Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal Will Replace Jack Dorsey as CEO 

Jessica Bursztynsky, reporting for CNBC:

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is stepping down as chief of the social media company, effective immediately. Parag Agrawal, the company’s chief technology officer, will take over the helm, the company said Monday.

Retool 

My thanks to Retool for sponsoring last week at DF. Retool is a new approach to programming for the modern web: they’ve unified the ease of visual programming with the power and flexibility of real code. Drag and drop a form together, and have it POST back to your API in minutes. Deploy instantly with access controls and audit logs. It’s akin to a HyperCard or Visual Basic for the modern web.

Allbirds uses Retool to measure billboard efficacy. Amazon uses Retool to handle GDPR requests. You, too, can use it to build business-critical applications fast.

Check out their demo video to see how easy it is to build something serious and useful — quickly and intuitively. It’s easy to explore on your own and they have good docs and guided videos. Start building for free today.

Vinegar — Safari Extension That Replaces YouTube Embeds With Simple HTML 5 Video Tags 

Zhenyi Tan:

YouTube5 was a Safari extension back when Flash was still a thing and hated by everyone. It replaced the YouTube player (written in Flash) with an HTML <video> tag.

And now the YouTube player situation has gotten bad enough that we need another extension to fix it. That’s where Vinegar comes in. Vinegar also replaces the YouTube player (written in who-knows-what) with a minimal HTML <video> tag.

I’ve been using Vinegar for over a week now, across all my devices — iPhone, iPad, Mac — and I’m already at the place where I don’t know what I’d do without it. Crackerjack good work. $2 on the App Store. Just buy it, trust me.

Jason Snell’s 2021 E-Reader Roundup: Kobo Sage, Kobo Libra 2, and Kindle Paperwhite 

I’ve got a Paperwhite that’s now a few years old. I really don’t use it much, because for whatever reason, I prefer paper books. But Jason Snell is a voracious reader of books on e-readers, and, of course, he has impeccable taste in hardware and software. If you’re looking to buy someone an e-reader this holiday season, or to ask someone to get one for you, I’d read Snell’s review of these three.

The Talk Show: The Scotland Board of Tourism 

For your holiday listening enjoyment: Special guest David Smith returns to the show to talk about Apple Watch Series 7 and the state of WatchOS, Apple suing NSO Group, and more.

Brought to you by these fine sponsors:

  • Hover: Find a domain name for your passion. Get 10% off your first purchase.
  • Hullo Pillow: Your favorite pillow, guaranteed.
  • Memberful: Monetize your passion with membership. Start your free trial today.

Tim Sweeney Says the Quiet Part Out Loud

Vlad Savov and Sohee Kim, reporting last week for Bloomberg, “Apple, Google Monopoly Over Apps Must Be Stopped, Epic Games CEO Says”:1

Epic Games Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Sweeney renewed his attack on Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google as the world’s dominant mobile duopoly before calling for a universal app store that works across all operating systems as the solution.

“What the world really needs now is a single store that works with all platforms,” Sweeney said in an interview in Seoul on Tuesday.

First, a note to Bloomberg editors: two companies can’t possess a monopoly. The word you’re looking for is duopoly — or, (very) arguably, monopolies, plural. Second: the solution to an ostensibly problematic duopoly is ... a single universal store? And we’re supposed to take this without laughing?

And, gee, I wonder which company Tim Sweeney thinks should own and run this store?

“Right now software ownership is fragmented between the iOS App Store, the Android Google Play marketplace, different stores on Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch, and then Microsoft Store and the Mac App Store.” Epic is working with developers and service providers to create a system that would allow users “to buy software in one place, knowing that they’d have it on all devices and all platforms.”

I’ve been arguing all along that, if victorious in their lawsuits against Apple and Google’s mobile app console platforms, Epic would surely turn its sights on Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft’s game console platforms, using their win over Apple and Google as precedent. When pressed on this — why Epic was going after the iOS and Android app stores, but not the Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox game stores (and in fact, gave those game console stores a 20 percent discount after launching their seemingly ill-fated jihad against Apple and Google) — Sweeney has previously given a hand-wavy justification about game console platforms being acceptable because the hardware itself isn’t profitable.

That reeked of bullshit from the get-go. Now he’s made it clear. Epic got their clocks cleaned in their lawsuit against Apple, and now Sweeney’s having a tantrum and letting it all hang out. If I were on the PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch store teams, I wouldn’t trust Epic as far as I could throw them. 


  1. Bloomberg, of course, remains the outfit that shit its journalistic pants with The Big Hack — a blockbuster report that no one, including Bloomberg, has ever produced a single shred of evidence to back up — yet not only never retracted but in fact still “stands behind” it even though it’s rather clear they hope everyone just forgets about it. So take anything they publish with a Big Hack-sized grain of salt. Why even link to Bloomberg at all, you might ask? Because Bloomberg is an essential news organization. They often have scoops and original reporting no one else does. If they report something that is also reported elsewhere, I link elsewhere. But when they break news — as they did here — they deserve the link. I won’t let go of this Big Hack fiasco because Bloomberg is too good an institution to leave such an egregious and high-profile mistake uncorrected. ↩︎


Wirecutter Union Is Striking 

Wirecutter Union:

During two years of bargaining, The New York Times company has slow-walked contract negotiations with unfair labor practices and insignificant wage offers that severely underpay our staff. We, members of the Wirecutter Union, are fed up. To win the fair contract we deserve, we’re prepared to walk out during the Black Friday shopping week.

Wirecutter continues to bring in record revenue for the Times, which is sitting on over $1 billion in cash. Yet our members have seen next to no financial benefit from their vital contributions to this success. Times management has offered paltry guaranteed wage increases of only 0.5%, despite soaring inflation and cash flows.

Choire Sicha, writing at New York Magazine, has the headline of the day, “Here’s the Best Strike for Most People”:

Many Wirecutter staff realized early on that their Times colleagues weren’t as excited about their arrival, even as the then-CEO extolled at sale time that Wirecutter “embodies the same standards and values that are the pillars of our own newsroom.” But Wirecutter was always treated as a second-class citizen, isolated in its own Slack, its own offices, and its own reporting structure under Perpich. It never joined the newsroom, and its work was openly sneered at by some longtime staffers. Many Times staffers don’t believe their work is journalism at all. The pay scale, as well, is substantially different from Times salaries. Even Times fellows, which are yearlong full-time jobs in the newsroom designed to train emerging journalists, receive a significantly higher salary than the starting rate for Wirecutter writers.

