Archive for October 20, 2020

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Stadium Removed From the App Store

Zach Knox:

Today, I launched a new web browser app for iOS. It displays webpages in full screen, allows you to change your user agent, has a way to authenticate without the user agent, and has game controller support. How strange!

Stadium is specialized, but it happens to be great for using game streaming services!

Zach Knox:

My app is being removed from the App Store, AMA

[…]

I was “extending WebKit” by hooking it into the native GameController framework and thus Bluetooth controllers, which they didn’t like.

This does seem to be against the guidelines, though I think it’s a bad rule.

Apple:

4.7 HTML5 Games, Bots, etc.

Apps may contain or run code that is not embedded in the binary (e.g. HTML5-based games, bots, etc.), as long as code distribution isn’t the main purpose of the app, the code is not offered in a store or store-like interface, and provided that the software (1) is free or purchased using in-app purchase; (2) only uses capabilities available in a standard WebKit view (e.g. it must open and run natively in Safari without modifications or additional software); your app must use WebKit and JavaScript Core to run third-party software and should not attempt to extend or expose native platform APIs to third-party software

Jon Porter:

Although Stadium will soon disappear from the App Store, the principle of using a web app to offer game streaming on iOS isn’t going anywhere. This is the approach Amazon is using for its own Luna cloud gaming service. It’s looking like this is also the route Google will have to go down if it wants to officially get Stadia on iOS. At the moment, Stadia is unavailable on the iPhone in its current form despite a recent App Store rule change.

Dan Moren:

The promise of playing Xbox games on my iOS devices has been tempting me for a while; though I’m not a hardcore gamer, there are a number of titles I like to play on my Xbox One, most recently Star Wars: Squadrons. Plus, the ability to still do some gaming, even when the sole TV in our household is tied up, definitely has some appeal.

So the news a few weeks back that remote play was coming to Microsoft’s iOS app was welcome indeed. Unlike the contentious Project xCloud game streaming, remote play falls into a more standard (and, to Apple, more acceptable) category of apps: it’s basically a screen-sharing client. So, the Xbox app for iPhone and iPad now lets you screen share with the Xbox in your house over your local network or, if your connection is good enough, the Internet.

Previously:

Update (2020-10-22): Ben Schoon:

Speaking to 9to5Google, Apple provided a bit more background on why “Stadium” was removed from the App Store.

While the company has respect for the creativity, they say Stadium uses public APIs in a way that Apple does not intend.

Megan Farokhmanesh:

Amazon’s cloud gaming service, Luna, is entering early access today, the company announced. A small number of US-based customers will receive invitations to test out the service and even purchase Amazon’s game controller if they so choose (though it’s not required to play games on Luna).

Will Apple also forbid Amazon from letting its app talk to a game controller because it uses Web technologies?

Update (2020-11-07): Alex Russell:

Keep in mind re: that in addition to disallowing others from shimming web+bluetooth, Apple is refusing to implement the Web Bluetooth spec in their browser.

This is the real-world texture of a deep, abiding commitment to a less-than-capable web.

iPhone 12 Reviews

Tim Hardwick:

As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available.

On the subject of LiDAR and the Pro camera:

Matthew Panzarino:

The LiDAR array is very nice to have on the iPhone 12 Pro. There is one completely new mode that is not available on the iPhone 12 here — Night Mode Portraits. The autofocus improvement is active in any low light situation.

The ISP and Neural Engine improvements on iPhone 12 mean that these devices can now use Deep Fusion and Smart HDR 3 on all cameras. And, of course, on the iPhone 12 Pro they also handle LiDAR integration for autofocus and even Night Mode portraits now.

But Dieter Bohn says Night Mode Portraits are available on the iPhone 12:

Night mode portraits are one of the major new features, and they’re worth a try, but the range of lighting conditions where they’ll look good isn’t massively bigger.

Nilay Patel:

Unless you are extremely committed to either AR gimmicks or night mode portrait photos, I don’t think you’ll get much value out of the iPhone 12 LIDAR sensor. When you take photos in regular light, the camera focuses just like always; the LIDAR sensor isn’t active. In many ways, it feels like LIDAR is mostly on the phone so that Apple and other people can figure out what to do with it in the future.

Apple is providing conflicting information about Ceramic Shield and scratch resistance.

Jason Snell:

I should also be clear: Apple is making zero claims about improved scratch resistance on these phones. The improvements in materials are specifically for shatter resistance.

Nilay Patel:

Apple claims the iPhone 12 line has four times better drop performance than the previous models, with the same scratch resistance. (I drop my phone a lot, so I’m excited to see how this goes.) On the back, you’ll find the same type of glass as last year, but the new design should improve its drop performance as well, Apple says. One thing Apple would not tell me is how resistant this stainless steel frame is to nicks and scratches… and we’ve already put a tiny nick in the frame of our review unit, even though all it’s really done is travel from video shoot to video shoot.

Apple:

Tough is great, but we also wanted to make it scratch-resistant. So, using our dual ion-exchange process we use on the back glass, we protect against nicks, scratches, and everyday wear and tear.

Matthew Panzarino:

I have seen a few fine scratches crop up on my iPhone 12’s screen. I am not particularly careful with my review units, as I think it is my duty to treat these things as utility items that will get intense daily usage. Which is what they are. Nothing insanely noticeable, mind you, but whatever the improvements to overall hardness the new Corning Ceramic Shield process brings to the table it is not and will not be invincible to wear and tear.

paustovsky has a great chart showing the different iPhone prices over time.

Jon Porter (tweet):

I think Apple’s approach is generally a good thing, but it should have gone further by switching away from its proprietary Lightning port entirely and fully embracing USB-C. Right away, that Lightning to USB-C cable would turn into a much more useful USB-C to USB-C cable that could charge basically all of your electronics. Or better still, Apple could remove the cable entirely and just ship the phone by itself, eliminating even more duplicitous waste.

Previously:

Apple Selling HomeKit-enabled Molekule Air Purifier

Mitchel Broussard:

Molekule today announced that its connected air purifier, the Air Mini+, now supports Apple HomeKit. Alongside the news, the Air Mini+ is also available to purchase on Apple.com and in Apple stores across North America, at a price of $499.95.

It looks like an Apple product, it works with Apple devices, but it apparently doesn’t work. The App Store isn’t the only one with a curation problem.