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Telegram, Apple, Belarus, and Conflating ‘Irrelevance’ with ‘Inconvenience’ (daringfireball.net)
254 points by jmsflknr 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 136 comments



My own experience with this was that once I included a description of an OS bug I worked around in the changelog of my apps and the reviewers made me remove it with almost exactly the same verbiage–I can’t remember if they actually said “irrelevant” but the summary was “this information is not useful to your users” (edit: I tried to go look this up but App Store Connect is down at the moment :/). I claimed it was, they wouldn’t budge, I took it out. Apple claiming the inclusion of things that make them look bad being “irrelevant” is sadly a known practice for many years and one of the worst ways that the App Store can stifle people from even talking about highly relevant information Apple doesn’t particularly like.


Wow, that story made me more angry than it should have. Why the heck should Apple be allowed to police your own app's changelog?

"Because they can" is probably the reason.


The way Apple distinguishes itself from the masses of cheap phone manufacturers with their ultra low margins is through its premium brand. The idea that Apple "just works" is part of this brand, and they fight against any claim that it doesn't, even if it's true. It's very important to them to push the idea that their operating systems are the best ones available into the brains of their users. In some industries, like the music production industry, if you don't have an Apple device, you'll be laughed out of the room. The brand is probably the single most valuable asset that Apple possesses.


Well, that’s absolutely bullcrap now since they allowed low quality ad-infested apps and clones take over the store.


[flagged]


Hyperbole much?


Please, could we stop using analogies using Nazi terminology whenever we strongly disagree with someone? As a consequence of Hitlers actions, hundreds of millions of people died. As a consequence of Apple's actions, many people are upset. The two aren't comparable. When I hear Nazi analogies every day, these words become meaningless.


1000 dead: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Belarus

more than 450 documented cases of torture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_issues_related_to...

Apple's censorship of Telegram is condoning this.


I agree with your sentiment for this particular case but think it's crazy that you're saying Apple is condoning this when this exact same rule would have protected and prevented against situations where innocent people were on the receiving end of this information. Reddit screwed up big time, for example, when the mob went after the wrong person during the Boston bombing and people got hurt. What if the wrong person is identified? What if the identifying information is wrong? Yes, there's a moral component to all of this but there's also a precedent that you're setting and I doubt Apple wants to be in the role of deciding whether this personal info is the "right" personal info to be out there.


The whole point is that they shouldn’t be deciding at all. You can walk over to your neighbors and share that info, you can post it on Reddit, you can post it on Telegram. If it’s wrong or not should be decided by the law and community policies, not the device manufacturer.


Umm... it was. That's literally the entire issue being discussed her. The Belarusian government and law enforcement decided it was wrong and asked the developer and Apple to remove those posts.


I realize what protesters do is the only semi-peaceful way of delaing with police brutality. On the other hand, these people whose photos gets published often receive threats (and their families too). Basically the people publishing and distributing these images are responsible for what happens next. I understand Apple would prefer not to participate in this.


> I understand Apple would prefer not to participate in this.

Apple is a legal person and has to make a moral judgment call.

It made the wrong one.


It's not "your own app". It's Apple's Experience, and you are paid a commission on revenue generated by code you write for Apple to use. You are like a screenwriter or set deeigner, Apple is the director and producer.


This is actually a funny and interesting way to look at it.

This might be a way for Apple to continue doing what they do and get away with it.

(AFAIK: It is not what they currently say so they'll have to change their terms and conditions before they use this in court ;-)


You also don't own the device.


Have you never heard an inexperienced developer incorrectly blame the platform or the tools for their own bugs?


Yes, so what? It comes back to the other article on HN about YouTube arbitrating truth. Apple should not be able to dictate what goes in my changelog. If I believe it's relevant info for my userbase that I'm working around some Clang compiler bug with some change, I should be able to say it. What kind of dystopian platform is Apple running where police have to look through everything you type about your own product to make sure you haven't written any thoughtcrimes?


Apple can’t dictate what goes in your changelog.

What we are talking about here is the App Store release notes, on Apple’s site and storefront. They can indeed dictate what goes there. The fact that release notes are even displayed there is because they made a facility for that.

You can publish your changelog on your own website.


I’m failing to see the distinction you’re drawing between a changelog and release notes?


One is a business communication made via the App Store, and the other is something you can publish wherever you choose.


Sure, but in spirit I would put the same information in both. Apple's rules on that field are just strange–when a new version of iOS goes into GM out you cannot mention it in your release notes (added support for iOS 14!), which really just makes no sense. It's presented as a place to put your update notes except it's really a strange field where you put something that is similar to your update notes but edited to comply with unwritten guidelines that Apple has created that you can only really know if you read Twitter and see what kinds of things Apple will let you put there.


True - I’d generally want to put the same information in both, but there are many companies that don’t.

One is part of the retail store experience, and the other is a kind of technical note. It depends a lot on what kind of developer you are and what kind of product you make whether these are the same.


One is for end users to tell them what's new in this release vs. the last. The other is for technical purposes to document the specific technical changes from one version to the next. They're not the same thing.


> the other is something you can publish wherever you choose.

Apple has designed an illegal system, and the DOJ is going to break them up or force them to open wide. The hoops they make people jump through are ridiculous and entirely unfair. They've made people bark like a seal for far too long.


Whether true or not, this is irrelevant to the thread.

But worth pointing out that almost all storefronts control what they allow vendors to write there.

