Archive for Apple

Apple M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 24, 2021 by itnerd

Apple’s new M1 based Macs are the new hotness that are insanely fast. But things aren’t all good. Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives:

Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are said to be consuming as much as 10 to 13 percent of the maximum warrantable total bytes written (TBW) value of its SSD. Flash memory on solid-state drives, such as those used in Macs, can only be written to a certain number of times before they become unstable. Software ensures that load is spread evenly across the drive’s memory cells, but there is a point when the drive has been written to so many times that it can no longer reliably hold data. So while SSD wear is normal, expected behavior, drives should not be exhausting their ability to hold data as quickly as some M1 Macs seem to be. One user showed that their M1 Mac had already consumed one percent of its SSD after just two months, while another M1 Mac with a 2TB SSD had already consumed three percent. The total data units written for these machines is running into many terabytes, when they would normally be expected to be considerably lower.

This is a huge problem for Apple as these drives are not user replaceable. Which means that a M1 based Mac will have an insanely short lifespan. Which is bad as Macs have a reputation for lasting years. Apple needs to speak to why this is happening and how they are going to do to address this issue. But chances are Apple isn’t going to do that as they aren’t the most transparent company who owns up to their mistakes. And that’s a disincentive for me to buy one. But we will see if Apple changes that behavior with this issue.

Apple Has Fixed The Apple Maps #Fail That Displayed Canada’s Highway 401 As Highway 403

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 14, 2021 by itnerd

Earlier this week I reported an Apple Maps #Fail where Highway 401 was being reported as Highway 403 which isn’t a trivial error. I can now report that this has been fixed as of this morning. Here’s what it looked like when I discovered this issue:

Here’s what it looks like today:

Now some of you might still see Highway 403 listed in some places of Apple Maps. That’s due to the fact that the incorrect map appears to be cached on your device. To clear that up, I switched views on my MacBook Pro:

I switched from default to satellite and then back and that displayed Highway 401 properly. If you are on an iOS device, you need to click on this icon in Apple Maps that I circled rather badly:

That will bring up this dialog box:

Simply switch from map to satellite and then back again and this should force it to update.

NOTE: You may have to do this over separate sections of the map as Apple appears to break the overall map up into smaller chunks. Also if you are running a navigation session, it appears to auto update the map on the fly.

That was a quick fix by Apple. And it should have been seeing as it was a server side fix. So kudos to them for fixing such an embarrassing screw up so quickly.

#FAIL: Apple Maps Shows Canada’s Highway 401 As Highway 403

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 11, 2021 by itnerd

Apple Maps has had its share of #Fails over the years. But this specific #fail hit home for me personally yesterday. My wife called me from our car yesterday because Apple Maps was directing her onto highway 403. The thing was she was on highway 401 at the time and she didn’t know if she was doing something wrong. Because we both share the locations of our Apple Watches and iPhones with each other, I was able to use the Find My app on my MacBook to see where she was. From the looks of it she was on highway 401. But for some bizarre reason it was labeled as highway 403:

The MacDonald Cartier Freeway is highway 401 as per this Wikipedia article. But you can clearly see that it is labeled as highway 403. That’s a highway that branches off highway 401 just west of Pearson Airport and heads south and west toward the city of Hamilton Ontario and overlaps the Queen Elisabeth Way. Now locals would know this and not really care. But if you are passing through the province of Ontario and relying on Apple Maps for directions, that’s a #fail. And if you rely on directions as a means to feel safe like my wife does, that’s a #fail as well. So hopefully Apple fixes this quickly as this would be a server side fix for them. Though in the grand scheme of things, it’s not as bad as some other Apple Map #fails that I’ve covered on this blog.

Update Your Apple Devices NOW As There Are Security Flaws That Are Being “Actively Exploited”

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 26, 2021 by itnerd

Today Apple dropped a bunch of updates to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS as well as software for the HomePod. And a lot of them have fixes for security issues that according to Apple are being “actively exploited.” You can find details on the issues here:

That pretty much means that you need to stop what you are doing and and update your iPads, Apple Watches, iPhones, and Apple TVs right now. Apple normally doesn’t use words like “actively exploited” in their release notes and security info. Which means that this is a big deal and your devices are at some sort of risk if you don’t update ASAP.

Apple Hit With €60m Lawsuit From Italian Consumer Rights Org For Slowing Down CPUs In Older iPhones

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 26, 2021 by itnerd

I bet Apple was hoping #BatteryGate was over for them. But a bunch of Italians have ensured that it will continue for a while yet. Italian consumer association Altroconsumo yesterday announced that it has launched a class action lawsuit against Apple. Here’s what Reuters reports:

“When consumers buy Apple iPhones, they expect sustainable quality products. Unfortunately, that is not what happened with the ‌iPhone‌ 6 series. Not only were consumers defrauded, and did they have to face frustration and financial harm, from an environmental point of view it is also utterly irresponsible” said ​Els Bruggeman, Head of Policy and Enforcement at Euroconsumers. “This new lawsuit is the latest front in our fight against planned obsolescence in Europe. Our ask is simple: American consumers received compensation, European consumers want to be treated with the same fairness and respect.

