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Apple: Person-to-person experiences do not have to use in-app purchase (developer.apple.com)
338 points by BigBalli on Sept 11, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 468 comments



> We will reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it”. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.

This line makes my blood boil. Futhermore, later they define disallowed sexual content as:

> 1.1.4 Overtly sexual or pornographic material, defined by Webster’s Dictionary as "explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings."

Do they not know from which ruling that quote comes from?


I completely agree. When rules aren't codified it invites biased interpretation of them.

However....

I've worked on an internal communications platform. For some reason people would forget that they were on a corporate site with their corporate email linked to it and spew garbage that any decent person would be embarrassed to say out loud.

So we deliberately didn't codify our rules. We chose not to because we were aware that if we did then people would deliberately cozy up as close to the line as they could, and that wasn't the kind of environment we wanted to foster.

We avoided bias by removing information about the flagger or flagee when content was flagged and judged it based on the content ourselves. After we judged we'd look up who was responsible for the content, and if we felt they were doing some penetration testing to see exactly where those lines were we would start to loop in their manager, HR, legal, and anyone else we felt should be aware. Our escalation procedure went up to banning, though nobody ever reached that point. And our content improved.

If the story ended there I would still be against not having codified rules, but begrudgingly accept that it worked in that situation.

Unfortunately the story doesn't end there. Staff was hired so that engineers wouldn't be responsible for this. The staff was less familiar with the ecosystem and they proceeded to clamp down more and more on acceptable content. They cozied up to HR and legal who were never really comfortable with the permissiveness of the platform, and received praise and additional funding to grow the team for these clampdowns.

I left the project and haven't looked back.

You're right, "I'll know it when I see it" is a garbage sentiment that at best is a cop out, but too often is used to withhold rules and keep people in the dark as a power play, or even squash dissenters with arbitrary and unbalanced application of force.


To begin with, I think they made it to accommodate Tencent, who once threatened to pull Wechat from App Store if they don't let them use their own payments.

First, they used them for transfers only, but later came games, and etc.


Because it is not about fairness or rules. It is about extracting as much values as possible from app developers.

That made sense when the Apple store was a small kind of start up enterprise. Nowadays, it should be regulated so all developers can use the platform in a level field where competition is real and it is not just a game for big corporations.


Regulating the app store isn't beneficial. They should be able to reject bad apps for being bad without having to go to court over it.

The problem is that they restrict the user from using any other app store. So then when they get it wrong there is nothing anybody can do. And then they have less incentive not to get it wrong, because it's much harder for them to lose users to a competitor, so then they prohibit things the user actually wants more often.


The reason why developers want to make apps for iOS is because there's a large market. That market exists because Apple has done a great job prioritizing the protection of their customers' privacy and payment information.

If third party App Stores are ever forced onto iOS devices, that market vanishes completely. Crashes, slowdowns, battery drain, malware, and information theft will become the norm. Go no further than your gaming PC to witness the nightmare that is multiple app stores all competing for CPU and control/surveillance of your system, all needing to bring their own flavors of information-harvesting/exposing DRM.

This new round of digital YIMBYism is profoundly anti-consumer and stands to destroy the trust that Apple has built with its customers. I sincerely hope that those of us who have trusted Apple with our data will start to speak out before Google-backed lobbyists tranform iOS into a malware-ridden hellscape.


I don't see that at all. The value Apple supposedly provides is safety. If consumers want the safety that Apple offers, they can continue to limit themselves to Apple's App Store offerings, while those who don't value safety as highly can use a different app store. Just because you value something in a certain way does not mean everyone else should be forced to adhere to those same values.


> If consumers want the safety that Apple offers, they can continue to limit themselves to Apple's App Store offerings, while those who don't value safety as highly can use a different app store.

I'm not even convinced that those who do value safety as highly wouldn't be better off with other stores. For example, Google Play has the actual Tor Browser, with all of the anti-fingerprinting work they've put into it, which isn't available on iOS because it isn't Safari. I think F-Droid does a better job of keeping out malware than Google or Apple, because by their nature they're more selective of what they put in. The platform's own store is going to be under a lot of pressure to include e.g. the Facebook app, whereas F-Droid is happy to not. And there is value in that to the user who places a high value on safety and security.


When you allow additional app stores, you encourage companies--like, say, Epic Games--to convince people who do not understand the ramifications or the threats involved with opening up past a rigorous review process to do so. And Epic isn't going to be following behind for the newly-credulous when they pick up another one and it's full of dangerous shitware.

Somebody who wants to not use the App Store can buy an Android device. It's fine. It's fine.


This is a really easy problem to solve - add a scary sign and/or void the warranty when a user decides they want to use an alternative app store. Then they at least have the option - and if they take it and suffer, they're the only one to blame. There's absolutely no collateral damage among users, and this feature would not meaningfully weaken security (if implemented properly) - "the user could do something dumb that only affects them" is not reduced security.


"This user just gave a third party their entire contact list" certainly does harm other people.

"This user just had their entire camera roll exfiltrated" certainly does harm other people.

These are social devices. Their users are, by and large, non-technical and incurious. Expecting them to not just click past the "scary sign", and so condition to do it again and again, so they can play Fortnite is a level of lack of understanding that borders on incredible.


...neither of those attacks you gave are unique to smartphones. Someone can leak personal information through any number of other channels - for instance, entering someone else's personal information into a website that send out emails for a group party invitation.

> Expecting them to not just click past the "scary sign", and so condition to do it again and again, so they can play Fortnite is a level of lack of understanding that borders on incredible.

That's not an excuse. This is bad behavior. It doesn't matter if it's common, or expected - it's wrong, and their responsibility for correcting - not Apple's, and especially not at the freedom of other users who have nothing to do with these idiots. If this behavior is normal, then we need to make it not normal, not continue to compensate for their ineptitude. Fix problems, don't avoid them.


They did fix the actual problem here: the complete intractability, to the point where your dismissal reads as at best impossible optimism, of expecting users to secure their devices when given the opportunity to get a sick screensaver or a game.

I appreciate the fix. And I don’t want to be hectored by bad actors to fuck up my phone for their profit margin.

Buy Android if you do. That “freedom” is right there for you. I used to buy Android when I thought I cared about sideloading; I don’t, so I don’t. Do likewise!


> If this behavior is normal, then we need to make it not normal, not continue to compensate for their ineptitude. Fix problems, don't avoid them.

This sounds great in theory, but two decades of history of malware on Windows have already taught us it is hopelessly impractical.


Possible credulous users cannot be the one-size-fits-all excuse for blocking the freedoms of everyone. There are many ways to mitigate any conceivable concern without abrogating the freedom of a phone owner to run the software they wish on their own device.


You have a perfectly viable platform that lets you run whatever you want on it in Android.

Go do that if you feel the need. Nobody's stopping you.


> The reason why developers want to make apps for iOS is because there's a large market. That market exists because Apple has done a great job prioritizing the protection of their customers' privacy and payment information.

You vastly overestimate the number of figs the average user gives about most of the privacy problems that HN grapples with. The average user, after all, uses Facebook. What the average user wants is for shit to just work.

The reason that iOS is a huge market has less to do with that, and more to do with all the other aspects of what makes a good phone.

You argument is also somewhat undermined by the existence of... A rather large amount of crap on the App Store. Somehow, the iPhone has managed to survive.

... Also, cutting side-deals with apps created by billion-dollar players, and telling all other app developers to pound sand (Regardless of the quality of the apps in question) is the main problem we're talking about. Whether or not Apple does this has no bearing on the current quality of the iPhone (But has a lot of bearing on their bottom line), but has a large bearing on the future quality of the iPhone (A vibrant app ecosystem is healthier then one where a few hand-picked winners are rewarded, and their competitors can never compete on an even playing field. At least, that's what advocates of open markets tell me.)


Breach a user's trust and/or misuse their data and you'll know about it pretty quickly. I'd wager that the average user cares much more about protecting, say, their browsing history, than they care about petty B2B contract drama.


> Breach a user's trust and/or misuse their data and you'll know about it pretty quickly.

> I'd wager that the average user cares much more about protecting, say, their browsing history,

No, you won't, for a lot of reasons.

1. If people gave a fig about their browsing history, they wouldn't have Facebook accounts. (Which, combined with tracking cookies, do a great job of leaking their browsing history.)

2. If people gave a fig about their browsing history, they wouldn't use browsers with omnibars.

3. Or browsers which sync their accounts across multiple computers/devices.

3. People don't even understand which part of the tech stack (The OS, the app, the browser, the website, the third-party cookies served by the website) that they use actually compromises their information.

4. Unless you're a political dissident being hunted by the CIA, the House of Saud, and the Mossad, when this information is compromised, the harm is difficult to quantify, and is never directly linked to the part of the stack that caused the compromise.

Ask five different people 'Who knows your browsing history?', and you will get five different answers, all of which will be wrong. If normal people cared about this in the particular, they'd be tech-literate about this sort of thing. They aren't. As long as some asshole is not using that compromised browsing history to harass them personally, as long as it's being used in the abstract, by some information broker to show them ads, most of them don't give a damn. I know that they don't, because they don't take any steps to secure it.

Obviously, the users don't care about the B2B spat between Apple and developers. I'm not asking them to - I'm pointing out that rigged markets rarely produce good products.


This is a good example of the contradictions in free market dogma. The reality is that the Facebook as it exists in the "rigged market" of the App Store violates users' privacy less than the "free market" versions on other platforms. Apple's restrictive policies have made them the only company to (have the power to) put checks on Facebook's information harvesting.


The issue is not that Facebook is restricted from doing some things in the App Store, that they aren't on other platforms. That's a strawman, that nobody in this thread is complaining about.

The issue is that the rules for Facebook on the App Store isn't subjected to the same rules as <Small competitor> on the App Store.


> I sincerely hope that those of us who have trusted Apple with our data will start to speak out before Google-backed lobbyists tranform iOS into a malware-ridden hellscape

Ive had iPhone for the past year, but before that I had many years of Android. I really don’t see my years on Android as hellscape. I never had any malware, I mostly used google play store but also sideloaded some “grey” software (a mobile hearthstone client before the game had a real mobile client). I think at some point I installed amazon App Store but not sure why.

I also can’t say that my recent Apple experience is smoother than my android experience. On my iPhone 11 Pro I’ve had multiple experiences where some app after a while started to crash on startup and clearing data didn’t help. They had to be explicitly removed then reinstalled. My previous phones (Samsung S8 was my last Android) didnt have this or really any issue.


> I never had any malware

I think you need to be careful about taking your experience as a sophisticated user that understands how to avoid malware and extrapolating that experience to the general population.

There's a reason fake Fortnite APK links have been plastered all over the internet and are successfully tricking less knowledgeable users into installing things they did not intend.


This argument doesn't hold water because it applies as much to the choice of phone as the choice of app store. There have been phones that come with malware preinstalled:

https://www.zdnet.com/article/more-pre-installed-malware-has...

