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Apple to serve as regulator for iPhone app distribution

post #1 of 142
Thread Starter 
Apple Inc. will have the final say over which third-party iPhone and iPod touch applications are deemed suitable for release, according to a new report, which also confirms several other suspicions previously waged regarding the firm's upcoming software developers kit (SDK) and its associated policies.

Citing people familiar with the Cupertino-based company's plans, iLounge reports that the iPhone maker will "require that all mobile applications be distributed through its iTunes Store, making the Store a necessary hub for those interested in browsing or purchasing iPhone and iPod touch software."

The report further states that Apple will serve as the "gatekeeper" for all third-party applications written using the SDK, "deciding which are and are not worthy of release, and publishing only approved applications to the iTunes Store." It's unclear, however, whether the company will mandate that successive revisions to already approved applications also be validated ahead of release.

One source speaking to the publication said the process is likely to stifle the flow of innovation, as the company's current third-party approval process often results in lengthy and needless delays.

Developers will also be restricted from interacting with the iPhone or iPod touch Dock Connector, dashing hopes that the SDK could pave the way for new breed of useful accessories, such physical keyboard. However, access to the phone, Wi-Fi, and camera functions will reportedly be allowed.

Confirming a several other reports, iLounge added that the version of the SDK to be released at next Thursday's iPhone Software Roadmap media event will consist only of a limited beta, and that Apple will also announce improved iPhone support of the Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes enterprise email platforms in a bid to convince corporate users to adopt the the touch-screen handset despite its untraditional on-screen keyboard and other limitations.
post #2 of 142
I can't help thinking that limiting access to third party applications to the iTunes Store is going to put a damper on this release.

The only thought I did have is that releasing through the iTunes Store would make it easier to distribute applications than if Apple had created some kind of special installer system or iTunes application file format.
post #3 of 142
If this is true then like others who have tried the same (Microsoft on their platforms and Sun with Java) they will eventually relax their grip. It is too bad if all will be required to sell through iTunes, but that can just be seen as a royalty to pay.
post #4 of 142
Since its beginning Apple offered a choice among computers and operating systems—this was a major appeal as people like choices. Now, Apple is acting more like other large corporations with their hand in everything when it come to what you can and cannot put on your iPhone. Long live hackers! More power to Android!
post #5 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

It is too bad if all will be required to sell through iTunes, but that can just be seen as a royalty to pay.

I disagree. Selling exclusively through the iTunes store will virtually guarantee that the apps are actually paid for, instead of pirated. This gives the developer a secure revenue stream, which should help keep prices down for the consumer. Everybody wins.

In the Palm and Windows Mobile market, piracy is rampant, so the majority of the apps are way overpriced for what they deliver. $20-$50 for "baby" software, as Steve would put it. Compare iPod games, for instance, with the average Palm OS game. The same game that's $25 for the Palm platform is $5 for the iPod. Ever wonder why?
post #6 of 142
I think this will also limit rouge software which could do things to the phone you do not want happening. Remember there is no virus software for the phone, and this is big concern that if software takes over the phone it could mess with the network or the phone
post #7 of 142
Way to go for that enterprise market Steveo!

Not everyone (nobody!) is going to want/allow their internal apps to be distributed via iTunes!

D
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post #8 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

I think this will also limit rouge software which could do things to the phone you do not want happening. Remember there is no virus software for the phone, and this is big concern that if software takes over the phone it could mess with the network or the phone


Can you prove that one virus has ever harmed a cell network? No you can't and neither can AT&T nor Apple. Stop believing what they tell you and do some research. You maybe be able to harm the phone, but you can not crash a modern IN enabled cell network.
post #9 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

Since its beginning Apple offered a choice among computers and operating systemsthis was a major appeal as people like choices. Now, Apple is acting more like other large corporations with their hand in everything when it come to what you can and cannot put on your iPhone. Long live hackers! More power to Android!

Your "counter culture" attitude is exactly why Apple has to do this. Unlike a computer Apple has to make sure the iPhone platform is stable and "safe" for the phone network as well. I think the smart thing to do is start out conservative and work you way on up.
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post #10 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Your "counter culture" attitude is exactly why Apple has to do this. Unlike a computer Apple has to make sure the iPhone platform is stable and "safe" for the phone network as well. I think the smart thing to do is start out conservative and work you way on up.

