Apple’s App War Needs Peace

I requested for concepts on how Apple may enhance the app retailer from Jacob Eiting, a founding father of RevenueCat, which helps app makers design in-app purchases and is aware of what drives builders loopy.

Specify how builders can repair rejected apps: Apple says sure or no to every new iPhone app or app replace, primarily based on the corporate’s 12,700-word app rule ebook — not together with addendums. (The United States Constitution plus all of the amendments runs for 7,600 phrases.)

Eiting mentioned builders typically get rejection letters that merely recite a portion of Apple’s guidelines. He mentioned it could be extra useful if Apple’s employees supplied particular recommendations for what builders may change — typically as minor as tweaking a menu — to get the app authorised.

Improve Apple’s funds know-how: Eiting mentioned it may take weeks or longer for app makers to write down software program that hyperlinks their app to Apple’s proprietary system for folks to pay for stuff with a fingerprint or face scan. Creating software program hookups with different funds know-how is way less complicated, Eiting mentioned.

Clarify the grey zone: Apple has two classes of app purchases: When you purchase one thing digital, like an e-book, Apple collects from the app maker a charge of as much as 30 p.c on the acquisition. When you purchase one thing to make use of in the true world, like a bodily ebook or an Uber journey, Apple doesn’t cost a charge.

But an rising variety of apps provide companies which might be someplace between actual and digital — personal training or cooking classes conducted over an app, for example.

Eiting said Apple needed to clarify when the company will assess commissions on apps that offer these hybrid activities. Confusion over this question is stopping some apps before they even start, he said.

Consider an independent app review: There are inevitable questions about conflict of interest between app makers and Apple’s own apps that compete with them. The founders of Blix, an email app maker that has fought with Apple, suggested to me that Apple create an independent app review process to make sure it isn’t unfairly punishing rival apps.

Apple has in the past made changes to its app system to respond to developers’ complaints, and the company told me it’s always open to more. Any tweaks, though, won’t go as far as some app makers want: essentially, to blow up Apple’s control over what apps are allowed on people’s iPhones.

But it’s still possible to revamp the app system in ways that could bring more calm for Apple, developers and our smartphone-dependent lives.

Brian X. Chen, the consumer technology columnist for The New York Times, offers these helpful tips to tame the apps that nag us too much or bog down our phones:

Apps can make our lives better. But some pester you with too many notifications, and others hog too much battery life or device storage.

Here are four steps you can take to minimize app nuisances:

1) Declutter: Purge all the apps you haven’t used for a long time.

2) Find and eliminate the storage hogs: On iPhones, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage to see a list of the apps that are taking up the most space on your device. Select each one of them and follow the recommendations to reduce their load.

On Android devices, use Google’s tool called Files, which has an option to sort apps on your device by the biggest storage hogs.

3) Minimize notifications: On iPhones, go to Settings > Notifications to see a switchboard of apps that send notifications. On Androids, do the same thing by opening Settings > Apps & Notifications > Notifications.

From there, turn off notifications for all but the most important apps such as messaging and email.

4) Find the battery suckers: Be on the lookout for apps that are active for extended periods, even when you’re not using them, as this can drain your battery life.

On iPhones and Android phones, open the Settings app, and in the Battery menu, there are sorted lists of apps that are using the most energy.

On the iPhone’s battery usage screen, tap on an app to reveal information about how much of your battery life it is consuming when you’re actively using it (“on screen”) compared with when you’re not (“background”).

On Android devices, the most useful information is the timers for “CPU total” and “CPU foreground.” Foreground is how much time you had the app open; subtract “foreground” from “total,” and you’ll know how much time it has been chipping away at your battery even when you haven’t been using it.

When you find a battery-sucking culprit, go to the app’s individual settings and turn off some features to minimize its power usage.

I recently learned that a shore bird called the Wilson’s Phalarope spins in the water to create a vortex that sucks in insects and other tasty treats. A whole marsh of these spinning birds, as this 2013 video shows, is quite a sight.

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