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A top-grossing scam on the App Store (twitter.com/keleftheriou)
572 points by egocentric 22 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 269 comments



Apple has just engineered the worst possible situation for themselves by being the only way to get apps on the store and by simultaneously incessantly marketing the store as "Safe and Secure". The former encourages them to maximize the number of apps on the store, while the latter encourages them to shoot first and ask questions later.

If side-loading or alternative ways of getting apps onto the iPhone existed, then they could implement far stricter controls knowing that, worst case scenario, you can still get an app onto the iPhone. This is how it works on the Mac. Tor isn't on the Mac App Store, but that of course doesn't mean Tor can't be used on the Mac.

This is one of the tricky parts about AppStore discussions, it's not about being for or against the AppStore. In fact, I wish the AppStore was MUCH pickier about the apps it let in, and I also wish there was an alternative to the AppStore to catch cases that didn't meet that strict bar. Then the AppStore could actually be about curation as opposed to fear-induced isolationism. Then Apple wouldn't have to inadvertently have political side-effects when it disallowed apps like HKMap.live.

Being on the AppStore could still be advantageous beyond just "either that or you don't get to be on the iPhone at all.” Apple payment processing, iCloud integrations, Family-sharing, etc. could all be tied to being ON the AppStore, so there'd still be a huge incentive to try to ship that way. And side-loading doesn't have to be easy or even on by default.


>If side-loading or alternative ways of getting apps onto the iPhone existed, then they could implement far stricter controls knowing that, worst case scenario, you can still get an app onto the iPhone. This is how it works on the Mac. Tor isn't on the Mac App Store, but that of course doesn't mean Tor can't be used on the Mac.

And if side-loading was alowed then every big player whose app users "have to have", e.g. Google, Facebook, Abobe, Zoom, Epic, would start their own independent app store (or distribution just for their apps).

Users would have no recourse than to install the app for there (or do without Facebook or Zoom etc).

Then every scammer and scamster does the same for their apps, and lures enough people to get them, and depending on what's allowed, you also get pirated app "stores". In the end the result is not so great for the devs complaining either...

Now instead of 1 method of payment, 1 way to enforce subscriptions/cancellations and other rules, one checkpoint, you have 2 or 5 or 10.


>And if side-loading was alowed then every big player whose app users "have to have", e.g. Google, Facebook, Abobe, Zoom, Epic, would start their own independent app store (or distribution just for their apps).

>Users would have no recourse than to install the app for there (or do without Facebook or Zoom etc).

We are already aware of a platform that allows easy sideloading - Android. And most apps on Android are distribured through the Play Store. All "big" players still go through the Play Store.

When there is no such thing as the examples you described going on in Android, why do you expect iOS to be different?


>When there is no such thing as the examples you described going on in Android, why do you expect iOS to be different?

Several reasons why this hasn't happened on Android. Let's see a few examples:

(1) iOS doesn't let other players have their own broswer engines. Google is one of those other players, and if the iOS App Store wasn't the only game in town, they'd have an alternative pronto. Android is theirs, so they don't need to do that.

(2) iOS has strict privacy/ad rules (getting stricter too). Facebook doesn't like them. Android let's them have it - so no need to make a move there.

(3) iOS also has the share cut that Epic doesn't like regarding the in-store subscriptions thing. In Android, where this is also an issue, Epic already has users sideload Forthnite from their own store.

(4) Serious Adobe apps are not available for Android (just Photoshop Express/Mix and such lite versions for consumers), but are for iOS. So not exactly the same incentive for Above to make a move there. But if it was an option to have their own store on iOS, given their pro app subscription program, I think they'd take it pronto.


1) One wonders if it would be possible for Apple to disable certain types of apps regardless of how they're obtained, including alternative browser engines. I think already the OS can prevent apps from overstepping its permissions system already? Though jailbreaking can still override that.

2) That would explain greater developer demand for a third party store on iOS, but not why users would seek out these more ad-intensive app stores.

3) Yeah, this would be a pretty major reason to drive third party app stores on iOS, though it's not as if there's a ton of sideloading on Android to get around the Play Store's own 30% cut, besides the high-profile Fortnite example.

4) Yes, and it would be annoying fragmentation if other major developers/publishers did the same on iOS, requiring the installation of a ton of third party app store apps and keeping track of different app store accounts.

But how many would really go through the hassle of building their own app store just to sell their products? (Maybe it'd be easier to find a way to sell and distribute their apps through their mobile browser sites.) One would suspect the number of alternate app stores to stabilize over time.


Money. There is way more money in the iOS ecosystem.


I don't think you're giving enough weight to the network effect. People don't want to switch from what they already use.

Worst case scenario, some managers decide to include an app store inside their app, they ignore the reality of the chance of success and put a whole bunch of marketing in it to their higher ups. Then they get promoted or switch jobs then blame whoever gets stuck with it 3-6 months later when it fails.

After that we'll probably end up seeing real use cases side loaded app stores (like hobby game development, or open source tools that don't want to or can't pay the Apple tax).


>allows easy sideloading - Android

Epic argued in court that Android side-loading has been designed to make side-loading difficult and annoying.


This has happened with Epic.


It is pretty crazy that simple providing an install link means, as you're the top choice in a duopoly, that you demand 30% of gross. Surely the costs to Apple is <<1% ?

Background, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_Games_v._Apple.


> All "big" players still go through the Play Store.

There are many big players that don't go through the Play Store, and for a variety of reasons. Fortnite and ISP-promoted apps and device-manucacturer apps (for business and leverage reasons), DMM (because a primary line of their business is in adult content), and basically everything in mainland China (because Google doesn't operate there).

These players all operate their own app stores.


Isn’t Fortnite basically entirely back on the play store and that’s where most users are coming from? That proves it doesn’t work.


You're right (https://techcrunch.com/2020/04/21/epic-games-launches-fortni...), I suppose that they evaluated those 18 months and judged that it wasn't as profitable not being on the Play store.

But ISPs still deliver apps through their app stores, and whole segments of big players also successfully distribute outside of it, out of necessity: adult content and the Chinese ecosystem. Note that the DMM example I cited is unheard of outside of Japan, but very well-known in Japan itself.


What or how are adult sites distributing successfully? I think the biggest paid sites have apps. But I’ve never personally heard of any one using any porn tube site app or anything. Browsers are used.

I’m genuinely curious. I have no clue.


In Japan, DMM is a very diversified company (it runs a very well known hackerspace, for example), and a very profitable business comes from mobile-oriented games. Many of the erotic mobile-oriented games have a web browser version or PC version, and the more recent ones have native apps as well. In addition some have a censored version as well sharing the same account.

The app store is just called DMM Games store [0], since it distributes both its age-unrestricted games as well as games under its adult imprint (Fanza) via it.

With videos, since stores of videos are allowed on the play store, you instead have the situation that the DMM videos app is available on Android and iPhone, and the Fanza imprint is separately downloadable on Android [1, nsfw, needs vpn]

[0]: http://www.dmm.com/netgame/app/appstore/guide.html

[1]: https://www.dmm.co.jp/digital/android_intro/index.html


Thanks for this! I had no idea about any of this

I'm quite confused that this comment of mine is presently sitting at -1 score at the time of writing. I think I provided good evidence that a fundamental assumption of parent comment was incorrect.


> And if side-loading was alowed then every big player whose app users "have to have", e.g. Google, Facebook, Abobe, Zoom, Epic, would start their own independent app store (or distribution just for their apps).

That didn't happen on Android. But at least on android you can download the apk from github, or use f-droid


>That didn't happen on Android.

Epic did it on Android (they pointed to their own source for Fortnite).

For others, there's no need, like there is on iOS. E.g.:

Google doesn't need to build their own Android app store, they control the main one already!

Facebook doesn't need to do it, as Google is not as strict with app privacy constraints as Apple is.


Fortnite folded. It wasn’t working out for them well enough.


Android allows side loading and none of that stuff is an issue on Android. It exists, but it's not an issue. You can easily stay in the Play store, but if you choose not to... caveat emptor.


Caveat emptor if you choose to stay on the Play store as well


Android doesn’t allow first class alternative stores.


What makes Amazon app store and f-droid not first class?


No automatic software updates.


With my current android phone, I have deliberately limited what I put on it. I got so sick of update churn.

Together with app owners selling out to malware types, and I see a lack of updates as a blessing.

I want to buy an app version and use that app version until I decide otherwise.

Ideally, when I run an app, inform me there is an update, let me know the benefits, and let me decide if I want to install or not, before or after using the app on this occasion.


A very fair opinion, in just the same way, many iOS users see the single store model to be a feature not a bug.


I'd say it's a Google Play and specific deals limitation, not an Android limitation.

On a OnePlus phone I can easily activate root access and install f-droid as root which enables full updates handling.


It’s a limitation that applies to almost all Android users.


Clicking an f-droid notification and then "update all" is fine by me.

It's much better than having no alternative store at all, and installing things via adb commands.


Would they? Doesn't really happen on Android, Steam is still the go-to on PC


This relies on a lot of assumptions:

1. It is highly dependent on the mechanics of how Apple implements side-loading (again, if it has a scary warning or requires you to turn something on deep in Settings, it's unclear if this would actually be the case). Especially considering that for many apps Apple now has their own versions, so it might not be a great idea for Google to put more hoops to jump through to get to Maps when Apple ships a (now) fairly competent Maps app built in.

2. It also disregards the other benefits the AppStore could provide aside from being the only game in town, as it does now. Again, there are many features that make a lot of sense to be tied to AppStore accounts, the most obvious of which is anything having to do with ease of payments. You might be leaving a lot of money on the table by completely abandoning the "one tap" payments that AppStore payments gets you (especially with in-app purchases, etc.). Separately, users will expect Family Sharing to "just work", etc. Again -- this aligns incentives really well on both sides: a lot of these features are implemented fairly poorly today by Apple because there's no rush, its not like there's another option. With a good incentive to make Family Sharing shine with respect to the competition, it could start being far less confusing and be far more flexible too. It might not take 5 year stretches to get bottom-of-the-barrel basic features like paid app updates or app trials, etc.

3. This actually flips a lot of current economics of the app store on its head: it is an open secret that Apple grants sweetheart deals to big companies on the AppStore who don't pay 30%. This is the worst of both worlds: the big players are given an unfair advantage on the AppStore. However, if they were attracted by their greed to try to "do it on their own" outside the AppStore, then small startups have a real shot at going head to head by being the "AppStore-compliant" version of the app, since 30% is an easier pill to swallow when its not billions of dollars in revenue.

4. The idea that because one or two apps convince users to side-load means that it would open the flood gates to every single scam app doing it is a fairly BIG slippery slope to... slide down? Again, if the process is fairly onerous for each side-load, then you might find that ONLY big names can actually convince people to do it, or important apps like HKMap.live or other apps that nations try to use the bottleneck of the AppStore to prevent. As mentioned elsewhere in these comments -- side-loading wouldn't necessarily mean you don't have to jump through some other Apple hoops.

And most importantly, I would argue that the current situation is worse. Apple tells everyone the AppStore is safe, and thus every app that appears on the AppStore is "Apple approved" (LITERALLY!). This precisely lulls people into installing scammy apps. Apple can't pop up a disclaimer every time you download something from the AppStore saying "HEY NOW CAREFUL, THIS APP MAY BE A SCAM," because it would go against the entire marketing of the AppStore. But they CAN put such a disclaimer in front of every side-load, because they owe those apps nothing and it hurts Apple's reputation none at all in that case.


Being able to install whatever I want to install sounds pretty nice. Almost like an actual computer.


If they allowed side-loading, they might not capture 30% of revenue from apps sold through the app store. If they disallowed scams, they might not capture 30% of the scammers' revenue.


I actually believe that if they allowed side-loading it would be one of the best ways to guarantee that they continue capturing 30% of revenue in perpetuity. This is because they could actually for the first time make developers feel like they're getting something for that 30%, as opposed to it being an "existence tax". Apple could actually with a straight face say "hey, you don't HAVE to be on the store, try doing it on your own". This is much different than the current Hobson's Choice of "you don't have to be on the store, you could just not have an app" which feels increasingly shallow in a duopoly, which gets to another important point: they'd actually have a fantastic argument for regulators: competitors really do have choices other than Apple! It would be very hard to argue that Apple should cater to your app that they don't like when there is another way to deliver that app to all the same customers (that doesn't involve first convincing them to switch platforms).

I honestly believe that some sort of side-loading option would be best for any cynical Apple interests long-term and for developers and for users.

The current course of action just leads to developer frustration (which is fine until a disruptive player enters the market), a super shitty store that leaves customers pissed (with scams, etc.), constant churn in rules to try to appease everyone and kick the can another 2 years (like the 15% reduction), and worst of all, unwanted attention from regulators that could have chaotic effects.


