Archive for May 2, 2022

Monday, May 2, 2022

Reminders API Requests

Dr. Drang:

A couple of days ago, Federico Viticci tweeted his wish list for a new or updated Reminders API and asked for other people for theirs. Stephen Hackett answered with this:

parameters for repeating tasks

Stephen’s simple request is exactly what I want, too. In fact, a way to script repeating tasks has been the top item on my wish list since well before Reminders existed.

I lost interest in Reminders as soon as I realized that the order of the reminders didn’t sync between devices. I think that did eventually get fixed. But it doesn’t look like you can change the order via the API or AppleScript. Nor can AppleScript see which reminder is currently selected.

Success and Failure at Pebble

Eric Migicovsky (via Hacker News):

I started Pebble with some friends from the University of Waterloo in 2008. We were the first company to work on smartwatches. Pebble defined what a smartwatch was meant to do — vibrate and display incoming calls and messages, control music without taking out your phone, track your exercise and sleep, and be customizable by downloading fun watchfaces.

You might remember us from 2012 we launched Pebble on Kickstarter and raised over $10m from 68,000 people around the world. This was our first breakthrough (a classic 5 year overnight success!) Over the next few years, we sold 2 million watches and did over $230m in sales.

We succeeded at inventing the smartwatch and an entirely new product category. The product itself is amazing, people still use it to this day. […] But in the end, we failed to create a sustainable, profitable business. We sold parts of our business to Fitbit at the end of 2016.


We weren’t the only one with positioning problems. Look back at the original Apple Watch marketing. ‘Most precise timepiece ever.’ Ultra luxury $17,000 gold models. LVMH partnerships. Thousands of apps on your wrist. $350+ price point. It took Apple 2 years to reposition as a sports/fitness device. This turned out to be the largest market for wearables in 2016/2017.


Canon Camera Museum

Dave Mark:

Ever own a Canon camera?

Below is a link to the Canon museum, which has details on every camera and lens they ever made.

The pic shows one of their earliest models, the J II.

Apple is, I guess, not sentimental about stuff like this. There was the Designed by Apple in California book, but it only covered the Ive era, wasn’t online, and seemed to go out of print quickly. Fortunately, there is EveryMac, though it excludes the Apple II.


Apple’s Explanation for Removing Old Apps

Apple (MacRumors):

As part of the App Store Improvements process, developers of apps that have not been updated within the last three years and fail to meet a minimal download threshold — meaning the app has not been downloaded at all or extremely few times during a rolling 12 month period — receive an email notifying them that their app has been identified for possible removal from the App Store.

Apple always wants to help developers get and keep quality software on the App Store. That’s why developers can appeal app removals.


To learn more, visit the revised App Store Improvements Support Page.

Apple’s title says that it’s “clarifying” the policy, but this actually raises many more questions:

After writing the above, I saw this post from Jeff Johnson, which makes some of the same points:

One enormous problem with Apple’s publicly stated criteria is that they directly contradict what Apple has said previously in response to accusations of antitrust[…]


Besides the minimal download threshold number, we’d like to know how many apps are affected by Apple’s criteria — apps that haven’t but updated in 3 years and haven’t been downloaded enough — as well as how many apps are not affected by Apple’s criteria, by which I mean specifically apps that haven’t been updated in 3 years but have met the minimal download threshold. Are there any developers in the latter group? If not, then Apple’s announcement feels very much like a cynical ploy to downplay the controversy and how it affects indie devs. On the other hand, if the number of older apps with significant downloads is high, that raises important questions about user privacy, and why those apps are exempt from updating.


The new policy is basically the exact opposite of what users would want. If an app has been downloaded zero times in the past 12 months, then who cares what its privacy policy is? You can’t violate user privacy if you don’t have any users. But for some bizarre reason, if an app has enough users to exceed the download threshold, then Apple’s App Store “Improvement” process doesn’t help these users at all.


Finally I should mention that the scam artists who plague the crap store have no trouble submitting regular pointless updates with uninformative release notes such as “Bug fix” in order to avoid Apple’s threat of removal.


Update (2022-05-09): Jeff Johnson:

IMO it’s been framed in the wrong way — whether developers are right to complain — rather than whether it’s good for users.

Tom Harrington:

Your app doesn’t have enough downloads to interest Apple, and your $99/year doesn’t make it worthwhile to them. Also you’re not allowed to distribute your app any other way.