The Sky-High Edition Friday, July 7, 2017

iPhone Bugs Are Too Valuable To Report To Apple, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

"I wanna share some news with you," Krstic said at the Black Hat conference, before announcing that Apple was finally launching a bug bounty program to reward friendly hackers who report bugs to the company.

The crowd erupted in enthusiastic applause. But almost a year later, the long-awaited program appears to be struggling to take off, with no public evidence that hackers have claimed any bug bounties.

The iPhone's security is so tight that it's hard to find any flaws at all, which leads to sky-high prices for bugs on the grey market. Researchers I spoke to are reluctant to report bugs both because they are so valuable and because reporting some bugs may actually prevent them from doing more research.

Niantic Boss John Hanke On Pokémon Go’s First Year And What’s Next, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

A year ago today, Pokémon Go began its descent on the world, kicking off an unprecedented summer that saw tens of millions of players explore the world around them through the augmented reality game. Since then, Pokémon Go has changed a lot, with the addition of new pokémon, features like in-game events, and more recently the addition of cooperative raids. But there’s still a lot missing from the game: most notably player-versus-player combat and the ability to trade pokémon, both features developer Niantic has previously said were in the works.

Just ahead of the game’s anniversary, I had the chance to talk to Niantic CEO John Hanke about the status of Pokémon Go 12 months in. We talked about everything from the developer’s ongoing war with cheaters, to the importance of communicating with players, to just why those much-anticipated features are taking so long.

How Spammers, Superstars, And Tech Giants Gamed The Music Industry, by Adam K. Raymond, Vulture

Streaming’s impact on the way artists make music goes all the way to the top. Take Chris Brown, whose upcoming album Heartbreak on Full Moon has 40 tracks, and not because he has so much to say. The famously unscrupulous pop star has found a way to boost his streaming numbers, which in turn inflate sale figures, and will, he hopes, send his album shooting up the charts quicker than it otherwise would.

Even Spotify is reportedly gaming the system by paying producers to produce songs that are then placed on the service’s massively popular playlists under the names of unknown, nonexistent artists. This upfront payment saves the company from writing fat streaming checks that come with that plum playlist placement, but tricks listeners into thinking the artists actually exist and limits the opportunities for real music-makers to make money.


The iPad That Should Have Been, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

Something I have been consistently hearing from people over the last couple weeks: “The 10.5” iPad Pro is really good, it’s every bit as big as you need it to be, without ever being too big.” (I am paraphrasing about 6 people, and countless “yeah totally” blog posts.) I feel this too, while it looks like only a tiny size bump, the 20% more screen makes all the difference in use.

The thing about the 10.5” is that it’s the right size for almost all your needs. Anything smaller is almost perfect, but limiting (especially in the keyboard department). Anything larger is really luxurious feeling, but cumbersome too. This is why the 9.7” iPad (Pro or not) has always been a head scratcher for some. Yeah, I mean you can work from it, but it’s going to feel cramped at times.

How To Share A Reminders List (And Why You Should), by Mike Matthews, AppFactor

So instead of trying to maintain a written grocery list, why not instead use the Reminders app and the power of sharing it via iCloud?


Qualcomm Is Trying To Ban iPhones From Being Sold In The US, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

In the latest escalation of its global legal fight with Apple, Qualcomm is asking the US government to ban new iPhones from coming into the country. It also wants sales halted on iPhones that have already made their way in.

Qualcomm says that Apple is violating six patents that have to do with extending a phone’s battery life. None of the patents are essential to a standard, Qualcomm says, which means it isn’t required to license them — as it is with the other patents the two companies are in disagreement over.

Why You Need Emoji, by Vyvyan Evans, Nautilus

The rich, communicative context available in face-to-face encounters is largely absent from digital communication. Digital text alone is impoverished and, on occasion, emotionally arid. Textspeak, seemingly, possesses the power to strip all forms of nuanced expression from even the best of us. But here emoji can help: It fulfills a similar function in digital communication to gesture, body language, and intonation in spoken interaction. Emoji, in text messaging and other forms of digital communication, enables us to better express tone and provide emotional cues; and this enables us to better manage the ongoing flow of information, and to interpret what the words are meant to convey.