Archive for October 3, 2023

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Apple Memory Holes OCSP Preference

Apple, November 30, 2020:

In addition, over the the next year we will introduce several changes to our security checks:

  • A new encrypted protocol for Developer ID certificate revocation checks
  • Strong protections against server failure
  • A new preference for users to opt out of these security protections

In the September 26 version of that page, this whole section is gone (via Fred McCann).


Update (2023-10-09): Jeff Johnson:

I think the credit should go to this HN comment 5 days ago.

Orion Video System

Sebastiaan de With (Mastodon):

Today we’re launching a totally new, totally different app. Meet Orion.

Orion is a small, fun app that helps you use your iPad as an external HDMI display for any camera, video game console, or even VHS. Just plug in one of the bajillion inexpensive adapters, and Orion handles the rest.

It’s free with a $5 upgrade for extra features, and they get Amazon commissions on USB-C to HDMI adapters. The announcement omits any mention of connecting it to a Mac, but the App Store description does say this is possible. Presumably, since it’s just HDMI, it can act as regular primary display for a Mac, whereas Sidecar and AirPlay only work for secondary displays, and Duet Display needs a Mac app and an installation dance. Too bad Lux couldn’t find a name that wasn’t already in use.

Adam Engst:

What a lovely—and amusingly retro—hack!


iPhone 15 Pro Overheating

Dan Milmo (via Hacker News):

Apple is facing complaints from users about overheating in relation to its new iPhone 15 models, with some customers claiming the titanium frame becomes too hot to hold.


There are several posts on the Apple forum referring to overheating of the iPhone 15 Pro series, with one user posting a photo of their iPhone 15 next to a thermometer recording a temperature of 44C (111F). There are also posts on X and Reddit.

Juli Clover:

Complaints about heat issues with the iPhone 15 Pro models are not related to TSMC’s 3-nanometer node that was used for the A17 Pro chip, according to well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo says that overheating could be caused by “compromises made in the thermal system design” that allowed Apple to cut down on the weight of the iPhone 15 Pro models. Kuo says that the reduced heat dissipation area and titanium frame have negatively impacted the thermal efficiency of the devices.

Joe Rossignol:

iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max overheating concerns continue to make headlines this week, with the topic highlighted by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.


Joanna Stern said her iPhone 15 Pro Max did heat up while charging and performing processor-intensive tasks, such as gaming, but she said her iPhone 14 Pro Max reached similar temperatures in the same test.

Joe Rossignol:

Apple plans to release an iOS 17 update to address a bug that may contribute to the reported iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max overheating issue, according to a statement the company shared today with MacRumors and Forbes reporter David Phelan.


Apple’s statement:

We have identified a few conditions which can cause iPhone to run warmer than expected. The device may feel warmer during the first few days after setting up or restoring the device because of increased background activity. We have also found a bug in iOS 17 that is impacting some users and will be addressed in a software update. Another issue involves some recent updates to third-party apps that are causing them to overload the system. We’re working with these app developers on fixes that are in the process of rolling out.

John Gruber:

Not only is the titanium frame of the iPhone 15 Pro models not an issue, cooling-wise, Apple told me, and I have no reason to doubt, that the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are better at heat dissipation than any previous iPhone that used a stainless steel frame (iPhone X, XS, and 11–14 Pro). There is absolutely nothing wrong — and in fact much that is good — with the heat dissipation of the titanium frame, and Apple has no plan to in any way throttle the A17’s performance. They have bugs to fix in iOS 17, that is all.


As for the problematic third-party apps, one of them is Instagram, which has apparently just this week released a version fixing a bug that was so egregious that it was burning through iPhones’ battery life at a rate of 1 percent/minute just sitting idle. YouTuber Faruk “iPhonedo” Korkmaz posted a video this week showing the buggy version of Instagram heating two different iPhones to 100°F: one an iPhone 15 Pro, the other a year-old iPhone 14 Pro. Exact same overheating issue. (I question here why iOS allows any app to consume so many resources that it makes the device too hot to hold comfortably, but the bug was apparently Instagram’s. Same too with Uber. Real shocker that two apps made with a Frankensteinian mishmash of web and native UI toolkits would run amok, resource-wise.)


