Items tagged with: apples
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19670024
Posted by soheilpro (karma: 515)
Post stats: Points: 120 - Comments: 63 - 2019-04-16T00:20:50Z
#HackerNews #apples #bug #campaign #latest #marketing
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 101 - Loop: 114 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 59
I got an iPhone X recently and it came with this. It’s the Lightning to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter. I figured Apple got rid of the headphone jack and came up with this simple adapter to send analog…
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19605712
Posted by wheresvic1 (karma: 2678)
Post stats: Points: 115 - Comments: 120 - 2019-04-08T14:49:37Z
#HackerNews #apples #engineering #marvel #one #wants
I got an iPhone X recently and it came with this.
Lightning to 3.5 mm adapter
It’s the Lightning to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter. I figured Apple got rid of the headphone jack and came up with this simple adapter to send analog audio signals from the phone to a 3.5 mm jack. Simple, right?
Turns out this thing is way more complicated than I thought. It’s not getting analog audio signals from the phone. It’s fully digital. Someone looked at this thing under X-rays and iFixit wrote up a post about it.
There’s actually a lot going on in there. As expected, one end is a simple female 3.5 mm headphone jack, and the other end is a male Lightning connector. But what’s all that silicon around the Lightning connector end? Most of the retail space near the connector is taken up by a single mystery IC. … While the official purpose of this IC is unknown, at minimum we can guess that it contains a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and amplifier, and its counterpart, an analog-to-digital-converter (ADC). https://ifixit.org/blog/8448/apple-audio-adapter-teardown/
Whoa. X-rays revealed an integrated circuit inside the Lightning side of the adapter!
OK, so this thing has a DAC and an amp. How good can a tiny little $9 circuit be?
This tiny Apple device has better performance and more and cleaner output than many fancier “audiophile” devices I’ve tested. Apple has more resources to make better stuff than the smaller companies. Most 3rd-party headphone amps and DACs, all be they bigger and far more expensive, put out less clean power into 32Ω loads, and do it with more distortion, poorer sound and lousier frequency response. http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/lightning-adapter-audio-quality.htm
Whoa! This adapter, which I got for free and costs $9 to replace, has a ridiculous amount of quality and engineering put into it. Can you imagine how much went into making this thing? All of that research, development, and manufacturing? Millions? Maybe.
But guess what? No one wants it.
Lightning to 3.5 mm adapter stars
Here’s just one of the stronger reviews:
Lightning to 3.5 mm adapter review
Personally, I’m amazed whenever I use it but I always wonder for a moment, “what if Apple just made what people wanted?”
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 116 - Loop: 182 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 32
Very few people have heard of them, but "dev-fused" iPhones sold on the grey market are one of the most important tools for the best iOS hackers in the world.
Article word count: 3948
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19321270
Posted by runesoerensen (karma: 25457)
Post stats: Points: 154 - Comments: 34 - 2019-03-06T18:30:12Z
#HackerNews #apples #code #hackers #iphones #most #prototype #research #sensitive #that #use
Mathew Solnik stood next to two of the best iPhone hackers in the world and addressed the question the hundreds of people watching him were all wondering.
“The white elephant in the room: How exactly did we get it?” Solnik, a well-known security researcher, said as he wrapped up one of the most anticipated talks at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas in early August 2016. In attendance, among hundreds of security professionals and hackers, were researchers from a company that sells iPhone-cracking services to cops around the world, and Apple’s own employees.
The thing that his team had been able to analyze for the first time was the iPhone’s Secure Enclave Processor (SEP), which handles data encryption for the iPhone. How they were able to do this was a valid question given Apple’s notorious secrecy, and the fact that the SEP is one of the most important and most closely guarded components of the iPhone, the most secure smartphone on the market.
“Well, you get to ask us next time we talk,” Solnik added. (Solnik said the same when I approached him after the talk.)
There was no next time: The team has never publicly discussed its methods.
Now, more than two years later, Motherboard has learned how the team did it. During our investigation, we also discovered how other iPhone hackers research the most secure components and processes of the device.
“Itʼs kind of the golden egg to a jailbreaker.”
Solnik’s team used a “dev-fused” iPhone, which was created for internal use at Apple, to extract and study the sensitive SEP software, according to four sources with specific knowledge of how the research was done. Dev-fused devices are sometimes called prototypes in the security research industry. They are essentially phones that have not finished the production process, or have been reverted to a development state.
