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Apple gave me the Hey treatment back in 2014 (ylukem.com)
384 points by firloop 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 383 comments





The fact that Apple is scrubbing text communications and discussing certain sensitive things with developers only over the phone is supremely shady. Deleting old communications is a classic tactic employed by organizations that anticipate lawsuits and associated discovery. It's amazing that they've formulated a comprehensive set of internal business practices directed at sustaining this racket.

In Canada the law states that one person in the conversation must agree to the recording which means if you want to record yourself it is perfectly legal and no need to tell the other person you are recording. So if they did this to a Canadian developer they could record them without asking or letting Apple know.

> Deleting old communications is a classic tactic employed by organizations that anticipate lawsuits and associated discovery.

Every sufficiently big organisation starts doing it soon after the first bogus lawsuit that costs them millions of dollars.


As a trillion dollar company with hundreds of billions in the bank we can expect more from them. And if the legal system has perverse incentives that should be fixed through reform, not apathy.

I don't think that any reform of the legal system can get rid of people whose business model is litigation. You can't get rid of legal trolls without denying justice to actual victims of corporate wrongdoing.

Also, I would be extremely suspicious of any reform of the legal system coming from megacorps.

This is not to say the system cannot be improved, it's just wicked hard and you cannot blame any single actor for not doing that.


maybe it's time for ios developers to (temporary) remove their apps from the App Store as a protest?

Taking 30% without providing alternatives to install apps seems totally unfair


Pointing out that this happens specifically when companies maximizes for prioritizes profit instead of the benefit of their product (which was what allowed them to gain such traction).

It does feel prevalent in large corporations though.


It’s not bogus if they lost the lawsuit.

I can confirm the only phone call I got from Apple was to explain why they can't accept my app.

It was a small display test app / game which apparently is not allowed as the users might start thinking they have a defective product (and perhaps ask for a refund / replacement).


Force Apple to communicate via email or other comms out of their control.

I had a long argument with Apple Support over their refusal to replace my shitty Macbook keyboard under their warranty program.

Finally I asked them to give me their rejection in a formal email.

Two days later the support person called back and said they made 'an exception' in my case and are happy to fix it under warranty.


In this case it is because you need that rejection email in writing to go file a claim with your credit card and trigger your purchase protection. As soon as Apple (or whoever) thinks you will take this route, they are happy to limit their losses and replace it before you can file a claim that could result in chargeback.

Would credit card extended warranties and protection result in a charge back? I thought the credit card companies paid these out as benefits, and usually reserved for cards with annual fees.

There's two routes you could go down - file a warranty claim on a higher-end card that provides extended warranties.

Cards usually also allow you to request a chargeback against defective goods for which a merchant refuses to make you whole. In this case you could probably call up Amex or whatever and say "I bought a laptop that is defective within the warranty period and apple refuses to RMA it, here's the proof..." and they'd do it no questions asked.

I've done both of these things with Amex and Chase and it's usually a painless process for each. With the chargeback route, however, it's common for companies to retaliate by closing your accounts or otherwise refusing you service until you reverse the chargeback. If you actually tried to chargeback the macbook I wouldn't be surprised if you found yourself with a "your iCloud account will be closed in 30 days" email. When I charged back a local CSA for refusing to cancel my subscription without an onerous phone tree despite multiple emails I received a voicemail saying, very politely, "Your account is now closed but you will be banned from ever opening a new account with us in the future."

Fine by me...


Australian here, in my card chargeback form there’s literally an option for “The good I received is defective and the seller has declined to remedy”.

CSA == Canadian Soccer Association?

Community Supported Agriculture. Farm shares, basically. Pay a fixed amount/week for a weekly allotment of whatever is seasonally being harvested by a local farm. Usually at better prices than local grocery stores and you support local farmers and ag.

> In this case it is because you need that rejection email in writing to go file a claim with your credit card and trigger your purchase protection.

If it's a case of extended warranty, wouldn't the card company just require an official repair quote?


It sounded more like return/warranty protection - this merchant isn't honoring my return/warranty vs extended warranty protection which is slightly different.

How are you going to force Apple to do that?

You telling them your preferred medium of communication would be one way. See a sibling comment for the result of that alone in some situations.

their lawyers ain't cheap.

Developers really should stage a revolt on both Google and Apple's mobile phone ecosystems. They have ruined computing for users (locked down systems with no ability to tinker) and make it impossible to have any viable business on their platforms, since they have total control over you, can shut you down at any time without recourse, and retroactively change terms. It is part of a larger trend of evolving business world where small players are doomed.

This is not 100% correct for Google. Realistically yes I agree. But you can at least install a 3rd Party app store on Android, as I have done with F-droid. Also I believe Amazon has an App store too. The percentage of people who do that is very small I realize.

Now Apple does not offer anyway that I have heard of for people to offer an alternative app store.


While you CAN sideload an app on Android, it would still be crippled on modern versions of Android, because it would not be able to receive push notifications. Coupled with the fact that recent versions of Android aggressively offload background apps from memory, many types of applications function with great difficulty.

This CAN be overcome by a special app that keeps connection with an alternative push notification server, but it would still be prone to offloading and would have to run a persistent notification.

The proper solution would be unlocking notification services on Android devices and allowing to chose alternative push notifications providers. This can also be applied to iOS.


Killing apps in the background and offloading them from memory is a godsend for a Android ecosystem. It is literally so much harder to make anything battery optimized since you have get information about almost everything to make it right: need radio? beware that it is in active state and only then send data. Want do background processing? Wait until user will charge it's phone. Making apps battery efficient is insanely hard task and it is solvable by just offloading everything to an OS.

I have built several push services for my previous projects it always sooo hard to implement right. iOS for example, uses 25+ different parameters to optimize push delivery depending on your app usage, on how you are using your phone and so on.

Good luck to build this as "third party" and keep everything private.


It is a godsend only up to a point when you can't run an app in the background even if you badly need to. The computers (and Android devices are computers) should not be putting their users into straight jackets so they won't hurt themselves. Users should have an option to do what they want. The system's job is to inform that what they are doing is using battery. If a user is OK with it, the system SHOULD NOT interfere.

Using such information is so hard that almost impossible. I could spend a year tailoring battery performance for a messenger and still get random guy who have some exotic phone with some strange behaviour.

There are really almost no need to run app in the background or at least constantly send data without a reason (mostly just tracking).

UPD: When deciding how to build something i have one small trick: first ask question about who can make better decision about something?

For example? Who is more capable to make decision about battery usage, about tweaking core performance, etc? It is obviously kernel or silicone itself. App will never have required information to build perfect performant app for every device. This just means that you have to build a kernel by yourself and even more: common kernel for every phone.


> Using such information is so hard that almost impossible.

Aren't battery stats not enough for you? If your app uses too much battery, you can stop using it. Or you prefer some other people to make this decision for you?


The thing is, though, that Firebase push notifications are deeply integrated with mobile networks. They get special treatment to ensure energy-efficient operation, at the cost of more idle connections hanging in the network infrastructure. Yes, with IPv6 that should/could become much less relevant, but then you loose the traffic-flood-DoS protections you get from CG-NAT.

Oh come on. Push notifications is just a modified XMPP connection that exists in the background. Actually, both FCM and APNS use XMPP to transport notification to devices.

The only 'special treatment' that happens is on Google/Apple servers which determine the priority of some of notifications.

How do I know? We're very involved with the XMPP protocol. The irony is that it is insanely hard to maintain an XMPP connection to a client on both Android / iOS, despite devices under both these OSs being an always connected XMPP clients.


Well, in your sibling I have linked a paper that talks about the negative effects of un-coordinated persistent TCP connections on the network's stability. I read a god chunk of it, and it seems to explain quite well why these push services get special treatment. Hint: it's connected to them running a keep-alive delay in the "hours" range for the mobile radio link, without imposing that on the cloud server.

Please provide evidence of this "deep integration" with mobile networks.

Moxie has cited this previously with no proof, despite protocols like xmpp performing similarly on mobile networks.


There is integration. I don't know what it is these days but it used to be mostly carriers adjusting TCP timeouts on their NAT boxes.

The issue is that a long lived TCP connection consumes some valuable RAM and a port number on a valuable IP address. It costs carriers something for push notifications to work, so, they tend to aggressively close long lived TCP connections that aren't going to recognised push datacenters.

For that to work you need business relationships with the carriers of course, stable IP addresses, and enough users of your push service for it to be worthwhile.

IPv6 would fix it by eliminating IP scarcity and CGNAT, but most mobile networks aren't provisioning handsets with IPv6 addresses.


The second page, on the right, the last bullet point, suggests such deep integration:

https://web.archive.org/web/20170708204409/www2015.wwwconfer...

Whether FCM uses these technologies, I don't know. I lack the hardware to easily inspect the mobile radio traffic on the necessary level (the best would be a DIY stingray based on one or two OsmocomBB-capable GSM phones, maybe combined with a Faraday cage to place one of them into, together with the smartphone.


The irony is, FCM is a modified XMPP

OK, Google may charge for Firebase push notifications. Including making a profit from it of course.

They may not perform anticompetitive behaviour like bundling (as they have already been fined for in the EU over Android and Play Services).


Huh? FCM is free: https://firebase.google.com/products/cloud-messaging

I don't see the anti-competitive part there. There are good reasons around consolidating resident daemons and only using a single TCP connection with a special keep-alive configuration.

And from experience, it's perfectly possible to not use FCM, at the cost of a persistent notification that alerts the user about this, so they can get rid of abusive apps.


> I don't see the anti-competitive part there.

Maybe not exactly anti-competitive (but maybe): It requires you to have hundreds of megabytes of Google blobs with root permissions on your device, which some people don't like.

If course this pales in contrast to Apples actions.


https://github.com/microg/android_packages_apps_GmsCore/wiki... claims to support this without blobs. I haven't tested it myself, but some friends seem to have no problems with their de-googled Androids.

Can you use FCM for non-Play-Store apps? I was under the impression you couldn't from the grand-grand-parent.

I think you can but you still have to link to Google play services, which is not possible for open source apps in f-droid since they need to be able to run on de-googled android which lacks Google services.

It looks like FCM is supported by the open replacement I linked in a close-by comment, here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23571663

Aren't microg supposed to get installed first on the device? Which mean if the user doesn't have it, then your app won't run? Or can you embed the FCM support into the app itself so it doesn't depend on google play service or microg availability?

You're asking the wrong person. I'd have to research just as much as you'd, and judging by upvotes and age, (almost) no one else would care. Sorry :(

I found no evidence for either side, but I can't easily test it right now.

> it would still be crippled on modern versions of Android, because it would not be able to receive push notifications

My understanding is that this is not an effect of side loading, but an app not using Google Cloud Messaging, which is not available when play services are not installed.


Yeah, that's true.

Anyone can distribute their Andrioid app using their desired way. Even via web site. Exmple: https://signal.org/android/apk/

Sending push messages to Android phone using Firebase Cloud Messaging(FCM, formerly GCM) requires "Google Play Services" installed on that Android device. Google Play Services is not depends on Google Play Store and is not requires that applications using Play Services should installed by Play Store.


For completeness, Huawei and Samsung also have their respective app stores.

No one uses the third party App Store. Even mentioning it is silly

The single biggest market does not use anything else. The Google play store does just not exist in China, instead there are multiple different 3rd party app stores. There is a study here which is a couple of years old about such stores. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1810.07780.pdf

Technically you have web-apps, but it is also going to be a tiny minority who would seek that out. And of course they are not as feature rich

> They have ruined computing for users (locked down systems with no ability to tinker)

This just isn't an issue for 99.9% of users.


To hop on this train: people like you and I love customizing our devices and tailoring our experiences to exactly what we'd like, and that's completely fine. To a lot of people, though, their mobile device is just a tool—a tool that they can use to do other things. In that usecase, the phone needs to work as simply and reliably as possible, and by reducing the amount of things that can go wrong (live wallpapers draining the phone's battery and sketchy application launchers come to mind) the more approachable that system is.

My take is this: computers (especially phones) are like cars: some people love to tinker with them and take on a project car that they tweak to their liking, but most people need a reliable and inexpensive car that can get them to and from the grocery store.


> like cars

Now some people never open the hood of their car. And for those who do, a lot of car manufacturers have just the answer -- they have a second hood under the first hood (it's plastic and only has holes for maybe the wiper fluid).

but apple is bolting the hood shut. and welding it.

(it's such a shame, really)


> This just isn't an issue for 99.9% of users.

Until years later we have fewer people interested in learning how computers work, because the only devices they ever owned were locked down walled gardens.

Maybe these people don't even know what they're missing, because they've never even seen it?


Maybe right now. Bet that does not last.

Those of us who understand the implications now would benefit ourselves and many others by helping more people find that spark, that need, want to tinker.


While most useres don't want to "tinker" themselves, limiting the ability to do so can limit the experience of all users. Because a too strict app review does limit the range of apps available for a system, and that has the potential to affect all users.

Is the alternative really better? Look at Windows, which had no restrictions on apps that you could install. It was a security nightmare and became a cesspool of malware. You just had to trick people into opening a .exe and you could compromise the machine. Most consumers are dumb and it should not be possible to trick them into installing arbitrary binaries.

>Is the alternative really better? Look at Windows, which had no restrictions on apps that you could install.

I can do the same thing on linux yet my computer's not a cesspool of malware.

>Most consumers are dumb and it should not be possible to trick them into installing arbitrary binaries.

No, most users are uneducated and don't care and expect computers to be safe the way other things are. This doesn't make them dumb, this doesn't mean they need to be treated like children. This means the information needs to be communicated to them more effectively'

Most users are adults capable of dealing with the myriad of dangerous things life brings. This is because most things come with adequate instructions and warnings.

Operating systems follow two extremes, they give no fucks and let you do what you want with minimal instruction or they lock you up and tell you what to do. Both of these are inadequate for average people and don't reflect the way most things worked, up until relatively recently when businesses decided people needed to be treated like children.

Computers are heavily integrated with daily life. Treating users like a bunch of kids that need safety padding is insulting and ridiculous. If there's a failing at the general public in understanding these concepts, it's a failing both in education and honestly, a collective elitism that places people who know technology above regular people, reflected both among regular people in the tech community and large tech companies that results in either them being taken advantage of or manipulated, or again being treated as invalids incable of looking after themselves.


> Most users are adults capable of dealing with the myriad of dangerous things life brings.

While I'd like to believe that, injury and death statistics from things like road accidents, smoking, alcohol, etc.; the number of machines owned in botnets; and the overall response to COVID-19 is not convincing evidence of this.


Yet the general population also wakes up every day, exists on a rock hurtling through space at ridiculous speeds, exist for years on end doing all kinds of things. They wake up and do things you or I are incapable of.

You can look at all the dumb shit humanity does and scorn it all you want then stop and think about the fact that, you me and everyone else is here with all the things around us. This shit didn't come from nowhere. Humanity, for all it's faults and weaknesses did this and you exist because of this.

The average person, as much as that implies, is capable of some pretty impressive things and to dismiss them is pretty arrogant and I bet if you took a look at your life you've done some pretty dumb shit...and if not I salute you, you are truly above all others.


> The average person, as much as that implies, is capable of some pretty impressive things

They are also capable of some pretty stupid and self-destructive things, too, even in the face of "adequate instructions and warnings".


> Operating systems follow two extremes, they give no fucks and let you do what you want with minimal instruction or they lock you up and tell you what to do

Android actually does it decently well. Apps are pretty well sandboxed with quite clear interfaces and side loading can be enabled in the settings (even as a side loading fan I think it's a bit easy, considering the consequences).


And yet, it is still the most popular desktop OS, and desktop PCs with more open OSes have capabilities that even iPads with keyboard docks can't touch. Plus, there are about a million things you could do to improve the security of an OS that don't require a gatekeeper. Windows specifically has many problems but that shouldn't condemn the entire concept of a computer that the user actually has control over.

> And yet, it is still the most popular desktop OS

"most popular" in the sense of "most widely installed and tolerated", perhaps, but definitely not "most popular because people actively chose it where there are other viable options" because, for many people, there is no viable alternative (e.g. gamers).


> for many people, there is no viable alternative (e.g. gamers).

There's an increasing feeling that Linux is getting there for gamers too. There are already mainstream narratives [0] that Linux may be better for gaming than Windows!

[0] E.g. https://youtu.be/6T_-HMkgxt0


My 18 year old step-son does not care about OSS, or Linux. Yesterday his just received a new laptop. He said, "well, I'm going to install Linux on it, you know, for games". By which he means minecraft, which ran much better on Linux than on the native windows 10 his last laptop came with. Higher fps, more terrain loaded....yadayada ...... I shot soda out my nose.

> There's an increasing feeling that Linux is getting there for gamers too.

True, I definitely see a lot more of the things offered by people like itch.io or Humble Bundle having a Linux option.


That seems a false dichotomy, macOS had an app store for many years while still allowing you to install random apps.

An average consumer might get most of their apps from the vetted store while still able to install transmission or VLC directly.

The problem with windows was that there where no properly implemented permission systems and there were a ton of bugs that malware could exploit, the situation seems to have improved significantly from Windows 98.


You are describing a lack of sandboxing, not an open platform.

We are talking on the web right now. Your browser executes arbitrary code. Should we ask someone to approve every single website before it can be accessed?


The reaction to dumb people should not be stooping to their level but trying to uplift them to yours.

The problem is, the App Store conflates security review with "curating". The question, whether "Hey" offers in-app purchases or not is not a security question, the app was rejected because Apple requires in-app purchases (from which they take 30%).

No it's not a "nightmare". My mom and dad have their own laptops with windows. They never got a virus. And they're non tech people in their 50's.

We should remove our apps for a day or 2.

Sounds like you should organize a strike. An app store walkout.

An app shutdown day would be more appropos.

Easier to coordinate a deployment for, and affects all users, not just installing one. It would also allow you to control the messaging users see when they open your app and it only loads the walk out day screen.


Why not just display the message and then allow users to use the app.

Punishing the users of an app for the behaviour of the store, while attention grabbing and potentially impactful, seems a bit like chucking the baby out with the bathwater.


That's fair, though app disruption is more impactful - kind of like how websites went down for SOPA.

“It’s their product they can do whatever they want” - HN, literally.

You didn’t see this coming? Good one, now pull the other one.


It's almost as if HN isn't a single monolithic hivemind and is composed of a multitude of sometimes similar, sometimes conflicting opinions!

I disagree.

Throwaway for reasons.

I have >10 apps for external clients currently in the App Store that are exactly like Hey (not email clients though), focussed on business+consumer clients, with a login and you have to order outside the store to be able to login. We even reference to that in some of the apps. You can't do anything in the app until you pay for a subscription on the repspective site. The most recent one got approved 2 months ago, and some apps are >2 years old and have received regular updates.

The difference may be that they do not have the revenue Basecamp has.

In the past when an app got refused, we resubmitted without changes and got approved. It's a shitshow.


The justification seems to be that "without a login it's useless" - could you get around that by having a demo mode that lets you use the app with a dummy account?

I think this is just recent enforcement, and Hey is a bit too late. I've seen some speculation that other non-billion dollar apps will be getting similiar rejections soon.

Apple said that they allow this for B2B (enterprise) apps.

I know YouTube premium just charges a 30% up charge if you sign up via IAP in iOS.

I’m not sure if this is in violation of the rules or not.

It is convenient as a user to be able to manage subscriptions via iOS which makes it easy to track and cancel, but 30% seems way too high for this?

Forcing IAP while taking a 30% cut seems like rent seeking when [edit: you control the only place users can get apps on your platform]. Extra problematic in the Spotify case where you compete directly and undercut them.

I’d prefer a forced IAP requirement where Apple didn’t take a cut (or they just charged some up front fee or something).

(Meta: McTossOut, your comments are dead - I’m not sure why)


30% is really a huge cut. It’s almost half of what the developer makes. Apple absolutely does not provide half as much in value as the app’s developer. They can only charge that because people literally have no alternative but to pay the piper or get out of the business entirely. There is no free market at work here.

The developer gets less than 50% of the retail cost of a game.

https://www.quora.com/How-much-do-game-companies-make-from-e...


That's including a publisher, retailer, physical distribution and the platform royalty (the platform is sorta like apple in this comparison) though. So a very different situation than IAP's in the app store.

A more telling comparison would be a download-only game that was self-published by the developer since app store apps don't usually have separate publishers, physical distribution or retailers.

Although I agree that the lack of open alternatives for app distribution in the game console world is pretty similar.


And the game developer has to usually pay a license fee to the game engine maker.

That's the same for the app store though if you use libraries /frameworks that cost anything.

Exactly.

For many small/medium businesses, the Apple/Google tax is often much higher than the founders salaries.


I think, you never tried to publish your book. Or being a publisher and trying to sell your book in a bookstore. In my country bookstores works with 43-47% cut.

About the value apple provide, try to create your own software distribution channel, and check how much is it costs.


> try to create your own software distribution channel, and check how much is it costs

Yet Apple don't charge a distribution channel cost if your app is free-at-download. How does that make sense? The backend costs to them are the same. In fact they're likely to be higher for free apps due to the many magnitudes more downloads versus subscription apps.

Apple want to have it both ways: the thriving ecosystem of free apps that promotes the platform AND their cut of subscription apps. Legislation that said that all app publishers should pay a flat fee per download would seem the fairest way forward.


Are they the same? They have to run and maintain payment and subscription services, and I'm sure there's additional overhead dealing with payment problems/chargebacks/etc.

They don't need any of that for free things.


I think it's fair TBH. If Apple thinks it's okay asking for (rather enforcing) a 30% cut to offer the user the convenience of paying via IAP rather than enter a credit card number, then it should be okay to charge the user 30% extra for that convenience as well.

> it's okay asking for ... a 30% cut to offer the user the convenience of paying via IAP rather than enter a credit card number

I do agree with you that it is ok (and arguably "fair") for Apple to charge a 30% fee for the convenience of IAPs. However, the real debate here is that some developers don't want IAPs, so should Apple be allowed to force them to add them?

Like the current HEY example, the developers aren't even taking money in the app, or allowing sign-ups in the app. You must be an already existing customer to use the app. But Apple is strong-arming them to add this functionality and to use these APIs that Apple gets a cut through. Should Apple be allowed to force them to add an feature to sign up and pay in the app (a function that was never planned or intended by the developers) just so that Apple can get their cut.

In OP's post he was strong-armed the same way. He had no need for any IAPs at all. He didn't even let users sign up in the app. In fact, the title of his app included the phrase "Existing users only". Yet Apple forced him to add functionality to enable IAP in the app to sign up new users, when his app is literally titled and designed around existing users and not new users. I would argue that this triggers the Anti-trust alarm bells.

Sure if you want to take advantage of the convenience that IAP provides, then let Apple charge whatever they want. If the amount is too high then developers would stop using it because it wouldn't match the value that Apple provides by their convenience. But what if I don't need in-app-purchases. Should developers be forced to add them when the app isn't even designed to use/need them? What if a developer doesn't need the convenience of IAPs and wants to take a credit card themselves? Shouldn't they be allowed to? The only argument that Apple makes in this fight is "We own the platform that ~50% of American smartphones, and if you want to participate in that market then you need to share the wealth you generate". Again, it sounds an awful lot like a monopoly.

Another example is Kindle and Audible. Apple won't let users buy Kindle or Audible books through the iOS App even though Amazon already has those credit cards associated with its' users' accounts. Kindle could enable one-click purchases (or even force you to type in a credit card every time), but Apple won't let them sell any books at all through the iOS app, citing the same rules as above.


I think the reasoning behind IAPs is not that IAP is provided as a convenience service to developers, but that IAPs represent value to the iOS users.

If you're using iOS and searching through the app store and then download an app, being able to sign up and pay via the app is useful to you. If you download an app and it doesn't do anything, and you can't sign up or pay via the app then that's a bad experience.

The problem with this argument is it's a lot weaker when Apple also forces you to pay a massive tax when enabling this. I think the argument would be a lot stronger if they forced IAP compatibility, but didn't take a cut and just charged a reasonable up front fee to list on the app store.

I'd argue even an up front fee is unnecessary though. I'm happy with Apple curating the app store to prevent spam and low quality applications, I'm happy with them forcing standards like IAP, but I'm not happy with them controlling the store and then rent seeking.

Apple should make money from making and selling incredible products. That's why people love them.


They do charge an upfront fee, it’s $100 per year for a developer to be allowed to publish an app, regardless of if the app is free or paid or uses IAP.

I think that's reasonable. The profit sharing is not.

$100 a year is nothing considering just the time it takes to review an app.

Apple is the one that insists on reviewing each app so it's the one that should pay for it.

Right because the alternative has worked real well - letting any random app on the store. I specifically don’t download any random crap on my computer but I do on my iOS devices. You can’t even trust known companies like DropBox and Zoom. They have both done shady things on the Mac.

I’m sure you also think that physical good stores should bare all of the cost and allow companies to sell things for free without a markup...


Surrendering freedom and giving power to unelected people, be they monarchs, dictators or CEOs, has never worked well.

> I?m sure you also think that physical good stores should bare all of the cost and allow companies to sell things for free without a markup...

I'm sure you know that's a strawman.


Well we can talk theory or we can hobby history. How well has the open ecosystem on computers worked for the average consumer? Viruses, malware, ransomware, adware dozens of toolbars on their browser, programs randomly uploading their contacts, etc.

I know plenty of people who won’t download random apps on their computer but will on their mobile devices. Because they have had bad experiences before.


Nobody wants to force people to download apps from untrustworthy sources or to ban app stores.

> it should be okay to charge the user 30% extra for that convenience as well

Maybe, but that's a pointless stance. The practical consequence is that a product is likely priced to maximize (num units sold x profit per unit), and the higher price (143% of what was planned), will lead to a (probably steep) drop in the size of the target audience. FWIW, on a macro level economists worry about analogous problems for a ~1% percent increase in sales tax, so Apple's 30% cut is definitely a huge negative impact.

BTW, this is a great example of an ultimatum game that Apple is playing with developers. It is possible that developers collectively taking the (short-term) "irrational" step of pushing Apple's margin on to users (and being very vocal and explicit about this as a "penalty") might catalyze the users to pressurize Apple about the margins.


That's not what is abusive. It's fine to charge that markup, it's not fine to force all transactions (even ones that should have been off-platform), to have that markup.

It sounds like Apple is requiring IAP integration. I think that's what DHH is upset about.

Sure, but I don't see any major downsides in having to add IAP and getting the same subscription fees from people who use it as everyone else. I'd say giving users more options is always good.

One major downside is that once you implement IAP in a cross platform proudct, you then have a different class of subscriptions occurring and being managed outside your platform. Subscriptions which have to conform to Apple's policies around renewal and cancellation. This introduces business, backend and accounting considerations.

The issue is that you're not allowed to link to the non-IAP option from the app or even tell users that it exists.

If most users are unaware they have the option, it's not really an option.


>Sure, but I don't see any major downsides in having to add IAP

Technical debt, added complexity, additional user support, the overhead of having forked subscriptions in the userbase...


I actually don't agree with DHH here, just pointing out the difference. I think Apple has every right to expect a cut of developer revenue given how much they invest in the iOS platform.

The iOS platform would not be viable without developers.

I think Apple has every right to expect developers to pay to be part of their platform, which they already charge for through an annual fee. Expecting a "cut" of every developer's "revenue", even when the product is a cross platform software product, seems extreme.


Would you be okay if Apple charged more for developer fees? A per app fee? A per app update fee?

Can I pay a one time fee to get a product stocked at any retailer?


> Would you be okay if Apple charged more for developer fees? A per app fee? A per app update fee?

Yes, I would be fine with any of those scenarios.

A $1,000 fee to add your app to the app store would be more preferable to me than a nebulous rule about taking 30% of my gross revenue and having Apple dictate to me what my overall business model needs to look like.

> Can I pay a one time fee to get a product stocked at any retailer?

To compare what is going on here with a traditional retail environment is really an apples and oranges comparison. If Apple wants to take my app, price it and sell it at markup, be my guest.

What they are doing is more like if Best Buy forced Nest to give it 30% of every Nest cloud subscription on Nest devices bought in Best Buy retail outlets. Or if Best Buy forced Apple to give it 30% of iCloud subscription fees for MacBooks sold from within Best Buy retail outlets, only after Apple implemented "Best Buy Payments" into it's MacOS software to ensure those fees were collected.


The 30% cut is a 43% markup. Price your app accordingly. You can even price your subscriptions differently depending on where they subscribe.

Apple tried exactly that - to let booksellers set their own prices and they just mark them up. That’s what the publishers wanted instead of Amazon’s pricing ebooks as a loss leader - devaluing the paperbacks and hardbacks. It was shot down by the justice department.


A while ago the 30% upcharge for iOS users was against the rules, now it's allowed.

It sounds nice but if you're a Spotify or Netflix it lets Apple undercut you very easily

I do think 30% is a bit much these days when the store first opened it was a great deal vs the other options at the time


And you're not allowed to even point users to your website where they could sign up without the 30% tax due to Apple not allowing that.

These anti-competitive practices are just over the top in my opinion, I really wish businesses like this would be broken up.


Currently building a B2B SaaS and going the PWA way.

My understanding is the rules for B2B are different, hence why Basecamp is allowed.

They did say so, but I haven't seen it documented anywhere on Apple.com

What are the downsides of going PWA? Non-native support? Offline usage?

No notifications on ios.

No Bluetooth hardware either

WebBluetooth exists on android, but not on iOS.

I had no idea YouTube had a higher price through IAP until I saw it pointed out today. The price in the app always seemed too expensive so when I noticed the lower price available through the web today I actually signed up.

Worth noting that YouTube appears to be violating Apple's guidelines (3.2.2) by forcing users to pay for functionality that is part of the built-in capabilities of the operating system. (Background play mode)


Does that part of the guidelines apply to video apps? I can’t think of other video apps offhand that allow background play on iOS.

But are there other video apps that charge to enable background play on iOS?

My point is that it may be a violation to allow background playback of video on iOS; my point was not respondent to whether or not other apps may also may be in similar violation by allowing background playback of video, whether or not they’re free or paid.

To your point, there are alternate YouTube players which allow background video playback besides the website and iOS app on iOS, but you have to sideload them. There may be others which do not require sideloading, but none that I’m aware of. I’m not sure but it’s likely against some kind of TOS to use them, but interoperability exemptions for accessibility may apply.


It is not a violation to allow background play of video. No guideline prohibits it. The Plex app allows background play, for example. Apple also provides documentation to developers on how to enable this functionality in their apps. (1)

If it were against policy to enable play of video in the background, then it seems that would be an even more egregious violation by YouTube, as not only do they have the functionality in the app, but they charge users money to access it.

1. https://developer.apple.com/documentation/avfoundation/media...


Thanks for following up on this. It’s good to have this clarity into the guidelines and that other apps implement this functionality in different ways.

I believe you have to charge 43% extra if you want to be whole (70% of 143 is ~100)?

You wouldn't have been getting $100 if you charged $100 without IAP though, because some of that is going to go to your card processing chain; you'd mostly probably get more than $91 on a $100 charge though.

That depends a lot on how you get paid. Those high CC fees don't exist in Europe, at least not with Visa and MasterCard. There you also have the option to use direct debit, which is much more common for a User than a CC (CCs aren't nearly as wide-spread), with (typically) <50ct fees per transaction.

That's still quite a lot more than $70.

Ahh yes, that is a good point.

Yes, thank you for the correction.

I will say this: I am very, very glad my New York Times subscription was through Apple's IAP - because I could end the subscription easily. Had I paid NYT directly, I would have had to be on the phone with them.

This doesn't justify 30%. I actually think it's fine for Apple to take a cut. Just not 30%.


If you pay with PayPal, you can save the 30% and also cancel (via PayPal) without talking to the NYT.

It's a nice part of the modern ecosystems, but I'm not sure the slight convenience of centralizing my subscription options would save me that much.

If the fee is for Apple to curate the ecosystem and verify apps are safe, this looks an awful lot like they're using it to drive up revenue instead.

There's evidence too that these practices are done hastily too, when you use IAP, but the app expects you to create a secondary account as well.

Sliding scale microtransaction growing pains, I suppose. Things were nicer when apps were inexpensive commodities. People aren't able to run business analysis like this and it makes the market opaque which is good... for Apple.

(Meta: figures)


Is it the dominate platform? It's certainly a very popular one, but dominate makes me think of Windows Vs Mac in the 90s. 90%+ market share type stuff.

Android, while not managed by a single manufacturer, is a unified platform and competitor to iOS.


I edited my comment since being dominant or not is not really relevant to the App Store control point.

When Tim Cooke went on about services I didn’t realise he meant stealing 30% of other people’s. Seems insane to me this racketeering is legal, I actually think people should be jailed for behaviour like this...

Is there even a legal term for this sort of captive market scenario? Antitrust laws seem close in spirit, but people decades ago apparently couldn't have anticipated the sort of vendor lock-in that has become commonplace in the smartphone space.

It's like you had two paper mills that dominated the market, and they wanted to claim a percentage of every novel, newspaper, etc. printed on the paper they produced. Oh, and you can't use that paper you bought to write erotica or other things the company disapproves of.


It's hard because most analogies fall apart when you look at the users having already paid hundreds of dollars just for the hardware up front.

You could compare it to Costco, where you have to pay just to get into the store, where Costco sells their own labels side-by-side with the competition. The big difference is Costco doesn't force you to pay with costco credit cards at the cash register.


In practice though most people I know do use a Costco branded credit card since it doubles as your membership card.

Costco (Canada at least) also only allows MasterCard for credit card payment. Prior to that it was exclusively Amex.


Which is fine - that's still the consumer's choice. It's a bit different if Costco took away that choice.

Even then it's not the same because you don't own the Costco store like you own your phone.


I think it's pretty much a textbook case for the antitrust laws. Now the only missing parts is the political will for Congress and US government to move forward.

Unfortunately since the MS antitrust trial, they've missed opportunity after opportunity to prevent monopolies or oligopoly of Big Tech companies so they might pass here as well.


The only unique thing is the scale. There’s nothing that Apple is doing that your grocery store, Ticketmaster venue, or mall owner isn’t.

Seems like a weird hill to die on for an email app to me. The market is saturated.


It's like having only two grocery stores in town, and your kitchen is only able to cook food from one or the other.

Or three console makers....

Because ripping people off by rent seeking is common it’s okay? It’s not okay to steal other people’s work when them building things for it means you sell more iPhones. Apple have this stuff completely backwards, stop there from being an App Store at all and see how many iPhones are sold.

You’re putting words in my mouth.

How would you write the rules to get what you want? It’s a complex question.

I used to always buy Mancini roasted red peppers for salads and sandwiches. My grocer did a strategic sourcing exercise and now carries a house brand and some other brand. Should they be compelled to carry Mancini?

WalMart requires that vendors be able to fill orders on tight timescales. If you can’t, your out. Is that ok?

Costco requires that I pay them to shop there. Is that ok?

My wife owned a mall kiosk, and part of rent was a cut of the gross. Is that ok?


All retailers “rent seek” by that definition.

Sure, but you can only visit one retailer. If there was store competition let Apple charge what they like...

Google and Steam both have potential competitors and they both charge 30%

Google doesn't meaningfully have potential competitors. Alternative stores are severely limited, e.g. they can't update apps in the background.

Is that a bad thing? If I’m using an alternative to a the App Store, I definitely don’t then want an app to be able to run arbitrary code from a server.

But we have an alternate universe where users can install outside of the official store yet hardly anyone takes advantage of it.


> Is that a bad thing? If I?m using an alternative to a the App Store, I definitely don?t then want an app to be able to run arbitrary code from a server.

If you like updating manually, don't give the store you use permission to do it manually. Why are you running software you don't trust anyway!

> But we have an alternate universe where users can install outside of the official store yet hardly anyone takes advantage of it.

See the post you replied to.


That’s the beauty of the App Store. I don’t have to to trust the app maker, just the operating system.

How do you know which app makers to “trust”?

Epic?

https://www.cnet.com/news/just-as-critics-feared-fortnite-fo...

Zoom?

https://www.zdnet.com/article/zoom-defends-use-of-local-web-...

Google?

https://support.google.com/chrome/thread/15235262?hl=en

https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/30/googles-also-peddling-a-da...


The latter is just a great argument why alternatives to Google's app store shouldn't be able to do their job.

They don’t charge on top of services the way Apple does do they?

Yes Google has in app subscriptions.

Do they force you to use their in app subscriptions in the way Apple is? Can I still use my own subscriptions servcie - in fact I know the Answer because Spotify and Hey were not complaining about the Google Play Store.

Yeah, it is technically a cartel.

It could be even worse, when those things are left unchecked they tend to increase over time.

I've seen that with Handango (they raised from 30% to 40% and then 50%) and they went bankrupt when the App Store launched.

Same story with the phone operators, their margins was in the 50% range.


I'll echo this: 30% is terrible, till you consider the alternatives. Before the app store it was 3 month lead times via a broker to hopefully get in front of a carrier rep who would usually go "meh" and send you packing. If they liked it, they'd take (if you were lucky) 50% with holds of up to 3 months on payouts.

Can't say I'm a huge fan of the 30% haircut, but I get to push my product directly to millions of people in a week and get paid monthly? What a time to be alive.


Before switching to a smartphone I used a J2ME Twitter client on my Sony Ericsson. You paid through PayPal and downloaded and installed a JAR file manually. It wasn't very convenient, but at least direct sales were an option. It was similar on the Palm and Symbian side of things.

Apple not allowing side-loading seems like the main issue.


> 30% is terrible, till you consider the alternatives

Only in the Apple iOS land. If I don't like Google Play's revenue cut, I can list my app on any of a dozen or so alternative stores (Amazon, F-Droid etc) and all Android Users can install my app. Same story on Windows, Linux and even Mac devices.


"all Android Users". IS it possible to get these alternative stores without rooting?

Yes. You’ll get a whole bunch of scary warning messages from the operating system warning you not to do it, but to my knowledge all android phones allow you to. It’s possible that some corporate management software might prevent this, not sure. Also there are more and more android APIs which are baked into Google Play Services, which is another can of worms entirely. Still, Android is significantly more open to sideloading than iOS.

Yes it is just another app.

See how that works out in practice.....

That works very well for services where the app is not the main product... Like Hey.com. They do their own market and don't need the "visibility" of the app store.

They would be pretty happy if they could have a link on their site to download the iOS apps, for their customers.

If Apple still wants to review every app that can be installed, they could propose an option to be in the App Store but unlisted - then the fees goes down to 2 or 3%, just like a credit card fee. But they won't, because they can get away with shaking businesses 30% so they'll keep doing it until someone forces them to stop.


There are no alternatives today.

And I am perfectly aware that the situation was even worse before the App Store.

In fact, by all means, Apple created a viable ecosystem for a huge number of independant developers and that's great.

Still, 30% is not justified, and this is not Apple hate, Google and Valve are on the same boat.


Don't forget about retailers, supermarkets, ecommerce sites etc.

If you are shocked that companies take a fee for distribution then wait until you see how things work in the real world.


> If you are shocked that companies take a fee for distribution then wait until you see how things work in the real world.

That is not a good analogy. Supermarkets, retailers etc charge a fee from the vendor because that is their primary source of income ("bread and butter", if you may). In the OP's case, the "supermarket" is an iPhone device which the user has already paid a premium price for.

EDIT: bduerst covered this already https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23571076


So a company is only allowed to have one revenue source?

Grocery stores also have slotting fees.


Depends on how you define "allowed". EA was "allowed" to charge extra money for unlocking key Star Wars characters even after you paid in full for Battlefront II. So, the idea is less about what is "allowed", but rather where the line is drawn between justified commercial profit and monopolistic/bad behavior*

> Grocery stores also have slotting fees.

Again, the whole point I'm trying to make here is that comparison to grocery stores just doesn't work (because of reasons mentioned in the first comment)

* English is not my first language so I'm having trouble finding the perfect word.


Proportionally to the revenue, the cost of running a supermarket is much higher than running the App Store.

Having stock costs money, you have to decide what to stock and take a loss if you can't sell it, nothing is automated so you need more staff...

It's really apple to oranges.


100 years ago, diabetes was a terminal illness. Gouging prices on insulin is still a dick move.

You can distribute Android software without Google, and you can distribute PC games without Valve. You have a choice.

You don't have a choice to distribute iPhone software.


> You don't have a choice to distribute iPhone software.

Just broaden the market to software in general or even just software for mobile phones and tablets. Then you have a choice again. iOS's market share is below 50% even in the US, and much lower globally.

(I have both iOS and Android devices, and I specifically like that Android's Firefox allows add-ons like uBlock Origin. Apples doesn't allow those.)


Agree with the app store being better than anything that preceded it. That said, it's not 2008 anymore and Apple should adapt.

What happens in reality is developers either capitulate and / or sneakily separately contact their users and get them to pay through another payment processor.


I don’t get why either case 30% or 50% is right? It’s actually having the best app ecosystem that sells more phones, imagine for a second there was no App Store, how many iPhones would be sold.

> It could be even worse, when those things are left unchecked they tend to increase over time.

App Store has been around for over a decade.

The percentage has actually decreased.


When? Source?

In 2016, Apple reduced subscriptions to 15%.

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/apple-changes-app-store-r...


And nearly every app pivoted from a buy it once model to a pay monthly/annually model. Absolutely made the state of iOS apps worse for end-users :-(

It pivoted because there isn’t a way to do upgrade pricing.

That's not a reduced margin on IAP, that's a different serrice with a different model, and 15% is only after a (quite high) threshold.

Very few mobiles games can be sold using the subscription model.


Yet people are queuing and fighting to be stolen from.

The platform cut on app store is outrageous and has been for years.

This is nothing else than a tax.

And because both Apple and Google are adjusted on the same tax rate, this is exactly like a monopoly.

I am sure their infrastructure costs are largely covered at this point.

Developers should unite and strongly ask for a progressive reduction, a few percents each year.


> And because both Apple and Google are adjusted on the same tax rate, this is exactly like a monopoly.

That's not how monopolies work or are defined.

You can argue it's some kind of bad. And that monopolies are also a kind of bad. But not all kinds of bad are the same.


Is the wholesale vs retail margins that retailers have had forecast also wrong?

maybe developers should create their own store that would be web-based

Possible on Android but not on iOS

You mean web-apps?

I'm talking about an open platform that would make it painless for users to pay for any "app" made by any provider... it could be either a website that aggregates all web apps or a native open-app-store...

Apple also cripples PWA's so that's not an option.

Am I alone in thinking this isn’t Apple being as bad as others are making them out to be?

I’ll explain ...

Apple deeply cares about two things, (1) user experience and (2) user privacy.

Today, Hey iOS when downloaded IS NOT FUNCTIONAL if you didn’t know to already sign up for the service on their website. That’s a horrible experience and no one likes it. Especially Apple.

On Trust/Privacy, Apple is safe guarding users CardOnFile data with all of their advanced security features that they have worked directly with the major card networks that no small developers (or even frankly medium or large developer) could compete with. This benefits the consumer by reducing fraud, and not having your credit card data sitting in some developers data unencrypted. Apple also helps auto update cardonfile data when the card expires so that the developers don’t lose revenue just because of expired cards.

As for the 30% fee, why shouldn’t they get a cut? If the App Store was a physical brick and mortar store Like BestBuy, I guarantee you then BestBuy wants to make margin on products they allow in their store. (A) it’s a distribution channel to a consumer you as a developer don’t have, (B) there’s hard costs to putting your product in the App Store “shelf” and (C) Apple is providing all of the easy and secure payment processing on behalf of thr developer.

