Developers Looking To Set Up App Store Alternatives On The iPhone

from the competition-is-good dept

We all know about the somewhat “benevolent dictatorship” position that Apple holds concerning its iPhone App Store — at times arbitrarily banning apps from the store. This has (reasonably) upset some, who feel that it’s not particularly fair that Apple gets to decide what works and what doesn’t — and now a few are even looking to set up alternative app stores, though they’ll only work on jailbroken iPhones. The article speculates on whether or not Apple will send its lawyers after these upstarts, noting Apple’s decision to file a protest against an attempt to have the Library of Congress make clear that jailbreaking an iPhone does not violate the DMCA. However, if Apple is smart, it makes sense for them not to do so. After all, they make more money from each phone sold — and increasing the value of the phones by allowing more apps to run on it should only help sell more of the devices.

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Comments on “Developers Looking To Set Up App Store Alternatives On The iPhone”

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Gerk (user link) says:

Apple will likely have to protect to some amount

Or they will get themselves in hot water. That “protection” may be as simple as sending notices to the new stores telling them that they have to post warnings that jailbreaking is not condoned and it will void your warranty .. it may also mean that Apple’s lawyers may decide they have to aggressively target stopping these stores. Time will tell. Cydia is selling apps as of today.

Dave says:


Technically you should be able to make an app store that works for even non-jailbroken iPhones. You can download apps through iTunes on your PC, then transfer them to your iPhone, right?

So that would mean that all of the information required to get an iPhone set up with an application is being passed across that little Apple sync cable. Set something up to monitor that, them write your own X-Tunes application to mimic it.

Not saying it’s easy! Odds are info across the wire is mashed up and pretty hard to decipher, but it’s technically doable.

The only backdoor would be Apple’s ability to yank an app remotely if it is considered “dangerous”.

You can also already do “ad-hoc” distribution of apps, but it requires you to send off some key information about your iphone to a third party that you may or may not really trust.

steve (profile) says:


how would a third party app store be different than cydia or installer? the only difference that i can think of is the payment process. currently, you download something from cydia, and then you have to pay through paypal and get a software key to ulock the app (or similar payment options), but the basic principle of getting an app that didn’t come from the app store isn’t anything new . . . am i missing something here?

steve (profile) says:

Re: cydia?

should have looked at the link first, but i’m still confused. cydia is a repository that you have on your iphone, and one of the new stores is the cydia store, which i’m guessing will have the same content, just provided online. in light of this . . . i still don’t see how this is a big deal. no new apps will be available, and you still have to have a jailbroken iphone.

jguil says:

“”. so well guarded that honeybees are prevented from pollinating. “”

enough with the garden reference .. fact is people feel safe buying from apple, apple will not let apps with a virus or spyware on its store. no one knows anything about cydia except for the fact that you have to jailbreak your phone and void the phone warranty to use it, which already sounds shady.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

How is using the product you bought in the manner you so choose shady? All jailbreaking does is “unlock” the phone, which is whats done on all of the other phones that are out there, so that you aren’t under the dictator’s control over the product you bought and belongs to you. OMG! you said jailbreak! it must be BAaAd…. get a clue

T says:

Re: Re: Re:

Jailbreaking is NOT unlocking. They are two different things.

Jailbreak – opens the OS for modification. I’m not sure what other phones have this.
Unlock – opens the baseband so that it can attach to any network.

Current iPhone 3Gs cannot be truly unlocked (there is a software one, but it doesn’t alter the baseband).

Maybe you need a clue?

Joel Coehoorn says:


As I understand, the current problem (and the main impetus for creating “competing” stores) is that Apple finds itself unable to keep up with all the applications. That’s not an entirely bad problem to have.

At the same time, look at Google’s Android. While it is supposedly much more ‘open’, they’re still building a kill-switch into the official distribution channel, because not doing so could leave the devices too open to mal-ware. The point is that some level of control isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even if Apple is more than a little heavy-handed in the application.

That said, an official “unofficial” store (if that makes any sense) would probably be a good thing. Apple promises users a certain level of quality for anything makes it to the official store. Developers get increased exposure. Users get access to more apps (if they’re careful). Apple gets more money taking a cut from the sales of all those apps and the additional phones they’ll say when they make the platform more valuable.

The infamous Joe says:

Virus free, and worse.

My major fault with the appstore is that apple’s API restricts developers in what they can do. That little Flashlight app you bought for $0.99? Yup, the API limits screen brightness, the jailbroken one is much brighter. Want pictures shown next to your contacts list? Not with their API. Want to change your background or icons? Ha! You wish.

Now, I haven’t even got into their willy-nilly restrictions to competing apps. I don’t even understand that, because I don’t remember ever paying for mobile safari explicitly. So what if an app competes with software bundled with the phone.

Speaking of that, now that Cydia can allow apple delevopers to charge through itself, any banned apps should be easily ported to the cydia store and installed much the same way that cracked apps are now.

Finally, the apple warrenty is crappy at best, and I fail to see how changing the software of a device can/should void my right to get a broken button fixed. That notwithstanding, as the apps in the Cydia store get more and more useful (quickreply/landscape SMS is something apple should have thought of) then more and more people will jailbreak their phones, it’s really quite easy, a few button presses and a 5 minute wait an you’re done!

Don’t even get me started on the crippled excuse of Bluetooth on the iPhone. No file transfer or *music* streaming? Really? No music streaming?

Rant over. 🙂

slideme (profile) says:

Alternative App Store Market for Android is indeed portable for iPhone

At we have developed the complete infrastructure for mobile content provisioning of any type for any device.

We support all types of payments including local alternative payments methods with global reach.

We have currently till now focused on Android and preparing for WindowsMobile.

If anyone is interested in contributing to an iPhone client, we are interested in listening.


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