BCM43xx family of WiFi chipsets, which allows for code execution on the main application processor in both Android and iOS. It is based on an unusually powerful 0-day that allowed us to leverage it into a reliable, fully remote exploit.</p>

This is the attack for which Apple provided a security update last week, I believe. (Android update status: unknown.) It's potentially devastating: a Wi-Fi worm which only requires you to associate with the attacking Wi-Fi network.
security  android  ios  wifi  worm 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Should you force quit your iOS apps? Let’s look at the data • BirchTree
Matt Birchler decided that this needs some SCIENCE:
<p>I first closed all apps on my iPhone 7 Plus to get a good base line. I then launched 50 apps and closed them as soon as they finished opening. These apps ranged from Facebook to Twitter to Google Photos to Snapchat and many more. It was a wide range of apps, and I tried to get a good spread of apps most people would use. I waited 2 minutes for all apps to finish any last second background functions, and then started recording CPU usage in Instruments on my Mac. I recorded for 15 minutes.

Next, I closed all apps from the multitasking screen. I then turned off the screen and waited 2 more minutes for any “straggling” tasks to complete. I then started recording the phone’s CPU usage again with Instruments for Mac. The test ran for 15 minutes and I saved all the data to a CSV.

I used Instruments’ Activity Monitor and CPU Activity Log tools for these specific tests.

I ran this test 2 more times to confirm these results were not anomalies. Subsequent testing resulted in nearly identical results…

…there is little difference in the CPU usage between either test. Each test had a few spikes in usage over the test, each about 10 minutes apart.

The test with all apps closed had both the biggest spike in CPU usage, hitting 68% CPU for a few seconds. It also had the highest continuous minute of usage from the 13:57-14:57 time codes, 42%.

Average CPU usage over the 15 minute spans was:

• All apps closed: 7.321%<br />• Zero apps closed: 7.929%</p>

Turns out Wi-fi uses 3x more CPU than all 50 apps. Want to save battery life? Turn that off when you don't need it.
forcequit  ios 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
iPhone bugs are too valuable to report to Apple • Motherboard
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai:
<p>Last year, Apple pushed back against the FBI for months as it resisted an order to help the feds break into the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter, who killed 14 people and injured 22 in December of 2015. The FBI eventually got into the phone, but not with Apple's help. Instead, the FBI paid for a costly exploit found by unknown, independent researchers. As The New York Times argued at the time, perhaps one reason hackers had exploits to sell to the FBI was that they had little incentive to report them to Apple instead.

Though the announcement of the program was public, nearly everything else about it has been rolled out with Apple's typical secrecy. For now, the program is invite-only.

The researchers who received an invite to join have had a chance to earn rewards ranging from $25,000 to $200,000 for bugs in iOS and MacOS, according to Krstic's talk.

That might sound like a lot of money. But one of the reasons why the researchers we talked to aren't itching to report bugs is that Apple's rewards aren't as high as they could or maybe should be. In the private, gray market, where companies such as Zerodium buy exploits from researchers and sell them to their customers, a method comprised of multiple bugs that can jailbreak the iPhone is valued at $1.5m. Another firm, Exodus Intelligence, offers up to $500,000 for similar iOS exploits. These companies claim to sell only to corporations to help them protect their networks, or to law enforcement and intelligence agencies to help them hack into high-value targets…

…"Apple has to compete with the true value for the bugs they want to buy," Dan Guido, the CEO of the cybersecurity research firm Trail Of Bits, told me. "They're trying to buy game-over stuff at $200,000, but it's just worth more than that."

In other words, the economics of the bug bounty are just not worth the trouble.</p>

Clever story. But what's the solution for Apple? Let hackers name their price? Outbid whatever the market is offering? (The latter could vary hugely.) Easy to identify the problem, but not the solution.
apple  ios  bugbounty  security  hacking 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
You can now read the WSJ for free — but only if you burst your filter bubble • Hackernoon
Beeline Reader:
<p>A few months ago, the Wall Street Journal’s “google loophole” disappeared. But despair not: there’s a new way to get free access to the WSJ website — and all you have to do is climb out of your filter bubble to get it.

(TLDR: Get <a href="">this iOS app</a> or <a href="">this Chrome extension</a> (both free) and get reading.)

We launched the <a href="">Read Across The Aisle</a> project as a way to help people assess and escape their filter bubbles. Our tools, which have been called “a fitbit for your filter bubble,” are free to use — thanks in large part to the generosity of our Kickstarter backers. We’ve built an iOS app and a Chrome extension, which have graced the pages of the New York Times, Fast Company, and the BBC.</p>

What I find notable here is that it's an iOS app, or it's a Chrome extension. Tells you all you need to know about the dominant money-generating platforms on mobile and desktop.
ios  chrome  wsj 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
The size of iPhone’s top apps has increased by 1,000% in four years • Sensor Tower
Randy Nelson:
<p>As you can see in the chart below, while none of the top 10 apps—which include Facebook, Uber, Gmail, Snapchat, Spotify, Messenger, Google Maps, YouTube, Instagram, and Netflix—are larger than a few hundred megabytes individually, they all began to increase in size after Apple raised the maximum app size to 4 GB in February 2015.