In other words, they are pre-jailbroken devices.
These rare iPhones have many security features disabled, allowing researchers to probe them much more easily than the iPhones you can buy at a store. Since the Black Hat talk, dev-fused iPhones have become a tool that security researchers around the world use to find previously unknown iPhone vulnerabilities (known as zero days), Motherboard has learned.
Dev-fused iPhones that were never intended to escape Apple’s production pipeline have made their way to the gray market, where smugglers and middlemen sell them for thousands of dollars to hackers and security researchers. Using the information gleaned from probing a dev-fused device, researchers can sometimes parlay what they’ve learned into developing a hack for the normal iPhones hundreds of millions of people own.
During Motherboard’s months-long investigation, I spoke to two dozen sources—security researchers, current and former Apple employees, rare phone collectors, and members of the iPhone jailbreaking scene—about the underground trade of dev-fused iPhones and their use in the iPhone hacking community. I used one of these devices and obtained “root” access on it, giving me almost total control over the phone; gaining root access allows researchers to probe many of the phone’s most important processes and components. And I learned that these devices are used by some of the highest-profile companies and independent experts that research and hack iOS to find valuable bugs that may later be exploited by governments and law enforcement agencies.
A dev-fused iPhone, connected to a Mac with a special cable, boots up. (Image: Motherboard)
At BlackHat, Solnik and his two former colleagues David Wang and Tarjei Mandt—also known as Planetbeing and Kernelpool in the iPhone jailbreaking community—blew the doors off the SEP with the impressive and technical talk, which delved into, for example, how the phone’s application processor and SEP communicate using a “secure mailbox,” the SEP’s “bootflow,” and the specific “opcodes” that Apple uses to read information from the processor.
For iPhone hackers, the presentation was a godsend. At the time, Patrick Gray, who hosts an influential infosec podcast, described it as a “how2pwn guide” for the SEP, and thus, the iPhone.
One reason the iPhone is so hard to hack is that Apple makes it almost impossible to study how the SEP and other key components work. That’s because the SEP operating system is encrypted, and—in theory—cannot be extracted or reverse engineered from a regular iPhone. But from a dev-fused device it’s possible, and has been repeated since Solnik’s talk by other researchers.
“Wish I could say that they succeeded in pwning the system, but like many in the field [Solnik’s team] leveraged specific prototypes,” an iPhone jailbreaker who asked to be identified as Panaetius told Motherboard. Panaetius did not want to be identified given that he has also used dev-fused devices and is worried Apple may go after him.
A person who formerly worked in Apple’s security team told Motherboard that he approached Wang after the talk at the conference. When he asked Wang how they managed to study the SEP, Wang told him that “Solnik got a dev-phone and dumped the firmware through standard Apple tools.”
An independent iOS security researcher, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order not to damage his reputation within the jailbreaking community, said “Solnik was full of dev-fused [iPhones],” at the time of the SEP talk.
Got a tip? You can contact this reporter securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, OTR chat at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email email@example.com
Another iOS security researcher, who also asked not to be identified, said he saw Solnik’s dev-fused devices and the proprietary cables used to work on them in the lead up to the SEP talk at Black Hat.
Solnik, Wang, and Mandt, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. (At the time of the talk, Wang and Mandt were working for Azimuth, an Australian company that provides top-end hacking tools to governments such as the USA, Canada and the UK. Solnik had just left Azimuth.) Solnik was the subject of an episode of Phreaked Out, Motherboard’s 2014 documentary series about hacking.
At the time, they may have been the first ones to get to the SEP, but thanks to the proliferation of dev-fused iPhones, others have repeated their feat. Lisa Braun, a pseudonymous independent iOS researcher, recently claimed to have dumped the SEP from an iPad Air 2 prototype.
And he is not the only one.
A few dev-fused iPhones.
A few dev-fused iPhones, collected by Giulio Zompetti. (Image: Giulio Zompetti)
According to five sources in the iPhone hacking world, Cellebrite, a forensic firm that sells devices that can unlock iPhones, has purchased and used dev-fused devices to develop its products. Cellebrite did not respond to a request for comment.
