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Handhelds Iphone Software Wireless Networking Apple

Apple Removes Wi-Fi Finders From App Store 461

jasonbrown writes "Apple on Thursday began removing another category of apps from its iPhone App Store. This time, it's not porn, it's Wi-Fi. Apple removed several Wi-Fi apps commonly referred to as stumblers, or apps that seek out available Wi-Fi networks near your location. According to a story on Cult of Mac, apps removed by Apple include WiFi-Where, WiFiFoFum, and yFy Network Finder."
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Apple Removes Wi-Fi Finders From App Store

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  • walled garden (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:31PM (#31365808)

    for the win.

    if you wanted options, you would have gone android... fucksticks.

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:36PM (#31365848)
    What does Apple gain by removing these things?
  • Fouling the well (Score:1, Insightful)

    by garethw ( 584688 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:38PM (#31365862)
    I think this is called pissing in the well from which you drink. I really don't get why Apple is trying so hard to alienate developers. / Android user
  • Thank you Apple! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:40PM (#31365884)
    I'm so glad you make all the hard decisions for me! Would you like to cast my next vote for me?? Oh yeah, when I actually succumb to mobile devices they will be open. This is like Microsoft telling you what software you can install on Windows! Is this the future? Twenty years from now Mac's will only be able to get applications from Apple's approved store? Yeah, I'm not gonna help with that.
  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuoteMstr ( 55051 ) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:44PM (#31365902)

    There are technical measures Apple can take to prevent applications from using private frameworks. But Apple doesn't use that approach.

    This whole issue smells like selective enforcement of Kafkaesque ever-shifting, secret rules against applications Apple needs an excuse to remove.

  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:47PM (#31365926)

    Until all mobile phones suck a lot less or go down in price a lot, I'm not getting one. $2500 for two years? No thanks. Even if the devices available were polished, beautiful, powerful, and bug-free. And they're not.

    Still it's only a matter of time. I said the same thing about cell phones, and then prices dropped and coverage improved, and now I have one.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:1, Insightful)

    by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:52PM (#31365964)

    for the win.

    if you wanted options, you would have gone android... fucksticks.

    iPhone has more software than Android, hence more options.

    What you really mean is if we wanted specific options (those that aren't available for iPhone, but are for Android), we'd have gone Android. So what it really comes down to is whether one really wants (in this case) a WiFi finder. I certainly won't miss such apps. But you're right, if I did, Android might be a better option.

  • Re:I wonder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:56PM (#31366000)

    Is Apple actively trying to destroy any developer relationship that they had, and are they trying to show the community that they are not up to the challenge of hosting an app store?

    No, they're just trying to show their users that they have total control. Just to remind you. In case you forgot.

  • It can be said that it is Kafkaesque when a reason isn't given but others with the same capabilities are allowed.


  • Great News !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ianare ( 1132971 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:00PM (#31366026)

    This is great news !! This is the only way developers and users will learn never to trust a closed platform. Hopefully this starts pissing people off enough to go towards Android, or preferably the only truly open smartphone OS : Maemo / Meego. So I say, please Apple, remove more useful apps !!

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:00PM (#31366040)

    What does Apple gain by removing these things?

    The kind of total control over their platform which they expect to have. I'm reminded of the quote on Twitter the other day from the story about the top developers fired by Activision: "Getting mad at [Apple] for this is like getting mad at an ape for throwing feces. It's just how the beast communicates."

    This kind of control is Apple's MO, and anyone buying their products should either know that, or wouldn't be affected by it (some people do want their choices made for them).

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Virak ( 897071 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:04PM (#31366060) Homepage

    How are programs that provide superior functionality 'clutter' by any definition of the word?

  • by garethw ( 584688 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:04PM (#31366064)
    You're probably right. I bought a MacBook last year (having used Debian for the last 9 years), and while I don't dislike it, I'm not keen to buy more Apple products given dumb shenanigans like this. So they are alienating some users.
  • by GaryPatterson ( 852699 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:06PM (#31366080)

    Sadly this critical part of the story is being submerged under the usual "Apple is the great Satan" Slashdot groupthink. It seems to be an easy road to be modded up if a poster makes a short criticism of Apple, even if they don't know any of the facts.

  • by repetty ( 260322 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:09PM (#31366106) Homepage

    Hey, I know!

    Since nobody on Slashdot knows a single thing about this action by Apple -- at this moment -- why don't we just post a bunch of shit that has absolutely no merit?! Hey, we can even call ourselves "journalists"!

