eXtensions - Friday 3 June 2022


Friday Review: Looking Forward to WWDC; Side-loading, Jailbreaking and Mobile Banking T&C

By Graham K. Rogers


With WWDC almost upon us, there are plenty of rumors and lots of speculation about what Apple will or will not announce. There are bound to be a few surprises from the Keynote Event and developer sessions in the following days. Legislators are still determined to rein in the major US tech companies, despite some risks to user security. After all, the politicians always know better than the experts.

I am looking forward to WWDC next week with some anticipation of what might be there. There is so much speculation as usual, some of which contradicts itself (there will be new Macs, there will not be new Macs, and more), but I am certain that new versions of Apple's various operating systems, with new features, will be announced. Some of those will be linked to later releases of hardware, particularly iOS and the new iPhones. If history repeats itself, the phones will probably arrive late September and iOS a few days before that, with macOS coming around the same time.

AppleTV Apple is still releasing beta versions of the current operating systems and user updates will follow soon. Barring emergencies (security problems, bugs) we may see a couple of updates before the next main versions of each OS, taking us to 15.6 (or even 15.7) and probably macOS 12.5 with the next macOS update also bringing Shortcuts which some have found add considerably to productivity on iPads and iPhones. I have only tried a couple but these are a little quicker to create than using AppleScript or Automator, both of which are still installed on my Macs.

I will watch the WWDC Keynote on AppleTV although probably not live. It is late here and I prefer to watch slowly the following day after absorbing some of the main points posted by online sources. Spoilers in movie or TV reviews (or knowing the results of motorcycle racing beforehand) never worry me as I use these to anticipate the event.

I do want more from Apple for the iPad Pro, such as multiple user accounts, tethering and the ability to use a flatbed scanner, but I am not holding my breath. Rumors late this week suggest there could well be some changes coming to the iPad interfacing. It is probable that WWDC will still have a few surprises that the rumor peddlers have missed.

iPad Pro

One problem I have experienced when working on the iPad is the display of HTML pages when I am writing content for the site. This page is in text right now and to markup I will move it to the Mac and use BBEdit. Once marked up (but not complete) I can view it in a browser and any links to images or other pages will work. If they do not I can check the coding and make necessary changes. I also check spelling and sentences while I am using the Mac browser. Although I do have FTP software on the iPad (and iPhone) this is not as easy to use as my pre-OS X choice of Fetch which has been updated for the latest macOS. Simplicity is best.

The iPad cannot match the Mac for web work with HTML as not all the links work, even though, thanks to iCloud, I work with the same folder structures. Federico Viticci & Friends on MacStories reports on WorldWideWeb, a Bonjour-driven web server from The Icon Factory that serves static files allowing users to examine the content they are working on. Any links, including images are available. As my web folder is on iCloud, only recent files would display until I used the Files app to download them to the iPad. Normally when I open any HTML file in Files images may not be available and some links do not work. This free app fixes that.


Late last month, Tim Cook met with the Prime Minister of Vietnam and, as Apple already had an industrial presence in the country, promised that there would be more. China has suddenly become less attractive with its factory shutdowns and lost production. Tim Cook has a company to run and products to ship. Long a master of logistics, there is now news from Jonny Evans (Apple Must) and others that new iPads are to be manufactured in Vietnam. Evans analyses this and suggests that this is a new chapter with Apple moving production to different areas to make sure that the products keep flowing.

When Season 1 of Apple's Slow Horses ended, there was an outline shown on AppleTV+ of preparations for Series 2. There was no need for any speculation, this was already partly filmed. Now, Patently Apple reports that Apple has committed to a multi-year deal and there will be a Series 3 and 4. I am quite happy about this.

Over on Netflix I have been watching the latest season of Stranger Things and I am enjoying this more than the last season. It is split into 4 narrative threads involving different sets of characters and locations. I find the 1980s theme interesting as it brings back some memories of the time. I was in the USA from 1984-86.

