iPhone App Developer Backlash Growing

from the openness-is-a-good-thing dept

Early on, we predicted that Apple's walled garden approach to apps for the iPhone would lead to developer backlash. Even if it was successful at first, the obvious trajectory was that it wouldn't just lead to problems that drove developers away, but it would eventually limit application innovation, just as other competing platforms were getting good enough to match Apple's. We might not be all the way there yet, but the evidence is growing that the backlash is getting serious. Slashdot noted that some respected developers are ditching the iPhone app store and reader Andrew Fong alerts us to Paul Graham's well argued explanation of why Apple's setup is bad for developers, bad for innovation, bad for consumers and bad for Apple.

To summarize, it's bad for developers because they're distanced from their users, and can't quickly make changes and updates, since each change needs to go through Apple's long, mysterious and arbitrary approval process. On top of that, by creating a very real risk that Apple might not approve an app, developers have less incentive to put in the time. It's bad for innovation because you are putting a gatekeeper in front of any innovation. It's bad for consumers, because they can't do what they want and often the apps they get are lower quality than they would be otherwise, because developers cannot rapidly respond with necessary improvements and changes. Finally it's bad for Apple because it's driving away some talented developers who are useful in making the iPhone so powerful. As those developers move to other platforms, it will help those other platforms catch up, and potentially surpass the iPhone. But, perhaps more importantly, it's bad for Apple because it risks Apple's overall reputation. It makes it harder to hire top engineers:
There are a couple reasons they should care. One is that these users are the people they want as employees. If your company seems evil, the best programmers won't work for you. That hurt Microsoft a lot starting in the 90s. Programmers started to feel sheepish about working there. It seemed like selling out. When people from Microsoft were talking to other programmers and they mentioned where they worked, there were a lot of self-deprecating jokes about having gone over to the dark side. But the real problem for Microsoft wasn't the embarrassment of the people they hired. It was the people they never got. And you know who got them? Google and Apple. If Microsoft was the Empire, they were the Rebel Alliance. And it's largely because they got more of the best people that Google and Apple are doing so much better than Microsoft today.
As for why Apple is making this mistake, Graham blames Apple's general view of the market:
They treat iPhone apps the way they treat the music they sell through iTunes. Apple is the channel; they own the user; if you want to reach users, you do it on their terms. The record labels agreed, reluctantly. But this model doesn't work for software. It doesn't work for an intermediary to own the user. The software business learned that in the early 1980s, when companies like VisiCorp showed that although the words "software" and "publisher" fit together, the underlying concepts don't. Software isn't like music or books. It's too complicated for a third party to act as an intermediary between developer and user. And yet that's what Apple is trying to be with the App Store: a software publisher. And a particularly overreaching one at that, with fussy tastes and a rigidly enforced house style.

If software publishing didn't work in 1980, it works even less now that software development has evolved from a small number of big releases to a constant stream of small ones. But Apple doesn't understand that either. Their model of product development derives from hardware. They work on something till they think it's finished, then they release it. You have to do that with hardware, but because software is so easy to change, its design can benefit from evolution. The standard way to develop applications now is to launch fast and iterate. Which means it's a disaster to have long, random delays each time you release a new version.
My guess is that there may be another reason: the perfectionist attitude at Apple. They don't want "bad" apps getting into the store, and certainly some people appreciate that. But the store has 100,000 apps right now, and most people are never going to see the vast majority of them. Having a few "bad apps" get in isn't a huge issue at this point, and certainly user-level reviews can help deal with that issue anyway. And, even if that is the biggest concern, why not at least allow non-approved apps to be viewed and downloaded, just without an official "apple seal of approval." Perhaps it made sense when Apple was first launching the store (though, even that seems questionable), but if it wants to continue to lead the market, it needs to break down that wall.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Henry Andersen, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:10pm

    Please correct title...

