Apple: Developers are not the enemy

It’s amazing that Apple have got as far as they have with the App Store. Looking back now, I wonder if it was more about the lack of decent competition rather than some massive Jobsian mind trick. Look, the iPhone is hands-down the most wonderfully designed and usable smart phone on the market – no doubt about it. You guys saying your Nokia 3110 is “better” can bugger off. People claiming the N97 or HTC Magic have a better user experience are on crack.

The App Store is amazing because Apple treat their developers like lepers. I’ve experienced the process of submitting an app first-hand, and completely concur with PolarBearFarm that the experience is appalling.

I’ve also long since given up any benefit of the doubt regarding their banning of selected apps. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s banned because it’s not an Apple duck. It’s not because Apple is trying to shield the world from the horrors of ducks. It’s flat out anti-competitive.

Yet they keep saying non-Apple ducks are dangerous. Apple keep saying that people mustn’t be allowed full access to their device because they’ll blow up cell towers or some other madness. This is such total, unadulterated birdshit. It makes me angry. People have been walking around for years with mallards on their Windows Mobile phones and geese on Symbian. I don’t see AT&T or Vodafone constantly rebuilding cell towers on the molten wrecks of previous ones.

But lo! What is this: Apple seem to be doing quite well at completely knackering their own devices by allowing nefarious code to run.

Glass houses. Put your stones down Apple, then come out and play.

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11 Comments

  1. Their argument against jailbreaking is not total bullshit. I’m not aware of any other mobile handset that allows you to upload your own baseband; the software that talks to the cell tower. The bullshit is that Apple has built a system that requires people to crack open the baseband just to install any app they want.

    I’ve seen people scoff at the claim that cell towers would be vulnerable. Don’t forget there was a time when whistling the right tone down the phone line allowed you to get free calls. Close centralised Telco systems are still written by developers who can make mistakes.

  2. Maybe Apple know something we don’t – terrorist hackers only use iPhones, as WinMo and Symbian break some obscure religious law?

    Every other month I see something in the paper about a new product being the “iPhone killer”. This primarily annoys me because it’s such lazy reporting (then they ask why print journalism is dying), but I also don’t think any one product will kill the iPhone. WinMo, or more likely Android these days, will catch up with the iPhone experience and users will get bored of Apple’s restrictive practices and look elsewhere.

  3. I’m not a programmer, but it seems to me that someone with a linux laptop and a 3G card is likely to be just as much an issue.

    Not to mention a rooted Android.

    Iny any case, cellular towers are extremely vulnerable to physical assault. (As the gent in OZ with the APC demonstrated- he got 6 of them in one night.)

    If Vodafone and 2Deg are to be believed then it isn’t mobile users who have interfered with the cellular frequencies around here.

    Apple has also demonstated a disturbingly surreal response to real security concerns as well on occaison.

    The response to the 3Gs local encryption being broken is ‘that’s OK you can remote wipe’.

    umm…if I were stealing a smartphone to suck data off, ther first thing I’d do would be to remove the sim!

    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/07/iphone-encryption/

  4. Independent third party mobile developers are pretty uniformly treated as lepers in the mobile space imho. What’s the Apple appStore cut? It is more than 40%? When I was in the Palm space it was routine for sites like Handango/PalmGear to skim up to 50% of the sale off for small, low volume indy developers.

    And I’m surprised you’re surprised by the anti-competitive nature of the store. I can’t imagine it being run any other way? Apple are protecting their iPhone brand (and revenue stream) by controlling the user experience.

    And yeah. Crashing cellphone towers? What kind of shitty software are these towers running? I’m quietly confident cell site manufacturers all have large and active QA teams…

  5. @svs you do not modify the baseband in order to jailbreak… that is only if you wish to unlock a locked version of the handset. Jailbreaking and unlocking are separate things, although jailbreaking is required to unlock your phone by allowing you to modify the baseband

  6. @Martin, Yes you’re right. By “crack open the baseband” I was trying to say that jailbreaking opens the door for modifying the baseband. Poorly phrased.

  7. The plot thickens. The FCC has sent Apple a “please explain” letter. The questions in there are generally awesome.

    Would love to know if Apple is actually obliged to answer them, because they pretty much blow the lid off the app approval process.

  8. Stu: “What’s the Apple appStore cut?”

    Apple only gets 30%. That’s nice and all, except when your app is rejected for no reason, I suppose. 🙂

  9. Comments on Leyton’s post are closed, but I’d just like to point out that Polar Bear Farm are hardly making innovate applications. Record? Note Pad? Convert? Yawn.

    Friends of mine, and me once I get around to it, on the other hand, are busy making much more interesting stuff, and yes, people are buying it. http://iphoneart.org .

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