Apple has posted a new job listing on its ‘Jobs at Apple’ website for a Environmental Initiatives Program Manager focused on India and the Middle East.

The main focus of this position is on tracking, monitoring and implementation of environmental regulations in India and the Middle East, establishing relationships to key internal and external partners, and identifying and developing leadership opportunities for Apple in the field of environmental responsibility.

The position is located at Apple India’s offices in Gurugram, India and has a long list of key qualifications.

Zack Whittaker, reports for TechCrunch how Facebook, through its banned Research app, was able to obtain the personal and sensitive device data of about 187,000 users.

He writes:

The social media giant said in a letter to Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office — which TechCrunch obtained — that it collected data on 31,000 users in the U.S., including 4,300 teenagers. The rest of the collected data came from users in India.

Read that carefully. Of the 187,000 users that Facebook snooped data from, (only) 31,000 were from the U.S. The rest of the users were from India, which makes it about 156,000 users. According to the letter obtained by TechCrunch, a whopping 34,000 users were between the ages of 13 and 17, of which 4,300 were from the US, which means close to a whopping 30,000 users from India whose data Facebook was snoop ing on were underage.

These “research” apps relied on willing participants to download the app from outside the app store and use the Apple-issued developer certificates to install the apps. Then, the apps would install a root network certificate, allowing the app to collect all the data out of the device — like web browsing histories, encrypted messages and mobile app activity — potentially also including data from their friends — for competitive analysis.

The fact that Facebook collected data from over 1.5 Lakh Indian users, of which close to 30,000 users were between 13 and 17 years of age, is truly mind-boggling.

Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch, has published a detailed set of answers about Apple’s upcoming ‘Sign In with Apple’ feature on iOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS and to an extent, Android and the web.

The ‘Sign In with Apple’ feature is one of the most exciting announcements to come out of WWDC ’19 for me, and I’m really looking forward to its release. However, I do have a few concerns, all of which still remain unanswered.

  • What happens to your account when you sign out of iCloud and Sign In with another Apple ID?
  • What happens when you want to use a developer’s app on multiple devices that don’t use the same Apple ID?
  • Will Apple allow you to choose/specify a custom email address that is separate from the Apple ID to receive marketing emails from the developers?

I believe that SIWA is a phenomenal new feature and I see a majority of developers adopt this feature for their apps. I just hope that SIWA doesn’t end up being the only Sign In option in apps going forward.

Apple Publishes a New App Store “Principles and Practices” Page

With WWDC ’19 just around the corner, Apple has just published a new “Principles and Practices” page that attempts to make a case for how the company runs the App Store.

We created the App Store with two goals in mind: that it be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers.

The page features and details positive things about the App Store and lists stats about how many apps Apple reviews every week, and how many apps are approved or rejected.

As part of our rigorous app review process, we use a combination of automated systems and hundreds of human experts. This team represents 81 languages across three time zones. We work hard to maintain the integrity of the App Store. In fact, since 2016, we have removed over 1.4 million apps from the App Store because they have not been updated or don’t work on our most current operating systems. This helps unclutter the search for new apps, and makes it easier for users to find quality apps.

Apple is also listing several apps that the company says competes with Apple’s own apps, although the company fails to mention how the company still has the upper-hand in most of those cases.

Apple App Store Mail Apps

Let’s take the case of mails apps, for example. There’s no way Gmail, Spark, Outlook and Yahoo! Mail are on the same level playing field as the built-in & native Mail.app on iOS. You can’t set either of those apps are the default mail app on iOS instead of Apple’s Mail app, so all mailto: links still open Mail.app. Similarly, Apple’s own web-browser Safari and messaging app Messages have the upper-hand over other “competing” apps.

And then there’s this:

Apple App Store Principles and Practices Page

84% of apps are free, and developers pay nothing to Apple.

I get what Apple is trying to say here, but the “developers pay nothing to Apple” bit is highly misleading when you consider that one simply cannot publish an app on the App Store without paying $99/year to Apple for the Apple Developer Program membership. Even if one has to publish a free app for iOS, they need to shell out over ₹ 7000/year just to sign up for the membership.