Category Archives: Apple

Apple to Pay $29.9M to Workers Over After-Hours Bag Checks



Apple Inc. agreed to pay $29.9 million to employees at its stores who were forced to submit to security bag checks – off the clock — when they left work after or during their shifts, Bloomberg reported.

The lawsuit only covered workers at California’s 52 Apple stores. The class includes 14,683 workers; each will get $1,286 from the settlement, the lawyers said in the court filing.

The name of the lawsuit is Frlekin v. Apple Inc. It is not a new lawsuit. According to Bloomberg, the class-action lawsuit was filed in 2013, in which a group of workers claimed that Apple was violating California law by not paying them for the time it took to check their bags. Apple countered that claim by stating that the bag searches were necessary to make sure workers were not hiding stolen electronic devices in their bags. Apple argued in court that anyone who didn’t like the policy could choose not to bring bags to work.

This lawsuit is specific to California Apple Stores. Apple should have known better than to make its workers wait around – off the clock and unpaid – for someone to check their bags. In February of 2020, Los Angeles Times reported that Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in a decision that an industrial wage order defines hours as “the time during which an employee is subject to the control of an employer, and includes all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.”

Los Angeles Times also reported that the California Supreme Court unanimously decided that California law requires Apple Inc. to pay its workers for being searched before they leave retail stores.

The good news is that these workers are going to get paid for the time they were required to stand around waiting for their bags to be checked (without pay). Unfortunately, I don’t think all states have the law that California has (requiring workers to be paid for their time). So it is possible that Apple, or other companies, in other states, may attempt to force security checks on their workers without having to pay them for their time.

According to Bloomberg, Apple said that it discontinued the bag check policy in 2015.


Judge Orders Apple to Allow External Payment Options



The Epic v. Apple lawsuit feels like a never-ending one. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said Apple must comply with an order to let developers add links and buttons to external payment options, denying Apple’s request for a stay, The Verge reported. As you may have guessed, Apple announced that it would appeal the Judge’s decision.

You can read a copy of Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ ruling on The Verge. They have embedded it into the article. Here are a few key parts of the ruling:

…Having considered all the filings, and oral argument, the Court finds Apple has failed to satisfy its burden, and the request is framed is DENIED. In short, Apple’s motion is based on a selective reading of this Court’s findings and ignores all the findings which supported the injunction, namely incipient antitrust conduct including supercompetitive commission rates resulting in extraordinary high operating margins which have not been correlated to the value of its intellectual property. This incipient antitrust conduct is the result, in part, of the anti steering policies which Apple has enforced to harm competition…

…Further, even if additional time was warranted to comply with the limited injunction, Apple did not request additional time other than ten days to appeal this ruling. Thus, the Court does not consider the option of additional time, other than the requested ten days…

The New York Times reported that Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rodriguez interrupted Apple’s lawyer, Mark Perry, when he argued that allowing developers to include links to outside websites within their app would take months to figure out.

According to The New York Times, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said: “You did not ask for a few months. You did not ask for six months. You didn’t ask for a limited amount of time. You asked for an across-the-board stay, which could take three, four, five years.”

Apple is seeking a reversal of the Judge’s decision. The Verge reported that Apple plans to appeal to the Ninth Circuit for a stay, since it did not get one from Judge Gonzalez Rogers. According to The Verge, pending a stay of some kind, the injunction is scheduled to go into effect on December 9, 2021.

This really feels like a lawsuit that is going to be slowly moving through the courts for an indeterminate amount of time. I guess that’s what happens when two big companies decided to fight each other via the courts. Perhaps the result will be that whichever one of them has the most money will win by attrition.


Apple Announced California Streaming Event



Apple announced an Apple Event called California Streaming. It will take place on September 14, at 10 a.m. PDT. It will be broadcast from Apple Park. You can watch it live online at apple.com. That’s all the information that Apple has given about this event.

MacRumors reported that this event will be held digitally with no members of the media to attend in person. They think Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for each new product..

What might those products be? We won’t know for certain just yet. MacRumors expects Apple to announce new iPhone 13 models, the Apple Watch Series 7, and possibly the AirPods 3. They don’t think that new MacBook Pro models and new iPads will be part of the event.

Mashable reported that opening the September 14 event page on an iPhone reveals a graphic that mimics the video being shared by company bigwigs on Twitter: The glowing Apple logo floating over an alpine lake. But when you tap on that logo, “the augmented reality magic happens”.

I tried this out for myself, and saw the glowing Apple logo over a lake. Tapping on the screen started the AR, and I now had a glowing Apple logo on my desk (when viewed through my iPhone). It kind of reminded me of how Pókemon GO uses AR in their game. I could see the date of the event hovering over the lake.

Based on this, Mashable predicts that we might soon see an iPhone AR. According to Mashable, the latest iPad Pro is optimized for AR tech.

MacStories speculated that we might see new Macs, considering that it has been several months since the M1 iMac was introduced. They also think Apple will announce upcoming versions of its operating systems and release dates for each.

Overall, we have no clear idea what Apple will present at the event. That’s part of the fun, I think. Some of the speculation could turn out to be accurate, and some not right at all. Apple could surprise us with something that nobody expected.