<img src="" width="100%" />

Before this point, apps were limited to a maximum of 2 GB, with the core executable capped at 100 MB of that (the latter is still the case). Of course, apps can take up additional storage on a user’s device; Apple’s limit applies to what can be initially downloaded from the App Store. For the purposes of our analysis, we only looked at the core app size, not the total storage footprint of an app plus additional content.

Also noticeable above is a further acceleration in app size increase following the September 2016 rollout of iOS 10, but as we’ll get to in the next section, there’s a more specific reason for a lot of this growth among the top 10 apps in particular.</p>

Ah, but can you guess which one has increased more than 50 times in size since May 2013? And meanwhile, minimum storage size for the iPhone has only doubled.
apple  ios  programs 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple joins augmented reality fray with new app platform • FT
Tim Bradshaw:
<p>Apple has jumped into the growing battle for the camera in Silicon Valley, with a new “augmented reality” app platform for developers that will face off against Facebook, Snapchat and Google.

The new “ARkit” capabilities being introduced in the next version of iOS will give Apple “overnight the largest AR platform in the world”, Craig Federighi, its software chief, told app makers at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.

Demonstrations displayed at the event in San Jose showed an improved version of Pokémon Go, one of the biggest apps of last year. The ARkit toolset allows the game’s monsters to bounce around streets and parks in a more realistic fashion.

Apple framed its bid to bring digital images to the iPhone camera window’s view of the real world as a leap forward in user-interface design alongside the iPhone’s 10-year-old “multitouch” screen.

“With multitouch we’ve really changed the way that you interact with the world on the screen of your iPhone,” said Mr Federighi. “With the camera we’ve allowed you to capture the world around you. When you bring these together, the results can be profound.”</p>

Coming in iOS 11, of course; the fact it's a kit means it can be part of apps everywhere. And this will make iOS the world's biggest AR platform within about a month of iOS 11's release.
augmentedreality  apple  ios 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
All thumbs: why reach navigation should replace the navbar in iOS design • Medium
Brad Ellis:
<p>Oh my gosh, so many great reasons to use a navbar in your project. Except, damn! It’s hard to get your thumb up there now.

<img src="*LMtX_3ord07YElPtHkktIg.png" width="100%" />

That being the case, let’s talk some Navbar cons:

• It’s harder to go back. You can swipe from the edge, as long as the view you’re on doesn’t have anything that scrolls horizontally, but if it does then you’re in stretch-town.
• Naming all the views is a pain. Not all screens need a persistent title, and some require labels too long to fit. Leaving a blank navigation area wastes screen space and looks barren.
• Navigating requires two hands. If you can hold a device in one hand, you should be able to operate the device with one hand. It feels better, and it’s more convenient in a world full of shopping carts to push, and babies to carry.
• Simple apps become more complex than necessary. Navbars tend to lead to information architecture that runs deep. It’s easy to develop for horizontal progressive disclosure, which means it can be a battle to expand inline or use a sheet.

All right. Now we know how navbars can be crap. So what are we doing?</p>

Design is evolving quite rapidly, though it feels like this should have been obvious a couple of years ago.
design  ios  ux  navigation 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple's App Store is creating twice as many million-dollar publishers as Google Play • Sensortower
Randy Nelson of Sensortower:
<p>When it comes to building a successful business, Sensor Tower’s Store Intelligence data reveals that more app publishers are achieving an important milestone on Apple’s App Store than on Google Play. Based on our analysis of in-app revenue—not inclusive of advertising revenue—nearly double the number of publishers made their first $1m in annual revenue last year on the U.S. App Store compared to Google Play. In all, 66 publishers met or surpassed this benchmark figure on Apple’s store in 2016, which was 1.7 times more than the 39 that managed the same degree of success on Google’s platform.

<img src="" width="100%" />

What’s more, as you can see in the chart above, the number of publishers who had their first $1m or greater year on the US App Store in 2016 nearly doubled over 2015, when 34 surpassed that mark in terms of annual US revenue.

