Archive for April 12, 2024

Friday, April 12, 2024

Swift for C++ Practitioners

Doug Gregor:

I’ve started a blog series aimed at C++ programmers who are interested in learning #SwiftLang. It teaches the breadth of the Swift language, but anchored in the features and idioms of C++. So if you know your Rule Of Fives and your SFINAEs and think you might be interested in Swift, I’d love to hear what you think.


Update (2024-04-24): Doug Gregor:

Part 6 covers error handling.

Update (2024-05-07): Part 7 covers closures.

Update (2024-05-21): Part 8 covers global variables.

Effects of the DMA’s Browser Choice Requirement

Ashley Belanger:

Smaller web browsers are gaining traction in the European Union after the Digital Markets Act (DMA) started requiring designated gatekeepers like Google and Apple to make it easier to switch default web browsers on devices.


Reuters collected data from six companies, confirming that, when presented with a choice screen, many EU users will swap out default browsers like Chrome or Safari for more privacy-focused options. And because iPhones have a larger market share than Google-branded phones in the EU, Apple is emerging as the biggest loser, Reuters reported, noting that under the DMA, “the growth for smaller browsers is currently coming at the cost of Safari.”

Dan Moren:

In some ways, this isn’t surprising: I’m guessing a lot of consumers in the EU weren’t even aware that they could change the default browser on iOS. But it’s also early days and it’s possible that some of this is experimentation for people to see what else is on there—it’s not entirely clear to me from the story (or the Reuters story where the numbers originate) over what time period they’ve logged this. People may try out another browser and then change back—especially if we’re talking about browsers with, say, free trials to a paid subscription.

Nick Heer:

I have seen others suggest people may be picking third-party browsers because they are unclear about what a web browser is, or are unsure which one they want to use. I can see legitimacy in both arguments — but that is just how choice works. A lot of people buy the same brand of a product even when they have other options because it is the one they recognize; others choose based on criteria unrelated to the product itself. This is not a new phenomenon. What is fascinating to me is seeing how its application to web browsers on a smartphone is being treated as exotic.


It has so far been a little bit like entering a store where they give you a basket of house brand products and you have to decide which third-party options you want to add or exchange to the basket. Someone needs to really care in order to make the effort. Now, because of this ballot screen, the market is a little more levelled, and it seems some users are responding.

Tim Hardwick:

Despite users increasingly choosing alternative options, browser companies have criticized Apple and Google for the slow rollout of the change, and believe it is hampering the migration away from Safari and Chrome. Mozilla, which owns Firefox, estimates that only around a fifth of iPhone users in the EU have received the iOS update, and claims that the rollout is much slower than Apple’s previous software updates.

Some alternative browser makers are also concerned that the design of choice screens is sub-optimal at best. For example, Vivaldi CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner notes that Apple’s choice screen only appears when iPhone users open Safari, while the list of browsers provides no additional information.


Vivaldi is also unhappy with the design. “The list of browsers does not show additional information and that does not help users to make a meaningful choice,” a company spokesperson told TechCrunch. “If the user has already selected a browser of their own choice, the choice screen can actively try to push them away from it, and may not even include it in the list that it presents to the user.”


“Don’t Let Me Go” and iCloud Storage Tiers

John Gruber:

The gist of the commercial is that you shouldn’t worry about deleting photos to free up storage, because modern iPhones have plenty of space.


But this commercial made me want to yell at my TV each time it came on: “The problem is iCloud storage, not on-device storage!” The free tier of iCloud remains just 5 GB, and the $1/month paid tier offers just 50 GB, which may not be enough to back up even a 64 GB iPhone SE.


And no amount of cleverness in iOS can protect a user with un-backed-up photos and videos if they lose or break their iPhone.


It feels like this new commercial is just whistling past the single biggest shortcoming in the Apple ecosystem.

I bet Apple has data showing that millions of iPhone users have precious photos that aren’t backed up because they don’t have enough iCloud storage. iOS will nag about this, and people get used to ignoring it. There’s an aversion to subscriptions, even if it’s only 99 cents per month to back up important data. I don’t know what the answer is, but it seems odd that the free tier hasn’t changed and that purchasing a new $999 phone doesn’t get you more. I guess it’s like how the fancy hotels are the ones that charge for Wi-Fi…

Ryan Jones:

User must choose between (roughly speaking) 5-10GB on device or 100-200GB on device. That’s so binary. There’s no benefit to more device storage until and unless it can fit ALL your photos.

Carlos Ribas:

Plus it doesn’t do a great job. I have to turn it off or else I frequently find myself waiting to download offloaded videos I just took, while the phone sits 75% empty. Doing a good job would mean filling the phone but automatically purging oldest-first as-needed.

John Gruber:

The free tier for Google One offers 15 GB of storage.


Google used to offer “unlimited storage for photos and videos” to owners of Pixel phones, but they dropped this offer starting with the Pixel 6 in late 2021. That was such an appealing offer — especially considering that much of the appeal of Pixel phones comes from their renowned camera systems. I can only surmise that this proved more expensive to Google than they deemed worthwhile.

You don’t need to pay for iCloud to back up a large amount of iPhone storage — you can still back up to a Mac or PC manually. I don’t know any non-expert users who do this, though, and there are zillions of iPhone owners who don’t even own a Mac or PC. For the masses, iCloud backup is the only backup.


Update (2024-04-24): Chance Miller:

Nearly 13 years later, how does iCloud’s free storage offer – and paid upgrade plans – compare to the competition?

Update (2024-04-26): Scott:

What gets seemingly lost[…] in this discussion of Apple’s “free” 5GB iCloud tier is that it isn’t, in fact, FREE… in actuality, Apple diverts revenue from device purchase to the Services silo to PAY for it.

That means: CUSTOMERS pay for it. In the case of existing iCloud users, which is the majority of device purchasers, Apple diverts the revenue but then never delivers the product… which serves to ‘juice’ their Services profits (because it -IS- pure profit).

If an Apple customer purchases several devices within the period of time that Apple is deferring revenue, they ARE ENTITLED to multiples of 5GB. They don’t get it.

They’re deferring the full amount for each device purchase, not a fraction based on how many users have multiple devices?

Grindr’s Plan to Squeeze Its Users

Zoë Schiffer:

Since its initial public offering in 2022, Grindr has been on a rocky road financially. Its stock has fallen 70 percent since its SPAC. After hitting an IPO-high of $71.51, it currently sits at $10.13. Last summer, employees announced plans to unionize, amid industry layoffs and worries that the company was losing its progressive culture. Two weeks later, CEO George Arrison abruptly ordered his mostly remote workforce of 180 people back to the office. About half the company left and Grindr paid out more than $9 million in severance.

Now, Grindr plans to boost revenue by monetizing the app more aggressively, putting previously free features behind a paywall, and rolling out new in-app purchases, employees say. The company is currently working on an AI chatbot that can engage in sexually explicit conversations with users, Platformer has learned. According to employees with knowledge of the project, the bot may train in part on private chats with other human users, pending their consent.


During the pandemic. Match Group was riding high, with a market cap well over $40 billion. But when growth started to slow across the tech industry, the company’s stock suffered accordingly. Tinder reported a year-over-year drop in the number of paying users in third-quarter earnings in 2023, sending Match Group’s stock plunging 15 percent – the lowest it had been since the company separated from IAC in 2020. Its market cap today has fallen below $10 billion, compared to $1.76 billion for Grindr.


But frustration with dating apps’ aggressive monetization efforts is on the rise. And as more of Grindr slips behind the paywall, users may face a disappointing future: one with fewer free users to chat with, and an app that regularly pushes them to romance a chatbot.