The latest iOS 12.1 release extends battery throttling to the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and even the iPhone X, after only telling US senators back in February that this would likely be unnecessary.
This raises an important question – why do devices that were only released last year need added performance management to prevent crashes and unexpected shutdowns?
Must read: iOS 12.1: Tips and tricks to help you get the most from your iPhone or iPad
Before we go any further, let’s refer to what Apple has said on this matter. Apple goes into a lot of detail, but here’s are the two paragraphs that matter:
With a low battery state of charge, a higher chemical age, or colder temperatures, users are more likely to experience unexpected shutdowns. In extreme cases, shutdowns can occur more frequently, thereby rendering the device unreliable or unusable. For iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus, iOS dynamically manages performance peaks to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down so that the iPhone can still be used. This performance management feature is specific to iPhone and does not apply to any other Apple products. Starting with iOS 12.1, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X include this feature, but performance management may be less noticeable due to their more advanced hardware and software design.
This performance management works by looking at a combination of the device temperature, battery state of charge, and battery impedance. Only if these variables require it, iOS will dynamically manage the maximum performance of some system components, such as the CPU and GPU, in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns. As a result, the device workloads will self-balance, allowing a smoother distribution of system tasks, rather than larger, quick spikes of performance all at once. In some cases, a user may not notice any differences in daily device performance. The level of perceived change depends on how much performance management is required for a particular device.
Now there’s a lot going on here, and while it’s interesting that Apple talks about “low battery state of charge” (has iOS 12.1 change the way the iPhone works when set to Low Power Mode, or is this some secret sauce that’s in addition to that feature?), it’s the talk of “higher chemical age, or colder temperatures” that has my curiosity piqued.
Let’s look at colder temperatures thing first. Apple publishes operating ambient temperatures and nonoperating temperature ranges for its devices. For all iPhones, these are 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C) and -4° to 113° F (-20° to 45° C). Inside these temperatures you should be fine, outside of them you’re on your own. When Apple talks about throttling with respect to colder temperatures it is unclear if it is talking about temperatures within the operating ambient temperatures range, or outside of this. I’m assuming that it is within these ranges (because Apple hasn’t updated these temperatures for older devices), so I’m left wondering if the iPhone had a problem operating within these stated temperatures.
In other words, did the iPhone suffer from a design flaw that Apple is now compensating for? It sounds like it from what Apple has stated here.
Now let’s come back to “higher chemical age.” In a nutshell, the older a battery is (“higher chemical age” is a fancy way of saying that), the higher the battery’s impedance (or resistance), and this lowers its ability to deliver peak power when demanded. Without that power, bad things – like crashes and shutdowns – can happen.
But should iPhones that were released only last year already be suffering from “higher chemical age”?
According to Apple, the battery “is designed to retain up to 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles,” and beyond that, the battery is considered worn and heading toward end-of-life. Some batteries can and do retain more than 80 percent charge after well over 500 recharge cycles, but in my experience, once you hit 500 recharge cycles, your battery is on borrowed time.
Note: You can find more information on recharge cycles here.
Back in May of this year I became concerned about how fast I was going through recharge cycles on my daily driver iPhone 8 Plus. In four months I’d used up 91 of those recharge cycles (I got my iPhone 8 Plus on launch day). I decided to take measures to reduce on the number of recharge cycles I was using up (one way I did this was by using wireless charging less).
Note: I used the excellent macOS app CoconutBattery to get access to the iPhone’s battery recharge cycle count.
I just rechecked this today and I’ve now burned through 344 recharge cycles.
In a little over a year, I’m already what feels like a stone’s throw away from that 500 recharge cycle mark. Compare this to my late 2013 MacBook Pro, which has seen daily use for several years now and is only at 357 recharge cycles.
There’s a simple reason why I’m going through recharge cycles as quickly as I am. The iPhone suffers from a simple design flaw. The battery is too small and requires recharging too often. A bigger battery would have a greater capacity, and therefore need charging less often. If my iPhone had a battery twice the capacity of the battery it currently has, it would have only gone through half the recharge cycles.
Apple’s pursuit of thinner and lighter has resulted in a device with a battery so small that after only a year the company has to drop a software update that tries to compensate for this.
When you consider that this means that a $1,000 iPhone might have a lifespan of only about 18 months before needing to be replaced (or at least have the battery replaced – and what an odyssey that can be), it certainly makes me question whether the iPhone represents the sort of value for money that I expect from such an expensive bit of kit.
