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An iPhone App Store That Apple Doesn't Control 144

waderoush writes "Princeton's Ed Felten has criticized the iPhone and iPad as Disneyland-like 'walled gardens' and says there's no way the iTunes App Store can 'offer the scope and variety of apps that a less controlled environment can provide.' Now there's a central marketplace where developers can sell iPhone-optimized apps without going through Apple's gatekeepers. Launched today, it's called OpenAppMkt and it's a showcase for mobile Web apps — not just the type seen back in 2007-2008, before the advent of the App Store, but also for new games and other apps developed using HTML5/CSS/JavaScript (in some cases, the same apps compiled and sold as native iPhone apps). Xconomy has a behind-the-scenes interview with OpenAppMkt's creators, who say they're not out to compete with the native App Store, but that developers deserve new ways to reach users."
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An iPhone App Store That Apple Doesn't Control

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  • by yttrstein ( 891553 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:44PM (#33086790) Homepage
    And I would like to tell you this:

    The iPhone App Store never, ever looked so good.
    • As a Symbian user, I really wonder what kind of evil thing not having a walled kindergarten like Appstore cost to me.

      You know; iPhone and iPad app store also means you can't take extra measures such as app firewall/antivirus if you really have critical data or overly concerned about the threats. It is not like Apple will allow something like "F-Secure" for iPhone and obviously, nothing can hook to file IO etc. functions.

      Those "black hat" conference guys aren't really black hats. The actual black hats are wa

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:45PM (#33086810) Homepage

    Sudoku. A flip clock. A picture of a watch. I'm so not impressed.

  • Disneyland (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:46PM (#33086828)

    Ed Felten has criticized the iPhone and iPad as Disneyland-like 'walled gardens'...

    I like Disneyland. It's a ton of fun. I especially enjoy Bats in the Park. Good fun.

    Oh. Wait. You were trying to use Disneyland as a way to imply there was something wrong with it? Oh. My bad. Sorry.

    On a serious note, however, I think it's very cool that there's now an app store for the web apps that can run on the iPhone. After all, that is one of the features of the device.

    • I wouldn't want to live there

      • Why not?

        I mean, assuming the food was free - what more could you want?

      • The Wild West is fun but most people don't want to live there. Most people want the walled garden of safety. If anything I think Apple should be more aggressive in screening out offensive, dangerous, and just plain bad apps that don't add value for the customer.

        On the flip side I think Apple should sell Xcode for iPad ($9.99 like iWork apps?) that lets you actually write iOS code including putting your iOS devices into a developer mode that will let you compile and install whatever you want with minimal int

    • by Brannon ( 221550 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:07PM (#33087132)

      because some people don't want to go there.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
      It's funny. Just last night on HBO, I watched a documentary on all the poor kids who live in the cheap motels surrounding Disneyland. They're too poor to actually go into Disneyland, but at least Walt and Co. haven't figured out a way to keep them from watching the fireworks at night. It was kind of sad, really.
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
        Oh, here's a link [] to info on the documentary. I guess there is poverty everywhere.
        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          That is the sort of thing that makes me want to go down there and buy those kids some tickets. Sure it may not be the best use of the money, they probably need other stuff more, but it would be a ton of fun.

          • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

            There is one scene where they revisit a particularly sad little girl and see that she has a buzz-cut. When they ask her what happened to her pretty hair, she replies "I had lice" with the saddest look you've ever seen. It's a heartbreaking moment.

            Poor kids are always the most tragic thing to see. It's one thing to see a piece-of-shit adult meth-head who has thrown his/her life away. It's quite another to look into at that meth-head's poor kid, who doesn't even have clean clothes to wear to school.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      He was using Disneyland of an example of a completely controlled environment. And it is. Disn'y is the prototypical example of a walled garden.

      Something that should be avoided with computer devices.

      • Something that should be avoided with computer devices.

        Something that you want to avoid.

        That doesn't mean other people want to avoid it. There are some advantages to walled gardens, and for other people those advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:47PM (#33086832)

    Apple has a web app gallery [] too.

    The difference between now and then is, that web apps have access to most of the sensor data on the phone... so there are a lot more ideas that a practical to do as web apps now than there were before.

