Month: December 2022

Riley Testut, who runs AltStore, has some thoughts on Apple’s rumoured work on complying with E.U. regulations by permitting third-party marketplaces for native apps. The whole Twitter thread is worth reading, but I thought this part was especially thoughtful:

Here’s what I see happening:

Instagram? They moved to Meta’s store for obvious reasons, so you can no longer receive updates unless you also install Meta’s store

That note taking app you’ve been using for years? They’re tired of paying Apple 30%, so they’re now in Epic’s store!

Now you HAVE to use 3 different app stores, or else you’ll lose access to the apps you’re already using!

So yes, it’s a choice — but the choice is NOT “do I use 3rd party stores to get cool new apps”

Instead it’s: do I use 3rd party stores *just to keep using my current apps*

I am sure Apple is concerned about these issues, but it is something worth thinking about. Testut proposes adding only sideloading capabilities instead of permitting third-party stores. Whatever the case, I hope the result is not the alternative form of gatekeeping in Testut’s thread. I know this is not what Apple wants to be doing but, if it plays this right, it could be a great opportunity for users and developers alike.

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is preparing to allow alternative app stores on its iPhones and iPads, part of a sweeping overhaul aimed at complying with strict European Union requirements coming in 2024.


If similar laws are passed in additional countries, Apple’s project could lay the groundwork for other regions, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the work is private. But the company’s changes are designed initially to just go into effect in Europe.

The headline in the <title> element of the page, which you can see in the tab or window chrome, is phrased as a question: “Will Apple Allow Users to Install Third-Party App Stores, Sideload in Europe?” Gurman’s reporting, though, matches the more definitive tone of the headline on the page, “Apple to Allow Outside App Stores in Overhaul Spurred by EU Laws”. It also matches the company’s legal requirements.

It will be interesting to see how Apple frames this shift for its European customers. It has spent years claiming its first-party App Store policies are a reason people buy iPhones. While it can continue to promote its own App Store as the best option, it would look silly if it created the impression of reducing security for European users while rolling this out. The same is true of its privacy stance if, as also reported by Gurman, it makes its Find My network more permissive to third-party trackers. Apple may also want to preserve its existing strategy wherever regulators do not require its software and services to be more interoperable, but that could make it look like European customers have more choices than users in, say, the United States — which they probably will.

This seems like a welcome shift for the iPhone and iPad to behave more like general purpose computers instead of native applications being more tightly controlled. It could — it should — also mean Apple can be more selective about what it permits in its own marketplace. What would an App Store look like if it had to compete with other stores offering other software? We might get to find out.

Jason Kottke, who recently returned from a months-long and well-deserved sabbatical, put J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s “The Wok” on his list of the best books of the year, and I have to agree. I only received a copy a few weeks ago, but I have been enjoying it thoroughly and referencing it frequently.

More broadly, Lopez-Alt’s increased video output in the first several months of 2020 — and a recommendation of the Made with Lau YouTube channel — was the encouragement I needed for a concerted effort to improve my wok skills. In the last couple of years, my confidence with a wok has made a dramatic leap. If you do not want to buy the book and it is not available at your nearest library, I recommend trying some recipes from either of those channels, if you would like. It is satisfying to prep some ingredients and then having a whole meal come together in just a couple of minutes with the unique flavour of cooking over very high heat.

Lilly Ryan:

Podcasts are just out there, like air. You don’t go to one place to get them; you get them from everywhere and anywhere. You can choose how you want to engage with them and manage them and it is legitimately heartwarming that nothing has ever gotten in the way of that being a fundamental fact.

After the obituaries and farewells to Twitter have faded, the things which are based on open interoperable protocols will live on. This is true for every closed platform. For all they entrench themselves into our lives and become a centralized source of news and connection, their inherent Achilles’ heel is their isolation. That is not a new observation, but it is sometimes easy to forget.

Sam Rowlands (via Michael Tsai):

Have you ever travelled somewhere to find that your MacBook is nice and warm, with next to no battery left? If so, these are the common causes of a “Hot Bag MacBook” that we’ve found so far.

As soon as I saw Tsai post this, I knew I had to post it, too, just because the phrase “hot bag MacBook” makes me chuckle.

