Join 3,562 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Apple U-Turn
September 9, 2010 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Apple has suddenly reversed their stance on 3rd-party tools for iOS development. (From the horses's mouth.) This means that programmers will be able to use Adobe Flash (and other tools) to make iPhone (iPad, etc.) apps. It does NOT mean that Flash apps (swfs) will be able to run in iPhone or iPad browsers. That is still verboten. It means that developers won't be stuck using just XCode (Apple's code editor/compiler) and the Objective-C language. Alternatively, programmers will be able to use Actionscript (Flash's language) or some other language. Apple will allow cross-compiled apps to be sold in their app store. Meanwhile, porn is still not allowed. Responses: 1, 2, 3.
posted by grumblebee (280 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
And yet nerds everywhere will still be angry about it not playing OGG Vorbis.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:57 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


A step in the right direction. Now get started on stripping the arbitrary crazy from the secret admissions policy.
posted by kafziel at 9:58 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


porn is still not allowed

Also "Apps with metadata that mentions the name of any other mobile platform".

Still, as a developer i guess I can be a bit less pissed at them. A bit.
posted by Artw at 9:58 AM on September 9, 2010


Or "Apps that mention Steve Jobs in any way". Or "Apps that try to present a cohesive user interface by including things like pinch-to-zoom, because Apple doesn't want third-party apps to supplant native apps".
posted by kafziel at 10:01 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


so this is what the chances of me writing an iPhone app moving from zero to not-zero sounds like.
posted by Kwine at 10:02 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


the secret admissions policy

It's not secret anymore [pdf]. That said, it's still fairly subjective and includes a lot of 'may reject' language.
posted by jedicus at 10:04 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Apps that try to present a cohesive user interface by including things like pinch-to-zoom, because Apple doesn't want third-party apps to supplant native apps".

Citation needed. I don't bother to run many applications on my iPhone, but basically all the ones that I do have all use the pinch-zooming.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:04 AM on September 9, 2010


Daring Fireball also discusses the changes to the App Store:

This new document is written in remarkably casual language. For example, a few bullet items from the beginning:

"We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more Fart apps. ... If your App looks like it was cobbled together in a few days, or you’re trying to get your first practice App into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection. We have lots of serious developers who don’t want their quality Apps to be surrounded by amateur hour."

posted by Joe Beese at 10:04 AM on September 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is good news. If Apple is willing to continue walking in this new direction, I may one day switch back to iOS devices (I'm a recent Android convert, partly because of Apple's policies, partly because of the iPhone's exclusivity with AT&T... which is also on the way out). I'd love to return, I really would. iOS plays a lot nicer with my Mac.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:04 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


More Fart Apps!

now featuring Adobe® Flash®
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:05 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apple now "allows" independent developers to use (some) additional tools to create software to run on a computer purchased from them?

They really, really, really hate choice and freedom, don't they?
posted by DU at 10:06 AM on September 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


Thanks for linking that PDF, jedicus. I was hoping to get a look at the policy and I'm not a developer.
posted by immlass at 10:06 AM on September 9, 2010


These are very good policy changes and it's great to see Apple being willing to change - they seem to defend their policies as being perfect, until they change them.

Also, good on them for refusing new fart apps. If you're going to curate, curate!
posted by GuyZero at 10:07 AM on September 9, 2010


We don’t need any more Fart apps. ... We have lots of serious developers who don’t want their quality Apps to be surrounded by amateur hour.

Because there are lots of serious, professional fart apps.
posted by howling fantods at 10:07 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, that's because their original stance was idiotic.

It will be interesting to see how all the apple fans who calmed that this policy was the bees knees and how everyone who didn't agree with Apple's decisions were all morons who didn't know anything about what "users" wanted and how apple was keeping the App store pristine and all that will spin this.

My guess is they'll just ignore whatever they said before and claim this was totally the way to go and come up with some bullshit excuse for apple's prior behavior and never mention it again (like how they talk about how great Apps are in general, ignoring the fact that the original iPhone required jail breaking to run any apps and Apple only wanted people to write webapps)

Oh well. This is good but apple still sucks.
posted by delmoi at 10:07 AM on September 9, 2010 [12 favorites]


I haven't heard anyone idly speculate whether this is intended to get shot of that rumoured DoJ probe, but: it totally is, right? I'm not a member of the OMGDRM brigade, but Apple's seeming intransigence in this area has always struck me as a little odd.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 10:07 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the "casual language" is brilliant for communicating that subjective "quality" considerations are used in the admission process, and that apps can be rejected for non-objective reasons, i.e. you don't have "a constitutional right" to get your app into the store.
posted by flif at 10:09 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Citation needed. I don't bother to run many applications on my iPhone, but basically all the ones that I do have all use the pinch-zooming.

Here you go.

That doesn't preclude apps you have from using pinch-zoom, of course. Nobody's saying the approval process is applied consistently or fairly.
posted by kafziel at 10:10 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is good but apple still sucks.

iPads are the new declawed cats.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:12 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


We don’t need any more Fart apps.

So if you created a flash app with farting naked people having sex, Steve Job's head would explode?
posted by Mcable at 10:12 AM on September 9, 2010


Oh, this is totally related to the threat of antitrust - what other reason would there be?
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was hoping to get a look at the policy and I'm not a developer.

Signing up for the developer program is free. The only thing you need to pay $99/year for is the ability to distribute apps onto devices, either via the App Store or ad hoc distribution (i.e., you can put an app on up to 100 devices directly, no App Store needed).
posted by jedicus at 10:14 AM on September 9, 2010


Apps that include games of Russian roulette will be rejected

I find it hilarious that they have a rule specifically prohibiting Russian roulette games. Did they get a lot of these?
posted by nooneyouknow at 10:15 AM on September 9, 2010


This makes me wonder if there was some back-alley dealings with Adobe, something along the lines of "So, Jobs, you don't want us to develop for your platform? We can play that game if you want."
posted by caution live frogs at 10:16 AM on September 9, 2010


posted by Joe Beese "We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more Fart apps. ... If your App looks like it was cobbled together in a few days, or you’re trying to get your first practice App into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection. We have lots of serious developers who don’t want their quality Apps to be surrounded by amateur hour."

"However, if you have an app that will relentlessly defend Apple by trolling MetaFilter, please let us know immediately."
posted by mattdidthat at 10:17 AM on September 9, 2010


On a more serious note, I thought this one was interesting:
"Apps that use location-based APIs for dispatch, fleet management, or emergency services will be rejected"
Emergency services I get, but I wonder why not for dispatch or fleet management.
posted by howling fantods at 10:17 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just the Juicy Parts.
posted by boo_radley at 10:19 AM on September 9, 2010


• Professional political satirists and humorists are exempt from the ban on offensive or mean-spirited commentary

Some speech is more free than other speech.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:20 AM on September 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


Meanwhile, porn is still not allowed.

Even if Apple allowed porn apps tomorrow I imagine Safari would remain the main "porn app" for the forseeable future.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:20 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


3.1 Apps with metadata that mentions the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected

Quick, somebody create a mobile platform called 'The'.

Also, I guess this rules out any app featuring certain Star Trek characters or PKD works.
posted by kmz at 10:20 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because there are lots of serious, professional fart apps.

In all seriousness, I was satisfied with Burp and Fart Piano.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:23 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm really happy about this. I've been railing publicly against Apple about the 3rd party development tool issues. I went from Apple Lover to Apple Hater immediately I heard about them. It was a bitter lesson seeing a company I love act like complete jerks, and hell hath no fury like that of a developer scorned.

So this looks like they've seen the error of their ways, and I'm pretty happy I can go back to not mocking every iPhone user I see or staring in disgust at my iMac.

Good on ya Apple.

I also like the app store policy document. I've seen some commentry that labels this as unprofessional, but I'm grateful to see some plain English for once. Nice and clear & it sounds human.

Good on ya Apple mk II. I'm not ready to buy an iPad yet, but you're a long way closer than you were.
posted by seanyboy at 10:25 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Emergency Services" I don't get, actually. Not that it's a huge market or anything, but several emergency units at a large US federal agency are exclusively Apple shops. I know they've been considering iPads as replacements/supplements for their field work. Location-based GIS is part of that (auto-logging samples and pictures, stuff like that). Would kill a lot of scientific uses too. It's a weird restriction.
posted by bonehead at 10:25 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:26 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


"We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more Fart apps. ... If your App looks like it was cobbled together in a few days, or you’re trying to get your first practice App into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection. We have lots of serious developers who don’t want their quality Apps to be surrounded by amateur hour."

Just wondering if Apple plans to provide the same kind of gatekeepers for their iBook store. Now that anyone can publish an e-book if they can purchase an ISBN, will Apple be employing experienced editors from the print book market to make sure that the digital book market isn't full of millions of pieces of self-published fan fiction?
posted by asfuller at 10:26 AM on September 9, 2010


It's got not much to do with the antitrust thing and everything to do with the avalanche of Android-powered tablets about to hit the marketplace. Apple's not stupid in their greed. While there was no competitor, they could make any jagoff rules they wanted to. Now that there's actually a threat of a viable competitive touch platform, they want to be sure the developer bar is much lower technically, and so that cross-platform development can help them, not hinder them. Honestly I don't see the iPad being the big seller this year next time; there's going to be a metric fucking shitload of $150-$250 Android craplets but those people will be fucking starving for apps and I can tell you that I am not alone in planning my next iOS app to have at its core some very plain vanilla C/C++ code that will port right over to Android no problem.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:27 AM on September 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


Oh, this is totally related to the threat of antitrust - what other reason would there be?

There's also everyone drooling over the recently released Unreal Engine middleware demo, which would have possibly been banned under strict enforcement. I don't think that's a huge factor, but it probably helped.

I'm busy looking for a suitably edible hat, since I never thought they'd cave, but this will be a massive benefit for me at the grind.
posted by ecurtz at 10:28 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just wondering if Apple plans to provide the same kind of gatekeepers for their iBook store.

Does the "no pron" rule mean they won't sell the steamier parts of the Romance genre? Of "urban fantasy" for that matter. No True Blood or The L-Word on Apple TV?
posted by bonehead at 10:30 AM on September 9, 2010


So if you created a flash app with farting naked people having sex, Steve Job's head would explode?

Only if it was in Flash and a Pulitzer-Prize-Winning cartoonist drew it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:33 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more Fart apps.

I have a funny feeling that a few years from now this will be mocked as bad as "640K ought to be enough for anybody."
posted by bondcliff at 10:34 AM on September 9, 2010 [11 favorites]


On a more serious note, I thought this one was interesting:
"Apps that use location-based APIs for dispatch, fleet management, or emergency services will be rejected"
Emergency services I get, but I wonder why not for dispatch or fleet management.


This may be a side-effect of their maps licensing agreement or their deal with Skyhook who provides their location data.
posted by GuyZero at 10:37 AM on September 9, 2010


There's also everyone drooling over the recently released Unreal Engine middleware demo

... which no doubt also contains vast heaps of UnrealScript, an interpreted language. I think Apple terms for 3rd party tools were targeting Flash and other instant-app-building tools, and they may have finally realized they can limit shovelware via their apporval terms rather than limiting tools, which wasn't really easily enforced nor desired.

posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:40 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm grateful to see some plain English for once. Nice and clear & it sounds human.

This is not so much a new thing for Apple as it is a return to something they used to do well and then forgot about.

I have some old Apple manuals from the IIc/IIgs era and they're all written in a very conversational, fun tone. I've hung onto them, even though in most cases I don't have the products they go to anymore, because I've always thought they were stellar examples of technical documentation done right. Not just the language, but the typesetting, use of diagrams, binding (lay-flat spiral), etc. There's really nothing bad about them.

Somewhere along the line they went off the rails. The System 6 documentation had a little spark of humanity left in them, but it was a dwindling thing. After that, nada.

So it's nice that they're apparently letting their technical writers be human beings again. I hope it continues.

However, that doesn't really make up for what I see as a general downhill slide for the company in terms of interestingness, which in retrospect seems to be inversely correlated to their share price. I had a thing for Apple Computer; Apple Inc., not so much. Oh, well.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:42 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just wondering if Apple plans to provide the same kind of gatekeepers for their iBook store.

“We view Apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate.”

Sounds pretty definitive to me. The number of people who defy logic when griping here consistently surprise me. My microwave has a microprocessor in it, but I am not automatically entitled to run third-party software on it. Apple explicitly states that the only possible/officially supported means of running applications on an iOS device is via the App Store, which they control. If you disagree with that, then you are free to not buy one, but I am equally free to do so and accept those minor limitations. It would be nice if there wasn't an epidemic of holier-than-thou eyerolling whenever this subject arises, but still.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 10:45 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


kafziel, tap-and-pinch-to-preview isn't the same thing as pinch-zoom.
posted by Lazlo at 10:46 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not anti-trust, it's that there are a slew of devices due out this fall. Right now we're in a sort of limbo pre-launch, and Apple wanted to kneecap the competition at the right time.
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:47 AM on September 9, 2010


Good to see Apple progressing towards the realm of reason.

That private API stuff is BS, though, just like it was when Microsoft used to do it. (although Microsoft had to actively break them every release, whereas Apple can just refuse permission since they control the App Store)
posted by wierdo at 10:47 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


jaffacakerhubarb wrote: "My microwave has a microprocessor in it, but I am not automatically entitled to run third-party software on it. Apple explicitly states that the only possible/officially supported means of running applications on an iOS device is via the App Store, which they control."

If they want to act like they built a microwave, they should stop calling it a smartphone.
posted by wierdo at 10:49 AM on September 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


It's got... everything to do with the avalanche of Android-powered tablets about to hit the marketplace.

Just as the history of portable digital music players is basically divided into pre-iPod and post-iPod, I believe the history of personal computers will be divided into pre-iPad and post-iPad. I think it's that big. The rush of copycats would seem to support this belief.

How much of Apple's lunch they'll get to eat is a very open question. I've read that the Cupertino mafia has locked down the lion's share of available displays. And it's not like any of their competitors figured out how to improve on the iPod either.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:56 AM on September 9, 2010


they should stop calling it a smartphone

Didn't realize we had an ISO standard for what constitutes a smartphone.
posted by device55 at 10:57 AM on September 9, 2010


So now we just need Adobe to come out and ensure the developers that Adobe will keep updating and including the 'publish for IOS' option in future versions of the Flash IDE. Because as far as i remember, Adobes final take on the whole issue was that they wouldn't continue their efforts in that direction.
posted by FidelDonson at 10:58 AM on September 9, 2010


My microwave has a microprocessor in it, but I am not automatically entitled to run third-party software on it.

Well, I guess it depends if you think you own your microwave or not. I can't see any legal or moral reason for not wanting to be able to, say, hook a microwave up to a network so that I can get an alert when my pound of chuck finishes defrosting.

Likewise, I don't see the legal or moral imperative that gives Apple the right to on a phone which I might own. If I was renting or leasing, sure, but you do own your phone. The celluar mobile providers are quite clear on that in their contracts. You walk out the door with it, you own it. So why can't you install an app from Google on it if you want to?

Why is a phone legally different from a desktop computer? Does your ISP tell you what your can or cannot install?
posted by bonehead at 10:59 AM on September 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


My microwave has a microprocessor in it, but I am not automatically entitled to run third-party software on it.

Why? What's stopping you? Once you buy a microwave you can do whatever the hell you want with it, as far as the manufacturer is concerned.
posted by rocket88 at 11:00 AM on September 9, 2010 [12 favorites]


Just as the history of portable digital music players is basically divided into pre-iPod and post-iPod, I believe the history of personal computers will be divided into pre-iPad and post-iPad. I think it's that big. The rush of copycats would seem to support this belief.

Hmm, not sure the iPod really had anything on other MP3 players that were around before or after it's launch. They did a great job selling the concept of the MP3 player though, and iTunes was a huge success - if anything I'd say that was the true innovation (and even there it wasn't the first digital music store - just the first to get the momentum to make the concept work)

The iPad on the other hand is pretty much a new category of device - coming at the problem of creating a tablet PC by scaling up a media player rather than scaling down a PC turned out to be the real key to making that form factor work.
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on September 9, 2010


Well - this does it for me... They lost me in the spring with their development licensing changes, so I got a 'droid.

