Archive for March 11, 2022

Friday, March 11, 2022

Apple Responds to UK CMA Interim Report

Hartley Charlton (tweet):

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) today published Apple’s response to its Interim Report on mobile ecosystems, as well responses from dozens of other companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Epic Games.


Apple expressed intense concerns about potentially having to “redesign the iPhone” to benefit this small, powerful group [that wants sideloading]


Apple addressed specific issues raised by the Interim Report, such as the company’s WebKit restriction on iOS and iPadOS, which bans any rival browser engines on the platform. It claimed that WebKit is innovative and responds to demand for features, such as adding “new functionality to enable greater features and functionality for web apps.”

John Poole:

How many developers have had to redesign their apps to stay on the App Store? We had to pull our battery test from Geekbench.

Michael Love:

There are literally emails where Steve Jobs approved the text to display before sideloading, not to mention the fact that developers + enterprises already have the ability to sideload right now. You don’t have to “redesign” anything to support sideloading.


Update (2022-03-16): Dave Wood:

It’s a bad precedent when Apple lies about this. It means they can’t be trusted when they’re telling the truth about encryption backdoors. If they say side loading will compromise the system & they’re proven wrong, governments may then assume they’re lying about backdoors too.

Kyle Howells:

I don’t think a lot of people realise but iOS supports side loading via Safari right now, and has for years.

Devs can sign adhoc builds and put them on their servers, install via clicking a link.

It’s limited only by those, 100 device, adhoc provisioning profiles.

Featured Dark Patterns

Ian Lynch Smith:

Apple needs to do better. Yesterdays “Game of the Day” has a 2022 biz model of $120/year. The “no thanks” is color hidden in upper left, the red “free trial” is actually the same as the “subscribe” button. Apples’s #1 app store push yesterday.

Peter N Lewis:

This is “Apple doing better” - better for Apple. Apple makes $18-$36 a year off every subscription. It’s as much in Apple’s interests as the developer’s to act shady and scam people out of money - more so since Apple puts in no effort and gets almost none of the blame.

Dave Mark:

Apple added a “notification indicator” to the Settings icon (typical of a new update) telling me about “Family Purchase Sharing”.

Thing is, the only way to get rid of it is to agree. There’s no “no thanks” option, just a cryptic reference to an unlinked page.


Symbolizer 1.1

Briksoftware (via Karsten Kusche):

Symbolizer is the easiest way of converting vector graphics to bitmap graphics. Drag a vector graphic to Symbolizer and it'll show a detailed preview of the image. On the righthand side there's a list of preconfigured icon sizes ready for use in Xcode. Drag a size from there to the target folder and you're done. Symbolizer will automatically take care of naming the file.

Twitter Makes It Harder to Choose Reverse Chronological Timeline

Jay Peters:

The design change, which lets you swipe between your Home (algorithmically served) and Latest (reverse chronological) timelines, was announced Thursday. To set it up, you tap the sparkle icon in the top right corner, and you’ll see the option to pin your “Latest timeline,” and if you select that, you’ll see both “Home” and “Latest Tweets” tabs at the top of the iOS app. If you use pinned lists on the iOS app, the layout might look familiar.

To my great disappointment, however, I’ve found that after testing the feature, now I can’t make the chronological feed the default.

Andy Baio:

I thought Twitter gave up on force-feeding its Home timeline onto power users, but nope, it’s now impossible to avoid in their official iOS app. Restarting the app always defaults you to Home tab instead of Latest now, with no possible opt-out.

Cabel Sasser:

Beware that it’s coming to the desktop as well — as I seem to be in the A/B test — but fortunately, it seems to remember which one you had selected between browser restarts.

For now. Until some product manager throws a fit about needing higher engagement numbers for “Home”

Nick Heer:

If you enjoy switching between the two views regularly, this update is probably great. But if you prefer always seeing a timeline sorted by date, this over-engineered solution is probably not what you are looking for. Thankfully, Twitter’s latest API version is making third-party apps an even more compelling choice. For example, Tweetbot 7 includes a Statistics tab again because of these API updates.


Update (2022-03-16): John Gruber:

Fast forward to today, and here’s an update from Twitter Support:

We heard you –– some of you always want to see latest Tweets first. We’ve switched the timeline back and removed the tabbed experience for now while we explore other options.

I’d been playing around with this change on Twitter’s iPhone app all weekend, and I’m still confused.


First, I had no idea what the hell the “✨” button did before this. I didn’t even know it was a button. What a bizarre icon for the options to control the essential nature of how you view Twitter. Not to be too cynical, but it feels like this icon choice was driven by a desire to hide this option while maintaining plausible deniability that the option had been hidden. “It’s not hidden or buried in settings — it’s right there in the sparkle!” The whole thing felt like using a Twitter app in a bad dream where you can’t figure out how anything works.