Chris Wade, the cofounder of Corellium, a startup that sells a product that allows users to create virtual instances of almost any iOS device in the world, has also gotten his hands on these devices, according to three sources in the iPhone hacking world and three sellers.
Wade, who is known as cmw in the jailbreaking community, told Motherboard he has never purchased a dev-fused device. He admitted having “played” with them at a conference, but denied using them in the development of Corellium. (In a 2016 tweet, however, Wade joked about owning “iPhone prototypes.”)
“I want to be 100 percent clear we didn’t/don’t use dev phones @ Corellium. We don’t buy stolen Apple stuff!” Wade told Motherboard in an online chat. “I spent years working on Corellium and we never needed them. Using stolen dev phones is 100 percent the best way to get Apple to sue you or just fuck your life up.”
Before Solnik’s Black Hat talk, Apple had yet to provide decrypted kernels to the public. Analyzing the kernel is a key step to hacking the iPhone and to understanding how iOS really works under the hood. And these dev-fused iPhones, available on the gray market for four or five figures, are the perfect tool to do that.
“If you are an attacker, either you go blind or with a few thousand dollars you have all you need,” Luca Todesco, one of the most well-known iOS security researchers in the world, told Motherboard, referring to people who buy dev-fused iPhones. “Some people made the second choice.”
Other researchers in the community told Motherboard that dev-fused devices are widely used in the iPhone hacking scene by researchers looking for zero day vulnerabilities.
As Mandt put it in a Tweet in July of 2017, “anyone with a bit of effort and money can get hold of a switchboard device.” (“Switchboard devices” are another term for some dev-fused phones, which refers to the proprietary operating system they run.)
While the devices are indeed rare, if you go looking for them, they’re not hard to find.
“I’m here,” he texted me as I nervously looked around in the crowd of people criss-crossing a busy street in downtown Manhattan.
I looked up and saw a slender man with long dark hair, a colorful hat; and—of course—he was holding an iPhone. I followed him to his workshop nearby. To open the door, he used a fingerprint reader that he said he made and programmed himself. Inside the workshop, there’s a handful electric skateboards, two fish tanks, and a sign that reads “If you taka my space I breaka your face.”
The man is one of the few people in the world who openly advertises and sells dev-fused iPhones. He has a Twitter account called “Apple Internal Store,” but doesn’t share his real name because he is concerned Apple may go after him. He openly advertises dev-fused and other prototype iPhones for sale: One type of dev-fused iPhone X costs $1,800, for example. After reaching out on Twitter, he agreed to meet with me.
The seller said he’s sold to several security researchers, and believes that many big security firms that hack iPhones have them.
“Those people they don’t care about money. They donʼt care about the price.” he said. “Whatever it is, the company buys it.”
He’s defensive when I ask how he got the phones.
“Well, I didn’t steal any device. I actually paid for them,” he said as he showed off a bunch of dev-fused devices. “As long as you don’t break [Apple’s] balls, or show an iPhone 11 prototype, or an unreleased device, they’re most likely cool with that.”
On the back of dev-fused iPhones seen by Motherboard, there’s a QR-code sticker, a separate barcode, and a decal that says “FOXCONN,” referring to the factory that makes iPhones and other Apple products. Otherwise, the phones look like normal iPhones. That standard iPhone experience ends when the phone is turned on. When booted up, you briefly see a command line terminal. And then when it loads, gone are the sleek icons and colorful backgrounds of iOS. The phone boots into an operating system known as “Switchboard,” which has a no-nonsense black background and is intended for testing different functionalities on the phone. The home screen is populated with icons for apps with names like MMI, Reliability, Sequencer, and Console, an app that allows you to open a command line terminal inside the iPhone.
An iPhone dev-fused device
An dev-fused iPhone mounted on a rig. (Image: Motherboard)
Clicking through these apps is at times frustrating as they’re made to be used via the command line terminal while connected to a computer. Most of them cannot be closed by tapping or swiping, meaning the phone needs to be turned off and back on to get back to the home screen. Switchboard’s apps suggest a playfulness that Apple doesn’t always let through on iOS. The icon for “Reliability” features a doge (from the meme) playing a musical keyboard. The app itself allows you to test the functionality of the phone’s cameras, speakers, microphone, battery, and ambient light sensors, among other functionalities. An app called “Ness” features the lead character from Nintendo’s game Earthbound. Though the iPhone wiki speculates it could be used to test the phone’s temperature; when I try to launch it, the phone turns off. An app called “Sightglass” used to have the logo for a San Francisco coffee roaster by the same name; it has been changed to a matrix of colored dots.