    The article's title is wrong. It should actually read: "iPhone App Developer Backlash Led By Opportunists New To Mac Platform"

    Over 85% of the complaints are by people new to the Macintosh Platform, or are developing their apps on a Hackintosh.

     

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    Mary Norton, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Please correct title...

    Over 85% of the complaints are by people new to the Macintosh Platform, or are developing their apps on a Hackintosh.

    I agree. It seems like a lot of the unapproved apps are done by people new to the Mac ecosystem and haven't developed an eye for good design or functionality Steve would want.

    I think you have to work on a mac for about 6 months before you start to understand these smart usabilitys concepts.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Please correct title...

    Yeah, the recent updates to XCode broke my hackintosh. Now I can't develop $3.00 apps using my hacked OS. GRRR! Apple, come on!

     

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  4.  
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    Henry Andersen, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Please correct title...

    >>Yeah, the recent updates to XCode broke my hackintosh.
    >>Now I can't develop $3.00 apps using my hacked OS.
    >>GRRR! Apple, come on!

    Have you ever considered um, I dunno... doing something like buying a mac with the money you make selling apps on Apple's store? Developers can get discounts on hardware.

     

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    Matt (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:26pm

    Eh.

    The delays are not too bad. And the thorough regression testing that should be performed during those delays is much appreciated. Moreover, it is good for Apple - it preserves the quality of its brand, and avoids having to set up an infrastructure for evaluating and providing refunds for crappy apps (since there is no workable preview).

    The trouble is that the delays do not serve their designed purpose. Crappy apps still arrive - I own several that crash regularly or just suck. The Facebook app as originally installed would not allow me to post status updates. WTH good is that?!

    If Apple's control actually led to promised quality, it would be a good model. Not of "software publisher," but as "software editor and distributor" - a useful service. The trouble is that Apple isn't doing its editorial job.

     

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  6.  
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    James, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:26pm

    Atom Support fixed yesterday.

    Yesterday, updates to the 10.6.2 kernel were posted to Insanely Mac. With this, you should be able to get the most recent XCode version up and running again.

    http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=197020&st=0

    Get hackin!

     

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  7.  
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    Kaden (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:27pm

    Henry, Steve thinks you're getting a tad petulant, and would like you to chill.

    Mary, Steve hopes you're aware of the difference between the Mac platform and the iPhone platform, and reminds you to use the spellcheck, okay?

     

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  8.  
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    Mary Norton, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:31pm

    Re:

    Mary, Steve hopes you're aware of the difference between the Mac platform and the iPhone platform, and reminds you to use the spellcheck, okay?

    Your Tard is poking out. You know you can only develop iPhone apps on a mac, right?

     

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  9.  
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    Mary Norton, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:31pm

    Re:

    Mary, Steve hopes you're aware of the difference between the Mac platform and the iPhone platform, and reminds you to use the spellcheck, okay?

    Your a tard. You know you can only develop iPhone apps on a mac, right?

     

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  10.  
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    Calvin, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:35pm

    TechCrunch reports GameLoft pulling out of Android Development.

    Looks like GameLoft has a backlash against Google Droid Development...

    Maybe it wasn't profitable...

    http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2009/11/20/uh-oh-gameloft-moves-away-from-android-devel opment/

     

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  11.  
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    Henry Andersen, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:38pm

    Re:

    >>>Henry, Steve thinks you're getting a tad petulant, and would like you to chill.

    So when you have a pirated version of OSX and have problems with it, I'm sure you call Apple and voice your troubles with them so it can be fixed.

    Oh no, wait, you probably fire up a blog and start whining about it online because you don't qualify for support. That must suck.

     

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  12.  
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    Kaden (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Developing *for* the iPhone isn't the same as developing *for* the mac... those deuced usabilitys you speak of are different, among countless other things.

    Oh, yeah... one more thing, Mary:

    Manners, please.

