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Iphone Software Apple

Apple Blindsides More AppStore Developers 716

For a while now Apple has said it doesn't want "widget-like" apps in the store; but where is the boundary of that fuzzy statement? The developers of My Frame, of which three versions had already been approved for the iPhone/iPad, found out that they had already crossed it when Apple informed them their app would be pulled. My Frame had options to overlay data on whatever photo was displaying: a Twitter stream, weather, etc. When one of the developers wrote to Steve Jobs on a whim to ask what unwritten rule their app had violated, Jobs wrote back: "We are not allowing apps that create their own desktops. Sorry." "I see now why people are so angry at the 'murky' nature of the App Store, and I'm starting to agree with them. My Frame was approved by Apple 3 times (once for each version we released), and ... now, at version 1.2 they decide it's to be removed? How can a company be prepared to invest into a platform that can change at any time, cutting you off and kicking you out, with no course of action but to whine on some no-name blog[?] There is no alternative platform, despite what others may say about Android, it's immature and their app store(s) are a wild west nightmare. It really is Apple's way or the highway...." A few blogs have picked up the story.
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Apple Blindsides More AppStore Developers

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  • by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:51PM (#32422742)
    Sucks to be you. Don't write for iStuff.
  • Slashvertisement? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Tibor the Hun ( 143056 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:02PM (#32422922)

    The app still seems to be available on the store. And it looks good too. Is this a slashvertisement? If so, it's a decent one.
    linky [apple.com]

    As far as the Android store being a wild west goes, sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but his Steveness didn't have anything to do with that.

  • It's there (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjonke ( 457707 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:03PM (#32422958) Journal

    As pointed out by Anonymous Coward, My Frame 1.2 is in the app store right this second:

        http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-frame-alarm-clock-displays/id364532249?mt=8 [apple.com]

  • by alphax45 ( 675119 ) <kyle.alfred@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:04PM (#32422966)
    I agree with you 100%. The only reason I have an iPod touch is that I won it at work. All I use it for is to play music and a few TWiT podcasts. For my phone I have a Blackberry - love it!
  • by SkankinMonkey ( 528381 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:05PM (#32422994)
    Actually, he clarifies this in his comments on the blog post: Australians can't sell paid apps on the android marketplace yet. This obviously makes it hard to make money and pay rent.
  • by aardwolf64 ( 160070 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:09PM (#32423058) Homepage

    I've been trying to release an iPad version of my app since launch. It has been rejected by Apple four times. Each time, we fixed what they asked us to, and each time they found something else to reject us for.

    1. Contained links to Paypal (just like our approved iPhone app.)
    2. Doesn't rotate (like MANY other iPad apps)
    3. Contained iTunes Links to Points apps (just like other Mafia apps, and our iPhone app.) They are forcing us to implement in-app purchasing.
    4. Our website contained a contest... After 10,000 people downloaded our free app and created a free character, we would give a free iPod Touch to one of them. Apple called us today and said that we aren't allowed to give away Apple products from a website associated with the app. They said we can give away a Zune HD, but not an iPod Touch. :-|

  • Re:It's time. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjonke ( 457707 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:13PM (#32423132) Journal

    The fact that My Frame 1.2 is in the app store... that doesn't change anything does it?

  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:19PM (#32423232)

    the app is still in the store. Perhaps this story is not true?

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-frame-alarm-clock-displays/id364532249?mt=8 [apple.com]

    Some sheer speculation: perhaps if you have an App that changes the apparent user interface it will be purged?

      For example I would expect that an app
    1) create it's own desktop
    2) place functionality of other apps on this desktop

    could be used for example to make it a work-alike to a google phone or could be used to fool the user into entering passwords by looking like the real desktop.

    tunes4 is supposedly going to crank up the sandboxing of apps, with encrypted memory partions. Perhaps these apps that merge data from other apps are going to get purged?

  • Re:It's time. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Razalhague ( 1497249 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:24PM (#32423298) Homepage
    You know, some of us prefer B5.
  • by Logarhythmic ( 1082321 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:31PM (#32423442)
    This was already discussed in the comments of the blog post in TFA, and the author replied with this:

    @Eric they haven’t pulled it yet, which is very strange. They rang us yesterday and said they would, and that there was no recourse for us, but once they did they’d send us a formal email. Perhaps they are getting cold feet? Now I wish they hadn’t called, because this seems like the most amazing PR stunt everto bad it’s not :(

  • Re:Android... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kaki Nix Sain ( 124686 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:39PM (#32423572)
    Try AppBrain. It gives you online searching, an install queue, and user defined lists (which I find quite useful for managing possibilities/recommendations I might want to try later).
  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:47PM (#32423692)
    As a Nexus One owner, I have to say that Android is still somewhat immature. Google hasn't gotten around to implementing everything that it's reasonably capable of. As in there's still chips and bits of hardware which haven't been implemented in the OS yet and there's still no good way of syncing up google docs without a third party program.

    That being said, because Google doesn't randomly kick people out of their market place for duplicating functions or using non-approved languages the situation is a lot less of a problem than it would be for Apple. OTOH I do wish that they'd implement some sort of rudimentary filtering mode for adult applications. I don't care if it defaults to disabled, but it's potentially problematic to be using my Nexus one to look for the latest applications and come across app after app of soft porn.

    Still, it is quite usable and for the most part everything works the way that it should in a reliable and efficient fashion.
  • by Dancindan84 ( 1056246 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:48PM (#32423708)

    Only one small problem with this article

    The problem being that you didn't follow the link that explains that the app is GOING to be removed, not HAS BEEN removed? http://shiftyjelly.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/sentence-first-verdict-afterwards/ [wordpress.com] Even TFA says, "Apple informed them their app would be pulled." Note the future tense.

