Archive for October 20, 2023

Friday, October 20, 2023

Apple’s Use of Swift and SwiftUI in iOS 17

Alexandre Colucci (Hacker News):

Unsurprisingly, there has been a significant increase in the number of apps adopting SwiftUI this year. Notable mentions include:

  • The Preferences app with several of its bundles (StorageSettingsUI, WallpaperSettings, MultitaskingAndGesturesSettings, ThirdPartyApplicationSettings, ActionButtonSettings, …)
  • Several binaries related to Health (, HealthUI, MentalHealthUI, WorkoutUI, …)
  • The Home app, which appears to have undergone some major changes (, HomeEnergyUI, HomeUICommon, HomeDataModel, HomeAccessoryControlUI, …)
  • The support for the new Action button (ActionButtonSettings, ActionButtonConfigurationUI, …)
  • Additionally, several other important apps, such as Calendar and Reminders, are now using SwiftUI

In iOS 16, only 4 apps used the SwiftUI-based app lifecycle. In iOS 17, this figure has grown to 14 apps[…]


In the upcoming years, it will be interesting to observe whether Swift begins to spread into low-level firmware, such as the Secure Enclave. Currently, Swift is absent from the Secure Enclave in iOS, although macOS does incorporate it.


The Problem With China and AI

Benjamin Mullin, John Koblin, and Tripp Mickle (Hacker News):

Jon Stewart’s show on Apple’s streaming service is abruptly coming to an end, according to several people with knowledge of the decision, the result of creative differences between the tech giant and the former “Daily Show” host.


The show initially had difficulty gaining traction. By the second season, though, several interviews generated viral clips online, and the season was nominated for the outstanding talk series Emmy.

Benjamin Mayo (Hacker News, MacRumors):

Filming for season three was set to begin soon, but those plans have now been scrapped.

According to the newspaper, Apple executives resisted coverage of some topics Stewart had planned to tackle in the third season, including coverage of China and AI matters.

Mickle was one of the ones reporting previously, based on multiple sources, that Tim Cook and other executives were “giving notes” on Apple’s TV content. Eddy Cue categorically denied the story, but I never found it likely that Apple would be entirely hands-off, and there have been scattered reports since that notes have been given. Canceling a show entirely is a much cleaner way of solving “the problem” and will ensure that other shows won’t need notes on these topics to stay in line.

Nick Heer:

In 2019, Alex Kantrowitz and John Paczkowski reported for Buzzfeed News that Apple was one of several studios which wanted to avoid irking powerful people in China. It is risky for any large studio to be unable to show its productions in China but, as has become a normal point of discussion for me, Apple’s exposure is even greater because of its manufacturing requirements.


Update (2023-10-25): See also: ArsTechnica and Hacker News.

Update (2024-06-18): M.G. Siegler:

Stewart sat down with Puck’s Matt Belloni for his podcast The Town last week. He started out clearly trying to make peace with Apple – which, by his own account, did very right by him and his team upon exiting the relationship – and tone down the rhetoric[…]


He recalled a specific instance when he was shooting the show’s second season, which was during his interview with economist Larry Summers. As the two discussed high corporate profits and federal interest rates, Summers pointed out that Stewart’s program was airing on Apple. Stewart acknowledged it and said that all corporations are gouging customers, and Summers acknowledged that raising interest rates softens the labor market.

“We play the interview for the audience, they explode like we just hit a three-pointer at the buzzer,” Stewart recalled, adding that Apple raised concerns soon after. “The show ends, we go downstairs in full Rudy mode. The Apple executives walk into the dressing room afterwards with a look on their face and I was like ‘oh my God, did the factory explode, what happened?’”

“And they go ‘are you going to use that Summers thing,” Stewart continued. “I was like ‘the one where the crowd cheered?’ We went back and forth for a couple of weeks before the show aired about that particular moment. It was then that I realized, ‘Oh, our aims don’t align in any way.’ We’re trying to make the best most insightful execution of the intention that we can make, but they’re protecting a different agenda. And that’s when I knew we were in trouble.”