Truth be told, Apple could own side-loading on its own terms. They can present their own APIs that provide some freedom outside of the App Store, without ceding all of their control. Wrap it up in copious disclaimers and language informing the end-user that Apple is not responsible for what happens with these "advanced settings." Bake security checks into this process. Make side-loading into a walled garden unto itself.

This would also disincentivize jailbreakers, as fewer power users would be interested in pursuing the 100% amount of freedom that jailbreaking allows.

You could even go all of the way and have Apple adopt a "can't beat us? Join us" mentality towards independent app repositories outside of App Store by providing their own APIs and SDKs to run your own third-party app store. Again, architect it to automatically include security checks. Tie in subtle ways for Apple still to get a cut and a measure of their control.

This is far from a concrete description of what "third party stores brought to you by Apple" would look like, but if there's any company that could square the circle and make it a reality, it'd be Apple.


>They can present their own APIs that provide some freedom outside of the App Store, without ceding all of their control.

That is what I have been saying for quite some time. If Apple separate their Game Store and held some of those API, they have effectively kept 80% of their App Store revenue intact even if they allowed side loading.

Then at the expense of 20% of their App Store revenue, they can think what is the best possible balance to the problem here.


I think it's apple playing chicken with regulators. Surely they also see this problem as inevitably coming to a head, but if they can flirt with the line, they can make bank until they're forced to move on it. They probably have responses to potential issues and a transition already planned out; they are simply milking the current situation for all its worth.


This is the worst thing they could do, leave google open to host iOS apps on their store


Not really, judging by the current quality of the Play Store.


I should clarify the above means that given the (lack of) quality of the Play Store, I don't see Google hosting iOS apps would get much traction and receive many adopters.


There's no reason to think that the cut would be any less than 30% even if they allowed side-loading. People just assume it would be like the Mac, but Apple isn't required to license its technology to anyone for free.


Apple's App store grossed twenty-billion dollars last year [1].

Whatever its problems are, it isn't the worst possible situation for themselves by a long shot.

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/08/apples-app-store-had-gross-s...


>Apple has just engineered the worst possible situation for themselves

Until you realize they don't actually care about it being "safe and secure" beyond a certain point.

They care they apps wont leech your payment details, they care they apps can't step outside the guidelines, they care that technology and connectivity is locked within the app store and not the browser but as long as an app plays within the rules they don't care if an app tricks your 5 year old into a 400$ a week subscription, as long as your 5 year old is doing it safely.


The real issue is that "AppStore" and "ContentFilter" are two orthogonal things (which Apple conflates).

We can have multiple instances of both. And we probably should.


Yeah: and for anyone who doesn't immediately see how this is possible, a curator merely needs to have an allow/deny list of apps--possibly specific reviewed binaries--not actually host them or be the bottleneck for obtaining them: you just want the (hopefully federated) store app(s) to be able to refer to the (hopefully federated) curator(s) to limit the display and prevent installs.


Also, from my other comment, Apple could let us sideload notarized apps. This means:

- Automated scan for malware

- Remote kill switch, just in case

They already do this for macOS [1]:

> “Notarization is not App Review. The Apple notary service is an automated system that scans your software for malicious content, checks for code-signing issues, and returns the results to you quickly.”

They could give users a choice, much like they're doing with the new App Tracking Transparency prompt. But when pressed on why Apple should have control, Cook said "Somebody has to."

That's… not a very convincing argument.

[1]: https://developer.apple.com/documentation/xcode/notarizing_m...


OH Yes. I think you perfectly describe it something no others have done. ( At least I have yet to seen any )


> Safe and Secure

Safe and secure maybe, but it’s safe and secure garbage. It’s mind blowing how shitty most apps on the store are.

I want to go back to the iPhone 1 app store, where literally every app was a jewel.


Right. The AppStore wouldn't disappear if the platform were more open- the AppStore would have to actually compete.


I think it would still poison the “Apple experience” to have many AppStores all competing with their own closed ecosystems. The Apple Experience of not being able to install some apps sucks, but its always been easy for me to help someone with an iOS device. That’s not true with Android or Windows. A walled garden ecosystem isn’t for everyone, but it does have value.

Instead, I’d like to see Apple be forced to provide bootloader unlocks and some basic drivers for alternative operating systems. We own the hardware, after all. Then they could have their walled garden and people who wanted more could run something else.

It’s also a simpler and more generalizable goal, in my opinion. If you own it, you should have low level access. That sounds more reasonable than forcing a corporation to add open App Store access, maintain it, and deal with whatever market effects precipitate.


> I think it would still poison the “Apple experience” to have many AppStores all competing with their own closed ecosystems.

I actually think Apple could find a way to navigate it. They already allow one prominent alternative choice on iOS: non-iMessage SMS. If Apple allowed third-party stores, I could see them using their product, UX, and branding mastery to create the equivalent of the blue-bubble and green-bubble dichotomy for App Store vs. 3rd party downloaded apps. Creating a social stigma without technical restrictions, so to speak. So allowing an alternative while at the same time encouraging users not to partake in it.


I don't understand how a social stigma would work for sideloading apps. It works for iMessage because it's a social product. But how would anyone else even know if the apps on your phone were sideloaded or not?


Apple could easily put in UX to identify the apps as not from the App Store, similar to how green text bubbles signify non-iMessage messages. The very fact that the color differentiation exists has led to a bifurcation in texting, which has been discussed elsewhere, as in here:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ugh-green-bubbles-apples-imessa...

Apple is good at social psychology through product design, and it's not hard to imagine them employing similar methods to single out non-App Store apps on the phone to make them seem suspect for being less official. Less technically-savvy users will shy away from third party apps and sideloading if Apple's UI makes those apps seem scary. Thus, this can be a means for Apple to allow additional freedom while deterring most users from pursuing it, minimizing their potential exposure to third party insecurity.


The bifurcation isn’t caused by the colour of the bubbles. The colour doesn’t cause the stigma. The colours are simply used as a simple headline to represent all the differences and improvements that iMessage brings compared to traditional SMS/MMS.

The costs of someone not participating in the “blue bubble ecosystem” are borne by all of the people trying to participate in the conversation. Unless the cost of my friend side loading an app is felt by me, the same stigma approach is unlikely to occur.

Ironically, Game Center could have been that exact thing for gaming on iOS, if only they hadn’t mostly killed it off already.


The colors are an important signifier of the second-class status of non-iMessage texts, though. So if there were similar UX around non-sideloaded apps, whether differently-formatted text or warning labels, they could also shape user attitudes towards those apps.

To some extent you can already see this on desktop, when MacOS warns you about programs from unidentified developers and so forth.


That’s a good point, I could see it happening, even if it wasn’t social - merely an association with “green” apps being more buggy and annoying to use.

I don’t care for iMessage particularly but I do know when it’s blue bubbles I have a lot more capabilities.


How does it matter which policy the app store have in ease of providing support? Providing support in Windows (can't talk for Android) isn't hard at all.


Apps in the Apple App Store must meet usability and standardization guidelines, and are deeply integrated into the OS. As a simple example that came up recently, all the payments on the phone go through Apple, so the payment process is the same cross ecosystem. While that is a point of discussion in the monopoly debate, it’s undeniably a simpler experience on the user side - and that translates to easy support. I don’t have to consider it it’s stripe or PayPal or freedompay or anything else when mom calls and wants help buying premium, payments just work.

With an open app ecosystem all guarantees of standardization or not using private APIs or (ideally) the app has been somewhat vetted are out the window.


How you obtain, install, update and manage apps is one of the key elements of a smartphone. If people are so against the fundamental way of how Apple does its smartphone then why are these people buying an iPhone if it makes them so unhappy? I honestly don’t get it. If you dislike the AppStore so much and oppose how Apple runs its products then don’t buy it. If enough people feel that way then it will incentivise Apple to change course. Currently it feels that the vast majority have no issue whatsoever and it’s only a small vocal minority (probably some dodgy App developers) who complain for their own benefit. Just get an Android and only develop for Android. Nobody was born as an App developer. You chose yourself to develop apps. If AppStores are so hostile and the current model s financially unattractive then why did you decide to become an App developer?


How would the security model work with side loaded apps. How would they get access to OS resources, services and share data with other apps, e.g through the clipboard? Who would verify them against malware, or ensure they didn’t violate security constraints? It’s not like Apple could disavow all responsibility for any data leaked from the system, a lot of users simply wouldn’t see it that way.

There’s a lot wrong with the current state of apps in the App Store, but right now at least I know who’s job it is to get it fixed.


> How would they get access to OS resources, services and share data with other apps, e.g through the clipboard?

Through the same system APIs that exist right now. Why would that change?

> Who would verify them against malware

The distributor of the app, most likely. If you downloaded a game though Steam for iOS or whatever, and it had malware, that's Valve's fault.

If you went to virus.com and downloaded a virus, that's your problem.

> or ensure they didn’t violate security constraints?

You mean ensure they don't violate one of the operating system's security protections? That's called finding an exploit, and it's the developer of the operating system's responsibility. Exploits for iOS exist today, and they'll continue to exist in the future.

> It’s not like Apple could disavow all responsibility for any data leaked from the system, a lot of users simply wouldn’t see it that way

Of course not. A "leak" due to an exploit/vulnerability in iOS that Apple failed to patch would be their fault.

A third party app leaking personal info online would be the third party developer's fault. People didn't get pissed at Apple when Facebook leaked all that data a ~week ago.

> There’s a lot wrong with the current state of apps in the App Store, but right now at least I know who’s job it is to get it fixed.

It's their job to get it fixed. It's been their job for over 13 years, and they've failed at it again and again. It's about time they're fired.


“Sideloading Apps Would ‘Break’ the Security and Privacy of iPhone”, said Tim Cook.

But instead of gaslighting us, Apple could let us sideload notarized apps. This means:

- Automated scan for malware

- Remote kill switch, just in case

They already do this for macOS [1]:

> “Notarization is not App Review. The Apple notary service is an automated system that scans your software for malicious content, checks for code-signing issues, and returns the results to you quickly.”

They could give users a choice, much like they're doing with the new App Tracking Transparency prompt. But when pressed on why Apple should have control, Cook said "Somebody has to."

That's… not a very convincing argument.

[1]: https://developer.apple.com/documentation/xcode/notarizing_m...


Yeah, the whole "there is no alternative to the App Store" argument completely falls apart in the face of the existence of the Mac, and how the Mac isn't constrained by the Mac App Store.


Obviously not, because the Mac has only ever had minor sales relative to the PC even, and minuscule compared to iOS.

It’s never been a serious target.


Your Apple bashing is really quite tiresome. Macs are serious machines and have grown in leaps and bounds over the past two decades. Are you seriously saying the de facto development platform for Silicon Valley startups, as well as the home for Apple Silicon, is no longer a “serious target”? No need to shill for Windows here.


It’s not a serious target for App Store scams, or scam software in general, because the user base is tiny compared to iOS.

I think you know this.



And ransomware and botnets too: https://www.avg.com/en/signal/mac-ransomware-remove-protect

Fortunately iOS users don’t have those problems because of the security model that you are so quick to dismiss.



As anyone who clicks on those links can see, those are neither Ransomware nor Botnets, so it’s not obvious what point you are trying to make.

Hard to see how you think such links support your argument for dismissing the security model.

Also of note - the central App Store was used to fix these problems.


Truth be told, I find nothing wrong with the central App Store security model, merely that the status quo is insufficient. They should either ramp up enforcement on the store drastically, and/or open up the platform to third party stores, and thus competition, for other stores to attempt better ways at enforcing security and user privacy.

I do not view opening up the platform to third party stores or sideloading to be an excessive security risk, because having studied iOS's security model, it seems to be reasonably hardened (at least compared to Android) and I believe that Apple can manage the existence of other app sources well enough to prevent them from becoming significant malware vectors. The fact that those malware links are neither ransomware nor botnets proves how inherently secure iOS is, and thus protections are built into the operating system level, thus making the existence of third party stores irrelevant to its security.


> They should either ramp up enforcement on the store drastically,

This, I agree with.

> and/or open up the platform to third party stores, and thus competition

This I disagree with. As stated elsewhere, I simply don’t think security will be the basis for such competition because it relies on end users to be able to make that a priority over just running the apps they want.

I think if Apple is unable to maintain the security of the platform, competition is the answer, but in the form of other platforms, not Apple being forced to allow alternative stores.


> because the user base is tiny compared to iOS.

One Tenth. Or 100M+ User with lots of room to grow.

I wouldn't use tiny to describe it, even in comparative sense.


Especially considering the value of the userbase and the fact theres millions of PC's propping up 'marketshare' that aren't even being used as personal computing devices (retail displays/signage, corporate/government pc's)


If you are executing a scam why on earth would you pick the market that is one tenth the size?


>If you are executing a scam why on earth would you pick the market that is one tenth the size?