    ...and the spell check.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:46pm

    The point is Apple doesn't want to lead THE market, they want to own THEIR market. It's a pretty simple concept. This is not a socialist state where everyone has access to everything all the time. Apple is choosing one road, Google is choosing another, Paml chose another, and Microsoft chose another. There will be relative winners and losers, but there is one thing for sure:

    Apple will dominate the iphone market.

    They have gotten very, very rich on this strategy, and I see nothing to suggest they should change it.

     

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  14.  
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    Bah, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:47pm

    What backlash?

    Paul Graham may be a talented writer, but because everything ever posted on the internet is true, he *must* be right.

    So a few people decide to go and make port apps to Android. Do we have any sales figures for Android yet? It's easier to sell apps on a platform that has marketshare.

     

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    Regatta (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:49pm

    Numbers please…

    Got any stats to back up the assertions about a 'backlash'? Such as less apps being submitted or a verifiable drop in quality of Apps?

    And why are respected devs like Gameloft quoted as saying there is indeed a problem with the Android Market that leads to reduced investment by games developers?

     

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  16.  
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    Ryan, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:49pm

    Go away Apple trolls

    Over 85% of the complaints are by people new to the Macintosh Platform, or are developing their apps on a Hackintosh

    You left your reference out of your post. I'm sure you didn't just pull that number out of your ass, so could you give us a link to satisfy our curiosity?

    I agree. It seems like a lot of the unapproved apps are done by people new to the Mac ecosystem and haven't developed an eye for good design or functionality Steve would want.

    Your condescension is dripping through. Really, who gives a damn what users prefer on their own phones, if Steve doesn't like it?

    Have you ever considered um, I dunno... doing something like buying a mac with the money you make selling apps on Apple's store? Developers can get discounts on hardware.

    Have you ever considered um, I dunno... that some people might actually want to write software for the iPhone without owning an overpriced piece of Apple hardware? Maybe you're right, though...maybe software developers should own a different piece of hardware for every different system that they intend to write software for.

     

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  17.  
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    Mary Norton, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:51pm

    Re:

    Developing *for* the iPhone isn't the same as developing *for* the mac... those deuced usabilitys you speak of are different, among countless other things.


    You can only write iPhone apps on a Mac. Thus you need a Mac to write programs.

    Or maybe I'm just a moron. So here's your chance to prove me wrong. Go find an IDE/SDK that allows you to code and compile iPhone apps on Windows.

     

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  18.  
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    Regatta (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Go away Apple trolls

    "maybe software developers should own a different piece of hardware for every different system that they intend to write software for."

    Yep, I agree, they should. Thanks for pointing that out.

     

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  19.  
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    Ryan, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Numbers please�

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/11/respected-developers-fleeing-from-app-store-platform.ars

    Facebook's Joe Hewitt:

    My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple's policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.

    Second Gear's Justin Williams:

    With the latest app rejection being Google Voice, I am one step closer to selling off my iPhone products and focusing entirely on the Mac once more. I can't help but feel that I've wasted the past 9 months of my life building on a platform that is so hostile and anti-developer. I no longer enjoy building software for the iPhone because of the bureaucracy and infrastructure that surrounds it.

     

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  20.  
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    sehlat (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:56pm

    And how is this new?

    Apple basically got started against IBM, and borrowed their business model of owning the user from cradle to grave. Everything proprietary and "mine, mine, mine." And IBM, perhaps unintentionally, gave the PC design away, effectively "crowdsourcing" the PC market with lots and lots of innovators and competitors.

    The result, the PC tsunami ended up swamping Apple into being a niche for highly graphics-oriented stuff while the rest of the world pretty much ignored them.

    Apple still hasn't learned their lesson that openness and being the "standards-bearer" (Here are the specs. Make your stuff compatible. Thank you, that will be one dollar.) is a much better role.

    Proprietary control-freakism may be a way of life for some firms, but it's NOT a viable business model in the long run.