Explain how an app can crash a network.
post #11 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Way to go for that enterprise market Steveo!

Not everyone (nobody!) is going to want/allow their internal apps to be distributed via iTunes!

D

Maybe an upgrade to Mac OS X Server will allow enterprise customers act as their own iTunes distriubution hub.
post #12 of 142
Ah well, looks like I'll be trying to figure out how to jailbreak my 1.1.4 iPod Touch this weekend.

I just want SSH and IM (maybe VNC) to start. It shouldn't be this difficult.
post #13 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Not everyone (nobody!) is going to want/allow their internal apps to be distributed via iTunes!

I'm not sure that they would have to...

People who purchased Blue Harvest on DVD got a second DVD with the video in MP4 format. However, to add it to iTunes, you had to enter a code at the store, which would decrypt the MP4 file, and then re-encrypt it with your iTMS key. Assuming the app passes muster with Apple, a signed version of it could be made available on a company's intranet, with the same distribution mechanism: enter a key, and then iTunes would download the actual code from the intranet site, and lock it to your iTunes account.

It's doable. Not convenient, but doable.

[Edit: Don't get me wrong; I think that limiting distribution in this way isn't going to motivate smaller developers to publish their apps, but my guess is that Apple has some kind of contractual obligation to AT&T to do what they can to protect the network from apps that use unreasonable amounts of bandwidth, or do other potentially nefarious things.]
post #14 of 142
We will have to see how heavy handed Apple will be with apps it approves.

Quote:
Can you prove that one virus has ever harmed a cell network? No you can't and neither can AT&T nor Apple.

Actually their was a story in Ars last year (cannot find it now) about an app that did bring down part of a mobile network. From what I remember the story was saying even though its rare mobile networks are so large and complex that it can be difficult to always predict what could potentially bring them down.

Quote:
Since its beginning Apple offered a choice among computers and operating systems—this was a major appeal as people like choices.

Your rose colored glasses miss how Apple has always maintained tight control of its hardware and software. They've always had limited options in comparison to PC's.

Quote:
Long live hackers! More power to Android!

My favorite reaction to Android and The Open Handset Alliance was a quote that said "34 companies could not design a good ham sandwich."
post #15 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobaby View Post

Explain how an app can crash a network.

Networks run on routers. Routers run using an operating system. Those operating systems can be hacked or DDOS down. An app on a cell phone could conceivably crash a router. Or a cell. Or use up tremendous amounts of bandwidth without the user knowing.

We just ran our mobile app through the AT&T Certification process. Ugh. We met them in march of 2007. Got it tested in September. Got the news in January that it passed.
post #16 of 142
And what makes what they are saying true, has Apple released a statement on this..
post #17 of 142
I really don't have a problem with using iTunes as a medium to distribute the software. However I have two major concerns:

1. I want to be able to download the software wirelessly, like you already can with music.

2. I am really concerned that the SDK will not allow developers to interact with accessories.

The second one bothers me the most. I want the option of buying a small GPS that connects to my iPhone. I want the option of connecting Bluetooth headphones. I want the option to have a developer create a front row like application for use with the Universal Dock, and so on.

Apple has a chance to totally dominate the market here. If Apple, cough cough Steve, decides to put a limit on innovation, then their will be a lower ceiling to the potential of the iPhone. If they just let people innovate using this unique platform I truly believe that the floor of this product will be the ceiling mentioned above, in terms of potential market share.
post #18 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

Since its beginning Apple offered a choice among computers and operating systemsthis was a major appeal as people like choices. Now, Apple is acting more like other large corporations with their hand in everything when it come to what you can and cannot put on your iPhone. Long live hackers! More power to Android!

lol - you overreacted. It could be a good thing because Apple do not want them to sell their apps beside iTunes - it could contains viruses or whatever bad that is going to happen to your MAC/PeeCee and iPhone. Kind of similar to widgets back in 2005.
post #19 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobaby View Post

Explain how an app can crash a network.

I don't know how they did it, but twice I know of the entire blackberry empire went down when they tried to update their software.
I think when an update goes down onto the phone, the phone shouldn't go down.
Apple will go slow here, and they should.
They'll open up as the world evolves.
If they listened to some of you guys, they would not have done most of the inovative stuff they have done.......
post #20 of 142
The iphone has already been cracked and the market for third party apps is already establshed outside of Apple's control. Sorry Apple, but this genie won't going back in the bottle.

