Archive for February 28, 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

The App Stores Are Not “Long Tail”

Yann Lechelle:

Chris Anderson correctly analysed that the advent of e-commerce sites like Amazon or iTunes gave more prominence to the bottom of the catalogue than ever, therefore making it possible to increase the sales of historically less popular items which in a classical trade model had no chance of being on front display (or even in stock!) nor of having enough success to benefit from the accelerator effect of those at the top of the pile (the top 50 chart in music for example).


While the iTunes App Store is over 5 years old and the number of catalogue references exceeds a million items as many as the Google Play Store for Android, it is legitimate to ask oneself whether the long tail applies to these pure e-commerce sites, next generation offsprings with only slight mutations… Does an app buried away at the bottom of the catalogue benefit from the positive effects mentioned above? Do the app stores facilitate the discovery of apps and allow app publishers and developers to establish a truly profitable business?


These arguments alone suggest that the long-tail effect probably does not hold water on the app stores. This situation is even exacerbated, since if there is no long-tail effect, the opposite becomes possible: the creation of super champions capitalizing on the nature of apps which have built-in sharing and viral features that books or films do not have!

You’re Using Your Camera’s Flash Wrong

David Pogue:

Truth is, you shouldn’t use the flash at a performance like that anyway. Not at a sports event, not at a school play, not on Broadway, not at fireworks, not at the Olympics — because your camera’s flash is useless beyond about eight feet.


Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m telling you to turn off the flash when it’s dark out, but to turn on the flash when it’s sunny?


That’s called a fill flash. Its purpose is to supply a little additional light for the subject to compensate for the overly bright background.

iOS Security White Paper

Apple (PDF):

Apple does not log messages or attachments, and their contents are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can access them. Apple cannot decrypt the data.

I still think this is misleading because it ignores the fact that iCloud backups are encrypted with a key that’s in Apple’s possession. We know this because you can buy a new iPhone and restore your backup simply by entering your Apple ID and password. And we know that your password itself is not the key because Apple’s support people can restore your account access if you forget your password.

The other important point is that, since Apple’s servers are handing out the keys, Apple could easily be the “man in the middle” if it ever wanted to intercept messages. In other words, the security in iMessage is purely due to policy (trusting that Apple is not doing this) rather than the architecture or something that we can verify.

The white paper is well worth reading, though I’m not sure why everyone is treating it as a new document, rather than an update to the previous version.