    But still native apps will always give a developer the performance edge and full access to every nook and cranny of the device.

    • Every nook and cranny of the device?

      Sure, as long as the API provides access to it.

    • by Eil ( 82413 )

      But still native apps will always give a developer the performance edge and full access to every nook and cranny of the device.

      Except the ones Apple says you aren't allowed to access, even when doing so is technically possible.

  • Doug: "It's like 'that guy's coming around the corner?' BOOM, HEADSHOT! It's like 'that other guy's coming around the corner?' BOOM, HEADSHOT! Send yer tank, I got frags! I got frags!"

    Jeremy: "So, you're like a one-ranger army coming at me and I'm like SCUD STORM. BOOMBOOMBOOM."

    Doug: "OK, Mr. Botanical tank with no balls, that's all I gotta to say. It's like 'Botanical tank, Look at me, no balls, no balls!"
    Jeremy: "You wanna see some balls? My Nuke Overlord will show you some balls!"

    Ah, such an ol

  • have the first "app store" in its vcast offerings? It wasnt really too good, and there was not a lot of content, but i believe that they were actually the first to offer such an idea that apple generally is credited with creating, rather than making viable as it should be. Than again I could be wrong.
    • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

      I've been downloading apps|software from an app_store|package_manager for a very long time on linux as well.

      • well im specifically speaking of the mobile market. Yes there have been app stores for PCs for years
      • But have you been paying for apps on Linux? Are there any popular Linux package managers that support authorization and payment to the repository owner for access to particular packages? Not all paid apps have a Free or even free alternative; I've given examples in another comment [].
        • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

          No I have not, but it wouldn't be hard to do if you really wanted to.

          In fact, Steam is on its way to native linux support sometime in the next year.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Why would I want do?
          What does paying have to do with it? I have apps on my phone that are free and FREE software as well. Does that bother you in some way?

          As to your previous comment:

          Netflix Watch Instantly : Hulu

          Adobe Photoshop, : Gimp, I do not need the extra shit

          Adobe Flash CS3: there are other ways to do vector animation, better ways Ktoon is one

          The rest I am not bother with, as I just noticed your reply to yourself on that thread. You're a fucking troll.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )
            h4rr4r wrote:

            Netflix Watch Instantly : Hulu

            Hulu is incompatible with Moonlight.

            reply to yourself

            A reply to an Anonymous Coward post below your threshold is not a reply to myself. Must I put "Anonymous Coward wrote:" at the top of every reply to an Anonymous Coward post?

    • There were app collections that were essentially app stores for the Palm V. The idea of an app store is not new, I don't know that anyone credits Apple for making it - just for making it very successful.

  • It's more like Nazi Computering with the banning and censorship that is in the istore.

  • by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:04PM (#33087090)

    Go to and click on "Install OpenAppMkt" using an iPad.
    Popup sez "To install our app, use the iPhone browser" and offers to text the link to a phone number, same as if attempted on a PC.

    • Go back to the page again, you see at the top right hand corner there is a little button with a life ring picture on it, it says "Help"? Try clicking that and reporting the problem there. You might get better results then posting your question here where the developers are unlikely to respond.

    • Of course, this app store has been launched by Apple itself, and they will make it almost fail. I say almost, since they will try to keep only a critical mass of users, so no-one will attempt to make yet another app store.

      How's that for a conspiracy theory? :P

  • by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:13PM (#33087234)
    Isn't this what Cydia accomplishes?
    • Nope. Cydia lets users who jailbreak their iPhone install third-party apps natively on the device. This "market" is just letting iPhone users use a feature that has been around since day one of the first iPhone. Hell, Apple took a lot of flak back with the 1st gen iPhone when they announced that the "sweet" (yes, Jobs used that word) answer to getting apps on the device was to allow web apps, only to have to backpedal less than a year later and allow the AppStore instead. Now, Apple is taking flak for the A
  • by MattskEE ( 925706 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:14PM (#33087254)

    The Cydia App Store [] has also been around for a while, serving the jailbroken iPhone market. Of course there is not a huge number of apps on it, but there are also lots of free apps in the Cydia repository.

