Craig Federighi Shares More Details on Porting iOS Apps to the Mac

Near the end of yesterday’s WWDC keynote, Craig Federighi shared that Apple was at work on tools that would enable developers to more efficiently bring their iOS apps to the Mac. The ship date for those tools isn’t until 2019, but this was still a major announcement, with plenty of questions left unanswered. Today Lauren Goode of Wired has published a new interview with Federighi in which a few additional details are shared on exactly how porting apps from iOS to Mac will work.

Federighi shares that this internal effort began two years ago, and largely involves an updating of UIKit to make it more Mac-friendly. Even after the release of this updated UIKit to developers, however, it won’t be as simple as hitting a button to make an iOS app run on the Mac. Goode writes:

For app makers, some aspects of app porting will be automated and others will require extra coding. Using Xcode, Apple’s app-making software that runs on Macs, a developer will be able to indicate they want to write a variant of their iOS app for macOS. Certain interaction UIs will happen automatically, like turning a long press on iOS into a two-finger click on a Mac. App makers may have to do some extra coding, though, around things like menus and sidebars in apps, such as making a Mac app sidebar translucent or making share buttons a part of the toolbar.

Translating iOS paradigms to the Mac will be full of challenging decisions for developers, but Apple is giving an early voice of direction – at least indirectly – by adding the previously iOS-only Home, News, Voice Memos, and Stocks apps to macOS Mojave. The company has made the Mac versions of those apps practically identical to their iPad counterparts, a sign that Apple expects the best path for developers will be designing two primary interfaces – one for iPhone, another for iPad and Mac – rather than three.

Some have speculated that Apple building a unified UI framework for iOS and the Mac is a stepping stone in its rumored transition to ARM-based chips for Macs. Goode touched on this point in her interview:

I asked Federighi whether the fact that iPhones and Macs run on different chip architectures would impact how the same app runs across both devices. “At this level, not so much,” he said. “In a lot of our core APIs, things like Metal, we’ve done the hard work over the years of making them run well on both Mac and its associated CPUs and GPUs, and on iOS.”

There certainly is a natural progression found in bringing iOS apps to the Mac now, knowing that later both platforms may live on the same chip architecture. However, clearly this upgraded UIKit isn’t in any way dependent on Macs making the transition to ARM. That change might make things easier in the future, but for now, when iOS apps start making their way to the Mac in 2019, users shouldn’t need a new Mac to get them running.

Tim Cook to Facebook: “We’ve never been in the data business”

In reply to Facebook’s response to the New York Times piece:

Tim Cook fired back in this NPR interview:

“We’ve never been in the data business,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told NPR on Monday, responding to a report that Facebook struck agreements giving Apple and other device makers access to Facebook users’ personal information.

[…]

“The things mentioned in the Times article about relationship statuses and all these kinds of stuff, this is so foreign to us, and not data that we have ever received at all or requested — zero”

[…]

“What we did was we integrated the ability to share in the operating system, make it simple to share a photo and that sort of thing,” Cook added. “So it’s a convenience for the user. We weren’t in the data business. We’ve never been in the data business.”

The New York Times article tried to make it sound like Apple was involved with Facebook sharing user data so this reply from Tim is a smart move on his part.

iOS 12 brings iPhone X gestures to iPad, swipe from top-right to open Control Center

iOS 12 brings iPhone X gestures to iPad, swipe from top-right to open Control Center

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9to5Mac:

Apple is adding a few new gestures to iPad on iOS 12, that mirror how users navigate on the iPhone X. iPad users can now swipe up to the home screen and open Control Center with similar gestures to how the iPhone X works (and the 2018 notch-screen iPhone lineup coming later this year.)

It’s also worth pointing out that the time in the status bar on iPad has been moved to the left side of the screen. Both of these changes hit at a bezel-less iPad with a notch coming later this year  …

The new gestures in iOS 12 extend the four- and five-finger gestures that have been available for a while.

Apple says that you can now go to the home screen by swiping anywhere on the Dock. This is a rough approximation of how the iPhone X works with the home indicator. To use it on iPad, you first need to swipe up once to activate the dock and then swipe again to jump to the home screen.

Facebook gave device makers deep access to data on users and friends

New York Times:

As Facebook sought to become the world’s dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users’ personal information.

Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said.

[…]

Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.

[…]

Some device partners can retrieve Facebook users’ relationship status, religion, political leaning and upcoming events, among other data. Tests by The Times showed that the partners requested and received data in the same way other third parties did.

