Good morning! A little programming note that Paula Beaton is stepping up to The Weekly Authority this weekend moving forward, so give her a hand (and a read), for the Sunday catch-up on the week that was in tech and Android. I’m grateful!
Apple settles, nothing much changes
Apple has settled out of court a class-action lawsuit that was filed by app developers, giving an array of moderate concessions and $100M to make it go away. (Apple’s daily cash profit is running at about $233M, a day.)
- Apple’s press release is fun to read because it says this “will help make the App Store an even better business opportunity for developers, while maintaining the safe and trusted marketplace users love.”
- Of course! Apple loves to make things better for developers, which is why it did this after a court case, rather than at any other point in time.
- The press release really is astounding. Please be beholden to writers far greater than I, who manage to turn a $100M payout to developers hurt by Apple, into Apple saying it has now “establishe[d] a new fund to assist qualifying US developers.” That sounds much nicer than throwing money to make a court case go away. Also, the “fund” is paying $30M to lawyers!
- You can read the proposed settlement, filed in the Northern District of California, here. (“Plaintiffs will make a request for attorneys’ fees of up to $30 million.”)
- The concessions by Apple are being billed as token by some commentators but I’m not sure given there is at least one major change.
- Changes start here: “To give developers even more flexibility to reach their customers, Apple is also clarifying that developers can use communications, such as email, to share information about payment methods outside of their iOS app. As always, developers will not pay Apple a commission on any purchases taking place outside of their app or the App Store. Users must consent to the communication and have the right to opt out.”
- This means developers can tell iPhone users how they can pay, without only paying the Apple Tax on the way. Developers can’t target email individuals to say “please pay via this method on our website,” but developers can email their userbase of people who consented.
- That probably means every iOS app in the US will start mentioning that you really should join their email list for better offers. (And only the USA: yes, that’s right, Apple is only making these changes in the USA.)
- And aside from other small changes, such as Apple adding more price point options for developers for subscriptions, in-app purchases, and paid apps, nothing significant really changes.
- Apple is holding on to its 30%/15% cuts, which is what it was risking if this did continue in court.
- In case you were wondering, Epic Games seems more upset than ever. The App Fairness Coalition, composed of Epic Games, Spotify, Tile, Match Group, and more, called it a sham settlement.
- Anyway, it is a change, but it’s not a change to the 30% take, so this is hardly the last of the attempts to reduce Apple’s grip.
By the way: Tim Cook received $750M in Apple shares as part of his CEO compensation (BBC).
Oppo accidentally leaked the release date of Color OS 12 — and thus, Android 12, with Monday, September 13 now looking likely. Oppo’s digital assistant in China, Breeno, spilled the beans, but has been muted since (Android Authority).
Custom image processors look like they’re going to be a new avenue for smartphone makers: Now Vivo joins Xiaomi in developing a custom ISP, will debut with X70 series (Android Authority).
Netflix is testing its games! People with Polish Netflix accounts jump on the Netflix Android app and access two live games: Stranger Things 1984 and Stranger Things 3 which are downloadable, not streaming games, Stadia-style. Most probably, that sounds underwhelming but hey early days! (Android Authority).
Peloton lowers price of its Bike to $1,495, with price drops in other regions too (Engadget).
Google Sheets’ formula suggestions are like autofill for math (The Verge).
Zoom dysmorphia is following us into the real world: Eighteen months of using front-facing cameras has distorted our self-image (Wired).
MLK is coming to …Fortnite? “A new virtual in-game exhibit will pay tribute to the slain leader by exposing players to his speeches and crusade for justice” (Gizmodo).
Snapchat’s new AR features can identify the world around you: Expect to be surprised but don’t expect perfection (The Verge).
You can buy a Blue Origin model rocket that flies 400 feet in the air (CNET).
I’m really enjoying Michael Lewis’ Against The Rules podcast, as I catch up with the second season (though it was better before Pushkin put in 999 ads per podcast). Anyway, here’s something from him on sharing the extra cookie in life (Kottke).
“Why haven’t we invented a hangover cure?” (r/nostupidquestions).
The world’s most booked Airbnb if you didn’t already know, is pretty unexpected. Before scrolling down to read, just have a guess: Where it might be, if it’s cheap or expensive, something fancy in a major busy city, or a remote getaway…
Made up your mind?
Ok, so it’s this:
- It’s The Mushroom Dome Retreat, the most booked and most wish-listed property on Airbnb’s platform, besting more than five million other listings across the globe.
- It’s in California, a few hours south of San Francisco, close enough to Santa Cruz.
- It’s booked up for months in advance, obviously.
- Part of the success is that it was the 8,357th property to join Airbnb, and has stuck to a reasonable $156/night, cheaper than hotels in the area.
- The owner, Kitty, knows the Airbnb founders by name, with the listing given a bunch of boosts by Airbnb’s marketing team over the years.
- The Hustle wrote up more about the seemingly innocuous, cute listing that I certainly hadn’t pictured as being #1.
All the best,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.