"Without Apple's prior written approval, an Application may not provide, unlock or enable additional features or functionality through distribution mechanisms other than the iTunes Store."
"I cited section 3.3.3 of the iPhone SDK as the most basic reason why Apple denied the Podcaster app from App Store distribution."
That's very nice, but what Dilger cites or what I cite is irrelevant, it is not what Apple cited. If they HAD cited 3.3.3 then people would've been pissed off but it would've been understandable. The problem is that Apple flat out said that "this duplicates functionality in iTunes" was the reason for the denial.
"Apple doesn’t want any apps that require users to go to a website and pay money in order to unlock or enhance them. Apple wants all revenues flowing through the App Store, where it can get its cut."
How does Podcaster do that? People don't pay for podcasts downloaded through Podcaster nor through iTunes, so it's not like Apple is losing any money or Podcaster is circumventing Apple for making money.
"Refusing to allow Podcaster to bypass iTunes is pretty straightforwardly an obvious defense of the relevance and prominence of iTunes among podcasters."
Apple didn't invent podcasts. Apple doesn't own the concept of podcasts. All a podcast is, is an RSS feed with audio attachments. Most podcasts offer RSS feeds of their own so you don't have to go directly through iTunes if you don't want to, a fact that Apple acknowledges by letting you add a podcasts by just adding an RSS feed URL.
iTunes isn't going to lose any relevance in downloading podcasts at all if Podcaster is released. And any discussion of this being the cause for Apple rejecting Podcaster is coming back to the fact that this is an incredibly anti-competitive act that is harming innovation on the iPhone, stunting its growth and scaring away developers to other platforms.
"The problem is that those apps are all only using the network when the user is actively using them. Podcaster is designed to queue up huge podcast data files and truck them over the network nonstop in the background. "
Well this bit is bullshit. Applications can't run in the background on the iPhone, I would love for Dilger to explain around that fundamental fact. Again, if downloading in the background was the reason for rejection then why didn't Apple say that?
"Gruber recommends that the app could be made WiFi only, but it was not. This is all really immaterial however, because first and foremost, Podcaster was declined because it provides a downloads as "feature through a distribution mechanism that is other than iTunes.""
It was not made WiFi only because it was not asked to be made WiFi only and there is nothing in the terms and conditions that states what can and cannot be done over the mobile networks. If Apple had asked the developer to make it WiFi only I'm sure they would have obliged, but they didn't. They also did not decline it because it had a distribution mechanism that wasn't iTunes, but that it duplicated functionality in iTunes. And not just that, but functionality in iTunes on a different platform.
"Sure, a lot of the restrictions also protect users, Apple’s partners, and really even developers, but Apple is a corporation in business to make money."
But the question is, what is the money that Apple is losing out on with Podcaster. Podcasts make a loss for Apple, there is no revenue from them. Apple hosts them and delivers them to users for free. What is Apple afraid of losing, traffic to the iTunes store? As I've previously stated there are ways to add podcast feeds to iTunes without the need for the store, and if you do subscribe via the store then you don't need to go back to the store after that point.
"The original Macintosh shipped without a Lisa Office suite of productivity apps because third party developers demanded that Apple provide them with a competition-free market to make money in."
Well that was pulled from somewhere where the sun doesn't normally shine. How does this relate to the Podcaster issue? I'm not entirely sure but Dilger seems to have some strange idea that it does. Do any readers know of anyone who has been calling for Apple to remove iTunes over the Podcaster incident? I definitely don't.
"In Apple’s case, its own best interests are often aligned with those of the consumer, because smart products, elegant design, and competitive innovation are things that benefit both. Developers benefit by catching the wave of Apple’s surging popularity."
A platform without developers is a product. The most important people in any platform should be developers. These should come first on any platform. THEN users come next. This may sound backwards to many people, but it is developers that make a platform attractive to users. Apple usually does realise this, just look at any OS X release and you'll see that a huge number of the changes have nothing to do with users at all and are aimed squarely at developers. But with the iPhone Apple isn't putting the developers first. It isn't even putting users first. It is Apple first and then everyone else can pick at what is left.
