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My thoughts on the Apple walled garden after spending a couple of years in the iOS ecosystem.

kevq.uk/the-apple-walled-garde

@kev Good post. I've been deep into both Android and Apple's ecosystems. Fanboys hate the "enemy" on both sides but they really are two sides to a same coin and, let's face it, few have the knowledge or $ to really escape both. These days I'm just thankful we all have tools that work for us.

@chris agree completely. I look back at myself a few years ago and I’m sad to say that I was one of those narrow minded people.

Android, iOS, does it really matter? Not at all. It’s a personal choice at the end of the day.

@kev Agreed, also as someone who has been there. My only criteria these days is if it works for me and to do my best to dogfood all I preach at privacy talks. I've had assholes tell me plenty of times that I use [x] wrong or "don't believe in privacy because I had to use Google for something", etc. People are nuts.

@kev I have my misgivings about iOS (which I have used as part of my past work), but your point in the last paragraph is commendable.

If AOSP was properly implemented, Android would be a cohesive OS. G*****'s co-opting of the experience is why it's insecure.

@masstransitkrow @kev What needs to happen is some open source company needs to partner with a hardware vendor to sell a well designed, fully functional version of AOSP (looking at you, @e_mydata)

@daver98 @kev @e_mydata and license the code under AGPLv3 so we don't have the poaching issues that Amazon and G***** are known for.

We also have to overcome adoption barriers that are either the result of bugs or deliberate traps by G*****.

Seeing what they did to that smart glasses company this past May should scare the 💩 out of people.

That M&A was a crime against innovation.

@kev I definitely agree with a lot of your points, BUT:

- it is virtually impossible to get an app to users except by paying Apple $100/year to get on their App Store
- for MacOS, users simply won’t use your app unless it’s signed by Apple (which you also have to pay them for). Users don’t want to do the command+right click and bypass security restrictions. Apple can also revoke at any point like with Epic

I am also a heavy Apple user, but there are aspects of their walled garden visible to me

@blueberry @kev

Point 1: Unless you spend lots of $ on doing a ad campaign to drive users to your personal site where they can download the APK, you also have to pay the Play Store to distribute it. Most prefer Play Store.

Point 2: Yes, MacOS users prefer security. And no, if you play by the rules, they won't revoke anything. If you don't, well, you got it coming.

@asko @blueberry @kev Quick note for completeness: Apple’s fee to publish on the App Store is $100 *per year* where the Play Store asks for $25 *once*.

That’s quite the difference 😉

@Crocmagnon @blueberry @kev Yes, but what you get is also different. You can then publish not only for iOS, but also tvOS, MacOS, WatchOS and iPadOS. Not to mention unlike the Play Store, App Store actually moderates what kind of apps can and can not enter. From my experience just about any app can enter the Play Store. Viruses included.

@asko @Crocmagnon @blueberry I also heard that Google are introducing the same 30% cut from developer profits as Apple already have. The gap is closing.

@kev I haven't used apple in many years, but, when I did I could only interact with my phone through the apple software. It was super annoying and limited me to using windows only at that time. But like I said that was many years ago. I will say their garden is def nice at times. And things just work, especially another apple product. Best thing is use the software as inyented if we start using apple like and android we will have a hard time.

@kev Do note that you were NOT allowed to choose Firefox; you chose a skin over Apple's Safari engine. When web tech moves forward, you wait to see if/when you can have it.

@vandys I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make about Firefox? Is this the default browser thing?

On tech moving forward - you’re missing the point. It’s about a person’s needs, not having the latest an “greatest”. If Android does x and iOS can’t do it, so what? As long as it meets my needs, I couldn’t care less.

@kev @vandys I'm pretty sure alternative web engines are banned on iOS, so even the firefox app just uses the same web engine as safari under the hood.

@kev @alphazino I ran into it when we had a project fail due to a lack of WebRTC under iOS. We had Android/MacOS/Windows/Linux covered, but would've had to fund an iOS developer too.

@alphazino is right, app developers can only use WebKit to render web pages. Everything else is just a skin around it. iOS 14 now allows you to chose the default app for web browsing. Before that you could use them but every link from any other app would still end up opening Safari. Now it opens your default app.

@kev @vandys

@kev takeaway is: don't be a fanboy, use what you like since there is always some data collection. This is why other alternatives are important ( or )

@kev, I agree. The wall garden exists only for iMessage.
We can always use 3rd party apps for everything else and those often work better than their counterparts on Android.

If anything, Android pushes us much further to keep in the Google garden.
Samsung won’t even let me uninstall the Facebook app in their flagship device, the S9.

@arghyadeep yeah, that was the final straw for me on my last device (Huawei something) where I couldn't uninstall Facebook or Dropbox - neither of which I use.

@kev I’ve come to very similar conclusions myself. Last year I purchased an iPad Pro over a new MacBook Pro and love it (I use a Linux desktop for personal coding, company owned MacBook Pro for work).

I wish the watch could be standalone instead of paired with the phone. iPad + Watch would be awesome.

@kev nice reading as always.

"The walls of the Apple walled garden are collapsing all around me and I don’t get why people are of this opinion still. What am I missing here?"

that's maybe because they can, for example, install third party app stores or maybe because they can install a cleaner version of the OS so that it doesn't only *send less data home* but send zero data home.

but obviously everyone should use what works for them.

@epical @kev to me I consider this a good idea but also an inherently flawed one..

Your security has to be multilayered. It’s good if your device doesn’t phone home by itself.

But if you don’t take steps to avoid browser fingerprinting and letting your ISP see everything you send, unencrypted, the basic principle of owning your data is rendered a lame duck.

Not to mention that even if you do the above, you have to be confident with letting whatever you post online take a lifespan of its own.

@wholesomedonut it's a process, you have to start somewhere.

might not be perfect and take years of incremental small steps but it's better to do something and make progress, than nothing.

@epical I get that you can install custom ROMs on Android devices, but I'm not sure how that equates to a walled garden on Apple is people are happy with the experience and can still use many (if not all) of the apps/services they wish.

@kev that might be your opinion and your experience but not everyone is happy. many people stop using apple devices for androids like pixel, xiaomi, etc and thinkpads because they want freedom to do what they want with their devices while maintaining quality.

only some weeks ago did people been able to even select what default browser they can use on iphones or whatever and even with that happening apple still only accepts some browsers.

that kind of usability is not acceptable for everyone.

@epical I’m not saying it is acceptable, and that’s fine. My point is simply that different people have different wants and needs.

@kev good for you man, whatever works.
Personally I try to use my computer instead of my phone whenever possible. I just buy a second hand Android device with LineageOS-support, flash it, use F-Droid for the apps I need and call it a day. As a backup just in case I have Aurora Store if I would ever need a proprietary app, but at the moment I do not. If I had to use stock Android with Play Services I would choose iPhone any day.

@mllepogany that's a good way of doing it - you're not too reliant on your mobile then either.

I don't have the time or inclination to install and manage custom roms on my phone. I just want to switch it on and have it work. Which, as you said, is why I went with iOS. 🙂

@kev @mllepogany I remember flashing nightly Android rom builds years ago and hoping they'd be stable and that I wouldn't need to revert to a previous build. Luckily things have improved and are much better now, most ROMs are stable as long as it's an official build and usually only push updates monthly with security patches and bug fixes.

@jawsh agreed, as long as you're running an official build it's very stable and hassle free after it's set up

@mllepogany @kev I have a similar approach. I have an iPhone for work and it's not a walled garden; there are lots of proprietary tracker-filled apps to choose from. I would recommend it over Android for that type of usage. The selection of free software on iOS is pretty bad though. I have an old device with and for that.

@kev iPhone 3G was my first smartphone and I used ios for about 6 years before changing to Android. I avoided Apple apps, as at the time they seemed to have stronger lock-in and difficulty exporting data. This made it very easy to change to Android and even back to iOS if I wanted. Most iOS users I know who thought about switching claim they cant because they now rely on the Apple apps which are not on Android. Its like Windows users say they cant use Linux because all their sw are on Windows.

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