AWT News Update: December 8, 2017

It's snowing in the Apple Store app!

It's snowing in the Apple Store app!

We've been on hiatus this week due to an illness in the family, but we're back today with some interesting and fun news in the world of Apple:

  • Apple's attempt to ban spam or nonfunctional apps from the App Store is hurting legitimate businesses and a CA congressman is asking them to reconsider
  • iMore's Rene Ritchie shared a fun little Easter egg in an Apple app
  • Have SiriusXM in your car or office? You can now use your subscription to stream all 200+ channels to your Apple TV

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for December 8, 2017.  We’ve been off the air for most of the week due to an illness in the family but hope to get back to the normal schedule next week. 

After this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple released new App Store guidelines that allowed it to ban apps that were created by a commercialized template or app generation service. While this change is not only having the desired effect of ridding the App Store of spam apps, it’s actually hurting small businesses and app-building companies. Many of these companies target small businesses that normally don’t have the resources to build their own apps or hire a developer to design an iOS app from scratch. These small businesses include local retailers, restaurants, fitness studios, nonprofits, churches and other like organizations that want to create an app presence by using templates, wizards and tools to put together a basic app that can be customized to the business. One app builder said that Apple’s decision to ban small businesses to compete on the App Store is like a web hosting company saying they wouldn’t allow web pages built with WordPress templates or with services like Wix or Squarespace.  Several companies that make the app builders have already gone out of business, and a number of companies are concerned that apps created with their systems will no longer be accepted in the App Store. These companies include MindBody, which makes apps for fitness studios, eChurch and Custom Church Apps (apps for churches), LevelUp and Olo (apps for restaurants), uCampaign (apps for politicians), and even AppMakr. The latter company has shifted its attention to the Android market to keep from going out of business. Oddly enough, Apple’s guidelines seem to overlook template-based apps built for enterprise under its partnership with IBM. Well, Apple’s move has now caught the attention of Congressman Ted W. Lieu of California, who is asking Apple to reconsider its enforcement of the 4.2.6 and 4.3 guidelines. To quote Lieu, “It is my understanding that many small businesses, research organizations, and religious institutions rely on template apps when they do not possess the resources to develop apps in-house.” He went on to say that “in weeding out several bad actors, Apple may be casting too wide of a net and invalidating apps from longstanding and legitimate developers who pose no threat to the App Store’s integrity”. We can only hope that Apple does reconsider its ban on all template-created apps and starts looking at only nonfunctional or spam apps. 

Our second story for today is just plain fun. Rene Ritchie at iMore shared an Easter egg that shows up in the Apple Store app. Just tap on Discover after launching the app, tap on the magnifying glass search button, and then type in “Let it snow”. Yep, it snows in the app to make your holiday shopping a bit more merry. By the way, it acts like a snow globe if you shake your iPhone.

Lastly, if you’re a SiriusXM satellite radio fan, the company now has an app that runs on the 4th generation Apple TV and Apple TV 4K. All you need is a subscription to the service, and you can bring all of those hundreds of radio stations to your Apple TV. 

That’s all for today; I’ll be back Monday afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.