Side-Loading and Third-Party App Stores →

The biggest argument I've heard in support of side-loading and third-party app stores for iOS is:

I'm paying over $1,000 for my device. I should have the right to do whatever I want with it!

While I do agree with that sentiment, I firmly believe that would only lead to a shitty path for iOS. Marco Arment perfectly illustrates my my same sentiments:

I don’t expect side-loading or alternative app stores to become possible, and I’m relieved, because that is not a future I want for iOS.

When evaluating such ideas, I merely ask myself:

“What would Facebook do?”

Facebook owns four of the top ten apps in the world. If side-loading became possible, Facebook could remove Instagram, WhatsApp, the Facebook app, and Messenger from Apple’s App Store, requiring customers to install these extremely popular apps directly from Facebook via side-loading.

And everyone would.

And then:

Alternative app stores would be even worse. Rather than offering individual apps via side-loading, Facebook could offer just one:

The Facebook App Store.

Instagram, WhatsApp, the Facebook app, and Messenger could all be available exclusively there.

The majority of iOS users in the world would soon install it, and Facebook would start using leverage in other areas — apps’ social accounts, stats packages, app-install ads, ad-attribution requirements — to heavily incentivize (and likely strong-arm) a huge number of developers to offer their apps in the Facebook App Store, likely in addition to Apple’s.

Maybe I’d be required to add the Facebook SDK to my app in order to be in their store, which they would then use to surveil my users.

Maybe I’d need to buy app-install ads to show up in search there at all.

Maybe I’d need to pay Facebook to “promote” each app update to reach more than a tiny percentage of my existing customers.

This would be true for any conglomerate, including Amazon and Google. But I'm specifically concerned about Facebook.

We all know how much Zuckerberg hates Apple for implementing so many tracking-prevention measures that harms Facebook's business model. There's no doubt in my mind that Facebook would leverage its apps against Apple.

I support this.

At the very, very least, Apple needs to allow developers to offer alternative payment options:

  • all in-app purchases must offer a Pay with iTunes option
  • the Pay with iTunes button must be more prominent than any other payment option

WWDC 2019

Here's a quick rundown of my favorite updates announced at Apple's annual WWDC.

tvOS

  • Xbox One and PS4 controller support for games

watchOS 6

  • watchOS App Store => Apple Watch Independence!
  • streaming support
  • menstrual cycle tracking

iOS 13

  • system-wide dark mode
  • built-in swipe typing
  • Maps: favorites, collections, street view
  • up to 30% faster Face ID
  • up to 2x faster app launch
  • Sign in with Apple button — privacy-focused version of "Sign in with Facebook/Twitter/Google"
  • HomeKit Secure Video — store videos from HomeKit cameras to iCloud
  • HomeKit support for routers
  • iMessage Profiles — add your own display name, avatar. Only people in your contacts can see this.
  • Memoji — makeup, hats, piercings
  • Memoji stickers — automatically turns your memoji into a sticker pack with all standard emoji facial expressions
  • Video editing in Photos app
  • dual iCloud accounts per device (for personal and work)
  • smaller volume HUD — changing volume doesn't bring the stupid dialog in the middle of the screen

Siri

  • auto-announce messages on AirPods
  • audio sharing — play your music on a friend's AirPods
  • Music HandOff to HomePod — music on your iPhone will continue on your HomePod with a physical tap
  • live radio stations on HomePod
  • Siri Shortcut Events — automatically run shortcuts based on an event
  • Voice ID for HomePod => multi-user support

iPadOS 13

  • multiple windows for the same app
  • easily switching Slide Over apps
  • App Exposé
  • Safari: download manager
  • third-party font management
  • built in Zip/Unzip files
  • three-finger swipe gesture to undo/redo
  • mouse support (hidden as accessibility option)
  • iCloud Folder Sharing
  • network drives support in Files app
  • USB/SD drives support in Files app

Mac Pro

  • starts at $5,999
  • $4,999 - $5,999 for 32" monitor
  • $999 for monitor stand (LOL)

macOS Catalina

  • Project Catalyst and SwiftUI— an easy way for developers to make apps for ALL of Apple's platforms! The future of the Apple ecosystem.
  • SideCar — wirelessly use your iPad as a second monitor
  • full voice control
  • Find My - combines Find My iPhone, Find My Friends into one app. WORKS WITH OFFLINE DEVICES
  • Activation Lock — like iOS, if someone steals your MacBook, you can lock it down so they cannot format your computer.
  • approve with Apple Watch — like Unlock with Apple Watch but for EVERYTHING

ARKit 3

  • people inclusion — people are detected in real-time and AR elements can visibly work around people
  • motion capture for people

iPhone Forever →

MG Siegler on The $1,500 iPhone, the next (last?) stop on the march towards 'Apple Prime':

It just makes sense. I do believe this year may be an aforementioned test of Apple’s customers willingness to pay insanely high prices for a phone. I can’t see the trend continuing with the $2,000 iPhone. But actually, I can! It will just be obfuscated by monthly payments. Just as it used to be in the days of carrier subsidies! But this time, such payments will be going directly to Apple.

Again, this is already happening for those of us on the iPhone Upgrade Program. And it means there is no $1,500 iPhone, it’s more like a $60/month iPhone. And you can easily talk yourself into it because thanks to being eligible for a yearly upgrade to the latest iPhone, you’re never paying full price for a device. Instead, if you do the math (which most won’t), you’re paying roughly half the cost for the top-of-the-line model over that year.

Of course, you’re also paying Apple in perpetuity! And this monthly bill is only going to go up as they bake in AppleCare (which they do), theft protection (new this year!), and eventually all sorts of other goodies: iCloud storage, Apple Music, Apple Television (the service, not the box), etc.

This is how Apple truly becomes a services business. And it’s happening in front of our very eyes.

This is exactly what makes Amazon Prime so successful — start with a killer service, charge a monthly fee, constantly add new value and perks to make it impossible for subscribers to leave, and slowly raise the price.

I can absolutely see Apple working towards this.

I’m not sure when Apple realized and started executing upon this gradual price increase strategy. My best guess is just after 2011, when the top-of-the-line price started inching upwards again. Perhaps (almost certainly?) not coincidentally, this was the same year they let carriers subsidize old models down to $0. Apple let the lowest iPhone hit the bottom in order to set the top-of-the-line on a trajectory towards the stratosphere.

And it worked, rather beautifully. Now, I believe, the $1,500 iPhone offers a glimpse into Apple’s next phase. The $99/month, forever, iPhone.

iPhone forever.

Smartphone Depreciation →

MusicMagpie:

Like most technology, smartphones lose their value over time. As new models are released with improved features and capabilities, people start to lose interest in older models, and with this decreased demand comes a dip in value.

However, this depreciation doesn’t always happen at a steady rate – certain things can cause sudden drops. Knowing the best time to sell your phone can help make sure you get the most money possible.

The Only Conclusion for Apple Criticism →

Jonathan Kim:

I really wish I was exaggerating, but these seven reasons are the main ways Apple critics attempt to explain why someone would choose to buy products critics believe are both overpriced and inferior to their competition. Because if you’ve already come to the conclusion that Apple products are overpriced and inferior, but hundreds of millions of people still buy them, the only conclusion must be that there is something seriously wrong with the people who buy them.