Apple to serve as regulator for iPhone app distribution

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 141
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 141
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 141
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    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!
  • Reply 4 of 141
    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?
  • Reply 5 of 141
    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
  • Reply 6 of 141
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    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
  • Reply 7 of 141
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 141
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CREB View Post


    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!



    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.
  • Reply 9 of 141
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 141
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 141
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 141
    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.]
  • Reply 13 of 141
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    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."
  • Reply 14 of 141
    akacakac Posts: 510member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 141
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    And what makes what they are saying true, has Apple released a statement on this..
  • Reply 16 of 141
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 141
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CREB View Post


    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!



    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.
  • Reply 18 of 141
    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.......
  • Reply 19 of 141
    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" :-)
  • Reply 20 of 141
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CREB View Post


    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!



    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.
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