Archive for September 27, 2021

Monday, September 27, 2021

Accessible Hangman Bug Fix Rejected From App Store

Oriol Gomez (via Becky Hansmeyer, Daniel Hall, Hacker News):

As some of you may know, I am a totally blind iOS game developer. Among other games I have made accessible Hangman, Choose your Face, etc.

Well, about 3 days ago I found out a bug which prevented iOS 15 users from running my game accessible hangman. I submitted an update to the app store fixing this problem. To my surprise, I got an email saying that my app is similar to other apps on the app store and that it is considered spam. Literally.

Oriol Gomez:

Now, I do understand that every app needs to go through review every time it is updated, of course. But this is verion 2.5 of the app, this is in no way the first or second version. So yes, Apple seems to find a new issue when someone just finds a little light in their brain clicking into place, the first version had no such issue. But after 4 or 5 versions, oooooh wait, your app does not comply with blah blah blah. So, yes, I think this is unfair. Anyway, I have some news regarding this whole hing, the update was pushed through and approved finally so I’m a bit less worried, they still say I should talk to them on the phone so they’re going to schedule a call with me.


Mac OS X 10.1 Puma Revisited

Stephen Hackett:

Jobs said that the software team didn’t take a vacation after OS X shipped, but kept working to improve the operating system. Four point updates had been released over the Internet, but 10.1 was something much bigger.

Phil Schiller came out to discuss Mac OS X 10.1. He reiterated that Mac OS X was Apple’s platform for the future, and that the company’s embrace of open standards and the Digital Hub were both critical to this future — as were things like the Mac’s graphics and Internet capabilities.

The first feature Schiller spoke about was speed, which is one of the biggest knocks against the original version of Mac OS X. He said that the company had been working on this at every level of the operating system.

Indeed, the main thing I remember about Puma, though Apple didn’t really start using the cat names externally until Jaguar, was that it felt much faster (but still slower than Mac OS 9).

For users hopping aboard the Mac OS X train for the first time, Puma cost $129, the same as the original version. However, for customers who had paid for Mac OS X, Apple charged just $19.95 for the upgrade … at least on paper.

Indie Apps Catalog

Dave Verwer:

What would an App Store look like if it focused on apps by independent developers? Filip Nemecek shows us! What a great idea. Of course, this would be better as an app itself, but the guidelines would get in the way of that plan, but a web version is better than nothing!

This looks nicely done, and it includes both iOS and Mac apps, though not Mac apps from outside the App Store. Too bad he can’t earn an affiliate commission for helping people find apps. Note that submissions seem to be backlogged at the moment.


Opting in to 120Hz Animations on iPhone 13 Pro

Benjamin Mayo:

Indeed, the lack of published documentation meant that everyone assumed that adopting 120Hz would be done automatically by the system. This is how it works on the iPad Pro, which has supported ProMotion since 2017. But for the iPhone 13, high frame rate animation is actually gated twice, firstly by a global Info.plist key and secondly by the fact that each individual animation in the codebase will need to be audited and marked as wanting high refresh rate pacing.

All apps will see ProMotion benefits when the user is actively interacting with the display and generating touch events, which thankfully means scrolling is always ultra-responsive and fluid across the system.

However, this also puts an onus on developers to meticulously check all the animations in their app and do the code changes where it makes sense. 60 FPS animations in app like Twitter will stick out like a sore thumb if the user has just finished scrolling their timeline at a smooth 120 FPS rate.

Smart Voting App Removed From App Store

Justin Sherman (tweet, Reuters):

Earlier this month, when the Kremlin told multiple Big Tech companies to suppress political opposition amid nationwide elections in Russia, their answer was unequivocal: no. Yet just two weeks later, Apple and Google deleted from their app stores the Smart Voting app, opposition leader Alexey Navalny and his party’s primary tool for consolidating votes against Vladimir Putin’s regime. Then Telegram and Google-owned YouTube also restricted access to the recommendations for opposition candidates that Navalny was sharing on these platforms.

Francisco Tolmasky:

Just like during the Hong Kong protests, Apple has again been pressured to remove an app for political reasons. This time a tactical voting app in Russia. Without side-loading, the @AppStore becomes a single bottleneck for governments to censor dissent.


One thing that baffles me every time this happens, is that I wouldn’t want this responsibility if I was Apple. I’d want to stay distraction free, focused on fun stuff like AR or new iPhone cameras, not getting needlessly sucked into heavy decisions about international politics.