The Times will take the money Wirecutter generates — remember, they now charge a subscription fee, on top of their original (and successful) monetization strategy of earning revenue through affiliate links for recommended products — but they do not treat Wirecutter staff as peers.

Fuck ’em, I say. Stay away from Wirecutter this weekend, and tell everyone in your family tomorrow to do the same. There are a zillion other places to find links to Black Friday deals.

MacOS 12 Monterey’s Network Quality Tool 

Dan Petrov:

It seems that Apple has quietly added a new tool in macOS Monterey for measuring your device’s Internet connectivity quality. You can simply call the executable networkQuality, which executes the following tests:

  • Upload/download capacity (your Tx/Rx bandwidth essentially)
  • Upload/download flows, this seems to be the number of test packets used for the responsiveness tests
  • Upload/download responsiveness measured in Roundtrips Per Minute (RPM), which according to Apple, is the number of sequential round-trips, or transactions, a network can do in one minute under normal working conditions

The capacity is roughly the same metric you could expect from tools like Fast.com from Netflix, or OOkla’s Speedtest.

Neato. Just type networkQuality in Terminal, let it run for a bit, and then hit Return to get a summary.

E.U. Regulators Are at It Again 

Björn Finke, reporting for Süddeutsche Zeitung (original in German; I’m quoting here from Safari 15’s translation to English):

For example, these powerful companies must no longer prefer their own services in search results, as Google did in the 2.4 billion case. You may also not collect business data from independent merchants on the platform and use it for your own offers, as Amazon is accused of. And they must allow mobile phone users to install other app stores and thus get more choice in mobile phone programs. This will hurt Apple a lot. In the event of violations, the Commission can intervene directly in the future without having to prove market power and harmful consequences in long investigations.

Misguided, to say the least.

Parliament expanded the list of platforms to be viewed and includes, for example, Internet-enabled TVs or voice assistants such as Alexa. On the other hand, MEPs increased the thresholds for sales to eight billion euros and the market value to 80 billion euros. This means that only Booking.com should be able to fall under the law from Europe for the foreseeable future. MEP Schwab argues that it is better for the Commission to focus on the really large companies in the implementation and control of the legal act. Critics warn, however, that the US government could consider it an unfriendly act if the groundbreaking law hits almost only American companies.

European regulations that are targeted, almost exclusively, at U.S. companies. You think that might be perceived here as “unfriendly”? You don’t say.

Another important addition to the Commission draft is that Parliament wants to force gatekeepers to allow exchanges between rival messenger services and social media. Then, for example, a user could send a message from WhatsApp to the competitor Signal — this opening should also stimulate competition.

This nugget is under a sub-head that was translated to “Send a message from WhatsApp to Signal? No problem”. No problem at all. Probably will only take a few lines of code to get all the world’s messaging systems — including those using end-to-end encryption like Signal and WhatsApp (and iMessage) — talking to each other.

They should do another draft that mandates the invention of personal jet packs and flying cars, too.

600 Google Employees Sign Manifesto Opposing Company’s Vaccine Mandate 

Jeffifer Elias, reporting for CNBC:

The manifesto within Google, which has been signed by at least 600 Google employees, asks company leaders to retract the vaccine mandate and create a new one that is “inclusive of all Googlers,” arguing leadership’s decision will have outsize influence in corporate America. It also calls on employees to “oppose the mandate as a matter of principle” and tells employees to not let the policy alter their decision if they’ve already chosen not to get the Covid vaccine.

Casey Newton:

Wow, they made a list of the dumbest people at Google.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. And, to be clear, Google has somewhere north of 140,000 employees.

(I sure would like to read the actual “manifesto”, but I can’t find it.)

The Apple v. NSO Group Complaint (PDF) 

The opening paragraph:

Defendants are notorious hackers — amoral 21st century mercenaries who have created highly sophisticated cyber-surveillance machinery that invites routine and flagrant abuse. They design, develop, sell, deliver, deploy, operate, and maintain offensive and destructive malware and spyware products and services that have been used to target, attack, and harm Apple users, Apple products, and Apple. For their own commercial gain, they enable their customers to abuse those products and services to target individuals including government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and even U.S. citizens.

It gets more strident from there.

I genuinely wonder what Apple’s goals are with this suit. Is it just to bring NSO Group’s activities to light? If this goes to trial, the testimony should really be something to see. How much in damages will Apple seek at trial? Enough to bankrupt NSO Group? (Don’t forget Facebook has an ongoing lawsuit against NSO Group for having exploited a bug in WhatsApp to install malware on targets.)

Apple’s Own Announcement of Their Lawsuit Against NSO Group 

Apple Newsroom:

Apple’s legal complaint provides new information on NSO Group’s FORCEDENTRY, an exploit for a now-patched vulnerability previously used to break into a victim’s Apple device and install the latest version of NSO Group’s spyware product, Pegasus. The exploit was originally identified by the Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto. [...]

NSO Group and its clients devote the immense resources and capabilities of nation-states to conduct highly targeted cyberattacks, allowing them to access the microphone, camera, and other sensitive data on Apple and Android devices. To deliver FORCEDENTRY to Apple devices, attackers created Apple IDs to send malicious data to a victim’s device — allowing NSO Group or its clients to deliver and install Pegasus spyware without a victim’s knowledge. Though misused to deliver FORCEDENTRY, Apple servers were not hacked or compromised in the attacks.

A couple of things are interesting about this. First, Apple repeatedly refers to the “FORCEDENTRY” exploit by name. This is not PR bullshit — they’re talking about a very specific exploit. Second, they refer to Android as their compatriot, not their competitor. There’s a time and place for Apple to brag about iOS being more secure than Android, but this isn’t it. The message here: “This isn’t just about us, NSO Group is after everyone.”

Lastly, the phrase “the immense resources and capabilities of nation-states”. This is Apple hammering home the fact that deliberate backdoors would be exploited. They’re up against countries with, effectively, infinite money and resources to find and exploit accidental vulnerabilities. If there were deliberate backdoors, the game would be over before it started.

Apple commends groups like the Citizen Lab and Amnesty Tech for their groundbreaking work to identify cybersurveillance abuses and help protect victims. To further strengthen efforts like these, Apple will be contributing $10 million, as well as any damages from the lawsuit, to organizations pursuing cybersurveillance research and advocacy.

The New York Times story on this mentioned that Apple would be donating any damages from the lawsuit, if they win. It’s a nice touch that they’re donating $10 million no matter what happens in court. Citizen Lab and Amnesty Tech did crackerjack work exposing this exploit.

