Archive for September 3, 2020

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Recreating the Big Sur Desktop Picture

Tim Hardwick:

The task was even more challenging this time, however, as the default macOS Big Sur wallpaper showcases the dramatic rugged mountainous area of California’s Central Coast region from an elevated vantage point 4,000 feet over the ocean.

After doing some research, Levitt and his friends found out that a drone wouldn’t be able to get the shot, and regardless, flying drones off the coast of Big Sur is against the law. So the team got in touch with a helicopter pilot, who coincidentally turned out to be the same pilot that flew out Apple’s own photographer to get the original shot.

Matt Birchler:

Above is my recreation of the macOS Catalina wallpaper taken in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

And here’s a few versions of the Big Sur wallpaper.

Grayson Blackmon:

Check out the side-by-side re-creations below]…]


Update (2020-09-08): Matt Birchler:

I wanted to make a video that showed exactly how it's done so other people can be inspired to go out and get the rest of them.

Keysmith 1.0.4

Otto Labs (via Jonathan Deutsch):

Hit record and Keysmith picks up what you’re doing with your mouse and keyboard. Type some text, or click on buttons, menus, Dock items, lists, and more. Keysmith is smart enough to understand it all.

Use a hotkey to trigger the shortcut from anywhere. Or create hotkeys that are triggered only within a specific app or website.


No need to remember every hotkey. Run your shortcuts by name with a Spotlight-like search bar


App Store Foreign Tax Changes


When taxes or foreign exchange rates change, we sometimes need to update prices on the App Store. In the next few days, prices of apps and in-app purchases (excluding auto-renewable subscriptions) on the App Store will increase in response to tax changes in Chile, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Your proceeds will be adjusted accordingly and will be calculated based on the tax-exclusive price.


In addition, your proceeds will also be adjusted in Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, and will be calculated based on the tax-exclusive price. However, prices on the App Store will not change.

France, Italy, and the United Kingdom have added digital services taxes of 2–3%. I don’t understand why Apple is not updating the pricing tiers to take this into account, like it does for VAT. Instead, the tax is mostly coming out of the developer’s cut.

The UK tax was intended to affect “large multi-national enterprises” with £500 million in revenue, but since Apple is the one collecting the payments it pushes very single developer over that limit.

Apple notes that you can change the price at any time, but that’s not very helpful in this case. Unlike other payment processors, the App Store doesn’t let you set different prices in different regions. And there’s no way to raise the price a small amount because you can only go up to the next whole tier.


Update (2020-11-02): Apple:

When taxes or foreign exchange rates change, we sometimes need to update prices on the App Store. In the next few days, prices of apps and in-app purchases (excluding auto-renewable subscriptions) on the App Store will increase in Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Russia, and South Africa.

Purchasing In-App Ads Without IAP

Ben Lovejoy:

The iPhone maker claims that it treats all apps equally, but the reality is that Apple has developed a complex set of rules which allow it to make exceptions to suit its own needs…


Ads are digital goods. What else are ads? Spiritual goods? They are the digital good. They are what is driving the digital economy in the first place! And, yes, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on do have direct transactions built into the apps. And, no, they do not pay any fees to Apple for these in-app transactions.


You can buy, run and track ads on Instagram in one of three ways.

Within the App

The easiest way to run ads is by promoting posts you’ve shared on Instagram. Just select the post you want to promote, and then track how many people are seeing and interacting with your promoted post by tapping.

John Gruber:

“How’s this allowed?” I thought. But rereading the App Store Guidelines, I don’t think it violates anything? Not unlocking features, not paying for content.

Mohammed Hussain:

Same thing in the eBay app where you pay in-app using their credit card processing to add features to listings of items you are selling.


[3.1.1] If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, (by way of example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), you must use in-app purchase.


3.1.5(a) Goods and Services Outside of the App: If your app enables people to purchase goods or services that will be consumed outside of the app, you must use purchase methods other than in-app purchase to collect those payments, such as Apple Pay or traditional credit card entry.

I suppose Apple’s argument would be that ads and listings are primarily consumed inside the app but by other people. However, you can also manage your ads and listing within your copy of the app, so it certainly seems very similar to other purchases that would require IAP. I don’t see any principled distinction here.

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.


Update (2020-09-07): Nick Heer:

Buying ads does not “unlock features or functionality within [an] app” any more than, say, using a banking app to send or receive money. Neither uses in-app purchases because it would not make sense. But that is an awful thin line that, as Reichenstein writes, benefits ad-supported anti-privacy apps over those that have a one-time or monthly cost.

Tanner Bennett:

I like the way you put it. There is no simple, consistent, principled set of rules to which IAPs get the cut and which don’t. At this point we should all realize it’s completely arbitrary. The “reader app” rule is arguably the most convoluted exception.