The Life-Improvement Edition Friday, August 20, 2021

Why Tim Cook Thinks Australia Is A Perfect Tech Breeding Ground, by Matthew Drummond, Financial Review

Fresh from this win, which attracted global attention, the ACCC in April began targeting Apple and Google over how they run their respective app stores. Is the ACCC on Cook’s radar? “Of course,” he replies. “Anywhere in the world that we’re being inspected is on my radar, at least that we’re aware of, and it’s incumbent on us to tell our story and to say why we do what we do.”

In the case of the controls over the App Store, they are there for security, privacy and safety, he says. “Any kind of regulation should be justified by being great for the user. [Regulation] needs to improve someone’s life. Just like an invention or a technology needs to improve someone’s life.“

Apple Exec Talks Entrepreneur Camp Program, The Need For More Women And Black Developers, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Apple’s senior director thinks Apple Entrepreneur Camps are crucial for women and Black people to join the developer community. “They bring other realities, expressing their communities. We want to create apps for all people so we need to make sure that everybody is capable of creating an app. We need to make sure that coding is accessible to all people.”

Apple's Alisha Johnson Discusses Climate-focused 'Impact Accelerator' Program, by AppleInsider

Johnson goes on to say that Apple is helping the 15 selected companies meet their environmental goals by pairing them with experts and mentors, and is providing an opportunity to learn how to become an Apple supplier.

Gambling with Security and Privacy

We Built A System Like Apple’s To Flag Child Sexual Abuse Material — And Concluded The Tech Was Dangerous, by Jonathan Mayer and Anunay Kulshrestha , Washington Post

The company’s latest defense of its system is that there are technical safeguards against misuse, which outsiders can independently audit. But Apple has a record of obstructing security research. And its vague proposal for verifying the content-matching database would flunk an introductory security course.


We hope it succeeds in both protecting children and affirming incentives for broader adoption of encryption. But make no mistake that Apple is gambling with security, privacy and free speech worldwide.

Apple Photo-scanning Plan Faces Global Backlash From 90 Rights Groups, by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) announced the letter, with CDT Security & Surveillance Project Co-Director Sharon Bradford Franklin saying, "We can expect governments will take advantage of the surveillance capability Apple is building into iPhones, iPads, and computers. They will demand that Apple scan for and block images of human rights abuses, political protests, and other content that should be protected as free expression, which forms the backbone of a free and democratic society."

The open letter was signed by groups from six continents (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America). Some of the US-based signers are the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, the LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute, New America's Open Technology Institute, STOP (Surveillance Technology Oversight Project), and the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center. Signers also include groups from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, Spain, Tanzania, and the UK.

The Illusion Of Privacy Is Getting Harder To Sell, by Greg Bensinger, New York Times

It’s a good indication that things are headed in the wrong direction when your company’s anti-child pornography initiative gets panned.


Apple says, relentlessly, that privacy is the central feature of its iPhones. But as the photo scanning demonstrates, that’s true only until Apple changes its mind about its policies.

Getting Back To Normal

Apple Shuts Store After More Than 20 Employees Exposed To Covid, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. closed its store in Charleston, South Carolina, after more than 20 staff members were exposed to Covid-19, underscoring the company’s challenges getting its retail operations back to normal.


Some other Apple retail stores across the U.S. have shortened their operating hours, partly because of Covid but also due to the tight labor market.

Apple Delays Mandatory Return To Office Until January 2022, Citing COVID-19 Surge, by Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

In an internal email sent this evening, Deirdre O’Brien, senior vice president of people and retail, encouraged employees to get vaccinated and noted that Apple retail stores remain open.

Dirty Laundry

The Best Emails From The Apple Vs. Epic Trial, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

We’ve also been digging through these companies’ dirty laundry, reading scores of internal emails and confidential presentations unearthed during the legal discovery process. It’s fascinating stuff.

In fact, we found dirt on a variety of other companies as well: Microsoft, Sony, Google, Nintendo, Valve, Netflix, Hulu, and many others were caught up in discovery, and many details of their businesses, strategies, and conversations with Apple and Epic are now out in the open, publicly released by the courts.

Steve Jobs Email Confirms Apple Was Working On An ‘iPhone Nano’, by Jay Peters, The Verge

Unfortunately, Jobs’ October 2010 email, which is an agenda for a strategy meeting, doesn’t reveal much about the device.


Fantastic Astronomy App Sky Guide Receives Big Update With New Features, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

The sky appearance has also been improved with more realistic shading to represent day, twilight, dusk, and night. The improvement uses physics-based computation called atmospheric multiple scattering.

Plex Launches A Build Your Own UI Experience Including New 'Modern Layout' For Apple TV App, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Along with a new “Modern Layout” option, the UI can be customized with options for the app/home background and details background.

Review: Grid Studio Turns Apple's History Into Beautiful Home Decoration, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Grid Studio, whose tagline is “Every classic deserves to be framed,” takes Apple products and breaks them down component-by-component, placing them in gorgeously labeled, neat, and organized frames for your home or office that beautifully respect the devices’ intricate designs.


Apple Podcasts Affiliate Program Launches Special Offer For 100% Bounty To Boost Paid Subscriptions, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

As part of the launch, Apple will now boost the rate of its bounty from 50% to 100% from now through the end of November.

Apple Launches A New iOS App, ‘Siri Speech Study,’ To Gather Feedback For Siri Improvements, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Reached for comment, Apple told TechCrunch the app is only being used for Siri product improvements, by offering a way for participants to share feedback directly with Apple. The company also explained people have to be invited to the study — there’s not a way for consumers to sign up to join.

Apple Is Scaling Back A Key Health Project That Grew Out Of Its Care Clinics, And Some Workers Could Lose Their Jobs, by Blake Dodge, Business Insider

Apple is scaling back a key project in its health division, four people familiar with the matter told Insider.

It's an app called HealthHabit that Apple employees can use to log fitness goals, manage hypertension , and talk to clinicians and coaches at AC Wellness, the doctors' group that Apple works with.

Bottom of the Page

I am feeling less frustrated when I hear so many people on so many podcasts said that SwiftUI is really not ready, especially on macOS.


Thanks for reading.