Archive for October 2022

Monday, October 31, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

UI Browser 4

Bill Cheeseman:

UI Browser 4 is now available for development as a public GitHub open source project, and it is open for discussion on the UI Browser Discussion page of the Late Night Software Forum. […] Although [many files] display a copyright notice, Bill Cheeseman and PFiddlesoft hereby dedicate them to the public domain.

Mark Aldritt:

As part of the handover by Bill Cheeseman of his UI Browser application to Late Night Software, we received the source code to an unfinished UI Browser 4. UI Browser 4 is a rewrite of UI Browser in Swift.

Previously:

Update (2022-11-01): See also: Late Night Software.

Kathleen Booth, RIP

Liam Proven (Hacker News):

Professor Kathleen Booth, one of the last of the early British computing pioneers, has died. She was 100.

[…]

In 1946, Britten and Booth collaborated at Birkbeck on a very early digital computer, the Automatic Relay Calculator (ARC), and in doing so founded what is now Birkbeck’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems.

[…]

Booth and Britten returned to the UK and redesigned their calculator based around these ideas, leading to the ARC2 and in the process inventing the first drum memory to provide enough storage to hold both program information and data. Building the ARC2 from relays proved too much, so in 1948, Booth and Britten moved on to the Simple Electronic Computer (SEC) and then the All Purpose Electronic X-Ray Computer or APE(X)C.

[…]

As well as building the hardware for the first machines, she wrote all the software for the ARC2 and SEC machines, in the process inventing what she called Contracted Notation. This language, through evolution and contributions by others, is today known as assembly language.

The Crypto Story

Joel Weber (tweet):

There was a moment not so long ago when I thought, “What if I’ve had this crypto thing all wrong?” I’m a doubting normie who, if I’m being honest, hasn’t always understood this alternate universe that’s been percolating and expanding for more than a decade now. If you’re a disciple, this new dimension is the future. If you’re a skeptic, this upside-down world is just a modern Ponzi scheme that’s going to end badly—and the recent “crypto winter” is evidence of its long-overdue ending. But crypto has dug itself into finance, into technology, and into our heads. And if crypto isn’t going away, we’d better attempt to understand it. Which is why we asked the finest finance writer around, Matt Levine of Bloomberg Opinion, to write a cover-to-cover issue of Bloomberg Businessweek[…]. What follows is his brilliant explanation of what this maddening, often absurd, and always fascinating technology means, and where it might go.

Gambling Ads on App Store Product Pages

Simon B. Støvring:

With Apple’s recent changes to ads on the App Store, your product pages may now show ads for gambling apps. One of my product pages just did that 😞

Marco Arment:

Now my app’s product page shows gambling ads, which I’m really not OK with.

Apple shouldn’t be OK with it, either.

The App Store has corrupted such a great company so deeply. They make so much from gambling and manipulative IAPs that they don’t even see the problem anymore.

Cabel Sasser:

It is really sad to me that Apple needs to start taking Casino Game Ad Money in order to make their line go up for the shareholders. When Steve introduced iAds and the whole pitch was, “These ads aren’t garbage, you’ll like these ads.” This department shouldn’t exist at all, imho

Sebastiaan de With:

I know it’s not as easily quantifiable, but Apple is utterly annihilating brand value, trust and goodwill with these ads. How is the revenue possibly worth it?

As a developer, this sucks. As a user, it sucks. As someone who cares about Apple products it’s just profoundly sad.

Nick Heer:

Apple is increasingly leveraging its customer base to maximize individual spending on services, accessories, and accessories for those accessories, but it is its cautious yet determined rollout of ads that makes me most nervous.

[…]

It feels like a bait and switch: my loyalty in buying products that are better for me as a user is being tested because shareholders need to see more services revenue. Apple knows most people will not switch because it relentlessly promotes its own services across its systems or because there are ads for third-party apps all over the App Store — or, if as rumoured, it rolls out ads in Maps. But it will feel a little bit scummier every time I go to download an app or get directions.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Apple: demands stringent content moderation in any apps with user generated content on the App Store

Also Apple: provides no way whatsoever for users to report a nefarious/malicious ad in the App Store app itself

Marco Arment:

“Stringent guidelines for the App Store” is a myth.

They’re strict about the 30%. Nearly every other “rule” is poorly, inconsistently, unevenly, or insufficiently enforced.

They’ve shown this over and over again. Again, actions speak louder than words.

Federico Viticci:

Can you imagine having $48.2 billion cash on hand and YET still thinking “ah yes, those House of Fun Casino ads will grow our bottom line, let’s do it”

i guess what i’m saying is that i miss the days when you opened the App Store and there was the app for farts, the one with the glass of beer, and, somehow, OmniFocus

John Voorhees:

I looked at this tonight too. They’re everywhere 😔

mikemilzz:

Just checked and my app that is mainly used by teachers and kids now show a sports betting ad too Is anyone at #AppStoreAds doing anything other than counting all the money they’re pulling in?

Rob McAlavey:

I’m seeing gambling ads on a popular children’s education app here in Australia for children aged 2-13 (Reading Eggs).

BasicAppleGuy:

These App Store ads are something…

Reading? You might also like: Adult Video Chat

In Therapy for Addictions? You might also like: Gambling

Streaming Disney? You might also like: California Psychics

Improving your Marriage? You might also like: Hinge Dating

Jon:

What’s this? Ads for gambling at the bottom of a listing for a gambling addiction recovery app.

Sean Heber:

The App Store thinks that if you like @linea_app, maybe you’d also like to invest in crypto?

John Gruber:

If these App Store ads were in our email inboxes, we’d all flag every one of them as spam.

Adam Faircloth:

There’s no longer any reason someone should browse the App Store. It’s a dirt mall with a mob casino in it.

If you want to find new good apps you have to read trusted journalists or listen to tech podcasts. Then scroll by the unrelated ad when you search for your new app.

John Voorhees:

Ads on developer product pages are yet another argument in favor of side loading.

Let developers sell their apps themselves, the way they want, and free of the junky, flea market vibe that has descended on the App Store.

Thomas Clement:

How messed up is this. To give Apple 30% of your revenue and get placed 8th position when someone searches for the exact app name.

Shac Ron:

When ads first appeared in the App Store in early iOS betas, many inside were very upset. It was an insult to our customers. We pushed back strongly. After a meeting where management pretended to listen to our concerns, it was evident they had no intention of changing their mind.

I’m glad to see apple getting raked for ads in the OS. They are disgusting and shameful. I hope they will realize how offensive these are, but realistically I doubt it.

This was the strongest pushback effort I’ve seen in my time at Apple. It was also doomed because Tim Cook saw the money Facebook, Google, and others were making from ads for apps and decided that he wants a portion of that.

To me ads in iOS are particularly offensive because I took pride in making products that served the customer. Ads turn “customers” into “users” to be monetized for the real customers, the ad buyers. They fundamentally compromise the integrity of the product.

James Thomson:

I’ve never really liked App Store search ads, because it always felt like paying protection money to Apple on top of the regular commission, rather than an organic way to boost discovery of your app. Now with dubious unrelated ads on your app page itself, it feels much worse.

I wouldn’t normally invoke “this wouldn’t happen if Steve was still in charge”, but I genuinely think this push for Services revenue above customer experience wouldn’t have. It feels cheap.

Glenda Adams:

I don’t know how to explain it’s but the App Store is both the most Apple thing and the least Apple thing at the same time.

Wesley Miller:

This crap has been a problem for nearly a decade. Why do the ads bother you? The “games” should have bothered you years ago.

Jeff Johnson:

Once again, it appears that nobody considers the Mac App Store worth selling ads on.

Joe Rossignol (tweet):

In a statement shared with MacRumors today, Apple said it has paused gambling ads in App Store app pages[…]

Basic Apple Guy:

I hate the ads (always will), but to Apple’s credit there’s been a significant change in the recommendations.

Florian Mueller:

What is highly controversial and has also drawn regulatory attention in various jurisdictions, however, is when those loot boxes become like an in-game lottery: gamers don’t know what’s in those boxes and are asked to pay to open them. Games raise hopes that super valuable items are to be found, but often you just get a consolation prize. What’s a related problem is when games have rigged wheels of fortune where it looks like each item has an equal chance of being drawn, but one just has to play the game for some time to realize that the most valuable items are hard to come by. Some games charge for using such a wheel of fortune, and may even charge an exponentially increasing amount for each turn.

While Apple says the gambling (casino app) problem has been addressed, I assume the in-game equivalent of a casino called loot boxes, and related issues such as rigged wheels of fortune, are issues that persist. That’s because you can’t ban those based on categories: the category is games (or a game genre). Apple’s app review theoretically could identify such issues, but then they’d have to play certain games for hundreds of hours, and they only have a few minutes of manual review time per app submission--with the focus being on the enforcement of their rules, above all: the app tax.

Previously:

Update (2022-11-01): Nick Heer:

Still very psychic-friendly here[…]

App Store Ads in Today and App Pages

Apple:

Apple Search Ads makes it easy to promote your app on the App Store. And now with new Today tab and product page ad placements, you can drive discovery of your app in more moments across the App Store — when customers first arrive, search for something specific, and browse apps to download.

Joe Rossignol:

This marks the first time that developers will be able to run ads in the Today tab, which until now has only displayed content handpicked from the App Store’s editorial staff, without any paid placement. And with the “You Might Also Like” section, developers will now be able to promote their apps on other apps’ pages.

[…]

App Store ads were previously limited to search results based on keywords and the “Suggested” section of the Search tab. With ads in the Today tab and the “You Might Also Like” section, the App Store will now offer four advertising options in total.

Joe Rossignol:

I don’t like Apple expanding ads on the iPhone. In my view, one of the benefits of the expensive Apple ecosystem is supposed to be a premium experience where the customer is not the product.

Florian Mueller:

The only thing I wish to clarify for accuracy’s sake is that app developers can’t even buy ads on their own app pages for defensive purposes the way many brands do on Google. That doesn’t make it any better, but it is something I wanted to explain.

[…]

In the anti-steering context (the injunction Epic Games won against Apple last year was an anti-anti-steering injunction), Apple always suggests that if app developers could point users to alternative payment options, it would be as unacceptable as if competing resellers could promote their stores in an official Apple Store and steer customers away. But that is just what Apple’s ads on app pages are all about, except that Apple makes money that way. Those app pages should be controlled by app makers--not that they could do anything they want on that page, but at least that no one else can do anything there--without their consent--that harms them.

Turner Novak (via Hacker News):

Apple executed its privacy marketing campaign beautifully. In the name of consumer privacy, it was able to box out competitors from using its first party device data, giving itself exclusive access to better target ads (Facebook, etc can still do this, its just harder). […] Apple is setting the stage to build all the same products it kneecapped: marketing tools for the long-tail of SMBs.

[…]

Hopefully I’ve made it clear that Apple has a LOT of unmonetized digital real estate. It needs to be careful as it chooses where to monetize with ads (personally I don’t get excited about ads on my lock screen), but operating system-level ads have always been in the cards for iOS. A patent filed in 2009 hints at premium “lock screen”-like and contextual “your printer ink is low, refill it here” ads.

Matthias:

Archiving a new build for the App Store now gives you this?!

Dave B:

With this Services push, Apple has lost its North Star.

It’s not just the overt ads, but also the entire way apps are designed, where Apple brands ads as “curation” to fool users into thinking they’re not ads (see the Music, TV, & Podcasts apps).

James Thomson:

It’s hard to see this drop in services growth, and not imagine that’s what’s been driving the recent increases in advertising.

Previously:

Update (2022-11-30): Michael Gartenberg (via Hacker News):

The App store is, sadly, no longer the jewel of Apple’s ecosystem. These days, it seems to be more about maximizing Apple’s revenue than serving customers or helping developers flourish.

Sami Fathi (tweet):

A new report has revealed internal disagreement within Apple, causing some employees who work on the company's ads business to raise concerns that showing more ads to iPhone users ruins the premium experience that's been long offered to its customers, The Information reports.

See also: Reddit (via Dave).

Wired Finds App Review Unchanged

Shubham Agarwal (Hacker News):

It took a month of frustrating discussion with Apple’s App Store reviewers and 15 revisions to his code—made more or less at random—before his update was mysteriously approved.

Nelson never learned exactly why his app was first rejected or later accepted. An appeal mechanism Apple offers to challenge a rejection didn’t help.

[…]

More than a dozen app developers who spoke with WIRED say the app review process has not improved despite recent scrutiny on Apple’s control of the App Store. In 2020 the company began allowing developers to appeal not only an app’s rejection, which can lead to a call with an app reviewer, but to challenge the App Store guideline behind a decision.

The article is ostensibly following up on the change to allow challenging the guidelines—vs. appealing a rejection—but it doesn’t seem to mention anyone who did that. Nor have I heard of any successes in that regard.

But developers commonly describe the process of convincing Apple’s reviewers to green-light their submissions as “nightmarish.” They see the appeal process as more of an attempt to deflect criticism than to substantially improve app reviewing, which remains slow and arbitrary. Former Apple employees told WIRED that app reviewers often have only minutes to review each app and work under a system that permits wide variation in standards.

[…]

Adam Dema, an Apple spokesperson, denied the inconsistency developers report seeing in app reviews. “They are based purely in accordance with the App Store Review Guidelines, not subjectivity,” he said.

There’s obviously a lot of inconsistency. And the process can’t be anything but subjective because the guidelines are so vague.

saagarjha:

A former senior App Store operations lead, who requested anonymity fearing repercussions from Apple, says the guidelines are designed to work on precedent, similar to some aspects of law. New reviewers generally get about two months to become familiar with a database of previous app rejections and approvals chosen to set precedents for each guideline.

Unlike law, you don’t get direct access to this precedent as an App Store developer. Nor is it easy to actually invoke it when you are aware it exists. Calling out a reviewer when they fail to interpret a vague guideline in line with what Apple actually wants it to mean (which you have to do the hard work of understanding) is incredibly tedious and not guaranteed to show results. And if you don’t actually understand how the rules work, you’re basically stuck :(

Philip Young:

Confident it’s the right reason to move Session out from App Store.

My last 2 updates (important bug fix, no new functionality) on Mac had been on review for 1 weeks each. Still hasn’t approved yet.

John Koetsier:

“If you’re developing for the Mac this might be shocking to you: The Mac App Store sees just 15 new apps every month on average,” says Ariel Michaeli, CEO of AppFigures. “That’s what the App Store, which sees about 1,000 new apps every day, adds in 20 minutes.”

Previously:

Friday, October 28, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Elon Musk Finalizes Twitter Acquisition

Kate Conger and Lauren Hirsch:

After months of waffling, lawsuits, verbal mudslinging and the near miss of a full blown trial, Elon Musk now owns Twitter.

On Thursday night, Mr. Musk closed his $44 billion deal to buy the social media service, said three people with knowledge of the situation.

Elon Musk:

the bird is freed

David Faber and Jonathan Vanian (Hacker News):

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and finance chief Ned Segal have left the company’s San Francisco headquarters and will not be returning, sources said. Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal policy, trust and safety, was also fired, The Washington Post reported.

MacRumors:

Musk’s executive firings followed news last week that the billionaire planned to slash Twitter staff numbers by 75% in an effort to pay down the company’s debt burden. Musk later dismissed those reports, saying he would not cut that amount of employees.

Elon Musk (Hacker News):

The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence. There’s currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.

In the relentless pursuit of clicks, much of traditional media has fueled and catered to those polarized extremes, as they believe that is what brings in the money, but, in doing so, the opportunity for dialogue is lost.

[…]

Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences! In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.

Nick Heer:

How in the world he expects to accomplish that is something I am curious to learn more about. I have an open mind. Yet, nothing in this letter is much different from the kind of stuff any social network says it does. Every platform says it has policies that are simultaneously inclusive and permissive until they are tested.

As far as I know, the major social networks don’t currently let you turn off certain kinds of algorithmic moderation. Perhaps his idea is to allow all legal posts, but to hide some potentially unwanted ones using controllable filters. Or perhaps some tweets would only be visible if you follow the poster, so that you wouldn’t accidentally come across them.

John Gruber:

But as a privately-held company Musk is free to make changes that move Twitter away from being optimized for engagement and towards being optimized for enjoyment.

The risk of fading into irrelevance is far greater, if not nearly certain, under Twitter’s current leadership. I think Twitter is worth saving. I think Twitter requires massive changes in order to be saved — both outward-facing as a service and platform, and internally as a company. I would not have picked Elon Musk as the person to lead the company through those changes. But you dance with the one who bought the company and took it private.

Nilay Patel:

Twitter, the company, makes very little interesting technology; the tech stack is not the valuable asset. The asset is the user base: hopelessly addicted politicians, reporters, celebrities, and other people who should know better but keep posting anyway.

[…]

The essential truth of every social network is that the product is content moderation, and everyone hates the people who decide how content moderation works. Content moderation is what Twitter makes — it is the thing that defines the user experience. It’s what YouTube makes, it’s what Instagram makes, it’s what TikTok makes. They all try to incentivize good stuff, disincentivize bad stuff, and delete the really bad stuff.

Previously:

Apple’s Q4 2022 Results

Apple (transcript, Hacker News):

The Company posted a September quarter record revenue of $90.1 billion, up 8 percent year over year, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.29, up 4 percent year over year. Annual revenue was $394.3 billion, up 8 percent year over year, and annual earnings per diluted share were $6.11, up 9 percent year over year.

