Apple on ‘speculative execution vulnerabilities in ARM-based and Intel CPUs’

Security researchers have recently uncovered security issues known by two names, Meltdown and Spectre. These issues apply to all modern processors and affect nearly all computing devices and operating systems. All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time. Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store. Apple has already released mitigations in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 to help defend against Meltdown. Apple Watch is not affected by Meltdown. In the coming days we plan to release mitigations in Safari to help defend against Spectre. We continue to develop and test further mitigations for these issues and will release them in upcoming updates of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

Everything you need to know is on Apple’s web site.

App Store kicks off 2018 with record-breaking holiday season

App Store customers around the world made apps and games a bigger part of their holiday season in 2017 than ever before, culminating in $300 million in purchases made on New Year’s Day 2018. During the week starting on Christmas Eve, a record number of customers made purchases or downloaded apps from the App Store, spending over $890 million in that seven-day period.

What an incredible amount of money spent in seven days. Phil Schiller said that developers earned $26.5 billion in 2017, which is more than a 30 percent increase over 2016.

Behind the scenes at MoMA

We lionize the artist and the designer. But few of us ever consider the men and women behind the scenes at a museum, who must deal with packing and unpacking their famous and weirdly-shaped creations, and who must clean them, inspect them, move them around and hang them.

It’s amazing how much work must go into a museum exhibit.

How to reset and reboot any device

Whenever a family member tells me about something that’s gone haywire on any of their devices, whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, modem, Echo, coffee maker… the first thing I ask is, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” It’s a tried and true method for troubleshooting a lot of glitches in a device’s system. It’s also one of the first things a tech support person will ask you when you call for help.

This is a handy little article to bookmark.

Apple Developer Program Membership Fee Waivers

We’re pleased to announce that Apple Developer Program membership is now available at no cost for eligible organizations. Nonprofit organizations, accredited educational institutions, and government entities based in the United States that will distribute only free apps on the App Store can request to have their annual membership fee waived.

All the information to see if you qualify is available on Apple’s Web site.

Apple’s design mojo

Fortune has an interesting article asking if Apple has lost its design mojo. There is no doubt some things haven’t worked as well as others, but I don’t agree with everything in story. Instead of picking out a few key paragraphs, you go should go read the entire article to get it all in context.

Spotify sued for $1.6 billion for copyright infringement

Music streaming company Spotify was sued by Wixen Music Publishing Inc last week for allegedly using thousands of songs, including those of Tom Petty, Neil Young and the Doors, without a license and compensation to the music publisher.

I don’t know how something like this could possibly happen with a company like Spotify. The entire business is getting licenses to stream music, but apparently they didn’t do that.

Dev-tools company joins Apple

We’re excited to share that the buddybuild team has joined the Xcode engineering group at Apple to build amazing developer tools for the entire iOS community.

Congrats.

iPhone is the best-selling tech product of 2017

Once again, the iPhone was the best-selling tech product of 2017, selling more units than the No. 2 through No. 5 products combined.

According to Daniel Ives, an analyst with GBH Insights, who compiled the chart for USA TODAY, Apple will sell 223 million iPhones in 2017, up from 211 million phones the previous year.

Your password probably sucks

Up your password game by ditching the pets names and creating strong, unique passwords with these tools and tips.

It’s pretty safe to say that most people’s passwords suck. There are some good tips in here, and some good apps to utilize. I’ve used 1Password for several years and love it.

Amazon, Birkenstock battle heats up

A German court has ordered Amazon not to lure internet shoppers to its online marketplace when they mistakenly search for “Brikenstock”, “Birkenstok”, “Bierkenstock” and other variations in Google.

I didn’t think the court could do this, but I guess I was wrong. They are basically telling Amazon that they can’t buy Google Adwords for those misspelled terms.

The actual reason Birkenstock is asking for this makes sense:

Birkenstock sought the injunction because it feared unsuspecting shoppers might buy low-quality counterfeits through Amazon that would erode its reputation.

Amazon said it works to detect fraudulent products from being sold. I’m not sure that’s true either—you can buy that kind of stuff all the time on Amazon.

Google’s Year in Search

Here today, gone tomorrow. Our annual Year in Search is always a fun look back at the fads that captured our fancy and then fizzled out fast. See what this year’s biggest crazes were, through the lens of Google Search.

Unicorns?

PCalc turns 25

PCalc was my first ever application. I started writing in the summer of 1992 and it took me around six months to get it into a state where I was happy to show it to the world. Some of that code still runs today, deep at the heart of the machine.

Such an incredible run for James Thomson. Congrats!

Apple’s FileVault encryption

FileVault is Apple’s implementation of encrypting your data on macOS and Mac hardware. It will encrypt all of your data on your startup disk (although you can also encrypt your Time Machine backups as well) and once enabled, it will encrypt your data on the fly and will work seamlessly in the background.

