Interview: Apple’s Schiller confirms the stance on the Hey device stays intact and no adjustments to the guidelines are expected


In a quick conversation, today on Basecamp’s Hey email device from the iOS App Store, Apple’s Phil Schiller assured me that there will still be no modifications to the policies that will enable the app to proceed to be sold.

“There are no changes to the laws that we are discussing right here now,” Schiller said. “there seem to be many of things they can do to make the app work inside the regulations we have. We ‘d want them to do so.

That call comes after several days of media criticism about Apple’s treatment of the Hey device. Just after the official announcement, Basecamp developers, such as two of its founding members, David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried, took Twitter to consider that the revision was already consistently denied, with both the main argument that they did not offer the in-app purchase for full service in addition to providing it on the Hey website.

The latest impression with the Hey app as a customer installing it from the App Store is that it doesn’t do much. It’s an app that necessitates you to sign up for the Hey provider on the internet before it becomes helpful.

“You ‘re installing the software since it doesn’t work, that isn’t what we want in the shop,” says Schiller. That, he notes, is why Apple wants in-app sales to provide the same shopping experience that they would find elsewhere.

This is against the App Store guidelines for certain devices, to be sure. Exceptions here include applications that are regarded as “readers” that only display digital material of some kinds, such as songs, books including movies — including applications that only provide bulk purchasing services that are charged for by organizations or businesses instead of the end customer.

During our call, Schiller is adamant that Hey doesn’t really agree with these laws.

“We won’t stretch such exclusions to all source code,” he says of the “reader” apps — examples of these include Netflix. “Email is not and never has been the exception to the rule.”

In reality, Hey ‘s Mac Software has been refused for the same actions that the iOS app is addressing. Schiller argues that the initial edition of the iOS device was mistakenly accepted and would never have been delivered to the market.

The concerns, though, are mostly based on why that would be the case, rather than any form of abstract interpretation of the new App Store regulations that might require the Hey device to stay in the market.

I questioned Schiller if this indicated that Apple was entitled to half of the sales from any company which had a device, irrespective of if it was an iOS-first.

“I get a query here about why,” he notes. “But this is not what we do.”

Schiller claims there are a variety of recommendations that Basecamp should have taken about whether to compensate users and make the product appropriate under existing regulations. He addresses a few, such as trying to charge various app and internet price increases and giving a better version with extra features.

And yet, he goes on to say; whether you’re planning to demand it and it’s a service, then Apple wants developers to use the in-app buying machine and Apple payment method to make sure customers possess great experience in the app and safe the payment method.

Another direction Hey should have gone, says Schiller, is to sell a downloadable or premium edition of the software with simple email reading options on the App Store, and sold a newly updated email provider that served on its own website for the Hey app on iOS. Schiller provides yet another example: an RSS app that reads the certain feed and also interprets an upgraded feed that might be prosecuted on a different channel. For both instances, when installed on the shop, the applications will have features.

Most consumers are much more comfortable with the other choices, including a fully new download with an, upsell and it is an in-app purchase.

Sadly, the new regulations will, of necessity, prohibit Hey from promoting and even referencing any improved program, so it will have to be promoted across networks beyond the device.

Yesterday Sarah Perez on TechCrunch summed up the current discussion about the topic well enough and I urge you to read that if you’re not updated. And only today a report about Facebook’s game software getting refused five times for laws arrived in the Times. All this is creating a triple whammy ahead of Apple’s WWDC conference targeted at programmers along with the start of an EU competition probe almost day and time.

I’ve started wondering deeply regarding this myself, as somebody that works widely with Apple and has also experienced the context of developers’ uncertainty over how Apple would refuse a device from one minute to the next regardless of a particular understanding of the laws of the Device Store.

I guess it’s tied up with those basic experiences about me. The reality is, Hey is breaching the rules of the app store. How does it say that the problem is not “how do we contort these laws or squint sufficiently to explain it” but “will these be the guidelines” instead?

About why Apple is looking at a scenario this and not having a potential minefield, I think it personally feels it is doing the best and fair thing. It developed the infrastructure, and it gets to take advantage of the infrastructure, which contributes tremendous financial consequences to both the physical and digital industries. And Apple ‘s management of the payment process has irrefutable protection and confidentiality advantages.

But for those who might say “yet he sure recognizes the aesthetics! “I believe the authority of scale often is underestimated by those people. Each week, Apple approves some 100,000 apps, as well as the large proportion of rejection letters, which are easily corrected for smaller things. Such size will also change the perspective on behalf of an entity and its executive powers, as they see a huge, smooth sea to a few breakers — where even the public is centred on the breakers themselves.

