Apple Archive

iOS 13: dark mode, detachable panels, Safari and Mail upgrades, undo gesture, volume HUD, more

9to5Mac has a long list of features that are coming to iOS 10.3. The biggest change is definitely multiwindow on the iPad, which iOS sorely needs. There are many changes coming to iPad with iOS 13, including the ability for apps to have multiple windows. Each window will also be able to contain sheets that are initially attached to a portion of the screen, but can be detached with a drag gesture, becoming a card that can be moved around freely, similar to what an open-source project called “PanelKit” could do. These cards can also be stacked on top of each other, and use a depth effect to indicate which cards are on top and which are on the bottom. Cards can be flung away to dismiss them. This definitely will make iOS a far more mature and capable operating system, and I can’t wait to try this out on my iPad Pro. All it needs now is proper mouse support, and we got ourselves a proper operating system.

Video of Apple’s W.A.L.T. in action has footage of a very unique Apple prototype device. There has been a lot said about Apple’s development of the iPhone, and the history and inspiration behind the device – such as this notable 1983 concept of a “Telephone Mac”. One of the most notable examples of this is Apple’s lesser known desk phone known as the W.A.L.T. (Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone). The W.A.L.T., which was announced at MacWorld 1983, was never released to the public, and only a very small handful of prototypes were ever constructed for the device. One of the few known samples of this was sold on eBay for $8,000 back in 2012. It was even prototyped in both “classic Mac” color and a somewhat more “business looking” dark gray color. The device is basically a special PowerBook 100 in a unique, custom case, with a touchscreen, running a special version of System 6. Awesome to see this rare device in working order.

The iPhone’s camera used to be a selling point

There are many good reasons to own an iPhone: your social life might revolve around iMessage, you might value Apple’s emphasis on privacy, or perhaps you appreciate the quality of Apple’s displays and software experience. But the one thing that once exemplified Apple’s lead over the Android chasing pack, the iPhone’s camera, is no longer top of the list of reasons to want an iPhone. The iPhone camera has fallen behind, and it’s now something users tend to accept rather than anticipate. A fun little game you can play: whenever an article mentions the importance of iMessage, you can safely assume the article is intended for an American audience. Outside of America, nobody cares about iMessage – it’s just another junk app

Internal documents show Apple is capable of implementing right to repair legislation

As Apple continues to fight legislation that would make it easier for consumers to repair their iPhones, MacBooks, and other electronics, the company appears to be able to implement many of the requirements of the legislation, according to an internal presentation obtained by Motherboard. According to the presentation, titled “Apple Genuine Parts Repair” and dated April 2018, the company has begun to give some repair companies access to Apple diagnostic software, a wide variety of genuine Apple repair parts, repair training, and notably places no restrictions on the types of repairs that independent companies are allowed to do. The presentation notes that repair companies can “keep doing what you’re doing, with … Apple genuine parts, reliable parts supply, and Apple process and training.” This is, broadly speaking, what right to repair activists have been asking state legislators to require companies to offer for years. At this point, Apple’s fight against right to repair is basically just out of spite and pettiness. Apple must be such a sad, sad place to work.

Appl still hasn’t fixd its MacBook kyboad problm

Nop, I havn’t fogottn how to wit. No did my dito go on vacation. You s, to sha th pain of using an Appl laptop kyboad that’s faild aft fou months, I could only think of on ida: tak all th bokn ltts out of my column. Thn I alizd that would mak th whol thing unadabl. So to… Why is th baking of my MacBook Ai kyboad so insanly maddning? Lt’s tak a tip down Mmoy Lan… Work of art by Joanna Stn.