    • by stokessd ( 89903 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:25PM (#33087414) Homepage

      However, with Cydia there's a huge range of apps that make your phone significantly better. And most importantly they are the sorts of aps that you can't get on the official app-store. Things like frameworks to change the look and feel of your phone (winterboard, and springboard replacements, new keyboards etc). There's better ways to control your phone like SBSettings where all your critical settings are a simple swipe away.

      So no, there aren't a lot of apps that could be sold in the app store (because you'd most likely want to sell them in the official app store), but cydia is like having a couple more isles in the store full of the stuff that will make your life better even though it's officially not allowed.

      Now, where's my damn jailbreak for the new iPhone?!?


      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        If you want that sort of thing, why buy an iPhone?
        By buying one you are voting with your dollars against this sort of thing.

      • by Draek ( 916851 )

        So you pay Apple for the privilege of downloading some hack from a random website so you can pay Cydia, all to end up with a half-arsed Android phone? why?

    • The Cydia App Store [] has also been around for a while, serving the jailbroken iPhone market. Of course there is not a huge number of apps on it, but there are also lots of free apps in the Cydia repository.

      Yeah, but Cydia is only for users that can handle the truth. Not everyone can bear that burden.

    • by Eil ( 82413 )

      I have a jailbroken iPod Touch and haven't found Cydia to be all that great. First, it's ungodly slow not only to load and start up the program, but also just to browse the various applications. The Cydia application itself almost contains more advertising than actual function. And it has a much higher ratio of shovelware (themes, wallpapers, etc) to useful applications than even the Apple App Store.

      So far the only must-have app that I've found in Cydia has been the Backgrounder app which enables multitaski

  • by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:22PM (#33087362)

    All walled garden discussions begin and end with this: Internet vs AOL.

    The outlands will always become more diverse and desirable than the garden. The garden's residents will therefore always abandon it. It is only a matter of time.

    • by Karlt1 ( 231423 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:00PM (#33088100)

      The outlands will always become more diverse and desirable than the garden. The garden's residents will therefore always abandon it. It is only a matter of time.

      And after almost a decade, /. users are still predicting that iTunes + iPod will fall to a more opened platform.......

      • But it has. I don't know anyone with an MP3 player. It seems crazy to carry one around when our phones play MP3s just as well. I do see people still organizing their collections with itunes, but I don't see many ipods. Phones have leap over mp3 players and unless you really need a feature that only specializing hardware carries then you don't need an mp3 player if you have a smartphone.

        Granted, a popular smartphone is the iphone, but the phone market is much more competitive than the mp3 player market. I

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Karlt1 ( 231423 )

          But it has. I don't know anyone with an MP3 player.

          But yet and still Apple sells almost 50 million iPods a year (70%+ market share) and iTunes is the number one music retailer in the world.....

          Phones have leap over mp3 players

          Where can I buy a phone with 160GB of storage (iPod Classic) or even 64GB of storage of the Touch?

          I'd say that the first generation devices have huge advantages because consumers are naive at first. That doesn't usually last and they'll flee the walled garden in time.

          So why have most m

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        The itunes market is now mostly DRM free and the iPod plays mp3s. Seems pretty open to me, my gf uses gtkpod to load mp3s on to her nano.

    • Huh? You mean have people left AOL? Am I the last one? Where's the light switch?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Snowmit ( 704081 )

      I've got another one for you: PC gaming vs Console gaming

      PCs have been around longer, have more options re: hardware & software, not to mention complete freedom for developers to charge and distribute however they wish, along with extreme modability. Meanwhile consoles are hampered by incredibly restrictive walled gardens, developer-hostile revenue splits and licensing and they only release new hardware every few years.

      Given the obvious openness and freedom of PC gaming compared to console gaming it may

  • by NameIsDavid ( 945872 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:25PM (#33087402)
    The story attempts to suggest that this is a way to get around Apple's walled garden. On the contrary, this is a fully supported system that Apple has promoted many times. They always say there are two ways to develop apps: an open HTML5-based web app method and the curated App store. What's the news here other than showing people the showcase itself?
    • They always say there are two ways to develop apps: an open HTML5-based web app method

      Can an HTML5-based web application make real-time 3D graphics? (I tried making my own 3D engine in JavaScript with the 2D canvas, but it was fairly slow even on a PC, and there were always cracks between the polygons.) Can an HTML5-based web application ask the user's permission to turn on the camera and microphone? Can an HTML5-based web application run with zero bars and save the user's work?

