wwrite 6.0 and wwriteLite 6.0 Now Available

With the release of iOS 14 today, there are new versions of my iOS apps, wwrite and wwriteLite. Both of the apps have the same set of changes:

New Features

  • Requires iOS 14.
  • New free Icons “Halo” and “Sketch”.
  • New icon set “Space” (In-App Purchase). This icon pack is $0.99, or the equivalent in your country.
  • New menus for “New File”, “Tools”, and “Archives”.
  • New Screens for FAQs and ChangeLog.

Tweaks

  • Updated Template Color Picker to use built-in color picker in iOS 14.

Both of these are free updates and are available now. If you experience any issues with the updates, definitely let me know by going to Tools -> Support and contact me via email or Twitter.

Apple Extends Deadlines for Developers

When Apple initially released iOS 13 and macOS Catalina, they had anticipated that they had provided developers enough time to comply with some requirements. These are:

  • Apps must be built with the iOS 13 SDK, and use a Storyboard for the launch screen
  • iPhone apps must support all iPhone screen sizes and iPad apps must support all iPad sizes
  • Apple Watch apps need to be built with the watchOS 6 SDK
  • Apps that support third-party sign-on services must also support Sign-In With Apple

Initially, Apple had wanted to have these in place by March 31st, 2020. However, due to Covid-19, many developers may not be able to accomplish this in the allotted time. Because of this, Apple has extended the deadline until June 30th, 2020.

If you are a developer, be sure to comply with these changes by June 30th, otherwise your app may get removed from the App Store.

Source: Apple Developer

Apple iTunes Affiliate Program Changes

Earlier this week Apple sent out an email to affiliate members indicating some changes that will be taking place as of October 1st. Here is the email that was sent:

Thank you for participating in the affiliate program for apps. With the launch of the new App Store on both iOS and macOS and their increased methods of app discovery, we will be removing apps from the affiliate program. Starting on October 1st, 2018, commissions for iOS and Mac apps and in-app content will be removed from the program. All other content types (music, movies, books, and TV) remain in the affiliate program.

This will have some impact on some websites who rely on affiliate links from iOS apps, Mac apps, and in-app purchases to run their business. At least there is some heads up on this. This has been preceded by Apple reducing the payout from 7% to 2.5%. So it was inevitable that this would be the case that these would be removed.

I am not impact much by this because the website does not rely on affiliate links. I am curious to see how long the affiliate program lasts overall. I would not be surprised if it goes away in the future. It may take a couple of years, but it is possible that it will be stopped in the future.

Apps and Battery Usage on iPhone

There are many different things that users complain about regarding their iPhones. The biggest complaint that many users have had in that their iOS devices seem to be losing a significant amount of battery, even when using a brand new phone. This has lead to users complaining to Apple. One of the things that Apple has done with multi-tasking is to pause applications when they are in the background. There are certain situations where this does not occur. These include background app-refreshing, background audio, Voice over iP (VoIP), or GPS.

Sometimes, it is so bad that some users purposefully force quit applications in order to preserve battery. Users do this despite there being no practical reason to do so. However, maybe users who do this may not be too far off the mark.

Last week it was uncovered that Facebook’s iOS application was using a significant amount of battery even when users were not actively using the application.

Bruce Geerdes on Twitter has this tweet:

Within the image, 13% of all battery usage for the last week was due to audio. Now, why is Facebook’s app even using background audio? It is not a streaming any audio what-so-ever.

As Federico Viticci states in his piece on MacStories.net:

My guess is that Facebook is hijacking audio sessions on iOS by keeping silent audio in the background whenever a video plays in the app. And because, by default, videos on Facebook auto-play on both Wi-Fi and Cellular and few people ever bother to turn it off, that means there’s a high chance the Facebook app will always find a way to play a video, keep audio in the background, and consume energy to perform background tasks.

I think Federico is spot on with this presumption. Facebook is the world’s largest social network, and how do you make sure that your users are “always up to date”, play silent audio in the background so the application can auto-refresh without consequence, that’s how.

When questioned, Facebook stated they were “looking into” the issue, and subsequently Facebook has informed TechCrunch that they are working on a “fix”.

This is all well and good, but I think Apple should take a stance and remove the Facebook application from the iOS App store. This gesture would make it abundantly clear that Apple will not tolerate user-hostile actions like this from any developer, including the world’s biggest social network. Removing the application would likely have some ramifications on users because they would not be able to download the application, but it would send a very strong signal.

Do I think this will happen? In a word, no. I do not think Apple is willing to remove the largest social network’s application from its App Store. However, I think Apple could do a couple of things to make sure that no application is able to do this in the future, not even Facebook.

The first is do some additional testing for any applications. See what usage they have after a set amount of time. I would not expect Apple to disclose this amount of time, so developers cannot work around it. The second is to keep a database of developers whom violate the rules, and scrutinize their application updates for what they had previous violated. This means that developers would not be able to break a user’s trust repeating the same action they have in the past.

Ultimately, I think if Apple really wants to have the best experience for users, they should be holding developers accountable for their actions and punishing those developers who violate the rules and provide a significantly negative user experience. One thing that I would not be surprised at is if Mark Zuckerberg gets a phone call from Tim Cook or another Apple executive inquiring as to why this is occurring.