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  • UK NHS coronavirus app update blocked for breaking Apple, Google rules

    Some context from someone who live in the UK and knows people who worked in the digital NHS side of things.

    In Jan of last year the UK GOV quickly started work on their own contact tracing app. This is well before Apple and Google had released their OS level contact tracing API. Just before Apple and Google released a beta of their APIs, the UK Gov had already progressed to the point where they had a working app. They decided to continue down this route having already committed resources and because they were concerned a delay could cost lives. They begun a trial on a small island just as Apple and Google released the first beta of their API. After a week or so it became clear it did not perform to the level they hoped and so they started looking at the Apple and Google API. They found in some cases their algorithms were more accurate than Apple and Google's. This got fed back to Apple and Google who later released an update to the API that improved its accuracy and reliability. At this point the UK contact tracing app was rebuilt on Apple and Google's API. So the UK Gov didn't purposefully snub the Apple and Google API, with good intentions they tired to move fast and found this is really something that needs to be implemented at the OS level.

    The second point of conflict between Apple and the UK Gov is the integration with the NHS's extensive digital information systems. There had been plans to integrate it into various digital services provided by the NHS but Apple's guidelines prevented this. So these features were eventually dropped or substituted for much simpler solutions. There was some resentment within NHS and UK Gov that vital data couldn't be directly fed into their health tracking systems but in the end they realised what was really important and scaled back their ambitions.

    I think we need to acknowledge the difference between Facebook collecting huge amounts of personal data for profit and the NHS collecting data to provide a streamlined digital health service. Privacy of data is always important but the context within which its used needs to be taken into account. I do wonder whether Apple's guidelines on this are too simplistic after all the NHS's goals are very different to that of Facebook's.
  • Qualcomm CEO touts improved relationship with Apple after bitter legal dispute

    I don't expect Apple's modems to beat QC anytime soon even when they do appear. It will likely take time for them to mature their tech. Putting aside performance, I'm more looking forward to Apple being able to deeply integrate a modem into their SOC for the first time. The efficiencies and security this should bring should be huge. QC modems are basically mini computers in their own right, with their own OS. Apple can do away with all of that and build it right into their hardware architecture. It should also mean we finally get modems in MacBook's.
  • Spotify, Tile, and Match Group call Apple anticompetitive at Senate hearing

    Any business that builds on top of someone else's platform or technology is vulnerable. That's why Apple likes to own its core technologies. A lot of these companies clearly don't understand this fact.
  • Developer disputes Apple's take on 'FlickType' removal

    I feel for the developer in regards to Apple’s poor developer communications and processes yet again.

    However Apple is allowed to change their guidelines at any time and I think all developers by now should know if you choose to create a product which is really just a feature or extension of the OS, you are likely to get Sherlocked.
  • Coalition for App Fairness wants iOS app distribution to work like Windows

    Ignoring the politics from a user design perspective I like the simplicity of a single App Store integrated directly into the device. In fact I like the idea of a single unified App Store across all of Apple's devices. It means I only have one place to go for my apps and makes getting and installing updates easy. I especially appreciate this level of simplicity when it comes to my parents and tech illiterate friends.

    I do agree with:

    • Better search and discovery so not the same top apps are brought up every time.
    • Better submission and review process.
    • Cracking down on scam and clone apps.
    • Allow other payment methods but Apple should get a small fee.
    • Simplify the fee structure so everyone pays the same rate.

    I think a lot of the other points are just self serving to the developers at the expense of adding complexity to consumers. I don't like the idea that they are trying to change Apple's ecosystem into an open one, it was never conceived as one. Apple should be allowed to create a "game console" like experience for phones and tablets where only blessed apps run on it and on Apple's terms. If developers don't like it they can freely develop for Android. If consumers don't like it, they can freely buy Android phones. Let the market decide.

    It's clear a lot of these developers either ignore or underplay that Apple spends billions each year to create new hardware, software and services to maintain the attractiveness of the ecosystem to consumers who then buy and use their apps. To say Apple does nothing for their 15% is ridiculous and beyond belief. Most of CAF is self serving, made up of well known, mainly big developers. It's not a true consumer group and the amount of government intervention they are asking for is worrying and could have unintended consequences. It's also uncomfortable that they single out the App Store when half their issues also apply to Google Play Store. If they were being "fair" they should be addressing both stores but instead they focus on the one where they make the most money.
  • Epic expert estimates Apple's App Store profit to be nearly 80%

    Two thoughts are:

    1. It's not a crime or anti-competitive to make any size profit. The issue should never be what percentage Apple charges, businesses should be able to set their own rates and the market decides. Apple should not be forced to set a certain percentage through litigation. Market pressures either from developers not participating on the platform or consumers not buying apps should naturally force Apple to adjust their pricing to be more competitive. In the current market, Apple is pretty much in line with everyone else. Using App Store's so called profit margin as justification to force Apple to lower its rates is just plain wrong. It's not something developers should have any say in. If they don't like it, develop on Android, that's how our market works. You don't get to dictate the profit margins of other businesses just because you don't like it.
    2. Not all the profits from the App Store don't go straight in the back pocket of Apple. I expect a lot of it gets reinvested to develop new hardware, software and services. Seems to be a common theme with these big developers arguing that Apple does very little to justify the profit they make on the App Store. Total rubbish, they continually develop the hardware and software the App Store runs on and that costs a lot of money.

    If Epic win this it's going to set a very bad precedent for many businesses. Suddenly businesses can ignore their contracts and force other businesses to change their rates because they don't like that they make too much money.

    It's crazy how many tech CEOs really have a persecution complex and feel entitled to everything.
  • Qualcomm CEO touts improved relationship with Apple after bitter legal dispute

    He has to put a positive spin on things but the reality is Apple was able to redefine their relationship which limits QC ability to earn money off them in the long run. It didn't quite work out as Apple wanted but they got what they needed which was enough time and IP to build their own solution. Due to QC sheer amount of IP Apple will still need to pay some license fees but those won't be on the basis of sales like it was before. To be honest I was surprised QC settled like this because this really does suit Apple, they were even able to buy Intel's IP in the end.
  • Initial iFixit teardown of M1 iMac reveals big changes, tiny parts

    The two large metal plates look almost like acoustic chambers for the speakers which would help explain why such small speakers can produce pretty good sound. They would have to cover a large area to provide enough volume for such a thin computer. They could also just be there to strengthen the case but I'm not very convinced about that.