App Stores

Technology • Internet & Web
Apple releases App Store Best of 2020 winners
The App Store Best of 2020 winners recognizes 15 apps and games notable for their positive cultural impact, helpfulness, and importance.
The App Store Best of 2020 winners recognizes 15 apps and games notable for their positive cultural impact, helpfulness, and importance. Credit: Courtesy of Apple Newsroom

Apple has released its annual list of the best apps and games of 2020 on Wednesday, "recognizing 15 apps and games that proved to be essential for making life easier, healthier, and more connected this year."

Home exercise app 'Wakeout!' won iPhone App of the Year, while Zoom won iPad App of the Year and 'Disney+' was named Apple TV App of the Year. Genshin Impact,” “Legends of Runeterra,” “Disco Elysium,” “Dandara Trials of Fear,” and Apple Arcade’s “Sneaky Sasquatch” were crowned as best games of the year.

“This year, more than ever before, some of our most creative and connected moments happened in apps. This was thanks to the amazing work of developers who introduced fresh, helpful app experiences throughout the year,” so Apple Fellow Phil Schiller.

Technology • Games
NVIDIA and Epic Games announce circumvention of App Store ban by using iOS Safari browser
NVIDIA and Epic Games announce circumvention of App Store ban by using iOS Safari browser
Credit: Courtesy of NVIDIA

NVIDIA has announced that the gaming streaming platform GeForce NOW has been made available to beta users on iOS Safari. This measure has been taken in order to circumvent the App Store ban by Apple over the disputed revenue fees of 30% that Apple requires from the App developers.

In addition to the GeForce NOW games Epic Games will provide Fortnite for iOS users. The games do not require an additional download bit will be playable through the Safari web browser.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple cuts commission for developers earning less than $1m annually by 15%
Apple cuts commission for developers earning less than $1m annually by 15%
Credit: Illustration: Pendect; Logo via Apple

Apple will cut the App Store commission by 15 percent for all developers earning less than $1 million in annual sales per year, half of Apple’s standard 30 percent fee.

"The App Store Small Business Program, which will launch on January 1, 2021, comes at an important time as small and independent developers continue working to innovate and thrive during a period of unprecedented global economic challenge," so the company in a statement on their website.

Technology • Internet & Web
Apple requests Telegram to shut down chat channels of the Belarusian opposition
Apple requests Telegram to shut down chat channels of the Belarusian opposition
Credit: Courtesy of Telegram

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has announced that Apple has requested that Telegram shuts down three channels that are "used by the people of Belarus to expose the identities of their oppressors". Apple states that violence might be incited because personal details of Belarusian "law enforcers and propagandists" get shared in the channels, according to Durov.

He assumes that the channels will be blocked from iOS devices to avoid a ban from the Apple AppStore.

Technology • Games
Microsoft announces that Xbox Game Pass will come to iOS without Apple App Store
Microsoft announces that Xbox Game Pass will come to iOS without Apple App Store
Credit: unsplash.com / Kamil S

In an all-hands meeting, Microsoft's gaming boss Phil Spencer has announced that the Xbox Game Pass will come to iOS in 2021. Using a "direct browser-based solution" the company aims to circumvent the Apple App Store which prohibits the offering of the Game Pass.

Spencer stated that "we absolutely will end up on iOS,".

Technology • Internet & Web
Epic Games, Spotify and others form advocacy group to push for app store changes

Companies including “Fortnite” maker Epic Games Inc., Spotify Technology SA, and Tinder owner Match Group Inc. have forged an alliance to pressure Apple Inc. and other app-store operators to make changes to their marketplace rules.

Technology • Games
Apple demands compensation from Epic Games over Fortnite dispute
Fortnite Chapter2, Season 4
Fortnite Chapter2, Season 4 Credit: Epic Games (Reproduction)

Following the dispute over App Store fees between Apple and Epic Games, Apple now demands compensation payments from Epic for causing greater damage and "endangering the entire iOS ecosystem and the immense value to its customers".

Technology • Games
Epic Games files for preliminary injunction against Apple over Fortnite ban after 60% user loss
Epic Games files for preliminary injunction against Apple over Fortnite ban after 60% user loss
Credit: Epic Games

The Fortnite creator and rights holder Epic Games has filed for a preliminary injunction in order to get the popular battle royale game restored to Apple's App Store.

Epic Games states that the daily active users have dropped by 60% following the removal from the App Store and claims that the company is "likely to suffer irreparable harm" if the app is not restored while the legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games is ongoing.

