Archive for May 6, 2021

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Whitelisted Developers

Tim Cook (starting at 2:00):

We treat every developer the same. We have open and transparent rules.

Leah Nylen:

Forrest is asking Fischer about an Oct 2018 email. “Hulu is part of the set of whitelisted developers with access to subscription cancel/refund API.” Fischer acknowledges that “whitelisted developers” have access to some APIs and features that other developers don’t

Nick Statt:

Here’s are the documents where Apple employees talks about white-listing companies like Hulu for privelaged use of App Store APIs, like the cancel/refund API.

Adi Robertson:

Are the rules for developers different for different developers? “The App Store review guidelines apply equally to all developers,” Fischer says. Nobody gets a special “dispensation” or “special” deal.

“Do whitelisted developers get to do what other developers don’t get to do?” No, says Fischer.

Fischer says from time to time, it wants to test a feature with a small group before rolling it out to all developers.

Tanner Bennet:

This is a clever way to make a blanket statement that gives you plausible deniability when accused of unfair treatment.

“We were just testing X with [Developer] before we made it available to everyone!”

Even if it takes years, and years 😒


Update (2021-05-07): Constantin Jacob:

For anybody interested in this, these are the APIs that Apple announced at last years WWDC stating that they’re available “now”.

Spoiler: they are absolutely not yet available to developers in any way

Ian Carlos Campbell (via Nilay Patel):

According to new emails revealed as part of Apple’s lawsuit with Epic Games, the company had given Hulu access to its subscription API but didn’t realize Hulu was using it to help people switch to Hulu’s billing system (and avoid Apple’s in-app purchases) until 2018 when the feature was mentioned in a tweet that caught the eye of a higher-up at Apple.

David Barnard:

Over dinner I told my wife one of my tweets ended up in a court case against Apple. Her first reaction, without even knowing what it said: “Is Apple going to retaliate?!” So yeah, for almost 13 years of making a living on the App Store, we‘ve lived in fear of Apple.

Nilay Patel:

The real risk of this trial to Apple all along has been that we will see how much of software economy on top of the iPhone is explicitly restricted so it can be monetized to Apple’s benefit. And the answer turns out to be: a lot!


Update (2021-05-10): Nick Heer:

Also of note, this presentation reveals that Netflix had access to the same subscription management APIs as Hulu and other “original [Apple TV] partners”. That suggests these APIs could date back as far as September 2010. Apple has simply been testing these APIs among a small group of developers for perhaps the last eleven years as it readies a wider rollout; there is no other way to interpret this situation.

Thomas Clement:

Another example: Apple refused us access to the APFS snapshots API for no good reason while still giving it to others. “We treat every developer the same” is a lie.


Update (2021-05-24): Bombich Software:

Apple has been pretty tight with APFS, don’t even get me started on their refusal to grant snapshot reversion entitlements… The most amazing aspect of snapshots isn’t available for macOS.

Epic v. Apple, Day 3

Adi Robertson (tweet):

Is an iPhone more like a PC or an Xbox?


Epic called up Microsoft’s Xbox business development head Lori Wright as a sympathetic witness. In response to a line of questioning, Wright divided computing devices into “special-purpose” and “general-purpose” devices — in a way that clearly defined iPhones as the latter.


It’s hard to call the iPhone anything but a general-purpose device under Wright’s definition. (She described a “special-purpose” Apple product as something like an iPod.) Intentionally or not, Wright also linked the distinction to one of Epic’s major talking points: profit.

Nick Statt:

“We sell the consoles at a loss,” Wright said. Asked why Microsoft would continue to do this, Wright elaborated that Xbox business model involves selling hardware at a loss and subsidizing it with game sales and subscription services, in this case to services such as Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass. The goal is to serve an “end-to-end consumer experience.” When asked if Microsoft has ever earned a profit on the sale of an Xbox device, Wright said no.

Adi Robertson:

Wright says Spotify has many songs and Netflix has many films. “Why could we not have a single app with many games?” Microsoft spent 3-4 months trying to “understand what this was.”

Microsoft decided the logistics didn’t work — if you wanted to push an update, for instance, every single game in the catalog would have to update. “All your apps would just be constantly spinning.”

