Archive for September 24, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple Releases 8.0.1, But Don’t Update Yet

Josh Centers:

A number of iPhone users are reporting that the update breaks cellular connectivity and Touch ID.

[…]

If you’ve already installed the update and are experiencing these issues, your only recourse until Apple releases a corrective update is to restore your device back to iOS 8.0. iMore has instructions on how to do that.

Jason Snell:

Apple has pulled the 8.0.1 update. An un-updated iPhone 6 Plus is now reporting that iOS 8.0 is up to date.

Objective-C Drops vtable Optimization

Paul Stevenson:

In the last open-sourced objc runtime release, objc4-551, support for vtable dispatch was removed, and the clang options for supporting it have been mostly disabled.

Quinn “The Eskimo!”:

My understanding is that the optimisations that were done as part of the ARC effort eliminated the performance advantages derived from vtables.

Paul Stevenson:

You mean something like that retain/release/autorelease were three of the most important vtable selectors, and they’re mostly now not called via method dispatch since objc_retain()/objc_release()/etc short-circuit to the NSObject implementations for almost all objects?

I would guess that’s what Quinn meant, and this raises some questions:

  1. Does non-ARC code now see performance regressions, since the frequently used reference counting selectors are no longer optimized in this way?
  2. Why aren’t other common selectors worth the seemingly small cost of the vtable?
  3. If regular cached dispatch is fast enough that it isn’t worth using vtables, why is Apple discouraging message passing on performance grounds?

In-App Browsers Considered Harmful

Craig Hockenberry:

How many apps on your iPhone or iPad have a built-in browser?

Would it surprise you to know that every one of those apps could eavesdrop on your typing? Even when it’s in a secure login screen with a password field?

[…]

There is always a tradeoff between usability and security. Doing the OAuth token exchange with an in-app browser makes it easier for a user to login, but they’ll have no idea if their personal information was captured. That is why Twitterrific did its token exchange in Safari, even though it’s a more complex user interaction and a more difficult technical implementation. As a user, I know that there’s no way for my login to be compromised when the transaction involves Safari.

Unfortunately, Apple’s current App Review policy does not agree with this recommendation or with Twittterrific’s previous implementation. This is why our update for iOS 8 was delayed—it was the first time since the launch of the App Store that we haven’t had a new version on release day.

Update (2014-10-09): Guy English:

Less tapping around and not leaving the app? Yes. That’d be a good thing. It appears, however, that Apple rejected this application because it strove to do the right thing for users over the long term — establish a level of trust and transparency vetted through Apple’s own web client for the platform.

Just Avoid Sitting in That Way

It’s hard to know how serious a problem this is. Is there really a difference compared with the 5s? How much of it is due to user error: applying unreasonable forces to the phone and not using common sense in how and wear to store it? I never would have been comfortable putting an iPhone in my back pocket, but millions of people have done this for years, so they expect it to keep working. How much of the problem is Apple not designing and testing the phone to stand up to the ways they know people will try to use it? Would a slightly thicker design have prevented these problems? I have seen some reports saying that similar-sized Android phones are less susceptible, but no one seems to have measured yet.

Russell Holly:

You aren’t holding it wrong this time, but there’s a good chance your pocket might be doing terrible things to your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Owners of these new gadgets are reporting serious warping issues after the phones have done little more than sit inside a pair of pants.

Mark Gurman:

According to reports, the iPhone 6 is slightly bending beyond repair while in pockets. Some users say that the bending occurred after normal sitting, while other people have had more active lifestyles. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Apple will replace these more fragile-than-expected units at no cost. Some users are reporting that replacement costs are in the hundreds of dollars range.

Kelly Hodgkins:

As highlighted in a few reports shared in the MacRumors forums, a small but growing number of iPhone 6 Plus owners have reportedly bent their phones after carrying the devices in their pockets just days after launch. In one instance, a new iPhone 6 Plus was bent during a day of dancing, dining, and driving to a wedding.

Andrew Cunningham:

It’s worth noting that many phones, including the older iPhone 5 and 5S, have been known to bend occasionally—Cult of Mac has a nice roundup with plenty of examples. The question at this point is whether these reports of bending and warping iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units are isolated incidents or if, like the iPhone 4’s antenna problems, the issue is endemic to the new design.

