Archive for December 23, 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Papercraft Computers

Jason Kottke:

Rocky Bergen makes paper models of vintage electronics and computing gear. And here’s the cool bit…you can download the plans to print and fold your own: Apple II, Conion C-100F boom box, Nintendo GameCube, and Commodore 64.

The Mac App Store Safari Extensions Experience

Jeff Johnson:

By widening the window, we go from seeing 12 apps to seeing 3½ apps. How is that possible? How is that good design?


Notice also that on Mojave, no ratings are shown with the apps, unlike in the High Sierra App Store. On Mojave, 5-star apps look the same as 1-star or 0-star apps in the list. This erases useful information for the customer and makes the vertical position in the list even more important.


In the Mac App Store, all of this developer’s apps have low ratings or no ratings, some of them “recently reset”, which suggests previously low ratings deleted. The customer reviews are also terrible. A lot of “does not work” and “crashes on launch”. You have to wonder how all these apps got through App Store Review, how the huge volume of apps from a single developer was not a red flag, and how Apple saw fit to prominently feature two of the apps in the Safari Extensions list. None of this reflects well on Apple’s curation of the App Store.

Previously: Is There Hope for the Mac App Store?, Stop The Madness.

Update (2018-12-23): Alex Popescu:

The Safari extensions part of the ecosystem is very broken. Not allowing a growing community of extensions is in my opinion hurting Safari usage numbers. I have Chrome on my machines because of its extensions. I would not touch it if I’d have those in Safari.

Tanner Bennett:

Extensions in Safari are so restricted that things like 1Password can’t even function as seamlessly as they do in other browsers.

Update (2018-12-27): Nick Heer:

Anyway, if you try to find every Safari Extension in the App Store, you’ll have a very difficult time. As far as I can work out, it’s completely impossible. If you search for “Safari extensions”, you’ll get a list of results that is completely different from the ones in the collection above. Just two extensions from the list of ten above are returned in the entirety of the store’s search results. Eight of them just don’t show up anywhere.

Acceptable Renewable Subscriptions Pitch Screens

Greg Pierce:

Oh, nice. App Review got me a “misleading subscription” rejection for Christmas.

It’s clear from all the rejections that App Review was tasked with auditing renewable IAP subs - which was needed and not a bad thing.

It’s not clear that they were given any better guidaince than we have on what is acceptable, so they are repeating their mistakes.

Greg Pierce:

I have created this unofficial App Review HIG addendum showing acceptable renewable subscriptions pitch screens. Hope it is helpful in developing a screen which will get through App Review - while also minimizing your conversion rate.

Tim Schmitz:

I’m really starting to agree with whoever suggested that Apple should provide a stock UI for subscription product listings. I’m sure we’d have complaints about it too, but at least it would help with some of the scams and we’d avoid this unpleasant dance.

Greg Pierce:

Yes. It’s very hard to offer the trial and be specific about the price without creating the worry that they will be charged immediately.

Luc Vandal:

They’re pushing us towards subscriptions. They should do a better job helping us accomplish this. Let’s hope they’ll improve this in 2019. To me, it’s just another level of stress that I don’t need dealing with App Store Connect at the moment.

Previously: How to Game the App Store, Apple Pulling High-Grossing Scammy Subscription Apps Off the App Store.

Update (2018-12-23): Ryan Jones:

100% true.

For those lucky enough to not deal with this: you must include all the fine print (because Apple can’t seem to bill when the trial ends), you must include the price, and the term, on the button*

*unless you’re a top app, go look, I dare you

Update (2019-01-16): Ryan Jones:

Apple gave Apple Music a special payment screen - without price or recurring subscription term.

Update (2019-01-28): Mike Stern:

New and updated subscription design guidance and App Store marketing guidance

Ryan Jones:

Notice: The Apple designers themselves can’t fit the subscription benefits and the fine print on screen IN THE SPEC.

I’ve spent 100+ hours on @FlightyApp’s screen, so I’m quite familiar.

(I hope we don’t see rejections when/if using this exact format.)

Update (2019-02-05): Kontra:

If Apple wanted to protect users from subscription scams at the App Store, it would standardize the purchase screen (with immutable embedded rules) that all devs would have to use for transaction.

(In design, purpose + constraints → clarity.)

David Barnard:

If Apple wanted to protect users from subscription scams on the App Store, it would redesign the payment confirmation screen for clarity & fix the TouchID confirmation flaw (What developers do wouldn’t matter nearly as much if Apple fixed those 2 things)

Update (2019-06-17): David Barnard:

Apple is still letting top grossing apps (@calm) get away with things that they’ve been rejecting other apps for. I (and lots of other developers I’ve talked to) was told that the price has to be on the button and in a font of similar size/weight as the other button text.

Update (2020-02-24): David Barnard:

Before I could even tweet about how amazing it was for Launch Center Pro to go into review 30 minutes after being submitted, it was rejected for a BS reason . (My annotation on the left, the screenshot they sent me with their annotation on the right)

Update (2020-11-27): Greg Pierce:

Rejection followup: Based on my conversation with App Review, is it a new point of emphasis that pricing be presented “more prominently” than free trial info for subscriptions. Consider preemptively adjusting, or just take your chances with inconsistent enforcement.

Ryan Jones:

App Review is rejecting @FlightyApp because “pricing is not the most prominent element” on our paywall.


Bad actors ruin it for everyone.

@Strava is breaking every rule.

Apple: Without penalties, it will never stop! Imagine if laws had no penalty… useless.

Update (2022-08-04): Ryan Jones:

App Store rules don’t apply to Tinder apparently.

Fucking maddening. Not even close to compliant.

Why Instagram Is No Longer Optimized for Large Phone Screens

Guilherme Rambo (via Peter Steinberger):

The Facebook team responsible for Instagram had to use an older version of Xcode (Apple’s developer tool) to compile and submit the update to the App Store. For apps to work with the new screen size of the iPhone XS Max and XR, they must be compiled and submitted using Xcode 10, linking against the iOS 12 SDK.


From what we’ve been able to gather from sources, the Facebook team had to distribute the app with an older version of Xcode because of a common crash that can occur with apps compiled using the iOS 12 SDK but running on iOS 9, a system version which a large number of users of Instagram are still running.

Brave Rewards Update

Tom Scott (via Yan Zhu):

I don’t ask for donations or crowdfunding on any platform. If that ever changes, it’ll be incredibly obvious. If someone’s asking you for money or suggesting that you can donate to me, it’s not true and you should stay well clear.

This warning is prompted by a company called Brave, who’ve been taking cryptocurrency donations “for me”, using my name and photo, without my consent. I asked them not to, and to refund anyone who’s donated; they said “we’ll see what we can do” and that “refunds are impossible”.


Brave believes opting every creator into their system, and holding donations without consent, is ethical and in line with privacy laws. They also claim that a domain name or YouTube channel URL is not personally identifiable information. I disagree strongly with both of those.

I cannot see how ‘a YouTube URL is not personally identifiable information’ is compatible with the CEO’s statement that ‘Tom has $33 waiting for him’. Under GDPR, that’s clearly information (and money!) they’re holding that is connected to me.

Brave (tweet):

Starting tomorrow, Brave Rewards will clearly indicate which publishers and creators have not yet joined Brave Rewards, so users can better control how they donate and tip. This new message will appear in the regular donation process and in the tipping box. Moreover, creators that have not verified with Brave will no longer have their YouTube or Twitch channel images appear within Brave Rewards.