Apple is notifying the small number of users that it discovered may have been targeted by FORCEDENTRY. Any time Apple discovers activity consistent with a state-sponsored spyware attack, Apple will notify the affected users in accordance with industry best practices.

Interesting!

Apple Sues NSO Group 

Nicole Perlroth, reporting for The New York Times:

Apple is also asking for unspecified damages for the time and cost to deal with what the company argues is NSO’s abuse of its products. Apple said it would donate the proceeds from those damages to organizations that expose spyware. [...]

The sample of Pegasus gave Apple a forensic understanding of how Pegasus worked. The company found that NSO’s engineers had created more than 100 fake Apple IDs to carry out their attacks. In the process of creating those accounts, NSO’s engineers would have had to agree to Apple’s iCloud Terms and Conditions, which expressly require that iCloud users’ engagement with Apple “be governed by the laws of the state of California.” The clause helped Apple bring its lawsuit against NSO in the Northern District of California.

Shades of nailing Al Capone for tax evasion.

Apple executives described the lawsuit as a warning shot to NSO and other spyware makers. “This is Apple saying: If you do this, if you weaponize our software against innocent users, researchers, dissidents, activists or journalists, Apple will give you no quarter,” Ivan Krstic, head of Apple security engineering and architecture, said in an interview on Monday.

That is not — at all — how leaders at Apple usually speak in the press. Apple is not a hard or tricky company to read. They are furious about NSO Group.

Fairphone 4: A ‘Sustainable, Repairable, and Ethical’ Android Phone 

Jerry Hildenbrand, writing for Android Central:

The phone comes with a full five-year warranty that covers anything that you didn’t cause. For those things that you did cause, let’s say you dropped it and broke the display, you can likely easily fix it yourself using inexpensive spare parts that Fairphone sells itself.

The same way Fairphone is attempting to shake up the phone industry, it’s also trying to change the way we think about having our phones repaired. What keeps your Samsung phone from being easy to fix is how it is built and the materials used to make it. Things like glued-in displays or sealed cases aren’t an issue with the Fairphone 4. You can pull out most internal assemblies and then replace them with new components using only a small Philips head screwdriver.

Another side effect of this is having a battery that can be swapped at any time by removing the 100% recycled plastic backplate. This used to be normal for Android phones, but I can’t think of a single mainstream device with a user-swappable battery in 2021. Of course, you can still charge the battery quickly using a USB C P.D. charger, but knowing that you can carry a spare “just in case” is great.

Sounds great, right? But, among other caveats (e.g. a somewhat crummy camera given the €579/~$650 price):

One last issue is that the Fairphone 4 is “only” IP54 rated. This means the Fairphone 4 is “protected against dust ingress sufficient to prevent the product from operating normally, but it’s not dust-tight. The product is fully protected against solid objects and splashing of water from any angle”.

You can use the Fairphone 4 in the rain, but you can’t take it into the pool. Once you realize that the back of the phone pops right off and the fact that gaskets and other waterproofing measures would add to the cost considerably, you understand why.

iPhones have been dust- and water-proof since the iPhone 7 in 2016. (The iPhone 7 was rated IP67 — the 6 means dust-tight (the highest IP rating for particles), and the 7 means waterproof for temporary immersion. More recent iPhones are rated IP68, where the 8 stands for “full immersion” (Apple says up to 6 meters depth for 30 minutes). Samsung’s S21 is rated IP68 (but only to a depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes), and Google’s Pixel 6 phones are rated IP68 as well, albeit with a disclaimer that reads, in part, “Water resistance isn’t a permanent condition, and diminishes or is lost over time due to normal wear and tear, device repair, disassembly or damage”).

Is it possible that Fairphone — or someone else manufacturing a phone with Fairphone’s ease-of-repairability ideals — will eventually achieve IP68 levels of ingress protection? Of course. It’s also certainly the case that some people, like Hildenbrand, value repairability and battery-swapping more than they value dust and water resistance.

But not most people.

Mux Video 

My thanks to Mux for once again sponsoring DF. Mux is the developer video platform. Use their Video API to build video streaming into your application and make it play beautifully at scale on any device. A Mux stream is just one GET request away from magical-feeling features like automatic thumbnails, animated GIFs, and data-driven encoding decisions. Looking for more insight into your video performance? They’ve got that covered too with data: which viewers are seeing errors or re-buffering, which player or CDN is performing better, and whether or not you should use Mux (trick question, yes).

Steve Wozniak’s Startup Privateer Plans to Launch Hundreds of Satellites to Study Space Debris 

Mike Wall, writing for Space.com:

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s startup Privateer aims to help humanity get the goods on space junk before it’s too late. The Hawaii-based company, whose existence Wozniak and co-founder Alex Fielding announced in September, wants to characterize the ever-expanding space debris population like never before. Privateer will do this by incorporating a variety of data, including crowdsourced information and observations made by its own sizable satellite fleet.

“I think we’re looking at several hundred satellites,” Privateer Chief Scientific Adviser Moriba Jah told Space.com. “We won’t launch all several hundred at once; we’ll just slowly build it up.”

Leave it to Woz to fund a startup to do something useful in space, rather than just shoot himself into low orbit for a few minutes. We need to put something like satellite Roombas up there to clean this debris up.

One Last Update on Apple’s New Self Service Repair Program (I Hope) 

From an update I just appended to yesterday’s follow-up:

I’m back to my original opinion, that the Self Service Repair Program is just what it says on the tin — a program for people who really do want to repair their own devices — and thus is irrelevant to all but a small sliver of actual users.

Twitter No Longer Sends Users to AMP Pages 

Henry Powderly, reporting for Search Engine Land:

With social media referrals to AMP pages cut down by the change, the reasons for supporting AMP are getting fewer.

For some of us, the reasons were obvious all along. It never made sense to me why any publishers supported AMP in the first place.

It took four years, but support for AMP is suddenly collapsing. Good riddance.

Dave Mark on the Repairability of Apple’s Devices 

Dave Mark, writing at The Loop:

Not sure how big the audience for right-to-repair is, but I do count myself in its number. And if it was easier to do, I suspect that number would be much larger. Imagine if repairing a cracked display was a simple, five minute operation. Wouldn’t you rather order the new display and make the swap yourself?

It used to be relatively easy to customize and repair your gear. As parts have given way to part assemblies (glued/soldered assemblies that become a single replaceable requirement, even if a single part fails) and the quest for smaller makes devices harder to open, harder to take apart, the ability to repair your own gear has become harder, almost impossible.

