The secret history of the iPhone

Lev Grossman, author of the Magicians trilogy, reviews Brian Merchant's origin story of the iPhone, called The One Device, in the NY Times:

Snip:

If you’ve ever worked on a hopeless project that felt like it was going nowhere, you will draw spiritual strength from Merchant’s account of life in the Purple trenches. It includes fascinating dead ends and might-have- beens (a prototype based on the original iPod’s click wheel, backlit in blue and orange); personal sacrifices (“The iPhone is the reason I’m divorced”); obscure technical hurdles (the phone’s infrared proximity sensor, which turns the screen off when it’s near your head, wouldn’t recognize dark hair); backstage tension at the launch (I was actually there, watching Jobs rehearse the famous iPhone keynote, but apparently missed everything); even a symbolic onstage assassination (when Jobs publicly demonstrated swiping to delete a contact, he used Apple vice president Tony Fadell’s name, foreshadowing Fadell’s imminent departure).

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Vintage Apple Computer sneakers up for auction

This fine pair of Apple Computer sneakers, a holy grail of Apple memorabilia, will go up for auction on Sunday. The starting bid is $15,000 but they are estimated to fetch as much as $36,000. Available only to company employees in the early 1990s, they feature Apple's far superior rainbow logo. The shoe size is 9 1/2. Unclear if they were ever worn, and if so, by whom.

APPLE COMPUTER SNEAKERS, CIRCA EARLY 1990S SIZE 9 1/2 Read the rest

Chinese Apple employees and contractors sold users' private data for as little as $1.50

Police in China's Zhejiang announced that they worked with colleagues in four provinces to arrest 22 suspects in a data-theft ring that raided Apple's internal networks for Iphone owners' sensitive personal information ("names, phone numbers, Apple IDs, and other data") which they sold to criminals for as little as $1.50. Read the rest

iMac Pro starts at $5000

After a year or two of Windows 10, I'm ready to go back to a computer that doesn't hate me. I'd been hoping the iMac Pro, announced today, would come in a relatively affordable form—competitive with the $2700 Microsoft Surface Studio, for example. But no! It doesn't! At $5000 to start, this total monster of an all-in-one is most certainly for professionals: you can have 18 cores, 128GB of DDR4 RAM, 4TB SSD, a 16GB Radeon Vega video card, a 30-bit 5k display and even a headphone jack.

To make sure you know it means business, it comes in black and ships December. I'll be sticking with the standard iMac Amateur, I think, which received significant spec bumps: 4.2 GHz Kaby Lake processors, "50% faster" SSD drives, Thunderbolt 3, and Radeon Pro 500 graphics (can't find benchmarks, but isn't this the same as Polaris?) Read the rest

Apple caught up in Australian sting operation

Australian regulators are taking legal action against Apple after investigators posing as customers claim that the company wrongly refused to repair devices that had been serviced by third-party providers.

Australian authorities lodged a high-profile case against Apple this year, after iPhone and iPad customers experienced a malfunction that rendered phones useless if it detects that a repair has been carried out by a non-Apple technician. The fault occurred between late 2014 until early last year.

The case, set to go to trial in mid-December, accuses Apple of wrongly telling customers they were not entitled to free replacements or repair if they had taken their devices to an unauthorised third-party repairer... That advice was allegedly given even where the repair – a screen replacement, for example – was not related to the fault.

This is fallout from the legendary Error 53 kiln. Read the rest

Apple, CTA and Big Car are working in secret to kill New York's Right to Repair legislation

Here's the list of companies that are quietly lobbying to kill New York State's Right to Repair legislation (previously), which would force companies to halt anticompetitive practices that prevent small businesses from offering repair services to their communities: "Apple, Verizon, Toyota, Lexmark, Caterpillar, Asurion, Medtronic" and the Consumer Technology Association "which represents thousands of electronics manufacturers." Read the rest

The new Apple campus has a 100,000 sqft gym and no daycare

Construction is near to completion on Apple's $5B campus in Cupertino, and the project has included many odd notes, like the insistence on not having thresholds on the floor of the doorways lest daydreaming engineers trip over them, and some weird ideas about where the bathrooms should go. Read the rest

