The Closer-Than-Ever Edition Thursday, April 20, 2023

Apple Announces Major Progress Toward Climate Goals Ahead Of Earth Day, by Apple

Already carbon neutral for its global corporate operations, Apple has decreased its comprehensive carbon footprint by over 45 percent since 2015, even as the company’s revenue has grown by over 68 percent during that same period. In total last year, the company’s extensive environmental efforts — including expanding renewable energy across its global supply chain, and building products with recycled and other low-carbon materials — avoided more than 28 million metric tons of carbon.

“We are closer than ever to achieving our vision of Apple 2030 — our ambitious goal to make every product carbon neutral by 2030 — and we are thrilled to celebrate the tremendous progress with our customers this Earth Day,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives. “Our customers can use their Apple devices knowing they are made with the environment in mind — that means more clean energy, more industry-leading durability, even greater efficiency, and more recycled and low-carbon materials than ever before.

Apple Responds To Report About Thieves Permanently Locking Out iPhone Users, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In a statement shared in response to the report, Apple said it is “always investigating additional protections against emerging threats like this one.”

“We sympathize with people who have had this experience and we take all attacks on our users very seriously, no matter how rare,” an Apple spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal. “We work tirelessly every day to protect our users’ accounts and data, and are always investigating additional protections against emerging threats like this one.”

Apple In India

Apple Saket Now Open In New Delhi, by Apple

Presented in a roundtable-style format for an even more personalized experience, Apple Saket’s Today at Apple sessions are designed for everyone from photographers and musicians to first-time Apple customers.

Apple Crosses Final Frontier With India Retail, Production Push, by Ryosuke Hanada and Rei Nakafuji, Nikkei Asia

Cook was in New Delhi on Wednesday to meet with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"We share your vision of the positive impact technology can make on India’s future -- from education and developers to manufacturing and the environment, we’re committed to growing and investing across the country," Cook tweeted afterward.


Glucomate Is A New iPhone App For Analyzing And Spotting Trends From Glucose Monitoring Data, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Indie developer Zach Simone from Sydney, Australia, has launched a new iPhone app that’s rather personal for him. Zach lives with Type 1 diabetes and uses a continuous glucose monitor with Apple Health support to manage it.

The challenge, though, is knowing how to make use of all the data as it builds up. That’s a challenge Zach wants to solve with his new app called Glucomate.

Voicemod Now Available On Mac With Real-time AI Voice Changing And Soundboards, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Voicemod, a popular voice changer and soundboard, is now available on macOS. Voicemod is widely used by streamers, gamers, and content creators to trigger sound effects through soundboards or for pitch-shifting and fun real-time voice changes.

Second Emergency Chrome For Mac Update Targets New Zero-day Flaw, by Michael Simon, Macworld

The 112.0.5615.137 update for Chrome for Mac fixes eight security flaws, including at least one that may have been actively exploited.


Get Ready To Help Customers Resolve Billing Issues Without Leaving Your App, by Apple

Starting this summer, if an auto-renewable subscription doesn’t renew due to a billing issue, a system-provided sheet appears in your app with a prompt that lets customers update their payment method for their Apple ID. No action is required to adopt this feature.


AI Drake Just Set An Impossible Legal Trap For Google, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

Instead, UMG and Getty Images and publishers around the world are claiming that collecting all the training data for the AI is copyright infringement: that ingesting Drake’s entire catalog, or every Getty photo, or the contents of every Wall Street Journal article (or whatever) to train an AI to make more photos or Drake songs or news articles is unauthorized copying. That would make the fake Drake songs created by that AI unauthorized “derivative works,” and, phew, we’re still squarely in the realm of copyright law that everyone understands. (Or, well, pretends to understand.)

The problem is that Google, Microsoft, StabilityAI, and every other AI company are all claiming that those training copies are fair use — and by “fair” they do not mean “fair as determined by an argument in an internet comments section,” but “fair” as in “fair as determined by a court on a case-by-case application of 17 United States Code §107 which lays out a four-factor test for fair use that is as contentious and unpredictable as anything in American political life.”

The Hacker, by Maddy Crowell, Columbia Journalism Review

Runa Sandvik was living in London when she first heard about the hack—and it stunned her. She was twenty-five at the time, a cybersecurity expert working for a grassroots operation aiming to help anonymize the internet. A few years later, she was called into an interview at the Times headquarters for a new role: head of information security. Sandvik was told that the newsroom wanted to hire someone who could ward off the possibility of another major attack and help reporters deal with cybersecurity threats as they arose. Sandvik was the obvious person for the job. “She’s been the first in so many instances,” Susan McGregor, a researcher at Columbia University’s Data Science Institute, told me. “She appreciates the vagaries of journalism and what it looks like to work through censorship resistance from inside a news organization.”

“It comes back to being really curious about things and really enjoying the puzzle that goes into figuring out how to secure a system or a person,” Sandvik told me recently. Now thirty-six, Sandvik lives in New York with her husband, Michael, who is also in cybersecurity. She departed from the Times a few years ago and has since started her own consulting firm, Granitt, where she advises journalists and other at-risk people (lawyers, activists) on how to keep their data safe from hackers—many of them the hired hands of authoritarian regimes. Sandvik is originally from Oslo; the name of her company is the Norwegian word for granite. “I wanted the name to reflect the work I do,” she said. “Something consistent and stable and solid.”

Bottom of the Page

I'm sure we will see more pictures and videos of Apple in India during the upcoming WWDC keynotes, won't we? Maybe the lucky WWDC in-person attendees (as well as the press) may get to experience India in all its colors, sounds, and dimensions? (Did anyone notice anybody from Apple filming in some special VR cameras?)


Thanks for reading.