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We are leaving the Apple App Store and all its problems (exactscan.com)
641 points by bangonkeyboard on Oct 23, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 430 comments



Actually; now that I think about it, from a user perspective I also really dislike the App Store.

I used to _love_ it, I would check weekly for new things, maybe there was some new shiny (often beautiful) program to do something really well. The experience was on the 'better than passable' side, nobodies favourite interface maybe, but certainly not terrible.

But I actually avoid the App Store these days, both on MacOS and my iPhone. I never really noticed but I just slowly stopped installing new applications from there (unless sent there by a company website in the case of iOS); this was around the time that Apple Music was being foisted down my throat. I'm not sure if there's a correlation there.

I always suspected there were dark patterns at play in the App Store though. Although every program is reviewed, probably only 2% or less of them become popular, and if you are popular, boy, are you popular. the design paradigm is self-fulfilling. ("most popular"/"highest grossing").


> I also really dislike the App Store. [...] I used to _love_ it, I would check weekly for new things

I used to do this too, and like you, I've now grown to really dislike it. My reason is different, though: the App Store app has _plummeted_ in quality. It's now so hard to use, I don't bother using it.

1. The UI is all over the place. Some UI controls cause pages to swipe up from the bottom. Some cause pages to swipe in from the right. Some cause modals. Whenever I click something, I have no idea what it's going to do. Here are some examples: https://grumpy.website/post/0RsaxCu3P

2. It's full of bugs. I have witnessed the App Store lose track of whether an app is bought or not, downloaded or not, or installing or not. Another example: https://grumpy.website/post/0SU9WNFXB

3. It makes the rest of my system worse. Every week or so, I get a message like "Fantastical cannot be updated because it is open". I didn't set it to update. I had no idea it was even updating. I just get an obnoxious dialog interrupting my work.

The App Store used to be like a shopping mall — I'd browse the shelves, see what was new, and maybe buy a small app I liked the look of once in a while. But now it's become so hard to browse, I don't bother paying. Everyone loses out.


I used the OSX App Store for the first time in years a few days ago. For the life of me I could not figure out how to download a simple free app. I had to ask my SO, who usually comes to me for tech questions, how to use it. Keep in mind I've been using computers for decades and have an above average understanding of UI design.

1. Upon clicking the App Store icon and entering my apple ID and password I get a 500 error. No amount of restarting can fix it. After a quick search, one of the top 5 search results led to a cryptic command I had to enter at the Terminal to fix it. This actually happened with a previous MBP and I just never used the app store (pretty much a factory install of OSX on both machines).

2. Clicking the icon to download the app ("GET" I believe) started a loading spinner with no progress indicator. Given it was only a 38MB app, I waited around for a while. Then I took a shower and came back. Still the same loading spinner. Decided to reboot the machine and try again.

3. I searched for the same application clicked GET again and then it turned into a cloud icon. Clicking the cloud icon seemed to do absolutely nothing. At this point I asked my wife who told me I had already downloaded the app to my account and now I need to download it to my machine. EDIT: I just remembered I was seriously confused at this point. I clicked the cloud icon several times and given there was zero feedback I opened both Launchpad and the Applications directory in case it magically already installed.

4. The above explanation made no sense to me. I'm familiar with the concept given I've used every version of Android and I understand I can download previously downloaded things from my account (that I installed on old devices). But that's not how the series of events unfolded. Anyway, I clicked the cloud icon a second (or third?) time and it turned into an install icon and all was good.


> 1. Upon clicking the App Store icon and entering my apple ID and password I get a 500 error. No amount of restarting can fix it. After a quick search, one of the top 5 search results led to a cryptic command I had to enter at the Terminal to fix it. This actually happened with a previous MBP and I just never used the app store (pretty much a factory install of OSX on both machines).

Further evidence of the theory that Mac usability in 2019 is approaching where Linux was in 2000.


> 3. I searched for the same application clicked GET again and then it turned into a cloud icon. Clicking the cloud icon seemed to do absolutely nothing. At this point I asked my wife who told me I had already downloaded the app to my account and now I need to download it to my machine. EDIT: I just remembered I was seriously confused at this point. I clicked the cloud icon several times and given there was zero feedback I opened both Launchpad and the Applications directory in case it magically already installed.

I did this exact same thing last week after upgrading to Catalina and getting the 1-2 app store apps I needed. I kept getting the cloud, I have no idea what the cloud means but it wasn't the down facing arrow I usually saw. So I kept clicking it. Turns out it HAD installed the app but never gave me an Open button. I stay far away from the app store if I can.


How it should work is that you search for an app, press GET, and it appears on your machine. I’m not sure what issue #1 and #2 are caused by (they’re certainly not common on a factory install with a normal iCloud account). I’m also not sure why the cloud icon appeared instead of downloading it straight to your machine. That’s also definitely a bug.

For #3, here’s how I’d explain it to someone who hasn’t used it before (you may know this already): your Apple ID is tied to the “purchases” you make across the App Store, iTunes Store, Books, etc., so that you can access what you’ve bought on a different machine. If you buy a paid app, it gets added to your Purchases list so that you can download it on another Mac without buying it again. This ties into Family Sharing so that up to five other people living in your household can use it too. Free apps also get added to the purchases for syncing purposes across all your devices. The cloud icon indicates that you’ve purchased an app and are eligible to download it for free.

TL;DR: you got a strange series of bugs that probably haven’t been seen by anyone else all together


I dunno. The App store for me on my iPhone regularly behaves like this. I sometimes see the cloud icon, sometimes not, sometimes it refuses to download, sometimes I tap the icon and it does nothing, sometimes it starts downloading, then every time the phone goes to sleep, it stops downloading... I guess I'm supposed to sit there and tap the screen to keep it from sleeping while it downloads. I dunno, haven't bought a new app for my phone in a couple of years now.


I believe the cloud icon indicates something that is owned on your account but not downloaded.

At least on iOS the symbol is a cloud with an arrow pointing downward. Not on a Mac to check if the symbol is the same there.


Yes, that’s what it’s supposed to mean on both platforms. It does sometimes show up when you had already downloaded something and then flash the OPEN button.


I've seen the exact behavior parent described many times. I doubt we're the only two.


The new Mac App Store’s design process is a complete mystery to me: it seems really weird how Apple managed to take a web view-based app, convert it into Cocoa, and somehow make it significantly worse at fitting into the platform.


I’ve also stopped “check[ing] weekly for new things”, but that’s because I don’t need any new things! Do you?

I don’t have Instagram but I imagine it’s a bit like the App Store. I’m waiting somewhere. I’m bored. I know, I’ll check for a shiny thing. Oh, no shiny thing. That was disappointing.

To compare, do you go to the internet regularly and check for new things? I don’t think this is the App Store’s fault. It’s not on Apple to constantly put new shiny useful software in the App Store — it’s on developers. And I’m not blaming developers. Making new shiny software is hard. There’s already a whole bunch of software. If you have a problem, chances are it’s already been addressed.

Constantly shiny + new ~== a good App Store.

(~== Not necessarily equal to. Did I just invent that?)


> (~== Not necessarily equal to. Did I just invent that?)

Instead of inventing new operators in your sentences, you can also just stick with plain English


On HN I occasionally see programming conventions used in otherwise normal writing. E.g. "at $big_corp we like to use $process".

I can't stand it. It's the linguistic equivalent to wearing a bowtie and pocket protector.


Almost as bad as people on HN who start each comment with "I mean" or end each question with "no?"


Hey man. Bow ties are cool.


I mean "need" is subjective, I was trying to insinuate that I didn't know I 'needed' what was on offer until it was displayed in front of me.

For (a good) instance of what I mean was Airmail. Standard mail on OSX was "good enough" but Airmail was just all around better (from a UX perspective) and the popularity of it made Apple turn their head.

Another was 1password; before 1password I was using the macOS keychain, but 1password is/was all around better.


Funnily enough, I started using Airmail a few months ago, and just today I've started moving back to Mail.app which is, indeed, good enough. In the end I found Airmail a little heavy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


> To compare, do you go to the internet regularly and check for new things?

Isn't that what this site is?


But this is shiny new knowledge. God help us if that ever dries up.


> (~== Not necessarily equal to. Did I just invent that?)

Yeah... in most programming languages it would be

shiny + new <> a good App Store

OR

shiny + new != a good App Store

The ~= (single equals) is used to for equal to with a regular expression on right side


Modal logic captures the concepts of "necessity" and "possibility" nicely[1].

You could express it as "~□(shiny + new -> good app store)" which translates into "it is not necessary that shiny and new implies a good app store".

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modal_logic


~ means "approximately".


~= means not equal in MATLAB. Also it often means one's complement (C and others). Hence the gp used it to mean NOT.


Lua as well (uses ~= instead of !=).


I’ve only ever opened the App Store when there’s one particular tool I need to use. I’ve tried casually browsing maybe 3 times in 10 years (because it seems most people do this often) and it just seemed like endless fluff and garbage. I’ve never downloaded anything that I didn’t go in thinking “I need this.”


In the past when I looked for a new app I went to the app store. But now since I'm on an older version of MacOS and very few app store apps run on any but the latest release of MacOS, I don't bother. I find the apps I need by googling.

Edit: This implies there are a lot of great apps that don't get my money because they only sell on the app store. Looking at you Pixelmator.


This is very hard. Supporting API + UI changes is not easy. Microsoft is not doing it (Skype etc) so why should small teams do it. We don't just program we run BUSINESS.


Can you explain the Microsoft bit? There's an ocean of difference between Microsoft and Apple. You can pretty much pick any MS API from the past 20 years and it'll still work on Windows 10.


Microsoft is moving away from that model. The cost of rapid release cycles for Windows is dropping the testing and compatibility work that was done in the past.

You see the impact on a few things like Office and SCCM today. As the legacy windows platforms fade, it will become a thing in other areas. My guess is you’ll see more “fixed in Azure only” scenarios to drive demand for those products, and act as a sales funnel for complementary services.


Sounds like a perfect place for Linux to jump in. I mean if you're looking for stability, there's always stability in the Linux space.


Microsoft uses (and since 7 has used) automated compatibility testing.

It takes less time to test compatibility than it does to compile.


Office 2019 for Mac requires Mac OS X 10.12 Sierra or later. Maybe it's a business reason but at the same time their skype requires 10.10. Update Skype for web 10.12 [0] https://blogs.skype.com/news/2019/03/07/the-new-skype-for-we...


> But I actually avoid the App Store these days, both on MacOS and my iPhone. I never really noticed but I just slowly stopped installing new applications from there

That sounds less like avoiding and more like not using. I think this is natural. When the App Store first came out, apple planted the idea in our head that we needed new ways to use our machines. But unless you are a new user, it’s likely you’ve hit an equilibrium where you know how you want to use the device.


I’ve noticed something different. The apps on the app store used to be good. I’m not sure how or why but the apps on the iOS app store are _terrible_. For any given function, there appears to be no good option on the app store compared to, say, iOS app store 4 years ago (or android around the same time, the last time I used it). This is entirely on apple and not the developers, as Apple are the curators and the developers have already demonstrated they can make good apps.


Not to mention Apple's habit of taking good apps and then building them into iOS to cannibalize their own developers. I don't get why anyone would want to build smartphone apps for any platform these days. Between Google and Apple it's entirely a garbage ecosystem for devs.


APIs are locked down to the point that only Apple can add useful functionality, which is by design.


You just described why Apple has dragged their feet as slowly as possible developing Safari. "Add to Home Screen" is now completely hidden away and unlike on Android, progressive web app functionality is delayed as long as they possibly can.

I imagine there would be so much innovation and interesting content if these companies didn't have such a tight grip on their walled gardens. Politically sensitive, erotic content or just innovative apps that operate outside of the Apple curators is just never going to be available for users of this expensive hardware. I believe it should at the very least be optional like sideloading is on Android.


I always thought of the App store as a lottery. Better to make a few millionaires than to make everyone happy. The point is that this pattern plays out well for Apple because it shapes the image that you can become a millionaire too by developing for the App store.


Nature has dark patterns if 2% chance of popularity is the threshold to qualify. Many other markets I see converge on a few huge players too, retail, food, hotels, software, banks, etc.


Instead of getting hung up on the exact percentage; perhaps I meant more like 0.000002%?

MacOS/iOS application stores are likely in the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of applications, however I see the same 20 when I browse without using the search field.


The difference is the Apple app store is not nature. They make a point of curating the app store. When the results are bad and getting worse there is only one player to blame.


I never regularly looked in the app/play store for new apps, only used the search function to find what I need. However, since installing f-droid, I notice that I scroll through their new section every now and then to keep up with what people are doing and I like it and discover useful apps.


I completely stopped installing apps when I realized how screwed up the whole app market is.

Nice apps I liked were bought and monetized in EXTREMELY UNETHICAL ways.

For one example, I had an app called gas cubby, which let me locally - on the phone - keep track of all my vehicles. I could enter detailed information about each car such as year, make, model, vin, insurance policy, gas purchases, oil changes and the like. It would tell you gas mileage and remind you of upcoming maintenance.

One day, the app was updated and all my local data was uploaded to the cloud.

Another app, camscanner plus purchased by tencent basically did the same thing.

Apple gives you no control over what the apps do. You can argue the finer points, but:

- you cannot determine what apps are doing. are they intercepting URLs browsed in safari, mail or imessage? (deep linking)

- you cannot determine when they are active. are they waking up using some "backdoor" method such as notifications

- you can not prevent them from accessing the network. this is the big one. You can't find out who they are talking to or prevent it.

Really it's a shame because one rule of economics is: with trust trade becomes unrestricted.


> I always suspected there were dark patterns at play in the App Store though.

Here's one I found: you can't install a lot of applications unless you're on the latest-and-greatest OS version. This punishes people who are more conservative with upgrades, and don't want to jump to an OS before it's fully cooked. You'd think they could just offer to let you install the latest compatible version.

I can't install XCode from the App Store because I'm stuck on High Sierra, because my Macbook as a highly disruptive freeze-on-wake bug that manifests on every version of Mojave I've tried. I've never been able to figure it out, and Apple apparently only supports its laptops if they have no software installed on them.


What I found crazy, was Xcode disappears from the App Store altogether when searching from High Sierra. It took me several searches to realize that they hid it.


I'm not too familiar with the App Store, but a big issue with all of these stores is that they have limited screen estate for promoting apps from their catalog. So you get a ridiculously tiny subset of apps that is featured on the storefront itself and thus gets the attention and sales.

If you have a product for sale through such a store front, the best way is to not play the game of getting to the front pages or at least to not rely on it. Instead, you get attempts to drive sales through product web pages that link to the stores.


Even so I think the real estate could be used much more effectively. The focus on app icons really annoys me because many app icons tell me almost nothing; a single screen shot visible by default in summary views would go a long way. They also have a lot of lists that are almost guaranteed to change rarely, like “top grossing”, which just means every time you come back you see a bunch of stuff you already know about.


I don't think screen space is the problem because a store can easily randomize the offerings, so each visitor sees different apps.


From a user's perspective I feel sorry for all the people who bought, full price, App Store versions of games like Civilization VI which are not compatible with PC, and Steam versions.


The App Store used to have a Free App of the Day (or was it of the week?) that got me to go and check it out. I've often look around at other apps at the same time. Ever since they dropped that and revamped the store I only visit on the very rare occasions when I read about a particular app somewhere else and go search for it. I'd guess I visit the app store maybe twice a year now.


"dark patterns" alright...

BTW, all developers still have to submit their apps to Apple for "notarization" in Catalina, even if they don't distribute through macOS AppStore --it is partially enforced now and will be fully enforced in the next few weeks.


I have about 500 apps on my various iDevices. I stopped buying apps years ago - when Apple removed the ability to do so on MacOS.

Its just so cumbersome to manage apps on the iDevices themselves .. so I just stopped. I've got enough apps for everything I need (music-making, mostly). Sure, if someone recommends something amazing, I'll check it out - but for the most part I have reached the saturation point, and I really abhor going to the App Store, for any reason whatsoever.

I still have a much, much better user experience on my Ubuntu workstation, and now even on Windows with chocolatey. It feels so backwards and quaint to have to rely on Apple to review an app - much better to just have an open public repo and let the community deal with quality review. I'm yet to be bitten by a repo - I can't count the number of times I've had my life quality reduced to smithereens because I've had to pass multiple App Store reviews to get my apps out there, or found that an App I needed in order to do my work was no longer available because Apple changed something and broke it.

Repositories are simply a far superior technology.


They kind of bury the lead here. They can't have their app on the appstore because:

" While we still updated our applications in time, Apple did not review them for the AppStore, and instead rejected them first for a crash (sigh!), and later for requiring UI changes, including showing a Save As panel for each generated file. Now this may not sound like much, this is a serious issue for a document scan application which easily generates hundreds of files in an hour, and thousands of files a day, with file names automatically generated, either thru counters, or advanced auto-id features, such as barcodes."

Even if Apple later took back the rejection I bet this was the last straw.


I also have my own experience with rejection: You used/included word Contacts in name of the app; this is a trademark of Apple. My app used word Contacts before apple renamed their AddressBook to Contacts.app on macOS. I used appeal with link to their list of trademarks. I am pointing out that humans do many errors and sometimes your app is in review for 2 weeks (2019) for no reason (minor update). Happened to me and the Yoink.app owner as well


Not trying to blame you at all for what happened, but for my benefit as a developer and for anyone else reading, did you ever apply for a trademark or consider it? I'd love to know the details of how that worked out if you did.


Maybe they thought common sense applies and "Contacts" is not a trademarkable word.


> instead rejected them first for a crash (sigh!)

As a user, I'm glad Apple did that.

As a developer, the one thing that I do dislike about Apple, is the dismal state of their documentation on how to actually take advantage of all their platforms' features. I have to begrudgingly admit that their nemesis Microsoft has always been way ahead in that department.


In context though it is still Apple's issue:

> After releasing the Catalina Golden Master build to developers on October the 3rd, we immediately finished fixing any new crash and issue we could find over the weekend. In our opinion, leaving developer just four (4!) days over a weekend with a public release on October the 7th is not very professional. While we still updated our applications in time, Apple did not review them for the AppStore, and instead rejected them first for a crash (sigh!), [...]


Catalina had been available to the public for testing since like WWDC; unless these were late breaks only found in GM, it's a tough pill to swallow that these urgent bugs couldn't have been addressed before GM shipped.


Maybe, but prior to the "Golden Master" release are you really testing your stuff, or Apple's?

Leaving such a small window between Apple getting its act together with the GM, and a hard deadline for third parties to get their act together, is rough.


Yes it would be the responsible thing to do as a developer to test your stuff on the OS before it comes out.


I'm not with theis company - my company also had major issues with Catalina. There were major bugs released in each beta. Several were fixed without any release notes mentioning so. We wasted several days of an engineers time tracking down an issue that was fixed in a new beta with no mention. Incredibly frustrating.


> unless these were late breaks only found in GM

That's exactly what the article and the quote above says there was:

> we immediately finished fixing any new crash or issue we could find over the weekend

NEW crashes or issues. In the GM. In four days.


Apple's documentation is some of the worst most incomplete garbage I've ever had the displeasure of trying to read. When you literally need to go to third party people who just figured it out through sheer luck because features are fully undocumented and don't give tool tips, you've broken the user experience.


Okay, but you left out the rest of that sentence.

> and later for requiring UI changes, including showing a Save As panel for each generated file.

So, Apple found a crash, and instead of completing the review (this assumes they could have, and benefit of the doubt here, they could have), they didn't. They found and issue, flagged it, and sent it back. This means the developer had to do work, resubmit, and then have another issue found. Rather than work through everything, the reviewer found one thing, dinged the app, and moved on.

As a user, that means Apple is delaying apps longer than need be. Sure, fixing the crash is good, but I can't imagine they couldn't have reviewed the other parts of the app and said, "Fix the crash and this other two areas and you are good to go." That would mean a shorter turn around time, and as a user, I get a better product sooner.


> So, Apple found a crash, and instead of completing the review (this assumes they could have, and benefit of the doubt here, they could have), they didn't.

Yeah, the crash could have prevented them from completing the review.

> As a user, that means Apple is delaying apps longer than need be.

Meanwhile, according to another outrage, Apple is •not delaying releases enough* and rushing out buggy apps and operating systems.


Apple is delaying other people's apps and rushing out their own. Either way it saves them work.


I think their point was that the crash was because of the fact that: 1. Catalina had a lot of breaking changes, bugs and crashes that caused the apps to crash - which required special attention just for Catalina 2. They were given only 4 days to fix the mess that Catalina resulted in.

At least in this case.


The last straw for me was that they rejected a minor app update because they claimed my app crashed on a not-yet-released OS update. I literally could not install the OS that had the issue, they would provide me with zero additional information (not even a log), and they would not allow my minor update to get into the store. I deleted it from the store that same afternoon.



FYI: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/bury-the-lede-...

I'll keep using the actual word , thank you.


If you insist on using journalism jargon, why not use it in its intended, original form? I for one am not a language purist, you can change expressions any way you see fit but... I mean... The expression is still bury the lede.


The article they posted says that "lead" was the original form, and "lede" was introduced in 2008.


As a standalone word, yes. The expression is, nevertheless, "bury the lede", and always* has been.

* since the 1970s when it first surfaced.


Do you have a reference for this? The linked article seems pretty clear that it is used both ways and "lead" is the original


"Lead" is correct, and "lede" is journalism jargon.

It was adopted in broadcasting circles to keep news readers from saying "lead" (as in the element) instead of "lead" (as in to follow).

Source: Journalism degree, communications degree, 20 years in broadcast news.


Both are considered correct.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_paragraph#Spelling

In fact your own link indicates that too.


Not everyone on the internet is American. "Lead" is perfectly decent British English for the beginning of an article and always has been. (Source: I'm a former UK magazine editor.)


> They kind of bury the lead here.

Not calling you out or trying to be rude but it's:

"bury the lede"

I always thought it was "lead" too until someone corrected me a decade or so ago...


Asking for the "Save As" panel just shows how amateurish the reviewers are. It sounds like the app already worked like that before: batch generation of files through scanning, but now maybe the assigned reviewer noticed this requirement in the guideline (or it's a new guideline) and thought "Oh no, one item missed, and since I'm a simple automaton I'll have to reject this app!'.


As a user, I am pretty happy about most of the negative points listed in this article. Yes, manual reviews are my firewall against too much scamming. I dont want app providers to notify me about their upcoming company party. It is already fishy enough that some app providers use their own notification system to push ads. And dont get me started on paying for updates! What comes next, paying for firmware updates for devices I already own? I think the guys behind this article really have to rethink their attitude.


Paying for updates has been the standard software model for ages, and with good reason. It still takes money to update and add new features. It still takes time. To some extent new users can pay for this, but then developers have to severely limit the time spent on updates in order to nod spend too much, or they risk not even making a profit on the first version.

That is why most "big" software packages these days are either subscription based, or pay-per-update. We've all come to expect apps to get free updates, but it's not a sustainable business model.


And Apple taking 30% of that... for what? Payment processing is a 4% thing. It’s in the app developers interest to make it not have errors. It’s just for access to the market. That is the only value Apple truly brings, outside of the brand and a privacy commitment


People get hung up on apple having a 30% entrance fee, but that didn't come out of nowhere.

I work in the video games industry and access to steam or other first parties (Sony/Microsoft) is 30%, no negotiations.

You could argue that first parties such as sony/microsoft have subtle costs involved such as printing of disks, but that's paid for before market by the publisher.

The thing you pay for is: content distribution (in the case of digital downloads such as steam), 'signing' and access to market.


The amount of value steam provides on top of payment processing and distribution is immense. Valve basically single handedly created Linux gaming. Their client is so many years ahead of everything else with the forums, workshop, broadcast streaming, streaming to your tv, gamepad support and gamepad virtualisation as well as a mountain of developer side APIs for things like inviting friends to games.

Apples 30% would seem a lot more fair if it was possible to side load and install alternative app stores

In comparison apples offering is little more than "we have a huge captive audience on a proprietary system. Pay us or miss out on half of the market"


Apple meanwhile created the entire OS and all of the developer APIs that your apps rely on, including things like Metal that games rely on. And Apple gives this all away for free.


That should be included in device cost. It is unacceptable that they prevent users who paid for the device from installing programs outside of apples walled garden


If we find Apple extracting rent from apps unacceptable, we look no further than a mirror for the cause. We the public don’t want to pay full freight for hardware.