[…]

“We continued to invest in our long-term growth plans, generated over $24 billion in operating cash flow, and returned over $29 billion to our shareholders during the quarter. The strength of our ecosystem, unmatched customer loyalty, and record sales spurred our active installed base of devices to a new all-time high. This quarter capped another record-breaking year for Apple, with revenue growing over $28 billion and operating cash flow up $18 billion versus last year.”

Jason Snell:

Mac revenue was way up (to an all-time record!), iPad revenue was flat sequentially but down year-over-year, iPhone revenue was up, services revenue was down sequentially for the second straight quarter, and wearables returned to its winning ways.

Michael E. Cohen and Josh Centers:

Let’s start with the Mac, which saw a phenomenal 25.4% year-over-year revenue increase, marking an all-time revenue record for Macs. The Mac has never been stronger, thanks to Apple silicon, bringing in $11.5 billion in revenue in Q4.

[…]

The iPhone realized 9.7% growth over the past year, amounting to $42.6 billion in revenue. That level of growth was still sufficient for a September quarter revenue record.

[…]

For years, Services has fueled Apple’s continued growth, but that wasn’t the case this quarter: revenues increased by just 5% over the past year, bringing in $19.2 billion. As with other sales categories, Maestri blamed the strong dollar and weaker foreign currencies for the relatively small increase in Services revenue. However, Services revenue still broke its Q4 record, and Maestri mentioned that Apple has over 900 million paying subscribers now, implying a revenue stream that is both sizable and stable. When asked, Cook refused to link the decline in revenue growth to Apple’s recent service price hikes. Instead, he repeated the company’s previous explanation of increased music licensing costs and costs related to the growth of the Apple TV+ library.

Nick Heer:

No matter how big Apple gets, it is still a little surprising to me every time the company announces that half its Mac buyers are new.

I’ve never quite known how to interpret this. Is that high or low compared with other companies? It can’t indicate a trend if Apple’s been saying the same thing for so long. Obviously, it doesn’t mean that sales are growing 50% per year. Does a high percentage of new buyers mean that Macs last a long time? Or that there’s a lot of churn?

Ben Bajarin:

Thanks to an entirely new enterprise dynamic, in the cloud/digital-first world, I believe Apple is on the cusp of seeing the Mac finally cross the enterprise chasm and formally be embraced by every modern organization.

John Voorhees:

Despite some areas of softness, the results reported by Apple were positive overall, especially compared to other recent earnings misses in the tech world. Yesterday, Meta announced a significant earnings miss that led to a nearly 25% drop in its stock price today. Then today, Amazon came up short compared to Wall Street expectations leading to a 16% dip in its stock price.

Previously:

Update (2022-11-03): Jason Snell:

You can also see some of the gravity defying that Apple did this fiscal year. In fiscal 2015 and 2018, iPhone revenue spiked—spikes that align with the introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone X. In other words, major iPhone body redesigns.

The iPhone 12 was also a body redesign, and sales spiked in fiscal 2021—but went up further in 2022. Again, that’s not generally what happens, but it happened this past year.

[…]

I don’t know how long it will last, but after a decade with Mac sales figures in the twenty billions, it lingered in the thirties for a single year before hitting 40.

Apple Rejects Spotify Update That E-mails External Purchase Info

Juli Clover:

Apple and Spotify are once again feuding as Spotify attempts to break into the audiobook market, reports The New York Times. Apple has reportedly rejected Spotify’s latest app update three times in the last month.

[…]

Apple last year agreed to an App Store rule change that allows developers to use communications like email to share information methods about payment options that are available outside of an iOS app[…]

[…]

Apple apparently told Spotify that it can send customers emails about online purchases, but Spotify is not able to offer a button inside of the app to request emails. The feature was designed with Spotify’s legal team involved, and Apple initially approved the update in September, but later reversed course, rejecting subsequent updates.

Marco Arment:

I love how Spotify routinely tries to break Apple’s extremely long-standing IAP rules, then acts all surprised and tries to start a big public campaign every time Apple says no.

The rules are indeed bullshit, but Spotify’s (repeated) act is even more bullshitty than Apple’s.

In this case, it’s not a long-standing rule. It’s a year-old rule that was a result of the agreement with the Japan FTC. Apple, of course, says the app was “rejected for not following the guidelines.” Obviously, what Spotify did goes against Apple’s wishes, but I don’t think it’s clearly against the written guidelines:

Apps in this section cannot, within the app, encourage users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase, except as set forth in 3.1.3(a). Developers can send communications outside of the app to their user base about purchasing methods other than in-app purchase.

It sounds like the app included a button to e-mail information about how to purchase. That information is not “within the app.” And the second sentence specifically says that they are allowed to send e-mails about purchasing methods. It’s not clear to me how this is so different from Netflix’s (Apple-approved) method of offering a button to initate a phone call to the company. They’re just delivering the information via e-mail instead of audio.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

This is a no-brainer to us, but the general public and policymakers don’t have a full grasp on how anticompetitive and harmful Apple’s rules are. Public blowups like this are necessary — we’ve got used to it over 14 years, we don’t even realize how bad things look from outside

Ryan Jones:

It’s a reasonable way to surface objections to the public if you have exhausted all other avenues for years and feel as wronged as they do.

Previously:

Update (2022-11-01): Patrick Balestra:

If you’re wondering why there was no Spotify iOS update in the last month, here’s why.

Florian Mueller:

While I really hope the Spotify case will lead to something that will help not only Spotify, I can’t help but note that Spotify came out with this criticism of Apple’s conduct right before publishing its Q3 shareholder report (PDF). After hours, its stock (SPOT) lost almost 7%. It looks like they want investors to know that their business could do a lot better if not for Apple’s App Store monopoly abuse. But that takes us to the second question, which is whether Spotify is on the right track with its efforts to solve that problem.

[…]

The decision Spotify will have to make now is whether to continue to wait for the EU Commission or start some private litigation in one or more jurisdictions. I’ve said it on other occasions: those CAF companies might already have won spectacular decisions in Munich if they sued there. That forum could become one of the most important App Store venues in the world. Spotify would give the Commission an “excuse” for not staying on top of the Apple cases, however, if it sued (especially if it sued in the EU).

Thursday, October 27, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple Security Research Blog

Ivan Krstić:

Apple Security Research, our new blog and website at security.apple.com! We launch with an update on Apple Security Bounty, and a deep dive into some fundamental XNU memory safety improvements with kalloc_type.

Why doesn’t Apple like RSS?

Apple Product Security:

At times we received many more [security bounty] submissions than we anticipated, so we’ve grown our team and worked hard to be able to complete an initial evaluation of nearly every report we receive within two weeks, and most within six days.

[…]

Our Apple Security Research site includes a new way to send us research on the web and get real-time status updates.

Previously:

WSJ Tech Live 2022 Apple Interview

Joe Rossignol (video):

Apple’s software engineering chief Craig Federighi and marketing chief Greg Joswiak spoke with tech columnist Joanna Stern at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live event in California on Tuesday. A full video of the interview is now available on YouTube.

Some good questions, but not a lot of real answers here. It’s notable that they neither defended Lightning as a technology nor indicated that they were working on anything better. They just like the name and the large installed base—and don’t like governments telling them what to do.

Sami Fathi:

Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing, Greg Joswiak, today said that Apple will have to move to USB-C on iPhone and its remaining devices that still have a Lightning connector in order to comply with new EU rules.

Chris Hannah:

I wonder if the EU law works somewhat in Apple’s favour here. Apple were clearly already on a journey to USB-C with the rest of their products. Although some would argue, the iPhone was destined to be port-less. However, this allows Apple to redirect any possible negativity towards the switch to USB-C to the EU.

Matt Birchler:

I know ordinary people in my life who don’t use social media or follow tech news at all and they are getting annoyed with the iPhone using “Apple proprietary port” instead of what everything else uses. This is anecdotal, of course, but this wasn’t a thing I heard 5 years ago, and now it comes up all the time when I talk to people about what they like/dislike about their iPhone.

Previously:

Preview Drops Support for PostScript Files

Joe Rossignol (tweet):

Starting with macOS Ventura, released this week, the built-in Preview app on Mac no longer supports PostScript (.ps) and Encapsulated PostScript (.eps) files, according to a new Apple support document. Preview can still be used to open these files on macOS Monterey and earlier. Apple did not provide a reason for the change.

This is sad, since I have tons of these files. Interestingly, the frameworks still seem to support them, as they still display properly in third-party apps such as EagleFiler and Skim.

Ventura’s “Open at Login” vs. “Allow in the Background”

Quinn:

  • Open at Login shows a list of login items, per the legacy kLSSharedFileListSessionLoginItems API. These items are always launched at login, and are intended to be under the control of the user.

  • Allow in the Background has different semantics. This is an allowlist. It doesn’t show what programs will be launched at login, it shows what programs are allowed to be launched at login.

You can see this with the SMLoginItemSetEnabled API:

  1. Enable your Service Management login item by calling SMLoginItemSetEnabled with true.

  2. The item shows up in the Settings list.

  3. Back in your app, disable your login item by calling SMLoginItemSetEnabled with false.

  4. The item still shows up in the list.

Via John Siracusa:

Can this really be true? If an app ever wants to be able to launch on login in Ventura, it must forever appear in the “Allow in the Background” section of the Login Items screen in System Settings?

The new SMAppService.mainApp.register() and unregister() calls will add and remove an app from the “Open at Login” section, but nothing seems to remove an app from the “Allow in the Background” section.

[…]

To be clear, the problem with Ventura listing apps set to launch on login under the “Allow in Background” section is that it implies they can “perform tasks when the app is not running,” as the text says. But launch on login is not that!

John Siracusa:

Ventura’s handling of “launch on login” will make users suspicious of apps that the OS says can do stuff when they’re not running, even if that isn’t true. And when a developer explains, the user won’t believe the truth because the OS says otherwise. It sows distrust and worry.

Guilherme Rambo:

There should definitely be a distinction between simple login items and launch agents / daemons, which are the things that do in fact allow an app to do stuff when it’s not running.

John Siracusa:

Also, this is only a problem for apps that want to work on pre-Ventura versions of macOS. If your app requires Ventura, you can use only the new Ventura-specific API to launch on login and keep your app out of the “runs in background” list.

Stephen Hackett:

I’m not sure this new notification in macOS Ventura could be less helpful if it tried. What items? What is “System Events.app” and why is it in quotes?

Ezekiel Elin:

I've filed a few FBs about this system over the summer, most notably that it tends to just dump a whole bunch of alerts on the user at once

Like, jeesh

Previously:

OmniDiskSweeper 1.14

The Omni Group (tweet):

When OmniDiskSweeper cannot fully read the contents of a file or directory (due to system protections or file permissions), it places a + sign next to its size to indicate that the reported value is an incomplete, minimum value rather than the total size. (For example, a size of “1.8 GB+” indicates that the content OmniDiskSweeper was able to access was 1.8 GB, but there was additional content which OmniDiskSweeper was unable to read.) Incomplete sizes will always be sorted above complete sizes, since there’s no telling how large that content actually is.

There are lots of apps that can calculate the sizes of all your folders, but I still like this one the best.

Previously:

Dropbox on Ventura

Peter Steinberger:

The new Dropbox version for macOS Ventura is absolute garbage. fileproviderd is eating my CPU alive, files are no longer really on disk so QuickLook and some apps fail, etc. How did this ship, even as beta?

Then again, it’s now about as unreliable as the iOS Files extension, which crashes after using it a while and the only recourse is to reboot iOS.

This is not the first time that the official API ends up being less reliable than the original hacky solution.

I’ve mostly switched to iCloud Drive, and when I do need to access Dropbox I do so via Transmit.

Previously:

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Freeform Beta

Juli Clover:

With the macOS Ventura 13.1, iOS 16.2, and iPadOS 16.2 betas provided to developers today, Apple has introduced the first version of the Freeform app that was first introduced at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

This is not the type of app I would use, but it’s always interesting to look at how Apple designs a new app, which technologies it uses, and which components might eventually become APIs.

Juli Clover:

Multiple Freeform boards are supported, and Apple intends for Freeform to be used collaboratively. All of your boards can be shared with others, and all participants can update a board and add new features, with the changes shown in real-time. As of right now, the sharing features do not appear to be implemented.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

In case you’re curious; Freeform on the Mac is an AppKit app built with ObjC/Swift (with NIBs) and some SwiftUI. Uses Metal rendering, and seems like a pretty meaty project.

Parker Ortolani:

Freeform has so many delightful hidden features. It’s so well considered. Bravo to the team behind it. It’s quite literally the opposite of stage manager on a new feature quality matrix.

Ask Adam:

I love when Apple creates software like this but I worry it’ll be instantly abandoned like Music Memos or utterly ignored like Clips.

Previously:

iPads That Don’t Exist

Sami Fathi:

Writing in his Power On newsletter, Gurman said Apple had “internally considered launching an iPad with a plastic back and plastic keyboard” that would ship in the same box for below $500. “The idea was seemingly abandoned, but that was probably Apple’s only real hope of ever giving Chromebooks a run for their money in most schools,” Gurman added.

The new base model iPad is $449, the Magic Keyboard Folio is $249, and the Pencil is $99.

Joe Rossignol:

Apple is developing a larger 16-inch iPad that it hopes to release in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to a report today from The Information’s Wayne Ma. This would be the largest-ever iPad model, topping the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Previously:

watchOS 9.1

Juli Clover:

Today’s update introduces an extended battery life option when using Outdoor Walking, Running, and Hiking Workouts. You can opt to reduce the frequency of heart rate and GPS readings if you have an Apple Watch Ultra, a second-generation Apple Watch SE, or an Apple Watch Series 8.

I wonder why this is limited to the new models. The hardware is not that different, and choosing how often to read a sensor seems more like a software feature than a hardware one, anyway.

Apple:

This document describes the security content of watchOS 9.1.

Previously:

GyazMail 1.7

GyazSquare:

GyazMail now supports OAuth 2.0 authentication (Requires OS X 10.11.6 or later).

Fixed possible crash when using IMAP accounts

GyazMail is one of the rare third-party e-mail clients these days that feels like it was designed for the Mac rather than iOS.

Previously:

Tuesday, October 25, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Stage Manager in macOS 13.0

Andrew Cunningham:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many complaints about a new Apple feature as I have about Stage Manager on the iPad. […] So imagine my surprise when Stage Manager on a Mac worked—and worked pretty well. And I actually kind of liked it.

[…]

Within a given stage, app windows work exactly as they do anywhere else on your Mac. You can move, resize, and rearrange them any way you want, including shoving them all the way to the edges of the screen. The recent apps column will persist on the side of the screen by default, but it will get out of the way if you move an app window over it; you can bring the apps back up by moving your cursor to the right edge of the screen.

The Mac’s version of Stage Manager has multi-monitor support from the start, and it works on all the Macs that run Ventura, not just a subset of newer models. Every individual monitor is treated as its own stage with its own recent apps list.

[…]

Stage Manager integrates seamlessly with macOS’s other window management systems.

John Voorhees:

I love Stage Manager, Apple’s new mode for managing apps on your Mac’s desktop. But it’s not an unconditional, all-in sort of love. It’s complicated.

When Stage Manager is set up and running the way I want, it’s fantastic. The trouble is the ‘set up’ part. The feature is simply too laborious to set up, and some of its interactions are an over-caffeinated mess.

[…]

You would think you’d be able to drag any app out of a mixed set of apps and onto the stage, but you can’t. Even if you click on an app’s icon in a mixed set, you can only drag the top app in the pile onto the stage. If the same app is paired as a set with any other app in the strip, only the top app can be dragged onto the stage.

[…]

I quickly turned on ‘All at Once’ and never looked back because I found the alternative distracting and confusing. As I’ll explain below, Stage Manager already sends things to the strip more often than I’d like and doesn’t provide enough ways to add apps to the current stage. That problem is only exacerbated by turning ‘One at a Time’ on, so I don’t recommend using that option.

[…]

Stage Manager is in desperate need of keyboard shortcuts, a right-click menu, and Shortcuts support.

Jason Snell:

IMO if managing the stages wastes time it’s not worth it over just having those windows together. Apple could improve this a lot, and I hope they do.

Jason Snell:

Stage Manager also feels a bit like an admission on Apple’s part that Full Screen mode, which strives to create an iPad-like experience on the Mac, misses the mark. I never use Full Screen mode, even on apps that would benefit from the utter takeover of my Mac’s display, because it really doesn’t work well with Finder. I’m dragging files into Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro all the time, and every time I try to use them in Full Screen mode I end up getting frustrated by all the mode switching and give up. Stage Manager, on the other hand, lets you display your desktop items in the background, or you can click on the Desktop to switch to the Finder and go grab what you want.

[…]

One of the features that I appreciate about Stage Manager is that it isn’t a reinvention of how Mac windows behave, beyond the grouping and the toggling between them. It doesn’t enforce a specific size, location, or even layering order on windows—everything feels natural and Mac-like.

Unfortunately, Stage Manager trades in the drudgery and confusion of managing multiple windows for the drudgery and confusion of arranging windows and stages in Stage Manager. I can’t go more than a few minutes in Stage Manager without clicking on something and being whisked away to a new stage, even when the most logical thing would be to assume that if I’m clicking on an item in one workspace, I want to add items to the same workspace.

Engin Kurutepe:

I like Stage Manager on Mac. It’s not world changing but it’s a nice gimmick.

