State Of The Apps

New York Times Gives Sweet Front-Page Love to iPhone App Store

The New York Times had a huge, gushing, front-page-of-the-business-section story this weekend about the iPhone App Store titled Apple's Game Changer, Downloading Now.

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iTunes App Store "Release Date" Sorting Sorta Broken?

Swing by the iTunes App Store, pick a category, and get/go to the Sort by: Release Date listing and it may look like Apple hasn't added any new iPhone and iPod touch apps since November 19 -- only they have, and it's just the iTunes listings that are broken.

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UPDATED: Phil Schiller Addresses App Store -- Not to Developers but to BusinessWeek

UPDATE: As expected, Rogue Ameoba's Airfoil Touch has been approved, with the original graphics displayed from Mac OS X. Meanwhile, Gx5 tells us it took over a year to get their one-touch search portal app, iClueless approved following a string of rejections (arguably some warranted, but still incredibly time consuming given Apple's process). Again we wonder if having a "big voice" makes a big difference?

ORIGINAL: Apple Senior VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, has once again stepped forward to address growing concerns about the iTunes App Store approval process -- but this time he's avoided developers and their complaints about opacity and inconsistency, and instead gone to BusinessWeek to get ahead of the story going mainstream.

Let's think about this for a moment. Schiller's previous, highly publicized comments have been emails addressed to bloggers and Mac developers, and wrung truthy enough to give a tiny glimmer of hope to those who just assumed Apple's upper management was oblivious to the problems around rejected apps. These comments read more like spin; like instead of fixing the App Store, they're worried concerns are spreading beyond developers and the blogsphere, and instead of earnestly working even harder to fix them, they just want to minimize and marginalize the complaints in the minds of the general press and public, who might be hearing about it for the first time following Facebook developer Joe Hewitt's high-profile exodus from the App Store.

The problem is, Apple has historically proven they're terrible at handling bad PR. From the original iPhone price cut to MobileMe's disastrous launch to Steve Jobs' health to everything involving the App Store approval process to date, they come off as wrong-headed and out of touch until it seems almost too late. Case in point, Schiller's comments to BusinessWeek today, where he cites 90% of rejections being related to technical bugs in the app (and contends developers are happy about the "safety net" Apple QA provides). 1% which fall into gray areas Apple hadn't previously considered (example given, apps that help cheat at Casino gambling), and an undisclosed amount that violate trademarks or copyrights:

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Gameloft: 13% of Revenue from iPhone, Nobody Making Money on Android

Gameloft -- and other developers according to Gameloft -- are cutting back on development for Google's Android platform due to the "weakness" of the Android Market. According to Reuters, Gameloft finance director Alexandre de Rochefort said:

We have significantly cut our investment in Android platform, just like ... many others. [The Android Market] is not as neatly done as on the iPhone. Google has not been very good to entice customers to actually buy products. On Android nobody is making significant revenue."

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Three20 Framework and More on App Store Screening for Private APIs

A little while ago we posted about Apple's new use of a static analysis tool to find private API calls and reject the apps that make them. Rather than Storm8 or Unity this time, however, it's former Facebook developer Joe Hewitt's pioneering Three20 framework that's getting caught.

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More on the iPhone (and iPod touch) Development Advantage

Instapaper and Tumblr developer Marco Arment riffs on the NYT's article on Palm webOS' trouble wooing developers, and it's predictably good stuff.

His major point is that with its huge install base (which topped 50 million iPhones and iPod touches months ago), it makes more financial sense to develop for Apple's platform, rather than Google's Android or Palm's webOS which might have on 5% to 10% as many devices on the market.

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After 3 Months, 3 Rejections, Airfoil Speakers Touch Ships, Developers Leave iPhone

After submitting a minor .1 bug fix for Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.1 [Free - iTunes link] for iPhone and iPod touch, longtime Mac developers Rogue Amoeba waited for what they assumed would be a routine App Store review. Three and a half months, three rejections, and the unsuccessful intervention of a champion at Apple, the app is finally in the store, but the developer has decided the process is too odorous to continue with the iPhone platform.

Don't stop us just because you've heard this before over and over again.

The issue this time was Rogue Amoeba discovering the type of Mac and exact application that was being used as audio source, and displaying the corresponding Mac OS X-provided image of the machine and icon for the app.

Though standard -- intended -- behavior on the Mac, Apple's App Store policy branded this a trademark violation and they requested it be changed. Rogue Amoeba assumed the request was erroneous and tried resubmitting, tried escalating via email, even had a champion inside Apple try help get it through. In the end, the App Store policy was an immovable object, and Rogue Amoeba had to remove the Mac and app icon images. Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.1 was then approved and placed in the app store.

(And during the whole process, Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0, buggy as it was, and using the exact same artwork Apple had issue with in 1.0.1 was left untouched in the App Store for users to download and use).

In the future, we hope that developers will be allowed to ship software without needing Apple’s approval at all, the same way we do on Mac OS X. We hope the App Store will get better, review times will be shorter, reviews will be more intelligent, and that we can all focus on making great software. Right now, however, the platform is a mess.

The chorus of disenchanted developers is growing and we’re adding our voices as well. Rogue Amoeba no longer has any plans for additional iPhone applications, and updates to our existing iPhone applications will likely be rare. The iPhone platform had great promise, but that promise is not enough, so we’re focusing on the Mac.

Add our voice to the chorus: fix. this. More after the break...

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Why It's Easier to Make a Great Twitter Client for iPhone than for Android

Why is it easier to make a great Twitter client for Apple's iPhone than for Google Android phones like the new Verizon DROID? After Robert Scoble wrote a typically impassioned post entitled The Droid fails AS A PRODUCT when compared to Palm Pre and iPhone, and used Twitter clients as an example, Thomas Marban of Android's premiere Twitter client, Twidroid, responded:

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