While it still trails behind the App Store by this measure, Google Play grew its number of equivalent publishers on its US store considerably more than Apple’s platform in 2016, by nearly 2.8 times from 14 in 2015. This is a promising figure for Google, which, when combined with the impressive year-over-year revenue growth we’ve witnessed from its platform over the past few quarters, signals that developers are enjoying a growing measure of success monetizing on Google Play.</p>

That "not inclusive of advertising revenue" could be significant. Note too that these are first-time million-dollar earners (47% on iOS and 75% on Android are games). This goes against the general narrative that you can't make any money from apps. But this isn't a lot of organisations - 105, if there's no overlap.
apps  ios  googleplay 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Android 87% share in China; more brands competing • Kantar Worldpanel
<p>The latest smartphone OS data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech reveal that in the first quarter of 2017, and despite an Apple earnings report that did not meet Wall Street’s expectations for iPhone sales, the company continued to make year-on-year share gains across most markets except urban China. The greatest increase for iOS came in Great Britain with 40.4% of smartphone sales, an increase of 5.6 percentage points, and in the US, with 38.9% of smartphone sales, an increase of 5.2 percentage points year-over-year…

“As a percentage of Android sales, Huawei continued to dominate in urban China at 36%. Oppo, which took the Chinese market by storm in 2016, has become the second largest Android brand with 13% of sales. Samsung fell to sixth place behind local Chinese vendors Xiaomi, Meizu, and Vivo, at just 5% of sales,” reported Tamsin Timpson, Strategic Insight Director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. “Oppo’s strength is in its brick-and-mortar presence, which accounts for 86% of their smartphone sales. This contrasts with most other brands in the market who all make at least a third of their sales online, except for Vivo.”

…“Across EU5, Chinese brands have grown over the past year to account for 22% of smartphone sales,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe. “Huawei, the second largest Android brand across France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, has also started to make its presence known in Great Britain, where it has historically struggled. Huawei accounted for 6.3% of smartphone sales in Great Britain in the first quarter of 2017, an all-time high, making it the third-largest Android brand in that market behind Samsung and Sony.”</p>

It's pretty clear that Apple has a problem in China once the excitement over a new phone subsides; this year in particular has been lower there.

The Huawei detail there caught my attention: if it's third behind Samsung and Sony (and the latter is shrinking fast globally) then the numbers involved are really not big. Perhaps it's an 85-10-5 breakdown. But longer-term, Samsung is at risk of getting chewed up in Europe just as it has been in China. Apple, though, isn't: iOS loyalty is high.
android  ios  apple  china  huawei  europe 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Workflow update restores Google Chrome and Pocket actions, extends Apple Music integration • MacStories
Federico Viticc:
<p>Workflow 1.7.4 restores integration with Google Chrome and Pocket, bringing back actions that allow users to open webpages in Google's browser and save articles to and retrieve them from the popular read-later service, respectively.

While the Google Chrome actions that were pulled from Workflow 1.7.3 could be replicated manually by using Google's documented URL schemes, the visual actions are easier to use and better integrated with other features of Workflow. Similarly, while advanced users could recreate their own Pocket integration by calling the Pocket API from Workflow, the process was inconvenient; native actions enable deeper, faster integration with Pocket, which can be used to save links for later and search the user's saved article history.

Today's update brings good news for Google Chrome and Pocket users, but other integrations that had been removed with the March 22 update – including Google Street View, Telegram, and Uber – still haven't been restored by Apple.</p>

I really want to see how Apple integrates this into iOS, as is generally expected. Scripting tends to be a minority sport, but an essential one for power users.
workflow  scripting  automation  ios 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
An Android review for iOS users: conclusion (day 5) • BirchTree
Matt Birchler tried out Android, rather than iOS, for a month, and summed up his views of the differences over five days, culminating in this:
<p>I think at the crux of my position can be best summed up by how fans of each platform talk about “power” features. If you asked me to give examples of the “power” of iOS, I would bring up:

• Extensive library of app extensions that let you share data nicely between apps.
• iMovie is a full consumer-grade video editing app.
• Ferrite is a shockingly powerful audio editor.
• Apps like Workflow and Launch Center Pro enable automations unlike anything we’ve seen on any computing platform before, and they make that power accessible to everyone.
• A rich third party ecosystem of apps built on powerful APIs are enabling people to slowly ditch their PCs for iPhones and iPads full time.

And when you ask me about the “power” of Android, this is what comes to mind:

• Ability to side-load apps not available on the Play Store.
• Custom launchers let you have a custom home screen
• Tasker allows me to make my phone do things based on the time of day, location, or other trigger.
• Ability to change default apps.
• Access to the file system.
• Ability to flash custom ROMs onto your device.

The notable difference in my two lists is that the iOS advantages have to do with you actually getting things done with your mobile device, while Android’s list is more about customizing the look of your device, as well as bringing over some more traditional PC features (file system and non-store software).</p>

All four other posts are linked at the top of this piece, though the one on <a href="">notifications differences</a> is probably the most finely balanced in showing up the contrasts where both have strengths.
android  ios 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
Worldwide sales of smartphones grew 7% in the fourth quarter of 2016 • Gartner
<p>In the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Google's Android extended its lead by capturing 82% of the total market in the fourth quarter of 2016 (see Table 3). In 2016 overall, Android also grew its market share by 3.2 percentage points to reach an 84.8% share, and was the only OS to grow market share year on year. "The entry of Google's Pixel phone has made the premium Android smartphone offering more competitive, while the re-entry of HMD (Nokia) in the basic (midtier) smartphone category, is set to further increase the competition in emerging markets," said Anshul Gupta, Gartner research director.</p>

