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Respected Developers Begin Fleeing the App Store 485

Posted by Soulskill
from the also-known-as-the-french-rush dept.
wiedzmin writes "Facebook's Joe Hewitt, Second Gear's Justin Williams, the long-time Mac software developer known as 'Rogue Amoeba' and other respected App Store developers have recently decided to discontinue their work on the platform, citing their frustration with Apple's opaque approval process. Continued issues with erroneous and snap rejections of applications and APIs are prompting more and more developers to shun the platform entirely. Though there are tens of thousands of other developers who have pumped out over 100,000 apps for the platform, continued migration away from iPhone development will most likely result in lower quality software."
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Respected Developers Begin Fleeing the App Store

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  • by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:08PM (#30158906)
    cellphone
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:11PM (#30158946) Journal

    > "...continued migration away from iPhone development will most likely result in lower quality software."

    Dooooooooooom!!!

    The only ones to "stick it out" are the ones who are the most likely to profit. This tends to be apps people mostly want.

    One could argue the less likelihood of profit on an Apple Mac platform is what increases the average quality of programs -- only the "good stuff" gets ported, in addition to a handful of Mac-only apps.

    Keep in mind part of Apple's "problem" with the approval process isn't related to quality at all, but rather strategic thinking on which apps to allow, to discourage competition to its own apps, or the OS as a whole.

  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:13PM (#30158974)

    Note the irony of a FaceBook employee complainng about Apple's closed system.

  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@@@ovi...com> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:17PM (#30159070) Homepage

    The N900 is about to be launched. Come on over to http://www.maemo.org/ [maemo.org]

    You will be welcome, and no one will tell you what you can, or cannot do.

    Cheers!

  • by JohnFen (1641097) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:21PM (#30159146)

    According to TFA, his leaving the iPhone has nothing to do with Three20.

    Personally, I understand completely why developers are leaving. Apple is aggressively anti-developer with the iPhone. I was initially very excited by the platform, registered as a developer and started planning projects. After looking at the process, I began to get nervous. After watching how Apple runs things, my fears proved founded.

    There is no possible way that I'd waste my time continuing to use the iPhone, let alone developing for the platform.

  • by synthesizerpatel (1210598) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:23PM (#30159188)

    >> Though there are tens of thousands of other developers who have pumped out over 100,000 apps for the platform, continued migration away from iPhone development will most likely result in lower quality software."

    The developer who flits from language to language trying to get rich off the latest trend isn't going to be the guy I want to buy apps from anyway. I'd rather buy something from a hardcore guy who won't give up on a platform no matter what the world says. That guy is going to be making the best app for the platform. Not the guy who learned enough objective-c to make compiler errors stop.

    An alternate statement could be made that it will result in fewer high quality apps making it easier for the cream to rise to the top. The same exact thing that I actually enjoy about OSX. OmniGraffle is kind of the only game in town but it definitely gets the job done.

  • So the flee ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:24PM (#30159204) Homepage Journal

    So they flee.

    Where there's money others will step in.

    (This is still capitalism, isn't it?)

  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:25PM (#30159228) Homepage Journal
    AutoCad would be nice to have on Mac OS X.
  • by Qwavel (733416) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:28PM (#30159280)

    The problem isn't so much the app store approval process, it is that there is no other way to get your app onto (non jail broken) iPhones.

    Soon everyone will have an app store, and maybe they too will refuse to carry applications that compete with them, but at least those other platforms allow the consumer the choice to get those applications somewhere else.

    The smartphone is the next personal computer, so let's imagine for a moment that Microsoft had done for Windows what Apple is now doing with the iPhone: they get to approve every app, take a 30% cut of all profits, and deny anything that might compete with them (e.g. any browser other then IE). Windows would have no viruses, but at what cost?

  • Google Voice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:29PM (#30159294)

    I love my iphone, but I'm going to get a nice Android phone when my contract is up because I'm tired of Apple putting its own design philosophy and profit motives over my preferences as a consumer. Their rejection of the Google Voice app was bs, plain and simple. I like Google Voice, and I want to use it as easily as possible. Their meddling in the app store prevents me, the user and customer, from doing this.
    I wonder what other great, useful Apps are being turned down because Apple thinks they will "ruin the user experience" or "confuse the user."
    Imagine if Microsoft tried to tell people what software they could and couldn't put on their PC's.

