Archive for July 1, 2020

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Upgrade Interviews Bob Borchers and Ronak Shah


This week we welcome Apple’s Bob Borchers and Ronak Shah to the show to discuss macOS Big Sur, including all the new features in Safari. There’s also an awful lot of follow-up from the busy WWDC week that was, and we discuss the possible features of new Macs running Apple silicon.

Early in the show is a discussion of iOS 14’s Back Tap feature, which didn’t make the keynote. It sounds great.

Dr. Drang:

Has anyone explained why Apple is touting the translucent menu bar in Big Sur?


It is, of course, an awful feature, an impediment to usability because it makes the menu bar harder to read. Even Apple’s own PR screenshots have terrible contrast.


When Apple sends people out to talk, it expects them to stay on-message, and the translucent menu bar is apparently part of the message of Big Sur. And because I can’t figure out why they’re doing this, I feel myself sinking into paranoia (they’re not going to take away the Accessibility setting that turns this abomination off, are they?) and Kremlinology.

See also: Craig Hockenberry (tweet).


Update (2020-07-06): Wil Shipley:

Look, I’m really happy macOS 11 got some graphical love. I’m glad we’re, as they say, “Starting a conversation.” I just hope Apple’s listening to our side of the conversation.

I mean, I admit to feeble old eyes, but this seems punishingly hard to read—on the default background.

Mike Hanley:

Definitely reminds me of the early Leopard demos. Hopefully they walk back from it a bit like they did back then...

Canceling Apple Arcade Games

Mark Gurman and Jason Schreier (also: MacRumors):

Apple Inc. has shifted the strategy of its Apple Arcade gaming service, canceling contracts for some games in development while seeking other titles that it believes will better retain subscribers.


On calls in mid-April, an Apple Arcade creative producer told some developers that their upcoming games didn’t have the level of “engagement” Apple is seeking, the people said. Apple is increasingly interested in titles that will keep users hooked, so subscribers stay beyond the free trial of the service, according to the people.


The company hasn’t said how Apple Arcade is performing, but it recently started offering a second free trial month, indicating that some users likely aren’t remaining subscribers for very long.

I thought Apple Arcade was supposed to enhance the value of Apple’s platforms by funding quality games that didn’t have to chase engagement metrics. Now, it sounds like it’s about services revenue.

McCloud, last year:

Apple’s doesn’t have gaming DNA. Sony for example uses games to sell hardware and services, but in Sony’s case they make masterpieces like God of War and Uncharted - Apple would be metric-driven, so they’d consider lots of hours played == good games.


This might be a good strategy to maximize revenue in the short and mid term, but will also lead to fungible games. Sony actually gets gaming and this is why you’ll see things that would never get greenlit in a metrics-driven world that end up selling consoles.


Update (2020-07-06): Benjamin Mayo:

At the original March event, Apple Arcade was positioned as a subscription service offering an eclectic collection of novel and unique titles, drawing on the raw creativity of indie game studios, as well as mixing in some games from larger franchises. The fact that Apple was funding the games upfront meant that the developers had the freedom to create, in Apple’s words, “the best work of their lives” and without having to contort the gameplay to accommodate monetisation mechanics like interstitial ads, in-game currency, artificial time limits and such.


I also think there are strong arguments that Apple’s monetary commitments to Arcade are too small, especially when you look at what they are happily spending on the TV side. Adding a handful of big-budget high-production games into Arcade would surely be a good thing. As it stands, the budget for Apple’s two series order of The Morning Show exceeds investment into the entire Arcade library.

Sim Genie 1.0

Curtis Herbert:

Sim Genie is a Mac app that is built for those of us that spend our days in Xcode. Apple has been adding a lot of hidden capabilities to the Xcode simulator, but they haven’t been making those capabilities particularly easy-to-use or discoverable.

So I got to thinking: the simulator can do a lot of things now a days, and I’d save a lot of time and avoid many annoyances if those things were more easily exposed. What would an app look like that really took a serious go at making a proper product out of the simulator? One that didn’t just focus on the raw capabilities of the simulator, but the workflows that could be built around it?


I’m charging a one-time fee for the app, there is no recurring revenue here unless I go the 2.0 upgrade-pricing route.


Sim Genie has to use the Xcode command line tools, and some other terminal goodies, to work. And that kinda stuff ain’t exactly sandbox-friendly.

Sim Genie:

Grab marketing-ready screen recordings right from the simulator.


Apply status bars without adding custom code, or needing real hardware.


Debug how your app responds to push notifications earlier in development, without deploying to device or setting up a push server.

Make sure your deep links aren’t breaking the app’s state; trigger them at any time to ensure your app responds nicely.

Big Sur’s Hidden Containers Folder

Rico Becker:

Apple has restricted access to ~/Library/Containers/ in Finder on macOS Big Sur.

It’s only showing one folder in my case. In Terminal I can see that everything is still there.

This was quite a shock when I first saw it, because it looked like all my data was gone. As far as I can tell, there’s no setting (except maybe disabling SIP) to turn off this feature. This is going to be really annoying because I browse the Containers folder in Finder every day. I don’t understand what Apple is trying to do here, because:


Update (2020-07-03): If you open the Library folder (not Containers itself) in List view and turn off groups, you can open the disclosure triangle and view the container folders. Some show their actual folder names, and others show the name of the app. The Finder’s “fake” view persists when System Integrity Protection is turned off, and it also gets in the way of the Command-Option-G “Go to Folder” keyboard command in file open panels.

Update (2020-07-27): Rico Becker:

You know what is really great about macOS 11 beta 3? We’ve got our containers back! \o/

Update (2020-07-29): Jeff Johnson:

Containers are back in b3 but still have weird display names, with sometimes hilarious results.

Update (2022-08-26): Matthias Gansrigler:

How is this considered remotely acceptable by Apple’s macOS Finder team?

Good luck finding the correct folder. 🙈

I use colored labels to mark the “right” ones.

Update (2022-08-29): Uli Kusterer:

I would have expected “show all extensions” to implicitly show the real names as well, at least.

If you need a GUI workaround, hold down option while choosing “Get Info” to get “Show Inspector”, then it will show you the name of whatever you select in “Name & Extension”.