Notable: BlackBerry share went from 0.2% in 4Q 15 to 0.0% in 4Q 16 (or at least, less than 0.05%, ie less than 250,000 units). Windows Phone went from 1.1% to 0.3% (1.09m). How long has Windows Phone got left?
smartphone  ios  android  blackberry  windowsphone 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
APFS is coming soon: iOS 10.3 will automatically upgrade your filesystem • Ars Technica
Andrew Cunningham:
<p>Apple's stated end goal is to perform an in-place file system conversion [from the 20-year-old HFS+ to Apple File System] for all its currently supported devices, including all Macs, iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches. iOS 10.3 will provide some early information on how reliable that conversion will be.

It's an approach that makes sense; there are way more iDevices than Macs out there, which would increase the number of affected users if anything goes wrong. But iOS doesn't give users direct control of the file system or of their devices' partition maps, so it's a reasonably safe, controlled environment. Macs can have a wider variety of partition and file system setups, increasing the likelihood that some edge case will throw things off. There's no suggestion in the macOS 10.12.4 release notes that any drives will be converted to APFS, and we may need to wait for the next major release of the operating system before that starts happening.</p>

Not mentioned: how it would do it, and what the benefits are. It does it by creating the metadata collection for APFS on the drive, and then pointing the boot to that collection rather than the HFS+ metadata. Advantages: works better with SSDs. Once it's on Macs, it should make Time Machine work a ton faster. Notable that it's coming to iOS - which has many, many more devices using it - first.
ios  apfs 
january 2017 by charlesarthur
iOS 10.3 beta includes new 'Find My AirPods' mode for locating lost AirPods • Mac Rumors
Juli Clover:
<p>Apple's AirPods are wire-free, which makes them convenient to use, but it's also caused some concern from users who are afraid to lose their $159 earphones. In its latest beta, Apple has introduced a new feature to assuage customer fears - Find My AirPods.

Available in iOS 10.3, Find My AirPods adds your AirPods to the "Find My iPhone" app, listing them alongside all other Apple products. In the app, you can tap on the AirPods to cause them to play a little chirping sound that gradually gets louder for location purposes.

After activating the sound, you can choose to have it play solely through the left AirPod or through the right AirPod so you don't need to listen to chirping if only one of the AirPods is missing.

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>

Clever. Though I haven't managed to lose mine yet. (The "find iPhone" function on the Apple Watch is great.) Not sure about their being located on a map. I mean, really?
airpod  ios 
january 2017 by charlesarthur
How Apple alienated Mac loyalists • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman:
<p>Take the company's attempt to create a longer-lasting battery for the MacBook Pro. Apple engineers wanted to use higher capacity battery packs shaped to the insides of the laptop versus the standard square cells found in most machines. The design would have boosted battery life. 

In the run-up to the MacBook Pro's planned debut this year, the new battery failed a key test, according to a person familiar with the situation. Rather than delay the launch and risk missing the crucial holiday shopping season, Apple decided to revert to an older design. The change required roping in engineers from other teams to finish the job, meaning work on other Macs languished, the person said. The new laptop didn't represent a game-changing leap in battery performance, and a software bug misrepresented hours of power remaining. Apple has since removed the meter from the top right-hand corner of the screen. 

In the Mac's heyday, people working on new models could expect a lot of attention from Ive's team. Once a week his people would meet with Mac engineers to discuss ongoing projects. Mac engineers brought prototypes to Ive's studio for review, while his lieutenants would visit the Mac labs to look at early concepts. Those visits have become less frequent since the company began focusing more on more-valuable products like the iPhone and iPad, and the change became even more obvious after the design team's leadership was shuffled last year, according to a person familiar with the situation.

In another sign that the company has prioritized the iPhone, Apple re-organized its software engineering department so there's no longer a dedicated Mac operating system team. There is now just one team, and most of the engineers are iOS first, giving the people working on the iPhone and iPad more power. </p>

Gurman also suggests that engineers are given competing specs - and this can lead to late shipping, for instance on the Macbook of 2015, which he says was meant to appear in 2014.

Notably, he doesn't know whether the Mac Pro is dead, or just being revamped.
apple  ios  mac  business 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Bad battery life? Your phone's software updates may be to blame • Daily Telegraph
James Titcomb:
<p>Unsuspecting mobile phone owners may be left with flat batteries after they update their handsets, despite technology companies promising longer life and better performance from the new software.

The consumer group Which? found that when iPhones or Android phones are updated to the latest version of their operating systems, their battery life can fall by as much as three hours.