You can’t do too much with the phone on its own. But once you connect it to a Mac with a proprietary Apple USB cable called “Kanzi,” which can cost around $2,000 on the gray market, you are able to use other internal Apple software (that is widely shared in the jailbreaking community) to get root access on the phone and burrow deep into its software and firmware. The special cable is required because Apple uses a proprietary protocol for accessing certain data within the iPhone to debug the kernel and other hard-to-reach components.
Two people showed Motherboard how to get root access on the phone we used; it was a trivial process that required using the login: “root” and a default password: “alpine.”
Not all dev-fused devices look normal, though. Some of them come mounted on clunky-looking metal rigs that allow you to open them up like a pizza box to inspect the phone’s guts, look at the battery, motherboard, and other internal parts. One that I saw had external wires running from the rig to the inside of the device; the rig itself had what looked like RF connector ports attached to those wires, as well as external, metal volume and power buttons.
Once I started looking for dev-fused iPhones, they weren’t that hard to find, provided you’re willing to shell out a few thousand bucks and aren’t worried about potentially pissing off Apple. Besides Apple Internal Store, there are other Twitter accounts that openly advertise them.
Screenshot of a tweet from Jin Store
A screenshot of an advertisement on Twitter from Jin Store for an iPhone X prototype.
The owner of the Twitter account Jin Store, which claims to sell dev-fused or prototype iPhones, shared their catalog with Motherboard. A dev-fused iPhone 8 Plus costs $5,000, an iPhone XR $20,000, and an older iPhone 6 costs $1,300 (there are several different types of dev-fused devices that have different levels of security and varying features on them. The price of the dev-fused device depends on the security and features it includes.)
In a conversation via WeChat, Jin said that they personally know Solnik, but declined to say whether he was a customer.
The person behind another dev-fused store that advertises on Twitter, who goes by Mr. White, said he has “almost all” iPhone models. He also claimed to have sold “a lot of” dev-fused iPhones to security researchers.
“I donʼt know how to get SEPROM,” Mr. White told me in an online chat, using another technical term for the SEP. “But I know that their research needs my equipment.”
THE DEVICES THAT ESCAPE SHENZHEN
Though it’s possible to buy dev-fused iPhones from various sources, it’s not like there’s a huge supply of them. Outside of Apple and the security research industry, these devices are almost a complete unknown. Even finding any substantial online references to the term dev-fused is difficult.
In a Hacker News thread prompted by a Motherboard investigation on the iPhone bug bounty program, former iPhone jailbreaker and current security researcher Will Strafach wrote that “Apple has dev-fused devices which use separate development certificates and keys.” An entry in the unofficial iPhone wiki also briefly mentions prototype devices. The page is introduced by a big red rectangle that warns readers that “acquiring a copy [of internal Apple software] without Appleʼs consent is illegal and may result in being scammed.”
The day after Solnik, Mandt and Wang’s talk, Apple’s head of security Ivan Krstić also spoke at Black Hat. A single line of his presentation slides referred to “development fused” iPhones, though he didn’t actually mention them during his talk. As far as we know, that’s the only time Apple has publicly acknowledged their existence. An Apple spokesperson declined to discuss these devices with Motherboard.
When reached via Twitter, Krstić said that he could not talk about anything work related, and instead joked I could ask him about his “borderline-encyclopedic knowledge about preparing steak.”
But despite being essentially a secret from the public, security researchers and hackers have known about and used these devices for years.
“They are very popular among security researchers,” said a person who’s familiar with the supply chain of smuggled iPhones in China, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid putting his associates in China at risk. “I’ve had a number ask me and say they were willing to pay a significant amount of money to get dev phones.”
“They are stolen from the factory and development campus.”
Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, a well-known hardware security researcher who wrote the ultimate guide to Shenzhen’s electronics markets, told Motherboard that he has seen some of these devices in China. Few people know exactly how they get from Foxconn, which manufactures iPhones, to Shenzhen’s markets. But they find a way there.
“They are stolen from the factory and development campus,” a person who sells these devices on Twitter told Motherboard.