I hate the thing. Pinch zooming works barely, poorly or not at all. Dragging and dropping via touch is nearly useless. It is barely responsive.

Software crashes, crappy or non-existent apps (hello 'droid folks, use business-types want a real Linked-In app...).

So, with this announcement I will be skipping along to grab an iPhone 4 this weekend, who knows... maybe even an iPad, and then definately.... MonoTouch...
posted by jkaczor at 11:04 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why? What's stopping you? Once you buy a microwave you can do whatever the hell you want with it, as far as the manufacturer is concerned.

That's not true. Doing just about anything to the software or electronics would void the warranty. Which as it turns out is exactly the 'penalty' for jailbreaking, now that the DMCA exception for it has been created.
posted by jedicus at 11:04 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"use business types" = "us business type".
posted by jkaczor at 11:05 AM on September 9, 2010


While I abhor the concept of a single, dictated marketplace for apps it does serve the brand very well in keeping out the garbage. For someone who buys an Apple iOS device they know the Apps will be at the bare minimum functional. The same can't be said for Android which leaves the onus to the user to decipher which Fart app isn't going to destroy their system.
posted by wcfields at 11:07 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Emergency Services" I don't get, actually. Not that it's a huge market or anything, but several emergency units at a large US federal agency are exclusively Apple shops. I know they've been considering iPads as replacements/supplements for their field work. Location-based GIS is part of that (auto-logging samples and pictures, stuff like that). Would kill a lot of scientific uses too. It's a weird restriction.

I'm sure this is a lawyerly thing for liability purpose. If i911 app didn't check your GPS recently it might put you far from where you are. And if you die, your family would sue Apple and the carrier (they'd sue whoever wrote the app too but their pockets aren't as deep as Apple). There's language in the last Mac OS X license saying something about using it for running nuclear power plants or something.

Remember, this is for stuff sold on the App Store. Companies, individuals and government agencies can write their own apps an deploy them internally w/o going through the store.
posted by birdherder at 11:07 AM on September 9, 2010


It's not here, but at other websites I saw people really angry about the "plain-speak" that this policy is written in. As if they longed for the days of opaque legalese and EULAs.

What, did Jobsie hurt your widdle feewings? It's not arrogance, it's the truth.
posted by fungible at 11:09 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, I'm guessing that Epic's Unreal engine for the iphone, and Carmack's Rage demo during Quakecon, had something to do with this. Especially since the Unreal demo at the last Apple press conference was displayed so prominently (Carmack was offered it, but he declined because it would mean not showing off the demo at Quakecon, thanks John!)

Anyway, to port the Unreal engine to the iphone they kept most of the C++ code, and wrote an objective C wrapper program to execute the code, after re-writing the rendering code to OpenGL. There was a bunch of other things they did, but I don't remember it very well as I had 3 hours of sleep and just sat through a 6 hour flight. Carmack's demo at Quakecon functioned the same way, C++ code in an Objective C wrapper. (I know, because I asked him during the Q and A, I'm such a nerd)

So to do these wonderful things, you have to step beyond Objective C and Xcode. I think after Jobs saw the potential he relented. I mean, goddamn people, it's the Unreal engine on the iphone.
posted by hellojed at 11:09 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The number of people who defy logic when griping here consistently surprise me. My microwave has a microprocessor in it, but I am not automatically entitled to run third-party software on it.

Why not? It's a microprocessor. You own it. Why can't you install software or make sweet sweet love to it, if you so desire? The logic-defying part would seem to be denying that you can do what you want with what you own.

Maybe I should put it this way: What would "entitle" me to install software on a microprocessor I own?

Apple explicitly states that the only possible/officially supported means of running applications on an iOS device is via the App Store, which they control. If you disagree with that, then you are free to not buy one...

I think you will search in vain for anyone complaining they were forced to buy an iPhone. The complaints are ethical, practical and forward-looking.
posted by DU at 11:11 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's not true. Doing just about anything to the software or electronics would void the warranty. Which as it turns out is exactly the 'penalty' for jailbreaking, now that the DMCA exception for it has been created.

And the problem with this is...
posted by fatbird at 11:13 AM on September 9, 2010


It will be interesting to see how all the apple fans who calmed that this policy was the bees knees and how everyone who didn't agree with Apple's decisions were all morons who didn't know anything about what "users" wanted and how apple was keeping the App store pristine and all that will spin this.

You got a cite for "all the apple fans" who said this?


This makes me wonder if there was some back-alley dealings with Adobe, something along the lines of "So, Jobs, you don't want us to develop for your platform? We can play that game if you want.

Adobe makes good money developing for Macs. They're not going to cut that off.


Interesting turn of events from Apple. I had expected this in a few years, but sooner doesn't hurt. Logically, they shouldn't have gone to such controlling lengths, but it's good to hear they're not staying there.
posted by nomadicink at 11:13 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm suspecting there's a profound lack of gushing editorials out there offering your microwave as the future of computing.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


You got a cite for "all the apple fans" who said this?

You're new to MeFi threads on this subject, right?
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on September 9, 2010


In related news, it seems a new bootrom-based exploit has been found which likely means that all iOS devices currently in the wild and every new iOS device sold from now until Apple finds the exploit and updates the bootloader will probably be jailbreakable regardless of software.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:15 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


If Apple really wanted openness, they'd let you plug an iPad into a USB port and drag and drop files onto it.
posted by mikelieman at 11:15 AM on September 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


So much for my iJobs Fart App running on an Android Emulator running on the iPhone.

Back to the drawing-board.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:16 AM on September 9, 2010


If Apple really wanted openness, they'd let you plug an iPad into a USB port and drag and drop files onto it.

Nah, as evidenced by their changing the design of the shuffle and Nano, they just seem to have their heads up their ass at times over the design of their devices.
posted by nomadicink at 11:17 AM on September 9, 2010


So to do these wonderful things, you have to step beyond Objective C and Xcode. I think after Jobs saw the potential he relented. I mean, goddamn people, it's the Unreal engine on the iphone.

There was a never a problem with using C++ for app development. From the old Developer Agreement: "Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine." Xcode will happily compile Objective-C, C, and C++.

The bigger problem is that modern game engines often include interpreted languages that run within the engine. UnrealScript, Lua, what-have-you. No doubt the Rage engine will have something similar.
posted by jedicus at 11:18 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Nano and Ping are both serious WTFs.
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ping sounds kinda cool, but I don't get why it's limited to music and iTunes. It should be about Apps and movies and anything else related to sharing media.

The Nano with 3cm touch screen? They've got to be experimenting, there's no way that shit makes sense.
posted by nomadicink at 11:26 AM on September 9, 2010


Likewise, I don't see the legal or moral imperative that gives Apple the right to on a phone which I might own

Apple chooses to support, (financially, via network infrastructure, customer service, and support, etc) a limited number of means for developers to make applications for iOS devices. Apple chooses not to support any other means.

You (the royal you) are arguing that Apple *should* support some nebulously defined completely open development.

What is the moral and legal imperative that require Apple to do so?

You have the right to do what ever the hell you want to your own iPhone. ( you may void a warranty, you may violate your ATT terms of service, but hey - it's your phone - go to town)

If you find Apple's developer program terms to be onerous, then choose another platform to develop for. Sing the praises of your chosen platform, criticize Apple's terms in a ranty blog post...whatever.

But this nonsense that Apple is somehow restricting your freedoms by not donating millions of dollars worth of service and support so you can have a pet sparkle pony is just asinine.
posted by device55 at 11:26 AM on September 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


Up until the 3.3 restrictions, I'd been a bit of a dabbler and interested in investing more time in the iOS platform, despite some concerns (carrier lock, limited official device freedom, potential for rejection), but those April changes really offended me and the idea of spending more time on it dropped pretty far down the list. And I didn't expect any change until Android or something like it rules the market and Apple has to court developers instead of beat them off with a stick.

So I'm pleasantly surprised. And actually a bit puzzled, given the vigor with which the erstwhile policy was defended. Maybe it was antitrust, maybe they looked down the road and decided to court developers now. Either way, the idea of investing in iOS development just moved back up on the list of things to do for me.
posted by weston at 11:28 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Apple really wanted openness, they'd let you plug an iPad into a USB port and drag and drop files onto it.

You can plug your device into a USB port and drag and drop files onto it's icon in iTunes.

More transparency is always better. There are certain people who would never be satisfied, who are not developers and are not affected directly by this, but this should go a long way to addressing most concerns that a specific subset of developers have.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:30 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


My microwave has a microprocessor in it, but I am not automatically entitled to run third-party software on it.

Yes! Yes you do! That's the whole point of buying something!
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:30 AM on September 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Apple chooses to support, (financially, via network infrastructure, customer service, and support, etc) a limited number of means for developers to make applications for iOS devices. Apple chooses not to support any other means.

If only they were so benign.

Apple iPhone users are warned that jailbreaking mobile phones constitutes copyright infringement and DMCA violations.
Apple Inc has filed a formal public statement with the Copyright Office declaring that any form of iPhone jailbreaking constitutes copyright infringement and a DMCA violation. The company argues that jailbreaking a mobile phone removes certain restrictions which are thereby liberating the iPhone from Apple's software. Furthermore, jailbreaking allows smartphone users to run other applications that are not available from the Apple Store.
Fortunately, IIRC, this threat was at least partly removed by events outside of their control. But they wanted to and said they could.
posted by DU at 11:31 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


What are "files"?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:32 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ping sounds kinda cool, but I don't get why it's limited to music and iTunes. It should be about Apps and movies and anything else related to sharing media.

Daring Fireball again:

Ping for music is interesting, but I, for one, would be more interested in Ping for apps. But don’t forget movies, TV shows, and podcasts, too. Why aren’t these things part of Ping? I suspect it’s simply that they’re not part of Ping yet. Start with one thing and expand from there — that’s how Apple rolls.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:33 AM on September 9, 2010


Yes! Yes you do! That's the whole point of buying something!

I think implicit in the statement was "with the manufacturer's blessing." Obviously if you own something you can do what you like, but that doesn't mean the manufacturer has to uphold the warranty, provide documentation, etc. The same is true of iOS devices. Apple doesn't care if you port Linux to your iPod Touch, crack the case open, and wire it up to your monstrous TerrorBot 5000™, but that doesn't mean Apple has to write Linux drivers, make the case easy to open, or allow you to put TerrorBot 5000™ Control Panel 2.5 on the App Store.
posted by jedicus at 11:35 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


DU, that's been superseeded.

About a month ago Apple lost that fight. Jail-breaking is fair use. Apple lobbied hard against it, to be sure, but it's not current law in the US.
posted by bonehead at 11:35 AM on September 9, 2010


About a month ago Apple lost that fight. Jail-breaking is fair use. Apple lobbied hard against it, to be sure, but it's not current law in the US.

That they tried to get jailbreaking outlawed should give any Apple supporter pause. They tried to make it illegal to use your phone- the device that YOU own- in ways they don't like. Whether or not it works, that they tried it should be disquieting.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:37 AM on September 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


Adobe makes good money developing for Macs. They're not going to cut that off.

If they did that, they'd lose a major source of revenue. They might even find themselves a target of the same antitrust lawsuit they pushed the US government into pursuing against Apple. Above all, it would validate Apple's view that Adobe does not want to make (quality) software for Apple's devices, which is what motivated the Flash ban in the first place. It would be a pretty dumb thing to do, all around.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:38 AM on September 9, 2010


Apple doesn't care if you port Linux to your iPod Touch, crack the case open...

To be fair, jedicus, that is disingenuous. They do care, a great deal, they've just lost that part of the legal fight (for now).
posted by bonehead at 11:39 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


That they tried to get jailbreaking outlawed should give any Apple supporter pause.

Hmm. I suspect that in Fanboi land if Apple loses a fight it means they never fought it.
posted by Artw at 11:39 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I suspect that in Fanboi land if Apple loses a fight it means they never fought it.

Nah, it just means Apple was being it's usually controlling self and lost that particular battle. So it goes.
posted by nomadicink at 11:40 AM on September 9, 2010


BTW, is iTunes 9 on Mac still Cabon based?
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on September 9, 2010


What are "files"?

A file is a discrete container of data of arbitrary format, opened and manipulated with other files called applications.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:41 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I suspect that in Fanboi land if Apple loses a fight it means they never fought it.

I don't participate much in Apple threads, so some of the culture is unfamiliar to me. Is the main purpose to say things in as inflammatory a manner as possible?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:42 AM on September 9, 2010 [10 favorites]




This is the exemption you're thinking of: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/07/apple-loses-big-in-drm-ruling-jailbreaks-are-fair-use.ars

Not saying Apple is a collection of saints - and yes, they try really hard to exact as much control as they can. Apple can be a colossal corporate jerk.

But my point still stands - Apple cannot force you to buy only an iPhone and develop only for it. The law is on your side if you choose to jailbreak your iPhone. Apple has real competitors which actively promote the openness of their platform. You have choice as a developer, you have choice as a consumer, and the mobile market is not dominated by a monopoly (yet).

I still say criticize the hell out of Apple, choose other products and platforms - vocal consumers keep corporations reasonably honest. Competition and a watchful public are a good thing for people who love Apple products, and a good thing for people who don't.

But Apple has never 'owned your iPhone' - that's just not true and doesn't help the discussion. It's the tech equivalent of the long-form birth certificate.
posted by device55 at 11:42 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Apple doesn't need jailbreaking to be illegal -- they can just remotely brick it.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:44 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


But Apple has never 'owned your iPhone' - that's just not true and doesn't help the discussion. It's the tech equivalent of the long-form birth certificate.

So if I sell you a car and demand that you only drive to places I approve of, in what sense do you own that car?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:45 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


About a month ago Apple lost that fight. Jail-breaking is fair use. Apple lobbied hard against it, to be sure, but it's not current law in the US.

A month ago, Apple claimed it owned stuff you bought from them. But they were told they don't. So now we love Apple!
posted by DU at 11:45 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


DU, respectfully, can you guys take the derail somewhere else?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:48 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


To be fair, jedicus, that is disingenuous. They do care, a great deal, they've just lost that part of the legal fight (for now).

No, it's not disingenuous. You'll note I used the example of porting Linux, not jailbreaking. Jailbreaking is against the iOS license agreement, which is where Apple's copyright claims came from. Porting Linux is just reusing the hardware.

For example, as far as I know, Apple has not shown any interest in stopping the Android port for iOS devices.
posted by jedicus at 11:48 AM on September 9, 2010


So if I sell you a car and demand that you only drive to places I approve of, in what sense do you own that car?

Well, in the sense that law and common sense prevent you from enforcing your unreasonable demands. Just like that DMCA thing.
posted by device55 at 11:50 AM on September 9, 2010


Apple doesn't need jailbreaking to be illegal -- they can just remotely brick it.

Now THERE'S a class-action suit that will be worth following.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:50 AM on September 9, 2010


The number of people who defy logic when griping here consistently surprise me. My microwave has a microprocessor in it, but I am not automatically entitled to run third-party software on it.

Why not? It's a microprocessor. You own it. Why can't you install software or make sweet sweet love to it, if you so desire? The logic-defying part would seem to be denying that you can do what you want with what you own.


A couple of different but related concepts are being confused here.

I DO have the right to install software on my microwave's processor. If I do it, I'm not going to go to jail.

On the other hand, Panasonic is not REQUIRED to issue a microwave-programming kit. And, in my view, they should be allowed to say, "Hey, if you mess with the microprocessor, you void your warranty." Then it's totally my choice. I can say "Fuck the warranty" and, if I can figure out how to do it, program my microwave to play Tetris.

Now, when Apple claims that it's illegal for people to jailbreak their iPhones, they're full of shit (or, if they're somehow correct, then the law needs to be changed.) As far as I know, though, regardless of what Apple claims, you CAN program your iPhone in any way you want. You won't go to jail (unless you're programming it to do something illegal, like steal music.) If you want to put Linnux on an iPhone, and you can figure out how to do it, then what's stopping you?

But Apple isn't required to HELP you do it. Neither are they required to honor your warranty if you choose to do it. A warranty isn't the same thing as the phone itself. It's a contract, and like any contract, it has terms. You agreed to them. If you don't keep up your end, why should Apple keep up its end? If you void it, are the going to take your iPhone away? No. It really IS yours.

