Archive for July 26, 2019

Friday, July 26, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple to Acquire Intel’s Modem Business

Apple (Intel, MacRumors, Hacker News):

Apple and Intel have signed an agreement for Apple to acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business. Approximately 2,200 Intel employees will join Apple, along with intellectual property, equipment and leases. The transaction, valued at $1 billion, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions, including works council and other relevant consultations in certain jurisdictions.

Combining the acquired patents for current and future wireless technology with Apple’s existing portfolio, Apple will hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation. Intel will retain the ability to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, such as PCs, internet-of-things devices and autonomous vehicles.

Seems like a great deal at only 1/3 of a Beats.

John Gruber:

Remember this bit of the Cook Doctrine: “We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make.” If anything, Apple waited too long to take control of its modems the way it has its SoC’s.

Joe Rossignol:

Understandably, the acquisition may enable Apple to accelerate development of its own 5G modem, with Reuters citing a source who claims the iPhone maker wants to have an in-house chip ready for use in some of its products by 2021, compared to previously reported timeframes of between 2022 and 2025.


Broken iOS Cellular Data Switch

It’s late in the iOS 12 cycle, but with iOS 12.3.1 I’m seeing a resurgence of an old bug from the iOS 7 days. Specifically, iOS is letting apps such as OmniFocus and Overcast use cellular data, even though I have them unchecked in Settings > Cellular. I’ve had this off for years for certain apps in an effort to reduce my data usage. OmniFocus, in particular, can use more data than all my other apps combined, if I let it, and it’s unnecessary because I’ve already synced the latest data via Wi-Fi before leaving my Mac.

Of course, the reason I noticed this is that my cell plan ran out of data two weeks early, and I never run out of data. The first thing I did was check Settings, and there were all the data-using apps, at the top of the list, despite being unchecked. (I also confirmed that Wi-Fi Assist was off and that the problem persisted after rebooting.)

Omni’s support confirmed that the app has no control over this—it couldn’t override the OS setting even if it wanted to. But they had a helpful suggestion: toggling cellular data on, restarting the phone, toggling it off again, and restarting again. I hate this sort of voodoo, but it indeed seems to have worked.

Update (2019-07-29): Marco Arment:

This is killing me. I get reports every day from people saying Overcast is using cellular data despite it being turned off in system settings.

I’ve checked back with many of them, and Wi-Fi Assist is disabled, so it’s not that.

My app is getting the blame for a clear iOS bug.


Have had the same. 20 GB Data Volumen used up within a few hours over night.

Dan Merfeld:

I picked a bad time to go over seas! I was hit by this bug hard. $0.50 / text message.

Rene Ritchie:

I’ve experienced this as well. Worse was tethering when the other device would just start updating everything assuming it was on Wi-Fi.

iOS 13 low data mode might be helpful but it’s like a zombie bug that just keeps coming back.

Eric Goodwin:

Huh. Yup. I’ve always had it off to concerve data. Definitely showing overcast using cellular data.... not enough to matter and I hadn’t noticed. Hope they fix it.


Spotify too. Everything.


Now that you mention it, I see that Overcast is using cellular data on my phone despite being disabled and WiFi assist being disabled as well. That explains why I’ve gone over the past 2 mns.

Update (2019-08-13): Unfortunately, the workaround of toggling the settings and rebooting was short-lived. Multiple apps are now using cell data again, and I’ve again used up all of my plan’s data.

Update (2020-01-19): The cellular data switch is still broken in iOS 13.3.

Update (2020-06-18): Sebastien Boisvert:

So I upgraded to iOS 13 this weekend.

Nice to see that @Apple STILL hasn’t fixed the cellular data switch bug dating back to at least iOS 7.

I guess the improvement in this release is that the feedback about it not working is immediate now.

At the moment, the switch seems to be working for me with iOS 13.5.1.