  • by agrif ( 960591 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:09PM (#31366110) Homepage

    This is like Microsoft telling you what software you can install on Windows!

    Just so we're clear here, it'd be like if Microsoft could decide what software it wanted to host on it's servers, and provide a shop framework for. Which, last time I checked, they have every right to do.

    There is a difference here, obviously. For most people (those who haven't jailbroken), Apple's store is the only place to get software. Apple has to approve this software. But since when is this any different than the software released for the xbox 360 or any other game console? At least Apple has a reasonable excuse: their phone has to work on a cell network, and it needs to have restrictions placed on software. Game consoles have no such excuse.

    I'm not saying it's not stupid, I'm just saying that it's their right to do this. I don't see why people can be so uppity about the iPhone when there are plenty of other closed systems to complain about that have been around for much longer.

  • Re:What's next? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by smash ( 1351 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:15PM (#31366172) Homepage Journal
    Without jobs, there would have been no imac, ipod, iphone, etc.

    So... you take the good with the bad. Without Jobs, or someone like him who is actually passionate about making a product HE would like to use, apple would (and almost did) die.

    I am wondering what's going to happen when he retired, which surely isn't that far off...

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:16PM (#31366178)

    That would be all well and good if they were providing complete public frameworks, so that private ones would not be needed for any valid use case.

    But it's not... these apps can't possibly be implemented using the public frameworks

    So, Apple is essentially stifling their platform.

    Better to have some apps broken by an update of the OS later, than to have those apps never written at all, probably.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:17PM (#31366182)

    iPhone has more software than Android, hence more options.

    Increased Volume != Increased Options.

    Android already has a far greater variety of software then the Iphone due to the locked nature of the application delivery and development system. The Iphone simply has more of the same applications then Android or as everyone points out, 100 times the number of fart applications but no third party mail clients.

    So with the Iphone, you have more software but fewer options.

  • by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:22PM (#31366222)

    Oh what a difference a few decades make.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nmb3000 ( 741169 ) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:22PM (#31366228) Journal

    So what it really comes down to is whether one really wants (in this case) a WiFi finder. I certainly won't miss such apps.

    First they came for the VoIP apps, and I did not speak out--because I had unlimited minutes;
    Then they came for the erotic apps, and I did not speak out--because I am religous;
    Then they came for the WiFi stumblers, and I did not speak out--because I do not need one;
    Then they came for my app--and no one spoke for me because 'Apple knows best'.

    A little melodramatic, maybe, but still somewhat apt I think. Apple has shown they have no qualms about removing entire categories of applications for the iPhone, all without provocation, explanation, or compensation. Anyone who depends on (develops for or uses) the iPhone in a serious business or financial sense is crazy.

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:23PM (#31366240)

    When your phone costs as much as a PC, you might.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:1, Insightful)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:32PM (#31366296)

    yep, and if you read the previous article, you would know developers are having problems coding for android as you never know what kind of hardware you will get.

    so you can have a dozen third party mail clients but only two of them will work on your android phone cause it has a different screen that doens't work quite right with the other apps.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wayne247 ( 183933 ) <slashdot@laurent.ca> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:36PM (#31366320) Homepage

    Can you honestly say that with a straight face while browsing the hundreds of fart apps and stupid slideshows of 5 pictures or less? The App store is indeed cluttered by tens of thousands of utterly useless and worthless apps, but the Wi-Fi finding category is certainly not contributing by much.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:41PM (#31366350)

    yep, and if you read the previous article, you would know developers are having problems coding for android as you never know what kind of hardware you will get.

    Yet there are many many applications which perform well on all android hardware.

    You logic explains why Windows is not the most popular development platform, because you never know what hardware you're going to get, nor which version of Windows, .net, DirectX and so forth. No wait...

    Android, much like Windows provides a consistent framework across multiple devices. For simple applications this is very simple, for difficult applications this is difficult, the same as in Windows and there are games and applications out there so poorly coded and tested that require a very specific version of DirectX just to run, you don't think they exist because no-body buys them. Only bad developers have these problems.

  • It's great! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:59PM (#31366456)

    Best idea ever Apple.

    It makes me even more proud to be a PC.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:08PM (#31366532) Journal
    Unfortunately, what you say isn't quite true. If it were, the problem would be self-correcting.

    In order for app development to be financially viable, it has to possess a risk/reward ratio that compares favorably to other possible investments. Apple's trigger-happy tendencies raise the risk; but their install base and user willingness to shell out keeps the reward high. The real risk is not that they'll drive out app developers; but that they'll manage to preferentially drive out the good app developers.

