John Gruber’s Anti-Worker Screed

John Gruber wrote an ugly screed in reply to a letter that got leaked to The Verge’s Zoe Schiffer from Apple workers asking for more flexible time at home options. The office workers were told to return to the office three days a week later this year, and they would naturally prefer more flexible schedules. Gruber’s response is really ridiculous, this statement really sums up his attitude:

Companies are not democracies, but the employees writing these letters sure seem to think Apple is one.

I used to read Daring Fireball but stopped in 2019 after the last time I could put up with this bizarre backwards attitudes published there. At that time Gruber conflated a country and everyone in it with their government. Gruber wrote this in 2019:

“The Chinese are petty and petulant.”

After reading that I sent a polite e-mail asking that this be corrected at least to “The Chinese government is…” which isn’t even something I’d agree with, but at least separates the government from the people. I doubt Gruber would want to be associated with the United States government from 2016-2020 and said as much.

With that incident in the past I am almost completely unsurprised when I see antiquated anti-worker takes on Daring Fireball. A site where the author writes from home every day at his leisure, with no boss or coworkers. Apple’s leadership has been incredibly flawed since the start, but still produced incredible hardware and software products. These days it should be impossible to overlook the wide injustices inherent to the profit motive that corrupts every business and its leaders, but Gruber has been behind the times for years now and needlessly defends Apple leadership.

Let’s be clear: the workers design and make the products and are the people with the skill to distribute and sell them. The executives steal the profits because the workers aren’t organized. That’s the relationship with every business that isn’t worker-owned or at least unionized.

This is reminiscent of the bag check situation where Apple leadership was dead wrong in not paying their workers fairly for time spent waiting while they were treated like thieves, but even Gruber understood part of the situation then and that was just a year ago.

It’s Time For iOS To Allow Apps From Outside the App Store

Recently, Apple started removing VPN apps from their iOS App Store in China in order to comply with local laws. That may be something they have to do as a business, but it’s time to allow apps from developers outside of the App Store. Gruber:

To me, the more interesting question isn’t whether Apple should be selling its products in China, but rather whether Apple should continue to make the App Store the only way to install apps on iOS devices. A full-on “install whatever you want” policy isn’t going to happen, but something like Gatekeeper on MacOS could.

Keep iOS App Store-only by default. Add a preference in Settings to allow apps to be downloaded from “identified developers” (those with an Apple developer certificate) in addition to the App Store. In that scenario, the App Store is no longer a single choke point for all native apps on the device.

The App Store was envisioned as a means for Apple to maintain strict control over the software running on iOS devices. But in a totalitarian state like China (or perhaps Russia, next), it becomes a source of control for the totalitarian regime.

Gruber doesn’t think this will happen, but it should. These pocket computers are supremely important to communications and it’s well past time for Apple to open things up.

New Mac Pros Some Day

Gruber:

Apple is currently hard at work on a “completely rethought” Mac Pro, with a modular design that can accommodate high-end CPUs and big honking hot-running GPUs, and which should make it easier for Apple to update with new components on a regular basis. They’re also working on Apple-branded pro displays to go with them.

Sounds great, what’s the catch?

These next-gen Mac Pros and pro displays “will not ship this year”. (I hope that means “next year”, but all Apple said was “not this year”.)

Well, I guess at least “they’re working on it.” Is better than cancelling the Mac Pro and continuing to sell the 4 year old version at the same price.