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iPhone developers are becoming alarmed with Apple's closed box policy

Apple's App Store, which sells programs for its iPhone and iPod Touch, has been declared an instant success, with over 10 million downloads of the over 500 applications available on site.  Part of the charm of the system was that it allowed independent developers freedom to get in the sandbox and build something.  Many hoped this was a sign that Apple was finally relaxing its tight closed-box policies that allowed Windows computers to surpass Macs in the first place.

However, confirmation from Apple that there was a "kill switch" built in, which could be used to remotely disable users applications.  In Apple's original statements, it promised to use to weed out programs that violated Apple's terms of service, which it said consisted of abusive and inappropriate applications. 

While some rejected applications, such as the short lived "Whoopie Cushion" app, could be construed to be offensive or have the potential for abuse, Apple has issued many more rejections to companies with legitimate products that might outcompete Apple's own software offerings.

For example, most recently a developer created a new app called Podcaster.  This application allows users to subscribe, manage, stream and download podcasts directly from an iPhone or iPod touch.  The application was unceremoniously rejected, which led the irritated developer to publish the letter of rejection.  The rejection states:

Apple Rep says: Since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes.

Such a draconian policy is tough on developers, not just because it limits them, but because it breeds an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, in which there well-intentioned application might be rejected for unconsidered violations.  States iPhone developer DaringFireball on the issue, "If you only find out at the end of the development process that your app has been rejected — not for a technical problem that you can address but because Apple deems the entire concept to be out of bounds — then who is going to put serious time and talent into an iPhone app?"

Fraser Speirs, another loyal Apple developer, is so outraged he quit new development for the app store and is leading a push among developers to force Apple to adopt policy changes.  Among his demands are clear exclusion rules, an App Store evangelist, and the ability to get pre-authorized before application development.

Developers who made $30M USD in application revenue for Apple in July are starting to feel like Apple just doesn't care.  In the end, Mr. Speirs and other developers investing their time and money into applications development agree -- Apple must show its intent to change to its developers or risk losing them.

Outrage from even the staunchest supporters within the Mac community has been quite fierce – a Mac Rumors thread on the topic has garnered 17 pages of responses.

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Why I dont own apple products
By MrX8503 on 9/15/2008 12:20:34 PM , Rating: 4
If I buy an electronic device I own it, not the company that made it. This is why I don't own any Apple products, it's a closed platform.

If you read the posts at mac rumors some are mad and some are saying "Well..maybe they had a good reason". If this happened to the windows platform, there would be riots. This is the difference between PC users and Mac users. PC users can actually think for themselves.

RE: Why I dont own apple products
By 306maxi on 9/15/2008 12:49:53 PM , Rating: 2
Amen brother. I've not installed much on my N95 but at least I know that if I want to I can install anything that has been developed for the S60 OS and Nokia can't and don't want to dictate what I run on my own phone.

RE: Why I dont own apple products
By Hare on 9/15/2008 12:50:43 PM , Rating: 2
If this happened to the windows platform, there would be riots. This is the difference between PC users and Mac users. PC users can actually think for themselves.

No need to generalize and label people. I know plenty of mac users who are definately against these sorts of tricks and PC users who have no problem with any limitations including all sorts of DRM solutions.

If you go to a mac forum, you will find religious fanatics who will approve anything. Same thing if you go to AMD forum, nVidia forum or Intel forum. These places have the most fanatic (and vocal) people but they definately don't represent the majority of brand X users.

RE: Why I dont own apple products
By lightfoot on 9/15/2008 2:23:05 PM , Rating: 3
No need to generalize and label people.

Yeah, it's Apple's job to generalize and label people. If you use Apple you're "cool" or "hip." If you use Windows you're "boring" or "bland."

So get with the program and get an Apple like all the other "cool" kids are doing.

Just watch a few Apple ads if you are still unclear on how to properly generalize and label people.

RE: Why I dont own apple products
By Hare on 9/15/2008 2:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
Does it really matter what Apple (company) does? Lets say you drive a GM car and one day you notice that there's an advertisement on TV with a GM representative saying that all other cars are stupid and GM cars are the only ones that smart people would even think about owning. Would that make you a stuck up moron? I don't think so.

By Dark Legion on 9/15/2008 3:53:29 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, if you buy a GM because of that ad.

RE: Why I dont own apple products
By Etsp on 9/15/2008 6:47:44 PM , Rating: 3
You know, this is probably a reason that they killed the "I am Rich" app, it overlapped with any apple product. Since they are so overpriced, they make that statement on their own, and don't need an app to make that point. See for more details. Fox News did a report about it as well, but I don't like leading people to that site whenever I can help it...

RE: Why I dont own apple products
By Gzus666 on 9/15/2008 6:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds about right, Apple is the only one allowed to overcharge to that extreme, they will be damned if they allow someone else to. Oh, and we all thoroughly appreciate not linking to anything that has to do with Fox News (I feel dirty just thinking about it).

RE: Why I dont own apple products
By kelmon on 9/17/2008 7:15:23 AM , Rating: 2
I'll admit that the Apple community does have its fair share of nuts who will defend any bad decision by Apple for totally irrational reasons (some even post here), but I'd appreciate it if you don't tar everyone with the same brush. The idea that all PC users think for themselves, frankly, is laughable.

Heck, even John Gruber ( described this decision as "stinks to high hell" and he's about as pro-Apple as you are going to get.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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