A Powerful Database with iCloud Sync

MacStories Unwind: Travel Stories and Games


This week on MacStories Unwind, Federico and I share our preparations for traveling to California for WWDC, I recommend Laya’s Horizon, an iPhone game, and Federico has more thoughts on Tears of the Kingdom.

John’s Pick:

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Reddit Quotes Extraordinarily High API Pricing to Apollo Developer

I’ve never used Reddit without a third-party app. For a while, that was Narwhal, and most recently, Apollo. Sure, I read Reddit in Safari once in a while when a Google search leads me there, but I’ve never used Reddit’s first-party app because it’s never been as good as third-party alternatives.

In April, Reddit announced that it would start charging users for API access. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s a lot like what played out with Twitter’s API and third-party apps. And just like Twitter, Reddit is charging a price for its API that’s so steep, it’s hard to imagine any third-party apps will be able to pay it.

Christian Selig, the creator of the immensely popular Reddit client Apollo, on the pricing he was quoted:

I’ll cut to the chase: 50 million requests costs $12,000, a figure far more than I ever could have imagined.

Apollo made 7 billion requests last month, which would put it at about 1.7 million dollars per month, or 20 million US dollars per year. Even if I only kept subscription users, the average Apollo user uses 344 requests per day, which would cost $2.50 per month, which is over double what the subscription currently costs, so I’d be in the red every month.

I hope Reddit reconsiders its pricing, but I’m afraid we may be seeing the end of the era when platforms used free or cheap APIs to accelerate their growth. Reddit may be within its rights to charge so much, but that doesn’t make it any less a slap in the face to app developers like Selig, whose app has helped grow Reddit’s business. Between this and Twitter, it’s hard to imagine new services attracting third-party support as a way to grow their businesses ever again.


Economist Group Concludes Apple’s App Store Ecosystem Is Responsible for Facilitating $1.1 Trillion in Commerce

Today, Apple released the results of an independent study of the App Store economy by the economists at Analysis Group. According to the report, it was supported by Apple, but the conclusions and opinions expressed in it are those of the Analysis Group alone.

If you’re thinking, ‘Wait, I thought Apple just issued a press release about the app economy,’ you’re mostly right. That was the same group of economists reporting specifically on the success of small app developers, whereas this report extends beyond apps to other transactions facilitated by apps.

What the report shows is that the App Store economy is far larger than just apps. Along with app sales and subscriptions, the Analysis Group looked at the sale of physical goods, services, and advertising through apps downloaded from the App Store. What the results of the study show is that this more broadly-defined market accounted for about $1.1 trillion in sales in 2022, an enormous number by any measure.

The study includes some interesting insights into the App Store and the economy surrounding it:

  • The broader App Store ecosystem grew 29%, but digital goods and services, which is a category that includes more than just App Store sales, only grew 2% in 2022
  • Over 90% of billings connected to the App Store occurred outside of it
  • Ride-sharing and travel sales accounted for a big part of the App Store ecosystem’s growth in 2022
  • Other categories that saw big increases are grocery sales, food delivery and pickup services, and general retail sales

It’s worth considering the broader purpose of this study and the results that Apple has highlighted. The message of the report is that the impact of the App Store extends beyond apps, which is accurate. From that broader perspective the fees paid to Apple as a percentage of overall sales are lower, which is an argument the company will surely make to regulators and in antitrust disputes. Whether that perspective is relevant or persuasive in those contexts remains to be seen.

In any event, the App Store drives a remarkably large engine of commerce, the likes of which are reminiscent of the Internet itself. That’s an enormous accomplishment, of which Apple is understandably proud. However, it’s also important to remember that it’s an engine to which just one company holds the keys.

Detail Duo and Detail for Mac: A Modern, Machine Learning-Powered Approach to Video

It’s harder than ever to push Apple devices to their limits. Sure, some apps and workflows will do it, but for everyday tasks, Apple silicon has opened a gap between hardware and software that we haven’t seen in a while.

The transformation was gradual with the iPhone and iPad compared to the sudden leap the Mac took with the M1, but the result is the same. There are fewer and fewer apps that push Apple’s chips to the max.

That’s beginning to change with the focus on machine learning and Apple silicon’s Neural Engine. While pundits fret over Apple’s lack of an AI chatbot, developers are building a new class of apps that use local, on-device machine learning to accomplish some pretty amazing feats on all of Apple’s devices.

Detail Duo.

Detail Duo.

Great examples of this are the apps by Detail, an Amsterdam-based startup. Detail has two apps: Detail Duo, an iPhone and iPad video production app, and Detail for Mac, which does something similar but with a focus on multi-camera setups more suitable to a desktop environment.

As I explained in my Final Cut Pro for iPad first impressions story last week, I don’t work with much video. However, I’ve been dabbling in video more, and I’ve discovered a story as old as personal computers themselves.

Every hardware advance that creates a huge amount of performance headroom is eventually consumed by the ever-growing demands of apps. That’s just as true with Apple silicon as it was for other chip advances. What seemed like more power than average consumers would ever need quickly becomes a necessity as apps like Detail Duo and Detail push that hardware to its limits.

It’s these sorts of advances that I find incredibly exciting because when they’re coupled with intuitive, well-designed apps, they open up entirely new opportunities for users. For Detail, that means simplifying and democratizing video production that would have been out of reach of most users not that long ago, expanding access to video as a creative outlet.

Before digging into these apps further, though, you should know that my son Finn is on the team building Detail and Detail Duo. That’s one of the reasons I’ve known about and followed these apps for a long time now. I figured that’s context readers should know.

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Announcement: MacStories’ WWDC 2023 Coverage

Nothing beats the anticipation of WWDC. After months of speculation and rumors, we’ll finally get a glimpse of what’s in store for the fall OS season. This year is more exciting than ever, with rumors that Apple will unveil a mixed reality headset and the first new OS since watchOS to drive it.

This WWDC is also special for us at MacStories because it’s the first time we’ll have our full team in Cupertino since 2019. Federico, Alex, and I will all be in town to cover the events for the extended MacStories audience, with coverage on MacStories, for Club MacStories members, and with special episodes of AppStories. It’s going to be a busy week, so we thought we’d preview our coverage for you and introduce you to this year’s sponsor: Setapp.

As always, we’ll have in-depth coverage of the keynote, Platforms State of the Union presentation, Apple Design Awards, and sessions. We’ll cover Apple’s announcements, dig into the details of announced OS updates and any new hardware, and roundups of everything happening throughout the week. You’ll also get the kind of details that aren’t widely reported as the team combs through session videos, product pages, developer videos, social media, and other sources.

Before WWDC even gets started, we’ll be hosting a special live episode of AppStories in the Club MacStories+ Discord community for Club MacStories+ and Club Premier members today, May 31st, at 10:00 AM Eastern US time. For Club members who can’t join us live, we’ll release the audio in the AppStories podcast feed on Sunday for AppStories+ subscribers and the morning of the beginning of WWDC for everyone else. We’ve also created a dedicated WWDC 2023 channel in our Discord community to discuss the conference this week and throughout the conference.

We’ll also be doing bonus WWDC episodes of AppStories all week. Our extended AppStories coverage has been a big hit the past few years, so we’ll be at it again, starting with recaps of the keynote and Platforms State of the Union presentations next Tuesday, followed by episodes that dig in deeper into everything that’s announced. We also have a couple of surprises lined up for listeners, so be sure to follow along all week.

Last year’s recording of these AppStories episodes in our Club MacStories+ Discord community was a big hit, so we’ll be doing that again this year. It’s a great way to learn the latest in real time and an opportunity to ask us questions. We’ll be releasing the AppStories+ and AppStories versions of these episodes simultaneously due to the time constraints of WWDC, but the Q&A segments will be released as bonus content for AppStories+ subscribers only. The precise schedule of our recordings is still up in the air, but keep an eye out in Discord for details during the conference.

To join the fun in Discord, sign up for a Club MacStories+ or Club Premier account at Club Premier is our all-access pass to everything MacStories, including AppStories+, our extended, ad-free version of the show that is published a day early.

Club MacStories+

Club Premier

You can follow along with all of the MacStories and AppStories coverage on our WWDC 2023 hub or subscribe to the dedicated WWDC 2023 RSS feed.

Finally, we’ll send a special issue of MacStories Weekly to Club MacStories members one day later than usual on Saturday, June 11th. The issue will be packed with WWDC-themed features, our thoughts on everything revealed, and giveaways.

If you’re not a member of Club MacStories, you can join here.

Of course, we’re working on some surprises for the week, too, so keep a close eye on the MacStories, Club MacStories, and AppStories websites.

To recap, stay tuned to MacStories, AppStories, and the Club for a full week of WWDC coverage:

This Week


  • At 10:00 AM Eastern US time, a special live recording of AppStories in our Club MacStories+ Discord community, which will also be released in the AppStories+ and AppStories podcast feeds on Sunday, June 4th and Monday, June 5th.