The hacks are becoming more and more sophisticated as developers burrow down toward the iphone hardware. Look for a complete third party bootloader shortly that will remove Apple's control of pretty much everything that is put on the iphone. The apps so far are mainly "hacker quality" but are improving. The clarity the SDK will bring to some of the more obscure areas will accelerate the development of quality apps.

The iphone - whether Apple wants this or not - is becoming an open development platform. If Apple does not clue into this they will lose this market to iphone clone competitors with the same cluelessness that lost them PC market dominance in the mid '80's and the PC GUI market in the early '90's. But what the hey - Jobs seems to like single digit market share percentages so maybe this is all part of his "master plan" :-)
post #21 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

Since its beginning Apple offered a choice among computers and operating systemsthis was a major appeal as people like choices. Now, Apple is acting more like other large corporations with their hand in everything when it come to what you can and cannot put on your iPhone. Long live hackers! More power to Android!

The problem with unnamed source stories is that people like you immediately take the information as if it is true, and jump to bash Apple the first chance you get. Where is the proof that Apple actually stated this?

It seems to me that there is an element on AI that frequents this forum just to find ammunition against Apple.
post #22 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by iphonedev View Post

The iphone has already been cracked and the market for third party apps is already establshed outside of Apple's control. Sorry Apple, but this genie won't going back in the bottle.

The hacks are becoming more and more sophisticated as developers burrow down toward the iphone hardware. Look for a complete third party bootloader shortly that will remove Apple's control of pretty much everthing that is put on the iphone. The apps so far are mainly "hacker quality" but are improving. The clarity the SDK will bring to some of the more obscure areas will accelerate the development of quality apps.

The iphone - whether Apple wants this or not - is becoming an open development platform. If Apple does not clue into this they will lose this market to iphone clone competitors with the same cluelessness that lost them PC market dominance in the mid '80's and the PC GUI market in the early '90's. But what the hey - Jobs seems to like single digit market share percentages so maybe this is all part of his "master plan" :-)

Hacks are hacks.
I won't run'em.
And I'll bet the sdk developed apps probably won't either.
Sure, you can keep hacking away, but they most useful thing a hack accomplishes is avoiding paying for the software. Something TRUE developers are NOT in favor of.
Everybody said iTunes wouldn't work for music either.
They're going to blow by Walmart into #1, so I wouldn't be betting the iPhone will fail because Tetris isn't availble to the hackers.
post #23 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrasington View Post

Sure, you can keep hacking away, but they most useful thing a hack accomplishes is avoiding paying for the software. Something TRUE developers are NOT in favor of.

I'd describe myself as a "true developer" - have been for nearly three decades. You've probably downloaded lot's of independent apps to your PC (and perhaps one or two of my own ). The iPhone is a complete PC in a small format. Apps will be developed, folks will use them. As far as getting paid - it's quite easy to lock an app to a specific phone. See the post in the comments here for my preferred method - http://cre.ations.net/blog/post/114-...anges#comments .

But you bring up a valid point. I'm sure Symantec, MacAfee, etc will be quick to create iphone virus/firewall/protection apps to keep our phones safe.
post #24 of 142
If it was actually true that Apple wants the apps distributed through iTunes or just approved by Apple, it would be understandable. It's a smart move on Apple's part. There are plenty of corporate IT Microsoft PC types who would love to see the iPhone tank. We know the type! Maybe Apple has a right to protect its interests, and protect its consumer base as well.
post #25 of 142
At what price point do you think that the 3g Iphone will be introduced?

Any guesses on if they will immediately phase out the Edge compatible Iphones or offer them at lower price points (even further)?
post #26 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post

I disagree. Selling exclusively through the iTunes store will virtually guarantee that the apps are actually paid for, instead of pirated. This gives the developer a secure revenue stream, which should help keep prices down for the consumer. Everybody wins.

In the Palm and Windows Mobile market, piracy is rampant, so the majority of the apps are way overpriced for what they deliver. $20-$50 for "baby" software, as Steve would put it. Compare iPod games, for instance, with the average Palm OS game. The same game that's $25 for the Palm platform is $5 for the iPod. Ever wonder why?

