Night of the long spoons
If you sup with the devil, and all that.
The Apple App Store police are now rejecting iPhone and iPad applications for behaving like "widgets" and "creating their own desktops," according to one developer who's busy eating his previous claims that Apple isn't evil. In late April, an unnamed Australian — one of a small team of cross-platform developers known as Shifty …
Just because the rules haven't bitten you yet, it's worth understanding why people are complaining about them. The whole "well it hasn't hurt me" mentality is always a dead end for progress. I think the iPhone and iPad look great, but I'll stick with my laptop and OSX until I can use them however I like. I just hope they don't start locking down OSX too or I'll have to move back to Linux. To me, and apparently most of the world, the reason computers are so damn awesome is because they're so damn open.
If Apple really believed people wanted the platform under Apple control, they'd start limiting which websites could be visited. But they know that would be the death of both devices. People do want freedom. The only reason they can get away with the app limitations on the iPhone and iPad is because 1) the unlimited internet provides most of the usefulness in the first place and 2) they're supplemental devices; people already have a real computer to do whatever they want on.
And that makes clear the real reason I think Apple limits them: they don't want to cannibalize their computer sales. Fair enough. But I can't imagine how much it would suck to develop for a platform knowing you can get your plug pulled any time by Apple because you're making something too cool.
You are wrong, actually, as OSX is based on BSD kernel and, unless you are a kernel developer or low-level programmer yourself, in 2010 you usually don't budge with kernels.
All major operating systems' kernels are mature enough that desktop and applications are drivers of the average user's experience.
Well I think most Fortune 500s would disagree as most of them run Unix variants on their back-end servers, Trolley!
When you grow up, leave school and head into the real world, you will find that serious computing power does not come from some Mickey-Mouse 8 node Windows thing, but 64+ node Unix clusters running proper database software that can work in the petabyte size, not fall over when it runs a 50MB Access DB!
"Well I think most Fortune 500s would disagree as most of them run Unix variants on their back-end servers, Trolley!"
@The Fuzzy Wotnot
91% of the world's fastest computers run Linux, less than 5% run Unix. A fair chunk of the really fast machines run AIX and Linux.
The reason that Unix is still common in the business world is has more to do with marketing and legacy system support than the superiority of those OS's.
The very first thing I did when I got a Palm-based PDA back in my college days (yes, I'm that old) was to swap out it's boring white home screen with one I can change the desktop of.
For apple to deny such a thing when the home screen of an iPhone/iPad/iTouch is a boring black makes it less attractive. As much as I dislike M$, at least they're smart enough to allow skinning the desktop with custom themes.
Steve says wallpapering desktops is dead. I say he's being delirious.
But you can change the wallpaper on the iPad. That's a built-in ability, not something that requires jailbraking.
The upcoming iPhone OS4 will enable that functionality on the iPhone based on the demo.
You're right about them not doing themes, though.
By all means criticise a device for not providing a certain piece of functionality, but it's usually a good idea to check that it doesn't before hand.
And now I will be down-voted for pointing out facts that happen to be in Apple's favour. How dare I.
If you'd actually looked at an iPad, you'd notice that you can indeed have whatever wallpaper you want on your home screen. I've got a picture of the Peggy's Cove lighthouse on mine. True, you can't do it right this minute on an iPhone or iPod Touch, but it's been announced in iPhone OS4 (bit late, but it's coming).
So Steve doesn't say "wallpapering desktops is dead", he says "wallpapering desktops is actually not that bad after all, so go on then, if you must".
who didn't see this coming?
Well the Mac FanBois obviously. Jobs and his clan are rapidly becoming Balmer look-a-likes tho.
Hands up, I'm a Linux guy. This bitch fighting between users and 'owners' is getting tedious tho. OOH, dows it run on iPad, does it run on Android, does it run on AmigaOS?
I'm fucked off with this all now Reg! (Censor that if you want by the way?)
I want to develop an app without considering tedious laws or API's. I need money coming in. Any platform that is not letting me isn't an issue.