Once you read that article, go and read the reply from Facebook:

Given that these APIs enabled other companies to recreate the Facebook experience, we controlled them tightly from the get-go. These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences. Partners could not integrate the user’s Facebook features with their devices without the user’s permission. And our partnership and engineering teams approved the Facebook experiences these companies built. Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends. We are not aware of any abuse by these companies.

This is very different from the public APIs used by third-party developers, like Aleksandr Kogan. These third-party developers were not allowed to offer versions of Facebook to people and, instead, used the Facebook information people shared with them to build completely new experiences.

This is all just a fustercluck, and you can thank the Cambridge Analytica incident for it.

Microsoft confirms it’s acquiring GitHub for $7.5 billion

Tom Warren, writing for The Verge:

Microsoft is acquiring GitHub. After reports emerged that the software giant was in talks to acquire GitHub, Microsoft is making it official today. This is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s second big acquisition, following the $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn two years ago. GitHub was last valued at $2 billion back in 2015, and Microsoft is paying $7.5 billion in stock for the company in a deal that should close later this year.

GitHub is a large code repository that has become very popular with developers and companies hosting entire projects, documentation, and code. Apple, Amazon, Google, and many other big tech companies use GitHub. There are 85 million repositories hosted on GitHub, and 28 million developers contribute to them. GitHub will now be led by CEO Nat Friedman, the founder of Xamarin, who will report to Microsoft’s Cloud and AI chief Scott Guthrie. GitHub CEO and co-founder Chris Wanstrath will now become a technical fellow at Microsoft, also reporting into Guthrie.

It’s easy to imagine why Microsoft would want to acquire GitHub. Microsoft killed its own GitHub competitor, Codeplex, in December and is now the top contributor to GitHub, Microsoft now has more than 1,000 employees actively pushing code to GitHub repositories. Its popularity among developers could see Microsoft earn some much-needed trust and respect from developers. In bigger enterprises and slower moving businesses, the fact Microsoft has acquired GitHub will make it more trusted to use for projects and source control, simply because Microsoft is already trusted across many software and services by these companies. “We will accelerate enterprise developers’ use of GitHub, with our direct sales and partner channels and access to Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure and services,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Trust and respect won’t be easy for Microsoft to win, though. Developers are already voicing their concerns about Microsoft’s past abuses, and the company’s botched acquisition of Skype and Nokia’s phone business. GitHub itself hasn’t scaled well and has faced its own issues over the years, and there are legitimate concerns that Microsoft will need to address. GitLab, a GitHub competitor, claims it has seen a 10x increase in the amount of developers moving their repositories over to its service, an early sign that there’s some developer unrest.

Microsoft won’t be able to address the general concern that important tools and internet services keep being consolidated into the hands of a few big tech companies. “When it comes to our commitment to open source, judge us by the actions we have taken in the recent past, our actions today, and in the future,” says Nadella, in an attempt to ease concerns around Microsoft’s acquisition.

For all the concerns, there are plenty of reasons to see this as a positive for Microsoft and GitHub users. Microsoft has been actively pushing open source technology, and the company has open sourced PowerShellVisual Studio Code, and the Microsoft Edge JavaScript engine. Microsoft also partnered with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10, and acquired Xamarin to assist with mobile app development. These are moves that have been met with surprise by developers initially, but that have earned respect. It’s essential that Microsoft stewards the GitHub community forward to earn even more trust and developer love. The Microsoft old isn’t the Microsoft of new, and this GitHub acquisition is a chance for Microsoft to prove that even further.

Microsoft has struggled with developer love for years, and it’s a big part of the reasons Windows Phone failed and that its Universal Windows Apps platform hasn’t taken off. Microsoft has spent recent years improving Windows 10 so it’s a respectable development box, and tools like Visual Studio Code — which lets developers build and debug web and cloud applications — have soared in popularity with developers.

[…]

Microsoft clearly knows it needs to treat this acquisition with care. “Most importantly, we recognize the responsibility we take on with this agreement,” explains Nadella. “We are committed to being stewards of the GitHub community, which will retain its developer-first ethos, operate independently and remain an open platform. We will always listen to developer feedback and invest in both fundamentals and new capabilities.”

 

Interestingly enough, since the rumours started yesterday, GitLab has been seeing a massive jump in users moving over to their service:

Valve removes ‘Active Shooter’ from Steam amid outcry

Timothy J. Seppala, writing for Edgadget:

Valve has removed Active Shooter from its Steam platform. The game allowed players to play through school shooting scenarios either as a civilian, the shooter or the police. As The Guardian reports, the game apparently started as a SWAT team simulator, but a recent update added the ability to play as the shooter, with an on-screen counter tallying how many police and civilians you’d killed. “We have removed the developer Revived Games and publisher ACID from Steam,” Valve said in a statement to The Guardian.

