Same old, same old control-freak Apple: they'll be "gatekeeper" for third-party iPhone apps

Same old, same old control-freak Apple: they'll be "gatekeeper" for third-party iPhone apps

Summary: Jeremy Horvitz from iLounge has been listening to some developers with apparent knowledge of the iPhone SDK due next week.He's gleaned that Apple plans to require that all mobile applications be distributed through its iTunes Store.


Jeremy Horvitz from iLounge has been listening to some developers with apparent knowledge of the iPhone SDK due next week.

He's gleaned that Apple plans to require that all mobile applications be distributed through its iTunes Store.

Perhaps more important, Jeremy notes his sources tell him that Apple’s SDK intends to specify that Apple has the right plan is its intention to formally approve or deny all SDK-based software releases for its devices.

"Our sources confirm that Apple will act as a gatekeeper for applications, deciding which are and are not worthy of release, and publishing only approved applications to the iTunes Store; a process that will less resemble the iTunes Store’s massive directory of podcasts than its sale of a limited variety of iPod Games," Jeremy writes.

"Sources told iLounge that the collective impact of Apple’s decisions will be to control and stifle third-party development at a critical juncture in iPhone and iPod history, limiting what could be an open, thriving Mac-like collection of applications and accessories to a smaller, more stagnant iPod-like controlled environment," Jeremy adds.

Apple as "gatekeeper?" Imagine that!

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

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  • Phones should be...

    [url=]Open to anything[/url]
    D T Schmitz
    • like?

      Malware, viri & rootkits?
      • Like this is your brain on drugs


        Get with the program! Nokia NSeries
        D T Schmitz
  • Thank god that Android is coming. This will help force the others to open

  • Message has been deleted.

    • responsibility

      You mean as a phone user you don't want to be responsible for the stuff you download onto your phone? You want to be able to blame others?
  • RE: Same old, same old control-freak Apple: they'll be

    Two comments. One, don't forget the fact that this SDK will also enable iPod touch devices. With 100M iPods sold the potential to convert that market to touch users is HUGE. I have recently blogged about the touch from perspective of user and from developer perspective (in anticipation of SDK). Check out the post if interested:

    iPod touch: Take two

    My second comment is that iPhones/iPods are highly performance sensitive. You really don't want a gee-whiz app making your phone unusable or causing your music to skip because the developer didn't understand how to manage allocation of scarce resources.

    If Apple didn't control its sandbox it would be...Windows. At the same time, if it manages too much, it risks repeating the moral of the story of Windows; namely that he who cultivates the biggest base of developers wins.


  • same old

    What is any different what apple from what msft get sued for. why isn't this monopolistic behavior.
  • Good, though...

    I have no problem with Apple being the gate keeper and only allowing high quality app's through, as long as that's what they do.

    The problem I have is that I don't live in a country with access to the iTunes store. People in such countries, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong to mention a few, have not been able to upload the latest iPod Touch upgrade pack. So when a steady flow of app's start coming out of the iTS what happens if I want one? That's my problem with it.
    A Grain of Salt
  • Its the Steve Jobs way

    This is just another way to force people into using iTunes. Its funny how the ipod is the Windows PC of MP3 players and if microsoft were to do something like this there would be a huge outcry. They are trying and want to create a closed market for MP3 and music purchasing which is one of the biggest monopolies I see in the market today. Its funny how some say "if they didn't do this it would just be a windows pc". Very true, microsoft has to depend on many others for their product to work well while Apple controls everything so obviously has an advantage in some ways, but does not foster the kind of competition and development that I would advocate in the market. Same reason I switched from a Mac to a PC in the late 90's, things just took off on the Windows Platform and I felt the potential and was very much correct. Microsoft has built a huge network of developers and I think with the release of the code for hooking into many of their products will increase this even more while Apple keeps the front door locked and closed. Apple found the new American way, selling a sexy looking product that takes people like an Obama town hall meeting.
  • It's called "quality control", Russell

    Let's face it--not all third-party apps are five-star winners. In fact, some are downright dogs. And some of the "dogs" might even compromise the stability and functionality of the basic phone. Can you blame Apple for wanting to maintain the level of usability and reputation for above-average quality they've worked hard to earn? I can't.
    • No way.

