Apple still neglecting developer community

Apple still neglecting developer community

Summary: This week, Apple unveiled its iPhone 3.0 OS and wowed the world with new APIs and the addition of basic features that other mobile phones have had for years.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Apple
17

This week, Apple unveiled its iPhone 3.0 OS and wowed the world with new APIs and the addition of basic features that other mobile phones have had for years. But while the company is getting huge praise for its shiny phone OS, it still drops the ball when it comes to tending to its developer community. According to Wired, one vendor is in the hole $600,000 due to Apple's neglect.

Eric Thomas, CEO of FreedomVoice Systems, told staff this week that the company is ceasing indefinitely any work on an iPhone voice app, called Newber, because Apple will neither accept it nor reject it. FreedomVoice has so far invested $600,000 and more than half a year in the app.

"We followed all guidelines set by Apple throughout the development process and have never received comment from Apple as to why the Newber application has still not even been reviewed," Thomas wrote in a letter to FreedomVoice staff, provided to Wired.com. "Steve Jobs hailed the App Store as, 'the best deal going to distribute applications to mobile platforms.' Our experience is that it is the worst deal going."

It's bad enough that Apple stands as gatekeeper between developers and users, but to fail developers by keeping their apps in limbo for six months.

We should be surprised that Apple hasn't gotten on the stick with its developer community. The iPhone is slick, to be sure, but it's nothing without all the 3rd party apps that make it truly useful. And alternatives are starting to emerge.

Though none of the major contenders are truly "open" in every sense of the word, Android and others are much more open than Apple -- and apparently understand the developer community a bit more. If Apple doesn't get a clue, it may well see Android and others taking a bite.

It'd be nice to see Apple be more open here -- coming from a FOSS background, I can't identify with the concept of giving a single entity the right of deciding what applications may be shipped to users. But if you accept the idea that Apple should be a gatekeeper, the company could at least communicate with its developer community and give timely feedback.

Topic: Apple

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

17 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Windows Mobile is a much better platform ....

    for developers... There are endless outlets for distributing the software...including your own website if you wish. Programming for it is simple using any number of tools... Visual Studio.. Pocketbuilder etc...

    It has so many more features than iPhone and Andriod it is not even in competition with them on that front.

    The only problem is.. Microsoft doesn't have Bill Gates marketing it.. Ballmer has NO CLUE how to promote something...as has been witnessed over the last few years since he took over.

    notlehs
    • I agree!

      Developers are very happy with the WM platform and all its abilities. Users scour the net to load their devices with dozens of Apps.
      rynning
    • Thank you (NT)

      .
      silent.griffin
    • Word of mouth is the best marketing

      and always has been. If Windows Mobile were so awesome, MS wouldn't
      HAVE to spend tons marketing it, everyone would want one because the
      one they saw their friend using was so cool.

      frgough
    • I've been using Windows Mobile since 'PocketPC 2002'

      Hate to say it, but whittled down Win98 or not, it's been by and large a stable experience.

      I even tried Palm for a while, and the third party apps and integration just weren't there. By comparison.

      HypnoToad
  • Decidedely Not Wowed

    For a company which is often credited with revolutionizing the industry, they have a pretty low bar for "wowing the world." After watching the event, I can say that I was decidedely not wowed. The new consumer features bring iPhone 3.0 into feature parity with Windows Mobile (and in some cases, even Palm).

    While some of the new developer frameworks seem nice (like in application sound), others are a total dissapointment (like push notifications). On the whole I would say that iPhone 3.0 is a wash (at best). And it appears that the user community more or less agrees with me. On handheld site jkOntheRun, over 40% of survey respondents said they were <a href="http://jkontherun.com/2009/03/17/iphone-30-underwhelming-super-exciting-or-just-right/">underwhelmed with the new OS</a>.
    Rob Oakes
    • Wow or not

      The main problem is alienating the developer community, I think. The OS doesn't have to be the compelling part - what inspires people to get iPhones right now (at least from my perspective) is the mixture of applications and media with the mobile phone. But take away the apps, and Apple is in trouble.
      Zonker_z
      • The iPhone is a 'software delivery platform' and not just a phone

        you say "But take away the apps, and Apple is in trouble."

        Apple's approach to the iPhone is different than the other producers,
        Apple say they approach the iPhone as a 'software platform'.