Valve continued that the developer and publisher is, in fact, a person calling himself Ata Berdiyev, who operated as “Elusive Team” and “[bc]Interactive.” While those names might not sound familiar, one of the latter’s games should: Piccled Ricc. That title was removed from Steam last fall for other legal reasons; it was an extremely thinly veiled copyright violation based on Rick and Morty. The developer was also responsible for Fidget Spinner Simulator 2.

All that to say, Active Shooter‘s alleged developer has a history of making crass tie-ins that attempt to capture the zeitgeist, regardless of subject matter. This time, critics say he crossed the line of good taste, going beyond cheap shovelware and trying to capitalize on tragedy.

Active Shooter was originally scheduled for a June 6th release, but Valve has promised that’s not going to happen.

“[Developer] Ata is a troll, with a history of customer abuse, publishing copyrighted material and user review manipulation,” Valve told the BBC. Valve said it discovered who the developer was while “investigating the controversy surrounding” Shooter.

“We are not going to do business with people who act like this towards our customers or Valve,” the game-seller said. Now Valve finds itself in a position of explaining how this game is different from the likes of Hatred and others that glorify dark, headline-grabbing violence yet remain for sale on Steam.

How Apple Dethroned Intel As the World’s Most Innovative Chipmaker

Ashraf Eassa, writing for The Motley Fool:

Back in 2013, Apple introduced the A7 system on a chip (SoC) as part of its then-flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5s.

[…]

Now, Intel’s chips, at the time, ran at much higher frequencies (in excess of 3 gigahertz), but what the strong per-gigahertz performance of the A7 chip signaled to me was that Apple had built a very impressive base from which to build up in future smartphone chips.

[…]

While Apple is great at chip design, it doesn’t manufacture its own chips — it outsources production to third parties. Apple’s A-series chips through the A7 were manufactured exclusively by Samsung, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company was the exclusive manufacturer of the A8, A10, and A11 chips. TSMC and Samsung reportedly split the orders for the A9.

Both TSMC and Samsung have delivered new manufacturing technologies at a breakneck pace. The performance, power consumption, and economic viability of a chip are determined heavily by the technologies upon which it’s manufactured.

[…]

I believe that when Apple introduces its next iPhone in about four months, it will deliver equal or better CPU performance to Intel’s best notebook processors designed to consume 15 watts but at a fraction of the power consumption.

Phone or Computer?

In the annals of technology, no two devices have dominated the human condition more completely than the thing you’re reading this article on, and that other thing you could have read it on but just aren’t right now.

I’m talking about phone and computer.

Given the importance of these contraptions in our lives, it’s worth asking which is better. Ranking things is just what we do as people. It’s probably why humanity has been at war with itself since the beginning of time, but it also adds order to our lives, which feels pretty great.

An Amazon Echo sent someone’s private conversation to one of their contacts

Amazon’s Echo gadgets have exploded in popularity over the past couple years, but some folks have been reluctant about the idea of having an always-listening speaker in their home. Thanks to a report out of Seattle, a lot more people might switch to that mindset.

According to KIRO 7 News, an Echo Dot recorded the private conversation of a husband and wife in Portland, Oregon and sent it to the husband’s colleague all the way in Seattle. The colleague then called Danielle (the woman involved) and told her to immediately unplug all of her Echo speakers.

Per KIRO 7 —

“We unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house,” she said. “At first, my husband was, like, ‘no you didn’t!’ And the (recipient of the message) said ‘You sat there talking about hardwood floors.’ And we said, ‘oh gosh, you really did hear us.'”

Danielle proceeded to call Amazon about why this had happened, and according to a representative she spoke with, “He told us that the device just guessed what we were saying.” However, Danielle says that her Echo never gave off any indication that it was recording/sending the message.

KIRO 7 later reached out to Amazon for comment, and this is what the company had to say:

Amazon takes privacy very seriously. We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future.

Even if this is a “rare occurrence,” it begs the question of how in the world this was allowed to happen in the first place. Not only that, but has this happened to any other Echo users? What about Google’s Home speakers?

Federico Viticci’s second life

Federico Viticci:

“There’s something in your latest scan that we need to double check.”

Here’s what I’ve learned about cancer as a survivor: even once you’re past it, and despite doctors’ reassurances that you should go back to your normal life, it never truly leaves you. It clings to the back of your mind and sits there, quietly. If you’re lucky, it doesn’t consume you, but it makes you more aware of your existence. The thought of it is like a fresh scar – a constant reminder of what happened. And even a simple sentence spoken with purposeful vagueness such as “We need to double check something” can cause that dreadful background presence to put your life on hold again.