A two-year-old iPhone 6 lost 38 minutes of battery life when it was updated to the latest version of Apple’s iOS software, iOS 10. A Google Nexus 6P phone went from 12 to nine hours of battery life when the most recent version of Android was installed.</p>

But that would be comparing the X.0 with the previous optimised one, right? I wonder whether later updates get things settled. The fact that it happens on both iOS and Android points to some code cleaning being needed. But, also, updates often mean more going on.
battery  ios  android 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
Flirting with the iPhone 7: why I just couldn’t do it • AndroidAuthority
Kris Carlon tried out an iPhone 7 for a few weeks (though he wasn't forced to rely on it):
<p>As for the software, well, it’s iOS. I enjoyed finding my way around the interface over the first few days, but I have to admit iOS isn’t exactly rocket science to figure out. I suppose this is one of its strengths: that it doesn’t take a genius to figure out.

But unfortunately for me, as someone who likes a little complexity because it affords more control, I started to get bored with iOS after only a week.

I was amazed by just how little there was to contend with in the iPhone’s software. A lock screen you can’t do much with, endless home screens full of app icons, a two-tab notifications shade accessed with a swipe from the top of the screen and a command center for Quick Settings buttons at the bottom.

I understand now why iPhone fans like iOS. It’s simple, generic and always the same. For folks like me that’s the very antithesis of what I like in a phone’s software. I love the novelty factor of constantly switching between manufacturer skins, custom ROMs and stock Android. This is why I’m pumped for the new Pixel experience from Google and probably the same reason I enjoyed iOS as long as I did.</p>

Perhaps he should have grabbed an Android user off the street to try it, since "novelty factor" users are a tiny percentage of the total - something that Cyanogen has learned to its cost. But it's a reasonable review, once you get past that self-selection element.
android  ios 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
Android grows in major markets; iOS set for rise in China • Kantar Worldpanel
<p>“The US, British and German markets have a couple of things in common. First, the Google Pixel, announced October 4, will be available through select retail partners in these markets beginning in mid-October. Second, the combined sales shares of Samsung and Apple represent more than 60% of all smartphones sold in these regions, with the rest scattered among brands in decline, such as Motorola and Sony, and those in growth, like Huawei and Alcatel,” Guenveur added. “The US and Britain have always been considered premium markets, but we are starting to see a shift to lower-cost devices as the prices of flagship products reach upwards of $800. For Google, this represents a unique challenge, as consumers weigh the features of the Pixel against those of other similarly priced products like the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7, and against ‘good value for money’ Android-based brands that many consumers have started to view as alternatives.”</p>

The best-selling phone in Britain, according to Kantar? The iPhone SE. Android, though, still dominates - 80% of sales in Germany. But why would you buy an expensive Google phone when you could get a cheaper phone from almost anywhere else?
android  ios  google 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
A declining trajectory • Matt Gemmell
Mrs Gemmell's Watch and iPhone aren't behaving:
<p>She is not a happy customer.

My Watch is misbehaving too, regularly losing its ability to track heart-rate and thus update in-progress workout calories for ten or twenty minutes at a time. Its battery life is vastly reduced. My iPhone’s battery widget shifts itself around on the widgets screen, and regularly vanishes altogether. There’s an unfamiliar street-address hovering in the Spotlight screen that I don’t recognise, beneath the app suggestions. It’s hit-or-miss as to whether the emoji suggestions feature works in the new on-screen keyboard. I quickly disabled my Apple Music trial after it deleted several of my rare live versions of Dire Straits tracks. And Apple Support finally conceded that my immaculate, obsessively-cared-for 2015 MacBook was beyond repair after three warranty parts-replacements, and gave me the new upgraded 2016 model I’m now typing on. I don’t have high hopes for it.

I am not a happy customer either.

There’s something wrong here. A death-march upgrade cycle is producing substandard software at the very least, and it’s diluting a hardware brand that’s probably unmatched in the industry, if not the world in general. It’s with mixed humour and genuine fear that people assert they’ll never get into version 1.0 of an Apple-made self-driving car.</p>

I don't have any of the problems Gemmell (Mrs or Mr) has. But it's an interesting question whether the new-version-each-year system is necessary. It enables new features on iOS, but is the complexity of maintaining that across four platforms now overwhelming?
apple  ios  quality 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
[1609.04327] The bumpy road towards iPhone 5c NAND mirroring • ArXiv
Sergei Skorobogatov
<p>This paper is a short summary of a real world mirroring attack on the Apple iPhone 5c passcode retry counter under iOS 9. This was achieved by desoldering the NAND Flash chip of a sample phone in order to physically access its connection to the SoC and partially reverse engineering its proprietary bus protocol. The process does not require any expensive and sophisticated equipment. All needed parts are low cost and were obtained from local electronics distributors. By using the described and successful hardware mirroring process it was possible to bypass the limit on passcode retry attempts. This is the first public demonstration of the working prototype and the real hardware mirroring process for iPhone 5c.</p>

Skorobogatov works at the Cambridge University computer science lab. This isn't trivial.
ios  iphone  hacking  5c 
september 2016 by charlesarthur
A case of misplaced trust: how a third-party app store abuses Apple’s developer enterprise program to serve adware • TrendLabs Security Intelligence Blog
<p>For bogus applications to be profitable, they should be able to entice users into installing them. Scammers do so by riding on the popularity of existing applications, embedding them with unwanted content—even malicious payloads—and masquerading them as legitimate. These repackaged apps are peddled to unsuspecting users, mostly through third-party app stores.

