The day GarageBand launched, my app went from something like #24 in Music to #64, and downward from there. Fun times!
Interestingly, at an Apple conference sometime in 2010 (either C4 or WWDC), some guy asked me all kinds of detailed questions about the custom audio engine I wrote. Back then the "iPhone SDK" (now iOS SDK) audio APIs had too much latency for a drum app. So I had to write my own in C++ based on Audio Units (a low level C API). A tricky thing I had to do was mix multiple buffers of audio to create the resonance effect drums make when you hit them repeatedly (most prominent in cymbals). Later I found out the person asking me the questions worked at Apple, on the team that made GarageBand. They didn't launch with a blended resonance effect. When you hit a cymbal repeatedly, it would cut off the sound and play the sound again. Ew.
People miss out when they don't try some of the more indie apps. A lot of care goes into making them.
To be fair to Apple here (and this was way before my time, so I'm probably mixing stuff up) - Garageband dates to 2004 with the eMagic acquisition and was (iirc) built on top of the Logic Pro audio engine. And back then, you still had to deal with the raw CoreAudio API (if anyone wants an adventure, try finding the documentation for it... you'll have to generate it yourself!) on MacOS. I recently had to dig through the old CoreAudio mailing list and read a book  on the API for low latency stuff, and I'm guessing that in terms of their engine there wasn't much needing change (at least architecturally) to port to iOS. I seem to recall the biggest difference between desktop/mobile versions was the featureset and UI, I think the problem you mention was present even in Logic. You had to get hacky with ES24's key/velocity maps to do what you mention.
From working in the pro audio world for awhile, I've found that other folks in the space just love to talk shop about how they do things. Audio devs are nerds like that. Doesn't always mean people are stealing from others.
Perhaps I'm paranoid but it felt like Apple had purchased some of those private technologies and were wasting my time with a bogus interview prying for information about what I knew of the system before the IP mysteriously changed hands, likely because I had more levels of access to something they wanted to commercialize in the future. I haven't seen anything pushed to market yet but I've seen some semi related products creep up recently.
I toyed with redoing everything in audio units for awhile , but the prospect of re-implementing OpenAL's features in audio units to build a complete one-stop audio solution was a bit too much for what time I had available ;-)
Logic Drummer is a killer feature, at least for on-the-grid stuff. Usually the drum parts it generates for me are more inventive and have way more variety than anything I play by hand or program manually.
Sorry to hear about your situation, though.
Is there any "C++ for dummies with a bent for audio processing" material you'd recommend?
Try a clean implementation of that particular logic in pure C# on .NET Core, you should be able to get it working more than adequately fast. I’m saying this as someone that (re)writes applications in C++ and rust to provide pseudo-rt guarantees.
Yikes. If you're doing naive convolution that's O(n^2) in real time.
Try reading up on partitioned convolution techniques via FFT. The current state of the art in FFTs is using FFTW (extremely fast, GPL licensed but a bit tricky to get a commercial license if that is unacceptable) or IPP on x86 (closed source, but works and is fast).
I'd also try looking at Facebook's Two Big Ears code for ambisonic rendering via HRTFs:
I guess it's always an exercise to reveal enough to spark interest but not too much to keep the secret sauce.
I don't understand. GarageBand must have provided users with some of the features your users wanted, so they switched. But how is one app responsible for yours to go from #24 to #64? Shouldn't it have gone from #24 to #25 (with GarageBand in front of your app)?
Does anyone have any more info on this? It's surprisingly hard to find.
> Logic stemmed from Creator, then Notator, made by C-Lab (the company's forerunner) for the Atari ST platform.
There were dozens of flashlight apps in the store when iPhone OS 2 came out, so the OS can never have a built-in flashlight feature?
That article's examples of "copied" features are also straightforward evolutions of existing ones that have been around for years, but the author doesn't mention that.
Sidecar, ostensibly a clone of Duet Display, builds off of the ability to wirelessly extend the display to an Apple TV since Mavericks (2013). Regarding Clue, the second release of the Health app added reproductive health tracking in iOS 9 (2015). Certainly at the time engineers and product managers would have been thinking about the future direction of these features.
In fact, it strikes me that Apple is _very_slow_ at making obvious improvements, creating opportunities for third-party developers to make plenty of money. Those ad-infested, 100 LoC flashlight apps made cash for 5 years before the feature became part of the OS.
Whether copied or not, I'm extremely skeptical that App Store analytics are influencing OS features. It's never been Apple's style to be analytics-driven.
They went in detail about the “revolutionary” tech behind it: they made you set up a VPN on your phone so that they could track all of your net activity, from that they would estimate your screen time with the apps.
There was a long set of paragraphs on how Apple is taking advantage of independent developers.
I mean - I hate the fact that I can’t change the default browser to Firefox, too. But making the users set your logging VPN under the guise of “making your life healthier by knowing how much time you spend on the phone” is another level.