If Microsoft took a game from the catalog, the way Netflix does, “there’d be a dead app on the phone. We thought this was a really inelegant way for players to experience this.”


Apple’s lawyer is not necessarily in the wrong here but is coming off as being pretty snide — asking next if Wright is aware the App Store had guidelines.

Of course, Apple didn’t change the guidelines to ban xCloud until after Microsoft had submitted it.


Buffet Overflow

Alexander Osipovich (via Hacker News):

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is trading at more than $421,000 per Class A share, and the market is optimistic. That’s a problem.

The price has grown so high, it has nearly hit the maximum number that can be stored in one common way exchange computers handle digits.

On Tuesday, Nasdaq Inc. temporarily suspended broadcasting prices for Class A shares of Berkshire over several popular data feeds. Such feeds provide real-time price updates for a number of online brokerages and finance websites.

Nasdaq’s computers can only count so high because of the compact digital format they use for communicating prices. The biggest number they can handle is $429,496.7295. Nasdaq is rushing to finish an upgrade later this month that would fix the problem.

John Gruber (Hacker News):

Worth noting that they’re not using integers to store fractional values — what they’re doing is using 10,000ths of a dollar as their integral unit. The decimal gets shifted left by four digits simply to display prices as dollar values, but the math is all done in 10,000ths of a dollar units.


Apple Podcasts Not Showing the Latest Podcasts

Jason Snell:

I’m getting a lot of tweets and emails saying the same thing: the latest episode of (some podcast I’m involved with) hasn’t shown up in Apple Podcasts.

Unfortunately, right now my only answer is to say, “It’s displaying properly in every other podcast app around, so if you’ve ever thought of using Overcast or Castro or Pocket Casts or any other alternative podcast app, now might be a good time to try.”

This is an issue on Apple’s side. Apple is aware of it and presumably is working on a fix.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

I’m guessing the new Apple Podcasts now centralizes (& delays) refreshes of feeds, which is kinda frustrating if you want to listen to things the moment they are released. No amount of manual refreshing will convince Apple to reload the feed on the server

Josh Centers:

Apple recently overhauled the Podcasts app for the gazillionth time in iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and macOS 11.3 Big Sur, but unfortunately, it appears that Podcasts is still a hot mess.


I immediately noticed that I was already suffering from one of the complaints: Podcasts resetting your download settings and downloading every episode of every podcast you subscribe to or that has even a single episode in your library.


We’ve had Apple’s Podcasts app available on various platforms for nearly nine years now, but it has never been very good. After that amount of time, it’s hard to imagine that Apple will ever make it more than a lowest-common-denominator app for those who don’t know to find a better alternative in the App Store.

Unfortunately, users may not have much choice if Apple Podcasts Susbcriptions means that exclusive content ends up there.


Update (2021-05-24): Marco Arment:

ATP disappeared from Apple Podcasts today, and I can’t log in to change it.

Whatever’s going on over there is definitely NOT resolved.

Justin Jackson:

I’ve been tracking all of the issues related to this rollout here.

Visual Studio 2022


Visual Studio 2022 will be a 64-bit application, no longer limited to ~4gb of memory in the main devenv.exe process. With a 64-bit Visual Studio on Windows, you can open, edit, run, and debug even the biggest and most complex solutions without running out of memory.


Our goal with Visual Studio 2022 for Mac is to make a modern .NET IDE tailored for the Mac that delivers the productive experience you’ve come to love in Visual Studio. We’re working to move Visual Studio for Mac to native macOS UI, which means it will come with better performance and reliability. It also means that Visual Studio for Mac can take full advantage of all the built-in macOS accessibility features. We’re updating the menus and terminology across the IDE to make Visual Studio more consistent between Mac and Windows. The new Git experience from Visual Studio will also be coming to Visual Studio for Mac, beginning with the introduction of the Git Changes tool window.

GitHub Codespaces (via Hacker News):

GitHub Codespaces supports Visual Studio Code and modern web browsers. With your development in the cloud, seamlessly switch between tools and contribute code from anywhere, anytime.