I might as well add my own experience, too, featuring my old 2012 MacBook Air. For many months, I could not nail down the cause of it waking while in my bag until I realized the tension of the hinge had changed very slightly and would open the display by an almost imperceptible amount if it was bumped. Barely enough to be seen, but just enough to wake it up. The solution was to slightly loosen some screws on the inside. I do not know if this is a relevant tip on more recent Macs, however, as I have not checked its replacement for a similar hinge setup.

I know: you are probably sick of news about Twitter and its awful owner. I do not plan to write more about the ominous-sounding but empty “Twitter Files” unless there is something truly newsworthy which emerges, and I would rather extract one of my own teeth than think about Elon Musk for very long. But what he did this weekend deserves a mention for its callous brutality.

Sawdah Bhaimiya, Insider:

Elon Musk smeared Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, by falsely and baselessly claiming that he supports the sexualization of children, in a tweet on Saturday.

The tone of a straight news article masks how bad this was. Musk posted a context-free screenshot of a section from Roth’s PhD dissertation. Roth argued for a harm reduction approach when youth try to access adult-oriented dating apps; in particular, LGBTQ youth, who are at higher risk of ostracization and violence by openly dating.

It would be too charitable to assume this is a case of poor reading comprehension. Even if it was, it put a damaging smear in front of a hundred and twenty million people, and the lack of a filter on one of the world’s most visible people is deeply worrisome. But it was not.

Melissa Ryan:

These folks are hopped up on a conspiracy high. Their energy is QAnon/pizzagate, meets election denial, meets anti-vaxxers with Twitter’s new owner pouring gasoline on the fire. And they’re loving it. They truly believe Twitter’s former leadership committed thousands of felonies, rigged an election, were in cahoots with the FBI, plus all the usual stuff about everyone being a pedophile.


Musk’s attacks immediately put Roth in harm’s way. Last night on, the current iteration of /r/the_donald, the top-rated comment on a thread about #TheTwitterFiles was, “we need to see people hang.” Scrolling through the site, I found multiple violent threats targeting Roth specifically.

Justin Ling wrote a heartbreaking but relevant article about violence against queer communities before this weekend’s events:

Through the late 20th century, the idea that Queer people were not just a perversion, but a threat to society as a whole and children in particular, was endemic. The rhetoric is exactly what we hear today, just with different words.

I wrote about this trend in dispatch #8 From Anita Bryant to Milo Yiannopoulos, the anti-Queer backlash is as hateful as it is predictable and tired. Then, during Pride month, I wrote: “this kind of cultural backlash feeds directly into violence.”

Here we are.

Musk is an unhinged propagandist who is among the world’s most visible people. He has a fan club. He made a dorky appearance at a stadium comedy show last night.

There are some people who have branded themselves as edgy or counterculture — the sort of modern day punk rock icons able to draw attention to the opposite of the coddled, politically correct mainstream. This is utter nonsense. There is nothing revolutionary — nothing upsetting the status quo — about the views Musk is sharing and which are amplified by millions. These people are not dangerous because they are modern day Daniel Ellsbergs, speaking truth to power, or proponents of subversive culture. They are the power. And they are yelling louder and with more violence than at any time in recent memory.

Please take care of yourselves and each other.

Sara Fischer, Axios

The Block, a media company that says it covers crypto news independently, has been secretly funded for over a year with money funneled to The Block’s CEO from the disgraced Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency trading firm, sources told Axios.

Sarah Kopit, the Block:

The Block Chief Executive Officer Michael McCaffrey resigned after failing to disclose a series of loans from disgraced former FTX head Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research. He was the only person with knowledge of the funding at the company.

Bobby Moran, The Block’s chief revenue officer, will step into the role of CEO, effective immediately, according to a company statement.

I am beginning to think this whole industry is lousy.

Walter Benjamin, as translated by Harry Zohn:

Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be. This unique existence of the work of art determined the history to which it was subject throughout the time of its existence. This includes the changes which it may have suffered in physical condition over the years as well as the various changes in its ownership. The traces of the first can be revealed only by chemical or physical analyses which it is impossible to perform on a reproduction; changes of ownership are subject to a tradition which must be traced from the situation of the original.

While reading Bogost’s article, I was reminded Benjamin’s classic essay in themes if not in prose. If you have never read it, I cannot recommend it enough; the above link is, to my knowledge, a well-regarded translation. It seems like an updated version of this is needed — the work of art in the age of artificial production, or something to that effect.

