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My story with App Review (twitter.com)
175 points by egocentric 25 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 118 comments



My app has been repeatedly rejected because I do not offer free in-app trials (but offer money-back guarantee on my website) and also do not offer in-apps purchases.

I asked if I offered in-app purchases, would the app be approved?

No, since I offer 3-day money-back guarantee on website-based purchses, I must ALSO offer a free trial in the app.

But I don’t want to offer free trials. I’m ok offering a 3-day money-back guarantee, but Apple says that’s not an option for apps.

They insist that I (1) change my business model from 3-day money back guarantee to free trial and (2) purchase a shit ton more infrastructure to handle the audience that free trials attract (I’ve tried free trial business model and it created a lot of use but no more revenue than 3-day money back guarantee). The money-back guarantee seems to weed out a lot of free loaders, at least in this domain — not necessarily others.


Here's the thing: why should anyone trust that you will actually honor this 3-day money back guarantee, or that even if you honor it now that you will continue to honor it in the future? Part of the benefit of the App Store payment system is that it puts the user in control of their trials and subscriptions and lets them easily manage, cancel, and request refunds in a way that is guaranteed. But if your refund form magically disappeared one day, no one would have any recourse against that.


They would have recourse; it’s called a chargeback. If you pay with a credit card and a merchant rips you off or does something devious with your payments, you dispute the charge with your bank. It’s a huge pain for a merchant to deal with chargebacks, so this really wouldn’t be a real problem.

That overhead costs the business and the consumer about 2% in fees compared to Apple’s 30%.

I honestly don’t understand how or why anybody is defending Apple’s 30% cut for all cases. Businesses will just mark up the price of their product and pass the costs on to the consumer. The only party that wins is Apple, so I guess if you own $AAPL you’d defend the cut.


If you pay with a credit card. And the merchant can dispute your dispute. And it would be pretty annoying to have to file a chargeback every time you needed a refund. Last time I did it, I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and send it to my credit card company.

> I honestly don’t understand how or why anybody is defending Apple’s 30% cut for all cases.

I'm not. I think 30% is overly high. But simultaneously I don't find the original complaint all that convincing.


At least disputing it is an option. Apple’s terms don’t really allow for disputing; “ALL SALES ARE FINAL”.

I bank with Chase, who makes disputing a charge take a few minutes from their website.


As I said in my other comment, disputes are meant for unauthorized charges. If you actually purchased and received a product and you wanted a refund just because you didn't like it, you might not actually win a dispute under those circumstances.

> Apple’s terms don’t really allow for disputing; “ALL SALES ARE FINAL”.

Disputing would be unnecessary under the scenario Apple suggested because there would be a free trial.


It’s easy to dispute in earnest that the app didn’t deliver the functionality it claimed to deliver on the description.

Apple doesn’t offer free trials for non-subscription purchases.


> It’s easy to dispute in earnest that the app didn’t deliver the functionality it claimed to deliver on the description.

Now you're no longer talking about a money back guarantee. Come on, the idea that a credit card chargeback is a valid alternative to having a free trial is ridiculous.

> Apple doesn’t offer free trials for non-subscription purchases.

Wrong.

Non-subscription apps may offer a free time-based trial period before presenting a full unlock option by setting up a Non-Consumable IAP item at Price Tier 0 that follows the naming convention: “XX-day Trial.”


Also, the dispute process is intended for fraudulent/unauthorized charges. You might not actually win a dispute if you purchased a product, it was delivered to you, and you wanted a refund just because you ended up not liking it.


and if apple is handling the payments, they could handle the payback offer too. there is no reason that apple could not support different kinds of payment models if they wanted to


> I honestly don’t understand how or why anybody is defending Apple’s 30% cut

Stockholm syndrome by Apple developers and users.


You say that Apple is demanding you change your business model but actually you're demanding that Apple accomodate yours.

If someone buys your app and doesn't like it then how do they know about the money back guarantee ? Because depending on how visibly you communicate that to the user at best you could make it hard for users to know about it and at worst you could be flat out being deceptive.

Either way Apple takes on the significant chargeback risk for your app which is far more concerning for them than whatever revenue they get.


Oh sod off. Apple is the one who decided that the only way for users to install apps is through the Apple store. Once they open that up your argument might have some merit.


> Either way Apple takes on the significant chargeback risk for your app which is far more concerning for them than whatever revenue they get.

Gee, if only there was a way for the person to signup directly on the app maker's site, where they would assume all the risk...


You are still placing all of the reputation risk on Apple though.

If this guy builds an app which is forcing users into paying upfront and then hiding a money back guarantee in some hidden text then that is deceptive. And Apple suffers since they allowed the app to be sold on their store.


> And Apple suffers since they allowed the app to be sold on their store.

Well, they could allow the app to be sold outside their store, and then they wouldn't face any reputational risk from it.

I don't really see how this is deceptive either - if the app clearly states that you're paying for it upfront, and what the price is, then how are you being deceived? If you aren't willing to pay for it without trying it, then you can just not use it.


> Well, they could allow the app to be sold outside their store, and then they wouldn't face any reputational risk from it.

The service is sold outside the store (website). The apps to use the service are free on all platforms.


>Well, they could allow the app to be sold outside their store, and then they wouldn't face any reputational risk from it.

Really? Because I'm pretty sure Windows still carries the reputation of being a virus ridden software which was almost always caused by third party programs.


Nothing is hidden. You login and click a button to get a refund. It's easy, quick, no-hassle. And it weeds out a huge amount of free loaders who dont want to enter payment info (and i accept all sorts of 3rd-party payment so you dont have to give my payment processor a credit card number).


This is just how buying stuff works typically. You buy it, and if you don't like it, you return it.


And you don’t see a problem with this? The entire purpose Of the App Store is that you shouldn’t have to trust every random developer.


Is yours a b2c or b2b app? Been following all this closely because we were thinking of developing a mobile client for our b2b SAAS.


It's targeted for both audiences. There is a large b2b customer base but also a large b2c customer base. Sorry I dont have a more clear answer for you. I'm not sure if apple interpreted it as b2b to b2c, or if they even care. My guess, after spending months in this review process with 2 different reviewers and multiple rejected submissions and tens of thousands of dollars invested in app development, is they don't look at such things as b2b or b2c.


It seems like a simple law could fix this:

Phone device makers that provide an application store must also allow the user to load non-approved applications with equivalent API access to approved applications, and must make it possible for the user to load a third-party application store with equivalent access to the first-party application store.


I would like this to be extended to game consoles and any other kind of personal computing device, too! Although phones are clearly the most egregious example, game console manufacturers create a weird two-party market where they subsidize the purchase of the console so they can rent-seek off the larger playerbase by taking a cut of game sales.


That would completely destroy the gaming console market.

Nintendo would largely be fine. Sony and Microsoft however would be forced into anti-consumer practices like putting advertising everywhere and selling your data. Not to mention a complete consolidation of the studios where most games would be made by Sony Studios and only sold on the Sony app store.


> like putting advertising everywhere and selling your data

Ever used Xbox Live on the Xbox you paid for and seen ads? We're already there.


Well it would go to a whole new level if you want to take away their only revenue source.

Microsoft may even just decide not to build consoles at all.


Sounds good to me. Let somebody who wants to play ball fairly build the consoles.


Excellent point. It should probably apply to any hardware where you can load applications. There should always be a way for a user to load their own applications.


Game consoles don't have the kind of monopoly market that smartphone makers have. Firstly, because smartphones have evolved to become a generally indispensable item for most people, whereas game consoles don't have the same broad appeal and necessity. But also, secondly, game developers don't feel the same impetus to release on any individual platform, including the most popular closed-down platform, PS4. On the contrary, most games are released as exclusives, or otherwise intentionally limit their release platforms to ease engineering burden (example: Hollow Knight Silksong, an upcoming indie game from the very small Team Cherry (3 people last I checked), is intentionally only releasing on Steam and Switch at launch because supporting PS and Xbox is too difficult).

Valorant will do fine despite not being on PS4 or Xbox. Halo Infinite will do fine despite not being on PS4. The Last of Us II will do fine despite not being on Xbox or PC. This is the story for practically every game; net revenue from a specific title rarely increases enough to compensate for the additional effort of supporting a new platform, especially when platform exclusivity checks come in to play.

