Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

If You Watch One Daft Punk Remix Performed By Robots (And Jack Conte) Today, Make It This One Tags: apple, Steve Jobs, speculation, prism Powered by Livefyre ALEXIA TSOTSIS posted yesterday Comments Why Was Apple Late To The PRISM Party? If there’s one striking thing about those PRISM slides, other than their hideous aesthetics, it’s that Apple’s allocated yellow oval, instead of a date, has the words “(added Oct 2012)” underneath it. That difference is
most striking when you consider the fact that Apple competitor Microsoft cooperated with the government a full five years earlier.
The company, which denies ever having heard of PRISM, released its FISA request numbers today, starting on December 1st, 2012, through this May 2013. Though it’s plausible that the government would not have
disclosed the name of the program, the NYT confirmed Apple’s participation in a government surveillance network designed to make data collection more efficient for the NSA — whatever that entails, like “a broad
sweep for intelligence, like logs of certain search terms.” From Claire Cain Miller’s article: While handing over data in response to a legitimate FISA request is a legal
requirement, making it easier for the government to get the information is not,
which is why Twitter could decline to do so. The October 2012 date is notable as coming a year after the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Perhaps,
because it is an interesting coincidence, it’s led to speculation that Steve Jobs resisted systematic data
collection from the NSA until his death. That statement was echoed on the record by NeXt developer Andrew
Stone, who told Cult of Mac, “Steve Jobs would’ve rather died than give into that, even though he had a lot of friends at the NSA. Microsoft caved in first, then everyone else. Steve would’ve just never done it.” The speculation, which I’ve heard from a couple of sources, has grounds. NeXT was publicly a vendor for the
NSA and many other security agencies, and Jobs had many contacts at the agency who perhaps had offered
him immunity. It could be that his connections, Apple’s brand popularity or straight-up his legend allowed him
to escape Microsoft’s, which had been embroiled in a series of antitrust cases up until then, or Yahoo’s fates. All of these explanations make sense, though it could be something like the Twitter loophole that caused Apple’s tardiness. In Twitter’s case most of its data is public, so it’s not that big of a loss to the NSA until it
becomes more of a communication node. Perhaps only recently did Apple collect the kinds of data the
government would want, like the metadata around iMessage, which, though encrypted, doesn’t pass the “pud muddle” test. We will likely never know what Jobs did in those last few years as PRISM loomed ever larger, but whatever he
did it looks like he held out as long as he could. The image of Steve Jobs playing chicken with Uncle Sam fits
right into his myth. Even if it is just a myth.