Haima exactly does that, and more. We discovered this China-based third-party iOS app store aggressively promoting their repackaged apps in social network channels—YouTube, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter—banking on the popularity of games and apps such as Minecraft, Terraria, and Instagram to lure users into downloading them.

Third-party app stores such as Haima rely on the trust misplaced not only by the users but also by distribution platforms such as Apple’s, whose Developer Enterprise Program is abused to deploy these repackaged apps. These marketplaces also appeal to the malefactors because they are typically less policed. Haima capitalizes on the monetization of ads that it unscrupulously pushes to its repackaged apps…

…By pretending to be an enterprise, this third-party app marketplace can distribute apps without having to be vetted through Apple’s lengthy certification process.</p>

Ah. "Third-party app store". Stop there. The "enterprise certificate" route is still a problem for Apple; it's the simplest route for malware. But look at how often Haima has to change to keep ahead of Apple: five certificates in 15 days.
apps  adware  ios 
september 2016 by charlesarthur
Overcast trying ads, dark theme now free •
Marco Arment on his podcasting app's business model change:
<p>There’s still money in some software, especially if it helps people get their work done, but the market for most consumer apps is much more like music, video, news, opinion, and web services than traditional indie software: an overwhelming supply of free choices, many of which are great or good enough, making it hard for anyone with a paywall to succeed.

The content industries figured out the solution a long time ago. If 97% of my users can’t or would rather not pay, but they spend substantial time in the app every day, the solution is probably ads.

Ads are the great compromise: money needs to come from somewhere, and the vast majority of people choose free-with-ads over direct payment. Ads need not be a bad thing: when implemented respectfully, all parties can get what they want.

Most podcasts played in Overcast are funded by ads for this reason, and as a podcaster and (occasional) blogger myself, I already make most of my income from ads.</p>

Reminder: about a year ago Arment <a href="">offered one of the first iOS 9 adblockers, Peace</a> (a paid-for app), which he then withdrew on the basis it made him uncomfortable to make money off blocking ads.
appstore  business  ios 
september 2016 by charlesarthur
It’s here! Scrivener for iOS is now available! • The Cellar Door
<p>Scrivener for iOS is now available for sale on the App Store. At the time of writing, it is not yet showing up in searches on the App Store, as it can take several hours for Apple’s records to update. However, you can find it by following this link:

<a href=""></a>

If you tap on the above link on your iOS device, it will take you to Scrivener in the App Store.</p>

This isn't a 99p thing - but Scrivener is a terrific app on desktop for longform writing of all sorts, and beta testers have had good words to say about this.
scrivener  ios 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
The ultimate Apple I/O death chart • The Verge
Nilay Patel and Frank Bi:
<p>One of the most strongly-held arguments about Apple removing the headphone jack is that Apple has historically been first to drop a legacy technology, sometimes even before the rest of the industry is ready. Apple’s vertical integration, passionate userbase, and scale (both historically small and now immensely huge) allow it to push big changes in a way that few other companies can pull off. The floppy, SCSI, optical drives, VGA — all killed by Apple years before vanishing from the rest of the industry.

But how long does it really take Apple to kill legacy tech? We threw together a chart to map it out. (It would be fun to do this across the entire tech industry, but finding all that data seems virtually impossible. If you figure it out email me and we’ll run it!)

<img src="" width="100%" />

QWERTY still in use, though I guess that's not a "port". A neat corollary to this would be the adoption of wireless ports. Wi-Fi arrived <a href="">in July 1999</a>; Bluetooth, <a href="">in 2003</a>. Infrared came and went.

Also: how great to have a piece of simple, informative journalism that answers a question you didn't realise you wanted answered until you saw it.
apple  port  ios 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Scrivener for iOS: It’s Time to Talk • The Cellar Door
<p>We have some fantastic things in store for our Mac and Windows users (which we’ll start talking about soon), but first up–at long last!–is our iOS version. Yes: it’s nearly here.

Next month, we will be submitting Scrivener for iOS to the App Store for release. In the run up, we’re going to post a series of short pieces on the blog telling you all about it, so that by the time it hits the store, you will be able to dive right in. In this first post in the series, before we go into more detail in later posts, I had intended to list some of the features you can expect. But then I thought: nah. Show, don’t tell. So here’s a video we made instead.