A user who acts without knowledge or advice buys that phone and is infected. A user who acts without knowledge or advice buys an app from a store operated by the people who made that phone and is infected. It's the same scenario.

So how do you justify forcing the people who do know what they're doing to choose which app store they want to use based on which phone they want to buy, instead of allowing them to choose independently?

> There's a reason fake Fortnite APK links have been plastered all over the internet and are successfully tricking less knowledgeable users into installing things they did not intend.

There is a reason, but it's not the one you're implying.

The problem with having a single dominant app store is that it has given people no experience in how to be safe in installing apps from other sources, so then when an app they really want gets kicked out of the dominant store, they mash whatever buttons they think will get it back. Whereas if there were multiple major trustworthy stores, the users of an app whose developer is having a dispute with one the stores could safely and easily switch to another well-known store.

Meanwhile the users with iPhones can't mash buttons to get somewhere stupid, but they also can't do anything to install Fortnite on their phone right now, which is still worse for them than having it available in a trustworthy store other than Apple's -- which would keep them from getting the point of wanting to mash buttons.


> This argument doesn't hold water because it applies as much to the choice of phone as the choice of app store.

That's silly. The number of people who might buy a specific no-name budget brand of phone with this problem is much, much smaller than the number of people that search for "how to install Fortnite" on Google or Youtube and end up clicking on a fake installer instead of the real one, because they can't find Fortnite in the Play Store like they can with all their other apps.

The implication of your argument is ridiculous. Oh, you might accidentally buy a phone pre-loaded with malware, so we might as well give up and not bother taking any other steps to prevent the spread of malware on the rest of our phones?

> The problem with having a single dominant app store is that it has given people no experience in how to be safe in installing apps from other sources, so then when an app they really want gets kicked out of the dominant store, they mash whatever buttons they think will get it back.

So the fact that Windows has never had a single dominant app store means Windows users must be particularly experienced in how to be safe in installing apps from other sources? This does not match reality.


> The number of people who might buy a specific no-name budget brand of phone with this problem is much, much smaller than the number of people that search for "how to install Fortnite" on Google or Youtube and end up clicking on a fake installer instead of the real one, because they can't find Fortnite in the Play Store like they can with all their other apps.

If you search for "how to install Fortnite" then you get this:

https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/download

Which is actually how you install Fortnite and not a fake installer.

People end up with the fake installer in the same ways they end up with the malware phone.

> Oh, you might accidentally buy a phone pre-loaded with malware, so we might as well give up and not bother taking any other steps to prevent the spread of malware on our phones?

There are a hundred ways to prevent the spread of malware without prohibiting multiple app stores. Allow third party apps but scan them for malware first. Get your apps from another app store, but that store checks it for malware. The only thing we give up on is the thing which is anti-competitive.

> So the fact that Windows has never had a single dominant app store means Windows users must be particularly experienced in how to be safe in installing apps from other sources? This does not match reality.

Have you used Windows lately? It comes with built in virus and malware detection for free and which doesn't expire. People are increasingly getting their software from stores like Steam and EGS which evict malware, which they can do even when they have competitors. Or getting it directly from well-known developers who they trust, like Mozilla or Adobe. Things that have no reason not to be web pages, are web pages. It works fine, even though you can still technically click through five warnings and run random garbage from the internet, because people have actually learned not to do that.

The people who haven't aren't the majority, they're the same people who buy the malware phone.


The problem is not everyone clicks on the right link. Non-sophisticated users looking for Fortnite don't even know what Epic is or whether or not they're the official place to get it.

https://blog.malwarebytes.com/cybercrime/2018/06/fake-fortni...

> There are a hundred ways to prevent the spread of malware without prohibiting multiple app stores. Allow third party apps but scan them for malware first. Get your apps from another app store, but that store checks it for malware.

The App Store review process checks for more than just malware. It also enforces privacy restrictions and ensures that developers aren't abusing legitimate APIs for malicious purposes. Malware scanning isn't going to prevent third-party apps from slurping all your friends phone numbers and selling that data to advertisers.

> People are increasingly getting their software from stores like Steam and EGS

Which is why we now have malware floating around masquerading as the Epic Games Store.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/new-lokibot-trojan-malware-cam...

I think you're making the same fallacy as the person I originally replied to, which is taking the experience of a highly technical user and assuming everyone else knows how to do the same things you do. I use all four platforms (iOS/Android/Mac/Windows) regularly. I've personally never had problems with viruses/malware on Windows, even back in the XP days before Windows Defender was a built-in thing. But simultaneously I don't believe my experience is typical of the majority of users on those platforms.


Maybe because Amazon App store used to cough up one paid app for free / day to get users to use their store.


If consumer trust were the foundation of Apple's growth, they wouldn't have to worry about folks defecting to another app store if it was available.

The reality is that, having created a great market, they are now extracting rents by using their ability to exclude apps to enforce things that don't benefit users but expand their margins (like forcing use of their identity and payment systems).


> If third party App Stores are ever forced onto iOS devices, that market vanishes completely. Crashes, slowdowns, battery drain, malware, and information theft will become the norm.

This is a wild projection. Having alternative app stores on iOS, especially if gated behind a hard-to-find switch with a scary warning sign, will be totally different than any PC experience, partially because iOS has a sandboxed architecture (and incredibly solid engineering in general) that is far more secure than Windows, and partially because Windows allows you to install stuff incredibly easily with no signing or app store required. It's really obvious that iOS will have a fraction of the security issues that Windows has had over its lifetime.


I mean, is it really that far out there if you look at the past two decades of history of malware on Windows and particularly Android?

Sandboxing has not prevented the proliferation of malware on Android, why would it be any different on iOS?

Sandboxing also doesn't really address the other major risk which is theft of personal information by supposedly "trustworthy" apps.


Malware is less of a problem for Android now than any point in Windows' history except for possibly the past few years, so I think that sandboxing has succeeded rather well, given that Windows has had 34 years to evolve defenses and Android has only had 11. Even early on in its life, Android was still better off than Windows at the time, and what do you know - Android has allowed sideloading and alternative app stores this entire time. That is, Android is doing now what we're discussing what Apple might do, and it's worked out pretty well for them.


That's not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it? Sure, the malware situation on Android is better than Windows. It's still far worse compared to iOS.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/02/resea... (Note the date. This is an ongoing problem.)

https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/10/20688885/agent-smith-andr...

https://securelist.com/skygofree-following-in-the-footsteps-...

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/07/virul...

Don't you think there's a direct correlation between the ability to install APKs from random shady internet sources and the spread of malware on Android? Even macOS has a worse malware situation than iOS for the exact same reason.

If you believe this has "worked out well" for Android, you and I must have very different definitions of the phrase.

You also didn't address my other point, which is sandboxing is only meant to address operating system level security, not developer abuse of legitimate APIs.


> That's not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it? Sure, the malware situation on Android is better than Windows. It's still far worse compared to iOS.

> If you believe this has "worked out well" for Android, you and I must have very different definitions of the phrase.

Yes, it's a ringing endorsement. Android is good enough - actually, better than good enough. I've seen at least five cases of Windows malware from friends and family over the years, and zero Android cases.

As the article you listed above shows, xHelper has had 33K detected cases. That's literally two decimal orders of magnitude less than Conficker, which had over 9M cases, in 2008, when there were, if anything, fewer Windows devices than there are Android devices now.

iOS is only better than Android because it sacrifices a lot of user freedom for a little security - which is not an acceptable tradeoff. If I pay for a device, I (should) own it - not the company. If you, personally, are not going to check the box that says "let me install third-party apps" then you, personally, are at no risk of infection, and you have absolutely no right to tell me that you think that I should not have the right to check that box.

> Don't you think there's a direct correlation between the ability to install APKs from random shady internet sources and the spread of malware on Android? Even macOS has a worse malware situation than iOS for the exact same reason.

Yes, there's a direct correlation. If you give users sharp tools, the dumb ones will stab themselves. This is normal, and good. Users deserve the sharp tools. Put a sheath around them, but device makers intentionally restricting users from things that they might reasonably want to do, for the sake of their own profit, is borderline theft.

> You also didn't address my other point, which is sandboxing is only meant to address operating system level security, not developer abuse of legitimate APIs.

Yes, because developer abuse of legitimate APIs is irrelevant to what we're talking about here, which is whether or not to allow third-party app stores. Why? Because (a) both Apple and Google's app store review processes have let malware through before and (b) sandboxing, which doesn't necessarily prevent developers from abusing legitimate APIs, is necessary for it - and both iOS and Android take advantage of sandboxing to make it harder for devs to do bad things. For instance, iOS (now) gives you a notification if an application accesses the clipboard. Even better, there are modifications for Android that allow you to intercept and fake API data (so that an application doesn't refuse to work if you deny it access to an API) - which is significantly better than anything you can get on iOS.


Sorry I didn't see your reply earlier.

> As the article you listed above shows, xHelper has had 33K detected cases. That's literally two decimal orders of magnitude less than Conficker, which had over 9M cases, in 2008, when there were, if anything, fewer Windows devices than there are Android devices now.

That's some odd cherry-picking when I actually listed several different articles with much larger case counts. If it's magnitude you're looking for, HummingBad has infected 85 million Android devices, Chamois has infected 199 million, SimBad has infected 150 million. If you total up all of the Android malware attacks since the platform launched you're looking at several hundred million infections at the very least. This is not a small problem and is far from "good enough".

> Yes, because developer abuse of legitimate APIs is irrelevant to what we're talking about here, which is whether or not to allow third-party app stores. Why?

Sorry, I disagree. There are many APIs that can be used for legitimate purposes (for example loading my contacts so I can message my friend) that can be abused by developers who don't care about privacy (for example subsequently scraping my contacts and selling them to advertisers without my consent). Sandboxing or permissions or notifications don't really help address this issue, whereas at least with an app review policy you can say this behavior is unacceptable and you will be banned if you abuse it. Will the review process catch all of theses abuses? No. But it serves as a deterrent, and if you're comparing an app that is distributed via the App Store and subject to its privacy rules versus a version distributed directly via their website where they can do whatever the hell they want, I'd prefer the former any day. That's why it's relevant to the discussion of third-party app distribution.

> both Apple and Google's app store review processes have let malware through before and

No process is perfect and of course sometimes things will slip through the cracks, that doesn't mean there isn't value in the process. The statistics indicate that malware is a significantly larger problem on the Android platform compared to iOS and this is directly tied to the existence of side-loading and third-party App Stores.

1. Android is responsible for 47.15% of mobile malware infections compared to 0.85% on iOS. Windows accounts for 35.82% and IoT devices take up the remaining 16.17%. In other words, Android is now a larger malware vector than Windows itself, and your suggestion that malware is less of a problem on Android compared to Windows is statistically incorrect. (https://onestore.nokia.com/asset/205835)

2. Google's own reports show that Android devices that use side-loading have an 8x higher incidence of malware compared to devices that only use the Play Store, meaning it's specifically direct downloading and third-party stores that are the cause of the problem. (https://source.android.com/security/reports/Google_Android_S...)


> If third party App Stores are ever forced onto iOS devices, that market vanishes completely. Crashes, slowdowns, battery drain, malware, and information theft will become the norm. Go no further than your gaming PC to witness the nightmare that is multiple app stores all competing for CPU and control/surveillance of your system, all needing to bring their own flavors of information-harvesting/exposing DRM.

I am sorry but this is just FUD.

I own both a Macbook Pro and PC that I built and I have yet have these supposed "multiple app stores nightmare" that you are talking about.

Do you own a Windows machine yourself? Because the above comment doesn't seem to be done in good faith.


There is literally malware spreading by masquerading as the Epic Games Store: https://www.zdnet.com/article/new-lokibot-trojan-malware-cam...


I still fail to see how this will apply to iOS.

iOS doesn't magically lose it's sandboxing and become Windows just because 3d party stores are allowed.


Sandboxing didn't prevent fake versions of Fortnite and other serious malware from spreading on Android, nor does it generally prevent information theft and privacy violation through malicious use of legitimate APIs.


I don’t know if you have seen the trash heap of bad apps that is on the App Store. It gives the distinction impression that Apple does not reject bad apps, only apps they don’t like for arbitrary reasons.

I do agree that the best solution would be allowing third party stores.


Just because bad apps may make it onto the app store doesn’t mean Apple’s implementation is failing. Security holes are not discovered in a vacuum. It’s like playing wack a mole. For obvious points just like at how Epic got banned from the App Store. They snuck in a direct payment option and got approved for release, only later did Apple find out. It’s possible that those bad apps snuck in malicious codes and the app reviewer missed it. It happens. However without Apples review and ability to act as goal keeper there would be much more of those kind of apps,.

I’m not sure how third party stores are the best solution to this. That means users would have to trust another gate keeper for security and validation. 3rd party app stores will just increase the possible of malicious apps


Or just charge a flat review fee.


The only loophole I can see is to have web app stores because you can’t ban browsers. Web apps may improve greatly as lower level browser APIs like Houdini become available but I don’t think that will be enough. I think that html should be replaced by cross-platform native apps distributed over http.


Unfortunately, Apple controls the browser channel by mandating the use of their engine, WebKit, which is suspiciously limited on the features that make web apps close to native, Store-distributed apps.


The fact they need rules to enforce use of their inferior payment system shows how inherently anti-competitive IAP is. If it were optional and you could freely roll your own purchase mechanism, most (not all) developers would remove Apple IAP with the current 30% fees.


...and I would go from spending one or two hundred a month on IAPs, and spend zero instead. There is no way I’m giving an app my payment info.


How do you make online purchases? Do you just... not? Is the use of independent payment systems on the Web somehow different from in iOS apps?


Use an intermediary like google wallet or a one time virtual cc?


In which case OP should have no problem using the same solution for in-app purchases.


What about “roll your own” equates to google wallet? That’s very much not roll your own, and not what the grandparent was arguing.


You misunderstand. The customer can use Google Wallet if he wishes.

On the Web, payments almost always go through the credit card system, using one of many payment providers (PayPal, Stripe, etc.) set up by the seller. The customer also has the option of using a "safer" virtual credit card to avoid the possibility of credit card theft.


Yeah, the thing is to have codified questions. Seems weird but that's how the law does it. We are always asked to frame things in terms of what a reasonable person would find explicit, threatening, likely, implausible...basically, the law asks you: can you answer this question with a straight face?


I think there is a difference in kind over rules that govern paid employees, and rules that govern developers who are paying to be on the platform, and told to design and innovate, but if you step over a line we're not going to write down, we'll kick you off the platform and damage your business.


Doesn’t sound like a platform I’d want to bet my business on.


Your codified rule was “don’t habitually say stuff you don’t want to be attributed to you with your manager, HR, legal, and anyone else at work you don’t want reading it”.

Seems pretty straightforward to me.


Not sure if what you're arguing against is judgment calls, or against the fallout of that supreme court ruling, but to address the use of judgment, the nature of curation is that it's not always something that can be put in a set of explicit rules.

There's always people that walk right up to and over the line and generally push boundaries and find loopholes, no matter how well written rules are. Human judgment needs to be a part of the process if a good experience is desired.

Now it can be argued that Apple doesn't execute on this approach particularly well, but the idea that they want to be able to make some judgment calls is perfectly valid and if done right leads to the best experience.


> Human judgment needs to be a part of the process if a good experience is desired

Yeah just to second this I think that a lot of us coming from software backgrounds like to think of laws as being code, fully definable, automatable and capable of covering all edge cases. This isn’t the case. Judgement is required.

Not to ruin my own metaphor but I actually think there is a lesson about software as well. Software is not something capable of perfection. There is no perfect code, everything is a bodge, some bodges are more useful than others. You can’t cover every edge case. Software evolves and has flaws much like the product of natural evolution.


>Yeah just to second this I think that a lot of us coming from software backgrounds like to think of laws as being code, fully definable, automatable and capable of covering all edge cases. This isn’t the case. Judgement is required.

problem arises when the method for achieving Judgement isn't codified.

Meaning, while laws and punishment are open to interpretation by the judges, the system by which we appoint judges, their permissions and abilities, are strictly codified, and they must be in order to subdue and reduce corruption.

OK: Your company decides to stop producing specific codified rules -- what is in place to prevent judgement bias and fair interpretation of 'crossing the line'?

The answer, in most cases, is that there is nothing to hold the 'judges' accountable. Nothing to insure fair unbiased decisions. Nothing to insure that they can't hold the position indefinitely without malice.

In other words : The shorter your Terms of Service become, the longer the Employee Handbook must become to prevent corruption and overall unfairness.

Besides that problem, there is the problem where the acceptable behaviors on a platform may wander with society -- this leads to issues where developers may be barred from a platform for behavior which was perfectly acceptable earlier that year without any real warning.

How does one avoid breaking rules if they can't know the rules?

Well, one might say "Play nice.", but the reality is that we all interpret it differently. That's one of the many nice features that comes along with codified law.


In theory, the law should be written such that reasonable, disinterested people can reach consensus on the outcome of cases.

It can't be as unambiguous as code and usefully describe the world, but it shouldn't require judgment based on individual opinion - that's why the pornography ruling is such a dodge.

Judges should be disinterested and appealable; they are not in Apple's case.


Agree. Decision environments are high dimensional spaces that human judgment can tap into. Laws and rules are ways to compress that space, but the compression is lossy and can lead to a divergence between the letter of the rule and its intent.

And to add more complexity to the situation, laws and rules are but static snapshots within a dynamic system, and may simply drift away from intent with the progression of time and people's viewpoints. Kind of like a really old keyframe in a compressed video that starts smearing from the accumulation of too many changes.


One observation I've made about laws vs code is that the former allows for the use of some very... convenient descriptors. The best one is "reasonable". It's used all the time in legal agreements, and it's exactly the type of mushy concept you could never explain to a computer.

And I think that's healthy. Laws are written for people, not computers, and as far as I can (I'm very much not a lawyer), everyone basically agrees on what "reasonable" means. Furthermore, I'm not sure what we'd do without that word, because you can't realistically outline every possible scenario in advance.


I can't believe they were dumb enough to put that SCOTUS line in this.

It just plays into their current "meh, here's some rules but we'll do whatever we want anyway" image.


If I remember correctly, the SCOTUS reference dates back to when Steve Jobs was CEO. I am, um, not at all surprised he put that in the guidelines.

The guidelines also used to say:

> If your App looks like it was cobbled together in a few days, or you're trying to get your first practice App into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection. We have lots of serious developers who don't want their quality Apps to be surrounded by amateur hour.

You can tell this was personally written by Steve.

---

Taken from https://web.archive.org/web/20140903022336/https://developer.... This is the earliest available in the Internet Archive as far as I can tell; circa-2012 they were kept behind an account login.


I've heard anecdotally that Steve Jobs helped write those guidelines, and the "amateur hour" line in particular sure sounds like him. I don't mean that in a disparaging way; Jobs could certainly be a jerk, but there are times I wish more CEOs were willing to be that blunt in official communication.


And to be honest it make sense in the early days. Jobs wanted the absolute best Apps in the Apps Store.

Situation now is different though. Jobs would likely have some human touch in the current situation. Where as Tim Cook feels less so.


Given how much amateur hour there is on the app store, I think they might as well remove that rule...


That sounds like a good guideline to be honest. Perhaps not the best-worded one, but gets the point across and avoids becoming another Google Play Store.


I think it would be in excellent guideline if iOS allowed side-loading (without ridiculous restrictions). But it doesn't.

Everyone was an amateur once. How should they distribute their apps?


I do not want these apps and average Joe doesn't want them either.

Why is it so difficult for people to imagine how insanely powerful and datapacked your phone is?

Allowing sideloading to average people means they will get hacked and ransomwared left and right. Your entire life is on the iPhone.

While I agree with you about sideloading apps for enthusiasts and hackers, but the world is far different than you and me. I really don't understand why these arguments are presented on HN time and again. Jailbreaking your iPhone is a terrible idea. Horrifying even.

I am glad Apple is gate keeping. Privacy > Hackability. You can't have both. The world is full of vultures that will shred your privacy in no time. Just look at what the ad-tech is doing within these sandboxes (browsers). Microsoft got into ad-tech game because they realized "Holyshit, we are actually in a unique position...develop operating system and sell data for millions of users?".

Apple is probably the only company looking after users and yet we've got completely deluded developers on HN complaining about sideloading apps. Sigh.

For amateurs, let them develop stuff on browsers. I don't want these amateurs widely distributing apps to billions of users with system level access with a quick approval popups for billions of idiots that don't care about their privacy and would give access to anything that asks for it.


> Jailbreaking your iPhone is a terrible idea. Horrifying even.

And the fact that I can Jailbreak my phone has not caused your iPhone to to become safer or less private. All I want is for Apple to offer an escape hatch, completely optional. It would not affect your experience in the slightest.


I agree with you if that escape hatch requires explicit permission, warnings and a bunch of precautions.

Hot links, such as reddit.com launching App Store to download their app should not be allowed because some uninformed user might just download bogus apps from 3rd party stores.

Again, I support the idea of an escape hatch, but I feel like that applies to an imposssibly small slice of the total iPhone userbase. People like you and me. I feel like I should write it out: 0.00000001% people.

Do you think executives at Apple look at this feature request and spin the entire ship around so that you and I can hack a phone?


Sorry if this is nitpicky, but since you made a point of saying you were going to write it out..

The world population is ~7.8 billion. 0.00000001% of that is 0.78. If you drop the percentage, it's still only 78 people. And that's assuming every person in the world is an iPhone user.

I think the slice is obviously bigger than that.


