At the WWDC 2019, Apple announced a new security feature. The Sign In With Apple offered a new way for iOS users to connect with their favorite app. Most importantly, it hides their email from the app makers and protects them by auto-generating a temp email. As expected, the new feature along with the guidelines have ruffled some feathers in the developer’s community.
At the outset, the feature seems super useful and a necessity in today’s age of data mining. Unlike other authentication methods, Sign in with Apple doesn’t send personal information to apps and app makers.
Things start turning ugly as we read the updated Human Interface Guidelines. Apple clearly asks developers to position the Sign In With Apple button over rival sign-in options. One may argue that the guidelines are suggestions which developers can choose to accept or reject. However, many developers believe that the apps have lesser chances of passing the approval process if the guidelines are not followed to the T.
Interestingly, the suggestion comes at a time when regulators are readying to probe tech companies for possible abuse of antitrust laws. In fact, the announcement was made on the same day the Justice Department got authorization to investigate Apple for abusing antitrust laws. Regulators in the EU are examining the claims by Spotify that Apple is using the App Store to disadvantage other app developers.
In our opinion, Sign In With Apple is a great way to add an extra layer of security for the users. However, Apple should take care that this doesn’t negatively affect the prospects of app makers. While we all love a privacy focussed company, it should not come at the cost of killing the free market.
This is not the first time that regulators have probed and fined large tech companies. It has happened before and is most likely to continue happening. App Developers have been complaining in chorus about the 30% cut that Apple takes from in-app purchases. Meanwhile, Apple and Google are also thwarting the growth of other app marketplaces fearing competition. We hope that tech companies steer away from predatory practices and prescribe to an ecosystem that is sustainable for all.