Archive for December 12, 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

What’s Apple’s Plan for Haptic Touch and 3D Touch?

Benjamin Mayo:

iOS 12.1.1 added Haptic Touch support for notification previews on iPhone XR. It also added a new menu in Accessibility settings that lets you change the Haptic Touch settings …

[…]

Prior to this release, a third-party developer could perfectly copy the Haptic Touch experience in their own apps by setting up a long press gesture recognizer, that concludes with a haptic vibration. However, now that users can adjust the duration in this new Haptic Touch menu, a third-party app will not be able to stay in sync with the user’s preferences.

The supported API for 3D Touch allows apps to inherit the exact same behavior (including changes to 3D Touch Sensitivity) as Apple’s 3D Touch implementations, but an analogous system for Haptic Touch does not currently exist.

Nick Heer:

It is worth asking: if the same action is invoked by using 3D Touch as it is when the user simply taps and holds, then what is the clear and direct intent of 3D Touch?

However, I think it’s a feature that is made worse by its exclusion on the iPhone XR, where it is sort of replaced with Haptic Touch. Haptic Touch is like 3D Touch, except for all of the ways in which it is not. It works for the flashlight and camera buttons on the lock screen, invokes a trackpad from the onscreen keyboard’s space bar, and, as mentioned earlier, on notification bubbles. But it does not work in every place 3D Touch does: an app’s icon on the home screen does not display a menu when the user touches and holds on it, and the peek and pop gestures are unseen.

[…]

But if 3D Touch is truly on its way out, it should be a clean kill across the board. A piecemeal approach with a similar-but-not-quite-the-same feature on just one product is a confusing distraction.

Previously: What is Haptic Touch on iPhone XR?.

Australian Assistance and Access Act

Danny O’Brien:

With indecent speed, and after the barest nod to debate, the Australian Parliament has now passed the Assistance and Access Act, unopposed and unamended. The bill is a cousin to the United Kingdom’s Investigatory Powers Act, passed in 2016. The two laws vary in their details, but both now deliver a panoptic new power to their nation’s governments. Both countries now claim the right to secretly compel tech companies and individual technologists, including network administrators, sysadmins, and open source developers – to re-engineer software and hardware under their control, so that it can be used to spy on their users. Engineers can be penalized for refusing to comply with fines and prison; in Australia, even counseling a technologist to oppose these orders is a crime.

[…]

Levy explained that GCHQ wants secure messaging services, like WhatsApp, Signal, Wire, and iMessage, to create deceitful user interfaces that hide who private messages are being sent to.

In the case of Apple’s iMessage, Apple would be compelled to silently add new devices to the list apps think you own: when someone sends you a message, it will no longer just go to, say, your iPhone, your iPad, and your MacBook – it will go to those devices, and a new addition, a spying device owned by the government.

Via Jeffrey Goldberg:

One of the most disturbing things about the Assistance and Access Act is that it apparently authorizes the Australian government to compel someone subject to its laws to surreptitiously take actions that harm our customers’ privacy and security without revealing that to us. Would an Australian employee of 1Password be forced to lie to us and do something that we would definitely object to?

We do not, at this point, know whether it will be necessary or useful to place extra monitoring on people working for 1Password who may be subject to Australian laws. Our existing security and privacy design and internal controls may well be sufficient without adding additional controls on our people in Australia. Nor do we yet know to what extent we should consider Australian nationality in hiring decisions. It may be a long time before any such internal policies and practices go into place, if they ever do, but these are discussions we have been forced to have.

Update (2019-02-28): Jeff Johnson:

With Underpass, all of the app’s code is on your device. Your device is the chat server. Thus, nobody can secretly install a back door. Most chat services would be faced with the dilemma of installing a back door on their servers or shutting down service entirely in Australia. Since Underpass is peer-to-peer, it would not face this dilemma. The version of Underpass that you’ve already installed can’t ever be shut down, not by a government, not even by me. I intentionally designed it so that I can’t shut it down. Control over the app is entirely in the hands of the customers.

Bruce Schneier:

Last week, Australia passed a law giving the government the ability to demand backdoors in computers and communications systems. Details are still to be defined, but it’s really bad.

Note: Many people e-mailed me to ask why I haven’t blogged this yet. One, I was busy with other things. And two, there’s nothing I can say that I haven’t said many times before.

Previously: FBI Asks Apple for Secure Golden Key.

The Many Setups of the 2018 iPad Pro

Federico Viticci:

But what makes iPad unique is that, unlike a desktop computer or laptop, it is able to take on other forms – and thus adapt to different contexts – simply by connecting to a variety of removable accessories. The iPad can be used while relaxing on a couch or connected to a 4K display with a Bluetooth keyboard; you can work on it while waiting in a car thanks to built-in 4G LTE, or put it into a Brydge keyboard case and turn it into a quasi-MacBook laptop that will confuse a lot of your friends who aren’t familiar with iPad Pro accessories. In a way, the iPad is modern computing’s version of Kirby, the famous Nintendo character that is a blank canvas on its own, but can absorb the capabilities of other characters when necessary.

See also: Marco flies next to a Microsoft commercial.

Previously: iPad Pro 2018.

Apple Puts Third-party Screen Time Apps on Notice

Sarah Perez (via Dan Masters):

A number of app developers building third-party screen time trackers and parental control applications are worried that Apple’s increased scrutiny of their apps in recent weeks is not a coincidence. With Apple’s launch of iOS 12, the company has implemented its own built-in screen time tracking tools and controls. Not long after, developers’ third-party screen time apps came under increased review from Apple, and, in some cases, rejections and removals from the App Store.

[…]

Some of the developers, we understand, were told they were in violation of App Store developer guideline 2.5.4, which specifies when multitasking apps are allowed to use background location. Specifically, developers were told they were “misusing background location mode for purposes other than location-related features.”

[…]

In an odd turn of events, after Space and Mute published on their public company blogs to complain, they received a call from Apple and had their apps reinstated on the App Store.

Previously: Apple Removes RescueTime From the App Store.

Don’t Believe System Information’s Legacy Software

Howard Oakley:

Mojave introduces a new feature in its bundled tool System Information: in the Software section is a list of Legacy Software. According to Apple’s Support Note:

If you’re using macOS Mojave, select Legacy Software in the sidebar to see all applications that have not been updated to use 64-bit processes.

Only what you’ll see in Legacy Software is far from complete, and thoroughly misleading.

Previously: ScanSnap 64-bit Software Update, Removed in macOS 10.14 Mojave.