I realized early on that being featured by Apple was unlikely, and have adopted a sustainable pricing model (a term I was unfamiliar with before reading this piece) to fund my development. I'm certain that by charging $14.99, I stay out of the bottom 47% of developers that make less than $100 a month from the app store. I do not rely on the app store for anything. From visibility to app discovery, I feel that Apple has failed me. When I get support emails, I cannot even refund a single paying user, which means I have to send $14.99 back to the user using PayPal and eat Apple's $4.50 fee for that transaction. It's immensely frustrating and a main reason why I allow users to sign up concurrently on my website using a card (Stripe).
Every part of developing for Apple leads me to this conclusion: I do not matter. My app does not matter.
Twenty years ago when I was in high school, I worked at CompUSA. They sold a lot of software in their day... in my region of the country, 40% of software sold passed through our store's door. To sell software at CompUSA or similar retailers, you needed to interface with a publisher, who would then try to sell your software to a buyer at the store. Then you'd need to print collateral, get an attractive box, duplicate physical media in quantities sufficient to stock 500 stores. At your expense.
And for all that, you'd be a box on a bottom shelf somewhere.
If you wanted to actually sell software, you'd need to pay for premium placement on an endcap or display. I recall one vendor who paid over $2M for premium endcaps at each store for a handwriting recognition app.
When customers were dissatisfied, or returned your software that wasn't supposed to be returnable, the store would withhold payment for your software (which was running 60-90 days late in most cases) and mail you back the resealed box at your expense, which may have contained a rock instead of your software.
Fast forward to 2015, and you're paying $99 to sell software for $15 that nets you $10, which is paid promptly every month. Apple treats you like cattle, because you are in effect a cow to them... there are thousands of people like you!
So, selling software was a PITA full of inefficiencies and middlemen. Everyone hated it.
Now, 20 years later, we live on the open web, a level playing field where anyone can experiment to their heart's content and sell what they want, how they want it.
And you wonder why people complain about Apple adding restrictions? And your answer is "tough luck, we have the possibility to do things better, but things were even worse 20 years ago so just suck it up"?
> Your experience is the price of admission to gain access to a global audience
This Hacker News comment has access to a global audience. There are fart noise videos on YouTube with access to a global audience. That means nothing anymore.
Apple also do a piss-poor job of giving that access. It's already easier to find our app via Google than searching for the literal exact app name on the App Store. Whenever you release an update theres a 1-12 hour window where people will get random error messages since there's massive CDN sync lag.
Apple isn't just giving you a place on a shelf either. You have a half dozen ways that consumers are earning credits to buy your stuff (credit cards, kid allowances, supermarket gift cards, credit card rewards, etc), millions spent marketing the platform, etc.
As long as there is a gatekeeper, that gatekeeper will collect a toll. Free/open is going to come from new players like Firefox & Ubuntu, and traction there will give Apple and Google incentives to behave more
Nothing they said was inherent to the process of getting a global audience. Apple has created all of their problems they mentioned; we know this because Apple could make them all go away.
The developers' gripes seem to be about actual problems for them, but potential problems for Apple.
Similar things happen with Google and AdSense publishers.
Comparing the App Store with 20 years old methods is a fallacy. To be realistic you should compare using the Android/Mozilla/Windows/Web distribution methods.
Only it has the ability to sideload applications which let's be honest as primarily been used for installing pirated applications.
 Ironically, I think the pervasive sideloading third-party app stores on Android require is a bug, not a feature. I'd much rather see an official way to add "known sources" so that, after the initial install, you didn't need to leave sideloading enabled in order to use them.
ha. that's a good one. I've had apps on both iOS and Android with < 10% of the installs being legit.
The signature check makes sure 'the developer has paid Apple', and not 'the user has paid for this app'.
Sideloading of apps allows for apps that Google may not care for, and that Apple actively prohibits (eg bitcoin), the difference being that you can still run them on Android if you really want to.
(1) installing the resulting unsigned app on a jailbroken phone, or
(2) re-signing it with a developer or enterprise distribution key, which Apple can revoke.
Both of these are done regularly, but it's not like Apple hasn't tried to stop it.
By the way, Apple no longer forbids Bitcoin apps, although this doesn't defeat the general point about forbidden categories.
Paradoxically, I think the power of the tools, resulting in the ease of development, and the democracy of the Apple Store is a major contributor to the difficulty of competing for user mindshare, and the resulting low prices.
I'd even add that this was what the internet promised. A reduction of the barriers between creator and consumer. No more would those pesky publishers/editors/distributors get in the way. Sadly I think we forgot that Sturgeons law still holds.
Unless it's a service website, the monetization for web apps just isn't up to par.
Compared to what? I thought Stripe was famous for offering competitive fees.
your argument is the same as saying "i can only fill my gas tank at BP stations, oh well, that is the price i pay to be able to fill up at BP stations since they are the most common around here"
then you proceed to an example, which does not work. because you wrongly confuse apple store with some convenience to reach users. which it is not. 99.9% of non-block buster purchases come from the developer website. the post you are replying to (probably without reading :( even mention that he has no hope of being discovered by users on the app store or being promoted there.
so, physical store or something that advertises or facilitate your sale == ok. apple store is none of those. they actually make it harder for both things to happen.
And how is that okay?
A time of fewer but higher quality apps may be coming - but then there'll be complains about the selection system. Curation is hard.
The real complaint I hear most often is simply 'I thought I was going to make an app, publish it and make money! I haven't made money. I think the app store it broken'
Most businesses fail, there was a false impression that the app store is somehow different - it'll solve the reasons most businesses fail. It won't.
Your conclusion is correct - unless you've got great product-market fit (your product fits the need of many people today), you do not matter, to many people. Your app does not matter to many people unless it has got great product-market fit. Products that have great fit - do well despite some of the challenges, mostly through word of mouth. Just like most other small businesses.
They just don't care.
Take Steam for instance, I have a thousand times better experience finding new games on there than I have on any mobile app store.
I get recommendations from my friends, according to what Steam thinks I would enjoy playing, and they even have curators for apps so people whose reviews I can enjoy can list games with a short review. And those are just a few ways of discovering new games, there are a ton of others.
Neither Apple nor Google are even trying. That's the problem. They don't give a shit.
Valve barely gives a shit about improving Steam — since it'll print more money than they can ever spend regardless — and still they've surpassed both Google and Apple.
Steam is very visibly and actively trying to improve curation, and despite being very poor at it previously, they have very much improved rather quickly.