     

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  21.  
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    Derek Reed (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:58pm

    A proposal

    If the real goals are the twofold:
    (i) Promote good UI/experience
    (ii) Prevent Malicious Code

    I'd propose a 3 tier system, supported by user ratings:
    (a) Certified/Signed applications that have taken the time to go through the rigorous process.
    (b) Unsigned applications t.hat are clearly marked to the end user as potentially dangerous
    (c) Malware applications that are identified and reviewed as such after they have already been released into the system as Unsigned.

    Charge all submissions to the official store still, to finance reviewing/identifying malware. Don't spend time/money identifying good ui / experience, let ratings and marketing and such cover that. Allow everything in immediately as unsigned to promote all the advantages of faster development. There is an increased risk to the users of getting "bad" stuff, but at least it's labelled as such. I don't think this is quite what's being done with android, but it'd be nice to see more gated application communities take an approach along these lines.

     

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  22.  
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    Regatta (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Numbers please�

    Joe Hewitt can spout off from behind the spam-ridden walled garden that is Facebook as much as he likes, his employers will keep building iPhone apps. Justin Williams is not even stopping developing iPhone apps according to your quote. And if you look hard enough you will find off pissed off developers on any platform (see also the case of Gameloft and Android)

    You still don't have any numbers or facts that support the Idea of a widespread 'backlash' that would substantially affect the leads the Appstore currently holds.

     

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  23.  
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    Henry Andersen, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Go away Apple trolls

    You left your reference out of your post. I'm sure you didn't just pull that number out of your ass, so could you give us a link to satisfy our curiosity?

    I can't provide detail. The numbers are accurate though.

    >>Your condescension is dripping through.

    Yes, like Steve Ballmer does coke. Thanks for noticing!

    >>Really, who gives a damn what users prefer on
    >>their own phones, if Steve doesn't like it?

    >>Have you ever considered um, I dunno...
    >>that some people might actually want to write
    >>software for the iPhone without owning an
    >>overpriced piece of Apple hardware?

    I don't understand your point. I do pay a premium, and that goes to help pay for answers when I have a problem, not silly employees dancing in the store like their products make them bust out into song and dance.

    >>Maybe you're right, though...maybe software developers
    >>should own a different piece of hardware for every
    >>different system that they intend to write software for.

    Boy, you're dense. That's what VMWare is for.

     

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  24.  
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    Kaden (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

    Then I guess you're a moron, Mary (as much as it grieves me to admit) because you seem to be incapable of differentiating between a mac and an iphone.

    It's Steve's will I suppose.

    Cripes... apploids are the only demographic that's more hair trigger than the *.aa apologists.

    This to is the will of Steve, I imagine.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Re:

    You can go a long way in windows if you have a portable engine but the final compile has to be done on osx. At the very least, the app submission steps are so finicky (compress the app bundle with finder or else it won't get accepted) that it had better be done according to black magic steps in the osx cauldron.

     

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  26.  
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    mjb5406 (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 5:19pm

    Re: Please correct title...

    Do you have any facts to support your 85% figure, or is it simply something you pulled out a hat? When established developers fault Apple directly and don't lay blame on "unexperienced developers" it seems as though they know that Apple's approval process is broken. If you bother to read the reports about the apps that are not approved, mot o them are written by experienced people, have good user interfaces and in no way compromise the integrity of either the iPhone or the AT&T network; they are rejected for ridiculous reasons like "you depict politicians with characatures and we find that offensive".

     

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  27.  
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    mjb5406 (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 5:24pm

    Re: TechCrunch reports GameLoft pulling out of Android Development.

    Their rationale is totally stupid, claiming that Android Market isn't "good enough". Neither was Apple's when it started and, before that, the ONLY apps you could install on the iPhone (and they really weren't native apps) were web based. Steve Jobs never wanted anyone writing native iPhone apps.

