Update: Apple Gives in to Rogue Amoeba

Monday, November 23rd, 2009 | Opinion

In an update to this post I made a view days ago (where Apple rejected their already approved app because it used images of Apple computers), Apple has reversed course and now will allow the app. Apple, via Phil Schiller (Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing), has stated that they are changing their policies regarding trademarked images.

Its good to see them backpedal because it was a horrible decision in the first place. It was covered far and wide, and was very bad PR for Apple. On top of that, it hurt the UI of the app- something Apple is supposed to be know for.

However, RA is not jumping back into iPhone development:

The problems of the App Store go well beyond our own relatively minor case. We pushed this update to Airfoil Speakers Touch out because we wanted to restore functionality we had to take away from our users. We’re happy to be able to do that.

That said, the App Store and iPhone platform still have myriad problems, detailed in many places. Among other issues, the potential remains for months of effort to be wasted as an app sits in limbo, or is never even released. As well, the long lead times needed before updates reach users are still in place.

At this time, we don’t believe it makes good business sense for us to commit much in the way of resources to the iPhone. We’ll make sure our existing applications continue to function, of course, but that’s all we have planned for now.

I have to agree. There still are many problems with the App Store, none of which is fixed by this decision. Slow review process, unknown risk as to whether an app will be approved, inconsistant reviewing- these all still exist. And they still don’t see the problem:

Schiller does manage to admit that Apple has made mistakes. Sadly, he doesn’t say it loudly enough. In a Social Networking era when transparency is not only beneficial to a company but almost essential to maintaining a happy customer base, Apple still can’t manage genuine “openness” where it most counts. I’m sure Misters Jobs and Schiller grudgingly decided this interview was a necessary (if bitter-tasting) step in damage-control. But it’s dripping with convoluted and downright unfriendly corporate-speak.

And its not just openness- though that will help tremendously. Its even having a process in the first place. There really needs a second way to get apps on the phone. Apple can still have its App Store with visibility and ease of use (for buying and selling). But for those apps that Apple doesn’t like but users do, iTunes should allow installing any .ipa files.