Archive for August 7, 2019

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

iOS 13 to Limit VoIP API, Eliminate Background Activity

Aaron Tilley (Hacker News):

Right now, the calling feature in these apps runs in the background even when it’s not in use, ensuring the apps can connect calls faster but also making it possible for them to perform other, unrelated tasks such as collecting data. Now, Apple is restricting that background access so that it can only be used for internet calls.

Apple’s move will force Facebook to redesign its messaging apps, two people familiar with the issue said. It may have a particularly heavy impact on WhatsApp, which has been using the internet calling feature in a variety of ways, including for implementing the app’s end-to-end encryption, the people said.


In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said the company was not collecting data through the calling feature.

Michael Potuck (via Ben Sandofsky):

However, Apple’s former App Store review chief, Phillip Shoemaker, shared concerns about how Facebook could have been or still is using the background app access.


Shoemaker also noted that Facebook tried to keep the PushKit API in its main app when the company split off Messenger as a standalone app in 2014. When Apple caught on, it made Facebook remove the API.


Apple Card Exporting and Arbitration

Juli Clover:

In a support document on how the Apple Card works, Apple says exporting data from Apple Card is not a feature offered at this time. From the document: “Exporting data from Apple Card to a financial app like Mint is not currently supported.”

And, as far as I know, the feature is also iOS-only. So your data really is locked away, and you can’t easily back it up, either.

Andrew Orr:

Basically, if you don’t reject the provision, you forfeit any public claim against Goldman Sachs. Arbitration involves an arbiter (not a judge) overseeing the case, and both parties have input into who the arbiter may be. Goldman Sachs will pay the arbitration fees and other costs.

Apple Card lets you use Business Chat to quickly contact customer support, so you can probably send them the above information to opt out.


Update (2019-08-08): Rich Siegel:

It’s abusive. “I know you said ‘no’, but I really want you to say ‘yes’, so instead of letting you have the agency to give or withhold affirmative consent, I’m going to let you think that I’ll keep asking until eventually you cave in and say ‘yes’.”

Ben Bajarin:

In my view, and I’ve written extensively on this, Apple is a customer experience company. If you view Apple as a company, who strives to look for product opportunities where customer experience is lacking, and they have an opportunity to solve some pain points for consumers, then any product category is not off-limits. This certainly extends to technology, but technology is simply an ingredient of the overall Apple process.


This wording is a demonstration of how Apple is planting the seeds for future disruption of financial services. And, one of my favorite sayings, that serves as a helpful barometer for disruption is “wherever unhappy customers are, the potential for disruption exists.” While a consumer may be content with their banks or financial services, I can’t imagine customer satisfaction is at all-time highs in that sector. There is much to be desired, and Apple Card feels like a step in the direction of raising the bar for customer experience and satisfaction when it comes to financial services.

Update (2019-08-16): Nick Guy:

Apple Card PSA: Opting out of arbitration is super easy! Just hop on chat support and they can take care of it in seconds.

Downloading AT&T Wireless Usage Data

Chris Espinosa:

Thing 1 I have learned about AT&T Wireless data plan usage download:

You can download you usage for Excel, and it downloads as an .xls file—but it’s XML, not BIFF.

Thing 2 I have learned about AT&T Wireless data plan usage download:

You can download you usage as a CSV file, and it’s saved by default as .csv—but it uses a vertical bar as the column delimiters, not a comma.

Thing 3 I have learned about AT&T Wireless data plan usage download:

When you finally get the usage data into a spreadsheet, the values in the Usage column represent either kilobytes or megabytes, on a row by row basis. There’s no scale indicator in the row data.

I wish I could say this was the first time I’ve seen mixed units in a column or a “CSV” file with no C’s.


Suggestions As Part of the Pro Workflow Team

Aaron Bushnell:

You wake up to an email from Phil Schiller that you’re on the new Pro Workflow team for a complete overhaul of macOS, iPadOS and iOS. What suggestions would you provide for the next generation of Apple operating systems?

I enjoyed the the answers on the recent Accidental Tech Podcast, which included: