There’s a lot to read regarding today’s 6-3 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, making official what we’ve known was about to happen since a near-final draft leaked in early May. I humbly suggest starting with the dissent, written by all three dissenting justices, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Their dissent begins on page 148 of the PDF decision.
Some highlights. P. 3 (page 151 of PDF):
Most threatening of all, no language in today’s decision stops the
Federal Government from prohibiting abortions nationwide, once
again from the moment of conception and without exceptions for
rape or incest. If that happens, “the views of [an individual
State’s] citizens” will not matter. Ante, at 1. The challenge for
a woman will be to finance a trip not to “New York [or]
California” but to Toronto.
The lone rationale for what the majority does today is that the
right to elect an abortion is not “deeply rooted in history”: Not
until Roe, the majority argues, did people think abortion fell
within the Constitution’s guarantee of liberty. The same could be
said, though, of most of the rights the majority claims it is not
tampering with. The majority could write just as long an opinion
showing, for example, that until the mid-20th century, “there was
no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain
[contraceptives].” So one of two things must be true. Either the
majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it
does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid-
19th century are insecure. Either the mass of the majority’s
opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are
under threat. It is one or the other.
As an initial matter, note a mistake in the just preceding
sentence. We referred there to the “people” who ratified the
Fourteenth Amendment: What rights did those “people” have in their
heads at the time? But, of course, “people” did not ratify the
Fourteenth Amendment. Men did. So it is perhaps not so surprising
that the ratifiers were not perfectly attuned to the importance of
reproductive rights for women’s liberty, or for their capacity to
participate as equal members of our Nation. Indeed, the ratifiers — both in 1868 and when the original Constitution was approved in
1788 — did not understand women as full members of the community
embraced by the phrase “We the People.” In 1868, the first wave of
American feminists were explicitly told — of course by men — that it was not their time to seek constitutional protections.
(Women would not get even the vote for another half-century.) To
be sure, most women in 1868 also had a foreshortened view of their
rights: If most men could not then imagine giving women control
over their bodies, most women could not imagine having that kind
of autonomy. But that takes away nothing from the core point.
Those responsible for the original Constitution, including the
Fourteenth Amendment, did not perceive women as equals, and did
not recognize women’s rights. When the majority says that we must
read our foundational charter as viewed at the time of
ratification (except that we may also check it against the Dark
Ages), it consigns women to second-class citizenship.
So how does that approach prevent the “scale of justice” from
“waver[ing] with every new judge’s opinion”? It does not. It makes
radical change too easy and too fast, based on nothing more than
the new views of new judges. The majority has overruled Roe and
Casey for one and only one reason: because it has always
despised them, and now it has the votes to discard them. The
majority thereby substitutes a rule by judges for the rule of law.
And its poignant conclusion (p. 60):
One of us once said that “[i]t is not often in the law that so few
have so quickly changed so much.” For all of us, in our time on
this Court, that has never been more true than today. In
overruling Roe and Casey, this Court betrays its guiding
With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of
American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional
protection — we dissent.
Patience Haggin, reporting for The Wall Street Journal (News+):
Four Democratic lawmakers called on the Federal Trade Commission
to investigate Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, alleging the
companies engage in unfair and deceptive practices by enabling the
collection and sale of mobile-phone users’ personal information.
Apple and Google “knowingly facilitated these harmful practices by
building advertising-specific tracking IDs into their mobile
operating systems,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to FTC chair
Lina Khan sent on Friday.
This strikes me as deeply misguided in several ways. For one thing, it doesn’t seem to acknowledge that the Identity for Advertisers (IDFA) was created to replace immutable unique device IDs, which advertisers were using previously for tracking. Second, with Apple’s recent Ad-Tracking Transparency (ATT) initiative, which clearly has put more control over tracking into users’ hands, I don’t see why it makes any sense to lump Apple and Google together on this, other than performative virtue signaling that one is staunchly against the entire “Big Tech” boogeyman complex.
Both companies have recently taken steps to limit the collection
of user data through these mobile-ad identifiers — a string of
numbers and letters built into iOS and Android, the respective
mobile operating systems of Apple and Google. Users of both
operating systems now have a way to opt out of having their
identifier transmitted to apps. Apple last year introduced a new
version of its software that requires each app to ask the user for
permission to access the device’s identifier, and Google is
planning to adopt new privacy restrictions to curtail tracking
across apps on Android smartphones.
“Until recently, however, Apple enabled this tracking ID by
default and required consumers to dig through confusing phone
settings to turn it off. Google still enables this tracking
identifier by default, and until recently did not even provide
consumers with an opt-out,” said the letter, which was signed by
Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.); Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.); Sen.
Cory Booker (D., N.J.); and Rep. Sara Jacobs (D., Calif.). “These
identifiers have fueled the unregulated data broker market by
creating a single piece of information linked to a device that
data brokers and their customers can use to link to other data
So Apple has done the pro-privacy thing and made access to this identifier more clear to users, and Google intends to do similar. This, after creating IDFA in the first place to keep the ad industry from using immutable unique device identifiers for tracking. So the point of this FTC investigation would be what, exactly?
What a fucking day for four Democrats to signal that their attention is out in left field.
Shot: MKBHD has a nice short preview look at Nothing’s first phone, which is debuting in a few weeks. There are some aspects of its design that are clearly iPhone-inspired — the basic shape, flat sides, button shapes even. But there are other aspects that are clearly like nothing else — the clear back and light-up “glyph” interface for custom notifications while the phone is face down. I dig the Nothing aesthetic, so I was thinking maybe this might be my next Android “see how the other side lives” devices.
On this day twenty years ago I registered the flyingmeat.com
domain. I had no idea what I was doing back then, only that I
loved coding, I loved sharing what I worked on, and indie
companies were undisputedly cool.
Twenty years later I still have no idea what I’m doing, but I
still love coding and sharing what I make, and indie companies are
still the best. [...]
However I’m not going to let this opportunity pass without a
little bit of fun, so I’ve put all my apps on sale for $20. Acorn?
Normally $39.95, now $20. Retrobatch Pro? Normally $49.99, now
$20. Retrobatch Pro Upgrade? Normally $19.99, now $20 (Yes, we
raised the price. No, it makes no sense to purchase it).
Here’s to 20 more years. Both Acorn and Retrobatch are indispensable to my workflows.
Sad local note. Michael Klein, writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Rick Olivieri, 57, a grandson of cheesesteak inventor Pat Olivieri
and the former owner of the popular Rick’s Steaks at Reading
Terminal Market, died Sunday, June 12, at his Drexel Hill home
after a 10-year battle with early onset frontotemporal dementia.
“He fought it for every minute,” said his wife, Debi, who met Mr.
Olivieri in summer 1984, shortly after she took a job at the
Bassetts turkey stand a few aisles away from Olivieri Prince of
Steaks, where Mr. Olivieri had worked for his father, Herb, a son
of Pasquale “Pat” Olivieri of Pat’s King of Steaks fame. (Pat’s,
at Ninth and Wharton Streets for 90 years, is operated by Frank
Olivieri, his cousin.)
Rick’s was, hands-down, the best cheesesteak I’ve ever had. First, each sandwich was grilled fresh — your steak only started grilling after you ordered. This meant lines were long at lunchtime, but the sandwiches were impeccable. Second, Rick’s used really good steak — a special cut of ribeye from a local butcher here in Philly. Third — and this is key — they were reasonably portioned. There are a lot of good cheesesteak joints here, but most of them pack way too much meat into each sandwich. Rick’s used exactly six thin slices on each sandwich — just right.
Lastly is the fact that Rick was always there, seemingly always manning the grill himself. I ate at Rick’s dozens of times. There might have been someone else manning the grill once.
Last week I wrote about a change in MacOS 12.4 that upset many polyglots — as part of a company-wide effort to decouple national flags as icons to denote languages, the Input menu in MacOS now uses two letter codes instead (“US” for U.S. English, “GB” for British, etc.). As I wrote in an update to that post, the new policy does make sense for Apple — national flags carry political connotations that languages alone do not — but it’s unfortunate for users accustomed to scanning the menu for colorful icons at a glance when switching.
Two third-party developers have come to the rescue, with similar apps that restore the “pick a flag to change input sources” functionality:
Both apps serve the same fundamental purpose: they add a system-wide menu item that shows a flag icon to denote the current input language. Open the menu, and you can choose another input source language, as configured in the Keyboard panel in System Preferences.
Keyboard Switcheroo is a bit more polished. It lets you choose between the traditional flat flags, as previously used in the system’s built-in Input menu, the emojis for those flags (which are a bit larger and wavy instead of flat), or a custom image. Colorful Input Menu Flags only uses the emoji icons. Keyboard Switcheroo also lets you edit the languages shown in the menu directly within the app — no need to go to System Preferences. ★
After almost a decade, I guess it’s time to pack in my posters,
stickers, and Tim Cook and Craig Federighi phone call scripts for
the “Bring Mail Merge back to Pages!” campaign and declare
victory. Because, yes, Mail Merge has returned to Pages.
The feature was originally included in Apple’s word processing
software, but got the axe in 2013’s version 5.0, when Apple
redesigned its iWork suite to give even footing across the iOS,
iPadOS, and macOS platforms. In the interim, Mail Merge remained
possible only via workarounds like Sal Soghoian’s Pages Data
Version 12.1, released today, brings a brand new implementation,
however, which lets you populate a template document either from
your contacts or a spreadsheet.
Second, the fact that workarounds like Soghoian’s Pages Data Merge were even possible in the interim shows the essential nature of good automation/scripting support in serious apps. Automation isn’t so much about letting all users script apps, because we all know most users aren’t scripters. But automation lets the users who are scripters provide solutions for the whole community of users.
Does what I do here make a difference in other people’s lives? In
my life? Is this still scratching the creative itch that it used
to? And if not, what needs to change? Where does kottke.org end
and Jason begin? Who am I without my work? Is the validation I get
from the site healthy? Is having to be active on social media
healthy? Is having to read the horrible news every day healthy?
What else could I be doing here? What could I be doing somewhere
else? What good is a blog without a thriving community of other
blogs? I’ve tried thinking about these and many other questions
while continuing my work here, but I haven’t made much progress; I
need time away to gain perspective.
