Report: Apple cracking down on template applications, giving developers January 1 deadline

Apple has been working diligently over the last year to clean up the App Store and rid it of spam and clone applications. A new report from TechCrunch, however, outlines the effect that Apple’s newfound efforts are having on apps built around templates…

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The report explains that Apple is cracking down on applications that are built from a “commercialized template or app generation service.” While Apple had included new rules about these types of apps following WWDC in June, only now is it starting to crack down.

Apple has been sending emails to companies taking advantage of templates, telling them that any new applications will be rejected. It’s unclear, however, what approach Apple will take to existing applications. TechCrunch explains that some developers have been able to continue to update their apps, but now fear that Apple could change its tone at any point.

Many companies have recently been given a January 1, 2018 deadline, after which point any new apps they submit will be rejected by the App Store Review team, they’ve been told by Apple. In the meantime, some have been able to maintain their existing apps, but it’s unclear how long that will last.

TechCrunch’s report goes on to explain how Apple’s new policy is affecting those who legitimately use app templates and app building services. One specific instance of this is in the food industry, where many restaurants use templates to build an app that allows users to order food for delivery or pickup, avoiding fees charged by the likes of Postmates and UberEats.

The report explains:

These companies help small businesses like local retailers, restaurants, small fitness studios, nonprofits, churches and other organizations to create an app presence using templates, drag-and-drop wizards and various tools to put together a more basic app that can then be customized further with their own branding and images.

Furthermore, some companies in the industry have already been forced to shut down because of Apple’s efforts, including Shoutem, which was a service that worked with small businesses to build basic applications for their customers and clients. ChowNow is another company feeling the effects of Apple’s efforts. It works with restaurants to build ordering systems and loyalty programs.

Oddly enough, ChowNow was once specifically touted in Apple’s developer documentation for Apple Pay as it was one of the first companies to integrate the mobile payment platforms.

TechCrunch’s full report is definitely worth a read. Apple hasn’t yet commented on its apparent crackdown of template applications.

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Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ launch at CES ‘unlikely’: Report

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Published: December 8, 2017 10:47 am

Samsung Galaxy S9 CES 2018 launch price featuresSamsung Galaxy S9 CES 2018 launch price features Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will have a 5.8-inch and a 6.2-inch Infinity display with 18:9 aspect ratio. (File photo of Samsung Galaxy S8 series. Source: Reuters)

Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ smartphones were rumoured to be showcased at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January 2018. Now Samsung, in a statement to The Korea Herald has “dismissed the speculation, saying, “It is unlikely.”

Tipster Evan Blass had previously said that Samsung’s new flagship devices will be revealed at CES, though the official event will take place in March. He pointed out that Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be revealed ahead of the timeline, unlike the Galaxy S8 which launched in March.

Instead, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will likely launch at the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February. The Korean technology giant could even host its own launch event in March to announce the two phones, according to the report which quoted industry sources.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ won’t be major upgrades to the Galaxy S8 series when it comes to design. Just like last year’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will have a 5.8-inch and a 6.2-inch Infinity display with 18:9 aspect ratio. The metal glass design will continue on both phones. Samsung is said to get rid of the headphone jack in Galaxy S9 series.

Samsung Galaxy S9 series will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor in the US, while the international variant will be powered by the Exynos 9810 processor from Samsung itself. The smartphones will run on Android Oreo.

Samsung Galaxy S9+ will have 6GB RAM on board, while the smaller Galaxy S9 will feature 4GB RAM. Both the variants will come with 64GB on board storage. Samsung Galaxy S9+ could support dual rear cameras, though details are unclear at this moment. Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ will not feature a fingerprint scanner under the display, according to most reports. The two phones will also come with heat pipes.

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Xenoraid Review – Review – Nintendo World Report

Some bizarre design calls make this one tough to recommend.

Xenoraid is the kind of game that initially hooks you, but soon afterward starts making you scratch your head. Aliens have invaded our solar system, and you control a four-man squad of space fighters to wipe out successive waves of enemy ships. The game is basically a single-stick shooter with a strategic element that I really enjoyed: you can swap between four ships at any time. This not only gives you four life bars, but it also lets you customize each ship so that you can, ideally, effectively counter any given combat scenario.

Your ships are easy to control but weirdly limited in their mobility: unlike other modern games of this type, you do not move with one stick and aim with the other. Instead you can only move with the left stick, and your ship can only fire forward. It tilts left or right as you move in those directions, but your attack window is pretty narrow. This isn’t initially bothersome but as more enemies and asteroids flooded the screen, I started wishing for true twin-stick control, especially since your enemies do have that ability.
Between missions, you’ll earn credits to spend on tech upgrades (which apply to the entire fleet) and individual ship upgrades. You’ll also have to spend credits to repair your fleet. If you’re low on funds, you can actually sell your ships. I found individual upgrades more useful overall—things like improving weapon cooldown time, increasing missile yield, and improving primary fire rate (among others) are very handy. The risk is that you could spend a bunch of money on improvements only to have that ship destroyed during the next mission. It’s an interesting risk/reward system that I enjoyed.

However, none of these upgrades are entirely persistent. The game is divided up into different sectors, each of which is composed of several stages. All of your tech and individual ship upgrades are only good for a single sector. Once you move on, you essentially get a brand-new fleet and you’ll need to start the process all over again. I get the reasoning for this on individual ships because you’ll have different ship types the farther you go and the new ships have their own unique abilities to upgrade. However, going back to square one for your fleet-wide tech upgrades is a surprising kick in the teeth.

As a result, I tended to avoid investing in tech upgrades and focused heavily on individual ships. That worked for me, but I doubt that’s what you’re “supposed” to do. Another knock against getting too attached is that if your squadron is wiped out, you can restart…but only from a certain “checkpoint” stage, generally around the middle of the sector. While no individual stage is terribly long, having to redo three or four of them is a big ask.

Making strategic use of your different ship types by knowing when to swap out is critical to your success. Swapping can also act like an awkward-but-effective dodge maneuver. Different ships control differently—generally, the larger and bulkier the ship, the slower it is but the more powerful its arsenal. Larger ships can take more punishment but also present larger targets, so there’s also some strategy in the makeup of your fleet. And this is ultimately what frustrates me about Xenoraid: the game has an extremely solid core that’s weighed down by questionable design decisions surrounding it.

The game looks good, not great. The galactic backdrops are lovely but the ship designs (both yours and the enemy’s) are surprisingly generic. Critically, however, each enemy ship type has a particular attack pattern that’s instantly recognizable, so you can swap to whatever ship will get the job done quickly. I appreciated that. Between missions, you’ll usually see some characters talking to each other. The character art is…not fantastic, but it’s also not why you’re here. The music, however, is quite good.

I enjoyed the core concept of shooting alien ships in space with a customizable fleet of ships. That’s really fun. The problem is all the bulk surrounding it. Poor checkpointing, being unable to carry tech upgrades forward, and the persistent wish that I had more control over my own aiming all sort of dampen the experience. I like where this game’s head is at, but I’ve got a list of things they can improve if Xenoraid gets a sequel.

Delayed iPhone X launch hurt market share, Kantar report

Apple CEO Tim Cook (L) takes a picture with David Casarez (R) who just purchased the new iPhone X at an Apple Store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook (L) takes a picture with David Casarez (R) who just purchased the new iPhone X at an Apple Store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.

Apple’s delayed launch of the iPhone X hurt the iPhone market share around the world, research firm Kantar Worldpanel said on Tuesday.