    If I am running some cookie-cutter app sweatshop, churning out masses of crap under one or more company names that are little more than reskins of one another, with slightly different content packs(here's an app with twenty fart noises, here's another one with the same noises that we had the intern spend ten minutes tweaking with audacity and the buttons reskinned to look more like mucus blotches! Here's 50 pictures from the cheapest softcore porn back-catalog that we were able to licence. Hey, here's the same app with 50 different pictures! And so on and so forth), all I need to do is make money on average. If some of my apps never get approved, some get sacked 18 months in, some do OK, some prove PT Barnum right yet again, I'll come out just fine. By making so many crap apps, each one representing a small investment, I spread my risk out substantially(and, since the iPhone is the hot thing among well-heeled and app-happy cellphone users, getting merely average results will probably be satisfactory, particularly if I'm paying offshore rates for my dev time).

    On the other hand, some classic Mac indie dev house, pouring their heart and soul into one or two apps at a time, faces a very different situation. Their apps are substantially less likely to get shitcanned for sucking or for being tasteless; but their costs per app are comparatively huge. If an important patch update gets stuck in review hell for three weeks, while they rack up negative reviews, they are sunk. If their brilliant little gem happens to be a little too close to something Apple has planned for iPhone OS v. 4, it'll simply be murdered in the cradle without useful comment. Those odds are considerably less compelling.
  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:10PM (#31366550) Journal
    "The Castle" arguably qualifies as well.
  • Re:Great News !! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ThePengwin ( 934031 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:13PM (#31366568) Homepage

    I don't want to have to compete against other developers who can implement things I can't implement, because they are willing to stay up for three weeks reverse-engineering some undocumented interface.

    You don't want to compete with people who put in more effort into coding their apps than you?


  • by abigor ( 540274 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:20PM (#31366622)

    1. Actually, The Trial is what gave birth to the term "Kafkaesque" and definitely has to do with an organisation. It is a very famous book.

    2. The movie The Fly has nothing to do with Kafka. It's about a guy and a teleportation device.

  • by ToasterMonkey ( 467067 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:23PM (#31366640) Homepage

    How else do you explain it? If Apple did not care about the function it would leave the app's as they were, if it did care about the function it would include it in the public frameworks?

    Function is the common denominator in the revoked applications, to try and say it they were retroactively revoked due to some QA seems absurd due to the fact that only applications with a specific function were targeted . It seems failing to make that particular assumption is like not being able to put two and two together (be careful with Occam's razor, it's sharp).

    You don't seem to understand WHY programming interfaces are labeled public and private, or stable and unstable.
    If they cared about the functionality, they could whip up a technical means of restricting access. Private interfaces are private because they might not be formally documented, designed or committed to. What's private now might be made public later if there is enough demand for it and the design is solid. If they liked the design of it, it would probably already be a public interface though...

    I don't know why Apple isn't picking these things up sooner, maybe they know but revoke apps only when a particular interface is about to change?
    It doesn't matter how they do it, using private/unstable interfaces is gamble any way you cut it.

  • by agrif ( 960591 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:24PM (#31366646) Homepage

    No, other apps that do the same thing are still allowed and available in the app store.

    As far as I can tell, these other apps don't scan actively for access points. That is, they don't use the private framework.

    (on Mac OS X, you need to use the private Apple80211.framework, not sure about iPhone OS X).

    No you don't.

    Yes, you do.

    That is, unless you want to rewrite the portion of the Darwin kernel that interfaces with the plethora of wireless network devices that Mac OS X is designed to handle, and provide support for that, all for your wifi stumbler or whatever. The option is always open to roll your own code, even in these cases on the iPhone. Sometimes, though, that option is just stupid.

    Unlike with iPhones and iPads, with their crippled phoneOS, I can use any framework I want that I can install on my MacBook Pro.

    The iPhone OS is far from crippled. It's a full UNIX running on a phone, with a full-featured Apple Objective-C runtime, with a snazzy custom multitouch UI. The sandbox and features given to developers through the official Apple program is crippled. The OS is not.

    To be pedantic, as well, you can use any framework you want that you can install on your iPhone as well. You may have to jailbreak it to get write access to the frameworks, but you can still use it once it's on there.

  • Bombed out garden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:41PM (#31366796) Homepage Journal

    Very mature.