There is nothing illegal about this, and if this is making people bark like a seal, all retailers and all app stores do it.


Exactly. Walmart very well could tell their suppliers "You can't put a paper within the box saying that the price is $5 more since our logistics software misplayed your deliveries for a whole month" even if it's true.


> What kind of dystopian platform is Apple running where police have to look through everything you type about your own product to make sure you haven't written any thoughtcrimes?

What do you mean? Do you think it would be fair for Apple to allow developers to serve change logs with racial slurs or political conspiracies to young users? Literal toddlers interact with the App Store on a daily basis. The release notes are not a place to spew bile, so obviously they must be moderated to some degree. We can argue over the acceptability of them trying to blame their failings onto an innocent developer (if that was actually the case), but obviously you should not be allowed to type whatever you want in a text field that gets served to their customers.


On the other hand, the most recent Duolingo update reads:

"""Our mascot owl, Duo, is trading in his usual diet of mice for bugs this week. Yup, we’re squashing those pesky bugs to make the experience better for all of you.

For more Duolingo news, contests and product releases, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @duolingo."""

which doesn’t exactly scream “user-relevant information” to me, but does say “this is PR”.


This is the format of almost every mainstream app update now - completely devoid of any useful information. If this is what Apple wanted why even keep it around?


Yeah and I've never felt the need to go make a policy for them to not be allowed to do that.


Sure but I presume you aren’t running a platform like Apple’s.


That reminds of authoritarian governments (in fact I am living in a country which has one, right now).

It starts with things they don't you to say and goes towards things you are forced to say.


From a different angle, this also looks like the app reviewing team has no access or visibility into the bug tracking system for the OS release and is also unqualified to triage issues. If that were true, then it's either they assume the developer's claim is true or assume that the developer's claim is false. Combined with management that's not supportive of assertiveness and decisiveness, they would just always side with "Apple is always right and can have no bugs".

Seriously Apple, if you're ever reading what others say about the App Store and its review process and policies, it's way past high time to repent and change things around, even if it means firing some people who are inflexible.


> I tried to go look this up but App Store Connect is down at the moment

This information is not relevant in this context. Please remove it.


One of the problems is that most of what people call ‘bugs’ or relevant ‘information’ about Apple is actually false.

It’s easy to see the scenario in which developers simply blame a large proportion of the bugs in their own apps on Apple.

But - I agree this is a serious problem. There does need to be a way for real platform bugs and other issues to be discussed in public.


Nope, mine was certainly a bug in Apple’s tooling (and perhaps a beta OS release, I think?) and this prevented me from running tests for some platforms. I actually wrote it all up here, if you’re interested: https://saagarjha.com/blog/2019/01/11/mocking-capabilities-i...


For sure - I am not saying it was your fault, and the fact that it wasn’t makes it especially galling.

What I’m saying is that Apple is contending with a lot of developers who are not as experienced or conscientious as you, and you are being impacted because their rules don’t distinguish this.


Exactly. I can see a million scenarios where a developer blames Apple for a bug in their app and puts it in the notes and then it turns out not to be anything related to Apple. Apple isn't going to get into a catfight with every developer who thinks their issue comes from a bug whether it does or not.


> It’s easy to see the scenario in which developers simply blame a large proportion of the bugs in their own apps on Apple.

In Mac apps that use Sparkle for updates (lots of them), developers can put whatever they want in changelogs. I've definitely seen entries that go something like "Did XYZ to work around a bug in macOS Kitty Cat."

I can't say whether these changelogs were accurate, but they don't appear to have brought about armageddon.


Developers who use sparkle are generally a lot more experienced than many people who put apps in the App Store.

That is by design. The App Store lowers the bar to entry and enables people who otherwise wouldn’t publish software to do so.


> One of the problems is that most of what people call ‘bugs’ or relevant ‘information’ about Apple is actually false.

Is that actually a problem? Many other platforms have no such restrictions, and you don't see developers blaming bugs on the OS en masse.

It honestly just doesn't seem to matter at all. The only reason Apple seem to be doing it, is that they can, and simply aren't able to stop themselves from being excessively controlling.


Sure but for what it’s worth, Apple isn’t in the same position as other platforms in many ways, so we can’t always generalize.

People don’t care about problems other platforms have the way there care about Apple, and the media gets to make money out of the slightest issue.

This is a consequence of their market position.

That said, I do agree with you to some degree.

Control is definitely a tool they reach for by default, and they need to learn some new methods as we see the limits exposed by issues like this.


> Sure but for what it’s worth, Apple isn’t in the same position as other platforms in many ways, so we can’t always generalize.

How? I see absolutely no difference other than millions in publicity to create the illusion that their platform is somehow "better"... But none of Apple's platforms were created by aliens, they have the same error ratio as any other large platform. So what exactly are you basing this statement on?


I’m not convinced that all platforms have the exact same error ratio - that would be interesting if supported by research.

But that’s irrelevant.

My statement isn’t a comment on Apple’s error ratio.

It’s a statement about how people respond to what they see as the market leader.

People care about problems with Apple in a way that they don’t with other players, because they are perceived as better. There is money to be made in trying to tear Apple down. That’s just part of the dynamics of the attention economy.

Whether this is just a function of spending on marketing, seems highly unlikely.

My understanding is that Google and the Android manufacturers as a whole far outspent Apple in the early years of the iPhone, and didn’t end up with the same perception.