        Other phone makers approach it as hardware and they try to
        differentiate with hardware e.g more pixels on the camera. But that's
        defeatist as that becomes a commodity war: everybody can basically
        put the same hardware out.

        Apple is smarter and differentiates it with software and they also
        control the 'delivery platform' which is the phone.

        Win Mo is in trouble because with the multiplicity of phones
        (hundreds of models) with different hardware features and slightly
        different Win Mo Os versions its very hard to write apps for them and
        many apps don't work well. The other phone makers aren't experts at
        advanced software at all.

        The iPhone is the most advanced smart phone os out there even
        against the Pre. The Palm Pre WebOs is based on webkit which was
        originally developed by Apple. Apple uses webkit in Safari but decided
        to use unix OsX as the main iPhone Os. That's why they are no
        advanced games shown on the Pre presentation as the Pre os is
        currently not up to it (as far as I'm aware of).

        Davewrite
      • And there is no sign of developers jumping ship.

        In fact, the number of active registered developers keeps climbing with
        the vast majority ending up having (+) experiences.

        There have been several flub ups in the process but Apple has been
        learning on the go with this one.
        Bruizer
  • Protection From Idiots

    Do I want a gatekeeper at schools? Yep. Do i want a gatekeeper for my phone? yep. My phone is too valuable a device where any joe on the street can pretend to be somebody else and insert software or apps to it - it's like those first java apps - stand over here, we'll squirt it into your machine. Apple has built the FIRST mobile gatekeeping system that users are happy with - for developers, if they produce something that meets minimal apple standards, they get a potential audience of 30-million users and growing everyday, If that doesn't meet with your needs, then set up your lemonade stand elsewhere - How do we really know this guy has been at it for 6 months? maybe he can't fill out forms or his app is wonky? He says he spent $600k - did you investgate to see if it's true? That gov't toilet costs $17 million - does that make it right? You automatically assume he's correct and 100% truthful and that Apple is "the bad guy" but I'll bet if Apple let on an app that crashed your phone or like SONGBIRD, kills your ipod, would you just shrug and say, that'sthe beauty of openess or will you scream bloody murder that Apple lets anyone in? Basically, we have 28,000 app and maybe 100 not approved but let's focus on that 100 who can't figure out how to sign an app form. Of course, if this guy is even telling the truth.
    jbelkin
    • Spoken like a true idiot ...

      I guess what they say about, if you can't attack the message, go for the messenger is very true for you jbelkin.
      Stop apologising for Apple's shortcomings and try to look at the situation from outside the shiny RDF.
      Scrat
  • Apple Bad? So how come 25,000 iphone Apps? More iPhone Apps than Win Mo?

    According to Ars Technica after 9 months of the
    App Store the iPhone has now more apps than Win Mobile although
    Win Mo has been out for years. Beating Win mobile means Apple is
    Number One, more apps than Nokia etc. --after 9 months! and the
    app number is continuing to grow fast.

    So if Apple is so nasty to developers why does the app
    store have over 25,000 apps, why do thousands and
    thousands of developers jump on the iPhone bandwagon?

    Many many developers are making tons of money from the
    iPhone some millions. Wired calls it a 'gold rush'.

    ONE example given and the headline reads "Apple Still Neglecting
    Developer Community". This headline implies a general condition. But
    the contention that Apple is neglecting'the developer community' and
    developers don't like Apple falls flat on the reality of the numbers --
    hey 25,000 apps APPROVED in less than a year! That's NEGLECT?

    If Apple was such an azz why are thousands and thousands of
    developers writing iPhone apps. Are they (some of whom have made
    millions on the iPhone) stupid ? Are those hundreds of developers
    crowding the 3.0 sdk presentation and the iGames convention figure
    they can't make money?

    ---
    ars technica:

    "Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS has been around for nearly
    nine years now, and in that time a substantial number of
    applications have been released for it. In fact, Windows
    Mobile has held the title of the mobile platform with the
    most applications for a long time. Not anymore, however?
    Apple's App Store has finally overtaken Windows Mobile as
    the (commercial) mobile application leader."

    "The report says that there are "more than 20,000 different
    types of software" available for the platform, many from
    third-party sites. Assuming those numbers are true, the
    App Store has knocked off nine years of Windows Mobile
    applications after less than nine months, which is quite an
    impressive feat."
    Davewrite
    • Try reading the ars technica article again you muppet...