So. The plan, as it currently stands, is to take 5-6 months away
from the site. I will not be posting anything new here. I won’t be
publishing the newsletter. There won’t be a guest editor either — if someone else was publishing here, it would still be on my mind
and I’m looking for total awayness here.
Six weeks in and I miss his words dearly, but I’m happy for him. They say you should hydrate before you get thirsty. I suspect the same is true for taking sabbaticals — you should take one before you know you need one. That’s hard to figure out, though.
A friend once asked me what’s been the longest stretch between posts on DF since I started. I told him the truth: I don’t know.
Update: Well, now I know, thanks to a nifty Ruby scriptfrom DF reader Henrik Nyh. I took a 12-day break around Christmas in 2003. Since I started the Linked List (shorter link posts) in 2004, the longest gap is 8 days, from 29 December 2019 to 6 January 2020. The longest stretch between feature articles is 50 days, from 22 September to 11 November 2015.
The handy new feature can be found in the Settings app under Apple ID → Password & Security → Automatic Verification. When enabled, Apple says iCloud will automatically and privately verify your device and Apple ID account in the background, eliminating the need for apps and websites to present you with a CAPTCHA verification prompt.
Apple recently shared a video with technical details about how the feature works, but simply put, Apple’s system verifies that the device and Apple ID account are in good standing and presents what is called a Private Access Token to the app or website. This new system will offer a better user experience for tasks such as signing into or creating an account, with improved user privacy and accessibility compared to CAPTCHAs.
No more unpaid work helping Google train its autonomous vehicle systems? I’ll believe it when I see it.
The most impactful change to come out of W.W.D.C. had nothing to
do with APIs, a new framework or any hardware announcement.
Instead, it was a change I’ve been clamoring for the last several
years - and it’s one that’s incredibly indie friendly. As you’ve
no doubt heard by now, I’m of course talking about iCloud enabled
apps now allowing app transfers. [...]
When my last app, Spend Stack, was acquired — it took nearly
four months to get settled. This was an experienced buyer who
usually had things done and dusted in one week. Why did it take so
long? Because I didn’t just sell Spend Stack, I had to sell my
entire LLC, Dreaming In Binary, which I had owned for many years
to that point. Instead of transferring the app, I had to manage a
slew of logistical hurdles that neither I, or the acquirer, wanted
For years, TikTok has responded to data privacy concerns by
promising that information gathered about users in the United
States is stored in the United States, rather than China, where
ByteDance, the video platform’s parent company, is located. But
according to leaked audio from more than 80 internal TikTok
meetings, China-based employees of ByteDance have repeatedly
accessed nonpublic data about US TikTok users — exactly the type
of behavior that inspired former president Donald Trump to
threaten to ban the app in the United States.
The recordings, which were reviewed by BuzzFeed News, contain 14
statements from nine different TikTok employees indicating that
engineers in China had access to US data between September 2021
and January 2022, at the very least. Despite a TikTok executive’s
sworn testimony in an October 2021 Senate hearing that a
“world-renowned, US-based security team” decides who gets access
to this data, nine statements by eight different employees
describe situations where US employees had to turn to their
colleagues in China to determine how US user data was flowing. US
staff did not have permission or knowledge of how to access the
data on their own, according to the tapes.
Like the proverbial stopped clock being right twice a day, the Trump administration was right on this one. TikTok should have been — and still should be — banned in the U.S. unless and until ByteDance sells the whole thing to a western company. It’s as bonkers today to let China run a popular media service as it would have been to allow the Soviet Union to run a U.S. TV network during the Cold War.
Apple store workers near Baltimore voted for a union Saturday,
becoming the first organized store in the US in a landmark
decision that could change the face of the tech giant’s retail
As of 8:30 p.m., 65 workers who voted at the Towson, Md., store
had sided with the union, outnumbering anti-union votes 2 to 1.
The bargaining unit includes about 100 workers and is affiliated
with the International Association of Machinists.
The decision could spark a wider unionization movement among Apple
store workers, similar to the first Starbucks union vote last year
that has since prompted nearly 300 other stores to file for
My thanks to Rows for sponsoring this week at DF. Rows reinvented spreadsheets to let you build data-rich spreadsheets that look beautiful and modern. Rows uses the same logic as traditional spreadsheets like Numbers, Excel, and Google Sheets, but built for the way people work today.
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Speaking of ADA winner Andy Allen and (Not Boring) Habits:
How’d we do it? Rather than hide the screws, I’d like to pull our
app apart and show you how the pieces come together. Let me strip
off the sugarcoating and share a little secret about habit tracker
apps: they’re little more than a glorified checkbox. The
interaction is simple: every day you open the app and hit the
checkbox to record a completed habit. [...]
In trying to get a particularly tricky habit to stick, I tried
dozens of apps and nothing worked for me. Recording an action felt
like yet another chore. None could approach the most basic
satisfaction of simply crossing out an item on a list.
Could you design a simple action that felt as satisfying and
infuse it with as much symbolism? Were we about to redesign the
I think you know where this is headed.