Apple censoring the News+

News content is a sensitive topic in China. The government exercises a significant degree of control over information sources so it is unsurprising that Apple would choose to not support News there. However, instead of simply being locked behind a hardware feature gate, Apple chose to disable it much more forcefully. If you enter China with a US iPhone (e.g. one purchased in the US from a US carrier or at a US Apple Store), using a US carrier, with your phone set to the US region, and with location services disabled for the News app, you will still receive this message upon opening News: To accomplish this censorship Apple is using a form of location fingerprinting that is not available to normal applications on iOS. It works like this: despite the fact that your phone uses a SIM from a US carrier it must connect to a Chinese cellular network. Apple is using private APIs to identify that you are in mainland China based on the name of the underlying cellular network and blocking access to the News app. This information is not available via public APIs in iOS1 specifically to improve privacy for users. This censorship occurs despite the fact that when in China a cell phone using a foreign SIM is not subject to the firewall restrictions (all traffic is tunneled back to your provider first), so Google, Twitter, Facebook, et al all work fine on a non-mainland China SIM even though you’re connected via China Mobile or China Unicom’s network. I had no idea Apple went to such great lengths to please the totalitarian Chinese government. Fascinating, though.

The Apple Card is Apple’s thinnest and lightest status symbol ever

Vlad Savov, always ready with the eloquent takes: Or, maybe, you only give off the appearance of wealth. This being a credit card, the Apple Card is also a symbol for the United States’ addiction to debt, both at the national and personal level. Acquiring and using one may sink you deeper into debt, and any bank that issues a credit card relies on its users’ financial tardiness or illiteracy to generate exploitative interest on unpaid balances. There’s something fundamentally un-Apple-like about trying to profit from people’s weaknesses. Apple is conspiring with Goldman-Sachs to earn money by preying on the weak and indebted. I don’t like using this line, but there’s no chance in hell that Steve Jobs would’ve signed off on an Apple credit card, especially not one with such predatory interest rates. And the lock-in is already underway: Effective immediately, Apple Pay Cash in iOS 12.2 and watchOS 5.2 will not allow sending person to person funded by credit cards other than the Apple Card. Time is cyclical.

Apple announces Apple Card credit card

At Apple’s “show time” services event today, it announced a new Apple Card credit card, promising to improve things about the credit card experience with simpler applications, no fees, lower interest rates, and better rewards. Instead of a points-based reward program, Apple Card gives cash back rewards in the form of Daily Cash, which is applied straight to your Apple Card to spend or put toward your purchases. Apple is offering 2 percent cash back on purchases made through Apple Pay using an Apple Card, and purchases from Apple will get 3 percent cash back. Purchases made through the physical card will get just 1 percent cash back, though. I can’t shake the image of those shady “cash-4-gold” stores with a dude spinning an arrow sign outside out of my head. Is this really what Apple’s been reduced to? A credit card company?

An exclusive look at an original iPhone prototype

Apple had developed the iPhone in secret over those two and a half years, and for many inside the company, the device had only been known by the codenames “M68” and “Purple 2.” Apple was focused on surprising everyone with the iPhone, and that meant that many of the engineers working on the original handset didn’t even know what it would eventually look like. To achieve that level of secrecy, Apple created special prototype development boards that contained nearly all of the iPhone’s parts, spread out across a large circuit board. The Verge has obtained exclusive access to the original iPhone M68 prototype board from 2006/2007, thanks to Red M Sixty, a source that asked to remain anonymous. It’s the first time this board has been pictured publicly, and it provides a rare historical look at an important part of computing history, showing how Apple developed the original iPhone. Amazing exclusive, and a fascinating look at this rare development board.

Most of Apple’s touted services revenue comes from microtransations in free-to-play games

There’s an interesting observation in this article that not enough people seem to realise: Probably one of the biggest contributors to Apple’s revenue is the massively popular App Store, which was estimated as of May 2018 to have seen upward of 170 billion downloads in its 10-year history. Most of those aren’t straight-up paid purchases — a massive percentage of the App Store’s revenue comes from in-app purchases in free-to-play games like Fortnite and Candy Crush and subscription apps like Netflix, Tinder, and YouTube. According to App Annie’s latest estimates, every single one of the 50 top grossing apps on the platform is either a major service that relies on subscription fees or a free-to-play game. Even the most popular paid apps like Minecraft or Facetune just don’t make the same kind of money as free apps that rely on in-app purchases, even with in-app purchases to help bolster their numbers. And Apple takes a cut of each of those in-app purchases and subscriptions. As Nilay Patel points out, Apple’s services narrative – the pitch to stockholders that Apple can grow its services revenue – feels rather unpleasant when you realise that most of the App Store revenue is microtransactions in free-to-play and gambling games like Candy Crush. It’s a rather dirty public secret Apple would rather you not focus on too much: Apple’s services revenue comes, in large part, from scummy apps and games trying to trick little kids and less technology savvy people into spending their money on gems or gambling boxes or whatever. Not exactly the kind of world-changing, holier-than-thou stuff Apple usually touts, now, is it? As Patel notes, this is a huge problem for Apple, as the recent Spotify antitrust complaint highlights: There is a clear disconnect between how much money Apple is making by charging a fee for users to take another turn in Candy Crush and how it wants people to think of the “app economy” — no one loves free-to-play games, but all the incentives of the store are aligned around them. So Spotify and Netflix saying the App Store tax is unfair causes a huge problem: if Apple changes the rules and allows alternate payment systems, it will crater App Store revenue because it’s all based on taking a cut of free-to-play games no one really wants to talk about. Tim Cook’s Apple is a bean counter company, a company with no qualms about giving up their Chinese users’ privacy, working closely with the totalitarian Chinese government, or profiting massively from scammy free-to-play games.

HyperCard user guide

HyperCard is a new kind of application-a unique information environment for your Apple Macintosh computer. Use it to look for and store information-words, charts, pictures, digitized photographs-about any subject that suits you. Any piece of information in HyperCard can connect to any other piece of information, so you can find out what you want to know in as much or as little detail as you need. The original, complete manual for Apple’s HyperCard.

Intel officials expect Apple to move Macs to ARM in 2020

Ina Fried, for Axois, about Apple’s expected plan to move Macs to its own in-house ARM chips: Although the company has yet to say so publicly, developers and Intel officials have privately told Axios they expect such a move as soon as next year. I’m quite excited about this move. Apple has sway in the industry, and anything that lights a fire under Intel and the x86 archicture in general can only be seen as a good thing – more competition is always better.

Apple to target combining iPhone, iPad and Mac apps by 2021

Apple Inc. wants to make it easier for software coders to create tools, games and other applications for its main devices in one fell swoop – an overhaul designed to encourage app development and, ultimately, boost revenue. The ultimate goal of the multistep initiative, code-named “Marzipan,” is by 2021 to help developers build an app once and have it work on the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers, said people familiar with the effort. That should spur the creation of new software, increasing the utility of the company’s gadgets. This seems more of a repitition of what we already knew than truly new information.

Apple puts modem engineering unit into chip design group

Apple has moved its modem chip engineering effort into its in-house hardware technology group from its supply chain unit, two people familiar with the move told Reuters, a sign the tech company is looking to develop a key component of its iPhones after years of buying it from outside suppliers. Understandable move by Apple, both from a business perspective, and from a security perspective. The open source world really needs to build open source baseband processors at some point.

Apple blocks Google and Facebook from running its internal iOS apps

Apple has now shut down Google’s ability to distribute its internal iOS apps, following a similar shutdown that was issued to Facebook earlier this week. A person familiar with the situation tells The Verge that early versions of Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail, and other pre-release beta apps have stopped working today, alongside employee-only apps like a Gbus app for transportation and Google’s internal cafe app. “We’re working with Apple to fix a temporary disruption to some of our corporate iOS apps, which we expect will be resolved soon,” says a Google spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. Apple has not yet commented on the situation. There are two sides to this story. One the one hand, I’m glad Apple is taking measures and revoking some of these companies’ developer rights. These kinds of privacy-invading apps are a terrible idea, even if people get paid for them, and no platform should allow them. On the other hand, though, I would much rather have such tactics be wholly illegal on a national level, since leaving such decisions in the hands of easily corruptible corporrations – see Apple and China – is a recipe for disaster.

Apple was warned about alarming FaceTime eavesdropping bug last week

Yesterday, a worrying and invasive bug that allowed callers to secretly listen in on unknowing recipients through Apple’s FaceTime app quickly made news headlines. It was discovered that people could initiate a FaceTime call and, with a couple short steps, tap into the microphone on the other end as the call rang — without the other person accepting the FaceTime request. Apple said last night that an iOS update to eliminate the privacy bug is coming this week; in the meantime, the company took the step of disabling group FaceTime at the server level as an immediate emergency fix. However, new information suggests that Apple has already had several days to respond; the company was tipped off about it last week. Back on January 20th, a Twitter user tweeted at Apple’s support account clearly outlining the gist of the FaceTime bug: “My teen found a major security flaw in Apple’s new iOS. He can listen in to your iPhone/iPad without your approval.” The parent’s teenager had discovered the problem one day prior on January 19th, according to tech entrepreneur John Meyer, who has been in contact with them. CNET has identified the tipster as Michele Thompson, whose 14-year-old son first encountered the flaw while setting up a group FaceTime call with friends to coordinate strategy during a game of Fortnite. This article is definitely worth a read, since it illustrates very well just how negligent Apple has been with this issue. The mother of the boy who discovered the flaw is a lawyer, and through proper letters and other means, she informed Apple of the major security flaw through all the various channels Apple offers. Apple wasn’t very forthcoming, and despite knowing about the issue, didn’t do anything about it until yesterday, when the company disabled Group FaceTime and promised a fix would come “later this week”.

A tiny screw shows why iPhones won’t be ‘assembled in USA’

But when Apple began making the $3,000 computer in Austin, Tex., it struggled to find enough screws, according to three people who worked on the project and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. In China, Apple relied on factories that can produce vast quantities of custom screws on short notice. In Texas, where they say everything is bigger, it turned out the screw suppliers were not. Tests of new versions of the computer were hamstrung because a 20-employee machine shop that Apple’s manufacturing contractor was relying on could produce at most 1,000 screws a day. Manufacturing at the kinds of scales Apple operates at is infinitely more complex than most people seem to think. It’s easy for a president to spout some rambling nonsense about building iPhones in the US to get people riled up, but if you can’t even produce enough screws for a low-volume product like the Mac Pro, you really have no business in the production of technology products.

The iPhone SE is the best minimalist phone right now

Earlier this week, Apple began selling refurbished versions of the iPhone SE, its nearly three-year-old, 4-inch smartphone modeled after the iPhone 5S, at a $100 discount. It was the second round of recent sales after an initial batch sold out the previous weekend. And like any budget-adverse tech journalist with an impulse buying compulsion, I felt this was the appropriate moment to hop on the backup phone bandwagon. So I bought one. My dad has an iPhone SE, and he loves it. There’s so few – if any – phones out there that combine modern specifications with a small form factor, and the SE, too, is starting to get a bit long in the tooth. I would love for Apple to update the SE with more modern specifications, and for Android phone makers to tap this market, too.

25 years ago: RAM Doubler debuts

Adam Engst, writing for TidBITS: First up—check out this piece I wrote from the 1994 Macworld Expo San Francisco: “RAM Doubler” (10 January 1994). Developed by Connectix, RAM Doubler was one of the most magical utilities of the early days of the Macintosh. As its name suggested, RAM Doubler promised to double the amount of usable RAM in your Mac, and amazingly, it generally delivered. That was a big deal back in 1994 because RAM was shockingly expensive—$300 for an 8 MB SIMM at a time when I had 20 MB in my Centris 660AV. For $50, RAM Doubler would double whatever you had: 8 MB to 16 MB, or 20 MB to 40 MB. It was astonishing. I know of RAM Doubler because I heard about it in the past 15 years or so, but since I did not grow up with Macs at all, I have sentimental connection to it whatsoever. Still, such iconic pieces of software always deserve to be remembered.

Emulator project aims to resurrect classic Mac apps and games without the OS

Want to be able to run classic Mac OS applications compiled for the Motorola 68000 series of processors on your ever-so-modern Mac OS X machine? Or maybe you’d rather run them on a Raspberry Pi, or an Android device for that matter? There’s an emulation project that’s trying to achieve just that: Advanced Mac Substitute (AMS). Emulators of older computer platforms and game consoles are popular with vintage game enthusiasts. But emulators also could be attractive to others with some emotional (or economic) attachment to old binaries—like those with a sudden desire to resurrect aged Aldus PageMaker files. Definitely a very cool project.