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Our thanks to Inoreader for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Phil Schiller Explains Steam Link App Rejection

Valve announced on May 9th that it would release a video game streaming app called Steam Link. According to Valve, that announcement was made after the app was approved by Apple’s App Review team. As we reported Friday, Valve says that App Review reversed its decision the next day, rejecting the app for what Valve describe as ‘business conflicts with app guidelines.’

Steam Link is an app designed to allow users to stream Steam games from a Mac or PC to an iOS device or Apple TV over fast WiFi or Ethernet. Valve appealed the rejection on the basis that it was similar to other LAN-based remote desktop apps available on the App Store, but the appeal was denied. That led some people to question whether Apple’s rejection was motivated by a desire to protect gaming on iOS devices and the Apple TV.

We now have a better idea of the reasons behind the Steam Link rejection thanks to an email message from Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, to a MacStories reader, the authenticity of which we have verified.

The reader, who asked to remain anonymous, wrote to Schiller asking that Apple reconsider the rejection. In response Schiller said:

We care deeply about bringing great games to all of our users on the App Store. We would love for Valve’s games and services to be on iOS and AppleTV.

Unfortunately, the review team found that Valve’s Steam iOS app, as currently submitted, violates a number of guidelines around user generated content, in-app purchases, content codes, etc. We’ve discussed these issues with Valve and will continue to work with them to help bring the Steam experience to iOS and AppleTV in a way that complies with the store’s guidelines.

Without having tried the app, it’s impossible to know precisely what aspect of the App Review Guidelines Apple concluded Steam Link violated, but Guideline 1.2, requires apps with user-generated content to have a way to filter objectionable content and remove offensive material, for example. In-App Purchases are another area with specific guidelines, many of which apply to games, in-game currencies, loot boxes, level unlocking, and more. Guideline 3.1.4 also forbids apps from using their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality.

Although it’s disappointing that Steam Link was rejected, it appears from Schiller’s message to our reader that there was more going on in the app than just streaming games from a PC or Mac. The guidelines that Schiller says were violated are not new, but with only the Steam Mobile app on the App Store, Valve probably hasn’t had to address user-generated content or game-specific guidelines in the past. Hopefully, the two companies can find a way to resolve the issues that satisfies the guidelines and allows Valve to provide its users with a way to enjoy their Steam games on iOS and tvOS.


Steam Link Rejected by App Review

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Valve was preparing to release an app called Steam Link that would allow gamers to stream Steam games to an Apple TV or iOS device over a fast WiFi or Ethernet network. The app was set to debut this week, but it was rejected by Apple’s App Review team. According to a press release from Valve, Steam Link was approved by App Review on May 7th and then rejected on May 10th, one day after Valve announced the app was coming to iOS and tvOS.

According to a tweeted statement by the Steam Database account:

Apple revoked its approval citing business conflicts with app guidelines that had allegedly not been realized by the original review team.

Valve’s statement also notes that other apps with similar functionality are currently available on the App Store. Valve appealed the rejection, which was denied.

Valve said it hopes Apple will reconsider in the future, but for now, it appears that Steam Link for iOS and tvOS is on indefinite hold.


Apple Debuts New Data and Privacy Website in Europe Ahead of GDPR Effective Date

Today, Apple unveiled a new data and privacy website to comply with the European Union’s GDPR legislation that goes into effect on May 25th. The site allows users to copy and correct personally identifiable information associated with their Apple IDs and deactivate or delete their accounts. Although the new copy and deactivation options are only available in the EU, they will be rolling out throughout the remainder of the year to the rest of the world.

Read more


Apple Confirms WWDC Keynote for June 4

In mid-March Apple announced that WWDC 2018 would take place the first week in June, and today the company confirmed that, following past tradition, the keynote for that conference will take place on June 4 at 10:00am Pacific.

Apple is expected to unveil the latest versions of its major operating systems at WWDC, including iOS 12, watchOS 5, and macOS 10.14. If the keynote is anything like last year's, we may see several hardware products announced too. A live stream for the keynote has not yet been confirmed, but it remains likely since WWDC is one of the prime Apple events of the year.


‘Day One in Depth’ Is a New Video Course from The Sweet Setup

Following its recent courses on Things and Ulysses, today The Sweet Setup has launched a new 'Day One in Depth' video course aimed at helping you become an expert of the popular journaling app.

A major strength of Day One is its flexibility – it's full-featured on both iOS and Mac, supports a host of both system-based and web-based methods for saving content, and therefore it can be used in a way that serves you best at any given moment. There's a lot to cover about the app, and The Sweet Setup hits all the bases well in the eight videos of its new course, which are titled:

  • Walkthrough of Day One on Mac
  • Walkthrough of Day One on iPad & iPhone
  • Elements of a Journal Entry
  • All the Ways to Create New Entries
  • How to Filter and Search in Day One
  • How and Why to Use Multiple Journals
  • Cloud Sync, Back Up, and Security
  • Getting Things Out of Your Journal(s)

In addition to these videos, Day One in Depth provides access to nine exclusive articles from The Sweet Setup's team, covering a wide range of subjects such as how journaling can change your life, a guide to all of Day One's keyboard shortcuts, ideas for how you may want to use Day One, a 30-day journaling challenge, and much more. While the video course is presented as the main attraction, I found the articles included here invaluable.