I can’t say enough good things about the Not Boring suite of apps — both what they’re trying to do and how well they accomplish those goals. All fashion is cyclical, and the return of depth of texture to UI design is inevitable. The Not Boring suite is trailblazing one particularly opinionated path forward.
Buried at the end of The Financial Times’s report on Apple Pay Later last week (syndicated here at Ars Technica):
Apple said its decision to go it alone was in part taken to avoid
sharing personal data with third parties. The company will not
charge fees for late payments, in line with Klarna and Affirm, but
will restrict access to further short-term credit.
Until now, the dominant narrative explaining BNPL’s success is
that consumers — particularly, younger ones — are hungry for
financing options that are less predatory than credit cards with
their 15% average APR. But there is more to the story. Due to
privacy changes, most notably the tracking restrictions that Apple
made available to iPhone users in April 2021, retailers have not
been able to target customers through platforms like Meta, which
owns Facebook and Instagram, as they had before. Nor can they
definitively attribute an e-commerce sale to a digital ad. BNPL
companies, thanks to their increasingly robust apps and email
lists, can solve both those problems. Moreover, they have an
advantage over social media and digital advertising in
understanding consumers’ credit, and, by extension, their buying
power. Even as they undercut credit cards, BNPL companies are, by
design, amplifying consumer spending. Consumers can still get a
fair deal with BNPL products, provided they stay within their
budgets and pay on time. But they should understand who BNPL
companies are actually working for.
Spoiler: the retailers.
In its early days, in the mid-2010s, BNPL had a relatively simple
job. By offering to break a purchase into monthly payments at the
point of sale, BNPL could reduce cart abandonment, a common
problem for larger-ticket items, especially those being sold by
startup brands such as Casper Sleep and Peloton. Leading BNPL
players claim that they can increase checkout conversion rates by
20% to 30%. “We are in the business of bringing [merchants] new
customers, increasing their cart size, increasing their
conversion at point of sale,” Affirm cofounder and CEO Max
Levchin said last year.
Apple Pay Later appears to simply be in the business of allowing users to split purchases into multiple payments, interest-free, with complete privacy.
Michael Tsai has his usual wide-ranging roundup of links on the controversy surrounding Apple’s decision to limit Stage Manager support to M1 iPads (2021 iPad Pros and this year’s 5th-generation iPad Air):
As a result, Stage Manager requires an M1 iPad. I honestly don’t
understand his argument. I don’t think it’s that pre-M1 iPads
couldn’t support virtual memory, since even the A12Z in the DTK
did. That processor also had great performance running more
simultaneous apps than iPadOS supports. Stage Manager is also
supported on older Macs with Intel processors — and older
graphics — that are less capable than recent-but-not-M1 iPads.
The controversy surrounding this boils down to people thinking Apple is doing this to get people who own older iPads to buy new ones just to get Stage Manager. I can’t prove it, but that doesn’t pass the sniff test to me. That’s just not how Apple rolls. But, clearly, this is the single most controversial news from last week.
Then he talks about needing fast flash storage for the virtual
memory, which only the M1 iPads have, but PowerPC Macs were using
spinning hard drives for virtual memory 20 years ago. Surely those
were much slower.
Virtual memory on Macs back in the spinning hard drive era was ridiculously slow. In today’s world, when you see the spinning beachball cursor, it usually means some app on your Mac is wedged and needs to be force quit. 20 years ago, we’d see the spinning beachball cursor all the time and you just needed to wait for the system to catch up and return control to you. A lot of the time that was because of virtual memory swap with spinning hard disks.
He also says that Stage Manager is a “total experience that
involves external display connectivity.” Why is an external
display a requirement when most M1 iPad users don’t even use one?
Given the uproar surrounding this M1 requirement for Stage Manager, I wonder if Apple will reconsider over the summer, and perhaps do something like support Stage Manager on more iPads, but only on the built-in display, and make external display support the part that requires an M1 iPad.
But I can see what Apple is thinking by drawing a hard line with M1 iPads: they want to deliver Stage Manager for iPad without a slew of asterisks regarding which aspects of it work on which devices. As it stands with developer beta 1, an iPad either supports all of Stage Manager (including support for driving up to 6K external displays, and up to 8 apps), or none of it.
Here’s how this works: When Move to iOS requests WhatsApp data, it
gets an encrypted bundle that Apple can’t read. That bundle is
sent to the iPhone via peer-to-peer networking, like everything
else in the migration process. When a user taps on the WhatsApp
icon on the home screen on the iPhone, the app is downloaded and
installed from the App Store. When they log in to WhatsApp (with
the same phone number as the old phone), they’ll then be able to
unlock and import the transferred bundle of data.
Interestingly, the infrastructure to enable this change is already
enabled in both iOS 15.5 (the currently shipping version) and in
the current version of the Move to iOS app in the Google
Play Store. What’s changed today is that WhatsApp has flipped the
switch on the server side to allow this feature to begin rolling
out slowly, first to people opted into the WhatsApp beta testing
environment over the next week, and then eventually to everyone on
If this doesn’t sound like a big deal, think again. Until now, when WhatsApp users switched from Android to iPhone, they lost their entire message history, because there was no way to transfer it. WhatsApp is almost incomprehensibly popular worldwide — perhaps with as many as 2 billion users. It’s not a stretch to think that this alone has been keeping untold millions of Android users from switching.
