Apple just pulled off one of the great engineering feats of all time

“Apple just pulled off one of the great engineering feats of all time by upgrading a few hundred million devices to a new file system,” Dave Farrington writes for NoodleMac. “Folks, that’s no mean feat.”

“At the heart of all the cosmetic changes and app updates in iOS 10 this week, came a big one. APFS. That’s Apple’s new file system, now standard on iPhone, iPad, and Watch; and coming soon to macOS,” Farrington writes. “Think 20th century vs. 21st century. Also, think Apple against the rest of the world – especially criminals and governments – which does not seem to appreciate privacy and security the way you and I do.”

“On the Mac, you can use FileVault to encrypt the entire disk drive. Secure, right? Unless someone gets in, then everything is open and available, and FileVault is an all or nothing security option,” Farrington writes. “On the Mac, you can use FileVault to encrypt the entire disk drive. Secure, right? Unless someone gets in, then everything is open and available, and FileVault is an all or nothing security option. APFS can do full disk encryption, too, but it can also encrypt specific files, so expect to see that option built into the Mac in the future. With both single or multi-key support.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Our myriad iOS devices have been updated to the momentous iOS 10.3 and all are working just fine so far (better than ever, in fact)!

SEE ALSO:
Apple dials up encryption even further as mobile threats soar – March 28, 2017
Apple’s iOS 10.3 delivers brand-new Apple File System – March 28, 2017
iOS 10.3’s longer than usual installation likely due to switch to new Apple File System – March 28, 2017
Apple releases iOS 10.3, watchOS 3.2, and tvOS 10.2 – March 27, 2017
You must back up your iPhone and iPad before upgrading to Apple’s iOS 10.3, due soon – March 10, 2017
Apple’s iOS 10.3: A very, very important upgrade – January 25, 2017
APFS: What Apple’s new Apple File System means to you – June 24, 2016
APFS: New Apple File System promises more speed, flexibility, reliability – June 17, 2016
The feds’ll hate this: Apple’s new APFS file system ‘engineered with encryption as a primary feature’ – June 14, 2016
Buh-bye HFS+, hello APFS (Apple File System) for macOS! – June 14, 2016
Apple can do better than Sun’s ZFS – October 26, 2009
Apple discontinues ZFS project, turns attention to own next-gen file system – October 24, 2009
Apple’s Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server’s ZFS goes MIA – June 9, 2009

22 Comments

  1. This swapping of filesystems is truly an amazing feat—yet I have seen almost no mention of it outside of Apple-oriented sites.
    The level of engineering, planning, and innovation involved is simply incredible.

    1. Yes, I can’t recall in the history of IT anybody else pulling this off, let alone with an encrypted file system, let alone on an installed base of tens of millions of devices with no word of any issues.

    2. FTA: “Apple just pulled off one of the great engineering feats of all time by upgrading a few hundred million devices to a new file system. “

      Is there any reference to back up this number? How many devices have converted?

  2. Now if the design department, who has their heads up their asses, would have figured out that the new red apple phone with a white bezel (WHITE???), looks like shit, should have done this with the jet black bezel, we would all be happy.

    1. Black and red go together so well. So does black and gold and black and silver.

      I am a long-term Apple supporter, but I have always been willing to call Apple on its faults and poor decisions. Customers should have the option to pair a white or black bezel with any chassis color.

  3. Doesn’t file vault already do that? encrypt the whole hard drive? what is the difference now? to encrypt specific files? or is there something about the new file system that makes it faster or even more secure than the present file vault on the mac?

  4. Roman aquaducts still in use ~2000 years after construction
    The Trans-Siberian railroad
    The Burj Kalifa
    The Akashi Kaikyo bridge
    The International Space Station
    The Panama Canal
    La Tour Eiffel
    The Boeing 747-8, a 1 million pound air freighter
    The Bugatti Chiron, a road legal car that has the potential to break 500 km/hr
    Medical transplants
    Genetic cloning
    Nuclear subs and powerplants
    Oil drilling platforms, the largest manmade structures
    Satellite systems used for GPS navigation and telecommunications networks

    Somehow the implementation of a new file system modeled after ZFS many years behind the competition doesn’t quite compare to some of the greatest engineering feats of all time.

    1. Greatest engineering feats of all time and you come up with a human list? It’s pretty funny. Here’s a real list for you.