I've dropped all iPhone development. I now write Layers for approved apps on both. It's cheaper. If either company drop the apps we write to that run on both phones, we'll drop using that app until something better comes up.
Where is your Tricorder you once asked?
When the mobiles all have a standard HTML interface thru to H/W and software, you'll have it. Untll then, sod the buggers. In IT everything always reaches a standard, and pads, pods, mobes ( :p ) and everything else will.
"There is no alternative platform, despite what others may say about Android, it’s immature and their app store(s) are a wild west nightmare. It really is Apple’s way or the highway, and that really stinks..."
Well, stop whinging, get off your arse and help make Android's app store better. Google would be more than happy to take suggestions to make the Android market place better and more ubiquitous than the Apple app store and give you the alternative you desire. Jump ship now, before the rush.
Eventually, Apple will piss off so many developers and have such a bad reputation they'll come crashing down. Developing for the the iPhone/iPad is somewhat like taking a stroll through a minefield with a blind fold on: one wrong step and "KaBOOM!!" And the worst part is, you know that if you do anything remotely creative and interesting you can virtually guarantee you'll step on one of those really nasty anti-personnel mines that takes your nadgers off but leaves you alive.
Look at the latest SDK, it even states that Apple can reject an app for any reason. So it doesn't matter that they cannot see anything in the SDK that prohibits it; the catchall clause covers it. Developers should be leaving in droves and show Apple that they wield more power than Apple thinks they have. The other clue should have been the confidentially portion as well. A developer is coding an application and releasing it to the world; what is Apple really hiding?
Apple's stance might well be illegal. If you simply do not allow an app, that would probably be OK, but throwing it out AFTER it previously had been approved, that is unreasonable, UNLESS the developer made changes which make it unacceptable. Even then the previously approved app should still be allowed.
Given the great asymmetry in power between Apple and most of its developers, a judge in the Netherlands might quite easily throw out the catchall "we can reject anything for any reason we like, and change our minds any time" parts of any contract as being unfair and unreasonable.
I have been a regular customer of Apple since the summer of 1984. I have been looking forward to the next version of the iPad (I try really hard not to be on the bleeding edge, 'cause I've lost too much blood in the past).
But now I may have to consider the full gamut of pad / tablet devices.
I fully appreciate the desire and need of Apple to keep crap off the iPad, but this time it seems they are indeed going to far.
Perhaps my one-time classmate (Mr. Jobs) is suffering from pre-mature fuddy-duddyness.
Just modify your app a bit so it has a border and shows 2 pixels of the iPad desktop behind it round all the edges... Then nobody (well maybe almost nobody) can claim it's a desktop.
Then load it up with a logic bomb which triggers in 2 months time and screams "Steve Jobs is a wanker" out of the speaker at full volume.
...about their beloved "Apple-ness". People can argue as many points as they may please, the Apple company continues to conduct itself as an obsessive big brat, in the tech industry - at least to whoever endeavors to introduce new approaches to the Apple platform and Apple Co's beloved "Appleness."
I'm not one to say, "Let's sell all our Apple stock." I would like to say, with all sincerity: Apple, grow the f- up, stop slighting whoever rubs your fancy fur the wrong way, and support your developers, already.
The reasons for the rejections when they ocurr are in fact often subjective. I.e. It does not fit in with how Apple see their own image/brand rather than there being anything objectively wrong with the app concerned. That is why our aussie friend has not been given any explantion, nothing he could change so that it would not be dropped. The cults priesthood just don't like it - nothing objective about the rejection at all.
widgety apps. But our app wasn't widgety so we did nothing.
I think app devs all need to unionize or form an association to use their group effort to put apple in it's place.
Or just move to android. I personally can't wait to retire my iphone for an evo 4g phone from HTC/Sprint come Friday.
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Welcome to Adobe's world. Not quite so funny when they move the goalposts on the little guys is it?