Apple's control-freakery is making the Internet of Shit shittier

The anonymous individual behind the must-follow Internet of Shit Twitter account now has a column in The Verge, and has devoted 1,500 words to documenting all the ways in which Apple's signature walled-garden approach to technology has created an Apple Home IoT platform that is not only manifestly totally broken, but also can't be fixed until Apple decides to do something about it -- and once you opt for Apple, you can forget about plugging in anything Apple hasn't greenlit, meaning that your choice of smartphone will determine what kind of toaster and lightswitch you're allowed to connect to your smarthome. Read the rest

You can backspace on the iPhone calculator

Here's how's it's done:

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The word "sheeple" is now in the dictionary, with Apple fans as example

Merriam-Webster added "sheeple" to their dictionary. It's defined as "people who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced : people likened to sheep." Here's one of the two usage examples they include:

Apple's debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone—an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $99 for.
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NYU grad student goes undercover in Chinese iPhone factory and it ain't pretty

NYU grad student Dejian Zeng worked undercover at an iPhone factory in Shanghai, China for six weeks, and "grim" is a nice way to describe it.

Zeng was in charge of one screw per phone, fastening the speaker to the back of the iPhone case. He had to show up at the factory at 7:30 and work 12 hours per day, but was only paid for 10 1/2 hours per day since breaks are unpaid. And his work week consisted of 6 days per week, for which he only gets paid $450/month, including overtime.

The workers live in prison cells, er, I mean dorm rooms that are as bleak as hell. They have only one uniform to wear all week, as well as a pair of slippers. But they do not receive an iPhone as a perk – it's rare to see anyone with a personal iPhone at the iPhone factory. Most workers have a phone that is cheaper.

The thing that shocked Zeng the most was the managers' attitudes - "yelling at the workers is kind of routine in the factories." But the good thing is that the company has installed nets around the stairs to prevent people from committing suicide. Oh, and the windows have cages around them so no one can jump out and kill themselves.

There are more fascinating details in this video. Good undercover work, Zeng! Read the rest

Steve Wozniak on how he became passionate about computers

Apple computers was founded on April 1, 1976. In this commercial for the Japanese human resources brand PERSOL, Steve Wozniak talks about how he "stumbled into a journal about digital computer topics" and how it changed his life. Read the rest

Terms and Conditions: the bloviating cruft of the iTunes EULA combined with extraordinary comic book mashups

Back in 2015, cartoonist Robert Sikoryak started publishing single pages from his upcoming graphic novel Terms and Conditions, in which he would recount every word of the current Apple iTunes Terms and Conditions as a series of mashup pages from various comics old and new, in which Steve Jobsean characters stalked across the panels, declaiming the weird, stilted legalese that "everyone agrees to and no one reads."

The internet promised open markets, delivered rigged ones, then fake ones, then outright monopolies

Markets don't solve all our problems, but they sometimes produce remarkably efficient systems for producing and distributing goods, and the internet traded on that promise with marketplaces like Ebay (anyone can sell, anyone can buy); Google (anyone can publish, anyone can read), and Amazon (one marketplace where all goods are transparently priced and ranked). Read the rest

Federal magistrate judge in Illinois rules that being forced to unlock your phone with a fingerprint could violate your rights

M. David Weisman, a magistrate judge in Illinois's Eastern Division, denied a federal warrant application that would have allowed law enforcement officers to force suspects to unlock their mobile devices with a fingerprint, ruling that the suspects' Fourth Amendment (undue search and seizure) and Fifth Amendment (self-incrimination) rights protected them from being forced to unlock their devices. Read the rest

Found at a thrift shop: the last record of a doomed Apple DRM effort from 1979

Redditor Vadermeer was in a local Goodwill Outlet and happened on a trove of files from Apple engineer Jack MacDonald from 1979-80, when he was manager of system software for the Apple II and ///. Read the rest

Source tells Motherboard that Apple will testify against Nebraska's "Right to Repair" law

Motherboard says a source told them that "an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist will testify" against the state's Right to Repair bill, which requires companies to make it easy for their customers to choose from a variety of repair options, from official channels to third parties to DIY. Read the rest

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