Lisa Frank. Dayglo Barbie. Rainbow unicorn. Fisher
Price. A mess, trouble, confusing. Marketing
department. What are, “words used to describe the iOS 7 redesign,” Alex? Now that the Apple keynote beer goggles have worn off, the polarizing makeover
of Apple’s iOS 7 operating system is starting to sink
in. Surely, this is not it? This is not done, right? Given its “beta” label – which Apple actually uses
correctly – there’s a good chance that many of our
quibbles with the disjointed OS will be fixed by the
time of its public release later this fall. But one of the
most upsetting things about the makeover is
unfortunately one of the most visible: the icons. They’re inconsistent, they seem rushed, and in some
cases, they’re just downright ugly. Apple has billions of dollars in cash just sitting
around, and it couldn’t buy itself a set of nice-looking
icons? And don’t give me that “they only had eight months”
crap. I know plenty of people who would forgo eating,
sleeping and sunlight for less than even a single billion to pump out better icons than this in that same time frame. Well, Apple’s misstep is’s gain. The
online community for designers is having a moment
as its users try to fix all Apple’s mistakes. And some
of these third-party makeovers are actually quite
good, too. Above: Apple’s version is on the right. One, in fact, is now becoming one of the most-viewed
images on the site. Ever. The iOS 7 redesign here,
created by 20-year old UI/UX designer Leo Drapeau
has, as of today, reached over 97,000 views. Drapeau, who’s currently living in Paris and is
pursuing his Bachelor’s in Web Design at a school
called EEMI, says he made his version of the
redesign in a few hours. “I was following the WWDC keynote, and I was really
excited about the overall UX and UI changes and
evolutions in iOS 7, but the icons of the homescreen
bugged me,” he explains. “So, I just wanted to refined
them a little, to make them cleaner and more
harmonized, but not to reinvent the whole design.” Drapeau downplays his work, humbly adding, “there’s
really nothing revolutionary about this post. I think it
just got popular because it was one of the first
redesigns on the site.” However,’s co-
founder Rich Thornett tells us that Drapeau’s image
here is the second-most viewed attachment the website has ever had.
Meanwhile, another in the set is currently the third-
most viewed shot ever, and just a couple hundred
views from reaching #2. The student designer’s work has clearly struck a
chord. The set of iOS 7 images now has ten pages
and hundreds of comments, most of them positive
and some offering tips as to how the design could be
improved a bit further with minor tweaks. Overheard at TechCrunch while clicking through
Drapeau’s work: “I didn’t realize how much I missed
the drop shadows.” And on “nice,” “better,” “bravo,” and
“perfect!” Drapeau says he’s been making little updates based
on some of the remarks – for example, with the third
version of the redesign, he modified the Compass
icon entirely, bringing it closer to the real one. Since then, he has also uploaded a final update, with
all the previous changes and other improvements to
the Clock, Stock, Compass, and Mail icons, and also
added a Dark mode and Light mode, depending on the
wallpaper you use. (You can see an earlier version of the design above,
and the newer one with the more Apple-like Compass
beneath it). Since the post, Drapeau says he’s received several
work inquiries, mainly from individuals and startups,
both French and American, as well as internships and
job offers from bigger companies. But he’s continuing
with his schooling and side projects for now. iOS 7 isn’t all bad by any means, though it has a
number of issues to address between the beta and
the release. Many of those are under-the-hood
changes, however, or less obvious quirks like the
confusing lockscreen arrow or that you have to swipe
emails right to left to delete, for example. But the homescreen icons – the imagery that everyone can
relate to, designer or not – should have been given
more attention before being trotted out on stage as
the next big thing.

Apple is building a big, visually stunning store in the
Stanford shopping center. A few hundred yards from
the construction site sits a small, modest Apple
location. Last spring, Microsoft opened a flagship
spot right next to the small Apple store with a free
Maroon 5 concert. Whether for pure dollars and cents or for appearances
(maybe both), Apple has been very aggressive in
Palo Alto in the past couple of years. The company
had a very nice store on University Avenue in
downtown Palo Alto; in October 2012, they moved
down the street to an even bigger, more prominent location. Now, this new store in the Stanford shopping
center is supposed to become one of the company’s
flagship stores. We’re told that the company tests its retail products
at the Stanford Shopping Center and University
Avenue locations; when the company began offering
self checkout, the engineers who worked on the
project were in those stores testing the new systems.
This new flagship location offers enormous space for testing new retail products, and makes the nearby
Microsoft store an afterthought at best. Ifo Apple Store reports that the ”store design was
completed in 2011 by Apple’s long-time architectural
firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. It was approved by
Steve Jobs about six months before Tim Cook
assumed the position of CEO in August of that year.” The design for the store features a visually floating
roof and gives passerby’s wide angles to see the
storefront; a large stone wall will reportedly separate
the front of the store from the back (Image via Palo
Alto Online). The Palo Alto Online reports that construction is
happening seven days a week, usually beginning at 7
a.m. on the 12,000 square feet store. The Palo Alto
Online also reported that while initial estimates had
the store opening in November 2012, delays may be
due to “the sensitive glass design of the building.” Employees at the University Avenue Apple store told
TechCrunch that they don’t know when the Stanford
shopping center store will open; employees said that
some of them were only given two weeks notice in
October before they moved down the street to the
new University Ave. location. I checked out the construction myself, and the store
is impressive. While it looks months away from an
opening, it’s a massive space and the glass facade
will be a striking architectural accomplishment that
makes the store stand out even with impressive
neighbors. Less than two minutes after I started taking pictures
of the construction, a security guard told me to stop,
as taking pictures of any buildings or logos is ”against
their policy.” Never change, Palo Alto.

