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Phil Schiller Addresses More App Store Concerns

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
50,471
11,857



Panic co-founder Steven Frank recently detailed his outrage at Apple's rejection of the Google Voice application and other controversial App Store policies. Given that there's been no signs of improvement after a year, Frank decided to personally boycott the iPhone:I've reached a point where I can no longer just sit back and watch this. The iPhone ecosystem is toxic, and I can't participate any more until it is fixed. As people have told me so many times: It's Apple's ballgame, and Apple gets to make the rules, and if I don't like it, I can leave. So, I don't like it, and I'm leaving. Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller has since personally responded to Frank to provide him some reassurance that Apple was listening to his feedback. I haven't sought Phil's explicit permission to republish the letter, so I won't do so here. But to summarize, he said: "we're listening to your feedback". Not all of my suggested solutions were viable, he said, but they were taking it all in as they continue to evolve the app store.

He went on to say that the rumors of widespread e-book app rejection I'd heard were false -- that specifically one e-book app had been rejected because it facilitated iPhone-to-iPhone sharing of (potentially copyrighted) books. But that otherwise, there was no sweeping ban on e-book readers. The email seemed to provide some reassurace to Frank that Apple was taking the App Store criticisms seriously and will hopefully address them in the near future. Schiller also recently personally responded to Daring Fireball's John Gruber addressing some other App Store criticisms.

Article Link: Phil Schiller Addresses More App Store Concerns
 

designgeek

macrumors 65816
Jan 30, 2009
1,064
0
"Town"
Interesting, I would like to see all this mystery clear up. But then again look at the company we're talking about...;)
 

phannon666

macrumors regular
Feb 1, 2008
185
0
Bucks, UK
I too got sick of it, and changed to a rival (as you may see in my sig). I like Apple products, I own a few, but the iPhone is not for me anymore.
 

Droid13

macrumors regular
Jul 22, 2009
193
0
United Kingdom
I think things need to be opened up more...

I am not a developer but I get the impression from reading around that no one outside the app store knows the criteria by which apps are assessed, or how long processing an application takes, or indeed much at all. Can that really be true? If so, more transparency is definitely needed, with full explanations of any app rejection.

And the 17+ ratings on any app that has web access, or is a dictionary, or a few other things, seems a little over the top - why does a Wikipedia accessing application have a 17+ rating? The thing about "duplicating functionality" also seems very odd. As the app store matures, I hope that things change for the better.
 

Mr Skills

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2005
801
1
More important than the specifics, for me, is the fact that Phil Schiller has now twice personally responded to critics.

I wonder if this suggests that he is taking more and more of the day-to-day running of Apple. Also, I wonder if this is a subtle indication that they will be a little more open under his watch.
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
2,939
258
SoCal
I believe that what we see is the result of a business trying to be a business to everyone and thus at times are making decisions that, while not be good for some, may be better overall. It would be nice if there was more feedback but I have to say, they have their strategic plan and appear to be executing it. I am also under the strong belief that there is more going on then we know, and that many of the decisions being made may not be their choice.

Example could be the eBook that was pulled. The claim is that it was pulled because it allowed sharing of potentially copyrighted books. Fair enough, but potential is the key word, it doesn't mean it has happened. But maybe Apple has already been hit by an injunction by the book publisher association stating that if they release any apps that bypass the security of the copyrighted books, they would be sued and / or have charges brought against them. Thus instead of going after the developer / thief directly, they have shallow pockets, they go after someone who may have deeper pockets but isn't directly associated with it. This is just and example, it could be even more nefarious and based off the RIAA issues, or more; we don't know. But one bad apple (err lawyer) could be ruining it for everyone.
 

Shake 'n' Bake

macrumors 68020
Mar 2, 2009
2,186
1
Albany
Now that Schiller has personally responded to at least two app store rejections, I am certain that he will be "head honcho" of Apple when Steve leaves.

Back to the main topic. This is becoming a pattern, and a bad one. If Schiller keeps responding to these and nothing is done to the App Store policy, I expect bigger headlines in the tech world. That would be putting an even larger spotlight on the already hit-or-miss policy for app approval, prompting Apple to do something about it.

I have a feeling that Apple tells employees to just not approve anything they find objectionable in any way, shape, or form, or seems to duplicate functionality.
 

Mike Teezie

macrumors 68020
Nov 20, 2002
2,205
1
It certainly helps get the SVP's ear when you make some damn good OS X software like Panic does.

Apple has been getting hammered lately, and not by the usual fools. It's for good reason. The app store is brilliant, but there need to be steps taken to improve communication with devs.
 

Tenebrous

macrumors member
Jun 23, 2008
59
0
The South, USA
Yet another self-important drama-queen developer who isn't being given seven-course meals by Apple decides to post yet another profane screed. Keep it up, guys. You'll never realize how juvenile you appear to everyone with an iota of discernment.

No, Apple banning a spammer and his "apps" isn't toxic.
No, Apple refusing to allow a competitor profit from their store isn't toxic.
No, rumors about e-book readers aren't toxic.