Because that user base are worth more than per user than the others?


Paying for expensive apps is one thing, falling for scams is another.


Would this be significantly different than desktop apps? It seems like we have decades of experience solving (and failing) to solve this in the desktop world.


For a counterexample, Wireguard is on the Mac App Store (MAS) and can't be downloaded directly from their site because you can't install NetworkExtension VPN apps on a mac outside of the MAS.


I got scammed on the App Store a couple of weeks ago.

I needed the SmartThings app for some Samsung home automation devices, searched for it, and installed this one:

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/smart-things-smart-view-app/id...

When it charged me a $20/year subscription (now cancelled) I thought "Wow, Samsung charging me for this feels pretty cheap of them, but I guess that's how they do things - after all, I found this on the App Store".

The app I should have installed was this one: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/smartthings/id1222822904


I have learned to always check the developer name, and if I'm not 100% sure, I don't install it. It's annoying because there are a bunch of them out there like this.

I've also seen the "free but not free" apps like in the twitter thread. Usually there is an invisible "X" in the top corner of the payment form that you can click to get past it and use the app's free features after all. My kids run into these all the time: they see an ad for a game, it has good reviews so I let them get it, it prompts them for payment. If you are clever you can sometimes get around it, but I've seen cheap old arcade game knock-offs asking for $30+/mo! This is not by any stretch the only developer making mad bank on a subpar app.


Somewhat tangential but looking up names is not always safe either, they could be made up. Latest scam on YouTube is to reply to comments with a clone account of the owner of the channel. They copy everything but the scam itself is quite bad, they want you to call a w-h-a-t-s-u-p number or something dumb that I would never bite. Youtube does nothing to stop these even when heavily reported.


It's because of this issue I've learned to never search for a manufacturer or company app in the app store. I go to the company's website and see if I can find an app store link to it there.

It's nearly impossible for anyone--even the most savvy user--to identify which app is the real one and which one is a deceptive one.


Kind of funny that we trust Google's index of the whole www to take us to manufacturer's legitimate website, but don't trust Apple's own search of their curated store.


You don't need to trust Google. If you buy a Samsung phone, for example, their official domain would be printed in their documentation.


https://www.samsung.com/us/support/owners/app/smartthings.ht...

They link directly to the app. They almost certainly have relevant QR codes in the manuals to go directly to the app downloads. You can find the official app listed by "Samsung Electronics", where the "scam" app is by a third party.

There are a lot of problems and egregious abuses in the app store (made much worse once recurring subscriptions appeared), however this particular thread is not convincing. Some third party made a control app for Samsung TVs. There is nothing wrong with that (and it does not, contrary to claims, misrepresent itself or even clone the official app, beyond the most superficial of mainstream design choices). There is no reasonable reason to think that the app is by Samsung. I don't see how it's a scam in any way.

For someone to miss the Samsung app and download this, then agree to a subscription and pay, is something that I don't think many people would do. And it certainly isn't a fault of the store.


"For someone to miss the Samsung app and download this, then agree to a subscription and pay, is something that I don't think many people would do. And it certainly isn't a fault of the store."

I did exactly that, and I'm usually pretty savvy.


his point was not about needing to, but that we can trust google, and it seems we can't trust apple, despite apple's promises about safety and vetting


And I suspect you are in the top 1% of users. How is a 80 year old granny going to know which one to buy?


The fake one has 4.1 stars and the real one has 4.4 stars, not a very strong signal. I wonder if they are also cheating that.


Apart from the subscription scam, I don't see a problem here. Just imagine the comments here if Apple had rejected a legit app just because it has "Smart Things" in the name.


They also copied the style and font of the screenshots from the official app (you know, the one whose name they stole, to trick people into installing it).


This wouldn't happen to anyone by accident. You always get the wrong app at the top if you search. I tried to find DHL earlier, I got bored so fast looking at non DHL apps I just used their website. Google isn't stuffing the search results with sites that look like DHL[0]

[0] - https://www.google.com/about/honestresults/


So an App Store full of real apps and 5 fake apps trying to gouge you per real app (some using ads so they are the first result). Sounds like a great future. Do extensive research before installing anything.


There is something about restrictions and subscriptions.

Someone I know had a family plan thing with restrictions on their kid, but then got automatically charged for an app subscription somehow. Maybe install free app is ok, but auto-subscription bypasses restrictions?


Patrick McGee from Financial Times had a whole twitter thread [1] on it. It got everything from banning apps for competitive reason to Apple's FEAR ( Fraud Engineering Algorithms and Risk ) team saying the current App Store review process is inadequate.

I am starting to think there is a much deeper problem with Apple, it is that without Steve Jobs, no one is being the yard stick of quality, especially in UX.

A decade of App Store, you are wondering if they have actually put any effort in its Apps Search Engine. It took them 3 years to admit they have problem with Keyboard and offering an update after 5 years. For things that are easily quantify, like Sales, Hardware Performance ( Apple Silicon ), Logistics and Operation. They are absolutely excelling under Tim Cook. For everything else it seems they are loose, at least from an Apple Standard point of view, although that is still far higher than their competitors.

To quote Steve, it seems people are too focused on the process, and forgot about the content.

[1] https://twitter.com/PatrickMcGee_/status/1380194940236353536


>I am starting to think there is a much deeper problem with Apple, it is that without Steve Jobs, no one is being the yard stick of quality, especially in UX.

I'd chalk it up to Apple being the biggest company on the planet, and the sheer scale of managing an enterprise that size. Nothing lasts forever.


The UI/UX standards have definitely gone out the window. From strange and inconsistent margins in iOS to the strange icon designs in the Big Sur update.


> there is a much deeper problem with Apple

Which might as well be greed — after all 30% of 5Mn = 1.5Mn USD. They make a lot of money by allowing scammy apps to continue operating.

I hope these cases becomes a major reason why they have to open up the App Store.


The assertion in that title is patently false click-bait.

Apple definitely cares about its customers being driven away from them.

That doesn't mean they've caught all scams, or more importantly in this case have managed to automate detection of them all, definitely not as fast as folks online identify them.

Also note that there are entire classes of scams that never get click baity titles because Apple DOES detect them and shut them down before they're widespread.

(I worked at Apple in engineering, left after many years for compelling genomics, and that's the basis for my assertion.)


This is a fair position to have, but maybe a follow-up question:

If you're able to share your thoughts without giving away private info from your time there: Based on this particular scam - with so many bad reviews AND the extremely high revenue being generated, should this not have tripped some kind of alarm for closer review?

How has this been going on for so long without anyone at Apple noticing? It's not like it's lost in a sea of minor apps generating middling income, it's literally in the top tenth-of-a-percent by gross revenue.

And I would bet a LOT of money that there are plenty of people at Apple who are well paid to closely watch their top performing apps. So how does this get missed, unless "is this a scam?" just isn't high on the list of priorities for those teams.

I think it's absolutely fair to question Apple's commitment to catching this stuff based on that.

Perhaps they are great at catching all the low-hanging fruit and the obvious stuff, but what if something gets through that first net? Is anyone paying attention then? Or are they just watching the money roll in?


I’d be willing to bet that no one is looking in the top X% of grossing apps for spam/scan. They probably (wrongly) assumed that most people wouldn’t spend money on a scam and most people wouldn’t be fooled, only a small set of people. In fact, I doubt their AI’s training data lacked anything like this.


But they clearly should, because people find scams in they all the time.


But isn’t that the primary reason Apple claims to want to maintain the walled garden and build “idiot proof” products - because they realize many people easily get fooled and spend money on scams?


> Also note that there are entire classes of scams that never get click baity titles because Apple DOES detect them and shut them down before they're widespread.

That's beside the point. According to the thread, Apple detected this one. So why didn't they shut it down? The thread speculates that it's because Apple is making significant revenue from it and, frankly, that sounds like a logical conclusion - at least until Apple can be bothered to remove the app or explain their justification for leaving it up.

Besides, doesn't Apple manually review apps on their store? I've read story after story of app devs complaining about how that review process screwed them over in one way or another. Surely one of the top 500 highest grossing apps on their store would garner at least a little extra attention in a manual review, right? How did this even slip through the cracks in the first place?


There may be an element of distributed responsibility ("if it's not A person's job, it's no person's job"), but there may also be "it couldn't have gotten this far if there was a problem."


This is unfortunately the case for all content moderation online. May it be Apple, Youtube, Facebook, or any other large platform. People only get to see the very small fraction that slips through, but have no clue about the immense amount of bad content that does get caught and removed quickly.

It's also worth noting that there's almost a game of natural selection going on, with these scams evolving and adapting constantly to slip through the automated systems. So it's a never ending war with no end in sight.


The post shows exactly what the title claims, Just because it is a opinion you/I may not agree with should not be reason for something to be labelled click baity ? The data presented is factual and gives all the evidences for its claim, not sure how this is click baity ?

The problem here is Apple cannot assume sole responsibility for policing and take a 30% cut, not allow anyone else to do a try and do better job and claim user safety is why they do all this and then even fail in any % of cases. people only care how many crimes are happening now, saying the policing has prevented so many other crimes is little help to all the people being cheated now.

Users were defrauded of $5/M +, Apple made 1.5M from this app. How has apple corrected this ? . A app claiming to show your pulse is not just financial scam, it is medical risk. Lives are at risk here. If Apple earning $1.5M from a fraud is unable protect its users from this kind of app, or come out and say what went wrong and how they are improving the system and actually doing it.

Why should I as user believe them ? Why should I not reasonably assume actions and financial structure for the Apple App store will do some basic checks inconsistently and get away with it if they can ?


This app is literally a fake medical product that pretends to detect your blood pressure via the camera and pretends not to charge you. It instead uses color recognition to detect if you're holding it against a finger, and if so displays a canned animation.

When someone on Twitter discovers an app making more revenue than Microsoft Word will "detect" the blood pressure of a reddish candy bar responding by reducing the star rating by 0.9 just doesn't cut it.


You don’t get medal for participation.

Same as Facebook - they get tons of shit for hate speech, even tho they invest tons into trying to get rid of it. Same rules apply to Apple - I don’t doubt that it’s problem that’s being actively tackled. But unless it’s fully solved, external criticism is well deserved.


I would hope that the trust and safety team at Apple are sorting apps by revenue-generated-per-month and investigating the ones at the top of the list first.


I bet they will now.


Customer Support via Twitter/HN/social media.


They haven't done it for the many years that people have been pointing this out; I see no reason for them to start doing it now.


To be fair, the noise is a lot louder now than it ever has been.


"Apple definitely cares about its customers being driven away from them."

"Apple doesn’t seem to care about top-grossing scams on the App Store"

Both can easily be true.


[flagged]


Right, its simply a test to see what one can get away with. Children, lazy and greedy people do this all the time.


[flagged]


> Apple Applogism in the flesh. I wish I had people apologizing and defending my company. Not sure how Tesla/Apple does it.

Your comment violates HN commenting rules. https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Edited to add the fallacy op was making. That should be enough to make it a substantiative comment.


Nope, it's still flamebait.


You seem certain that given a political foundation of “service capitalism” another player will be “better”.

I’m not buying apps from wannabes who can vanish or buying into an app market that could go tits up the next week.

The market as a whole is basically Google; here today, gone tomorrow.


Did you even read the thread? Apple is aware of this because they already took the step of removing fake reviews from the app. You don't think they took 5 minutes to read the legit reviews, or do you think they did read them and they didn't raise any alarm bells?


Your first question is not helpful at all.


The scam really is about the iOS Subscriptions and how its easy to have a free trial then auto-bill you for some absurd amount. Very easy to trick people into doing this.

Apple should just remove Subscriptions completely and have app developers turn them into consumable IAPs that you have to buy every X months.

The app developer can still do a free trial in their own code.

Games do this all the time with "premium". You buy 30 days of Premium for $5. 30 days later its done and you have to buy it again. No auto-recurring subscriptions.


Or better, force the app to let the user dictate how many months they want to authorize the subscription for.


> Apple should just remove Subscriptions completely and have app developers turn them into consumable IAPs that you have to buy every X months.

With my data going poof each time, I'm afraid that's a no. Even merely having to log in again, compared to the status quo, is way worse.


I think you are saying that if you uninstall/reinstall, you could lose your subscription since it's from a consumable IAP. I agree that is a bad flow and something that Apple could fix by still allowing non-renewing subscriptions, and then changing how the free trial works by not triggering a payment automatically after the free trial. Basically, you should only be charged as a result of a user action, and it would go through the same IAP flow that people do not just blindly tap through.


No, I’m talking about the actual data or content I created using the app.


I don't understand how that is related to IAPs or subscriptions?

If the app has premium features gated behind a subscription, it needs to either use Apple's Subscriptions to check with Apple if your Apple ID has the subscription. Then, it can unlock the functionality.

If the app is using consumable IAPs then it would not be able to check with Apple and would need to store the flag in its own data, either locally or in the cloud. If in the cloud, it could tie this data to your device id so it could be restored if you uninstall & reinstall, but this is more difficult if you have tracking disabled.

Your content that you create could be stored in the cloud and restored the same way. But again, Apple makes it difficult to do this if you have tracking disabled since there isn't an easy "device ID" to get that is the same every time, to my knowledge.


Removing weekly subscriptions would do most of the work.


This and the right to repair areas are where I’d like to see Apple forced to do a lot better through laws (since it has not done as much as would be expected from a company of this size and profits). Apple cannot claim that the App Store being the only source of apps and in-app payments (without allowing side loading or allowing app makers to even mention other payment options) is the safest option while not doing enough on scams. You don’t need machine learning or AI to catch many of these scams.

That the developer of FlickType (the OP of this Twitter thread) had to file a lawsuit says a lot about how much Apple isn’t paying attention. I seriously wonder what the person at the top level managing the App Store is doing, other than lobbying to prevent any possibility of alternate payment options or allowing side loading of apps.


Apple and Google are poor stewards of the mobile app distribution market. It's time that their 13+ year stranglehold on app distribution is disrupted.


You know, I was thinking last night about the parallels between this and the anti-trust investigation into Microsoft back in the 90s. Back then Microsoft was in a heap of trouble over the fact that they bundled IE and didn't allow vendors to bundle other alternative browsers. Users could still install other browsers, but the fact that the OS came bundled with IE was seen as an abuse of Microsoft's market position.

Yet here we are, in 2021, and Apple won't even allow you to install software on the device you own without their say-so. There are admittedly other browsers on the app store, but they all must use Safari's rendering engine.


I think this analysis misses how dominant Microsoft was in the 90s and the myriad methods they used to stay in that position. Apple may be a huge chunk of the North American phone market, but Microsoft's share of the PC market in the 90s was over 90%. The only computers around were PCs[1] (desktop or laptop) and servers - there were no phones - so if you had a computer in your house, it was almost certainly running DOS/Windows.

To maintain this monopoly Microsoft employed tactics like offering discounts if OEMs promised exclusivity. Basically punishing any manufacturer that might want to ship another operating system. My read on the browser verdict was that this was what the justice department thought was sufficiently low-hanging fruit to convict Microsoft. But it was far from the only anticompetitive tactic Microsoft used at the time. "DOS ain't done till Lotus won't run"[2]

[1] I'm ignoring exotic stuff like SGI workstations that were priced out of reach of typical consumers.

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10434133

Edit: Here's an example. In 2002 Dell started offering PCs without Windows pre-installed[2] - this was considered a big deal in the linux forums I hung out in. Why? Because until then you had to pay Microsoft to own a PC (practically the only consumer computing hardware available at the time), even if you wanted to install Linux on it. This is like if nearly every phone had to come with iOS pre-installed (and Apple collected a licensing cut), even if you wanted to install/use Android.

[3] https://www.computerworld.com/article/2577666/dell-offering-...


I don't think it matters how dominate the iPhone is. Google and Apple are joined at the hip.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/25/technology/apple-google-s...

You think Google is going to piss off Apple too much with Android? Not likely.

> A forced breakup could mean the loss of easy money to Apple. But it would be a more significant threat to Google, which would have no obvious way to replace the lost traffic. It could also push Apple to acquire or build its own search engine.

So I would definitely argue that the future of Android and iPhone are intertwined.


You said it yourself:

> an abuse of Microsoft's market position

Apple has no such market position to abuse.

It's perfectly legal to put restrictions on your product. It's perfectly legal to be a monopoly. It's only a problem when you abuse your monopoly position to restrict competitors.


>Apple has no such market position to abuse.

It depends how you want to measure things, in US iOS has more then 50% mobile market share but Apple fanboys will use only this numbers (or how many more purchases are on Apple sore) in the conversations about how cool Apple is, when we talk about the monopoly/duopoly then world wide numbers are used, maybe throw more type of devices in there...

I would say that Apple is clearly anti-competitive, not allowing other browsers, giving their own apps access to private APIs, their own apps ignoring the users firewall and security rules etc, but judges will have to decide on this and if they still consider is legal we might need to update some laws .

IMO the society is more important then a company, so if we decide that we no longer want this bullshit we will advocate and hopefully have the issue corrected.

The Apple situation looks to me similar to when mobile providers would lock phones to their network, then charge you to unlock them, this was made illegal , if you own your phone then the unlock should be possible for free, exception is if you are still renting/paying for the device so you are not owning it fully.


It seems you skipped preliminary hearing in September 2020. Judge already asked why Epic thinks Apple walled garden (closed platform) is illegal while such types of businesses were legal for decades.

Also judge rejected comparison of open and closed platforms. So she asked Epic lawyers what's the difference between Apple's closed platform and Xbox/PlayStation and Nintendo.

Epic lawyers failed badly without answering. Also failed to answer question when did Apple become monopoly.


Let's see what happens in EU. And FYI Sony and Nintendo are also wrong in my opinion for locking their devices though people don't complain as much since so far they found ways to bypass the locks.


I wonder if just business size can be used here rather than monopoly position. If your business is above a certain size, then more restrictions apply to what you can do. The reasoning is that the bigger you are the more people you impact, regardless of your market position and poor behaviors of smaller players to compete with larger players is also an issue. The current economic model of monopolies is very limited in scope (only looks at pricing) whereas there are many negative externalities a business may have beyond just consumer prices. Look at the consumer unfriendly business practices that take hold in industries (eg 24hr fitness famously making it really hard to Vance their service, poor competition on the part of ISPs, etc).


I think size may also be construed as "infrastructure." For example, Facebook now has a couple of billion users. It has reached the point where we often have to get Facebook accounts/pages, if we want to reach certain users. In short, Facebook has become necessary to "survive," in a sense.

That sort of puts it into the realm of a utility; like power or water.

The idea of a utility, is that it is deliberately allowed to become a monopoly, sometimes, with state enforcement. The flip side, is that it is now required to provide a lot of services.

For example, if some old folks can't pay their electric, in winter, the utility might be required to supply them with electricity anyway, and eat the cost, or claim it as a tax deduction.

That's the downside. The upside is...MONOPOLY, BABY! WOO-HOO! PAAAARTAAAY!

So there's a big carrot, as well as stick. People who own utilities tend to get pretty damn rich.

This all kinda breaks down, if the utility is already a monopoly, so the state assigning them monopoly status means nothing. No carrot; only stick. It also breaks down, if the utility manages to corrupt the regulators, thus eliminating the stick.

Facebook is already a monopoly. It doesn't need the state to give it anything; certainly not with a stick, attached. Thus, the "Standard Oil" remedy.

Apple isn't quite like Facebook, but it's getting there. The problem is that a lot of what gives its products value, is that iron-fisted control Apple has over their configuration. If that control is diluted, then it would also reduce the value of Apple products.


> For example, Facebook now has a couple of billion users. It has reached the point where we often have to get Facebook accounts/pages, if we want to reach certain users. In short, Facebook has become necessary to "survive," in a sense.

Not in any meaningful sense that I can understand. Seems hard to argue that all the people on HN who've plainly stated that they left Facebook can be considered dead or struggling to survive. That's not a sensible definition of survival. Also, Facebook cannot and does not prevent anyone from reaching its users. Facebook users often use other products and platforms as well.


It was a figure of speech. I was talking about a business, or other type of endeavor (note quotes around “survive.” Gives a clue).

I ran an open-source initiative for ten years, barely making headway.

Then I set up a Facebook group for it.

Within a few months, its reach had exploded worldwide, it became the de facto world standard, and a huge new team had taken it over.

It was not all Facebook, but the Facebook presence was a big part of it. It’s the most active hub for that effort by far.

Also, due to the nature of that particular effort, I guarantee that there are people (probably many) that are alive today, because of Facebook.

It’s entirely possible to hop in a sailboat, and get to Hawai’i, but most people would prefer flying there.

It can be said that Hawai’i requires air travel to “survive” (but I suspect that there are a number of native Hawai’ian folks that feel as if this ease of access has been anything but a blessing).


My bad for being unclear, I know it's not literal survival, I was responding to the implication: because Facebook is needed for some kind of "survival", it follows that Facebook is a utility that cannot be controlled by a company. That may be true for actual survival of actual people, but you're not talking about that. Guaranteed utilities/things in most countries are classified as such because they are necessary for literal human survival in modern society - electricity, water, food stamps, shelter - but you use the word "survive" which suggests actual survival while disclaiming the meaning by putting quotes around it and saying it's just a figure of speech. Facebook is not even close to a utility, it may only seem so if "survive" is re-defined to mean something totally different than what we use when we talk about a public utility.

I appreciate your story but open source projects don't inherently deserve to survive. Businesses don't inherently deserve to survive.

More importantly, the fact that Facebook can and has saved lives doesn't make it necessary for survival either. I'm sure a Taylor Swift song has brought someone back from the brink of suicide and indirectly saved lives by some definition, but it would be absurd to consider Taylor Swift songs to be a public utility necessary for survival.


I understand. I suspect that we see things differently, and probably won't be able to find common ground.

But, the project I worked on is definitely not something to be compared to a Taylor Swift song, and I understand that this comes from a position of unfamiliarity. That's fine, but I'm happy to elucidate, offline, if you wish.


Fair enough, I appreciate the honesty & civility. I'd love to see a link to your open source project or related material in a reply, mostly out of curiosity.


No. I won't post it publicly. It's not a state secret, and can be figured out, by looking through my links, but it's easier to simply email me, and I'll send it.

It's the kind of thing that is best left relatively "uncredited," and is important only to a certain demographic; but within that demographic, it is very, very important.


Ah I didn't realize that. I've contacted you through the contact form in one of your company websites.


Do you actually believe this? I have a hard time thinking that anyone believes "Apple has no such market position to abuse.". It's absurd.


>It's only a problem when you abuse your monopoly position to restrict competitors.

Like what Spotify is suing them over, for example.


They do. They have a total monopoly on phones running iOS. Way stronger of a monopoly than PCs running windows in the 90s, given that every single iPhone is locked into this vertically integrated market.


By that logic, every company has a monopoly on its own products.


Microsoft wasn’t selling the computer.

Anyone is free to buy an iPhone, install apps on it, and resell it.


In the 90s, anyone could buy a Windows PC, install apps on it and resell it.

The point was that Microsoft were giving Internet Explorer away for free, pre installed with Windows. This abused the market dominance of Windows to expand use of Internet Explorer.


Was it the giving away for free? Or prohibiting resellers from installing other browsers?


To be honest, I always thought the IE issue was stupid, and surely from a modern perspective it even more bonkers. Google has an OS that is literally a browser engine, they're not the only one, and web technologies are commonly built into OSes nowadays at a low level.

The other anti-trust claims against MS were I think largely credible and reasonable, but that one really has not aged well.


> Google has an OS that is literally a browser engine

It's not though. Chrome OS is literally Linux. You can install Firefox.


You may be able to install Firefox now, but originally it was literally a web-only affair. "Chrome OS is literally Linux" is about as accurate as "Android is literally Linux". Chrome OS is not just some rebadged Debian distro.

Do all chromebooks support linux apps now? AFAIK that's not true, and only a subset of them support it.


> "Chrome OS is literally Linux" is about as accurate as "Android is literally Linux". Chrome OS is not just some rebadged Debian distro.

It's not rebadged Debian. The default Linux in Chrome OS is literally Debian. It has apt, bash, Wayland, X11. And of course the Linux kernel is there. What more do you want before you call it Linux?

> Do all chromebooks support linux apps now?

According to this page all 2019+ Chromebooks support Linux apps: https://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/chrome-os-systems-suppo...


Chrome OS is Gentoo based and did not let you install arbitrary Linux apps until relatively recently. I think the comparison is apt.


It's a Debian container.


> "Chrome OS is literally Linux" is about as accurate as "Android is literally Linux".

I agree, but I don't think that you're making the point you wanted to.


Linux != a distro though.


That would actually make the problem with scam apps even worse. Getting software on iOS is super easy and safe compared to Windows where you can install any program you like. The amount of scams, malware, etc that regular people get tricked into installing in Windows is immense.

An open ecosystem does have advantages, but reducing scam apps and malware is not one of them.


Do you even understand the volume of apps they deal with? Apple claims 100k a week[0]. How do you propose to handle that?

People are complaining about a small number of bad apps getting through and at the same time we have quite a few stating that not allowing people to load up anything they want is bad. Can you imagine trying to sort through the mess if there was no gate keeper because there is an actual chance if people get their legislative wish list through.

Even if you could get an independent system up and running who is going to pay for it? The staffing is going to be very large and who determines what is a good app and what is not?

