Archive for November 28, 2018

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

SubEthaEdit 5.0 Goes Open Source

Dominik Wagner (tweet 2, Hacker News):

The new version 5 of SubEthaEdit, the Apple Design Award winning text editor for macOS, is now available free of charge in the App Store and as direct download. The complete source code with history going back 15 years is also available under the MIT License.


Marketing wise we shoehorned ourselves into the collaborative aspects, and failed to communicate the fact that SubEthaEdit was a great general purpose text editor of its own right.


Instead we got another lucky break. The great folks at Panic were planning their then secret Coda, and were looking for something they could base their editing engine on. And that influx of financial support was what enabled us to become a real working company.


The success of Carcassonne also had a somewhat unfortunate side effect for us: With still no real viable long term business story for SubEthaEdit it moved more and more on the back burner. We still maintained it and brought it up to the App Store eventually, but sadly it couldn’t prove its financial viability.

Gus Mueller:

So I sent a couple of the hardware discounts to the folks at Rogue Amoeba (makers of Audio Hijack) and the folks at the Coding Monkeys (who made SubEthaEdit). We were all pretty happy.

Then a few days later I got a call for ADC. “What the heck are you doing?” they asked. I said that I didn’t need that many and gave a couple of discounts to them. “Are they doing work for you or something? Because the Coding Monkeys have a student ADC account, and it’s not possible for them to have a hardware discounts and we’re going to transfer those back to you.”

How to Game the App Store

David Barnard:

I’ve been pestering Apple for years publicly and privately about the manipulation and outright scams going on in the App Store. Apple has made some progress here and there, but overall Apple’s strictness in some areas and hands off approach in others has disproportionately rewarded bad actors while stifling conscientious developers.


So, let’s talk about how developers are gaming the App Store and why it matters to the future of the platform. Any one of these tactics might seem somewhat bland individually, but when tens of thousands of apps deploy multiple tactics across many categories of apps, the impact can be measured in hundreds of millions of users and likely billions of dollars.

Previously: Apple Pulling High-Grossing Scammy Subscription Apps Off the App Store, Weather Alarms Scam.

Update (2018-11-30): Zac Hall:

The latest example is a rather sophisticated and devious trick used by an app that claims to read your heart rate through your fingertip using Touch ID. In reality, the app (which is currently on the App Store) uses your fingerprint to authorize a transaction for $89.99 while dramatically dimming the screen to fool you.

Dave DeLong:

Meanwhile, I’m in Day 6 of being “In Review” just because I added a single auto-renewing subscription to my app. #NotAmused

Update (2018-12-03): Guilherme Rambo:

This app had a list of Apple’s IP ranges, it was probably using them to change its behavior during app review

Update (2018-12-04): Ben Sandofsky:

Apple yanked over 700 apps from the Chinese App Store that were using rollout-like SDKs to avoid app review.

Previously: Apple Rejecting Apps That Use Rollout.

Lukas Stefanko:

Multiple apps posing as fitness-tracking tools were caught misusing Apple’s Touch ID feature to steal money from iOS users. The dodgy payment mechanism used by the apps is activated while victims are scanning their fingerprint, seemingly for fitness-tracking purposes.

John Gruber (tweet):

None of this is news, but it continues to surprise me that Apple hasn’t cracked down on all of these scams, especially the ones that trick people into paying for subscriptions. That’s just outright theft.

Update (2018-12-06): Dave DeLong:

Finally movement on my app. Got rejected for 2 reasonable things and 1 thing.

Apparently, the cost of my app after a free trial period isn’t explicit enough.

I’m not sure my eyes can roll any further back in to my head

One of the things I should’ve mentioned about that button (and the rest of that screen) is that I literally copied it from another app on the store. Same text, same layout. Just changed the name and the price of the IAP for my app.

Update (2018-12-12): Luc Vandal:

Let’s all celebrate @screensvnc 8th birthday with yet another silly metadata rejection from App Store Review.

Scam people all you want but don’t you dare show a Mac in your app preview so customers can understand how Curtain Mode works! This is fucking ridiculous.

Update (2018-12-23): Cabel Sasser:

Here’s some garbaggio: “Shield for Safari”. Claims to be “security without VPN or Proxy” which means it does nothing, reviews are hilarious and mostly copied from Firefox, app terms say it’s for “entertainment purposes only”. Monthly subscription of course 😣

(Don’t worry, I will let Apple know about this, and I’m confident they’ll take care of it. In the future wouldn’t it be awesome if there was an easy way to report “App Is Garbaggio” — maybe in this ••• menu — because I’m sure collectively we could clean out so much of this!)

Update (2018-12-27): uniqueguy263 (via Jeff Johnson):

A scam app that pretends to be the setup for Echos is #6 in Utilities in the App Store

It looks like Apple has finally removed it. When I last checked, it was still #6 and had 8K ratings averaging 3.7 stars.