Speaking on platform exclusivity checks: They're an indispensable part of the industry and the production process for new games. Naughty Dog starts working on TLOU2 six years ago; they don't start seeing revenue from it until yesterday, after multiple delays and setbacks. Where does the money come from to pay developers until then? The publisher, which most commonly nowadays, is also a platform holder. Where does their money come from? The most sustainable, long-term revenue source is a storefront cut for already released games; Sony's 30% on every game funds Naughty Dog's development team.

What about the 70% from, say, the first Last of Us? Sure, that forms a critical component, but unless you're a studio that can consistently release mega-hit after mega-hit, that money will dry up. There are maybe 10 studios out there who can do this (Naughty Dog is one of them, so imagine we're instead talking about, lets say, Remedy with their recent game Control). In other words, this is investing in individual stocks versus market indices; the 30% cut from every game is more sustainable than the 70% cut from individual games, because not every game releases to massive success. Think Mass Effect Andromeda, No Mans Sky, Fallout 76, etc.

Take Fortnite; it funded Epic's ability to launch the Epic Games Store, and write exclusivity checks to companies like Remedy to secure Control. While I do believe Epic is being honest when they push their 12/88% revenue split and shit on Steam for their 30/70, lets be realistic: Fortnite enables them to do it, not morality. Epic paid $10M for Control [1]. Sony also paid some undisclosed amount for PS4-exclusive content, though the game also released on Xbox. Would Control exist, at least in its current awesome form, without those massive checks? Absolutely not. At best, development would have had to been rushed, or specific nice-to-haves would have been cut. At worst, who knows. But Remedy's previous release, Quantum Break (2016), was a keystone exclusive release for Xbox One, for which they likely also paid millions upfront, and it did not perform well.

Now, what you may be thinking is, what about companies like EA, Ubisoft, Rockstar, the "AAA third party studios". Yet, even these companies get huge checks from Sony and Microsoft. Sony paid Activision what was likely several million dollars for 1 year PS4 exclusivity on a multiplayer mode for Modern Warfare. Red Dead 2 had exclusive PS4 content at launch. When Destiny 2 releases a new map, it at least used to come to PS4 before anyone else. Xbox likely cut a special deal with EA for Access exclusivity on Xbox for years. Every company out there gets checks from these platforms at some point.

When Apple takes its 30%, app developers see none of it. But, with game consoles, to some significant degree that 30% is paying into a a bank account that you may, at some point in the future, be able to withdraw from if you promise a platform holder a bit (or a lot) of exclusive content. The hardware is a loss-leader. The subscription services (XBLG, PSN+, Game Pass) contribute some, but a lot of that money is already earmarked. That 30% cut is critical. The games industry is far more of a cycle than the App Store, and hurting the platform holders' ability to push this cycle along would have huge, unpredictable ramifications for the industry. Its not all good, but its far more necessary than Apple's 30% cut.

[1] https://www.pcgamer.com/epic-paid-dollar1045-million-for-con...


It seems very common sense. I don't even know what the argument would be against this measure as it's completely optional for users and neutralizes censorship and anti-trust concerns. Seems like a win-win for both consumers and the platforms.


> I don't even know what the argument would be against this measure

While I do absolutely agree that sideloading should be possible, I do know that many phishing/security scams involve (or used to involve) installing a sideloaded application. It should be easy to install a sideloaded application if you understand the implications (and maintain the same protection that ensures you know what permissions you're granting the application), but it should not be easy to accidentally or unknowingly install a sideloaded application. Maintaining that distinction is a challenge; it's important enough to be worth doing, though.


Android shows some scary-ish warnings the first time you try to install an apk, and has you go into system settings and allow yourself sideloading apps from that particular source (browser, self-updating beta of something and so on). With this and all the permissions and sandboxing, it would take some serious dedication to scam yourself this way.


> it would take some serious dedication to scam yourself this way

Consumers every day go to extreme lengths to satisfy the wishes of scammers. They will physically drive to the store, buy iTunes Gift Cards and hand over the codes to them. They will take photos of passports, credit cards etc for identify theft. They will install whatever software they are asked to.

The idea that they won't go into some setting and enable "Sideloading Apps" which sounds completely harmless is a bit ridiculous.


In the real world, we're already allowing very dangerous goods to be sold, whether it's chemicals, power tools or kitchen appliances that can easily set fire to your house if misused. Yet the world hasn't ended and we've accepted that the convenience of having access to these goods is worth the risk of stupid people dying/hurting themselves.