> Do you think executives at Apple look at this feature request and spin the entire ship around so that you and I can hack a phone?

Yes, because of what happened with HKMap.live. This is incredibly important for free expression.

It’s only used by a tiny number of people until one day when it suddenly becomes essential.


Sure it would. Some major developer only offers their app as a side load and suddenly your Aunt Edna is giving system level permissions to some developer without any realization that they just gave away keys to their house.

Perhaps Apple could sell a developer edition of the phone that allows side loading.. come to think of it, they do. If you are an Apple developer you can side load apps. Any developer that wants to can post their code on github and let other developers install it on their phone.

Really, if you don’t like the rules, you have an alternative.


Android allows sideloading and I’ve literally never heard of anyone even doing that, much less getting hacked by it.

I think you massively overestimate how many people would use that functionality.


I think you massively underestimate the number of people that will click yes to install random packages on their own phones in order get access to free games or porn or whatever.

https://research.checkpoint.com/2019/agent-smith-a-new-speci...

https://blog.malwarebytes.com/android/2019/08/mobile-menace-...

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/07/virul...


Even without sideloading, the Google Play Store is so full of trash apps that request dubious permissions and are littered with dark patterns. Not that it doesn't happen on the App Store, but it's significantly worse on Android. I saw the state of my little brother's phone (tween) and it was quite shocking.


> Android allows sideloading and I’ve literally never heard of anyone even doing that, much less getting hacked by it.

I have.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/07/24/warni...


> I think you massively overestimate how many people would use that functionality.

I admit that I know very little about Fortnite and am not a regular Android user, but my understanding is that, right now, anyone who wants to play Fortnite on Android is sideloading it. That's a lot of people who are opening up a pretty brutal attack vector to be able to play a game that got kicked out of the official Play Store.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/13/21368079/fortnite-epic-an...


It didn't get kicked out of the store for violating people's privacy or some such, it got kicked out because they didn't want to pay Google money in exchange for absolutely nothing.

Sideloading Fortnite is not opening up an attack vector unless Fortnite itself is malicious, which it's not, because it's a huge game from a huge company. As long as the official download source is known to everybody, I think it's fine.

I know there are fake (malicious) copies of Fortnite out there, but those promise free V-Bucks or some such. You could just as easily run that scam without sideloading and target the user's credit card number of similar.


I think you're understimating the level of risk associated with people attempting to sideload Fortnite. People aren't necessarily intentionally seeking shady versions (but even if they were, I find this kind of victim-blaming counterproductive). They were doing things like searching "how to install Fortnite" on Google or Youtube and getting sent links to fake versions with malware loaded. [1]

How were non-sophisticated users supposed to figure out that the Epic link was the correct link to click among the thousands of search results? How many of the people wanting to play Fortnite for the first time even knew what Epic was?

> As long as the official download source is known to everybody

It's not, and that's the problem.

[1] https://blog.malwarebytes.com/cybercrime/2018/06/fake-fortni...


I guess my question is, is this problem really unique to sideloading, and if not, can it be addressed in the same ways we address other problems?

For example, does everyone know the official source of Facebook? If so, why, and if not, why is there not an epidemic of fake Facebook scams that steal login credentials? I know there are targeted phishing attacks, which is a separate issue, but I haven't heard of significant attacks from people who just didn't know the correct login page.

One way we do deal with this is with targeted blacklists of known-bad sites, particularly Google Safe-browsing. That's certainly a mechanism that could be employed for Android Malware—and I think it already is, actually.

Problems do happen—but I don't see anyone calling on Google to restrict Chrome to a whitelisted set of approved URLs. And I'd posit that gaining access to someone's Facebook account is no less invasive than gaining access to their phone.


Don't the overwhelming majority of people access Facebook via the app these days? So the official source of Facebook for those people is... the App Store or the Google Play Store.

> And I'd posit that gaining access to someone's Facebook account is no less invasive than gaining access to their phone.

I don't think so. Accessing someone's Facebook messages and photos is one thing, gaining access to their phone means gaining access to their email which means potential access to any account linked to that email. Given how many people use mobile banking these days, I'd say there's a lot more potential for damage if your phone is compromised.


Possibly ability of sideload makes Play Store not to restrict apps hardly like AppStore.


If you're an amateur, you have to put in extra time to get your app into shape.


I'm really surprised. Did Apple shake up their PR or legal flacks? The language they've used recently (I'm thinking of the Epic stuff, too) feels different than their famously cool, considered tone; looser, more assertive, and much easier to argue with.


I disagree. They have always been this arrogant. You are just noticing it right now. Do you remember when they essentially said don't run to the press if we don't allow your app, it won't help you, which I personally interpreted as or else? Or how almost every time someone criticizes Apple they sandwich a one-sentence criticism between 50 sentences of praise because they know the cost of not doing that could be their entire business? Since the launch of iPhone, Apple has been the 800lb gorilla in the room and has acted like it.

EDIT: From App Store Review Guidelines on September 2014:

> "If your App is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps."

https://web.archive.org/web/20140903022336/https://developer...


Which is such a lie, because going to the press is exactly what gets a lot of apps re-evaluated and accepted.


Eh, it _can_ be a lie. This is some form of the quandary “if you owe the bank a million dollars, you’re in trouble; if you owe the bank a billion dollars, the bank is in trouble.”

99% of app devs will not benefit from “running to the press.” Those that will will know it for certain.


I've seen apps get their decisions reversed simply due to a post becoming popular on HN or Reddit. You don't have to be a major player for public shaming to work against apple.


I agree. Sentences like "we think that you will also know it when you cross it" are extremely arrogant.


It's always been written in an oddly informal way. When I first read it, I did a double take and had to check if I was on the right domain, because I didn't expect it from Apple, of all companies. Over the years, it has been tightened a bit (the famous "If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps" line is gone), but it's still quite relaxed and personal, which is a tone that is somewhat at odds with the strictness of the rules.


I think it's the power dynamic. The marketing material doesn't need to be as good because they're (culturally) in charge now at the company.

It used to be that engineering/design led the company. Now it's marketing and legal.


> It used to be that engineering/design led the company. Now it's marketing and legal.

Isn't that what people make fun or Oracle for?


Oracle: Sales and legal.


I think that bit has been in there for years.

edit: Here it is, from 2016, probably goes back a lot longer than that

https://web.archive.org/web/20160706210122/https://developer...


For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure that line's been in there since the review guidelines were public, years ago.


I found an article from 6 years ago that quotes that line, so at least since then: https://www.theregister.com/Print/2014/09/04/apple_new_app_s...



Everything is a judgment call. You can no more spell out everything that is considered explicit than your HR department can spell out everything that might constitute harassment.


It's their treehouse; they can do what they want. None of these platforms are your friend. Half the Apple devs I know have some kind of stockholm syndrome, though.


Apple owns the platform. I'm still going to try and change how they do business because that would be better for me. Everyone is allowed to do that and there's nothing wrong with it. If you want to give up your power as a person to try to affect change, that's cool but I'm not giving up any non-immoral tool I have.


Or just maybe they like making money on the mobile platform where people will actually spend money?


The crazy part is the people who fly into fits of rage when you suggest Apple could do something differently. Changing the web browser on iOS was one that would get tons of hate and responses like “you don’t need that! it would confuse people!”

Then Apple lets people do it and now they’re okay with it


You still can't change the browser on iOS. All the other "browsers" are heavily restricted skins over a webview, not a proper other browser.


And that's OK; if it wasn't for Apple then Google would essentially own the current and future direction of the web by now


Competition should not be created by limiting the market on one specific platform.


with their sandbagged browser that they only bother to update once a year? Firefox is the competition for Chrome, Safari is just a sandbag to hold open the gap between web apps and native apps.


Apple updates the browser between major OS updates.

Apple added YubiKey support (https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2019/12/12/apple-ios-13-3-i...) for 2FA in Safari in 13.3 and they added better mouse support to Safari as well as other built in apps between major releases.

Firefox is losing market share and almost completely dependent on Google for its survival. If Firefox tries not to support something that the rest of the industry is supporting (like the web based DRM) the rest of the industry just yawns.


Then stop whining about Apple's stupid rules. Apple also likes making money on their platform, and they're much better at it than you are.


> a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it”. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.

I personally think this is the worst line that ever came out of a Supreme Court decision because of how simple it is. It is such a blatant low effort cop out that legitimizes arbitrary rulings. At least usually they obfuscate it with legal jargon and historical rulings.


The quote is infamous for being a terribly useless statement. Not sure why they would want to use something like that to defend themselves


I think of it as the legal version of the observation from psychology that some tasks (e.g. recognition of images) are performed by the brain without conscious understanding of the process.


> In 1981 Justice Stewart commented about his second thoughts about coining the phrase. "In a way I regret having said what I said about obscenity—that's going to be on my tombstone. When I remember all of the other solid words I've written," he said, "I regret a little bit that if I'll be remembered at all I'll be remembered for that particular phrase."


Good. Considering how much damage he did to the right to free speech (and less importantly the legitimacy of the supreme court), he deserves to not be remembered for anything else.


Interesting that the film at issue in the Supreme Court case, in which 6/9 justices disagreed about the reasons why it should or shouldn't be censored, is today available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/fr/movie/les-amants/id1112874509?l=...


Why would court opinions matter here? Seriously, private stores have always had the choice of what products they sell, the alternative is being able to force people to sell your product against their will.

No, anything here has to be purely a question of whether Apple or Google are acting unfairly, and everything I’ve seen says that the commissions involved match other hardware manufacturers.


That quote even has its own wiki page:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it


For more context, it ruled out a false positive and pushed the boundary further, not vice versa:

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

The Supreme Court of the United States reversed the conviction by ruling that the film was not obscene and so was constitutionally protected.

Absurdly, apple opponents itt use its completely opposite meaning in their arguments.


I think it’s okay for Apple to remain vague here. The internet can be a weird and terrible place. By phrasing it like this, Apple can prevent all kinds of creative forms of harassment and discrimination. Instead of allowing bad actors to try to play the game of finding terrible loopholes to jump through.


> “I’ll know it when I see it”. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.

Which means different app reviewers will have different interpretations of it. A problem that exists now.


They know this and they don't care. It's not like Apple users can just go "well screw this" and download apps from a different source easily. They'd have to switch to Android to do it or have to be technologically inclined.


And that's fine - Apple users knew that was the deal when they decided to get an iPhone over Android (for many that was why they made that decision)


I see this a lot, but do they really? I'm sure the technical Apple users knew what they were getting themselves into but most average Joe users I've run into that have iPhones for other reasons like: needing iMessage to talk with family, liking the UI, wanting to sync with their Mac, etc.

None of which require Apple to have a monopoly on app distribution.

Saying Apple users knew what they were getting into is kinda like saying Apple users agreed to the ToS, so they shouldn't complain.