I would argue that point is kind of moot, since many of the ways I discover games on Steam would work without any friends or a social graph.
The sales (holiday, weekly and daily), curators, user tags etc, etc. They would all still work.
I'm not sure what exactly that would suggest if true, but I think it would be interesting.
Firstly, the app model is pure genius. It means Apple gets an army of developers producing software for Apple with zero health/unemployment/other benefits, no up-front advance payments, and a limited curation cost.
The risks are entirely on the developer side. There is no downside for Apple.
Secondly momentum creates the usual extreme power law, with most of the benefits going to a small minority of developers.
What makes an app sell is some random combination of luck, faddiness, and marketing muscle.
It certainly isn't inherent quality or "fit". In fact you seem to be using "fit" as a rationalisation for app successes, not as a useful description of the processes that make an app successful - some of which seem to random.
Finally, there's the bottom line: devs like to that puts on a stage routine about having the right stuff, it's not unreasonable to expect it to do stuff right.
The point: the benefits of keeping devs onside and treating them with more respect would be immense, and probably economically incalculable.
Apple would have an instant army of fanboys/girls talking up the company to anyone who would listen. App quality would go way up to the point where iOS could potentially totally kill Android. App and hardware sales would increase further, and you'd get a classic virtuous cycle.
Unfortunately when you have a war chest heading towards $1tn you probably don't feel any need to care about the little people, and "eh - whatever" is good enough for you.
But that doesn't mean the opportunity wasn't real, or that it hasn't been squandered.
It was and it has. And that's been a bad thing for everyone - including Apple.
How is that different than say, people writing for the Commodore 64 or Windows and selling it with no connection to the company? Do you mean the alternative would be for apple write all of the software available on iOS? I don't see how third parties writing software for an operating system or device would be considered an amazing new idea.
To be fair, Apple handles a lot for that 30%. Accounting/Tax records, payment, bandwidth and storage etc.
They could probably afford to take less, but they do take care of a fare bit of hassle from app distribution and selling.
I think people would have a better opinion on that deal if it were optional.
Apple offers to take care of billing/bandwidth/storage on iOS for 30% of revenue? Neat!
Apple demands to take care of billing/bandwidth/storage on iOS for 30% of revenue? Lame.
There are 'work arounds' that involve being enrolled in the Enterprise Developer Program, but you're still at Apple's mercy. If they believe you're not sticking 'to the spirit of the program' (e.g. using it just to get around the App Store) they'll terminate.
Do you have a source for that that you can link me to? Because from this, I get the impression that is not the case: https://support.stripe.com/questions/apple-and-stripe-tos-an...
Basically, your app is not allowed to have any links to sign up, or to your website, and you can do this for eg a SaaS app.
The idea is that then you're not using the app store for marketing, it's only for servicing your existing users.
 To be precise we should also take out Apple's incremental (not fixed) costs for delivering apps, but I suspect those are negligible on a per-app basis.
How many Windows developers make enough from their one-off piece of software that they can quit their job and work full time on it? Hardly any. How many Linux developers? An even smaller amount, closer to zero (you want to talk about a platform where people expect to get free-as-in-beer software, when was the last time you paid money for any non-enterprise Linux software?). Now look at the difference between a PC and an iPhone. On a PC, you can have meaningful, long-term engagements with software. I've put hundreds of hours into each Civilization and Elder Scrolls games, thousands of hours between the entire series of each. And iPhone games advertise a huge game at under 10 hours of gameplay. I spend $50 to play a game for 500 hours. If I want that kind of return from an iPhone game, even 99 cents is way too much to spend.
I'm not arguing that the apps need to be more engaging. It's just the platform doesn't lend itself to that. It's about small bits and bites and sporadic usage. And for that, apps are even massively over-priced. And you want to argue about discoverability? How is the discoverability on Windows? And the discoverability on Linux... on Debian the package is apache2, on RHEL it's httpd. Same package. That's poor discoverability.
I'll go against the article: I'm not an Apple fanatic, I don't own a Mac, I have an iPhone as one of the many phones I use, I don't have an iPad, I've never published to the store, and I have no relationship with Apple. But is there anything wrong with the App Store? If there is, it's in developer expectations. I've written Windows and Linux software and put it up for free on my website. You know how many views it gets, let alone downloads? Zero. I get around that lack of income by having a job and developing as a hobby, like most software (except, I guess, the App Store). The App Store is an incredible thing for developers, but many developers see it as nothing more than a gold mine that they can exploit, then get upset when they only make $100/mo, even though they put in all that effort. Effort doesn't guarantee success anywhere in life.
If you feel Apple owes you anything, that's your own damn fault. There has never been a better time to be an independent developer than there is right now. But if you go in expecting people to throw money at you then blame Apple when they don't... well just because you play guitar doesn't mean your band is going to get a recording contract.
Where have you heard that most often?
Then don't curate. Simple, elegant and effective. Make side loading possible, give root to the devices that people own and make the app store optional. Nobody loses.
For ever alleged power user who wants to do something different there are probably 100 users for will be burnt because they don't understand that your root enabled device and other app source is a massive attack vector.
We're years into the iPhone, you knew what you were buying. Apple have spent years selling the iPhone as safe, what you propose is turning all the marketing into misconceptions for users when they think Vlad's warez site can't ruin their device.
The amount of non payment, uncharged downloads, operator/distribution backhanders and outright fraud was striking. With Apple we get paid on time, I trust the download reports and it is ‘quite’ clear what the submission rules are.
The Apple (and Android) appstore just reminds me of a very pure form of business in which the barriers are low, not everyone can be a 'winner' , and Surgeon’s law applies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgeon%27s_law)
I do however agree with your conclusion - neither you nor your app matter to Apple but that isn't unique to you/your app - it is just business.
As a consumer you've failed me. The store is full of useless apps, lazy clones, and fad garbage that does me no good. Write the next Dropbox and people will come pounding at your door. I'm really getting sick of all the Apple/Google bashing. We live in a time where you can trivially publish software to hundreds of millions people dying for new apps without a publisher, without cutting deals with dozens of stores, and little to no investment out of pocket.
What's so wonderful about your app? Go on, tell us. Why should it be the next success? Who exactly are you being wronged here other than the typical gen-y whining about not being a millionaire by 22.
The App Store feels opaque and like a black box where I
submit builds with little to no feedback or control. I
get paid when Apple decides, and could be eradicated from
the App Store at a moment's notice.
Every part of developing for Apple leads me to this
conclusion: I do not matter. My app does not matter.