Apple didn't steal this idea. They may have implemented it in a better way given their low-level system access but, in this case, and in my opinion, I'd rather this be something the OS tracks for me for free by a company that doesn't make their money off the sale of my private personal data.
Cloudflare's 18.104.22.168 app does the same thing but for DNS, to capture the DNS requests from the phone you need to create a "local vpn", but not all your traffic is going though Cloudflare (yet, they do plan to add a VPN to the 22.214.171.124 app at some point).
EDIT: All Custom DNS settings apps for mobile connections on iPhone (I forget if Android is the same) ate like this. I use nextdns and their app does the same.
Facebook developed a very intrusive app and utilized MDM to allow people to install it, since they couldn’t list it in the App Store. This isn’t the purpose of MDM, of course; when Apple found out, they revoked Facebook’s MDM certificate. Facebook wasn’t happy about this, especially since their internal company apps stopped working on iOS.
I believe heavenlblue is pointing out that Apple’s strict rules and closed ecosystem have their benefits. I’m not sure I understand how that’s relevant to the article, though.
Some apps like My Data Manager requires the use of an loopback VPN to achieve that.
I love how iOS does many things to respect my privacy, and limits what app developers can do by default. I absolutely love that I can disable camera or location or whatever access on an app by app basis, because by default I don’t trust app developers. But there are some things I really wish I could do with my phone and I have no way to tell my phone to trust an app to do something that is extremely sensitive.
the vpn skullduggery referenced by the OP was being done by facebook. you think they couldn't afford to pay an elite coder to do exactly that?
You can see this on both macOS and iOS (and especially on the iPad) with Notes, Weather, Stocks, ToDo and other default apps.
Apple put out very basic apps, hoping that third parties would come up with really great replacements. It's been a decade, and while there are some good alternatives, the ecosystem for these basic apps has languished.
So now in a few days or weeks Apple will release its own, updated, versions that will hopefully push the third parties to do an even better job. Or die trying.
And of course Microsoft did it too, and worse.
Mode 32: The original Mac OS wasn’t “32 bit clean”. After Apple introduced an OS that required newer Macs, Connectix filled in the gaps for older Macs that Apple dropped support for.
RAM Doubler : Classic MacOS had horrible memory management. This made it much better. This wasn’t really made obsolete until OS X.
Speed Doubler: A better 68K emulator for PPC Macs. Was Apple not suppose to come out with a better emulator - ever? Even when it did, Speed Doubler was still better.
Virtual PC: Apple never came out with a software x86 emulator. At one point it bundled Insignia’s SoftPC. It did come out with a hardware solution called the DOS Compatibility Card.
None of the other products were ever “copied” by Apple.
Connectix Desktop Utilities/Connectix Powerbook Utilities had several features that were later added the OS.
> Speed Doubler
The best feature of Speed Doubler for me is Speed Copy, which adds multitasking to file copies (Finder wouldn't get this until MacOS 8, before that a file copy would monopolize the Finder and you couldn't browse your disk or launch any apps)
It was designed originally to run off a 400K floppy drive within 128K of RAM. "Copying files" originally meant swapping back and forth between two floppies in the single internal drive and the system had to evacuate as much code as possible from that 128K RAM to minimize the number of floppy swaps.
It took Apple a long time to try to bring that early primitive OS to modern standards while keeping software compatibility, and eventually they gave up and bought NeXT
The Lisa, before the Mac, had a proper multitasking OS, but it cost 3 times as much as the already-expensive Mac so it had the luxury of 1 MB(!!) of RAM and a MMU. It was an utter flop.
Of course Apple is going to build features their customers want and those feature are going to line up to some degree with what is available on the app store. This, in itself, is not a problem as any IP theft here should be covered under IP laws.
The real issue is that when Apple does release an app (especially a paid app like Apple Music), that they don't compete fairly. This happens in three ways which are mentioned in the article:
>> the in-house version often benefits from functionality that outside developers are prohibited from using. Apple Music, for instance, is the only streaming service that is entitled to take full advantage of Siri. Apple says it plans to change that policy in its new operating system, iOS 13. Apple’s walkie-talkie app, which launched after independent apps had proved the appeal of the concept, is the only one that can operate on Apple Watch.
>> what makes Apple’s practice different is its access to a trove of data that nobody else has. The App Store, where the original apps were offered and competed for downloads, collects a vast amount of information on which kinds of apps are successful—even monitoring how much time users spend in them. That data is shared widely among leaders at the tech giant and could be used to make strategic decisions on product development
Power imbalance and IP lawsuits:
>> They generally don’t sue Apple because of the difficulty and expense in fighting the tech giant—and the consequences they might face from being dependent on the platform.
> Whether copied or not, I'm extremely skeptical that App Store analytics are influencing OS features. It's never been Apple's style to be analytics-driven.
