The Protect-Workers Edition Friday, May 15, 2020

Apple’s Supply Chain Is Making Safety Changes To Protect Workers In Response To The Pandemic, by Jay Peters, The Verge

Apple’s global supply chain is making safety changes to better protect workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, as outlined in the company’s 2020 Supplier Responsibility report. Sabih Khan, Apple’s senior vice president of operations and the person in charge of the company’s global supply chain, detailed the changes the company’s suppliers are making in a letter at the beginning of the report.

The company has worked with its global supply chain “on a range of protections suited to the circumstances in each country, including health screenings, limiting density, and ensuring strict adherence to social distancing in their facilities,” said Khan.

Adobe Patches Acrobat Reader Security Flaw That Could Allow Root Access On Mac, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Adobe has patched a trio of severe vulnerabilities in the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader that could allow an attacking application to gain root access on macOS — and do it silently.

Utilizing these newly revealed security exploits, a malicious program could elevate privileges to superuser, or root, on macOS. A user or program with root permissions can do just about anything on a Mac device without a user's knowledge.

VR Too

Apple Acquires Startup NextVR That Broadcasts VR Content, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

NextVR has deals with sports leagues including the National Basketball Association and entertainment networks such as Fox Sports. The startup also has expertise in live streaming in virtual reality, which could also be useful for live concerts and games.

Why Did Apple Buy NextVR?, by Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

At face value, this acquisition seems a little strange for Apple. Apple has been pushing full throttle on mobile AR, largely eschewing public activity or interest in the VR world, leaving that domain wholly in Facebook’s hands. Late last year, The Information reported that Apple had informed employees that it may be shipping a device in 2022 that combined AR and VR capabilities in a form factor similar to the Oculus Quest. That teamed with this acquisition suggests that Apple may have deeper plans for VR than they’ve previously indicated.


Apple Arcade On TV: Seven Months Later, Still Not Much Progress, by Eli Blumenthal, CNET

Although there's plenty to like with Apple Arcade on Apple TV, those hoping it will turn the Apple TV into a miniature Xbox, PlayStation or Switch will be disappointed. Eight months after launch, the biggest problem is that there just aren't a lot of great games that take advantage of the TV.

Mophie Unveils New Powerstation XL With USB-C And Lightning, Qi Charging, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The new Powerstation XL offers up to 18W output when using the USB-C PD port. You can also charge two devices at the same time using both the USB-C port and wireless charging. In total, Mophie says the Powerstation XL can give your iPhone up to 55 hours of extra juice.


How To Prepare For Losing Your Programming Job, by Itamar Turner-Trauring, Code Without Ruls

So even if your job is secure now, you might still lose it in the future. How can you prepare? What can you do to reduce your future risks?

The first thing you need to do is come up with a plan, which is what this article is all about.


The Joys Of Fixing Your Own Stuff, by Shira Ovide, New York Times

I’m never going to stop buying new stuff. But like our sudden mania for baking, D.I.Y. repairs show how resourceful we can be. “It’s an opportunity to improve yourself and learn new skills,” Wiens said.

Can A Smart Watch Detect Covid-19?, by Victoria Song, Gizmodo

For every heartwarming story of an Apple Watch or Fitbit saving someone’s life, there’s another lurking about health tech peddling false promises and shady marketing passed off as science. With the stakes of covid-19 so high, how much of this is a genuine desire by wearables companies to lend their expertise during an unprecedented crisis? How much is a PR play meant to drum up goodwill at a time when consumers are more careful with their purse strings? And crucially, is a future where your smartwatch warns you before you get sick even possible?

It might sound like science fiction, but there’s reason to believe wearables could be useful in detecting infections. Whether researchers can figure it out in time to make a difference against covid-19 is another story.

Apple's Chipmaker TSMC Announces Plan To Build Arizona Factory, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple's chipmaking partner TSMC today announced its intention to build and operate an advanced semiconductor factory in Arizona, with construction planned to start in 2021 and production targeted to begin in 2024.