See also: William Gallagher and Ryan Christoffel.


The Average Lifespan of a Smartphone

Isabel Rubio (via Hacker News):

While Marcos Fernández managed to last six years with his previous device, the average lifespan of a smartphone is much lower. In Europe, for instance, it’s about three years, according to the European Environment Office (EEB). This figure is far less than the 25 years that a phone would need to last to offset its negative impact on the environment. The EEB highlights that extending the life of all smartphones in the European Union by just one year would save 2.1 million tons of carbon dioxide on an annual basis between now and 2030… “the equivalent of taking more than a million cars off the road.”


So why does a person, on average, change their smartphone every three years? One of the main reasons is “esthetic obsolescence, the constant search for something new,” explains Mário Barros[…]


What fails most with cellphones is the battery, followed by the operating system and the screen, according to a 2020 study by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU).


Some weeks ago, my iPhone 12 started to show some glitches. First, it was the Wi-Fi, which became grayed out in the settings. Shortly thereafter, the Bluetooth followed suit. Before long, my cellular data began acting up, only to completely stop functioning after a few weeks. Finally, the iPhone began spontaneously rebooting.

Having AppleCare+, I naturally expected this to be a minor hiccup. I packaged my iPhone and shipped it to the Apple Repair Center in Elk Grove, California, expecting my device to be returned to me in working order. I was in for a rude shock.

Apple’s technicians allegedly found that my device had been “damaged or modified” in such a way that it wasn’t covered by Apple’s Warranty, AppleCare products, or an Apple Service Program, and thus they refused to repair my device.


Remember, sometimes you need to push through, persist, and speak directly to the right people to get your issue resolved.

Kyle Wiens (Hacker News):

We need to have a serious chat about iPhone repairability. We judged the phones of yesteryear by how easy they were to take apart—screws, glues, how hard it was to change a battery. But repairs have gotten trickier, by design. Software now limits many basic iPhone repairs. That’s why we’ve revised the repairability score for the iPhone 14 from a recommend 7 out of 10 to a do-not-recommend 4.

Although we enthusiastically awarded it a solid score at launch last year, thanks to its innovative repair-friendly architecture—of which we remain big fans—the reality for folks trying to fix these things has been very different. Most major repairs on modern iPhones require Apple approval. You have to buy parts through their system, then have the repair validated via a chat system. Otherwise, you’ll run into limited or missing functionality, with a side of annoying warnings.


Update (2023-10-25): MiltonLumky (via Damien Petrilli):

as a Apple technician who open thousand of new and used phones I’ll have to admit that apple should more control Chinese workers, I’ll saw a lot of finger prints, missing screw, missing parts, bad applied display adhesive etc. etc. It’s really sad, apple sell his devices for a thousand of dollars but they trust low paid overworked employees more than the customers who spend the money… every time when I’ll see „unauthorized modification”, I feel that the customer is simple cheated by big apple


I work as an Apple technichian as well and i can confirm this. Also i have a strong suspicion that if the repair center manages to fuck up the phone in some way, they will sometimes find a way to blame the customer, or mark the device as either modified or tampered with. Even when no modifications or tampering has been done to the device.

I once got a phone returned, repair center refused repair as it had been tampered with. The phone was a replacement unit directly from Apple that was almost brand new, and had issues not related at all to the original issue.

An Apple Library Primer


Apple’s library technology has a long and glorious history, dating all the way back to the origins of Unix. This does, however, mean that it can be a bit confusing to newcomers. This is my attempt to clarify some terminology.


The linker has seen three major implementations:

  • ld — This dates from the dawn of Mac OS X.

  • ld64 — This was a rewrite started in the 2005 timeframe. Eventually it replaced ld completely. If you type ld, you get ld64.

  • ld_prime — This was introduced with Xcode 15. This isn’t a separate tool. Rather, ld now supports the -ld_classic and -ld_new options to select a specific implementation.


The dynamic linker has seen 4 major revisions. See WWDC 2017 Session 413 (referenced below) for a discussion of versions 1 through 3. Version 4 is basically a merging of versions 2 and 3.