Apple Reverses Course on PWAs in EU →

Chance Miller with some big news over at 9to5Mac:

Last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 would remove support for Home Screen web apps in the European Union. At the time, Apple said this decision was due to requirements under the Digital Markets Act related to support for alternative browser engines on iPhone.

Apple is now walking back that decision and says it will “continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU.”

Here is Apple’s full statement to Miller:

Previously, Apple announced plans to remove the Home Screen web apps capability in the EU as part of our efforts to comply with the DMA. The need to remove the capability was informed by the complex security and privacy concerns associated with web apps to support alternative browser engines that would require building a new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS.

We have received requests to continue to offer support for Home Screen web apps in iOS, therefore we will continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU. This support means Home Screen web apps continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, and align with the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS.

Developers and users who may have been impacted by the removal of Home Screen web apps in the beta release of iOS in the EU can expect the return of the existing functionality for Home Screen web apps with the availability of iOS 17.4 in early March.

When Apple said it was pulling support for PWAs in this release, it said it was because of the new rule that allows third-party browsing engines to run on iOS. Apple claimed that giving those third-party codebases all of the access that “Home Screen web apps” need to work would make the iPhone less secure.

Now, they are here to stay, but it’s important to note that these PWAs will still run atop WebKit, the engine that powers Safari. If you install Firefox or Chrome, and those browsers are using their own rendering engines, those engined will not power any PWAs a user has installed.

This is a move in the right direction. Even though PWAs aren’t widely used among iOS users, cutting them off in the EU with iOS 17.4 was a bad move. I’m curious if this last-minute change is at the behest of the EU, or if Apple is just trying to get ahead of things here. I’m also curious to see if PWAs being tied to WebKit will stand the test of time.

The 2024 Kottke Redesign →

Jason Kottke:

The last time I redesigned the site, a guy named Barack Obama was still President. Since then, I’ve launched the membership program, integrated the Quick Links more fully into the mix, (more recently) opened comments for members, and tweaked about a million different things about how the site works and looks. But it was overdue for a full overhaul to better accommodate all of those incremental changes and, more importantly, to provide a solid design platform for where the site is headed. Also, I was just getting tired of the old design.

I’ve been reading basically forever, and I have loved every design the site has used over the years, including this one.

Apple’s Self Service Repair Program Expanded to Include M3 iMac and MacBook Pro →

Apple Support:

Apple today announced an expansion of Self Service Repair for MacBook Pro and iMac models powered by M3, with support available today. Since April 2022, Self Service Repair has given customers access to the same manuals, genuine Apple parts, and tools used at Apple Store locations and Apple Authorized Service Providers.

Apple is also making Apple Diagnostics for Self Service Repair available for MacBook Pro and iMac models powered by M3 in the U.S. early next month. Launched late last year for iPhone and Mac, Apple Diagnostics troubleshooting sessions give customers the same ability as Apple Authorized Service Providers and Independent Repair Providers to test devices for optimal part functionality and performance, as well as identify which parts may need repair.

Gurman: Apple’s Car Project is Done →

Mark Gurman, with some big news:

Apple Inc. is canceling a decade-long effort to build an electric car, according to people with knowledge of the matter, abandoning one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the company.

Apple made the disclosure internally Tuesday, surprising the nearly 2,000 employees working on the project, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the announcement wasn’t public. The decision was shared by Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Kevin Lynch, a vice president in charge of the effort, according to the people.

Personally, I’m a little relieved that Apple isn’t going to be shipping a car. It always seemed too far-fetched for me to imagine, and I don’t think any part of Apple was ready for what servicing cars is like in the real world.

Gurman goes on to report that many of those 2,000 folks will report to John Giannandrea and work on Apple’s generative AI efforts, and I’d imagine some others will be let go once the project is wound down. Hopefully that latter number is small. I am sure a bunch of the work done to build a self-driving car has already paid dividends when it comes to the Vision Pro and whatever iOS 18 will bring.

Simple Scan →

Greg Pierce, the developer behind great apps like Drafts, Tally, and more is out with a new app that I am loving. It’s called Simple Scan, and it’s the fastest and least-annoying way I’ve ever seen to scan documents with the iPhone and iPad.