Before I got distracted, I meant to write a little about ChatGPT. I have been playing with it since it launched last week and it is downright impressive in many circumstances. But something felt wrong, and I could not quite put my finger on it until I read a piece from Ian Bogost, in the Atlantic:

Even pretending to fool the reader by passing off an AI copy as one’s own, like I did above, has become a tired trope, an expected turn in a too-long Twitter thread about the future of generative AI rather than a startling revelation about its capacities. On the one hand, yes, ChatGPT is capable of producing prose that looks convincing. But on the other hand, what it means to be convincing depends on context. The kind of prose you might find engaging and even startling in the context of a generative encounter with an AI suddenly seems just terrible in the context of a professional essay published in a magazine such as The Atlantic. And, as Warner’s comments clarify, the writing you might find persuasive as a teacher (or marketing manager or lawyer or journalist or whatever else) might have been so by virtue of position rather than meaning: The essay was extant and competent; the report was in your inbox on time; the newspaper article communicated apparent facts that you were able to accept or reject.

It is a little late here and after reading the first three paragraphs of this story — generated by ChatGPT, obviously — I was worried Bogost had somehow lost a writerly edge. Context matters and reveals so much.

Elon Musk may have eliminated Twitter’s communications department. But it appears he found a new PR team member in Bari Weiss, to whom the so-called “Twitter Files” were leaked, and who will massage Twitter 2.0’s messaging for free. Twitter apparently added Weiss to the company’s Slack channels and gave her a company laptop. You know, just a typical reporter–source relationship.

Weiss, today, tweeted a thread all about Twitter’s apparently shocking policy of minimizing the visibility of some high-profile and often controversial accounts:

What many people call “shadow banning,” Twitter executives and employees call “Visibility Filtering” or “VF.” Multiple high-level sources confirmed its meaning.


“VF” refers to Twitter’s control over user visibility. It used VF to block searches of individual users; to limit the scope of a particular tweet’s discoverability; to block select users’ posts from ever appearing on the “trending” page; and from inclusion in hashtag searches.

Weiss showed screenshots of a few users who have been filtered for various reasons, including Jay Bhattacharya — who used his doctorate status to argue against virtually all COVID containment measures — and Dan Bongino and Charlie Kirk, who promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 U.S. election. To be clear, all of these users still have Twitter accounts and they are still able to tweet. Their millions of combined followers still see their messages. But their accounts may not autocomplete in search results or their tweets may not be promoted in trending topics.

All of these users happen to promote views typical of an American conservative and even far-right ideology, but it is impossible to know whether this is an accurate representation of the accounts which are flagged, despite what Musk says. We do not even know which specific tweets caused Twitter to flag these accounts; maybe they deserved it. Weiss is not a reliable narrator, and not just because she appears to have attained a volunteer consultancy role in the Musk era of Twitter. Weiss spent over an hour writing thirty tweets without once mentioning that Musk’s own policy position favours reducing “freedom of reach” for “negative” tweets. “You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it”, said the guy who gave Weiss and Taibbi a bunch of internal documents from the site he runs. This appears to be a similar policy to the one Weiss spent an hour exposing as some kind of massive controversy when it was done under previous management.

Weiss’ big reveal was what appeared to be a contradiction between Twitter’s past stance and its actions:

Twitter denied that it does such things. In 2018, Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde (then Head of Legal Policy and Trust) and Kayvon Beykpour (Head of Product) said: “We do not shadow ban.” They added: “And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”

Again, Weiss has not provided evidence to indicate a political or ideological motive. You are supposed to draw the conclusion she has suggested based on her specific framing.

Here, Weiss trims the full context of Gadde’s statements by not linking to the post in question:

People are asking us if we shadow ban. We do not. But let’s start with, “what is shadow banning?”

The best definition we found is this: deliberately making someone’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it, unbeknownst to the original poster.

We do not shadow ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile). And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.

Not only do Gadde and Beykpour deny that Twitter shadow bans, they define their understanding of shadow banning, which is very different from the behaviour Weiss documents. None of the types of “Visibility Filtering” shown match the definition in the blog post above. (Update: And two former Twitter employees say “Visibility Filtering” is misdefined in Weiss’ thread.) Weiss is counting on people to not go looking for the full context because it would undermine her argument.