Why should we be against doing the same online, and allowing greedy megacorps to profit and squash competition in the name of "security", especially since as you say stupid people will always find a way to get scammed regardless?

Furthermore I think that the reason people are being so careless online is because of the lack of consequences and thus no opportunity for learning. The various security safeguards already in place mean it's relatively hard to end up out of pocket even if let's say your machine has malware (which should be considered a "game over" scenario) and steals your credit card number (the bank will refund you for any fraudulent card-not-present transaction), thus there is no real worry around malware beyond a minor inconvenience.


>Furthermore I think that the reason people are being so careless online is because of the lack of consequences and thus no opportunity for learning.

If that were really true, then people would have "learned" in the Windows era. I don't think consumers actually directly suffer any consequences from having a hacked device, the problems are always third order. An open PC becomes a botnet to DDoS someone else. An unsuspecting employee uses a personal device to jump a corporate firewall. Credit Card fraud is routed through thousands of residential IPs.

>Yet the world hasn't ended and we've accepted that the convenience of having access to these goods is worth the risk of stupid people dying/hurting themselves.

The vast majority of us live in a country where toys inside chocolate is banned. I don't think you have a strong argument here.


> I don't think consumers actually directly suffer any consequences from having a hacked device

You surely must be joking.

Why do you think there is such a large market for anti-virus and malware applications. Or why do you think Apple and Microsoft invest so much time and effort in security their platforms.

Because it directly impacts consumers. Scammers run apps on user's devices which mine Bitcoin. They steal data. They hold people to ransom. It just goes on and on.


And yet the majority of these only result in a minor annoyance. Bitcoin mining doesn't impact the consumer from a financial point of view. DoS/proxy bots affects someone else but not the consumer. Stealing data is possible but most malware out there limits itself to either card numbers (for which the bank will compensate you) or social media accounts for spam purposes (which again don't impact you financially), there is rarely someone at the other end manually looking through your data to see how they can leverage it for more impact (because this requires manual work and doesn't scale). Ransomware could but with the prevalence of cloud storage today its impact is heavily mitigated.

While there are odd cases where a targeted attack results in devastating outcomes, in the majority of cases malware just sticks to simple, automated (and thus easy to scale) attacks like harvesting card numbers or accounts, for which the bank will compensate you. In most cases getting malware (aka a burglar in your PC) doesn't have the same financial impact as a burglar in your house (when you typically get thousands worth of goods stolen that aren't likely to get replaced) so there is no opportunity for learning or being worried.


> An open PC becomes a botnet to DDoS someone else

Make the originator of the traffic liable for any damages, all the way up to the ISP? There would be a lot more worry about malware if it could cause a lawsuit/police investigation that lasts for months, even if you eventually end up off the hook, and ISPs would be incentivized to kick off customers that can't be bothered to secure their devices.

> Credit Card fraud is routed through thousands of residential IPs.

If the original credit card owner was liable for the stolen money this would incentivize them to better protect it and prevent it from being compromised in the first place. Plus with the liability for malicious traffic there wouldn't be as many residential IPs to proxy it through.

> where toys inside chocolate is banned

Well the is true but how about chemicals, power tools, flammable gas canisters, etc? I agree that the ban on toys inside chocolate eggs is stupid but we're allowing much more dangerous things to be around and the world hasn't ended.


Well, then they actually deserve the consequences of their ignorance. And, by the way, scams don't necessarily involve apps, they come in all shapes and sizes. Phone calls, websites, you name it.

It isn't realistically possible to safeguard everyone from everything bad while at the same time preserving their freedom.


Apple and Google accountants would like to have a word with you in regards to this win-win you're imagining.

If you think these mega-corps haven't done the math and decided it's more profitable to lobby and skim 30% off everyone vs not skim and avoid having to pay lobbyists and lawyers, you are being naive.


Google is okay with apps having their own payment processing, regardless of whether it's for physical or digital goods.


> I don't even know what the argument would be against this measure

The standard argument is that non-approved applications could damage the device, which the device maker would then be on the hook for fixing. This feels like a weak argument to me, given that PC makers have been dealing with this for 30+ years.


And very badly....


Wouldn’t this lead to intense efforts to install malware and scams?


