Jeremy Provost – a prominent app developer – has dug deep to learn that Zoom has been given preferential API treatment from Apple. By being able to access a private iPad camera API, Zoom has been able to gain a competitive advantage over rivals on the iPad ecosystem.
Seeing that Zoom was able to take advantage of the iPad Split View feature – a privilege that has previously only been reserved for Apple’s own FaceTime app – Provost decided to dig a little deeper and see if other apps could do the same thing.
A simple request to Zoom provided the answer with the company confirming that a special “entitlement” in order to access the otherwise private camera API.
It seems that Zoom has had interactions with Apple that have resulted in the Cupertino-based fruit company issuing an “iPad Camera Multitasking” entitlement to Zoom that allows the company to develop features that take advantage of the iPad Split View functionality. To the average user using Zoom or other apps, this may not seem like a huge problem, but to app developers all over the world, it can feel like a slap in the face from a company that claims to treat all developers, big or small, the same.
Giving private API access and entitlements to entirely undocumented features and APIs to a company the size of Zoom isn’t exactly in the spirit of treating “every developer the same.”
This, of course, isn’t the first instance of large companies and development teams getting preferential treatment that isn’t afforded to smaller developers or indie houses. A number of emails that have become publicly visible due to the Epic vs. Apple trial have shown that Hulu was “whitelisted” to be able to access the subscription cancel/refund API that isn’t accessible under normal circumstances.
It seems that it’s one rule for the big companies that have the potential to drive huge revenue for Apple and one rule for the rest.