CS5's authoring for iPhone was the thing that needed a united front behind it as Adobe have the grunt to actually go to the mat over it, but instead teh intahwebs dissolved into a series of bleats from the screaming flashtards saying how wonderful Apple's capricious ban was for sticking it to Flash. There's nothing like allowing one's pet hates to obscure one's view of the picture for causing a monumental cockup now, is there? So that opportunity went begging, Apple got away with stomping on the big beast and now get to pick off the independants at will.
No I don't like Flash, I hate it with a vengence. But at least I could see the principle at stake:
First they came for CS5, but we did nothing as we don't like Adobe.....
What is this guy talking about? From what I see of his app, it could be reproduced exactly in Android. Even better (from his perspective) he could even replace the default photo viewer, or create an actual widget that occupies one of the main navigation screens. The scope for what his app can do in Android is far greater.
As for the marketplace being a wild west. I kind of agree with that (which I'll describe below) but it really shouldn't be an impediment for his app. I read somewhere else that he was claiming you can't sell apps through the store from Australia. A minor obstacle - just release a trial version of the app for free and then direct people through the browser to PayPal if they wish to buy the full version. Easy. Unlike Apple you can create your own payment model if you like, one which means you keep more of the money too.
Where I think Marketplace is massively let down is that there is too much spam, and too many apps in the Farmville ilk. There is nothing wrong with these apps per se except for the idiots who play them and post affiliate codes in the comments. Google should be laying the smackdown on the spam and the codes. If necessary disable comments & ratings on those kinds of games. I also think that Google should be doing security audits on apps which install with certain kinds of permissions (e.g. to use the camera or dial numbers) because of the added security implications these apps pose. I can well imagine some malicious app which waits until 2-3 in the morning and then dials some premium number in Sierra Leone or similar. It would hurt Google a lot if these kind of apps slip through.
that is so reliant on a gatekeeper who is well within their rights to approve and reject your product for any reason at any time?
As for writing off Android, well that seems a bit odd? Surely to reject writing software for rival that is increasing its market share and increasingly look like a serious competition for Apple is cutting off your nose to spite your own face?
The trouble is the vast majority of users dont care if one app is thrown out for spurious reasons. Al they care is that the thing is easy to use and they can get to Facebook and my space easily, this the iPad does beautifully.
How many apps are sold for the iPad and iPhone as opposed to those for blackberrys or android phones ? by my guessing a shed load more money is made by apple developers than android ones ?
Apple doesnt sell to the iPad to IT people, we will buy a "proper" laptop, but in a few years everyone will want a similar device as a third "media consumption device" in the house.
Prob similar conversations when the first PC came out with us saying the Pc was to small to be worht it and you couldnt do what you could on a mainframe ..........
I own a few apple devices and do like a lot of what they make - but closed, walled-garden style approaches really irk me, and Apple's draconian power-frenzied treatment of developers is simply unacceptable. It's no wonder Android has outsold the iPhone already, piss off enough developers, they'll soon turn against you!
Apple need a change in management at the highest level, the power's definitely gone to his head!
Yeah, that's the best decision, one in which the shareholders will definitely back you as his replacement, him being the CEO of the decade, responsible for turning Apple into second largest market cap company.
Yeah, change the management at the highest level. What planet are you living on? Obviously, not the one with the greed-based system where everything is about profit, profit, profit?!
Remember an article a few weeks ago that revealed that in the early days of Windows, Bill gates wanted to make the Windows APIs a swiftly moving target so that small developers couldn't keep up and the only apps that would appear would be developed by the big boys with pockets deep enough to pay a 200-strong team to maintain the apps and chase the new APIs and other changes?
Well this sounds to me like Apple are doing the same. They don't want small fry developers making nice but quaint apps, they want to attract big developers with long term plans who can keep their apps on the Istore when the small people can't. That means more sales and profit and fewer rivals for them. Apple are a large international corporation. They want to associate and do business with like-minded people, not hobbyists.
As anyone who owed a Psion in the 90s will know, it's those 'hobbyists' who come up with the most exciting and innovative software.