I am all for Apple having and managing their store by their rules. While I think it is dumber than all get out to allow for people to install any app they find I am certainly not going to stand in their way as long as the companies which make the phones and provide the software are fully protected from such a choice. After all if a rogue app does something bad who do you think the lawyers will come for?

[0]https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/09/24/app-store-rejecte...


> Do you even understand the volume of apps they deal with? Apple claims 100k a week[0]. How do you propose to handle that?

Since it seems that Apple can't handle the problem they've delegated to themselves exclusively, and they prevent parties that might be better suited to solve it from solving it, they should allow the power of markets and competition to develop better, more efficient solutions. That way, consumers don't have to suffer while Apple insists that they're the only company allowed to serve the app distribution market as their customers are being scammed to the tune of several million dollars, or more, each month.


> Do you even understand the volume of apps they deal with? Apple claims 100k a week[0]. How do you propose to handle that?

Is this a serious question? The answer is: by hiring people. Lots of them. Apple has over $200 billion just in cash in the bank.


This reminds me of a section in the game Divinity Original Sin 2.

There's this area that can only be reached by crossing one of two bridges. The first bridge you encounter when you leave the starting town is guarded by a rude and aggressive troll. The bridge is a mess, falling apart, and he charges an expensive toll if you want to pass.

But if you explore for a bit instead of paying, you'll find another bridge with another troll, except this troll is super polite, soft-spoken and friendly, the bridge is very neat and tidy, and his toll is like 10x cheaper. He even thanks you for your patronage when you pay him.

When you encounter the mean troll again, he'll offer you a reward if you kill the other troll.

Apple charging 30% for a scam/malware-infested store, and keeping the profits rather than reinvesting them to try and actually improve the store makes them the first troll in this story.


So it's not just a scam, it's a scam pretending to be a medical app? The walled garden method has been proven a failure and needs to go urgently.


I often wonder what it would be like if the iPhone followed Steve Jobs original announcement and stated vision. There was no mention of an app store, at all. Apps were to be, basically, PWA's using html and javascript with api's to hardware. They called it "web 2.0 + ajax" and claimed if you knew how to write apps using the "latest web standards," you could write apps just as good as apples native apps. If you wanted to update your app, you just update your server hosting the app.

Here's the specific portion of the original Jobs iPhone announcement that I'm referring to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvQ9JNm_qWc


I think their hand was forced when the first iPhone was jailbroken, and able to install 3rd party apps within six months of release.


claimed if you knew how to write apps using the "latest web standards," you could write apps just as good as apples native apps

Which was preposterously false then and still mostly false today.


I'm not defending Apple, and I dislike the walled garden model too, but you can't just blindly claim that this is a failure and a non-walled method would do a better job without any evidence.


> without any evidence

Do GNU/Linux repositories count? F-Droid?


F-Droid is orders of magnitude smaller, and its users are generally far more advanced, hence not worth trying to scam. The same applies to GNU/Linux too, though there's also other differences there too. Scale is really the issue, Android has 3 billion users, iOS probably has over a billion too.


Looking at the Android model, despite its greater openness than iOS, there is also only one dominant app market with a handful of third part competitors, from well-curated open source repos like F-Droid or XDA Labs to OEM third party ones that no one actually uses or wants to use like the Amazon Appstore or Samsung AppStack.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Android_app_stores

Really hard to say what would happen in a hypothetical situation where Apple allowed iOS alternative app stores. Maybe the overwhelming majority of users will continue to download only on the App Store, with a tiny minority of power users going to alternatives.


> Maybe the overwhelming majority of users will continue to download only on the App Store, with a tiny minority of power users going to alternatives.

That's absolutely what will happen, there's no evidence of otherwise.

But this is all beside the point. The argument is, if there existed a app store that was as large as Play Store / iOS store, it would have similar moderation issues. The old headline implies that these companies aren't trying to moderate, rather than realizing that moderating content at scale is a REALLY hard problem no one has solved.

No Google/Youtube, not Apple, not Amazon/Twitch, not Facebook, not Twitter, not Microsoft, no one.


True, fair enough. Makes me wonder if there's any corporate will towards tackling the moderation problem, either from these giants or from startups. It's a very difficult social problem.


Obviously not. They simply aren’t a meaningful target for scams the way the iOS store is.


Yes, they are. Go look how many servers run GNU/Linux.


What does that have to do with a billion consumers of iPhone apps?


[flagged]


how did Nintendo save the video game market?


By killing competition and locking down their hardware so we couldn't get more open hardware? That's not "saving" anything but themselves.


The market was flooded with trash because of the openness of Atari hardware to the point that it literally killed the market. The only reason it came back was the quality controls put into place by Nintendo. These are historical facts.


[flagged]


Thanks Bud. But this isn't actually a disagreement with what he said. You're both right.


> So it's not just a scam, it's a scam pretending to be a medical app? The walled garden method has been proven a failure and needs to go urgently.

It sounds like you are arguing that more medical scams would be better.

App review fails sometimes, but removing it would be worse.


Who said remove them? Access to other app stores could just as easily let you pick one with more control and review instead of less. That should be up to the user. Not you, me or Apple.


> That should be up to the user. Not you, me or Apple.

It’s pretty obvious why this is flawed: a lot of people will end up being sold on scammy or privacy invading stores.

You’ll be able to blame them for making the wrong choice, but it won’t actually be their fault. It will be the fault of those who prevented Apple from offering a curated environment.


> It’s pretty obvious why this is flawed: a lot of people will end up being sold on scammy or privacy invading stores.

Why? The vast majority will continue to use the App Store. Apple could also manage this situation to both educate users and frame the situation in such a way so that only power users would leave the safety of the App Store to seek out sideloading or alternative stores.

The dichotomy of walled garden vs. the Wild West is a false one and a failure of imagination that ignores the possibility of a middle ground. If you believe Apple can truly build a good walled garden, you can also believe that Apple can lift restrictions and allow third party stores in a sensible, well-managed way without sacrificing product quality.

> It will be the fault of those who prevented Apple from offering a curated environment.

Actually, it would be the fault of the scammers and privacy-invaders in question.


> The vast majority will continue to use the App Store.

Definitely not true. Most people will be forced to install alternative stores because those stores will pay for exclusives on key apps. Players like Facebook and Google will open stores and only make their products available within them.

> Apple could also manage this situation to both educate users and frame the situation in such a way so that only power users would leave the safety of the App Store to seek out sideloading or alternative stores.

Not true. If Apple is forced to allow alternative store, anti-trust regulators will prevent Apple from portraying their own store as safer or from framing the situation.

> The dichotomy of walled garden vs. the Wild West is a false one and a failure of imagination that ignores the possibility of a middle ground. If you believe Apple can truly build a good walled garden, you can also believe that Apple can lift restrictions and allow third party stores in a sensible, well-managed way without sacrificing product quality.

Not true. Apple obviously cannot manage the behavior of third parties who they are forced to allow to build stores.

> It will be the fault of those who prevented Apple from offering a curated environment. > Actually, it would be the fault of the scammers and privacy-invaders in question.

Clearly false. We know the scammers and privacy invaders will act, but are currently limited in their ability to do so.

Forcing Apple to reduce protections will be the proximate cause of their customers being vulnerable.


> Definitely not true. Most people will be forced to install alternative stores because those stores will pay for exclusives on key apps. Players like Facebook and Google will open stores and only make their products available within them.

That is debatable, and discussed throughout this thread, including in my own comments:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26799453

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26799283

Furthermore, there is clear evidence that what you are describing is not inevitable. Most Android users use the Google Play Store. Most MacOS users use the Mac App Store, and if they get their apps from elsewhere, it is not from competing app stores, unless you include game stores such as Steam or those run by Epic/EA/UbiSoft.

Facebook does not run their own separate Android app store, even though they could. Amazon has one, largely to service their own unique Android Kindle devices, and they are not popular outside of them, nor do they have exclusivity over Amazon apps. Your doomsday scenario of myriads of exclusive app stores flies in the face of both existing trends, and market dynamics. As pointed out elsewhere, network effects prevents everyone from starting their own app store; users do not want to deal with dozens of accounts, and will just use Apple's built-in apps if you present too high a bar to getting your own.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26799335

> Not true. If Apple is forced to allow alternative store, anti-trust regulators will prevent Apple from portraying their own store as safer or from framing the situation.

Antitrust regulators have down little so far, making your fear-mongering claim even more dubious. Additionally, Apple is a master of dark patterns and social engineering, and can easily convey the safety of the App Store without stooping to heavy-handedness that would trigger regulators.

> Not true. Apple obviously cannot manage the behavior of third parties who they are forced to allow to build stores.

I find your lack of faith in Apple to be most disturbing. It's easily imaginable for Apple to re-frame the entire game so that they are the ones who are encouraging third parties to build stores, using official Apple App Store SDKs/APIs that come with Apple security standards built in.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26797189

> Clearly false. We know the scammers and privacy invaders will act, but are currently limited in their ability to do so.

You are refusing to acknowledge that when someone is scammed, the scammer is the one who holds the greatest fault for doing so. By doing so, you are passing the buck up the the responsibility chain.

And, clearly not enough, as the OP demonstrates. Apple's App Store enforcement standards have been slipping compared to previous years. Its clear that scammers are far less limited than back when Apple was more diligent at stopping malicious apps from being on their own platform.

> Forcing Apple to reduce protections will be the proximate cause of their customers being vulnerable.

No one is forcing Apple to host scammy apps on their own platform. And you seem to be the only one who believes that Apple cannot extend protections even to hypothetical Apple-powered third party app stores. At the end of the day, they control the operating system. They would always have ultimate control.

Finally, the original statement you are responding to is talking about the possibility of third party app stores that are more secure than the Apple App Store. Given the App Store's huge size and apparently slipping safety standards, it's certainly possible for new entrants to provide competition and offer an even better curated and secure experience than the one Apple provides. By preventing Apple from allowing the creation of such third party app stores, you are in effect the one forcing Apple to reduce protections, making their customers vulnerable.


> Most Android users use the Google Play Store.

This as you must be aware, is because first class alternative stores are not possible on Android.

> Facebook does not run their own separate Android app store, even though they could

This as you must be aware, is because first class alternative stores are not possible on Android.

> Apple is a master of dark patterns and social engineering, and can easily convey the safety of the App Store without stooping to heavy-handedness that would trigger regulators.

This is made up and has no validity.

> I find your lack of faith in Apple to be most disturbing. It's easily imaginable for Apple to re-frame the entire game so that they are the ones who are encouraging third parties...

More fantasy. After years of public statements to the contrary this is not realistic.

> You are refusing to acknowledge that when someone is scammed, the scammer is the one who holds the greatest fault for doing so. By doing so, you are passing the buck up the the responsibility chain.

They may hold the greatest fault, but facilitating scammers and then blaming them is kinda silly.

Apple is taking responsibility for reducing scams. Let’s not stop them.

> Apple's App Store enforcement standards have been slipping compared to previous years.

A claim with zero evidence.

> Its clear that scammers are far less limited than back when Apple was more diligent at stopping malicious apps from being on their own platform.

A false conclusion. There can be simply more scams being attempted and so more slipping through. Indeed this would be expected in a growing market.

> And you seem to be the only one who believes that Apple cannot extend protections even to hypothetical Apple-powered third party app stores.

The only one along with everyone else who understands computer science.

> At the end of the day, they control the operating system. They would always have ultimate control.

Obviously not, for two reasons.

1. Nobody in history has ever produced a perfectly secure operating system.

2. No anti-trust regulator would allow Apple to block apps installed by other stores.

> Finally, the original statement you are responding to is talking about the possibility of third party app stores that are more secure than the Apple App Store. Given the App Store's huge size and apparently slipping safety standards, it's certainly possible for new entrants to provide competition and offer an even better curated and secure experience than the one Apple provides. By preventing Apple from allowing the creation of such third party app stores, you are in effect the one forcing Apple to reduce protections, making their customers vulnerable.

This is of course nonsense.

Stores won’t compete on security. They’ll compete for customers using all the usual mechanisms - buying exclusives, tying their stores to other services and products, heavy marketing, and discrediting their competitors.

Even if a store did exist that was less scammy than Apple’s, it simply wouldn’t have everything a customer wanted anyway.


> This as you must be aware, is because first class alternative stores are not possible on Android.

No one is mandating first class alternative stores on iOS, merely the ability to download apps from third party stores or to sideload .ipa files.

> This is made up and has no validity.

Your Apple bashing is baseless and has no place in a reasoned discussion such as this.

> More fantasy. After years of public statements to the contrary this is not realistic.

Your lack of sources and petty commentary debases this conversation and discredits your own position.

> They may hold the greatest fault, but facilitating scammers and then blaming them is kinda silly.

Allowing alternative app stores is no more facilitating scammers than the present situation of Apple failing to enforce its own app store's promises and failing to prosecute existing scammers.