We recently had our iOS Developer Program terminated, for what I can only assume was a gross misunderstanding on Apple's behalf. And I can only assume because Apple won't actually tell us why they terminated our account. We just got a standard form reply with zero detail. Whenever we call Developer Support, they can't/won't tell us anything. We have absolutely zero information on why they permanently expelled us from the App Store.
It's not infuriating, its soul crushing.
(sitenote: if anyone within Apple developer relations or anyone else can help us out, PLEASE email me - details are in my bio)
But they're only suspicions - we can't talk to anyone within Apple to at least get a reason, let alone explain things.
Of course I am biased, but I am 100% confident in that we were not actually doing anything wrong, and especially did not deserve termination of our developer account.
You and your app technically don't matter to Apple. The 30% feels high, but overall it's really a good deal. I've made several hundred thousand dollars on the app store without almost any marketing spend. That's a good deal.
That being said, it's far from being all roses. My sales have been down some the last few years despite continuing to update (some of the apps, not all) and making new apps. There is a ton of competition and there are definitely things I'd wish Apple would change.
Mostly though you have to think of it as any other business. It's not Apple's job to sell my apps any more than it's Wal-mart or Lowe's job to sell your products. Being in the store is the only thing any of them promise, and that is a huge boost for lots of products. If you get featured (on the app store, or maybe end cap at walmart) it's gravy. I have to work to make a great product, I have to get the word out as much as possible, and I have to do a good job of ASO (or SEO if you prefer).
Send them over to https://reportaproblem.apple.com - there they can claim a refund.
Customer service is lacking this basic functionality, so this developer is providing it on the side at an increased cost.
I have no idea why the developer isn't just asking them to go to apple for a refund.
I'm not this developer, but if so many users are reaching out to them for refunds, then there is a definitive gap in store functionality.
It may not seem right, but a very common customer behaviour.
When you buy a Sony-branded consumer good from SomeCo, you haven't done business with Sony, you've done it with SomeCo. If SomeCo isn't willing to back the quality of the products they stock, they should. not. stock. those products.
If you that argument does not sway whoever takes returns at SomeCo, get your credit card company to issue a chargeback. <-- USA-specific; Unfortunately I don't know what protections are available to consumers in most of the world.
I've been pushing apps on the appstore form day one, there's a lot of room for improvements, but saying that you get no feedback is plain false. When an app is rejected the reasoning behind the refusal is always explained, and you have a chance to talk through the issue (sometimes I had the reviewer calling me on the phone). In the end it's just a matter of following the guidelines.
> Every part of developing for Apple leads me to this conclusion: I do not matter. My app does not matter.
We all like to think we're special, millions of developers do, that's true for the appstore, and the same goes for the open web.
For the price of that we are all sharecroppers in a feudal market where Apple is the King.
Well, it's not any different for any other marketplace, including the general internet.
There are millions of apps and millions of developers out there. Of course they don't matter...
Then you probably committed fraud when creating your Developer account. Apple requires you to certify that you are at least 18 years old in order to join the developer program. So does every other means of receiving USD payment on the internet (Paypal, Stripe, BTC exchanges, etc). I hesitate to say it's impossible, but the system is set up in such a way that if you are an Internet entrepreneur under the age of 18 you are probably breaking the law.
I've never heard of Apple doing this, but PayPal is known to freeze accounts it discovers are held by minors and walk away with their money. You probably don't want to advertise the fact that you're 17.
I did this when I was 14. Except, technically, my dad was the developer. It's really easy to make that work, and it's completely legal.
An old example of this:
Whilst I didn't see the particular tweet when it happened, it's pretty clear that Cabel Sasser is also talking about the press in his tweet (note "dramapress").
Whilst elements of this article do seem a bit biased, there are some good points later on which aren't taken out of context. It's a shame that it started out with this.
Yes the media distorts things. But that does not mean that it is invalid to say 'this wouldn't have happened under Steve.' Jobs had clear differences from the new leadership.
Further, the media's inevitable distortion of stories should not make criticism something regrettable or something to hide in blog posts or podcasts. If the developers in question have legitimate grievances, which they clearly do, then those should be aired accessibly and publicly. Otherwise what's the point of writing them?
Your point about airing grievances is unrelated to kaolinite's point. kaolinite pointed out that when those individuals expressed regret, it was for reasons that did not fit the narrative you established in your essay. That you feel these individuals should not feel such regret is unrelated to whether or not it fits your narrative.
I see the claim mirrored in your article, also stated as fact:
Strangely enough, the people doing the most service to the narrative of Apple’s impending “doom” are Apple apologists themselves.
Is it discussed or supported beyond that? Sorry if I missed it.
As a shareholder, I think Tim is doing an amazing job, and there are lots things he's improved that are more shareholder friendly than Steve (I know I know capitalism is terrible screw greedy shareholders blah blah, I'm saving for retirement dang it).
As a full time mobile developer, I definitely don't think things are any worse, and I think they've made changes for the better. I know developers aren't #1 by any means, but they aren't being completely ignored.
As a user of most things Apple, I'm happy with my iMac, iPhone, iPad, and even Apple TV (for the most part, could definitely be better. really hoping for App Store this summer and Amazon Prime access). Really though I've been hugely satisfied, and based on the customer satisfaction surveys most everyone else is too, moreso than for pretty much any other company out there.
Apple's number one priority is secrecy. Developers are, like, #20 on that list.
Anyway, my piece will be up soon, and I linked to yours, Eli. Great stuff!
Economic times/india times http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/progra...
This is what he's talking about. He posts a "hey have you noticed apple software is buggier lately?" and loads (43, according to google news) sites post speculative articles about titled something like "have things started to go downhill for apple???" using him as a source. Sure, it's not literally "apple is doomed" right in the title, but exactly the same kind of FUD
BUT IT ISN'T FUD AT ALL. To make it even more comical, several of those posts are from serious Apple boosters (Philip Elmer-DeWitt might as well wear pom-poms while he writes about Apple). Apple software has had serious quality issues, and it is "FUD" to talk about it?
This is just broken thinking. You, in this conversation, are the problem. This notion that any criticism of Apple (such as the fact that they've let quality seriously decline) becomes "FUD" because there is so much defensiveness about Apple.
Not one of those demonstrate what he is talking about. None of them are attacks on Apple. None posit that Apple is doomed. They're tech articles, appealing to a tech crowd, that note that software quality has wavered, which is something that is utterly indisputable.
