The Speculative-Execution Edition Friday, January 5, 2018

About Speculative Execution Vulnerabilities In ARM-based And Intel CPUs, by Apple

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.

The T2 Chip Makes The iMac Pro The Start Of A Mac Revolution, by Jason Snell, Macworld

I’ve spent the last week with Apple’s new iMac Pro, and in most ways it’s just a faster Mac. It's the first pro Mac desktop in over three years and the fastest Mac yet made, granted, but still entirely familiar. And yet in many ways—some noticeable, some entirely invisible—this new Mac is completely different from all past Mac models.

The iMac Pro may be an outlier today, but in the future we’ll probably look back on it as the start of a new era for the Mac, all because of the Apple-built T2 chip it carries inside. Here’s how the T2 makes this iMac Pro unlike all other Macs.

3 Reasons Apple Joined The Alliance For Open Media, by Jeremy Horwitz, VentureBeat

Apple can now guarantee that its HEVC video streams are playable on its own devices, but it can’t guarantee that they’re playable on non-Apple devices — not every manufacturer is willing to pay HEVC licensing fees, or deal with the sort of messy licensing issues Microsoft encountered when adding HEVC to Windows 10. If Apple wanted its videos to enjoy the bandwidth-saving benefits of HEVC on non-HEVC devices, AV1 may be the only viable alternative.


AV1 could enable Apple to stream videos to Android devices, which aren’t currently supported by iTunes but do have access to Apple Music. If Apple’s going to launch a video subscription service, it’s likely going to want to reach Android users like it does with its music service. AV1 might be the smartest way to do so.

Apple Sues French Tax Activists Who Occupied Paris Store, by AFP

Apple has filed a lawsuit against the Attac activist group after about 100 of its supporters occupied the tech giant's flagship store in Paris last month, protesting alleged "wide-scale tax evasion" by the firm.

An Apple spokesman told AFP on Thursday that while it respected the group's right to expression, its recent actions had "put the security of our customers and employees at risk."


Remote Control A Mac From An iPhone Via Workflow, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Workflow is the tool we’ll use to trigger remote events on the Mac. You can have as many of these as you want, since each workflow can trigger a different event. I’ll show two examples, one of which is implemented as a share extension (so you can share a URL), the other of which runs from the Workflow widget in Notification Center.


This approach uses Noodlesoft’s [...] Hazel Hazel utility, which can act on files and folders automatically when they appear on your Mac. In this case, Hazel will be processing a file added to the Remote Scripts folder in Dropbox, so you’ll need to add that folder to Hazel’s Folders list and then make a new rule.


Chrome Is Turning Into The New Internet Explorer 6, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Chrome is now the most popular browser across all devices, thanks to Android’s popularity and the rise of Chrome on Windows PCs and Mac computers. As Google continues to dominate our access to the web, information through its search engine, and services like Gmail or YouTube, Chrome is a powerful entry point in the company’s vast toolbox. While Google championed web standards that worked across many different browsers back in the early days of Chrome, more recently its own services often ignore standards and force people to use Chrome.

Chrome, in other words, is being used in the same way that Internet Explorer 6 was back in the day — with web developers primarily optimizing for Chrome and tweaking for rivals later. To understand how we even got to this stage, here’s a little (a lot) of browser history. If you want to know why saying "Chrome is the new Internet Explorer 6" is so damning, you have to know why IE6 was a damnable problem in the early ‘00s.