Technology • Games
Apple terminated Epic Games developer account
Fortnite
Fortnite Credit: Epic Games

Apple terminated the Epic Games developer account on the App Store, meaning games like Fortnite and Infinity Blade are no longer available for download, and blocking Epic Games from developing applications for iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Apple says Epic will no longer be able to submit apps or updates using its Epic Games developer account, but users who’ve previously downloaded Fortnite on iOS and Mac can keep playing it.

Technology • Games
Apple ordered not to block Epic's Unreal Engine, but Fortnite still banned from App Store
Fortnite
Fortnite Credit: Epic Games

US District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has ruled that Apple cannot terminate Epic Games' developer accounts or compromise its Unreal Engine. The App Store ban of Fortnite will not be lifted by the court until a full hearing can take place on September 28.

The judge claimed that Apple had "chosen to act severely" by threatening to block the Unreal Engine, which is widely used by others. "Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders," she said.

Regarding Fortnite, the judge stated Epic had "strategically chosen to breach its agreements with Apple.", ruling against Epic Games request to have Fortnite back to the App Store.

Technology • Games
Apple and Google removed Fortnite from App Store and Play Store
Apple and Google removed Fortnite from App Store and Play Store
Credit: Epic Games

Apple has removed Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games implemented Thursday its in-app payment system that bypassed Apple’s standard 30% fee. Later Thursday Google also removed the game from the Android Play Store.

Epic Games responded with a series of calculated actions, including an antitrust lawsuit claiming Apple's App Store is a monopoly, a video mocking the iconic "1984" Apple ad, and encouraging fans to use #FreeFortnite on their communications with Apple.

Spotify’s spokesman Adam Grossberg said, "We applaud Epic Games' decision to take a stand against Apple and shed further light on Apple's abuse of its dominant position." 

Business • Consumer & Service
Greg Joswiak replaces Phil Schiller as head of Apple marketing
Phil Schiller
Phil Schiller Credit: Apple

Apple announced Tuesday that its marketing boss Phil Schiller will step down from his role and serve as an “Apple Fellow” running the App Store and company events. Greg Joswiak will replace Schiller as Vice President of Worldwide Marketing.

"Phil has helped make Apple the company it is today and his contributions are broad, vast, and run deep. In this new role, he will continue to provide the incredible thought partnership, and guidance that have defined his decades at Apple," said Tim Cook in a press release.

Technology • Internet & Web
Telegram files EU antitrust complaint against Apple’s App Store
Telegram files EU antitrust complaint against Apple’s App Store
Credit: Yuri Samoilov (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Telegram, the messaging app, filed a formal antitrust complaint to the EU over Apple’s App Store. The company joins Spotify and Rakuten in complaining the app store represents a monopoly power, given that developers have to accept Apple’s terms, including a 30 per cent commission on in-app purchases.

In its complaint, Telegram took issue with Apple’s argument that the App Store commission keeps it running. Pavel Durov, Telegram founder, stated "Every quarter, Apple receives billions of dollars from third-party apps. Meanwhile, the expenses required to host and review these apps are in the tens of millions, not billions of dollars. We know that because we at Telegram host and review more public content than the App Store ever will".

Regional News • Asia • India
India bans TikTok, WeChat and 57 other Chinese apps
iPhone displaying the TikTok app
iPhone displaying the TikTok app Credit: Kon Karampelas

The Ministry of Information Technology of India announced Monday the ban of 59 Chinese mobile applications, including TikTok and WeChat. In a press release, the Ministry, states the ban is a response "of the emergent nature of threats" and that the apps "are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.".

At the moment, all listed apps are still available on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store, and it is not clear how the Indian Government plans to enforce the ban.

Technology • Internet & Web
App Store rejects Basecamp's "HEY" updates, demands 15-30% of app's revenue
Screenshot of @dhh' Twitter Thread
Screenshot of @dhh' Twitter Thread Credit: @dhh via Twitter

In a series of tweets, Basecamp CTO David Heinemeier Hansson details the App Store's rejection of a bug fix update of Basecamp's new email service "HEY". According to Heinemeier Hansson, after a bug fix update was rejected, Apple has demanded that the company adds an in-app subscription and that it shares up to 30% of its revenue with Apple to prevent the app from being removed from the App Store. "HEY" is selling its $99 annual subscription on its website and is refusing to comply with the demand, with Heinemeier Hansson writing: "There is no chance in bloody hell that we're going to pay Apple's ransom. I will burn this house down myself, before I let gangsters like that spin it for spoils. This is profoundly, perversely abusive and unfair."