Archived Post

Apple World Today News Update: May 18, 2018

After a week off on a nice relaxing vacation, Steve’s back with a jumbo-sized Apple World Today News Update podcast. Today we talk about privacy, a building resembling a huge iPod on a dock, and the goals of the nascent Developers Union:

  • Apple collects surprisingly little personal information on its customers, according to a ZDNet reporter who compared the small amount of mostly anonymous data collected on him by Apple to the huge files sent to him by Facebook, Google and Twitter
  • A new 24-story apartment building in Dubai is opening later this year. The design, which began in 2006 when iPods were the hot Apple product, resembles an iPod leaning on its charging and syncing dock
  • Developers who want more of a cut from Apple than the 70% of sales they already get are forming a “Developers Union”. They also want Apple to allow free trial offers for any app.

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 Friday, May 18th, 2018. I’m back from my short vacation and we should hopefully get back to a normal broadcast schedule.

You’ll be hearing a lot about privacy and company privacy policies over the next week in the buildup to the enforcement date for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. Apple World Today, for instance, has already updated its privacy policy and sent out an email to subscribers today to once again get the word out about what we’re doing. We’re just a small company, but have you ever wondered exactly what information Apple can collect from you? ZDNet’s Zack Whittaker put Apple to the test to see how much information Apple collects on customers and compared it to Facebook and Google. Whittaker asked Apple for a full disclosure of the information collected on him since he became an Apple customer in 2010. It took about a week for Apple to respond, and the data set was surprisingly small — two dozen or so Excel spreadsheets totaling about 5 MB in size. The data files contained no actual content, actually consisting of all metadata — things like dates, times and contact numbers for iMessage messages or FaceTime calls. The most private information that Whittaker found was a history of all purchases he had ever made from Apple and detailed records of all Apple devices owned, including serial numbers and MAC addresses for Bluetooth, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections. Whittaker said that Facebook, Google and Twitter supplied all of the data they had collected on him in much less time — about an hour — but the data files were huge — a few hundred megabytes to several gigabytes in size. By contrast, Apple has a long-standing policy on privacy saying that it will collect as little data as possible and try to anonymize as much of that data as possible.

Dubai is known for its amazing architecture, and later this year a 24-story apartment building that’s modeled after an iPod sitting in a dock will open in the city. Hong Kong architect James Law had the idea for the Pad Tower back in 2006 when iPods were all the rage, and the building is finally nearing construction and occupancy. The building has a 6-degree leaning architecture with 231 apartments that are loaded with completely amazing tech. One wall is a VR window that gives you glimpses of various locations around the world in real time, there are screens for video conferencing, RFID tags are used instead of keys, and the bathrooms come pre-equipped with smart health devices. To quote Law, “We are all connected through information technology. You can’t live in isolation with a piece of architecture anymore, so that architecture becomes in itself just like a mobile phone.”

A new group calling itself the Developers Union published an open letter to Apple today, asking the company to expand free app trials and also provide developers with a more equitable revenue cut from the App Store. The so-called Union has a handful of members right now but wants to recruit 1,000 people this week and try to reach 20,000 by early June when the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference is held. The group is led by Jake Schumacher, the director of “App: The Human Story”, developers Roger Ogden and Loren Morris, and Brent Simmons, the person behind NetNewsWire and MarsEdit. While the group has no real power, it is making a lot of noise to try to get Apple to share more revenue from the App Store. Apple will probably resist any move to do so, as services are a huge growth area for it right now. But one other App Store — the Microsoft Store — will return 85 percent of non-gaming revenue to developers compared to the 70 percent Apple App Store share that goes back to developers. As for the free app trials, Apple does allow them for subscription services like HBO Now. The Developers Union would like to have Apple open up free app trials to all developers, so shoppers could try out apps without having to pay for unknown quality and functionality.

That’s all the news for today – join me next Monday afternoon for the next edition of the AWT News Update.

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Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Steve is the founder and former publisher of Apple World Today and has authored a number of books about Apple products. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist. Steve and his wife Barb love to travel everywhere!