The Global-Struggle Edition Saturday, February 1, 2020

Apple Has A Vladimir Putin Problem, by Josh Nadeau, Fast Company

In November 2019, Russian parliament passed what’s become known as the “law against Apple.” The legislation will require all smartphone devices to preload a host of applications that may provide the Russian government with a glut of information about its citizens, including their location, finances, and private communications.

Apple typically forbids the preloading of third-party apps onto its system’s hardware. But come July 2020, when the law goes into effect, Apple will be forced to quit the country and a market estimated at $3 billion unless it complies. This piece of legislation, along with a controversial law aimed at the construction of a “sovereign internet,” is the latest step in Vladimir Putin’s ongoing encroachment into digital space—and has brought Apple into direct conflict with the autocratic Russian president.

[...] Apple’s insistence on putting privacy first is gradually pushing the tech giant into a larger, global struggle over data rights and digital sovereignty.

The Biggest Apple Maps Change Is One You Can't See, by Lauren Goode, Wired

Apple says Maps does not link to a specific user ID, that a user’s location is obscured when searching within Maps, and that the company doesn’t retain a history of user locations. Google, in the past, has been called out for collecting and storing fairly granular location data without making it obvious to users that it’s happening—and even if they had paused location sharing. “What Apple is trying to offer here is privacy of users’ location data,” Zimmerman says.

Apple To Close Stores In China Through Feb. 9 On Virus Fears, by Bloomberg

Apple Inc. will close its corporate offices, stores and contact centers in mainland China through February 9, a move the company says comes out of an “abundance of caution and based on the latest advice from leading health experts.”

The move comes as global companies with heavy Chinese footprints weigh how to respond to the threat of the spreading coronavirus that has prompted worldwide concern but remains primarily concentrated in China, the country where it first surfaced.


Apple Offering Onsite Device Repairs In Select Cities Through Go Tech Services, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple is now offering an onsite repair option for customers in select cities who need issues with their Apple devices addressed but aren't able to visit a repair shop or Apple Store.

The onsite repair options are available through Apple Authorized Service Provider Go Tech Services, which promises to repair your device "at your home or office."

Overcast Podcast Player Launches Voice Boost 2, AirPlay 2 Support, More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

If you already use Overcast, you probably know Voice Boost. It normalizes voice volume so every podcast will play at the same level, allowing the user to listen to them in noisy environments, such as an airport or a crowded mall. That feature has been completely rebuilt with the latest update to be more efficient and accurate.


The Struggle Is Real...with App Subscriptions, by Christine Chan, iMore

Honestly, after this, I'm seriously going to be taking a look at the app subscriptions I have and trimming the fat. It's sad that it seems subscriptions are the only way to make money with apps these days, and I wish we could go back to the old days of upfront costs for apps and paid upgrades because at least the customer had the choice to update or not that way.

It's 2020, but this feels like the straw that's breaking the camel's back.

The Fractured Future Of Browser Privacy, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

At the USENIX Enigma security conference in San Francisco this week, developers, security researchers, and privacy advocates presented differing views of how browsers should protect their users against data abuses. In a panel discussion that included representatives from Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Brave, all participants agreed that collaboration across the industry has driven innovation and helped make privacy a priority. But some browsers are taking a hardline approach, while others prefer to increase protections within the status quo.

Apple In 2019: The Six Colors Report Card, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

It’s time for our annual look back on Apple’s performance during the past year, as seen through the eyes of writers, editors, developers, podcasters, and other people who spend an awful lot of time thinking about Apple.

Bottom of the Page

I may not be ready yet, but I can be ready in a moment's notice, I think. Returning to the ocean.


Thanks for reading.