Microsoft used to boast that they made more money from Apple systems than Apple did. Google does that to Android device makers today.

If platform makers don’t extract rent, or compete with the developers they court, they will look for other sources of revenue to stay profitable. I would be aghast if Apple hardware came loaded with the kind of Junkware I recall from the years I bought Windows hardware.


Are you arguing Apple needs to juice their hardware profit margins? Because my understanding is they're very healthy and the envy of the computing and mobile phone industries.

The neglect of the mac app store feels of a piece with their utter neglect of the mac platform. They seem to be treating it as a runout.


Console developers would like to have a word with you.


It's free, is it? How do I install it in a vmware image for automated testing, or on this PC with compatible hardware I built?

What you're looking for is something like "free for owners of Apple hardware", which is true, but very different. You paid for it.


I realize it’s not what you’re really talking about, I’ve been doing those things for years, first with Chameleon and now with Clover.


They don't give it away for free, they supply a license to use it on Apple hardware.


Metal? What a monumental waste.

If Apple had done the right thing, they would have opted for Vulkan.


> And Apple gives this all away for free.

$99 a year actually, plus 30% of all sales.


$99/year is for developer support and publishing. You can use Xcode for free and even install your app on your personal device without paying a cent. What's more, I was actually talking about the OS and frameworks which are given away for free to all Apple users.


> Valve basically single handedly created Linux gaming.

Valve's influence has been immensely positive for Linux gaming but saying they created it is ridiculous. I was playing on Linux just fine before Steam was ported. Valve's contributions very much stand on top of the efforts of those that came before them.


> I was playing [games] on Linux just fine before Steam was ported.

Yeah, all 4 of them!


Sure there were 4 if you ignore those published by id, those ported by Loki and LGP and forget that Humble Bundle was a thing before S4L.

The number of available games has increased greatly but before S4L was released I already had a backlog of games to play.


People don’t sell their labor to employers at a “fair” price, they sell at whatever the can get. Same concept for any other transaction, sellers will sell for the highest price buyers will pay.


Linux gaming? Seriously?

Apple created THE smartphone. Every phone is an iPhone - Apple proved it and everyone else copied it. And Apple springboarded off their first-mover advantage into a platform that users really like, and keep coming back to.


Nah, maybe for US citzens.

We were already using Symbian, Psion and PocketPC based phones.

The first phone with hardware support for OpenGL ES was the Nokia N95 released in September 2006, one year before iPhone, with Asphalt as their show game.


Sure, you could go back to 1996 and say the Nokia Communicator was the first smartphone.

I think what he meant by "Apple created THE smartphone" is that Apple created the first mass-market smartphone which was desired by regular consumers (rather than niche buyers).


So Europeans and Asians using Symbian, J2ME and Docomo handsets weren't regular consumers?


Docomo phones were(are?) a Japan-only irrelevance.

Granted - Symbian was a thing back then, but can you buy a Symbian phone today? Consumers voted with their money, and they wanted iPhones, not Nokias.

Fast forward to 2019, Nokia is nothing more than a trademark - making generic Android phones on one hand, and cashing in on nostalgia with their feature phones on the other hand.


That doesn't change the fact that Apple did NOT create the smartphone.


But they wrote "Apple created THE smartphone.", not "Apple CREATED the smartphone." To me those mean entirely different things.


A better marketed PDA with phone capabilities?


I didn't say they created the smartphone.

They created THE smartphone - the definitive item.


You mean the were more successful marketing a PDA with phone capabilities? I guess they got something out of Newton.


Yes.

Apple successfully marketed a product which was tested by Nokia engineers and deemed to be inferior.

What part of 'consumers voted with their money' don't you understand?


Why are you pretending you don’t understand what he’s trying to say. Those aren’t phones most people have heard of, and when they did exist, living without them was easy.


Growing up everyone had a Nokia phone. The Nokia 6600 specifically (which had a multitasking, internet enabled OS with IMO the best J2ME implementation and also allowed you to install arbitrary native programs either from a PC or download them from the Internet) was a very popular device.

To anyone who used this phone, smartphones were already a thing long before iPhone was introduced. Of course iPhone changed things a lot, though IMO many were for the worse (for example i really liked using the tiny joystick on my 6600 for playing games).


All those things were cool about it, but those phones were going to remain business-y devices for a loooong time if someone hadn't come along and replaced resistive touch and add a decent UI.


Because everyone outside US have heard of them.

US was the only market where Nokia had troubles selling their Symbian/J2ME phones for example.

Should I start digging market shares figures of feature phones before iPhone came to be?


> Because everyone outside US have heard of them.

They really haven't.

> Should I start digging market shares figures of feature phones before iPhone came to be?

At this juncture, yes.


By all means, is 64 million shippments in 2006, the year before iPhone came to the market enough?

https://www.canalys.com/newsroom/64-million-smart-phones-shi...

Incredible how iOS fanbase tries to rewrite history.


You're moving the goalposts massively. No one is claiming that the first gen iPhone outsold anything or anyone. More importantly, that data is for 2006, the N95, of which you claim everyone and their dog knew about, didn't become available until march 2007. Your claim that the N95 was massively popular is also wide of the mark. Nokia had around 30 SKU's available to buy at the time, with the N95 being one of the very top end devices. All your link shows is that Nokia had the lions share of revenue and market share. Well, yeah. No one with half a brain would argue that.

TL;DR: Look at how Nokia's revenue collaspsed post September 2007. Look at how Android and Nokia's decision to go all in on Windows Mobile accelerated it. Then tell me that the iOS fanbase is trying to rewrite history...


You are the one making those claims as otherwise it weakens the iOS über all assertion.

N95 was just one example of the millions of Symbian, J2ME and PocketPC/WindowsCE smartphones being shipped before iOS became reality.

Nokia's revenue only collapsed due to the way Elop drove the company to the ground as means to get the bonus on his contract. As the Finn press later discovered.


> You are the one making those claims as otherwise it weakens the iOS über all assertion.

Nonsense.

> N95 was just one example of the millions of Symbian, J2ME and PocketPC/WindowsCE smartphones being shipped before iOS became reality.

And none of them are around now. More to the point, all but a handful could be considered 'smart'. We could debate what smart is, but ultimately it's moot. Pre 2007, 'smart' devices were by and large business oriented, post September 2007, they started to become the norm; first with iOS, closely followed by Android. These facts are incontrovertible.

The point you are trying to make is utterly wrong. The original assertion was that Apple 'invented' the smartphone is equally wrong. However, Apple did play a significant role in defining what a smartphone is, Nokia and Symbian not so much. The proof? Where are they now?

> Nokia's revenue only collapsed due to the way Elop drove the company to the ground as means to get the bonus on his contract. As the Finn press later discovered.

Elop merely dealt the final blow. Nokia's sales declined post 2008 when they peaked with a global share of ~40%. Elop Joined late 2010...


Nokia is happily selling Android devices, after surviving Elop's management and guess how much market share Android has worldwide.

Apparently everyone on Europe was a business person when using Nokia and Sony phones, go figure.


[flagged]


Personal attacks will get you banned here. Could you please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and use HN as intended?


Is this comment really contributing to the conversation?


When iPhone arrived in Europe it was disappointment for people who used smartphones. It had few things going for it (better web browser than default IE Mobile on PDAs, better screen than many), and long list of "works worse".

Starting with the basic things that everyone who invested in smartphones at the time wanted, i.e. email, going through hilariously high cost (the reason behind it known only to insiders - Apple was in full rent-seeking mode, and required a portion of your phone bill as payment for being able to use iPhone. Not joking, that's why there were special iPhone-only tarriffs), it lacked physical keyboard, copy&paste, and a bunch of other things. iPhone 2G was also slower at running iOS 1.0 "applications" than higher end Nokia symbian phones (that used the same webkit core in browser).

Symbian devices were well known, and were more commonly considered "smartphones", as "palmphones" generally only got interest from people who really needed the power (a bit of chicken&egg issue).


What is this weird narrative that pre-iPhone smartphones didn't exist in the US, and somehow only Europe and Asia had these "advanced" devices? We had smartphones too. All the negatives you mentioned (no physical keyboard, copy & paste, etc.) were brought up by lots of people when the iPhone was first released. Ultimately it didn't matter, and the iPhone was a breakout hit and every single smartphone on sale today is based on its core design.