> Apple is taking responsibility for reducing scams. Let’s not stop them.

A claim with zero evidence.

> A claim with zero evidence.

How many scam apps with annual revenue of $5m were on the App Store in 2010?

> There can be simply more scams being attempted and so more slipping through. Indeed this would be expected in a growing market.

A claim with zero evidence.

> The only one along with everyone else who understands computer science.

This is made up and has no validity.

> Nobody in history has ever produced a perfectly secure operating system.

It is clear from this discussion that you are not a fan of Apple. Please seek to reduce your own bias when attempting to have a serious conversation.

> No anti-trust regulator would allow Apple to block apps installed by other stores.

When was the last time any regulator acted against Apple in a substantiative way, in the United States?

> This is of course nonsense.

A claim with zero evidence.

> Stores won’t compete on security. They’ll compete for customers using all the usual mechanisms - buying exclusives, tying their stores to other services and products, heavy marketing, and discrediting their competitors.

Not only does that ignore the popular niche of security- or privacy-oriented technology (e.g. the Tor browser, the Blackphone, Telegram, Signal, the entire following article,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security-focused_operating_sys...

It also ignores that projects in the smartphone space such as F-Droid, or even Librem Purism or Pinephone, all revolve around business models that are not based on the sort of cutthroat commercialism you believe is ubiquitous. Certainly it is behavior that Apple does not indulge in.

> Even if a store did exist that was less scammy than Apple’s, it simply wouldn’t have everything a customer wanted anyway.

A claim with zero evidence.


> No one is mandating first class alternative stores on iOS

That’s exactly what Epic, for example is asking for.

>> Nobody in history has ever produced a perfectly secure operating system.

> It is clear from this discussion that you are not a fan of Apple. Please seek to reduce your own bias when attempting to have a serious conversation.

If I was wrong, you’d have been able to respond with an example.

> When was the last time any regulator acted against Apple in a substantiative way, in the United States?

Last time was the EBook settlement.

I guess you aren’t aware of Epic’s case.

> Not only does that ignore the popular niche of security- or privacy-oriented technology (e.g.

Erm, you do realize that these technologies have nothing to do with preventing scam apps in stores, right?

>> Even if a store did exist that was less scammy than Apple’s, it simply wouldn’t have everything a customer wanted anyway.

> A claim with zero evidence.

No evidence because we are talking about something in the future, but irrelevant because this is just a logical truth that flows from your premise.

The counterclaim, that a single scam free store would have all of the apps in it is obviously false because the premise is a future with multiple stores.


> That’s exactly what Epic, for example is asking for.

And most would be satisfied with less.

> If I was wrong, you’d have been able to respond with an example.

Qubes OS.

> Last time was the EBook settlement.

That was over five years ago.

> I guess you aren’t aware of Epic’s case.

Epic's case isn't getting very far and it's quite possible that it would not have arisen at all if Apple had shown any interest at all at managing it's own opening rather than putting itself at risk of being opened by others.

> Erm, you do realize that these technologies have nothing to do with preventing scam apps in stores, right?

Sure they do. They are all examples of products that are differentiated from others in the same space by their focus on security. Thus, in the realm of competing app stores, there could be stores that exist that focus on secure, privacy-focused apps, just as there are already app stores such as F-Droid that differentiate themselves by focusing on FOSS apps.

One could reasonably expect that if iOS supported multiple app stores, there would be stores that tried to focus on the luxury high-end aspect of the platform by offering carefully curation. Third-party app curation services already exist.

> The counterclaim, that a single scam free store would have all of the apps in it is obviously false because the premise is a future with multiple stores.

Actually, the simplest counterclaim is to point at the current and past existence of alternate app stores such as Cydia or the Altstore, which do in fact contain apps that customers want anyway.


>> That’s exactly what Epic, for example is asking for. >And most would be satisfied with less.

So you lied when you said ‘no one is asking for this’.

> If I was wrong, you’d have been able to respond with an example.

> Qubes OS.

You do realize that isn’t completely secure.

> Last time was the EBook settlement. That was over five years ago.

So what?

> I guess you aren’t aware of Epic’s case. Epic's case isn't getting very far

Complete bullshit. Their case is proceeding as they planned and oral arguments are to be heard soon.

> and it's quite possible that it would not have arisen at all if Apple had shown any interest at all at managing it's own opening rather than putting itself at risk of being opened by others.

You do realize that doing something because otherwise you’ll be forced to, is the same as being forced to?

Also, that paragraph is an amazing piece of Orwellian writing. Have you considered writing for an authoritarian politburo?

> Erm, you do realize that these technologies have nothing to do with preventing scam apps in stores, right? Sure they do. They are all examples of products that are differentiated from others in the same space by their focus on security. Thus, in the realm of competing app stores, there could be stores that exist that focus on secure, privacy-focused apps, just as there are already app stores such as F-Droid that differentiate themselves by focusing on FOSS apps. One could reasonably expect that if iOS supported multiple app stores, there would be stores that tried to focus on the luxury high-end aspect of the platform by offering carefully curation. Third-party app curation services already exist.

So you expect users to choose between thousands of stores?

> The counterclaim, that a single scam free store would have all of the apps in it is obviously false because the premise is a future with multiple stores. Actually, the simplest counterclaim is to point at the current and past existence of alternate app stores such as Cydia or the Altstore, which do in fact contain apps that customers want anyway.

They don’t have all the apps and they aren’t scam free.

Also they are tiny experiments used by enthusiasts and are completely unrepresentative of what will happen when several billion dollar corporations and VC backed plays open stores.


> So you lied when you said ‘no one is asking for this’.

I have literally never written "no one is asking for this" until now.

> You do realize that isn’t completely secure.

Source?

> Their case is proceeding as they planned and oral arguments are to be heard soon.

So what?

> Have you considered writing for an authoritarian politburo?

Have you considered trying to have a conversation without making a personal attack?

> So you expect users to choose between thousands of stores?

There would not be thousands of stores. Already on Android, there is a handful of stores and most stick to the Google Play Store. There aren't even thousands of stores on PC.

> They don’t have all the apps and they aren’t scam free.

But they don't need to have all of the apps. If anything, that previous line of conversation is talking about third party stores that would differentiate on greater security/privacy than the App Store, which would necessitate them having fewer apps.

> Also they are tiny experiments used by enthusiasts and are completely unrepresentative of what will happen when several billion dollar corporations and VC backed plays open stores.

Which is unlikely to happen, based on previous points already made, which you have repeatedly refused engaged in, opting instead to debase yourself and your position with personal attacks instead of substantiative points.


>> So you lied when you said ‘no one is asking for this’. > I have literally never written "no one is asking for this" until now.

Not literally, but it was still a lie:

> No one is mandating first class alternative stores on iOS

>> Their case is proceeding as they planned and oral arguments are to be heard soon.

> So what?

>> Have you considered writing for an authoritarian politburo?

> Have you considered trying to have a conversation without making a personal attack?

I’m sorry you feel attacked. I was genuinely impressed.

The suggestion that Apple should choose to do something if they want to avoid being forced to do it, is impressively authoritarian doublethink. A clever gambit.

> If anything, that previous line of conversation is talking about third party stores that would differentiate on greater security/privacy than the App Store, which would necessitate them having fewer apps.

Right, which means that users would be forced to use a range of stores, so the fact that some security focused stores might exist is moot.

> Which is unlikely to happen, based on previous points already made, which you have repeatedly refused engaged in,

If there was a point I’d refused to engage, you’d be able to provide an example.

> opting instead to debase yourself and your position with personal attacks instead of substantiative points.

I haven’t made any personal attacks. I have commented on what you said, not who you are.

For a moment I considered that you might be being disingenuous, but I don’t think you are. I believe that what you have written reflects your way of thinking.


> Not literally, but it was still a lie:

Very well, I can actually admit fault, unlike others in this conversation, and I was indeed mistaken when I claimed that no one is mandating it.

That said, this entire conversation was only tangentially related to Epic, there are people beyond them who want third party app stores on iOS, and not all of them want them to be first class alternatives, nor is Epic's case the alpha or the omega on this subject. Epic does not get to shape this conversation, even if they are the ones pushing the court case. If anything, Apple willingly ceding some power to non-first class third party stores could potentially defang Epic's complaints, as it could increase both developer and consumer goodwill and expose Epic for the power-hungry empire builders they really are.

> I’m sorry you feel attacked. I was genuinely impressed.

Passing off an insult as a compliment? Have you considered writing for an authoritarian politburo?

> which means that users would be forced to use a range of stores

This point is unsubstantiated and does not match current reality in other software markets.

> so the fact that some security focused stores might exist is moot

It really doesn't, as users can choose to use those security focused stores if they want to. Similar to how users who value security or privacy may choose iOS over Android already, users can choose security-focused stores over the App Store in the future.

> you’d be able to provide an example

I did.

>That is debatable, and discussed throughout this thread, including in my own comments:

> https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26799453

> https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26799283

> I think you fully stand behind what you are saying.

I think assigning personal motivations and intentions is not conducive to proper conversation.


> Not literally, but it was still a lie: Very well, I can actually admit fault, unlike others in this conversation, and I was indeed mistaken when I claimed that no one is mandating it.

Are you saying you weren’t familiar with Epic’s case?

> If anything, Apple willingly ceding some power to non-first class third party stores could potentially defang Epic's complaints,

This is a restatement of the Orwellian argument that if Apple doesn’t want to be forced to open their store, they must open their store.

Also it seems like although you downplay Epic’s role, you have deployed this argument repeatedly now, and it relies on there being someone to force Apple, such as Epic or an Antitrust authority.

> as it could increase both developer and consumer goodwill

It could, or it could do a great deal of harm to the market. Perhaps Apple simply doesn’t agree with your assessment.

> I’m sorry you feel attacked. I was genuinely impressed. Passing off an insult as a compliment? Have you considered writing for an authoritarian politburo?

Yes. When I was a teenager I was enamored with communism. I grew out of that phase.

> which means that users would be forced to use a range of stores This point is unsubstantiated and does not match current reality in other software markets.

What other markets do you have in mind?

> so the fact that some security focused stores might exist is moot It really doesn't, as users can choose to use those security focused stores if they want to.

Not if they want commonly used Apps that are not in those stores.

> Similar to how users who value security or privacy may choose iOS over Android already,

No, it’s not similar because the iOS store does have all the apps.

> users can choose security-focused stores over the App Store in the future.

No, because then they wouldn’t have access to the wide range of apps.

> you’d be able to provide an example I did.

No you didn’t.

>That is debatable, and discussed throughout this thread, including in my own comments: > https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26799453 > https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26799283

All you say that seems relevant in those links is:

“ Really hard to say what would happen in a hypothetical situation where Apple allowed iOS alternative app stores. Maybe the overwhelming majority of users will continue to download only on the App Store, with a tiny minority of power users going to alternatives.”

Linking to somewhere else where you have expressed the same opinion doesn’t do anything to strengthen your position, except perhaps in the minds of people who don’t follow the link.

>> I think you fully stand behind what you are saying. > I think assigning personal motivations and intentions is not conducive to proper conversation.

Are you suggesting you do not stand behind what you are saying?


> Are you saying you weren’t familiar with Epic’s case?

Epic's case is irrelevant to the larger debate at hand. They are not the only ones who want Apple to open up their platform, and not everyone who wants them to cares for third party stores to be "first-class App Store alternatives." You are arguing against a strawman if you insist that Epic's demands be the only metric for debate. Go take it up with Sweeney.

> This is a restatement of the Orwellian argument that if Apple doesn’t want to be forced to open their store, they must open their store.

That is reductionist interpretation of the situation. Apple can continue to fight the calls to open their store, not just from Epic but from the developer community and power users at large. And that is most likely what they will do. However, they would engender much more praise and respect if they were to do a partial opening. Instead they have chosen to persist in being Big Brother and not heed calls to open.

> Also it seems like although you downplay Epic’s role, you have deployed this argument repeatedly now, and it relies on there being someone to force Apple, such as Epic or an Antitrust authority.

Not really, the ultimate force is community goodwill and Doing the Right Thing. Apple could choose to satisfy unhappy developers and users by allowing more consumer choice. Even if the case was to be thrown out today and regulators to all look elsewhere, this groundswell of grassroots dissatisfaction will remain unless Apple deigns to Do the Right Thing.

> It could, or it could do a great deal of harm to the market.

Says you. It's a debatable point. We have been debating it, or at least attempting to, but you seem to have many tangents for us to quibble over instead.

> Perhaps Apple simply doesn’t agree with your assessment.

Apple is choosing the path of least resistance in holding on to the status quo. They usually choose this path. It's possible that they have not actually considered any alternative assessments.

> Yes. When I was a teenager I was enamored with communism. I grew out of that phase.

And yet you choose to unquestionably shackle yourself to a different monolith. Curious.