At times, Huang said, even the people who sell dev-fused devices in Shenzhen aren’t aware of how valuable they can be to hackers and security researchers.
“The gray market guys donʼt even know what they sit on half the time,” Huang said in an online chat. “They are just trading trash for cash.”
“It gives you a new attack surface thatʼs not as heavily fortified,” Huang added. “They donʼt put the metaphorical lock on the door until the walls are built on the house, so to speak.”
Giulio Zompetti uses a dev-fused iPhone.
A couple of dev-fused devices, collected by Giulio Zompetti. (Image: Giulio Zompetti)
To be more technical, and unlike the iPhones you can buy at the Apple store, called “prod” or “production fused,” these devices allow their owners to boot into Switchboard. This software allows researchers to hack and reverse engineer different components of iOS. These would be usually off limits without hard-to-get vulnerabilities and a jailbreak, which is worth millions of dollars in today’s zero-day market.
“Prod fused means there’s a specific pin on the board that is ‘blown’ in the production phase. The board checks that pin to see if the device is prod or not,” a former Apple employee who wanted to remain anonymous because he is bound by a non-disclosure agreement, told Motherboard. “If it isn’t, and the firmware is dev version, then certain features are enabled.”
With a proprietary Apple cable and the right skills, they’re the perfect iPhone hacker’s playground.
In 2017, Motherboard reported that the best iPhone hackers in the world did not want to report bugs to Apple, even after the company promised six-figure rewards. One of the complaints the researchers had was that it was incredibly hard to find bugs without already knowing about other bugs. In other words, security researchers need iOS bugs—those that allow them to jailbreak the device and disable security features—just to be able to do their research. If independent researchers were to report bugs to Apple, in their view, they could lead Apple to fix the flaws they rely on to find other bugs.
At the time, some of the researchers said that it’d be better if Apple gave them “developer devices.”
As it turns out, some already had them.
“Itʼs kind of the golden egg to a jailbreaker,” according to Panaetius, who said he’s bought and re-sold several dev-fused devices. “Here’s a device where you can slap all the security mechanisms out of the way. Because there are still security mechanisms on a development fused device, but you can kind of just push them.”
iPhone hackers, however, are not too keen to discuss the fact that they use them. Some told me that using them is like “cheating,” and others swore to me that they have never used them because it’d be perceived in the scene as being lame.
“Many folks are very wary of these. Just because many do not want to deal with Apple’s allegedly vicious legal folks,” a security researcher who has been in the jailbreak community for years, and asked to be anonymous to discuss sensitive issues, told Motherboard.
Others aren’t nearly as concerned.
Giulio Zompetti, who calls himself a collector of iPhone prototypes, told me he has 14 dev-fused iPhones, as well as some iPods and iPads. He showed me many of them on a video chat.
He said that while he plays around with his dev-fused devices, he doesn’t hack them—he only collects them.
“For me it’s a bit of an investment. The older they are, the harder it is to find them,” Zompetti said in a phone call. “It’s just fun. The search of something that by itself is really hard to get.”
“The goal is to reconstruct history,” Zompetti told me as he showed me some of his pieces, including an iPhone 5S that he said was dated just a couple of months after the release of the iPhone 5, the previous model.
Another collector who showed me pictures of his devices told me they have too many devices to count.
Mathew Solnik poses during a demo of a hacking technique for Motherboard’s 2014 documentary Phreaked Out. (Image: Motherboard)
Apple is well aware of the fact that dev-fused devices get traded around, according to five sources within and outside the company. Several sources both inside Apple and in the jailbreaking community believe that Apple has ramped up its efforts to keep these devices from escaping Foxconn and to go after people who sell them. It’s no surprise Apple knows that researchers covet these—some of them have even poked Apple publicly. Back in 2016, Solnik teased his great breakthrough on Twitter weeks before his Black Hat talk.
“Who wants to see a security team jump?” he tweeted, along with a screenshot of a terminal window that showed Solnik had been able to obtain the Secure Enclave Processor firmware. “I’ll just leave this here.”
The precise step-by-step of how Solnik, Wand, and Mandt, were able to decrypt and reverse engineer the firmware has never been discussed publicly. Their talk, however, was enough to attract Apple’s attention and boost the speakers’ careers and reputation within the iPhone security research community.
