Gay Cure app pulled from App Store – expect precedential backlash

Not that it’s my strong suit or anything, but I certainly take issue with Apple’s wording of Exodus International’s Gay Cure rejection letter, which went something like this:

“We removed the Exodus International app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.” (Cult of Mac emphasis kept).

Presumably, the ‘large groups of people’ Apple reference is – in this instance – the gay community. The problem, of course, is that the wording is otiose and could be construed to fit anyone’s purposes. Imagine Canon camera fans taking issue with Nikon Learn & Explore app. Or, Oxford dictionary devs taking issue with (admittedly inferior) Webster dev counterparts. Without even touching the political/religious debate, Apple have opened a can of worms by failing to properly copy edit their marketing literature. They aren’t some two-bit blog, they’re the most iconic tech company in the world, and their moves (no matter how small) vibrate around the world.

On the other hand, Exodus International’s rebuttals are hardly convincing, either. Exodus’ next editions: The Mormon Cure, the Jewish Cure, the Liberal Cure, the Evolutionist Cure, to be followed by: the Mormon Solution, the Jewish Solution, etc.. Both sides adroitly prove just how flawed a system of checks and balances can be.

Thanks Cult of Mac.

Apple refuse to sell DRM-free eBooks

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Canadian Science Fiction giant, Cory Doctorow, has put up a nice piece about why Apple and Sony suck. Rather than getting into boring techie talk, he very stealthily opines as a writer who longs for a DRM-less world, one where users can share, buy, borrow, and lend digital content as easily as they do non-digital content. As a content creator, his is a unique and important viewpoint that clashes directly with antiquated pro-Bono business models. Doctorow’s body of science fiction is captivatingly modern and so too are his finger-to-the-man opinions that hopefully, will help change the way digital books are circulated.

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Suing negligence, or competition? Apple VS iPod accessory makers

We’ve all got ’em: docks, earphones, cases, speakers, keyboards – you name it – the iDevice is a virtual swamp for accessory flora. There are loads of great options out there, but according to Apple, a number of products of ‘inferior quality’ have also crept in. So what? Well, Apple being Apple, have attached a couple of strings to the whole thing.

Yes, the iDevice accessory market is lucrative, but entering it requires Apple’s blessing, i.e., licensing. Unblessed items are now targeted by the turtlenecks in Cupertino on the grounds that they both infringe on Apple’s trademarks and “damage Apple’s products”. Apple’s suit cites faulty accessories such as battery chargers that deplete, rather than charge Apple products. Remember, this is the same Apple who are responsible for exploding iPhones and faulty iPhone 4 antennas. I think the real issue, however, is illuminated pretty well over at Bloomberg:

The suit is an example of the tight grip Apple keeps on its products, including approval of accessories and applications. Apple has a program called “Made for iPod” under which manufacturers get a license to sell accessories for devices. Apple collects a royalty of 20 percent to 25 percent from each sale of a licensed accessory, according to Shaw Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Bros. LP in San Francisco.

“If you sell speakers for $100, Apple gets $20 to $25,” said Wu, who has a “buy” rating on Apple shares and doesn’t own them.

From a consumer’s perspective, I don’t get it. If I buy a Made for iPod accessory, I know it will work. I also know it will cost more money. My money can go elsewhere, to knock-off brands or my own DIY work – who cares? Right, poor Apple miss out on 20-25% of their bottom line and the chance to play babysitter for their poor, naive customers.

App Store Rejections: ‘why’ not ‘what’

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John Gruber attempts to tackle a very contentious App Store issue: Apple’s sly policy regarding App Store rejections. TMA has taken to a nicknaming Apple’s undisclosed rejection policy: Bad Apple – and I think it applies. Gruber points out that iPhone OS hardware stakes the middle ground between relative openness in personal computers, and the strict control seen in console computing. The platform is strong because of strict hardware and software integration; nothing can stand against it.

But the iPhone is still a new platform: it’s been tested and proved in demand, but in order to keep that demand relevant, Apple need to focus on their dearest customer: the developer. Who wants to create high-quality content for a platform only to see it rejected? The ball is in Apple’s court and rather than acing their developer base, it is time to sacrifice something for openness. Everyone stands to benefit from Apple’s responsibility.

Keeping the rules secret may make things easier for Apple, but it’s weakening the platform. Clarity is a sign of strength. If Apple’s leadership wants the tight control, they should accept the amount of hard work that would go along with managing it openly.

App Store Boner: No ‘Pad’ for App Store developers

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Thanks to anonymity and great spacial distances, the internet generally protects people from physical violence at the hands of totalitarian gestapos. Unfortunately it can’t stop tyranny from laying into people, companies, or other gestapos. Recently, Apple attacked the developer of two legit iPad apps for incorportating the word, ‘Pad’ into the app name. Evidently, if your app has ‘Pad’ in its name, you will suffer the ban hammer or have to change the app’s name. Apple are no strangers to sudden app removals and bans. Unfortunately for JournalPad and JournalPad: Bible Study Edition‘s developer, a lot of money was already funnelled into marketing the apps. Both apps have been trimmed to : journal.APP, and bibleStudy.APP respectively. Take a minute to read this ringer from Jobs Himself.

“Its just common sense to not use another company’s trademarks in your app name.”

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Jobs and Schmidt caught coffee’ing

When relationships go sour, drama breaks out. It’s fair to say that the recent Jobs/Schmidt coffee meeting may have been planned to spurn the rumours that relationship between infinity and the fruit has gone sour grapes. The two high-ups met over coffee with their expensive cars parked outside and after Gizmodo’s tipster snapped a few shots. Snippets of the conversation seemed well-timed: “They’re going to see it all eventually so who cares how they get it”, and “Let’s go discuss this somewhere more private”, and provocative to say the least.

Piccies and more after the gap:

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Adobe: Flash, it’s Apple’s issue

If Apple and Google are having it out, Adobe and Apple, who have had rough hits regarding Adobe’s proprietary Flahs, are having it out too. Steve Jobs (cue heavenly fanfare) has said Adobe’s software isn’t stable on OSX, but now Adobe are at Apple’s neck, saying it is an Apple problem. When will this silliness ever end? According to Zdnet, Adobe’s CEO, Shantanu Narayen, has this to say of the situation:

“We’ve been fairly transparent,” said Narayen. “We’re committed to bringing flash to any platform with a screen. This has nothing to do with technology. It’s an apple issue and you’ll have to check in with them.”

More Flash goodness/badness after the gap:

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Apple robbed of Facebook dev – skinny 19 year old gets away


Not that we are taken with wild stories or anything, but this one is a quite a read. One of the App Store’s most respected devs, Joe Hewitt has quit the App Store because of Apple’s horrid review policies. His App Store claim to fame is the hugely popular Facebook app which has gone through numerous updates and is considered by many to be one of the most elegant apps out there. Love or hate the app, the man behind incessant friend updates is gone. You can read all about it at TechCrunch. But there is more…

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