When he wasn't old enough to learn about dark patterns, we didn't expose him to any! Now that he's older, dark patterns are something we talked to him about and he understands. No matter how restrictive you make an app store, you're never going to eliminate sources of manipulation. Each failure, including one of his accounts getting "hacked", is an opportunity for learning.
What's not an opportunity is locking down the entire world so children can't screw up.
Together they decide to watch in-app ads; try installing some free-to-play game apps that seem like they might be amusing for an adult to show a child how they use; and otherwise explore the bounds of what you can do & learn on the modern walled-garden Internet. The grandparents are pretty media savvy ("this is an advertisement -- they want to sell you something") but are overall a little less conservative than the parents about screen time and are occasionally willing to, for example, try new apps that turn out to be scammy shovelware.
I've been thinking about getting the kid a non-networked desktop PC with a keyboard and seeing whether he derives any joy from the kind of basic, actual applications I grew up with -- a word processor program and a printer; literally QBASIC and gorillas.bas; etc.; with the understanding that this is an amusing anachronistic toy.
To be honest the biggest thing I'm trying to think about with the kids is not so much about screen time but about dealing with information more generally. Ads work really well on kids, but so does any organic, confidently stated information.
How do you convey the idea that that "just because you read something online doesn't mean it's true"? What happens when adults in your life (including sometimes your own parents) don't model a safe level of skepticism?
A few months ago (while school was closed and we were quarantined), my son relayed to us all information about COVID-19 that he had come across online (likely via YouTube). I was expecting a bunch of misinformation but all of it was spot on! We've also talked about Flat Earthers. The other day we ended up discussing why Wikipedia isn't allowed as source at school.
> I've been thinking about getting the kid a non-networked desktop PC with a keyboard and seeing whether he derives any joy from the kind of basic, actual applications I grew up with -- a word processor program and a printer; literally QBASIC and gorillas.bas; etc.; with the understanding that this is an amusing anachronistic toy.
We grew up in similar times and from my experience as a parent it doesn't really work. We did a lot of that stuff because it was what we had. I did introduce my son to emulators and classic Nintendo games; the idea of 3 lives and your dead was a bit of a shock. But he eventually got Super Mario Maker and making your own classic Mario levels is more fun than playing someone else's.
Because Wikipedia has made obsolete all research tasks given by schools? One search and the wikipedia article will tell you everything there is to know about a subject.
This article is not about restricting the use of mobile devices or parenting, it's about regulating the software industry. Parents don't want their kids to be exposed constantly to advertising on their day-to-day lives, or pressured into buying things all the time.
The European Union is doing a good job regulating businesses, however, Apple is doing a lousy job regulating their own ads and payment systems. And this is because the AppStore makes $60 billion a year thanks to ads and subscriptions.
In my opinion, Apple and the AppStore should be regulated more by the European Union.
All you need is a simple 'complain' function in App Store that will trigger a review by human with following expulsion of offending app (and probably the developer account too).
I do not have a child but I completely agree. Some of my best learning experiences have been from being manipulate when I was younger. The loss was nothing of consequence in the grand scheme of my life, but the lessons had tremendous value.
Much worrying and crying ultimately ensued. We were eventually able to recover the account and nothing really terrible happened. But I believe this was a more valuable lesson than all our previous talks about it. And he's now slightly more insulated from this kind of thing in the future.
Massively agree. It's also not good to teach children that computers are locked-down things you can't control.
Worse, as well intentioned and correct as your advice is, you are still many zero days from a hosed machine. Sure, you don't let them download arbitrary apps. Doesn't matter if they visit some sites.
There was no controls at all in those times. You still had the option to give your kid a device or not -- same as now. And you can connect that to the Internet or not -- same as now. But now you can actually have much more fine-grained control -- it doesn't have to be all or nothing. But you still have to decide and I don't see why Apple needs to make all the decisions when I have the controls.
> You are still many zero days from a hosed machine.
It's definitely not as easy as you make it sound -- the sky isn't falling that fast or we'd all be screwed. And I block web sites as well.
The comparison was "it has never been easier." Back then, just don't buy that rather expensive modem and let the kid take up the home phone. Nowadays, it is "don't buy the entry level game system or ubiquitous computing device."
It really is vastly harder nowadays, because of how ubiquitous networked devices are. Can it feel easier? Sure, but I guarantee that most motivated kids can and will outsmart most parental controls used by less than tech savvy parents.
> There was no controls at all in those times.
There was though; you could by design do less with it than a Raspberry Pi with Internet connection.
Its like using vi versus emacs. Neither is better, each have their pros and cons. These (portable) video games systems are akin to vi; they do one specific job really well.
you probably don't either... are you an admin? or is Apple the only admin?
Fundamentally, my opinion is that Apple (or any device manufacturer) should not be restricted what an end user can or cannot do with a device they own, and that includes restricting what software can be installed. I largely switched away from iOS (I still have an iPad for drawing and reading, but my phone is Android) because I philosophically resent this patronizing approach.
BUT I also think that most of the points in the linked article have merit, and frankly the App Store has become a dumpster of clone apps and scammy pay-to-win games.
To me the obvious solution from a technical point of view would be to allow side-loading and alternative app stores on iOS. If Apple's store were just one way among many to install software on iOS (but the only one enabled out of the box), Apple could and should be much more selective in what they allow in their store, without impacting choice for customers who go looking for it.
It would also be trivial to implement parental controls to block non-Apple sources on kids' phones/school devices/etc.
Of course, Apple would then have a much harder time to justify themselves rent-seeking from pay-to-win apps :troll:
But I don't think I like any solutions which involves giving Apple more power to disintermediate developers from users even more.
I consider limiting the kinds of apps that developers can build a free speech issue.
I think making an "Editors Choice Lite" label would help. I.e. that apps can sign up for an optional extra level of vetting to indicate they are free of some of the monetization dark patterns listed in this post.
This is a great rule. As a father of similarly aged kids (10, 9, 4) this is exactly what I would like to have happen at my house. Unfortunately, I have found games like this difficult to surface on the app store. Is there a decent source for games like this?
Also, Apple needs to think of the impact that the prevalence of these kinds of apps has on their revenue - I spend money on steam, epic, ps4 games etc. mostly because this isn't an issue. (Or is very clearly signposted) But I am unwilling to spend money even on iphone games that are really enjoyed because the antipatterns discussed in this post have made it difficult to trust the vendor. The bottom line is, if I could trust them, I would spend more.
See Ubisoft and selling EXP boosts so you don't have to grind as much in Assassin's Creed. They decided to make it a grind to encourage you to buy the "solution".
Apple has not provided any incentive for people to retain customers by any other mechanism than in-app purchases. Not on iOS, and now not on OS X. Strictly speaking, Steam also doesn't have a way to give a discount to people for upgrading, and yet I've bought several sequels at a modest discount because they support bundling and the bundles are prorated.
However, while a bundle of Red Dead Redemption 1 & 2 might not need an explanation, a bundle of Photoshop N and N+1 is only good for giving a discount for upgrades.
If Apple is interested in turning back this Doom Clock, then support for bundling, and taking a smaller cut of app purchases than in-app purchases would, I think, function as a carrot and stick combination.
The fact that they can't handle refunds also does not help.
They really should just support paid upgrades. Just provide a framework/system for it and make it a normal thing.
However, a search suggests that this feature was announced 2 years ago next month. Which is one of those grey areas where advertisers say "hundreds" and the potential customer thinks, "347" whereas the advertiser means "147".
So, you're right, and thank you for the update, but also I'm keeping an eye on you...
Why delineate between the haves and the have nots? Between the kids with access to disposable parental income and the kids that don't? Why make that part of online life of children at all?
Education is a hard market to break into and build adoption of a new product. Budgets are very constrained or virtually nonexistent... in America some teachers even have to purchase classroom supplies or tools with their own wages.
With that in mind (and maybe other reasons that I do not know), Prodigy took the decision to offer their service to schools and teachers at no cost, otherwise it would’ve been much more difficult to build adoption in that market. It’s very hard to convince teachers, schools and boards to allocate budget on a new initiative, when they are already spread so thin.
Now to build a service like prodigy, it takes game artists and developers to build the game, web developers to build the website and teacher dashboards, teachers to build the prodigy math curriculum, and then all the supporting teams too; data scientists, product owners, testers, operations, etc.
They either need some sort of investment or revenue stream to make the company run; and this is where they adopted a freemium model.
Heck, after hearing about Zoom's debacle with the Facebook SDK, I feel like Apple should make it impossible for 3rd party devs to use non-Apple approved SDKs.
but sigh, I know I'm afraid this viewpoint is not shared by many in the developer world.
There is a difference between "Your app doesn't exactly follow our branding rules and you have a link that goes to a non-app web page", and "Your app is specifically designed to trick people into spending money and to spy on children".
Apple doesn't get the source code for the App anyway, so a third party can perform the same type of automated + manual review that Apple does. Its time to open up the app store to competition. As a consumer, if you don't trust a particular app store, great, don't use it.
And then if Apple is forced to regulate what is and isn't "kid-friendly" then isn't that just opening them up to the same criticism they have right now.
Apple won't brand any particular app-store as kid-friendly, or otherwise endorse them.
The kids sat in front of a TV and you had to beg your parents for toys.
Now toddlers can discover things for themselves and frankly a lot of content for kids is trash. We haven’t caught up with how to deal with this.
They're not calling for a separate play store, restricted subsection - but they want every single person to be limited so they don't have to be careful about what exactly their child might accidentally download.
This is the epitome of the worst "think of the children" argument.
Sometimes a blanket ban is a good thing.
Honestly that’s what I used to do as a kid when stuck indoors (which is more prevalent these days)
That's not true - I clearly remember those TV telenovelas arround here having a paid line where you could get a summary of next episode and the number advertised during the show. The only people I ever heard about calling the service was kids racking up parents phone bills.
I also repeatedly fell for weird "order this set of dinosaur cards for free (but then it's an ongoing subscription)" kinds of scams.
All of that stuff was annoying. And my parents ended up taking appropriate measures (blocking paid phone numbers, or just talking to me, for example). Nobody died because of it.
Kids have always been good targets for scams. Nothing new under the sun.
But now, everyone with an iPad or smartphone is a target. That’s new.
None. Most app developers target both stores and those that target one or the other do so for financial reasons not fanboy reasons. No app developer is going to waste time trying to make an App Store worse. They are too likely to need that other store to be functioning properly on their next project.
I just got charged 0.30£ by Niantic, the publisher of Pokemon Go, to verify my age during the user registration process. The payment was initiated from the iOS app and done through a web form. No IAP.
Now I can only hope Niantic doesn't charge me for something my kids do in the game.
This is exactly the kind of thing I fully expect Apple to protect me from.
To do so, they use credit card verification, a commonly-accepted way to verify an of-age user that satisfies COPPA/similar requirements. Credit card verification generally works by placing a small authorization charge that is shortly refunded. This is explained here: https://parents.nianticlabs.com/faq/
There are a variety of reasons they likely can't use IAP for this. Two I can think of are that (a) IAP may not be sufficient enough for COPPA, if e.g. a parent has allowed their child to make purchases using a gift card balance, and (b) they likely have no easy automated way to refund this fee if handled through IAP.
Technology is a tool. It is dangerous precisely because it is powerful. Don't give technology to people who are not responsible enough to understand this, instead of trying to restrict its power for those people who can actually deal with it. I hate how the big tech companies continue to infantilise their users.
Incidentally, is it just me, or does it seem that Americans are obsessed with trying to protect their children from all possible harm?
Disclaimer: these are all just my honest observations, not assertions.
Imagine if one company set the rules for allowable websites. What would (wouldn’t) they ban?
Instead the Web is wonderfully open and parents, schools, individuals, even nations can choose configurable filters to have a web that aligns with their values.
I would greatly expand the last point on filters: I want lots of knobs so that I can permanently banish from view all the schemes that I hate. It would instantly make the Store much more valuable to me. Incidentally it would also increase value for store-runners, since I would actually start buying things again instead of closing the Store in disgust because I couldn’t find anything I wanted after an hour of scrolling through trash.
Would you prefer that Apple reject all apps that match your list from the app store altogether, instead of offering those specific ones as search filters?
On the Mac App Store, you can’t even initiate a search in a category; you must start with text. From there, you can select Filters; the only price options are “Any” or ”Free” (ridiculous), the only categories are extremely broad things like “Games” (yes, just that). So I want to be able to say things like “Search -> Games -> Puzzles”, with checkboxes like “No In-App Purchases”. That is a simple query but you’d go crazy trying to compose that list with the current Store.
Worse, existing groups do not represent apps faithfully. A store link that says “See All” really means “see a list of about 12 things that random Apple employees threw together using $UNKNOWN_CRITERIA, and we refuse to show you anything else on the store that certainly belongs in this category”. So I want a list to actually have the apps for sale in that category, not something from Apple’s “experts”.
As far as banishing apps...sometimes I just want to search more quickly but there are definitely apps that I think have no right to exist (like trivial apps with absurd subscription prices designed to scam people, or games with built-in massive in-app purchases that are repeatable).