You don't expect from average Joe to formulate the exact value of their phone on demand. There may be much more behind these phrases, but they are simply not used to articulating the full difference, cause they do not discuss it often, and they have less vocabulary for that kind of thing.

What we should not do, is treating average Joes as idiots with no knowledge. They are non-tech, but not clueless. If you ask one of them about installing apps from the internet, they will likely remember that guy who told them it may be unsafe and it's better to stick with official store. PC users will definitely know about viruses and other "in the wild" hazards. Even my life-long non-tech grandma asked me about dangers and banking app practices when I brought her a tablet.

Personally I even bet that many of android users want/pretend apple safety or think that these two platforms are probably as safe as apple. They do not know what they are getting info, they assume that, because why wouldn't you.


A page out of the constitution - "high crimes and misdemeanors" - deliberately overtly vague.


> inaccurate or misleading quotations of religious texts

I find it fascinating that they included ^this^ one.


So they block Safari right, because I can definitely see sexual content in Safari.


The exception for web browsers also extends to Firefox, Chrome, etc on the App Store so that exception is applied consistently.


“Yes the web is the bad place, with porn and such: you should use apps instead”. After all, in the apps “look better”.


Why? Because they didn’t tell you the “algorithm”?


> defined ... as “explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to ...

wait, is this going to be a basis for pixelated/black bar’d porn on App Store


well at least he upheld the First Amendment when uttering that statement but the rest of his text basically shows he knew that First Amendment rights were more important than his moral code and asked if he could define what would cross the line he could not do so satisfactory.

Now as to Apple, I don't have to buy their products and if I do I know what to expect. If it really mattered or should I say bothered me enough I certainly would buy a different product.

Right now my Apple purchases are on hold for their virtue signaling and effective turning their backs on abuses in China and Hong Kong.

Apple Human Rights Warranty, Void where prohibited by law.


Abuses in China? So what are you planning to purchase instead? Because Apple is doing better with worker rights in China than any competitor is.


> So what are you planning to purchase instead?

E.g.: https://puri.sm/products/librem-5-usa/

But the issue wasn't about manufacturing to begin with. The trouble is that Apple have significant operations in China, which makes them subject to influence by China, while at the same time maintaining control over what their users see and what they see about their users.

A less vertically integrated company wouldn't have that problem.


As an Apple user I'd like to believe this but it would be good to get some citation on that.


So are you not going to buy any electronic items?


Relevant section:

3.1.3(d) Person-to-Person Experiences: If your app enables the purchase of realtime person-to-person experiences between two individuals (for example tutoring students, medical consultations, real estate tours, or fitness training), you may use purchase methods other than in-app purchase to collect those payments. One-to-few and one-to-many realtime experiences must use in-app purchase.

This is huge news. Being able to use third-party payments methods to bypass Apple's 30% charge is essential for service driven marketplace apps. Classpass and AirBnB bumped into this issue [0], but, I wonder if this exception will apply for them?

[0] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/28/technology/apple-app-stor...

Edit: In excitement, I missed the last sentence; group services aren't covered by the exception :(


> One-to-few and one-to-many realtime experiences must use in-app purchase.

WUT?! This is so arbitrary and petty. So we're supposed to feel thankful that the all mighty Apple is allowing 1 on 1 personal fitness trainers and tutors but not build something that is scalable?


Clearly, Apple has been and still is in a long process of seeing what they can get away with. It seems they thought this was something they couldn’t continue under new scrutiny.


This is so arbitrary and petty

It sounds like Apple is trying to keep from becoming the new backpage.com.


No, it's so that if Ticketmaster wants to do in-app purchases for concert tickets, Apple gets 30%


Aren't concert tickets "Goods and Services Outside of the App:"? Thinking about it more, aren't most person-to-person experiences outside the app?


Not if they are virtual concerts, which have exploded in popularity in 2020.


So Apple is going to pull a Ticketmaster on Ticketmaster. Delicious!


Can you please explain?


This was local news for me. Basically, as a classified platform they were a pimp and got shut down by feds (granted they helped produce the ads, which is what a digital pimp would do). Laws have been amped up as focus on reducing sex/human trafficking. It’s now similar to the money laundering laws put in place in the big narco cocaine days. If you’re any type of legit business, or prison fearing at all, you don’t want to have any relations with that type of 1:1 transaction


Can you please explain?

It doesn't want to handle the money when you rent a hooker.


But what if I want one-to-few or even one-to-many experience?


If you’re throwing a seminar or training, there are witnesses that will likely reduce the chance of illegal behavior.

Unless, of course, you throw a gangbang, and Apple ends up eating 30% of the price of admission. Imagine the headline!


It would be really nice if corporate america would pull the sticks out of their asses when it comes to sexual activity

Imagine how much more fun life would be if vices were more accessible


Define "corporate America." The majority of American companies, even Disney, do whatever it takes to make money, including catering to sexual interests.

Apple is one of the few that has different standards. And some of its consumers appreciate that. There's room in the market for both views.


Most companies sprint away from actual sexual activity, or photos/videos/drawings of such. (Not books though, for some reason.)

Especially payment processors, which cause serious bottlenecks in the ability of people to pay for services online.

Apple seems to be in the majority from where I look.


Almost nobody wants their advertisement running next to porn. Almost nobody permits their services to be used for sexual activity unless said service explicitly caters to it. Disney boxes all their "adult" stuff under the Dreamworks label IIRC.

Everybody wants to be "family friendly", which means no sexy stuff. Violence? Sure. Guns? Sure. Sex? Get that filth out of my product!


Steve Jobs quotes:

“Folks who want porn can buy an android.”

“You might care more about porn when you have kids. It’s not about freedom, it’s about Apple trying to do the right thing for its users.”

TBH as much good as he did, he sounds like a pretty boring square, one of those people who liked drugs in their 20s then got married and lived the entire remainder of his life alternating between home and his suburban office.

I don’t know the guy, I’m just going based on what was reported of his work.

In general I don’t think people who consider cities like Santa Clara or Cupertino to have very good taste, despite the popularity of square American suburban living.


Some day you will have to learn to understand that not everyone thinks the way you do. In America, it's OK for people to have different views on things. In many ways it's encouraged.

I don't think Jobs would have cared if you thought he had good taste or not, or whether you think he's a "square." As for boring, it's already been widely documented in newspapers, magazines, books, and online that his short life was 1000 times more interesting than your life ever will be.


You’re talking to someone who thinks it’s lame that Steve Jobs appointed himself a censor and thought that other people he’s never met should be prohibited via products he helped design from viewing porn.

Adult humans who decide for other adult humans what they should or should not be allowed to choose to read on their own devices are lame as fuck.


That's just like Apple fucking its developers. One to many.


Thanks.


> build something that is scalable?

That's probably the point - 1:1 experiences that are not scalable is a drop in the bucket even if they charge a 30% commission.


I beg to differ. I use a website to schedule our baby sitter, but with this rule, it's possible to be an app.


The baby sitter is a service delivered outside the platform, so just like Uber and the like, they already didn't have to use IAP. There are tons of similar apps on the App Store that already don't use IAP.


Not to my reading. This rule only applies to real-time experiences.

> If your app enables the purchase of realtime person-to-person experiences between two individuals (for example tutoring students, medical consultations, real estate tours, or fitness training)...


How would it not? It’s no different than tutoring. I pay the website a monthly fee (which probably needs to be an IAP) but the payment to the babysitter could continue as-is via bank transfer/ideal.


Ah, I see. I was intersecting "real-time experience" with Apple's previous "digital goods" and thinking "real-time experience that happens digitally" (which tutoring students, medical consultations, real estate tours, or fitness training all can support), and I quickly wrote off babysitting as something that can't happen digitally. I'm much less confident now based on how you're reading it.


I think baby sitter type services are already allowed without iap - similar to Uber, etc


As long as you don't have two kids...


Of course it's arbitrary - the whole fee structure of the app store (stores, to be fair) is arbitrary. 5% could be more than enough for everyone, but no, it has to be 30%...


Just wait until you learn what % retail used to charge developers for promoting, distributing, and selling software.

People quickly forget what a tremendous liberation the App Store created for developers.

It's also not about the developers, the success of the App Store comes from Apple's users. They trust the App Store because they trust Apple's curation/privacy/security. That's what has caused this flood of software purchases from consumers. Trust doesn't come cheap.


> People quickly forget what a tremendous liberation the App Store created for developers.

People quickly forget that software was distributed on the web long before the App Store existed.

>That's what has caused this flood of software purchases from consumers.

No, that was caused by a billion people buying shiny new mobile computers. They would have bought a lot of software in any case, even without an App Store. New platform, new software.


> People quickly forget that software was distributed on the web long before the App Store existed.

I did that. Kagi.com was my payment… handler?

https://web.archive.org/web/20100303221537/http://www.kagi.c...

$0.75 + (5…8)%

So any transaction less than or equal to the $2.99 tier would be just as bad (as in, it costs you at least 30% of the list price), even if hosting was free.

I’m also old enough to remember Apple getting involved in the fight over the In App Purchases patent: https://www.macrumors.com/2012/10/08/lodsys-offers-update-on...


> So any transaction less than or equal to the $2.99 tier would be just as bad (as in, it costs you at least 30% of the list price), even if hosting was free.

It's true that App Store has the best deal for payment processing for very low-priced apps.

But that's not truly a win for developers when the App Store itself caused the "race to the bottom". Who was selling 99 cent apps before the crap store?


I remember that if I wanted to play anything other than Snake on my Nokia, I had to pay like $5 a game. And those games were even worse than the majority of 99¢ games on the store.

You can argue lower prices lead to more crap, but it also encourages people to spend more. Most people would debate a $4.99 purchase, but think nothing of 5 99¢ purchases if done separately.


I think I agree with Lap Cat here. There's a place for cheap apps, but the problem comes for people developing productivity (or worse, vertical market) software that's going to sell "mere" thousands of copies, or tens of thousands at best, rather than hundreds of thousands or more. If you sell 10,000 copies at $50 a copy, you've grossed well over a quarter-million even subtracting Apple's 30% -- but if you're selling on a platform where it's hard to price anything over $5, you may have a problem, because one-tenth the price is probably not going to translate to ten times the sales.


Those kinds of apps today tend to be part of a SaaS service and listed as Free in the App Store. Provided it’s B2B and not B2C - and you do signups and payments on your own website - then you’re exempt from the self-service signup (and 30% tax) requirements.

The catch is that as you get bigger and seem more B2C than B2B then Apple might start to take notice (see: Hey e-mail).


Well, I was thinking of things like media editing (or specialized text editing) and other apps, not all of which work well in a true SaaS model. On the other hand, it's significant that more and more of those have moved toward a subscription model...


People quickly forget that software was distributed on the web long before the App Store existed.

He's talking about when you used to have to pay $50 to $500 for software in a store, but the author was lucky to see $5-$10 of that.


True, but today is mostly certainly not 1998.


And now Apple generously gives you up to 85% of $1 to $5!


