In my opinion, there is legitimacy to the complaints being investigated.
I've definitely had several close calls in traffic, with faceId requiring me to type the password, switch back to the maps app etc, since google maps can't stay open while the phone is locked like apple maps.
I think it's a pretty serious dark pattern when you consciously make an app unsafe for your user.
If their's a setting I'm missing to allow Google maps to stay on the lock screen, I'd love to know.
If the phone is locked and navigation is in progress, on Apple, the active map shows in the lock screen. On Google, you would need to unlock the phone, and switch back to the Maps app.
Of course (and to be fair) if you don't lock the phone and leave the maps app focused, both Google and Apple will stay in view.
I've found that on longer drives where the maps app isn't needed, the phone will end up being locked/away, and when you do need a direction, that's when the API difference that I mentioned above clearly shows up.
Apple is definitely holding that API to themselves, with a side effect of making a more dangerous interaction (however un-ideal) for the user.
> Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.
> I've definitely had several close calls in traffic, with faceId requiring me to type the password, switch back to the maps app etc, since google maps can't stay open while the phone is locked like apple maps.
You’ve had several close calls due to using your phone when you shouldn’t, putting others at risk. That sounds exactly like the definition of unsafe driving (and the strongest plausible interpretation of what you said).
> I think it's a pretty serious dark pattern when you consciously make an app unsafe for your user.
Nobody at Apple is making an app unsafe, but you are choosing to make the roads unsafe by using an app and interacting with your phone while driving.
It’s not against HN guidelines to call out incredibly unsafe behavior, even if it is the context for complaining about API differences.
*Perhaps not in your specific country.
If one absolutely must use a smartphone in traffic the only right moves to make after a navigation app stops working is to either ignore the device and continue on your way without it (seriously, can nobody navigate without these devices any more?) or to ignore the device and find a parking spot someone where you can sort it out.
No matter what that dumb smartphone does, it cannot make you have close calls in traffic unless you are acting like an utter moron. It can't reach out and grab the wheel, it can't slam the brakes, it can't block your field of vision. YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE.
This bit bears repeating: fiddle with that damn device and you will end up killing an innocent person.
I can, and I'm sure most people can reasonably get around without on if they're familiar with the area. Towns and cities with a grid layouts and numbered roads means that most people can probably find an address if they get a cross, but most of the US is not laid out in that manner. It's doubly frustrating when you hit a neighborhood called Winding Oaks, and every road is Winding Oaks Trail, Winding Oaks Lane, Winding Oaks Circle, Winding Oaks Road, etc.
However, no, I probably cannot get to a location if it's in an area without a grid layout that I'm unfamiliar with. I could probably get reasonably close if I reviewed the directions beforehand, but with turn-by-turn navigation, there's a good chance that I will not have done so with detail.
While visiting Turkey a few years back I witnessed amazing incidents:
- The bus I was on was driving really slowly (walking would be faster), to the point the locals started getting frustrated... and told him to get off the phone: He was texting constantly.
- A driver of a 'biskilet' (an electric moped) had his phone jammed under his open face helmet so that he could talk white riding. I saw quite a few other riders with phones in their hands...
As an aside: I've also seen cops in my country (Oz) using phones while driving, despite being illegal.
I disabled autolock long ago though - so maybe that’s not how you’re supposed to use them?
How's this any different than Android, where some functionality is gated behind permissions that require signature or signatureOrSystem? You could say that there's rooting/LineageOS, but those are out of reach for most users, and are entirely at the whim of the manufacturer.
Hmm, after writing the above it occurred to me that cloud storage like iCloud might have to be an exception to that rule for pragmatic reasons. iCloud is clearly a competitor to Dropbox, but it is also used to store backups of the phone's system settings and such. On the one hand Dropbox should be able to compete fairly against iCloud for offline app data storage, but I don't think it should have access to do backups of phone system settings.
I suppose the way out of that conundrum is to ensure that any use of iCloud for system related storage should not be part of a commercial service offering, which is sort of how it works as you can do that on the iCloud free tier. Still, it's an interesting edge case that shows how tricky these questions can be.
Can you elaborate on this? Windows isn't sandboxed, and there's no approval process, so I don't see any reason why a program can't use private Windows APIs.