     

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  28.  
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    mjb5406 (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 5:37pm

    Pissing Contest

    Wow... this sure has turned into a pissing contest between some posters... and, as such, it's become a personal vendetta for some. The facts are (a) yes, you can ONLY develop for the iPhone/iPod Touch on OS X, although there are now tools other than Xcode to allow this (they still are OS X based); (b) I don't defend Apple's high hardware prices, but I run a 24" iMac because, quite franklyk I'm legally blind and I can run it easier than a Windows machine; conversely, as has been proven in the courts, Apple has the right to restrict running OS X to their own hardware, so if the current Xcode version "breaks" a Hackintosh machine, remember that when software, especially an OS, is hacked there are NO guarantees; (c) until and unless there are references showing how factual that 85% figure is, it's difficult to believe that 85% of iPhone developers are using Hackintoshes. You could just as easily have said 25% or 90%, but without the facts, the numbers are useless; (d) developer's greatest complaint (even the experienced professional developers) is that, once submitted, their apps go into a black hole and thei won't know for months at a time whether it will be approved. For smaller developers, that time can be make or break; if they invest in advertising and Apple rejects the app, they're screwed. All developers want is an open, transparent approval process, not one clothed in secrecy like ACTA; (e) Android Market is in its infancy; their process is far more open, and allows the user community to determine whether an app remains in the Market, after Google does automated testing to insure the app doesn't compromise the phone or the network.

    Time to stop the namecalling. That's not what Techdirt is for.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 6:06pm

    Re: Re: TechCrunch reports GameLoft pulling out of Android Development.

    That seems to make the most sense. I mean, If you're going to spend time developing a game, Apple has the best developed, and most adoped ecosystem.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 6:20pm

    So which locked-down platform is worse for developers who want to sell licenses for people to operate their proprietary software on? Lordy, I can't decide. Also, I don't have to.

     

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    Andrew F (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 6:25pm

    Re: What backlash?

    @Bah, Graham actually mentions Android:

    Can anything break this cycle? No device I've seen so far could. Palm and RIM haven't a hope. The only credible contender is Android. But Android is an orphan; Google doesn't really care about it, not the way Apple cares about the iPhone. Apple cares about the iPhone the way Google cares about search.

    He then goes on to solicit startup founders with ideas on how to make a mainstream developer-friendly mobile device to apply for investment from Y-Combinator.

     

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  32.  
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    Mary Norton, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 7:34pm

    Re:

    So which locked-down platform is worse for developers who want to sell licenses for people to operate their proprietary software on? Lordy, I can't decide. Also, I don't have to.

    I have some great news! Apple has an app that will supplement your comment perfectly.

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/one-clap/id315382629?mt=8

    Best part is that the app is free for a limited time.

     

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  33.  
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    lordmorgul, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 11:16pm

    Re:

    Kaden, I'm not sure you realize just how similar iPhoneOS and OSX are... you should jailbreak one and poke around awhile, I think you'll be surprised.

     

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  34.  
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    raj, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 11:23pm

    iPhone app review process

    I was at a web conference yesterday and chatted with two people from different companies who both were moaning how about how long it was taking Apple to review their apps. Now before you jump on me, I'm merely relating what they said to me.

    Both had already had apps approved. Both had submitted an update. One had been waiting 8 weeks for approval of a simple change of an icon (slightly larger than the previous version). The other guy had been waiting 4 weeks.

    The latter guy said, basically, he didn't mind having to wait. That was acceptable, but it's merely human nature to need to know how long the process will actually take. Since he's running a startup, a 4 week wait for an update is excruciating.

     

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    Unkown, Nov 21st, 2009 @ 9:40am

    This is why I jailbroke my iPhone right of the bat. Over priced apps that have no demos, inability to fully customize, and I wanted to be able to use non-Overlord Steve approved apps. Haven't regretted doing so yet and in fact quite love it.

     

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  36.  
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    Henry Andersen, Nov 21st, 2009 @ 11:32am

    Why develop on a platform with less reach?

    I guess I am a little confused here. Sure, Apple takes it's sweet ass time approving apps, but when you compare the marketsize and reach between iPhone (And iPod Touch) versus Android, it comes up short.

    GigaOm has an interesting summary of the iPhone + iPod Touch application purchase rate and respective market reach. And remember, the iPod Touch is essentially the same device as an iPhone, just without the phone capability.

    They came to the conclusion that the app store marketplace brings in $200M monthly, whereas the Android market is worth a very, very small $5M.

    http://gigaom.com/2009/08/27/how-big-is-apple-iphone-app-economy-the-answer-might-surprise-y ou/

    The iTunes ecosystem is one tough purchasing infrastructure engine to beat, with $2.4 Billion in sales annually, versus Android's $60 Million, there is no comparison. Remember, on Apple, you can use an iPod Touch without a service contract, Android doesn't offer an iPod Touch equivalent.

    If developers believe they can do better elsewhere, I guess that's okay. But because the actual marketplace is much, much smaller...

    Expect a drop in monthly revenue.

    A 98% drop in revenue.

    Which may be just fine for some people, but the majority of developers are probably a little smarter and don't let emotions drive their actions.

     

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    Steve, Nov 21st, 2009 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Please correct title...

    Why? So Apple can have things the way it wants? Don't thinks so. It kills me that the Jobs mob actually believe Apple when they say that it's all for their benefit. It is in fact driven by Apple's nightmare scenario that someone out there can do it better and God forbid, cheaper.

     

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    Big Turkey, Nov 21st, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Please correct title...

    It is in fact driven by Apple's nightmare scenario that someone out there can do it better and God forbid, cheaper.

    In two weeks, the Apple store can bring in revenues Android brings in in a whole year. If your idea is centered around free apps, then I suppose Android is the platform for you.

    It kills me that the Jobs mob actually believe Apple when they say that it's all for their benefit.

    It sounds like you actually have a beef with Armin Heinrich and his "I Am Rich" app. After all, his app is what started the maximalist approach to application reviews.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 21st, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Why develop on a platform with less reach?

    "but when you compare the marketsize and reach between iPhone (And iPod Touch) versus Android, it comes up short."

    Sure, for now. Android is much newer to the market than the iPhone, so it's share is smaller. However, there may exist developers who believe that in the long run, the iPhone will not be the dominant platform. (Disclaimer: I am one of these).

    Even if the iPhone IS the dominant platform forever, why do you think that money is the sole motivating factor for developers? It clearly is not -- there are myriad other factors that play into this as well, and the iPhone comes far short on quite a lot of them.

    If it really was all about market penetration and maximizing potential for revenue, then there would be no Mac developers -- they'd all be writing for Windows.

     

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    DMNTD, Nov 21st, 2009 @ 4:13pm

    Yeah, the article says it all. Every giant falls and such dogs have their day. All things will happen and Android will kindly oblige Apple's app market...it can't be helped, its much to fun.

     

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    Pangolin (profile), Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 5:40am

    Re: Go away Apple trolls

    I'm responding to troll bait but let me explain.

    I'm a windows developer.

    I do it all on my mac. I use vmware fusion and I do it all on one piece of hardware. It is cost effective because I just have one piece of hardware to "do it all". I bought the mac because I wanted to do some mac and iphone development. This makes sense.

    Apple hardware is of higher price. It's also better quality.

    I liked the user experience so much - I ditched all the other hardware and bought more macs. I've switched all my productivity to the mac side of the house and use with windows boxes only for development.

    Nothing is perfect and on one macbook the fan started making a lot of noise. I took it to the apple store and they sent it off to a repair depot (no cost) and I had the machine back, repaired, delivered directly to me in 72 hours.

    Match that with any other PC vendor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    D. Smith, Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 11:25pm

    Manick's Fantasy Universe

    In the actual universe where we all live, developers are making money and so is Apple. And consumers are flocking to the iPhone in droves because of the apps, and the innovation represented by the apps. All of the hard evidence points in a direction completely opposite to what this article asserts. It is always amazing to me that people with no experience want to tell Apple how they can make money (or make more money) when Apple was able to create the iPhone business for themselves and for developers in two years without the help of amateurs. What would these people be complaining about today if the iPhone hadn't been developed? Maybe that they have great ideas for software, but that there is no platform for it. And how would they distribute it even if there were a platform. And how would consumers be able to do comparisons to realize the superiority of their software compared to similar offerings. And how should it be priced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 4:07am

    Re: Manick's Fantasy Universe

    In the actual universe where we all live, developers are making money and so is Apple.

    Never said otherwise. Not sure what reading of my post suggested that, but we've been pretty clear about what a success the iPhone app store has been initially. The question is will it continue.

    And consumers are flocking to the iPhone in droves because of the apps, and the innovation represented by the apps.

    Yes. For now. Again, no disagreement.

    All of the hard evidence points in a direction completely opposite to what this article asserts.

    Ok. What "hard evidence" is that?

    Again, please read what I actually wrote, rather than what you want to slam me for. Difficult to take you seriously when you seem to be arguing against something I have not said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    MattP, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please correct title...

    As it currently stands the Apple store is much bigger than Android. With a slew of Android phones hitting the market in the next 6 months there will be a higher incentive to start developing for the platform though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:20am

    Re: And how is this new?

    Apple still hasn't learned their lesson that openness and being the "standards-bearer" (Here are the specs. Make your stuff compatible. Thank you, that will be one dollar.) is a much better role.

    I think you mean bigger role. Apple seems pretty satisfied with their role in the market.

    Proprietary control-freakism may be a way of life for some firms, but it's NOT a viable business model in the long run.

    How long does it have to be successful before you would consider it a viable long-term business model? Again, they seem to be doing just fine.

    PS I own no Apple products and do not use Apple software

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Go away Apple trolls

    "Apple hardware is of higher price. It's also better quality."

    You had me until this statement.

    The system I hand build will be of higher quality components. Until Apple starts letting me use my own equipment they can go pound sand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 8:28am

    "why not at least allow non-approved apps to be viewed and downloaded, just without an official "apple seal of approval."

    i provide customer support for itunes store ... you have no idea how many customers call us about an app that does not run properly and say this exactly... "you sell it on your store, you are responsible" Until the general public changes the way they view the apps we sell for developers, apple will always inspect every file on the store with a fine tooth comb. the public has to change before apple will change to meet the public demand

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Derek Reed (profile), Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Re:

    That's something I hadn't even considered with my proposal up there. I guess Apple is "selling" these things on its store. That alone creates a pretty heavy expectation in the customer for supporting the application. I think it has to be assumed that anything labelled "uncertified" or available through the alternate "app mosh pit" channel (or whatever it could be called) can't be sold.

    But I think there are ways to remove that customer expectation of support.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Reader in MN, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    To borrow a phrase from Reagan, who said it best...

    "Mr. (Jobs), tear-down-that-wall!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    iphone developer, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 11:26am

    I agree and disagree

    I agree that the App Store could definitely be improved, but the fact is that Apple has created a platform in which they are making their app developers rich. No other company has done that and they are paving the way for developers in the future as well. Maybe google will get it right.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    iPhone Apps, May 25th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    Actually, to the above commenter, very few devs are actually making decent money with iphone apps. The ones with real potential for generating revenue are being shut down by Apple through some odd, random, Puritanical stance they have decided to take. The app store thrives off developers making multiple games, and this action by Apple seems determined to alienate as many devs as possible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Adam Cooper, May 28th, 2010 @ 11:03pm

    App Store

    Apple is the only one making real money. That and the few rare app developer that happen to make a one of a kind app.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    tiffany aleman, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 7:44am

    A few bad apps ruining the whole bunch?

    My instinct is that Jobs has too tight of control over the app ecosystem, but what if he is correct to operate under the assumption that a few bad apps can ruin the whole bunch? That is they may dilute the overall brand reputation of iphone apps as a whole.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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