Zoom seemingly granted access to private iPad camera API

Posted:
in General Discussion
Zoom appears to have been granted access to a previously unknown iPad software feature that allows camera access during Split View multitasking, one developer claims.

Credit: Zoom
Credit: Zoom


The feature was discovered by mobile developer Jeremy Provost, who said that he was "surprised to see that Zoom had somehow been able to tap into using the camera during iPad Split View multitasking." That currently isn't an API-level feature for developers, and Apple has not made any announcement related to the functionality.

Provost notes that it's useful for teleconferencing, since it allows users to view notes or presentations while on a video call.

Provost said his team reached out to Zoom and the teleconferencing company responded, revealing the existence of an apparently "private process" open to a select number of developers.

"Unfortunately, unlike with CarPlay there is no public process for requesting this entitlement. In fact, its existence is not even documented by Apple publicly," Provost said.

Fellow developer Michael Tsai highlighted the API in a blog post this week.

Although Apple claims to treat every developer the same, some evidence to the contrary has surfaced during the Epic Games v. Apple trial. For example, Apple reportedly has a set of whitelisted developers -- which includes Hulu -- that are able to gain special subscription-based features.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 342member
    It’s a business. Apple can do as it pleases. This typical of all large companies. 
    williamlondoncypresstreellamajony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,835member
    It’s called pilot testing new features. You need real world results but you don’t want to release to everyone yet. My company does that internally with many ERP feature upgrades. 
    DogpersonwilliamlondonraybobyronlgenovelleStrangeDaysjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,399member
    Although Apple claims to treat every developer the same, some evidence to the contrary has surfaced during the Epic Games v. Apple trial. For example, Apple reportedly has a set of whitelisted developers -- which includes Hulu -- that are able to gain special subscription-based features.
    Yes, the idea of pilot testing new features does seem to slightly contradict the idea of treating all developers equally, but on a scale of 1 to 100 of evilness this contradiction is only a 3. Apple should clarify what it means and all should be well.
    raybollamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    That sounds a bit misleading.  The feature sounds more like a beta of a new feature being tested by some developers with the chops to professionally work with Apple on it than it does a Microsoft style competitive secret feature set
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    clexmanclexman Posts: 165member
    jimh2 said:
    It’s a business. Apple can do as it pleases. This typical of all large companies. 
    It also says one thing publicly and does another privately. I guess, also typical.

    Beta test is nonsense. This is available on the official app. You could use that excuse if labeled it as experimental or limited access to the feature.
    shareef777williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingambyronladdicted44elijahgPeza
  • Reply 6 of 20
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,167member
    Applying app store rules equally and fairly across all developers is not incompatible with testing new/undocumented features with trusted partners. 
    williamlondonionicleforegoneconclusionericthehalfbeerandominternetpersonllamajony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    ITGUYINSDITGUYINSD Posts: 274member
    jungmark said:
    It’s called pilot testing new features. You need real world results but you don’t want to release to everyone yet. My company does that internally with many ERP feature upgrades. 
    "pilot testing" a feature on the #1 video conferencing app used by millions of people for business and students for school, during a pandemic?  Hardly...
    edited May 8 crowleywilliamlondonaddicted44Peza
  • Reply 8 of 20
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,224member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    jungmark said:
    It’s called pilot testing new features. You need real world results but you don’t want to release to everyone yet. My company does that internally with many ERP feature upgrades. 
    "pilot testing" a feature on the #1 video conferencing app used by millions of people for business and students for school, during a pandemic?  Hardly...
    I was going to say the exact same thing. Zoom isn’t a great candidate for a pilot, it’d make far more sense to go for a smaller provider.
    addicted44
  • Reply 9 of 20
    ITGUYINSD said:
    jungmark said:
    It’s called pilot testing new features. You need real world results but you don’t want to release to everyone yet. My company does that internally with many ERP feature upgrades. 
    "pilot testing" a feature on the #1 video conferencing app used by millions of people for business and students for school, during a pandemic?  Hardly...
    Because *you* know. More a case of something about which to bitch and complain, knowing nothing, but then again Chicken Little wasn't a very smart bird.
    montrosemacsericthehalfbeejony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 902member
    jimh2 said:
    It’s a business. Apple can do as it pleases. This typical of all large companies. 
    Personally, I disagree with this move on apple’s part and can’t imagine what they were thinking. While I agree with your statement, this will most assuredly wind up in a lawsuit. People seem hell-bent on turning Apple into a Windows/android machine. They’re not giving up until this dilutes they brand and it is indistinguishable from any other computer. 

    I also fault apple’s management who make these decisions and it’s these times when I wish they had someone at the helm that was like Steve Jobs. He would be shutting down everyone who is allowing such things and wouldn’t be hiding from the plethora of lawsuits that currently exist. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 20
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 826member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    jungmark said:
    It’s called pilot testing new features. You need real world results but you don’t want to release to everyone yet. My company does that internally with many ERP feature upgrades. 
    "pilot testing" a feature on the #1 video conferencing app used by millions of people for business and students for school, during a pandemic?  Hardly...

    Thanks for pointing that out. That's hilarious and makes a mockery of the concept of pilot testing.

    This is whatever the opposite of pilot testing would be.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 20
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,224member
    clexman said:
    jimh2 said:
    It’s a business. Apple can do as it pleases. This typical of all large companies. 
    It also says one thing publicly and does another privately. I guess, also typical.

    Beta test is nonsense. This is available on the official app. You could use that excuse if labeled it as experimental or limited access to the feature.
    So you get to decide what testing a feature means to an independent company. Do you really believe Apple just comes out with any feature that has not had some testing with partners they trust. Giving access to something zoom may have even came up with to test in
    the real world without tipping off Apple’s competitors make total sense. 
    StrangeDaysericthehalfbeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,393member
    clexman said:
    jimh2 said:
    It’s a business. Apple can do as it pleases. This typical of all large companies. 
    It also says one thing publicly and does another privately. I guess, also typical.

    Beta test is nonsense. This is available on the official app. You could use that excuse if labeled it as experimental or limited access to the feature.
    I believe the commenter was suggesting Apple may be beta testing/piloting how such an API feature should work, and selected Zoom to try it. Not that the app release itself is beta. 
    edited May 8 williamlondonericthehalfbeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    mike54mike54 Posts: 440member
    I would assume it would be for testing. However, as proven Apple does treat developers differently despite what they say publicly.
    The fact is that corporations and businesses routinely lie to their employees, customers, suppliers, funders and shareholders to varying degrees depending on purpose.
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 20
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,207member
    jimh2 said:
    It’s a business. Apple can do as it pleases. This typical of all large companies. 
    Well no, it can't. There are things called "laws" which dictate what exactly a company can do in many areas. Look up United States vs Microsoft Corp if you still think companies can do what they want. Either way that's not the point, it's the fact that bigger developers get access to things that a smaller developer's app would be rejected for. That's not the "same rules apply to everyone" as Cook said, and presumably now regrets.
    MplsPmuthuk_vanalingamPeza
  • Reply 16 of 20
    ivanhivanh Posts: 564member
    jungmark said:
    It’s called pilot testing new features. You need real world results but you don’t want to release to everyone yet. My company does that internally with many ERP feature upgrades. 
    I didn’t opt-in for public testing with my privacy.  When did Apple ask me for it? Do your company do secret testing without being acknowledged and agreed by your customers?
    PezaFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 17 of 20
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,268member
    elijahg said:
    jimh2 said:
    It’s a business. Apple can do as it pleases. This typical of all large companies. 
    Well no, it can't. There are things called "laws" which dictate what exactly a company can do in many areas. Look up United States vs Microsoft Corp if you still think companies can do what they want. Either way that's not the point, it's the fact that bigger developers get access to things that a smaller developer's app would be rejected for. That's not the "same rules apply to everyone" as Cook said, and presumably now regrets.
    Yet I challenge you to find a single example of an API that some developers get that others don’t,

    You can’t. All you can find is temporary access given to a developer for testing and a wider rollout to all developers later.

    Cook has nothing to regret, unless he’s concerned about whiny haters who grasp at straws to look for something to complain about. We have several in this thread already who think they get to define what beta testing means. Arrogance and stupidity meet.
    williamlondondanoxrandominternetpersonFileMakerFellerjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    danoxdanox Posts: 561member
    genovelle said:
    clexman said:
    jimh2 said:
    It’s a business. Apple can do as it pleases. This typical of all large companies. 
    It also says one thing publicly and does another privately. I guess, also typical.

    Beta test is nonsense. This is available on the official app. You could use that excuse if labeled it as experimental or limited access to the feature.
    So you get to decide what testing a feature means to an independent company. Do you really believe Apple just comes out with any feature that has not had some testing with partners they trust. Giving access to something zoom may have even came up with to test in
    the real world without tipping off Apple’s competitors make total sense. 

    Didn’t Zoom get to use some new feature early on in the pandemic? That wasn’t available before.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    mac_dog said:
    jimh2 said:
    It’s a business. Apple can do as it pleases. This typical of all large companies. 
    Personally, I disagree with this move on apple’s part and can’t imagine what they were thinking. While I agree with your statement, this will most assuredly wind up in a lawsuit. People seem hell-bent on turning Apple into a Windows/android machine. They’re not giving up until this dilutes they brand and it is indistinguishable from any other computer. 

    I also fault apple’s management who make these decisions and it’s these times when I wish they had someone at the helm that was like Steve Jobs. He would be shutting down everyone who is allowing such things and wouldn’t be hiding from the plethora of lawsuits that currently exist. 
    Couldn't disagree more.

    The feature is a no brainer and will probably be announced to everyone at the WWDC.  The number one video conferring platform probably reached out to Apple pointing out that not being able to use the camera with Zoom in split screen mode was so limiting as to almost a bug. They worked together to get it working. That's exactly the kind of thing Jobs (or any smart exec) would have done.

    No grounds for a lawsuit.

    As to your "turning Apple into a Windows/android machine. They’re not giving up until this dilutes they brand and it is indistinguishable from any other computer." comment, I can't imagine what that has to do with this situation. Is the alternative to withhold functionality from developers just to distinguish Apple products (as less functional)?
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 20
    PezaPeza Posts: 192member
    clexman said:
    jimh2 said:
    It’s a business. Apple can do as it pleases. This typical of all large companies. 
    It also says one thing publicly and does another privately. I guess, also typical.

    Beta test is nonsense. This is available on the official app. You could use that excuse if labeled it as experimental or limited access to the feature.
    Exactly, another example of 'special' treatment Apple has given to certain devs. The feature is not a beta or a pilot as it's been available in the app for a while now, and used by millions. I'm sure the competitors of Zoom would like the same access to the api.
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
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