Probably. Just like on your PC. But I'm not sure that is a good reason not to have it. We've put mitigations in place on the PC.


This reality you want to impose on the world is hilarious.

Just picturing wanting to sit down and play on my PS4 and having to first run virus and malware checkers.


> Just picturing wanting to sit down and play on my PS4 and having to first run virus and malware checkers.

Why would a reputable game developer ever release malware? You can still go to a reputable developer's website or even Sony's website and obtain the game from their store and be guaranteed that it's free from malware.

Of course, if you're obtaining your games from Torrent-Warez-1337.net then you need to be more careful but then it's your fault, it's not like you didn't know what you were in for when you went to a shady website.



This reality you want to impose on the world is hilarious.

Just picturing buying a computing device, then not being able to install the software I want on it.


I am not imposing any reality.

The status quo is then when you buy console devices e.g. gaming, cars, TVs etc you can only install apps that are approved by the manufacturer.

People think of phones as console devices not computers.


The fact that most mobile platforms are sandboxed would help a lot to mitigate this - even if you do install a malicious app, the damage it can do is going to be fairly limited in most cases.

(And the platforms that don't have effective sandboxing need to implement it, regardless of whether they allow outside apps or not).


Sandboxing doesn't really mitigate much of the issue. Apps often need access to shared storage as well as contacts etc. Even if they don't need access to what really should be private, they'll ask for it. And as we've trained a generation of Windows users to do, they'll grant access. Then we have privacy breaches, or tracking issues etc etc. The OS on the mobile device may be fine, but your data won't be.


That would be better than nothing, but wouldn't the alternative app stores end up being vimeo to Apple's youtube? With every developer needing to obey Apple's policies and get into their store if they want to make a living from their work?


My assumption is that it would force apple to have better and more transparent policies.

For example, if every app that didn't like the 30% cut rule went to another app store that didn't have that rule, that other app store would either get really popular or Apple would be forced to change their fee structure.


So long as keeping 70% of 100 sales is better than keeping 100% of 50 sales, I just can't see competing app stores getting big.


I don't assume it would fix all problems. I just assume it would force Apple to move to a slightly more developer/consumer friendly model.

Also, in a lot of cases, the choice is 100% of 0 sales because Apple just won't let you in their store.

For an example of what a third party app store would look like, check out Cydia app store (the main way to get apps on your jailbroken phone). There are a ton of useful apps in there.


Might be, but it might be Epic and Humble Stores to Apple's Steam.


Apple ‘s APIs also require access to Apple’s infrastructure - like CloudKit and notifications that go through their infrastructure.


In general I am against legislation like this. There are plenty of areas for remediation for a rejected app. You can offer on competing platforms (Android), or offer a web-app which is usable on an iPhone. Or you can follow the rules of the app store. Those are 3 perfectly viable options.

We have a tendency to view anything that goes against "us" as unfair. I don't see anything that Apple is doing that is anti-competitive, and don't see why legislation is necessary.


A standard legal test is: "are the alternatives equivalent". The three options you provide are not at all equivalent. That makes it anti-competitive.

Android isn't the same as Apple. They also have their own rules.

A web app doesn't have the same level of access as a native app.

The rules of the app store are unfair and aren't applied equally to everyone.


> A standard legal test is: "are the alternatives equivalent". The three options you provide are not at all equivalent. That makes it anti-competitive.

The test is rather, are the alternatives viable. And that they are.

You also have to prove that Apple is being anti-competitive - which is not true. Apple is applying their rules as equally as possible - just because it's imperfect enforcement, doesn't make it anti-competitive - it's unfair to punish when the scope of the problem means there will be apps that slip through wrongly.

Example: There are multiple email apps on the app store, and Apple isn't removing Hey because they also have a $99 email app. That would be anti-competitive. That's not what's happening here.

> Android isn't the same as Apple. They also have their own rules.

Android you can use third party app stores and sideload without any rules at all, and it's a bigger market. Sounds like a viable alternative.

> A web app doesn't have the same level of access as a native app.

Gmail has a website and an app. Both do the same thing - email. It's a viable alternative.

> The rules of the app store are unfair and aren't applied equally to everyone.

Imperfect enforcement is not the same as they aren't applied equally. It seems to me that they are - Apple is looking for offenders, finding them, and removing them. Seems pretty equal to me.


> Android you can use third party app stores and sideload without any rules at all, and it's a bigger market. Sounds like a viable alternative.

Telling someone that Android is a viable alternative to iPhone is the same as saying Marvel and DC comics are equivalent. They offer similar services, but do it in very different ways, and people have strong preferences one way or another.

> Gmail has a website and an app. Both do the same thing - email. It's a viable alternative.

This is actually a perfect example to prove my case. Things the gmail web app can't do on iPhone: Use your phone's contacts, notifications, photo previews on send, use native gestures, and lastly, the native app is significantly faster and more responsive.


I see you've conveniently left out the other arguments, probably because you know that what Apple is doing is NOT anti-competitive, and it's not a monopoly.

> They offer similar services, but do it in very different ways, and people have strong preferences one way or another.

Of course, it's a different product. People have strong preferences for the iPhone because of the curated experience, including the App Store. Remove that, and the phone becomes just another android. This destroys the product.

> Things the gmail web app can't do on iPhone: Use your phone's contacts, notifications, photo previews on send, use native gestures, and lastly, the native app is significantly faster and more responsive.

https://iphonebyte.com/sync-iphone-contacts-to-gmail/

There are multiple ways to sync contacts. You really just have no leg to stand on here.

I think what you're really saying, is you want an authoritarian utopia. We demand that all product is made how we all like it. Everything is the same, because if it isn't, it's "unfair."

No thanks. We have enough legislation. Going after one of America's premier tech companies because rich SV devs are mad their 99$ email app is failing is not something we should do.


Yes they do it in different ways and users have a choice.


Users have a platform choice but they have no choice in where to get software for their hardware.


Then they make a choice to buy the more open platform if that’s more important to them. I can’t whine because I can’t get software from XBox Live for my PS4


You should whine because you can't get my PS4 software on your PS4. Even if you wanted to get my software, there is no way for you to do that without Sony's approval.

So if Xbox suddenly became an open platform, you'd be ok with me telling you "well if you want my software you just have to buy an Xbox and get all new software for it and learn an all new system, but they're totally the same thing so it's fine".


Yes. Just like I chose to buy a Mac knowing I couldn’t run Windows software.


You're confusing platform availably with control.

On both the Mac and PC, you can install any software available for those platforms.


I thought you could already do this on iOS? I can’t remember where I saw it but I could’ve sworn you can without jailbreak


Despite sibling comment implying otherwise incorrectly, there are multiple ways to install non-app store approved apps.

1) you can sign an app for your device and run it without paying Apple anything for 7 days. After 7 days you have to do it again. Not convenient in the slightest, but still possible for free.

2) you can pay Apple $99/year for a paid dev account and the 7 day window extends to 365 days.

Neither of those above options require source code, somebody else could’ve compiled the app, you just need to sign it.

3) TestFlight allows installation without full App Store review and builds expire after 60 days (or is it 90, I forget?). I believe the cap of “limited people” sibling referred to is 10,000 these days, but I could be wrong. iSH is an example of a popular app using this route.

4) Corporations can sign up for an enterprise account for $299/year. This allows signing apps similarish to option 2 above, but for a virtually unlimited number of devices. The apps are required by policy to not be distributed to the general public though.


I'm not exactly sure how I was incorrect. I said exactly the same thing you did, just with fewer numbers.

At the end of the day, you can't just download an app and install it. You have to go through hoops, all of which involve money, expirations, or limits.


1) you said you had to pay, that’s not true.

2) you said you needed source code and to compile, that’s not true.

3) you said you “can’t just go online and download an app”, which unless you’re being very pedantic, isn’t true. I even gave a popular example, iSH.

OP didn’t ask if alternative app stores existed with one click installers, they said you should be able to side load apps on iOS, which I’ve shown true via multiple methods. If you had “said exactly the same thing” I did, then you must have a different definition of the phrase “you cannot” which is the lead of your comment which I’ve shown to be factually incorrect.


You cannot. You can kind of do it if you pay for a developer account and can get the source code and compile it yourself and sign it yourself. You can also install Testflight which allows someone (with a developer account) to distribute a limited number of copies.

But you can't just go online and download an app.


You can kinda do it using altstore.


It's a very nice example of Stockholm syndrome: "They are the nice big brother inflicting pain to devs and users and restricting their rights, and it's probably my fault if they are not nice with me"


I think despite gathering his courage to speak out, he is still afraid of Apple's reprisal, so he doesn't want to speak too harshly of Apple, lest Apple decides his apps are in violation and his account must be banned.


> But getting it on the store has been one of the most difficult, non-technical obstacles I've had to overcome, and this was only one of many other hoops I've had to go through.

We were very careful in our app to not push the boundaries at all. Nothing even remotely outside the norm for this very reason.

Now... contrast this “code chilling effect” with how great innovations have happened. Apple is clearly preventing any App company from ever having the same opportunity that Apple themselves had.

Bad moves I think.


I assume the policy is based on the fact someone at Apple has decided that keyboards on the Apple Watch can never be designed to have a satisfactory user experience, therefore all watch keyboards are banned.

However OP's app is grandfathered in, but when he tries to make other similar apps, they aren't allowed.


Apple felt this way about web pages on Apple Watch also. But I believe they have since relented.


> Pushing for an answer on how one of my apps can have a watch keyboard, but the other cannot, they could only "discuss via phone".

What would Apple's response be if you started with "This call may be recorded"? Is recording without notice legal in any state?


From what I know, the legality if this differs between state. In some you need consent from both parties, in others only your own.

Given their hesitance to official statements, I'd guess the call would be terminated immediately.


I made https://callrec.app just for that. It records calls for you and emails you the recording.

I made it just for me, but it works well enough for recording outbound calls.


I believe they're legal in any single-party-consent state, but I honestly don't know how that plays when the other person is in an all-party-consent state.


but if they say this call may be recorded aren't you consenting by continuing the call?


When I called the electric company yesterday the first thing that was stated on the IVR was, "If you don't want this call recorded, please let the representative know."

I thought that was nice. New to me.


I'm wary of the fact that it didn't actually say your phone call wouldn't be recorded.


Now, that raises an interesting question I hadn't considered before. If you call a service that has an automated call recording consent message does that consent message imply that you are also allowed to record the call with no further notice, if you so choose? Both sides know that at least one recording is being produced by continuing the call; do additional recordings require additional consent? Has this ever actually been tested in court?


I believe so. But one can use "By continuing this call, you consent that it may be recorded" just in case.


Depends on the state. But that opens up room for some jurisdictional arbitrage: an app that routed the audio of your call to servers in a state that allowed single-party permission, and record the audio there.


In California, it is.


California is a two-party consent state[0], which means everyone on a phone call must agree to it being recorded before it can be recorded.

In general, many more US states are one-party consent[1], which means that only one member of the conversation has to agree to the recording.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_call_recording_laws#...

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_call_recording_laws#...


> many more US states are two-party consent[1]

ITYM "one-party" here.


I did, thanks.


Limiting the question specifically to "can you record your own phone calls for your own use", and ignoring questions about what you can do with the recordings (which is where things like CCPA or GDPR would apply), there are two regimes which cover the vast majority of telecommunications law: one-party consent and two-party consent. (India doesn't allow recording at all, but that's because they're stuck in the Ma Bell era of telecom law.) One-party consent means one party - i.e., yourself - needs to consent to recording for the recording to be legal. The latter means all parties need to consent to recording. (Evidently "two-party consent" was coined before conference calls were a thing.)

About three quarters of the US is one-party consent but a quarter are two-party consent. California is part of the latter group and if any party to the call has California residence, then you need consent from all parties to the call before you can record. Yes, this has gone up to California supreme court. Yes, this includes all of the FAANG companies. So you would need some kind of notification that you were recording and for the person on the other line to consent to the recording, regardless of where you live, simply because Apple employees live in California.

(Depending on jurisdiction, there are exceptions for a party to a call to record the call if it has something to do with specific crimes, but "violating antitrust law" isn't one of them.)


I don't see the Federal Supreme Court weigh in on this, and without that I don't see how California can impose it's laws on people out of state. It's no different from any other law-- take open carry gun laws as an example. A state that prohibited open carry would not be able to assign liability to someone that open carried in a state where it was legal. It really doesn't matter what the California Supreme court says, they don't have authority outside of California. I suppose they could make laws about how such recording could be used if they entered in California, but not much else.