David Pierce:

Stage Manager, as a concept, makes sense on a Mac because it adds some structure to the free-form system, letting you quickly collect your mess. In that way, it reminds me of the Mac’s desktop Stacks feature, which automatically creates folders for different file types on your desktop. It’s a simple way to rein in the chaos.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-27): Jack Wellborn:

Like driving stick on hilly rural roads, I find managing a small number of windows more satisfying than burdensome. Users on today’s computers can easily amass dozens of windows from a variety of apps. Furthermore, these apps and windows persist, even between reboots. There is no intrinsic impetus that forces users to quit latent apps or close latent windows. Manual windowed interfaces became cognitively burdensome when faced with unlimited persistent windows found in modern desktop computers. While some still find them delightful, more and more people find desktop computers harder and more annoying.

[…]

Full-screens, split views and grids all treat overlapping windows as part of, if not the root cause behind, burdensome window management. To me that’s throwing the baby out with the bath water. While there is no question in my mind that windowed interfaces have become burdensome to most users, I don’t think overlapping windows are the problem. It’s that there are too many of them and they all need to be manually managed.

[…]

In my experience, user created sets are where Stage Manager shines. The set I am currently using while writing this review has windows from BBEdit and Safari. I also have sets for Discord and Slack, as well as Twitter and Tweetbot. I look forward to having Visual Studio Code and Terminal sets once I am allowed to install Ventura on my work machine. Sets let me focus on the work at hand by reducing the clutter while still keeping other windows and apps visually close at hand.

[…]

The lack of AppleScript support, while disappointing, is unsurprising, but there aren’t even any Stage Manager actions available in Shortcuts.

Update (2022-11-02): Howard Oakley:

In the right situation, you can even use Stage Manager with a single app centrestage, pulling in windows from the cast as you need them. As with all good interface tools, Stage Manager doesn’t dictate how you use its features, and it’s up to you to see whether the tools it provides are an efficient solution.

Bringing apps onto the stage is another flexible action. Instead of clicking on them in the cast, I often fetch them using the Dock. Stage Manager remembers how I prefer it set up: in the morning when I load its cast, it automatically groups Tweetbot and Safari together, as I like them, so I don’t have to recreate the same layout that I had when I quit apps the previous night.

Update (2022-11-03): Peter Ammon:

I enabled Stage Manager on #macOSVentura and a week later I’m still using it. It’s really good at decluttering! Existing muscle memory still works (command-tab, command-tilde) and it’s got some nice touches of its own.

[…]

My only wish is that the animations could be made faster!

Nick Heer:

I only have Ventura on my laptop, but I bet that is the context where the Mac version of Stage Manager makes the most sense. Its single-application mode and aggressive animations have made me think twice about habitually ⌘-Tabbing over to my Twitter client, and I find it makes it easier for me to juggle multiple windows while reducing clutter. It is imperfect, but it feels successful in a way that is surprising to me. Who knew MacOS needed yet another way to manage windows? Turns out.

Stage Manager in iPadOS 16.1

Apple:

Stage Manager is an entirely new multitasking experience that automatically organizes apps and windows, making it quick and easy to switch between tasks. For the first time on iPad, users can create overlapping windows of different sizes in a single view, drag and drop windows from the side, or open apps from the Dock to create groups of apps for faster, more flexible multitasking. The window of the app users are working on is displayed prominently in the center, and other open apps and windows are arranged on the left-hand side in order of recency.

In an update for M1 and M2 iPad models later this year, Stage Manager will unlock full external display support with resolutions of up to 6K, so users will be able arrange the ideal workspace, and work with up to four apps on iPad and four apps on the external display simultaneously.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

It’s RC time, and iPadOS 16.1 with Stage Manager is locked in. I’m not seeing any meaningful improvement over where we were in the final betas re design issues. The most glaring bugs have been patched over; you can still crash SpringBoard by hitting ⌘-W while dragging a window

[…]

I can confirm that Stage Manager finally works in the iPad Simulator with the Xcode 14.1 RC. This particular nightmare is finally over — if you’re a developer without an iPad Pro, you can finally test how your apps function in iPadOS 16’s windowing environment

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Virtually everything I flagged as wrong with Stage Manager during WWDC week is shipping almost unchanged, so Apple’s gotta be really sure of this design to be here five months later.

Kalani Helekunihi:

What gets me is how bad the VoiceOver and VoiceControl experience is with StageManager.

Scrollable views jump up outside the frame of the app, and there is no sense of which window is in focus. But apps moving without user input is bad!

Took best screen reader and made unusable.

Federico Viticci:

If you’re an indie developer and think your iPad app needs work for Stage Manager, don’t feel bad!

Apple’s Settings app is so outdated, when you resize it in Stage Manager, you get its portrait version…

…in landscape mode.

Federico Viticci:

Resizing Apple’s Camera app in Stage Manager. When you make it smaller, the camera view is flipped.

Jef Holbrook:

Stage Manager on iPad is here but is it ready? My cat and I try to find out.

Via John Gruber:

The design remains muddled and implementation half-baked. But the new iPad hardware is here so it’s time to ship.

Colin Devroe:

If Apple ships Stage Manager for iPadOS on Monday they have become Microsoft of the 2000s; Too big to ship good software at scale and no longer willing to say “no” when they must.

They’d still be the best software design company in the world so that tells you something.

David Pierce:

After testing the first public beta in July, I wrote that I hated Stage Manager. It didn’t solve any of the iPad’s multitasking problems for me and actually managed to create some new ones. Since then, I’ve been following along as Apple has tinkered with the feature over the last few months through the company’s public beta process for iPadOS 16. And now, as version 16.1 makes its way to iPads everywhere, I regret to inform you that Stage Manager still doesn’t work. This is not the iPad multitasking you’re looking for.

[…]

At best, it feels totally disconnected from everything else about the iPad; at worst, it’s just broken. Way too often, it’s both.

[…]

Okay, so you open an app, and it opens into Stage Manager. That kicks the fifth-most recent pile… out of Stage Manager. But then, if you reopen an app from that old pile, it comes back into Stage Manager, along with the rest of its pile! So it wasn’t gone — it was just hidden. If you have an app open in two piles, there’s no way to know which will open if you click a link to that app.

[…]

There’s really no discernible mental model to help you understand how Stage Manager works, and it often doesn’t seem like anyone at Apple has used this thing for very long. Why does every app, including Netflix and games and other obviously full-screen apps, open into Stage Manager?

Federico Viticci (tweet, MacRumors, tweet):

[…]

For better or worse, Stage Manager is showing us the trajectory Apple has chosen for the future of the iPadOS platform, and it’s one designed for modularity, power users, and multiple input methods. Plus a whole lot of weirdness. And bugs.

Nick Heer:

Stage Manager may be shipping as an optional off-by-default windowing mode, but it is clearly unfinished and so inconsistent as to make you wonder if there is anyone with a specific vision for how iPad multitasking should work.

Nearly thirteen years after the iPad’s introduction, I think that is what it is most missing. It still feels like multitasking is a tacked-on bonus feature for a committed enough user.

Mert Dumenci:

Stage Manager has genuinely changed how I use my iPad — I reach for it a lot more, use and enjoy it for most of my daily tasks. Huge congrats to the folks involved. 👏

Scott McNulty:

Stage Manager makes my iPad feel like a whole new device!

One that I have no idea how to use and is super confusing.

Rui Carmo:

I have been trying it out for a couple of hours and although it is clearly somewhere between half baked and awkward (and yes, it’s already blown up on me, from random keyboard failures to full-on Springoard reloads), Stage Manager is already pretty useful to people like me, especially with both a-Shell and the new Blink update (provided you do the sane thing and use tmux in case iOS wipes your sessions).

[…]

Twelve years later, and I can finally use an iPad without it feeling like a bigger iPod Touch.

Federico Viticci:

Tried Stage Manager on iPadOS 16.2 beta 1. You know the drill[…]

Previously:

macOS 13.0 Ventura

Apple (release notes, full installer, IPSW, Hacker News, MacRumors):

macOS Ventura takes the Mac experience to a whole new level with groundbreaking capabilities that help users achieve more than ever. New features like Continuity Camera enable users to seamlessly work across their Apple devices, and productivity tools including Stage Manager help users stay focused and easily move between tasks. Safari ushers in a passwordless future with passkeys, and big updates come to popular apps including Mail and Messages.

The latest versions of my apps are compatible, and DropDMG can help you create a macOS install disk.

Every time there’s a major new version of macOS, people ask me whether the Mail data loss bug has been fixed yet. I don’t know. It’s still present in recent versions of Monterey, but I don’t have any reported sightings on Ventura yet. Neither Apple nor anyone who was seeing it before has told me that it’s fixed in Ventura. I’ve definitely seen a decline in the frequency of bug reports, but it’s not clear whether this is mostly because Apple has mitigated the bug, because I’ve encouraged SpamSieve users to switch to a setup that avoids the bug, or because it was so intolerable that most of the affected users have switched to other mail clients and not looked back.

Tim Hardwick:

Below, we’ve selected 50 new features and lesser-known changes that are worth checking out if you’re upgrading, and we’ve put together a video highlighting 25 of them.

John Voorhees (tweet):

So, from an everyday workflow standpoint, Ventura is an excellent release that delivers on the promise of an OS that moves in step with Apple’s other OSes and erases artificial barriers to users coming from iOS and iPadOS. And yet, I worry about the clouds on the horizon.

[…]

Shortcuts was in rough shape when it launched on the Mac last year. The app is in a much better place today, although bugs continue to be a problem. More concerning to me, though, is the lack of new system-level actions on the Mac.

[…]

System Preferences was long overdue for a refresh, but System Settings isn’t the redesign we needed. Instead, it’s a clear example of why you can’t just graft iOS or iPadOS design onto macOS and call it quits.

[…]

I’m a big fan of Scheduled Send, which offers to send your message later at suggested times or one you pick yourself. It’s great for those times when a message doesn’t need to be delivered immediately, but you don’t want to get into a back-and-forth with someone at the moment.

Andrew Cunningham (Hacker News):

But it does feel like the software side of the Mac is lacking its own unique direction and identity lately. Overwhelmingly, new features for macOS merely help it keep pace with what is happening on the iPhone and iPad. That feels doubly true in Ventura, where a core system app has been rewritten from the ground up to mirror its iOS counterpart, where a new window management feature is being implemented in the same way on the iPad, and where new apps and updates to old ones are increasingly just iPad apps running inside macOS windows.

[…]

After mapping out System Settings and taking a couple of months to get used to it, my second and more considered reaction is mostly… eh. […] I’m left feeling frustrated that Apple totally blew up System Preferences and replaced it with something that still suffers from many of System Preferences’ old issues, plus a few new ones. […] The overarching problem is that System Settings bends or breaks some of Apple’s own rules about what makes a good Mac app.

[…]

Case in point, the proliferation of indie projects that all make it easy to create virtual machines on macOS. Few are as feature-rich as Parallels (which, unlike Apple’s official solution, can support the ARM version of Windows), but most are more streamlined and less janky than VirtualBox, so on balance, it’s a win for casual users of virtualization software. This post has a good overview of some of the features added in Ventura and the potentially useful features that could still be added (official support for snapshots is one).

[…]

System Preferences used to have a “Network Locations” feature, where you could set up profiles that would change your network settings based on where you were—for example, if you used a fixed IP address on your Ethernet connection at home but wanted to use DHCP at work or if you wanted your computer to use wired Ethernet first at home but prioritize Wi-Fi at work.

Jason Snell:

So here’s the good news about macOS Ventura: In using it the last few months as my primary operating system, I’ve found it to be not appreciably different than macOS Monterey. It looks the same, software acts the same, I haven’t noticed any bugs… it’s been solid. Upgrading to macOS Ventura will probably not be particularly dramatic for those who do it, and that’s a good thing.

[…]

In terms of the cornerstone features of this release, however, it’s more of a mixed bag. The new Continuity Camera instantly gives any Mac user with an iPhone access to a remarkably high-quality webcam (if you can find a way to mount it). Seven years after introducing iCloud Photos, Apple’s new iCloud Shared Photo Libraries feature finally lets people curate a shared photo collections with their loved ones. Both are huge updates, and huge improvements to the Mac experience.

But some other key features feel unfinished. Stage Manager, a new way of grouping windows together, creates too much window-management busy work to make it worth the trouble. The new System Settings app replaces the long-in-the-tooth System Preferences app that’s been with macOS since OS X 10.0, but lacks coherent organization and offers an inconsistent and frustrating interface.

Kirk McElhearn:

In this article, I’m going to show you how to use the System Settings app and how to change some essential settings for your Mac.

Jason Meller:

I am happy to report that MANY of things mentioned in this thread are completely fixed or much better.

Is the new macOS Ventura System Settings app perfect? No but that wasn’t expected.

Is it orders of magnitude better than the betas? Oh yeah.

Damien Petrilli:

  • open settings
  • type something in the search field
  • click on the ‘x’ to empty the search field

Left panel is empty now. You need to quit the App.

This is not happening on my Mac.

Nick Heer:

I will miss “Preferences”; the word “Settings” feels comparatively mechanical.

This year’s Mac hardware compatibility chart is giving me mild anxiety. My Intel iMac is now one of the oldest models officially supported by MacOS Ventura, and I have known it will become unsupported sooner rather than later ever since Apple launched announced the transition to ARM.

Norbert M. Doerner:

Ventura has a new “safety” feature where you must allow ALL ext. drives when you attach them.

But instead of some useful information, like a, gasp, VOLUME NAME, we get this stupid note with a vendor name.

How we supposed to decide what to do?

Howard Oakley:

As far as I’m aware, the only significant feature originally intended for release in Ventura which won’t be available next week is iCloud Shared Photo Library, now promised for later this year. Apple has also promised a new collaborative diagramming app, Freeform, that’s expected to ship before January.

The following articles should help you make up your mind, and provide useful tips for planning your upgrade[…]

Howard Oakley:

A list of security fixes for Ventura is here. As there are around 66 in all, I won’t attempt to summarise them.

Apple:

Learn about the enterprise content that Apple has released for macOS Ventura.

Tom Bridge:

Apple has adopted the newer mobile software update (MSU) process for macOS in macOS Ventura, from its origins on iOS. That allows for major and minor updates to be smaller, depending on the origin OS and the target OS.

[…]

Releases of macOS Ventura made between October 24th and November 23rd of 2022 will show differently to MDM-enrolled macOS devices. Any MDM-enrolled macOS device will see macOS Ventura as the full installer version of the operating system, same as in prior years. As with previous years, you can delay the appearance of these full installer versions by delaying major version upgrades. In addition, you can continue to block the process with a root agent, if you get the full installer version.

What this means, though, is you can’t permanently block macOS Ventura from being installed.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Another version of macOS, another set of SwiftUI layout changes that break my UI in some way.

James Thomson:

Building with Xcode 14.1 RC messes up my SwiftUI-on-Catalyst layouts running on Ventura.

Norbert M. Doerner:

Enable “CGBITMAP_CONTEXT_LOG_ERRORS” in your environment variables in Xcode.

Then you will see that [[NSApp dockTile] setBadgeLabel:]; triggers this bug.

Norbert M. Doerner:

During the testing of the beta versions of macOS 13, we were very dismayed to see a load of new bugs creeping up in macOS, and not a single existing bug from previous macOS versions being fixed by Apple.

Also, massive and undocumented changes in the foundation of macOS and AppKit will require us to run a much more detailed test plan to make sure that the operating features that NeoFinder needs and uses will actually work properly.

Due to the reduced stability of macOS 13, we very highly recommend that you stay away from macOS 13 “Ventura” as long as possible.

Norbert M. Doerner:

Needless to say, we have never before seen [UIFoundation] in any crash reports or stack traces of our Mac-based software, so this is new to macOS 13.

This shows that Apple has started merging macOS and iOS foundations from two separate code bases into a single one.

Objective-See:

Ventura may break Endpoint Security clients (e.g BlockBlock) 😭

Previously:

Update (2022-10-27): Matthias Gansrigler:

I do like that macOS now better remembers Spaces, and the state of fullscreen apps. So when I launch Photos.app, which I always have in fullscreen and placed as the very first Space, that position is now remembered.

Gus Mueller:

The previous Mac Screen Sharing icon wasn’t great, but at least it didn’t look like it was made for Windows 3.1.

Howard Oakley:

I have now been able to test my production iMac Pro to see whether the one remaining significant memory leak in Monterey has been fixed, and am delighted to report that I can no longer reproduce any substantial memory leak in Finder’s Find feature. It’s possible you could still encounter a smaller leak with very large numbers of hits, but in typical use on systems with millions of files, the Find feature now seems safe to use. Thanks to the Apple engineers who fixed that.

Previously:

Update (2022-11-01): Kilian Muster:

Font Book in macOS Ventura has become a whole less usable. The shortcuts for the different views ⌘1, ⌘2, ⌘3 are gone, everything takes more clicks. It really seems like some intern did the design without giving any thought to usability.

macOS 12.6.1 and macOS 11.7.1

Apple (full installer, Mr. Macintosh):

This document describes the security content of macOS Monterey 12.6.1.

Jeff Johnson:

macOS 12.6.1 once again uninstalled Rosetta

Apple (full installer, Mr. Macintosh):

This document describes the security content of macOS Big Sur 11.7.1.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-27): Peter Steinberger:

How can there be so many more security fixes in macOS Ventura than in the latest Monterey 12.6.1 update? They can’t possibly have rewritten all these components in a year… that’s ~60 vs 3 vulnerabilities fixed. (So... update fast!)

Andrew Cunningham:

Apple released a document clarifying its terminology and policies around software upgrades and updates. Most of the information in the document isn’t new, but the company did provide one clarification about its update policy that it hadn’t made explicit before: Despite providing security updates for multiple versions of macOS and iOS at any given time, Apple says that only devices running the most recent major operating system versions should expect to be fully protected.