In any case, however it was achieved, we do agree that they are perceived differently to the other players, and this is what my comment is based on.


I should have been clearer. My point is not whether there's any basis to Apple being better or not, most everyone knows that's impossible because the average Apple engineer is no better than the average engineer in the rest of FAANG or Microsoft or [insert pretty much every other large company here].

My point is that it's completely irrelevant to the discussion. That Apple fans think Apple is better in no way justifies the practices mentioned in TFA, so their "perception by others in comparison" is not really here nor there.

At least as far as I can see, I could be wrong of course.


Nowhere am I saying anything is justified.

Average developer quality isn’t going to be the only factor in defect rate. Development process, strategy, technology and management all play a role, and my impression is that all of the major players have had varying defect rates over different era of their development.

But indeed that’s not relevant.

But - I’m not talking about ‘Apple fans’. I’m talking about the public perception.

Apple is obviously treated differently from the other players, when it comes to media coverage.

That isn’t a justification for anything - I have in more than one place said I agree that with Gruber that Apple is wrong to do this.

However it does rebut the argument that things that don’t hurt other companies wouldn’t hurt Apple, and it may partially explain their choices.


If by "hurt" you mean that people would stop believing that Apple is better and instead would be looked at with the same standard as every other company[0], then I don't see any problem with people no longer believing that impossibility. But I guess that's a different discussion.

[0]: Assuming that the idea that Apple is, right now, treated any differently by anyone other than its fans has any merit to it, of course.


Apple is clearly treated by the media differently than other companies, in both positive and negative ways.

Sure you don’t see any reason why apple shouldn’t have the perception of them ‘hurt’.

But that’s not the point - the point is that Apple doesn’t want the perception of themselves to be hurt, and so they are going to act accordingly.


On a minor note:

> it is prima facie wrong that one of the rules of the App Store is that an app is not allowed to explain the rules of the App Store. I’m hard pressed to think of an exception to this conviction, not just on Apple’s App Store, but in any sphere of life — whether a harmless game...

There is a card game called "Mao" in which one of the rules is that you're not supposed to explain the rules. The base game is similar to Uno or Crazy 8s, and then, when you win a game, you get to define a new rule, which you name but don't otherwise explain, and then start enforcing that rule (giving penalty cards when others break it). Others are expected to guess the rule by observing its application. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao_(card_game)


That's a very fun game to play with friends. Many happy memories. :)


How simple do the rules have to be? Just keep giving out penalty cards and keep updating the unstated rule in your head as you go, or is the 'game' itself?


There isn't a requirement, although impossible-to-guess rules tend to be not fun and may lead to complaining, and I think it's common wisdom that the person who devises a rule is often surprised at how difficult it is for everyone else to guess, and simple ones are generally encouraged. (I think that, even among a group of strong mathematicians, a rule like "say 'lucky' whenever you play a prime-numbered card" is medium-high difficulty.) Some difficulty comes from having to remember a growing set of new rules; when playing for a long time, I think people tended to say "start afresh with the base rules" after every 4-7 games.


> There is a card game called "Mao" in which one of the rules is that you're not supposed to explain the rules.

One could argue that politicians, corporations and journalists in the US (and many other countries) have a similar set of rules going on in their mutually beneficial game. It's nice to see someone in the mainstream pointing out the rhetorical word games that are played to hide the actual truth from the public.


Also in academia. A bunch of professors recently wrote an article about this because they don’t know what they can say anymore without offending someone.


Can you link the article? Thanks.



Apple makes excellent hardware and polished OS. However, if you care about your freedoms, you need to take a bullet and chose to replace it with a less restrictive operating system, perhaps sacrificing some convenience along the way. I personally decided that it is not OS vendor business to decide for me what programs to install and what information they are allowed to show me.


100% this.

Also we need a right to install our own OS. The right level for intervention is at the level of forcing Apple to provide a Bootcamp for iOS.

This is far more important than a right to repair, since many many iOS devices continue to be useful for many years after Apple stops supporting them.


Frankly, Android with just okay brands such as Motorola, is totally fine. I wouldn't call using such a phone "taking a bullet". It works well for everything. Maybe the camera is a little inferior (but if photography is your thing you should use a real camera anyway). For all the rest... it's just as good, for 1/4 to 1/5 of the price.


I still find the forced upgrade lifecycle to be horrendous. An iPhone 7 can still be updated to iOS 14 today, and assuming the battery has been replaced recently (which would be required for a long-lasting android phone as well) it'll work extremely well as a daily driver for everything short of 3d gaming (and even then, games will just turn down graphics settings to achieve acceptable performance). As far as I could find, the earliest phone that has Android 11 is the pixel 2 from 2017 (rip pixel 1) and outside of the pixel lineup, you're only guaranteed 2 years of OS updates if a phone is part of the Android One program[0]. Apple has its problems but their sole control of payments via the App Store is a huge incentive to keep maintaining iOS for old devices.

0: https://www.android.com/one/


My iPhone 4s' last upgrade made the phone unuseably slow. Whereas Android 10 on my pixel OG still feels modern and silky smooth.


The thing that sucks is that it's hard to know what the lesser of the two evils is. Sure, Google lets you install whatever you want on your phone, but they're also an advertising company that wants to track everything you do. I'm probably better than the average Android user at blocking most unwanted tracking and avoiding malware, but the situation isn't great.