Next Week

Monday - Friday

  • Continuous Keynote, Platforms State of the Union, and session coverage on MacStories

Tuesday - Friday

  • Daily episodes of AppStories covering all of Apple’s announcements, big and small
  • Live recording of three shows Monday through Wednesday in the Club MacStories+ Discord


We’re all excited for next week and hope you’ll join us for the festivities.

You can follow all of our WWDC coverage through our WWDC 2023 hub or subscribe to the dedicated WWDC 2023 RSS feed.

AppStories, Episode 331 – Our xrOS Wishes

This week on AppStories, we talk about Logic Pro for iPad and our wishes for Apple’s rumored mixed reality OS, xrOS.

Sponsored by:

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On AppStories+, I need new wired travel headphones and Federico comes through with an excellent recommendation.

We deliver AppStories+ to subscribers with bonus content, ad-free, and at a high bitrate early every week.

To learn more about the benefits included with an AppStories+ subscription, visit our Plans page, or read the AppStories+ FAQ.


Last Week, on Club MacStories: iPad Stand, Keyboard, and Mouse Recommendations, AppStories Live, and Rebuilding Workflows

Because Club MacStories now encompasses more than just newsletters, we’ve created a guide to the past week’s happenings:

MacStories Weekly: Issue 370

Federico's keyboard and mouse setup.

Federico’s keyboard and mouse setup.

Accounting for What the Apple Watch Ultra Can’t Track

Every runner who has used a fitness tracker has a moment at some point that is similar to Victoria Song’s at this year’s New York City Half Marathon, where she was unable to beat her time from the year before:

I’d been running for nearly two hours in freezing temperatures, straight into the wind. The Apple Watch Ultra on my left wrist buzzed to tell me I’d just passed mile nine. On my right wrist, the Garmin Forerunner 265S said I’d only run 8.55 miles. A short-ish distance ahead, I could see the official mile nine marker. I had no idea which distance was “true.”

As someone who has had a borderline obsessive relationship with tracking personal fitness metrics at times, I can relate to wondering about the ‘true’ distance of a run. If you run the same route over and over, you’d think the distance would always be the same, but it’s not. As Song explains in her story for The Verge, the truth is much more complicated:

Altogether, the additional L5 signal is cross-referenced with data from Maps and Wi-Fi for what Mayor calls hyper-accurate GPS. It’s important to maintain a healthy skepticism, but it’s hard to argue that this method doesn’t deliver freakishly accurate location data. For instance, the Ultra (plus Series 8, SE, and any watch running watchOS 9) can automatically detect when you arrive at a running track. It also knows which lane you’re running in without calibration. If I hadn’t tried it out myself — multiple times, mind you — I’d be inclined to think it’s too good to be true.

Ultimately, Song attributes her slower 2023 time to the mental exhaustion of losing her mother to ALS in 2021. Her story is an excellent reminder that humans are complicated. We’re not robots, and although the data collected by our devices can help us become fitter, they can’t track everything, so it pays to listen to your body as well as your gadgets.


Collections: A Powerful Database with iCloud Sync [Sponsor]

Collections Database is the premier personal database app for organizing anything and everything on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

The app features more than 20 field types, linkable sub-databases, reusable lists, and a robust customization system. It’s a powerful and flexible solution that makes Collections easy to get started with for beginners, while meeting the needs of advanced users too.

Collections provides essential templates to get started, including Expenses, Contacts, Subscriptions, Books and more. However, you’re always free to start from scratch by building your own custom templates.

A long, complete list of field types is available for your databases too. The set includes everything you’d expect from a modern database app, including Text, Number, Date, Picture - even Barcode fields. Collections can also import spreadsheets from other apps, using its powerful CSV import functionality. Collections also offers quick filters, sorting, password protection, smart text-based search, and more.

The app has recently added extensive support for Shortcuts, which expands its capabilities even more.

Collections is free to try, but by upgrading to the Pro version via In-App Purchase, you’ll gain access to an unlimited number of database entries and files, plus advanced filters. The Pro version also includes a unique visual formula editor the makes building complex formulas intuitive and easy.

The app is a universal purchase, so your purchase will be available on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. At the same time, though, Collections has been carefully optimized to each Apple platform for the best experience on every platform.

Collections is regularly updated to take advantage of the latest Apple technologies and is privacy-minded. Your data isn’t collected or sent anywhere else.

To learn more, and download Collections Database visit the App Store today.

Our thanks to Collections Database for sponsoring MacStores this week.