Note: I’m not trying to be combative. I’m just playing devils advocate and pointing out this topic is way more complex than others are making it out to be.


> Today, Hey iOS when downloaded IS NOT FUNCTIONAL if you didn’t know to already sign up for the service on their website.

The only reason for this is that Apple explicitly disallows apps from linking to or even mentioning subscription options that do not go through Apple's payment ecosystem and pay Apple's tax. Blaming the ensuing bad user experience on app developers is a case of "why are you hitting yourself?"

> As for the 30% fee, why shouldn’t they get a cut?

That 30% is, ultimately, coming from our pockets. Apple wants it because it prefers our money in their pockets. We, as the consumers, should fight back and demand it be lowered because we prefer our money in our own pockets. I don't understand why I should advocate that Apple should make apps more expensive and should take more of my money.


But don’t they do this because they can Protect the consumers card data better than anyone.

Everyone loves Apple for their unwavering stance in user Privacy. How is this not just another example of that?

(I’m not trying to be combative. I’m just playing devils advocate and pointing out this topic is way more complex than others are making it out to be)


>But don’t they do this because they can Protect the consumers card data better than anyone.

Compared to what? If there is a fraudulent charge on your credit card, issue a chargeback. If I had two options: 1) Once every couple of years I may get a credit card's details stolen and I have to spend perhaps an hour on the phone with the bank to get thing sorted out, 2) the credit card issuer gives me a card with some futuristic technology that makes fraud literally impossible; so I don't have to spend that one hour every couple of years sorting out a fraudulent transaction; however, the credit card adds a 30% surcharge to every transaction—I would choose option 1, no questions. Wouldn't you?


It seems like a lot of consumers would, and do choose 2) by choosing to buy into Apple's ecosystem.

Most consumers have no idea they are paying this 30%. I wish there was a law forcing the amount of Apple tax to be disclosed on a separate line in any purchase price and receipt, like it is the case with sales taxes. If people know, many would be outraged that the company they have paid over $1000 for a device is also nickel-and-diming them for using the device.

Should we also force every other retailer to display their wholesale cost?

Sure. That's fair, if the user believes the 30% is worth the extra safety that Apple provides, they should be able to pay that. But why the restriction that developers cannot even hint that less expensive options are available through other means?

It's definitely not preferable, but if 37Signals adds an in-app purchase and charges $130 instead of $99, would Apple approve the App? Maybe as a protest they should charge $200 in-App :P

Again, just playing devils advocate and using the brick and mortar store example.

If I sold my widget online direct to consumer for $99 and got to pocket all of that.

Why wouldn’t I assume that if I tried to sell my widget inside of the brick and mortar store for the same $99, that they wouldn’t want to make margin on selling my widget for me - which would reduce my take home profit


The meat of the issue here is that you cannot sell your widget directly online to consumers. Apple does not allow that. You have to always sell through the Apple store and always pay that margin whether you want to or not.

To use the brick and mortar store analogy, would you be happy if you were forced to sell only through Walmart (and thus paying their margin) and not directly to customers, even when you are completely capable of doing it?


Devils advocate.

Why can’t they sell this direct to consumer in iOS via safari?

And make it a web app on mobile just like how it’s a web app on desktop.


For your analogy to hold, we should be able to run a PWA in the same sandbox as iOS apps with the same access to hardware as a native iOS app.

Why doesn’t iOS Safari have these capabilities? Why can’t we download apps and sideload them in the same type of sandbox that App Store sourced apps do?

There’s already an interoperability exemption for jailbreaking. I hope that this precedent is reinforced and expanded through lawsuits and legislation if Apple won’t implement first-party sideloading support willingly.

It’s a matter of equal access to technology and accessibility of tools. To own a thing is to be able to adapt it and make it work the way you need, as well as the way you want. The first sale doctrine applies to software too. Clickwrap EULAs are not always legally binding, and you cannot arbitrate away certain unalienable rights. If I own a thing, I can modify or disassemble it, as well as sell it or otherwise transfer it. These concepts need to be enforced more specifically for digital assets such as apps and mobile operating systems.


It already is a web app that you can use of safari on iOS without problems. But native apps provide a lot of benefits like push notifications, offline data storage and support, home screen icon, etc, especially for a mail app.

All those things are possible for PWAs, just not on ios.

Margins on brick and mortar are extremely thin -- 3-4% overhead is considered excellent.

I don't get this controversy at all. If Apple requires a 30% cut of in-app purchases, raise in-app prices 30% and provide a link to a 30% "discount" version through your website.

Is that also against an Apple rule? If so I can somewhat understand.

EDIT: You can upcharge IAP purchases, but you can't advertise the cheaper alternative. That's wildly anti-consumer on Apple's part, surely the EU can't be happy about that kind of situation?


It used to be disallowed, but now they allow you to upcharge IAP purchases. Either way, the situation is terrible for consumers and developers alike.

Yes, I find it hard to believe that YouTube charging 30% or 40% more for a YouTube Premium subscription through iOS and not telling the customer that they are paying a vastly inflated price because Apple insists on getting a cut is protecting or advocating for consumers in any way, shape or form.

I didn’t know that they allow different prices. A few days ago someone replied to my comment on HN and told me that it’s not allowed. If indeed it’s allowed, I think it’s more reasonable for Apple to require app makers to offer the IAP signup option.

The analogy with brick and mortar stores doesn't really work, because in the case of iOS Apple owns and controls the only store.

You could argue people could choose Android, but that's not quite the same thing since the user has to completely change operating systems and hardware to do it.

I'm not sure there is a good non-digital analogy.

If Apple cared about the user experience they could still require in app sign up and IAP, but not take a rent-seeking cut.

They could make money by inventing and selling really great products (which is why people like them in the first place).


Why does it even need to be an iOS app.

Why can’t Hey offer a mobile web version of their app?

Again, just playing devils advocate. But Hey can in fact make their product accessible to iOS user via Safari. And Hey wouldn’t need to give Apple any money for that.

Safari will even let user save a web app directly to your home screen.

Ironically, this functionality existed BEFORE the Apple store even existed.

https://www.macrumors.com/how-to/add-a-web-link-to-home-scre...

EDIT: why the downvotes? I’m just trying to facilitate a friendly two-sided point of view on this topic. See my NOTE in my original parent post. I’m just trying to point out this is a way more complex topic than most realize.


> Why can’t Hey offer a mobile web version of their app? No. Apple has crippled the Progress Web Apps on iOS safari.

No email client is useful without push notifications.

All other browser on iOS (including Chrome and Firefox) are wrappers around Safari, because Apple restricts other browser engines i.e: Chromium, Firefox.

Look at how many requests for new features/API's are there on the WebKit forms. Apple choses to ignore them because if Apple were to really support PWA's properly, this situation wouldn't have happened.

Apple also randomly clears storage for website added to homescreen and there is a limit of only 50mb. Apps like Gmail cache data on the scale of 600mb to several GB.


Again, devils advocate.

But push notification absolutely kills your battery.

Back to point number 1, user experience. It’s not a good user experience if your iPhone lasts only 2 hours because push notifications kill your battery.


[flagged]


> Push notifications are managed by a push service like Firebase messaging or Apple Push Notification Service (APNS)

They can still wake up your phone when they're delivered and that will drain battery.

https://www.apple.com/uk/batteries/maximizing-performance/

* If an app frequently wakes your display with notifications, you can turn off push notifications for the app in Settings > Notifications. Tap the app and set Allow Notifications to Off.