I've never had an iPhone in part because I'd have to pay a yearly fee for the privilege of doing what I want with my device, and practices like the one described in TFA make me very uncomfortable with Apple as a company. I think this (in a Twitter thread linked from TFA) really sums it up for me[0]:

> Hardware DRM being used for meta-moderation of a general messaging app is totally unacceptable.

[0] https://twitter.com/alexstamos/status/1315314586988421123


If you care about your freedoms, you need to take a bullet and chose to replace it with a less restrictive operating system, perhaps sacrificing some convenience along the way.

So - what good laptop systems do you recommend?

That don't involve troubleshooting (literally) 14 different major dependency issues just to get the thing up and running on commodity hardware (as was my last experience with desktop - granted about 15 years ago)?

That is to say: which just work (and fast, and well) -- like MacBooks used to work, until a few years ago?


You might consider System76 laptops.

https://system76.com/


Sadly those are not telephones.

Laptops are are really not so hard to run your favourite distribution of linux. IBM t-series are always good for that. I've had a reasonable time with mac book pro, asus ux31A, Dell precision 5510.


The Nokia N900 from a decade ago. Killed by Microsoft.

Nothing yet has matched it. Soon. I hope. Please. Soon. Been saying that for a decade...


I realised, more so in last few months, the difference between Android and iOS is literally letting your own whims and fancy randomly pick the lesser of evils.

As a full time Android developer I was able to seemingly convince myself that moving back to Android (after 4+ years on iOS) indeed makes sense, especially since Android has come really a long way. Also, that I will accept Google will track every move and shake of mine and show me ads based on that data (assuming just Google gets to do it; I'd buy a stock Android phone).

But when iPhone 12 was released and I saw the mini is perfectly sized for my palms. I was almost salivating. Even though I find iPhones horrendously expansive. Yes, I do. Except maybe for an SE. Just to make it sound fair, I find most of the expansive flagship Android phones expansive as well. So anyway, I almost did a full 180 and was about to think about buying the new iPhone. But then the enthusiasm started to wane. I saw that there's no touch id, jack was gone anyway, battery life has always been lacklustre, and that there's no way I can silence just one of the dual sims and keep another on separate notification settings (just something I want/need). But I was still deciding.

What really hit me hard, in last few weeks, is that Apple has consistently been exploiting customers, more with every release - every move. Blatantly at that. Sometimes in the name of privacy on a completely closed OS and apps, in fact a completely closed ecosystem. Strips devices of useful and convenient hardware features and components. Then very sadistically and successfully patches the voids with "innovation" stickers. Even worse - marks the move as "environment friendly". Headphone jack, earphone and chargers - all gone. Strong arms developers (small and big alike), tries to run repair shops out of business, ensures its devices are less and less repairable - by making it physically difficult and lobbying as well, stifles free speech - literally and doesn't even try to be subtle about it, hands over keys of the kingdom to the authoritarian regimes with far reaches, CEO hobnobs with heads of states of questionable (or actually very obvious) records.

We still buy their devices. Enthusiastically. In fact we become such apt apologists that it must be painful for anyone else to read the reactions to criticism. There were plenty of such comments, right here; just from the iPhone 12 release day, which read something like, "Oh, once I started using Bluetooth Headphones and never looked back". Innocuous looking, just a satisfied customer feeling grateful, apologetic comments like these are worst in such contexts.

Anyway, then I spent few hours researching a ~5 inch phone with stock Android phone for the nth time yesterday and I didn't find one. The closest, Pixel 4a, has a plastic body. I really do not think I am buying any other Apple device ever (or for the foreseeable future) and I am glad I've not bought into their services. iMessage is useless here anyway.

My whims and fancy kinda have stopped seeing Apple as the lesser of the two evils (wrt mobile platforms), or so it seems as of now.


> Also, that I will accept Google will track every move and shake of mine and show me ads based on that data (assuming just Google gets to do it; I'd buy a stock Android phone).

You do know you can use the private DNS feature to block ads and analytics system-wide, don't you? There's also a "VPN service" app called Blokada[1] that effectively does the same thing but in a less optimal way. Anyway, blocking your own devices from communicating with the servers of malicious actors feels like basic infosec hygiene in 2020.

Actually, I should probably release that ad-blocking DNSoTLS server I made for myself and had been using ever since Android 9 came out.

[1] https://blokada.org


Why is polycarbonate inferior to metal? It won't slip out your hands so easily and it is far tougher than soft aluminium.


So, the conclusion of your long-winded rant is that plastic body of Pixel is a show-stopper for you and you prefer Apple policing your freedoms for the price of metal phone body?


>This has nothing to do with relevance and everything to do with convenience. I’ve said it before and will adamantly say it again: it is prima facie wrong that one of the rules of the App Store is that an app is not allowed to explain the rules of the App Store.

Very damning when it's phrased like that.


In trying to understand Apple's position on App Store policies, it may help to think of them as a retail store. For example, substitute "Best Buy" for App Store.

Can I tell my customers that 30% of the price of their widget goes to Best Buy at purchase? No, that's privileged information in the contract.

When my widget is on a shelf at Best Buy, can I advertise a lower price at Amazon.com on the box? No, of course not. They'd never place it on their shelves.

If I have to redesign my packaging so Best Buy can put a spider wrap around it, do I get to bitch about that to my customers? Nope, just a cost of doing business. It's "irrelevant" information to the customer.

