Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

The App Store and Apple’s Recent Behavior

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Alright.  I’ve been holding my tongue about Apple’s iPhone App Store and their general iPhone shenanigans for awhile now, but I’ve had it.  Apple, you’re being stupid and you need to shape up.

Keeping in mind all of this crap that’s been floating around the internet for the past few days (in no particular order):

  1. Official Google Voice App Blocked From App Store
  2. Apple’s Chickenshit Approval Process Has Gone Too Far
  3. There’s No App for That: VoiceCentral Removed From App Store
  4. What Steve said about the App Store and why we need to suck it up
  5. IPhone SMS Attack to Be Unleashed at Black Hat
  6. iPhone Jailbreaking Could Crash Cellphone Towers, Apple Claims
  7. Is the iPhone causing Apple to lose the plot?

Apple, I’ve stood by you for a long time now, but you’re just being stupid.  Your App Store rules of rejection and acceptance need to be TRANSPARENT.  And when you reject an app like Google Voice, man up and give a freaking reason for it.  The Beckettian back and forth in #3 above is something I would expect from Dell.  And quite frankly, you deserved the unofficial response you got from Google’s Marissa Mayer (passive though it was).

As for #4, I completely agree.  If developers keep putting up with this, they’ll need to suck it up.  But after #3, why on earth would any sensible company want to spend months developing for iPhone, wait a month or more to be accepted then rejected with no explanation and no suggestions for how to get the app back into the store?  As a developer it makes my blood boil.  Makes me want to start coding mobile apps for basically any other platform — Android, WebOs… even Windows Mobile.

And as for the crap you’re trying to pull against the EFF and their campaign to make Jailbreaking a legal option, can you smell what you’re shoveling?  How can you say Jailbreaking would crash a cell tower?  Sure it’s a possibility.  But do you really think a serious terrorist would use an iPhone to do that?  You can do that with just about anything that can connect to the cellular network (an eval board, an old cell phone… basically anything but a tin can).  PLUS, unless you fix that SMS bug in #5 above right quick, a hacker wouldn’t even NEED to jailbreak his phone.  He could just send a text message and not only overwhelm the cell towers but crash all of the system’s iPhones in the process.  I only hope the courts can see right through that one (see #7 for more analysis on this one).

I’d been a pretty satisfied iPhone customer since the 3.0 (iPhone mind you.  not AT&T.  AT&T can suck it. I only hope Apple doesn’t renew their exclusive contract with them and I can ditch them for another provider when my contract is up.  And if they don’t I hope there are better iPhone alternatives by then.)  Most of the apps that I installed via Jailbreak were accounted for or rendered unnecessary with copy/paste, better integration with Google Calendar, etc.

But now, just out of principle, I’m going to jailbreak my phone again.  I advise you all to do the same.  This walled garden that Apple’s is creating is really stagnating for developer innovation (when there’s 15 variations of ‘Pull My Finger’, how many of those ‘approved’ applications do you really think are useful?).  And frankly, their guardianship seems to be done by a gang of ADD monkeys (I need to be 17 to use Wikipanion? Really?  And AroundMe?  It’s like you understand only the letter of the law, but not the spirit.  And frankly I’d rather not have a guardian of my phone than have an overprotective, uncommunicative one).

I guess in my mind, for any healthy industry to thrive, there needs to be some competition.  Where’s the competition?  Android, step up your game!  Palm, your marketing sucks.  Do better.

Until then, the best we can do is rebel in mild ways.  Like Jailbreaking.  Thanks Dev Team, for giving us that option.

UPDATE: A bold move from Michael Arrington of TechCrunch: I Quit the iPhone.
UPDATE 2: Developer Steven Frank is ditching the iPhone too.

The Saga Continues: Why The FCC Wants To Smash Open The iPhone
EVEN MORE: Apple Rejects Dictionary App for Containing Swear Words

It’s not enough that they have a warning on Wikipanion that some of the content in THE OPEN SOURCE ENCYCLOPEDIA might have content that’s inappropriate for children under 17?  They now ban dictionaries for swear words?

It’s like they have the Three Stooges manning their application approval process.  I really hope the FCC beats Apple to a pulp on this one.  They deserve it.



Friday, April 17th, 2009

From Silicon Alley Insider:

Hulu iPhone App Coming Soon, ‘Badass’


GPhone is No iPhone Slayer… Yet

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Google announced its first foray into the smartphone market yesterday with T-Mobile’s HTC Dream, which uses the Android Mobile OS.

I honestly have to say I’m not particularly impressed with what I’ve seen so far.  If the iPhone is the sexy MacBook Air of the mobile world, the Dream feels like the equivalent of the One Laptop Per Child laptops: interesting enough to play with for awhile, but not enticing enough to buy.


Yo, Apple: Ease Up

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Dear Apple,

Regarding your recent behavior towards your iPhone Developer Network: please stop being such fascists.

It’s one thing to hold your developers to high standards and reject apps that do not meet those standards (I’m looking at you, AIM).  It’s quite another to reject applications because they are like yours and (heaven forbid) possibly even perform better than your own.

Be nice.

Sit back, relax, and remember just how much you rely on the developers of the open source community — how much of their code you’ve rolled into your own.

What’s wrong with a little competition?  What do you have to be scared of?  People should be challenging you to improve your own applications.  Let us, the users, make the choice.  If we want to have 3 mail applications, 12 versions of Sudoku and 85 different ways to upload our photos to Flickr, we can agree that’s stupid, but that should be our choice to make.  And really, we both know your apps are going to be better in the end anyway.  But let us figure that out for ourselves.

We’re smart.  We bought your iPhone in the first place, didn’t we?  Trust us to put what we want on it.

