October 3, 2022

Snippet: Apple SIM No Longer Available for Activating New Cellular Data Plans on iPads ☍

Joe Rossignol for MacRumors:

As of October 1, Apple SIM is no longer available for activating new cellular data plans on supported iPad models, according to an Apple support document.

Introduced in 2014, the Apple SIM was designed to allow iPad users to activate cellular data plans from multiple carriers around the world. Initially, the Apple SIM was a physical nano-SIM card, but it was embedded inside later iPad Pro models. Apple SIM was similar to modern eSIM technology, but with more limited carrier support.

I’m not surprised that it had gotten retired, as many carriers stepped away from it or never supported it at all, and most iPads sold in the last few years support eSIM. While Apple Stores have typically offered free carrier SIMs, the physical Apple SIM was $5 and it seemed that many employees didn’t even know it existed. Based on comments to this story, I’d guess the majority of people who even follow Apple had no idea it existed (at least the physical version), it’ll be a neat little footnote in Apple and wireless history.

September 11, 2022

Snippet: Converting a Verizon SIM to eSIM ☍

Casey Liss:

My iPhone 13 Pro currently has a physical SIM in it, and though I’d assume Apple would have a plan for upgrades like this, you never really know. This is also complicated because I buy phones unlocked; I wonder if the upgrade path is a little squishier when you’re not replacing an existing device with one locked to your same carrier.

So, in order to hopefully get ahead of the game for next week, I decided to try to convert my physical SIM to an eSIM. As it turns out, this process wasn’t particularly difficult, but I figured it’d be worth documenting for others.

The instructions below will only be useful for my carrier, Verizon Wireless.

This should be useful for a handful of people and there’s also linked instructions for AT&T customers, but it demonstrates how just about every carrier has their own process for migrating from physical SIM to eSIM (and let’s not get into business or prepaid customers). Nonetheless, I hope the iPhones 14 forces carriers to make the eSIM management process as easy as it could be.

Snippet: The iPhone mini ☍

Jonathan Ruiz for Thermal Corner:

The mini size class is not long for this world. I didn’t expect to find myself in this position. It almost feels like how I imagine fans of the home button feel. A thing Apple has made but doesn’t seem interested in making anymore. I think this is the first time this has happened to me with an Apple product. Loving something that will ultimately go away. It’s not a good feeling.

Now I know no one is taking this 12 mini from me and forcing me to upgrade. I can continue to use it and enjoy it for several more years. Apple is very good about supporting hardware with software updates for a long time. But this just doesn’t feel like a viable strategy.

The 12 mini is my daily driver and it’s still one of my favorite iPhones ever. While I’ll be able to adapt to whatever is available next year or the year after, it is disappointing how quickly Apple abandoned this form factor, especially as so many carrier incentives were centered around the regular 12 and 13 (if you took a mini, you were leaving $100 on the table).

September 6, 2022

Snippet: Clippy Was Born on the Mac ☍

Benjamin Cassidy (via Stephen Hackett):

Clippy was born on a Mac. When Kevan Atteberry was hired to design characters for Microsoft Bob and Office 97, he’d shuttle between the company’s leafy grounds and his Bellevue studio space, where a desktop made by a certain rival awaited. Animation required using Microsoft’s proprietary software, but before hustling files over to HQ, he could tinker in his second-floor walk-up with tons of light and a landlord who never raised the rent. It was here he picked up a Ticonderoga two-and-five-tenths pencil and started outlining an infamous paperclip. Digitizing it just meant closing the blinds and booting up the Macintosh he preferred to his employer’s PCs.

“This is my original Clippy,” Atteberry says one recent morning, pulling up an image on an iMac.

The much more subdued Max character that existed in Office 98 was what most of the Macs at school were set to, but it was the same idea. Even as primitive as it was, I appreciated the attempts to make computers learn and help as you used them.

Snippet: macOS Now Scans for Malware Whenever It Gets a Chance ☍

Howard Oakley for The Eclectic Light Company:

In the last six months macOS malware protection has changed more than it did over the previous seven years. It has now gone fully pre-emptive, as active as many commercial anti-malware products, provided that your Mac is running Catalina or later. This article updates those I’ve previously written about Apple’s new tool in the war against malware, XProtect Remediator.

Until XProtect Remediator arrived in macOS 12.3 last March, system tools for tackling malware were essentially limited to XProtect and MRT. XProtect was mainly used to check apps and other code which had a quarantine flag set, against a list of signatures of known malware, and can only detect. While Apple has broadened its scope to check more frequently, and continues to update those signatures every couple of weeks, they have their limits. MRT ran scans to both detect and remove (‘remediate’) known malware, most noticeably shortly after startup, but infrequently.

Back in 2013, I took a day job where one of my responsibilities was supporting college student computers, including Macs. That was about the first time I saw Mac adware/malware in the wild—apparently anyone will enter their admin password if they’re trying to get pirated movies and TV shows. While I got good at removing things manually and using some tools like the excellent, but defunct AdwareMedic, the work Apple has done behind the scenes in this area is amazing.