Here is how Greg describe it:

Do you love the Apple Notes document scanner, but would you like more flexibility in sending the scans to email, messages, files, or other apps? Then Simple Scan is for you. Simple Scan is the quick, easy way to scan paper documents to optimized, searchable PDF documents (or images) and send them almost anywhere.

I’ve tried a bunch of different scanning apps over the years and most of them are just too cluttered or come with goofy business models.

Simple Scan is different. Here’s the whole UI:

Simple Scan

This is an app clearly made by the guy who makes Drafts, as it’s all about taking information and sending it somewhere. While I often scan documents in Apple Notes, and know that I can do it in the Files app, this app is the perfect tool for scanning documents to save for later or send to another person.

The business model is also simple, as you can see. It’s just $4.99 a year or $19.99 forever. I instantly did the latter. Simple Scan is in the App Store now.

Kbase Article of the Week: Power Mac G4 Mac OS ROM 1.8.1: Document and Software →

Apple Support:

During testing, Apple has discovered a potential issue which may cause data corruption or system crashes in certain situations on Power Mac G4 (PCI Graphics) systems. The Power Mac G4 ROM 1.8.1 Update includes fixes for the following:

  • Data or file corruption with Virtual Memory on
  • Photoshop crash when Extensis Photo Tools is installed

Apple recommends that all customers with Power Mac G4 (PCI Graphics) systems install this new Mac OS ROM to prevent the data corruption problem and ensure the greatest stability in your system. Since this issue has already been addressed in Mac OS 9, as well as Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics) systems, this update will not install on this version of the Mac OS, or on these Power Mac systems.

Pretty wild to think Apple pushed a ROM update to a machine to fix an issue with Photoshop. 1999 was a different time.

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Speaking of Engadget… →

Mia Sato, writing at The Verge, which was famously founded by a bunch of folks who left Engadget many years ago:

The nearly 20-year-old tech publication Engadget is laying off staff and restructuring editorial teams today with a new focus around traffic and revenue growth. The changes are designed to give the outlet a stronger emphasis on commerce revenue, while removing key editorial leaders from its newsroom, including its editor-in-chief.

Engadget, which is operated by Yahoo, will lay off 10 employees, according to people with knowledge of the situation who say staff were “blindsided” by the decision. In addition to cutting staff, the editorial team will split into two sections: “news and features” and “reviews and buying advice.” The news teams will focus on traffic growth, while the reviews teams will report to commerce leaders.

I know several of those 10 folks, and to a person, they do great work. Yahoo continues to murder once-great web properties.

Odysseus Lunar Lander Tipped Over (Updated) →

Cheyenne MacDonald, writing at Engadget:

It turns out Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus spacecraft didn’t land upright after all. In a press conference with NASA Friday evening, the company revealed the lander is laying on its side after coming in a little faster than expected, likely catching its foot on the surface at the moment of landing. Fortunately, Odysseus is positioned in such a way that its solar panels are still getting enough light from the sun to keep it charged, and the team has been able to communicate with it. Pictures from the surface should be coming soon.

While the initial assessment was that Odysseus had landed properly, further analysis indicated otherwise. Intuitive Machines CEO and co-founder Steve Altemus said “stale telemetry” was to blame for the earlier reading.

The good news is that all but one of the payloads are on the upward-facing side, so some scientific work may still be able to get done, assuming the lander continues to function as expected.

Update: It looks like the lander will have a much shorter life than expected, possibly ceasing communication as early as February 27.

Apple’s Sports Features are Messy →

Jason Snell:

When I got my first demo of the new Apple Sports app, I admit to being a little surprised: didn’t Apple already do live sports scores? Hadn’t I just seen the Arsenal score and play-by-play on my iPhone on Sunday morning when I was in the kitchen making breakfast?

I had. And it has led to a lot of confusion about what the Apple Sports app does and doesn’t do, which highlights just how scattered Apple’s current effort to bring information to sports fans really is. I imagine that it wasn’t planned to work this way, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple connects all of its disparate sports pieces eventually, but in the meantime things are a little confusing.

Let me attempt to clear it up a little bit.

I for one hope that Apple Sports becomes the single stop for all things scores, stats, and news for the teams I follow.