Archive for July 9, 2024

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

iOS 18: Vehicle Motion Cues

Tim Hardwick:

According to Apple, research shows that motion sickness is commonly caused by a sensory conflict between what a person sees and what they feel, which can prevent some users from comfortably using iPhone or iPad while riding in a moving vehicle.

Vehicle Motion Cues are designed to avoid this sensory conflict with the use of visual elements on the display that indicate real-time changes in motion.


If you turned on the feature, you should now see the motion cues – roving little dots – around the edges of your iPhone or iPad screen.

I wonder whether this also applies to the CarPlay display.


CarPlay at WWDC24

Casper Kessels (April 2024, via Hacker News):

The first version of CarPlay has been available since 2016 and has been a major success. For car industry standards, it was adopted quickly and by almost every carmaker. But since then, the car industry has been changing while the design and functionality of CarPlay have mostly stayed the same.

With lower hardware cost and an increased focus on software, carmakers have invested more in their interiors to set themselves apart. Google jumped on this opportunity by releasing Android Automotive. Unlike Android Auto, Google’s equivalent to Apple CarPlay, Android Automotive runs natively inside the car and any carmaker is free to use it. Google monetizes it by licensing its ‘Google Automotive Services’ to carmakers. This gives carmakers access to Google’s services like Google Maps, Waze, the Play Store, and Google Assistant.


Thanks to a deep integration with the software stack of the vehicle, CarPlay 2 can control most infotainment functions. It can therefore take over the entire infotainment display, the instrument cluster, and any passenger displays. For customers, it will appear like CarPlay works exactly in the same way but underneath, a lot of custom work is necessary by the carmaker and Apple to integrate. For example, even though most of the computing power still comes from the iPhone, there will be some software engineering necessary on the carmakers’ hardware to ensure that safety-critical information like speed doesn’t disappear when the iPhone crashes.

Apple is fully dependent on the carmaker’s willingness to work with them to implement this. This is why the WWDC keynote was clearly a pitch aimed at carmakers, not consumers. But so far, on the surface, it seems like carmakers have not been eager to implement the new version.

Dave Mark (May 2024):

GM dumped CarPlay. This Bloomberg piece digs into the why and the what of it all.

Lots of great bits here, including what the “Ultifi” (GM’s CarPlay replacement) experience is like.

Spoiler: It’s not pretty.

The CarPlay vs Android Auto vs Android Automotive saga is incredibly important to Apple, and GM is on the front lines.

Malcolm Owen:

The entire situation was an attempt by GM to create its own software team to make a better dashboard experience than CarPlay. One that it could control directly, and potentially capitalize on instead of relying on Apple’s software.

Apple was a threat to become “the iOS of the vehicle,” said GM SVP of strategy and innovation Alan Wexler. “It’s a physical vehicle, but it’s an iPhone you’re driving.”

GM was fine with CarPlay offering entertainment, but balked at Apple’s intention to control more of a vehicle’s functions. Achieving that would mean Apple had more control over how GM could earn digital revenue from its customers.

I don’t want CarPlay taking over the vehicle’s functions any more than I want the vehicle blocking me from using my iPhone for maps and entertainment.

WWDC Session 10112:

Explore the design system at the heart of the next generation of CarPlay that allows each automaker to express their vehicle’s character and brand. Learn how gauges, layouts, dynamic content, and more are deeply customizable and adaptable, allowing you to express your own design philosophy and create an iconic, tailored look. This session is intended for automakers, system developers, and anyone designing a system that supports the next generation of CarPlay.

Khaos Tian:

This explains why next generation CarPlay is never going to happen 😛

No auto manufacturer is going to build their car UI twice just for iPhone…

And this shows why HI shouldn’t do car instrument cluster design 😅

Nilay Patel (Threads):

The result is an approach to CarPlay that’s much less “Apple runs your car” and much more “Apple built a design toolkit for automakers to use however they want.”