Do you have a basis for this? This seems to be contradicted by this quote:
>> That data is shared widely among leaders at the tech giant and could be used to make strategic decisions on product development, said Phillip Shoemaker, who served as Apple’s director of App Store review from 2009 to 2016. “I think Apple gets a lot of inspiration from apps that are on the App Store,” he said.
I could see sales or engagement metrics being used to inform a broad strategy like, "augmented reality apps like Snapchat and Pokemon Go are catching on, let's make an API so more developers can do this."
But it's clearly not the case that they're just looking at the top X apps and copying them, right? And when did you _ever_ see iTunes run an A/B test? Generally speaking Apple is a very design- and engineering-driven company.
The larger "business" strategic moves, like creating Apple Pay when Venmo and Square Cash exist, or acquiring Beats to compete in music streaming, aren't likely to be well-informed by these high level metrics.
Those are the analytics they make available to the developer of an App, about that App.
I see nothing there that indicates anything about what Apple collects for internal use.
> And when did you _ever_ see iTunes run an A/B test? Generally speaking Apple is a very design- and engineering-driven company.
> The larger "business" strategic moves, like creating Apple Pay when Venmo and Square Cash exist, or acquiring Beats to compete in music streaming, aren't likely to be well-informed by these high level metrics.
Possibly not, but the smaller decisions about how to build that product almost certainly are. Even if they are not externally doing A/B testing, that doesn't mean they aren't using analytics to inform design decisions.
At a quick glance, I cannot see any information about third-party apps being shared in this data set.
Security may be the easy answer, but there's little doubt that there's an imbalance.
This is what it does on other platforms. Honestly, if you uninstall Maps it should do this on iOS as well instead of asking you to restore the app.
Generally, an API that Apple is developing gets dogfooded by Apple for at least a year before it is released for public use.
Sometimes they decide the API just isn't there yet, like Marzipan, and they put it through another year of revisions and dogfooding before they make it public.
Apple has operated this way forever.
I'm sure it takes some work on Apple's side to make that work for 3rd parties, but I'm also sure Apple knew that Spotify users (and many other music apps) wanted it and could have done it sooner.
>Apps adopt SiriKit by building an extension that communicates with Siri, even when your app isn’t running. The extension registers with specific domains and intents that it can handle. For example, a messaging app can register to support the Messages domain, and the intent to send a message.
Originally it only supported VoIP calling, Messaging, Payments, Photos, Workouts, Ride booking, Car commands, CarPlay (automotive vendors only), and Restaurant reservations.
The next iOS version adds SiriKit support for playing music.
Ever heard of FaceTime or iMessage? How about Apple Cash?
I am not super familiar with Apple Cash, but my understanding of it is that it also falls more on the Feature side and doesn't exist to provide a revenue stream on its own (hence why there are no fees for debit cards).
iTunes is clearly more of a product as it creates a significant revenue stream for Apple.
It makes sense that Apple cares less about competition with its features as that leads to a better user experience and more iPhone sales while Apple cares more about competition with products as that cuts directly into their income.
Just because Apple has operated this way "forever" doesn't mean that it isn't anti-competitive and deserving of attention from anti-trust regulators.
I'm not of the opinion that Apple should not be able to both operate and compete in a marketplace, but if they are doing both there need to be some rules put in place to prevent anti-competitive behavior.
No they couldn't. Because those APIs would become frozen and required by nature of large software vendors deploying software that uses them. Functional compatibility of an API which was documented as not finished would have to be maintained across OS releases.
I've seen unintended dependencies have a deprecation plan in macOS that takes years.
For the most radical example, there is still a copy of libssl.0.9.7.dylib. The 0.9.7l version came out in 2006. But it turns out OpenSSL does not provide binary compatibility even amongst patch releases.
This was likely why on Mojave, using "Marzipan" in your own apps required making operating system security changes (from recovery mode, no less).
Yes, they can. There is nothing stopping Apple from marking an specific APIs as "Unstable" with the understanding they could be removed or modified at anytime.
The last thing you should want as a developer is to use a half baked API that Apple hasn’t dig fooded first. Apple has slowly opened up Siri and it’s opening it up more in iOS 13 specifically for music. Apple is not going to do an Alexa style voice command line. The intents system while more limited is better for most users and developers.
That is a massive and sweeping generalization. If developers are being put at a competitive disadvantage by not having access to a feature, I'm pretty sure some of them would love to use an unstable API to stay competitive.
I ask again, what is your point? Throwing out random facts is not a discussion.
1) Force internal apps (especially paid ones) to use publicly available APIs.
2) Publicly disclose all App Store metrics that aren't strictly limited to security teams within Apple.
3) Insulate the App Store review team and processes from their other business units and setup a independent watch dog to monitor the process and ensure fair enforcement of the rules.
Fixing these three things would leave us with just the industry wide problem of the power-imbalance in IP disputes between companies of disparate size.