This is Marco's post: http://www.marco.org/2015/01/05/popular-for-a-day
"This morning, my words were everywhere, chopped up and twisted by sensational opportunists to fuel the tired “Apple is doomed!” narrative with my name on them. (Or Tumblr’s name, which was even worse.) Business Insider started the party, as usual, but it spread like wildfire from there. Huffington Post. Wall Street Journal. CNN. Heise. Even a televised CNBC discussion segment."
"Instead of what was intended to be constructive criticism of the most influential company in my life, I handed the press more poorly written fuel to hamfistedly stab Apple with my name and reputation behind it. And my name will be on that forever."
Now, why do you think Marco is afraid of speaking out? Do you genuinely think that he's afraid his relationship to Apple is damaged because it might threaten future business or because he feels he's responsible for these articles?
From what I and others have experienced (and the rest of the article), there's a climate of frustration, not fear, in the Apple developer community – but even in this article, being angry at incompetence doesn't sound remotely as exciting as being afraid of a large corporation. Hence the F in FUD.
I would dispute this.
Having been a Mac user for over a decade now I don't feel a particular drop in software quality. The highlight of stability for me (and many others I expect) was Snow Leopard. Yosemite isn't bad — it feels about as good as Leopard, and probably in need of it's own "Snow Leopard" soon. But I don't think Apple software quality is worse than back when we used Leopard, or Tiger or Panther, and so on. Lion was probably the "low point" of OS X software for me.
The ratio of good:bad in Apple software doesn't seem to have changed much. There are plenty of examples of both and there always have been.
I still use Apple software every day for most of my day. And I feel like it's the best it has ever been.
Whilst I don't feel like digging through Twitter for links to poor reporting regarding Marco's article, it doesn't take long at all to find some examples of recent poor Apple reporting.
Here's Reuters claiming that Apple Watch is a "tough sell" because only 31% of Americans (that's 75 million adults) intend to buy it (a product that they haven't touched yet). It's based on a very small sample size, of course - completely flawed - but that apparently won't stop them writing an article about it.
That 'study' was then published in many other publications:
But that's not all, how about this article from ReadWrite. Apple Watch will disappoint users apparently - not that the author has used one yet. That didn't stop the author from claiming that it's hard to launch apps, unintuitive, etc. http://readwrite.com/2015/03/19/apple-watch-expectations-dis...
If that's not enough, how about the NYTimes reckoning that Apple Watch (and other wearables, too, although Apple Watch is mentioned the most frequently) could cause cancer (original headline: "Could wearable computers be as harmful as cigarettes"). http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/19/style/could-wearable-compu...
This isn't a conspiracy. Anti-Apple reporting gets a lot of page views. People click on articles claiming that a massive company is failing more than articles about how a massive company is continuing to do well.
That has absolutely nothing to do with what I asked. Apple is an enormous company. They have enormous influence, and their products are used by the majority of Americans, if not world citizens. Is it really notable that there are negative stories? Is it not exactly that sort of tribal mentality that makes one react to such banal noise? I see a stupid story and move on, but some seem to really hang onto it and see it as some grievous injustice.
The other poster is dead on when they say that Marco's words were amplified because he is typically so strongly pro-Apple. But from an outsider that is a problem with Marco's words, not with the perception of them. If indeed you have nothing but praise, you do naturally lose the rational actor perspective.
"This isn't a conspiracy. Anti-Apple reporting gets a lot of page views."
And so does pro-Apple reporting. We all have a confirmation bias though, so if you're sure everyone is against you, it's going to seem like it is. There are thousands (millions?) of news reports published every single day, and some cynical take on watches, or profit margins, or ipads or bendgate or whatever are in strong competition with stories about Apple taking over the living room (new Apple TV coming out soon!), building cars, taking on Google, releasing the next greatest thing, putting the Swiss all out of work, making more profit than the rest of the universe combined, etc.
I don't care about Apple's bank balance or stock price. But as someone who loves tech, and thinks that tech can improve people's day-to-day lives, I want my family and friends to make informed decisions about which tech to buy and whether it'll help them. Not worrying that their Apple Watch will give them cancer.
1. All moderation is public information.
2. Who invited who is public information.
3. You need to pick a reason for downvoting something.
4. You can undo a downvote or an upvote.
Perhaps because of these properties (or something else), I also enjoy the conversations and community there better.
Frankly, I am annoyed that I can't read what your post said without copy/pasting it into a text document. WTH HN? Don't treat us like children.
It's obvious his post was downvoted for no good reason (as many posts on HN are). By making them difficult to read you're just making it difficult for others to evaluate even what reason it might have been downvoted for was.
(P.S. If you want a Lobsters invite, see my profile.)
Do the moderators of HN have any comprehension of how completely incompetent they are at what they're doing? HN today is the perfect example of a profoundly squandered opportunity, and it literally gets worse by the day. It has gone from must-visit to "meh...everything else is exhausted".
But I get a little bit of delight imagining these -- and I apologize, but it is the only word that fits -- hacks conjecturing up some philosophy that makes them productive and useful, instead of destructive and futile.
If I made a comment along the lines of "I think the HN moderators hire hitmen to kill commenters they don't like," that would probably get downvoted very quickly and very harshly. This would not be proof that the moderators put hits on commenters — it just shows that baseless conspiracy theories are not very popular here.
However I stick by my observation. The brain trust behind HN moderation, having moved on from their asinine slowbans and hellbans, have gone to something that they think is trickier. Only it's, again, hilariously naive.
The fact that you would even consider such an absurd response really sets the bar for HN today.
My new favorite anecdote of Apple's deficiencies in the services side of things is how the App Store and iTunes Connect was just down for at least half a day a couple weeks back, with no visibility except a press release:
Or back in late January, where iTunes Connect had a bug that just randomly logged you in as a different user:
It's hard for me to imagine another company for which either of these incidents wouldn't inspire a round of warranted criticism -- especially given their bad services track record.
Still, it makes sense that Apple would continue to deprioritize developer relations (either implicitly or explicitly.) Put frankly, we're a tiny sliver of their consumer base: while the App Store might be raking in billions from that 30% its still more valuable to the company as a method of selling devices than as a revenue stream in its own right.
Yes. I think it also makes sense to remind ourselves of how Apple and Microsoft started in the 1970s. They have very different origin stories.
