Apple fires back against Spotify

“We find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers, and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service,” it reads. “Spotify’s app was again [i.e. after being resubmitted on June 10] rejected for attempting to circumvent in-app purchase rules, and not, as you claim, because Spotify was simply seeking to communicate with its customers.”

Source: Apple returns fire on Spotify, calling out ‘rumors and half-truths’ over App Store rejection | TechCrunch

Ouch.

Spotify and Apple at odds

Spotify declined to comment; Apple hasn’t responded to request for comment.

For the past year, Spotify has argued publicly, and to various regulators in the U.S. and Europe, that Apple’s subscription policies effectively punish third-party music services that use Apple’s platform, while boosting Apple Music, the home-grown service it launched in June 2015.

Source: Spotify says Apple won’t approve a new version of its app because it doesn’t want competition for Apple Music – Recode

Well, this is not going to end well.

Thoughts on Evernote’s price hike

Evernote

Evernote has been one of the leading note-taking services for some time, with clients for the Web and every major OS. The company recently announced sweeping changes to its “freemium” pricing strategy, which puts a big limit on the “free” tier and raises prices across the board for new and existing users.

Source: Evernote limits free tier to two devices, raises prices 40%

I’ve been an Evernote user since March 28, 2008 (got in before it launched in beta in June 2008) and immediately signed up for their Premium option when it opened up.

I was eager to support the app / service early on, because I saw the utility of being able to access my notes and create new ones from whatever device I happened to be on. That was already possible with the early iterations of services like Google Docs that had previously been Writely, but Evernote felt “new” in the sense that it was post-iPhone and looked ahead to a world where apps became the driving force of interaction, especially on mobile (after Steve Jobs relented on allowing apps to be installed and an app store for the iPhone).

Over the years, Evernote became more things to more people than just a note taking app. There were checklists, and document syncing, and PDF OCR, and business card storage. As a result, there were more and more calls for Evernote to get back to its roots and avoid bloat. I know I suffered through some of the “bloat” in 2011 and 2012 when Evernote seemed to really take off and started acquiring smaller and focused apps such as Penultimate, Skitch (still one of my favorites), Readable etc to round out their offerings. Then, there were the partnerships with the “offline” world such as Moleskine and Post-It Notes. We even saw an Evernote branded line of coffee mugs, backpacks, and lifestyle gear.

It was all too much.

I welcome this new period in Evernote’s story. I’m hoping they do “slim down” to some extent and even focus more on things like the current web version’s Google Drive integration (rather than being a document storage platform themselves). I’ve always thought of Evernote as more of an “Operations HQ” that ties into other apps I use like Trello or 1Writer on the iPad than a place to store all of my documents, pictures, and files.

I use Evernote everyday, and more so now that I’m trying to use iPad Pro as my main computer. It serves as my note repository, the place where I put PDF’s that I need for OCR, and a quasi-database of ideas for clients and research. It’s indespinsible to me, and I’m not sure how something “free” like OneNote or Google Keep could replicate that. I’m hopeful they continue to push forward on the excellent web version as well (and that doesn’t affect free members, which is a nice incentive for people to give it a try).

It’s painful when anything “goes up” in price. But the economic reality is that costs go up as we demand more from services and companies compete for skilled developers. Evernote did see the loss of a number of devs over the last few years, but I’m hopeful they’ll get their mojo back.

So, sign me up for another year of Premium.

Be careful with Emoji on different platforms 😁

emoji

Just seeing the difference in emoji presentations is revelatory in itself. But then it gets even more interesting. GroupLens researchers asked subjects to rate 22 anthropomorphic emoji from five platforms by sentiment, using a scale that ranged from strongly negative (-5) to strongly positive (5). And here’s where you start to see where “grinning face with smiling eyes” goes so very wrong. Apple’s average sentiment ranking was almost -1, while Microsoft, Samsung, LG, and Google all were 3 or above.

Source: That Emoji Does Not Mean What You Think It Means

My wife (and almost all of my close friends that I’d use emoji with) is an iOS user and I’m an Android user… that’s led to a few miscommunications before we realized that the emoji we were sending “cross-platform” didn’t carry the same intended meaning.

Perhaps that’s one of the beautiful aspects of emoji and symbolic language additions… the meanings are left to the receiver to first decrypt and then to import meaning into based on their own background, experiences, culture (and operating system).

Peak iPhone

Too Many iPhones

From earlier today before Apple’s Q1 Earnings call:

“When CEO Tim Cook reports Tuesday on Apple’s sales for the last three months of 2015, investors will be watching closely for any hints about how Apple’s signature smartphone is faring in the current quarter. Sales usually fall somewhat after the holiday shopping season. But analysts say it appears Apple has cut production orders from key suppliers in recent weeks, suggesting it’s lowered its own forecasts.”

Source: Is Apple Reaching Peak iPhone? | CBS

And from just now after the earnings call regarding the upcoming Q2 2016:

… The company expects to report between $50 and $53 billion in revenue. That would put it below the $58 billion it reported in Q2 2015 and would mark the first year over year decline in revenue for the company in years.The slight decrease can likely be attributed to falling iPhone sales, which have been predicted for some time now. In Q1, Apple reported sales of 74.7 million iPhones, which is just barely better than the 74.5 million it did in the same quarter last year. Apple did not say how many it expects to sell in Q2, but analysts have predicted declines as high as 25 percent.

Source: Have we reached peak iPhone? It’s complicated | The Verge

Apple sold an average of 34,000 phones per hour for 13 consecutive weeks. That’s incredible, but unsustainable, growth. If anything, Wall Street loves growth. With China’s economy on a rapid downturn and the U.S. economy weak due to a number of variables that could lead us into a potentially havoc Spring, Summer, and Fall, Apple is wisely hedging its bets on production. That’s especially wise since carrier subsidies for new devices are now non-existent in the U.S. and each new iteration of the iPhone undergoes a “meh, it’s not that different from my old one” period with potential upgrading users.

If nothing else, we’ve learned today that the media loves using the term “Peak iPhone” (give the term a google if you’d like to see).

Apple’s iOS Home Screen Problem

I flip back-and-forth between iOS and Android, mostly iPhone 6s Plus and a Nexus device, all the time and enjoy both operating systems (though I do enjoy Android more to be honest… much to the chagrin of my family and friends who all use iMessage on iOS and therefore I’m a “green bubble” when on my Nexus device).

However, I’m always curious as to why iOS users who transition or experiment with Android feel the compulsion to stack their home screens full of app icons.

Not that it’s a cumbersome way to navigate your mobile device (I think it is), but it’s a curious hold-over from the vision Steve Jobs and his devs had for the original iPhone in ’07. I’d wager that even he would think it’s time to move past that convention in 2016 (something which you can easily do on Android, but not so much on the aging iOS interface). Maybe Apple in the Cook Era is too deep in the institutional molasses.

Whenever someone wants to play with one of my Android devices who has previously been an iPhone and iPad only user for the last several years, they almost always respond positively and immediately to the widgets on my home screen.

“I like widgets a lot, and wish iOS had something similar.”

Source: A Week With Android — Medium

I do wonder how the masses will respond when / if Apple ever adopts widgets… the “rows and rows of apps” conventions has been successfully turned into a standard way of interacting with mobile devices here in the US.

However, that’s not the case in the Asian markets where Apple really wants to expand in the coming years as it has reached a relative saturation point in North America with devices. Apple is slowly sneaking widgets in via the Notifications shade, but I’m not sure how many users actually know / use / understand that interface.

Of course, I was totally wrong in 2007 about widgets and the iPhone, so what do I know?

Maybe the fear of being a “green bubble” will be enough to keep users on iOS, at least here in the US.

And don’t get me started on how / why the iPad Pro still uses the same “rows of app icons” convention…