But if you want to integrate things like speedometers and climate controls, CarPlay needs to actually collect data from your car, display it in real time, and be able to control various features like HVAC directly. So, for next-gen CarPlay, Apple’s split things into what it calls “layers,” some of which run on your iPhone while others run locally on the car so they don’t break if your phone disconnects. And phone disconnects are going to be an issue because next-generation CarPlay only supports wireless connections. “The stability and performance of the wireless connection are essential,” Apple’s Tanya Kancheva says while talking about the next-gen architecture. Given that CarPlay connectivity issues are still the most common issue in new cars and wireless made it worse, that’s something Apple needs to keep an eye on.


Apple’s example here is a vision of multiple colliding interface ideas all at once: a button in CarPlay to control massage seats that can either show native CarPlay controls or simply drop you into the car’s own interface.

Joe Rosensteel (Mastodon):

The two 2024 videos are basically sales pitches and explainers for the vague 2022 announcement. A lot of extra work has happened in two years, but … will anything ever ship with what they keep teasing?


Ironically car makers are teased with a level of customization that has never appeared on an Apple product in this century, but it’s when working in conjunction with Apple designers, and you apparently have to use the San Francisco family of typefaces? Wild proposition.


Setting aside the highly polarizing topic of what should be a physical button, and what should be on a screen, there’s no reason to do all the screen work twice. Especially not if it adds to customer confusion over their vehicle controls when their phone isn’t connected to the vehicle.


In my humble opinion, Next-Gen CarPlay is dead on arrival. Too late, too complicated, and it doesn’t solve the needs of automakers or customers.

Joe Rossignol:

iOS 18 adds contact photos next to names in the Messages app, making it easier to identify conversations at a glance.


In the Settings app, you can now choose to have Silent mode on your iPhone automatically turn on or off when the device is connected to CarPlay.


Voice Control is another new accessibility feature that allows you to control CarPlay entirely with Siri voice commands through a connected iPhone.

But will it be able to display the full title of the song that’s playing?

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.


Mac App Impersonation

Jérôme Segura (via Ric Ford):

On June 24, we observed a new campaign distributing a stealer targeting Mac users via malicious Google ads for the Arc browser. This is the second time in the past couple of months where we see Arc being used as a lure, certainly a sign of its popularity. It was previously used to drop a Windows RAT, also via Google ads.

The macOS stealer being dropped in this latest campaign is actively being developed as an Atomic Stealer competitor, with a large part of its code base being the same as its predecessor. Malwarebytes was previously tracking this payload as OSX.RodStealer, in reference to its author, Rodrigo4. The threat actor rebranded the new project ‘Poseidon’ and added a few new features such as looting VPN configurations.

Kseniia Yamburh (via Ric Ford):

As malware researchers in Moonlock, the cybersecurity division of MacPaw, we are always on the lookout for new samples to analyze and protect our users from. One day, we came across a sample with the name CleanMyMac, which caught our attention. However, this sample was not the genuine CleanMyMac, but a malicious impersonation.

We decided to investigate this campaign further and uncovered many more samples with different malware inside, such as Atomic Stealer, PSW Stealer, and AdLoad Adware. These malware can steal users’ passwords and personal data and display unwanted ads on their Macs.

Howard Oakley:

There is a problem common to all products that try to detect malicious software, in false positives. Over the 20 months or so since XProtect Remediator went live, several of its scanning modules have reported what appear to be false positives.


To our disappointment, Apple Support didn’t appear concerned, and told them that such events don’t get reported to the user unless there’s something that the user needs to do. They were then pointed at a discussion on Apple Support Communities, where the “Best reply” may be familiar to some of you.


This immediately reveals that the respondent is unable to draw the distinction between ‘classic’ XProtect, the part of Gatekeeper that performs checks on executable code before it’s run, and the newer XProtect Remediator, which scans for telltale signs of malicious software when your Mac isn’t in use.


Stack Overflow Links Pushing Malware

Lawrence Abrams (via Hacker News):

Cybercriminals are abusing Stack Overflow in an interesting approach to spreading malware—answering users’ questions by promoting a malicious PyPi package that installs Windows information-stealing malware.


This PyPi package is named ‘pytoileur’ and was uploaded by threat actors to the PyPi repository over the weekend, claiming it was an API management tool. Notice how the package has the “Cool package” string in the Summary metadata field, indicating it is part of this ongoing campaign.