      Here, seeing as you seem to be suffering from koolaid-induced brain rot, I'll spell it out for you (albeit slowly):
      "Apple's App Store has finally overtaken Windows Mobile as the [b](commercial)[/b] mobile application leader..."
      Can you see the key word there - COMMERCIAL.
      The only way to get apps onto the iPhone is via Apple, whereas developers for WinMo can deploy their apps any way they wish - commercial or free. Now, if you did the numbers for the TOTAL amount of apps available for both the iPhone and WinMo, I'd bet a considerable amount of money that there are quite a few more than 25,000 apps available for WinMo.

      Keep slurping up the tainted Kool-Aid. If you like living in an Orwellian world where your overlords spoon-feed you what they deem "appropriate", simply because they feel you are too stupid to evaluate what is safe or not, then the iPhone is definately for you.

      I on the other hand...
      Scrat
      • LOL! Just commercial is embarrassing enough for loser Win Mo

        I don't see you backing up your claims from a reliable source about
        what actual numbers are since you said there are lot more win Mo
        apps (for all I know that might just be a tiny handful more non
        commercial apps). Still even if it was JUST COMMERCIAL isn't it a kick
        in the pants to Win Mo? Emphasize KICK in the PANTS.

        Years and years of development, shrill shreaking from the Win crowd
        and Apple whacks win Mo off the pedestal in 9 freaking months when
        Win Mo out for donkey years? Is that a laugh or what!?

        Even if Apple had HALF the apps it would be embarrassing! Apple
        practically has only one phone version. To anybody with a brain that
        would prove Win Mo is limp!

        And Apple Haters keep saying the iPhone is a toy, so whacking Win
        Mo with COMMERCIAL apps i.e money making things is another lol!

        If Win Mo was any good at all how can Apple even come CLOSE to
        dethroning it (even if only commercial apps) in 9 months?

        Compare this to MS's sad Zune story. The Zune vs iPod story is the
        closest comparison to the iPhone vs Win Mo story.
        MS spent 100 million $ for the Zune launch alone, endless advertising,
        millions of MS loving PC users, discounted bargain bin rebates (Zunes
        are money losers as MS subsidizes their cost) and the Zune is a
        complete loss to the ipod, Zune sales down 54% while ipod UP.
        Reviewer's compare the zune to the iPod CLASSIC i,e Apple's old
        technology, no one compares it to the iPod Touch (thats a lol in itself)
        Meanwhile everyone calls the iPhone 'ground breaking' 'iconic' etc,
        anybody call the Zune things like that?

        Fact is your great Win Mo platform is panned by most critics as a piece
        of crap which most people find hard to use.

        Compare that to Apple practically kicking off Win Mobile in 2 years (9
        months app store). Only smart-phone guys selling better than Apple
        now are Nokia and Rim. Win Mo numbers would even be worse if PC
        using commercial firms don't force their long suffering employees to
        use them.

        And calling me a muppet and all kinds of other names when I post
        polite post (not even directed at you) shows your character and means
        I must have really hit a nerve. Does using PC products make you
        angry all the time?


        Davewrite
      • Mobile World Congress 2009: Sony and Samsung ABANDON Win Mo! LOL!

        In this years Mobile World Congress two out of four of Win Mo's
        biggest
        customers i.e Sony Errisson and Samsung both abandon Win Mo and
        embrace Symbian for their flagship phones.

        lol!

        If that's hard to understand here it is in simple terms: 2 of the biggest
        phone makers in the world think Win Mo is useless. Sort of blows BIG
        holes in your idea of Win Mo being great huh? This is Sony and
        Samsung who also build PCs and even they can't stand Win Mo! lol! lol!

        is more proof needed for win mo's inferiority?
        Davewrite
  • How do you get 25,000 apps if "Apple Neglecting Developer Community?"

    Apple worked with developers and approved 25,000 apps in less than a
    year (App Store only up 9 months). That shows neglect?

    Davewrite
    • Joe is a FOSS mouth piece.

      And this gives him a voice about how evil Apple may (or may not) be
      without knowing all the facts. Let's print second source material as pure
      unadulterated truth.

      This is typical ZDNet now-a-days (DRM in headphones anyone?)
      Bruizer