I don’t want to hear any more crap like this from you.  Really?  A statement of confidentiality to gag your developers, preventing them from venting that they just blew months of dev time on an application you rejected for no reason? Come on.  You’re better than this.  Or at least you used to be.

Shape up!

Until you do, I will scream from the hilltops that Jailbreak is the only way to iPhone.


Lord Geek Supreme
Geek Chic

iPhone Dev Team

Monday, September 15th, 2008

I just want to take a sec to give a shout out to the iPhone Dev Team — our friends who have come up with the most reliable way to jailbreak your iPhone.  They’re so fast, and so very good.

Case in point: Apple released the new iPhone 2.1 Firmware last Friday.  By Saturday morning, the Dev Team had cracked it.

If you’ve got an iPhone and you’re looking to do some Jailbreaking, accept no substitutes. These guys are the real deal.  I’m seriously looking forward to the point when these guys have a solution for actually unlock the phone for use on any network.

Or the day when Apple makes Jailbreaking (and even unlocking) irrelevant.  Their current pattern of rejecting applications for the App Store without having any sort of clear acceptance standard (AFTER developers have paid $100 for the privilege of being able to submit to Apple in the first place and invested countless hours of unpaid development time) is pretty tyrannical, imho.

I would fully support anyone who wants to Jailbreak their phone  — if it didn’t violate my service agreement, of course.  There are a lot of useful applications out there that, for some reason or another, Apple does not want you to use (iPhone Modem, NemusSync, Snapture, VideoRecorder, BigBoss Prefs, Searcher, WinterBoard, Customize, not to mention Terminal and OpenSSH for the hardcore nerds.  And that barely scratches the surface).

It’s my feeling that —  I paid through the nose for this particular piece of hardware.  Like any hardware that I own, I should be able to control how I use it.  Apple doesn’t dictate to me what color my MBP’s desktop is.  Why shouldn’t I be able to customize what my iPhone Springboard looks like?  The camera on the iPhone can record video.  Why shouldn’t I be able to use an application that takes advantage of that?

For more about how to Jailbreak your iPhone using the PwangeTool or QuickPwn, check out the Apple iPhone School.  Or just jump right in with QuickPwn.  It does all of the heavy lifting for you.

As I said, I cannot condone this sort of behavior.  And I’ve never even considered Jailbreaking my iPhone.  I mean, that would violate my service contract, now wouldn’t it? And I wouldn’t want to piss off AT&T…

Sensory Feedback

Friday, August 29th, 2008

It’s interesting how much we take for granted when it comes to the design of the objects we interact with on a daily basis.

After jailbreaking my iPhone yesterday (!!!) I installed the Nintendo original NES emulator.  Which is awesome in theory — it’s nice to see my old friends Elevator Action, Super Mario Brothers, Metroid, Rad Racer, etc. again.  But there’s a problem: the games are almost impossible to play.

NES Emulator for iPhone

NES Emulator for iPhone

When we were using the original NES controllers I, for one, took for granted the fact that you get (and need) tactile feedback when you’re playing those games.  When you’re playing Spy Hunter you’re getting contstant feedback from your left thumb — as to when you’re pushing ‘left’ vs when you’re pushing ‘up’.  On the iPhone you don’t get that feedback — it’s just a flat surface.

The designers of the emulator tried to compensate for this by giving you visual feedback (there’s a little readout that tells you explicitly when you’re pushing up vs pushing left).  But this doesn’t solve the problem becaue it’s giving you cues that are a) not in the most relevant medium (visual instead of tactile — which slows down your reaction time) and b) not in a relevant part of the screen (you’re looking where the action is — not where your fingers are.  If you’re looking at your fingers to see where they’re pushing you’re in danger of having a Metroid suck off your face).

Old School NES

Old School NES

All of this, in my ‘I took Psychology of Perception 10 years ago so I totally know what I’m talking about’ kind of way, is to say that Nintendo did something right when they made those controllers.  We needed the little raised + of the directional pad (the edges, the clear spatially mapped directions, etc) to input directional data and get the kind of relevant feedback we need to play the game.

The things we take for granted…

Maybe next time we’ll talk about Nintendo Synesthesia (although maybe Rad Racer’s pseudo-3D is as close as most of us come to that… ).


Thursday, August 28th, 2008

I just took a bit of time to jailbreak my iPhone today… and it’s totally and completely awesome.  There are so many applications out there!

To figure out how to do this yourself, read these instructions and get the tools you need from the iPhone Dev Team.

Is this safe? Probably.  I’m sure it violates some terms of some contract I signed somewhere.  But I have to say — given the seemingly unlimited possibilities for application development that are realized in the jailbroken world — the folks at Apple are being incredibly lame in their furious protection of the iPhone App world.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look around to see what applications you can get when your iPhone has been jailbroken.  Like Snapture — that makes the camera acually useful.

I know Apple wants to be careful.  Yes.  If they didn’t have rules for what could and could not make it into the App Store the whole thing would have the potential to turn into the wild west.  But there’s got to be a middle ground.  Right now I’d say about 95% of the applications in iTunes are TOTALLY WORTHLESS.  Who on earth needs another version of Sudoku?  Some of the thigns there don’t even work (I’m looking at you AOL Instant Messenger!).

And I’m sure Apple has reasons behind what they reject from the App Store.  And they have rules for software development that some of these people are bending.  But I wish they’d loosen their grip a little.  Some of the things 3rd party developers are dreaming up are so much more innovative and useful than anything a developer could make given their current SDK rules.

Chill out, Apple.  You’re totally going to win and you know it.  Relax.  And maybe think about letting some of the big kids play in the playground too.