Today is Flag Day here in the U.S., so when better to mention this unpopular change in MacOS 12.4 last month, as described in a question on StackExchange’s AskDifferent site:
I just upgraded to macOS Monterey 12.4 and now the flags,
primarily the one for the current input source, is gone from the
menu bar and was replaced with a country code.
I find the colored flags much easier to work with, also when
quickly switching between inputs via a shortcut. How do I get back
The question includes screenshots showing the difference. For many years — decades? — the Input Source menu bar item that lets you switch between keyboard layouts for different languages has used colorful flag icons to denote those languages. Starting in MacOS 12.4, these flag icons were replaced by grayscale icons denoting two-letter codes like “US” (U.S. English), “GB” (British), etc.
This may sound like no big deal, but I heard from a slew of DF readers upset by the change. I’m not sure what Apple was thinking with this change. Is it an attempt to address the fact that some languages/layouts don’t truly map to a nation (e.g. Hebrew != Israel)? Or is this purely an aesthetic decision — a design choice that the icons in this menu should be monochromatic?
If it’s the latter, this is a mistake. Colorful icons are much easier to scan.Update: A little birdie tells me this change is the direct result of a companywide effort not to denote languages using country flags. I do see the sense of that, but it’s unfortunate it makes it harder to scan the menu at a glance.
The Bundeskartellamt has initiated a proceeding against the
technology company Apple to review under competition law its
tracking rules and the App Tracking Transparency Framework. In
particular, Apple’s rules have raised the initial suspicion of
self-preferencing and/or impediment of other companies, which will
be examined in the proceeding.
Apple introduced the App Tracking Transparency Framework for
third-party apps with its updates iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5 and tvOS
14.5 in April 2021. It establishes certain preconditions for user
tracking as defined by Apple by third-party apps. Advertisers or
app publishers, for example, can use tracking to display targeted
advertising on websites and apps or to track and use user data for
other purposes. These options can be particularly relevant to
providers of third-party apps in case their business models rely
on apps which are available free of charge, but financed through
I’ll go back to my analogy: it’s like pawn shops suing to keep the police from cracking down on a wave of burglaries.
Back to the Bundeskartellamt (boldface added):
Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: “We welcome
business models which use data carefully and give users choice as
to how their data are used. A corporation like Apple which is in a
position to unilaterally set rules for its ecosystem, in
particular for its app store, should make pro-competitive rules.
We have reason to doubt that this is the case when we see that
Apple’s rules apply to third parties, but not to Apple
itself. This would allow Apple to give preference to its own
offers or impede other companies. Our proceeding is largely based
on the new competencies we received as part of the stricter abuse
control rules regarding large digital companies which were
introduced last year (Section 19a German Competition Act - GWB).
On this basis, we are conducting or have already concluded
proceedings against Google/Alphabet, Meta/Facebook and Amazon.”
I think this is a profound misunderstanding of what Apple is doing, and how Apple is benefiting indirectly from ATT. Apple’s privacy and tracking rules do apply to itself. Apple’s own apps don’t show the track-you-across-other-apps permission alert not because Apple has exempted itself but because Apple’s own apps don’t track you across other apps. Apple’s own apps show privacy report cards in the App Store, too.
Apple’s own advertising offerings — Search Ads — have indeed grown significantly post-ATT, but that’s not proof of self-serving. It’s at least plausible that the basic gist of what’s going on is something like this:
Pre-ATT, ad spending was heavily steered toward privacy-invasive surveillance ads. Centuries of pre-internet advertising prove that tracking isn’t necessary for advertising to work, but no one is arguing that tracking isn’t effective.
Apple has never engaged in the sort of tracking that ATT addresses.
In this new world where around three out of every four iOS users ask not to be tracked, non-tracking ad platforms benefit — including Apple’s own Search Ads.
If you want to argue that Apple engaged in this entire ATT endeavor to benefit its own Search Ads platform, that’s plausible too. But if Apple actually cared more about maximizing Search Ads revenue than it does user privacy, wouldn’t they have just engaged in actual user tracking? The Bundeskartellamt perspective here completely disregards the idea that surveillance advertising is inherently unethical and Apple has studiously avoided it for that reason, despite the fact that it has proven to be wildly profitable for large platforms.
Apple could have made an enormous amount of money selling privacy-invasive ads on iOS, but opted not to. Instead they developed a series of complex technologies, some of which incur substantial costs (e.g. iCloud Private Relay), and took on both Facebook and Google to change the industry in a way which generates much less advertising revenue than Apple would have earned by just joining in on the surveillance advertising party.
I’d go so far as to describe the fundamental foundation of the surveillance ad industry as cheating. App Tracking Transparency has effectively cut down on cheating, and thus, all ad platforms that have never engaged in cheating have benefitted. ATT hasn’t completely levelled the playing field, but it’s moved the field closer to level than it was before. The heretofore cheaters are griping that their advantage has been taken away.1★
Did you know that with macOS Ventura, Clarus the Dogcow has at
long last returned home? Recently, while doing something else, I
accidentally hit Cmd+Shift+P which opened the Page Setup dialog. I
was greeted, surprisingly, with a new high-resolution version of
the classic Clarus icon that I’d never seen before. I looked at it
briefly, and then closed the dialog and went back to whatever I
was doing before. I had assumed that because I’d been in a
3rd-party app at the time, that the Clarus icon was just some
easter egg the developer had left. But a little while later, I got
to thinking. What were the chances that someone went to the
trouble of customizing the Page Setup dialog, of all things, just
for an easter egg? Zero, it turns out. That dialog shows Clarus on
the page preview in every app.
Well, I have a new favorite feature in MacOS 13 Ventura.
Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) today announced that the Apple
TV app will be the exclusive destination to watch every single
live MLS match beginning in 2023. This partnership is a historic
first for a major professional sports league, and will allow fans
around the world to watch all MLS, Leagues Cup, and select MLS
NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches in one place — without any local
broadcast blackouts or the need for a traditional pay TV bundle.
From early 2023 through 2032, fans can get every live MLS match by
subscribing to a new MLS streaming service, available exclusively
through the Apple TV app. In addition to all of the match content,
the service will provide fans a new weekly live match whip-around
show so they never miss an exciting goal or save, and also game
replays, highlights, analysis, and other original programming.
Didn’t make the keynote, but there is (unsurprisingly) a tvOS 16 beta, and while you can see why it didn’t make the keynote, there are some interesting new features. Clearly, though, Apple’s least-loved platform at the moment.
Lance Ulanoff, in a detailed interview with Craig Federighi and Alan Dye regarding the new lock screen features in iOS 16:
“From a Design Team perspective, our goal was to create something
that felt almost more editorial, and to give the user the ability
to create a Lock Screen that really … ends up looking like a great
magazine cover or film poster but doing it in a way that’s
hopefully really simple to create, very fun, and even with a lot
of automation there,” said Dye. [...]
Instead of a set collection of filters you can apply to images,
Apple is using that segmentation knowledge to offer up a bespoke
set of looks.
“These styles are so much more than filters,” said Dye. “We’re
actually using segmentation, tonal values, all of our scene
understanding to really help us determine how we can intelligently
offer a variety of treatments for each photo. Which is also really
cool because it’s very much Apple at its best. Design and
engineering technology all working together to offer something,
really, I think, quite beautiful.”
Instead of eight or a dozen set filters, you might only be offered
two styles for a photo, and they’re unlikely to be the same two if
you chose a different Lock Screen photo. Dye told us that if the
system doesn’t think the photo will look great, it won’t suggest
it, a point of care and attention that helps guide the user
towards more visually arresting Lock Screens.
It’s rough in developer beta 1, but I’m pretty sure this is my favorite new feature in iOS 16.
“It’s only the M1 iPads that combined the high DRAM capacity with
very high capacity, high performance NAND that allows our virtual
memory swap to be super fast,” Federighi says. “Now that we’re
letting you have up to four apps on a panel plus another four — up to eight apps to be instantaneously responsive and have plenty
of memory, we just don’t have that ability on the other systems.”
It was not purely the availability of memory that led Apple to
limit Stage Manager to M1 iPads though.
“We also view stage manager as a total experience that involves
external display connectivity. And the I/O on the M1 supports
connectivity that our previous iPads don’t, it can drive 4K, 5K,
6K displays, it can drive them at scaled resolutions. We can’t do
that on other iPads.”
Graphics performance, too, was a limiter.
“We really designed Stage Manager to take full advantage [of the
M1]. If you look at the way the apps tilt and shadow and how they
animate in and out. To do that at super high frame rates, across
very large displays and multiple displays, requires the peak of
graphics performance that no one else can deliver.
“When you put all this together, we can’t deliver the full stage
manager experience on any lesser system,” Federighi says. “I mean,
we would love to make it available everywhere we can. But this is
what it requires. This is the experience we’re going to carry into
the future. We didn’t want to constrain our design to something
lesser, we’re setting the benchmark for the future.”
Good interview that really digs into the why of Stage Manager, especially for iPad.
As for the “only for M1 iPads” things, the key thing to glean from this is that it’s not just that M1 iPads have more RAM, but also the hardware pieces to enable virtual memory swap on an iOS device for the first time. You usually don’t hear nerdy comp-sci terms like “virtual memory swap” in the morning keynote or in the main press release for the platform — that sort of stuff is usually reserved for the afternoon State of the Union. But “swap” made it into the morning keynote because it’s a big deal.
Reviewers, calibrators and certification bodies typically use a
10% window for HDR testing, which simply means that it takes up
10% of the screen. In this window multiple steps from black to
white as well as a set of colors are measured. Samsung has
designed its TVs to recognize this and other commonly used window
sizes, after which the TV adjusts its picture output to make
measurements appear more accurate than the picture really is.
When using a non-standard window such as 9% (everything else
equal), the cheating algorithm can be bypassed so the TV reveals
its true colors.
This is deliberate cheating, an orchestrated effort to mislead
Vincent Teoh of HDTVTest first identified and
documented the issue on Samsung’s S95B QD-OLED TV.