Caitlin McGarry:

The common cause seems to be sitting for hours on end with the phone in your pocket.

Dr. Drang:

Today’s controversy is about the (permanent) bending of some iPhone 6 Pluses. Given that the iPhone 5 and 5S could both bend, it shouldn’t be surprising that the longer and thinner iPhone 6 and 6 Plus would bend, too. Apart from the geometric factors, the property that’s most important in determining the load at which the phone starts to take on a permanent bend is the yield strength of the aluminum frame. The yield strength is the highest stress for which a material will spring back to its original shape when the stress is removed. It is the boundary between elastic and plastic behavior, and is almost always one of the strengths that govern the design of metal structures.

As of today, if you do a Google image search on “iphone bend,” the results will be dominated by photos of the 5 and 5S. I assume that’ll change over the next few days.

Dr. Drang:

Plastic bending strength varies with the square of the thickness, all other things being equal. 7% thicker ⇒ 14% stronger. Still…

… I doubt that’s the reason for more bent phones. More likely that the loads are higher because the phone rides higher, spanning…

… the hip joint as it sits in your front pocket.

John Gruber:

Maybe this is why Samsung makes their big-ass phones out of plastic.

John Gruber:

I cannot believe that this “bent iPhone 6 Plus” thing is becoming a thing.

Update (2014-09-25): Daisuke Wakabayashi (via Serenity Caldwell):

Since going on sale Friday, Apple said only nine customers have contacted the company about a bent iPhone 6 Plus—the larger and more expensive of its two new iPhones.

Update (2014-10-10): Will Smidlein:

The iPhone 5S that has been in my pocket for the past year next to the iPhone 6 that's been there for the past week.

Jeremy Swearingen (via Accidental Tech Podcast):

I thought the stories were bullshit, but just noticed my iPhone 6 is bent. Never kept in back pocket and never felt tight in front.

Marco Arment:

Reports from a few people: Apple is no longer replacing bent phones, even with no obvious mistreatment, by order from above a few days ago.

Update (2015-08-17): Joe Rossignol:

Nevertheless, it appears that Apple engineers have tweaked the design of the so-called “iPhone 6s” by strengthening the weak points of the smartphone’s rear shell. A new YouTube video shared by Unbox Therapy shows that the areas around the Home and volume buttons on the “iPhone 6s” appear to be notably thicker -- 1.9mm versus 1.14mm -- suggesting that Apple’s next iPhones could be less susceptible to bending under normal usage.

The Odyssey of Getting My Data Into Amazon Glacier

Matt Henderson:

After more investigation, I discovered that pretty much the only app for Mac OS X platform that supports multi-part S3 uploads is the unfortunately named, “Cyberduck”.

[…]

Turns out, you have to first restore them to S3 using the Amazon AWS Console, and then they’ll be downloadable using something like Transmit. From within the console, after having selected one or more files, you’ll find a “Restore” function in the “Actions” drop-down menu. When you choose to Restore a file (or files) you’re asked how long you want them to remain available in S3, before they are reverted back into Glacier.

[…]

That seemed quite nice, but then I discovered a huge problem. What if I wanted to restore an entire folder of files?

[…]

So that’s where I am. Happy to have all my data hosted cheaply in Glacier. Unhappy to have spent so much money getting it there. Happy to decommission my old hard drives at home. And hoping when the day comes that I need to do a mass-restore of my data, that a decent Glacier client will have appeared on the Mac platform, or that one of the existing apps like Transmit will have evolved to support that.

iPhone Camera Evolution

Lisa Bettany:

In this follow-up post to my iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 comparisons, I present an 8 iPhone comparison from all iPhone versions taken with Camera+ including, the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, and the new iPhone 6 in a variety of situations to test the camera’s capabilities.

iCloud Security and Privacy Overview

Apple:

The table below summarizes how your data is secured when using various iCloud features

[…]

When you access iCloud services using Apple’s built-in apps (for example, Mail, Contacts, and Calendar apps on iOS or OS X), authentication is handled using a secure token. Using secure tokens eliminates the need to store your iCloud password on devices and computers. Even if you choose to use a third-party application to access your iCloud data, your username and password are sent over an encrypted SSL connection.