So those small numbers John points out are real. But should this be the way it is? Again, wouldn’t you love the ability to swap out a display as easily as you used to be able to swap out RAM on your old Macs?

Ideally, many people would still like to be able to swap out RAM on today’s Macs as easily as we could on old Macs. Same thing for SSD storage. Adding RAM and storage, years after purchase, was a great way to significantly extend the practical lifetime of Macs. A while back (15 years ago?) I replaced the spinning hard drive in a 15-inch PowerBook with an SSD, and it was like buying a brand-new much faster machine.

But: times change. Apple hasn’t moved away from user replaceable memory and storage components out of spite. Integrating memory and storage into the chips themselves is the reason why devices have gotten thinner and lighter and much, much faster. The incredible performance of Apple silicon — for both iOS devices and Macs — is part and parcel with integrating memory and storage directly onto the SoCs.

And in terms of replacing screens on iPhones, consider waterproofing and device aesthetics. To my knowledge, no company makes a mainstream smartphone with an easily-replaced display, because a smartphone with an easily replaced screen wouldn’t sell because of all the design trade-offs that would be involved.

Peng Shuai: U.N. Calls for Proof of Chinese Tennis Star’s Whereabouts; W.T.A. Chairman Willing to Pull Out of China 

CNN:

Peng, who is one of China’s most recognizable sports stars, has not been seen in public since she accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into sex at his home, according to screenshots of a since-deleted social media post dated November 2.

“What we would say is that it would be important to have proof of her whereabouts and wellbeing, and we would urge that there be an investigation with full transparency into her allegations of sexual assault,” Liz Throssell, the spokesperson of the UN Human Rights office, told reporters in Geneva on Friday. [...]

The head of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Steve Simon has said he is willing to lose hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business in China if Peng is not fully accounted for and her allegations are not properly investigated.

“We’re definitely willing to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it,” Simon said in an interview Thursday with CNN. “Because this is certainly, this is bigger than the business,” added Simon.

Chinese state media released an email Wednesday, purportedly written by Peng and addressed to Simon, that reads as preposterously fake.

Bravo to Simon and the WTA for taking this no-bullshit fuck-the-money stance. The NBA cowardly prostrated itself to the CCP two years ago, when Daryl Morey — then GM of the Houston Rockets — tweeted “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” (Morey is now president of my hometown 76ers.)

The International Olympics Committee will be tested next: the 2022 Winter Olympics are slated to be hosted in China, starting in February.

Apple Pushes Back Return to Office Plan to February 

Tim Cook, in a company-wide email (published by Zoe Schiffer, who has moved from The Verge to NBC News):

As of today, we are targeting February 1, 2022 to begin our hybrid work pilot in many global locations where teams have not yet returned to our corporate offices. We plan to start the pilot with a phased approach, welcoming people back to the office for one or two days a week for an initial period of four weeks. After this transitional period, we will begin the pilot in full, with eligible teams in the office three days a week, on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and with flexibility to work remotely on Wednesday and Friday. You’ll receive more details about how the first four-week phase will roll out as we get closer to the return date.

As I noted when we announced our hybrid work pilot, we do have a number of teams whose work requires a greater need to work in-person, and they will come into the office four or five days a week based on the plans for these specific teams.

Read: folks who work on hardware.

At the same time, we are committed to giving you more flexibility as we move forward. In addition to the option of working remotely twice a week on Wednesday and Friday, we announced this summer that team members would be able to work remotely for up to two weeks per year with a manager’s approval. I’m pleased to share that we’re increasing the amount of time you can work remotely to a total of four weeks per year. This provides more opportunity to travel, be closer to your loved ones, or simply shake up your routines.

Sensible, measured, and adaptable to changing conditions. Apple’s years-long response to the pandemic regarding its workforce (including retail) has been utterly Cook-ian.

Xbox Chief Phil Spencer, in Leaked Memo, Says Microsoft ‘Evaluating All Aspects of Our Relationship’ With Activision 

Jason Schreier, reporting for Bloomberg:*

Microsoft Corp.’s head of Xbox said he’s “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments,” in light of the recent revelations at the video game publisher.

In an email to staff seen by Bloomberg News, Phil Spencer said he and the gaming leadership team are “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” at Activision Blizzard Inc. He referred to the Wall Street Journal story earlier this week that said Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick knew of sexual harassment at the company for years and that he mistreated women.

This is about as close as Microsoft could come at this point to calling for Kotick to resign. It’s like when a mafia don says something like “I’m not sure about that guy.” He can’t say what he really means but we all know what he means.

(Also, this was a company-wide memo that was meant to leak.)

* You know.


A Few Follow-Up Points on Apple’s Self Service Repair Program

Yours truly, yesterday:

This appears to be a cause for celebration in right-to-repair circles, but I don’t see it as a big deal at all. Almost no one wants to repair their own cracked iPhone display or broken MacBook keyboard; even fewer people are actually competent enough to do so.

I expected some pushback on this, and got it, and I now think I missed one key point. Despite the program’s name, I think it’s not so much about individual users repairing their own personal devices. The biggest ramification, I think, will be that the program will allow unofficial independent repair shops to procure genuine OEM Apple replacement parts and service manuals. There are tons of people around the world (including here in the U.S.) who don’t live near an Apple store or an Apple-authorized repair shop. A lot of those people, though, might live near (or at least nearer) an independent repair shop. If those repair shops can now order genuine Apple parts and manuals, that’s a win, and maybe a bigger deal than I thought yesterday.

There’s also this factor: if the device in need of repair is still usable — say, an iPhone with a cracked but functional screen, or a MacBook with one or more broken but nonessential keys — it might be a lot more appealing for a user who doesn’t live near an Apple-authorized repair shop to go to a local independent shop for same-day service than to ship their device to Apple for official service.

On the flip side, though, I think a lot of the “Apple’s repair policies are screwing people” sentiment is based on the misconception that Apple grossly overcharges for repairs. A lot of companies in a lot of industries do just that. Car dealers, for example, are notorious for overcharging for parts and routine service. I think the logic goes something like this: Big companies always screw you over for service and repairs; Apple is obscenely profitable and reaps high margins; therefore surely Apple price-gouges for repairs, or makes repairs for older devices arduous to encourage people to buy new devices instead.

But Apple isn’t really like that at all. Longtime DF reader Jim Lipsey sent me a note yesterday. His two kids each happily use an iPhone 6S Plus, but each of them needed repairs this past summer — one needed the camera replaced, the other needed a new battery. Through Apple, the camera replacement cost $59, the battery $49. $108 total, to return two six-year-old iPhones to perfect working order. As Lipsey noted, that’s a tremendous cost-of-ownership value.