Now, would it be NICE if Apple allowed you to program your iPhone any way you want? Yes. Do I think they should do that? Yes. If Androids become as good as iPhones in other ways and also make it easy for you to program them in any way (without voiding your warranty) will I switch? Almost definitely. But that doesn't mean I'll think Apple did anything wrong. I'll just prefer what Google has to offer.
posted by grumblebee at 11:51 AM on September 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, in the sense that law and common sense prevent you from enforcing your unreasonable demands. Just like that DMCA thing.

What if I disable the engine because I saw the car parked at a store I told you not to drive it to?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:51 AM on September 9, 2010


A month ago, Apple claimed it owned stuff you bought from them. But they were told they don't. So now we love Apple!

*sigh*
posted by device55 at 11:51 AM on September 9, 2010


DU, respectfully, can you guys take the derail somewhere else?

This is a thread about Apple granting rights on developers. This is exactly the place to discuss rights they have withheld both now and in the recent past.
posted by DU at 11:53 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


But Apple has never 'owned your iPhone' - that's just not true and doesn't help the discussion.

Apple is on record for wanting to impose criminal penalties, jail time and fines, for non-approved use (see my link above). Through ACTA, this would extend world-wide, if that treatry passes in the current US-approved form (it probably won't-- the EU and Canada (yay!) seem to be balking at the DMCA+ the US is pushing for). They many not 'own your iPhone', but they certainly want to control it as if they do. That's why I think that this is important.
posted by bonehead at 11:54 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think implicit in the statement was "with the manufacturer's blessing."

I probably should have been more explicit in my comment; yes, this is what I meant. Though, for instance, you can jury rig a kettle to start boiling if your doorbell rings after 10pm, it doesn't mean that the manufacturer endorses such a solution. An important consideration here is also that Apple's cat-and-mouse efforts to undermine jailbreaking almost always stem from a genuine desire to patch the security holes — and that is what they are — that make such activity possible. I used to have a jailbroken iPhone, and there are so many things Apple could do to make doing such a thing awkward. They could have iTunes refuse to sync with a device that had Cydia installed, but they don't. They could checksum the OS and refuse to boot the phone at a low level, but they don't. All signs point to them having tacitly accepted jailbreaking as a way of life for this particular product line, but not one they are obliged to endorse. They refuse warranty service to obviously jailbroken devices, but this is far from unusual — Intel or AMD aren't going to replace your processor for free if you overclock it, and this isn't far off that (trying to add value or functionality that wasn't previously present).

The deal is clear when you buy the product, and it isn't as if the alternatives are free of sin either. Google's Android marketplace is relatively unpoliced, but even they have a killswitch for malicious apps and intervene in cases of copyright infringement and the like. And don't forget the fragmentation of Android devices across different carriers and the arbitrary limitations on the preinstalled apps they demand as a condition of sale. Carriers regularly patch their Android devices to prevent users from getting root access to their phones, making them rather less ‘open’ than many would have you believe.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 11:54 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I admit I haven't looked too closely at my computers' warranties lately, so here's a genuine question: are any computer (PC or Mac) warranties voided by installing whatever the hell software you want on them? I know messing with the hardware is a big no-no, but software wise?
posted by kmz at 11:55 AM on September 9, 2010


What if I disable the engine because I saw the car parked at a store I told you not to drive it to

You're a vandal?

The cnet article linked above, regarding remote bricking of jailbroken phones is completely speculative, based upon a patent application - not an actual policy or technology.

If you have a citation of Apple *actually* doing this or stating it to be their policy or intended, please provide it. Some jerkwad with a blog doesn't count.

Otherwise I'd like to ignore your request for a long-form birth certificate.
posted by device55 at 11:56 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


The anti trust investigation seems like a good reason to do this, but I wonder if it's the sole reason. As I said earlier, this just seems like a natural evolution to Apple's overly hard line approach. Previously was it just about growing the App store and platform as fast as possible by keeping tight control to appeal to consumers and now they want to really include developers? I don't know, I'm not a developer, but the sudden turn around seems odd.

Still, the opening paragraphs in the App Store Guidelines do read like a petulant Jobs relenting 'cause he has too, not cause he wants too:
Introduction
We're thrilled that you want to invest your talents and time to develop applications for iOS. It has been a rewarding experience - both professionally and financially - for tens of thousands of developers and we want to help you join this successful group. This is the first time we have published our App Store Review Guidelines. We hope they will help you steer clear of issues as you develop your app, so that it speeds through the approval process when you submit it. We view Apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store. It may help to keep some of our broader themes in mind: Lastly, we love this stuff too, and honor what you do. We're really trying our best to create the best platform in the world for you to express your talents and make a living too. If it sounds like we're control freaks, well, maybe it's because we're so committed to our users and making sure they have a quality experience with our products. Just like almost all of you are too.
posted by nomadicink at 11:59 AM on September 9, 2010


This is a thread about Apple granting rights on developers.

And everything you're saying has practically nothing to do with developers or how this change affects them. It is about your dislike of something completely unrelated to the subject of this thread, and it is the same argument you make in any thread with the barest connection to Apple, and it was a derail there as much as it is here. Further, you're not convincing anyone who doesn't already agree with you. So please, respectfully, give it a rest.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:00 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jailbreaking is against the iOS license agreement, which is where Apple's copyright claims came from. Porting Linux is just reusing the hardware.

The DRM is at least partly firmware-based. To load Linux (or anything else) you need to defeat that somehow. Nothing to do with software (the iOs part) at all. An iPhone clean from Foxcom with no iOs on it at all would have this problem.
posted by bonehead at 12:01 PM on September 9, 2010


grumblebee wrote: "A warranty isn't the same thing as the phone itself. It's a contract, and like any contract, it has terms. You agreed to them. If you don't keep up your end, why should Apple keep up its end? If you void it, are the going to take your iPhone away? No. It really IS yours."

Under what theory of law does Apple get to invalidate the warranty on the hardware for changes purely in software?
posted by wierdo at 12:01 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a thread about Apple granting rights on developers. This is exactly the place to discuss rights they have withheld both now and in the recent past.

Then discuss it, please, rather than throwing out inane comments. So far, you've made zero attempt to discuss anything, preferring instead to lob inflammatory comments. No one says you have to like Apple or their polices, but you're just repeating variations of APPLE SUCKS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO CONTROL EVERYTHING, that's pretty boring and unintelligent. Hopefully we can all strive to be something smarter in this thread.
posted by nomadicink at 12:04 PM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


They lost me in the spring with their development licensing changes, so I got a 'droid. I hate the thing. Pinch zooming works barely, poorly or not at all. Dragging and dropping via touch is nearly useless. It is barely responsive. Software crashes, crappy or non-existent apps (hello 'droid folks, use business-types want a real Linked-In app...).

This is why I'm generally indifferent to complaints about Apple's Big Brother-ism. Their methods have produced amazingly good hardware* and everyone else's methods - however more congenial philosophically - have not, as yet. Which is also why I'm not worried about Apple's sales.

* As iTunes demonstrates, their brilliance does not extend into the software realm.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:05 PM on September 9, 2010


Under what theory of law does Apple get to invalidate the warranty on the hardware for changes purely in software?

Probably the same laws that invalidated the warranty on my Linksys router when the open source firmware I tried to apply bricked it, and tech support shrugged and said I'm on my own on this one.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:08 PM on September 9, 2010


Under what theory of law does Apple get to invalidate the warranty on the hardware for changes purely in software?

I am not a lawyer, but I can see why apple SHOULD be able to do this.

Imagine programmable machine X that has a fan inside it. The fan must run, or the machine will overheat. The company states in their warranty contract that if you program the fan to shut off while the machine is running, you void your warranty.

Is that unreasonable?

Hardware and software are not on opposite sides or a wall. Software CONTROLS hardware. It is possible to do things with software that break the hardware. Is that just too bad? If I make a machine, MUST I allow you to do anything you want in terms of software, even if I know it will break the machine and I tell you that? Well, I must allow you to do it, but do I have to honor the warranty?

Does Apple have to honor your warranty if you choose to throw your iPhone in the fireplace? What makes software special?
posted by grumblebee at 12:08 PM on September 9, 2010


Signing up for the developer program is free. The only thing you need to pay $99/year for is the ability to distribute apps onto devices, either via the App Store or ad hoc distribution (i.e., you can put an app on up to 100 devices directly, no App Store needed).

Incidentally, this doesn't seem to be the case here. I have the free developer account, which lets me download the iOS SDK, but I can't access the guidelines page in question. It just sends me to http://developer.apple.com/devcenter/ios/unauthorized/. Wonder why they even bothered, considering it leaked in about 30 seconds.
posted by smackfu at 12:09 PM on September 9, 2010


This is why I'm generally indifferent to complaints about Apple's Big Brother-ism.

That's just what the statists want! Once they control the means of production, something something important issue!
posted by shakespeherian at 12:15 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more Fart apps.
I have a funny feeling that a few years from now this will be mocked as bad as "640K ought to be enough for anybody."


So in a few years you anticipate we will be bemoaning the lack of Fart apps?
posted by mazola at 12:16 PM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


So in a few years you anticipate we will be bemoaning the lack of Fart apps?

You're laughing now, but wait until the world economy collapses and Fart apps become the new currency standard.

(Why the hell did Apple capitalize Fart? Are they already aware of the future Fart currency standard? Hmm...)
posted by kmz at 12:23 PM on September 9, 2010


Great news. Good of them to reverse what was an extremely absurd policy in the first place. The idea of banning frameworks that produce native code is so insanely ridiculous hence, the ridicule. Superb for developers and cross-platform apps. Playing nice is nice!

Now if only they'd remove the stink that is iTunes for use when using their mobile devices...
posted by juiceCake at 12:24 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


So if I sell you a car and demand that you only drive to places I approve of, in what sense do you own that car?

Your analogy fails unless you're offering to come over once a week to wash the car you sold, and driving to certain places that you dislike voids that agreement.

I can not drive to those places and you'll continue to wash my car, or I can go there and give up the weekly washings. In either case, I still own the car. It's your ongoing service that is voided by my actions, and you're under no obligation to offer those services at all, or to keep offering them if I break the agreement.
posted by fatbird at 12:26 PM on September 9, 2010


grumblebee wrote: "Imagine programmable machine X that has a fan inside it. The fan must run, or the machine will overheat. The company states in their warranty contract that if you program the fan to shut off while the machine is running, you void your warranty. "

I need not imagine, as things exactly like this exist. They're called computers. The warranty on my laptop is not voided because I choose not to run Windows on it. They need not provide support for alternative operating systems, but they can't invalidate your hardware warranty for doing so.
posted by wierdo at 12:39 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope this leads to the creation of tools (like the venerable Hypercard) that allow non-programmers to create and compile apps.
posted by mecran01 at 12:41 PM on September 9, 2010


We have lots of kids downloading lots of apps, and parental controls don't work unless the parents set them up (many don't). So know that we're keeping an eye out for the kids.

This is rubbish. It's not Apple's job to look out for parents who aren't keeping tabs on what their kids are doing, particularly by banning certain content to everyone, child or not. Similarly, it's not HBO's job to ban shows like the Sopranos from showing nudity or coarse language just because it's possible that kids watch HBO when their parents aren't home and the parents never figured out how to use the v-chip.

Yes, Apple, like HBO, has every right to choose to police what it sends out over its network (ban apps or refuse to run shows that show nudity, for example), but that doesn't mean either of them should. I like my iPhone but I don't want it to be disney-fied.
posted by modernnomad at 12:45 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I need not imagine, as things exactly like this exist. They're called computers.

Would you agree that a router is a computer?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:47 PM on September 9, 2010


They need not provide support for alternative operating systems, but they can't invalidate your hardware warranty for doing so.

Do you mean they choose not to or they're compelled not to by law? I'm genuinely curious.
posted by grumblebee at 12:48 PM on September 9, 2010


It's not Apple's job to look out for parents who aren't keeping tabs on what their kids are doing...

There's clearly a segment of the market, with kids, who want this sort of thing and it's no unreasonable for a business to cater to that.
posted by nomadicink at 12:51 PM on September 9, 2010


There's clearly a segment of the market, with kids, who want this sort of thing and it's no unreasonable for a business to cater to that.

Not unreasonable at all, just as it is not unreasonable for the Disney Channel to exist and pump out pablum -- I understand they're going after a certain target market. It's purely a personal complaint -- I like my iPhone as I said and don't want to switch to Android. But if anything were to move me in that direction, it would be the disneyfication of my mobile experience. I don't want apple to go the route of AOL.
posted by modernnomad at 12:56 PM on September 9, 2010


The warranty on my laptop is not voided because I choose not to run Windows on it. They need not provide support for alternative operating systems, but they can't invalidate your hardware warranty for doing so.

Contract law is extremely flexible. Just because your computer's warranty allows you to install whatever OS on it you'd like doesn't mean that all computer warranties must do so.

Why is a phone legally different from a desktop computer? Does your ISP tell you what your can or cannot install?

There have been some ISPs that have required users to install certain software, actually. At least one university I'm familiar with had a policy of requiring users to show that they had antivirus software installed before they would activate the user's dorm room Ethernet ports.
posted by jedicus at 12:59 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


* As iTunes demonstrates, their brilliance does not extend into the software realm.

iTunes has its issues, but is the reason that the entire iPod ecosystem rules while competitors, as the kids say, "drool".
posted by GuyZero at 1:00 PM on September 9, 2010


That they tried to get jailbreaking outlawed should give any Apple supporter pause.

I suppose I qualify as a sometimes supporter -- I've generally preferred their products to most of the others I've used since my parents brought home a Mac Plus my senior year of high school, (and I've strongly preferred their products since the introduction of OS X). I think a significant portion of the flack Apple gets is BS ("Apple is a fashion company"/"The only reason the iPhone is a big deal is marketing, people are too ignorant to know there were better smartphones when it came out"/"I can't figure out why someone would want to carry around an iPad instead of three other devices that do everything it does better").

But a few things really get to me, particularly stuff like the "jailbreaking is illegal" attempt. And it does give me pause. It makes me glad to know that Ubuntu + Windows Virtualization could probably give me the serviceable Unix + commercial desktop app combo that I want if Apple ever tried that stuff with their conventional computers. It makes me wary of them despite my belief they have an ethic/vision that goes beyond profits and the fact I generally respect their work. I trust Apple less than I did three years ago.
posted by weston at 1:05 PM on September 9, 2010


It will be interesting to see how all the apple fans who calmed that this policy was the bees knees and how everyone who didn't agree with Apple's decisions were all morons who didn't know anything about what "users" wanted and how apple was keeping the App store pristine and all that will spin this.

I don't like all the changes. I preferred it when Google was prevented from sending a tonne of data about my phone back to their ad servers by much tighter privacy controls, and I loved the Adobe thing because it made Flash devs bitch and moan, which is fair turnabout for all those times they've done it to me.

Maybe I should put it this way: What would "entitle" me to install software on a microprocessor I own?
Not the issue with any of the changes announced today. You could install any old shit on your phone, at peril of your warranty, yesterday and today. What you couldn't do was get access to the money machine.

To put it another way, what would "entitle" you to offer for sale software via Apple's store to other Apple customers?

That they tried to get jailbreaking outlawed should give any Apple supporter pause. They tried to make it illegal to use your phone- the device that YOU own- in ways they don't like. Whether or not it works, that they tried it should be disquieting.

As if this is something unique to Apple? Sony made it illegal to rip my DVDs -- the disks that I own -- in ways they didn't like. HP made it impossible to use any ink other than theirs in my printer. The engine on my Audi was virtually hermetically sealed to prevent me tampering with it as I would.

Be disquieted all you like, but don't pretend this is some kind of novel malign act.

Under what theory of law does Apple get to invalidate the warranty on the hardware for changes purely in software?
The same one that lets BMW invalidate the warranty on your car for nothing more than changes in the software of the engine management, and with the same logic.
posted by bonaldi at 1:12 PM on September 9, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "Would you agree that a router is a computer?"

I would agree that when you bricked your router it's because you messed up the boot loader, which is a software component. If an Ethernet port failed, I would expect them to replace it regardless of what software it had been running.

