The security in iOS is tied to the sandboxing model - not the app store. The app store is there to protect Apple's interests. If a customer wants to load a separate app store, thats on them.
Apple doesn't own the hardware. We do. It should be our choice to open it up to apps and ecosystems (native app stores) that are competitive.
I disagree. Sandboxing is designed to prevent your phone from being compromised but it doesn't prevent bad actors from using legitimate APIs in malicious ways.
As an example, the App Store review guidelines enforce certain privacy restrictions such as not allowing third-party analytics or advertising in apps designed for children. This is not something that is intended to be enforced via sandboxing.
Edit: As another example, consider an app that might request access to your contacts for a legitimate purpose (like messaging), but then secretly transmits and stores that data for an alternative purpose (like selling your contacts to third parties). Also possible within the sandbox but forbidden by the review guidelines. Now, I'm not saying the review process is going to catch all abuses of legitimate APIs ahead of time, but at least there is an enforcement mechanism if the bad actor gets caught.
I happen to broadly favor anti-trust intervention against Apple in this instance; but it's not as though Apple ever deceived users about what their devices can and can't do. They sell appliances, not "computers". Freedom (arguably) includes the freedom to take one's own freedoms away, at least up to a point.
They licensed the OS to you with a specific set of permissions to enable a specific business model. I understand how you would want them to not get paid but I don't see how that's fair.
If a customer wants a different app store, the customer can buy a non-apple device. Apple doesn't have a monopoly in mobile devices or app stores.
Not saying he is wrong - but let's not pretend that he is not usually at the forefront of every pitchfork carrying moment in the Apple ecosystem.
I think that’s the point. Marco usually isn’t someone who rushes to pitchforks against Apple.
The fact that Marco, of all people, has had consistently very negative things to say about Apple during this whole saga shows how far their behavior has pushed developers.
Let developers choose between any “certified“ payment provider. Apple would be one, and then you could add Square, PayPal, and other big companies that could jump through Apple’s hoops. Like making sure the refund experience is easy so no one can make really convoluted anti-user workflows.
Maybe app purchase still has to go through Apple, it’s only IAPs that can go through anyone.
Apple, naturally, would be forced to lower their cut because otherwise why would anyone choose them?
I’d be happy to choose them as a user over other payment providers if given a choice. I like the current payment experience on iOS.
Apple can even keep all their crazy rules like Marco is talking about. It’s just the other payment providers wouldn’t have to follow them. Let Apple see how well that goes.
Anyone can take payments, using any big provider, for anything on iOS. Seems easy enough.
I don’t think it’ll ever happen without government intervention though.
What web have you been using?
You mean like so?
I agree that it is weirdly convoluted, but I don’t see what you mean about there being no place to cancel subscriptions.
But perhaps you were talking about something else and I misunderstood?
Most companies already have the facilities to accept credit cards. For those that don’t, Apple could also be the merchant account.
Ultimately, Apple would like to earn money from the products they make. There are a variety of models to do so:
* You can sell the hardware, sell OS upgrades, and let third parties sell apps without taking a cut. This was the original Mac model.
* You can sell the hardware, give away OS upgrades, and privilege third party developers who give you a cut, while preserving a way to side load. This is the current Mac model.
* You can sell the hardware, give away OS upgrades, and take a cut from third party apps. This is the current iOS model.
* You largely let others build and sell the hardware, give away OS upgrades, take a voluntary cut from developers, and sell or monetize the user's data. This is the Android model.
* You give away the hardware and OS upgrades and live off venture capital. This is a popular startup model.
Each of these is viable to some extent. None is 100% popular with customers.
But what some people seem to be asking for is "Gilette, but give away razors and adopt an open standard for the razor blades".
They could even charge slightly higher fees than most credit card companies just like AmEx does. They have the infrastructure in place via Apple Pay.
Since Apple Pay already supports the industry standard Web Payments API. They could convince more companies to accept Apple Pay on the web without being “locked in” to Apple Pay since if you implemented the payments API, it would also work on Android with Android Pay.
Apple Pay is an open standard that integrates with your standard credit card processing flow.
I would be okay with a graduate app fee.
Tier 1: Hobbyists, you can have a “self signed” cert that allows you to have any app tied to your own device. You could also freely share source code for other people to compile themselves and put on their own device using their “self signed certificate”. This could be free. Of course you would still have to have a Mac.
Tier 2: a really cheap fee where you could sign apps that were distributed outside of the App Store for Macs. Signing apps that are distributed outside of the Mac App Store don’t require any manual approval or sandboxing.
Tier 3: the current App Store model. But the difference is that the first $x amount is charged at 30% and then it gradually goes down at larger volumes. Say the first $10K? Where eventually it is basically barely above payment processing fees. I’m sure the Epic’s of the world would be okay with this.
The Chardonnay Socialist in me reckons that should be completely the opposite. Let apps that make less than $10k a year (or perhaps apps from companies/brands with less than $1mil turnover per year) be free. As your revenue goes up, your percentage “tax” for using the AppStore goes up.
In my opinion, Epic needs a free ride way way less than a couple of high school kids or college grads with an innovative idea.
But with the limit being $10K. The difference between Apple taking a $3000 cut and a $500 cut is not going to make or break your business.
I assume the market would quickly drive Apple‘s fee down to a reasonable number.
But if Apple wants to keep charging 30%, why not? There are alternatives in my plan, so it’s not hostile.
The one thing I think that might be the most costly for Apple are all the free apps on the App Store. I know you need to pay $99 a year but as they are free Apple sees nothing in return from those apps.
How many people do you think would buy an iPhone if you couldn’t use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or some of the other really big free apps? They NEED those apps.
Apple could easily afford to pay for all the costs of the App Store from purchases of hardware. The $99 is just gravy.
The argument that they NEED the 30% to make up for the “freeloaders” that don’t charge for apps (as Apple seems to suggest) is ridiculous.
Apple gets a tremendous value out of the entire app ecosystem, i’d be willing to bet it’s quite a bit more than 30% they end up collecting.
What does it have to do with payment processors?
I think they are preparing for that moment already! Saw this job posting for partner payment systems: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1995030919/
If IAP was so great and in consumers' best interest, surely consumers would still choose it even if they knew it's 10x more expensive than card processing.
Apps are required to use in-app purchase if:
(1) The customer relationship originated in the app; and
(2) The primary nexus of the purchased item is to improve the purchaser's personal in-app experience.
Rules get complex around edge cases even when the principles are simple. Sometimes Apple makes the wrong call on those edge cases based on those principles (Hey, WordPress, in-app fitness training calls), and today's rule changes feel like Apple's acknowledgement of that.
Apple has also signaled that they don't feel the simple principles need any adjustment.
Why does that matter if the one who brought the customer to download the app in the first place it was you, through your own promotion, and not Apple? Apple should take their cut only if they promoted the app to the user that would have not installed it otherwise.
I don't believe all software has to be free software, in the GPL sense, but I will not use a computing device as personal as the modern phone if the vendor gets to control what software I can run.
Imagine all these other 3rd party App-Stores, they need to flag and request updates from their developers. All this causing a sh*tstorm on the iOS device and the customer will expect Apple to fix it at the Genius Bar. Proof of this already happening is the Microsoft Stores. People bringing in their OEM laptops for repair and workers providing them with phone numbers to call Sony, Toshiba, Lenovo, etc.
Regulating Apple like credit card processors will continue to allow Apple to set detailed rules on what payment processing Apple wants to do, which is the subject of this article.
The real issue is that in the real world the merchant can also choose not to do business with American Express and just accept say Visa and MasterCard. That's not currently a possibility on Apple's platforms.
---- The problems with letting all apps advertise external payment systems:
• Someone may publish a free app to avoid paying anything to Apple, and then charge users [an asston of] money to ""unlock"" via an alternate payment system.
• Users may not be able to see a list of all in-app purchases (and their guaranteed prices) as they can on the App Store, without downloading the app.
• Sharing your payment details and other information with multiple entities, and having to continually trust each of them (e.g. to not abuse or leak).
• Confused users may clog up Apple's customer support with complaints related to third-party payment systems.
• Angry users may demand Apple to offer refunds for shit that was paid for via third-party payment systems.
---- The problems with allowing third-party app stores on iOS:
• How will iOS sandboxing be enforced for apps delivered via third-party stores? Will those apps still have to be submitted to and signed by Apple?
• Store apps would need the privilege to write binaries on your iPhone. How will that privilege be regulated to prevent abuse? e.g. what happens if a store starts writing malware?
• Users may sometimes have to wait longer for an app to update on one store than on others (as already happens on Steam vs GoG).
• Developers would no longer be assured that they will have access to literally all the users that iOS has, by publishing on just one store.
You would have to submit to each store, wait for approval on each of them, update for each of them... to come close to the userbase that you can currently access by just publishing once on the App Store.
• Developers will no longer all play by the same rules. One store may allow some content while another may prohibit it.
For example, take porn: Should any third-party store be allowed to serve apps with "adult" content, or will they still ultimately be bound by Apple's ruling on such matters?
• iOS Parental Control settings may be ineffective on other stores (and browsers if third-party engines were allowed too).
• If an app or game is exclusive to a store that a user isn't already using, they would have to create a new account and download an additional app just to access that one exclusive.
• Not all stores may be compatible with the iOS backup and restore system, or the APIs for app-thinning and on-demand resources.
You get all these people screaming about how unjust Apple is! Everyone has been doing this for decades in different markets.
I don't think this list is very compelling because external payment systems are already permitted for physical goods and it doesn't seem to be a huge problem that you give your credit card to Uber and Grubhub and Amazon separately.
> The problems with allowing third-party app stores on iOS:
On the other hand I largely agree with this, mandating third-party app installs would lead to a malware and privacy disaster and should not be forced, except perhaps as some kind of developer mode where you are thoroughly warned that you're going out of bounds of normal app distribution.
Yes, but enabling that mode would need to be a very deliberate process that nobody could possibly get “tricked” into. Think of the people who are not so tech-savvy at all.
Something like a sandboxed developer/hacker environment that requires a computer to enable and gets disabled on every restart (to help with panics where shit behaves unexpectedly) would be ideal, and should satisfy everyone.
That's what I meant.
Your first mistake was assuming that they care about those more than maximizing shareholder value
It’s no surprise a lot on HN readers/posters care here, because there’s “free money” on the table for them if Epic win. Money they knew Apple was gonna take if they’d looked at AppStore guidelines any time in the last 12 years or so, since the AppStore first debuted. Nobody has _ever_ developed an iPhone app, without knowing the rules to get into the AppStore include a 30% cut to Apple. IAP is newer, but it’s still the same deal, in my opinion.
Non HN reading iPhone owners, largely, don’t give a fuck about developers feeling hard done by paying a 30% cut to Apple. A non technical friend of mine explained to her son why he can’t install Fortnite on a new phone right now, saying “They’re fighting with Apple over the rules to be allowed to have apps on iPhones.”
This is totally not customer or customer PR problem for Apple, and they know it. Epic haven’t worked that out yet.
I could see developers simply adding a 2nd line item "Apple Fee 30%" and gross up the price by that amount. Then let Apple answer the questions why there is a 30% fee added in their products, but not others (if that's the case).
But everyone notices and remembers the comments they dislike the most , so each side thinks that "HN" is slavishly and perversely on the other side . It would be good to get a little more awareness into this process.
 Like https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24310804 and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24249613.
Would be cool to see a UI that added friction to that.
Make upvotes and downvotes public, and do something to reduce the constant flood of throwaway accounts who do nothing more than constant trolling on contentious topics.
Also what you've described happens anyway. The fact that a number isn't displayed doesn't really matter when comments are ultimately ordered by score. When someone writes a comment that doesn't adhere to the current groupthink, they get downvoted. When people are downvoted too much they delete their comments, stop commenting, or through pavlovian reinforcement change their opinions until they get positive points.
We're not going to disclose how users vote. That's some of the most private data HN has.
do they have an infinitely long checklist?
Apple collected $15 billion from the app store in 2019. I'd wager that $15 million would cover the operating costs, which I'd guess are largely the salaries of app reviewers. Even if I'm off by 2 orders of magnitude, that still leaves 90% of Apple's cut as profit.
The app store is a huge driver toward selling the hardware. If Apple were banned from charging any fee at all, they'd still run the app store. They're not dependent on the 30% cut.
EDIT: I'm not saying that, therefore the fee is wrong, or too high, or whatever. Just that the cost of operating the App Store is not a justification for their current level.
So, their (likely) largest expense is 0.5% of their total revenue. Even if I'm off by a factor of 10, the numbers are absolutely mind-blowing.
Apple is profitable precisely because they don't, as a company, have many/any "loss leaders". Each unit within the company is expected to financially contribute to its margins.
That was one of the (many) changes Jobs brought to Apple when he returned.
I'm also not sure how a reviewers salary would be $50,000. Where'd you get that number?
Why not? I was just trying to do some back-of-the-napkin math to ballpark the profitability of the app store "for fun".
>Apple is profitable precisely because they don't...
Cool. That has nothing to do with this particular comment chain.
>Where'd you get that number?
The 50k was totally made up. Do you have a better guesstimate? Lower or higher? Keep in mind this would be the average among their global reviewer workforce, not just US.
But... it doesn't matter though, does it? Whether their reviewer costs are 0.5% or 1.0% of their revenue doesn't really move the needle. At all.
"help pay for" is cute phrasing. The app store made Apple 15 billion dollars in revenue last year. It's a veritable fountain of money.
2 trillion dollar company doesn't get to tell sob stories how they're struggling to serve these apps while reporting that their services are hugely profitable and growing.