The Amazon-Had-Leverage Edition Friday, April 3, 2020

Amazon And Apple Strike Deal For Prime Video In-App Purchases, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

What Apple is saying here is that for a video subscription service — pardon me, a premium video subscription service — to qualify for this program, the service has to support all of Apple’s features for video content apps: AirPlay 2 support, a native tvOS app, single sign-on if applicable, universal search and Siri support (so if you search in the TV app for a show or movie, results from Amazon Prime Video show up). This includes integration with the TV app for features like Up Next — start watching a TV series in Prime Video and when you go to Apple’s TV app (on any device) your next episode should appear in Up Next. Supporting all of these features is a lot of work, and Amazon has done it all.

Why Amazon Got Out Of The Apple App Store Tax, And Why Other Developers Won’t, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

All of the above is why I’m comfortable saying that Amazon had leverage on Apple: Apple has clear incentives in the form of getting more participation in the Apple TV app and in getting a cut on the new subscribers it drives to Amazon. Amazon has the incentive of not paying more money to Apple.

Most of all, you can tell it’s about leverage simply because the Amazon Kindle app hasn’t changed. You can’t buy a Kindle book directly in the Kindle app, nor is Amazon even allowed to link to or even hint at the possibility that it has a whole damn Kindle store on its website where you can make one-click purchases.

Security Matters

Apple Brings Its Hardware Microphone Disconnect Feature To iPads, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

The feature was first introduced to Macs by way of Apple’s T2 security chip last year. The security chip ensured that the microphone was physically disconnected from the device when the user shuts their MacBook lid. The idea goes that physically cutting off the microphone from the device prevents malware — even with the highest level of “root” device permissions — from listening in to nearby conversations.

Apple confirmed in a support guide that its newest iPads have the same feature. Any certified “Made for iPad” case that’s attached and closed will trigger the hardware disconnect.

Hijack iPhone Camera Using Three Vulnerabilities – Now Fixed, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

A white-hat hacker was able to hijack iPhone cameras using a chain of three vulnerabilities he discovered. The same approach would also work with the cameras on Macs.

Ryan Pickren disclosed the vulnerabilities to Apple back in December of last year. The company fixed the most serious of them in January, and the rest last month.

Following Mac Flaw Patches, Zoom Fixes 'Malware-like' macOS Installer In Latest Update, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

After writing an apology note earlier today, fixing two serious Mac flaws, and detailing a plan to improve its security, privacy, and transparency moving forward, Zoom has also fixed its “malware-like” installer with the latest macOS update.


Autism Apps Highlighted On World Autism Awareness Day, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

A number of autism apps have been highlighted by Apple on World Autism Awareness Day, an annual event intended to educate people about those with autistic spectrum disorders. It is part of the company’s extensive commitment to accessibility.


Top billing goes to Proloquo2Go, a communication app intended for use by those who cannot speak or have difficulty expressing themselves verbally.


WFH Got You Stiff And Sore? An Ergo Expert Offers 8 Tips To Stay Healthy, by Lisa Boone, Los Angeles Times

“There is a saying that ‘the best position is the next position,’” says Agoura Hills-based ergonomics consultant Karen Loesing, an expert in evaluating work stations.

The key, Loesing says, is to break up the work day with stretching, walking and a variety of postures. Here, Loesing offers 8 tips on how to stay healthy while working from home, plus some shopping inspiration in case you need to upgrade your WFH station.


Apple Anticipates Retail Store Closures To Last Until At Least 'Early May', by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen, Apple has made the decision to keep all of its retail stores in the United States closed until at least May. In a message obtained by 9to5Mac, Apple’s SVP of Retail + People Deirdre O’Brien reassured store employees that Apple will continue to support them during this difficult time.

Apple, Laurene Powell Jobs And Leonardo DiCaprio Launch America's Food Fund In Response To Coronavirus Crisis, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today launched the America’s Food Fund, hosted on GoFundMe, along with partners including Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, and the Ford Foundation. The project aims to support food access for vulnerable people across the United States.

The donations will go towards the World Central Kitchen and Feeding America nonprofit organizations.

Bottom of the Page

If Apple is really pushing hard for the TV app to be the default app in Apple TV, and that premium video subscription services are falling in line, Apple better buckle up and make the TV app a good app.

(Because what they have now is not good enough.)


Thanks for reading.