Building view F8

A lot of the ideas are unreal and impossible, but we accept that sort of thing in many movies and series (Freddy Kruger or Jason for example): we suspend our disbelief. I do this in many movies, especially time travel which does not exist (as far as we know), but when movies try to suspend the laws of physics, for example when leaping over objects in car chases, I want to walk away. I have done car chases and these are nothing like what movies show.

In Part One of Series 4 the character, Max, is saved from the antagonist (Vectra) by listening to the music of Kate Bush (her favorite) and this has seen Running up That Hill back in the charts at Number One 40 years after it was released. Episode 7 of Series 4 saw a major revelation regarding the earlier massacre of the prodigies and we now know who Vectra is (or was). The series will resume on 1 July.

Also just arrived on Netflix is Borgen, The Power and the Glory, which is several years on from the previous Borgen (Castle) series. The title of the first episode is revealing: The Future is Female; although old power structures cling on with the discovery of oil in Greenland. The opening of Episode One may not suit all tastes as a whale is flensed. A related scene shortly after shows a young lady happily on her way to the event, indicating future cultural clashes between Greenland natives and Denmark.

In the last version of Notes, I mentioned that in the US legislation to rein in Google and others, with regard to their control over advertising was being prepared. A few hours after putting that online, I saw that in the UK too - surely not a coincidence - the competition regulator is likewise preparing a second probe on advertising technology. Also under pressure, Facebook will probably have to rein in some of its use of advertising, as it uses data in similar ways to Google, although I think this is more insidious.

As a note, Sherryl Sandberg, one of Zuckerberg's main lieutenants is to step down, Kari Paul (The Guardian) reports. I would have regarded this as a rat leaving a sinking ship, but she will still retain her seat on the board. The article also notes that Peter Thiel also recently jumped ship.

Apple and others are still under threat from proposed legislation that will allow sideloading, something which Apple is dead against, and I certainly do not want to avail myself of. Several experts in security, as well as Apple, have said that there are risks to users if this is allowed. As part of its campaign against this, Juli Clover (Mac Rumors) reports on this opening with, "The App Store prevented 1.6 million risky and untrustworthy apps from defrauding users in 2021, according to new fraud analysis data shared today by Apple. " The article also notes that "Over 800,000 fraudulent developer accounts were terminated" adding that "More than 170 million fraudulent customer accounts were deactivated, and 118 million attempted fraudulent account creations were rejected."

iTunes App Store

It is not all manning the barricades as "App Review team helped more than 107,000 developers get their apps on the App Store in 2021" while "835,000 problematic new apps and 805,000 app updates were rejected or removed from the App Store for issues like bugs." Some of those would have been revised and resubmitted of course. The article has a wealth of other information that shows why Apple thinks it is protecting users. Luke Filipowicz (iMore) also has information on this.

Patently Apple opens with a reminder of its recent report on Super Pumped which "illustrated the depths that a developer would go to get around Apple's Privacy Policies". The comments here on Apple's revelations take a slightly different angle and have some more depth than other outlines available online. That Super Pumped series was based on a book of the same title. As I cannot see Showtime here, I ordered the book and that is on the way so I can read about how Travis Kalanick and Uber tried to cheat on Apple. Throwing the App Store open as some legislators want would be throwing users to the wolves.

iPhone Homescreen I use mobile banking services on the iPhone and from time to time the Terms and Conditions are updated. I am aware that many users just click the Accept button and carry on. Some apps require that the user at least scrolls through to the end. I had to do this when T&C were changed this week on one banking app.

As I am not averse to reading these documents I scrolled through slowly and noticed an interesting condition that could be affected by side loading, something that I hope the EU and other legislative bodies does not impose on Apple.

This condition concerned jailbreaking the device. The bank - which checks the OS as part of its process - includes a condition that a jailbreak version of iOS, Root (Android modifications), or any other actions would allow the bank to suspend the service, adding "The Applicant acknowledges that he is at risk in using the Service if the operating system of the mobile phone or other communication device of the Applicant is incorrect, not up to standards or has been modified."

I am a bit negative on the sexist use of "he" here, as if females are not allowed to have their own accounts, but generally agree with the idea. No jailbreaks or side loading for me.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)



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