Archive for June 18, 2021

Friday, June 18, 2021

Chuq on the Apple Ecosystem

Chuq Von Rospach (tweet):

Apple giving a basic app away for free inhibits other developers from tackling that idea, and limits their ability to make enough money to warrant doing the hard investment in doing a real killer version of an app of that type. I do wish Apple would choose to either commit hard to an app and make it best of show, or kill the app and open the market to other companies. Instead, they do a middle policy of doing minimal work on an adequate app, making it harder for non-Apple apps to thrive, but not really serving the needs of the users very well, either.


Apple, I think, has too many things they’ve built and committed to market and not enough resources committed to properly maintain and push them forward.


A side aspect of this “benign neglect?” thing I see is that software quality at Apple, which for years was rock solid, has become more hit and miss.


[Podcasts is] example of a bad trend I see out of Apple, a refusal to embrace and compete in existing market areas, but instead trying to use their existing ecosystem to force people into exclusive relationships with Apple.


At Palm I was involved in the launch of the app store and the developer programs, and I really came to learn and love the challenges of that role. I also really came to believe -- and argue for -- strong support for the independent developers, not just for the big development houses, because I believe that’s where the new developers mature out of that go on to big things, and that’s where the true innovation on a platform happens.


Apple has never been that interested or great at relationships with developers, and I say that with great respect for many members of Apple’s DTS/Devrel teams, some of whom are friends and who have spent years fighting the good fight internally as well.

It’s gotten worse over the years, and while I will cut Apple some slack -- I don’t think people remotely understand the complexity and difficulty of doing things at the scale Apple has to do them -- but where Apple has over the years had opportunities to improve things for developers and make these platforms more appealing, they have consistently chosen to not take those opportunities.


App Review is far too often inconsistent, arbitrary and leaning into hostile and abusive.


But if Apple were to ask my opinion, which it won’t, I’d suggest starting with asking itself why it decided words like “arrogance” and “entitlement” were the defining points of their policies, and figure out how to replace “how little can we do to stop the bleeding” with “what should we do to fix this?”

Marco Arment:

Nails the problem Apple has with developer relations, from someone with very relevant experience.

Rich Siegel:

I loved this post. Friends of mine have heard me say that when Apple was hungry they were easier to work with. Some day they’ll be hungry again, but people have long memories.

Ken Kocienda:

Here’s an even better reason to generate goodwill: it’s the right thing to do. The world is a better place when everyone tries to help each other, and a worse place when everyone tries stick it to each other because they believe they can get away with it.


Why Doesn’t iCloud Warn Before Deleting Backups?

Erin Sparling:

Every drawing that I’ve ever done on my iPad is now lost, because I chose to use the iCloud backup service as a backup service.


But even though everything worked as expected, my decade of work is unrecoverable, because @Apple does not proactively notify their customers of pending backup deletions. I would have gladly bought an iPad last fall had I known the choice was “keep using this or we erase it all”

Or I could have done a local backup before erasing my device, had I known that iCloud Backup should have an asterisk next to the name.

Or I could’ve exported all of the files. Or printed them. Or uploaded them to Dropbox or Backblaze… or even Flickr!

He had erased “the iPad and give it to a family member so that they can teach during a pandemic” and planned to restore from iCloud Backup later, unaware that iCloud deletes backups after 6 months, without telling you that it’s going to do this, and even if your account isn’t full.


Playing Lossless Audio on Macs

Kirk McElhearn:

I haven’t written much about Apple’s new foray into lossless, high-resolution, and Dolby Atmos music. I’ve written about high-resolution music plenty over the years, and it’s clear that, for the vast majority of listeners, it’s just marketing and won’t make a difference.

But Apple has added music formats that can’t even be played back on Macs, without changing a hidden setting.


The Music app doesn’t cause this to change automatically, so you’ll need to change it. And while you can probably leave it set to 96,000 Hz all the time, this could cause problems if you’re playing back music at other sample rates.


AppShopper Shutting Down

Marianne Schultz:

We’ve had a great run, getting our legs under us a few months after the launch of Apple’s App Store in 2008 but it’s not feasible to keep the site up anymore. The largest factor was Apple’s decision to remove apps from its affiliate program back in 2018, which eliminated the largest source of revenue for AppShopper. Additionally, the App Store has changed dramatically over the years, with many developers moving to a free-to-download model and adding in-app purchases, decreasing the need to wait for a price drop in order to try an app, one of AppShopper’s key features.