Archive for September 6, 2023

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

DMA Gatekeepers Designated

European Commission (Hacker News):

The European Commission has today designated, for the first time, six gatekeepers - Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, Microsoft - under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). In total, 22 core platform services provided by gatekeepers have been designated. The six gatekeepers will now have six months to ensure full compliance with the DMA obligations for each of their designated core platform services.


In parallel, the Commission has opened four market investigations to further assess Microsoft’s and Apple’s submissions arguing that, despite meeting the thresholds, some of their core platform services do not qualify as gateways:

  • Microsoft: Bing, Edge and Microsoft Advertising
  • Apple: iMessage

It does include iOS, the App Store, and Safari.

Benjamin Mayo (Mastodon, MacRumors):

In accordance with the published legislation, to classify as a ‘gatekeeper,’ the service must have more than 45 million monthly active users in the EU.


There are more than 1 billion iPhones in use worldwide. However, Apple does not publish monthly active user numbers for iMessage publicly, so we can’t know for sure how many users it has in each region. Competitors like WhatsApp are also more dominant in Europe than in the US, where iMessage has higher penetration.

Dare Obasanjo:

It’s kind of funny that the EU came up with this objective sounding rule to regulate American big tech companies but now a bunch of their services will avoid the regulation.

I bet the next law will just be the anti-FAANG law and give up the pretende of objectivity that GDPR, DSA & DMA tried.


Update (2024-01-10): Chris Smith (via Hacker News):

Apple’s iMessage isn’t a gatekeeper, so it doesn’t have to support interoperability with, say, Google’s RCS anytime soon. But iOS, the Safari browser, and the App Store are gatekeepers. As such, Apple has six months to make changes to these products according to the DMA rules.


In other words, iPhones and iPads in the EU will soon support third-party app stores, third-party payment systems, and sideloading.

Keen and Slice

John Gruber:

Yes, a box cutter/utility knife that costs about $100. […] A few weeks ago, though, my pals at Studio Neat sent me a pre-production Keen. I prefer it to the Palmer in every single regard. First, it’s thinner and smaller, but in no way too small. Second, it’s easier to change the blade. But most importantly, the Keen offers a completely original design for opening and closing the blade: a spring-loaded slider. It’s so different from any box cutter design I’ve ever seen that I wondered if I’d even like it at all, let alone prefer it, because it does not lock into place.


Given how many packages I receive each and every week of the year, it’s one of my most-used tools.

There are certainly times when a real utility knife comes in handy. But, 99% of the time, all I want to do is open a package and then break down the box for recycling or to use it for crafts. For these purposes, the $6 Slice Safety Cutter (Amazon) is fantastic. The ceramic blade is tiny enough that it doesn’t need to be retracted, and you don’t have to worry about cutting too deep (beyond the packaging). Yet it makes quick work of tape on boxes and even thick plastic blister packs that can be awkward with scissors and potentially dangerous with a knife. (Corrugated cardboard usually takes two passes.) The blade is not replaceable, but after more than a decade of use it’s still sharp. It’s tiny but hard to lose in a drawer because it’s bright green. You can also put it on a keyring or stick it as a magnet.

Rumor of Low-Cost MacBook

Tim Hardwick (Hacker News):

Apple is developing a low-cost MacBook series to compete with Chromebook models in the education sector that could be launched as early as the second half of 2024, claims a new report out of Taiwan.

According to DigiTimes’ industry sources, Apple will likely launch the new product line to differentiate it from the company’s existing MacBook Air and Pro lines. The outer appearance will still use a metal casing but will be made of “different materials” and the cost of the mechanical components will be lower, claims the report.

I’ve been wanting Apple to make such a Mac for a long time. If true, this would be the best Mac rumor in a while. It doesn’t need to have a Retina display or a metal case, though Apple manages to do that with iPads so perhaps it’s not impossible. That said, I don’t expect that Apple would come close to the Chromebook’s price. Maybe it could hit $499.

Colin Cornaby:

This would be a really good move. They have the low cost hardware components now that can perform well. And I don’t think Apple has built a great educational machine since the last plastic MacBook. I’m hoping the durability improvements over something like a MacBook Air are significant. Students are rough on machines.

The build quality on the last plastic MacBooks was actually really amazing. When I worked in schools we had issues with durability on even the iBooks. But those MacBooks were really durable. Not indestructible… But you could drop them and usually not end up with LCD or significant case damage. Can’t say the same about the MacBook Airs.

Jason Snell:

If I had a dime for every “Apple’s going to release a low-end product to compete with other low-end devices” rumor, I’d have a hefty bank account by now. And you can find plenty of stories debunking this report as “sketchy.” At the risk of giving this report more credulity than it deserves, let me try to understand what this report might actually mean.


Why does the M1 MacBook Air exist? Because Apple wants to have a product available at a (relatively) low price point: currently it’s $899 for education and $999 for everyone else.


Update (2023-10-09): See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

Update (2023-10-27): Tim Hardwick:

Kuo now also believes Apple could be considering such a move to boost ailing MacBook shipments, with a target of 8-10+ million units per year.

Tim Hardwick:

Apple is actively developing new 12-inch and 13-inch MacBook models for sale at a planned price point of around $700 or less, claims a rumor out of Korea.

According to the operator of news aggregator account “yeux1122” on the Naver blog, supply chain sources have “consistently” seen evidence that Apple has low-cost MacBooks in two different sizes in ongoing development.

Update (2023-12-08): Adam Chandler:

Why would I pay double for a device whose only advantage is touch input and a cellular connection? The iPad weighs 3 pounds with keyboard and the 13” MacBook Air weighs 2.7 so again. We have a lighter computer with multiple ports, a real OS and it’s half the price.

Why does the iPad need to exist outside of creative pursuits and to be an iPad at that great $329 price point which works great for kids, non-techie folks and education?


Now that we’re going to have an M3 Max chip powered MacBook Pro in a 16” configuration and maybe a $700 low cost MacBook Lovely that you can do most things on except intense creative pursuits, I think the iPad will lose its place in my travel setup and I’ll just go back to having two laptops again.

APFS Versions, Updates, and Compatibility

Howard Oakley:

APFS major version numbers change with each major version of macOS[…] Changing version numbers thus aren’t any indication of the scope or magnitude of changes made to APFS. As Apple seldom provides any information on changes made to APFS, it’s anyone’s guess as to what is going on.


In release versions of APFS:

  • version 748.21.6 (macOS 10.13.1) fixed problems in snapshots
  • versions 945.275.8 and 945.275.9 (macOS 10.14 security updates 2 and 2020-005) fixed unspecified bugs, probably vulnerabilities
  • version 1412.11.7 (macOS 10.15) introduced system volume groups and firmlinks
  • version 1412.120.2 (macOS 10.15.5) fixed a serious bug preventing the transfer of very large amounts of data to RAID volumes
  • version 1933.41.2 (macOS 12.0.1) is believed to have introduced a trim-on-mount feature that stores trimmed UDRW disk images as sparse files
  • version 1934.101.3 (macOS 12.3) brought an unexpected major version increment, but no reason has been given.


Care must be taken to avoid using older APFS tools, including Disk Utility, on newer versions of APFS. This is most critical in Recovery mode.