Apple gets 15-30% of the revenue for subscriptions and purchases through the App Store, whether it is an Apple-published application or a third party application.
IMHO, Spotify's only really solid complaint is that it took so long for Apple to have a third party music intent.
The rest of Spotify's list amount to them signing a contract with Apple having a contract stating that money for digital goods and services taken in-app or through referral by an app to another place (such as opening a registration page in Safari) require the payment to go through Apple, and Apple gets a cut. And Spotify repeatedly tried to cheat Apple out of this agreement. And repeatedly had issues where either the app version was rejected, or a deployed app version was given a deadline before it was pulled.
Look Apple has already been convicted of violating the Sherman act, with what they did with e-books. This behavior is not all that different.
Does that include apps that use the Secure Enclave?
Similarly, Android has a generic "intent" interface you can use to jump out into another app to get data from the user (take a photo, open a file, scan a QR code, etc.), while iOS has a bajillion different UIWhateverViewControllers that cover only the use cases Apple thought of and can only launch system apps.
Apps has had that since iOS 8. Thats exactly how the share sheet works.
I would say that the history of computing over the last 40 years has succeed ONLY because users were able to control their computers, install any software they wanted and grant that software complete control of the computer.
If users had spent the last 40 years only able to do "safe" things with their computers, we would have nowhere near the level of innovation we have today and our economic growth would be stunted.
It is only in the last ~10 years that OS's that don't have the ability to grant root access have seen real success. Even then, communities invariably spring up that find ways to get the ability to grant root access.
Yes, there are very good reasons to be careful about how you design the process of granting root access, but there are also very good reasons to grant that access. I am perfectly fine with the process being arcane, hidden and full of warnings, but it should be doable directly on the device.
I don't think the problem is copying per se... the problem is that Apple is just too big, too powerful, to be good for society.
Apple should be broken up.
I download things silly nilly on iOS because I trust the sandbox. I won’t download random crap on my computer.
Apple has less than 20% of the mobile phone market.
I'm saying that the "benevolent dictator" model that Apple is following results in a concentration of power that is ipso facto bad for society and that Apple should be broken up. If Apple must survive in its current form it should be placed under democratic control, not under shareholder control, and should be subject to the checks and balances of a judicial system.
Ultimately, Apple should not be the only party to have a say in what's allowed on its platforms, just like the president is not the only person to have a say in who's allowed into the country.
And “society” doesn’t care about “openness”. Do you really think most iOS users are worried about not being able to get apps outside of the App Store?
Elizabeth Warren certainly cares about this, thankfully.
Apple has solved that problem and you haven’t articulated what is wrong.
What is wrong is the concentration of power within a company answerable only to shareholders. Even democratically elected governments need to be heavily scrutinized for abuses of power.
Corporations are answerable to their customers, their shareholders, and the law.
Your premise that they are only answerable to their shareholders is simply false.
But regardless - you have articulated no catastrophe for society.
All you have stated is an ideology about power itself being bad.
If you break up all the big US companies, there are plenty of big companies outside the US who will happily take their business and power.
1. YouTube’s subscription offering was in the works for years before it was announced.
2. The reason that YouTube had to pause music if you closed the app had more to do with the RIAA. Remember the RIAA was pissed that they made pennies from streams compared to the dedicated streaming platforms like Spotify.
If anything it sounds like Google was trying to do that guy a favor - his app would have gotten pulled regardless.
Try playing youtube in your mobile browser and note it works as expected.
Obviously they can, but the question is if I am a developer and building apps on iPhone and if Apple has a track record of cloning popular/valuable apps, shouldn't Apple expect push back from the developers who invested in the iPhone ecosystem?
Its the same as Google, when companies spend all this time and money building their website/business to comply with Google's ranking algorithms and spend money on multiple Google AdWord campaigns...then, Google takes all the market information you provided them, copy your business/service/product launch a competing business/service/product that instantly outranks you on Google Search, maybe they even give themselves priority at the top of a Google Search (like Google Flights), and for good measure Google starts bidding up your AdWord campaigns.
Did they copy this particular thing though?
It's quite obvious to me that Apple would have tried that functionality (volume as camera shutter) on its own even back when the camera app was being developed, along with tons of other ideas, which would gradually incorporate into the product...
Whenever we see the old research behind a product implementation at Apple, we see that they had tons of ideas and tried several alternative ways of doing things, some which resurfaced later (e.g. when deemed premature, or when there was no time to add everything), some which were just rejected.
1. They don't have to comply with the app guidelines (uh, I mean sometimes vaguely formulated rules).
- They don't have to go through the verifying process which sometimes does reject apps for questionable reasons (I'm not saying that they do it intentional but it happens anyway).
- They can do thinks which other apps can't.
- They can access API's which other apps can't or at last only can if you are some very large company or else wise got into a joint venture with apple (e.g. the NFC APIs, at last in the past).
- This sometimes means that some apps have to use other APIs as a work around potentially violating app guidelines leading to apple taking actions against them.
