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Developer gives ‘audible gasp’ using Vision Pro the first time


Developer gives ‘audible gasp’ using Vision Pro the first time
Apple's Vision Pro labs let developers test their apps on the upcoming headset. Some devs reportedly came away impressed.
Photo: Apple

Developers who visited Apple’s special labs to test their Vision Pro apps on the upcoming headset came away impressed, according to a cheery new Apple press release. The labs, which let devs test third-party apps on the AR headset Apple plans to release next year, are reportedly not well-attended. So, Apple seems intent on drumming up interest.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, developers who went to Apple’s labs offered some very positive comments about the hardware and software.

Take a look at these impressive third-party apps for Vision Pro


Broadcasts running in the Vision Pro simulated living room
Broadcasts, seen here in the Vision Pro Simulator’s living room environment.
Image: Steve Troughton-Smith

The first screenshots and videos of apps being built for Vision Pro show just how easy it is to port iOS apps to Apple’s upcoming augmented reality headset.

Apple just released the visionOS software development kit last Wednesday, and already people are refitting their iPhone apps for Apple’s new mixed-reality platform and sharing the results online.

The apps include Broadcasts, which lets you tune in to internet radio and livestreams — and leave a little Now Playing window anywhere in your virtual space. With cooking app Crouton in visionOS, you can place timers all around your kitchen. And Tasks, a powerful to-do app, works exactly as it does on your Mac and iPhone.

In my opinion, this is what will ultimately make visionOS succeed where similar mixed-reality platforms failed: It builds heavily on the same technologies that underpin iOS. If you can build an iPhone app, you can build a Vision Pro app.

Here’s a gallery of what some popular indie apps look like running on Vision Pro.

Apple touts events ‘Beyond WWDC,’ from watch parties to hackathons


Apple launched a
Apple launched a "Beyond WWDC" webpage listing all sorts of fun events.
Photo: Apple
WWDC22 - Brought to you by CleanMyMac X

In addition to promoting the new #WWDC22 hashtag this week, Apple has made a special webpage highlighting community-hosted events set to happen during or after its Worldwide Developers Conference next week.

The events are a good opportunity for “learning, networking, and fun,” Apple said.

App Store stopped nearly $1.5 billion in fraud in 2021, Apple says


Apple's press materials led with this graphic.
Apple's press materials led with this graphic.
Photo: Apple

Apple distributed a new set of fraud analysis data Wednesday. It indicated the App Store prevented 1.6 million “risky” and “untrustworthy” apps from defrauding users in 2021, stopping “nearly $1.5 billion in fraudulent transactions.”

As with other recent data compilations, Cupertino released the news at a time when the App Store’s strict policies have come under fire.

Small developers are earning more through the App Store


Small developers are earning more through the App Store
Revenue growth for small App Store developers outpaces growth for large developers.
Photo: Apple

App Store revenue for smaller developers increased by 113% over the past two years – more than double the growth of large developers, according to a study financed by Apple.

And the iPhone app economy supported more than 2.2 million jobs in the U.S. in 2021.

Lessons we can learn from World of Warcraft


World of Warcraft imparts many powerful lessons, if you're wise enough to listen.
World of Warcraft imparts many powerful lessons, if you're wise enough to listen.
Photo: Adobe Stock

This post on World of Warcraft is brought to you by MmoGah.

Since its debut nearly two decades ago, World of Warcraft has claimed its place at the top of the gaming industry. This massively multiplayer online roleplaying game is probably the most successful video game ever created.

More than 100 million World of Warcraft accounts have been created since the game’s inception in 2004. Additionally, the game has grossed more than $9 billion, making it the highest-earning video game of all time. While its subscription numbers have fallen over the years, WoW offers plenty of lessons for developers and gamers.

One of the main reasons World of Warcraft remained popular all this time is because it equips players with skills and lessons that they can apply in real life. And it’s not only players who can learn from this game. Game developers, especially up-and-coming ones, can pick up a few notes on how to improve their creative output.