These geeks show a lack of collective wisdom, not to mention an inability to perceive reality outside of the rumor bubble that they seem to live within.

Take your ball and go home, crybaby. That's what mature adults do, after all, isn't it? My geez. When will these people ever grow up?
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,161
15,121
Central U.S.
If Apple has actually responded to something TWICE, then you know there must be a HUGE problem.

Just publish some guidelines and be done with it!

It's not that hard to do!!

I think they are just really indecisive.
 

FoxHoundADAM

macrumors regular
Sep 9, 2008
211
14
Oklahoma
Great, another "we are taking this very seriously" cut and paste from another big company. apple may very well e thinking about changes, but it's pretty clear their rules are't really clearly laid out nor are they consistant.

I love the app store for the many choices but there have been many great looking apps that are being denied for very poor reasons. At least that's what it appears like on the surface.
 

*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
Yet another self-important drama-queen developer who isn't being given seven-course meals by Apple decides to post yet another profane screed. Keep it up, guys. You'll never realize how juvenile you appear to everyone with an iota of discernment.

No, Apple banning a spammer and his "apps" isn't toxic.
No, Apple refusing to allow a competitor profit from their store isn't toxic.
No, rumors about e-book readers aren't toxic.

These geeks show a lack of collective wisdom, not to mention an inability to perceive reality outside of the rumor bubble that they seem to live within.

Take your ball and go home, crybaby. That's what mature adults do, after all, isn't it? My geez. When will these people ever grow up?

This. Completely agree.
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,525
4,050
Yet another self-important drama-queen developer who isn't being given seven-course meals by Apple decides to post yet another profane screed.

You're the one overdramatizing it. Stephen Frank's position is this:

My position is not that every app should be approved — it’s that rejected apps should be rejected for reasons that at the very least make consistent, logical sense, without garbage form-letter rejection notices that explain nothing, and with at least some sort of guidance available to the developer about how to fix the problem instead of meeting them with a brick wall.

and one that I'd guess 100% of iPhone developers agree with.

arn
 

RMo

macrumors 65816
Aug 7, 2007
1,220
215
Iowa, USA
Stephen Frank's position is this:

My position is not that every app should be approved — it’s that rejected apps should be rejected for reasons that at the very least make consistent, logical sense, without garbage form-letter rejection notices that explain nothing, and with at least some sort of guidance available to the developer about how to fix the problem instead of meeting them with a brick wall.
arn

And that makes perfect sense. Apps that use undocumented APIs? Well, that makes sense. But apps that do something Apple just doesn't want them to do for some reason (call your Google Voice number, for example)? Well, then you're at the whim of whoever reviews your application.
 

BaldiMac

macrumors 604
Jan 24, 2008
7,411
7,498
I am not a developer but I get the impression from reading around that no one outside the app store knows the criteria by which apps are assessed, or how long processing an application takes, or indeed much at all. Can that really be true? If so, more transparency is definitely needed, with full explanations of any app rejection.

There are criteria that Apple has published, but they have been liberal in their application, which has led to confusion and controversy. Most rejections have legitimate reasoning, with the prominent exception of the Google Voice apps.

Apple has recently added information of the current length of the approval cue to the developer site.

More transparency would definitely be helpful.

And the 17+ ratings on any app that has web access, or is a dictionary, or a few other things, seems a little over the top - why does a Wikipedia accessing application have a 17+ rating? The thing about "duplicating functionality" also seems very odd. As the app store matures, I hope that things change for the better.

Apps are rated 17+ if they can be used to access "objectionable material". Unrestricted web browsers and Wikipedia definitely fit this description. Most dictionaries are not rated 17+ even if they contain common swear words.

17+ ratings do not prevent anyone from purchasing apps unless parental controls are turned on. So no one is affected by these ratings unless they choose to be.

"Duplicating functionality" is a stupid reason for rejecting apps and seems to be applied at random whim.
 

kas23

macrumors 603
Oct 28, 2007
5,628
288
Considering I use native iPhone apps much more than 3rd party apps, (Safari, iPod, Mail, Maps, Weather, Stocks, Camera, Nike+, Text, Phone) still very damn good.

Actually, using only native apps would bring us back to the pre-SDK days, which, as history shows us, was a failure. By shying away from 3rd party apps, you are really missing out on the true potential of this phone.

As for Phil's latest answers, this is just damage-control. The big bad company is trying to come out from behind the curtain and show some humility. We've seen this before though. We need results instead.

Apps are rated 17+ if they can be used to access "objectionable material". Unrestricted web browsers and Wikipedia definitely fit this description. Most dictionaries are not rated 17+ even if they contain common swear words.

Actually, I see no rhyme or reason for the 17+ rating. It's just fluff and legal jargon to try to protect Apple. For example, why does Shazam and file-storing apps have a 17+ rating? I can access the Kama Sutra through Stanza, but this doesn't have a 17+ rating.
 
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