4. They might get features in apple phone advertisements.
With other works they get a unfair advantage against there competition. The only reason this is legal in Europe is that the monopoly omissions doesn't treat the "apps for iOS" marked as a marked (but instead as a part of the "apps" marked, which IMHO is wrong).
Don't misunderstand I'm speaking about apps made by apple, not system features like flashlight or screen color.
The think is a lot of the thinks can be gained to some degree by 3rd party apps with money, the problem is that the just price of getting this makes it impossible to compete with apple.
This doesn't even include the situations where apple seemed to have miss-used the review process to hinder some apps to create a better starting point for their apps (and it's not just apple, there are also questionable thinks happening to e.g. 3rd party non profit navigation apps on android). On the other hand there are some many apps that literally might be just random fallout and it's close to impossible to judge without doing a proper study.
What I would which is a requirement for:
- Apply some monetary value apple has to pay for the advantage they give to they apps (sure they would pay it to them self, still this means they have to pay tax etc. on it and it shows up in the books).
- Clear guidelines and transparent processes (especially wrt. google actually).
- Limit how app stores can misuse their power, hold them responsible if they do. (e.g. wasn't there a thing where pebble couldn't properly advertise some features because it was conflicting with apples own producsts?)
- Limit how phone provides can "lock away" certain features they use them self (e.g. NFC). I'm ok with some over-the-top warnings if you want to use a app adding a feature which might be misused to track you, as long as the warning is only shown at installation. I'm also okay with some payed API access as long as the price is affordable by a small startup.
- Or alternatively just require support for "properly" having a alternate app store (not the "allow 3rd party apps" bs android has.
Still, I’d like developers to be compensated for being put out of business.
A minor nitpick: on the accounting side, Apple does set aside part of the price of devices to provide software updates and features (imagined and not yet imagined at the time of sale) for a few years, deferring full revenue recognition on sold devices until then. So the cost of updates and addding software features has already been charged upfront to the buyer.
Look at how well-behaved Microsoft the iOS publisher is, compared to where and when they have dominated as both platform and publisher.
I think we will all be better off when the iOS app store has a mandate not to compete. Same with Twitter on their platform, Amazon with theirs, Facebook, Google etc.
Microsoft’s iOS apps also use good ideas from smaller third party apps, especially Outlook and OneNote. Since Apple made macOS and iWork free, and done the same on iOS, with no ulterior goal to eventually sell higher priced office software or operating systems, it isn’t analogous to Windows and Office, though customers should certainly maintain demand for that not to change.
The first browser war ended with Internet Explorer
having no remaining serious competition for its market
share. This also brought an end to the rapid innovation
in web browsers; until 2006 there was only one new
version of Internet Explorer since version 6.0 had been
released in 2001.
Today on iOS and Android where MS is only a publisher they compete on the merits of their software instead of unfairly leveraging the platform. We also see Twitter, Facebook, Apple and Amazon pretty wantonly leveraging their platforms against the people using them to displace them with official alternatives. I don't really feel like Google is or has been as predatory but might just be out of my purview.
History has proven Microsoft's argument - a web browser is a core part of the modern operating system.
> Copying technology has gotten tech giants in trouble before. Two decades ago, the Justice Department and 20 states sued Microsoft, whose operating system Windows was dominant at the time, after Microsoft copied the Netscape Web browser and made its own version, Internet Explorer, the default option in Windows. Microsoft settled the case.
That’s not exactly why they were sued. It was because they made it hard to uninstall IE and hard to install other browsers.
Seems to me to basically be the same case.
Additionally Apple has complete control of it's platform.
Also, most of the popular non game apps are both cross platform and subscription services that can run on either.
Abusing their market position (only viable desktop OS) to promote IE and attempt to get a stranglehold on the web is a significant part of what got them in trouble.
Excellent book covers the situation in more detail: https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Windows-Fumbled-Future-Micro...
I couldn't imagine tying up the phone line that long. Think of the expenses.
Or borrow from a friend.
Having to source the application yourself is hardly equivalent to the app being banned from the app store...
Bundled third party applications with the OS is, and has always been, a nightmare.
What I’m saying is that Microsoft didn’t get scrutiny for bundling a browser with windows (they got scrutiny for a bunch of other business practices related to that) which is the part of the story that does parallel what Apple does. Bundling useful feature in the OS, which happens to hurt competing solutions, isn’t new and isn’t a problem. The problem lies in their other business practices. Saying Microsoft didn’t make it impossible to install other browsers is wrong, because for a major participant in the market (OEMs) it was in fact impossible to install competing browsers without paying a price that made the end product not viable in the market.
90s Microsoft and today’s Apple situation don’t really parallel, but they don’t not parallel for the reasons you brought up. You’re still ultimately right, but the justification was based on a misunderstanding (or miscommunication) of the history that I think muddies the waters.
