The new Catalina TV app and forced advertisements

Benjamin Mayo tweets:

Also the TV app on the Mac is a web view in a (very) thin wrapper and lacks key functionality like the ability to open a context menu. You can’t right click or long press on anything.

If you Force Touch on something, you get this wonderful artefact of it being a web view.

I don’t pretend to know the timeline the Apple engineers who built these shoddy new apps were under. Maybe there simply wasn’t enough time or resources available to make a native app versus a hastily constructed web view. Lord knows, I’ve fallen back to using a web view for complex layouts in my own apps when up against a deadline. But not for the whole damn app.

His entire thread is a good critique worth reading – particularly this bit:

The Apple TV+ experience will also suffer from the ‘advertisements of stuff to buy everywhere’ design of the TV app — something which I think will sadly never change — that I first described back in April.

As I’ve mentioned before, this goes hand-in-hand with Apple’s new push for services revenue at the expense of UX and what customers actually want. The Catalina and iOS 13 App Stores feature new Apple Arcade sections that you can’t get rid of. And the latest Apple TV update includes a dedicated, non-removable Arcade app that Apple helpfully places in the top row of your apps when you upgrade.

(Side note: Even the Mac App Store on Mojave is running a giant ad about Apple Arcade, which isn’t even available for those who haven’t upgraded to Catalina. Further, they can’t even be bothered to take the time to do it right. Just look at how the headlines are truncated when the window isn’t fullscreen.)

I get it. They want their services to be successful. And part of ensuring that is making certain everyone knows these new offerings are available. It’s called advertising and I’m totally fine with that. I’m even all in favor of Apple Arcade as a way for quality developers to get paid for making quality games without resorting to dirty in-app purchase shenanigans.

So, please, Apple. Tell me all about Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ and your “vision for television“. Sell me on their immense value and benefits. But then let me dismiss your advertisements and get the fuck on with using the hardware I paid for.

Severe side-eye for Apple’s podcast “URL”s

Dave Verwer, of iOS Dev Weekly fame, tweeted this helpful iOS interaction

And then in the conversation that followed…

I get that Apple is likely trying to be helpful (while also driving engagement to their first party apps), but this is purely arrogant design to “require” an HTTPS URL to open in a specific app, when that app isn’t even installed.

All other 3rd party Universal Links fall back to the browser if the companion app isn’t installed. Why don’t Apple’s first party links? The App Store marketing page says…

A store that welcomes competition. We believe competition makes everything better and results in the best apps for our customers.

So I guess we’ll soon see the ability to set a default 3rd party web browser or mail client?

iOS Mail.app toolbar redesign

via Craig Hockenberry.

I’m right there with Craig in wondering why so many common actions were removed.

And while this isn’t specific to iOS 13, it’s always puzzled me why Delete is right next to Reply – especially now on iOS 13 with so much more toolbar space available. That button placement just seems…dangerous.

Ugh, Music.app

The way to make a single song repeat in Music in iOS 13 is the absolute dumbest interaction design decision I’ve encountered in iOS in years. Clearly every designer working on iOS at Apple uses Spotify.

Via Mike Rundle; and he’s not the only one.

I consider myself an advanced user, nonetheless, Music.app on iOS baffles me nearly every time I use it. It’s just the weirdest damn thing, and I constantly find myself getting lost.

I’ve been an Apple Music subscriber since 2015, and I still have no coherent understanding of how the Up Next queue works.

Is it because I’m in my 30’s and I think everything featured on the “Browse” tab is just the 2019 equivalent of mid-90’s FM radio payola hot-garbage?

The only reason I use Apple Music over Spotify (or, hell, even Tidal) is because every time I’ve attempted to use a competing service, iOS insists on playing the first song in my iTunes library that begins with the letter A whenever I start my car.

Fingerprint Scammer

I’ve seen App Review miss tons of shady shit, but this one is particularly vile. Granted, it comes from a ten month old reddit post, so I can’t be sure exactly whether or not this trick still works with iOS 13. But that’s not the point. It did work at one point. And it got past App Review.

Just in case it’s not clear: this scammer instructs the user to place their finger on the phone’s home button so they can scan it to provide “personalized diet” recommendations. And as soon as the user does that, they prompt for a $99.99 in-app purchase, which, of course, is instantly approved because their finger is on the home button to authorize it. It’s brilliant.

So, what’s the point of App Review again? To quote Apple’s marketing page for the App Store:

Expertly curated.

We created the App Store with two goals in mind: that it be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps…

We take responsibility for ensuring that apps are held to a high standard for privacy, security, and content because nothing is more important than maintaining the trust of our users.

via @jamxf