Update: Friday, 19 November

Wait a minute, wait a minute. On Twitter, Jason Aten reminded me of something I shouldn’t have already forgotten (considering that I posted about it): Apple two years ago announced the Independent Repair Provider Program. From their announcement then:

Apple today announced a new repair program, offering customers additional options for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. Apple will provide more independent repair businesses — large or small — with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics as its Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs). The program is launching in the US with plans to expand to other countries.

Given this existing program, I don’t see how this week’s new Self Service Repair Program helps independent repair shops — or Apple customers who rely on those shops — at all. And the existing Independent Repair Provider Program allows shops to stock genuine parts from Apple. The new Self Repair Program requires you to submit the damaged device’s serial number to Apple first, then Apple sends the necessary parts on a need-to-use basis. I’m back to my original opinion, that the Self Service Repair Program is just what it says on the tin — a program for people who really do want to repair their own devices — and thus is irrelevant to all but a small sliver of actual users. 


Apple’s New Self Service Repair Program

Apple Newsroom:

Apple today announced Self Service Repair, which will allow customers who are comfortable with completing their own repairs access to Apple genuine parts and tools. Available first for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups, and soon to be followed by Mac computers featuring M1 chips, Self Service Repair will be available early next year in the US and expand to additional countries throughout 2022. Customers join more than 5,000 Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) and 2,800 Independent Repair Providers who have access to these parts, tools, and manuals.

The initial phase of the program will focus on the most commonly serviced modules, such as the iPhone display, battery, and camera. The ability for additional repairs will be available later next year.

“Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “In the past three years, Apple has nearly doubled the number of service locations with access to Apple genuine parts, tools, and training, and now we’re providing an option for those who wish to complete their own repairs.”

This appears to be a cause for celebration in right-to-repair circles, but I don’t see it as a big deal at all. Almost no one wants to repair their own cracked iPhone display or broken MacBook keyboard; even fewer people are actually competent enough to do so. iFixit, in a celebratory post, claims:

But we’re thrilled to see Apple admit what we’ve always known: Everyone’s enough of a genius to fix an iPhone.

Nonsense. I just don’t see how more than a sliver of people would even want to do this rather than go to a professional shop.

Also, nothing announced today changes the fact that Apple still requires Apple genuine parts for all authorized repairs, no matter who does the repairing. There’s good reason for that, and it’s not a money grab. Today’s announcement, to my eyes, is about nothing more than reducing regulatory pressure from legislators who’ve fallen for the false notion that Apple’s repair policies, to date, have been driven by profit motive — that Apple profits greatly from authorized repairs, and/or that their policies are driven by a strategy of planned obsolescence, to get people to buy new products rather than repair broken old ones. I don’t believe either of those things,1 but for those who believe either or both, I don’t see how this Self Repair Program really changes anything other than who’s performing the labor.

Brian X. Chen, hailing the announcement in his column at The New York Times:

Apple delivered an early holiday gift on Wednesday to the eco-conscious and the do-it-yourselfers: It said it would soon begin selling the parts, tools and instructions for people to do their own iPhone repairs.

The appeal to do-it-yourselfers is self-evident. I don’t see how this is eco-conscious at all. It doesn’t enable people to repair older devices that Apple itself and authorized repair shops weren’t themselves able to repair.

The company has not yet published a list of costs for parts, but said the prices for consumers would be what authorized repair shops paid. Currently, a replacement iPhone 12 screen costs an authorized shop about $234 after a broken screen is traded in. At an Apple store, repairing an out-of-warranty iPhone 12 screen costs about $280.

In short, you will have more options to mend an iPhone, which can bring your costs down.

Previously, it was easiest to visit an Apple store to get an iPhone fixed. But just as taking your car to a dealer for servicing isn’t the cheapest option, going to an Apple store also wasn’t the most cost-effective.

The alternative was to take your iPhone to a third party for repair, potentially for a more competitive price. When I took a broken iPhone XS screen to an Apple store this year, I was quoted $280 for the repair, compared with $180 from an independent outlet.

Chen is not exactly comparing like-to-like here, with his prices for a replacement iPhone XS display “from an independent outlet” and the $234 Apple charges for an iPhone 12 display component, but it seems pretty clear that for a customer to pay just $180 for the XS screen replacement, including labor, the “independent outlet” was not using Apple genuine parts. How is that relevant to this new Self Service Repair program that is based on buying genuine parts directly from Apple? What we’re looking at here is saving $46. Good luck replacing that screen yourself, without any specialized tooling.

Don’t get me wrong: this program is nice, and perhaps a bit surprising given Apple’s public stance on the issue in recent years. We’re better off with this Self Service Repair program in place than we were without it. (Making service manuals available might actually help extend the lifetime of older devices for which Apple no longer sells parts.) But to me it clearly seems to be a small deal, not a “big deal”, as Chen claims.

And if it is a big deal, it’s for Apple, politically. (Nothing wrong with that.) 


  1. While running some benchmarks for another article, today I upgraded my iPhone X from 2017 to iOS 15.1. iOS 15 doesn’t just run on that four-year-old iPhone, it runs great. No company comes close to Apple in supporting older devices for longer. ↩︎


The Future of Work in the Metaverse 

This summarizes my take.

WSJ: ‘Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Knew for Years About Sexual-Misconduct Allegations at Videogame Giant’ 

Kirsten Grind, Ben Fritz, and Sarah E. Needleman, reporting yesterday for The Wall Street Journal (emphasis added):

Dan Bunting, co-head of Activision’s Treyarch studio, was accused by a female employee of sexually harassing her in 2017 after a night of drinking, according to people familiar with the incident. Activision’s human-resources department and other supervisors launched an internal investigation in 2019 and recommended that he be fired, but Mr. Kotick intervened to keep him, these people said. Mr. Bunting, who led Treyarch through the production of several successful Call of Duty games, was given counseling and allowed to remain at the company, these people said.

Mr. Bunting didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Activision spokeswoman said an outside investigation was conducted in 2020. “After considering potential actions in light of that investigation, the company elected not to terminate Mr. Bunting, but instead to impose other disciplinary measures,” she said. Mr. Bunting left the company after the Journal asked about the incident.

The article’s lede makes the situation at Activision sound pretty bad, but much of the next page or so is about stuff that was already known by Activision’s board. Then we get to the above quoted passage. HR recommended firing Bunting two years ago; when the Journal inquired about the incident now, Bunting quit the company. That he remained at the company between 2019 and now is all on Kotick. If it’s defensible, why quit now?

Chris Plante, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Polygon, today: “Bobby Kotick Must Resign”.

This is not the sort of thing Polygon normally does.

Cleveland Guardians Settle Lawsuit With Local Roller Derby Team Over Rights to Name 

The Associated Press:

Cleveland will have two teams called the Guardians. The Major League Baseball franchise and a local roller derby club have reached a resolution in a lawsuit filed over the use of the name Guardians, allowing both to continue using it.

The sides on Tuesday jointly announced an “amicable resolution,” an agreement that permits the Indians to continue their changeover to Guardians — a switch that was delayed due to the legal matter and isn’t completely finished.

Nice resolution to this item two weeks ago. The official change from Indians to Guardians will now happen Friday.

Qualcomm Announces Plans for ‘M-Series Competitive’ PC CPU’s in 2023 

Chaim Gartenberg, reporting for The Verge:

The new chip will be designed by the Nuvia team, which Qualcomm had bought earlier this year in a massive $1.4 billion acquisition. Nuvia, notably, was founded in 2019 by a trio of former Apple employees who had previously worked on the company’s A-series chips.

The company is making big promises, too: in addition to offering competition to Apple’s stellar M-series chips (which power its latest MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops and iMac and Mac Mini desktops), Qualcomm is aiming to lead the field for “sustained performance and battery life,” too. Additionally, Qualcomm promised that it would be scaling up its Adreno GPUs, too, with the goal of offering desktop-class gaming capabilities for its future PC products.

When they debuted, Apple-silicon-powered Macs were these crazy new machines that offered performance-per-watt far above the industry state-of-the-art. One year later, though, with pro-caliber laptops shipping, Apple silicon is the industry state-of-the-art, and everything else is behind. Qualcomm isn’t gunning for Intel or AMD; they’re gunning for Apple, because the M-series is the new benchmark.

Based on mobile chips, however, I have doubts about Qualcomm’s ability to catch up to Apple’s M-series — especially as entire SoCs, including GPUs — any time soon. If Qualcomm hasn’t caught up to Apple in SoCs for phones (ostensibly Qualcomm’s bread and butter) how will they catch up in SoCs for high-end PCs (an area where Qualcomm has never made a dent)? Maybe the answer is the Nuvia acquisition — perhaps Nuvia will be to Qualcomm what PA Semi was for Apple. Or maybe the answer is that it’ll play out like phone chips have, and Qualcomm will never catch up.


Craig Federighi’s Sideloading Keynote at Web Summit

Earlier this month, Craig Federighi delivered a keynote address at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s just 20 minutes long, including the introduction, and worth watching. His sole topic is sideloading — why Apple doesn’t support it on iOS, and why Apple thinks it would be a (very) bad idea for the E.U. to mandate support for it.

If you get a sense of déjà vu watching it, that’s probably because Apple released a white paper making the case against sideloading back in June, which I annotated extensively. Federighi largely sticks to the same points, so I won’t repeat my entire thoughts on them here. I just re-read that piece from June, and it stands up well.

A few quick thoughts, though:

  • I found Federighi’s talk to be more compelling than Apple’s June white paper, despite the fact that in general, I’d rather read something than watch or listen to someone speak. I think part of it is that Apple has further refined its case against sideloading, boiling it down to a few cohesive core points. Also: Federighi is a charismatic speaker. With Phil Schiller seemingly retired from speaking on stage, Federighi is now by far the company’s most compelling advocate for a talk like this.

  • It’s always a little weird seeing an Apple executive speak on what’s clearly not an Apple-designed stage. Understated Web Summit’s staging is not.

  • Apple is clearly taking the threat of legally-mandated sideloading seriously. Apple SVPs don’t deliver keynotes in Portugal on a lark.

  • Rhetorically, Federighi does a clever job of appealing to E.U. regulators as an ally rather than an adversary, right in his opening lines:

    My topic is privacy and security, and it’s great to speak about this here in Europe, where so many have embraced these values not just as high ideals — but as fundamental human rights. I have to say, there are times in the U.S. when fighting for privacy has felt a little lonely. But knowing that our values are shared with so many in Europe, and that European policymakers have been willing to take action, well that has felt like a bit of a lifeline.

    It frames his anti-mandatory-sideloading argument not as a fundamental disagreement, but rather as a “Look, we’re on the same pro-privacy side here, buuut...” sort of thing.

  • Lastly, there’s a key topic that Federighi does not broach: money. Here, I will quote from my piece back in June, regarding a section in Apple’s white paper that started with the line, “The goal of App Review is to ensure that apps on the App Store are trustworthy [...].” I wrote:

    The problem Apple is facing today is that it’s clear that one word in the above is inaccurate: the opening “the”. The above is a goal of the App Store — and I would argue that it remains the primary goal. But clearly the App Store serves another goal for Apple: making the company money. Exhibit A: last year’s Hey fiasco. Nothing about Apple’s rejection of Hey (or, I’d wager, some number of thousands of other apps flagged by App Store review for similar reasons) was about trustworthiness. It was about money.

    That’s a conflict of interest, and it detracts significantly from Apple’s entirely legitimate trustworthiness argument defending the App Store model for distribution. I remain convinced Apple wouldn’t be facing these regulatory pressures today if they’d walked away from a strategy of maximizing App Store profits years ago, and I also think they could largely dissipate these pressures today by doing it now — better late than never.

If Apple stopped making it look like they’re running the App Store primarily to maximize their own revenue from it, regulators and lawmakers might stop thinking that Apple is running the App Store primarily to maximize their own revenue from it. 


Hoax Email Blast Abused Poor Coding in FBI Website 

Brian Krebs:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed today that its fbi.gov domain name and Internet address were used to blast out thousands of fake emails about a cybercrime investigation. According to an interview with the person who claimed responsibility for the hoax, the spam messages were sent by abusing insecure code in an FBI online portal designed to share information with state and local law enforcement authorities.

Remember when the FBI insisted they could be trusted with the keys to an encryption backdoor in iOS? Good times.

‘Can Nuclear Fusion Put the Brakes on Climate Change?’ 