FlatpanelsHD has since identified and documented
the issue on Samsung’s QN95B ‘Neo QLED’ LCD TV where it gets
The Texas Department of Public Safety has asked the state’s Office
of the Attorney General to prevent the public release of police
body camera footage from the mass shooting at Robb Elementary
School in Uvalde in part because, it argues, the footage could be
used by other shooters to determine “weaknesses” in police
response to crimes. [...]
“Revealing the marked records would provide criminals with
invaluable information concerning Department techniques used to
investigate and detect activities of suspected criminal elements;
how information is assessed and analyzed; how information is
shared among partner law enforcement agencies and the lessons
learned from the analysis of prior criminal activities,” the
department wrote in a letter to the Office of the Attorney General
that asked the office to prevent the release of the public
records. “Knowing the intelligence and response capabilities of
Department personnel and where those employees focus their
attention will compromise law enforcement purposes by enabling
criminals to anticipate weakness in law enforcement procedures and
alter their methods of operation in order to avoid detection and
Translation: The bodycam footage will further reveal the cowardice and ineptitude of the police, so we’re begging you to let us suppress it.
As Darth notes, the footage is mostly going to show the school parking lot.
Stage Manager is a fully integrated experience that provides
all-new windowing experience that is incredibly fast and
responsive and allow users to run 8 apps simultaneously across
iPad and an external display with up to 6K resolution. Delivering
this experience with the immediacy users expect from iPad’s
touch-first experience requires large internal memory, incredibly
fast storage, and flexible external display I/O, all of which are
delivered by iPads with the M1 chip.
A lot of folks with 2018 iPad Pros and 2020 iPad Airs are pretty
upset about this move, especially given the fact that the Apple
silicon DTK ran on an A12Z. My guess is that the company
just wasn’t happy with the performance of Stage Manager on those
My thanks to Retool for sponsoring this week at Daring Fireball. Programming hasn’t fundamentally changed in a long time. Building an app usually means searching for the right component library, debugging dependencies, rewriting a lot of boilerplate code, and figuring out where to deploy. Everything but solving the problem at hand.
Retool is a new approach, unifying the ease of visual programming with the power and flexibility of real code. Retool can connect to any database or API. Drag-and-drop a UI while simultaneously live-programming it. Deploy instantly and scale as you grow.
Watch their demo videos and try not to be impressed. Retool looks fun. But it’s being used for serious work: Plaid uses Retool to manage integration product support. Amazon uses Retool to handle GDPR requests. You, too, can use it to manage users and orders, analyze data, or build any other business-critical web application, fast.
Watch it on the biggest screen you can — this is the first time the show was mastered and available in 4K. My sincere thanks to everyone at Apple who helped make this happen. Extra special thanks to my friends at Sandwich, once again, for their remarkable work producing the video — what a joy it is to work with them. ★
While Apple was busy transitioning to Intel, I was working on
the software team responsible for Dock, Exposé (later Mission
Control), and Dashboard (now deceased). We did a lot of
experimenting with new interface concepts; one was a radical new
way to manage apps and windows. It effectively made the existing
Exposé irrelevant as well as the Dock as a way of managing
running apps and windows.
It never became an approved project, but I continued to live on
it for many months until it just stopped working with newer
versions of hardware and software. By then, our team had moved on
to other things.
At WWDC 2022, I was very excited to see Apple announce a new
feature for macOS and iPad called Stage Manager. It’s a radical
new way to manage windows and likely makes much of Exposé and the
Dock functionality irrelevant. Sound familiar? Well, it turns out
it looks familiar too!
Pixel icons have a rich history on the Mac. MacPaint was a raster
graphics editor released as part of the original Macintosh in
1984, and its icons were playful, simple and recognizable to
people around the world. Many of the defining icons for modern
drawing and design tools — such as the paint brush, lasso, and
hand tool — were originally created for MacPaint by Susan Kare,
one of the original designers for the Mac.
Kare designed these icons with the monochromatic limits of the
first Mac display in mind, using a grid-lined notebook to map out
each pixel. While we’re no longer limited by hardware, you can
explore those same design principles to help you create fun,
interesting, and visually stunning icons. Begin the challenge
We’re inviting you to create an app icon at pixel level using only
black and white colors on a 48×48 pixel, 32×32 pixel, or 16×16
pixel canvas. You may design for every size, for two sizes, or
just one size. You can draw your icon on paper or using your
favorite program; we’ve also provided a pixel grid for download.
Discover the latest additions to San Francisco — the system font
for Apple platforms — and find out how they can provide more
control and versatility when designing interfaces. In addition to
weights and optical sizes, San Francisco now supports three new
width styles: Condensed, Compressed, and Expanded. We’ll also take
you through the linguistic expansion of San Francisco and learn
more about the feature-rich Arabic system font families: SF Arabic
and SF Arabic Rounded.
My thanks to Kolide for sponsoring last week at DF. Kolide believes that the supposedly “average person” is the key to unlocking a new class of security detection, compliance, and threat remediation. So do the hundreds of organizations that send important security notifications to employees from Kolide’s Slack app.