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There's something hilarious about this article, which is full of incredulity about how this app could possibly be described as "widgety" or as a "desktop", and is then capped off with a screenshot of the most widgety, desktop-like app you can imagine.
I mean seriously, it's a "photo frame" (because obviously neither the iPhone or iPad have a means of viewing a full screen photo built in) which just happens to overlay said photo (or "wallpaper" if I might coin that term) with a bunch of "layers". Only those layers are actually, very obviously, all the usual widgets you'd expect on a desktop replacement - which is exactly what this is.
Mistake #1: Wasting time writing an app for the Iphone, Ipod, Ipad
Mistake #2: Wasting time not reading the EXACT SAME STORIES about how other developers got shafted! (Why on earth did he not believe them!?!)
Mistake #3: Defending the indefensible
Mistake #4: Blogging about his bad experiences - its the same story as everyone elses - if people dont know what to expect from Apple, then they'll never learn.
Free OS, Free your mind!
So, you say:
Mistake #1: Wasting time writing an app for the Iphone, Ipod, Ipad
in preference to:
Alternative #1: Completely ignoring the whole App Store market
Smart business acumen you have there.
You make me laugh all you developers who claim you won't go the App Store route because of Apple's management. Enjoy your smugness whilst the others reap their £££s! Why not just factor in the risk like the smart developers do?
Jobs calls developers to tell them individually what applications is he expecting them to write;
Jobs; I want you to develop a light accountancy program for grannies.
Developer; but his highness I want to develop a new concept of media player I have been toying around.
Jobs; No! you'll do as you're told or else your developer license will be terminated, when you agreed to the Apple iPad developer license you agreed to do as I say!
Basically the iPhone/iPad polluted ecosystem is not for independent developers. It's for banks or shops or the ebays of the world to develop ways to access their websites using a tool that is in the hands of so many people like the iPhone/iPad. Any independent developer wasting time and money to bring "ideas" to the table is a fool. That environment doesn't need your ideas, all ideas must be Apple's.
I've no idea really, but could it be that two features are coming with the next iPhone version that would render apps like this ugly and weird? One is the double screen real estate - what would happen to an app like this displaying an image of a certain size? I don't know the platform - do they just display "to the edge" so this wouldn't be a problem? Just curious.
The other issue could be that a new feature in the next version is ability to change desktop background, which apps like this would render that feature less interesting.
Just 2 possible reasons why? Any thoughts?
Anyone that downvotes a question - it was a question posed, is the ultimate in anonymous coward, offering no explanation as to why you disagree. How can you disagree with a question?
Talk about blind sheep - anyone that doesn't slate the iApple product gets an immediate downvote? Have an opinion other than "not apple, not apple, NOT APPLE!"? What a small vocabulary a world like that requires. Good thing there are so many small minds out there who are perfect for such a world! :P
Now, how about answering the question, or are they really not allowed? I'd be curious to know if people have any ideas.
I'll admit I didn't go much on the original iPhone - It was Apple, and it was a US only release which always puts me off (Nexus One I felt the same), and I'd need to find replacement apps for all those I used on my Win Mob phone (some of which would be impossible at the time, due to Apple's restrictions).
But the 3G got my interest again... I could buy it locally, they'd fixed (or were about to fix) many of the missing features (MMS, copy+paste, etc), it was supposed to be cheap, etc. And if I grabbed the "free" SDK, I'd be able to write my own apps to replace at least some of what I used on WinMob. Sadly, I then discovered that "free" meant $100US plus buying a Mac to develop on, the phone was nothing like cheap, and Apple had started rejecting many apps from the store.
This put me off the iPhone forever.
The iPad is now here - complete with it's limitations, restrictions, rejected apps for no reason. The writing is on the wall people... If you develop apps, find another platform because Apple don't want you to make money - they just want you to give them money.
Apple really are a bit odd, I don't understand it one bit!
If they ban an app from their market, what happens to people who have already paid for it and installed it? I do hope it doesn't get wiped from their device...
