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iPhone App Store Rejects Find a New Home 152

Posted by kdawson
from the huddled-masses dept.
eldavojohn writes "A new site called App Rejections (somewhat slashdotted already) aims to provide a home for misfit apps. With Apple offering no documents or discussions on the matter of application rejections, this site might become a popular place to pick forbidden fruit. Could a third party horn in on Apple's monopoly in the iPhone application market?"
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iPhone App Store Rejects Find a New Home

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  • by KingSkippus (799657) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @03:31AM (#30259714) Homepage Journal

    You know that old phrase about those who don't know their history being doomed to repeat it?

    I don't know what Apple is thinking. Up until now, it's all been good for them because of the lack of serious competition. With Android-based phones cranking up, how long will it be before Apple loses their market share due to these shenanigans?

    The scary thing is that Apple has been in this EXACT situation before. They owned a large market share of the PC market way back when IBM PCs were too expensive for the common consumer to afford. They kept all of their hardware all locked up tight, with proprietary everything. As the cost of PCs came down as the hardware moved to commodity parts and the PC "clone wars" cranked up, Apple took a beating and damn near went out of business.

    I already have friend who refuse to buy an iPhone because it's locked down so tightly. The two most common complaints I hear, in order, are: "I refuse to sign up for AT&T's service," and "I keep reading about how they won't let people publish their apps." The more they press this issue, the more they are setting themselves up for a spectacular failure. (And yes, I know people who have bought Android-based phones specifically because they don't like a company telling them what they can and can't run on hardware they paid good money for.)

    Apple has been a cool company the past few years. I have an iPhone and a Mac (which I'm typing this comment from now, in fact). Still, if I owned stock in Apple, I'd be selling it about right now because they are moving in the exact opposite direction that the market is.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @03:32AM (#30259718) Journal

    The summary implies that the website is going to be a home for rejected apps.
    TFA shows that the site is there to collect information about why Apple rejected apps.

  • by binarylarry (1338699) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @04:16AM (#30259798)

    Except now "PC" is called "Android."

  • by S3D (745318) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @04:34AM (#30259852)
    Android is more potentiality for now than a real competitor. If Android apps start really bite into App Store pocket Apple will do something, not before. The situation with Symbian OS was absolutely the same. Until iPhone/App Store juggernaut started, Nokia didn't bother with developer complaints about closure of handset capabilities with Symbian Signed, platform fragmentation and general neglect of application market. As soon as iPhone started biting into Nokia market share, and Apple app store proved that there are real money in the applications, Nokia scrambled Ovi application store, Symbian foundation promised to relax Symbian Signed restrictions, and it seems Nokia ended up with dropping Symbian OS for high-end (or may be for all later) smartphones altogether.
  • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @04:42AM (#30259870) Journal

    No. I think Apple should allow developers to distribute Apps without going through Apple's store.

    There are two advantages:

    1. Developers can work on applications without the fear that Apple will decide they can't publish them. They might need to have a "Plan B" if Apple chooses not to do so, but they aren't completely SOL.
    2. Apple can choose to not accept applications that are yet another fart app or tip calculator or some other stupid thing without having to worry about people's complaints. This also allows Apple to prune it's App Store and get rid of all the crap and make discoverability easier.

    Apple's customers can choose to only visit Apple's Store or they can download from elsewhere when Apple chooses not to publish something (and accept some risk).

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @04:43AM (#30259872) Homepage

    There were guys who have just 60 days worth of living money and if some idiot intern rejects their application, they will be financially doomed.

    This is what I would call "poor risk assessment skills". If you're depending on a capricious entity for your livelihood, I'd suggest a change of employment cause you sure as hell ain't gonna change Apple.

    *Ahem* game releases became _fewer_. Countable and non-countable nouns. The more you know!

  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vosester (1163269) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @04:53AM (#30259888)

    Not to mention the suspicion that people who jailbreak phones are likely to know how to pirate software as well, making them a less desirable market as well.

    Please don't lump us jailbreakers in with pirates, Having the power to pirate and doing it are two different things. I take your point, But I just don't see most people going to all that trouble just to dodge a small fee.