Kolide knows that organizations can dramatically lower the actual risks they will likely face with a structured, message-based approach. More importantly, they’ll be able to engage end-users to fix nuanced problems that can’t be automated.
The Talk Show Live during WWDC 2022 is happening. It’s going to be good — I think! — and I’m going to put it on YouTube. So no one is going to miss it. We are going to record it inside the Apple Developer Center on Tuesday, June 7. Seating will be, to say the least, limited.
Mark Gurman, writing in his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg:
Personally, I don’t spend much time on my iPhone’s lock screen. I
can’t remember the last time that I’ve swiped to the right on it
to open the widgets panel. When I want to read through
notifications, I typically unlock my phone, then view the
notification panel from inside the system. I’d venture to guess my
most used lock-screen feature is the flashlight button.
To each their own, of course, but I love the “Today View” widgets list to the left of the lock screen, and I use it throughout the day. Weather, upcoming calendar events, and a widget with my most-used Shortcut actions are all at the top, visible without scrolling. And I have few more widgets on the Today View that I do need to scroll to see. It’s just a tremendously convenient way to check glanceable information. I unlock my iPhone to do stuff; but the Today View is terrific for just checking glanceable information, and the complete configurability of the widgets in Today View means the glanceable information is only what I personally care about, in the order I want to see it. It’s one of my very favorite features in all of iOS, and in recent years, the one that has most changed how I use my iPhone.
If you’re not using this, you really should try it. It’s a great way to check a few essential things without unlocking your phone. Not sure why Gurman mentioned notifications here though — you get notifications on the main lock screen, not on the Today View.
That’s probably going to change with iOS 16 and the iPhone 14.
Apple is planning major enhancements for the lock screen,
including wallpapers that have widget-like capabilities.
Sound like maybe adding Today View features to the main lock screen?
Further, I’m told iOS 16 builds in future support for an always-on
lock screen, something Apple was originally planning for last
year’s iPhone 13. This would allow the iPhone to turn down the
frame rate significantly on the lock screen and display quickly
glanceable information — similar to newer Apple Watches.
I’m told to expect the always-on mode as an exclusive to the
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models, codenamed D73 and D74,
if the feature ends up making the cut.
This would be great, but even without Gurman’s reporting, I’d have expected support for this to be gated to new iPhone hardware, and gating it to the 14 Pro models sounds right too. Perhaps Apple would consider supporting an always-on mode for the lock screen for existing iPhone hardware only when they’re charging, though?
There’s a moment early in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster classic
Goodfellas that always tugs at my heartstrings. Scorsese’s movie
is brutal and cleareyed and unsentimental, yes. But Ray Liotta as
Henry Hill, the viewer’s docent into the criminal world, injects a
note of tenderness that’s all the more effective for coming out of
the mouth of a slick sociopath. (The movie is based on the
true-crime book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi; the real Hill
attained some celebrity in the wake of the picture’s release.)
It’s during the voice-over when Henry recalls as a boy envying the
wiseguys who hung out at the pizza parlor and taxi stand across
the street from his home. The guy who runs the pizza joint is
Tuddy Cicero, brother of the mob underboss Paulie Cicero, for whom
Henry will be working soon. Narrator Henry says the gangster’s
full name and pauses. Then, in an exhalation that has low but
strong notes of love and nostalgia, he adds, “Tuddy.”
Michael C. Bender, reporting for The New York Times:
Unbeknownst to the public, however, Mr. Trump again pushed inside
the White House for significant new gun-control measures more than
a year later, after a pair of gruesome shooting sprees that
unfolded over 13 hours. Those discussions have not previously been
On Aug. 3, 2019, a far-right gunman killed 23 people at a Walmart
store in El Paso. Early the next morning, a man shot and killed
nine people outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. Both assailants used
At the White House the next day, Mr. Trump was so shaken by the
weekend’s violence that he questioned aides about a specific
potential solution and made clear he wanted to take action,
according to three people present during the conversation.
“What are we going to do about assault rifles?” Mr. Trump asked.
“Not a damn thing,” Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff,
“Why?” Trump demanded.
“Because,” Mr. Mulvaney told him, “you would lose.”
For $29.99 a month, a website called PimEyes offers a potentially
dangerous superpower from the world of science fiction: the
ability to search for a face, finding obscure photos that would
otherwise have been as safe as the proverbial needle in the vast
digital haystack of the internet.
A search takes mere seconds. You upload a photo of a face, check a
box agreeing to the terms of service and then get a grid of photos
of faces deemed similar, with links to where they appear on the
internet. The New York Times used PimEyes on the faces of a dozen
Times journalists, with their consent, to test its powers.
PimEyes found photos of every person, some that the journalists
had never seen before, even when they were wearing sunglasses or a
mask, or their face was turned away from the camera, in the image
used to conduct the search.
I’d never heard of PimEyes before, but suspect we’ll be hearing about it more going forward. I also suspect this is a losing game of whack-a-mole. Machine learning is clearly already good enough to do this with spooky accuracy, and it’s only going to get better. Should we try passing legislation to strictly regulate facial recognition search? Sure. But I suspect it’s futile, particularly given the global nature of the internet.