Super Mario Wonder download code and Solstice app icon

Published stuff

Living a fair way north, I experience great variance in daylight across the year. And that’s not ideal in winter, when the nights draw in and it’s also dark when I get up. Daylight trackers can help combat SAD symptoms during the early months of the year, by providing a reminder of how daylight is increasing. Solstice by Dan Eden is my favourite, in part because it can automatically turn offnotifications when the days start getting shorter again.

Solstice and several other daylight trackers – including ones that aid photographers and surveyors – are explored in my daylight trackers round-up for TapSmart. I also wrote an explainer on game streaming for iPhone.

Over at Stuff this week, my column is Nintendo Switch digital game prices are bananas – but beat Ubisoft’s dream future for console gaming. Even my nine-year-old has pointed out how ridiculous the pricing situation is, hence why we’re very much a household centred on physical carts – albeit one that’s aware this option might not be around for much longer.

Other stuff

I’m not sure what’s going on with Apple of late. I get that it’s historically acted with ferocity towards what it perceives as injustice towards the company. But its scrap with the EU is set to cause collateral damage, perhaps so the company can point to problems and say to other jurisdictions: “See‽ This is what happens when you force us to do things we said were bad!”

The latest ‘headdesk’ moment: Apple has reportedly killed PWAs in iOS 17.4 – if you’re in the EU. Users are now asked if the app should open a PWA in Safari or cancel. 

Web apps were Apple’s original ‘sweet solution’ for expanding on base iPhone installs before the arrival of the App Store. And although good examples are rare, there have been cases where PWAs have provided functionality effectively banned by Apple from the App Store, such as retro game emulation and cloud gaming. Now, these experiences will be made worse, by virtue of loading within the browser rather than a more app-like full-screen view.

Defenders of Apple (who too often align with being anti-EU and rabidly pro-anything-American) argue this is a case of ‘careful what you wish for’. Apple, they say, has no choice but to nerf PWA functionality, because a PWA is technically a browser and doesn’t let people switch browser engines – or that only Safari having this functionality would be unacceptable regarding level playing field rules. Naturally, there are counterpoint arguments, claiming PWA functionality doesn’t clash with the EU’s Digital Markets Act. (Also, if you take ‘level playing field’ to its extreme, you may as well argue Safari cannot implement any features at all that a competitor doesn’t have.) If you fancy balance, web expert Bruce Lawson offers a reasoned, thoughtful take.

With Apple remaining tight-lipped, it’s impossible to know whether this change was inevitable or temporary while the company explores how to enable all browsers to create PWAs. The problem is that it’s just not a good look. Even if this isn’t malicious compliance, it sure feels like it. It feels petty. And that doesn’t come so much from the EU’s demands as Apple’s responses to them.