21 August 2018
Did you know that weather information in Apple Weather is provided by The Weather Channel? And Stocks uses Yahoo Finance? It’s hard not to know. Both the Weather and Stocks app on iOS feature the logos of Weather Channel and Yahoo prominently in their user interfaces. At some level, it’s nice to know where the numbers are coming from, so an acknowledgement in the apps is probably sensible. But it goes further than that.
If you use weather or stocks widgets, scroll down to the bottom of the widget screen. There’s yet more credit given to Yahoo and the Weather Channel; small print, logos and links to the respective company’s websites that open in Safari when you tap on them. It’s not just interfering with Apple’s visual OS design. The HomePod will regularly announce to you what it uses as a data source when you ask for weather or stock information, lengthening Siri responses that should be short and sweet. These credits are everywhere.
This stuff has been playing on my mind for a while. Only recently, did it hit me how antithetical this is to Apple’s ethos. Why does Apple allow for third-party company logos to besmirch their user interfaces, not just contained within apps but across the OS, when the hardware group refuses to put any stickers or logos on their products that are not their own. The rejection of the Intel Inside program is a long-told anecdote. The same company that forces shopping malls to change the color of the light shades in front of the Apple Store.
The best answer I have is — something something legal issues. I would love if someone could enlighten me here, but it instinctively feels like a problem Apple could solve by writing a cheque. An interesting parallel is the Safari search engine. Apple doesn’t pay Google, Yahoo or Bing to be featured in the search field. The search engines pay Apple. Google literally forks out billions to remain the default iPhone search provider and they don’t get to put their logo anywhere in Apple’s UI. The autocomplete results are titled ‘Google Search’, set in Apple’s San Francisco typeface, and that’s it.