> What other markets do you have in mind?

Android. Desktop PC. Mac OS itself. These examples have been trotted out already.

> Not if they want commonly used Apps that are not in those stores.

Then they can default to using the App Store. No one is taking away the App Store in this scenario.

> No, it’s not similar because the iOS store does have all the apps.

It also has a lot of malware, which these third party app stores might not have.

> No, because then they wouldn’t have access to the wide range of apps.

> No you didn’t.

Those links also mention the networks effects issue, that it is unlikely for every single major publisher to create their own app store platform. Can you imagine all of the effort and resources it would take to do that? There is no Uber or Twitter only app stores on Android. Amazon, Samsung, other OEMs may have Android app markets, because they're OEMs. Unless we're talking about the special case of the Chinese market, or maybe PC games, you're going to have to do better than that in terms of justifying why a corporation of the size of Facebook or Microsoft would choose to go through the bother of building their own iOS app store, when they're already refraining from doing so on Android!

Not to mention, where's the Amazon app store for PC or Mac OS? Why would iOS be the only platform where you see dozens of app stores? Do you even have any idea of how the mobile app industry works? Can you give a business justification for this? Just because they "could", doesn't mean these companies would. Especially since the "could" isn't only barred by Apple's technical restrictions, but by real-world business decisions. So what, is Amazon just going to create an entire store for its Kindle and Alexa apps? Is Facebook going to build an entire store for its seven or eight apps? Are they going to add unnecessary restrictions when the majority of non-power users would be using the App Store anyway? Please.

This whole anti-third party app store/sideloading scenario seems to be a slippery slope argument constructed by wild speculative points:

1. Major developers both established or new hot new unicorn startups would build their own app stores, and make their apps exclusively available on those stores.

2. These stores will be a significant source of malware, because apparently only Apple is capable of decent curation. (And yet you deny that they're capable of creating a secure operating system.)

3. The ability to use third party stores or sideload apps would be readily available to iOS users, and not properly gated in such a way for Apple so that only power users would take advantage of this ability. (Or, as I theorize elsewhere, Apple wouldn't build in UX patterns so that users are stigmatized against non-App Store origin apps, as they already do on macOS via Gatekeeper towards unidentified developers.)

3.5. In the situation where they had to support non-App Store apps, Apple wouldn't simply build a Gatekeeper-type system for iOS anyway. Or otherwise devise other ingenious solutions to potential third-party app store security vulnerabilities. Or, as others have pointed out in this thread, restrict sideloading of apps only to those that have been properly code-signed/notarized.

4. The existence of third party app stores/sideloading would inevitably lead iOS to become more insecure, because for some reason a significant number of users will stop using the App Store and seek out insecure apps instead. And the existence of those insecure apps will also somehow impact users who continue exclusively using the App Store.

5. Perhaps a rehash of several of the previous points, but the assumption that the main source of security of iOS is the App Store review process itself, and not security features baked into iOS.

6. That all of this will actually significantly impact Apple's market share.

?. If we were to look at both PC and Mac desktop software, why would users even need to go to alternate third party app stores to get software? Couldn't they simply purchase software directly from publisher's sites, and download the .ipa's through there? Which could be a vector for insecurity, but in those cases it would be more of a per-publisher site basis, and not a question about shady third party app stores.

When crafting a hypothetical, it is important to remain objective. Worst-case scenarios about iOS opening up often lack the objectivity in seeing both the possible advantages and opportunities, choosing to focus on only disadvantages and threats. In doing so, they ironically often downplay the existing strengths of iOS, which go beyond the (aforementioned slipping) App Store review system. These arguments also fail to actually present a technical security threat model explaining how exactly would iOS be adversely affected.

As such, they are often fear-mongering and do not withstand close inspection. It would be nice if there were more of these arguments that attempted to provide evidence at a higher level, though.

> Are you suggesting you do not stand behind what you are saying?

It's important to remain objective in these discussions and not assign personal motivations.


> It's important to remain objective in these discussions and not assign personal motivations.

Do you claim to be objective?

> Not really, the ultimate force is community goodwill and Doing the Right Thing. Apple could choose to satisfy unhappy developers and users by allowing more consumer choice. Even if the case was to be thrown out today and regulators to all look elsewhere, this groundswell of grassroots dissatisfaction will remain unless Apple deigns to Do the Right Thing.

There is nothing objective about this. It’s just you saying what you think is right. The fact that a small number of developers are vocal about it doesn’t change that.

You list a series of numbered points which are a strawman of the case against Apple being forced to allow sideloading or alternative stores. However suffice it to say that you dismiss a lot of stuff as speculative and unlikely, with only your own speculation as the counterargument.

I’m not going to bother to comment on every part of it, but a couple of points stand out:

> 6. That all of this will actually significantly impact Apple's market share.

My turn to say ‘nobody is saying this’. Possibly someone is, but I haven’t seen it and it’s ceerainly not part of any argument I am making. I don’t care about Apple’s market share.

There is a good chance it would actually go up in if they were forced to allow alternative stores.

> Not to mention, where's the Amazon app store for PC or Mac OS? Why would iOS be the only platform where you see dozens of app stores?

> Do you even have any idea of how the mobile app industry works?

Are you aware of how much money Facebook makes from ads for Apps? Can you see that they would make more if thet could take the 30% for themselves?

Are you aware that Google operates a search engine, and would be able to take a margin for themselves if they were able to complete App installs on their own store?

> Can you give a business justification for this?

Yes.

> So what, is Amazon just going to create an entire store for its Kindle and Alexa apps?

No, but are you aware thar Amazon search is starting to rival Google because people go straight there when searching for products? Getting to sell apps and take 30% would be an obvious complement to their department store mode.

This is the essence of the argument you keep repeating. You just claim that nobody serious would bother to create alternative stores.

The business cases are fairly obvious, and the dollar amounts are in the billions. I’m surprised you don’t see this.


Also - it seems worth following up on this:

>> Are you saying you weren’t familiar with Epic’s case?

> Epic's case is irrelevant to the larger debate at hand. They are not the only ones who want Apple to open up their platform, and not everyone who wants them to cares for third party stores to be "first-class App Store alternatives." You are arguing against a strawman if you insist that Epic's demands be the only metric for debate. Go take it up with Sweeney.

Ok, but this indicates you knew about the case and intentionally lied - it wasn’t just a ‘mistake’ as you claimed earlier.


I don't know of the specifics of Epic's case to that there's this pedantic distinction of "first-class vs. non-first class" third party App Store alternatives. So I suppose I lied about knowing about the case, because I am clearly ignorant of its specifics. Which reinforces my point that Epic is irrelevant to this discussion, because I don't care about the details of what they're arguing for, merely the principle that "Apple should open up and allow third party app stores."

So yes, perhaps I lied, but you are wrong about what lie, because I honestly do not care about Epic to examine their case in detail, merely that they escalated the debate about Apple's openness into the realm of legal scrutiny. If I was wrong in claiming that "no one is arguing for this" and I was wrong because Epic is in fact doing so, and then you accuse me of lying of being aware of the existence of Epic's lawsuit but not of its specifics, then call me a liar for all of the good it does to your position.


> Do you claim to be objective?

No. Do you?

> The fact that a small number of developers are vocal about it doesn’t change that.

The fact that it's a small number of developers- which is a debatable claim- doesn't make it wrong.

> You list a series of numbered points which are a strawman of the case against Apple being forced to allow sideloading or alternative stores.

It's not a strawman when they are arguments used by those who are against third party stores or sideloading. Some of which are your own.

> However suffice it to say that you dismiss a lot of stuff as speculative and unlikely, with only your own speculation as the counterargument.

Everything at this point is wild speculation, including your own points. It's good for both sides to acknowledge at this point that this is a whole lot of hypothesizing. I have provided evidence culled from real world examples of other software markets, which is at least less hypothesis.

> I’m not going to bother to comment on every part of it,

Then you forfeit those points on the basis of disengagement.

> Possibly someone is, but I haven’t seen it and it’s ceerainly not part of any argument I am making. I don’t care about Apple’s market share.

"It could, or it could do a great deal of harm to the market. Perhaps Apple simply doesn’t agree with your assessment."

> Can you see that they would make more if thet could take the 30% for themselves?

That wouldn't motivate them to create their own app market. They haven't done so on Android to get around Play Store regulations. They've attempted their own independent attempts at both an Android app launcher (Facebook Home) and their own Android phone (HTC First), both to overwhelming consumer apathy and lack of success.

An attempt by Facebook to try to challenge Apple or Google at their own game by doing something as blatant as opening their own app store will likely prove to be as fruitless; this is not baseless speculation - this is based on actual product history. This also extends to challenging Apple and Google by creating their own smartphones, see the failure of the Amazon Fire Phone or the lack of success of Tizen.

And again, network effects would hamstring Facebook, or Amazon, or even Google from opening their own iOS app markets; users don't want to deviate from something as comprehensive as the App Store to get these basic "utility" apps.

A more likely scenario would be game publishers such as Epic (and EA, Ubisoft, Steam, etc.) from creating their own game app stores, which would be a different story. Or if you want to come up with something even more interesting, ByteDance, which is a Chinese company and so might have more legal incentives to break free of Apple, creating its own app store centered around TikTok which is the hot new social network flavor of this time, unlike stodgy Facebook. Or WeChat - though the current lack of political obstacles have removed their incentive to be free of both the App Store or the Play Store for now. Not to mention, WeChat Mini apps show that you don't even need to build a whole damn third party app store when you can turn the app itself into a platform for other apps.

> Are you aware that Google operates a search engine, and would be able to take a margin for themselves if they were able to complete App installs on their own store?

Given the poor reputation of the Play Store, just because Google has the resources to make a competing app store doesn't mean they have the product, design talent, or organizational will to make it any good, nor compelling enough to seduce App Store users away from their existing store of choice.

So I reiterate- Facebook, Google, and Amazon are all technically capable of building app stores, but there are immense forces both within their organizations and without (network effects) that would prevent them from effectively creating alternative app stores that are worth their while. You can already see this on Android, PC, and macOS, where such alternate stores don't even exist.

Furthermore, you haven't even given a clear example of why users would flock to these stores in the first place. To get the Google Maps app or the Gmail app? If anything, this could irritate users and cause them to resist adoption, similar to situations where users are forced to use also-ran products, such as when Microsoft forces Edge users to use Bing. Or Google+ integration in everything. Or Facebook login. Why would these companies forcing users to leave the App Store be seen as anything less invasive or desperate? Where is the consumer-side demand for these alternative app stores run by other corporate giants whose bread and butter aren't apps?

Your entire scenario is based on fear-mongering that depicts Apple, in its infinite cash reserves and product/brand mastery, as helpless while all the other corporations in their product fecklessness somehow have superiority. It doesn't add up, and is a disproportionate reaction to the prospect of Apple allowing third-party app markets and sideloading.

If you can give an actual example of an analogous situation where any of your bogeymen have successfully exploited openness to cause this harmful situation you are decrying, then you have a point. But so far all you have are pointed at the snowball of possible motivations without justifying the avalanche you are claiming is inevitable.

> Yes.

You've clearly failed at it.

> No, but are you aware thar Amazon search is starting to rival Google because people go straight there when searching for products? Getting to sell apps and take 30% would be an obvious complement to their department store mode.

Tell it to the Fire Phone. I can see Alexa being a threat to Siri/the HomePod, but strength in IoT doesn't automatically translate to strength in smartphone software. What is the incentive for consumers to switch to an Amazon market? And if this exists, explain why the Amazon Android App Store is such a dud, useful only on Kindle?

Clearly these large corporations don't find it as compelling as you seem think they should.

> You just claim that nobody serious would bother to create alternative stores.

And now I've laid out why similar initiatives in the past have failed, and why creating an alternative store that people actually use would be very difficult for these large companies.

> I’m surprised you don’t see this.

Execution is what matters. You've provided a vague destination with no road map whatsoever, and I've laid out why previous expeditions have ended in failure.


It's been proven a rousing success, actually, and needs to stay, urgently.

It's literally the most rousing success of any product in the history of civilization. You might want to re-calibrate your sensors a bit about what is successful.


Yes, it's been successful at creating the illusion that as long as I'm in Apple's garden all is well. Meanwhile extremely profitable scams (for both Apple and the scammer) remain in the store.


Average users view the garden as a feature, not a bug - and that's the point. Apple removing complexity that their user's do not understand or need is good product design. HN audience is not Apple's main target audience.


As an iOS and MacOS Developer myself, this doesn’t surprise me but it still infuriates me. Over the years, I have realized that the app review is extremely inconsistent and also the rules are applied differently to different developers. While I have no proof of whether Apple is allowing this simply because it’s a high grossing app, I do know that Apple treats the big company apps like Facebook, Uber, Twitter and Reddit differently.

