The Doubled-Down Edition Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Comeback Of Fun In Visual Design, by Michael Flarup, Apply Pixels

Given the chance of a redesign on the mac, Apple did not choose minimalism as the single guiding design pillar. In fact, they doubled down on expressiveness, added depth, gaussian blur shadows, angled lighting and real lifelike objects. Sure, it’s not consistent and we lost some expressiveness elsewhere (🥃 pour one out for detailed toolbar icons), but generally this is like a green light turning on for more expressiveness and ultimately more fun in visual design. They didn't just keep this for nostalgia's sake, they developed it further. They advanced it and are pushing it out to millions of Mac users later this year.

Why The Mac Is (Once Again) Central To Apple’s Future, by Jason Snell, Macworld

When I look at the future of the Mac in the 2020s, it’s not as a legacy platform used by old-school computer users. Instead, it’s truly the capstone of Apple’s software platforms. The Mac will be able to do anything, and run anything, that the iPhone and iPad can. And on top of that, it will have its traditional powers, including access to decades worth of professional apps, the ability to download software outside of the App Store, access to the command line, and much more. The Mac won’t be the red-headed stepchild—it will be the one Apple device that does everything.

30 More US Apple Stores Reclose Tomorrow, But Why Haven’t They All?, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced its fifth wave of US store reclosures in less than two weeks as states struggle to keep COVID-19 under control. The latest closures affect stores in Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma.


For the latest wave of stores reclosing this week, Apple is allowing customers with existing online orders and previously scheduled in-store Genius Support appointments to visit through July 3.

How To Make Smartphones Last Longer, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

If we put a small amount of time into caring for our gadgets, they can last indefinitely. We’d also be doing the world a favor. By elongating the life of our gadgets, we put more use into the energy, materials and human labor invested in creating the product.


So here are some of the most effective steps you can take to squeeze as much life as possible out of your phones, tablets and computers without breaking the bank.

On Security

Uncovered: 1,000 Phrases That Incorrectly Trigger Alexa, Siri, And Google Assistant, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

As Alexa, Google Home, Siri, and other voice assistants have become fixtures in millions of homes, privacy advocates have grown concerned that their near-constant listening to nearby conversations could pose more risk than benefit to users. New research suggests the privacy threat may be greater than previously thought.

The findings demonstrate how common it is for dialog in TV shows and other sources to produce false triggers that cause the devices to turn on, sometimes sending nearby sounds to Amazon, Apple, Google, or other manufacturers.

New Mac Ransomware Is Even More Sinister Than It Appears, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

The threat of ransomware may seem ubiquitous, but there haven't been too many strains tailored specifically to infect Apple's Mac computers since the first full-fledged Mac ransomware surfaced only four years ago. So when Dinesh Devadoss, a malware researcher at the firm K7 Lab, published findings on Tuesday about a new example of Mac ransomware, that fact alone was significant. It turns out, though, that the malware, which researchers are now calling ThiefQuest, gets more interesting from there. (Researchers originally dubbed it EvilQuest, until they discovered the Steam game series of the same name.)

In addition to ransomware, ThiefQuest has a whole other set of spyware capabilities that allow it to exfiltrate files from an infected computer, search the system for passwords and cryptocurrency wallet data, and run a robust keylogger to grab passwords, credit card numbers, or other financial information as a user types it in. The spyware component also lurks persistently as a backdoor on infected devices, meaning it sticks around even after a computer reboots, and could be used as a launchpad for additional, or "second stage," attacks. Given that ransomware is so rare on Macs to begin with, this one-two punch is especially noteworthy.

Developer Relationships

Apple's Developer War Reignites After A Yoga App Says It Was Rejected From The App Store For Refusing To Auto-bill Users, by Isobel Asher Hamilton, Business Insider

"Apple is rejecting our latest update because we refuse to auto-charge at the end of our free trial," Down Dog said in its statement, including a screenshot of an email from Apple.


The company said on Twitter: "We've experimented with auto-charging trials in the past and they lead to (1) fewer users trying the product (2) a huge number of refund requests by users who forget to cancel and (3) complete disbelief from those users when we explain that Apple won't allow us to issue refunds."

Tim Cook Agrees To Testify In Congress This Month During Hearing On Big Tech Antitrust, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple CEO Tim Cook has agreed to testify as part of a US House Judiciary Committee antitrust probe later this month. Cook is the latest of the four largest tech companies CEOs to agree to testify during the antitrust hearing, following Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.


The goal of the bipartisan congressional probe is to find out whether tech giants capitalize on their size to give themselves an unfair advantage over smaller companies, and whether these decisions affect consumers. In Apple’s case, the concerns generally center on the cut the company takes from App Store sales and in-app payments and subscriptions.


Apple Now Offering Radeon Pro W5500X For Mac Pro, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple’s Mac Pro can now be configured with a Radeon Pro W5550X with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, a graphics card option that’s a step above the entry-level Radeon Pro 580X but not as expensive as the W5700X graphics card that Apple introduced as an option in April.

Apple Card COVID Assistance Extended Through July, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Apple Card customers are now allowed to defer their July payments without incurring interest. Customers will need to talk to a financial representative to request entry into the program or extend their deferments if they are already enrolled.


The Gap Between Learning Code And Producing Usable Software, by Yassine Rajallah

One of the unspoken areas about software development is building usable software. Learning how to code, coding something, and having it used by thousands is no easy task. In this article, I’ll be discussing the most important pillars that you need to address before launching your product.


Apple Suspends App Updates For Unlicensed Games In China's App Store, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Apple freezes updates for thousands of mobile games in the App Store in China while facing pressure to comply with the government's local regulations.

[...] Developers have been informed they require licenses from Chinese regulators to continue offering their games in the iOS App Store from July onwards.

Apple Supplier Foxconn, Others Hit As India Holds Up Imports From China: Sources, by Aditya Kalra, Sankalp Phartiyal, Reuters

India’s additional scrutiny of imports from China has disrupted operations at plants owned by Apple supplier Foxconn in southern India, three sources told Reuters, and other foreign firms are also facing delays as tensions between the two countries build.

Customs officers at Indian ports have held back shipments from China and sought additional clearances after deadly clashes at the disputed Himalayan border last month. The checks have been imposed without any formal order.

UK Regulators Take Aim At Apple's Search Engine Deal With Google, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

The payments by Alphabet Inc’s Google to Apple Inc to be the default search engine on Apple’s Safari web browser create “a significant barrier to entry and expansion” for Google’s rivals in the search engine market, the UK markets regulator said in a report released on Wednesday.

Bottom of the Page

I bet Apple is seriously considering doing the manufacturing and assembling themselves.


Thanks for reading.