Update (2022-11-01): Nick Heer:

It is not a great sign when official documentation misuses the word “integer” in a sentence that immediately negates the previous paragraph’s explanation for how Apple differentiates software updates and software upgrades.

iPadOS 16.1

Apple (MacRumors):

iPadOS 16 takes the versatility of iPad even further, introducing new ways to collaborate via Messages, big updates to Mail, iCloud Shared Photo Library, passkeys and new collaboration features in Safari, the Weather app, pro features including Reference Mode and Display Zoom, and an entirely new multitasking experience with Stage Manager.

Apple:

This document describes the security content of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.

Renaud Lienhart:

Fun discovery of the day: if you delete the Weather app on iPadOS 16, there is currently no way to reinstall it as the App Store doesn’t return it as a result, because it is not yet “officially” a universal app 😐

Nicholas Riley:

Can you really not go to the home screen on iPad from the keyboard any more in iPadOS 16, or is something being weird for me?

[…]

Definitely the latter. First all Command/Globe shortcuts stopped working, then I literally could not bring up a keyboard (software or hardware), just got brief flashing in the keyboard area until I rebooted.

Previously:

iOS 16.1

Juli Clover:

Apple delayed iCloud Shared Photo Library in order to work out some of the bugs, but it is available in the iOS 16.1 update.

[…]

Lock Screen and Dynamic Island feature Live Activities has launched in iOS 16.1. Live Activities are a new notification type that allow you to follow along with something in real time, like an approaching Uber ride, a flight, a sports game, and more.

[…]

When tapping on the “Customize” interface on the Lock Screen, there’s now an option to choose between customizing either the Lock Screen or the Home Screen, rather than just the Lock Screen. This makes it easier to customize the look of the iPhone from one spot without having to go through multiple steps.

[…]

iOS 16.1 adds battery percentage to the battery icon in the status bar on the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini, and iPhone 13 mini, all iPhones that did not support the feature in iOS 16.

Apple:

This document describes the security content of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.

Sami Fathi:

Below, we’ve listed five features and new apps for iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 that Apple has promised to release before the end of 2022 through subsequent updates.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-27): Halide:

We encourage all our users to update to iOS 16.1, which includes system-level fixes to a bug that could previously cause camera apps like Halide fail to save photos.

If you ever had images end up in our Image Rescue, this should fix that.

Update (2022-11-01): Sami Fathi:

Users report that their iPhone periodically and sometimes randomly disconnects from Wi-Fi after updating to iOS 16.1, according to reports across Reddit, Twitter (1,2,3,4), and the Apple Support community forums.

Alas, I’m seeing this, too, and sometimes it reconnects to the wrong network.

Friday, October 21, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Carbon Copy Cloner 6.1.3

Mike Bombich:

We’ve been testing the new OS over the summer, and I’m pleased to report that CCC is ready to protect your data before and after you apply this upgrade – we added official Ventura support to CCC 6.1.3, which we posted back in September.

[…]

They finally dropped the padlock paradigm, so pre-authentication is no longer required to unlock the settings in the Privacy panel. As a result, the procedure for granting Full Disk access to CCC and its helper tool on Ventura is now one step! When you start dragging CCC’s “privacy fish”, CCC will open the System Settings application and reveal the Full Disk Access controls, ready for the drop. At that point you’re prompted to authenticate, and then you’re done.

[…]

In Ventura, Apple deprecated an older mechanism for adding login items, and replaced it with a new mechanism. Normally I don’t immediately adopt brand-new features like this (because it makes it more complicated to support multiple OSes with one version of CCC), but we found that if we continued to use the old mechanism, the user would get frequent notifications that CCC had added a login item.

Previously:

SuperDuper 3.7 Beta 1

Dave Nanian:

[Until] those problems are fixed by Apple, you won’t be able to boot from a backup.

[…]

That said, your Smart Updates are going to work fine, and remain fully restorable. As explained previously, you need only reinstall the OS and point at the backup when prompted to restore during first boot.

I want to highlight this because I missed it the first time. Starting with Big Sur, clones—even lacking the system volume—can be restored by the macOS installer. Previously, this was only possible for Time Machine backups.

In the meantime, we’ve been improving SuperDuper. We’ve worked around some issues with Google Drive (which was incorrectly protecting folders on drives it’s not operating on), significantly improved some corner-cases in Smart Update, and made changes needed to work well under Ventura.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-27): It’s out of beta.

iOS 16.1: Per-App Copy-and-Paste Permissions

Joe Rossignol:

Apple has continued to refine the copy-and-paste feature in the weeks since. In the Settings app on the fourth beta of iOS 16.1 and later, a new “Paste from Other Apps” menu appears for apps that have previously asked for permission to paste content from another app. The menu can be found in the Settings app → [App Name] → Paste from Other Apps.

The menu presents users with three options:

  • Ask: The app must continue to request permission to paste content from other apps.
  • Deny: The app cannot paste content from other apps.
  • Allow: The app can paste content from other apps without asking for permission again.

Previously:

Google Ads’ Dark Money

Nandini Jammi and Claire Atkin:

Why are there so many mystery accounts on Google’s Ad Network? Because Google has a long-standing practice of letting publishers monetize their websites without revealing their identity to advertisers. And there are a lot of people out there who want to anonymously collect free money from the biggest ATM in the world.

[…]

But not all sellers are like Condé Nast, which maintains a small family of websites. Some Sellers are ad exchanges themselves, with massive publisher networks of their own. For example, Amazon maintains Seller accounts with Google. This allows Amazon to plug its own massive network of publishers into Google’s ad network.

[…]

Once upon a time, even Google agreed this was sketchy. In 2017, Google and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) invented a new standard designed to help advertisers track their transactions.

[…]

The only tool Google gives advertisers today to manage these incredibly significant liabilities is... blocklists (or exclusion lists). But blocklists only enable you to block domains — not seller accounts. And the bad guys learned how to evade domain blocklists a long time ago.

Via Nick Heer:

Advertisers should clearly be allowed to say who they want to sell ads to, not just which domains they appear on. And, as Jammi and Atkin report, there are resellers and exchanges all down the chain. All of them should be compliant as well to be permitted to be a part of Google’s ad network.

Thursday, October 20, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

SOS in the iPhone Status Bar

Adam Engst:

Anyway, if you see SOS or SOS Only in your iPhone’s status bar when it should be working normally, there are two likely possibilities:

  • Your carrier has no accessible service, but another carrier’s cell towers would still enable you to place an emergency call.
  • There could be something amiss with your iPhone or account such that the carrier doesn’t recognize your iPhone as having service.

In the first situation, there’s nothing to be done, but if you suspect the second, Apple suggests possible fixes.

Apple Mail’s First Importers

Chris Hynes:

It turns out that Eudora and Netscape were the only major clients that used mbox format, BUT they had their own variations[…]

[…]

And speaking of reverse engineering, there were two very popular clients that didn’t use the mbox file format at all: Microsoft Outlook and Claris Emailer. Even though we had the source code for Claris Emailer, it was still quite a daunting task, with only a few weeks to complete it.

[…]

From the outside, it can sometimes feel like Apple is a chaotic mess. How could they have two importers that overlap each other? And the built-in one they are telling you not to use. Go download these Applescripts instead. It’s laughable to look back on that now.

Forty Years of the CD

Daryl Worthington (via Nick Heer):

On 1 October, 1982, the first album to be released on CD, Billy Joel’s 52nd Street went on sale in Japan, Sony’s CDP-101 CD player hitting the shelves on the same day. Early the following year, they hit Europe and North America as record labels made bigger selections of music available on the format.

[…]

“The hi-fi world has become something of a graveyard for bright ideas that came to nothing,” the presenter says, listing quadraphonic records, eight tracks and L-cassettes as music fads that went nowhere. John Atkinson, editor of Hi-Fi News counters that the CD represents “real” change.

[…]

If CDs marked a new era, it is perhaps as much in the way they suggest specific ways of interacting with recorded music as in questions of fidelity. As the Towards 2000 coverage noted: “You can select your own sequence in advance, so you can play [the tracks] in any order you want.” The fact CDs can be programmed, and tracks easily skipped, is perhaps their most significant feature when it comes to their legacy. They loosened up the album as a fixed document. You could more seamlessly put one track on constant repeat, skip the interludes you didn’t like, or imagine a hypothetical ‘better order’ for your favourite album.

Steve Knopper (via Hacker News):

Here’s an oral history of the introduction of the CD[…]

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Belkin iPhone Mount with MagSafe for Mac Notebooks

Joe Rossignol:
Priced at $29.95 on Apple’s online store, the mount attaches to the iPhone with MagSafe and can then be affixed to the top lid of a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro for use with Continuity Camera. When not connected to a Mac, the mount doubles as a kickstand for the iPhone with a built-in ring for easy gripping, similar to PopSockets.
The version for desktop displays is not available yet. I’m looking forward to it. Previously:

Awair Removing Features and Support for Older Devices

I recently received this e-mail from Awair:

Awair is experiencing healthy growth that puts an additional workload and cost on our platform. In order to scale our core functionality cost-effectively, we are prioritizing our resources into rewriting and scaling our core services that are supporting the functionality. Regrettably, we are currently unable to put our resources into fixing the following features of the Awair Home App, so we will be temporarily removing them until a new version of the app is available for release:

  • Logging into app using Google Sign-In
  • Push notifications system
  • Integrations with IFTTT, Google Home, Ecobee, Sensi, and SmartThings
  • Amazon Alexa in-app controls (can still be controlled through Alexa device itself)

Losing notifications is a major regression. It’s not clear why they can’t keep the existing feature set working, especially for devices like mine that are still being sold. They’re even still advertising the features that won’t be available if you purchase now.

David Smith got a different e-mail, also reported on Hacker News, saying that his device would no longer be able to connect to their cloud services because they are “no longer able to update firmware.” Why not?

Previously:

Apple Restores VK and Mail.ru Apps to the App Store

Tim Hardwick:

Apple has restored Russian apps for social network VKontakte and webmail provider Mail.ru to the App Store, three weeks after removing them and other VK-owned apps in response to UK sanctions (via The Guardian).

[…]

A spokesperson for Apple shared the following statement:

The apps from this developer were removed from the App Store, as required by law, after multiple requests were made to the developer to provide documentation to verify that they were not in violation of UK sanctions. Subsequent to the removal, the developer has provided the requisite information verifying that they are not majority owned or controlled by a sanctioned entity. Thus, the apps have been reinstated to the App Store.

It sounds like the ownership hasn’t changed and that Apple’s previous statement was just wrong.

Previously:

DuckDuckGo Browser for Mac Public Beta

DuckDuckGo (via Hacker News):

Enjoy browsing again with a fast, sleek browsing app that cleans up the web as you use it, thanks to DuckDuckGo’s unique built-in privacy protections.

New since the closed beta: Duck Player, a YouTube player that helps protect your privacy; password management integration with Bitwarden; upgraded automatic cookie pop-up handling; instant access to built-in Email Protection; and more.

[…]

We added a bookmarks bar, pinned tabs, and a way to view your locally stored browsing history.

[…]

DuckDuckGo for Mac is not a “fork” of Chromium, or any other browser code. All the app code – tab and bookmark management, our new tab page, our password manager, etc. – is written by our own engineers. For rendering, it uses a public macOS API, making it super compatible with Mac devices.

In other words, it’s using WKWebView rather than embedding its own forked copy of WebKit. I’m happy to see this making progress, but right now the features are pretty bare bones, the interface feels more webby than Mac, and it doesn’t support AppleScript.

Previously:

Update (2022-11-02): Alexandre Colucci:

I gave a try to the new @DuckDuckGo Mac browser and I’m quite impressed:

  • feels really fast (in the video Safari on the left vs DuckDuckGo on the right)
  • cookie consent blocker is great but needs to support more websites

Update (2022-11-09): DuckDuckGo:

Calling all Mac users 📣 our everyday browser - the privacy easy button - is out now in beta!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple TV 4K 2022

Apple:

Driven by the A15 Bionic chip that delivers faster performance and more fluid gameplay, the new Apple TV 4K features endless entertainment options for everyone to enjoy on the biggest screen in the home. HDR10+ support joins Dolby Vision on Apple TV 4K, so users can watch their favorite movies and TV shows in the best quality possible across more TVs.

[…]

The Siri Remote has the same beloved design and functionality as the previous generation, and adopts USB-C for charging. It is included with the new Apple TV 4K, or can be purchased separately for $59 (US) starting today, and is compatible with all generations of Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD.

The Siri Remote is a lot better than the previous version, but I wouldn’t say it’s “beloved.” Too many of the buttons feel the same, and navigating seems like it should work better.

Hartley Charlton:

The new Apple TV 4K is available in a 64GB configuration with Wi-Fi for a lower starting price of $129, sitting below a 128GB Wi-Fi configuration that also has an Ethernet port and support for Thread networking.

The previous version started at $179 for 32 GB.

Tim Hardwick:

On the previous Apple TV 4K, both the 32GB and 64GB storage options included Ethernet and Thread support.

Dan Moren:

The new models are a few millimeters smaller than the old ones in each dimension and, astoundingly, weigh about half as much (7.5 ounces for the Wi-Fi and Ethernet model vs the previous model’s 15 ounces).

[…]

The lower prices are probably the most welcome aspect of the new Apple TVs, although they’re still at the high-end of the market, where many streaming dongles can be had for $50 or less.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-27): Joe Rossignol:

The new version of the Siri Remote announced today is equipped with a USB-C port for charging instead of Lightning, but there is no USB-C cable included in the box with the new Apple TV 4K. Apple also no longer includes a charging cable with the Siri Remote when purchased separately for $59 through its online store.

Apple today began selling a one-meter USB-C cable with a woven design for $19.

Joe Rossignol:

I can confirm that the new Apple TV 4K is equipped with an increased 4GB of RAM, compared to 3GB in the previous model.

Nick Heer:

So, while the price may have dropped by $50 in Canada, if you want to use an Apple TV for a smart home base station and you want to match the in-box contents of the now-discontinued 32 GB model, you are spending the same amount as before but getting four times the storage.

Benjamin Mayo:

If someone is mad that their Roku or Fire Stick is ad-ridden or behaving laggy, suggesting a $129 solution is now possible — an order of magnitude more palatable than the old $179 price point.

That being said, $129 is still too much for the Apple TV to capture significant market share. I wish Apple went further with stripping down the base model to push the price down more. $99 really feels like the target to hit, and they didn’t quite get there.

Joe Rosensteel:

Apple announced two new Apple TV models today that are sourced from only the finest parts bins. Hewn from a list of things that can be removed from the previous models for a modest discount. Chiseled from a single block of text about there being no reason to buy the 128 GB version before. Only Apple could name one the Apple TV 4K (“Hey honey, don’t we have one of those? Wait, there are three of them?”) and the “Apple TV 4K with Wi-Fi and Ethernet” a product name befitting an Amazon retailer that uses only consonants.

[…]

The justification seemed to be that Apple was offering a premium experience, with premium hardware, at a premium price. Unfortunately, the Apple TV is just a nice experience, not a premium one when it comes to using the device, so fancy materials, sensors, etc. don’t make a premium experience any more than silverware at your table instead of stainless steel flatware.

Fire TV and Roku junk up their interfaces with ads, but Apple also junks up their interface with ads for Apple TV+, Apple Music, and Apple Arcade.

[…]

The directional pad was a huge improvement, as expected, but the jog-wheel scrubbing through the video still doesn’t work in most apps I use. Accidental swipes across the pad still happen, and play/pause gets pushed instead of mute, and vice versa, because we have to have perfect little circles for those.

See also: Todd Vaziri’s remote design.

iPad Pro (6th Generation)

Apple (Hacker News):

Apple today announced the new iPad Pro with the M2 chip, delivering the ultimate combination of portability, versatility, and unbelievable performance. The new iPad Pro features a next-level Apple Pencil hover experience and superfast wireless connectivity, along with the world’s most advanced mobile display, pro cameras, Face ID, Thunderbolt, and a four-speaker audio system.

[…]

The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 (US) for the Wi-Fi model and $999 (US) for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model; the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $1,099 (US) for the Wi-Fi model, and $1,299 (US) for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

Apple Pencil (2nd generation), available for purchase separately, is compatible with the new iPad Pro for $129 (US).

Joe Rossignol:

With the M2 chip, the new iPad Pro has up to 15% faster CPU performance and up to 35% faster GPU performance compared to the previous iPad Pro with the M1 chip, according to Apple. The chip has a new media engine and image signal processor that enables ProRes video recording for the first time and up to 3x faster ProRes video transcoding.

Sami Fathi:

The new M2 iPad Pro supports a new feature with the second-generation Apple Pencil that allows users to hover their Apple Pencil over their display to expand content, apps, widgets, and more.

Alex Guyot:

The iPad software has been updated to support hover states when this occurs, causing the interface item that is being hovered to expand or otherwise change in preparation of an impending touch. The feature looks impressive in Apple’s announcement video, and I’m excited to see how it works in practice once people get their hands on these devices.

Francisco Tolmasky:

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Apple’s design philosophy is to put a bunch of features in a paper bag and draw them out at random to see which products get what. “WiFi 6E for M2 iPad Pro but not M2 MacBooks!” “Landscape camera for low end iPad but not iPad Pro!”

Federico Viticci:

So let me get this straight:

The base model iPad gets a landscape camera (yes) and a brand new Magic Keyboard Folio (yes!) with a detachable keyboard, kickstand (yes!!), and function keys (yes!!!), but the iPad Pro gets...none of this?

