Safari has blocked third-party cookies (used to track your behavior across multiple websites) since 2010, but the ad-tech industry has fired back with a bunch of covert tracking tools that watch you even if you've adopted privacy countermeasures; the latest version of Safari goes one better, deploying machine-learning to selectively block even more tracking technologies, while still preserving useful third-party cookies that help you stay logged in and do useful work across different sites. Read the rest
Conversations with Siri are about to become a whole lot deeper and likely much more unsettling as users begin seeking personal guidance from the voice assistant.
Apple is preparing Siri to become iPhone customers’ virtual therapist, according to the International Business Times. The tech company is ideally seeking someone with a psychology background and programming capabilities, according to a job posting from April.
“People have serious conversations with Siri,” the description reads. “People talk to Siri about all kinds of things, including when they’re having a stressful day or have something serious on their mind...They turn to Siri in emergencies or when they want guidance on living a healthier life.”
Let’s just hope Siri is better at diagnosing our unresolved childhood issues, than she is at voice recognition.
“When you look at your phone it'll shoot thousands of lasers straight into your pores, then it sucks your soul like Dementor. Thank you for your life juice.”
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Most tech-media takes on the iPhone's 10th anniversary are bland and self-congratulatory, but I like Tom Warren's at The Verge. He laments how Apple's pocket computer killed his inner nerd. As a youngster, he'd be constantly tearing down and building computers, even in the sweltering heat of summer. But now...
...All of that tinkering and hacking things ended for me shortly after the iPhone arrived ... When I look at modern PCs, tablets, and phones now I’m surprised at the simplicity of them. Not all of them are perfect, but technology is rapidly turning into something in the background that’s accessible to everyone and doesn’t require hours of configuration. I miss the thrill of hacking away and tinkering, but as I shout to Alexa to turn off my lights at night I can’t help but appreciate just how easy everything is now.
If anything I've had the opposite experience. I hate having to fiddle with technology because I have to if I want it to do something interesting, or simply to work in the first place. But now tinkering is all creation. Experimentation, hacking--all of it is freed from whatever technical needs I have.
Perhaps what people miss is the feeling that tinkering with tech will put them on the cutting edge of performance, will move them into the unequally-distributed future. But the same thing is now diversion, mere art, and that's not what they care about.
It's true, though, that the iPhone made gadgets boring. It's striking, when you look at the products released around that time and for years thereafter, just how astronomically ahead of the game Apple was in 2007. Read the rest
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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).
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.Read the rest