Archive for April 15, 2021

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Mystery of “White Spots” on Apple Trade Ins

Nick Statt (also: 9to5Mac, MacRumors):

The situation soon changed after his laptop arrived for inspection. Suddenly, McGloin was told his MacBook was worth just $140, less than half what Apple originally quoted. The mysterious culprit: “display has 3 or more white spots,” the Apple Store app told him. It’s a defect McGloin doesn’t remember ever seeing, and one that he should have noticed: typically, white spots on an LCD display are evidence of serious damage or burn-in and are clearly visible.


The company he had been dealing with was not actually Apple, but an Atlanta-based contractor named Phobio. Founded in 2010, Phobio is an enterprise service provider that specializes in offering white label trade-in services other companies can pass off as their own.

McGloin also found Phobio had a pretty questionable online reputation when it came to Apple products.

Dan Moren:

I’ve used Apple’s trade in program a few times in the past, and while I haven’t run into these issues, there does seem to be an odd recurrence of this “white spots” problem—all the more puzzling because several cases, customers have declined the trade in, gotten their devices returned, and been unable to discern the problem described.


Either way, it’s certainly not the experience that Apple probably wants for its customers, especially since many if not most of the people trading in old Apple products are using the money towards the purchase of new Apple products. But because Apple doesn’t highlight the fact that its returns are done through a third-party, it’s Apple that gets the blame—and it’s the one that needs to fix any issue here as well.

Darío Maestro:

Same thing happened to me. They sent a fake picture of my iPad Pro with a dead pixel and adjusted trade-in value to -$400. After I pushed back, they returned it to me. iPad was completely fine. I traded it in at an Apple Store for the full value.

I bet Phobio is great at privacy, though.

David Heinemeier Hansson:

Both Apple and Phobia refuses to answer any questions about the shady program. What the hell?

Becky Hansmeyer:

This happened to me!

Curtis Herbert:

Me too with the Apple trade in program! It was some of the glue causing a color change. Although in my case after I knew what to look for I did see them. But it is apparently common enough there should really be a warranty repair program.


Rust Support in the Linux Kernel

Miguel Ojeda:

Please note that the Rust support is intended to enable writing drivers and similar “leaf” modules in Rust, at least for the foreseeable future. In particular, we do not intend to rewrite the kernel core nor the major kernel subsystems (e.g. kernel/, mm/, sched/...). Instead, the Rust support is built on top of those.


By using Rust in the Linux kernel, our hope is that:

  • New code written in Rust has a reduced risk of memory safety bugs, data races and logic bugs overall, thanks to the language properties mentioned below.
  • Maintainers are more confident in refactoring and accepting patches for modules thanks to the safe subset of Rust.
  • New drivers and modules become easier to write, thanks to abstractions that are easier to reason about, based on modern language features, as well as backed by detailed documentation.

Wedson Almeida Filho:

In our previous post, we announced that Android now supports the Rust programming language for developing the OS itself. Related to this, we are also participating in the effort to evaluate the use of Rust as a supported language for developing the Linux kernel. In this post, we discuss some technical aspects of this work using a few simple examples.

Peloton Cuts Back on Apple Watch Support

Colin Jenkins (via Hacker News, MacRumors):

One of the selling points of upgrading to the newer, upgraded, and more expensive Peloton Bike+ was the inclusion of the Apple Gym Kit, an Apple platform that makes it very easy to pair the bike with your Apple Watch to see your heart rate and have your workouts directly imported into Apple Fitness and Apple Health.

In fact, when I bought my own Peloton Bike+, I also decided to buy an Apple Watch specifically because of the inclusion of Apple GymKit.

With one of Peloton’s latest updates, they have disabled the direct pairing of the Apple Watch to the Bike+ Bootcamp Classes (in addition to it being already disabled for Strength and Yoga Classes).

Ashley Carman:

A Peloton spokesperson confirmed to The Verge today that GymKit no longer works with Bike Bootcamp classes and instead will “only be available in cycling classes for now.” The spokesperson also said: “Peloton is committed to bringing the GymKit integration to all workouts and disciplines within Apple’s terms of service,” seemingly suggesting bootcamp workouts didn’t fall under those terms.

The speculation that Peloton removed Apple Watch support because they plan to sell their own finess watch doesn’t make much sense. You’d think they wouldn’t want to jeopardize customers continuing to pay the monthly subscription for their bike. Did Apple crack down on them? Why?

Joe Rossignol:

Apple today announced it is introducing new Fitness+ workouts geared specifically toward pregnancy and older adults, as well as several new Yoga, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and Strength workouts for beginners.

It’s interesting that Apple’s subscription product does support strength and yoga workouts.

Meanwhile, Peloton can just switch to one of the alternative channels.


Update (2021-04-16): Nilay Patel:

Since Apple’s terms of service for GymKit are not public, it was not clear what terms Peloton had violated, and, in general, “using your expensive smartwatch to sync your heart rate to your expensive stationary bike” is not the sort of thing that should require contract negotiations between huge companies.


Anyhow, irritating the huge group of wealthy people who own both an Apple Watch and a Peloton Bike Plus is a bad idea, so Peloton has a new statement today clarifying what’s going on. Here it is:

Apple GymKit is designed to work with equipment-based cardio workouts. However, Peloton recently implemented GymKit with Bike Bootcamp, a multi-disciplinary class type that combines strength and cardio, which the feature does not support. Members can still use GymKit to sync their cycling-only workouts to their Apple Watch from the Bike+.

So basically, the Apple Watch does not support switching from biking to lifting weights all in one workout. Fair enough. That said, if people want to use their Apple Watch in goofy off-label ways, it’s weird that Apple is stopping them in this way, no? And certainly adding a “bike bootcamp” workout mode to the Apple Watch fitness app would be relatively easy for Apple, the company that makes the Apple Watch.

Collecting concurrentPerform(iterations:) Results in a Swift Array

David Smith:

Useful pattern for aggregating the results of parallel work in Swift:

let result = Array(unsafeUninitializedCapacity: count) { (buffer) in
  DispatchQueue.concurrentPerform(iterations: count) { (idx) in
    buffer[idx] = processItem(idx)

Avoids making an extra buffer copy

If you make the Array up front and try to operate directly on it instead of the UnsafeMutableBufferPointer in that initializer, each thread will get its own copy due to copy-on-write, which generally is not what you wanted.

David Smith:

I would not trust it [with small array elements]. Aligned word-sized non-float things are your friends when dealing with concurrency. If you’re not sure, try TSAN, and consider just using a lock.


How a WhatsApp Status Loophole Is Aiding Cyberstalkers

Louisa Stockley:

According to Statista, WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging app, with over two billion active monthly users. In the UK it’s present on 58% of smartphones and the number of WhatsApp users in the US is expected to hit 86 million by 2023.

When someone comes online in WhatsApp (that is, they open the app or bring it to the foreground), an indicator changes, setting their status to “Online”. This indicator is public information, and can be used by anyone to build a service that watches out for this online status indicator.


WhatsApp has other privacy-focused features in the app, so they clearly care about protecting their users at some level. In fact, one of the privacy features allows a user to hide their “Last Seen” time. Some users might understandably believe that this feature hides their presence, but it actually does very little to protect privacy.