Rivka Galchen, writing for The New Yorker:

Let’s say that you’ve devoted your entire adult life to developing a carbon-free way to power a household for a year on the fuel of a single glass of water, and that you’ve had moments, even years, when you were pretty sure you would succeed. Let’s say also that you’re not crazy. This is a reasonable description of many of the physicists working in the field of nuclear fusion. In order to reach this goal, they had to find a way to heat matter to temperatures hotter than the center of the sun, so hot that atoms essentially melt into a cloud of charged particles known as plasma; they did that. They had to conceive of and build containers that could hold those plasmas; they did that, too, by making “bottles” out of strong magnetic fields. When those magnetic bottles leaked — because, as one scientist explained, trying to contain plasma in a magnetic bottle is like trying to wrap a jelly in twine — they had to devise further ingenious solutions, and, again and again, they did. Over decades, in the pursuit of nuclear fusion, scientists and engineers built giant metal doughnuts and Gehryesque twisted coils, they “pinched” plasmas with lasers, and they constructed fusion devices in garages. For thirty-six years, they have been planning and building an experimental fusion device in Provence. And yet commercially viable nuclear-fusion energy has always remained just a bit farther on. As the White Queen, in “Through the Looking Glass,” said to Alice, it is never jam today, it is always jam tomorrow.

Fascinating and intriguing.

Fossil’s Gen 6 Smartwatch 

Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge:

The kindest thing I can say about the new $299 Gen 6 iteration of Fossil’s long-running smartwatch series is this: it’s not entirely Fossil’s fault that it’s bad.

The company reportedly learned that Google and Samsung had teamed up to finally revitalize the Wear OS software Fossil’s been using at the same time we did: this past May at Google IO. And so Fossil’s 2021 smartwatch lineup is running software that hasn’t been meaningfully improved since at least 2019 and it won’t receive the latest software until late 2022. Samsung has smartwatches that run on Wear OS 3 and do so competently, Fossil is stuck on Wear OS 2.

Running old software is not inherently a bad thing — old software is often battle tested, reliable, and fast. Sadly, none of those adjectives apply here and Fossil compounded Wear OS 2’s issues by cramming in features it’s unable to support.

Maybe in the long run, hitting the reset button on Wear OS will prove to be a solid strategy. But in the meantime, it’s rather astonishing how Apple is just running away with the smartwatch market.

Rows 

My thanks to Rows for sponsoring this week at DF (along with this week’s episode of The Talk Show). Rows reinvented spreadsheets to let you build data-rich spreadsheets that look beautiful and modern. Rows uses the same logic as traditional spreadsheets like Google Sheets and Excel. It has row-and-column-based cells and all the functions you’re used to, like SUM, VLOOKUP, and INDEX.

On top of that, Rows added powerful integrations with business tools and public databases. Your spreadsheet can talk to Google Analytics, Twitter, Stripe, and Salesforce; it can send emails and Slack alerts, and even connect to your custom APIs. And you can fetch public data from databases like Crunchbase, Hunter, and LinkedIn.

Rows offers Live Sharing — a revolutionary new feature for spreadsheets. Users with live access can’t make changes like editors can. They only see the data you want them to see, and can only edit cells you mark as editable. No one can mess up your spreadsheets. Turn them into interactive dashboards, reports, and forms with buttons, input fields, and checkboxes.

Join thousands of teams that have stepped up their spreadsheet game with Rows. Head to www.rows.com to get started today.

Devan Scott on the Use of Color in ‘Skyfall’ and ‘Spectre’ 

Speaking of Daniel Craig’s run as James Bond, Devan Scott put together a wonderful, richly illustrated thread on Twitter contrasting the use of color grading in Skyfall and Spectre. Both of those films were directed by Sam Mendes, but they had different cinematographers — Roger Deakins for Skyfall, and Hoyte van Hoytema for Spectre. Scott graciously and politely makes the case that Skyfall is more interesting and fully-realized because each new location gets a color palette of its own, whereas the entirety of Spectre is in a consistent color space.

(For an essay of this sort, with so many images that go along with a few sentences of prose at a time, a Twitter thread is an outstanding medium.)

See Also: Kat Clay: “Why Skyfall Is a Masterclass in Cinematography”.

Switched on Pop: ‘James Bond’s Spycraft Sound’ 

Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding:

The latest installment of the James Bond franchise, No Time To Die, closes the book on the Daniel Craig era of the international superspy. The film’s theme song, “No Time to Die,” by Billie Eilish, Finneas, and Hans Zimmer, also marks the conclusion of one of the great musical sagas in recent cinema. Monty Norman’s and John Barry’s now-iconic “James Bond Theme,” written for 1962’s Dr. No, has remained a constant across six decades of espionage and one-liners. But every new Bond theme has also developed subtle variations on the original that reflect the character’s changes over time. On this episode of Switched On Pop, we uncover what inspired the theme, how it’s changed, and why it almost never happened.

Absolutely delightful podcast, and really astute commentary on how music helped tie together the entirety of Daniel Craig’s five-movie saga in the role.

Joanna Stern Spends 24 Hours in Facebook’s Metaverse 

Speaking of the metaverse:

Everyone is blabbing about the metaverse. But what does this future digital world look like? WSJ’s Joanna Stern checked into a hotel and strapped on a VR headset for the day. She went to work meetings, hung out with new avatar friends and attended virtual shows.

So glad she made this video; so glad it wasn’t me.

The Talk Show: ‘The Warden’s Dilemma’ 

For your weekend listening enjoyment: Ben Thompson returns to the show to go deep on the concept of the metaverse. Is it the next frontier in tech? Is it bullshit? Somewhere in between?

Brought to you by these outstanding sponsors:

  • Rows: The spreadsheet with superpowers. Get started today.
  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Use code talkshow for 10% off your first order.
  • Hello Fresh: America’s #1 meal kit.
  • LinkedIn Talent: Find and hire the right person. Your first job post is free.
Playdate Delayed Until Early 2022 

Panic, in an update to those who’ve pre-ordered the Playdate:

And so, we shipped 5,000 finished Playdates back to Malaysia to be given new batteries. How did that feel? Not great!!!

The good news: we’ve already received the new batteries from the new supplier, and they’re looking really impressive — they’re exactly what we’re hoping for, if not even better than before. We’re extremely confident the new supplier can give Playdate the battery life we designed, and you deserve.

And there’s one huge silver lining: we’re extremely glad that we found this potential issue before shipping you a Playdate.

And:

With lots of pre-orders in place, we immediately placed an order at our factory for all the parts needed for 2022 units and beyond. The response was… sobering. Many of our parts have been delayed significantly. In fact, we can’t get any more of Playdate’s current CPU for — you’re not going to believe this — two years. Like, 730 days.