It sure seems to me like Apple has built a hardware design flaw into the iPhone, and is now using software tweaks to try to make them less noticeable.
And given that Apple doesn’t seem to have bumped up the battery capacity on the newer iPhone XS and iPhone XR models, this seems to be a problem that will be affecting these devices in a year’s time.
Cymulate snaps up $70M to help cybersecurity teams stress test their networks with attack simulations – TechCrunch
The cost of cybercrime has been growing at an alarming rate of 15% per year, projected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025. To cope with the challenges that this poses, organizations are turning to a growing range of AI-powered tools to supplement their existing security software and the work of their security teams. Today, a startup called Cymulate — which has built a platform to help those teams automatically and continuously stress test their networks against potential attacks with simulations, and provide guidance on how to improve their systems to ward off real attacks — is announcing a significant round of growth funding after seeing strong demand for its tools.
The startup — founded in Tel Aviv, with a second base in New York — has raised $70 million, a Series D that it will be using to continue expanding globally and investing in expanding its technology (both organically and potentially through acquisitions).
Today, Cymulate’s platform covers both on-premise and cloud networks, providing breach and attack simulations for endpoints, email and web gateways and more; automated “red teaming”; and a “purple teaming” facility to create and launch different security breach scenarios for organizations that lack the resources to dedicate people to a live red team — in all, a “holistic” solution for companies looking to make sure they are getting the most out of the network security architecture that they already have in place, in the worlds of Eyal Wachsman, Cymulate’s CEO.
“We are providing our customers with a different approach for how to do cybersecurity and get insights [on] all the products already implemented in a network,” he said in an interview. The resulting platform has found particular traction in the current market climate. Although companies continue to invest in their security architecture, security teams are also feeling the market squeeze, which is impacting IT budgets, and sometimes headcount in an industry that was already facing a shortage of expertise. (Cymulate cites figures from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology that estimate a shortfall of 2.72 million security professionals in the workforce globally.)
The idea with Cymulate is that it’s built something that helps organizations get the most out of what they already have. “And at the end, we provide our customers the ability to prioritize where they need to invest, in terms of closing gaps in their environment,” Wachsman said.
The round is being led by One Peak, with Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE), Vertex Ventures Israel, Vertex Growth and strategic backer Dell Technologies Capital also participating. (All five also backed Cymulate in its $45 million Series C last year.) Relatively speaking, this is a big round for Cymulate, doubling its total raised to $141 million, and while the startup is not disclosing its valuation, I understand from sources that it is around the $500 million mark.
Wachsman noted that the funding is coming on the heels of a big year for the startup (the irony being that the constantly escalating issue of cybersecurity and growing threat landscape spells good news for companies built to combat that). Revenues have doubled, although it’s not disclosing any numbers today, and the company is now at over 200 employees and works with some 500 paying customers across the enterprise and mid-market, including NTT, Telit, and Euronext, up from 300 customers a year ago.
Wachsman, who co-founded the company with Avihai Ben-Yossef and Eyal Gruner, said he first thought of the idea of building a platform to continuously test an organization’s threat posture in 2016, after years of working in cybersecurity consulting for other companies. He found that no matter how much effort his customers and outside consultants put into architecting security solutions annually or semi-annually, those gains were potentially lost each time a malicious hacker made an unexpected move.
“If the bad guys decided to penetrate the organization, they could, so we needed to find a different approach,” he said. He looked to AI and machine learning for the solution, a complement to everything already in the organization, to build “a machine that allows you to test your security controls and security posture, continuously and on demand, and to get the results immediately… one step before the hackers.”
Last year, Wachsman described Cymulate’s approach to me as “the largest cybersecurity consulting firm without consultants,” but in reality the company does have its own large in-house team of cybersecurity researchers, white-hat hackers who are trying to find new holes — new bugs, zero days and other vulnerabilities — to develop the intelligence that powers Cymulate’s platform.
These insights are then combined with other assets, for example the MITRE ATT&CK framework, a knowledge base of threats, tactics and techniques used by a number of other cybersecurity services, including others building continuous validation services that compete with Cymulate. (Competitors include the likes of FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, Randori, AttackIQ and many more.)
Cymulate’s work comes in the form of network maps that detail a company’s threat profile, with technical recommendations for remediation and mitigations, as well as an executive summary that can be presented to financial teams and management who might be auditing security spend. It also has built tools for running security checks when integrating any services or IT with third parties, for instance in the event of an M&A process or when working in a supply chain.