Apple posted a press release on its site reaffirming its
“commitment to customer privacy” and stating that it
first heard of the PRISM program when questioned by
news organizations on June 6. The company also
said that it received between 4,000 to 5,000 requests
from U.S. federal, state and local law enforcement for customer data between December 1, 2012 and May
31, 2013. “Regardless of the circumstances, our Legal team
conducts an evaluation of each request and, only if
appropriate, we retrieve and deliver the narrowest
possible set of information to the authorities. In fact,
from time to time when we see inconsistencies or
inaccuracies in a request, we will refuse to fulfill it,” Apple stated in its press release. Between 9,000 to
10,000 accounts or devices were specified in the
requests and “included both criminal investigations
and national security matters.” The press release also states that Apple does not
collect maintain personal details about customers:
“there are certain categories of information which we
do not provide to law enforcement or any other group
because we choose not to retain it.” For example, the
company says that iMessage and FaceTime conversations are protected by end-to-end encryption
so no one but the sender and receiver can read them,
and Apple cannot decrypt the data. Apple’s statement comes after other tech companies
implicated in the NSA scandal also disclosed the
number of government requests for information they
had received in an effort to support their claims that
they denied NSA special access to their servers and
win back the trust of users. Facebook said on June 15 that for the six months
ending December 31, 2012, it had received between
9,000 to 10,000 requests for data from U.S. law
enforcement agencies. During that same period
Microsoft received between 6,000 and 7,000
requests. Meanwhile, Google has asked the U.S. government to be allowed to publish more information
about national security requests it has received.


Apple has now taken another step to push app publishers to use its preferred ad tracking option, the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), with the debut of the iOS 7 beta. Confirming what many have suspected, Apple is eliminating an alternative option involving tracking by MAC addresses. This method had sprung up following a change to Apple’s Developer Documentation in 2011, announcing its intention to end developers’ reliance on the unique identifier known as the UDID.

It’s been a long time since Apple announced it would begin phasing out developer access to the UDID on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad – something which at first led to some confusion in the industry. Over the years, developers had learned to use the identifier for advertising purposes, and as a way to store data about their users. But the method raised privacy concerns, since the number is tied to each individual device and cannot be removed, cleared, or controlled by end users.

Several alternatives soon appeared in the UDID’s place, each hoping to become the new default method. Many developers still use some these – or just as likely, a combination of some these – today.

Earlier this year, Apple began signaling again that the alternative it had in mind for the post-UDID world was its own when it began rejecting apps using cookie-tracking methods. Then in March, the company announced that it would no longer accept new applications or app updates that access UDIDs as of May 1, 2013.


With that deadline now behind us, Apple is again pushing its community to the UDID’s more privacy conscious replacement, the IDFA. This Apple-approved method provides the attribution advertisers need, along with the privacy and security controls Apple wants to provide for its users.

According to data collected by mobile app marketing firm Fiksu, which helps app publishers with user acquisition efforts, iOS 7 devices – all beta testers, at this point – are always now returning a MAC address of 02:00:00:00:00:00. This “dummy” address is the equivalent of the phone number 555-1212, for example. It began showing up for the tens of thousands of unique iOS 7 devices in Fiksu’s logs earlier this week, says Craig Palli, Fiksu’s mobile app marketing technology platform head.

There is also a mention in the pre-release notes for iOS 7 distributed to developers which states that this single, meaningless MAC address is now the new expected behavior.

“The MAC address, a hardware based identifier, has long been a way for advertisers to have a permanent, unique identifier for each device, providing a stable tracking option as an alternative to the controversy-plagued UDID,” Palli explains. “However, the same privacy concerns raised about the UDID apply equally to the MAC address – it just received less publicity,” he adds. Now, for those who haven’t yet made the switch to IDFA, the window to migrate is closing.

That being said, Palli says that most publishers and ad networks generally knew that the MAC method would not be supported, and the amount of traffic addressed by MAC addresses had “rapidly diminished” in recent months. Today, it exists as a very small, single-digit percentage, he tells us. Other methods, including digital fingerprinting and to a lesser extent, HTML5 cookies, are also still in use today, both with their own strengths and weaknesses.

At this time, there have not yet been any reports of app rejections because of the MAC address method being used, though, as noted above, the cookie-tracking method had seen some rejections earlier this year.

The app publisher and advertiser communities have had a long time to prepare for UDID’s demise and the shift to the IDFA. And while that hasn’t been an entirely error-free process, the time has now come to finalize the move.

“Fortunately, as an ecosystem, we’ve transitioned to the IDFA,” says Palli, “so by the time iOS 7 rolls out it should make little to no difference from an app developer or marketer’s point of view.”