Do you feel that apple stifles the advancement and innovation of apps?

iOS and iPadOS

The subject says it all.
Apple, with its monopoly of getting apps onto the phones of a large percentage of the population, and with its strict aapp admission guidelines, may be part of the cause of the stifling of innovation of apps.
Apps can be so much more than what apple allows in their guidelines, but because of the way you have to get an app approved to ship on a large percentage of existing smartphones, developers do not wish to innovate and develop new apps that function, although they may not meet all of apple's strict guidelines.



Submitted by jack on Thursday, January 31, 2019

Ok, so maybe I have a bit of bias being an Android user, but I have to agree.
1. Guidelines: Need I say more? Developers are paying $100 a year, which for a smaller developer is hefty at best ,detrimental at worst. Yet the rejection I mean review team, will find any way to reject the app. Now, I totally understand when you're publishing an app, you have to go by the rules, they're probably for the best anyway. But then why did they bend over backwards for you know who when they didn't assemble the apps into groups, yet Goldgun, with nothing wrong with it, got rejected because there wasn't a back button of all things? Are they nuts?
I can totally understand going by the rules, I really can. I cannot accept double standards, however. They can't bend over backwards for one violation due to public pressure to do so, then straight up reject a minor one, without being called out for that. If you're going to have rules, fine, but don't make exceptions just to make yourself come out of a pr nightmare unscathed.
2: Apple's stance against posterity:
It happens with ios downgrades no longer being possible. It happened when they artificially disabled 32bit support when there was absolutely no reason to. It happens when they release dependency-breaking new IOS releases, the last few not having enough substantial voiceover improvements to satisfy me. It's why Somethin Else, arguably one of the best game developers around in the legacy IOS days, had to fold. Too much money in being forced to buy the latest thing, all because no backward compatibility. Let that sink in.

Submitted by Dave Matters on Thursday, January 31, 2019

I will agree that Apple could and should do a better job accepting or rejecting individual apps. I think the blindfold games should be rejected, along with flicktype. I am unaware of the circumstances surrounding the specific app which appears to have lit the fire under this thread. They need to do better.
I do not agree with your assessment that Apple holds a large percentage of the market as it is around 20%.

As for the guidelines, Apple is where it is today with accessibility and security because of these types of decisions. They may not always be the most convenient, but I think they are there for the greater good. I think the platform would be seen differently if not for these guidelines.

I understand that Apple is a big company. Things can’t and won’t always be handled on equal footing. I don’t think all said and done though they are stifling anything. They are dependent on the appstore for revenue and growth, that in-and-of itself I think should demonstrate if this stifling does happen it is an anomaly and not intended to be the norm.

I am not an expert. I am just an opinion with a keyboard. I hope everyone is staying warm today.
Dave ...

Submitted by Pyro2790 on Thursday, January 31, 2019

I know this is a Apple related site, but if you do not like the way Apple does things then try Android.

Apple does things a certain way for privacy and security purposes. They are not going to turn to a completely open platform or lower their standards on the submission of apps. That is the way they structure their program and I highly doubt it will change significantly.

Submitted by jack on Thursday, January 31, 2019

If they are really for privacy, then explain the horrible Facetime screwup. I simply cannot give them a free pass when they're so vocal about privacy, and no one should. Suffice it to say that had they not refused to take a 14year old's bug report seriously because they didn't pay for ad developer account, this would be a slightly different story, but they waited for the pr nightmare to ensue. I can never forgive them for that.
But I digress.
I again don't have much of a problem with guidelines as long as they are handled on even footing.
@Dave: What's your problem with Flicktype? I think it's the best thing in the world - not everyone can afford a tap wearable keyboard, never mind the fact that's the keyboard I always recommend to users.

Submitted by Chris on Thursday, January 31, 2019

Yes, Apple's iron fisted control of apps and app developers stifles innovation! iPhones and iPads are essentially Unix computers in our pockets, but Apple's restrictions significantly restrict what we can do with them. If they want the ipad to be more than a computer replacement for users that perform very very basic computing tasks, the restrictions need to go away. Why can't we have applications that constantly run in the background doing useful things on schedules? Why won't they let people submit third party text-to-speech engines just like keyboards? Why doesn't the web browser properly support file downloads, HTML 5 players, etc?

Because of their "the App Store is the only means of software distribution" policy, there is no way to archive software. The Papa Sangre games are gone because of this. Nothing you buy on the App Store is really owned by you. What happens if the store goes away one day? Say goodbye to all your purchased apps and the hard work those developers had to do to produce them. When they decide to not update their devices, you're essentially SOL because no other operating system can be loaded onto them.

I'm sorry, but the amount of nonsense and crap coming from them lately has gotten to me. They continuously raise the prices of their devices without truly innovating, the Macintosh is stagnating, they're not using USB C on their iPhones even though they're the ones that claim how awesome it is, etc, etc, etc.

Submitted by jack on Thursday, January 31, 2019

Only reason they're finally switching to usbC now is because gdpr is forcing them to. Can you believe it? I was at the AT and T store once and I had my first look at a wireless charging pad. It wasn't powermat but I'm told it was pretty powerful, but obviously not as fast as USBC power delivery charging that USB3.1 delivers. They said that wireless charging at this point is a bit faster than charging over the lightning cable. No words.

First off let me preface this with I have a subscription to flick type, and use it quite frequently. The reason I bring it up here, is because I personally feel they are attempting to take advantage of the situation. This is not an application that should be allowed to require a subscription. There is no constant ongoing cause or reason or benefit for this particular App to require or have a subscription. There is no online storage, service that needs to be accessed, or the like. The point I wanted to make was the guidelines are there for reasons to help protect end-users from things like this. I would not pay a subscription for Blackbox, or Dice World. I should not be expected to for FlickType either. Envision for example on the other hand has server side expenses for the ocr that make a subscription make sense. I will have my subscription for FlickType a little while longer, but after I have shelled out what I believe the app is worth, I will cancel it.

