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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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RE: Quality Matters
By Noubourne on 9/16/2008 8:11:31 AM , Rating: 2
Doesn't seem misguided to me. You can't do any work on a tool that is crashing because it has been compromised by a lack of security. It's one thing to not know you have an issue, it's another to know about it and not do anything about it.

RE: Quality Matters
By Gzus666 on 9/16/2008 9:27:24 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you. The worst part, is I defended MS, and the guy freaks out about it. Windows die hards blow my mind sometimes with how they will follow a company no matter what, but it seems Mac users have them beat. MS has changed, but not cause they wanted to, because they HAD to.

And just for reference, I use Windows, and have since 3.1, and used MS DOS before that. In fact, that is what I learned on at home, and I used Apple computers in school with the fantastic green screens.

RE: Quality Matters
By xti on 9/16/2008 2:32:04 PM , Rating: 2
stop looking at porn => stop getting compromised.

in all seriousness, its been beaten to death. windows based boxes get hit..simply because they are the overwhelming majority. even if the exact same goal orientated virus is created for both mac and windows based boxes, u will hear more pc users complaining simply because they out number the mac ones.

would it stay proportional? i dunno...

and the mac commercials seal the deal as to why i never want one again. 2nd place, is the first loser.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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