What kind of router is it? I might want it. ;)
posted by wierdo at 1:17 PM on September 9, 2010


And on not-preview, bonaldi, BMW only gets to invalidate your warranty if your software changes cause it to run out of spec in a way that causes damage to the physical components. Which is why people change the software on their cars, to change the fuel map.

Well, actually that hasn't been tested in court. Note that it took many years and a lawsuit before automakers were forced to honor their warranties if you did things like use third party brake pads or hoses.
posted by wierdo at 1:21 PM on September 9, 2010


despite my belief they have an ethic/vision that goes beyond profits

What evidence is there to support that belief? I'm genuinely curious, because as much as I love my iPod, I see Apple's desire to control what I do with it to be entirely profit-driven.
posted by rocket88 at 1:29 PM on September 9, 2010


It does NOT mean that Flash apps (swfs) will be able to run in iPhone or iPad browsers. That is still verboten.

Flash is not 'banned' from iOS browsers. There just isn't a Flash Player plug-in for any iOS browser. Nor is there a a Flash Player plug-in for any mobile browser, on any mobile OS, that has acceptable performance.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 1:31 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


There just isn't a Flash Player plug-in for any iOS browser.

Sure there is. It's just not in the App Store. Because Steve doesn't want it there. And that's his prerogative, I guess.

Nor is there a a Flash Player plug-in for any mobile browser, on any mobile OS, that has acceptable performance.

That's odd, because it works well enough on my Droid. I guess that's just a figment of my imagination. I've heard it works better on newer, faster Android phones, but it works well enough for me on this one.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:36 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


It does NOT mean that Flash apps (swfs) will be able to run in iPhone or iPad browsers. That is still verboten.

Flash is not 'banned' from iOS browsers.

I'm pretty sure Apple forbids (almost) any app that allows you to run other apps. They've made exceptions, e.g. programmable calculators and the Commodor 64 emulator (and of course, their own app, Safari, which can run Javascript apps), but it's their general rule, and I think it's even in their T.O.S. They won't sell app-running-apps in iTunes, so if I made a browser app that ran Flash apps, they would ban from their store.
posted by grumblebee at 1:40 PM on September 9, 2010


You can't run downloadable code. So the emulators are allowed because they ship the ROM images with the app.
posted by smackfu at 1:42 PM on September 9, 2010


There just isn't a Flash Player plug-in for any iOS browser.

Cloud Browse is an App that lets you use Flash on the iPhone. But damn does it kill the battery.
posted by nomadicink at 1:43 PM on September 9, 2010


What evidence is there to support that belief? I'm genuinely curious, because as much as I love my iPod

What do you love about your iPod? Why didn't you buy one of the plentiful other offerings, no small number of them more affordable, many of them competitive on a feature-by-feature basis?
posted by weston at 1:43 PM on September 9, 2010


The bright line appears now to be "Apps that download code", rather than applications which host others, specifically to allow games to run scripting VMs. Or am I misinterpreting?
posted by bonehead at 1:43 PM on September 9, 2010


You can plug your device into a USB port and drag and drop files onto it's icon in iTunes.

This iTunes, it's in Fedora's YUM repository?
posted by mikelieman at 1:44 PM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm curious how many of those criticizing Apple's closed platform have owned a Wii for years without noticing it has the exact same problems. To varying degress of strained analogy, many products we own are closed platforms, and this doesn't generally upset anyone. It's only when we start to think about something as a general-purpose computing device that it bothers us we can't actually do general-purpose computing on it. Maybe those who are okay with iOS (including Apple) don't actually hate freedom, but simply don't think of it as a general-purpose computing platform?
posted by scottreynen at 1:44 PM on September 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


IOW: Flash might be ok if it ran from a local cache, according to the newer rules. The Flash to App thing Adobe was prepping for the iPad launch might be ok now.
posted by bonehead at 1:46 PM on September 9, 2010


I would agree that when you bricked your router it's because you messed up the boot loader, which is a software component.

So, in other words, when a computer maker such as Cisco refuses to support hardware changes caused by custom software, do they do this in spite of legal sanctions, or because there aren't any?

What kind of router is it? I might want it. ;)

It was a Linksys, which I ended up giving to a computer recycling shop. It's basically the first and last Linksys product I will ever buy, but I'm not going to complain about how Cisco is evil, I'm just going to point out their stuff sucks, and then move on and buy another router.

So far as I know, I have never heard of a third-party firmware update bricking an iPhone, but if it did ever happen, I would understand why Apple would basically wipe their hands of the mess. In the meantime, unless the device really is totally dead, it has always been easy enough for hobbyists to apply an Apple firmware to a phone before bringing it in for relatively minor repairs.

It's no different or more onerous than taking the third-party memory out of a laptop before sending it in for repairs. You essentially demonstrate by this process that any problems really are related to hardware, and not software. Seems pretty reasonable as a first-pass troubleshooting step, in any case.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:47 PM on September 9, 2010


iTunes has its issues, but is the reason that the entire iPod ecosystem rules while competitors, as the kids say, "drool".

Well I'd sort of agree and disagree there.

iTunes as a way of getting music (and shows and stuff) has been a huge success, and they've really done a lot to push the whole digital purchase model there.

iTunes the actual peice of software is a pile of garbage. Really terrible UI, too much crap bolted on to it, and on the Windows platform at least very flakey and a CPU hog.

And if anything, though the iTunes store has been a huge success in terms of music, the store itself is a barely navigable mess.
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm dying to hear what Adobe has to say about this. Have they commented yet? I haven't seen anything.
posted by nomadicink at 1:48 PM on September 9, 2010


This iTunes, it's in Fedora's YUM repository?

This seems like a secondary question to your drag-and-drop question. Is Apple promising any Linux support on the specifications page? The iOS platform share is now bigger than Linux altogether, so I honestly can't see what would motivate Apple supporting use of their devices on Linux.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:51 PM on September 9, 2010


You can't run downloadable code

You can, it just has to be purchased through the Apple Store. See the StoreKit documentation for more info.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:53 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


James Scott-Brown wrote: "Nor is there a a Flash Player plug-in for any mobile browser, on any mobile OS, that has acceptable performance."

Really? That's funny. I must have been hallucinating when I was watching those YouTube videos on my phone earlier.
posted by wierdo at 1:54 PM on September 9, 2010


iTunes as a way of getting music (and shows and stuff) has been a huge success, and they've really done a lot to push the whole digital purchase model there. iTunes the actual piece of software is a pile of garbage. Really terrible UI, too much crap bolted on to it, and on the Windows platform at least very flakey and a CPU hog.

This. And I don't see how Ping can do anything but make it worse.

Having an iPhone but needing iTunes to get music onto it is like being told you get to have sex with Angelina Jolie but will contract herpes.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:59 PM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "So, in other words, when a computer maker such as Cisco refuses to support hardware changes caused by custom software, do they do this in spite of legal sanctions, or because there aren't any?"

A broken boot loader is a software problem, not a hardware problem. Be that as it may, we both apparently agree that manufacturers should not be responsible for supporting (or fixing problems caused by) software they didn't provide.

I don't think there are any cases directly on point here, but the analogy to aftermarket parts on cars seems like a pretty good one to me. In that case, the manufacturer has to show that the aftermarket part caused the problem, not point to its mere existence and say "too bad so sad, you didn't use our brake pads so your radio not working isn't our problem."
posted by wierdo at 2:00 PM on September 9, 2010


I think we should just classify "News pertaining to Apple" as outragefilter. I have an incredibly low bar for what shit I'll read online and I loved this Apple conversation the first seven times I read it here, but I haven't been a member here for a full year and already it feels like Groundhog Day, but less clever and much worse at communicating its attempted morals.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:01 PM on September 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


This seems like a secondary question to your drag-and-drop question. Is Apple promising any Linux support on the specifications page?

I don't want Linux support. I'm just pointing out the need for the device to act like all of the well-behaved USB attached storage devices out there I can buy for 30 bucks.

This is why I haven't gone to the Apple store and dropped 750 bucks on an iPad. I don't have a computer to run iTunes on.
posted by mikelieman at 2:06 PM on September 9, 2010


But if anything were to move me in that direction, it would be the disneyfication of my mobile experience.

It's a sliding scale I guess. The App store does have ratings and Apps like "Texts From Last Night", so it's a long way from disneyfication.
posted by nomadicink at 2:06 PM on September 9, 2010


This is why I haven't gone to the Apple store and dropped 750 bucks on an iPad. I don't have a computer to run iTunes on.

You don't need iTunes to put software on the iPad, you can access the app store directly. Or you can jailbreak it and put whatever else you want on there. There are also plenty of music managers if you need to put music on without iTunes.

Having an iPhone but needing iTunes to get music onto it is like being told you get to have sex with Angelina Jolie but will contract herpes.

So, basically, exactly what the informed consumer should expect.
posted by ecurtz at 2:13 PM on September 9, 2010


[A couple comments removed.

I'd like to suggest that anybody who is e.g. tired of how Apple threads always go the same way and hates the way other people participate in those threads but also reliably participates in the threads and contributes to them going that same old way might try just giving the thread and ones like it a pass in the future. There's about forty thousand mefites who aren't consistent sources of GRAR and annoying behavior on this topic, they could probably take over for the dozen or so of you that seem to drive each other crazy and generate flags every time we do this.]

posted by cortex at 2:18 PM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm just pointing out the need for the device to act like all of the well-behaved USB attached storage devices out there I can buy for 30 bucks.

I don't think it is meant to be a glorified memory stick, but it does provide that functionality on OS X and Windows. You could put a custom firmware on it to make it do memory-stick-things under Linux, I guess, but sort of defeats the purpose of what people get iPads for in the first place.

I guess I just don't see how people who do not use computers would decide to pass on an iPad because it lacks Linux support, or because iTunes isn't available through a Linux package manager. I would think that people who do not use computers would probably give vacant stares when asked what a Linux package manager is and does.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:25 PM on September 9, 2010


Actually, this has been a very civil Apple thread. Pie for everyone!
posted by killdevil at 2:30 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lifehacker currently has "How Flash Can Be Actually Useful on an Android Phone" - which features the following hilarious suggestion:

It's not quite the advice you'd like to hear, but stick to shorter videos.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:31 PM on September 9, 2010


You don't need iTunes to put software on the iPad

My understanding is you can't even take it out of the box and activate it without iTunes. You *could* in theory, get it activated at the point-of-sale, but then I'd run into "How do I get these 24bit/96kHz flacs onto the thing..."

Again, if it only acted like *any other USB device*, this would be moot.
posted by mikelieman at 2:36 PM on September 9, 2010


I don't think there are any cases directly on point here, but the analogy to aftermarket parts on cars seems like a pretty good one to me.

Putting a new firmware on a computer is a bit different from an analogy where third-party brake pads cause difficulties with getting a radio repaired. I'm not sure that's a good analogy. Let's consider a potentially fairer analogy.

To go simpler and more direct, a new firmware in a car is probably a good analogy to a new firmware on a personal computer, in that the ignition timing, gas, oil and other car parameters can be adjusted past the engine and other system tolerances, causing real and irreparable physical damage.

Likewise, overclocking (as an example) can cause irreversible physical damage to a processor if adequate cooling is not provided. To do so often requires additional third-party modifications.

All of these mods working properly rely entirely on the knowledge and experience of the hobbyist with the base hardware and the third-party mods.

In this analogy, there seems no reasonable way for a car/processor manufacturer to provide a warranty to everyone, regardless of modifications, without being able to measure the qualifications of each individual hobbyist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:38 PM on September 9, 2010


This might mean something to the average customer once the browser gets a flash plugin. You hear a lot of angst about these parts over net neutrality but by limiting flash to apps SJ controls which flash dependent internet sites his customers get to view (only those that get their specialized site viewing app into his app store). Isn't that the bogeyman everyone fears with the end of net neutrality?
posted by caddis at 2:44 PM on September 9, 2010


Exciting news... a VLC player app may be approved as early as next week!
posted by Joe Beese at 3:01 PM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why didn't you buy one of the plentiful other offerings, no small number of them more affordable, many of them competitive on a feature-by-feature basis?

I can't speak for rocket88, but I didn't buy them because as far as I know, they don't actually exist.
posted by Lazlo at 3:02 PM on September 9, 2010


[Sorry, it's really either go to metatalk or skip the several paragraphs of metacommentary about how threads go on the site. I'm not saying you should or need to start a thread for it, I'm not sure it'll go anywhere particularly useful, but don't do that here.]
posted by cortex at 3:04 PM on September 9, 2010


Has anyone seen comments from developers or companies about this change? Are companies thrilled to develop for the iOS or just "whatever" ?
posted by nomadicink at 3:10 PM on September 9, 2010


My email to Steve Jobs WORKED!
posted by mazola at 3:14 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Has anyone seen comments from developers or companies about this change?

These guys seem very excited.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:18 PM on September 9, 2010


In this analogy, there seems no reasonable way for a car/processor manufacturer to provide a warranty to everyone, regardless of modifications, without being able to measure the qualifications of each individual hobbyist.

Further, third-party modifications to iPhones are unsigned and unverified. The last Apple thread on Metafilter called for iPhone users to visit an unknown, unverified web site to crack their phones. There is absolutely no certainty that the third-party cracking tool used to break the iPhone's security do not also install keyloggers or other spyware that now send your login info, credit card data, bank account numbers, passwords, etc. to whoever set up that web site.

Even if car/computer/iPhone/router manufacturers could somehow validate or certify the hobbyist's skillset, there is no way to validate or certify the software being used to get around (for example) sandbox policies that aim to reduce identity theft and other unintended and undesirable effects.

These are complex real-world problems that are negotiated through contractual agreements between user and maker. Sometimes users go around those agreements. Is it fair to expect the makers to assume the risks of that choice, when the expectations are unreasonable or intractable?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:18 PM on September 9, 2010


Actually, this has been a very civil Apple thread. Pie for everyone!

But only Apple pie.
posted by jeremias at 3:23 PM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


It will be interesting to see how all the apple fans who calmed that this policy was the bees knees and how everyone who didn't agree with Apple's decisions were all morons who didn't know anything about what "users" wanted and how apple was keeping the App store pristine and all that will spin this.

Look no further for this effect than the PowerPC chips, which were twice as fast as Intel chips, until the day Apple switched to Intel, when they suddenly became half as fast as Intel chips. Bizarre.

Interestingly, the reverse of this occurred just today in David Pogues column. He claims today that "sometimes, redesign for its own sake isn’t always an improvement. Last year’s Shuffle, for example, had no buttons at all, so operating it was something of a challenge." He then calls the Shuffle design a "misstep." And it looked like "dental floss snagged on a tie clip."

Contrast that to last year, when he called that same shuffle design "ingenious," and that it looks like a "sleek, aluminum tie clip." And don't forget "Yet incredibly, even though this Shuffle is even smaller than the previous one, it’s actually more useful." Apparently, after -- and ONLY after -- the new model has been introduced, it's safe to criticize the old one.

I use and like Macs, but when the gushing fanboi-ism bleeds into professional journalism, is it any wonder there are so many iHaters?

Queue the hair-splitting over how Pogue didn't really contradict himself, and how vast changes in the i86 architecture made that platform superior to PowerPC's relative stagnation...
posted by coolguymichael at 3:28 PM on September 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Queue the hair-splitting over how Pogue didn't really contradict himself, and how vast changes in the i86 architecture made that platform superior to PowerPC's relative stagnation...

Not really - Apple's right until they become "more right".
posted by GuyZero at 3:32 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, except that Pogue didn't really contradict himself, and vast changes in the i86 architecture made that platform superior combined with PowerPC's relative stagnation.
posted by mazola at 3:33 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Queue the hair-splitting over how Pogue didn't really contradict himself, and how vast changes in the i86 architecture made that platform superior to PowerPC's relative stagnation...

You're probably right about Pogue, but the Intel/PowerPC thing isn't surprising or contradictory at all for two reasons:

1. The PPC platform really had stagnated...a lot. Thus, Apple's benchmarks showing that the PPC was superior were necessarily quite out of date by the time of the switch to Intel. Given Moore's Law, it should not be surprising that a PPC that beats Intel at some time t0 would be beaten by new Intel processors at time t1. Furthermore, Apple switched after Intel moved to the Core architecture, which really was a significant improvement over the Pentium 4 / Netburst architecture.