      Bird Eggs: Largest single cell (ostrich) and amazingly versatile and strong.
      Honeycomb: the geometry of a honeycomb to allow the minimization of the amount of used material to reach minimal weight and minimal material cost. Pretty smart bees, and to think humans still build cuboid houses for the most part.
      Planetary Engineering: Got increased C02 emissions and pollutants in that atmosphere. Pathetic compared to plants, 20% of the oxygen the atmosphere of the planet. The planet, heck humans are lucky to make a single percentage point.
      Tardigrades: Great molecular engineering, they include a protein that protects its DNA from radiation damage so nuke away humans it won’t bother them one bit. Humans on the other hand…
      Symbiosis: Were species get together, brilliant. Oh that kind of includes humans, the E. coli in your lower intestine is essential for you life.
      Camouflage: Humans are no where near the brilliance of the chameleon and other camouflaging creatures.
      Architecture: There is a spider web built by a variety of species working together that spans much of a public park, an ant colony that extends for thousands of miles and birds nests built by entire flocks living together under one thatched roof.
      Genetic cloning: Sorry the Hydra has beat humans there.
      Radar and sonar: Bats had echolocation a long time before humans discovered it, same for sonar in many aquatic cetaceans.
      Social Engineering: Some say prostitution is the oldest profession, that might be true, either way penguins were doing it long before human sluts turned up on the scene.
      Beaver: Dams and their houses, amazing redirecting of water flow, still in use today.
      Spider webs: Spider silk is so flexible, light, strong, and water resistant that humans are still trying to figure out how it works.
      Flight: Birds and flying mammals were doing their thing long before the Wright brothers.
      Electricity: The electric eel is one creature that uses electricity well before Ben Franklin figured it out.

      The list goes on, but there is one engineering feat that is unique to humans, they are the only living species that produces materials toxic to all life. Not really something to brag about.

      If you look at many of the so discoveries of humans you’ll find that some plant or animal has been to it first.

      1. I’m not sure animal examples of ‘engineering’ counts as ‘feats’ unless there is conscious ‘intent’ to actually produce that result. For example the honeycomb has been proven to be the most stable form simply because it is naturally formed by squashing together hollow cylinders. You can actually reproduce this by getting a bunch of toilet roll tubes or paper towel tubes dropping them parallel to each other and allowing some stacking, then push them down evenly. The result will be the honeycomb shape.

        1. Excellent point bringing up the ideas of consciousness and intent because they are pretty tough to discern, or maybe not. A simple definition for consciousness is the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings. Tough to prove when plants are awake but animals, we have a pretty good idea.

          The honeycomb is more than just a pattern found in snowflakes and crystals, because honeycombs are stacked upon each other, and the bases are not flat but at a distinct angle. In 1712, Maraldi measured many samples of honeycomb cells and concluded that the angles of the trapezoidal sides and rhombic bases are always consistent: the smaller angle of the rhombus/trapezium is always about 70 degrees. It follows again using the least amount of material to gain maximum strengths.

          At lot of the other examples mention infer awareness and intent. My point remains, If you look at many of the so called discoveries of humans you’ll find that some plant or animal has been to it first.

          1. Another angle of possibly discerning ‘intent’ could be evidence of learning by trial and error or from a ‘mentor’ being communicated and implemented by the ‘student’ which would rule out instinct.

            Another way you could replicate a honeycomb shape w/o measuring the angles would be to stick similar sized bubbles together, 6 in a circle and one in the middle. You will naturally form the shape. The bees are not consciously making hexagonal tubes.

            Being inspired is one thing but taking that inspiration and melding it with the knowledge of the capabilities of materials to create a successful result is what I would think would define a ‘feat’ through intention of an engineered product. Maybe we can agree that a ‘engineering feat’ requires effort expended to conceive of the result separate from the physical effort of construction.

  5. Keeping perspective, while incredible, with Apple’s extremely homogenous HW any company doing the same w/o problems across a a tiny fraction of the PC installations would easily be a more impressive feat.

    1. There was nothing to stop other companies coming up with homogenous hardware and software systems, but only Apple had the wisdom and resources to do so.

      There’s hardly been a day during the last few decades when ‘experts’ haven’t proclaimed that Apple should do things more like Microsoft, Google or any number of other companies, but Apple has always stuck to what it believes it the right course. Other operating systems are so fragmented that a fundamental change to a better technology could never be considered. On the other hand, although Apple’s insistence on developers ‘sticking to the rules’ and doing things the official way sometimes seems a pain, it can’t be denied that the up side of all those limitations is an operating system that can be enhanced drastically in the future.

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