Mark Gurman:

In addition to not getting the landscape camera, the iPad Pro doesn’t get the new Magic Keyboard from the base iPad. The new keyboard has a function row and an updated design. The new entry iPad gets USB-C, but only supports the Apple Pencil with Lightning. Odd across the board.

Joe Cieplinski:

I think it interesting Apple hasn’t been afraid to innovate on the consumer side or pro side, depending on timing.

They clearly aren’t thinking “Pro always has to be better than non-pro.” They are thinking, how do we serve these two distinct groups of people best?

Previously:

Update (2022-11-02): Federico Viticci:

If you’re an artist or a proficient visual note-taker who relies on Apple Pencil for your drawings and sketches, I think Apple Pencil Hover will be a big deal for you: in addition to previewing lines before drawing them, you’ll also be able to see what a mix of colors will look like before adding a new color to a drawing. Effectively, this preview-oriented aspect of Apple Pencil Hover should result in fewer ‘Undo’ operations and a more contextual, streamlined experience when drawing.

I’m here to tell you, however, that Apple Pencil Hover goes beyond enhancing the typical iPad drawing experience: it’s also a neat way to control the iPadOS UI, adding a new dimension to touch interactions. I was not expecting to use Apple Pencil Hover at all because I’m no artist; its native integration with interface elements across the system turned out to be one of my favorite additions to iPadOS this year – definitely more so than Stage Manager.

Jason Snell:

That makes the fourth revision for this design without any substantial exterior changes. It’s a good design, yes, but it’s a little frustrating that it’s been in stasis for four full years. The 10th-generation iPad’s repositioned FaceTime camera would be welcome on a new iPad Pro. A revised version of the Magic Keyboard introduced in April 2020 with that extra row of function keys like the Magic Keyboard Folio would also be nice.

Joe Rossignol:

We have rounded up both written and video reviews of the new iPad Pro below.

iPad (10th Generation)

Apple (Hacker News):

Apple today introduced the new iPad with an all-screen design featuring a large 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display. The new iPad is powered by the A14 Bionic chip, which delivers even faster performance with incredible power efficiency for demanding tasks while still providing all-day battery life. Updated cameras include an Ultra Wide 12MP front camera located along the landscape edge of iPad for an even better video calling experience, and an updated 12MP back camera to capture sharp, vivid photos and 4K video. A USB-C port supports a wide range of accessories, Wi-Fi 6 brings even faster connections, and cellular models feature superfast 5G so users can stay connected on the go. Designed specifically for the new iPad, the all-new Magic Keyboard Folio features an incredible typing experience, a click-anywhere trackpad, and a versatile two-piece design.

[…]

Wi-Fi models of the new iPad are available with a starting price of $449 (US), and Wi-Fi + Cellular models start at $599 (US).

[…]

Apple Pencil (1st generation) is compatible with the new iPad. A new USB-C to Apple Pencil Adapter is required for pairing and charging and is included in the box with a new version of Apple Pencil (1st generation) for $99 (US).

Hartley Charlton:

The 10th-generation iPad features an all-new design with flat sides and a larger, 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display like the iPad Air. The device now features a Touch ID side button and comes in Blue, Pink, Silver, and Yellow.

Dan Moren:

The redesign of the iPad—I hesitate to call it the “base-level iPad” for reasons that will be shortly apparent—makes it very similar to the iPad Air, including a USB-C port, Touch ID on the power button, and the same 12MP wide camera. It’s also very slightly larger than the iPad Air in every dimension by about a millimeter, and weighs in at 16 grams heavier. So I guess the “Air” is still earning its moniker there. Sort of.

Where the tenth-generation mainly differs are in a lot of little niceties: it lacks the fully-laminated display, wider P3 color gamut, and antireflective coating of the iPad Air; can’t work with accessories like second-generation Apple Pencil or the Magic Keyboard; and of course has a slower A14 Bionic chip, rather than the current generation iPad Air’s M1.

Hartley Charlton:

The Magic Keyboard Folio brings the full-size keys, travel, and responsive feel of the Magic Keyboard to the entry-level iPad for the first time. The function row comes to an Apple iPad keyboard for the first time, providing easy access to shortcuts and making everyday tasks like adjusting volume or display brightness easier. The accessory also features a two-piece design, allowing users to magnetically detatch the keyboard, but continue to use the kickstand and keep the back of the iPad protected.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

That answers that: the regular iPad, despite growing to 11” and getting a trackpad accessory, does not get Stage Manager. You have to pay a premium if you want that experience.

Kuba Suder:

Wait, so they’ve redesigned the base iPad to have flat sides like all the other iPads which hold the 2nd gen Pencil magnetically on those sides, but it still only supports the old Pencil?

Hartley Charlton:

The new iPad has no magnetic wireless charger on the side to connect to the second-generation Apple Pencil. Only the first-generation Apple Pencil is supported by the device, which normally needs to be plugged into a Lightning port to charge. The iPad now has a USB-C port, meaning that the Apple Pencil can no longer be charged directly via the iPad.

This is a mess. It seems that every iPad user needs the new adapter to pair the Pencil, though it may be possible to charge it via existing Lightning cables. Sure, there’s a large installed base of old iPads and old Pencils, but today’s announcements do nothing to transition them. There’s no USB-C version of the Pencil 1 that can directly connect to the new iPad. Nor can you use a Pencil 2 with it. They’re just going to make millions more legacy Lightning Pencils and dongles.

Sam Gross:

The Logitech Crayon works with iPads and iPad Pros.

Paul Haddad:

Apple bumps up the price on the base iPad by over [$120] but keeps the flash storage at 64GB?

IMO Price was the most compelling thing about the base iPad. Buying the last gen at $270 on Amazon feels like a much better deal and you can still get that one in Space Gray.

Hartley Charlton:

The 64GB and 256GB ninth-generation iPad models continue to be available for $329 and $479, respectively. They are still offered in the same Silver and Space Gray color options, meaning that there has been no change to the pricing or available configurations of the device.

Previously:

Update (2022-11-02): Hartley Charlton:

As expected according to rumors, the new iPad’s front-facing camera is now located in the middle of the right bezel of the device. This means that when held in landscape or connected to accessories like the Magic Keyboard Folio, the camera is directly in the center of a user’s eyeline.

Tim Hardwick:

As rumored, the new tenth-generation iPad comes without a headphone jack.

Joe Rossignol:

Apple’s new 10th-generation iPad is equipped with a slower USB-C port compared to the latest iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini models.

Joe Rossignol:

Apple today started selling a new version of the Logitech Crayon with a USB-C port for charging. The original model with a Lightning connector remains available.

Nick Heer:

So it is bizarre when it appears the teams digging through this bin are not on speaking terms. The flat-sided iPad hardware design feels like it was made to go hand-in-glove with the second-generation Apple Pencil. But the tenth-generation iPad does not support that four year old accessory. The iPad Air is within millimetres of the same size as the tenth-generation iPad, but does not support the new Magic Keyboard Folio accessory because the keyboard relies on a smart connector along the edge instead of on the back.

David Pierce:

I just feel like, if your tablet lineup requires you to have six different keyboard models with names like “Smart Keyboard Folio for iPad Pro 11-inch (4th generation) and iPad Air (5th generation) - US English” you’ve probably made a wrong turn somewhere

Sami Fathi:

The launch of a new iPad Pro and entry-level iPad means that Apple’s iPad lineup is the largest it has been in recent memory. The wide range of choices, inconsistent features, and confusing compatibility with accessories may be a source of confusion for customers looking for a new iPad.

John Gruber:

The new 10th-gen iPads do not replace the home-button/square-corner-display 9th-gen iPads, because the new iPads cost $450 for 64 GB and $600 for 256 GB. Thus the 9th-gen iPads remain, unchanged in price at $330 for 64 GB and $480 for 256 GB. It makes sense if you now think of the 9th-gen iPad as the iPad SE — just without the “SE” name.

[…]

So the iPad lineup as of this week — including accessories — isn’t where anyone would want it to be.

[…]

The one that I just don’t get, though, is the keyboard accessory schism. I don’t see why the new iPads couldn’t have been designed to work with the Magic Keyboard. And if there’s a market for the new two-piece Magic Keyboard Folio in addition to the cantilever-hinged Magic Keyboard, why couldn’t it have been designed as an option that worked with the iPad Air and 11-inch iPad Pro, too?

Federico Viticci:

Since the iPad is not floating and is not attached to a back cover that is part of the keyboard structure itself (Apple’s so-called cantilever design), the Magic Keyboard Folio is harder to use on your lap than a regular Magic Keyboard. You have to carefully balance both the keyboard and the adjustable kickstand that holds the iPad, which doesn’t grant the same flexibility or comfort as the Magic Keyboard.

The part that connects the keyboard to the keyboard attachment is made of soft rubber material, so it slightly wobbles around when you’re typing on your lap. If you’re like me and often use the Magic Keyboard while relaxing on your couch with your knees up in front of you, you’ll want to be extra careful when trying to do so with a Magic Keyboard Folio unless you want to slap yourself in the face with an iPad. You can use the Magic Keyboard Folio on your lap, but the Magic Keyboard’s unified design gives you more flexibility and a sturdier structure as far as lap usage goes.

Dan Seifert:

That puts this iPad in a weird spot — it’s certainly better than the ninth-gen model (which is still great), but it costs considerably more and is not as good as an iPad Air.

Jason Snell:

Unfortunately, if you’re a fan of the Apple Pencil, I don’t think I can really recommend this iPad. The 10th-generation iPad only supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, which was supplanted four years ago by the Apple Pencil 2.

[…]

If you don’t care about the Apple Pencil and aren’t someone who pushes the iPad to its limits, this is a really good iPad. Getting rid of the home button improves this product just as it did the iPad Air. If you never want to attach a keyboard to an iPad or draw on it but just want to use it in its basic state as a touchscreen tablet, I think you’ll be more than satisfied with the 10th-generation iPad.

John Gruber:

I’ll throw in the brand-new 11-inch iPad Pro and the 9th-gen iPad to boot for a price comparison of all the 11-ish-inch iPads in the lineup today[…]

[…]

But in terms of the fundamental question facing would-be buyers — “Which iPad should I get?” — I don’t think this lineup is confusing. I’d argue, in fact, that it’s less confusing, because the lineup is more complete. Prior to last week, there was a significant gap between the 9th-generation iPad (which remains in the lineup, unchanged in price) and the iPad Air. The 10th-gen iPad fills that gap.

[…]

Unless you need pressure sensitivity or dislike the feel of a carpenter’s pencil in your hand, Logitech’s new 2nd-gen Crayon is a clear winner compared to Apple’s Pencil 1.

[…]

My biggest gripe is that the key layout mimics a baffling design decision from the 11-inch Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio: the left bracket key is full-width, but the right bracket key is half-width.

Jared Newman:

iPad decision flowchart.

Joe Rossignol:

We have rounded up written and video reviews of the new iPad below.

Monday, October 17, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

A Possible Vision for Macros in Swift

Douglas Gregor (via Joe Groff):

Macros can offer a way out of this conundrum, because they allow one to introduce boilerplate-reducing facilities without requiring a bespoke language extension or a separate source-manipulating tool to do so. A good macro system could replace the need for a swath of new language features, but one must be careful not to degrade the development experience by making it too hard to build good tools (i.e., C macros are notorious for breaking tooling).

We propose to introduce a macro system into Swift. At a very high level, macros can be explicitly triggered with syntax such as #stringify(x + y), subsuming a number of existing expressions that use similar syntax already (#line, #colorLiteral(...), etc.) with a general features. Macros can also be triggered more implicitly in response to type checking, e.g., applying a macro to the argument passed to a function. Macro arguments are type-checked so that tooling behaves similarly to today, but macro evaluation involves transforming the syntax so that it can serve a number of different use cases.

A possible vision for macros in Swift talks about the design space and proposes a path for macros in Swift.

Previously:

Compiling Swift Generics

Slava Pestov (tweet):

Well, I finally got around to starting a write up about how generics work last year, and I think I its finally in good enough shape that I can release the first part of what is going to be a three part series. So here it is:

[…]

The first half of Part I begins with a big-picture overview of the key ideas behind Swift generics, and then goes on to talk about foundational material that's important to understanding the Swift compiler in general: the compilation pipeline, module system, request evaluator, types, and declarations. The second half of Part I actually dives into the details of the generics implementation in earnest; starting with the AST for generic declarations, and then going on to talk about generic signatures, substitution maps, conformances, and generic environments.

Previously:

WhatsApp More Private Than iMessage

Sami Fathi:

In a post sharing a Meta billboard in New York City promoting WhatsApp over SMS or iMessage, Zuckerberg said WhatsApp is far better for privacy-concerned users thanks to its end-to-end encryption, ability to set messages to disappear after a set period of time, and its availability across multiple platforms.

He’s not wrong, as iMessage downgrades to SMS if there are any Android users in the conversation, and WhatsApp’s backups are encrypted so that Apple can’t read them. WhatsApp also gives you more access to your own data, with the ability to export conversations. Unfortunately, the people I text with use iMessage.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-18): Balakumar K and James Peckham (in 2021, via Simone Manganelli):

“The information we share with the other Facebook Companies includes your account registration information (such as your phone number), transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our Services, mobile device information, your IP address, and may include other information identified in the Privacy Policy section entitled ‘Information We Collect’ or obtained upon notice to you or based on your consent,” it adds.

[…]

If you don’t want to allow Facebook to do this, your only alternative is to switch to another messaging service such as Telegram or Signal.

WhatsApp:

We collect information about your activity on our Services, like service-related, diagnostic, and performance information. This includes information about your activity (including how you use our Services, your Services settings, how you interact with others using our Services (including when you interact with a business), and the time, frequency, and duration of your activities and interactions), log files, and diagnostic, crash, website, and performance logs and reports.

iMessage also collects some metadata.

The actual WhatsApp message data is not shared with Meta. However, it is stored in iCloud backups:

If you have iCloud Backups turned on for your entire iPhone, an unencrypted version of your chat history is also backed up to iCloud. To ensure your WhatsApp chats and media are only backed up with end-to-end encryption, turn iCloud Backup off on your device.

For information on how we collect and process your data, including your end-to-end encrypted backup, please see the WhatsApp Privacy Policy.

Matthew Green:

Hmm, took a look at the Apple developer docs and I see why Apple may have made this harder than it should be. Doesn’t excuse WhatsApp for failing to engineer a solution.

Apple:

The isExcludedFromBackup resource value exists only to provide guidance to the system about which files and directories it can exclude; it’s not a mechanism to guarantee those items never appear in a backup or on a restored device.

However, it seems like they could get around this problem by encrypting the database or by storing it in a folder such as Caches that is excluded from backup.

Ending Support for Facebook Instant Articles

Nick Heer:

Sara Fischer, of Axios, is reporting today that Meta’s proprietary Instant Articles format will go away in April. This should not be a surprise — Instant Articles does nothing for Meta’s virtual reality efforts, Meta is cutting costs, and Google has been phasing out its commitment to its similar AMP format.

Previously:

Friday, October 14, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iOS 16 Includes Dvorak Keyboard

Antranig Vartanian (via Hacker News):

[The] main reason I never moved to Dvorak properly was always a device not having a proper keyboard. Sometimes it was my Android phone with a weird ROM, but most of times it was my iPhone.

However, I just learned that Apple shipped the Dvorak layout with iOS 16.

jerf:

I use swiping almost exclusively, and HN has discussed before how Dvorak is actually really bad for that.

Having all the vowels next to each other, and so many words in English that differ just by vowels, is actually really hard on the swiping algorithm. As I mention in the comments of that article, it is likely that QWERTY is not optimal for that use case either, but it’s a lot closer.

chairmanwow1:

I use dvorak for my computer, but I think the design goals of QWERTY are actually useful for the small keyboard of a phone being used with thumbs.

It was designed to put diphthongs on opposite sides of the keyboard so that a mechanical typewriter wouldn’t jam as frequently. I think avoiding “jams” with my thumbs is definitely the way to think about it.

skrap:

As a former iOS engineer at Apple, and a dvorak user, I can verify that this is exactly the thinking (during my time) of why dvorak support wasn’t a development priority. The properties which make it good for typing make it bad for a phone keyboard.

Joe Rossignol:

On an iPhone updated to iOS 16, the Dvorak layout can be enabled in the Settings app under General → Keyboard → Keyboards → English → Dvorak, alongside existing QWERTY, AZERTY, and QWERTZ options. Dvorak is only available for English.

Safari Web Extension Storage Callbacks in the Wrong Order

Jeff Johnson (tweet):

“In a Safari web extension on both macOS 12 and iOS 15 (I filed this bug under Mac because there was no cross-platform category), if you call storage.local.set and then storage.local.get, the callbacks are called in the opposite order, and indeed the opposite order from Chrome and Firefox extensions. Attached is a sample Xcode project demonstrating the bug.”

[…]

By design, Safari web extensions use the same cross-platform API as Chrome and Firefox extensions so that extension developers can share code across browsers and easily port their extensions to Safari from other browsers. Thus, a behavioral difference between Safari and the other browsers means that extension developers can’t share code, defeating the fundamental design of Safari web extensions. For this reason alone, I would argue that the behavior of Safari extension storage callbacks is a bug and not a feature.

This is far from the first time I’ve seen the “Works as currently designed” response for Apple.

Previously:

Charts Guidelines

Mike Stern:

Not one but two (!) new pages in the HIG about charts.