    Apple's corporate nannyism is indeed a pain, and it's what keeps me away from iPhone. But I can't say I like Android any better. It's the usual disorganized Google product, where every product is viewed as emergent [wikipedia.org] from a lot of independent programmers each doing their own thing. So there's no central vision to the product. You have a total mess of a platform that isn't even a single platform, since every Android hardware implementation is different from every other.

    Really, our choices suck. Maemo (or whatever it's called now) will never achieve critical mass. Windows Moblle is, well, Windows. Symbian is showing its age. Blackberry is designed for somebody who texts a lot more than I do.

    I'm sort of flirting with getting a WebOS phone, except I don't trust Palm not to screw this product up, the way they've screwed up every other product. Also, a phone plan that supports it properly costs $60/month (3G data rates in the U.S. are totally out of hand), and while I like having the Internet in my pocket, I'm not sure I like it that much.

    What I should really do is go back to having a separate phone and PDA, and put up with the hassle of sharing data between them manually. (With a PAYG plan, I'd probably save $50/month.) Except nobody makes a decent PDA any more...

  • Re:walled garden (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:45PM (#31366828)

    Out of curiosity, did Final Fantasy make it to Android?

    It probably will be in due time. I don't think it's even been released for the iphone yet, has it?

  • Re:walled garden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:50PM (#31366872)

    PCs you assume everyone has a pointing device and a keyboard, but with phones they may have a touch screen, or lack a touch screen. There might be an accelerometer, or it might not be there. You may be able to have a physical keyboard, but a lot of Android phones don't.

    I dont think you understand Android development at all.

    I'm not having a go at you but you seem to miss important points which are massive flaws in your arguments.

    Android much like Windows has certain minimum hardware requirements (pointing device, x number of physical buttons, display device with minimum resolution). Much like Windows I can have additional or disparate hardware (D-pad vs trackball, higher res screen) but the API's are still meant to interpret the minimum standards of input so text from a soft keyboard is treated the same as text from a physical keyboard, the d-pad on a Droid/Milestone acts the same as the trackball on my Dream/G1 from the perspective of the application as that input is coming from the OS (HAL) not the HW directly.

    Your issue hinges on a program which require specific hardware to be present, if a developer has this requirement then they've made a conscious decision to use a specific platform and has to deal with the problems that arise from that. This is a conscious decision on the part of the developer, not a flaw in the OS.

    A program like APNDroid will work the same on all models as it was developed to use Android API not vendor specific hardware. The same as in Windows where a game (Half Life 2 for example) will work on a Logitek keyboard as well as it would on a Microsoft keyboard because it uses the Windows API for input, not hardware specific vendor drivers.

    The problem you describe is exactly the problem Operating Systems, or more specifically the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) were made to solve. It's a 25 yr old problem, with a 24 yr old solution.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:52PM (#31366902) Journal

    you would know developers are having problems coding for android as you never know what kind of hardware you will get.

    Microsoft and the Linux community seem to have worked that bit out.

    I'm not sure Slashdot is the best place to advocate for fewer hardware choices.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:55PM (#31366926) Journal

    On the other hand, some classic Mac indie dev house, pouring their heart and soul into one or two apps at a time

    And we all know how Apple treated them.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:02AM (#31366998) Journal

    So World of Warcraft is Kafkaesque?


    Actually, it brings Camus' working of the Sisyphus story to mind. Running around doing a meaningless activity over and over and over and...

    yet never quite getting there.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:06AM (#31367032)
    If their brilliant little gem happens to be a little too close to something Apple has planned for iPhone OS v. 4, it'll simply be murdered in the cradle without useful comment.

    It is the sheer nastiness of Apple's extreme highhanded policies and litigious corporate mindset that makes Apple platforms less and less attractive to me as time goes by. I have (and actually quite like) a MacBook, and the iPod is by far the best mp3 player around, but hardly a day goes by without Apple or sometimes Steve Jobs personally fucking someone over.

    I'll be voting with my wallet next time any of my devices need replacing. I've been using Linux on my desktop machines for over 15 years, and there's nothing stopping me using it on my next laptop. And I will not be buying an iPhone.
  • Re:walled garden (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:07AM (#31367040)
    If you bought it before then count it as format shifting. And bravely break laws that you find are unjust. Think of it as protest. Otherwise you are succumbing to threats by the mafiaa which is kinda lame. That and I haven't heard of anyone dling a rom getting charged millions for doing so (unlike mp3s).
  • The iPhone OS is far from crippled. It's a full UNIX running on a phone, with a full-featured Apple Objective-C runtime, with a snazzy custom multitouch UI. The sandbox and features given to developers through the official Apple program is crippled. The OS is not.

    If I can not install whatever software on my equipment and instead have to use the app store then it is crippled. If I don't do what I want on it that I can do on my Mac then it is crippled.

    To be pedantic, as well, you can use any framework you want that you can install on your iPhone as well. You may have to jailbreak it to get write access to the frameworks, but you can still use it once it's on there.

    But I don't have to jailbreak my Mac. Heck I've even got assistance from Apple store genuses to set up my Mac to dual boot Ubuntu. What I have been told at a store though is that they can not help me with developer uses, instead I'm referred to the Apple Developer Connection [apple.com].


  • Re:doesn't add up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:20AM (#31367140) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure why anyone would develop for the iPhone, apparently you not only face a capricious approval process, but they may revoke that approval on a whim.

    Just make sure your app complies with all current and future rules and does not compete against any apps Apple plans to introduce down the line, and you'll be fine.

    Want to invest in my iPhone dev business?

  • Re:Great News !! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:32AM (#31367240)

    iPhone OS is not open source

    Agreed that the OS is not open source, but your saying closed platform, isn't that different?

    or does platform = OS now? When I think platform I think OS X with Xcode connected to an iPhone or running an iPad simulator.

    furthermore its applications can only be obtained from a single source. If THAT'S not a closed platform, I don't know what is.

    Sorry, but you need to check your facts - You can download apps from LOTS of other places apart from iTunes, Apple just forces you to make a conscious decision to do this, probably to avoid "I downloaded this app and now I'm powned" type support complaints. Thats why I stated iPhone OS does not equal iTunes App Store. You can also share your source code online and let other people use your code (creative commons etc) or download and build your apps using source code from others. The fact is you don't need the OS to be open source if the development environment gives you access to all the great features like GPS, compass etc.

    You can do everything you want to do with out ever accessing the iTunes store. ie build your own App and run it on your phone... distribute your code to others to let them do the same, just forget about the iTunes store.

    Fail. You should not have to resort to voiding your warranty and possibly bricking your device simply to do what any other smartphone out there can do.

    If I have a problem with my jailbroken iPhone... I just plug it in, restore to original condition return to store... I'm still covered by warranty.

    If you think of it like this it may make more sense: iPhone starts all ready for average consumer and you need to do some tech work to unlock it and open it up, Android starts open and you need to do some tech work to make it usable by the average person. Take your pick.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:3, Insightful)

    by daveime ( 1253762 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @01:10AM (#31367520)

    iPhone has more software than Android, hence more options.

    We are the iBorg. Resistance is Futile. Your culture will adapt to service ours. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. And then after a period of time, we will nerf your distinctiveness because it contains naughty words or functionality we should have provided in the first place, but decided to leave it till the next version so we could milk you for another $879 bucks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2010 @01:20AM (#31367598)

    Your user number is low enough for you to have been here when /. blew up about Microsoft using internal APIs that no one else knew about. IIRC such actions got them in a little bit of legal trouble.

    But since it is apple we are perfectly happy with letting apple tell us what we can and can't do with our own hardware.

    Bet you are a BIG FSF / GPL support though.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:07AM (#31367864)

    I really fail to see significance here.

    There really wasn't any. I was just asking. I was surprised that the game was being re-worked (new artwork and music and all) for the iPhone and wanted to know if an Android version was coming, too. I'm wondering (not stating... WONDERING, in case the nitwit that modded my post as flamebait is reading) if apps on the iPhone make more money than comparable apps on Android. If FF comes out on both platforms, the amount of money they both bring in is really interesting to know. If the iPhone's is higher, then that is something important for devs to know despite it being fashionable to shake our pitchforks at Apple. Unfortunately if that release is not soon, that really taints the data.

    It'll be on android soon, the difference is people will probably do it themselves.

    Um, no. It'll be on Android if Square ports to it or it won't happen at all.

    I think they're more screwed than people know right now.

    I think you're overestimating how much the masses care. People are happy to pay for apps on the iPhone. Developers will follow the money. The masses will then go "oh, neat! Actual game publishers are making games for that phone, I should get one!" Then more money is made. Then more developers go "whoah, there's money there!" And so on.

    It also doesn't help that Slashdot has already cried wolf at least once with these "Apple is locking people out!" stories.

  • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:19AM (#31367920)

    Why do they need to protect me from maintaining my app? If I use an API and they do something that breaks it, it's my responsibility to fix it or they pull the app.

    If it's an officially documented API, that is not the case, at least not with Mac OS X (and, as far as I know, with other commercial UN*Xes and Windows). People generally get peeved if updating the OS breaks an app, and the first organization to which they complain is likely to be the OS vendor, so the OS vendor makes at least some effort not to break APIs. I think Raymond Chen [msdn.com] has talked about this at Microsoft, and it's also an issue at Apple (try doing nm -p /usr/lib/libSystem.dylib | egrep '\$' on OS X - at least in newer versions, you'll find multiple versions of some APIs, so that the API can be changed without breaking binary compatibility with older apps).

    Does the iPhone OS SDK say otherwise? Does it explicitly say that, if any app works on version N and fails to work on version N+1, it's ipso facto the app developer's fault?

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:32AM (#31367982)

    If the issue is that the Apps used a private API, how did they get approved in the first place?

    Because over time Apple gets better about figuring out who is using private API's.

    In the early days it was the most egregious violations that visually screamed out "hey look, I am using a private API" - like Coverflow.

    So then that died down, and for a while people got away with undocumented framework and system calls.

    But recently Apple has started basically using a symbol analyses tool looking for calls to specific system stuff. I can imagine it was only recently they thought to look at super low level network stuff.

    Apple even has been pretty nice about it generally, most developers just get a warning saying "you are using a private API, fix that before your next update please". I guess whatever this framework was using was a little more undesirable than most calls.

  • Re:I wonder (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mikestew ( 1483105 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:50AM (#31368066) Homepage

    It could be argued that Apple is trying to maintain their developer relationship. I have an app idea, and I know I can't write it without using a private framework or API. So I stick my idea back on the shelf and go work on something else. But then I see other apps with similar functionality, and I know they didn't do it while playing by the rules. At that point I'm a little irked at Apple when the rules apparently don't apply evenly.

    That's not hypothetical, it's happened to me. The Red Laser app used the exact API I needed to use. They get to submit something that becomes best-selling, I didn't bother even creating a new project file. Later, instead of yanking Red Laser, Apple changes their mind and says, "umm, okay, go ahead and use the API". In the end, it's the better thing for Apple to do. Doesn't make me feel better about losing lead time.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:53AM (#31368378) Homepage

    Happens every time and even though the intelligent users of slashdot are more than aware of this, they can't seem to fight the compulsion to re-re-re-re-state their position/perception/opinion on the matter.

    Apple strong on consistent user experience. (by this I mean consistent with apple's ever-changing idea of what the user experience should be.)

    Android strong on openness and flexibility. (except for where the carriers object and attempt to control it... but even then, not so much.)

    When the iPhone came out with a battery that couldn't be replaced by the user, I wrote it off. To me, that was the primary show-stopper. It's a privacy and security concern. It's a battery life/conservation concern. It's even a safety concern.

    Android, on the other hand is interesting in that it is yet another high profile Linux based product that has elements of traditional Linux failure all over it. I don't mean this to sound as bad as it sounds, but I can think of no better way to put it. The game isn't over yet and perhaps the people steering Android will see the failures and find some solutions, but what traditional failures am I talking about? Simple: "Being strong on consistent user experience" among other things.

    Previous articles on slashdot came close to describing problems by talking about the wide variety of android phones and how software for one does not work for all. (it's not a problem for normal Linux hackers... we know all about tarballs, DEBs and RPMS, i386/i586/i686/x86_64/PPC and other divisions based on which version of glibc it was compiled for.) But there is more. The apps themselves are "more free" and therefore have less consistent delivery of look and feel. When this happens, a solid device starts to feel like a handful of marbles. At some level of consciousness, we all perceive problems when we are presented with things that don't match up well. Whether or not it's an actual problem is irrelevant to the feelings of the user (which, by the way is foremost on the minds at Apple) which is where the real success or failure of a project lies. "Better things" fail all the time at the hands of better marketing of lesser things. If people feel one thing is better than another or more reliable or will last longer or be supported longer or will have better backing, the truth doesn't matter so much as their feelings.

    As a Linux optimist, I see this as an opportunity for Linux to gain recognition and public favor. We all know that Linux is a kernel and that it's in a LOT of stuff everywhere that most people never see or think about. We also know that because it's just a kernel, the REAL problems are in how it's packaged with other things... with or without a GUI, which GUI, what package management, etc. But there's more. Look and feel has never really been stressed. KDE users will probably disagree with me on this because KDE does, in fact, push more in favor of a consistent look and feel. But they are an exception.