By the way, Gadde and Beykpour go on to describe how this process works:

We do rank tweets and search results. We do this because Twitter is most useful when it’s immediately relevant. These ranking models take many signals into consideration to best organize tweets for timely relevance. We must also address bad-faith actors who intend to manipulate or detract from healthy conversation.

They explicitly state Twitter down-ranks tweets in places like search “from bad-faith actors who intend to manipulate or divide the conversation”. You might disagree with specific decisions Twitter has made — so do I — but I find it hard to be even remotely upset by this standard. Just because a tweet is popular and comes from a user with millions of followers, it does not mean most users should be subjected to it. That is particularly true when it comes to health and democracy.

The last series of tweets in Weiss’ thread concern the hate-filled Libs of TikTok account, run by Chaya Raichik. Raichik’s posts frequently misrepresent drag events and target trans youth. Tweets from the account repeatedly traffic lies about LGBTQ people and topics, including tying it to pedophilia. This account has been suspended several times for violating Twitter’s policies against deliberately misgendering people. Raichik’s posts are intentionally and repeatedly hostile.

Weiss claims an internal memo confirms “[Libs of TikTok] has not directly engaged in behavior violative of the Hateful Conduct policy” but, again, this statement has been taken out of context. I would like to believe this is a simple error by Weiss but, as she has repeatedly done so in this thread to make her arguments — to say nothing about her entire body of work — it is hard to believe that is the case. The memo, of which Weiss posted a screenshot, says of the Libs of TikTok account:

Since its most recent timeout, while LTT has not directly engaged in behavior violative of the Hateful Conduct policy, the user has continued targeting individuals/allies/supporters of the LGBTQIA+ community for alleged misconduct.

The phrase “since its most recent timeout” is relevant context omitted by Weiss, as is the site policy team’s assertion that Raichik continues to harass and discriminate. This team concludes Raichik’s account deserves another time-out period based on her repeatedly offensive behaviour which, the memo implies, should indicate that her tweets are unacceptable and could eventually lead to a full ban. I do not see anything controversial here. If anything, Twitter is being lenient: an administrative view explicitly marks Libs of TikTok as a high profile account, and requires someone to consult an elevated level of Twitter policy maker before taking action. Weiss portrays this elevated policy team as a “secret group” but, well, it is disclosed right there in the admin view. Not a very well-kept secret, is it?

Weiss sets up a comparison between the apparently awful treatment of Raichik’s account and a lack of enforcement against a tweet which apparently included a picture of her house and its address. I wrote “apparently” there because I cannot find the tweet despite Weiss saying it remains live. It was allegedly posted just a couple of weeks ago, meaning the call to permit the tweet was made under Musk’s ownership and responsibility. Maybe all of those staffing cuts have made it more difficult to keep up with reported tweets. In any case, I do not think it was a fair call: if that tweet was as described, it should have been removed, but Libs of TikTok should have been banned long ago for bullying and inciting harassment, including posting private information.

Weiss may have rambled for an hour in a Twitter thread and her team may have been given ridiculous access (Update: that access has been disputed by Twitter’s head of trust and safety which is about what I expected for the reliability of this thread), but this is yet another apparently blockbuster exposé which has turned up little of note. Am I supposed to be surprised that accounts which traffic in bad-faith narratives are de-emphasized? I thought the whole thing was “freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of reach”?

Mike Masnick of Techdirt published an excellent and thorough article about the many misconceptions of the first “Twitter Files” thread. It is worth reading if you care about this sort of thing — hey, you are at the bottom of my post about this, so maybe you do — but I think his conclusion is reusable for this iteration of this saga:

I fear that this story is going to live on for years and years and years. And the narrative full of nonsense is already taking shape. However, I like to work off of actual facts and evidence, rather than fever dreams and misinterpretations. And I hope that you’ll read this and start doing the same.

Weiss’ thread today involved even more frequent excursions from truth and complete context despite being part of Twitter’s internal systems. I never want to hear a critical word about “access journalism” from anyone who has promoted this thread. I wish this did not feel like a big story. But it will be treated like one because it has a juicy combination of internal documentation, moderation policy, and the whines of an apparently oppressed real estate agent turned anti-transgender propagandist. Truly, the real victim in all of this.

If you are angry about the silent de-emphasis of some accounts, I hear you; I think more transparency could be useful. But I think most people also know when they are doing things which get right up to the line and test platform moderators’ patience. Some people are just assholes. And some people believe it is their duty to run interference for them by tweeting in spooky undertones about normal decisions to figure out how much of an asshole someone is being.