I subscribe to Twitter Blue for $3/month and I really enjoy it — particularly the “Top Articles” feed, which shows the articles that were most shared over the last 24 hours by the people you follow. Not the top articles shared by people chosen by an algorithm — the top articles shared by people I chose to follow. It’s the main reason I check the official Twitter app regularly, and it’s a pretty decent replacement for Nuzzel, a dedicated app that Twitter acquired and shut down in May last year. They’ve also recently added a new “bookmarks” feature for tweets, which lets you collect tweets to refer back to later. You’ve always been able to use “likes/favorites” for this, but bookmarks allows you to save tweets without any of the social aspects inherent to “liking” something.

Characterizing Single-Statement Bugs

Greg Wilson:

I spent most of an afternoon last week tracking down a bug caused by having two decorators stacked on a function in the wrong order. The fix was small, but the impact was not. Reading this paper has got me wondering how often this happens—how often it turns out that just one line in a program needs to change to make it right.

Kamienski and colleagues set out to answer two questions: what are the most common single-statement bugs in Python projects, and how do they differ from those in Java projects? After harvesting code from World of Code, they used diffs to identify single-statement fixes.

The paper is here.

Which NAS for a Mac?

Howard Oakley:

Late last year I was commissioned to write a group test of NAS systems intended primarily for Time Machine network backups. I’m delighted to report that my review has now been published, in two of Future’s magazines, MacFormat (issue 376) and Mac|Life (issue 191). These are both print magazines, with electronic editions available through their apps in the iOS/iPadOS App Store, and my review won’t appear online. This article provides some additional information to that in the magazines.


The surprise here was one manufacturer which I had thought valued its Mac market, and was keen to compete for it. However, for the moment they don’t seem interested in reviews which compare their NAS systems to those of their competitors. You shouldn’t find it hard to work out who they are from the list of products I reviewed. If you’re thinking of buying a NAS from a vendor not included in the five in my review, then you might like to think again.


Chrome Faster Than Safari in Speedometer Benchmark

Google (via MacRumors):

We’re excited to announce that in M99, Chrome on Mac has achieved the highest score to date of any browser – 300 – in Apple’s Speedometer browser responsiveness benchmark.

Building on many performance changes over the last year, we enabled ThinLTO in M99, a build optimization technique that inlines speed-critical parts of the code base, even when they span multiple files or libraries. The result? An additional across-the-board speed bump that makes Chrome 7% faster than current builds of Safari. Combined with recent graphics optimizations (namely, pass-through decoder and out-of-process rasterization), our tests have also shown Chrome’s graphics performance to be 15% faster than Safari. Overall, since launching Chrome on M1-based Macs in late 2020, Chrome is now 43% faster than it was just 17 months ago!

Two of the other recent major contributors to Chrome’s speed are the V8 Sparkplug compiler and short builtin calls. Sparkplug is a new mid-tier JavaScript compiler for V8 that generates efficient code with low compilation overhead. Short builtin calls are used by the V8 JavaScript engine to optimize the placement of generated code inside the device’s memory.

Matt Birchler:

As Google reports, the Speedometer score was incredible, and destroyed Safari.

JetStream was closer, but Chrome had a decisive win here too.

MotionMark was a big win for Safari[…]


Macs for Other Types of Professionals

Adam Engst:

What I am a little miffed about is the implication that if you don’t need all the power of a MacBook Pro with an M1 Max chip and 64 GB of unified memory, you’re not a pro user. And that extreme performance and massive storage are the only things that matter to professionals, such that those of us whose performance requirements are well served by non-Pro Macs could have no other wants or needs that would improve our workflows and productivity. I can’t speak for other fields, but I can think of plenty of hardware and product line enhancements that would make professionals like me more productive. And I’ll bet there are many more writers and lawyers out there than 3D artists and filmmakers.


I’d like to see Apple—or someone—figure out how to repurpose older iMacs with Retina displays as monitors for another Mac. They remain some of the best screens out there, and it’s a crying shame that they can’t work as standalone displays.


All the reasons why Face ID is a win for iPhone and iPad users apply to Mac users as well, perhaps even more so, since most Mac passwords are harder to type than six-digit passcodes.


The lack of a cellular option for Apple’s laptops has been a glaring omission for years and is yet another example of how Apple doesn’t acknowledge the needs of mobile professionals.


Consider the sharpness of the metal edges on all Apple laptops. That doesn’t matter much on the sides or back, but on the front, where your palms naturally rest when you’re using the trackpad or during brief breaks from typing, the metal edges dig into your hands. I find those sharp corners a constant irritation, particularly during long work sessions.