Casey Johnston:

Apple pitched the walled garden as a way to enforce quality control, to ensure its ability to keep providing great customer service, to keep making its loyal followers happy. All of those things seem to be unraveling now.

Update (2018-12-28): Evgeny Cherpak:

People assuming that paid app with many good ratings has many satisfied users.

I won’t name names but while researching how I can market my apps I found a service that would provide good reviews.

How it works?

Set price to free
Pay for downloads + ratings
Raise the price

Update (2019-03-06): Dave DeLong:

This time the @AppStore has rejected my update for the sin of having a subscription.

You know, the subscription that’s been in my app since the 1.0 version.

This wasn’t just a rejection of the IAP screen. The reviewer said it was an inappropriate usage of subscriptions altogether and wanted me to take subscriptions out of my app

Update (2019-03-28): Apps Exposed:

So this was the reason why I started looking through the App Store and found out that small/big time scammers were doing massive schemes.


Fun fact: Apple has featured Badoo on different stories in Today section on App Store. Support the spammers Apple! Good job guys!

Update (2019-03-29): Jeff Johnson:

3 months later, all of the scam apps that I mentioned in this blog post are still in the crap store.

At the time I also reported the scam artist to Apple Product Feedback.

Update (2019-04-11): Jeff Johnson:

I blogged about this App Store scam artist, and also reported to Apple.

All of the scam apps are in the App Stores, and now a new one has just been released in the Mac App Store.

Meanwhile, Apple rejected my update last week.

Apps Exposed:

10 days ago after we exposed 53 apps Apple removed 15 apps (by the same Chinese group), yet again they are back on App Store.

Sponsored Amazon Baby Registry Items

Rolfe Winkler and Laura Stevens (tweet):

Kima Nieves recently received two Aveeno bath-time sets and a box of Huggies diapers through her baby registry on Amazon. The only problem? The new mother didn’t ask for the products, or even want them.

Instead, Johnson & Johnson and Kimberly-Clark Corp. paid Inc. hefty sums to place those sponsored products onto Ms. Nieves’s and other consumers’ baby registries. The ads look identical to the rest of the listed products in the registry, except for a small gray “Sponsored” tag. Unsuspecting friends and family clicked on the ads and purchased the items, assuming Ms. Nieves had chosen them.


Amazon’s sponsored ads have appeared in its baby registries for more than a year. Responding to a Wall Street Journal inquiry about the ads, an Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on criticism that the ads are deceptive, but said the retailer is now phasing out the sponsored listings.

Google Pixel Slate Review

Dieter Bohn:

But even though the Pixel Slate checks boxes that the iPad Pro does not, it’s not better. In every place where the iPad is restricted but elegant, the Pixel Slate is open but slapdash.

While the hardware is nice, using the Pixel Slate requires you to endure a hundred tiny software indignities. For a device that starts at $599 and can run as much as two grand for the fully specced model with keyboard and pen, that’s at least a few dozen indignities too many.

The Pixel Slate is Google’s first tablet in some years, running Chrome OS instead of Android. It’s not the very first Chrome OS tablet, but it’s the first one from Google. The good news is that the hardware is excellent. It’s not as gobsmackingly advanced as the iPad Pro, but it’s solid.


Another example of how the foundation is there are the two USB-C ports. They just do what you expect USB ports to do. It’s great that there are two of them. I had our New York office ship over a big dumb box of USB accessories to plug into it. Basically, I repeated the experiment Nilay ran with the iPad Pro, and nearly everything just worked.

Update (2018-12-03): Alex Cranz (via John Gruber):

But the Pixel Slate, which carries the newest build of Chrome OS, has made a near perfect case for a pricier chromebook. This tablet, which turns into a laptop with the addition of a $160 to $200 accessory, starts at $600 and often works so well as either laptop or tablet that it feels like it’s almost always worth the price.

Update (2018-12-04): The Talk Show:

New episode of the podcast: Dieter Bohn joins the show to talk about Google’s new Pixel Slate Chrome OS tablet/laptop, the Pixel 3, Google’s fascinating new Night Sight camera mode, speculation on how Apple might move the Mac to ARM chips, and more.

App Center Will Take It From Here


One year ago, we announced Visual Studio App Center as the future of HockeyApp. During this journey we listened to you and have continued to improve App Center in every way. We started out with the next generation of your favorite HockeyApp services: distribution, crash reporting and analytics, and added new services exclusive to App Center: Build, Test and Push Notifications. But we didn’t stop there. We continued to build new features that make you even more productive.

Today, after months of work and refinement, we are announcing that HockeyApp will complete its transition fully to App Center in one year on November 16, 2019. We know you are busy building amazing apps, so we have focused on making this transition experience smooth and seamless for you.