>edit: more background: just being a monopoly isn’t illegal if you get there and stay there legitimately. Anticompetitive behavior is the illegal part. https://www.classlawgroup.com/antitrust/unlawful-practices/m...
OEMs were market participants who bought windows (aka customers) for the purpose of reselling and we’re prevented from exercising the usual freedoms in how they configured that software (“made it impossible to install Netscape”). Impossible is maybe a stretch but Microsoft was waving a very big stick at anyone who dared defy them.
> They got regulatory scrutiny because they were the hugely dominant OS in ways iOS isn't.
They got regulatory scrutiny not because they were big but because of their bad behavior. Modern Google got that same scrutiny long before they achieved anything resembling Windows’ dominance. Microsoft avoided scrutiny for a long portion of its rise while it wasn’t blatantly engaging in anticompetitive practices.
It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing. It’s about having a solid understanding of the history that helps understand the present. Taking shortcuts like ‘Microsoft was investigated because they were really big’ is misleading when there were deeper more nuanced reasons for the investigation. Saying they didn’t make it impossible to install competing browsers may be technically correct, but it paints a very incomplete picture when in fact Microsoft was vigorously trying to make sure that no one would be exposed to any browser other than IE and no other operating system than Windows.
There is one interesting parallel to the Microsoft case I’d like to highlight: Microsoft was required to document all of their APIs and protocols within 3 months of release. Apple using proprietary APIs to e.g. give Apple Music unique features is clearly anticompetitive and Microsoft got in trouble at least partially for similar behavior.
Please, this isn’t a personal attack just trying to share interesting information :)
Wait, no. You're the one who's typing giant walls of text at me that I didn't ask you for and aren't at odds with anything I said. Also, you're the one who's running with the assumption I apparently know nothing about the Microsoft case. I don't think it's a personal attack but I do think it's weird and inexplicable and it's even more weird that now you're apparently pleading with me to what? Keep typing huge walls of text at me? Let's call it a day here.
Shortly thereafter the Netscape client software was the spun off to mozilla.org, and the rest of the company was sold to AOL.
VC companies had to specially prepare startups for Microsoft. If MS requested a demo, they might just watch the demo and launch their copy of software little later. They might hire top developers without requirement to work to just slow you down. They told OEM's what to do with competing software. If that didn't work they started “embrace, extend, and extinguish" strategy.
They destroyed DR-DOS, killed Word Perfect etc. They even attacked big boys. MS used price discrimination against IBM and blackmailed Intel to drop Native Signal Processing instruction set that threatened them.
> I have decided that we should not publish these [Windows 95 user interface] 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, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/longterm/micro...
Apple is a novice? Not really. Microsoft plays dirty, Apple doesn't even play. They're basically a tyrant on their domain.
For how much people bitch about Microsoft, I'm happy Apple didn't win in the end, on either desktop or mobile.
In iOS 12 this evolved to actually removing them from internal storage. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208094
Personally this is one of the appeals of the Apple ecosystem, there’s aspects to the walled garden I think as a end user are useful but I can see why plenty of users and app developers chafe against this.
A classic example is Snapchat and Instagram. Snapchat was never something that stood on its own, as everything that made it unique would easily be duplicatable by Instagram, down to the tiniest feature. Theoretically, the network of users would be the unique value but it was nowhere near Facebook's size, and thus would not be able to truly compete. All it took was Instagram copying most every good feature to dominate the space.
In the article's case, each of the apps (Clue, Duet, DoApp, Voxer) were creating something that, while valuable to users at the time, was simply an addition to the existing functionality and in no way was a valuable product outside the context of the phone or iOS itself. Effectively, they were features wrapped in an app that in no way stood on their own.
If you want to make a successful app in the App Store, make something with value to a user that can stand alone.
Imagine this alternate universe for a moment, app developers assign Apple, as part of their developer status, a non-expiring option to license in perpetuity their application for one million dollars by Apple Inc.
Apple adds an "application acquisition fee" of $50 on the sale of every iOS device. At the end of each quarter, Apple distributes a fractional share of the acquisition fee amongst all of the developers for whom it has opted to take their application. Those payouts continue until Apple has paid out $1M to the developer.
From the developer's perspective, if their App gets consumed by Apple they now get an infusion of capital to spend the time on the next big thing, so having Apple decide to incorporate their 'feature' into the Apple 'product' is a win.
From Apple's perspective its a win because they have a bunch of developers working for "free" trying to produce the next big thing, and only after the market has said "Hey, this is something worth paying for." Does Apple incur a forward liability which comes out of future revenue, not cash on hand, and without a specific due date. So easy to manage on an earnings call and when planning cash flow.
By "sharing the wealth" in that way, Apple can make better partners out of their developers than they currently do.
And interesting idea— I’m going to mull that one over!
I use Snapchat for chatting, bitmojis, and simple photos/videos with one person. There's nothing superfluous to annoy me.
