'Calendar 2' returns to Mac App Store after Apple takedown, developer to put cryptocurrenc...

in Mac Software edited March 2018
Popular scheduling app "Calendar 2" returned to the Mac App Store on Tuesday after an earlier version of the software sparked concern over its integration of a cryptocurrency miner, with developer Qbix confirming Apple pulled the software citing excessive resource utilization.

Calendar 2 developer Qbix caused a bit of a stir on Monday when it was discovered that a recent update added a cryptocurrency miner, which users were able to activate to access premium features in lieu of payment.

As highlighted in a report from ArsTechnica, users were given the option to mine Monero through an integrated xmr-stack miner, a feature rarely seen in apps that pass Apple's App Store review process. Under Calendar 2's now-deprecated system, mining was set up as the app's default option, though users were able pay a one-time fee or subscription rate to unlock all premium features, or access a no-frills version of the app for free.

The feature's inclusion prompted speculation that Apple is now allowing cryptocurrency miners, or apps with such functionality, into its walled garden.

According to Qbix founder Gregory Magarshak, the miner experienced issues when it rolled out. First, and perhaps most concerning, was a bug that caused it to run indefinitely even when users selected a non-default payment option. A second flaw granted the miner access to more than an intended 10 to 20 percent of available CPU resources. It was this second issue that ultimately prompted the app's removal.

Explained the situation to AppleInsider, Magarshak said it was Apple that pulled Calendar 2 from the App Store, with the takedown occurring about an hour after the developer told ArsTechnica it planned to disable the mining feature in a future release. Work on that iteration was already underway when the original story broke on Monday.

According to Magarshak, Apple cited a violation of the App Store Review Guidelines, specifically section 2.4.2 which states, "Design your app to use power efficiently. Apps should not rapidly drain battery, generate excessive heat, or put unnecessary strain on device resources."

Qbix worked with Apple to expedite the reinsertion of Calendar 2 -- without cryptocurrency mining -- to the App Store, and the software went live earlier today.

Users are informed of the cryptocurrency miner's removal in the app's release notes, and Qbix apologizes to "users who had a bad experience" with the previous release. To make up for its perceived missteps, which were not meant to be nefarious, the developer is granting free premium tier access to all comers for a year, adding that a subsequent release will unlock those features for existing users. As Magarshak notes, the app has racked up more than 753,000 users to date, making the promotion quite substantial.

As for Calendar 2's cryptocurrency mining, the firm generated about $2,000 in current pricing over the three-day period in which the feature was live. Qbix will sink those funds back into the app to improve features, Magarshak says.

For his part, Magarshak said he believes in the future of cryptocurrency, but expressed concerns over the rising global energy consumption that so-called "proof of work" computing drives. To that end, Qbix started a spinoff company called Intercoin in a bid to create a global currency and payment network that does not rely on proof of work or proof of stake computing.

The takedown of Calendar 2, or more specifically Apple's reasoning behind the takedown, sheds little light on the company's stance on cryptocurrency miners. For now, at least, it is unlikely that miners of the same ilk will be admitted onto the App Store.


  • Reply 1 of 11
    scholarazwascholarazwa Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    To me, it's a matter of trust. You put cryptocurrency miner in my app - you will lose me as a customer forever.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    Well, this "popular" calendar app doesn't support basic macOS controls. How is someone with disabilities going to use this? Answer is simple: He don't use it. So, this hubbub is about a bad designed 3rd party app that added non purpose related functionality that did even was running all time do a "bug". Testing isn't really hard to do especial with simple things like on and off.
  • Reply 3 of 11

    This just keeps re-affirming what I've always felt - stick to the stock apps. I'd rather use the Spartan built-in apps on my Mac and iPhone if they are available, compared to a third party app.

    A few months back I went on this long quest to organise my life and tried to get into the GTD mode. I tried OmniFocus, Things, CommitTo3 and god knows how many other "productivity" apps.

    I finally ended up using a basic spreadsheet on Numbers and lists on the Reminders app, which essentially gave me all I needed.

    OT: I created a Word document on my iPhone last evening and chose to save it on iCloud. After the document was saved, MS Word started whining (via a prompt) saying that I had free space on OneDrive and would I please use it the next time? I said "no", of course!

  • Reply 4 of 11
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,531member
    I echo Scholarazwa's sentiment about this: even if you are upfront about your use of crypto-mining in your app in exchange for "premium" features, that's an automatic nope for me. The "cost" of your crypto-mining on my equipment, bandwidth, security, and power are far higher than if you'd just charged me a modest subscription, and of course the whole crypto-currency market is setting us all up for a damaging economic crash (as if Wall Street and Washington weren't busy doing that for us already).

    Apple would be very smart to utterly ban crypto-mining in apps where that's not its sole function (as they appear to now be doing) and leave that to the Android/Windows side: in the short term Android/Win would pick up a lot of (mostly shady) developers because they're unlikely to disclose the mining, but in the medium term the Android/Win experience would become even more degraded than it currently is, and drive people to a platform where you can actually use your stuff without wearing it out in the first couple-three years.

    If I choose to mine crypto-currencies, I should be able to undertake that because I understand what the costs are, and the rewards of it go to me. I don't agree, overtly or covertly, with my machines crypto-mining for someone else.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    TuuborTuubor Posts: 50member
    That is some ugly calendar app. The design looks like from the 90’s. 
  • Reply 6 of 11
    "Qbix will sink those funds back into the app to improve features, Magarshak says" So basically, they are simply keeping the money. But then again looks like they need it. Its the first Mac App I have seen in ages, that actually looks like a Windows XP-era software..
  • Reply 7 of 11
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,397member
    Why did Apple allow this app into the App Store in the first place? The expedited processing by Apple to get the offending application replaced quickly makes me believe that Apple bears joint responsibility for this fiasco. There are obviously some cracks in the garden wall.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 922member
    Tuubor said:
    That is some ugly calendar app. The design looks like from the 90’s. 
    Do you remember Now-Up-To-Date? haha
  • Reply 9 of 11
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,919member
    New features like; a new house, a new car…
  • Reply 10 of 11
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,516administrator
    mcdave said:
    New features like; a new house, a new car…
    Well, developers, like writers, need to eat. The "race to the bottom" on so many things doesn't help.

    This wasn't the way to do it, though.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,194member
    Tuubor said:
    That is some ugly calendar app. The design looks like from the 90’s. 
    This, as far as I'm concerned, is the only thing of importance here. It is ugly. Very ugly. There is no way that would ever grace my hardware.

    As to the crypto aspect— yawn. Who cares. It was offered as an option. Conspiracists will conclude the bug allowing it to run full time was deliberate coding. I don't know one way or the other. Apple apparently pulled it for reasons other than duplicity. I think people see the sky falling and it isn't.

    I don't care to share my computing power with anybody, including SETI or any other well meaning organization. But if someone had a lot of throughput and CPU to spare in trade for a good app, I could see a small market. Digital sweat equity.

    As I said, that's one ugly app, so those are the two reasons it would never be dowloaded to my iron.
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