But then there's no model for shareware or freeware software developers other than with the current crop of apps that require you to hack you iPhone.
post #27 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobaby View Post

Explain how an app can crash a network.

It is not all about cell network security. Someone can build a program for the iPhone that can call a certain toll phone number in the background. Another programs can steal your address book, log your activities, forward your email.. etc. You have to keep in mind that so far the iPhone don't have an anti-virus and might not have one anytime soon. Thats why it is safer to use iTunes for now. It might be a annoying, but I think it is the best move for now.
post #28 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by iphonedev View Post

But you bring up a valid point. I'm sure Symantec, MacAfee, etc will be quick to create iphone virus/firewall/protection apps to keep our phones safe.

This may seem like a stupid question/remark : if you condone for an AV scanner to be distributed "officially" [and i doubt that those guys want to sideload], you indirectly condone "unofficial" 3rd party apps that will find their way onto the iPhone.

Oh yeah and

I guess there goes my Skype client for the 3G iPhone
post #29 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrasington View Post

I don't know how they did it, but twice I know of the entire blackberry empire went down when they tried to update their software.

That was the blackberry back-end that was being updated. Sure, if you screw up the back-end, it will bring down the network, just as already happened with AT&T and iPhones.

But that ain't the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

It is not all about cell network security. Someone can build a program for the iPhone that can call a certain toll phone number in the background. Another programs can steal your address book, log your activities, forward your email.. etc. ...Thats why it is safer to use iTunes for now. It might be a annoying, but I think it is the best move for now.

And how is Apple planning on preventing trojans from infecting a phone? Are they going to demand all source code and scrounge it for every possible task it does? Will then indemnify the end-user if a trojan gets passed their system and ends up on your iPhone and steals your contact info? There's no 'real' security against a trojan.
post #30 of 142
I have no problems having to go through Apple as long as:

1) Apple does not refuse to allow an application to be use just because they don't like what it does. Examples: Allowing a bluetooth device to use the iPhone to get to the Internet, Allow me to play other types of media that the iPhone does not currently support, you get the idea. Apple should only check that applications do not harm the phone or steal data. They should keep their hands off everything else and not try telling us what we want. I know they already try to tell us what we want

2) Does not take longer than a couple of weeks to approve or disapprove and application and if disapproved supply the reason why and what needs to be done to get it approved.

If Apple doesn't allow an application because they don't like it I see class action law suite coming their way and as much as I love Apple I hope they loose them.

What I hope is that early on Apple will keep much closer track on Apps but as time goes on they will loosen their hold. Anything short of that is unacceptable.
post #31 of 142
<wild guess>
Let's say you're a developer with the iPhone SDK. How do you test your app before going to the iTunes store? Emulators are NOT sufficient. So, I bet there would be a way for anyone with the SDK to put apps on the phone. (If not, and you're stuck with the emulator, then...yuck.)

So, I bet if you're technically savvy, you can play with the SDK and muck with your iPhone. If you're not technically savvy, or if you don't want to play with the SDK, you're left with iTunes for your apps.
</wild guess>
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post #32 of 142
No matter how Apple tries to limit what apps go on the iphone, as soon as there is a way to do it officially, there will be a way to do it unofficially.

I personally think it's stupid and a bit naive to centralize the software distribution around itunes. Some of the most useful apps are just little ones that do a very specific task. To have those kind of things go through an approval process just add unnecessary delays and affects the quality of the software as it takes time for updates to be approved. If updates aren't approved then the quality assurance is meaningless.

I really wish Apple would stop trying to do things their own damn way and look around at what actually works. Palm have a completely open developer kit and you can put whatever apps you like on it. I have never heard anyone saying that the platform is unstable or insecure. Apple are just using this as another excuse to get people using itunes.

Is itunes going to eventually turn into a sort of Amazon store?
post #33 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by djpadz View Post

People who purchased Blue Harvest on DVD got a second DVD with the video in MP4 format. However, to add it to iTunes, you had to enter a code at the store, which would decrypt the MP4 file, and then re-encrypt it with your iTMS key. Assuming the app passes muster with Apple, a signed version of it could be made available on a company's intranet, with the same distribution mechanism: enter a key, and then iTunes would download the actual code from the intranet site, and lock it to your iTunes account.

It's doable. Not convenient, but doable.

Most everything is doable. Whether Apple allows you to 'do' it is another story.

The whole point of the DVD crap you mentioned was just making sure they kept their precious movie from being sent all over the world via the internet (because we know it is impossible to rip the content directly from the DVD).

Why should a company, or, more importantly, an individual, have to spend any time at all dealing with Apple just to make an application for a phone? More importantly, if you're a developer and have a great idea for an app, will Apple not 'bless' it because they (or one of their partners) have a similar app? Will they refuse to 'bless' an app that cuts into their revenue streams (like an app to download/install music from Amazon?).

And if you develop a quick app for your own use (say an app to talk to your web server to perform quick status checks), do you have to basically PAY YOURSELF (with a stipend to apple) to install it on the phone?

Is this something we can look forward to in OS X.6?
post #34 of 142
I prefer this method. I've paid for several programs for my PC, etc... that have turned out to be duds. I'm hoping Apple will have some measure of QC over these apps.
post #35 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobaby View Post

Explain how an app can crash a network.

No.

I haven't said anything about the network crashing..that's implicityly your scenario. I'm jus saying that Apple is partnering with AT&T and security and safety for all should reign supreme versus turning the iPhone apps into the Wild Wild West.
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post #36 of 142
I think everyone needs to just relax and take a chill-pill.

Does apple get a cut of every pod-cast that is on iTunes?

No.

Why would you guys think that applications distributed on iTunes would require paying Apple for those?

Does Apple limit podcats on iTunes that they don't agree or like?

No.

Why would you guys think Apple wants to get in the business of evaluating applications to "see if they like them"?


Let's all sit back and stop having hissy fits.
You guys that want to live in the hacker world, will always have a place.
On the other hand, if you want to build your fist little app and make a bunch of money, you have a way to advertise and get it out there in a centralized place.

The notion that Apple would do this in any other way, can only come from people that don't understand Apple and what Apple has accomplished by avoiding MicroSoft and the disaster riddled path that COM was............

Oh, and for you people that want REAL exchange support(whatever that would be)?
Go ahead, buy a windows phone.........
post #37 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post

I have no problems having to go through Apple as long as:

1) Apple does not refuse to allow an application to be use just because they don't like what it does.

2) Does not take longer than a couple of weeks to approve or disapprove and application and if disapproved supply the reason why and what needs to be done to get it approved.

If Apple doesn't allow an application because they don't like it I see class action law suite coming their way and as much as I love Apple I hope they loose them.

What I hope is that early on Apple will keep much closer track on Apps but as time goes on they will loosen their hold. Anything short of that is unacceptable.

I dont mean to be rude here : but what are you smoking. Or was is that toad from earlier. No disrespect : but that aint gonna happen.

Why ?

Because they will use iTS as conduit to distribute. IOW they control the distribution channel. Same thing if yuour product is not listed at (say) WalMart or Best Buy. That's just plain old tough on you but there is nothing you can do about it.

It's their OS and as much as you BOUGHT the phone you LICENCED the OS. Sure you can try class action and all sorts but ultimatively they will prevail. The Inc. in Apple stand for Incorporated, meaning a corporation. They are not altruistic AT ALL. Different ? My ar-e. Companies exist to make money and Apple makes 25ct on the dollar which is exceptional.
post #38 of 142
So much for openness and community access to allow for very interesting applications to be developed, including things that would allow physical keyboard input.

If this is true, I'll be developing for Android exclusively.
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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post #39 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post




And how is Apple planning on preventing trojans from infecting a phone? Are they going to demand all source code and scrounge it for every possible task it does? Will then indemnify the end-user if a trojan gets passed their system and ends up on your iPhone and steals your contact info? There's no 'real' security against a trojan.

I believe thats what Apple have been saying since they released the iPhone. They are concerned about security and stability. You don't have to go through the whole source code to know if a program actually have a trojan or a virus. All programs will be built using Apple iPhone SDK and I am sure that they will have a quick way to check for viruses programed using it.
post #40 of 142
Hopefully this will prevent all of the crapware similar to what we see on Windows from entering the iPhone. I'm sure Apple (and by extension-- the Mac Geniuses) doesn't want to deal with customer issues caused by poorly written iPhone software. I'm all about adding new apps to the iPhone but honestly... I don't want to complicate it too much. I love simplicity which is why I use a Mac
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