Archive for September 15, 2021

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Future of the App Store

Marco Arment (tweet, Hacker News):

I think the most likely long-term outcome isn’t very different from the status quo — and that’s a good thing.

I would like to see big changes, but I think he’s probably right that we won’t.

Apple will still require apps to use their IAP system for any qualifying purchases that occur in the apps themselves. […] Most apps will be required to also offer IAP side-by-side with any external methods.


Apple will have many rules regarding the display, descriptions, and behavior of external purchases, many of which will be unpublished and ever-changing. App Review will be extremely harsh, inconsistent, capricious, petty, and punitive with their enforcement.


I’d expect any app offering external purchases to have a very high chance of being escalated to a slower, more pain-in-the-ass review process, possibly causing it not to be worthwhile for most small developers to deal with.


Most importantly, many products, services, and business models will become possible that previously weren’t, leading to more apps, more competition, and more money going to more places.

I don’t see why that would happen given the very limited scope of the changes.

Nick Heer:

I keep thinking about the likelihood of the sideloading doomsday scenarios that Arment writes about. […] I could see Facebook creating its own app marketplace for iOS, but I am unclear why developers would need to submit their apps to multiple marketplaces, so long as Apple gets to keep its first-party App Store.


This modest corrective action is, I think, a good step toward a store that improves users’ experiences while opening up new possibilities. I still hope Apple takes greater advantage to simultaneously release regulatory pressure and the hostility felt by developers.

David Heinemeier Hansson:

Now imagine that Apple abides by the injunction but also attempts to continue forcing IAP upon developers who don’t want it. The gag orders are gone, because that was the anti-steering provisions explicitly prohibited by the injunction. Which means developers have to offer something they don’t want to offer, but they’re free to present that offer as they see fit. Can you see where this is going?

Not the way he thinks, I expect. Apple will probably get away with having lots of rules about the allowable language, require that IAP get top placement, and do various other things to make the non-IAP flow needlessly feel second-class.


Update (2021-10-20): Mike Rockwell:

I don’t understand the argument that, if Apple allowed sideloading and third-party app stores, then companies like Facebook would pull all their apps from Apple’s App Store and release them exclusively on their own app store. Facebook can already do this on Android and they haven’t. You can still get Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp in the Google Play Store and I don’t see any indications that this will change.

Magic Lasso Adblock 3.0

Matthew Bickham:

Magic Lasso seamlessly blocks all YouTube ads with a combination of custom, efficient content blocking rules using Safari’s native content blocker API along with a new permission-restricted ‘Magic Lasso Pro’ web extension.

Unlike other ad blockers whose web extensions have unrestricted permissions to read and view any pages you visit, Magic Lasso Pro only has access to pages within the domain. Therefore your browsing history beyond YouTube is not accessible to the web extension. Or to the Magic Lasso app.

This feature requires the Pro version, which is $3/month or $30/year (shared across Mac and iOS). Pro also includes a blocker for those annoying cookie pop-up banners. Both features work well in my experience, though sometimes I run into a Safari bug that stops extensions from working until I quit and relaunch.


Creating Compile-Time Reminders in Xcode

Robin Kunde:

This attribute will produce a warning if the selected Swift version is available in the version of Xcode you’re using. For 5.5 for example, this would generate a warning in Xcode 13.0 but not Xcode 12.5.


This attribute will produce a warning if the selected iOS (or tvOS, or macOS) version is equal to or below your deployment target. In other words […] after you remove support for older operating systems.


By wrapping [a #warning] in this condtional compilation check, you can get Xcode to ignore the statement until you’re using an Xcode version that ships with the given compiler version.

Intuit to Acquire Mailchimp

Intuit (Hacker News):

The planned acquisition of Mailchimp for approximately $12 billion in cash and stock advances Intuit’s mission of powering prosperity around the world, and its strategy to become an AI-driven expert platform. With the acquisition of Mailchimp, Intuit will accelerate two of its previously-shared strategic Big Bets: to become the center of small business growth; and to disrupt the small business mid-market.


Founded in Atlanta, GA in 2001, Mailchimp began by offering email marketing solutions, and evolved into a global leader in customer engagement and marketing automation fueled by a powerful, cutting-edge AI-driven technology stack.


Update (2021-09-17): Ben Bergman (via Hacker News):

When employees were recruited to work at Mailchimp there was a common refrain from hiring managers: No, you are not going to get equity, but you will get to be part of a scrappy company that fights for the little guy and we will never be acquired or go public.

The founders told anyone who would listen they would own Mailchimp until they died and bragged about turning down multiple offers.


Employees reacted with shock and anger over text, Slack, and Twitter to the deal. They described feelings of betrayal and a cash windfall that seemed to only benefit those at the very top of the 20-year-old company.

Update (2021-11-12): Ben Bergman:

Big update to my Mailchimp story:

Employees got no equity but were promised transaction bonuses.

Employees finally found out the amount today and were "devastated" by how paltry they were — in the tens of thousands of dollars for longtime workers.

Gergely Orosz:

How to mess up an acquisition: do what Intuit is doing with Mailchimp and their longtime employees.

Given how it’s M&A 101 that you do not cut anyone’s pay if you want to retain them, and given that Intuit has competent people, this points to this:

Intuit never wanted to keep many of Mailchimp’s employees. They wanted the customers and the cashflow Mailchimp brings.