Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the TidBITS Content Network for Apple consultants.

ExtraBITS for 20 June 2016

In this week’s ExtraBITS, we get a look at Apple’s differential privacy, which seeks to gather data while protecting your privacy, and we find out who won the 2016 Apple Design Awards.

What Is Differential Privacy? -- Apple briefly announced “differential privacy” at this year’s WWDC keynote, but didn’t go into details as to exactly what that means. Cryptographer Matthew Green isn’t sure what Apple means either, but he is familiar with the concept of differential privacy and explains the basics and how Apple could be implementing it.

To make features like Spotlight and QuickType more useful to you, Apple needs to collect data from your iPhone usage, but it doesn’t want to violate your privacy. Unfortunately, even if Apple collects data anonymously, it could still be analyzed later to identify you. In effect, differential privacy injects a certain amount of phony data into the system, sacrificing a bit of accuracy for more privacy. We’re curious to learn more about how this works, too, and how effective it actually is.

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Apple Announces 2016 Apple Design Award Winners -- Apple has announced the winners of Apple Design Awards for 2016, recognizing 10 apps, plus 2 student projects. The winners are the education app Complete Anatomy, a to-do list app aimed at helping users develop good habits called Streaks, a fitness training app called Zova that also works on the Apple TV, the video collaboration platform Frame.io, the multi-platform text editor Ulysses, an iOS and Apple TV running game called Chameleon Run, the puzzle game Lara Croft GO, an interesting take on pinball called INKS, Auxy Music Creation, and a DJ app called djay Pro that won an award back in 2011 as well. The two student apps were both games, the puzzle-based Linum, and Dividr, a 2D arcade game written entirely in Swift. Congratulations to all the winners!

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