Patterns > Charting Data

Components > Charts

Linda Dong:

The Human Interface Guidelines now has searchable ✨CHANGELOGS✨

Previously:

Thursday, October 13, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple Card Savings Account

Apple (MacRumors):

In the coming months, Apple Card users will be able to open the new high-yield Savings account and have their Daily Cash automatically deposited into it — with no fees, no minimum deposits, and no minimum balance requirements.

[…]

To expand Savings even further, users can also deposit additional funds into their Savings account through a linked bank account, or from their Apple Cash balance. Users can also withdraw funds at any time by transferring them to a linked bank account or to their Apple Cash card, with no fees.

This is kind of a strange announcement:

Why announce this now when they don’t even know which month it will be available?

Why are they touting the main benefit as being able to earn 2–3% interest on the 2–3% rewards from Apple Card?

Is this a real Goldman Sachs bank account, e.g. that you could write checks from or set up for ACH, or does it only work with the Wallet app?

If you don’t sign up for the featured account, it sounds like you still have to manually transfer Apple Cash to your bank, which is a pain. Unless you do so regularly, so that Apple Cash stays empty, it’s harder to reconcile payments that you receive. When you initiate a withdrawal, it will auto-fill the sum of the payment and whatever Daily Cash you had accumulated. Transferring that means that the amount received on your bank statement won’t match the amount of the payment. To transfer the proper amount, you have to remember and retype the amount of the payment—because you can’t see both on screen at once, and neither the transaction screen nor the transfer screen supports copy/paste.

Update (2022-10-27): Juli Clover:

With no sign of the feature in iOS 16.1, it will now be coming at a later date.

Microsoft 365

Tom Warren (tweet):

After more than 30 years, Microsoft Office is being renamed “Microsoft 365” to mark the software giant’s collection of growing productivity apps. While Office apps like Excel, Outlook, Word, and PowerPoint aren’t going away, Microsoft will now mostly refer to these apps as part of Microsoft 365 instead of Microsoft Office.

Tim Hardwick:

For Apple device owners, the name change will likely be seen first in the Office iOS app. The Microsoft 365 mobile app replacing it will include a new apps module for commonly used cloud-based 365 tools, a central content hub and workflow feed, and a new tagging system for organizing content.

Perhaps somewhat confusingly however, Office 2021 for Windows and Mac will continue to be offered as a one-time purchase under the same name for the foreseeable future, as will Office LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel), even though Microsoft Office is now essentially a legacy brand.

Update (2022-10-14): Nick Heer:

Some reporters, including Cunningham, are writing that Microsoft is dropping its longtime Office branding entirely, but I do not think that is the case. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Microsoft — and nobody else — thinks of the subscription-based versions of its Office applications as entirely separate from the concept of “Microsoft Office”. If you buy Office, you just get the desktop versions of Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word, just like the good old days. But if you subscribe to Microsoft 365, you get those plus all of the online collaborative stuff.

Update (2022-10-18): Ben Thompson (Hacker News):

Office being on its own gave Teams an easy go-to-market: Microsoft just bundled it in. Today, though, it is Teams and everything built on that scaffolding that is Microsoft’s new Windows. It is the company and its operating system, not its apps, that are back at the center. In this sense, renaming Office 365 to Microsoft 365 is the most natural thing in the world: Office was a ship that set sail from the declining civilization that was Windows, with an uncertain destination. Today, though, that ship is but a footnote in Microsoft’s new empire in the cloud.

Moreover, it seems likely this empire will be more durable than the old Microsoft republic: the entire reason why Windows faltered as a strategic linchpin is that it was tied to a device — the PC — that was disrupted by a paradigm shift in hardware. Microsoft 365, on the other hand, is attached to the customer.

Surface Pro 9

Andrew Cunningham:

Microsoft is introducing a pair of typical, iterative updates to its Surface Pro convertible tablet PCs today. One is a modest upgrade to the Surface Pro 8, with 12th-generation Intel processors that promise much-improved performance for things that benefit from lots of CPU cores. The other is a refresh of the Surface Pro X, with a new Microsoft SQ3 Arm processor provided by Qualcomm.

[…]

Microsoft has taken pains to make the CPU the only difference you can notice between these two computers. While the Surface Pro 8 took a lot of cues from the Surface Pro X design, the Surface Pro 9 models have fully converged, with the exact same dimensions and weight (just a shade under two pounds) and the same 13-inch, 120 Hz, 2880×1920 touchscreen. The two machines support the same Type Cover and Surface Pen accessories and have user-replaceable M.2 storage drives.

Microsoft:

Surface Pro began as the first of its category – A tablet that can replace your laptop, offering touch, ink, a full-size precision touchpad, and a productive keyboard finely crafted and satisfying to touch. Over the years it’s been refined, tuned and perfected. In that same time, we’ve seen the category take off. Today, you don’t have to go far to see competing interpretations. We take great pride in our ability to inspire and push the industry forward. Still, there’s a reason why Surface Pro remains the 2-in-1 to beat, and it comes back to the original vision the team shared a decade ago that merged the benefits of a powerful laptop, versatile tablet and ink-ready studio.

10 years later, I don’t think Tim Cook’s toaster fridge comment has aged well. In the Windows world, you can get a single piece of hardware that works as a laptop and a tablet and runs full Windows apps. Maybe it just looks like the grass is greener, but from what I’ve heard people like them. In the Apple world, you have to buy two pieces of hardware, and you end up with iPadOS apps that are limited and have limited multitasking, and then Mac apps that increasingly feel like they are designed for and limited by what an iPad can do, anyway.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-18): Matt Birchler:

I think iPadOS has a place, and I do still use it daily for more casual things, but I’m not convinced it’s going to achieve what I dreamed of it achieving for me for years.

The cherry on top is that I can’t remember the last time a new iPad app really impressed me with how it could improve my work. Meanwhile, tons of apps have hit the Mac (see my YouTube channel for an idea of what I’m excited about), and web apps are thriving…which is a shame for the iPad because web apps suck on it.

[…]

Four whole years ago I reviewed the Surface Pro and I really enjoyed the hardware, it just wasn’t running the operating system I preferred. I love the MacBook Pro, but I’d also love a Mac running on something like a Surface Pro in my life.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Not once in 12 years have I wanted macOS on an iPad, but even I’m starting to want macOS on iPad after all this 🫤 They wouldn’t have to do much at all to provide an IPSW of macOS for M-series iPads that advanced users might flash if they want it — a pressure valve for iPadOS

Integrate SwiftUI Into a UIKit App

Natalia Panferova:

SwiftUI is a modern way to build a UI on Apple platforms. If you would like to start using SwiftUI but already have an existing UIKit app, you don’t have to rewrite it all. Learn to start gradually integrating SwiftUI into a UIKit app and take advantage of new features, such as Swift Charts, while still keeping the core of your app working as before. In this talk, you’ll learn different ways to integrate SwiftUI and how to set up the data flow between the UIKit and SwiftUI parts of an app.

Natalia Panferova:

This subchapter is provided as a free sample for Integrating SwiftUI into UIKit Apps book.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Sketch Layoffs

Pieter Omvlee and Emanuel Sá:

Today is a very tough day for everyone at Sketch. In response to challenging market conditions and with a desire to keep our product-first strategy, we’ve taken the difficult decision to reduce our team by just over 80 people. This will mostly impact Operations and Marketing, who have done great work in the recent weeks and months. Our Product team remains well-equipped, with a core team continuing to drive things forward.

John Gruber:

That’s about one-third of their headcount, from my understanding. I sure am rooting for Sketch — it’s a such a great product.

Christian Tietze:

This doesn’t mean your or my app will perform worse and that somethings wrong with the Mac; Sketch’s layoffs are just an indicator of how Bohemian Coding, the company behind Sketch, performs, and how they anticipate to make ends meet. (Taking care of almost 300 employees is a tough job I imagine!)

I don’t even necessarily think it means that Sketch the product is performing poorly. Lots of people still use it and like it, and it has a sustainable business model. That it can’t sustain a staff of 280 employees doesn’t mean it can’t have a bright future. For comparison, The Omni Group currently lists a staff of 19. They develop more apps and support more platforms, with 1/10th the number of (post-layoff) people. I’m guessing that Serif, which also supports more apps and platforms, is closer in size to Omni. If Bohemian Coding hadn’t taken VC, they likely would never have hired so many people in the first place.

Instead of despairing from the news, let’s help our fellow devs to find a new role.

Some amazing ex-Sketch folks who are for hire now, that I’ve found thus far[…]

Matt Birchler:

I like the speed of Sketch and that it can both create cloud docs and local docs, both of which are useful to me depending on the situation.

However, Figma is exponentially more powerful and has a more vibrant community around it that makes it even better. And as Nathan says, the fact you must be 100% committed to Macs in your organization (at least in product and design) for Sketch to be at all practical, and most orgs just aren’t.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-17): Jesús Botella:

Many awesome colleagues were laid off, and their talents are among the best in the industry.

Here’s an alumni list if your company is hiring. Don’t miss out.

Update (2022-11-01): Core Intuition:

Manton and Daniel talk about recent layoffs at Sketch, and what it means for the app’s future. They consider the difficulty for native apps when it comes to competing specifically in the realm of collaboration features. Finally, they take an optimistic view of Sketch’s future as an underdog in the design industry.

Ask Apple

Apple (Hacker News):

Apple today introduced Ask Apple, a new series of interactive Q&As and one-on-one consultations that will provide developers with even more opportunities to connect directly with Apple experts for insight, support, and feedback.

[…]

This series will enable developers to ask questions to various Apple team members through Q&As on Slack or in one-on-one office hours. Q&As allow developers to connect with Apple evangelists, engineers, and designers to get their questions answered, share their learnings, and engage with other developers around the world. Office hours are focused on creating and distributing compelling apps that take advantage of the latest in technology and design. Developers can ask for code-level assistance, design guidance, input on implementing technologies and frameworks, advice on resolving issues, or help with App Review Guidelines and distribution tools.

[…]

“We’ve been listening to feedback from developers around the world about what will be most helpful to them as they build innovative apps, and we’ve seen an increased appetite for one-on-one support and conversation with Apple experts,” said Susan Prescott[…]

John Gruber:

Anything that puts third-party developers in touch with real engineers inside Apple is good for everyone.

Office hours use Webex and so may be better for certain types of questions than the asynchronous, e-mail based DTS. Often, though, DTS has to confer with a specific engineering team, and I don’t see how that would work on a synchronous call. Is it worth scheduling a session to go through a list of open Radars?

I’m not a big fan of Slack in general, and I don’t think it’s very good as a searchable archive. I wish we could just have mailing lists (like in the old days) or a Discourse forum—with official participation from Apple engineers. That was sort of the promise of the new developer forum, but it still doesn’t work very well, seemingly only a few Apple engineers participate, and most questions remain unanswered.

Or, you know, I don’t want to criticize a new program that will surely help some developers, but the elephant in the room is that Feedback/Radar needs to be fixed. I wish Prescott would focus on that. And documentation.

Previously:

Update (2022-11-01): Saagar Jha:

Unsolicited feedback but for the amount of effort that seems to be going into the “Ask Apple Q&A” series I feel like getting two dozen answers to people’s specific questions, most of which are “we can’t talk about future plans” or “please send me a FB#”, are not very useful

I think I would prefer a week where the engineers were asked to go through the forum topic they’re responsible for and actually try to answer reasonable questions, like they do at WWDC.

Subclassing for Debugging

Paul Samuels:

A really useful trick when debugging is to subclass the thing you are interested in just to make it easier to search for inside the various debugging tools.

[…]

There are plenty more places like instruments, logging etc to make use of this technique.

It can also be useful to subclass to override -retain and -release so you can easily see when they are being called. However, this is only possible if your class inherits from an Objective-C class that you control.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The Dynamic Island

Sami Fathi:

In a new interview, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, and Apple’s vice president of human interface design, Alan Dye, sat down to discuss the thinking behind the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island and how it was developed.

[…]

“Personally, I felt as if there was a new life-saving identity on my iPhone,” Federighi said. “It’s a very delicate animation effect, but it’s a little different from anthropomorphism, but I think it gave the iPhone a new strong personality and vitality.”

Here’s the Google translation of the article, which was published in Japanese.

Craig Hockenberry:

The name “notch” entered the vernacular very quickly, but as far as I know, it has never been used by Apple. If pressed, they have referred to it as a sensor housing and other technical names.

I don’t think they particularly like the name “notch”, so they learned a lesson an consciously gave the new housing a name.

If they hadn’t, we’d all be calling the Dynamic Island a “pill” by now.

John Gruber:

Not only does the Dynamic Island now strike me as the obvious answer to what should be done with a sensor array cutout in a phone display, it’s so cool, so fun, so useful that it feels like an obvious reason why you should have a sensor array cutout in a phone display in the first place. When the iPhone X introduced the notch, there were a lot of people who thought Apple should have hidden it by drawing a black notch-height border across the top of the display. Only a fool would argue that the Dynamic Island would be better off hidden like that.

[…]

One week in and I’m hooked. I have a regular iPhone 14 to test too, and I’m doing side-by-side comparisons with my year-old iPhone 13 Pro, but those phones feel outdated. Inert. Less fun and less useful. The Dynamic Island is that good.

[…]

But instead of increasing complexity system-wide, the Dynamic Island increases simplicity. It’s a major new feature but it reduces the cognitive load of using or checking the status of more than one app at a time. “Useful new feature” always sounds good, but new features generally increase complexity. The Dynamic Island is that rare gem that reduces complexity while adding utility.

Jason Snell:

The Island design language itself can best be described as “whimsical.” It really is sort of like a cartoon character, with sharp animations that make it feel elastic and alive. It will literally bump against other interface elements, like the time, and shake as if it’s made contact with a physical object. It looks especially impressive on the iPhone Pro’s sharp display, with its ProMotion frame rate and a special subpixel anti-aliasing algorithm.

Nilay Patel:

Here’s where I think Apple missed the mark a little: in the keynote and all the ads, the island is shown as a thing that’s worth interacting with — it’s always moving around and going back and forth between the main view and the expanded view. In reality, well, it’s not like that at all.

The island isn’t a primary interface element; it sits over whatever app you’re actually using, and apps are still the main point of the iPhone. In fact, tapping on the island doesn’t open that expanded widget view; it just switches you back to whatever app that controls the widget. To get the expanded widget that’s shown in all the ads, you have to tap and hold. This feels exactly backwards to me. I think a tap should pop open the widget, and I also think you should at least be able to choose between the two behaviors.

Joe Rossignol:

There are currently around 30 things that the Dynamic Island can show, including system alerts for incoming phone calls, AirPods and other accessories being connected, Face ID authentication, Apple Pay, AirDrop, AirPlay, car keys in the Wallet app, unlocking the iPhone with an Apple Watch, charging and low battery indicators, ring/silent mode, various NFC interactions, Focus mode changes, Shortcuts, Airplane Mode, SIM card alerts, and Find My.

Notably, iPhone 14 Pro models no longer display an annoying low battery alert in the middle of the screen when the device drops to 20% battery life remaining, with or without a charger connected, as The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern confirmed to us. Instead, the low battery alert appears in the Dynamic Island and requires no action from the user.

Francisco Tolmasky:

So far what we know about the Dynamic Island is:

  1. Doesn’t work in landscape mode (the controls just disappear).
  2. Doesn’t (currently) work in Reachability. Coming in iOS 16.1
  3. Takes up more space than the notch.

This better be the best UX enhancement ever to justify this…

Jon Gales:

My least favorite part of Apple’s new Dynamic Island is how when playing media it hides what type of mobile network you’re on. You get some extremely small album artwork and a useless animation, but don’t get to know if you’re on 3G/LTE/5G.

Joe Rossignol:

One smaller detail that we have now confirmed is that the Dynamic Island is only visible in screenshots taken on iPhone 14 Pro models while it is being used by apps, or when the camera/microphone indicator dots are active. The screenshot shows the entire Dynamic Island, including any added elements, such as a circular timer icon.

On the other hand, the Dynamic Island does not appear in screenshots when it is completely inactive. In this case, the screenshot simply shows the wallpaper behind the Dynamic Island, which is the same screenshot behavior as on iPhones with a notch.

Previously:

Notebook to Laptop

Benjamin Mayo:

Apple appears to be rolling out a wide-reaching branding change about how it refers to its Mac portable lineup. Up until recently, Apple officially referred to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro as “Mac notebooks” or just “notebooks,” leaning on the relatively outdated industry terminology of notebook computers.

But now, everything user-facing appears to be slowly converting to using a “laptop” nomenclature.

[…]

With macOS Ventura, a newly set up MacBook Air or MacBook Pro will be called ‘[name]’s Laptop’ by default. (It used to be set to “[name]’s MacBook Air” or “[name]’s MacBook Pro”.)

Guides for Starting Apple App Development

Apple (via Christopher Thielen):

If you’re new to iPhone software development, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the tools and technologies you’ll use. Apple provides everything you need to get started, and iOS technologies help you get the features and performance you want from your apps.

[…]

SwiftUI is the preferred app-builder technology, because it offers a modern, platform-agnostic approach to building your UI and app infrastructure. With SwiftUI, you specify your interface programmatically and let the system display and update that interface dynamically, including inside the Xcode editor.

Apple:

iPad is the ideal platform for delivering desktop-class apps that people can take anywhere. The large screen of iPad, plus support for an external display, let people display more of your app’s content. Magic Keyboard and the multitasking experience with Stage Manager make them more productive, and the power of Apple silicon drives productivity to new levels. Use these capabilities to deliver great business and productivity apps, graphics and creativity apps, media apps, games, and more.

