Archive for October 5, 2022

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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).


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


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.


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.