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Apple launched the iPhone X in the beginning of November, instead of in September when it launched the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

It’s this window that Kantar believes may have hurt Apple’s market share. Data from Kantar shows that Apple’s share fell by 7.6 percentage points in the U.S. during the October quarter, compared to the same period last year. Likewise, it slipped 8.5 percentage points in Great Britain, 1.6 percentage points in Germany, 6.9 percentage points in Japan and 2.1 percentage points in the European Union Five. Android saw growth in all of those markets except in China.

“It was somewhat inevitable that Apple would see volume share fall once we had a full comparative month of sales taking into account the non-flagship iPhone 8 vs. the flagship iPhone 7 from 2016,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Global Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “This decrease is significant and puts pressure on the iPhone X to perform. Considering the complete overhaul that the iPhone X offers, consumers may be postponing their purchase decisions until they can test the iPhone X and decide whether the higher price, compared to the iPhone 8, is worth the premium to them.”

Despite this, Apple said earlier this year that sales during the last quarter exceeded expectations and were up 3 percent year-on-year. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus quickly became Apple’s most popular iPhone models and remained the best-selling until the iPhone X went on sale. Also, Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus roll-out wasn’t completed until the end of October, so some markets didn’t yet have those phones.

Early reports had suggested Apple pushed the launch of the iPhone X due to supply issues, though that hasn’t seemed to be much of an issue. While supply did seem limited initially, the iPhone X is now much easier to buy without much of a wait.

Read the full report from Kantar Worldpanel.

Ex-BMW Designer Quits Faraday Future And Folks Just Aren’t Coming To Work Anymore: Report

Photo: Faraday Future

Things are going from bad to worse for electric car startup Faraday Future. One of the company’s founding executives, former BMW designer Richard Kim, has resigned, reports The Verge. His final day is Friday, according to the news outlet.

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Citing two unnamed people with direct knowledge of the situation, The Verge reports that Kim tendered his resignation on Tuesday.

“Richard gave his heart and soul to that company, and he tried to make it work. He’s been considering leaving for 2 to 3 months,” one of these former employees says.

Kim was also one of five “founding executives” at Faraday Future — the first core group brought onto lead the company. With his departure, three of those five have now left the company in the last four months. Alan Cherry, formerly of Tesla, left his post as head of HR in August. Another Tesla vet, Tom Wessner — who led Faraday Future’s supply chain group — resigned in October. Nick Sampson (R&D) and Dag Reckhorn (manufacturing) are still with the company.

A Faraday spokesperson didn’t have an immediate comment when reached by Jalopnik on Friday.

Kim’s departure comes on the heels of two other high-profile resignations. Jalopnik first reported that former Faraday CFO Stefan Krause, who joined the company following stints at BMW and Deutsche Bank, left the company on Oct. 14. Ulrich Kranz, Faraday’s CTO, left the following day.

Verge’s report shows that Kim ran into some of the same problems as Krause and Kranz. Krause, for instance, prepared to file a bankruptcy petition on behalf of Faraday over the objections of Faraday’s main financier, Chinese tech entrepreneur Jia Yueting.

Worse, Verge got a hold of an email that showed Faraday’s running into serious problems following Krause’s departure. In particular, people just aren’t showing up for work anymore.

The Verge has obtained an email dated November 20th that was sent to Faraday Future’s marketing, sales, go to market, and service teams, where Allan Lu — the company’s new head of go-to-market operations — scolded employees over not showing up. He wrote that “only 2 people were in office” when Jia Yueting, the main financial backer and shareholder of Faraday Future, arrived that morning to meet a group of potential investors.

“I would like to make it clear that we will be on time to the work starting from 9:00 am every day and closing of business by 6:00 pm ,unless you have your managers [sic] pre-approval for late come or early leave,” the email reads. Lu writes that the company is “very close obtaining investment,” and encouraged employees “WE MUST go back to our “fight mode IMMEDIATELY!”

Only two people! Faraday said just last month that it still has 1,000 people on payroll.

And sources have told Jalopnik that Faraday still has intentions of going to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. That’s in a month. What Faraday expects to show up with is a mystery.