Apple’s App Store policies are notorious at its best, with apps being rejected for weird reasons and several new apps being included which should not have been there at all.
Today, Apple announced a change to their App store policy where they now allow developers to use development tools of their choice to create iOS apps, instead of restricting them to tools only Apple provides as long as the apps do not download any code.
Earlier this year, Apple had changed its App store policy to not accept Overtly sexual apps, but they let through a Playboy app though. Just today, I got a press release for a new app which of all, allows you to check a Women’s Bra size by clicking a picture of them. Now, isn’t that derogatory to women, would that app now mean that people go around clicking pictures of women to just know their bra size?
Agreed that the people who developed the app wanted it to be used by the women themselves, but what the hell, think about the misuse this app would entail. I won’t link to the App here, but if you are curious search the app store for FITS.
Do you think that the App Store policies are anywhere near being transparent? What would you suggest Apple to change with regards to the App Store policies? Give us your views through your comments.
Today I am presenting to you, the iPhone App Handy Light. Possibly developed by a 15-year old and with the Fisher Price look and feel, it has got nothing more to it than five simple colors in which you can make the screen glow respectively. This might come in handy as torchlight. However, running in the background, is an app, which lets you tether your internet connection over Wifi.
Apple app store needs strict quality checks. However, this $.99 torchlight app was so simple that it could not give them a thought that such capabilities can co-exist in this KISS from a 15 year old!
Using this app, you can use your iPhone as a 3G modem to dial an Internet connection from your computer. I know. You will say this can already be done but, the catch with Handy Light is that you do not pay the stupid $20 per month that AT&T so badly wants from you for dialing an internet connection using the 3G modem in your iPhone.
As obvious, such awesomeness does not remain hidden for long and as word started spreading, Apple came to know about this app. Apple has now removed Handy Lights from the app store. However, those who have it installed already, can still reap the benefits.
Here is some good news for Firefox users, Apple has approved the Firefox Home app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Firefox Home is an app which will sync your browsing session on your desktop and the iPhone.
Firefox home is a browsing session syncing application for the iPhone OS. This app is based on Firefox Sync and allows access to the last browsing history, bookmarks and the set of tabs. This serves as an excellent session manager for web browsing and the fact that it is available anywhere makes you feel at home, so the name.
Firefox Home was submitted to the App store at the beginning of this month and was approved within 15 days, which shows that Apple is now opening up to Mozilla after they earlier allowed the Opera app on the app store. However, Mozilla is not planning to create the Firefox browser for the iPhone.
Firefox Home will sync your Firefox history, bookmarks and open tabs, just as you had left them on your desktop computer. Unlike Firefox which is built on Gecko, Firefox Home is built on Webkit which might have worked out in favor of Mozilla. You can download the Firefox Home app for free for the iPhone or iPod Touch from here. More info at the Official Mozilla blog.
It seems that even Verizon is trying to enter the App store race. Today in the CTIA annual wireless trade show, Verizon Wireless stated that it is going to open it’s own App Store as soon as March 29.
Verizon is the biggest US mobile operator and holds a major portion of today’s smartphones. It has many Androids under it. As such, this new idea may prove to be a big hit for Verizon.
Verizon also claims that their App Store will be more convenient to users as they will be able to pay for their Apps directly via their phone bills. Other App Stores require a seperate account for handling such transfers.
There are over 100,000 apps available in the App Store and if you want to develop an application for the App Store, you have to sign the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement for it. The only catch is, that you cannot talk about the agreement in public. Now, thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), it’s out. EFF has managed to get the agreement from NASA, when NASA developed an iPhone app without signing the agreement (wonder why Apple allowed NASA to forgo the agreement).
Anyhow, coming to the juicy details, Apple really has some shitty clauses in the agreement, Like for example —
App Store Only: Section 7.2 makes it clear that any applications developed using Apple’s SDK may only be publicly distributed through the App Store, and that Apple can reject an app for any reason, even if it meets all the formal requirements disclosed by Apple. So if you use the SDK and your app is rejected by Apple, you’re prohibited from distributing it through competing app stores like Cydia or Rock Your Phone.
Kill Your App Any Time: Section 8 makes it clear that Apple can "revoke the digital certificate of any of Your Applications at any time." Steve Jobs has confirmed that Apple can remotely disable apps, even after they have been installed by users. This contract provision would appear to allow that.
We Never Owe You More than Fifty Bucks: Section 14 states that, no matter what, Apple will never be liable to any developer for more than $50 in damages. That’s pretty remarkable, considering that Apple holds a developer’s reputational and commercial value in its handsâ€”it’s not as though the developer can reach its existing customers anywhere else. So if Apple botches an update, accidentally kills your app, or leaks your entire customer list to a competitor, the Agreement tries to cap you at the cost of a nice dinner for one in Cupertino.
But these clauses don’t seem to affect the iPhone developers considering the huge amount of apps in the app store. If you are curious, you can download the agreement from below:
20090317_iphone_dev_agr.pdf 680.72 KB
20100127_iphone_dev_agr.pdf 289.01 KB
Vodafone India has launched a new mobile applications store in India and has already seen thousands of downloads thanks to the low price of the applications and a large array of free applications.
Currently, there are more than 800 applications in the Vodafone app store categorized as Entertainment, Utility, Finance, Social Networking, Games and more. The applications are developed by a mix of Indian and International developers. 15% of the app store applications are free of cost, while a majority of the applications are priced in the range of Rs. 5 to Rs.30.
The application store is available to customers through data enabled handsets. Customers can send a message APP to 111 (toll free) and also access the store through the portal Vodafone live! by clicking a link on the home page.
In the press release, Kumar Ramanathan, Chief Marketing Officer, Vodafone Essar said:
We are delighted to launch the Vodafone Mobile application store which combines an array of facilities for our customers including easy access to information, utilities and entertainment. The mobile applications are affordable and a significant step forward in the growth of mobile data and the future of Mobile internet in India.
However, this is not the first time that a mobile carrier in India has released an app store. Earlier, this year, Reliance launched their app store along with an Aircel app store and Airtel app store.
This shows that carriers in India are getting more serious about providing mobile applications to users, based on the success of the Apple app store and Ovi Store from Nokia. In the end, it is the consumer who will benefit more as they will get tons of apps and choices to choose from.
Apple has been constantly criticized for their app store’s policies by developers and bloggers alike. Earlier it was the mysterious process of rejecting apps for almost stupid reasons and now it is the removal of over 5000 apps without any prior notice. Apple started removing these apps couple of days ago along with sending emails to developers stating that their app is being removed due to overtly sexual content.
The developer behind famous app Wobble talked to Apple after his app (which does not actually contain any sexual content) was removed and was told that anything that is sexually arousing would not be admitted including images of women in bikinis and even silhouettes depicting sexual content. However, one of the most interesting parts of the story is that Apple didn’t touch the famous PlayBoy app that made to the app store late last year.
The web page of the app explicitly claims that the app has frequent/intense sexual content or nudity. The developer claims that the app has no nudity, but it definitely has a lot of skin which is also termed as sexual content according to Apple. Here is an actual picture from the PlayBoy app’s web page on the app store:
Some people might suggest that Apple is still in the process of removing apps and might not have gotten to Playboy yet. This doesn’t sound too probable as it should have come up on the top of the list no matter what criteria they used to identify these apps. Adding more mystery to the issue is Apple’s removal of an app that showed a woman in work out clothes. So let me get this right: A female model in work out clothes is overtly sexual but a playboy playmate posing to turn you on is not??
What do you think about this whole issue? Shouldn’t Apple at least release a statement explaining the situation?
Airtel, India’s largest mobile operator has now entered the app store market. With the huge success of Apple’s app store, many handset makers like RIM, Samsung and Sony Ericsson have imbibed the business model. This is the first time that an operator has introduced the app store, though, we had slight idea that Aircel is about to launch its own app store soon when it tied up with Infosys for the same.
Bharti’s app store is set to go live Today, with over 1,200 applications. The main advantage for the developers would Airtel’s 500 million subscriber base. Developing an app which would run on all the types of OS would be a challenge that developers would have to face.
Mr Bindal also pointed out that Bharti held an edge over other players in this space because of its billing model. While a third of the apps are available for free, customers must pay between Rs 5 to Rs 25 for remaining apps, even as Bharti will enable its subscribers to use certain apps for Re 1/day.
For pre-paid customers, the cost of the apps will be deducted from the talktime, while for post-paid, it will be part of the bill, explains Mr Bindal. On the other hand purchasing an app from handset makers requires customers to make an online transaction using their credit or debit cards.
We can also tweak the apps and customise them for each region. There will be a lot of local content and the ability to micromanage gives us the edge. With over 120 million customers we have an understanding of their preferences, consumption trends and other market data which we can convert into meaningful product and services,Mr Bindal added.
The App Store and controversy go hand in hand. There have been several apps which have been rejected from the App Store for the most weirdest reason and several weird one’s which have been approved, and have left people scratching their heads as to how they got in.
It looks like Apple is upping the App Store ante a bit and going all after their main challenger, Google, by asking a developer to remove the word "Android" from the app description.
The app in question is Flash in Genius, who were a finalist in the Google Android Developer’s Challenge and had mentioned about it in their app description as seen in the screenshot above. However, the folks at Apple were less than happy about this and sent a email to them which you can read below.
Dear Flash of Genius, LLC,
Thank you for submitting Flash of Genius: SAT Vocab 2.2 to the App Store. During our review of your application, we found that your application contains inappropriate or irrelevant platform information in the Application Description and/or Release Notes sections.
Providing future platform compatibility plans or other general platform references are not relevant in the context of the iPhone App Store. While your application has not been rejected, it would be appropriate to remove Finalist in Google’s Android Developer’s Challenge! from the Application Description [Emphasis added].
Please log into iTunes Connect to make appropriate changes to the Application Description now to avoid an interruption in the availability of Flash of Genius: SAT Vocab 2.2 on the iPhone App Store.
iPhone Developer Program
According to the email, Apple has threatened the developer to remove the Android mention or face the removal of the app from the App store. Agreed that Apple makes good business for developers, but this incident definitely says much about them and how they treat competition.
This makes me wonder if Apple allows their own employees to use a Nokia or Android based phone in their work environment? Or will they send employees a sack notice because they use one?
More at Download Squad, Cult of Mac and Silicon Valley Insider.
With Google and Apple constantly stealing the show, everybody thought Amazon is just going to sit in the backseat and stay out of the tablet wars. They were wrong.
Amazon has every plan to make Kindle a strong rival for the upcoming Google and Apple tablets. It plans to do so by opening up the Kindle API for developers. The story first broke unofficially on blogs, but has been confirmed by an official statement from Amazon. The app store will be launched later this year but a guide to developers toolkit is already available at http://www.amazon.com/kdk/ and a limited beta will be launched next month. Developers will be able to download the actual toolkit starting next month that will also include a Kindle simulator to test developed apps on the Kindle devices as well as Mac, PC and Linux desktops.
Amazon will split revenue with developers at 30/70 with developers keeping 70% of it. Amazon is hoping this will make Kindle more customized and expect to see all kinds of apps including utilities and games. Reportedly, EA Games is already in talks with Amazon to develop games for Kindle.
Amazon is hoping to make Kindle an intermediate device between your cell phone and your computer, something which Apple and Google are also aiming to achieve with their upcoming tablets. With a 3G network, Kindle would see some really useful and unique apps that might give Apple and Google a tough competition. This piece of news also puts Amazon ahead of all other upcoming e-readers that are supposed to launch later this year.