Maybe you’ve heard about the “global chip shortage” everyone’s talking about? We’re here to say it is very real. Covid-19 caused an ever-cascading set of worldwide supply chain failures that are leading to many, many electronic parts being simply… gone.

The good news on that front is that they’ve already designed a new logic board using a different, but equivalent, CPU that is available. More good news: the Playdate SDKs (there are two — the full SDK using C and Lua, and a web-based graphical you-don’t-even-have-to-be-a-programmer-to-make-a-game tool called Pulp) are close to shipping.

Basically, shipping any project is hard. Shipping hardware is really hard. And shipping hardware amidst this pandemic-induced global supply chain fiasco is just crazy hard. Valve’s Steam Deck — sort of the anti-Playdate — is delayed into early 2022 too, and both Sony and Nintendo have cut production estimates for the PlayStation 5 and Switch consoles.

‘The iOS App Icon Book’ by Michael Flarup 

Michel Flarup:

I simply love app icons — they continue to be everything that excites me about visual design. App icon design is a carefully balanced discipline with the goal of producing a memorable graphic that sits at the intersection of art and utility. At their best, app icons are design, distilled. This book is a celebration of the art and craft of app icon design and the golden age of icon design that has lived and evolved on our devices this past decade.

It’s a Kickstarter project, with books expected to ship in April. Take my money — I can’t wait to devour this book. It looks so good.

John Hanke: ‘AR Is Where the Real Metaverse Is Going to Happen’ 

Steven Levy, writing for Wired:

As the CEO and founder of Niantic Labs, Hanke launched Pokémon Go in 2016, and he remains obsessed with a vision of a physical world enhanced by digital objects, the concept now called augmented reality. He has been pursuing this vision since at least 2010, when he founded Niantic as an internal startup at Google, then spun it out and launched Go. The game, in which players wander the streets with phones held to their faces trying to capture Weedles, Squirtles, and Nidorinas, was both a cultural phenomenon and a financial success, reaping over a billion dollars in revenue. Like Wendy sewing Peter Pan’s shadow to his foot, Hanke has been gradually binding the ephemeral to the real, providing a substrate for the merger of pixels and atoms that he sees as the future. [...]

He’s read all the science fiction books and seen all the films that first imagined the metaverse — all great fun, and all wrong. He believes that his vision, unlike virtual reality, will make the real world better without encouraging people to totally check out of it.

Terrific interview.

YouTube Will Keep ‘Dislike’ Button, but Make Dislike Counts Private to the Creator 

YouTube:

As part of this experiment, viewers could still see and use the dislike button. But because the count was not visible to them, we found that they were less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count. In short, our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behavior. We also heard directly from smaller creators and those just getting started that they are unfairly targeted by this behavior — and our experiment confirmed that this does occur at a higher proportion on smaller channels.

Based on what we learned, we’re making the dislike counts private across YouTube, but the dislike button is not going away. This change will start gradually rolling out today.

This is an interesting middle ground. Sounds good to me. Marking something as disliked obviously can be useful, but hiding the dislike count apparently diminishes the pile-on mob mindset.

Twitter has been experimenting with a “dislike” button as well. Not sure where that stands, but if they go forward with it, they should keep the dislike counts private too.

Judge Denies Apple’s Motion to Stay App Store Antisteering Policy Changes in Epic Case 

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, in a ruling earlier this week:

The Court is in receipt of Apple Inc.’s Motion to Stay part of the Court’s injunction pending resolution of all appeals, specifically that portion prohibiting developers from including “in their apps and their metabuttons, [sic] external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing [“IAP”].” (See Dkt. No. 821.)

Having considered all the filings, and oral argument, the Court finds Apple has failed to satisfy its burden, and the request as framed is DENIED. In short, Apple’s motion is based on a selective reading of this Court’s findings and ignores all of the findings which supported the injunction, namely incipient antitrust conduct including supercompetitive commission rates resulting in extraordinarily high operating margins and which have not been correlated to the value of its intellectual property. This incipient antitrust conduct is the result, in part, of the antisteering policies which Apple has enforced to harm competition. As a consequence, the motion is fundamentally flawed. Further, even if additional time was warranted to comply with the limited injunction, Apple did not request additional time other than ten days to appeal this ruling. Thus, the Court does not consider the option of additional time, other than the requested ten days.

“Metabuttons” is a typo — the original ruling used the (already technically ambiguous) term “metadata buttons” there.

It’s a near-certainty that Apple is going to appeal this. But if the appeal doesn’t work, December 9 is just four weeks away.

Concepts to Redesign the New York City Street 

Justin Davidson, writing for Curbed:

Our efforts yielded two big lessons. The first is that every improvement is a trade-off. Protecting bus lanes with concrete barriers, for example, would keep cars out, but it would also keep limited-stop buses from passing local ones. Our street incorporates a possible set of compromises. The second is that even simple tweaks imply a far-reaching organizational overhaul. Enclosed trash bins would push the Department of Sanitation to update some of its trucks and pickup procedures.

There are a lot of good ideas here. Drastically reducing curbside parking and using that space to widen sidewalks and increase outdoor eating areas is something that’s happened in a lot of cities during this pandemic. It’s been a huge win here in Philly.

But to nitpick one of the ideas: enclosed trash bins are terrible. Philly replaced its old-fashioned open-top trash bins with enclosed ones several years ago, and they’re just awful. They sound like a fine idea, but in practice they’re disgusting. You have to touch them to put anything in them, and, well, they’re covered with garbage. They’re really hard to use one-handed, like when you’re carrying, say, a grocery bag with your other hand. They tend to break, too. It’s been a huge step backwards here.

Jamf CEO Welcomes Apple Business Essentials 

Jonny Evans, writing for Computerworld’s Appleholic:

“When Apple innovates, Jamf celebrates,” Jamf CEO, Dean Hager said, on learning about Apple Business Essentials. “We believe this expected announcement is good news and presents Jamf with a terrific opportunity.” [...]

Jamf, which announced an impressive set of Q3 results Nov. 11, has always existed alongside Apple. Hager noted several times during the last decade when industry watchers thought Apple moves might damage his business: Once when Apple introduced MDM in 2010, again in 2011 with Profile Manager, later with Apple Configurator, and more recently with Apple Business Manager.

Brings to mind Apple’s famous “Welcome IBM. Seriously.” ad from 1981. I don’t mean that to be snarky. Apple was ready for the IBM PC in 1981, and it sounds like Jamf and similar companies have been ready for Apple to enter this market ever since they acquired Fleetsmith a year ago.