      • Re:HTML5 limits (Score:4, Informative)

        by antibryce ( 124264 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:43PM (#33087762)

        google ported quake to html5: []

        so to answer your first question: yes.

        I'm pretty sure HTML5 can access your camera and mic, although I'm not 100% on that. They can also work when you're offline, using the iPhones built-in caching.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )
          How well do HTML5 Quake and other WebGL applications work on an iPhone? Are they playable, are they too slow to be playable, or does canvas.getContext("webgl") either return null or throw?
          • WebGL doesn't appear to work at all yet, at least not on my iPhone 3GS with iOS 4 installed.
            • It's just a matter of time. It's not like these devices don't get faster every year.

              WebGL isn't yet in mobile safari; in fact, I think it's only in Chrome nightlies at the moment. But when it does come to mobile safari, you can bet HTML5Quake2 will be one of the first demos.
      • I've been toodling with it a bit ( [] ). It can save your work to the iPad album ( but can't open it again later ), and it can run and save work completely offline with a sile tweak: store the entire page in a dataUrl, and save the dataUrl as a bookmark.
  • by vague disclaimer ( 861154 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:51PM (#33087914)
    Er,Web Apps were Apple's original vision for iPhone Apps, but everyone whined about them and hence the SKD. Web Apps are fully supported, not a swerve-around.

    But still, let's not let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy adventure.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Could it be because the webapps are crippled by design? What good is a texting app that can't access your phonebook? That doesn't work terribly well as a webapp does it, now? If you want something useful, it'll have to be written in Obj-C.
      • Um, the SDK had limits - they evolved over time, as did WebApp scope, because Apple tends to be extremely cautious in what it permits, rather than risk the platform being wrecked.

        None of which alters the *fact* that WebApps were always permitted and fully supported on iPhone and are in no way a super-clever swerve-around.

    • Indeed, I remember the keynote when Jobs announced the "sweet" solution to the problem of allowing third-party apps and then said it was web apps. I'm figuring that this sort of headline gets more coverage than, "Look, we're making web apps like Apple has always said we could!" After all, no one is really interested in , especially when it's crippled compared to native apps, but everyone likes to hear stories about people sticking it to The Man, even in small ways.
  • There are no apps...all this "store" does is place shortcuts on your iPhone home screen to existing web-based apps like Google Voice and other apps which are mobile-friendly.

    • If you think about it, this might be a good thing. To many apps I've run across appear to simply be a container of safari to a web portal. e.g. all the banking apps I've tried (chase,amex,discover)
      They are a terrible waste of space. Flashlight apps a simple web page can provide, color changes and all -- most games. An app should only be a compiled app if it requires hardware input (MULTItouch, accel, gps. mic, etc) or if they can be used offline.
      Most people don't seem to realize a bookmark can be a ho
    • Actually, with HTML5, they can indeed be apps. All application code and static data can be cached on the device, so anything which doesn't require data from the network can be run perfectly fine without web access.

      It's HTML/Javascript/CSS, so it's not as fast as native apps, and it doesn't have hooks into all of the phone's features, but some pretty clever people are doing impressive stuff. Maybe not in this market, but it's out there.
  • by bryan1945 ( 301828 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:57PM (#33090082) Journal

    But I'd rather have a more controlled environment where, for the most part, the apps have been vetted so they're not trying to steal any info from me. Part of the reason I'm not an Android fan (and no, I don't have an iPhone. Actually, I don't even have a smartphone).

    Being open and fancy-free is fine for some things, but for others I'd prefer some measure of security.

  • Dear Ed: (Score:2, Insightful)

    You are NOT the target audience for the iPad/iPhone/iPod.

    You have NEVER been the target audience for the iPad/iPhone/iPod.

    You will NEVER be the target audience for the iPad/iPhone/iPod.

    You are NOT the target audience for iTunes.

    You have NEVER been the target audience for the iTunes.

    You will NEVER be the target audience for the iTunes.

    The target audience for the iPad/iPhones/iPod and iTunes does not care a fat rat's ass for YOUR perceived "limitations" and "restrictions" that Apple imposes.

    The target audienc

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