Archive for January 22, 2019

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Will Apple Fill the Speech Recognition Void?

Adam Engst:

This move is a blow to professional users—such as doctors, lawyers, and law enforcement—who depended on Dragon for dictating to their Macs, but the community most significantly affected are those who can control their Macs only with their voices.


TidBITS reader Todd Scheresky is a software engineer who relies on Dragon Professional Individual for his work because he’s a quadriplegic and has no use of his arms. He has suggested several ways that Apple needs to improve macOS speech recognition to make it a viable alternative to Dragon Professional Individual[…]

Previously: Dragon Speech Recognition Software for Mac Discontinued.

Kick-ass CLI Tools In Swift

Daniel Duan:

Programmers whine about ergonomics partially because we are previlidged and spoiled. But mostly because our attention is a limited resources. Mixing API conventions distracts us from solving the problem at hand. Bad ergonomics, therefore, drives away a good potion of users who cares about quality of their tools.


File system APIs being in Foundation as opposed to the standard library is probably a temporary condition. Nevertheless, it has at least the following implications[…]


The next killer CLI tool is still more likely to be written in Go or Rust, than in Swift. Hopefully, somewhere in these speculations is a true cause of this phenomena. Maybe someone reading this will be inspired to accelerate change that will eventually revert the condition.

Still, Swift+Foundation works pretty well for writing simple CLI tools to aid in my Mac development and maintenance. And swift-sh (via Mattt Thompson) looks like it will help.

Previously: @dynamicCallable: Unix Tools as Swift Functions.

Update (2019-01-24): Florent Pillet:

So Vapor has another hidden gem: a pretty cool framework to build CLI apps, so I can reuse Vapor add-ons from the ecosystem to write my own local tools.

No terribly well documented, but worth a look.

Flexgate: Display Issues With 2016 and Newer MacBook Pros

Joe Rossignol (9to5Mac):

An increasing number of users have experienced backlight issues on 2016 and newer MacBook Pro models, particularly those with the Touch Bar, often resulting in a so-called “stage light effect” along the bottom of the display.

According to the repair website iFixit, which highlighted the issue today, the underlying cause is Apple’s use of thin, fragile flex cables that connect the display with the display controller board on 2016 and newer MacBook Pro models, as opposed to the more durable wire cables used in previous generations.

Taylor Dixon:

But the bigger problem is that, in an apparent effort to make the display as thin as possible, Apple designed the cables as part of the display, so cannot be replaced. This means that when (not if) those cables start to fail, the entire display unit needs to be replaced, as opposed to one or two little cables—effectively turning a $6 problem into a $600 disaster.

Wojtek Pietrusiewicz:

Imagine if you had to replace half of your car because a cable stopped working. This is simply horrible design.

This is just not a good generation of Mac notebooks.

Update (2019-01-23): Dan Masters:

Design is not just what a product looks and feels like. It’s also how it fails.

Update (2019-02-04): See also: Juli Clover.

Update (2019-03-05): Whitson Gordon (Hacker News, MacRumors):

Since we were just wrapping up writing the repair manual for the 2018 model anyway, we checked inside our 2018 15” MacBook Pro again to measure its cable against its 2016 predecessor—and found the 2018 cable was, in fact, a full 2mm longer. Since this change appears in both our 15” model and Olivia88’s 13” model, it’s plausible this change is present in multiple, if not all, 2018 MacBook Pros.


Worst of all, this implies that Apple knew about the flexgate issues before public backlash hit its fever pitch, and still refuses to even acknowledge the issue, let alone take responsibility and offer free repairs. In fact, multiple people claim Apple has deleted support threads regarding the issue on, attempting to sweep this under the rug rather than offer an extended warranty program to those affected. You can sign this petition to try and get their attention, or fill out their feedback form here.

iPhone XS Fails After Quick Drop in Water


I purchased an iPhone XS in September of last year. The first week of December I accidentally dropped it in my sisters swimming pool at the shallow end - a depth of approximately 1.10m. Immediately, I jumped in an pulled the phone out, switched it off and let it dry for a few hours (as indicated in the steps of what to do when your phone gets wet on the Apple website). A few hours later I turned the phone back on and all was good. Fantastic!

A few weeks later, the Sunday before Christmas, my phone started bugging out restarting itself every 3-5 minutes.


I take it back to Apple and they say they need to open it up and see if there is any internal damage.

Two hours later I come back and they say the Liquid Contact Indicators have been activated, which means there is internal liquid damage and they won’t cover liquid damage under warranty.

I spoke with the store manager on duty for about 45 minutes because I disagreed with this policy given Phil Schiller, head of worldwide marketing for Apple, literally said you can drop it in the pool and it will be fine (jump to 40:40). It was not fine. This was the only time my phone had been in or near water.

Apple’s specs page says:

Rated IP68 (maximum depth of 2 meters up to 30 minutes) under IEC standard 60529

Apple did eventually replace the phone after he filed a complaint through the Australian government. In theory, with IP68 I should be able to walk around in a swimming pool and take photo, and the phone should be fine even if I accidentally drop it. But I haven’t done that because I’m not sure I can really trust the water resistance or how Apple will react when they find out it got wet. It sounds like the liquid contact indicators can’t tell how long the phone was underwater, so you have no way of proving that your use was in line with what Apple claims to support.

Previously: iPhone 7 Notes.

Update (2019-01-23): scott:

I used to use my waterproof iPhone in the shower until the speakers stopped working because of contact with light shower spray.

fyi, water damage isn’t covered for your waterproof phone.

duardo Pontes:

Same here

Update (2019-01-24): John Gruber’s Apple Watch broke after getting wet, and Apple replaced it.

Michael Kummer:

Hmm…I have been taking my iPhone underwater since the iPhone 7 - guess I got lucky :)

Phased vs. Regular Update Adoption Rates

David Smith:

For several years now Apple has offered Phased Rollouts for app updates in the App Store. This lets you slow down the adoption of a new update to your users by limiting the number of users who are offered it as an automatic update each day.


I was very pleased to see the system work so well. The rollout was slow and measured. It let me find a few things I needed to fix before the update got out to all my users.

Also remarkable to me is how quickly the ‘immediate rollout’ really is. With around 80% adoption in just a couple of days.

Of course, phased releases are not supported by the Mac App Store.

Update (2019-03-20): Apple:

You can now release an update to your macOS app in stages by enabling Phased Release for Automatic Updates in App Store Connect.