I'm not suggesting this justifies their behavior. It's just an analogy that happens to fit Apple's world view of their App Store.


The problem is Best Buy is just a retailer, while Apple is both a retailer, and a hardware builder, and a software developer, as well as a media company. This inevitably creates problematic situations that allows for market position abuse such as:

* Apple is Spotify's biggest competitor.

* Spotify has to pay Apple 30% of it's revenue purchased through iOS to Apple.

* Apple has to pay 0% of it's revenue purchased through iOS to Spotify, and can use Spotify's profits to subsidize their own offering.

* Spotify is explicitly not allowed to suggest alternative payment methods, and will be removed from user devices if this happens.

* Apple owns the payment method, and uses iOS to further cement its market position with Apple Pay.

* Spotify has limited platform control, and can't be pre-installed on the device.

* Apple uses it's market domination of iOS to default to, and encourage users to, sign up for Apple Music during the device installation process.

Is this a fair marketplace?


By that same token, though, Best Buy owns certain classes and brands for products that they sell within their stores. Insignia is Best Buy's brand. That puts it in at least the same partial sphere and no one is arguing that their prioritization of Insignia is unfair.


Best Buy is not one of only two players in the market, or require a years long commitment to shopping there, or stop you from walking out and buying somewhere else, or operates under commission. There is very little truth in this analogy.


How do you figure? Just like you can leave the Best Buy marketplace and go to another electronics store, you can leave the Apple marketplace and go to Android. No one is forcing anyone to buy an iPhone.


Yes - If Best Buy did control the market (i.e. was a monopoly) and then abused it's market position to price-up Dell and force adoption of their own brand, then it would be the same.

The difference here of course, is that Best Buy can't control the market in this way because there are other options and customers will go elsewhere, and Dell can sell direct to consumer and through other channels.

Apple can control the market in this way, and Spotify can't sell direct to consumer without Apple taking a cut (unless they build a web-only version, which would not be competitive with Apple's own offering). Spotify could go android-only, but then the same issue exists with Google and Google Play Music.

Why do you think Apple is in this market? They realized that market control in one industry (the mp3 player / smartphone) could be exploited to get market control of other industries (e.g. music distribution).


Apple's not a monopoly, though. Until a court rules that fully owned and operated storefronts are their own unique marketplaces, Apple is nowhere near a monopoly.


It's not the same token at all.

Every product on a Bust Buy store (including products competing with other BB products) was already bought by Best Buy, BB assuming a lot of risks - if BB prevents the product from being sold to the customer, BB loses money. Every product not on a Best Buy store is very likely to be buyable somewhere else, Best Buy can't ban you from buying elsewhere.

Apple doesn't buy the software displayed in the app store, nor does it allow any alternative stores. Apple has the only iOS store, and uses this to drive Apple marketshare in other areas of commerce.


Beautifully put. It is not, period.


> It's just an analogy that happens to fit Apple's world view of their App Store.

The problem with the world view, of course, is that there's more to the world than Best Buy.

If I don't like a widget at Best Buy I can go look it up and buy it from Amazon. Or Target. Or Walmart. Or Alibaba.

If I use an iPhone I am limited to what Apple allows on their shelves, full stop. If Best Buy dictated everything you were allowed to buy, that would seem rather problematic, right? I can't see any way that a corporate executive would justify not only not placing a certain brand on their shelves, but also physically blocking their customers from walking into any other store. Imagine the PR field day if an Apple store manager paid his or her employees to stand in front of the Microsoft store and physically assault any of their customers if they tried to walk inside!

And yet that's exactly what they're doing virtually. We can't use a Microsoft app store, or an Amazon app store, or Google Play. We are beholden to the manager's personal preferences of what we can and can't buy.


the other side of the equation is that you are free not to buy an apple device (for now)

the collective amount of people buying apple devices is what gives them the power to implement these rules on their own.

I forsee a time in the future when you are forced to buy an Apple product from birth, no options allowed.


> the collective amount of people buying apple devices is what gives them the power to implement these rules on their own.

Generally whenever some sort of product or process gains a large level of public usage, it gets regulated. This has been true of every technology since the lightbulb. I think we as a civilization realized that just letting people at the top apply their arbitrary preferences to everyone else was hurtful and nonproductive.


That is what antitrust is supposed to prevent


>Can I tell my customers that 30% of the price of their widget goes to Best Buy at purchase?

>When my widget is on a shelf at Best Buy, can I advertise a lower price at Amazon.com on the box?

Both of these are allowed using inserts inside the package.

By comparison, Apple would review the app, demand removing any 'offending' inserts inside the app, to the point of even censoring the maker's web site address from the instructions if the web site also contains a 'buy' link. Most real-world makers would never pass Apple's policies.


You wouldn't be able to have your website URL anywhere on the product or packaging. Can't have people purchasing directly!


> In trying to understand Apple's position on App Store policies, it may help to think of them as a retail store. For example, substitute "Best Buy" for App Store

It may help their case to think of it that way, but that's not what the App Store is. So this is, excuse the terminology, irrelevant.


I don't think your analogy is valid.

It's more akin to Best Buy telling me I need to visit the house of every customer who bought my widget and slightly break it, otherwise they'll stop selling said widget. And if I try to tell my customer "Best Buy is making me do this", that's "irrelevant".


How is this a good analogy for them asking for the names and addresses of individuals to be taken down because they are worried that these might be a call to violence against those indivuals?