And no, frequent updates is not cause for a subscription. Frequent updates are cause for or rather from bug fixes and improvements. I have several apps that do not charge me a subscription and yet are updated.

Yes, Dice World does in my opinion have a more legitimate reason for charging a subscription. It is simply not the model they went with, but with the back-end expenses I can see a better argument for it.

Insert socially appropriate signature line here,
Dave ...

Submitted by jack on Thursday, January 31, 2019

If it weren't for Apple's yearly $100 license fee, plus the constant thankless cost for buying new idevices, I'm sure the subscription wouldn't even be a thing.

Submitted by Paul on Thursday, January 31, 2019

Need I remind people that the blindfold games campaign was successful because some on this very site helped it? I don't like Apple's double standards either, but we cannot winge about them when some of us loudly demanded that Apple apply double standards for a lazy developer!

As for the annual subscription fee, it isn't much at all. It's less than $2/week, and let me tell you, that is at least half what I pay for a Safari Books Online subscription (a service providing unlimited access to software development related books and videos), or what I would pay if I subscribed to The Great Courses Plus (a service providing unlimited access to the content produced by The Great Courses), neither of which provide the ability to distribute apps using the app store or to collect money from customers.

I don't believe for a moment that Apple's practices forced Something Else out of business. I believe it was more a combination of under valued apps and poor marketing. The audio game market is too small to be profitable with the kind of ridiculously low prices Something Else used to have. For example, a price of $19.99 would have covered the annual developer subscription fee if just 5 people/year bought one of their apps. I don't remember the exact prices they used to charge, but I believe they were somewhere between $3 and $6, which just isn't enough to cover costs, let alone to be profitable, unless you're pumping out new apps on a regular basis.

Finally, I'll address the Face Time bug someone else brought up. First, bugs happen. Second, it takes time to act on a bug report. And third, sometimes more than one bug report is needed to find and fix an issue. The important thing is that Apple fixes the issue.

Submitted by jack on Friday, February 1, 2019

Flicktype? Agreed, $1 per month is a steal for what you get.
Facetime bug? I totally get bugs take time to fix. As an aspiring developer, I totally can understand that, and don't doubt that for a second. But the problem is that the follow through wasn't there. Whereas this is the kind of thing that would reward a persons thousands if it were reported to another company, Apple did not prioritize the otherwise serious bug report all because the person reporting didn't have a paid developer account.
Audiogame market: Well, I'll answer that with a response I gave to a blog post about just how cheap should apps be in general. Let it be known that spending the last year as a frustrated and unsatisfied mac user, and also from a developer standpoint, and for the facetime bug of course, is what causes me to, quote, bash Apple. I think they have the potential to really change things for the good, but I'm not seeing them do it. Anyway, about the ridiculously low prices for apps:
I personally think that Apple is partially to blame for this, since they've been notorious for not allowing trialware in the app store. It's led to depreciation in an app's value overall, because people expect either a lite version or a ridiculously cheap download, with nothing in between. Apple just now offered some lame excuse for a defacto trialware system, and there are so many things they did wrong with that it's no wonder I haven't seen any apps use it yet.
Well let's see.
1. The trial is an in-app purchase. Which means an app that I may happily pay 20 bucks for is going to show up as free at first. Wait, what?
2. If I remember correctly, the in-app purchase is just a full version receipt that expires after 14 days, nothing in between. I also believe that after the 14 days the app needs to function in a limited mode.
There is always that one person that only needs an app for a little while; maybe they need to pull a solution out of thin air to run a specially formatted presentation or the like. Android kind of indirectly facilitated that, as Google's refund policy, while automated, is pretty tight and rightfully so. It used to be just 15 minutes, in fact. So unless you were testing for compatibility, there wouldn't be much you could do in the way of serious use. If the app functions in a limited mode after the trial, and you only needed it for a few weeks to create something, then you know what could happen. If it's a text editor, then it will no doubt contain a read-only mode if it isn't registered. People could take their stuff and run, and that's more purchases the developer isn't going to see. Might I also add that that is revenue lost and it didn't even take a reverse-engineering for it to happen.
3. Yes, Apple offers something you could call a refund policy. You have 90 days, but here's the catch; it isn't automated, and it is not a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. Most of the time, software venders don't allow refunds because you are given a registration key that stays with you for good. However, those software developers offer trials which specifically allows them to limit their liability to you. On IOS, Apple is going against principal by not allowing a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee, while at the same time having a stipulation against trialware. This forces developers to do one of two things:
a... make a free lite version that can't expire and has more than half the features of the full version of the app. After all, people still need to be able to try the app, right? easy to say if lite versions could expire which they don't. People could easily have it made with just a lite version and the developer wouldn't see many purchases coming through.
b. Screw it, I'm making the app free, or $0.99. There's no trialware functionality allowed, and a lot of idiotic wining about losing, what, two trips to Starbucks at most? over an oh so overpriced app. Making it free is the best way to make everyone happy.
Now you can see clearly how destructive disallowing trialware is.
At this point, there is no excuse. Simbian, Windows Mobile, Windows C E, even Android, all come with absolutely no stipulations against trialware, and IOS is the only lonesome exception. That creates a more damning effect than one might imagine, because if you'll notice, the amount of actual trialware on Android has reduced. You either are seeing freemium ad-supported apps, or a subscription model. Most developers develop for both platforms, so I'd imagine to keep things consistent they don't implement trialware functionality because well what's the point if one platform won't even allow it?
And the blog post that provoked this discussion: