Thursday Morning News
Apple’s new App Store webpage explains how they created the App Store with two goals: to be a safe and trusted place for customers to download apps, as well as being a great business opportunity for all developers. The page makes a good case for how the App Store provides a fair playing field for all, pointing out the various pricing models used successfully on the App Store. Apple also points out that there are many third-party apps that compete with Apple’s own, although without the ability to set app defaults on iOS, it’s perhaps a bit of a reach to suggest that an app like Gmail can really compete with the built-in Mail client.
Bloomberg has an interview with Phillip Shoemaker, who ran the App Store’s app review team from 2009 to 2016. Shoemaker gives us a glimpse into what it was like for his team to review apps as a day job, as well as some of the changes Apple has made to app review since the early days of the App Store. He also points out concerns within Apple that third-party developers could create apps that would replace core iPhone functions, even though Apple now adopts the practice of adding features to its own apps based on what the competition are doing in theirs.
9to5Mac has screenshots of what they claim are the new music and TV apps on macOS 10.15. While the new music app is based on iTunes and will likely have many of its predecessor’s features, both apps share a similar design language and appear to be simpler overall. Still, the biggest change here is a subtle one, and that’s the return of colourful sidebar icons, something we haven’t had since the great colour purge of 2010 when iTunes 10 moved to grey, bland icons. Even though the apps seem to have their own theme colour for these icons, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
The Verge calls for a little courage when it comes to the Mac, saying that if the company is eventually going to have the vast majority of Mac apps built using Marizpan, then it might as well rip that bandaid off right now and do all of them. That’s nice and all in theory, but I can see many issues with what they’re proposing. Apple has never been particularly transparent about its development processes, and I, for one, wouldn’t one this Marizpan-ification effort to take away from other improvement projects.
AppleInsider says that if you can’t see a market for the new iPod touch released earlier this week, you aren’t looking very hard. They call out several markets including youth and enterprise, both of which have a need to have a relatively inexpensive device that runs iOS to perform various tasks. Not to mention developers, who also use iPod touch devices as testbeds before loading apps onto their main iPhone. While you and I may not have purchased a new iPod in several years, that doesn’t mean that everyone hasn’t.
Microsoft’s latest version of Excel for iOS devices now allows users to import a spreadsheet from a picture. Being able to take a picture of a table and have it converted to a spreadsheet is a pretty cool use of the technology, I’ll admit, but I’d arguably be more excited about this if spreadsheets were more exciting in general.
New Pokémon apps are coming next year, with Pokémon Sleep set to gamify your sleep schedule/pattern, and Pokémon Home being a hub for the rest of your Pokémon activities. Details are still pretty light, but I think the idea behind Home will be that it will serve as a one-stop shop for your Pokémon trading activities across all the platforms Pokémon games are available on, including non-iOS handhelds.
Today’s Apple Support article tells us about turning on the three-finger drag gesture for those of you using a Force Touch Trackpad. Apparently I had forgotten that there were some things that you couldn’t do on the Force Touch trackpad, including dragging things around your screen, but as it turns out, Apple has exactly the gesture you’re looking for. Call it the slightly different three-finger salute.
Developer David Smith has ideas for a better subscription experience on iOS, and it all starts with intention. By removing any doubt about the effect their actions will have, Apple can make any subscription be the easiest, effortless thing in the world. But it’s more than just making the signup process as transparent as possible, the rest of the subscription process has to be equally as good.
Engadget says that Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats, way back in 2014, has already paid off. Apple Music is arguably the most successful music streaming service in the world, and Beats products themselves have gone from strength to strength with Apple’s hardware expertise and supply chain clout. It’s also interesting to see that Beats has stuck around as a brand — instead of being absorbed into the Apple whole, Beats headphones still carry their own branding, even if their internals are sometimes enhanced by Apple tech.