<iframe src="" width="640" height="480" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe></p>

Scrivener is a terrific tool if you're doing any sort of long-form writing in which you need to consult multiple documents. I used it to write my book; many others have for their work. It also supports screenplays, radio plays, plays, and lots of other formats. As well as just letters. Watch for this one.
ios  scrivener 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Android share growth slows after historic gains last period • Kantar Worldpanel
<p>“In Great Britain, both Android and iOS had higher market share in the three months ending April 2016. Android represented 58.5% of the market in that period, a gain of 4.1% year-on-year,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe. “And for iOS, this term showed the first increase since October 2015, though modest at just 0.4%, from 34.7% to 35.1%. Android gains came from Windows phone owners switching, a trend that produced nearly 10% of new Android customers, while 21.8% of new iOS buyers switched from Android.”</p>

In other words: Windows Phone, the platform, is burning, and not in a good way. This will <a href="">sound familiar to students of history</a>, and not in a good way either.
<p>“In Urban China, Android share rose 4.8% year-over-year, and 1.1% period-over-period, to capture 78.8% of smartphone sales in the three months ending April 2016,” noted Tamsin Timpson, Strategic Insight Director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. “While movement from featurephones to smartphones has slowed significantly in developed markets like the US and EU5, this still makes up a significant proportion of smartphone sales in Urban China. Nearly a third of Android users during this time were purchasing their first smartphone, in contrast to iOS buyers, of whom only 14% were first-time smartphone customers.”</p>

That doesn't tell us whether Chinese iOS buyers were moving from Android in any measurable quantity. But clearly Android is still effective at gaining from featurephones.
android  ios 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
The iPad Pro is hobbled by software, and why iOS 10 could knock it out of the park • Lou Miranda
Miranda points out that iOS 10 will probably drop support for 32-bit processors in favour of 64-bit only:
<p>This graph shows the incredible performance increase from the A5 to the A6: we’re not talking a 10% or 25% or even 33% faster CPU, we’re talking about a CPU that’s 2.5x faster!

Since iOS 10 will almost surely drop support for these older devices, it can now be prodded to do a lot of things that iOS could never do before. Things like allowing Mail to tag junk mail. Things like showing Smart Albums in Photos. Things like making the Photos app more like iPhoto or Aperture on a Mac. Wouldn’t it be great if you could use an Apple Pencil to mask images in the Photos app to apply changes just to select portions of a photo? Wouldn’t it be great if you could script Photos or Mail to do things using snippets of Swift or JavaScript code? Wouldn’t it be great to automate apps, the way desktop OSes can? Wouldn’t it be great if Siri were faster and maybe did more on-device, rather than always having to go to the Internet?

I’m not promising any of these things, but these are just some of the possibilities that you can envision once the shackles of old hardware are removed from iOS.</p>

So that's the 5S and onward.
ios  64bit 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
App Store subscription uncertainty • Daring Fireball
John Gruber points out that Apple VP Phil Schiller saying "any app can be a subscription app" clashes with <a href="">Apple's own marketing material</a>, which says subscription apps "must provide ongoing value":
<p>I don’t think subscription pricing — even if Apple clarified that subscriptions are open to any app, period — is a panacea. There is no perfect way to sell software. The old way — pay up front, then pay for major upgrades in the future — has problems, too, just a different set of problems. If I had my druthers Apple would enable paid upgrades in the App Store(s), but I get the feeling that’s not in the cards. That leaves us with subscriptions.

DF reader Sean Harding framed the problems with subscription pricing well, in a <a href="">short series of tweets</a>:
<p>I think the new stuff is good, but I don’t think it really solves the upgrade pricing problem from a customer standpoint. A sub forces me to effectively always buy the upgrade or stop using even the old version. I don’t dislike subscriptions because I don’t want to pay. I just want freedom to decide if the new features are worth paying for.</p>

That "what if I don't want the new features?" question - and the allied one, "what if the developer of a subscription app falls under a bus" - seems like a new set of teething problems. Alongside paid search, of course.
apple  appstore  business  ios 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Google's new iOS app Motion Stills stabilizes your Live Photos • VentureBeat
Jordan Novet:
<p>Google today announced the launch of Motion Stills, a new iOS app that takes your existing Live Photos made with an iOS device — essentially several frames automatically captured before and after you hit the camera app’s shutter button — and stabilizes them in order to make shareable GIFs and video clips.

The app is available today on the App Store. But Google may well end up adding the technology into its other applications, like the Google Photos cloud-based photo storage app, Ken Conley and Matthias Grundmann of the Google Research Machine Perception team <a href="">wrote in a blog post</a>.

The app works offline, and you don’t need to sign in to any service in order to use it — just give the app permission to access the photos on your device and you’re good to go.</p>

Live Photos has never quite hit the spot for me. Possibly it's an age demographic thing. I turned it off; now I have lots of stills.
google  ios  photos 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
How to use Workflow for iOS when you don't know where to start » iMore
Federico Viticci:
<p><a href="">Workflow</a> is the most powerful app on my iPhone and iPad. I wouldn't be able to work without it, and, almost two years after its release, I'm still discovering its infinite potential.

