Archive for August 12, 2019

Monday, August 12, 2019

RIP AirPower, But Great Gadget Chargers Abound

Mitchel Broussard:

Twelve South today launched the “PowerPic,” a traditional wooden picture frame that includes a hidden, 10W wireless charger. You can place any 5" x 7" photo in the PowerPic, and then to charge an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, XS Max, or XR, you simply place the device on top of the photo.

Twelve South says that the idea behind the PowerPic was to create a Qi charger that would not add to the clutter of a bedside table or desk, so that when your iPhone (or any compatible Qi smartphone) isn’t charging, it just looks like any other framed picture in your home.

Joe Rossignol:

Belkin today introduced its BOOSTUP Wireless Charging Dock for wirelessly charging an iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time. There is also a USB-A port for charging a third device like an iPad via Lightning cable.

Julio Ojeda-Zapata:

If you like the notion of charging an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at once, you have options. I evaluated a lot of wireless and wired chargers in this category. I zeroed in on a handful I like, but they are not without their annoyances.

Samuel Axon:

To be clear, this does not fully realize the vision Apple originally laid out for AirPower. Whereas AirPower could charge three devices in any combination—say, two iPhones and a Watch, or two Watches and one AirPods case, or three iPhones—the mophie pad has a dedicated spot for each device type: iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. Further, the Watch doesn’t actually charge on the mat; it charges on a distinct surface that protrudes from the mat. And for AirPower, Apple imagined a software solution that would display on your iPhone’s screen the charge status of every device on the mat. The mophie pad doesn’t offer that.

Michael Kummer:

To charge an iPhone as quickly as possible, I recommend abandoning the 5W power brick and upgrading to a more powerful adapter. The good news is that you might already have a faster charger at home.


AirPods Charger Teardown and Reverse Engineering

Freddie Temperton (via Jon Masters):

One thing we noticed when playing with the AirPods is that your phone knows the charge state of the AirPods individually, as well as the case itself. How were they doing this? Our interest was piqued! We also noticed that if you don’t have either AirPod in the charger cradle, the phone is unable to read the charger cradle charge state. It was very unlikely that the case has another Bluetooth radio in it as that seems total overkill and power hungry, so we discussed other options. As there are only 2 contacts between the charger and AirPods, we theorized they must be using a form of powerline communication and hijacking the radio in one of the AirPods to transmit information from the charging cradle to the phone.


With the first glimpse of the innards, we knew this was a lot more than a simple dumb charger. There’s an ARM Cortex-M0+ in there!


The little button on the back is actually a whole custom assembly. Two metal contacts are moulded into a piece of plastic to contact with the springs on board, then a SMD switch soldered on. The button that presses down even has a tiny milled metal insert for pushing the button! Very impressive ME work!

Grief From Transitioning to Subscriptions

Peter Steinberger:

Transitioning an app to subscription is always an adventure - even if you don’t take features away, people give you 💩


Even if you ADD a ton of features.

Pádraig Kennedy:

fwiw we were shocked that we barely had any of this when we moved Castro to subscription. I guess it depends on the type of app and who your users are.

Markus Müller-Simhofer:

You get the same 💩 when you dare to release a paid upgrade. Or even when you do Freemium to offer a [trial]. Two example from just today.

And you have no idea how many people give us 1-star reviews because Mac and iOS are separate purchases (cross platform unlocks are only allowed for subscriptions). I [file] those as feature request for a subscription… 🤐

Michael Simmons:

This is a loud, but luckily, minority of users. These people seem to think apps write and update themselves and that that supporting an app is free. These same “loyal” users wouldn’t care if we went out of business. Part of the app business (and life!), I guess. 😉

Kyle Howells:

Part of the problem is iOS itself.

Apps need constant maintenance to just keep running and working because, else they break. The means, I want to keep this thing I’ve already bought, and, I want new features and updates all the same, end up combined together.

as a result you get “I bought this app, I just want to keep it, why are you taking it away from me and making me pay again?”

But without more work, iOS itself will take the app away from you by breaking it or refusing to run it.


Update (2019-08-13): Isaiah Carew:

counterpoint: selling paid upgrades off the app store for $34.95

still pretty great.

11 years indie.

proven sustainable.

we’ve had a handful of whiners, sure. but more fans that tell us we’re undercharging.

Hitting the Limits of APFS

Howard Oakley:

APFS limits the number of volumes which can exist within each container. The absolute maximum is 100, which is hardly likely to be reached unless you’re doing very peculiar things. However, there’s a smaller limit which is more likely to come into play: in any given container, the maximum number of volumes is the size of that container divided by 512 MiB, rounded up to the nearest integer. So if your container is 1.1 GiB in size, the maximum number of volumes it can support is not 100, but only 3.


This results in the anomalous situation that:

  • the smallest container size is 8.4 MB when there’s only one container, but around 20 MB when there are two or more;
  • the smallest volume size is 8.4 MB when there’s only one container and one volume, 20 MB when there are two or more containers, or about 300 MB when there are two or more volumes in the same container.

Google Chrome Incognito Mode Can Still Be Detected

Lawrence Abrams:

With the release of Chrome 76, Google fixed a loophole that allowed web sites to detect if a visitor was using Incognito mode.  Unfortunately, their fix led to two other methods that can still be used to detect when a visitor is browsing privately.

Some web sites were using Incognito mode detection in order to prevent users from bypassing paywalls or to give private browsing users a different browsing experience.


When Google made it so that Incognito mode uses a temporary filesystem using the computer's RAM, it opened up a new method of detecting it based on the amount of storage set aside for the internal filesystem used by the browser.


As Chrome switched to a memory filesystem in Incognito mode, it is now possible to detect private browsing by measuring the speed of writing to the filesystem.