"For decades, Mac writers have been blaming Apple with ”moral transgressions“ for not providing third party developers a welfare handout for being smaller. This is inappropriate when addressing any rational, intelligent adult audience. Talking about what Apple "should do" is just more of the same."
And this one paragraph sums Dilger up perfectly... well actually this tweet does but that paragraph does a pretty good job. How would Podcaster harm Apple? The developer isn't some big company, it is no real threat to Apple. People would have had to find Podcaster and choose to pay the money to buy it and download it. Apple not only provides but requires iTunes in order to use your iPhone and also puts its stores on the home page of every one.
Dilger is playing the über fanboy and trying to position Apple as the poor defenceless company trying to survive against mean developers who want to destroy it, like those who develop Podcaster. In reality the Podcaster developer just wants to give a few people some functionality they really want and make some money on the way. Apple has an absolutely huge advantage over the Podcaster developer without needing to block them.
The biggest flaw in Dilger's argument is that he is trying to give reasons for why Podcaster was rejected by Apple. The thing is that Apple has given the reason and that reason is nowhere in the terms and conditions. Dilger is putting words into Apple's mouth and you cannot make any sort of valid argument with anyone, if you're attempting to speak for them.
“The biggest flaw in Dilger’s argument is that he is trying to give reasons for why Podcaster was rejected by Apple. The thing is that Apple has given the reason and that reason is nowhere in the terms and conditions”
More lies. The ONLY info on why Podcaster was rejected comes from “Podcaster” itself. Have you seen something directly from Apple?
The SDK forbids direct downloads outside of iTunes for security reasons. Podcaster had to know this, yet ignored it. Why?
The problem is that 3.3.3 refers to “unlocking new features or functionality”, i.e. updating the application. You cannot download a new version of your application, or plugins or anything like that. However podcasts are (at least the last time I checked) not applications. They are content and they don’t add any features or functionality to the application.
“The problem is that 3.3.3 refers to “unlocking new features or functionality”
Who said anything about 3.3.3 other than Dilger? Did Apple???
It was made clear BY STEVE JOBS right from the iPhone intro at MacWorld that for security reasons, everything downloaded would go through iTunes.
A direct downloaded podcast could include malware. Opening up the iPhone to direct downloads would be the end of the iPhone.
There are just too many enemies out there who would like to see the iPhone ruined. Look at the torrent of hate surrounding Podcaster. 98% of them are the SAME haters that grind away on everything Apple does all over the internet. This whole thing is anti-iPhone PROPAGANDA. Possibly even beginning with “Podcaster”.
Then how do you explain away Tap Tap Revolution, NetNewsWire, even Apple’s built in Mail program? All could theoretically give you malware as well. Frankly it’s a lame excuse.
And those 98% include many top iPhone and Mac developers, plus many major Apple bloggers. This isn’t some bunch of Apple haters, these are core Apple supporters, people who make the Mac community what it is. I love Apple, I love my iPod touch and I just forked over more than a grand to Apple for a new Mac. But the fact is that what they are doing is denying an application simply because it competes with them, which is something that is both anti-competitive but also not mentioned anywhere in the terms and conditions of the SDK.
Read the SDK people. Apple made it quite clear in the license agreement for their iPhone SDK that any applications that attempt to bypass iTunes for the download of content would not be allowed without Apple’s specific permission. This is primarily to hinder the future distribution of possible malicious content. The competing examples given stream the content but do not save them to the iPhone.
Without this ban Apple would have to check every single one of the apps for possible backdoor activity. Nightmare.
With this policy Apple only has to maintain the security on iTunes not the thousands on AppStore.
This is your phone people, you want any man and his dog to be able to use your bandwidth? Want to pay for a 150gb upload from a bot installed by a hijacked app? You want Windows on your iPhone?
Apple is not being capricious or anti-competitive, they’re being careful of our security and being consistent with their SDK license terms.
All the rest of the controversy is based on the interpretation of Apple’s statement via the developer. Irrelevant. Does his app violate the SDK? Yes, it downloads content directly, not thru iTunes. It violates the SDK, no going on AppStore. Simple.
He’s to be laughed at for developing a app that clearly violates the SDK.
Even with that ignorance he can still sell his app. Just not via the AppStore. If you want to distribute you must abide by the terms. Whether Apple is “wrong” is just personal opinion. Personally i believe my iPhone’s security is paramount. Certainly more important than a developers hissy fit and ignorance.
The Google Android will have to do exactly the same thing to maintain security. Again, it’s a phone not general purpose computer, it’ll have to have a much higher level of security.
Just had another thought. Here in Australia my iPhone plan comes with 100mb a month allowance, if i go over that i get charged 30cents a megabyte.
Here’s a scenario: I once cleaned out a PC that had a bot that had upped over 3gb in a month (we got contacted by the ISP). Bot got installed somehow, <shrugs> PC’s .
Know how much that would have cost me if it happened to my iPhone? Want to bet that the carrier would have waived the amount?
A little bit of math: 2900 x .3 =$870AUD about 689 USD.
Chance of that happening with a tethered iTunes phone? 0%
Chance of it happening via apps allowed non-iTunes download? Look at the PC situation.
How much do you want to download Podcasts offline? Worth $689 to you?
Not to me.
I am stunned by the level of ignorance of the people who are defending Apples actions based on a security of iPhone argument.
@Jeremy : “Want to pay for a 150gb upload from a bot installed by a hijacked app?”
Jeremy, you do realize that it is not currently possible for a ‘bot’ (which we more commonly can call a background process) to run on your iPhone? Don’t you? No application can run as a background app on the iPhone (unless you Jailbreak it, for which of course you assume full responsibility for any installation of malware). I would like to see you try to generate 150GB of traffic and upload it from your iPhone.
Bogus Argument 2:
@Jeremy : “Read the SDK people. Apple made it quite clear in the license agreement for their iPhone SDK that any applications that attempt to bypass iTunes for the download of content would not be allowed without Apple’s specific permission.”
This is just not the case. For example, I point you to ‘Epocrates’ which was one of the first apps released. It requires a login to a web service from which it downloads (and updates periodically) a full database of drug information for medical professionals. Clearly this is downloaded content (just like an RSS ‘podcast’). And just as clearly, it is not any type of extra feature. Are you a registered iPhone app developer? Have YOU read the SDK agreement? If so, you realize you are breaking that agreements NDA by discussing it. So either you are full of crap, or breaking the SDK and its NDA that you profess to protect so dearly.
Bogus Argument #3
Bogus Argument #4
@Zato : “The SDK forbids direct downloads outside of iTunes for security reasons. Podcaster had to know this, yet ignored it. Why?”
This is also clearly incorrect. There are now hundreds of iPhone apps (out of the 3,000+ available) that download something, with no iTunes required to be the middleman. There are apps that stream content (no persistent storage on the iPhone) and apps which download content for direct storage in the apps private area on the iPhone filesystem.
I tire of this trollery. Nice original post Pilky. And I loved that the NY Times jumped in and called Apples decision ‘capricious’. Be gone ignorant trolls!
Dumbass Apple apologists are like Jehovah’s Witnesses. Daniel Dilger is the biggest retard of them.
I think to say that this is a security concern is a bit of a red herring. If it became a security issue Apple could always kill the app, just like any other.
This is a distribution question. Currently podcasts are free. But you know that Amazon, Microsoft, Napster, etc. would love to have a way to get content onto the iPhone. Would it be impossible to imagine a subscription service that was delivered via an RSS feed? No. I believe that that is what Apple is trying to protect against. They don’t want anyone bypassing iTunes to sell content on the iPhone (at least audio conent - they seem to be letting eBook distributors sell content that is downloaded to the iPhone).
You just have to look at how companies make their money. Android won’t have these restrictions because Google makes their money off of ads. They don’t (at the current time) care where you get your media files from. Apple isn’t in the eBook business so they let eBook retailers distribute apps that let you read purchased eBooks. They are in the business of selling audio and video though so anything that tries to bypass them in that distribution process is probably going to run into trouble.
Not saying that it is ideal - but it probably is what is really going on.