Let’s start with what game devs can learn from World of Warcraft.

Ukraine war causes devs to pull software from Russian App Store


Readdle stands among developers pulling apps from the Russian App Store and calling for help for Ukraine.
Readdle stands among developers pulling apps from the Russian App Store and calling for help for Ukraine.
Photo: Readdle

As the Russian armed incursion into Ukraine continues, several developers have pulled their apps from the Russian App Store. Companies that have done so to date include Ukraine-based Readdle, MacPaw and Ajax Systems, as well as Grammarly and Epam, sources have told Cult of Mac.

The app makers add their voices to numerous other companies taking their business away from Russia amid the conflict.

Regulator fines Apple again, dismisses feeble attempt to add alternative payments


App Store image
Just as we thought, Apple's approach to alternative payments is a joke.
Photo: James Yarema/Unsplash CC

Dutch regulators hit Apple with another $5 million fine Monday for not properly complying with new rules that say dating apps should be allowed to accept alternative payment methods. The penalty now totals $20 million.

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) dismissed Cupertino’s feeble attempts to satisfy its requirements and said developers should not have to build brand-new apps to offer alternative payments options.

Apple gets another $5.7 million fine over App Store payments


App Store
Apple's response hasn't been good enough.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple today received its third €5 million (approx. $5.7 million) fine from Dutch regulators for failing to comply with new legislation that allows dating apps to accept payments outside of the App Store.

The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) warned Cupertino that it could have to pay up to €50 million (approx. $57 million) for not abiding by the new rules. “ACM is disappointed in Apple’s behavior and actions,” it said Monday.

Absolutely vile: Devs react to Apple’s 27% cut of third-party payments


Apple third-party payments
"Apple is going to fight dirty all the way."
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple on Thursday confirmed it will charge developers in the Netherlands a 27% cut of sales revenue when they use third-party payment systems. And, just as expected, that has not gone down well with developers.

Steve Troughton-Smith, creator of apps like Broadcasts and Pastel for iOS, called the move “absolutely vile” and said Apple executives “should be ashamed.” Here’s what others are saying.

Apple will take a 27% cut of third-party app payments in the Netherlands


2021 App Store Awards
Apple certainly isn't making it easy.
Photo: Apple

Apple on Thursday published new details on how it plans to handle third-party payments for dating apps in the Netherlands. The document confirms that Apple will continue to take a cut of all net revenues at a “reduced” rate of 27%.

It also states that developers must provide Cupertino with a report of all transactions each month so that they can be invoiced for the commission. Apple says it has the right to carry out audits to ensure accurate reporting.

Apple lets devs release unlisted apps that can only be found with a link


Devs can now hide apps that aren't for general distribution.
Image: Apple

Apple has confirmed that developers can now release unlisted apps on iPhone, iPad and Mac that cannot be found without a direct link.

Unlisted apps — which do not appear in App Store search results, categories, recommendations, or other listings — will developers to distribute their titles to limited audiences, such as employees and students.

Apple faces $57 million fine for pathetic approach to third-party payments

Apple's "evasion" of the rules is "gross," according to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney.
Photo: Josh Davidson/Cult of Mac

Apple will be fined up to €50 million (approx. $57 million) by Dutch regulators for its rather pathetic attempt at allowing third-party payments for apps and subscriptions in the Netherlands.

Although Cupertino took half-hearted steps to comply with new legislation, it ensured that it was incredibly difficult for developers to implement third-party payment systems. It also demanded fees for payments it wasn’t processing.

Apple reaches out to developers with free, live Tech Talks 2021


Apple reaches out to developers with free, live Tech Talks
Series of online sessions and one-on-one conversations will support developers.
Photo: Apple

Apple will provide one-on-one guidance to developers in a series of online events dubbed Tech Talks 2021. There will be presentations from Apple experts, each followed by a Q&A session. Plus experts will open their virtual doors in “office hours” meetings.

The free series will include more than 100 live sessions and 1,500 office hours. All coming from Apple locations around the world in multiple time zones.

Apple rejects 40,000 App Store submissions every week


App Store
Running an App Store isn’t easy. But CEO Tim Cook says it’s one Apple needs to do.
Photo: Graham Bower

Apple rejects a large percentage of App Store submissions, CEO Tim Cook said Monday, arguing that the company’s strict oversight is necessary to keep iPhones secure.

He was responding to questions about moves by government regulators around the world that might result on Apple being forced to allow rival iPhone software stores.

Developers get new rules for filling out App Store privacy labels


App Store privacy labels are new, and there have been criticism.
The purpose of the App Store privacy labels is to help users understand what data is collected and how it is used.
Photo: Apple

Developers have updated instructions for filling out the privacy “nutrition labels” shown in the App Store. There are additions and clarifications.

Apple asks developers to submit the information for these privacy labels shown to users. There’ve been questions about how accurate the devs’ responses are — including some from a Congressional committee — and the new instructions might be part of Apple’s response.

Female tech entrepreneurs get guidance from Apple at upcoming camp


iPhone app development can be very profitable, and Apple has a new program to help more women get in the business.
Female founders and developers can apply to attend an Apple Entrepreneur Camp in summer 2021.
Photo: Apple

Women are underrepresented in tech, but Apple hopes to change that. On Monday, it began taking applications for an Entrepreneur Camp for female founders and developers to be held summer of 2021.

Previous such camps have been in Apple’s home town of Cupertino, but this one will be online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple wants its Mac mini developer transition kits back early


Mac mini with ARM chip
The time of the Mac mini Developer Transition Kit is rapidly drawing to a close.
Photo: Apple

Apple told developers on Wednesday that they are expected to soon return the Mac mini that they used to test macOS Big Sur running on Apple Silicon. This is less time than the one-year lease of the Developer Transition Kit was supposed to last.

The devs paid $500 to lease the specially modified desktops in 2020. They aren‘t getting that money back, but Apple will compensate them for returning the unit. Still, some developers are peeved.

Apple slashes App Store fees in half for ‘vast majority’ of devs


Those who earn less than $1 million a year will pay just 15%.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple on Wednesday confirmed plans to cut App Store fees to just 15% for many of its developers.

The lower rate, which comes into effect in January as part of the new App Store Small Business Program, applies to those who earn less than $1 million a year in app revenue and in-app purchases.

Apple brings in kinder, gentler App Store policies


A new App Store policy makes it easy to suggest a change to the guidelines
A new App Store policy makes requesting a change to App Review Guidelines as easy as filling out a form.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple instituted new policies to make the App Store a bit friendlier for developers. On Monday, it stopped blocking “bug fix” updates because of minor violations of its rules.

Also, when an application is accused of violating the guidelines, developers have the option to suggest a change to the rules.

Apple plans to make its app developer language more inclusive


iOS 13.5 golden master is available only to developers.
Apple is changing terms to make them more inclusive.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple has made plenty of public-facing moves to show its push for diversity in tech. But it’s making some behind-the-scenes changes, too — like tweaking the terms in its developer ecosystem to remove words the company no longer considers appropriate.

Examples include switching “master” code repository to “main” code repository, and changing “blacklist” to “deny list.” Here’s what Apple had to say in its announcement:

How the creator of Where Cards Fall shuffled the deck and won big


Where Cards Fall is one of the best available on Apple Arcade.
The creator of Where Cards Fall shares his thoughts on creating an award-winning game.
Photo: Snowman

Sam Rosenthal held onto his determination to make Where Cards Fall for almost a decade. And it’s paid off, as the game garnered a 2020 Apple Design Award.

In a lengthy interview with Apple, the developer shared insights into the design process for this title. Including how he tends to think of games as buildings the players move around in.

Aspiring developers might learn from his experiences.