> No email client is useful without them.

I've had an iPhone for 10 years now and I've never had push notifications on for the 5 email accounts on there. Mind you, my battery isn't fine because the phone gets used a lot and that's what kills batteries quick.


>I've had an iPhone for 10 years now and I've never had push notifications on for the 5 email accounts on there. Mind you, my battery isn't fine because the phone gets used a lot and that's what kills batteries quick.

You are a unique/minority case. The vast majority of the population that uses emails prefers notification for important mails.


> The vast majority of the population that uses emails prefers notification for important mails.

Do you have a source for that?


> No they don't. Push notifications are managed by a push service like Firebase messaging or Apple Push Notification Service (APNS). Do you even know what you're talking about?

I’ll just leave you this post on battery drain from push notifications.

https://www.quora.com/Why-do-push-app-notifications-drain-ba...


This is kind of a straw man?

Push notifications don't really affect battery that much to be noticeable, and even if they did that's only one of many reasons why native apps are better.


The simple answer is because mobile web apps suck.

As a user I want a native app. Hey (or any dev really) should be able to write software for a platform without having to pay tax, maybe they pay for app store distribution or review or submission or something (developer account?), but they shouldn't have to do profit sharing.

I understand the value of having a curated store, I understand the value of locking down the OS. If you're going to do that though - you shouldn't be able to tap all profits going through it.

Imagine if macOS only ran applications from the macOS app store and took a cut of everything. Imagine if they forced Safari only on macOS and took a cut of applications there too. It's not a perfect analogy because most apps on desktop are web apps and not native and the history is more of an open system, but there's something wrong with this kind of rent-seeking. It's counter to their brand, it's hostile, and I'd argue it's likely to make them focus on the wrong things.


Ummm... Netflix? Amazon Prime?

Of course they can get a cut, like any retail store. But 30% is waaaay higher than what is usual retail markup.

It should be single digit.


You’d be surprised but many products provide a 100% markup for the retailer.

It’s so common there’s a term for it.

Keystone pricing

https://www.marketing91.com/keystone-pricing/

Also keep in mind that just the credit card processing, which Apple absorbs the cost of can be ~3% + $0.25


Usual retail markup depends on the category. For jeans it’s several thousand percent.

> As for the 30% fee, why shouldn’t they get a cut?

Because it's anti-competitive (Supreme Court agrees...). It's not apple's responsibility to help me safeguard my credit card data.


Can you provide a reference to your comment about the “Supreme court agrees”.

I don’t know what youre referring too.



That just says that SCOTUS agreed it met the standards to go forward as a case, not that it is actually anti-competitive, right? That'll be decided by a lower court in the actual case, no?

I think the problem is the way they lock in their users by holding their personal data hostage in heir ecosystem. Your music in itunes. Your already-paid apps in the appstore that won't transfer to android. Your ridiculously expensive phone. Your ridiculously expensive headphones that inexplicably won't work on android phone. They own their users. And then they own the store. So then, they own the app developers. It's bullshit. You don't get to own everyone all the time in all those market places just because you sit on a mountain of money. Screw apple.

>They own their users.

In my experience, Windows owned me. I spent far more time (and money) dealing with malware and low quality hardware running windows than I ever have with the Apple devices I have used. The amortized cost of an Apple device is far lower than equivalent Windows (or Androids), if you include time and stress and probably money too since my family uses iPhones and iPads and MacBook Airs for 5+ years.


My jaw is on the floor. How did you get so much malware and such poor hardware?

I love my iphone 7 and my macbook air from 2013--no doubt, they are very good. But I could throw my windows pc in the garbage and rebuy it a couple of times over for the cost of comparable hardware from apple, and I'm just not having the problems you are describing. This is like 6 year old computer that was about $1,300 in parts. It's like, just some asus motherboard with mismatched ram and a video card.... and it works fine. My mom has a 10 year old windows computer that just keeps on spreadsheeting and e-mailing for her... just fine. I just don't understand.

I've also had apple hardware that has issues. The notion that it is issue free is just not true.


> My jaw is on the floor. How did you get so much malware and such poor hardware?

Because I have relatives that click on every link they come across. News websites, especially foreign language are full of links to malware.

Solution is to give them a $400 iPad Mini, $900 MacBook Air, and now there’s even a $400 iPhone SE. There is no comparable laptop to a $900 MacBook Air in fit and finish. iPhones and iPads also last many more years than Android counterparts. I can’t even count on androids to get timely updates (I know, I tried out Nexus and Nexus 4 or whatever back in the day.). I’m still using an iPhone 6S Plus, and there are iPhone 5S and 6 floating around for the elders to use also.

There is no alternative to an iPad. And it’s not expensive, and lasts years and years. And Windows machines are designed to have poor hardware. The consumer level HP/Dell/Lenovo is designed to sell at such low prices that they have to pre install malware that you then have to spend time to get rid of after buying it. I’m not interested in that.


I feel like these people just need to remove local admin from their parents' accounts, setup automatic updates (no countdown warning) on Windows LTSC and have Malwarebytes Premium installed. Check in once a quarter.

Or get them a Chromebook and teach them the basics of Sheets and Docs. Check in when the laptop dies, shit you could have a backup one to swap out to and still spend probably 50% of what you would on the Windows PC, 20% on the Macbook.


> Or get them a Chromebook and teach them the basics of Sheets and Docs. Check in when the laptop dies, shit you could have a backup one to swap out to and still spend probably 50% of what you would on the Windows PC, 20% on the Macbook.

And then how do they FaceTime people from a Chromebook? With one of the 20 video chat apps that Google releases every year? I’m not interested in teaching them what’s new and what’s not. I have 80 year olds who don’t know English setup on FaceTime since iPad minis came out 7 years ago or whatever, and they know the ins and out of iOS. They’ve never had to be taught about a new app.

I originally did try Android tablets, and google couldn’t get their shit together with Hangouts video or Google video chat or whatever other ones, and I wasn’t going to waste my time being their Beta tester.

I also have better alternatives than figuring out what Windows LTSC is, where to buy it, and installing software. I can just get a MacBook Air for just as cheap, and tell my relatives to go to the Apple store when they have a problem. I installed a content blocker, and don’t even have to check in every quarter.


And that's the thing... a chromebook isn't even 20% a mac book.. It's probably like 10%. 10%!

You can have 10. You can have... 10!

Enjoy your chrome book while mountain biking! Don't feel like carrying it back down the mountain? Drop it off a cliff, pull #2 out of your bag

Enjoy your chrome book while water skiing! It's not water proof, but who gives a shit?! Throw that baby in the lake.


Way back in the 70s somebody was pissed off at Bill Gates for calling hobbyists pirates and told him if he wanted to get paid for software, he should be more creative, maybe sell it along with hardware.

At least since then, everyone has been pursuing that line of thought. Just some at times are particularly successful.


iTunes music that you buy has been DRM free for over a decade. Apple Music is available for Android.

There are relatively few apps by revenue that people pay for. Most revenue comes from in app payments from free to play games and subscriptions that are cross platform.

AirPods are Bluetooth headphones that work like any other headphones on Android.

Even movies you buy on iTunes can be transferred between iTunes, Google Play Movies, Amazon prime movies, etc. through Movies Anywhere. Only certain studios participate but that’s not Apple’s fault.


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