When Bill Gates and Paul Allen were burning the midnight oil for their first successful Microsoft product, it was a BASIC interpreter for the Altair computer. It was a product for programmers. Yes, Microsoft went on to dominate with operating systems (first DOS, then Windows) but they have "programmers" within their DNA. The CEO of the company (Bill Gates) was an ex-programmer and that perspective cascaded all the way down as direct and indirect decisions in what they did. People mocked Steve Ballmer's stage antics about "developers developers developers" but Microsoft really did pay attention to programmers like no other major corporation. The high praise of Visual Studio (in comparison to other IDEs such as Xcode, Eclipse, etc) is one testament to this. So are dev friendly connections with their internal programmers such as active blog posts and channel9.msdn.com featuring informal whiteboard coding sessions.
Contrast with Apple. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were burning the midnight oil assembling the Apple I to sell to consumers. Wozniak was a programmer but the coding was incidental to making the Apple computer work. (E.g. his triumphant story of programming the floppy disk controller to work correctly.) They were selling end-user hardware and not a programmer's product like Microsoft. In 2011, none of the top 3 guys (Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Jony Ive) were programmers. Craig Federighi is an ex-programmer but Apple doesn't seem like the kind of company that would hand the reigns over to him if Tim Cook stepped down. Craig is a powerful figure at Apple but obviously, he doesn't have the clout that Bill Gates did at Microsoft. The way Apple originated in 1976 has had a ripple effect all the way to the present day in 2015. It guided their org structure and their attitudes towards 3rd-party developers. As a consequence, we should expect blogs in 2015 complaining about their "hostility" towards developers. It's just the way Apple has always been.
As for the issue of too few developers making money in the App Store, I have an opinion that programmers are not going to want to hear: Let go of the idea that you'll get significant income from the App Store. Consider the few megahits that happened (beer drinking app, fart app, Flappy Bird, etc) as outliers and lottery ticket winnings. Sort of like the guy that sold 1-pixel-per-dollar on a 1 megapixel billboard when the web first appeared.
I believe the only realistic way to view the App Stores is to think of it as an adjunct function to something else that makes you money. In other words, you just can't write a college study iOS app for $1.99 and expect income but instead, you create a whole college assistance website and the iPhone app is just one gateway to that functionality. It's the website that has subscribers and generates the major revenue. It's sort of like the "enterprise" model. American Airlines doesn't "sell" their iOS app; they sell plane tickets and the $0.00 app is just their way for customers to conveniently generate boarding passes, check gate times, etc.
That's the financial picture I've come to accept from the App Store and I recommend programmers consider it to avoid heartache. There's no need to complain about getting a "bigger piece of the pie" from the App Store because there is no (predictable) pie of any significance to fight over. I put predictable as a qualifier because I'm not dismissing that the megahits can make a lot of money. You just can't depend on it.
EDITED to fix spelling errors.
Right, realistically if Cook were to step down tomorrow you would have to assume that Ive would get the call-up. I agree with your comments on Federighi. Eddy Cue doesn't seem to give off the right vibe. Phil Schiller doesn't really work - he's Marketing. Maybe the only other candidate would be Dan Riccio, who I'm surprised we don't see more of, and has largely shunned the limelight (or not been offered it) - VP of Hardware Engineering.
But very much so, while Visual Studio isn't without flaws, I think few could realistically claim that it hasn't been "the" IDE of note.
I would believe they would get a new CEO externally before they put/Ive accepts CEO.
Apple wanted users to have a uniform, high quality UI across all apps. That required some policing and a close relationship with a small number of favored developers. Their API was probably too complex and brittle for widespread unfettered software development, and they probably didn't want their platform to be defined by a proliferation of "bad" software from developers like me who didn't care about their UI standards. Many users would accept "bad" software that got the job done: Small apps for automating business processes, engineering tools (cross assemblers for microcontrollers), games, etc. Developers turned to MS-DOS, which had a vastly simpler API. I wrote "bad" software, i.e., that respected no centralized UI standard.
I'm not sure Windows was much better before Visual Basic came along, but long into the Windows 3.1 era, programmers still used MS-DOS for simple things.
The only option is to stop being a sharecropper. We are incredibly lucky that their is one open platform out there: the web. It is an amazing accident of history that we ended up with the web as an open platform. And there are corporations working hard to lock it down, like Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. But so far it's still open. If you don't want to be a sharecropper the web is your only option.
As a corporation, Apple is obligated to maximize profit for their investors. That means if they could raise their take to 40% or 70%, and make more net money by doing it- they are supposed to do it. Corporations are not charities. If Google could do it, they would do it. If Softie could do it, they would do it too. Stop expecting companies to do things out of the kindness of their hearts. Apple is doing what they are supposed to do. But if more developers moved to the web, they might even start doing things to attract them back.
The web is great, but it isn't a full platform. You can't have a web-based device driver, or VPN, or secure email, or ssh server. You can't replace your web browser with a web-based web browser. There are things that are just not possible on the web, but that people still need to be able to do. And the people who make those things should not be sharecroppers either.
Reminds me of this: https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/talks/the-birth-and-death...
Mozilla are good people, but it's really obvious why they would want to encourage people to make web apps instead of native apps. There is still a ton of software that can't be web-based.
"If your App is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps."
When this company controls your livelihood, you are wise to take a very broad view of what "trash us" means.
This was when the App Store review times had climbed to 28+ days. I never did get a response, but shortly thereafter they started going down, and within a few weeks were down to the 3-7 day range. I don't think they've gone significantly over 7 days since.
Although his context was for users, I think the same thing applies to developers.
I think this Neocities blog post(https://neocities.org/blog/neocities-web-sites-now-have-prop...) said it best: You have to have your own domain, otherwise you will be a sharecropper for somebody else.
There's a lot of confusion surrounding what defines ownership in the information age. For example, IP addresses are held like real property despite just being numbers in a database. However, a physical device isn't owned by the user if the carrier can restrict what can be done with it and/or modified/disabled it at any time for any reason without explanation. It also varies by culture too, with most 'Eastern' countries treating virtual goods like real property, and most 'Western' ones treating them as non-transferable services which can be cancelled.
Mind, that post you link to has the right idea, just that the only way to achieve what it recommends is to buy a server and IP address, and lease a T1 line or the like.
"Our stuff [his company put a CMS in the browser] didn’t do all that much more, but given a choice between client and browser, the people wanted the browser."
And now, you can make the case that given the choice between a mobile web browser and a mobile app, people have chosen the app.
Running to the press works great, /if and only if/, you have enough of a following or already have that groundswell of popular opinion behind you.
If not, be prepared to be either ignored, 'shut down', or get the immediate reprieve you were seeking, and then after the media has died down, run into a brick wall.
