Archive for February 3, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Lawsuit Claims Apple Intentionally Broke FaceTime on iOS 6

Mikey Campbell (via Husain Sumra):

A class-action lawsuit filed in California on Thursday alleges Apple schemed to force iPhone users to upgrade to iOS 7 in a bid to save money on a data services deal with Akamai, a move that rendered older hardware like iPhone 4 and 4S unusable.


Initially, calls routed through Akamai’s relay servers only accounted for only 5 to 10 percent of FaceTime traffic, but usage quickly spiked. On Nov. 7, 2012, a jury found Apple’s peer-to-peer FaceTime call technology in infringement of patents owned by VirnetX. Along with a $368 million fine, the ruling meant Apple would have to shift away from peer-to-peer to avoid further infringement.


Citing internal emails and sworn testimony from the VirnetX trial, the lawsuit alleges Apple devised a plan to “break” FaceTime on iOS 6 or earlier by causing a vital digital certificate to prematurely expire. Apple supposedly implemented the “FaceTime Break” on April 16, 2014, then blamed the sudden incompatibility on a bug, the lawsuit claims.

Previously: After Patent Loss, Apple Makes FaceTime Worse.

In Praise of OmniDiskSweeper

Rob Griffiths:

I’ve tried a bunch of these tools over the years, both graphical and text-based, but I still keep coming back to an oldie-but-goodie—and it’s free: Omni’s OmniDiskSweeper has everything I want in a disk space usage tool. It’s got an intuitive interface, and a way to either delete what I find or open the containing folder to take a closer look.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a column-view Finder kind of person, but I love the columnar drill-down layout that OmniDiskSweeper uses.

I keep coming back to it, too, because I like the interface. The biggest flaw is that there’s no built-in way to count files that the current user doesn’t have access to. However, you can use Terminal to run it under sudo.

XPoCe: XPC Snooping Utilities

Jonathan Levin (via dragosr):

XPC* is the enhanced IPC framework used in *OS. Ever since its introduction in 10.7/iOS 5, its use has exploded, as AAPL is rewriting most of its daemons to use it in place of the venerable raw Mach messages. Mach still provides the medium, but message payloads are now dictionary objects - reducing (but not eliminating) type confusion mistakes, and greatly simplifying parsing. In addition, XPC is closely tied to GCD (offering much better performance) and entitlements (greater security).

His utility lets you inject some code via DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES to watch the traffic.

ARM Mac Notebook Rumors

Mark Gurman:

Apple Inc. is designing a new chip for future Mac laptops that would take on more of the functionality currently handled by Intel Corp. processors, according to people familiar with the matter.


Apple engineers are planning to offload the Mac’s low-power mode, a feature marketed as “Power Nap,” to the next-generation ARM-based chip. This function allows Mac laptops to retrieve e-mails, install software updates, and synchronize calendar appointments with the display shut and not in use. The feature currently uses little battery life while run on the Intel chip, but the move to ARM would conserve even more power, according to one of the people.

This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. It just doesn’t seem like it would be worth it as described.

I’m more intrigued by this Slashdot comment by Anonymous Coward:

Apple already has several ARM powered laptops drifting around internally. I’ve seen several of them with my own eyes. There’s at least five different prototypes, all constructed in plastic cases with varying degrees of complexity (some are literally just a clear acrylic box, others look more like 3D printed or milled parts designed to look like a chunky MBA or iBook).


All of them boot encrypted and signed OS images, which are fully recoverable over the internet so long as you’ve got WiFi access (similar to how their Intel powered systems do it). You cannot chose a version of the OS to load, you get whatever the latest greatest one is and that’s it. They’ve completely ported OS X to ARM (including all of Cocoa and Aqua), however a ton of utilities that normally come with OS X are missing (there’s no Disk Utility, Terminal, ColorSync, Grapher, X11, Audio/MIDI setup, etc). A lot of that functionality has been merged into a new app called “Settings” (presumably to match the iOS counterpart), which takes the place of System Preferences.

Likewise, App Store distribution appeared to be mandatory. […] The filesystem seemed a bit… peculiar, to say the least. Everything was stored in the root of the disk drive—that is to say, the OS didn’t support multiple users at all, and everything that you’d normally see in your home directory was presented as / instead. I don’t think the physical filesystem was actually laid out like this, it’s just that the Finder and everything else had been modified to make you believe that’s the way the computer worked. There was no /Applications folder anymore, your only option for launching and deleting apps was through Launchpad.

The problem with the “dump Intel for ARM” idea is that it wouldn’t work at the high end. ARM isn’t competitive there, some people really want x86 compatibility, and emulation doesn’t seem feasible. Even Apple wouldn’t alienate its customers with that sort of a switch. But what if the plan is to bifurcate the Mac line? A line of locked down ARM Macs and a line of Pros that really do look Pro in comparison?

The ARM Macs would simply drop support for all the old software. Intel-based Macs would still be around for development and other high-end users who are willing to pay more, but Apple’s focus would be on the At Ease line. It would be a middle ground between iOS and Mac: more powerful than an iPad Pro with a keyboard, and limited to apps from the Mac App Store so that it’s harder to screw up than a regular Mac. This sounds like a crazy rumor, but there is a certain logic to it.

That said, my personal bets are:

Update (2017-02-03): ATP Tipster:

Allow me to take a moment and shoot down that Slashdot ARM Mac post. Total bullshit.