Apple offers preferential treatment for Zoom and more iOS apps | Applications and Software

Last year, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, stated that all developers are treated equally. Still, according to one developer, the zoom received special access to an API that allows you to use the multitasking of iPad on video calls. E-mails attached to the lawsuit with Epic Games also revealed a preferential treatment offered by the iPhone manufacturer to Hulu.

iPhone 12 Pro Max (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

The Zoom case was presented by developer Jeremy Provost in late April. In a blog, he reported that the app was given access to a private API to use the iPad’s camera in multitasking. In this way, users are able to make video calls while sharing the screen with other apps (Split View).

In the publication, Provost says he contacted Zoom, who revealed to him an apparently private process, “available only to those deemed worthy by Apple”. Then, the developer explains that the qualification is done through an “entitlement” (“right”, in free translation). That is, a “right or privilege that grants particular capabilities to an executable [aplicativo]”, In the words of Apple.

You entitlements can be public or private. In the first case, these are open functions, such as push notifications. In the second, the rights are allocated to resources that depend on authorization, such as the integration of an app with CarPlay. To do this, you must make a request to Apple and wait for approval.

The authorization depends on some prerequisites of the company. In the case of CarPlay integration, for example, the application needs to be in categories such as audio, communications, navigation, parking, among others. If the application is approved, Apple makes the resource available in the developer’s account for use in the app.

Permission to use the camera for multitasking on the iPad, however, happens differently. According to Provost, there is no public process for requesting authorization. The developer also reports that he has not found any public documents about the feature. At Google, he only came across information on Zoom forums.

App Store on iPhone (Image: André Fogaça / Tecnoblog)

App Store on iPhone (Image: André Fogaça / Tecnoblog)

Hulu also received special access from Apple

In addition to Zoom, other applications received preferential treatment by Apple. It shows what some emails revealed in the process between the company and Epic Games regarding Hulu. In one of the messages exchanged by company employees, there is a tweet from developer David Barnard who asks about the automatic cancellation of subscriptions to the App Store.

“I didn’t know that App Store subscriptions could be automatically canceled via the StoreKit API,” Barnard published on Twitter in 2018. “I’m surprised I didn’t see any more offers to change App Store billing.”

The tweet was sent by Matt Fischer, vice president of the App Store, to Cindy Lin. In response, Lin said that Hulu is part of a “set of developers with allowed access to the subscription cancellation / refund API”. She further explained that the feature was used in 2015 to support instant updating using a two-family configuration.

In the same email conversation, Carson Oliver, director of business management for the App Store, said it was necessary to “take immediate action to protect us against the misuse of the API”. Currently, Hulu no longer has access to the resource.

These episodes, however, contradict what was said by Tim Cook in July last year. In testimony during the hearing of the Antitrust Subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives, the Apple CEO said that all developers are treated equally.

“We treat all developers in the same way. We have open and transparent rules – it is a rigorous process ”, he said. “As we are deeply concerned with privacy, security and quality, we review all applications before they become available. But these rules apply equally to everyone ”.

With information: 9to5Mac, Apple (1 and 2), Think Tap Work, MacRumors, TechCrunch and The Verge

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