Today the company focuses on network security, which is big enough in itself but also leaves the door open for Cymulate to acquire companies in other areas like application security — or to build that for itself. “This is something on our roadmap,” said Wachsman.
If potential M&A leads to more fundraising for Cymulate, it helps that the startup is in one of the handful of categories that are going to continue to see a lot of attention from investors.
“Cybersecurity is clearly an area that we think will benefit from the current macroeconomic environment, versus maybe some of the more capital-intensive businesses like consumer internet or food delivery,” said David Klein, a managing partner at One Peak. Within that, he added, “The best companies [are those] that are mission critical for their customers… Those will continue to attract very good multiples.”
Open-source password manager Bitwarden raises $100M – TechCrunch
Bitwarden, an open-source password manager for enterprises and consumers, has raised $100 million in a round of funding led by PSG, with participation form Battery Ventures.
Founded initially back in 2015, Santa Barbara, California-based Bitwarden operates in a space that includes well-known incumbents including 1Password, which recently hit a $6.8 billion valuation off the back of a $620 million fundraise, and Lastpass, which was recently spun out as an independent company again two years after landing in the hands of private equity firms.
In a nutshell, Bitwarden and its ilk make it easier for people to generate secure passwords automatically, and store all their unique passwords and sensitive information such as credit card data in a secure digital vault, saving them from reusing the same insecure password across all their online accounts.
Bitwarden’s big differentiator, of course, lies in the fact that it’s built atop an open-source codebase, which for super security-conscious individuals and businesses is a good thing — they can fully inspect the inner-workings of the platform. Moreover, people can contribute back to the codebase and expedite development of new features.
On top of a basic free service, Bitwarden ships a bunch of paid-for premium features and services, including advanced enterprise features like single sign-on (SSO) integrations and identity management.
It’s worth noting that today’s “minority growth investment” represents Bitwarden’s first substantial external funding in its seven year history, though we’re told that it did raise a small undisclosed series A round back in 2019. Its latest cash injection is indicative of how the world has changed in the intervening years. The rise of remote work, with people increasingly meshing personal and work accounts on the same devices, means the same password is used across different services. And such poor password and credential hygiene puts businesses at great risk.
Additionally, growing competition and investments in the management space means that Bitwarden can’t rest on its laurels — it needs to expand, and that is what its funds will be used for. Indeed, Bitwarden has confirmed plans to extend its offering into several aligned security and privacy verticals, including secrets management — something that 1Password expanded into last year via its SecretHub acquisition.
“The timing of the investment is ideal, as we expand into opportunities in developer secrets, passwordless technologies, and authentication,” Bitwarden CEO Michael Crandell noted in a press release. “Most importantly, we aim to continue to serve all Bitwarden users for the long haul.”
downgrade the ‘middle-men’ resellers – TechCrunch
As well as the traditional carbon offset resellers and exchanges such as Climate Partner or Climate Impact X the tech space has also produced a few, including Patch (US-based, raised $26.5M) and Lune (UK-based, raised $4M).
Now, Ceezer, a B2B marketplace for carbon credits, has closed a €4.2M round, led by Carbon Removal Partners with participation of impact-VC Norrsken VC and with existing investor Picus Capital.
Ceezer ’s pitch is that companies have to deal with a lot of complexity when considering how they address carbon removal and reduction associated with their businesses. Whie they can buy offsetting credits, the market remains pretty ‘wild-west’, and has multiple competing standards running in parallel. For instance, the price range of $5 to $500 per ton is clearly all over the place, and sometimes carbon offset resellers make buyers pay high prices for low-quality carbon credits, pulling in extra revenues from a very opaque market.
The startup’s offering is for corporates to integrate both carbon removal and avoidance credits in one package. It does this by mining the offsetting market for lots of data points, enabling carbon offset sellers to reach buyers without having to use these middle-men resellers.
The startup claims that sellers no longer waste time and money on bespoke contracts with corporates but instead use Ceezer’s legal framework for all transactions. Simultaneously, buyers can access credits at a primary market level, maximizing the effect of the dollars they spend on carbon offsets.
Ceezer says it now has over 50 corporate customers and has 200,000 tons of carbon credits to sell across a variety of categories. and will use the funds to expand its impact and sourcing team, the idea being to make carbon removal technologies more accessible to corporate buyers, plus widen the product offering for credit sellers and buyers.
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