[Ming-Chi Kuo’s] post on this overheating issue is almost transparently a leak from TSMC — a sort of “Whatever is going on with the iPhone 15 Pro heat dissipation, it has nothing to do with our 3nm process“. Blaming it on the new titanium frame was just wild speculation on Kuo’s part, and by all evidence is completely wrong.


Pixel 8 Leak Promises 7 Years of OS Updates

Ron Amadeo (via Hacker News):

The Pixel 8 is rapidly approaching its October 4 unveiling, but before then there are a bunch of leaks out there. Reliable leaker Kamila Wojciechowska has a whole list of Pixel 8 and 8 Pro specs over at 91mobiles, along with some Pixel market materials. The big news is that Google is finally giving its Pixel phones a longer support window. Pixel phones are getting seven years of updates, which is longer than Apple.


Currently, Pixel phones have three years of OS updates and five years of security updates, which is not only beaten by Apple’s update policy but is also inexplicably worse than many of Google’s Android partners.


Apple doesn’t have a policy written in stone anywhere, but with the iPhone X not making the jump to iOS17, that makes for a five-year major OS update policy if you’re counting to 2022’s iOS16, though with some point updates in 2023 you could argue six years.

This would have been a good topic for Mother Nature to ask about.


Update (2023-10-10): Jon Porter (Hacker News):

Google has the freedom to offer this longer support period thanks to using its own Tensor processor in the Pixel 8 series, which gives it more control over the hardware that’s gone into the phone compared to most of its Android competitors. Fairphone, a competing Android manufacturer that prioritizes lengthy support periods for its devices, has publicly spoken about how difficult it is to continue to support a phone after a chipset manufacturer like Qualcomm ends support for the processor used. In Google’s case with Tensor, the power is in its own hands.


In theory, Google’s pledge should mean the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro get updated to at least 2029’s Android 20 and maybe even 2030’s Android 21, depending on when in the year the update gets released. But that assumes Google is still using the same annual release cadence for Android seven years from now, even before we get into its somewhat flaky history of ongoing support for other services and initiatives.

Although seven years of security support puts Google out ahead of its mainstream competitors, it’s still technically beaten by Fairphone, which recently announced the Fairphone 5 with a promised eight years of security updates (with 10 years as a stretch goal). However, Fairphone has no plans to sell its fifth-generation device in the US and is also only committed to releasing five major Android OS updates.

Sean Hollister (via Nick Heer):

noticed a gaping hole in Google’s promise — and though we tried repeatedly, Google refused to meaningfully discuss that hole with The Verge this week.

The hole: Google is arbitrarily locking software features behind the Pixel 8 Pro’s $999 paywall, even though the $699 Pixel 8 has the same Google Tensor G3 processor, the same camera, and the same seven-year guarantee.


If Google is arbitrarily deciding that Pixel 8 buyers don’t deserve the same software features as Pixel 8 Pro buyers, why would we expect it to give Pixel 8 Pro buyers the same features as Pixel 9 Pro buyers next year when it’s got new phones to sell?

Of course, Apple has been doing this, too.

In fact, we’ve already seen Google do that exact sort of thing: one year ago, the company told Phone Arena that the Pixel 7’s Clear Calling and Guided Frame features would come to the Pixel 6 lineup. Guided Frame is still MIA, and Flegal told us in January that the Pixel 6 wouldn’t be getting Clear Calling after all.

Simone Manganelli:

Why would people actually expect Google to follow through on this, when Google has, as just one example, killed its two-year “Pixel Pass” before two years were even up?

This is pure marketing BS, and people should wait a full 10 years before reporting on it or believing it.

Update (2023-11-22): yassie_j:

Google recently killed off Pixel Pass, a service that would upgrade your Pixel phone after two years and include some extra goodies, like YT Premium, and 200 GB of Drive.