So it's a mere question of size and market share -- and it is not possible to reason from pure logic and as if it happened in a vacuum: the reason why they should not have an absolute unconditional right to design their exclusive features by implementing them using internal-only API is simply because they are a gigantic corporation shipping a behemoth OS used on a ton of computers and that would allow them to in practice and because of the clear advantage of maintaining the two sides of APIs extinguish any competition in the field they want on their platform.
Besides, they already provide documentation -to an extent- by providing symbol files.
It only matters when you have something like a monopoly. The issue with Microsoft was that they leveraged their operating system monopoly to create a monopoly on desktop office software, and part of the way they did it was by using secret, private, undocumented, proprietary, whatever you want to call them, APIs or features built into Windows for Office. A company is not allowed to give itself an unfair advantage when they have a monopoly to spread to new markets. That constitutes abuse.
Not sure about your question about private functions, because that’s a feature of OOP and not really relevant.
When Microsoft comes out with a new version of Office that works with a brand new version of Windows using features of their competitors did not know existed, I think it’s pretty obvious why their competitors are unable to have a product on the market in a timely fashion using those functions. Again, that’s only relevant if they have a monopoly on a market. Of course, a company is not otherwise required to help competitors do anything.
“I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for likes of Notes, WordPerfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage . . . We can’t compete with Lotus and WordPerfect/Novell without this.” - Bill Gates, 1994
I mean it doesn't negate your point just curious whether this is a soft or hard limitation.
Apple's music app can stream music from the cloud or download it to the device for offline playback.
Spotify's music app can stream music from the cloud or download it to the device for offline playback.
Google's music app can stream music from the cloud or download it to the device for offline playback.
Amazon's music app can stream music from the cloud or download it to the device for offline playback.
I invite you to read this (quite old - 1914) book named "Other People's Money" by Louis Brandeis, it's in the public domain now, quick free read:
History repeats itself.
PS: you might also read this book to understand how the people owning today's banks are the same group of people that owned railroad companies!
Vertical integration is a strong force, especially when it comes to infrastructure.
Sure it sounds easier to build an app store, but is it really any simpler than building railroads? One might think of app store as being just software but it's way more than that, it's an entire ecosystem built by a huge company made of the best talent in the world.
Look at big companies like Microsoft and Blackberry who have given up on their smartphone ecosystem (and respective app stores). It's definitely very competitive and cannot be replicated endlessly with very low marginal costs.
The stores that are popular are so because they're preinstalled. That's it.
Same holds for mobile platforms: you can replicate them a number of times, but certainly not infinitely many times.
Average word size in letters 4.5
bytes per letter (ascii) 8
Adult average reading speed wpm 250
active hours a day (24 - work - sleep) 8
work days a year 261
non work days a year 104
Number of adults(15 and over) in the world 5,553,830,738
Total number of processed bytes 1.87542E+17
Processed Terabytes per year 187541.7563
Processed Petabytes per year 187.5417563
Processed Terabytes per day 513.8130311
I sat in a meeting where the execs were all complaining about Apple’s unfair business practices re: their inability to do terrible things in background tasks, and their frequent app rejections / review process.
In this case, Apple saved countless phones from being bricked by one of the worst enterprise app developers. Some of the restrictions help to prevent first class assholes, like them, from publishing wholly defective garbage.
The contention here (true or false) is that Apple tips the scales so that good apps lose to Apple's competing ones.
And that's not everything.
serious question. Not being argumentative. Trying to get a picture of how much of Apple's hundreds of billions these apps are.
Because several sources are claiming that Apple Music represents less than 1% of Apple's value or whatever. I guess what I'm wondering is if there is an app that would induce a company to cheat to try to juice it? Something like MS cheating with DOS and Windows to try to juice Excel vs Lotus?
Seems more like bad software exposing lightly defective hardware. These are issues that could be prevented by the manufacturer on either hardware or software level in many different ways.
If you have to trust userspace applications to not trash your hardware, you (Apple) are doing something wrong.
They're not even hard problems. You can prevent any of these with a post-release over-the-air update.
There would be a cost to your benchmarking scores, obviously.
But what good is top-tier performance when you can observe your phone self-destructing at a greatly accelerated rate as opposed to the expected amount of wear.
It's not comparable at all to an application on your phone downloaded from an app store, which you expect to be highly sandboxed and which you certainly not expect to be able to do irreversible damage to your hardware.
A lot of the things the OP describes are limited or prevented on iOS devices by hardware and software restrictions, and not just review policies.
There are other ways to handle this: lawsuits (worst case scenario), PR disasters via media and customer backlash, etc.
The biggest lie Apple has convinced the world of, is that Apple is required to play Hall monitor for user's protection, but the truth is that they lock their hardware up for greed - "you not only pay to buy hardware, but to run software on hardware you legally own"
I automatically read "Association for Computing Machinery", which is totally irrelevant.
In the case with Apple Music vs Spotify, Spotify is not only at a disadvantage of API availability, but also how the rules are not applied for Apple's own apps (marketing push notifications come to mind). On top of that, it is more difficult to complete on price as you are coughing up 30% for any IAP (which you have to use Apple's IAP APIs to begin with). So spotify either charges an extra 30% to cover the fees or eats the 30% to remain price competitive.
Like, if you have a product, there's the retail price, and there's the wholesale price that Walmart pays you. There's a spread that you pay going through Walmart that they don't have to pay for their own products.
Now, it's definitely not 30%, but its there. I think the numbers change how onerous the splits feel, but the mechanics look similar.
Supermarkets are frequently subject to antitrust action in Europe.
In fairness, "almost everyone" shops at Target/Walmart. That's why everyone's so desperate to get the buyers at Target and Walmart to do business with them. It's worse actually, because you can get on App Store or Google Play, and still not do very well. Whereas if you get space at Target you're set.
If Apple is using "secret APIs" in its own apps in the app store then that is unfair and should change. But sandboxing apps and limiting their access to data and to OS internals is a very good thing.
I wouldn't use a third-party app store, nor recommend it, but I'd be fine with their existence.
The app store works because Apple has a reputation, and we trust this reputation. Other companies have a good reputation and could trade on this to offer software.
What does this mean? Apple's app store doesn't even guarantee security.
Would something like F-droid be allowed? Because if not I would argue we're still not solving the problem.
Second, offer a guarantee that the software on offer is free of malware and unreasonable tracking. Some degree of inspection and curation would need to be performed by the selling App Store as well as having agreements set up with the developers of the apps.
Third, real penalties to all parties if there was some sort of breach or other malfeasance. In the case of data leaks and other issues from the store, the penalty would fall on them. For malware, etc., the penalty would fall on the developers and/or the store for lax practices.
If your worried about someone else side-loading make it easy to restore the device to factory defaults.
Blocking side loading or rooting by the owner is not a security feature.
Ultimately, having one all powerful gatekeeper is not secure, because that gatekeeper can get compromised or impose arbitrary restrictions for commercial/ideological reasons (such as Apples anti-sex policies)
I can't really parse that. iOS being locked down and having strong system security prevents censorship because it prevents authorities getting access to your data. How on earth can opening that up and providing backdoors to the system prevent censorship?
The whole reason for the VPN ban is precisely because Apple's system security is so tight that eavesdropping on the wire is the only way the authorities can get at user communications. This criticism makes no sense.
Ultimately, your expectations of how gate keeping should pan out fail to match actual reality. iOS is vastly more secure that it's open competitors, so much so that it isn't even remotely close. I don't know how you can post that with a straight face, but I suppose ideology is a powerful force.
This is completely false. Owning a secure device does not help you get around censorship at all unless you can also install a good VPN (or similar).
>I don't know how you can post that with a straight face, but I suppose ideology is a powerful force.
What ideology would that be? I am an iOS user myself and superior security and privacy is one of the reasons for it. But that doesn't make me blind to the negative side-effects of Apple's approach.
Being easily co-opted by governments for censorship purposes is undeniably one of those negative side-effects.
As for VPNs, those are banned in China for all phones, not just iOS. If a government bans this or requires that, it’s really game over for device or application vendors. They really don’t have any choice but to obey the law, or walk away. Having a closed or open architecture doesn’t make much difference to that. However it still makes a difference in other aspects of security so it’s still a differentiator.
Ok maybe I’m wrong about ideology. But you seem to be arguing that closed systems like iOS lead to worse security, but then say you prefer iOS because of it’s superior security? I’m sorry, I really must be missing something.
You do need a VPN for access to a lot of things in countries like China, but that's beside the point because governments can order Apple to take down any app, including end-to-end encrypted messaging apps.
>As for VPNs, those are banned in China for all phones, not just iOS
But what makes the ban effective on iOS as opposed to Android is Apple's side-loading ban. That's my point.
>But you seem to be arguing that closed systems like iOS lead to worse security, but then say you prefer iOS because of it’s superior security? I’m sorry, I really must be missing something
What you may be missing is that I don't live in a country that blocks wikipedia or porn sites and tells Apple to take down VPNs and end-to-end encrypted messaging apps (yet). That could change though.
I remember app developers getting kicked out of the Android Market back in the day (emulators for consoles, specifically) and saying they'd still work on their app as a sideloaded thing, but only a month or too later, they'd abandon it since nobody was really following them anymore.
There's a certain amount of openness on some platforms I like to call "just enough rope to hang yourself with", where they say it's an open platform that anyone can build on top of, but they control enough of the business-side aspects of to ensure you can never successfully compete on.
Legal entities are less concerned with the technical status of openness than the business reality of openness, and I doubt allowing sideloading would actually exempt them from much attention.
Look at what happened with Microsoft and IE. You could still at least install an other browser, but that did not stop the authorities.
It's even worse IOS because you can't side load and you can't even install a competing browser engine. You also can't publish one via the app store.
Completely serious here. The degree to which iOS is locked down is absolutely a feature for the overwhelming majority of users. If you don't like it, don't use it. Not all computing platforms need to offer the same functionality. Not all computing platforms need to be "open". If you want an open platform, then use one.
It was you use MS or piss off. There was no realistic Mac option for the masses due to horrible mismanagement. Linux just was not there yet to be perfectly frank. (Even though techies were over the moon because the slackware had XWindows! So now you could open multiple bash terminals to get your work done! See how usable it is!)
It ended up not mattering anyway. The courts kind of laughed the government out of the room. I'm pretty sure the best they got was a promise to let other browsers be installed. (Keep in mind, they were still going to pre-install IE, so nothing was going to change.) That was one of the biggest farcical scenes I'd witnessed in my lifetime. Equivalent of a slap on the hand. (Actually, maybe more like a tap.)
They were fined a total of $1.3bn for anti-competitive behaviour, which would have escalated up to $7.4bn if they hadn't stopped.
The two fines were:
- in 2004, EUR 497m ($611m) for restricting music player access, server APIs, etc, with remedies allowing competitors access to build interoperating products. That was the EU's largest fine ever against a single company.
- in 2013, EUR 561m ($731m) for "inadvertently" removing a browser choice screen in 2011 that had been added in 2010 as a condition of the previous remedy following a complaint by Opera in 2007.
That last fine was a firm warning to Microsoft to take anti-competition provisions seriously. If they hadn't changed, EU laws allowed a fine of up to 10% of global revenue, which would have been $7.4bn based on their 2012 turnover.
Over here, I stand by my assertion, it was a farce. Nothing happened to them. And they went on with business as usual.
All that said though, and not to be too negative on government or anything, but it doesn't sound like too much happened in the EU either. I mean, it took until 2004 for the EU to do anything? And, while I realize it sounds like a hefty fine, a browser choice screen did little to change the tech landscape. And it hurt MS very little to add back in a browser choice screen in 2011, many years into iPhone's Normandy invasion of the tech industry.
In fact, I'd argue that Apple, (along with maybe Amazon), has done more to reign in MS than the US or the EU governments. They're the ones who have changed the computing landscape to give us breathing room away from MS. It's what the government should have insisted on when MS first came under scrutiny. (At the same time of course, you could argue that they were right to do nothing. Because eventually, competition did what it was supposed to do and different sectors and services are now split off from MS.)
This would stop everything from the Amazon effect to Novell happening. For the life of me I don't understand why we don't enforce this kind of idea?
I think Steve Jobs was initially opposed to allowing third party apps at all. Amazon market place might not exist either. Google, Amazon or Microsoft might not be offering AI services to third parties. There might not be extension APIs for MS Office or Google Docs.
Instead we could be seeing a whole lot more vertical integration and a whole lot less opportunity for small vendors to leverage technology that benefits from economies of scale.
I think it's better to let things evolve and then regulate when problems become obvious. Otherwise everything could be as stagnant as many utilities are today.
If you can't create your own hardware, and then sell your own software to run on that hardware, then you're doomed.