Notes on Smile and TextExpanders touch latest AppStore issues.
Every time some popular iOS app get some trouble, you see all of these stupid stories regarding “Apple is trying to screw X”. Something, I think and have always thought is bullshit.
There have been a long time since it was Apple’s policy to block any App that either do a more power user version of some feature they have, or provide an alternative to some app they have.
One thing many people don’t understand when it comes to when Apple is changing their policy, or react to some usage of technology or API is not to get rid of that App, or because they want to “get that company”. The story behind TextExpander was they used something called a named Clipboard, it is just like the default one, only that it had a name, and was not the same one that you accessed while copying and pasting.
Smile Software did in fact use this feature as intended, that is at least my impression of the whole thing. Apple changed how they worked in iOS 7, all of them were placed inside a Namespace. This means that only one company can access the clipboards they use.
The reason for this change is probably, and almost certainly because some compares used this feature for stuff it wasn’t intended; like tracking. In other words, Apple broke TextExpander Touch in order to improve security and privacy. This is a good thing, I’m not happy about the result in TextExpander Tocuh’s case. But, I agree on the general policy.
After this they implemented a hack where they used Reminders, and a task that would never be displayed to the user. A hack, and not a solution that would have survived in the long run.
And now they have to do something different, both short term and long term. I think a web-service to sync the stuff and a SDK that do everything with the synced data is the only way to go.
But, back to my point. Apple never do these changes because of companies like Apple, they do them because of the 99% of apps that don’t do the right thing. And they have to do things in a general way, that makes the life hard for companies that don’t play nice and follow the rules. The sad consequence of this is that sometimes it results in makes the life harder for companies like Smile.