Thankfully, everything was okay in my case. It’s been over five years since my cancer-free diagnosis; I went into complete remission in February 2013 and hit the 5-year-clear mark following a long series of annual check-ups and routine tests. Because of the type of cancer I had – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stage IV with the involvement of my right lung – I had to go through a cycle of radiotherapy (in addition to aggressive chemotherapy and the then-experimental immunotherapy). As it turns out, the proton beam that was shot into my lung left that area slightly “denser” than normal – hence the something that needed to be double checked after a chest X-ray in March.

It’s also been three years since I last wrote about my life after cancer, and how I was using the iPhone and various HealthKit apps to help me recover from treatments and get back in shape. The story, which came out before the debut of the original Apple Watch, outlined my plans to follow a strict diet and exercise regularly. At the time, I thought I had my post-treatment life figured out; I was ready to go back to my old, normal routine.

And that was exactly the problem. Three years later, I’m here today to admit that I failed. It took me a long time – too much time – to realize that I wasn’t keeping the promises made in that article from March 2015. I was so eager to return to my previous concept of “normality”, I didn’t notice that my euphoria for beating cancer slowly morphed into a craving for old and comfortable habits. In hindsight, I wasn’t ready to begin a new chapter of my life after cancer; I just wanted my old life back.

I won’t lie: that was fun initially. I drowned myself in work again; I ate any kind of tasty meals I wanted without worrying about my diet; I chased as many work opportunities as possible because I had to make up for time lost to treatments and feeling sick. I was proud of how much I was able to work on a daily basis, even though that meant declining invitations to go out with friends or spending less time with my girlfriend. I was productive like never before. I was unstoppable and it felt exhilarating. I had regained the life I knew. I thought it was what I wanted.

That lasted for a couple of years. But the self-centered, work-obsessed barrier I built around myself began to crack sometime last year. It didn’t happen suddenly, and I lied to myself by ignoring it for months, but something was changing. I completely poured myself into my job to the point where I was enjoying neither the work nor the reward anymore. I began to feel burned out and often not good enough for the website I had so passionately built over the course of eight years. A constant feeling of unease and dissatisfaction percolated through other aspects of my life as well. I pretended to be relaxed and have fun in social situations and important life events; in reality, there was a persistent sense of anxiety always there, sitting in the back of my mind where the fear of cancer also was, telling me that I wasn’t good enough or hadn’t done enough. That it was only a matter of days until someone figured out that I sucked and everything I had built was easily replaceable – a trivial, forgettable commodity.

Besides work, I wasn’t doing much better from a personal standpoint either. I hadn’t done any serious physical exercise in years. I started gaining too much weight again, and I was often short on breath as I was spending most of my days sitting – either working or worrying about work. I wasn’t in good shape, and I certainly wasn’t as motivated as I was in March 2015.

From my perspective though, the worst part wasn’t that I let it happen again. It’s that I was deeply aware of it yet unable to fix it. I was ashamed for being constantly stressed and not caring about myself. I was both perpetrator and witness to a sense of guilt that stemmed from my selfish pursuit of whatever life I was living before cancer. I couldn’t stand myself for wasting the second chance I was given, but I didn’t know how to break out of my loop.

Thankfully, I reached the tipping point right before the holidays in December, when I decided to take a long break from anything even remotely resembling work. During those days, I started thinking. By myself first, then talking with my girlfriend and close friends. And even when I felt bored and would have rather opened Twitter or blogged about something, I kept thinking and talking and taking walks with my dogs and trying to identify a better path forward.

The more time I spent focused on myself instead of being distracted by busywork, the more I kept reaching the same conclusion. For years, I avoided accepting the reality that my life will never be “normal” again. I can’t hide from the fact that I had cancer, survived, and will always need to pay close attention to my health – more than other people. For better or worse, the experience of surviving cancer will always be part of me. Instead of running from it or finding temporary refuge in an obsession with work, I should embrace it with positivity and optimism. I should treasure the battle I won without letting the fear of a rematch define me.

Ultimately, I realized that embracing my past means being thankful every day, respecting the preciousness of my second chance, and finding my purpose by helping and inspiring other people through my work and past experiences. This took a lot of introspection and opening up to other people. And in the process, I developed a firm conviction that my time is limited; I have to cherish the new opportunity I was given and use it to leave something valuable behind me.

Six months ago, I decided my single goal for 2018 was to begin a second life. Here’s what I’ve been doing to make it happen.

Read all of Federico’s essay, it’s inspiring.