The Camera-Permission Edition Thursday, October 26, 2017

Warning Over iPhone Apps That Can Silently Turn On Cameras At Any Time, by James Titcomb, The Telegraph

Apple has been urged to change the way in which iPhone apps are granted access to the phone's camera after a security researcher demonstrated how apps can secretly record photos and videos without the user knowing.

Felix Krause, an Austrian developer who works for Google, built an app that was able to take pictures of its user every second and upload them, without notifying the user. He called it a "privacy loophole that can be abused by iOS apps".

Direct Streaming For Better Hearing

Apple's Streaming Calls Into Julia's Head And It's Changed Her Life, by Esther Han, The Sydney Morning Herald

"At one point I had a double adaptor, so I had a coil hooked over my right ear and an audio cable I had to plug into my sound processor," said Ms Sattout, 54 of Concord West.

"So when someone rang me, like a client, it was like, plug this in, plug this in, and by the time I was ready, I had missed the call."

Now, thanks to the first device born out of a collaboration between implant maker Cochlear and tech giant Apple, phone calls and music can be directly streamed from an iPhone straight to the Cochlear implant.

Cochlear Releases New Made For iPhone Hearing Implant After Working Closely W/ Apple, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Cochlear worked alongside Apple’s accessibility engineering team to design the integration with iPhone. With this partnership, users will be able to listen to music and podcasts, watch video, make calls, and more through the the Nucleus 7 implant.

iPads For Pros

The Mobile Photography Workflow Solution: Fstoppers Reviews The 12.9-Inch Apple iPad Pro, by Alex Cooke, Fstoppers

The combination of the iPad Pro's capable hardware, awesome screen, Lightroom Mobile, and Affinity Photo really makes for a complete editing solution. While I always enjoy editing, I particularly enjoy the tablet experience, and I've found myself doing more of my work away from my desktop. My iPad is always in my bag anyway, and it's been a real boon to my efficiency to be able to pull it out and knock out a photo or cull a set whenever I have 10 spare minutes I would have otherwise spent daydreaming.

The iPad Pro As Main Computer For Programming, by Jannis Hermanns

The iPad Pro with Apple's Smart Keyboard in conjunction with a server running ZSH, tmux and neovim makes a fantastic portable development machine that leaves very little to wish for.

Ahrendts At Apple

Meet The Woman Who Wants To Change The Way You Buy Your iPhone, by Nicole Nguyen, BuzzFeed

Inside, scores of Apple engineers are huddled around, chattering about server loads. A collection of monitors is mounted on the wall, flashing charts, numbers, and graphs. Preorders for Apple's newly announced iPhone 8 are about to begin, and this is the company's "war room" — mission control for a one-night retail operation that brings in more iPhone sales than an entire weekend. Everyone is dressed comfortably for an all-nighter, yellow security bands on their wrists — everyone, that is, except Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail. She’s running the show.

At midnight, the war room's server activity chart ticks abruptly from green to red under a flood of incoming iPhone orders. On the wall, blinking red lights begin flashing across a digital world map with a concentrated flurry of activity in China and South Asia. Then a cheer erupts. Someone from the merchandising team made the winning bet on transactions per second. Apple won’t disclose how many orders came through that night (the company hasn’t published actual preorder numbers for the past two years). But it’s a lot.

Ahrendts remains in the trenches until 3 a.m., floating between the groups, making sure everyone is fired up, like a politician on election night. She smiles and shakes hands the whole time.

Fake Rumors

Apple Says Claim That It Reduced Accuracy Of Face ID To Meet Demand Is ‘Completely False’, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

A Bloomberg report today made claims that Apple had reduced its requirements from suppliers on the accuracy level of Face ID. Apple has issued a statement stating that the report is “completely false” and saying that it expects Face ID to be the new gold standard of facial authentication.

Face ID FUD, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

To be clear, I have no idea whether Face ID works as advertised or not. I haven’t used it even once yet. Maybe it stinks, maybe it’s great, maybe it’s somewhere in between. But Bloomberg clearly doesn’t know either, yet they published this story which has a headline and summary — “The company let suppliers reduce accuracy of the phone’s Face ID system to speed up production” — which suggests that Face ID is going to stink because Apple’s suppliers couldn’t get enough good components out the door. If this weren’t merely clickbait, they’d be able to say how well it actually works.

Frankly, I don’t trust anything Bloomberg reports about iPhones any more.

On Bloomberg’s Report That Apple Downgraded The Accuracy Of Face ID To Improve iPhone X Production Speed, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

The iPhone X is clearly a very advanced device to produce, especially at the scale customers would like to see. But, while the facial recognition sensors seem to be a primary obstacle to that scale, Apple’s statement refutes the notion that Face ID will be compromised in any way. That doesn’t mean they haven’t taken steps to make production easier; it simply means that the production ramp is doing its job, albeit perhaps within a tighter timeframe.

Nipples Are Not Allowed To Stray

Apple’s Billion-Dollar Bet On Hollywood Is The Opposite Of Edgy, by Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg

However, Apple isn’t interested in the types of shows that become hits on HBO or Netflix, like Game of Thrones—at least not yet. The company plans to release the first few projects to everyone with an Apple device, potentially via its TV app, and top executives don’t want kids catching a stray nipple. Every show must be suitable for an Apple Store. Instead of the nudity, raw language, and violence that have become staples of many TV shows on cable or streaming services, Apple wants comedies and emotional dramas with broad appeal, such as the NBC hit This Is Us, and family shows like Amazing Stories. People pitching edgier fare, such as an eight-part program produced by Gravity filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón and starring Casey Affleck, have been told as much.

All this has led many producers to label Apple as conservative and picky. Some potential partners say they walk into Apple’s offices expecting to be blown away by the most successful consumer technology company in the world only to run up against the reality of dealing with a giant, cautious corporation taking its first steps into a new industry.

Apple Hires ex-BBC One Controller, by BBC

Apple has hired Jay Hunt - the former controller of BBC One and chief creative officer of Channel Four - to join its video team.

Ms Hunt was responsible for TV shows including Sherlock and Luther at the BBC before helping Channel 4 sign up the Great British Bake Off.

The Good Kind Of Sekuomorphism

Why Computers Should Be Hidden, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

Though ubiquitous, most ordinary people have no idea that embedded systems even exist. The history of computing’s rise from a tool to a way of life is also the history of making the computer more and more visible. Bill Gates aspired to have “a computer on every desk and in every home.” “Intel Inside” stickers made the company’s hidden microcontrollers visible in name, at least. Smartphones trained people to clutch computers, construing them as a part of their very beings. And today, connected devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home are turning computers into members of the family, after a fashion. Everywhere, computers are screaming at you: “Here I am! I am a computer!”

And yet, microwaves are computers too—in part, anyway. As are washing machines, automobiles, and even light switches, sometimes. All these modest, embedded systems have been “hiding the computation” for years now—for decades. Their purpose is to serve other purposes. To help people reheat coffee or flick on porch lights. Sometimes the computer disappears entirely in embedded systems, as in automobiles, and other times it vanishes after setup, as in my Honeywell light switch. Omata might look like an expensive bike computer for well-to-do cyclists, and certainly it is that, in part. But it’s also a harbinger of a return to modesty in computing. It doesn’t hope to change the world, or even to disrupt smartphones for riders. It’s just a thing that might help people enjoy cycling a little more.

More Stuff

Review: Logitech's Craft Advanced Keyboard Increases Productivity, But Support Is Lacking, by Max Yuryev, AppleInsider

The crown is definitely useful for users who do a lot of visual work. We also think those who adopt it will find the dial interface more convenient and accurate than manipulating onscreen UIs with a keyboard or mouse.

Overall, the Logitech Craft Advanced Keyboard with Creative Input Dial is a quality Mac accessory that left us impressed. The main drawbacks are the price, as well as a lack of software support for the input dial, which we hope will be addressed in due time.

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