When creating apps for iPad, your initial development path affects many of the decisions you make later. Choose a path based on the type of content you’re offering, and how you want that content to look[…]

Apple:

The Mac is all about speed and power, and macOS helps you maximize the performance of your apps. Mac is ideal for apps that require raw processing power to execute tasks as quickly as possible. However, you also use it for day-to-day tasks such as communication, news and information, social media, games, and much more.

[…]

SwiftUI offers a modern, platform-agnostic approach to building your UI and app infrastructure. Specify your interface programmatically from a set of standard SwiftUI views or create custom views with any appearance you want, and view Xcode present a visual representation of your interface in real-time. At runtime, the system uses your code to build your app’s final interface manage changes to it.

It kind of seems apt that the Mac version of this paragraph didn’t get enough proofreading.

Apple:

Embrace the living-room experience on Apple TV by delivering content people can enjoy from their couch. Stream the latest entertainment, sports, or news content. Offer a great game or education experience, or deliver personal training sessions from a fitness app. Deliver your content in high-quality formats such as 4K video, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and HDR10. Design your app’s interface to support easy navigation with the Apple TV remote.

Apple:

On Apple Watch, people interact with apps they download directly from the App Store for Apple Watch, or that accompany a companion iOS app. Apps play an important role, but complications and notifications also help people engage with your content.

Previously:

Monday, October 10, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Improving Firefox Responsiveness on macOS

Gabriele Svelto (tweet, Hacker News):

Performance in some of our automated tests degraded by as much as 30%. os_unfair_lock might be better behaved than OSSpinLock, but it sucked.

As it turns out os_unfair_lock doesn’t spin on contention, it makes the calling thread sleep right away when it finds a contended lock.

For the memory allocator this behavior was suboptimal and the performance regression unacceptable.

[…]

However, as I dug into Apple’s libraries and kernel, I noticed that some spin locks were indeed available, and they did the spinning in kernel-space where they could make a more informed choice with regards to load and scheduling. Those would have been an excellent choice for our use-case.

So how do you use them? Well, it turns out they’re not documented. They rely on a non-public function and flags which I had to duplicate in Firefox.

The function is os_unfair_lock_with_options() and the options I used are OS_UNFAIR_LOCK_DATA_SYNCHRONIZATION and OS_UNFAIR_LOCK_ADAPTIVE_SPIN.

Jeff Johnson:

This only works because Firefox is not in the Mac App Store.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-11): David Smith:

As a heads up, it is VERY easy to shoot yourself in the foot with the data synchronization flag there. It basically gets you something like Swift Concurrency pool behavior, but without the guardrails.

Update (2022-10-17): Oliver Hunt:

In case any one is interested, a few years ago on the @webkit blog, @filpizlo wrote quite a detailed post on how you could implement the high performance locks you might need when you’re replacing system libraries & so don’t use locks like typical apps[…]

There’s now a pull request to use os_unfair_lock_with_options() in WebKit (via dpogue), however it seems to not improve on what WebKit is already doing.

Swift Was Always Going to Be Part of the OS

Jordan Rose:

Between Swift 1 and Swift 5 there was a massive amount of change, from shifting API design to changing ARC function conventions to adding missing optimizations to learning what was going to be practical and idiomatic in this new language. Looming over us the whole time was “ABI stability”, the point at which code using two different versions of Swift could interoperate. Why was this important, when so many other languages didn’t seem to bother? Because this was the very premise of Apple’s OS-based library distribution model: apps compiled for Swift 5 would work with an OS built on Swift 6; apps compiled with Swift 6 would still be able to “backwards-deploy” to an OS built on Swift 5. Without this, Apple couldn’t use Swift in its own public APIs.

[…]

We ended up (ab)using a feature called “rpath”, or “runtime search path”, which allowed an executable to find its dynamic libraries not by hardcoded path but by searching a series of directories. By making the search order start with /usr/lib/swift/ and following that with the app bundle, we could guarantee that apps would use the OS version of Swift if present and fall back to their embedded version otherwise.

[…]

This same technique was used just last year for Swift Concurrency, and then a serious bug was discovered in that first release…and it can’t be “fixed” in the backwards-deployment library because that wouldn’t help on the OSs that still contain libswiftConcurrency 1.0.

[…]

Specific functions can be marked with a not-yet-supported attribute to have them copied into clients instead of referenced by symbol name, much like a C static function defined in a header file. This only works for things like functions, methods, etc that don’t need identity, though; if the same implementation were used with a global stored variable, you’d end up with multiple copies of the global. And it also only works when the implementation is compatible with both past and future versions of the APIs it uses in turn.

[…]

In certain cases, the Swift team includes a “compatibility” library that’s linked in to the main app only (so that there’s exactly one) to bring some of the older OS’s support up to date.

Nick Lockwood:

I recall when ARC was added to Obj-C (and later fast enumeration, subscripting, object literals, etc) they had to bundle the ARCLite dylib with apps so they could run on earlier OSes that didn't support those features.

Previously:

Midjourney Scam App

Ben Sandofsky:

There’s a scam app claiming to be Midjourney, and it’s charting in the App Store.

[…]

Not only did he file junk trademark claims for Midjourney, he just admitted he’s doing the same for Wordle.

Hugh Devaux:

Click on the link in his twitter bio and it goes straight to a stripe check out page for consultant work. That tells you everything you need to know.

Kudos on his page in using Next Computer Inc. Last time I checked it was still registered to @Apple

Previously:

Weathergraph 1.0.123

Tomas Kafka:

Interactive daily forecast: Tap the day in the daily forecast to quickly scroll to its hourly forecast.

Plus: Redesigned sunrise & sunset section in the details, and more tweaks to the visuals of the chart.

I like being able to quickly jump to a given day. The main thing the app needs now is a way to switch locations.

Previously:

Friday, October 7, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Showing the Amount of Free Space on iOS

Kyle Howells:

Got tired of iOS lying about the free space so finally just built a 1 screen app to show the real free space available. Probably no way I can actually get this in the AppStore though.

He makes the code available here.

I really wish this info was actually exposed in the settings app.

I’m so tired of explaining to friends and family why their phone is telling them they don’t have enough free space to accept an airdrop of some photos and videos; while also saying they have 200+GB of free space.

Kyle Howells:

Apple doesn’t count anything “purge-able” as actually existing. So local iCloud Photo Library caches don’t count, iCloud document caches don’t count.

So Settings will say 200GB free, but if I AirDrop you a 2GB file it might fail saying you don’t have enough free space.

Same with copying a file via the Files app from a USB stick. It’ll fail unless your true free space is enough for it, despite Settings app saying you have “up to 200GB we could clear if we need it”.

So you might actually benefit from more space than you think, even with iCloud.

[…]

The only way to get more “real free space” I found to copy files onto my device was to run the camera to record video at max settings for 10mins. Then Delete and Delete from Recently Deleted. That would free a chunk of “real free space”.

Previously:

Apple Books in iOS 16

Josh Centers:

Apple eliminated the toolbar at the top of the screen that could be summoned or dismissed with a tap of the screen. Books now hides most of its controls in the reading menu, accessed by tapping a button that lives by default in the lower-right corner.

[…]

That progress indicator—plus another one at the bottom that tells you you’re on page X of Y—also appears with a tap on the screen. It’s all the same information that the iOS 15 version of Books kept at the bottom of the screen when the toolbar was showing, but it can be harder to parse due to sitting on top of the book text in a darkish gray-on-lightish gray bubble.

[…]

When I first started using Books in iOS 16, I found myself accidentally creating bookmarks. I eventually realized that Books now creates a bookmark when you double-tap the screen, which is easy to do inadvertently.

Kevin van Haaren:

You used to be able to set the brightness while reading separately from the system brightness. I used that quite a bit and still miss after many months of beta use.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-13): Maciej:

  1. I don’t like the hiding progress bar in a menu. Extra step with no clear befits.
  2. “X” button in the right corner is nuts. Back/X/Cancel buttons are in the LEFT corner pretty much everywhere on Apple platforms. So annoying.
  3. You can leave the book by swiping up if you’re not using vertical scrolling in when reading (obviously).
  4. Reading preferences menu is weird. It feels unfinished, there’s too little visual separation between it and the content.

Nikita Prokopov:

Apple Books. Font preview in font settings is smaller than actual text (left), page color preview is dimmer than actual page (middle), actual text with those settings applied (right).

Using Gestures Inside the Dynamic Island

Jason Snell:

Swiping toward the center of the Island does seem to “minimize” it, though that behavior seems to vary. When I tried it while on a phone call, it made the time and voice waveform disappear, but the phone icon—to indicate that there’s an active phone call—remained. Doing it with playing music caused the music widget to vanish entirely. Swiping back out from the center restored it.

Things get a little more complicated when two items are in the Dynamic Island.

Josh Ginter:

I find myself constantly misusing the Dynamic Island. When music is playing and you tap the Dynamic Island, the iPhone zips you into the Music app. When a timer is running and you tap the Dynamic Island, the iPhone zips you into the Clock/Timer app. You have to long press the Dynamic Island to bring up the useful Now Playing button interface and the Timer interface for starting and stopping the timer.

As Nilay Patel stated in his great review on The Verge, this feels exactly opposite how Dynamic Island should react to a tap. A tap should bring up the Dynamic Island UI, not take you to the app. And a long press should take you to the app, not bring up the Dynamic Island UI.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-10): Craig Grannell:

I find the argument it works ‘incorrectly’ strange. Springboard is tap to launch and tap-hold for actions. Prior, we had Force Touch. For once, Dynamic Island is following conventions, not making up new ones (or, as some demand, doing the opposite).

Rob Jonson:

Open for quick interaction - Long Press

Open for long interaction - Simple Tap

Doesn’t seem right to me.

Put it another way - is the dynamic island primarily the holder of the full app, or the holder of the expanded dynamic island?

Update (2022-10-17): John Gruber:

After installing the beta and playing with these gestures for a few days, I can’t say I’m a fan. I don’t see what these gestures add other than confusion — I think most people would experience these things only by accident, and consider them bugs, not features.

While I’m writing about the Dynamic Island: The more I use it, the more I agree with the common request that simply tapping an item in the Dynamic Island should open the expanded view, instead of jumping you into the app responsible for that item.

iOS Action Discoverability

Jean-Louis Gassée (in 2019, via Hacker News):

Because I feel self-conscious about my mental and motor skills, I compared notes with a learned friend, a persistent fellow who forced himself to learn touch typing by erasing the letters on his keyboard. He, too, finds iPadOS discoverability to be severely lacking. There are lot of new and possibly helpful features but, unlike the 1984 Mac, not enough in the way of the hints that menu bars and pull-down menus provide. It all feels unfinished, a long, long list of potentially winning features that are out of the reach of this mere mortal and that I assume will remain undiscovered by many others.

Kirk McElhearn (in 2019):

iOS has always been dependent on gestures for accomplishing certain tasks, and this is even more the case with iPadOS. But these gestures are hard to discover, and even harder to remember. Do you know how to make the proper three-finger pinch to copy text on your iPad?

Much of the power of iPadOS comes through new gestures, and while Apple offers a Tips app, this app only shows a couple of the new gestures, and none of the older ones.

Apple Support (in 2019):

Don’t move, mark, or delete emails one by one. Swipe down with two fingers over your messages to select multiple items in iOS 13 and iPadOS.

Myke Hurley (in 2019):

TIL You can long press on scroll bars on iOS and zip up and down

John Gruber (in 2020):

Until this afternoon, I had been working under the assumption that the iOS/iPadOS Files app only had one view: icon/grid view. Turns out there’s also a list view, and on iPadOS in landscape, column view. The trick is that you need to pull down on the view to expose these controls.

[Update (2022-10-08): This has since been fixed.]

Alex Ellis:

To delete the last digit from a number you entered in the iOS calculator, you can swipe the numbers to delete.

[…]

To better navigate around a text document, you can long press the spacebar, then navigate around.

[…]

To go back and forward in Safari, you can swipe the edges of the screen. To switch between tabs, you can swipe the URL bar left and right.

Previously:

Thursday, October 6, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Stage Manager in iOS 16.1 Beta 3

Joe Rossignol:

In the latest iPadOS 16 beta seeded earlier this week, developer Steve Troughton-Smith and MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci highlighted various user interface issues they continue to face from time to time while using Stage Manager, including the dock disappearing when rotating the iPad, content failing to scale properly when a window is resized, keyboard input failing to register in certain apps, and more.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Today’s iPadOS beta: still able to bring down SpringBoard in the first 5 minutes

[…]

No joke, if Stage Manager ships the way it is in this build, it will break iPadOS. I only put a fraction of the stuff I come across on Twitter, but so many little things across the OS and system apps break in weird ways.

Federico Viticci:

I understand that some folks think “this is good enough” for them. If so, great.

Personally, if I open an app and can’t type, or use keyboard shortcuts, or can’t click into a text field, that’s a problem that prevents me from working with my iPad.

Jason Snell:

When I try to use Stage Manager on my iPad Pro, I almost end up with a single configuration: two windows, more or less equally sized, next to each other. I end up so frustrated with Stage Manager that I essentially re-create Split View!

[…]

I’m troubled by the fact that Apple doesn’t seem to have a real vision for Stage Manager–or, if what we have right now is its vision, that it’s decided on some weird halfway step.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

I don’t understand why I can create a much more complex/powerful app w/ UIKit on macOS than I can on iPadOS. They built all the APIs, means to make this stuff great — then utilized none of them for Stage Manager. It’s not that they haven’t done the work — they chose to ignore it.

Damien Petrilli:

Stage Manager requires more power than a real windowing system like on desktop OSes, is ultra limited, unstable and with confusing / bad UX.

It’s a disaster engineering and design wise.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-14): Federico Viticci:

Within the first 10 minutes of the latest Stage Manager beta:

  • Magic Keyboard input does not work unless I disable QuickType suggestions
  • Got app windows being randomly thrown into a different workspace after ⌘-Tab
  • App windows still randomly decide to cover the dock

🫠

Sean Heber:

The ongoing Stage Manager drama has been something to see. I can’t remember any major iOS feature of this size in the entire history of the operating system having so many problems for so long so close to a release. 😬

Steve Troughton-Smith:

From another perspective, Stage Manager has delayed every other team on iPadOS from shipping by at least a month, and has barely had any tangible improvement to show for it. It’s still rough and not ready to ship, even if you wave away all of its fatal design issues.

Kaleidoscope 3.7

Florian Albrecht (tweet):

Kaleidoscope 3.7 marks the beginning of a new chapter: you can now share your text diffs with other people. It’s as easy as clicking the common Share button in the toolbar and selecting a service, like Messages or AirDrop.

It supports PDF, HTML, and patch files.

Sometimes you don’t want to share entire files. No problem! Copy relevant parts into a new comparison and share that, without needing to save.

Previously:

EU Passes Law to Switch iPhone to USB-C

Hartley Charlton (Hacker News):

The European Parliament today voted overwhelmingly in favor of enforcing USB-C as a common charging port across a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024.

[…]

Exemptions will apply for devices that are too small to offer a USB-C port, such as smart watches, health trackers, and some sports equipment, but the legislation is expected to be expanded to other devices over time.

As I’ve said, I wish Apple had come to this decision on its own years ago. There are certainly potential downsides to a legal mandate, and if Apple had truly been worried about them it likely could have forestalled the EU by acting before it was obligated to. Instead, many extra cables and dongles had to be manufactured, we’ve been carrying them around all these years (while getting slower transfers), and Apple’s future product designs may be unnecessarily constrained.

Benedict Evans:

The fun thing about these kinds of rules is you won’t actually see the innovation they kill, because ‘this is illegal unless you submit it to an unpredictable multi-year bureaucratic approval process’ means projects will be abandoned at birth. You can’t see the counter-factual.

Alex Stamos:

Apple could have prevented this years ago by making the move to USB-C and announcing that they would work with other manufacturers via USB-IF to synchronize ports from now on. That would have kept the process in the standards body instead of Brussels.

Tony Fadell:

This is only happening because Apple hasn’t been doing the right thing. Period. This is about a monopolist like position not about technology. I hope after Apple is forced to change the regulations will be removed to allow innovation to continue.

Tony Fadell:

Frankly forcing Apple to make this brain dead change for the planet through regulation is a much lot easier than a monopolistic legal trial. Again, Apple is abusing their market position & this is coming from the guy who made the 30 pin connector happen!

Previously:

Update (2022-10-07): Sami Fathi:

Following in the footsteps of the EU, India is now in the early stages of considering imposing regulations on consumer products sold in the country that force a universal standard charger, including USB-C, by as early as 2024, Mint reports.

Update (2022-10-13): Matt Birchler:

Gonna be honest, I think I’ve had Lightning tell me “this accessory is not compatible with your device” when doing things like plugging into a Mac than any “ah man, this USB-C cable doesn’t work how I expected” situation.

This sometimes happens to me when connecting iOS devices to Macs using Apple Lightning cables.

Scott:

What gets left unsaid often in this USB Type C vs Lightning saga is that, eventually, ALL users lose.

Because the double-sided Lightning connection is the mechanically superior system with sufficient electrical signaling lanes (if you dump USB2).

Apple screwed up by greedily keeping the Lightning connection proprietary, vs handing it over to the USB-IF for standardization.

The male tongue in the port of the Type C connector is an engineering nightmare, that Apple and others have already capitalized upon thru repair costs.

Riccardo Mori:

Some technophiles are quick in labelling the EU politicians as being idiots, ignorant bureaucrats that don’t know how technology works. Given the examples above, are we so sure tech companies really know what’s best for their customers?

[…]

And what sort of benefits would bring keeping Lightning around, exactly? What’s the ‘innovation’ there? In theory, the Lightning specification would allow for more uses than just charging, but even Apple itself has been under-utilising Lightning. So, if Lightning is essentially reduced to just being an alternative, proprietary charging solution, then I think it makes pragmatic sense to want to standardise charging solutions.

[…]

In other words, I think charging isn’t exactly a fast-moving aspect of technology that warrants being immune from standardisation attempts.

Nick Heer:

I would love for my iPhone to be “stifled” by USB4 speeds when I sync my music library. If Apple thinks replacing Lightning with USB-C will make the iPhone worse for its users, it should more clearly articulate why. For example, one test found USB-C connectors left more material in the port in the case of the cable tip breaking, which could damage the device. Alas, Apple does not even offer that explanation, just some nonspecific worries.

Matt Birchler:

I don’t agree with the USB-C regulation, but I do think it’s fundamentally funny to hear people using iPhones with USB 2.0 connections go “what if a better connector comes out and the iPhone can’t switch to it?!”

Update (2022-10-27): Hartley Charlton:

Outlined in an official press release, the European Council today gave the European Parliament's common charger directive approval, finalizing the legislative procedure that will make a USB-C port mandatory across a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024. The directive has now been officially adopted and is set to be published in the official journal of the European Union.

Cydia Appeals Apple Lawsuit

Joe Rossignol (tweet):

Cydia parent company SaurikIT, LLC has filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers dismissed the company’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple last month, according to court documents.

Jay Freeman (via Kosta Eleftheriou):

We filed a lawsuit. Apple filed to dismiss it, and we had a hearing over it. At that hearing the judge seemed to agree the case should continue but that we needed to clarify our filings. We were thereby “dismissed with leave to amend”, specially so we could go amend the documents, on a timeline decided during that hearing. Of course, it was reported as “oh no! saurik’s case was dismissed, and maybe he’ll bother to amend”.

[…]

Then the case was allowed to continue, but… was “dismissed in part”, which means there was one part of the lawsuit which the court decided to dismiss. This happened to be a claim we liked, and where we would like to get a second opinion sooner; it was also claim that Apple wants to feel really sure about, so we all agreed to a “stipulation to dismiss”, where, with permission from the other side, we ASKED the judge to dismiss our own case (in what might be a risky gambit) SO we could immediately go into appeal.

Previously:

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

USB Simplifies Branding But Reintroduces Active Cables

Jon Porter (via Hacker News):

The SuperSpeed USB branding is no more thanks to a new set of guidelines currently being rolled out by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the body that manages and maintains the USB standard.

It’s part of a rebranding initiative that the organization kicked off last year with the introduction of a new series of packaging, port, and cable logos. But with its latest set of branding and logo guidelines it’s going even further, simplifying its legacy branding and signaling the end of the decade-old SuperSpeed branding. If the name doesn’t ring any bells, then that’s probably because you (like most other people) simply referred to it by its USB 3 version number. Alongside it, the USB-IF is also ditching USB4 as a consumer-facing brand name.

[…]

So, instead of referring to USB devices by a version number or vague name like “SuperSpeed,” the USB-IF wants companies to use branding that reflects these all-important specs. “SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps” and “SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps” are now just “USB 5Gbps” and “USB 10Gbps” respectively, while “USB4 40Gbps” and “USB4 20Gbps” are becoming “USB 40Gbps” and “USB 20Gbps.”

Glenn Fleishman:

At the same time, however, a somewhat hidden aspect of USB4 cables comes to the fore with the announcement of an upcoming 80 Gbps version of USB4.

[…]

Thunderbolt 3 was the first version of that standard to introduce the distinction of active and passive cables; USB had avoided it by having a single cable definition for USB 1.0 through 3.2.

[…]

If you want USB4’s full 80 Gbps over cable runs longer than 0.8 meters, you will have to purchase new active USB4 cables for that updated standard. These new cables will be compatible with Thunderbolt 4.

[…]

At the moment, the gold standard for the greatest compatibility and least fuss remains the Thunderbolt 4/USB4 cable, which is technically active for Thunderbolt 4 and passive for USB4 (see “OWC Releases Affordable Thunderbolt 4 Cables,” 17 March 2022).

Previously:

Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 Earbuds

Tim Hardwick:

Anker’s new earbuds feature a stemmed design reminiscent of Apple’s AirPods, while the right-hand earbud includes a special sensor that can monitor your heart rate continuously or just when you’re working out. The HR data is linked to Anker’s Wellness app, which also features tracking options for guided, freestyle, and custom exercise routines.

The Liberty 4 also come with spatial audio support, active noise cancelation, a customizable equalizer, and support for AAC, LDAC, and SBC codecs, but not aptX. The earbuds also include support for multiple connection switching.

[…]

Anker’s Soundcore Liberty 4 earbuds cost $149.99 and come in either black or white, with the latter available from today on Soundcore.com.

Previously:

South Korea Raids Apple Offices

Florian Mueller (MacRumors, tweet):

On Monday (September 26), it was confirmed that Apple’s Korean headquarters in the city of Gangnam-gu were subjected to a dawn raid by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), which is Korea’s antitrust authority.

[…]

The mobile game developers who brought the complaint that gave rise to this dawn raid argue that Apple charges even more than 30% to developers with respect to the revenues they generate in South Korea. Apple charges 30% of the price paid by end users, which includes value added tax (VAT) and, therefore, is 10% higher than the ex-VAT amount on which Google bases its 30% commission.

[…]

The KCC is investigating whether Apple, Google, and a local player are in compliance with last year’s amendment to the country’s Telecommunication Business Act, which requires app stores to allow third-party in-app payment services. Apple and Google (and possibly that local Korean player) don’t really do that: they act in bad faith by making it prohibitively expensive to use alternative payment services.

I wonder if something else is going on here, because I thought it was well known that Apple (contra Google) takes its 30% before subtracting the VAT.

Previously:

Developer Account In Limbo Due to Popularity

Felix Krause:

This is unacceptable: A seemingly automated system flags @sindresorhus Apple Dev Account, threatening to close his account if he won’t resolve “unspecified metric”

I can’t believe it’s legal for (in this case a monopoly) to suspend accounts without providing a justification.

Sindre Sorhus (via Felix Krause):

Basically, my two recent apps got popular and triggered some heuristic.

She asked if I had done any paid promotion. I said no, just Twitter and Reddit. She said I should monitor App Store analytics for any suspicious activity (isn’t that their job and what’s is considered suspicious activity?).

I tried to get a clearer answer, but just got “monitor analytics” answers.

I asked whether my Apple account is safe. She said: for now, but continue monitoring.

The recent popularity was likely because his apps were featured on the App Store, but apparently the heuristics don’t take that into account. The e-mail says to “Please address this issue promptly” without giving any indication of what he’s supposed to do.

Zac Cohan:

I got this back in April. My working theory is that it’s an automatic warning sent after an app with a very high rating gets a few refund requests in a given period of time.

Andrés Pizá Bückmann:

I got the same email. I replied to this email asking for more info. Two days later got a response from them saying they want a call. It has been a week and still haven’t heard anything. I also opened a case via Developer Support and haven’t heard anything from there.

Previously:

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Accidentally Quadratic KVO

Saagar Jha:

Here’s an interesting instance of quadratic complexity: adding and removing KVO observers on an object (FB11644022). A graph of its performance as I scale the number of observations is so perfect it could probably feel right at home in an algorithmic complexity textbook!

It’s probably not surprising in the least that observers are stored internally in a set of hash tables. But when you add observations on an object, part of the lookup process calls for computing a hash value over all the observers. This would be O(n) on each KVO update except Foundation caches this hash value whenever the observers change, so lookups are O(1). This is good, except this just hoists the (one-time) O(n) calculation on each update of the observers, because adding and removing observers causes a full rehash.

[…]

By the way, if you’re interested in how KVO is implemented, you can reverse Foundation like I did…or find out after some searching that someone has basically decompiled the entire thing[…]

Ken Case:

Ventura fixes an issue (FB9876193) where KVO rehashing would trigger 300-1400 autoreleases per operation while rebucketing, leading to a performance cliff where we’d see hundreds of millions of pending NSKeyValueObservationInfo releases.

Spark Switches to Electron and Subscriptions

Readdle (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Now people who use Windows can focus on what’s important and enhance their productivity with Spark. […] Please be aware that Spark is working hard towards feature parity between platforms and the experience across iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows may vary.

[…]

See the full list of free and Premium features.

The premium features are $7.99/month or $59.99/year. It also sounds like they are leaving the Mac App Store.

Guischmitt:

The app size and average RAM consumption has doubled.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-13): Garrett Murray:

The problem here is that I don’t need any of their Premium features, and now I’m forced to either pay a monthly fee to remove this ad or stop using Spark. In the case, I’m going to have to stop using Spark.

Frustratingly, I did not notice it was adding a signature ad like this after the most recent update until today, which means I’ve been sending business emails for a week with this ad at the bottom. Yuck.

Garrett Murray:

Good news for Spark users who didn’t want this “Sent with Spark” ad: Readdle is removing this from the Premium feature set[…]

1Password Meets Git

Simon Sickle:

Enable the SSH Agent and optionally biometrics if you wish. Now, we must add a snippet of code to our SSH configuration file to tell the SSH command we wish to delegate key management to 1Password.

[…]

At work, we have some complex configurations and security rules that wouldn't allow me to store my SSH key in this manor... I do, however, work on some open source software from time to time which requires that I have an SSH key to authenticate with GitHub. To accomplish this, I modified the pasted snippet from 1Password to only use the SSH agent for github connections using the git user.

[…]

GitHub now supports code signed by an SSH key! This means you can use 1Password's SSH agent functionality to sign your commits instead of relying on GPG (which has been troublesome in the past on macOS).

This is cool, although the feature I really want is to sync 1Password via Git.

Previously:

Musk-Twitter Deal Back On?

Adi Robertson:

Elon Musk’s deposition for the Twitter v. Musk suit may have been rescheduled for next week, but the public got some more inside dirt about his plans for Twitter, thanks to the release of two slideshowpresentations and a slew of Musk texts.

The texts show Musk and a variety of contacts — including former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, and podcaster Joe Rogan — talking about everything from the blockchain to putting Oprah on Twitter’s board. (That part might be a joke, but with Musk, it’s difficult to tell.) But above all, they’re a chronicle of the deal’s slow implosion.

The texts are light reading, and you can check them out here if you’re so inclined.

See also: Internal Tech Emails (Hacker News), The Chancery Daily.

Charlie Warzel:

The 151-page redacted document is a remarkable, voyeuristic record of a few months in the life of the world’s richest (and most overexposed) man and a rare unvarnished glimpse into the overlapping worlds of Silicon Valley, media, and politics. The texts are juicy, but not because they are lurid, particularly offensive, or offer up some scandalous Muskian master plan—quite the opposite.

Elizabeth Lopatto (MacRumors):

Elon Musk is said to have sent another offer letter to buy Twitter at $54.20 a share, Bloomberg reported based on anonymous sources. That’s the same price he originally proposed in April before trying to back out of the deal.

Previously:

Update (2022-10-05): Nilay Patel:

Like normally you just say hey court, here’s the settlement agreement between the parties, and the court says, cool, case dismissed. You don’t ask the court to stay the case and adjourn the trial before you’ve settled, and definitely not as a precondition of settling

SEC Filing (via Hacker News):

On October 3, 2022, the Reporting Person’s advisors sent a letter to Twitter (on the Reporting Person’s behalf) notifying Twitter that the Reporting Person intends to proceed to closing of the transaction contemplated by the April 25, 2022 Merger Agreement, on the terms and subject to the conditions set forth therein and pending receipt of the proceeds of the debt financing[…]

tptacek:

There was some grim stuff happening in the Chancery case: multiple bits of evidence suggesting that Peiter Zatko had in fact been in touch with Musk’s team, in advance of the “whistleblowing” release. The Chancery court had just come in with an order giving Twitter extended discovery rights to look for those communications.

If it did turn out that Zatko had been talking to Musk’s team, that would be a very big deal, not only undercutting a big part of Musk’s current case (which he was set to lose anyways) but also falsifying several statements made both to the Delaware court and also to Congress(?!).

I wonder also if the appearance, performative as it is, that Musk is choosing to buy Twitter rather than being forced to buy Twitter is helpful for financing.

Dan Luu (tweet):

This is a scan/OCR of Exhibits H and J from the Twitter v. Musk case, with some of the conversations de-interleaved and of course converted from a fuzzy scan to text to make for easier reading.

I did this so that I could easily read this and, after reading it, I’ve found that most accountings of what was said are, in one way or another, fairly misleading.

See also: Matt Levine.

Monday, October 3, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

BBEdit 14.6

Bare Bones Software (tweet):

Added settings to the “Editing” preferences to specify alternative characters for Show Invisibles, for tabs and for line breaks.

[…]

The low-level text rendering in BBEdit’s editing engine has been reworked to improve performance and OS compatibility (including future macOS releases).

This change also marks the triumphant return of font ligatures (when supported by the display font in use), and brings improvements to Unicode character rendering.

[…]

Made changes so that Open File by Name doesn’t completely tie up the application in cases where building the search cache takes a very long time. In such situations it’ll be the same amount of time before you get search results, but the application will remain responsive for other uses in the meantime.

This last one is particularly welcome, as if I’ve opened a file on an external drive that’s since gone to sleep it can take a while for it to spin up. For whatever reason, I’ve lately been seeing temporary hangs throughout the system and various apps as drives wake from sleep or finish mounting. Most code seems to be written as if small file system operations will be quick, but with Monterey sometimes they aren’t.

Gareth Simpson:

Some code fonts use [ligatures] in clever ways

Previously:

Bypassing IAP With In-Game Currencies

Florian Mueller:

One of the world’s largest games companies, China’s Tencent (which is also Epic’s largest shareholder besides founder Tim Sweeney), has just doubled down on its efforts to circumvent the infamous app tax. Finland-based Supercell is an almost-wholly-owned Tencent subsidiary. Its Supercell Store, which since late June has already been offering digital items (named Gold Pass and Gold Pass Bundle) for the Clash of Clans strategy game, now also comes with a section related to the Hay Day farming game, which has been an enormous commercial success for about a decade.

[…]

The leading Hay Day YouTuber, R3DKNIGHT (Ricky Burnett), released a video yesterday that shows how one can purchase digital currencies (diamonds and gold) as well as a premium feature called Farm Pass (which is purchased for a given month, accelerates one’s gameplay progress, and provides access to additional decorative and entertaining elements) through the web-based Supercell Store, where Apple and Google can’t tax purchases[…] On the web store, they cost approximately 10% less than inside the app.

It seems like this is allowed by the guidelines, so long as IAP is also offered and the Web store isn’t linked. Some other games are also allowing Web purchases of gold/credits, but this technique doesn’t seem to be widespread elsewhere. Amazon lets you buy Audible books using credits, which you can purchase online. They also have a deal to make in-app video purchases from a credit card. And you can purchase stuff other than digital content directly from the Amazon app. But there is still no way to purchase Kindle books from an app.

Previously:

Kindle Scribe

David Pierce (via Hacker News):

The newest Kindle is the first truly new Kindle in years. It’s called the Kindle Scribe, and it’s both a reading device and a writing one. With a 10.2-inch E Ink screen, a stylus that attaches to the side of the device, and a bunch of new software, the $339.99 Scribe is trying to be as much a tablet as an ebook reader. It’s available for preorder today, and Amazon promises it’ll be out before the holidays.

[…]

Ultimately, how the Scribe’s writing experience works and feels is the biggest question about this device. You can buy it with one of two stylus options: a “Basic Pen” or a “Premium Pen” for $30 more that also includes a customizable shortcut button and an eraser sensor on the top. Both use the same Wacom EMR technology and magnetically attach to the side of the Scribe but don’t have batteries or need to be charged.

[…]

Amazon built new note-taking capabilities into its reader so you can tap on a passage and scribble a note, similar to the way you’d highlight or type a note on the on-screen keyboard.

I’m not really interested in handwritten notes (without handwriting recognition), and I wish it had page-turn buttons, but the large display is interesting. It also looks surprisingly responsive in the video.

Previously:

Darkboard

Matt Ronge (last October):

We launched Astropad in 2015, and rapidly bootstrapped the business to just shy of 20 people. In 2017 we launched our first hardware product Luna Display.

Things were going well. Sales were strong. We made more in a month than we made in our first year alone!

Then Apple noticed us. They had us fly out to present our products to some senior execs.

[…]

Time passes, until WWDC 2019... At that event Apple revealed Sidecar, which was clearly inspired by our products. On top of that they created private APIs that Sidecar used which are eerily similar to our suggestions.

[…]

For over two years we worked on rewriting and designing for the PC. It was an incredibly complex and difficult project.

Juli Clover (Giovanni Donelli):

Astropad, known for Astropad Studio software and the Luna Display dongle, today announced the launch of its latest project, called Darkboard. The Darkboard is a lightweight drawing surface designed to be used with the iPad, providing a more ergonomic way to sketch and draw wherever you are.

Weighing in at 1.4 pounds, the Darkboard is made from a rigid foam material that cushions the arm and wrist while still providing comfort and support. Astropad says that the Darkboard is ideal for using on the couch, in bed, and in other situations where you don’t have the best ergonomic setup.

I don’t think this product will get Sherlocked.

Previously: