They're exploiting their near-monopoly to expand their ownership and control of user actions and make more money. They know most of their users won't notice, and many won't care.
It's absolutely bonkers how much Apple gets away with today, when Microsoft got torn apart for abusing their monopoly 20 years ago for things that weren't even 1% as abusive as what Apple is doing here. Microsoft got attacked for bundling an internet browser with their OS. Can you imagine the outrage if Windows started swapping Google URLs for Bing ones or iTunes links for Microsoft-owned properties?
Saying "for bundling an internet browser with their OS" is a massive understatement. They forced manufacturers to not only bundle their browser but would seize working with them if they bundled a competitors browser.
They also took deliberate steps to make sure their software didn't work on competitors machines. They acted like the competitors software was broken while it was simply a check to see if it was MS-DOS (see DR DOS).
Yes Apple should be slapped with an anti-trust case especially when iTunes was nearly the only place where you could buy music. But acting like Microsoft wasn't run by a bunch of anti-competitive pricks makes it look like we've already forgotten about the Halloween documents.
It's free in the same way that any iOS APIs are, but one could argue that there's a cost in terms of development and QA resources, etc. https://developer.apple.com/documentation/sirikit
Digital assistants do not exist to serve you or your interests. You should assume that your every interaction with one will be exploited in some way for someone else's benefit, or leaked and/or sold to some third party without your knowledge, or both.
I'm not saying apple isn't wrong for what they're doing to sneakily drive more traffic to their own services for profit, but this is exactly the sort of thing you should expect.
Correct. Siri is Apple's tool, not yours despite appearences:
These are tools that should be serving their users, not their creators.
The reasonable expectation is that a digital assistant will work for its user and not the corporation that sold it. The corporation is trading on this expectation to exploit its users.
"If you can't freely do anything on the device you own, you're the one owned."
A task it can do, but choose to do a different task, that is better in the intereet of the corporation.
It is a quite harmles example, but it is zelling of the general state of things and where we are heading.
If I buy a device I assume I own it. Thats how it should be. Not that I rent it and the rules to rent change all the time.
The first step to a better world is acknowledging the prime driver of self interest in human action and designing systems that support that while protecting from too much power. This historically meant strong property rights, strong speech rights and strong antitrust regulation. Wishing that someone would exercise their property and speech rights differently isn't an effective system and regulating them into right think and right action robs us of innovation because there's no reason for anyone to put in the extra effort to make something better beyond trivial improvements since they won't get to keep that benefit while they pay the cost of development, it is far easier to just stay mediocre and not stick your head out.
Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Analytics & Improvements -> Improve Siri and Dictation switch.
It has the explanatory text ‘Help improve Siri and Dictation by allowing Apple to store and review audio of your Siri and Dictation interactions from this device.’ next to it.
I’m pretty sure the initial state of this is set by your response to a specific question about it during phone setup.
Apple is currently being sued because they only apply their "do not use analytics" setting to other companies analytics. Apple analytics still track you.
Given that, I would not trust any privacy setting from this company.
The complaint alleges, I think, that if you switch off ‘device analytics’ on your phone (the ‘Share iPhone Analytics’ setting?), the App Store app will still send some data about your device to Apple.
At least according to these researchers and this lawsuit.
Now whether it does respect my choice or still record but disable triggering is another matter, but that's sadly the world we got into with our purchasing choices of phones, and why I support the EU going after such privacy issues.
I had the crazy thought that I'd try it before rage-posting.
I am not defending Apple’s practices, I just find the omission on a website called “time to play fair” sweetly ironic.
 Not sure if "fee" is the correct term, but it's certainly not a tax, because those are issued by governmental organizations by definition (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax).
They're an absolutely terrible company, and are actively ruining something I love which is general purpose computing with the user as owner. Fuck Apple.
> Us: "Hey Apple, we love your watch; can we make an app for that?" Them: "nah
The first Apple Watch was slow, and didn’t have any real third party apps at all. They were basically all running on the phone and displaying things slowly on the Watch.
> Apple rejects Spotify's proposal for an Apple Watch app yet again (2016)
This was before the cellular watch came out. How much good would any streaming service be with wifi only? Even then, for battery saving reasons, the Watch really preferred Bluetooth to communicate with the phone
> This app update means that rival apps have to agree not to “directly or indirectly target iOS users to use a purchasing method other than IAP or discourage the use of IAP.”
No retailer is going to let a company advertise how to buy products cheaper somewhere else.
> Apple finally allows enhanced functionality for the Spotify app on the Apple Watch (2018)
And it took Spotify over two years to support streaming music from the Watch.
And now they introduce their own “podcast player” that can’t play podcasts - ie audio hosted on a server where I can subscribe to a RSS feed.
That was an odd way to elide over the idea that a "retailer" can now stay in your pocket for 2-60 years and become a middleman to every financial transaction.
Many do. I’ve bought plenty of products that, inside the packaging or via product registration, try to get you to use their first party store fronts.
I agree that nobody works allow you to advertise this on the packaging, but within the package is a different story.
However, I have written a few Watch apps.
It’s quite difficult, and there are severe limitations, due (I suspect) to power-saving and limited display size stuff (in addition to all the private SDK restrictions, and privacy/sandbox safeguards that all Apple platforms have). The SDK is frustratingly hobbled, and the Watch, itself, wasn’t really (in my opinion) usable, until Generation 4. Nowadays, I see them everywhere (but I live in a fairly affluent area, so I see Apple kit all over the place).
I can’t imagine hybrid apps (like Ionic or React Native) working on the Watch, so it needs to be done in native Swift and/or ObjC. There’s actually a dearth of true native developers (I am one, and find it difficult to connect with others that I can talk to).
Apple shouldn't let developers waste my five grams of battery on inefficient apps which give a bad experience.
Not having charge at the end of the day is the definitive bad experience for a watch.
Now I'm going to go back to being annoyed that Apple won't let anyone else write a watch face, even if they do a good job.
But we’re not talking about a fly-by-night startup - Spotify has a good deal of resources and the requirements for their application are pretty straightforward. Yet every single time I use it it fails in some stupid, unintelligible way. It has a couple of very obvious race conditions in the UI, and it took years to get to this state. I have some sympathy for the difficulty of the implementation but at this point it’s a bit of a joke.
Could that not also be used to describe Apple's business practices, who forces Spotify to charge higher prices on their platform? Or their move to block Epic Games from releasing their own software storefront? Or how they force people to use a single browser engine?
Petty grievances make the world go round, friend. If you want to throw stones at Spotify though, I should first warn you that your glass house is awfully fragile.
And you could also get a subscription at the lower price by going directly to Spotify. How is this any different than any other product that you can get at a lower price by going directly to the vendor?
Can I put my (hypothetical) music on Spotify without them getting a cut? Hell I can’t even subscribe to a podcast by entering the feed url manually with Spotify’s “podcast player”.
> Or their move to block Epic Games from releasing their own software storefront?
How did that work out on Android when they tried?
We can't assume that communications will happen in realtime. Even Apple's apps have some weird lag, and unpredictability. It's far better on the newest Watches. I've watched it improve, over generations (I currently have an 8, but my earliest one was a 2).
Any app that requires realtime sync with the phone is gonna have issues (I have tried writing them, and learned this, the hard way).
Surprisingly, not entirely straightforward. Source: working at Spotify.
Should the app be better? OF COURSE. But the scenarios it can be used in can be weird and complicated by legal matters.
If a user on free tier joins a group session over wi-fi at a friend's house, when the friend has premium subscription, what happens to queues, song skips, and what status is displayed on which devices? :) Note: even getting the device name is often tricky.
And there are hundreds of such use cases per device because different devices have different capabilities and limitations (on some devices you don't even have control over the UI presented to the user).
Without revealing too much, there's an ongoing work to make this stuff better, faster, more seamless, and from personal experience Spotify has been better across devices in recent years. But... It's still weird, brittle at times, and takes time to propagate to some devices and apps.
But it should get better (don't quote me on that :)) )
But the flip-side of that is that every single time I try to use this software—something I fork over money for every month—it fails in some baffling, opaque way. At that level it’s more of a management and prioritisation issue - this is exactly the sort of thing that is likely to make me throw my hands up and switch to an alternative.
It's weird that it actually fails in some ways, and constantly. But then, I myself use it only as a background music player during the week, and as a podcast player in my car, so I definitely don't use it in a variety of scenarios.
> At that level it’s more of a management and prioritisation issue
Actual failures are tracked and prioritised. Sometimes the fixes don't get propagated to all systems quick enough, or they are deprioritised because there's something that affects an even larger number of users (it could be anything from parity of features to bugs to certain behaviours).
Most corporations, over a certain size, tend to develop an internal SDK/dependency, that needs to be reflected in all their software. This can bring all sorts of issues.
I can't , but I am free to create a phone and OS first, bundle my app in and compete with Apple like this... so the better Siri will not happen , users suffer a lower quality app and will ignore Siri because is garbage, only Apple wins.
I'll instead ask- what has Spotify actually done to stay competitive in streaming music since being founded in 2006? Apple has actually innovated in this space and frankly has a much stronger offering today despite launching 9 years later (higher stream quality, spatial audio, more money to artists, larger library). I won't claim Apple is perfect by any means, but Spotify really doesn't garner my sympathy either as the company who's chief "innovation" has been trying to snuff out independent podcasts and lobbying the EU for protectionism.
The music industry will always get 70% of revenue for streaming music. The video streaming services for the most part negotiate a fixed cost license and then as they grew, they could theoretically spread the cost.
Of course every OS has “private functionality” that is not exposed to untrusted third party apps. Do you want every application to have root level access to your device? The private enclave?
Apple usually dog foods any new APIs before making them public. Once you make an API public, you’re stuck with it warts on all. Apple can also do things in ways that would be insecure for third parties to have access to.
For instance, in iOS 2 (?) Apple had an internal app extensions framework and in the US, was hard coded to support Facebook and Twitter.
A few years later, Apple had extensions framework where the extension was in a separate process for security and opened it up.
It took years for Apple to come up with a decent Siri intents framework for any third party and still Spotify took years to support all of the features that they complained about after Apple implemented the APIs.
Nobody is mad about iOS existing or using custom entitlements. Nobody is mad about the App Store existing or charging 30% on top of most IAPs/transactions. Nobody is angry at Apple for shipping Safari by default, or even for loading up iOS and MacOS with uncontrollable telemetry.
We're mad that we don't have options. Apple has no reason to arbitrarily limit our options besides personal profit, which is something they objectively do not need. That's what people are going to bring up during antitrust hearings, and it's the stuff you can't refute with "oh muh security". Apple is a hardware vendor that uses their status to abuse the software market, much like Microsoft did with the early web before they were brought to heel by antitrust hearings. The writing is on the wall for Apple, private entitlements or no they're headed straight to the hot-seat.
Sure you do, you have the same option that 70% of mobile users exercise - buy an Android device.
> much like Microsoft did with the early web before they were brought to heel by antitrust hearings
This is another false trope. Absolutely nothing happened in the US as a result of the anti trust trial with respect to Microsoft bundling IE with Windows. There was no forced unbundling, no “browser choice” nothing.
> That's what people are going to bring up during antitrust hearings
Those same arguments landed with a big thud during the Epic vs Apple trial.
I didn't buy an Android device, though. I bought an iPhone, and Apple is the one limiting the software I run on it. It's a closed case: Apple does not deserve the right to dictate what software people run on the devices they own. There is no degree of apologism that refutes this.
> Absolutely nothing happened in the US as a result of the anti trust trial with respect to Microsoft bundling IE with Windows.
They were still found guilty though, and the only reason they escaped prosecution was because they appealed and instead seeked a settlement under similar terms: https://www.justice.gov/atr/case-document/file/504276/downlo... (page 10).
Their settlement involved the explicit forced sharing of APIs and internal technology (in Apple's case this would be software management).
> the Epic vs Apple trial.
And in fairness, so did Apple's. They used this as an opportunity to subpoena half the industry, and all it revealed is that Apple is in a class of their own when it comes to control over what users are allowed to interact with. Maybe it didn't hit a boiling point with Fortnite, but few things do. At least we have the EU to slap Apple around when they make silly mistakes like the Lightning port.
So you bought a device using your own free will that didn’t meet your needs even though there was an alternative? That’s like someone buying a Tesla and complaining they can’t use gas to power their vehicle.
> Apple does not deserve the right to dictate what software people run on the devices they own. There is no degree of apologism that refutes this
A real judge disagrees with you…
> Their settlement involved the explicit forced sharing of APIs and internal technology (in Apple's case this would be software management).
And that has nothing to do with browser bundling or the App Store. If a single App Store is illegal, that also means all of the console makers and TV smart OS vendors are acting illegally.
Also, today in 2022, Microsoft Office is just as dominant as it was in 2000.
> prosecution was because they appealed and instead seeked
And the “settlement” has nothing to do with browser bundling and in fact, they did release another platform - the XBox where not only were they the only store, even when you buy a physical game, they get a cut.
The device does meet my needs, it has a very capable ARM processor inside and a decent-looking screen. The only thing I need an alternative for is software, and Apple goes out of their way to prevent me from using software that respects my freedom as a user.
> that also means all of the console makers and TV smart OS vendors are acting illegally.
Ah yes, the tried-and-true "but look at [OTHER-INDUSTRY]" strawman. Console and smart TV vendors are not in the smartphone industry, much less even get treated as part of the computing industry. They're regulated as appliances, and if you think the regulation around that should change then I wholly recommend writing to your senator. You might even get me to co-sign it, too!
“yes the Tesla body frame meets my needs. But the battery I knew was bundled with it can’t use unleaded gas and I need to drive to rural areas where there aren’t any battery chargers available.”
> Ah yes, the tried-and-true "but look at [OTHER-INDUSTRY]" strawman. Console and smart TV vendors are not in the smartphone industry, much less even get treated as part of the computing industry. They're regulated as appliances
So consoles “are regulated as appliance” (no they are not regulated much at all) even though they are computers that are meant to serve one purpose. But the phone, which is a computer that is meant to serve one purpose is not an “appliance”.
Where are these “regulations” you speak of?
Are you claiming that Epic would have had no basis to sue console makers on the same grounds they sued (and failed) Google and Apple?
The fair example is if Tesla would only allow you to use Tesla electrons, from Tesla electric generators. I van put non Ford petrol or non Ford oil in my Ford.
I could put my own browser in iOS and it would work just fine but some companies does not allow it, it is not a material thing like your ridiculous example, an IF statement prevents me to run the real Firefox on iOS. When an IF statement in Tesla will prevent you using non Tesla electrons then you can use your shit example.
When OP bought an iPhone on the box it did not said "only runs what Apple thinks is social correct and only what Apple thinks is not a financial risk for Apple".
You sell the hardware and the system software
Or you sell the apps
To your question, a simple example is "Hey Siri" https://machinelearning.apple.com/research/hey-siri
> To avoid running the main processor all day just to listen for the trigger phrase, the iPhone’s Always On Processor (AOP) (a small, low-power auxiliary processor, that is, the embedded Motion Coprocessor) has access to the microphone signal (on 6S and later). We use a small proportion of the AOP’s limited processing power to run a detector with a small version of the acoustic model (DNN). When the score exceeds a threshold the motion coprocessor wakes up the main processor, which analyzes the signal using a larger DNN.
Yes, as with all things they could come up with a way to let third-party apps program the AOP with a different detector, but my point is that Siri has deeper integration into the device.
Apple's privacy and security rules also limit what a third-party app could do. For example, Siri knows what apps you have installed, but apps aren't able to access this information. Siri can make modifications to system settings; apps cannot.
In other words, this particular case isn’t that nefarious: Spotify is publishing the “currently playing” metadata so that other apps can read it, and Apple is consuming it.
If the song itself is not on Spotify, Siri will send a link to a similar one - for example, same name and artist, but a live recording instead of the studio version. If it doesn’t have that, it fails your request and doesn’t send anything.
I can see a use case for this, though: when you play Apple's radio stations in Music.app (and maybe other stations with rich metadata?), the "now playing" area pretends to be the current song. In that case Siri's implementation would send a link of the current song instead of just Apple Music Hits.
seems like Apple didn’t allow it on purpose
Politics also have a huge effect on even what is shared successfully on the web. Companies go to great links to ensure that you don't leave their platform, which also cuts artists out of pay a lot as well.
I also found that Shazam also incorrectly identified many of my songs, and pointed them to music by other artists, that looked like they were getting a lot more plays than me.
The only way I could explain it is that things aren't fair. There is money involved, and the people at the top of the food chain work very hard to ensure they make it without any thought of the independent musicians like us. It's sad, but the gap between being listened to and not being listened too is widening greatly despite all the equality the internet originally promised.
Luckily I run my own website, where the stats and streams aren't all mysteriously low too.
me: i am listening to spotify. i press pause.
macOS: i pause spotify.
me: VERY good. okay, a little bit later i press play. what do you do?
macOS: uh, i unpause a youtube video in a tab from four hours ago
me: try again
macOS: I LAUNCH APPLE MUSIC AND PLAY SONGS OF INNOCENCE
iOS: i pause the podcast.
me: okay, a little bit later i press play. what do you do?
iOS: beeply booply, Voice Control listening…
me: voice control? I have voice control switched off in settings -> accessibility
iOS: why not take your phone out, take your gloves off, cancel voice control, lock unlock to get rid of the unlock prompt and get the Lock Screen back then press play on it?
Me: can I voice control “play”?
iOS: apparently not, no.
None of my Apple Bluetooth headphones send a play command but some of my previous third party ones did.
Some of them allow changing that default but it’s not the OS that’s the issue, it’s the headphones. The OS is simply doing what it’s being told to do.
I tried multiple phrases to share a song and Siri shared a Spotify link every single time:
It would have been better if they just gave me a shell-like language. Example case: “To each person in Jane, John, send text message with text 'I am on my way'”. This is completely impossible to do with Siri as is, it does not understand the difference between sending ONE message to many recipients and MANY messages to EACH recipient.
Thing is: there kind of is, actually, it's Shortcuts.
But that's "trigger with a keyword, provide more data", what I want is to be able to write out a sentence like "To each person in @person send Signal message $message" so I can say "to each person in Moe, Curly, Larry send Signal message "nyuk nyuk, person" and Moe gets "nyuk nyuk, Moe" and so on.
What I do not want is the kind of crappy mind-reading that the Google and Amazon voices try to do. Siri is stupid: but she's reassuringly stupid.
Growth at all costs will ultimately wreck Apple.
It's past time for Apple to transition from a growth stock to a blue chip.
From stock buybacks to dividends (and higher wages).
From conquering every market and enemy to being a good shepherd of their existing products.
Cumulatively, dick moves like messing with Spotify and embracing ads harm Apple's hard earned branding.
I wish they'd redouble their focus on their customers and leave their (perceived) competitors alone.
There's SO MUCH left for Apple to do. Wearable and affective computing will be huge. Micromobility could be huge (pivot from Project Titan, h/t Horace Dediu). Personal health will be huge. I'm still waiting to backup my desktop to iCloud. And maybe there's a future IoT play (h/t Robert Cringely). I'm fairly bullish on AR too.
Movies and music are nice. But they're not core customer needs. They're no longer forward looking.
And besides, Apple's UX for music and podcasts still sucks. Irredeemable. Stop sucking up all the oxygen and let some young bloods take a whack at the problem.
Is the convenience of technology still worth it?
Siri: Okay, setting timer for 23 minutes
The features we are talking about are from iOS 14 (Siri+Spotify) and iOS 15 (Siri+sharing). Apparently everyone here releases version 1.0 of their software with all the low priority feature requests fully implemented.
The simplest solution might be for the Now Playing APIs (https://developer.apple.com/documentation/mediaplayer/mpnowp...) to be extended with a "shareable URL" value that Siri can use.
But Apple designers might start thinking, what if you're a Spotify user, but your friend is an Amazon Music user? The Spotify link is as useless to them as an Apple Music link is to you. And so rather than continue down the path of sharing per-service URLs, they might want to step back and revisit this in a future release, and create a solution for sharing metadata that allows playback in the recipient's preferred Music service.
But that starts opening a can of worms of, what if it's not available on your music service, or if you send it to an Android user, etc. etc. It is reasonable they might punt on a fully-formed solution for the first iteration of the sharing feature.