Apps that are pay-to-play but are not 100% upfront about it should either be properly labelled as a demo or rejected. (Of course, before that we need a proper demo mode for freemium apps). I would disable for kids but not for me.
Ads are ok, but apps with ads should be properly labeled and there should be a way to avoid seeing those apps in the store. And ads include the "install chains", of course. I would 100% disable those for me and for the kids.
Notification spam should be dealt with the same way we deal with email spam: transactional is ok, for unsolicited marketing messages there should be a way to permanently unsubscribing. And mislabeling marketing as transactional should be grounds for rejection. I wouldn't ever accept marketing myself or allow kids to receive.
Privacy violations should be grounds for rejection, period.
- Games should not charge money for progress or performance. For example, games that introduce slowdowns for non-paying players or that restrict the number of plays per day for free players will be rejected.
- Games that repeatedly show advertisements must not interrupt gameplay to do so and must offer an appropriately-priced in-app purchase to disable them. For example, modal dialogs and inappropriately expensive subscriptions will be rejected.
Note that I didn't try to rewrite Notification spam or Privacy, because those are a reporting problem that has to be solved at the iOS level. The guidelines are already hostile to misrepresentation of such things, and I think it would be better for iOS to offer "This app sends inappropriate notifications" and "This app violates my privacy" reporting mechanisms somehow.
I also have my own bone to pick here:
- Games must not use in-app purchases for gambling or other chance-based rewards. All items shown as available in a given purchase must be provided at time of purchase.
Technological filtering is not the solution to raising your kids. If you're worried about them seeing harmful content you can't be giving them unsupervised access to a general computing device.
Imagine how crippled the iDevice experience would have to be to stop kids from accessing anything questionable - it's not tenable to fix this problem just via app store reviews. However I can imagine a password protected browser and appstore toggle option being useful - then you could have a bunch of parent vetted games and learning stuff available, without giving the kids access to anything you don't know about while they're not supervised.
Also question whether you're doing more harm than good - I suspect I would not have followed the lucrative software dev career path that I have if my parents had heavily policed my "screen time" and internet access.
And on AppStore Reviews - they can't be made stricter unless they're also made more consistent. The current problem that people complain about isn't so much that they're too strict, it's that the rules are almost a black box and are not applied consistently.
It boggles the mind that the author writes that they trust both Google and Apple to keep the platform safe but then goes on to decry shitty F2P applications designed to exploit you. Google has a pretty high-profile incidence of failing to catch malicious apps and Apple is not immune.
That said, the article reads somewhat as old man yells at cloud. There is certainly a ton of low-hanging fruit in the app store designed to extract maximum value of out of whales. There are also parental controls on an iPad. Moreso, I don't think it's healthy to allow your one-year old to plop down in front of an iPad and expect Daddy Apple to know what's best for them.
Apple is not your child's parent, you are. There is definitely an amount of social pressure on children of a certain age to have access and familiarity with certain things (Fortnite, currently) that allow them social cache, but your one-year old is not privy to this and you made the choice to give them an iPad.
My personal criticisms of the Apple App review process are much more pointedly centered around the unevenness in enforcement. Certain big players are afforded leeway that smaller players are not and it's gross. I appreciate the fact that a human is looped into the app review process unlike the Play store which is full of dramatically more garbage, but Apple should enforce their standards more evenly.
It's very easy to loose track of the real problem, which is technology. Kids between 2 and 11, like it or not, spend an average of 5/6 hours per day in front of a screen and see an average of 25,600 ads a year.
The solution is not to remove technology from the equation, but to regulate it.
To instill good taste in my kids, I buy quality, well-designed and well-developed games. It's just that simple ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
That’s an awfully simple view of the world. And it’s just not feasible. Even games that are well done have these anti patterns. For example, my kids have been playing “Among us” a lot with their friends. On iOS at least, this is a free game that shows ads to continue. Not playing the game was not really a good option for them from a social perspective.
Thankfully, there is an in app purchase to remove the ads.
But this is to illustrate that even “good” apps still sometimes have these dark patterns.
> But this is to illustrate that even “good” apps still sometimes have these dark patterns.
I just showed "Among us" to my 6-year old and he said he doesn't like it, whereas Journey , LEGO Batman  or The Gardens Between  (the games he is playing these days) is something he prefers more. I totally understand the "social perspective" moment you mentioned, it's a super important part of a child's life, but I still kinda stand on my previous idea, because instilling good taste is something that not only affects your own kids, but also the social circle they interact with. I get that even "good taste" is a subjective thing, but hey, all Wikipedia roads lead to Philosophy :)
> I have kids aged 10, 7 and 4
So you want to protect your children because you can’t parent effectively? And you get to decide the criteria for approved apps with your short list of acceptable financial transactions?
What about grown ups who have the ability to delay gratification and who can police themselves? Why should your rules for children affect me? (And by the way, I also have small children, but I know how to parent their screen time)
This is another “save the children!” fire alarm. Save your own children, don’t push it on Apple to parent them.
I’m glad you don’t have any power over my world.
I only see one sided opinions from Developers here on HN. What happened to your sense of understand that capitalism ensures that companies will do every bit to milk privacy and money from the customers by hook or by crook. Do you not realize this or refuse to accept? Just look at what LinkedIn app on iPhone was doing until Apple decided to alert the user when it uses the clipboard.
Apple isn't doing this out of charity. Theyre doubling down on software + hardware security because that's their market differentiation from the rest of the Ad-tech horror show.
Vast number of actions Apple takes are siding the with the consumer. I also want my own device to be hackable, but iPhone is no small toy. It has my entire life on it. As a consumer, I pay the Apple tax so I am not constantly worrying about security and privacy. As a hacker, I want to be able to run Doom on my iPhone. Why is one side so difficult to understand? I am all for pushing Apple to make their devices repairable, more eco friendly, cheaper, better, highly secure, hackable upon concent, but gosh - it's like an article after article here bashing Apple without any balanced form of discussion. Selling a device that contains your entire life to millions of people is very different from selling a linux box to a bunch of hackers. You should realize both sides of the coin and debate.
On one hand, Apple is acting like a console maker, like Sony Playstation and Nintendo, collecting 30% from gaming. Which is fair enough for console. On the other hand there are zero quality control on the games going into App Store like other Console platform. Other than making sure their Apps uses IAP and Apple Payment system.
Apple will tell you how millions of their customers go to their store for their favourite Apps.
You see, this is correct except customers dont have anywhere to go for Apps. It implies in most peoples mind, where App Store attract foot traffic like in High Street Retail Store, when App Store is the only store in the high street.
It also implies ( or not ) people are discovering Apps within App Store. As with retail store you go into shopping with discovery pattern. But App Discover hasn't been happening in App Stores for years. Which means App Store is more like a warehouse. A regulated, curated, efficient warehouse where it is the only place you can get anything if you live in the "Apple" State.
The whole reason why Apple doesn't tighten any of these Dark Pattern is because it strikes at the very foundation of the App Store profits and revenue engine. Estimated 80% of App Store Revenue are from Gaming. Most of them are IAP. We are talking about potentially 10 billion annual raw profit at stake.
But In my view, none of the above are a problem on their own.
( Skip the part below if you dont want any negativity. It is rant-ish. )
What I have problem with is when Apple start telling me how much they love their customers, and how great their App Store is. And how they enrich people's live. How millions of customers go to their favourite Apps Store ( Remember there is only one App Store? ) App Store's problem has been there for years, they knew about the discovery in App Store problem, that is including Searching which in 2020 Apple cant make App Store searching actually work with decent accuracy. No longer can you use Google has the best search engine as excuses as in the mid 2010s, Searching is pretty much a solved problem, especially at the relatively small scale of App Store, and much more so for Apple with hundreds of billions in the bank. And yet what did they do? They introduced placement Ads on App Store. ( Another Rent seeking profit machine )
Adding in the discovery of lying by omission or spinning in the Apple vs Qualcomm case, It is clear Tim Cook's Apple isn't about the "best product" as Steve Jobs will put it. But extracting maximum profits and value from its customers at the expense of user experience ( App Store and Apple Retail) and product excellence ( MacBook Keyboard  ). Along with the new push of Services Revenue with Apple Care+ and increasing KPI percentage of Genius Bar employees on AppleCare / new Product sold from Apple Retail Store ( Not sure if this is the case in US ). And that is why you see all quote for any MBP repair are now trending towards new MBP pricing. No longer is Apple Retail their to best serve its customers. All of these are extracting profits just like any other companies.
Again none of these would have mattered if it was from any other company. But once you start placing the company being Good and love, I am going to raise the bar much higher, especially for Apple. And there are a lot hypocrisy.
 People may want to check the 2nd hand price of Pre 2015 MBP and Post 2015 MBP. I think the market has a clear voice in which is worth more and more reliable. Not just the Keyboard but generally the whole package.
Imo playing around on a tablet is only addictive in the same way that reading a good book or playing a good video game is "addictive" - i.e. you're having fun, and you want to keep doing it because it's fun.
Of course there's specific apps you can download that are fine tuned to actually be "addictive" through randomization and monetization strategies. But claiming that the whole device is bad because some bad things exist on it seems wrong to me. There's thousands of hours of beneficial, educational, non exploitative fun to be had with a tablet/laptop/phone.
I'd be much more concerned about my kids talking to dodgy people in chat apps, or using my credit card without realizing (or with realizing), or accessing porn or something.
Jobs is not someone I would take physical or mental health advice from even if he was around to give it.
The way I see it, it is the way it is due to the inequality in the world, and because we dislike paying directly for something. It doesn't make sense for a developer in India to ask 10 USD for an application when only middle and upper class people in USA can afford it. Hence, you get alternative methods of earning money such as IAP (which makes it less clear you spend money), currency tokens (idem), advertisement (stealing the user's time; imagine you'd be forced to solve captcha's for other people during this time? Having your CPU time used for mining?), tracking ("if they don't wanna pay, I'll just use their PII. Cheapskates!"), malware (idem), ...
Sure, something like GDPR might protect EU people from some of the above. What are they going to do in above example, going after developer from India? Of course not. Those who lay low are getting away with it, and the wheels of justice grind slowly.
Perhaps the parent should screen the application or game before allowing the kid to use it. Read a review site for games for children. Check out the age requirement. Learn what your kids likes and dislikes. And then, buy the (virtual) present for them.
I'll be using my Pocketsprite (portable game emulator) to install games appropriate for the age of my kid. Plus, its locked down as well, without some kind of store on it because it has no direct Internet connection. Its actually why I bought it specifically. Graphically these games might be less good, but Tetris is at its core still Tetris, looks be damned. The time before the Internet was the status quo has its charms. I've also selected a bunch of games on Steam which I regard as appropriate. Of course, she's free to dislike any of these, including Tetris (she already loves Duplo though).
We have so much choice though. Just open Netflix right now. There's no way you can watch all that. Same with Steam, no way you can play all that. Same with screening that content. Back in the days, on my Gameboy I only had a couple of games. Less choice made the things I did own more precious. Anyway, hence I'd say curate a couple of good choices (games, movies, series, toys, ...). There's no way you'll find the best of the best; they just gotta be good enough for develop and/or enjoy themselves.
However, I share the opinion that he generally buys into the Apple philosophy of things. And, he is a family father with a different perspective (they call that diversity).
Just because he is a well-known individual, and is incredibly intelligent, does not mean that every single opinion that he holds is necessarily superior (which is why an appeal to authority is a logical fallacy).
All of that being said, I really don't understand the point of the root comment.
Epic et al can f* off
No opportunity to replace things like the system browser on iOS makes it a no-go in all circumstances. I want my device to run software I approved, I want to be able to choose important system components like the web renderer, I want to be able to install an ingress/egress firewall, I want to be able to build software for the device without needing some signing key from the vendor. I want to be able to build software for the device on any of the devices I use which have the required memory, CPU and build infrastructure. This build infrastructure should not be dependent on a single closed operating system since I don't run closed operating systems.
The simple conclusion here is that iOS is not for me nor for those who share my preferences.
If third-party app stores are allowed, companies like Epic or Facebook might just make their own app stores (or "launchers"), like they can on Windows. Governments could disallow the App Store and instead use a country-specific app store with apps that compromise privacy and include other user-hostile behavior. While it's arguably the government's responsibility to legislate and enforce privacy regulations, Apple seems to be much better at this than I would trust a government to be. Having the single App Store on iOS devices is easier, more intuitive, less susceptible to malware (and it's easier to remove malware that gets through), less susceptible to extreme government intervention, and better at protecting user privacy.
By using an Apple device, you trust Apple. They design the hardware (including the processor and Secure Enclave), write the software, and run iCloud. Trusting other companies to build their own app stores in a privacy-preserving and user-friendly manner—especially when their business model involves selling user data—seems decidedly user-hostile.
Which app store is "privacy-preserving and user-friendly"
? None of the two big ones fit either. Sure you could argue one might be better than a Facebook made one but that doesn't mean they are good or uphold privacy.