The Searching-Apple Edition Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Apple Dominates App Store Search Results, Thwarting Competitors, by Tripp Mickle, Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc.’s mobile apps routinely appear first in search results ahead of competitors in its App Store, a powerful advantage that skirts some of the company’s rules on such rankings, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

The company’s apps ranked first in more than 60% of basic searches, such as for “maps,” the analysis showed. Apple apps that generate revenue through subscriptions or sales, like Music or Books, showed up first in 95% of searches related to those apps.


Apple says it doesn’t give its own products an advantage over others on the App Store. The company conducted its own tests this month in response to the Journal’s questions and some searches yielded different results in which their apps didn’t rank first, a spokesman said. The company uses an algorithm that relies on machine learning and past consumer preferences, and the app rankings fluctuate. Apple doesn’t disclose details on how it works.

Apple Alleged To Favor Its Own Apps In App Store Search, by Mike Wuerthele and Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

In AppleInsider's own testing, the Wall Street Journal results could not be replicated as described in the report. Using three devices with iCloud accounts associated with purchase histories, we duplicated the generic terms that the Wall Street Journal said that they used.

Using our three devices, apps other than Apple's apps filled the spot below the search ad in 56 of 60 of our searches, and two spots below the search ad in 48 of the 56 searches that didn't have an Apple app in the top spot.

3 Troubling Trends We See In iOS Email Apps, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

There have been many iOS email apps that have come and gone over the years. It’s proven to be a very difficult category to be successful in, but the stakes here are high. Is there a market for third-party email apps that accommodate power users without charging a hefty subscription to support semi-standard features and compromising user privacy?

Time will tell, but we certainly hope so.

Man Who Built The Retweet: “We Handed A Loaded Weapon To 4-Year-Olds”, by Alex Kantrowitz, BuzzFeed

After the retweet button debuted, Wetherell was struck by how effectively it spread information. “It did a lot of what it was designed to do,” he said. “It had a force multiplier that other things didn’t have.”

“We would talk about earthquakes,” Wetherell said. “We talked about these first response situations that were always a positive and showed where humanity was in its best light.”

But the button also changed Twitter in a way Wetherell and his colleagues didn’t anticipate. Copying and pasting made people look at what they shared, and think about it, at least for a moment. When the retweet button debuted, that friction diminished. Impulse superseded the at-least-minimal degree of thoughtfulness once baked into sharing. Before the retweet, Twitter was largely a convivial place. After, all hell broke loose — and spread.


Pixelmator Pro Gains Photos Editing Extension, New Zoom Tool, Updated Crop Tool And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

There's now a Pixelmator Pro editing extension for the built-in Photos app on the Mac, which includes all of the tools and features from the full Pixelmator Pro app.

With the extension, you can make edits to your photos using the tools from Pixelmator Pro without having to leave the Photos app. This makes for a more streamlined editing workflow when you're working with images stored within the Photos app.

Twelve South StayGo Review: 8-port USB-C Hub, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

To stand out from the crowd of other USB-C hubs, a product has to have something extra. The built-in travel cable helps separate the Twelve South StayGo from the ordinary. And its unusually large number of ports helps too. There aren’t many hubs with three USB-A ports, and Ethernet is relatively rare these days.

Flighty: A Pro-Level iOS App For Frequent Travelers, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Flighty combines smart design choices with traveler-centric features to generate a comprehensive picture of every flight you track. The result is a pro-level travel app that's an excellent fit for frequent travelers.

Dropbox Irks Mac Users With Annoying Dock Icon, Offers Clueless Support, by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

As a division of labor, it probably makes sense for some support reps to specialize in Dropbox for Windows, or Dropbox for Mac, or Dropbox for mobile devices, etc. But when Dropbox rolled out a major change to its Mac application, it had support reps replying to Mac users without knowing what they were talking about. I don't blame the individual support reps—Dropbox the company needs to make sure its employees are prepared to answer user questions, especially in advance of major changes that will inevitably lead to a rise in user complaints. That didn't happen this time.


'Major Distraction': School Dumps iPads, Returns To Paper Textbooks, by Jordan Baker, Sydney Morning Herald

For the past five years, Reddam House's primary and junior high school classes have used e-textbooks on iPads. But the consistent feedback from the students has been that they preferred pages to screens.

Teachers also found the iPads were distracting and did not contribute to students' technology skills, prompting the school to announce that students should no longer use digital textbooks, and must revert to hard-copy versions instead.

Apple Seeks Mac Pro Parts Tariff Exclusion After Move To China, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is seeking relief from duties of 25% on key Mac Pro parts and accessories that go with it, ranging from the stainless steel and aluminum frame, power supplies, internal cables and circuit boards, and its optional wheels, according to filings posted by the Office of U.S. Trade Representative. The documents don’t specifically mention the Mac Pro, but the features and dimensions listed by Apple in the filing closely resemble the planned computer.

Justice Department To Open Broad, New Antitrust Review Of Big Tech Companies, by Brent Kendall, Wall Street Journal

The review is geared toward examining the practices of online platforms that dominate internet search, social media and retail services, the officials said.

The new antitrust inquiry is the strongest signal yet of Attorney General William Barr’s deep interest in the tech sector, and it could ratchet up the already considerable regulatory pressures facing the top U.S. tech firms. The review is designed to go above and beyond recent plans for scrutinizing the tech sector that were crafted by the department and the Federal Trade Commission.

Bottom of the Page

I wonder why New York Times is not doing a subscription service for its Sudoku puzzles.

I do play the daily mini puzzle, but I am not motivated enough to subscribe to the regular crossword puzzle.


Thanks for reading.