The Serve-Humanity Edition Saturday, June 10, 2017

Tim Cook Says Apple Is Not Behind On Artificial Intelligence, by Nanette Byrnes, MIT Technology Review

While he calls AI “profound” and increasingly capable of doing unbelievable things, on matters that require judgment he’s not comfortable with automating the human entirely out of the equation. “When technological advancement can go up so exponentially I do think there’s a risk of losing sight of the fact that tech should serve humanity, not the other way around.”

Part of that perspective, for Cook, continues to be keeping an eye on what iPhone data Apple should be able to access, and what is too personal, something that became an issue in its high profile refusal last year to unlock iPhones at the behest of law enforcement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook To MIT Grads: Don't Measure Your Life In Likes, by Emily Canal, Inc

"Measure your impact on humanity not in likes but in the lives you touch, not in popularity but the people you serve," Cook said during his commencement speech. "I found my life got bigger when I stopped caring about what people thought of me."


"If you choose to live your life at the intersection of technology and the people it serves," Cook says. "If you strive to create the best and do the best, not just for some, then today, all of humanity has good cause for hope."

Apple Grilled On Twitter Over 'I Rarely Get To See My Kids' Ad, by Chris Matyszczyk, CNET

Apple ran an ad on Friday featuring an app developer called Andrew Kemendo offering these words: "I rarely get to see my kids. That's a risk you have to take." The ad was posted to the Twitter page of "Planet of the Apps." [...]

The ad was swiftly removed, but not as swiftly as some saw it and experienced a gag reflex. Jason Fried, founder and CEO of project management tool, for example, tweeted: "Pathetic… even Apple is promoting workaholism now.

Policy Updates

Apple Legalizes And Taxes In-app Tipping For Content Creators, by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

Apple’s newly published update to its App Store policies officially designates voluntary tipping via virtual currency as in-app purchases that Apple taxes 30%. By taking tipping out of the grey area, more app developers might institute digital tip jars as an alternative way to get creators paid without having to offer ad revenue sharing.

App Store Now Requires Developers To Use Official API To Request App Ratings, Disallows Custom Prompts, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

One change is the addition of section 1.1.7. This new paragraph requires developers to use the official in-app rating UI added in iOS 10.3 and states that they ‘will disallow custom review prompts’ going forward.

Coming Soon

Apple Makes Major Podcast Updates, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

New extensions to Apple’s podcast feed specification will allow podcasts to define individual seasons and explain whether an episode is a teaser, a full episode, or bonus content. These extensions will be read by the Podcast app and used to present a podcast in a richer way than the current, more linear, approach.


Apple said today that it will be using (anonymized) data from the app to show podcasters how many people are listening and where in the app people are stopping or skipping.

Here’s How Apple Is Making iMessage Take On Facebook Messenger Bots, by Natt Garun, The Verge

During a WWDC session today, Apple elaborated more on just how it works. Business Chat essentially combines the app component of Messenger and the customer service portion from Twitter, letting you talk to businesses to get shopping / scheduling / general inquiry advice and reach out to file a dispute all from the same chat thread.

Store Issues

How To Make $80,000 Per Month On The Apple App Store, by Johnny Lin, Medium

Turns out, scammers are abusing Apple’s relatively new and immature App Store Search Ads product. They’re taking advantage of the fact that there’s no filtering or approval process for ads, and that ads look almost indistinguishable from real results, and some ads take up the entire search result’s first page.

Later, I dug deeper to find that unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents — they’re fairly common in the app store’s top grossing lists. And this isn’t just happening with security related keywords. It seems like scammers are bidding on many other keywords.

Pepe Is Banned From The Apple App Store, by Jason Koebler and Louise Matsakis, Motherboard

It's possible that Apple chose to reject Pepe Scream> and other apps featuring the frog on the grounds that it could be considered a hate symbol. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a nonprofit committed to combating bigotry, considers Pepe to be a symbol of hate, but only in specific contexts.


Because the App Store approval process is so opaque, developers often end up blindsided by rejections. "I think it is quite unhealthy for the developer ecosystem to not more specifically outline what is allowed and not allowed," the Spirit Realm Games developer said. "We certainly didn't know Pepe the Frog wasn't allowed."


The App That Does Nothing, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

Binky is an app that does everything an app is expected to do. It’s got posts. It’s got likes. It’s got comments. It’s got the infinitely scrolling timeline found in all social apps, from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to Snapchat.


There’s just one catch: None of it is real. Binky is a ruse, a Potemkin-Village social network with no people, where the content is fake and feedback disappears into the void. And it might be exactly the thing that smartphone users want—and even need.


Apple's Do Not Disturb While Driving Mode Is Good. Researchers Are Cooking Up Something Better, by Aarian Marshall, Wired

But screens and things to read on them will be in cars as long as humans sit behind the wheel. That’s why they have to get more driver-friendly. After four years on the job, the MIT AgeLab crew has realized that it’s not the driver taking her eyes off the road that’s the big problem. A quick look away, followed by a longer gaze back at the road, followed by another quick glance—that’s less likely to cause a crash. But that’s not how some people use their phones in the car. A longer gaze down to read an email or scroll through contacts? That’s an issue.

Apple Customer Data In China Was Sold Illegally, Police Say, by Paul Mozur, New York Times

In a statement on Wednesday, the Cangnan police said they found that Apple employees had illegally acquired personal data, then later in the same statement said 20 of the 22 people worked for companies that sell Apple products or are Apple contractors. The police did not disclose information about the other two people. In China, Apple’s products are sold broadly, in electronics chain stores and small booths in shopping malls in addition to the company’s official Apple Stores.