It lasted for only 23 months, meaning that nobody actually benefited from using this service, weeks before the Pixel 8 is released.

Epic Games Layoffs and Bandcamp

Jason Schreier (Hacker News):

Epic Games Inc., the maker of the popular Fortnite video game, is laying off 870 employees as it seeks to rein in costs.

Tim Sweeney (Hacker News):

As we shared earlier, we are laying off around 16% of Epic employees. We’re divesting Bandcamp [to Songtradr] and spinning off most of SuperAwesome.

For a while now, we’ve been spending way more money than we earn, investing in the next evolution of Epic and growing Fortnite as a metaverse-inspired ecosystem for creators. I had long been optimistic that we could power through this transition without layoffs, but in retrospect I see that this was unrealistic.

While Fortnite is starting to grow again, the growth is driven primarily by creator content with significant revenue sharing, and this is a lower margin business than we had when Fortnite Battle Royale took off and began funding our expansion. Success with the creator ecosystem is a great achievement, but it means a major structural change to our economics.

David Gerard (Hacker News):

Epic is privately-held, so it doesn’t have Wall Street analysts to answer to — but it went on a spending spree through 2021 and 2022, and the numbers evidently weren’t adding up. Bandcamp is still profitable, but that makes it just a particuarly saleable non-core business. Also dumped was SuperAwesome, a “youth marketing solutions” company, in an upper management buyout.


Epic only bought Bandcamp eighteen months ago. Nobody could work out quite what Epic could do with Bandcamp. That seems to include Epic. It didn’t have synergy with game development or distribution.

Bandcamp is good, it’s profitable and sustainable and it basically works. Musicians love Bandcamp and depend on it. They worried at the Epic sale and now they wonder what the Songtradr sale means.

Juli Clover:

As for the fight against Apple, Sweeney claims that Epic Games is taking steps to cut down on legal expenses, but will continue on with its legal battles so the “metaverse can thrive and bring opportunity to Epic and all other developers.”


Update (2023-10-10): Here are some links that I meant to post when Epic acquired Bandcamp:

Nick Heer:

To avoid Apple’s 30% surcharge on in-app purchases of digital goods, the Bandcamp app is limited to being a front-end for streaming music and purchasing physical products. Digital files are “not available for purchase on this device”, according to the app, with no explanation for how someone may go about acquiring them.

This is not the only hurdle. Even if you figure out that you must visit the album page through Safari and complete your purchase there, you cannot add the songs to your Music library on an iPhone or iPad. Those shortcomings really are a crappy customer experience; they sure make the iTunes Store or Apple Music look more compelling for a user.

I can see why Epic would want a non-gaming angle for its antitrust arguments, and I can see why Bandcamp would want the lawyers afforded to a larger company. It cannot be the only reason for this acquisition, but I bet Epic’s disagreement with Apple and Google is a rationale for buying Bandcamp. A subsidiary like Bandcamp will help strengthen Epic’s case.

Update (2023-10-27): Ash Parrish (Hacker News):

One of the worst tech labor years ever continues with the news that roughly half of Bandcamp employees have been laid off.

Emanuel Maiberg (Hacker News):

Bandcamp’s entire union bargaining team, the eight union members democratically elected by their peers to negotiate their first union contract, were laid off when Epic Games sold Bandcamp to music licensing company Songtradr on Monday.


Epic Anti-Steering Stay and Supreme Court Petition

Richard Lawler:

Apple was granted a motion putting a hold on the appeals court ruling that would push the company to undo its “anti-steering” rules and let outside developers link to third-party payment mechanisms. The mandate is stayed for 90 days so Apple can file its request that the Supreme Court take up the case.


In their request to block the stay, Epic’s lawyers argued Apple’s claims “have no prospect of Supreme Court review” and that “Apple has no choice but to rely on arguments that are so weak that it previously only mentioned them barely, or not at all.” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted in response to the stay, “Justice delayed, again.”

