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★ Company-Wide Apple Memo on ‘The Impact of Leaks’ Leaks

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Mark Gurman has obtained a copy of a company-wide memo on leaking, and published it at Bloomberg. I suggest skipping Gurman’s summary of the memo and scrolling down to the memo itself. Curiously, Gurman doesn’t say when the memo was posted and he omits its headline. I’ve heard the memo was posted on Monday this week, and the headline was “The Impact of Leaks”. Some observations, starting with the opening:

Last month, Apple caught and fired the employee responsible for leaking details from an internal, confidential meeting about Apple’s software roadmap. Hundreds of software engineers were in attendance, and thousands more within the organization received details of its proceedings. One person betrayed their trust.

The employee who leaked the meeting to a reporter later told Apple investigators that he did it because he thought he wouldn’t be discovered. But people who leak — whether they’re Apple employees, contractors or suppliers — do get caught and they’re getting caught faster than ever.

Gurman doesn’t mention that the meeting was leaked to Gurman himself — the person who leaked this story was caught and fired. I can see why Gurman and Bloomberg might not want to emphasize that.

Investments by Apple have had an enormous impact on the company’s ability to identify and catch leakers. Just before last September’s special event, an employee leaked a link to the gold master of iOS 11 to the press, again believing he wouldn’t be caught. The unreleased OS detailed soon-to-be-announced software and hardware including iPhone X. Within days, the leaker was identified through an internal investigation and fired.

The iOS 11 GM leak revealed the name “iPhone X”. It also confirmed features like Face ID and wireless charging, but the name was the big one. Face ID and wireless charging had been rumored for a year, but until that leak just three days before the event, we had no idea what Apple was going to call its new phones.

Global Security’s digital forensics also helped catch several employees who were feeding confidential details about new products including iPhone X, iPad Pro and AirPods to a blogger at 9to5Mac.

It’s unclear which stories at 9to5Mac this is about, but the AirPods story is probably this one, which was a huge scoop published 9 months before AirPods were announced — by none other than Mark Gurman. It seems possible that every single specific example cited by Apple in this memo was someone leaking to Mark Gurman. Makes you wonder who had the balls to send this memo to him. We’ll be getting into Inception territory if the leaker of the memo on leakers getting fired for leaking to Gurman gets fired for leaking it to Gurman.

Leakers do not simply lose their jobs at Apple. In some cases, they face jail time and massive fines for network intrusion and theft of trade secrets both classified as federal crimes. In 2017, Apple caught 29 leakers. 12 of those were arrested. Among those were Apple employees, contractors and some partners in Apple’s supply chain. These people not only lose their jobs, they can face extreme difficulty finding employment elsewhere. “The potential criminal consequences of leaking are real,” says Tom Moyer of Global Security, “and that can become part of your personal and professional identity forever.”

Getting fired for leaking — we all knew that happened. But this is the first I’ve heard of leakers being prosecuted criminally and going to jail. Apple is not fucking around regarding leaks.

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jheiss
7 days ago
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Since I had to Google it to find out, apparently "Global Security" is Apple's name for their security team, not a reference to a third party.
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Behind the Scenes of Spike Jonze’s ‘Welcome Home’ HomePod Music Video

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Tim Nudd, writing for AdWeek:

Apple’s short film “Welcome Home,” directed by Spike Jonze and starring FKA twigs as a beleaguered city dweller whose drab apartment becomes a colorful, shape-shifting oasis thanks to her HomePod device, is easily one of 2018’s most captivating ads so far.

Now, we get a behind-the-scenes look at the film, which not only answers all of our questions about how it was made — it might just be the most engaging, comprehensive and flat-out best BTS video we’ve seen for an advertisement.

“It’s like a magic trick.”

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jheiss
29 days ago
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I still have no interest in buying a HomePod, but that was amazing.
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Maybe This Makes Sense in the Original French

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Gregory Viscusi, Marie Mawad, and Helene Fouquet, reporting for Bloomberg:

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Wednesday France will take legal action against Google and Apple and fines could be in the “million of euros”. Fines are likely to be about 2 million euros ($2.5 million) per company, accused of taking advantage of local developers. This comes after a two-year investigation by the ministry’s fraud repression unit, according to an official in Le Maire’s office.

“I learned that when developers develop their applications, and sell to Google and Apple, their prices are imposed, Google and Apple take all their data, Google and Apple can unilaterally rewrite their contracts,” Le Maire said in an interview with RTL radio. “All that is unacceptable and it’s not the economy that we want. They can’t treat our startups and developers the way they do.”

What in the hell is he talking about? I guess the “imposed” prices could be something about the 30/70 percent split in the app stores, but it makes zero sense to argue that “Google and Apple take all their data”. Maybe this was mistranslated from French? But that seems highly unlikely given that at least one of the bylined reporters is fluent in the language.

And what’s the point of a $2 million fine? Last quarter Apple made $200 million in profit per day. It would take Apple about 15 minutes to generate $2 million in profit. This is some serious Dr. Evil math.