However, this is how I feel about this one, and where the weak points here may lie:

  1. There might be (and my feedback channels, as well as other people’s back channels, suggest there’s) a broad land ripple of frustration and annoyance with the App Store which goes self-expressed as individuals are terrified and need that to live.
  2. Often the root of the critique matters — Hansson can be irritating and vitriolic, and adopt a worst-motivated approach in his public comms, but reform and self-examination may not necessarily start from those we find to be our buddies or allies. And the transformation that did come from people who are upset and apparently insensitive – but perhaps right – is twice as difficult to apply.

Call me ignorant, and I do believe there was a subset of real, core values that Apple brings to its company in a way that’s totally special to large corporations. I’m sure that some people would dispute (read: many), but I’ve seen that personally in representing the corporation and in meetings (commercial and private) with several, many, many of its managers and rank and file staff over the years. I consider it is challenging to complete the circle like John Gruber in seeking a path ahead here which puts aside “we ‘re doing what’s good” for “what would be good of doing?”

Apple sent a letter to TechCrunch soon until posting this interview, but it was also submitted to Fried and Hey.

The document reaffirms the justifications Apple says Hey is not complying with existing legislation on the App Store. It reads, partly:

“Thank you for becoming the creator of an iOS device. We recognize that Basecamp has been for many time produced a variety of applications and several new releases for the App Store, and also that many of such devices have been sold to iOS customers via the App Store. These apps may not give in-app purchases — and thus have not made a significant contribution to any revenue over the last eight years to the App Store. We are happy to continue to help you with your device industry and provide you with the tools and provide your apps free of charge — as long as you adopt and comply with the same App Store Approval Standards and conditions, other developers will obey.

And no defrosting right now.

Here’s a complete letter:

Hey Jason,

We are writing this letter to advise the outcome of your app’s request, HEY Contact.

The Software oversight committee reviewed the submission and concluded the dismissal was true. Your app doesn’t really follow the guidelines set out below for the App Store Review. If you remember, this is the explanation you declined your Hey Email request when it was sent to the Mac App Store on June 11, 2020.

The HEY Email app is advertised on the App Store as an email app, but it doesn’t work when people click your app. People can’t use the software to view email or execute any useful task right once they go to Hey Email’s Basecamp website and purchase a certificate to use the HEY Email device. This breaches the Criteria for Checking the App Store:

Guideline 3.1.1 – Business – Transactions – Buying In-App

When you want to activate apps or enhancements in your device, you need to buy the in-store. Your software allows users to buy materials, packages, or services beyond the device, but such products are not accessible inside the product as specified by the App Store Approval Guidelines with in-app purchases.

Guideline 3.1.3(a) – Consumer – Fees – “Editor” Software

Reader applications can allow users to access information and service subscriptions purchased earlier. Your mail app is not one of the content types for “Reader” apps (explicitly: magazine articles, newspapers, books, audio, music, video, availability to skilled datasets, VOIP, cloud storage, or authorized services such as classroom management apps) permitted under such guidance. Clients must be offered the option to buy access to the content or usability in your app using the purchase in-app.

Guideline 3.1.3(b) – Multiplatform Services – Business – Payments

Applications that function services to multiple systems may allow the user to access the content, subscription services, or features that they have obtained on other systems or on your website in your app, provided that those items are also available as in-app purchases inside the app. The HEY Email account does not have links to content, services, or apps inside the device as in-app transactions. In reality, when the consumer heads to the Basecamp Hey Email website to launch a free trial or buy a different authorization to use the software for its intended intent, the software does not work as an email client or for any reason.

Steps Now

To resolve this issue, please review your app to ensure it does not infringe on any of the guidelines and terms of the App Store Review.

There seem to be a variety of ways you can revise your app or service to conform to a Guidelines for the App Store review. Customers that have originally bought access to content, services, or services elsewhere may want to access such products in your app as soon as proper iOS customers are provided with the opportunity to buy access to use in-app purchasing as allowed by the App Store Review Guidelines.

If you’d like to not give users the option of in-app transactions, you could recommend selling the device feature — a mail client that fits with normal IMAP and POP email accounts, whereby consumers may automatically customize the Hey Email service as their preferred email provider. It could enable the app to use its functionalities as an email client without needing an extra premium. In this strategy, what you’re offering on your site is simply an email service different from the app’s feature because it’s sold on the mobile app.

We ‘re now as a tool while you discuss these and other suggestions for getting the Hey Email device into accordance with the requirements and conditions of the App Store Evaluation.

Thank you for being the creator of an iOS device. We recognize that Basecamp has for many years produced a variety of applications and several new releases for the App Store and that millions of such devices have been sold to iOS customers via the App Store. These apps may not give in-app purchases — and thus have not made a significant contribution to any income in the last eight years to the App Store.

We are delighted to continue to support you with your device industry and give you the tools to deliver your software services for free — as long as you adopt and adhere to the exact App Store Review Policies and conditions, other developers will obey.

We want to help you bring the Hey Email device on the App Store to sell.


App Board of Review

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