Lily Hay Newman, of Wired, also reported on today’s privacy announcements from Apple. In addition to confirming it has stopped its iCloud photo scanning efforts, it told her about its plans for its existing child safety features:

The company told WIRED that while it is not ready to announce a specific timeline for expanding its Communication Safety features, the company is working on adding the ability to detect nudity in videos sent through Messages when the protection is enabled. The company also plans to expand the offering beyond Messages to its other communication applications. Ultimately, the goal is to make it possible for third-party developers to incorporate the Communication Safety tools into their own applications. The more the features can proliferate, Apple says, the more likely it is that children will get the information and support they need before they are exploited.

I re-read what I wrote about Apple’s announcements today and I am worried I came off as indifferent to the problem of CSAM and how it is enabled by the widespread adoption of internet-connected devices, especially with cameras. There are few problems — perhaps none — of a more pressing universal concern than ensuring children are not exploited and their safety is not at risk. But I am also worried about the use of these heinous crimes to make it harder or a public relations risk to increase user privacy and security.

This is a difficult needle to thread, but I appreciate these efforts to balance the privacy needs of many against the risks of creating unnecessary roadblocks for law enforcement or enabling criminals.

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

In a significant shift for the project, the company is now planning a less-ambitious design that will include a steering wheel and pedals and only support full autonomous capabilities on highways, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.


Apple’s previous vision for the car was to offer “Level 5” autonomy — the pinnacle of self-driving technology, which no automaker has attained. The current plan is considered below that because of its more limited scope.

It turns out truly self-piloting cars along arbitrary and varied routes may be a more difficult problem than some people have suggested. I am still betting against it being introduced in my lifetime. I like my odds.

Fred Lambert, Electrek:

Tesla believes that the best way to replicate that is through cameras to replace the eyes and neural nets running on a computer to replace the brain.

The company removed the radars on its vehicles last year and the ultrasonic sensors earlier this year.

That’s why it was surprising earlier this year when we reported on Tesla filing with the FCC to use a new radar in its vehicles. The FCC had granted a confidential treatment to Tesla in order not to release the details of the new radar.

In a letter to the FCC posted by Tony DeLuca, a Tesla certification engineer says it will be rolling out this radar-equipped vehicle in mid-January. It is perhaps an indication that a cameras-only approach may be a roadblock to more capable autonomous driving.

It turns out truly self-piloting cars along arbitrary and varied routes may be a more difficult problem than some people have suggested. I am still betting against it being introduced in my lifetime. I like my odds.


iCloud already protects 14 sensitive data categories using end-to-end encryption by default, including passwords in iCloud Keychain and Health data. For users who enable Advanced Data Protection, the total number of data categories protected using end-to-end encryption rises to 23, including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos. The only major iCloud data categories that are not covered are iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar because of the need to interoperate with the global email, contacts, and calendar systems.

Advanced Data Protection is part of three major iOS security enhancements, the others being iMessage key verification and enabling the use of physical security keys for Apple ID login. Apple says those other two features will be rolled out globally next year; encrypted iCloud backups, meanwhile, are available with iOS 16.2’s release first in the United States with a gradual rollout to the “rest of the world”.

From Apple’s Platform Security Guide:

When a user first turns on Advanced Data Protection, web access to their data at is automatically turned off. This is because iCloud web servers no longer have access to the keys required to decrypt and display the user’s data. The user can choose to turn on web access again, and use the participation of their trusted device to access their encrypted iCloud data on the web.


iWork collaboration and the Shared Albums feature in Photos don’t support Advanced Data Protection. […]

Unsurprisingly, it also says all devices logged in with the user’s Apple ID must be updated to the versions of their respective operating systems rolling out to beta testers today as release candidates.

Robert McMillan and Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal:

The changes represent a new potential setback for law-enforcement officials. Last year, Apple proposed software for the iPhone that would identify child sexual-abuse material on the iPhone. Apple now says it has stopped development of the system, following criticism from privacy and security researchers who worried that the software could be misused by governments or hackers to gain access to sensitive information on the phone.

Stern also scored an exclusive interview with Craig Federighi and put together a video explaining the changes.

It sure seemed like the announcement of the CSAM detection features last year was a precursor for enabling fully end-to-end encrypted iCloud accounts. The logic was something like: law enforcement is already wary of widespread encryption and they use CSAM as a universal gotcha, so this is a way to solve both problems. But it ended up causing far more controversy — controversy that was not unwarranted. I do not know if you are aware of this, but big computer companies are not universally trusted with being able to accurately monitor user material in their own platforms.

This can be seen as a mea culpa, on one hand, but also a more firm line between what Apple sees as its role, and what tasks are best left up to individuals. Two of the three features Apple announced as part of its child safety initiatives were launched without much issue. Apple is now clarifying that users’ data is strictly their own, even if it is stored in iCloud. This applies to iCloud Photos; it also applies to Messages.

This is undeniably good news, but you should expect to see alarmist rhetoric about Apple protecting heinous criminals. Instead, think of it as protection for all users from law enforcement overreaches, creepy intelligence agencies, and overbroad policies. This is an excellent and long-overdue announcement for even us boring law-abiding people.

Selina Cheng and Wenxin Fan, reporting for the Wall Street Journal on November 23:

Workers at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant clashed with police after protests erupted at the factory in central China, where the sprawling facility employing more than 200,000 people has been under strict Covid-19 controls for weeks.

While Foxconn, in a statement obtained by the Journal, connected these protests to questions about pay, they are part of more widespread demonstrations in China against the country’s oppressive zero tolerance COVID-19 policies.

Matt Murphy, BBC News:

So often one item comes to symbolise an entire protest movement. In China, that item is a humble piece of blank paper.


Some have argued that the gesture is not only a statement about the silencing of dissent, but also a challenge to authorities, as if to say ‘are you going to arrest me for holding a sign saying nothing?'”

“There was definitely nothing on the paper, but we know what’s on there,” a woman who joined protests in Shanghai told the BBC.

There are powerful images in here — you have probably seen some of them — of demonstrations packed with people holding nothing but empty signs. That gesture is, to my eyes, just as effective as anything which could be written on the pieces of paper.

Yang Jie and Aaron Tilley, also for the Journal:

In recent weeks, Apple Inc. has accelerated plans to shift some of its production outside China, long the dominant country in the supply chain that built the world’s most valuable company, say people involved in the discussions. It is telling suppliers to plan more actively for assembling Apple products elsewhere in Asia, particularly India and Vietnam, they say, and looking to reduce dependence on Taiwanese assemblers led by Foxconn Technology Group.

Turmoil at a place called iPhone City helped propel Apple’s shift. At the giant city-within-a-city in Zhengzhou, China, as many as 300,000 workers work at a factory run by Foxconn to make iPhones and other Apple products. At one point, it alone made about 85% of the Pro lineup of iPhones, according to market-research firm Counterpoint Research.

Josh Horwitz, Reuters:

A Reuters analysis of Apple’s supply chain data shows China’s prominence in the company’s global manufacturing is declining: In the five years to 2019, China was the primary location of 44% to 47% of its suppliers’ production sites, but that fell to 41% in 2020, and 36% in 2021.

Stephen Shankland and Oscar Gonzalez, CNet:

Apple will be using microchips produced by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. factory based in Phoenix, CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday at the event for the facility’s upcoming expansion.


The new chips won’t be powering next year’s iPhones, though, because building fabs takes a long time. TSMC broke ground on its 5nm fab in April 2021, and it won’t start producing chips until 2024. The newly announced 3nm fab won’t make chips until 2026.

John Gruber:

Hard to overstate how important it will be if TSMC starts turning out world-class chips from Arizona. For Apple, yes, but more so for the world, overall, to get leading-edge fabrication out from under the thumb of China.

The timing of these articles is curious. It would be reasonably easy to conclude Apple is stepping up its efforts to diversify device manufacturing because of reduced iPhone 14 Pro production numbers instead of China’s human rights abuses. But these efforts have likely been underway for a while. It would be impossible to shift Apple’s supply chain within a matter of weeks or months; Counterpoint Research says a timeframe of years is more likely. And, as Gruber writes, a diversifying electronics manufacturing industry allows for more flexibility for every company in the business, not just Apple.