The update logs are a perfect example. I have had updates rejected (rightfully) because my update logs were too vague and there’s a rule against vague useless update logs.

But the same standard never applies to FB, Twitter etc. FB’s update logs are always vague and two lines of “We update the app often to fix bugs and improve features.” Even when they are using updates to lets say remove features or add features.

People often try to excuse this by saying “big companies have too many A-B tests etc. But that makes it worse. A big company should be held to an even higher standard than the ordinary pleb developer like me.

Another example is when Apple gave special privileges to Uber’s app:

https://www.businessinsider.in/apple-gave-ubers-app-unpreced...

It’s a BIG CLUB and you and I ain’t in it.


How does Apple even solve this problem?

On one hand, they're already having trouble with legitimate developers getting apps on the store (or at least they used to). On the other hand, there are tons of low-quality and scam apps.

I agree with common sentiment here that people should be able to install apps from wherever they want. But a curated "App Store" for most people is a good idea. Otherwise your entire system's reputation becomes worse because people install low quality apps and possibly even malware, and it's hard to find good and legitimate apps.

Except that's still happening with the current App Store. And I honestly think Apple is trying to do better curation, but it's a hard problem because there are so many apps and you don't want to reject any legitimate ones.


You don't need to catch them before the fact. But catching them after the fact, at least the big ones seem pretty simple.


I doubt Apple is "incentivized" to allow this as the poster claims. Clearly it makes them look awful.

Apple is the only company who's been able to convince users to pay for client-side software. Android is mostly full of "free" ad-supported apps. Prior to smart phones, users generally could not be relied upon to buy software. Now, you need to break your banking apps if you want to side-load anything, and it's just easier to buy apps. This has greatly contributed to investment in software development IMO. I do want more freedom to develop on iOS and I also understand why they have limitations. It's because they don't want scam-apps to reach customers.


Remember, the App Store offers you the most secure, curated, and safe experience you can ever have with your Apple devices.

Each app submitted to the App Store undergoes a thorough review process. Each app update is checked and approved by an Apple employee. It's not like some automated process which you can game left and right. Each app on the App Store is guaranteed, thanks to the strict review process, to adhere to a minimum standard of quality which is higher than competing app markets are offering.

You can trust Apple's judgement on the content that is published on the App Store.


>Each app submitted to the App Store undergoes a thorough review process.

Thats just not true though -- it does go through a review but the quality of that review is not remotely consistent.

I've litterally had reviewers 'reject' an app because they couldn't log in and said I didn't provide the right details.

Basically they copied the email or password incorrectly. Note they didn't copy and paste -- just wrote it wrong and then rejected the app with out double checking.


> Thats just not true though -- it does go through a review but the quality of that review is not remotely consistent.

Still, it's way better than any competing app store for iOS apps in existence!

Well duh, of course I'm being sarcastic. I'm of the opinion that Apple should get all possible roasting for their review process, since they designate themselves as the only gatekeepers in the ecosystem. Even if you can do better... You can't. They won't let you.


I think OP was being sarcastic.


Plus depending on news source Apple supposedly can get close to a hundred thousand apps submitted each week.[0]

That staggering number of apps is bound to have leakage of the bad sort and as long as Apple has in place a means to report them then they should be given some leeway. If there is no process (I really don't know) then yeah we should call them out on it.

[0]https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/09/24/app-store-rejecte...


Apple removed the “Report a Problem” button they used to have on the App Store for each app: https://twitter.com/keleftheriou/status/1381463249749565440?...


Is this a joke?


Yes.


There has to be another step here that we're missing - such as malware that buys apps for you or subscribes to apps without your knowledge, or uses the App Store to launder money.

I can't see a scam app being a top grosser without something like that.


Scams are deceptive, if it’s completely automatic then that’s just theft. It’s the difference between cashing a fake check at a bank and just pulling a gun and robbing the place.


Users don't read and just click on things.


I can see you are being downvoted but this is literally how this works. People install things and click rapidly thru the startup screens. These apps generally get legal consent from everyone who is billed, they just either didn't read it or forgot to cancel.


A big issue I see is from the switch to Face ID from Touch ID. With Touch ID you actually had to put your finger on the sensor to confirm payment. Now with Face ID that dialog just becomes another OK you accidentally press and your face gets scanned before you even realize what’s happening.


You still have to double click the side button… it’s pretty clear to me when I’m paying for stuff on my phone, at least.


> People install things and click rapidly thru the startup screens.

While this is true, and there are definitely cases of people not reading the text and accepting whatever, Apple has a long way to go here. On the payment screen, the text showing the price and the recurrence is way too small, and they're both located under an eminently-skippable "Policy" paragraph. It's no surprise that users are skipping this user-unfriendly screen.

This Twitter thread has some examples of how it can be improved: https://twitter.com/rjonesy/status/1358161301973979139


I completely agree.


link goes to a different thread discussing the removal of fake reviews. Looks like Apple is in the process of taking action against this.

Original thread, which explains the scam, is here: https://mobile.twitter.com/keleftheriou/status/1381463196280...


Meanwhile they are regularly rejecting updates for legitimate, established apps, because the given reviewer didn’t like the way the pricing page was worded. It doesn’t matter that the same copy was used for the last 10 versions of the app, you must change it and re-submit for review :^)


For a company that spent $6+ billion on a new campus, you'd think they could use even 1/60th of that to implement appropriate controls, especially when they're claiming it's "safe" and that's why it must be the only appstore on iOS.


Every time something like this happens people seem to be shocked and surprised, but his happens day in day out with every single large entity (companies, government, criminal gangs) as long as they large enough and have enough power to get away with whatever they are doing.

If Apple can make 1-2M/yr from a scam and lawyers tied all loose ends they will have no problem doing that. Worst case will push some press release statement blaming third party and that will be it.


The App Store quality is so low now that I avoid it completely. It reminds me of a dollar store just browsing through it. All the developers, like sellers of products at a dollar store, have learned to optimize for “the packaging” of the app.

The goal isn’t to get some meaningful money per customer but to make a single sale, usually only a few dollars. So the goal is to trick the user, optimize for large volumes of unit sales and reduce the cost per sale to as minimal as possible.

I think it’s time that there be competing App Stores on iOS because Apple has completely dropped the ball with their brain-dead approach to quality and developer incentives. Whoever runs the App Store at Apple should be replaced, but that’s not going to happen until there is real competition so the numbers reflect the true state of things.

Getting someone to part with $20 is harder than $1. I think the race to the bottom with software distribution has had a negative effect on overall quality. I’d rather have a few moderately priced options to choose from than 100 equally cheap options.


I wonder what solutions to scams on the App Store might be? I can think of some:

1. Do nothing more. It doesn’t seem to be going too badly for Apple

2. Have stricter review and allow sideloading. Obviously this is popular on HN but it seems to me that Apple would not do this and it doesn’t obviously help. Maybe users would just be trained to sideload (I vaguely recall that there was a time when many apps in mainland China were not in the App Store and had to be sideloaded. There would be well-written instructions for how to install them)

3. Be stricter at review. Maybe this is expensive (so Apple would have to increase fees or reduce profits). It might also not be good for Apple if fewer amateurs can release apps. But maybe that isn’t so significant and Apple make most of their money from bigger players.

4. Make it harder to profit from these scams. Maybe hold user payments in escrow for a while and look for evidence of scams—users quickly cancelling, leaving 1-star reviews, etc—and only pay later. To some extent this is “more scrutiny” so maybe this is just a way to make it targeted. Maybe this would still have the problem of hurting small players, and maybe most money lost to scams goes to small apps rather than “popular” ones like the one in the thread, so this flagging wouldn’t catch them.

5. Have a two-tier App Store with a section of “high quality” apps and a section of less-reviewed apps. Apple already does this to some extent with “editors” of the store, various articles about apps, and plenty of custom artwork too. I don’t know how they would pay for this thing or explain it to users but it seems it would still allow small players a chance while giving users better safety.

Personally I think I would like a mix of a few of these. I like the idea of a higher tier in the store and I would be ok if it was expensive to get into (e.g. dev has to pay $1000 for the first review of an app) and had various stricter requirements (e.g. a different contract with apple requiring more notification when transferring app ownership or longer settlement times for user purchases, but also things like the app having good performance). I would also like it if Apple would try to find popular apps in the lower tier and help the good ones into the higher tier (maybe for free for a good viral game or with deferred payments out of (in-) app purchase income for paid apps) while removing the bad ones. And I think they could still improve their scam detection in the lower tier.


The solution is competition. If one App Store has terrible policies like Apple's or Google's, then I can just use another one. By being forced to compete, Apple will have to address consumer and developer needs or be left in the dust by their competition.


I don’t think apple would ever adopt such a solution willingly. And I doubt regulations will require them to


When I was doing iOS apps around 2016, there was a simple way to request a refund if you purchased sth by mistake. I think it was a web form using your Apple id. The amount was autocredited back to you immediately.

Not sure if this was the norm back then, and if it is now.


This is somewhat ironic given the recent interview Tim Cook did with Kara Swisher on Sway[1] that touched on topics like App Store curation and not allowing side loading.

Here's an excerpt:

> Kara Swisher: Like Netflix and others, right. What’s wrong with Epic or any developer going their own way or allowing a direct payment system, instead of having to go through the App Store? Why should you have the control?

> Tim Cook: Well, I think somebody has to. I think somebody has to curate, right? Because users aren’t going to come there and buy things if they don’t have trust and confidence in the store. And we think our users want that.

> Kara Swisher: Why can’t there be more stores, other stores run by others?

> Tim Cook: Because if you had side loading, you would break the privacy and security model.

> Kara Swisher: On the phone itself, and the phone itself wouldn’t protect the user necessarily.

> Tim Cook: Well, you’d be opening up a huge vector on another store.

> [a minute or so later]

> Tim Cook: I think curation is important as a part of the App Store. In any given week, 100,000 applications come into the app review. 40,000 of them are rejected. Most of them are rejected because they don’t work or don’t work like they say that they work. You can imagine if curation went away, what would occur to the App Store in a very short amount of time.

---

I agree that not having sideloading, without giving it any thought on the technical implentation, is probably safer in terms of reducing "viruses" and what not.

It's arguable that cases like families whose kids spends tens of thousands due to dark patterns in approved applications were no safer than if they had run a side loaded application or a vetted one though.

Similarly, I can only imagine the amount of money wasted on misleadingly titled applications.

You could perhaps argue that the privacy model is compromised anyway in the sense that you can install Facebook, sign up and have your info dumped online, through no fault of Apple. The upcoming ATT changes should help but they haven't existed since, well, the app store was created :)

[1]: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/05/opinion/apples-ceo-is-mak...


Tim Cook: Because if you had side loading, you would break the privacy and security model.

I really wish somebody would follow up a response like that by asking if that means macOS is inherently insecure and dangerous.


What app are they talking about? Am I the only one confused??


Previous thread : https://mobile.twitter.com/keleftheriou/status/1381463196280...

ELI5 :

Application that are using fake review, fake company profile, giving misleading medical information seems to thrive on the App Store.

And it seems that not only there is little a customer can do to warn others ( 1 star reviews that are mentioning the deceptive nature of the application are not immediately visible and are still overwhelmed by the amount of allegedly fake 5 stars review, and Apple or the subsidiary they are using to manage the store seem to have removed a mean for the user to report an issue with the application )

This is aggravated by the appearance that the App Store should be trusted and is free from scam ( even if the amount is relatively small, 0.00N% is still more than 0% ), where it seem that review process only protect the user from security and potential privacy issue.

Most of people would believe Apple press communication and most Apple user would believe that their iPhone is safer than the other phone brand, thanks to Apple keeping an eye for quality and security.


It's as if the people paying for this app aren't actually the ones complaining.

Why wouldn't they complain if it was a scam?

Because they're not actually using it. It's a money laundering app.

If you're just laundering money through an app, it doesn't have to actually do anything.

And if you make the price outrageously high, you can launder more money with fewer clicks and reduce the risk of some idiot actually buying it.


Who would launder money in a way that would not only require finding a developer and going through App Review, but also losing 30% in the process (plus however much that developer costs)?


I think for someone who needd to launder large amounts of money and can't spend it otherwise, 30% or more might not be unreasonable. 70% beats 0%.


There are far simpler and less convoluted ways to launder money. We have bitcoin. We have HSBC.


Can you launder dirty cash with those?

At least with the App Store you can buy gift cards with cash or even get a mark from a scam to buy you gift cards that you can then launder.


Yeah, I've seen a bitcoin ATM in a headshop before.


> Why wouldn't they complain if it was a scam?

~120 1-star reviews are saying you're wrong about this one.


Search still doesn't work at all. If you search for any of my apps by their exact name the apps aren't the first hit.

This is the absolute most basic thing. And they screw it up spectacularly. It's especially infuriating because app names must be unique. What's the point if the search is that broken?


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