FileVault has come a long way since I used it, but I haven’t enabled it in years.

Apple faces eight lawsuits for slowing down iPhones

Apple Inc defrauded iPhone users by slowing devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance, according to eight lawsuits filed in various federal courts in the week since the company opened up about the year-old software change.

This is just the beginning.

Merry Christmas and thank you

Another year is almost over. I wanted to take a minute and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a safe New Year.

I also wanted to thank Dave Mark and Shawn King for all the hard work they put into The Loop every day. The posts Dave and Shawn make on the site are some of my favorites to read on the web. The three of us try to post things you will find interesting, entertaining, and sometimes just to give you a laugh.

Most importantly, I wanted to thank you, the reader for the support you have shown us this year. I am truly humbled by all of you. Whether you’re a member, a sponsor, or a regular reader, know that we appreciate you.

Be safe this holiday season.

Jim

Apple chip expert leaves for Google

Bruno founded and managed Apple’s silicon competitive analysis group, which sought to keep the company ahead of competitors in the area of chip performance. He follows several other experienced chip engineers who have defected to Google from Apple over the past year, including Manu Gulati, Wonjae (Gregory) Choi and Tayo Fadelu.

These are highly skilled people for Apple. It would be very interesting to hear what made them leave Apple for Google.

Three Amazon Studios execs leave for Apple

Tara Sorensen, the head of Amazon kids programming, will take on a similar role at Apple as the company pushes more into developing original content. She will report to Apple’s chief content officers Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, themselves former Sony TV executives. Along with Sorensen, international development executive Carina Walker and business affairs chief Tara Pietri will also depart Amazon for Apple, with Pietri leading Apple’s legal affairs division. Walker will again be an international creative executive, reporting to fellow Amazon alum Morgan Wandell.

Apple is getting serious. It’s going to be an interesting 2018 in the video space.

Apple sued for slowing down older iPhones

Los Angeles residents Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas, represented by Wilshire Law Firm, this morning filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California accusing Apple of slowing down their older iPhone models when new models come out.

This lawsuit is complete bullshit. It shows the lawyers and people who brought the suit don’t understand what Apple is doing (not that they really care about that). They are not slowing down phones when new models come out, they are trying to optimize the battery and performance, as explained yesterday.

Facebook signs licensing deal with Universal Music

Facebook Inc and Universal Music Group on Thursday announced a global agreement that will enable users to upload videos featuring music from Universal’s library across the social media network as well as Instagram and Oculus.

Facebook has done a great job in staying ahead of the curve in recent years, offering its users enough to stay on the site. There must be a demand for this among its users, but I’m not sure how much.

CSS glitch effect

Today we’d like to show you how to create a little experimental glitch-like effect on an image. The effect will be powered by CSS animations and the clip-path property. The technique involves using several layers of images where each one will have a clip-path, a blend mode and a translation applied to it.

Very cool.

Apple revises guidelines for template-based apps

This is a great compromise from Apple on template-based apps. I think there are situations where template based apps make sense and Apple is now allowing those on the App Store.

Apple updates App Store guidelines for “loot boxes”

Loot boxes made big headlines in 2017 when EA released Star Wars Battlefront II and received a huge amount of backlash for including a very robust loot box system that made player progression painfully slow for gamers who didn’t spend money. There was a big uproar in the gaming community, EA’s stocks took a hit, and an international conversation started about the morality and implications of loot boxes in games.

I think it’s good that Apple is trying to protect its customers, or at least make the companies disclose the odds.

Apple said to be developing EKG monitor for Apple Watch

Apple Inc. is developing an advanced heart-monitoring feature for future versions of its smartwatch, part of a broader push by the company to turn what was once a luxury fashion accessory into a serious medical device, according to people familiar with the plan.

This is one of those rumors that I would put in the “makes sense” category. Apple has redefined how we track health on our watches in the last few years. If they are able to add a reliable EKG to the watch, it would seem to fit into the company’s larger plan of enabling its users to track health and fitness.

Apple comments on why iPhones with older batteries run slower

Apple is once again in the midst of a ridiculous hubbub about iPhones with older batteries running slower than their newer counterparts. Some people even go so far as to say Apple is trying to force you to upgrade by slowing down your older iPhone on purpose. […]

Apple sued over App Store logo

Back in August this year, Apple replaced the App Store logo consisting of pencil, ruler, and paintbrush with the new logo featuring three plain sticks (kind of) on iOS and MacOS. According to KON, the new logo of the App Store on iOS and MacOS is a clear violation of the Chinese copyright law.

There is no doubt that they are the same. Apple has been using a similar looking logo for years, so it’ll be interesting to see if they argue that it was just changing what it was already using. We’ll see.