Apple Delays Rollout of CSAM Detection



Silvery Apple LogoLast month, Apple provided an explanation about its expanded protection for children. In short, Apple stated that the purpose was to protect children from receiving or sending sexually explicit photos. Parents would get a message if their child or teen viewed or sent one. In addition, Apple stated that was going to scan user’s iCloud photos in an effort to detect CSAM, which if found, would be reported to law enforcement.

Those features were intended to roll out with updates to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey. 9to5Mac reported that Apple has decided to “take additional time” to refine the features before launching to the public.

Apple gave a statement to 9to5Mac:

“Last month we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material. Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.”

It is unclear when Apple will decide to release those features, and it is unknown what kinds of improvements Apple intends to make.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) responded to Apple’s decision to “take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements.” EFF states that those features will weaken privacy and security on iPhones and other products.

EFF wrote that it is “pleased Apple is now listening to the concerns of customers, researchers, civil liberties organizations, human rights activists, LGBTQ people, youth representatives, and other groups, about the dangers posed by its phone scanning tools. But the company must go further than just listening, and drop its plans to put a backdoor into its encryption entirely.”

Personally, I think Apple really messed up when they announced those new features in a way that made users think the two were connected. It resulted in a lot of confusion. I also think Apple made a huge mistake when it assumed people would be okay with the idea of having their iCloud photos scanned. The best way around this, in my opinion, is to pull your family photos out of iCloud and store them elsewhere.


Apple Explains its Protections for Children



Apple provided an explanation about its expanded protections for children. This comes after information about it has spread across the internet, that may or may not be factual.

Here is some of the information Apple provided:

  • Apple is introducing new child safety features in three areas, developed in collaboration with child safety experts. First, new communication tools will enable parents to play a more informed role in helping their children navigate communication online. The Messages app will use on-device machine learning to warn about sensitive content, while keeping private communications unreadable by Apple.
  • iOS and iPadOS will use new applications of cryptography to help limit the spread of CSAM online, while designing for use privacy. CSAM detection will help Apple provide valuable information to law enforcement on collections of CSAM in iCloud Photos.
  • These features are coming later this year in updates to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey.
  • The Messages app will at new tools to warn children and their parents when receiving or sending sexually explicit photos.
  • The content of the photo will be blurred, and the child will be warned, presented with helpful resources, and reassured it is okay if they do not want to view this photo. As an additional precaution, the child can also be told that, to make sure they are safe, their parents will get a message if they do view it. The child will be warned before the photo is sent, and the parents can receive a message if the child chooses to send it.

John Gruber (on Daring Fireball) has more information about what this does Apple’s child safety initiatives:

The messages feature is specifically only for children in a shared iCloud family account. If you’re an adult, nothing is changing with regard to any photos you send or receive through Messages. And if you’re a parent with child who the feature could apply to, you’ll need to explicitly opt in to enable the feature. It will not turn on automatically when your devices are updated to iOS 15.

John Gruber also wrote: If you don’t use iCloud Photo Library, none of this applies to you. If you do use iCloud Photo Library, this detection is only applied to the images in your photo library the are synced to iCloud.


Apple Warns Sideloading Apps Would Undermine Privacy Protections



Apple has released a report titled: “Building a Trusted Ecosystem for Millions of Apps”. In short, it provides information about how the App Store protections are important for the safety and security of iOS and iPadOS. Sideloading would undermine this system because it would enable nefarious apps to cause harm to those who download them.

The report is an interesting read for those who use iOS and/or iPadOS. It provides details about what happens “behind the scenes” that enables Apple to provide security and privacy protections to users. It also talks about its App Review process, in which developers and users are screened and checked for malicious components like unwanted purchases or providing access to personal data.

In 2020, 100,000 apps and updates were reviewed each week on average by a team of over 500 dedicated experts, who review apps in different languages.

Nearly one million problematic new apps and a similar number of updates were rejected or removed. That includes more than 150,000 for being spam or copycats, or misleading users; more than 215,000 for violating privacy guidelines; more than 48,000 for containing hidden or undocumented features; and about 95,000 for fraudulent violations (predominantly for including “bait and switch” functionalities to commit criminal or other forbidden actions.)

Features like Apple’s privacy labels on the App Store, and its App Tracking Transparency, provide protections to users. Apple points out that allowing sideloading – allowing developers to distribute their apps outside of the App Store through websites or third-party app stores – “would degrade the security of the iOS platform and expose users to serious security risks not only on third-party app stores, but also on the App Store.”

One of the things that caught my attention in Apple’s report was that sideloading could cause harm to people who only download apps from the App Store. Those that choose to sideload apps will put other iOS or iPadOS users at risk. A malicious developer could attempt to fake something that looks like the App Store, which could trick users into thinking it was the real deal. That app could then grab people’s data, including health and financial information.


Apple Podcast Subscriptions launches today



The podcast market is hotter than ever, and big names from TV and sports are in the game. Now, today, a new chapter begins in the media business. 

Apple, which began this genre way back when it launched the iPOD, is once more at the center of the game. This time it’s with a podcast subscription service. The shows are available individually and grouped in channels and prices will vary beginning as low as $0.49. 

Not all shows are participating because of advertising restrictions. One service, the popular children’s network Pinna, states it’s “an audio-first children’s media company offering the first and ONLY ad-free, audio on-demand streaming service, expertly developed and carefully curated for kids 3-12.” Their channels will run $3.99 each.

You can access all of this by visiting the traditional Apple Podcast app. Maybe you can even dig out that decade old shiny device to listen on.