A tweet from Mathew Solnik
Mandt is still at Azimuth, whereas Wang moved to Corellium. Solnik, on the other hand, is himself a bit of a mystery. At the time of the SEP talk, he was heading his own startup, called OffCell, which was founded with the goal of becoming a government contractor providing offensive security tools and exploits to governments, according to several sources who know Solnik.
In 2017, however, Solnik was hired by Apple to work on its security team, specifically on the so-called red team, which audits and hacks the company’s products. His talk at Black Hat had apparently impressed the folks at Cupertino. A few weeks later, however, he abruptly left the company, according to multiple sources.
The full story of Solnik’s short stint at Apple is a closely-guarded secret. Motherboard spoke to dozens of people and was unable to confirm the specifics around his leaving the company; one source within Apple told me information about Solnik is “incredibly restricted,” and another confirmed that even within Apple, few know exactly what happened.
Apple repeatedly declined to comment or respond to any questions regarding Solnik, but did not deny that Solnik worked there.
In any case, the underground market for dev-fused iPhones is now flourishing. And, for now, Apple doesn’t seem able to stop the flood, despite the fact that these leaks are fueling a growing industry of iPhone hacking companies.
“To be honest everyone benefits from Apple’s lousy supply chain management,” Viktor Oreshkin, an iOS security researcher, told Motherboard in an online chat. “Except Apple, obviously.”
Listen to CYBER, Motherboard’s new weekly podcast about hacking and cybersecurity.
14. https://twitter.com/cmwdotme/status/793829482851434497" target="_blank">https://web.archive.org/save/https://twitter.com/cmwdotme/status/793829482851434497
42. https://twitter.com/msolnik/status/742546465847840768" target="_blank">https://web.archive.org/save/https://twitter.com/msolnik/status/742546465847840768
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In 2018, a number of MacBook Pro users—with models from 2016 onwards—discovered a serious design flaw that causes the screen to fail after repeated opening and closing of the laptop over the course of…
Article word count: 727
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19308524
Posted by barryvan (karma: 77)
Post stats: Points: 134 - Comments: 87 - 2019-03-05T06:29:56Z
#HackerNews #2018 #admitting #apples #attempt #exists #flexgate #macbook #pros #solve #without
In 2018, a number of MacBook Pro users—with models from 2016 onwards—discovered a serious design flaw that causes the screen to fail after repeated opening and closing of the laptop over the course of a few years. The ensuing scandal was, of course, dubbed flexgate, after the flex display cables causing the problem. Despite Apple’s refusal to acknowledge the issue, though, their latest MacBook Pros have a longer cable that may be attempting to make up for previous shortcomings.
You can read more about flexgate in our rundown here, but in short: Apple, in an effort to make their laptops even thinner and sleeker, is using thin, fragile flex cables to connect the display to the display controller board beneath the touch bar. In this space-saving design, the thin cable wraps around the hinge. After a year or two of opening and closing the laptop, the cable will wear down, causing the display to start failing with a distinctive stage-light effect.
Photo credit: iFixit member kaikai
And since the cable is soldered onto the board, so it cannot be simply swapped out—the entire screen must be replaced (a $700 part). Apple has yet to acknowledge the issue or extend their warranty affected users.
So far, so good—another design defect exacerbated by Apple’s insistence on making products thinner at all costs. However, when MacRumors user Olivia88 noticed his 2018 13” MacBook Pro seemed to have a longer cable than previous models, we were intrigued. Since we were just wrapping up writing the repair manual for the 2018 model anyway, we checked inside our 2018 15” MacBook Pro again to measure its cable against its 2016 predecessor—and found the 2018 cable was, in fact, a full 2mm longer. Since this change appears in both our 15” model and Olivia88’s 13” model, it’s plausible this change is present in multiple, if not all, 2018 MacBook Pros.
“This is significant because it gives the backlight cable more room to wrap around the board and not come into contact with the board as the laptop is opened past 90 degrees,” said Taylor Dixon, teardown engineer at iFixit. Presumably, this contact is what led to the wear, tear, and eventual failure of the cable—though the exact cause of the failure is tough to pin down. “Since we have yet to experience the problem for ourselves, it’s hard to say for sure how much of the problem is the cable being in close proximity to the board and how much of it is the length of the cable,” said Dixon. “The longer cable definitely gives more room to breathe around the board, but it’s still in such close contact with the board that it’s impossible to tell whether it’s rubbing on the board at any point.” In other words: this could solve the problem, or it could just delay the cable’s inevitable failure a bit longer.
Here’s what the 2016 backlight cable looks like with the hinge fully open:
And here’s the same cable with the hinge fully open on a 2018 model:
You can see there is dramatically more room with the longer cable. We’ll have to wait another year or two to see how this actually affects the prevalence of flexgate issues on 2018 MacBook Pros. While we didn’t predict precisely this failure mode, expensive repairs like this are exactly why this device earned a rather pathetic repairability score of 1 out of 10.
Worst of all, this implies that Apple knew about the flexgate issues before public backlash hit its fever pitch, and still refuses to even acknowledge the issue, let alone take responsibility and offer free repairs. In fact, multiple people claim Apple has deleted support threads regarding the issue on Apple.com, attempting to sweep this under the rug rather than offer an extended warranty program to those affected. You can sign this petition to try and get their attention, or fill out their feedback form here.
Unfortunately, this feels like par for the course. Apple has a long track record of fighting efforts to encourage more repairable design in green environmental standards like EPEAT, and this is just another design flaw on the pile that forces costly, unnecessary replacements on consumers who bought a multi-thousand dollar laptop with the expectation that it won’t break after only a couple years of normal use. Do you hear us, Apple? Do better.
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 118 - Loop: 75 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 59
Apple has a serious, apparently unresolved bug that causes issues with all audio performance with external devices across all its latest Macs, thanks to the company's own software and custom security…
Article word count: 696
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19196354
Posted by mortenjorck (karma: 12639)
Post stats: Points: 116 - Comments: 72 - 2019-02-19T03:18:00Z
#HackerNews #apples #audio #bug #glitching #have #latest #macs #serious
Apple has a serious, apparently unresolved bug that causes issues with all audio performance with external devices across all its latest Macs, thanks to the company’s own software and custom security chip. The only good news: there is a workaround.
Following bug reports online, the impacted machines are all the newest computers – those with Apple’s own T2 security chip:
* iMac Pro * Mac mini models introduced in 2018 * MacBook Air models introduced in 2018 * MacBook Pro models introduced in 2018
The T2 in Apple’s words “is Apple’s second-generation, custom silicon for Mac. By redesigning and integrating several controllers found in other Mac computers—such as the System Management Controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller—the T2 chip delivers new capabilities to your Mac.”
The problem is, it appears that this new chip has introduced glitches on a wide variety of external audio hardware from across the pro audio industry, thanks to a bug in Apple’s software. When your Mac updates its system clock, dropouts and glitches appear in the audio stream. (Any hardware with a non-default clock source appears to be impacted. It’s a good bet that any popular external audio interface may exhibit the problem.)
The workaround is fairly easy: switch off “Set date and time automatically” in System Preferences.
But more alarming is that this is another serious quality control fumble from Apple. The value proposition with Apple always been that the company’s control over its own hardware, software, and industrial engineering meant a more predictable product. But when Apple botches the quality of its own products and doesn’t test creative audio and video use cases, that value case quickly flips. You’re sacrificing choice and paying a higher price for a product that’s actually worse.
It’s also a cause for concern that here it appears Apple may have lacked a test regimen that would have uncovered the problem with their code.
Apple’s recent Mac line have also come under fire for charging a premium price while sacrificing things users want (like NVIDIA graphics cards, affordable internal storage, or extra ports). And on the new thin MacBook and MacBook Pro lines, keyboard reliability issues.
Before Windows users start gloating, of course, PCs can have reliability issues of their own. They’re just distributed across a wider range of vendors – which is part of the reason some musicians sought out Apple in the first place.
But it’s also a cause for concern that here it appears Apple may have lacked a test regimen that would have uncovered the problem with their code. Some of those mainstream PC vendors do now test with third-party pro audio hardware (I’ve talked to Razer about this, for instance). And that’s to say nothing of vendors like pcaudiolabs who custom-configure each machine for the actual DAWs. Apple clearly has the resources to do the same, and they make a DAW of their own (Logic Pro). This appears to be an issue they could possibly have reproduced and corrected before shipping.
Updated: The 2018 iPad Pro also suffered from audio issues, which appear to be software related. This seems not to have any direct relation to the issue with the Mac line, but is further evidence of some quality control and testing issues involving real-time audio performance and Apple firmware and software.
Regardless, Apple needs to test and address these kinds of issues. Apple’s iPad Pro line is strong and essentially unchallenged because of its unique software ecosystem and poor low-cost PC or Android tablet options. But the Mac has to compete with increasingly impressive PC laptops and desktop machines at low costs, and a Windows operating system that has improved its audio plumbing (to say nothing of the fact that Linux now lets you run tools like Bitwig Studio and VCV Rack). And that’s why competition is a good thing – you might be happier with a different choice.
Anyway, if you do have one of these machines, let us know if you’ve been having trouble with this issue and if this workaround (hopefully) solves your problem.
Tags: Apple, audio, bugs, chips, dropouts, glitch, imac, iMac Pro, macbook, macbook-air, macbook-pro, MacOS, T2, troubleshooting, USB
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It looks like Facebook is not the only one abusing Apple’s system for distributing employee-only apps to sidestep the App Store and collect extensive data on users. Google has been running an app…
Article word count: 634
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19038258
Posted by minimaxir (karma: 32180)
Post stats: Points: 230 - Comments: 84 - 2019-01-30T19:17:03Z
\#HackerNews #also #apples #back #collector #data #door #googles #peddling #through
It looks like Facebook is not the only one abusing Apple’s system for distributing employee-only apps to sidestep the App Store and collect extensive data on users. Google has been running an app called Screenwise Meter, which bears a strong resemblance to the app distributed by Facebook Research that has now been barred by Apple, TechCrunch has learned.
In its app, Google invites users aged 18 and up (or 13 if part of a family group) to download the app by way of a special code and registration process using an Enterprise Certificate. That’s the same type of policy violation that led Apple to shut down Facebook’s similar Research VPN iOS app, which had the knock-on effect of also disabling usage of Facebook’s legitimate employee-only apps — which run on the same Facebook Enterprise Certificate — and making Facebook look very iffy in the process.
Google’s Screenwise Meter app for iPhones. (Images: Google)
First launched in 2012, Screenwise lets users earn gift cards for sideloading an Enterprise Certificate-based VPN app that allows Google to monitor and analyze their traffic and data. Google has rebranded the program as part of the Cross Media Panel and Google Opinion Rewards programs that reward users for installing tracking systems on their mobile phone, PC web browser, router, and TV. In fact, Google actually sends participants a special router that it can monitor.
Originally, Screenwise was open to users as young as 13, just like Facebook’s Research app that’s now been shut down on iOS but remains on Android. Now, according to the site’s Panelist Eligibility rules, Google requires the primary users of its Opinion Rewards to be 18 or older, but still allows secondary panelists as young as 13 in the same household to join the program and have their devices tracked, as demonstrated in this video here (which was created in August of last year, underscoring that the program is still active):
Unlike Facebook, Google is much more upfront about how its research data collection programs work, what’s collected, and that it’s directly involved. It also gives users the option of “guest mode” for when they don’t want traffic monitored, or someone younger than 13 is using the device.
Putting the not-insignificant issues of privacy aside — in short, many people lured by financial rewards may not fully take in what it means to have a company fully monitoring all your screen-based activity — and the implications of what extent tech businesses are willing to go to to amass more data about users to get an edge on competitors, Google Screenwise Meter for iOS appears to violate Apple’s policy.
This states, in essence, that the Enterprise Certificate program for distributing apps without the App Store or Apple’s oversight is only for internal employee-only apps.
Google walks users through how to install the Enterprise Certificate and VPN on their phone. Developers seeking to do external testing on iOS are supposed to use the TestFlight system that sees apps reviewed and limits their distribution to 10,000 people.
Apple bans Facebook’s Research app that paid users for data
We have reached out both to Apple and Google for a comment on why this app is either the same, or different to the app Facebook had been distributing.
If Apple considers this a violation of its Enterprise Certificate policy, it could shut down Screenwise’s ability to run on iOS. And if it truly wanted to punish Google like it did Facebook, it could invalidate the certifications for all of Google’s legitimate apps that run using the same certificate.
That could throw a wrench into Google’s product development and daily work flow that could be more damaging than just removing one way it gathers competitive intelligence.
We’ll update this post as we learn more.
Facebook’s VPN app puts spotlight on kids’ consent
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