  • by Excelsior (164338) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @05:09AM (#30259922)

    You are right. Having a completely open platform has never worked before. *rolls eyes *

  • by ZmeiGorynych (1229722) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @05:27AM (#30259948)
    Yup, agree completely. As cute as some iPhone functionality is, I've heard enough bad press about how Apple handles its developers (and had enough bad experiences of my own with an iPod earlier), that there's no way in hell I'm buying one. Thanks goodness the Nokia n900 is coming out - in spite of all the rough edges I'm sure it'll have, that's the one I'm going for (and me wife is getting one too;) ). And I'm not alone in that among my friends, either.
  • by mjwx (966435) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @05:44AM (#30259992)

    so wheres the equivalent Android sales explosion?

    So what you are trying to say is that any product that does not sell out on the first day is doomed to failure?

    You're trying to analyse android using Apple's business model and ignoring the other very successful business models out there. Android was not something built on hype like the iphone. Google, HTC and the other OHA members planed for Android to have a slow release and ramp up which is exactly what has happened. Many tech products use this approach, creating a small market of early adopters, using this market to refine the product and come back with an R2. Also this has the added advantage of creating a support network as well as word of mouth campaigns as opposed to Apple's "blanket of hype" marketing. The plan with Android is not to flood the market at once with "sales explosions" but to slowly seep in and take market share piecemeal.

    Analysts are expecting Android sales to outstrip iPhone sales by 2012, but why is it going to take that long if Android is such a good competitor?

    Slow and steady wins the race. Analysts are predicting 2012 for Android to routinely outsell the iphone. For those playing along at home Apple's sales ebb and flow with the level of marketing Apple produces, right now the level of iphone marketing is low so iphones are not selling much, most manufacturers don't experience these lulls in sales so in this respect Apple is quite unique. Given the iphones reliance on hype and marketing it wouldn't surprise me if Android outsold Apple for a short time in 2010 until Apple ramps up the hype machine. What you also have to remember is that almost anyone who wants an iphone has one, as of July 2010 it will have been released in every western nation for two years which is the standard plan length in our nations. This is going to affect iphone sales a lot.

    It didn't take the iPhone anywhere near two and a half years to take a significant chunk of the market from competitors.

    the iphone didn't take that much away from competitors, certainly the likes of RIM and NOKIA aren't hurting, the iphone hasn't taken much from the smart phone market, most of the iphones market share comes from the consumer phone market.

    Its not the iPhone I am worried about, its the Android series of phones.

    Now after reading this:

    I haven't used it so I don't hold an opinion on it

    I have to wonder how you came to that conclusion, you seem to have a pretty fixed opinion about Android despite never actually using it?

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @05:48AM (#30259998) Journal

    You think the App Store has anything to do with quality control? I don't know whether to laugh at your naivety or just feel sorry for you. You're probably too far gone to help. It's sad to see someone drink the kool-aid.

  • by Giranan (762783) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:06AM (#30260030)
    Certainly, they should have quality control, but I think that one of the biggest issues that is plaguing the iPhone and its developers is the sheer arbitrariness and inconsistency of the app approval process. Recall, if you will, that issue with the dictionary app getting rejected because it could be used to look up curse words, while other apps were allowed through that had far more potential to be offensive.
  • by garote (682822) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:52AM (#30260212) Homepage

    Let's say Android is deployed on every smartphone in the world that isn't an iPhone. Some are large and fragile, some are gold-plated, some with touchscreens, some without, some with keyboards, et cetera et cetera. To do this, every manufacturer and carrier needs to write custom firmware, apps, and UI elements to work with their handsets, on top of Android, ... so let's just say they did, and they work just fine, and here we are.

    How does this in any way constitute a threat to the iPhone?

    Here's another scenario: Let's take every computer in the world, from the toughest HP rig to the crappiest mini-ATX, and make them all run the same OS. Let's call this rival OS something suitably generic, like, "windows". By sheer numbers alone, it will totally crush Apple and their puny OS X! Except it hasn't.

    What magic sauce does Android promise that will counteract the crushing weight of a zillion competing handsets and their chump code monkeys clamoring to distinguish themselves with blingy but utterly unusable interfaces?

    I'd really like to know.

  • by indiechild (541156) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:57AM (#30260226)

    Apple took a beating precisely because they chose to dabble in the Mac clone market. That's a mistake that Steve Jobs will never make, hence why you will not see Mac OS X licensed and sold for generic non-Apple x86 PCs.

    You'd be a complete fool to sell Apple stock now. Apple is set to get stronger than ever before.

    Apple isn't doing anything different than what it has been doing ever since Jobs came back to captain the ship. It's the epitome of Steve Jobs' business strategy: make high quality, premium products which focus on great user interfaces and usability. Apple products will not be open and highly customisable as long as Jobs remains in charge. I think it's working very well for them.

  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by war4peace (1628283) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:13AM (#30260292)
    Well I say it was about bloody time customers are offered an alternative. And I'm speaking from a general point of view (I don't have a Mac, don't have an iPhone and won't buy any in the foreseeable future). It's generally good for society to be presented alternatives. I would hate it to be forced to go to Microsoft website to get any Windows applications, and not have a choice but to go there.
  • by NickFortune (613926) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:47AM (#30260386) Homepage Journal

    How does this in any way constitute a threat to the iPhone?

    Because using your proprietary control of the platform to play hardball with 3rd party software creators doesn't work so well when a viable alternative exists.

    If Apple keep on artificially limiting what the iPhone can do, they're going to drive away developers. The risk is that one day soon, there is going to emerge an Android based phone with a killer set of cool apps, which are composed largely of all the stuff that Apple didn't allow on the iPhone because they saw short term commercial advantage in inconveniencing their customers.

  • I beg your pardon? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by garote (682822) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @07:50AM (#30260398) Homepage

    Android was not something built on hype like the iphone.

    The iPhone was not built on hype, though it benefitted from it. It was built on damned strong innovation.

    Google, HTC and the other OHA members planed for Android to have a slow release and ramp up which is exactly what has happened. Many tech products use this approach, creating a small market of early adopters, using this market to refine the product and come back with an R2. Also this has the added advantage of creating a support network as well as word of mouth campaigns as opposed to Apple's "blanket of hype" marketing.

    There you go again with that "hype" word. Actually Apple is so respected for their ability to innovate that they benefit strongly from the word-of-mouth you speak of. The iPhone made the cover of Time magazine, as the "best invention of the year", total cost to Apple: Zero. The Steve was named by Fortune magazine as the CEO of the decade. Cost: Zero. Those represent the top of a mountain of free press coverage that Google simply cannot match. So of course their strategy is different; but not by choice.

    The plan with Android is not to flood the market at once with "sales explosions" but to slowly seep in and take market share piecemeal.

    Yes, that's "the plan". It's the only strategy that stands a chance in hell of working.

    Slow and steady wins the race. Analysts are predicting 2012 for Android to routinely outsell the iphone.

    Analyst. The Gartner research firm, last month, to be specific. They did not reveal any details about how they arrived at their numbers. They did not say that Android would eat marketshare away from Apple, either. They claimed that, three years from now, about 14% of smartphones would run the Android OS, and that about 13% of smartphones would be sold by Apple.

    Don't hang your hat on what one analyst says. Another research firm, Canalys, has already pegged the Apple smartphone marketshare at 17 percent in Q3 2009.

    Even if the iPhone marketshare were to SHRINK in three years down to the same level that Gartner promises the Android, Apple would still be making one hell of a lot more money off smartphones than Google would. And do you have any idea how long three and a half years is in this market? The iPhone had not even been released three years ago. What's Apple going to be rolling out three years from NOW? If you think the Android platform is going to destroy or even damage Apple's smartphone business, you still Have Some Splainin' To Do.

    For those playing along at home Apple's sales ebb and flow with the level of marketing Apple produces, right now the level of iphone marketing is low so iphones are not selling much

    7.4 million units sold in Q3 2009. That is roughly twice the number of units sold running Windows Mobile, and dangerously close to the number of BlackBerries sold in the same time frame. Explain your usage of the phrase "not selling much".

    as of July 2010 it will have been released in every western nation for two years which is the standard plan length in our nations. This is going to affect iphone sales a lot.

    Explain how.

    the iphone didn't take that much away from competitors, certainly the likes of RIM and NOKIA aren't hurting, the iphone hasn't taken much from the smart phone market, most of the iphones market share comes from the consumer phone market.

    ... Which is where the smartphone market gets its growth from. And this is exactly why RIM and Nokia _are_ worried. The majority of the customers newly attracted to the smartphone market are being diverted to iPhones. Nokia's smartphone sales figures have been flat for the last three years. That is what we in the biz call "hurting".

  • by garote (682822) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @08:15AM (#30260524) Homepage

    Awesome! I can see it now! Sixteen icons on the home screen:

    1. MAME r106, Really Hard To Control Edition
    2. "Let's Bounce," With Russian ""Actress"" Yulia Nova
    3. Telnet
    4. Official Chase Bank App (actually released by phr0z3n crew, but who can tell?)
    5. Captain Redb34rd's Totally Safe And Not Backdoored Personal Info Storage App
    6. Flash Player (clocked down to 1fps for battery life)
    7. I Am Rich
    8. Baseband Burner
    9. Firefox Mobile
    10. Mozilla Mobile
    11. Opera Mobile
    12. Lynx Mobile
    13. Internet Explorer Mobile
    14. Internet Explorer Mobile Security Update Manager
    15. WinAMP
    16. Norton AV

    Clearly, Apple sees short term commercial advantage in inconveniencing their customers, by not dropping each and every one of these apps into their next firmware update.

  • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @08:16AM (#30260532)

    So you think Apple should just accept every fart-app hack, poorly written, buggy piece of scrap code a developer ships their way?

    They currently do accept such crap, so what is your point?

    I submit to you as evidence the hundreds of flashlight apps which simply light up the screen, the copies of Apple demo apps, iFart Mobile and the many copies, IAmRich (only removed after customer complaints), the appalling UI of 'TripLog/1040', etc etc. There are thousands of apps which can in no sense be rated as quality apps on the store right now.

    The app store vetting is not about quality (as evidenced by all the crap-ware on the store), it is about control of competitors like Google and the purse-strings for the platform. They want to collect money on each transaction, and exclude any apps which they feel compete too closely with Apple products, and if that wastes months of time/money for third-party developers, or even their close partners like Google, well that's just too bad. The current policy certainly won't lead to more quality apps on the store - quite the reverse.

    Apple are of course legally within their rights to restrict competition on their platform, whether it is in the interests of their customers, or indeed Apple long term, is debatable.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JimmyPorter (1689104) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @08:41AM (#30260668)
    No it's not necessarily good to be given alternatives. See "The Paradox of Choice" for details. And platforms with companies that act as gatekeepers is generally not a bad business model. Look at consoles - all games need to be approved by the console manufacturer before they can be sold. This hasn't hurt the console market. And indeed the console games market is now significantly larger than the PC games market which has always been open.
  • by JimmyPorter (1689104) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:07AM (#30260788)

    Apple decide, and some disadvantages for them are that:

    1) Apple will get blamed by the press and blogosphere for any malware. Just as Microsoft gets blamed for Windows malware. But malware on a mobile phone can be much worse. It can cost you a lot of money on your phone bill.

    2) Apple doesn't receive 30% of revenue if it's not sold through the App Store. Why would a company voluntarily give up revenue?

    A disadvantage for the consumer is that life gets more complicated. A low price one stop shop such as the App Store is convenient. They are relieved of the concern that a better cheaper app is available elsewhere.

  • by JimmyPorter (1689104) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:15AM (#30260814)

    There's not much evidence that a completely open platform works better than closed ones.

    Linux is the most open desktop system, yet it is a tiny niche behind Windows and OSX.

    All the games consoles require that games are approved by the console manufacturer. Yet they now sell more games than are sold for PCs. Various companies have promised open console systems. All have failed.

    The printer market is dominated by companies that require you to buy first party ink cartridges at highly inflated prices. It is possible to buy third party refills which require a bit of effort and can be messy (which one can think of as the equivalent of hacking/jailbeaking). But it seems most people/companies buy the original cartridges.

    Same for the photocopier market.

  • by Urkki (668283) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:27AM (#30260872)

    There were guys who have just 60 days worth of living money and if some idiot intern rejects their application, they will be financially doomed.

    This is what I would call "poor risk assessment skills". If you're depending on a capricious entity for your livelihood, I'd suggest a change of employment cause you sure as hell ain't gonna change Apple.

    I think that was the point. They thought Apple could be relied on. Now they know better...

    Hint to Apple: you want exactly those people who are good SW guys but perhaps not the smartest as business people to do software for you. They're usually at least as interested in the software as the money they make off it, if not more. So they'll crank out cheap software for those who might buy Apple phones, thus providing Apple very cheap software base. You don't want to drive them to Android and later Maemo.

    Though Maemo promises to be wicked cool from developer point of view, if you ask me :-)

  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:31AM (#30260890) Journal

    Until someone provides a real threat to Apple's hardware/software iPhone platform

    If having a much bigger market share (e.g., Nokia at 40%, to Apple's few per cent) does not count as a "real threat", I am curious to hear what does?

    (And if you have that low opinion of your potential customers - that if they modify their own product to get basic functionality to work, that Just Works on all other phones, then they must be pirates - then I have no sympathy if Apple rejects the "app" that you've spent months or years developing.)

  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow (21281) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:42AM (#30260952)

    A threat would be something that takes iPhone users away from Apple. Nokia hasn't done that, and I doubt they will any time soon.

    If you don't understand the Market, nor Apple's business model, you are doomed to make stupid comments on slashdot.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:41AM (#30261290) Homepage

    platforms with companies that act asgatekeepers is generally not a bad business model.

    For the platform owner, sure. For the consumer, yes, it is.

  • by v1 (525388) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @01:03PM (#30262196) Homepage Journal

    This also allows Apple to prune it's App Store and get rid of all the crap and make discoverability easier.

    I already have problems finding applications because when I look for say, a grocery list app, there's not 1 or 2 or 20. there's like 100, and it's hard to find a big difference between them. Of the say 100, 40-60 of them are either free or free demo, and so I download a dozen or so among them and try them out. If I don't find one I like, I have to go back to the store and find another dozen to try out. If I'm lucky I find something I like. What I really might have liked I may never have even gotten a look at.

    It would be nice if there were better quality control than there is now. It'd be like trying to decide which cable company you want to sign up for, and there's 30 of them in town. Sometimes too much choice is a bad thing - it's good to have someone you can reasonably trust to filter through the huge pile and just present you with the top-ten-list. But I don't think "there are already too many of these on the store" is a major actual reason for rejection right now. "Competes (if even only slightly) with one of Apple's bundled apps" and "can change behavior once installed" seem to account for around 90% of rejections as of late. The former being greed and the latter being protective.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by war4peace (1628283) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @04:08PM (#30263452)
    ...and then again, if you're not provided an option, then you're facing a monopoly. And it will get evil sooner or later. Just due to lack of choices.
  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jschottm (317343) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @04:46PM (#30263638)

    If having a much bigger market share (e.g., Nokia at 40%, to Apple's few per cent) does not count as a "real threat", I am curious to hear what does?

    In the US (yes, /. is international but the iPhone is a bit US-centric) smartphone market, Nokia is close to a non-player.

    http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2009/10/28/rim-and-apple-top-u-s-smartphone-market-share/ [boygeniusreport.com]

    RIM has 40%, Apple has 30%, Palm has 7%.

    Worldwide Nokia had 40% of the smartphone market in Q4 2008 but that was with a 10% drop from the previous quarter.

    But see how I specified the hardware/software package? Symbian is dying and Maemo has yet to catch on (witness the sales of the iPod touch compared to the Nokia handheld tablets). How many people do you know who will say that developing for Symbian and Nokia phones is easy and a joy to do? Look at the user interface experience. Just about everyone who has an iPhone loves the interface. The UI in most other phones is something that the user grudgingly puts up with, not whips out to show off to their friends.

    (And if you have that low opinion of your potential customers - that if they modify their own product to get basic functionality to work, that Just Works on all other phones, then they must be pirates - then I have no sympathy if Apple rejects the "app" that you've spent months or years developing.)

    As much as I love a good rant, I feel compelled to point out that I neither own an iPhone nor develop apps for them.

    If you want the basic functionality that "just works" with everything else, buy that everything else. Apple and AT&T don't allow tethering. So buy a phone that does. No one is forcing anyone to get an iPhone. Don't like the features? Don't buy it.

    As I linked to above (reproduced here [gamasutra.com]), there is a lot of piracy on iPhones and so far as I know, the only way to pirate on an iPhone is to jailbreak it. There is a chunk of jailbreaking users who are pure of heart and are merely trying to violate the terms of service with Apple and/or AT&T, but they're part of a demographic that is not all pure and shiny and a side effect of that is that they're not going to be highly sought after as customers.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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