The Not-A-Reader Edition Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A New Email Startup Says Apple’s Shaking It Down For A Cut Of Its Subscriptions, by David Pierce, Protocol

On Tuesday afternoon, Apple sent Basecamp a slightly softer written notice. "We noticed that your app allows customers to access content, subscriptions, or features they have purchased elsewhere, but those items were not available as in-app purchases within the app," it said. Because Hey didn't qualify as a "Reader" app, Apple said that existing subscribers could log in as normal but Hey needed to make all subscriptions available to new users as in-app purchases.

Apple told me that its actual mistake was approving the app in the first place, when it didn't conform to its guidelines. Apple allows these kinds of client apps — where you can't sign up, only sign in — for business services but not consumer products. That's why Basecamp, which companies typically pay for, is allowed on the App Store when Hey, which users pay for, isn't. Anyone who purchased Hey from elsewhere could access it on iOS as usual, the company said, but the app must have a way for users to sign up and pay through Apple's infrastructure. That's how Apple supports and pays for its work on the platform.

Apple’s App Store Polices Are Bad, But Its Interpretation And Enforcement Is Worse, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

The real issue is Apple’s power, of which this whole Kafkaesque series of changing rules is a symptom. We all know the score here: Apple needs to protect the 30 percent cut it takes, and if it allows too many apps to circumvent that cut then some sort of dam may break. From Apple’s perspective, it’s not so much the money for its services bottom line but that if everybody used a different payment system, the experience on the iPhone would genuinely be degraded, if not fragmented. (The money doesn’t hurt, though.)

For Apple, the line has to be drawn somewhere. We just happen to be right on that line, discovering that it’s a lot wigglier, grayer, and more porous than we realized. And given how convoluted the interpretation and enforcement has been in this case, the reasoning for those wiggles is much easier to explain by looking at Apple’s business imperatives than it is by looking at Apple’s policies.

Email, Why Did It Have To Be Email?, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

I’m not saying Apple shouldn’t get a cut. They absolutely should. They are offering a service and they should be compensated for that service. What they need is an entirely new rule book around how they get compensated. One that is not so black and white. One for the 2020 world of mobile not the 2008 one.


Anyway, it feels like the winds are changing. This Hey situation is interesting in that it’s timely — the week before WWDC — but it’s hardly the first time Apple has over-reached here. And with each passing year, the sleights seem more out of touch with reality. This situation feels like a perfect front end to the back end movement of anti-trust investigations on these matters being asked for by Spotify and also just today, Rakuten.

The Flimsiness Of ‘Business Vs. Consumer’ As A Justification For Apple’s Rejection Of Hey From The App Store For Not Using In-App Purchases, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

This statement is paraphrased by Pierce, not a direct quote, but on its surface this business/consumer distinction seems untenable.

Tinder And Fortnite Criticize Apple For Its 'App Store Monopoly’, by Reed Albergotti and Tony Romm, Washington Post

Companies rarely sound off in opposition to Apple, given the iPhone giant’s immense power, popularity and influence. Apple also maintains tight, strict oversight of its App Store, potentially leaving companies like Match Group and Epic Games little choice but to work out their disagreements — or risk losing access to millions of users’ iPhones and iPads.


In Praise Of The Apple Watch’s Breathe Feature, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

If you’re feeling anxious during these uncertain days, this feature of the Apple Watch can’t completely address things, but it can be a tool in your toolbelt for getting through the day.

Adobe Adds Support For Editing Lightroom Images In Photoshop For iPad Alongside Other Updates, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With today’s update to Lightroom, there’s a new option in the share menu called ‘Edit in Photoshop.’ When you select that option, Lightroom converts your image for Photoshop and uploads it to Adobe’s cloud service. As soon as that process is complete, Lightroom automatically launches Photoshop and loads the image.

Adobe Aero Augmented Reality Creation Tool Gets Spatial Audio Support, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

Artists can use an iPad or iPhone to create augmented reality experiences with Adobe Aero. And today the software added support for embedding audio into AR experiences. It’s now possible to add sound effects to virtual objects overlaid on the real world by this app.

Dropbox Officially Launches Its Own Password Manager And A Secure Vault For Your Files, by Jay Peters, The Verge

The password manager, called Dropbox Passwords, lets you store your passwords in one place like you would with a dedicated password manager like 1Password or LastPass but using your Dropbox account credentials.


Dropbox is also launching Dropbox Vault, designed to be a secure place in your Dropbox account to keep sensitive documents.

Pocket Casts Podcast Player Adds Standalone Apple Watch Playback, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

With today’s update, you can now stream Pocket Casts podcasts directly from your Apple Watch using cellular or Wi-Fi. You can also download podcasts directly from the Pocket Casts app on Apple Watch.

Etsy’s iOS App Now Lets You Preview Art On Your Wall Through Augmented Reality, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Etsy is giving iOS users the ability to see what art will look like on their wall before they buy it. People can pull up any painting, photograph, or print that’s available on Etsy and project it wherever they want through augmented reality. If an item is available in different sizes, those can be selected and previewed, too.


Apple Revamps App Store Connect With Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Interface, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The ‌App Store‌ Connect dashboard features an updated interface that’s responsive and available on iPhone as well as iPad and Mac.


US Apple Store Reopenings Continue This Week With Over 70 More Locations, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple will continue reopening more of its US retail stores this week with a mixture of curbside, storefront, and in-store service. All 50 US states have entered a reopening process with retail allowed to resume in some capacity.

Apple, Microsoft And Sony Are Showing Big Tech How To Hold Conferences In A COVID-19 World, by Ian Sherr, CNET

By adjusting its event to be online only, Apple may pave the way for a new approach to holding large events online, offering a model for others to follow as we prepare for the coronavirus to continue upending daily life for another year or more.

Apple's Diversity Chief Leaves As Companies Vow To Tackle Racism, by Shelly Banjo and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

“Inclusion and diversity are core Apple values and we deeply believe the most diverse teams are the most innovative teams,” Apple said in an emailed statement confirming the news. “Christie Smith will be leaving Apple to spend more time with her family and we wish her well. Our Inclusion and Diversity team continues to report directly to Deirdre O’Brien on the Executive Team.”

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These past few days, I've been waking up in the middle of the night again. I was able to get back to sleep only on some nights.

So, I'm bringing out my old iPod Nano from storage, load it with some of the more... well... difficult audiobooks I have in my library, and hope to have them lure me back to sleep.

Last night was successful, thanks to a lecture series that I really didn't understand the first time around when I listened to it. (Not that I will understand anything this time round.) The sleep-timer on the iPod Nano is working fine. And syncing iPods on this Catalina Mac is also working fine.


I hope you are sleeping well.


Thanks for reading.