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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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By whirabomber on 9/15/2008 12:27:12 PM , Rating: 2
From my first highly restrictive and painful to use experience with the iPod Shuffle, it was quite clear to me that apple had become a fascist company. The version of iTunes I was forced to use (because I could just drag mp3's to my iPod as a storage device/disk drive) would only allow my shuffle to connect to only one of my computers at a time - I couldn't copy mp3's from my laptop to my shuffle after I had loaded it with music from my desktop.

Rumor has it apple no longer makes ipod tethered to one system, but the experience caused me to not have an issue giving the thing away to my friend's daughter. I've since enjoyed my tether free iRiver and TomTom (which also works as a gps, has expandable memory, and cost just as much as an iPod).

From my experiences I am surprised people are surprised that apple is so restrictive. I'd rather wear a tie 24/7 than be strangled by ownership of another apple device.

RE: Applesoft..
By lightfoot on 9/15/2008 2:47:15 PM , Rating: 2
From my experiences I am surprised people are surprised that apple is so restrictive. I'd rather wear a tie 24/7 than be strangled by ownership of another apple device

There's your problem. You want it to work the way you want it to. Apple doesn't do that. Their products just work - the way THEY want it to. You are clearly doing something wrong if you want it to work differently.

RE: Applesoft..
By Noubourne on 9/16/2008 8:13:31 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly why I own a Sansa.

Drag and drop. Done. What a concept!!

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