What do you mean? Microsoft was certainly seeing more than 5-10$ per product sold.


"People quickly forget that software was distributed on the web long before the App Store existed."

Independent software development was an absolute wasteland. It was extremely hard to get a user to give you money outside of a few extremely fortified ghettos (Steam, for instance, which takes a 30% cut as well). Begware was the most common tactic.

Even now with multiple options, while everyone piles on Apple, we should note that iOS was the single most profitable platform for Epic, across all platforms. Apple did more to liberate payments from a user than any other platform. Through trust, through standardization and normalization, and even through things like the wide availability of App Store gift cards (which are often heavily discounted - $85 for $100 of App Store gift cards at Costco many times through the year).

Elsewhere people are arguing that Windows is a wonderful platform because look, it's so open. Okay, go and make money from Windows users and see how great it is. Unless your name is Microsoft or Adobe, you are in for a really, really rough time of it. You'll get 100% of nothing.

As always, of course this is downvoted. Anyone looking to HN for rational, reality-based discussion might find it a bit disappointing. Here apparently the Windows ISV market is a vibrant, lucrative market. Everyone here is profiting from it, right? (LOL -- close to none of you are). This is farce.


> Independent software development was an absolute wasteland.

I had a 10 year career in that "wasteland".

> we should note that iOS was the single most profitable platform for Epic, across all platforms

Citation? From what I've seen, that's not actually true.

> Okay, go and make money from Windows users and see how great it is.

For a time, the Windows version of our product was my company's biggest money-maker. It seems that in recent years though Microsoft as a company has pivoted away from Windows as their primary product. Away from desktop, toward "the cloud". I personally find that unfortunate, but I'm not a stockholder.

> The whole torch mob anti-Apple angle seems entirely detached from actual reality.

I'm not anti-Apple, I'm pro-Macintosh.


Thanks for having been a part of this golden age of computing. There's not a day that goes by where I don't reminiscent about the time when companies like "rogue amoeba", "made by sofa", "monster", or "Strange Flavour" and people like Alexander Repty, Austin Sarner and Brian Ball made really great mac software.

There was so much community, and such an optimistic mood with things like the Appsterdam movement.

And then it all crashed and burned, because Apple decided to get greedy, and that 99cents was going to be the default App price, with 30cents going to Apple.

Those are scraps, and nobody who wants to make an artisanal niche app to scratch their own itch, and maybe sell it, can live from that money. It was either win the lottery, or starve.

Apple killed its own ecosystem, most app store apps suck nowadays. It's ironic that they were the ones with an ad saying "we mistake abundance with choice".

I wish all the old mac devs would get together and collaboratively write a good GUI-toolkit for linux and a new Userland. Right now there is not a single good operating system. Having all those apps on linux would be a dream come true. But a dream it is...


> Independent software development was an absolute wasteland. It was extremely hard to get a user to give you money outside of a few extremely fortified ghettos

Utter nonsense. Shrink-wrapped and downloadable software in the Windows world was all over the place using activation/serial codes either thru email or on a CD.

Two examples:

VueScan https://www.hamrick.com/

SnagIt screen capture (which is now cloud based, I think. I still use an old version)


> we should note that iOS was the single most profitable platform for Epic, across all platforms

Almost 80% of Fortnite players are on console, so I very much doubt that's even remotely true.

https://newzoo.com/insights/articles/newzoos-battle-royale-s...


Not sure why you're downvoted.

It seems like the unavoidable conclusion is that there are no longer any good places to make or find decent consumer software without having a corporate entity get their undeserving cut.


Tell that to John Carmack or Lord British or even Microsoft. The wasteland of the 80s / 90s surely ended up their careers.


> Just wait until you learn what % retail used to charge developers for promoting, distributing, and selling software.

Zero %.

Retail used to buy boxed software and sell it at risk. Were Apple buying units of software/service up front and the taking a risk reselling it, it would be valid to compare the split of end-user cost with classic retail, but Apple's not doing that, so it isn't.


That is a historically inaccurate take. s/retail/distributor/ if it helps. The point is that a software developer would have been very lucky to earn a significant fraction of the retail price. 70%? Not even close. The App Store completely reversed this model.

That said, it's valid to acknowledge this history and still think 30% is too much for distribution overhead in 2020. I do not have an opinion on the latter.


What the parent said is 100% accurate.

They pointed out that retailers would buy the software up front (at wholesale price), and assume the rest of the risk for "promoting, distributing, and selling" themselves. Thus, the retailer did not "charge developers" for those things[0].

I realize this is a bit pedantic but it's not fair to say the parent has said something "historically inaccurate".

[0] There were special marketing or buyback arrangements in some cases, but what's described above is the default retail model.


> Retail used to buy boxed software and sell it at risk.

I though they just returned unsold boxes back to the vendor?


> I thought they just returned unsold boxes back to the vendor?

Even in the cases where the vendor/distributor allowed that (and discount bins were a thing because they often did not, at least at no restocking fee), the retailer still accepted the risk that the vendor or distributor would be defunct. If they had a consignment model where they only paid contingent on a retail sale, that was different, but (at least AFAIK) that was never the norm for boxed software.


The discount bins you mention illustrate the previous poster's point: That developers used to get far less before the App Store existed.

If Electronics Boutique can dump a $50.00 game in a discount bin for $3.00, how much do you think it paid for that game in the first place? And how much of that amount went to the author?


The amount they spent in the first place is irrelevant, that's the sunk cost fallacy. They sell it for three dollars because that's their best expected return (weighing in factors like opportunity cost of keeping the box on the shelf).


They may have meant mobile marketplaces before AppStore. Those charged anywhere up to 90%.

And retail doesn't charge "0%" on boxed products, or they would go out of business. Logistics, distribution, and store markup all add up to the final price of the product on the shelf.


> And retail doesn't charge "0%" on boxed products

Yes, they do, unless it's consignment model, which wasn't usually the case for boxed software. The retail sale happens after retail has made the purchase. It’s obviously usually at a higher price than the retailer paid, but they don't take a cut of what the vendor is asking for the software. They pay whatever the vendor (or, often in real retail, a distributor that sits in between) is offering to sell the product for, in advance, and takes a risk that they will be able to sell the units they have purchased at a higher price.

It's structurally not at all the same as what an app store does, where it pays no one, anything (indeed, often charges an access fee up front to the seller) before a sale is made, and then pockets a share of the sale at no risk.


You seem to be getting stuck on the word "retail" referring to point-of-sale-to-end-user, where other people are using it to refer to the cost of the entire retail model, which is the comparable thing in this discussion.


This seems like splitting hairs. At the end of the day, if the consumer buys an app for $10, the developer gets some portion of that, and the retail store gets the other.

Whether that happens in one simultaneous transaction or two different ones doesn't really make a difference to how much the developer gets paid in the end, which is less with the retail store model compared to the current digital storefront model.

Let's also not forget that Steam launched with a 30% cut a full 5 years before the App Store ever existed, so it's not like Apple dictated this price, they were following industry norms at the time.


Stores buy products wholesale and sell them on, and accept the risk of the products not selling.

Apple act as a middleman and and add on their fees, with absolutely no risk to themselves.

They're very different business models.


Right, but stores buy from distributors who take 50%+ of the amount they make. So the developer is still getting less than the App Store.



The idea that you can return unsold product to the supplier is a relatively new idea for most industries. When retail boxed software was at its peak (in the 90's), it wasn't very common at all.

I can't find anything current for boxed software (for obvious reasons), but boxed video and board games cannot be returned unless the retailer has a special deal with the publisher (rare).

https://www.polygon.com/2017/7/17/15974096/what-it-costs-to-...

https://www.ign.com/articles/2014/03/05/inside-the-secret-wo...

https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/6asinu/can_reta...


It's not how the mass market book and (I assumw from your other link title) at least popular recording industries work, but it's how lots of the rest of the physical retail industries, including IP-based ones, work and have worked, and a big part of why (for instance), TSR (the original publishers of D&D), who sold IP-based products (including books) outside of the mass book trade was completely unprepared for the “success” of getting it's books into the mass book trade, where failing to adequately account for costs of remaindering almost drove them out of business before Wizards of the Coast bought them for the IP.


Apple does just the distribution. The promotion is still on the developer and you may not even promote your own services in your own app. It is also save to say that a lot of developers would like to do the selling themselves. Apple is not supposed to do the distribution for free, but 30% is really a lot, especially when they do unwanted stuff for you (the payment).

Also the App Store really is the only way to get apps on an iOS-device, so the user has no real choice anyway.


The promotion is still on the developer

Apple does plenty of app promotion, from promotions inside its own store to multi-million dollar television campaigns showcasing all the cool apps that are available inside the App Store.


Is it really promotion if you pay the same 30% cut as your competitor, but their app ends up on national TV and yours doesn't?


People are confused because promotion is a separate service that Apple charges separately from publishing.


Wait till you learn how much Apple charges for app promotion -- which the 30% cut has nothing to do with. App promotion is a $500 million to $2 billion dollar industry for Apple.


> People quickly forget what a tremendous liberation the App Store created for developers.

We do, but at the same time, physical stores selling software are now rare or non-existent. Apple is not competing with them.


Right and that’s partly because online store like Apple's out-competed then on price by taking less than traditional distributors.


More because the Inetrnet came and allowed every vendor to sell directly from their webpage instead of going through the distribution channel, making retail software stores obsolete

There are two platforms that drive 100% of the mobile phone industry. One (Android) allows other distributors in the platform (even if they have to go through loops like sideloading an app and then allowing that app to install other apps). The other will kick and try to destroy you if you try to do something like that. Is that legal or anti-competitive in the US & Europe? We'll find out...


>They trust the App Store because they trust Apple's curation/privacy/security. That's what has caused this flood of software purchases from consumers. Trust doesn't come cheap.

People buy way more on Amazon, and Amazon doesn't rob 30% of your sales.


> Just wait until you learn what % retail used to charge developers for promoting, distributing, and selling software.

Well, that was before the Internet era, wasn't it. Personally I'm buying macOS software outside of the AppStore and I'm very happy with it. I also feel good that I support the developers directly.


Do you think the marginal cost of distributing software for Apple even begins to approach the cost of housing it in a retail store?


I’m in the process of building an app for massage services to the home. There are formulas like 1 on 1, 1 on 2 and 2 on 2. This change would mean that I could make all of this happen without any in app purchases as long as the purchases are independent and Then linked together. Am I getting this right?


Exactly. Apple takes a lot from you, then gives you some crumbs back, and everyone praises it for how "generous" it is.

Imagine if Microsoft decided to take 30% of all online transactions that happen on Windows PCs...Pretty ridiculous thought, right?

That stuff Apple has gotten away with and continues to get away with is beyond absurd.


If this is absurd, then Google taking 30% and Sony taking 30% for Playstation and Microsoft taking 30% for Xbox is also absurd, right? So why aren't you complaining about that?


Google provides side loading so I can avoid their fee. Playstation and Xbox are not general computing devices.


So because they aren’t a general computing device it’s okay? Also isn’t it bit disingenuous to suggest that side loading is an option to avoid the fee? I believe that’s why Epic also sued Google. Even when end users are given the option to download from an alternative store, most people won’t because it’s still not as convenient as downloading from the play store. Your app would have to be worthwhile enough to convince users to download from a 3rd party store.


Playstation/Xbox are general computing devices. So is my Sony TV, Tesla car and Samsung fridge.

All have an App Store and are fully capable of facilitating payments, running Microsoft Office, using SaaS apps, doing "work".

Users are prevented from doing so by artificial restrictions on their App Stores which could be lifted at any time by a simple business decision. Apple allows more freedom to developers than these platforms yet somehow should be treated differently. Seems arbitrary and capricious.


I assume you're making this argument to be absurd and reductionist, but just in case you aren't, no, those aren't general computing platforms.

Sure, they could be, with a lot of effort. But they are neither marketed nor capable of general compute today. They don't have the toolset or ecosystem to make general purpose apps. Nor do they actively encourage people to make general apps.


The only reason PlayStation and Xbox aren’t general computing platforms is by choice. They are still computers with CPUS, hard drives and RAM. Users can watch Netflix, browse the web and consume content just like you would on an iPhone. I think this idea that because iPhones are “general computing devices” they should be held to a different standard is absurd. You can’t pick and choose how one platform operates while ignoring how other platforms have the same arbitrary restrictions.


My PS4 and Sony Android TV are general computing platforms in every sense e.g. Salesforce is open right now on my TV.

It's simply that Sony won't approve non-gaming or non-entertainment apps. And if Apple were to follow the same path and block productivity apps then it would somehow stop being a general computing device ?


I use my PS4 a more as a 'general computing device' (YouTube, Netflix, Prime, voice calls, etc) than my phone by far.

Why should someone else get to dictate which of my devices is a 'general computing device' and what that means for me and my use-case?


I can't load Intelij, Xcode, Xamarian, JVM, etc on my iPhone or my PlayStation "without a lot of effort".

What is your definition of "general" that makes one of them general, and the other one non-general?

To me the only reason an iPhone seems to be "general purpose" is because the "number of developers has reached some critical mass and wants it to be". Which seems like putting the cart before the horse.

Sanity Test: Should my microwave be a "general purpose" device because it is built with a Raspberry Pi and a touch screen?


Sure you can avoid their fee. See how many customers you will get if you force them to side load - ask Epic.


Funny, some Apple fanboys claim that if side-loading is allowed the the Apple Store will get empty and you get 10 new App Stores and others like you claim the reverse (I agree with you, allowing side loading and other stores will not empty the main store)


It’s not like side loading on Android has ever caused a security vulnerability when downloading an app from a reputable company like Epic.

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

Or reputable companies have ever been convicted of falsely getting money from minors.

https://www.sportskeeda.com/esports/news-fortnite-sued-trick...


And is not like curated App Stores did not had mallware, tracking stuff inside apps, minors spending all the parents credit card on gems etc. You basically want to force a "kid mode" without an opt-out for everyone.


Do you run Windows PCs and complain that it isn’t open source or do you use Linux? If not, why buy an iOS device instead of an Android if it meets your needs better?


I run Linux only for 3 years, I was dual booting before that. This is not about what shit smells better, see people (not your tribe) complained and now Apple did something , is this article surprising you because you thought Apple policies are perfect and now because of this complains the good Apple had to give up some money to improve it's PR.

Remember the keyboard issues with broken keys, people like you were accusing uses that they are using it wrong and stop complaining, Apple is perfect and those genius engineers don't make mistake, Apple is always right and the complainers are trolls or guys that eat at their laptop? If you don't remember Apple was forced by lawsuits to aknowledge that their genius engineers are not perfect and were forced by those lawsuits to replace the broken parts (again Apple was not protecting the users but was trying to avoid losing money )... so if you can reflect 1 moment you could maybe(low chance though) that Apple sometime is not perfect and sometimes users that complain are in the right (it happened so it is not impossible)


I said no such thing. No one said that there weren’t keyboard issues. Apple was getting eviscerated for years by the Apple pundits for their horrible keyboards.

But you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t buy a Mac laptop with a keyboard after everyone knew the keyboards were bad and then complain about the keyboards.

It’s not about Apple being perfect - it’s about people buying a product that doesn’t meet their needs and then complaining when there are alternatives.


People complained and Apple had to fix the issue, the problem is people like you wanted those guys not to complain, then you would still have shitty keyboards, crippled batteries, today. There is only 1 alternative that is the exact same shit (30% tax on apps and subscriptions).

So my question that you avoided to answer, the change Apple just made, what is your opinion? Was Apple correct yesterday or today after the change? Is not Apple perfect and developers and users should stop complaining starting today because this was the exact last issue missing from Apple perfection?

Also if you can expand why people should not complain or express their negative opinions when they are on topic on this article thread? If you are tired of reading why X is not perfect and how it should be fixed then skip this topics and maybe watch a movie.


So first you said that “people like me” didn’t complain, but now you are saying that people did complain? All of the well known Apple pundits complained - John Gruber, Marco Arment, John Siracusa, etc.

The difference was that people who owned the devices complained. How many Apple pundits spent time complaining about Android devices instead of just not buying them?

Well Gruber always buys the top of the line Android device that Google sells and had a lot of good things to say about the assistant and the camera but that’s besides the point.

Was Apple correct yesterday or today after the change? Is not Apple perfect and developers and users should stop complaining starting today because this was the exact last issue missing from Apple perfection?

No one ever said that Apple was perfect. I’ve bought a few Apple duds. What I am saying is that people want the government involved instead of just not buying the device when their are alternatives.


OK, this is the first time you mention government, so then you acknowledge there is a problem but you are scared that the government can get involved? I don't see how free market can solve this since there is a duopoly that is happy how things are at the moment(they don't want to compete on the 30% tax)


The argument was that you wanted the ability to use your phone as you please and download what you want. You can do that now.

How much money have you really spent buying apps or doing in app purchases over the past year? What’s more likely to happen, you will save money or the developers will keep more of a cut?

On the other hand, most money on either store is not being spent buying apps from Indy developers - it’s being spent on loot boxes and pay to win games. Do you think that getting rid of the 30% is going to all of the sudden mean indy developers can make a come back like they did in 2008?


>What’s more likely to happen, you will save money or the developers will keep more of a cut?

Could be both, Why are developers evil and they should not get the money but the overlord that does (almost)nothing. It is like if a farmer goes to a market and the mafia forces them to pay 39% for protection, then if mafia is destroyed you feel bad if the farmer gets more money now.

Not all developers are EA level of evil, some of them deserve every cent IMO.

Related to the money I spent I have some subscriptions and I bought some PC games and some PS4 games for my kid, I hope that consoles would be investigated too, there is not enough competition to have a fair market.


I never said developers are evil. What I did say is that the dream of the Indy developer making money on the App Store died a decade ago. Most money on the App Store is coming from in app purchases for loot boxes and virtual currency. I posit that every company making money that way is evil.

Besides, not only now are you arguing about a phone that you don’t own, you are also complaining about an in app system where just as I thought - you haven’t spent any money. Most people don’t spend money “buying apps”. The money is coming from in app purchases from games.

As far as the “farmer”. If the farmer is selling tobacco - an addictive substance just like loot boxes and coins for play to win games. I don’t feel sorry for either. This is not just my opinion. The government is investigating virtual loot boxes as gambling.


I think we are focusing at 2 different parts of the same beast called "Developers". You are concerned about lootboxes and I agree there should be better laws about lootbox === gambling.

I seen case of good developers that have free games (they are passionate and use Patreon to get some money) and I see this developers creating Win,Linux, Mac and Android versions but no iOS version. So then you have the iOS users looking at all this plartforms that are supported but he is excluded, what do you think? Could there be a way that would make everyone happy(but maybe less money from some rich gy yacht?).

If a judge deciders that is OK iOS is locked down this means OSX,Windows and Android can be legally completely locked-down , in the future, do we want this?

A bit offtopic, I am trying to keep away from Apple related topics, but sometimes there is one comment that I need to respond to correct something and then a threads starts, I will try not to get as involved next time, I feel we are 2 groups that are in a way "paranoid" that 2 different bad things will happen , some think that everything will get more and more locked and DRMed and others are afraid that competition will destroy apples garden.


> I seen case of good developers that have free games (they are passionate and use Patreon to get some money) and I see this developers creating Win,Linux, Mac and Android versions but no iOS version. So then you have the iOS users looking at all this plartforms that are supported but he is excluded, what do you think? Could there be a way that would make everyone happy(but maybe less money from some rich gy yacht?).

I think Apple is already trying to address that through Apple Arcade, it is giving indy developers that make games that don’t have in app purchases or advertising advances to publish games. Apple Arcade has to be a loss leader to convince more people to buy iOS devices.

I would go one step further, if they really want to support good, ethical games, prominently display ethical games (no in app purchases or advertising besides games from the same publisher) in the App Store, increase the minimum price that a game maker can charge - gets rid of the race to the bottom - and take a 15% cut. This would make iOS the platform for “premium games”.

They could also say that it “protects children”. Politicians eat up “think about the children”.

> If a judge deciders that is OK iOS is locked down this means OSX,Windows and Android can be legally completely locked-down , in the future, do we want this?

I wouldn’t buy a Mac. I use Macs because it is a consumer friendly Unix with commercial applications. I could completely live in a world running Linux and open source if it came down to it.


>I wouldn’t buy a Mac.

I run Linux but I am the only one that I know in my family and friends and if the hardware would be DRM and locked down you could not get an older windows machine and put Linux on it.

Don you think that the hardware and software you bought should serve you the owner? Like if it is my own OS it should execute what I tell it to do(maybe I would need to enable something to exit the "kid mode")


Who claims this? Nobody with any credibility claims this.


I mean people here in HN, probably most of us here have the same credibility , this person said

"The problem with this logic is that every company is going to set up their own App Store. Microsoft, Epic, etc. Then for every app that I use right now on my iPhone I would have to source from several App Stores. It will make my experience very cumbersome. reply"

And this is proven false since the Google Store is still very popular and I don't see people having to source 5 apps from Google store, 5 from Microsoft, 2 from Apple, 3 from Adobe. With the Epic the situation is clear, this giants are asking too much just for hosting your application and the small guys had no chance to fight this , lucky for the developers Epic started this and as we can see from this article Apple is backing down one step here, other step a month ago ...


The difference is that Google’s sideloading experience is intentionally full of warnings and hurdles. Do you really think that if Apple had a court ruling against them they could get away with that? No, Epic (et al) will be very clear about third party stores being utterly seamless to install and use.

That’s why we’d see a proliferation of stores on iOS.


So now you want third party app stores and no warnings? Even though Epic - one of the first major apps to try side loading, actually had a security vulnerability.

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


Ew, god no. I think Apple should be allowed to offer us their idea of a good product and let the marketplace choose between that, Google Android, or other competitors who believe they could do better offering open source Android. The idea of having parts of your product designed by the competitors who envy your success is utter madness.


That's whataboutism. In this post it's about Apple. That others do it doesn't excuse it.

And a big difference with Google is that you can sideload or use other stores on Android. And same on Windows, you don't have to use the store.


That's not a big difference, with Android, because nobody is making any money doing that. It doesn't work.

I didn't mention Windows. I was discussing platforms where everyone takes a 30% cut. You may say this is mere whataboutism, but anyone who reads Hacker News knows that 99% of the anger and attacks on this practice are directed at Apple. Nobody bitches at Google and Sony and Microsoft for doing the exact same thing.


Google gets hit on the privacy front pretty regularly. I guess it depends on the issue. But not to worry, I'm sure there will be plenty of time and opportunity to complain against injustices from all corporations in the future. A significant chunk of early adopters for Apple/MS/Google products were nerds who spread the good word. Its no surprise that issues like privacy, developer freedom and hacker-ethics will drive the conversation against these companies.


Because it's not the exact same thing. Context matters.


> Pretty ridiculous thought, right?

Yeah, because Apple isn't doing that at all.

What's more, it seems like the fee Microsoft charges for every sale in their Microsoft Store is also either 15% or 30%. (Source: the App Developer Agreement, https://query.prod.cms.rt.microsoft.com/cms/api/am/binary/RE...)


They allow third party stores though, and even installation without any store at all. Apple devices OTOH are severely limited regarding sideloading. This leads to Apple capturing a much larger percentage of transactions pertaining software for their devices.


> They allow third party stores though, and even installation without any store at all.

Not on the Xbox, which Epic doesn't seem to mind in regards to Fortnite etc.


> Apple devices OTOH are severely limited regarding sideloading

Yes, but for many users this is a premium feature, not a flaw.


That's an incredibly weak claim. The statement is certainly true for some value of 'many', but then so is its opposite. Unless many means, "the vast majority", which certainly is not clear and definitely would need some support, it is a meaningless claim.

It is also difficult to see how it is a feature. In a world where additional app stores or side-loading was enabled for those that want it, it wouldn't somehow remove the ability to use a single app store for those that don't.


I mean, presumably the people who really cared about side-loading decided to buy alternative phones instead.

So, of iPhone buyers, you're left with two remaining groups:

1. People who care a little bit about side-loading but not enough to choose a difference device.

2. People who don't care about side-loading at all.


The assertion was that there is a group that values the lack of side-loading, which your post doesn't really address, so I'm not sure why you've responded to me.

In any case:

> the people who really cared about side-loading

> 1. People who care a little bit about side-loading but not enough to choose a difference device.

This is not a useful model. If I choose feature X over feature Y, all you can really tell from that is that value(X) > value(Y). It doesn't tell you whether value(Y) <<< value(X). It's also important to note that this is vastly simplified, because there are many features and issues that people must combine and weigh against each other.

To illustrate, if a product offers side-loading but kills your mother on first use, if you choose a different product it doesn't mean you don't "really" care about side-loading. You might genuinely care a tremendous amount, but sacrificing your mother isn't an option for you.

I differentiate between products that I buy because they are a good option for me and products I buy because they are the least bad product for me. Phones are currently in the second group. It's not that I don't care about side-loading. It's that all issues combined, IOS is less bad for my purposes and preferences than Android.


I'm not sure that group values the lack of side-loading specifically. I think what they do value is the additional security and privacy benefits provided by a platform that strictly controls the distribution of its apps.

To the extent that the lack of side-loading helps prevent the spread of malware and shady apps stealing user data, I think they value it indirectly.

Android has serious malware problems. Even Epic's attempt to distribute Fortnite off the Play Store has directly led to fake APKs being distributed to unsuspecting users.

I don't see how you can open up iOS to side-loading without exposing it to the exact same malware problems Android has.


Ok, then put a premium price on that feature and see how many actually pay for it


I would fully support Apple charging, say, $50 extra to lock down its devices to the current standard. That would be a much better world and the users who desire the "premium experience" still get to have it.


Hah, are you claiming people are that dumb and think "please protect me from my own stupidity"?

The enabling of sideloading on Android phones already comes with warnings written in plain language, and even if you want to install an app from e.g. the browser it asks you to give the browser permission to install apps, so it's pretty idiot-proof...


And so is UAC....


Using the Microsoft Store is totally optional. Selling software for Windows has rarely required any coordination with Microsoft other than maybe code signing with a cert from an approved CA. Exceptions include drivers, and Windows Phone/Windows Mobile 10


Using Steam is even MORE optional. They're PC games! Yet people still want to be on Steam even if you have to play by their rules, because being on there creates value.


Cool but there's tons of game outlets on pc, not on iphone


I'm really bothered by the whole notion of games as less important and "[more] optional". Playing games is a fundamental part of being human, and it is certainly more important than capitalism.


I don't think that's the point that was being made - Steam is optional not because the content on it is games, but because the content is PC games - i.e. content where there's no obstacles to distributing it yourself, or through other stores.

Any game developer could at any point opt out of using Steam and accept payments on their own site, or go through another store. Most developers don't bother because Steam provides enough value to make it worthwhile.

It's impossible to determine if this is the case with the App Store since competitors don't (and can't) exist.


.


Uber (and any other "real-world" service) does not (and I believe are not even allowed to) use in-app purchases. This rule only applies to "virtually-provided" services.


The Uber app actually lets you use Apple Pay (as opposed to in app purchasing). Apple Pay charges standard credit card rates that you would pay anywhere.


I think you're confused. Of course you can build something that is scalable. But if you do that, you will be relying on all of the massive strengths of Apple's platform to make that much, much easier for you to do. And so you will have to pay for that. Of course.


Once again Netflix is crowned as the biggest of the Les Incorruptibles on the App Store by Apple since they can get away from not only the 30% charge as it is a reader app but is able to roll their own payments on the web and still scale to many users without in app purchases.

There are probably more apps / companies who belong to this group due to secret deals by Apple, but now Apple says: No 30% charge for apps who's customers are 1-1. That's it.

Charging at scale without the app store tax is disqualified. But not for the Les Incorruptibles.


There's nothing "secret". Everybody can roll their own payment in the web. They cannot advertise alternative payment methods in the app.

See Spotify as an example.


The double standard is Netflix is able to provide an app that does nothing out of the box until you register elsewhere. Other apps would get booted because they don't work without navigating elsewhere.


Other apps like Spotify, Kindle, all the music streaming and audiobook etc.? Oh wait, they are not booted.

> Other apps would get booted because they don't work without navigating elsewhere.

No. "Reader apps" get an exception to this.


Those are all mega apps. If you try that as a small indie dev it won't work that way.


The vast majority of those apps aka "all the music streaming and audiobook etc" in my comment are not mega apps and work that way.


Everybody can't. The Hey.com email guys did the same thing. They allowed only signing into the up. No sign up.

Then Apple made up another rule saying ''You download the app and it does not work. Therefore it has to be removed'' .

Lets keep adding more rules and exclusions as time passes. That's the Apple way of doing things.


Hey is not a reader app, so the rule for reader apps does not apply.


Completely arbitrary rule btw.

A segment gets free pass for lower fees because it is too big to get kicked from iOS while others get shafted.

Just because they can.


I don't disagree that it's arbitrary, but the person I replied to implied Apple changed the rules specifically to block Hey's app, which is not correct.


It is actually correct: google invented a new “consumer” vs “business” differentiation just for Hey.com that wasn’t part of the rules.


That segment doesn't get a free pass lower fees. They get the same fees. The only difference: they can provide a log in without ability to sign up.

Everything else is the same: the fees are the same, the prohibition to use and/or advertise payment methods outside AppStore is the same etc.


https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/1/21203630/apple-amazon-prim...

> Apple on Wednesday confirmed the existence of a program for streaming video providers that allows those platforms to bypass its standard 30 percent App Store fee when selling individual purchases, like movie downloads and TV show rentals. The program first became public earlier today when Amazon updated its Prime Video iOS and Apple TV apps to allow in-app purchases for the first time. It is not clear how long the program has existed, but there are at least two other providers, Altice One and Canal+, currently participating, Apple confirmed.


These examples are actually a good example of Apple violating its own principles. Three out of a multitude of reader apps that don't get this preferential treatment.


> Everybody can't. The Hey.com email guys did the same thing. They allowed only signing into the up. No sign up.

Yes. And that's the gray area that needs to be challenged. Are email apps for private services reader apps? Yes, they probably are.

But the current guidelines specifically tell you what reader apps are [1]. So, no, there's no "secret agreement" between Netflix and Apple. They are a reader app by Apple's definition. Same as Spotify, Kindle, etc. etc.

[1] https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/#rea...


Do dating apps fall into this at all?


On the face of the policy viewed in isolation, if they facilitate paid one-on-one encounters, yes, if they facilitate paid one-to-few or one-to-many encounters, no.

But I'm pretty sure pay-per-date apps of either type have bigger legal and App Store policy issues than whether the payment must be made via IAP with the Apple Tax.


Are you paying the person you date or are you paying the dating app?


Only if they're paying for dates


Not for throuples apparently.


If you are doing person to person cash transactions via a app, you aren't dating.


depends on whether they're person-to-person or person-to-many.


I'm not a part of Apple's eco-system (I don't have a smartphone) but isn't this a matter of Apple knowing it's impossible to enforce what happens during a person to person experience -- so they might as well come off as being "nice"?

What would stop someone from meeting up with another person and then agree to pay in cash or Zelle or any other way to transfer funds? There's no way for Apple to track that.


Is there a (business, legal, etc.) reason for the distinction between one-to-few and one-to-many? Both are one to "more than one".


Looks like I misread your comment when posting my other reply (I was talking about one-to-one). Sorry about that.

I'm not sure what the few/many distinction is about, but I can guess: if they only said "one-to-many" it could be unclear whether "many" means "more than one" or "some sufficiently large number", so they include "few" to remove ambiguity. Said another way: "one-to-few and one-to-many" is just a different way to say "one to more than one". As far as I can tell the new guidelines don't use the few/many distinction anywhere and only mention both in this one sentence.


I assume the business case is mostly about PR. "Apple takes 30% of my math tutor's income" sounds worse than "Apple charges Epic Games 30%".


I don't understand. I think Apple is taking 30% from both of those.


> If your app enables the purchase of realtime person-to-person experiences between two individuals (for example tutoring students, medical consultations, real estate tours, or fitness training), you may use purchase methods other than in-app purchase to collect those payments.

So you can avoid the Apple tax if you're a private tutor.

However it looks like I misread blueicecubes' comment. They were asking about one-to-few vs one-to-many, but I talked about one-to-one.


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