The problem I see is if you’re recording the call for legal reasons, you’re probably going to court in California where it wouldn’t be admissible even if they wouldn’t be able to charge you.


I'm thinking more about this specific situation of getting a formal record of what Apple tells developers. My suspicion is that if lots of people could compare notes there'd be some inconsistency. Certainly they don't bully folks like Netflix around because loads of people would suddenly become interested in Android if apps like that disappeared. Also California law would be irrelevant in a Federal class action suit.


Let's say you're calling Apple support and your call is routed to India (which seems to be under one-party consent), do CA laws still apply?

If the answer is "you're talking to an Apple representative, a company under californian jurisdiction", then consider the following thought experiment: If I'm on the border of two countries, and say something illegal in one, legal in the other; then I cross the border without hanging up and repeat the same thing, what jurisdiction(s) does this fall under?


I have heard that in a two-party state if one party says they are going to record the call the other party may record the call as well. I’ve also heard “This call may be recorded” interpreted as permission since it says “may” and not “might.” I’m not a lawyer and don’t know if any of this would fly, but it was interesting to me.


The more people speak up about these situations the faster they will be fixed permanently to avoid a neverending flow of PR nightmares.


I am not sure that this app is for blind and visually impaired users, or for everybody but also useful enough that blind and visually impaired can use it (which would be pretty darned useful, for a keyboard)

If it were explicitly an assistance app, would Apple be in violation of any discrimination laws by refusing to have it in the app store in that way?


The moral is, don't relies on Platform vendor's official distribution system as a sole way to distribute your software. If that platform doesn't allow you to distribute the software outside of it, don't bother to support such a platform. You have been lost already. Don't waste your time on dealing with such hideous non-free platform.


I understand the sentiment but there's a reason developers still flock o develop for Apple and Google even under these conditions. Despite the restrictive nature of the app stores they're the only chance most small developers have of ever reaching a wide enough paying audience.

Many apps are pretty much just a feature bolted onto the OS and could easily be shipped by Apple or Google as an integral part of the OS thus taking the whole reason foe that app's existence. So for many devs the whole income stream depends on Apple or Google far more than just by using their app store.


I'm not sure why you included Google there, as you can install on Android without going through their store. You just have to confirm that you're really sure you want to.


I was pretty clear why I included Google. Because using their app store is the single best chance for a dev to monetize their app on Android, or at least to get it noticed. Sure, they can use another store like F-Droid but while the possibility is there, they'd severely limit the audience. And most people are discouraged (for good reasons) from installing APKs from random places on the internet.

Few Android apps are distributed exclusively outside of the Play Store and even fewer get any traction with users, not to speak of being a financial success for the dev.


I live in a country that has been know to conduct extrajudicial assassinations. Should I simply renounce my citizenship and go live on an offshore platform or work towards getting them to stop doing that?



Well said


These kind of tweets kinda defeats the true purpose of Twitter, why don't the people write a blog instead of making dozens of tweets? I mean, you can write a blog with exact o more words, you can express yourself more and make the article much richer, and then you can link it to your twitter account, it makes absolutely no sense to do what he did.


Engagement. The majority of the people that such a blog would be shared with won't read it because it requires clicking an extra link. Tweets can be read in-line. Also, tweets in a tweet thread can be commented on specifically rather than on the blog post entirely.


Also, tweets in a tweet thread can be commented on specifically rather than on the blog post entirely

So it's like a college lecture where the professor stops after each sentence and has to answer questions from the audience. Pretty much the opposite of communication.


Not really. The tweeter in this case isn't stopping between each tweet to address comments. It is asynchronous versus the synchronous example you gave.


I wish these kinds of complaints were considered off-topic on HN, for the same reason paywall complaints are, because they are detracting from the content in an entirely obvious, predicable, uninteresting way. There are apps to summarize tweets to help them to be more legible for those who prefer that.

It makes sense to use Twitter to reach his Twitter followers. That’s reason enough to use Twitter.


I do want to see less pedantry about the medium and more discussion (and if that includes pedantry, so be it) about the message itself.


why don't the people write a blog instead of making dozens of tweets

I agree. And it's why I didn't read his screed once I saw that it was a whole series of tweets.

In the spirit of tl;dr, I propose "tr;dr" - Tweet rant; didn't read.




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