    But even if the Android project pulls itself together and actually does build a very successful consumer implementation of a Linux based OS, it can't quite be said "It's good because it's Linux." It would still be more accurate to say "It's good in spite of being Linux" because at the moment, a successful consumer Linux OS doesn't fix all the others that we know and love.

  • by TRRosen ( 720617 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @04:32AM (#31368548)

    , but then again the iPhone ecosystem is a fairly new model for software.

    NEW? lets see Atari Nintendo Playstation Xbox Sega .... All these systems required every piece of software to meet the system makers requirements and limitations. This is not new.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siloko ( 1133863 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @07:20AM (#31369342)

    The oddness here is that these apps were ever approved to begin with.

    No - the oddness here is that people can't see beyond the end of their nose. The issue is not that a specific class of applications has been pulled but that any application is pulled. I am not going to argue with Apple's right to choose what happens on their App Store but I do question a geeks's choice when he supports a closed system over an open one. When others are making the decisions the function he takes for granted in the form that he deems pleasing is eventually going to be eroded. The market will decide whether this is a good thing for Apple's bottom line but for a geek to be an Apple apologist now just seems plain weird.

  • Re:Great News !! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @07:52AM (#31369476)

    This way a developer will think twice about doing such things, as it means their app could very well break come next update.

    The amount of apps being banned for using private APIs disproves your argument.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:3, Insightful)

    by siloko ( 1133863 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @07:59AM (#31369514)
    Actually I probably misrepresented my views. I think it is fair enough to just 'not care' and use a product because it does what you want. But detaching personal preferences from the wider issue is important. The creeping control mindset which is increasingly evident at Apple does have negative consequences. To think that Apple used to be about individual expression . . . to see what it has become is frankly depressing!
  • Re:walled garden (Score:3, Insightful)

    by siloko ( 1133863 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @09:22AM (#31370000)

    Do you really expect people to buy a product that makes you happy regardless of their needs?

    Errr no - I'm guessing you have some issues with reading comprehension . . . When discussing the pros and cons of a company/product it is important to be able to detach ones personal preferences/choices from the wider issues at hand, else all we end up doing is cheerleading the shit we like - which, although fun, is hardly enlightening . . .

  • Re:walled garden (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @09:26AM (#31370040) Journal

    Because we simply don't care? People here get so stressed about some of the most pedantic things. I use the WiFi outside my home once in a blue moon. It's just not that important since my data plan is unlimited. 3G is perfectly suitable for the occasional internet need while I'm at the doctors office, or sitting eating lunch and reading slashdot or some random news tidbit.

    Standard Apple rule - if the Iphone has it, it's great (3G, unlimited dataplan). If not, it's "Why would I need that" or "Why care?" The great thing about this rule is that you can even change when new features are out - e.g., the Iphone had 3G years after other phones, before then it was "Why would I need that?"

    but it's almost like there's a complete disconnect between the geeks and the typical user in here.

    Yes, in that Apple phones are far more popular here than in the general public, judging by market share.

    This whole Apple/Droid thing reminds me of the old Windows/Apple wars.

    More like BeOS versus OS/2.

    Every iPhone topic turns into how Apple is evil (+1 insightful, yeah baby), and how we should despise them (+1 underrated), or their the new 'Microsoft' (+1 fanboi),

    Generally, anything pro-Apple is instant mod points, and any criticism usually gets modded down, unless you're careful or lucky.

    The very folks saying we're mindless drones just want us to become mindless droids.

    Oh right, because it's called a droid, this means people buying it are "droids".

    Personally I Think Different by not buying Apple.

    South Park is comedy, it's not actually based on reality. Their goth story was as much of a straw man as your argument against Droid users.

  • Re:walled garden (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morgauxo ( 974071 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:14AM (#31370488)
    There's actually a very good reason for this. The market doesn't build for geeks anymore. Once upon a time computers were a very geeky thing (make no mistake, that's what an iPhone is... a computer). Products where actually marketed with us in mind.

    We are still here. As a potential market we still exist but no one cares because now there are so many more 'regular' users. In comparison companies don't see us as worth marketing to.

    That's actually ok. There's a long history of geeks 'hacking' standard consumer devices and making them do new things. Sometimes this even results in new products for the 'normal' users. We can deal with that. Things are changing though. Manufacturers are becoming protective of their platforms. They are adding roadblocks to keep us from customizing our own stuff. Sure an iPhone can be jailbroken today but what if there isn't a bug in the next version we can exploit to do that? What if the iPhone puts the more open phones out of business? They sure seem popular enough. What if other manufacturers see the success of the iPhone and emulate them, closed nature and all? There could be nothing left for us. That's what we are really concerned about, not the 'normal' users.

    It's not just the geeks that lose out if this happens. Like I said earlier, our tinkering does often lead to new features for the next generation of 'normal' user products. It's not that the iPhone doesn't do a lot of cool things today, it's that it might not do anything better tomorrow. I don't think ranting on Slashdot will do much to enlighten the public about this but it's probably about as useful as anything else we can do.
  • Re:walled garden (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gta-Klue ( 643989 ) <dislexic_one@NOspAm.yahoo.com> on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:56AM (#31370958) Journal
    Really? And what about the iPod Touch users? We don't have a data plan, we depend on WiFi.
  • Re:walled garden (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Desert Raven ( 52125 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @11:27AM (#31371360)

    Oh, I seriously want to see them take on Motorola. Taking on HTC was like taking on the scrawny kid in school who isn't part of the "in crowd". He's not that dangerous, and nobody will back him up. Taking on Motorola would be more like a junior high art student taking on a college senior on a martial arts team.

    They get away with HTC, because they know HTC's patent portfolio is thin. But all it would take is for Motorola to drop the filing cabinet on them containing their patent portfolio and Apple will crawl away crying for mommy.

  • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Friday March 05, 2010 @04:39PM (#31375284)

    This may be closer than you think:

    http://www.macrumors.com/2010/03/05/apple-seeking-to-stimulate-mac-development-with-99-mac-dev-program/ [macrumors.com]

    Though this is just a first step toward an iPhone-like developer model,

    By which I presume you mean "a model where they only charge you $99/year, don't have multiple tiers of developer, and perhaps don't offer hardware discounts". There are a number of ways in which the Mac OS X and iPhone OS developer programs differ; the fact that they're getting rid of one of them (higher price) does not ipso facto mean that the long-term plan is to make the Mac OS X developer program exactly like the iPhone OS program, down to the app store and restrictions.

    What scares me about this though is that Apple are gradually being sucked into their own hype; that only end-to-end control of the experience by Apple is the way to ensure quality. This in spite of the obvious failure in quality control in their store and the many inconsistencies in applying their policy.

    Which is inexcusable, as Apple have had over 10 years worth of iPhone experience and should know how to do the app checking by now. Oh, wait....

    (Yes, it should've been better from the start. I suspect it'll get better over time.

    And, yes, I think there should be an option to allow installation of non-App Store apps, with a big pop-up warning that "IF YOU FLIP THIS SWITCH, AND YOUR PHONE TURNS INTO A BRICK OR GETS BROKEN INTO OR SOME APP STOPS WORKING AFTER A SOFTWARE UPDATE OR..., AND YOU BRING IT TO THE GENIUS BAR TO GET IT FIXED, WE WILL TAKE GREAT DELIGHT IN YOUR MISERY AND LAUGH YOU OUT OF THE STORE", so that you're not stuck with approved apps and they're not stuck with supporting apps that haven't gone through the approval process or devices running those apps. I like contracts that bind both parties, like API contracts - "you use only the documented routines, and use them only in the documented fashion, and we won't change them so that they stop working that way"; as somebody who's designed and implemented various program interfaces, I like them a lot better than, say, "I get to do what I want with your libraries and you have to support me".)

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @04:43PM (#31375324)

    ergonomic btw is not "easy-to-use", look it up) No multitasking.

    You're telling me to "look up" ergonomic, then claiming it means "multitasking"?

    Since you are so keen on "looking up" things, lets look at the actual definition:

    "The applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. Also called biotechnology, human engineering, human factors engineering."

    Please enlighten us as to how the kinds of multitasking not allowed by third party iPhone apps (because the iPhone does support multitasking, and some form of that for third party apps) help in those regards.

    Not that the Android UI is perfect, but you'll notice it's problems are related more to polish, and not to fundamental decisions early on.

    Actually both, like the mandate of the Four buttons being a fundamental design mistake at the outset. Really kills an Android tablet. Apple made many more intelligent design choices up front and over time they are reaping the benefit of that.

    Because the thing you are missing, is that the ONLY limitations the iPhone really has are things Apple can simply REMOVE from the system. That is the real secret, Apple can allow something to work when they feel like they have how it should work well thought out. The fact that you can do anything with a jailbroken iPhone you can with Android shows this to be true. You can already do more things with an iPhone today than you could at launch, Apple simply opens the platform more slowly but also more thoughtfully.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury