Apple axes iPhone apps that simply reproduce Web content

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Following reports that Apple began rejecting App Store software with "minimum user functionality," the iPhone maker has now set its sights on applications that employ a "cookie cutter" formula.



As detailed by TechCrunch, Apple has recently started cracking down on submissions to the App Store that are just "basic applications." These apps are "little more than RSS feeds or glorified business cards."



"In short, Apple doesn't want people using native applications for things that a basic web app could accomplish," the report said.



The issue has primarily been with iPhone applications built with "templates" that are available from a number of software generating services. Medialets CEO Eric Litman said the change in policy plays into Apple's desire to control the user experience.



"Apple wants iPhone apps to be superior to Web experiences because they are extremely sticky and drive people specifically to buy the iPhone over competing smartphone platforms," Litman said. "Apps that are too simple or largely indistinguishable from the Web, other apps or particularly other apps on other platforms send the message to end users that the iPhone app ecosystem might not be particularly special."



But the report noted that Apple has also worked with developers like Appmakr, which helped to make content from The Atlantic available as an application, to add features like in-app purchases, instant notifications, offline access and more.



It's yet another change in policy for Apple regarding the App Store. Last week, some developers said the company began removing applications the Cupertino, Calif., handset maker felt provided "minimum user functionality," such as one that simply quacked like a duck.



Apple also removed software it felt contained content that was "overtly sexual," resulting in a purge of more than 5,000 applications from the App Store.



In addition, a number of Wi-Fi scanners were also recently removed from the App Store, though they allegedly relied on unpublished APIs within the iPhone OS software development kit, breaking the terms set forth by Apple for developers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 76
    I totally support everything this company thinks is the right thing to do. Even their most controversial decisions with time turn out to be very ingenious and beneficial.
  • Reply 2 of 76
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hugodinho View Post


    I totally support everything this company thinks is the right thing to do. Even their most controversial decisions with time turn out to be very ingenious and beneficial.



    Nice to know the RDF generators are working at full power south of the equator...
  • Reply 3 of 76
    ratay1ratay1 Posts: 13member
    if we're to believe developer feedback over the last couple of years, you'd think your sense of the review and approval process AAPL had been employing was, if nothing else, a thorough one.



    i guess all that's out the window now...but interested to know how much of this is an affirmative step away from the criteria used to approve submissions originally/previously.



    you'd think it wouldn't be too difficult to review things like whether an app simply recreates an inferior web experience, or is simply a regurgitation of an app that exists on another platform...even whether a given app's code is particularly out-of-bounds with respect to leveraging unpub'd APIs.



    did somebody just wake up this morning in cupertino and decide to lay the hammer down? you'd think these kinds of objections would've come up against more of a hurdle to begin with... what were they evaluating if NOT this kind of thing? what was driving the publishing delay we'd hear developers complaining about, then?
  • Reply 4 of 76
    It's about time; these kinds of App Store abuses have been going on for far too long. Anything that clears the way for legitimate iPhone software is a good thing.
  • Reply 5 of 76
    kozchriskozchris Posts: 209member
    I agree with this decision. Makes sense to me.
  • Reply 6 of 76
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    I think this is ultimately a good thing. Why does someone need a proprietary iPhone app to look up the current weather, or any other single-dimensional bit of data? If it can be done through a web browser with no extra frills, that's where it belongs. If there's a compelling reason to add some limited extra functionality, make it a web app and distribute it outside the App Store. If it really needs the full Cocoa development suite or low-level hardware access, make it a true iPhone app.



    Everything we've accused the Windows ecosystem of in terms of marginalizing the Mac has been reversed with the iPhone. For stuff that doesn't need to be iPhone-proprietary the developers should instead create web apps and be free to sell them as they wish. This will also reduce the number of complaints (not to mention the workload of vetting) that people have of the App Store's policies.



    Not only that, those that really need some sort of app to view porn can, and always have been able to, get them outside of the App Store. The buying public just has to be made aware that there are more channels for things than the 'fascist' (etc.) App Store. Let's move on from these tired arguments.
  • Reply 7 of 76
    takeotakeo Posts: 426member
    There are a lot of Mac OS X widgets that are little more than RSS feeds wrapped up in a pretty interface too. But those are okay. Hmm. Anyway. Whatever.
  • Reply 8 of 76
    woohoo!woohoo! Posts: 291member
    Quote:

    ...such as one that simply quacked like a duck.





    Poor duck, he thought he really had a career going too.
  • Reply 9 of 76
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    [CENTER]So there goes a few thousands apps.



    Maybe this will mark a tighter focus on app/widget quality rather than quantity.[/CENTER]
  • Reply 10 of 76
    bjojadebjojade Posts: 91member
    Hmm, finally Apple is re-focusing on the fact that quality matters more than quantity!! It's gotten to the point that there are TOO many choices to filter through to find the app you want. Of course defining anything that could be done on the web as a cut off is a bit too broad, as that would cut out a HUGE number of useful apps. The performance benefit of making them an app versus a web app is often reason enough to have them as apps.
  • Reply 11 of 76
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Takeo View Post


    There are a lot of Mac OS X widgets that are little more than RSS feeds wrapped up in a pretty interface too. But those are okay. Hmm. Anyway. Whatever.



    that's on the computer. not the iphone which has more limited screen space etc.



    look at even the 'widgets' Apple put on the phone. their stock app, their weather app, both allow you to select several cities/stocks. in one interface, to store your choices and retrieve updates when you wish. Compare this to a company that makes a weather app where you have to download one copy for Los Angeles, One for New York etc. cluttering up as much as a whole screen with your weather apps. double sucks when you have to pay for each one.



    a number of the porn apps that were cut were this type of app. same interface but only a single model. 99 cents a pop. even without the T&A that stunt sucks.
  • Reply 12 of 76
    _rick_v__rick_v_ Posts: 142member
    I completely agree and support Apple's decision on this. These apps cheapen the iPhone brand. I daresay that 160,000 apps is too many when trying to wade thru and find anything useful on the App store.
  • Reply 13 of 76
    Um...I wish I knew that they were gonna remove the duck quacking app...damn...it's too late to get it now :-(
  • Reply 14 of 76
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post


    Um...I wish I knew that they were gonna remove the duck quacking app...damn...it's too late to get it now :-(



    Here ya go:



    http://new.wavlist.com/soundfx/011/duck-quack1.wav



    (That'll be $9.99 please.)
  • Reply 15 of 76
    Wait a sec... isn't AppleInsider's iPhone App just, in essence, a reproducer of web content?
  • Reply 16 of 76
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by _Rick_V_ View Post


    I completely agree and support Apple's decision on this. These apps cheapen the iPhone brand. I daresay that 160,000 apps is too many when trying to wade thru and find anything useful on the App store.



    Couldn't agree more... let's weed the CrapApps out of the store and encourage developers to produce apps that are innovative, creative, and (dare I say) useful.
  • Reply 17 of 76
    woohoo!woohoo! Posts: 291member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by _Rick_V_ View Post


    I completely agree and support Apple's decision on this. These apps cheapen the iPhone brand. I daresay that 160,000 apps is too many when trying to wade thru and find anything useful on the App store.





    The problem is how the apps are displayed in the App Store and online at Apple's web site.



    In the App Store in iTunes, there are only 20 icons per page with no description, rating or other info, just a name which isn't enough. It takes about 10-15 seconds to load a page of 20 apps, then another 10-15 seconds to find out more about a app and another 10-15 seconds to load the previous page.



    It takes too darn long to review the apps in iTunes and the reviews are terrible and incomplete because of that reason.



    On Apple's web site there isn't the layout for apps like there is for widgets and hardly any apps are listed.



    Apple needs to adopt the Versiontracker spreadsheet like style of displaying apps, a name a short description and only display the app icon when people reach the main page, not beforehand which slows things down considerably.
  • Reply 18 of 76
    ruel24ruel24 Posts: 432member
    I understand Apple's stance, but with their restrictions that seem to get ever tighter on developers, I can see developers moving toward Droid. Like I said, I understand Apple's intentions, but I'd rather see an open market.
  • Reply 19 of 76
    aizmovaizmov Posts: 989member
    There's a lot of crap in the app store.



    Good move.
  • Reply 20 of 76
    timgriff84timgriff84 Posts: 912member
    Doesn't that cover basically every app on the app store? After all we keep hearing how html5 is just as good as flash and silverlight and every app could be built in them, so ate they getting rid of every app.



    On a different note, good sign for anyone buying apps. Bad sign for people making them this is the opposite of a free Market with fair competition.
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