Whether it's sending a message to a group of people or organizing documents, you've likely come across a task on your iPhone or iPad that you'd like to speed up. Our iOS devices have evolved into powerful modern computers, but there are still some areas where we can be slowed down by app limitations, or, more simply, by the tedious process of performing the same task over and over.

<img src="" width="100%" />

Thankfully, we have a solution to this: automation. And when it comes to automating tasks on iOS, Workflow is the undisputed king. Learning to master Workflow is the first step to living an efficient, productive life on iOS, and it's how I've been working on my iPad for years now.</p>

Viticci isn't just saying that; he runs, and he really does use his iPad for absolutely everything except podcasting. I've had Workflow for ages, but struggled with its lack of declarative structure; Viticci's explanation is great. (It would be great to be able to simulate Workflow tasks on OSX and then export them to iOS.)
workflow  automation  apps  ios 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
Investigating the potential for miscommunication using emoji | GroupLens
<p>To your smartphone, an emoji is just like any other character (e.g., lower-case ‘a’, upper-case ‘B’) and needs to be rendered with a font. Since each smartphone platform (e.g., Apple, Google) has its own emoji font, the same emoji character can look quite different on different smartphone platforms. This is why when a Google Nexus owner sends [smiley emoji]  to a friend with an iPhone, the iPhone owner will actually see [slightly different smiley emoji] . This problem isn’t just limited to iPhones and Nexuses; check out all the different renderings of the single emoji character we’ve been discussing:

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>

Read the <a href="">full paper</a>. May include emoji. (I always thought the Apple version of this one was a sort of "forced rictus grin of embarrassment", so apologies to anyone who saw me use it and thought I was trying to transmit hilarity.)
android  emoji  ios 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
How to fix iOS 9.3’s broken Safari, Mail and Messages links » Ben Collier
<p>If you've been hit by the iOS 9.3 broken links you can follow these steps to fix the issue whilst we wait for a full update from Apple. Unfortunately you'll need to hook your iPhone or iPad up to your computer and sync with iTunes.</p>

It's a 13-step process, which is only one more than you need to make your way back from alcoholism. So far it's only, but I feel sure that malware will try to exploit this in future.
bug  ios  safari 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Apple acknowledges iOS 9 crashing bugs when tapping links, fix coming ‘soon’ with a software update » 9to5Mac
Benjamin Mayo:
<p><a href="">Since posting our original story</a>, we have heard from a lot of readers that are affected by iOS 9 crashes or app hangs when tapping links, spanning multiple iOS versions (not just 9.3) and devices. In a statement, Apple has now confirmed that they are working on a fix for the problem, coming in a software update (presumably iOS 9.3.1).
<p>“We are aware of this issue, and we will release a fix in a software update soon.”</p>

A temporary workaround is still unknown, although community investigations have revealed why the bug has arisen. It is based on what apps the user has installed and how those apps handle universal links.

Previously, we pinpointed as a cause of the bug, although noting it affects other apps as well. On Twitter, it was found that their website association file, used by the system for the universal links feature introduced with iOS 9, was many megabytes, grossly oversized. This would essentially overload the daemon that had to parse these files, causing the crashing.</p>

Linked yesterday. There is a workaround, involving toggling Airplane mode, deleting the offending app, restarting and so on. Not much fun.
apple  ios 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Unable to open links in Safari, Mail or Messages on IOS 9.3 » Ben Collier
Collier was using's app, which turned out to have screwed up in a big way:
<p>A lot of users (including myself and a few friends) are experiencing links in Mail and Messages not working, and some links in Safari, like Google Search results, not opening. A long press on a broken link causes the app you're in to crash, otherwise a standard tap highlights the link but nothing happens.. It looks like there's a bug in iOS that completely breaks the Universal Links if it gets served an app association file that's too large.

Benjamin Mayo of reported installing the app consistently broke their test devices - which led Steve Troughton-Smith (who else...) to <a href="">take a peep at their association file</a>, and tweet:

"Wow literally put every URL they had into their site association file. 2.3MB download "

It seems that the large size of their file, due to it having every URL from their website inside it breaks the iOS database on the device. Apple allows you to have pattern based matching, so instead of having to include every hotel's URL in the association file, could just put /hotel/* to match all the hotels on their site.

Whilst aren't following the recommended approach, it's not their fault that a third-party can break a fundamental system feature like web browsing. Apple should be handling these edges graciously.

The worst part - deleting the app doesn't clear the Universal Link association. Because the OS process that handles the Universal Links has crashed, it appears unable to remove the corrupt database.</p>

You can just about fix it via lots of subtle rebooting and deleting. Quite a screwup.
bug  ios  safari 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
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