Are we talking about a widget which contains a piece of paper with the names and addresses of some local policemen?

The analogy just doesn’t work.


> How is this a good analogy for them asking for the names and addresses of individuals to be taken down because they are worried that these might be a call to violence against those indivuals?

Apple is making a moral judgment here, likely based on pressure from the Belarusian government.

Let's look at it this way. Let's say you agree that the current Belarusian president is bad news, and is trying to maintain power by invalidating free democratic elections, and suppress other candidates by arresting them on trumped-up charges. If you don't agree with that, fine, but let's say for a moment that you do.

In that case, Apple's requirement of Telegram is in support of a repressive regime. While I'm not a fan of violence, I will acknowledge that sometimes it is necessary to apply violence in order to achieve freedom.

But the overall point is that what people say on Telegram is none of Apple's business. Strong-arming Telegram's CEO into complying with Apple's moralizing is an abuse of Apple's market position, based on their OS's DRM that requires all apps to be approved by Apple. That's not a world we should have to live in.


I get the general idea, but I just don’t think it’s that simple.

“In that case, Apple's requirement of Telegram is in support of a repressive regime.”

It’s possible that this is at the request of the Belarusian government, but it’s also true that Apple does have its own terms against promoting violence.

Either way, it’s not obvious that preventing doxing supports the regime.

If individual policemen are targeted, it’s not a given that this increases support for the the pro-democracy movement.

I also believe that sometimes violence is necessary, but that doesn’t make it obvious that it’s the right thing in any particular case.

There’s no abuse of Apple’s market position as far as I can see.

Stores are generally restricted in what they can sell by the legal environment they operate in.

Now, I do entirely agree with you that we shouldn’t have to live in this world. I do want a platform where no entity can control what I can install.

I just don’t think that world has a lot to do with Apple.

Apple isn’t going to build it, no matter what we do, and Apple isn’t doing anything particularly different from any other corporation that sells any good.

Governments generally don’t want Apple or anyone else to be able to sell software in an uncontrolled manner. Governments will tend towards imposing their own controls, and the union of the two sets of controls will be worse than the current situation.

If we want a freer platform we are going to need to build it.


If you don't like Best Buy's practices or terms, you can sell at another store.

If you don't like Apple's practices or terms, you don't get to sell an iOS app.


Apple is basically saying: "Even if our rules are unethical, we still want you to take the blame for it. Don't even dare to explain to the consumer that you're merely following Apple's guidelines."


No, they aren’t saying that.

They are saying ‘when we ask you to stop doing something unethical, don’t try to make us look bad for making the request’.

However, I agree with Gruber on this - it’s wrong for them to try to stifle discussion about their rules, whatever the context.


Actually, they’re saying “when we ask you to do something we consider unethical, you can’t say we told you to do it”.


Sounds like Telegram needs to implement a "message canary" where every message has a note attached saying something to the effect of; "Apple hasn't asked us to remove this message".


Then they would probably get banned from Apple ecosystem. And Apple will defend itself saying they have a right to choose not to do business with anyone for any reason and they have deemed it best for user experience not to let Telegram in App Store. And Telegram developers would have no recourse.


Yes, that is another fair rewriting of what they are saying.

Obviously they make their own ethical judgements when enforcing their own rules, as do we all.

My guess is that they wouldn’t object to the discussion though, if it didn’t make them look bad.


Can you elaborate on how that is substantially different from my statement?


It should be obvious, but here are things from your comment that are very different from my or saagarjha’s version:

“we still want you to take the blame”

Neither I, nor saargarjha nor Apple are saying anything about blame.

You are putting words into Apple’s mouth here.

“Don't even dare”

There is nothing in my, or Apple’s or Sagaarjha’s comment that has this connotation.

You are adding in the idea that Apple wants developers to be afraid.

“merely following Apple’s guidelines”

Again, not something that is true, and not something reflected in either my or Sagaargarjha’s comment. If someone actually complies with a request from Apple, there is a lot more going on than ‘merely following guidelines’, an obvious one being that there may be a real problem with the content behind taken down.

By saying this, you exclude the possibility that Apple is acting in good faith.

To summarize, your comment was in no way a fair rewriting of Apple’s comment.

You introduced a set of additional content that weren’t in anyone else’s version, and which give the appearance of Apple’s actions being the meritless bullying of a bad faith actor.

That is the entire substance of your comment.

It’s certainly possible that Apple’s actions are disagreeable to many people, but HN shows that they are not universally considered meritless.

It’s also possible for Apple to act like a bully uninitentionally, or to actually bully developers. They are not above that and we should discuss it.

But those facts don’t make your ‘rewrite’ a fair reflection.


You are all over this thread trying to protect Apple by hook or by crook, jumping into any statement and twisting and forcing your interpretations. Sagaarjha’s statement is still essentially saying the same as mine, so it's absolute nonsense to claim that it's not what Apple is saying, but then agreeing with Sagaarjha’s statement, which fundamentally says the same thing. Your zealousness in this thread exposes your unbearable bias.


It seems like I struck a nerve.

There is nothing twisted about my interpretations, and I’m not defending Apple.

Here are is a summary of my position:

1. I agree with Gruber - Apple shouldn’t be policing discussion of their rules.

2. Your comment is not the same as Sagaarjha’s.

I have clearly explained why, and you have chosen to ignore the points I made, and attack me personally.

