Matthew Lindfield Seager

Matthew Lindfield Seager

Let apps link to the web?

In episode 605 of Core Intuition, @manton made a claim that past me would have completely agreed with but that I’m less convinced about today.

Because if you actually think about the stuff that the EU is finding Apple in non-compliance over, if you just look at it… Like, just let apps link to the web! This really should be uncontroversial.
— Manton Reece, starting around the 11 minute mark

I think there’s a bit more nuance to the discussion than Manton allows for here and I wonder if it’s a matter of perspective.

For instance, it used to be when I was setting up a new Mac and I saw the Analytics screen, I would think “Yes, I do want to share analytics with Manton and Daniel, Gus Mueller, Brent Simmons, Ken Case, David _Smith and all the other developers that make great Mac or iOS software”.

The Analytics screen shown during the first run experience when setting up a new user on macOS

Now when I see that screen I think “No, I don’t want to share analytics with Google, Facebook, Taboola, or the data brokers who trick or pay developers to bundle their SDK”.

When asked the question “Should iOS developers be allowed to link to their own website for account creation and payments?” I have a similarly bifurcated response…

On the one hand, yes, it would be great if iOS users didn’t have to jump through so many hoops to transact with trustworthy indie developers and reputable large companies.

On the other hand, there are so many bad actors out there who will exploit any opportunity to make a quick buck (or lazy ones who will bundle a sketchy SDK to avoid a bit of work). So no, I don’t want to give them additional tools to trick me into making unwanted payments or handing over my credit card details.

I know there are a bunch of kind, trustworthy, generous people on the open web (particularly among proponents of the open web!) but for every one of them it seems like there’s 10 scammers, spammers, hustlers and thieves.

I don’t know what the “right” answer is1. For all the nuance I’ve tried to include in this post, I’ve still vastly oversimplified things. And so I’ll finish with another oversimplification: Apple’s restrictions on linking out to the web benefit Apple, but I think they benefit most users just as much or more 🤷‍♂️

  1. Although I would love to know what things would be like in an alternate reality where Apple dropped their 30/15 cut to 10/5 a few years ago. [return]