2. Apple, like all computer companies, picks and chooses its benchmarks to best show off its products. It's entirely possible for Apple to use benchmarks that showed off the PPC's strengths and then switch to benchmarks that show off Intel's strengths. I don't recall which benchmarks were used just before and immediately after the switch, but I'd be surprised if they compared apples to apples (sorry, couldn't resist).
posted by jedicus at 3:38 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Queue the hair-splitting over how Pogue didn't really contradict himself,

It would be cool if you let people speak first before mocking them.


Anyway, is it really so surprising that after a year or so with a redesigned product, a reviewer decides it really wasn't up to snuff?
posted by nomadicink at 3:39 PM on September 9, 2010


That's just the classic RDF. You listen to Jobs do his keynote, you get sweet-talked by the Apple employees who explain exactly why everything is the way it is and it seems so logical, you play with the thing for three days, and then you write a review. There's not even time to really review it, so you just write what you were told because it seemed so right.
posted by smackfu at 3:40 PM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Apple really wanted openness, they'd let you plug an iPad into a USB port and drag and drop files onto it.

You can plug your device into a USB port and drag and drop files onto it's icon in iTunes.


You can transfer any file from any PC with USB to another? Seriously, not snarking.

One of the biggest reasons I have no interest in "smart" phones is that they don't offer basic file transfer. If I had one, I would hope I'd never need another flash drive or smart card again.

So, just to confirm, with an iPhone, I can go to a friend's PC, plug in my phone, and transfer 4GB of (any sort of) files from his PC to my phone, take the phone home, and then transfer all those files to my PC? I did not think that was possible...

If it's true, that makes those devices a lot more valuable, imo (which is funny, because it's only the basic functionality of a flash drive.)
posted by mrgrimm at 3:48 PM on September 9, 2010


One of the biggest reasons I have no interest in "smart" phones is that they don't offer basic file transfer. If I had one, I would hope I'd never need another flash drive or smart card again.

This is how every Android phone I've ever used works but honestly, I'd rather have iTunes. The only time I drop stuff on the SD card is when I flash a custom firmware build and that's not exactly a typical end-user use-case.
posted by GuyZero at 3:52 PM on September 9, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "In this analogy, there seems no reasonable way for a car/processor manufacturer to provide a warranty to everyone, regardless of modifications, without being able to measure the qualifications of each individual hobbyist."

Yet, somehow, PC manufacturers do this, so long as you don't replace the BIOS. Similarly, device manufacturers could do the same, so long as you don't replace the equivalent.

And somehow, auto manufacturers get along just fine without checking up on your ECU when you bring the car in unless, after their examination, there's some reason to believe it might be causing the problem. (and it's often possible to change the fuel map and other parameters through custom OBD-II commands)

I get my car fixed by a friend who is a Honda/Acura mechanic. Shortly after the RSX was introduced, he related to me that he had been spending most of his time lately rebuilding (manual) transmissions because people drove the shit out of them, far beyond the abuse meted out by most drivers, yet they were still covered by warranty. He was telling me in a "why the hell are we covering this" kind of way, but the point is that they did, because they should haved designed the thing in such a way as to not be possible to break in that manner. Similarly, device manufacturers can make it nearly impossible to permanently brick their device.

My N900 is a great example of that. I can do anything I want to it, software-wise, and the hardware is still covered. And if I break its boot loader, it's trivial to reflash the boot loader and firmware, because they designed it in such a way that it's basically impossible to break that functionality.

As another example, it's pretty much impossible these days to ruin an Intel CPU by overclocking it, no matter how ridiculously you try. Why? Because it has built-in logic to throttle the CPU clock if it gets too hot, and to stop running if that doesn't work.

So yes, there is a reasonable way for them to provide a warranty to everyone, and invalidate said warranty only if it shows signs of abuse, such as having been dunked in a glass of water, or if the CPU is melted yet the thermal paste is still intact. It's not rocket science, and it's not like I'm saying that Apple should go above and beyond the standard behavior.
posted by wierdo at 4:12 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


So this looks like they've seen the error of their ways, and I'm pretty happy I can go back to not mocking every iPhone user I see or staring in disgust at my iMac.

Eh, a dictator doesn't become any less dictatorial when he condescends to grant you three extra crusts of bread a day. There's still way too many batshit reasons for rejection; just because we have a little insight into the process doesn't make it any less horrible. We just can now see how horrible it is. Assuming we take their word for it.

Their methods have produced amazingly good hardware

...that disconnects your call if you hold it at the wrong angle. That only recently decided SD card slots were worth including on their laptops, never goes for an industry standard when they can impose their own proprietary version, consistently sells computer hardware for between 50-100% above what the same machine would cost from another manufacturer for the sole reason that they build their OS to try to prevent running on commodity devices, and still refuses to include a Blu-Ray player in any computer they sell.

In other words: no, they don't produce amazingly good hardware. They've just got good marketing, a legion of fans, decently good product engineers, a focus on aesthetics, and Steve Jobs out there with the pom-poms.

No one says you have to like Apple or their polices, but you're just repeating variations of APPLE SUCKS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO CONTROL EVERYTHING, that's pretty boring and unintelligent.

Not if it's true, sport.

Hopefully we can all strive to be something smarter in this thread.

Like a PC.
posted by JHarris at 4:25 PM on September 9, 2010


One of the biggest reasons I have no interest in "smart" phones is that they don't offer basic file transfer. If I had one, I would hope I'd never need another flash drive or smart card again.

This is pretty trivial with Nokias. Even though their non-Windows support is seriously lacking, when I connect by USB I can always choose "USB Mass Storage" mode instead of the proprietary protocol mode. Then I can transfer whatever the hell I want on and off both the internal storage and whatever memory card I have in the phone at the time.
posted by kmz at 4:28 PM on September 9, 2010


Apple, like all computer companies, picks and chooses its benchmarks to best show off its products.

Just because everyone does it doesn't make it any more right.
posted by JHarris at 4:28 PM on September 9, 2010


This is how every Android phone I've ever used works but honestly, I'd rather have iTunes.

You're on your own there. I vastly prefer drag and drop, but then I've hated itunes since my ipod version 3 right up to my wife's iphone.

As for flash on android, I'm not sure if the guys reviewing it on the web are using an older version or are still on android 2.1 or what, but on my phone on 2.2 flash works just fine. I used it last night to watch a show off ABC (Australia) iview, which is similar to the BBC iplayer thing.
posted by markr at 4:40 PM on September 9, 2010


One of the biggest reasons I have no interest in "smart" phones is that they don't offer basic file transfer. If I had one, I would hope I'd never need another flash drive or smart card again.

Android phones do that by default. Plug it in to a USB port and the phone will prompt you to mount it as a USB drive. The only thing is you have to carry a USB cable around, which can be a bit inconvenient. I use this one for that.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:58 PM on September 9, 2010


mrgrimm wrote: "One of the biggest reasons I have no interest in "smart" phones is that they don't offer basic file transfer. If I had one, I would hope I'd never need another flash drive or smart card again."

Other brands do that just fine. Or give you the option to use the manufacturer's software, which might compress the music to eAAC or whatever to save space, or organize the files on the phone more intelligently than having a big mass all in one directory, or just trigger an update of the media database automatically, rather than having to do it manually.

TBH, though, when I was still using Windows, I tended to use MediaMonkey thanks to its organizational capabilities. (as in, it knows where all my music is)

I'm pretty happy with my 32GB flash drive that also works as a smartphone and plays Flash content. ;) (now with DNG support for the camera!)
posted by wierdo at 5:03 PM on September 9, 2010


As to the actual topic of the post, I think this is a good thing. But I think it makes clear that Apple's original decision not to allow these development tools to be used was about Apple's bottom line and control of the App Store, rather than "preserving the user experience" as so many folks here seemed to think. The only reason they've changed their position, I think, is because the iPad and iPhone are losing their exclusivity - there are plenty of decent Android phones now, and there will soon be plenty of Android tablets.

And that's really what kills me about these Apple discussions - they have so many defenders who will argue in favor of Apple's position, no matter what it is. Then Apple changes their position, and the defenders change course as if the previous position never existed.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:08 PM on September 9, 2010


Well, if we want to be all on topic about things I think that this is at least partially to do with Unity and potential anti-trust suits. Unity is used to make a bunch of very nice iphone games. Under the previous rules they technically would not have been allowed. If apple had given Unity a free pass to make game devs happy while stopping Adobe from generating native iphone apps using their tools they might have been in some trouble.

Instead they'll do what they should have done all along, which is reject crappy apps no matter how they are developed. Of course this allows companies to use things like Unity to easily develop apps for all mobile platforms in one go, which is what Apple really wanted to stop all along.
posted by markr at 5:32 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


And that's really what kills me about these Apple discussions - they have so many defenders who will argue in favor of Apple's position, no matter what it is.

Of course there reverse could be argued, the detractors will argue against Apple's position, no matter what it is.
posted by nomadicink at 5:34 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I think it makes clear that Apple's original decision not to allow these development tools to be used was about Apple's bottom line and control of the App Store, rather than "preserving the user experience" as so many folks here seemed to think.

Clear as mud. Their motives for doing this aren't clear at all. Their original motive could have been user experience, but that was overruled by more pressing considerations.

The only reason they've changed their position, I think, is because the iPad and iPhone are losing their exclusivity - there are plenty of decent Android phones now, and there will soon be plenty of Android tablets.

If they're losing their exclusivity (to devices that aren't near the shops yet), then why would they give up the barriers that helped them preserve that exclusivity? This change makes cross-platform apps easier, and right now that only helps Android, not iOS.

And that's really what kills me about these Apple discussions - they have so many defenders who will argue in favor of Apple's position, no matter what it is. Then Apple changes their position, and the defenders change course as if the previous position never existed.

Like who? No-one here has done this, so it's looks like it's more a suicide.
posted by bonaldi at 5:42 PM on September 9, 2010


Of course the reverse could be argued, the detractors will argue against Apple's position, no matter what it is.

But those detractors aren't put in a logically inconsistent position when Apple changes their policy. I think that Apple's policy before was wrong, and I think their policy now is right - or closer to right than it was.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:49 PM on September 9, 2010


It's late in the day, so I don't know how many of the people who care about this are still reading, but on the Apple-being-anti-jailbreaking topic:

As bullshit as it is that it took a DMCA rulemaking to clarify that you are free to jailbreak your own phone if you want to, and as sympathetic as I am to everyone who says things like well you own the device, why shouldn't you be able to do whatever you want on it?, it's not like Apple was legally out of line. As bonaldi pointed out, the DMCA allows companies to place all kinds of bullshit restrictions on devices that you own, and to make circumventing these restrictions illegal.

Actually, the mere fact that this development came out of a rulemaking is evidence not that Apple was wrong, but that they were right, and that commenters managed to talk the Librarian of Congress into accepting that jailbreaking is a worthy enough use that an exception should be made.

Background: The DMCA makes the circumvention of "technical protective measures" that "control access" to a copyrighted work illegal (§1201(a)(1)(A)). Computer programs are (typically) considered "literary works," and thus count as copyrightable subject matter. Therefore, a phone's firmware is a copyrighted work (since copyright automatically vests in the author of a work at the time of fixation) and if the author takes measures to block your access to it, it becomes illegal to attempt to circumvent those measures.

Thank God some Congresspeople saw the potential this left for authors to use TPMs to basically eliminate rights that are typically available to customers who buy copies of protected works (e.g., people who buy iPhones), because they forced in the exception in §1201(a)(1)(B): The prohibition against circumvention doesn't apply to you if you can show that you are likely to be adversely affected in your ability to make noninfringing uses of some particular class of works. §§1201(a)(1)(C)-(D) describe how this works: the Librarian of Congress holds a notice-and-comment rulemaking process every three years, and publishes a list of exempt categories of works and the uses for which you can circumvent their TPMs until the next rulemaking three years later.

This sounds much more encouraging than it really is. A lot of proposed exemptions got rejected in the first couple of rounds of rulemaking because the LOC was still coming to grips with what types of categories of works they would allow (e.g. someone in the first rulemaking pled for an exception for DVDs, protected by CSS, and the librarian said that that only referred to a medium of storage, not to a particular class of works per se). And the weighing process still tilts heavily towards the author, rather than users. For instance, for the 2003 rulemaking, someone proposed an exemption for legitimate owners of audiovisual works on DVDs who wanted to circumvent CSS encryption to play them on computers running operating systems for which there were no licensed media players (e.g., Linux at that time). The Librarian said (PDF warning):
Because there are a variety of devices that will play DVDs, the inability to play a DVD on a particular device or with a particular operating system is simply a matter of preference and inconvenience. Persons wishing to play CSS-protected DVDs on computers with the Linux operating system have the same options that other consumers have. As a general proposition, the DVD medium has increased the availability of motion pictures for sale and rental by the general public, and the motion picture studios’ willingness to distribute their works in this medium is due in part to the faith they have in the protection offered by CSS.
There have been a few instances of this kind of thought process. Like, I'm too lazy to look it up right now, but either in 2003 or 2006, someone proposed an exemption for audio recordings downloaded from online stores that require that you pay a monthly fee to keep listening to them, if those stores eventually go out of business and the customer wishes to break the DRM to continue listening to the songs. The LOC's position was basically: this service is different from purchasing MP3s, and it's priced accordingly. If you wanted the ability to continue listening to your songs without continuing to pay for them, you could pay more and just buy them. But since you didn't, you run the risk of this happening someday, and we're not going to make an exemption for you to listen to them anyway.

Anyway. In 2006, the LOC granted an exemption for people to install firmware on their phones to enable them to connect to a wireless communications network, "for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network." This exemption overcame the opposition of music industry groups, who wrote that people were likely to circumvent firmware so that they could circumvent DRM on music and ringtones people had purchased from their carriers (as if that's why people wanted to install new firmware on their phones!). This exemption seemed promising, but for a couple of things:
  1. The recommendation itself (PDF!) used language that suggested the meaning of "lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network" meant that you could only do so outside of the terms of any multi-year contracts you may have had with your provider to keep subscribing to/using their network ("These software locks prevent customers from using their handsets on a competitor’s network (even after all contractual obligations to the original wireless carrier have been satisfied) by controlling access to the software that operates the mobile phones")
  2. You could only circumvent the firmware protections for the purposes of connecting to another network, not for the purposes of running unsigned apps, installing a new OS on your smartphone, etc.
Most of the rulemaking exemptions that the LOC has granted more than once have narrowed over time (e.g. 2000's exemption for computer programs protected by defective access control mechanisms --> 2003's exemption for computer programs protected by dongles that are obsolete and damaged/malfunctioning --> 2006's dongle exception with a narrowed definition of the word "obsolete"), so I really wasn't expecting the huge jailbreaking win in the most recent rulemaking. I expected there to be some kind of typical market argument (e.g. "other phones that grant you more freedom are available on the market. Moreover, the low initial purchase cost of the iPhone is due in part to Apple's expectation of revenues from music and app purchases over the phone's lifecycle. If there is sufficient demand for an unlocked iPhone, Apple is free to offer such a version at an increased cost in the future"). But I'm glad the LOC made (what I see to be) the right call.

So, why did I type all this shit? My point is this: It sucks that Apple didn't want you to jailbreak the phone, but the way the law is set up really encourages Apple, other software manufacturers, studios releasing movies on DVD/Blu-Ray, printer cartridge manufacturers, and allll kinds of other "authors" to take these kinds of measures to restrict your rights. If you think it's wrong, write your Congressperson and tell them it's wrong, and urge them not to pass even stricter/dumber rules via ACTA. Write a check to the EFF. And I know this doesn't apply to everyone, but for those of you who to whom it does: please stop writing comments on MetaFilter suggesting that everyone who cares about copyright reform secretly just wants to download infinity copies of Photoshop and rape struggling musicians for their hard-earned money
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 5:59 PM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Their original motive could have been user experience, but that was overruled by more pressing considerations.

Really? Do they now value user experience less than they did? What could these other pressing considerations possibly be, since nothing has really changed since their previous decision?

If they're losing their exclusivity (to devices that aren't near the shops yet), then why would they give up the barriers that helped them preserve that exclusivity? This change makes cross-platform apps easier, and right now that only helps Android, not iOS.

Like barriers typically do, this one can keep things out as well as keeping them in. Android is quickly becoming an equal player, and if enough developer mindshare moves to Android that means that those developers wouldn't be able to simultaneously develop for iOS without this change. The barrier is only effective when it keeps people in, not out.

Like who? No-one here has done this, so it's looks like it's more a suicide.

I don't see any Apple loyalists defending their previous position about app development platforms in this thread. If their previous decision was motivated by anything other than Apple's desire to prevent the success of other platforms, then either they were right to make that decision then and wrong now, or wrong then and right now.

But again, while I'm usually an Apple detractor in these threads, I'm glad they changed their position. I don't have any illusions about why they did it, though.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:00 PM on September 9, 2010


But those detractors aren't put in a logically inconsistent position when Apple changes their policy.

What logically inconsistent position were Apple admirers placed in? Because all I heard the pro Apple crowd saying was that Apple was in its rights to choose to restrict things, not that it was necessarily a great idea. Well, except in the case of not allowing Flash on iOS devices, but come on, that was a great idea :)
posted by nomadicink at 6:01 PM on September 9, 2010


Because all I heard the pro Apple crowd saying was that Apple was in its rights to choose to restrict things, not that it was necessarily a great idea.

There were plenty of people saying that it was a good idea. I could search through some of the previous threads to find some examples, but frankly I'm too lazy to do that. Hell, if it was just about whether Apple has the right to do that, that would put me in the pro-Apple crowd. But just as they have the right to pull all sorts of anti-consumer stunts, we have the right to grouse about it.

Well, except in the case of not allowing Flash on iOS devices, but come on, that was a great idea :)

Maybe you should get a phone that can handle Flash :)
posted by me & my monkey at 6:13 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The same people who pitched a fit about Bill Gates trying to impose himself on computing are fine with it when it's Steve Jobs.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:14 PM on September 9, 2010


You can use an iPhone as an external storage device.

In other words: no, they don't produce amazingly good hardware.

Of all the points you mentioned, only the first actually alleged a hardware defect. The rest needn't have ever interfered with someone's enjoyment of their iDevice. They're just business practices that inconvenience or offend you. They might inconvenience or offend me too. But that has no bearing on whether it's good hardware or not.

If there have been reports of hardware glitches in iPads, I haven't heard of them. Haven't had any trouble with mine.

I'm no fanboi. I switched from Macs to PCs in the XP2 years and have never regretted it for a moment. Since I hope the iPad I'm typing this on will last a long time, maybe when it needs to be replaced, by them it will make more sense to use a different OS. But now?

I mean, God bless you, Android pioneers. The trail you're blazing may guide us all someday. But you read what was said upthread about the Android experience. Maybe that's currently the price of freedom. If so, it's one I'm too technologically old to afford.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:15 PM on September 9, 2010


I'm glad Apple changed their minds on this issue, and I'm really happy they attempted to lay out more clearly what they base their decisions on. I'm left wondering, though... under their new terms, will Google Voice or Latitude be approved?
posted by SAC at 6:17 PM on September 9, 2010


What could these other pressing considerations possibly be, since nothing has really changed since their previous decision?
An existential threat, one that threatens the platform as a whole? I'm thinking antitrust here, not Android. I don't think they'll really ever feel that as a threat while the experience is so junky (and getting junkier by the day, thanks to the carriers)

Android is quickly becoming an equal player, and if enough developer mindshare moves to Android that means that those developers wouldn't be able to simultaneously develop for iOS without this change.
Android is quickly becoming a mess. There was a Google conference which was amazingly successful at selling 2.2 as the second coming of freedom, but the outcome didn't meet the rhetoric. Fewer than 5% of Android devices are on 2.2, months later, none of the tablets have shipped, there's no iPod Touch competitor and the carriers are ladling on the crap ware.

Put it this way: where are the killer apps on Android marketplace that iOS is crying out for that this change will make happen? how many iOS apps would Android owners like to have, by contrast. Perhaps someday cross-platform could work in Apple's favour, but it's not today.

I don't see any Apple loyalists defending their previous position about app development platforms in this thread.
And yet the U-turns are "killing you". So either you can link to these poster's previous contradictory statements, or you don't actually know of any and are simply assuming them because hey, that's what fanbois do, right? If the latter you are posting in the worst possible faith.
posted by bonaldi at 6:17 PM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


The same people who pitched a fit about Bill Gates trying to impose himself on computing are fine with it when it's Steve Jobs.

Deep. Just like how the same people who'd pitch a fit if a sceptic hobo tried to have sex with them are fine with it when it's someone they fancy.
posted by bonaldi at 6:20 PM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


A septic hobo, even. Though I like the image of this enquiring tramp.
posted by bonaldi at 6:22 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


There were plenty of people saying that it was a good idea.

Why did they think it was a good idea?
posted by nomadicink at 6:47 PM on September 9, 2010


An existential threat, one that threatens the platform as a whole? I'm thinking antitrust here, not Android. I don't think they'll really ever feel that as a threat while the experience is so junky (and getting junkier by the day, thanks to the carriers)

It's pretty clear that you don't actually use an Android phone, because, well ... not junky. You don't have to be very technically sophisticated to use one, and it just works.

Android is quickly becoming a mess. There was a Google conference which was amazingly successful at selling 2.2 as the second coming of freedom, but the outcome didn't meet the rhetoric. Fewer than 5% of Android devices are on 2.2, months later, none of the tablets have shipped, there's no iPod Touch competitor and the carriers are ladling on the crap ware.

Well, no. First, you don't need 2.2 for a pleasant user experience. I got a Droid the day they came out, with 2.0. It had 2.0 for a loooong time, and it worked fine. Then, not too long ago, 2.1 came out, and now 2.2 is out. But to be honest, these upgrades really only brought a couple of things to the table for me - voice control throughout the system with 2.1, and Flash with 2.2.

I don't think too many people care about the lack of an iPod Touch competitor.

As for "ladling on the crap ware" it's not as bad as you seem to think. First, there are some devices, like the Droid, that are "Google Experience" devices. That means, no additional vendor software. Many of the rest, from HTC, come with their custom shell, which is actually very nice - lots of people want that shell on their non-HTC devices. Finally, the bad examples of the past (I'm looking at you, Motoblur) are a lot less ... bad than they used to be.

where are the killer apps on Android marketplace that iOS is crying out for that this change will make happen?

Google Voice, for one.

And yet the U-turns are "killing you". So either you can link to these poster's previous contradictory statements, or you don't actually know of any and are simply assuming them because hey, that's what fanbois do, right?

Oh, please. Do you mean that all that "walled garden" stuff you were on about here, you still stand by that? You think that Apple has now made the wrong decision?

But the fact is, if you think that this hasn't happened all the time, you're the one being disingenuous. Before the App Store, mobile web apps were "the future". Before the switch to Intel, PowerPC was the better platform. Before today's announcement, the horror of cross-platform apps threatened the beautiful user experience. Etc, etc, etc. One of the two positions has to be right - which one is it, the before or after?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:50 PM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


The same people who pitched a fit about Bill Gates trying to impose himself on computing are fine with it when it's Steve Jobs.

Speaking only for myself, there's a little truth in that, at least to the extent that, thanks to the fact that his intuition about what products ought to be has matched my wants and needs far better than anyone else in the industry, he's earned some slack. I'd rather have replaceable batteries. I'd rather be able to easily write my own programs and put them on my own iPhone at least, if not distribute them to others. But he's got enough credit with me that I can spend a little on that and still want to buy the products.

Where it's not true (again, speaking only for myself) is the suggestion that it's a straight across comparison. Controlling the iOS platform with an iron fist is not the same thing as exercising monopoly power to combat other platforms. Nothing about blocking Flash, for example, is to do with preventing Android or RIM from getting market share. It's a different motivation. You may not sympathize with it, but I personally appreciate the incredible solidity of the iPhone and iPad, to the point where I'm disinclined to cavil at things I might otherwise. For me, Jobs earned this credit by getting it pretty nearly right, pretty nearly all the time. Gates' story is very different. Again. IMO. YMMV.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:05 PM on September 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Google Voice, for one.

This doesn't work on an iPhone?
posted by nomadicink at 7:24 PM on September 9, 2010


You know, I remember reading somewhere that people have a psychological tendency to defend whatever device they own, regardless of the up or downsides, so they can feel better about their purchasing decision.

Maybe one of you Android people can google it. Me, I'm going to enjoy watching Netflix on my fancy new Retina Display™!
posted by fungible at 7:28 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google Voice, for one.

This doesn't work on an iPhone?


There were a bunch of 3rd party apps for it until Google submitted an official one to Apple, and it got stuck in submission limbo, while the 3rd party apps were withdrawn by Apple. There's a webapp now, which is OK, but not the same thing.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:31 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, I think I just changed my mind. If, after this change, they still don't approve the Google Voice or Google Latitude apps, wouldn't that render these changes meaningless? Essentially, they're saying that on top of the standards listed, they are free to make up any others if they feel like it.
posted by SAC at 8:01 PM on September 9, 2010


This doesn't work on an iPhone?

It does, but it doesn't give you nearly the same functionality as the native Voice app on Android. As a heavy Voice user, that by itself would keep me from buying the iPhone.

If, after this change, they still don't approve the Google Voice or Google Latitude apps, wouldn't that render these changes meaningless? Essentially, they're saying that on top of the standards listed, they are free to make up any others if they feel like it.

No, I don't think these changes are meaningless. Before, they could arbitrarily reject apps from the App Store for any reason they like, and you couldn't even submit applications built with certain tools. Now, they can still arbitrarily reject apps from the App Store for any reason they like, but they won't reject them just because you used Flash CS5 IDE to build them. This is positive change.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:48 PM on September 9, 2010


If, after this change, they still don't approve the Google Voice or Google Latitude apps, wouldn't that render these changes meaningless?

Only if that's your only meaningful consideration. Despite the bulk of the discussion here, today's change doesn't really pull the iOS platform in a unified direction.

For example, opening up to 3rd party development tools is more "open", but the list of reasons for rejection is actually more extensive than any previous rules, so more "closed", except that many of the reasons have clearly been applied without being stated in the past, which I guess makes them more "open" now, while the specific restriction on duplicating functionality has now actually been extended to cover non-Apple apps, so that part is more "closed."

If you start looking at the specific facts, these broad terms become useless. So it's probably best not to do that if you're really keen on applying broad terms not just to the complex set of changes made today, but to the entire company or even industry throughout history.
posted by scottreynen at 8:52 PM on September 9, 2010


So either you can link to these poster's previous contradictory statements, or you don't actually know of any and are simply assuming them because hey, that's what fanbois do, right? If the latter you are posting in the worst possible faith.

I'd like to see this too.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:53 PM on September 9, 2010


Essentially, they're saying that on top of the standards listed, they are free to make up any others if they feel like it.

We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service. So?

It's in Apple's interest to accept any quality app that doesn't threaten existing business partnerships (i.e. Google Voice), the quality of the user experience they're selling (i.e. Flash), or the prestige of the brand (i.e. Ultimate Fartz HD). If the company were poorly managed enough to refuse worthy apps for any other reason, they would deserve to fail. And it sounds like lots of people would be happy about that.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:25 PM on September 9, 2010


Joe Beese wrote: "We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service. So?"

So they're the ones choosing to be the ultimate arbiter of what their users may install on their smartphone. With great power comes great responsibility.
posted by wierdo at 10:07 PM on September 9, 2010


[i]I find it hilarious that they have a rule specifically prohibiting Russian roulette games. Did they get a lot of these?[/i]

I was actually a beta tester for the ill-fated iGun project.

God, it was beautiful: curved white plastic, nothing extraneous, a simple laser dot rather than a old-school sight, and you squeezed it gently to fire it. The only problem was that I could only get the special caseless ammunition under the counter from the Stockton Street Apple Store.

I miss that gun.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:37 PM on September 9, 2010


So they're the ones choosing to be the ultimate arbiter of what their users may install on their smartphone.

I don't find that intolerable as a matter of principle. Nor have I found it particularly irksome in practice. For every app Apple won't let us have for corporate bullshit reasons, there are probably three we're enjoying that Android users don't have. Nor would I have as good an experience using the apps Android does have.

Look, you want to call Steve Jobs an asshole, I have no interest in persuading you otherwise. But he has an amazing technological experience for sale right now and you don't. Unjust perhaps, but there you have it.

When you've got a better product to offer, I'll be interested to hear about it.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:51 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, there is always the appeal to authority.
posted by wierdo at 11:02 PM on September 9, 2010


I don't find that intolerable as a matter of principle. Nor have I found it particularly irksome in practice. For every app Apple won't let us have for corporate bullshit reasons, there are probably three we're enjoying that Android users don't have. Nor would I have as good an experience using the apps Android does have.

Is tethering "legal" yet? I haven't been following iNews.

Also, I'd prefer real linux with all of Debian on call to Android or iPhone. They both are playing the the maximize-contribution while still controlling-and-owning game.

I don't like being in a service relationship with my technology.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:06 AM on September 10, 2010


Furthermore, Apple switched after Intel moved to the Core architecture, which really was a significant improvement over the Pentium 4 / Netburst architecture.
I've heard this before, but Intel has been selling P6 based chips continuously since 1995. There were was only one year, 2002 that had a gap between the PIII and Pentium M when only P4s were sold, but there were still high-end Xeon chips being sold with the P6 architecture.

Anyway, the weird thing is that RISC vs. CISC and other microarchitecture issues is actually totally irrelevant to users. All that matters is the actual performance, not the theoretical performance. And I think P4 chips still ended up being faster then G5s at the end there.

---
The iPad on the other hand is pretty much a new category of device - coming at the problem of creating a tablet PC by scaling up a media player rather than scaling down a PC turned out to be the real key to making that form factor work.
Oh come on. There were tablets before the iPad and there were tablets being released around the same time as the iPad. And there will be tablets after the iPad. Remember the Newton?
The bigger problem is that modern game engines often include interpreted languages that run within the engine. UnrealScript, Lua, what-have-you. No doubt the Rage engine will have something similar.
I think the original quake engine actually used interpreted C.
This is rubbish. It's not Apple's job to look out for parents who aren't keeping tabs on what their kids are doing, particularly by banning certain content to everyone, child or not.
Especially since, you know, apple could just turn parental controls on by default. Besides, you can surf for porn on the iPad, you just can't have it in the apps.
I'm curious how many of those criticizing Apple's closed platform have owned a Wii for years without noticing it has the exact same problems.
Well, if people were saying that the iPad was going to be the future of video gaming, it wouldn't be such a big deal. A bunch of people seem to want to replace all computers with it, that it's the future, bla bla bla. It becomes more problematic. Apple isn't selling the iPad as a toy
posted by delmoi at 1:21 AM on September 10, 2010


Oh, please. Do you mean that all that "walled garden" stuff you were on about here, you still stand by that? You think that Apple has now made the wrong decision?

er, yes, and I said so already in this very thread.

But the fact is, if you think that this hasn't happened all the time, you're the one being disingenuous. Before the App Store, mobile web apps were "the future". Before the switch to Intel, PowerPC was the better platform. Before today's announcement, the horror of cross-platform apps threatened the beautiful user experience. Etc, etc, etc. One of the two positions has to be right - which one is it, the before or after?

This is *drivel*. Apple does this in its marketing, which is fair enough. The fans don't. Before the App Store, fans were going fucking *nuts* that web apps were all there were -- that's why there *is* an App Store. Before Intel, there was endless, endless grousing that PowerBooks were stuck on the G4. After today's announcement, cross-platform apps still threaten the user experience, just the roles are reversed in the people who've been fighting about it on apple forums since the changed happened.

(As for the Android stuff, there are plenty of posts in this very thread contradicting your rosy view of its wonderful ease-of-use)
posted by bonaldi at 1:41 AM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Adobe resurrects Flash-to-iPhone app tool.
posted by nomadicink at 3:03 AM on September 10, 2010


THERE ARE REAL PROBLEMS IN THE WORLD, TOO, PEOPLE
posted by shakespeherian at 5:05 AM on September 10, 2010


(As for the Android stuff, there are plenty of posts in this very thread contradicting your rosy view of its wonderful ease-of-use)

I haven't seen a single comment that explains to me how hard it is to use my Android phone. I'll admit that I'm a engineer so that probably helps but really, there was no noticeable learning curve; if you've used a computer in the last twenty five years, you can use an Android phone. And I know at least a dozen people with various Android phones and I've never heard a single complaint about the UI. They're pretty wonderful devices and both my wife and I wouldn't part with them for anything. I was able to work from a hospital waiting room yesterday since I could tether my laptop to my phone and run out through the 3G service.

I'd like to point out that this really doesn't have to be a zero sum game, both iOS and Android can be good and useful and fun in their different ways. I personally would never buy an iPhone because of it being changed to iTunes which I have used for the three iPods I've owned and would really rather never touch again. But that's my choice based on what I value more in a consumer product, it doesn't bother me that other folks make different choices based on their preferences.

I do have some issues with the Android upgrade and distribution system having to rely on Moto and Verizon isn't that great but they did upgrade my Droid to 2.2 pretty quickly. It seems to take longer because the process is more visible than Apple's since Google releases the code and then the manufacturers have to tweak it for their hardware. On the otherhand, I've gotten three major OS upgrades and a lot a amazing Google App upgrades in the 9 months that I've owned the phone. The fact that 2.2 was primarily a stability and performance upgrade really makes me feel good about the directions that Google is taking the platform.
posted by octothorpe at 5:07 AM on September 10, 2010


I'd like to point out that this really doesn't have to be a zero sum game, both iOS and Android can be good and useful and fun in their different ways

Then things would be peaceful and that's not you click throughs.

Me, I prefer iOS partially because it was here first and I have no strong complaints against it. I am disappointed with the current iPad (No USB or easy syncing) so I haven't picked one up, but I do expect those things to be fixed in the 2nd or 3 rd version. This fits with my view of Apple products, where it usually takes a version or two to really get the features I need.

Android seems fine, but there's nothing compelling about it that makes me say "HOLY CRAP I NEED THAT". The open vs closed argument that seems to be a major sticking point to some hasn't created a noticeably superior device, especially in terms of games, so why change?
posted by nomadicink at 5:56 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd like to thank JHarris once again for helping me install the Homebrew Channel on my Wii. Thanks, dude.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:58 AM on September 10, 2010


There were tablets before the iPad and there were tablets being released around the same time as the iPad.

And there were portable digital music players before the iPod. The iPod's significance wasn't that it was the first. Its significance was that it was the first to get everything right.

... if people were saying that the iPad was going to be the future of video gaming, it wouldn't be such a big deal. A bunch of people seem to want to replace all computers with it, that it's the future, bla bla bla. It becomes more problematic. Apple isn't selling the iPad as a toy.

"Want to"? That RDF seems to work in both directions...

There are no Apple brownshirts going door-to-door ripping PCs out of crying businessmen's hands and stomping them into electronic junk on the floor. Apple is just offering a product for sale, OK? If they say it's the future, you're entitled to dismiss it as marketing hype. But I happen to think they're right. And judging by the stampede of copycats, people who are paid to guess correctly about these things are betting big money that Apple is right too. We shall see. I promise you full gloating privileges if they're wrong.

As for what Apple is selling the iPad as, that's an interesting question that would merit its own discussion. If your point is that its not capable of real business work, I agree with you. It's not even capable of fully replacing my leisure laptop. Yet. But it's remarkably close. And it's only the first gen.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:01 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


sebastienbailard wrote: "Also, I'd prefer real linux with all of Debian on call to Android or iPhone. They both are playing the the maximize-contribution while still controlling-and-owning game."

Yeah, it is very nice being able to install any random utility you find a need for.
posted by wierdo at 6:10 AM on September 10, 2010


The iPod's significance wasn't that it was the first. Its significance was that it was the first to get everything right.

I don't think that's true at all.

The iPod line is a pretty shitty set of MP3 players. Without the iTunes Store (i.e. a "viable" way to buy digital music), and the timing of its ascendance, i.e. digital music goes mainstream, it's just another player, no better (actually worse, imo) than Sandisk. (tell me how to get my music from my iPod onto your (unauthorized by Apple) computer.)
posted by mrgrimm at 6:15 AM on September 10, 2010


Android seems fine, but there's nothing compelling about it that makes me say "HOLY CRAP I NEED THAT"

I'm curious if anyone actually thinks that about any phone (or to be more specific, any mobile OS). I doubt it.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:17 AM on September 10, 2010


We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service. So?

Sure they do. I wasn't arguing their right to. My point was that I thought the new terms were a pretty awesome change, but if I can't rely on these terms to be a good indicator of whether or not an app will be approved, I'm less inclined to invest any time or money into anything for the iPhone.

I get that there are plenty of people who are willing to, and that Apple is not hurting for any contribution of mine. I'm just saying that, for me, these new terms are meaningless unless they actually stick by them.

Also, they could very well now approve Google's Voice/Latitude apps There's word they're at least inclined to approve the non-Google Google Voice app. If they approve Google's version, feel free to ignore everything I've written in this thread.
posted by SAC at 6:22 AM on September 10, 2010


I don't think that's true at all.

That's the key part, really, YOU don't think so. A ton of other people like the product, for any number of reasons.

I'm curious if anyone actually thinks that about any phone (or to be more specific, any mobile OS). I doubt it.

Yeah, the iOS did for me when it was first introduced. It wasn't a question of "maybe" but "when, dammit, WHEN." Tablets seem to be producing that same feeling.
posted by nomadicink at 6:34 AM on September 10, 2010


What do you love about your iPod? Why didn't you buy one of the plentiful other offerings, no small number of them more affordable, many of them competitive on a feature-by-feature basis?

The short answer is Nike+.
I have several MP3 players, and strictly as MP3 players, the iPod may be the least user-friendly. But it's still a nice device overall, and is obviously more than just a music player.
It could be better, though...and I think in many of their products, Apple often chooses what's best for Apple over what's best for their customers. That makes them no worse than any other corporation, I guess, but no better either, and no more free from criticism.
posted by rocket88 at 6:34 AM on September 10, 2010


A bunch of people seem to want to replace all computers with it, that it's the future, bla bla bla. It becomes more problematic. Apple isn't selling the iPad as a toy.

I'd say Apple is selling it as something between a toy and a computer, but closer to the toy end of the spectrum. If you look at how they market the iPad vs., say, the the MacBook, you'll see the iPad's features are touted exclusively as software features, specific things it does, whereas the MacBooks are touted exclusively as hardware features, a general-purpose computing platform that lets you do whatever you want with it. There's certainly room to interpret their advertising in either direction, which I suspect is why some people are bothed by what they see as a crippled general-purpose computing device, while others are totally fine with what they see as a really powerful toy.

install the Homebrew Channel on my Wii

Neat, a real example of this playing out in another context! So do you find yourself with an antagonistic view of Nintendo, since they've actively worked to prevent you from doing what you wanted with your Wii? Or is it still different from how tinkerers view Apple, perhaps because the Wii is still very focused on gaming?
posted by scottreynen at 6:39 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


rocket88 wrote: "I have several MP3 players, and strictly as MP3 players, the iPod may be the least user-friendly."

I thought the click wheel iPods were the bee's knees, despite its annoying limitations. Not so much on everything after that.
posted by wierdo at 6:54 AM on September 10, 2010


The click wheel rocked, I don't know why Apple seems obsessed with getting rid of it. They tried that with the shuffle and it didn't work, can't imagine the new Nano will be more of a success.
posted by nomadicink at 7:03 AM on September 10, 2010


... if I can't rely on these terms to be a good indicator of whether or not an app will be approved, I'm less inclined to invest any time or money into anything for the iPhone.

True. The life of an Apple app developer will continue to have that element of anxiety. Even of subjugation before the whims of Jobs' imperial will, if you want to look at it that way. There's no reason at all to suffer such indignities... except the allure of those millions of iOS devices that Jobs is selling. Which he has been able to do at least in spite of - if not partly because of - his dictatorial approach to quality control.

Again, if his approach is misguided, his company will suffer for it - and people who write hatchet jobs like this Gawker piece will enjoy a good laugh over it. But he's sitting rather pretty right now, I'd say.

As one commenter there nicely puts it:

People don't like "being treated like idiots" but a lot of people ARE idiots.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:10 AM on September 10, 2010


Another clickwheel hater here. I find it annoying on all but the shortest of lists. The touch is much better in that regard (though the landscape mode album selection is actually pretty pointless too. Looks good for demoing, I guess)
posted by Artw at 7:12 AM on September 10, 2010


My god was the original white iPhone prettier than anything else at the time. THAT was it's big innovation.
posted by Artw at 7:14 AM on September 10, 2010


Apple's New Developer Terms: What's In, What's Out

Advertising gets a mention, which was another area that was problematic from an antitrust point of view.
posted by Artw at 7:22 AM on September 10, 2010


Comparison of original iPod and 3G Nano. The original looks clunky, but as a person with big hands, the large click wheel looks great.

Amazing how much the size shrunk though.
posted by nomadicink at 7:53 AM on September 10, 2010


Did FTC Probe Cause Apple to Change App Rules?
posted by Artw at 8:23 AM on September 10, 2010


The iPod's significance wasn't that it was the first. Its significance was that it was the first to get everything right.

I don't think that's true at all.

The iPod line is a pretty shitty set of MP3 players. Without the iTunes Store (i.e. a "viable" way to buy digital music), and the timing of its ascendance, i.e. digital music goes mainstream, it's just another player, no better (actually worse, imo) than Sandisk. (tell me how to get my music from my iPod onto your (unauthorized by Apple) computer.)
It originally came out without a music store at all, limited to Macs. It's brilliance was that, at a time when music players were relatively huge and clunky with awkward interfaces for the average user, it carried a ton of music in an outrageously small package with a good user interface for navigating and playing through the music collection. Better than good enough for most people.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:34 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Via Ars Technica, one of the developers of a Google Voice iPhone app that was pulled tweeted interesting news:
Good news: I did get confirmation back from Apple that it will most likely get back in once I resubmit.
'It' is probably GV Mobile, which is a good app.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:39 AM on September 10, 2010


My god was the original white iPhone prettier than anything else at the time. THAT was it's big innovation.

Again, I seem to have totally different ideas about what's desirable in a phone than iPhone users do. I really don't care what my phone looks like; my first gen Droid is pretty darn homely but works great. I was really way more interested in the removable battery and the physical keyboard.
posted by octothorpe at 8:39 AM on September 10, 2010


Its significance was that it was the first to get everything right.

Of course this is subjective. Everything right for you and many others, not so for me, and many others. I found the sound inferior, iTunes is limiting though you can get alternatives so you don't have to use it.

That's the key part, really, YOU don't think so. A ton of other people like the product, for any number of reasons.

Indeed. It's subjective. Look at the most popular desktop OS for example and the most popular PCs. Windows. A ton of other people like the product for any number of reasons.

Use what you like. It's really that simple. Others have different reasons for disliking what you like and liking what you dislike (or if you like, prefer or not prefer).

I find the Wii point interesting. Yes, I find it annoying as hell, just like I do with Apple's structure. Fortunately the cost of it is dirt cheap compared to the TCO of a smart phone, which is frankly outrageous here in Canada, and the of course compared to the cost of a tablet that is very limiting (within a few minutes of using an iPad I felt pretty frustrated, but that's because it's not for me and what I would want to use it for, so I got a $250 netbook instead). I tried the Homebrew but failed at it. Found a hardware solution however...
posted by juiceCake at 8:48 AM on September 10, 2010


My god was the original white iPhone prettier than anything else at the time. THAT was it's big innovation.

I thought it was dull and ugly, and I love minimalist, clean design. Again, very subjective. Love the look, feel, and operation of iOS though and don't really give a flying sheep's ass what a phone looks like. I look at the screen, though of course a good size, weight, thickness ratio is good, and I don't like pink or yellow. Same for my computer(s). I usually look at the monitor and rarely see the computer unless I need to turn it on.
posted by juiceCake at 8:55 AM on September 10, 2010


So do you find yourself with an antagonistic view of Nintendo, since they've actively worked to prevent you from doing what you wanted with your Wii?

Many Euro Wii owners who haven't stripped their console down and bolted a hard drive to it have an antagonistic view of Nintendo, since they don't really like to release, well, games here.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:20 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


My god was the original white iPhone prettier than anything else at the time. THAT was it's big innovation.

Sorry, I mistyped - that should be iPod, not iPhone. The iPhone had a number of pretty significant advances on it's competition.
posted by Artw at 9:25 AM on September 10, 2010


The iPod line is a pretty shitty set of MP3 players. Without the iTunes Store (i.e. a "viable" way to buy digital music), and the timing of its ascendance, i.e. digital music goes mainstream, it's just another player, no better (actually worse, imo) than Sandisk.

I think you're rewriting history here.

There were a bunch of MP3 players that predated the iPod, both flash and hard disk based. (I actually owned one of the very first, a MMC-based model from a German company called Pontis. If you think the iPod was "shitty," I need to dig that thing up. Egads.)

Apple had iTunes, which became popular — pre-iPod; the iPod came out with iTunes 2 —  because it was a much more convenient way to manage a large music collection than using the filesystem. "Rip, Mix, Burn" in one application. You didn't need to rip and encode with one set of utilities, then play with another, and then burn CDs with a third, which was pretty standard before the jukebox programs came about. (And I'm not saying iTunes was the first; it actually started life as a standalone program that Apple acquired, I think. By Cassady and Greene? But Apple marketed the shit out of it, because it was a way to sell Macs at a time when the platform didn't have a whole lot of advantages going for it. And there were others; MusicMatch Jukebox struggled along for a while as an iTunes competitor.)

The hard drive players started to get popular when it became clear that Flash players, like my Pontis, weren't going to get the capacity that the manufacturers had promised* as quickly as they'd indicated, and music collections started growing thanks to easy ripping and P2P. But they weren't popular with the mass market; they were definitely geek accessories. The interfaces sucked, the software generally sucked, the whole experience tended to have a lot of rough edges.

I have very little positive to say about Apple anymore, but they really did it right with the original iPod. The interface beat the pants off of anything else being sold at the time, and the automatic synchronization with iTunes was a huge selling feature. For every person that might have preferred to manage their music using the filesystem, I can guarantee you that they gained multiple customers who were swayed by the "5,000 songs in your pocket" whole-library syncing thing. They — very consciously, I think — ignored the Archos/Nomad-buying geek audience (the people who initially panned the iPod) in favor of creating a market that turned out to be much larger than I think would have existed otherwise.

And suddenly I remember seeing people that I wasn't even sure could spell "MP3" wearing the white earbuds. (For a while, it was a definite status symbol thing; those white earbuds meant, effectively, that you could afford around five C-notes worth of tech in your pocket, just for the fuck of it. Conspicuous consumption at its finest.)

The iPod design has always had some serious shortcomings. It's nearly impossible to use with gloves on, or without looking at it (e.g. if you're driving). But most people don't think about that when they're standing in the store, and it's elegant in the ways that matter: that is, the ways that sell. It, and in particular the clickwheel, blew away everything else on the market and relegated the then-leaders to producing mostly budget devices. The iTunes Store had nothing to do with its initial success, since it didn't exist. The first generations of iPods were loaded with music you either ripped from CDs or pirated — something that Apple took some heat (and I believe a lawsuit) from the music companies over.

I think the iPod 'ecosystem' has actually gone downhill. The first generation device used a standard FireWire connection, rather than the proprietary Dock Connector. Early versions of iTunes had a neat and un-crippled sharing feature that let you listen to your home music library from work, with very minimal effort (you needed some ports opened in your firewall, and a dyndns name, but that was about it). There wasn't the Store, so the software wasn't constantly trying to sell you shit. It was just a very, very good, albeit very expensive, product.

* I remember reading claims by Pontis that they'd have 256 and 512MB MMCs available within 6 months of launch; it took several years for them to be in wide circulation. That damn thing came with two 16MB cards. And you had to load them individually. Over a serial cable. In the snow. Both ways.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:45 AM on September 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Again, if his approach is misguided, his company will suffer for it - and people who write hatchet jobs like this Gawker piece will enjoy a good laugh over it. But he's sitting rather pretty right now, I'd say.

I don't know how bloggers will invent a better device, but it will be interesting if it ever happens.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:39 AM on September 10, 2010


For every person that might have preferred to manage their music using the filesystem, I can guarantee you that they gained multiple customers who were swayed by the "5,000 songs in your pocket" whole-library syncing thing.

Fair enough. The ability for me to create directories on my music player is a big feature, but I suppose I am in the (very small) minority. I used to use the free MusicMatch (before it got sold) with my Diamond Rio (32MB capacity ... almost a full album!), and I thought it was pretty good.

It did all those things you describe iTunes doing, but without the financial backing and marketing, I suppose.

It's nearly impossible to use with gloves on, or without looking at it (e.g. if you're driving).

Yep, that's another reason it had no appeal for me. For music playing, I want something small enough to stay in my pocket and stay there. If I want to go from listening to one album in order to listening to my whole collection on random, I want to be able to make that change without pulling the device from my pocket.

I think the iPod 'ecosystem' has actually gone downhill. The first generation device used a standard FireWire connection, rather than the proprietary Dock Connector.

Yep, certainly can't argue there. The Dock Connector doesn't seem any faster than USB 2.0.

I thought it was dull and ugly, and I love minimalist, clean design. Again, very subjective. Love the look, feel, and operation of iOS though and don't really give a flying sheep's ass what a phone looks like.

I don't think the iPhone was that ugly but dull yes. Yes, very subjective. I can't stand iOS either, but I am clearly, again, in the very small minority.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:18 PM on September 10, 2010


I would bathe in iOS if I could. I imagine it smells of cinnamon and Natalie Portman.
posted by nomadicink at 12:25 PM on September 10, 2010


Oh god, MusicMatch. All the inconvenience and restrictions on transferring files as iTunes but without the store.
posted by Artw at 12:37 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


How to make iTunes (slightly) less horrible on Windows: The unofficial guide to installing iTunes 10 without bloatware. And for god's sake, kill the Apple update afterwards.
posted by bonehead at 2:03 PM on September 10, 2010


Since the iPad has been mentioned, and since I'm generally opposed to the idea of owning an iPhone XL, let me invoke the name "MeeGo Tablet." If it works half as good as it looks, it will eat the iPad for breakfast, even as it gets next to no market share. Of course, that will require hardware, of which there seems to be none, aside from tech demos, at this point. :(
posted by wierdo at 3:07 PM on September 10, 2010


Real artists ship.
posted by nomadicink at 3:11 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Of course, that will require hardware, of which there seems to be none, aside from tech demos, at this point.

Like all those iPod killers over the years that never shipped, those demo units are in pre-alpha stage. The iPad will already have two (if not three) years of lead time over competitors, should one even manage to get to market, and a whole body of useful iPad-specific apps and feature improvements. Google can't even get a third of current device manufacturers to support upgrades to Android 2.1, let alone 2.2. It really seems like an uphill battle for them and for non-sys-admin-level Android users looking for a realistic, well-supported alternative to the iOS world.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:41 PM on September 10, 2010


I'm putting this link here as a "Oh that's interesting" and not as "YOUR OS SUXXX"

Mixed messages from Google: is Android ready for tablets?
posted by nomadicink at 4:04 PM on September 10, 2010


To be fair, Intel and Nokia have never claimed that a MeeGo tablet will be out before 2011.

I don't really care what apps are available for the iPad. It's simply not as useful to me as the MeeGo UX appears that it will be. An active home screen is an absolute requirement for me. I was done with not having that capability five years ago. There's a reason I left feature phones behind. If I needed some app that was only available on iPad and/or iPhone, obviously that would outweigh any UI issues, but I don't.

If Apple can manage to put something together for the iPad that looks that useful before there's a decent MeeGo tablet, I may change my mind. Given that they've refused to do so on iPhone for 4 years at this point, I'm not going to get my hopes up. I'm definitely not going to get my hopes up for an iPhone with a physical keyboard. That seems about as likely as me having the money for a Bugatti Veyron. I need a keyboard on a phone. Not so much with a tablet.

I do wish Nokia would get on the stick and get the N9 out the door. A 4" screen would do a lot to placate my desire for a big honkin' slate.

One area in which Apple has a great advantage over other manufacturers is that they have fewer leaks, so there's less public lead time over the devices, and less antsy consumers. Apple would just drop the new OS bomb on everybody with maybe two weeks notice if that. The MeeGo demos are several months old already, and will be at least 6-8 months old by the time that UI ends up on a shipping device. If it takes longer than that to wrangle the bugs out of it, people (by that I mean me) will get annoyed that it's taking so long.

My SO has a Blackberry Torch coming next week. I'll be interested to see how it turned out. My expectations are not very high after playing with a Storm a while back. She needs BB email, so she was limited purely to the BB devices now that BB Connect (which was hackish anyway) has gone away.
posted by wierdo at 4:18 PM on September 10, 2010


I don't really care what apps are available for the iPad. It's simply not as useful to me as the MeeGo UX appears that it will be
God bless the Apple bashers. The iPad is so worthless, it is less useful than a device that *doesn't exist yet* and that nobody can use.

I was done with not having devices that didn't exist five years ago, too.

If Apple can manage to put something together for the iPad that looks that useful
What would this look like, to you? A Symbian emulator that could make you wait a year to run an app that hasn't been written yet?

Ah Symbian. God, Nokia hired a MS guy this morning, right? Might as well have bought Amiga while they were at it.
posted by bonaldi at 4:33 PM on September 10, 2010


I'm not bashing Apple, I'm saying their product does not work for me, thus I will go without until a product that does comes on the market. It looks like a MeeGo tablet may work for me. I find devices without active home screens much less useful than devices with. To the point that I'd rather use a 3.5" screen than a 10" screen or whatever it is the iPad has. If I need something bigger, I'll have a laptop.

bonaldi, you're acting like a fool. Why not try to have a rational discussion instead of getting all religious flamewar on me?

Perhaps you're just unaware that smartphones have been shipping with active home screens for longer than Apple has been in the business. I don't know, but your attitude is ridiculous.
posted by wierdo at 5:27 PM on September 10, 2010


Growing Android Power Led to Apple's Developer Compromise
posted by octothorpe at 5:45 PM on September 10, 2010


Sorry, it just seems so ... bizarre. An active home screen is really the oddest thing to make a cut-your-own-nose-off stance like this over. What is it that you're so desperate to have right at your fingertips? Is your schedule so packed that you simply must have the latest weather, the subjects of the last three emails you got and a list of the pictures you recently saw all available at a glance, no, not even a click away?

Don't get me wrong, I think some of that is nice. I'd like the iPhone lock screen to have upcoming appointments on it by default, for sure. But I find the idea that having it is just so unutterably essential that you'd rather do without until you got it to be faintly comic.

So faintly comic, in fact, that it really reads like yet another of the tiresome "well Apple is OK, but I'm not buying any of their products until they have FM radio/ota sync/two buttons/brown paint. Anyone can see that's vital". You need those things? Fine, you're an outlier, a weirdo.

(Still waiting to know what this "put something together that looks useful" actually is; I can't think of any "Apple refuse for the fourth year running to make something useful" stories that would explain what you're on about there.)
posted by bonaldi at 5:46 PM on September 10, 2010


I was talking about the active homescreen. I find devices without them to be less useful. Information should be at my fingertips, not several clicks away. My most frequently used applications should be at my fingertips, not several clicks away. My calendar should be at my fingertips, not several clicks away. I've had this for five years now. Why would I want to go back?

As I've said repeatedly, the iPad hardware is nice. The software needs work, in my opinion. When the software is finished, I'll strongly consider Apple's product. Until then, I'll use things that work better for me, even if that means giving up a large screen. I'm patient. I can wait.

I think the disconnect here is that you think the Apple software is awesome in a whole lot of ways. I don't. I think it's barely passable functionality-wise for use on a smartphone. I want a real tablet, not an iPhone XXL. Sadly, there are only a couple others in its size class, and none of them are particularly great at this point. Thus, I wait.
posted by wierdo at 6:16 PM on September 10, 2010


Sorry, it just seems so ... bizarre. An active home screen is really the oddest thing to make a cut-your-own-nose-off stance like this over.

Eh, I I had off on updating from Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.5, just 'cause I hated the interface change and think it's a step backwards.

I looked at the demo of Meego and it just seems like overkill, but the way there's like a basic interface then a super advanced one is really cool. Seems like you could grow into the system at your own pace. The way it was organizing info such as Friends, Video, Pictures, seemed bit too blunt, I would prefer to organize my own special snowflake way. Is that possible?
posted by nomadicink at 7:01 PM on September 10, 2010


Growing Android Power Led to Apple's Developer Compromise

"Apple's going concern is one of access and footprint, not quality. iOS is a fast moving river that Apple dams after AT&T in the U.S. and others overseas; Android is an ocean anyone can dip their ladle into. "

That doesn't sound like Apple. They care about marketshare, yes, but not as much as the rest of the industry, IMO. They just want enough room to make a lot of money doing what they want.

I suspect it isn't just Android, but Android and Verizon (and probably a few other things) that prompted this. Before Verizon needed Apple more than Apple needed Verizon. Android is tipping that, meaning Verizon is in a stronger position to tell Apple to do or at least "No, we're not doing that", which is something Steve probably won't tolerate. It isn't so much about beating Android as having enough "hand" to dictate terms to Verizon for how that company handles the iPhone. Verizon probably wants to control a lot of the phone or at least more than Apple is comfortable with.

That's the worst part of this Android/Apple "fight". I wish that had worked together for a few years to decrease the power of the US carriers, but instead they're fighting each other and letting the carriers still retain their grips on everything.

That was one of the most amazing things about the iPhone: They got a major US phone carrier to give up a bit of control and let Apple design and control the phone. All that is water under the bridge now, though
posted by nomadicink at 7:21 PM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are no Apple brownshirts going door-to-door ripping PCs
No, just searching people's houses.
Growing Android Power Led to Apple's Developer Compromise
Yeah. If you alienate developers, no one will develop for your platform. Apple may have a lot of apps, but most don't make that much money.
That's the worst part of this Android/Apple "fight". I wish that had worked together for a few years to decrease the power of the US carriers, but instead they're fighting each other and letting the carriers still retain their grips on everything.
I doubt Jobs has much interest in getting over his grudges. If apple and Google colluded to fuck over verizon, that would be great. But it's not going to happen. Instead, google and verizon are colluding to fuck over everyone! Good times
posted by delmoi at 6:29 AM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, just searching people's houses.

That is factually incorrect.

Here's the story from the original Wired link:
People identifying themselves as representing Apple last week visited and sought permission to search the Silicon Valley address of the college-age man who came into possession of a next-generation iPhone prototype, according to a person involved with the find.

“Someone came to [the finder's] house and knocked on his door,” the source told Wired.com, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case is under investigation by the police. A roommate answered, but wouldn’t let them in.
posted by nomadicink at 6:56 AM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mixed messages from Google: is Android ready for tablets?

I suspect they have something else in mind.
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on September 11, 2010


Verizon probably wants to control a lot of the phone or at least more than Apple is comfortable with.

That's funny, because my Verizon Droid has nothing on it - nothing - from Verizon. And Verizon doesn't appear to have any control over the Android Market, and can't stop me from installing apps directly outside the Market. So it appears that they're being less restrictive than ATT, which is probably responsible for the rejection of Google Voice from the App Store.

VZW does have a history of being dicks about what devices can and can't do, but that seems to have slipped a bit lately. Instead, they just charge more and have fees for everything.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:55 AM on September 11, 2010


Monkey, it's true that the first gen Droid is thankfully free of crapware but the newer Verizon Android offerings all have some 3rd party interface "improvements", Moto-blur, HTC-sense or whatever LG adds on there. Also Verizon did remove the Wifi hotspot feature of Froyo from the Droid's build which pissed me off although the USB tethering works great. None of that would ever get me to switch to an iPhone but it does show that Google doesn't control the platform in that way that Apple controls theirs.
posted by octothorpe at 12:00 PM on September 11, 2010


The original Verizon/Motorola droid has the wrong kind of wifi chipset to do wifi tethering.
posted by GuyZero at 1:24 PM on September 11, 2010


I wonder if Apple is trying to get to a leasing model with computers, where you have to send it back to them every year or two and pay them $129.
posted by bonehead at 5:28 PM on September 11, 2010


I suspect they have something else in mind.

Having two major OSes to support for mobile and personal computers with different programming frameworks didn't work for Microsoft, which is now having to retool from scratch. Maybe this strategy will work for Google.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:36 AM on September 12, 2010


Having two major OSes to support for mobile and personal computers with different programming frameworks didn't work for Microsoft,

It does seem to be working out for Apple OK, tho'.

(I know, iOS/Cocoa Touch and OS X/Cocoa are pretty close, but it's my understanding part of the point of Windows Mobile was to make things similar for programmers who already knew Windows...)

Maybe this strategy will work for Google.

Google has some larger problems with Chrome OS:

1) as cool as the web is and as much as Web Apps can do, ubiquitous (and cheap) connectivity still isn't going to be here for a while.

2) People have already seen the possibilities of offline mobile apps... the iOS and Android devices (among others) are really pretty cool.

So, personally, I think the idea of the single-purpose thin-network-client-only device is DOA, at least for consumers.
posted by weston at 10:21 AM on September 12, 2010


Joe Beese: Reconcile your rejection of my statement that Apple doesn't actually produce amazingly good hardware with ryanrs' comment in the iFixit thread, that Apple choose to leave off a bleeder resistor on a product design that results in an item on the board retaining a high-voltage charge long after the device loses power.

Computer hardware, especially home computers, are driven by new hardware. Okay, so I don't like Apple's business decisions. Okay, so I won't buy Apple hardware because they're so damn woefully underpowered in so many ways. Okay, so they're forever behind the curve in everything other than UI design. It sounds a lot like you're playing word games rather than facing up to Apple's suck. And a good argument could be made that their hardware games in an effort to keep OS/X exclusive themselves are a kind of hardware flaw. It's certainly energy and money they could be using to improve their product.

In point of fact, I like Apple's OS a whole lot. I have a Power PC Mac Mini running Leopard that I can't quite bring myself to retire. I don't think OS/X it's the second coming, but it's a hell of a lot more sensible than Windows. But Apple has competition rising up fast on the horizon, and it's Ubuntu Linux. They aren't so prideful that they can't from others in the OS sphere, and they actually have some advantages of their own now. (Evidence, since I know it'll be called for: the Software Center, Netbook Remix, Badges, more interoperable networking, less memory usage for equivalent features, and more.) Many of Apple's advantages are also Ubuntu's advantages now, and they have the advantage of being free and not having to play idiotic hardware games.

And in general to the Apple loyalists: You are acting exactly I've known some die-hard Republicans to act, folk who will worship Reagan's corpse until the day they die.

I recognize why you love Apple. You see them as a light in the darkness, carriers of the True Flame. And there are some finer things about design that, still, only they seem to recognize. But they certainly have their faults, and they're essentially using your support of them to drive through a bunch of other policies of theirs that are in absolutely no one's best interest but Apple's, least of all yours.
posted by JHarris at 11:29 PM on September 12, 2010


For every app Apple won't let us have for corporate bullshit reasons, there are probably three we're enjoying that Android users don't have.

That was you, "enjoying your apps" over there? I thought you had just eaten a can of beans.
posted by JHarris at 11:38 PM on September 12, 2010


But Apple has competition rising up fast on the horizon, and it's Ubuntu Linux.

Apple has lots competitors, as do all tech companies. Ubuntu Linux probably isn't even on their radar, except as a curiosity to watch. Hell, iOS has more market share than Ubuntu Linux and will probably overtake Linux completely in 2011.
posted by nomadicink at 1:04 AM on September 13, 2010


Apple's weakest link is at its core
The Leaning Tower of Ping: How iTunes Could Be Apple’s Undoing
posted by Artw at 8:32 AM on September 26, 2010


EU plans to end Apple antitrust investigation in light of relaxed iPhone rules
posted by Artw at 8:36 AM on September 26, 2010


nomadicink wrote: "Hell, iOS has more market share than Ubuntu Linux and will probably overtake Linux completely in 2011."

I don't know why I just thought of this now, but that's a pretty meaningless statistic. Symbian sells more units than any other OS except desktop Windows. So what?
posted by wierdo at 1:27 PM on September 26, 2010


« Older The National Mall in Washington DC is a site for m...  |  Give up, Robot!... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments