Archive for April 24, 2023

Monday, April 24, 2023

Sideloading Rumored for iOS 17

Ivan Mehta (MacRumors, 9to5Mac, Hacker News):

After vehemently fighting “sideloading” alternative app stores on the iPhone, Apple is now apparently looking to allow them with iOS 17, which will come out next year, to comply with European laws. The report from Bloomberg also noted that Apple is exploring opening up its camera and NFC (Near Field Communication) stack to developers.


Europe’s Digital Market Act (DMA) will come into effect next year, and companies will have until 2024 to comply. Under the new rules, Big Tech must allow alternative app stores on their platforms to provide users with more choice, and it’s likely that Apple is now preparing to comply.

Apple has already committed to supporting USB-C due to the EU’s push to standardize charging ports. Now, with the DMA on the horizon, this could force the Cupertino-based company to allow sideloading too.

Linda Rosencrance:

The question is what do app developers think about these new regulations? Will they actually be beneficial to EU based developers and what will be the short and long term impact on the EU’s app market? We spoke with a few to find out.


“Bug fixes can be released faster compared to when they’re released on the App Store,” he said. “Waiting up to 20 days for bug fixes is frustrating, especially when it’s out of my control and I can’t contact Apple about it,” Young said.

In addition, developers won’t have to pay the 15%-30% Apple tax any longer.

This last part is far from certain.

Macro Arment:

Apple will just use another method to collect their “commission”.


Remember: Tim Cook views our customers as THEIR customers, our sales as THEIR sales, and the 30% as what they rightfully deserve for gracing us with a platform that we provide no other value to.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Alarm bells should be sounding at Apple over the kinds of developers who are fed-up-enough of the App Store to want to be on alternatives; Apple is at risk of the iOS App Store turning into the same kind of marketplace as the Mac App Store, bereft of many of the platform's top apps. As much as they might want to blame the EU or ‘lawmakers’, it was an entirely preventable series of toxic business decisions (and, lately, bridge burning) that lead to it.

Riley Testut:

How will Apple restrict sideloading? [poll]

Michael Love:

The bad news is that it’s seemingly only in the EU, the good news is that we’ll now have actual real-world proof that all of their FUD about sideloading is meaningless.

Or perhaps Apple will find business and technical ways to make it so unattractive that it won’t get enough traction to prove anything.


The Dark Side of the Mac App Store


In the last 30 days, I have been closely monitoring the Mac App Store and have made a disturbing discovery. In the midst of the OpenAI frenzy, several apps have surfaced that are copying the iconic OpenAI logo and color scheme in order to mislead unsuspecting MacOS App Store users. But that’s not all — I also found that some developers are abusing Apple’s Developer Agreements by spamming multiple accounts and flooding the store with nearly identical applications.


The scammy developers didn’t even bother to make a different paywall style for both apps. Both apps share the same paywall with slight differences and there is no close button. This behavior of not providing a close button on the paywalls is highly unethical and can be considered a scam. It puts the users in a frustrating situation where they are forced to either subscribe or forcibly quit the application to regain control of their device.


More than 175 reviews were received in the last 24 hours Worldwide with 63 total reviews received in the US Store. These reviews were possible by using a simple abusive technique: request the user to review your app immediately after the subscription to the application and every time the user asks a question to the OpenAI without allowing the user to test your application more time.


Update (2023-04-25): Nick Heer:

In fact, upon opening the App Store on my iPhone, the first thing I saw was an ad on the search page for an app which looks, at first glance, like an official OpenAI app — same colours, similar logo, and a description with a conspicuous use of the word “Open”. As of writing, it is the ninth most popular app in the Productivity category — and, yes, of course it offers paid subscriptions.

See also: Hacker News.


ChatGPT in SwiftKey

Tim Hardwick:

Microsoft last year said it would be ending support for SwiftKey on iPhone, then only weeks later it backtracked and asked users to "stay tuned" for the arrival of new features. The company has now lived up to its promise with a fresh update that, perhaps unsurprisingly, integrates its ubiquitous Bing AI chatbot into the predictive keyboard app.

mcc (via Hacker News):

At almost the exact same time they rolled out this update, Microsoft deleted the public support forums. The public uservoice/feedback/feature request thing. They appear to have just removed it completely from the support site and old links to it 404. What an interesting coincidence.


Cheaper Studio Display Alternatives

Scott Yoshinaga:

Apple finally released the Studio Display in 2022. My initial reaction was to purchase one, even with the starting price of $1599. I’ve really wanted a 27-inch 5K display for a while and wasn’t willing to go with the 5K 27-inch LG UltraFine after a bad experience with the 4K 24-inch version. I was ready to pull the trigger, but I soon learned about the many drawbacks, like having only a single input source, one Thunderbolt 3 port, no external power button, and worst of all, running some version of iOS that needs firmware and software updates!


At work, we had a few late-2015 27-inch 5K iMacs that were set to be recycled, so I set out to see if there was any way to convert one into an external display. After doing some research, I found that there was indeed a way to do this, so I gave it a shot. This post documents how I did it, so maybe you can too if you’d like.


In order to convert a 27-inch 5K iMac into an external display, it needs to be disassembled and all of the internals removed. Next, a component called a display driver board needs to be purchased. The driver board will be installed inside the empty iMac chassis and connected directly to the LCD panel of the iMac. The driver board provides multiple HDMI and Display Port inputs, a power port, and a headphone jack. Using these connections on the driver board, the iMac can be converted into an external display.


Kuycon G27X 5K 60HZ 27-inch IPS Monitor

Via Casey Liss:

Somebody buy this and tell me if it’s any good please. Not in the market at the moment but the idea of a < $1000 5K monitor is appealing.