      Your argument only makes sense if 1) People are going to bother (they may not, only to be shot down by Apple and 2) Apple itself is going to system test every application. They don't have the ability. Let's put it a different way, take EVERY SINGLE java application that exists, then tell Sun, YOU test it all.

      If the SDK is valid, an application should not be able to compromise stability, period. The application itself may suck wind, which will doom it anyway, but in no way should be able to compromise the iPhone. That's the whole point of an SDK and runtime environment.

      This is about Apple enforcing iTunes, and being in a position to eliminate any application that it can construe as detrimental to it's bottom line (say, a streamlined super cool easy to use app that integrates to Amazon MP3 store).

      • I'm thinking...

        that developers will overwhelmingly want to have their apps on iTunes, because that's where the 95% non-geek population will be doing their shopping for add-ons. The iTunes channel will also no doubt make the install process more straightforward for the non-geeks.

        You're right that Apple can't possibly test every app. But if they're on iTunes, they can give problem apps (and there will be some of those!) the hook, right?
        • The need to make it a choice.

          Spin this a different way, what if they offered to integrate anybody's app into iTunes. That would get people excited. Now we see that people MUST use iTunes, no choice. I also question your 95%. The overwhelming majority of iPod users don't buy much music at all.

          I guess I don't see the iTunes draw as mandatory. What can people buy there today except Music?

          No, I still say that (yes some will) the iTunes Apple control will drive development to other platforms.

    • some people say apple can do no wrong "EVER"

      and your one of them.

      have they ever made one single mistake... EVER?


      please repond logically.. then i may respect your opinion in the future.
  • Next thing you know...

    OS vendors will want to be such control freaks, they'll
    want signed drivers.
    • That equals the SDK

      Singed drivers IS valid for Apple to control, because they wrote the sandbox. Specifically, Apple provides the drivers (runtime environment) and tools (SDK) to use said drivers. Now they want to be able to tell everyone how they are allowed to play in the sand.

      This is a stupid move, beyond stupid, by Apple. People just WON'T be told by one company how they are allowed to operate. Kind of like how at time MS is the very best friend Open Source can have, this policy will be a HUGE shot in the arm to Android adoption.

  • It will backfire

    MS (had) the ability to tell the world when, where and what they could do, and now the world is largely getting out from under that thumb. Nobody want to be TOLD how, why and on someone else's terms what they can and can't do. It won't matter if the iPhone is 10x better than any competition, and as noted above by Donnie, Android or other will draw the excitement.

    That's why open source is flourishing, why the internet is growing at extreme paces, freedom.

    Sony tried to control MD, Beta, and a whole host of other formats that Phillips beat them on because Phillips offered the freedom.

    Apple, take a lesson from history, you as gatekeeper will, long term, before you change this stupid "gatekeeper" policy, doom the iPhone. Not only that, good luck trying to lock out those applications, I give you as much chance of making that fly as Plays For Sure making a comeback.

    I predict that, unless they get a clue, Android will be by far, the defacto standard with hundreds (thousands) of apps by 2010.

    • And no one will buy songs on iTunes.

      Could it be, that Apple wants a single place for application installation and
      distribution. The same iLounge source also said that free software could be
      distributed outside the iTunes system.

      Noticed that was left out.
      • So is it only proprietary?

        Free software can be installed outside the iTunes application? What is to prevent a paid application taking the non iTunes route (EULA?). I didn't say people don't buy from iTunes, but on average, it is not their primary source.

        So, let's take bets, will Amazon's SDK that offers seamless (and tied into your PC account) purchase of MP3s from the iTouch be allowed by Apple?