Android is clearly the future of smartphones. As said previously, if I want to change the desktop on my phone, I can. If I want to have widgets, I can. If I want to use my device as a photo frame with layers, that's right, I can! It's this 'I can' mentality that makes Android so much more attractive than the iPhone OS.
Apparently Sny have just released a new shiny DVD/Blu-ray combo that only plays Sny disks - for $1000. When questioned about the logic behind this, and who would actually buy such an over-priced restricted device, the head of Sny marketing quoted..
"Well people by iPads don't they! And that is our target customer base - we are even offering a free man-bag to allow our customers to carry their iPad without scratching the nice shiny surface"
Cue fanboi down-votes
I am not defending Jobs and his little hellish daemons of lock down, but leave it alone will you lot!!
1) It's Steve's toy, he made it, he can tell you to stick it up your Jacksy if that's how it works best! His game, his rules. I would say that's his sales fsck'd, but 2 million buyers have proved me wrong!
2) IT IS NOT A COMPUTER! IT IS A MEDIA DEVICE! OK? GOT THAT? If you want a pocket computer, buy a mini notebook. If you want to JailBreak it and put Atari ST GEM Desktop on it, fab! Have a ball! As it is, out of the box, it does what Apple say it does, if you don't like it, please don't buy it.
3) "If it was a car, you wouldn't like it if they suddenly said you had to my TESCO petrol only!" - No I wouldn't, but it's not a car. It's a handheld media device, and it has changeable software. Buried somewhere in the T&Cs is a clause that says, to repeat myself, 'Steve's baby! Steve's rules! Lump it!'.
So before you buy it and or develop for it, check the reviews, if you don't like what you see, don't buy it. Simple. Mr Jobs is not rich for doing favours, he's a businessman, a greedy, corporate money-driven businessman, if he wishes he can be a complete git and change the rules of the game within the law. If you have any inkling he might do this and stuff you up, then don't dance with the devil, else you will pay the price!
I don't like the lock-down, so after checking I will have no choice I gave it miss. I bought one of the Missus, who loves it because it's a perfect multi-media tablet player thingy. I chose an Acer mini-notebook and I can install the software I want under Ubuntu, being the sad geek I am.
Need a lie down in a darkened room, the pills obviously aren't working anymore....
The T'S & C's state that, if Apple pull your app, you have to meet the whole refund cost - including the 30% they took for distributing it. This is why it's so hard to register an app if you're a small company - they need all sorts of assurances that you will be able to meet this obligation.
I do wonder if this is enforceable under UK contract law, I seem to remember there is some provision for "unfair conditions" imposed by a big supplier on a small one.
Behold the might jobsian cultmaster has decreed that yet another app has followed the wrong path.
One must repent for your sins, buy three iPads, kneel facing Cupertino and recite the holy mantra "Hail Jobsy, son of the mighty one, for I have sinned, I had wicked thoughts and won't have them any more ".
The mighty one will appear before you and hopefully will forgive you in return for fiscal offerings. If nothing happens, you can always go follow Scientology.
Apple likes only signed approved apps to run on the iPhone/Pad etc right? Else currently you need to jailbreak it and with that risk further hassle with OS updates etc.
Why? They like control, maybe they see it as a way of preventing malware. Whatever. They want control.
Why not just have 2 tiers of runnable apps and GIVE the user the CHOICE?
Tier 1: Appstore apps with the jobs mark of quality and stamp of approval (yeah right)
Tier 2: Unsigned apps. Non-appstore apps. Could be something you just rolled up 5 mins ago. This option could be disabled per user's desire (for perceived security, fanboism whatever)
That way no one need jailbreak their phone to run whatever they like.
Of course maybe they have some sort of financial reason that keeps them from wanting a solution like that.
I won't buy an iPhone etc because of how it's locked down and this article just goes on to prove it. However, a compromise like what I am suggesting could see me buy an iPhone.
Apple, ball's in your court.
But you won't do this will you? Not with that w4nk3r in charge.
Imagine for a moment that you could put anything on the device. Now imagine that one (or more) started causing the device problems, or allowed malware or whatever on the device which negatively affected the user experience. Now imagine the twat that loaded the stupid app on there started bitching all over the world and his grandmother heard that his new iPad wasn't working. What do you think the possibilty of grandma buying that device would be?
Just works? "Not all of them, the number of stories about these devices breaking keep growing."
Maybe, just maybe, *this* is the reason there is so much control of the device. After all, they do just work, don't they? At least that's the common and popular perception, and the value of that is worth so much that they continue to protect that.
Even the Android App Store is constantly changing its policies in light of two approved apps that STOLE YOUR BANKING INFORMATION.
Before you guys go bashing Apple, realize the approval process is thorough for a reason. The "no desktops or widgets" rule seems a little less enforceable but for aesthetic and functionality reasons, I'm certain there is a cause.
My iPhone is jailbroken; I run several non-Apple-approved hacks. My iPhone's performance has decreased significantly. I am now starting to understand why these hacks were unapproved...
Round our way, we seem to have quite the turnover of new pubs and clubs. The same thing always happens. Initially the place is launched and they go through a period of getting people in. Then they reach a stage where they get fussy. The rules come in and the bouncers start turning people away for arbitrary reasons - which they feel they can because there's queues of people waiting to get in. But eventually more and more people get pissed off and simply don't anymore and take their custom elsewhere. Then the pendulum swings and suddenly they're desperate to get people back - 2-for-1 drinks, women drink free, allsorts of cheap gimmicks, but it's too late, they've alienated everyone and created a crappy atmosphere and everyone now goes elsewhere.
Anyhow, when that "elsewhere" finally arrives for Apple, people will leave in droves. The same is true of eBay, which has long since needed a big player to cut them down to size. The exodus from eBay would be legendary.
I was in the final stages of an investment deal for development of i* applications... I think, considering the implications of Apple's policing, I will rewrite my business and investment plan to target the new Google Android tablet and other devices, rather than this closed-minded narrow thinking CEO's view of the world.
I don't need to be ploughing 2 million dollars into a suite of applications for a device when the CEO will basically say "sod off" if we create something he doesn't like. This isn't a business. This is personal emotion influencing the income and revenue of companies, small and large, and that simply isn't good business.
Though I somewhat agree with disallowing Flash on the i*, I do not agree with the way Apple handled it. They waited until the week before Adobe released CS5 with Flash iPhone app packaging (even when there were many applications using the same technology on the App Store, and have been for a number of months) then dropped the bomb, costing Adobe hundreds of thousands, or even millions in R&D and development costs.
If Apple will do that to a massive company like Adobe, what makes small developers think they'll be treated any better?
Sorry, Apple, but the only thing I'll ever buy from you is a Mac, and only if the OS stays open. I will never again purchase an iPhone, iPad or iPod, and this comes from a guy who has purchased over 20 of your devices personally, and been instrumental in the purchase of thousands.
of course, the pillowcase stuffed full of money will do an excellent job absorbing the tears.
The problem with this whole discussion is that everyone's acting like Apple is Sony, selling their hardware at a loss and making the money back on licensing. That's exactly the opposite. Apple is one of the few media-hardware manufacturers that still makes money off the hardware, and people need to keep that in mind when dealing with them. So your app got rejected? So what? The i-products were never about apps in the first place.
Apple is just as evil as Microsoft, but they do it with style.
This is just about money of course, why should Apple give people a lot more free or cheap functionality? An iPAD is just a Tablet computer with OS X installed and wireless. So why is apple pretending like the iPAD is some sort of over-sized iPhone?
I am a programmer and I am afraid to develop for the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch. The rules keep changing and they don't even have to follow their own rules. They can ban anything for any reason.
I'm posting anonymously because maybe the next change is banning all developers who complain about Apple.
I wouldn't put it past Apple to have decided that they liked what the app does and just decided to write their own version and kick out the other developer. They did something similar with their book case app (in that case they just hired the code writers away from the other company and had them write the same code). If Apple comes out with a similar app in a month, will Apple fans admit the dirty deed?
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