The claims relate to Apple’s #BatteryGate issues where iPhones slowed down once their batteries degraded to a point where they could not sustain the performance that the phone required. It’s interesting that Apple who settled with US customers over this issue hasn’t done the same thing in Italy. If they did, they might have avoided this issue. But at the same time Apple’s view of the universe is this:

Apple said in an email that it had never done anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.

It appears that now they will have to prove that in court.

Google Hasn’t Updated Its iOS Apps In Ages…. Is It Because Google Has Something To Hide?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 22, 2021 by itnerd

As of December 8 Apple has been requiring developers to provide privacy label information to their apps. The Purpose is to outline the data that each app collects from users when it is installed. Many app developers have included the labels, but there’s one notable outlier. And that’s outlier is Google:

Google has not updated its major apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome, and YouTube since December 7 or before, and most Google apps have to date have not been updated with the Privacy Label feature. The Google Translate, Google Authenticator, Motion Stills, Google Play Movies, and Google Classroom apps do include privacy labels even though they have not been updated recently, but Google’s search app, Google Maps, Chrome, Waze, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Photos, Google Home, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Assistant, Google Sheets, Google Calendar, Google Slides, Google One, Google Earth, YouTube Music, Hangouts, Google Tasks, Google Meet, Google Pay, PhotoScan, Google Voice, Google News, Gboard, Google Podcasts, and more do not display the information. 

On January 5, Google told TechCrunch that the data would be added to its iOS apps “this week or the next week,” but both this week and the next week have come and gone with no update. It has now been well over a month since Google last updated its apps.

You have to wonder what Google has to hide? Is it perhaps that their data harvesting activities are so invasive that if people knew what Google was actually doing, they’d dump Google apps en masse? This is why I don’t have Google apps on my iPhone 12 Pro. I simply don’t trust Google, and to be frank, neither should you. Especially given that there are alternatives to pretty much anything that Google offers.

BREAKING: Apple Punts Parler From The App Store

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 9, 2021 by itnerd

Apple warned that they were going to do it. And they gave Parler a chance to address their issues with moderation of the sort of content that led to the storming of the Capitol in midweek. And clearly Parler didn’t listen so as a result the Parler app has been punted from the App Store:

“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said in a statement provided to me via email. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues.”

So Apple joins Google in punting Parler. To be clear, these are suspensions which gives Parler the opportunity to come back if they address the issues that got them punted in the first place. Based on this statement from Parler CEO John Matze, I can’t see that happening:

“Apple will be banning Parler until we give up free speech, institute broad and invasive policies like Twitter and Facebook and we become a surveillance platform by pursuing guilt of those who use Parler before innocence,” he said. “They claim it is due to violence on the platform. The community disagrees as we hit number 1 on their store today.”

I did check throughout Saturday and the Parler app was #1 on the App Store before it was Thanos snapped out of existence. Clearly lots of people rushed to download it before it was banned. Now if people already have the Parler app on their phone, it will stay there. But it won’t get updated. And will likely break at some point because of an OS update. Now if you want to “side load” it or put it onto a phone outside the App Store or Play store, instructions for doing so on Android are floating around the Internet. There is zero chance of doing the same thing on iOS.

But let’s get down to brass tacks. Does the Apple/Google ban of Parler hurt Parler? I would say likely due to the fact that mobile apps outpace anything on desktop/laptop platforms. So their potential to grow with “Joe Average” users will be severely curtailed. That’s a huge problem seeing as according to Morningstar, they haven’t made a dime. At some point, that will be an issue if this ban lasts an extended amount of time. Then I am guessing that Matze is going reconsider his stance. But I guess we will have to see what happens next.

Apple Threatens To Take Out Alternative Social Media Platform Parler Over Capitol Hill Attack

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 8, 2021 by itnerd

It’s been predicted for a while that those who lean to the right politically in the US will abandon social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for more friendly places. One of those places is Parler. This is a social medial platform that bills itself as a free speech platform. As a result it has gathered a heathy user base among radicals booted from other services. But its users have put it in the crosshairs of Apple who are now saying that Parler needs to clean up its act or get kicked off the App Store:

Apple has given Parler, the social network favored by conservatives and extremists, an ultimatum to implement a full moderation plan of its platform within the next 24 hours or face expulsion from the App store.

In an email sent this morning and obtained by BuzzFeed News, Apple wrote to Parler’s executives that there had been complaints that the service had been used to plan and coordinate the storming of the US Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters on Wednesday. The insurrection left five people dead, including a police officer.

