Again lifting its famous veil of silence, Apple has responded to a prominent blogger angry about its arbitrary iPhone App Store approval procedures. But Apple's new found, uh, openness is not being expressed in official company pronouncements or press releases, but rather through personal emails sent by the company's SVP for …
"and I think we’ve really got a breakthrough"
Really? And just how long do you think your dictator will remain benevolent? And how about for people who aren't "friends of Jobs"?
This whole app store thing is ridiculous...
The developers pay to be developers, the users (sometimes) pay to use the apps; what business is it of Apple's whether said app gives the user seamless access to 'offensive conntent' or not? They're getting that through safari anyway.
Apple are going the very right way about making people hate them - while web 2.0 is allowing users to have what they want where they want it they seem to be bucking the trend by letting users have what Apple wants them to have, where they (probably don't) want it.
@VoodooTrucker & northern monkey
Yet the App Store remains very popular and there's apps for practically everything. The complaints are coming from a very vocal yet small minority of developers and critics.
If Web 2.0 (sic) gave us what we want...
...we wouldn't buy apps.
But we do buy apps.
It is faintly ridiculous for Apple to warn me I should be over 17 to access an update to my Japanese dictionary app... but nothing to get excited about.
Though bloggers may froth I suspect most users won't lose any sleep over the banned apps.
If Apple were as cool as it poses, their AppStore would only be one of the many possible sources for iPhone software. Thus you wouldn't have to jailbreak your phone to enjoy the same freedom as with a PC or Mac.
"Though bloggers may froth I suspect most users won't lose any sleep over the banned apps."
I'm not losing any sleep over the banned apps. I'm just not buying an iPhone. Which is a little disappointing, because I've had my hands on one and I like it - a lot. Enough to make me throw over my plain old vanilla phone IF I wasn't so wary of the level of lockdown in the ecosystem.
The fact of the matter is, overall I like Apple products, but they have to convince me to shell out the cash. I'm still delaying a new Macbook upgrade due to the the loss of Firewire issue, and will continue to do so until my Firewire devices become obsolete - which could take a while. Likewise, I'm probably not going to get an iPhone until Apple straightens out the issues with the appstore.
The small minority of developers and critics are right. You're talking about a system where you pay to develop software when you've got no idea if it'll even be allowed for sale. You could be the worlds' most prolific code-writer, but if Apple decided you were unfashionable or undesirable you'd never get to sell a single app.
If you're someone who wants to use their very expensive piece of shiny to do something simple but not utterly mainstream- say you wanted a piece of software to read barcodes from the camera and do something with them- you've got to shell out for the SDK and get it vetted by Apple before you can use it. With any other platform you'd be able to do it for free (aside from the cost of the PC and electricity).
So App Store is fantastic for simple stuff like compasses, fart jokes and other crap my phone's had for years. Though my first compass-phone app (in 2003) used a custom bit of hardware linked to the device and some software I wrote (ah, my first proper PPC program!) to link them together- and the software cost me nothing. No IDE costs, no "license fee" costs, no-one vetting my application to ensure that it's safe for kids.
And for this reason, the App Store and its monopoly over iPhone software = FAIL.
"You're talking about a system where you pay to develop software when you've got no idea if it'll even be allowed for sale. "
How many ways do Apple need to say "You aren't allowed to modify the OS" ? You waste your time developing something that does precisely that and then complain that you didn't know it would be banned from the app store? I thought developers were supposed to be at least marginally intelligent, not morons who haven't learned how to read terms and conditions. Most developers are experts at writing terms and conditions themselves, so you'd think that a few might bother to read those written by other people.
Apple don't make their money selling SDKs, they make most of it selling their hardware. The tiny amounts they get from apps sales probably doesn't even come close to the insignificant amounts they make from the rest of their iTunes content.
What is important to them is whether they can sell iPhones to AT&T and iPods to Best Buy and Walmart.
To do that they need content and apps are indeed a part of that content. For the iPhone that's probably quite important. So disgruntled developers could potentially be a problem. Not much of one though. After all how many fart noise apps and tit viewers do they really need and how difficult would it be to find someone in house to write replacements?
Not that those developers are under much threat. They're quite happy to allow all the silly noise making software and bikini clad women viewers as can be written. But not so much the OS modifying junk written by people who think their whining on the glorified forum Web 2.0 really is, amounts to journalism.
As for a 3rd party mod that allows coders to create an app that can make phone calls over the internet? Yeah, I see that right at the top of their list of priorities.
But then again perhaps they thought that allowing 3rd parties to modify the OS so a phone can make phone calls over the internet, in a different way to how it does this already, might not be more important than preventing 3rd parties from fucking up their OS by modifying it.
Only Know After...
"How many ways do Apple need to say "You aren't allowed to modify the OS" ? You waste your time developing something that does precisely that and then complain that you didn't know it would be banned from the app store? I thought developers were supposed to be at least marginally intelligent, not morons who haven't learned how to read terms and conditions. Most developers are experts at writing terms and conditions themselves, so you'd think that a few might bother to read those written by other people."
From what I understand, the T&Cs basically say "we can refuse your app for any reason we like". A guy had a podcasting app banned because it competed with Apple. They banned Obama Trampoline (a load of politicians jumping on a trampoline in the Oval Office) which seemed to do nothing but mock politicians. Smack Boxing had to remove Kim Jong-Il, George Bush and Fidel Castro as opponents in order to get into the store.
The fact is that they can ban whatever they want from it, and you can't find out until you submit it, nor can you get clarification on what would need changing to pass.
It's certainly not a model that I could go for as a developer.
"You could be the worlds' most prolific code-writer, but if Apple decided you were unfashionable or undesirable you'd never get to sell a single app".
I'm not a developer but from a business perspective, I really don't believe Apple expected the App Store to be quite as successful as it is. The process for managing the reviewing of apps appears to have been on the back foot from day one. I just think Apple needs to commit more resources to the iPhone developer community and ensure developers have professional, open lines of communication to discuss their problems.
Lets also not forget Apple has made a lot of people a lot of money through their approach to selling apps.