I've used Day One only casually in my life for the most part – I knew the app had a lot of power to it, but I never took the time to dive in and get the most out of it. If you're in a similar place and want to change that, this new course is an excellent way to equip yourself for a deeper investment into digital journaling.

'Day One in Depth' will normally be priced at $29, but it's available now at a special launch week price of $23. You can purchase the course here.


Regain Control of Your Inbox with SaneBox’s Customizable Tools [Sponsor]

At its core, SaneBox is about making sure that only your most important messages hit your inbox. Other messages are safely stored in automated folders like the @SaneLater, @SaneBulk, and @SaneNews folders for reviewing later.

But email sorting is just the tip of the iceberg. With custom folders, custom snooze settings, and @SaneReminders, SaneBox takes email management to the next level.

Set up a custom folder and train it by dragging in a few messages. SaneBox will send all messages from the senders to your new folder. It’s a painless way to organize messages for a special project.

SaneSnooze folders can be customized to defer messages anywhere from hours to weeks. SaneBox comes with default snooze folders like @SaneTommorrow and @SaneNextWeek, but adding custom snooze folders lets you set when messages reappear in your inbox with precision.

SaneReminders are a great way to keep on top of tasks. Send yourself a reminder to do something later or get a reminder that someone hasn’t responded to a messages. For example, blind copy 3days@sanebox.com and the message will show up back in your inbox only if the recipient doesn’t reply within 3 days.

Also, don’t forget that SaneBox works on top of your existing email setup. There's no app to download or new email account to set up. You can use any email client you want.

Sign up today for a free 14-day SaneBox trial to take back control of your email. MacStories readers can receive a special $25 credit automatically by using this link to sign up.

Our thanks to SaneBox for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Google Introduces YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Subscription Services, Retires YouTube Red Moniker

Google seems to have an affinity for constantly rebranding its products, and today is the latest example of that. Soon, YouTube Red will be replaced by the more costly $11.99/month YouTube Premium service – the good news is that Premium members will get all the benefits of YouTube's new Music service thrown in too. And if you're an existing Red subscriber, or sign up quickly before Premium launches, you can lock in the existing $9.99 monthly rate and still get all the benefits of Premium and Music.

YouTube Music is Google's attempt at taking on streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify directly. Launching May 22nd, YouTube Music will have both a free tier and a paid, $9.99/month option. The main focus here is the paid plan though, as it will be the only way to enable background listening – a pretty important feature for music. Paid subscribers will also benefit from downloads and ad-free listening.

YouTube Music will launch with a new mobile app and desktop player, and use Google's intelligence to power advanced search capabilities and an aggregation of different song versions you may not find elsewhere. In a confusing move, Google Play Music will continue to exist as a separate service from YouTube Music, but if you're a subscriber to the former, you get the latter service at no extra cost.

As someone who uses YouTube regularly, but not enough to justify a Red subscription, the new Premium plan definitely seems like a more attractive all-around product, despite the price hike: you get a full-fledged music streaming service, YouTube Originals, and a better viewing experience on the largest video source in the world thanks to downloads, no ads, and background playback, all for $11.99. Spotify and Apple Music subscribers may be content with their chosen services for now, but if YouTube Music truly does become a legitimate contender in the streaming market, it will be hard to resist the allure of YouTube Premium for all the extra perks it offers.

At launch, YouTube Music and Premium will be available in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico, and they'll arrive shortly thereafter in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.


Apple Updates Its Website for Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Apple has updated its homepage and accessibility webpage to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The event, which Apple has marked in a variety of ways over the years, was created to promote access to technology and foster inclusion for people with disabilities.

Apple’s homepage includes a banner image highlighting the accessibility features of its products with the statement ‘Technology is most powerful when it empowers everyone.’ The Accessibility section elaborates on that idea with a video first published in 2016 and the following:

Taking a family portrait. Catching up over FaceTime. Raising the blinds to let in the morning light. We want everyone to enjoy the everyday moments that technology helps make possible, so we work to make every Apple product accessible from the very start. Because the true value of a device isn’t measured by how powerful it is, but by how much it empowers you.

The remainder of the Accessibility page is organized into sections dedicated to vision, hearing, physical and motor skills, and learning and literacy that outline accessibility features of Apple’s products and demonstrates them with animations and videos.

The updates to Apple’s website and its announcement that it is working with schools for blind and deaf students to help teach them to code is a reminder of the importance of accessibility to the company that hopefully encourages third-party developers to make accessibility a priority too.