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jheiss
37 days ago
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Bruno Le Maire himself was on NPR last night and said in English basically the same thing about "taking all their data", so whatever he means it isn't a translation error.
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Apple KnowledgeBase: ‘iPhone Battery and Performance’

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Alongside their letter to customers on the iPhone battery/performance controversy, Apple has released a detailed KnowledgeBase article with a technical overview of what’s going on and why:

When power is pulled from a battery with a higher level of impedance, the battery’s voltage will drop to a greater degree. Electronic components require a minimum voltage to operate. This includes the device’s internal storage, power circuits, and the battery itself. The power management system determines the capability of the battery to supply this power, and manages the loads in order to maintain operations. When the operations can no longer be supported with the full capabilities of the power management system, the system will perform a shutdown to preserve these electronic components. While this shutdown is intentional from the device perspective, it may be unexpected by the user.

I love that “may be”.

With a low battery state of charge, a higher chemical age, or colder temperatures, users are more likely to experience unexpected shutdowns. In extreme cases, shutdowns can occur more frequently, thereby rendering the device unreliable or unusable. iOS 10.2.1 (Released January 2017) includes updates for previous models of iPhone to prevent them from unexpectedly shutting down. This includes a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE to dynamically manage the instantaneous performance peaks, only when needed, to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down. This capability was also extended to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus with iOS 11.2, and we will continue improving our power management feature in the future. This feature’s only intent is to prevent unexpected shutdowns so that the iPhone can still be used.

If you have an eligible iPhone (iPhone 6 or later), Apple’s upcoming $29 replacement program might be some of the best money you can spend. But again, if you have an iPhone that is really slow all the time, there’s a good chance there’s something wrong with it other than (or in addition to) the battery. A wipe and restore won’t cost you anything but some time, and seems to solve many “slow iPhone” problems.

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jheiss
113 days ago
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I did a wipe and restore last weekend and it fixed most of the slowness I had experienced with my 6S since upgrading to iOS 11. I'm disappointed that Apple hasn't figured out a better way to identify and solve whatever problem is behind that, but glad that my 6S is back to being a usable device. Now hopefully I can wait for the second generation of the iPhone X and Face ID. An iPhone XS sounds like a good next phone for me.
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Trump Administration Gives CDC a List of Forbidden Words

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Lena H. Sun and Juliet Eilperin, reporting for The Washington Post:

The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of “science-based” or “evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.

That evidence and science are dirty words to these shitheads tells you everything you need to know about them. This is pre-Enlightenment bullshit. 300 years later and it’s still a fight to argue that reason, science, and tolerance should guide us. I said it a year ago and it stands today: Trump voters are ignoramuses, bigots, and/or fools.

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jheiss
124 days ago
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The accounts I've read suggest that this was actually a well intentioned attempt to eliminate words from the CDC budget that would attract negative attention from shitheads in Congress. Stupid that this is necessary? Yes. But that the CDC and or HHS were attempting to keep these things in the budget even if they had to hide things a bit strikes me as actually a good sign. (Trump is still a shithead.)
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davelevy
126 days ago
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Seriously? The removal of science and evidence from the lexicon of the CDC does not bode well. I don't think that Gruber calling Trump voter ignoramuses, bigots and/or fools is fair, but it is fair to say that whoever wrote these guidelines is an ignoramus, bigot and a fool.
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More Face ID FUD, This Time From Reuters

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Stephen Nellis, reporting for Reuters under the headline “App Developer Access to iPhone X Face Data Spooks Some Privacy Experts”:

Apple Inc won accolades from privacy experts in September for assuring that facial data used to unlock its new iPhone X would be securely stored on the phone itself.

But Apple’s privacy promises do not extend to the thousands of app developers who will gain access to facial data in order to build entertainment features for iPhone X customers, such as pinning a three-dimensional mask to their face for a selfie or letting a video game character mirror the player’s real-world facial expressions.

Apple allows developers to take certain facial data off the phone as long as they agree to seek customer permission and not sell the data to third parties, among other terms in a contract seen by Reuters.

This is dangerously misleading FUD. I say “dangerous” because this is the sort of story that could lead people to not set up Face ID, leaving their iPhones less secure and less useful.

There is no way, opt-in or otherwise, for third-party apps to access Face ID data. Face ID data is stored on the iPhone X’s secure enclave — even the OS itself can’t read it.

What third-party apps do have access to, if granted permission, is the front-facing camera with the TrueDepth sensor. That’s it. Apps have access to a front-facing camera that is better than previous front-facing cameras because it has 3D depth mapping. An app (like Snapchat or Instagram) can use this to implement augmented reality features like putting a mask or fake mustache on your face, but that has nothing to do with Face ID. I don’t think this is any more privacy invasive than what these apps are already doing with your iPhone camera — it’s just more accurate spatially for AR effects.

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jheiss
168 days ago
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They don't have access to they Face ID data, but they do have access to a high resolution 3D scan of my face. That's supposed to make me feel better? Maybe it's not enough data to produce a replica that can fool Face ID, but it's certainly a big step in that direction.
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