Fast Software, the Best Software

Craig Mod:

Speed in software is probably the most valuable, least valued asset. To me, speedy software is the difference between an application smoothly integrating into your life, and one called upon with great reluctance. Fastness in software is like great margins in a book — makes you smile without necessarily knowing why.


That said, Sublime Text has — in my experience — only gotten faster. I love software that does this: Software that unbloats over time. This should be the goal of all software. The longer it’s around, the more elegant it should become. Smooth over like a river stone.


Similarly, I started using Lightroom around 2007 because it was so much faster than Apple’s Aperture. But Aperture is gone and Lightroom has not smoothed out over the years. Lightroom is a gangly blob, with lots of dull, slow edges. Why can’t it get faster?

Lightroom is getting faster, in places, but overall it still feels really slow.

Via John Gruber (tweet):

One of the confounding aspects of software today is that our computers are literally hundreds — maybe even a thousand — times faster than the ones we used 20 years ago, but some simple tasks take longer now than they did then. Opening the Web Export dialog in Photoshop, for example.

macOS save dialogs seem slow in general these days.

Brent Simmons:

If, on the third call, the width is 150 — between 100 and 200 — and the cached height for 100 and 200 are equal, then the height for 150 is necessarily that same height. We can avoid text measurement and just return the cached value. (And we keep the cache from growing on each call.)


Note: this is all because I don’t use Auto Layout on table cell views, for performance reasons. I use Auto Layout everywhere else — just not on table cell views.

Update (2019-07-29): Brent Simmons:

Use a truncated version of the text rather than the entire text. For the truncation limit, come up with a length that is beyond what could conceivably fit in the space.

This way text measurement will be faster since it’s measuring less text.

Update (2019-08-01): Ruffin Bailey:

I think this is a lot of why software runs slowly. And it’s not simply that devs use better hardware, it’s that the difference between great hardware and bottom of the line – all the way down to below-TracFone-level Android phones in third world nations – is much greater than we (as devs) ever anticipate as we code and develop.

Unless devs develop and test on representative hardware, they’ll never truly value their app’s performance.

Mark Bernstein:

First: some speed changes are illusions. Lots of things we do on today’s computers seem slower than the corresponding operations we did ten or twenty years ago, but often that’s because “the same thing” is thousands of times harder. We assume elegant typography everywhere; that takes lots of work where we used to think the VT-100’s monospaced fonts were elegant.. We want to open a document: where a folder back then might have a dozen documents on a disk with thousands, now the folder has a thousand documents and document-versions on a disk with millions.


Significantly, no new Tinderbox user and no sales prospect is likely to encounter a document this big: it takes times to make that many notes. We can’t expect the speed bump to have much impact on sales. So, the cost of the speed improvement has to be born either by Eastgate or, through upgrades, by the Tinderbox community.


In my experience, between 30-50% of improvements like this one turn out to be illusions: they work for simple cases but overlook some edge case that either requires lots more engineering or that vitiates the whole thing.

What I Wish I’d Known Before Starting Notarize

Frank Reiff:

Unlike sandboxing, notarization should not have any detrimental effects for most Mac apps.

As always the real trouble starts when you are trying to inject Notarization into the tangled web of modern Mac software development: entitlements, certificates, automated Xcode build chains, build settings, etc..


In this context, it would have saved me a lot of time if I had known how to find out whether a product has in fact been signed with a secure timestamp. Executing “codesign –verify –deep –strict –verbose=4 –display  -r- /path/to/my/product” will display loads of things. If there is a line with “Signed Time” among it, that means that you did not sign with a secure timestamp. If you have a line with “Timestamp” in it, it means you do have a secure timestamp.


For most of my products, Sparkle is the only framework that I bundle, so I blame it for the entire dreaded complexity and wasted time of framework signing.. which is a lot of blame. Signing frameworks is hell.. or used to be hell.. and now is hell again.


Update (2019-07-26): Rosyna Keller:

This [timestamp issue] is covered on the searchable “Resolving Common Notarization Issues” page.