3. I can understand why Apple is motivated to police certain comments, and I believe the motivations are based on real problems they want to avoid in good faith.

4. Despite believing #3 I also believe #1. Just because they are acting in good faith on real problems, doesn’t mean I think they are doing the right thing.

5. I believe we should choose open OS’s and there should be a possibly mandated requirement to be able to install alternate OS’s on Apple decides (and anything else in a wide similar class).

Not one thing I have said in this thread defends Apple’s actions at all.

I don’t find that it helps us to understand what is going on if we simply portray them as a nasty bully without considering their motivations.

If this is representative of ‘unbearable bias’, then so be it.


> There is nothing twisted about my interpretations, and I’m not defending Apple.

I stopped reading there. It's as false as it is shameless to make such a claim after all the comments you spammed across the whole thread.


Unfortunately, if you really stopped there, then you don’t understand what I mean when I say that.

But, since you have such a black and white view:

Can you quote a single comment from this thread in which I defend Apple?


I have a similar reaction to your posts in this thread, and while you are indeed careful with your phrasing, the end result seems very biased to me. This is partly because I have substantial bias of my own. =)

The statement that tipped me towards thinking you were defensive about Apple was here:

> One of the problems is that most of what people call ‘bugs’ or relevant ‘information’ about Apple is actually false.

No one challenged this, and you just dropped it there like it's a fact. I don't know that to be true at all, and even if it were, I don't think it justifies Apple's behavior towards a developer trying to inform their users about their efforts to work around a bug on the platform. Users knowing about a flaw in their device's OS is highly relevant to them, and indeed may inform whether they want to purchase such devices again. I believe Apple is wrong to try and prevent developers from communicating this through the app store, but I read your comments as defending it. I won't try and argue that Apple doesn't have a right to do so, however. I think they do, and this is precisely why I don't buy their products.


It’s worth pointing out that ‘bias’ is a fairly meaningless word to be using here.

It’s pretty obvious that ‘Jedimind’ is biased, isn’t it?

As to my comment about ‘bugs’ etc. I don’t think it takes much to confirm that statement. Just look around online and in the press and then investigate in detail.

What you will find is some kernels of truth, plus a vast amount of telephone-game like inaccuracy.

This isn’t unique to Apple - it’s simply a feature of our current public discourse.

By raising this, I’m just pointing out that Apple is operating in that real world, so to expect them to operate idealistically is unrealistic.

As to me defending Apple - is it possible it only seems like this because my tone is less angry than some other people here?

Take another look at what I’ve said.

I don’t think you’ll find me anywhere saying their behavior is justified and you will find several places where I unequivocally say it’s wrong.

I don’t think this is any different to your final paragraph.

We can simultaneously think they are wrong, and try to understand what they are dealing with when they make their decisions. These two things don’t have to be in conflict.

What I often see is the desire to make simplistic declarations that reduce Apple to some kind of demon where the wrong decisions or compromises they make are evidence that this is something fundamental about them to just rage about, rather than a problem to be understood.

I see this as a kind of self-deception, which I would prefer not to fall into.

When you look around the thread, where people are comparing Apple to the Gestapo and shrilly calling for them to be “smashed”, and their money confiscated and redistributed, do you really think that my ‘bias’ is the issue here?


I'm glad I read all the way to the end. Somehow I had missed the "Apple doesn't have bugs" statement the first time.


What statement is that? Are you referring to something I am supposed to have said?


> Can you quote a single comment from this thread in which I defend Apple?

"Obviously they make their own ethical judgements when enforcing their own rules, as do we all."

- It would have been more difficult to find comments from this thread where you didn't defend Apple applying all sorts of mental gymnastics.


What makes you think I’m defending Apple there?

That quoted statement is obviously true.

How does it “defend Apple” to state the truth?


> What makes you think I’m defending Apple there? That quoted statement is obviously true.

It's a tautology and a miserable attempt at defending Apple. Like reacting to a victim's complaint by saying "Well animals also steal from each other, most organisms engage in such behaviour" Then saying - That statement is true so how am I defending the thief here!?

Even asking "hOw DiD I dEfEnD aPpLe" is absurd, when that's literally all you have been doing in most of the comments above. I'll no longer participate in your pointless hairsplitting games.


It’s only a tautology if you believe that ethics have a subjective dimension.

That is not a given in this thread, where people are writing comments that essentialise Apple’s ethics.

The reason I made that comment was to highlight this point.

Each of us is bringing a sense of what is right and wrong to this.

One we introduce this, we can start to reason about why Apple is taking what we think of as a wrong action, and what kind of compromises are leading to it.

Simply vilifying them just closes us of from understanding them.

Your analogy positions Apple as a perpetrator, the developer as a victim, and me as an apologist.

Once again, you aren’t actually engaging in a discussion.

You are begging the question with your framing.

http://begthequestion.info/

You aren’t actually explaining why the framing is valid.

As I said, if I were really defending Apple, it would be easy to show.

Just repeating over and over again that I am is not that. You can’t explain it because it isn’t happening.


> It’s only a tautology if you believe that ethics have a subjective dimension.

Utter nonsense, it's a tautology either way, it being derived from a subjective or objective source has no effect on it.

> Simply vilifying them just closes us of from understanding them.

"Simply vilifying" them? It's not rocket science, a trillion dollar business is trying to protect its image using shady tactics. Your framing is again reeking of bias: "people are just vilifying poor Apple" according to you, but it's more like you blindly defending Apple, spamming the whole thread.

> Once again, you aren’t actually engaging in a discussion. You are begging the question with your framing.

We are engaging in the discussion, while you are trying to fool people with deceptive rhetoric. You have been given many evidences, but you always deflected with pseudo intellectual, unconvincing rhetoric.

>As I said, if I were really defending Apple, it would be easy to show. Just repeating over and over again that I am is not that. You can’t explain it because it isn’t happening.

People besides me have given you enough evidence & have also pointed out your weaselly rhetoric. You are truly living in your own fantasy world, most of your comments are greyed out for a good reason.


If I’m using ‘deceptive rhetoric’ are you able to say what I am trying to deceive people about?

If other people are saying I’m using deceptive rhetoric, perhaps you can find an example?

I am having discussions with other people here, but none of them support your assertions about me, and none of them are making accusations the way you are or the way you claim they are.

They are all reasoned interactions engaging with one another’s statements to reach understanding.

Some of my comments are grayed out because people are angry with Apple and like you, some people perceive me to be defending Apple, largely because I’m not joining in with the condemnation.

Once again, you haven’t found any examples of me defending Apple, and there are numerous examples of me criticizing them or agreeing with criticism.

Only one person has descended into name calling, accusations, and mocking in this thread.

As to people villifying Apple. I explained why I don’t think that is helpful. This is not the same as your begging the question.

As to it bring ‘obvious’ - if you’ve read my comments, you’d know that I agree that Apple wouldn’t care about these things if they didn’t make Apple look bad.

But that fact doesn’t make it helpful to write snark about them.

This entire sub-thread is driven by you not liking the analysis of your snarky original comment that you asked me to provide.

I question where the delusion resides.


> Some of my comments are grayed out because people are angry with Apple and like you, some people perceive me to be defending Apple, largely because I’m not joining in with the condemnation.

Quite the convenient narrative you have there. No, it's because you make no sense and you are trying to defend the indefensible.


You keep saying that, but it it was true you’d be able to produce at least one example of me justifying their actions.

I clearly haven’t been defending Apple, but you can’t admit that now.


What is unethical about letting the consumers know how much they are paying Apple for the privilege of using in-app purchase?


Forbidding it


Nothing


They're also saying "Don't say that your app overcame a bug in iOS, that's irrelevant".


Reminds me of Wizard of Oz.

“Don’t mention the man behind the curtain”

Retailers went through this with Credit cards. It used to be trouble to charge more for CC usage (in essence, blaming the CC companies for higher charges).


Apple entire business model should be illegal. They amassed so much wealth by using various loopholes and tricks, that any normal business wouldn't be able to achieve. Lawmakers should carefully go through it and make every bit impossible to do by any other company in the future and the wealth that Apple amassed should be sold and distributed among Apple customers.


Apple content firewall is getting at least worrisome. For sure some autocracy would call 'alt information' as irrelevant and banish them all from their platform. Impossible to get consensus from a wildly diverse world. Internet was open, free, and young. Who's going to be the arbiter of truth now? I bet the one with widest arms to grab them all.


what a striking account of apple waging all out war on the infosphere.

making rules, and then preventing people from explaining what is happening, that they have been subject to the rules. incredibly bold policy. incredibly bad acts. perpetrating ignorance upon the world.


Not conflating. Just straight up lying. Apple are falsely claiming something obviously relevant is irrelevant in an abuse of market power to maximise profit.

There we go. It's not a calling a spade a digging implement and then conflating it with all garden tools in general (eg chainsaws are not for children). It is calling the spade a piece of cheese to further and protect their abuse of market power con.


Big app makers should band together and boycott the Apple platform until they get what they want -- and provided "what they want" is not unreasonable; being able to tell the truth in a changelog is reasonable.

People will eventually notice if many important apps are no longer available on iPhones.


And before they notice, you'll be hurting yourself, not Apple, for god knows how long. IMO, legislation is our best bet. I'm really looking forward to that EU antimonopoly investigation.


The big previous thread about this is https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24737171.


Somehow, what surprised me the most here—given Apple's recent news—is the fact that they were able to strong-arm Facebook into complying. One would think that, if there are companies with enough leverage to ignore Apple's odd whims, Facebook would be one of them.


What did Facebook comply with?


> Similarly, when Facebook wanted to inform its users that 30% of the fees users were paying for online events went to Apple, Apple didn’t let Facebook do it saying this information was (once more) “irrelevant”.

That's the passage I meant. I wouldn't have imagined that Apple would be in the capacity of letting or not letting Facebook do something.

On a separate note, you seem to have replied to pretty much everyone in this thread, may I ask why?


I got into a dialog with ‘Jedimind’.

That has brought me back to the thread more often than I would usually bother with, and I’ve commented on things that seem to have more complexity to them than is apparent.


Does Apple censor email going through Mail app? Why not?

Apple is acting like Communist China or East Germany here. This is unconscionable.


Hi I'm Apple and I'd really like daringfireball to not render in any iOS browsers as it's irrelevant.


Someone should tell Gruber to what extent his beloved Apple censors things in China to pacify the Chinese Communist Party. Funny how pundits routinely latch on to a tiny gnat on a proverbial elephant's ass.


“The first rule about fight club is you don't talk about fight club.”

Apple doesn't want negative information spread about it, and if they can control it, they'll definitely try. Very shady of Apple.




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