“We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property,” Apple wrote to Parler. “The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.”

Apple said that “to ensure there is no interruption of the availability of your app on the App Store,” Parler was required to submit an update and a “requested moderation improvement plan within 24 hours of the date of the message,” which was sent on Friday morning. Apple said if it did not receive an update from the company within that time frame, the app would be removed from the App store.

To the surprise of nobody, Parler CEO John Matze accused Apple of applying a double standard to larger services like Facebook and Twitter:

Earlier in the day he said this:

If he were smart, Matze should would show the planet that he’s different than those who assaulted the Capitol and illustrate to Apple and others that domestic terrorists and thugs have no place on his platform. And crack down on them. But based on the above, I don’t see that happening. Thus I am going to go out on a limb here and say that he’s going to get punted from the App Store in the next 24 hours. That will likely set off a chain of events that will include lawsuits and the like.

AirPods Max Have A Potentially Fatal Flaw

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 7, 2021 by itnerd

Word is starting to surface that Apple’s insanely priced AirPods Max has a fatal flaw. It collects moisture in between the ear cup and the headphone itself. And the heat is being turned up on Apple by YouTuber Painfully Honest Tech among others who are now advocating that owners push Apple to do something about this, or avail themselves of the return policy that Apple offers. Here’s what Painfully Honest Tech had to say:

Here’s the thing. He’s right. Apple needs to deal with this immediately. They cannot and should not be allowed to dismiss the concerns of the owners of a $550 USD pair of headphones. Apple has a history of trying to brush away concerns like this. But this will not end well for Apple if this story gains momentum. Which it will by people like Painfully Honest Tech and yours truly keeping it in the public eye. As well as potential buyers thinking twice of buying this clearly defective pair of headphones.

Apple’s Adventures In India Is NOT Going Well

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 21, 2020 by itnerd

With everything that has been going on between China and the US not to mention a number of other countries, Apple has been trying to diversify where their stuff is made. Currently, a lot of it is made in China. But as of late, they have been branching out. Word on the street is that the new and overpriced AirPods Max are made in Vietnam for example. Though still by Chinese firms. And in the case of older iPhones, Apple made the decision to shift manufacturing to India via a firm called Wistron. Everything was great on that front, until workers rioted last weekend because of unpaid wages:

The authorities have vowed to crack down on workers who went on a violent rampage at a Taiwanese-run iPhone factory in southern India over allegations of unpaid wages and exploitation, with 100 people arrested so far.

Workers at Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing’s facility on the outskirts of Bangalore rioted on Saturday, with footage of the violence showing glass panels smashed and cars flipped on their sides. CCTV cameras, fans and lights were torn down, while a car was set on fire.

Local media reported workers saying they had not been paid for up to four months and were being forced to do extra shifts.

And when the government investigated this, they found that the workers claims were valid:

Serious violations of labour laws were taking place at the iPhone manufacturing facility in India where a workers’ protest on Saturday turned violent and caused US$7 million worth of damage, a report by the Karnataka state government has found.

Exploitative practices such as underpayment of wages, irregular hours and poor working conditions were common at the Wistron Corporation assembling and manufacturing unit in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, as detailed by its Department of Factories, Boilers, Industrial Safety and Health.

This Week in Asia has seen a copy of the report, an internal document detailing preliminary investigations into the incident from the department, which is tasked with enforcing labour-related legislation to ensure workers’ safety.

And another report suggests that Apple is on the hook for this:

The Karnataka state government could make Apple a party to the inquiry into the violence at the Wistron factory that makes iPhones, people familiar with the matter said. Apple, which is also investigating the incident at the contract manufacturer’s plant, said its own review has found violations in the supplier code of conduct. The company is also checking if Wistron had sought its prior approval for extending working hours. 

“Apple could be asked to share details of its investigation with the labour authorities/court,” said one of the persons cited above, adding that a series of connected Supreme Court and high court rulings upheld that the primary employer’s responsibility. 

Apple is investigating this allegedly and has called out Wistron in regards to this incident:

Apple said Saturday it had placed Wistron on probation and the contract maker would not get any new business until it took corrective action. “Apple employees, along with independent auditors, will monitor their progress,” it added. 

Apple loves to talk about the fact that they enforce a code of conduct for their suppliers to make sure that stuff like this doesn’t happen. But it really seems to me that in reality, it talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. Now I don’t want to bash India, but it is a challenging place to do business. You wold think that Apple would want to avoid India because of the potential headaches that this country is known for from a labor perspective. But the cynic in me says that Apple is more interested in keeping its profit margins up rather than making sure that stuff like this doesn’t happen. Which is why they keep going to countries with low wages like India. Thus while this story has a ways to go, you can be sure that Apple has a lot of questions that they will have to answer. And that’s not going to be pleasant for them. And I bet that Apple is reconsidering their adventure in India as you read this.