Archive for October 1, 2020

Thursday, October 1, 2020


Lickability (tweet):

Say hello to Buildwatch—a menu bar app that keeps an eye on your compile times throughout the day.


We hope Buildwatch gives developers more insight into how their time and resources are being used throughout the app development process, helping you make decisions about equipment and fix bottlenecks.


Buildwatch is available now on the Mac App Store for $9.99.

One could argue that such a utility shouldn’t be necessary, but there certainly seems to be demand for it.


Six Figures in 6 Days


Fast forward 7 years later, minus 6 days. I saw some people sharing screenshots of their iPhones after discovering that iOS 14 now allows you to add custom icons to your home screen using the Siri Shortcuts app. This was the first time you can really customize iOS, and it was catching on.


As soon as I noticed the hype, I put together some icons in my own style, downloaded some widgets, and tried it all out. I thought it looked cool, so I shared a screenshot of it on Twitter. Right away, people started asking about the icons in the screenshot. So I quickly packaged them, uploaded them to Gumroad, and embedded them on a Notion site using Super.

A lot of people paid $28 for 80 icons.


Epic v. Apple Hearing

Florian Mueller:

The Epic Games v. Apple preliminary injunction hearing took place this morning (Pacific Time) before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the Northern District of California.


Toward the end of the hearing, Judge Gonzalez Rogers strongly recommended putting the factual questions here (and she categorized market definition as a question of fact as well) before a jury, given that appeals courts--in her observation--don’t afford district court judges much deference for their factual determinations.

Dan Moren:

Patrick McGee, a reporter for the Financial Times, live-tweeted yesterday’s hearing for the Epic v. Apple case in a lengthy thread that’s well worth reading if you’re interested in the case.

Highlights have been pulled out elsewhere, including from Kyle Orland at Ars Technica, but the upshot seems to be that while solid arguments were made on both sides, Epic definitely took the brunt of the judge’s attention yesterday.

There’s a video here. Transcripts are here.

James Vincent (Hacker News):

Judge [Rogers] expressed skepticism about Epic’s arguments, particularly its claim that it did not pose a security threat to Apple because it is a well-established company and partner.

“You did something, you lied about it by omission, by not being forthcoming. That’s the security issue. That’s the security issue!”

Epic certainly deceived Apple, but what’s the security issue? It’s been known since the beginning of the App Store that the review process can’t catch feature flags. That’s the real security issue. But Epic has no reason to use them to harm its own customers.

According to CNN, Judge Rogers said she was “not particularly persuaded” by Epic’s argument that Apple has bundled its App Store and in-app payment system together in violation of antitrust law. The judge also said she did not necessarily agree with Epic that Apple has harmed its ability to distribute Fortnite through its control of the App Store.

John Gruber:

She seems to take the angle I’ve taken all along: Apple runs iOS as an app console, and it doesn’t hold water for Epic to argue that the Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch game platforms are fine, but Apple’s app platform is not.

Juli Clover:

Apple and Epic Games do not want to have a jury trial in their ongoing legal dispute over Fortnite and Apple’s App Store policies, according to a filing submitted to the Northern California court handling the case today.

Florian Mueller:

It’s highly speculative why this surprising choice was made. While Apple’s in-house litigation department has hugely more experience with high-stakes commercial disputes than Epic, outside counsel for both parties is well-matched. It’s just a gut feeling, but this looks like one of the cases in which both parties believe very strongly they’re going to win--not the kind of case where a plaintiff has that strong belief but the defendant is trying a long shot and stalling, or where a plaintiff attempts a crapshoot (which often happens in patent cases).



John Gruber:

“Well, what do you expect from a company run by a penny-pinching beancounter like Tim Cook?” I.e. that Apple, under Cook’s leadership, has gotten cheap, and the reason for Problem X is that Apple refuses to spend money to fix it.


Apple is not cheap. A miserly penny-wise/pound-foolish company does not design and build architectural marvels like this new store in Singapore. Apple spends lavishly on what they care about and consider important.

There are glaring problems with Apple’s platforms that could be greatly improved by spending money. Apple is willing to do so for architecture and TV shows. And for the environment and accessibility, despite the “bloody ROI.” But not for the App Store (500 reviewers for 100,000 submissions per week), documentation, QA, user data, or repairing defective products that it sold. Either Apple disagrees that larger budgets could improve these areas or it does not consider them important.

Bean counting can also be a convenient faux justification. Despite having 28 million developers paying annual membership fees, Apple recently cried poverty to the court, stating that, without the 30% IAP commission, it would “be unable to continue its on-going investment in” the App Store. The billions of iPhones sold, largely on the basis of the available apps, are counted in a different bucket.