LTA 124: December 2023

Let's Talk Apple Logo


This solo show starts with a few followups, some regulatory and legal news, a little HR news, and the highlights from Apple’s services and original content. The four main stories are Push Notification spying, the Beeper Mini saga, the US import ban on Apple Watches, and the Operation Triangulation iPhone hacks. Finally, the show finishes with some other quick Apple-related stories that made the news in December.

You’ll find detailed show notes below the fold, and if you enjoy this free show, please consider clicking on the donate button at the top of the left side bar – the show is free for you to listen to, but not for Bart to Produce!

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Updates & Followup

Quick updates to long-running stories the show continues to track, and to stories covered in recent shows.

Regulatory Rundown

Legal Latest

Apple HR & Acquisition News

Apple Services & Original Content Highlights

Main Stories

  1. US Senator Ron Wyden reveals that both Apple & Google have been forced to silently participate in an entire type of spying we were not aware of — Push Notification Metadata

  2. Beeper Mini briefly allowed Android users to access the iMessage infrastructure, a brief cat-and-mouse game ensued, and Apple won

  3. Apple's long-running patent dispute with Masimo over the blood oxygen monitor in recent Apple Watches came to a head in December — the sales ban warned about in November actually happened, for a while, and is now stayed rather than resolved:

  4. The highly sophisticated and carefully targeted 4-year Operation Triangulation hacking campaign:

    • 4-year campaign backdoored iPhones using possibly the most advanced exploit ever —…

      "Researchers on Wednesday presented intriguing new findings surrounding an attack that over four years backdoored dozens if not thousands of iPhones, many of which belonged to employees of Moscow-based security firm Kaspersky. Chief among the discoveries: the unknown attackers were able to achieve an unprecedented level of access by exploiting a vulnerability in an undocumented hardware feature that few if anyone outside of Apple and chip suppliers such as ARM Holdings knew of"

      "the infections were delivered in iMessage texts that installed malware through a complex exploit chain without requiring the receiver to take any action"

      "The exploit’s sophistication and the feature’s obscurity suggest the attackers had advanced technical capabilities"

    • The detailed report from Kaspersky Labs —…

      "Our guess is that this unknown hardware feature was most likely intended to be used for debugging or testing purposes by Apple engineers or the factory, or that it was included by mistake"

Quick Stories


Note: When the textual description of a link is part of the link it is the title of the page being linked to, when the text describing a link is not part of the link it is a description written by Bart.

Emoji Meaning
A link to audio content, probably a podcast.
flag The story is particularly relevant to people living in a specific country, or, the organisation the story is about is affiliated with the government of a specific country.
A link to graphical content, probably a chart, graph, or diagram.
A link to an article behind a pay-wall.
A pinned story, i.e. one to keep an eye on that's likely to develop into something significant in the future.

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