  • by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:53PM (#32423770)

    iPod touches/iPads != iPhones. The same apps won't work on it if they require microphones, cameras, etc., and thus these devices shouldn't be counted.

    Either accept that or all the arguments about Android "fragmentation" go out the window! Or, we could start including Android MID's and Tablet's and hell, even GM's new Volt in-car computer in with the Android numbers.

  • by mini me ( 132455 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:17PM (#32424118)

    All of the iPhone OS devices, except the first gen. iPod touch, have microphone inputs. If you want to get technical, even the first gen. iPod touch supported microphone input through a third party extension. iPhone OS devices without a camera still allow in-app access to photograph data through the Library. The lack of certain hardware only limits what the user can do, it does not prevent the user from using the application outright unless the developer also chooses to limit who can use the app.

    I have never made an argument about Android fragmentation. If I can write a general information-centric application that will run on all Android-based smartphones, tablets, in-car computers, etc. there is no fragmentation and all of the devices should be counted towards Android sales.

    With that said, from what I understand, you often cannot guarantee that your Android app will be able to use even basic system features. That does sound like a real problem.

  • Re:It's time. (Score:4, Informative)

    by boxwood ( 1742976 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:18PM (#32424130)

    like the economist cover [obamapacman.com]?

  • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:18PM (#32424132) Homepage

    Don't worry, you could always join the heretical sect of the Cult of Mac, the one that awaits the Second Coming of Woz, the True Steve, who shall lead them back to the promised land, flowing with expansion slots and user-customizable features

    Er, wrong- sorry. :-)

    The Mac was- at least after he maneuvered his way into being in charge of it- very much a Steve Jobs-driven project, representing his particular vision. I'm not sure that Woz had much to do with it at all.

    Further, the original Mac had no expansion slots at all- not even a proper way of upgrading its insufficient 128K RAM- only serial ports at the back.

    In fact the Mac was- despite its positive innovations- in many respects the anti-Woz, though compared to the iPhone it now looks like a hackers' paradise.

  • Re:Sounds familiar (Score:4, Informative)

    by demachina ( 71715 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:23PM (#32424204)

    "Does Linden Labs pitch SL as a platform for for-pay items and scripts?"

    Linden dollars, their currency, are convertible to and from U.S. dollars at an official peg of L $270 = US $1 and to Euros, though conversion rates vary on real exchanges. Linden Labs has always pushed it as a platform where you could make money from land, services and script/object sales, though at the same time their terms of service have said their currency has no actual value and if their database loses yours you are out of luck. During its boom time it was a mecca for gambling untill the U.S. Congress clamped down on online gambling. As I recall when Linden outlawed gambling it caused a significant decline in their user base and fortunes. They have also struggled with EU value added tax.

    All indications are Linden wants their cake and to eat it too leading to the ambiguity the grandparent referenced. They want Second Life to be a fully functioning online economy amd at the same time shirk most of the complications that entails.

    Like all game economies involving virtual goods and currencies, just about everything is arbitrary and can change at the whim of the people controlling the servers. There are fascinating parallels that can be drawn between virtual game economies and real world economies. When you have fiat currencies, central banks which can create money(wealth) out of thin air, and central banks/goverments which can the rules overnight and indulge in massive bailouts of the well connected, you start to notice real economies are pretty much the same kind of sham as virtual game economies, the stakes are just higher.

    Cory Doctorow's latest creative commons book "For The Win" touchs on some of these issues, though like most of his books he raises interesting ideas and then falls a little short in making a good novel out of them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @06:06PM (#32424748)

    Sorry, but gone are the days when making bank on an App requires not marketing. Essentially, the appstore lacks any sort of discoverability aside from top 100 lists and searching. So unless your app is already popular, or someone is searching for it specifically, you are essentially required to market your app.

    So essentially, unless Apple features your app the chances of it taking off on its own are like having your link on page 2 of Google search results.

  • Re:It's time. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @11:15PM (#32427346) Journal

    Actually, Apple has a dark past that just doesn't get much mention. In the early 90's they sued all of Microsoft's GUI competitors out of the IBM-compatible market. They ran the GEM desktop out of business and GeoWorks. They ran all the GUI-for-the-PC vendors out of business with their legal muscle, and essentially plowed the ground for Microsoft and Windows.

    They also, in an earlier time, ran all the Apple II clone builders out of business. Apple has been very, very aggressive in the legal sphere when it comes to their product, and especially their 'brand.' They have to be, that's a big part of what they're about.

  • Hmmm. (Score:2, Informative)

    by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @12:22AM (#32427752)
    I can see why the developers might get pissed off about this treatment, but after all, Apple does have form for capricious decisions as to what apps are permitted. The only way developers are going to get equitable treatment from Apple is to cut off their air-supply by telling them to stick it.

    If I were in the business, I would be focusing my attention on the Android market. Rather than (as the submission suggests) whining that the platform is "immature" and that Android app stores are a "wild west" (though I don't really see what's wrong with the latter), it might be worth making an attempt to improve them.
  • by 16K Ram Pack ( 690082 ) <tim.almond@NosPaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @07:20AM (#32429520) Homepage

    Spot on. I've learnt how to spot fanboys. Not every Apple user is one, most are not. But once they start trying to argue a little too hard in Apple's defence, I just walk away.

    The only people I've met like them in the Microsoft world are MVPs. Then again, they at least get paid for it.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982