Man, everybody had blackberrys in the US. It was a huge success. Apple took a risk decision of having a purely touch-based smartphone, and the bet paid awesomely. But by any other aspects, the blackberry was a more useful and powerful device for professionals than the IPhone.


> But by any other aspects, the blackberry was a more useful and powerful device for professionals than the IPhone.

The first iPhone, sure, no arguments there. The whole point of the iPhone was to make smartphones more useable for non-professionals.


Nokia and Sony failure to make an impact on US while the rest of the world was enjoying their Symbian and J2ME handsets.


"...hilariously high cost..."

In 2007, the Nokia N95 cost $795 while the iPhone cost $600.

Sauce: https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/practical-gadgetry/two-wee...


That's the one time cost for purchase outside of contract... For N95. Not for iPhone, at least not for normal people.

The reality in 2008 is that Apple forbid selling iPhone without contract, with contract requiring special extra Apple tax (we already had "unlimited data" for years by then). So you were paying whatever the telco asked you for the phone, then paid extra to Apple as long as you used the "iPhone tariff" (and you couldn't get it otherwise other than ebay).

Since at least in Poland majority bought the phone as part of the contract, the prices were wildly different. I can't find N95, but business oriented E51 cost me under $70. Without significant impact on monthly fees on the contract. And without paying Apple tax on my phone bill.

BTW, regarding visual voicemail... Little known thing about iOS 1-2 is that the network stack was broken and it wasn't capable of redirecting to voicemail like every other phone. Required special buggy software to get any voicemail for people running iPhones, and at least at Era GSM (present day T-Mobile Poland) it took 3 months from providing iPhone on sales and any voicemail working?


The cost of a phone bundled with a contract bears no relation to the real-world cost. Depending on your monthly payment and length of contract, you could pay $100 or $500 for the same phone.

In some markets, iPhones were bundled with a contract because networks had bidding wars for exclusivity.


From the PoV of someone buying a phone, in that specific time and location, cost of phone without contract was rarely ever known. And the iPhone wasn't sold outside of network with attached plan anyway.

From the PoV of someone working at the network and having the luck to talk with some pretty high up there people... the exclusivity was only for order in which networks got the phone. As in, present-day T-Mobile Poland made a bid to be the first network to have it - but it didn't have any kind of long exclusivity and was soon followed by Orange and Plus (the other two "main" networks). All networks had special iPhone "plans" and the phone wasn't available outside of them, and the only technical difference was that said plans ultimately got the very buggy Visual Voicemail server attached and probably triggered workarounds for call handling bugs.

The Apple tax on the phone bill itself, and making it unavailable outside of contract, were all on Apple. (I think for some time using one outside of approved contract even required jailbreaking, but I can't be sure).


The N95 sold more units than the original iPhone.


And the iPhone is still around, whereas Symbian isn't.

Possibly proving that iOS (and the hardware it runs on) was what consumers wanted in the mid-2000's and onward?


Had Elop not destroyed Symbian business, history would have taken a different path, nothing to do with iOS.

https://insights.dice.com/2013/09/25/a-timely-revision-of-el...

Symbian with Qt was already on the right path to win the hearts of many developers.


Symbian was in trouble in 2008 - two years before Elop became CEO of Nokia. It wasn't user-friendly. Ditto for Blackberry.

iOS and Android wiped the floor with Symbian and BB in terms of ease-of-use.

"..the inscrutable difficulty of navigating menus on Nokia's Symbian phones": https://appleinsider.com/articles/13/10/10/how-apples-iphone...


This is an infuriating topic to read about because everybody seems to be varying levels of uninformed.

I worked at Nokia's R&D facility in Ruoholahti briefly in 2011, so I got inducted into the inner sanctum of history regarding the phones.

Symbian was designed for very anemic hardware, there were very tight constraints it's a marvel that the thing ran on what it did. The iPhones first CPU was at least an order of magnitude (and then double it again) more powerful than what Symbian was designed on.

the iPhone, famously did not meet any of the internal tests at Nokia, no drop test, battery life tests nor usability tests for blind people passed at all.

Basically from all avenues it looked dead on arrival.

However, it was obviously _not_ dead on arrival, and so Nokia started looking at things from a "UX first" perspective, the engineering culture was still around though, so, not a major "product" team or graphics design team to be found on the floors of the R&D facility.

But they started this effort _after_ the iPhone had launched, and these projects take a long time.

That's what Maemo was. And it was later merged with Intels efforts and named MeeGo. And everyone who used that system seemed to really enjoy it.

It was, indeed, killed in its crib by Elop. Although to be truly fair, the iPhone and Android were very incumbent at that point.

Symbian was considered obsolete or deprecated internally, not for lack of very intelligent design, but because people seemed to care for things other than that Nokia had believed people cared for.


"the iPhone, famously did not meet any of the internal tests at Nokia..."

So, Nokia saw it as an inferior product?

Perhaps this is a problem in engineer-led companies - thinking that the phone with the most megapixels in its camera, or most wifi bands is the best?

Technical brilliance counts for nothing if consumers don't want the product. See also Windows Phone, Betamax, etc


[flagged]


And yet here we are...


Indeed. To be clear, I am agreeing with you.

Apparently my comment got flagged, maybe it needed a link. I assumed everyone would get it. Oh well. (For reference: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=no+wireless+less+space+than+a+noma... )


Yeah, I had Nokia N9. Best phone I ever used. Only wish it had a replaceable battery. Elop killed it before it arrived by announcing the move to windows. That was one of the key event for Nokia in particular and the smartphone industry in general.

Imagine if Nokia had continued investing in a linux phone, android wouldn't be what it is today.


So if Android would take over in 20 years, that would mean Google created the smartphone? No.

Yes, the iPhone is the better smartphone than Symbian-based phones. But it wasn't the first, despite the market share today.


In which cave you were living before the iphone launch that you never heard about the blackberry?


Yeah, but those phones were not very good


Have you used a Nokia N9 ? Way ahead of its time.

+ Linux on phone

+ True multi-tasking with live tiles.

+ Full web browser.

+ Turn by turn on device voice navigation. Cannot stress how significant this was.

+ uncluttered swipe gestures to control the apps/windows.

+ amazing build.

- non replaceable battery.

In 2011.


From whose point of view?


I had an N70. It was slow, slow, slow. I had a 5800. It was as slow as the N70 and the resistive screen made me want to cry. I never had the original iPhone but I guess it wasn't as bad.


You couldn't make a call and browse the Internet at the same time on an iPhone.

You couldn't copy and paste text on an iPhone.

The camera was worse than any contemporary mid range camera phone.


I could make a phone call and browse the interest on my gen1 iPhone. I used ATT as my network. Verizon had the limitation you described, but not all carriers.

Copy and paste didn’t work, but it didn’t work on any phone at the time. A few attempted it (eg, win mobile, blackberry) but it really sucked.

The camera was quite good and the ability to finally save and share photos and video was revolutionary at the time. I always thought it was funny how much it sucked at the time to try to store and send photos from my BlackJack or Blackberry.


Copy and paste on Android worked well before iOS, both in ability and timing. I remember being confused my wife couldn't copy and paste with her iPhone when I had a password manager. Copy and paste on iOS took way, way too long. It's interesting how you're claiming you were doing things that didn't exist for the device.


Multitasking was added iOS 4, the very first iPhone (Gen1) only supported up to "iPhone OS" 3; and even then, with limited functionality.

In fact, the iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch (2nd Gen) did not support multi-tasking either, even with iOS4. Apple noted performance issues.


Multitasking was in the OS, just not available to web sites and app developers.

Jail broken apps had multitasking like screen sharing, WiFi hot spotting and lots of other stuff.

It’s a big deal for an OS that doesn’t have multitasking vs doesn’t allow app developers to use.


Yeah but phone calls and music always did work in the background.


Other than it just lacked a couple of features every other phone had as standard feature by then.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/iphones-missing-features/


hardware from that era would be slow. If you used an iphone 3 right now it'll be slow guaranteed. Also the first iphones were shiny toys, underpowered and featureless compared to Nseries and Win mobile. If they were that good, Microsoft would have responded immediately.


They were very slow. The important thing is they didn't feel sluggish, at all.

It took Android phones many many years to even approach feeling as responsive and smooth and indicative of whether input has actually registered as the original iPhone, just scrolling through stuff and navigating around the OS. Tech at the time didn't even try on that front.

Featureless yes, but it could do enough to almost right away replace my iPod, Palm, and Nokia. One device instead of three was just too good to pass up.


That is not true at all. The iPhone had “amazing” features for the time- a real browser, visual voicemail, photo management, music integration, three way calling, contact integration. Almost all were incremental but really made the functions more useful.


And no apps apart from the built-ins. No copy and paste. Just like a feature phone. Apart from the browser and music courtesy ipod, other smart phones had the remaining features and far more robust. They may not have had fancy UI, but they were more powerful at the time.

Even the camera megapixel craze was being led by nokia. You're conflating the current dominance of the iphone for the past. At the time, the best thing about it was the finger only touch screen operation. To the best of my memory, others still needed to fall back to a stylus. Finger usage was a whackamole operation with Nseries and blackerry I used then


The first iPhone lacked many features, but it was the best phone at the time for usability. It had massive hype in the press that was probably overblown. But its features were head and shoulders above others at the time.

The simple act of making a call was so much easier and efficient, even though it lacked cut and paste.

Comparing it to feature phones is really curious because they were completely different markets. I don’t think it’s very useful in describing the iPhone’s success to point out individuals features that were also available in various existing phones.


Their forums are pretty bad though, very barebones.


Steam's cut is now 20%/25% depending on how much you sell. Pretty much applies only to big AAA/AA games. [1]

[1]: https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/30/18120577/valve-steam-gam...


Your claim that steam/sony/microsoft all charge 30% no negotiations is dated if not completely inaccurate. It might have been that way the last time you were involved in negotiations (if ever) but it's questionable whether that's still true - we know for a fact Valve offers a lower cut to big studios now. There's basically no guarantee that it's not possible to negotiate anymore, and I would be shocked if the Playstation or XBox business wings were unwilling to negotiate a cut down in order to land a big, million-selling title.

Is your claim that the iOS store cut is 30% because Steam was 30%? Kind of an odd argument given that the iOS store was heavily focused on "apps" initially, and still sort of is, even if games ended up being a big moneymaker.

The 30% is now coming out of a different sort of product than it did at store launch, too. Lots and lots of F2P stuff with in-app purchases, subscriptions, etc. Even if 30% was justified for single-purchase apps, does it make sense to continue giving them an ongoing 30% of all revenue when IAPs and subscriptions are literally not using any Apple infrastructure if they're things like 'unlocking premium features in the app you already have' or 'getting premium support'?


Hi,

> Your claim that steam/sony/microsoft all charge 30% no negotiations is dated if not completely inaccurate

I get the general impression that you're either in a much better bargaining position than I am, or you're not in the industry.

I still make AAA games, the latest of which came out this year[0] I can tell you concretely that we pay 30% of every purchase to the first party.

(except on PC, because we sell on uPlay and the Epic store, which has lower fees -- one of steams conditions is that you cant offer the game cheaper elsewhere, so we could never apply discounts on uplay)

> we know for a fact Valve offers a lower cut to big studios now

Valve has been openly hostile to my publisher for many years, perhaps this is the problem? Frequently unlisting our games.[1] We as a publisher do not officially respond to these things because they have better customer relations and a higher sentiment than we do, we would lose a PR battle, so we accept it and move on. This happens in negotiations too.

> I would be shocked if the Playstation or XBox business wings were unwilling to negotiate a cut down in order to land a big, million-selling title

They have almost all the power in those negotiations. The only bargaining power we have is if we have a very strongly rated title that we threaten to make exclusive. But in those cases we would lose more from _not_ selling on the platform than we would make back in the first-party cut. So it's lose-lose.

30% applies to in-game consumables too, anything processed by them as a payment provider.

What games company do you work for? :)

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Clancy%27s_The_Division_2

[1]: https://kotaku.com/ubisoft-pulls-big-games-from-steam-165567...


Perhaps your games on Steam would be better received if they didn't force the buyer to also install a crapware like Uplay on top of Steam and forcing to create another user account to play a game the buyer has just paid for (perhaps it has changed, I haven't bought an Ubi game in years).


Regarding a second account; I'm afraid there's very little that can be done on that front, there was account linking added some time ago that meant you didn't need to maintain or continually log-in to uplay, you just create a linked account and forget about it- no second password needed I believe.

So at least for usability it should not be any different than normal.

If you have other specific complaints about uPlay then I'd be happy to hear them and feed them back to the team, since we're actually located in the same studio.

Unfortunately uPlay does drive a significant amount of business value, handling things like entitlements so that each game doesn't have to re-implement them and allowing us to handle things like distribution of "other" types of clients, like development versions of the games for review, or debug enabled versions of games for debugging. It also allows for A/B testing of various features.

As recently as 2017 there was consensus among ubisoft upper management that the perception of uPlay was bad, so more focus has been put on the user aspects, so in theory it should be much better now than it was, because before it was very business focused.

But, as everything, people are happy to help if they can, nobody wants to make an awful system.

Unless the problem is that you have to have a second launcher? that's usually peoples primary complaint. (and in those cases uPlay tries to hide itself and stay out of the way)


Well, I can assure you that seeing a game requires uPlay means I'm probably not going to buy it, and I'm not alone in that. Of course, I haven't even wanted to play an Ubisoft game since... I honestly can't remember, so I guess I'm not the target audience anyway.

> Unless the problem is that you have to have a second launcher?

That's a big part of it. I have enough crapware that insists on constantly running on my PC (a lot of it direct from MS these days, sigh).

PS: Oh yeah, and it wants me to sign up for an account too. Hooray! I don't have enough of accounts spread all over the goddamned place already.


So, again, the largest complaint is that we have our own launcher.

Given what I mentioned from the parent (Valve arbitrarily pulling down all our games), how do you think I can convince the business to make ourselves more vulnerable to such behaviour?


Well I think not many people have a problem with Ubisoft having their own store, but why require a launcher? (e.g. that the launcher runs in the background or that I have to start it at all when I start a game)

The functionality should be optional and the parts you need could be a library which integrate within the game.


> Valve arbitrarily pulling down all our games

I don't have enough information to know what "arbitrarily" means here. From what I can tell, Valve is pretty damned reluctant to remove things from the store, which makes me really curious why they would "arbitrarily" remove such popular AAA titles.

Regardless, I can tell you that things like uPlay are hugely annoying and whatever excuses your company has for why it exists don't really change that.

Frankly I don't even like having to use the Steam launcher, but seeing as they pretty much single handedly built the market they are now the defacto standard in I've reluctantly accepted it. Ubisoft's wares simply do not appeal to me enough to overcome my distaste in the same way.


> the largest complaint is that we have our own launcher.

That sits above Steam's launcher, so I launch the game via Steam, then Uplays pop up (slowly, then updates), I dig up my contact details from an old post-it, then the game launch! I think it makes sense for Ubisoft to have their launcher, but in the case of games sold through Steam, its mandatory use detract from the game. And on Steam, games that have been pulled from the store are still in the game library of buyers, so it's not an argument.


I think the argument is that without the launcher, if the game is pulled then the customer gets no more updates, has no access to DLC, etc.


Well, in that case the user would have to use the launcher. But there's not reason to force it on the user, in addition to Steam.


I don't have any recent criticism of Uplay, I'm pretty sure I haven't launched an Ubisoft game with Uplay since maybe 2017 (more or less) (played all the 3d PoP though).

I commend you for offering to receive feedback.

I also understand that Uplay is a good business idea.

The issue was being _forced_ to use it in addition to Steam and having to create an account, since apparently at the time (2015?) the account linking didn't exist. I don't think it makes a lot of sense to have to launch two launcher just to play a game (perhaps it has changed since last time though).


Just another data point: I also will not buy any game which uses uPlay, I spent too many hours trying to make the damn thing even work which I intended to spend playing games. (Not compatible with Steam Link either, in my experience.)


I won’t lose sleep over f2p apps that profit by getting whales to spend money on in app consumables. I hope Apple Arcade cuts even more into those types of apps.

As far as subscriptions, the answer is simple - don’t allow subscriptions through the App Store. Netflix, Spotify, Linux Academy, AT&T Now, Sling, etc force you to pay for subscriptions outside of the App Store. You can subscribe to Hulu in the App Store but not Hulu Live.

As far as the 30%, all of the rumors are that none of the big players like Netflix (before they stopped allowing in app subscriptions), Hulu, or HBO ever paid more than 15%.


Apple and Google Play store cut for subscriptions drops to 15% for the period after a year doesn’t it?


> IAPs and subscriptions are literally not using any Apple infrastructure if they're things like 'unlocking premium features in the app you already have' or 'getting premium support’?

They’re using Apple’s account, pricing, payment, and licensing infrastructure


You have to remember what these store are replacing.

In case of Sony/Nintendo you pay togt access to their closed hw and ecosystem (for much less than 30% by the way). In case of apple you pay to be included in a catalogue but you can also sell directly to customers.


One added value of steam I like is that games that uses Steam Network to find servers are still working long after for other games master servers are gone


Sony and Microsoft sell the consoles at a loss in order to create a huge installed base to sell games for. They make money selling games, but definitely they are bringing way more to the table than apple, that not only don't sell their devices at a loss, but has the highest margins on the hardware business.


>Sony/Microsoft is 30%, no negotiations.

How about Nintendo?


The games I work on do not publish on Nintendo, so I don't have first-hand experience here. :(


30% is high but it’s not just payment processing, it’s payment fraud insulation, download bandwidth, and marketplace amplification (people finding your app without knowing they’re looking for your app).

Apple also drops subscription costs from the second year on to 15% which is coming back to reality. I personally find the subscription model way more sustainable & less user hostile than the paid versioning upgrade model, the grand majority of the industry is also in agreement there. So there’s a lot of bad smells from this developer that they just want to run a shoddy business and not that there’s a big problem with Apple.


>marketplace amplification

this never happens, if you JUST upload your app to the store and think it will take off coz it has good features then good luck. In reality you have to upload and then pay some app advertisement agency to feed your app to the multiple tech blogs to inorganically promote it. App store is full of inorganically promoted trash nowadays


I'm not saying apple takes you from 0 to millions of downloads, I'm saying that the marketplace does find you new customers. I buy/subscribe to lots of stuff that I find through the editor callouts or through organic search and Apple has a probably wildly inflated number for how much they drive downloads, but its definitely higher than 0%.


What would be "organic promotion" in your mind? You're right that you can't just throw something out there and expect it to get popular. Either you've gotta pimp it out to tech blogs and forums in the hopes that people notice it or you pay someone else to handle it.


> it’s payment fraud insulation

Stripe charging 3-4% or less per transaction _doesn't_ include fraud insulation??

> download bandwidth

So does a free / $20 CloudFlare account.


Considering Microsoft cut their percentage take to 5% on the Microsoft Store [1], it shows that Apple is really charging 30% just because developers keep letting them get away with it.

[1] https://download.cnet.com/news/microsoft-store-slashes-reven...


That's because nobody uses the Microsoft Store.


You can claim the MS Store is an outlier because "nobody uses it" (maybe? got numbers? it's obviously not #1, though) but other stores offer lower cuts as well. Epic made a big deal out of their lower cut (~12%) compared to the other stores and developers seem to be paying attention.


The Epic store doesn't need to make money, they have Fortnite for that. A barebones store missing features that even the worst online marketplaces have, is just their attempt to become the new "monopoly" if they can get enough of steam's customer base. Once the platform matures and they stop throwing money at devs and giving away free games, we'll see what changes they make, if any.


Mostly because they're throwing buckets of money at the developers for exclusive deals, not because it's a better product offering in any way, or has a better audience.


If the software I want is on it then I use it, while Mac App Store is an inferior experience to a downloaded app + update framework like Sparkle I've found Microsoft Store far superior to software updaters and installers that usually ship on Windows and it works much faster and smoother than the Mac App Store which is very janky.


I don't think negative economy of scale applies here.


first time i ever heard of "Microsoft Store".


> And Apple taking 30% of that... for what? Payment processing

uhhh.. hosting and bandwidth for potentially millions of downloads and updates and your videos and screenshots?

Covering user refunds?

A reviews and feedback system?

Crash logs?

Showing you in user searches?

The Editor's Choice and Featured Apps lottery?

Invitations to develop for yet-to-be announced platforms?

Giving your users peace of mind that your app is sandboxed and cannot indulge in hanky panky?


None of which you can opt out of.

I'd happily host my own apps and pay the hosting/bandwidth than pay the $99 a year for Apple Developer Account + 30% of all sales.

But Apple won't let me, if I want my app to run on iOS I have no choice BUT to use their bandwidth.


Ah, 30% of the ~3 billion Tinder or any successful business is worth it for "band width"? Yeah, no. Not sure how this even became a norm for people to look so blindly. It's absolutely insane to even think about.. we're almost talking about 1 3rd of the entire business value for hosting!?


Considering no one else seems to be able to sell access to a similar market, it seems to be a valuable thing to sell.


How would you sell access to the iOS market? If you're just saying 'they have full control so they can set the price', well yeah, but that doesn't automatically make it reasonable to give up most of your control and hand out 30% of your revenue in order to pick up additional customers. It seems like today in 2019 more people are deciding the customers aren't as profitable as they look.


I’m saying they have full control of something buyers want, so they can charge 30%. If their revenue starts going down due to their customers deciding 30% isn’t worth it, then the seller (Apple) will have to consider dropping their price if they want to continue selling.


That is a good point, is creating a new app feasible within the app store? It seems if there are enough new features added, then it would become a new app which would be chargeable as a new purchase (with a discount code for users of the existing app). Presumably, such a milestone release would only happen every 2 - 3 year so there is time to think of an appropriate addition to the title ("Pro," "Premium", "Plus", etc) or very occasionally launch a new product.


> Presumably, such a milestone release would only happen every 2 - 3 year so there is time to think of an appropriate addition to the title ("Pro," "Premium", "Plus", etc) or very occasionally launch a new product.

How about numbers?


Lots of developers do this.


Worked well enough before every app became a security hole waiting to happen. I'd be happy with paid updates if the trade-off was you stay off the network. No cloud sync, no analytics, just standard local APIs. I mean, software companies used to turn a profit without data mining our souls to Satan.


> And dont get me started on paying for updates!

I think this really depends on implementation. Paying for bugfixes? No, thanks. Paying for a major version bump like new ms office where you don't really need to upgrade and will be supported anyway? Sure.


What about paying for compatibility with the latest macOS? Of course, no user would like to pay for that, but the reality of Apple universe is that developers have to spend a lot of time fixing compatibility issues caused by Apple.


Honestly... I don't mind new versions to cost extra for compatibility with new MacOS. It's a stupid environment. If you choose it, you've got money to spend on app refresh every other year. You can always stay on previous major version of the OS for a long time as well.

Windows 10 will likely support your apps for at least a decade. There's choice.

(I'm using Mac for work. I'm likely migrating to another system instead of Catalina)


However, that developer investment is required if they plan to keep selling their application - hardly anyone will buy an app outright without modern platform support.

If you are growing your market, you can make your app a flat charge. If you are maintaining and and expanding an app for an existing user base, subscription is a better way to go (and something Apple does support well).


What example do you have in mind? Compatibility updates ought to be free point releases.


Apple constantly deprecates and removes APIs and features. Some significant examples that require rewriting and retesting a lot of code: Objective-C garbage collection, QTKit, WebView.

Dealing with all that in many cases takes more resources than introducing new features, but, just like you, people expect free compatibility updates.


No, the churn rate is super-low. GC was introduced ten years ago and finally killed this year. QTKit was introduced sixteen years ago and also killed this year. WebView I believe still works!

The deprecation cycle is a decade or more, and in every case there's a paved migration path (GC->ARC, QTKit->AV Foundation, WebView is trickier but for good technical reasons). This strategy and timeframe seems eminently responsible.


WebView → WKWebView?


1Password 6. After an upgrade of Safari the browser plugin was no longer compatible. Users had to upgrade to 1Password 7 for a single payment of €55 or a monthly subscription of €3,99 per month.


Forever?


For as long as the product is actively maintained. It's reasonable to have a free 2.x.1 release for (say) Catalina compatibility, offered simultaneously with a 3.0 release that includes new features.


What about upgrades due to the environment and not the app. Like OS changes etc. That’s not bug fixes but those are very real issues with very costs.


I'd argue that bugfixes belong to feature updates hand in hand, and should be accounted for in the pricing


I’m not sure you and I are looking at the same stores. The Mac App Store alone is chock full of scams, and many of them are quite obvious (just search for the name of any popular package but there are many more). Apple does an absolutely terrible job of finding these. Meanwhile, Apple is really good at finding the most annoying reasons to reject updates from legitimate developers.


I don't quite understand how SaaS-everything is fine nowadays but if you call it "paying for updates" people will be outraged


You're taking the worse behavior of independent software developers and using those as an excuse to accept the atrocious behavior of Apple and their app store monopoly.

Apple's recent kowtow to China and blocking apps China doesn't like is a great example.

If an app spams you just uninstall it...

If Apple kills an app you love there's nothing you can do...


You're also using the best behavior of the developers who have made it through app store as evidence that the app store process is not beneficial to users. We don't really know how many bad apps and malware have been prevented by these practices, but I would bet it's a substantial amount. Just look at all the horrible crap in Google's play store.


I'm sorry but as a user, I trust my relationship with Apple more than I trust random third party devs.

As a user, I want Apple to lock down the system and make things hard for developers.

As a developer, I empathize with my perspective as a user and build products that take this into account.


As a user, I want my system to use containerization for me to not worry about where I get my apps from. You know, like Flatpak does it. This isn't really an argument for modern OSes such as desktop Linux anymore.


Containers are not a magic shield that protects you from all attacks. You should still be wary of what you're running even with the additional protection they offer.

For example - https://seclists.org/oss-sec/2019/q1/119


> Containers are not a magic shield that protects you from all attacks.

Nor are manual reviews by Apple staff...


Sure, but I’m not going to let perfect be the enemy of good. Could the review process be improved? Absolutely! But I’ll take some review over no review any day of the week.


I'd rather take my review from someone other than Apple then.


They could be (and are on Illumos and FreeBSD) if only they were designed with that from the start. Linux has always made the mistake of not designing things to be safe and secure from the outset (cgroups/namespaces, btrfs, etc.).


BSD is also an application desert compared to GNU/linux. It's always going to be a scale between user desires and security needs. BSD is rock solid but moves glacially slow. Most devs need more speed than that. Most users demand it. There's a reason despite the elitist attitude the Arch Illuminati take that people want Arch. It's a really stable bleeding edge release.


I assume you're talking about desktop applications? If so, I don't think the advantages of containerization really apply like they do on the server side.



apt-get and yum and pacman and the rest do not enforce containerization.


No, but they get their software from a trusted central authority (unless you choose to trust a third party repo and add it manually).


Just like Apple Store ? (except the part where you can add 3rd party stores)


The apps there can't be vetted by others who want to (like they can for apt etc.). The incentives are totally different: Apple Store is commercial, and Apple takes 30%, hence the part about taking your choices away.


Apple takes 30%, so it’s in their best interest to push as many apps through as possible, yet the process is notoriously difficult. This shows you their motivation is in the right place. A third party can be bought (see Amazon paid reviews) to push something through. We’ve also seen cases in these public, but “vetted”, repos where bad code was pushed without being caught until after the fact (see NPM leftpad)


The article is about the Mac App Store. You can have third party app stores on the Mac.


Which is why some distros like Ubuntu are moving to replace them.


Not entirely, Flatpak is not intended for the base system, only for applications. Snap is AFAIK but probably not because Canonical wants to sandbox the OS from itself.


snap and flatpak certainly enforce sandboxing.


As a user, I avoid Apple products as much as I can.

I never liked MacOS; Macintosh's charm, which was its UI, went away when I got my Amiga.

I also never liked the iPhone, because a) it's terribly overpriced, b) I don't want a walled garden.

I survived all these years in the raw PC market with no one holding my hand. I don't need a walled garden.

Of course, that's my strictly personal preference.


That's basically like saying you prefer to live under a totalitarian regime than a democracy because: security. Humans gladly trade their freedom for security as your comment implies, you are comfortable with that.

The web is, or at least was in part, a democracy. Apple is clearly a dictatorship.

Trust doesn't really come into it. You trust your user data to 3rd parties every single day using apps that very publicly compromise you like FB, Google etc. So to say that you trust your relationship with Apple doesn't mean squat. Sure Apple is good at preventing people from breaking into your iPhones, but it's not good at stopping Facebook from selling your data to 3rd parties which you talk about. Your security is already compromised.

In the days even before the web we had many programs from independent 3rd parties that have now turned into household names today.

I refuse to believe that Apple's incredibly convoluted App store is the way forward. I ultimately believe Apple will fail here and have to make major changes, indeed I hope it does.


It’s more like saying they want to live in a society with rules and regulations which are enforced rather than a Wild West ultra liberal free market economy.


> That's basically like saying you prefer to live under a totalitarian regime than a democracy

Horrible analogy - the App Store is not "life" it's business. We deal with demanding, undemocratic platforms in business all the time.

The way forward is the open web. I support that and there's room for both.


This is an absurd comparison that makes zero sense on the face of it.

People don’t give up any freedom when they choose Apple products.

It’s a feature of a democracy that you can decide to contract any third parties you like to carry out professional services - such as verifying software quality, or protecting the privacy of your data.

Anyone who doesn’t like Apple’s services can simply buy Android, which explicitly offers openness as a differentiator.

The comparison between a managed software store and an authoritarian regime makes no sense at all precisely because you can leave.

The software company behind the original posting has chosen to leave.

Presumably you have chosen to leave or never enter.

The only authoritarians in this scenario are the people who wish to use government power to deny others the right to choose the service Apple provides.


I want things sandboxed for sure but I definitely don't want to be forced to use App Store. In reality App Stores are bad, too much enforced centralization. Takes the power out of the user's hands.


> In reality App Stores are bad, too much enforced centralization.

This holds for any kind of store, from supermarkets to Amazon.


What's the alternative?


Competition.


The alternative to businesses that sell things is competition?


I'm guessing this isn't what you meant, but the endgame of "Apple, please make things hard for developers" is there's no apps left for you to use that aren't made by Apple, because they made it too hard for developers.

A balance has to be struck somewhere. Developers increasingly do not like where Apple is placing the balance (generally on the side of 'go screw yourself, time to rework your app for our latest guideline and API changes, also buy some new hardware to run the latest xcode')


Xcode has generally supported the two newest macOS releases, with its current minimum OS being Mojave, which supports Macs from 2012 and if you pick up a $50 GPU upgrade, even 2010 Mac Pro’s. Almost all of those same Macs will be supported when Catalina becomes the new minimum.

This doesn’t seem all that onerous. If you’re stuck on a Mac that’s a decade old for some reason all it’ll take to be able to develop again is picking up a $150-$200 Mac mini or iMac on eBay/Craigslist.


Large majority of Apple users do not need anything else than what Apple already made.


Which is why the store makes so little of their money right? Your opinion is directly against their profit data.


Yep. As an android user and ex apple fanboy, I very much miss the relative safety of the iOS app store.


Well you can always go back. Just make sure you can afford it and all the dongles you'll need.


I'll go back when their hardware is beautiful again and when offline Spotify lands on Apple watch.


Not if you actually want to own your device (have root).


That's a simplistic view. Apple can impose their political views upon you that you didn't agree with when you bought the device (see the current HK Map debacle). Their leadership could change. They can and will ban Apps that are not a threat at all.

You stance also implies that there's no way Apple could allow sideloading in a safe way (real sideloading not their 7 day and/or paid cert crap). I already need to contact Apples servers to unlock my phone, I would be fine if I had to unlock my device with Apple to allow sideloading. And since this is becoming more of a free market and free speech issue, I hope lawmakers will fix this problem.


As I understand AppStore is mutual platform. It should be beneficial to both user and devs.


Doesn't the freedom and Android allow for you to trust a secure app store? I know that Playstore has its issues but it still has their barrier to entry and is patrolled by Google's app security team. Alternatively, there could even be a more secure app store established with even higher vetting. This is in contrast to Apple's store where you're either comfortable with their balance of security/hassle or you're not.


> I'm sorry but as a user, I trust my relationship with Apple more than I trust random third party devs.

I don't see any reason why one would trust Apple more than a random third party dev. To me they are one and the same.


16 years of managing personal information and credit card details of 100’s of millions of people. Without any known data breach.


And no marketing spam from third parties since Apple doesn't sell your information.


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