  • by Clever7Devil (985356) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:29PM (#30159300)
    There's two sides to that coin. Software with high production costs do need to be extremely popular to make porting to apple OSs worthwhile; however, products with low production costs benefit by being as widely available as possible without the worry of massive overhead. Furthermore, simple programs are more likely to be accepted as they pose less threat.
  • by Knara (9377) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:30PM (#30159312)
    Depends on if the apps are maintained, or any good, for that matter.
  • Cry wolf (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:32PM (#30159348) Journal

    Read the following sentences VERY carefully:

    Facebook's Joe Hewitt, Second Gear's Justin Williams, and long-time Mac software developer Rogue Amoeba have all recently decided that enough is enough, and the loss of these [two?]developers and others [what others]

    What a load of weasel language. ALL should really be both, and "these" should really clarify that "these" is only two. And where are the others?

    There are 100.000 apps out there. Now call me silly but while there are a lot of possible programs I think that it is safe to conclude there won't be many CAD applications or ACID databases among them, the rules of the app store and the limitations of the iPhone hardware limit what is available. So a lot of it is meaningless drivel that nobody will miss.

    And this respected developer mentioned in both story links? Did a facebook app. ONE facebook app... OMG NOSERS!!1!!!! How will they EVER find anyone else to write something like that!

    Sorry, everyone knows that Apple likes total and complete control, people knew this when they signed up for it and they were happy to take the dollars that came with it. Why should Apple change?

    Don't get me wrong, I think the one good thing about Bill Gates/Steve Ballmer is that at least they are not Steve Jobs or IT would REALLY be screwed but what is the issue her? What next, companies complaining that they can't add nudity to a 360 game? Then don't develop for a closed format with a megalomaniac calling the shots. Either you support open formats OR you accept that you WILL be fucked up the ass, no lube and bite your tongue.

  • Re:Google Voice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:32PM (#30159350) Homepage Journal

    I'm tired of Apple putting its own design philosophy and profit motives over my preferences as a consumer.

    It's not so much that, well, it is only directly. It is Jobs' intent to control the asthetics and "feel" of the environment by making it very hard to customize. There is also the side benefit of locking down the user so much the system is hard to break, which reduces support costs. I'd rather deal with potentially breaking a system than to not be able to use it to its fullest potential.

  • by snowwrestler (896305) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:33PM (#30159382)

    I think this also has to do with the maturing of the platform. The low-hanging fruit is essentially gone, and it will get harder and harder for the free-thinking lone wolves to come up with original and compelling software that can compete. Businesses however, have the resources to continue to create more advanced and complicated iPhone versions of their products. They also have the resources to better manage the approval process, both by building carefully to the API, and (for bigger businesses) by having a phone call relationship with Apple.

    Hewitt, who is undoubtedly a great and innovative developer, decided to strike out for more open pastures. Who can blame him? But the Facebook app is not going anywhere, and most likely will continue to be developed to a high quality. Over time I expect we'll see a greater mix of apps by existing software businesses, and less duplication in app functionality as more independent developers get frustrated or bored and leave.

  • by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:34PM (#30159392) Homepage

    Boss: How was your trip.

    Reporter: Mostly uneventful, although I spotted Joe Biden on the Amtrak before he got off at the next stop.

    Boss: "RESPECTED POLITICIANS BEGIN FLEEING MASS TRANSIT!"

    Reporter: Uh, I don't think he was fleeing mass transit per se, nor did it seem to be the start of any trend...

    Boss: He left, didn't he?

    Reporter: ...also, I'm not sure he counts as "respected."

  • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:36PM (#30159412)

    If a company like Vlingo can extend the functionality of smartphones like the Blackberry, Android, etc. in ways that Apple and others never seriously considered then I'll very likely go with those phones in the future, and not one that's artificially restricted due to the limited vision of people like Steve Jobs.

    It isn't really a matter of vision...

    No single product is going to meet the requirements of everyone, everywhere. That's why there are different kinds of smartphones out there, all of them making money.

    So you're really impressed with this Vlingo stuff and you want to use it - well, by all means, buy a phone that it'll run on. But maybe someone else doesn't care about that... Maybe what someone else really wants is a phone that integrates nicely with their iTunes, or a phone that uses the same apps as their iPod Touch, or maybe they're just really hooked on some random app that's only available on the iPhone, or maybe they're a Mac developer and want to show some brand loyalty... Who knows?

    The point is that there are an awful lot of people out there who are very happy with their Vlingo-crippled iPhones. Just as there are plenty of people out there who are utterly miserable with their Vling-enabled Blackberries.

    Do your research and buy the product that meets your needs.

  • by MBC1977 (978793) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:37PM (#30159428) Journal
    "... and not one that's artificially restricted due to the limited vision of people like Steve Jobs."

    As a Windows user, I feel I should defend Apple here (though I'm certain any number of Apple users and fanboys/girls will leap to their defense). First, I'm positively certain, Steve Jobs has more important things to do than to sit around and spot check every single application that gets run in his company's app store. However, assuming for a minute that he does, have you stopped and considered that the application that Vlingo's application or any other developer that gets disapproved may have been disapproved for a reason...perhaps a misalignment of either company's visions?

    Don't get me wrong, your perfectly able to choose what you want to use (I'm fairly certain you will), but one does have to consider your comments suspect when you start throwing out terms such as "limited vision" since they are not doing what YOU want them to do. Apple doesn't create apps that I want them to do either, but I would never be so...rude, to say or accuse any particular person (e.g. Gates, Jobs, Torvalds, or even crazy RMS), of having a limited vision.
  • Approval vs Sales (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:41PM (#30159514) Homepage Journal

    I've had no problems with approvals. In fact, my last updates were approved in less than a week (for both the full and free versions).

    What has surprised me is that sales have not been as good as expected, considering the app was featured on the first page of the "What's Hot" in iTunes Games for weeks, and peaked at #6 in Adventure in the USA (for a comparison, The Secret of Monkey Island peaked at #4 in Adventure).

    We've placed better than many well established franchises. So assuming there is any correlation whatsoever between the top 100 charts and sales then a lot of big publishers are losing money.

    So if developers are leaving the platform it is because:
    * Competition is so fierce that the pie is cut very thin, resulting in low sales for the vast majority of apps.
    * Piracy is rampant, and Apple is not doing anything to resolve the issue. Google search results for our app was showing 4-5 hits on the first page of pirate sites providing cracked versions of our app. I've never seen piracy so prevalent and mainstream as it is for iPhone. Back in the Pocket PC days we had to search very thoroughly to find pirated versions of our apps - usually in the .ru TLDs. Now they are front and center.
    * Free. A typical end user could "live" off of free apps alone and satisfy months of gaming just playing the free / lite versions of apps. I have around 60 games on my development iPod. All are free versions except for 1, because it was the only game that I wanted to purchase after playing the free levels. So the current market scenario of the iPhone is resulting in such a tremendous amount of free content that instead of users buying full versions, they seem to simply seek out other free games when they tire of or have played through a lite version.
    * Platform is limited. There is only so much that can be done without a D-Pad. This is why Carmack produced Doom on rails instead of an actual FPS type game. I have yet to play any game originally built around physical controls that transferred to iPhone in an acceptable manner. The really good games for iPhone are games designed around a touch screen, and not a port or modification of a game to try and make it use multitouch, accelerometer, etc.
    * 95% of the foreign markets are a joke. We were the #1 Paid App, #1 Paid Game, and #1 in the sub categories for a number of foreign markets and only sold around a dozen copies a day in those markets. Totally pointless, especially considering you have to have $250 in commission in a single country for Apple to pay out the developer's share.

    Finally, the article doesn't actually bash the approval process, as far as being opaque, or taking too long, or the developer having any difficulty getting apps approved. The developer states "I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.". In other words he wants all platforms to be open, like Windows, Linux, OS X, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, etc. I tend to agree, but it is also true that most platforms have certification processes in place to brand, promote or sell applications within certain market spaces. Essentially all iPhone Apps are represented by Apple and sold in iTunes, whereas with other platforms (like Blackberry) only developers that specifically submit their apps for the "official" store have to go through an approval process.

    So again, I don't think this is as much about the difficulty of getting an app approved, but simply that the developer has to seek approval in the first place.

  • by crhylove (205956) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:48PM (#30159614) Homepage Journal

    Can we PLEASE just have a truly open source phone yet? This is FOSS's chance to beat out the big crap corporations. AGAIN. Let's not drop the ball this time.

  • by jim_v2000 (818799) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:48PM (#30159616)
    People who use the iPhone don't care about things like this.

    And I'm going to put forward that the approval process has less to do with developers leaving than the fact that the iPhone app market is quite saturated and the Android market is not.
  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:50PM (#30159664) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps they're leaving because there's 100,000 apps in the store, so many of which are out and out horrible that it drowns out any possible quality product unless you have a large marketing budget or can get lucky enough to crack one of the top 10 lists.

    Or they might just prefer working in a more open enviroment, which is what it sounds like. As a software engineer, things like the iPhone approval process make me very nervous about investing quite a bit of time and money into a project, especially if the process is overly opaque. I've worked with large corporations on getting software approved before, and usually it is more of a cooperative process.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:50PM (#30159672)

    cellphone

    2012 the year Linux accepts it's place in the computer world. Not a troll just a realist. I was an early fan and saw the potential of Linux. For at least ten of those years I have constantly heard that Linux is going to became users friendly and easy to use, install and maintain. I've finally become a realist and accepted Linux has found it's place and it isn't going to change. It's an exceptional server and works great as a workstation in companies large enough to have dedicated support people. It's great for tinkerers and has a lot of power and flexibility for the hobbyist and power users. For the average user it simply isn't going to happen. Unless an Apple sized company embraces it and puts the resources into bringing it mainstream there are simply too many problems for regular people to deal with. Like I say I was an early fan but people waiting for it to take over are kidding themselves. I'm a big fan of the open source model but it also shows it's limitations the fact that there simply aren't enough people contributing to write the drivers needed to support all the hardware out there and software developers are caught in the catch-22 of developing for a platform few people use but could be bigger if there was more software. There will always be support much as Unix never went away and it still has the potential to go mainstream I just wouldn't hold my breath. Ironically as much venom as there tends to be towards Mac it's probably the closest you are likely to see in the mainstream to Linux. I still consider it a risky but critical move when Apple developed OSX. It cost them some customer support early on but there is no way Mac would be as big as it is now without OSX. Linux absolutely could do a Mac like growth but until some one with deep pockets takes it on it's pretty much found it's market share. At least in the US and most of the developed world.

  • by Webcommando (755831) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:52PM (#30159708) Homepage Journal
    I understand it too but seems a very one dimensional view. I have a few very niche applications available (including an RPG helper app GMToolkit) that made it through the approval process within a couple weeks with relatively few issues. I have to wonder why a small independent developer can do reasonably well?

    When I read the developer message board on the approval process, something (gut opinion) comes to me. Many of the developers complaining the most seem to have used bad judgement in using Apple icons improperly, API's incorrectly, failed to follow the Human Interface Guidelines, or had really complicated applications that probably should take a while to look at. Certainly it isn't true for everyone and, obviously, the store needs some updates to improve the developer and user experiences but that doesn't mean I plan on going away.

    I looked at Android development but haven't been able to get the kit up and running on my Mac properly (is it a firewall problem for accessing Android site, versioning problem with Eclipse, wrong SDK or ADT versions? Who knows?) and still find the iPhone SDK and development process superior for me.

    I don't think the iPhone will go away overnight...so... maybe I'll get more exposure when the big guys leave.
  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:52PM (#30159714)

    But Joe lost any right to complain when he abandoned the people that relied on his expert judgment in the creation of a framework.

    I was sort of with you until there. Why does this guy have an obligation to help everyone who can't figure it out themselves? Why is the developer community entitled to his knowledge and experience? If he was upset at how Apple is controlling things then he has every right to take his toys and go home, and complain about it all the way home. Developers who can't do things themselves have no automatic entitlement to anyone else's expertise, his guidance is given purely on a volunteer basis, and he's completely allowed to stop volunteering his expertise whenever he wants to, for any reason.

    If I was a knowledgeable member of an extremely locked-down development community where everyone else felt entitled to my knowledge, I would probably leave also and find people who appreciate what I do a little bit more.

  • Niche Niche Niche (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:52PM (#30159716) Homepage Journal

    Apple likes to control user experience, and that won't change. That is their niche. They may relax their review process a little bit if there's a backlash, but they won't change their spots. Other phone brands will probably take up the cowboy coders who don't like red tape because they want to catch up to Apple's offerings. Their more relaxed review process will probably result in cheaper and perhaps more varied apps. However, it will be just like the Windows world compared to the Mac world:
    * more choice
    * lower prices
    * more hackers
    * more chaos
    * more bugs
    * inconsistent UI
    Same as it always was.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:57PM (#30159834)

    I'm a hobbiest iPhone developer. The way I see it, the problem is not with Apple enforcing its unknown API restriction. The problem is with Apple *selectively* enforcing that particular restriction and many others.
    For example, the RedLaser app which is one of the top selling apps in the app store uses an undocumented API, specifically, UIGetScreenImage().
    Google's search app uses undocumented APIs for proximity detection (to dim the screen and start listening when you put the phone up against your face).
    Many of the original camera tweaking apps also skirted the API.
    Yet many other developers had their apps roundly rejected for using the very same methods and APIs.

    The problem with Apple's approval process has never been about the restrictions, the problem has always been with Apple's unpredictable, arbitrary and selective application of those restrictions.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:00PM (#30159904) Homepage

    The only ones to "stick it out" are the ones who are the most likely to profit.

    I disagree. The unprofitable applications will be unprofitable on other phones too. The profitable applications will be profitable on other phones too. The developers who migrate away from the platform are the ones getting rejections from Apple. These are the most unique, edgy, or innovative applications, or ones that compete with the built-in Apple functionality.

    Therefore, I conclude that this will not increase the quality of programs on the iPhone. It will decrease the diversity, while increasing the diversity and quality on other phones. But that was going to happen no matter what Apple did: When you are at the top, the only direction to go is down.

  • Re:Cry wolf (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101&gmail,com> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:04PM (#30160006) Homepage Journal

    I can develop whatever I want for OSX and that works out just fine.

    Do you really think -- really think -- that Apple wouldn't love to have a tightly controlled "App store" under OS/X where they were the gatekeepers for every single program that could be loaded? And get a share of the money?

    Apple would do it if they could, but that genie is already out of the bottle.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:05PM (#30160034)

    People who use the iPhone don't care about things like this.

    I use an iPhone, and I _do_ care. iPhone started promising, but Apple killed several apps I wanted. Now the good devs are leaving for Android? I may buy a droid or droid++ next year.

  • Re:So the flee ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:08PM (#30160070) Homepage Journal

    Then it's still part of a normal curve for the iPhone.

    1. Wild Enthusiasm And Promises Of Products To Come
    2. First Crude Products
    3. High Quality Products
    4. Too Many Products
    5. Thinning Of The Herd
    6. Low Quality Products
    7. Market Is Barren Wasteland

  • Security (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jscotta44 (881299) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:10PM (#30160118)

    I hear lots of complaints from developers and wanna-be developers, but I don't hear anyone complaining about security breaches, viruses, spyware, and malware in general on the iPhone - basically an OS X computer. Obviously the first reason is because it is OS X not Windows (any flavor). But the second reason is that Apple is watching for it. While I am not a fan of the opaque approval process (it is getting better), I greatly enjoy knowing that there is less likelihood of my mobile being taken down by some crafty coding. I depend on the device. I try different software to see if it will help me in my life and work. That means trying things from people I don't know. That means taking a risk with my device up-time and my data. So I'm glad that Apple is running as the front-end security. Maybe you are not. Maybe you (whoever is reading this) posting here complaining that Apple won't let you do whatever you want are one of the developers trying to create crafty code to get my data. I hope you keep complaining and Apple keeps guarding the gate(s).

  • by sjames (1099) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:13PM (#30160162) Homepage

    When any app can be rejected for any reason at any time by someone who is for practical purposes anonymous and answerable to nobody and the process has a reputation for being capricious and arbitrary, nobody wants to risk a significant development cost on AppStore acceptance.

    Economically, the most likely to turn a profit are a series of $0.99 throwaways that might become the next "pet rock". If it's rejected by some guy because his corn flakes got soggy that morning, little is lost. Statistically, some of them will certainly be accepted.

    Add in that Apple has ALSO gained a reputation for rejecting anything more useful or more polished than their own iPhone apps and you create a huge disincentive to spending a lot of time and energy on an iPhone app.

    Developers who want to spend a lot of time and energy on a killer app will tend to target a platform where they are certain to be able to market the result. If successful there, they *might* decide to risk the cost of porting to the iPhone. In making the decision, they will consider that the more "killer" the app is, the more likely Apple is to decide it threatens their platform dominance and kill it.

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:14PM (#30160196)

    Adobe CS products have no viable Linux alternative and the Mac cost is too high.

  • by sjames (1099) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:21PM (#30160330) Homepage

    You're missing the forest for the trees. Vlingo's app is crippled on the iPhone because of Apple policies. It may not be everyone's killer app, but it is for some. The same policies are equally likely to cripple other people's ideas of the killer app. That in turn leads more and more people who do the research and choose the phone that runs whatever they consider to be the "must have" app to decide against the iPhone whose crippling policies kill their favorite app.

    When one platform is highly restricted and another is wide open, useful apps will tend to be ported TO the open platform and not away from it.

  • by recharged95 (782975) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:29PM (#30160468) Journal
    "The only ones to "stick it out" are the ones who are the most likely to profit."

    And those most likely to profit are those with deep pockets in order to promote their apps in the sea of crud. Note the last 6month's top ten apps were from Global 2000 companies. There's been a novelity app from an independent here and there, but we know there's a catch to it from Apple to heavily promote its success in order to keep developers salivating at making millions in the appstore. And if it's not a marketing app, your get what you pay for.... which means high quality apps will definitely see an increase in price as this exodus continues which is risk to Apple (they prefer lower price apps as in their game app initiative)..

    As for me, what broke the camel's back was the $99/yr subscription and every 2.8GB download for each SDK update. Thanks, but moving to Android and Maemo. The approval process has been average for me and the profit for a indie dev has been close to non-existent.
  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:32PM (#30160542)

    TFA title is a bit over reaching. To make matters worse, the guy handed the app over to someone else to continue development in the App store.

    The second link lists 3 that are leaving. This doesn't strike me as the same as rats leaving a sinking ship.

    There are thousands of developers lined up behind them.

    Yes the approval process sucks, and yes it needs improvement. To be fair, they are making it more transparent [ubergizmo.com]. They are also still swamped with submissions meaning there are still way to many developers submitting apps. The 'not so great' developers that we end up with tomorrow will hopefully be great developers in a couple of years.

    IMO, the app store is too much like Steam. It's too easy and convenient, all around, to fail.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:07PM (#30161184)

    According to your math, that comes to 1800 known bad apps out of 100,000, or about 1.8%. Actually, since those apps have all been removed, that comes to 0%. Anecdotes are not data, and unless you have some data nothing you said implies that there is a 'large percentage' of garbage.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:16PM (#30161314)

    FTFA, Rogue Amoeba's issue was with a rejection to an update to their existing application, though the rejection itself had nothing to do with the proposed change.

    That is correct.

    Instead, Apple decided that features in its existing, approved version are now a problem.

    That is not correct.

    Or rather, it's almost correct but misphrased. The features in the existing application WERE a problem - just not one Apple managed to catch the last time Apple reviewed the product.

    Use of Apple trademarked images were always disallowed, I've known that since shortly after the SDK launch. Now the RA case is interesting because they assumed because the images came from an OS X API they were safe to use in the application - and in fact if you read the case carefully, even some APP REVIEWERS thought they were OK to use for that reason. But after extensive checking on their part, it was decided they were not.

    Now I can see why RA is arguing the way they were, but think of it this way - why did RA assume they had the right to re-distribute any images from the OS X platform? That is not explicitly allowed in the API. Would they also assume they were safe if they were exporting those images and publishing them on the web? They are obviously meant to be used by applications on the platform but re-distribution is a lot grayer area and I'm not sure I would have assumed it was OK to send and use them elsewhere on other platforms.

    Apple's problem is that they have put a guard on the gate to enter their walled garden, except there are thousands of gates each with their own, different guard

    That is exactly right. The problem is each of those guards is different, but it's not like they are not operating from a master list. It's just that they may not get quite everything on the list, the whole time. So that is why as a developer it makes sense to be careful about following the rules, because you might sneak something past a few guards but eventually you will probably be caught.

    An even better aspect of the analogy is that the nobility (read: large companies) are able to sneak a lot of stuff past the guards, seemingly with tact approval - like LucasArts blatantly having an image of the iPhone in the instruction screen for Trench Run. If Apple really wanted to stop the amount of bitching, they would stop making seemingly special allowances for large companies or else explain clear why they were allowed an exception (like if LucasArts had actually licensed that iPhone image [which I doubt is the case]).

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:21PM (#30161424)
    They never learn, you cannot control all the software and lock everyone out to try and make every last cent on it and expect to stay on top.
  • by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:30PM (#30161600)

    At a previous employer we had a mantra about using Access to store data

    You didn't even read what drfreak said, which was about using Access as a front end and using MSSQL Server to store the data.

    We've successfully converted a number of decade-old Access 97 applications into MSSQL databases - the Access apps continue to run as they always have, but the data is stored on our SQL Server which has no problems with concurrency and is also backed up on a regular schedule.

  • How it differs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:38PM (#30161770)

    I haven't really followed the saga, but how is that different from what he did?

    Because he dropped it in the middle of a crisis (in short: he knew of the private API issues when he announced he was ending iPhone development). A captain transitions power in port, not in the midst of a stormy sea to jump in a lifeboat.

    Or at the very least, even if he didn't know about the problems when he left, he should have come back just to fix this specific set of problems and then left for good. As it is it's absurd we still have to use forks of the official project created by other people to get the fixed versions.

    It's one thing to let people gracefully migrate off a depreciated platform, quite another to pull up the rope while the users are still climbing. Most people deprecating a library still support it for some period of time as well, which is not being done here (although technically he handed it off to other Facebook developers I personally would have handled this fix myself if Three20 were my library).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:45PM (#30161892)

    Except:

    1) The RA app does not contain any of the copyrighted icons. It requests them over the network. A Mac replies with a Mac image. A PC responds with a different image. The RA app displays what the streaming box sent, using its publicly and openly documented protocol. Should the client app be responsible for making sure that a server (the Mac sending the audio stream) *really meant* to send that icon? Should Firefox be prevented from showing Mac icons that it gets from Apple.com? The idea is absurd.

    2) Given that the app does not include any infringing content, RA asked Apple to identify possible solutions. Apple was silent.

    3) Not only was RA's previous entry allowed, Apple allows other apps that *directly embed copyrighted images* into the store. In fact, they are featuring the Star Wars Trench Run, which contains what should be (and has been, for other devs) a forbidden image of an iphone itself.

    RA's complaints about the technical absurdity of the rejection and Apple's haphazard application of its own so-called-rules are both well founded.

  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:51PM (#30161996)
    No offense the app looks fun, but perhaps you are expecting too much out of a 3.5 star app that weighs in at 9 megs. With only 80 or so ratings on the US store for the paid version its kind of hard to assume this game was charting for very long. The thing about having to hit $250 to get payed per sountry is insane though.
  • by maharb (1534501) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:01PM (#30162156)

    You missed one huge point: More is not always better. Mac has been based on SIMPLICITY and allowing 100 apps that do the same thing only hurts the average apple user who doesn't want choice as long as the app does what they want it to. I guess I shouldn't expect anything different from a bunch of FOSS fanboys who think its fun to make 100 distributions of Linux with 100 different programs that all do the same thing installed on each distribution.

    Complain all you want but Apple's decision probably works better for the AVERAGE mac user (not techies) and pisses off techies and developers. This decision will likely not lower quality because developers (who are trying to make real money) will realize they can't throw some crap together and expect it to get approved, it actually has to work well and not duplicate functionality.

  • by jim_v2000 (818799) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:02PM (#30162168)
    Ok, whatever, you happen to care. MOST (as in 99%) people don't.

    I hate when someone around always chimes in "BUT NOT MEEEEE!", as though anyone on Slashdot is representative of a majority in any population outside of programming, lolcats, and Soviet Russia jokes.
  • Re:So the flee ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clem (5683) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:09PM (#30162304) Homepage

    This is still capitalism, isn't it?

    Only to the degree that the iPhone app store is a free market.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:19PM (#30162468)

    unless you have a large marketing budget or can get lucky enough to crack one of the top 10 lists.

    If you think you need a large budget to market, you do not know anything about marketing.

    Real marketing is not gaming the system to try and get on a top ten list. If you have an app you care about for the long term, the lists don't matter at all. Consider the fact that the apps on the "top revenue" list (not a list targeted to consumers) lists many apps that are on no other list, anywhere... and not all of them are from large companies either.

    There are a lot of ways to market an application, and now that there are so many applications that aspect is important. We have reached a transition in the app store where marketing is important, in a way it was not before...

  • Obsession (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rekees (1420453) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:23PM (#30162536)

    What, the iPhone is not the second coming of christ? What the hell are we going to do now? Maybe 2012 is really coming since the iPhone doesn't have an app to keep the bloody Earth spinning properly.

    Who has time to know of/check-out/use/have-fun-with the million apps out there? Right, I know a few guys like that, with iPhone or purple berries or paranoid phones (oh, it's andropovid or something?) and try to avoid them outright; in order to be aware of all the apps, that's all they do - maybe the apps sleep for them, too.

    A device is inferior if it performs simple but common tasks poorly out of the box. The iPhone is an inferior device since it cannot be used as a pager out of the box ("but you can do this and that, you ponzy looser that doesn't know squat about thechnology; just unlock it and see the light"). Ok, I give up, you feel superior with all the tricks one can implement, and I should not expect a $200 device to have a long enough text message sound file to wake me up when I'm on night shift. Or should I? Quite a few guys still have 800 MHz pagers at work and it's for a damn good simple reason: to be within reach if on-call in a noisy place, fishing, on top of a mountain, and all the other places on can be while performing her duties - all places within 3G coverage, yes there are mountains close by.

    One more thing: all these bio scan based devices seem to be designed only for indoor or warm climate folks since I can't answer the crappy thing with my gloves on. So if I'm helping some poor folk in freezing weather and need to call out, I better have good peripheral circulation; otherwise, we're both doomed. Or we can make a fire with and eat some apps while waiting for the white light. Right.

  • by JohnFen (1641097) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:52PM (#30164354)

    "Because they are pro-user."

    It's not a zero-sum game, though, and although some of Apple's iPhone policies improve things for the users, many, I would argue that most, don't.

    This has nothing to do with being big fish or little fish.

  • by JohnFen (1641097) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @06:23PM (#30164846)

    Damn. So there isn't a single awesome smartphone coming for the US market? And since handheld computers are merging with smartphones (and thus on their way out), that means there isn't a single awesome handheld computer in the US?

    I guess I'll have to go with Android. It has a boatload of issues too, but it's the lesser of two evils.

    I remember when the US was where the action was in technology. *sigh*

  • by Gnavpot (708731) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @06:36PM (#30165042)

    Access is to databases what Microsoft Backup was to backing up -- it's fine, just so long as you can live with it not working unexpectedly.

    I guess most of us could live with that.

    Negation count needed?

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @06:48PM (#30165206)

    I'm not sure how that changes anything at all.

    Because use of an API on a specific device is different than taking images and using them for other purposes. Would you be so sure they would also be allowed to print them out and use them in a flyer? Or what about in a PDF output from the application? Why is there any assumption that if an API feeds you an image you can use that image outside of the application that called that API?

    It changes is from "totally clear you can use" being a documented API, to the state of "is that OK outside the application". It's a totally different state as far as images and use of them is concerned, since the API docs say nothing about allowing redistribution outside the app.

    And that right there is exactly my point. It's unclear and appears arbitrary.

    Unclear, yes (initially, now t is quite clear). Arbitrary - no. If it were arbitrary they would have been allowed to use it, as the App Store reviewer wanted to let them use it. The fact they could not indicates the exact opposite of arbitrary - Apple will simply not allow these images to be used in this way, even though an App Store reviewer wanted to allow them to do so (read all the details on the RA site).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @08:08PM (#30166286)

    In other news, phones which are given away in cereal boxes have a larger "market share" than the iPhone. Ric Romero has more at 11.

  • Re: Access... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @08:55PM (#30166810)

    We can't get the IT resources for IT to build us our own system. We can't get IT to let us have a server, or run MSSQL or anything else as a real backend on their servers. We can't even get VB6 installed on my computer so I could develop frontends in something other than Access, due to IT/purchasing and software installation restrictions. I'd like to use VB6 in the short term because we have a couple legacy apps that I'd like to maintain, and I know it better than VB.net right now. Long term they will let me have VB.net express edition and I will eventually work on learning it. But Access still looks like it will have to be the backend.

    In light of this,...

    This is like saying you work as a carpenter, and you put nails into things with a coffee mug because you can't get your boss to approve purchasing a hammer due to budget constraints, the fact that your approved vendor is a starbucks instead of a tool company, and the fact that someone somewhere has his head up his ass. And then 'in light of this' you've reinforced your mug as best you can and made do...

    In my situation, what else would you suggest?

    Explain it to someone at your company with the authority to fix it the same way I just explained it to you, and keep on it until it get fixed or you get let go. Ok, ok, nobody wants to get let go, especially right now... so bide your time a bit until you can assure yourself a new job, but utlimately do you really want to work for a company that makes you use a coffee mug when you need a hammer?

    =)

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