Despite granting Apple’s request, Ninth Circuit Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. writes, “...while the arguments in Apple’s motion may not be technically frivolous, they ignore key aspects of the panel’s reasoning and key factual findings by the district court. When our reasoning and the district court’s findings are considered, Apple’s arguments cannot withstand even the slightest scrutiny. Apple’s standing and scope-of-the-injunction arguments simply masquerade its disagreement with the district court’s findings and objection to state-law liability as contentions of legal error.”

Michael Love:

[This] whole business seems like nothing but a stalling tactic; Apple is going to wait exactly 89 days to file their cert petition and hope the Supreme Court sits on it for a month or two before rejecting it, so they get an extra few months to dream up new ways to punish developers for offering outside purchase links.

Michael Love:

Apple seems - among other things - to treat “a settlement of a class action exclusively with small developers in which they agreed to waive a trivial anti-steering provision” as dispositive, and bringing up the fact that the same judge that approved that settlement also imposed this one would seem to undermine their argument rather than bolstering it (because presumably she did it knowing that the original settlement was insufficient).

Also their lawyer doesn’t seem to realize that Steam for iOS is an app that exists and undercuts this entire thread of argument[…]

Juli Clover:

Apple does not need to change its “anti-steering” App Store rules while its legal dispute with Epic Games continues to play out, the U.S. Supreme Court decided today. Apple can maintain the App Store rules as is while the Supreme Court considers its appeal, according to Bloomberg Law.

Adi Robertson (Hacker News):

Justice Elena Kagan declined to vacate a stay on a lower court order about Apple’s anti-steering rules, which limit how iOS app developers can direct users to alternate payment methods. Kagan did not issue an explanation for the decision, but Epic’s petition was noted as denied on the Supreme Court’s website.

Juli Clover:

Epic Games today filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court, which basically means the company is asking the Supreme Court to make a ruling in its ongoing legal battle with Apple.


Epic’s 488 page filing lists several reasons why the Supreme Court should hear the case, focusing on errors made by the lower courts and the significance of the case, as any major App Store change would impact hundreds of thousands of developers.


Apple back in in July was given 90 days after the appeals court ruling to decide whether it would petition the Supreme Court. Apple has not yet contacted the Supreme Court, nor has it hit that 90 day limit. When the 90-day limit expires, Apple will either need to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case or implement the App Store changes that it has been ordered to make.


tvOS 17

Apple (MacRumors):

Apple TV 4K becomes an even more versatile living room device with the launch of FaceTime on tvOS 17 today, bringing new ways to connect with family and friends.1 Users can make calls directly from Apple TV 4K, or start calls on iPhone or iPad, and hand them off to Apple TV 4K. FaceTime on Apple TV 4K takes advantage of Continuity Camera support to wirelessly connect to iPhone or iPad, and leverages the devices’ cameras and microphones to bring participants together on the TV.

Later this year, new tvOS apps from Webex by Cisco and Zoom will take advantage of Continuity Camera and expand their communications capabilities to Apple TV 4K.


Also new with tvOS 17 on Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD is expanded functionality with Siri. Users can ask more general questions and receive helpful responses, making Siri even more approachable and useful.


Update (2023-10-25): Sigmund Judge:

After using tvOS 17 over the summer, I’m happy to impart that the new features are all positive additions, even though there remains work to be done. So, without further ado, in a MacStories return to tvOS reviews, let’s dive into tvOS 17.


In the short time since tvOS 17’s public release, I’ve already seen Apple TVs used in new ways for production. Once, it was just an AirPlay destination for easier top-down shots and roaming cameras. However, now, an Apple TV connected to a capture device also offers an easy way to create presentations or record conversations thanks to Continuity Camera. When developers unlock the tools that have slowly trickled out year after year, tvOS could be looked upon in a different light from how it’s regarded today.

A full production suite for small creators or extensions to current uses in meeting rooms and educational institutions could be the company’s answer to cost-effective computing in developing countries or perhaps a new way to log into its suite of productivity apps through iCloud. Maybe the TV was dropped from the top of Apple TV’s latest hardware iteration for a reason?