Until that happens, however, Apple remains in a tense relationship with policymakers in China. It recently altered AirDrop in the country in a way that makes it more tedious for demonstrators to directly exchange information. Apple, powerful and rich as it is, remains under the influence of not wanting to upset lawmakers in the country it most relies upon. Many people have observed how unlike the Cook doctrine it is for Apple to be so dependent on third-party manufacturing: is device assembly not a “primary technology” the company should “own and control”? But he was primarily responsible for Apple’s migration to contract factories when he was hired in 1998. It was a choice that contributed to Apple’s ability to survive its bleakest time; now, nearly twenty five years later, it looks increasingly like a liability.


Apple today announced Self Service Repair is now available in eight European countries, providing repair manuals and genuine Apple parts and tools through the Apple Self Service Repair Store. Customers who wish to complete their own repairs will be able to perform many of the most common repairs for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups, and Mac notebooks with Apple silicon.

When Apple launched its Self Service Repair option, I wondered about its future and the company’s ongoing repairability commitments. Bringing it to European countries is both fulfills its promise to expand there this year, and a sign Apple knows in which direction the wind is blowing. But while you can buy parts for M1 Mac laptops and those older iPhone models, parts for desktop Macs, M2 models, and the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro remain unavailable. The dearth of iPhone 14 parts seems particularly notable as it is easier and faster to repair than its predescessor, so even more people should be able to do it.

In March 2021, the stock photography giant Getty Images acquired free stock photo site Unsplash. Unsplash said it would remain free under its new ownership. So, how is that going?


We are excited to announce the launch of Unsplash+.  An Unsplash+ subscription gives you access to curated content that is royalty-free and available for commercial use. Members will get access to a constantly growing library of premium visuals that are not available in the free Unsplash library, and enjoy an ad-free experience on

This was announced at the beginning of October but I had missed it until yesterday when I was combing through the site for a few images. And, in fairness, it does not mean Unsplash is no longer free. Unsplash Plus is a low cost subscription offering unique images protected by a more protective license in addition to the existing free library.

Still, the way Unsplash rolled this out makes using the site more frustrating if you are not a subscriber. A typical search results page now mixes Unsplash’s classic free-to-use images with “Plus” images. I have updated my browser CSS file to more clearly differentiate these images by adding a heavy blur.

Jason Snell:

[…] But if Mastodon gets enough community gravity to make me want to pay more attention, I’ll need an app. There are a lot of Mastodon client apps out there, and I’ve tried several of them, but none of them are really good enough or polished enough for me to use regularly. The truth is that modern Twitter clients have set the bar pretty high.

I am already finding this the biggest limitation to my adoption of Mastodon on the Mac. There are a few great iOS clients — I have been using Mammoth and I like it a lot — but I have not found a delightful native client for MacOS. I have found enough people to follow that my timeline is buzzing. What I am missing is Mac window chrome around it and an icon in my Dock.

Ellery Roberts Biddle, of Authoritarian Tech, after linking to a series of stories about the extreme oppression faced by people in China and Tigray, in Ethiopia — stories which should not be ignored, mind you — in an update about Meta’s suit against NSO Group:

This is why the legal challenge against the Israeli tech giant is so significant. After the original filing, NSO responded with its own court petition, seeking “sovereign immunity” from legal challenges in the U.S., arguing that it was merely acting as a contractor of foreign governments. But this tactic now looks likely to fail. In an amicus brief filed last week, the U.S. Justice Department issued a stern rebuke to NSO’s petition, noting that “no foreign state has supported NSO’s claim to immunity” and that NSO has “not even identified the states for which it claims to have acted as an agent.”

You have to wonder if the outcome would be different had a state stepped up to admit it used NSO Group’s spyware products — particularly a U.S. ally. Sure makes it a risky time to be in the spy-for-hire software business.

Andy Greenberg, author of “Sandworm”, has a new book out called “Tracers in the Dark” about the new investigative techniques to find criminals who use Tor and cryptocurrencies. Over the past month and a half, Wired has dripped out a lengthy excerpt from the book. The final part was published this week and I spent today reading the whole thing in full.

It leaves much to think about. There are huge ethical questions with unsatisfying answers. For example, Hansa was secretly operated by Dutch police for about a month before it was shut down. But when Greenberg asked investigators whether they had any qualms about facilitating thousands of drug sales, they seemed to give it little thought.

Nevertheless, it is an extraordinary look into a large and expertly coordinated investigation of a modern-day drug market kingpin, well narrated by Greenberg. I was a big fan of “Sandworm”, and I am looking forward to this book becoming available for me at my library.