Please correct me if my history is wrong but I don't think being an independent software developer has been anything but a high risk and/or low profit endeavor. It's not like everything was just great for indies until Apple came along and devalued software. On the contrary, I feel the App Store has done more to level the playing field for indies than anything before it.
Discoverability is not a solved problem for any product or service apart from massive advertising expenditure, which is why "big labels" come to exist. It's not like Apple is holding back on a solution out of spite. Is it supposed to routinely feature each of the million apps on the store?
In a short space of time, the App Store has become a mature market of too many people chasing after too little money. This isn't some kind of outlier in capitalism. It's an entirely predictable pattern of consolidation that we've seen time and time again.
The only unusual thing is that the independent developers got invited the party in the first place without having to worry about payment or delivery infrastructure.
Sure, Apple being the gatekeeper, it's easy to take criticism of the App Store as criticism of Apple. It's also easy to slip into criticizing Apple while criticizing the App Store. Fundamentally, however, while similar, the two are not the same. It depends on what conclusion you draw. Which is it: "Boo Apple, fix your store," or "Boo developers, boycott iOS until they fix the store!"
However, boycotting becomes less realistic the longer the feedback loop gets. I can stop buying some kind of milk brand tomorrow, and pick up the day after. Deciding what platform to publish apps on is an entirely different ball game. In that light, the unviability of any "free market" alternatives we as devs have to combat Apple on this makes it look very much like a monopoly, and that holds weight as an argument against Apple (not just against the App Store).
Yeah, they technically don't owe us anything, but no, the playing field is too uneven for that to just be the end of the story.
* Improve App Store search results
* Remove the top lists and blunt the 'rich getting richer' effect the lists amplify
* Put their share of App sales on sliding scale, so you only start giving Apple the full 30% after you've reached $X in sales
And if you update the app, the reviews reset -- which gives developers an extreme disincentive to keep their app updated, especially during the long tail period.
* That will just amplify the effect of featured apps and then you lose all meaningful organic app discovery and a large chunk of the meritocracy of the store.
* Great but that will probably not make a huge difference.
2) Maybe you're right, I'd still like to see Apple try it.
3) It doesn't have to be a huge difference for it be worth doing. A lot of little positive changes will add up.
and then using that to drive their app search results.
* Allow competing stores (like Android)
* Allow customers to install raw packages (like Android)
* Improve their search engine to "not be completely useless"
* Fairer algorithm for featured apps
Etc. This is not my list, it's just some of the common suggestions I hear for improving the App Store.
* That would basically open the door to insanely easy piracy. Like on Android.
* A fairly nebulous and meaningful requirement
* I don't think it is an algorithm.
This is an awful argument.
Those who are going to pirate apps have the means and skills to do so. Even on the precious iPhone. Yes, you are able to pirate Android apps quite easily as a lay person.
An intermediate approach would be a system where binaries distributed exclusively via the App Store could (enforced using the same kind of signature system presently used) only be installed via the App Store.
Give developers a choice rather than making it for them.
* Even the Copyright Office has implemented DMCA exceptions for 'jailbreaking' to run legally owned/leased software which may not be available on, or restricted by, the 'official' sources. So even the curators of the DMCA recognize this requirement.
* Many times you cannot even successfully search for an App BY ITS UNIQUE NAME. That's just entirely and incompetently broken. Know who gets search right? Torrent sites and eMule. I can sooner find what I'm looking for there than on either Apple's, Google's, or Microsoft's App stores. And if these channels can do it, so can the majors.
No, it's obvious the majors all consider their App stores 'good enough', and since they can lock users into their services and out of others (both through technical barriers and unenforceable claims), there's no incentive for improvement. In fact, things have and (I suspect) will continue to get WORSE.
Also, bloggers prefacing criticism with, "I love Apple, but..." is human nature, and not necessarily evidence of a conspiracy. Plenty of people criticized iOS 7's design -- the articles went on for days. There are some good points in the article, but the overarching narrative is pretty thin.
On the desktop there are no gate keepers. There may be aggregators and bundlers, but no one prevents you from installing anything you want on a Windows, Linux, or Mac computer.
On the consoles developers were beholden to Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Sega, etc.
The question was whether mobile would follow the desktop model or the console model. Clearly, they have gone the way of the console. Even though there are alternative app stores on Android, they haven't caught on much.
I agree that Apple doesn't "owe" the ISVs anything, but I think it's bad for our the progress of tech as a whole that Apple has an incentive to commoditize their compliments AND has control of the only real way to distribute apps on iOS.
With one minor difference.
You actually OWNED the disk/cartridge the game was on, and it came with a warranty.
...two, TWO minor differences.
On other words, there was legally enforceable accountability on the part of the manufacturer. These days not so much, because you don't own anything to hold as leverage, and software has always been full of warranty and liability disclaimers (even though I suspect many of them would not hold in a court of law).
Indeed, there is a section of the article where he quotes Arment on the possibility of Apple's hostility towards developers driving some of them to the Android platform.
That said, I think the rest of your comments are on the mark. In the long-run of a sufficiently competitive market, firm profits fall to 0. The App Store lets any indie dev compete, but there is a reason some of the biggest firms don't like competition and indie developers should understand that it's only going to get harder to make a killing in apps.
Anyone else seeing this?
Additionally, on HN you have the added strange behavior of the downvote button needing to be unlocked. Since the current prevailing attitude is very Apple-fanboy-ish the people that choose to stay around long enough to actually get the downvote tend to be those who agree with the pro-Apple sentiment, and those who dislike Apple (or any popular thing) tend to leave or aren't active enough to get their downvote button.
How did we arrive at those opposite impressions of what’s going on here? I clearly think that a majority on here really doesn’t like Apple. That’s the prevailing attitude.
(And I'd challenge your perception of that schedule, unless you're carefully timing every post. Confirmation bias can be strong--once you have the idea that it's an hour, you will tend to remember the times that were close to an hour, and forget the ones that weren't.)
The downvote/upvote patterns I've seen seem to be more related to the time of day. Comments get voted down during the workday by people who are on HN during the workday; but sometimes they'll get voted up in the evening, presumably by people who only check into HN after work.
I see a similar pattern on the weekend--vote trends on Saturday afternoon will sometimes reverse on Sunday night, again I assume because folks too busy to post during the weekend are checking out HN before bed. In general, I find the quality of moderation on HN to be worse on the weekend.
There also seems to be a "heat of the moment" effect, where posts that go against the prevailing wisdom get downvoted right away, but then voted back up hours later. I assume that is because people who read the discussion hours later can take a more measured view of the whole discussion.
As for 'users are sheep' as a common criticism here, I think you might be projecting a bit.
HN is deeply entrenched in the current Startup culture, a movement that is HEAVILY connected to both Apple and libertarianism...
I've seen it many times on my own posts: might get a -2 shortly after posting, but then +10 or so about an hour later. (Seems I often push buttons others agree need pushing.)
Permanent ban, no explanation, no e-mail. The fishiest part, someone (not verge staff) replied to my comment saying "enjoy your ban".
I've been weirded out by the power and bias of Apple employees and/or fans ever since.
It seemed like there were a team of people who were on news sites denying comments like mine, probably just your average tech site commenters though. Some people were adamant that brute forcing (algorithms and dictionaries) would not be possibly and would take 20+ years to crack one password.
The real interesting thing to me was how it was permanent ban without warning and without ability to be appealed.
We've come full circle. Everyone here knows THAT advertisement..
I didn't even make that connection until you said something.
I wouldn't put too much thought into that. It's probably just someone that knows the unspoken rules better than you do. You see the same sort of flippant "enjoy your ban" posts on neogaf if someone transgresses the unwritten rule of getting within two or three degrees of separation from an unpopular opinion on a hotbutton political issue.
Well my friends, like the music industry it's time to adapt. It's time to start selling t-shirts.
Not just audio either. It's 2015, where can I buy a legal digital download of any episode of Star Wars? Nowhere.
Still not impressed.
Doesn't seem to have done them any harm.
I think what this all really shows is that if you want to be able to have controversial opinions about things and be taken seriously, you need to already be successful, and preferably wealthy, so that your livelihood depends on nothing. Anonymity and pseudonymity can let you say whatever you want, but that doesn't mean anyone will take you seriously. Bloomberg, Buffet, and Gates can potentially say whatever they want (and Bloomberg certainly does); if you can't bribe or starve someone, you probably also can't silence them.
What isn't widely accessible however are the tools needed to filter and find the content a user might like/need, which is now far more important to a work's success than any other factor.
Why would they change their position to promote higher cost applications? I don't see any reason, as this would change how consumers perceive their devices. Would the average iOS user want to purchase every application on their device or pay a higher cost then today?
I firmly believe that iOS devices have been successful because of the wide range of applications created in the app store.
apple hardware is the new Microsoft outlook in the corporate world.
all i wanted was a sexy surface pro 3 :( how times have changed
but if i must choose any hardware which i will dual boot linux anyway, i rather not be stuck with a beige-box of the 21st century with glossy screen, and instead get something, you know, innovative? maybe, be as bold as, thinking differently. anyway. all that is moot since my CTO probably is swimming in apple shares.
My iPhone was absolutely fantastic at music playback. Apple takes a great deal of pride in its relationship to the music community and it shows. Bluetooth happens instantly. Songs sound great.
When I switched to a Nexus 5 last year, the difference in software quality was immediate and jarring. I can't put my car in reverse any more until my music starts playing because I don't know whether it actually will. Sometimes getting it going requires a simple hitting of play on the player. Sometimes I have to go into the settings menu, force a shutdown of Google Play Services, turn off the Bluetooth, turn it back on, then finally re-select Bluetooth playback in my car so it'll re-connect. Occasionally the Music app will incompletely break, the only fix I've found is rebooting the phone.
Even the music sounds off. For the first few seconds, I get this weird wobble in the pitch. It crackles and stutters.
Software is hard. Managing software development even harder. You have to focus your limited resources somewhere, if you don't, you get Google software, which is OK when you look at it in aggregate, but horrible if you're looking for a refined experience in something important. The music player wasn't given priority over other stuff, and the resource management isn't great, so the Music app sucks. I'd go so far as to call it dogshit, Google oughta be ashamed of themselves.
Apple is opinionated, and its opinions tend to be pretty good. A device streamlined around a few critical functions that are in use all the time is all I really need. I make calls, I listen to music, I read books. That's all I really need from my phone. The App store is similarly opinionated. You need to have a certain kind of business and buy into Apple's philosophy if you really want to do well with it. The more I used my iPhone when I had it, the more I started to understand the issues Apple faces when providing a mobile platform and why that philosophy and opinionated-ness exists.
I'm really glad Apple has found a way to ignore the noise from developers that don't understand those challenges. Apple is a design company, they focus all their resources around providing a consistent, gorgeous, and useful experience, that has to come at the expense of the hacker mentality that exists in software developers. The ones that do well understand Apple's design mentality, and Apple helps them out by featuring their products.
> I'm really glad Apple has found a way to ignore the noise from developers that don't understand those challenges.
To mangle a Churchill quote, the best argument in favour of a curated App Store is a five-minute conversation with the average app entrepreneur.
Especially in the early days, there were no end of clients asking for user-hostile and abusive behaviour. "Apple won't allow that" was an oft-repeated phrase that won a lot of battles for end-users. It certainly has its down-sides as well, but it really does protect end-users from incredibly shitty experiences.
Sadly true, and still true when it comes to the world of desktop adware.
The problem is when you sandbox hostile apps, you also end up sandboxing a lot of potential functionality which now becomes impossible. For example, I need call recording for my work, but the only mobile platform that still supports that is Android, but only on specific devices, with specific Android versions, and even then you may still need to root the device to get it working.
I'm sure there's a middle ground here, but it's going to take some effort to get there.
Google search, e-mail and maps are wonderful refined experiences in things I find important. Of course, that doesn't necessarily contradict your broader point. Maybe those three services are so good because Google also considers them important and gives them a lot of focus. For all I know, the company might also supply a dozen other things that are of much lower quality because they don't get so much focus.
I just don't see how it isn't the developers' job to raise interest in their work.
No wonder conclusions like this emerge. And while it may have cost more money to market software in the 'bad' old days, you could still give it away for free, which is NOT possible on iOS or Windows Phone, and even Android requires extra hoops which many users are not savvy enough to jump through.
So Fear of Apple makes sense if you think they can hurt your bottom line. And given that Apple (or at least Steve Jobs) has been a very spiteful in the past, I think it's more than warranted. And just because it's better now (which it is) doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to push to make it even better.
With the introduction of the iPhone, this all changed. It was (is) a gold rush. The number of developers grew from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand. At first, the Mac developers profited from the uptick in Mac popularity, and some could place iOS apps early in the iOS App Store, leveraging their familiarity with OS X and Objective C. But the sheer number of new developers meant that the dialog almost completely broke down.
The App Store is a walled garden, but not only in the usual sense. It's also a wall between Apple and the developers, and the image of a horde of zombie like bazaar salesmen trying to scale it is quite apt to describe the situation. Developers are no longer rewarded for making the best or most beatiful apps. Be fast, be loud, be a winner. A little slip, and you're back to the bottom of the pile, or with a bit of bad luck, out of the game.
Apple is in a position of power, and they seemingly no longer have to care about some small indie dev's app, it's now no more than a drop in the bucket of the App Store ecosystem. So they don't expend any more effort on developer relations than absolutely necessary to keep the bucket overflowing. It make business sense. At least in the short term.
Apple is now in a working mode like any other corp which has become too large for its own good. The shareholders are mostly in it for the money, so they have no qualms about milking the company for short term gains. There is no longer a man at the helm of the company who had a vision and was willing to fight for it, and wasn't just looking to make a quick buck. Tim Cook is doing the best job he can, no doubt, but he is in a completely different position than Steve Jobs was. The tyranny of money is arguably worse than the tyranny of Steve Jobs could ever have been. Not that his presence would fix most problems, but he was seemingly the only one capable of bypassing Apple's corporate machinery to make things happen.
So it's not surprising that developers are frustrated. The decline in software quality is undeniable. The App Store process is a running joke. The App Store UI is absolutely horrible. It simply doesn't scale to the hundreds of thousands of apps it now contains. And for the less scrupulous, it is still too easy to game, more to the harm of other developers, than their own gain, too.
Those in prominent positions in the App Store will do their best to stay in Apple's graces while it lasts, and this is Apple's current version of the Reality Distortion Field. The developers don't fear the company itself, but are continually on such thin ice that they fear putting their foot down too forcefully.
[Good god, what a rant. Despite all the frustration, I seem to be caught in the RDF as well.]
For consumers using the App Store, the discovery process has been a huge pain point for as long as I can remember. Saying that the App Store doesn't scale to the >1 million apps it now contains is, in my opinion, overly generous. It failed to scale to much smaller libraries than the one it currently has. I can only imagine the frustration this causes developers actually trying to use it to sell software.
Content discovery is a very difficult problem to solve, and I don't think Apple's going to be able to solve it internally. Instead, I think they should focus on creating tools that make the App Store more open to sharing and discovery among communities.
A very simplistic example: I want the App Store to support user-generated 'playlists' of applications, kind of like Spotify. Users could package up a group of applications that appeals to them and share it online. It would be a small improvement, since people can already post lists of links to individual apps in the store, but it would make the process of finding/sharing new games, workflows, etc. much more organic.
1. sell for rock bottom prices
2. become a hit or don't
3. their popularity if any is short lived and highest when they debut
It may be the case that Apple is fine with this phenomenon, but its a pretty big leap to say they are creating it.
I hate it as a consumer (I don't code), and I hate it all the more because I know why my options & buying experience are being impacted by their business model, given that I do know developers, and have been buying software since the late 80s.
What keeps me in the appleversum is mostly lock-in and inertia. There were times once when I genuinely thought the Apple platform was actually the best solution for my needs. Now, they torture me more with every OS X & iOS release. I do OS updates solely to avoid planned obsolescence. I never thought I would say that: I will gladly jump ship at the first feasible opportunity, and heave a massive sigh of relief.
What. No, it's not. Sure Apple can try and "hide" behind that, but that doesn't change it's a totally unreasonable interpretation of "run to the press and thrash us".
This isn't fear of Apple. It's legitimate fear of what the press will do with what they say.
Now, I suppose someone could be reading this and thinking, "sure, that's what Marco wants everyone to believe, but really he's just scared of the Apple mafia." If you, a reader who downvoted gress, are thinking this as well, step back and really think about that statement for a second, and think about things like projection and assumptions and confirmation bias.
I guess I'm sticking up for Apple here, but really I'm sticking up for intellectual honesty. I love it when people criticize the utter living hell out of Apple, but for actual legitimate things. Opinions based on conspiracy theories, tribalism, or just plain making stuff up discredits real, authentic criticism that actually means something and that might actually result in positive change. This goes for any topic really, not just Apple stuff.
I'm not characterizing this particular article in that way- it seemed thoughtful and well-written, aside from misrepresenting Marco and possibly others. I'm giving the author the benefit of the doubt here that this was just a misunderstanding. It's more a response to people who have assumptions that are so entrenched that they would disbelieve Marco's own stated reasons for regretting what he wrote, because not believing him and assuming something more sinister better reinforces whatever much more dramatic narrative they've already imagined.
Trick question, why is it that they are not afraid about what the press will do with their snarky comments on say, Google, Microsoft, Samsung or Android?
(While this mentality is strong in Apple-land, it certainly has its place among Google partisans as well, among others...)
> Arguments are soldiers. Once you know which side you're on, you must support all arguments of that side, and attack all arguments that appear to favor the enemy side; otherwise it's like stabbing your soldiers in the back—providing aid and comfort to the enemy.
Which is why I read Daring Fireball. I do like Apple in general, but I also just find it fun to be on a team, and try not to take it too seriously.
Android isn't a strong brand. Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG et al put their own corporate branding ahead of whatever Android version they use. Amazon barely mentions its existence. Apple and Samsung are probably the only strong brands in mobile right now and Apple is a lot further ahead.
Maybe this is because people in both of these communities feel they are "special" somehow, and "better" than the average user?
Because the press is also running snarky comments about those? Fitting in with the general direction of the press hivemind is one of the first hard lessons I had to learn about putting anything on twitter. Of course there are multiple threads in any one naval-gazing clique, and my interests span across multiple circles of press that don't pay attention to each-other, so I generally don't tweet anything anymore.
Many Apple fans still operate as if it is some tiny, vulnerable niche company, and they're a member of the few. Perhaps this is some sort of traumatic stress of those early days, but it manifests in this feeling of great discomfort if your words are used "against" the hive. Arment, significant in this piece, incredibly claimed that it was a nightmare having his entirely valid, indisputable issues with Apple software lately, spoken of by "the others".
This is bizarre behavior. It is absolutely incredible. Apple is one of the largest corporations on the planet. It is an enormous money machine. And people are desperately fearful that their opinions about Apple might get known? Come on.
The whole "magnified and distorted" and "hit piece" noises is just garbage. It has nothing to do with proportionality or reality, it's just this sense that a community is under attack and they need to be defensive, and it's just bizarre.
"Apple now twice as big as world's second-largest company, ExxonMobil"