Spotify recently launched Time to Play Fair and their FAQs are quite a read: https://www.timetoplayfair.com/frequently-asked-questions/
How's a company supposed to stay relevant against such odds?
To stay relevant, don’t expect to plug gaps in Apple’s product offerings if you don’t want them to one day render you irrelevant.
Spotify isn’t one of the examples I’m pointing at either, but it is still relevant as they aren’t doing something Apple can’t do better (in Apple’s mind). I’m not going to weigh in on preferential treatment vs Spotify here as that’s a whole different kettle of fish though :)
That may change over time as these things aren’t set in stone of course.
Because they tried to make it a feature, it lost ground in terms of functionality and performance and users preferred a different option with a better experience.
That brings me to another point - you can make a feature into a product by creating a fundamentally better experience. It isn’t easy though and you can find the tide shift against you long run.
Of course IE eventually rotted, but it's silly to claim that low quality was actually the case or that low quality was the result of it being bundled with the OS.
It's not as if we had auto-installed monthly or weekly browser updates back then - if you were using Netscape 4 the odds were you didn't update it very often at all. If anything the odds were better that grandma's PC would get a Windows security update/service pack with IE fixes/improvements installed than a critical Netscape update.
IMO the point at which IE truly started falling behind was around when Firefox came onto the scene, and once Chrome was a thing its fate was sealed. Before that point I don't think you could realistically argue that it "wasn't that good" because there was no superior alternative out there and it got the job done.
Shipping a web view as an OS component is also a good idea in general, as demonstrated by the fact that all the major commercial OS vendors are doing it. Many apps rely on webviews and in the past major software was using IE to render HTML content (Steam, for one example)
Steve Jobs even called it a “feature,” saying iCloud would put it out of business.
In this case, the Apple ecosystem limited Apple’s thinking and both Box and Dropbox were able to move to create unique value. And frankly, good for them.
I would buy it in an instant.. but for 10 dollars a month so that I use 2% of that space? Sorry, then I will look somewhere else..
The only thing Apple did to "prevent" f.lux from being published on the App Store was to not offer any public APIs that could be used to implement it. This wasn't some sort of deliberate decision to get in the way of f.lux; there was simply no clear use case for an API to allow an app to change the behavior of the screen on a global basis.
A usecase is f.lux's functionality. There is definitely a clear use case. The decision to expose the API could have other factors to it, but lack of use case doesn't seem to be it.
Except to implement color shifting for nighttime use, which they implemented themselves in a later version. That's a pretty tough justification to pull off.
"To make f.lux work on iOS, we've had to go outside the bounds of what apps are normally allowed to do. Currently, iOS does not allow developers to access the Private APIs we need to make f.lux work on iOS."
Indeed, the use case was translucent.
In 1998, it might have made sense that I had to use a third-party tool to burn CDs with Windows, but by 2001, Windows XP shipped with this capability. And this wasn't some large, IE-scale strategic play--it was table stakes for an OS back then.
Part of that integration involved reporting which shows were watched when to Apple. And now, they're using the data they collected from third-party services to decide which shows to produce for their own offering.
> Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, Apple’s first diversity report did show that the company is mostly white and male. So it’s likely that menstrual cycles just aren’t a concern for a majority of the company’s employees. But that shouldn't be an excuse.
> But considering that plenty of other, extremely popular apps for menstrual tracking already exist (Clue and Period Tracker are two stand-outs), all we have to say is, thanks for finally including women in your world, Apple. Welcome to ours.
> That Apple overlooked period tracking as a key function that roughly half the population would expect to see included in a comprehensive health tracking app is not entirely a surprise.
> Apple today is a company where only 30 percent of its employees are female, and only 20 percent of those in engineering positions are female.
This last one comes from The Washington Post, perhaps demonstrating that sometimes you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t:
> Apple notoriously ignored women's health issues as it developed previous versions of Health
I don't get this. As an Android user, Google routinely leaves out features I'd like in their apps. I just use an alternative app. Sometimes it's very annoying because I want all the things on the same platform. But again, usually there's an alternative app I can use. Why not just use a different app? I mean, I get wanting everything in one app, but these quotes are a lot less "I wish my favorite app had this useful feature" and a lot more on the outrage side, which makes no sense considering the amount of features useful to 100% of the population that Apple continues to leave out.
>Apple notoriously ignored women's health issues as it developed previous versions of Health
Issues? Plural? Beyond menstruation tracking, what else is missing? Or is this just another example of story padding?
I guess I just don't understand why this is any different from any other missing feature from any app. Why is it apples responsibility to provide this feature?
As a Pebble watch user who moved to an Apple Watch (after Pebble got bought out by Fitbit in 2017), I was amazed they didn't have any sleep tracking functionality. It's not a make or break feature, but as someone with a history of sleeping issue's, I really valued Pebble's tracking feature. If Apple is going to continue pushing Apple devices as the place to go for tracking and managing your health information, they will be seen as responsible for adding features users want.
It's not like product decisions at most tech companies are made by engineers, and they're especially not made by engineers at a large one like Apple.
Who wants to bet that the split for those who were responsible for making the product decision regarding Health and menstrual cycle tracking approached 50/50? I'd also bet that the idea was repeatedly brought up (by people including male engineers) and then shot down (by non-engineers) for various reasons.
How is that not absolutely abusive? They abuse users by effectively lying about the quality of apps in the store, they abuse app creators by changing the rules to suit their whims, and they abuse their position as a monopolist over iPhone software to keep any real competition from sticking around.
The iPhone comes with a 1st party email app, but many people prefer 3rd party apps. Same for calculators, weather apps, podcast players, music players, password managers, calendar apps, etc. In another comment in this thread, I linked to several articles that were critical of Apple for not including a menstrual cycle tracker in their Health app. Some 3rd party apps filled the gap for a while, but it seems like it was really a feature that lots of people wanted in the 1st party app. You can call it abusive if you want, but others might say that Apple was answering the needs of its customers. If the 3rd party apps provide better functionality (as they often do... see the examples I listed above), people will continue using them.
Back in the day I produced a little shareware utility which was a speaking clock for Mac OS. Apple took notice and I was invited to SF by someone at Apple, but had other commitments at the time and couldn't go at the time. They asked for partial source code (I think after a bug I reported to them) and I sent it over, and that was the last I heard about it.
Soon after they introduced the feature in the OS and it is still there to this day in Clock settings - Announce the time on the hour. I was actually pleased about that, as I never made significant money from the utility anyway - I'm not really sure if they were inspired by the tool but always suspected they were.
Pick an app that's sufficiently difficult to copy, at which point they'll try to buy you if they find the app sufficiently important to the platform. And if not, they probably won't spend the capital to try to dethrone you. If you make an app that say... changes alerts based on location, I'd probably expect it's just a matter of time until they copy your app.
I’d like to see Apple let AppleScript be executed on the Apple Phone. I’d like to have more control over my device, like an Android. Maybe someday...
(1) Make a platform that doesn't do everything.
(2) Sell apps to cover missing features.
(3) Improve your original operating system, rendering paid apps useless.
And that'll always work, at least until your operating system does do everything.
If Apple could only add features to iOS that isn’t covered by an app store app, there would be almost nothing new they could add.
Sure, it is annoying for the devs who get sherlocked, but most such apps are pretty obvious in the first place.
And this is not a new phenomenon. Given Apple’s focus on health these last many years, it’s hardly a surprise that they’re adding period tracking. If the period-tracking-app didn’t see this coming, they really need to hire someone with a little bit of foresight.
One of the most notable one is Sidecar introduced in iPadOS 13. This is basically a dual-screen feature paired with a macbook, which some startups like Duet and Astropad have been doing for years.
Nor is it like it was some genuinely new idea. Nor did Apple copy their technology, or violate some partnership agreement or noncompete/nondisclosure. Nor is Apple violating some patent. Nor does Apple treat it as a product or a revenue source or even a lead in to a new software revenue source - it is an improvement to the platform.
If they sold product targeting Linux systems that did this, someone built the wireless functionality into Wayland to do this and distros bundled the updated releases, would those distros now be somehow acting "unfairly"?
So I don't quite know what "system of fairness" would be here - a platform shouldn't evolve existing features if someone has a paid solution, even if that solution only partially solves the problem or does so in an inferior way?
iTunes was a famous example: It instantly obsoleted indie music apps on the Macintosh.
We had a good time discussing this fifteen years ago(!) when Cabel Sasser, cofounder of Panic Software, wrote about the demise of Audion at the hands of iTunes:
My own take on this is to think of building apps and services on top of a platform as sharecropping:
This doesn’t mean I countenance Apple’s behaviour. Far from it. It simply means I think of it as inevitable that platform vendors will court indie developers and partners when they need them to grow the platform, then turn on them when the vendor thinks it needs to commoditize their work.
Twitter and its indie clients is another example.
Sort of 'Apple-basics'.
However it is very anti competitive, and monopolistic to target mid/upper tier product segments, against your market participants.
It would be like NASDAQ running their own brokerage business.
Back in the day, people would buy graphics libraries to draw lines on the screen, buy utilities such as ZIP or defragmentation utilities, and each program had its own logic for printing, with each of them, at setup time, asking questions such as “what should I sent to you printer to get bold text?”, “how many characters on a line does your printer support?”, and “should I wait a bit longer between lines to make sure your printer is ready to accept new input?”
Now, of course, Apple doesn’t need to make money on their OS, but I think they are forced to move ‘up’ to compete with Microsoft.
I remember I coded a spell checker for WordPerfect 5.1 after I used Word and wanted to have the same.
Sadly the 40MB hard disk where it was died many years ago.