Originally Posted by Abster2core
When the iPhone SDK was launched in March, the only way a developer could distribute apps to all
iPhone and iPod Touch users was (...) via
Undeniably true. My memory was jogged about this fact a few posts ago when you reminded me of the fact that the SDK announcement event and the WWDC keynote. Thank you.
...and still is...
In that iTunes is the only authorized vehicle through which any App can be synched between your computer and your iPod/iPod touch, this is also undeniably true 100% of the time. However, this does not currently correspond to 100% of the time having to be distributed through the App Store, which had been your original assertion. (The University program is a perfect illustration of this fact.)
At the WWDC 2008 Conference keynote, Jobs announced that Enterprise could develop and distribute their custom apps to their intranet and only their approved employees could securely access, download and use them via iTunes. In addition, Apple expanded the developer certification program to allow groups, like University classes to register 100 iPhones to personally use custom apps. Like Enterprise, Ad Hoc distribution must be synced thru iTunes.
That sounds reasonable, but it completely fails to contribute to your assertion that the App Store was the only vehicle of App distribution
(as opposed to installation
). In fact, it argues against that very assertion.
Also, Apple's iPhone Developer Program website says quite clearly that ad-hoc distribution is available with both the Enterprise and the Standard program. It is listed under a totally separate heading than their description of the Enterprise deployment option, and separately from their description of the University program.
Note, however, the only way you can distribute iPhone apps is via iTunes, and the only way you can distribute iPhone apps to all iPhone and iPod Touch users is via the App Store.
They only way you can distribute to all
iPhone and iPod touch users is through the App Store. But Apple's own website says that if you just want to distribute to a subset of 100 individual iPod touch or iPhone users, then the App Store can be bypassed.
Now, I don't mean to say that Apple was necessarily in the wrong in this case. I just wanted to clarify that I thought you were making a misleading statement about the possibility of Ad-Hoc app distribution in general.
The iPhone SDK license agreement lists some things that are off-limit for Apps in general, and if Apple discovers that your Apps are doing some of those off-limit things, then they have every right to revoke your license to the SDK. If you lose your license to the SDK, then it stands to reason that you'd no longer be able to digitally sign your Apps, and that therefore Ad-Hoc distribution would no longer work.
Personally, I suspect this has much more to do with the distributor in question having written a program with functionality that Apple considered to be in violation of the SDK's license agreement. Apple first tried to inform the author that his App was non-conforming, thereby giving him a chance to bring his program into conformance. Instead, the author continued to actively try to distribute the non-conforming application; Apple simply exercised the right it always had to revoke the SDK license.
This is not a denial of the ability of a developer to use Ad-Hoc distribution in general, but is rather a reaffirmation of the limits Apple has placed on the ways that that Apps are allowed to behave no matter how they're distributed.