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While the Apple Tax is a problem of its own, I would hate for Apple to allow downloading apps through websites. A large part of iOS security is that everything has to be co-signed by Apple unless it's an Enterprise distribution app [1], so even if there is an exploit that breaks out of the app sandbox you don't have to worry about malicious websites drive-by downloading it.

1: they're likely refining the process of obtaining one of these certs after the recent news reports on business fraud




> I would hate for Apple to allow downloading apps through websites

This is such an extreme stance compared to what you're allowed to do on the desktop. Regardless of what Apple allows or not, shouldn't the user, the owner of the device, be allowed to install applications as they see fit, and choose to bypass any centralized app store? A smarthphone is a computer, and it's arguably many peoples primary computing device, and so I see no valid reason for the future of such devices to be a locked-down walled garden under the guise of security.

More than anything and any security, Apple benefits directly from this, just like they do lobbying against right-to-repair legislation. Because God forbid an owner of a Apple device repairing it themselves instead of have to go through official, expensive channels. Likewise with a (legitimate) company or app maker saying "We'll just let the users install it outside of the app store" and choosing not to deal with Apple's ecosystem. For example, Wireguard for macOS cannot be distributed outside of the app store due to native integration requiring APIs that Apple restricts with such clauses [1]. This is in my opinion ridiculous.

[1] https://lists.zx2c4.com/pipermail/wireguard/2019-February/00...


There are plenty of devices that allow you the freedom to do whatever you want to the software. If that is a priority, get one of those. Apple's walled garden is in fact much more secure. (and they also benefit financially. But correlation does not equal causation, necessarily)


You're missing the point. Security is throwing up a hurdle against installing outside apps (could be a bit steeper hurdle than Android's if you need). That's enough to keep your grandparents safe from installing crapware. Apple fighting tooth and nail against any possible installer, sideloading, rooting, whatnot, that's purely for the power, control and financial benefit of Apple and "their" ecosystem.

I put quotes around "their" just to remind that this ecosystem is made up by hundreds of millions of users, too. Yes Apple holds a singular power over this ecosystem but that power mostly boils down to the ability to wreck it for any particular group of participants. That's not ownership unless you want to claim that humans own the coral reefs, too.


Imagine you had a laptop or desktop where you could only install apps that were approved by the hardware manufacturer or os developer. Would you really be ok with that?

If not, how is it any different from the phone?


And that was part of the advantage of the phone. I’m not cleaning crapware and viruses from my parents and children’s phones and tablets every six months.

Do you feel that console makers shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what runs on their devices? Yes physical discs still have to be approved by the console maker. It’s been that way for 30 years.


> Do you feel that console makers shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what runs on their devices? Yes physical discs still have to be approved by the console maker. It’s been that way for 30 years.

Yes of course. Either allow the user full control of the hardware they apparently own, or call it what it really is, renting.


So is that also the case for my exercise equipment, my TV, my car, my car radio, my cable box, my printer, etc?


I'd say that the person in favor of restricting someone's use of their own hardware needs to come up with the argument in support of that, not the other way around.

You could have an argument in the case of a car, for safety. Cable box perhaps, but I'd say that should probably be considered a case of renting hardware for it to really make sense.

Car radio or printer, etc? Nothing comes to mind.


a laptop is not a tablet, a tablet is not a phone, a phone is not a watch; that’s part of apple’s philosophy behind how their devices work together. knock it all you want (and there are legitimate criticisms), but it works remarkably well and makes all these devices feel like they have a natural place and purpose

*EDIT: i’m not saying “place and purpose” is a reason why macos and ios have different security models, but just pointing out that “why is a laptop different to a phone” is not reeeeeeally a particularly valid place to start


They're both computers. One is smaller than the other, therefore it shouldn't allow you to run whatever apps you want? That's a ridiculous idea.


> it works remarkably well and makes all these devices feel like they have a natural place and purpose

Um really those are artificial, not natural. The nature of the devices is that they're still general purpose computers, the artificial restrictions on them give them an artificial place and purpose. It's still a thing, but Apple isn't magically altering reality.


What does the site the app is downloaded from have to do with security? The app is either signed, or it isn't.

Apple is simply erecting gratuitous roadblocks for rent-seeking purposes.


While I agree that the percentage that Apple takes per sale is too high, I completely disagree with the term 'vendor Tax'. While it's fine as a fun synonym, it's problematic as soon as people start to think about it as an actual Tax. It's not a Tax, it's the amount of money the vendor/platform owner wants to make for every sale. You can opt-out (by not being on the platform, still a choice!) if you want to. But because it's bad for the bottom-line of most companies to do so, they position themselves as a sad little broken bird that gets stomped around by the big bad corp. Newsflash: they all are generic money making capitalistic institutions that on the business side exclusively exist to make money. For profit. For doing things, any thing, to make money. That goes for Spotify and Apple just the same.

On the side of 'level playing field' they do of course still have a point, just like all the anti-trust stuff we had/have with Microsoft and Google. It does make me wonder a bit why this hasn't been involving other companies like Amazon and Facebook. (or, why it hasn't been suggested as widely as it is now)

I do wonder about the technical aspect of those store denials and watchOS problems; other streaming services do not face the same issues/pressue, so what makes spotify so special? They app is a bit crappy (it's not very good at maintaining/restoring state and doesn't have the most consistent UI), but other than that, it doesn't do much different things when compared to others (like Deezer or Tidal). Putting it as a "Apple Music vs. Spotify" thing is a bit weird too; while it might make sense, it doesn't make sense if it's just that and all the other streaming and buying services are free to do what they want. It's weird stuff.


> Putting it as a "Apple Music vs. Spotify" thing is a bit weird too; while it might make sense, it doesn't make sense if it's just that and all the other streaming and buying services are free to do what they want. It's weird stuff.

Isn't Spotify just the biggest one by a large margin?

Because frankly I never heard of Deezer or Tidal, and everyone I know that uses a music streaming service is on Spotify or, rarely, iTunes (or Apple Music? is that a rebrand or is it a new thing?)


> It's not a Tax, it's the amount of money the vendor/platform owner wants to make for every sale. You can opt-out (by not being on the platform, still a choice!) if you want to.

And I can opt out of selling things in Idaho if I don't want to pay their sales tax. I don't understand the distinction you're making at all.


If you don't sell in Idaho, you lose that market. If you don't sell on Apple's platform, you lose that market. The issue is a combination of the "tax" and the market dominance of these two companies.


...okay? I'm asking why oneplane completely disagrees with using the word "tax" here.


It kinda applies, depending.

If you consider the Appstore/iOS ecosystem to be Apple's "land", then sure that 30% is like the tax for having a presence in that land.

That's the classic meaning of "tax".

However, nowadays, in most civilised countries we expect more of "tax". We expect it to not simply flow to whoever holds power over the land (ecosystem), for them to use for profit, projecting power and keeping it. We expect the tax instead to largely be invested in things that benefit the people paying it (users). In fact, the more this happens, instead of going to the rulers, the nicer a place to live (in general).

Now one the one hand Apple is doing a pretty good job with things that benefit the users: they get security and some privacy. On the other hand, as a tax, it's fair to ask whether that 30% is really necessary for these benefits or just for lining Apple's pockets. An additional thing, looking at it pragmatically, whatever Apple's doing to Spotify doesn't seem to be in the user's benefit at all. But then, they don't pay tax. So that points to the 30% being significantly more than the tax required to benefit the users.

It seems to me that Apple should lower this tax to a rate that Spotify is willing to pay and put up with.

Thing is, Apple is not really like a modern government to its users. They are a "if you don't like it, just leave"-ocracy. So when they put up a "public" service (Apple Music), that undercuts commercial services (Spotify), it is NOT in the benefit of the people (users) like a public transport system would be. This is because the undercutting is purely based on the tax-cut, not because it's more efficient to do it as a public service rather than a commercial one.


Using the word 'tax' here is like calling anything that you need to pay for 'tax'. If you put a bit of money in a vending machine to buy some chocolate, you don't call that vending machine tax, do you?

If you were to scope it to 'services' or 'platform', then perhaps we should call virtual hosting cost not cost but tax :p and if you rent a movie, that'd then be movie tax, or rental tax? But what about actual tax, are we going to call that tax tax? Because at this point people just start using the word tax for every generic transaction.


In your vending machine example, it is a transaction, not a tax, as you implied and I agree. However Apple taking cut of app's revenue is awfully a lot like corporate tax.


In that case are transaction fees for credit cards also tax? Or PayPal fees for that matter? Or fees for using platforms like eBay and Aliexpress?


Yes, I'd call any small mostly-percentage-based transaction fee that a platform imposes a "tax" or "platform tax".


I mean, you don't have to download apps through a website if you don't want to.

It is everyone's full legal right to do whatever they want with their phone. Including downloading apps from websites.


Can I download apps for game consoles through a website?


No and that's a bad thing. Generally the ability to do so (or side-loading in general) has been to the public benefit. Think building a Playstation supercomputer cluster, debugging /modding games and of course the ability to use the things for general purpose (or media centre).

It's just that consoles never have been nearly as popular to make a stink about it. I never bought a console because of exactly this limitation: I can do anything with a computer, why would I buy a neutered computer as well? And that was fine. Because you don't need a console. But you do need a smartphone. And the choice is Android or iPhone, and the usage is about 50/50. So when the iPhone is shut tight, that's a much bigger deal.


No and that's a bad thing. Generally the ability to do so (or side-loading in general) has been to the public benefit.

There is 30 years worth of malware, ransomware spyware and viruses on PCs to show that most of the public hasn’t benefited from being able to download freely.


You have the legal right to do so, yes. You'd have to probably jailbreak your console, which is also your full legal right to do so.


There is nothing legally stopping you from doing the same thing for iOS and you can become an iOS developer much cheaper than a Gabe developer.


Legally, yes, you also have the right to do this in iOS.

Unfortunately, Apple often disagrees. They have tried to make multiple frivolous lawsuits against people doing exactly this, over the years.

Sometimes it doesn't matter what your rights are, if a company is willing to spend a bunch of money trying to submit illegal lawsuits to bankrupt you.


Citations?


A Citation that Apple wanted to criminalize jailbreaking?

Here you go: https://consumerist.com/2009/02/14/apple-wants-to-make-jailb...

That is a clear example of a bad actor.




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