The Taking-Advantage Edition Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Wordle Clones Have Disappeared From The App Store, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Has Apple taken action against apps that cloned the popular web game Wordle? They have now disappeared from the App Store, after several publications (including The Verge) called out a flood of copycats so blatant as to be named “Wordle” and that featured the same gameplay and UI, each taking advantage of the fact that developer Josh Wardle didn’t create an Apple app of his own. While we’re still seeing a few clones on the App Store, they don’t use the Wordle name.

'Wordle' Clones Further Illustrate The Curation Problem In The App Store, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Clones of popular word-guessing game "Wordle" are flooding the App Store, including one that steals the name and hijacks the intent of the original with in-app subscriptions. It's in Apple's best interest to take them down.

Creator Of Wordle Ripoff App Apologizes After Apple Removes His Clone: ‘I F—ed Up’, by Todd Spangler, Variety

While Shakked professed to be sorry, he also tried to defend his actions and complained that he was being raked over the coals for something he claimed is routine in the industry. “Wordle is a ripoff of another game,” he wrote, and pointed out that “Wordle” has not been trademarked.

On Privacy

Apple’s Private Relay Roils Telecoms Around The World, by Matt Burgess, Wired

Private Relay’s potential scale, relative to VPNs, may have prompted telecom concerns. “It is far more accessible than a VPN that you have to download and register for and set up separate payment for,” says Nader Henein, a research vice president specializing in privacy and data protection at Gartner. Apple has made Private Relay opt-in while it is still in beta, although it’s still potentially available to millions of subscribers. (Apple has bent to some local laws and not made Private Relay available in China, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and a handful of other countries.) “The concern is that a lot of people are just going to switch it on, and it's going to obscure a large part of the network from the network operators,” Henein adds.

However, he says if telecoms companies do imagine they’ll lose sight of how people are using their networks, they should present their evidence transparently by making their modeling public. Equally, Henein says, to address questions about European “data sovereignty,” Apple should make clear what companies it has partnered with for the feature—it says they are some of the largest content delivery networks—and the locations of the relays.

T-Mobile Says It Isn’t Widely Blocking iCloud Private Relay, Blames iOS Bug, by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

T-Mobile has responded to complaints that it is blocking iCloud Private Relay on iPhones, saying that the block only affects subscribers who enabled parental controls or other types of content filtering. T-Mobile also says it has identified a bug in iOS that may be messing with users' iCloud Private Relay settings, but Apple hasn't confirmed this.

Buying Stuff

A Grand Unified Theory Of Buying Stuff, by Paul Ford, Wired

Years ago, I asked a friend what kind of case she planned to buy for her shiny new flip phone. She paused, a little offended. “I don't like to buy stuff for my stuff,” she said. Those words drilled directly into my hippocampus, never to depart. She's right! I thought. Don't buy stuff stuff! So simple! I have tried to keep to that principle ever since, and it has gone about as well as you would expect. Sure, I might spend $1,000 on a tech-giant-controlled smartphone, but I only do it every three years (nods sagely) instead of every two. This is how we win.


The Best Meal-Planning Apps, Because You’re Sick Of Doing It Yourself, by Rachel Fairbank, LifeHacker

When it comes to the planning and shopping part, though, meal-planning apps are good a way to save some time and energy: They can suggest recipes based on your dietary preferences and put together a shopping list of everything you need. Here are four of the best meal-planning apps.

‘Apple Frames’ Shortcut Now Supports The Latest MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, And More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The valuable Apple Frames Shortcut created by MacStories’ Federico Viticci has received a great update today. The utility that adds physical device frames to screenshots now has support for the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple Watch Series 7, additional languages, and more.


Consistency Sin, by Craig Hockenberry,

The consistency sin in Safari was to come up with a good design for iOS and assume that it would also work well on iPadOS and macOS. It practice, these new tabs were difficult to use in a different work environment.

AirTags: Hidden Stalking Menace Or Latest Overblown Urban Myth?, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

It’s important to realize that AirTags don’t offer a new kind of risk. They’re just a new and ill-understood entry in an old game that might encourage some people to go farther than is sensible or legal with regard to tracking other people. Apple should continue to refine parameters around the AirTags to favor safety while still making them useful for finding a lost backpack or keys.

Apple Watch Apps: Their Abandonment Neither Surprises Nor Worries Me, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Many Watch apps simply made no sense. Rather than providing timely access to relevant information, or a one-touch way to do something useful (like unlock a door), they made the apps too complex, requiring too much interaction. Far from making something more convenient than using an iPhone app, they made it more awkward and time-consuming.

Bottom of the Page

Apple really need a rethink on how it runs the App Store so that it can earn that 30 percent honestly. Having to do reactive stuff like this Wordle fiasco, or having developers discovering scam apps for you is not a good thing at all.


Thanks for reading.